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How to Play Chaos Knights in Warhammer 40K 9th Edition

5 Minute Read
Dec 30 2022

Today take a look at some basics of how to play and get started with Warhammer 40k Chaos Knights. All hail the giant evil robots!

The Chaos Knights are fallen Knight houses,  dedicated to the Chaos Gods, who go to battle in hulking, stomping warmachines in Warhammer 40K. Their armies consist of various sizes of evil Knights, from lowly War Dogs to gigantic Tyrant-class machines. Dedicated to Dark Gods, the Chaos Knights will do anything to achieve their goals.

So below, we will offer some tips on how to play Chaos Knights and get started with the army.

Who Are The Chaos Knights?

Chaos Knights codex

Since the Horus Heresy, thousands of individual Knights and even entire Knight Houses have been corrupted by Chaos and betrayed the Imperium. The first Renegade Knights appeared during the Horus Heresy, when many of the Knightly households sided with Warmaster Horus. However, since the Heresy, many more Knights have betrayed the Imperium. Some were corrupted after their worlds were swallowed by Warp Storms, while others were slowly driven mad by the endless carnage they witnessed and inflicted on countless campaigns.

Each Chaos Knight is a twisted reflection of the Imperial Knights. The Knight suits were first created using Standard Template Constructs during the Dark Age of Technology. Many have survived the innumerable wars that have characterized the long millennia since. Over years or even centuries, Chaos energies seep into the war engine, torturing its Machine Spirit and mutating its mechanical form. Where once the suit and its pilot were a gleaming beacon, the Chaos Knight and its Fallen Noble comprise a symbiotic beast of wrath and hate.

Fallen Nobles embark on campaigns for many reasons. Some do so to conquer territory in the name of the Ruinous Powers. These launch quests to unravel the very fabric of existence and transform the galaxy into a twisted hellscape. Chaos Knights are either sole traitors classified by the Ordo Hereticus as Dreadblades, or part of a greater Household that has turned its back on the Imperium.

Why Play Chaos Knights

Chaos Knights advance

Chaos Knights are great if you love big, stompy robots and hate the Emperor/ love the Gods of Chaos. They are truly the most elite army, guaranteed to be outnumbered, barring allies or mirror matches. Their impressive statlines and giant weapons give the army a real chance. This happens even when they are badly outnumbered – and they always are!


Strengths of the Army

  • Good at fightin’ and shootin’
  • Giant robots
  • Few models

Weakness of the Army

  • High point cost result in always being outnumbered

Signature Rules

The army has a number of special rules, the key ones to remember are:

  • Traitoris Lances – This rule allows the army to use Super Heavy detachments in the same way other armies use more generic detachments, getting a Command Point rebate for their Warlord.
  • Towering Foe – This rule allows Chaos Knights to count as multiple models on Objectives.
  • Traitoris Ambitions – This rule has a varied effect depending on whether you choose to be Infernal or Iconoclast.

Chaos Knights Sub-factions

Chaos Knights battle

The Chaos Knights have a number of sub-factions, called Dread Households, to choose from. Almost every unit in the army must belong to a Dread Household.

Which Dread Household you select will determine what household bonds, stratagems, relics, and warlord traits you have access to. To play these to the fullest, you will need Codex: Chaos Knights.

Key Chaos Knights Units To Know

The army doesn’t have a ton of models, so knowing what units to take can be tricky. Here are some suggestions to get you off on the right track.

1. Knight-Tyrant


The biggest and baddest of Knights available in plastic (Forgeworld resin has their own standards!), the Tyrant is a great centerpiece with a ton of firepower. The various upgrades that the fell powers of Chaos can bestow really pump the Tyrant up to 11.

2. War Dog Stalker

One of the diminutive (relatively) foot soldiers of Chaos Knight armies, War Dogs can still smack stuff well enough, and they have Objective Secured.

3. War Dog Brigand

These “little” guys are fast and lethal. Brigands provide pretty great ranged support.

4. Knight Rampager

The “choppy” version of the basic Chaos Knight. The Rampager excels at getting up close and ripping things up.

5. Knight Abominant

This Knight has a cool gun and is a Psyker! Watch out Loyalists! Also you get vultures up top.


6. War Dog Karnivore

The War Dog Carnivore only sports close combat gear. These fleet war machines can get into combat fast and hit hard.

7. Knight Desecrator

This Knight has a suped-up super laser and a great aura effect. Use the Desecrator to support ranged War Dogs and give them re-rolls on their shots.

8. Knight Despoiler

Knight Despoiler Image

The basic Chaos Knight, the Despoiler is infamous for its ability to “double-up” on guns, takings two battle cannons or gatling cannons.

Sample Starter Warhammer 40k Army

Army: Chaos Knights

Dread House: Korvax

Super Heavy Auxiliary Detachment


Lord of War:  Knight Despoiler . 1 Model. It is equipped with: 2 despoiler battle cannon, 2 diabolus heavy stubbers, daemonbreath meltagun, titantic feet-  500 pts

Total: 500 pts.

Now Let’s Do 1,000 Points of Chaos Knights!

Lord of War:  Knight Despoiler . 1 Model. It is equipped with: 2 despoiler battle cannon, 2 diabolus heavy stubbers, daemonbreath meltagun, titantic feet-  500 pts

Lord of War:  Knight Abominant . 1 Model. It is equipped with: diabolus heavy stubber; volkite combustor; balemace; electroscourge; titanic feet, Blood Shield–  475 pts

Total: 975 pts.

How to Play Chaos Knights

The most difficult part of playing this army is managing objectives and board control. You don’t have many bodies, and you will always be outnumbered. However, unlike their Imperial counterparts, Chaos Knight armies can make excellent use of War Dogs, and the Despoiler is a great purpose-built gunboat. Many of the Favors the Dark Gods provide are impressive but despite their impressive weapons, and seeming toughness, the Chaos Knights are a delicate army that takes skill to use well.

For the Dark Gods!

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