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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Seeing that there are questions about how to equip Chaos Warriors and myself frantically shouting Great Weapons!!1!one! I thought Id make a spot about pros and cons with different options on them iron-clad murderers from the northern wastes...

The article contains the following parts in their given order
Basic Facts
Deployment and Unit size
Weapon Options
Marks and other Boons
Simulated combat(loooong part)

Basic Facts:
The basic Chaos Warrior unit(10 murderers) clocks in at 160 pts. Yes 160, not 150. Chaos Warriors must buy at least one upgrade from their equipment options. 10 ones with shields (more about different equipment further down in the article) costs more then, for example, 20 DE warriors with Full Command and Shields. Almost every single game will see your Warriors outnumbered by the enemy, so going toe to toe with the same numbers will not work here due to the high price tag (if you want to play that way then buy Marauders instead). So how should you do to make the best out of your points spent on the Warriors? This is done by maximising your Active Combat Resolution (ACR) and leaving your Static Combat Resolution(SCR) at a fairly minimal value. What does those terms that mean?
ACR = Combat Resolution gained from killing things, aka wounds caused.
SCR = Combat Resolution gained from fixed bonuses like ranks, banner and outnumbering.
SCR is best gotten in units with cheap models. Paying 35 points per rank in a 20 man strong unit is ok. Paying 80 per rank is rarely worth it after the second (320 pts for 20, with minimal weapon options and without command or marks, easily leaping towards 400 pts with those chosen). You are a lot better of with a completely new unit instead of filling out the ranks fully on a unit Chaos Warriors.
This leaves you with ACR as your battle plan with the Warriors, so lets have a look on how that can win the dark powers the day.

Examples here are based at the assumption that the enemy ranks 5 wide to prevent you from getting even more attacks against him, as the wise player would do. Deploy your Warriors 6 or 7 wide which is decided on what you play against, and how he ranks up his units. If you play against 20mm bases(the small ones) you rank 6 wide to maximise the number of attacks you can dish out in combat. If you play against 25mm bases(the ones you are on yourself) you rank 7 wide to maximise attacks against them. Since SCR is too expensive for you dont stop at 5 models wide, it wont do you any good, it will only lower your attack amount.

Unit size 10+:
Standard Core unit size, at least for elite core units. I suggest 12 here out of a few reasons. Against 20mm bases you will have 2 full ranks which looks good and gives you 1 SCR, and 6 bullet catchers before you start losing attacks. 12 can also be made into 7+5 which admittedly will look a bit weird but still renders roughly the same results. 1 rank and 5 ablative wounds which means more attacks but 1 less guy spare.

Weapon Options (Verdict is reached through the combat simulation below):
The mandatory upgrade. Helps your Warriors reaching the opponents lines in more intact formations thanks to bonus-save. Also allows you to hide behind the shields when you receive charges for a sweet 2+ save, thanks to Hand weapon+Shield rule. Nothing to be sniffed at!
Verdict: Chaos Warriors costs so much points that its a lot better investing a few more points in them to make sure more of them reach the opponent, then being cheap and end up with a too weak unit at the enemies mercy. Dont leave the Chaos Wastes without!

Additional Hand Weapon:
Lets you roll another S4 attack on each fighting Warrior. This will very quickly give you a huge amount of attacks, even more so when combined with Mark of Khorne. This is of course fun, rolling more dice is always more fun then rolling fewer, even more so when every one of those dice has a chance of killing things! The key part here is “chance” to kill, and this is sadly where XHW fails. All those attacks are at S4 -1 AS which makes them a lot less impressive, the intimidation factor of picking up some 25ish dice is sure big, but any player with some routine will call your bluff quickly. The S4 is decent against elves and other T3 models with weak saves but against tough opponents a huge portion of your attacks will bounce of, leaving you robbed of kills.
Verdict: Extremely situational, almost requires tailored list against low T armies to be effective, and even then they wont shine. The worst weapon option available.

Exchanging more weapons for a bigger one is often tempting. Pros of getting Halberds are that your attacks will be thrown at S5 -2 AS, but still in order of initiative. You get higher amount of wounds/attack that hits, and on top of that at better save modifier, thus also making the enemy fail more saves. In drawn out grind-fests you will also fight in initiative order every round, which quite often will see you start, quite often leaving very few opponents left to strike back.
Verdict: In almost all cases better then the Additional Hand Weapon option above. More solid and predictable killing power which will prove itself useful in many cases. If you know youre up against a lot of unit grinding(like Undeads) these will shine.

Great Weapon:
The Great Weapons does, just like the name implies, great damage with their S6 -3 AS attacks, though at the price of always strikes last(except when charging). The “always strike last” detail is the difference here between them and the Halberds. They also costs twice the amount of points as the other options, making your Warriors more expensive.
Verdict: If you want to make sure that as many enemies as possible lay still after being hit, regardless of other facts, then Great Weapons are the pick you should take. Clearly highest kill/hit ratio.

The 4 different Gods of Chaos and their Boons
Mark of Slaanesh:
Immune to Psychology for the same price as a Shield on your Chaos Lord? A great deal! Unless you are going for another mark, or a very themed army you should take MoS on your Warriors. A test you dont need to take is a test you can not fail!

Mark of Tzeentch:
Twice the cost of the Slaanesh mark. Tzeentch provides a 6+ Wardsave for the unit, which can be a blessing if youre lucky with the dice, and a huge annoyance for your opponent.
A special note here should also go to the Blasted Standard. Combined with MoT you will have 4+ ward save against all hits in the shooting phase, which drastically will reduce losses from shooting.

Mark of Nurgle:
Ticking in at 3 times the Slaanesh mark, Father Nurgle provides the Warriors with another form of survivability. All units attacking the Warriors will have their WS or BS reduced by 1. The effect is bigger against shooting then close combat, mainly thanks to the Warriors already high WS, but Swordmasters or similar WS 6 units/heroes wont like it at all.
If you go for MoN you should take a look at the Festering Shroud if you have points spare, it can be a fun and useful surprise, specially against T3 opponents

Mark of Khorne:
Tied in cost with MoN the Blood God provides his Warriors with Frenzy. This is a mixed blessing, you get a lot bigger killing potential and Immune to Psychology, but can be led astray since you must charge while the Frenzy lasts. The sheer killing boost this mark provides makes it a tempting option in many cases, as will show in the simulated combat part of the article.

Magical Standards:
There are a bunch of different magical standards available to the Chaos Warriors, Im only going to sum up the ones I consider most worth taking. Top 2 of those are the classical Warbanner, and the WoC specific Raptorus Standard. Both are very cheap and really contributes in their own ways. Warbanner is good against everything, while the Raptorus Standard is more situational. Personally Id take Warbanner first-hand though since it helps you win combats, thus lets you skip taking breaktests more often. A test you dont need to take is a test that is, once again, impossible to fail.

Combat Simulation(aka how will my unit of choice do on the field of battle):
Combat will be simulated against 4 different units. The Warriors are assumed to be 12 strong, have Full Command and fighting with the equipment stated. A special note will also be mentioned for MoK on each example. Warriors are always assumed to be ranked for maximum attacks. Champions in either units are always assumed to die last of the fighting rank members.
The 4 victim types and their relevant stats.
1.Empire Swordmen (WS4 T3 4+ AS unit, LD7 , 20 strong w Full Command), basically standard decent fighting units of many armies.
2.Dwarf Ironbreakers (WS5 T4 2+AS unit, LD9, 20 strong w Full Command), one of the hardest nuts in the game to crack while talking infantry.
3.Empire Cavalry (WS4 T3 1+ AS unit, LD8, 10 strong w Full Command), fairly standard cavalry unit.
4.Blood Knights (WS5 T4 2+AS unit, Undeads, 5 strong w Full Command), the hardest hitting cavalry in the game.

You charge Victims Mk1(Empire Swordmen).
Hand Weapon and Shield will kill 3,85 victims, taking 0,03 wounds back , thus winning combat with 0,82 pts. MoK will make this 5,63 victims dead and 0 losses instead which leads to a win with 2,63 pts.
Additional Hand Weapon will kill 5,63 and will just like the MoK example above win by 2,63 pts. MoK with XHW will kill 7,4 victims, winning combat with 4,4.
Halberds will kill 6,02 humans, no hits in return, and win by 3,02 pts. MoK will see 8,8 victims fall and win by 5,8pts.
Great Weapons will kill 7,22 victims, no hits in return and win by 4,22. MoK will see 10,56 victims fall and the win go to its top here at 9,56(you have outnumber here too!).

Victims Mk1(Empire Swordmen) charges you.
Hand Weapon and Shield suffers 0,17 wounds and deals 3,75 wounds back, winning combat by 0,52 pts. MoK will suffer 0,17 dead too but kill 5,48 victims and win by 2,48 pts.
Additional Hand Weapon suffers 0,5 wounds before dealing 5,19 wounds back which leaves you ahead by 1,69 pts. MoK suffers the same 0,5 dead before felling 6,81 victims and winning combat by 3,31.
Halberds suffers 0,5 wounds before dealing 5,56 lethal blows back, winning by 2,06. MoK will raise the kills to 8,1 and win by 4,6.
Great Weapons suffers 0,5 wounds before dealing 6,66 (actually 6,67 but metal rules so thats a lot more fun to write!) killing blows. Combat is won by 3,16. MoK will increase victim-count to 9,72 which wins you outnumbering again and combat by 8,72!

You charge Victims Mk2(Dwarf Ironbreakers).
Hand Weapon and Shield will kill 1,08 stunties while taking 0,41 wounds in return. Combat is lost by 2,33 pts. MoK increases the number of victims to 1,58 and takes 0,37 wounds back. Combat is lost by 1,79 this time and you lose frenzy, thus you end at the non MoK numbers from now on.
Additional Hand Weapon claims 1,58 victims and takes 0,74 wounds back. Combat is once lost by 2,16. MoK increases the kill-count to 2,08 Dwarfs while suffering 0,65 casualties and losing combat with 1,57 and once again ending their frenzy.
Halberds will kill 2,17 victims and suffer 0,64 losses in return. Combat is lost by 1,47. MoK polishes the numbers to 3,17 decapitated Dwarfs and the losses to 0,47 Warriors which means combat is lost by 0,3 pts. With very little above average luck your Warriors will win combat here the first important round which will make this a long, but in the end won, grind-fest.
Great Weapons will kill 3,61 victims and suffer 0,4 dead in return which means that you won combat by 0,21 pts! MoK will change the numbers into 5,28 butchered beardlings and no lost wound in return, thus winning combat with 2,28 pts!

Victims Mk2(Dwarf Ironbreakers) charges you (eey! Stranger things has happened, honest).
Hand Weapon and Shield suffers 0,5 wounds and deals 1 wound back, losing combat by 2,5. MoK takes same losses but deals 1,46 wounds back, which leaves combat lost by 2,04, robbing you of frenzy for the rest of the game.
Additional Hand Weapon suffers 1 wound before dealing 1,33 wounds back. Combat is lost by 2,67. MoK increases the numbers of dead Dwarfs into 1,75 but combat is still lost by 2,25, once again the Dwarfs beat sense into your Warriors.
Halberds suffers 1 wound before killing 1,83 victims and lose combat by 2,17. MoK increases the number of dead Dwarfs to 2,67. Combat is still lost though by 1,33 and your frenzy is gone.
Great Weapons suffers 1 wound before dealing 3,06 wounds back, ending combat at a loss of 0,94. MoK boosts the butchered dwarf number to 4,44 and actually wins combat by 0,44, yay!

You charge Victims Mk3(Empire Cavalry).
Hand Weapon and Shield will kill 1,11 Knights while taking 0,25 wounds in return from both riders and steeds which will lose you combat by 0,14. MoK increases your numbers to 1,63 dead Knights with 0,21 dead Warriors back and combat is won by 0,42 pts.
Additional Hand Weapon claims 1,63 victims and takes 0,64 wounds back, narrowly losing combat by 0,01 pts! MoK will swing the balance to the Warriors favour with 2,15 victims killed for 0,56 losses back, ending combat with the Warriors winning by 0,59 pts.
Halberds will kill 2,78 victims and suffer 0,46 losses in return which gives a win by 1,32 pts. MoK will increase the difference to 4,07 killed Knights and receiving 0,24 wounds back. Combat is this time won by 2,83 pts.
Great Weapons will kill 4,17 victims and suffer 0,22 dead in return which results in a win by 2,95. MoK will change this to an even bigger win with 6,11 killed and no wounds caused in return, the result ends with you winning with 7,11 pts (once again you killed enough to get outnumber)!

Victims Mk3(Empire Cavalry) charges you.
Hand Weapon and Shield suffers 1,14 wounds and deals 0,7 wounds back and combat is lost by 1,44 pts. MoK also suffers 1,14 wounds but deals 1,38 wounds in return, combat is still lost however by 0,76 and the frenzy-fun is over.
Additional Hand Weapon suffers 2,09 wounds before dealing 1,17 wounds back. The victims stays superior and win by 1,92. MoK sees 1,53 victims fall before their blades, but combat, and frenzy, is still lost, this time by 1,56.
Halberds suffers 2,09 wounds before dealing 2 wounds back, losing combat with 1,09 pts. MoK changes this to 2,91 killed Knights, ending combat at a loss by 0,18, which can be a win with only a little luck.
Great Weapons receives 2,09 wounds before killing 3 victims back. Combat is still lost though, but only by 0,09 pts, also clearly winnable with a little luck! MoK swings the great axes for the win, killing 4,37 victims back, and this time the Warriors win combat by 1,28 pts!

You charge Victims Mk4(Blood Knights).
Hand Weapon and Shield will kill 1,25 riding dead while taking 2,67 wounds in return, winning combat with 0,58. MoK increases the number of victims slain to 1,83 before suffering 2,28 dead in return which leads to a win with 1,55.
Additional Hand Weapon claims 1,83 victims and takes 3,98 losses back while charging(!), combat is lost by 0,15 while charging. MoK boosts your kills to 2,42 riding vampires before suffering 3,29 wounds in return. Combat is won by 1,13 pts.
Halberds knocks 2,5 riding dead down and suffer 3,19 losses in return, leaving combat result at a win with 1,31. MoK will enhance the results to 3,67 kills for 1,83 wounds back. Combat is won with 3,84, quite likely crumbling the rest.
Great Weapons will kill 4,17 fanged riders and suffer 1,25 dead in return and combat is won by 4,92. MoK wrecks greater havoc with 6,11 killed, nothing left to fight back and a neat overrun move!

Victims Mk4(Blood Knights) charges you(auch time!).
Hand Weapon and Shield suffers 7,64 wounds and deals nothing back since the whole front is dead. Yes this was the “defensive” set-up that “only” suffered 7,64 wounds, I think we can stop here...

Chaos Warriors must kill themselves to victory against most other units, and this is best done with the biggest possible weapon, the Great Weapon. Nothing compares to the killing power of those Great Weapons and this difference is even more noticeable with MoK. The higher the S of the attack the better it scales with more number of attacks. Against lighter armoured opponents the Halberd can achieve roughly the same results, but once the targets either becomes cavalry, has T4, or even worse a combination of the 2 then Halberds falter too. Additional Hand Weapons are always the worst option, the only time it will be “best” is against non-armoured T2 models(zombies), that is nothing to design units for though.
Another interesting detail is that against many opponents its better to just suck his caused wounds up the hard way, and kill him back properly. This also holds even more true with MoK. You will lose Frenzy as soon as you lose combat, so why not make the most out of it while you can? As a sidenote it should be understood that Warriors by no means are invincible in CC, just like the Blood Knight example showed these units are vulnerable to hard hitting shock troops, so guard them well.
Mark of Khorne is a huge boon when calculating killing power, however frenzied units can easily be baited by flyers/skirmishers/fast cavalry/whatnot. If the unit is used good it can turn the tide of battle alone, if not controlled the whole unit can be useless the whole battle, baited far away from the action. MoS or MoK are the 2 marks to go for, unless you go for a themed mono-god-list, pick the one that fits your style of play the best.
The humble Warbanner is a really solid addition to a Warrior unit, 1 SCR for the same price as a Collar of Khorne is always worth it, even more so when your ranks costs minimum 80 pts each!

The favoured Chaos Warrior unit should look somewhat like this:
12 Warriors with Shields and Great Weapons, MoS/MoK, Full Command, Warbanner (281/301 pts)

3,063 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
The Chosen Section

Tactica Chosen Warriors
As a side article to the “Tactica Chaos Warriors” I feel like a Chosen section is needed, however just doing a little side note would not fit, so I decided to write this up as a second article about the Warriors subject.
Everything written about the normal Chaos Warriors apply to the Chosen too, how to best equip them and their numbers and the rest. Equip them according to their status. They cost so much that not equipping them fully is a waste, and XHW will, unless youre lucky, be an even worse pick here then on the normal Warriors (since the Chosen can become so extremely dangerous in close combat). Chosen shall have a mark, there simply aint a reason not to give them that, MoS/MoK preferably, and a magical banner is damn good too.
So, are those extra 30 points worth it? Exactly how big are those differences?

Statline Differences:
First noticeable detail is WS 6. This might both look, and seem like a cosmetic difference but that is very far from true. There are 3 units in the whole game with WS 6 (Chosen, Wardancers, Swordmasters), this extra point will mean that you (ignoring special rules) hit all other units in the game on 3+ and this makes a huge difference. If we look at the Ironbreaker combat simulation in the normal Chaos Warrior tactica, Chosen with Great Weapons will slaughter 4,81 Dwarfs, thus killing more of the hardest infantry in the game without MoK, or any beneficial “Eye of the Gods” roll, then normal Warriors with MoK (they killed 4,44). With MoK those numbers raise to 7,04 killed Beardlings, which can reach even higher with certain “Eye of the Gods” results. WS 6 is a big difference to say the least.

Eye of the Gods:
The Chosen starts the game with 1 roll on the “Eye of the Gods” table, so how about it? Is that any good? Of course it is, albeit random to say the least, so what can be done here? By some miraculously nifty reason the Champion in a Chosen unit can have magical items for 25 pts. The “Favour of the Gods”, which happens to be dirt cheap, lets you add or subtract 1 to rolls the Favoured makes on the “Eye of the Gods” table, and combined with the specially noted exception to the normal “no re rolls of a re rolled dice rule” Chosen have on this pre-battle-roll this can lead to some control over the results on the table. The Favour changes the number of outcomes you can reroll from 7/36 to 19/36. Yes that is over 50% of all results. Quite neat, right?
So which rolls are “keepers” then?
Insanity: Thankfully you can reroll this until you get another result.
Unholy Resilience: +1T is probably the second best option on the table. The chance of getting this with the favour is tripled, from 1/18 to 1/6. Splendid!
Slaughterers Strength: +1S is good stuff, however if you already have GWs on the Chosen its not as huge a boon as other results, getting this on MoK Chosen with XHW would actually make them XHWs really good. Sadly they will still suck if you fail, and Halberds will gain as much, if not more form this boon anyway.
Razor-Sharp Horns: +1A is always nice, see MoK versions of combat simulation why. Fits all weapon build versions, but naturally scales better with bigger weapons. Id personally call this the 3d best option, 4 A with GWs per Chosen is awesome!
Iron-hard Skin: +1AS is also always good, against any opponent. 1+AS infantry is fun!
The Eye is Closed: Can thankfully also be re rolled until another result is obtained.
Flames of Chaos: Probably the worst of the results on the list. Extremely opponent dependent. Can be a source of huge joy against specific armies though.
Command of the Gods: LD9 is good stuff, but since you should have either MoS or MoK imho this will only apply to break tests, and you aint supposed to take those with Chosen, you should force the opponent to take them!
Fearsome Aura: Competing with Flames of the worst result. You are seldom many enough to auto break enemies with fear, and you should be ITP yourself.
Terrifying Appearance: Terror is good, its always good, however if you roll this result and have a Favour(which you should have) you can instead get...
Divine Greatness: 4+ ward save and stubborn on the unit? HELL YES! Where do I sign up? This is by far the best option available, which is 1/12 of getting with a Favour instead of 1/36 normally.

Which situations favour the favoured ones:
Chosen are even more costly then the normal Warriors but does pack an even harder punch for the price. When are they worth it then?
First detail is this: If you use the Favour of the Gods on one of your Heroes (most likely your Chaos Lord) you should stay away from them. The Favour will give a really big control over the results (relatively speaking), which is something to take into account.
The second detail is naturally the “special slot” detail. This will probably not be a huge problem in a normal 2000/2250 pts battle since everything with Chaos Armour costs a lot of points, but some builds eat up their specials quickly.
If you decide to run a Sorcerer Lord as your Lord then these guys will probably be ace. Even fewer things enjoy trying to get that Sorcerer whilst standing with these guys, and since you dont have a Chaos Lord the Favour is most likely unused. Same detail about the favour would probably go if you play a Daemon Prince as Lord.
Multiple units will probably not be worth it ever (unless you consider yourself really lucky with the rolls) since there is only one Favour, and the predictability it offers is too good to pass down. On the other hand its dubious that you will have many special slots spare to Chosen units with the other options available there...

Honourable mentions:
Valkia the Bloody: Re-roll the EotG roll can be very nice indeed, if you combine this with the "Favour of the Gods" you should have very high control over the given result. If you already use her in your list then do upgrade a Warrior unit to Chosen, it will be worth it!
Chaos Warshrine: This also has better synergy with Chosen w Favour then normal Warriors since you can modify the results to more interesting boons, you also have one less possible result since you already have one result. However this will be a bit of an "all eggs in one basket" syndrome, normal Warriors will (though more random in the result) also greatly benefit from a roll on the EotG table. It can make for one damn sweet deathstar unit though:grin:

If you have 35 points over, a normal Warrior unit in the army, a special slot spare and the Favour unused you should test to upgrade the Warriors to Chosen, I bet you will like the result :wink:

320 Posts
Great read, MM!

I've got a question: How do Chosen perform with Valkia? Or how about one or more Chaos Warshrines? What's the consensus?

Also, would a unit of 12 Chosen still be optimum? I can agree on the Shield and Great Weapon combo for these guys, so props to you, MM!:grin:

I'd figure for the points, the extra support either of the cases present could be valuable. Re-rolling on the EotG, one of the big pushes for choosing Chosen, enhances the value they provide for your army as a whole.

3,063 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Great read, MM!

I've got a question: How do Chosen perform with Valkia? Or how about one or more Chaos Warshrines? What's the consensus?

Also, would a unit of 12 Chosen still be optimum? I can agree on the Shield and Great Weapon combo for these guys, so props to you, MM!:grin:

I'd figure for the points, the extra support either of the cases present could be valuable. Re-rolling on the EotG, one of the big pushes for choosing Chosen, enhances the value they provide for your army as a whole.
Thanks a lot!

I have never thought about Valkia since my gamingclub has a general consensus not to use SCs, but after looking up her rules she might very well be worthwile. If you run Her in the army and 1 or more units Warriors you defo should upgrade one unit to Chosen, this might actually be the only time its worth fielding more then 1 unit of them, She gives some control over the result which will be very handy. Then again there are other special slots...

The Warshrine detail is a bit more ambiguous, its sure sweet with another roll on the table, and if you have a Favour in the unit you will have more control, however normal Warriors can really benefit from the roll too. Personally Id rather have 1 unit Chosen w +1A and 1 unit Warriors w +1A then chosen w +1A and +1T (generally I think) since that gives a much bigger amount of threats for the opponent to handle.

Ive updated the Chosen article a bit to cover those two details. Thanks for the feedback :)
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