These aren’t your mom’s dark elves. Daughters of Khaine are the Dark Aelf survivors of the end of the World That Was who have chosen to carry on worship of the Aelf god of war and blood, Khaine. Led by Morathi, who made out pretty well for herself by also ascending to godhood in the post-cataclysmic fallout, the Daughters of Khaine display their worship in the only way they know know, by performing the dance of death and leaving nothing but blood and corpses in their wake.
Daughters of Khaine are pretty much what you’d expect by looking at their units. They are agile and love blood magic, that’s their thing. They get a lot of buffs to help them kill faster and the ideal is that you get in, murder everyone and get out before it causes too many problems.
- Fast – Real fast. Short of Slaanesh you’re probably the fastest thing on the table and a turn 1 charge is very doable. Coupled with a ridiculous number of attacks youll cut through your opponent’s line before they know what happened.
- Good casting – Your Heroes are all either priests or wizards, in addition to kicking ass in combat.
- Morathi – Aside from being a gorgeous model, Morathi is one of the better “Centerpiece” models in Age of Sigmar capable of good casting and melee damage, and difficult to kill
- Out of Date Battletome – Mentioned above but the Battletome is from AoS 1.0 so it feels a bit…old. When it was written there was clearly an intent to design AOS 2.0 as many of the design sensibilities such as subfactions were in place, but they haven’t all aged terribly well.
- Delicate – Your units epitomize the glass cannon. While you move fast and getting a dizzying number of attacks, your saves are terrible. Witch Aelves have a shockingly bad 6+ save (albeit with a caveat that does help them somewhat). It doesn’t look quite as bad as it does at first glance and while you can pretty easily put down an unprepared unit, you do not want to hang around long.
- Poor Unit Selection – You just don’t have a ton of unit selection and what you have has not aged well. There are some key roles missing and so you really have to work with a limited skillset.
Low. There was a period when DoK were stupidly good, toward the end of 1.0 and early 2.0, due to getting one of the last books on the way out the door. Since then, the Daughters of Khaine have gotten a bit long in the tooth. You will occasionally see a few lists break into a tournament but they’re barely even played at this point, let alone winning. As of this writing, almost every other army has gotten a new battletome save for Idoneth, Legions of Nagash and Nurgle, and it shows. The faction traits don’t quite hold up compared to more modern Battletomes, but don’t give up hope! A new campaign book series, Broken Realms, is coming, with the first book in the series titled Morathi and an accompanying Shadow & Pain boxed set featuring the Daughters and including a new Melusai hero. It’s pretty reasonable to assume the book will have some buffs in mind for the Daughters of Khaine.
Just two here, while not super inspired, they’re both extremely powerful.
A flat 6+ Feel No Pain save on all wounds and mortal wounds. This helps with the poor saves somewhat and the fact that applies to all Daughters of Khaine models unconditionally is very nice.
A table of escalating buffs of rerolling 1s that increases each turn, giving your opponent more of a headache to deal with as the fight goes on. The buffs in here are really good and so each turn is a very helpful boost. It can be easy to forget these buffs are happening, so keep them in front of you at all times. You don’t want a fight to go on too long but if your opponent has a slight advantage in numbers as the match goes on, this can help push things in your favor
- Turn 1 – Reroll 1s on run rolls. Useful out of the gate, it can potentially save you blowing a command point on At the Double if the dice really don’t like you. Just remember you can’t use both, since you can’t reroll a reroll so if it’s really important you get a 5 or 6, still consider that option.
- Turn 2 – Reroll 1s on charge rolls. If you’re not already stuck in, this might get you there. The same basic idea applies with Charges as Runs, though since youre rolling two dice this will come up more. This synergizes better with Forward to Victory since you know you have to use that if you roll a 2+ but can save yourself the Command Point if you got a 1.
- Turn 3 – Reroll 1s to hit. Now we’re cooking with gas. In addition, if you brought an Avatar of Khaine its always Animated which saves your Priests from having to keep it going.
- Turn 4 – Reroll 1s to wound. By this point we’re getting pretty late into the game so this will definitely help kill any stragglers who refuse to die.
- Turn 5+ – Reroll 1s to save, and you do not have to take Battleshock tests. Little late to be helpful, by this point much of your army is probably either killed or dominating the match anyway, but you still have all those other buffs.
Note that these buffs stack. So if it’s turn 3 you get the rerolls on 1s to run, charge and to hit. They don’t need to be activated, they’re just there so don’t forget them.
Daughters of Khaine basically invented the subfaction and you can see the prototypical thought here. Like all subfactions there are a new allegiance ability, but no new command ability. Whereas most modern subfactions have an artefact and command trait you must take, these only have one or the other. Finally they include a modified battalion that lets you staple more units to the battalion. You will never care about the last part because even if you use the battalions in question you won’t need (or in some cases, will flat be unable to) fill the whole thing. For that reason they don’t really factor into the rating but if there is a potential edge case then I will point it out
- Temple Ability: Daughters of the First Temple – While benefiting from Zealot’s Rage from the Blood Rites table, you can re-roll all failed hit rolls instead of just hit rolls of 1.
- Do I even need to explain rerolling all failed hits? The only downside is it takes until turn 3 to finally kick in B+
- Command Trait: Devoted Disciplines – Whenever you make a Fanatical Faith roll for a friendly Hagg Nar unit within 7″ of the general, the wound is negated on a 5+ instead of a 6+. Not bad, keeps your girls alive longer, particularly due to Daughters of Khaine actually wanting their Heroes close to the front line. B+
- Can add an additional Cauldron of Blood or Avatar of Khaine to the Cauldron Guard Battalion
Just solid all around traits, the Temple Ability takes time to activate but the command trait is pretty appreciated. A popular pick, alongside Khailebron
- Temple Ability: Bladed Killers – Add 1 to hit rolls in the combat phase for Draichi Ganeth units which charged this turn
- Most of your units already hit well but who is to turn down making it better? Combined with rerolling 1s to hit from Blood Rites you’ll almost never miss. B
- Artefact of Power: The Darksword – If your army includes any SLAUGHTER QUEENS, one must have this artefact; the SLAUGHTER QUEEN’s Deathsword has Attacks 4
- Eh, not bad. I don’t hate it but its not as good as some other artefacts. You can get around it by not including Slaughter Queens but you probably don’t want to do that.
- The Slaughter Trope can include up to 2 Witch Aelves which actually is helpful for them.
The Temple Ability is quite good but the artefact is pretty bad so it’s hard to say. I’d probably prefer one of the other temples.
- Temple Ability: Disciples of Slaughter – Roll a dice after a Kraith unit has fought in the combat phase if there are enemy units within 3″ roll a die; on a 6, you can pile in and attack with that unit for a second time
- Potentially really good but 1 out of 6 chance? Eh… C-
- Artefact of Power: Venom of Nagendra – One Kraith HERO must have this artefact; once per battle, just before the HERO is chosen to fight with, she can use the Venom. One of her melee weapons (not one used by a mount) becomes Attacks 1 but does d6 mortal wounds instead of the normal damage
- Daughters of Kaine tend to rely on a flurry of attacks so substituting your weapon for 1 attack that does d6 mortals is putting a lot of eggs in one basket. It’s not the worst thing as on average its still 3.5 Mortals, but its going to have its peaks and valleys C
- Kraith Cauldron Guard can also include any number of Hag Queens and Slaughter Queens.
Relies a bit too much on luck for my taste. When it spikes, it spikes hard but you’re going to mostly get valleys which do absolutely nothing for you.
- Temple Ability: Concealment and Stealth – Khailebron units are -1 to hit in the shooting phase
- Your units are fragile and often getting there intact can be the hard part. This will help against more shooty armies. B+
- Command Trait: Mistress of Illusion – At the start of your hero phase, you can pick a friendly Khailebron unit within 7″ of this general. If that unit is more than 3″ from any enemy models, remove it from the battlefield and set it up anywhere on the battlefield more than 9″ from any enemy models. The unit cannot move in your next movement phase
- No-frills relocating. While it can’t move someone stuck in combat the fact that it’s free and flexible makes it an awesome trait which doesn’t feel like a handicap B+
- Temple Nest Battalion can include up to 2 additional Melusai units
The other popular pick, both its bonuses are nice army-wide buffs that are always practical. There’s almost no scenario where these won’t be useful.
Gifts of Morathi
Any DAUGHTERS OF KHAINE HERO can be given one of these six items:
- Crown of Woe – -1 Bravery for enemy units within 7″. The first time the bearer slays an enemy model, this increases to 14″ for the rest of the game
- Combos well with the Mindrazor spell but you have other ways to inflict bravery penalties. C-
- Cursed Blade – Pick one of the bearer’s melee weapons and add +1 to hit. Each time a hit roll of a 7+ is made with that weapon, the target takes 1 mortal wound instead of the normal damage
- Functionally natural 6s but slightly better as multiple buffs can help. It’s a decent all around buff to your melee Heroes. C+
- Amulet of Dark Fire – 4+ to ignore mortal wounds from enemy spells
- You already have a 6+ FNP, 5+ in some scenarios. Limiting it to spells is too niche. D-
- Crone Blade – Pick one of the bearer’s melee weapons; each time an enemy model is slain by an attack with this weapon, you can heal 1 wound that has been allocated to the bearer
- Decent healing potential if your Heroes get stuck in a bad spot for melee, but you want to avoid that. C
- Thousand and One Dark Blessings – +1 to save rolls for the bearer
- Simple buff for an army with pretty bad saves. B-
- Bloodbane Venom – Pick one of the bearer’s melee weapons. If a model is allocated wounds from this weapon but not slain, roll a dice after the bearer finishes making all their attacks. if the roll equals or exceeds that model’s Wounds characteristic, it is slain
- Depends on what you’re fighting, against some HEROES this can help but it requires you harm them in the first place. A scant chance at killing off a Hero who survived your attacks seems too dicey when you have other options C
Artefacts of Shadow
These can only be taken by a DAUGHTERS OF KHAINE HERO WIZARD, which basically limits it to Bloodwrack Medusas as Morathi can’t take one.
- Shadow Stone – Re-roll dice rolls of 1 when making a casting roll for the bearer, and add 1 to the casting roll if the bearer is casting a spell from the Lore of Shadows
- Probably an auto-take if you have a Bloodwrack Medusa as the few spells you bring with you are often too important to botch. A-
- Rune of Ulgu – The bearer knows one additional spell from the Lore of Shadows
- You don’t get an extra cast so you probably don’t need another spell at this point. Still helps with versatility. B
- The Mirror Glaive – Each time the bearer unbinds an enemy spell, they can immediately attempt to cast either the Mystic Shield or Arcane Bolt spells as if it were your hero phase, and these spells cannot be unbound
- Not bad, albeit it requires your opponent to set it up which might not come up. When it happens, it feels good though B-
- Seven-fold Shadow – Once per battle, instead of moving the bearer in your movement phase, you can remove them from the battlefield and set them up anywhere on the battlfield more than 9″ from any enemy models
- A decent “oh shit” button when things get bad, though you likely want to keep them near your allies. Can also be used to seize an objective an opponent foolishly left unattended. B
- Crystal Heart – The bearer can attempt to cast a second spell in each of your hero phases; if they do, roll a d6 before the casting roll and on a 1 the bearer suffers d3 mortal wounds
- Inverse of the Rune of Ulgu, it doesn’t give you an extra spell so you’ll have to be content with your warscroll spell, Mystic Shield or Arcane Bolt. A 1 in 6 chance of dealing d3 mortal wounds to yourself is equally unpleasant. C-
- Shade Claw – The bearer’s Whisperclaw has a Rend of -2
- You’re a caster not a combatant. Focus on that first. D
Relics of Khaine
These can only be taken by a DAUGHTERS OF KHAINE PRIEST:
- Blood Sigil – The bearer knows one additional prayer
- You’re only allowed to cast 2 prayers a turn, this simply won’t be useful outside of some edge case versatility as you probably have a ton of priests already. C
- Iron Circlet – Re-roll 1s for prayers
- You really don’t want to get 1s on Prayers so definitely consider this on a PRIEST. B+
- Rune of Khaine – When the bearer is slain roll a dice; on a 1 nothing happens, on a 2-5 the unit that slew them takes d3 mortal wounds, on a 6 that unit takes d6 mortal wounds
- A nice middle finger to your opponent but I’m generally not a fan of artefacts requiring the bearer to die. It’s very counter intuitive when you could take a proactive approach. D+
- Crimson Shard – The bearer’s Blade of Khaine has a 2+ to wound
- A notable upgrade from the 4+ you have innately. Worth looking at if you think you might need to have your Hag Queen/Slaughter Queen get in there. B-
- Khainite Pendant – The bearer can pray three times in your hero phase; however the first time they roll a 1 to pray they suffer d3 mortal wounds instead of 1
- Functionally an extra prayer, which you will have access to given how many your data sheet gives you. The odds of rolling 1s at an inopportune time are a bit too dicey for my liking though C
- Hagbrew – +1 to wound for the bearer’s melee weapons
- Boring, but potent. Crimson Shard is the better upgrade for Hag Queens but this is alright for Slaughter Queens. B
Your general can have one of six Command Traits, as below:
- Bathed in Blood – +1 wound, heal 1 wound per hero phase
- Not a bad little protection since its guaranteed one wound per turn. B
- Zealous Orator – Friendly DAUGHTERS OF KHAINE within 14″ use the general’s Bravery instead of their own
- A slight buff since most infantry actually have good Bravery already. B-
- Bloody Sacrifice – +1 to hit with the general
- Boring but good for melee generals. B-
- Terrifying Beauty – -1 to hit for attacks that target the general
- Your units are delicate and vulnerable to shooting so this is welcome. Remember it stacks with Look Out, Sir! B+
- Mistress of Poisons – +1 damage for the general’s melee weapons
- Again good for melee generals, probably better than Bloody sacrifice due to sheer number of attacks B+
- True Believer – the general counts as being 1 battle round higher than it actually is for Blood Rites (this is cumulative with other, similar abilities)
- Getting that Reroll 1s to hit on turn 2 can be clutch but you need to be careful about having your Heroes wade into combat too early. B
The Lore of Shadows
Each WIZARD in a DAUGHTERS OF KHAINE army knows one spell from the Lore of Shadows in addition to any others they know.
- Steed of Shadows – Casting value 5; the caster can fly with Move 16″
- All your stuff can run and charge fast enough as it is, this probably won’t be the clutch move you need. C
- Pit of Shades – Casting value 7; pick a visible enemy unit within 18″ and roll 2d6. The enemy unit suffers 1 mortal wound for each point by which the total exceeds their Move
- Not bad against slow armies like Ironjawz, but you probably won’t know that’s coming. C
- Mirror Dance – Casting value 4; pick two friendly DAUGHTERS OF KHAINE HEROES within 24″ of the caster that are not within 6″ of any other unit. The two models can swap positions on the battlefield
- The “Not within 6″ of any other unit” kind of kills this. You’d most want to use it to bail out of a bad combat scenario but you can’t. Your girls are already mobile enough. D
- The Withering – Casting value 7; pick a visible enemy unit within 18″. Until the start of your next hero phase, attacks against that unit are +1 to wound
- If you have the spell slots, this is a good secondary pick before charging in. B
- Mindrazor – Casting value 7; pick a friendly DAUGHTERS OF KHAINE unit within 18″. Until the star of your next hero phase, the Rend of their melee weapons is improved by 1; additionally if their melee attacks target a unit with lower Bravery than theirs, they do +1 Damage as well.
- Awesome, just flat out incredible and you should take this every single time. Your army has above average bravery so you’ll almost always get the secondary effect. Cast it on a big bomb of Witch Aelves and just shred everything to ribbons. A+
- Shroud of Despair – Casting value 4; pick a visible enemy unit within 18″. Until the start of your next hero phase, -1 to their Bravery; if you roll an 8 or more to cast, then -d3 to their Bravery
- Remember how I said for Mindrazor you will almost always have more bravery than your opponent? Here’s your edge case. A nice cheap spell to throw out if youre up against stormcasts or something else with 7 Bravery. Wont help much against Daemons or Death but few things can. B
Prayers of the Khainite Cult
Each PRIEST in a DAUGHTERS OF KHAINE army knows one prayer from the six Prayers of the Khainite Cult in addition to any others they know. These models can pray twice in your hero phase instead of once, but cannot pray for the same prayer.
- Catechism of Murder – Pick a friendly DAUGHTERS OF KHAINE unit within 14″; until the start of your next hero phase, unmodified hit rolls of 6 do 2 hits instead of 1
- Since you’re filled to the gills with PRIESTs anyway, this is probably the best default pick, as once properly buffed your units will be dishing out so many attacks it will proc enough to be worth the effort. A-
- Blessing of Khaine – Pick a friendly DAUGHTERS OF KHAINE unit within 14″; until the start of your next hero phase, re-roll failed Fanatical Faith rolls for that unit
- Not a bad pick. Make your units a little more durable but hopefully you can take a more proactive solution and kill them first. This isn’t always possible though so this is where your protection comes in. B
- Martyr’s Sacrifice – Pick a friendly DAUGHTERS OF KHAINE unit within 14″; until the start of your next hero phase, each time a model from that unit is slain, on a 5+ the attacking unit suffers 1 mortal wound
- A “Defensive” option, you’re probably going to lose models if attacked anyway so why not counter it? B
- Crimson Rejuvenation – Pick a friendly DAUGHTERS OF KHAINE unit within 14″ (except Morathi); you can heal up to d3 wounds allocated to a model from that unit
- There aren’t enough multi-wound models to make this viable. The only one this would truly be useful on is Morathi which you can’t. C+
- Covenant of the Iron Heart – Pick a friendly DAUGHTERS OF KHAINE unit within 14″; until the start of your next hero phase, that unit does not need to take battleshock tests
- Your bravery scores are consistently pretty good which likely diminishes the need for this, but you’re also likely to take large units of battleline. C-
- Sacrament of Blood – Pick a friendly DAUGHTERS OF KHAINE unit within 14″; until the start of your next hero phase, that unit counts the current battle round as being 1 higher than it actually is for Blood Rites (this is cumulative with other, similar abilities)
- Good for the early game, not as good as the game goes on. B
Daughters of Khaine have 6 Warscroll Battalions to pick from.
War Coven of Morathi
- Morathi, High Oracle of Khaine
- 1 Cauldron Guard
- 1 Slaughter Troupe
- 1 Temple Nest
- 1 Shadow Patrol
Basically this is the super-battalion which asks you to take Morathi and one each of all the other battalions except the Shadowhammer Compact. The abilities are pretty cool, allowing you to treat blood rites as one step higher and ignore battleshock but as with all super battalions you’re never going to put this on the table at 2,000pts.
- 1 HAG QUEEN
- 2 units of Witch Aelves
- 2 units of Khinerai Lifetakers
Frenzied Devotees – Add 1 to run and charge rolls for made for units from this battalion.
Not wild on the lifetakers but +1 to run and Charge for the Witch Aelves (And the Hag Queen accompanying them) is welcome. B
- 1 SLAUGHTER QUEEN
- 2 units of Sisters of Slaughter
- 2 units of Khinerai Heartrenders
Gladiatorial Acrobatics – Slaughter Troupe units that retreat can still shoot and charge in the same turn
Not a bad one because it includes units you probably are taking anyway. This is more of a contingency measure but it has its uses. If your Heartrenders get cornered you can fallback and still shoot. Sisters of Slaughter can fall back and charge for abilities that only benefit them on the turn it charged. Not great overall but useful for keeping things under control when things look hairy. C
- 1 BLOODWRACK MEDUSA
- 2 units of Blood Stalkers
- 2 units of Blood Sisters
Lethal Transfixion – Each time your opponent makes a hit roll of 1 when attacking a Temple Nest unit in the combat phase, the attacking unit suffers 1 mortal wound after all its attacks have been made
This is not a natural 1 mind you, so any -1s to hit really pay out. The only downside is that the units requires aren’t awesome and you will likely not want to fill up on them, which limits the viability of this. C-
- 2 units of Doomfire Warlocks
- 4 units of KHINERAI HARPIES
Shadowpaths – Once per battle round, instead of moving in your movement phase, you can pick one unit from this battalion that is more than 3″ from any enemy models; remove it from the battlefield and set it up anywhere on the battlefield more than 9″ from any enemy models. This is its move for your movement phase
Nice for jerking your opponent around. The unit demand is too high though, I can’t imagine wanting 4 Khinerai units let alone 2 warlocks. C-
- 1 Slaughter Queen
- 2 units of Witch Aelves
- 1 unit of KHINERAI HARPIES
- 1 unit of Blood Stalkers
- 2 units of Liberators
- 1 unit of Prosecutors
- 1 unit of Judicators
Righteous Fervour – In your hero phase, choose one DAUGHTERS OF KHAINE unit from this battalion and one STORMCAST ETERNAL unit from this battalion that are within 6″ of each other. Both units can either make a normal move as if it were your movement phase, shoot as if it were your shooting phase, or pile in and attack as if it were the combat phase. Both units must perform the same action; if one of the units cannot perform the action e.g. if it has no missile weapons and you choose to shoot, that unit does nothing
An odd hybrid with the Stormcast Eternals, the units required are actually fairly reasonable. That said you probably are only using this for some kind of narrative game because the Stormcast just don’t benefit from synergy very much. C
Daughters have a pretty thin roster, with only 16 Warscrolls – two of which are just different forms of Morathi. That said they fill their niches pretty well and the ones that are good at their jobs are really good at their jobs of dashing around the field and destroying the enemy.
Morathi, High Oracle of Khaine
Probably one of the most interesting mechanics for an Age of Sigmar Hero. When you start the game Morathi must be in her Humanoid form, the High Oracle of Khaine. In this form, Morathi is a capable spellcaster and one of three options for casting in the whole army. She gets +1 to casting and unbinding rolls, and can cast a whopping 3 spells per turn. Her unique spell isn’t bad, if a bit random. Her command trait, Worship Through Bloodshed lets her issue orders to two units 14″ to attack with either a ranged attack or melee attack. Her combat prowess is pretty impressive, able to dish out 9 hits with -1 rend before any buffs. She can’t be healed but despite this, she’s pretty tough to kill, having a -1 to hit her (Which stacks with Look Out, Sir!) and she can’t take more than 3 damage in a turn, although this is small comfort with her average 6 wounds.
This alone would make her an easy sell, but she has a twist. Morathi can transform into her monstrous snake form and become Morathi, The Shadow Queen. This can trigger through one of two ways: You can either trigger it manually in your Hero Phase, or if she has taken damage, you must roll a die in the Hero phase and if you roll under her sustained wounds, she transforms anyway. Shadow Queen Morathi is much more tanky, has loads more attacks and her ranged attack can potentially automatically slay a model. She maintains the rule that she can only take 3 wounds per turn but now has 12 wounds, meaning she will last until turn 4 at least. Remember that she is a Monster now so she cannot benefit from Look Out, Sir! or her innate -1 to hit. Her spellcasting takes a huge hit as well, allowing her only one casting per turn and losing the bonus to casting and unbinding. Finally, she also loses her command trait which is no small nerf to damage output.
In general you want to avoid the transformation until the right time. If Morathi is surrounded and you fear that she’ll die next turn, that’s probably the time to trigger the transformation. Otherwise her buffs in High Oracle of Khaine mode are too good to discard. Despite her cost, she is often an auto-include in many lists as her buffs are extremely powerful and a reliable caster is a welcome sight.
Your default Hero option. After having their price point raised to 100, Hag Queens are competitive with slaughter queens now, and the argument for taking either is a bit more difficult. Hag Queens are a bit less combat focused but they buff your army with Witchbrew. They know a prayer and if they get stuck in the fight they’re not bad. Unlike many armies, you need to keep them close to your army to get the best effect, so make sure they’re properly shielded. While they can fight pretty well, it’s not generally something you want to risk unless you feel pretty good that you’re going to win.
Underworlds warband. Morgwaeth herself is basically a named Hag Queen and might be worth considering if she wasn’t stapled to her warband. Like most Underworlds warbands, safely ignore this.
A more offense oriented Hag Queen. You keep the prayer but trade in Witchbrew for an attack again command trait, which is a weaker version of Morathi’s, plus a lot more attacks. Slaughter Queens aren’t bad but their role is better served by Hag Queens and Morathi which you probably are taking anyway. Still you can do a lot worse and now that they’re the same cost as Hag Queens it can be a legitimate question which you take, possibly one of each.
(Hag Queen/Slaughter Queen on) Cauldron of Blood
Basically what happens when you mash an Avatar of Khaine together with either a Hag Queen or a Slaughter Queen. Both are essentially the same, retaining the core abilities of both the Avatar of Khaine and the rider. We haven’t talked about the Avatar of Khaine but he’s not great on his own. He has a unique mechanic where a PRIEST model must rouse him from his slumber (using up a prayer) for the turn to activate him for the first two turns. Once youre on turn 3, blood rites do step in and keep him going permanently. This downside is a bit more managelble on a Cauldron of Blood because now it is your PRIEST, removing the necessity to have her follow the Avatar around, potentially into danger.
The damage output the Avatar brings to the table is quite good, in addition to D3 mortal wounds on the charge and possibly most importantly a passive defensive aura of +1 to saves within a rather large aura. The fact you don’t need to activate this or cast any spell is powerful and if it weren’t for the point cost this would likely be an auto-include. As you’re already probably bringing Morathi it’s going to be hard to fit in another ~300 point model into your list. If you can find space this is definitely a reasonable upgrade worth considering.
Your only other caster Hero other than Morathi and the mounted version, this is your budget caster. Like the other Heroes in the army, they can fight pretty well which is important for supporting your battleline. In addition to adding casting to the mix, the Medusa gets a ranged attack that is great against large groups and only “ok” against anything else. Finally their unique spell is quite good, easy to cast and -1 to wound for all your enemy will help protect your more delicate girls on the front line. It’s a good idea to bring one to make up for your lack of casting options if you feel you need another spell in your toolkit.
Basically Cauldron of Blood with a Bloodwrack Medusa but worse. While it keeps everything about the Bloodwrack Medusa, It doesn’t get an Avatar of Khaine boosting its damage output and all it gets in return is an Aura that deals D3 mortal wounds. Hard pass.
You only have 2 by default but they’re both awesome.
Right out of the gate you have a solid statline of 2 attacks per model at 3+/4+. If accompanied by a Hero that’s a third. You can run and charge in the same turn, making a turn 1 charge very possible. Then you have some choices. You can either give the unit twin knives for another attack or a buckler and knife to make their save a little better at 5+ and redirect a mortal wound back at the enemy on a 6+. Both are viable and there’s not a wrong answer here. The former is probably better in most cases but the latter is good for objective holders. You really can’t go wrong here.
Daughters of Khaine are unique in that they’re one of the few armies where running max (or near max) squads is not only viable but encouraged. The bravery on Witch Aelves is on the higher side at 7, your banner lets you roll two bravery dice and discard the highest and you have access to a lot of options to avoid Battleshock tests entirely. You have extremely powerful buffs in spells like Mindrazor or prayers like Catechism of Murder that will decimate the enemy if you get to go first. So treat these like missle, give them all the buffs you can and just send them in, hopefully they kill whatever youre fighting first, or at least reduce them to a manageable level.
Sisters of Slaughter
Cousins to the Witch Aelves, Sisters of Slaughter follow a similar role but tend to function better without support than Witch Aelves. You can either supplement the whips with a buckler or knife, in this case take the buckler, the extra attack really isn’t worth it as it is a worse weapon than the whip. While less exciting overall, Sisters of Slaughter do have one neat trick in that they can pile in from 6″ away instead of 3, allowing them to hide behind other foes before joining in.
The basic difference between Witch Aelves and Sisters of Slaughter is that Sisters have a better baseline in attacks, where as Witch Aelves can be improved to surpass the Sisters. A healthy mix of both is recommended, as you only have so many buffs to go around. Same as Witch Aelves, a squad of 20-30 is highly recommended.
Your most important unit here is the Khinerai Heartrenders, as they fill your ranged attack niche that can be very useful for doing damage before running in. Everything else isn’t terrible but many are outclassed by other units which do their job better.
Your final caster option, and not a bad one. Their unique spell is good, scaling the mortal wounds with the number of models while also packing a solid ranged attack and melee profile. The reason they don’t see more play is their roles are just better played by other options. Bloodwrack medusas make cheaper casters, Witch Aelves make better combat and Heartrenders are better (and cheaper) shooting. If you take these it’s not bad just consider what role you want them to fill and if it can be better filled by something else.
Battleline if you have a Bloodwrack Medusa as your General. On paper, these are powerful. They have an impressive attack profile and their Crystal Touch deals a mortal wound instead of regular damage. The problem is they are expensive, costing 140 points for 5 when a squad of 10 Witch Aelves or sisters of slaughter is 120 which can put out comparable number of attacks even if they don’t get the mortal wound I’m not sure that’s worth the risk. If you already own some it might not be bad to fill some slots with them but overall Witch Aelves and Sisters of Slaughter just do more damage.
Blood stalkers are a ranged attack and on paper the ranged attack is great. A whopping 24″ with 3+/3+ and -1 to rend and a mortal on a 6. They suffer the same problem as blood sisters though, costing a fair bit for 5 models. Khinerai Heartrenders will likely do more damage for their point costs, but blood stalkers definitely are not a bad pick if you want to keep them well out of harm’s way.
Your ranged option and a damn good one especially at the budget cost. At 3+/3+ and -1 Rend you’ll do some damage. 12″ is a bit close, but they have tricks for that. You can hide in reserves and deep strike in, gaining an additional rend when you do, then after the ranged attack fall back to safety on a 4+. If you do get unlucky and stuck into combat they have a pretty average attack profile, but try and avoid doing so anyway. At a 14″ movement you should be able to plan on how to stay away from the enemy.
A melee version of Heartrenders and pretty meh. They cost more than a pack of Witch Aelves of the same size and don’t have enough tricks to make up for it. They can deep strike in like Heartrenders but have no ranged attacks so they must charge in, yet have no abilities to actually help the charge. They can attack and fall back like heart renders but 6″ isn’t very much when you’re in melee range. Finally, they don’t even have any rend! At only 80 points for 5 they’re good for filling in those last couple of points but if you have options, you can pick almost anything else.
Avatar of Khaine
Not great! At least, not on his own. As discussed on the Hag Queen/Slaughter Queen on Cauldron of Blood he requires a PRIEST to wake him up for the first 2 turns which is going to slow down your murder spree if one has to chaperone him around. He’s powerful but if you want one, put your priest on a Cauldron of Blood and do it that way instead.
I usually like presenting lists of strong performers, but with Daughters of Khaine that’s tricky given they barely even show up in the past year, let alone place. I do have two that are worth examining, to get a feel for how the army “works”.
Dayne Thompson’s Cancon 2020 List
Allegiance: Daughters of Khaine
– Mortal Realm: Ulgu
– Temple: Khailebron
Morathi High Oracle of Khaine (480)
– Lore of Shadows: Shroud of Despair
Bloodwrack Medusa (140)
– Command Trait: Mistress of Illusion
– Artefact: Shadow Stone
– Lore of Shadows : Mindrazor
Hag Queen (100)
– Prayer: Catechism of Murder
Hag Queen (100)
– Prayer: Martyr’s Sacrifice
20 x Witch Aelves (240)
– Pairs of Sacrificial Knives
30 x Witch Aelves (300)
– Sacrificial Knives and Blade Bucklers
30 x Sisters of Slaughter (300)
– Barbed Whips and Blade Bucklers
15 x Khinerai Lifetakers (240)
5 x Khinerai Heartrenders (90)
Extra Command Points: 0
As a note the list originally had 10 Khinerai Lifetakers and 10 Shadow Warriors. Shadow Warriors function similarly to Lifetakers but due to the price hike of Hags since this time i chose to remove the Warriors and add 5 more Lifetakers in exchange.
Falling just short of the top 16, Dayne’s list from CanCon 2020 was the top performing DOK list at the event. It’s a good look at how Daughters of Khaine tends to operate on a basic level. You got Morathi, you got your Hags and Medusas and you have max squads (or nearly max) of your Witch Aelves and Sisters of Slaughter pushing up the board. In short the strategy is simple but the tracking of buffs can be complex. You want big bombs of your battleline to move up the field with Morathi, Hags and Bloodwrack Medusas in tow to keep them powered up. Cast Mindrazor, Catechism of Murder and Martyr’s Sacrifice on them and send them to their doom. Ideally you can hit the enemy line and cut them up before they have a chance to react. It’s risky but for an opponent unprepared for the turn 1 charge it can be an attack they are helpless to stop.
Kevin Low’s Tempest List
Allegiance: Daughters of Khaine
– Temple: Hagg Nar
– Mortal Realm: Chamon
Slaughter Queen on Cauldron of Blood (330)
– Trait: Devoted Disciples
– Artefact: Blood Sigil – Martyr’s Sacrifice
– Prayer: Catechism of Murder
Hag Queen (100)
– Artefact: Iron Circlet
– Prayer: Blessing of Khaine
Morathi High Oracle of Khaine (480)
– Lore of Shadows: Mindrazor
30 x Sisters of Slaughter (300)
– Barbed Whips and Blade Bucklers
30 x Sisters of Slaughter (300)
– Barbed Whips and Sacrificial Knives
10 x Witch Aelves (120)
– Pairs of Sacrificial Knives
5 x Khinerai Heartrenders (90)
5 x Khinerai Heartrenders (90)
Slaughter Troupe (130)
Extra Command Point (50)
Total: 1990 / 2000
Extra Command Points: 2
Different approach, similar setup. This list from Tempest in the UK back in January 2020 and was the only Daughters of Khaine list out of 46 participants, so good on him for bravery. The idea remains the same, Kevin just chose to focus more on Sisters of Slaughter than Witch Aelves. A Slaughter Queen on a Cauldron of Blood was an interesting take when also including Morathi and may involve too many points. Properly utilized this list does have potential. It hits the necessary pieces and much like Dayne’s list above, can help setup an early charge the opponent doesn’t have time to counter.
The Daughters of Khaine are a force that requires a lot of skill. Right now they’re outgunned and outmanned. Hope is on the horizon but for now you have to deal with some of the most delicate glass cannons in the game. With proper buff management however you can overwhelm them. What has been your experience with Daughters of Khaine? Any interest strategies that have helped clutch victory? We really want to know – hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org or on social media.