Khorne Daemonkin Review: Elites: Possessed

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Hello fellow devotees to the ruinous powers! Chandler here with a review on the Possessed unit for Khorne Daemonkin. For more reviews, analysis and battle reports, check out the Tactics Corner.

Since Codex Khorne Daemonkin emerged, specifically the Blood Host Detachment and the Slaughtercult formation, Possessed have seen more table top battles than probably ever before. This is mainly due to the fact that the Slaughtercult requires the Possessed as a tax for the formation. I use the term “tax” here because the unit is generally regarded as underwhelming and a large point sink. In this review I’m going to discuss effective ways to utilize the Possessed so that they feel less like a “tax” unit and more like a valuable part of your army. First, let’s go over some of the rules.

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Overview: Possessed in Khorne Daemonkin were once Chaos Space Marines, now transformed into daemonic mutations through their devotion to Khorne. With vicious strength and the fury of the Blood God, they are a sight to behold in battle capable of tearing infantry apart piece by bloody piece. They are the personification of Khorne’s fury on the battlefield.

In game, while strong melee combatants against infantry, they lack any true mobility which makes it difficult to get them engaged in battle. Their lack of a shooting attack further limits their role on the table and for a whopping 150 points for 5 they are quite an expensive unit to hold such a limited specialized role. That said, they do have their uses. which I will get into later.

Wargear: Unfortunately Possessed marines don’t have any shooting weapons at all. Nor do they have a specialized melee weapon. Worse, there is no way to upgrade even the champion to have a power weapon. Their wargear is limited simply to their power armor and a single close combat weapon, meaning they have to simply use their base statline in combat. Fortunately they have 2 attacks base each.  You can upgrade one model to carry an Icon of Wrath, but it does little for you here, simply adding 1 to your total when determining assault results, and granting Furious Charge (something they already have built in).  Sure, getting to add 1 to the assault results is nice, but for 20 extra points, hardly a worthwhile option.

Special Rules: What they lack in wargear they somewhat make up for in special rules. First up is, of course, Blood for the Blood God, which earns them a Blood Tithe point when they die and each time they kill an enemy unit.  The champion can earn Blood Tithe points in challenges when he kills a model in a challenge or when he dies in a challenge as well. Naturally, Possessed have the Mark of Khorne, which allows them to gain Rage and Counter Attack, which somewhat mitigates their lack of an extra attack in combat for having two close combat weapons. What is really interesting, and what really sets this unit apart from the others in the Codex is the fact that they also have the Daemon of Khorne special rule which allows them to gain Furious Charge and gives them a 5++ Invulnerable Save. They are unique in that, like Berserkers, they can gain +1 to their strength as well as Rage when they charge. Being the twisted mutant warriors they are, they have the Fearless special rule which means they will never break, but they can also never Go to Ground either. They also have the Fleet special rule, which being a unit solely dedicated to close combat, is a nice buff. The Champion has the Skulls for the Skull Throne! rule, which requires him to issue and accept challenges. Finally, there is the Vessels of Chaos rule. At the start of the Fight sub-phase, you roll a d3 and consult a chart in the unit datasheet.   They gain the following benefits:

  • 1 Strength of the Damned: re-roll all failed To Wound rolls
  • 2 Vorpal Claws: Their Melee weapons are AP3
  • 3 Supernatural Speed: They gain +1 Attack and +1 Initiative

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Tactics: As noted earlier, the Slaughtercult formation, which is a Core choice in a Blood Host Detachment, requires at least one unit of Possessed. The benefit of the Blood Host Detachment allows you to gain a free Blood Tithe point at the start of every turn and the Slaughtercult allows you to pick a second lesser reward when you turn your Blood Tithe points in for units in the formation. The biggest drawback to using Possessed is their lack of speed and no shooting attacks. Their threat range, even with Fleet, is somewhat limited. Couple this with the fact that Khorne Daemonkin lack assault vehicles (a problem in general with Chaos based armies) and the problems really start to stack up for this unit. But fear not, because while limited, Possessed can still be useful in this detachment.

Most Khorne Daemonkin builds will rely on speed and power. Flesh Hounds of Khorne, Bloodthirsters and Maulerfiends tend to make up the core of KDK army builds because they are fast and hit like a freight train. Possessed have the capability to hit hard as well, but again, lack the speed of these other units and it’s difficult to justify their points for this reason. While Possessed lack maneuverability, they actually make great objective campers. Since most of your KDK force will be trying to move to the mid-field point and put pressure on the enemy as fast as possible, Possessed can sit back on your home objectives in your deployment zone and protect them. Because they are Fearless you won’t have to worry about them breaking and running away abandoning that objective as they run off the table (as Cultists tend to do routinely as cheaper alternatives).

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When your opponent drops in or deep strikes on top of your backfield objective, if he doesn’t kill the Possessed then he faces a counter charge on your next turn and Possessed are easily capable of ripping just about any infantry units that threaten them apart short of Terminators. The idea here is to try to hide them behind line of sight blocking terrain as much as possible to limit the amount of shots the unit takes, and to keep them in cover. When you finally do have a unit charging the opponent’s squad they’ll be facing at least 4 attacks each at Strength 6 with either the ability to re-roll wounds, cut through their 3+ armor save, or gain even more attacks and a higher initiative. Couple these with extra lesser boons you will pick up along the way when spending your tithe points and you can potentially have more attacks with them or even Feel no Pain.

Another use for Possessed is as a second wave attack unit. These Possessed have a Rhino as a dedicated transport, however rather than riding in it, use it for line of sight blocking purposes. As the Rhino moves upfield, the Possessed follow protected from incoming fire while the Flesh Hounds hit first, the Possessed follow in a turn later to finish off a unit, or to charge a unit in the mid-field, again coupled with the boons from the tithe table, they become a formidable melee unit.

While Possessed obviously aren’t an optimal choice in any army as it stands now, there are ways to effectively use them in a KDK Blood Host Detachment that make it seem less like a “tax” for your army and more like a valuable addition to your force. Let the enemy come to you, and shred them to pieces. Blood for the blood god!!

And as always, Frontline Gaming sells Games Workshop product at up to 25% off of retail, every day!

You can also pick up some cheap models in our Second Hand Shop. Some of these gems are quite rare, sometimes they’re fully painted!

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About Chandler

Sometimes I play 40k. Sometimes I drink beer. Oftentimes I do both. I host an annual ITC Grand Tournament, Come the Apocalypse GT, as well as a podcast called Come the Apocalypse - a Warhammer 40k Podcast which you can find on iTunes or the Google Play Music store.

8 Responses to “Khorne Daemonkin Review: Elites: Possessed”

  1. Reecius
    Reecius October 17, 2016 11:23 am #

    Solid article but my goodness, these guys are so overpriced.

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      Threllen October 18, 2016 12:06 pm #

      Any discussion of Possessed should start and stop with “I have to pay how much? For how little?”

      Twice the cost of a standard Marine, slow, no upgradeable weapons, no grenades, same survivability to small-arms fire. Your opponent makes you charge through cover and you’re likely losing nearly every one before they even have a chance to strike at something.

  2. Avatar
    Fagerlund October 18, 2016 2:08 am #

    I never noticed that they are Daemons of Khorne, always thought they were just Daemons like the CSM-version. So that’s pretty neat actually!

    • Avatar
      Chandler October 18, 2016 5:00 am #

      Yes they get the benefits of being Mark of Khorne and Daemons of Khorne as well. A nice little combination of benefits for them. They are capable of doing quite a bit of damage if you can get them in combat lol.

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      abusepuppy October 18, 2016 5:05 am #

      They’re actually one of the only Chaos models that comes with both Rage and Furious Charge due to their Khorne alignment. It’s not a huge benefit, but it’s something.

      The lack of assault grenades is actually one of the more problematic issues with Possessed; obviously their price and slow speed don’t do them any favors, either, but not being able to effectively charge into cover is a big limitation and all the more so because of their mediocre survivability. You don’t want your dedicated combat unit to be taking 1-2 casualties from Overwatch and then another 1-3 from the enemy swinging first at them.

      • Avatar
        Chandler October 18, 2016 7:58 am #

        I couldn’t agree more with this. I would not really ever try and build a force around them, and I don’t think anyone really would want to based on how poor their rules are overall. The idea is just finding a use for them within that 150 point tax. It’s a lot to spend to try and protect a backfield, but because of the fact they are slow and as you said have no assault grenades really limits what you can do with them. They can be quite scary to face in a counter assault however.

  3. Avatar
    Horton October 18, 2016 7:45 am #

    Good article. In the Blood Host Detachment Possessed CAN be good. Yes they are over priced, but I have had a lot of games where they did quite well. With double blood points, they really can be part of a powerful KDK force.

    • Avatar
      Chandler October 18, 2016 8:00 am #

      Agreed. You really need to be able to buff these guys with a lesser reward from the Detachment rules. Giving them Feel No Pain I find to be the most useful thing for them really.

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