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How To Play Chaos Knights Warhammer 40k Codex & Rules Review

New-Chaos-Knights-rules-1Here’s how to play and our review of the new Chaos Knights Warhammer 40k Codex rules and models for the faction in 9th Edition.

Let’s start off by looking at the new releases for the Chaos Knights and then dive into how to play all the new codex rules for Warhammer 40k.

Chaos Knights Army Set Box: $265

Seperately the Knight Abonimant goes for $170 and Wardogs for $85 along with the Chaos Knights codex for $55. When it comes to value, you basically get the book and data cards for free by purchasing the army box.

Chaos Knights Army Set

Containing oodles of new pieces to make dozens of configurations, this lavish launch set is the first place you can get hold of the new Chaos Knights kits, their codex, and their datacards. With enough bits to build one psychically potent Knight Abominant and two War Dogs, this is the perfect basis for a rippin’, tearin’, stompin’ new army, or excellent reinforcements for an existing warband of walkers.

On top of the three models, you also get an exclusive version of the Codex and Datacards, making this the first way for players to be able to experience all the new Chaos Knight goodies, including the brand new Knight Abominant.

How To Play Chaos Knights Warhammer 40k: Codex Rules Review

These unique faction rules are collected from all the following reviews on YouTube, and Warhammer Community alike, so be sure to watch your favorite presenters talk about their take on the book at the links below:

Click Gallery below for full-size images.

Here’s the most up-to-date look at the new Chaos Knights rules- click on the gallery above to see all the new 9th Edition 40k rules from their codex!

Chaos Knights Detachment Rules For Warhammer 40k

chaos knights Detachment abilities

Fallen Hero is a huge new bonus. You can take a single knight in your other Chaos lists without breaking Doctrines or other army-wide abilities. This is huge! Especially with all the new Psychic Knight support, we will most likely see many people splashing for a knight in their lists going forward.

How to Play Chaos Knights Harbingers of Dread 40k Codex Rules

chaos knights harbingers of dread

This new ability offers a series of cumulative effects that emanate from every corrupted Knight in your army, creating a pall of unnatural weather that swells and twists as the fighting intensifies. At the start of each battle round, you choose an ability from one of three categories – adding a new ingredient to your bubbling brew of Doom, Despair, and Darkness.

Getting these new Chaos Harbinger abilities and rules each turn adds a certain amount of flexibility. which can always be powerful.

These Harbinger abilities follow an ominous meteorological cycle – if you pick Despair, you can’t pick Darkness next round, and vice versa. You’ll need to carefully manage the ebb and flow of your nightmarish storm… Or just pick Doom for all five rounds. DOOM, DOOM, DOOM…

If you start on Doom and change every round, you’ll get Doom 3 rounds, another category for 2, and the third for 1. Of course, you can choose not to switch off a category as well.

chaos knights harbingers of dread chart

Pall of Darkness is simple -1 to hit from more than 12″ away but can be extremely powerful, especially when your opponent is likely to target your knights with hard-hitting long-range weaponry. Paralyzing Insanity looks pretty strong, being able to deny objectives on its own by simply being close. This is potentially a strong competitive option.

Horror of The Warp is decent but not amazing. Some armies get super easy attrition tests, so this is situational at best. Gheist Storm looks phenomenal. Being able to mess with what your opponent can target with attacks is huge, especially if it’s in a soup list, making your non-knights essentially un-targetable.

Marks 40k Codex Rules

chaos knights unaligned marks

If you’d prefer your pilot to enjoy a balanced diet of warring Chaos gods, you can instead devote them wholly to the PANTHEON UNDIVIDED, for Favours like the Blessing of the Dark Master. A Fallen Noble who offers worship to a particular shadowy demigod can receive a tenebrous cowl in return, shrouding them from the vision of even the most skilled sniper.

Blessing of The Dark Master is, in short, very good. Getting Transhuman on a knight all the time, then getting rid of all re-rolls will make your Knights so much more durable! Considering there are so many re-rolls out there, this is good to see!

chaos knights khorne and tzee marks

Are you impatiently revving your newly-improved reaper chainblade? Are you sick of blunting your metal teeth on sacred relics and advanced force fields? Khorne’s Blood Shield offers an answer to such trickery – give a Knight the KHORNE keyword and you’ll be able to shut down all invulnerable saves (for your foe and yourself*) once per battle.

Blood Shield is great! You won’t be getting your own Invulnerable saves, but neither will the enemy! So if you need to punch through anything, then this might be the perfect way to go! You will also be able to increase your WS and attacks by 1 if you’re a Psyker, so this will really turn your Knights into combat monsters.

Chaos Knights Psychic Powers 3

Tzeentch has you covered! Any Chaos pilot can – for the dubious price of pledging their immortal soul to the duplicitous Changer of the Ways – earn the gift of the Pyrothrone for their Knight. This cockpit fills the pilot’s mind with the combined arcane knowledge of nine-hundred and ninety-nine long-dead magisters. 

In short, this gives the model the Tzeentch keyword, provides any Knight who isn’t an Abominant the Psyker keyword, and grants the ability to manifest and deny one psychic power. If they are already an Abominant, their power is multiplied to manifest and deny psychic powers up to three times a turn.

This is a really cool way to get all your knights casting spells and taking names! Then, if you pay the extra points, the favored ability will let you re-roll a psychic test.

Chaos Marks 3

On the flipside, Slaanesh offers Knights swiftness beyond imagination, turning lumbering engines of destruction into blurs of chrome and steel. Subjugator Machine Spirit binds the gluttonous soul of a fallen Subjugator Titan into the confines of a Knight, saturating every piston and synapse with its overwhelmingly powerful ego.

This is pretty awesome because you can advance and charge, just getting your Knights into combat just that much faster! Then, you just count as remaining stationery basically all the time.

How to Play Chaos Knights Psychic Powers 40k Codex Rules

chaos knights warp storm psychic powers

Winds of the Warp summons forth a hurricane of gale-force winds that are so powerful they send projectiles careening off-target, with forks of lightning to prematurely detonate warheads – any time the caster loses a wound, a D6 roll of 5+ prevents this from happening. If they manifest this blessing on an 8 or higher, the winds may mutate and weld shut the damaged carapaces of War Dog-class Knights. If they’re within 6” of the Psyker when they lose a wound, you can roll a D6, and the wound is not lost on a roll of a 6.

Considering you don’t have too many models on the field, making them tougher is never bad! However, you have to cast on an 8 or higher to make your War Dogs get the save.

Chaos Knights Psychic Powers 2

This inclement empiric weather also has offensive applications. The delightfully named Spitesquall conjures a hateful deluge of warp-tainted rain with the undesirable side effect of dragging enemy souls into the warp. The targeted unit may neither fire Overwatch nor Set to Defend, presumably due to their chattering teeth and tormented spirits.

You’ll also need to keep a tally for that unit, adding one every time a model is destroyed. At the end of each phase, if the unit is still on the battlefield, you roll one D6 for each tally mark, and for each roll of 5+ the unit suffers one Mortal Wound as the daemonic damp claims another victim. The tally rests at the end of each phase, so you’ll need to coordinate your attacks to deal maximum damage.

This is interesting as, over time, you can build up the Mortals. However, right upfront, you will most likely deal less damage than a normal Smite. But over time, or even in one phase, this could deal more, but you have to destroy a model in the unit. So this won’t really help against a single big model.

Dread Households 40k Codex Rules

chaos knights dread householdsDread Households are essentially the sub-factions for Chaos Knights meaning when you choose one you can get catered rules for exactly what you what to do! Now let’s check out the options.

chaos knights herepetraxIn general, Herpetrax Dead Household is about durability. Getting a few extra wounds on your knights is a great bond, plus an AoE Mortal wound bomb on the Stratagem is pretty good at only 1CP!

chaos knights KhymereHouse Khymere helps to finish off weakened units. Through its bond, this house gets +1 to wound against units below half strength. The Warlord Trait also punishes any units nearby units who fail a dread test and dish out a bonus mortal wound to them.

chaos knights VextrixHouse Vextrix is a general use option. It has a very powerful bond allowing for 1 hit and 1 wound reroll for each unit with it, each time it shoots. The warlord trait also seems pretty good by giving some extra wounds and packing in d3 healing every friendly command phase.

chaos knights KhomentisHouse Khomentis has a bond all about buffing up Daemonic surge to have greater consistency and less randomness. The Relic also looks pretty good with essentially placing a mark on an enemy within 18″ and giving every ranged attack against that target an extra AP.

chaos knights KorvaxHouse Korvax is that last one and has a great Bond that allows you to activate a Harbinger ability (current or previous) for every model in your army, INCLUDING non-chaos knights! This seems super interesting and might have some big possibilities. The Warlord trait is also pretty decent adding 3″ to Auras and Dread abilities.

How to Play Chaos Knights Relics, Warlord Traits, Stratagems 40k Codex Rules

chaos knight relics 1These first two relics are hard to read, however, the second one Veil of Medrengard is great! It gives the bearer a 4+ invulvn for ranged attacks and a 6+ invulvn for melee. The first one isn’t too shabby either The Blasphemous Engine‘s big takeaway is that it allows the bearer to count as having double its wounds left when determining its bracket profile to use, allowing it to operate at the top bracket longer.

chaos knight relics 2

On the next page, Helm of Dogs looks potentially interesting for a Wardog spam list being able to just re-roll a ton of wound rolls. Twisted Mask is, of course, also good getting extra psychic power and a +1 to tests.

New Chaos Knights Datasheets, Abilities, & Bonds 40k Codex Rules

datasheet rules chaos knightsAs usual, the obligatory keyword page just explains the basics of the faction keywords. As for actual abilities, only Ion Shields is on this page which gives any unit with it a 5+ invulnerable save against ranged weapons.

datasheet bonds chaos knightsThe next page explains Bonds and their respective Households. If you don’t have a household, you get a unique list of Bonds to choose from. Additionally, each model must have a unique bond if they aren’t in a household.

Speaking of which…

bonds chaos knightsFor the bonds, there are 8 to choose from with Warp Vision and Gheists of Ruin being both great options as messing with cover rules can be hard for your opponents to keep track of. Denying cover or getting cover for your models can really swap up firefights to be in your favor if your opponent doesn’t pay close attention.

Chaos Knights Datasheets:

Knight Tyrant datasheet

As the big boy knight, the Tyrant is down 10 pts, now has a 2+ save, and got a -2″ movement as a counterbalance. Another big change was the NERF to Titanic feet, making this model really need to rely on the ranged power more than before. Melee can now punish knights harder in general.

knight desecrator datasheet

Desecrator is the dedicated range knight. The Laser Destructor looks pretty good and is this knight’s main talking point. Just maybe don’t shoot it at something with an invulnerable save.

knight rampager datasheet

The Rampager is the melee equivalent to the Desecrator and as such is great in melee. It also didn’t get hit by the movement NERF that the previous two did. In short, pretty decent at charging something, but at risk of being kited since so much potential is wrapped in melee.

knight despoiler datasheetThe third and final “normal” night is the Despoiler, which can do some shooting and melee things, unfortunately, it has 1 less attack and 2″ less movement than the Rampager, so it’s probably just better to take one of the specialized versions.

knight abominant datasheet

The final big knight is the Abominant, which is a huge new positive for Chaos Knights. Getting access to psychic powers in a knight seems like it might be a great thing to have. Only 3 attacks, but with better melee weapons, might not be too shabby in practice. The Ranged weapon options also look great. This model just looks fantastic on paper.

war dog huntsman datasheet

The War Dogs have now been split into 5 datasheets, but it simplifies them. In general, most lost 2″ of movement, and chainswords got much better with the two profiles now. Ranged options are still all decent, making for a mostly good assortment of options for the cheaper and smaller “knights.”

New Chaos Knights Warlord Traits 40k Codex Rules

chaos knights warlord

For the Warlord Traits, Infernal Quest simply gives the warlord Objective Secured, which is decent if you arent playing soup. Warp-Haunted Hull is also another decent option giving the army access to a deny the witch and a 5+ FNP in the psychic phase, which is an ok tool against psyker-heavy factions.

New Chaos Knights Stratagems 40k Codex Rules

chaos knights stratagems 1

For the first page of Knight Stratagems, Skies of Fire is decent but incredibly situational, giving +1 to hit for a Wardog only against aircraft units. Crushed Like Vermin is alright as well as titanic feet was just nerfed, so getting a bonus to it in a pinch might help!

chaos knights stratagems 2

The second page has Abominable Constitution which allows you to have a unit act as if it is at the top bracket for the turn rotation, costing only 1 CP for Wardogs. Doom and Despair is also a great option being able to force a Harbinger ability for a turn, which offers some bonus flexibility.

chaos knights stratagems 3

The last page has Wrathsurge, which is great for punishing psychic-centric factions being able to force perils on failed tests for only 1 cp! Diabolic Bulwark is also a great option for getting a 4+ invuln against ranged attacks for a turn, especially when you have a single huge model like a tyrant in your list!

Wargear, Points & Secondaries 40k Codex Rules

chaos knight secondaries

Of the first 3 secondaries, Purge the Enemy looks quite good in the Chaos Knights faction simply due to the volume of high range high damage weapons that can be used in a list of Knights specifically, making it easier to wipe out a single model or unit early for more points.

chaos knight secondaries 2

Shadow Operations is the final option and looks quite interesting because it gives objectives -1 leadership to non-chaos units within 6″, something that might be better than it looks because of all the new Dread Abilities that care about enemy morale.

Weapon Profile Rules

chaos knight wargear 1

For the most part, all the weapons that saw use previously probably still will, since there aren’t very many major changes, which is a nice change from recent codexes with sweeping changes and power spikes. The Laser Destructor saw a decent change simplifying the rolls to make it more streamlined.

titan weapons rules 3

In an attempt to win over undecided Nobles with fancy ancient technology, the Chaos Knights debut the Desecrator’s updated laser destructor. The Idolators have been hard at work to make this long-range firearm much more reliable than before – and while consistency may not be especially Chaotic, redirecting power from its explosive blast allows the destructor to punch through armour more effectively, dealing eye-watering damage with every shot.

This will hit harder than ever with increased range, more consistent shots, better AP, and improved damage!

chaos knight wargear 2For the Melee side of things, there aren’t very many insane changes. However, the Titanic feet do seem less powerful now in particular. The Chainsword for Knights looks to have gotten much better, as we saw previously in a GW preview.

titan weapons rules 2

Given that these chainswords are the size of trees – and a mite more dangerous than even the most well-heeled giant foot – Knights appropriately attired for close-quarters combat earn a solid power boost. What’s more, the reaper chainsword comes with two fresh new looks – for sweeping away hordes of enemy infantry, or striking down a single large target.

This has gotten so much better! With increased AP and obviously the sweep attack’s addition, three-hit rolls for each attack!

How to Play Chaos Knights Points

chaos knight points

Overall the points look to be in a good spot for the Chaos Knights, Despoiler, Rampager, and Tyrant, all went down some points. The Huntsman Wardog went up a few points, while the Executioner is unchanged and the others are new options.

The Abominant is the only new model and looks fairly costed, but getting access to psychic powers might be a huge positive for Chaos Knight lists.

Chaos Knights FAQ

Chaos Knights FAQProbably the biggest nerf is only being able to do the stratagem in your command phase. Then the Storm of Darkness was probably meant to read the way it does now but is a bummer.

As we said though, almost all actions are performed at the end of your movement phase, so it obviously was supposed to be this way. Lastly, Bow to None is just a strange clarification in a way.

It means you only get the minus to damage when someone is rolling dice, not all the time. So, it’s actually much worse as a D2 weapon does not become D1, it only wors if they roll a 5, and it becomes four. Still, we don’t feel a ton of people ran it anyway, so probably not a huge deal overall. Just makes the trait somewhat useless now.

That’s really it this time around, a nice small FAQ to just change keywords, which is nice to see nothing nerfed too hard immediately.  Download the FAQ here!

Here’s all the latest on the all the new Chaos Knights rules updates and points changes for Warhammer 40k.

Click Gallery below for full-size images.

Here’s the most up-to-date look at the new Chaos Knights rules- click on the gallery above to see all the new 9th Edition 40k rules from their codex!

Click Here for all the Newest GW Model Previews

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About the Author: Travis Pasch

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