New Word Bearers Rules and Tactics


Today we have a special tactics article all about the new stratagems, warlord traits, and relics for Word Bearers (WB) in the new Faith and Fury supplement. We have a lot of good stuff in this book. Granted, it’s no big secret that WB have had a rough time and some pretty poor rules in the past, but the new supplement is going to give us a whole lot of new tools to really bring the pain and to make them way, way more competitive. So let’s get right into it and get down to the crunch and the nitty gritty of these awesome new rules.


  • Dark Pact 1CP– At the end of your movement phase when a word bears character model from your army attempts to summon a unit of demons you can re-roll the dice and the model will not suffer any mortal wounds for rolling doubles or triples. This can make summoning way more reliable, and allow you to have a good chance to summon some of the larger greater daemons such as a Great Unclean one, or even a big squad of blood crushers.
  • Malevolent Covenant 1CP– In your psychic phase after failing a psychic test you can use this to instead automatically manifested the power at the minimum required warp charge value. This also cancels out any perils of the warp and it cannot be stopped by a denied the which test. after resolving the psychic power the psyker suffers one mortal wound. Now this is an awesome stratagem, you will want to use this on those really important powers like warptime and death hex that can win or lose you the game.
  • Apostle of the Dark Counsel 1CP– Use this stratagem before the battle. Select one WB dark apostle. It knows one additional prayer and can chant one additional prayer at the start of the battle round, but you can only use this stratagem once. This is another solid choice for 1 CP. If you run a dark apostle you should always want to take this power.
  • Cursed Despoilers 2CP – Use this stratagem after deployment, but before the first battle round, if a word bearer unit from your army is on the battlefield, select one terrain feature other than a fortification, and then that terrain feature no longer gives them cover. This one’s a little steep for two CP, but can be really useful if you use it on a bunch of Scouts or, eliminators or eldar rangers in cover.
  • Revered Hosts 1CP- Use this stratagem in the fight phase when a WB possessed or greater possessed is chosen to fight. Until the end of the phase add one to the damage characteristic of melee weapons the unit is armed with. Use this when fighting multi wound models like Intercessors, Terminators, and Bikes.
  • Hexagrammatic Ward 1CP– Use this stratagem in any phase after making a saving, throw for a WB character. The roll’s result becomes a six. You can only use this stratagem once per character. Use this one to save an important character from their imminent demise.
  • Vengeance for Monarchia 1CP. When a WB unit is chosen to fight with until the end of the phase when resolving an attack against an Ultra Marines unit, you can re-roll the hit and wound role. This one is very matchup dependent as it’s only ever gonna matter if you’re playing against Ultra Marines. Fortunately, it is a very popular army and can make the difference between winning and losing a combat.

Warlord Traits.

  • The Voice of Lorgar- Add three inches to the range of your warlords aura abilities. Most of the time this one is a bit lackluster. However, if you want to use this particular warlord trait to its utmost potential, put it on a dark apostle with illusory supplication. This would boost it’s normal six inch bubble that would give any models within six a 5++ invulnerable save. Instead, it boosts that aura ability to nine inches. This works best with a bunch of cultists, or even havoc marines who otherwise don’t get any invulnerable save.
  • Exalted Possession– The warlord gains the possessed and demon keywords. Then, add one to the models strength, attack, and move characteristic. This is another very solid pick, especially if you’re bringing other demons along in another detachment or summoning. This means your warlord can be targeted by any spells or auras from chaos daemon units. Take a jump pack chaos lord with a thunderhammer and have a poxbringer cast virulent blessing on him. then use veterans of the long war on him to give him +2 to wound rolls with 5’s and 6’s dealing 6 damage. You can also spend 1 CP to add 1 to hhis damage, which after doubling would be a whopping 8 damage on 5s and 6s!!!!
  • Demonic Whispers– If your army is battle forged, roll one D3 before the battle begins, and you gained a number of additional command points equal to the result. If the warlord is on the battlefield, you can re-roll a single hit, wound damage, or saving throw once per battle. This is another great one. Being able to get extra command points at the start of the game is useful in any game. Particularly, if you want to run specialist detachments as this makes them essentially free.
  • Master of the Union- add one to the attack characteristics of models in friendly WB demon units while their unit is within six inches. If you run units like warp talons, possessed or even maulerfiends this warlord trait is fantastic.
  • Diabolist- When this warlord would lose a wound roll one D6 (and add three to the result if that wound is a mortal wound) on a 6+ that wound is not lost. This one is a bit lackluster compared to the rest on this list. It can be a nice way of adding a bit of durability to your warlord if you’re worried about him being shot off the table, but honestly, there’s some better choices in this list (like the next one).
  • Sacrilegious Regeneration- Add one to this warlord’s wound characteristic. Plus, at the start of your turn you regain D3 lost wounds. This is good on anything but is especially nice on a demon prince.


  • Crown of the Blasphemer– Improve your in vulnerable save of a model with this Relic by one (maximum is a 3++). Also, subtract one from the leadership characteristic of enemy units within 6″ of this model. The leadership debuff isn’t all that bad, but isn’t all that amazing. The reason you take this Relic is to increase your invulnerable save. This is something you want to put on a chaos lord with a thunder hammer and a jump pack giving him a three up in vulnerable save as if he had a storm shield. Another good choice would be a daemon prince or a lord discordant
  • Baleful Icon- When a charge roll is made against any friendly WB unit within 6″ of the model with this Relic, your opponent must subtract two from the result. Normally this isn’t a great pick as most Chaos Space Marines want to be very aggressive. However, if you want to run an army that has lot of shooting units, such as havocs, obliterators or tanks can be the difference between your units being locked in combat or having another round of shooting.
  • Book of the Revieler– ( Cant be used on anyone with the demon keyword) A model with this Relic can roll twice on the chaos boon chart. re-rolling spawndom, daemonhood and duplicate results. By taking this Relic, it gives you an automatic two rolls on the chaos boon table without any of the risks of turning your expensive chaos lord or sorcerer into a spawn. However, this one is a little too random but most all the results you can get are good.
  • The Malefic Tome– (Psyker only) a model with this Relic knows one additional psyche power from their chosen discipline. Plus, when a model with this Relic casts a psychic power you can add one to the total. The real other reason to take this is to make your any of your psychic powers work more reliable. If you’re running something that really relies on a psychic power like warp time, then this is a Relic to consider taking .
  • Ashen Axe- (model with a chain axe only). This Relic replaces the chain axe and is Str +1 Ap-2, and damage D3. The really amazing part is that enemy units within one inch of a model with this Relic cannot fall back unless they have the vehicle or titanic keyword or have minimum move characteristic (planes). Give this to any exalted champion or chaos lord, and use him to keep units locked in combat. This is amazing against Tau, Imperial Guard, and especially Ultra Marines.
  • Epistile of Lorgar- (priest model only) When a model with this Relic chants a prayer, you can re-roll the dice to determine if it’s heard and add one to the leadership characteristic of WB units within 6″. This is not a bad choice for a dark apostle. Particularly if you want to run either large blobs of chaos space marines or cultists.

Example List

Ok so lets take a look at an example 1,000 pt list, that brings together some of the synergies from the new rules.

++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Chaos – Chaos Space Marines) [54 PL, 930pts, 8CP] ++

+ No Force Org Slot [8CP] +

Battle-forged CP [3CP]

Detachment CP [5CP]

Legion: Word Bearers

+ HQ [10 PL, 198pts] +

Dark Apostle [5 PL, 100pts]: Mark of Khorn, Cursed Crozius,

Master of Possession [5 PL, 98pts]: Cursed Earth, Force stave [8pts], Incursion, Mark of Nurgle, Warlord-

+ Troops [12 PL, 155pts] +

Chaos Cultists [6 PL, 55pts]: No Chaos Mark
. 10x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun [50pts]
. Cultist Champion [5pts]: Autogun

Chaos Cultists [3 PL, 50pts]: No Chaos Mark
. 9x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun [45pts]
. Cultist Champion [5pts]: Autogun

Chaos Cultists [3 PL, 50pts]: No Chaos Mark
. 9x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun [45pts]
. Cultist Champion [5pts]: Autogun

+ Elites [10 PL, 180pts] +

Possessed [10 PL, 180pts]: Mark of Nurgle, 9x Possessed [180pts]

+ Heavy Support [18 PL, 325pts] +

Defiler [9 PL, 174pts]: Combi-bolter [2pts], Defiler scourge [12pts], No Chaos Mark, Twin lascannon [40pts]

Defiler [9 PL, 151pts]: Combi-bolter [2pts], Defiler scourge [12pts], No Chaos Mark, Twin heavy bolter [17pts]

+ Dedicated Transport [4 PL, 72pts] +

Chaos Rhino [4 PL, 72pts]: Combi-bolter [2pts], No Chaos Mark

++ Summoned Units++

+ No Force Org Slot +

Chaos Allegiance: Chaos Undivided

+ HQ [4 PL, 70pts] +

Poxbringer [4 PL, 70pts]: Virulent Blessing

++ Total: [58 PL, 8CP, 1,000pts] ++

All righty, Lets break down this list. First off your going to want to spend 1CP to upgrade your dark apostle so he can know and try to cast a second prayer. Go for illusionary supplication to give any nearby cultists a 5++ invulnerable save. The second prayer to take is omen of potency to give the dark apostle a sweet +3 attacks and a -4 Ap to his melee weapon. Also, the mark of Khorn gives him access to the wrathful entreaty prayer that can boost his total strength to 8 When armed with the cursed crozius, while doing a flat 3 damage and 6 attacks. Making him a surprise melee monster that can kill other heroes, Bullgryns, and even tanks if you want.

Secondly, you will want to have your master of possession (MOP) to know incursion, and cursed earth. Cursed earth will give the possessed a nice 4+ invulnerable save while incursion will let you summon the poxbringer without having to sacrifice an entire turn to do so. The warlord trait you are going to want on your MOP will be master of the union, which will give all the nearby possessed an extra attack.

During deployment, your going to want to stick the Dark apostle with all the cultists. Be sure they are nice and close to the dark apostle so they benefit as much as possible from illusory supplication. This gives you 31 cultists with a 5++ invulnerable save that can move up the board and hold important objectives, with the dark apostle buffing them and whacking anything that gets too close.

The plan with the possessed is to put them in the rhino alongside the master of possession. This will help them close the distance to your opponent while keeping them all protected from enemy fire. When you are close enough to the enemy you will want the possessed and the MOP to all get out of the rhino. Next, have the MOP cast incursion to summon our poxbringer, and make sure you bring him in within 18″ of the possessed unit. The next step is to cast virulent blessing on the possessed unit, which gives them +1 to wound, with 6’s doing double damage. then have your MOP cast cursed earth to give the possessed a nice 4++ invuln. Next, charge your possessed into combat and use the stratagem revered host for 1Cp, which will add 1 to the damage characteristic of the units weapons! If you really want something dead, spend 1Cp for veterans of the long war. Now your possessed will have an average of 36 attacks at strength 5 Ap-2 and damage 2. With +2 to wound rolls and 5’s and 6’s doing 4 damage each! allowing a 9 man unit to rip apart custodes, tanks, or even an imperial knight.

The last component of the list is the most straight-forward, and yes its the two defilers. Their main job will be to hang back and shoot while holding rear objectives. These guys are seriously tough, and giving them melee weapons makes them very flexible. In a matchup against something like Tau or Necrons it may be worth moving one of them up the board to do some damage in melee.

This list is designed to be tough, while still being able to dish out crazy damage as you need it. All while remaining very flexible, as it has a way to deal with any threat your opponent brings to the table.

In Conclusion

The sons of Lorgar have gotten a lot better. In fact my only issue is that I find myself wanting to take multiple warlords but don’t have a stratagem to pass around Warlord traits like the loyalists do. Word Bearers, more than any other legion I have read up on, is full of crazy combo potential with chaos daemons, and may be one of the most improved legions.

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