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Fifty Shades of Red: A Codex: Khorne Daemonkin Review  by Patrick Eibel
Having worked their way through releasing codices for all the major armies, GW seems to be throwing stuff at the wall to see what will stick (at least until they start updating the Seventh Edition books).  Did Harlequins really need their own codex?  The Skitarii book may not be necessary, but at least is something new. 

So recently we got Codex: Khorne Daemonkin – a mashup of all the Khorne units from the Chaos Space Marine codex and the Chaos Daemon book.  These guys are already Battle Brothers, so the question is, do they add enough to warrant the $50 price tag?  Let’s have a look, shall we?

 

The Stuff Before the Datasheets
We have gotten used to the new books having page upon page of background fluff for the variety of Factions covered in the given codex.  Since this codex just covers Khorne-related armies, a lot of that prose has been replaced by the return of the unit description pages.  This is actually handy, since we are combining units from CSM and Chaos Daemons, it helps to keep things straight. 

We are then treated to a painting guide for some named Daemonkin armies, which all basically are variations on red, red, and more red.  Hey, I know Khorne is the Blood God, but could we get a different color, please?

The Wargear list combines most of the Chaos Space Marine list with Gifts and Loci from the Chaos Daemon list.  For totally new things, you get all new artefacts, an Axe of Khorne melee weapon, and ways to customize your Helbrute.  Nothing too earth-shattering here, just a few new nice toys to add a little flavor.  I have conveniently skipped the Blood Host Detachment, which basically replaces the Force Organization chart, because it goes along nicely with the next section of our review.



Dataslates, Formations, and Blood Tithe Points
At this point, you are probably thinking that the Daemonkin book is a waste of $50 (U.S, that is).  I should apologize for burying the lead, then.  The Khorne Daemonkin book fully leverages the power of formations, and has a whole new mechanic that makes Khorne viable.  What?  What?  Read on my loyal Blood God lovers.

First, let’s talk dataslates, where we immediately notice that most things went up in cost versus their regular codex equivalents.  Next, we notice that we get three different flavors of Bloodthirster: clearly a money grab by GW, so not feeling the love yet.  Your army unit choices are what you would expect to see for a book devoted to Khorne:

  • Cultists, Chaos Space Marines, Berzerkers, Bloodletters;
  • Possessed (version 3.0!), Terminators, Bloodcrushers;
  • Spawn, Bikers, Flesh Hounds, Raptors, Warp Talons, Heldrake; 
  • Land Raider, Forgefiend, Maulerfiend, Defiler, Soul Grinder, Helbrute (in Heavy Support? Why?);
  • Skull Cannon (really hideous model), and the Lord of Skulls, which is the Chaos answer to Imperial Knights. 

One reason for the increased point cost is that these units have the Mark of Khorne built in already.  The other reason is Blood Tithe Points.

What...what am I even looking at here?  It's like the lovechild of a Harley Davidson and an evil Weeble

If you were to list the major problem with running a straight Khorne army using either of the previous books this codex draws from, your responses would generally be in the neighborhood of needing some way to survive enemy shooting long enough to get into close combat.  You might have thrown in that the units were too expensive as well, but that can be mitigated if they are actually worth the points.

Enter Blood Tithe Points.  You get Blood Tithe Points when a unit with the Blood for the Blood God! rule is completely destroyed (like your cheapo Cultists and Bloodletters, say) or a character with the rule kills, or is killed, in a close combat challenge (the rule from Codex: CSM that says characters must issue challenges carries over). 

And what do Blood Tithe Points get you? At the start of any of your turns, you may spend points to generate an effect from the Blood Tithe Table.  Spend two points, and all units with the Blood For The Blood God! rule get Rage and Furious Charge.  Spend three, and those units get Feel No Pain (sadly you cannot spend five to do both, as you can only pick one per turn, and unused points are lost…or can you…) 

But wait, there’s more!  Five points spent allows you to summon bonus daemons.  Eight points allows you to sacrifice a character for the chance to bring on a Bloodthirster (it’s Leadership-based, so it could fail).  Hey look, I just got a 300-point Flying Monstrous Creature for the cost of a Chaos Lord.  Oh, so now I have your attention?



The formations presented find ways to include various units in the book while ignoring the Force Org Chart restrictions.  A Brazen Onslaught has Terminators and Bloodcrushers; a Khorne’s Bloodstorm has Raptors, Talons and an optional Heldrake.  A Gorepack has Bikers and Flesh Hounds.  You can see they try to blend the Daemon- and Marine units into each formation. 

There are also the larger formations: the Slaughtercult and the Charnel Cohort, which combine a variety of different units from the army.  The Slaughtercult allows you to choose a second Blood Tithe effect from the table (so you can get the aforementioned Rage, Furious Charge, Feel No Pain combo). 

In addition to all that, there is the Blood Host Detachment, which is what Daemonkin get instead of an altered Force Org Chart.  For this detachment, you take a Slaughtercult (you wanted one anyway, so OK), an optional Lord of Slaughter (like any of the Bloodthirsters, or the Lord of Skulls), and up to eight of the other formations listed above, with the addition of a War Engine option that includes Helbrutes, Defilers, Soul Grinders, Forgefiends, Maulerfiends, and Lord of Skulls.  That’s right, kids, you could field eight Maulerfiends if you wanted.  You could field three Lords of Skulls if you had the points and money to do so. 

The big restriction is that you can only use the units listed in the detachment lists, so if you have Land Raiders you really wanted to use, you would have to take a Combined Arms Detachment, using the Chaos Space Marine or Daemonkin codex, or an Allied Detachment of either codex.



OF COURSE it costs 888 points

 

Conclusion
I have been a fan of Khorne-based armies for a long time.  The general shift away from close combat has made these armies less effective in the current edition.  On paper, this codex does exactly what I want the army to do: deliver some nasty close-combat hits.  I really like the inclusion of the Daemon units, and the Blood Tithe system is great (could it be the blueprint for Faith Points for the Sisters of Battle?) 

I am concerned about the point cost increases, as the army already ran high, but at least now there are more cheap options worth choosing.  I am really interested to see how all of this plays out on the table.  If you have had some Khorne Berzerkers hidden away in a closet waiting for a decent book, this may be your best chance to let them see the tabletop.  Slay on, my brothers!


Posted April 2015. All images are copyright 2015 by Games Workshop and are used for review purposes. 


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Fighting Tigers:
Codex <> Tactics <> Gallery <> Allies and Enemies <> Tales of the Tigers

Other Pages:
Main <> What's New <> Site Index <> The Tiger Roars <> Themed Army Ideas
Events and Battle Reports <> Campaigns <> Terrain <> FAQ <> Beyond the Jungle