Principia Belicosa: World Eaters Special Units

Freedom is the only thing worth fighting for.

That is why tyrants always fall.

Lord of the Red Sands. Aaron Dembski Bowden

Our intrepid chronicler of the dreaded XIIth Dan takes a look at the specialist units of the World Eaters and highlights the most common legion units you will see in a Warlord’s Horde! Rev those chain axes Dan…

Like most Legions, the World Eaters have a unique power armour and terminator unit: the Rampagers and the infamous Red Butchers!

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The Rampagers were shock assault troops formed from the most savage and bloodthirsty warriors from a legion renowned for its brutality. This macabre band of brothers espoused the gladiatorial virtues of the Red Angel, bringing the pits of the XIIth the battlefields of the 31st Millenium.

The Rampagers, like the legion at large, like getting close and personal. They get 6+ FNP, can Scout and each can issue and accept challenges as a character. They come with 2 attacks base, and can upgrade to Caedere weapons at 10 points EACH. Like most first-generation specialist units, these feel a little underpowered in comparison to later legion unique units.

If you do decide to run these, keep them with chain axes, take 9 with an apothecary, and stick them in a land raider for the turn 2 scout charge (Scout allows them to Outflank, flanking an enemy). The models are absolutely gorgeous however and would make excellent veterans or quad sergeants if you didn’t want to run Rampagers. The hard truth is that you’d be better off spending your points on tactical marines until they receive a re-write.

The Dreaded Red Butchers. Download a full PDF painting guide here.

Red Butchers

Forged in the atrocity of the at Istvaan III, the Red Butchers are a coterie of berserkers, blood mad and broken beyond use in Legion warfare. Rather than shielding their bodies in indomitable Cataphractii plate, the terminator armour instead weighs down the Butcher to be controlled. Hung in chains in the holds of World Eater ships, screaming, foaming at the mouth, the Butchers are souls damned by the Rage of their father, and the sins of their own deeds.

Where Rampagers are not so popular, it is rare to see a XIIth collection without at least one unit of these. The Red Butchers are absolutely outstanding. These melee only (they come with combi bolters but you’d be mad not to switch it out for a second melee weapon)  terminators are absolute monsters with 2 wounds, Feel No Pain, Cataphractii armour and Fearless. They are insanely resilient.

They come with two special rules: Ravening Madmen and unstoppable charge. Ravening Madmen means they always hit on 3’s, but due to the recklessness of their attacks, they are in return always hit on 3+, regardless of weapon skill. Unstoppable Charge allows hem to re-roll failed charges – vital for a unit that is in its element when in combat.

Give them power axes to take out terminators and characters, or lightning claws to shred their way through light infantry. And finally, just look at the miniatures! Take a few moments to drool. They are amazing. A must-take. 

Other Key Units

Assault marines are good in a World Eaters list, jump packs allow for Deep Strike or simply to close with an enemy faster. Obviously take chainaxes on everyone, with power axes sprinkled in and an apothecary attached. They are a solid, very in-character choice. 

The main star of the show is the humble Tactical Marine. These come with a bolt pistol and bolter as standard. You have the option of taking an extra chainsword/combat blade for +2 points each or run them as Despoilers and swap the bolter for a chainsword/combat blade for free. For World Eaters the Despoiler option should be the default, as that chainsword immediately becomes a chainaxe. Chainaxes are better. Always choose the chainaxe.

This unit is great as they kick out so much damage for their points due to all the overlapping upgrades and abilities. Let’s break it down;

  • Take a unit of 20 tactical marines. Run them as Despoilers with chainaxe and bolt pistol. They will be getting 3 attacks each on the charge. Against most enemies you’re going to be hitting on 4s.
  • With the Blood Madness that increases to 4 attacks each on the charge. 
  • With an apothecary using Exhortation of Butchery (more of this in the special characters Tactica) each Despolier pumps out 5 attacks each!
  • Chainaxes make them Str 5. you are wounding most enemy infantry on 3s and can harm up to AV11 vehicles without relying on krak grenades. 
  • With Incarnate Violence they’re re-rolling 1s to wound 
  • With Berserker Assault (or a Chaplain) they’re re-rolling misses in the first round of combat. 

Wow. That’s 100 attacks hitting on 4s (with a re-roll), wounding on 3s (re-rolling 1s) at AP4. Then you have your sergeant and apothecary on top. And that squad costs under 300 points. 

If you take Gahlan Surlak in your army, they have the option of taking tactical squads as augmented Inductii squads at no additional points cost (which will be covered in more detail under the special characters section of this Tactica).

I’ve also had success with the so-called ‘Skalathrax pattern’ support squad. That’s a tactical support squad with flamers and chainaxes. Stick them in a land raider for mobile tar pit deletion; they’re great against large squads of light infantry. 

Similarly, plasma/melta support squads see a lot of use in all legions and they definitely suit the World Eaters. Make sure to give them chainaxes so they can hold their own when they’re up close and personal with the enemy.

And that’s it for this Tactica. Next time we will be looking at special characters! If you would like to see Dan’s work check out his Instagram feed!

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

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