Welcome back to another article looking at Warcry heroes, today we’re looking at Chaos and there are a lot of options with 164 possible heroes, allys, and thralls to select from. With the arrival of the Rotmire Creed and the Chaos Legionnaires we’re up to 24 different Chaos warbands.
Damage is mostly around the 5 to 7 range which is great. These largely are the war cry specific warbands like the Iron Golems, with their heroes typically fitting into similar profiles.
Lots of 20 wounds which is great to see, we’re expecting the majority of our fighters to be hard to kill.
Very few move 3 characters which is a blessing and a curse. The move 3 fighters are a pain to get into position, but with the 2.0 costing revamp they are super efficient.
Again we see the jump to mounted with move 10, but there are a surprising number of move 8 fighters. There are just 2 with move 12 which are the same fighter with different weapon options.
Strength and toughness are as we expect typically 4. Maybe some day this pattern will break but right now this just reaffirms the meta. Base your damage of toughness 4 fighters and you’ll be in a good place, then see if you can get some toughness 5 fighters to mess with everyone else!
And finally we have our damage scatter plot. Compared to the Order heroes the lack of red move 3 fighters is stark. There are a few peaks which I’ve marked, the blood reaper in particular looks super interesting.
Okay, our first top 5 is straight damage and these numbers are much higher than the Order heroes where the top damage was 9.33. The Chaos Lord of Karadrak is very expensive at 375 but the damage is insane and he’s move 8 with range. He does have a few interesting abilities but they are mostly triples. Of particular note though is Champion of Darkness which will give him an extra move and attack if he manages to get a kill.
Note that he is mounted, which means he cannot climb outside of stairs. Often this won’t be a problem but if the space is there your enemy can keep him out of the fight with clever positioning.
Next up we have the Doombull, unfortunately a bit of an old resin model but there are plenty of giant minotaur alternatives. Move 5 means it’s pretty nippy. The damage is still insane and like the Chaos Lord super chunky with 38 wounds. Beasts of Chaos fighters have a double that lets them move the dice value in inches but only on the first turn. Usually when you need it most anyway. The heroes have access to that classic double that gives them a bonus move or attack after a kill which I love on a high damage model. Alternatively, the Doombull has a second double after a kill which lets them heal points equal to the dice value. So for a double you get the perfect trifecta of movement, kill, or recovery.
For a little less we have the Fomoroid Crusher and the Ogroid Myrmidon. These both are still doing insane average damage of 10 with the Crusher keeping that damage all the way up to toughness 5 targets. Both are move 5 with toughness 6 and the Crusher has an extra 5 health. Model wise, these are much more accessible than the Doombull and have fantastic plastic kits. As allies, they have their own specific tailored set of abilities which gives them a better range of options than most. While the Crusher’s list are relatively tame, the Myrmidon does have an impressive Triple that lets him give 1 point of damage to a friendly to give them a bonus melee action.
Last in the l list we have the Slaughterborn with Greataxe from the Darkoath Savagers. At 6 toughness he’s doing 9.33 damage all the way up to T5 which is crazy for a 180 point model. At 20 wounds it’s not as if he’s weak either. If you look back in the alliance heroes, you’ll find the same but with 3 move instead of 4 which is a big difference. He has some very interesting doubles, one the classic on kill bonus action, but the second A Vow Fulfilled can boost is stats on a kill.
This is the tip of the list with some great options further down, like the Lord of Afflictions, Lord of Pain, Bloodline, Skullmaster Herald, and Heart-eater all coming in with over 9 damage on average.
With order we cut out the move 3 fighters, but we don’t have to do that with the Chaos heroes, instead we can go straight into damage efficiency. These are the damage per points fighters.
Unsurprisingly we can see the Slaughterborn top.
Second we have the Bloodreaper who at 135 points is doing an impressive 6.67 damage on average. At toughness 3 and 15 wounds this is probably one of the squishier heroes available. The blood reaper has that same double I always go on about Blood for the Blood God, giving an extra action after a kill. Alternatively there is a triple Locu s of Fury that will give nearby fighters +1 attack after a kill.
Next up we have the pox bringer, a little cheaper at 130 but with better toughness and wounds in exchange for a slow 3 move. The damage listed is for the melee attack which is solid, but there is also the option of a ranged attack doing an average of 3 damage. There is a heal double ability, but apart from that not much of interest.
Pay a little more and you can upgrade your Bloodreaper to a Bloodmaster. We’re back into insane damage values over 9 and on a body even cheaper than the Slaughterborn. The abilities are the exact same as for the Bloodreaper, so this is just a stats upgrade, but absolutely worth it.
Last we have the Heart-Eater. Still amazing damage and a move 5 as well. Again we see that bonus action on kill double but we also have an interesting double that gives a combined +1 to the next move and +1 dice to the next attack. Essentially, the two universal doubles combined together for those turns when you want to charge in and attack with your two actions.
Moving to 4+ move only takes up the Poxbringer and giving us the Pit Champion instead. He is actually on a tie with the Dominar and Symbaresh Egopomp but comes ahead by virtue of his melee attack with reach option. Again we see the usual, bonus action on kill or triple to give +1 attacks to nearby friendly fighters.
Next we’re looking at the wounds and trying to pick out some harder to kill fighters. This one is a little tricky as it’s pretty abstract where the balance between damage and wounds should be. We can see some of the outliers and unsurprisingly we’re seeing a lot of nurgle move 3 fighters being crazy tough. We can also see the Doombull who also has that healing option, making them hard has nails.
This top 5 tries to get that balance. The Lord of Plagues, Poxbringer, and Slaughterborn all have great health and damage for their points. The Plagueridden is as cheap as you can get and while the numbers are a little lacklustre they are super efficient fro the points. All the Nurgle fighters have healing abilities and reactions that reduce damage taken, so they can be super hard to shift.
If we strip out the move 3 fighters we replace all the Nurgle with more Khorn. We’ve seen the blood reaper an Bloodmaster before. The Exalted Deathbringer is new though. Same abilities as you’ve come to expect, a double blood for the blood god for the extra action after a kill and the triple Lord of Skulls gives nearby friendly +1 attack after a kill. It’s interesting to compare him to the Slaughterborn, you’re paying 5 extra for 8 more wounds but losing out on 2 strength. On the plus side, the model is a single rather than part of a warband, although for twice the price you’re getting an entire warband so… anyway, great model, tough as hell and great damage.
The two daemons we’ve already seen, the Chaos Spawn is new though. Damage is significantly lower than the Slaughterborn, already a high bar, but notably this is a Thrall. These do not compete with allies and you can have up to 3 in your warband, so they are essentially neutral fighters. We’ll have a look in more detail at them later.
One of the things we always look for in a warband is a hammer. A problem solver that will quickly get into position and destroy whatever your problem was. Typically something with fly I going to be better at that. So let's see what the Chaos gods have for us.
When we asked for Fly, we weren’t expecting Nurgle to be quite so literal. This lord of afflictions is top tier damage on a giant fly. Alas move 6 isn’t quite as fast as we’d like but it will get him there fast enough. At 9.33 average damage this is a problem solver and at 42 wounds it’s going to be near impossible to remove, especially when you factor in the nurgle abilities to reduce damage or heal. The ability the runemark opens up is a Double Venomous Sting which will lock a target in melee. As he hs reach, normally you’d like to attack from range 2, but for this ability you have to be within 1 inch, so more often than not you’ll just slam into the target and try murder them.
The plague bringer is a slightly more affordable version of the same, going from 320 to 255 and losing some wounds and damage. At 6.67 average damage we’re not taking it’s taking a little longer to work though those enemy heroes, but you still have access to the venomous sting action to keep them there while you do.
Flying options for Chaos aren’t actually great, the next range all come from the Tzentch Disc Riders. They’re all around 250 points, fly, move 10, around 25 wounds, toughness 4.
The top damage here is the Fatemaster with 6 average damage followed by the Enlightened Aviarch on disc at 5.33. The damage profile of the Aviarch is notable as almost every one of the remaining disc riders has the same melee attack line but with a ranged as well.
The abilities though are kind of meh. There are a few arcane bolt style attacks and a number of meddle with fate dice, but overall nothing particularly thrilling.
The last remaining fighter with fly is the Fury, another Thrall which we’ll look at in more detail a little later.
If we give up on Fly, then we just need to look at the fast fighters. At move 5 we’ve got a good range and some super efficient options.
The Heart-Eater and Doombull we’ve seen before. The Bloodraver Chieftain is interesting as he’s quite cheap and comes with blood for the blood god and throne of skulls.
The thrall master is another of the warbands created just for Warcry. Some cool abilities but unfortunately the teleporting triple will only work on Cypher Lord Minions so it’s pretty much out.
The Allurer is similar in many regards to the Bloodreaver but costs 5 points more. For that you’re getting two interesting doubles, one adds 3 to movement while the other adds 1 to hits and cries made by this fighter until the end of activation. This is notable because many of these abilities are just for the next attack and with 5 attack dice it will be relevant. That brings the average damage vs T4 to 9.17 which is impressive.
If we want to go even faster, we end up in the Mounted area. Everything is new here so we have some options to explore. Remember, mounted fighters can only climb stairs and cannot move through arch ways or doors.
First is the Contorted Epitome. Hovering above the ground, this giant mirror doesn’t actually have the mounted trait. Damage is decent at 6 and the ranged ability is exactly have that, which can mean it’s better to shoot twice than move into melee range and attack. It also an impressive quad which will stop a fighter from even activating in a turn, expensive but big.
Second we have the Varangurd with Daemonfored Blade. There are other options, but this is going to be the biggest damage. Move 10, 30 wounds, 6 toughness, and 7.5 average damage this will get a lot of work done. There are two doubles of interest, one increases strength and the other attacks, due to how the game works the attacks one will always be the right choice regardless. There is a blood for the blood god like ability, but it’s a triple rather than a double which is annoying but it’s not a move or attack, it’s a move and attack.
The slick blade Hunter-Seeker is notable for it’s reach of 2, so although the damage isn’t exciting it can be applied safely.
The Heartseeker on the other hand has access to the Sadistic Killers double which we previously saw on the Allurer, giving +1 to hits and crit. It’s a cheating a little to factor in this ability, especially as everyone can spend a double to get +1 attack, but the damage jumps to 9.17 for the remainder of the activation which is pretty amazing.
Last up we have the Centaurian Marshal who I was super pumped for when he came out. Move 10, 5 toughness, 35 wounds. Damage isn’t top tier but it is pretty great at 7.5. He has 3 abilities unique to him, of note is a double net ability. At just 10 points more he is very comparable to the Varanguard. Essentially you get to choose between abilities, with the Varanguard being a little more killy while the Centaurian has a net ability.
Unfortunately, I think we don’t have a perfect hammer in Chaos. The Lord of Afflictions is a little slow while the Centaurian and Varanguard suffer from being mounts. Luckily, the damage is great across the board, so really you have lots of not quite perfect options.
While brutal melee combat is the favoured style for most Chaos Warriors, the Tzeentch and Slaaneeshi follower have been known to dabble in magics and ranged attacks.
Looking back at the order heroes, their top damage was 6 with the rest of the top 5 all doing 5 average damage. So this is a relatively poor showing for chaos. To it’s credit the Skyfire Aviarch also has move 10 and fly which is pretty impressive.
The infernal enraptures does have a cool double that reduces enemy attacks by 1, but apart from that these fighters don’t have particularly interesting abilities.
Redoing it again to look at damage per points, we get the Pox bringer, Grey Seer, and Great Bray-Shaman. All with the exact same attack profile, so they’re ordered with he cheapest first. This isn’t super exciting, but these are all cheap models that can stay safe and lay out some damage. As they don’t have to move, notionally you could double the damage to reflect a double attack instead of a move attack.
The Poxbringer is notable as it’s also super efficient with it’s melee attack, so it’s just all round great for numbers.
The Grey Seer is surprisingly the first Skaven we see. Quite nimble at 6 move, many of the shaven abilities are about keeping save and getting out of melee. For a double the grey seer can snort some warp stone and roll dice equal to the ability. If they roll a 1 then they take 1 damage but for every 4+ rolled they add 1 to hits and cries from the next missile attack. Unfortunately, adding 2 to damage and crits will only up the average damage by 2 which is a little lacklustre. Still, any day you get to consume warp stone is a good day.
Last up we have the bray shaman. For a double you get a harpoon ability, but it’s pulling directly toward the Bray Shaman and is only range 6. With some good positioning, you could use this to drag a target into something scarier like a Doombull, but that could be quite tricky.
Okay, I’ve been hinting at them for a while, it’s time to talk about Thralls. These essentially are wild animals that your warband manages to tame and bring into battle. You can have up to 3 of them and they don’t conflict with your heroes. So if you wanted you could have three heroes and 3 allies for your warband. Each set of Thralls is unique to a grand alliance, so the Chaos Thralls will be different to Death and Destruction with Order having no Thralls at all. Essentially, you can think of these as generic fighters.
These are the 5 options available to Chaos. The slowest are move 5 with the Raptoryx and the Chaos Spawn, while the remaining 3 are all move 8. Top damage is the Razorgore followed by the Chaos Spawn. The Fury has terrible damage and wounds, but has fly and importantly doesn’t have the beast runemark so it can pick up treasure unlike all the rest.
All of the Thralls share the same reaction called The Master’s Voice, this is a brilliant reaction allowing the thrall to give up an action if an enemy comes within 3 inches of a friendly hero, the thrall then gets to move into melee and attack.
Not only are you turning a single action into a move and attack, you’re also interrupting our opponents turn, can do this with multiple Thralls, and potentially could get to do it again with the same Thralls later in the turn essentially getting two moves and two attacks.
Because of this, you probably want one of the bigger damage models.
Each thrall has an ability unique to them, although most are triples and unlikely to be used. The one double is with the Chaos Warhound giving it a bonus 3 to their next move.
This list is in order of the most efficient damage per points, so you are going to get the most bang for your buck with two Raptoryx, ridiculous as the model may seem. You do end up with move 5 rather than 8 though, which may be a consideration, but you do get additional activations which is nice. Many of the lists I’ve seen do go with 2 or 3 Chaos Warhounds, the speed is fantastic and the damage is fine, but importantly the cost slots in nicely into many warbands.
Alright, we’ve spent a long time looking at numbers. Time to focus on some abilities instead. As last time, this was me literally reading every ability and trying to work out whether it was worth talking about, so there’s a good chance I missed something or I’ve included something that maybe shouldn’t be there. You’ve been warned.
In this first section we’re going to look at control abilities, which typically are variations on the net. We already saw the Lord of Afflictions with his variation on the theme, but Chaos has quite a few options.
We’re starting off with the Shadow Piercer the leader from the Corvus Cabal. As a double you can pick a fighter within 20 inches and they cannot disengage for the rest of the battle. Cheap as a double, great range, and no roll required. A little tricky to use though, if the target isn’t currently in melee then you need to get the Shadow Piercer there or they can just move as the next activation. Apart from that the Shadow Piercer is a great fighter, as pretty much all the eight points leaders are. They also have a triple after a kill that gives +1 attacks to nearby friendlies, and in this case that’s within 9 inches which is lots.
For the same price you can get the Trueblood. The damage is the same but you trade 1 point of move for reach 2. The Net ability this time is limited to 3 inches but also stops moves. That’s a pretty good combination letting the Trueblood attack from range and lock the target down so they can’t attack back, assuming they’re melee only.
He also has an interesting double which means his strength will be considered greater than that of the cards. So he’ll always be doing 7.33 damage on average. For anything T5 or better that’s great, but if you’re facing against a 4 target then you’re better using the double for an extra attack.
Next we have the bliss bringer from the slaanesh demons. Here the ability is still a double but not requires a 2+ roll and can only target someone within 1 inch. Damage is lower but movement is 8 and with 30 wounds it’ll be able to take some blows. Along with the usual Slaneesh increased move double, the Blissbringer has a Triple that increases hit and critical damage from the next attack action. With 5 dice that can actually add up. A triple 3 or 4 will nearly double average damage to 11.67, although just for one attack. Annoyingly you have to decide before your attack whether to do more damage or net the target.
From Blissbringer to Blissful One, another eight points leader this fighter has a double with some range dependent ton the ability but it only works on a 3+ making it one of the less reliable options. We’ve made quite a jump in points from the start, now looking at 255. This is getting us 8 move, great damage, and 20 wounds. No sign of that Blood for Blood God double, but we do have the Slaves to Darkness equivalent of a Triple that gives the move and the attack. So 8 move, 6.66 damage, a net double, and a situational triple that doubles activations. Pretty amazing.
Up another Tier we get to the Centaurian Marshal at a whopping 295 points. The ability is still a double, is back to 3 which is the reach of the spear. It is a 3+ which isn’t reliable. I’m conflicted over whether having a control ability like this on such a beat stick is a good idea. On the plus side, you can charge into two targets, kill one and lock down the other. On the other hand, you don’t get to use any damage multiplier abilities which could scale better off the big guy. Still, having the option is still good.
There are four chaos allies which don’t have warbands. We’ve seen the Ogroid Myrmidon, the Centaurian Marshal, and the Fomoroid Crusher. This is the last. Damage isn’t as high as the Myrmidon or Crusher’s crazy 10, but 7.33 is still amazing. Hard to kill with 5 toughness and 30 wounds this Sphiranx is also super fast at 8. It actually has 2 control abilities, the first a double is a 3+ net with a range equal to the ability, we’ve seen this before. The second is a quad which I wouldn’t normally mention, but this one completely locks down a fighter preventing them from activating at all or even making reactions. Range is limited to that of the ability, and as a quad you can’t get too picky, but even a quad one will get work done as the Sphiranx can charge up with move 8, lock down the target, and take a bite out of it without any fear.
With the Contorted Epitome we have the same quad again but with a fixed range of 9 inches. We’ve actually seen this fighter before in the fast category as the highest damage move 10 fighter. The ranged attack is a little lacklustre but the option for the quad is quite nice, especially as players get better at understanding how to use reactions.
Next up we have two Harpoon abilities. We’ve already mentioned the Bray Shaman who has decent stats for its cost. Interestingly, the ranged ability is better than the melee, which doesn’t often happen. The harpoon ability is a double which is great, has a range of 6 and will move the target inches equal to the ability, so between 1 and 6 depending on what you’ve got. The movement is equal, not up to, so you don’t have a lot of control with it. The real issue here is the Bray Shaman wants the target to be at range, so if you use the ability it will be to get the target nearer to another friendly, maybe a Doombull. That will require some tricky positioning to pull off but is a nice option on a cheap hero.
For a little more aggressive option, we can try out a Slaughterpriest. The ability is almost identical but 8 inches instead of 6. You have two options, sword and flail which give you a decent melee and a weaker 3 reach attack, or pay 10 more points and slightly better damage and a reach 2 weapon. Honestly, both look great so I’d be tempted to just go with whatever model looked cooler. Unlike the Bray Shaman, they should be able to lay some decent damage down and with good positioning could drag the target into another friendly fighters range essentially saving two movement activations.
Next up we have the Damage abilities. We see plenty of these but I wanted to mention a few notable ones.
This first one, the Myrmidesh Painmaster is actually a cautionary one. This double will boost the average damage to 7.33, this is only slightly better than using the Onslaught ability which would give 6.67. As these are both boosting for the rest of the activation, this is a solid ability, especially 155 point model, watch out for similar abilities that only boost the next attack as typically Onslaught will be better when you’re able to attack twice.
Next up we have the Slaughterborn, there are actually two versions with Greataxe and with Greatblade. They’re very similar, with one having more dice and the other have more strength, but importantly the base damage for the Greataxe is greater which becomes important when you look at abilities.
There are two doubles of interest, the first Display of Brutality is Blood for the Blood god, a classic as ever. The other though is super interesting. This is A Voe Fulfilled, you pop it at the start of your activation and anytime you get a kill you can increase your toughness, attacks, or strength for the rest of the battle. So once you get rolling this will get even more insane. Each extra dice of attack will increase damage by 2.34 so a few early kills with this and you’ll quickly become a murder machine.
I suspect the great axe hit damage of 3 is a typo, as changing it to a 2 gives a nice steady damage of 7.33 which would make you choose between high damage against T3 and low against T5 or steady damage across all 3. Currently, there’s no choice it’s the Greataxe all the way. Indeed, as this is just a Barbarian model with a Great Axe, I could definitely see other models from the Darkoath Warband standing in as additional Slaughterborn heroes.
Next up we have the Ogroid Myrmidon, again we’ve seen him in the top 5 damage models in Chaos. Of particular note, he has an ability that gives a friendly a point of damage and an extra attack as a Triple. Unfortunately, it has to be a visible friendly and fighters don’t count as visible to themselves, so the Myrmidon can’t target himself. So to get maximum value out of this you’ll need to run another big bruiser.
Next up we have the Sloppity Bilepiper. Warcry is a game where movement is king, and abilities that boost movement are great. This however is a little tame only adding 1 move. Most often you’ll be using this ability on your first turn giving the entire group an extra 1 move for both their move activations that turn. At 130 points you’re getting a useful ability on a pretty decent stat line. In theory, you could also take multiple Bilepipers and have their effects stack with multiple doubles.
Okay, now we’re getting into some interesting stuff. The classic version of this was the Beasttalker from the Untamed Beasts, but the Master Moulder has the advantage of being a hero, so anyone can take one. There are some cool abilities for the Skaven heroes, the Triple Lead From the Back adds extra attack dice to nearby fighters which can be good. Of more interest we have the two doubles, one heals a beast and the other gives them an extra attack. To maximise this you’ll want a hard hitting beast.
Luckily we have some options. The classic is the Rat Ogor and with good reason. While we haven’t seen many Skaven in this hero list, here is why, the real power is in the fighters. Very few things are as scary as the Rat Ogor, but if you’re running any of the other big beasts the Master Moulder might be worth it.
It’s also worth noting that if you have two sets of doubles and you’re already in position, you can wait as your first action to use the ability once, then activate again later in the turn to use the ability a second time. Doing that you can generate a massive amount of damage seemingly out of no where.
Similarly, the Bloodstoker has a Double that gets an extra attack from a Ferocious fighter. No healing ability, but the damage is much better than the master moulder.
I quite like the idea here of interactions based on rune marks, this allows some interesting interactions between models in different warbands.
Looking for decent ferocious fighters is a little tricky. The normal target is the Khorgorath but there are a few interesting options. Nothing I think I’d base a warband on, but worth keeping an eye on for future releases.
Last up we have the Infernal Enrapturess who has a very interesting Double which removes one dice from nearby enemies. The key part here is it’s a double, so you have a good chance of being able to use the ability twice.
If you take a wait action with her using the first double, then take activate her again to use the ability a second time, everyone around her will take minus 2 to attacks. As the majority of profiles have 3 to 4 attack dice, this could effectively neuter an enemy warband within that zone, as the base is 35 by 60, you’re looking at 13 inch diameter bubble within the 22 by 30 inch war cry board.
I’ve looked around and this should work, but it’s the sort of thing that might be unintended, so keep an eye on FAQs in the future. I'd also suggest explaining it to your opponent rather than just springing it on them, and if you're in a tournament definitely confirm with the tournament organiser.
And that’s it! This selection is very different to the Order heroes.
Nothing is really flashy, but the stats are great and you don’t have to look far to get a tough fighter with great damage.
I’ve picked out a few of the highlights for myself, I suspect the Slaughterborn is under costed and I love the idea of his ramp up ability. The Doombull is an amazing hunk of beefo but I’m pretty sure I’ll never run one as I don’t like the model, instead I’ll stick to my trusty Myrmidon and maybe pickup a Fomorian Crusher to go along with him.
I definitely want to try out the Sphiranx, it’s fast, tough, and has great damage along with two amazing net abilities.
Similarly, the Trueblood has great stats damage and a net ability all at a cheaper cost. Again, I doubt I’ll get around to picking him up, but if I had the Splintered Fang warband I think the Trueblood would end up as an ally in a lot of my other warbands.
Similarly, the Lord of Afflictions has all that and fly, but is crazy expensive. At 42 wounds, he along with the Ogor Tyrant from Destruction, are the highest wound models outside of Monsters. Along with the Nurgle abilities to heal and reduce incoming damage, I’d be surprised to ever see one of these die. Again, I think I’m unlikely to every pick one up, mostly as the nurgle models are too creepy.
Overall, Chaos are spoilt for choice. They definitely are limited on flying and ranged options but the amount of high damage high wound heroes they have are is crazy. The heroes I’ve been talking about today are the absolute cream of the crop, but tons of the fighters I’ve not mentioned are comparable to the best heroes in other warbands.
So while Chaos might not have all the fancy options, when it comes to heroes that kill things, they’ve got you covered.
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