40K: Night Lords Continue to Evolve

Reecius here with an updated version of my Night Lords list with thoughts on the changes and tactics for its use.

So anyone that has hung around Frontline Gaming for any length of time knows, I am a huge Night Lords fan. While I typically like the “good guys” in a setting, something about these sinister warriors has always appealed to me. Their duality of seeking to instill order by any means necessary is both horrible and awesome. Night Haunter, their Primarch, is also a certified bad ass….and madman! With the release of the Chaos Space Marines Codex the opportunity to create cool, themed Legion armies is just incredible!

My nerdiness aside, I have been having tremendous success with my Night Lords but have been playing them largely in proxy or unpainted. And as I draw even nearer to completing my Raptors Space Marines (and man, they will look awesome once I get all the transfers on them!) I have my eye on my next hobby project.

So before I show the latest version of the list and explain the choices, here’s a few things that I do when I write a list.

  • I don’t use “soup” Detachments. I just don’t find it to be fun or flavorful.
  • My Night Lords will be a pure army, only Night Lords detachments even if it is not the optimal choice.
  • I insist on using at least some actual Chaos Space Marines in my army!
  • I play my models as close to WYSIWYG and I try to use models I already have.
Unit Force Org Cost # Total Weapons Cost # Total Total Notes
Outrider Night Lords       Command Points 1
Lord with Jump Pack HQ 93 1 93 Lightening Claws 12 1 12 Claws of the Black Hunt, Mark of Khorne
Raptors Fast Attack 17 5 85 Plasma Gun 13 2 26 Mark of Slaanesh
0 Combi-Plasma 15 1 15
Raptors Fast Attack 17 5 85 Melta Gun 17 2 34 Mark of Slaanesh
0 Combi-Melta 19 1 19
Raptors Fast Attack 17 5 85 Plasma Gun 13 2 26 Mark of Slaanesh
0 Combi-plasma 15 1 15
Battalion Night Lords       Command Points 3
Daemon Prince with Wings HQ 170 1 170 Malefic Talons 10 1 10 Mark of Slaneesh
Sorcerer with Jump Pack HQ 114 1 114 Force Axe 16 1 16 Mark of Slaneesh
Chaos Space Marines Troops 13 5 65 Auto Cannon 20 1 20 Mark of Slaneesh
0 Combi Bolter 2 1 2
Chaos Space Marines Troops 13 5 65 Auto Cannon 20 1 20 Mark of Slaneesh
0 Combi Bolter 2 1 2
Cultists Troops 4 11 44 0 Mark of Slaneesh
Cultists Troops 4 11 44 0 Mark of Slaneesh
Vanguard Night Lords       Command Points 1
Exalted Champion HQ 70 1 70 Power Axe 5 1 5 Mark of Khorne
Berzerkers Elites 16 10 160 Chain Axe 1 10 10 Mark of Khorne
0 Icon of Wrath 10 1 10
Chaos Rhino Transport 70 1 70 Combi Bolter 2 1 2
Berzerkers Elites 16 9 144 Chain Axe 1 9 9 Mark of Khorne
0 Icon of Wrath 10 1 10
Chaos Rhino Transport 70 1 70 Combi Bolter 2 1 2
Chaos Terminators Elites 31 10 310 Power Sword 4 10 40 Mark of Slaanesh
0 Combi-Bolter 2 10 20
Totals     61 1674       325 1999  
Command Points: 8       Detachments: 3

Previously, I wrote at length about the Terminator Bomb and how effective it could be. However, after giving it a lot of thought that unit, while potentially devastating (and I have won games with it, before) it is very much a case of many eggs in a single basket. It also has multiple failure points and if any of your critical psychic powers fail to go off, you can be left with a massive points investment bearing no dividends.

So I began messing around with it and came up with the above. The Chaos Terminators unit is still there, still mean as can be, but toned down significantly. By dropping them to the cheapest configuration and moving some units around I was able to free up enough points for a second unit of 9 Berzerkers! These killing machines are hands down, one of the best units in 40k at the moment. Where one unit in a Chaos Rhino can be dealt with fairly easily, two is vastly more likely to get in to enemy lines and go chop-chop!

To accompany these bad asses is one of the best new units available to Chaos Space Marines, the Exalted Champion! He is an incredible force multiplier and butt kicker in his own right. If you use melee to deal damage in your CSM army do yourself a favor and add one of these to your list. I plan on using my beautifully painted Sevetar as mine! And no, I did not paint this model but it came out great. I am actually considering not counting his glaive as an axe but a power sword as that gives me the choice to take the Murder Sword which has a ridiculous name but on the Exalted Champ with rerolls to hit and wound can put an ass whipping on even mega tough units like Magnus.

But, back to the Terminators! Taken bare-bones, they’re actually very reasonably priced and quite good. They drop down and pump out 40 Storm Bolter shots which in a meta filled with chaff units, is very valuable. With the Mark of Slaanesh, they can do that twice with the application of the Slaanesh stratagem, Endless Cacaphony. Again, combo this with Prescience and the Chaos Lord with Jump Pack or Daemon Prince to reroll 1’s and you’ve got 97% accuracy. Apply the incredibly powerful Veterans of the Long War stratagem for +1 to wound and you will shred almost anything you shoot at that isn’t heavily armored. But, with that volume of shots, you will take a bite out of even high toughness targets.

The Power Swords, beyond being cheap, are AP -3. With the application of VotLW (assuming you used Warp Time to get them in to range to charge) they are better than Power Axes. As Prescience is still in effect, they’re hitting on 2’s in melee as well. If you manage to get the Exalted Champ nearby to reroll wounds as well, they become positively fearsome. As they have the Mark of Slaanesh, you can cast Delightful Agonies on them from the Daemon Prince or Chaos Sorcerer to give them a 5+ FnP, and use In Midnight Clad (Night lords Stratagem) on them to make them -1 to hit, too. You then have a brick of very durable Chaos Terminators right in your opponent’s face that must be dealt with!

The Lord and the Raptors also drop in and blast things with plasma and melta. I have really come around on melta the more I play competitively. While plasma seems superior mathematically, the reality of the tabletop often means you get one chance to really take down a critical target and in that instance, melta is more reliable. I may actually swap another unit out to the melta configuration. They all rock MoS to double shoot if the needs arrive where as the Lord has the MoK to double punch if he needs to. Once the drop and pop tactic is over, the Lord goes ham. The Claws of the Midnight Hunt, beyond sticking to the Night Lords theme, are boss! They hit very hard and a Lord with Lightening Claws look so KEWL! Depending on my opponent I either take the Lord of Terror Warlord trait if my opponent is at all susceptible to morale (forcing your opponent to roll 2d6 and take the highest for morale) or Night Haunter’s Curse for some clutch rerolls when he needs it most, particularly on charges and saves as he already rerolls hit and wound rolls.

I didn’t want to use any Cultists in my list but you simply need screens. As I have not way to create a buffer against enemy deep striking and infiltrating units, I had to have something to get punched in the face, and Cultists are it! Not a glamorous job, but a vital one.

As I insist on using some Chaos Space Marines in my army, I took a page out of my Raptors army and am using some cheap(ish) Tactical Squads to camp objectives and pump out some small arms fire. The Autocannon is a bit pricey (it should come down a bit, IMO) but 48″ range is very useful for a unit that will often be firing down range. I could always swap out to the Heavy Bolter if needs be.

Lastly, the Daemon Prince and Sorcerer are there to provide psychic support and more melee punch. The Daemon Prince is a good candidate for the Intoxicating Elixir relic giving him +1 strength and attacks, and often takes Prescience as his power or Delightful Agonies as they have longer range and he is often not close enough to cast Warp Time. The Sorcerer then typically takes Warp Time and Delightful Agonies or Death Hex depending on who I am facing.

The real magic of the army kicks in when I start piling in to my opponent with lots of units, lowering their leadership by -3 or -4. With the Chaos Lord’s Warlord trait, if you do some damage to multiple units and they don’t have significant morale control, units start vaporizing as members of them run away.

Beyond that though, the army looks cool, is themed, is fun to play and is effective. I believe putting less emphasis on the single Terminator unit and instead grabbing another unit of Berzerkers will be a big net positive over more games.

What kind of Chaos lists are you all building?


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  • Michael Cameron

    I really hate seeing different marks of Chaos in one army. Devote to one god. Also Khorne and Slaanesh hate each other. I prefer my Chaos armies to be nice and fluffy. 😉

    • __

      I agree about the opposing marks, but night lords are chaos undivided, they aren’t dedicated to a single god.

    • Karru

      I know right? I mean, who has ever heard of Chaos forces not dedicating themselves to a single god. That just sounds completely unreasonable and unfluffy.

      I think I shall call those that use them “Undivided”, that sounds fitting for them.

    • Jim Collins

      After reading Black Legion; I’ve changed my thoughts on this. One marine could be a bloodthirsty berserker, another being a sensation craving slaaneshi. Sure; they may be prone to fight, but they can be both night lords held in check by a commander.

    • Sure

      True Chaos Lord’s are able to bring the disparate sects under his banner.

    • ReverendTiberiusJackhammer

      Point to the unfluffy – different Chaos Marks are known to work together all the time. A Khornate/Slaaneshi mix is fitting for Night Lords – some of them are feral, bestial, killers, and some of them thoroughly, deeply enjoy what they do. (Of course, there are also the Night Lords who have a bit more self-control, but those tend to be unmarked.)

      (And yeah, past stuff like a Slaaneshi Lash Sorcerer attached to a unit of Plague Marines was weird, but in this list you can see two fleshed out contingents brought together under a single warlord.)

    • Arthfael

      Uh… it is 100% fluffy for Chaos marines of different dedications to work together… for some time.

    • Fergie0044

      Read ADB’s Night Lord’s omnibus. It sets a paints a fluffy picture of different types of chaos marines all working ‘together’. Plus any Word Bearers story.

      • euansmith

        Just proving that Friendship is Murder.

    • Muninwing

      well… it’s more complicated than that.

      since there’s no real option for showing how individuals have fallen to chaos, the unit has to sum it up.

      i think that you’d need some interesting conversions for me to accept Zerkers as Night Lords, but it can be done. but honestly, if it is legal in the rules, it’s doable.

    • Dexter Kingsford

      But it is in the fluff for gods, even opposing ones, cooperating. I mean, just look at the Brazen Host. http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Brazen_Host
      who were a daemonic host constituted from opposing powers.

      I mean if you were so insistent on Night Lords being fluffy, they would be more likely to be unmarked as the Night Lords tend to have a disgust with devotion and faith.

  • DoctorBored

    Sounds like a very neat in-your-face sort of list. From what I’ve read of Night Lords, it looks very fluffy. Different commanders fighting with their own detachments (and then fighting each other during their off time!)

  • Marco Marantz

    Fun Fact: the majority of CSM Legions do not devote themselves to a single God, so im cool with the different marks in a list, of the same faction. It is more…chaotic. Awesome if you can take everyone with the same mark but you gimp yourself. The only thing im curious about is why the autocannons over heavy bolters…HBs are half the price and about as effective unless you want something that can wound T7 on 4+.

  • Anthony Combs

    This list is relying too much on an opponents deployment. It has no one two punch. Nor any support from armor or descent shooting. Bubble wrap, scout type units. Will be a real bane to you cuz it’ll prevent you smashing face turn 1 and being caught out in the open for a turn or two of shooting will leave you with only your troops still alive. Also counter assault could be a problem if you fail your charges.

  • Kinsman

    Thought this would be a fluff chat on the evolution of the Night Lords in the fluff. That would have been cool…..

    • euansmith

      See Batman: Year One and Batman: The Dark Knight Rises; I think that covers it 😉

  • DC

    Viris colratha dath sethicara tesh dasovallian. Solruthis veh za jasz!

  • euansmith

    I can’t help but think that the Daemon Prince should have a bat head; or even replace the model with a Crypt Flayer?

    • DC

      I would like to see that. Maybe with a little conversion?

      • Muninwing

        i’m more concerned with what those Zerkers will look like. no self-respecting Night Lord would wear bunny ears. and chainaxes are too loud and messy for the ninjas of chaos.

        a great conversion using jagged axes and pallid faces with stringy snape-hair would be tons of fun.

        • Fergie0044

          Eh, I once read that the NL’s bat helmets were only ceremonial and rarely worn in battle. So it’s all much of a muchness.

          • Muninwing

            the bat-heads are kinda funny looking… i’d probably only put them on sergeants.

            no, i meant the Khorne Berzerker heads, with the funny flanges. i thought “bunny ears” was a standard slang for them…?

        • DC

          A mix of SM Scouts, vampires and Ramsay Bolton. Like that.

  • piglette

    These must be some fowl Night Lords who gave in to chaos. Probably led by that fool Ruven.

  • marxlives

    I like it, Night Lords were always my favorite. Always been a fan of the non Black Legion Chaos Undivided factions.

  • Dan

    I was considering building fire support raptors. glad somebody seems to think this is a good idea.

    What I *really* want to do is re-use my old raptors from before with dual flamers. Does anyone have experience deep striking with flamers? Other than warptime I’d have to just deep strike out of LOS then ambush out?

  • Mikey_V

    Demon prince cannot take the Malefic Talons. The talons replace a models pair of lightning claws. Demon prince cannot take lightning claws.

  • Corey Kershaw

    Saw the title and was hoping for news that gw was actually guna do somthing with Night Lords 🙁