Breaking Down EVERYTHING Chaos Players Need to Know From the January Changes

Games Workshop is rolling out a ton of new updates to the game today. Not only are we getting new points and dataslate changes, but FAQ’s were also released for most factions.

Today at Warphammer, we’re going to break it down and make it real simple for everyone to understand. I’ve consolidated the changes by faction and by source, as well as a brief summary of what these changes will mean in practice.

Obviously these changes will have a huge impact on the game. Today’s summary is just a quick hit to get you up to speed. Now that all the information is publicly available, I’m able to resume the faction and gameplay guides that you all know and love. Come back often over the upcoming days and weeks, as Word Bearers and Khorne Daemons have their faction guides coming out soon. Warphammer is the best resource for Chaos players out there, and I can’t wait to resume sharing the secrets of the warp with everyone out there.


Overall Impact of Changes: A+++, 6/6, 7/7, 8/8, 9/9, Praise The Dark Gods!

  • Dataslate
    • Flamers no longer auto-hit, they use their 3+ Ballistic Skill to shoot now
  • Points Changes
    • Bloodthirster’s Indomitable Onslaught (the Wound Cap one) Exalted Ability +10 from 40 to 50
    • Bloodcrushers -5 from 45 to 40
    • Flesh Hounds -4 from 19 to 15
    • Karanak -10 from 100 to 90
    • Skull Cannon -10 from 100 to 90
    • Fateskimmer +10 from 140 to 150, still pays +5 for both wargear options
    • Lord Of Change +10 from 300 to 310, Master Mutator Exalted Ability +5 from 30 to 35
    • Pink Horrors -10 from 150 to 140
    • Screamers -5 from 30 to 25
    • Great Unclean One -20 from 300 to 280
    • Rotigus -20 from 320 to 300
    • Plaguebearers -20 from 150 to 130
    • Beasts Of Nurgle -10 from 80 to 70
    • Plague Drones -5 from 45 to 40
    • Syll’Esske -20 from 200 to 180
    • Fiends -5 from 35 to 30
    • Seekers -3 from 20 to 17
    • FW Corbax Utterblight -20 from 180 to 160
    • FW Uraka the Warfiend -15 from 145 to 130
    • FW AETAOS’RAU’KERES -50 from 650 to 600
    • FW AN’GGRATH -50 from 500 to 450
    • FW SCABEIATHRAX -45 from 425 to 380
    • FW ZARAKYNEL -40 from 400 to 360

Daemons are BACK! These are the exact changes Daemons players had been begging for since the codex dropped! We now have the Daemons codex I have been waiting for. It’s a great time to be a Daemons player.

The issue with the Daemons codex was that the Greater Daemons were good and Flamers were wild, but basically everything else in the codex (especially those units in between cheap troops and Greater Daemons, like Plague Drones) was overcosted. This issue has been fixed. That entire middle class of units now gets a new lease on life.

And every God will love not having to face Armour Of Contempt power armor bodies anymore. Khorne will rip through power armour in melee, while Slaanesh and Nurgle relied on lots of AP1 and AP2 which just got way better. Tzeentch shooting, which had lots of high AP and multi-damage, is in an even better spot than it was before.

Oh, and Flamers? They’re still strong! If you have a mono-Tzeentch Daemon army with access to the +1 Ballistic Skill warpstorm, you can easily have them hitting on a 2+, rerolling 1’s. The fact that they didn’t go up in points means or power level you can still use them as cheap action units or decent skirmishers in undivided lists, or make them heavy hitters in Tzeentch Daemon lists. It’s a bit silly that a unit called Flamers doesn’t auto-hit, but the end result leaves the unit in a fair place. This Flamer nerf could have been much worse. I hope you didn’t sell all your Flamers just yet. You’ll still be using them.

And by the Dark Gods, look at all the blessings we got in exchange. Plaguebearers at 13ppm? Fiends at 30? Plague Drones at 40? Screamers at 25? Flesh Hounds at 15? Seekers at 17? Yes, yes, yes!

These are the exact kind of fun, flavorful, synergistic units Daemons players have been waiting to use! Why are you still reading this article if you play Daemons? Go out there and play some games right now!

Chaos Space Marines

Overall Impact of Changes: C–

  • FAQ
    • Incessant Disdain now allows Characters to move 6″ when they Heroically Intervene, and pile-in and consolidate 3 extra inches.
  • Dataslate
    • No More Armour Of Contempt
    • Creation Of Bile modes Fight On Death on a 4+ roll now, not automatically
  • Points Changes
    • Abaddon +50 from 300 to 350
    • Mark Of Slaanesh +5 from 15 to 20
    • Legionaries now get free wargear on almost everything besides the Balefire Tome, which is still +20
    • Cultist wargear free
    • Terminators +3 from 33 to 36
    • Defilers +10 from 165 to 175, but get free wargear
    • Chaos Lord Thunder Hammer -10 from 20 to 10, Plasma Pistol -5 from 5 to 0
    • Terminator Sorceror wargear free, including the Familiar
    • Warpsmith Thunder Hammer -10 from 15 to 5
    • Helbrute Twin Lascannon -10 from 20 to 10, all other wargear free
    • Predator Sponsons -10, other wargear free
    • Land Raider wargear free
    • Vindicator wargear (including siege shield) free
    • FW Blood Slaughterer -15 from 140 to 125
    • FW Brass Scorpion -45 from 475 to 430
    • FW Kytan Ravager -40 from 440 to 400

I’ll be honest: While there is some good and some bad for Chaos Space Marines players, there’s a lot more bad than good.

Let’s cover the bad first. Losing Armour Of Contempt is a net negative. While our offense is killier, a gameplan of “expensive elite infantry running towards the enemy” really wanted that defensive buff.

Here’s the one piece I can’t figure out: Why in Tzeentch’s plotting name did Terminators get a points INCREASE after losing Armour Of Contempt? 36 points? Do we not remember how quickly elite power armour infantry got mowed down before AOC?

I understand that Space Marines were in a much worse spot than Chaos Space Marines, so they needed way more buffs. That makes sense. But look at how differently the two armies were treated. Space Marines got eye-watering points drops across the board, to the point that their lists can easily add 500-1000 extra points when you take wargear into account. Chaos Space Marines got nothing meaningful, and actually got nerfs to some key units. I honestly don’t get it. It’s the patented triple nerf of rules nerfs, points increases, and a meta shift all coming at the same time.

We couldn’t even get thrown a bone like free wargear on Bikes or Chosen?

Obviously I’ll dive more into this at a later point, but I think hit-and-run armies like Red Corsairs and shooting lists like Iron Warriors and Emperor’s Children will be the best path forward for Chaos Space Marine players.

The faction still has a lot of play. We’re just back to being the under-dog as CSM players. Time to become even more bitter, take a quick breath, and get back into the fight.

Death Guard

Overall Impact of the Changes: A

  • Dataslate
    • No More Armour Of Contempt
  • Points Changes
    • Plague Marines -2 from 21 to 19, all wargear still free
    • Blightlord wargear free
    • All Elite slot Characters -5, besides the Foul Blightspawn who is -10
    • Chaos Spawn -2 from 23 to 21
    • Myphitic Blighthaulers -10 from 120 to 110
    • Foetid Bloat Drone wargear free (so no more paying for Fleshmower or Blightlauncher loadouts)
    • Miasmic Malignifier -10 from 75 to 65
    • Defilers +10 from 165 to 175, but get free wargear
    • Chaos Lord and Terminator Chaos Lord wargear free
    • Helbrute Twin Lascannon -10 from 20 to 10, all other wargear free
    • Land Raider wargear free
    • Predator Sponsons -10, other wargear free

Death Guard players should be very happy.

While they lose Armour Of Contempt, that’s both a buff and a nerf. They had lots of mid-to-low AP offensively, and they are now much deadlier with Armour Of Contempt removed from the game. And their innate durability means they didn’t rely as heavily on Armour Of Contempt as most other power armour factions.

While the overall loss of AOC is more nerf than buff, the points changes more than balance that out. The sweeping small, but meaningful, points drops is what pushes them firmly into buffed territory. And if you had any interest in running Nurgle Daemons with your Death Guard, the huge points decreases that Nurgle Daemons got is also a net benefit or you.

Thousand Sons

Overall Impact of the Changes: C-

  • Dataslate:
    • No More Armour Of Contempt
    • Flamers no longer auto-hit (it’s a Daemons change but let’s be honest, it is very relevant here too)
    • Biggest predators nerfed
  • FAQ
    • You maybe can’t use cabal points to double cast a power from your Daemon or Chaos Knights allies? This FAQ’s wording is bungled, and ironically needs an FAQ.
  • Points
    • Tzaangor Shaman -10 from 70 to 60
    • Mutalith Vortex Beast -15 from 145 to 130
    • Rhino wargear free
    • Defilers +10 from 165 to 175, but get free wargear
    • Helbrute Twin Lascannon -10 from 20 to 10, all other wargear free
    • Land Raider wargear free
    • Predator Sponsons -10, other wargear free

Thousand Sons are getting punished for the sins of Thousand Sons + Daemons soup players.

Just like Death Guard, Thousand Sons are both buffed and nerfed with the removal of Armour Of Contempt. But it is definitely more of a nerf than a buff. They needed points changes to meaningful units in exchange….

… and they didn’t get those. The drops to vehicles and the Mutalith Vortex Beast are fun, but don’t move the needle on the faction’s strength relative to other armies.

If the FAQ’s intent is for Thousand Sons to lose the ability to double cast Infernal Gateway or Bolt Of Change, it’s a huge nerf to the faction’s strength at high levels. Of course, the exact wording of the FAQ is pretty unclear, and at this time, largely useless. I hope this gets clarified soon.

Thousand Sons players don’t need to feel down on the faction. The army still has real play. But today is definitely a net negative day for Thousand Sons players, and this faction will no longer be a top-tier competitive army.

Tyranids and Harlequins being annihilated is also, in a weird way, bad for Thousand Sons. Thousand Sons were one of the few armies that had a good matchup into those top-tier armies. Tyranids and Harlequins, as a huge chunk of the meta, are likely to be replaced with an army that’s tougher for Thousand Sons to face.

Chaos Knights

Overall Impact of the Changes: B+

  • Dataslate
    • No More Armour Of Contempt

Chaos Knights got literally no direct changes. And that’s okay!

Armour Of Contempt getting removed to the game is going to feel amazing for Chaos Knights players. The army had high volumes of shooting, but didn’t have lots of high AP or mortal wound output. Chaos Knights going back to ripping through power armour will be a beautiful thing. Some of their biggest predators also took real nerfs. Just watch out for Space Marines–their lists can now bring eye-watering amounts of anti-tank firepower. Those games will be brutal from start to finish on both sides.


  • FAQ
    • “Rules that prevent models from losing wounds” now ignore damage reduction

This is a general change, but one that I thought should be highlighted for Chaos players.

Ironically, the Nurgle daemon weapon Gh’ollax or Nurgle Daemon relic Corruption are now the game’s best killers of Death Guard, as they ignore their near universal -1 Damage rule.

Nurgle creates both life and death. Our grandfather is truly generous.

Final Thoughts

As any Tzeentch player can tell you, change is a good thing. The game had gotten a bit stale. A massive shakeup to basically every faction in the game means that it’s time to keep experimenting. Any preconceived notions about what factions are good and bad, and what lists you expect to face or run yourself, need to be reconsidered.

And that’s why at Warphammer, it’s going to be a busy few weeks of content. I put a pause on making content as we waited for the full picture to come to light. Now that we have all the dataslate/points changes/FAQ’s out in pub, it’s time to get our hands dirty again–especially once the full information about the upcoming Arks Of Omen mission pack comes to light.

Check back often over the next few days and weeks. Change is in the air.

As always, have fun, stay safe, and may the Dark Gods bless your rolls!

5 thoughts on “Breaking Down EVERYTHING Chaos Players Need to Know From the January Changes”

  1. Great article!
    Do you think Chaos Daemons got a net nerf from the lack of ability to take multiple detachments? Seems like it got much harder to soup different gods together and retain Warpstorm as well as take multiple Greater Daemons. Lack of multiple detachments kind of hurts.

  2. Hoping I can get it done some with my Red Corsairs, I’d been thinking about taking a break from TSons this year and bringing back my rowdy space pirates.

  3. I really can’t wait to see where daemons land in this new meta….Since the new detachment is very limiting in terms of warp storm table, do you think disciples of belakor might become more prevalent in this new meta?

Leave a Reply

Scroll to Top