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40K: Ranking the Legion Tactics …So Far

6 Minute Read
Aug 05

Games Workshop showed off 5 Chaos Legion Tactics last week – let’s rank’em!

We’ve only gotten a look at 5 of the Chaos Legions so far – and they have been very in-line with the Space Marine rules. This probably a good thing for balance reasons but we’re not here to look at balance! We wanted to take a look at each tactic and rank them based purely on how good we thought they were. With that in mind a couple of caveats:

  • We are looking at these in a vacuum – we’re only comparing them against each other. We’re not including and Relics, Stratagems, Character Specific buffs (aka access to Chapter Heroes), or Warlord traits.
  • We’re looking at these from a more competitive stand point – we’ve ranked these based on how effect they are, how often they come up, and how game changing they can be.

Last time we did this, we were looking at the Space Marine Chapter Tactics – but now we also know (confirmed by GW) that these Legion Tactics only apply to Infantry, Bikers, and Helbrutes. We are taking that into account when looking at these traits. One last thing – there are MORE traits on the way, GW only showed off 5 and those are the 5 we are ranking. We’ll probably update this list when we get ALL the details. With that said, LET’S DO THIS!

#5 – Iron Warriors

Much like the Imperial Fists (who have pretty much the same tactic) this one is just underwhelming. Removing Cover Saves is very “meh” in 8th due to how difficult is is to actually get cover now. Sure, an Infantry unit in a woods or ruins is harder to shoot-up than out in the open, so yes, this should come up. But this would be a lot better if cover was a bigger benefit. The “extra” bit about re-rolling failed wounds rolls vs Buildings is also a non-issue for most players. Oh well – I guess it’s time to fire up the old Iron Cage Scenario and have a narrative battle to the death!

#4 – Black Legion


We wanted to say that these next 4 Chapter Tactics are ALL actually really good. They are all CLEARLY better than the Iron Warriors so that was the easy part. We went back and forth on how we ranked these but once the dust settled this was the final list.

The Black Crusaders adding 1 Leadership to Infantry and Bikes is pretty great – it’s not really going to matter to Helbrutes for the most part. The second 1/2 of the ability is great. Black Legion will be one of the most tactically flexible Legions as they will be able to move-and-shoot better than just about any other CSM army out there. Talented Generals will be able to dance around the tabletop and cause their opponents much grief as they move up and fall back as needed. All the while unleashing volley after volley into their foes. The test of true master of this ability will be to determine if they should just rapid fire for the round or fall back, sacrificing some shots for an extra round of shooting…

We ranked this one #4 just based on the fact that it’s actually going to take some player skill to use successfully. Unlike the next 3, which are really “fire-and-forget” type abilities…Or rather, “remember that you HAVE them.”

#3 – Night Lords

Terror Tactics is another ability that is pretty powerful. A straight up -1 to a unit’s Leadership is mean – and it STACKS up to a -3 which is nuts! Okay, this one does actually take a bit more player skill to pull off than we gave it credit for… but it’s not as difficult a dance to weave as the Black Crusade ability. If you can manage to do a single wound to a unit and position your Night Lords correctly, then you’re going to drive your opponents off the table in spectacular fashion. Each failed morale check equals MODELS removed. That’s why this one is ranked #3!

#2 – World Eaters


Do you miss the old charge bonuses? Well guess what, the Butcher’s Nails brings them back! A World Eaters Legion list is going to pump out a bucket of dice in close combat. I don’t even want to do the math on the number of attacks a full squad of Khorne Berzekers will get on the charge (hint: It’s a million dice – ONE MILLION ATTACKS). Plus, Helbrutes that charge will get another attack with those devastating Close Combat weapon options. This ability could probably be #1 on the list if we were looking at all the stuff you can do to boost those attacks. But we’re NOT taking those into account…which is why it’s a solid #2.

#1 – Emperor’s Children

Yes – I can’t believe this is #1 either! So why/how is Flawless Perfection so good? For the simple reason that it basically cheats.

Think about it, one of the core mechanics of the game is just ignored by this ability. “Chargers fight FIRST” …except when you’re playing against Emperor’s Children. This Legion Tactic works on both players turn and it never goes away. The only condition to meet is “are you in close combat?” If “yes” then attack first. This ability is so good that it’s better than the Stratagem that lets you interrupt a player’s Fight Phase and attack with one of your units – and that costs 3 CP!

Those Khorne Berzekers that charged in with a million attacks -that’s pretty scary, right? Well vs the Emperor’s Children they are attacking after taking hits which means your combat potential just dropped. Or what about units like Genestealers that charge in? They only have a 5+ save and they are going to take some casualties, too. If your close combat specialists are glass cannons, suddenly charging Emperor Children becomes a real problem. That is why it’s our #1 pick!


So that’s our rankings for the Legion Tactics (for now). Who knows what the list will be this time next week (once we get to see the others). Do you agree or disagree? How would you rank these tactics?


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