Hey everyone, Josh here to discuss the units that are available in the Blades of Khorne. For this article I’ll be discussing my very first hero unit, the Blooddecorator… erm Bloodsecrator! For more tactics articles, check out the Tactics Corner!
Before you read: Let me start by saying that I cannot tell you how difficult this article was to write. I don’t use multiple Bloodsecrators in my competitive army. This is because more than one is not needed, and I’ll go into great detail with math and game theory in a separate article to illustrate this. Therefore, I have no vested interest in the Bloodsecrators’ Rage of Khorne stacking, and I want you, the reader, to understand that. My hope is that someone in GW will read this and provide us with proper rules errata to correct the issues with this unit.
Another one of my intents is to review this unit objectively. I’m not going to provide you with lists. I’m not going to be going into great detail about how to use this unit in battalions or with the new totem artefacts. I’ll review those things in separate article. The reviews I write are to help players think for themselves in an objective and independent manner.
Bloodsecrators are the centerpiece of any Bloodbound army. They stand amidst the horde of blood-thirsty warriors carrying a profane artifact of Khornate power. When thrust into the earth, these artifacts tear a rift in the veil between the Chaos and Mortal Realm to unleash the incandescent rage of Khorne and send the warriors of the blood god into to a crazed murder lust.
The Bloodsecrator is arguably the most powerful hero unit in the Khorne army. It’s hard to quantify the exact power level of a Bloodsecrator because it has both an aggressive and defensive impact on your army. That said, it’s not hard to understand why many players consider the Bloodsecrator an auto-include in every single Khorne army that they play. It’s no secret that most of the Blades of Khorne strategies players dream up involve an army that plays around a Bloodsecrator or multiple Bloodsecrators.
- Wounds: 5
- Save: 3+
- Move: 4
- Bravery: 9
- Points: 120
- Min Unit Size: 1
- Max Unit Size: 1
Weapons (Range/Attacks/To Hit/To Wound/Rend/Damage)
- Ensorcelled Axe (1/4/3/3/1/1)
- Portal of Skulls – activation enables Loathsome Sorcery and Rage of Khorne at the cost of movement until the beginning of the next hero phase
- Loathsome Sorcery-wizards within 18″ must re-roll successful casting rolls (you and your opponent)
- Rage of Khorne*-Khorne units you control within 18″ gain are affected by this ability at the beginning of the combat phase, when they attack they add 1 to their attack characteristic. (currently, this stacks)
- Rage of Khorne**-Khorne units within 18″ do not have to take battleshock tests (you and your opponent, all phases)
Bloodsecrators are a force multiplier. They rarely fight or move. Rather than relying on their own strength, they rely on bolstering the strength of the other units in your army.
The first half of Rage of Khorne is often the most popular part of the model. Adding 1 to the attacks characteristic to all melee attacks during the combat phase is an extremely potent ability for hoarding units. Focus on making use of this with high model volume units that have one or two attacks per model (Examples: Bloodletters, Bloodreavers and Bloodwarriors).
The second half of Rage of Khorne is often overshadowed by the first, but it’s just as important. Khorne typically plays high model count maximum size units that are extremely sensitive to battleshock tests. Don’t take this for granted.
Loathsome Sorcery isn’t usually a big deal. Most of the time your opponent is using balewind vortex to circumvent the ability, or just avoiding it altogether, however extending the range on this ability to 36″ with the Gore Pilgrims battalion can be very irritating to your opponent.
My Top 5 Unit Synergies
- Chaos Warriors
My Top Artefact Synergies
- The Brazen Rune – It’s hard to ignore items that auto-counter spells at any range. Especially when this guy is nestled safely out of combat.
Bloodsecrator is dwarf-slow, and while he’s using his Portal of Skulls he cannot move, run, charge or pile-in. I recommend planting your banner as soon as possible. Consider permanent placement during the set-up phase and be cautious. This guy can often be the lynchpin for your entire army. If you need to move him, you’re probably best saving 3 bloodtithe points and moving him during your hero phase so that you can re-open the portal.
Bloodsecrator has a low wound count for a hero. If this guy had 6 wounds, he’d be infinitely better. Try to keep him out of harms way for at least the first turn.
The worst thing about the Bloodsecrator has to be the huge lesson it teaches us about what happens when we are given ambiguously written, inexplicit rules. The debate over whether you can stack multiple instances of Bloodsecrator’s Rage of Khorne is a hot one, and it needs to end soon. The warscroll is not explicit at all. Without GW’s help, the debate over the Rage of Khorne will probably continue to rage on (get it?).
The Rules Lawyer: First let’s look at the wording of the ability, Portal of Skulls.
“In your hero phase, you can declare that this model opens the Portal of Skulls. If you do, until your next hero phase you may not move the model, but it has the following abilities: Loathsome Sorcery and Rage of Khorne”
The key thing to take from this is that the ability enables Loathsome Sorcery and Rage of Khorne until your next hero phase. While it doesn’t say it, your Bloodsecrator effectively lifts his banner at the beginning of your hero phase. (if you have spells cast them before putting it back down). Now let’s take a look at the wording of the ability, Rage of Khorne:
“This ability affects all KHORNE units in your army within 18″ of this model at the start of the combat phase. When they attack, add 1 to the Attacks characteristic of all melee weapons used by units affected by the Rage of Khorne. In addition, players do not have to take battleshock tests for any KHORNE units within 18″ of this model.”
Key things to take from this are that Rage of Khorne doesn’t care if units are within range of the Bloodsecrator for the additional attacks. Rage of Khorne only cares if units were range to be affected in the beginning of the combat phase. It also cares if you’re in range when determining whether or not your units need to take battle shock tests, but really this is a separate ability. I’m not sure why it was shoehorned onto this one.
Now, the interpretation of Rage of Khorne typically falls into two camps.
- Rage of Khorne is both an ability and an effect that impacts units at the beginning of the combat phase if they are within 18″ of a Bloodsecrator. Units that have been affected gain +1 attack if a Bloodsecrator’s Rage of Khorne is still active. It doesn’t stack.
- Rage of Khorne is an ability and the phrase “units affected by the Rage of Khorne” is referencing the ability name. Therefore it stacks.
Given the current wording the second interpretation makes sense to me for a variety of reasons.
- Bloodsecrator only gains Rage of Khorne until the next hero phase. If the words “Rage of Khorne” are in reference to the instance of the ability then that would mean that units affected by this ability stop being effected on your next hero phase because that instance no longer exists.
- If the Rage of Khorne something that units are affected with, when does the Rage of Khorne stop affecting them? There are no rules for when units stop being affected. Instead units would be affected by the Rage of Khorne for the remainder of the game. As long as the portal of skulls was open and your units were affected at least one time, units affected by the Rage of Khorne would gain +1 attack while attacking as long as a Bloodscrator had his banner down somewhere on the battlefield. This just sounds way too powerful.
- The current rules errata states the following: Are the effects of multiple duplicate spells and abilities stackable against a the target? Yes, unless specifically stated otherwise.
- During a WarhammerLive event in April I personally asked if the Rage of Khorne stacked. The host read the ability out loud and responded, “I say it stacks!” If it doesn’t stack then apparently it’s not specific enough.
- Bloodsecrator isn’t game breaking. I’m not sure why the developers and the community are so hellbent on changing it (there are probably bigger fish to fry). The only unit in the game that seems to receive significant gains from the Rage of Khorne is Bloodletters, but even for this unit there are ways of achieving exactly the same outcome with only a single Bloodsecrator (which I will explain in a battalion review). Nerfing the Bloodsecrator does little to nothing to the Blades of Khorne on the competitive scene.
I’ve reached out to several credible sources that would like to remain unnamed. They acknowledge that the intention of the change on the wording of the Bloodsecrator in the Blades of Khorne was to keep the Bloodsecrator from stacking, but they also acknowledge that it was poorly worded and still stacks given the current wording. I wouldn’t be surprised if GW put the kibosh on this at some point in the near future, and I wouldn’t invest in multiple Bloodsecrators at the moment.
I’m often asked why I don’t play with it as these unnamed sources say it was “intended”. First off, I don’t think Bloodsecrator is ruining the ranged unit meta. Second, GW has room to improve when it comes to timely updates of the rules and errata. Third, playing the role of an enabler does not help anyone improve. As players we shouldn’t be expected to read the minds of developers, and if we want them to improve their rules writing then I think we need to hold them accountable by following the rules they write until they correct them. For this very reason, we focus on the rules as written on our youtube channel (Masterpiece Miniatures).
What kind of jerk would I be if I provided criticism without a solution? If I were to re-write these abilities so that they didn’t stack, they would probably read as follows:
“Portal of Skulls: In your hero phase, you can declare that this model has opened the Portal of Skulls. This model’s Portal of Skulls closes at the beginning of your hero phase or if it is removed from play. While this model’s Portal of Skulls is open it cannot move but gains following abilities: Loathsome Sorcery, Rage of Khorne and Fearless Bloodlust
Loathsome Sorcery: Players must re-roll successful casting rolls for wizards within 18″ of any Bloodsecrator with an open Portal of Skulls, before any attempts to unbind are made.
Rage of Khorne: At the start of the combat phase, Khorne units you control within 18″ of any Bloodsecrator with an open Portal of Skulls add 1 to the attacks characteristic of all melee weapons until the end of the combat phase.
Fearless Bloodlust: Players do not have to take battleshock tests for Khorne units within 18″ of any Bloodsecrator with an open Portal of Skulls.”
The Rage of Khorne stacks folks, and it will stack RAW until GW makes an official statement.
**UPDATE 6/20/2016 – The Bloodsecrator’s Rage of Khorne has changed to the following wording: “This ability affects Khorne units in your army within 18″ of this model at the start of the combat phase. When they attack, add 1 to the Attacks characteristic of all melee weapons used by these units. In addition, players do not have to take battleshock tests for any Khorne units within 18″ of this model at the start of the battleshock phase.” It seems GW heard our cries and clarified the rules. It is clear that this ability stacks again.
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