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Slaves to Darkness Swordbands Warcry Warband Guide, Overview and Tactics

The True Warriors of the Eightpoints

The Slaves to Darkness Swordbands is a warband for the Age of Sigmar skirmish game Warcry. You can find all the cards to play them the “Agents of Chaos” battletome released in December 2020.

They are a raging horde of barbarian horsemen, armored warriors and howling marauders, killing and pillaging all over the Mortal Realms to gain the favor of the Chaos Gods. They are led by the Grand Marshall of Chaos himself, Archaon the Everchosen, whose stronghold looms on the horizon in the Eight-Points where Warcry takes place, so they are right at home on the battlefields and in the arenas of the game.

If you like performing glorious feats that inspire your fellow warriors, or if you dream of overrunning the enemy lines with hordes of cavalry, the Slaves to Darkness might be the right warband for you.

You can find all of our Warcry content here

What changed in the new edition for the Slaves to Darkness Warband?

As all warbands, Slaves to Darkness saw some point adjustment, mostly down, notably the Exalted Champion decreasing 55 points to 185. Wounds and Attacks also have been modified for Leaders and few other fighters. The Varanguard have now 3 profiles, one for each weapon loadout.

Background and Lore of the Slaves to Darkness Warband

Most humans in the Mortal Realms are tribesmen of the Slaves to Darkness. After Archaon conquered the Realms in the Age of Chaos, the humans who survived the wars did so by joining his armies, and now they roam the Realms on the Path to Glory.

The Path to Glory is the main spiritual practice of the Slaves to Darkness, a never-ending journey of slaughter with one goal: To perform glorious feats of war that will grant them the favor of the Chaos gods. This means that they are fearless warriors, all aiming for the chance to do something extraordinarily brutal in battle.

Some Slaves to Darkness dedicate themselves to specific Chaos Gods such as Khorne or Nurgle, painting their marks on their armor and gaining favors from them when they fight well, while others worship Chaos itself in its Undivided form. As they gain favor, they Slaves to Darkness might sprout chaotic mutations, become stronger, rise in the ranks of their armies or even one day become a Daemon Prince, a true paragon of Chaos.

In battle, the Path to Glory translates into abilities that trigger when your fighters charge or kill their prey, leading to even more killing and slaughter. It also show in the variety of your warband: the lowest fighters are little more than armed barbarians with crude weapons, but your elite fighters, who have already gain some Chaos favor, wear ornate plate armor and terrifying Chaos axes – as well as skulls from the foes they have vanquished.

Let’s have a look at their fighters and abilities.

Overview and Points for the Fighters in the Slaves to Darkness Warband

Note: if you haven’t read the basic rules for Warcry before reading this article, it might be helpful to know that the game’s abilities are activated by using 6 dice that you roll at the start of your turn.

If two of the dice show the same value, they can be used to activate a Double ability. If three show the same value, they can be used for a Triple ability, and so on.

So, when this article refers to an ability being a Double, a Triple or a Quad, it refers to this system. It might sound a bit confusing, but takes no time to get used to when you start playing

There are 15 different Leaders and 12 fighter types in the Slaves to Darkness warband roster.

Chaos Lord on Daemonic Mount: 285 points

The Chaos Lord on Daemonic Mount is a strong mounted leader in between the Doom Knight and the Chaos Lord on Karkadrak.

His ability Knights of Chaos, is a Triple that lets you improve the Move characteristic of friendly mounted fighters with Toughness 5 or more that start their activation next to him. Basically it doesn’t work anymore with the Chaos Marauder Horsemen, meaning that considering the cost of the other leaders and of the Chaos Knight, you will rarely use this ability outside of himself and for a Double (universal Rush) you can obtain something really similar.

He is probably a pass.

Chaos Lord on Karkadrak: 375 points

The Chaos Lord on Karkadrak is a stronger, but slower, version of the Chaos Lord on Daemonic Mount.

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He has access to the same abilities as the other mounted Chaos Lord and he is one of the most durable Slaves to Darkness Leaders in melee with his Wounds characteristic of 38, Toughness 6 and 5 Attacks at 2″ range.

His melee profile is definitely scary and stronger than other mounted leaders, but his cost is also proportionate being the most expensive fighter in the warband.

The main drawback to the Chaos Lord on Karkadrak is his Move statistic of 8″, which puts his speed lower than all the other mounted fighters and higher than the infantry, which means he doesn’t fit well in a battle group with any of them.

However, if looking cool on the battlefield means anything to you, this is definitely the most fearsome-looking Chaos Lord Leader you can field in your warband.

Varanguard

  • Varanguard with Ensorcelled Weapon: 290 points
  • Varanguard with Daemonforged Blade: 285 points
  • Varanguard with Fellspear: 280 points

The Varanguard are some of the most expensive fighters of the Swordbound, now split in 3 different profiles, all Leaders.

Their basic stats are all the same, with a solid 10″ movement and Toughness 6 and same Double ability, Relentless Killers, which lets you add up to 3 to the Attacks characteristic of the next attack action.

That can make a difference on certain weapon profiles that have less attacks but more damage, but overall they all look similar:

  • The Ensorcelled Weapon is the most expensive with 4 attacks and 3/5 damage.
  • The Daemonforged Blade drops one attack but increases Strength (5) and damage (3/6).
  • The Fellspear adds 2″ range to the equation, something you don’t really need on a Varanguard and 2/6 damage compared to the Ensorcelled Weapon.

This makes the Varanguard an expensive but awesome choice for the “just point him towards something that needs to die” slot in your warband. It’s just too bad that he’s a Leader so you can’t use all the 3 Varanguard you get when you buy a box of them.

Darkoath Chieftain: 155 points

The Darkoath Chieftain is an improved version of the Marauder Chieftain.

If that sounds a little boring, look at the Darkoath Chieftain‘s unique ability, the Quad Deathblow: it lets him add up to 6 points (depending on the dice roll for the ability) to the damage and critical damage of all hits in his next attack action.

Tactically, this makes him a slower, but potentially even deadlier, version of the Varanguard with a potential damage output of 44 on one attack action, he is someone you send when you want a target put out of action (as long as you have a high Quad available of course).

He is not that durable, of course, but I think this type of Leader can fit the Hero slot in your warband very well as this huge damage potential you can bring alongside one of the Leaders with support abilities.

Chaos Sorcerer Lord: 150 points

The Chaos Sorcerer Lord is the only Leader in the warband with an actual ranged attack.

His survivability is decent with a Toughness of 4 and 22 wounds, but he can shoot at a distance, fight tolerably in melee, and he has access to the Double ability Daemonic Power, which lets you buff the Strength and Attacks characteristic of the next melee attack action another friendly fighter makes.

It is an interesting ability, despite having other similar abilities with an area of effect, that may prove useful in certain circumstances, especially if you need a support leader and you cannot afford the more expensive alternatives.

Chaos Lord: 210 points

This unmounted Chaos Lord is a very good melee fighter with 4 strong Attacks with a range of 2″, but the best thing about him is his access to the Triple ability Spurred by the Gods, which lets him boost Attacks of friendly fighters close to him for the rest of the battle round.

It only lets you raise Attacks by one point and has a 3″ range, so it’s not as amazing as Lead the Slaughter, but unlike so many other similar abilities in the game, it doesn’t depend on your Leader taking an enemy fighter out of action first. The only problem with this ability when you have to build your warband is that Chaos Lord is one of three new Leaders who have access to it: the Darkoath Warqueen and Exalted Hero of Chaos can use it as well, and it’s difficult to say which one is the best for the job.

The Chaos Lord is a good candidate because he is such a formidable melee fighter, but he is also the most expensive of the three, so if you’re planning on running a Leader alongside an expensive Chaos Chosen and a horde of Marauders, he is not the best choice.

If you want, you can even bring two different Leaders with this ability, so if you can get your fighters to stand close enough (and roll the right dice/have the right amount of Wild Dice) you can give them two boosts to Attacks – but that’s not a combo you’ll be able to pull off in every situation.

Exalted Hero of Chaos: 185 points

The Exalted Hero of Chaos is another variation of the template of many of the melee Leaders from the warband: he has as many attacks as a Chaos Lord, but less range and Strength, otherwise serving the same purpose while being a bit cheaper.

The Exalted Hero of Chaos is not a bad Leader at all, but since the Chaos Lord is the better fighter and the Darkoath Warqueen (see below) is an even cheaper option if you just want access to Spurred by the Gods without having to pay the price of a Chaos Lord for it, I can’t recommend him over any of the other options.

The only outstanding thing about him is that there are no fewer than three different sculpts available for him from Games Workshop, although they are all finecast resin models. One of them has two weapons while the other two have a weapon and a shield, but that doesn’t affect what they can do in Warcry.

Darkoath Warqueen: 175 points

If you want access to the Attacks-boosting area effect ability Spurred by the Gods, this is your cheapest option. She has the same attack profile of a Chaos Lord on Daemonic Mount, but at a fraction of the cost.

She definitely improved in the new edition and she is worth considering as the main leader of your warband.

Chaos Marauders

  • Marauder Chieftain: 105 points
  • Chaos Marauder with Barbarian Axe and Darkwood Shield: 65 points
  • Chaos Marauder with Barbarian Flail: 60 points

There are two versions of the basic Chaos Marauder:

The Chaos Marauder with Barbarian Flail, stats-wise, is a lot like other very cheap fighters in Warcry. He has a pretty normal Move of 4″, a low Toughness and Strength of 3, 3 attacks and 10 Wounds.

What does stand out about him is the 3″ range of his Barbarian Flail attack. Even though his weapon is otherwise less than amazing, the 3″ range is a big deal, as it lets him engage in melee fights at a range where even the often highly valued spear fighters of other warbands with their 2″ range can’t reach him.

Out-spearing the spearmen with your cheapest fighter? That’s not a bad deal at all, and if you field a ton of these Marauders, you can control a lot of space on the battlefield for few points. If someone gets close enough to attack, the Marauder goes down quickly, but that doesn’t matter at that low points price when he gives you a chance to attack the enemy without retaliation.

Like every other fighter in the Slaves to Darkness warband roster, the Marauder has access to the Double ability Imbued with Dark Power, which lets you add the value of the dice rolled for the ability to your fighter’s Strength characteristic for one activation. This is completely useless on Marauders, though, as they only have a Damage characteristic of 1 but a Critical Damage characteristic of 3, which means that you will always hope for critical rolls of 6 rather than spending a Double ability to get a few hits with Damage 1 in.

The other basic Marauder, the Chaos Marauder with Barbarian Axe and Darkwood Shield is a lot like the other basic Marauder, but the Darkwood Shield gives it an extra point in Toughness. Unfortunately, its Barbarian Axe is a lot worse than the Flail, with only 2 weak Attacks.

The best feature of the shielded Marauder is its access to the Double ability Shield Ram, which gives you a chance to do damage (2 on a roll of 2-5, damage equal to the value of the dice roll used for the ability on a 6) to an enemy in melee range after spending a Move action to get close to them. While this is usually not a great ability, considering the low Strength of these Marauders you can do more damage just moving than by attacking.

The Chaos Marauder Leader, the Marauder Chieftain, retains the low Toughness of the Flail-wielding Marauder, but he has 15 Wounds, 4 attacks and a bad (for a leader) damage profile of 1/4 damage.

While he is a cheap leader, he is probably not worth considering. Like all Leaders, he has access to the Triple ability Champion of Darkness, which gives you a bonus move action and a bonus attack action (in that order) if you have taken an enemy fighter down in that activation (unlikely to happen).

In general, the Marauders are vulnerable and mostly good for swarming tactics or for filling out your ranks, and the shielded Marauders are probably the worst of the bunch.

Chaos Warriors

  • Aspiring Champion: 155 points
  • Chaos Warrior with Chaos Greatblade: 115 points
  • Chaos Warrior with Chaos Hand Weapon and Chaos Runeshield: 110 points
  • Chaos Warrior with Chaos Halberd and Chaos Runeshield: 105 points
  • Chaos Warrior with pair of Chaos Hand Weapons: 120 points

Please note that in December 2022 Slaves to Darkness will be getting a fresh new Age of Sigmar release, including the Chaos Warriors with a new multi-part kit that should include all options below. So you shouldn’t need any more to buy a separate upgrade kit for them.

The Chaos Warriors are divided in two groups: those with the Chaos Runeshield that have Toughness 6 and access to the ability Shield Ram that allows them to do damage at the end of a Move action, and those without that have Toughness 5 and more attacks.

The different weapon options are:

  • Pair of Chaos Hand Weapons is the most balanced with 4 attacks at Strength 4 for 2/4 damage.
  • Chaos Hand Weapon and Chaos Runeshield loses 1 attack (3).
  • Chaos Greatblade adds 1 to the Strength compared to the above profile.
  • The Chaos Halberd with Chaos Runeshield adds 2″ range and higher damage (2/5) to the equation but sacrificing the Attacks (2).

Chaos Warriors represent the elite infantry, but they are not as strong as the Chaos Chosen.

Their leader, the Aspiring Champion, has the same weapon profile as the one armed with a Pair of Chaos Hand Weapon but retains Toughness 6 and has higher wounds, making him a decent option for a cheap (but anonymous) Leader.

Chaos Chosen

  • Exalted Champion: 185 points
  • Chaos Chosen: 145 points

The Chaos Chosen has a profile similar to the Chaos Warrior with Chaos Greatblade, but what differentiates him is the access to the awesome Quad Ability Lead the Slaughter, which increases the Attacks characteristic of every friendly fighter within 6″ by half the value of the ability’s value for the rest of the battle round. To activate it, the Chaos Chosen first has to take out an enemy fighter.

This is an ability that, to mention just one example, can increase the usefulness of Chaos Marauders with Barbarian Flail a whole lot. If you put a Chaos Chosen in a battle group with as many of those Marauders as you can field, a kill from your Chosen (and a good Quad roll) could turn into a tornado of 3″ range attacks from many fighters with a critical damage of 3.

Since the buff bubble isn’t that big (6″), the buffed fighters having a range of 3″ increases the area of effect of the buff by a great deal. Just remember that the buffed fighters need to stay within 6″ of the Chosen to keep the buff – you can’t run off in another direction without losing the extra attacks. If you want a more elite version of this tactic, do the same but with more Chosen (now that you’ve bought the models anyway) for a greater chance of triggering the ability.

The Chaos Chosen Leader, the Exalted Champion has an upgraded profile compared to the basic version, with 2″ range and access to both the Leader ability Champion of Darkness and the Chosen ability Lead the Slaughter.

This means that he has a good chance of taking out enemy fighters and a good chance of that takedown being used for a good ability (Champion of Darkness) or a great one (Lead the Slaughter).

As for the Chaos Warriors, Chaos Chosen as well are getting a new kit in December 2022.

Chaos Marauder Horsemen

  • Horsemaster: 215 points
  • Chaos Marauder Horseman with Marauder Javelin and Darkwood Shield: 140 points
  • Chaos Marauder Horseman with Barbarian Axe and Darkwood Shield: 125 points
  • Chaos Marauder Horseman with Marauder Flail: 130 points

There are 3 different Chaos Marauder Horsemen fighter types, plus a Leader version. What they all have in common is the Mount Runemark, which means that they can’t climb terrain (they’re on horses, after all), and that they have access to the Triple ability Trampling Hooves, which lets you do damage equal to the ability’s value to an enemy within 1″ of the Horseman after making a Move action.

This Triple ability is mostly useful to the Chaos Marauder Horseman with Barbarian Axe and Darkwood Shield and the Leader, the Horsemaster, since they both have 1″ range on their attacks, which means they have to get into the range to trigger the ability anyway. When using it, remember that you can use abilities even after a double Move, so the range of this ability is huge.

The Horseman with axe and shield has a Move of 10″ and 20 Wounds like the rest of the basic horsemen, which is both very fast and a good amount of Wounds for its points cost. If you’re on a battlefield where climbing obstacles isn’t important, the basic Horseman can be great for getting to and holding objectives or capturing treasure. What it does lack is a good melee profile, since it only has 3 Strength-3 attacks.

The Leader version of this fighter, the Horsemaster, has 4 extra Wounds, a better melee profile (4 attacks for 2/4 damage), and of course access to the Leader ability and its extra move and attack action. An extra move and attack action on a fighter with a Move of 10″ can definitely be a tactical advantage, as long as his attacks take out a weak enemy.

The Chaos Marauder Horseman with Barbarian Flail is simply the Chaos Marauder with Barbarian Flail on a horse. This means he has a much better Move, extra Wounds, 1 attack more and the same juicy 3″ range melee profile.

This is still really good, and an effective attack range of 13 inches (10″ Move plus 3″ range) is impressive, but since it moves way faster than the two fighter types that could buff its attacks (The Chaos Chosen and Chaos Chosen Leader), and takes up more space because its a bigger model (which means fewer horsemen than marauders on foot would fit within the 6″ bubble of the Chaos Chosen buff), the flail Horseman is put to better use as objective and treasure grabbers like the basic Horseman, but with better attack range at a cheaper points cost.

Finally, the Chaos Marauder Horseman with Marauder Javelin and Darkwood Shield has a 2″ range spear attack with only 3 attacks, but a critical damage of 4. As the only fighter type in the Slaves to Darkness warband roster, it has access to the Double ability Throw Javelin, which lets you roll a dice for a visible enemy fighter within 6″ of this fighter, and do 1 damage on a roll of 3-4 or damage equal to the ability’s value on a roll of 5-6.

Like many similar throwing abilities in the game, the odds of this ability actually doing meaningful damage isn’t great, but if you’re bringing Horsemen anyway, I think having 1 of these fighters in your warband can be a good idea so you have the option to do damage at great range (2×10″ Move and then the 6″ range of the ability) if you really need it.

Chaos Marauder Horsemen are great in the sense that they add a lot of range, speed and Wounds to your warband, so I would definitely recommend filling one of your battle groups with them, if you have the points for it. They don’t fit into the strategy of using the Chaos Chosen buff to gain attacks, but that doesn’t matter when they fill out the objective-grabbing role so well – on a battlefield where climbing isn’t important.

If you’re not planning on doing a horde warband with a high model count, you could also replace them with Chaos Knights, who are stronger and more durable, but lack the option for a ranged ability or 3″ attack (see below).

Chaos Knights

  • Doom Knight: 250 points
  • Chaos Knight with Cursed Lance and Chaos Runeshield: 195 points
  • Chaos Knight with Ensorcelled Weapon and Chaos Runeshield: 205 points

The Chaos Knights have two fighter types and one Leader.

The Chaos Knight with Cursed Lance and Chaos Runeshield is basically the mounted version of a Chaos Warrior with Halberd and Runeshield with 1 attack more, having the same Toughness, similar weapon profile and few more wounds. It is a mounted fighter with 10″ movement and his high Toughness means he can benefit from Knights of Chaos. It has access to Trampling Hooves like all mounted fighters in the warband.

The Chaos Knight with Ensorcelled Weapon and Chaos Runeshield has a 1″ range weapon with 4 Attacks and less critical damage than the lance-equipped Chaos Knight.

Having a higher Attacks characteristic is good, but if you’re not counting their high Toughness, there’s no reason to take either of the Chaos Knights over Chaos Marauder Horsemen with more specialized weapons.

The Leader version of the Chaos Knight, the Doom Knight, is a more capable fighter than the non-Leader Knights. With a range of 2″ and 4 Attacks, as well as a high Wounds statistic, he is a good mounted Leader, but you’re much better off picking one of the specialized mounted Leaders.

Khagra’s Ravagers (625 points)

  • Khagra the Usurper: 200 points
  • Dour Cragan: 140 points
  • Razek Godblessed: 145 points
  • Zarshia Bittersoul: 140 points

Khagra’s Ravagers are a Bladeborn warband from Warhammer Underworlds Season 4.

  • Spite-tongue Curse (Double, Zarshia): a chance to damage an enemy in range but also to self-damage herself.
  • Mask of Darkness (Triple, Zarshia): tele-transport another Ravager closer to Zarshia.
  • Desecration (Quad, all Ravagers): a bonus attack action with extra Attack and Strength if close-by an objective.

Khagra has the same weapon profile of a Darkoath Chieftain, without his abilities but an impressive Toughness 6 coupled with 26 wounds. She is a good fighter on her own but she can be further buffed by the trademark ability of this Bladeborn warband: Desecration that allows them a bonus attack, and if they are within 3″ on an objective they can also add up to 3 to the Attack and Strength characteristic (depending on the ability’s value).

Her sister Zarshia, has a similar profile to a Chaos Sorcerer Lord, with slightly less ranged damage (3/5) but not his ability (as she is not a leader). In exchange she can damage an opponent 9″ away with the risk of damaging herself (1 damage to the enemy for every 4+ and 1 to herself for every 1 rolled) and she can tele-transport any Ravager within 6″ of her for a Triple. Considering her Toughness 3 better keep her out of harm’s way.

Dour and Razek are Chaos Warriors. Dour has the same profile as the one armed with pair of Chaos Hand Weapons with 1 more wound (16) and slightly more expensive. Razek instead shares the stats of the Chaos Warrior with Chaos Hand Weapon and Runeshield, including access to Shield Ram for a bonus chance of damage after engaging an enemy. Considering their high Toughness (5 and 6 respectively), they can be afraid only of critical damage.

Godsworn Hunt (650 points)

  • Theddra Skull-Scryer: 180 points
  • Ollo: 110 points
  • Jagathra: 75 points
  • Grawl: 75 points
  • Grundann Blood-Eye: 105 points
  • Shond Head-Claimer: 105 points

Godsworn Hunt is a Bladeborn warband from Warhammer Underworlds Season 2.

  • Hunting Hound (Double, Ollo): Grawl can perform a bonus move if he is in range of Ollo.
  • Enfeeble (Triple, Theddra): reduce an enemy’s Toughness by up to 6 points.
  • Oathsworn Attack (Quad, all Godsworn): perform a bonus attack with up to 3 attacks more.

Theddra has a profile similar to a Chaos Sorcerer Lord, without his abilities but with greater Toughness (4). Combined with both melee (2″) and ranged attack (3-7″) allowing her to attack from safe distance, it should give her some survivability. Her special ability can reduce (to a minimum of 1) the Toughness of an enemy within 12″. No conditions, just need to have a decent Triple and being able to see the enemy, making this an extremely powerful ability.

The other ability all Godsworn share, allow them to perform a bonus attack with up to 3 attacks more (depending on the ability’s value) but as most of these abilities, it costs a Quad.

Ollo is an archer and the one with the highest range of the entire Slaves to Darkness roster (15″). 3 attacks at Strength 3 for 1/3 damage are not much but you can start harassing the enemy from afar. In melee the attacks become 2. His ability allows Grawl to perform a bonus move. Grawl is a little dog with good attacks for his low cost (3 attacks for 2/4 damage). Toughness 3 and 8 wounds would not allow him to stand long however.

Grundann and Shond have both Toughness 4 and 10 wounds with similar weapon profiles with damage 2/4. Where Grundann hits harder (Strengh 4 but 3 attacks), Shond prefers more attacks (4 but Strength 3).

Jagathra instead has only Toughness 3 but her 2″ weapon allows her to keep some distance. She has also high critical damage (4) on her 3 attacks and can throw her javelin for a chance of damaging an enemy 6″ away like the Marauder Horsemen.

Gnarlspirit Pack (560 points)

  • Sarrakkar Blackwing: 185 points
  • Crimson Kheira: 120 points
  • Gorl Spinehammer: 135 points
  • Lupan Longcut: 120 points

The Gnarlspirit Pack is a Bladeborn warband from Warhammer Underworlds Season 7, whose rules are available in White Dwarf 482.

  • Unleash (Double, all Pack): add 1″ to the Move, 1 to the Attack and the Beast runemark to this fighter until the end of the round.
  • Self-Command (Triple, all Pack): add 1 to the Toughness and 1 to the melee damage (both hits and critical hits) until the end of the round.
  • In Control (Quad, all Pack): all other Gnarlspirit Pack fighters can perform either a bonus move or a bonus attack.

Sarrakar is an upgraded Chaos Sorcerer Lord with a better melee profile. Apart from this, he does not have access to the Sorcerer skills but he makes up for it with 5″ of flying movement and 3 interesting abilities.

The first one allows any Gnarlspirit pack to add 1″ Move and 1 to the Attack characteristic until the end of the battle round at the cost of becoming a Beast. Most of the time being a Beast has no great disadvantages (can’t open doors or carry treasures), so most of the time this ability has no downsides.

The next one adds 1 to Toughness (bringing anyone from this warband to 5) and 1 to the melee damage both from hits and critical hits. It costs a Triple, but more damage is always good and a little extra defence never hurt anyone. The last ability allows each other fighter of the Pack to perform a bonus move or attack action. It does not let the initiator of the ability perform any bonus action, but there’s no range either, meaning that you can use it with Sarrukkar hiding away to use his 7″ ranged attack, and take advantage of the more melee focussed members of the Bladeborn warband.

The other 3 fighters don’t have corresponding profiles in the Slaves to Darkness army: Kheira represents the multi-attacks fighter with 5 attacks but Strength 3, Gorl is the heavy-hitter with Strength 5 and 2/5 damage, while Lupan has an 8″ range weapon profile that is the longest in a basic fighter for the entire army.

Abilities for the Slaves to Darkness Warband

Fighter Abilities

  • Imbued with Dark Power (Double, Everyone): Add up to 6 to the Strength of melee attacks this activation.
  • Throw Javelin (Double, Chaos Marauder Horseman with Marauder Javelin and Darkwood Shield): A chance to do up to 6 damage to an enemy fighter at range.
  • Shield Ram (Double, Chaos Marauder with Barbarian Axe and Darkwood Shield, Chaos Warrior with Chaos Hand Weapon and Chaos Runeshield): A chance to do up to 6 damage after engaging an enemy.
  • Trampling Hooves (Triple, all mounted characters): Do up to 6 damage after engaging an enemy.
  • Lead the Slaughter (Quad, Exalted Champion and Chaos Chosen): After taking down an enemy, improve by 3 the Attacks characteristic of all friendly fighters nearby.

Leader abilities

  • Daemonic Power (Double, Chaos Sorcerer Lord): Add 1 to the Strength and Attack characteristic of the next action of a friendly fighter in range.
  • Relentless Killers (Double, all Varanguard): Add up to 3 to the Attacks characteristic in the next melee attack action.
  • Spurred by the Gods (Triple, Chaos Lord, Exalted Hero of Chaos, Darkoath Warqueen): Add 1 to the attack characteristic of melee attacks of close-by friendly fighters.
  • Knights of Chaos (Triple, Chaos Lord on Karkadrak, Chaos Lord on Daemonic Mount): Add 2 to the Move characteristic of friendly mounted fighters with Toughness 5 or more (themselves, all Chaos Knights and Varanguards).
  • Champion of Darkness (Triple, all Leaders): After taking down an enemy, make a bonus move action and then a bonus attack action.
  • Deathblow (Quad, Darkoath Chieftain): Add up to 6 to the damage on normal and critical hits of the next melee attack action.

Reaction for the Slaves to Darkness Warband

Introduced in the new season of Warcry, Reactions are things that can be done in certain circumstances, but always during the enemy turn. They cost one action, so they can be used only by fighters that have not activated yet or are waiting. There are 3 universal reactions and one specific to each warband:

Boon of Fortitude (Everyone)

  • When: During an enemy melee attack action but before hit rolls.
  • What: Remove 3 wounds already allocated to this fighter.

Strategy and Tactics for the Slaves to Darkness warband

There are a number of ways you can play the Slaves to Darkness Warband:

First, you could go all in on Horsemen and play to their strengths around reach and objective play. Movement 10″, high Wounds and weapons with good reach gives you a lot of control over the battlefield, and you have some awesome mounted Leaders to choose from – but terrain is a problem for them.

Second, you could go for a swarm of Marauders, preferably with flails and definitely supported by either Chaos Chosen who can give them extra Attacks on a Quad if he takes an enemy out of action (and do really good damage otherwise), or a Chaos Lord/Exalted Hero of Chaos/Darkoath Warqueen who can always buff their Attacks.

Third, you could combine the two, with one or two battle groups being Marauders/Chosen, and the last group(s) being Horsemen.

Chaos Warriors are stronger infantry options, in between the Marauders and the Chosen, filling a profile that may not be needed in this warband. But if you are short in points for the Chosen and have enough numbers, they guarantee damage and survivability.

There is a plethora of leaders in this warband and choosing the right one can be difficult. The key is mostly checking which ability you are more likely to use. A Chaos Sorcerer Lord could be a good option as a support hero, a Darkoath Warqueen can guarantee damage and a good ability, one single mounted hero can guarantee coverage and extra damage, but all have a cost associated and you will most likely not be able to field more than one.

The unit champions, upgraded as leaders, rarely provide something so you can easily disregard the various Aspiring Champion, Doom Knight, Marauder Chieftain, Horsemaster. The only exception could be the Exalted Champion that would behave as a Chosen and therefore return useful with his Quad ability.

One last note goes to the warband reaction that allows to add 3 wounds before knowing how many will be allocated by that enemy attack. It costs one action, but if the alternative is to die then this gives you at least a chance to fight back. Obviously is situational but if you need to occupy a spot and you are there to survive rather than attacking, it could create embarrassing situations where an enemy attacks you and after 2 rounds you have more wounds than you had before you were attacked (high Toughness means that is also easier for your opponent to miss).

No matter what, playing Slaves to Darkness is all about hitting first if you can: move faster than the enemy, have better melee range, use abilities that trigger off takedowns of enemy fighters, and use your strong Leaders tactically to take out important targets.

Pros and Cons of the Slaves to Darkness Warband

Pros:

+ Many options for attacks with more than 1″ range.
+ Strong Attacks-boosting abilities.
+ Chaos Marauder Horsemen are fast and durable objective and treasure grabbers.
+ Strong melee Leaders suitable for the new hero role.

Cons:

– Availability of some of the models and the incompatibility of fighter types and recent sculpts.
– Expensive Chaos Warriors because of high Toughness.
– Low standard damage not helped by universal Strength buff ability.

Some fun thematic warbands for the Slaves to Darkness Swordbands

Here’s a few ideas for warbands that are both fun to play and embody the character and style of the Slaves to Darkness warbands. They aren’t competitive win-all lists, mind.

Darkoath Wartribe

1 Darkoath Warqueen (Leader), 1 Darkoath Chieftain (Hero), 2 Chaos Marauder Horsemen with Javelin and Darkwood Shield, 6 Chaos Marauders with Barbarian Flail. This fits the theme of Darkoath Barbarians that represent the indigenous peoples of the Mortal Realms marching to war against the enemies of Chaos, and this warband will look remarkably different than the blocks of armoured Chaos Warriors one might expect from a Slaves to Darkness warband. Gameplay-wise, this warband has a good Attacks boost from the Warqueen, some speed from the Marauder Horsemen and a strong melee Hero in the Darkoath Chieftain – not to mention the 3″ range weapons of the Marauders.

Followers of the Karkadrak

1 Chaos Lord on Karkadrak, 2 Chaos Warriors with Chaos Hand Weapon and Runeshield, 2 Chaos Warrior with Chaos Halberd and Runeshield and 1 Chaos Knights with Cursed Lance and Chaos Runeshield.

Admittedly, this is really not an optimal warband from a tactical perspective. What it does do is let you build a warband with just what you get in the Start Collecting! Slaves to Darkness box, which has some of the best model designs for the Slaves to Darkness available.

The Chaos Lord on Karkadrak is pretty formidable, and you can take him along with 3 Chaos Knights he can boost with his ability, but since you also need fighters that can fight on/in buildings and scenery, I would recommend taking the 4 Chaos Warriors instead.

Different build options and how to buy the Beasts of Chaos warband

The Chaos Marauders lets you build 20 (!) Chaos Marauders with either Barbarian Flail or Barbarian Axe and Darkwood Shield, including a Marauder Chieftain.

The Chaos Marauder Horsemen kit lets you build 10 Chaos Marauder Horsemen with either Barbarian Flail, Barbarian Axe and Darkwood Shield, or Marauder Javelin and Darkwood Shield, including a Horsemaster.

The Chaos Warriors Regiment kit lets you build 16 Chaos Warriors with either Chaos Hand Weapons or Chaos Hand Weapon and Runeshield, including an Aspiring Champion. With the Chaos Warrior Halberds Upgrade Pack you can turn 10 of your Chaos Warriors from the regiment box into Chaos Warriors with Halberd and Runeshield, and the Chaos Warrior Great Weapon Upgrade Pack lets you turn 10 warriors into Chaos Warriors with Chaos Greatblade in the same way (the upgrade packs are finecast resin)

The Chaos Knights kit lets you build 10 Chaos Knights with either Cursed Lance and Chaos Runeshield or Ensorcelled Weapon and Chaos Runeshield. One of them can be built as a Doom Knight.

The Chaos Chosen kit lets you build 5 Chaos Chosen, but take note that they’re cast in finecast resin.

The Chaos Chosen Command kit lets you build an Exalted Champion , 2 Chaos Chosen , as well as a Chaos Chosen drummer and a Chaos Chosen standard bearer, which can’t be used in Warcry. These are finecast resin as well.

The following Leaders can be bought in separate kits:

  • Chaos Lord
  • Exalted Hero of Chaos (three different versions with each their own box)
  • Darkoath Chieftain
  • Darkoath Warqueen
  • Chaos Sorcerer Lord
  • Chaos Lord on Daemonic Mount (it’s just called Lord on Daemonic Mount on the GW webstore for some reason)

The Varanguard box lets you build 3 Varanguard with a variety of options which don’t affect their rules in Warcry.

The Start Collecting! Slaves to Darkness kit lets you build 10 Chaos Warriors with Chaos Hand Weapons and Runeshields, which look far better and more dynamic than the ordinary Chaos Warriors, but they’re limited to wearing Runeshields, even their Leader option. It also builds you a Chaos Lord on Karkadrak and 5 Chaos Knights with Cursed Lance and Chaos Runeshield, with the option to build one of the Knights as a Doom Knight.

Note that while the Chaos Warriors are very much monopose models, you could turn them into Chaos Warriors with Halberds and Runeshields without too much with the upgrade pack mentioned above, since their right hands are stretched out from the body (except for two of the models where you would have to come up with a workaround).

The Slaves to Darkness: Godsworn Hunt box, which is originally made for Warhammer Underworlds, lets you build six models with a Darkoath barbarian look. One is a wizard that looks like a female Chaos Sorcerer Lord for a Marauders-based force, two have either a bow or a javelin and doesn’t really fit any roles in the warband, one is a dog, but the last two are armed with great weapons and would work well as Darkoath Chieftains, and all of the models fit the Darkoath aesthetic really well.

Tips on painting the Slaves to Darkness warband

The Slaves to Darkness warband can be very easy to paint if you’re going for a table-top standard. The armoured Warriors and Chosen can basically be painted all black with a Silver drybrush on the edges, and then you just have to color in a few furs and horns. The Marauders, and especially the Horsemen, can require a bit more since there is a lot more skin visible on the fighters, but that can be done with one of the skin-coloured Contrast paints over a Wraithbone undercoat. Horses are harder to paint, but if you work from a photo reference and build up brown or grey colours, it doesn’t have to take long.

Since the Slaves to Darkness are the largest human population group of all the Mortal Realms, there is no end to how many different color schemes they could have, so feel free to experiment. Here is a GW video that shows 5 different approaches based on different Chaos Gods: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buYS_Zvvzr0

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