We’re back with part 2 in our themed Traitor Legions series – this time we cover Night Lords, Word Bearers and the World Eaters! Take it away, Reece:
In this article, we will cover the next three Legions in the book, but remember, while I personally feel that these are fun, themed warbands, that doesn’t mean that this is the only way to play them. Let your creativity run wild and draw inspiration from the very cool Black Library novels or just your imagination.
My personal favorite Chaos Legion: the Night Lords! I always really enjoyed this Legion’s backstory, but Aaron Dembksi-Bowden’s amazing Night Lords Trilogy just brought them to life for me.
Therefore, I have to go all in on the ADB theme and throw in some units as an homage to the Night Lords books!
So let’s get to it! There are a lot of awesome ways to play Night Lords, but the rule that grabbed my imagination right away was the Skybourne Horror rule making Raptors Troops. As with Iron Warriors, this made me gravitate towards a Combined Arms Detachment (CAD) over their Night Lords Murder Talon Detachment. I really like the idea of using Raptors, but I do have to say, there are some other really good options competing for their space in the army. However, with Stealth from the In Midnight Clad special rule and free Veterans of the Long War (VotLW) due to their Detachment bonuses, they are effective at what they do. Small units of Raptors dropping all over the table with special weapons, disrupting the backfield and securing objectives is good fun and packs a surprising sting!
To this end, I opted for six units of Raptors. Each unit would be five strong with two special weapons; as always, take two of the same special weapon in a unit to maximize their efficiency. It is worth considering a power maul or axe for the Champion, but I typically pass. However, one of them would have to represent Lucoryphus, commander of the Raptor Cult! And it just so happens, he led a warband of about 30 Raptors, so this fits just right.
That’s your core of scoring units that are all very fast, hit fairly hard and are great for taking objectives and hunting your opponent’s scoring units, such as Eldar Jet Bikes, Space Marine Scouts, etc.
From there, I wanted to continue with the speedy theme of the army and opted for some Chaos Bikers! With Stealth, they have a 3+ Jink save – which is great. Adding a Chaos Lord will make them Fearless and add some melee power for a hard-hitting mobile unit.
A unit of Chosen to represent First Claw led by Talos, himself! I would kit the squad out to match all of the characters in the books such as Xarl and all the rest. I wish they could mount up in a Drop Pod as they do in the books, but that isn’t an option so a Chaos Rhino will do.
From there, a unit of Chaos Terminators to form the Atrementar, of course! They’re the elite bodyguard for our Warlord who can only be the Exalted – a Daemon Prince to lead our Warband! This gives you a Warband that may not win a tournament but will be very fun and characterful on the tabletop and provides some amazing modeling opportunities to represent all of the characters from the books.
The Word Bearers have some really fantastic special rules to bring to life these zealots of the Chaos gods.
I was immediately drawn to the Unholy Pact special rule, granting them the ability to harness warp charge on a 3+ when attempting to manifest conjuration powers from the Daemonology (Maelific) discipline.
So, I decided to start with the Word Bearers Grand Host as the base of the army. This grants Crusader to all non-vehicle units and gives me the Eight Fold Path rule which lets me gain a free Chaos Boon every turn for a character in my army. Very cool and fun.
I decided to capitalize on this by using the Chaos Warband as one of my core Formations which grants me loads of Objective Secured (sensing a theme throughout these articles?) to help me win missions, but also to capitalize on the Favoured Scions rule which lets you roll twice on the Boon Table and take either or both results. As for the composition within the detachment, fill it with units you like, I personally would go for a mix of Chosen, Chaos Space Marines, Havocs and Bikers. In this instance, as you can buff up the characters quite quickly, I would give them a melee weapon to take advantage of all of the buffs they’ll be getting from the Boon table!
I would also opt for the Lost and the Damned as it feels very appropriate for Word Bearers. Recycling Cultists is nothing to underestimate as they can come back onto your rear objectives after being destroyed to win you the game! Plus, it gives a Dark Apostle who not only goes very well in the Word Bearers theme, he also has a 6″ Fearless aura thanks to the Profane Zeal special rule which helps a ton to keep your troopers from running away.
This means you can take larger units in the Chaos Warband on foot and not worry about them breaking morale at the wrong time, plus it gives them quite the boost in melee which combos well with all of the Boons they will be getting.
Toss in the auxiliary choice that suits you best and you’re good to go.
Now for the fun part! I would take three or more Chaos Sorcerers through the Lords of the Legion command choices to really provide the punch in the army. I would upgrade all of them to level three and give them a Spell Familiar. Now, each of them can summon on a 3+ with a re-roll to start pumping summoned units of Daemons onto the table. I’d also consider another Dark Apostle to increase the Zealot bubble to cover more of your army and really beef up your infantry units. In short order, you will have a huge army of crazy recycling Cultists, summoned Daemons and Objective Secured Word Bearers Marines on the table which is not only very thematic, but very powerful, too!
The mighty warriors of Khorne! These guys pack quite the punch with their new rules, and I think you will be seeing quite a lot of them. They get some outstanding bonuses.
The first and best rule to pay attention to with the World Eaters is the Butcher’s Nails! This gives you Fearless and Furious Charge if you have Veterans of the Long War (which anyone who can take, gets for free!). WOW. That makes so many units better. As you also must take the Mark of Khorne (MoK) where applicable, this means you also get Rage. Toss in Adamantium Will and the Blood Mad special rule from the World Eaters Butcherhorde Detachment and my goodness, things are looking pretty brutal!
For me, right off the bat, the Butcherhorde was the way to go. I would run with both the Chaos Warband and Maelstrom of Gore. The Chaos Warband, as stated previously, gives you ObSec warriors which, in and of itself, is awesome, but when combined with all of the other benefits you get for being a World Eater, even basic Chaos Space Marines become quite powerful in melee. Chosen, Terminators, etc. with those bonuses to offense and morale as well as the bonus 2d6″ move pre-game makes for a nasty combo. Oh, and it goes without saying: the Chaos Lord in this formation should be swapped out for Khârn the Betrayer… but there, I’ve said it!
The Maelstrom of Gore is another awesome formation which gives you extra speedy Berzerkers! Their Formation gives them Fleet and an extra 3″ to their charge distances…wow! Toss the Talisman of Burning Blood on the Chaos Lord that goes with them and he and his unit add 6″ to their charge distances, which is oh so fun. Combine this with the Red Rain special rule, which lets them fight in the Movement phase once per game as if it were close combat, and that is a nasty combination.
From there, you have a wide variety of awesome auxiliary Formations to choose from, but I was drawn to the Raptor Talon. Raptors can struggle against certain foes, but when they are Fearless, have Furious Charge, Adamantium Will, Rage and VotLW in addition to a free 2d6″ move at the beginning of the game….they can really shine! Plus, you get another Chaos Lord to provide some additional damage-dealing ability to an already choppy force. Their ability to assault from Deep Strike is just icing on the cake and helps them to remain viable even if you don’t get the first turn.
In all, this provides you with a fast, punchy melee army just the way the Blood God likes them!
I hope you enjoyed my take on building themed Warbands for the Legions listed above and feel inspired to go out and make some of your own! In the next article, we will look at building warbands for the Thousand Sons, Emperor’s Children and Death Guard.
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