Chaos Daemons – Khorne Overview

An overview of the blood god’s best boys, Khorne! These Chaos Daemons give offerings to Khorne wherever they go, piling skulls upon the skull throne for their master. Check the Tactics Corner for more great articles.

The final battle for Helmanus IV raged on and Scout Telmarious and his squad skirted the edges of the fray. Below him the Daemonic Incursion was in full force. Telmarious and his men, armed with the latest sniper technology, stalked in their high position and scoped out the leaders of the enemy forces to bring down at will.

He looked through the scope and spied a wounded Fluxmaster, arms waving around, about to cast some sort of spell upon a large neighboring squad of horrors. He breathed, held it, lining up the head of the beast in his crosshairs and pulled the trigger, his squad sequenced with him and the Tzeentchian beast fell to the ground, his head exploded.

It was then that the air opened up above him, like the slit in the belly of a large beast, and what poured out was the worst imaginable thing possible. Bloodletters poured from the cut in reality, and the red creatures fell upon Telmarious and his men, fiery glowing swords swinging in great arcs and lighting the sky with their fury. Behind them was a formidable creature, taller than the other Bloodletters, howling to the all around that would hear it.

Three swords flew into Telmarious, each at different angles, and he was rended into multiple pieces as the crackling energy from the Hellblades fwooshed through him as if nothing was there. His blood poured out in great arcs, bathing the Bloodletters in the process, only making them howl louder and with more fury.

The last thing Telmarious saw was the largest of them, the Bloodmaster, lifted his decapitated head and peered into his eyes. It grinned and then he was twirling, somersaulting, end over end, into blackness.

The Bloodmaster howled, this pack howled in return and they set their gaze upon another prey further down the way. They advanced.

Who is Khorne

Sitting in his brass throne, high atop a mountain of skulls, Khorne ever thirsts for blood and conquest. The oldest of the four gods, Khorne taps into creatures anger, hate, killing, and desire for war. While mostly known for his slaughter, he is also partial to those that show intense martial discipline and seek to destroy through strength and cunning. Where there is war there is Khorne, delighting in the sacrifices we all make when we shed blood.

Faction Strengths

High AP, high strength attacks and lots of them are what makes Khorne tick. Combined with some impressive speed in their fast attack units, 3d6 charge range for their bloodletters, and flying beasties and you can be in your opponents face right quick. You will cut through most armored enemies and put a good amount of wounds on otherwise. Be careful though as your mighty charging units can be left hanging in the wind to shooting if they do too much damage.

With their universal rule Unstoppable Ferocity, they also don’t care whether they charge or get charged is it activates in either situation. Many units will certainly think twice about charging units like Bloodletters with their -3 AP weapons.

They also have one of the better Loci in their Locus of Rage, allowing them to reroll charge ranges.

Faction Weaknesses

One of the big weaknesses of Khorne is their overall toughness value. They will whither to weight of fire if left out in the open and your charges can easily make that happen. You’ll need to use terrain, cover, and good charge selection tactics to keep them safe. While the greater deamons have a better toughness, Bloodthirsters only have T7 and this leaves them very vulnerable to any army that can put out many high strength, high damage shots. Most armies have access to seomthing like this, so Khorne can be very vulnerable to the shooting armies that are in 8th edition.

Combine their toughness with their overall low save and you can have a problem. Nurgle gets a feel no pain, tzeentch has a better invul save, and Slaanesh are faster than Khorne, giving them some defensive edges there so be sure not to be left out in the open.

Key Units

  • Bloodletters – This troop choice is pretty rock solid. For 7 points you get a basic troop that has a 5++ invul, a great melee weapon with -3 AP and doing 2 damage on 6’s to wound. Combined with the banner that gives them a 3d6 charge range and you have a tool that many will fear.
  • Khorne Hounds – These doggos are a very solid choice with a 10 inch move, 2 wounds, and an AP 1 melee weapon make this unit a great pick. What takes it even further is that each one gets a deny the witch chance which is excellent.
  • Karanak – at 70 points this model is a steal of an HQ. Great attack profile and very survivable with 6 wounds and toughness 5. Karanak also gets to deny 2 powers a turn. He can also be a great character killer with his ability to choose a character and get rerolls to hit and wound against that model.
  • Bloodmaster – The basic Khorne Herald is a nice unit that gives +1 strength to Khorne models within 6”. Not bad, but may be unnecessary with how most Bloodletters will be strength 5 when they charge. You’ll probably use this more for the loci of re rolling charges.
  • Skull Cannon – Yes there are better platforms in the game, but the Skull Cannon will have a place in a Khorne list as it is the main source of firepower to crack transports and bring down the big baddies that are out there.
  • Daemon Prince – The Daemon Prince is a great unit that is able to hide and strike at will with its character bonus. A prince with duel talons will pump out 8 attacks at strength 8, which is no joke.


  • Banner of Blood – This is one stratagem you will see in most Daemon armies, Khorne based or not. This gives a unit of Bloodletters a 3d6 charge once per battle. Most players are bringing 19 or 30 Bloodletters with this stratagem and deep striking to surgically strike at the enemy. Very strong, especially combined with their Khorne abilities and weapons.
  • Locus of Wrath – Pick a Khorne character and any unit within 6” can re-roll failed hit rolls. Very powerful in the right moment.
  • Frenetic Bloodlust – Select a Khorne unit at the end of the fight phase and fight again. This can put the nail in the coffin for your opponent in the right situation.


Warlord Traits

  • Aspect of Death – When a unit failes morale within 8” of this model, they lose one more model.
  • Glory of Battle – Adds 1 attack when there are more enemy models than friendly models. Not one to count on. Could be decent for that lone Bloodthirster you are using to seek out and destroy.
  • Oblivious to Pain – FNP 6+ and if you roll a 6 you get to re-roll hits and wounds next turn. While not something to count on, having a doubly blessed 6+ FNP isn’t bad.
  • Immense Power – Adds 1 to your strength characteristic. Great you can count on it and one I like quite well. Makes your Daemon Princes and Bloodthister base strength 8. This also makes your Heralds base 6 strength so 7 on that first turn in combat which could really help them out a lot.
  • Devastating Blow – Replaces its attacks with one that does d3 Mortal wounds. Not great for large model warlords, but for units like Bloodmasters, this can be pretty good.
  • Rage Incarnate – Reroll hits of 1 when units within 8” are charged. Very situational and an odd one for Khorne as we want to be charging.


  • Armor of Scorn – Gives a 4++ and allows one deny per turn. Excellent relic.
  • The Crimson Crown – One of my favorites. Whenever you roll a 6+ to wound you get an extra attack. Great for that large Bloodletter bomb to do even more damage.
  • A’Rgath the King of Blades – Solid weapon that allows rerolls on characters. Probably best on a Daemon Prince. You get 5 attacks vs the 8 from 2 talons and go to -4 ap and 3 damage stock. Very solid platform. On the charge your DP will be S9 and with the warlord trait you could be S10 on the charge. Having something with that stock 3 damage is a great as most of the stock larger units went to 3 wounds.
  • Skullreaver – Titan killer. Gives +3 strength at -4 ap and D6 damage. Rerolls wounds against titanic and on a 6 does an additional d3 mortal wounds. You’ll want this on a high attack creature such as a DP or Bloodthirster of Unfettered Fury. Probably not the Insensate Rage version as the Greater Axe is already pretty good at taking on titanic things.

Psychic Powers

Khorne laughs at your psychic powers! Since Khorne lacks psychic powers, lets talk about the psychic defenses available to the Khorne general. First that come to mind are the great Khorne Hounsd and Karanak. Hounds each get a chance to deny a power just like a psyker. Karanak gets TWO chances. Both great options. You also have a deny chance in the Armour of Scorn. These can easily give your army many chances to send those psychic bullies packing!


What does Khorne love? Slaughter! The problem is that Khorne loves to slaughter too much and can get left hanging in the breeze if not done right. You can certainly go for a hard turn 2 blitz, but a savvy general will have screens up to take your hard hitting bombs and allow them to get shot up the next turn. You might consider a turn 2 wave of lighter deep strikers to plow the field, then a push from on foot with Hounds and following up turn 3 with your larger bombs to get to the meat. Remember you can take multiple 3d6 banners so make use of them! This style of list will also be pretty CP heavy so look for ways to maximize with a brigade or double battalions.

While your greater Daemons are pretty, they are very susceptible to the kinds of mass shooting available to armies nowadays. I’d work more with Daemon Princes and Heralds to buff your units and get into key areas of the army. A Khorne Daemon Prince with Talons has 8 attacks at AP2 doing 2 damage each! Not bad.

The bloodletter bomb is a great tool, but too often is wasted on a unit and then gets shot up to death. Find a way to hit a chink in their armor and then hide them if need be. Come in on a corner of the battlefield or find a building that is empty and get in it. Remember you don’t have to charge the turn they come in. Probably what you are still going to do, but if you can set up something more devastating, go for it.

Potential List

I ran this against a pretty standard tournament Necron list recently and had some fun with it.

Khorne Battalion

  • Bloodmaster – Warlord/Crimson Crown/Oblivious to Pain
  • Skulltaker
  • 30 Bloodletters
  • 3 x 19 Bloodletters

Khorne Outrider

  • Karanak
  • 2 x 9 Khorne Hounds
  • 8 Khorne Hounds

Khorne Spearhead

  • Daemon Prince with Wings – Armour of Scorn
  • 5 Skull Cannons

The Skull Cannons were the stars of this list. We were Spearhead deployment (fat black widow modified hammer and anvil) and I tried to rush in my bloodletter bombs, only to get shellacked a bit by Deathmarks. The Skullcannons put out a lot of damage, taking out most of a unit of Wraiths, Destroyers, and whittled down a couple of other units as well. They combed with the Daemon Prince for rerolls as there isn’t a lot of ways to impact your shooting. Putting out 5d6 S8 AP -2 D3 damage shots each turn really helped put the pressure on. I think with some practice it could surprise some people.

Granted this was tested pre FAQ, so you’d certainly drop 2 skull cannons and add in 200 more points of Khorney goodness. Probably another large bloodletter bomb.


While not the bottom of the Daemon barrel, they are probably not the top either, and will take some good practice to nail down. You will need to plan your assaults well and not just throw them in first turn willy nilly. Your bloodletter bombs can wreck a unit, but if you don’t place them well will be left out in the open.

In the world of the shooting meta that is 40k right now, you will certainly want to challenge your TO’s for better terrain, especially line of sight blocking terrain, to give your red boys and girls a better chance of wreaking havoc and giving up offerings of blood to the blood god.


And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!



About CaptainA

Aaron is a longtime gamer of many systems. He is an avid community builder of 40k and after running many 40k events in Portland, Oregon, has recently moved to Boise, Idaho and continues to host and run leagues and events. He has also recently expanded his repertoire and entered the second hand Warhammer business. Check out his website at to see how he can help you get rid off your old and unused models.

4 Responses to “Chaos Daemons – Khorne Overview”

  1. Beau May 13, 2018 7:48 am #

    Quick and simple write up to get heads rolling fast! I have always wanted to buy more Khorne models but have been holding out for plastic flesh hounds for a long long time. Rumors say I may not have to wait much longer!

    I see you took Skulltaker in your list, what is your opinion on him over a regular Bloodmaster. Also what do you think of Skarbrand? I think it is a darned shame you cannot take Skulltaker or Bloodmasters on juggernauts anymore!

    • Paul Winters May 13, 2018 12:34 pm #

      Skulltaker’s aura ability is his big draw. Having a +1 to hit aura for friendly “Bloodletter” I think is more beneficial than the standard Herald aura ability of +1 Strength. As most of the time Bloodletters will be at Strength 5 and Attack 2. Skulltaker’s aura is clutch for Bloodcrushers (who gained the “Bloodletter” keyword in a FAQ) who don’t have a size bonus like Bloodletters do. Or even for Bloodletters in the ITC format where you may want to run them in units of 19 (to avoid giving the 2 VP Reaper) and for the cheaper “Denizens of the Warp” stratagem cost.

      I haven’t had much luck with Skarbrand or any of the Greater Daemons, for that matter. I think they are overvalued for what they do. Especially compared to the Daemon Prince who is on par combat wise, has a much more useful aura, for much cheaper. For Khorne and Slaanesh, Greater Daemons relying just on 5++ doesn’t cut it. Your opponent will be looking for a target for all their lascannons. As you are lacking vehicles and Greater Daemons would be it.

  2. CaptainA May 15, 2018 8:15 am #

    Pretty much agree with Paul here. Big guys just get shot down. Case in point my last game, my GUO got taken down to 1 wound turn one. DP’s of Khorne will be a much better point spend and you will get 2 for the price of one of those big guys. Skarbrand is pretty great because of his buffs, but he has to make that 9 inch charge to make him work. Too random.

    • Paul Winters May 15, 2018 11:53 am #

      As we get more codices I am starting to think that GW didn’t translate monstrous creatures too well in 8th edition. The popular MC either have a 4++ or are inexpensive enough it isn’t a big deal if they die (Carnifex, Mawloc, etc).

      In prior editions having a 6 Wound MC meant you had to fail 6 saving throws to be slain. In 8th most MC is around 12W your damage D6 lascannon/lance/melta/missile/etc will be doing on average 3.5 damage, so you must fail 3 or 4, saving throws on average to be slain. Degrading stat lines also make it a mixed bag. As a lot of MC are melee oriented getting slower as they degrade lowers the chance they will participate in a fight phase.

      What makes a Daemon Prince useful is that it only has 8 Wounds, so it can hide behind other units to get a charge in. If a Daemon Prince could be sniped I don’t think they would be played as much in Chaos lists. It is a shame the stat of MC as my Keepers of Secrets are collecting dust.

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