The World Eaters were the third of the special god-dedicated Traitor Legions to receive the standalone codex treatment, with a book finally dropping in the waning months of 9th edition. As such, the book we got – a blood-soaked romp through the battlefields of competitive play – was perhaps the closest to 10th edition formatting of any book in the edition. As an army almost exclusively focused on melee, the World Eaters are always an interesting design problem to solve and in this article we’ll talk about the army’s 10th edition faction rules, units, and how they’ll play.
Before we begin we’d like to thank Games Workshop for providing us with a review copy of the Index.
Faction Rule: Blessings of Khorne
At the start of the battle round, you can make a Blessings of Khorne roll. You do this by rolling 8D6 and then using the results of that roll to activate up to two blessings chosen from a list. These blessings require different rolls and each one can only be used once per round, with unused dice being discarded. These effects apply to your entire army for the rest of the battle round – note that you don’t get them all game anymore.
- Any Double: Rage-Fueled Invigoration – Add 2” to the Move characteristic of models in this unit.
- Any Double: Wrathful Devotion – Models in this unit have Feel No Pain 6+ and if they already had Feel No Pain they get +1 to their rolls for it.
- Double 3+: Martial Excellence – Models in this unit have the [SUSTAINED HITS 1] ability on their melee weapons.
- Double 4+ or any Triple: Total Carnage – Each time a model in this unit dies to a melee attack if they haven’t fought yet you can roll a D6; on a 4+ you keep the model on the table and it can fight after the enemy unit makes its attacks.
- Double 5+ or any Triple: Warp Blades – Melee weapons equipped by models in this unit have the [LETHAL HITS] ability.
- Double 6 or Triple 4+: Unbridled Bloodlust – This unit can declare a charge in a turn in which it Advanced.
These are all pretty solid abilities, and a better set than we had in 9th edition, even if they only last one turn. We’ve already written about the probabilities of these in Hammer of Math – you can read that article here – but the quick version is that you’re always guaranteed to have two doubles in 8D6, so at the very least you’ll have access to rage-fueled invigoration and wrathful devotion, though it’s very likely you’ll hit unbridled bloodlust on most turns. Not mentioned up here is Angron’s rule, which lets him come back if you have a triple 6. That one’s not real likely on its own but you can manipulate some of these numbers with the units in your army – something we’ll get to later.
Generally you’ll be able to use these powers to tailor your army’s approach to the situation at hand. Early on you’ll want to focus on rage-fueled invigoration and unbridled bloodlust, when being able to +2” move advance and charge can help your army close those gaps, and then later on you’ll want to look at melee buffs to ensure you can take down bigger targets. And if you need to play defensively, FNP and Fight on Death are there as well.
Detachment Ability: Relentless Rage
Each time a World Eaters unit in your army is picked to fight, if it made a Charge move this turn, add 1 to the Strength and Attacks characteristics of melee weapons equipped by models in that unit. There isn’t a ton to add here – you want to be charging with World Eaters, all the time.
World Eaters have one thing they’re trying to do, and these Stratagems all reflect that. As an army, World Eaters are interesting in that they’re likely to be one of the few armies in the game that just never use Overwatch, so they’ll have CP left over to spend on other tricks, such as Heroic Intervention.
Gory Massacre (1 CP) – Use in the Fight phase on a World Eaters unit that made a charge move this turn and destroyed one or more enemy units this phase. In your opponent’s next Command phase, each enemy unit within 6” of that unit must take a Battle-shock test, and they get -1 if they’re below Half-Strength. Those units don’t have to take any other battle-shock tests that phase, so this won’t make a unit double-test. Even still, this can be a very nasty way to steal VP from your opponent if you can get into the middle of a group of multiple units and force 1-2 of them to fail. Very situational but also potentially a way to turn one combat win into an early lead.
For the Blood God! (1 CP) – Used in the Fight phase after a World Eaters unit in your army kills an enemy unit. You can make a Blessings of Khorne roll and use the results to activate one Blessing of Khorne. It doesn’t count toward your maximum number of Blessings, but you can’t double up. This is pretty nifty, and how you use it will depend on the turn order. At the very least it’s a good way to turn a unit kill into a 6+ Feel No Pain but it’s only going to be useful if there’s a full turn to benefit after your combat’s over.
For the Skull Throne! (1 CP) – Used in the Fight phase on a unit that hasn’t been selected to fight this phase. They get +1 to wound for their attacks that target a Character, Monster, or Vehicle unit. This is great and will be a no-brainer in terms of knowing when to use it.
Khorne Cares Not… (2 CP) – Used in the Fight phase after an enemy unit picks its targets on a World Eaters unit that was picked. Until the end of the phase, attacks against that unit are -1 damage. This is great defensive tech, and worth keeping in your pocket for when you need to take some nastier melee hits.
Blood Offering (1 CP) – Used in any phase after a World Eaters unit is destroyed in range of an objective marker you controlled. That marker remains under your control until your opponent takes it at the start or end of any turn. Very useful for when your opponent is trying to sit back and shoot you off objectives on your half off the table – forces them to be proactive enough to come forward and claim them if they want to deny you points. Less helpful against armies which can just do that, but there are times when even in those cases you’ll score some VP off it before they can and it’ll be worth 1 CP.
Apoplectic Frenzy (1 CP) – Used in your Movement phase on a unit which hasn’t moved yet. Until the end of the phase when that unit Advances you just auto-move an extra 6”. This is absolutely massive in concert with Unbridled Bloodlust and can lead to insane things like your Daemon Prince flying 20” and charging, or your Eightbound Scouting 6”, Advancing 17”, and then charging. Just insanely strong.
World Eaters have four enhancements to pick from and all four are worth consideration. Two are must-takes in most lists, the other two are more nice-to-have.
Favoured of Khorne – Each time you make a Blessings of Khorne roll, before you do anything else, you can use this to just discard all the dice and roll a new Blessing roll. This doesn’t count as a re-roll, so you can still manipulate individual dice after. This is amazing. Just bonkers good. You need this in every World Eaters army you build as a way to smooth variance and ensure you get those turn 1/2 Advance-and-Charge results, which are pretty likely but can sometimes fail you. The risk of getting a bad early roll is too high to not take this.
Battle-Lust – You can pick the bearer’s unit for the Heroic Intervention Stratagem for 0 CP, and you can do so even if you have already used the Stratagem on a different unit this phase. This is your other must-take. Yes, Intervention is more limited in 10th, but the ability to threaten anyone trying to charge softer targets makes this a nasty counter-play and a great way to keep enemy units from trying to get brave. Bonus points if you can bait it out with careful placement.
Berzerker Glaive – Gives a model +1 Attacks and Damage on its melee attacks, or D3 to each if you charged that turn. This is a nice boost, and something you want on the Daemon Prince as a way to have him really smash face.
Helm of Brazen Ire – Halves incoming damage from attacks for the model. Another good one to have on the Daemon Prince, though I suspect you’ll want Berzerker Glaive more.
The World Eaters don’t have that many datasheets, and even among the ones they have there are a couple you’re just never going to take because they’re more about shooting than fighting, so that makes them one of the armies for which it’s possible to talk about every single datasheet. So let’s go ahead and do that.
The Daemon Primarch of the World Eaters is tougher than before – he comes with 14” Movement and FLY, T11, a 2+ save/4+ invulnerable, 16 Wounds, 5+ Ld and OC 6 – and he doesn’t have TOWERING, so he can now be hidden behind ruins and other obscuring terrain features. If he does die, he can still come back to the table with full wounds if you can pull a triple 6 on your Blessings of Khorne roll – something you can help make happen with icons and enhancements. This revival ability replaces the ongoing aura the other daemon primarchs get, but Angron still comes with the ability to pick from three auras to have every turn – Wrathful Presence doesn’t activate until the start of your Charge phase, and is active until your next Charge phase, letting you pick one of three auras. These abilities are all (Auras) with a 6” range:
Glorious Bloodletting: +1 to Charge Rolls
Infectious Rage: +1 Attacks for melee weapons in units below Starting Strength (or 1+ wounds lost for single model units)
Righteous Slaughter: Re-roll hit rolls (not just melee).
These are three insanely good abilities, and it’s nice that +1 to charges only starts in the charge phase, so you can theoretically push out re-rolls to hit the turn before and shoot, then switch to the charge bonus. Though it’s worth pointing out that you won’t get your first re-rolls to hit until well after your first Shooting phase is over.
Angron is a unit that looks like he’s on the same power level as 9th, but is deceptively much better now. The ability to hide him behind ruins is neat, but what’s really bringing value here is that he can, along with the rest of his army, get +2” to movement and Advance and Charge, making turn 1 charges very likely, especially if you add in +1 on the Charge rolls. And the fact that he no longer locks you out of other unit warlord traits or enhancements means that he can now be paired comfortably with Lord Invocatus without losing anything. I don’t know if Angron goes in every World Eaters army, but he’ll go in a lot of them.
There are two other Epic Heroes in the World Eaters, and I’ve given them their own section just to remind people that Lord Invocatus is a proper name and not just a guy, dumb as that is.
Kharn the Betrayer got a very raw deal in the 9th edition Codex and he’s always a bit of a wild card – he’s one of the few units in the game to come with a significant drawback, and he’s rarely costed or powered correctly to overcome that deficiency. However I am pleased to report that, finally, yes, Kharn has achieved a level of playability. Kharn’s statline is pretty much the same, but his melee attacks are notably decent – Gorechild gives him 8 attacks, hitting on 2+ at S6 AP-2 3 damage. That’s OK, if underwhelming against vehicles. But Kharn’s major value lies in what he brings to a unit of Berzerkers – he gives the units he leads the ability to re-roll hit and wound rolls of 1, substantially improving their output. On top of that, Kharn automatically fights on death if he hasn’t fought yet in the phase. As for his Betrayer downside, well it’s more reasonable now – at the end of the Charge phase if his unit isn’t in engagement range you can take a Leadership test. Fail and you lose a model in his bodyguard unit. Still flavorful, but not the 3-to-8 model tax it was before.
Lord Invocatus was a must-take in 9th edition World Eaters armies and he will continue to be a must-take in 10th. He still moves 12” but no longer has FLY, and his axe Coward’s Bane now does 7 attacks at WS2+, S6, AP-2, 2 damage with [DEVASTATING WOUNDS]. But what you’re really here for is his force multiplier abilities – Invocatus can join Eightbound (regular or Exalted) and Berzerkers. The units he leads can charge after Falling Back, and at the start of the battle you can pick up to two friendly Infantry units within 6” that don’t have Scouts to gain Scouts 6” (Invocatus also has the ability), meaning you can use him to shove up to three units forward before the game gets underway. This is such an incredible ability for an army that is always counting down the inches until it hits melee. Combine this with Angron and the Blessings of Khorne and you have one of the most reliable first-turn charge armies I’ve ever seen in a game.
…possibly too reliable.
The rest of the cast return, with no new surprises. If you were hoping for a Terminator Lord, you’re out of luck.
The World Eaters Daemon Prince comes in two varieties, winged and on foot. Both have T9, 10W, and a 2+ save, plus the same hellforged melee weapons (strike is 6A, 2+ to hit, S10 AP-2 3 damage). Unlike some of the other books where there’s a clear superior variant, the World Eaters actually provide two interesting options to consider. Without Wings the DP gives units within 6” a 4+ invulnerable save, which is huge for protecting Berserkers. Additionally, when he charges his melee attacks get [DEVASTATING WOUNDS], making it likely he’ll push through 3 mortals. If instead you give him wings then in addition to his 12” FLY movement he’ll force units in Engagement range to take Battle-shock tests at the start of the Fight phase and at the start of the battle you can pick an enemy unit to be his sworn foe. You get re-roll hits and wounds against that model but if you don’t destroy it during the battle, your DP counts as destroyed at the end.
It’s me, known Jakhals lover Gunum! Hear Me Out, have you ever liked playing hordes of cultists? Are you one of the eight people on the planet who think Jakhals have a bunch of play?! Then this is the guy for you. The World eaters Daemon Prince combined with the ability to give Jakhals a 5+++ via our blessings of Khrone, you can spam out a bunch of little guys who can end up pretty durable. Hide your Deamon prince, daisy chain your 20man Jakhal units for a sweet 4++ and watch as your opponents look incredibly confused as your hordes of minions swarm the table. Sure blast will kill you, sure, everyone will kill you, but when you start stacking buffs there’s some real weird play here.
The World Eaters Lord on Juggernaut is back and now he’s more than just a watered-down Invocatus. I mean, he still is statswise with a 10” move, 7W and a a weaker melee attack, but he now gives his unit the ability to re-roll Advances, Charges, and Blood Surges, and every time he ends a charge move he can do mortals to enemy units within Engagement Range. He’s a fine pick to head up a second unit of Eightbound.
The Master of Executions gives his unit Fights First, making him an insanely good pick for a midtable brawler unit of Berzerkers that wants to punish units for trying to steal objectives away.He’s also still a character-hunter, with the ability re-roll hits and wounds against characters and an Axe of Dismemberment that does 5 Attacks at WS2+, S7 AP-2, 2 damage with Devastating Wounds and Precision.
World Eaters have two battleline options, which is double the number I was expecting.
Khorne Berzerkers are the army’s main battleline unit, and they have 4 attacks each at S5 AP-1, 1 damage with their Berzerker chainblades. The eviscerator gives them 3 at S8 AP-2, 2 damage, and is a must-take. The other must-take? An Icon. Every time you make a Blessings of Khorne roll, if your icon unit is within range of an objective marker you control, you can re-roll one of the dice. There’s no limitation of this so having multiple units on one objective can get you more rolls. This is big for helping push through the triple 4+s you need to advance and charge turn 1. Finally Berzerkers retain Blood Surge, which works pretty much the same except you can’t do it while you’re battle-shocked.
Jakhals move into the Battleline group and they’re still weird little melee cultists. They don’t hit quite as hard as they used to, with 2 attacks hitting on a 4+ at S3 and 1 damage before you add in the charge bonus, but they come with a 6+ feel no pain to survive a bit longer. That’s probably not enough to put them in most lists, but they do make objectives “sticky,” i.e. you retain control of them after this unit leaves if you hold them at the end of the Command phase, so that’s something. Also they can take an Icon of Khorne.
Gunumnote: Hell yeah, love Jakies.
World Eaters Terminators have the same stats as other Terminators their age and get +1 to hit below starting strength and +1 to wound below half strength but cannot have a single character lead their unit, substantially reducing their value. They have a 4+ invulnerable save and their accursed weapons give them 4 attacks at S6 AP-2 1 damage (they get +1 on the charge but have the same base count as other units). Their real value to a World Eaters army is being a melee unit who can shoot a bit, as a treat. Give them combi-weapons and Reaper autocannons to get Devastating Wounds.
Eightbound have been toned down quite a bit here. They’re still melee blenders, moving 9” with 6 attacks each that clock in at S5 AP-2, 2 damage and the option for a sweeping heavy chainglaive (which oddly does S7 AP-1 1 damage attacks) and Lacerators on the champion (4 attacks, S9 AP-2, 3 Damage). But their ability to come in from reserves round 1 has been replaced by Scouts 6”. On the upside, they now have the Beacons of Rage (Aura) – friendly World Eaters within 6” re-roll wound rolls of 1 in melee, or all wounds against units below half strength.
Exalted Eightbound are once again like regular eightbound, but meaner. They get 5 attacks with eviscerators instead of 6 but gain the eightbound Chainfist, giving them the option to make 3 WS3+ attacks at S14, AP-3, 2 damage instead (double fists gives you 5 attacks and twin-linked). Exalted Eightbound only have a 5+ invlunerable save but gain a 6+ Feel No Pain and trade out their Scout 6” for Deep Strike. They also trade out auras for Overwhelming Wrath (Aura), which prevents enemy units within 6” from falling back unless they can pass a Leadership test. The big thing here is that Exalted Eightbound are basically your units for killing vehicles and monsters and other big threats, where the ability to throw out 12 attacks on the charge gives them a nasty punch. Also, you can now take them in units of 6, and that means you can get some incredibly nasty attack and damage totals with them.
Chaos spawn come in units of 2 now. They have a 5+ feel no pain, heal D3 wounds per Command phase and are still disappointing in melee. They no longer get you free Blood Tithe points, so there’s no reason to take them.
World Eaters Helbrutes clock in at T9 with a 2+ save and 8 wounds. They can have the usual mix of weapons and taking two fists gives them Twin-linked. The hilarious reason to take them however is their Frenzy rule: Every time an enemy unit targets them, after that unit has finished making attacks, the Helbrute can either shoot as if it were your Shooting phase or Fight as if it were the Fight phase. This is hilarious, and a good reason to give him a heavy flamer fist and a heavy ranged weapon.
World Eaters Land Raiders are here for one reason, and that reason is to have an Assault Ramp, which means the 12 models inside can charge after disembarking. It’s a T12, 16W, 2+ save beast that rolls forward 10” and can hold either 12 regular infantry or 6 Terminators/Eightbound. It’s worth taking both to be a vehicle for a big Berzerker squad and to give you a few anti-vehicle guns with its four lascannon shots.
he Predator Annihilator and the Predator Destructor are both here for you to ignore. The Annihilator gets to re-roll damage rolls of 1 against monsters and vehicles while the Destructor gets +1 AP against Infantry.
Rhinos are your mainstay transport for Berzerkers. They still can’t hold Eightbound. They come with 12” Movement, T9, 10W, and a capacity of 12. Due to what seems like a typo in the datasheets, the World Eaters Rhino does not have the Firing Deck 2 rule.
The Defiler makes a return and it just might be playable thanks to Scuttling Walker, which lets it move over friendly Monster and Vehicle models and over terrain features less than 4” in height. That’s a huge boost to mobility and you’re going to need that for when you charge something with it to do 5 S16 AP-3 D6+1 damage attacks in melee.
The Forgefiend gives you an 8”, T10, 12W daemon engine walker which comes with either two ectoplasma cannons or two hades autocannons, plus you’ll give it a mouth gun to give it 50% more firepower. The Ectoplasma guns are the better option here, giving you D3 [BLAST] S10 AP-3 3 damage shots that give you a better shot at damaging vehicles than the S8 hades Autocannon.
The Maulerfiend is the melee variant, with a 10” move and fists that throw out 6 attacks at S14, AP-2, D6+1 damage – very nasty. Add in the Lasher tendrils for 6 extra sweep attacks, or take the Magma Cutter for a 2-shot 6” Meltagun attack. The Scent of Blood rule gives the Maulerfiend +2 to charge against units below their Starting Strength, which is a nice little bonus and another reason to take the Magma Cutters or anything else that can shoot.
The World Eaters Heldrake gives you a T9 12W Aircraft that can Hover. It can do mortals to units it moves over and it has a D6+3-shot Baleflamer that hits at S6, AP-1, 2 damage and ignores cover. The reason this guy is interesting is mostly because of his melee profile, however – 5 attacks (6 on the charge), hitting at S7 Ap-1, 2 damage with Anti-Fly 2+ and Devastating Wounds, making him a hilariously good threat for taking out jump pack units and Eldar tanks.
Finally there’s the Khorne Lord of Skulls, a massive T13, 24-wound TOWERING vehicle which grinds forward 8” per turn. The Lord of Skulls is incredibly nasty in melee, with five 8-damage strikes or 15 2-damage sweeps he can throw out, and all of his ranged weapons are solid anti-tank except for the Ichor cannon. The Blood Slaughterer ability is interesting here, letting you modify your blessing of khorne rolls by 1 up or down for each unit the Lord of Skulls destroyed in the previous battle round.
Five Coolest Units
- Angron.The Daemon Primarch is a real buzzsaw and the ability to throw him at important character units and use Epic Challenge to just completely murder someone with precision blows. He’s more versatile than before and it’s much easier to get him into combat early with the ability to advance and charge.
- Invocatus. Again, the ability to Scout with your units is huge and I can’t imagine a list that isn’t taking this guy for the pre-game movement.
- Berzerkers. 9th edition lists focused primarily on Eightbound but I suspect Berzerkers will play a bigger role in 10th edition lists (you’ll still take a couple units of Eightbound, though). They’ve got good leader options the Eightbound don’t have and I can see taking a couple of big units in Rhinos.
- Kharn. Kharn’s finally got a datasheet that makes him appealing. He’s not going to take down any titans but he’s a great add-on to unit of Berzerkers as their mad, always-fights-on-death king.
- The Helbrute. Fighting every time you get hit is hilarious.
The Three Biggest changes from 9th
- Blood Tithe is gone. The new mechanic is very different, and doesn’t reward you for dying, so you’re not going to be taking three single model units of Chaos Spawn any more. But despite needing to roll certain results, the Blessings of Khorne are relatively predictable and you can plan around certain results.
- No more secondary objectives. Pile the Skulls is gone, so World Eaters armies now have to rely on holding objectives and being able to kill a wide variety of targets to score secondary objectives. That likely means putting a bit more thought into it, but I suspect World Eaters will be among the armies that are most likely to go for fixed objectives and plan to just kill an opponent early and often and score what they can on kill secondaries. After all, your opponent cannot score tactical objectives if they’re dead.
- You can Advance and Charge. This was the big ability missing from 9th and it’s a game changer. Your units have an insane threat range, and pretty much every game is going to start with both players having to think about how far you can travel to get into combat.
The World Eaters look like they’re going to be bonkers good in 10th edition. Yes, they’re one dimensional, but it’s a really good dimension. These guys can reliably get into combat on the first turn even if their opponents deploy against their backline, and if they don’t their opponents are likely to end up completely pinned into their deployment zones while the rest of the army racks up the points. The only real question is going to be whether they can handle vehicle threats and ultimately that’s where Exalted Eightbound come in with their S14 AP-3 D2 attacks. You’ll absolutely need some in your all comers list but for everything else Berzerkers should handle things just fine. Ultimately I suspect a lot of World Eaters games are going to come down to the first turn roll-off and whether the terrain and the opponent are able to stop the army from crashing into their lines and crippling them before they can leave the starting gate.
On the whole World Eaters look like one of the stronger armies in tenth edition. If they go first they’re an absolute nightmare and if they don’t they have plenty of speed to react and apply pressure anywhere on the table. Angron’s ability to come back (and to tweak those numbers with Icons) makes him a strong include, and there’s a case to be made for two units of Berzerkers as well. It’s a good time to be a World Eaters player.
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