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Crimson Slaughter Codex Review - Warhammer 40k

Updated on May 5, 2014
Crimson Slaughter Codex Review
Crimson Slaughter Codex Review

Crimson Slaughter Introduction

Welcome, fellow gamers. My name is Murphy and I've just had a read through of the brand new Crimson Slaughter Codex for Warhammer 40k. This codex is a supplemental codex for the Chaos Space Marine army, as in the original codex is required to play it! There are a few pages of important rules, and a lot of background and art.

I was actually quite pleased with some of the changes made to the army list/rules and I think Chaos fans will be pleased, too. If you haven't read my original review of the Chaos Space Marine Codex, click here below, then we can continue with the Crimson Slaughter article.

Alright, let's get started!

Crimson Slaughter Codex Review
Crimson Slaughter Codex Review

Crimson Slaughter Background

The Crimson Slaughter had an original name: the Crimson Sabres. This loyalist chapter was from an unknown founding, but the Inquisition might hold more records as to their origins and gene-seed.

What is known, however, is that the Crimson Sabres were a martial chapter, dedicated to combat, discipline, and the righteousness of the Imperial Creed. The pride of their successes isolated them from other chapters, and bred a competitive mindset, which furthered their drive to martial perfection.

While serving a call for aid on the planet Umidia, the Crimson Sabres discovered deeply infested cults to the dark gods and set about purging the taint from the planet. The more cleansing actions they prosecuted, they more corruption they unrooted. Their righteous zeal consumed them and soon the Crimson Sabres saw the corruption everywhere. Before they realized where their actions were taking them, the Crimson Sabres has massacred the population of the entire planet.

Later investigations by the Inquisition found very little evidence that widespread corruption had taken root on Umidia . . . so what had taken place. Were the Crimson Sabres tricked by the Chaos Gods? Or had a corrupted gene-seed finally given in to the taint within the chapter?

Regardless, the marines of the Crimson Sabres became besieged by the voices of the dead. Their massacre had destroyed their psyche, and the pleading, angry voices of the dead haunted their every waking moment. Still, the Crimson Sabres did not turn traitor.

Seeking only to understand the cause of the malediction, the Crimson Sabres turned to investigate the planet Demetra, sister planet to Umidia. They found further evidence of the corruption they had prosecuted on Umidia and sought to gather this evidence to clear their name of any atrocities they had committed earlier. Yet, as they made planetfall, their doom was sealed as they again gave way to the insatiable slaughter they had experience on Umidia.

As they killed, the voices of their victims began to fade. They realized that only through continued violence could they quell the taint within them. To seek peace was to give in to insanity, for only through slaughter could they retain their minds.

With a second genocide to their record. the Crimson Sabres were deemed outcasts and were now hunted by the Imperium. With their homeworld deemed Exterminatus, they Crimson Sabres fled into the Eye of Terror, not to rebel, but to fight the traitor legions were they could . . . to both continue to serve the Imperium while also continuing their slaughter without inflicting harm on innocent populations.

After years spent in the Eye of Terror, continue their slaughter to diminish the power of the voices in their heads, the Crimson Sabres began to mutate. Each passing battle brought more and more corruption to the marines . . . and the voices of their victims began to sing a unified tune . . . your slaughter is righteous, your cause is just, the Imperium is wrong.

The Crimson Sabres turned to self-preservation, using their new corruption to better themselves in battle. No longer concerned with their reputation or the ideals of the Imperium. With a final purge of the few remaining Loyalists, the Crimson Sabres crossed the final line and became the Crimson Slaughter.

Crimson Slaughter Codex Review
Crimson Slaughter Codex Review

Crimson Slaughter Army Rules

The Crimson Slaughter use the standard Chaos Space Marine Codex to create their army. However, there are a few supplemental rules that replace or add to the CSM rules. Let's check them out.

Harbingers of the Tormented - All models in a Crimson Slaughter army have the Fear special rule.

Draznicht's Ravages - For just 10 points you can upgrade a unit of Chosen to have Preferred Enemy. This rule applies to the unit Champion, and if he dies then the rule is lost.

Renegades of the Dark Millennium - The Crimson Slaughter are a new renegade faction of chaos space marines, as a result most units cannot take Veterans of the Long War. Only Khorn Berserkers, Plague Marines, and Noise Marines may take VotLW.

Allies - It says that Crimson Slaughter can Ally with Chaos Space Marines and are Battle Brothers. Does this mean they can ONLY Ally with CSM? I don't think so . . . this supplement uses all the standard rules of the parent codex, so I think it's just saying that you can ally this book with the parent book, as well. It is worded ambiguously, but I think this makes sense.

A couple of thoughts . . . Having fear on every model in your army can be a great thing if your local gaming group has a lot of non-space marine armies. Tau, Imperial Guard, Eldar, Dark Eldar, etc are all very susceptible to a failed Fear check.

I really like the Chosen upgrade that will give the unit Preferred Enemy. Load up on plasma guns and you can re-roll any To Hit roll of 1... which means you will likely never Get Hot and you will be blasting enemy units turn after turn. Keep them safe inside a Rhino so two can pop shots out of the top, then disembark them while within 12" of an enemy to double-tap those plasma guns and wipe out entire squads.

Giving up Veterans of the Long War is a mixed bag. I love that rule, but it is pricey across a whole army and only comes in to play in assaults. It's a fair compromise, and you can still have Cult units take the upgrade . . . for those visiting veterans.

Crimson Slaughter Codex Review
Crimson Slaughter Codex Review

Crimson Slaughter Possessed

Slaves to the Voices

The Crimson Slaughter have become mutated and twisted by the dark powers of Chaos. As such, they have a large number of Possessed within their ranks. This new rules is an interesting addition to this codex. So what does it do?

First, it makes units of Possessed become Troops, rather than Elite. Secondly, it changes the rules for Possessed. At the beginning of your turn, you roll for each unit of Possessed on the following chart and immediately apply the effects until the start of your next turn.

  1. Unit and any transport vehicle gain Shrouded.
  2. Unit changes its type to Beasts (12" move, not slowed by terrain!)
  3. 3+ invulnerable save and gain Rending special rule.

This is a pretty good change. It's unfortunate that it's random, but you know how chaos loves random tables! Let's look at each entry.

Gaining Shrouded... if this happens in the early game (or late game while holding an objective) then it can be very useful. Start your Possessed in area terrain (or move them into it) and you can be looking at a 2+ or 3+ cover save. This can greatly protect your expensive troops and keep them alive to reach combat.

Becoming Beasts . . . I love beasts! They move 12" in the Movement Phase and basically ignore terrain. Their clawed limbs let them gallop swiftly through anything. Unfortunately, beasts are slowed by terrain when assaulting, but they have Fleet, so they should still get somewhere. With at least one roll resulting in Beasts, you should be getting Turn 2 assaults.

3+ Save and Rending . . . this is a great result because it helps you with both defense and offense. Obviously a 3+ invulnerable save helps you against any heavy weapons coming you way, so you may survive a little more to reach assault. In the assault, it can save your daemonic hide against power weapons of all types. The Rending is great for offense because some hot dice will result in AP2 hits in melee.

I also want to remind readers about what rules Possessed also have:

  • Marines stats but Strength of 5 and 2 Attacks Base.
  • Daemon special rule (Fear, 5+ Invuln)
  • Fleet
  • Fearless
  • Can take Marks of Chaos and Icons
  • Can take a Rhino.
  • Just under 30 points per model . . . so still expensive!

Crimson Slaughter Codex Review
Crimson Slaughter Codex Review

Crimson Slaughter Warlord Traits

If your primary detachment is from the Crimson Slaughter codex, then your HQ can roll on their new Warlord Chart.

  1. Warlord and unit gain Hatred... against Dark Angels, you can re-roll misses on EVERY round of combat.
  2. Enemy units within 12" of warlord are at -1 LD, but are -2 LD for Fear checks!
  3. Warlord has Rage and Furious Charge, but if he or his unit is within 12" of an enemy, they cannot Shoot and must Assault.
  4. Warlord and Unit has the Crusader special rule.
  5. Enemy models in base contact with warlord take d6 Str 3 hits at AP - at Initiative 10.
  6. Warlord has Shrouded (which he gives to unit, by the way).

Crimson Slaughter Relics

4.2 out of 5 stars from 35 ratings of Crimson Slaughter Relics

Crimson Slaughter Relics

Characters from a Crimson Slaughter codex cannot select the relics from the main CSM codex. Instead they may select from the new list below. There are some very interesting items here, if combined with other wargear!

Crozius of Dark Covenant - Replaces a Dark Apostle's power maul. +2 Str, AP 4, Concussive and grants Warp Medium . . . which gives all Crimson Slaughter units within 6" of the bearer the Zealot special rule (Fearless and Hatred).

Blade of the Relentless - Lord only. Power sword with Soul Siphon . . . keep a tally of every model slain by this sword and gain the following effects (cumulative)

  • 1+ kill, gain +1 Strength
  • 3+ kills, gain AP 2
  • 5+ kills, gain another +1 Strength
  • 10+ kills, gain Instant Death

The Slaughterer's Horns - Gain Furious Charge, Hammer of Wraith, and Rage.

Balestar of Mannon - Sorcerer only. Gain access to the Divination psychic powers AND re-roll failed psychic power tests. However, the bearer or his unit cannot gain bonuses to Deny the Witch rolls.

Daemonheart - Cannot be taken by a Daemon Prince. Gain a 2+ armor save and It Will Not Die.

Prophet of the Voices - Gains Daemon, Fearless, Fleet special rules. It gains the Slaves to the Voice rule (for possessed) and can only join units of Possessed.

Some thoughts on these relics. First, the most expensive of these relics is only 30 points. These are pretty cheap!

I love the one that grants Divination to a sorcerer, as it's a powerful discipline. Gaining Precognition (re-roll To Hit rolls for a unit within 12") is very nice!

The Blade of the Relentless will be great if you can get into combat early with a squishy unit, and let a unit champion soak up any challenges, so your lord can kill the fodder. Soon he will be a Strength 6 AP 2 monster in combat! A little more blood on his blade will then give him Instant Death!

What if we put the Daemon Heart on a Nurgle Lord on a Bike? We'd have a Toughness 6 Lord with a 2+ armor save and It Will Not Die, that can move 12" in the Movement Phase. Yes, please!

The last relic that turns your character into a Possessed is very fluffy and could gain you some added bonuses! Why not?

What do you think about these new Relics? Go ahead and rate them using the Star system to the right!

Crimson Slaughter Codex Review
Crimson Slaughter Codex Review

Crimson Slaughter Conclusion

That's about it! I have to say that I wasn't very interested in this codex at first glance. Who are these Crimson Slaughter upstarts? Why can't I have a supplemental codex for the original Traitor Legions? Night Lords . . . Alpha Legion . . . Word Bearers? Yes, the original Chaos Codex can make generic armies that have bits of flavor of all the traitor legions, but I want Chapter Tactics!

Once I got over my first reaction, and actually READ the codex, I was please. First, the Crimson Slaughter have a good backstory that is not bogged down by 25 years of gaming history. For newer players without an emotional attachment to the old fluff, this is not a bad place to start. For veteran players wanting a new project, the back story is a good starting point.

At least we have information about what these guys have been doing in the 41st millennium, rather than vagueries of the Black Crusade.

Rules-wise, this is a neat supplement. I would not have thought about making Possessed troops, and with the subtle changes to the chart, they made these overcosted units more survivable. The Warlord Chart has several useful results and giving Fear to every model is a nice touch versus xenos or guard armies.

Finally, the relics are cheap and darn useful! I mentioned the Nurgle Biker with the Daemonheart already. So what do you guys think about the codex? Take the poll to the right!

After that, check out some of my other 40k articles. I have lots of new information on Imperial Knights, the new IG codex coming out (Astra Militarum), and a much more!

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment below. Murphy out!

What do you think of the new CS codex?

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    • SomeEldarGuy profile image

      Alex 2 years ago

      You get shrouded from Conceal anyway, so yea, you get nice stuff from the Eldar defensive powers.

    • profile image

      dave 2 years ago

      Unfortunately possessed cannot get a 2++ save as the mark of tzeentch specifically prohibits it

    • murphy80 profile image
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      Murphy 3 years ago from Florida

      Alright, you take two Farseers with a Warlock Council, all on Jetbikes. They all have a 3+ armor save. Since you took enough Warlocks, you are bound to have one of them roll the Protect/Drain psychic power, which gives the unit +1 armor save. Now everyone has a 2+ armor save. Since you have two Farseers, you have a damn good chance that one of them will roll Fortune on the Runs of Fate list. Boom. Your unit now has a re-rollable 2+ armor save. The internet calls this the Seerstar, I believe. I've not run it, but it's been winning tournaments :)

      By the way, throw the Barron in there from Dark Eldar allies and the unit now has Shrouded (works nice with jink saves), Hit and Run, and have a better chance of stealing the initiative to go first :)

    • murphy80 profile image
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      Murphy 3 years ago from Florida

      Thanks, Johnny for reading and the comment. I've been busy with family the last few days, so I'm sorry for the late reply. To answer you question, I think some Possessed would be a good ally to a Khorne army. The one thing that CSM allies bring to a daemon army is armor saves! Most daemons only have a 5+ invulnerable save, so a unit with a hearty 3+ armor save is very nice. The Possessed are kind of expensive, but they can pack a punch and be very survivable with the new Crimson Slaughter rules as posted above.

      I love your point about having an unmarked sorcerer with Divination! Allowing a unit of Bloodletters to re-roll missing is going to be devastating! The biggest problem with running allies with Daemons is that it takes points away from more Daemons! Obviously this is true with all armies, but Daemons really work well when you bring a lot of them... or have a lot of large monsters! Taking allies limits these options, BUT I think its very fluffy and can still be effective. I usually bring a unit or two of chaos cultists for cheap scoring, a sorcerer, and a heldrake! Sometimes I bring some chaos marines for that nice 3+ armor save. Try it :)

    • SomeEldarGuy profile image

      Alex 3 years ago

      Eldar get rerollable 2+ cover saves, but that's the best save they get I think, I didn't think they got any items that increases invulns... Now I feel like I've missed something D:

    • profile image

      Johnny 3 years ago

      Hi, I would like to say I enjoyed this review, this book does seem a lot better than the Black Legion. I was wondering if this would be a good pairing with my Khorne Daemons, using Possessed to fight alongside my Bloodletters (And also providing them the tasty Grimore of Truenames!) without wasting too much points on allies. My budget would be 1000 pts on using CS allies in a 3000 pt list, so I want to know if they make a great ally for a fluffy Khorne Daemon army, while still having that daemon twist? Not to mention having an Unmarked Sorcerer with Divination is a great excuse without ruining the Khorne fluff!

      I would also be interested in your Daemon codex review as mentioned earlier, there may be synergies I didn't knew existed! In any case, great review on the codex supplement!

    • murphy80 profile image
      Author

      Murphy 3 years ago from Florida

      Actually, Eldar get a re-rollable 2++ if you make the deathstar unit... Farseer on jetbike, lots of warlocks on jetbikes, and the Baron from the Dark Eldar. I never ran the list, but something about the Barron tanking wounds with his 2+, but all the Eldar spells can allow you to re-roll failed saves... plus you get cover saves from jinking, stealth from the barron, and more psychic powers to improve saves. It's nasty, I hear.

    • SomeEldarGuy profile image

      Alex 3 years ago

      Even Eldar don't get 2++! Dark Eldar get a semi permanent one xD but that's the extent of 2++ that I've dealt with

    • murphy80 profile image
      Author

      Murphy 3 years ago from Florida

      What, you thought only Eldar could get 2++ saves? :) I'm pretty impressed with this codex, myself. I do want to see some love for the original traitor legions, but I think renegades also have a part to tell in the grand story! Good to see you on and commenting :)

    • SomeEldarGuy profile image

      Alex 3 years ago

      2++... 2++! 2++!!! What heresy is this! I love the story behind these guys, the renegade legions are rarely talked about on the whole, so it's nice to see them have a show in.

    • murphy80 profile image
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      Murphy 3 years ago from Florida

      Too funny! I will write it then, if even an overview of the crazy options that they can take... like greater gifts and blessings, and psychic powers, etc. It's a lot to digest, and somewhat random! I do appreciate the reads!

    • profile image

      Ray 3 years ago

      Believe me, I would read it. Even playing with a daemon guy and having him explain it to me. I still can't wrap my head around it. maybe I'm just not cut out for daemon understanding. In the scope of things, at least I won't turn into some crazy cultist.

    • murphy80 profile image
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      Murphy 3 years ago from Florida

      Yes, it does mean that Tzeentch Possessed could have a 2+ invulnerable save. I just re-read the CSM codex and the Crimson Slaughter codex. It looks like it's very possible :) Good catch!

      And no hard feelings about the Tau review. Honestly, if I get to it, it will be this summer when I have some time off. I only get a couple dozen visits to those articles now, and I'm not sure if I have the hours to put into it. They were such a new army for me that I had to learn everything from scratch! It took me a lot longer to review it than I thought it would. I'm trying to keep on top of all the codexes as they release, rather than go back and write older ones.

      Keep in mind that I'm a primary Daemon player now and I haven't even reviewed that codex! I know it in and out now, but it took me a few months to wrap my brain around it. Now I'm not sure if enough people would read a review to make it worth while :)

    • profile image

      WarMan 3 years ago

      Does this mean that Tzeentch marked possessed troops can potentially have a 2+ invulnerable saves if they roll correctly?

      By the way murphy, I don't want to sound like a jerk or anything especially when you are a busy person, but... are you going to finish your Tau review? Or have you decided to not continue it ever.

    • murphy80 profile image
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      Murphy 3 years ago from Florida

      Good question, Ray. No I haven't used any of the 30k Legions rules. I'd really liked to, but only one of my local group has the Horus Heresy books, so we've been hesitant to use those rules in 40k games. I've seen the Night Lords rules and they look very favorable. My problem is that, say I win using an army list like this... was it me... or the rules? I hate winning when people can say the list/rules are advantageous :( I'd love if all my local players used the 30k rules, though! Then there wouldn't be no complaints!

    • profile image

      Ray 3 years ago

      I was wondering, since you are a big chaos marines fan, do you play any of the old legion rules that forgeworld has come out with or ever thought about it. Their not the best in low point games, but in high point games they can do great things, and you can bring the primarches. best 2 in my opinion are Mortarion and Vulkan, they are both durable as heck. Vulkan is practically immune to plasma and melta weaponry.

    • murphy80 profile image
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      Murphy 3 years ago from Florida

      I've always wanted to run a Khorne army, but held back because it seemed like the "obvious" chaos choice. I don't see many of them anymore, so my curiosity is peeked again!

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      Buck 3 years ago

      I've always been a big fan of juggerlords, and the blade of the relentless just might have to replace the mace or axe as the go-to weapon of choice.

    • murphy80 profile image
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      Murphy 3 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for the comment. I love access to Divination! I play Eldar from time to time and having Divination is a life saver. Even bringing in a sorcerer and a troops choice as an Ally to regular space marines lets you use the Divination power on your primary army (battle brothers). Sweet deal!

    • profile image

      ThorHammer 3 years ago

      Im really impressed with this Codex. In my mind, the fluff in the codex makes for a more interesting story than the Red Corsairs and the rules are pretty awesome. The Relics fill 2 holes in the Regular Codex, a 2+ save, and access to divination. Compared to the Black legion codex I think this is a winner

    • murphy80 profile image
      Author

      Murphy 3 years ago from Florida

      I'd love to see supplements for the old legions, any and all! Yet, this book is pretty good. The story is better than I thought it'd be and the rules are just different enough to offer a new way to build an army. I think using this and allying in with standard chaos to open up more force org slots and get some Veterans of the Long War in will be good.

    • profile image

      Ray 3 years ago

      Like it. I can't say if it's better to run this,chaos, black legion, or a mix of this and one of the others. this does sound good though and it's not a surprise that they made this. still want to see an alpha legion or death guard supplement codex.