Welcom to the complete guide to allies for every army in 10th Edition! We’re going to provide a recommended selection of units that you can easily copy and paste in if you want something you can easily try out, but more importantly, we’re going to dive into why certain units are recommended and the best ways to get value out of your new chaotic friends.
Many Chaos players understand that allies can add value to their lists, but don’t really know where to start. It can be intimidating to start adding units from an entirely new codex to your lists. If you play Thousand Sons, World Eaters, Chaos Space Marines, or Death Guard, you might not have even looked at the Daemons or Chaos Knights indices yet. Whether you’re a veteran player looking for new ideas or someone diving into 40K for the first time in 10th Edition, you’re in the right place.
It’s also an act of kindness to add allies to your list. We’re going to give some of those extra Daemons and Knights you have lying around a forever home in your other army. Let’s head to our local volunteer-run Warp Animal/Daemon/Knight Shelter and find some new fluffy friends to take home and add to your list.
Adding allies to your army is even easier than ever in 10th Edition. You simply just add the units you want to your list, without any worry about detachments or spending CP. Below is a very simple table of ally options:
|Thousand Sons||500 points of Tzeentch Daemons and/or 1 Chaos Knight/3 War Dogs|
|Death Guard||500 points of Nurgle Daemons and/or 1 Chaos Knight/3 War Dogs|
|World Eaters||500 points of Khorne Daemons and/or 1 Chaos Knight/3 War Dogs|
|Chaos Space Marines (Lucius is your Warlord)||500 points of Slaanesh Daemons and/or 1 Chaos Knight/3 War Dogs|
|Chaos Space Marines (Anyone besides Lucius is your Warlord)||500 points of any God’s Daemons and/or 1 Chaos Knight/3 War Dogs|
|Daemons||1 Chaos Knight/3 War Dogs|
|Chaos Knights||500 points of any God’s Daemons|
Note: We’re not going to discuss Titans as an ally option at all in this article. You can technically run 1 as an ally for 1100 points. But if Titans are ever a viable option in a standard 2000 point game, 40K has completely jumped the shark on what the scale and gameplay of tabletop 40K should be. They’re neither competitive nor fun to play with/against. They’re great hobby projects and I hope to own one eventually. That’s all there is to say on the subject of Titans.
Question: Can your Warlord be an ally?
Answer: No, you have to bring your Warlord from your main army.
Question: Can you bring Be’lakor as an ally? You weren’t allowed to in 9th Edition.
Answer: Yes, CSM and Chaos Knights can bring Be’lakor as an ally. This is 99% clear in the rules.
Thousand Sons, Death Guard, World Eaters, and CSM led by Lucius (a stand-in for Emperor’s Children) can’t. This is because they can only bring Daemon allies with their respective God’s keyword, and Be’lakor has none of the God keywords in 10th.
Question: Be’lakor’s rules say he has to be your Warlord, yet your allies can’t be your Warlord. Doesn’t this mean you can’t ally in Be’lakor?
Answer: I’m often critical of GW’s rules writing (wait until you get to the Death Guard section of this article), but they did a smart job here. The rules cover this situation, and say that rules preventing a model from being your Warlord take precedence over rules that a unit must be your Warlord. This means the rules about allies not being Warlords take precedence over Be’lakor’s rule, meaning he is a valid ally.
Question: What if my TO doesn’t rule it that way?
Answer: TO’s make mistakes sometimes. It’s okay. While it’s crystal clear in my mind that it works, there is still one undeniable workaround: Run CSM Bring Abaddon in your list. Abaddon has a rule himself saying that he has to be your Warlord. That takes away any possible requirement for Be’lakor to be your Warlord.
Question: Do I get stratagems and enhancements for my allies?
Answer: No. As a famous confectioner once said, “You. Get. Nothing!” Stratagems and enhancements are tied to detachments in 10th, and you aren’t bringing a detachment of those allies, just the units. You get the datasheets and nothing else.
Question: Do my main army’s synergies work on allies, or vise versa?
Answer: Yes and no.
There is no explicit rule that synergies can’t work between your main faction and an ally. Unfortunately, basically every single synergy in 10th Edition is keyword locked to not work on other factions. For example, a Lord Of Change doesn’t give +1 Strength to any Tzeentch units. He only gives it to Legiones Daemonica (a Daemons Index specific keyword) Tzeentch units, meaning Thousand Sons or Tzeentch marked Chaos Space Marines can’t benefit.
The synergies in 10th across factions are mainly two battlefield roles. For example, if you need some cheap screens, some Daemon allies can fill that screening role for you. There is only one cross-codex synergy in 10th Edition:
Vashtorr’s +1 Strength for Daemon Vehicles isn’t keyword locked to Heretic Astartes. Soul Grinders are Daemon Vehicles. Therefore, Vashtorr’s +1 Strength also affects any Soul Grinders you ally into your CSM. Is this worth it? We’ll get to that answer later.
Here is that later answer: No.
Question: Can debuff effects applied to enemies affect my main army and my allies?
Answer: Yes! If your main army debuffs an enemy, that can benefit your allies, and vise versa. This is the only real cross-codex synergy at this point in 10th Edition, and something we’ll explore in this article.
A great example will be Death Guard. Their army rule gives nearby enemies -1 Toughness. Allied War Dogs will benefit from Death Guard lowering enemy Toughness because they can wound their enemies more easily. Another great example is Thousand Sons using Twist Of Fate to remove an enemy unit’s armour save. The enemy still won’t have an armour save even when attacked by an allied unit. An example in reverse is using an allied Burning Chariot to remove cover from an enemy unit before shooting it with your main army.
Question: Mike, I love your content. I know you run a Chaos website, but I play a non-Chaos army and really wish there was a version of this article for my army. Will you consider making an Imperium or Xenos version of this guide?
Answer: How dare you speak to me?
Ally Units to Consider
- The Changeling (999/10)
- The Changeling is a million shenanigans wrapped into one model, and you should strongly consider him in every list. First of all, Lone Operative is a very powerful keyword. Being literally unable to be shot is the best defense against shooting. They have to get within 12″ to even shoot him. But wait, there’s more! If you get within 12″, you risk overwatch from his weirdly powerful flamer. If you get within 12″, you also are at risk of him rolling a 6 and making your unit literally ineligible to shoot that phase. And if you get within range and meet every requirement, you still have to make a Battleshock test to declare any melee orranged attacks into him. And with a 4++ invuln, sometimes he’ll randomly make his saves and survive anyway. The trick is to place him on the exact center of an objective, so his 40mm base covers the 40mm objective marker. That way even if the opponent has 3″ deepstrike, they literally can’t deepstrike onto the objective. They can try to shoot him off, but we’ve already covered how difficult that is.
- The Blue Scribes (8/10)
- A budget Changeling with the Lone Operative keyword. Their mortal wound ability is vaguely useful, but you’re really bringing them for their Lone Operative rule and movement/deepstrike ability.
- Nurglings (10/10)
- Cheap as chips, they’ll find a role in any list. Chaos armies have almost no innate Infiltrators, so allying in some Nurglings can stop your opponent from doing their own Infiltrate or Scout moves. While they can’t hold objectives, they can moveblock opponents from getting onto objectives or performing actions. They’re also the cheapest unit you can deepstrike to score Behind Enemy Lines or Engage On All Fronts. They’re also the cheapest unit you can use to screen out enemy deepstrikers. Don’t forget about their -1 to Hit aura to soften the blow from enemy melee units!
- Flesh Hounds (8.5/10)
- They’re mobile enough to cap objectives and do actions early, and have a ton of base area per point and can string out far enough to basically screen out a board edge by themselves. They can also effectively skirmish with enemy units in their weight class. Flesh Hounds would be even better if I or anyone else ever remembered to fire their flamer.
- Flamers (8.5/10)
- While they’re no longer going to shoot down Knights like could in 9th Edition, they are still excellent mission play pieces. 65 points is a very fair price for a durable unit that can do your mission grunt work.
- The Masque (5/10)
- It’s a more expensive Blue Scribes that can debuff enemy melee units, protecting units like War Dogs. It’s cute that it makes Custodes wound your Knights on 6’s. It will see real play if it ever gets the points cut that basically all Slaanesh Daemons need.
- Blue Horrors (6/10)
- Most Chaos armies desperately need some forward deploying units that can actually hold objectives, but they’re just a bit too expensive.
- Skull Cannons (6/10)
- Their durability is very good and their output isn’t bad. But unless you have specific plans for their battleshock ability, you’ll have better options.
- Fateskimmer (4/10)
- The once-per-game teleport is a great rule. I just wish the Fateskimmer actually did something with it. It’s pretty durable, can skirmish a little bit, and can score you movement secondaries late game. It’s fine.
- Burning Chariot (6/10)
- Turning off cover on an enemy unit can make your main army’s shooting better. It’s also pretty durable and can skirmish well. 135 points is just a lot of points to pay.
- Exalted Seeker Chariot (7.5/10)
- The Exalted Chariot is a great Rapid Ingress option, with the speed to deepstrike somewhere safe and then charge onto objectives, and 12 4++ wounds and OC5 to make dislodging it a real pain for the opponent.
- Seekers (7.5/10)
- With a 9″ pre-game move, Seekers are great at grabbing objectives early. They can also move to safety so they can’t be shot if you go second. A first turn move of 9″ + 14″ + rerolling d6″ makes them the game’s premier early moveblockers. I have watched Seekers lose fights to Cultists before, so expect nothing out of them damage-wise, and they’re relatively expensive.
Allies to Avoid
- Any melee Chaos Knight loadouts
- Without access to the Knights Of Shade stratagem to move through terrain, all of the melee variants are just way too slow.
- Any Knights larger than War Dogs
- I don’t even run big Knights
- Greater Daemons, generally speaking
- All of the Greater Daemons are all great to various extents, but they need the synergies that come from being in a Chaos Daemons list to function efficiently. You legally can’t fit Be’lakor and another Greater Daemon under the 500 point ally limit. All of the Greater Daemons need Be’lakor’s untargettable aura to start safely on the board, or the Realm Of Chaos and the Shadow Of Chaos to teleport around the board and get 6″ charges. You also can’t buy any enhancements, meaning that the Lord Of Change and Great Unclean One get massively worse and Bloodthirsters and Keepers Of Secrets get slightly worse.
- Daemon Princes
- Same issue as Greater Daemons. A Winged Prince is a spicy Rapid Ingress threat if you have no Precision in your list, but they are rarely going to be worth it.
- Any melee Daemons
- Same issue as Greater Daemons. Plague Drones are at least decent objective cappers. Bloodcrushers are also decent as Rapid Ingress threats or early skirmishers over objectives.
- Daemon Troops besides Nurglings
- They’re all just way overcosted, although Pink Horrors can be very worthwhile in a Daemons list. Plaguebearers are vaguely interesting as a semi-durable objective holder that can sticky objectives for you even as an ally, but Daemonettes and Bloodletters are complete non-starters.
Faction Specific Recommendations
This is something I’ve thought way too much about. I love the World Eaters ruleset. Their rules are powerful and dynamic. Their points, on the other hand, are largely awful. A great fix to that issue? Bring units that aren’t World Eaters! This is 80% joking, and 20% a serious commentary on the insane points costs of many World Eaters units. I suffer severe psychic damage whenever I remember Eightbound are 55PPM.
The biggest issue with World Eaters (assuming you’re running a traditional melee list, not something like a Lords Of Skulls with War Dogs) is that they just auto-lose to Custodes because of their Fights First strat. Skull Cannons as allies can help with that. Most armies don’t care about forcing battleshock in their turn. World Eaters are one of the few that do, because they need to stop Custodes from using stratagems (remember, battleshocked units can’t use stratagems).
Flesh Hounds also help World Eaters too. With their 12″ move and big bases, they also help shore up the Custodes matchup. If there is a big brick of Custodes, charge Flesh Hounds into them first and base as many models in their brick as you can. This means that when they Fight First, most of the attacks go into the Flesh Hounds, and not your more important melee unit that charged. They also have big bases and basically screen out an entire board edge, meaning you can focus on moving forwards instead of screening behind you with your World Eaters.
Bloodcrushers are also just a good datasheet, and give World Eaters a legitimate Rapid Ingress threat that can pressure your opponent, moveblock, and fight over objectives. OC2 with 4 T7 wounds and a 4++ invuln is not something that the opponent wants showing up to charge their objectives next turn.
I’m not as into the War Dogs for World Eaters, but Brigands are generically great. You can’t go wrong adding them, but you don’t need to add them either.
World Eaters Recommendations: Skull Cannons, Flesh Hounds, War Dog Brigands
Everything I say here comes from a place of love for Death Guard. They’re the most thematic, and arguably coolest, army in the game.
Did you know they were my first 40K army? The first “comp” style game of 40K I ever played was with Death Guard at my friend Chris G’s house. He was patient with me as I placed my Plagueburst Crawlers on random pieces of terrain and asked, “Can I place my model here? How about here? Okay, how about leaning it diagonally on this piece?” I’ve got about 4.000 (added a “.” instead of a “,” as a thank you to my European readers) points painted by now. I remember driving to some of my first RTTs with a (probably awful) Death Guard list packed in my trunk, listening to Indestructible by Disturbed to get in the right headspace to play Death Guard. All of this is to establish some credentials with long-term Death Guard players. I genuinely love this army, and I want to run it in both practice games and tournaments.
With all of that out of the way: The 10th edition “index” is an absolute joke, and I’m so disappointed by the flavor and lack of interesting rules that I’m not really playing this army. I don’t give a shit about the power level of the army. Any long-term Warphammer fans know I will completely disregard the meta standing of an army and find ways to make it work if I find it cool. I just don’t find the current Death Guard ruleset fun or thematic at all, and as a result, I’ve barely touched them.
I know there are hardcore Death Guard fans who still want to run this army, so let’s show those players some love and talk seriously about adding allies to a Death Guard list.
A Death Guard artillery park with 3 Plagueburst Crawlers, 2 Nurgle Soul Grinders, and maybe some Brigands could actually be really spicy. You build a strategy based around picking up so much of their mission playing chaff every turn with that much indirect. You can then just try to play around their big brick of Wraithguard or whatever and try to win on the mission with your own chaff. My attitude towards making a suboptimal army work is to find some niche that the army actually does above average, and just lean fully into that. Death Guard artillery with allied artillery will do that very well.
Nurglings are great value, and any Death Guard list will want to bring 2 or 3 units. Plaguebearers are not bad, but they’re just not something that Death Guard need.
Plague Drones are another very cool option for Death Guard lists. They give you some mobility and durability, and getting 15 T8 wounds with an invuln for 120 points helps shore up the fragility of other units in your army (I am so upset I have to say this about Death Guard in 10th Edition). The T8 of Plague Drones pairs extremely well with their 5+ invuln. The issue with Plaguebearers is that at only T5 with a 5++, they’re very vulnerable to high volumes of low AP shooting and Blast weapons. Plague Drones take less than half as many wounds from S4 volume shooting like Desolators. Not only are they wounded on a 6+ instead of 5+, but they aren’t triggering additional Blast shots either.
Fuck me, I just randomly remembered Plagueburst Crawlers are only T10. I need to move on from thinking about this army before I get too upset.
Death Guard Recommendations: Nurglings in every list, Soul Grinders and Brigands if you’re running a shooting mech list, Plague Drones
Chaos Space Marines
Chaos Space Marines are a powerful and versatile army. As a result, the bar for an ally unit being good enough to make your list over a CSM unit is much higher than it is for Death Guard or World Eaters. That doesn’t mean allies are useless for CSM–far from it.
CSM have the damage output part of the game very well covered. Obliterators, Forgefiends, and Possessed are basically best-in-class in terms of raw output.
CSM also can have durable chaff covered by bringing Accursed Cultists, especially with a Dark Commune. They’ve got skirmishers with Chosen and Raptos. They can also bring decent mobility with units like Raptors and Warp Talons and Bikers. They have untargetable units with Cypher and Warpsmiths and the Dark Obscuration/Nurgle interaction.
What CSM lack are 2 things: Infiltrating units, and cheap versions of everything in that paragraph above. That’s where Daemons come in, and the Dark Gods truly have answers for every CSM player’s prayers.
Nurglings give you a dirt cheap option to Infiltrate and block opposing Infiltrators/Scout moves and do actions, or deepstrike into corners to score Behind Enemy Lines and things like that. Flamers/Flesh Hounds give you cheap and semi-durable early objective grabbers and skirmishers and screens. The Changeling and Blue Scribes are elite objective holders with Lone Operative and can help score secondaries.
I don’t think it’s optimal, but Kairos is a very cute ally option for CSM. His One Head Looks Back ability can stack with Cypher to give you two sources of +1CP cost for opposing stratagems. Kairos also has enough indirect power to nuke a D-Cannon turn 1 and make the Eldar matchup easier. His One Head Looks Forward ability to refund CP on stratagems used by Tzeentch Daemons seems useless in soup, but it’s still pretty great. He can target himself with that ability, meaning you get a (possibly) free CP reroll every round. 1 (possibly) free reroll on his invuln every round means that it’s actually really hard for something like a pair of Fire Prisms to do damage to him if they get an angle.
I have to stop talking about allying Kairos into CSM right now before I convince myself to actually do this. Someone else try this and let me know how it works out.
Speaking of Greater Daemons, let’s talk about Shalaxi or a Bloodthirster. I’ll be straight up and say that I don’t think either of these options are good. Synergy with Be’lakor is the main thing they’re missing, as it’s impossible to to bring both Be’lakor and a Greater Daemon and stay under the restriction of 500 ally points. If you start them on the board, you miss Be’lakor’s 18″ Lone Operative aura and access to Realm Of Chaos and Advance and Charge stratagems. If you deepstrike them, you miss Shadow Of Chaos for 6″ deepstrike. If you Rapid Ingress them, they’re unlikely to kill enough to justify their cost before dying. Neither Shalaxi nor a Bloodthirster is a bad ally option, but they’re not going to be optimal. Well, optimal for anything besides Rule Of Cool. Be’lakor isn’t optimal either, but at least he’s a very annoying Rapid Ingress threat since you can position him >18″ from their biggest guns so he can’t be shot.
Chaos Space Marines have basically 0 reasons to ally in any Knights. Brigands are not bad, but you could also just bring a Forgefiend for similar points. CSM with Brigand allies is a perfectly fine list, but I would rather spend those points on CSM units with more synergy or Daemon allies that fill a role you can’t fill from your CSM.
There is only one reason I would consider running Brigands in CSM: Genestealer Cults. GSC are not only a top tier army now, but because of how our mechanics interact, GSC are specifically a nearly insurmountable matchup for most CSM lists. Brigands are really good into GSC, and help shore up that matchup. I’m not going to run any personally, but I wouldn’t blame any CSM player who runs Brigands for that reason. Nurglings also help a lot with GSC, but you’re going to run those already anyway.
Chaos Space Marine Recommendations: Nurglings, Flamers, Flesh Hounds, The Changeling, The Blue Scribes, Kairos or a War Dog Brigand if you want to get cute
Thousand Sons don’t really want allies at all. Their lists are already so tight on points. You’re also paying not just in points, but also in Cabal Points you’re missing out on. With the way Thousand Sons play in 10th, you want every unit to be synergizing with your gameplan. Thousand Sons’s weaknesses also line up with the weaknesses of Tzeentch Daemons, so you don’t really solve anything by adding them in.
The main options to consider are The Changeling or Blue Scribes for Lone Operative shenanigans. You can literally never go too wrong by adding units with the Lone Operative rule into any list. in Flamers are also generically useful, but Thousand Sons have excellently priced Tzaangor Enlightened and Chaos Spawn to fill similar roles. Thousand Sons players want some, or all, of their chaff to come from the Thousand Sons index so they have the option to double move them to screen/destroy GSC blips or use them as spotters for indirect fire.
Let’s talk about the other cute option: Chaos Knights to take maximum advantage of Twist Of Fate. Thousand Sons use Twist Of Fate to strip the armour save off of a unit, and then pound it with low-AP, high damage shooting from their Chaos Knight allies. This is not optimal, but it’s a synergy that I could absolutely see destroying some RTTs.
The issue is that Knights are just so expensive. If you’re going for the Twist Of Fate/Chaos Knight gimmick, I actually like 3 Executioners more than 1 Despoiler. It seems most events or metas have some sort of Towering tweak that makes it less powerful. With 3 Executioners you save 150 points, get significantly more OC, can screen your entire backfield, and still have a massive volume of 3 damage shots. You can even Strategic Reserve all of those Executioners to ensure a beta strike. Brigands are also a generically fine option.
Thousand Sons Recommendations: Nothing, The Changeling, Blue Scribes, Flamers, War Dog Executioners or a Despoiler with Battle Cannons if you want to get cute
A small contingent of Daemons are almost always going to be a smart choice for Chaos Knights, unless you’re trying to cram in as many War Dogs as possible and need every last point. I wrote an article on my Chaos Knights list with allies, and recommend you check it out here. We’re going to keep this section brief since we’ve already talked about this so recently.
Outside of the classic mission play elements, I’ve found you don’t really need any Daemons. Skull Cannons and Burning Chariots have nice synergies, but I’ve never had the Skull Cannon’s battleshock/Pterrorshades interaction come up.
Chaos Knights Recommendations: The Changeling, Blue Scribes, Flamers, Flesh Hounds, Nurglings, Burning Chariots if you’re running a Battle Cannon Despoiler or Executioners
Chaos Daemons just don’t need what Chaos Knights have to offer. They already have plenty of shooting, and adding War Dogs without access to Knights Of Shade just leaves you with a section of your army without movement shenanigans.
If you’re going down the Nurgle Soul Grinder route then I could see some Brigands providing value, but by and large you’ve already got a versatile and synergistic army. Just bring more of what you already have.
Chaos Daemon Recommendations: Nothing
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Adding Daemons to your list opens up a whole new world of options for every Chaos army. Don’t be afraid to take the ideas from this article, try them out on the table, and find the exact list that works best for you.
As always, have fun, stay safe, and may the Dark Gods bless your rolls!