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Chaos Space Marines are the evil counterpart of Imperial Space Marines. About 10,000 years earlier, when the Imperium and the original Space Marine Legions were living their golden age, half of the original Legions turned to Chaos and rebelled. Led by the Emperor's adopted son and right hand, Warmaster Horus, they almost destroyed the whole Imperium, stopping only when the Emperor himself managed to slay Horus during the siege of Earth. The armies of Chaos collapsed and escaped, pursued by enraged loyalist Marines, finally retreating to the Eye of Terror. There they now reside, occasionally attacking Imperial territory. Because of weird passage of time within the Eye, some of the present-day Chaos Marines are the actual survivors of the Horus Heresy; others (sometimes even whole Chapters) have turned to Chaos later, swelling their numbers.

The Chaos Marine army's core is logically quite similar to Space Marines. They have equivalent basic Marine units and vehicles. Their elite units, however, differ, consising of either actual daemons or Marines possessed by daemons. The have more melee-oriented troops and less vehicles. Their Deep Strike units are teleported daemonic infantry instead of normal troops delivered by drop-pods.


Chaos Lord (Bale)[edit]

W40k-dow chaos lord icon.gif

  • Class: Commander
  • Role: Melee, support

The primary commander unit for Chaos, the Lord is a melee specialist who will usually beat any of your commanders one-on-one but is easily defeated when you concentrate on him with other nearby troops (you should have a melee unit to engage him so he doesn't get to your ranged infantry). He has a morale bonus and can be used for the Bloodthirster transformation - although in the campaign Bale will be gone before you first encounter the daemon. When fighting the Chaos Lord, you can consider how you would counter your own Force Commander.

Chaos Sorcerer (Sindri)[edit]

W40k-dow chaos sorcerer icon.gif

  • Class: Commander
  • Role: Support

The Sorcerer is the secondary commander, the Chaos equivalent of your Librarian, although his special abilities are more offensive than the Librarian's. The Sorcerer has decent melee ability but lower health than his peers, so he's more a "spellcaster" than a front-line fighter. His abilities cause damage and movement restriction to enemy units instead of buffing friendly units. He can be used for the Bloodthirster transformation.



W40k-dow heretic icon.gif

  • Class: Infantry
  • Role: Builder unit

The basic builder/repairman unit, weak and fragile. However the Heretic can activate a special ability called Forced Labour that allows him to work really fast - while constantly losing health, potentially killing him. It's a good ability when used with skill, though the AI seems to just panic-build and suicide his Heretics.

Cultist Squad[edit]

W40k-dow cultist sqad icon.gif

  • Class: Infantry
  • Role: Cannon fodder, scouting, detection

Cultists are weak and numerous, a bit like Imperial Guardsmen except more effective in melee than ranged combat (unless equipped with heavy weapons). Cultist Squads may have grenade launchers or plasma guns just like Guardsmen. They can infiltrate (with research) and their squad leader (Aspiring Champion) can detect infiltrated units. The leader can also be used for the Bloodthirster transformation. It is best to mow them down with heavy bolter fire before they tie you up in melee. A single Land Speeder will also make short work of Cultists.

Chaos Space Marines[edit]

W40k-dow chaos space marine squad icon.gif

  • Class: Heavy infantry
  • Role: Versatile

Chaos Space Marines are very much like your (Tactical) Space Marines. They have roughly the same abilities and can be upgraded with the same heavy weapons (flamer, heavy bolter, plasma gun, missile launcher). Additionally they can be infiltrated and their squad leader (Aspiring Champion) can detect infiltrated units. You should check which heavy weapons (if any) a squad has before deciding who to take out first - especially watch out for missile launchers targeting your vehicles. Your infantry is most effective with plasma guns; also consider using Assault Marines or Deep Strike if a squad is hurting you from distance.

Raptor Squad[edit]

W40k-dow raptor squad icon.gif

  • Class: Heavy infantry
  • Role: Jump infantry

Raptors are equivalent to your Assault Marines, equipped with jetpacks and melee weapons. Raptor Squads can also carry flamers or plasma guns; as a tradeoff an Assault Marine Squad can usually beat a Raptor Squad in straight hand-to-hand. When facing these, keep an eye on your melee-weak infantry (Scout Marines, Tactical Marines) and don't just stand there if a Raptor Squad engages them. Dance away while your other ranged units shoot at them, and engage them with a melee unit if possible. If you don't have anything, try running around a turret until most of them die.

Horror Squad[edit]

W40k-dow horror squad icon.gif

  • Class: Infantry
  • Role: Anti-infantry

These are minor daemons of Tzeench that can Deep Strike from the Sacrificial Circle building. They come in squads of 5 and have a potent ranged attack against infantry. They are ineffective against vehicles (unlike in the expansions) and quite useless in melee. Thus you should obviously try to tie them up in close combat if possible.

Possessed Squad[edit]

W40k-dow possessed squad icon.gif

  • Class: Heavy infantry
  • Role: Melee

These deformed, daemon-possessed Chaos Marines are the ultimate melee unit for Chaos. They have several available upgrades to increase their damage & speed and allow the use of "daemonic fire" (it's like a flamer but purple). They are of course effective against infantry but also tear up vehicles and buildings. Generally you should never melee these, even if you have elite melee units - it's just not cost-effective. Stay out of their game, dance away and shoot them to bits.

Obliterator Squad[edit]

W40k-dow obliterators icon.gif

  • Class: Heavy infantry
  • Role: Ranged firepower

Obliterators are the ultimate ranged infantry for Chaos. They have long range and can use different weapons (without buying upgrades) to be effective against both infantry and vehicles. Obliterators can also Deep Strike from the Daemon Pit building and teleport short distances with an upgrade (like Terminators). They are slow and weak in melee, though. Obliterators must be tied up in melee as soon as possible or they will hurt something badly. They may be dangerous enough to justify a Dreadnought drop you've been saving.


Chaos Rhino Transport[edit]

W40k-dow chaos rhino icon.gif

  • Class: Vehicle
  • Role: Transport

This is just like the Space Marine transport, only with spikes. The enemy doesn't seem to use these much in the campaign.


W40k-dow defiler icon.gif

  • Class: Vehicle
  • Role: Versatile

A daemon-possessed, four-legged walker vehicle. The Defiler has anti-infantry weaponry, a strong melee attack and an (inaccurate) battle cannon that will disrupt/demoralize infantry and deal decent damage to vehicles and buildings - a "Jack of all trades". It's best to keep your distance and take it out with lascannon vehicles - a missile squad will do, but may get knocked around a bit before succeeding.

Chaos Predator[edit]

W40k-dow chaos predator icon.gif

  • Class: Vehicle
  • Role: Main battle tank

Equivalent to the Space Marine Predator. Starts out with anti-infantry weapons and can be upgraded to lascannons. Pretty durable so it needs some focused anti-vehicle fire (or Dreadnoughts if you can get them close enough).



W40k-dow bloodthirster icon.gif

  • Class: Daemon
  • Role: Melee

This is the Relic unit for Chaos. It's a greater daemon who's a dedicated (giant) melee fighter with jump ability. The Bloodthirster is built from the Daemon Pit, but doesn't actually appear there. Instead he's activated from a commander or squad leader unit who is then killed and replaced by the Bloodthirster. Hence one of these could show up unexpectedly in the middle of a fight. Killing one isn't much different from killing an Avatar; you dance with, say, an Assault Squad while focused fire wears it down. Your commanders can hurt it pretty good as well.

Daemon Prince[edit]

W40k-dow daemon prince icon.gif

  • Class: Daemon
  • Role: Melee

The ultimate Chaos unit, a hero of Chaos "ascended" to a position second only to the Chaos gods. Treat him like a tougher version of the Bloodthirster. Of course, killing the Daemon Prince will finish the whole game so feel free to mob him with all your melee units and keep dropping Dreadnoughts on him as fast as you can build new ones.


Heavy Bolter Turret[edit]

W40k-dow chaos bolter turret icon.gif W40k chaos missile turret icon.gif

  • Class: Building
  • Role: Stationary defense

Just like Space Marine turrets. Bolter for infantry, missiles for vehicles (and disruption). Blasting them with lascannons from safe range is best; if not possible, offer them the "wrong" target while you anti-vehicle them with another unit.