Principia Belicosa. World Eaters 30K Tactica: Tactical Overview.


Glory is for those too weak to find their inner strength, leaving them hollow parasites, feeding on the affection of even lesser men. Glory is for cowards, too afraid to let their names die.”

Bucher’s Nails – Aaron Dembski Bowden.

Part 2 of the multi-article treatise on the Word Eater Legions. This week Dan gives a tactical overview of the legion and examines some of the more vital rules tied with the XIIth.

Tactical overview 

A typical World Eaters army is brutal, aggressive and violent. It charges full force into the enemy and hits like a steam train. Sure a few of your marines will die along the way, and you won’t capture any objectives, but what does that matter if the enemy has been torn apart? Leave the flag guarding and tactical maneuvers to lesser troops, the XII were made with one purpose: to kill.

World Eaters really benefit from large units of tactical marines (I take 3 units of 20 in most lists) led by Apothecaries or Primus Medicaes as their legion rules are strong force multipliers. They turn your basic troops into melee killing machines.

Delvarus of the Triarii. The full video tutorial set is available for $1 here.

Legion rules

The World Eaters have 3 legion rules of particular interest: Incarnate Violence, Bloodlust, Blood Madness.

Incarnate Violence.

So where to start? Well with Incarnate Violence of course! This rule allows you to re-roll 1’s to wound when charging. This ability always confers to the legion.

This is a great bonus, especially in Heresy games where the vast majority of the time you’re going to be fighting other space marines (4s to hit, 4s to wound). This equates to roughly 8% more wounds. With a squad of 20 Despoilers, that’s an extra 2-3 armour saves you are forcing your opponent to roll. Not that impressed? Wait until you add Blood Madness, Rites of War, chainaxes, apothecaries…

Bloodlust & Blood Madness

Here’s a unique wrinkle to the XIIth. If you fight a battle before Istvaan you are subject to the Bloodlust army-wide rule. Battles fought after Istvaan are subject to the Blood Madness special rule.

If you lose combat under the influence of Bloodlust and fail a morale check, on a roll of a 4+ the unit does not break and becomes subject to Rage.

Blood Madness gives any unit subject to this rule Rage, and must always consolidate toward the closest enemy.

From a purely competitive point of view, however, I’d always choose Blood Madness. Bloodlust gives you a chance to avoid running from combat, then gives you Rage for the rest of the game, but this relies on you losing combat. Why not start with rage granted by Blood Madness and win that combat?

XIIth Legion Rhino. Full weathering tutorial series available here.


No World Eaters army would be complete without the iconic Chainaxe; a devastating weapon for a more brutal age. These bad boys add +1 Str, hit at AP 4 and are available FOR FREE to any model which could normally carry a chainsword. Every model in the army should have one of these as long as they’re modeled with one. This is another great force multiplier for your line infantry. 

The Wolrd Eaters have unique access to the Caedere Gladiator Weapons. Their current rules don’t match the story and should be modeled for looks. This is a great shame as the models look amazing and the weapons are so in character for the legion. At 15pts each they’re just not worth the cost, unfortunately. The Falx Blades and Meteor Hammer are ok, but against marines, you’re better with a power sword, axe or fist. Take them for the look and theme by all means or just say they count as power weapons. If they ever see a rework in the rules we will dedicate an entire article to them!

The spine of the Legion, the humble legionnaire.

Rites of War

The World Eaters have two unique Rites of War; Berserker Assault and The Crimson Path. 

Berserker Assault

The degeneration of the legion in the Age of Darkness was swift, gathering inductees, mutilating their mind and bodies, and deploying them on the thousand, thousand battlefields of this new savage age.

This grants the whole army hatred (everything) and is the preferred Rite of War of many a XIIth Legion Warlord. It doesn’t work inside your own deployment zone, so it behooves you to charge out and take the game to the opponent. An enemy that can infiltrate or deep strike and contain you (or worse charge you!) in your own zone will negate a lot of your army bonuses. The drawbacks are minor and reinforce the core strengths of your legion; an extra troops choice (so more chainaxes!) and no librarians. Reduced tanks, Consuls and ally options limit your force somewhat, but the benefits of the RoW far outweigh this. 

The Crimson Path

The forlorn charge of the damned.

This Rite of War increases your army’s feel no pain and allows characters to regain wounds as long as they’re in the enemy deployment zone. It could be good for drop assault lists with Angron but can too easily be outsmarted I feel and allows your opponent the chance at bonus VPs. The extra feel no pain stacks with Ghalan Surlak so he could be giving a squad 3+ FNP!

Other RoWs that suit the brutal spirit of the World Eaters include Armoured Breakthrough. This Rite of War uses lots of tactical marines, support squads and Red Butchers in Spartans, Rhinos and Land Raiders to get your face to face with the foe as quickly as possible.

Drop Assault is also a classic example of World Eaters strategy, deploying your army via mass assault pods.

Well god, damn if that doesn’t get your chain axe revving! We’ll be catching up with Dan next time as he examines the unique units available to the XIIth and units from the Legiones Astartes army list that you will be using. If you’d like to keep up to date with our master of the fighting pits you can see his Instagram feed here

Would you like to create a bespoke commission painted World Eaters army? Get in touch for a quote!

Miniature Painting Course Library.


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