Traitor’s Hate Review: part 4 – Formations

Ok here we are, at the heart of Darkness; the formations of Traitor’s Hate. I thought I had to get the run down before I get my hands on the new Trb aitor Legions book. There quite a lot of formations in Traitor’s Hate and I like most of them. They are characterful and offer a lot of opportunity for specialised and themed lists. As you probably already know, they are in the new book too. 

The first one off the gates is the big Core-Auxiliary-Command Detachment (CAC), you know the Decurion style combined detachment of formations and single units. I don’t know if the community agreed upon what to call this type of Detachment yet so I’ll go with CAC. The CAC is unique to this book and can be used by any Chaos Space Marines army. 

The Black Crusade Detachment is the CAC of the book and it requires 1+ Core, 1+ Auxiliary and 0-5 Command. A lot of flexibility straight away especially with three Core selections and 10 Auxiliary ones. Neither the Core nor the Auxiliary choices will ruin you in points. If you want to keep it cheap you can. 

The command benefits of the Black Crusade Detachment are the obligatory reroll Warlord Traits if you roll on the Chaos Space Marine table (which is lacking), all units that can take Veterans of the Long War can do so for free and all units gain Hatred (Armies of the Imperium). At the start of each turn, pick a Champion of Chaos and that model get a free Chaos Boon roll and if the model has the Favoured Scions special rules you get two free rolls and you can either one or both results. 

The Black Crusade Detachment is pretty solid and pretty good. It isn’t a meta-breaker or overpowered but still good. Free Veterans of the Long War is sweet as it both saves you points and helps you with morale. But the free Chaos Boons, especially in combination with Favoured Scions, is so freaking cool. Things can escalate pretty quickly leading to very powerful characters. This is what Chaos is all about. 

[Command] Lords of the Black Crusade

There is but one Command choice available and that is the Lords of the Black Crusade. Just take an additional Chaos Lord, Sorcerer or Daemon Prince and call it a day. There are additional benefits or restrictions. I really missed a Dark Apostle here but it is what it is. Let’s move along to Core formations. 

[Core] Chaos Warband

1 Chaos Lord, 0-1 Sorcerer 

1-3 Terminators, Chosen and/or Possessed

2-6 Chaos Space Marines

1-3 Bikers, Raptors and/or Warp Talons

1-3 Havocs and/or Helbrutes 

This is the main Core formation in the book and will probably make up the lion share of your army. If you want to minmax go for the Lost and the Damned formation instead. Every unit in the formation gain the Objective Secure special rule which is very good. It is the rule that win you games. You also gain the Favoured Scions rule with this formation. Expect buffed up super soldier before the end of the game if you run this as your Core in the Black Crusade Detachment. 

I really like this formation. You have a lot of flexibility and variety. I also like the mix of units. Sure some of the units are a tad overpriced and/or lacking rules wise but the mix leads to fun and classic armies much like Demi-Battle Company builds of the loyalists. The Chaos Warband is a solid foundation for any Heretic Astartes army, at least in my book. 

[Core] Maelstrom of Gore

Khârn or a Khorne Lord (you get the mark of Khorne for free)

4-8 units of Khorne Berzerker

The ultimate defensive formation! At least if you think that offensive is the best defence. This formation is all about cracking heads, claiming skulls and letting the blood rain. Literally. Your units are Blood-crazed gaining Fleet and adding 3″ to their charge range. Awesome, this helps the Berzerkers a lot. 

You can call upon Khorne and once per game at the start of your movement the Blood God drowns the battlefield in a Red Rain. All units from the formation locked in combat can Pile In and fight. The enemy can’t fight back. You can continue to fight in the Assualt phase, you can even charge another unit should destroy the one you’re fighting. 

Awesome, or is it? Well, since your units need to be locked in combat a problem could present itself. Your Berzerkers need to survive (without destroyed the enemy unit) for at least one, probably two assault phases before you can call down the rain. But if you can pull it off you can expect some blood especially if Khârn or your Lord is effected by the Red Rain. I think the best way is to bring at least one bigger unit of Berzerkers and lock it in a massive multi-combat. 

[Core] The Lost and the Damned

1 Dark Apostle

4-8 units of Cultists

This the Tyranids Endless Swarm formation with a Chaos twist. Just like the Gaunts of the swarm the cultist are recycled on a 4+ after being destroyed. And if an unit is brought back this way the unit gain the outflank rule. This is good but you can’t really bank on rolling a 4+ so it is kind of random. 

In addition the Dark Apostle gain a 6″ aura, all units of Cultists from the formation in range gain Zealot. So he’s basically the Synapse Creature. I can see myself running this formation. It is cheap and brings lots of bodies to the table. 

[Auxiliary] Helforged Warpack

1 Warpsmith 

3-5 Helbrute, Forgefiend, Maulerfiend, Defiler in any combination

If you like crazy killer bots, like I do, this formation caters your needs. If a model got the Daemonforge special rule they can use it over and over again rather than just once per game. At least that’s how I interprets the rule. I know some disagree and argue that you can only use a single extra time. It all comes down to how you read “for a second and/or subsequent time.”

Getting to use Daemonforge more than once is great (I tend to forget about the rule but that’s a different matter) but using it also mean you risk losing a Hull Point in the process. The odds of hurting yourself increases the more you put the rule to use. 

One of walkers in the unit is the Warpack Alpha. That model become a Character and gain a 4++, if it destroyed the remaining walkers gain Rage. Bringing a Lascannon Helbrute as the Alpha and a couple of Maulerfiends is quite ok but this formation struggle against the Mayhem Pack and the Daemon Engine Pack. It could have been better.  

[Auxiliary] Heldrake Terror Pack

2-4 Heldrakes 

Flying Chaos dragon spam coming right up. This formation all about giving easy access to the Heldrake. The benefits aren’t that great, enemy units within 12″ of two Heldrakes get -1 Leadership (-2 near three and -3 near all four). Reducing Leadership by itself isn’t that useful but if you combine it with psychic powers is suddenly become awesome. 

If a Heldrake Vector Strike an enemy unit Falling Back, Pinned or Gone to Ground you do D6 s7, ap2 hits instead of just one. Sure it’s circumstantial but it’s not a bad buff. If you normally run multiple Heldrakes you have no reason not to take this formation. 

[Auxiliary] Cult of Destruction 

1-3 Warpsmiths 

3-5 units of Mutilators and /or Obliterators in any combination 

There are a few design elements that’s used time and time again in this book – the forced inclusion of the Warpsmith (or other HQ unit) in the formation and the option for you to pick and choose what other units to include. This is a really good formation but you need to think about how to use it. 

At the start of your movement phase your Warpsmiths can perform Emphyrionic Guiding Rituals, one Warpsmith can guide a single unit of Mutilators or Obliterators within 8″. The guided unit can then either shoot or attack again in the subsequent phase. You need to change weapon system between the first and second attack, following the restrictions of their mutating weapons. 

This can be absolutely devastating if you can get into range for the right weapon combo. Here comes the inherent problem of the formation – Obliterators need to get close to maximise their potential. Sure they can Deep Strike but the Warpsmith cannot. This means you are more or less forced to walk up the pitch. 

I would go for one Warpsmith, two units of Obliterators (2-3 models per unit) and a single Mutilator. Place the Warpsmith in a unit from your Core and the Obliterators within 8″ of him. Either have your Mutilator as a counter-charge unit or as a deep striking disruption unit. This set up should give you plenty of flexibility. 

[Auxiliary] Fist of the Gods

1 Warpsmith 

3-5 units of Predators, Vindicators and/or Land Raiders in any combination

This is the only way to bring the new squadrons of Predators and Vindicators. But remember a squadron is a single unit so you’ll need to bring a boatload of tanks … on to the formation. All vehicles gain a 6++ within 12″ of the Warpsmith. The Warpsmith gain +1 when attempting to repair vehicles from this formation. 

I don’t know. I’m not really into tanks so I can’t see myself bring this formation. It will eat up a lot of points and the benefits are a bit in the mediocre side of things. 

[Auxiliary] Raptor Talon

1 Chaos Lord (you get a free jump pack)

3-5 unit of Raptors and/or Warp Talons

This is another formation that’s right up my alley. I really like this one. Sure Raptors are a bit overpriced and Warp Talons are rather lacking rules wise but man, I like it none the less. Units from this formation can charge when coming in from reserves. Boom! Disordered charge but still you can get stuck in there straight away. I love it!

And if a unit get charged by two or more units from this formation that unit get -2 Leadership until the end of the turn. Solid too. 

The army of infinite despair and endless whine aka a far too large part of the 40k online community have of course chosen to focus on the negative like it’s dangerous to Deep Strike or that the damage output of Raptors is not that high. Sure all true. But no guts no glory. And the Raptors are basically just Melta Gun carrying body bags for your beat stick Lord. 

[Auxiliary] Terminator Annihilation Force 

1 Chaos Lord or 1 Sorcerer in free terminator armour

3-5 units of Chaos Terminators

Pick one enemy unit at the start of the game, before deployment, that unit is Targetet for Annihilation. All units in the formation gain Hatred (that unit) and, here’s the great part, you can make a shooting attack immediately after Deep Striking. You can target the same or another unit in the following shooting phase. 

Once the target unit is destroyed, just pick another unit for annihilation. And carry on until the game ends or the enemy is destroyed. This formation is great as it gives you an opportunity to conserve you precious one shot fire power without losing any damage output. 

Say you want to destroy a specific enemy unit just call it before the game starts and load up on combi-melta or combi-plasma. Once you drop in you can unleash say half of combi-weapons, if you destroy your target great if not you unleash the rest in the shooting phase. Without this ability you’ll probably fire all the guns just to be sure to get the kill. The formation will cost you a lot of points but you get to run terminators and feel good about it. 

[Auxiliary] Favoured of Chaos

1 Daemon Prince

3-5 units of Possessed 

Now look what they just gone and did – they actually turned your Possessed into a really scary unit. Units of Possessed within 12″ of the Baleful Nexus of Warp Energies (the Daemon Prince) get all three of their mutations. 

Say what?! Yes, you get all three, no need to roll. These super-Possessed hit like a freaking sledgehammer. Ap3, +1 attack and +1 iniative and reroll to wound on top of their normal s5 attacks. Nothing will survive that. Ok, stuff in 2+ might live but man, Possessed just got scary. 

Make sure to screen them and keep the Prince in the air. His job is to buff the guys on the ground. Possessed are slow and this formation doesn’t help you there so you need to bring enough bodies to make it across. Pricy but really cool. 

[Auxiliary] Trinity of Blood

3 Khorne Lord of Skulls

You bring three Lord of Skulls and lots of great things happen. Seriously, who brings three Lord of Skulls? You gain Rampage, twin-linked weapons and enemy units locked in combat suffer a ton of wounds. But seriously, who brings three of those?

[Auxiliary] Veterans of the Legion

1-4 units of Khorne Berzerkers, Thousand Sons, Noise Marines and/or Plague Marines in any combination 

Ok, this is not a formation but for the sake of completeness I thought I mention it. As a Auxiliary choice you can bring some marked veterans. Excellent if you just want to top off your CAC with something kind of cheap. 

You just bring the units, no extra benefits or restrictions. 

[Auxiliary] Spawn

1-3 units of Spawn

Again not a formation. Just bring Spawn. Bring loads, bring few. The best Auxiliary choice in the game. Why? Because you fill you mandatory Auxiliary slot for only 30 points. You can’t beat that. This allows you to max out your Core if you want or overload on Command. Brilliant really. 


And that’s that. Hope you liked it! 


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