The Q2 2024 Warhammer 40K Balance Update – Chaos

After nearly three months, it’s time for another quarterly update for Warhammer 40,000 and this time it’s just points. Today’s points update gives us updated points for every faction in the game, though as usual some have been touched more than others. There’s a ton to go through and evaluate and as usual, we have rundowns of everything that changed and what it means for your army and your games. 

In this article we’re talking about the changes to the Chaos factions. 

Before we dive in, we’d like to thank Games Workshop for providing us with an advance copy of the Q2 Munitorum Points Manual for review purposes.

Chaos Daemons

Chaos Daemons have been sitting on one of the game’s higher win rates since the dataslate dropped points on a number of key units for them, powering them to an impressive number of top 4 finishes (but notably, not a lot of wins) since the Q1 dataslate dropped. Great Unclean Ones in particular have become nasty tarpits, able to absorb insane amounts of firepower with a 4+ Feel No Pain Enhancement and then heal back damage taken if they fall below half and can pass a battle-shock test. In the right hands, Daemons can offer some impressive board control strategies while having plenty of tools (such as Nurglings and the Changeling) to play the mission well.

Status: No Change


No Changes.


Daemons tread water with no changes this time around. They seem to be in a decent place, with some clear challenges against armies which can spread out across the table quickly and take out multiple greater daemons. They haven’t been good enough to be oppressive or demand a change, nor bad enough to demand real attention after getting a series of point buffs in the Q1 dataslate, plus a few changes designed to allow them to exist a bit better on their own (as opposed to being CSM/Daemon allies). 

What’s Next

Daemon list changes will likely be more reactive than proactive, changing around the margins as the needs of the meta dictates. The core pieces – Be’lakor, the 4+ FNP Great Unclean One, Shalaxi, the Lord of Change – aren’t likely to change much, though you’ll see them shuffled around based on preference. 

Mike P: I’m going to disagree with Rob on Daemons. The faction has a solid winrate because shoving big things with 4++ invulns forward works well versus most average opponents, but the faction really drops off hard versus better opponents. This is represented by their awful rate of actually winning events, with only a single win, less than factions like Imperial Knights or AdMech (and with a list running 3 War Dog Brigands I’ll add, but that’s neither here nor there–big congrats to that player regardless). In fact, if you filter down to games played between players in the top 5% by ELO, Daemons have one of the lowest winrates in the entire game. 

This dataslate would have been an excellent time to give the faction more options, and I’m disappointed that there were no changes. Slaanesh Daemons in particular suffer from some egregious points costs, even after some desperately needed small decreases in the last MFM. Fiends cost more than Necron Wraiths, for crying out loud. 

Daemons are a faction that it really feels Games Workshop has not had the pulse for at all in 10th Edition, and I’m more disappointed than surprised that they came out of this MFM with no positive or negative attention. 

Rob: I mean it’s a fair point but we’re also only two months in from the last set of Daemon buffs and I think it’s OK to wait until the next dataslate for another set. Also I lost to Daemons at the last event I was at so I want it on the record that the 4+++ GUO is some bullshit.

Mike P: Fair point. The 4+++ GUO is indeed some bullshit. The fact he went down in the last dataslate when he was already the best thing in Daemons does prove my point about GW not having the pulse of the faction, at least!

Rob: Touché.

Chaos Knights

Norman: Currently Chaos Knights are struggling to hold their meta position, sliding to a 49% win percentage and posting only 2 event wins this season. While this is comparatively fine when you look at other factions; the lists we’re seeing have continued to homogenize with the exception of daemon-heavy allies (usually in the form of Nurglings and Rotigus) lists. For the most part though, it’s still dog-heavy Karnivore and Brigand lists. 

Status: Unchanged (Loser)




Norman: There’s not a ton to talk about here, people are gonna keep running all dogs or dogs with daemons or maybe the occasional lancer but it’s business as usual. They’lll sit in a fine place from a meta perspective but don’t expect any innovations or adaptations to the current meta. If there’s any wins, it’s that the stuff you were using didn’t get nerfed. Karnivores are cheap and effective, Brigands are still very usable, and none of the daemons went up either so your support core is the same. Gotta say though, it’s kinda lame how little the list has changed despite all the balance passes. 

Mike P: Couldn’t agree more. Chaos Knights are fine from an external balance perspective, but have the game’s more egregious internal balance issues and desperately needed some changes to add some excitement back into the faction. 

Seriously, how did the Abominant come out of this MFM without any changes? At the same time, Karnivores at 140 is still a bit on the too cheap side, and at least a few of the big Knights can see the table without embarrassing themselves. It’s fair that our overall power level stayed the same, I just would have preferred that our power level stayed the same in a more creative way. 

Rob: Yeah I think Chaos Knights are better than Imperial Knights and more fun to play but they really only have the one strategy. I really wish the Abominant was at all playable.

What’s Next

Norman: Keep doing what you’ve been doing, it still works just fine. I wish I had more stuff to talk about trying but CK is kinda figured out at this point and has been for a very long time.

Chaos Space Marines

The Chaos Space Marines got hit hard in the Q1 dataslate, eating a well-deserved nerf after an oppressive showing at the 2023 World Championships of Warhammer. Most of those nerfs hit Chaos Lords, Chosen, Forgefiends, and Obliterators, toning down a faction which had some real runaway power. That said, the nerfs went a little far, dunking the faction down into the basement: They’ve put up only a tiny number of top 4 showings since the nerfs despite being one of the game’s most popular factions. In addition to needing a bit buff, the faction is also waiting on a new Codex, though we don’t yet know the release date for it other than that it’s coming “this spring” and so is likely to happen in the next month or so (though GW likes to play it fast and loose with those season definitions).

Status: Big Winner


  • Chaos Bikers to -10/-20 to 75/150
  • Chaos Terminators -2ppm to 185/370
  • Chaos Vindicator -15 to 175
  • Cultist Mob -5/-10 to 50/100
  • Cypher -15 to 90
  • Havocs -15 to 120
  • Helbrute -10 to 130
  • Heretic Astartes Daemon Prince -15 to 165
  • Heretic Astartes Daemon Prince with Wings -15 to 180
  • Legionaries -2ppm to 80/160
  • Maulerfiend -15 to 140
  • Possessed -2ppm to 130/260
  • Raptors -1ppm to 85/170
  • Venomcrawler -10 to 110


While none of these are massive individually, there are a lot of solid changes here, dropping a number of key units down to much more reasonable costs. Yeah, Chosen and Chaos Lords haven’t moved but Bikers, Terminators, Havocs, Vindicators, Cultists, Helbrutes, and Daemon Princes all give you more room to play with, helping give the faction a ton more breathing room it just didn’t have when it comes to testing a variety of different units. The unit I’m most excited about here are Vindicators – they were already an underrated/borderline unit before and at 175 they may finally be cheap enough to build around over Forgefiends, plus they’re much more resilient when it comes to getting stuck in melee, thanks to Siege Shields and being T11 with a 2+ save. At 185/370, Terminators are also more likely to be back on the menu with Abaddon – or at the very least, players relying on that build aren’t as screwed as they were running a pick from two metas ago. 

Possessed are also big winners here, with a reduced cost that makes it worth considering them with a Master of Possession for that 6+ Feel No Pain. They’re a fast, deadly unit but previously were a bit too expensive for their output to see top-tier competitive play. At a reduced cost they may be a more reliable backbone to work with, and Slaanesh Possessed are already a very nasty unit.

Finally, Helbrutes at 130 are incredibly interesting. Getting access to both effects with pacts is incredibly interesting and when I’ve played with them I’ve been impressed with their impact – I’m tempted to try combining them with Vindicators for some low-cost shenanigans.

What’s Next

I predict we’ll see a lot of testing in the next few weeks, trying out new, cheaper daemon engines and Helbrutes and working to get a feel for some new list concepts. Until that “late spring” Codex drops and completely changes things. Without knowing when that book drops it’s hard to get a good read on what all this will mean and it’s interesting to see them making this many changes knowing we’re likely to see it drop before the next dataslate.

Mike P: Happy to see some excitement around CSM for the first time in a while! They’re one of the most iconic and popular factions in the game, and I have to give GW credit for identifying some underused and underpowered datasheets and attempting to get them back onto the table with some smart points drops. 

I’m especially excited for the changes to Bikers, Havocs, and Daemon Princes. These are all classic CSM units that suffered from inflated points costs that left them largely on the shelf in favor of other options (although Bikers were already pretty decent). Now that Havocs are 120, it actually becomes a real decision of whether to include them or Predators for 130. 

If I had to pick a sleeper winner, it would be the Venomcrawler. It was already on my radar as a very effective skirmisher, but cost just a bit too much. At 110, it’s reached the point where it will win fights with almost any unit in its weight class (while looking awesome too). 

Rob: Interesting take. Havocs certainly have a firepower advantage over Predators but I don’t think they come close when it comes to speed and durability. I really want them to be good, though.

Death Guard

The Death Guard weren’t the most powerful faction in 40k, but I’ll content that they’re the most fun to play, offering a fairly diverse and balanced faction with a variety of options for play – successful lists have run both with and without Mortarion, and we’ve seen a mix of vehicle- and infantry-heavy versions.

Status: Mostly Unchanged


  • Death Guard Helbrute -10 to 130


That’s not a lot, but I’d argue the Death Guard largely didn’t need much. Dropping Helbrutes by 10 points makes them even more attractive, and they were already showing up as occasional one-offs in Death Guard lists. The ability to tag a big target at a distance and either drop its WS/BS or reduce its saves by 1 can be a big help on early turns when you need to take out bigger targets from a distance. That said, 10 points isn’t a lot, so if you were already taking a Helbrute, all this gets you is likely an extra enhancement.

Here’s the thing: Helbrutes still cost too much. They’re 30 points more than a Myphitic Blight Hauler for a vehicle with no invulnerable save, fewer wounds, and much slower movement. When you’re taking one you’re generally paying for both a mediocre ranged profile and a mediocre melee profile but that’s the rub – The need to hit a target at range with a Helbrute means you generally want to give them something with long range and multiple shots, and that means dropping the melee attack for more ranged output. If you take one of these, it’s only one and it’s for the trick of hitting something you need the extra AP on with your Predators. I could see one replacing a Bloat-Drone… if you can find another 40 points.

I’d have liked to have seen a few more small drops in this faction, mostly to the Blightbringer, Plague Surgeon, and the Lord of Contagion to make them a bit more competitive as options, but it’s pretty easy to live with “no changes” here as well – Death Guard are in a fine spot and fun as hell to play.

Mike P: Death Guard already had excellent internal and external balance, so staying almost completely untouched is justifiable. I would have liked to have seen Blighthaulers, Defilers, Daemon Princes, Chaos Spawn, Plague Surgeons, Blightlords, and Poxwalkers get a little love in exchange for Blightspawn, Rhinos, and Putrifiers getting a slight adjustment, but honestly it’s impossible to complain.

What’s Next

Death Guard stay the course. There are basically two builds here: Vehicle-heavy builds which use a lot of Myphitic Blight-Haulers and more balanced builds running more marines and Deathshroud, with some options within those two based on whether you want to include Mortarion. I doubt Helbrutes are going to suddenly start showing up in Death Guard lists, even at 10 points cheaper – they’re just not worth 30 points more than a Blight-Hauler or 40 more than a Bloat-Drone.

Thousand Sons

The Thousand Sons were hit with some rough nerfs back in the first dataslate in Q3 2023, only to get a slight buff in the form of Daemon Prince drops in Q4 and nothing in Q1. They’re playable right now, but anyone playing them will tell you they’re a tough army, balanced on the razor’s edge – you have powerful units who work well in concert, but losing even one can put you in a terrible place. The faction probably didn’t need help, but it could use a bit of improved internal balance to encourage a greater variety of builds. And good news – that’s what we got!

Status: Winner


  • Scarab Occult Terminators -3ppm to 200/400 pts
  • Thousand Sons Cultists -5/-10 to 55/110 pts
  • Thousand Sons Daemon Prince to -10 to 170 pts
  • Thousand Sons Daemon Prince with Wings -15 to 180 pts
  • Thousand Sons Helbrute -15 to 130 pts
  • Thousand Sons Maulerfiend to -15 to 140 pts
  • Thousand Sons Vindicator to -15 to 175 pts
  • Arcane Vortex +10 to 25 pts
  • Lord of Forbidden Lore +10 to 35 pts


The Thousand Sons walk away with a big win here. Yeah there are a couple of increases we’ll talk about, but generally speaking they’re offset by changes elsewhere. If you were running a Daemon Prince and an Arcane Vortex Infernal Master, your list is completely unchanged. On the other hand, there are a few other changes here which give the faction more options. At -15/-30 points Scarab Occult Terminators give you a bit more wiggle room to work with – Looking back on my Tacoma list from last year I gain 30 points on the Scarabs, then lose 10 on Arcane Vortex, leaving me with 20 left over. That’s not a lot, and it’s not enough to afford Lord of Forbidden Lore, but I could squeeze in the Scrolls if I needed to. The increases on Arcane Vortex and Forbidden Lore hurt, but you can make those up with these new changes.

The Daemon Prince and Helbrute changes are the most interesting here. The Daemon Prince sees a ton of competitive play, and as I mentioned, his new cost offsets the increase for the Arcane Vortex. The Helbrute dropping 15 points to 130 is super interesting – with a 5+ invulnerable save and the ability to get you back Cabal Points, he’s an interesting alternative to the Forgefiend, albeit one that’s not quite as good at shooting – but one who is capable of fighting well enough to consider as a counter-charge option.

What’s Next

I suspect not a lot at first, though some will need to make room for the Scrolls – doubling up on a Ritual is just really good and a useful tool to fall back on. The next step is experimenting with Helbrutes and Scarabs again, and having a little more room for those gives Thousand Sons players a ton more options to work with – Forgefiends aren’t as good as their CSM counterparts at pushing damage through, while a fully-buffed Scarab Brick is a nasty threat when it revs up and lets everything rip into a target missing a save. 

Mike P: Top end Thousand Sons lists which largely went all-in on Cabal Point generation are going to be largely unaffected, but there are now more viable models for people who wanted to run more varied Thousand Sons lists. That is a great thing. If we’re being completely honest, Thousand Sons could have honestly taken a bit of a nerf, so coming out with their best stuff almost completely unscathed (and actually some buffs) is a big win for them. Magnus in particular staying

Daemon Princes with Wings in particular are looking very spicy at their reduced points cost, and the people who loved teleporting a big Terminator brick with Umbralefic Crystal are going to be very happy with this update. 

Oh, and don’t even think about dropping the Infernal Master with Arcane Vortex from your list after this slight points increase. Just free up 10 points elsewhere to keep one of the best Characters in the game in your list.

Rob: Yeah, for as much as I complain about Thousand Sons being difficult and unforgiving to play, they’re still plenty powerful, and it makes sense they had a couple of small nerfs here. I think you’re right we could have seen a bit more, though I’m not sure the army could have afforded to lose another unit – the army needs a bit better internal balance.

World Eaters

In a similar fashion to the Thousand Sons, the World Eaters were hit hard by the last dataslate, and as a result they’re a very difficult faction to play. The army can absolutely compete – but make one mistake and you aren’t likely to recover, especially if you don’t get lucky on your resurrection rolls for Angron. In a similar fashion to Thousand Sons they probably don’t need straight buffs so much as a wider variety of choices. 

Status: Big Winner


  • Jakhals -5/-10 to 65/130
  • Khorne Berzerkers -2ppm to 90/180
  • World Eaters Helbrute -10 to 130
  • World Eaters Maulerfiend -15 to 140
  • World Eaters Terminators to -2ppm to 180/360


This is great news if you wanted to run hordes of Berzerkers – a list running 20-30 of the guys gained upwards of 60 points, almost enough for another squad of Jakhals and enough to make up for a couple of those point increases last time around. Apart from that, you’ve got some other options as Helbrutes and Maulerfiends suddenly look a lot more attractive at 130 and 140 points, respectively. On a similar note, Terminators have continued to creep downward in cost and at 180 for five I’m finally starting to wonder if they’re worth bringing in a Land Raider.

Gunum: Do you know what my favorite units in 9th edition were? Khorne Berzerkers and Jakhals. Do you know what units go down in cost a bunch*? BOTH OF THEM. Very hype. My play style has kind of avoided running a bunch of Eightbound, and these point changes are clearly GW’s way of trying to get me back into this faction. Some people may remember my original take on World Eaters way back when 10th dropped, World Eaters tanks being the way forward. Maulerfiends and Hellbrutes may be back on the punching menu. 

What’s Next

Hard to say. I need to be convinced Terminators are viable even at 180 (the biggest issue is they have no characters who can join their unit to improve their output), and Berzerker hordes aren’t the best way to run Berzerkers as they just aren’t nearly reliable or deadly enough to justify their costs without support from Kharn and a Master of Executions and another Rhino for durability. As much as I’d love to see Maulerfiends suddenly showing up in World Eaters lists, I’m not sure they bring enough value either. That said, some top World Eaters list suddenly have 20-40 points to work with, and it may be enough to buy back a key piece.

Final Thoughts

TheChirurgeon: As long as you aren’t a Chaos Knights player, this is a pretty great update. And even then, Chaos Knights weren’t in a great place, but it was a better place than Imperial Knights, with a solid number of top 4 appearances since the Q1 dataslate and a trio of event wins over that time period. What I like about these updates is that, as we appear to be in a general state of reasonable competitive parity – save a few outliers who are more miserable play experiences than completely busted (Necrons, Admech) – these updates mostly address internal balance issues. Giving World Eaters cheaper Terminators and Maulerfiends is something I’ve been banging the drum on for a while, and I’m here for anything which opens things up for experimentation in the faction.

And that’s more or less the story across all of these. There are a couple of hikes in Thousand Sons but otherwise these are all changes aimed at increasing faction diversity without improving the strength of any existing top-tier lists, and that’s the ideal scenario in my estimation.

Mike P: While I’m disappointed that Chaos Knights and Daemons received absolutely 0 attention to their internal balance, the overall power level of all of the Chaos factions is dialed in very well. It seems this MFM was largely driven for those factions by looking at their overall win rate, and I hope the next balance update looks at them with a more nuanced eye. 

Thousand Sons in particular should come away from this balance update confident that they’re one of the best armies in the game. If you’re looking to win your next event with one of the Chaos factions, you can’t go wrong with Tzeentch’s favorite Legion, and you can play a wider variety of models competitively while running Thousand Sons so than before. 

Let’s just make sure we don’t come out of the next balance update with Slaanesh Fiends costing more than Wraiths, please.

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