As the Warhammer world celebrates this year’s Skulls event, what better time to introduce the next supreme Commander: Abaddon the Despoiler! As champion of all four gods, Skulls is just one thing on Abaddon’s mind, and as the first of the Chaos Supreme Commanders, he’s ready to get the galaxy burning!

The Warmaster of Chaos is the greatest threat to the Imperium. He rules his Black Legion with an iron-taloned fist and stands as the embodiment of the Long War. Clad in Terminator armour and wielding his howling daemon sword, Drach’nyen, Abaddon slays any weakling champions sent to challenge him.

Coming in at 92pts, Abaddon takes the same amount of deck space as Ghazghkull and sits behind only the Primarchs and the Silent King in points total. With 425 Wounds, 140 Melee and 76 Ranged, he has a good, well-rounded stat block, both of which are further boosted to a much higher level by his two traits, Fear and Inspiring Presence. This makes him a formidable duelist but also means he is most effective with support. Both to protect his flanks and to benefit from his attack buffs.

His special rule, “Dark Destiny”, also fits this theme and works as follows:

At the start of your turn, two of your cards increase all attack stats by +20%, lasting until your next turn; any remaining cards receive 10% of their base Wounds as damage. Abaddon cannot be damaged by this effect. Additionally, whenever an opponent’s card is destroyed, all your cards ready.

The main part of the rule here is that two of your cards will receive a temporary +20% to their attack stats each turn. This lasts until your next turn, so after your first turn, two of your cards will always have an attack boost. Which cards have it will be random each turn, so there is a little less consistency, but the Chaos gods are fickle. The downside to this is that whichever card does not receive the boon will take 10% of their base Wounds as damage. 

Abaddon cannot be damaged by this rule, however, which means that while he is on the field, it’s possible that his two bodyguards receive the boon, and then no damage is taken at all. This is a nod to the current Abaddon rule, which works while he is on the battlefield, and means players who like playing with Abaddon upfront can still do so and be rewarded! Also of note, if there are two or less cards on the field, then they are guaranteed to get the boon, so if Abaddon ever finds himself outnumbered, he’s guaranteed to get maximum benefit from this part of the rule.

The second part of the rule is easy to overlook but is also a very strong ability. The readying on destroying an opponent’s card means that it’s rare that Abaddon will be attacking without something in the ready bars to boost his attacks further. This means that it can be easy to run a supercharged mono-attack deck (bringing a deck heavily focused on ready buffs); a control deck with a healthy mix of debuffs; or a flexible deck which is able to comfortably pivot as needed. As the rule triggers based on the opponent’s deck, the size of Abaddon’s deck is less important, which helps given his high cost, and also lets players build the thinner elite decks that Chaos often bring without penalty.

Much like with Ghazghkull and Trajann this makes Abaddon a very flexible Warlord to use, with a number of different builds that would synergise well. At a more complex level, it can also be used to give a more efficient maximum output by carefully selecting ready types or synergistic traits. The downside of the primary rule, for example, would combo well with Deathblow or the recently buffed Berserk and Regeneration.

Abaddon is ready to set out on the next Crusade and watch the Galaxy burn! May the eyes of the gods always be on you, and we hope you have a great Skulls event week!