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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been planning to start Word Bearers for a while. I am familiar with much of the lore so know what they are about but can't really figure out a fluffy yet competitive list or idea for them, it keeps coming out generic. How do you play them? Whats fluffy? What's fun? What works?
 

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Welcome to the Word, brother!

I am an avid Word Bearers players, and I enjoy using both fun and fluffy lists. Here's a quick rundown on the different Word Bearers stuff you can choose from:

HQ
Lords or Daemon Princes. Sorcerers aren't really fluffy, and Dark Apostles, while fluffy, aren't really as useful. They can be included as a secondary character if you have the points, and then they can be used most effectively to support other units. Your default weapon for either the Lord or Daemon Prince is typically the Black Mace (super accursed crozius), and your Lord is typically unmarked. Daemon Princes can be whatever you deem is most effective, just paint him the right colour. Winged Nurgle Prince with maxed out Psyker Levels is typically the most competitive, as you can get a 2+ cover save when you jink and still cast spells. The only time I'd use a Sorcerer is if you're using the Crimson Slaughter supplement, then give him the Relic that gives him Daemon status and go full Malefic to start summoning. Yeah Daemon allies, and it's fluffy!

Troops
If you want fluffy Word Bearers, Cultists and regular Marines. Feel free to Mark your Marines, there are fluff instances to support it (Khalaxis's Coterie in Anthony Reynold's Word Bearers trilogy are basically Khorne marked), but full-on cult troops break the immersion. Cultists should be used as typical meatshields, no upgrades and string them along in front of your other units to give them cover saves. Here is where a Dark Apostle can help, put him with a full-sized blob and they're Fearless as they march ahead of your army and don't run despite taking wounds, and then at the last moment have the Apostle swap squads and abandon the poor sods! The Helbrute + Cultist formation also is great here, I like giving my Helbrutes a long-range loadout and then using the Cultists for the cover saves and rear-objective sitting, as they're now Fearless without needing a character to babysit.

Also consider going for a footslogging army with above 10 Marines per squad. Word Bearers as a Legion are/were huge, and tended to field large infantry squads. Remember that the larger they are, the more casualties they can absorb, and the cheaper Icons get per Marine. Combine that with a Cultist screen for cover saves and you're hitting the enemy with even more power armour.

Elites

Helbrutes are good, either long-range or in a group using the formation that allows them to Deepstrike. 3 Helbrutes with multi-meltas in your foe's backyard? Yes please!

Terminators are also fluffy, typically used as suicide squads. If you want to spend the points, they can also be an escort for your Lord in a Land Raider, but that's a rather meh choice competitively.

Possessed. I love them. With all my heart. 100% fluffy, and one of the best melee troops we have, albeit they are quite expensive. With Crimson Slaughter they take a big hit to their killing ability but become Troops and can be faster/tougher to shoot down, which some people like. I prefer killing machines myself, but I guess it does free up some points when they're part of the Troop tax.

Fast Attack

Heldrakes. They're Daemon Engines, so fluffy and awesome. Take with baleflamer and start roasting.

Heavy Support
Pretty much everything in Heavy Support can be Word Bearers (though Obliterators are stretching it a bit, they're more Iron Warriors). Havoks fit with the infantry masses theme, and can be very versatile and useful.

Forgefiends and Maulerfiends are Daemon Engines can be pretty killy, and are more durable than you'd think (5+ invulnerable and It Will Not Die), though Maulerfiends probably have the edge because of their speed and the fact that Forgefiends max range is 36", which is just meh for a ranged support unit. Forgefiends do a good job of anti-air though, throwing 8 strength 8 shots at a flyer.

Defilers are Daemon Engines, and while expensive, can pretty much excel at whatever role you give them. They were better in the last codex when they were 75 points less, but whatever.

Finally, any and all Chaos vehicles are Word Bearers compatible, as we are one of the more generic Legions gameplay-wise (our distinctiveness is in our fluff more than on the tabletop).
 

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I have used the Helbrute formation in which you speak of which is the "Mayhem Pack". I've used this formation several times to lovely effect. In a nutshell, you have to invest in three Helbrutes. They are held in deep strike reserve, but you roll once for all three. If successful, all three come in rolling scatter for each one as they drop in. Each Helbrute as the "It Will Not Die" rule. At the top of each player turn, you roll on the Crazy chart for each one that is still alive and apply the result to them. You do this regardless of damage.

I used this formation in a mini Apocalypse game we played and it was fantastic. Dropping a multi-melta down close to any vehicle gives you a great chance of destroying it right off the go. Especially if you get to fire your multi-melta twice from the Crazy chart.

Problem with it is: 1) dropping the 'Brutes down on a busy table like larger point games, against horde armies or doubles games. 2) It uses up all three of your Elite choices. None of which are very big deals. If you remember the days which all of your Daemons deep struck in, this is a walk in the park.

Word Bearers are appealing to me for several reasons; they aren't tied down to any one Mark of Chaos as I understand it, so there is freedom there. Fluff wise, the Word Bearers are important to all of Chaos because they were the first to go to Chaos and it was really Lorgar that started the Horus Heresy. That and the terrific vision that conjures up in my head of a titanic spaceship ripping through space with a big ole book of the Word on the front! Although I'm not sure of the colour scheme they use. Are Word Bearers armour Red?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Awesome, thanks for the quick replies! So I remember reading the Word Bearers doctrine is basically a steady unrelenting march, I might go for something like that. Also, I like and have liked even before Word Bearers the idea of fielding possessed, how do you use them? Btw I am already a CSM player and am going to work on word bearers as a second CSM army.
 

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To play a good Word Bearers army, I think it requires a lot of candles. And writing. Such as:



That guy's full project thread HERE.

After that they're pretty standard chaos warband.
 

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I AM the Evil Twin!
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Taking daemons as allies is always a plus. A Mastery 3 Herald of Tzeentch on a disc protected by a few Screamers is a surefire way of getting some more daemons of the board. As well as having to take Flickering Fire of Tzeentch (Change) I have always found taking Prescience (Divination), Summoning (Malefic Daemonology) as well as one more power from Malefic Daemonology to be the best combination of powers as it allows the Herald to support the rest of your army in several ways.

JvK B)
 

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Awesome, thanks for the quick replies! So I remember reading the Word Bearers doctrine is basically a steady unrelenting march, I might go for something like that. Also, I like and have liked even before Word Bearers the idea of fielding possessed, how do you use them? Btw I am already a CSM player and am going to work on word bearers as a second CSM army.
The Word Bearers do not have a strict tactical doctrine, rather they're to Chaos what the Ecclesiarchy is to the IoM.
Word Bearer forces simply tend to reflect more or less the tactics & ideals of the Dark Apostles who leads them, with Possessed, Chaos Cultists & Daemons being their staple units. (and their cults tend to have an on-going feud with the cults created by the Alpha Legion.;))

The Crimson Slaughter codex is pretty much Codex: Word Bearers as mentioned, due to gaining Possessed as Troops, plus a number of more themed relics, (there's a new accursed Crozius, plus a relic to turn a character into a Daemon!)
You still keep full access to all the unit options from the CSM codex, with the only real blemish being that only Cult units such as 'Zerkers et all can take the also fluffy for WB's 'Veterans of the Long War' upgrade.
 

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I find using things such as crimson slaughter (or crimsons laughter :p ) supplement works as you get possessed as troops and a sorceror with the prophet of the voices relic to more safely use malefic daemonology works nnicely to represent the summoning side of word bearers on top of providing a more useful gal vorbak prescence. then i used that allied up with a normal chaos marine codex army and use a dude with a black mace to either represent a more battle oriented dark apostle or a coryphaus and i have him with a unit of tzeentch terminators to represent the annointed who have been blessed with fortune by the chaos gods. As i see the word bearers as still rather legion oriented i like to throw in a spartan and a fire raptor to show that they still have plenty of their old legion toys.

then i throw in the helbrute formation that's formed of 3 deepstriking helbrutes (mayhem pack?) to then have some form of daemon engine line breakers. in bigger than 2k games i then will throw in some cultists and/or daemons allies but i find the former list generally has most of the bases covered :)
 

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Problem with it is: 1) dropping the 'Brutes down on a busy table like larger point games, against horde armies or doubles games. 2) It uses up all three of your Elite choices. None of which are very big deals. If you remember the days which all of your Daemons deep struck in, this is a walk in the park.
you realise a formation is a separate detachment therefore doesn't use up your elite slots right?
 

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Here's how I run Word Bearer's:

Crimson Slaughter Allies:
Maelific Sorc HQ w/ the Prophet Relic.
Possessed to hide in.
Sicarian Tank (keep reading)

Renegade Primary from FW's IA:13:
The works. The real flexibility lies here.
Super cheap 'cultist' mutants to bring in the bodies.

It's some variant of that at one point or another. Basically a WB core of elites leading a well equipped battalion and cultist horde. Marines, worshipers, and daemons.
 

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Based off the fluff we can tell you how to go, but the question is how much would you like the list to win?

The issue is that while full-on Cult Marines aren't entirely their thing, the good options in this case are ridiculously more points efficient compared to the Vanilla options. As backfield objective holders, Noise Marines do the job better with one of the best weapons in the entire codex, and when rushing forward with Special Weapons, Plague Marines do the job better thanks to getting both specials at minimum squads AND being more durable at the same time. Internal balance is just too wonky.

For keeping up the theme, you would obviously want Possessed, who are already points inefficient in the regular codex thanks to not being very killy and not being able to get to places without dying. Two options fix this problem. The Crimson Slaughter supplement fixes the issue of durability and getting there, and the Spartan fixes getting there at the same time. Buy both!
For the HQ, you're not entirely spoiled in choice. You have only a few options to keep the competitive flow going:
1. Nurgle/Khorne Lord with Daemon Heart and Bike/Jugger.
2. Sorcerer with Prophet Of The Voices
That's about it. If you want to fluffy as ****, at least give your Dark Apostle the special Maul from the Crimson Slaughter supplement. As I said, not much you can do. A Daemon Prince is better done with the parent codex or even the Black Legion supplement (dat extra Daemon Weapon options)
Secondly, don't be afraid of using units with better rules so long as they're modeled to be nice. My Plague Marines are all good ol' Marines with cybernetic bits to look tougher, painted bronze. Do they look exactly like Plague Marines? Nope, but I hate the Plague Marine look (but I hate organic looks as a whole. I hate painting flesh haha. EVERYONE has a helmet) so that's what I did. If you like Warp Talons a lot, don't be afraid to convert them with at least pistols to use the rules for Raptors because they're better in every situation except charging Marines in the open (and when does that happen, let's face it).
When you ally in Daemons, look at what holes need to be filled in the army. CSM's can do AT okay, so focus on infantry killing with the Daemons.

The sad part is that, when you look at it like I do, you end up kinda taking the soul from the Word Bearers I guess. You don't get bonuses for staying fluffy compared to the recent slew of codices, which sucks a lot.
 

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For keeping up the theme, you would obviously want Possessed, who are already points inefficient in the regular codex thanks to not being very killy and not being able to get to places without dying.
*eye starts twitching*

Possessed are plenty killy, thank you very much. Overcosted? Yes. Do they need grenades? Yes. Is this edition not melee-friendly? Yes. However, between their statline, special rules, and a chart that is 90% of the time going to significantly increase your killing ability (the other 10% is when you face 2+ armour saves and roll the power weapon upgrade), they can do a ton of damage to whatever they hit. More-so if Marked, but that does raise their cost even higher.

And as for Crimson Slaughter, to maximise their chart, you really have to play Possessed as footsloggers and objective holders. Otherwise, you're negating some of the benefits of that chart (Beasts, for example, is useless inside a transport), and others aren't doing as much (a 3+ invulnerable is useless inside a transport or against non-AP3 weapons), and the one result that increases their killing power (rending) does not increase it as much as the results on the regular table. At the very least, once you're in combat with the regular table you will maximise your damage potential.
 

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Been reading up on some of the more obscure bits of Word Bearers fluff in some of GW's stuff, and I found one bit about a Dark Apostle who decided to gather a host of warriors dedicated to single gods in order to bolster his own for a planetary invasion. That's one way to justify having Cult Troops in your army, have them as allies drawn to serve with your Word Bearers in the pursuit of a greater goal.
 

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From what i gather it's not uncommon for the word bearers to enlist the aid of other legions or warbands..... I believe they're very much in the mindset of all the chaos marines should be working together to overthrow the imperium anyway. Not sure if there's fluff for it but i get the impression that they don;t like the petty squabbling and wars among chaos followers.
 

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The only two Legions they've ever been shown to dislike are the Emperor's Children and the Alpha Legion, and they've worked with both when things like the Black Crusades demanded it.
 
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