How to Play Chaos Space Marines in Warhammer 40K

How to Play Chaos Space Marines in Warhammer 40K

Today we’ll be looking at the basics of how to play and get started with 10th edition Warhammer 40k Chaos Space Marines, guys in spiked armour!

The Chaos Space Marines are the ancient remnants of the Horus Rebellion. Each legion fights with a different style, but all fight with arcane equipment and the power of the Warp. As an army with a long history, they have an impressive array of troops.

Below we will give you some tips on how to play and start an army.

Who are the Chaos Space Marines?

The tale of Chaos Space Marines It is well known that 10,000 years ago, Horus, Imperial war leader and the Emperor’s most trusted “son”, fell to Chaos due to the machinations of the Word Bearers. Besides the Space Marine Legions under his direct command, The sons of HorusHis eight brothers, the Primarchs, and their Legions joined Horus in his rebellion against the Emperor.

Only when Horus was slain in the Heresy’s final battle, the Battle of Terra, was the rebellion crushed and the defeated rebels were driven into the Eye of Terror, which remains their prison and sanctuary to this day. The Chaos Space Marines have never forgotten their defeat in the Heresy and have waged a long war against the Imperium for the past 10,000 years.

Why Play Chaos Space Marines?

This army, like the Loyalist army, is competent in all aspects of the game. Compared to the Loyalist Space Marines, the CSM focuses a bit more on close combat. They also have their own aspects entirely of their own, including hordes of cultists, demons, and devotion to the Dark Gods of Chaos. If you like big armored men but prefer a sinister aesthetic, the Chaos Space Marines might be the army for you.

Army Strengths

  • Versatility with a wide variety of units.
  • Close-quarters combat with a wide variety of powerful attacking units.
  • Theme – Always evil, full of prickly corruption in armour.

Weakness of the Army

  • Like most Marines, they are an elite force with relatively low manpower, unless you rely on weak Chaos Cultists.
  • Mobility, this is an army that does not value high speed.

Chaos Space Marine Possessed

Chaos Space Marines Army Rules

  • Dark Pact: This special rule allows a unit to choose one of two buffs each time it attacks, at the small risk of incurring the displeasure of the gods and suffering a mortal wound.

Chaos Space Marines Contingent

Veterans of the Long War

  • rule: Focus of hatred Allows army-wide re-rolls of hits for specific units selected each Command Phase.
  • Enhancements: Most of these interact with and affect the selected unit. A focus of hatred.
  • strategy: Bringer of Despair Give the unit a first unit to fight against the selected unit A focus of hatred.


  • rule: The Alpha Legion detachment Master of MisdirectionThree units infiltrate.
  • EnhancementsMy favorite here is Obfuscation veilI don’t faint very often A lonely worker.
  • strategy: detonator Having things that can explode automatically detonate when you die is great.

Renegade Raiders

  • rule: Raiders and Reavers For all ranged weapons assault Changes the rules to give you better AP when targeting enemies on an objective.
  • Enhancements: Hound’s Mark Probably the winner here is giving Bearer units 6″ scouts.
  • strategy: Sweeping and seizing Very helpful for timely application accuracy shot.

Dread Talon

  • rule: The “Night Lords” guys. Fear Rains Down Affects enemy battleshock tests.
  • Enhancements: Warp fuel thrusters It’s really fun to have the jump pack units take to the skies again.
  • strategy: Almost all of these also interact with the Battleshock test.

Host of the Siege of Felhamer

  • rule: This is pretty solid. Iron Fortitude Against weapons with Strength greater than Endurance, they take a -1 to damage. These enemies will bounce cannons.
  • Enhancements: of Bastion Plate It makes it even harder to hurt someone who is already hard to hurt.
  • strategy: Shoot and kill the remnants Ruthless Kanonde (That’s what we’re calling our new band name).

Contract Fanatic

  • rule: of Traces of Chaos This rule gives all the flavor of sacrificing units to the Chaos Gods.
  • Enhancements: Pactbound Zealots have four enhancements, each locked to a specific Chaos Mark.
  • strategy: As with strengthening, strategies are mostly locked by specific marks and are somewhat limited.

Chaos Cult

  • rule: Desperate Dedication This means that the Cultists and the Traitor guards (and Beastmen!) will each have their own contract. Battlefront.
  • Enhancements: All buffs here are locked to Dark Apostles or Damned units. Better luck next time Chaos Lord!
  • strategy: These are all locked to the DAMNED units.

Soulforged Warpack

  • rule: Debt to Soulforge This means that running Pact on a Daemon Engine is very good.
  • Enhancements: An attractive addition Daemon Engine rerolls stand out here.
  • strategy: Demon Possession This is really useful. daemon Add keywords to any vehicle and enjoy the great benefits of detachments.

Key faction units to know

The army has a vast roster of units. Knowing which units you should recruit to take advantage of the legion rules can be difficult. Here are some tips to get you started in the right direction:


Abaddon the Destroyer

The arch-villain of the Chaos Space Marine heroes, Abaddon is not only an excellent beatstick, but also provides massive aura buffs to friendly units.

Vashtor the Archifane

As an Epic Hero and demigod, Vashtor is perfect for accompanying and enhancing units of demon vehicles, such as Forgefiends.

Fabius Bile

This crazy doctor Epic Heroes His insane experiments greatly strengthen any unit he joins.

Chaos Lord

The Chaos Lord, the Dark Mirror of Space Marine Captains A chance for gloryThis allows you to dominate a single combat phase.

Dark Apostle

Great buff character Dark ZeoliteThe Dark Apostle can greatly increase the effectiveness of one of your attacking forces.

Battle Line

CSM Legionary

A selection of army-named Battlelines form a solid core; always bring a few with you for your tabletop raiding needs.

Cult group

The other options in Battleline are very cheap, numerous, and just not as good. But that’s okay. It doesn’t have to be. For the Dark Gods Even though they are dead, they may still claim your cause.

Other units

Chaos Terminator Squad

Though not as shiny as the Imperials, the Chaos Terminators are still a solid unit. They benefited from the Dark Pact and spoiler rule.

Havoc Squad

Wielding heavy weaponry, Chaos Space Marines can pack a ton of firepower, dealing a lot of damage with a small number of models, but be careful – small numbers are their biggest weakness.


The Flesh Metal Gun is incredibly versatile. Warp Lift Firepower It is guaranteed to surprise your enemies and means you can’t hide from them.

Cursed Cultist

These units are a bit tougher than regular Cultists, and also revive fallen models each phase.

Felgor Beastman

These units are cheap, fast, and charge well, so if you don’t expect too much, you won’t be disappointed.


The Forefiend’s ectoplasm cannon is extremely powerful. Devil’s weapon.

Venom Crawler

These demon engines pose a moderate threat both at range and in combat, and become a real threat in groups of several.

Hell’s Beast

The Chaos Marine Dreadnought is a sight to behold, capable of unleashing heavy firepower and crushing enemies in combat – if it survives, that is – and is certainly a force to be reckoned with.

Sample Chaos Space Marines Starter Army


Dark Apostle. 3 models. Equipped with a Bolt Pistol, Cursed Crozius.

Battle Line

Legionnaire. 10 models. 1 plasma gun. All other models are equipped with a bolt pistol, bolt gun.

Legionnaire. Five models. All other models are equipped with a bolt pistol and bolt gun.

Cultists. 20 models.

Cultists. 20 models.

Other units

Helbrute. One model. Equipment: Twin Lascannons, Helbrute Fists.

Helbrute. One model. Equipment: Twin Lascannons, Helbrute Fists.

Chaos Rhino. 1 model.

How to play Chaos Space Marines

Chaos Marines play similarly to Imperial Marines in many ways, with some differences. Both are well-rounded Marines that can be effective at any stage of the game. Whereas Space Marines use Oath of the Moment, Chaos Marines get a similar effect from Dark Pact. Space Marines have far more marine types, but Chaos Marines have a much more diverse range of unit types and much more potential for horde play. This allows for some playstyles that are not available to Loyalists.

For the dark gods!


I’ve been a Games Workshop enthusiast, gamer, and writer for 20 years – I love Necromunda, Horus Heresy (40K), and Age of Sigmar (and Mordheim – please reboot it!).

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