The Chaos faction includes cards from three ‘sub-groups’:
- Chaos Space Marine cards tend to be tough and and hard hitting, but with a points cost which reflects their power. They lean towards melee and psychic damage.
- Chaos Daemon cards are usually pretty cheap, but beyond that it’s almost impossible to generalise about them because they vary so much.
- Finally, the Renegades and Heretics from Forge World are cheap, disposable ‘cannon fodder’, and should be sacrificed for victory (hey, if you’re going to play Chaos, you’ve got to get into the mindset!).
While it’s possible to create decks with every single card dedicated to Nurgle*, right now the most effective Chaos decks tend to include cards from several gods.
- As expected, Nurgle cards tend to have a lot of Wounds, and traits which help them avoid damage. Use them to clog up ‘lanes’ on the battlefield, leaving more dangerous cards free to target high-value enemies.
- Tzeentch cards add psychic power to your decks, which can often give you ‘free’ attacks (free attacks are when no enemy cards have a specific attack type – such as psychic in this example – letting you use it each round without retaliation).
- Khorne cards can put out huge amounts of damage, so support them with other cards to keep them alive and attacking as long as possible.
- Finally, Slaanesh cards add speed to your deck, helping to ensure you get the first attack choice (meaning – ironically – they pair well with Khornate cards, letting you choose which cards attack where). They can also deal a lot of damage, but tend to have low Wounds.
Because of their special rules, more than any other faction, Chaos decks revolve around their Warlord.
I’ll cover Warlord special rules in more detail in later posts, but effectively each faction’s Warlords all have variations on the same special rule. For Chaos Warlords the rule is ‘when this Warlord does X, Chaos cards get boost Y’.
Let’s break that down a little:
- First, it means your Warlord has to be deployed to the battlefield for you to get the bonus (unlike other faction’s special rules, which trigger whether their Warlord is deployed or not).
- This means you face the difficult decision of when to deploy your Warlord. Too soon and they’ll be destroyed before the enemy Warlord appears, but too later and you won’t get much benefit from their special rule.
- On the other hand, because you need to expose your Warlord to danger to trigger them, the benefits from the Chaos special rule tend to be powerful.
- Obviously, you also need to include bodyguards which benefit from whatever your Warlord’s boosting. If a card has an attack stat of zero, it will stay at zero, no matter how many boosts it receives.
- Don’t forget you can include ‘Destroyer’ allies in Chaos decks. A few Ork or Tyranid bodyguards deployed first means you can save your Chaos cards until later in the battle – meaning they’re more likely to be deployed at the same time as your Warlord (and so will benefit from their special rule).
Hopefully we’ve managed to capture the ‘flavour of Chaos’ in the way this faction plays (and by the way, try not to imagine what the ‘flavour of Chaos’ might actually be).
Chaos decks revolve around powerful Chaos Space Marines, backed up by Daemons and cannon-fodder, and depending on the cards chosen, their decks swing wildly towards melee or psychic attacks. Finally – as is fitting – Chaos decks are built around their Warlord, so thought needs to be given as how best to use them.
Chaos decks can already set up some nasty combo’s, and this will only increase as more Chaos cards are added to the game.
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* At the time of writing, you can only make purely Nurgle decks because the Chaos Warlords are a Nurgle Lord of Contagion and Abaddon (who can technically be said to ‘belong’ to every Chaos god, but good luck to anyone foolish enough to tell him that).
Over time we plan to introduce Warlords and more bodyguards for each of the Chaos gods, meaning you’ll be able to create decks dedicated to each power.