Hey everyone, Reecius here from Frontline Gaming to discuss a very cool book and why I want to tip my hat to GW for doing such a good job with it: Khorne Daemonkin!
KDK, as it is called in the interwebs, is a great book. At first it felt like it would be a bit of an afterthought; just a mash-up of Daemons and Khorne CSM with a smattering of extra rules, right? Well, technically, yeah, that is what it is. However, the subtle blend of units and new rules allows you to build a Khorne themed Chaos Warband that actually plays like the fluff but is also good. Wow! That seems to be very hard to pull off in practice. Now, the book isn't perfect, and we'll get to that more later (mostly inherited flaws from the CSM book), but for what it is the GW writing team did a kick-ass job.
I am in the middle of assembling my own KDK force (slow going as I have been so dang busy, lately), but the fun of it is playing a balls to the wall Khorne army--as is proper--that will actually perform well on the table. It's really cool to have a list that is both true to the lore of the game and effective. Well done, GW! The Blood Tithe special rule helps to overcome the difficulty assault armies can have getting across the table by buffing units and bringing in reinforcements to bolster losses suffered during the headlong charge across the battlefield.
Plus, the man himself, Bloodthirster, is new, improved and a beast! Besides being one of the absolute coolest models I have ever laid eyes on, the new BT packs a punch that reflects his glorious back-story. Yeah, he is still flimsy and fairly easy to take out but if he gets to deliver a blow, it shakes the very ground! To me, that is as it should be. Mine is named Pantera and his D-Axe: Vulgar Display of Power!
The army is also quick, with Maulerfiends, Spawn, Bikers, Fleshhounds, Drakes, etc. to really play aggressively. Couple this with units coming in from Blood Tithe, and you have a great combo with threat vectors all over the table. That creates a lot of pressure for an opponent to have to deal with, which makes for a fun, tense game.
My only real complaints with the book are a decided lack of ways to crack transport vehicles early in the game which with the increasing popularity of the Space Marine Battle Company is a real concern. Luckily, you can ally in some Renegades or CSM for shooting units which if you attach a KDK character to, will generate Blood Tithe. Sweet! That helps a ton. Obliterators and Artillery units for example, can bring in more Tithe while also helping to get squishy infantry out of their metal boxes.
Then of course, the sad state of affairs for poor CSMs themselves. Berzerkers, Chaos Space Marines, etc. are just sub-par units, unfortunately. Overpriced and under-powered, they don't add much to KDK and you rarely see them. The Bikers can be OK, though, which is something to be happy about at least, and provide mobile melta shots and a vessel to summon another Bloodthirster should that become an option.
As soon as FW FAQs their Chaos units to be able to be included in KDK lists as KDK faction units, that will add a TON to the army. Units like the awesome Sicaran, for example, will be great for ranged fire support while also generating Blood Tithe. Hopefully that happens soon!
Lastly, I just struggle to see why Kharn is not in the book. I get the fluff that he is a World Eater specifically, but come on, a book dedicated to the Blood God's forces should have Kharn in it. He's just such a boss character in the fluff, and pretty decent on the tabletop, too. It would have added a lot to the book to be able to take him, IMO.
On the whole though, I am very pleased with KDK. GW managed to find the right balance between theme and power, which makes the casual and competitive gamer happy. Win! I hope the rest of the Daemonkin series of books delivers as much fun.