BoLS logo Tabletop, RPGs & Pop Culture

40K: Fun With Chaos Warlord Traits & Relics

4 Minute Read
Apr 12 2019

Chaos has access to a lot of ways to add Warlord Traits and Relics to their armies. Let’s get silly.

After spending more time with the Chaos Codex and Vigilus Ablaze, I’ve been having strange visions of chaos for some reason. In one of those visions I foresaw a Chaos List with an obscene amount of Warlords and Relics. When I awoke from this heretical nightmare I cracked open the warp-tainted Codex and Vigilus Ablaze once again to answer the question – How many Warlords and Relics CAN you cram in a Chaos army?

Now this is just a thought experiment and is by no means what I would describe as a good idea. But if you wanted to run a bunch of Warlords and Relics in a Chaos list this is how you’d do it. And just so we’re on the same page, we’re looking at a 2k list with a max of 3 detachments.

Black Legion


For starters, we’re kicking things off with a Black Legion Detachment so we can have access to two of their stratagems that will kick this puppy off:

Council of Traitors is pretty self explanatory. You need a Black Legion Chaos Lord, Daemon Prince or Abaddon. Then you add a Dark Apostle and Sorcerer. That’s going to net you a total of 3 Warlord Traits – 1 for your primary Warlord and 2 more for the Dark Apostle and Sorcerer. And we’re just getting started.


As far as Relics go, you get 1 base and then we have the new Relics of the Long War stratagem. For 3 CP we’re going to add an additional 2 relics for a total of 3…so far. Just make sure you got enough characters for all these Relics.

Specialist Detachment Engaged

Here’s where things get silly. We’re going to abuse the heck out of the Field Commander Stratagem:

With this stratagem you can turn ALL three of your detachments into Specialist Detachments – that includes your “primary” Black Legion Detachment. As long as your detachments fit, you can upgrade them which means you’re going to net another 3 Warlord Traits right there. Feel free to mix and match to your chaotic heart’s content.

At this point we’ve hit the cap on Warlord Traits with a total of 6! That’s kind of crazy and keeping track should be entertaining. But for Relics we can keep going. In Codex: Chaos Space Marines we’ve got access to the Gifts of Chaos stratagem…


…However, you can’t use both Gifts of Chaos AND Relics of the Long War:

Some folks might want to argue that if I take a Black Legion detachment AND a CSM detachment, then I would be able to access Gifts, but I’m going with the plain text of “you cannot also use the Gifts of Chaos Stratagem presented in Codex: Chaos Space Marines.

With that said – nothing says you can bring in some of the other traitor legions. If those other two detachments are Thousand Sons, Death Guard, or Chaos Daemons you also have access to their respective similar stratagems:


However you slice it, that’s 4 more relics bringing our total up to 7. That’s the max if you want to run with 6 Warlord Traits. But let’s say you want to focus more on Relics than Warlords – have you met the Red Corsairs?


Going this route, you’d have to not take the Black Legion as your “primary” warlord and you’d miss out on the two other bonus Warlord Traits. But you’d net another Relic by using some combination of Gifts of Chaos and the Thousand Sons/Death Guard/Chaos Daemons detachments. That means the max relics you could run would be 8 total.

Again, just because you CAN do this doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea. There is also the question of “how am I going to come up with all the command points to use all these stratagems?” But that’s a whole OTHER issue.


What do you think? Can you think of a way to squeeze in more relics or warlord traits? Let us know in the comments!

  • 40K: Necromunda Gangs From Hollywood