Why play Daughters of Khaine?
Lots of things draw people to the faction. In short it’s a glass cannon faction, the army can’t hold its own in a protracted fight, but in most cases it doesn’t need to – it finishes the fight on the first turn.
In addition to the powerful feeling of casting every buff in your repertoire and unleashing it all on an unsuspecting foe there’s other potential draws. Morathi and the Shadow Queen are arguably the most gorgeous “God Model” in the game, and powerful to boot. The army is also incredibly flexible, it can be played as a beatdown army, a ranged army or a control army. Whatever style you like Daughters of Khaine has something for that.
- Speedy – Nothing in your army is slower than 6″, and much of it is notably quicker than that. Your army comes with a +1 to run at the base level so you can move up the field incredibly quickly.
- Incredible Damage Output – One of the top contenders for highest damage in the combat phase. Daughters largely have 3+s to hit and wound across the board and have several attacks with ways to boost the number of attacks, rend and damage. While it requires a little setup, many armies cannot take a charge phase from Daughters on the chin.
- Excellent positioning tools – Daughters of Khaine strategy mostly relies on buffing up your strongest units and sending them in to decimate the enemy. They can be slowed down by chaff, but the army has access to many ways to deep strike and teleport to circumvent the enemy.
- Delicate – And I mean delicate. 5+ and 6+ saves are most common across the army. You have a 6+ Ward and you’ll come to appreciate it, since that may be the only protection you’re going to get.
- Lots of moving parts – You rely on your buffs to get things done. You chant Catechism of Murder, you cast Mindrazor, and these take your ladies from threatening to devastating. These buffs are contingent on dice rolls and can fail. You also need to manage your buff auras to make sure you make the most of them.
- Expensive Keystone Pieces – This isn’t a problem with the army being expensive, in general things are priced pretty fairly. The problem is many of your best things take up the bulk of your army. Morathi-Khaine (and the Shadow Queen) will take up around a third of your list, and if you want 15 bow snakes that’s over a quarter. These things are good but they also cost a lot which means you may find your model count starts drifting a little low.
Competitive Rating – Top Tier
Daughters of Khaine have remained largely good to excellent at all points during Age of Sigmar’s life. The current book isn’t their best state but it’s definitely one of the best places they’ve ever been.
The army is a glass cannon, so care needs to be taken not to be caught off guard. If the enemy gets the first strike they’ll take a good chunk of your army down with you, but properly outfitted they have an answer to every problem.
6+ Ward across the army. While not ideal, you are rocking some awful armor saves. Frequently this may be the only chance you get to stop damage.
This is the keystone ability of Daughters of Khaine, and it can be a lot to keep track of at first. Each round you “unlock” a new passive bonus to every unit in the army. This doesn’t require any tricks, they just get it. These start pretty mediocre but continue to get better.
- Quickening Bloodlust – +1 to Run rolls. A solid but maybe not as exciting opener, giving you more room to fall deploy further back from shooting armies and make up the difference in speed.
- Headlong Fury – +1 to Charge rolls. This is where we get somewhere, with Redeploy being rampant, you need charge bonuses to make up the difference. It also avoids you failing those embarrassing 3″ charges with snake eyes.
- Zealots Rage – +1 to hit but only in melee. Now we’re at the good stuff, once this kicks in you start to becoming a killing machine. Most of your units are attacking at a base 3+, so you’re looking at 2+s basically army wide. It also spares you needing to waste precious Command Points on all out attack.
- Slaughter’s Strength – +1 to wound, again in melee. Even better than Zealot’s Rage, because wound bonuses are much harder to come by. The downside is that if you are earning these fair and square the game may be over by now.
- Unquenchable Fervor – Your 6+ Ward is now a 5+ ward. It’s fine, good even, but unless you stack a lot of +1 to Blood Rites buffs you’re probably getting this too late to matter. If somehow you’re down to the wire on round 5, this might help them survive for that last stand.
These stack, so on round 3 you have +1 to run, charge and hit. There are multiple ways to boost the round number, and as you can see a lot of the good ones are buried behind getting pretty far down the tree so it’s important to get as many of these as you can. Some of the key ones are the Hagg Nar subfaction ability and the Hag Queen and Bloodwrack Medusa.
Battle Fury (Heroic Action)
A heroic action you can use instead of one of the stock ones. Pick a hero who is not a Monster and add 2 attacks to their melee attacks. Your melee heroes are shockingly just sort of…ok. You might get some mileage with little Morathi or the Gladiatrix but it won’t affect the mount attacks of a Cauldron of Blood (Where the good ones are) so application is sort of limited.
All Out Slaughter (Command Ability)
Excellent command ability, 6s to hit do 2 hits. You’re going to get +1 to hit within the first 2 to 3 rounds which obsoletes All Out Attack, so thats where this comes in. Not much to say, it’s a good command ability if All Out Attack wont benefit you or you already used it this phase.
7 Command traits, unless noted otherwise anyone can take these. The problem with a lot of them is that they rely on getting into combat, which a lot of your foot heroes will struggle to do. The ones that are good are good, however.
Arcane Mastery – Wizard only, knows all the spells. Not terrible, but assuming you brought Morathi, she’s already a 3 cast wizard who knows all the spells and you really won’t need a second to do that. C-
Bathed in Blood – Each time a model is killed by this general, heal a wound. Surprisingly decent on a Gladiatrix which can cut swathes through hordes and benefit from the healing this offers. Unfortunately, while a Cauldron of Blood would be ideal, all the good attacks count as mount attacks. C+
Fueled by Revenge – Melusai Ironscale only. Once per battle, add +1 to attacks of all Melusai withn 12″. Some argument can be made for this in a Melusai list. Though Shadow Queen does this for the whole game, they can stack. C
Master of Poisons – If the general did any combat damage, at the end of the combat phase you can deal an extra D6 mortal wounds to that Model. Mostly good for tapping other heroes or multi wound models, but suffers from the same restrictions as Bathed in Blood. Not bad on a gladiatrix. C+
Sacrificial Overseer – If the general kills a model they get a second attack at the end of the round. This is a bit better for Cauldrons than Bathed in Blood or Master of Poison because while the general has to kill something they do get to attack with their mounts on the second round of attacks. Not shabby. B
True Believer – +1 to the battle round for Battle Rites or the General. It’s not awful, again on a decent combat hero you can get the +1 to hit, even the +1 to wound, on turn 1 with sufficiently stacked buffs. B
Zealous Orator – 4+ to restore a model when using Rally instead of a 6+ This is the good stuff. Definitely too good and especially necessary if you have a reinforced unit of Witch Aelves or Blood Sisters. Your infantry is pretty delicate and you need a way to replenish those numbers fast. A
Divided into 3 categories the Artefacts of Shadow (For Wizards), Relics of Khaine (for Priests) and Gifts of Morathi (for everyone). In most cases you’re going to want to take the Crown of Woe or, if you choose to bring a Bloodwrack Medusa, the Shadow Stone.
Artefacts of Shadow
These are your Wizard artefacts, which just means the Bloodwrack Medusa since Morathi is Unique. There are some decent options here but the most practical is the Shadow Stone.
Crystal Heart – Doubles the range of your endless spells, including both generic and faction specific ones. Unfortunately your best faction specific one is an incantation so it would not apply here. Has some potential with predatory spells like the Purple Sun and Ravanak’s Gnashing Jaws to get them further up the field, however. B
Sevenfold Shadow – Once per game teleport, with the usual 9″ from the enemy limit. It’s fine, but you generally don’t want to mess around with the Bloodwrack Medusa and move it someplace where it might be at risk. Still if you’re learning the army and are concerned about it getting caught in combat, not the worst pick. B-
Shadow Stone – +1 to casting rolls but only for the Lore of Shadows. This is almost always going to be used for Mindrazor because its casting value 8 moves it into the range where it is more likely to fail than succeed. Mindrazor is important enough it’s worth it to budget for a Bloodwrack Medusa and this artefact. B+
Relics of Khaine
Just 2, for priests only.
Blood Sigil – Pick an extra prayer. There are several good prayers in the lore, so you can make a decent argument for this, but you still only get to use one. C
Khainite Pendant – Once per battle, auto succeed on a prayer. Not bad if you really badly want a specific prayer to go off, but you can easily get a 2+ chant roll in this army so I would look elsewhere. C-
Gifts of Morathi
4 Artefact thats anyone can take.
Bloodbane Venom – Pick a melee weapon on the bearer, if you did any wounds to it and its not dead, roll a die. If it meets or beats the characteristic the enemy dies. Notably this is not like Gladiatrix ability and you dont add wounds taken, which ends up meaning its virtually useless for taking out heroes. At best it might take out a multi wound model but the situation becomes increasingly narrow the more you think about it. D
Crone Blade – Pick a melee weapon, if you do any damage, heal a wound. It’s not terrible but rarely is one wound going to save you. C
Crown of Woe – Enemy units within 9″ of the bearer cannot use rally or inspiring presence. If the bearer kills anything that range is expanded to 15″ for the rest of the game. This is the good stuff. Put this on a Cauldron of Blood, crash it into some chaff that you can easily pick off at least one model and for the rest of the game rock a giant aura where enemy models cannot be saved from fleeing or brought back. Almost always worth taking. A
Rune of Khaine – After the bearer is slain, fight on death. Could do something on a cauldron of blood or similar but you don’t want to trust an artefact that required you to die to do something with it. D
Lore of Shadows (Spells)
Mind Razor – Casting Value 8. Cast on a friendly unit wholly within 18″, they receive -1 to rend in melee and +1 Damage if they charged that turn. It’s as good as advertised. Much of your attacks already have -1 or -2 rend, so you can push an opponent’s save into 5+ or worse. The extra damage is where this really slaps, a double reinforced unit of bounty hunter Blood Sisters can 61 2+ to hit 2+ to wound Rend -2 Damage 3 attacks. The only thing holding it back is the high casting value, so Chronomatic Cogs and the Shadow Stone artefact are a good idea. Find some way to bring this, no matter what. A+
Steed of Shadows – Casting Value 6. Caster gets movement value of 16″ and can Fly until the next hero phase. A lot more useful than you’d think at first blush, Daughters have a fair number of movement abilities and this is another thing in their repetoire to force your opponent to stay on edge. Get the caster to the other side of the field to nab an objective, or just get the hel lout of a bad situation. B+
Mirror Dance – Casting Value 6. Pick 2 Daughters of Khaine heroes within 18″ of the caster who are not in combat and swap their places. It’s a bit difficult to set up and will never be your first pick, it’s mostly saved by the fact that Morathi-Khaine knowing all the spells means in the niche situations it is important you can use it. It’s primary use case is moving Morathi-Khaine to a better spot to cast a different spell or use her command ability. C
Pit of Shades – Casting Value 6. Pick an enemy unit within 18″ and roll 2D6 and subtract the enemy movement, deal mortal wounds equal to the difference. It’s fine against something like Ironjawz or Ossiarch Bonereapers who have very low base movement but generally garbage otherwise. C-
Shroud of Despair – Casting Value 4. Pick a unit within 18″, reduce Bravery by 1, or D3 if you rolled an 8 or higher on the dice. Pretty bad, bravery reductions generally aren’t worth it unless you can stack a lot of them and can stop Inspiring Presence. In most cases you’re just forcing Inspiring Presence on them so they lose a CP. D
The Withering – Casting Value 7. Pick a unit within 18″ and add +1 to wound rolls against them. Probably the second best spell in your repertoire. It’s simple and effective, cast it on the thing you want to die and throw everything at it. A-
Prayers of the Khainite Cult (Prayers)
To avoid redundancy, all these prayers have a chanting roll of 3+ and a range of 14″. These prayers mostly aren’t all that essential but you have a lot of priests who also do other things, so you’ll often have some even if you don’t care about any of them in specific.
Blessing of Khaine – Reroll Fanatical Faith rolls for the target unit. Importantly, this only applies to your 6+ ward, not your 5+ for the 5th battle round. It’s probably my second favorite on the list, the problem is if you’re rolling enough ward saves that this makes a difference, then the unit is already pretty far-gone. Still, the times it works, you’ll be glad. C+
Catechism of Murder – 6s to hit do 2 hits. The default choice in most lists, because most of your stuff is hitting on 3+s at a baseline, 2+ are quite easy to get. Statistically, in most case this will negate your lost 1s but if you get a particularly swingy roll it can only give more. B+
Covenant of the Iron Heart – Do not take battleshock tests for the target unit. Your bravery is pretty excellent so this is rarely going to be needed. Maybe if you need to save a large unit of witch aelves, but you can put your offensive buffs on them instead. C-
Crimson Rejuvenation – Heal D3 wounds allocated to target unit. It doesn’t bring back dead models, so it’s mostly ideal to heal a Cauldron of Blood (Shadow Queen cannot be healed) which at least for that is decent. C-
Martyr’s Sacrifice – If a model in the target unit dies, do a mortal wound on a 5+. Not really worth the return on investment, especially since you need to die to get anything out of it, and youd need a lot of dead witch aelves before you see decent damage on this. D
Sacrament of Blood – +1 Blood Rites, simple and streamlined. Useful in the early game but drops off once you got that +1 to wound. Plays well with other buffs to rev up your combat machine early. B
Daughters have probably some of the most competitive options for subfactions. Ranking them is very difficult because each tends to lean on a specific unit, and in a book with a very high ratio of good units, there isn’t a clear answer. What you should do is look into list building first and then lean on whatever subfaction helps that unit excel. Hagg Nar is the most beginner friendly option with a very straightforward buff to the entire army, while Khailebron and Zainthar Kai tend to see the most play. Draichi Ganeth also deserves a mention.
Draichi Ganeth – Witch Aelves and Sisters of Slaughter gain -1 to rend on the charge. In most cases Witch Aelves will be your workhorse unit so this is a very flexible faction. With the right buffs you can get Witch Aelves up to Rend -3, not bad for 115 points!
Hagg Nar – +1 to Battle Round for purposes of Blood Rites. Purely on its own this is a great buff, since it lets you open the game with +1 to charge and get those more important +1 to hit and +1 to wound bonuses as early as possible. When stacked with buffs from Hag Queen and Bloodwrack Medusa you can snowball really really. Easily the best “All-rounder’ buff if you don’t want to lean on one particular unit and just want to improve your entire army.
Khailebron – You gain a command ability Master of the Shadowpaths that can only be used by a hero at the end of the movement phase, but it lets you instantly teleport a unit anywhere on the board more than 9″ from the enemy. Since Daughters get +1 to charge on Round 2, they often can teleport and charge into anything they want with relative consistency. It also really puts the ball in their court on missions with 6 or more objectives, forcing your opponent to be unable to leave their objectives alone for even a second. As a nice bonus, Shadowstalkers also become battleline and they also get a teleport for free.
Khelt Nar – Units can retreat and charge. This isn’t terrible just more niche than some of the other options. You don’t have a ton of bonuses on the charge, but it does help with things like impact wounds on Cauldrons of Blood or a Mindrazor’d unit to get their +1 damage. Not terrible, just playing in a competitive field.
The Kraith – After a friendly Sisters of Slaughter unit fights, they can roll a die and on a 4+ fight again at the end of the round. A bit too luck based to be useful and only affects one unit which has very dubious utility. Probably the only one I’d hard pass on.
Zainthar Kai – Melusai units get fight on death, and Blood Sisters and Blood Stalkers get battleline. The fight on death is pretty good, though like most abilities that proc on death you should treat this as a nice bonus when things go awry rather than something to aspire toward. You lean more elite, don’t sacrifice your units too quickly. The Blood Sisters/Stalkers is a nice perk and saves you from the Ironscale tax.
Daughters have some really solid grand strategies, especially in light of the current GHB making the generic options much harder.
Bloodbath – All enemy heroes and Monsters need to have at least one wound on them, and all other units must have lost at least one model. Pretty doable with daughters, just be wary of opponents trying to screen you out, fire some ranged attacks just to at least check them off. B
Bloodthirsty Zealots – Everything in your army needs to have fought at least once during the game or have been killed. I like this one a lot, as all your heroes are generally at least competent in combat. It can be a bit of a risky snag for some of your wizards and priests, or if you brought a unit of Blood Stalkers. In those cases you’ll need to find them a weak target to get into combat with but not be killed on the back swing which, depending on the list, may not be possible. It’s a good strat, just be sure you’re comfortable with everything in your list getting into combat. On the plus side, you get it if you get tabled! B
Conquered in the Name of Khaine – End the battle with a Avatar of Khaine or Cauldron of Blood in your opponent’s territory. In most cases, this is good. I’d only pick it if you have 2 or more valid units because otherwise your opponent will focus fire to try and ruin your day, but if you have multiple valid units you can score this quite easily. B-
Naught but Destruction – Pick a defensible terrain feature wholly within enemy territory, or if you can’t, pick one anywhere on the field. Destroy it by the end of the battle. Absolute garbage because if your field has no garrisonable terrain you just lost before the game can even be started and in many cases that’s going to happen. F
Daughters of Khaine notoriously has some of the easiest battle tactics in the game, and mostly involve playing how you would anyway. I’m not going to rate them because their utility is based on your list and the current game state, but you have a lot of good choices here
Clash of Arms – 3 friendly units charged this turn. If 2 or more were Witch Aelves or Sisters of Slaughter, give yourself a third point. Very easy to do, as charging your army in is usually what you want to do. Don’t get greedy, because after you active your opponent will activate, and you don’t want one of your delicate witch aelf units to get absolutely destroyed before they fight. Worth noting that the ruling does not say friendly Daughters of Khaine units, so allies can get in on the fun too!
Cruel Delight – If 2 Khinerai units move using their warscroll ability, get 2 points. Notorious in the community for being brain dead, it’s basically impossible to fail with Heartrenders, since their ability always works. Worth the 190 points to drop them in, shoot and move.
Executioner’s Cult – Pick a Gladiatrix Unit and kill a friendly unit with the Killing Stroke. This is extremely risky because even if the Gladiatrix gets into combat with a Hero, it can go wrong in several ways. You may not do enough damage, or spike and kill it before the Killing Stroke can proc. Even if it does, it may not do enough damage to kill them. Skip this one.
Hatred of Chaos – Hagg Nar and Khelt Nar only. Kill 2 chaos units. If you end up in a match against Chaos and feel confident you can kill 2 units, go for it.
Tide of Blades – 2 or more units get into enemy territory, if 2 or more units are witch aelves (but not sisters of slaughter) get 3 points. Just like Clash of Arms it doesn’t say Daughters of Khaine units, so allies can help here too. This is basically a better Barge Through Enemy Lines and on maps with big deployment zones you can basically do these back to back while this season is in effect.
Unexpected Attack – A friendly Shadowstalker unit must teleport and successfully charge. A risky one because even with a +1 to charge, 9″ can be tough. Make sure you have at least 2 Shadowstalkers and rerolls handy just in case the dice hate you. Even then maybe pick something more certain first, like Tide of Blades.
Morathi-Khaine & The Shadow Queen
These 2 must be taken as a pair so we’ll look at the two in tandem. First, a common trait shared amongst them is the Heart of Khaine and One Soul, Two Bodies abilities. In short, the Shadow Queen can only take 3 points of damage per turn. That’s it, nothing in the game can get around this. If an ability would slay her outright, she takes 3 instead. If Morathi-Khaine takes any damage, the damage jumps over to Shadow Queen and the pattern continues as normal (If Shadow Queen already took 3 damage, nothing happens). When one dies, they both die. This requires your opponent to keep the pressure on Morathi and try and damage them for 3 damage at least once every turn (yours and your opponent’s). If they can keep up the pace, Shadow Queen and Morathi will survive for 2 rounds, and you probably have an idea of who’s going to win the game by then. If they don’t, she continues to be a nuisance until they can actually take her down.
Now as for what they do Morathi-Khaine (or Little Morathi as she is sometimes called in the community) is the caster of the pair and she is excellent at it. Morathi knows all the spells in the Lore of Shadows and can cast 3 spells and Unbind 2. Her warscroll spell Black Horror of Ulgu is powerful, dealing up to D6 mortal wounds from a whopping 36″ away. Her Command Ability Worship Through Bloodshed is one of the most powerful in the game, immediately issuing a command to fight or shoot in the Hero Phase. As a Warmaster, that means it’s always going to be 18″. It not only doubles damage output from a unit but many command abilities your opponent might use to defend themselves (Like All Out Defence) won’t work in the Hero Phase so you should always be trying to keep her in position to use this. Additionally, you can use it to clean up a unit you’re locked into combat with and be able to move in the following movement phase instead of retreating. She’s not even bad in combat, she can do some decent damage and is -1 to be hit (both by ranged and melee attacks) and since she shares the damage cap with Shadow-Queen it’s likely Shadow Queen will take 3 damage any way there’s a lot less risk in throwing little Morathi in alongside her. If Shadow Queen might not take 3 damage this turn, maybe hold back so youre not giving your opponent two opportunities to hurt her, It’ll keep them both alive another turn.
The Shadow Queen is more straight forward. She’s pretty much just a damage monster, but she is scary. Her attacks profile won’t even start degrading until Turn 3, guaranteed, so try and make the most of it early. Her Ranged attack is fairly reliable to connect but D6 damage can be very swingy. As a nice little bonus, she also gives a bonus attack to Melusai units within 18″. We’ll get to them later.
The verdict here is that they are essentially mandatory. If you treat them as one unit with 2 activations, like the game does, you’re paying 680 points for one of the strongest monsters and one of the best caster/buff pieces in the game and they wont get shot off the board turn 1. You can do lists without her, and it’s been done with a lot of success, but it’s going to be an uphill battle to not bring her. If you chose not to, it does liberate a lot of space for other things.
Bloodwrack Medusa is seeing a bit of a new lease on life since Morathi lost her +1 to cast from 2nd edition. While Bloodwrack Medusa doesn’t have that, she can take the Shadow Stone Artefact to gain that. You pretty much are going through all this trouble just to cast Mindrazor and yes, it really is that damn good. Her warscroll spell Enfeebling Foe is quite good, and if Mindrazor didn’t exist you probably would be casting it more often.
Other than that, she’s got a few other neat tricks. Melusai Kin lets you boost the battle round by 1 for Melusai units in the combat phase. It’s got a tight aura at only 12″, but worth it to get off. She’s not terrible in combat and can pick off some weaker heroes or chaff units, but is best kept just outside of it. Her ranged attack is an excellent horde clearer, rolling a die for each model in a unit within 12″ and dealing a mortal on each 5+. A solid all around Warrior-Wizard.
This is basically a Bloodwrack Medusa with a nice big base to improve her range on spells and increased range of command abilities and auras. She also has the Aura of Agony which does D3 Mortals to each enemy unit within 7+ based on a value starting at 2+ and degrading. Very niche uses but many have used its increased range successfully when a Cauldron of Blood isn’t really needed or won’t fit.
Your stock priest and priced to move at 115 points. Other than being able to chant a prayer, she also is able to hand out +1 to the battle round for Battle Rites to a unit within 12″. Its better than the Bloodwrack’s version, because it happens in the Hero Phase instead of the combat phase, and works on any unit instead of just Melusai units. Take her on foot if you have the points left over, but if you want to integrate her into the core of your strategy, consider the Cauldron of Blood instead.
Hag Queen on Cauldron of Blood
All the benefits of the on foot version, most of the Avatar of Khaine, and more at a discount price. Like the Bloodwrack Shrine it increases the aura substantially due to a rather large base size but it does a lot more for the Hag Queen than the Shrine does for the Medusa.
First, Altar of Khaine (courtesy of the Avatar of Khaine riding on it) gives them +1 to chant rolls within 9″, including itself of course, so any prayers you have are effectively a 2+. There’s also the Bloodshield which gives a much needed +1 to save to everything within a large aura. It starts at 18″ but shrinks as it takes damage. Importantly, it is a Totem, so it can issue orders from 18″ even if not a general and also gives Witch Aelves a +1 to wound.
Finally, because of the Avatar riding on top you get his sword attacks which are 4 Rend -2 Damage 3 attacks. Pretty gnarly when taken with all the other attacks, and the impact hits. This thing is decently hardy and does a good job clearing out a lot chaff so your real heavy hitters can get where they need to go, all while keeping them in fighting shape.
Consider this girl a tax if you want to bring reinforced Witch Aelves. At only 90 points her combat profile isn’t very impressive, but she can potentially kill a hero that is partially wounded with Killing Stroke.
The real draw is that she makes all Witch Aelves and Sisters of Slaughter 3+ to wound and Rend -1. Importantly, that 3+ to wound is not a +1, it changes the value entirely. So you can stack a +1 and get a 2+ quite easily. Absolutely essential if you’re taking the 30 witch aelves route.
The primary reason to bring this one is that she makes Blood Sisters and Blood Stalkers battleline. If you don’t want to play Zainthar Kai to get this (and to be fair, its ability does rely on dying to work) then shes a shoe-in.
Other than that, she brings some nice tricks to the table. Gory Offering gives Melusai units an extra attack if she kills something, which she usually can do, but the aura is only 12″ so it can be a bit finnicky. Wrath of the Scathborn is a command ability that gives Melusai run and charge which is huge for Blood Sisters.
She’s pretty solid if you want your main damage dealer to be 15 Blood Sisters but don’t want to go into Zainthar Kai. Her other perks are solid but niche.
Morgwaeth the Bloodied and the Blade Coven
Underworlds Warband so lets assess them together. In short? Bad. She’s just a named Hag Queen, meaning she can’t take any artefacts or command traits and has a bad unit of witch aelves stapled onto her cost. If you look at older lists, you might see her a fair bit, because she was erroneously printed as costing less than a generic Hag Queen. Don’t be fooled, she’s bad.
Your other priestess. Her main value is that she has her own version of Morathi’s Worship Through Bloodshed, which only covers melee, but you can increase the range and use both on two seperate units if you want to spend the CP. Because Morathi does her job but better, you usually won’t see her as often, but she doesn’t cost that much more than a hag queen so if you want to try for the double hero phase fight, she can do that.
Slaughter Queen on Cauldron of Blood
Basically everything applies from the Hag Queen on Cauldron of Blood. It gets all the perks that the mount gives, while having the Slaughter Queen traits instead of the Hag Queen, naturally. Not bad, but the priciest of the 3 chariots which makes it a tough sell.
Slythael Shadestalker and The Shadeborn
It’s tough to ascertain where these guys stand right now. They’re basically more expensive Shadowstalkers, however Slythael has a 4+ Ward when more than 9″ from the enemy. So as long as they keep far away they are significantly reducing the threats of shooting and spells to themselves. I’d argue Shadowstalkers are probably still better at 9 for about half the cost, but the Ward could be useful.
Sisters of Slaughter
These aren’t bad exactly. Their attack profile is functionally identical to the Witch Aelves, with 3+ to hit, 4+ to wound, Rend – and Damage 1 attacks. Which is pretty bad, but here are several ways to improve it that allow them to far surpass the cost. Both Sisters of Slaughter and Witch Aelves can take a shield to improve their save by 1 and do mortal wounds on 6s to save, or an extra dagger for a bonus attack. Generally better to just take the dagger, but there’s a good argument for the shield when using them as backline objective holders rather than the vanguard.
What they have over Witch Aelves is a 6″ pile-in, which is a rare ability that is deceptively powerful. Cheeky opponents will struggle a lot more to try and sit on the lip of the point if you can move into them no matter what. The problem with them is they’re 20 points more than witch aelves and I’m not really sure it’s worth that. If you have the leftover points, worth considering but otherwise Witch Aelves do the job.
Same as the Sisters of Slaughter, without the 2″ weapon and the 6″ pile-in. What they do get is a +1 to wound when wholly within 12″ of a Totem, which generally means the Avatar of Khaine or Cauldron of Blood. This means that nominally, Witch Aelves are a bit more killy at the end of the day for cheaper. A unit of 30 of these girls, with all of the buffs you can muster can do an absolutely devastating amount of damage fighting above their weight class.
Avatar of Khaine
We already got a glimpse of what the Avatar does in the Cauldron of Blood, but he has a few other tricks. In addition to having a decent sword attack and being a Totem for the Witch Aelves, he also has a 5+ ward and can do monstrous rampages despite not being one (though only stomp and smash to rubble).
He is insanely cheap for what he does and if you have space left over it’s worth considering as your linebreaker.
Battleline in Zanthar Kai or with a Melusai Ironscale General. The melee variant, a bit more of a premium than Witch Aelves, costing 140 for 5. However they do get 2 wounds instead of 1 with a 5+ so they’re about as resilient. The benefit of these ladies over witch Aelves is that while Witch Aelves can be quite powerful, they need a lot of stacking buffs. Blood Sisters are stock 3 attacks a piece (4 if within 18″ of Shadow Queen) at 3 to hit, 3 to wound, Rend -1 and Damage 1. Additionally, they deal mortal wounds on a 2+ for each model in their unit immediately after fighting which means an average of 4-5 wounds for each 5 on top of combat damage. Not bad at all. Take these in squads of 10-15, as they are still delicate and you want to be able to have a unit still standing at the end of the day so they can rally.
Little tip to maximize their damage: The mortal wounds after combat is only a unit within 1″ and doesn’t include a pile-in, so if your opponent is smart they will try and pull models to get them outside of 1″. If he has a another unit next to them, try and charge them both. Put all your attacks into one unit and then mortal wound the other.
Battleline in Zanthar Kai or with a Melusai Ironscale General. A practical staple unit, 10-15 of these in one unit will drop an artillery strike on almost any unit. 2 shots per model at 24″ with Rend -1 is pretty good, but on a 6 to hit it does a mortal instead. There aren’t ways to improve the mortal wounds like Lumineth Realm-Lords, but with Morathi on the field she can tell them to shoot in the Hero phase, giving you twice the shots.
The cost is a problem, and ideally you’d want to take 15. At 540 points that’s pretty rough when you already spent 680 on Morathi. Worth the cost, but that list is starting to look pretty slim.
I want to like these guys. They’re a unit of wizards and all the components are there it just doesn’t really come together. Their Scimitars are pretty bleh with a base attack of 4+, but they get +1 to Casting with 5 or more models, have a respectable 14″ movement and their warscroll spell is honestly not bad at clearing hordes.
It just doesn’t really gel with the faction because it costs a bit too much to get there and you already have wizards who do the job just fine, and teleports are going to beat fast movement in most cases. They’re not terrible if you like them, but unlikely to see a ton of use.
Battleline in Khailebron. These guys are great, but you have to build around them. Their weapons are mediocre, with a so-so shooting attack and a sub-par melee weapon. They have a 4+ save, which is really good when grading on a curve for the faction. Their key ability is the Shadow Leap which lets them teleport instead of moving. They’re hardy enough to survive against chaff and teleport out, capturing any unattended points. The only drawback is they’re a bit costly, but they’re worth it to do their job.
These ladies rock. They can be set off the board to start and deep strike in. Their ranged attack might do some plink damage, but the real boon is Fire and Flight which allows a free move of 6″ after attacking. So even if your opponent has placed things so you can’t deep strike on the point, you can throw your spears and move closer so you sit on the lip, or move away. If you can fit 2 units in you also get the most slam dunk faction battle tactic in the game Cruel Delight and at only 95 points each that is pretty easy to comfortably fit in to many lists.
While Heartrenders are awesome, these are not. Functionally very similar, with a melee focus rather than throwing spears, their first of Fire and Flight, Fight and Flight is not a guarantee, but requires a 4+ roll. No thank you.
The bad one, it deal a mortal wound to each unit it passes over on a 2+ and lets you ignore cover when attacking them. Not great, because cover so rarely makes the difference. You got a much better endless spell.
This does 2 major things, first its primary role is that after moving you can pick a unit within 1″ and roll 3 dice, for each roll that is equal to that units wound characteristic, slay a model. This means it’ll pick up a few hordes but also has a good chance of killing more elite units or even foot heroes (You roll 3 dice regardless of the number of models, so thats 3 chances to get that 5 or 6 you need). The second use is that it can Stomp or Smash to Rubble, despite not being a Monster, just like the Avatar, which is a nifty side perk.
Heart of Fury
This invocation is insane for what it does, all enemy attacks attacking friendly units wholly within 12″ are -1 damage. The base is pretty small, so it’s a tight squeeze but for your glass cannon units it makes it much easier to hold your ground on a key objective and push back against them. If you have a priest and 45 points, squeeze this in.
Gavin Grigar – 1st Place at Games Workshop Kansas City (October 2022)
Gavin's List - Click to Expand
Allegiance: Daughters of Khaine
– Temple: Zainthar Kai
– Mortal Realm: Ghur
– Grand Strategy: Bloodthirsty Zealots
– Triumphs: Inspired
The Shadow Queen (340)*
Bloodwrack Medusa (130)*
– Command Trait: Zealous Orator
– Artefact: Crown of Woe
– Universal Spell Lore: Flaming Weapon
15 x Blood Stalkers (540)*
– Reinforced x 2
10 x Blood Sisters (280)*
– Reinforced x 1
10 x Witch Aelves (115)*
– Sacrificial Knives and Blade Bucklers
5 x Khinerai Heartrenders (95)*
5 x Khinerai Heartrenders (95)*
Endless Spells & Invocations
Chronomantic Cogs (40)
Total: 1975 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 3 / 4
Allies: 0 / 400
In many ways this is sort of the platonic ideal of Daughters lists. Morathi leading 15 bow snakes is a core to the army that has worked since the army came out and will continue to work for the forseeable future. There’s many ways to build around this core design, some settle for 10 Blood Stalkers to free up for other things, and some go for a priest instead of a Bloodwrack but as one of the most recent 5-0s well focus on this.
Morathi and the blood sisters remain a solid core for a reason – Morath can order them to shoot in the Hero phase and then again in the shooting phase. Their 6s to hit dealing mortals and some additional Rend -1 shots helps soften up enemies from range, or clear out screens that might impede your progress. Then, the Blood Sisters and Shadow Queen can charge in with the hammer. Bloodwrack Medusa can do some decent support with Enfeebling Foe and she gets a solid volume of attacks that Flaming Weapon can carry some weight.
The Witch Aelves finish things off with a disposable screen or back line objective holder, and the Khinerai Heartrender dive in for not only an easy battle tactic but a way to snag backline objectives the opponent has moved off of.
Thomas Guan – 5th Place at Old Town Throwdown Teams (November 2022)
Thomas's List - Click to Expand
Army Faction: Daughters of Khaine
– Army Subfaction: Hagg Nar
– Grand Strategy: Bloodthirsty Zealots
– Triumphs: Indomitable
1 x Slaughter Queen (130)
– Prayers: Sacrament of Blood
1 x Hag Queen on Cauldron of Blood (270)***
– Artefacts: Arcane Tome
– Spells: Mindrazor
– Prayers: Covenant of the Iron Heart
1 x High Gladiatrix (90)***
– Artefacts: Crown of Woe
1 x Melusai Ironscale (115)***
– Command Traits: Zealous Orator
10 x Sisters of Slaughter (135)*
– Kruiplash and Bladed Buckler
10 x Sisters of Slaughter (135)*
– Kruiplash and Bladed Buckler
30 x Witch Aelves (345)*
– 6 x Death Pennant Bearer
– 6 x Hornblower
– Sciansá and Bladed Buckler
10 x Blood Sisters (280)**
10 x Blood Sisters (280)**
1 x Avatar of Khaine (155)
1 x Heart of Fury (45)
TOTAL POINTS: (1980/2000)
Created with Warhammer Age of Sigmar: The App
Thomas has run minor variations on this list at several GTs, usually going 4-1 or 5-0. This is the most recent so we’ll focus on this. Seemingly intent on avoiding the units most consider “best” in the faction, namely Morathi and Blood Stalkers, the list does open up magnicently when that combined 1220 weight isnt around your neck anymore.
The prime hammer here is the 30 witch aelves, which with the Gladiatrix is a potential 61 Rend -1 2+ to hit/2+ to wound, Rend -2 Damage 2 with all the buffs properly stacked. Everything else in the list can reliable do damage too. 10 Blood Sisters can mess up a decently weak unit without much support while the sisters of slaughter make capturing any objectives near impossible without fighting them first.
As it stands right now, Daughters of Khaine are one of the stronger factions in the game. They have a strong toolbox of tricks that allow them to deal with a variety of foes, and are almost unmatched in the combat phase. Due to their delicate nature they need to learn proper tempo play, but if timed properly they can usually annihilate anything that gets in their way.
This delicateness can make them surprisingly hard to play, as if they get into combat at the wrong time it can be deadly, but with proper practice they are one of the absolute terrors of the meta right now.