In the Warhammer universe, there is a book of prophecy written by a man driven insane by his visions. This book speaks of a hero who would fall into Chaos and become the end of all times. That hero is now known as Archaon, the Everchosen.
Archaon leads the armies of Chaos in Creative Assembly's newest game Total War: Warhammer. Much like the other armies in the game, Chaos have their own unique strengths and weaknesses available to them. This guide will teach you how best to use those strengths to fit your play style, and how to compensate for your deficiencies.
The ability that sets Chaos apart from its counterparts is both its biggest strength and greatest weakness. The Chaos army has no use for settlements and as such travel as a mighty horde. The Horde allows for all infrastructure and military developments to be made on the move. You can have as many hordes as you have armies, but more armies require more upkeep.
Since you have no way of holding structures for their resources, you must constantly be on the move for someplace new to pillage. Unlike other races that naturally acquire growth to expand their great nations over time, you must enslave or otherwise cull the opponents and turn them into your own population, as well as taking their riches to fund your army.
Chaos also shares a Corruption trait similar to the Vampire Counts' ability of the same name. This slowly infects the minds of the peasantry of other races, causing public order problems among their populace and occasionally inciting rebellion as your cultists rise up against their misguided leaders.
The fierce leader of Chaos and the herald of the End Times, Archaon is one of the most well-rounded heroes in the game. He is a heavily armored melee fighter and caster, using spells from the winds of fire. He also grants his army improved movement in campaigns. This makes the most of Chaos' unique horde mechanic that encourages your horde to stay on the move and raid often. Finally, Archaon's leadership has drawn the strongest of Chaos warriors, allowing him to recruit Chosen and Chaos Knights at a discount.
Older than even the Dark Gods they pledge themselves to, the Dragon Ogres are ancient beings of immense power. Even among these powerful beings, Kholek is legendary. He will tear apart enemy infantry easily and tear down the walls of your enemies encampments. He has no unique features, except for being able to recruit and starting with other dragon ogres. This alone is a huge advantage in the early game -- and if supported will guarantee you victory on the battlefield.
Oscar Wilde clearly wasn't thinking of Sigvald when he said, "those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming." Sigvald's beautiful exterior belies one of the darkest and most corrupt servants of Chaos in the known world. In service to the dark god of pleasure Slaanesh, Sigvald's beauty is a reward in exchange for the dark torturous acts he has committed in the Lord of Excess' name.
Sigvald brings a different tactic to the Chaos army then simple brute strength, instead inspiring others to join him. His Supreme Vanity ability increases the corruption he inflicts on those around him by an additional point per turn. As the Favoured Son of Slaanesh he also gains additional leadership points, allowing him to better command the troops around him in battle. Finally, Sigvald also is the only commander who begins with artillery, making him ideal for early sieges.
Despite claims that they have a weak ranged army, Chaos is not so helpless as to be easily taken down from afar. They also boast some fairly impressive monstrous units, as well as powerful armored warriors. Chaos is second only to the Empire in terms of flexibility, and offer even more options in terms of ways to harry your opponents.
Chaos melee come in a few flavors. The Marauders are your default units. Not particularly well armored or skilled, these men of the north make up for it in ferocity. They are followed by the Chaos Warriors, who boast greater weapon training in halberds as well, making them a threat to large enemies and gain armor. Next are the Chosen, the favored of the Dark Gods who are very skilled and very durable in combat. Finally you have the Forsaken, who are one of Chaos' biggest threats. Forsaken are malformed humans who have completely given themselves over to the dark gods, and gain large damage bonuses due to their mutations.
As mentioned earlier, Chaos doesn't have the strongest ranged game, instead favoring quick assault tactics. You will be able to craft mounted Mauraders early on that are excellent at hit and run tactics.
Once you've crafted a demonic forge you'll have access to the Hellcannon. These do an absurd amount of damage from a very long distance. If you can protect them, you will have no problems routing your foes no matter how armored they may be.
Chaos' mobile units are fearsome. Favoring a quick approach for their raiding, they have access to axe throwing Marauders from the beginning. You will also get the mighty Chaos Knights and Gorebeast Chariots eventually. These units inspire terror in their foes and can quickly run down your opposition -- just don't let them get surrounded. Early on you'll also have access to war hounds that will chase down and tear your enemies to the ground so that you can surround and finish them off with your main forces.
The sweetest part of the Chaos army is their access to a large variety of monsters and beasts. Many of which cause, and are immune to, fear effects. Dragon Ogres, Trolls, Chaos Giants and the horrific Chaos Spawn all serve the purpose of absolutely brutalizing your enemies with horrific efficiency. They are expensive however, so treat them well.
Chaos favors raiding, and as such you should always be bringing the fight to your opponent. The challenge lies in not over extending yourself. Fight well and fight often, build your forces and take advantage of the fact that home is wherever you say it is.
Be sure to take the right forces for the job as well. Chaos' flexibility is only useful if you properly equip yourself for battle. Humans will try to take you apart with their mix of long-range firepower and calvary, so space your heavier units apart and tie up their cannons as soon as possible with your mounted units while your monsters go to town on their infantry. Dwarves also favor a slow race, so keep your big guys away from their slayers. Don't forget about your corruption as well, sometimes you can weaken an enemies forces without lifting a finger.
Blood for the Blood God, skulls for the skull throne!