Warhammer 40K: Codex Chaos Space Marines: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Warhammer 40K: Codex Chaos Space Marines: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Goatboy reviews the new Codex Chaos Space Marines. Here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly of what’s coming up in 40K 10th Edition.

This CSM 10th edition codex is more than just a 2.0 update. This is a fully realized new book with tons of great rules, updated datasheets, and all-new ways to play the true villains of the 40K universe. As always, we consider the good, the bad, and the ugly about any new codexes/indexes we may receive. Again, this is all based on my preferences and may not be the best way to dig deeper into the codex. Overall, I think there’s a lot more good than bad or ugly in this codex, but I’ll go ahead and start digging.

Chaos Space Marines – The Good

The biggest advantage is that this book has a lot of different ways to play, rather than being just a rehash of other armies. There are unique options for placing models on the tabletop. Not all of them are great, but you can use each to do something unique. This is a good thing in a codex that has eight different detachments to choose from and incorporates all sorts of elements from cult armies and allies.

In terms of detachment, I think there are three very strong ones that you see most of the time. Each team plays with a different style. Here are my top three and what I like about each one. I’m glad my current military “paint” style matches one of them. So I can conveniently say that I was born ready to play this game.

Renegade Raiders Detachment

My current favorite is the Red Corsairs detachment. renegade raiders Leave. The overall rule of gaining assault with all ranged weapons and gaining extra AP when you shoot someone on target is a very powerful set of rules. The ability to always have something on is amazing, and each rule allows your troops to constantly move around the table, constantly dealing damage to you.

This detachment has two decent buffs to its attached bearers and units, with a 6-inch scout, and reroll advance/fallback and fire options. There are some features that allow you to stack two characters as a unit, so you can also use all of this to build some fun “chosen” nonsense.

This detachment really shines in its strategic options with a ton of 1CP strategies and 3 Combat Tactics strategies that are very good when reusable. They gain the power of Armor of Contempt, the ability to reroll all hits/wounds when dismounting from a transport and targeting within range of an objective marker, and when the target unit is near the objective. can even gain precision attacks during the combat phase. As you can see, many of these rules are about getting your army closer to the goals you want to achieve. Heck, Renegade Raiders even get an automatic 6-inch advance option and the ability to advance and charge with +1 range.

slave to darkness

The next powerful detachment is the updated Word Bearers. this is, slaves of darkness. The rules are basically an updated version of Dataslate, doubling Lethal/Sustain and removing the relic that allows you to lose with Armor of Contempt. This is the only detachment that really cares about marks, and if you want to get critical hits on your items on 5+, this is where you want to live. One new strategy is the whole thing. It’s cool to get a bonus to your stats if your character kills a character, but it’s not as useful as having Armor of Contempt.

Soulforged Warpack Detachment

The last detachment that got me excited was: soulforged warpack That’s the new Vashtor squad. Thankfully, you don’t need to acquire Vashtorr, but instead you can supercharge your Demon Engine by giving it another “Pact”, which you acquire after acquiring Dark Pact. This will cause them to roll his LD test at -1, get both options (aka sustain or lethal), and then get his update from Vashtorr. This update adds +1 to Demon Engine Wounds or an additional 2 of his attacks.

This is also unique and I really like it because it doesn’t require Vashtorr (not bad) and you can play with all the monsters. It features the best build army around reinforcements with the Appendice of Temptation, which gives the holder a 3-inch aura that adds an additional mortal wound if Dark Pact fails, and also provides full hit rerolls . It seems pretty spicy, right? You also get an enhancement that allows you to give Demon Engine her 6+ FNP. This seems very good.

The strategy is also pretty decent, with lots of fun features like being able to move through terrain, prey on enemy units, and improve your AP. What I like most is how you can turn regular vehicles into demonic vehicles if you want. This means he is not limited to one vehicle, which he can continue to own during each command phase.

data slate buff

There were a lot of changes in the actual data slate, but only a few actual glow-ups. Most things work the same, but the biggest winners will be looking at how Warp His Talons change. They had the ability to kill units they charged and return to the sky if no one was nearby. Having a decent brawler unit that can jump around is very powerful.

Even Vashtorr has gotten even better with a better hammer attack and two powerful abilities. Anyone aiming a shot at him within 18 inches will have all weapons dangerous when aimed at him. He also gives Demon his engine +1 strength to all weapons, which isn’t too bad. I like how Chaos Terminator gets the ability to reroll hits when creating Dark His Pact. This seems powerful.

Overall, I don’t think it’s really terrible, so it’s a ton of good stuff with small tweaks that speak to the bad and ugly side of things. My lower back doesn’t hurt as much as it used to. But hey, your Forgefiends didn’t change, which is good for anyone with that army. Especially since the new troops could make them even more brutal.

Chaos Space Marines – The Bad Guys

The codex has leaders from the Chaos Space Marines moving laterally. Abaddon is slightly better, but also slightly worse. The old days of having all the options in a Terminator unit are a thing of the past, as he has now lost all marks. His CP growth has also been nerfed as he now needs to get a 7+ on Dark Pactrol to earn new ones. Although he lost everything, he gained the ability to join Chosen. This is a very interesting setup. He gained the ability to advance and charge upon joining that unit. This feels like a pretty brutal death bullet fired from a CSM Land Raider.

Detachments at medium range are fine. kings of the night / dread talon Detachment seems fine, but whether you actually get anything out of it depends on your opponent’s battle shock. This is also a tricky issue. This only works if you surprise the enemy, so it’s not how you win the game most of the time.

of Deceptor Detachments seemed cool at first until I read that only cultists and legionaries can invade. I’m sure there’s a way to slam so many bodies onto a table that it’s hard to chew, but I’m not sure how many you can actually kill. Detachment has some cool enhancements that allow you to acquire Lone Operative and alternate style stuff for your character.

black army – Veterans of the Long War Detachments are basic “Marines” style, where you select a unit and your army can reroll against it. Things haven’t been great for the Space Marines so far, so I don’t think it’ll be a hot topic among Black Legion fans. She certainly gained a powerful “Fights First” ability, but spending 2 CP seems like too much. Still, it’s not entirely bad.

The last two detachments are a bit of a headache, as Iron Warriors/Fellhammer Siege Host tries to be a tougher Marine force, but its rules feel lackluster. If strength is higher than toughness, weapon wounds are -1. This seems cool, but it’s not as great as you might expect. The best Strat is the ability to give units his 5+ Feel No Pain, allowing you to build a very tanky Terminator squad. Heck, a lot of it feels like they’re trying to set up some really nasty Terminator options when they’re holding the table.

The final separation is chaos cult That’s the damn style separation you’re lost. I’m glad it’s included in Codex CSM. But without further “front” changes in the military, it will be difficult to function properly in practice. With this you can do Dark Pact with others, which is cool, but the whole army is very soft and you can see the enemy chewing through the whole thing. Still, it’s nice to have access to all of Damned’s features.

Chaos Space Marines – Ugly

Hurons still appear in books, but there was no new Huron model. Odd number. There were no new bikes of note. Defiler is still there, but it looks totally goofy. The biker character doesn’t appear at all, which is a shame because they could have used something like Doom Rider. Everything related to The Emperor’s Children is out of the codex, so it’s a bit sad but to be expected. They removed the always-on devastating wound on your possessor, now it’s once per game. It’s a shame that the damage output has dropped so much since we got a ton of Possession. They removed 6+ FNP from Master of Possession, which is frustrating.

Codex Chaos Space Marine Verdict

Still, overall this codex is pretty great, and will likely keep you up against higher-ranking forces for a while. CSM do a lot of things well as a faction, combining quick movement, good brawling, and powerful shooting. I expect them to be at the top of the 40,000 meta as they can easily inflict wounds on orcs and break through their armor if needed.

For the Warmaster!


Thomas Reidy, aka Goatboy, the eternally evil member of BoLS. I do art, play 40k, and draw a lot. I’ve been playing his Warhammer 40K since the 1990s and won multiple national events including Adepticon and his GW GT. I’ve been writing for BoLS for 15 years. Check out my Instagram to see what I’m working on or working on for someone. I’m always doing something related to my hobbies.

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