The Black Legion Premature Traitor Legion Ranking

by | Jan 13, 2017

Since the official release of the new Traitor Legion Supplement, I have been sleeping with the book. The Traitor Legion Supplement is a dream come true, a love letter for Chaos Space Marine players. As an old timer it is hard to imagine it was 2002 since we had the legendary, but infamous 3.5 Chaos Space Marine codex. Now as we speed ever closer to 8th edition and maybe Warhammer 40k End Times, let us hope the Traitor Legion Supplement will live on in whatever comes next. The Traitor Legion Supplement is amazing without being broken, better yet hopefully it will do what no other release has done before…bring balance to the game.

The Traitor Legion Supplement starts off on the right foot by quickly dispensing with the fluff, only dedicating two pages to each Traitor Legion and a minimal amount of recycled art and model pictures. Much like the Generals Handbook this release is about the rules and priced just right at $35.00.

Before we begin here is a few pointers for these reviews…

  • We will be ranking the Traitor Legion individually, the order will be a countdown from 9 to 1.
  • Most important these reviews will assume the reader has a copy of the Traitor Legions Supplement handy.
  • Focus will be on the Traitor Legions themselves, not what you can Ally with for instance.
  • All Traitor Legions get Veterans of the Long War for free, allowing them a version of Chapter Tactics.
  • All Traitor Legions change certain units to Troop choices, only really good for Combined Arms Detachments.
  • All Traitor Legions get unique Detachments, Warlord Traits, and Artefacts.
  • All the Traitor Legions are good and playable, so don’t think any of them are bad just because I rank them lower than others.

So let us go with number…

The Black Legion

Of the Traitor Legions the Luna Wolves turned Sons of Horus and finally Black Legion have consistently been the most bland of the Traitor Legions becoming more just Abaddon’s followers than a true Legion. This hasn’t stop Games Workshop from pushing the Black Legion on us, with three expansions over just the past five years. Today the Black Legion are pretty defined, but still lack a “style” anyone can associate with. Traditionally the Black Legion is known as the Chaos Space Marine Terminator army, but the Traitor Legion Supplement defines and expands on that core principle.

The Black Legion Special Rules

The Black Legion has a good one to two punch of Special Rules. Endless Hatred without a faction restriction is rare, then you add in the entire Imperium range for endless To Hit re-rolls and you got a great ability. That means most likely half your games the Black Legion will be re-rolling all Assault attacks. First Amongst Traitors while not game breaking is very Black Legion and provides some interesting combinations if you want to run Combined Arms Forces with scoring Terminators.

The Black Legion Warlord Traits

The Black Legion Warlord Traits are a throw back to an age of terrible Warlord Traits, with only Black Crusader and Chosen of Abaddon being at all useful. This is one of the few Traitor Legion Warlord Trait charts where you are better off rolling somewhere else. Everything is just too situational or can be repeated with wargear or other specials rules.

The Black Legion Artefacts

The Black Legion Artefacts are nothing new, suffering from old point costs that make otherwise amazing wargear hard to justify. The Skull of Ker’ngar is good, especially on something like a Terminator Lord which can use Eternal Warrior. I have always had a soft spot for Last Memory of the Yuranthos, which has been streamlined, but way more suicidal, who can’t turn down a 120 point Terminator Sorcerer bomb  for a 18″ Nova of death. The other Artefacts are just too expensive, with wasted potential for Hand of Darkness and The Eye of Night. Then you have the Crucible of Lies and Spineshard Blade just not powerful enough to be worth it.

The Black Legion Speartip Detachment

The Black Legion Speartip Detachment Example List

The Black Legion Speartip Detachment is one of most finely crafted Detachments around. The Command Benefits of the Speartip Detachment are quite glorious. Heralds of the Black Crusade is very underrated as this Traitor Legion doesn’t get Fearless as Crusader is the next best thing; making it very hard to be swept in Assault, not to mention the Run bonus. Speartip Strike though makes the Black Legion truly great. Having the ability to Deep Strike on the first turn avoids pesky alpha strikes, especially with the Warlord guarantee to come in on turn one. This is also fluffy, made to encourage taking Terminators, better yet you can drop down the Raptor Talon on turn with ease. Deployment manipulation is a boon for any army, but has typically been missing from the Chaos Space Marines, so having this for the Black Legion is quite unique.

Black Legion Speartip Formations are lead by the powerful Cyclopia Cabal which is an easy choice for any Black Legion army, the only problem is the the Black Legion Speartip suffers mighty from being forced to choose between either the Black Legion Warband or the Hounds of Abaddon as a core choice. The Black Legion Warband is horrible when in the Traitor’s Hate supplement Detachment has the fantastic Chaos Warband. The Black Legion Warband removes Objective Secured for a semi-situation Thirst for Glory. This leaves you with the Hounds of Abaddon, which is a cheaper investment and gets some decent special rules. One can see a counter Assault army built around the Hounds of Abaddon for your core choice, either Cyclopia Cabal or Chosen of Abaddon for Command, with Raptor Talon and the Lost and the Damned for Auxiliary. You can always double down, focusing on Raptors and Terminators using the Speartip Strike to the max. The manipulating a  Black Legion Speartip is one of the most rewarding parts of the army, especially as you are not stuck with an expensive Formation to putting you into a certain box.

The Black Legion as a Combined Arms or Allied Force is one of the better Traitor Legions because Terminators are so cheap and can come in units of just three, meaning suicidal units are a thing again. Of course, you need to cover self from Grav heavy armies, but with the shifting meta you have an opportunity for some cost effective heavily armoured Black Legion lists. Don’t forget Chosen as well, they are cheaper than Sternguard and do special weapons well and easy to specialize for whatever need.

Overall, the Black Legion have some fantastic tools and now an actual identity with the Traitor Legion Supplement, I guess third or fourth time is the charm. The Black Legion are also allowed to take any Cult or Marked units giving them even greater choice. The Black Legion would be even higher in the Traitor ranks, if they had better core Detachment  choices and  Fearless basic units. As it is the Black Legion work well as either a Speartip or Combined Arms force making them rare and unique among the Chaos Space Marines.

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