40K: The Top CSM Strategems

The New codex is here and here’s our list of the best Strategems to bring glory to the Ruinous Powers!

First the basics:

  • 24 Total Strategems
  • 17 Generic ones
  • 7 Legion specific ones

About 1/3 of these are mirrors of Space Marines Strategems such as: Linebreaker Bombardment, Killshot & Flakk Missile. Overall, there is a “dark reflection” vibe of the Space Marine codex that I think does the job of being an homage to the Loyalists while giving plenty of breathing room for the CSMs to be their own thing.

Onto my favorites:

Daemon Shell 1CP

A Heretic Astartes character armed with a bolter can fire 1 shot with no rerolls allowed. If he hits the target take d3 mortal wounds. If he misses – HE take the mortal wounds.  I think this in the hands of your BS2+ HQs is going to very very handy. It’s similar to the Loyalist Hellfire Shells strategem with a lot more utility and reliability as characters have better BS in general. From finishing off irritating straggler units to knocking some wounds off the big boys who think they are save from bolter fire – this is going to be my go-to strategem.

Chaos Boon 1CP

Spend the point anytime a Heretic Astartes character kills an enemy character in the fight phase and roll on the classic 2d6 Chaos Boon table from past CSM codexes.  Roll a 2 and you’re a Spawn, 12 makes you a Daemon Prince, and everything in between.  It’s cheap, generally positive and fun!

Endless Cacophony 2CP

Heretic Astartes Slaanesh Infantry can spend the pints to fire again. With the firepower Noise Marines can put out this is going to be a big deal to push you over the edge when you really need to kill that one thing to win the game. Just the threat of this will see a lot of firepower units getting Slaanesh marked.

Tide of Traitors 2CP

Pull a unit of Cultist off the table and place them back anywhere outside of 9″ of enemies back at full strength.  For those max sized Cultist units, this can really keep the pressure on the enemy, and let you appear mid to late game with a big unit in an unexpected location. Alpharius would approve!


Fury of Khorne 3CP

It’s pricy but this can win you the game if you time it right. This lets Khorne Infantry and bikers to immediately fight again in the fight phase. Yes that means a monster unit of 20 Berzerkers could hit something tough and use this to fight THREE TIMES in the fight phase.  In a pinch you could also use it allow a small unit to punch well above its weight.

~Which ones are your favorites?


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  • Nyyppä

    If the #1 is in this list the rest must suck. Remember that you sill can’t shoot at a character unless it’s the closest one.

  • KingAceNumber1

    No word on Veterans of the Long War? Really?

    1CP for +1 to wound rolls for a CSM infantry or bike squad for the phase is ridiculous.

    • MarcoT

      Salamanders have that for flamers only, a far more situational version. Yep this one is incredible.

    • Ryan Freivalds

      This man gets it. My current plan is using either Lascannon Havocs or combi-melta Terminators with VotLW and Endless Cacaphony for when something big absolutely, positively needs to die.
      The big question is does the Sorcerer dropping in with the terminators take Warptime for better melta range or prescience for more hits– assuming the targets also warrants Death Hex.

      • Nightwalker

        I don’t think you can use 2 stratagems in one phase…

        • Ryan Freivalds

          Under “Strategic Discipline” In Matched Play Mission Rules the only restriction is using the same Stratagem more than once during a single phase.

          • Nightwalker

            Yeah I totally stand corrected. Play Dark Eldar and there really is only one good stratagem for me, so I guess it got stuck in my head that you can only use one stratagem per phase.

  • Malisteen

    Daemonforged is pretty nice too, 1CP for re-rolls to hit and wound for a chaos marine daemon vehicle for a turn. Expecially with Defilers and Lords of Skulls both getting significant points reductions as well (the former 60ish points cheaper, the latter 100 points cheaper).

  • Malisteen

    there’s a 1CP stratagem for tzeentch psykers that lets you swap one of their powers mid game for another from the hereticus list. Not great for sorcerers, who will just pick the powers they want at the start of the game, but works wonders for the sorcerer champs of rubric units, who get to trade their de-powered smite for a full powered alternative.

    • KingAceNumber1

      As a Ksons players I adore this, but I also do not think it is intended and will probably be FAQ’d.

      • Sparowl

        Depends on how much they decide CPs are worth.

        Playing Orks, and therefore only having access to the generic stratagems, I still value my CPs pretty highly – spending one to swap a power might be too high a cost.

  • Malisteen

    It was previewed back in the Black Legion article, but I still love their stratagem – 1CP to re-roll hits of 1 for an infantry or biker squad for a phase, or all hits for a basic CSM squad. Mostly because it lets you play the deep striking terminator plasma game without having to pay for a babysitter to keep them from overheating. Mark them Slaanesh for the 2CP double fire stratagem, and just 5 terminators can put out 20 overcharged plasma shots the turn they drop, re-rolling ones. That’s a lot of CP spent, but potentially could end games before even really start.

  • Balor

    Veterans of the long war, killshot, Tide of Traitors and DaemonForged for CC.

  • Dan Wilson

    Nomnomnom Tide of Traitors. My CC cultists did the most respectably in my recent game (knight and two vindicators by comparison were appalling). One thing I’m intrigued by… have they actually mentioned what the Marks of chaos themselves do? Do they add anything else? Or just allow you to then use certain god aligned abilities? I thought I read somewhere that the Mark of Slaanesh allowed units to Advance and Charge in the same turn?

  • artty

    oh come on!!! all this CSM talk and no Death Guard spoilers!!! pfff