Kenny’s 9 Chaos Legion Army Review & Downloadble Lists

By Kenny Boucher | December 15th, 2016 | Categories: Chaos, Tactics, Videos, Warhammer 40k, Warhammer Army Lists
Chaos is here and Kenny is so motivated to share his thoughts and new downloadable army lists with you he literally wrote the following 3443 words about it!

Yo Dawg…Kenny Boucher here, hitting you up with an actual article.  This is a rare thing for me, I cry your pardon.

The Romance of Chaos:

I have been in love with the models, the fluff and the play style since i started in the late 90’s.There have been some good times, some bad times, and some average times. At the end of the day nothing will stop me from playing for the love. However as a veteran player/hobbyist I crave competitive play. Tournaments let me play new people and new lists. Chaos has been there for me through it all.
Today’s competitive flavor is ITC.  Which is all about keeping your eye on the prize.
Most of what I am about to discuss with you is based on a simple concept. “Win the Missions”. I have played CSM very successfully for many years now. I am known for my Sorcerers, Nurgle Spawn, Maulerfiends, & B’elakor. My success is hyper dependent on psychic buffs. Its all about board control & speed, not tabling people.
sisters of silence
With the appearance of the new 75 point sisters of silence that’s has changed. They conveniently fit into any imperial army with a simple unit swap.
The traitors legions gives CSM fans a way to play “normal” 40k. Not “I hope I can go first and cast enough psychic powers not to get tabled” 40k! Obviously the Cyclopia Cabal has given us a better death star than most armies but it takes 18 minutes a turn to make it work & can be turned of for 75 points.
I have played almost all the factions in 40k at some point in my life and never felt that I couldn’t win games with chaos. It just usually means no actual power armor units.
Traitor Legions has added a lot of power to CSM. I am going to present you with 9 army lists from my own beats lab here today.
abaddon chaos beetter
Let me say this,
Not all the legions are equal
Some Legions are “Tournament Strong” some are not.
The main ability to win games for CSM is locked in the Chaos War Band.
That doesn’t mean the CWB its the only way to win just don’t overlook it.
The CWB is the “Chaos Demi-Company” it is objective secure and when playing the new Legion Detachments presented in the Traitors Legion all detachments & Formations keep all special rules & command benefits.  This is why the Warband+Legion Detachments is so good. Most of the Detachments allow you to take a CWB as the core element.
While you skim through these 9 army lists you will notice a cookie-cutter CWB theme of mine. There will be variations on it though.
  • 1 unit of 3 Terminators with axes & meltas
  • 1 unit of 3 Bikers with 2 meltas
  • 3 units of 5 Havoc with Auto Cannons & Rhinos
  • 2 units of 5  CSM squads with Rhinos
chaos star horz
For the most part this is my optimized CWB. They are all objective secure Thus all are decent units. When factored into certain Legion Detachments like Iron Warriors or Death Guard they become really strong. I chose these elements for point effectiveness and balance.
Play Style:
I think some people expect to see some “death stars” and power units in these lists. Let me say this before I disappoint anyone.
Chaos Death Stars cannot beat SM death stars on the same level. 800 points VS 800 points for example.
With Sisters of silence walking around in every list now for 75 points you cannot rely on psychic buffs which is what makes Chaos death stars work. Marines have 2+3++ EW and FNP as a standard in their units along with 15-20 S10 attacks at ap2. These are all possible for Chaos but not in over abundance. I will present death stars only where i think its cool, or the best options. A top tier Marine Death Star list will have to be out played with proper spacing and timing. You won’t kill the death star. There is a reason Death Stars make it into the top 8 so often. SM death stars won a lot of events in the last 18 months.
For the most part I am presenting a combination of Theme+Strength in order to win missions. Which doesn’t mean to table the enemy, those lists will be coming next!
Bringing Chaos Back, Long War Hobby Style!
This is probably the way Games Workshop wants us to play the new Chaos, with my tweeks on how to “actually make it work”.


Alpha Legion
Insurgency Force
Power Lever: Very Strong Tournament List
alhpa-legion alpha chaos
There are 2 rules here that really matter.
Lets revisit page 82, paragraph 4.
In everyone one of these cool detachments/formations we get to use all the special rules and command benefits of all the individual elements.
So the theme in this list is infinite cultists.
Every time the enemy destroys a unit of cultists you get to roll TWICE to bring it back on a 4+.
You have the Command Benefit: Cult Uprising as part of the Alpha Legion Insurgency Force, and you also have the Special Rule: A Tide of Traitors as part of your Lost & The Damn Formation.
Thus 20 cultist die, and with 2 separate 4+ rolls  can become 40 in reserves. 1 unit to outflank and 1 to come on the standard board edge.
chaos alpha legion infopic
In this list cultists infiltrate & the chosen will outflank.
The biggest blob of cultist won’t be able to infiltrate though because of the fact that the Lord and Apostle don’t share the rule. That is fine. We will use the mind veil to move 3D6 “no difficult terrain tests” for an average of 10 inches plus a 3 inch run. Not bad for cultists. I also use the icon of insurrection on the biker lord to increase the footprint of his 12 inch zealot bubble. I want as many cultists in the range as possible. Obviously the mind veil also gets us out of combat, its a “must have” relic.
The whole army has shroud on turn one which is strong. Aggressive placement of cultists and auto cannons will be possible. Dirge casters on chosen rhinos can help mitigate over watch.
Overall what we are looking at here is a ton of Objective Secure Units winning the game while your opponent is dealing with aggressively played cultists (who are infinite) and chosen.
Warlord Trait: Cult Leader is pretty nice in this force. It is a cultist furious charge aura.
alpha legion insurgency force army list

Black Legion:

Black Legion Spear tip
Power Level: Weak Tournament List
Now this is one of the harder lists to win games in a tournament with. It sports a total lack of Objective Secure units. That doesn’t mean you can’t decimate some opponents, take them by surprise and feel like you are winning the hole game until you lose on objectives. This List will do well in “bringing hobby back formats” and not in the ITC win/loss format.
Lets Start by saying that the Black Legion Warband is a weak core. It does not provide the much needed command benefit of “objective secure” but rather a hard to use version of “preferred enemy”.
So lets make the best of it with first turn assaults! In this formation you can deep-strike on turn 1. Obvious combo of the Raptor Talon Auxiliary. This is like a ghetto drop pod army with some turn 1 hurt potential. everything that can deep-strike will try. The lord brings in his terminators automatic and in black legion we are allowed to have marks. The mark of Tzeentch is always my favorite for these guys.
chaos black legion infopic
The lord can be a pain with 2+3++ and his little units puts 4 melta shots down. The other lord has “eternal warrior” from the The Skull of Ker’ngar. He has a 3++ as well. He will be attached to his Tzeentch warp talons and try to hurt someone with an assault from deep-strike. Though it is a disordered assault all Black Legionnaires with VOTLW have all time hatred in every round of close combat VS the good guys. This helps balance it a little.
Basically try to get assaults off, blow up tanks and hurt the enemy best you can. It should play out very fun and there will be lots of engagement in this list. Potentially 6 units dropping in on turn 1.
Warlord Trait: Probably Roll Standard Strategic Traits From Main Rule Book
black legion speartip army list

Iron Warriors: 

Iron Warriors Grand Company 
Power Lever: Average Tournament List
chaos iron warriors
This is an off the wall list. I wanted to focus on the new formations as much as possible. Iron Warriors kick ass. In the grand company they are stubborn and LD10. That is all we have been asking GW for. Thank You! IW havoc squads gain tank hunter as well. So as I said the CWB is strong and “objective secure” I am using double cores & double Aux in this list for a truly ridiculous Iron Warrior build.
5 Bunkers with 5 units of objective secured havoc’s firing “tank hunter” auto cannons. I would place these bunkers with in 3 inches of objectives if possible. 40 auto cannon shots with re-rolls to pen/glance will open a lot of armor up. Mean while terminators and lord will deep-strike in to the back field to clean up with meltas. These objective secure terminators cannot be ignored. I would keep my bikers hidden and my rhinos in reserves.
chaos iron warriors infopic
My favorite relic is the Cranium Malevolus! it is a haywire aura with a 2D6 range on the jump pack lord with ignore cover! After you pound the enemy for a couple turns with the auto cannons this lord shows up in the back field attached to terminators and starts stripping hull points off all the enemy’s tanks at once.
There are many ways to play Iron Warriors so I focused on a ridiculous build. It is by no means optimized but still strong. Iron Within Iron Without.
Warlord Trait: Probably Roll Standard Strategic Traits From Main Rule Book
iron warriors grand company

Night Lords:

Night Lords Murder Talon 
Power Lever: Average Tournament List
Night Lord
This was a fun list to build. Thanks to the CWB there is play here. Objective Secure Bikers and Havoc Squads as usual. I warned you about my obsession with the cookie cutter War Band. This list presents strong fundamentals and a couple extra tricks. First of all the VOTLW have “stealth”. That is clutch. Second of all “Murder Talon” Command Benefit “nocturnal warfare” grants auto night fight and an additional free +1 to cover saves for free during night fight to your non-vehicle units. What this means is that all your non-vehicles units have natural stealth and +1 in addition to their cover save period. Since you also have “night vision” the havoc’s ignore the stealth granted by actual night fight rule on the enemy side. This is worded so that enemy “night vision” doesn’t work on your non-vehicle units in return. You have natural stealth, and “night fighting stealth” & plus 1 to you save during the course of night fight. “Night Vision” ignores the effects of the of “night fight” USR.
All your rhinos have “stealth” from “night fight”. This would be ignored by “night vision”.
I think this is a fun distinction for the NIGHT LORDS aka the Lords of Night!
chaos night lords infopic
What this translates into is 2+ jink saves on your 2 beefy biker units. Ghetto Shroud on your havoc’s deployed in ruins. Hopefully you can open up a few rhinos for your Heldrakes to roast the occupants. You can actually take a lot of armies by surprise with these 2 biker units screaming across the table 24 inches on turn 1 with tons of power fist attacks. Mean while you are winning the game with 5 “objective secure rhinos”.
Also love the Stormbolt Plate for cheap 2+ armor save on a lord.
We have 2 lords, 1 for each biker unit.
This list can actually play well vs Eldar
Warlord Trait: Hit & Run all day
night lords murder talon army list

Word Bearers:

Word Bearers Grand Host
Power Lever: Above Average Tournament List
dark aposotle chaos marine hor wal
This Army would probably do really well as a simple CAD. I chose to run the Grand Host though just for the flavor. The main strength is that the psykers harness conjuration powers on 3+.
The Grand Host grants Boon rolls and crusader which is really handy for sure on cultist and spawn.
This is a variation of my traditional spawn tide. I know first hand that spamming Nurgle spawn with Sorcerers is super strong and hard to deal with. Endurance, Shroud, Invisibility. The usual suspects.
chaos word bearers infopic
My Favorite part of the list is the Single Nurgle Demon Prince. He will Fly around making new units of demons on 3+ with spell familiar re-rolls. I took the Scripts of Erebus witch allows him to know an extra Demonology power. So you could roll up on the new Nurgle chart for some new tech and still have a pocket summon every turn but i would roll for Incursion + Summon, with the re-roll he is a mini magnus and can easily make 2 new units per turn. Meanwhile 100 semi/infinite cultists advance with crusader and zealot.
You can defiantly win games with this list.
Warlord Trait: Voice of Lorgar, which lets you sling a furious charge, counter attack, relentless, fearless USR on a unit every turn. 
word bearers grand host army list

World Eaters:

World Eaters Butcherhorde 
Power Lever:  Weak Tournament List*
*unless you go first 3 times in a row 
chaos_inthe_imperium chaos kharn
The World Eaters can be nasty! Obvious first turn charge ability. The list can be brutal if it goes first. It can get crippled though in other situations. It is very thematic.
Maelstrom of Gore are “blood crazed” They gain fleet and add 3 inches to their assault distance.
Talisman of Burning Blood adds 3 inches to the maximum move, run, and assault.
So the Berzerker blob moves 9 inches, and assaults 8 inches even on snake eyes. Since they have “fleet” the average assault distances on 2 dice with independent re-roll is 9 inches. Which goes to 15 inches. But wait…that is not all!
“Blood Mad” Command Benefit allows all your non-vehicle units to move 2D6 inches prior to the games first turn. This adds an average of 7 inches to your units threat range.
Recap:  7 + 9 +15 = 32 inches on average. In dawn of war there is only 36 inches from deployment zone to board edge. There is a Lord on a 60mm Base who moves 15 inches though. He adds 4 inches respectfully. Since He isn’t Maelstrom of Gore though it only adds 1 inch to the threat range because of 2 inch coherency and 2 inch base. It increases the average to 33 inches turn 1 charge range.
Okay got it, turn 1 charge is good, but also a unit of 20 models moving that fast is good period. Kharn can solo a knight titan, all VOTLW’s in world eaters are fearless & have furious charge. dirge casters help with over watch.
chaos world eaters infopic
Alright lets talk about the Raptors. They also move a free 2D6 and then can move 12 inches. 19 inches plus a run roll puts you entire army very close to the enemy. You can always opt to deep strike in the raptors, put the meltas in great spots and assault too. Let me say that fearless raptors with free furious charge don’t suck.
Here is my favorite “gotcha” element though.
Raptor Talon Chaos Lord with The Berzerker’s Glaive. He loses IC status but gains FNP and IWND. He has +D6 attacks at +2S AP3. I will deep-strike him every game into the back field, assault the turn i land and clear out whole units. I run him with 4++ and the free jump pack obviously. Off a normal charge he has 5+D6 S7 attacks. He can clear the back field. Don’t forget all non-vehicle models in the Butcherhorde re-roll charges too. This makes the raptor talons more reliable for free.
Main problem is that there is no protection…you die like marines.
Warlord Trait: Strategic, roll for + 1 to seize all day ever day
world eaters butcherhorde

Thousand Sons:

Power Lever: Hard to say 
The Thousand sons is clearly crowded with the new GW sculpts. I don’t like the cult terminators or the cult marines rules or points. I am sad that there is not a war band opportunity here. So I said f-it. I am going to make our first death star.
If a unit with  VOTLW is “affected by” not the “target of” a blessing then their invulnerable save is increased by 1. That wording suggests that shroud could activate this on multiple units. Like obliterators in a cult of destruction.
That is a different list for another day though. I am talking about a terminator unit that has a jump pack move. They would have 2+3++ maybe T5 maybe 4+FNP who knows lol.
Ahriman on heretech is a personal favorite of mine because of scrapcode or flayerstorm. He can solo a knight titan with flayerstorm. His ability to fire off the same witch fire 3 times is clutch.
chaos thousand sons infopic
So here is how it works. Astral Grimoire lets me pick a unit to have jump pack moves every turn.
The death star moves 12 inches that simple. I have a lord in the unit with a really cool relic to fight big nasty threats.
Seer’s Bane is AP2 and has D6 extra attacks. It is a Force weapon which actives when any sorcerers activates force. It is S10 vs non-vehicles because the Lord is LD10 but it wounds versus the enemy’s LD, but it counts as S10 for instant death purposes vs toughness. This is a fantastic challenge magnet for chaos. Of course you can manipulate LD with telepathy.
This list is very cool. The terminators literally FLY across the table and fight people! Oh and also 20 plasma shots and chain fists!
Warlord Trait: Strategic, roll for + 1 to seize  or stealth ruins.
thousand sons army list

Death Guard 

Death Guard Vectorium
Power Level: The Winners of Traitor Legions
I didn’t even try honestly. DG is the easy new button of CHAOS.
High Toughness
Ghetto Stealth
Re-roll 1’s on FNP
This is a MSU spam War Band. It is more powerful than a Marine Demi Company. Its all Objective Secure. The Havoc squads can camp in the rhinos and re position 12 inches for better angles. You can even deploy them, move them, FIRE on your enemy then “flat out” a different rhino to screen them. Rinse and repeat. Or deploy them in ruins for 3+ cover saves.  Every unit is tough and can do damage. You could easily make a biker death start with T8 and all sorts of cool stuff but I went MSU for this first list. This list has great speed and board control. It can easily win missions.
chaos Death Guard infopic
Pick a way to win with these guys and go with it:
  • I use the Spawn to escort the lord into combat and rack up some easy kill points.
  • Terminators deep-strike in the back field and are annoying for your opponent.
  • Rhinos hold objectives.
  • Bikes harass flanks and open vehicles up.
  • Once again, the war bands are objective secure.
  • Weak on relic offense but that is the balance, the warlord table makes up for it.
  • It is hard to lose missions with this list.
Warlord Trait: +1 FNP, IWND, +1W, Eternal Warrior, Even a Poison buff for the Spawn. 
death guard vectorium army list

Emperor’s Children

Emperor’s Children Rapturous Battalion
Power Level: Decent Tournament List
emperor's children
The Talk of the town is 4+ FNP on Slaanessh biker stars. It is totally viable. Remember though its also super easy to counter with barrage weapons. So now your back to the psychic rabbit hole. 4+ FNP is old hat.
You can get it to 3+ FNP with a warlord trait even. Maybe I will explore a biker star in the future but like I said Chaos death stars don’t have a lot of teeth and rely on too much to be successful on a regular basis. Slaanesh can go super sayian though with a lucky “combat drug roll” and become T6 3+FNP. I am continuing the trend however of smart MSU armies that can win missions.
The Same cookie cutter War Band is presented here but with a twist. 4+ FNP. You get 4+ FNP with the icon of excess now. That is clutch. So I have 3 beefy biker units and a terminator unit to deep-strike in the back field. I would play this a bit cagey and spring traps.
chaos Emperor's Children infopic
Combat drugs rolls will give units entirely new rolls. +1 BS on some melta or +1T on terminators. You never know…so don’t plan on it just be prepared to use it.
I love the Shriekwave on the lord for D6 S8 AP2 shots. He is attached to the terminators who deeps-trike in with combi-Plasma. This unit can do work. Also 4+FNP.
Any army with an abundance of fearless objective secure units with decent stats and weapons will do well.
Warlord Trait: +1 FNP for the bearer and unit
emperor children rapturous battalion army list
Let me finish with this,
CSM got a lot better. These are not the end all beat all lists. They are balanced and thematic.
They take advantage of the new rules in an obvious way IMHO. The best news it that almost any unit is playable now and the old school Chaos Theme is truly back. Thanks for bearing with me I know it was a long article.
Happy New Year & Merry X-mas dawgs


Here’s my best friend Robbie B’s breakdown video on them as well:


About the Author: Kenny Boucher

Go to Top