30K: Word Bearers Gal Vorbak – The Evil that Is

Black Blow Fly is here to talk about the BEST way to play Chaos Marines: 30K!

You probably know I’m working on a new Templar army but I am also in the process of collecting the models to build a Word Bearers army too – both from the Horus Heresy. GW just can’t seem to get Chaos Space Marines right for whatever reason… My pet conspiracy theory is Jervis Johnson and Phil Kelly don’t like them. At one time Jervis stated in an interview that individual codices would be released for each of the cults, namely Death Guard, Emperor’s Children, Thousand Sons and World Eaters… But alas it never came to be which is quite unfortunate as there’s lots and lots of players who love these armies. I abhor the renegade theme the CSM codex has devolved too and that’s just from a background (aka fluff) point of view. We all know the many problems with the codex in general along with the abysmal supplements so I won’t go there today. Let’s focus on being positive because if you’re receptive to the Horus Heresy or sometime better known as 30k there’s lots of things to be happy about if you play a Legion.

Heresy-veteransWe were renegades before it was cool

Alan Bligh is the chief developer for 30k and this man has an innate ability to write balanced absolutely fantastic rules for the legions that are rich in background. I’d go so far to say if you like to play Space Marines or Chaos Space Marines then why waste your time playing 40k and deal with the cheese that is Eldar and Tau? I remember back in the days of third and fourth edition… You mostly saw Space Marines and CSM – the world of 40k was at a plateau that has long since been eclipsed. I’m sad to say and I’m sure many of you feel the same: 30k brings back the old aura plus more.

Bell-of-Lost-Souls-Ultramarines-Article-by-Brent03All Marines, All the time!

One of the best attributes of 30k is that the game is built upon a foundation of a balanced system and every legion is competitive! That’s right there are no bad or suboptimal armies like Blood Angels and Dark Eldar. Another great thing about 30k is these armies can be integrated into 40k but of course you’ll have to deal with Eldar and Tau if you do so. I have pretty much lost my desire to put lots of effort into building new 40k armies knowing how much more fun I’m having playing 30k now. I still have an army to play in 40k tournaments but that’s the only time I touch them now.


Enter the Gal Vorbak

So let’s talk a little about Word Bearers and what makes them so awesome in the world of 30k… Like I said they are everything CSM should be plus more. First I’d like to touch on Gal Vorbak – they are the Possessed of 30k. Here are their stats and rules for a ten man squad:

+++ Gal Vorbak (410) +++

++ Legiones Astartes: Crusade Army List (Age of Darkness) ++

Legion Astartes [Traitor, XVII: Word Bearers]

+ Elites +

Gal Vorbak Dark Brethren
9x Dark Brethren – 2x Plasmagun
Dark Martyr – Artificer Armour – Melta Bombs – Power Fist

Bulky – Daemon – Damned – Deep Strike – Legiones Astartes – Rage – Rending – Stubborn

Dark Brethren: Unit Type: Infantry

Dark Martyr: Unit Type: Infantry (Character)

++ Selection Rules ++

Legiones Astartes: Units with this special rules may always attempt to regroup regardless of casualties.


Sure they aren’t cheap but just take a look at all that awesome!!! Two wounds apiece and their sergeant has three wounds. They are I5 and have grenades so they’ll be punching first versus most enemy units and typically hitting on 3+ in melee. The sergeant is basically an HQ in and of itself. They are all S5, T5, 3+/5++ – wow wow wow!!! Plus they all come equipped with bolter, bolt pistol and chainsword – good old uber grit for the +1 attack. On top of all this wonderful awesome they are rending too… I can’t say ‘wow’ enough.

Like I said this is what the Possessed should be. Their only drawback is they are not a scoring unit which isn’t a big deal since you’ve got access to other units to fulfill that role. Note they can deep strike as well which is in my opinion the best way to deploy them so as to get them right where you need them.

If you’d like to add some spice then take a Centurion upgraded to a Diabolist (Consul) as an HQ. The Diabolist is Daemon as well plus has Preferred Enemy Loyalist Space Marine… Evil!!! Equip him with a jump pack and attach him to a squad of Gal Vorbak so they can deep strike together… They will mess things up real fast. The Diabolist can take an ability referred to as the Burning Lore which makes him a level 1 psyker with access to Biomancy and Telepathy… Can you imagine successfully casting Endurance on the Gal Vorbak? Crazy good!


There’s also a rites of war for Gal Vorbak known as The Last of the Serrated Sun. Rites of war allow you to tweak your FOC to add more flavor and specialize it’s fighting style. This rite allows you to take Gal Vorbak as troops and they must take drop pods… This gives you the means to a very effective alpha strike component that can quickly cripple the enemy.

This is my first review of the Word Bearers and there will be more. I think you’ll agree if you like to play CSM this is an army you’d enjoy playing.


  • Thomas Gardiner

    My Gal Vorbak always cause *ludicrous* damage in Heresy games. They just seem to tear through most other special units, especially when you stick Erebus or a basic Chaplain in there.

    I remember seeing them and thinking “3+ save and no power weapons? Lame!” Then I tried them out and they just mulched unit after unit.

  • Djbz

    So how many points per model are we talking?
    And do they have the usual Heresy 50 point (plus base trooper cost) price-tag that sergeants have?

    • Thomas Gardiner

      1) 30pts a pop

      2) Yeah, but tbf the sarge has an extra wound and he can take artificer armour so he’s fairly tanky.

  • Xodis

    Will make some amazing Possessed models…if only Possessed were worth taking lol.

  • Randy Randalman

    It isn’t hard to write “balanced” rules for a system that uses 18 of the same freaking army. There are literally only a few keywords, and 1-2 units or special characters that differentiate them. It’s chess, but with black, white, red, blue, yellow, etc. All the same core pieces, same battlefield roles, etc.

    Don’t get me wrong: I LOVE 30k. The games are fun, and the models spectacular, but it becomes the same match up over and over again very quickly. There are very few variations in terms of viable tactics.

    As for internal balance: there isn’t any. Destroyer squads are absolutely useless for their points. They serve no function Tactical or Assault squads can’t take care of, and the latter options are far cheaper.

    That’s just one of many examples.

    Now to the main topic…

    Chaos is in an awkward place right now. I think with Space Marines getting their 7th ed redux, along with this Angels of Death supplement, we are seeing a model for how Chaos will look as well. One big book full of vanilla flavors, and then an add-on that fleshes the Legions out further. We got Khorne Demonkin (which has proven at several large events to be a tier 1 army), so simply giving us the other three would suffice. That would provide Chaos with loads of competitive options, outside of KDK and Demons. The key is making them something other than bad-guy Space Marines. 10k years in the Warp will dramatically change a fellow.

    • OolonColluphid

      Assault Squads cost like 250 with little options. Destroyer squads can get missile launchers with jump packs or take a Land Raider as a dedicated transport.

      • My Destroyers always seem to get their points back.

        • OolonColluphid

          I use mine to spam LRs or Jump Infantry. Their main purpose is to be an annoyance anyways.

    • Parthis

      ASM/tacs and Destroyers provide RADically different functions. Apples and oranges.

    • you are the half empty guy .

  • Andrew Thomas

    I think you’ve given me my next set of play tests.

  • LordKrungharr

    If I could afford the books and a bunch of new forgeworld models I’d be down!

  • Admiral Raptor

    30K supplanting 40k has to be the end goal for GW. Space marines vs Space Marines and an even more ludicrous price tag. If 30k wasn’t so much better than 40k I might have a problem with it.

    I love my
    Gal Vorbak and Word Bearers, fluffy and effective. There’s no point to taking 40k Chaos Space Marines ever since legion rules became available.

  • FRD

    Why are you giving Plasma Guns? They should be packing Power Weapons. Swords to be S5 Ap3 I5 blenders, Axes for S6 Ap2 Termi killing power or Mauls to take out light tanks (can pierce a Spartan with Rends in CC) and Mechanicum. While I run a Power Fist on the Martyr, I don’t bother with the Melta Bomb. They should also run in a Spartan to be your Deahstar unit.
    Diabolists are horrible. Run a Chaplain instead. Hatred with the unit makes them even more killy, as well as allowing you to pick who you want for challenges.

    • I have another list with a Chaplain. I’ll try one squad with power axes to see how they perform.

      • FRD

        They will excel! Gal Vorbak are absolute infantry butchers. Power Swords are just a little better than normal, because of the mass rending that should already occur with them. Power Axes are great for taking out low Av, but also for when you know you will have to send them to take out another deathstar or Termies and you can’t depend on rending. Mauls I used to run, but the Martyr’s Power Fist ususally did the trick. I cannot stress how great the Chaplain is in here, especially as Word Bearers require you to run 1. I only give him a Sword most of the time, so that his I5 isn’t wasted and he can munch an extra guy or 2.

  • Tom Meaker

    Where is the last of the serrated sun rite of war?