Warriors of Chaos
At the polar regions of the Warhammer World lie the Polar Gates leading to the fabled realm of Chaos. The power of Chaos spills out warping reality and creating the Chaos Wastes. Close to the gates logic and physics are almost irrelevant but further away the influence becomes more subtle. It is this influence that the tribes of the North feel. Instead of the human faith of the other religions, the Northmen worship the Gods of Chaos, Khorne, Nurgle, Tzeentch, and Slaanesh, for the boons they provide. When a Northman first attracts the notice of the Gods they will often leave their tribe and become a Warrior of Chaos. Journeying through the Northlands they seeking renown and signs of divine favour. Banding with others or striking out on their own they tale what they need and respect only those strong enough to win.
If the Gods take notice they might grant rewards or mutations to the Warrior elevating them to an Exalted Hero or even Chaos Lord. However, this is but another test. Each mutation causes the tribesman to lose his identity, his humanity. If they possess the will to survive despite these changes the rewards are great; lesser Warriors will flock to the hero bringing power and wealth and the strongest few ascend to be a Daemon Prince and sit at the side of honoured ancestors and the Gods themselves. Those who lack the will lose both their mind and form becoming an idiot Spawn of Chaos. Strong enough or not any who walk the path are no longer truly human. Usually the followers of the Gods fight amongst themselves in endless betrayals and feuds; however the strongest heroes might hold together an army that threatens even civilised lands and when the Gods call even Daemon Princes will band together.
Most units can be dedicated to one of the four major Gods of Chaos granting them one or more special rules, such as Frenzy fo Khorne or a bonus to cast for Tzeentch.
Gifts of the Gods
In addition to both the magic items form the main rule book and some unique items, many characters have access to a separate allowance for Gifts of the Gods granting powerful mutations or boons including weakening enemy attacks and re-rolling casting dice.
Eye of the Gods
Chaos Warriors seek to gain the notice of their gods by defeating their enemies in glorious combat and slaying mighty beasts. If a character kills an enemy in a challenge or a large target they receive a randomly generated upgrade including +1 to a stat or a 4+ Ward save; however the majesty of Chaos may overwhelm them causing Stupidity.
Chaos Lords have exceptional close combat skills, exceptional toughness, and high wounds. Combined with access to an extensive armoury a Lord is a match for anything he may face and my be designed to take on tough opponents single-handed or decimate units. The bigest downside is that you are paying a premium for an efficient killer who is wasted out of combat. However, as Lords can be mounted on a choice of Barded Chaos Steed (with a better stat line than a Warhorse), Chariot, Daemonic Steed, Manticore, or Dragon, and Marked Lords can also be mounted on a steed allied with their patron (such has a Juggernaut or Disc of Tzeentch) getting into combat quickly is not usually an issue.
Beginning as a Level 3 wizard with the ability to upgrade to Level 4, Sorcerer Lords are powerful spell casters. Marked Sorcerer Lords use their patron's Lore whilst unmarked Sorcerer Lords chose from the Lores of Fire, Death, Shadow, and Heavens. With access to the same mounts as a Chaos Lord they can easily be equipped to have the manoeuvrability and enhanced line of sight to cover the battlefield. In addition, with a stat line equal to an average hero and 4+ armour as standard they can hold their own if they do end up in combat so can even serve as a fighting general if you do not want or cannot afford a Chaos Lord as well.
A Terrifying monster that can fly and be given up to four magic levels, the Daemon Prince can fill the role of either of the mortal Lords. However, without access to magic items it cannot be customised as easily as a Chaos Lord and, being great in close combat is always choosing between not fighting and not casting as a Wizard. For these reasons it functions better alongside another character, either as as a touch of magic in an extreme close combat army or as a front-lone caster in a magic heavy army.
With a statline equivalent to many army's Lords, Exalted Heroes can easily fill the role of character or monster killer leaving Lord slot free for a Sorcerer Lord. Alternatively their access to powerful defensive items can create a resilient Battle Standard Bearer.
Starting as a Level 1 Wizard with an upgrade to Level 2 and a statline only slightly below an average hero, Sorcerers can fill the same role as Sorcerer Lords on a smaller scale, including being General in a small army. However, without most of the mount options and with unmarked Sorcerers limited to the Lores of Fire and Death, Sorcerers function best in larger armies as support units.
Lord of the End Times. A Chaos Lord blessed by all the Chaos Powers, accompanied by an upgraded unit of Chaos Knights. For those occasions when you want to burn the world.
A Flying princess of Khorne who reduces the attacks and strength of her opponents and lets you reroll failed Break tests the Eye of the Gods.
An Alchemist of Nurgle, Festus is a Level 2 wizard grants 5+ Regeneration and poisoned attacks to his unit making him an excellent addition to lighter armoured units such as Marauders. However his statline is weak (especially compared to everything else in the army) and reduces his unit's pursuit distance so can have issues with both prolonged combat and broken foes.
A Level 4 Sorcerer Lord of Tzeentch with a better statline making him even more match for a combat character. Also if you opponent fails to cast a spell, Vilich gains dice to his dispel pool so can force you opponent to use up their power dice on fewer spells.
A Chaos Lord of Slaanesh with many more attacks, who is so beautiful dangerous terrain moves out of the way of his unit. However he is so vain he suffers from Stupidity.
A Marauder Warlord with the ability to enter the battlefield from your opponent's edge accompanied by a unit of Marauders, Wulfrik can catch the enemy between two battle lines. He wanders the world seeking worthy opponents so has the ability to pick an enemy character as his target for the game and gain bonuses against that opponent. However with only a Hero's statline and lacking a magic weapon his target cannot be too ambitous.
The original two-headed Dragon with a breath attack for each head and another for luck is Terrifying inand out of cose combat. As a Level 4 Wizard it can spread the carnage across another phase. However, this also bring the same issue as a Daemon Prince, whether to forgo casting or close combat.
A smart Troll who allows Ogres, Trolls or Dragon Ogres to use his Leadership 7 as if he is General and reroll break tests as if he is a Battle Standard Bearer. As well as good close combat stats and Regeneration, he has a breath attack and a magical vomit attack so can deal with mundane or ethereal units just as as easily.
A Dragon Ogre Shaggoth with a magical weapon that causes multiple wounds, so Kholek is more than a match in close combat for any character or monster. Like all Dragon Ogres he takes no damage and becomes Frenzied when hit with lightning based attacks; however he may also redirect any lightning based spells targeting units within 12" so they target him instead and attempt to throw lightning himself. Unfortunately he is an obvious target without a ward save so can struggle to reach combat.
With two WS5 Strength 4 attacks at Initiative 5 and 4+ armour save before upgrades, Warriors are the equal of most special choices from other armies. The closest thing to a weakness is that they are infantry so need to slog across the battlefield through enemy fire to reach their targets.In addition, each one can be tailor made to the task at hand: if a 4+ AS is not good enough then add a shield; if you expect to fight really tough opponents then take a great weapon; want to pack a punch without sacrificing your initiative then take halberds.
Compared to Warriors, Marauders are a cheap unit. Compared to other armies they have good stats for a Core unit. With the option to add great weapons, flails, light armour and shields, they can also be upgraded to fill more than one role. Without several upgrades they are cheap enough to run as a Horde.
Without upgrades Horsemen are Fast Cavalry and have the same above average combat ability as their fellows, so can put pressure on your opponent from turn one and can be given flails to make them a real threat to anything they encounter. With the ability to take either throwing spears or throwing axes they can also harry the flanks with little risk. With the addition of both Shields and Light Armour they cease to be Fast Cavalry but become a cheaper alternative to Chaos Knights.
Warhounds are fast moving and cheap so can be used to draw fire from your expensive units while they advance or race up the flanks to add flanking or rear support to your main units. With the option to take an armour save and poison your attacks they can be configured to pose a risk to war machines and other mostly ranged units. However, Warhounds do not count towards the minimum number of units for a valid army.
As heavily armoured as Warriors and with the same options but a better stat line, Chosen are similar to a unit of heroes. With the addition of a free roll on Eye of the Gods table and the option to give the Champion a Magic Item they are easily worth their points. However, their cost limits their size so they will probably be outnumbered even by elite units.
Knights are the Chosen of the heavy cavalry world. As well as an excellent stat line and a 1+ armour save, their basic equipment includes a +1 strength magical weapon which makes them excellent against ethereal units. Alternatively it can be swapped for a lance to give their charge even more punch if your opponent is likely to be heavily armoured opponents. However, you are paying for their ability so a unit large enough to function well without support against larger units is very expensive.
With a higher Movement than Chosen and a random number of attacks for roughly the same cost, Forsaken are capable of putting out enough damage to wipe out an enemy that would survive against their fellows; however with a lower weapon skill and armour save and no available upgrades they are less effective against elite units.
With the statline of several Chaos Warriors and Impact hits, a Chariot hits hard and can also be taken as the mount of a character. However, like Chaos Knights, Chariots are better on the offence than the defence so do not fare well if unsupported especially in protracted combats.
Monstrous Infantry that can be given 4+ Armour save. With a poor initiative to begin with they also lose little if given great weapons. And, unlike the other Monstrous units can be given full command. With a slightly lower damage output and slightly higher survivability than three Chosen for the same cost Ogres can function as a more defensive close combat unit.
4 Wound Monstrous Beasts who move as fast as Chaos Knights with a higher strength. With the option to take either an additional hand weapon or a great weapons they can either be equipped to kill elite units or take on monsters.
With a good movement, a magical vomit attack that ignores armour, and Regeneration that can gain them rolls on the Eye of the Gods, Trolls can handle many different opponents with ease. However they suffer from Stupidity and a have a very low Leadership so need babysitting to achieve anything.
A mindless flailing mass of limbs with random movement and random attacks. At their best they launch many attacks into an unprepared enemy; at their worst they wander away from the battle at a critical moment. A true Chaos unit.
A unique Chaos Spawn "blessed" by Khorne with faster movement, more attacks, Magical Resistance, and the ability to participate in challenges and roll on the Eye of the Gods. However he can still wander off when you need him.
A mobile altar which grants all unit Champions the ability to roll on the Eye of the Gods table if they win a challenge or kill a large target, and can give a blessing to one unit each turn. With many wounds a high toughness, and both good Armour and Ward Saves it is resilient and can deal some wounds. However it is more useful for support than killing so takes up points that could be spent on offence if you want a more brutal army.
A Giant Stone Thrower possessed by a Daemon or a Monster that can shoot, the Hellcannon adds a solid War machine without giving up close combat ability. However, the Daemon seeks to be tear down the world so the Hellcannon can decide to rampage forward uncontrollably or cause all magic users to miscast.
A larger, more dangerous Dragon Ogre. However, as with Kholek, is a tempting target for enemy fire.
Unsurprisingly Giants are large. They are also Stubborn and Immune to Psychology. However their attacks are randomly determined ranging from automatically winning combat to attempting to stuff an enemy in his trousers so Giants do not always fit well with a complex plan. Lacking a save they are also very vulnerable to ranged fire and overwhelming numbers.
A multi-part plastic Chaos Lord/Sorcerer on Manticore kit and two plastic Chaos Sorcerers on foot are available and several characters are available in Finecast. No Chaos Lord on Dragon is available, although the Manticore riders or Chaos Knights can be easily fitted to a dragon kit from another army.
All the Core choices are available in plastic. The models are high quality,; however the Marauder warriors are older and many feel rather ugly looking and (being bulkier than Chaos Warriors) can look oversized. In addition, not all of the Weapons options are available in the sprue: however these are available either as online bitz packs (halberds and great weapons for Warriors) or with an easy conversion (Halberds from Chaos Knight Lances for Warriors, and flails to great weapons for Marauders).
Chaos Knights are available in a high quality plastic kit. Most of the remaining Special Choices are currently metal; however both Ogres and Trolls from other armies are available in plastic so can easily be converted to Chaos and Chosen can be converted from Warriors. Forsaken are not released yet, although again they can easily be converted from Chaos Warriors. The worst models by far in the Chaos range (perhaps in the Games Workshop range) are Dragon Ogres; however there are several ways to convert alternatives.
The Giant and Spawn are available in plastic kits with many optional parts. The Shaggoth and Hellcannon are available in Finecast. The War Shrine is not released yet but can be converted from a Chariot or other models.
Overall the range has plenty of opportunities for conversion but does not require it to field an effective army.
Everything in the army (including Wizards) is very good in Close Combat for its point cost allowing you to build a lethal close combat army. However - while you will outclass almost everything that an opponent can throw at you - many units are expensive so you will often be outnumbered, allowing your opponent to outmanoeuvre and make each casualty expensive, so it is better to compete in other phases as well. As the Army Book was written for 7th Edition, Chaos Magic lacks the ability to cast spells at different levels. However, as befits power taken from the Realm of Chaos is still effective, either buffing units (such as Regeneration or making a Rank and File Trooper a Hero) or destroying the enemy (such as making a unit attack itself, or even opening a portal beneath them). Magic Items and Gifts of the Gods also allow a Chaos Army to re-roll casting dice and control the severity of miscasts saving your own wizards and dooming your opponents. With the addition of the Hellcannon, Chaos can also have a passable Shooting Phase.
The number of strong units available for Chaos mean that you can choose to field a mixture, or focus on a theme (such as heavy armour). With most units having more than one useful set-up you can easily build an army to counter any opponent.
Most of the plastic sets come with plenty of extra parts and can be interchanged with little or no cutting. As many chaos weapons and abilties stem from the Gods of Chaos any spare parts or even sprue can become powerful upgrades.
Warriors of Chaos are an army that not only trives but must get into close combat.
With many varied units that function well on the table the army lends itself both to players who want a winning force and players whose primary focus is modelling and painting.