Review: Traitor Legions – Black Legion and Emperors Children

Well Christmas did indeed come early for the long-suffering Chaos Marine players of 40K, hot on the heels of a massive release (literally in the case of Magnus) of Thousand Sons rules and models came the book the Veterans of the Long War have been waiting for.


Much of its content was leaked online (as usual) beforehand (I did a write up here) but now we have our hands on the real deal we’re going to break down the chapters of the Traitor Legions in a series of posts. As we have a few followers of the Dark Gods amongst us we split them between us according to the ones we usually play along with those we are either starting or have more familiarity with the background of.

So as a long-suffering Black Legion player I shall be taking a hard look at their options – but first, another chapter that I quite like (but have never fielded in force), the Emperor’s Children.


The IIIrd  Legion – Emperor’s Children

One of the first to “defect” to the service of the Warmaster, under their Primarch Fulgrim. These marines embody the excesses of the worship of Slaanesh.

Special Rules

  • only unique character can be Lucious the Eternal – most of the legions have a similar restriction.
  • only Mark of Slaanesh can be taken , and units that can do so. must – makes sense, you wouldn’t expect to see a Nurgle unit in the midst of a Slaanesh one really.
  • units that can take Veterans of the Long War must do so, for free – again, most of them get this (and its about time it was free too).
  • any Deamon Princes must be dedicated to Slaanesh – follows on from the limit of marks available.
  • psykers in the Detachment can choose to generate all their powers from the Slaanesh discipline – will cover the new extended list further down.

All Emperor’s Children units in the formation or detachment gain the following special rules too:

Fuelled by Sensation – units with VotLW gain Fearless and FnP (6+), (units with an Icon of Excess increase the FnP to 4+) – fits with their existing rules of not caring if they get hurt or not. In addition, models with VotLW slain in the fight subphase before they have made an attack can make a single attack at the end of the current initiative step before being removed as a casualty – nice, especially for those with unwieldy weapons.

Masters of the Kakophoni – Noise Marines become a Troop choice instead of an elite – obvious one really.

Warlord Traits

  • Glutton for Punishment
  • Quicksilver Reflexes
  • Nexus of Debauchery
  • Psychotropic Aura
  • Stimulated by Pain
  • Idol of Mindless Devotion

Some nice fluffy ones in there, increased Initiative, increased attacks, increased FnP etc.

Chaos Artefacts

  • Intoxicating Elixir – more combat drugs, and they are cumulative effects.
  • Shriekwave – ancient doomsiren, single use but could be devastating.
  • Soulsnare Lash – use as either a melee or an additional ranged attack, looking forward to seeing some conversions of this particular item.
  • The Endless Grin – gruesome mask, not bad for its relatively low point cost.
  • Bolts of Ecstatic Vexation – special bolt gun ammo.
  • Blissgiver – daemon weapon (whip obviously), definitely expect to see this in many of the lists.

Ranging from 10 to 30 points none of these seem over costed and all look to fit the theme of the army.


Emperor’s Children get access to their own formation, the Kakophoni. Its special rules will definitely make it a preferential choice over a basic warband.

Detachment – Rapture Batallion

1+ Core choice – Chaos Warband or Kakophoni (if you’re going to play Emperor’s Children I can’t see any reason to choose the Warband over the Kakophoni).

0-4 Command choices – Lord of the Legion.

1+ Auxilliary choices – Lost and Damned, Helforged Warpack, Heldrake Terror Pack, Cult of Destruction, Fist of the Gods, Raptor Talon, Terminator Annihilation Force, Favoured of Chaos, Spawn (all as they appeared in Traitor’s Hate).

Command Benefits:

Lord of Hedonism – the usual reroll of Warlord Traits.

Combat Drugs – all non-vehicle units affected by the roll for the entire game, a possible increase to any one stat aside from Leadership army wide.

Tactical Objectives

As with the previous Black Legion/Crimson Slaughter supplements and Traitors Hate, we get a set of Objectives to replace the first six of the basic set (unlike every other army though we don’t get them released as actual cards).

  • The Sound of Death – destroy a unit using sonic weaponry.
  • Without Peer – kill an enemy character in a challenge.
  • Despair and Death – destroy a unit that was falling back.
  • Sensory Onslaught – score for enemy failing Morale, Pinning and Fear checks.
  • That Which They Value Most – capture an Obj marker nominated by your opponent.
  • Flawless Performance – score if the opponent controls no markers, score more if you control all of them.

Nothing majorly groundbreaking, though the Flawless Performance could be a good one, especially if you happen to draw Domination at the same time.

Discipline of Slaanesh

  • Primaris: Sensory Overload – WC1, witchfire – could be good for softening the enemy up for a charge.
  • Hysterical Frenzy – WC1, blessing – another stat booster.
  • Delightful Agonies – WC1, blessing – FnP 4+.
  • Symphony of Pain – WC1, malediction – reduce targets stats and make them vulnerable to sonic attacks.
  • Sonic Shockwave – WC1, nova – as its name implies, a shockwave.
  • Aural Onslaught – WC2, beam – more useful against infantry than vehicles but still high enough strength to annoy them.
  • Apoplectic Glee – WC2, witchfire – I can see this one being renamed “Stop hitting yourself”.

Some nice thematic powers which have obvious synergy with the rest of the army.


The XVIth Legion – The Black Legion

Led by Abaddon the Despoiler the Black Legion is not only the remnants of the Lunar Wolves (later renamed the Sons of Horus) but has grown to incorporate many chaos warbands within their ranks.

Most of the information presented for the Black Legion is a repeat of that in the last Black Legion softback supplement, including the Legion specific formations, warlord traits, artefacts, and objectives.

Special Rules

  • only unique character may be Abaddon – now this is surprising as the fluff has often said that characters such as Ahriman, Typhus etc have all been known to join forces with Abaddon in the past. It’s still possible using an allied force, and with the other Legions finally getting some love probably makes more sense to do it this way.
  • all units that can take Veterans of the Long War must, but get it for free – this was always the bane of BL players lives, the compulsory tax, but now it’s a true bonus.
  • psykers with Marks of either Nurgle, Tzeentch or Slaanesh may choose all of their powers from the relevant disciplines – add this with the four heretic disciplines from Traitors Hate (also repeated in this book) and that’s a wide choice of powers!
  • any daemon of Nurgle, Tzeentch or Slaanesh that is a psyker can choose all of their powers from the relevant disciple – again, a lot of choice.

All units of a Black Legion detachment or formation gain the following special rules:

Endless Hatred – VotLW models get Hatred against Armies of the Imperium (as indicated in Traitor’s Hate, this means all armies associated with the Imperium – marines, guard, sisters, etc), in addition, they reroll failed to hit rolls EVERY round of combat against these foes – wow, this is going to help immensely.

First Among Traitors – Chaos Terminators and Chosen are Troops choices rather than Elites – previously this was just Chosen, the addition of Terminators is nice.

Warlord Traits – exactly as they have been in the last two versions of the Black Legion supplement, not particularly great but one or two are useful (giving warlord IWND for example).

Artefacts – again exactly as the previous versions, still over pointed in comparison with the new Legions options but some nicely themed ones.


  • Black Legion Warband
  • Hounds of Abaddon
  • Bringers of Despair
  • Cyclopia Cabal
  • Chosen of Abaddon
  • Daemon Engine Pack
  • The Tormented

All repeated here from the previous Black Legion supplement. Disappointed that Khorne is the only Mark oriented one still (Hounds of Abaddon), but at least we have the option across the Legion to take other Marks as we wish.

Detachment – Black Legion Speartip

1+ Core choice – Black Legion Warband, Hounds of Abaddon (Warband loses the Obj Sec of the basic warband but does get Thirst For Glory instead. Again it would have been nice to have other cores based around the other Marks as the Black Legion is known to have sub-divisions dedicated to single gods).

0-5 Command choices – Bringers of Despair, Cyclopia Cabal, Chosen of Abaddon, Lord of the Legion (with the Command Benefit below, it’s well worth taking the Bringers and possibly the Chosen if your points will allow it).

1+ Auxilliary choices – Lost and Damned, Helforged Warpack, Deamon Engine Pack, Heldrake Terror Pack, Cult of Destruction, Fist of the Gods, Raptor Talon, Terminator Annihilation Force, Spawn (surprised not to see the Veterans of the Legions formation from Traitor’s Hate in here so as to allow the God Specific units in, guess you could still field them in either an additional CAD or detachment if you chose).

Command Benefits:

Tip of the Spear – the usual reroll of warlord traits – would be nice to see something other than this now and then, especially with so many of the Unique commanders having fixed traits.

Heralds of the Black Crusade – all non-vehicle units gain Fear and Crusader – something tells me the designers really want you to get into close combat with these guys.

Speartip Strike – units with Deep Strike may arrive on the first turn on a 3+, if this is your primary detachment and warlord has Deep Strike he and his unit automatically pass the reserve roll – this is taken from the Altar of War mission of the same name from the previous supplement, one of my favourite missions. Imagine Abaddon with a maxed out unit of enhanced Terminators landing first turn right in the middle of your enemies lines, possibly with his friends too if you’ve taken a Raptor Talon, Annihilation Force or Chosen of Abaddon, oh wait I don’t have to imagine it.

Tactical Objectives – again lifted straight from the previous supplement.

Is this the answer to Chaos Space Marine players heretical prayers, not totally. We still have to adhere to an outdated codex with some severely over-costed units. however, it does open the door to many more themed forces and the formations will go a long way to helping address the balancing issues. If we do get a new codex in the near future then the Chaos Space Marines of the Traitor Legion’s shall truly become the scourge of the galaxy they are supposed to be.


3 thoughts on “Review: Traitor Legions – Black Legion and Emperors Children

  1. One other thing I’ve realised since the original post.

    Although the Black Legion formation “The Tormented” is repeated in this book, it doesnt actually get included in their Speartip Detachment – in fact neither does the Favoured of Chaos, so the only way your going to include either a Deamon Prince or Possessed in the Speartip is the DP as a Command “Lord of the Legion” and the Possessed as part of the Core “Black Legion Warband” choice.

    I suppose you could include them as an additional Detachment/Formation but given the lack of love for the Possessed in general I dont expect to see it often.


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