Review: Codex Khorne Daemonkin

Morning all,

I picked up my Codex Khorne Daemonkin (CDK in this article for short) as it was about bloody time that I got to leaf through this gore covered tome! This is my first Codex review so I’m testing out the format a bit, here goes….

Codex pure f*%888#ng RAGE! (in a good way)

Codex pure f*%888#ng RAGE! (in a good way)

First Impressions

Like most Codices of late the cover art is awesome and it’s a sturdy hardback, ideal for slinging in a backpack or slid into the ol’ carry case. The fluff (fiction) for the army is a tad on the dull side for me. A large part of the first half of the book is given over to descriptions of the units. For instance you have a description of the possessed along with a pretty cool colour picture (there is some nice artwork throughout); for me the descriptions are largely pointless as I know what the units are, so they add nothing new to my understanding of Chaos. On top of this in the crunch section (rules) of the book in the unit entries, they have a further small description of what the unit is. Just my opinion, but it does feel a bit like filler at times. However, like I mentioned there are some cool pictures, a few nice fluffly bits about the Daemonkin and how they operate. Best of all though, is that it’s a stand alone Codex, complete with all the unit entries that you’ll need to play the army.

So all in all, it’s looking good not great. Time to take a closer look.

The Crunch: Overview

This is a full Codex so the army may follow the standard force organisation chart or be used as an allied detachment. You have a nice selection of units that have been pulled from the Chaos Space Marine (CSM) and Chaos Daemons (CD) Codex. However, the vast majority of CSM units have the Mark of Khorne and their points have been hiked up accordingly. Most infantry units start at Khorne’s sacred number of eight (the points are built into the unit cost) and interestingly the Possessed and Warp Talons have both Mark of Khorne and Daemon of Khorne, this means they can benefit from any special rules that affect Daemon of Khorne units. Like Deep striking without scattering next to a Bloodletter with the Banner of Blood.

As mentioned in the rumour round-up beneath this article the units from CSM and CD have been cherry picked, the list is incredibly combat heavy and long range fire power is poor at best. Effectively you’re relying on Helbrutes, Defilers, Land Raiders and Forgefiends for dakka dakka. However if you’re going in to this list for fire power… well you’re twisted. Though that’s not to say it can’t work, and here’s why.

The Blood Tithe

I’m giving this army rule it’s own section as I cannot overstate the massive affect it has on your list building. The rule broken down is as follows.

The main rule of the codex is “Blood for the Blood God” (the unit must have this special rule to benefit) :
You get “blood points for every unit you destroy and for every unit of yours that is destroyed (with BftBG). Characters slain (yours or your opponents) in challenges generate blood points as well.
At the beginning of your turn you can spend those blood points, effects lasts till the beginning of your next turn. (Summoning’s are permanent)

1. Adamantium will
2. Rage + Furious Charge
3. Feel no pain (huge huge huge benefit to your whole army and for only 3 points an absolute bargain, take some high strength shooting just to try and nab this in the early game before you hit combat)
4. +1A
5. Summon 8 Bloodletters of 5 Flesh hounds (arguably more useful than no.5, certainly a useful unit that is pretty survivable and can harass light to medium infantry. If you have the models you can have a free champion, musician and banner)
6. Summon 3 Bloodcrushers or one Skull cannon
7. One character becomes a Demon Prince, LD test, if failed becomes a Spawn instead (the main thing here is that you don’t give up Slay the Warlord, you retain your Warlord trait and an Artefact of Slaughter if you had one! Also if you have a Daemon Prince model with wings you can use that one, reegardless it comes with Warp Forged Armour for a 3+)
8. One character becomes a Bloodthirster, if failed becomes a Spawn instead (this is the basic Thirster, so no funky weapons for you and you don’t give up Slay the Warlord, plus you retain your Warlord trait. It’s a monstrous flyer with an abominable statline, seems pretty damn worth it to me. Plus it totally reminds me of the old days when you’d possess a character Dawn of War style and the poor chump would explode in a volcano of blood)

Once you spend a blood points you lose them all. For example if you have 5 and spend 4 for Feel No Pain, the leftover point is lost.

Plenty of access to these angry chaps, the board will be rife with 'em

Plenty of access to these angry chaps, the board will be rife with ’em (this is my favourite build and colour scheme from the ‘Eavy Metal team)

The implications are huge, this is because you have access to a vast array of cheap expendable units. Cultists, Spawns, Rhinos, even Flesh Hounds and Bloodletters; throw them at the enemy and laugh as you rack up points to summon more powerful units. This is an army that can get stronger the longer the game goes on. Also your Daemon characters can join CSM units and vice versa. It gets better when you ally with Battle Brothers, as I believe your Heralds can join BB units as well (I couldn’t find a rule that stated otherwise in the Daemonkin Codex, however if I’m mistaken feel free to comment below with the rule in question). So in theory you could have a BB CSM Havoc unit with, I don’t know, four missile launchers. Then you join a CDK Herald (who is only 55 points) he confers Fearless, which is a massive boon to Chaos. Not only that but the Blood Tithe rule specifically states that a unit that contains a model with the BftBG rules gains a point if they destroy an enemy unit, So now whenever your Havocs blow shit up the attached Herald will mumble some Daemonic litany that roughly translates to “good stuff chaps, let us count that as a skull for Khorne” and you get a Blood Point!

When designing a list you need to keep how the Blood Tithe table is going to work within the army. How are units going to generate you points? Will it be by thrashing units, or by getting blown away? Can they do both?

Battlefield Example

I played a game with Daemonkin as soon as I bought the Codex. Sadly due to time restraints we had to end it after we’d completed turn 3, because of this I lost 5 points to 1 against Grey Knights (with Draigo, good Dark Gods he’s a monster). However, my army was getting stronger and had only lost some chaff units. My Lord had ascended to the lofty ranks of Daemonhood and due to being a Prince he kept his Artefact (the armour of 3+, Eternal Warrior and Feel No Pain, a best buy if ever there was one). In fairness he’d earned his ascension, as the turn before he killed a Dreadknight… on his own. Axe of Khorne baby (inflicts Instant Death on the role of a 6 and he failed his sanctified invuln), for the win! I’d also accrued four more Blood Points, one more (which I would have got at the start of turn 4 for being a Slaughter Cult) would have secured me a unit of Bloodletters to deep strike onto my enemies backfield. Which would have netted me a couple of Tactical Objectives and Linebreaker if they survived (which they likely would have, as my opponent had nothing in his deployment). What I’m getting at, is the army was building up steam while the losses I’d suffered were for the most part redundant. This was because I had literally built redundancy into the list; the army was designed to take losses in the early game to fuel the Blood Tithe to make it stronger in the end game. However I had no choice but to admit defeat at the end of turn 3 due to the store closing and it being poor sportsmanship to do otherwise!

An Aside on Allies

Also just briefly, I would argue that you can in fact ally as Battle Brothers with the Imperial Armour 13 Renegades and Heretics (R&H) army list. Here’s why:

Allies and the Renegades and Heretics List

When selecting an allied contingent for an army using the Allies Matrix, a Renegades and Heretics army is considered identical to a standard Chaos Space Marine army”

This is verbatim from Imperial Armour 13. There is a semi colon with a further independent clause however the above contains all the info we need for the purposes of allying Daemonkin with Renegades and Heretics. The above clause means Daemonkin count R&H as Battle Brothers as they above clause means we count R&H as being identical in the Allies Matrix as CSM who are BB with Daemonkin. Job’s a good’un. This also allows for the hilarity of a support squad of six Lascannon (or any heavy weapon of your choosing, just don’t be insane and stick with the Heavy Stubbers they come with, please just don’t) toting heavy weapons with an attached Herald making them fearless and gaining a Blood Point whenever the Lascannons destroy a unit.

I think R&H make an excellent ally to Daemonkin as they can fill the gap of cheap armour with long range fire support. I’d go as far as to say pay the extra troops tax and take a full on Combined Arms Detachment if they’re your only ally. You could have a large unit of mutants with a Lord on Buggernaught (misspelled on purpose) attached so as to make them Fearless and give you Blood Points for when the unit rolls through your opponent (or at the very least, tarpits the heck out of em). I still think they’re worth it even if you take them as as Allied Detachment. Or CSM for a cheap Vindicator and nab a Malefic Sorcerer for extra summoning ability; I’d probably recommend Crimson Slaughter for your Sorcerer as if you take the Artefact Prophet of the Voices you become a Daemon so you will only Perils on a double 6, then take the Crimson Possessed as your compulsory troop choice, as they’re the only unit you can join due to PoftheVoices. As long as they’re unmarked you can stick a Daemonkin Lord or Herald in the unit for extra killy power and the ability to Blood Point it up. Make sure to give them a Buggernaught so that if the Crimson Possessed roll move as Beasts on they’re table the Lord and/or Herald can keep up.

Artefacts

As we thought, just one per model and no duplicates in the army.

– One Axe that you have to count the wounds inflicted with it:
1-2 +1S
3-4 Rampage
5-7 Sx2
8+ Instant Death
Effects are cumulative

– One armour that gives you 3+, Feel no Pain and Eternal warrior (no invuln but most of the time you’ll buy a Sigil for a 4++ or rely on Daemon for a 5++, this makes your Lord, Prince or ascended Lord to Prince vastly more survivable and I recommend this as an auto include. Combine with Axe of Khorne, Sigil and a Juggernaught for a well rounded killtacular character. Then if he ascends, boss.)

– One Rune that gives bearer adamantium will, and you can explode it. If so, till your next turn, in a 24″ bubble, all psychic test get perils with any double (it’s good but too situational for my liking especially as you can only take one Artefact)

– One Sword that gives you a blood point for every wound (meh)

– One helmet that gives you fear and any 6 to hit generates an additional attack (however your additional attacks can’t generate further additional attacks, it’s O.K. when combined with an Axe of Khorne but the above armour is superior for keeping your Lord around so that he can reap a fearsome toll)

– One Axe of Khorne (with all the benefits of AP2 at initiative order though S is as user) that when bearer dies becomes a Bloodthirster but and the end your player turn loses D3 wounds (Only inv saves allowed and FNP if you have it as that’s not a save). I really like this one, only the Lord and Prince can take it but the ramifications are fantastic. As you could have a Lord armed with it, then they ascend to Daemonhood as a Prince through the Tithe so they get to keep the Artefact, then they get killed and become a Bloodthirter. Mwahahahaha! I’m thinking of running a Lord with this axe in a unit of 8 Bloodletters with a Banner (as when you ascend you deep strike with 6″, the banner means you won’t scatter) in a Rhino. Send them headlong at the enemy, get out first turn and run them as far forwards as possible; the important part is this, have the Lord at the front of the unit so that he gets shot first. Then when he dies you can place the Bloodthirster within 6″ of the banner without scattering. As you’ll be ‘deep striking’ in your enemies turn, you can charge in your player turn (assuming the Thirster survives one round of shooting). It’s pretty much a win win, either you get shot and ascend or you don’t so you can merrily try and charge the next turn; hopefully with the Bloodletter unit fairly intact.

Closing Thoughts

I think it’s time to sum up as this seems fairly lengthy. However if you have any questions or comments please pop them below and I’ll answer them as swift as Doomrider on cocaine.

Overall this Codex is solid. The fluff is O.K. the rules are decent (Axe of Khorne is ubiquitous but somewhat overpriced at 30 points). It is a fairly cut and past Codex but that would be skirting over the usefulness of it. Khorne players can now use one Codex for their CSM and Khorne Daemons, which is great. One ally pretty much sorts out the shortfall in fire power and there are some great combos to be found (a few of which I hope this review has highlighted). It’s easy to make a highly themed army which remains surprising competitive thanks to the Blood Tithe table. The Tithe allows for a fair risk versus reward addition of Daemons into the army whereas the Malefic Psychic table is open to a lot of abuse at the moment.

It would have been nice to see some other special characters aside from Skulltaker however it is easy enough to ally them in. Plus, as mentioned if Kharn is allied in and attached to a Daemonkin Berserker unit and that unit wipes out, let’s say, a tactical squad; you still get the Blood Point as at least one model in the unit had the BftBG special rule. It doesn’t matter if Kharn does all the hard work and bags every kill, ’cause he’s just a stand up guy of excellent fineness. So for me on a personal level the special characters element is O.K.

I think my main gripe is that the CSM or Berserkers can’t be mounted on Juggernaughts. It would have been great if say a Biker unit could pay extra points to replace they’re bike for a Juggernaught. However as GW don’t do models for it, it’s not surprising, just a shame as that could have been pretty cool. The lack of Chosen is an odd choice as well, seeing as this is a dedicated Khorne Cult, one might have thought that there would be an elite cadre of Khorne’s selected few who have access to more specialist combat weaponry as a unit.

The Possessed are sadly still pretty naff. The unit champion can’t take any upgrades which is awful. They benefit from MofK and DofK but the drawback is that the Champion cannot ascend nor is they’re the boon table, so he will always remain mediocre. The unit needs a character to be effective but they’re very points heavy and the must challenge rule can be a horrendous disadvantage for the whole army. However cleverly used there is a place for the unit and even if they die you generate a Blood Point. Probably two with a character as useless as the Possessed Champion, let’s face it in most challenges he’s going down faster than a sack of bricks dropped from one foot above the ground; I’m betting that’s pretty bloody fast.

Warp Talons are weird. They’re a lot of points but the ability to Deep Strike without scattering next to a Banner of Blood held by a Bloodletter unit is pretty useful. Especially what with their Blind special rule on the turn they arrive. My force is a true scale one, as such I don’t think I’ll risk building a unit of them but it would be interesting to hear how they perform in the Daemonkin army.

I haven’t really gone over the Daemons themselves as the rules are basically the same accept that they lost instability across the board and gained Fearless, which is bloody amazing. Plus like I mentioned their characters can join CSM units and vice versa for the Lords with the Daemonkin Daemons. Which again is a really great change for this army. Though if you’re unfamiliar with Daemons, feel free to ask me any questions below.

Right so I think that’ll do it. Formations are alright but limited in the sense that there are some tight restrictions as a fair few of them require multiple units as the prerequisite for taking them. For instance the Slaughter Cult though good forces you to take one unit of possessed, which isn’t great as that immediately affects the rest of your list build because they’re an expensive under performing unit that really need some sort of transport as they’re also foot slogging otherwise.

Overall, a pretty good addition to the Chaos Codices. Great that it is stand alone from the other books and is pretty balanced for what it does. I’d say use allies if you want to round it out nicely or go full on combat to try and overwhelm your opponents. Fast Attack Rhino choices and Heavy Support Land Raiders mean that it is laughably easy to have a mechanised transport list to rush your enemy with cheap Bloodletters and more elite units like Berserkers. Load out your HQ’s carefully and you can deal (or at least match) most dedicated combat units.

Let’s keep our collective talons crossed for more Daemonkin Codices as I thin GW are heading in the right direction with these, room for improvement, but vastly superior to oh I dunno… the Dark God awful Black Legion supplement. I hate that book, so so much. Thankfully Khorne feeds of my RAGE and lets me summon ALL THE THINGS in fountains of bloody gore soaked madness, can’t help it… must end… with… MORE BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD, EVEN IF THAT BLOOD IS MINE!!! Ahhh, much better.

Take care all, hope you’ve enjoyed.

Ed

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