Chaos Space Marines


Ok, so there’s an elephant in the room. A large number of Chaos Space Marine armies you see on the table tops will actually have hardly any Chaos Marines; I aim to correct this as I am a big fan of their versatility.

Why take Them? 

Firstly, they are one of two troops options available to you…so you aren’t flooded with options to begin with (unless you’re one of the more foregone chaos legions).

First up, they are your standard marine archetype: a decent save, they’re reasonably good at shooting and can handle themselves in combat (to a certain extent).
You can take 5-20 in a unit and a fairly good array of war gear options are available to you.
They boast strength 4 in shooting as well as combat.
That is all by the by…we know this.

Strengths & Weaknesses 

So the main strengths:
•Can take a Heavy/Special weapon per 5 members or 2  in squads of 10 or more members (In addition to the Champion’s war gear).
•Fairly good staying power (especially in cover and are great for capturing objectives).
•Can make use of and benefit from a lot of the Chaos Stratagems/psychic powers out there for some truly devastating manoeuvres, which can seriously catch the opponent off guard.

The main weakness’s:
•Can be outgunned or out ranged by several top-tier troops choices out there.
•That 3+ save can definitely come a cropper when intensive firepower is directed towards them.
•Can become an expensive unit to lose easily and early on if the opponent prioritises them.

Tricks, Tactics and Strats.

So depending on your style of play and the traitor legion you collect, this unit can be moulded into pretty much anything!

So, for my personal favourite – and what I’m currently playing…The Black Legion (+1 leadership, can advance and fire rapid fire weapons as Assault!). Off the bat these guys are Ld 9, or a satisfying Ld 10 with an icon of vengeance.

This legion’s stratagem is brilliant! Only 1 CP to re-roll 1’s to hit, unless its used on a Chaos Space Marine unit, in which case all hits may be re-rolled. Very good and even better on larger units. (This is particularly good on units operating independently or ones which have become isolated from a nearby chaos Lord/Abaddon himself!)

I like to run my Chaos Marines in small, minimum sized squads of 5 with a lascannon and Champion wielding some sort of power weapon (4pts, why not).

In a list I typically run 3-5 units. These guys take up position in cover and act as a deterrent to deepstrikers and as a counter to armoured deployments. Together, they can chip away at hordes and any sort of infantry, whilst the heavy weapons target the heavier targets. Sitting in cover these guys can be a nuisance to shift – 2+ save for the win!

Late in the game, or if needed early on, these guys can really pile on the pressure. Moving, advancing and still able to fire their Bolters! Obviously the lascannon can’t fire, but this is great for grabbing last minute objectives.

Another Black legion tactic:
Rhino – Unit of 10 CSM. 2 plasma guns, Champion with a Combi-plasma/power fist + let the galaxy burn stratagem = Happy hunting.

You can also ditch the transport and take a large unit of 20. Move and Advance them, then use a Sorcerer to warp time them forward. Shoot, and then shoot again with endless cacophony for 2CP (Mark of Slaanesh needed). (This tactic requires some serious point investment but works very well against armies with a lot of infantry).

Other legion tactics and benefits

Alpha Legion:                                                                                                          Using their specific stratagem, you could place a very large unit aggressively towards the opponents deployment. Add Mark of Slannesh and let it rip by firing them twice into your chosen unit! Alternatively, sit back in cover providing fire support and generally being harder to hit (this might apply more to havocs) or why not mark them with Nurgle? Additionally, cast the relevant nurgle power for -2 to hit them…

Iron warriors:                                                                                                            It’s simple, large units with Bolters and fire with impunity into infantry attempting to seek cover. Throw in a few plasma guns for extra anti-armour. Their stratagem is also quite good providing a 6+ ignore damage, every little helps right?

Night lords:                                                                                                           Generally quite similar to the other legions, however once they close in, the de-buff to the enemies Leadership could be a beautiful thing indeed, especially supported by units of Raptors. The NL stratagem is very good & quite sneaky… see those Primaris Hellblasters supercharging their plasma to get rid of you? Yes they’re killing themselves on 1’s and 2’s.


So there you have it, my thoughts on just how versatile a unit of Chaos Space Marines  could be using specific Stratagems & Legions. Obviously Cultists are the most popular choice in any chaos army, but sadly there’s somethings they simply cannot achieve compared to the might of a veteran of the long war.

By Tristan Whitehead, Siege Studios


Disclaimer: This article is the authors opinion. Please note that opinions can vary. SN holds no responsibility of any tables being flipped by you or your opponent as a result from reading this article. 


  1. You are playing your black legion wrong.

    “The Black Legion (+1 leadership, can advance and fire rapid fire weapons as Assault!)”.

    They turn into assault weapons when you advance, you lose rapid fire.


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