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40K Deep Thought – Shoring Up Chaos

4 Minute Read
May 9 2019

The Imperium has dominated the game for over a decade – here’s how GW can easily make Chaos a contender.

The Imperium didn’t always dominate the game’s meta. Back in very early editions of the game, there was more of a scattershot pattern to the various factions in the game.

Back in the day

But slowly edition after edition, GW added more and more Imperial factions to the game. Let’s be honest – this was almost entirely “marine inflation”, as the loyalist Astartes just kept getting more books.

Still, all was well, because back in the day everyone had to keep to their own codexes. Then allies came along and the dominance of the Imperium was set in stone.

Let’s Take a Tour

Here are the factions in the game that have codexes (or something close) right now:


  • Astra Militarum
  • Space Marines
  • Adeptus Custodes
  • Blood Angels
  • Space Wolves
  • Dark Angels
  • Deathwatch
  • Grey Knights
  • Adeptus Mechanicus
  • Imperial Knights
  • Adepta Sororitas
  • Imperial Assassins (kinda)


  • Ynnari
  • Craftworld Eldar
  • Drukhari
  • Harlequins
  • Necrons
  • T’au Empire
  • Orks
  • Tyranids
  • Genestealer Cults


  • Chaos Space Marines
  • Thousand Sons
  • Death Guard
  • Chaos Daemons

I didn’t even throw in the random odds and ends like Talons of the Emperor, but that’s just another one chalked up for Imperium. You can see the point.

Why Chaos

In the grand overarching IP of Games Workshop – Chaos is probably their most unique and cherished portion. Lots of games have oppressive empires that span the galaxy, armored super-soldiers, psychic powers, and Tolkien racial analogs.  But, it’s the funkiness of the Warp, the Chaos pantheon, daemons, and how it all intertwines that really make Warhammer (both 40K and AoS), Warhammer.

Every setting needs a fantastic inspiring villain, and sleepy space undead and hungry space bugs aren’t it. Chaos needs to be more potent in the game’s meta.

How to Do It

Luckily it’s pretty easy and I think GW is 100 percent onboard for it as well. They’ve been dropping hints and testing out models in side games to put their toe in the expanded Chaos water. Psst, did you all notice how the Blackstone Fortress villain transitioned over into the new CSM codex release range as a generic Chaos Lord?

I’m so badass, I have two jobs!

What GW needs is to get Chaos to roughly 10 codexes. That gets them within striking range of the Imperium. They only have 4, but if GW can put out codex Imperial Knights 2 editions ago with only a single unit in it, it can be done. Here’s what I think the plan may be:


Chaos Now

  • Chaos Space Marines
  • Thousand Sons
  • Death Guard
  • Chaos Daemons

Chaos Codex Possibilities

Emperor’s Children – the rumors don’t stop and with Slaanesh just released, they may be just around the corner. The stars are in alignment. Come on Fulgrim – get on my table!

World Eaters – Perhaps the steepest climb and the most far off. With 5 Imperial standalone-chapter codexes, it’s probably only a matter of time till GW hits all 4 of the cult legions. We will just have to live with the ancient dancing Berzerkers until then… But one day we’ll get Daemon-Angron, so it’s a fair trade. Be patient – angrily patient.

Traitor Guard – Easier to do than you think. Heavy re-use of the Astra Militarum range with a chaos accessory sprue for their vehicles and Cadian minis is a start. Drop in some Traitor HQs, like that cool set from Blackstone Fortress, and a bunch of new traitorous orders and famed Renegade Regiments – done! I can only imagine who the “evil Creed” would be!


Renegade Knights – Maybe the easiest of the bunch. This can be done with a dark mirror version of the Imperial Knight codex, 6 infamous fallen houses, and a single Traitor Knight accessory sprue. Easy-peasy. The lowest of hanging fruit.

Dark Mechanicus – Again, this one is probably easier in reality than in theory. Pulling together all the Dark Mechanicus, Warpsmith, Daemon Engines (there are a lot scattered around), and those Blackstone Fortress negavolt cultists, and you are most of the way there.  1-3 new kits for Skitarii and Kataphron counterparts and a dash of Chaos Knights should do it. I bet chaos-canticles and stratagems would be fiendish!

Done! That would give us 9 Chaos codexes to ally across. I think GW is actively working on several of these already and could see Chaos being a potent soup counterpart to the Imperium within a year. It’s about frakkin time!

~Which of these would you do first if you ran GW?

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