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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.

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What Changed in the Warcry Agents of Chaos Battletome for the Slaves to Darkness Swordbands Warband?

Note: The new Warcry books released with Tome of Champions 2020 brought some changes in how Thralls, Monsters but especially Allies work. The roster of available leaders has been massively increased and it’s now possible to use more than one as a “Hero” (1 in matched play and up to 3 in a Narrative campaign).

Link to the 4 new books:

Warcry: Sentinels of Order (all Order warbands updated)
Warcry: Harbingers of Destruction (all Destruction warbands updated)
Warcry: Agents of Chaos (all non-warcry specific Chaos warbands updated)
– Warcry: Bringers of Death (all death warbands updated)

The Slaves to Darkness gained an impressive 9 new Leaders in the Agents of Chaos battletome:

  • Darkoath Chieftain
  • Darkoath Warqueen
  • Chaos Sorcerer Lord
  • Chaos Lord
  • Chaos Lord on Karkadrak
  • Chaos Lord on Daemonic Mount
  • Exalted Hero of Chaos
  • Varanguard
  • Doom Knight

They also gained 4 new fighter types

  • Chaos Warrior with Chaos Halberd and Runeshield
  • Chaos Warrior with Chaos Greatblade
  • Chaos Knight with Cursed Lance and Chaos Runeshield
  • Chaos Knight with Ensorcelled Weapon and Chaos Runeshield

The abilities of the warband changed as well. The Leader ability Champion of Darkness has left the fighter abilities list and moved into a new Leader abilities list as an ability for all Leaders, along with the following abilities for the new Leaders:

  • Daemonic Power
  • Relentless Killers
  • Spurred by the Gods
  • Knights of Chaos
  • Champion of Darkness
  • Deathblow

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

There are 13 different Leaders and 12 fighter types in the Slaves to Darkness warband roster, and they fall into the following categories:

Chaos Marauders (55-140 points):

There are two versions of the basic Chaos Marauder:

The Chaos Marauder with Barbarian Flail costs 55 points, and stats-wise, he 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 inch Range with no minimum Range of his Barbarian Flail attack. Even though his weapon is otherwise less than amazing, the 3 inch 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 inch 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 a points price of 55 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 costs 60 points. It 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 (1 on a roll of 4-5, 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. This isn’t the best ability on the ability card, but if you’re bringing Marauders anyway, and you happen to have a Double 6 ability roll, you have a shot at punching well above the Marauder’s weight on a charge into melee.

The Chaos Marauder Leader, the Marauder Chieftain, costs 140 points, and retains the low of the Flail-wielding Marauder, but he has 20 Wounds, 4 Toughness 4 attacks and a good damage profile of 2 damage/5 critical damage.

He’s not very durable for a Leader at all, but he’s your cheapest Leader, which is worth noting if you are going for high model count in your warband. 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.

The Chaos Marauder Leader’s melee profile means he can put this ability to good use, but only take him if you need the low points cost (or if you love Marauders). If you are picking your Leader for its tactical usefulness, you have better options, such as the Chaos Chosen Leader (more on him below).

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: (145-220 points)

The Chaos Warrior with Chaos Hand Weapons costs 145 points, has a Move of 4, a high Toughness of 5 and 15 Wounds. He also has a good melee weapons profile with 4 attacks and a critical damage of 4.

While this Chaos Warrior can do some good damage, I would hesitate to recommend him, since Warcry generally factors in Toughness a little too much in its points cost. Being able to shrug off basic attacks is good, but the game is full of fighters with many attacks, abilities that give extra attack actions and many other factors that mean players will often just go for many chances for rolling critical damage, which ignores Toughness altogether.

If you think in terms of vulnerability to critical damage, the Chaos Warrior only has 5 more wounds than a Chaos Marauder, but costs around 90 points more. So, while the Chaos Warrior with Chaos Hand Weapons is one of your options for some good, reliable damage in a Slaves to Darkness warband, I would recommend taking another fighter that has more tactical options.

The Chaos Warrior with Chaos Hand Weapon and Chaos Runeshield costs 170 points, so 25 points more than the standard Chaos Warrior, which is due to its increased Toughness of 6 and its access to the Shield Ram Double ability. This is a good upgrade, since it gives you a chance to do some ability damage (which, once again, ignores Toughness), without removing more than 1 attack dice from the melee attack. Still, there are more interesting options in your roster.

The Chaos Warrior with Chaos Halberd and Runeshield costs 165 points. It is an interesting combination of fighter archetypes: It has high Toughness from the Runeshield, but also a 2 inch Range weapon with a critical damage of 5. It only has 2 Attacks, though, so they have to be close to either a Darkoath Warqueen or a Chaos Chosen (which can both buff Attacks of nearby fighters) to be really effective.

They are also a bit more of a hassle to buy and build than what we are used to from Age of Sigmar models, since you have to buy both a Chaos Warriors kit and a Chaos Warriors Halberd Upgrade Pack to build them.

However, due to Warcry’s strange points cost rules, they are actually 5 points cheaper than a Chaos Warrior with Chaos Hand Weapon and Runeshield, I would suggest you take them if you want shields and are planning to bring one of the Attacks-boosting Leaders or Chaos Chosen.

The Chaos Warrior With Chaos Greatblade costs 170 points and wins the prize for “Chaos Warrior figher type with the least words in its name”. It doesn’t have a shield, but it does have a strong melee attack with a high normal and critical damage (3 and 5, respectively). It is almost on par with a Chaos Chosen which costs 10 more points, but doesn’t have the Lead the Slaughter ability, so there’s no need to take it if you have access to Chaos Chosen. Like the Halberd version, it is also made from an upgrade Kit, so there’s that added cost and inconvenience.

The Chaos Warrior Leader, the Aspiring Champion, costs 220 points. He is a Leader version of the Chaos Warrior with Chaos Hand Weapons, which means his Toughness stays at 5, but he has 25 Wounds and 5 attacks with a critical damage of 5. This means he can put the Leader ability Champion of Darkness to good use, and since he also has more survivability than the Marauder Leader, if you only have those two options among your model purchases, it can be a good idea to pick this guy.

One small note, though: For some reason, Warcry doesn’t have a Chaos Warrior Leader with Chaos Hand Weapon and Runeshield, which is really too bad since the recent resculpts of the Chaos Warriors (which are beautiful models), have no options for building a Leader without the Runeshield (or any basic Chaos Warriors without Runeshields for that matter).

This means that if you want to use the new sculpts, you either have to play them as counts-as Chaos Warriors with Chaos Hand Weapons (so they visually have shields but not the rules for shields), or take a different Leader option from another kit. You could also convert the new sculpts to have extra Chaos Hand Weapons (or one of the other weapon options), but they are not a multi-part kit, so you would have to have some skill in cutting, sawing, using greenstuff and even some sculpting.

The Chaos Warriors are strong elite fighters with a defense profile that’s not really tailored to the way the game actually plays, and actually finding the right models to field them can be frustrating, but if you have some of the old Chaos Warriors models and want to field a warband of heavily armored Chaos fighters who can dish out some good damage, or if you’re facing opponents with high Strength but few attacks, they can be a good choice for your warband.

If you have the upgrade kit for it, the recent addition of the Halberd version of the Chaos Warrior is probably the best way to field them, but the problem with it being priced for its Toughness remains.

Chaos Chosen (180-250 points)

The Chaos Chosen costs 180 points, and it has one of those melee profiles where high Strength actually matters: It has 4 attacks with a damage of 2/critical damage of 5, and a Strength of 5. This means that you have a good chance of both regular and critical damage hitting your opponent and doing good damage.

This is great, since the Chaos Chosen has access to the awesome Quad Ability Lead the Slaughter, which lets it increase the Attacks characteristic of every friendly fighter within 6 inches by half the value of the dice roll used for the ability for the rest of the battle round after the Chaos Chosen takes out an enemy fighter in this activation.

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 range 3 attacks from many fighters with a critical damage of 3.

Since the buff bubble isn’t that big (6 inches), 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 inches 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 costs 250 points. He has a very good melee profile 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).

If you have a Chaos Chosen model in your collection, you should definitely field it in your warband, but, like the Chaos Warriors, the models available can make this difficult. Chaos Chosen are currently only sold as Citadel Finecast resin models, a material that’s not easy to work with, while also being brittle and prone to casting flaws. On top of that, they are split into two kits, so there’s a Chaos Chosen kit for the regular Chaos Chosen, while the Leader only exists in the Chaos Chosen Command kit.

You can just buy the Chaos Chosen Command kit since some of the models in it can easily count for regular Chaos Chosen, but it’s not available everywhere, and I’m not even sure if it’s still in production or Games Workshop still just has some boxes left from when it was. As always, if you know what you’re doing, you can convert your own Chosen models, even by just adding Great Weapons to Chaos Warriors (Great Weapons are resin as well, though) but it makes the warband decidedly less beginner-friendly to be based on models that can be hard to come by.

Chaos Marauder Horsemen (120-225 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 value of the dice rolled for the ability to an enemy within 1 inch 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 (125 points) and the Chaos Marauder Horseman Leader (225 points), since they both have 1 inch 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 great.

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 2 Strength 3 attacks.

The Leader version of this fighter, the Horsemaster, has 10 extra Wounds, a better melee profile (3 attacks, a critical damage of 5), 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, but since he has 3 attacks rather than 4 or 5, you can’t rely on him taking out an enemy fighter to trigger the Leader ability every time you want him to.

The Chaos Marauder Horseman with Barbarian Flail costs 120 points and is simply the Chaos Marauder with Barbarian Flail on a horse. This means he has a much better Move and 10 more Wounds, but the nice 3 inch Range melee profile remains the same.

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 inch 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 because of the way Warcry’s point system values Toughness.

Finally, the Chaos Marauder Horseman with Marauder Javelin and Darkwood Shield costs 140 points, has a 2 inch Range spear attack with only 2 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 inches of this fighter, and do 1 damage on a roll of 3-4 or damage equal to the value of the dice rolled for the ability 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 inch Move and then the 6 inch range of the ability) if you really need it.

Chaos Marauder Horseman 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 inch attack (see below).

Chaos Knights (220-285 points)

This new addition to the warband from the Agents of Chaos battletome comes with two fighter types and one Leader.

The Chaos Knight with Cursed Lance and Chaos Runeshield costs 220 points. It is basically the mounted version of a Chaos Warrior with Halberd and Runeshield, in that it has the same Toughness, only a few more Wounds and the exact same weapon profile. Being a mounted fighter, it moves much faster than anything that could increase its Attacks, so having only 2 Attacks makes it hard to recommend. it has access to Trampling Hooves like all mounted fighters in the warband.

The Chaos Knight with Ensorcelled Weapon and Chaos Runeshield costs 220 points as well, but has a 1 inch range weapon with 3 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, costs 285 points and 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 because of their unique ability, as you can see in the entry right below this one.

Chaos Lord on Daemonic Mount (295 points)

This new addition to the warband from the Agents of Chaos battletome only costs 10 points more than the Doom Knight, but those points are worth it if, and only if, you are planning on fielding a mostly mounted warband.

This is due to his ability Knights of Chaos, a Triple ability that lets you improve the Move characteristic of friendly mounted fighters that start their activation close to the Chaos Lord on Daemonic Mount. If you’re up against other fast fighters, this is a good way of getting the upper hand.

While it would probably look most awesome to have this Chaos Lord lead a bunch of Chaos Knights, I would still recommend fielding him with Chaos Marauder Horsemen for their versatility.

Chaos Lord on Karkadrak (310 points)

This new addition to the warband from the Agents of Chaos battletome is a stronger, but slower, version of the Chaos Lord on Daemonic Mount.

He has access to the same abilities as the other mounted Chaos Lord, so they are useful for the same strategies, but the Chaos Lord on Karkadrak is also one of the most durable Slaves to Darkness Leaders in melee with his Wounds characteristic of 38 and 4 Attacks at Range 2.

It’s too bad the Karkadrak monster he’s mounted on doesn’t have a melee profile or an ability attached to it, since this is a huge model by Warcry standards and it feels weird that it’s not much better than the regular Chaos Lord on Daemonic Mount.

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 (310 points)

The final new mounted addition to the warband from the Agents of Chaos battletome, this beast-mounted melee Leader costs the same as the Chaos Lord on Karkadrak.

He can’t buff other mounted fighters like the other mounted Chaos Lords, but that’s fine since he has a different role: His melee profile might look only ok, but he has access to a Double ability, Relentless Killers, which let’s you add up to 3 to his Attacks characteristic for his next attack action.

This makes the Varanguard an expensive but awesome choice for the “just point him towards something that needs to die” slot in your warband. 5-7 Attacks with a normal damage of 3 and a critical damage of 5 is a good way to wipe most things off the battlefield, especially since the Varanguard has so many Wounds that he’ll probably survive more than one round of combat. 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 (190 points)

This new addition to the warband from the Agents of Chaos battletome is an improved version of the Marauder Chieftain.

If that sounds a little boring, look at the Darkoath Chieftain‘s unique ability, the Double 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.

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 (165 points)

This new addition to the warband from the Agents of Chaos battletome is the only Leader in the warband with an actual ranged attack.

His survivability is very low with a Toughness of 3 and 20 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.

One extra Attacks isn’t a big deal when it’s only on one target, so I can’t recommend bringing this Leader in a warband that also has access to abilities that can do the same for all fighters within an area.

Chaos Lord (255 points)

Another new addition to the warband from the Agents of Chaos battletome, this unmounted Chaos Lord is a very good melee fighter with 5 strong Attacks with a Range of 2, but the best thing about him is his access to the new 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, 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 (230 points)

This new addition to the warband from the Agents of Chaos battletome 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, Strength and normal damage, but otherwise serves 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 (195 points)

If you want access to the Attacks-boosting area effect ability Spurred by the Gods, this new addition from the Agents of Chaos battletom is your cheapest option. She only has 3 Attacks, which is low among the Slaves to Darkness Leaders, but when everyone else around her can get an additional attack pretty easily, that’s not bad for 195 points.

I personally can’t help but bemoan that she isn’t stronger in combat since her model looks like she should be, but because of her abilities she is still a decent choice for her points cost.

Abilities for the Slaves to Darkness Warband

Fighter Abilities

  • Imbued with Dark Power (Double, Everyone) Improve the Strength characteristic of this fighter’s attack actions for the rest of this activation.
  • Throw Javelin (Double, Chaos Marauder Horseman with Marauder Javelin and Darkwood Shield) Roll a dice to do 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) Do damage to an enemy fighter, depending on a dice roll, the next time this activation this fighter ends a move action close to an enemy fighter.
  • Trampling Hooves (Triple, All Chaos Marauder Horsemen) Do damage to an enemy fighter the next time this fighter end a move action close to an enemy fighter.
  • Lead the Slaughter (Quad, All Chaos Chosen) If the Chaos Chosen takes an enemy fighter out of action with an attack action, improve the Attacks characteristic of all friendly fighters in an area around the Chosen for the rest of the battle round.

Leader abilities

  • Daemonic Power (Double, Chaos Sorcerer Lord) Improve the Strength and Attacks characteristic of the next attack action of a friendly fighter.
  • Relentless Killers (Double, Varanguard) Improve the Attacks characteristic (depending on the dice roll used for the ability) of the next melee attack action made by the Varanguard.
  • Spurred by the Gods (Triple, Chaos Lord, Exalted Hero of Chaos, Darkoath Warqueen) Improve the Attacks characteristic of all friendly fighters for the rest of the battle round while they are close to this fighter.
  • Knights of Chaos (Triple, Chaos Lord on Karkadrak, Chaos Lord on Daemonic Mount) Improve the Move characteristic of of friendly mounted fighters who start their activation close to this fighter.
  • Champion of Darkness (Triple, all Leaders) If this fighter takes an enemy fighter out of action, use this ability to make a bonus move action and then a bonus attack action.
  • Deathblow (Quad, Darkoath Chieftain) Improve the value of normal and critical damage for the next melee attack action made by the Darkoath Chieftain.

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, 20 Wounds and weapons with good reach gives you a lot of control over the battlefield, and with the Agents of Chaos battletome you now 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 the 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.

There’s nothing wrong with Chaos Warriors per se, but they don’t provide you with interesting tactical options, and I am generally a fan of the “only bring something that does something” approach to listbuilding in games, so just remember that you’re not required to take them at all, iconic and awesome-looking as they might be. The recent addition of the Chaos Warrior with Halberd and Runeshield is a minor exception to this rule, and I can recommend taking a few of those in one of your Attacks-boosting bubbles if you really want to field Chaos Warriors.

In addition to these overall strategies, it should be noted that the new Agents of Chaos battletome gives the Slaves to Darkness many strong melee Leaders to choose from, so it is always recommendable to bring one of those, maybe as a Hero to have something that can do serious single target damage.

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 inch 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:

– The availability of some of the models and the incompatibility of fighter types and recent sculpts for those models can make your warband difficult to actually buy and build

– Chaos Warriors have good Toughness and are priced accordingly – but its not the most important statistic in-game

– The Strength buff of the warband’s universal Double ability is largely useless since most of the fighter types in the warband have very low standard damage.

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 inch Range weapons of the Marauders.

Followers of the Karkadrak

1 Chaos Lord on Karkadrak, 4 Chaos Warriors with Chaos Hand Weapon and Runeshield or 3 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 tabletop standard. The armored 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-colored Contrast paints over a Wraithbone undercoat. Horses are harder to paint, but if you work from a photo reference and build op brown or grey colors, 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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