In this article series we’re taking a look at the leader options available to each faction, looking at what units they pair with, and talking about the combos available to those units as well as tips for running them solo. You can find our Competitive Faction Focus article on The World Eaters here.
The World Eaters don’t have many datasheets and that extends to their character options. That said, the characters they do have can make a big impact on their units and so it’s worth diving into them in more detail individually to talk about how they work and the impact they can make. Before we dive in, I’d like to give a special thanks to Anthony Vanella for providing some input on parts of this article.
Let’s start by looking at the faction’s character options and where they can be added:
Right away some things stand out. First, nobody can join Terminators or Jakhals, so those units are pretty much as good as they are ever going to get. Second, you only have four options, and one of them is a named character. We’ll cover the Daemon Prince and Angron in a future article.
Kharn the Betrayer
The closest thing the faction gets to both a Chaos Lord and an Exalted Champion, Kharn comes with a power armor body, a 4+ invulnerable save, a 2-damage plasma pistol and a relatively nasty melee profile – 8 Attacks at S6 AP-2 3 damage (with +1S and +1A on the charge). He can only join Berzerkers, and he gives any unit he joins the ability to re-roll hit and wound rolls of 1, making them significantly more consistent in melee. Also, he fights on death, with an automatic fight and not one that requires a roll. For only 80 points, that’s quite a steal for such a big boost to a unit of Berzerkers!
But then there’s that whole Betrayer thing. At the end of your Charge Phase if this model’s leading a unit and not within Engagement Range of 1+ enemy units, you have to take a Leadership test for Kharn (6+). Fail and one of his bodyguards is destroyed.
If that seems like a fine price to pay well, you’re not wrong. Kharn’s a solid value add to a unit of 10 Berzerkers and there are builds which have used him successfully. He’s not a particularly expensive model but he is replacing a unit of Jakhals so the real question is which of the two units is going to benefit you more. Right now most builds tend to side with Kharn over the Jakhals, and he’ll continue to have more value if space marines and other elite 2W and 3W targets remain common in the meta.
The Epic Hero variant of the Chaos Lord of Juggernaut, Lord Invocatus (that’s his name, not a title) is one of the army’s best units, and pretty much a must-include for a number of reasons. He comes with a pretty durable body – T6, 8 wounds, and a 2+/4++ save – plus a 2-damage axe which can dole out Devastating Wounds. More importantly he comes with the Scouts 6″ ability and a 12″ movement characteristic, and at the start of the battle before you Scout you can pick two friendly World Eaters Infantry units within 6″ of him which don’t have Scout to gain the Scouts 6″ ability. This is great for pushing nearby units of Berzerkers and Exalted Eightbound into position for early charges.
Lord Invocatus’ other ability gives his unit the ability to Fall Back and shoot/charge, which is fantastic for disengaging from tarpits and ensuring you get to re-active the Detachment bonus for +1 A/S on your unit and Fights First in the fight phase. He’s a strong value add to a unit of Eighbound.
One thing to note about the Scouts 6″ ability here: Invocatus can’t give it to his own unit (this is a dumb quirk of the rules), so if you put him with a unit of Exalted Eightbound or Berzerkers they’re going to be stuck in your Deployment Zone before the game starts. Yes, this is dumb.
Like many other tougher characters with non-leader benefits, Lord Invocatus works very well as a standalone unit, giving scout to two units before the game starts, then acting as a fast single model for harassing enemy units and making fast charges on units which really do not want to be locked in combat. This is a common way to run him at higher levels of play, and he’s very comfortable acting as bait for bigger attacks while he sits on an objective, ready to bloody it if an opponent shoots him to death instead of focusing on another, more lethal target. This also has the added bonus of giving an extra scouting unit in your army on top of the Eightbound and the Infantry units you give Scouts 6″ to.
World Eaters Lord on Juggernaut
The generic flavor to Invocatus comes with a slower Movement speed (10”), 1 less wound, and a melee weapon without Devastating Wounds. He can lead the same units as Invocatus, and instead of having and giving out Scout, he instead gives his unit the ability to re-roll Advance, Charge, and Blood Surge rolls. He also can do a number of mortal wounds on the charge if he ends up within Engagement Range of an enemy unit – 1 on a 2-3, D3 on a 4-5, and D3+3 on a 6. These are all decent value but like Lord Invocatus, you’re often going to be better off not attaching the Juggalord to a unit and instead leaving him in your backfield as a durable objective holder, particularly if you aren’t working with a lot of Jakhals in your list. The current top list takes a Juggernaut Lord with the Favoured of Khorne enhancement, then protects him by essentially leaving him in the backfield. He’s more durable and easier to hide than a unit of Jakhals and at 130 points, you can do worse for a backfield unit. He’s also plenty capable of clearing out a unit of pesky deep strikers in a pinch.
When you’re up against indirect fire that’s a bit less ideal, but in the long run you’d rather have an opponent shooting your 2+ save juggernaut characters than your squishier infantry. That said, you can also just put the Juggalord into reserves to avoid accidentally eating a bunch of devastating wounds and that’s a fine strategy too.
World Eaters Master of Executions
The Master of Executions is a solid leader in Chaos Space Marines. In World Eaters he’s on an entirely different level. The Master of Executions can only join units of Berzerkers and comes armed with an Axe of Dismemberment – 5 Attacks, WS2+, S7 AP-2, 2 damage with Devastating Wounds and Precision. He comes with two abilities: Trophy Taker gives the unit he joins the Fights First ability (this is incredibly good), and Murderous Swing, which gives him (and only him) the ability to re-roll Hit and Wound rolls against enemy character units.
Fights First basically makes your unit of Berzekers an unchargeable nightmare to deal with, and suddenly makes Heroic Intervention with them much more useful since they can charge in and hit first. What really sets the Master of Executions off are the enhancements, though – The Berzeerker Glaive is the standard go-to, as it gives the MoE +1 to the Attacks and Damage characteristics for his melee attacks and +D3 to both instead every time he charges. This means that on the charge, your Master of Executions will be making 6+D3 attacks at S8 and 2+D3 damage every time he charges. If you’re charging a unit with a CHARACTER model leading it, that gives you an insane damage output potential as you’re now able to effectively fish for Devastating Wounds with your axe and likely to be wounding on 3s at the very worst. An average result will see you landing 8 hits and around 8 unsaveable damage, which is enough to kill pretty much any character you go up against and also plenty of non-character units. This enhancement makes the Glaive MoE potentially the most dangerous single melee unit in the game, and puts him on par with the likes of Abaddon.
Because of this, a glaive MoE is a must-take for many World Eaters lists, but taking more than one MoE is pretty common. If you have the points, giving a second MoE the Battle-lust Enhancement is also a solid idea, as having a unit of Berzerkers who can intervene for free and also Fights First is very good, and helps prevent opponents from trying to pick off wounded units in your army by banking on wiping them out before they can hit back. That said, there are many opponents you’ll face who just won’t ever charge you, so it can be a dead play a bit too often to be worth it, funny though it is when you pull off the intervention.
Ultimately World Eaters don’t have a ton of choices at the character slot but what they do have is very good, and the current competitive lists basically take every one of these. Playing World Eaters well requires knowing how these characters work, when to join them to units and when to run them solo, and understanding what they are and are not capable of. Most of that will take practice, but good rolls on your Blood Tithe table every now and then are a fine substitute.
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