“The Wolves will always come to heel when called. In that regard, it is a mystery why they name themselves wolves. They are tame, collared by the Emperor, obeying his every whim. But a wolf doesn’t behave that way. Only a dog does.
That is why we are the Eaters of Worlds, and the War Hounds no longer.”
-Eighth Captain Kharn of the World Eaters Legion from his unpublished treatise The Eighteen Legions.
In the first of our Principia Belicosa series of articles, we host guest writer Dan Palfrey to deliver his World Eater tactica. The aim of these articles to give an overview of Horus Heresy armies offer and hopefully introduce a new generation of players to my favourite system Games Workshop produce. Without further preamble, take it away Dan!
“How cool would it be to do a heresy-era World Eaters army?”
The thought stayed with me, a tick at the back of my mind.
That would be cool.
The thought became an itch. I had been out of the hobby for a while (the usual story of being distracted by studies, alcohol, and girls) when a good friend of mine decided it had been long enough and gave me a gift.
That itch at the back of my head bit deep, and that was how I became lost to the nails.
Why World Eaters?
The World Eaters are some of the OG bad guys in Warhammer lore and central to the unfolding events of the Horus Heresy. They were present at Istvaan III in the opening stages of the war and were still fighting at the conclusion of the Siege of Terra, so you can be confident that your army will remain relevant. They even survive into later lore as one of the most recognizable Chaos factions, meaning that your army could even be used to play games of 40k if you wished.
There is much more to the XII than frothing madmen wielding chain axes charging headlong into the enemy (although that is absolutely who they are). Thanks to the developed lore surrounding the Heresy we’ve been able to explore the tragic back story to Angron and the original Warhounds legion which became the World Eaters. Their fall to Chaos from loyal warriors of the Imperium is a microcosm of the wider Heresy narrative, echoing the central themes of the Heresy era Warhammer universe. If you turn up at a narrative event with a World Eaters army, it will always be easy to explain their presence.
World Eaters are very easy to play narratively and tactically – just charge! World Eaters lists really support this style of play with their Legion special rules and wargear and you can rest comfortably in the knowledge that your army is in character the whole time. World Eaters have some of the most unique characters and units in the game and they are strong enough to be competitive and keep up with the top tier armies without being broken.
If you enjoy settling your disputes at the end of a chain axe this is the force for you. Who says you can’t solve all your problems with violence? The 12th conquered a galaxy with rage.
- Horus Rising, Dan Abnett.
- False Gods, Graham McNeil.
- Galaxy in Flames, Ben Counter.
- Betrayer, Aaron Dembski-Bowden.
- Angron: Slave of Nuceria, Ian St. Martin.
- Visions of Heresy, Alan Merrett.
- Horus Heresy book 1: Betrayal and Horus Heresy book 6: Retribution
- Codex: Chaos (2e) and Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3.5e) (Games Workshop).
The original Horus Heresy trilogy – Horus Rising (Dan Abnett), False Gods (Graham McNeil) and Galaxy in Flames (Ben Counter) are essential for anyone starting a Heresy army. They feature World Eaters obliquely but it’s more about setting the stage for the wars to come and highlighting that sense of ‘Golden Age’ that wasn’t to be.
Betrayer by Aaron Dembski-Bowden. This book is incredible. Betrayer is set during the Shadow Crusade as the Word Bearers and World Eaters rampage through Ultramar, keeping the Ultramarines busy while the Warmaster advances on Terra. It shows Khârn struggling to deal with the madness overcoming his legion, the deterioration of his father and the personal betrayals of demi gods.
Angron: Slave of Nuceria by Ian St. Martin (Primarch series) – This has some interesting insights into the origins of the World Eaters and how they transitioned from the Warhounds. The scene where one of the main characters has his Butcher’s Nails switched on for the first time is incredible.
Visions of Heresy (Alan Merrett) – This book is a collection of stunning Horus Heresy artwork from before the tabletop game was produced.
Horus Heresy book 1: Betrayal and Horus Heresy book 6: Retribution (Forge World). Both these books contain large amounts of World Eaters lore and campaign information, colour plates for painting reference and scenarios to play.
Codex: Chaos (2e) and Codex: Chaos Space Marines (3.5e) (Games Workshop). Although technically out of date 40k gamebooks, these set the tone for what Chaos is all about in the 41st millennium. It is the reflection of these traits in the Heresy characters (particularly Khârn) that make it so compelling.
What books do I need to start playing the legion?
The Horus Heresy Legiones Astartes Age of Darkness Legions – £32: This gives you every specialist unit currently available for the World Eaters. However, with the upcoming release of the Dark Angels in Book 9 it is more than likely this will be replaced soon.
The Horus Heresy Age of Darkness Rulebook – £40: A reskinned version of 7th edition 40k, this book provides the rules for playing games in the Horus Heresy. It might be worth discussing amongst your group to buy one copy between you. Alternatively buying the old small game copy of the 7th edition rules will give you a good basis to begin gaming as little changed between editions.
In order to have the most up to date legion rules, you’ll need the Legiones Astartes: Age of Darkness Legions and Legiones Astartes: Age of Darkness Army List books. Any models released after book 6 (notably the later Sicaran variants, Sabre strike tanks, and Arquitor Bombard) aren’t included in these books so you’ll need to find the PDF rules on the Forge World website or the later campaign books they feature in.
And that’s it for part one! My thanks to Dan for firing off the first shot. If you would like to see his beautiful World Eaters for yourself click here. We’ll be looking at the tactical overview in the next part of the series, skimming over the main points of interest for the Wolrd Eaters.