Khorne Daemonkin Overview: Special Rules


Hey everyone, it’s Adam from! Today we’re going to talk about my favorite faction in all of 40k (at the moment), Khorne Daemonkin.

As many of you know, the army is an amalgam of all the Khorne units from both the Chaos Space Marine, and Chaos Daemon codexes. Instead of just giving the army the units of the two codexes and letting them go, GW has gone through a bit of work giving the army a unique set of rules, allowing them to more accurately portray the ravening madmen, zealously butchering planets in the hopes of summoning countless daemons and gaining favor in the eyes of their patron god. These aren’t just any Khorne followers, they’re devout and praise Khorne with every drop of blood spilled in his name.

The are are three main special rules in this book:Skulls for the Skull Throne!, Blood for the Blood God!, and Blood Tithe.

chaos lord

Skulls for the Skull Throne!

This special rule is much like the Champion of Chaos rule found in Codex: Chaos Space Marines. Simply put, every character in the army must issue a challenge whenever possible, and you may never decline a challenge if a model with this rule is capable of accepting one. Keep this in mind when you’re equipping models, if you know you’re going to be in a lot of challenges, weapons that make you strike at I1 are going to be very risky. In the end, win or lose, Khorne is pleased as long as the blood is flowing, as you’ll see in the next rule…

Blood for the Blood God!

The core mechanic of the Khorne Daemonkin, Blood for the Blood God! allows the generation of Blood Tithe (the third rule today). Generating these points is straight forward, you will generate Blood Tithe when:

  • A unit containing at least one model with the rule is completely destroyed, or completely destroys an enemy unit.
  • A character with the rule is slain in a challenge, or slays an enemy in a challenge.

Pretty simple! As long as units are dying, friend or foe, you’ll be generating points to use to gain all sorts of bonuses from the Blood Tithe rule. Often times this means you’ll spend a bit of extra effort needed to finally kill the last model in a squad for precious Tithe, but it also means sometimes a canny opponent will refrain from obliterating one of your units if it means it will keep you from summoning a Bloodthirster or other nasty daemon unit.

Blood Tithe

So, what do you do after you rack up all this Blood Tithe? At the beginning of any of your own turns, you can spend your Blood Tithe to gain favor from Khorne. The more Blood Tithe you have, the more powerful the ability. When you spend your points, you can select a single item from the table, equal to or lower than the amount of Blood Tithe you have saved up. After you pick the power, all extra Blood Tithe in your pool is lost, so if you have 5 Blood Tithe saved and select the Unstoppable Ferocity reward, the remaining 2 points will be lost.

Alright, lets hear about these rewards! For rewards 1-4, the special rule granted will apply to every model with the Blood for the Blood God! special rule.

  1. Infernal Contempt – Adamantium Will.
  2. Insatiable Bloodlust – Furious Charge and Rage.
  3. Unstoppable Ferocity – Feel No Pain (5+).
  4. Apocalyptic Fury – +1 Attack.
  5. Daemontide – Summon 8 Bloodletters or 5 Flesh Hounds within 12″ of any friendly unit with the Blood for the Blood God! special rule.
  6. Harbingers of Blood and Brass – Summon 3 Blood Crushers or 1 Skull Cannon within 12″ of any friendly unit with the Blood for the Blood God! special rule.
  7. Dark Apothesis – Select a model with the Character rule in your army and take a LD test. If the test is failed, the model is slain and a single Chaos Spawn is summoned within 6″. If the test is passed, the model is slain and summon a Daemon Prince (with Warp-forged armour, Daemonic Flight, and any relics the owner previously had) within 6″.
  8. Fury Unbound – Select a model with the Character rule in your army and take a LD test. If the test is failed, the model is slain. If the test is passed, the model is slain and a Blood Thirster of Unfettered Fury is summoned within 6″

You can see right away that this table is AWESOME! Provided you have lost or killed a combined total of 3 units in a turn, your full army is going to gain Feel No Pain. Often times on turns 3-5 a lot of damage is going to be happening, as most of your army will be engaged in combat and you will have the ability to summon reinforcements to replace lost units and score objectives.

Picking the right power at the right time obviously will take some practice, but here are some situations to keep in mind. If there is a small unit of bunched up enemies with weak armour saves huddled up in good cover, summoning a Skull Cannon might be a great idea, it can fire the turn it arrives so might even score you a Blood Tithe for the next turn. If you have a Maelstrom point you want to score, summoning any unit next to it isn’t a bad idea, and generally speaking summoning hounds is going to make a harder target for the enemy than summoning Bloodletters. Insatiable Bloodlust sounds like an amazing power, but it’s only 2 points for a reason, all the units in your army already have either Rage or Furious Charge, and some even have both, so don’t get too caught up by stacking the rules that you often already have. Finally, when in doubt, Unstoppable Fury is amazing, army-wide Feel No Pain makes the Khorne Daemonkin far more resilient than people expect.


There you have it! Army-wide special rules are what makes each faction a special snowflake, and KDK are a blood red snowflake wielding a double headed chain axe! These special rules turn what would be a sad melee army, into one of the most effective armies in the game, savagely eviscerating the enemy in the often ignored Combat phase.

As always, share your thoughts in the comments section! And remember, Frontline Gaming sells Games Workshop product at up to 25% off, every day.


About Adam

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

I sold all my Daemonkin because Kharn was angry that he couldn’t be in their detachment with his trio of blood slaughterers. Then I bought a lord of skulls to make an obscenely high points to model count ratio detachment with the special rules of hellstorm template.

6 years ago

Good choices, Khorne approves.

6 years ago

The lack of Kharne, Karanak, and Skarbrand is very strange to me. Mutilators also seem like they should have been a shoe-in, and WarpSmiths and Dark Apostles could also fit in very easily, but nope.

6 years ago
Reply to  westrider

Yeah, that is really weird to me as well.

6 years ago
Reply to  westrider

I can get behind them excluding some units from the KDK codex so that the other two books aren’t wholly redundant- but the fact that the Chaos Lord and Bloodthirster are in but Kharne and Skarbrand are out is absolutely baffling.

6 years ago

Ah, the Daemon Princes and Bloodthirsters having to be summoned within 6″ of a sacrificed character is also a big deal, I did not realize that their mechanic was different from bringing down hounds and crushers.

Imagine your Warlord is slaying the enemy backlines, and the only other characters you have are backfield cultists — it is still good, but its a different result when you summon a ‘Thirster into your own DZ rather than the enemy’s.

Good to know!

6 years ago

As I mentioned in my comment on the overview post, managing Blood Tithe is very important to getting the most out of your DK. It sucks when you end up with 10 Blood Tithe and all you need that Turn is FNP and the rest gets wasted. Sometimes it’s worth holding back a bit on Turn 2-3 so you don’t end up with a glut, and then run into trouble later on when all the easy kills have been cleared out.

It’s also a bit different when you’re using a CAD than when you’re running a Blood Host. I screwed up a couple of times last weekend because I’m still getting used to a CAD-based list. With a Blood Host, and most of my stuff in the SlaughterCult, I would pretty much always wait until I got to 4 BT to cash in, for +1 Attack on everything and FNP on all the stuff in the SlaughterCult. With a CAD, I think it’s pretty much always best to grab FNP as soon as you first hit 3 BT, but I kept waiting until I had 4-5, and then taking more damage than I should have, because I was too used to picking up FNP just as a bonus when I went for the higher value options.

I mostly find myself using FNP, +1 Attack, and Summoning Flesh Hounds. The +1 Attack can be great when everything’s pretty much locked in combat and you need that extra push to break some tarpits and keep your momentum.

The other big one I like to make use of is the fact that if you turn your Warlord into a Prince or Thirster, your Opponent doesn’t get the Warlord VP until they kill that Prince/Thirster. I’ve used that a couple of times when my Warlord was on his last Wound to save that VP.

6 years ago
Reply to  westrider

I am of the opinion that summoning in new units is always a solid choice. You can’t argue more units in modern 40k…unless it’s Kill Points, of course, lol

6 years ago

Regarding BftBG rule, unless the ITC has changed it, it’s actually better than the article makes it out to be. The article says:

A character with the rule is slain in a challenge, or slays an enemy in a challenge.

But the codex itself says:

A character with the Blood for the Blood God! special rule is slain, or slays an enemy
character in a challenge.

The codex version therefore gives a Blood Tithe point any time a character with that rule is slain, whether he was in a challenge or not.

6 years ago
Reply to  Morollan

The point has been argued endlessly, as the rule itself is not clear exactly how it functions. ITC has ruled it to work as described in the article following a vote on the subject.

6 years ago
Reply to  abusepuppy

Yeah, the rule is actually not clear at all…typically ambiguously worded GW rules, sigh.

Grammatically, the sentence is describing what happens in a challenge, but is structured very poorly. In a challenge, if a character is killed by or kills hi opponent, Blood Tithe is generated…would have been better. They way they wrote it it makes it sound like two independent clauses in the same sentence, separated by a comma which is poor grammar and confusing.

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