Crimson Slaughter to the Slaughter: Updated Codex Supplement with New Formations


Greetings all,

Well I did it. Despite knowing better, I bought the Crimson Slaughter updated Codex supplement. Like the Black Legion supplement that I took a look at, the Crimson Slaughter book is filled with interesting fiction about the once loyal Crimson Sabres, pictures of the models, some cool artwork and a selection of new rules to use in conjunction with the Chaos Space Marine Codex (CSM).

I quite enjoy reading about the fall of an Adeptus Astartes chapter but almost feel like there could have been some serious build up to it. Like say if we had a Crimson Sabre supplement first, detailing the illustrious rise of a noble chapter defending humanity. Then slowly in White Dwarf articles and Black Library e-books we start to see the Chapter buckle in its duties, until finally it breaks. Then the Crimson Slaughter could have been released and there fall from grace would have had more impact. This is personal preference; it just felt odd that CSM were thrown a supplement about a new faction when there are the traitor legions and a whole host of established renegade Chapters.


Nonetheless the narrative contained within the supplement is enjoyable. However, I’m here to talk about the new formations. As the Crimson Slaughter book, like the Black Legion, has received a digital update.

Just quickly, for those that don’t know, the Crimson Slaughter Possessed are troops and they have a very different mutation table. You roll at the start of your turn and can benefit from Shrouded, Cavalry movement, or rending and a 3++ until the start of your next turn. I view this as better but situational.

New Formations

The Ravagers – A simple one of 1 Chosen and 1 unit of Possessed, as long as the Chosen Champion is alive at the start of your turn you can pick one of the units from the formation to re-roll all failed to hit rolls.

Disciples of Mannon – A Sorcerer and a unit of Possessed, this one is oddly specific but I do like it for how bizarre it is. At the start of the battle roll two dice, place them to one side as if your opponent rolls two dice and gets an identical result you can summon a unit within 18” of your Sorcerer. The unit is rolled for from a table, 1 – 3 Pink Horrors, 2 -5 three Screamers or three Flamers and on a 6 a Herald (meh) or Lord of Change! I tried this out in a game at the weekend (and admittedly we did have to rush) and didn’t get to summon a unit sadly. Combine with Malefic Daemonlogy for glorious summoning times (just ignore the sour look from your opponent).

Brethren of the Dark Covenant – Grab a Dark Apostle, 1 unit of Possessed and 1-3 units of CSM.  What you get is a super pissed off Apostle, who can inspire your marines to give not one single shit. Rather than shooting your Apostle wails at every unit of the formation within 12”, those units now have Zealot and Feel No Pain until the start of your next turn! This has to be one of the standout formations from the supplement. Perhaps load up your marines in Rhino’s and rush the enemy, disembark with those special weapons and a few Powerfist’s and let your Apostle chant his litanies to make your units tough to move. Combine with the Mark of Nurgle for added resilience.

Cult of Slaughter – An Apostle with 2-8 units of Cultists. Cultist units from the formation within 9” of the Apostle are Leadership 10 but you take it for the following; at the start of each of your movement phases roll a d6 for each Cultist unit that has suffered casualties, you gain that many back up to your starting squad size. Who needs survivability when you can raise the dead!

Lords of Slaughter – One Chaos Lord, 1 Possessed unit, 1 Chaos Terminator unit and 1-3 units of CSM’s. Your Lord gains Psyker ML1, he always knows Prescience and can target any unit from the formation regardless of range. No Force weapon though and that’s it for this formation. I don’t rate it as you’re paying for a lot of units when you could just have a Sorcerer with divination (using the 30pt artefact from the supplement). As ultimately Chaos Lords just aren’t that good. Controversial? Probably not.

Kranon’s Helguard – One Chaos Lord, 1 unit of Chosen, 1 unit of Terminators, 2 units of Cultist, 1 unit of Raptors, 1 Land Raider and a Helbrute. Your infantry gain Stubborn (pretty good really) and enemy units within 12” of one unit from your formation are at -1 Ld, if they are within two units they are also at -1 BS. It’s an army and the formation benefits are alright, however that’s a lot of foot slogging infantry and most armies have access to fearless or ATSKNF which negates the whole Crimson Slaughter fear malarkey. Only use this against another fun formation, it’s just not competitive, which is fine for casual games.

The Red Onslaught – A special formation that consists of all of the aforementioned formations (units can belong to their own formation and the Red Onslaught, and benefit from their original formation rules as well as TRO rules). This is a big formation, containing a lot of infantry (so many cultists!). All enemy units are at -1 Ld while at least one unit from this formation is alive.  The other rule lets you revive a destroyed unit of Possessed , you roll at the start of your turn and on a 4+ the unit is placed into ongoing reserves; when they arrive (in the subsequent turn) they Deep Strike in. They no longer benefit from their original formation rules but can be revived again. It’s a high tax to pay to revive arguably one of the worst units from the CSM Codex. Although I think the Crimson Slaughter Possessed have more flexible rules they are still just marines with 2 attacks and a 3+/5++. At 30 points a model they’re just too overpriced for their damage output and will struggle against most enemies. I think this formation is for the hardcore Crimson Slaughter players out there. If you do take this make sure your Psykers take Telepathy where possible and Shriek your enemies whenever you can as you can take 2 points of their leadership with clever unit placement. Throw in Be’lakor for even more Telepathy shenanigans.

There we have it folks, as far as I can tell the artefacts are the same as before (or have received only the subtlest of tweaks). I think overall the Black Legion formations are better and more flexible, as in my opinion Possessed are still to be avoided, which will be hard to do seeing as almost every formation contains at least one unit of them. Now if they bring out a new CSM Codex that could change things significantly, but until then I’m going to say not worth it. At £15 for the basic digital version (Apple) it’s not going to wreck the bank but it’s hardly a bargain. If you’re after an aggressive combat CSM army then consider the same priced gamer edition Khorne Daemonkin Codex, you get a shed load of rules as it’s a standalone list. What’s more you’re battle brothers with CSM so you can ally up to your tainted hearts content.

Until next time, have an ace one all.


Image Sources: Crimson Slaughter Codex Supplement. Used for the sole purpose of entertainment, reporting news and reviewing the updated Codex for non-commercial use. All rights reserved by Games Workshop.


  1. Nice summary – I bought the older digital edition so was pleasantly surprised when the update was a free one, but then again there isn’t really enough new material that I would have rushed to pay for it. I really wish Possessed were better in general – I think that are great fun to build as you can get away with some great conversions and they are one of the uniquely Chaos units which sets the Codex apart from the Imperial brethren, but jeez do they such in games terms for the points.

    1. Cheers for the comment bud. I completely agree, possessed are such a cool unit that gives the modeller so many opportunities (not to mention the gorgeous Gal Vorbak) and yet the rules are so lacklustre. It was good to get the update (I benefited from the Black Legion one, as I’d already bought that a while back), as there are some formations I’ll give a spin. I’m still hoping for something more substantial this year though.

    1. Apparently not, I was surprised as there are rules for the aspiring champion. I thought GW were going to throw him into the Crimson Slaughter ‘dex but oddly no. Perhaps those sets will have rules in White Dwarf…

      1. They should excel at one or more of the following for the points you pay:
        1. They need to be fast (move like beasts is good but still random and since they lack pistols they should be able to run and charge)
        2. They need to kill stuff dead. Their attacks should either be more (3 base or count as having two cc weapons) or be more devastating (random doesn’t count).
        3. They need to have survivability. Higher toughness, an extra wound or better saves (again random doesn’t cut it).

        I’m all for random rolls and abilities but you need at least some reliability when you bring an expensive unit like that.

        1. Definitely, 100% with you. Hopefully the next CSM Codex will address these issues. Till then we shall make do, haha. I’m determined to beat my Wolf mate with a primary detachment of CSM. Even though my Inquisition are vastly superior on the field!

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