In Black and Gold Reborn: Discussing the New Chaos Space Marines Meta with CSM Superstar Russell Tassin!

My spikey friends, I’ve got something extra special for you today. I sat down with top CSM player Russell Tassin to chat about playing Chaos Space Marines competitively, and share his knowledge and enthusiasm with all of you.

This smiling face is the last thing many Raiders and Dakkajets ever saw before they were blown off the table

Not only is Russell a fantastic player, but he is a real fan of the lore behind the faction. Like many of us, he got into CSM through reading Aaron Dembski-Bowden’s incredible Black Legion series. While many players of his skill level have abandoned their favorite factions to play the most powerful new releases, Russell has perfected his Black Legion list and kept grinding out wins. This resulted in him winning a Major during a time that everyone thought Chaos Space Marines were at the bottom of the competitive game. He’s also a real sportsman at the table, and a big believer in playing with a warm attitude and by intent.

Full Video

Timestamps are provided below:

  • 0:30 – Why we’re excited about the recent balance changes
  • 2:30 – Abaddon has reached the next level
  • 10:30 – Night Lords and Emperor’s Children hype
  • 15:35 – Chaos’s BEST Melee Unit
  • 18:45 – Discussing our toughest matchups
  • 59:12 – Russell’s General Advice for CSM Players
  • 1:02:50 – Read your codex again

Main Takeaways

I highly recommend you watch the full interview so you can have fun with us and catch all the details, but here are a few quick takeaways that every fan can take away from Russell and I’s discussion:

  • It’s a fun time to be playing Chaos Space Marines. Russell had some great mindset advice in a previous discussion about accepting what is there, instead of wishing for things that aren’t. It’s true we don’t have our extra wounds yet, but what we do have is an incredibly deep and strong set of tools to make up for that. If you want to play Chaos competitively, focus on our strengths instead of wishing our weaknesses were different.
  • READ YOUR CODEX. We can’t stress this enough. There are tools in there that you are missing. You can’t just listen to other people’s descriptions of datasheets or stratagems and think you understand everything about the codex. Look at the exact wordings, look for combinations, see how things interact. This applies to every faction, but is especially true for Chaos Space Marine players.
  • Abaddon is arguably the best unit in the entire game. Using his own reroll aura to reroll everything besides 5’s and 6’s, he averages around 17 hits every time he activates. You owe it to yourself to play Abaddon at least once and have fun with him.
  • Emperor’s Children are legitimately great now. Russell puts them in the A Tier, and frankly I don’t disagree with that at all. Their floor is quite low, but their ceiling is up there with anyone else’s. Exploding 5’s to hit on Terminators with lightning claws and guaranteed charges is just downright dirty.

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

Note: Excited to get your Chaos army on the tabletop? Me too! I’d love to work with you on making your fun or weird Chaos idea into a competitive list. If you’re interested in supporting the growth of Warphammer and quality 40K writing, feel free to check out and join the team. Additional benefits and coaching are available.

Interested in learning more about playing Chaos? Check out the Warphammer Discord here:

Big thank you to Jamie Miller of the World Eaters channel the Red Path for teaching me the basics of video and audio editing. He’s one of the really great people in the Chaos community, and I highly recommend any Chaos fans follow his channel:

Published: November 9th, 2021. Last Updated: November 9th, 2021.

4 thoughts on “In Black and Gold Reborn: Discussing the New Chaos Space Marines Meta with CSM Superstar Russell Tassin!”

  1. Have you designed any competitive night Lords list that could shine in the current meta? It’s my favorite chapter but still I don’t find the key!

    1. Manu, I am still undecided on Night Lords as a monofaction, but I love them in mixed lists!

      I’m currently running an all Slaanesh list, Slaanesh Daemons battalion with Night Lords outrider:

      *Exalted Keeper, Warlord, Celerity of Slaanesh, Forbidden Gem
      *Exalted Keeper
      *3×10 Daemonettes
      *3×2 Fiends

      *Lord with Jump Pack and relic claws, Claws Of The Black Hunt
      * 3 x 5 Raptors, Claw on leader, Icon of Excess
      * 3 x 5 Warp Talons

      Night Lords suffer a bit as monofaction since they need all the CP to fuel their shenanigans and don’t have real shooting buffs.

      A Black Legion battalion with Abaddon and some shooting units like Dreadnoughts, accompanied by a Night Lords outrider, would be a strong and fun list!

  2. Wow!!! What a crazy list!!! Seems so extreme but fine to crush any opponent hahahaha. Hoping to hear your review about it. Thanks Mike!

  3. How many night Lords units do you keep in reserves? Sometimes I think that with the actual tables the enemy has many options to zone us and avoid to deploy reserves where we would like to 🙁

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