New Battletome Daughters of Khaine 2021 Review
Morathi-Khaine has made her move against the God-King Sigmar and snatched the city of Anvilguard out of his hands through blood and scale. She has achieved her ultimate goal of godhood through cunning and sacrifice and commands her followers through fear and worship of Khaine. In Order Battletome Daughters of Khaine, Games Workshop share the updated lore, rules and hobby content for the vicious and bloodthirsty faction, building on what we saw a tease of in the Broken Realms Morathi book.
The new Warhammer Age of Sigmar Battletome is up for pre order today alongside Battletome Hedonites of Slaanesh, and we were very lucky to be sent a copy of both books for us to review! Below I dive into the new book, call out all the changes and detail the new content! If you would rather watch than read there is also a full video review on our YouTube channel below!
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Order Battletome Daughters of Khaine
Originally released in 2018, the previous Daughters of Khaine battletome was one of the oldest books still in use for the 2nd edition of Warhammer Age of Sigmar. While the book was written to be compatible with the changes in the new edition, it was lacking compared to some of the content in newer books while also having some power spikes that tended not to be too easy to fix with points adjustments. While having no massive sweeping changes to warscrolls and mechanics, the new battletome has addressed some of these issues while also giving the followers of Morathi some new toys to play with along with some much needed variety in army construction.
The first thing I need to talk about is how absolutely gorgeous this book is! I know this is a running theme for Games Workshop publications, but the standard of presentation is fantastic with loads of gorgeous new artwork depicting the Daughters of Khaine in all their warlike fury. Equally, miniature photography is beautiful as ever with cinematic shots of massed armies fighting over the shadowy battlefields of Ulgu. While the old book looked a little dated compared to the newer Battletomes, the new Daughters of Khaine follows the same layout and stylings, with awesome page edge art and the new easier to read warscroll format.
The book opens with 40 pages dedicated to lore and information about the various units within the book, and this has been brought right up to date following the events of Broken Realms: Morathi, detailing her Varanite heist and subsequent ritual to become reborn as a god. While we get the outline of events I would still recommend picking up the Morathi book in order to experience the full narrative, as it really is an excellent story and deserves to be read in full! We also see advances following these events, with Sigmar sending three Warrior Chambers of the Hammers of Sigmar to deal with the fall of Anvilguard. It’s here where we get the confirmation of what we suspected back in our Broken Realms Morathi review, the Indoneth have indeed forged an alliance with Morathi, riding to her aid to counter attack the Stormcast assault. I won’t spoil how this battle ends, but it leaves even more questions open for the future that I hope we see addressed in the later Broken Realms books! Needless to say, I feel the Broken Realms may be leading to a shift in allegiances and it will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Interestingly this is also represented from a rules point of view with only Cities of Sigmar and Indoneth Deepkin being available as allies to the Daughters of Khaine.
Something also returning from recent books is a full hobby section with some great guides to painting the army, this includes a brilliant guide to painting Morathi along with schemes for each of the temple cities, a range of skin tones using multiple different techniques and guides for painting some of the trickier elements such as wings and mirrors. I find these sections to be a great reference and will prove really useful for both people new to the hobby and those that want guides to these techniques easily to hand when painting up their armies. While some of this is repeated from the previous book, I’m glad we see this expanded with some more options.
So on to the new rules themselves! Now, there’s not any massive changes here – much of this will be very familiar to existing Daughters of Khaine players, but there are some tweaks that may impact your play style.
Firstly we have the Allegiance Abilities, and these are very much the same as we already have. First up is Fanatical Faith which still gives the Daughters of Khaine a 6+ army wide wound shrug. Nurgle and Death players will know how good being able to ignore wounds is, especially on the relatively fragile units found within the book!
Next up is the Blood Rites these are almost identical to the old list, with a few subtle tweaks – essentially each turn you gain an additional bonus that stacks over the course of the game.
Battle Round 1 gives you Quickening Bloodlust allowing you to re-roll run rolls of 1
Battle Round 2 grants Headlong Fury allowing re-rolls of 1s to charge
Battle Round 3 is Zealot’s Rage which animates Avatars and allowing rerolls of 1 to hit for melee weapons (previously this was for all weapons!)
Battle Round 4 is Slaughter’s Strength granting rerolls of 1 to wound, but again only for melee weapons now
and finally Battle Round 5 makes you ignore Battleshock and allows rerolls of 1 for saves.
While we have had a few subtle changes here, I still really like this mechanic with the Daughters getting progressively more powerful as the game goes on and I’m glad this wasn’t changed too much
The final part of the allegiance ability is the option to choose a Temple for your army to be from, we now have a choice of 6 including Zainthar Kai as lifted from the Morathi book and a brand new one in the form of Khelt Nar who specialise in hit and run tactics. These have all had some changes and no longer adjust Warscroll Battalion requirements.
Classic Hagg Nar was often the go to choice for the majority of Daughters of Khaine players, as it allowed them to reroll all hits when under Zealot’s Rage. This rule has now gone and is replaced with them adding one to the turn number for the purposes of Blood Rites – so on turn 1 they have both Quickening Bloodlust and Headlong Fury! I feel this fixes one of the frustrating things about playing against Daughters of Khaine in that it tended to be buckets of dice that could all be re-rolled, this new ability instead makes Hagg Nar armies pick up these buffs much quicker, which also helps elsewhere with some of the new rules that interact with the Blood Rites.
Don’t worry though, the command trait is still the same giving Hagg Nar models a 5+ Fanatical Faith, and this has been extended to a 12″ range from the general!
The unique command ability allows them to add 3″ to the movement of Cauldrons giving them a great way of keeping up with your fast army!
Finally they get a unique artefact that gives +1 damage on the charge to the wielder’s weapon
Hagg Nar is still a great choice if only for the improved wound shrug, and with a longer range too this should keep your forces fighting fit!
Previously these used to add 1 to hit rolls if they charged, in the new book they instead get -1 rend on the charge giving your Witch Aelves and Sisters of Slaughter a little more bite on the charge. The old ability still exists, however it has now become a command ability with a 12″ range of Draichi heroes.
Their command trait is not bad, giving all units +1 bravery when they are within 12 of the general
The artefact of power also returns in a slightly different form giving the wielder +2 attacks, and this no longer as to go on a slaughter queen, giving you more options for a combat hero
Good improvements across the board and should see the tabletop more often!
Big improvement with their ability in that it allows units to fight for a second time in the combat phase on a 5+, but it now only affects Sisters of Slaughter where previously it was army wide. Stacking on this theme their command ability gives a unit of Sisters of Slaughter +1 to wound, making a Slaughter based Kraith army quite scary and excellent at thinning defensive lines and getting at whatever is hiding behind them thanks to their 6″ pile in move!
Their command trait gives you a great way of fuelling their command ability by granting you a command point if an enemy unit is destroyed in the combat phase.
The Venom of Negendra returns as a once per game way of replacing your usual attacks with D6 mortal wounds to a target unit – Nice way of doing some spike damage to a tough unit, but as is only once per game could end up doing not very much!
If you like Sisters of Slaughter this is probably the temple for you!
Kailebron are still the sneaky shadowy temple, and with an army wide -1 to hit from shooting they will deal well with the current ranged focused meta. They also have some excellent movement shenanigans with their Command Ability that allows you to teleport a unit within 12 of your general anywhere on the table outside of 9 of enemies at the cost of not being able to move next turn. It’s a double edged sword as leaves you immobile next turn, but could be great for chucking units onto objectives.
The command trait gives the general -1 to hit in combat in addition to ranged weapons, making them a little more survivable and finally their artefact makes the wielder cause mortal wounds on a 6 to hit in addition to any normal damage!
I quite like Khailebron and think they would be excellent at the objective game.
This temple returns from Broken Realms Morathi and has no changes from that book, basically Melusai and Khinerai units get +1 Bravery and you gain an additional artefact of power. Your first artefact has to be the Crimson Talisman that makes anyone attacking the wielder -1 to wound, which is pretty good! Their command trait is also ace, giving a 3″ splash aura of mortal wounds at the end of the combat phase. Finally their command ability gives a Melusai or Khinerai unit an extra attack to their melee weapons!
Very good for your Scathborn units and a no brainer choice if you are (like me) tempted to do a full snake army in this new book!
Finally, we get the new Temple in the book which is all about hit and fade combat. Their Strike and Fade ability allows Khelt Nar units to retreat and still charge, allowing them to escape from combats they dont want to be stuck in. Their command ability is an interesting defensive shield that makes anyone who hits you with a melee weapon on an unmodified 1 take a mortal wound.
Their command trait lets you summon a unit of 5 Khinerai anywhere within 9 (Which will also trigger their Descend to Battle ability too!) once per game
Finally their artefact makes each unmodified hit of 6 into 2 hits!
Pretty cool shenanigans here!
The Daughters of Khaine also get lists of generic artefacts for Heroes, Medusa and Priests – but these are very very similar to the list in the previous book with just a few minor changes. For example the Crown of Woe is now a -2 Bravery aura rather than -1 and the Thousand and One Dark Blessings now gives you a 5+ wound shrug rather than improving your save by 1. I imagine these have not been expanded much due to the fact that each of the temples now has a unique artefact that you have to take, meaning that this generic list is really only going to be taken by the extra artefacts from battalions etc.
Likewise, spells are pretty much the same as those in the previous book with a few tweaks here and there. For example Mirror Dance can now only target heroes with 18 inches of the caster and when they teleport they have to be outside 9 of any enemy units (They also cant move after teleporting), Mind Razor is also slightly more difficult to cast now needing an 8 to cast however always grants +1 Damage on the charge!
We do however now get 2 new Endless Spells, something the Daughters of Khaine previously missed out on being released before 2nd Edition! Neither of these spells break the bank at a reasonable 40 points each.
This is a fantastic spell for taking out elite units and characters – Basically you pick a unit within 1″ of it and roll 3 dice, for each one over the target’s wounds characteristic a model is slain! A 5 wound character has around a 50/50 chance of being taken out of action with this! Likewise elite units with 4ish wounds are at threat of just being slain!
Bladewind is a pretty straight forward spell, send it off on it’s way and it’ll cause D3 mortal wounds to every unit it crosses, and as a bonus negatives cover saves for everything in a 12″ bubble!
Like with spells, the prayers are more or less the same as those in the previous book – however we also get something new here in the form of an Invocation! Using the 3rd model from the Endless Spells box your priests can attempt to invoke the Heart of Fury…
Heart of Fury
This is a really cool power (Though a little pricey at 80 points) basically giving your units -1 damage reduction to a minimum of 1 – combined with your wound shrugs this can make your heroes and snakes fight a lot longer! especially against elite units dealing multiple damage
As with other Age of Sigmar books we get Path to Glory rules plus a new unique battleplan revolving around the attacker trying to destroy a ritual shrine while the Daughters of Khaine can heal it using blood fonts located around the battlefield – this does look great fun and I look forward to trying it out!
Finally in the rules section we get 6 Warscroll Battalions, however these are all old ones returning with Cauldron Guard, Slaughter Troupe and Shadow Patrol coming from the old Battletome and Scathcoven, Vyperic Guard and Shrine Brood returning from Broken Realms Morathi. No changes to any of these as far as I can see and no change in requirements or points costs.
On to the warscrolls, I’ll only really cover those that have changed as quite a few units have had minimal adjustments over their previous incarnations – we do get some new stuff in here though!
Morathi-Khaine / The Shadow Queen
No changes here over here new profile in Broken Realms Morathi, both models have to be taken and still share a wounds pool. Still an absolutely awesome unit giving you both a potent fighter and a brilliant caster, and if you go Scathborn heavy she also gives Snakes and Harpies +1 attack when she is within 3 of the enemy.
Bloodwrack Shrine / Bloodwrack Medusa
Some minor tweaks here, the stare now has an extended 12″ range and still a fantastic horde clearer. The Whisperclaw has also had a buff with any hit of 6 now causing a mortal wound. Both versions can also now unbind 2 spells rather than 1! Still makes Melusai battleline
The new Snake Hero from the Shadow & Pain box, and an ace new unit. She has a a decent profile with 3 attacks causing D3 damage each, plus 3 ranged shots all hitting and wounding on 3s. She also ignores the effects of spells and endless spells on a 5+. At the end of combat she does a mortal wound to an enemy within 1 on a 3+ which is a great way of knocking wounds off a pesky hero! Her best ability in a Scathborn heavy force is her ability to give Melusai units within 12 an extra attack each if she kills a model in combat. Finally her command ability lets Melusai run 2D6 ” and still shoot and charge! Those snakes are going to be rapid with her around! Oh, and she also unlocks Melusai as battleline finally allowing us to make the snake army of our dreams!
Morgwaeth / The Blade-Coven
As with other recent books, the army specific Underworlds warband is available as a unit which is essentially a named Hag Queen, plus a mixed unit of a Blood Stalker and a trio of witches – this unit is also the cheapest source of a priest if you want a cheap way of casting the new Invocation. The unit also takes wounds for Morgwaeth on a 2+ making her pretty survivable too! At 10 points less than a generic Hag Queen I would always take these over one! I do wonder if this is a mistake as they are easily worth much more points than this.
Hag Queen / Hag Queen on Cauldron of Blood
The biggest change with the Hag Queen is how Witchbrew works – it now only goes off on a 5+ making this a lot harder to take advantage of! This dice roll is modified by +1 for each of Headlong Fury, Zealot’s Rage and Slaughter’s Strength that is active, so by the 4th battle round this goes of on a 2+ (3rd battle round for Hagg Nar) Again, even though this is a nerf to the Daughters I feel this is justified, as it was very frustrating to play against a big block of Witch Aelves rerolling all hits and all wounds! You still have the same ability, it just doesn’t become reliable until later in the game. Morgaeth has this ability too, again making her the best pick here! The Cauldron is much the same, but the range of Idol of Worship has been extended to 12″
Substantial points cuts here though, especially on the Cauldron which drops 70 points!
Slaughter Queen / Slaughter Queen on Cauldron of Blood
No massive changes here, Orgy of Slaughter has a slightly reduced range of 12″. Cauldron has had a big 60 points price cut!
The Witch Aelves have had some pretty major changes that will change the way you use them. The biggie is the change to Frenzied Fervour – While previously it gave them an extra attack if within 8″ of a hero it now instead gives them +1 to wound if within 12″ of a hero. As mentioned a couple of times I feel there has been a real move away from units of 30 Witches rolling a bucket full of dice with all the rerolls in the world, instead they now have less attacks but wound more reliably before rerolls. That’s not to say they don’t have many attacks – they still get 2 base with an additional for twin knives, they just dont get to silly levels of attacks on what is essentially a horde unit. They have also got a points cut to 100 – but no longer get a discount for a max unit as 30 will still work out the same price, perhaps encouraging people trying multiple smaller units of them.
Sisters of Slaughter
No massive changes here other than the handmaiden having an extra attack, also no longer get a max unit size discount, but still cost the same as they did in GH20
Another new unit introduced in Warcry – these are really cool! They have the ability to teleport anywhere on the battlefield outside of 9 of enemies instead of moving making them excellent objective takers. It’s also -1 to hit them making them a pain to shift, especially if taken in a Khailebron army for an additional -1 to hit! They have a short 6″ ranged attack that deals mortal wounds on hits of 6. Costs the same as a unit of Witch Aelves! I think these are a good pick for board control.
The trusty old Warlocks have got better, with both the riders and the steeds getting improvements to wound, extra range on the bow and now add 1 to casting and unbinding in a unit of 5 rather than 10! These are an ace fast magic support unit now and have also had points cuts to make them more appealing!
Avatar of Khaine
Just one change here, they now give friendly priests +1 to their prayer rolls, unless this gets FAQ’d this doesn’t affect attempting Invocations however. They also make the Invocation more likely to stay in play by giving a modifier to the roll to see if they vanish. Has also had a points cut
These are now really good – They have a base 3 attacks, but with a combination of all the various buffs to available in the new book they can get up to 6 attacks each! Turned to crystal has also changed, now working similar to evocators – you roll a dice for each model in the unit at the end of combat and each 3+ causes a mortal wound to a unit within 1″. They have also had a points cut too(But like with other units in the book have lost their max size discount)
Again some decent buffs here with them getting 2 shots each! Still cause mortal wounds on 6s to hit! Have gone up 20 points due to the extra shot.
Khinerai Lifetakers / Heartrenders
Some minor tweaks here, for example Lifetakers now get extra rend on the charge in addition to extra damage. If either unit is not deployed by the 4th battle round they are slain! I guess this is to stop a cheeky 5th battle round assault from them!
So what do I think of the new Daughters of Khaine Battletome? I think it has done exactly what it needed to do, smooth down any of the rough edges from the previous book while also opening up lots more options in building your army to shift away from the standard witchbrewed blocks of 30 Witches – I’m really excited to be able to play with a Melusai heavy force with a smattering of exciting new units such as the Shadowstalkers and Ironscale as well as making Cauldrons more affordable! The revamped temples also bring a lot of flavour and fresh choices to Daughters of Khaine players hopefully leading to lots of varied forces on the tabletop!
With this battletome out that just leaves Idoneth and Nurgle with 1st Edition Battletomes, so I do suspect we might see them soon at some point too! And then who knows, maybe things will start gearing up to 3rd Edition as the Broken Realms series comes to it’s close…
Order Battletome Daughters of Khaine is available to order now, massive thanks to Games Workshop for providing us a copy early to review.