Warhammer Armies: World Eaters Tactics


Welcome to the World Eaters Faction Focus! Today, we’re going to be breaking down everything you could want to know about playing World Eaters at a local competition. This article is a supplement for the Chaos Space Marine Warhammer Armies article, intended to help you play World Eaters specifically alongside the information contained in Warhammer Armies-Chaos Space Marines. We’re going to go over everything specific to World Eaters, any specific units you might want to consider, a general breakdown of how World Eaters adjusts the general Chaos Space Marine gameplan, and close out with a sample 2000 point list for World Eaters. With this information at hand, you should feel very comfortable using World Eaters at all your local events, both casually and competitively, and even be capable of performing well at a large scale event.


Before we begin, we need to talk a bit about a special restriction that only applies to World Eaters. All units with the WORLD EATERS keyword have to have the Mark of KHORNE, in particular. You’re also explicitly forbidden from taking psykers due to this, since Psykers can’t have the KHORNE keyword. This limitation is going to shape the entirety of the rest of the article, as it heavily alters the WORLD EATERS playstyle.

First, we have the World Eaters (here after WE) trait, “The Butchers Nails”. This trait simply provides you with +1 attack on any turn that you charge. This is an extremely straight forward trait that steers WE towards being an all in aggressive army. It also helps the viability of a couple units and loadouts that normally struggle due to their low attack count.

Next, we have the WE specific stratagem, “Scorn Of Sorcery”. This stratagem allows you to roll a D6 in response to your opponent manifesting a Psychic Power within 24” of any WORLD EATER unit. On a 4+, the power is denied. Scorn Of Sorcery is an extremely powerful and straight forward stratagem. It works off any unit, even something like a Rhino, and it denies on a 4+ regardless of the opponent’s result. This provides WE with a solid layer of psychic defense, which they normally are lacking due to their inability to take Psykers.

Moving right along, we have the WE specific Warlord Trait, “Slaughterborn”, which gives your warlord +1 strength and +1 attack whenever he kills an enemy CHARACTER, MONSTER, or VEHICLE. Slaughterborn is a really fun Warlord Trait that can push your warlord to some truly insane levels of damage. However, it’s a little conditional and requires your Warlord to be in harm’s way to really function. This makes it a rather non-competivie choice, but it’s great for a strictly for fun game.

Last, but definitely not least, we have the WE specific Relic, “The Brass Collar Of  Bhorgaster”. This can be taken on any WE model, and it allows you to attempt to Deny The Witch as if you were a Psyker once per Psychic phase. In addition, if you succeed, you immediately force the enemy Psyker to suffer Perils Of The Warp. The Collar provides a second layer of Psychic defense to WE, allowing them to effectively fight against a Psychic heavy army while not fielding any Psykers of their own.
Overall, WE are a very beginner friendly Legion, as they trade out their ability to use Psykers for greatly increased damage output and solid Psychic defense. This removes some of the nuance to playing CSM to their full potential, while leaving room for a player to add Psykers to their list through another detachment as they become more comfortable with the army in general if they want to push the Legion to its limits. Gameplay wise, they’re obviously a dedicated close combat army, and they’re extremely good at what they do.


WE have a rather modified list of recommended units compared to most of the other Legions. This is due to a combination of factors. For starters, the bonus attack on charges makes a couple of CSM units that struggle to do enough damage become significantly more viable. In addition, their trait also changes the viability of certain load outs. To reflect this, we’ll also be revisiting units that are on the generic recommended list, but talking about how they are adjusted for World Eaters in particular.
HQ’s: Demon Princes, Dark Apostles, Exalted Champions, Kharn The Betrayer.

Demon Princes: Demon Princes are still a very powerful unit for WE, but their loadout and role is completely changed. Normally, Demon Princes provide mobile psychic support and decent close combat potential. WE forcefully trade out their psychic power for +1 attack. Normally, this isn’t a great trade. However, in the context of WE, we’re effectively trading out our Psychic power for +2 attacks, thanks to the trait. This moves them from a support piece to a beat stick, which they’re quite good at.
This role shift also greatly changes the viable equipment options for our Prince. Normally, we recommend double talons over a sword, and optionally the axe if you want your Prince to do some heavy lifting. For a WE Demon Prince, we instead strongly recommend the sword period. The reason for this has to do with how WE tend to function, and the math around the various weapon options. Let’s start with comparing the sword and the double talons.
Baseline, Demon Princes have 4 attacks, and a free talon swing.  If they have a sword, they make 4 attacks causing 3 damage, and 1 attack that causes 2 damage, for a total of 14. If they have two talons, they make a total of 7 attacks causing 2 damage each, for a total of 14. In addition, the rest of the profile is the same, making this a very direct comparison. Since the total damage is the same either way, the talons are always better since their damage is spread over more attacks, making it a simply more flexible option. For a WE Prince, however, we’re looking at 6 sword swings and a talon swing for 20 damage, versus 9 talon swings for 18 damage. This makes the sword a more attractive choice over the talons, as we deal more overall damage, and WE aren’t concerned with hordes due to their Berzerkers.
This leaves us to compare the sword and the Axe. The damage totals are the same, but what’s different is the Strength and AP on the sword versus the axe, and the fact that the Axe has an intrinsic -1 to hit. The Axe’s main use will be fighting high durability targets, like VEHICLES or MONSTERS. However, the sword performs better against most other targets, and practically identically against VEHICLES and MONSTERS with an invulnerable save. As an example, a Toughness 7 model with a 5+ Invulnerable Save will take, on average, 5.833 damage from the DP’s sword swings, and  6.222 from the axe, only a ~7% increase. This makes the Axe a rather narrow weapon in its application. In addition, the Axe’s accuracy penalty also turns off Death To The False Emperor, as you can no longer actually roll a 6+ to hit. Overall, this makes the Sword your best choice, as it provides you with a very flexible offensive package that can threaten most units in the game.

Dark Apostles: Apostles are the CSM version of Chaplains, providing an improved leadership aura along with a 6” bubble that allows friendly units to re-roll all missed hits. The main issue with Dark Apostles however is their lack of weapon options, as they’re stuck with a Power Maul, and their abysmal mobility. Apostle’s only have a 6” move, and have no movement options on their own. This relegates an Apostle to only being efficient in an all in melee style list, which generally CSM is not looking for.
However, in WE, Apostles have a home where they’re incredibly useful models. WE are a very aggressive army with lots of melee threats, which requires lots of Rhinos, effectively solving the movement issue. Apostles still won’t be causing too much damage themselves, but they’ll amplify the damage of the rest of your army by such a huge margin that they’re a great inclusion for WE.
Exalted Champions: These guys are effectively the Yin to the Dark Apostle’s Yang, as they provide a 6” aura allowing friendly units to re-roll all failed wound rolls. They also have major mobility issues, but just like Dark Apostles, being in an army with a lot of Rhinos naturally solves this issue.
However, unlike Dark Apostles, Champions don’t have an invulnerable save, which makes them rather frail. They’re an awesome support piece with excellent weapon options, but they will die to a swift breeze, so positioning this guy is key.

Kharn The Betrayer: Kharn is a very straight forward model. He hits things, and he hits them very hard. He has a whopping 6 attacks, and he has the ability to fight twice giving him a total of 12 attacks. On the charge, these numbers jump up to 7 and 14, respectively, making him an absolute lawnmower. He has a unique Axe called Gorechild, which gives him a Strength 6, Ap -4, damage D3 profile. Although the Strength isn’t that impressive, you can always position Kharn near an Exalted Champion to let him re-roll all wounds, or use Veterans Of The Long War.
However, Kharn is not without his weaknesses. To start, he’s stuck on foot. Luckily, in a WE army you’ll have plenty of Rhino’s to ferry him and your other characters around. Unfortunately, Kharn has a second weakness, and it can’t be easily circumvented. Kharn has an extra ability called ‘The Betrayer”. Essentially, it forces Kharn to make any Hit rolls he make of 1 automatically hit a nearby friendly within 1”, and you can’t re-roll or modify those dice.  You can of course not put units next to Kharn, but strictly rules as written, Kharn is also a threat to himself. Without a unit to throw the attacks off to, Kharn will quickly kill himself.
If you put a unit next to Kharn, they do receive the benefit of getting to re-roll all missed hits. Unfortunately, you can easily replicate this with a Dark Apostle, and not put your units at risk. This means that the only pay-off to Kharn is his overwhelming damage. If you want to run him, consider bringing a large unit of cultists along to Tide of Traitors near the enemy so you can whack Cultists with Kharn’s missed attacks.
Troops: Berzerkers

Berzerkers are already a staple unit in Chaos Space Marines thanks to their awesome damage output. In WE, they become even more ridiculous, as the +1 attack from the WE trait gives them a large damage boost. Courtesy of the CSM FAQ, WE Berzerkers are troops as well, which in turn creates one of the biggest pay offs for playing WE. Having a troop choice that makes 6 Strength 6 AP-1 attacks and 2 Strength 5 Ap- attacks for 17 points is a hell of a steal, even if they have to split those attacks over two activations.
Elites: Chaos Terminators, Mutilators

Chaos Terminators: Terminators are another unit that was already on our generally recommended list, but their recommended equipment and role is quite differently. Normally, Terminators make excellent ranged fire support or okay melee support. In WE, Terminators transform into a melee powerhouse, thanks to their increased attack output and the presence of Dark Apostles, which usually don’t make the cut.
With dual Lightning Claws, our Terminators clock in at 43 points a model, but they make 4 Strength 4 AP-2 attacks that Re-roll to hit (thanks to the likely presence of an Apostle) and Wound. Throw on Veterans Of The Long War and possibly Fury of Khorne, and you can threaten almost anything in the game. Just make sure you bring along an Icon Of Wrath to help ensure you make your charge from reserves.

Mutilators: Normally, Mutilators are one of the most lackluster units in the codex. Defensively, they’re actually pretty durable, as they’re about the same price as a Terminator but they have a third Wound effectively for free. Unfortunately, Mutilators suffer from being offensively rather lackluster, and they also have serious consistency issues for actually getting into close combat.
Baseline, Mutilators have 3 attacks, and they have a highly random profile which averages out to a Strength +2, Ap-2, Damage 2 Weapon. Against a typical Vehicle, which is Toughness 7, 3+ save, a Mutilator will only score 2 hits, one wound, which pushes through 2/3 rds of the time for an average damage of 1.3333, which is very poor on a unit that may not make it to combat and also runs the risk of generating a weaker weapon profile.
In the context of WE however, many of these issues disappear. For starters, WE provides them with an extra attack on the charge, which is effectively a 33% damage boost. In addition,  they will almost certainly be inside the auras of both a Dark Apostle and Exalted champion, allowing them to re-roll all missed hits and wounds. Let’s take another look at the numbers. We now have 4 attacks, scoring 3.556 hits,  2.667 wounds, of which 1.778 push through for a total of 3.556 damage. That’s almost triple the damage you would normally deal.
Mutilators of course have to be taken in units of threes, and they still have consistency issues which mean you shouldn’t take multiple units.  However, they provide very cheap spot removal. You can even easily threaten an Imperial Knight with Veterans Of The Long War and Fury of Khorne, and more regular vehicles will almost certainly die without stratagem use, unless you generate a poor weapon profile. Just make sure you save a CP to spend on their charge roll, as you’ll probably need it since you can’t take an Icon of Wrath.


WE are a very straight forward Legion, revolving around lots of aggression and serious melee damage output. Let’s take a look at an example list for WE, and the tactics at play for them.
WE Battalion
Demon Prince With Wings, Sword, Warp Bolter, Talisman of Burning Blood, Warlord-183
Kharn The Betrayer-160
Troops- 471
8 Berzerkers, 7 with Chainsword/Chainaxe, Champ has Chainsword/Power Fist, Icon of Wrath- 157
8 Berzerkers, 7 with Chainsword/Chainaxe, Champ has Chainsword/Power Fist, Icon of Wrath- 157
8 Berzerkers, 7 with Chainsword/Chainaxe, Champ has Chainsword/Power Fist, Icon of Wrath- 157
3 Mutilators 126
Fast Attack-124
4 Chaos Bikes with Chainswords, Champion has Combi Plasma, one Bike has a Combi Flamer-124
WE Battallion
Dark Apostle-76
Exalted Champion, Chainsword, Power Sword 74
30 Cultists with Close Combat Weapons-120
10 Cultists- 40
10 Cultists- 40
Heldrake with Baleflamer-185
Heldrake with Baleflamer-185
Dedicated Transports-216
Rhino with Combi Bolter 72
Rhino with Combi Bolter 72
Rhinot with Combi Bolter 72
Our list clocks right in at 2000 even. Your objective is to get your Berzerkers into melee with your opponent. If you do that, you almost certainly win. To help that along, we have 3 Rhinos to ferry our Berzerkers and characters across the table. Our Demon Prince flies behind, while the Bikes and the Heldrakes clear screens. After the Heldrakes assist the Bikes with clearing screens using their Baleflamers, they charge into the enemy and tie up parts of the enemy to make your Turn 2 charges more likely.
On turn 2, your Mutilators come in, and everyone disembarks from their Rhinos and crashes into the enemy, which should result in a quick and very one sided bloodbath. Your Berzerkers alone put out almost 200 attacks per round of close combat (before casualties), and once they are engaged they will probably be engaged in melee until the game is over or they’re all dead. For heavy lifting, you of course have the Powerfists on your Berzerker champions, but you also have some Mutilators, Kharn, and your warlord of course.
Despite being a rather straight forward approach, there are still some tricks to the list. For starters, you’ll often have the +1 to go first, which means you can really set the pace. The reason for this is that one unit of Berzerkers and one character should each go in a Rhino when you deploy a Rhino. This effectively results in reducing your deployment count by 6, from 17 to 11. Of course you can lose the roll off, and there are lists that have less than 11 deployments, but most of the time you should find yourself with the +1.

In addition, you have a couple of options with your unit of 30 melee cultists. Of course, you can just run them across the board to control all the midfield objectives while the rest of your list engages the enemy, and sometimes that will be the right choice. However, you can also use Tide of Traitors on them Turn 1 to try to further pin and lockdown your opponent, or on a future turn to redeploy them and recover any losses they suffer. You should also heavily consider their synergy with Kharn, as they provide him an outlet to minimize the damage he inflicts because of The Betrayer.
Finally, don’t discount the value of Rhinos or the Power Sword on the Exalted Champion. Because the Champion is WE, he has 5 attacks on the charge. If your opponent has a troublesome character, you can give your Exalted Champion the Murder Sword for 1 CP, and send him character hunting. The improvement to 5 attacks actually greatly increases the number of characters he can destroy in one activation, since many characters have exactly 5 wounds. As far as Rhinos are concerned, their primary role is obviously to roll up the table, use their Smoke Launchers, and get the Berzerkers and  Characters to the enemy as fast as possible.
However, they have a lot of utility once they have completed that job. Rhinos can still score objectives, making them excellent objective runners. They can also be used to block off movement options for your opponent, or charging into the enemy ahead of your Berzerkers to prevent heavy Overwatch.
This wraps up our guide for WE. As your skill with close combat in general improves, so will your success with WE, as their gameplan rewards talented use of Charges, Pile Ins, and Consolidations. Their biggest strength lies in their overwhelming raw damage potential, and as long as you continue to levy that against your opponent, you will find success with WE.

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