Thursday, March 22, 2018

Chaos Daemon Codex Review - Khorne Artifaects, Stratagems, Army Rules and Stratagies

Chaos Daemon Codex Review - Khorne Artefacts, Stratagems, Army Rules and Stratagies

Before we get into reviewing the units in the Codex, I think its good to talk about the war gear, stratagems, warlord traits, artefacts etc.  All of these smaller things throughout the Codex seem small, but each one has an affect on all the units within the Codex.

I find it easier to discuss these items now, get the knowledge out there and when the review of the units comes out I can streamline each review without having to reference or explain all the rules.

So to start off we are going to talk about the things that affect the whole army:

Daemonic Abilities, Legions and Loci:

  • Abilities:

All Daemons have certain abilities that always affect them no matter what, for the Khorne units these
abilities are Daemonic, Unstoppable Ferocity, Daemonic Ritual.

Follow the break for the rest of the review!


We will start with Daemonic which is very strait forward, all units with this ability have a 5++ invulnerable save.  Something that has carried over many editions and a staple of any Daemon army.

Unstoppable Ferocity

The next is Unstoppable ferocity, this ability gives your 1+ strength and 1+ attack, when you charge, get charged or do a heroic intervention.  This ability turns the already potent troops choices of Bloodletters into one of the most extreme melee troop choices that are available.

Daemonic Ritual

The last Ability is the Daemonic Ritual, this allows you to summon extra troops in each turn, with a few caveats.  The nice thing now is, Daemonic Ritual is done at the end of the movement phase and is not a Physic ability, which means Khorne characters are now able to summon.  To summon new units, instead of moving in the movement phase a character can elect to summon, you simply roll 3D6 and can summon a new unit that has a power rating equal to or less than the total of the roll, of the same allegiance as the character  (Khorne can only summon Khorne, this includes things like Soul Grinders and Daemon Princes, just have to pick the allegiance belonging to the summoner).  If you roll doubles its a mortal wound, and triples is D3 mortal wounds.
The standard Deepstrike rules apply to the new unit and they must be within 12" of the summoner.

This is an extremely nice tool to have but the downside is they are treated as a reinforcement and in matched play you must keep the extra points free in your army list to summon the units, reminder you must also pay for upgrades like Instruments and Icons as well..  In narrative play you can summon as much as you like.

I have found keeping some points free in larger games works well as you can hopefully summon a big unit late in the game to take key objectives or to put a powerful unit deep in enemy lines.


If your army is battle-forged you gain the old Objective secured, all troops can claim objectives over other enemy units, even troops, unless they are also battle-forged, then it goes by who has the most models.


If your army is battle-forged, all characters in your detachments gain a Loci, so long that every unit in the detachment is has the same Daemonic Allegiance, this is a power buff that will affect all Daemon units of the same allegiance within 6" of them.

The Khorne Loci is Locus of Rage, all units within 6" of any model with the Locus Rage can re-roll their charges.

This is a very nice buff that has served me well many times, I find keeping a couple Heralds or Daemon Princes on foot with Bloodletters will allow your Bloodletters to get into combat much easier and get them to a the place were they shine.

  • Khorne Artefacts:

Artefacts are able to be given out to one character in your army if your armies Warlord has the Daemon Faction keyword.

There are four artefacts available to Khorne units, two of them are armour and two are weapons.

Armour of Scorn

If given to a model, it provides them with a 4++ invulnerable save and the model can attempt to Deny the witch once in the physic phase.

This is the Artefact I have the most use out of so far, increasing that all important invul save to 4++ and letting one more unit in an army to deny the witch, something a Khorne army lacks.  If you want to bring a Bloodthirster it can be effective on them, as they tend to have all the big guns pointed on them early and often, and that 4++ can really save your bacon against lascannons and the like.  I also find it effective on Daemon Princes, who now have 8 wounds and are able to hide themselves, so later in the battle when they finally do reach the enemy and get into combat with some bigger units they can hopefully shrug off some of those power fists and similar melee attacks.

Being able to deny the witch at least once a turn is also a nice benefit, with a Khorne army only having a few models that can do it (most of which are not very effective units to begin with) every little bonus to defending physic attacks helps.

The Crimson Crown

This allows all Khorne models within 6" of the bearer to gain an extra attack using the same profile as the original attack when they roll a 6.  

This has a nice ability, and can benefit a decent amount of units if you put it on a herald surrounded by Bloodletters, but overall I wouldn't use this as a few extra attacks is usually not the problem as much as your big units surviving.

If you run a more troop and smaller character style army you could see some benefits from this.

A'Grath, The King of Blades

Replace any Blade of Blood or Hellforged Sword with this Artefact, the base weapon itself is only a slight improvement on Blade of Blood or Hellforged Sword, except for the ability which re-roll wounds against characters and 3 damage against monsters instead of D3.

Overall a weaker artefact and I have not found much use for it yet.


Replace an Axe of Khorne, Great Axe of Khorne or Daemonic Axe with Skullreaver.  It is a slight upgrade over the original weapons if any, but it shines against Titanic Foes, were you get to roll wounds and if you re-roll a 6 to wound it does any aditional D3 wounds.

This is very situational, if the opponent does not have any Titanic units this weapon will be mostly wasted, it is still a upgrade over the Daemonic Axe and a nice upgrade for a Daemon Prince.  I don't find it worth it over the Armour of Scorn unless you are playing a Titanic heavy army.

Overall Thoughts

I find most of the Khorne Artefacts range of meh to pretty good, nothing really blowing you away but in my mind the clear winner is the Armour of Scorn, the 4++ has saved my Bloodthirster or Prince more than once and lets them get into battle were they really shine.

Situationally the Skullreaver can be extremely good, but it really depends on what army you are facing.

  • Stratagems:

Stratagems are available to battle-forged armies and there are two types of stratagems available, ones available to all Daemonic Allegiances and some available to only Khorne.

Chaos Daemon Stratagems

There are several stratagems available to all Daemon Legions:

Denizens of the Warp:
Spend 1 Command Point to deepstrike a unit of 8 power level or less, or Spend 2 Command points and deepstrike a unit of 9 power level or more at the end of any of your movement phases.  These adhere to the standard deepstriking rules.

This is one of, if not my favourite stratagem, this allows you to deepstrike a unit of 30 Bloodletters right in the enemies face for 2 CP, and for 3 CP you can include a herald to get the Charge re-roll.  I have almost always used this and it has allowed me to do a devastating alpha strike turn one, putting one or more units in their face that they have to deal with allowing the rest of your army to move up the board and absorb less shooting.

Demonic Incursion:
If a unit of Daemons is killed by Grey Knights you can spend 2 CP to bring them back, you can set them up at the end of your next movement phase using the deepstrike rules and does not cost any reinforcements.

This is extremely situational, and rather expensive CP wise.  I have not used this yet as I have not played against Grey Knights yet, but I could see some uses for it but overall not something I would want to use 2 CP on.

Soul Sacrifice:
For 2 CP you can roll 4D6 when summoning instead of 3D6, but the summoner takes D3 mortal wounds no matter what.  Also the summoned unit can re-roll hit rolls of 1 if they are within 6" of the Character that summoned them.

I have used this once so far, and found mixed results, I just happened to have a bad summoning roll and got 8 total.  Which would be a bit below average for the 3D6 summon.  This has it uses and can be very powerful but also could go the other way and be a total waste of 2 CP.  More often then not I haven't used this as it still uses reinforcement points so you are still limited by what you saved for reserved points, and the 2 CP I have found better uses for so far.

Rewards of Chaos:
Allows the use additional Artefacts, for 1 CP you can take one extra artefact and for 3CP you can take 2 extra, they must be different artefacts and given to different characters.

This is were you can make good use of the Skullreaver artefact, if you are about to start a game and the oponent has several Titanic units you can spend 1 CP and give the Skullreaver to a model to help deal with the Titanic units.  I don't see much use for the 3CP reward and taking three artefacts total, the other two in my mind are not worth the 2 CP.

Daemonic Pact:
For 1 CP after a character finishing the Daemonic Summoning you can use this stratagem and that character can immediately do another Daemonic Summoning.  

In matched play if you have reinforcement points available, this can be a huge benefit to you, getting two units summoned can help turn the tide in a close battle, or possibly help capture two different objectives.  I have not used this one yet but for 1 CP it can be very potent.

Daemonic Possesion:
For 1 CP you can make a enemy unit that suffered perils of warp, take 3 wounds instead of D3.

Very useful if you have an enemy pysker that only has 3 wounds left, you can remove him play and rid yourself of at least 1 pysker, something a Khorne army has trouble dealing with in the first place.

Warp Surge:
Costs 2 CP and it gives one unit 1+ to their invul save (to a max of 3++) until the end of the phase but that unit can not re-roll any saving throws that turn.

Another one that has it uses, and for 2 CP can be useful.  If you have a unit that needs to survive combat or possibly a round of shooting this can help get them there.  A model with the Armour of Scorn goes to a 3++, very useful for the a Bloodthrister who is stuck in the open and about to be shot to pieces.  It has several uses and Khorne models do not have re-rolls for saves anyways so you do not really lose anything using this.

Khorne Daemon Stratagems

Banner of Blood:
Costs 1 CP, used before the battle, choose a model with the Daemonic Icon, it upgrades the Icon to a Banner of Blood, which in addition to the Icons normal rules, once per game; before you declare your charge the bearer's unit active the Banner and then can charge 3D6 instead of 2D6.

This stratagem is one of my favourites and something I use every battle, it almost gaurentees a unit can make their charge, with a 3D6 charge and 1+ distance for the Daemonic Icon, you are a looking at an average of 11-12" charge range.  Pair this with a Character that has the Locus that allows re-rolling charges you are set.
I also find this extremely effective when paired with Denizens of the Warp, deepstrike a unit of 30 Bloodletters in with the Banner of Blood and you are almost guaranteeing a first turn charge.  This can very powerful for taking out a key unit turn one and catching your opponent by surprise.  The combo costs you 3 CP total, but personally I find it extremely effective, add a deepstriking herald for the charge re-rolls and for 4 CP you are going to cut down almost any unit you can charge turn one.

Locus Of Wrath:
Costs 2 CP, pick a Khorne Character in your army, until end of turn any Khorne units within 6" of the character can any failed hit rolls until end of phase. 

This is a nice perk but also a bit costly at 2 CP, the issue I have is all Khorne units hit on a 3+ and some on a 2+, while the re-rolls are nice you are not missing with that many attacks to begin with and I can find better uses of 2 CP.

Frenetic Bloodlust:
Costs 3 CP, at the end of any fight sub-phase select one of your Khorne Daemon units, that unit can immediately fight again.

I have had mixed success with this, while it is very powerful to have a unit attack again, it is also very costly at 3 CP.  That being said, having a Bloodthirster attack again and finish off that large Titanic unit or HQ choice is well worth the cost.  It is situational for sure but those situations were you need it, you really need it.

Overall Thoughts:
Overall the stratagems are very good, with a few outliers and a few situational ones that you might ever use.  The stratagem that brings the deepstriking back to the Daemons is almost a must take and the Banner of Blood is right up there with it.
You can not go wrong with most of the stratagem's as long as you use them in the right situation, while some still require some luck on your side to work, more often than not if the situation calls for it, it is well worth the risk.


This is just the last section for to me to go over some strategies/combos etc that have worked for me in some games.

The first is deepstriking... The new codex took Daemon's deepstriking away, which was a staple of the army for years, but they did give it back to us in the stratagems.
I have used this every game and almost always had success with it, the best combo I have found costs 4 CP total to do:
2 CP to deepstrike a unit of 30 Bloodletters with a Icon and Insturment
1 CP to deepstrike a Herald on foot
1 CP for the Banner of Blood for the Bloodletters.

This allows you to almost guarantee a turn one charge, the Bloodletters get 3D6 charge distance with the Banner of Blood and an additional 1+ distance from the Icon.  Add the herald in there they also get to re-roll their charge.  With only needing a 9 to get into combat after deepstriking this is a very powerful combo together.  If the herald can get into combat as well all the Bloodletters will benefit from 1+ strength bonus giving you strength 6 Bloodletters with 2 attacks each.  60 attacks at strength 6 with -3 AP will wreck almost any unit.
This alpha strike should hopefully draw some attention from your opponent and let the rest of your army move up the board and take less fire as you have a horde of Bloodletters deep in their zone already.

Protecting the Big guys
In larger games I will often take a Bloodthirster of Insensate Rage, but he tends to soak up all the big fire power turn one.  I have had some success keeping him alive with a little combo of Armour of Scorn (4++) and Warp Surge during the opponents shooting phase.  This gives him a 3++ and if you take the warlord trait Oblivious to pain he ignores wounds a 6+.  These combined should allow him to survive turn one of shooting without taking to much damage and hopefully get him into combat were he can shine and take out some key units.  The other side of this is, if all the big guns are focused on your tanky Bloodthirster they are not focused else were, letting the rest of your army survive a bit longer.

Well that is it for this part of the review, let me know what you think.  Also let me know if this is to in depth, not in depth enough or if there is something else you would like to see.

Also let me know some of your favourite tactics or strategies in the comments.

I will be doing a review of the units soon so keep an eye out for that.

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