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Warhammer 40K: Codex Chaos Space Marines: The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly

8 Minute Read
May 13 2024

Goatboy here with review on the new Codex Chaos Space Marines.  Here’s the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly from what’s headed your way in 40K 10th Edition.

This CSM 10th edition Codex isn’t just a 2.0 update.  It is a fully realized new book with a ton of awesome rules, updates to datasheets, and whole new ways to play the true villains of the 40K Universe.  As is usual I will go over the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly on any new Codex/index we might receive.  This is again all based on what I like about it and might not be the best way to dig into the codex.   Overall I think there is way more Good than anything Bad or Ugly in this codex but will go ahead and start digging in.

Chaos Space Marines – The Good

The biggest good thing is that the book has a ton of different ways to play, that are not just rehashes from other armies.  There are unique options to getting your models on the tabletop. While not all of them are amazing you could use each of them to do something unique.  This is a good thing in a codex with 8 different detachments to choose from, and all sorts of pieces that get folded in from the Cult troops and Allies.

On the detachment side of things I think you got three extremely powerful ones you will see most of the time.  Each of these has your army playing in a different style, and I will go through the top three and what I like about each one.  I am just glad my current “paint” style for the army matches one of them. So I can conveniantly say I was born ready to play that one!

Renegade Raiders Detachment

My current favorite is the Red Corsairs detachment in the Renegade Raiders detachment.  Their overall rule of gaining Assault on all their Ranged weapons and getting an extra pip of AP when shooting someone who is on an objective is a very powerful set of rules.  The ability to have something always on is amazing, and each of their rules allows for an army that is constantly going to move around the tabletop and do damage to you all the time.

This detachment has two decent enhancements in a 6” scout to the bearer and unit they are attached too, and a Reroll Advance/fallback and shoot option.  There are some abilities to stack two characters in units so you could build some fun “Chosen” nonsense if you wanted to with all of these.

The detachment really shines in their stratagem options with a ton of 1CP strats as well as 3 Battle Tactic Strats that are really great when you can reuse them.  They get an Armor of Contempt power, an ability to reroll all hits/wounds if disembarking from transport and target within range of objective marker, and even gain precision attacks in the fight phase if the target unit is near an objective.  As you can see, a ton of these rules are all about nearing an objective which is something your army seems to want to take.  Heck, Renegade Raiders can even get an auto 6” advance option, and the ability to advance and charge with a +1 to the range.


Slaves To Darkness Detachment

The next powerful detachment is the updated Word Bearers one, that is an updated version of  Slaves To Darkness.  The rules are basically the dataslate updated version with removing the relic that allows you to double up on Lethal/Sustained and losing out of Armor of Contempt.  This is the only detachment that really cares about Marks and if you like to have your stuff get critical hits on a 5+ this is the place you will want to live.  The one new Stratagem is the whole – if your character kills a character they get bonus’s to their stats is cool just not nearly as useful as having Armor of Contempt.

Soulforged Warpack Detachment

The final Detachment that has me excited is the Soulforged Warpack which is the new Vashtorr detachment.  Thankfully, you don’t have to take Vashtorr, but instead you get to supercharge your daemon engines by giving them another “Pact” they get once they Dark Pact.  This has them roll their LD test at a -1 to get both options – aka Sustain or Lethal then the update from Vashtorr.  This update gives you either a +1 to Wound for the Daemon Engine or an extra 2 attacks.

I really like this one too as it is unique, doesn’t require Vashtorr (who isn’t bad), and lets me play with all my monsters.  It does have the best build army around Enhancement with the Tempting Addendum that gives the bearer a 3” aura that adds an extra mortal wound if they fail their Dark Pact as well as giving the a full hit reroll.  That seems pretty dang spicy right? You also get an Enhancement that lets you give a Daemon Engine a 6+ FNP as well, which seems pretty dang good.


Even the Stratagems are pretty decent too with a lot of fun stuff like being able to drive through terrain, feeding on enemy units, and better AP.  The one I like the most is how you can make a normal vehicle into a Daemonic Vehicle if you want.  This isn’t limited to one vehicle so you can keep possessing things during each of your Command Phases.

Dataslate Buffs

On the actual Dataslates we had a lot of changes but only a few true glow-ups.  Most things work the same and the biggest winner would be looking at how the Warp Talons shifted.  They now have the ability to go back up into the sky if they kill the unit they charge and are not near anyone.  Having a decent brawler unit who can pop up and down is a pretty powerful thing.

Even Vashtorr got better with a better hammer attack and 2 powerful abilities.  Anyone targeting him within 18” with shooting makes all their weapons hazardous when they target him.  He also lets Daemon Engines get a +1 strength to all their weapons too which isn’t too bad at all.  I like how Chaos Terminators just get the ability to reroll their hits when making a Dark Pact which seems powerful.

Overall it is a ton of good stuff with small tweaks we’ll talk about in the Bad and Ugly side of things as I don’t think it is truly terrible. It is just not nearly as back breaking as before.  But hey – your Forgefiends stayed the same which is a good thing for those with that army.  Especially, since a new detachment might make them even more brutal.

Chaos Space Marines – The Bad

The codex has a lateral move for the leader from Chaos Space Marines – Abaddon is sorta better and sorta worse.  He has now lost all the marks, so the old days of having all the options in a unit of Terminators is a thing of the past.  He also got nerfed on his CP growth in needing to get a 7+ on his Dark Pact roll to gain a new one.  He lost all of that stuff, but did gain the ability to join Chosen – which is a pretty interesting setup.  He now gains the ability to Advance and Charge when joining that unit, which feels like a pretty brutal death bullet to come out of a CSM Land Raider.


The mid-range Detachments are ok.  The Night Lords / Dread Talons detachment seems ok but it really hinges on Battle Shocking your opponent to get anything from it.  That is a pain in the butt again, as it only works if you got your enemy spooked which is not a game-winning method most of the time.

The Deceptors detachment looked cool initially until I read only Cultists and Legionaries could infiltrate.  I am sure there is a way to slam the table with so many bodies it is hard to chew through but I don’t know how much they can actually kill things.  The Detachment does have some cool Enhancements that let you gain Lone Operative and replacement style things for your characters.

The Black Legion – Veterans of the Long War detachment is your basic “marine” style where you pick a unit and your army can reroll against it.  It isn’t doing amazing for Space Marines right now, so I don’t think it will make a splash with the Black Legion fanboys.  It did gain a Fights First ability, which is powerful, but costing 2 CP seems like too much.  Still, it isn’t completely bad.

The last two detachments are a bit of a head-scratcher as the Iron Warriors/Fellhammer Siege Host is trying to be tougher Marines, but its rules feel lackluster.  If the strength is higher than your toughness the weapon is -1 to wound. Which seems cool but it isn’t nearly as good as you would want it be.  The best Strat is the ability to give a unit a 5+ Feel No Pain as it allows you to build a very tanky Terminator Squad.  Heck, a lot of it feels like you are just going to set up some very tanky Terminator options as they hold the table.

The last detachment is the Chaos Cult which is your lost and the damned style detachment.  I am glad it is in Codex CSM. But without more “battleline” changes to the army it makes it hard to really work right.  It allows you to Dark Pact with some other stuff which is cool, but the whole army is so squishy you will see opponents chew through the whole thing.  Still, I am glad it lets you take all the Damned stuff and make use of it.


Chaos Space Marines – The Ugly

There was no new Huron model even though he is still in the book. Odd.  There weren’t any new Bikes to look at.  The Defiler is still in there which looks goofy as heck.  There aren’t any biker characters at all, which is a shame, as we could have used some kind of Doomrider.  All the Emperor’s Children stuff is out of the codex, so that is kind of sad but expected.  They got rid of the always-on Devastating Wounds for your Possessed which has now turned to once a game.  That is a shame, as I got a ton of Possessed and their damage output is now a heck of a lot lower.  They removed the 6+ FNP from the Master of Possession which feels like a kick in the teeth.

Codex Chaos Space Marines Verdict

Still, overall this codex is pretty awesome and is going to be dueling with the top armies for a while.  CSMs do a lot of things well as a faction, combining fast movement, good brawling, and powerful shooting.  I expect them to be up there int he 40K meta, as they can easily pour out the wounds into Orks or just be able to punch through armor as needed.

For the Warmaster!

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