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.

Rubric my Rubles…

Ahriman is one of the most powerful Psykers in the Warhammer 40,000 universe.

Ahriman is also responsible for one the greatest tragedies to befall any Chaos Space Marine chapter. 

The question has always been would Ahirman’s epic story match the stat-line in any codex?

The answer depends on what vision of Ahirman you have in mind. 

Ahriman will disappoint many, but his psychic prowess makes him very scary to face on any battlefield.

Little has changed when compared to the old Chaos Space Marine codex, but any changes to Ahriman are good changes.

Here is a side by side comparison…

(Click to Enlarge)

Ahirman Rules 2012

Ahriman Rules 2012 



Ahriman Rules 2007




Compare & Contrast

  • Point Reduction from 250 to 230
  • Mastery Level Four
  • Psychic Power Changes
  • Master of Deception
  • Master of the Rubricae

--A Step too Small--

It was a welcome sight to see Ahriman lose 20 points, still Ahriman is about still 20-30 points too expensive without being Eternal Warrior. It means being very careful when using Ahriman as to not put him in any situation where he can be doubled out.

--A True Master of the Warp--

Ahriman is the first Mastery Level 4 of 6th edition and boy is he a potent one. Denying the Witch on 2+ and having access to four Psychic Powers, Ahriman can Witchfire and Bless with the best of them.

--Paint it all Black--

Out with the old powers and in with the new ones. Ahriman gets access to Telepathy, Biomancy, Pyromancy, and Tzeentch Disciplines. The only problem is Ahriman has to take one from Tzeentch which leaves him three from the rest. There are many powers which make Ahriman a Blessing machine, but the bulk of your work can be done with just the Primaris Witchfire powers. Ahriman would have been better if he had gotten Divination--making him stand out from the other Chaos Sorcerers.

--Plans with in Plans--

Master of Deception gives a unit Infiltrate. The great hope here is Ahriman getting at least two Infantry units this power. Ahriman benefits more than other Chaos Lords if he can join the unit that is Infiltrating.

--Walk like an Egyptian--

Ahriman rightfully so makes Thousand Sons a Troop choice, but when you combine the price tags of Ahriman and the Thousand Sons, you have to wonder how many points will you have left. Now if Ahriman made Thousand Sons cheaper you would really have something.


Ahriman will disappoint many, but his psychic prowess makes him very scary to face on any battlefield.

Putting it all together.

Ahriman is to shooting what Kharn is to assault, and like Kharn he has many of the same problems. Ahriman is an easy target to pick out to double out, even more he has to avoid most Challenges and assault in general. Ahriman greatest asset is the ability to cast multiple Witchfire powers and that cannot be accomplished trapped in a protracted assault.

Avoiding assault and choosing the right unit to join is the most critical choices you can make with Ahriman. If done right Ahriman is one of the best characters in the Chaos Space Marine codex, otherwise he will easily become a large point sink.

Ahriman makes any unit pretty much immune to Psychic Powers and with the right powers Ahriman can alone eviscerate most units. Ahriman also gets one of the best Warlord Traits allowing interesting combos to develop.

Ahriman makes Thousand Sons Troops combining an expensive unit with expensive character. Typically, you will only run one unit of Thousand Sons if you take Ahriman.

Ahriman armies are tailored made for Rhino rush lists. Ahriman can use a Rhino's fire points along with another Psyker. Since assault is never an option you aren’t hampered by not being able to assault from a Rhino.

This leads to the biggest question, what units should Ahriman join? Here is the three best choices...

  • Thousand Sons
  • Havocs
  • Chaos Terminators

Each unit provides different options, but overall effectiveness is determined by which Psychic Disciplines you choose for Ahriman. More importantly, what Pimaris powers you take. The good part is Ahriman generates four psychic powers.

If you take Thousand Sons with Ahriman then take one power from Tzeentch and three from Biomancy. Get both Primaris powers, then hope for Iron Arm and or Enfeeblement. Iron Arm for double out protection and Enfeeblement to make Inferno Bolts easier to wound with. Then there is Smite, which works wonders with Thousand Sons to pile on the low AP wounds. The Tzeentch Primaris power combos with the Aspiring Sorcerer, providing four Blasts that can cripple any large unit.

The next unit you want with Ahriman is Havocs and specifically Havocs with Plasma Guns. Havocs are cheaper than Chosen and just as effective; with Ahriman's Smite you can deal out 20 AP2 shots, and if you're lucky both units will Infiltrate together. This is where three rolls on Telepathy can get you Invisibility and Hallucination. Invisibility to shield the Havocs and Hallucination to prevent the inevitable Assault.

You can also modify Havocs going all Flamers or Meltaguns, just adjust Ahriman accordingly with Doombolt, Breath of Chaos, Flame Breath, or Life Leech.

Then you have Chaos Terminators. Going with either combi-spam or just shooty Chaos Terminators the combined cost is going to be damn expensive! If you go with combi-spam take a variety, because depending on what Ahriman's powers are it will determine how both units are used in concert.

Chaos Terminators frees Ahriman to not take Primaris powers. Take three powers from Biomancy or Telepathy and with luck Doombolt or Breath of Chaos from the one Tzeentch roll. With Biomancy hope for Endurance for Feel No Pain and Warp Speed for the Chaos Terminators. In Telepathy you want Terrify to break units since you cannot Sweeping Advance and Hallucination because well it is broken.

Ahriman is amazing if you know what you're doing, but he is also very fragile. Knowing when and where to take risks is half the battle when using Ahriman.

Memory Lane: Ahriman

--Ways to play Ahriman--

The following lists are by no means meant strictly for competitive play, they represent a cross-section of the Chaos Space Marine codex allowing for flexibility and variety. 

Death Star Configuration: Ahriman Death Star List

Balanced Configuration: Ahriman Balanced List

MSU Configuration: MSU Ahriman List

Horde Configuration: Ahriman Horde List

Fluffy Configuration: Ahriman Fluff List

Daemon Ally Configuration: Ahriman Daemon Ally List

Necron Ally Configuration: Ahriman Necron Ally List

If you have any questions about how to play these lists feel free to email me using the contact information below.

Final Thoughts…

Overall, Ahriman is impressive. Honestly, I don’t understand why we don’t see more of him on the battlefield. I can only imagine that his inability to unlock a better Troop choice is a major factor and his cost being another. Like Kharn, you must take precautions protecting Ahriman, understand the threats various units pose and keep away from Challenges and everything should be golden.


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