Chaos knights – Warlord Traits, Stratagems and Relics

By | 10/01/2019

As anyone who knows me is aware I am a fan of Imperial Knights. I have really enjoyed putting together and painting several Knight kits, as well as an Archeron and a Castigator. When I first started on my knights they were to be a renegade Dark Adeptus Mechanicum force. I was using the standard Knight rules though. But here we are and now Codex Chaos Knights has torn it’s way free of the Warp and is in play.

This will be the first of four articles:

  1. The general traits, relics and stratagems.
  2. Iconoclast traits, relics and stratagems.
  3. Infernal traits, relics and stratagems.
  4. Dreadblades (maybe).

As the other articles come out I will link them to make it easier to get between them. I won’t be going over the basic rules of the knights or weapons as they match the Imperial versions pretty much exactly.

Iconoclast and Infernal are the Chaos Knight equivalent of Imperial Knight houses. They will be covered in their own posts. Yes, we only get two, compared to the six of the Imperials.


Any Chaos Knight that you have given the character keyword to can summon demons. So now you can some those cheap Plaguebearers or Horrors to hold your back-field objective. If you get really unlucky you might inflict 3 Mortal Wounds (MW) on yourself, but you will still have over 20 left.

Chaos knights - House Malinax Lance

Warlord Traits

Neither Iconoclast nor Infernal get specific Warlord traits, so these are the general traits:

Infernal Quest

Now we can have one Objective Secured model in the army. Your warlord even counts as ten models, so enemy troop choices steal the objective from under you. While I can see it being useful to hold a backfield objective, I think summoning a unit onto those may get you more mileage. It leaves your Warlord free to go shoot and then stomp some fools.

Knight Diabolus

One extra attack. That is it.

Eager for the kill

Your Warlord adds one to charge and advance rolls, but not basic movement. They also gain an extra attack which in the opponent’s deployment zone. It seems they should have dropped Knight Diabolus and added the extra attack as standard into Eager for the kill.

Harbinger of scrapcode

Blurting out scrapcode as it walks this Knight can cause mortal wounds on enemy vehicles with 6” on a 4+. This can be very situational, useful against some armies and pointless against others. Watch Tyranids laugh at you.

Warp-haunted hull

As well as being able to summon allies you can also make your Warlord be able to deny a psychic power, per the usual rules. Which is handy and all, but the more important part is 5+ FNP to psychic mortal wounds.

Aura of terror

As if your death machine from the depths of the Warp wasn’t scary enough, then your Warlord can turn it to 11 with this trait. Any enemy unit rolling a morale test with 12” much roll two dice and use the highest. Also charges on your Warlord are made at -1, both can be handy.


Disappointingly we didn’t get too many new ones, a lot are repeats of the loyalist versions with Chaos-ified names. But I will go through the basics:

Rotate Ion Shields (1CP/ 3CP)

For Questoris and Tyrant class invulnerable saves of 4++, respectively.

Ion Aegis (2CP)

Sacrifice your movement to provide a 5++ for friendly units. This doesn’t apply to a lot of things like demons anyway, they already have the same or better save.

Thunderstomp (1CP)

D3 mortal wounds to an infantry unit on a 4+. Useful on rare occasions to stomp the last wound off a character, otherwise a terrible investment.

Death Grip (1CP)

A bonus attack for a Thunderstrike gauntlet causing D3 mortal wounds if it hits. Already better than thunderstomp. Then model and the knight roll off comparing strength, if the knight wins it causes another D3 mortal wounds. This keeps going until the enemy model wins or rolls a six.

Corrupted heirlooms (1CP/ 3CP)

This version is actually better than the loyalist version. It not only grants an extra relic or two but also gives those knights the character keyword and summoning.

Tyrannical Court (1CP/ 3CP)

More character keywords. Edit: also gives those characters access to Warlord Traits.

Spiteful demise (2CP)

The true definition of spite. Making it so you blow up on a 4+, Knight Tyrants have bigger reactors so get to roll two dice. If both are 4+ the range is increased to 3D6.

Guidance system (3CP)

Your shieldbreaker missiles can now target characters. The fun thing being the missiles ignore invulnerable saves as standard. No Iron Halo for that marine captain.

Titanic duel (1CP)

Gamble against another titanic unit for extra attacks. Any extra attacks must target the enemy titanic unit.

Full tilt (2CP)

Advance and charge in the same turn. Get your close combat armed knights into the enemy’s face turn one!

Devastating reach (1CP)

A stratagem that we shouldn’t need. Apparently being as tall as abuilding means you can only attack things on the ground floor. This allows you to rip some jerks out of the first floor of a building. Do remember can’t used titanic feet, so bring a melee weapon.

Chainsweep (1CP)

I want to like this stratagem more, but it only hits on 6s. You must have a reaper chainsword or the relic version, then you roll a D6 for every model within 3” and on a 6 it causes a mortal wound to that unit. Had this hit on 5+ and cost 2CP I think it would be worth it.

Pack dogs (1CP)

If you get one Wardog to make a successful charge then all other Wardogs within 12” can re-roll charges. The trick being here that we can only have three Wardogs in an army, due to the rule of three, and they shouldn’t be stuck in melee. Unlike the larger knights they cannot step out of combat. Edit: we can have three squadrons of three.

Trail of Destruction (2CP)

Let’s you re-roll any hits for a single phase: melee, shooting or overwatch. Because you can re-roll any of the hits you can use it results that would have hit but didn’t due to negative modifiers. This is possibly our stand out stratagem. Watch your twin avenger gatling cannon knight tear through a unit.

Relics gear

Helm of Warp-sight

This allows you to ignore all hit modifiers when using ranged weapons. Knights already ignore movement penalties for firing heavy weapons on the move, so this comes into its own with stopping the enemy modifiers. Fliers and Eldar will suddenly find themselves a lot easier to hit.

Bound Varadian Psychogheist

This at first seems like a great choice, but it worsens as you look at the numbers. The crux is any wounds caused by an unmodified 6 get one extra AP. Seems great a first but the chances of it kicking off and making a difference are slim. I would prefer the Helm of Warp-sight on a ranged knight most of the time over this.

Rune of Nak’T’Graa

This can only be put on a Dreadblade. It grants them a 5++ in melee as well in ranged. As an added bonus they can an additional pact and damnation of your choice. Getting to choose the damnations can be very useful.

The Traitor’s Mark

Another leadership effecting bonus. Enemy units with 12” suffer -1 to their leadership, which goes to -2 within 6”. So when you are stomping things in the fight phase you are more likely to make something flee. Combine this with the Aura of Terror Warlord trait for make your opponent roll two dice for leadership and take the highest.

The Tyrant’s Banner

Sadly, only half useful in a full Chaos Knights army but good for chaotic soup. Grants +1 leadership to all models within 6”. The real bonus to this relic is you roll at dice at the start of your turn, on a 5+ you gain a CP. We such limited CP available this could be a tactic to gain back one or two per game.

Chaos god flavoured relics

Tzeentchian Pyronthrone

More pysker tricks, this works by turning the knight it is equipped on into a psyker with smite, who can deny only one psychic power. But if your Knight has the Warp-haunted hull Warlord trait, they can attempt to deny two powers. If your knight dies from a perils while casting smite then it auto-explodes.

Khorne Target

Trade your invulnerable save in one fight phase for the ability to ignore enemy invulnerable saves. This relic can only be triggered once per battle. Your knights don’t have invulnerable saves in close combat anyway, so it is not a huge loss. But watch Necrons cry as 3++ Wraiths get stomped into the ground.

Quicksilver Throne of Slaanesh

Gives your advance and charge rolls +1. Add in the Eager for the kill Warlord trait for another +1 and then the Full Tilt Stratagem to advance and charge in the same turn and the enemy will find themselves in trouble very quickly.

Nurgles Putrid Carapace

Take damage to deal damage. For every armour save you pass in melee you roll a dice. On a four plus they suffer a mortal wound. Can do some work against hordes of low AP attacks.

Relic weapons

Teeth That Hunger

This turns your Reaper Chainsword in a Thunderstrike Gauntlet, stats wise at least. Added bonus is you get an extra attack with this relic. The downside is if you don’t kill anyone with the relic during the fight phase you have to roll a dice, on a 1 you suffer a mortal wound. That means even if the knight wasn’t actually in melee you must roll for it.

Gauntlet of Ascension

Have you ever wanted your Thunderstrike Gauntlet to re-roll hits and wounds? Well now it can, we added the bonus of not having a -1 to hit. Sadly you do lose the comedy value of throwing enemy vehicles and monsters at other people. To offset this you gain an extra attack and strength every time you kill an enemy character. So get hunting!


Only on a laser destructor, changing it from Heavy D3 to Heavy 3, with +2 strength (16!). Less randomness is always good on such a low rate of fire weapon. Added bonus move is rolls of a 6 to wound inflict D3 mortal wounds as well. But with only three shots the chances of that happening are slim.

So there we have it. A run through of all the generic Warlord Traits, Startagems and Relics. In the next article we will look at the Iconoclast Household, which seems to be our Dark Adeptus Mechanicus house.

6 thoughts on “Chaos knights – Warlord Traits, Stratagems and Relics

  1. WestRider

    The Imperial Relic Strat makes them into Characters as well. The Chaos version is still better, since that unlocks Summoning, but not as much better.

    Also, you can actually take 9 War Dogs. They operate separately after Deployment, but there can be up to 3 per Unit, and you can take 3 Units of them. Same as Carnifexen or Leman Russes.

    Devastating Reach is particularly crap because you can’t lock the other Unit in, or use it to swing at them on subsequent Turns without Charging. Should have just let them count the outline of their base, up to 6″ height, for base to base purposes. As a rule, not a Stratagem.

    1. thousandeyes Post author

      Thanks for the comments and corrections chief. I had never used the Imperial relic strategy, but thought I had checked correctly. My bad.

      Full agreed on Devastating Reach!

      I thought with War Dogs we were limited by dataslate usuage and since they all used the same one they would be locked out. Huh.

      1. WestRider

        It’s mentioned in one of the FAQs that even for Units that split apart into individual Models after Deployment, you’re limited to three Units, not three Models. Carnifexen and Russes are given as examples in the FAQ, but it’s applied generally to anything with the Vehicle Squadron or similar Rule.

        1. thousandeyes Post author

          Great stuff. I will update it now.

  2. Thor

    I’m totally not in the 40K scene at the moment, but nice job putting this together.

    1. thousandeyes Post author

      Thanks. I don’t know much about the other armies but Chaos Knights are my thing, so trying to get it all in.


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