In its latest ‘Faction Focus’ reveal, Games Workshop has shown off some of the core Warhammer 40k 10th Edition Chaos Space Marines rules – including full datasheets for both Abaddon the Despoiler and the classic Legionaries troop unit, as well as the faction’s main army rule: Dark Pacts.
Published via Warhammer Community on Thursday, it follows similar top-level run-throughs of how the Space Marines and Tyranids will play in 10th edition, and GW says the Necrons are coming next on Friday, May 5.
And remember, Chaos Space Marines fans are going to be playing with these rules for quite a while, because their codex release date won’t be until Summer 2024 at the earliest, according to GW’s roadmap for the Warhammer 40k factions rulebooks.
Dark Pacts is a Warhammer 40k ability that grants a unit your choice of two potentially powerful attack buffs for the turn – at the cost of taking a Leadership test (immediately after shooting or fighting) that’ll smack you with d3 mortal wounds if you fail.
Whatever ends up happening in your test, if you take the pact, your unit will get either Lethal Hits (hit rolls of six automatically wound) or Sustained Hits 1 (hit rolls of six generate one additional hit) – so you get the choice of giving your shots more punch against tougher targets, or making them spread further across more models in a large target unit (there are a lot of Tyranids on the way, remember).
According to Warhammer Design Studio’s Robin – quoted in Thursday’s WarCom article – this supports a playstyle for Chaos Space Marines that’s “less cooperative or synergistic than their Imperial counterparts”, focusing instead on each unit powering up and killing enemies at all costs.
We also got a look at the datasheet for nasty old Abaddon the Despoiler – one-time protégé of Horus Lupercal, Warhammer 40k Chaos warmaster, and leader of the Black Legion.
Abaddon gets a three-option, selectable aura ability similar to that of Ultramarines primarch Roboute Guilliman, able to give nearby allies re-rolls to hit; a 4+ invulnerable save; or re-rolls on Leadership and Battle-shock tests, depending on the task at hand.
And the daemonic sword Drach’nyen has received a terrifying upgrade, going from Strength 9 to S14 – to (nearly) match Guilliman’s new-and-improved Hand of Dominion, while the 14-attacks, S7 Talon of Horus closely resembles the Emperor’s Sword rules-wise.
These two faction-leading characters, both dating from the Horus Heresy, will mirror each other more than ever on the tabletop, it seems.
The new datasheet for Legionaries contains fewer surprises, though we do see the new version of Veterans of the Long War: no longer a 2CP Stratagem to buff wound rolls, it’s now an ability built into your battle-line marines that gives re-rolls of 1s to hit (or re-rolls on all hits if you’re attacking an objective).
We get two other small titbits of Chaos Space Marines rules: the new statline for Obliterators’ Fleshmetal Guns, and the first of the traitor marines’ faction-specific stratagems: Dark Obscuration.
The 1CP stratagem grants the ‘Stealth’ ability to one of your units that’s about to be shot at – and, for the first time during the 10th Edition reveals, we see that there’s an extra effect depending on the target’s subfaction keywords: the unit in question also becomes un-targetable outside of 12 inch range if it has the Nurgle keyword.
We’ve yet to hear exactly what effect the Stealth ability has, but “minus one on rolls to hit” seems like a strong bet. We’ll see soon enough…
Obliterators, which once upon a time had to randomly generate their weapon profiles with dice rolls each turn, now have three quite punchy fire modes for their warp-infused biomechanical guns, making them quite flexible, mid-range killing machines.
Get within 12 inches, and the Focused Malice mode can deal out up to 18 wounds in a single shooting phase – per model. Ouch.
If you’re not up to speed with the accelerating flow of news about GW’s brand new edition of Warhammer 40,000, check out our full Warhammer 40k 10th edition guide, or read our report on the Warhammer 40k Leviathan starter set.