Chaos Battletome: Blades of Khorne – The Leaks!

blades of khorneMyself and many other Khorne players are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the new Blades of Khorne Battletome this weekend (8th April).  The announcement came in the middle of March that we were getting one and we got a bit more information this Saturday when pre-orders went live.

Needless to say, we’ve had a number of leaked images of pages from the Battletome appear on the internet from various sources.  These are slowly spreading onto the usual places (I’m sure it’ll appear on BoLS in a week citing how new it is) but I thought I’d try and collect them together in a post so that it’s nice and easy to reference them.  I’ll also throw in my own opinions as I go.

Blades of Khorne

First up we have a couple of the Blood Tithe cards. Anybody who placed a pre-order within the first five minutes of Saturday will receive a pack of free cards, one for each Blood Tithe – I did managed to get one set although had to order them whilst on the bus…

The contents page (revealed by GW) shows quite how large the new Battletome is – it’s a £25 book and this kind of justifies that cost!

Page 79 (I think).  The main Blood Tithe system.  Very similar to 40k, you generate 1 Tithe point for every unit destroyed and can spend them in ANY hero phase (yes, including your opponents).  Some seem seem more useful than others, triggering a second command ability is very powerful but oddly the automatic Daemon summon is quite poor for matched play (you’ll need to have points in the summoning pool).  The potential to pile in and attack in your opponents hero phase could also be very useful for winning objectives.
There’s also a nice “everything heals D3 wounds” option that would work really well if you’re running a lot of multi-wound units such as Khorgoraths or Bloodthirsters.
Page 80.  Command traits for Bloodbound, Daemon and Mortal generals.  The first three are all the same.  Looking through them I’m not sure that any of them jump out as being particularly spectacular and I’m actually thinking I prefer the Grand Alliance command trait list.  My biggest issue is that they don’t really buff the rest of the army very much – battleshock buffs aren’t great as you can gain immunity from lots of other locations
Page 82 (guessing) – Banners and trophies.  Some alternatives to weapons although the banners aren’t that great – if you’ve opponents within 8″ of your Bloodsecrator, you’re doing it wrong!  Trophies are quite nice with things like Mark of the Destroyer adding a real Russian roulette mode.  Blade of the Endless Bloodshed is a really nice way of generating quite a few Blood Tithe points if you add it to a combat monster.
Page 83 Daemonic Gifts –  Weapons – a reasonable selection of artefacts for Daemons.  Some really nice choices that aren’t a simple 1 attack.
Page 84 (I think).  Daemonic Adornments – bling for Daemon Heroes!  A few nice options in here and a few that are a little mediocre.  Mark of the Slayer that provides re-rolls of 1 to hit (and to wound when they charge) to Khorne units with 8″ is a really nice little bonus and would stack with other options.
Page 85.  Blood Blessings of Khorne.  In a similar vein to the new Stormcast Eternals book, Blades of Khorne gives our priests (which includes a Warshrine) an extra prayer although a prayer roll of 1 causes D3 mortal wounds (which Stormcast don’t).  The prayer list will allow you to customise your priest to fulfil a more specific role, including healing D3 wounds on a unit within 16″
Page 100. Daemon Legion of Khorne.  The first of many huge battalions that’s in Blades of Khorne, this gives you the familiar Khorne Cares Not rule and gives you a free Blood Tithe point in each of your hero phases.
Page 102. Murderhost.  This battalion I actually really like, it allows you to group together a load of regular Daemon units and then push them forward 2D6″ after setup.   If you max the battalion out then you can also do this in in each of your hero phases.  This has the potential to really rocket a daemon unit over the board and something that I could be tempted with to add to my army.
Page 103.  Bloodthunder Stamped.  You take lots of Bloodcrushers in one battalion.  If maxed out (24 Bloodcrushers) you cause D3 mortal wounds on a D6 roll of 2 , if a unit has been wiped out then they add 3″ to their charges and if they use murderous charge within 3″ of another unit from the battalion they don’t need to roll.  This is an amazing battalion and easily achievable in a 1500 point game.  However it’s going to be fairly monotone if I’m honest!
Page 104.  Council of Blood. The first battalion that allows you to run between 3 and 8 Bloodthirsters (including Skarbrand).  Quite a nice ability in that if one Bloodthirster kills a unit another can then pile in and attack.  You can also use all of the Bloodthirster’s command abilities in each of your hero phases.
Page 105. Blood Hunt.  Very simple if you’re not in combat move 2D6″ towards an enemy hero picked at the start of the game.  Also if maxed the the entire battalion can reroll failed wound rolls against enemy heroes.
Page 106.  Gorethunder Cohort.  Lots of Skull Cannons led by a Blood Throne.  I’ve mixed feelings on this.  The battalion allows D3 Skull Cannons to fire in the hero phase if they’re within 8″ of the Blood Throne, if maxed all can fire.  It’s good on the surface until you realise that Skull Cannons still only get one shot, they’re on a massive base and as artilery you’re limited on how many you can field in a matched play game.
Page 107.  Blood Host of Khorne.  Grants D3 units the ability to pile in and attack with one weapon if they’re within 3″ of the enemy.  If the battalion has more than 16 units in then increase this to D6.  This has the potential to be quite good as it would benefit from bonus attacks granted from Blood Secrators and similar.
Page 108.  Charnel Host.  A very traditional Daemon battalion that allows you to use the Bloodthirsters Unfettered Fury command ability even if they’re not the general (he’s the one with a whip).  Additionally in each of your hero phase you can pile in and attack with the any units within 8″ of the Bloodthirster.  OK, I’ll admit it, this one has some real potential if combined with Bloodbound for increased attacks.  Getting them into place would still be an issue though.
Page 109.  Skullseeker Host. This is a bit of an odd battalion – basically granting a pile in and single attack against monsters in the hero phase.  Considering the number of units needed, I’d say that you could get more out of a different battalion.
Page 110.  The Reapers of Vengeance.  One of a number of massive Battalions within Blades of Khorne that’s made of multiple battalions.  We don’t know all of the options yet so can’t quite comment.  It appears to be focused on getting your Daemons to your enemy quickly, allowing you to move unengaged units up to 2D6″ towards D3 1 nominated enemies.  Also increases juggernaut charge ability to activate on a 2 rather than 4
Page 111.  The Bloodlords.  Another massive Battalion that provides a Hero phase pile in and attack action for units that are engaged in combat.  It also provides an 8″ pile in for any Bloodletter and Bloodcrusher units within 8″ of a daemon hero and make a single attack.
Page 112.  Bloodbound Warhorde.  An updated version of the classic, in addition to Khorne Cares Not, each time you unbind a spell you gain a Blood Tithe point!  Sadly this battalion is still unplayable in a matched play game due to it’s dependency on including a Gorechosen battalion (more on that shortly)
Page 113.  The Gorechosen.  A really nice and flavourful battalion that represents the inner circle of champions for a Bloodbound horde.  However it requires eight leader models so is completely unplayable in matched play.  Personally this needed an extra rule that made the models in this not count towards the leader count, but use up a Behemoth slot instead or something similar.
Page 114.  Brass Stampede.  An updated version of this that mirrors the Bloodthunder Stampede.  Allows you to drop a huge number of juggernauts in one hit.  As before, this battalion does go a little way to making Skullcrushers punch a bit harder, but it’s quite an investment for what it could deliver.
Page 115.  Dark Feast.  The ever popular dark feast battalion returns and I think is unchanged from the old one.  I don’t really like fielding Bloodreavers so unlikely to run this :p
Page 116.  Skulltake.  A really interesting change to this battalion.  You still have the boost to the Khorgorath’s attacks if within 6″ of a unit of Skullreapers, but any Skullreapers within 12″ of the Bloodstoker gain 1 damage.  You can now also add up to two units of Blood Warriors or Bloodreavers and if maxed, ALL units gain 1 damage.  This means your Khorgoraths could be doing 8 attacks at 3 damage each…
Page 117.  Red Headsmen.  Almost identical to the original version, but you can include 3 to 6 units of Blood Warriors now.  If maxed than allows you to pick five worthy foes instead of three.  Still not a fan if I’m honest.
Page 118.  Bloodbound Warband.  The same as the original but if maxed out at the start of the battle now allows you to re-roll wound rolls of 1 for units on the turn they charge.
Page 119.  Bloodforged.  This appears to be a sort of replacement for the old Blood Storm battalion, consisting of a Skullgrinder, few units of Wrathmongers and Blood Warriors.  The whole battalion ignores rend of -1 in combat and upon the charge you roll a dice for each enemy model within 3″ of a Bloodforged model.  On a 6 you force them to immediately attack (the same as when a Wrathmonger dies).
Page 120.  Gore Pilgrims.  One Blades of Khorne that I can see a lot of people fielding.  It consists of a Bloodsecrator, two or three Slaughterpriests, one or two units of Blood Warriors and the same of Bloodreavers.  Each priest within 8″ of the Bloodsecrator extends it’s range by 6″ when he plants it – so potentially 36″ range!  Additionally you can re-roll the prayer dice for any priest, which is very useful.  The only down side is that at a minimum you need to use 3 of your leader slots, but it’s a good option if you’re running the units anyway.
Page 121.  Slaughterborn.  Not sure what to make of this one, the basic premise is the units in the battalion want to protect their genera, so get to attempt a charge in any hero phase if the general is within 3″ of any enemy units.  If successful they can pile in and make a single attack.
Page 122.  The Goretide.  This battalion really had me excited when I read it – until I realised that you’d likely never play it in a matched play game.
Page 123. The Skullfiend Tribe.  Another big battalion that adds a pile in and single attack in your hero phase.  Nothing really to write home about although maxed out it appears to have some extra abilities.
Page 144.  The updated Bloodreaver profile that grants a 6 save.
Page 152.  The points.  Although this page has been leaked, I’ve made the decision not to put it on here as I felt it encouraged people to not bother picking up the book (which any Khorne General should be doing).  There haven’t been too many changes and the battalions all seem reasonably priced on the surface.  One change that has been made is that Skullcrushers are battleline for Bloodbound armies rather than mortal – so you can finally field your Khorgorath and use them as battleline!

Summary

Well what can I say other than feeling somewhat naughty at having the leaked pages a few days before the book. Overall I’m impressed, from the point of view of the new rules and abilities, we’re getting quite a bit that should make people rightly fear going up against a Khorne opponent.  We’re not just a one trick pony any more, with quite a lot of ways of triggering off a extra attacks in the hero phase and a few battalions that catapult Daemon units across the board.  Hopefully this will mean that a mixed army will stand a decent chance of getting into combat now.  Blood Tithe has the potential to make a massive amount of difference and we’ve yet to see how much of a difference the multitude of “make a single attack” abilities will actually pan out.

There are a few things that I don’t feel have been resolved.  Juggernaut based units still hit like a wet lettuce unless you start fielding them in a battalion where it’s slightly improved.  The Skull Cannon is still pretty mediocre and one of the weakest shooting options available to a Chaos general.  We’ve also lost the only anti-shooting available to us as the Bloodstorm battalion doesn’t exist.

Now my musing above will come very much from a one-sided point of view.  I really don’t like Bloodreavers, as I’ve said before, painting that amount of bare flesh leaves me cold and I’m a big fan of Blood Warriors.

Personally I think the way I’ll head is to go down a quick deployment Daemon force alongside a slower Bloodbound contingent.  Time will tell – regardless I think I need another box or two of Skullreapers/Wrathmongers 😉

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