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Chaos Space Marine

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Targetdrone.gif This article is about the Space Marine warriors of Chaos; for the Squad Type, see Chaos Space Marine Squad.
Black Legion Chaos Space Marines led by Araghast the Pillager.[3]

The Chaos Space Marines (also known as Traitor Marines, Chaos Marines, Heretic Astartes or Traitor Legionnaires) are counted among the most favoured and powerful servants of the Powers of Chaos.


Ten thousand years ago, Horus, Warmaster of the Imperium and most trusted 'son' of the Emperor, fell to Chaos due to a conspiracy by the Word Bearers. Besides the Space Marine Legion under his direct command, the Sons of Horus, eight of his brother-Primarchs and their legions also joined him in the Horus Heresy against the Emperor.

Only when Horus was slain at the ultimate conflict of the Heresy, the Battle of Terra, was the rebellion broken and the defeated Traitor Legions hounded into the Eye of Terror, which remains both their prison and sanctuary to this day. The Chaos Space Marines have not forgotten their defeat in the Heresy, and for the last ten thousand years have waged the Long War against the Imperium.

The Eye of Terror

Chaos Space Marine forces at war

Within the confines of the hellish zone of the Galaxy known as the Eye of Terror, the banished Chaos Space Marines, along with their exiled allies and slaves, have created their own Imperium of Chaos. In the most Chaos-saturated region of the galaxy, few in the ten thousand years of their exile have escaped mutation in some form.

Within the Eye, the legions fight among themselves for gene-seed, resources, slaves, or for the greater glory of the Chaos Gods. The legions however are far more driven by their hatred of the Imperium than by internecine rivalry. From the Eye, the forces of Chaos Marines emerge to exact their vengeance upon the Imperium, continuing the Long War they begun ten thousand years ago.[1][ 7]

Chaos incursions range from the small scale but brutal raids which can occur anywhere in the galaxy, to the apocalyptic Black Crusades led by the Warmaster of Chaos, Abaddon the Despoiler, when the forces of Chaos in all its forms unite to batter the fortress worlds close to the Eye.

Traitor Legions

Technically the Chaos Space Marine Legions are the only Space Marine Legions still in existence, the loyalist Legions having been reformed into self-contained Chapters after the Heresy. Though the Legion remains alive to the Chaos Marines as an identifying concept, in reality nearly all of the Chaos Legions have over time been scattered into separate war bands following rival Chaos Champions. It is said that only the Black Legion, Death Guard, and Word Bearers have retained their cohesion as a Legion.[5] On occasion a highly favoured Champion of Chaos, such as Abaddon, is able to temporarily reunite these Traitor Legions against the Imperium.

The Traitor Legions after the Horus Heresy
Symbol Name Leader Daemon World Chaos dedication
Blacklegion.png Black Legion Ezekyle Abaddon Eye of Terror Chaos Undivided
WorldEaters.png World Eaters Angron None Khorne
TSicon.png Thousand Sons Magnus Planet of the Sorcerers Tzeentch
Deathguardsymbol.png Death Guard Mortarion Plague Planet Nurgle
Emperorschildren.png Emperor's Children Fulgrim Unclear Slaanesh
Wordbearers.png Word Bearers Lorgar Sicarus Chaos Undivided
Ironwarriors.png Iron Warriors Perturabo Medrengard Chaos Undivided
Alphalegion.png Alpha Legion Alpharius Unknown Unclear
Nightlords.png Night Lords none None None

Traitor Chapters and Warbands

Chaos Space Marine activity in the Galaxy

Inevitably, during the ten thousand years following the Heresy, entire chapters of once loyal Space Marines have fallen to Chaos. Some of the most notable include the Red Corsairs, The Purge, The Scourged, the Blood Disciples, the Company of Misery, the Crimson Slaughter, the Sons of Malice, and The Cleaved.[4]

Creation of new Chaos Marines

The Chaos Marines still maintain the process of gene-seeding — the transformation of humans into superhumans through organ implantation and associated psychological and chemical conditioning - in order to create new Chaos Marines. The children that are turned into new Chaos Marines are bred from slave stock and captives acquired from raids on Imperial worlds[6 pg. 243]. The process is a brutal ordeal, differing from the carefully measured program of development used by Imperial Space Marines[2].

In every Legion, Apothecaries, or their Chaos Marine equivalents, are still charged with the important task of retrieving the gene-seed organs from their fallen brethren[6 pg. 260].


Over the millennia the energies that saturate the Eye of Terror have worked their transformative effects on both the living flesh and the inanimate weapons and armour of the Chaos Space Marines. As far as weapons and equipment, the Chaos Legions retain much of their Legiones Astartes heritage. The bolter remains the main weapon even when it has been refigured into a fusion of biological and inorganic parts, or redesigned into strange and baroque forms by the whims of Chaos or the user himself. Although power armour is often unrecognisable as once being Astartes-issue, the suits continue to function the same, and include standard auto-sensory technology, communicators and respirators. Armour has been recoloured and redecorated to show allegiance to the Legion's Chaos patron.

Notable Active Chaos Space Marines

A Chaos Space Marine

See Also


Although there has been a number of miniatures produced by Games Workshop through the ages, the following designs by Jes Goodwin[8], dated from 1991[7], are noteworthy for shaping the general design of four of the Chaos Legions for the following decades.



Gods of Chaos KhorneTzeentchSlaaneshNurgleMalice
Chaos Space Marines Traitor LegionsDaemonkinArmouryWarbands
Daemons Daemon PrinceGreater DaemonLesser DaemonDaemonic BeastsDaemon EnginesDaemonic HeraldChaos Daemon ArmouryDaemon WeaponsDaemonic Gifts
The Lost and the Damneds Chaos CultTraitor GuardMutantsBeastmenRogue PsykerGellerpox InfectedArmoury
The Traitor Primarchs Alpharius/OmegonAngronFulgrimHorusLorgarKonrad CurzeMagnus the RedMortarionPerturabo
Notable Characters AbaddonAhrimanBlue ScribesChangelingEpidemiusFabius BileHorticulous SlimuxKairos FateweaverKu'GathTyphusKhârnLuciusLufgt HuronBe'lakorM'karThe MasqueRotigusShalaxi HelbaneSkarbrandSkulltakerSyll'EsskeVashtorr
Other Traitor Titan LegionsChaos KnightsDark MechanicumChaos Space FleetChaos VehiclesChaos ArtefactsGreat RiftEye of TerrorMaelstromWarp