My Tactics pledge: I am not the greatest player, nor a seal pup. I will endeavor to speak from my experience and always be honest about what is theory and what is play tested. Never will I assume to know better than anyone else... unless I must call out ego or pretension.

Chosen to Fail

Games Workshop sometimes has units they just don't know what to do with, Chosen are one such unit.

If only Games Workshop took the Warhammer Fantasy version of Chosen and molded into something worthwhile for 40k.

Chosen have been the ugly step sister to Chaos Terminators and not even with the help of Abaddon has that changed.

To make matters worse, they lost a little of what they had in the way of uniqueness from the previous codex.

Let us start by looking at the differences between the 4th edition and 6th edition codex. Here is a side by side comparison between the codexes. (Click to Enlarge)

Chosen 2007 Rules



Chosen 2012 Rules



What changed between editions?

  • Loss of Infiltrate
  • Leadership from 10 to 9
  • Abbadon makes Chosen Troops
  • New Marks and Icons

--Chosen to not be sneaky--

In the old codex the main reason people took Chosen was for Infiltrate, now gone and replaced with nothing, it only makes you wonder again why aren't Chosen cheaper? I never felt Chosen and Infiltrate was particularly fluffy, but it gave them a way to play you couldn't find anywhere else  in the codex.

--Chosen to run away--

I understand the reason for the Leadership drop: make Veterans of the Long War more palatable, but these are the Elite of the Chaos Space Marine. Why, would I want to take Veterans of the Long War on a unit that is already too expensive? Notice Veterans of the Long War isn't one point for Chosen, but two points, just another reason to cry why, Phil, why!?

--Chosen to Score Poorly--

This is one explanation I can think for why Chosen are still 18 points a model. It was as if Phil Kelly thought that the most expensive character in the codex wouldn’t lead anything less than 18 points per model! I would just rather have cheap Chosen over them being Troops. With so many better Troop options this one really has me scratching my head.

--Chosen to be Marked extra Spendy--

Marks are a hidden value and the main reason why Chosen stayed 18 points a model. If you look at the 2007 codex you will notice just how insanely priced Marks were:  Mark of Nurgle adding 50 points for instance. Now a 10-man Chosen unit spends only 30 points on Mark of Nurgle if they want.

Mark of Khorne & Icon of Wrath

Mark of Khorne is one of the better options for Chosen. It is inexpensive and gives a butt load of attack potential. Chosen can get 5 attacks on the charge and taken with Icon of Wrath that is strength and five attacks each. This is vast improvement from the old codex when all you would get only +1 attack for 30 points.

Mark of Tzeentch and Icon of Flame

This is the worst Mark for any unit that doesn't already have an invulnerable save. It only has a minimal effect of benefiting Chosen with 6+ invulnerable save. Since you are not going to take Mark of Tzeentch there is no chance the even worse Icon of Flame is in the cards.

Mark of Nurgle and Icon of Fear

Mark of Nurgle is a viable option because survivable is going to always be a problem for Chosen. Having toughness five is a good way to keep them alive and as I will mention later having ghetto Plague Marines does have its advantages. As for Icon of Fear it is now worth the points not only because it is useless, but more importantly you don't want to add any more cost to the already expensive Chosen.

Mark of Slaanesh and Icon of Excess

If you choose not to go all glass cannon with Khorne, Slaanesh is another option. Taking Mark of Slaanesh you also increase the survivability for Chosen, at least in close combat by going first most of the time. Add on Icon of Excess and you have pretty stalwart unit, but without Fearless it is a very dangerous route to take.


Icon of Vengeance

If you are going to run large shooty Chosen this is the often the only Icon to take. Especially if you are running Chosen as Troops because you cannot get enough Fearless Characters for all your units. Icon of Vengeance also works well with other marks. Consider Mark of Slaanesh along with Icon of Vengeance as pretty decent combo.


Notice Veterans of the Long War isn't one point for Chosen, but two points, just another reason to cry why, Phil, why !?!

Making the most out of a bad situation…

Chosen are a specialists unit, because of their ability to take so many special weapons. Taking up to five special weapons separates Chosen from every unit in the codex. It is also the only way to get the most out of the unit.

The best and cheapest of the bunch is to taking 5 Flamers. Five Flamer Chosen not only destroys all light infantry it has the added bonus of being a major deterrent for Charging unit. Five Flamers automatically causes 5d3 hits through Overwatch.

Consider taking five Plasma Guns as well, while pricey that is 10 AP 2 shots that can bring down heavy armor and tanks pretty effectively. Then there is always Meltaguns, which have the added bonus of being Assault weapons so Charge after firing.

The other direction you can go with Chosen is by utilizing their extra base attack. They get the most attacks of any infantry unit in the codex. Taken with Mark of Khorne you are looking at 10-man unit that can have 50 attacks on the charge.

When designing a Chosen unit the general rule of thumb is keep them under 31 points per model on average. The reason for the number 31 is because that is the same cost as a Chaos Terminator. If you go over 31 points per Chosen consider taking Chaos Terminators instead.

To illustrate the cost problem Chosen have compare them to a unit like Grey Hunters.

For 190 points you can get a 10-man Grey Hunter unit with two Meltaguns, Power Fist, and a Wolf Standard. The closest Chosen equivalent is 290 points and you get two Meltaguns, Power Fist, Mark of Khorne, Icon of Vengeance. You get two extra attacks on the Charge instead of the Wolf Standard and God forbid you lose the Icon of Vengeance and get run off the board.

Even if you go within the codex, take a look Chaos Space Marines or Havoc units and the numbers aren't  much better

That is why it is important to keep cost down, but at the same time take advantage the little things that make Chosen different.

Memory Lane: Chosen

Chosen have a long history in Warhammer Fantasy,  it wasn't till later they made their way into Warhammer 40k. The first Chaos Space Marine codex of 1999 had Chaos Space Marine Veterans the fore bearers of Chosen. The differences between Veterans and normal Chaos Space Marines was Veterans got and an extra special weapon or heavy weapon, and could Infiltrate.

By the 2002 codex Chosen finally came into their own as an Elite choice. Veterans were clearly separate from the idea of Chosen. Chosen and Terminators were the same entree. Depending on the size of the battle a limit was in place for how many Chosen you could field. Still Chosen had many of the familiar options we see today, like loads of special weapons. You could also spam heavy weapons as well.

In 2007 Chosen were separated from Chaos Terminators and back came Infiltrate; other than that they were pretty much the same Chosen you see in the latest codex. 

Through out their existence there had never been specific Chosen models till 2012, it was always assumed that Chosen were just Chaos Space Marines with extra spiky bits.


--Ways to play Chosen--

Death Star Configuration: 260 pts 8-man Chosen unit with 3 Flamers, Mark of Khorne, Icon of Wrath, 2 Power Weapons, 1 Power Fist, Combi-flamer. Take with Abaddon and/or Khorne Chaos Lord. Use a Land Raider as the delivery system of pain and suffering. Flamers to soften targets or take charges; along with Abaddon you got a unit that can deal out a ton of potential attacks. Give the Power Fist to a random Chosen to avoid losing in a Challenge as well.

Balanced Configuration: 348 pts 8-man Chosen unit with 5 Plasma Guns, Mark of Nurgle, Powerfist, Icon of Vengence, Rhino w/combi-Plasma. This is a poor mans Plague Marine unit, by overloading on Plasma Guns you can easily take most heavy armored units or light vehicles. Remember like most Chosen units, not very cost efficient, so don't take unnecessary risks.

MSU Configuration: 160 pts 5-man Chosen unit with 5 Flamers, Rhino w/combi-flamer. This is the best bang for your buck at keeping Chosen cheap and dangerous. Go horde hunting or sit back and eliminate Outflanking and Infiltrating threats. Great multiplying effect as Troops; taking a few of these and even heavy armor will crumble under the weight of hits.

Horde Configuration:  No Horde option.

A Word about Allies

When considering Allies for Chosen, Daemons and Orks good choices.

With Orks take Ork Boyz to fill an important role: Chosen forces are always élite in some sense so having more bodies is the best policy. Taking Lootas also creates a nice inside outside game as they cover fire for Chosen to move up and use their special weapons. Don’t forget Dakkajets for air support. Orks are also good for the classic fluff manipulations Chosen are often involved in.

The same principle applied to Orks is the same one for Deamons allies. Spamming large units of Plaguebearers or Horrors is a great way to have scoring units, at the same time providing a different set of threats. Taken along with screening Screamers or Seekers and you have tools to soften up your opponent bringing in Chosen later for clean up.

Remember unlike other Battle Brothers Daemons ICs cannot join with Chaos Space Marine units under any situation.

Final Thoughts

Overall, Chosen are one of the worse units in the Chaos Space Marine codex. With all the Elite options the codex has to offer, why didn't Phil Kelly just combine Chosen and Terminators into one entree? If you really want to use Chosen consider Abaddon and MSU units, that way you can take advantage of the scoring and embrace the glass cannon Chosen are often destined to be.


It's Like Tactics is rated theory hammer because these are general observations and assumptions based on only few tested games.