Chaos Space Marines

Though the insanity of Chaos leads to endless variation, most traitor warbands follow certain core principles in terms of their organisation. From Renegade raiding parties and turncoat pirates to the immense invasion forces known as Black Crusades, the armies of the Heretic Astartes follow the favoured champions of the Dark Gods into battle, and fight at their command.

Books

BookKindEditionVersionLast update
  Chaos Space Marines
  Chaos Space MarinesIndex10January 2024
  Death Guard
  Death GuardIndex10January 2024
  Thousand Sons
  Thousand SonsIndex10January 2024
  Balance Dataslate
  Balance DataslateRulebook10January 2024January 2024
  Munitorum Field Manual
  Munitorum Field ManualExpansion101.6January 2024
  World Eaters
  World EatersIndex10January 2024
  Legends Field Manual
  Legends Field ManualExpansion101.1October 2023
  Legends: Heretic Astartes
  Legends: Heretic AstartesDatasheet10July 2023
  Horus Heresy Field Manual
  Horus Heresy Field ManualExpansion10June 2023
  Horus Heresy Legends: Heretic Astartes
  Horus Heresy Legends: Heretic AstartesDatasheet10June 2023
  Horus Heresy Legends: Adeptus Astartes
  Horus Heresy Legends: Adeptus AstartesDatasheet10June 2023

Army Rules

Dark Pacts

Beseeching the Chaos Gods with fanatical fervour, the profane champions of the Heretic Astartes pray for diabolic boons, promising the vilest of offerings in return for their power.

If your Army Faction is HERETIC ASTARTES, each time a unit with this ability is selected to shoot or fight, it can make a Dark Pact. If it does, select one of the following abilities for that unit’s weapons to gain until the end of the phase:
  • [LETHAL HITS]
  • [SUSTAINED HITS 1]
Each time a unit makes a Dark Pact, after it has resolved its attacks, it must take a Leadership test; if that test is failed, that unit suffers D3 mortal wounds.

The Lost and the Damned

Some traitors have given themselves entirely to the service of the Dark Gods, and they are so lost to damnation that they barely resemble the warriors they once were.

If your Army Faction is HERETIC ASTARTES, you can include any of the following units in your army, and when you do so their Faction keywords are replaced with HERETIC ASTARTES:
The combined points value of such units you can include in your army depends on the battle size, as follows:
  • Incursion: Up to 250 pts
  • Strike Force: Up to 500 pts
  • Onslaught: Up to 750 pts

Slaves to Darkness

Detachment Rule

If your Army Faction is HERETIC ASTARTES, you can use this Slaves to Darkness Detachment rule.

Marks of Chaos

When mustering your army, each time you select a HERETIC ASTARTES unit to include in your army, if that unit is not an EPIC HERO and does not already have one or more of the keywords listed below, you must select one of the keywords listed below for that unit to gain (note which units gain which keywords in this way on your Army Roster). Each time a unit with one of these keywords makes a Dark Pact, it gains the associated ability below until the end of the phase.

KEYWORDABILITY
KhorneBlood Fury: In the Fight phase, if this unit’s weapons gained the [LETHAL HITS] ability this phase as the result of a Dark Pact, each time a model in this unit makes an attack, an unmodified Hit roll of 5+ scores a Critical Hit.
TzeentchWarpfire: In the Shooting phase, if this unit’s weapons gained the [LETHAL HITS] ability this phase as the result of a Dark Pact, each time a model in this unit makes an attack, an unmodified Hit roll of 5+ scores a Critical Hit.
NurgleSpreading Sickness: In the Shooting phase, if this unit’s weapons gained the [SUSTAINED HITS 1] ability this phase as the result of a Dark Pact, each time a model in this unit makes an attack, an unmodified Hit roll of 5+ scores a Critical Hit.
SlaaneshExcessive Cruelty: In the Fight phase, if this unit’s weapons gained the [SUSTAINED HITS 1] ability this phase as the result of a Dark Pact, each time a model in this unit makes an attack, an unmodified Hit roll of 5+ scores a Critical Hit.
Chaos UndividedGlory to Chaos: Each time a model in this unit makes an attack, re-roll a Hit roll of 1.


RESTRICTIONS
  • You cannot select the KHORNE keyword for a PSYKER unit to gain.
  • A CHARACTER unit with the Leader ability can only be attached to a Bodyguard unit if both of those units share one of the same keywords from the list above.
  • A unit can only embark within (or start the battle embarked within) a TRANSPORT if both of those units share one of the same keywords from the list above.

Stratagems

If you are using the Slaves to Darkness Detachment rule, you can use these Slaves to Darkness Stratagems.

INFERNAL RITES
2CP
Slaves to Darkness – Battle Tactic Stratagem
With gruesome offerings and ritualised promises, the Chaos Space Marines seek the protection of their infernal masters.
WHEN: Your opponent’s Shooting phase or the Fight phase, just after an enemy unit has selected its targets.

TARGET: One HERETIC ASTARTES unit from your army that was selected as the target of one or more of the attacking unit’s attacks.

EFFECT: Until the end of the phase, each time an attack targets your unit, worsen the Armour Penetration characteristic of that attack by 1.
PROFANE ZEAL
1CP
Slaves to Darkness – Battle Tactic Stratagem
Fervent mortal followers flock to the champions of Chaos, damning their souls seeking promises of dark power.
WHEN: Your Shooting phase or the Fight phase.

TARGET: One HERETIC ASTARTES CHAOS UNDIVIDED unit from your army that has not been selected to shoot or fight this phase.

EFFECT: Until the end of the phase, each time a model in your unit makes an attack, you can re-roll the Wound roll.
ETERNAL HATE
1CP
Slaves to Darkness – Strategic Ploy Stratagem
Heretic Astartes are fuelled by hate, a searing spite that burns fiercely within them unto the very moment of death. Even as their life force pours from terrible wounds, this loathing can drive them to fight on in a second wind of wrath. Those Heretic Astartes in thrall to the Blood God feel this enmity to an even greater extent than others, exploding with violence just as the enemy think they have finally ended them.
WHEN: Fight phase, just after an enemy unit has selected its targets.

TARGET: One HERETIC ASTARTES unit from your army that was selected as the target of one or more of the attacking unit’s attacks.

EFFECT: Until the end of the phase, each time a model in your unit is destroyed, if that model has not fought this phase, roll one D6, adding 1 to the result if it is a KHORNE unit: on a 4+, do not remove it from play. That destroyed model can fight after the attacking model’s unit has finished making its attacks, and is then removed from play.
SKINSHIFT
1CP
Slaves to Darkness – Epic Deed Stratagem
With the Dark Gods and the powers of the warp on their side, Chaos Space Marines can cheat death altogether. Their foes look on in horror as killing wounds knit themselves together in a cacophony of hideous cracks and squelches and shattered armour reforms. After such a blessing, the Heretic Astartes are both something far greater, and far less, than what they once were.
WHEN: Your Command phase.

TARGET: One HERETIC ASTARTES unit from your army.

EFFECT: One model in your unit regains up to 3 lost wounds. In addition, if your unit is a TZEENTCH unit below its Starting Strength, one destroyed model (excluding CHARACTER models) is returned to your unit with its full wounds remaining.
UNNATURAL SWIFTNESS
1CP
Slaves to Darkness – Strategic Ploy Stratagem
Some Heretic Astartes appear to move with a speed that should be impossible, weapons and bodies seemingly moving from one place to another in the blink of an eye.
WHEN: Your Movement phase.

TARGET: One HERETIC ASTARTES unit from your army.

EFFECT: Until the end of the turn, your unit is eligible to shoot and declare a charge in a turn in which it Fell Back. In addition, if your unit is a SLAANESH unit, until the end of the turn, your unit is eligible to shoot and declare a charge in a turn in which it Advanced.
DARK OBSCURATION
1CP
Slaves to Darkness – Strategic Ploy Stratagem
Choking fogs echoing with the screams of tortured souls; dense clouds of bloated flies; deluges of bloody rain; whirlwinds of coruscating flames blazing in a thousand hues. Such warp-born phenomena can appear on the battlefield in an instant, and disappear just as quickly. All serve to obscure the Heretic Astartes from their terrified foes.
WHEN: Your opponent’s Shooting phase, just after an enemy unit has selected its targets.

TARGET: One HERETIC ASTARTES unit from your army that was selected as the target of one or more of the attacking unit’s attacks.

EFFECT: Until the end of the phase, your unit has the Stealth ability. In addition, if your unit is a NURGLE unit, until the end of the phase, your unit can only be selected as the target of a ranged attack if the attacking model is within 18".

Enhancements

If you are using the Slaves to Darkness Detachment rule, you can use these Slaves to Darkness Enhancements.

  • Eye of Tzeentch 40 pts

The Eye of Tzeentch is a relic that has been exposed to wild psychic energies for ten millennia. Champions who stare into the artefact’s unblinking depths can glean the secrets of the warp.

HERETIC ASTARTES TZEENTCH model only. Each time the bearer’s unit makes a Dark Pact, take a Leadership test for the bearer: if that test is passed, you gain 1CP.

  • Intoxicating Elixir 15 pts

This dispenser is filled with a self-replenishing liquid that is pumped into the bearer’s bloodstream by the pint. Some say the liquid, which grants those that partake of it unholy physical power, is a nectar distilled from Slaanesh’s own pleasure gardens, for while it heightens the bearer’s abilities, foes caught in its soporific fumes are paralysed with terror and ecstasy.

HERETIC ASTARTES SLAANESH model only. The bearer has the Feel No Pain 5+ ability. Each time the bearer shoots or fights, if the bearer’s unit made a Dark Pact this phase, after the bearer has resolved those attacks, select one enemy unit that was hit by one or more of those attacks; that enemy unit must take a Battle-shock test.

  • Liber Hereticus 40 pts

This cursed tome contains forbidden lore said to have been absorbed while the artefact consumed the minds of those who risked reading it. One with the strength to tame it can use it to empower their rituals.

HERETIC ASTARTES CHAOS UNDIVIDED model only. Each time the bearer’s unit makes a Dark Pact, that unit’s weapons gain the [LETHAL HITS] and [SUSTAINED HITS 1] ability until the end of the phase, instead of just gaining one of those abilities.

  • Orbs of Unlife 25 pts

Within these glassy spheres lurks a diluted life-eater virus. Although quick to burn out when the sphere is broken, everything nearby not touched by Nurgle’s bountiful blessings – flesh, armour and bone – finds itself consumed by the ravaging viral strain...

HERETIC ASTARTES NURGLE model only. At the end of the Fight phase, roll one D6 for every enemy unit within 6" of the bearer, adding 1 to the result if the bearer’s unit made a Dark Pact that phase: on a 4+, that enemy unit suffers D3 mortal wounds.

  • Talisman of Burning Blood 20 pts

This talisman constantly drips with thick, bubbling gore. The air around it is so heavy with the charnel stench of the slaughterhouse that it imbues the bearer’s limbs with supernatural ferocity and strength – a welcome boon to those eager to claim the worthiest skulls for Khorne.

HERETIC ASTARTES KHORNE model only. Add 1 to the Attacks and Strength characteristics of the bearer’s melee weapons. Each time the bearer’s unit makes a Dark Pact, until the end of the phase, add D3 to the Attacks and Strength characteristics of the bearer’s melee weapons instead.


Lethal Hits

Some weapons can inflict fatal injuries on any foe, no matter their resilience.

Weapons with [LETHAL HITS] in their profile are known as Lethal Hits weapons. Each time an attack is made with such a weapon, a Critical Hit automatically wounds the target.
Sustained Hits

Some weapons strike in a flurry of blows, tearing the foe apart with relentless ferocity.

Weapons with [SUSTAINED HITS X] in their profile are known as Sustained Hits weapons. Each time an attack is made with such a weapon, if a Critical Hit is rolled, that attack scores a number of additional hits on the target as denoted by ‘x’.

Example: A model makes an attack with a melee weapon with the [SUSTAINED HITS 2] ability. If the Hit roll is an unmodified 6 (a Critical Hit), then that attack scores a total of 3 hits on the target (1 from the successful Hit roll of 6, and 2 from the [SUSTAINED HITS 2] ability).

  • [SUSTAINED HITS X]: Each Critical Hit scores ‘x’ additional hits on the target.
Mortal Wounds

Some attacks are so powerful that no armour or force field can withstand their fury.

Some attacks inflict mortal wounds. Each mortal wound inflicts one point of damage on the target unit, and they are always applied one at a time. Do not make a Wound roll or saving throw (including invulnerable saving throws) against a mortal wound – just allocate it as you would any other attack and inflict damage to a model in the target unit as described below.

Unlike damage inflicted by normal attacks, excess damage from mortal wounds is not lost if the damage can be allocated to another model. Instead, keep allocating damage to another model in the target unit until either all the damage has been allocated or the target unit is destroyed.

If, when a unit is selected to shoot or fight, one or more of its attacks can inflict mortal wounds on the target, resolve any normal damage inflicted by the attacking unit’s attacks on that target before inflicting any mortal wounds on that target. If an attack inflicts mortal wounds in addition to any normal damage, but the normal damage is subsequently saved, the target unit still suffers those mortal wounds, as described above.

  • Each mortal wound inflicted on a unit causes one model in that unit to lose one wound.
  • No saving throws can be made against mortal wounds.
  • Mortal wounds inflicted by attacks always apply after any normal damage, even if that damage was saved.

The EPIC HERO keyword is used in the following Chaos Space Marines datasheets:

Dark Pacts

Beseeching the Chaos Gods with fanatical fervour, the profane champions of the Heretic Astartes pray for diabolic boons, promising the vilest of offerings in return for their power.

If your Army Faction is HERETIC ASTARTES, each time a unit with this ability is selected to shoot or fight, it can make a Dark Pact. If it does, select one of the following abilities for that unit’s weapons to gain until the end of the phase:
Each time a unit makes a Dark Pact, after it has resolved its attacks, it must take a Leadership test; if that test is failed, that unit suffers D3 mortal wounds.
LEADER

Mighty heroes fight at the forefront of battle.

Some CHARACTER units have ‘Leader’ listed on their datasheets. Such CHARACTER units are known as Leaders, and the units they can lead – known as their Bodyguard units – are listed on their datasheet.

During the Declare Battle Formations step, for each Leader in your army, if your army also includes one or more of that Leader’s Bodyguard units, you can select one of those Bodyguard units. That Leader will then attach to that Bodyguard unit for the duration of the battle and is said to be leading that unit. Each Bodyguard unit can only have one Leader attached to it.

While a Bodyguard unit contains a Leader, it is known as an Attached unit and, with the exception of rules that are triggered when units are destroyed (pg 12), it is treated as a single unit for all rules purposes. Each time an attack targets an Attached unit, until the attacking unit has resolved all of its attacks, you must use the Toughness characteristic of the Bodyguard models in that unit, even if a Leader in that unit has a different Toughness characteristic. Each time an attack sucessfully wounds an Attached unit, that attack cannot be allocated to a CHARACTER model in that unit, even if that CHARACTER model has lost one or more wounds or has already had attacks allocated to it this phase. As soon as the last Bodyguard model in an Attached unit has been destroyed, any attacks made against that unit that have yet to be allocated can then be allocated to CHARACTER models in that unit.

  • Before the battle, CHARACTER units with the Leader ability can be attached to one of their Bodyguard units to form an Attached unit.
  • Attached units can only contain one Leader.
  • Attacks cannot be allocated to CHARACTER models in Attached units.
Attached Units
Some CHARACTER units have the Leader ability, which lets them merge with other units (known as Bodyguard units) to form an Attached unit.

The Starting Strength of an Attached unit is equal to the combined Starting Strengths of all of its units (i.e. the number of models in the Leader unit added to the number of models in the Bodyguard unit). If either the Leader unit or the Bodyguard unit in an Attached unit is destroyed, the Starting Strength of the remaining unit is changed to be equal to its original Starting Strength.

Example: A Primaris Captain (Starting Strength 1) is attached to a unit of Intercessors (Starting Strength 5). This Attached unit has a Starting Strength of 6. If all the Intercessors are destroyed, the remaining Primaris Captain would revert to having a Starting Strength of 1.

For the purposes of rules that are triggered when a unit is destroyed, such rules are still triggered when one of the individual units that made up an Attached unit is destroyed (the Leader or the Bodyguard unit).

Example: If a rule awards you with 1VP each time an enemy unit is destroyed, and you target an Attached unit, you would gain 1VP if the Bodyguard unit is destroyed and 1VP if the Leader unit is destroyed (for a total of 2VP).
Embark
If a unit makes a Normal, Advance or Fall Back move, and every model in that unit ends that move within 3" of a friendly TRANSPORT model, they can embark within it. A unit cannot embark if it has already disembarked from a TRANSPORT model in the same phase. Remove the unit from the battlefield and place it to one side – it is now embarked within that TRANSPORT model. Unless otherwise stated, units cannot do anything or be affected in any way while they are embarked.

  • A unit can embark within a friendly TRANSPORT if all of its models end a Normal, Advance or Fall Back move within 3" of that TRANSPORT.
  • A unit cannot embark and disembark in the same phase.
Hit Roll
When a model makes an attack, make one Hit roll for that attack by rolling one D6. If the result of the Hit roll is greater than or equal to the attack’s Ballistic Skill (BS) characteristic (if the attack is being made with a ranged weapon) or its Weapon Skill (WS) characteristic (if the attack is being made with a melee weapon), then that Hit roll is successful and scores one hit against the target unit. Otherwise, the attack fails and the attack sequence ends.

An unmodified Hit roll of 6 is called a Critical Hit and is always successful. An unmodified Hit roll of 1 always fails. A Hit roll can never be modified by more than -1 or +1.

  • Hit Roll (Ranged Attack): A hit is scored if the D6 result equals or exceeds that attack’s BS.
  • Hit Roll (Melee Attack): A hit is scored if the D6 result equals or exceeds that attack’s WS.
  • Critical Hit: Unmodified Hit roll of 6. Always successful.
  • An unmodified Hit roll of 1 always fails.
  • A Hit roll can never be modified by more than -1 or +1.

The HERETIC ASTARTES and CHAOS UNDIVIDED keywords are used in the following Chaos Space Marines datasheets:

Wound Roll
Each time an attack scores a hit against a target unit, make a Wound roll for that attack by rolling one D6 to see if that attack successfully wounds the target unit. The result required is determined by comparing the attack’s Strength (S) characteristic with the target’s Toughness (T) characteristic, as shown below.

WOUND ROLL
ATTACK’S STRENGTH VS TARGET’S TOUGHNESSD6 RESULT REQUIRED
Strength is TWICE (or more than twice) the Toughness.
+
Strength is GREATER than the Toughness.
+
Strength is EQUAL to the Toughness.
+
Strength is LESS than the Toughness.
+
Strength is HALF (or less than half) the Toughness.
+

If the result of the Wound roll is greater than or equal to the required number shown in the table above, then that Wound roll is successful and scores one wound against the target unit. Otherwise, the attack fails and the attack sequence ends.

An unmodified Wound roll of 6 is called a Critical Wound and is always successful. An unmodified Wound roll of 1 always fails. A Wound roll can never be modified by more than -1 or +1.

  • Critical Wound: Unmodified Wound roll of 6. Always successful.
  • An unmodified Wound roll of 1 always fails.
  • A Wound roll can never be modified by more than -1 or +1.
Destroyed
Throughout a battle, models will suffer damage and be destroyed. When a model is destroyed, it is removed from the battlefield. When every model in a unit has been destroyed, that unit is destroyed.

The KHORNE keyword is used in the following Chaos Space Marines datasheets:

The TZEENTCH keyword is used in the following Chaos Space Marines datasheets:

Battleline
Starting Strength
The number of models a unit contains when it is added to your army is known as its Starting Strength.
Fall Back Moves
When a unit Falls Back, each model in that unit can make a Fall Back move by moving a distance in inches less than or equal to its Move characteristic, and when doing so you can move it within Engagement Range of enemy models, provided it does not end that move within Engagement Range of any enemy models – if this is not possible, that unit cannot Fall Back.

A unit cannot shoot or declare a charge in the same turn that it Fell Back.

Desperate Escape Tests
Unlike when making other types of move, models can move over enemy models when making a Fall Back move as if those enemy models were not there, but you must take a Desperate Escape test for each model that will do so (excluding models that are TITANIC or can FLY) before any models in that unit are moved. In addition, if a unit is Battle-shocked when it is selected to Fall Back, you must take a Desperate Escape test for every model in that unit before any are moved.

Each time you take a Desperate Escape test for a model, roll one D6. For each roll of 1-2, one model from the unit that is Falling Back is destroyed (selected by you). The same model can only ever trigger one Desperate Escape test per phase.

  • Fall Back Move: Models move up to M".
  • Units that Fall Back cannot shoot or declare a charge in the same turn.
  • Models can move over enemy models when Falling Back, but you must take Desperate Escape tests for them before they do so (excluding models that are TITANIC or can FLY).
  • If a Battle-shocked unit is selected to Fall Back, take a Desperate Escape test for every model in that unit.
  • Desperate Escape Test: Roll one D6. On a 1-2, one model from that unit is destroyed.

The SLAANESH keyword is used in the following Chaos Space Marines datasheets:

Advance Moves
When a unit Advances, make an Advance roll for that unit by rolling one D6. Add the result in inches to the Move characteristic of each model in that unit until the end of the phase. Each model in that unit can then make an Advance move by moving a distance in inches less than or equal to this total, but no model can be moved within Engagement Range of enemy models. A unit cannot shoot or declare a charge in the same turn that it Advanced.

  • Advance Move: Models move up to M+D6".
  • Cannot move within Engagement Range of any enemy models.
  • Units that Advance cannot shoot or charge this turn.
STEALTH

Some warriors are masters of disguise and concealment.

If every model in a unit has this ability, then each time a ranged attack is made against it, subtract 1 from that attack’s Hit roll.

The HERETIC ASTARTES and TZEENTCH keywords are used in the following Chaos Space Marines datasheets:

Battleline
Leadership Tests
If a rule requires you to take a Leadership test for a unit, roll 2D6: if the total is greater than or equal to the best Leadership characteristic in that unit, that test is passed. Otherwise, it is failed.

The HERETIC ASTARTES and SLAANESH keywords are used in the following Chaos Space Marines datasheets:

Feel No Pain
FEEL NO PAIN

Some warriors refuse to be laid low, even by what should be fatal wounds.

Some models have ‘Feel No Pain x+’ listed in their abilities. Each time a model with this ability suffers damage and so would lose a wound (including wounds lost due to mortal wounds), roll one D6: if the result is greater than or equal to the number denoted by ‘x’, that wound is ignored and is not lost. If a model has more than one Feel No Pain ability, you can only use one of those abilities each time that model suffers damage and so would lose a wound.

  • Feel No Pain x+: Each time this model would lose a wound, roll one D6: if the result equals or exceeds ‘x’, that wound is not lost.
2. Battle-shock
In this step, you must take a Battle-shock test for each of your units on the battlefield that is Below Half-strength. To do so, roll 2D6: if the result is greater than or equal to the best Leadership characteristic in that unit, the test is passed; otherwise, the test is failed and, until the start of your next Command phase, that unit is Battle-shocked.

While a unit is Battle-shocked:

Once you have taken Battle-shock tests for all of your units that require them, your Command phase ends and you progress to your Movement phase.

  • Take a Battle-shock test for each unit from your army on the battlefield that is Below Half-strength.
  • Roll 2D6: if the result is greater than or equal to the unit’s Leadership, the test is passed. Otherwise, the unit is Battle-shocked until the start of your next Command phase.
  • Battle-shocked units have an OC of 0 and their controlling player cannot use Stratagems to affect them.
  • Battle-shocked units must take Desperate Escape tests if they Fall Back.

The HERETIC ASTARTES and NURGLE keywords are used in the following Chaos Space Marines datasheets:

Battleline

The HERETIC ASTARTES and KHORNE keywords are used in the following Chaos Space Marines datasheets:

Army List
Datasheets collated

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