Khorne Daemonkin


Blood for the Blood God!

Blood for the Blood God! Skulls for the Skull Throne!


Warbands of Khorne Daemonkin are zealous followers of Khorne (who’d a thunk it?). Through acts of savagery and bloodshed, they show their devotion, and there is no act more sacred than summoning Bloodthirsters. To the Khorne Daemonkin, Bloodthirsters are divine beings, archangels of destruction who are the purest incarnation of their gods wrath, and they are willing to pay the ultimate price to see them and their daemon cohorts summoned into battle.

Not all Khorne warbands are Daemonkin, the Daemonkin themselves are only the most fervent, insane, and bloodthirsty followers. Many of these begin as merely a mortal host, united by their fanatical devotion to Khorne, worshiping a single mighty Bloodthirster, though as they perform greater acts of violence, Khorne’s warp-born legions are slowly drawn to their ranks. The culmination of a warband’s power is displayed when a Bloodthirster bursts forth through his chosen vessel to lead them into never-ending slaughter.


On the Table

Unsurprisingly, Khorne Daemonkin are primarily a close combat force. Of the Chaos forces available currently, there is little dispute that they’re the most effective. They are an amazing amalgam of fluff and rules, where through playing with the army, you actually feel like the special rules for the army do a great job of matching the lore of the army.

Blood For the Blood God!

Without a doubt, the rules that brings this all together is called Blood for the Blood God! which allows the accumulation of Blood Tithe. You will generate a point of Blood Tithe each time a unit with the Blood for the Blood God rule kills an enemy unit, or is killed, or each time a Character with the rule slays an opponent in a challenge, or is slain in a challenge. Basically, as long as people are dying, you’re generating tithe! Khorne cares not from whence the blood flows! At the beginning of each of your turns, you can spend your Blood Tithe to manifest one of the following powers (1-4 affect all units in your army with the Blood For the Blood God! rule), the more Tithe you spend, the more powerful the ability, though you can only ever use one ability a turn and any unspent Tithe is wasted:

  1. Infernal Contempt – Adamantium Will
  2. Insatiable Bloodlust – Rage and Furious Charge
  3. Unstoppable Ferocity – Feel No Pain (5+)
  4. Apocalyptic Fury – +1 Attack
  5. Daemontide – Summon 8 Bloodletters or 5 Flesh Hounds
  6. Harbingers of Blood and Brass – Summon 3 Bloodcrushers or a Skull Cannon
  7. Dark Apothesis – Sacrifice a model with the Character rule and take a LD test, if you pass you summon a Daemon Prince, if you fail, you summon a Chaos Spawn.
  8. Fury Unbound -Sacrifice a model with the Character rule and take a LD test, if you pass you summon a Bloodthirster of Unfettered Fury.

This rule really gets brutal, it is quite common that on the second turn you’ll already be getting army-wide Feel No Pain, and by the third turn you will hopefully be summoning a Bloodthirster or other daemons to grab objectives, while the hardest hitting units smash the enemy in combat.


Blood Host Detachment

  • 1+ Core
    • Slaughtercult
      • 1 Chaos Lord, Herald, Skull Taker, Blood Throne, Daemon Prince or Bloodthirster of Unfettered Fury
      • 2-8 units of Chaos Space Marines, Berzerkers or Bloodletters, in any combination
      • 1-4 units of Possessed
      • 0-2 units of Chaos Spawn
      • 0-2 units of Chaos Cultists
  • 0-1 Command per Core
    • Bloodthirster of Unfettered Fury, 1 Bloodthirster of Insensate Rage, 1 Wrath of Khorne Bloodthirster or 1 Khorne Lord of Skulls
  • 1-8 Auxiliary per Core
    • Brazen Onslaught
      • 1-4 units of Chaos Terminators
      • 2-4 units of Bloodcrushers
    • Khorne’s Bloodstorm
      • 2-4 units of Raptors
      • 1-4 units of Warp Talons
      • 0-1 Heldrake
    • Gorepack
      • 2-4 units of Chaos Bikers
      • 1-4 units of Flesh Hounds
    • Charnel Cohort
      • 1 Herald, Skull Taker, Blood Throne or Daemon Prince
      • 2-8 units of Bloodletters
      • 1-4 units of Flesh Hounds
      • 1-4 units of Bloodcrushers
      • 0-4 Skull Cannons
    • War Engine
      • 1 Helbrute, Defiler, Soul Grinder, Forgefiend, Maulerfiend or Lord of Skulls

The big benefit to running the Blood Host is the Blood Frenzy command benefit, which in short, gives you an additional Blood Tithe at the beginning of the turn, before you spend Blood Tithe. So you could start your first turn with Adamantium Will (though you probably wont), but more importantly, if you only have 2 Tithe, you’ll get bumped to 3 for Feel No Pain, or if you have 7 Tithe, you’ll go up to 8 to summon a Bloodthirster.

You will have to pay a somewhat steep tax in the form of Possessed, though with S6 on the charge they can occasionally catch people off guard, or wipe out a small unit that they eventually catch up to, since your opponent will probably be worried about Maulerfiends and Bloodthirsters jumping down their throat, you are often surprised to find them in charge range of a small scoring unit on turn 5. To get a Heldrake in this formation, you’ll be paying even more tax to get 2 units of Raptors and a unit of Warp Talons, so it will very much affect your force (alternatively, you can take an additional Combined Arms Detachment with another HQ and couple units of Cultists to get a Heldrake).

Of the Auxiliary choices, the Gorepack by a mile will probably see the most use. Chaos Bikers aren’t a bad unit, and can deliver multiple meltaguns into double-tap range, on a reasonable budget, plus you will probably want many units of hounds. Using this formation’s scouting hounds to put pressure on the enemy from the first turn will help keep firepower off of your softer units. War Engines are also awesome, as it means you can basically take as many Soulgrinders and Maulerfiends as you like.


Many of the units in the army are capable of closing the gap to get into combat fast. Units like Maulerfiends, Chaos Bikes, Flesh Hounds, Blood Crushers and Bloodthirsters will often end up in combat on turn 1 or 2, while your other units will be the mop up crew. As you take casualties though, you’ll be able to summon a few more units during the game to make up for your losses. With the Blood Tithe mechanic, you’re often rewarded for taking MSU style lists, as you will quickly rack up Tithe to enhance your forces or summon reinforcements.

The single most important thing I’ve found to keep in mind when playing Daemonkin isn’t when to get into combat (because the answer to that is NOW!), it’s who to get into combat with. Units capable of delivering hard hitting firepower are a high priority to tie down at all costs, even a unit of 5 Flesh Hounds can keep an Imperial Knight tied up for a full turn, costing your enemy a turn of shooting so that your more vulnerable units are safe to advance, or buying time for a Bloodthirster of Insatiate Rage to engage it.

What have been some of your winning Khorne Daemonkin strategies? And as always, be sure to check out theTactics Corner for more great articles!


About Adam

Cofounder of RUMBL – player finder for Miniatures Wargames. I also run a little blog called TheDiceAbide, check it out.

26 Responses to “Khorne Daemonkin”

  1. Horton January 18, 2016 9:13 am #

    Khorne daemonkin are an incredibly well done army that is both fluffy and competitive. It can do extremely powerful things when built correctly.

    • Reecius January 18, 2016 9:56 am #

      I agree! I think there are some downfalls in the book (some of the mortal units are garbage) but in general, they hit the nail on the head in terms of fluff and competitiveness.

    • Luke January 18, 2016 10:34 am #

      How do you actually build them competitively though? I can’t seem to find the right blend of punch and staying power

      • abusepuppy January 18, 2016 12:45 pm #

        I would personally argue that while it is a fairly solid army, it’s not top-tier competitive with stuff like Eldar, WS Battle Company, etc. They certainly have managed some good rankings at events, however.

        Typical builds either use the Hellforged Hunting Pack to bring large numbers of tough walkers to the table or big blocks of Flesh Hounds (often 40+ total) to overwhelm enemy anti-infantry firepower, with attached characters (Heralds/Lords) to bring some extra hitting power.

        As Reece mentioned, most all of the “mortal” units in the codex (such as Berzerkers, Chaos Marines, etc) are pretty awful, since they are essentially unchanged from their CSM incarnations. I don’t feel the book is terribly well-designed overall, as it does virtually nothing to enable many of the cool-but-terrible units in the codex and is really little more than a rehash of armies that have been around for a while, doing moderately well but not exceptionally so.

        • westrider January 18, 2016 1:58 pm #

          I’ve actually found them pretty good against Battle Company, especially if they’re heavy on Grav. Eldar and multiple Super-Heavies/Gargantuans are what I’ve found really smash me into the ground. I do agree that it’s not quite top-tier tho.

          And yeah, Hunting Pack or Flesh Hound spam, tho there are variations within those.

          • abusepuppy January 18, 2016 2:45 pm

            I meant it more in the sense that KDK isn’t as strong an army, generally speaking, than Battle Company are as opposed to the specific matchup between those two armies. But superheavies of all stripes are a serious problem for KDK, to be sure.

          • westrider January 18, 2016 2:55 pm

            Ah, yes. Definitely in agreement there.

  2. Fagerlund January 18, 2016 12:31 pm #

    The Possessed are a tax indeed, but sometimes they surprise you. In my last game with them a single Possessed survived to charge 9 Necron Warriors. He killed them all in a couple of rounds of combat. x)

    The funny thing is of course that had he died a turn earlier (like he was supposed to) I would’ve had enough Blood Tithe to summon more Flesh Hounds which would have probably won me the game (needed to grab an objective that I was really far away from). So I guess the bastard only survived to spite me. 😛

    • Reecius January 19, 2016 9:58 am #

      The possessed are not terrible stat wise, they’re just criminally expensive!

  3. westrider January 18, 2016 2:32 pm #

    I love my DK. They’ve been my go-to Tournament Army since shortly after they dropped, and I’ve been doing pretty well with them, winning a small local Tournament, taking 5th in my bracket at Elvensword (and basically my two losses came to the clock. I needed 5 more minutes in one of them, and less than a minute in the other), and going 4-2 with them at TSHFT last weekend. The internal balance is pretty poor, but there are definitely enough excellent options in there to put together a solid list.

    I find myself struggling to choose between the Blood Host and a CAD. The extra Blood Tithe from the Host is nice, and the bonus secondary effect for the stuff in the SlaughterCult is even better, but the difficulty of fitting in Helldrakes and the lack of a Fortification slot and ObSec are major downsides. I have tried running both, but that ends up feeling like a ton of Tax Units, since the non-Obsec Bloodletters from the SlaughterCult are kind of underwhelming, and then I need two more chaff Troops Units from the CAD, and it ends up being like 400-500 Points worth of underwhelming and fragile stuff before I get to the good stuff. Only having one real HQ slot is a bummer, too.

    …I think I just talked myself into sticking with the CAD 😉

    Goredrinker on a JuggerLord is my go-to Relic option. A cheap Biker Lord with the Axe of Ruin can be fun, but him being only S4 kind of sucks, and BloodThirsters are frankly pretty underwhelming these days even when they’re not taking extra Wounds at the end of each of my Turns. A Daemon Prince with the Blood-Forged Armour or a JuggerLord with Claw/Fist and the Skull Helm are also solid options.

    The mandatory MoK takes away Culties’ one real benefit, which is their cheapness, so I usually go with BloodLetters instead for my Troops. For an extra 22 Points per basic Unit, they’re so much better, just for the Deep Strike and the Invul, let alone the Hellblades.

    I’ve found the stuff from the Gorepack and my MaulerFiends are what really does the work for me, along with the JuggerLords. MaulerFiends need multiples, I’d say three as a bare minimum. They’re not great, but they’re better than most of the other options for things that can threaten really tough Units. Meltabombs everywhere you can manage them are mandatory, because you just don’t have that many options for dealing with things like Knights, and Hounds can get Tarpitted even by Dreads and stuff.

    I’ve also found that it’s sometimes necessary to hold back a bit. Managing your Blood Tithe is key, and if you just go all-out, it’s really easy to end up generating like 10+ Blood Tithe Points on Turn 2 or 3, especially against MSU Armies.

    Other advantages include excellent Mobility, and fantastic Board Control, especially against Armies that are relying on their firepower, and don’t have much in the way of CC solutions.

    I’m looking at adding a Knight of Khorne to mine, since that would give me another option against hard targets, and unlike the Brass Scorpion, it has BftBG, so it can actually contribute to the Blood Tithe, which I think lets it make up for the disadvantages of running a LoW in the ITC.

    • Reecius January 19, 2016 9:54 am #

      Yeah, I wish Bloodthirster was more intimidating. He should be a GMC, honestly, same with the Avatar.

      • westrider January 19, 2016 2:04 pm #

        I feel like there should be two “tiers” of GMC. Basically the difference would be that the lower level ones wouldn’t get Stomp (and maybe only reduction to 5+ for Poison and Sniper protection), which would be reserved for the really big stuff. Then a bunch of current MCs could get moved into that lower class, like the Greater Daemons, Trygons, and the Avatar, which would up their viability significantly.

  4. Horton January 18, 2016 4:39 pm #

    The only unit in the codex that I have found absolutely 0 use for is the CSM. I have used everything else in some way that works. Even posessed, while not good at all by themselves, can really do a lot in a bloodhost when they get double rewards. As for top Tier 1, I really think MSU daemonkin based off of flesh hounds is a top tier build. But I am biased…

    • Reecius January 19, 2016 9:54 am #

      Yeah, a lot of the Mortal units just suck.

  5. Black Blow Fly January 19, 2016 1:45 am #

    I have been running a KDK CAD combined with a CSM CAD and it really does well against anything. I have a Typhon for the CSM LoW which is great, especially versus scatbikes and Tau.

    • Reecius January 19, 2016 9:58 am #

      Yeah, the Typhon is absolutely brutal.

  6. bridges60 January 19, 2016 8:50 am #

    I have been running my KDK blood host with an allied CSM unit and have gone 24-1 in local Tournaments (only loss is to Ben Mohlie in one of the most fun games i’ve ever had) and i must say this army is amazing.

    • Reecius January 19, 2016 9:33 am #

      Nicely done! The Blood Host is the all deep striking formation, correct?

      • kontraktkiller January 20, 2016 8:27 am #

        Bloodhost is the kdk reclamation legion.

        • bridges60 January 24, 2016 8:11 pm #

          Yup good way of putting it.

      • bridges60 January 24, 2016 8:13 pm #

        it is the core choice for the BloodHost detachment, I am a firm believer in manipulating the board and movement phase. I ally in a dreadclaw with kharn and put the possessed in the claw with him hahah.

    • Vomikron Noxis January 22, 2016 3:03 pm #

      What’s the list you’ve been running? I’m eager to make the blood host work for me, but I keep leaning back towards a CAD instead

      • Reecius January 22, 2016 3:42 pm #

        I’ve been going double CAD, myself.

      • bridges60 January 24, 2016 8:27 pm #

        Sorry just saw this. haha

        My list is:
        Slaughter cult:
        Juggerlord with gore drinker
        2×8 blood letters

        Lord of Slaughter:
        Blood Thirster of Insesnate Rage
        Gore Pack:
        2x 3man bikers
        3x 6man flesh hounds
        1x5man flesh hounds

        1x mauler with magma cuters
        1x mauler with lasher tendrils

        Allied Detachment: Crimson Slaughter (Fear is a special rule i love to use and most people forget. It has helped in multiple games.)

        10man Cultist

  7. Horton January 19, 2016 1:28 pm #

    The bloodhost is there unique detachment. It is realy good.

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