Scuba Steve with a tactics article on Khorne Berzerkers!
40k wouldn’t be the same without a big group of dudes constantly raging… and that’s a fact. Khorne Berzerkers are rarely seen as the “go-to” unit for Khorne Daemonkinto, but that’s a damn shame; as 40k players we have so much in common with these pissed-off little dudes that we really should let ourselves love them a whole more (we’re all comfortable with brutal table-top bloodshed, we yell a lot, and if I had a nickel for every time I heard someone yell “Blood for the Blood God!” across a crowded convention hall, I’d be writing this from my yacht instead of my girlfriend’s mom’s office…). Today we will learn to not only how you can effectively get this little “ragers” (phrasing?) to perform for you, but how you can release the little Berzerker inside, let your rage out… it’ll brighten up everyone’s day, give it a shot… #cashiersdontlikebeingyelledat. As always! Be sure to rage your way over to the Tactics Corner for more articles by less unhinged authors than I!
I’m Just SO ANGRY!!!
For those of us whom have a serious rage issue, there are always Khorne Berzerkers; not the flashiest unit in the codex, but a real shit-kicker of a unit should the right situation present itself. As I do with all of my articles, let’s break down the core rules and wargear that the Berzerkers come with so we can get a better handle on the unit as a whole and then dive into how you can use it effectively on the table top.
- Power Armour (Hey… there’s a Space Marine under all that rage)
- Bolt Pistol (Sure.)
- Close Combat Weapon (Seems kind of obligatory)
- Frag/Krak Grenades (There is a Space Marine in there somewhere)
Alright… nothing spectacular… Berzerkers are essentially Assault Marines, it does get a little better though, I promise.
- Blood for the Blood God! (Super awesome, get those Blood Tithe points!)
- Fearless (No one can argue with the usefulness of this ability)
- Furious Charge (Assault Marines don’t have this, this is awesome)
- Mark of Khorne (Rage and Counter-Attack… yeah… that’s crazy)
- Skulls for the Skull Throne (typical Chaos deal, the Champion has to challenge and accept, etc…)
Alright, much better, now they aren’t just Assault Marines, they are Assault Marines on performance enhancing drugs! Perfect! Because the unit doesn’t have a ton of special rules, I think it is better to discuss how their rules work together than break each specific rule down, so let’s get into it:
- Wargear (Good): The basic wargear that the Berzerker comes stock with is what you would expect out of any Space Marines, a 3+ armor save, a compliment of grenades, bolt pistol, and close combat weapon. Generally speaking, no matter what these bad boys go up against, they will fair reasonably well, on average they will pass their armor saves, hit their targets, and all around be pretty good. The combo of a pistol and a close combat weapon gives them that extra attack that is so crucial to their success in the assault phase. I give Khorne Berzerkers an “A” for “Above Average”, they can’t go toe-to-toe with a Wolf Lord with a Thunderhammer storm shield and expect to win out, but they will successfully charge and kill light vehicles, other troop units, etc… This all around “Above Average” load out makes them the perfect bully unit, the concept is to charge things that you KNOW you can defeat in close combat and that have lower chances of hurting you back. Prime examples: Ranged Aspect Warriors, Windrider Jetbikes, 5-man squads of marines, vehicles with rear armor 10 (krak grenades are great), and anything else of this variety.
- Special Rules (Good): Alright, let’s go through the checklist of awesome: Fearless – check… Furious Charge – check… Rage/Counter-Attack – double check… Blood for the Blood God! – check… Yup, these guys are going to kick some ass. The Blood for the Blood God! special rule is so important for these guys because, if you follow the target priority I outlined above, you can wrack up a whole lot of Blood Tithe points AND take advantage of the army wide additional attack or army wide Feel No Pain if you really need them to succeed in a combat. Being Strength 5 on the charge with 2 additional attacks because of Rage is a MAJOR upset in combat, that would mean a squad of 8 of them get 32 attacks… Sorry to say, but that minimum unit of Warp Spiders your opponent needs to hop around the table is not making is through the assault phase. The key with taking advantage of these special rules is playing aggressively, they only start pulling their weight when they are charging and killing those little units that you need to get rid of, don’t be afraid, get them up the table.
So, how are we supposed to do it? How can we get these guys doing the most damage as possible? Well, that brings me to their options… honestly, their overall options are very disappointing and rather underwhelming… but don’t lose that inner anger… there is a way!!
There are a few ways you can gear up with these little rage monsters: you can deck them out in plasma pistols, chain axes, a transport vehicle, you could even make the squad huge (20 guys) and march them up the board. As I say in all of my articles, options are always a good thing, you can make the unit fit into an army role that you need. With every unit, there are always stronger choices depending on what you want; Berzerkers could be run a few different ways – *feel free to post your personal tactics in the comments below!!*, but my personal favorite is the “Come Get Some” approach. Here is how it works!
- Come Get Some!: Alright, this tactic works best in a Combined Arms Detachment, entirely because the Berzerkers and their Rhino will have Objective Secured – making them much more useful to you over the course of the game and a target for your opponent over your more valuable units. With that being said, this tactic works as part of a Slaughtercult in a Blood Host Detachment, it’s just not as effective because they won’t have Objective Secured. The basic premise of this strategy is to purchase a Rhino with the Berzerkers and jet them up the table to put pressure on your opponent’s objectives. Moving 12″ and flatting out 6″ with the Rhino is a good way to deny your opponent objectives that they need. By having two or three of these Objective Secured Rhinos bombing around the table you can draw a lot of your opponents attention away from your Khorne Dog units and other units that you will need to do the heavy lifting.
The Angriest of Options!
There are a few solid options when building a unit of Berzerkers, ultimately, you want to ignore the plasma pistol option – it’s expensive and it’ll probably kill one or two of your own dudes before it does any damage to your opponent. The real choice is in what to give to your Champion, you can’t leave him with a pistol/ccw because he has to be issuing and accepting challenges all the time, so you may as well make him a real threat! I would suggest an Axe of Khorne as the weapon of choice for your Champion; the Axe of Khorne is a seriously awesome weapon, striking at initiative and being AP 2 (with a chance of being Instant Death), you can really do some serious damage. It also makes his challenges really scary for your opponent, this could ultimately lead to your opponent denying more challenges than they accept, all the better for you. The Power Fist is another reasonable options, however they issue here is that the weapon makes your Champion initiative 1… because he has to issue and accept challenges, this could be a real gamble, but it is your choice… try them both out and see what fits best.
Okay… Now I’m Pissed
I am entirely on board with everything this unit has and can do… except one thing… they REALLY need an assault vehicle (that isn’t a Land Raider). If they had access to a Chaos equivilant to an Ork Trukk… they would be used far more often, in my opinion. Additionally, I am a little disappointed that they can’t take Flamers (like Assault marines). If they had that as an option, along with the plasma pistols, they could be a whole lot more dangerous in the shooting phase and would make your opponent think twice about assaulting (the combination of Wall of Death and Counter-Attack is a good prospect). Alas, Berzerkers don’t have access to flamers OR an assault transport, if they were able to obtain these options, they would be – hands down- a much more popular unit.
Let the Rage Flow Through You
I’m a big fan of Khorne Berzerkers and would love to see them on the table top more often, as I do with all of my articles, I issue a challenge to you all! Give my “Come Get Some” tactic a go and see what happens, if you have your own tactic, share them! Let’s spread the word!! Berzerkers are making a come back!! If you ever need some inspiration… stare at this for a while…
This always gets the crazy going… especially after a few hours.
Scuba Steve, Signing Out.