Hey guys, its’ Adam from TheDiceAbide again, here to talk about my favorite army in 40k, the Khorne Daemonkin! It’s big, it’s bad, today we’re going to go over the Lord of Skulls!
The biggest, baddest war engine of Khorne, the Lord of Battles is an avatar of carnage and destruction on the battlefield. It is massively expensive, one of the, if not the most expensive Lord of War allowed by ITC rules. As it suffers damage, it becomes more deadly, gaining more attacks in combat. If swinging a ton of melee Destroyer attacks wasn’t enough, this beast sports some amazing firepower.
- Gorestorm Cannon – The standard belly gun of this brute, the Gorestorm Cannon delivers a devastating S8 AP3 Primary 1, Hellstorm, covering a massive swathe of the battlefield in a devastating attack that will ignore cover and annihilate anything under it. Really nothing to complain about here, and if you’re conserving points (ha!) it’s not a bad weapon to keep by any means. Though, you can always upgrade it if you really want…
- Ichor Cannon – The cheaper upgrade at only 10 points, it gives you a decently powerful, much longer ranged option. Essentially a large blast plasma cannon with a 48″ range, it’s not nearly as devastating as either of the other belly guns, but it does mean your Lord of Skulls doesn’t need to get as close to be effective.
- Daemongore Cannon – For quite a few points (65) you can upgrade the Gorestorm Cannon to the Daemongore cannon. It retains it’s AP3 Hellstorm template, but goes up to S9, causes Instant Death, but gets hot. If you’re regularly facing ground-based monstrous creatures, this weapon will really lose you some friends, utterly annihilating pretty much any monstrous creature that gets within 28.5″ (move 12″, plus the length of the template). Getting hot is annoying when it happens, but if you do take the damage, you’ll at least gain an extra attack in combat!
- Hades Gatling Cannon – Because who doesn’t love a 12 shot Krak missile launcher? Seriously. The Lord of Skulls is only BS3, but that’s still delivering 6 hits a turn on average, or 2 to a flyer, definitely enough to force a jink and still deliver a wound to an enemy Flyrant. As if that wasn’t enough, it causes pinning, so if you deliver that volley of fire into a unit, you might get lucky and force them to go to ground… which they’ll most likely be doing anyway.
- Skullhurler – Another expensive weapon upgrade, the Skullhurler replaces the Hades Gatling Cannon with a 60″ range, Apocalyptic (10″) blast weapon. Effectively this fires a personal pizza at the enemy which causes a S9 Ap3 hit against all those poor, grease covered enemies, to make things better, any successful cover saves taken against it must be re-rolled. It won’t help you a ton getting through those 2+ re-rollable cover saves, but against anything else, it’s going to be devastating.
- Great cleaver of Khorne – As it should, the Lord of Skulls has Destroyer melee attacks, at AP1 even.
- Daemonic Possession – A bit of a fluff rule, it really serves no purpose whatsoever on a super-heavy, but if it did, ignoring crew shaken and stunned would be nice.
- Blood for the Blood God! – Ubiquitous in the KDK book, this rule allows the Lord of Skulls to be buffed through Blood Tithe, and it also allows for the generating of it. Since it already has Rage the only blessing that really is going to matter is +1 attack. But on the other hand, with those ranged weapons above, it will probably be generating a few points of Blood Tithe.
- Daemon of Khorne – A 5++ save is nothing to complain about for a vehicle!
- Fleet – Moving 12″ a turn and re-rolling charges means getting into combat is not a problem for this monster.
- It Will Not Die – With 9 HP, the chance to regenerate one a turn is pretty helpful, especially with Fueled by Rage.
- Rage – +2 Attacks on the charge, yay, more attacks!
- Daemonforge – Due to the amount of models this guy can cover in the shooting phase, having a once per game re-roll to wound can ensure that you generate a few extra Blood Tithe. You do run the risk of suffering a HP from using the ability, but hey, that’s what Fueled by Rage is for.
- Fueled by Rage – For each wound the Lord of Skulls suffers, it gains +1 attack on it’s profile, to a maximum of 10, even if it later regenerates that wound. It’s own Get’s Hot weapons and Daemonforge could even help you out giving you a more attacks.
- Tracked Behemoth – Okay, here’s the downside, since it has no feet, it cannot stop. It can however Tank Shock or Ram in the same manner as a Super-heavy vehicle, so before you charge a unit in melee, going for a roll on the Thunderblitz table can be pretty nasty. Also to help compensate for the lack of stomping, if you are in a combat that you don’t want to be in, like say a massive blob of termagants, simply Tank Shock out of it and charge something else.
Well, what’s there to say about a massive combat monster that has devastating fire power. I prefer to take mine with the Skullhurler upgrade, almost guaranteeing that it will score a point or two of Blood Tithe a turn. Don’t get stuck into the trap of just thinking of the Lord of Skulls as a melee machine, it’s ranged weaponry is incredibly devastating, more akin to a Warhound Titan. Melee should be used when there is a good reason to do so, otherwise you’re often times better off blasting the enemy to pieces with massive weapons that ignore, or re-roll cover saves.
Since it has the ability to Tank Shock like a normal super-heavy vehicle, you have a way to disengage from enemies in combat. Using it’s charge as means of additional movement, even charging into something unimportant can be handy to help speed you up the board to find your desired quarry. Be mindful of what enemy sergeants are carrying, a couple melta bomb hits can really be problematic, but if you think they wont get to use it twice, it might be worth taking the occasional hit to the face to increase your damage output. When facing enemies that have Destroyer melee weapons, force them to charge you through terrain whenever possible (assuming it doesn’t have grenades). This will offset it’s I3 and give you the chance to wreck it before the enemy has a chance to cut you in two.
If you want to totally maximize the effectiveness of the Lord of Skulls, allying in Be’lakor to give him Invisibility would be hilarious. Now we’re talking even more points sinking into this behemoth, but then there’s not a whole ton people can do to stop this guy from just wrecking house.
As far as Lords of War go, it’s armour is also fairly weak with only a front facing of 13, so you need to be careful going up against a bunch of S8 and S9 attacks that other, higher armoured vehicles could shrug off more easily. Losing him in ITC means you’re also going to behind on Maelstrom a full turn and a half, if you’ve suffered 6 HP of damage, try and keep him from taking anymore and hope IWND will recover a point before the end of the game, costing your opponent a potential victory point. Finally, it’s point cost, coming stock at 888 points and capping out at 1013 with the Daemongore cannon and Skullhurler. When you take this guy, he’s going to soak up about half the points in your army, if not more, which means he will pretty much dictate how your army is going to function.
While I think the Lord of Skulls looks totally amazing on the table, its point cost is just too high to justify taking in most normal games. If you do want to take one, just be sure that you have the right kind of support on the board, things to keep the enemy out of melta range, ways to tie up long ranged enemy fire power as quickly as possible, and something to run interference against Imperial Knights so you don’t end up facing off at Initiative. All in all, it just requires a bit too much support to manage in a normal 1850 game.
As always, leave your thoughts and tips in the comment section! And remember, Frontline Gaming sells Games Workshop product at up to 25% off retail, every day!