When you think of Chaos Space Marines, those powerful agents of the Emperor of Mankind who fell to the temptations, tricks, and vices of the Chaos Gods, you may think the whole army's made up of armored, hulking corrupted Astartes. But tainted Space Marines aren't the only thralls to Chaos, as we've shown in our coverage of the Chaos Space Marines Codex. To that end, Games Workshop just sent us two new units for Chaos Space Marines that are not Astartes but still make a big impact on the table. So read on for our review of the Chaos Cultists and Dark Coven units!
Who Are The Warhammer 40K Chaos Cultists and Dark Commune?
Both of the Warhammer 40K Chaos Cultists and Dark Commune factions are human (or, at least, were human) additions to your Chaos Space Marines army contingent. In the Warhammer 40K universe, Chaos is an ever-present threat to all mankind (and many other races in the galaxy), and the four Chaos Gods whisper to humanity through the Warp - which is a rip in our dimension that allows for fast travel, but also leaks out all manner of Chaotic evil. So who are these two units? In essence, the Chaos Cultists are those humans who have succumb to the promises of power, glory, revenge, and more that Chaos offers. They strike out against their foes with guns and melee weaponry, hoping to earn a spot of favor in their chosen god's eye.
The Dark Commune is, in a manner of speaking, much higher up the ladder in terms of Chaos. I really love the way the Chaos Space Marines Codex puts it, describing them as "A pooling of evil at the head of a Chaos Cult." This unit is a grouping of five individual models who each serve a special function, making them more like a specialist unit than a normal boots on the ground set of troops.
How Do The Warhammer 40K Chaos Cultists and Dark Commune Play?
Let's start with the the Chaos Cultists, as they're a much more straightforward set of units to run. Described in the Chaos Space Marines Codex as "Cultists Mob," they're a fairly standard, very inexpensive (points-wise), best used to pad out your forces to help with control of objectives, or in conjunction with other units (more on that below). A single box of them contains nine Chaos Cultists and one Cultist Champion, and they move 6", with a Weapon and Ballistics Skill of 4+, and a strength and toughness of 3. Very middle of the road, and aimed with a classic Autopistol, but their melee weapon, the "Brutal assault weapon" allows them to make one additional melee attack each time they fight with it. Meaning if you can rush a group of ten of these Chaos Cultists into a melee fight, you're throwing out 21 dice (the Cultist Champion has one extra attack). Not too bad at all.
The Dark Commune is where things truly start to get interesting. Each Dark Commune is made up of five models: A Cult Demagogue, a Mindwitch, an Iconarch, and two Blessed Blades. Let's dive in unit by unit and check them out. First up is the Cult Demagogue, who has some decent weapons, but weapons aren't what we care about with this unit (aside from the Blessed Blades). The Cult Demagogue is Priest who can cast Dark Zealotry (which allows friendly Character units within 6" to re-roll hit rolls), and any other prayer from the Prayers to the Dark Gods list - these prayers can do things like make your friendly units harder to hit, stop enemy units from performing actions, and many other sorts of dark benefits.
Then there's the Mindwitch, and this model is absolutely breathtaking (breathtakingly disgusting). Depicted as a hooded figure holding a disembodied screaming head attached by tubes, the implication here is that the Mindwitch has severed their own mutated head to harness more psychic power from it. This is the Psyker unit for the group, who knows the classic Smite as well as other psychic powers from the Chaos Space Marines codex.
Next up is the Iconarch, who holds the cursed symbol of the legion high in the air on a banner and creates an aura where friendly cultists within 6" of the Iconarch add 2 to their leadership stat and, more importantly, can re-roll hit rolls of 1. So here's where these two units play nicely together. If you keep your group of Chaos Cultists near the Iconarch, and they're rolling 21 hits to attack and re-rolling 1's, that's some seriously enhanced odds that you'll do quite a bit of damage.
Rounding out this group are two Blessed Blades, who provide a bit of muscle to the group, as they hit hard with their Commune Blades that have -3 AP and deal 2 damage per hit.
What Are Our Final Thoughts On The Warhammer 40K Chaos Cultists and Dark Commune Units?
Both of these units serve a very specific role on the battlefield, with the Chaos Cultists being more utilitarian, and the Dark Commune being more specialized. I really enjoyed putting these models together, for different reasons: the Chaos Cultists were super simple to assemble, and took almost no time at all to get the whole batch glued and ready to be painted, while the Dark Commune were a bit more complicated (though not overly so), but looked absolutely incredible, and really get across the dark and twisted lengths chaos adherents will go for power.
Should I Buy The Warhammer 40K Chaos Cultists and Dark Commune Units?
If you're looking to add some more bodies to your Chaos Space Marines but are quickly running out of points, you should definitely consider the Chaos Cultists. If you want to get weird with some prayers and psychic powers, but still want to be able to smash your enemies if they get too close, the Dark Commune makes a strong addition. Either way (or both ways), you won't waste your time or mess up your list with either of these units.
The products used in the creation of this review were provided by Games Workshop.