Word Bearer Tactics: Beginner’s Guide


Today’s article is all about the Word Bearer Tactics or the heretics of heretics. No Legion puts the word ‘’Heretic’’ in ‘’Heretic Astartes’’ like the Word Bearers. In this article, you are going to learn everything you need to know about the legion that is most responsible for the Horus Heresy. Let’s delve into the real villains in all this grim darkness of the far future.

Who are the Word Bearers

word bearer tactics

The Word Bearers are the most religious, the most fanatical, the most zealous of all the Space Marines. In any era you look at, no chapter or legion is as much tied to religious belief than them. The Word Bearer tactics is a perfect blend of martial prowess and religious internal fire. Most importantly, their genefather, Lorgar, believed the Emperor to be a god. So much so that he and his sons conquered planets during the Great Crusade and transformed whole worlds into worlds of worship to the God-Emperor.

I can hear you now asking me ‘’How can they be traitors then’’? Simple. The Emperor punished Lorgar for his worship and used Guilliman to deliver the humiliation personally in front of Ultramarines and Word Bearers alike. At that moment, something broke in Lorgar.

He went into a pilgrimage and sent his sons into pilgrimage also. The goal? Prove the Emperor wrong. Proving that gods were real. That legendary moment also created one of the most iconic rivalries in the 40K universe: Ultramarines vs Word Bearers.

The travel into the Warp changed them. Some of them came back from their trip into the Warp with warped bodies. Sharing body and soul with daemonic creatures. Since that time, the Word bearers found the purpose they were searching for for so long. They were the messengers and flag bearers of the eightfold path. The harbingers of Chaos. No discrimination between the gods. The Word Bearers worship Chaos in it’s purest form.

These days, Word Bearers accompanied Abaddon in his last crusade and on Vigilus in the goal to sacrifice millions of lives and activate Noctilith Crowns all the world and bring the planet into the Eye of Terror itself.

Word Bearers Tactics Play Style

Word Bearers play like most Chaos Space Marine legion except for 2 things: Cultists and Possessed. Also summoning… So, 3 things.

The Word bearers are famous for bringing around a host of mortal followers willing to throw their life on the line in the service of their gods. To be fair, none of them except on rare occasions will even come close to catching the attention of a Chaos God. But it doesn’t matter. They serve as decoys, meat shields, sacrificial lambs and in your games, roadblocks, tarpits and objective keepers. 

The possessed are also a big trademark of the Word Bearers. Chaos Space Marines serving as hosts to daemonic creatures is one of the closest things you can be while still preserving a bit of yourself. These warriors are tougher, stronger and meaner than any other Heretic Astartes in your army and by a long shot. Use them well and the Eye of Chaos is going to reward you with a victory as you’ve never had before. 

Summoning is also a big theme with the Word Bearers. Master summoners, since they are the heralds of the Chaos Gods, never go to war without daemonic allies. Space Marine themselves are super warriors so most enemies will see them as an unfair fight.

Word Bearers don’t care about that. Why not bring the balance even more in your favor? They go to war with priests readying prayers in their blasphemous tomes to summon allies from the Warp itself. When you fight Word Bearers, you fight the Storm of Chaos itself. 

Word Bearer Beginner Army List

Army List:

++ Patrol Detachment (Chaos – Chaos Space Marines) [59 PL, 972pts] ++

+ Configuration +

Legion: Word Bearers

+ No Force Org Slot +

Dark Disciples [1 PL, 10pts]: No Chaos Mark

. 2x Dark Disciple: 2x Close combat weapon

+ HQ +

Dark Apostle [5 PL, 72pts]: Accursed crozius, Bolt pistol, Dark Zealotry, Frag & Krak grenades, No Chaos Mark

Master of Possession [5 PL, 88pts]: Bolt pistol, Force stave, Frag & Krak grenades, No Chaos Mark, Smite

+ Troops +

Chaos Space Marines [8 PL, 151pts]: No Chaos Mark

. Aspiring Champion: Bolt pistol, Boltgun, Frag & Krak grenades, Plasma pistol, Power axe

. 7x Marine w/ Boltgun: 7x Bolt pistol, 7x Boltgun, 7x Frag & Krak grenades

. Marine w/ Heavy or Special Weapon: Bolt pistol, Plasma gun

. Marine w/ Heavy or Special Weapon: Bolt pistol, Autocannon

Chaos Space Marines [8 PL, 151pts]: No Chaos Mark

. Aspiring Champion: Bolt pistol, Boltgun, Frag & Krak grenades, Plasma pistol, Power axe

. 7x Marine w/ Boltgun: 7x Bolt pistol, 7x Boltgun, 7x Frag & Krak grenades

. Marine w/ Heavy or Special Weapon: Bolt pistol, Autocannon

. Marine w/ Heavy or Special Weapon: Bolt pistol, Plasma gun

+ Elites +

Greater Possessed [8 PL, 120pts]

. 1. Greater Possessed: Daemonic mutations, No Chaos Mark

. 2. Greater Possessed: Daemonic mutations, No Chaos Mark

Possessed [10 PL, 170pts]: No Chaos Mark

. 10x Possessed: 10x Horrifying Mutations

+ Heavy Support +

Venomcrawler [7 PL, 115pts]: Eviscerating claws, 2x Excruciator cannon, No Chaos Mark, Soulflayer tendrils

Venomcrawler [7 PL, 115pts]: Eviscerating claws, 2x Excruciator cannon, No Chaos Mark, Soulflayer tendrils

++ Total: [59 PL, 992pts] ++

Word Bearer Strategies

word bearer tactics

First and foremost, we tried to keep it as low budget as possible and to not repeat more than 2 times the same unit. The philosophy we used to build this list is the following:

-Low budget

-Cool theme

-Diversity of models to paint and not get bored

-Flexibility for future purchases and adaptation to grow your army later

How to get started with a Word Bearer Army

To give you an idea, this list needs you to buy the Start Collecting Chaos Space Marines 2 times (95$US each), Dark Apostle (35$), Possessed 2 times (35$ each).

You remember the 3 themes we talked about earlier? Cultists, Possessed and Daemons? Here you have a lot of the second to give you a strong base to build from while not going too far. Remember that the next steps would be to build from here and adapt while adding some the 2 other aspects.

Cultists are strong and thematic and the same goes for Daemons. The Cultists were left aside to make the painting aspect easier since hordes of models can be a daunting task when you start. Plus you have the Obliterators that were left out but that you have 4 of them in your kit so move around with them in and out your army as you see fit or add them next in your army list.

Move them forward!

To focus on this list, your possessed are strong and tough and particularly more while not being too far from the Greater Possessed. The thing is, they must make it into melee. So, move them forward and make use of the good movement stats and the terrain around you. Your master of possession can also improve their invulnerable-save if you expect heavy-fire.

The rest of your list is pretty flexible. Your Chaos Space Marines are equipped with good anti-armour and good anti-light infantry. Your Dark Apostle should be used to bring your leadership up so that morale tests wouldn’t hurt you too much. His ability to give his leadership in an aura if you take the Warlord Trait that increases it by 3’’. I would take him as the Warlord of this list. Your master of possession should be used as support to your troops with his psychic abilities.

To accompany your Master of Possession, the Venom Crawlers are good support in terms of fire and melee. Also, their ability to regenerate wounds is useful and they boost your Master of Possession summoning abilities. As you can see, summoning is a thing especially for us the heralds of the Word of Lorgar. Keeping them back is interesting but you can also be aggressive and clear out objectives while they tank some damage off your characters. 

Word Bearer Tactics Conclusion

Never forget that you are still a legion with space marine stats. Be flexible and go between holding position and being forward and aggressive. The options are almost endless with us since we use daemons and mortals alike. I would have to add, the painting aspect of this army is simple, effective and different from units to units.

The flesh, Daemonic and armor parts make for easy use with Contrast paints and for more complicated steps. If you are looking to make an army that understands the ways of the Warp and can say that they are in communion with daemonic allies this army is for you! Remember this: the cult of the emperor that exists today was founded on the word of a heretic legion… Who knows the Imperium better, than the ones who built the foundation for it? Plus, your Ultramarine friend is gonna hate you for good reasons now. The narrative writes itself, right?

Want to talk to the Nights at the Game Table team and discuss this article and everything Warhammer with them? Join Game Talk For Gamers!

Don’t know what Warhammer 40k is? Want to learn how to play it? Check out the video that we made here just for you: https://youtu.be/mxLZ2GqN4R0

If you already know how to play the game and you’d like a free guide that teaches you how to paint professional-looking miniatures, advanced tournament tips from a 40k World Champion, how to find more time to play, and simple methods to get cheap miniatures go here: http://bit.ly/40k-free-guide-fb

If you’d like a breakdown of the advanced tactics and strategies for all 40k armies, painting tutorials from a Golden Demon winner, secret battle reports and tons more consider becoming a Nights at the Game Table Member today. Click on this link to learn more: http://bit.ly/nights-40k-members-fb

As always thanks for reading!

Special thanks to Games Workshop for the use of their images and for making the best game ever!

More to Explore

alpine gt 40k

Alpine GT 40k Winning Lists

These are your Alpine GT Winning Lists results from afar! This past weekend saw the Alpine GT, a 9 round, 57 participant

Latest Articles