Posted 05/08/2017

Legion Focus: Word Bearers

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 LordsWorld 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 Word Bearers are the true faithful of Chaos, blending their prodigious skill as Space Marines with a fervent dedication to the Dark Gods. On the tabletop, Word Bearers armies will combine powerful aura abilities with daemonic allies, making for an adaptive and durable force.

Legion Tactic

Re-rolling failed Morale tests is great for Chaos Space Marines – the army favours large squads of elite troops, and this ability means that valuable multi-Wound models like Possessed and Chaos Terminators are unlikely to flee at an inopportune moment. This synergizes well with the Dark Apostle, who – thanks to Demagogue – gives nearby units a massive 9 Leadership.

Best Units

The Exalted Champion is a great new unit in the Chaos Space Marines codex. Granting re-rolls to wound in close combat to nearby units, he can be paired with a Dark Apostle to create deadly overlapping effects.

Chaos Cultists have long been a popular pick for Chaos Space Marines armies, and the Word Bearers are famous for the devoted throngs of followers that make up their forces. With a discounted points cost for matched play, re-rollable Morale tests and the aura abilities from the Exalted Champion and the Dark Apostle, Word Bearers Cultists are some of the most powerful horde infantry in an edition where horde infantry is already very effective. With Miasma of Pestilence and the Mark of Nurgle, yours will be nigh-impossible to shift, and should your enemy inflict critical casualties, so what? The Dark Gods provide, and for a couple of Command Points, you can set the unit up again at its full starting strength near any table edge.

How to use them

The best way to play a Word Bearers army is going to be fielding loads of Cultists, backed up by powerful support characters. This is the anvil of your army. For the hammer, some Warp Talons backed up by some summoned Daemons can be deployed further up the field where they’ll do the most damage. Worried about summoning not being reliable enough? With Dark Pact, you’ll be able to re-roll your summoning roll and avoid losing a beloved Lord at a key moment, as well as making full use of more difficult summons, like a Bloodthirster.

The new Chaos Space Marines codex doesn’t just contain the Heretic Astartes, and there are rules for the four most common types of Daemon, too – Bloodletters, Daemonettes, Plaguebearers and Horrors. If you’re looking to summon these in your games, you’ll only need one codex, reducing the amount of in-game bookkeeping you’ll have to do.

Horrors of all kinds have been very popular in the new edition of Warhammer 40,000, and it’s hard to deny the appeal of a pack of malevolent, sentient magic. All the same, we’ve made some tweaks to Horrors to encourage a wider diversity of army builds. Firstly, you’ll need a full unit of 10 or more Pink Horrors to do more than a single Wound when you cast Smite. Secondly, Pink Horrors cost fewer points and Brimstone Horrors cost more. All other lesser Daemons have dropped in points, too, meaning whatever you’re, summoning you’ll get more for your reinforcement points.

Come back tomorrow for a look at the most insidious Chaos Space Marines – the Alpha Legion.

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