Blades of Khorne 2023 Battletome Review – Warhammer Age of Sigmar 3rd Edition
Khrone cares not from whence the blood flows, only that it flows.
As the Era of the Beast crashes on, so do the Blades of Khorne. They take skulls and spill blood for their god, and today the brand new 3rd Edition Battletome Blades of Khorne is up for pre order!
In this review we will be taking a look at the book, checking our the units and seeing just what has changed for Khorne in the new battletome.
Massive thanks to Games Workshop for sending us an early review copy to take a look at for this post! If you would like to support the site why not order your copy through out affiliate Element Games or check out our Patreon
We also have our review of the new Hedonites of Slaanesh Battletome up today too for those who worship the rival god!
Keep an eye on YouTube as our battle report featuring both Khorne and Slaanesh facing off will be live in the coming week
So get ready to gain the glory of Khorne as we delve into the new book!
Blades of Khorne (2023) Review
So how are things looking for Khorne? Well we see quite a few tweaks into the way Blood Tithe works along with some ways of making Daemons more resilient! Let’s take a look at what has changed:
Building Your Army
One really helpful thing that has been added to both this and the Slaanesh book is a new section before the Allegiance Abilities titled “Building your army” – This is something that I’ve wanted for a long time and essentially shows you how you construct an army, first picking your battlepack (And spelling them out across Conquest of Generals, Pitched Battles and Path to Glory), then picking which subfaction you are using, how to select units, before finally detailing how battalions and enhancements are picked. This will already be common knowledge for established gamers, but for new players it makes using the book much easier!
So on to the allegiance abilities themselves and its here we see the first changes to how the army plays.
Locus of Fury now gives all Khorne Daemons a 5+ ward save if they are more than 8″ away from enemy units. This is a great update that gives your daemons a bit of resilience before they get into combat, very much reminding me of the way daemon saves work in 40k – this should ensure that they can take a bit of punishment from ranged units before they close the distance and get into combat (Where Khorne wants them to be!)
All your Bloodbound units also get access to Murderous Strikes – whenever a Bloodbound model is killed you roll a D6 (or 3 D6 for heroes) and on a 5+ you deal a mortal wound to an enemy unit within 3″ (this doesnt have to be the unit that killed the model either!) This even means that your throw away units of Bloodreavers can potentially cause some splash mortal wounds before they die in the name of Khorne to generate Blood Tithe points!
Hatred of Sorcery is some innate magical resistance baked into the army – whenever a unit is affected by a spell or endless spell you ignore the effects on a 5+, and in addition you also gain a blood tithe point! Against some armies this can be an amazing way of farming points and being able to recycle them into even better abilities through the blood tithe table.
Blood Tithe itself has seen some tweaks, the biggest of all being that your count no longer returns to 0 once you spend points! You still get a point every time a unit (friend or foe) and they can still be spent to gain different positive effects – the table has now been updated with some new abilities however. These are all used at the end of the Hero phase, so some pre positioning may be needed to maximise these – though dont forget you can use them in either player’s hero phase!
1 point allows you to move 3 units D6 inches
2 points stops a spell – this can only be used once per hero phase however
Brass Skull Meteor has moved to 3 points – you roll 8 dice and each 5+ causes a mortal wound (3+ against units with 10 or more wounds or models)
4 points remains the same, allowing a unit to fight in the hero phase (And again, dont forget you can use this in your opponent’s hero phase!)
5 points allows you to add one to all Hatred of Sorcery rolls for the rest of the battle, and this can stack multiple times – especially good for generating points if you are fighting a magic heavy army
6 points gives you an army wide +1 rend for the rest of the turn which is a nice way of boosting your combat prowess a little
7 points has you roll for every unit within 3″ of a Khorne unit and on a 2+ you cause D3 mortal wounds
And finally 8 points gives every Khorne unit +1 attacks for the rest of the game, and again this can be stacked multiple times!
Like with the previous book you can also summon units of daemons at the end of your movement phase by spending Blood Tithe – this has been tweaked a little, they can now come down within 8″ of a hero or 16″ of a Skull Altar, making the altar more useful. Costs have been increased a little, with a Bloodthirster costing 10 for example. While points dont get reset to zero, you can still only summon one unit a turn.
Command Traits and Artefacts, much like in other recent books have been reduced with us getting 4 Daemon and 4 Mortal choices for each.
For Command Traits we get the following for Daemons:
Embodiment of Wrath allows you to return D3 slain bloodletters to each unit within 18″ on a roll of 2+ at the start of the hero phase – this is really nice if you go for a pure daemon army
Favoured of Khorne starts you with a single blood tithe point – in some scenarios this might be good to spend for the free move at the start of the game, but I feel there are better picks
Firebrand turns the hero into a priest (And if they are already a priest they get an extra prayer) Something about a Bloodthirster priest appeals to me!
Unrelenting Horror allows the hero to pile in a second time (Though not fight) or if they are outside 3″ of enemy models after fighting (For example if they kill whatever they charge) then they can attempt a charge – pretty good for a hero who wants to bounce from unit to unit
Mortals get the following:
Diabolical Purpose increases their damage by 1 – not a bad pick!
Barbarian Lord increases the run and charge rolls of Bloodreavers, Fleshhounds and Claws of Karanak – a single inch doesnt seem that great to me, but help with charges can be handy
Lord of the Gorechosen on the other hand is decent, increasing the attacks of all Gorechosen by 1
Finally High-Priest of Khorne allows a priest to do 2 prayers
As for the Artefacts we get the following – first up Daemons:
Mark of the Bloodreaper offers a 4+ ward against Mortal Wounds
Ar-gath the King of Blades turns off ward saves within 3″, which is very nice
Halo of blood gives the model Strike First
And the Skullshard gives the hero a 3+ Hatred of Sorcery, making them very magically resilient!
Mortals get the following 4:
Blood Rune is a nice way of generating Blood Tithe, every time a wound is allocated to a hero or monster you get 1 point
The Banner of Blood offers a 16″ reroll charges aura for your Bloodsecretor – this works on all Blades of Khorne and not just mortals
The Crimson plate offers a 5+ ward
And finally the Gorecleaver improves rend and makes any hit of a 6 cause a mortal wound in addition to any other damage
We also get 6 prayers, some of these are the same such as Blood Sacrefice and Bronzed Flesh but the other 4 are:
Bloodbind, which makes an enemy unit have to move 8″ towards you
Killer Instinct allows a Khorne unit make a normal move (I can see some great interaction with Bloodblind to pull a unit off an objective and take it for yourself
Unholy Flames improves the rend of a unit
And finally Witchbane Curse makes a unit -1 to casting and whenever they fail a casting roll they take D3 mortal wounds
Whats cool about all of these is that a roll of 1 no longer results in a mortal wound on the priest!
In the new book we get a choice of 6 different Slaughterhosts – 3 focused on Daemons and 3 focused on Mortals. They no longer have any traits or artefacts tied to them, just a general ability – let’s take a look:
Reapers of Vengence are the daemon faction that want to take out heroes – you get +1 to hit when targeting heroes and an extra blood tithe point when you slay one. Could potentially be handy in the current hero focused season.
Bloodlords is a good pick for an army heavy on Bloodletters as it makes them deal mortal wounds on rolls of 5+ rather than 6+
Balefull Lords are the Bloodthirster faction, and they always use the top line of their profile regardless of any damage taken! thankfully this doesnt apply to Skarbrand who can still take damage to get stronger.
Goretide is a great one, giving your Bloodbound +1 to wound when contesting an objective you do not control or are in enemy territory
Skullfiend is a harder one to pull off, when a unit charges 8″+ they gain strikes first, though this does combo well with the +1 charges trait. It also unlocks Skullreapers as battleline.
Finally the Flayed get a 5+ ward save if they have already been picked to fight this turn – some careful unit selection will be needed to maximise that one.
Like with other recent books we get some thematic Grand Strats to pick from – personally I think these are a little tougher to get than the Slaanesh ones, but there’s still some decent picks
The Blood Legions March requires you to summon a daemon in every battleround after the first – you’ll need to have at least 3 BT every turn after the first, but this should be doable for most players
Bring me a Worthy Skull has your opponent pick a hero, and you just have to kill them. This will very much depend on who you are fighting, as they can easily deny you points by just keeping them safe
Reap the Blood Tithe is gained if you use a Blood Tithe ability in every round, what makes this hard is that you have to use a different one every turn too – This just seems too restrictive to be a decent pick to me, and the total BT cost for The Blood Legions March is cheaper at 12 rather than 15 for this one
Finally Disciples of Carnage just has you completing 4 Khorne battle tactics, which seems an easier pick out of the list
Speaking of Battle Tactics, we get 6 new ones here
Blood for the Alter requires you to destroy a unit within of the Altar – I feel the opponent will just try and stay far enough away to not be in that range
Slay the Sorcerer is an easy one, just kill a wizard!
The Trial of Skulls requires a unit to kill 8 models, which should be easy enough to achieve!
No Cowards Among Us is another nice easy one, at the end of the turn all Khorne units must be within 8″ of enemy models
Leave None Standing has you destroying a unit you start the turn within 3″ of, this is a nice one to combo with the previously mentioned ability to charge after killing a unit to get yourself into position first.
The Battlefield Turns Red is achieved if 4 or more units (friend or foe) are destroyed.
So let’s take a look at what’s changed in the warscrolls for this book!
Skarbrand – The big bad bloodthirster has got better! He now has more wounds and hits like a truck with Slaughter now hitting and wounding on 2s and Carnage hitting on a 4+ from full health! He also now makes a 3D6″ charge
Wrath of Khorne Bloodthister – This is now a “Commander” Bloodthirster, being able to issue a command for free and if another Bloodthirster is in combat and hasn’t fought yet he can cause it to immediately fight after him, leading to some deadly duel Bloodthirster charges. The breath attack is now a normal ranged attack, but the attacks characteristic equals the number of models in the unit, and the axe now has 8 attacks and hits on 2s. Like Skarbrand and the other ‘thirsters he now has 16 wounds too. All the bloodthirsters are movement 12 now too!
Bloodthirster of Insensate Rage – This guy doesnt have his command ability any more, and doesnt reroll hits, but instead now has damage 3+D3 making him deal at least 4 damage from every wound.
Bloodthirster of Unfettered Fury – Like his Wrath of Khorne brother he gets more attacks with his axe and hits on 2s, his abilities have also changed, he now has an 8″ -1 to hit aura and The Land Rebels now happens at the end of the combat phase, triggers on a 4+ and now causes D3 mortal wounds! He can also grant a non hero unit a 3D6 charge.
Skulltaker – He is down to damage 2 but gets 5 attacks to make up for it! He can also call a challenge to an enemy hero making him strike first but can only target that hero. He also gets an extra Blood Tithe point for every hero he kills
Karanak – The Hound of Vengence gets some cool abilities now – in the enemy movement phase he can move towards his quarry if he is more than 9″ from all enemy units. He can also be used as a summoning beacon for Fleshhounds, as long as they are placed within 8″ of him there are no restrictions to where they can be placed near enemy units – and yes, that means you could set them up in combat with the enemy…
Flesh Hounds – just a small tweak here, they get +2 to charges
Bloodmaster – The herald on foot gets an extra wound, the priest keyword and a cool prayer that gives a target unit +1 to wound for friendly units that target it!
Bloodletters – These have had some small nerfs, the icon now only brings back a single model, and the attack sequence ends when you hit with a 6 rather than the mortal wound being on top of any normal damage
Skullmaster – The Jugger mounted herald now lets all bloodcrushers within 16″ reroll charges once per game. He also now does a flat 3 mortal wounds with his impact hits. Unlike the herald on foot he doesnt have the priest keyword
Bloodcrushers – These get some small tweaks, more attacks on the riders and now have a chance of doing more mortal wounds on a roll of 5+ rather than being based on how many models are in the unit.
Blood Throne – This is now the main way of bringing back units, he is a Priest who can return D6 Bloodletters to a unit or a single dead Bloodcrusher. Pretty useful to have to keep your units topped up!
Skull Cannon – The last of the Daemon units now gets 4 shots, but each deals D3 damage – but this effectively doubles the possible damage output, and it can still shoot after killing any models in close combat, which with the extra shots is now pretty good!
Korghos Khul – Only a couple of tweaks here, he gains an extra wound and now does flat 2 damage on his axe. Once per battle he can also cause all Goretide to roll an extra murder dice when they are slain too.
Realmgore Ritualist – This is the new model in the book (Games Workshop also sent us a review copy to paint up, check out the photos above!) and once per game she can give all Bloodbound within 8″ of a targeted objective or terrain feature +1 to hit. She also has a prayer to reduce the attacks of an enemy unit, making her useful for mitigating damage.
Lord of Khorne on Juggernaut – Some changes here, now has double the attacks and does flat 2 damage while also has a similar rule to the herald on Jugger allowing Skullcrushers (And the Lord) to reroll charges
Skarr Bloodwrath – Very similar to previous profile but now grants Wrathmongers additional murder rolls
Valkia – lots of small changes here, damage has changed to 2, and she adds 3 to the bravery of nearby Bloodbound but also stops them from retreating
Bloodsecrator – This guy’s banner is back to a single use per game, but it now adds 1 to the attacks of your entire army! He also is now a unit regeneration hero, when he issues the rally command models are returned on a 4+, making him a great way of keeping your army on the battlefield
Slaughterpriests now have better rend and damage 2 on both weapon varieties! In addition they now have Blood Boil as their warscroll prayer.
Skullgrinder – This is now a great unit for buffing other heroes – he grants friendly heroes +1 rend for the rest of the battle, which gives Khorne a little more punch with their relatively low rend.
Aspiring Deathbringer – We see an updated profile here, hitting and wounding on 3s with -1 rend on 5 attacks and 2 damage. it also deals mortal wounds on every hit of a 6 in addition to any other damage.
Exalted Deathbringer – again we see some consolidated attack profiles and tweaks to abilities, the main one being it gets +1 to hit if near the general
Bloodreavers – These now see an improvement with 2 attacks base and hitting on 3s with blades. They now get +1 to wound when within 16 of a totem making them a pretty good unit now for the posts they cost
Wrathmongers – These still dish out extra attacks, but they now have an ability were if an enemy unit rolls a 1 to hit them, then that unit takes a mortal wound
Bloodwarriors – The Bloodwarriors get a little tankier with a 3+ save making them more resilient, they also get to make 2 murder rolls when slain!
Bloodstoker – We get another tweak here, the Bloodstoker is now used to allow D3 units to run and charge, which is handy for getting across the battlefield.
Skullcrushers – These gain extra attacks, do more reliable mortal wounds and now have spell shields giving them a 5+ ward against damage suffered from magical sources.
Skullreapers – Rather than rerolling hits, these instead get to add one to hits targeting units of 5 or more models, making them quite scary hitting on 2s. They also have better rend making it more likely they actually do something with these attacks.
Claws of Karanak – These are a new Battleline option added from Warcry and they are pretty good too for 100 points with 2 attacks each and hitting on 3s if they are near Flesh Hounds – they also get a free move at the start of the game allowing them to start moving forwards
Scyla – The random attacks element is now gone, he just has a flat 8 attacks on his fist, making him more reliable in the long run
Khorgorath – This is now a really cool disruptive unit, as it stops nearby units from receiving the inspiring presence command. In addition it also causes 5 murder rolls when it dies!
Gorechosen of Dromm – Dromm himself has a prayer that draws a 16″ line that deals D3 mortal wounds on a 2+ to any unit it passes. The Gorechosen offer him a 4+ ward and have some cool abilities of their own such as killing a model if you can roll double its wounds characteristic and dishing out mortal wounds
Garrak’s Reavers – These are worth a quick note here as if they kill a unit you get 2 Blood Tithe points instead of 1!
Endless Spells – these have some small tweaks in regards to the number of mortal wounds taken or models that flee, but essentially still work pretty much the same way
Skull Alter – This has some tweaks, it now doubles the range of prayers that are cast while a unit is garrisoned in it. It still allows rerolls for prayers but also has a negative effect for any casters on the battlefield – they now suffer D6 mortal wounds on a miscast
Path to Glory
For Path to Glory we see a cool mechanic where you have to track how many skulls your warlord takes for Khorne. For every multiple of 8 skulls you gain a random reward from Khrone, with a modifier that leads to better results the more skulls you have taken.
I really like this as it feels like your general is trying to gain the attention of his god, and increases in power as he collects skulls for the skull throne!
We also get all the usual Path to Glory upgrades, territories and quests
A lot of people have not given Path to Glory a go, but it is a really fun alternative to Matched Play games and is well worth your time!
So what do I think of the new Blades of Khorne battletome? I think this is going to be a fun army to play that depends on decent unit synergies and careful management of blood tithe points. The range of 6 subfactions gives you a good mix of playstyles that ranges between mortals, daemons or a bit of both. Personally, I’m looking forward to doing an army consisting of Skarbrand and one of each Bloodthirster backed up by Bloodletters, Fleshhounds and Herald and send the ‘thirsters forward to make a mess. From a competative point of view I think you are going to want to take advantage of the synergies and complimentary buffs, with Gorechosen seeming like a good pick.
While this feels to me weaker than the Slaanesh book, I still feel Khorne will be great fun and really capture the feeling of the worshipers of the Blood God!
Chaos Battletome Blades of Khorne is up for pre order today and is released Saturday 25th March
Games Workshop sent Sprues & Brews a free copy for review purposes
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