Faction Pack Overview: Daughters of Khaine – Age of Sigmar Fourth Edition

Thanks to Games Workshop for sending us these rules and the Skaventide box set for review. Over the coming weeks, we will be having experts provide insight into how they are building and running lists with each faction in Age of Sigmar. For this overview, we’re looking at what stands out for each faction, how much has changed, and how we might approach some key challenges on the tabletop.

Faction Overview

Grab a nice hot cup of boiling blood because its time to talk about everyone’s favorite least-dressed elves. The Daughters of Khaine strategy remains much the same as their third edition book, a glass cannon army that hits like a truck and becomes more and more threatening as the battle goes on thanks to the Blood Rites mechanic. Every unit keeps their 6+ ward, but that and a 5+ save is all that’s between them and death.

Army Rules

Battle Traits

Credit – Games Workshop

The main mechanic behind the Daughters of Khaine is the Blood Rites ability. As the game goes on they receive stacking bonuses such as +1 to run, +1 to charge, +1 to hit, +1 to wound, and finally +1 attacks in the last round, meaning DoK units will be in your opponent’s business early and often. This is a very powerful ability with the early abilities helping them get into combat and the later abilities helping the remnants of your forces keep up the fight.

They also get a once per game 1CP ability to use the Fight ability twice using All-Out Slaughter. This is… fine. Mostly because the second fight ability happens at Strike-Last speed, which means if you’re in combat with something they will likely hit the unit back and you’ll have lost a good amount of your fighting strength. Where it can be useful is if you charge and kill something such that when you fight again you can pile into something else.

Battle Formations

The Daughters of Khaine formations are largely focused on providing more movement or rewarding charges. Cauldron Guard, for example, gives up to three infantry or war machine (blood cauldrons) units a free pile in at the end of the turn and you do D3 mortals on a 2+ to something thats in combat range. While this seems small on its own, extra movement is very useful and if you stack those mortals on a single unit the damage can really add up.

Blood Stalkers, Daughters of Khaine (Photo courtesy of Musterkrux)

Scathcoven on the other hand is more about rolling high charges. If any of your Melusai or Khinerai units roll an 8+ for their charge, they get strikes-first. While this is strong when it goes off, it’s unfortunately not something you can plan around since its looking for an unmodified 8+. 

Slaughter Troupe is instead all about giving you reliability. Once per turn when you charge you can make one of the dice a 4+. While not mind blowing, this is great for just making sure those important basic charges happen, especially since a Daughters of Khaine charge not connecting can throw your plans into disarray. 

Last up, and in my opinion the strongest pick, is Shadow Patrol. This allows every unit from your army to teleport on a 3+ instead of using the move ability. While this will fail one third of the time, having it as an option is a fantastic thing to help you score those positional Battle Tactics. I foresee this one being a very popular pick.

Heroic Traits

Daughters of Khaine Slaughter Queen
Daughters of Khaine Slaughter Queen. Credit: Corrode

The Daughters of Khaine faction pack gets the standard fare of three Heroic Traits. Master of Poisons lets you pick something this unit damaged at the end of the turn and turn off their ability to heal or return models to the unit. This one is a bit situational, but can be crippling against some armies. Bathed in Blood lets the unit heal three if its in combat at the end of the turn. This is very strong on the Cauldron of Blood heroes especially in the Cauldron Guard formation since they can get into combat at the end of the turn before this ability goes off. Zealous Orator is another strong pick, giving you an extra three dice on rally rolls within 12”. Considering the value you get out of relatively low wound units in this army, returning models back to those units can be very strong.

Artefacts of Power

Daughters of Khaine also gain access to some powerful Artefacts to go with their Heroic Traits. Khainite Pendant starts us out strong, giving a priest a once per game free D6 ritual points. We’ll cover the specifics of this below, but there are some very powerful prayers available to the Daughters of Khaine and this can get you well on your way to a super charged version of them. Crown of Woe imposes a -2 penalty on nearby control scores. This one’s not as good as other similar artefacts other factions get access to and is probably a skip. Sevenfold Shadow however gives your hero a free teleport once per game which can be very good for repositioning for last minute battle tactics if nothing else.

Spell Lore

Not to be outdone, the Spell Lore is also pretty powerful. Their unlimited spell, Steed of Shadows, grants a unit the ability to run and charge. I don’t need to explain why this is valuable in an army that wants to dictate the tempo of combat and get in early and often. Doomfire is a bit situational, doing D3 mortals to a unit of 10 or less models, D6 to a unit of 10-20 models, and flat 6 mortals to a unit with 30 models or more. This won’t be useful in a lot of game, but when you’re up against 40 ghouls, its a great one to have in your back pocket. The last spell is a returning spell from third edition, Mindrazor. It has a casting value of eight which is a doozy but gives a unit +1 rend and +1 damage if they charge. If you can get this off it can make units like Witch Aelves devastating.

Prayer Lore

The Prayer Lore continues the trend of pretty powerful buffs. The unlimited prayer, Sacrament of Blood is your bread and butter, giving a unit +1 for the round they are considered to be on for Blood Rites and if you chant it on a 10+ you count as being on round five. With the artefact mentioned above, you can supercharge a unit to get them juiced to the gills, then cast Steed of Shadows to catapult them into the enemy for a pretty potent combo. Martyr’s Sacrifice lets you select a unit and when models from that unit die in combat, you roll a D6 or two if you chant this prayer on an eight, and for every 5+ you do a mortal wound. Honestly just chant Sacrament of Blood again and skip on this. Last up is Covenant of the Iron Heart which allows you to ignore any modifiers to a target’s control score and on a chanting roll of 8+ you add five to the score. Again, Sacrament of Blood is right there.

Manifestation Lore

Closing us out on army rules, Daughters of Khaine also have a suite of Manifestations at their disposal. The Bloodwrack Viper has a pretty strong melee profile with crit mortals and bonus rend against heroes and an ability to give strike-last to a nearby infantry hero. This makes them a potent hero hunter but honestly this is just a good unit to have going around biting people. Bladewind puts out a ton of one damage attacks and can ignore positive modifiers to save rolls if it charged. Again though, I think this really just another solid offensive piece even if its a bit weak at a 6+ save and 7 wounds. Heart of Fury is your only Invocation, meaning it can only be summoned by Priests. It gives nearby friendly units -1 to be wounded, providing a solid buff in a 12” aura. This is a great fallback to set up when you don’t need a Sacrament of Blood.

Warscroll Spotlights

Witch Aelves

The humble Witch Aelf has long been a staple of Daughters of Khaine lists. In fourth edition their warscrolls have been separated by the war gear they take. If you take the Bladed Bucklers you gain a point on your save and get the ability to do a mortal whenever you roll a six to save. If you take the Paired Sciansa you gain an extra attack and add one to rend if you charge. I easily see Witch Aelves with Paired Sciansa appearing in a lot of Daughters of Khaine lists since the buffs you can stack on them along with the sheer number of attacks coming out of the unit makes them a very potent threat. 

Blood Sisters

Blood Sisters have received a bit of an overhaul going into fourth edition and they seem to be better off for it. Their Crystal Touch ability imposes a strike-last effect if you roll a D6 and exceed the target’s health characteristic, and while they lost an attack they gained an extra point of damage, bringing them to two, and the ability to do mortals on crits to hit. This presents a fairly strong melee threat and as close to an anvil unit as you’ll get in Daughters since they’ll hopefully fight before infantry that attacks them.

Hag Queen/Slaughter Queen on Cauldron of Blood

Daughters of Khaine Hag Queen
Daughters of Khaine Hag Queen. Credit: Corrode

To be honest these units have not changed much since third edition, but they seem like they could be a cornerstone of a lot of Daughters of Khaine armies. For one they’re priests and as discussed above there are some fantastic prayers to get off now which is only aided by the +1 to chanting rolls. In addition, the +1 to save rolls for nearby Infantry (the cauldron gets a better save to compensate for the fact that it can’t buff itself anymore) will help your soft infantry stay alive a bit better. The Slaughter Queen has been slightly reworked to give out +1 attacks on a 3+ as opposed to a command ability to fight immediately, but is still very valuable.

Final Thoughts

Overall Daughters of Khaine have a strong tool kit of buffs and units to create a fast but vulnerable army. They will likely require some skill to pilot well, charging in your entire army early is a recipe for losing it just as fast. If you can stack your buffs correctly and strike at the proper targets, you’ll leave your opponent reeling.

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