Chaos Space Marines HQ Review: Chaos Lord!

Hello fans of Frontline Gaming, SaltyJohn, and TFGRadio today I’m bringing you yet another unit that’s benefiting greatly from the Renaissance of Chaos in 40k, the Chaos Lord! For more reviews, bat reps, tactics discussions, and analysis check out the Tactics Corner!


Some of Chaos’ mightiest champions don the mantle of Chaos Lord. These champions of the Chaos gods are often imbued with powers from their chosen god or they may have been charged with warp powers from several as adherents to the pantheon of Chaos. No matter the amount of power bestowed upon them by the denizens of the immaterium these champions of Chaos would be nothing without the hordes of followers they command as Lords. From the mightiest of Traitor Legions, to the newest of Traitors from the bastardized Legions of the False Emperor the fallen Space Marine Chapter, to zealous hordes of Chaos Cultists and fallen Imperial Guard regiments, Chaos Lords can be found at the head of them all.


In game terms the Chaos Lords has been a useful unit for several editions. Often sharing prominence with the Daemon Prince or Chaos Sorcerer in 3.5-5th edition, the 6th edition codex brought a much needed point adjustment and new wargear to the Chaos Lord making them viable again. In 6th you could often find a Lord of Nurgle on a Bike leading some Spawn into assault with the enemy. In 7th, since it is the same codex, the Lord fills(ed) a similar role. However the new Traitor Legions book with it’s detachments and formations makes the Chaos Lord not only better, but more prominent as many of the best Detachments/Formations have a Lord as a must take choice. Luckily their high weapon skill, access to relics and wargear, coupled with a more beneficial boon chart mechanic means they are even better choices to take these days. Starting out at a paltry 65 points the Chaos Lord is set to be a cheap beat stick, especially in a few of the new Traitor Legions lists.



  • Power Armor
  • Bolt Pistol/CCW
  • Frag and Krak grenades
  • May take melee and ranged weapons, Chaos Rewards, Special issue wargear, and Chaos Artefacts.
  • May take Terminator Armor
  • May take a Mark of Chaos, may take Veterans of the Long War (VotLW)

Special Rules:

  • Champion of Chaos (must issue and accept challenges)
  • Fearless
  • Independent Character



The basic CSM Lord is not that great, except for the ultra low price tag for a WS6 BS5 S4 T4 W3 I5 A3 Ld10 Sv3+ Fearless model. How to kit out the Chaos Lord for maximum efficiency really depends on the list you’re running him in. Much like the Loyalist Captain, or Chapter Master, the Chaos Lord is versatile and open to customization. Prior to the Renaissance of Chaos triggered by the release of Traitor’s Hate and Traitor Legions, the ubiquitous Chaos Lord was a Nurgle Lord on bike with Power Fist, Lightning Claw, and Sigil of Corruption (SoC). Throw him into a Nurgle Bike unit, or more commonly Nurgle Spawn and let him go to work. Hell, why not take two of them right? At only 165 points it’s a steal. Not as good as the Iron Hands Chapter Master but still a solid CC unit. That was sort of the 6th ed CSM codex in a nutshell though. You could make these cool units, but they just weren’t quite up to par. Also you could turn him into a Spawn with a bad boon roll. Enter Traitors Hate and Traitors Legion. Now the boon chart is more manageable through different mechanics and the Lords are benefiting from all kinds of other rules. I am going to run through the basic Lord designs and which of the new Chaos detachments they work best with.

Bike Lord- This is still the most popular choice for Chaos Lord load outs. Fast, tough, and hard hitting. When you couple their CC abilities with their god/legion specific benefits you can really get a powerful CC monster.

  • Nurgle- Taking him in a Death Guard detachment, Warband of course, gives you a unit that will be T6, with FNP that re-rolls 1s, Stealth when shot at from 18″ away, and will most likely be Objective Secured. A super resilient model that can stick into combat for under 200 points and hold objectives is great.
  • Slaanesh- Taking a Slaanesh Lord on bike in a Emperor’s Children detachment, again with a Warband, will provide you with a T5, I6, model that should have a 4+ FNP because there’s no reason not to throw him into a unit of Emperor’s Children bikers with an Icon of Excess. You’ll also get a roll on the Combat Drugs chart which will make him even better. Again a steal of a unit for under 200 points.
  • Khorne- This lord may be my personal favorite. Taking him in a World Eaters detachment gives you a close combat monster that has the potential to be in combat on Turn 1. The World Eaters detachment rules are crazy when you get down to it. If you take a mobile unit like Bikes or Raptors the turn 1 charge becomes a real threat. The World Eaters Khorne Lord can even make this more likely! Obviously you throw him on the bike and put him in a unit of Khorne Bikers, using the Detachment he will have Rage, Furious Charge, Adamantium Will, Counter Attack and get a special pre game 2d6 inch move that isn’t scouting via the Blood Mad rule. If you give him the Talisman of Burning Blood he and his unit will also move an additional 3 inches in the movement, run, and assault phases. It’s crazy fast. I suggest loading him out in a similar fashion to the above; bike, fist, claw, SoC, and throw him at the enemy. A second, third, even forth(!?) Khorne Lord taken as a Lord of Legion in the detachment would be cheap ways of boosting that bike unit into a killing machine.

Foot Lord- Foot Lords are generally used when a player is trying to keep things cheap, or run terminators effectively. Terminators really don’t have much to offer this edition outside of certain formations, the auxiliary Terminator Annihilation Force is one example.

  • Terminator Lord- I imagine if this guy pertains to you then you’re running either the Terminator Annihilation Force or you are taking Terminators in your Warband. If you’re playing Black Legion perhaps you’re taking him because you have a ton of Troop Choice Terminators to compliment. Either way I don’t suggest throwing too much extra gear on him as he is slow and unlikely to make it into combat. If you’re running the TAF give him a combi-weapon that compliments one of your units load outs. I prefer Melta as his upped BS means you’ll miss less often and Melta are one shot weapons. I hate wasting those melta shots. I might give him a Chainfist or Powerfist for tank hunting but usually just a Power Axe at the most. SoC is nice to get that boost to a 4++ but again, you probably want to keep this slow moving high priority target cheap. He’s going to die.
  • Cheap Lord- This guy is literally there just to eat up a slot. I honestly don’t know why you wouldn’t take a sorcerer instead but giving him just a Power Axe and putting him into a blob of cultists to make them Fearless isn’t a bad idea. Not great, but not bad.

Jump Pack Lord- These guys are pretty rare but with the crazy new formations and detachments they are worth taking a look at. The Night Lords for example can take the Raptor Talon as a Core choice in their Detachment and a Lord with Jump Pack is a must there.

  • Night Lords- While this isn’t the most popular of the Legions to come out in Traitor Legions with specific rules you’ll still run into it, or want to run it, from time to time. Jump Infantry can be strong en masse and Night Lords CSM Lords can take a few pieces of cool wargear. I would taae Scouring Chains to get Shred on all the attacks in CC if Lightning Claws aren’t used. Honestly though the Fist/Claw/SoC load out from the Bikers is still the best load out in my opinion. In which case the Stormbolt Plate is a good option for 20 points to get you a 2+ armor save. Chaos Marines have little access to 2+ armor saves outside of Terminator Armor.
  • Khorne- If you are playing World Eaters and don’t want to shove all your lords into a single bike star, all the eggs in one basket isn’t always a good idea, then I would suggest taking a unit of Raptors and tossing a lord or two in there as well. Again with the load out above or just an Axe if you need to keep it cheap. This guy, and the Raptors, also benefit from the Blood Mad rule when taken as part of the detachment so keep that in mind!

The Chaos Space Marines have really made a bit of a surge here in the waning days of 7th edition and the Chaos Lord is an almost must have if you plan to play them effectively. The load out possibilities are numerous, what’s your favorite way to run a Chaos Lord?

As always, share your thoughts in the comments section! And remember, Frontline Gaming sells Games Workshop product at up to 25% off, every day.



About SaltyJohn

John has been playing Warhammer 40k since the 3rd edition box set with Space Marines, Dark Eldar, and weird green palm trees were in the set. He is currently a 40k Head Judge for the Las Vegas Open, the largest 40k tournament in the world. An avid board gamer, a huge fan of video games, and a guest spot on Geek and Sundry as a "Historian" during an episode of "Game the Game" round out his geek credentials. You can catch "Salty" John on TFG Radio's Twitch Show, and Podcast, as well as find him streaming video games on Twitch on the TFG Radio Twitch page from time to time.

12 Responses to “Chaos Space Marines HQ Review: Chaos Lord!”

  1. Avatar
    greggles February 18, 2017 5:54 am #

    Thanks for these articles. I recently started a 30k/40k death guard list, so having these little reviews is extremely useful for someone who hasn’t had exposure to this army before!

    • SaltyJohn
      SaltyJohn February 18, 2017 10:36 am #

      You’re welcome, there are a few more set to come out soon. Also you can search through my old posts, I’ve done a bunch on Chaos Space Marines since the release of Traitor Legions.

  2. Avatar
    Kih February 18, 2017 7:30 am #

    Excellent review.

    I’m curious as to your thoughts on the chaos lord in the KDK codex. Should that be run on a bike or on a juggernaut? Does it depend whether you’re running it with bloodcrushers, bikes or hounds?

    • SaltyJohn
      SaltyJohn February 18, 2017 10:36 am #

      For KDK I generally suggest the Jugger as he will be in a unit of KDK dogs most of the time and I think that works better. I am not a KDK specialist though, but going by the fact that’s usually how I see it run I would say it is the better option.

    • Avatar
      WestRider February 18, 2017 1:26 pm #

      The extra Wound is totally worth the additional price for a Juggernaut. The Attack is basically just icing on the cake.

      Honestly, I would really give the Jugger strong consideration even in a CSM Khorne list. It’s 10 Points cheaper there, and unless you’re Turbo-Boosting multiple times per Game, doesn’t slow you down substantially.

      The Jugger is absolutely the way to go if you’re running him with Hounds, Crushers, or Spawn. If you stick a Bike in there, the Unit loses Fleet, which sucks.

  3. Avatar
    Beau February 18, 2017 9:41 am #

    I have been wondering about spamming multiple Lords in a warband detachment. Could a warband with lots of bikes units and spawn supported by 7 Lords on bikes or juggers be aggressive enough to pull a CC win?

    • SaltyJohn
      SaltyJohn February 18, 2017 10:37 am #

      It certainly depends on what you’re going up against. A list that committed to Assault is going to be an absolute nightmare for some armies, but against other uber death star lists it may end up a wash or being very luck dependent.

  4. Avatar
    David Alastair Hayden February 18, 2017 1:19 pm #

    I’m doing Alpha Legion but I went with a jump pack Chaos Lord to go with a group of Warp Talons. Just for fun and back line disruption. I’m giving him the Burnig Brand of Skallathrax and the Sigil of Corruption. I put my sorcerers on bikes.

  5. Avatar
    WestRider February 18, 2017 1:46 pm #

    I kind of like the Tzeentch Disk Lord. Same build as the usual Biker Lord, but he gets an extra Attack from the Disk, has a 3++, and can leave his Unit with a 24″ Turbo-Boost for a last Turn Objective Grab or something if needed.

    The Alpha Legion can also run a foot Lord with the Mindveil to make up for his usual slowness and provide an arguably-better H&R analogue. He brings his Unit along with him, too, so he’s one of the better ways to go if you want to run Termies, or any other relatively short-ranged foot Unit.

    The Thousand Sons can do a similar thing with that Relic they have that lets a Unit move as Jump Infantry.

    • Avatar
      MagicJuggler February 18, 2017 4:16 pm #

      I’ve been using a Scroll Lord for my Word Bearers (I use a Sorcerer as my Warlord), and have had more luck with it than I thought I would.

      On one hand, with Mark, Disc, Sigil, Claw and Fist, Scrolls and Spell Familiar, you have a character that costs like Smashfucker but doesn’t have the raw beatstick capacity.

      On the other hand, Jetbike movement is incredibly useful for evading bubblewrap, positioning, etc. Turbo Onsec wins object8ves, and having a “second Psyker” in a Chaos Warband is really handy.

      Generally, if I roll a Telepathy or Divination power as my first power, I won’t bother rolling for new powers after as I’ll have access to Psychic Shriek or Prescience. Rolling a power under Telekinesis or Biomancy, while not ideal (though an Iron Arm Disclord is hilarious) is still workable. Smite is more usable with BS 5, and Assail is funny if nothing else.

      Really, the worst-case scenario is rolling a bad Pyromancy or Lore of Change power, due to horrid Primaris powers…so just roll again next turn.

      • Avatar
        Chris February 19, 2017 9:52 am #

        I’ve been rebuilding my Word Bearers and have been alternating between a Nurgle Bike Lord with Black Mace and Soc which is always a solid choice and a cheap-as-chips Khorninator Lord, attached to a 3-man Termicide squad, deepstriking them into my opponent’s rear areas and watching them have to kill a dangerous unit like that which only cost me 250-odd points – takes care of 2 mandatory slots, they’re also ObSec which is nice, and you don’t want to let Khorninators get away with too much in your deployment zone!

        • Avatar
          Beau February 19, 2017 5:06 pm #

          Nurgle bike lord is only ap4 though which is bad. I prefer the burning brand termylord myself because that is harder to run away from.

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