Saturday, March 28, 2015

40K Armies: Khorne Daemonkin - Codex Review

We have a winner.
If you are a chaos player, specifically a Chaos Space Marine player, and you are bad mouthing the new Khorne Codex I have four little words for you: Shut The Hell Up. This is the best chaos codex to come out in years since the Daemon codex and well, we all know that one is growing long in the tooth. Hands down this codex is the best for CSM in like three codex editions, maybe even more! Yeah, that old CSM codex, I gots no more use for it anymore, here let me illustrate for you.

Look. I found a new shelf for my CSM codex.
OK, full disclosure here first: I just might be a little bias towards this codex. Khorne is my favorite faction. I enjoy playing assault armies the most. Red is my favorite color. I'm giddy as a little school girl about this book. And well, anything is better than that old CSM codex these days.

What about the review, dummy?
I will be hitting all the highlights about the new codex and talk just a little about each one. I am going to leave all the in depth analysis to those bloggers whom have more 40K smarts than me. Your humble host is just your average joe player.

How about those Datacards?
For about $12 bucks you can get the codex datacards and they come in this little card box that is nigh impossible to open! I mean, I was about to take a knife to pry it open but ended up breaking a box lip instead, DOH. Cardboard for the Cardboard God! So with my first sacrifice to Khorne out of the way I opened up the box and found just what I expected, Maelstrom cards and Blood Tithe cards. There was also one bonus card explaining the entire Blood For The Blood God! (BFTBG!) rules and how to gain and use Blood Tithe points. The cards have a great illustration on them, just like the cover - red and mean. Included in the Maelstrom cards is of course the six obligatory codex specific cards, the best having to be the Khorne Cares Not card where you score points for units being destroyed - friend or foe! The more friends or foes that die the more points you get. Ah, got to love a jerk god like Khorne.

De fluff, boss, de fluff!
Just like Tattoo and Mr. Roarke, Chaos players will also be living on their own little slice of Fantasy Island in this section of the book. (Did I just date myself there? I think I did.)  The illustrations are just smashing; very lush, bright, vibrant, crisp and oh so red. Did I meant red is my favorite color? I think the illustrations are better looking than either of the last two Chaos books. The fluff that goes along with the pretty pictures appears to be the normal fare but honestly I haven't had the time to read it myself yet. It talks about Khorne, his Legions, different Bloodsworn hordes and finishes with blurbs about the greatest victories in the galaxy by the followers of Khorne.

Unit Fluff
Next up the book jumps right into the units and their fluff, no rules, just one full page devoted to each unit with text and illustrations. Also is included a flavor text for some of the units which add a flare of life to what you are reading. The flavor texts that tell a little story about a person among the unit are the best, the one about the Khorne cultist is just great and it ends just about how one would expect.

Model showcase
The middle pages are all about shaming players about how crappy we paint. Just page after page of model eye candy - reds and awesomeness just everywhere. Nuff' said, this is a blog not a picture gallery and words can not express just how good those Khorne models look.

Forces of the Khorne Daemonkin
Here is the meat and potatoes of the codex, the datasheets. But first it explains the Blood Host Detachment. 

This detachment is very important because it is a force multiplier for the main mechanic of the Khorne codex: Blood for the Blood God! (BFTBG!) If this detachment is the primary it not only gives a free Blood Tithe point every turn but when you go to spend Blood Tithe points you not only get the power you purchase but you get a second, lesser power for free! This is huge, folks. I'm thinking The Blood Host is a must take for anyone using this codex to get the most from BFTBG!
I will probably be writing a tactica about The Blood Host soon so I will leave the details for then.

I will hit all the high points for the datasheets:
  • The wargear has everything you'd expect and all the costs look the same as in CSM/Daemons.
  • Skulltaker can't take a Juggernaut. Boo! Really disappointed about that. Hoping this is a typo.
  • Just about every champion can take an Axe of Khorne. Yes!
  • Every single unit has the BFTBG! rule, even Rhinos! Yes, Rhinos net you a Blood Tithe point when they pop!  
  • No mo' Daemonic Instability! This is huge. Your Chaos Lord can now join a Daemon unit. And no more rolling instability when Daemons lose combat. Daemon codex players eat your heart out.
  • All Daemonic units now have Fearless.
  • All units from CSM have Mark of Khorne built in and the cost is included in the price.
  • All Troop units start at the holy number of Khore, 8! But you can buy them up to their normal max from their old codex.
  • Some units seem to pay a small tax for BFTBG! (like cultists) and others don't pay any (like Berzerkers).
Formation Datasheets:
  • Some formations are quite good while others force you to take crappy units that are still crappy.
  • The Gorepack stands out as one of the best. 2-4  Chaos Biker units and 1-4 Flesh Hounds of Khorne units. Grants Move Through Cover, Preferred Enemy (Psykers) and Hounds gain Hammer of Wrath. Bikers gain Shred for their HoW hits.
  • The War Engine formation datasheet is missing but it is listed under The Blood Host detachment so you can get your Daemon engines in the detachment.
Warlord Traits
All the Warlord Traits look to be solid and beneficiary except for the last one, it is rather situational unless your Warlord is turning into one of the Daemons you just summoned with Blood Tithe points.

Blood Tithe Table
This is the heart of the book - it is the gaming mechanic unique to Khorne Daemonkin. By now everyone reading this has probably read a primer on how it works: for every friend or foe unit destroyed you get a Blood Tithe point, granted the unit dying or doing the killing has the BFTBG! rule. 

I will break down the table below. Special rules are granted army wide for one turn to every unit that has the BFTBG! rule.
  • 1. Adamantium Will. Meh. But it is there in case you are assaulted by lots of psykers.
  • 2. Furious Charge and Rage. Getting better, but some units in the codex already have these.
  • 3. Feel No Pain. Here is the super-star of the table. This basically allows your army to ignore  50%  1/3 of the wounds it takes during the turn. This could be a game changer against shooty armies, then again maybe not.
  • 4. + 1 Attack per model. I think I'd rather have Feel No Pain, wouldn't you?
  • 5. Summon 8 Bloodletters or 5 Flesh Hounds. Oh, look, cannon-fodder.
  • 6. Summon 3 Bloodcrushers or 1 Skull Cannon. Hmm, the cannon could be a good support weapon for assaults.
  • 7. Summon 1 Daemon Prince. A non-daemon character with BFBTG! must make a Leadership check to become the Prince or turns into a Chaos Spawn. He gets to keep warlord trait and all equipment.
  • 8. Summon 1 Bloodthirster of Unfettered Fury. Same Leadership check as above. Retains warlord trait but not equipment.
A word about summoning those big Daemons
Summoning a Prince or Bloodthirster might not be as great as you might think. Here is why: when summoned they are Deep Striking in. That means, if they have wings, they are entering the game Swooping. So the next turn they go to Glide mode and the turn after that they can finally attack in assault. Yeah, you are missing 2 turns of assault, bummer.

There is a way around this for the Prince, tho'. The rule specifically says that if the model has wings it gets Daemonic Flight. That means if the model you place on the table doesn't have wings then BAM, he Deep Strikes on the ground and can attack next turn. You are sacrificing mobility for aggressiveness but it may be worth it depending on the situation on the battlefield at the time and the number of turns left in the game.

Hallelujah! and pass me the chain axe
Jumping past the equipment descriptions (normal fare stuff) there are the Artefacts of Slaughter. On the surface they all seem to be rock solid, some even stellar. You get what you pay for, the better artefacts are not cheap but not priced out of usefulness either.
  • Goredrinker. Starts with power axe stats but it gets better the more wounds it inflicts. At 5+ it doubles Strength and at 8+ wounds it becomes an Instant Death weapon.
  • The Blood-forged Armor. 3+ armor with Eternal Warrior and Feel No Pain. This is super sexy armor but expensive at half the cost of a Hellbrute. It is probably worth the price tag.
  • The Brazen Rune. Grants Adamantium Will. Also can explode once per game and cause psykers within 24" to perils on any rolls of doubles. Take that, sissy Eldar!
  • The Blade of Endless Blood. Normal power sword stats but grants an extra Blood Tithe point at the end of every assault phase that the blade inflicts at least one wound. Note how this also works during your opponent's turn, could be gangbusters for gaining Blood Tithe points!
  • The Skull Helm of Khore. Grants wearer Fear and for every 6 rolled To Hit in close combat the helm grants the wearer an extra attack.
  • Kor'Lath, the Axe Ruin. This is the axe everyone is talking about and it costs the most. It is a power axe that strikes at normal initiative and causes Instant Death on To Wound rolls of 6. And, here is the biggie, if the axe wielder dies he turns into a summoned Bloodthirster! Buuuuuut he loses D3 wounds at the end of every turn - Invulnerable saves are allowed. To bad he is summoned (2 turns before he can assault something) because he might just die before he can attack anything! DoH!

Here is the book that Chaos players have been waiting for. I'm not saying this is the book that will turn the tables on those stoopid xenos shooting armies but it is certainly a codex that puts a spit shine on assault and attempts to give the player the tools to try and be successful with it in today's meta. With some luck and lots of playtesting we assault players might just discover a build or two that gives us a real competitive edge.

The strength of the Khorne codex is BFTBG!. Taking The Blood Host detachment for Blood Tithe multipliers is a must, as is any other way you can game that system such as The Blade of Endless Blood. Bottom line is that this codex replaces the CSM codex for Khorne players, it is light years better. If this codex is any indication of what is to come for the other Chaos Gods then I think it will be a smashing couple of years for we Chaos players.

Any way you slice it with your chain axe, this codex is going to be a wild and fun ride upon the tides of the oceans of our foe's blood.



  1. Can terminator champions use the axe of khorne? Can ant units unlock more than one axe?

    1. Any unit that can take melee weapon upgrades can take an Axe of khorne.

    2. Terminators cannot sadly, they have the options from the old book. Attaching a lord to them to act as the defacto champ isn't a bad idea.

  2. Hate to crush dreams but default NFP is a 5+.

    Any unit that can take a CCW can take an axe. but its 30 frickin points so dubious. Thre is no reaosn to take two, one and a Lclaw or Pfist is OK tho

    A terminator can't take an axe of khorne :( other aspiring champions can tho.
    A herald can't take an axe of khorne either....

    1. Good catch, that was a big mistake I made. I must have been thinking in 5th edition mode.

  3. The BT summoning Axe is not a power Axe but an enhanced Axe of Khorne if I recall. It strikes at initiative and has decapitating blow.

    1. By the way, good review. If this is the direction GW is going with Chaos, I think mono god players are going to be happy. Did anybody notice that the helrake didn't get a fluff page in this codex?

    2. Correct! Thanks for catching that, I like this axe a lot more now.

  4. Really wish they would release some plastic flesh hounds. The biker formation sounds pretty good.

  5. A slight distinction about summoning flying Daemons. You only are forced to swoop if you come in from Deep Strike Reserve. Just being placed using Deep Strike isn't the same thing. Otherwise flying psykers would be forced into swooping after using Gate of Infinity! :)

    1. Hmm, interesting point, I see what you are saying. But I can't find any rules to confirm this?

    2. Would be nice, but is not correct. See a quote from DakkaDakka Forums:

      "To sum up the sequence of events:
      1) bloodthirster is summoned at the start of the turn via blood tithe, before movement phase
      2) bloodthirster must declare swooping to come in via deep strike
      3) bloodthirster moves onto the table via deep strike
      4) since bloodthirster has already moved this turn, the "start of its move" has already passed and it must wait to alter flight mode until next turn

    3. Incorrect. The Thirster is summoned before movement, ALREADY in swoop. He does not 'choose' to use it in the movement phase. Normal deepstrikes happen in movement phase, but not tithe summoning. He is already on the table BEFORE movement phase, and can thus switch to gliding. Same as if a Axe of Ruin warlord gets killed in enemy assault phase. He's on the table before the KDK next move phase. Not that I agree with most ITC formats, but they allow this as well.

  6. Awesome review and funny read too :) It does look like a good codex indeed. Just hope they do a Nurgle one at some point.

    1. Thanks! Though I wasn't trying to be that funny, I guess I was because I has half asleep when writing. Ha. Yeah, I'm looking forward to Nurgle next myself.

  7. Inflicting Perils on Eldar Farseers is next to pointless, as they have the Ghost Helm to negate the wound. I run my Farseer with Santic Daemonology and peril all the time on any double. Brazen Rune is better against Daemon Factory and Grey Knights.

  8. Adding to my comment, unless you use Psy-out grenade to knock on the Farseers because they have no Warp Charge in your turn when you throw it.

  9. Barghest Fiends make AMAZING Flesh hounds! I have a unit of 10.


  10. FMC only deep strike in Swoop if they are held in reserves. Its pretty clear in the book.

  11. I'm hoping we get an faq to clear up the rules on this because the community seems to be divided on it.

    1. Not really. Its super clear. 99% of people play it as flying.

  12. I might be an idiot, but since its never actually stated, does this codex cover ALL daemons and chaos marines or just the khorne ones?