Know-A-Formation: Chaos Warband

Hey everybody, Danny here with some reading for you while you hide from family during Thanksgiving. As always, it is time to go over a formation, and this one is near and dear to Adam’s cold, black heart!


Formation: Chaos Warband

Source: Traitor’s Hate     Faction: Chaos Space Marines

1 Chaos Lord

0-1 Sorcerer

2-6 Units of Chaos Space Marines

1-3 Chosen, Terminators, Possessed in any combination

1-3 Raptors, Warp Talons, Bikers, Helbrutes or Havocs in any combination

Restrictions: None

Special Rules:

Favoured Scions: When rolling on the Chaos Boon table, you roll two dice and choose your result OR take both!

Objective Secured: Oh yes, everything in this formation (and their dedicated transports) are Obsec!

So what you have here is a relatively (for CSM) cost-effective way to add a ton of Obsec to a Chaos list while also ensuring that the Chaos Boon table doesn’t just screw over your Chaos Lord. As this is also a core formation in the Chaos Decurion, it isn’t too shabby at all and gives you a good foundation for a fluffy or even *gasp* competitive CSM army.


Ok, but none of those units seem all that good.

Well, it is important to remember that any Obsec is good, and an independent character gives Obsec to his unit, so even just on its own, an Obsec Chaos Lord to go into a Spawn/Khornedog/Bloodcrusher star isn’t a terrible idea. Obsec deathstars are damn good…damn good. Especially if you happen to throw in a Cabal.

Of course, Obsec Bikers are also money in the bank since they are fast, and as Eldar shows us time and time again, fast Obsec can be a game-winner. Even just three small Obsec bike units can cause headaches for an opponent late game, especially if reserves rolls are kind. They also make a solid foundation for a mini-deathstar (and again, Obsec Deathstars are good). Hell, even using Raptors instead to Deep Strike in and claim far away objectives isn’t terrible (but not necessarily ideal either).


Adam mines the world of Forgeworld for some awesome dedicated transports for Chosen, namely Dreadclaws. Dreadclaws (drop pods that can lift off and fly around after) are good to begin with, but giving them Obsec makes them a nightmare for armies that lack dedicated AA. With bikes and Dreadclaws, you now have up to 6 fast Obsec units that can scurry across the board and take objectives. This also doesn’t include the Chosen who can sit and camp backfield objectives with their own shiny Obsec. All of a sudden, MSU chaos becomes a real threat on the mission. Of course, if you want to be hardcore, you can take two of these Warbands and suddenly rival Battle Company for the number of Obsec units that you bring to the party.

A Chaos Lord can be given dead-killy kit, so you can also use him to be a wrecking ball with either the Black Mace (better on a Daemon Prince for AP2 but still great) or the Axe of Blind Fury. Either way, you can make that Chaos Lord an immense ass-kicker that adds a lot of threat to most units.

Chosen, while expensive, also come with a great deal of options, so you can create some suicide squads with melta guns or what not, or give them a heavy weapon to sit and camp the backfield. They can also have a few power-fists, power axes/staves, and flamers to make sure that anybody trying to sneak in and assault will face a bruising, especially since most backfield sweepers aren’t really THAT great at fighting.


If you want to run the Chaos Decurion, this is an excellent core choice that can be done quite cheaply with a modestly-priced Lord, 1 chosen unit and 1 bike unit.  This lets you invest quite a few more points into the rest of the Decurion, and with the Decurion benefits, the rolling twice on the boon table is awesome.

Overall, this formation gives CSM players a lot of badly needed tactical tools that a savvy general can use to make a pretty mean list, at least a lot meaner than most other CSM lists.

Ok, so Chaos does have something good, where’s the inevitable “But…”

But…this is Chaos, so they don’t get free stuff, and this formation can get spendy real, real quick. Adam’s build is well over a 1,000 points, so that doesn’t leave a lot of room for anything else. You can do this formation on the cheap, but then you aren’t really bringing a lot to the table, either. I suppose if you just want a cheap Obsec character to throw in somewhere else, go for it, but unless you invest into this, you don’t get much out.

We get free stuff!
We get free stuff!

The big problem here is too is access. Obsec rhinos are great, but they are really amazing when they are free, and that doesn’t happen here. You need to go to Forgeworld for the really good stuff, and that can be both expensive and hard to get as there are a lot of rules and material you need. For a gamer on any sane budget, it can be hard to do effectively.

There is also the reality that these units do not really hit that hard at the end of the day. You can spend a lot of points on them, but then they are nowhere near as resilient or as hard hitting as other units of the same point cost, so again, you’re playing Chaos which means the game is on hard mode. This formation can bring strong plays against a lot of unit types, but it gets expensive to do so, which means, yah, it is not so good.


There also isn’t a lot of Fearless to go around, so these Chosen, Raptors, Bikers, etc, could just run away, which happens. Even with LD 9 or 10, with enough checks or going against the oddball psychic-shriek bomb from Harlies/Eldar/Dark Eldar, you can just get blasted off the board.

That’s really one of the hardest parts of this formation: It doesn’t offer a lot of good answers to the biggest problems in competitive 40K, namely Grav, Deathstars, Superheavies and Psychics. A savvy general can certainly make good use of fast Obsec, but then these units have to survive first.


So all in all, this is a good formation that really helps Chaos out, but it takes some skill and finesse to really work well. You can check out Adam piloting it on Frontline’s Friday Night Fight on Twitch.

Also, be sure to check out the TFG Patreon to help us bring even more glory to the Chaos Gods. The second rage chakra is almost unlocked!