Blades of Khorne Review: Skullreapers

Josh here to talk Blades of Khorne. This time we’ll be exploring an elite infantry unit, Skullreapers.

For more tactics articles, check out the Tactics Corner!

Blood Reavers die like flies in both the storyline and the game, but those who survive are blessed with Khorne’s daemon power. They aspire for daemonhood, and one such path is the Trial of Skulls. Khorne blesses warriors who undertake the Trial with brutal strength and daemonic power, but the cost is high. Those who become Skullreapers must offer the blood god at least 8 worhty skulls per day. Those who don’t are tortured to death by Khorne’s insatiable wrath.

Skull Reapers are elite infantry. They aren’t as cost effective at defending as Blood Warriors or as cost effective at attacking as Bloodletters, but they are able to do both very well. This gives them a unique niche in the armies of Khorne by providing you with strategic choices.

Skull Reapers Rules

Unit Characteristics

  • Wounds: 3
  • Save: 4+
  • Move: 5
  • Bravery: 7
  • Points: 140
  • Min Unit Size: 5
  • Max Unit Size: 20

Weapons (Range/Attacks/To Hit/To Wound/Rend/Damage)

  • Gore-slick Blades (1/3/3/3/-/1)
  • Daemonblades (1/3/4/3/-/1)
  • Spinecleaver (1/2/3/3/1/2)
  • Soultearer (1/2/4/3/1/2)
  • Vicious Mutation (1/1/3/4/1/D3)

Unique Models

  • Skullseeker – attacks with a Vicious Mutation in addition to other weapons
  • Icon Bearer – adds 1 to Bravery

Abilities

  • Trial of Skulls* – if the total models slain by the unit is greater than the number of models in the unit, re-roll failed hits.
  • Trial of Skills** – if the total models slain by the unit is at least double the number of models, re-roll both failed hits and wounds
  • Daemonforged Weapons – Daemonblade or Soultearer hit rolls of 6 or more deal mortal wounds in addition to regular damage, if the wound roll for the attack is a 1 then the unit suffers a mortal wound instead
  • Frenzied Attacks – re-roll hit rolls of 1 for Gore-slick Blades and Daemonblades
  • Muderous to the Last – when a Skullreaper dies in the combat phase, roll a die, on a 4 or 5 the attacking unit suffers a mortal wound and on a 6 the attacking unit suffers D3 mortal wounds

Keywords

  • Chaos
  • Mortal
  • Khorne
  • Bloodbound
  • Skullreapers

Tactics

Skull Reapers have some of the most aggressively priced defensive stats of any unit in the Bloodbound army. At 9.3 points per wound and a 4+ save, they out-value every multi-model unit in the Khorne army when it comes to resiliancy. These guys have some serious staying power, and when they do go down they have a 50% chance to deal one or more mortal wounds.

On top of resiliancy, Skullreapers a more agressive attack statline for the price than any other Khorne unit aside from Bloodletters. You can choose to run them with Gore-slick blades or Daemonblades, but my weapon of choice has to be the Daemonblades. The Daemonblades might have some minor drawbacks, but they can be mitigated with the Bloodstoker and having a way to inclict mortal wounds on high-save units is an extremely important part of this game.

Daemonforged Weapons is biggest reason these guys are so good. There are lots of high-save models in the realm. These guys are here to take them out. Khorne syergies are typically good at modifying the hit roll, and this only serves to make Daemonforged Weapons even better. Triple pumping a unit of 10 Skullreapers with Killing frenzy so that they can activate their Daemonforged weapons on a 3+ while rerolling 1’s is going to deal some serious damage to anything that comes into contact with it.\

 

The Rules Lawyer: I’ve noticed a lot of players don’t understand how to apply the mortal wounds from Skullreapers correctly because they deal mortal wounds in addition to regular damage. So, I’m here to help you you. First off, it’s important to understand the rules behind mortal wounds: 

MORTAL WOUNDS Some attacks in flict mortal wounds. Do not make hit, wound or save rolls for a mortal wound – just allocate the wounds to models from the target unit as described above. 

This means you can fail a wound roll for an attack and yet that attack could still inflict a mortal wound.  If you roll a 6 for a hit roll followed by a 2 for the wound roll, the replacement effect for allocating the mortal wound to your own unit does not take effect. Instead, you deal 1 mortal wound to the defending unit but fail to deal any savable wounds to that unit. When making attacks your with your Skullreapers that have Daemonforged Weapons, do the following to save both you and your opponent from head trauma:

  1. roll for hits for the Daemonblades (don’t forget to re-roll those 1’s)
  2. separate your hits into piles for 6+’s and  4-5’s… discard failed hits.
  3. roll wound rolls for all 6+’s, allocate a mortal wound to your opponents unit for each 2+, allocate a mortal wound to your models for each 1 and set asside any successful wound rolls
  4. roll wound rolls for all 4-5’s  and combine successful wound rolls with the successful wound rolls from step 3
  5. your opponent makes their save rolls

That’s it! Replacement effects are always a real pain in the butt.

Don’t stress if your opponent is sitting outside the range of your Bloodsecrator’s Rage of Khorne. Skullreapers have a high attack volume and decent bravery for mortal units. They aren’t as dependant on attack characteristic buffs. Unlike Blood Warriors and Blood Reavers, they can opperate outside the range of a Bloodsecrator and still have an impact on enemy units.

My Top 5 Unit Synergies

  1. Slaughter Priest – provides +1 to hit rolls with the Blood Blessing, Killing Frenzy
  2. Bloodstoker – provides +3″ to run and charge rolls as well as re-rollable wound rolls of 1
  3. Lord of Khorne on Juggernaut – the only unit in  Blades of Khorne that provides +1 to wound rolls
  4. Bloodsecrator – provides attack characteristic bonuses while protecting your Skullreapers from battleshock tests
  5. Aspiring Deathbringer – provides mobile attack characteristic bonuses

Cons

Skullreapers have large bases compared to other infantry in Khorne, but only 1″ range. This occasionally makes it difficult to pile all of your models into combat. You’ll have to be more concious of your positioning on a charge so you can pile-in effectively and collect those skulls.

Like Wrathmongers and Blood Warriors, these guys are pretty slow. Consider running 2 units of 10 in the Gore Tide battalion to take advantage of the D6 movement on each of your hero phases. You can also mitigate some of these problems with proper screening or by whipping them with your Bloodstoaker.

~Skulls for the Brass Throne!

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

secondhandhsop
  • Tigirus

    Don’t forget the banner of rage as a great synergy item, giving re-rolls of 1’s to hit and re-rolls of all hits if they can already re-roll 1’s (which they can) lets them maximize their damage before they start to get the skull total up at that point they don’t really need the buff before. It has to be one of my favorite synergy pieces as a lot of khorne units can get re-rolls of 1’s and it can go on the bloodsecrator who’s already an amazing synergy peice.

  • Bran D

    8 skulls a day?! Can he get 16 one day so he can get some time off?

    • ananoke

      I was thinking about how impractical it must be to hoof it around the mortal realms every day to meet your quota. I decided they must pick fights with each other in order to claim the skulls and that seemed properly Khorne-like. I question its practicality and the potential deflationary impact on the skull-economy of Khorneland but far be it from me to judge the business acumen of Mr Khorne.

      • ReverendTiberiusJackhammer

        orrrr there’s an opportunistic Dark Aelf Beastmaster following them around and selling desperate Skullreapers Hydras at 10pm in the evening. “It’s guaranteed to be a worthy fight, with more than enough skulls for Khorne! *Ownership reverts to me if it eats you”

  • EnTyme

    No mention of how these guys synergize with Khorgoraths by giving them +3 attacks in a Skulltake?

    • LordKrungharr

      Oh yeah, that’s the main reason I want to get fifteen skull-reapers, and make three more khorgoraths. That’s a great battalion. But the extra movement in the gore tide is also extra good.