Why Khorne Daemonkin is a Win


Hey everyone, Reecius here from Frontline Gaming to discuss a very cool book and why I want to tip my hat to GW for doing such a good job with it: Khorne Daemonkin!

KDK, as it is called in the interwebs, is a great book. At first it felt like it would be a bit of an afterthought; just a mash-up of Daemons and Khorne CSM with a smattering of extra rules, right? Well, technically, yeah, that is what it is. However, the subtle blend of units and new rules allows you to build a Khorne themed Chaos Warband that actually plays like the fluff but is also good. Wow! That seems to be very hard to pull off in practice. Now, the book isn’t perfect, and we’ll get to that more later (mostly inherited flaws from the CSM book), but for what it is the GW writing team did a kick-ass job.

I am in the middle of assembling my own KDK force (slow going as I have been so dang busy, lately), but the fun of it is playing a balls to the wall Khorne army–as is proper–that will actually perform well on the table. It’s really cool to have a list that is both true to the lore of the game and effective. Well done, GW! The Blood Tithe special rule helps to overcome the difficulty assault armies can have getting across the table by buffing units and bringing in reinforcements to bolster losses suffered during the headlong charge across the battlefield.

Plus, the man himself, Bloodthirster, is new, improved and a beast! Besides being one of the absolute coolest models I have ever laid eyes on, the new BT packs a punch that reflects his glorious back-story. Yeah, he is still flimsy and fairly easy to take out but if he gets to deliver a blow, it shakes the very ground! To me, that is as it should be. Mine is named Pantera and his D-Axe: Vulgar Display of Power!


The army is also quick, with Maulerfiends, Spawn, Bikers, Fleshhounds, Drakes, etc. to really play aggressively. Couple this with units coming in from Blood Tithe, and you have a great combo with threat vectors all over the table. That creates a lot of pressure for an opponent to have to deal with, which makes for a fun, tense game.

My only real complaints with the book are a decided lack of ways to crack transport vehicles early in the game which with the increasing popularity of the Space Marine Battle Company is a real concern. Luckily, you can ally in some Renegades or CSM for shooting units which if you attach a KDK character to, will generate Blood Tithe. Sweet! That helps a ton. Obliterators and Artillery units for example, can bring in more Tithe while also helping to get squishy infantry out of their metal boxes.

Then of course, the sad state of affairs for poor CSMs themselves. Berzerkers, Chaos Space Marines, etc. are just sub-par units, unfortunately. Overpriced and under-powered, they don’t add much to KDK and you rarely see them. The Bikers can be OK, though, which is something to be happy about at least, and provide mobile melta shots and a vessel to summon another Bloodthirster should that become an option.

As soon as FW FAQs their Chaos units to be able to be included in KDK lists as KDK faction units, that will add a TON to the army. Units like the awesome Sicaran, for example, will be great for ranged fire support while also generating Blood Tithe. Hopefully that happens soon!


Lastly, I just struggle to see why Kharn is not in the book. I get the fluff that he is a World Eater specifically, but come on, a book dedicated to the Blood God’s forces should have Kharn in it. He’s just such a boss character in the fluff, and pretty decent on the tabletop, too. It would have added a lot to the book to be able to take him, IMO.

On the whole though, I am very pleased with KDK. GW managed to find the right balance between theme and power, which makes the casual and competitive gamer happy. Win! I hope the rest of the Daemonkin series of books delivers as much fun.


About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

68 Responses to “Why Khorne Daemonkin is a Win”

  1. Lynch91 September 11, 2015 12:11 am #

    I have to agree I think KDK does work. I’d be keen to see the list Frankie mentioned he saw at nova. D Bloodthirster + khorne dogs sounds interesting assuming the list has enough support to back those units up.

    • Reecius
      Reecius September 11, 2015 8:31 am #

      I heard he was running tons of Hounds, which are a great unit in that book.

  2. Blackfel September 11, 2015 1:09 am #

    Would you mind posting an example of what you believe to be a competitive KDK list for an ITC tourney?

    • Reecius
      Reecius September 11, 2015 8:35 am #

      The list Goatboy posted would actually do very well in the ITC :

      Khorne Mission Winner
      Khorne Daemonkin CAD + Gorepack X 2
      HQ: Chaos Lord, Bike, Super Cool Thirster Axe, Combi-Melta
      HQ: Bloodthirster of Rage aka D Thirster of Doom
      Troops: Cultists X 8
      Troops: Cultists X 8
      FA: Heldrake, Baleflamer
      FA: Heldrake, Baleflamer
      FA: Heldrake, Baleflamer

      Gorepack #1
      Chaos Bikers X 3, Meltagun X 2
      Chaos Bikers X 3, Meltagun X 2
      Flesh Hounds of Khorne X 5
      Flesh Hounds of Khorne X 5
      Flesh Hounds of Khorne X 5

      Gorepack #2
      Chaos Bikers X 3, Meltagun X 2
      Chaos Bikers X 3, Meltagun X 2
      Flesh Hounds of Khorne X 5
      Flesh Hounds of Khorne X 5

      • Warmaster_GIR September 11, 2015 9:32 am #

        I love that Bike Lord, Just sprint out, die and turn into a Bloodthirster. Maybe pop a transport for an extra blood tithe before he dies.

        • Reecius
          Reecius September 11, 2015 11:58 am #

          Lol, awesome! I must use D-Thirster. Simply has to happen, that model is the reason for the army (for me).

        • Defeatmyarmy September 12, 2015 12:59 pm #

          Awesome! Sounds like a much improved Daemon bomb from the 3rd/4th edition codex. I think I’ll be building this as an allied contingent over time. So with CSM and Daemons I can add a 3rd? Bloodhounds as troops would be awesome and anti psyker?

          • Reecius
            Reecius September 13, 2015 5:51 pm

            Yeah, go for it! It’s a fun army to play.

  3. Fagerlund September 11, 2015 1:28 am #

    I also enjoy the book, it’s actually quite tactical thanks to the Blood Tithe. I just wish I didn’t need to take Possessed to use the full power of it…

    • Reecius
      Reecius September 11, 2015 8:35 am #

      Agreed 100%. Possessed are a brutal tax unit =(

      • Adam
        Adam (thediceabide.com) September 11, 2015 11:35 am #

        I’m not sure they’re THAT bad of a tax, considering 1 point of blood tithe is the difference between summoning 80 points of bloodletters/hounds or 170 points of bloodcrushers (since they come with command). They’re also not bad for back-field defenders when you end up paying the tax, a unit generating 20 S6 attacks on the charge at potentially AP3 (or 25 attacks), is pretty brutal. I’ve definitely had them chase enemies away from objectives, plus they’re often ignored in favor of dealing with your faster units.

        Add on top of that the second tithe ability for the Slaughtercult, you can end up both summoning a unit, and getting a significant part of your army FNP… it’s ugly.

        • Reecius
          Reecius September 11, 2015 12:15 pm #

          Yeah, the Decurion is awesome, but man, that stupid Possessed unit. Also, you don’t get access to Drakes without the insane tax units in their formation, lol.

        • abusepuppy September 11, 2015 12:25 pm #

          The problem is they’re still just MEQs at the end of the day, so if the enemy is trying to claim one of your objectives, they are probably prepared for five MEQs. They’re also HEINOUSLY expensive for what they do.

          • Reecius
            Reecius September 13, 2015 5:51 pm


          • Jural September 14, 2015 9:53 am

            They should be 20 points, then they would be useable. As is they are useless for the points.

            The Crimson Slaughter table is MUCH better, but you still have better options. But I would actually imagine fielding CS Possessed.

  4. Loopy September 11, 2015 5:00 am #

    Khorne Daemonkin are a godsend for me since I was already building Daemon Orks. This works perfectly because I can run them as Daemonkin now and it’s a bit more competitive than my poor Orks.

  5. Evil Space Elves September 11, 2015 7:48 am #

    For more Pantera Win: BY DAEMONS……BE DRIVEN!
    Vulgar Display of Power is basically the soundtrack of Khorne.

    • Reecius
      Reecius September 11, 2015 8:36 am #

      Exactly! Haha, it just feels right!

      • Evil Space Elves September 11, 2015 1:02 pm #

        I think my Bloodthirster will be named Phil Anselmo

        • Fagerlund September 12, 2015 4:57 am #

          Just make sure you model it with a bottle of whisky in hand and you’re golden.

          • Reecius
            Reecius September 13, 2015 5:51 pm


  6. EvilLairChandler September 11, 2015 8:07 am #

    Actually ran a KDK army against Eldar last night. Was a beatdown but KDK is so much fun to play, that winning or losing doesn’t matter as much I think. You’re killing shit and bringing in new shit. It’s a fun army to play with and against I think.

    • Reecius
      Reecius September 11, 2015 8:36 am #

      Yeah, I think that is the real magic of army: it’s fun! If only the CSM units sucked less, it would be a great book.

      • EvilLairChandler September 11, 2015 9:46 am #

        Yes I agree completely. I did use Berserkers in the game I played last night since it was just a fun game. Surprisingly they did ok considering I got seized on and their rhino was popped before it could move by scatter bikes. They did manage to make it across the board and killed a scatterbike squad and some warp spiders. But overall yes the CSM units just suck so bad it’s hard to justify putting them in a list. Usually I just go with cultists or bloodletters.

        • Reecius
          Reecius September 11, 2015 12:13 pm #

          Yeah, Bloodletters all day for my money.

  7. Lanzer September 11, 2015 9:31 am #

    Really excited to see this article. I’ve been play KDK since the day the book arrived and I’m happy to see it getting some love finally. I took a GT called Dark Star in MN with my daemon kin running a double CAD of KDK and Daemons. The summoning from the Blood tithe supplemented by the summoning from daemons can get put a lot of threats on the board quickly. I still can’t bring myself to bring any of the formations though, everything feels so taxed. ATM I’m running two lords with axes of khorn and fists. Just a single block of 20 dogs. 2 hell drakes and two soul grinders. With battle company being such a night mare right now I don’t know how that list from BAO handles massed pods/razorbacks.

    Thanks for the time and the post 😀

    • Reecius
      Reecius September 11, 2015 11:42 am #

      Glad you liked it and congratz on winning Dark Star, that’s awesome! And yeah, dealing with massed light armor is a challenge for KDK, I agree. That is what you need to be able to overcome.

  8. westrider September 11, 2015 9:31 am #

    I’ve been having so much fun with KDK. It plays like I want my Nids to play: fast, brutal, and in your face. I won a 1250 Tournament at a local store with them a few months ago. On the 4×4 tables that they cut down to for the smaller size, that speed was just insane.

    The CSM Units really need some help tho. Very underwhelming. The Relics are kind of unimpressive after a while spent using a JuggerLord with the Axe of Blind Fury, too. I find I’m mostly leaning on Flesh Hounds and MaulerFiends for the real work, with Helldrakes supporting, and everything else is basically filler or Objective grabbers.

    I have found larger (10-15) packs of Flesh Hounds (or several smaller packs working in concert) to be sometimes good at dealing with Mech, just through having the speed and numbers to surround and Wreck Transports, trapping the occupants. Not worth relying on, but worth keeping in mind for when the opportunity arises.

    Besides Kharne and Karanak, the other really weird absence from the Dex to me is Mutilators. I know, they suck, but fluff-wise, they seem like a shoe-in. I also wish the Helbrute Formations could be taken as KDK. A Mayhem Pack Deep Striking with some extra Multi-Meltas would be really handy sometimes.

    • Warmaster_GIR September 11, 2015 9:40 am #

      If Mutilators where in KDK they might be somewhat viable. If they where KDK they would generate blood tithes when they die you could just take solo units and deepstrike them back field to troll objective holders or to run suicide missions and bring more stuff on faster.

      Also the unit is called “mutilators”, what the hell was games workshop thinking by not putting that unit in the KDK book. The only things with more Khorne sounding names are those new units from Age of Sigmar. The Blood Rage Bloods and the Gore Blood Ragers and whatever else they’ve been making up with their “Spin Wheel of Blood” naming system.

      • westrider September 11, 2015 11:13 am #

        Yeah, the facts that they could be taken as singles, and there’s no competition whatsoever for Elites slots, and that whether they kill something or die themselves, they’re helping me, all gives them rather more potential in a KDK List.

        One of my regular Opponents has agreed to, at some point, let me run Mutilators in there, along with a KDK Mayhem Pack. I’m looking forward to seeing how much pressure I can put on with 6 fairly cheap but still dangerous DS Units coming down right as the Hounds and MaulerFiends start to close in.

        • abusepuppy September 11, 2015 12:27 pm #

          Just take Terminators. A bit more expensive, a lot more killy, a lot more flexible.

          • Warmaster_GIR September 11, 2015 1:32 pm

            But I want to Mutilate not Terminate.

          • westrider September 11, 2015 8:18 pm

            By the time you give the Termies Combi-Weapons and a ChainFist for flexibility, they’re almost 50% more expensive per Wound, and over twice as expensive per Unit. The ratio is a bit better in CSM, but in DK they have to take the Mark of Khorne, and that really starts adding up for the Termies.

            Plus I have some converted Mutilators that I really like and I want to use the Models.

          • abusepuppy September 11, 2015 10:50 pm

            Well, I probably wouldn’t take the Chainfist, but that’s a whole other argument- if you just run them PMaul/Pmaul/PAxe you’re doing 90% of what Mutilators do for only marginally more (and you actually have a superior survivability against S8+ weapons.) While MoK isn’t “worth it” by any measure, Terminators obviously benefit a lot more from it than Mutilators do because they have more models- hence the higher price.

            I can’t really think of any reason you couldn’t use a Mutilator model for a Terminator, unless it was something really weird? I mean, I get wanting to use nifty conversions and all that, but since Mutilators (and Obliterators) are pretty much “more differenter Terminators”, it’s not like you can’t cross-swap the model.

      • Reecius
        Reecius September 11, 2015 11:59 am #

        Spin the wheel of blood, lol! So true.

    • Reecius
      Reecius September 11, 2015 12:13 pm #

      Yeah, agreed. Why aren’t Mutilators in there? Seems odd.

  9. fluger September 11, 2015 9:41 am #

    I’d love to see them do a good job of this with Slaanesh.

    • westrider September 11, 2015 11:18 am #

      Yeah, I’m really holding out hope for both Slaanesh and Nurgle getting good Dexes. KDK are a whole lot of fun to play, but those two are far and away my favorites fluff-wise.

      • fluger September 11, 2015 12:26 pm #

        I love how Jim Graham made a Fantasy Daemon army that was Nurgle/Slaanesh and called it his VD army. LOL.

        • westrider September 11, 2015 8:20 pm #

          I’ve run that combo in 40K. Called it The Literal STD From Hell 😉

      • punchymango September 11, 2015 11:43 pm #

        I’m with you, I’d love to see a Slaaneshi daemonkin book.

        I kind of doubt it’ll happen; GW doesn’t seem all that keen on Slaanesh these days. But my purple marines could use the update…

    • Reecius
      Reecius September 11, 2015 12:10 pm #

      Indeed, I look forward to the rest of the books.

      • Jural September 14, 2015 9:55 am #

        I would bet $50 that there won’t be another one. GW seems to see Khorne and occassionally Nurgle, but never Tzeentch or Slaanesh.

        I hope I’m wrong, the only faction I wouldn’t spend stupid amounts of money on is Khorne

        • Reecius
          Reecius September 14, 2015 11:03 am #

          We’ll see. Looks like Slaneesh might be on the way out =(

          • Jural September 14, 2015 3:36 pm

            Yeah 🙁

    • abusepuppy September 11, 2015 12:29 pm #

      Slaanesh will never get a Daemonkin book. They don’t even have a named greater daemon yet, for crying out loud- Nurgle and Tzeentch will get theirs and then 8E will drop and we’ll have a new CSM book and Slaanesh will continue getting ignored despite having the only good Cult troop.

      • fluger September 11, 2015 12:52 pm #

        Stop it! Stop this negativity! Slaanesh is the best!

        • abusepuppy September 11, 2015 3:15 pm #

          Oh, I and my thirty old-school Noise Marines agree. However, GW obviously does not, given their lackluster support for Slaanesh.

          • fluger September 11, 2015 3:37 pm

            They did give them a bunch of chariots! CHARIOTS, AP! CHARIOTS.

          • abusepuppy September 11, 2015 10:51 pm

            Have you ever built that chariot? I have. It is a _punishment_, not a gift.

          • Fagerlund September 12, 2015 5:05 am

            Punishment is probably a gift in Slaaneshs eyes though.

  10. bigpig September 11, 2015 3:40 pm #

    Love running my KDK. Such fun to play. Agree that the CSM units are underwhelming :(. too bad as I have a bunch of world eater models that make great CSM.

    Reece, have you tried the Endless Swarm style bloodletter formation at all? Lots of points and have to run bloodcrushers, but could be fun

    • Reecius
      Reecius September 13, 2015 5:52 pm #

      I have not tried it but it does look fun, plus I love horde style play!

  11. SomeCanadian September 11, 2015 4:41 pm #

    You need to always have Pantera queued up on your ipod or such ready for the charge!

  12. Asmeralda September 12, 2015 8:05 pm #

    If your playing double CAD this book really shines as you can field the Blood host detachment and then build a standard CAD from the book. I use the standard CAD to field skull taker with 2 units of cultists and 2 drakes which gives me the air support I need and some obsec. . I use the D-Thirster in the blood host along with a mix of daemon engines. Depending on points I will field 2 defilers and a soul grinder. 3 battle cannon shots a turn is no joke. Finally if given enough points I will play with a Katyan Daemon Engine. It is a competitive book and has a lot of tricks and builds that are fun to play.

    • Reecius
      Reecius September 13, 2015 5:53 pm #

      Sounds like a lot of fun!

  13. Defeatmyarmy September 13, 2015 1:36 am #

    Will definitely be ordering the book next check. Tempted to only run 2 drakes, use 3rd if I can make it to any higher point tournament down the road.(2000+) So if I drop 170 points what can I add from this book? It’s tempting, about time Khorne got some buffs.

  14. Black Blow Fly September 13, 2015 3:37 pm #

    What would make Berserkers a competive unit – less points? I think they are reflected well in terms of background.

    • Defeatmyarmy September 13, 2015 4:42 pm #

      Definitely need to be cheaper. Free chainaxes would make them good, but I would rather take Daemon flesh hounds. 16 pts vs 19 with 2 wounds, daemon, deep strike/scout, and beasts so they have a MUCH better chance at getting into combat. If furious charge added +1 to initiative and Str like the old days and if they got rid of disordered charges, they would still be useable. One of my favorite models, maybe if FW has some kind of LRC it could be competitive but Take with a grain of salt, since disordered charges ruin them attacking multiple units now.

      • Dbiesto September 14, 2015 12:48 am #

        Forgot I changed my name, been free to drink and read up on rules with free time. Also 1 thing that is possible if you REALLY want to field khorne berserkers you might have to take CSM as Core army with Huron with Dkin as allies. Huron would HAVE to be your warlord and take Kharn(2+ deny)thought he used to be eternal warrior) can infiltrate D3 infantry units, and with their dedicated transports. If going pure khorne theme Karanak Daemons is awesome anti psyker which is what a pure khorne army would need. Can’t wait to read up on the new rules tho, going to stop by local shop and see if anyone is playing Daemonkin at their league.

        • Reecius
          Reecius September 14, 2015 10:59 am #

          Yeah, that would help, but they need an Assault Vehicle that isn’t their shitty Land Raider.

    • westrider September 14, 2015 2:57 am #

      The big thing they need is a decent delivery system. CSM Land Raiders suck, and foot-slogging or a non-Assault Transport just don’t do the job.

      Even with that, they’d need something to elevate them more above regular CSM with MoK. The ability to take cheap Power Weapons, etc. (think Vanguard Vet prices) instead of the overpriced Plasma Pistols would be a good start. Maybe even give them back the second Attack on the Profile in addition to MoK, or the 2+ Sv that they had back in 2nd Ed. Obviously with a bit of a price bump for a 2+ Sv.

      • Reecius
        Reecius September 14, 2015 11:00 am #

        Agreed. They are too expensive, and too slow.

    • Jural September 14, 2015 9:58 am #

      Off the top of my head, any of the following would make them good:

      1) Give the transport they are in the assault rule
      2) Rending
      3) 2-4 point cost reduction
      4) free Chain Axe

  15. N.I.B. September 14, 2015 3:09 am #

    Fun to see the internet picking up KD after tournament success. Yes, it can be a powerful list that assaults anywhere on the table turn 2, with the best, most in-character yet still powerful special rule GW has ever come up with – Blood Tithe.
    Fearless Flesh Hounds are good enough as they are at 16pt each, give them FNP and they get even tastier.

    • Reecius
      Reecius September 14, 2015 11:01 am #

      Agreed. KDK is almost pitch-perfect. If only the CSM portion were better, it’d be a home-run.

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