For the Warmaster, part 2 – Formations of the Black Legion


I was actually surprised by the lack of good or at least decently updated rules for the Black Legion. Or maybe not surprised but still disappointed. They could have done so much more with little to no effort. Just look at the Angles of Death Supplement. (Or don’t, it won’t help with the disappointment.)

At least the book includes a couple of new formations. The formations are fluffy and full of character but by no means the game-breaking no holds barred type of formations that other faction get. Lets check them out:

Bringers of Dispair – This is Abaddon’s own, the elite of elite. The formation consists of Abaddon and a retinue of Chaos Terminators. The Terminators gain +1 WS and +1 BS. Abaddon can reroll failed Look out sir rolls.

Sure, Chaos Terminators are overcosted by at least five points, they’re slow and can’t sweep. But if you plan on bringing the Despoiler then this formation helps you both deliver him into close combat and score hits with those surgical melta shots.


Chosen of Abaddon – This formation allows you to emulate the mighty Exalted Champions of the Black Legion and the hierarchy of Chaos Lieutenants within the legion. You can bring 1-4 squads of Chaos Terminators or Chosen and for each squad you take either a Chaos Lord or Sorcerer as its Exalted Champion. The squad is Fearless while the Champion is alive (great for squads led by Sorcerers) and the Champion cannot leave the squad.

The Champion get a free roll on the Chaos Boons table at the start of the game, rerolling spawn and prince results. So basically a free Gift of Mutation. I always try to max out on Gift of Mutation, because when you do you are bound to hit the good results. This formation helps in that regard.

The Hounds of Abaddon – Khorne! This formation is all about Khorne and what Khorne loves most – assault. It consists of a Chaos Lord, 1-3 Berzerkers, 1-3 Chaos Space Marines and 1-3 Raptors, Warp Talons or Bikers. All units that can must take a Mark of Khorne (but it is for free). Khorne loves the dudes in this unit, if you roll 8+ on you charge roll the unit get +1S for that phase. Fluffy rule.

Once per game, after the first turn, you can make a massed assault. All units in the formation can run and charge during the massed assault. Pretty sweet, too bad you can’t do it first turn.


Daemon Engine Pack – This is probably my favorite formation of the book. You bring two Forgefiends/Maulerfiends and a Warpsmith. Maulerfiends are right up my alley; fast, hard hitting and intimidating. I usually bring two and I often want to field a Warpsmith but can never find room for him (I always run Lords and Sorcerers). This formation is just what I needed.

The fiends get Preferred Enemy against one enemy character, and if you kill that character with a fiend, that fiend regains a Hull point. Decent rule. The real power of this formation comes from the Warpsmiths ability to boost a fiend within 12″. That fiend can use the Warpsmith’s WS or BS. Say hello to a BS5 Hades Autocannon!

Cyclopia Cabal – Of all the formations in the book, this is probably the one that stirred up most excitement in the community. And for good reasons, it is boss. First of all, it only requires 3-5 individual Sorcerers. I really like Sorcerers so that’s not a hard requirement to met. Sorcerers  are reliable (especially with Spell Familiar) and have access to Biomancy and Telepathy. The Cabal Sorcerers don’t have to team up but can act separately.


Each turn you can select one of the Sorcerers to preform the dark ritual known as the Shroud of Deceit, a ML3 spell. Every Sorcerer within 12″ adds an additional warp charge die to the test, without draining the warp pool. So basically free warp charges for this spell. And you want to try this spell every turn.

The Shroud of Deceit allows you to take control of a non-vehicle enemy unit within 30″ and make a shooting attack with it as if it was your own unit. Oh my! That’s one awesome counter to the mad shooty armies out there. There are plenty of prime targets – grav cents, scatter bikes, tau suits to name but a few. Remember Gargantuan Creatures like Wraithknights and Stormsurges are eligible targets too. Yeah, this formation is so freaking awesome.

The Tormented – Take a Daemon Princes and 2-5 units of Possessed, who get some extra perks, like Rending and +1WS and +1I. The problem is that you still pay premium points for Possessed. If only our new codex would drop soon and solve some … Oh wait, if the Possessed aren’t within 12″ of the Prince, they only move 1d6″. You wouldn’t want to make them too good, now would you? Move along.


Black Legion Warband – If you want to max out on dudes in black power armour, look no further. Unfortunately the perks of the formation are a bit underwhelming and the formation requires a ton of units. Not the best combination.

The Black Legion Warband is one Lord, 0-1 Sorcerers, 1-3 Terminator/Possessed, 2-6 CSM/Chosen, 1-3 Raptors/Warp Talons/Bikers and 1-3 Havocs/Helbrutes. Champions that earn a Chaos Boon roll twice on the table, picking one or both results. You can quickly rack up some badass Champs which is cool. But the problems of earning the boons remain.

If a unit from the Warband destroys an enemy unit, the rest of the formation get extra killy for the rest of the phase with reroll 1s to hit and wound. Decent but it doesn’t address the elephant in the room, the morale and leadership issues of the Chaos Space Marines. If the formation had Stubborn or a Fearless bubble or something …

*** *** ***
That’s it. With seven new formations we Chaos Space Marines players have some new options and variety to play with. I think the formations of the Black Legion are pretty cool. I can’t wait to try out the Daemon Engine Pack and the Cyclopia Cabal. Heck, I like to try out an all in formation Black Legion list. That’ll be fun.

What’s your take on the Black Legion?

8 thoughts on “For the Warmaster, part 2 – Formations of the Black Legion

  1. I’m extremely disappointed to not see a Decurion detachment. So, like you said, they’re good, but they are not on par with any real 7th codex. They offer some neat benefits, yet really do nothing to push the CSM power level up a notch, which we all know it desperately needs. I’ve been growing more and more disappointed with CSM lately, and Black Legion did not alleviate any of that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, a Decurion detachment, some pseudo-Chapter Traits and a few Dataslates (why not for the Betrayal at Calth stuff at least) would not had been too much. I try not to focus on the negative and keep a generally positive look on things, but it is getting harder and harder.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep. I dislike being negative. I don’t enjoy complaining, and making comparisons about how some armies are way better off than CSM is. However, when you’re using a 6th edition codex that came out nearly 4 years ago, and the bones GW throws us are lack-luster, it gets damn hard to not complain a bit.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I hear you. Hopefully a new codex will drop soon. Until then, I believe we’ve earned the right to complain a bit. The trick to complaining is that you need to do it with some class and a lot of restraint. Not two virtues the internet is known to promote. 🙂

        I believe that GW have chosen to focus on Chaos for Age of Sigmar in an effort to encourage players to buy into that gaming system too. They must know what dire state CSM are in and how well recieved a revamp will be.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Agreed. Tact is something generally lacking with many complainers.

        I’m just hoping against hope that when we do get an update that it’s the one we’ve been waiting for and deserve.

        Liked by 1 person

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