Of all the many, many psychopaths in Warhammer 40k, the World Eaters might be the most single-mindedly murderous, a horde of unrepentant traitors and worshippers of the blood God Khorne. This faction received a brand new Codex and much-needed update to its signature models early in 2023.
This guide covers what you can expect from the new World Eaters range, World Eaters tactics, and lore – but if they’re a little too red in tooth and chainsword for you, we have guides to the other Warhammer 40k factions as well.
World Eaters Codex
The World Eaters Codex for 9th edition 40k released in Februrary 2023 – you can check out our World Eaters Codex review for the lowdown on the book. It has all the rules you need to play with a World Eaters’ army in Warhammer 40k 9th edition, including rules for models, and the army rules, stratagems, relics, and warlord traits for the army as a whole.
All World Eaters are subject to Relentless Rage, which grants them +1 Strength and +1 Attacks on any turn they charge, were charged ,or made a Heroic Intervention.
The World Eaters list contains a few models with rules reprinted from the main Chaos Space Marine codex: daemon engines, Predator and Land Raider tanks, and Helbrute dreadnoughts can all pack considerable ranged firepower, while Terminators and Daemon Princes are veritable melee mincing machines.
World Eaters new models 2023
The World Eaters’ new models went on sale in February 2023, along with their 9th edition Warhammer 40k codex.
There’s a horde of new models for classic units as well as brand new figures in the World Eaters range refresh.
- Angron, daemon primarch of the World Eaters, is a huge centerpiece model for the army.
- Khorne Berzerkers, the brutal melee infantry make up the mainstay of any World Eaters army, replacing a model kit that was over 20 years old.
- Eightbound, possessed Berzerkers with eight daemons bound to their souls.
- Jakhals, mortal Chaos cultists devoted to the God of murder.
- Lord on Juggernaut, a Berzerker lord riding a daemonic steel rhino.
- Lord Invocatus, a Juggernaut-riding special character.
The iconic special character Khârn the Betrayer was last updated in 2017.
The refresh to Khorne Berzerkers is especially welcome, as their old kit was in service since 1998, and the models for the most bloodthirsty of all Warhammer 40k factions had begun to look quite titchy compared to the shiny new Primaris Space Marines.
World Eaters Blood Tithe Points
World Eaters gain one Blood Tithe Point (BTP) whenever a unit – friendly or enemy – is destroyed. In any phase where a vehicle, monster, or character is destroyed, they gain an additional BTP, and the destruction of a Titanic unit is worth another BTP.
Once per phase, the World Eaters can spend BTP to activate a ‘Blood Tithe ability’, a buff that affects World Eaters models in their army for the rest for the game.
|Blood Tithe Ability||BTP cost||Effect|
|Rage-fuelled invigoration||3||+1 to charge rolls|
|Total carnage||6||Melee attack rolls of six automatically wound the target|
|Spiteful nullification||2||Models that suffer mortal wounds ignore them on a 5+|
|Reborn in blood||6||If Angron is destroyed, put him into reserves with eight wounds remaining. He can be deployed as a reinforcement via Warp Strike – anywhere on the battlefield, at least 9” away from enemy units|
|Warp Blades||4||Improve the AP of melee attacks by 1|
|Martial Excellence||5||Melee attack rolls of 6 score an additional hit|
|Savage Guidance||5||+1 to hit in melee|
|Wrathful Devotion||4||World Eaters ignore lost wounds on a 6+|
World Eaters subfactions
The World Eaters Codex has rules for two distinct subfactions, the main World Eaters and the Disciples of the Red Angel. This force consists entirely of Angron, daemons, and Land Raiders for them to ride around in.
Each subfaction has its own stratagems and relics. The main World Eaters subfaction has a list of Warlord Traits but, as Angron always leads the Disciples, that subfaction has a list of Daemonic Infusions which can be given to a unit of Eightbound instead.
World Eaters combat patrol
The World Eaters combat patrol contains 31 models, consisting of:
- Jackals x 10
- Khorne Berserkers x 20
- World Eaters Lord on Juggernaut (optionally, can be built as Lord Invocatus)
As Warhammer Community explained in an article that previewed the Patrol box explains that, unlike other Chaos Space Marine legions, World Eaters aren’t limited to a single Chaos Lord per detachment. That means you could buy two copies of this box and use every model in it, for a blood-stained infantry horde that would make a classic core for any World Eaters army.
Warhammer 40k World Eaters tactics
World Eaters tactics are beautifully, brutally simple – run towards your enemy, and put an axe in their face.
Khorne Berzerkers don’t have jump packs or teleporters, so your core infantry have to foot-slog across the tabletop to put themselves into slaughtering range of their foes. Whenever they take wounds from enemy shooting attacks they can ‘Blood Surge’ d6 inches towards the closest enemy, even if that puts them into combat.
The World Eaters Lord on Juggernaut has a 6″ aura that grants friendly Core units +2″ to their move and advances. Lord Invocatus has the same effect, and a unique Warlord Trait that allows two nearby units to make a pre-game move. Berserkers are the obvious target for both these abilities, but you can lob a couple of Helbrutes up the field towards your opponent if you fancy.
Warriors in the main World Eaters subfaction have access to some other stratagems that guarantee they’ll get to fight. The Icon of Wrath costs 1CP and allows a unit with an Icon to roll 3d6 when charging and keep the highest two dice. Aggressive Intervention costs 1CP and allows a unit to perform a Heroic Intervention of up to 6″ in the enemy charge phase: this can be a good way to punish a foe who tries to take an objective from you.
World Eaters are a relatively elite force, and your Berserkers have to make it into combat earn their points back. Jakhals are a cheap troops choice to stick on a backfield objective that can do passable service as melee combatants, while Helbrutes or Forgefiends can provide long-distance support while squatting on an objective.
Warhammer 40k World Eaters lore
The World Eaters were the twelfth legion of Space Marines created by the Emperor of Mankind in the 31st millennium. Their Primarch Angron was raised a slave in the gladiatorial pits of Nuceria. Although a formidable warrior, his mind was forever altered by a brutal pain engine installed into his nervous system by his cruel owners, an agonising device that could only be assuaged when slaughtering foes in hand to hand combat. Angron ultimately led a slave revolt against his masters, and would have died fighting side by side with his fellow slaves had the Emperor not intervened, whisking him away.
Angron never forgave the Emperor for abandoning his comrades and stealing his death from him, and he saw the Emperor as merely another slave-taking tyrant. Neither did he respect or trust the legion of his ‘sons’. To improve them, according to his own twisted ideals, he tasked his legion’s apothecaries with replicating the pain engine in his own brain and installing it into his legion. Desperate to achieve a moment of connection with their gene-father, the World Eaters willingly obeyed, beginning the transformation from an already aggressive military force into a horde of berzerkers.
Angron was amongst the first to throw his lot in with Horus Lupercal at the outbreak of the Horus Heresy, desperate to vent his rage against the Emperor. Tasked by the Warmaster with disrupting the Ultramarines legion in the galaxy’s Eastern fringe and keeping their huge reserve forces from joining the wider conflict, the World Eaters and the Word Bearers assaulted the realm of Ultramar. Here, the atrocities committed by both forces were so great that the Word Bearer’s Primarch Lorgar Aurelian tore open a colossal warpstorm, and Angron was rewarded, ascending as a daemon primarch of Khorne.
The World Eaters who fought at the siege of the Emperor’s palace on Terra were a horde of ravening madmen, their minds utterly consumed by the agonising hatred of the butcher’s nails and the insidious bloodlust of the war God Khorne.
After the traitors’ defeat and the Emperor’s ascension to the Golden Throne, the World Eaters retreated to the eye of terror. Angron was lost entirely to rage, but charismatic and lethal captains such as Khârn of the eighth company held the fighting force together. On the daemon iceworld of Skalathrax madness finally claimed Khârn entirely, earning him the moniker of betrayer – from then on, the legion shattered into myriad warbands. Even one such warband is a world-shattering threat.v
The World Eaters were the principle antagonist of the little-known first war for Armageddon. Angron led his sons in an apocalyptic invasion of the vital Imperial industrial world, bringing the world to the verge of ruin before daemon primarch was banished to the warp by the elite daemon hunters of the Grey Knights.
This invasion was so bloody and so rife with daemonic incursion that it almost sparked a civil war within the Imperium of Man, between the Inquisition, intent on purging the planetary population to ensure knowledge of daemonkind remained secret, and the Space Wolves, who were stirred by the courage of the mortal human defenders.
During the 13th Black Crusade, Abaddon the Despoiler’s massive invasion that would ultimately shatter the Imperial bastion world of the Cadian Gate and break open the Eye of Terror, Khârn the Betrayer led a Butcherhorde of World Eaters in an assault on the Imperial world of Amethal.The Butcherhorde was not an army Khârn had intentionally built, but more like the tail of a comet, a rabble of fellow bloody-minded killers certain that they would find almighty slaughter at Khârn’s side
The berzerkers were a small, rabid component in a larger scheme, masterminded by the Despoiler, but Khârn had his own, simple objectives. He sought out the mightiest heroes of the Blood Angels chapter of Space Marines, to slay them and take their skulls in the name of Khorne.
Warhammer 40k World Eaters characters
The monstrous lords of the World Eaters legion are so despicable, we’ve given two of them their own guides:
The Primarch of the World Eaters legion, Angron loathed his creator the Emperor long before the Heresy. His legion’s descent into madness during the great civil war was swift, and Angron was rapidly elevated to daemonhood by Khorne, chaos God of war and murder. A new Angron model arrived in the World Eaters range refresh in 2023.
Khârn the Betrayer
Former eighth captain of the World Eaters legion and Angron’s only trusted son, Khârn the Betrayer’s descent into madness is one of the greatest tragedies in the Horus Heresy. In the 41st millennium he is an avatar of slaughter, as deadly to his allies as to his enemies, and on the tabletop he’s prone to decapitating his own troops just to keep his arm in.
Painting Warhammer 40k World Eaters
We’d urge you not to buy any of the current Khorne Berzerker plastic models as updated sculpts are on their way from GW some time in 2023. Once you do get your hands on these frothing Berzerkers, we have a few tricks that will let you spend less time painting miniatures and more time chopping off heads.
The classic World Eaters colour scheme features blood red armour, with brass trim, steel for blades and gun barrels, plus black cabling, holsters, and weapon casings. Ordinarily, it’s best to paint miniatures from the most recessed areas outwards, as you’re less likely to put a missed brush-stroke onto areas you’ve already covered. But Chaos Space Marines are covered in an unholy amount of bling and armour trim, so the opposite approach can be a lot quicker.
First, basecoat your World Eaters black, using a spraypaint: Games Workshop’s Chaos Black, Colour Forge matt black, or any matt black car body primer will work. Once this layer has dried and cured, tidy up any recessed areas that the spray missed with your paintbrush and a matt paint. Then apply an all-over spray of GW’s Retributor Gold. This is a bright gold paint with good coverage and adhesion. Even when spraying, it’s better to use multiple thin coats than to try and slather your miniature in one go, to preserve detail.
Once that’s dry, start painting the armour panels in-between the raised armour trim. You can use a matt red, such as GW’s Mephiston Red or Vallejo Model Color Scarlet, or a translucent paint, like GW’s Contrast Flesh Tearers Red or Army Painter Slaughter Red speed paint. Applying translucent red over gold gives a ‘candy red finish’, a lustrous metallic red usually seen on classic sports cars.
Dull down the gold armour trim to bronze by applying a translucent brown paint, like GW’s Snakebite Leather. Then use a matte black paint, such as GW’s Abaddon Black, to paint cabling, belts, pouches, the flexible undersuit visible between power armour plates, and weaponry. From here, use a silver metallic such as GW’s Boltgun Metal or Tamiya’s Gunmetal to pick out any bladed edges and machined parts of guns, and highlight using a brighter metallic – GW’s Runefang Steel is ideal.
You’re not strictly limited to a blood-themed paint scheme. The World Eaters’ pre-heresy livery was white and blue. You can replace almost any part of any colour scheme white white or off-white and it’ll work, as it doesn’t contrast or conflict with any colours. Blue is best reserved as an accent colour – the Warhammer studio paint scheme for Khârn the Betrayer uses a brilliant blue for accents on his plasma-pistol energy coils, chain-axe engine, hair-tassel trophies, and popping bicep vein.
If you prefer something a little more gothic, the Hounds of Abaddon are World Eaters pledged to the Black Legion, who unsurprisingly dial up the black in their paint scheme.