Traitor Legions: Army Analysis

Normally, in the past, I have been an almost exclusively Imperium player, but recently I have been trying out some different Chaos Space Marine lists, based on the new Traitor Legion options, and I was able to try out the following 2000 point army during the holidays:

—-Night Lords CAD—-


*Daemon Prince of Tzeentch with Wings, Stormbolt Plate armor (Relic) [WARLORD]


*2 x 5 Raptors with 2 Meltaguns, Power Axe on Champion


—-Iron Warriors CAD—-


*Daemon Prince of Tzeentch with Wings, Fleshmetal Hide armor (Relic)


*6 x Obliterator (1 model per squad)


*2 x Haemotrope Reactors


—-Thousand Sons Allied Detachment—-


*Sorcerer with PML(3), TDA, Spell Familiar, Mark of Tzeentch, MB, Astral Grimoire (Relic)


*1 x 10 Terminators with Mark of Tzeentch, 10 Combi-Meltas, 10 Chainfists


*1 x 10 Tzaangors


I was playing against a Word Bearer’s army with lots of Cultists plus a Dark Apostle (Lost and the Damned formation), triple Forgefiends and Warpsmith (Helforged Warpack formation), two Heldrakes (Heldrake Terror Pack formation), and three Helbrutes that could deep strike (Mayhem Pack formation, I think its called), and two PML(3) Sorcerers (Lords of the Legion for the Grand Host detachment). Since everything was part of the Grand Host detachment, except for the Helbrutes, they all benefited from the Crusader and giving a free boon each turn to a character in addition to their specific formation rules and the Word Bearer “Chapter Tactics” (i.e. Dark Apostles have a 6″ Zealot bubble and harnessing Warp Charges for Conjurations in the Malefic discipline on 3+s).

In terms of my army, the plan was to keep all the one man Obliterator squads in the back, around the Haemotrope Reactors, and “power up” their Plasma Cannons into S7 AP2 Large Blast pie plates for fire support to the army. Meanwhile, the Tzeentch Terminators and TDA Sorcerer formed a mini-deathstar and advanced quickly on my opponent, using the Astral Grimoire relic to make them Jump Troops in the Movement Phase and Psychic Blessings to “power up” to 2+/3++ saves as they advanced. Simultaneously, the two Tzeentch Daemon Princes Swooped forward 24″ on turn 1 and used their re-rollable 2+ armor saves (and re-rollable 2+ cover save, in the case of the Night Lords DP) to survive incoming enemy firepower until they could transition to Gliding mode (Turn 2) and charge into the enemy ranks (Turn 3). Finally, the Raptors started in reserve and dropped in to meltacide enemy units and charge if they survived while the Tzaangors were just a cheap ObSec unit that might tarpit another enemy force.

In terms of actual battlefield results, the Obliterators did not do so well, as several of them suffered Get’s Hot! on turn 1 (Haemotrope Reactor powers up their Plasma weapons, but also causes Get’s Hot on a 1 or 2, not just 1), meaning I lost a lot of firepower there. On turn 2, they were out of range for most of their weapons, so I had to use Lascannons, which was not ideal against tons of Cultists, though it did make for some humor at the time 😉 Overall, I think I kept the Obliterators too tied to the Haemotrope Reactors, meaning they did not have as much impact on the game as I expected, and in the future would advance them as they fired, or even DS them closer to enemy lines.

The Raptors did surprisingly well, with good scatters for their Deep Strikes, and one Raptor squad was the Hero of the game, killing the Warpsmith Warlord on the turn they dropped in and then killing another Sorceror in Overwatch as he charged them and a Forgefiend on turn 3 with their Meltas. In the future, I might invest in one or two more Raptor squads and continue dropping them aggressively around the enemy forces like I did this game.

The two Daemon Princes also did well, shrugging off almost all enemy combat power easily, except for Vector Strikes by my opponent’s Heldrakes, which ignore both armor and cover saves of course. They both survived long enough to get into combat, where they tore up units as expected. I think, if I were to change anything about them, I would have given them each PML(1) and then have them roll on Telepathy for Psychic Shriek, since right now they lack any kind of shooting and have to drop into Hover Mode to make any kind of impact on the game.

Finally, the Tzaangors didn’t do much, as they were pretty much ignored, but the Tzeentch Terminators performed pretty well, absorbing a decent bit of firepower (I think I lost one of them as a casualty) and being able to close quickly with their Chainfists and 2+/3++ saves, thanks to the Astral Grimoire. In the future, I might drop several Chainfists and use the points for some other units in the army (like PML(1) for the DPs that I mentioned above).

Overall, I think this army did a decent job of combining three different elements of the CSM Legions, with lots of ObSec units (in this case, it was actually all Kill Points, so this didn’t matter, but in most games I would have 9 ObSec units) and a solid amount of durability, mobility, and firepower all around.



Traitor Legions: Black Legion Raptor Talon

Whereas you would probably think that Night Lords are the best Chaos Legion to make use of the Raptor Talon formation, I actually think that the Black Legion Speartip detachment may  be one of the best ways to field this particular formation. First of all, let’s look at the Black Legion and Speartip detachment special rules:

—Black Legion Faction—

[1] All Black Legion units that have access to it get VotLW for free. If they have this rule, then they also get Hatred against everyone and, if they are fighting against any Imperium armies, they get to re-roll ALL to Hits against them (i.e. not just the first round of combat).

[2] Abbadon is the only Unique character that a Black Legion formation/detachment can take but, unlike other “undivided” Traitor Legions, Black Legion units/characters can choose to upgrade to any Mark they want.

—BL Speartip Detachment—

[1] All non-vehicle members of this detachment get free Fear and Crusader USRs

[2] Any units from this detachment that have Deep Strike may attempt to come in from Reserves starting turn 1, and your WL and his unit may choose to automatically come in from reserves on turn 1.

Now, combine all these rules with the Raptor Talon (Jump Pack Chaos Lord, 3-5 units of Raptors and/or Warp Talons) itself, which provides the following benefits:

[1] Units from this formation can charge on the same turn they arrive from DS Reserve, but count as having made a Disordered Charge if they do so

[2] If two or more units from a Raptor Talon charge an enemy unit, that enemy unit has -2Ld until the end of the turn.

Finally, since Black Legion units can take any Mark they want, you can “upgrade” your Lord/squads to maximize a specific role in this “kick in the door” style formation. Taking all of these synergistic rules together, I think you can make a very potent battle group that looks something like this:

[1] Chaos Lord with JP, Mark of Nurgle, Sigil of Corruption, PF/LC, and Skull of Ker’ngar (Relic)

[2] Three squads of 10 Raptors, all with Mark of Slaanesh, Icon of Excess, 2 MGs, and PF/LC on the Champion

[3] One squad of 10 Warp Talons with Mark of Nurgle (Jump Lord attaches to them)

So, once you combine all the “cascading” bonuses, each of these squads gets Hatred (or re-rolls every round against Imperium units), gets Crusader/Fear, gets a chance to arrive by Deep Strike on turn 1 and still charge that same turn (the Jump Lord and Warp Talons will arrive automatically turn 1, if you need them to), and can inflict -2Ld on enemy units while getting “free” Ld10 (from VotLW) on themselves. The Raptor squads also can hit their target with 2 MGs each before charging, strike at I5 (so likely before most opponents), and get FNP as long as the Icon bearer is still alive.

As for the Jump Lord and Warp Talons, they are Fearless (thanks to the Lord), can potentially Blind nearby enemies (thanks to the Warp Talon “Warpflame Strike” rule), and are all T5 to better absorb enemy Overwatch/attacks in CC. The Lord himself has a 3+/4++ and can either use his PF or his I5 LC with 4A base which, combined with the 20 x S4 AP3 Shred attacks from the Warp Talons on their Deep Strike charge, ought to deal with almost any MEQ or below that doesn’t have a 2+ armor save.

Now, you obviously don’t want to target enemy uber close combat units with this task force since, while they hit pretty hard, compared to things like Hammernators, Wulfen, Necron Wraiths, Meganobz, Genestealer Cult Purestrain Genestealers, etc., etc., they are relatively fragile and will get clobbered by dedicated assault units.

What I think this battle group can excel at is, number one, as the ultimate “bully” unit for turn 1 assaults (and hopefully Sweeping Advances, with the help of the Crusader USR) against weak “shooty” opponents (Tau, Eldar, and Astra Militarum all come immediately to mind) and, number two, very capable “tar pit” units for very dangerous opponents that you don’t want shooting and/or assaulting the rest of your army. With the ability to reliably charge on Turn 1, you can “suppress” dangerous threats like Stormsurges, Wraithknights, Imperial Knights, Devastator Centurions, Astra Militarum “Blob” Squads, Tau Pathfinders, Eldar Jetbikes, Loota Boyz, TFCs, etc. etc. before they can every really get into action by tying them up in close combat right away: if you are lucky, you might even kill them off, but at the very worst you keep them from moving, shooting, and/or assaulting for several turns, thereby allowing the rest of your army to operate without danger from them.

Traitor Legions: Talisman of Burning Blood and World Eaters Bikers

Looking at the new World Eaters rules today and something that really jumps out at me (and which I have seen discussed in other forums/blogs) is the Talisman of Burning Blood, which gives +3″ to the Move, Run, and Charge distances of the bearer and his unit. Very simple, but very powerful, especially when combined with the free 2D6″ move given to non-vehicle units by the special World Eater’s detachment.

In terms of how to apply this Relic tactically, there are tons of options, but I think one of the best will look something like this:

-Chaos Lord with MoK, Juggernaut, Sigil of Corruption, LC/PF, and Talisman of Burning Blood (Relic)

-Chaos Lord with MoK, Juggernaut, Sigil of Corruption, and Axe of Blind Fury (Relic)

-Chaos Lord with MoK, Juggernaut, Sigil of Corruption, and Gorefather (Relic)

-Chaos Lord with MoK, Juggernaut, Sigil of Corruption, and Bloodfeeder (Relic)

-10 CSM Bikers with MoK, 2 x Meltagun, Champion with LC/PF


If taken as part of the World Eaters “Butcherhorde” detachment, then this unit gets the following:

-Free 2D6″ movement before Turn 1 + 15″ Move (12″ move as Bikes/Cavalry and additional 3″ from Talisman of Burning Blood) + 2D6+3″ Charge

This translates to a minimum Turn 1 Charge Threat Radius of 22″, a maximum Turn 1 Charge Radius of 42″, and an average Turn 1 Charge Threat Radius of 30″ (with Re-rolls for failed charges, thanks to the Butcherhorde detachment special rules).

Combine all this with Fearless, Furious Charge, and Adamantium Will on the unit, thanks to World Eater “Chapter Tactics,” and the four very “choppy” Juggerlords, and you have a unit that can very reliably cross the table and get into combat on Turn 1 and wreak some serious havoc. The Khorne Bikers themselves put out 36 x S5 attacks on the charge, plus 5 x S5 AP3 Shred or 5 x S9 AP2 Unwieldy attacks (from the Biker Champion), plus the following on the charge:

-Juggerlord 1 (Talisman of Burning Blood) — 7 x S5 AP3 Shred or 7 x S9 AP2 Unwieldy attacks

-Juggerlord 2 (Axe of Blind Fury) — 7-13 x S7 AP2 attacks

-Juggerlord 3 (Gorefather) — 6 x S7 AP2 Armourbane, Murderous Strike (i.e. 6+ to Wound = ID)

-Juggerlord 4 (Bloodfeeder) — 4-14 x S6 AP2 attacks (with 1s to Wound hitting friendlies)

Since the assault of this battle group cannot reliably be countered by things like Interceptor (Tau) or shooting for a turn or two before they get into combat (everyone else), due to their amazing speed across the table-top, I think this will shake up the meta pretty significantly in the future. Honestly, this reminds me a lot of the old, 5th edition Biker Nobz deathstar lists that were so hard to deal with, except a little less durable and bit more mobile/choppy.

Overall, I think this will be a good thing for anyone who wants to play a very aggressive, assault-based CSM army that relies on speed and hitting power to win the day, vice the shooting and psychic power shenanigans that are so in vogue right now.

Traitor Legions: Fixing Cult Troops

Now that Traitor Legions is officially out (and is an outstanding release overall, I’d say, breathing whole new life into both the tactical abilities and rules-reflecting-the-fluff aspects of the 9 original Traitor Legions), I think there is a pretty obvious shortfall that needs to be addressed whenever the “base” CSM book finally is updated: the obsolescence of Cult Troops.

Given that even basic CSM now get buffs to bring them into almost complete parity with Cult Troops (i.e. Khorne CSM now get Fearless, Furious Charge, and Adamantium Will for “free,” meaning that they have everything Bezerkers have except WS5/access to Chainaxe upgrades and cost 4 points less per model; or, Nurgle CSM also get Fearless, FNP, Relentless, and -1I, just like Plague Marines, but cost 8 points less per model, with the only compensation for Plague Marines being their Blight Grenades, Plague Knifes, and access to 2 Special Weapons when at minimum squad size; etc., etc.), I think GW really ought to provide some improvements to the 4 different iconic Cult Troops to make them worth taking, and not just providing some special formations that give them buffs like they have already.

Based on that, here is  my idea for how to improve Cult Troops in a reasonable manner (while keeping their current points costs the same) so that they are not auto-take, but also are still a competitive option as compared to basic CSM with their respective Marks:

[1] Khorne Bezerkers — Give them back their old 2A base (so, that would be 3A base on the Bezerker Champion) and make Chainaxes a S: +1 AP4 Rending weapon.

*Rationale — Between WS5 and 5A on the charge, I think this would justify the 4 points/model higher cost of Bezerkers over basic Khorne CSM. Additionally, if they paid the extra 3 points/model for the Chainaxe upgrade, not only would they gain +1S and AP4 (so S6 on the charge), but the addition of Rending really increases their versatility and overall close combat hitting power, making them a more expensive, but more capable, close combat option to Khorne CSM (which is what they should be, as an elite unit).


[2] Plague Marines — Increase their FNP(5+) to FNP(4+) and add Poison (4+) Bolter ammo to their Wargear.

Rationale — At 8 points/model more expensive than Nurgle CSM, Plague Marines need a bit to justify taking them over their less “elite” counterparts. Based on this, I think they definitely need more than Blight Grenades and Plague Knives to set them apart from basic Mark of Nurgle Marines. Increasing their FNP one “step” I think would give enough of a boost in survivability to make them a strong option for taking/holding Objectives and giving their Bolters/BPs Poisoned (4+) ammo makes them kind of like a CSM version of Sternguard. Overall, with Defensive Grenades, Poisoned (4+) for both close combat and shooting, and enhanced FNP rules, I think Plague Marines would be worth considering over “normal” Nurgle CSM.


[3] Rubric Marines — Improve Inferno Bolts to (S:4 AP3 Armourbane, Rending), improve Soulreaper Cannon to (S:5 AP3 Armourbane, Rending), and improve both Warpflamer/Heavy Warpflamer to Torrent (6″) weapons (this would obviously impact Scarab Occult Terminators as well).

*Rationale — Like Plague Marines, Rubric Marines are MUCH more expensive (8 points/model more expensive) than their Tzeentch Marine counterparts, but also are a lot better than them out the gate (i.e. 4++ instead of 6++ save, AP3 Bolter ammo, access to Psychic Powers via their “sergeant,” etc.). What Rubric Marines really need, I think, is better shooting versatility, instead of being limited to just AP3 Bolters. Adding Armourbane to both the Soulreaper Cannon and their Inferno Bolts makes them MUCH more versatile against light-medium vehicles and adding Rending to the Inferno Bolts gives them a chance at dealing with Terminators, Heavy Vehicles, MCs, etc. Finally, making the Warpflame weapons into Torrent (6″) gives much more reach and versatility for these anti-horde options, especially since Rubric Marines are so slow outside of Rhino/Land Raider transports.


[4] Noise Marines — Give them BS5 and allow them to take one Blastmaster (30 points) or Doom Siren (20 points) per 5 models in the squad.

*Rationale — Noise Marines are currently only 2 points/model more expensive than their Slaanesh Marine counterparts, but they also have nothing to show for it, except access to Sonic Weaponry (which they have to pay even more points for, and Slaanesh CSM have access to normal Special/Heavy Weapons that Noise Marines cannot take). Giving Noise Marines BS5 would justify taking them instead of normal Slaanesh Marines and would make purchasing the Sonic Blaster upgrades even more worthwhile. Also, giving them options for up to 4 Blastmasters/Doom Sirens in a max squad of 20 (or 1 in a squad of 5, 2 in a squad of 10, etc. etc.) would help “customize” them as a solid option in competitive play.

Thousand Sons Terminator “Jump Star”

Looking back at the new Artifacts for Thousand Sons, what really jumps out to me is Astra Grimoire… being able to make a friendly infantry unit within 12″ into a Jump Infantry automatically (i.e. no psychic or leadership test required) every turn is amazing and adds the critical mobility to so many different units that are otherwise lacking in this area.

As I have looked at it more and more, I think the best candidate for synergizing with the Astral Grimoire is a Battle Group, drawn from a Tzeentch CAD, that looks like this:


-Chaos Lord with MoT, TDA, Chainfist and Lightning Claw, Astral Grimoire Relic

-Exalted Sorceror with MoT, PML(3), Spell Familiar, TDA, Seer’s Bane Relic

-10 Chaos Terminators with MoT, 8 x Combi-Melta, 2 x Reaper AC, 10 x Chainfist


Basically, the idea here is to make a squad that combines the attributes of Assault Terminators, Tactical Terminator, and Jump Infantry, while also throwing in some Psychic powers and Relics to make the battle group even more potent.

First of all, the Exalted Sorcerer rolls hard on the Sinistrum Discipline for Warp Fate ( Diabolic Strength and Death Hex are also solid choices here). If he gets Warp Fate, he casts it on the squad every turn, giving them 2+/3++ saves that can be re-rolled in all phases of the Turn (5++ from TDA, bumped up to a 4++ by MoT, and bumped up again to a 3++ from Blessing of Tzeentch when a Blessing is cast on the unit, with Warp Fate giving everyone re-rolls). Against non AP2/1 attacks, this makes the unit able to shrug off 97% of enemy attacks, on average, and even against those low AP wounds, they still ignore 88% of them with Warp Fate activated. Alternately, you can roll on Biomancy and go for Endurance, which provides very similar effects in terms of overall durability.

If you cannot get Warp Fate, then the Exalted Sorcerer can still use the Force power on his unit, which gives his Daemon Weapon (i.e. Seer’s Bane) Instant Death and also brings everyone in the squad up to a 3++, just like Loyalist Hammernators. On top of this, the entire unit uses the Astral Grimoire to move 12″ every Turn, make them vastly more mobile than most Terminators, and able to get in close rapidly to use their Combi-Meltas, Chainfists, and potent Armor/Invul saves to full effect. The Combi-Meltas and Reaper ACs provide solid high strength shooting against vehicles and tough infantry, while the Bolter portions of the Combi-Meltas and Reaper ACs also give you some “crowd control” options. On top of all this, the Exalted Sorcerer has his “Lord of the Silver Tower” ability, which acts like a poor man’s Orbital Bombardment (i.e. One Use, S9 AP2 Small Blast, Lance).

Finally, when the unit does get into Assault range, it can put out 35 x S8 AP2 Armourbane attacks on the charge, as well as between 7 and 11 AP2 Instant Death attacks from the Seer’s Bane Relic (provided you do not roll a “1” on the Daemon Weapon chart). Combined with 2+/3++ (possibly re-rollable, if you have Warp Fate), and this makes for an exceptionally dangerous, hard-hitting unit that can deal with everything from Imperial Knights to TWC to enemy MCs to even hordes of light infantry. Even more important, you opponent cannot ignore this unit, because of its mobility, firepower, and close combat potential, but he also can waste a ton of his combat power trying to stop it unsuccessfully, provided you have at least one Blessing activated on the unit. Don’t forget, you can also break off the Lord and Exalted Sorcerer to assault other units, if you need to, or just keep them altogether to maximize the synergy and keep everyone Fearless as well.


Traitor Legions: Alpha Legion Chosen

As I continue to review the new rules for the Traitor Legions, one thing that has jumped out at me is the rules for the Alpha Legion. Specifically, they get the following:


*Alpha Legion armies cannot take any unique characters and cannot take any marks, but get VotLW for free on all units that have access to it, plus their Daemon Princes can take powers from their respective God’s discipline.

—Special Rules—

*Forward Operatives: Chosen become Troops. Chosen, CSM, and Cultists gain Infiltrate

*Many Heads of the Hydra: If warlord slain, pick a new friendly character from AL detachment or formation. He generates warlord trait immediately. You can do this as long as you still have a character left to assume the  mantle of Warlord and your opponent does not get Slay the Warlord if they haven’t killed last remaining warlord from this rule.

—Alpha Legion  Unique Detachment—

*Hidden Deployment: All non-vehicle units get shrouded 1st turn.

*Cult Uprising: Cultist units that are destroyed are placed into ongoing reserves on a roll of 4+.

Based on all this, I think one of the most competitive “all-rounder” CSM units in the future will be Alpha Legion Chosen squads. Based on these new rules, they now get:

[1] Ld10 and Hatred (Space Marines), thanks to VotLW.

[2] Infiltration USR.

[3] If they are in a CAD/Allied Detachment, they get Objective Secured. If they are part of the Alpha Legion special detachment (i.e. specifically, as part of a Chaos War Band), they get first turn Shrouded and Objective Secured.

In the past, many people considered Chosen over-priced and generally not a very competitive unit. These new abilities change that a lot, I think, and bring them up into a genuinely “go to” unit choice, especially given that you can access them quite easily.

If you go the CAD route, then you can have an entire army of Chosen with top-rate Leadership (to mitigate their lack of ATSKNF), plus the ability to Infiltrate and/or Outflank “in mass” and put their numerous weapons options to use starting Turn 1… and they can do all this without requiring any outside support from attached ICs, WL traits, etc.

Between the ability to take up to 5 Special Weapons (Flamers, Meltas, and/or Plasmas) in a 5 man squad, Infiltrate inside their DT Rhinos, and 3A base (with the option to take any combination of PW, LC, or PF), you can really do an effective MSU Infiltration “swarm” army that alpha strikes (pun intended! 😉 ) their opponents with massed short-ranged shooting turn 1 (remember, Tau don’t get Interceptor against Infiltrators, so they can’t counter them in the same way that they would, say, against a Space Marine Drop Pod army).

Imagine two squads of Chosen (and their Rhinos with Combi-Plasmas) unleashing 24 x BS4 Plasma Shots on an enemy Stormsurge or Wraithknight Turn 1, before the Xenos  forces can even react? Or imagine lighting up a Genestealer Cult/Tyranid army with massed Flamer templates turn 1, tearing up scores of Acolytes, Gaunts, etc. in a single volley? Or imagine alpha striking a mechanized Astra Militarum/Imperial Knights force with massed meltas before they even have the chance to engage you?

Even against a powerful melee opponent, like a TWC based Space Wolf army or a Blood Angels Lost Brotherhood Strike Force or a KDK army, Infiltrating Chosen give you the chance to “pre-emptive strike” such a force before they have a chance to charge and/or activate any Psychic Powers that they rely on for durability and/or mobility. For example, if you are able to unload massed Plasma weapons on a selected SW Wulfen/TWC squads and either destroy them or severely weaken them on Turn 1, you can remove critical “cogs” in the enemy army’s synergy before the game really gets going (a VERY Alpha Legion style tactic, I might add! 😉 ).

If the enemy survivors still try and charge you Chosen after this, you get to Overwatch them for some more possible wounds and, if you have sprinkled in a PWs/PFs into you Chosen squads, you have a solid chance of finishing off these weakened survivors with your high level of base attacks. Alternately, you can “bubble wrap” your Chosen with cheap Cultists (who also have Infiltrate and Objective Secured in an Alpha Legion CAD), thus allowing your elite troops to keep shooting for a couple more rounds unmolested by enemy assaults.

As I mentioned earlier, I think probably the best way to maximize Alpha Legion Chosen is to Infilitrate them INSIDE their DT Rhinos… not only does this give them great reach for their special weapons (i.e Infilitrate 18″ away, then move 6″ and disembark 6″, putting you a maximum of 6″ away from any enemy unit you are targeting), but it also provides another layer of protection for the Chosen that has to be stripped away before they can be engaged and it gives you even more cheap, mobile, MSU Objective Secured units (DT Rhinos of course count as a Troops choice themselves in a CAD, and so get Objective Secured as well as their passengers).

Finally, if you are not interested in getting up close early, you still have the option to Outflank your Mechanized Chosen squads, or you can even deploy them more conventionally, but with the advantage of seeing where all your opponent’s forces are already deployed, since they get to Infiltrate after normal deployment has been completed. No matter which way you go, Alpha Legion Chosen are exceptional flexible units that, in the hands of a competent commander, will be very effective in the 40K meta going forward, I think.



Traitor Legions: Daemon Princes and new Relics

There is so much to digest with the new Traitor Codex rumors, but as I look through them, one thing that consistently jumps out to me is how powerful some of the new Relics would be when paired with a Daemon Prince (fortunately, it appears that even though certain Traitor Legions cannot take Marked Units, like Alpha Legion and Iron Warriors, they all can still take Daemon Princes with their mandatory “Daemon of X” upgrades).

We of course do not know if any of the Relics are restricted in manner that Daemon Princes cannot take (for example, it looks like some of the Iron Warrior Relics are “Warpsmith only” choices), but we know that Daemon Princes provide a very solid “base” stat line, especially with Wings to make them FMCs:

-WS9 BS5 S6 T5 W4 I8 A5 Ld9 Sv 5++

-Rules: Daemon, Fearless, VotLW, Fear, Hammer of Wrath, MtC, Relentless, Smash

-Upgrades: PML(1-3), Wings, Power Armor, Chaos Rewards, Chaos Artifacts, Daemon of Slaanesh/Khorne/Tzeentch/Nurgle(required)

Now, looking at this within the context of the new Legion Relics, here are some potentially competitive combinations between them and a Daemon Prince:


—Black Legion—(NOTE: BL Daemon Princes all get Hatred(Everyone) and Endless Hatred (Imperium), which is quite a solid buff in combat)

[1] Skull of Ker’ngar — Gives Eternal Warrior and Adamantium Will, both very solid buffs a for any Daemon Prince, especially against opponents that can bring lots of S10 attacks against him. Combine with a Winged Nurgle DP with Power Armor and you have a VERY survivable “tank” type unit.

[2] Spineshiver Blade — Daemon Weapon that grants +1I to user. Upgrade a Winged Khorne DP with this Relic and on the charge you have between 8 and 12 S6 AP2 attacks at WS9/I9 (unless you roll a “1” for the Daemon Weapon), which should be devastating to enemy characters, squads, and MCs alike.


—Alpha Legion—

[1] Drakescale Plate — Gives bearer 2+ save and a 2++ against flamer weapons. Add this to a Wing DP of Tzeentch (for re-rolls of all saving throws of 1) and you have a very difficult FMC to kill without dedicated AP2/1 Skyfire shooting.

[2] Blade of the Hydra — S: User AP5 Daemon Weapon with Rending and Multi-Headed (every roll of 6 to Hit generates another attack until you no longer roll any 6s to Hit). Combine with a winged Khorne DP with Power Armor and you can potentially put out A TON of S6 AP2 Rending attacks each turn, depending on your “Daemon Weapon” and “Multi-Headed” rolls.

[3] Vipers Bite — Basically a Bolter with S5 AP2 ammo, this is a cheap and useful ranged addition to any Winged DP, especially when using their BS5 (remember, when they are flying, the can shoot at Swooping FMCs and Zooming Flyers at full BS). Combine this weapon with Psychic Shriek and your Winged DP can be an exceptional “dogfighter” FMC for killing enemy FMCs like Hive Tyrants, Chaos Daemon FMCs, Tau “Coldstar” Battlesuits, etc.


—Iron Warriors—-(NOTE: IW Daemon Princes get FNP(6+), which is a nice little boost to durability)

[1] Axe of the Forge Master — S:+1 AP2 Armourbane, Master-Crafted, Unwieldy. Since Monstrous Creatures ignore Unwieldy, a Slaanesh DP with Wings, Power Armor, and this Relic can be a premier Tank Hunter, using its 12″ Move + D6+3″ Run to get across the table turn 1, then charge a vehicle turn 2 with 6 x S7 AP2 Armourbane attacks (with MCed for a re-roll in their too).

[2] Fleshmetal Exoskeleton — Another Relic that grants a 2+ save to its bearer, but also IWND, which combines quite well with a the 4W on a Daemon Prince. Upgrade a PML(3) Nurgle Winged DP with this Relic and roll to get Fleshy Abundance power on the new Nurgle discipline (i.e. adds back D3 wounds lost earlier in the battle) and you have an exceptionally difficult to wound, and keep wounded, FMC to threaten you opponent with.


—Night Lords—(NOTE: NL Daemon Princes get free Stealth, which gives them a 3+ save when Jinking as FMCs)

[1] Scourging Chains — For only 2 MBs, you get Shred on your Melee attacks, which is an amazing upgrade on a DP that already has 6 x S6 AP2 attacks on the charge naturally. Almost a mandatory upgrade on a Night Lords DP that is not taking a different Relic already, I think.

[2] Stormbolt Plate — Gives bearer a 2+ armor save and +1 to its Cover save. Combine this with a Winged Tzeentch DP and you have a ridiculously durable FMC… 2+ armor, 2++ cover save when jinking (Jink + Stealth + Bonus to cover save from Relic), and re-rolls of all 1 to Save (so a 97% chance of saving wounds against any shooting attacks that are not both AP2/1 AND Ignore Cover!).

[3] Curze’s Orb — Re-roll all 1s for Run, to Hit, and to Wound rolls. Again, for only 4 MBs, this is a great buy on a Daemon Prince, as it makes mobility and hitting power that much more reliable for a very reasonable points cost.


—Word Bearers—(NOTE: WB Daemon Princes harness WCs on a 3+ for any Malefic Powers)

[1] Crown of the Blasphemer — Gives a 4++ and Adamantium Will. Combine this with a PML(3) Tzeentch Daemon Prince rolling hard on the Malefic table for Cursed Earth (i.e. +1 to Daemon Invuls and no Scatter for DSing Daemon units within 12″) and you can have a 3++ save, with re-rolls of 1s, to make quite a tough target to engage (on top of this, the DP can summon more Daemons to support your army and/or use Malefic witchfires to soften up nearby enemy units).

[2] Cursed Crozius — Basically a Power Maul that gives the bearer PE: Imperium, this not only bumps a Daemon Prince’s attacks up to S8 AP2 (or S9 AP2 on the charge for a Khorne DP), but also makes them much more dangerous against any Imperium forces, which accounts for a lot of the enemy armies you are likely to face (and all for 7 MBs, which is pretty reasonable as far as Relics go).


—World Eaters—(NOTE: Of course, WE Daemon Princes MUST have Daemon of Khorne upgrade)

[1] Talisman of Burning Blood — While this is most likely to be used on an Independent Character in order to boost an entire attached squad with its benefits (i.e. +3″ to all move, run, and charge ranges for a unit), allowing a Winged DP to move 15″ and charge 2D6+3″ means you have a very solid chance of a first turn charge with that FMC, especially if he comes from the World Eater’s special detachment that gives a free, pre-game 2D6″ move (not a Scout move, so you can still charge turn 1 after doing this) and free re-rolls of failed charges.

[2] Berserker’s Glaive — A two-handed Daemon Weapon that grants the bearer +2S, IWND, and FNP (at the cost of losing Independent Character, which DPs do not have anyway), this weapon means a Khorne Winged Daemon Prince with Power Armor can generate between 8-12 S9 AP2 attacks on the charge, all the while protected by 3+/5++, T5, FNP, and IWND abilities.

[3] Crimson Killer — Basically a Plasma Pistol, but with Soul Blaze and no Get’s Hot!, this relatively cheap Relic (4 MBs) actually goes quite well with a BS5 Winged Daemon Prince, as he can shoot at both ground and air units with a S7 AP2 shot at full ballistic skill each, even when Swooping.


—Thousand Sons—(NOTE: TS Daemon Princes with a Blessing Cast on them improve to a 4++ save; also, they must be Daemons of Tzeentch, of course)

[1] Seer’s Bane — A Daemon Weapon with Force that uses the bearer’s Ld for Strength and the opponent’s Ld for Toughness. If you successfully cast Force on the Tzeentch DP, then not only does it improve to a 4++ save, but you also gain Instant Death for this Daemon Weapon. Given that a Daemon Prince has Ld9, you will wound most enemies on a 3+ or even 2+, but against enemies with Ld9 you will wound on a 4+ and against opponents with Ld 10, on a 5+. Obviously, since the majority of enemy close combat beasts are Ld 10, this would not necessarily seem the best weapon for a DP in challenge (i.e. wounding on 5+s), but given that all wounds are AP2, occur at WS9/I8, and have Instant Death with Force activated, I think this is actually better than one might expect on first thought. This is especially good against very high Toughness opponents, like Wraithknights, which DPs would be wounding on 6+s anyways, since this gives you a real shot at killing them quickly (i.e. Instant Death eliminates their FNP rolls and removes D3 wounds per Unsaved Wound). NOTE: If you can get multiple Heldrakes from a Heldrake Terror Pack within 12″ of your opponent, or you can charge them with two units from a Raptor Talon, then you can lower their Ld significantly to make this an even more powerful weapon.

[2] Staff of Arcane Compulsion — This might actually be an even better option for a Thousand Sons Daemon Prince than Seer’s Bane. Basically a Force Maul (S: +2 AP4, Force, Concussive) with an ability that causes enemy charging the bearer to suffer a -2 penalty to their charge range), this Relic gives a Tzeentch DP 6 x S8 AP2 attacks on the charge with Concussive and Instant Death, meaning that is very strong against squads of infantry, light-medium vehicles, and even tough ICs/MCs (thanks to Instant Death from Force).


—Death Guard—(NOTE: DG Daemon Princes gain FNP, but also have -1I, so are I7 base)

[1] Pandemic Staff — Both a Ranged (Template S:1 AP5 Poisoned(2+)) and a Melee (S:+2 AP4. Concussive, Poisoned(2+)) weapon, for the costs of 6MBs this gives a Death Guard DP some solid versatility, with both anti-horde shooting and S8 AP2 Concussive/Poisoned attacks in combat (don’t forget, if your “natural” strength is higher than your opponent’s toughness when attack with a poisoned weapon, then you get to re-roll all failed to Wound Saves, so against T7 and below enemies, a DP equipped with this weapon basically also gets Shred for free).

[2] Plaguebringer — A Daemon Weapon with  S: User AP3 and Poisoned (4+), this combines quite well with a Death Guard/Nurgle DP. Daemon Weapon gives between 2-6 bonus attacks (all S6 AP2, thanks to the DP being a Monstrous Creature) on top of the base 6A on the charge, unless you roll a 1 for the Daemon Weapon, and poison allows for re-rolls to Wound against any opponents T5 and below, so a Daemon Prince equipped with this Relic makes for an excellent “squad killer” type HQ choice.


—Emperor’s Children—(Note: EC Daemon Princes all gain FNP(6+) and get one “free” attack before dying if slain in the Assault Phase)

[1] Intoxicating Elixir — For the price of 5 MBs, you get D3 rolls on the Combat Drugs chart, which means the Emperor’s Children DP can boost between 1-3 of hit stats in the following categories: +1WS, +1BS, +1 I, +1 A, +1S, or +1T. While WS, BS, and I are not that great (you already have super-high stats in those categories), buffs to number of attacks, strength, and/or toughness before the game even begins can take a Daemon Prince from formidable to outright devastating. If the DP is part of the Emperor’s Children special detachment, then he would actually get D3+1 rolls on the Combat Drugs table.

[2] Shriek Wave — A ranged weapon Relic with the following profile: 12″ S8 AP2 Assault D6, Mental Trauma (target takes leadership test and, if it fails, all wounds from this weapon gain Shred rule). With an average of 3-4 S8 AP2 attacks, this makes a Flying Daemon Prince a tremendous threat to everything from Flyers and enemy FMCs to medium vehicles and all kinds of enemy troops on the ground. One of the best ranged Relics in the game IMHO, especially on a highly mobile Winged DP.

[3] Endless Grin — Another very cheap Relic (2 MBs), this causes enemy units within 6″ of the bearer to have -1Ld. Combined with other Ld reduction shenanigans, or even with Psychic Shriek on the Daemon Prince himself, and you have a very solid force de-multiplier for very little points costs, especially when combined with the mobility of a Swooping FMC like a Winged DP.



As you can see, there are A LOT of very competitive options here for Daemon Princes (and I did not even hit on all the Relics; there are still plenty of other combinations out there that might work well). Of course, we have to wait and see if there are restrictions on certain Relics (i.e. like “Sorcerer only,” or “Chaos Lord only,” or “cannot be taken by Daemon Princes,” but judging by the precedence set by the old CSM Codex and Wrath of Magnus, I expect only a few Relics to be restricted in this way. Hopefully this is true and we will see many powerful new Daemon Prince builds coming out in the near future (right now, I think the single most competitive one will be a Tzeentch Night Lords DP with Wings and Stormbolt Plate… being able to get a 2+ save, 2++ Jink save, and re-roll all saving throws of 1 makes for an almost invincible Monstrous Creature that already has very good mobility and close combat threat capacity!).