Legion Focus: Black Legion

The Chaos Space Marines codex is nearly here, and with it, rules for seven Chaos Legions as well as Renegade Chaos Marines. We’ll be previewing these in detail in the coming week, as well as looking at some of the new Stratagems and the best units in the new codex for each Legion.  We’ll be looking at the Emperor’s ChildrenIron WarriorsNight Lords, World Eaters, Black Legion, Word Bearers, Alpha Legion and the Renegade Chapters. If you’re wondering where the Death Guard and Thousand Sons are, don’t panic! Both these armies are getting codexes of their own.

The Black Legion combine a ferocious hatred for the Imperium with rigid organisation and discipline. In the new Codex: Chaos Space Marines, the Black Legion are manoeuvrable, versatile and have one of the best characters in the game as a force multiplier.

The Trait

Black Crusaders is a subtle but useful bonus that’s best on your core infantry. A Chaos Space Marines army with this trait will be able to make maximum use of Chosen, Terminators and standard Chaos Space Marines, capable of pulling back rapidly from dangerous units or closing in on the enemy while whittling them down with hails of firepower.

Abaddon the Despoiler

Abaddon deserves special highlighting as a key element in any Black Legion force; indeed, he’s as much a part of your Legion Trait as anything else. Abaddon is one of the strongest characters in the game, capable of dealing enormous damage in close combat, allowing huge swathes of your army to essentially ignore Morale and providing vital re-rolls to hit. He even gives you a couple of extra Command Points.

This guy is the force multiplier that’s going to make Black Legion armies incredibly flexible and incredibly deadly. At the head of a rapidly advancing spearhead of Black Legion troops, he’ll make sure your shots are hitting and your larger squads aren’t breaking. Even Cultists are going to pack more of a punch fighting alongside the Despoiler.

Finally, Abaddon’s (or any other Black Legion character’s) Warlord Trait is First Among Traitors:

Death to the False Emperor is already a powerful ability, and this means you’ll be triggering additional attacks on a 5+… that’s 1/3rd of the time! It’s also very important if you’re going to be using Chaos Terminators – while these guys usually won’t be able to gain additional attacks with their power fists due to the -1 modifier to hit, with this trait, they’ll be able to. It’s basically like a free Icon of Excess for all your units.

Best Units

Chosen with plasma guns have always been a popular pick in Chaos Space Marines armies, and in the Black Legion they’re free to close in on your enemy while laying down a hail of armour piercing fire before charging and unleashing a high volume of attacks. If you’re feeling brave, the presence of Abaddon should mitigate the risk of an overcharged plasma weapon attack.

Standard Chaos Space Marines are superb in a Black Legion army. You’ll be able to advance up the field while laying down a devastating hail of bolter fire, and, thanks to the improved Leadership of Black Legion units, you’ll be able to take them in full-sized squads of 20. Combined with the Let the Galaxy Burn Stratagem, these line infantry will be deadly. Alternatively, keep Abaddon nearby to ignore morale and let the squad re-roll their hits for free.

It’s worth noting that with the new Chaos Space Marines codex, Noise Marines, Plague Marines, Berzerkers and Rubric Marines are available to a much wider range of Chaos Legions. The Black Legion has always been renowned for bringing together Chaos Space Marines from far and wide in its warbands, and any of the “cult marines” make for a strong choice in the army. Rubric Marines are a particularly potent pick, able to fire their armour-piercing inferno boltguns on the move thanks to Black Crusaders.

How to play them

Fill out your Troops choices with Chaos Space Marines and your Elites with Chosen or Terminators. Form up around Abbadon and begin moving up the field – either closing in on objectives or getting into close combat with vulnerable targets. This is an army where positioning to capitalise on powerful aura abilities is going to be key – use your Advance move to make sure that every unit is benefitting from Abaddon’s command.

It’s a pretty great time to be a Black Legion player – as well as having bragging rights for having (finally) destroyed Cadia, and the new codex, fans can look forward to Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s latest novel in his series following Ezekyle Abaddon’s ascent to power. ‘Black Legion’ sees Abaddon attempt to unite the disparate Chaos Legions for the first time and is a great way to get some inspiration for your own Chaos Space Marines.

That’s not all, however. Community team member Rhuairidh, who wrote this article, is so confident of the awesomeness of the Black Legion that he’s offered to prove it with a game on Warhammer Live. Tune in at 6:00 pm UK time on Twitch to watch it for free – he’ll be battling the Grey Knights.

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