Hey folks, Kaptin Scuzgob here, and after a year and a little bit of using the Daemons of Chaos on the table, I’ve decided to write of their Daemonic Gifts. Khorne is first, because he demands it. There’s a big pile of them, and it can be difficult to decide which ones to take. Hopefully this will help, or give you a few ideas on how to use them.
“Tremble in terror, mortals! I, Khorne the Blood God, Lord of Skulls, demand your attention! In your feeble mortal speech I will now explain how best to use the gifts I grant my immortal warriors! Quake in fear as I show the true power of Khorne!
You should know, these Gifts are not Magic Items, so they are safe from such trickery as the hated Law of Gold spell, or artefacts like the Chaos Runeshield. As I, Khorne, am not fond of repeating myself, my Gifts cannot be given to a single Daemon more than once, but some of them are so awesome I see fit to give them to more than one Daemon in the army. Both Daemons in this article, Bloodthirsters and Heralds of Khorne, are tremendous close combat characters as basic, so the idea when giving them gifts is to make them even worse.
Scores are for the weak! A single number out of ten cannot encompass all the myriad uses for a Gift, and so I will not be using scores! Woe to those who wouldst complain of this!”
Awesome Strength (Bloodthirsters only)
A very powerful Gift that still leaves room for some options such as Armour of Khorne or Firestorm Blade, Awesome Strength is what you should consider taking if you’re up against things with high Toughness and/or armour saves, as a Bloodthirster with this Gift will be wounding on 2+ and mangling through armour all over the place. As well as this, he’ll mash chariots, war machines, Steam Tanks & bits of castle with ease. Also, you get just enough points left to take Immortal Fury, so you can be sure he’s going to murder something.
This power is best taken when you really need to kill something, and so you can announce you have a Strength 10 monster, something only Ogre Kingdoms can match (I think) with Mr Goldtooth. Just watch out for that Van Horstman’s Speculum…
No real tactical use of this Gift, just get the Bloodthirster into close combat as soon as possible, shout a challenge and pulverize some unfortunate mortal into a bloody crater.
Dark Insanity (Bloodthirsters only)
With most Bloodthirster builds I’ve seen, it’s either this or Awesome Strength, and with good reason. You’re quite likely to get a high number of attacks, and even if you roll poorly its quite easy for the Bloodthirster to decimate a rank or at least mangle some unfortunate in a challenge. This is a few points cheaper than Awesome Strength, leaving some room for other handy Gifts, the two best Gifts to take alongside this one is Immortal Fury, to help those attacks hit, and the Armour of Khorne to help the Bloodthirster get to a fight unwounded. You can swap Immortal Fury for Axe of Khorne too, giving you a high chance of getting Killing Blow with all those attacks. Firestorm Blade isn’t as good, but it’s helpful if you expect to face lots of chariots, the Black Coach being a good target for the Bloodthirster in this case. For you stat-nerds out there, here’s the chance of what attacks you’ll get;
4 – 3%
5 – 6%
6 – 8%
7 – 11%
8 – 14%
9 – 17%
10 – 14%
11 – 11%
12 – 8%
13 – 6%
14 – 3%
Get out, decimal point; you’re not needed in this discussion about toy soldiers.
Etherblade (Heralds of Khorne only)
Ah, the old “power sword” magic weapon. This gift while being a surprise isn’t as powerful as it may seem. The Herald of Khorne already has Strength 6 and Killing Blow, so it stands a good chance of ignoring armour anyway. As it takes up the Herald’s entire gift allowance, it’s best to save it for when you’re against Dwarfs, Warriors of Chaos and other high-armour armies. There’s not much tactics for it beyond “point it at the stuff with high armour saves.”
Obsidian Armour (Bloodthirster and Herald of Khorne)
This grants quite a hefty save and a very handy ability, the only downside to this gift is that you don’t get to take Dark Insanity (damn those 5 extra points!) on the Bloodthirster, and nothing extra at all for Heralds. It is, however, one of the best counters to enemy magic weapons messing up your stuff, particularly the stupid “instantly kills the big Daemon if you fail one test” weapons like the Blade of Realities. It offers a more balanced build for Bloodthirsters, giving them some armour to weather the blows they’ll take getting to the fight. You get space for other things too, Immortal Fury & Firestorm Blade being good choices to add.
Heralds of Khorne don’t get any other gifts if they take this, but then again they don’t really need them, as they already have high Strength & Killing Blow. I do have one suggestion for a Herald with Obsidian armour: put him on a Juggernaut, he’ll have a 1+ save then!
Axe of Khorne (Bloodthirsters only)
Not great against most things as the Bloodthirster’s high strength will negate the reason for having Killing Blow, but he’s likely to have it come into play due to the number of attacks he can make. Killing Blow also doesn’t affect multi-wound things with the large target rule, one of the Bloodthirster’s best victims. It’s only really good against things with abominably high Toughness or armour saves, and most armies will only have one or two of them. It’s better to take other gifts such as Firestorm Blade and Immortal Fury.
Daemonic Robes (Herald of Khorne)
The Herald of Khorne is Toughness 4, like most other Hero characters, so he’s bound to meet up with some things that can wound him on a +2 as he slaughters his merry way. While Daemonic Robes lessens the chance of him getting smushed, Daemons are much better at offensively taking out their weaknesses (in this case war machines) rather than trying to defend against them. And if a cannonball does come his way, he’s probably going to become a smear, Robes or not.
Firestorm Blade (Bloodthirster and Herald of Khorne)
Nowhere near as expensive as Awesome Strength, and probably a better choice because of that, this gift raises the strength of the Bloodthirster to chariot-smashing level, and it also leaves space for one or two other good gifts, like Obsidian Armour, Dark Insanity and good old dependable Immortal Fury.
On the Herald, it also raises his Strength to 7 without compromising his speed, and a Strength 7 Hero is not to be taken lightly. It also leaves space for another gift, Soul Hunger being a good choice, but a Herald with this gift, Armour of Khorne and a Juggernaut is a pretty effective chariot-hunter.
Immortal Fury (Bloodthirster)
If you’ve read this far, you can probably tell I’m a fan of Immortal Fury. It’s Hatred, without the bad parts, and it lasts forever! This is a practically mandatory gift for your Bloodthirster and has no real downsides, making it good for any occasion. It also combos well with the other Bloodthirster gifts, especially Dark Insanity and Firestorm Blade. When chopping stuff up, every little helps. Can’t get it for a Herald of Khorne, which is the suckiest bunch of suck that ever sucked.
Spell Breaker (Bloodthirster)
Hey, it’s a dispel scroll! They’re handy and all, but, well… Bloodthirsters aren’t scroll caddies. You can’t even have more than one, because you can’t have duplicate gifts per Daemon. Might be worth taking if you expect to come up against loads of magic, but give it to your Heralds of Tzeentch and save the Bloodthirster’s points.
Soul Hunger (Herald of Khorne)
Re-rolling wounds is a handy effect, and on a Strength 6 character, it guarantees all his attacks will wound. You don’t even need to charge for the effect to happen (though it’s probably better if you do charge). If you have the points, I would recommend taking it as it will add more punch to your charges.
Armour of Khorne (Bloodthirster and Herald of Khorne)
This 3+ armour save is obscenely cheap compared to getting it in other armies. If you’ve not given your Daemon Obsidian Armour, consider this, because you can’t go wrong here. Put a Herald on a Juggernaut and give him this for a 1+ save!
Collar of Khorne (Bloodthirster)
The Bloodthirster has Magic Resistance 2 to start with, so this is a small boost to that rather than an out and out new ability. It’s better than Spell Breaker, however, as it’s constantly active, and with MR3 the Bloodthirster is going to wade through magic without taking up your dispel dice. It’s nice and cheap too, being the same points as the Armour of Khorne. A good choice. Can’t get it for the Herald, which makes me angry!
Unlike the magic banners of other conventional races, only certain units get to carry certain banners, and only a select few get to be battle standards. This means that your battle standard bearer is going to be very expensive, but will always have a big effect on your games.
Standard of Chaos Glory
Expensive! But it also banishes one of the main threats to Daemons: the dreaded Instability test. Most of the time combat resolution modifiers cause lots of Daemons to explode. If you take this standard, make sure to put the bearer in a big unit of Daemons in the centre of your force, to protect him and make sure as many Daemons as possible are within its area of effect. Has the greatest benefits in a large horde army compromised of lots of core choice Daemons. This has the additional bonus of showing off the best core choices in the game.
The Herald of Khorne is potentially the toughest Herald available. Up his defensiveness with the Armour of Khorne, and put him on a Juggernaut in a big unit of Bloodletters or even Bloodcrushers. He will be a very point heavy target though, so use things like Flamers to take out any war machines that might target him.
Banner of Hellfire
A spell? In my pure Khorne army? Out, damn spot! Apart from that consideration, it’s a good banner for your Herald, as he’ll probably be in combat, where this banner works best.
This banner has a much more direct effect than the one above, is slightly cheaper, and quite powerful if the dice are on your side. The spell bound in the banner could easily tip combats to your favour, so it’s a good idea to leave it till last in your magic phase (if you have one. Pure Khorne and all that) to be sure of casting it, because it will attract a lot of dispel dice & scrolls. But of course, that’s another use for bound spells. One (reckless) use for this banner is to give it to a Herald on a Juggernaut and just run at the enemy, staying in their flank and blasting the spell off over and over again. It’s quite effective, and will draw a lot of attention from your main force, but you better be prepared to take back the VP lost when the bearer gets killed!
Great Icon of Despair
Unlike the Banner of Hellfire, the penalty on enemy Leadership from this Icon is in constant effect without needing any input except being nearby. Seeing as every model in the army causes Fear or Terror this Icon can be combined into any strategy you wish. For example, your Herald of Khorne can carry it into battle and increase the chance of enemy units fleeing, panicking or breaking when you need them too, as this has banner has a huge impact on enemy Break tests. You can abuse enemy special rules too, the most obvious being Stupidity, but there’s probably a few units out there which need to pass a Leadership test to do something.
Banner of Unholy Victory
One of the two cheapest battle standards, Unholy Victory is War Banner Plus. You’re getting at least +2 extra combat resolution to fights involving the bearer (at least +1 from the Banner’s ability, and +1 from it being the battle standard), and there’s a good chance you’ll get +3 or even +4. Add this to the amount of casualties Bloodletters can cause in combat and the rank/flanking bonuses, it’s quite easy for this Icon to tip fights in your favour, even if you lose the actual fight. A cheap (compared to the others) dependable Icon with no real weaknesses.
Great Standard of Sundering
A specific Icon this, it depends on your opponent having a wizard who uses one of the eight Lores from the rulebook (it got noted in errata; you can only choose one of the eight rulebook Lores, so you can’t have it affect Gut Magic or Necromancy, for example). Because of that, it’s no use against armies which have lots of magic but don’t use one of those Lores (Ogre Kingdoms, Tomb Kings, Vampire Counts, and Dark/High/Wood Elves etc.) Really, it’s only good if you’re against someone who you know is going to be using one of the eight Lores. If it does take affect it will cripple the enemy Magic Phase, and some players may be tempted to take the Lore of Light for its spell boosts over Daemons. In which case, surprise!
Aside from that, the Banner of Unholy Victory is almost always the better choice as it isn’t to situational.
BLOODLETTER AND BLOODCRUSHER STANDARDS
Icon of Endless War
If you’re lucky, this banner will give you a 16” charge with your Bloodletters, and a 20” (!) charge with your ‘crushers. However, this ability is an “if” not a “definitely” and it might lead to the ability being wasted as you find out you’re still out of charge range.
Better than the Icon of Endless War as its effect is always active and doesn’t run out. Just ask Dwarf players how much they love their Resolute rule, and apply it to a Movement 5 or 7 unit!
~Khorne demands you leave a comment! Maybe some tactics for the gifts you use, or a tale of your success in skull taking!
Kaptin Scuzgob has been playing both Warhammer Fantasy Battle and Warhammer 40,000 for about six years now, after being lured in by insanity and grimdark. As well as using Daemons in both systems, he is amassing a large pile of Space Orkz and Warriors of Chaos.