Chaos Legionnaires: Role Analysis

I’ve been starting my own personal journey down the corpse-strewn path to glory and the Chaos Gods’ approval – aka I’m 3 games in with the new Slaves to Darkness book – and I’ve started to consider some less obvious army picks.

As I was looking into Legionnaires for my Be’lakor list and discussing them in the discord, I ran some numbers and did some thinking. Although I’ve not tested them in a game yet, I wanted to write a post that explains my thought process and what I believe is a sensible, generally applicable way to analyse whether unit x is better than unit y in a certain role. Moreover, we all love shooting the shit when it comes to unit comparisons, which is good and well, but unless you look at these things with the correct analytical lens, you’ll either go round in endless circles of debate, or risk misunderstanding what ‘value’ the unit actually has in a competitive environment.

As a quick proviso, if you can’t be bothered to read the full analysis (I won’t hold it against you), consider the ‘four obvious factor’ a few paragraphs below as a tl;dr method for a balanced analysis of any unit.

So, let’s start with a quick overview of the Chaos Legionnaires themselves. They’re an 8 model unit, for 110 points, with two interesting scroll abilities (below) along with them proccing an ability of Eternus – gaining you 1 extra command point if Eternus and the Legionnaires are within 1” of each other.

Their warscroll abilities:

Sow Confusion: Once per turn, at the start of any phase, you can say this unit will sow confusion. If you do so, pick an enemy unit within 6″ of this unit and roll a dice. On a 4+, that unit cannot issue or receive commands in that phase.’

‘Devoted of the Dark Creed: 
In the presence of Be’lakor, these warriors fight with unrelenting zeal.

Add 1 to wound rolls for attacks made by this unit while it is wholly within 12″ of a friendly BE’LAKOR.’

On the surface of it, they seem to be designed to slot neatly into a Be’lakor LotFP list, synergising with Eternus and Be’Lakor. So the question is, are they worth taking over a less synergistic and more expensive unit, such as Chaos Warriors or Iron Golems?

To answer this question, we must first ask ourselves what their role is. You can crunch and compare raw data points of course, but to apply it meaningfully to a list making decision you need to know what the unit in question will actually be doing.

So, there are four obvious factors in their battlefield role: synergy; output; defences; utility.



We start with checking their overall output as a starting point.
NB Because a reinforced Legionnaires unit gets an extra attack, and 3 out of the remaining 5 models get an extra damage point I had to slightly cheat on the profiles below, but overall it’s the correct numbers of attack etc.

I also assumed they would be benefitting from the +1 to wound from being near Be’lakor because that’s clearly their use-case. Initially I compared them to Chaos Warriors without their extra attack from being near an enemy objective, because that’s a more situational modifier.

As you can see, Legionnaires outperform Chaos Warriors (CWs) when the CWs aren’t contesting an enemy objective, and put out a fairly respectable 7 damage against a 4+ save. And bear in mind the Legionnaires have a 50% chance from Sow Confusion if they choose to use it offensively as  counting as the next bracket up (i.e. turning off AoD) – so, on a good day, they’re keeping a 4+ nat save unit on 4+ and doing that 7 damage instead of 5.3.

Now, this is a good start to figuring out their role and value within it, but let’s remember that:

a) Legionnaires are a total of 8 wounds on a 4+ compared to Chaos warriors being 20 wounds on a 3+ with, if you’re taking them in Nurgle (like why wouldn’t you, a -1 to wound and ignoring 1 rend). We must consider that Legionnaires, if using Sow Confusion defensively (they can’t use it for both in the same phase) have a 50% chance of preventing the opponent’s AoA, which is a valuable defensive modifier.

But still, Chaos Warriors are obviously, clearly tankier by a significant margin. Thanks Peter for the following maths – it would on average take 183.7 attacks at 3/3/-1/1 to take down the Chaos warriors compared to 73.5 to take down a reinforced (so that they’re an equivalent cost) unit of Legionnaires.

And b) in general this is comparing a 110 pt unit with 8 models/8 wounds with a 220 pt unit with 10 models and 20 wounds.

So, with that in mind, we can draw a conclusion that Legionnaires have fairly good output for their price and therefore could function as a sub-hammer.

By the same token, it’s clear that as a defensive role such as a screen, Chaos Warriors seem to massively outperform them. If we reinforce the Legionnaires we have a 16 model unit with 16 wounds on a 4+ with a 50% chance of turning off one unit’s AoA against them, compared to a 10 model unit (so slightly less of a footprint) with 4 more wounds, on a nat 3+, guaranteed to ignore 1 rend and at -1 to wound them – assuming they’re Nurgle marked have the banner (which we are, because again it’s so standard for them.)

Legionnaires certainly aren’t the squishiest thing ever, but they’re not meant to be a screen, clearly.

Let’s continue the output comparison – how does a reinforced unit (220 pts) stack up to a unit of Warriors, who ­do have the extra attack for being near an enemy objective?

The results still favour the Legionnaires and the damage output is not at all inconsiderable! However, let’s also remember this assumes they can all get into range, which in this season they can do with ease thanks to the galley vets two ranks rule, but from the next Season onwards – PRESUMABLY they won’t be able to.

Let’s end the output analysis with a quick look at a unit of 5 Chosen for 240 pts, who naturally put out the following.

So the delta with roughly equivalent points between Legionnaires and 5 Chosen into an average save is 5 in favour of the Legionnaires – interesting! And that would be 16 wounds on a 4+ vs the Chosen’s 15 wounds on a 3+ with 2” reach weapons. Obviously this doesn’t take into account the potential for Chosen to vastly outperform if they roll well on the Eye of the Gods table and their lack of a need to be near to Be’Lakor, but still – interesting.


With that in mind, let’s think about Synergy and Utility. Legionnaire’s Sow Confusion is nice in that it has a 6” range – meaning it can be used while they’re behind a screen themselves – a plus. Consider it could potentially be used to deny Inspiring Presence, Redeploy, and other sneaky commands, not just combat based ones. A 50% chance isn’t bad but you’d have to treat it as a ‘nice to have’ rather than something you can rely on.

However, their proccing the extra CP on Eternus has an obvious drawback – past Turn 1, It seems highly unlikely Eternus will still be in range of them given he’s mounted and these chumps have to footslog. Eternus gets an extra CP from Furies being near him too – who are much better suited to keeping up with him – so in that sense, they don’t synergise very well with him in a real world scenario.


Having considered the pure maths and the real world scenarios, I think it’s fair to say that the best use-case for Legionnaires is as a cost-effective sub-hammer. They can’t holistically compete with Chosen as a main hammer, and they’re orders of magnitude less tanky than warriors. They have an interesting, decent-odds if short range utility ability and put out respectable damage. Being 8 models with small bases for a small overall footprint for the cost is decent ‘points on objective’ value also.

A final thought is that, in LotFP (which I’m largely assuming this kind of list is), they could be given a mark for a turn, substantially improving their survivability with Nurgle, or potentially giving them an extra attack in Khorne to boost their output further.

If you have 110 points spare, I think they’re a good pick. Outside of LotFP they’re still a good little add-on to Be’Lakor, but without Big B they’re probably not worth ever taking.

I hope that’s been a helpful breakdown, not just of the merits of Legionnaires themselves but of the wider set of factors you should take into account when trying to ascertain a unit’s role and its value within that role/the wider context of your list.

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