World Eaters: Living and dying in 9th Ed

Hey everyone, Danny from TFG Radio here, and today, I am going to talk about one of my great loves, Blood for the Blood God, particularly World Eaters. You don’t see us a lot, which is a shame.  I always have a blast when playing my World Eaters, but in the era of Drukhari and Admech, they certainly don’t feel like they are fighting in the same weight class, but hey, Khorne cares not, after all.  From my perspective, here are some things that World Eaters can actually do well in 9th and how to leverage that for fun.  Of course, don’t forget all the info and tricks available at Frontline’s Tactics Corner.

World Eaters, and Chaos Space Marines in general, aren’t exactly at the top of the meta, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have some pop, and if used correctly, a lot of other armies don’t plan for the shenanigans that World Eaters can pull off.

Khorne Lord of Skulls

Sure, everyone has access to such, but not only is the Khorne Lord of Skulls thematically awesome for us, it also presents a strong, efficient ranged and melee threat that World Eaters can really maximize.  You need to be able to pop those squishy elves out of their transports, so 12 S8 AP-2 D2 shots really helps open those pesky boats. You also have a long ranged flamer, so even if the Lord of Skulls isn’t healthy, you can do some damage before charging in or use Overwatch to really ruin someone’s day.   The Lord of Skulls also brings both high volume melee and some big, big hits, something that World Eaters can somewhat struggle to bring at times, so it provides both a firebase and heavy melee punch.  Plus, it takes a lot of dedicated attention to bring down, so if you are going with a rhino rush/terrax drill style army, the Lord of Skulls can take all the fire, buying you time to get your rhinos into position.  I really like pairing rhino rush of Berserkers with a Lord of Skulls as my opponent can’t really ignore either. You can also go crazy and just take 3 of them, presenting a bit of a skew list that will absolutely catch people by surprise, with some points left over for small squads of CSMs that can run and grab objectives.

Red Butchers

Yes, they only have 2 wounds while other terminators get 3 wounds, but hey, their day will come (maybe, hopefully, yes please?).   Either way, Red Butchers are absolutely one of the most points efficient melee killers out there. With 2 attacks base, +1 for double lightning claws, +1 for Hateful Assault, and +1 for World Eaters, they are suddenly a little blender, and they get to attack twice! This is all for under 300 points for a full unit.  At S5 AP-2 D1, they rely on flurries over power, but don’t forget that they reroll to wound, and you have Veterans of the Long War for +1 to wound, letting them wound T8 on a 4+ (and when rerolling, this is really converting 75% of wounds), and you can also pop Wild Fury for an additional -1 AP and even let them trigger Death to the False Emperor on any target (or on a 5+ against Imperium) with Stoke the Nails.  Red Butchers will absolutely massacre just about anything out there through sheer weight of attacks, making them quite excellent at getting through defenses that rely on strong saves rather than just a ton of wounds. We do have the Violent Urgency combo to get them an 8” rerollable charge out of reserve, meaning they generally get to choose when and where they hit. 

Basic Bros

Yes, the basic CSM isn’t too popular these days with their 1W, but hey, World Eaters can make use of that wound.  For 14 PPM, you can get up to 4 attacks at S4 AP-1, which isn’t bad at all.  Especially with Apoplectic Fury, you can move squads of CSM up into the center of the board on Turn 1, either getting some precious terrain to hide them or just to start dominating the center on turn 1.  A squad of 10 is still Obsec and still enough of a threat that you can’t totally ignore them at only 140 points bare bones.   If you keep them cheap and plentiful, then you can start to drown your opponent in relatively quality bodies, and hey, more Blood for the Blood God. Really, they are there to pressure objectives, and with up to 41 attacks on the charge, that is enough to push most other units off an objective (and if you do decide to spend CP, you can get them to +1 to wound, AP-2, and popping Death to the False Emperor more so for 3 CP, they can suddenly really punch above their weight).

Mutilators:

Wouldn’t it be nice to see the table?

Yes, I know, mutilators are not known for being amazing, but WE can make some use of them.  For 105 points, you get an easy deepstriking unit that is great for capturing secondaries, but for 105 points, you are also getting 9 wounds on a 2+/5++, so think of them like just a small squad size of terminators.  Their models are much smaller than say Obliterators, and with only 3, it is easy to get them to tag corners or small pockets that your opponent could not effectively block.  They drop in, do an action, and hang out.  Your opponent isn’t likely to dedicate a lot of resources to pick them up, but if they are left to their own devices, on the charge, each one is putting out at minimum 5 S6 AP-1 D1 attacks, which isn’t anything too shabby, but if you spike, you could get S8 AP-3 D3 attacks that can be turned up to AP-4 (great for murdering units with a 3+ save) or even get the weapon to AP-2 if you rolled poorly.  They are more for secondaries than anything else, but again, if left to their own devices, they can really punch above their weight, and they are resilient for their cost and footprint.  Raptors are a cheaper alternative, but for not that many more points, you get a unit that is much harder to kill and actually much more threatening should they survive.

Greater Possessed:

Yes, other CSM can make better use of Possessed thanks to various tricks to either buff them up or deliver them out of reserve, but for 65 points, Greater Possessed in WE can do work as little character missiles.  They can hide from targeting if they are running up with other units, they are WS 2+, and on the charge, they put out 7 S5 AP-2 Dd3 attacks.  You can boost their AP as needed, but as they are characters, they can also trigger Skulls for the Skull Throne to regain some CP if they manage to snipe out an enemy character.  World Eaters love CP, so being able to regen some is always a nice win.  Again, not bad for 65 points.  Just while we’re here, World Eater possessed can do work if you think of them as 10 points per wound rather than 20 points per model, making them cheaper than a standard CSM in that regard with way more offensive output.  You can also use Apoplectic Fury on them to give them a bit of a boost up the board, and with +2 attacks on the charge, even if you roll a 1 or 2 for their attacks, they are still doing some decent damage, and if you roll a 5 or 6, then they really take off. 

So yah, World Eaters aren’t exactly eating a lot of worlds right now, but they do have some moves, either as a vehicle centric list that uses rhinos and Lord of Skulls or as a mass of various bodies that just run up the board and dare your opponent to try and take those objectives.  Either way, there will be blood, and isn’t that all Khorne really asks of us? 

Thanks as always for reading, and next time, I am going to take a look at two lists that I’ve piloted to some reasonable success. Keep on taking those skulls!

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About Danny Ruiz

Long-long time 40K player, one of the original triumvirate of head 40K judges at LVO, writer, educator, tyranid-enthusiast, disciple of Angron, man about town, afflicted with faction ADD.

3 Responses to “World Eaters: Living and dying in 9th Ed”

  1. CThoss June 27, 2021 6:37 am #

    Double Lightning Claws give you +2 attacks in Ninth Edition.

  2. Jrod June 27, 2021 11:17 am #

    It feels like my world eaters tend to die more then live in 9th edition. The lack of shooting allows my opponent to deploy more aggressively and really just gun me down turn 1

  3. Jamie Miller June 27, 2021 5:09 pm #

    Thanks for the article! Youd actually be surprised by World Eaters. I’m part of an effort that is actively pushing for more competitive World Eaters play – were probably the best equipped csm codex legion in 9th (due to missions and terrain).

    2 players just placed at the ACO – Mark W. Came 25th! And Ben S finished in the top half! That’s not bad at all for 2 representatives with the 2nd worst legion/chapter tactic in the whole game! (And arguably word bearers get better toys overall with psychic nonsense)

    Also, FWIW, world eaters have some of the best shooting for chaos – Kharn is 1 of 2 CSM hqs to offer full rerolls (to fails) so we can actually surprise opponents a lot with that. And considering *nothing* stops him from hitting on a 2 in combat, hes a good deterrent for backfield deepstrikes too!

Leave a Reply to Jamie Miller