Let’s talk about the games newest, cheap battalion here to give the Loyal 32 a run for their money!
As soup lists continue to be a viable and powerful part of the game, there is a constant need for cheap battalions. Almost any army can benefit from a dirt cheap battalion that provides them with those sweet, sweet five command points. The ever-present Loyal 32 is in many ways the Ur-example of this detachment, but almost every army has some variation on it. Now thanks to some new, and overlooked, rules Chaos Soup has access to a battalion that is about as cheap as the Loyal 32. I give you the Treacherous 20.
Who Are The Treacherous 20
“Inquisition records state the Treacherous 20 originally were part of the 192nd <redacted>. This regiment was made up mostly of abhumans, Ogyrns, Ratlings, Beastmen and other questionable types. The nature of these regiments meant that a larger than normal number of Commissars was needed to keep the brutes inline. Officers and Commissars alike had a liking for power fists, which they found useful in displaying strength. The <redacted> served for many years, with seeming distinction and loyalty, no doubt growing complacent, a trait which lead to their undoing.”
“It was during the Battle of <redacted> that doom fell on them. A portion of the regiment was deployed in an assault on the fallen city of <redacted>. There they are believed to have encountered <redacted>. Whatever the truth of this, the twenty members who survived where changed. After returning to the regiment it is now known that they began to spread the worship of <redacted>. Two years later at the Battle of Mos Vos the Regiment revealed its new alliance turning on its loyal allies with much slaughter. Ever since then the members of the regiment have been servants of the Dark Powers of Abyss.”
“The 20 original converts have been given a special blessing, or curse. They are doomed to fight on eternally, swept by dark powers from battlefield to battlefield across the stars. Death holds no fear, nor succor for them, as again and again they are brought back to fight on new worlds and new fronts. In fact many say they are no longer even mortal but daemons, their souls and humanity bargained away for fleeting power. Doomed to die on a thousand worlds, such is the price one pays for disloyalty.”
The Treacherous 20 On the Table
On the tabletop the Treacherous 20 represents one of the cheapest Battalion options out there, coming to you courtesy of the Servants of the Abyss faction. Now, if you’ve never heard of this faction before, I don’t blame you. Servants of the Abyss is the faction name given the Chaos forces from the Blackstone Fortress board game. All of these models have perfectly legal 40K rules. The Chaos ones, including Chaos Beastmen and Traitor Guardsmen, form their own faction with the keywords Chaos and Servants of the Abyss.
Up until now, this has been a pretty irrelevant part of the game. The named character Obsidus Mallex was the only HQ option they could get, and as he is unique, the faction couldn’t ever fill out a Battalion. In fact, since many of the units didn’t take up org slots if Mallex is in the detachment, they had trouble filling anything but a patrol. Meaning that while you could take them, they’d never amount to much.
The new Traitor Command expansion for Blackstone Fortress changes this. While the Ogryn is nifty, it’s the Commissar who’s really making waves. The Traitor Commissar is a non-unique HQ choice, which allows us to take a battalion at last. At 50 points, he’s more than an AM officer but cheap for Chaos. Now taking him with the Traitor Guardsmen from Blackstone seems an obvious choice and you can get a unit of 7 for 35 points. However, if going cheap is the goal, then it’s the Beastmen you want. A squad of 4 will run you 24 points. Sadly the Beastmen are a unique, unit so to get the cheapest you’ll need to mix and match. Taking 2 Commissars and 1 Beastmen Squad and two units of Trautir Guardsmen will get you a battalion for 194 pts, just over the 180 for the Loyal 32.
Are the Treacherous 20 Any Good?
This is really a question that only your full list can answer. If you were looking for a straight up Chaos version of the Loyal 32, you’d be disappointed. The Treacherous 20 are I think the cheapest way for Chaos to get a Battalion on the table, and one of the cheapest in the game. Outside of the 5 CP, however, they don’t bring much to the table. The Loyal 32, for instance, put out more firepower and are more durable. For 14 less points, you get a few more models, objective secured and up to 120 lasgun shots. It’s pretty crazy.
The Traitor Commissar is OK in combat, and the Beastmen aren’t the worst, though there are so few they can’t do much. The Traitor Guard again don’t do much. Don’t expect much on the field from them. A cheap Daemon or Red Corsair battalion will cost more, but be worth it a lot of the time. Both will bring some actual battlefield advantage. However, sometimes you just want CP the cheapest way possible. Maybe you are running a new Chaos Knight list, and need the CP, but only have a few points to spare. In those situations, the Treacherous 20 could come in handy. I don’t think they’ll be near as ubiquitous as the Loyal 32 (nor do they scale well), but I won’t be surprised to see them showing up here and there in Chaos Soup lists.
The Abyss in the Future
With Servants of the Abyss, GW seems to be slowly and stealthy building a new faction. This new expansion has taken them from curiosity to actual detachment status. It’s an interesting way to start to add Traitor Guard into the army. It’s also a prime example of the kind of bloat I find troubling. The fact that a winning list might hinge on a unit whose rules are found in the instruction for that unit, and who was primarily designed for a board game is sub-optimal. This is the kind of unit, and faction, that the majority of players might well never know existed until they are blind-sided at an event. Overall it leaves me torn. It’s a cool faction and cool models, but I hate the way the rules are being presented. Can’t we just skip to a Servants of the Abyss codex already?
Guys I messed up. When I wrote this article originally I completely missed that Beastmen are a unique unit and advocated taking 3 units of them. Obviously that’s not possible. This article has since been edited to reflect that, and updated with the alternative option of using Traitor Guard. I apologize for any confusion and for the mistake.
Let us know what you think about The Treacherous 20, down in the comments!
Editor’s Note: Yes we messed up on the unique Beastmen unit, but we’ll admit it when we’re wrong. We’ve cleaned up the Battalion list by adding the 2 units of Traitor Guard alongside their 1 unit of beastial friends, and have sent StableAbe out to armwrestle an Ogryn for the day as punishment. He’ll be fine.