BoLS logo Tabletop, RPGs & Pop Culture

40K: Night Lords Continue to Evolve

7 Minute Read
Sep 12

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.

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?



And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!


Latest News From BoLS:

  • Advertisement
  • 40K HOBBY: Painting Up Mortarion