40K: The Future of Chaos Codexes

We’ve got a Death Guard Codex and the Thousand Sons are on the way – What’s next for the Chaos Codexes?

Since the Gathering Storm, Games Workshop has made a concerted effort to re-establish Chaos as “The Big Bad” in all of 40k. I think they’ve done a pretty good job thus far. Between the different Chaos Space Marine books and Codex Daemons, it’s starting to feel like the Chaos side of the war is getting just as much attention as the Imperial side of things. Overall, Chaos as a faction is in firm second place if you look at the Keyword count. They have been gaining ground as more and more Chaos options come out, but they still have a LONG way to go to catch-up to the Imperium.

That said, it’s not as improbably as you might think. Chaos as a faction has the potential to catch-up to the Imperium and if the current trend continues, they just might. What trend is that? Chaos Legion books!

Much like the Space Marines who have a stable of books (Space Marines, Blood Angels, Dark Angels, Space Wolves, Death Watch, Grey Knights and now Adeptus Custodes – if you want to count them as uber ‘Marines’) the Chaos side of the coin could easily do the same thing. They already have 3 of those books out or on the way: Chaos Space Marines, Death Guard, and Thousand Sons. And there are lots more Legions to choose from. An obvious choice is World Eaters which would also give a nod to the Chaos God Khorne. And then of course the eternal question has been what about Slaanesh and the Emperor’s Children. Boom, that’s 2 more books right there.

Let’s also not forget about the Chaos Renegades – an army concept that could be explored a lot further by GW. These are your Huron Blackhearts of Chaos. These are the followers of Chaos who might ally with Chaos “proper” but don’t always support their goals. And then there’s the other end of the spectrum where you have the Black Legion – a faction that is all about the Chaos Undivided.

If each one of these “extra” factions got a book that would be a total of 7 CSM-mini factions that could work as stand alone codexes. Now, I think some of them might get the Grey Knight treatment (ie, smaller codexes that don’t really add a ton of units but do have rules/warlord traits/artefacts/characters). But those are just adding to the over-all chaos pool.

But what is more important is that these codexes would at least give GW another reason to release some newer Chaos Space Marine models. The “standard” CSM Kit and the Berzerkers are both starting to show their age, especially compared to the newer Death Guard and Thousand Sons kits. (C’mon new Abaddon Kit…just sayin!)

Here’s the thing – it’s not JUST power armor either. We just got a Chaos Daemon Codex and while it had a lot of great stuff in it, the Slaanesh Models/Characters section was thin compared to the rest. Now, they did get some rules love which was nice, but at the same time, that’s a whole other faction that could use a shot to the arm. I’m sure GW has something planned but at this point, who knows…

I am the Keeper of Secrets for a reason…


Will we see a Khorne Daemon Kin book again? What about a Children of Slaanesh book? These types of things aren’t unprecedented is my point – that is a direction GW could take Chaos next. And then there are the Chaos Cults…

Much like the countless hordes of the Astra Militarum, there are unknown quantities of Chaos Cultists in the Imperium just waiting to spring up and cause a revolt. This is a book that could be very similar in tone and style to the Genestealer Cult books – a faction that leans toward Chaos but uses a lot of AM hardware. Again, GW has proven in the past they are okay with reusing those units so it’s not unprecedented. But if I’m honest, it would feel a little lazy unless a Chaos Cult book got a few kits and rules that really make them feel unique and not a knock off of Genestealer Cults.

More Chaos, Please!

Overall GW has a lot of directions they could take Chaos. Will they continue to expand the “Big Bads” range and rules to help them match the sheer number of Imperium options? I hope so. But I hope they sprinkle in Chaos through out the release wave vs dump it all at once. We’ve still got a LOT of work to do for the Xenos factions, too. Personally, I’d like to see some “not power armor” for a few months before we return to 3+ saves all the time again. Then again, it’s Chaos and you never know what you’re going to get!


What directions would you like to see GW take Chaos? Do you think that the Chaos Faction will ever “catch-up” to the Imperium in terms of options?

  • DeCold

    Chaos renegades getting it`s own codex would be super sweet, but also there are dark mechanicus.

    • Jonathon Runge

      The Dark Mechanicus is something I have been wanting the most from chaos. I want to know what they have made since they are able to develop new technology and use the warp.

      • Forgefiends and other… “awesome” stuff… 😛

      • Prisoner 42

        Yea designers could have such a field day with dark mechanicum some of the fluff about mechanicum is already dark enough I’d love to see what the dark mechanicum would create.

    • generalchaos34

      it would be an easy army to release, they could easily use some of the existing Admech kits (with an upgrade sprue) add in the chaos marine stuff like forgefiends and helldrakes, then make 1 HQ plus a kit or two to make a whole release that gets to double dip in the existing molds, just like deathwatch did.

  • Christie Bryden

    ah renegades, the group they focused on for the editions where chaos sucked (wasnt untill wrath of magnus and the legions book we got good again) renageds would have to be worse then their legion brothers BUT have access to more modern tecnology instead.

    the dark mechanicus however is what I would want to see expanded on, we know they exist and forge world have them listed as a faction so they would be cool, also traitor guard,

    • Boondox

      I don’t think the differences between Legions and Renegades would be so clear cut. The Legions have had to replenish their losses over 10,000 years using stolen gene-seed and individuals like Fabius Bile assisting them. In some cases they’ve even taken aspirants from Imperial Chapters they’ve slaughtered. This would diminish any advantage of having Legion geneseed. Very few Legions fight as one unified force anymore either, most of them divided into smaller forces due to internal conflicts or ambitions of their leaders. So tactics, training and equipment between warbands of the same Legion may not always be standardized. Technology would be the same deal. Not all of the Legions are using the same tech as they had during the HH. Their equipment has been replaced by salvaging from Imperial Chapters and conquering Mechanicus Forge Worlds which would give them access to more modern Imperial gear. Then there’s the factor of when the Renegade Chapter actually went renegade. A Chapter that turned their backs on the Emperor a few millennia after the HH may have older gear than a Chapter that has recently turned to Chaos.

      • Christie Bryden

        the direction GW has been heading with them of late seems to disagree. Remeber for the last few editions what you have up there was the mentality GW kept spouting out about why we didnt get legion stuff anymore and instead there was a focus on renegades, which the entire player base hated. It failed for multible reasons, People who read the lore didnt want some generic nutters who turned to chaos recently, they wanted the guys who were in the hores herecy that had novels written about them, From both a game play and lore point the renegade focus failed to diliver, rather than playing 10000 year old super warriors that brought the imperium to its knees you felt more like playing crappier versions of the loyalists. This all changed with wrath of magnus, and a huge push of life was breathed into chaos. I was happy to see that continue with death guard and it is the way GW is going with them.

        • Boondox

          My apologies. I misinterpreted your original post as a discussion about the differences between Chaos Legions and Renegades and my comment seems off base from your original intent. I also want to see more Chaos Legions and was overjoyed that TS and DG were given new rules. I don’t own either of their Codexes so I cannot speak intelligently about the differences between them and what is contained in the CSM Codex. I’m hoping that GW is going to continue with the Chaos Legions updates with an EC codex in the future. Apart from the Big Four Chaos Legions (World Eaters, Emperor’s Children, Thousand Sons and Death Guard) how would you propose taking care of the remaining Chaos Legions? Do you think one book to cover them would work? It seems that most of them are Chaos Undivided and don’t fit in well with the existing material in C:CSM. I hope this doesn’t sound argumentative or combative, I’m actually very interested in your opinion. I play Night Lords and Emperor’s Children so I may be more biased towards them.

  • Logandarksky

    required sisters update mention

    • Boondox

      After many years of neglect they gave in to despair and turned to Slaanesh in the hopes of getting some love in the upcoming Codex: Chaos Legiones Astartes Emperor’s Children release where they will be featured as assault troops with the Hell Hath No Fury special rule…

      • Logandarksky

        nooooooooooooooo kinky, oooooooooooooooooooooo

  • Fergie0044

    I thought most people were unhappy with 6/7th editions focus on non-legion chaos marines? I know I’d personally rather play with the big name guys, but that’s just my opinion. I’m happy with my DG codex.

    Weren’t there also rumors of EC codex Q4 2018/Q1 2019? I could have sworn someone was saying Fulgrim was sculpted and ready to go. But then, words are wind….

    As for cultists – I don;t see it happening anytime soon. Forge world already cover a lot of that and it would be hard to make a codex that feels different enough from the genestealer cults.

  • BadMrPumpkin

    but waht about the xeno codexs?! reeeeeeee

  • Dan

    I don’t really think Black Legion needs a whole codex. In fact I don’t really think any of the non-cult Legions do individually.

    I could see making a Legions: Undivided codex that handled Black Legion, Alpha Legion, Iron Warriors, Word Bearers, and Night Lords all together so they each get some more substansive special units and powers and whatnot .

    • LankTank

      I agree. Effectively World Eaters, Emperors Children, Iron Warriors etc all go to war with the same tools. They favour certain ones, have certain tactical teachings, but they are not varied enough to warrant a full codex. The worse thing was the supplements, where 2 pages of rules were supposed to flesh out the differences. But armies like Death Guard and Thousand Sons are FAR more varied than Nightlords to Iron Warriors for example. Massive god-orientated mutations. Irrevocable changes to the basic marine. Inability to maintain or keep certain units or warriors etc.

      • Boondox

        I would have to respectfully disagree to a point about the differences between WE, EC and IW not being enough to warrant their own Codexes. Their tactical differences were apparent as far back as the Great Crusade and only became more divergent as the HH progressed and they fell to Chaos. WE and EC are polar opposites not only in their Chaos allegiance but also their entire outlook on warfare shaped by their respective Primarchs. As part of the Big Four Chaos legions it would make sense for them to have their own Codexes just as much as TS and DG. The Chaos Gods they worship and the rewards and mutations alone mean they can’t be lumped together in one book. The remaining Legions are mostly Chaos Undivided but still retain differences in how they conduct themselves on the battlefield. NL and IW have very little in common with each other and how they attack their enemies. I don’t believe they justify their own individual Codexes but I feel the remaining four original Legions should have more rules than what was given to them in C:CSM.

        • LankTank

          Well NL and IW,also fight like polar opposites. But the fact is despite all these armies having a certain war style, they for the most part use the same tools, wargear etc. They are after all astartes. But thousand sons are not. They are dust. They have no warrior code etc like the other do. And deathguard are no longer astartes but instead piles of snot in armour. But I guess if there is an argument for a DG codex, there is ine for a WE and EC as yiu could give them alot of different units

          • Boondox

            Agreed. I can see the flaws in my discussion and I believe it comes from me comparing the Imperial Chapters like DA, BA and SW having their own Codexes and wanting the same for Chaos. All in all, Chaos is better than it was which is a good thing and I am grateful for that. However, I’ll keep my fingers crossed for EC and Chaos Unaligned. Maybe in 9th Ed. After Sisters. Ha.

  • Boondox

    Emperor’s Children for a “Big Four” Legion book and Chaos Undivided for Renegades and unaligned Legions like Night Lords and Iron Warriors. Dark Mechanicum to round it out.

  • Nathaniel Wright

    The Slaaneshi Horse has been beaten into submission, thrown through the BoLS meat grinder, then given another hearty wack with a tenderizer, just in case.

    Sod off.

    • Apocryphus

      Bit sick of hearing about Slaanesh, are you?

  • We will probably get a World Eaters book and Emperor’s Children book at some point… and that’s it… possibly Dark Mechanicus.

    Undivided/Black Legion is covered in the current Codex, whether you like it or not, and so are Renegade marines. They tried pushing Renegades as a concept. It didn’t take very well so this is why we have Legion rules and 2 Legion specific codexes. As we’ve seen from the latest CSM FAQ that are not adverse to updating unit profiles piecemeal so it would be easy to introduce Legion specific units later. (i.e. BL’s Bringers of Despair or WE’s Red Butchers)

    Cultist armies are covered in the FW Index as well as some of the harder hitting Demons, and Demons Lords. Giant Chaos Spawn look awesome now with Denizens of the Warp to drop them in place.

    We’ll see what the future holds.

    • LankTank

      GW said they weren’t doing those books. But I think your idea is cool, if at all one book that introduces a new unique unit for each legion

  • Apocryphus

    EC and WE would be cool as their own codexes, but I feel like if they had those in the pipeline, they would have been omitted from the CSM codex as well. As for Slaanesh, in the daemon codex, I went through and counted out the number of entries per god and Slaanesh tails each by about 4-5 choices, but the other gods are artificially inflated with the multiple heralds that are essentially just individual prints of the herald equipment options (Tzeentch with the chariot and disc riding herald for example). The real missed opportunity/cold shoulder Slaanesh got was how much weaker the Keeper is compared to the other GDs. It’s good, but it’s rules certainly don’t hint at a new model anytime soon.

    Any Legion focused codexes are probably going to come much much later and I’m not holding my breath for it. If we get a huge reveal that all this stuff is coming anytime soon, I’ll eat my hat, but I won’t complain about it.

    • EnTyme

      Every other Greater Daemon got new rules along with its new model. I would expect the same to be true with the KoS.

      • Apocryphus

        If it gets a new model. Until we get a firm reveal from GW, I’m going to assume Slaanesh has what it has and not expect anything new. Even if they had upped the Keeper to 16 wounds in the codex I would have felt that to be a pretty solid indicator of something in the works. As is, it would feel like a waste of time for GW to print a codex only to entirely re-work a quarter of it within months of release.

        • EnTyme

          Aside from tipping GW’s hand to upcoming releases, could you imagine the backlash if Slaanesh hadn’t been included in the codex? My point is that a lack of a profile update shouldn’t be an indicator of whether or not a model update is coming.

          • Apocryphus

            Fair enough. I guess we’ll see which way the wind is blowing soon enough if all these rumors about Slaanesh being linked to the AoS thing about the Shadow Queen are true.

      • LankTank

        It got new rules. Last Daemons codex they released the Lord of change didn’t they? So GUO and Keeper did not have new rules but hey, both are still here.
        GW has also repeatedly stated that Slaanesh is here to stay.
        It’s pretty clear next Daemons release will be Slaanesh’s time to shine

        • EnTyme

          I think you misunderstood me. Apocryphus was implying that the KoS’ profile is the same and thus wouldn’t be getting a new model. I’m saying that the other three Greater Daemons got profile updates when they got new models, so a lack of a profile update isn’t an indicator of whether or not a new model is coming. You don’t have to look too deeply in my posting history to see that I know Slaanesh is sticking around.

          • LankTank

            Hahahaha no I hit reply on you instead of Apoc XD

    • LankTank

      Are we reading the same codex? The Keeper is amazing. Up to 10 attacks in combat with Mark, always attacking first. 15″ move with Celerity, then advance, then charge. That is on avg a 26″ charge range and max 33″. With Witstealer likely be at -2 to hit in combat against characters and won’t leave any chaff alive to counterstrike. Additionally you can symphony for a further -1 to hit meaning even Robot Girlyman is likely only going to hit on 5’s. All of this for 223pts.
      But this is not good? He/she is 100 pts less than a GUO who just sits their and soaks up damage.

      • Apocryphus

        I strictly said it was good in my comment above. 😛 Just that it’s weaker than the other GDs. If that’s intentional by design because Slaanesh is younger, so be it, but I was expecting at least a wounds increase. It is on the more affordable side for it’s points, but I feel it toes too close to the DP, or the other way around. The melee output is pretty close, but DPs don’t lose their effectiveness as they take damage.

        • LankTank

          Sorry it was how you said “how much weaker the Keeper is compared to the other GD”. Personally I would struggle to choose the best between BT, LoC and KoS with GUO being last. Keep in mind I am a Nurgle player and still think that the GUO is AMAZING and take him every time, but his main job is bullet magnet. With the KoS think it delivers FAR more in terms of a punch than a DP, rivaling a Bloodthirster but significantly more fragile than a DP being targetable. But he does one up a BT being a Psyker. In fact, stat per stat he is the best but the lack of Fly hurts. But if a KoS closes the distance I think it will have alot more staying power with the -1 or -2 to hit.

          • Apocryphus

            I admittedly haven’t gotten the chance to play mine with the new rules yet, but as for the DP, I’m a bit spoiled by the EC DP with 8 S8 attacks, fly, and 24″ move with Warp Time that gains attacks as it takes damage. You do make a compelling argument but I also think durability hurts the Keeper most and the extra 4 (or more for GUO) wounds the other GD have can really make a difference when there’s nothing between you and heavy firepower but a 5++. The diminishing Strength on the damage track doesn’t help either.

          • LankTank

            How do you get 8 s8 attacks on the dp? Am I missing something? I agree KoS is quite squishy, but at least he won’t go in unsupported. In fact he is likely to be an essential bullet magnet for your seekers =) The KoS also really needs a table with proper los blocking terrain

          • Apocryphus

            Er, I was in CSM mode. DP, double talons, Intoxicating Elixer, Stimulated by Pain. Still, 7 S7 attacks that don’t diminish is extremely attractive for 43 less points. Also, poor terrain is a plague on 8th, and entirely could be the root of my problem.

          • LankTank

            Yeah it is a bane! I agree, 43 pts less and still having access to character shielding and also importantly fly does outweigh 3 extra attacks, better AP and 1 extra damage. But I have noticed that my Daemon Prince does not have the might to take on other leading characters so thats where a KoS would be the perfect pairing. Then the Daemon Prince can continue their primary roll, buffing units for a few turns then making the jump over screen to eat those secondary support characters.
            Luckily the rest of a Slaanesh army is cheap that you could easily fit in both =)

          • Apocryphus

            That’s true, and I do :3 I generally hold down big characters with big gobs of daemonettes, I’m too afraid to throw a Keeper in and lose it immediately. I’ll have to try it with the new -1 to hit it has and see how it fares, especially if I can nail the character with Symphony of Pain first.

          • LankTank

            Yeah. I know what you mean, but just expect to lose the Keeper. Just do as much damage as possible first. I have found the Forbidden Gem to be amazing as you use it in the enemies movement phase to prevent them falling back which keeps the Keeper safe from shooting in the enemies shooting phase. You will still then get to attack first due to the Swiftness rule during the enemy Fight Phase, hopefully clearing out the last remaining models in the unit/wounds off the character so that you can be free to charge another unit in your following turn. But after that, if there are still large threats on the table, expect the Keeper to fall quickly

          • Apocryphus

            I run a combined CSM and Daemon army, would you say it’s more valuable for the Keeper to be warlord to gain access to the daemon relics?

          • LankTank

            Personally I think Daemons.
            Even if you were to stay with your DP as opposed to KoS , you would get Quicksilver Swiftness, access to some better Warlord traits and of course The Forbidden Gem which I think is the best relic I have seen.
            Imagine being able to get your DP into the pocket and deny a unit from having a shooting phase at you?
            Additionally a Daemon DP will then be able to enable re-rolls on your Daemons, but you could still use a Chaos Lord to get your Slaaneshi marines re-rolls for cheap.
            But I guess it comes down to what else you play

          • Apocryphus

            That’s brings up something I’ve been wondering, CSM DP’s say that you can re roll 1’s for Heretic Astartes and daemons of their patron gods. It’s been ruled that the strats don’t work across codexes, but would that re roll work? All signs point to yes, but who knows anymore. >.> I think that Forbidden Gem is looking pretty attractive though.

          • LankTank

            OMG how did I Miss that it also effects Daemons =o all this time! I guess then the only thing the CSM DP misses is the God-centric rule such as Disgustingly Resilient or Quicksilver Swiftness. But to have the ability to support both Daemons and Heretic Astartes is an equal trade. I guess you will just need to determine what relic is going to work best with your army.
            And yes, while the FAQ laid the sledgehammer for Stratagems effecting only Faction Daemons if the Daemons keyword is used, that does not apply to other buffs.
            The designers made multiple references to Feculant Gnarlmaw benefiting Nurgle Heretic Astarte units and of spells like Fleshy Abundance being able to target Maulerfiends, Morty etc

          • Apocryphus

            Yeah, I missed it the first time too. Emperor’s Children basically have Quicksilver Swiftness for their Legion Trait, so yeah, it comes down to relics and warlord traits. I’ll just run my list trying both and see how they fare. Besides, an internal struggle between a KoS and DP fighting for control over a force makes a good narrative. 🙂

          • LankTank

            So cool =)
            Man I am really torn between the 2 DP as well…
            CSM with Dual Claws: 8 Str 8 attacks and getting an additional attack each wound he suffers, Quicksilver, Buffs Astartes and Daemons. Access to either Death Hex, Diabolic Str, Warptime or FNP
            DAEMONS with Dual Claws, 7 Str 7 attacks, Quicksilver, forces a -1 modifier on combat then can cast a further -1. BUt then able to take FOrbidden Gem. Can only buff daemons
            In honesty I think you are right… CSM DP is better. Warptime, Presciene and FNP are just too good

  • Failbaddon

    I’m really hoping/looking forward to a true World Eater codex.
    Been playing them since ye olde 3.5 codex.

    Playability has had its ups (those heady days of 2002 and the current ‘dex) and downs (having to proxy Death Company heavy BA for an even remotely fluffy list).
    Having our own ‘dex that can stand up to the awesomeness delivered by the Thousand Sons and Death Guard books would be like a dream come true. It’d also mean I can stop trying to get people to accept my old, faded printout of the Daemon Angron rules as valid for Apocalypse games.

    And it would give me (even more of) an excuse to play the classic Bolt Thrower song when declaring my first charges of the game. Which I regret/am proud to say is something my regular opponents have become quite used to over the years.

  • LordKrungharr

    Dark mechanicus and iron warriors should definitely have their own books, the latter could be given a distinct play style with artillery and fortification stuff. And darn it a daemonic Perturabo would be friggin awesome!

  • Malisteen

    Within the next couple years, I expect to see: Emperors Children with their own codex & model line, World Eaters with their own codex & model line, new releases & model ranges for khorne & slaanesh daemons, another chaos daemons codex incorporating the new khorne & slaanesh stuff, another vanilla CSM codex that drops World Eaters & Emperor’s Children and instead gains a chaos equivalent of primaris marines. Maybe literal primaris marines turned traitor, maybe bile reverse engineers them, maybe it’s a new chaos thing that has nothing to do with primaris marines narratively but serves the same effective purpose – new models in a larger scale that are technically new units so people with existing armies are more likely to buy them. These’ll come with a new chaos triumvirate of Abby, Huron, & Bile, & a global narrative push / campaign focused on a new Seige of Terra by Abaddon’s forces.

    Those are my predictions, anyway.

    Beyond that, new chaos Lost & the Damned or Dark Mechanicus style factions would be amazing, but I’m not convinced they’re going to happen within the next couple years.

    • frank

      =O I could totally see them doing something like this even going as far as having Abaddon take what whatever upgrade bile creates to bring him up in scale to the stature nearly that of or equal to the size of a Primarch. would be weird but i could see them doing it.

      • Malisteen

        He was wounded pretty bad in Fall of Cadia. That could be used as justification for why he would agree to a dangerous experimental procedure at bile’s hands.

        • frank

          Right I could see that happening and actually I wouldn’t hate it if they did. It would help add to that grimdark feel even. 10’000 years of planning and preparation only to have chaos benefit from the fruits of their labor. That said I hope they do give the imperium some time to bring themselves up from the brink so that their could be a proper fight for Terra.

  • frank

    It looks a bit dated but I still love the cow-goat Keeper of Secrets. I like the Baphomet look way better than the face they sculpted to replace it.

  • Phenomenonx82 .

    20 years and Khorne berzerkers still have GORILLA HANDS! bravo GW! ! !

  • Agent OfBolas

    Meanwhile the main CSM book just dance and sings “I’m sexy and I know it!”

  • FreeFragUK

    Little bit surprised that the codices released so far haven’t included unique battleforged formations for their representative factions. Who knows, maybe this will be a feature in future supplements.

    While I agree that the World Eaters and the Emperor’s Children are ripe for their own books, given their status within the established Chaos regime. I love the idea of a Dark Mechanicus book or a cults book, the latter could easily pull existing data cards from the Astra Militarum with some tailoring.

    For me one of the things which would greatly improve 40k on the whole would be for GW to better establish each of the subfactions. This doesn’t have to result in a book for every individual subfaction from the existing lore/cannon but in order to give the player value for money GW could easily roll out supplements.Something which GW have done in previous editions.