Warhammer 40k Chaos Space Marines Faction Focus Let’s the Galaxy Burn

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Warhammer 40k Chaos Space Marines Faction Focus Let’s the Galaxy Burn

After the Tyranids and the Space Marines, it’s time for one of the truly evil factions of Warhammer 40k to stand in the spotlight.

Games Workshop is slowly chipping away at all of the factions of Warhammer 40k, showing fans and players some of the new abilities of Armies, Units, new Stratagems and even some new Weapons of the upcoming 10th Edition of Warhammer 40k. The third faction they shed some light on were the Chaos Space Marines, servants of the Chaos, who want nothing more than to set the whole galaxy on fire, and dethrone the God-Emperor of Mankind – or to the, the False Emperor. With the new rules they received, this should be an easier feat than ever, as the Faction Focus showcased some truly terrifying powers lent to them by the Dark Gods of the Universe.

Faction Rules Showcased in the Warhammer 40k Chaos Space Marines Faction Focus

Games Workshop only revealed one Chaos Space Marines Army Rule, just like with the Space Marines, and the corrupted counterparts of the Heroes of the Imperium – and just as the Space Marines, CSM can also choose between modes. The Dark Pacts Army Rule lets Chaos Space Marines make a pact with the Chaos Gods when a unit is selected to shoot or fight, and in return, they grant either Sustained Hits 1, which makes Critical Rolls or unmodified hit rolls of 6 score an additional hit (the exploding 6’s of the current iteration), or Lethal Hits, which grants a unit autowounding on 6’s. But of course, with any pact made with eldritch horrors, there’s a price to be paid – after the attacks of the unit which made a pact resolves, it must take a Leadership test, and if that test fails, the unit suffers D3 mortal wounds.

Warhammer 40k Chaos Space Marines Faction Focus Dark Pacts Army Rule
Source: Warhammer Community

This Army Rules turns Chaos Space Marine armies worst units into killing machines, as even rank and file Cultists can damage or even take down some Space Marines or even bigger targets if you roll well. The drawback is also great fluff, and I feel Games Workshop really outdid themselves with this new rule.

Unit Spotlights of the Warhammer 40k Chaos Space Marines Faction Focus

Of course, Games Workshop had to show off the most iconic unit of the Chaos Space Marines, the Legionaries, but they did it more in-depth than in any of the current Faction Focuses, as they showed the Wargear Options for the Warriors of Chaos. We can see that the Aspiring Champion has a plethora of choices in both melee and ranged weapons, players can still take a Chaos icon for the squad as well as the balefire tome, and for every 5 unit, a Legionary can have a heavy weapon from the list as well having better melee and ranged options as well.

All of the new weapons are showcased on the Datasheet for the Legionaries, but with the new, sleeker abilities of weapons, and with the updated characteristics. They also have the Veterans of the Long War abilit, which let’s them reroll a melee attack’s Wound roll of 1 against opponents, or the whole Wound roll if the target is in range of an objective marker, signaling that they should be used as storming units, knocking off enemies from the objectives. The Chaos Icon ability also changed, interacting with the Dark Pacts Army Rule, as it lets your reroll the Leadership test if a Dark Pact has been made.

Warhammer 40k Chaos Space Marines Faction Focus THe Datasheet of the Legionaries
Source: Warhammer Community

The Space Marine Faction Focus showcased Roboute Guilliman, so it’s only natural that the Chaos counterparts got Abaddon the Despoiler, the Champion of Chaos Undivided. While the leader of the Black Legion lost a pip of Toughness, he gained some awesome abilites and buffs to his melee: Drach’nyen now has 14 Strenght in order to let Abaddon chew through targets, and the Talon of Horus received and increase in Strenght as well.

Abaddon’s Dark Destiny ability has also been changed. Now he has a built in 4+ Invulnerable Save regardless of this ability, while he can farm CP if he makes a Dark Pact, passes the Ld test and rolls a 2+ afterwards. He also has an ability called the Warmaster, which lets him choose from three different powers (copying the Lord Commander in a way):

  • The first power of the Warmaster is Paragon of Hatred, an Aura which lets Heretic Astartes reroll the Hit roll if they are within 6” of Abaddon;
  • He can also choose Mark of Chaos Ascendant, and Aura which gives Heretic Astartes Infantry and Heretic Astartes Mounted units within 6” of him a 4+ Invulnerable save;
  • And Abaddon can pick Lord of the Traitor Legions as well, which let’s units reroll the Leadership and Battle-shock tests for Heretic Astartes units if they are within 6” of the Warmaster.
  • Warhammer 40k Chaos Space Marines Faction Focus The Datasheet of Abaddon the Despoiler
    Source: Warhammer Community

The latter synergizes very well with the Dark Pacts ability, as if a unit fails the Leadership test near Abaddon, it can just try again. Overall, the Champion of Chaos looks mighty – as he should be to take on the whole Imperium and the rising threat of the Tyranids.

Weapon Spotlights of the Warhammer 40k Chaos Space Marines Faction Focus

The Heldrakes Baleflamer was the first weapon which Games Workshop showed the eager CSM players. The flying monstrosities of the Heretic Astartes legions got a notable buff: the Baleflamer now has the Ignores Cover keyword akin to other flamers, while it’s attacks will get increased from 2D3 to D6+3, so the maximum shots with this flamer is 9 instead of 6. Alongside with the auto-hit mechanic of the Torrent keyword, the Heldrakes are looking scarier than ever.

Warhammer 40k Chaos Space Marines Faction Focus The Baleflamer of the Heldrake
Source: Warhammer Community

The Obliterators Fleshmetal guns will also receive some buffs: the Focused profile has 12 Strenght in the new Edition of Warhammer 40k, the middle configuration will have D6 shots with 8 Strength, and while the weakest mode lost some potential shots, the other two profiles more than make up for it, as Obliterators are now a stronger unit to take down high toughness Vehicles – and there will be a lot of those in 10th Edition.

Warhammer 40k Chaos Space Marines Faction Focus The Weapons of the Obliterator
Source: Warhammer Community

Stratagem Spotlight of the Warhammer 40k Chaos Space Marines Faction Focus

With all the units and weapons showcased, Games Workshop only showed us one new Stratagem for the Heretic Space Marines. Dark Obscuration gives one Heretic Astartes unit that is a target of an enemy unit in the shooting phase the Stealth ability, which at the time of writing has not been revealed, but if I’d have to guess, it either gives Benefit of Cover for the unit or makes it harder for opponents to hit them by worsening their Ballistic Skill. Dark Obscuration also has an extra part for Nurgle worshippers, as if the target is aligned to the Grandfather, they can’t be the targets of attacks if the attacking model is farther than 12”. Sadly, Games Workshop only teased the alingments to the Chaos Gods, but it’s safe to assume that you can select your preferred deity when you’re putting your army together.

Warhammer 40k Chaos Space Marines Faction Focus The Dark Obstruction Stratagem
Source: Warhammer Community

The Chaos Space Marines are looking extremely strong in this preview, and if we think about how these Faction Focus articles are just scratching the surface of the new rules, we are right to be scared of the Heretic Astartes. The 10th Edition of Warhammer drops in June, so it’s not much left of the current Edition. While you wait for the new rules and articles, don’t forget to check out ESTNN’s other Warhammer 40k related content, and also our Previews and Predictions of League of Legends, Dota 2, VALORANT and more!

Warhammer 40k Chaos Space Marines Faction Focus Let’s the Galaxy Burn
Bence Loksa
Bence "Atreus" Loksa is a freelance journalist and League of Legends shoutcaster, covering all things esports and gaming, also yelling loudly at big plays happening on the Summoner's Rift. While his main focus is Riot Games' hit MOBA, he also dabbles in Call of Duty, VALORANT, and as of recent, the tabletop wargame Warhammer 40,000 - where he looks to make some grudges with his Leagues of Votann army.