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 10th edition rules
We’ve summarized the core World Eaters 10th edition rules you’ll need to bear in mind when transferring your army to the new edition. We’ll have a new strategy guide for the World Eaters in Warhammer 40k 10th edition ready for you soon.
World Eaters army rules – Blessings of Khorne
The World Eaters army rule is Blessings of Khorne, which provides you with one or two randomly selected, hyper-violent buffs each battle round. Here’s how it works.
You’ll roll a pool of eight dice each battle round, and activate up to two different abilities by spending particular combinations of dice. You’re looking for things like a pair of matching dice, a double 4+, any triple, and so on.
Six Blessings of Khorne are available. They each provide a buff to your whole army and last for one full battle round.
This might look random, but the maths is actually quite reliable. When rolling eight dice you’re guaranteed at least two doubles or one triple in every roll, so you have pretty reliable access to three buffs: ‘Rage-fuelled Invigoration’ for +2” movement speed, ‘Wrathful Devotion’ for Feel No Pain 6+, and ‘Total Carnage’, which gives your models a chance to lash out and fight when they’re slain in melee.
World Eaters Detachment – Berzerker Warband
The first World Eaters Detachment is the Berzerker Warband. It grants a deliciously simple army-wide buff: whenever a unit from your army fights, if it Charged that turn, its melee weapons get +1 Strength and +1 Attack.
It also provides four Enhancements and six Stratagems. They’re all restricted to World Eaters Units, so if you have a Chaos Knight or Daemons contingent in your force, it can’t use them.
|Favoured of Khorne||Once per battle round, when you make a Blessings of Khorne roll but before you make any re-rolls, you can discard all the dice and make a new Blessings of Khorne roll. This doesn’t count as a normal re-roll and you can now use re-rolls from other sources|
|Berzerker Glaive||+1A and +1D to the bearers’ melee weapons, or +D3 during a turn in which the bearer makes a Charge move|
|Battle-lust||Bearer can be selected for the Heroic Intervention Stratagem for 0CP, even if another unit has been targeted by it this phase|
|Helm of Brazen Ire||Halve the Damage characteristic of attacks allocated to the bearer|
|Gory Massacre||1CP||Mark one of your units after it makes a Charge and then destroys one or more enemy units in melee; in your opponent’s next Command phase their units within 6″ must make Battle-Shock tests, with a -1 penalty if below half-strength.|
|For the Skull Throne!||1CP||In the fight phase, target unit that hasn’t yet fought gets +1 to wound characters, monsters, and vehicles.|
|For the Blood God!||1CP||After one of your units destroys and enemy unit in the fight phase, make a Blessings of Khorne roll and activate a Blessing – it doesn’t count towards the maximum number of activated Blessings.|
|Khorne Cares Not…||2CP||Subtract one from enemy to-wound rolls that target one of your units during the fight phase.|
|Blood Offering||1CP||After one of your units is destroyed within range of an objective marker you control, you retain control of that marker even when you have no models contesting it, until your opponent claims it.|
|Apoplectic Frenzy||1CP||Pick a unit during the movement phase; when it advances, it gets +6″ movement rather than +D6″|
Disciples of the Red Angel
The World Eaters ninth edition codex had rules for two distinct sub-factions, the main World Eaters and the Disciples of the Red Angel. This force consisted entirely of Angron, daemons, and Land Raiders for them to ride around in.
In many ways these subfactions were the model for the Detachment system we see in 10th edition; each subfaction had its own stratagems and relics which did not overlap. We expect the Disciples of the Red Angel to return as a World Eaters Detachment in due course for 10th edition.
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)
In 10th edition there are very few restrictions on how you build armies, and two World Eaters Combat Patrols would make an excellent, if infantry-heavy, start to your force.
Warhammer 40k World Eaters tactics
World Eaters tactics are beautifully, brutally simple – run towards your enemy, and put an axe in their face. The Rage-Fuelled Invigoration Blessing of Khorne is a good way to get this moving, granting your whole force +2″ movement.
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. Fortunately they’ve got built in ways to boost their speed. Whenever they lose a model to enemy shooting attacks they can ‘Blood Surge’ D6 inches towards the closest enemy, even if that puts them into combat.
Their Icon of Khorne allows you to reroll one of your Blessings of Khorne dice if your Berzerker unit is holding an objective, something they share with the Jackals. It is pretty lore appropriate for the Blood God to grant more impressive blessings when his followers can raise their bloody banners high across the battlefield.
The World Eaters Lord on Juggernaut can run around on his own, enjoying a 10″ movement speed. He can also join units of Eightbound, Exalted Eightbound, and Khorne Berzerkers as a leader. His ‘Aggressive Advance’ grants his bodyguard re-rolls on Advance rolls, Charge rolls, and Blood Surge rolls, while he’ll gain the benefit of any movement abilities his unit might have.
Eightbound have a 6″ Scouts move, while Exalted Eightbound can Deep Strike. Those Exalted may be your de-facto tank killers: the Eightbound chainfist has three S14 AP-3 attacks, and their Aura ‘Overwhemling Wrath’ forces enemy units that wish to fall back from combat within 6″ to pass a Leadership test or remain locked in place.
World Eaters are a relatively elite force, and your melee infantry have to make it into combat earn their points back. Jakhals are light melee infantry with the ‘Objective Ravaged’ ability: at the end of your Command phase, an objective you control that’s held by Jackals remains under your control until your opponent can claim it from you. The Jackals can then go on the offensive, or hide out of your enemy’s line of site and prepare a counter-attack.
And then there’s Angron, daemon Primarch of the World Eaters. He’s a veritable woodchipper for enemy models, just as he was in ninth edition, and can deploy his choice of three Wrathful Presence auras in the Charge phase, providing his force with buffs after he arrives via Deep Strike.
The ‘Reborn in Blood’ ability that made him such a pain to (permanently) kill in ninth edition has been reworked. To reincarnate Angron, you need to spend three sixes from your Blessings of Khorne roll. There’s about a 13% chance of rolling three or more sixes on eight dice.
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.
If you want to read more about the galaxy’s angriest sentient being, check out our full guide to Angron.
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 Khârn 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.
We have a full guide to Khârn the Betrayer if you want to learn more about the blood-thirstiest madmen in the dark millennium.
Painting Warhammer 40k World Eaters
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 with 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.
Want a bright red melee combat army that spends at least some time trying to be noble? Check out our guide to the Blood Angels to learn more about the Emperor’s equivalent of the World Eaters.