Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Khorne Daemonkin: Formations and a Sample List

I hope that this codex is a snapshot of things to come.  The combination of a unique detachment with multiple formations adds an incredible amount of flavor to an army.  I want this same kind of treatment for the armies I actually play.

1 HQ (with the exception of the two new Bloodthirsters)
2-8 Troops (cultists need not apply)
1-4 Possessed
0-2 Cultists
0-2 Spawn

This is your main formation.  It has the standard re-roll your warlord trait as well as a couple other of goodies.  Blood Sacrifice lets you destroy a cultist unit when they fail a moral check, and Boon of Khorne gives you a free item of equal or lesser value when you get something from the blood tithe table.

People may be turned away by the mandatory squad of possessed, but the benefits of this formation far outweigh the possessed tax.  You are more or less getting double the value of your blood points.

Brazen Onslaught
1-4 Terminator squads
2-4 Units of Bloodcrushers

If a unit in this formation is outnumbered in close combat then every model gets +1 attack.

These guys are generally run in small squads, so their bonus should be active most of the time.  As I have previously stated, many people are not fans of either of these units, but I think they work in the context of the army.

Khorne's Bloodstorm
2-4 Units of Raptors
1-4 Units of Warp Tallons
0-1 Heldrake

+1 strength on hammer of wrath and vector strike

The bonus is kind of meh, but if you are taking these units it probably isn't for the bonus.

2-4 Units of Bikers
1-4 Units of Flesh Hounds

Flesh Hounds get hammer of wrath and bikers get shred for their hammer of wrath.

Let's take two of the best units and make them better.  Yes, please!

Charnel Cohort
Daemon HQ (no bloodthirsters)
2-8 Units of Bloodletters
1-4 Units of Flesh Hounds
1-4 Units of Bloodcrushers
0-4 Skull Cannons

Everyone gets counterattack, your HQ can re-roll their reserve roll, and your other units in this formation don't scatter within 6" of your HQ (even on the turn he comes in)!  Oh, and your opponent is -2 on fear checks.

This is an amazing formation.  If I were wanting to ally Khorne Daemons this is the formation I would take.  Anything that makes deep striking more reliable is going to be a huge benefit.

Blood Host Detachment:
This is your special force organization.  For each slaughter cult you can include one Lord of Slaughter (Any bloodthirster or Lord of Skulls) and up to EIGHT formations of any combination!  Included in this is the 'War Engines' section which is basically just all of the daemonic engines plus helbrutes.  So if you want to run one Slaughtercult with eight soulgrinders you have that freedom.

The benefit to running this detachment is that you get an additional blood tithe point per turn.  Combined with the benefit of the slaughtercult this is a pretty big bonus.  When I envision the way a game would play out I suspect that it is more beneficial to go second.  You aren't going to be killing much with your shooting, so you aren't going to rack up many (any) blood points before the start of your second turn.  If your opponent kills 1-2 units, then all of a sudden your whole army is looking at some serious buffs by the time they charge into combat on turn two.

A Sample List: 1500 pts

Chaos Lord: Terminator Armor, Axe of Khorne

Chaos Marines: Melta Gun, Combi Melta, Melta bombs



Brazen Onslaught:
Terminators: Chainfist

Bloodcrushers: Banner
Bloodcrushers: Banner

War Engines:
Soulgrinder: Baleful Torrent
Helbrute: Twin Linked Lascannon

The Chaos Lord runs with the terminators in the landraider. The landraider and soulgrinder act as the anvil for the army while the two squads of bloodcrushers, chaos marines and deep striking bloodlettersact as the hammer.  The anvil deploys in the center of the board and the hammer deploys on one of the two flanks.  The Helbrute plays in the midfield/backfield going after objectives, and the possessed go towards your opponent's objectives.

Instead of the brazen onslaught you could take the gorepack detachment and put the Chaos lord on a juggernaught.  If you did this, it would probably be a good idea to bring more shooting to balance out the loss of the landraider.  I usually try and have 1/3rd of my points able to shoot on turn 1.

As I was writing this list I kept finding more and more that I wanted to add.  No matter the point level I think this will always be an issue.  I also think that Khorne Daemonkin are going to be better at higher point levels.  Higher points mean more units which mean more death and more blood tithe points.  When you spend your bloodpoints on army wide buffs it will affect more units and, as a result, cause more death.

What are your thoughts?  Those of you who are dedicated to khorne, I want to hear how your games go.  I will probably proxy out an army or two, but I may not have the time for a while.  If you all have ideas or discoveries be sure to share them with the rest of us.


  1. Agreed on the need for higher points levels to get the best out of this army. I also think multiple minimum size units with rhinos would work best to maximise unit count and hence potential blood tithe. But if you get Purge the Alien, you are gonna have to try and table your opponent instead!

    Got a game this weekend, plan to use a CAD as I don't have the units for the formations. Will plan my list tonight and post it for your views!

    1. Awesome! I am looking forward to hearing about how your game goes.

    2. So after much consideration, here is the initial idea for my 2k list. I am playing vs Nids, but the idea is to build a TAC list from the models I have. Sadly I can only make a CAD as I don't have key units for the Blood Host (i.e. Possessed). Here goes:

      2000pt list

      Daemon Prince w Wings, Blood Forged Armour
      Herald w Brazen Rune

      8 Bikers w Powerfist, 2 Plasma
      Heldrake w Hades Autocannon

      Soul Grinder w Pleghm
      Skull Cannon

      10 Bloodletters
      8 Marines w Flamer, Rhino, Havoc
      8 Marines w Flamer, Rhino, Havoc
      8 Marines w Flamer, Rhino
      8 Cultists w Shotgun
      10 Cultists w Shotgun, Autoguns, Heavy Stubber

      The plan is for the firepower to batter the enemy with pie plates while I maneuvre the vehicles and their payload in for the kill. The Bloodletters and Herald drop in to support the DP in case he bites off more than he can chew in combat. The Blood armour just gives him that bit of needed resilience.

      Should I cut some of the Marines / Cultists and swap for Berzerkers? Their lack of special weapon kind of sucks though...

    3. Against nids, berzerkers with a few chain axes could be worth it. Aside from sitting on backfield objectives (which is a valid roll), I don't feel like cultists are going to add much against tyranids.

    4. Cultists do have 4 attacks on the charge and easily block charge lanes. They would be the go to choice if they were required in the main formation. They still hold objectives and can force the issues for many units. They are also wound tokens for any fearless HQ unit. Overall not special but really not bad. Both games I've gotten in so far they and the solo spawn served well.

  2. We tend to play Maelstrom, so the shooty cultist squad will play babysitter. I am thinking of using the other cultists as literal cannon fodder to shield my other units and bag me a blood tithe point. But don't really want to be giving away First Blood...

    1. I find that there are enough points scored in maelstrom games where giving up first blood doesn't usually make a differences. This isn't always the case, but with more points being scored there is less of a chance for a tie.

    2. Cultist are my favorite C/D unit! They usually don't attract attention, people tends to forget aout them after first blood has been scored (unless it is a kill point game) and sometimes they ended up doing something really unexpected...! Last time I have seen them assaulting and killing a reptide... it was awesome!
      A friend of mine is planning to use "Zombicide" (a really funny game!) miniatures to play a full cultist army... I bet it will be really funny!

    3. Cultists are just like grots in that regard. They are such a trash unit that everyone ignores them...which enables them to get work done.

    4. A trick I use occasionally is to have fearless HQ who will not be running with cultists join them at the start so they don't run. You quickly have the juggerlord/juggerherald simply move back with the dogs/spawn after their first turn to help mitigate the first blood.

    5. That is a really good trick. After turn 1 the cultists drop down on the target priority list. Normally I just reserve cultists, but if you want them to cross the board this is a great idea.

  3. My initial take on this codex is that it is begging for fast assault armies. I love the addition of the shooty stuff from the CSM dex, but I think building in shooting goes against the flow of the dex.

    The dex benefits from casualties on both sides. Khorne was the weakest ruinous power because of the assault heavy army and lack of ability to get into assault and their frailty as a hoard army. The new build gives you more durable units to pick from. You also get blood tithe buffs if your units die. This creates a force multiplier effect when you use it correctly.

    Take bloodletters, hounds and assault cultists in rhinos and haul bawls towards your enemy. Following them are your secondary assault wave like CSM, warp talons, blood crushers, etc. The initial wave gets shot to pieces, just like any initial assault wave would. Only now you gain blood tithe points you then spend the turn your beatface units get the charge off (turn 2-3), seriously improving their fighting strength.

    You can also flip it and send in durable units like assault marines or maulerfiends packed into rhinos followed by your wave of beatface units as described above. Haul ass forward and pop smoke. The rhinos will get popped open, generating blood tithe points. Then the turn you are ready to assault you burn yer points on a force multiplier effect like FNP and +1 attack for your army.

    I can also see blood tithe points being used similar to summoning armies. You spend heavy on killy units and then summon your objective holding units as you gain enough tithe points. The 'get a free prince/bloodthirster' options don't appeal much to me. They still arrive via deep strike and cannot assault for 2 turns due to the stupid assault restrictions. So I don't think I'd ever use those options.

    1. I am not impressed by the summoning princes or thirsters. The summoning of lesser daemons could be very helpful, but some of the lesser results are going to be force multiplies so above a certain number of units these are going to be the best option.

      Time will tell the best way to gain blood points. I am hoping to try this out next weekend, but I will keep everyone updated.

    2. I think the key for summons are either hounds/bloodcrushers or the skull cannon. That free skull cannon is sexy :) It deep strikes in and can immediately start shooting. The infantry summoning I'd opt for fast speed units that can take/hold objectives.

      GW was smart in this detachment creation. I think hounds and skull crushers will fly off their shelves now. Possessed will prolly see a spike on ebay as well :P

    3. All they need to do to sell more hounds is have a plastic model.

    4. If they sold plastic hounds, I would buy a lot of that kit. As it stands, I can't bring myself to buy the expensive and old metal models.

    5. I would probably convert them out of some Warhammer fantasy undead hounds.

      I loath metal models.

    6. I use the fantasy chaos hounds. The larger 40k hell hound is indeed more khorne or 40k ish, but large metal models sold individually is silly. I have a bunch of the metal hounds but I really should sell them. I will never paint them.

  4. Had my game last night using the list above. We played Maelstrom (using the Khorne deck), vs Nids. My opponent had a tide of little bugs plus some big hitters (e.g. Carnifexs), a Flyrant and 2 Malanthropes (shrouded bubble). He got first turn.

    The shooting in my list took a very heavy toll on the little bugs, pretty much wiping out his first assault wave. The skull cannon did great, and as a result was a priority target along with the DP. I made a rash decision to charge a carnivex brood with my DP, but flunked a 7" charge! He got mobbed next turn.

    The blood tithe was turn 1 = 0, turn 2 = 2, turn 3 = 4, turn 4 = 8. In the end I summoned a Bloodthirster, but we had to call it quits at the end of turn 4 due to running out of time. I lost 10-8, on First Blood and Slay the Warlord (tied on objectives scored).

    Overall, I am really happy with the codex. It encourages a fluffy play style, and would really benefit from the special formations with extra bonuses (I used a CAD). When I play again this Friday I plan to revise the list and will have developed some new ideas (e.g. Run a Chaos Lord with Axe of Khorne, Bloodletters with instrument and Soul Grinder to drop in the enemy backfield - the Rage Bomb!).

    1. It would depend on quite a few of the specifics of your game, but I feel like at a high point game would benefit from some of the lower point rewards. The +attacks or FNP act as force multipliers, so the more units you have the more benefit you are going to see. In a smaller game the summoning is going to be a bigger deal (but more difficult to pull off)

      The loss is rough, but new codices take some time to learn. I am excited to try it out myself this weekend.

    2. I think that's a good call - for the next game, I am thinking to try and bag FNP for the turn my units disembark from rhinos and if possible coordinate with the deepstrikers. That will make it even harder for the opponent to reduce their numbers. Then if you can get rage/furious charge or +1 attack the next turn that would be a winner.

      I actually feel the cultists didn't add a whole lot except blood tithe and babysitting objectives that could have been done by other stuff. My two units cost about the same as a unit of 8 Berzerkers, which would do a lot more damage and pose a threat if I go for the all out assault list.

  5. I agree with Andrew, summoning the BT can be worthwhile only in long games without time limits of any kind. When the game could end in the 7th turn. In the others games, it's better to use faster and cheaper bonus.