Chaos Space Marine Review: Formation: Black Legion Warband


Hey everyone! Adam here , from TFG Radio, to talk about one of the Black Legion’s core choices from the new Traitor Legions book: Black Legion Warband. As always, for more tactics articles, check out the Tactics Corner!


Here is what the formation entails

  • 1 Chaos Lord
  • 2-6 Units of Chaos Space Marines or Chosen (any combination)
  • 1-3 Units of Chaos Terminators or Possessed (any combination)
  • 1-3 Units of Raptors, Warp Talons, or Bikers (any combination)
  • 1-3 Units of Havocs or Helbrutes (any combination)

Restrictions – Black Legion Detachment

Now this is slightly different from a Chaos Warband. Having the chosen basically taking a troop slot is nice since I normally take them anyway.  Unfortunately, it means I have to take either terminators or possessed. In this case I would take a suicide terminator squad to drop in my opponent’s backfield and hopefully hit the rear armor of a vehicle or building.


Special Rules

The formation allows you the following special rules:

  • Favoured of the Warmaster – When a model from a Black Legion Warband earns a roll on the Chaos Boon table as a result of the Champion of Chaos special rule, roll twice on the table and choose either one or both of the results.
  • Thirst for Glory – If an enemy unit is completely destroyed by a unit from a Black Legion Warband, all other units from the same Black Legion Warband can re-roll To Hit and To Wound rolls of 1 until the end of the phase.

Ok, right off the bat, you give up a lot since your units are not objective secured, and you cannot roll on the boon table every turn, unlike the Chaos Warband. However, since your champions must challenge anyway, the bonus roll for winning the combat can help your champion buff up and also insulates your champion from becoming a spawn, unless you want him to! Thirst for Glory is ok, and a bit handy for shooting units against Imperial armies, as you already have Eternal Hatred, but is also useful if you happen to be playing against a non-imperial army.


I love you, dreadclaw

So, why use the formation? By itself I wouldn’t use it. It would depend on what you want to do with your army. I personally plan on using it in the Black Legion Decurion to take advantage of the turn 1 deep strike and my documented love for Dreadclaws.

An example list would be:

  • Lord w/Jump Pack (goes with Raptors)
  • Chaos Space Marine w/Dreadclaw
  • Chosen (4 Meltaguns) w/Dreadclaw
  • Raptors (2 Melatguns)
  • Chaos Terminators w/3 Combi-meltas
  • Helbrute w/Maelstrom Raider Legacy of Ruin and Dreadclaw

The actual armament of the raptors and lord would change depending on the rest of the Decurion. I would try to get everything in on turn one to flood the board with targets. I mitigate the chance of the dreadclaw eating my helbrute by having it outflank and having an empty dreadclaw drop in. The plan is to combine it with either the Raptor Talon or Terminator Annihilation Force auxiliary choices to help flood the board.


This isn’t the final word on how it should be played but just some initial ideas as I start to playtest it. Hopefully this article will help you see the opportunities of the Black Legion Warband. Don’t forget to check out our podcast, and blog!

As always, share your thoughts in the comments section! And remember, Frontline Gaming sells Games Workshop product at up to 25% off, every day. You can also pick up some cheap models in our Second Hand Shop. Some of these gems are quite rare, sometimes they’re fully painted!



About Adam

Adam, aka Latin Gandalf, has been gaming since the early eighties and has played 40K since Rogue Trader (among a number of other games). He listens to more podcasts than any healthy person should and is currently the host for TFG Radio. He also is judges for LVO and head judges other major 40K Grand Tournaments.

17 Responses to “Chaos Space Marine Review: Formation: Black Legion Warband”

  1. abusepuppy January 3, 2017 4:43 am #

    >Helbrute with Dreadclaw

    There isn’t enough 😐 in the world to represent how I feel about this.

    • Threllen January 3, 2017 7:42 am #

      I mean I get the idea of wanting 3 dreadclaws so the two important ones come in turn 1… but a 225 pt tax of Helbrute + dreadclaw is a bit much…

      Also I’m not so sure giving it the Legacy really overrides the dreadclaws “If this option is taken, the unit *must* deploy transported in, and enter play by way of the dreadclaw.” Sure it has the outflank rule but the transport still says you HAVE to put the dread in it or you can’t take the transport.

      • AbusePuppy January 3, 2017 8:29 pm #

        Yeah, I don’t think it’s legal. The Dreadclaw _forces_ you to embark on it; the Legacy gives you the option to Outflank. Nothing in the latter overrides the former.

        • Adam S. January 4, 2017 1:16 pm #

          I was just spit balling. Even it not allowed i would probably drop the helbrute and add another unit of CSm with a dreadclaw

  2. Chandler January 3, 2017 7:29 am #

    I actually like Black Legion but lack of Obsec hurts. But I’ve been working on a list that I think can hit like a freight train on alpha strike.

    1850 Speartip
    BL Warband
    Chaos Lord, JP, Claw/Fist, MoS, Sigil
    Havocs x5, 2 meltas, Rhino
    Bikes x3, 2 meltas
    Terminatorsx3, 3 combi-meltas
    Chosen x5, 2x Plasma, Rhino
    Chosen x5, 2x Melta, Rhino

    Raptor Talon
    Chaos Lord, JP, Claw/Fist, MoS, Sigil
    Raptors x5, 2x Melta, MoS, Icon of Excess
    Raptors x5, 2x Melta, MoS, Icon of Excess
    Raptors x5, 2x Melta, MoS, Icon of Excess

    Terminator Annihilation Force
    Sorcerer, Terminator, ML3, Force Stave
    Terminators x3, 3x Combi-meltas
    Terminators x3, 3x Combi-Plasma
    Terminators x3, 3x Combi- Flamers

    Lord from the Warband goes with one of the Raptor squads to guarantee 1st turn arrival. All terminators in deep strike reserve along with Raptors to try and come in turn 1. Chosen and Havocs move up the field to snatch objectives, etc.

    Pretty simple, but can hit pretty hard on turn 1 and 2.

    • Threllen January 3, 2017 7:53 am #

      The Icon of Excess on every Raptor squad seems a bit… umm…. excessive. That’s 90 points to give 15 MEQs FnP (aka 6ppm). At that point I’d almost rather give a few more special weapons out to some other squads.

      Also the interaction with the Raptor Talon is one I’m not sure about. If you make the Lord from your warband go into one of the Raptor squads technically he doesn’t have the special rule that allows him to make a charge turn 1. And if one person in a squad can’t charge, the entire squad can’t charge. But you could remedy that easily by just making the Lord from the Raptor Talon your warlord since they’re the exact same.

      • Chandler January 3, 2017 8:21 am #

        The idea behind the Icon is basically to help with some survivability with the Raptors once they get stuck in (since they actually don’t hit that hard in assault). But if you assault a shooty target even if you don’t kill them you want to be able to hold them up in combat so they can’t shoot. That’s the idea behind the FNP icon in each squad. But yes if that was something you weren’t concerned with you could just as easily drop it for another CSM squad in the warband with a heavy weapon to camp an objective.

        The Raptor squad with the Lord couldn’t charge the same turn, but you’re guaranteed to get those meltas in to pop a transport (or try anyway lol).

        • Beau January 3, 2017 8:39 am #

          Why not just have more raptors instead of bikes that the lord from the warband detachment can go with?

          • Chandler January 3, 2017 8:48 am

            You could certainly move some points around to do that. In the list I posted, the bikes with melta were cheaper than a naked squad of raptors for the BL Warband.

        • Blight January 3, 2017 1:48 pm #

          I would check the FAQ again but it seems like they said that while the joined character couldn’t charge the unit could. Considering coherency isn’t really an issue when you charge this seems quite doable.
          Also consider that a unit with some jump packs in it could end up with only the jump packs successfully charging and you see how open it is.

          • AbusePuppy January 3, 2017 8:31 pm

            The references to Skyhammer et al say that the Lord could not charge with the unit, and I don’t believe you can choose to charge with only part of a unit. (“I’m sending three wounds from my Wraithknight at you, the rest are charging a different target.”)

            There are references to mixed units having some models run while others don’t, but I don’t believe the FAQ ever references partial charges.

          • Beau January 3, 2017 10:45 pm

            I think I recall a sentence on that, and that it requires the full unit to still be in coherency after a charge which is usually difficult to pull off unless you have uncanny placement for a 1 inch charge?

          • Threllen January 4, 2017 7:09 am

            I will have to look again but I kind of remember that FAQ and I was pretty sure the reason for that question was just to specify that after the ENTIRE charge is done you have to be in coherency.

            Whereas the rulebook makes it seem like every single individual model has to be in coherency. AKA – the first model charges in. Then the second has to be placed in coherency with the first, the third has to be in coherency with #1 or #2… etc etc etc. And all the FAQ was clarifying was that by the end of the move you have to be in coherency. Not necessarily each model as they are moved.

          • Threllen January 4, 2017 9:28 am

            After going through the FAQ again (at least the Errata, Assault, and independent character sections) I don’t see anything about being able to make a “partial charge.”

            ICs don’t get the special rules of a formation they’re not a part of and everyone has to be able to assault for an assault to be made.

          • Blight January 4, 2017 10:20 am

            I still point to the curious case of the jump pack re-roll only effecting the models with jump packs. That’s a unit with two charge distances and potentially only part of the unit would even make the charge.
            To my knowledge coherency is to be maintained if possible but not a requirement of a charge to be successful. Any unit that has a rule that allows them to charge when they would not normally be able to does not lose it when a character joins it. Run and charge also comes up in the faq.
            The wraithknight example is impossible because charge is by model not wound.

  3. CJ January 4, 2017 12:20 pm #

    I don’t think I could make the Black legion Warband work..
    Buuut I do keep looking at the Hounds of Abaddon. Free MoK is nice, and the options for T1 saturation and reliable T2/3 charging are there.

    • Adam S. January 4, 2017 1:17 pm #

      Yeah, the plan right now is to do Hounds of abaddon, Raptor auxillary and the heldrake terror pack

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