Khorne Daemonkin Review: Elites: Chaos Terminators


Scuba Steve coming at you with another Khorne Daemonkin tactics article and the topic of today’s discussion is how you can effectively include Chaos Terminators into your Daemonkind army!

For more awesome articles on anything and everything warhammer, be sure to check out the Tactics Corner!


Death Itself

There are few things that get me as excited than seeing someone actually playing Chaos Terminators, they are so awesome that I can barely stand it! The issue is finding a way to use them effectively; there are so many major threats and high value units in the KDK codex that taking Chaos Terminators may seem like a waste, however there is always a way to make a unit shine. Walk with me for a few moments on the chaotic side of life and let’s figure out how to kick ass with a unit of Terminators. As I do with all of my articles, it is probably best to break down the unit and its options to see what is “good” and what we can label as “just okay”


  • Terminator Armour (Good): Terminator Armor has its ups and downs, but all-in-all it rocks pretty hard, any model with a 2+ or a 5++ is absolutly solid in my books. Additionally, they gain Bulky, Relentless, and Deep Strike special rules. Bulky isn’t really something you need to worry about but the other two are incredibly important. Having a squad of Terminators Deep Strike into position throughout the game means they have the ability to do some real damage to your opponent in their back lines – having a unit of Terminators stomping around your deployment zone is something that no player wants. Also, they can fire all of their rapid fire/heavy/combi-weapons and still charge their target afterwards… big bonus!
  • Combi-Bolter (Good/Just Okay): It is awesome that these guys have a TL Boltgun, however the real power will come from switching this out for a different kind of combi-weapon (Plasma, Melta, etc…)
  • Power Weapon (Good): These come stock on every Terminator and it’s awesome! You can take your AP 3 swords and charge Marines and Eldar into the ground. These weapons make the Chaos Terminators really dangerous and most units will need to avoid them in close combat because of it. – Most of the time people model the Terminators with swords, but the other Power Weapons are options as well.

Special Rules:

  • Blood for the Blood God! (Good): The great thing about this rule is that you can dish out additional attacks and Feel No Pain with it. A squad of Terminators with Feel No Pain is absolutely fantastic, you take an already resilient unit and make them more resilient – no down side.
  • Mark of Khorne (Good): Having Rage and Counter-Attack on these bad boys means that you will always have a ludicrous amount of attacks on the first round of combat – with those AP 3 weapons of theirs, they are going to settle most arguments pretty quickly, if you get my drift.
  •  Skulls for the Skull Throne! (Just Okay): This rule is the standard Chaos “must challenge” thing, it is a blessing and a curse depending on who/what you’re facing. The bonus here is that with a 2+ armor save, a 5+ invulnerable save, a power weapon of some kind, and a decent inititive, you can reasonably go toe-to-toe with most other units (not including the obvious super-nuts units that everyone avoids: Wolf Lords, Chaper Masters, etc…) and do reasonably well.



  • Additional Terminators (Just Okay): Lists now-a-days are becoming tighter and tighter, there is rarely room to squeeze in “up to 7 additional Terminators” due to their higher point cost. Keeping the unit relatively small is my advice and if you must increase it, never increase it above 5 – which is where you unlock the ability to take a Heavy Weapon.
  • Close Combat Replacements (Good): The list of options here is really good, however you always have to be aware of cost. If you are deciding to switch out the Power Weapon for a Lighting Claw, Power Fist, Double Lighting Claw, or Chainfist, I would suggest only changing out one or two of the models in your unit to keep cost down. (one change in a unit of three, two changes in a unit of five) – The Power Fist is a personal favorite of mine because it gives them the ability to take out vehicles, something that KDK are not universally adept at doing.
  • Combi-Weapons (Good): These are the kind of upgrades that I can always get behind. Sure, they’re one use only, but they are incredibly dangerous when they first touch down after a Deep Strike. I would steer clear of the Combi-Flamer, it just won’t do enough, but the Combi-Plasma/Melta can do some real fine work. Getting some much needed AP 2/1 shooting can really put the hurt on your opponent, especially when you target a vehicle that they desperately need, or a unit of aspect warriors that are ready to evaporate thanks to your plasma shots. I would always trade out all of their Combi-Bolters for more dangerous Combi-weapons.
  • Heavy Weapon (Good/Just Okay): Alright, there is an upside and a downside to this… upside: heavy weapons are super bitchin’, Heavy Flamers are solid and the Reaper Autocannon is also a weapon to be feared. The Terminators can also move and shoot them at full BS, seems like a no-brainer, right?… Well, here is the downside… The weapons are only unlocked when you have at least 5 Terminators in the unit. This means you have to spend more of your precious points and invest in this unit, depending on your play style, this may be okay, but generally speaking the Chaos Terminators are a bit too pricey to invest in them so heavily. If your opponent is rocking a ton of Grav-cannons, let’s say, this super expensive unit disintegrates before you can barely say “Blood for the Blood God!”.
  • Icon of Wrath (Just Okay): Alright, this Icon is pretty good, but I don’t believe it does enough to be considered a “Good” option to include. It helps you win assaults, it lets you re-roll charge distance, and it does give these bad ass guys Furious Charge… however… for a 25pt fee; you can equip three of the Terminators with Power Fists for less points. I would steer away from it, if I were you.
  • The Chaos Land Raider (Just Okay): For the same reason you want to avoid the Icon of Wrath, you want to avoid this 230pt sinkhole. Sure, it’s AV 14 all around and Eldar shit bricks when they see one, but as soon as someone crosses your path with an abundance of Melta and Grav… things won’t look so hot for you. Save the points and put them elsewhere. The terminator armor gives them the ability to come down anywhere, use that delivery system instead.


Suicide Squad

There are definitely a few different ways you can use a squad of terminators properly. Personally, I have always been partial to the “Suicide Squad” approach. I almost always expect my squad of Terminators to die, it’s a tough pill to swallow sometimes, they are expensive after all, but their sole purpose is one thing – assassination and disruption. Both of these strategies can work perfectly in the Brazen Onslaught formation – which can be contained within a Blood Host Detachment. Taking the larger detachment is great if you’re going to be relying on the Blood Tithe points to boost the Terminator’s power.

  • Assassination: Because of their Deep Strike capabilities and ability to take dangerous combi-weapons, they are perfect for suicide missions where their one goal is to destroy a certain vehicle, or cripple an important unit; Combi-Meltas and Combi-Plasmas are perfect if you plan you use Terminators like this.
  • Disruption: This is perfect for when you want to Deep Strike behind your opponents lines and hold/contest objectives, shoot/assault their weaker back-line units, score yourself Linebreaker, etc… Though it seems like a menial job, Terminators are hardy enough that it actually takes dedicated heavy or special weapons to reliably destroy them, if your opponent is worrying about a squad of three terminators and not the rest of your army, you’re golden.


Well… That Was Underwhelming…

Being critical of the Chaos Terminator dataslate… there are better options. They don’t really play any key roles in any of the formations they are included in and their price is so high for single wound models that it is rarely worth it in the grand scheme of things. Ultimately, it comes down to personal choice, there are other distraction units you can use, other ways to get rid of vehicles, etc… I will say though, that there aren’t many units in the KDK codex with an armor save of 2+, so that’s a major upside. Being a single wound makes them such a liability and their point cost can make that liability a little too much to handle, the best way to balance that cost is to kit them out so you know they are going die and you need them to simply do something specific before that happens, for example:

  • 3x Terminators- 104 w/ 3x Combi-Melta- 15, Power Fist- 7 (126) – This is a cheap Deep Striking vehicle killing unit.
  • 3x Terminators- 104 w/ 3x Combi-Plasma- 15 (119) – This unit is built to put the hurt on higher toughness units, 6 plasma shots at BS 4 will make your opponent sweat a little bit. You could even give this unit a power fist or lightning claw, but that’s not 100% necessary, they will still have AP 3 Power Swords.


T-800 Forever

As I always do with all of my articles, I issue a challenge! Find a way to make Terminators competitive again! Above you’ll find my two ideas, take some time to post your thoughts in the comment section and maybe some of your favorite ways of running them! They have always been some of my favorite models and it would be great to see them on the battlefield again! If you want to give it a try, Frontline Gaming offers GW for up to 25% off, so you can pick some up for a great deal!

Scuba Steve, Signing Out.



16 Responses to “Khorne Daemonkin Review: Elites: Chaos Terminators”

  1. Horton May 11, 2016 1:24 am #

    Terminators can do very well in a KDK army. A 3 man unit with combi meltas really does a lot for KDK, as they typically struggle with heavy armor. It also gives you an additional champion for making bloodthirsters!

  2. AbusePuppy May 11, 2016 2:12 am #

    I think Terminators are decent, if not great, in a KDK army, in part because of their disposability. However, I would lean towards non-Sword weapons for them; the Maul in particular has similar numbers against MEQs and is better against anything else.

    • Hunlow May 11, 2016 10:13 am #

      I always flounder between the Mauls and Axes personally and it really depends on what your plans are for the unit but I would agree swords are the worst option. A lot of the times I like 2 mauls for the Termies and an Axe for the Capt to make the most of BftBG.

      • abusepuppy May 12, 2016 1:13 pm #

        I think a mix of Axes and Mauls is the way to go, yeah, with Fists potentially replacing Axes if you have the points. A 3man squad doesn’t really want to be fighting anything significant to start with- you’re going to throw them at Combat Squads, Scat Bikes, unattended vehicles, and stuff like that; there’s no reason to try and kit them to take on anything tough because they can’t realistically handle it in the first place.

  3. Dakkath May 11, 2016 2:22 am #

    Suicide termies are a perfect fit for KDK, because of BftBG

  4. Threllen May 11, 2016 5:41 am #

    Those 3 man squads of Terminators always *feel* like a good idea… until you deep strike them in to kill a vehicle and two of the combi-meltas miss and the other either doesn’t penetrate or gets a bad damage chart roll. Or at least that’s my experience…
    Also how do people usually play upgrades? I always assumed that upgrades which say “Any Chaos Terminator can take…” only apply to the models called Chaos Terminator (which doesn’t include the sergeant who has his own upgrades). I ask because combi-weapons are 5pts for Chaos Terminators but if the Terminator Champion is choosing from the Terminator Weapons list he has to pay 7pts for his…

    • Horton May 11, 2016 6:50 am #

      The wording in KDK is different than csm. Combi-weapons are 5 points for all models.

      • Threllen May 11, 2016 7:22 am #

        Ah thanks… it’s been so long since I actually used my Terminators for anything other than collecting dust that I haven’t really even looked at them in the KDK book. Didn’t know they changed that (which always bugged me).

    • AngryPanda May 11, 2016 9:22 am #

      I’m curious about this as well. I keep reading about these 3 man special weapon gimmicks like they are an “almost” sure thing. But in my experience even if they land right one or two of them miss and of those hits none will explode even a Rhino. You still have to roll up at last a 5 or even 6 for that?

      • Horton May 11, 2016 10:28 am #

        Rhinos are not really the problem for KDK. It is walkers, drop pods, and land raiders that they really struggle to kill. The combi-termies at least give you an option here. Yes, if they all miss then they do not do much, but an average of 2 melta hits on a unit goes a long way.

      • Threllen May 11, 2016 2:07 pm #

        Yeah, I don’t think the odds are as good as people think. In a 3 man squad, really the only way to destroy a vehicle is by exploding it unless you’re really lucky and hit with all 3 shots. By my math, each shot individually has a 10.8% chance to explode an A10 facing (assuming it’s not open-topped and you are in melta range). That goes down to a 6.48% for A14. So a 3 man squad only has a 30% chance of exploding a vehicle with an A10 facing. Of course a key immobilized or weapon destroyed result could easily be just as devastating, but still. It’s a fairly sizeable investment in a suicide squad that may or may not work out in your favor… For my money there’s a lot better things out there (hence why you don’t tend to see many Chaos Terminators on the field).

        • Threllen May 11, 2016 3:24 pm #

          Doh. I accidentally typed ‘1/6’ for the explodes chance instead of ‘2/6’. The actual percentages are closer to about 20% chance to explode per shot for A10 and it goes down from there. So for an average vehicle its basically a coin flip whether you can explode it with a squad of 3. I don’t know if I want my suicide squad coming down to a coin flip.

      • abusepuppy May 12, 2016 1:15 pm #

        It’s definitely risky, with the biggest obstacle actually being trying to land in Melta range of your target when you have no scatter mitigation to speak of. However, it at least gives an option and the unit is cheap enough (and can serve enough other purposes) that even on a bad scatter it’s still not a total loss.

    • punchymango May 12, 2016 11:57 am #

      This is what always stops me from bringing them in chaos lists. They seem like a decent idea on paper, and the CSM termie models are awesome (for some reason I own like 20 of them) but I’m invariably disappointed when they land, botch their melta shots, and die (because killing 3 terminators is not a problem for most lists).

  5. westrider May 11, 2016 1:49 pm #

    I figure if you’re going to shell out for a Fist in the Squad, you should toss in the extra 5 Points to make it a ChainFist. A lot of the things that are issues for them in CC are still gonna be hard to take with a PowerFist, but Armourbane cuts that list down significantly.

    I’m with AP on the Mauls as well. Power Swords are so underwhelming, and Mauls do end up being better against a ton of things, particularly Vehicles.

    As with all Terminators, I feel like they’re just a bit too expensive for what you get, and even more so in an environment where Grav is a thing.

  6. Andrew May 12, 2016 5:13 am #

    I love terminators for KDK. If you deep strike them, there is a decent chance that you will have enough blood tithe points for feel no pain by the time they arrive.

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