What Next Dark Gods?

Ask any fan of Chaos in the Mortal Realms where the biggest gap in the range was and, if they were honest with themselves, most would probably have agreed it was Slaaneshi mortals. Over the last few years times have been good for those like me who worship the Ruinous Powers. We now have well developed ranges with unique models and a distinctive aesthetic for each of the gods (that’s Khorne; god of war and violence, Nurgle; god of plague and decay, Tzeentch; god of magic and change and Slaanesh; god of decadence and excess). Gone are the days when I differentiated my Khornate troops from your followers of Nurgle because I painted mine red and you painted yours green. For a while there only Slaanesh, the longest neglected of the four gods, was left with a limited range but Games Workshop have turned that around in style, first by bolstering the daemons with some fantastic new recruits and now with a soon to be released wave of mortal followers, the first we’ve seen for Slaanesh in a very long time.


It’s a huge boost to the range and the miniatures are exquisite, but rather than talk about them I’m here to speculate baselessly instead! Once the Dark Prince has his mortal followers in tow where might Games Workshop turn their attention next? Of course they might come up with something wildly different, the Mortal Realms offers a lot of scope and potential as the Warcry warbands proved, and if they went off to stake out new territory with something a bit more unusual I’d be all in favour. Plus there still gaps to be filled in the current ranges, I’d like to see unique looking daemon princes for each god for instance, light infantry for Nurgle and beastmen for both Nurgle and Khorne.

Indeed, speaking of which I just kitbashed a pestigor to join a little Nurgle warband which has been whispering in the corner of my brain lately. Shall we sneak a peek at him before we begin? Oh go on then!

Pestigor Wudugast ConvertOrDie Nurgle 1Pestigor Wudugast ConvertOrDie Nurgle 2


Ah the beastmen, men who have become beasts and beasts who have devolved into something akin to men. The horned ones, the true children of ruin who lurk in the wild places, driven by a hatred of all that is civilised and orderly. I’ve always had a bit of a soft-spot for these shaggy barbarians, being hairy and uncouth myself. In fact, now I think about it it’s strange that I’ve never really painted many of them – something I’ll have to rectify.

Beastmen 2

This range of models dates back to Warhammer as was, and although there are some excellent models in there it also leans heavily on a lot of older sculpts, bulked out by models borrowed from other ranges like the Tzaangors. Plus there’s the fact that, despite beastmen being traditionally described as an amalgamation of beasts and men, “goatmen” might be a better name for them nowadays. Those of us who are still steeped in the old Realm of Chaos era will recall beastmen which hybridised all kinds of beasts with all kinds of men, but nowadays the braying despoilers of the forests seem to be almost exclusively Pan-like creatures with hooves, horns and long ovine faces. Far be it from me to question their commitment to disorder but a little more chaos in the mix wouldn’t hurt! The birdlike Tzaangors (see below for a couple of them that I’m currently working on) and the lanky, sinuous Slaangors which are soon to be released go to prove that Games Workshop aren’t unwilling to break out of the goat archetype however, and beasts of Khorne and Nurgle don’t seem too much to hope for someday either.

Tzaangors AoS Chaos Wudugast ConvertOrDie Warhammer

Slaves To Darkness

Take a look at the Slaves to Darkness range (that’s humans sworn to serve Chaos undivided rather than dedicated to just one of the gods) and at first glance it looks pretty healthy, packed with lots of kits, many of which were released in the last year or so. Dig a little deeper however and you start to release that most of the range comes either from the Warriors of Chaos from the WHFB era or, in the case of the newer models, are borrowed from Warcry. Now personally I love Warcry, in fact I tend to take things from Age of Sigmar to make Warcry warbands rather than the other way around, but I’m glad to see the Warcry warbands given a home in AoS armies all the same. Likewise I was a big fan of the Warriors of Chaos and that range has some great miniatures that I’m pleased to see are still available.

Warriors of Chaos

However there are some models in there which are undoubtedly past their best, like the Chosen and the Marauders. Plus there’s the fact that, before the End Times, the Warriors of Chaos made use of all kinds of troops dedicated to specific gods, all of which have since been split off to form new factions of their own. With them gone the range has been left looking a little thin. Time to give it a bit of a boost. Thanks to Warcry we know what the warbands seeking to join the Everchosen’s legions look like, but what about those legions themselves. Time to bring the warriors Sigmar abandoned into the modern era – after all we don’t want that weakling thunder god to think he’s getting everything his own way now do we?

Darkoath Tribesmen

In the old days, when the heavily armoured warriors of chaos marched south to attack the Old World they did so surrounded by hordes of barbarian tribesmen, clothes-phobic folk who’s hardiness and bitterness against the weakling southerners may be partially explained by the fact that they lived in a frozen wasteland but nobody seemed to own a shirt. In this regard people from the British Isles will recognise them as being essentially Geordies.


There are a few contenders for the title of “Worst Model in the GW Stable”, the Zombies and Skaven Plague Monks spring to mind, but the Chaos Marauders really have made a spirited attempt to claim that throne. Just a quick glance is enough to tell you that they’re past their best, if indeed there was ever a time when they looked anything other than awful.

Marauders models

 For a while there was a persistent rumour (and we all know how reliable those are eh!) from those who claimed to be “in the know” that Games Workshop were planning a new faction based around a range of new Marauder kits. Nothing has ever come of it, although we have seen a range of new Marauder equivalents in the form of the Warcry warbands, as well as troops dedicated to specific gods like the Bloodreavers of Khorne, the Kairic Acolytes of Tzeentch and the forthcoming Blissbarb Archers of Slaanesh, each of which is close to the Marauder archetype of old, and the Godsworn Hunt from Warhammer Underworlds. The rumour may have proved to be either a case of mistaken identity or wishful thinking but it’s still a good idea so who knows, perhaps someday we shall see the Slaves to Darkness split into two factions, the grim heavily armoured foot soldiers of the gods and the shirtless savages of the tribes?


I know I sound like a stuck record here so I’ll keep it brief. The perfidious ratmen were my favourite faction from WHFB and over recent years I’ve painted up quite an army of them. Shall we remind ourselves of how they look? How could I ever pass up the opportunity!

Skaven Army Shot 3

Of course being a fan of the Skaven means being a glutton for punishment. Despite their ongoing popularity the range hasn’t seen much love in a long time and many of them models are so old they came off the Ark, and so rough they look like they were sculpted by the animals therein (and not the ones with opposable thumbs) rather than Noah himself. Get the finger out GW, give my rats some love!

Chaos Dwarfs

An industrious race of slavers and daemonsmiths the Chaos Dwarfs were the Old World’s finest bull-appreciators and big hat wearers, famed for putting Nagash to shame when it came to outsized headgear. They were also wearing big cow horns on their hats long before Johnny-come-latelys like the Lumineth Realmlords rocked up.

Chaos Dwarfs

By the later era of WHFB however they were almost extinct, their range of models long out of production and their sole surviving representatives the crew of the Hellcannon.

Chaos Dwarfs 2

With the Hellcannon going the way of all things when AoS was launched the Chaos Dwarves passed into history, in the main Games Workshop range at least. Forge World however have done their bit to keep them alive in the form of the Legion of Azgorh.  

Infernal Guard Command

Fantastic those these models are, a range which leans heavily on large and complicated daemon engines such as the Dreadquake Mortar (below) is going to be tricky in resin, and much easier for the average hobbyist to manage in plastic. Time to bring the bearded ones back I say!

Dreadquake Mortar

Chaos Gargants

From one end of the scale to the other, if we’re going to have Chaos Dwarves then why not Chaos Gargants? It’s not much of a leap really, there are already Chaos Giants and the new Mega Gargant kit contains a variant, the Warstomper, which can be taken by Chaos forces. Already I’ve seen plenty of them converted to be even more chaotic just as when the Imperial Knight kit was released many of us started welding on spikes to turn them into engines of the gods. After a few years of this GW yielded to the inevitable and produced a dedicated Chaos Knight kit, so it doesn’t seem beyond the realms of possibility that the same thing might happen with the Gargants.


Ogres and Trolls

Back in the old days all kinds of trolls and ogres shambled to war alongside the Warriors of Chaos. These days however such creatures exist almost exclusively under the remit of the Destruction faction (those who are particularly long in the tooth will recall Chaos orcs but let’s not go that far back!). There’s no reason not to bring these brutes back though, perhaps under the banner of the Slaves to Darkness or the Beastmen, or even as a faction of their own. Alternatively there could be versions of each of these incorporated into the four armies of the gods, each tainted and twisted by the favour of their particular patron, just like the Bile Trolls and Plague Ogres that formed part of Tamurkhan’s Horde in the latter days of WHFB. Regardless of which route was taken these brutes have plenty of potential, after all, as the Trogherds of the Gloomspite Gits demonstrated, people love big ugly monsters. 

Those are my picks for the future development of Chaos in the Mortal Realms but what about you? Are there any of the candidates above you think are particularly deserving, or any that you would have preferred to see abandoned to the history books? Is there a faction in waiting that I’ve overlooked? As ever the comments section is all yours. 

32 responses to “What Next Dark Gods?

  • davekay

    I would love to see the Chaos Dwarfs come back in hard plastic, but I don’t think the chance are high.

    • Wudugast

      I dunno, maybe not this year – maybe not in the next five years, but I wouldn’t say never. In the time I’ve been a hobbyist Genestealer Cults, Sisters of Battle and Dark Eldar were all coincided to the dustbin of history, only to reappear in time. Time was that Blood Bowl and Necromunda were dead and gone, never to be resurrected, and the new map for the Old World project shows there’s still some interest in Bretonia down in Games Workshop HQ. Even the Squats, which have become a by-word for miniature extinction, have a couple of models now from Forge World. People still care about Chaos Dwarves, otherwise Forge World wouldn’t have a line of them. Give it time, Games Workshop are famous for saying they’re not planning on going anyway, and I like to think I’ve got a good fifty years of life left (lets aim nice and high eh!) and I’ll probably always be into this hobby so long as I’m able. I can wait, I’ve got plenty to paint in the meantime, and their time will come again.

  • daggerandbrush

    I second the Chaos dwarves. Of all the factions mentioned they seem the most unique and deserving of a new release. That said some bird beastmen or more exotic breeds would be interesting, too.

    To me the least interesting are the shirtless Manowar stand-ins. Just uninspiring.

    The fletching conversion you showed looks promising. Looking forward to see it painted.

    • Wudugast

      Cheers! I’ve been planning a little Nurgle warband for Warcry, might do it after I finish with Tzeentch.

      I think Chaos Dwarves have a lot of potential to make a comeback someday, I’m sure GW will have talked about it many times so it’s probably just a case of the right people sitting in the right meeting and the will being there. I’m not holding my breath for them to be revealed next week or anything but someday, it’ll happen.

      I know what you mean about the shirtless barbarians – I really like things which are unique and original which is why the Warcry warbands appeal to me a lot more than a box of old fashioned marauders would. That said I wouldn’t say no to some straightforward half-naked barbarians, if only for reasons of nostalgia (but then I like listening to Manowar too so who am I to judge!).

      • daggerandbrush

        You should have a look at Boris Woloszyn’s barbarians. They look very Metal cover, but are beautifully sculpted and have a certain unique quality / spin.

      • daggerandbrush

        Here is a selection. He also has slightly less pin-up female sculpts, so something for everyone: https://m.facebook.com/boris.woloszyn/photos/a.611409158977069/2402955663155734/?type=3

      • Wudugast

        Cool, there’s some good stuff in there, I hadn’t see his work before (or at least, not that I’d recognised). I’m not so keen on the pin-up stuff but I think it comes with the territory a little bit more, male or female heavy metal barbarians just can’t be convinced to turn out fully dressed! Reminds me a bit of the Sessair kelts from Rackham actually (which were one of the few Rackham ranges that weren’t all that well sculpted, these are better). Seems like the shop that sells them is closed at the moment which is a shame, I’ll keep an eye on them though.

      • daggerandbrush

        I think Westfalia or Elladan should have some. It seems they redesign the website. It is true that the female sculpts are pin up style and have no real agency. So I appreciate the awesome sculpt, but wouldn’t buy them myself. The male ones are better. That said Boris works for a variety of companies, so he adjusts his style and also has some sensible female sculpts. Check out the Patreon, so far no pin-up stuff, more sensible fantasy.


  • Alex

    Marauders deffo need an update, thos models blew then & they blow now! Funny you should mention oldschool Beastmen… You might enjoy my latest project!! (to be announced soon)

  • Games Scholar

    Saurus need a refresh – the rest of the Seraphon range is fine, or even great (the Carnosaur and everything on those sprues is great!), but Saurus Knights are a contender for worst model in my eyes, and are 100% the worst looking cavalry, made worse by the fact that Dark Elves have the same mounts, but so so much better looking, and while Warriors and Temple Guard are fine, I guess, they suffer from the “big dude needs to rank up” problem of a lot of older WHFB models

    • Wudugast

      Now you mention it, yeah those saurus cavalry are pretty dire aren’t they? I’ve seen them kitbashed with the steeds from the Dark Elves and that improves things a lot, they could really use a new kit though. The Lizardmen are similar to the Skaven in that regard actually, some really nice models mixed in with some really duff ones. I was a little disappointed by the new Underworld’s warband with the skinks, on the one hand the models in it are great but it would have been a good opportunity to throw in a few things like a new razordon or salamander. Definitely a range that needs a refresh though, new Kroxigors would be nice too.

  • Fran

    We need Angron and new bersekers

  • Mikko

    I would love to see Chaos Dwarves make a comeback, preferably in their old big-hatted form rather than as mini Chaos Warriors. In the Old World, a lot of the aesthetic was really Western, and the Assyrian style Chaos Dwarves were a nice departure from this with their dressed beards, ziggurats and steppe-flavoured hobgoblins.

    • Wudugast

      Yeah, I really liked that about them myself, another reason why it would be good to see them brought back. With the Old World of Warhammer being essentially a version of Earth with Europe at the centre there was a tendency to do European themed stylings to factions, something that really isn’t needed in AoS. I wouldn’t be averse to Chaos Dwarves going off in a different direction though, my first pick would be to see the big hats back but if they did something different with them instead I wouldn’t automatically be opposed, would depend how they did it. I definitely want to see them get big hats when they appear in Blood Bowl again though!

  • Comradepatrick

    If you look hard, you can see some logic to the direction that GW releases have gone recently. They clearly want slaves to darkness to be the equivalent of Chaos Space Marines: heavily armored bad guys to battle their heavily armored good guy counterparts. So it makes sense that the barbarian hordes are relegated to supplemental releases for Warcry. My guess is that the official Marauders of chaos faction won’t get much love as long as this mentality persists.

    • Wudugast

      Aye, I can see that. Even the colour-scheme for the Black Legion and the Slaves to Darkness are almost identical. Of course the funny thing is that, according to an interview I read (over on Realm of Chaos ’80’s I think) the idea for Space Marines came about because Chaos Warriors were proving so popular and they wanted to carry the heavily armoured warrior archetype into their new sci-fi setting.

  • Kuribo

    Predicting what GW will do next with Chaos is very tricky indeed. I could actually see them not touching Chaos again in a while because factions like Beastmen and Chaos Dwarves, if they come back, will be heavily altered for AoS because that seems to be a top goal for GW. Anything in AoS must be trademarkable as they “bring back” older factions like elves and dwarves. I think the best chance to see those types of factions are in whatever The Old World project ends up being. Truthfully, nobody would be happier than me to see GW return to some of the WHFB factions in the future. I miss them dearly and that was my favorite thing they’ve done with MESBG being right up there too.

    With all of that said, I think Skaven are probably the most likely of all to get some kind of revamp. They’ve been around forever and the range could certainly be updated. Even just a few new models would help get excitement building around them again.

    I’ve never liked the dirty rats (literally!) but I am very impressed by your army and wouldn’t expect anything less from a fellow follower of Chaos 😀

    • Wudugast

      Cheers! 😀

      Yup, predicting what GW plans next is always a wild stab in the dark (but fun though! Mind you, if you ask the Skaven wild stabbing in the dark is always fun so there’s that…).

      I think you may be right that they shift their attention away from Chaos for a while, although I’m hopeful that they sort out some new Skaven at least. I try to take the long view and remember that I’ve got heaps of stuff to paint so if it takes them a while to get around to the things I’d like them to be doing I’ve got plenty to keep me entertained in the meantime.

      Regarding the Skaven I’d love to see them do something like they did with the Night Goblins, taking old kits and replacing them with nice new models whilst accepting that these are already a uniquely Warhammer race and don’t need to be remained. The rats are awesome just the way they are, dammit, they don’t need to be AoS’d! I wouldn’t mind seeing AoS’d Beastmen though, I feel like Beastmen have a lot of underutilised potential for crazy new ideas. The goats are cool, but there’s more to life than goats!

      • Kuribo

        You know, now that you mention it, the Skaven actually make sense for an update because a lot of their cool warmachines could probably be improved in a redesign and that seems to be a real focus for GW nowadays. They really like their huge models these days! I do remember when the Doom Bell or whatever its called came out and I did think that was a cool model even with my overall lack of interest in the army 🙂

        The Beastmen can be AoS’d I think and less people will be upset with the changes and they might be able to bring in new fans too. I always have wondered how many people like and own the Beastmen of old. I never found them appealing, whereas I generally like the other Chaos factions. Regardless, I think there is room to do something cool with them though and make them more interesting but only time will tell 🙂

  • patmcf

    It interesting that I viewed this as I have just posted a little one on arrows, your lads would look extra good with a few sticking out of them like in the illustrations!

  • Azazel

    Nice thought piece 🙂
    I have to admit that I don’t hate the Chaos Marauders. I think they could obviously do with a revamp, but I quite like their …genericness and ease of use for kitbashing. I should probably grab another box just for fodder in case or revamp, honestly, though their real replacements seem to be in the myriad of Warcry warbands. Chosen are just crap models that don’t need to exist, so I’d revamp those long before the Marauders.
    Skipping the whole 40k range for the sake of this discussion, I’d love to see the Chaos Dwarves brought back with the Forge World aesthetic – they managed to straddle the original “short chaos warrior” look and the “big hats” look and integrate them together, while also not making the big hats look goofy as they did in 4th ed+…

    • Wudugast

      Cheers! The genericness of the marauders kind of gives me mixed feelings, whenever I’m looking for a nice, normal bit for a conversions – something which isn’t immediately associated with a specific faction, I turn to the marauders (and find myself reminded of how damn ugly they are…). I really like all of the Warcry warbands but sometimes you just want a bog standard human to use as the basis for a kitbash or conversion. I’d love to see them given the new model treatment, that would be extremely useful – and now the zombies have finally been brought into the modern era who knows?

      Aye, new Chaos Dwarves would be amazing. I think, having given it a lot of consideration, that I would go for Forge World style chaos dwarves as an AoS/WHFB army and daft looking big hats for a Blood Bowl team.

      • Azazel

        I think the problem with the Marauder revamp would (will?) be that they go very Warhammer-specific and strip out the generic aspects of them Generic Zombies became poxwalkers and now tree-zombies. I’m sure the new eventual models will be great, but I also suspect that the WarCry warbands were pretty much the revamp, and we might get new models in those archetypes when the current ones are discontinued.

      • Wudugast

        I know what you mean. I guess I don’t mind it particularly, I love the look of the Warcry warbands and I’d be all in favour of GW producing more, and I really like the new zombies so I’ve got no complaints on that front. In a perfect world I’d like the generic versions and the “warhammer” versions but if I have to pick then I’d go for the uniqueness of the “warhammer” versions. Plus I’ve always got an eye and an ear out for what any other companies are doing, there’s no law against making barely dressed barbarians or shambling corpses after all. I really like a lot of the generic dwarves that are on the market so I don’t mind too much, for instance, that GW have steered off into dwarves that are uniquely their own – if I want good old-fashioned, salt-of-the-earth beer-drinking, axe-waving, orc-slaying stunties then I can get plenty of them elsewhere.

  • just me passing through

    Would love to see more of your pestigors if they look as original as that one – for the life of me I /know/ where that head is from but I just cannot place it.

    • Wudugast

      Thank you! I really must finish painting him actually, he’s about 50% done, just needs another push to the finish line. I do want to make some more too, I’ve got a few ideas in mind. As for how I built him he’s actually nothing too fancy, he’s from the Blood Bowl Nurgle team with a few tweaks. 

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