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Why Can’t GW Get Codex Chaos Marines Right?

5 Minute Read
Dec 9 2015
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Chaos Marines players want three simple things – why won’t GW give it to them and make millions?

The high water mark for Chaos Marine players was the 3.5 Edition codex here:



It wasn’t perfect by any means but it hit pretty close to the mark.  It was 2002 and it’s been all downhill from there.  The real trajedy is that there is no “secret sauce” or undiscovered recipe for what Chaos players want – it’s been plain as day for over a decade.  The real problem is that for 13 long years the GW Design Studio keeps on force-feeding the players different flavors of what they think people want in a CSM codex – and it’s been rejected time and time again.

Here’s all they need to do to publish a codex that will shatter sales records:


Legion Rules

For the love of the Warmaster can we finally get back a set of Legion rules?  Note that I didn’t say “get some rules”, I said “get back” – because the 3.5 edition codex had a very simple set that got the job done.  Look at the short efficient way the First Founding Chapters are defined in the Space Marine codex – and take inspiration from that.   Just give us 9 set of rules to represent each of the Traitor Legions, with the default codex representing “vanilla default Chaos” Don’t go half ass and remember to make Marks and upgrades apply to all the CSMs so we can have Cult Terminators, Cult Vehicles, Cult everything…

Expanding on this, Each Traitor Legion is a big important part of the 40K universe and is worthy of a single named character.  Here is what we have so far:

  • World Eaters: Kharn
  • Death Guard: Typhus
  • Emperor’s Children: Lucius (arguably Fabius)
  • Thousand Sons: Ahriman
  • Black Legion: Abaddon
  • Iron Warriors: ???
  • Night Lords: ???
  • Alpha Legion: ???
  • Word Bearers: ???

The lack of named characters for the last 4 in the codex is shameful.  Hey Design Studio – did you know there is an entire division of your own company called Black Library and they work in the SAME BUILDING as you?!  Grab a cup of coffee on your next break and go chat em up. Better yet, some of their best selling series of novels set in the 40th Millennia deal with THOSE 4 LEGIONS and have some amazing characters in them that would be huge crowd pleasers.  Also note that some old Heresy-vintage dudes from those 4 Legions are still running around and would make fantastic tabletop villains!


NOT the star of the codex – please!


Ok, this is one of those things where the desire to sell new minis is rubbing up against the needs of the community – so let me be clear:


Don’t make it about the Dark Mechanicus daemonic engines. (even though they are cool)

Don’t make it about Cultists.

Make it about the Marines! There is a reason they are on the cover.  People don’t want to play an army of Hellturkeys and waves of Cultists being led by 5-man squads of CSMs parked in their deployment zones in Rhinos (maybe the Word Bearers do…)


If you end up with a codex that deemphasizes the CSMs themselves, then go back to the drawing board and work on them some more.  You CAN fix this!

Psst…plastic Dreadclaws for CSMs only? Hmmm?

Theme of Grizzled Veterans

Ok here is another big one.  The allure of Loyalist Marines is that they are the golden boys of the Grimdark.  They are principled killers in powered armor with the latest high-tech toys and will lay down thier lives and never take one step back to defend the Imperium.

BUT – they are a pack of teenaged Boy Scouts compared to These Guys:


CSMs know fear – you better bet they do, and they have ancient equipment. But they also know tactics, are cunning, ruthless and have been fighting for 10,000 years.  The codex NEEDS TO HAVE A THEME OF EVIL GRIZZLED BADASS VETERANS.  Imagine this guy:


The CSMs rejected his newb poser ass because he wasn’t tough and grizzled enough.  I’ll just lay it out so it’s plain as day:


We want some totally badass super villiains.  The CSMs should be that army that makes the Imperials sweat when they hear about them. I mean how do you get up the nerve to fight powered armored monsters who used to be loyalists until they rebelled and have been successfully making a career of raiding the Imperium for 10,000 YEARS!

Last but not least – please please please just let “Chaos Renegades” die a quiet death and recede into the fluff.  Yes we know, loyalist Marines rebel all the time but let’s be honest – no one cares. Stop making the CSM codex about them. 


Just like we don’t expect a “Traitor Guard” codex because we can just use the normal one to represent a recently turned IG regiment – we can use codex Space Marines to represent recently fallen Chapters.

Just as you never see Hawk Lords, Inceptors or Sons of Orar outside of a GW publication – NO ONE gives two cents about The Purge, Knights of Blood, Claws of Lorek, the Fetid Unicorns, or the Narwhals of Decadence. We care about the Traitor Legions!

Give the CSM players what they want and they will flock to you (with their wallets open) like moths to the flame.

~ What do you think? I’ll let you all take it from here:


Author: Larry Vela
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