In the wild expanse of the cosmos, in the immaterial realm of the soul, there exist deities formed of the human psyche. The greatest among them are Chaos Gods who embody myriad aspects of all sapient races.
Among them, the eldest is Khorne, God of Blood. He goes by many titles including Lord of Rage, the Taker of Skulls, the Blood God, and the Master of the Brazen Throne. All equally violent and evocative of Khorne’s brutal nature. A God that ought to prosper in a war-ridden galaxy of Warhammer 40k.
Introduction to Khorne
Khorne is a malevolent Chaos God in the Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40,000 universes. Khorne is the god of blood, violence, and war, and his followers value strength and martial prowess above all else. Khorne is depicted as a massive, muscular figure wielding a blood-stained axe, and his symbol is a skull with two crossed swords.
Khorne is a powerful Chaos God. He is the god of war, blood, and violence, revered by warriors and despised by those who value peace. Khorne embodies the unrelenting pursuit of martial glory and the spilling of blood in his name. His followers are known for their brutality and unyielding nature in battle
Khorne is one of the oldest Chaos Gods. Based on every creature’s violent impulse, Khorne is also the most powerful among the four. Many are unwary servants of the Blood God, as their brutal pursuits only bolster this entity.
The Domain of Khorne: Bloodshed and Warfare
Khorne is a simple deity to follow. This entity cares not from where the blood flows, just that it does. Hence one of Khorne’s titles, the Blood God. Each servant of Khorne needs to show their worship through consistent struggle and violence.
There are no temples dedicated to Khorne. The only palace of worship is the battlefield, which is considered as this God’s temple. Spilling blood, slaying enemies, and furthering the violence of the cosmos during clashes of armies is the true way to honor him. In fact, wasting time on building temples is likelier to provoke Khorne’s wrath than favor.
There is a very good reason why followers of Khorne have their warcry be “Blood for the Blood God! Skulls for the Skull Throne!”. The excessiveness of the wanton violence preached by his more zealous followers deems it required to do slaying in such a manner. Forever filling Khorne’s realm with the trophies of conquest.
The Importance of Khorne in Warhammer 40k
Khorne is a very firmly established deity in the pantheon of Warhammer 40k. His enviable position as the god of hate, rage, violence, and bloodshed makes him frequently involved in the destructive actions of Chaos.
It is Khorne’s nature to destroy, hence he’s more than keen to oblige to do so when possible.
Khorne has a dislike for sorcery, believing blood and battle are to be won through physical contact. Hence why Blood God is less than keen on Tzeentch, the Chaos God who has sorcery as one of his domains. However, Tzeentch is far from the greatest annoyance to Tzeentch.
As for the Plague Father, Nurgle, Khorne holds a bit more respect. However, the stagnancy and complacency of Nurgle go against Khorne’s desire for direct action.
However, among the four Chaos Gods, Khorne dislikes Slaanesh the most. The Dark Prince is the extreme opposite of Khorne. Slaanesh is focused on slow corruption through myriad pleasures, while Khorne requires instant gratitude of rage from his newfound followers.
The Lore of Khorne
Each of the Chaos Gods differs greatly from the others. Additionally, each has fully manifested at a different age in history. The full manifestations came in at the point where their respective domain was most accented in the galaxy.
The Origins and History of Khorne
The origins of Khorne are twofold. Old canon notes Khorne as having fully formed during Mongol invasions. With him being the first fully formed Chaos God, this gives the entire pantheon a rather young inception. Doubly so when we consider that the history of the world goes dozens of millennia back.
With the other origin, it’s assumed Khorne, Nurgle, and Tzeentch all formed during the War in Heaven, an ancient cosmic conflict. As Necrontyr, latter turned into Necrons, and Old ones, a race of super-advanced psychic beings, clashed across the cosmos the spiritual realm of the universe was shaken.
Extreme violence, death, and schemes gave form to the three Chaos Gods, the fourth one only appearing millions of years later. With Khorne being the first one to emerge. The extent of the bloodshed that was War in Heaven made this Chaos God the most powerful.
Those that follow Khorne are warriors. The worship of these followers was done through bloodshed and nothing else. Slaying one’s foes is the key way of garnering the respect of the Blood God.
It’s not enough that you kill, it has to be an earnest slaughter filled with struggle. Killing unarmed and weak is likelier to invoke scorn than praise from Khorne.
Khorne is said to live within the Fortress of Khorne. A realm that is filled with murder and conflict which the Chaos God fancies.
Khorne’s realm is covered in blood, air rings with the clash of weapons, and the bloodlust of the Chaos God is tangible within the air itself.
Further in is a great lake of blood. In this lake, is a mountain of bleached skulls, atop which rests a brass throne that houses Khorne himself. The skulls and blood are monuments to the achievements of Khorne’s followers, forever increasing in number as the slayings continue.
Khorne’s sacred number is 8. That number is firmly present in the organization of his armies and actions. If the number 8 won’t satisfy then multiples of it will, but it’s hard to imagine ever seeing numbers associated with Khorne that aren’t in some way related to 8.
Boisterous and fierce, Khorne is willing to grant gifts to those who follow in his steps.
Khorne is known for his immense power, which includes control over the realm of violence, bloodshed, and martial prowess. He can grant his followers incredible strength and combat prowess, as well as the ability to tap into the raw, destructive power of the Warp.
Khorne is also believed to have the power to influence events across the galaxy, inspiring bloodshed and carnage wherever he goes.
Boons of Khorne
Khorne is more than keen on exercising his powers. Offering a variety of boons to those who deserve his favor. The Blood Good will provide one of the following benefits to those who would spill blood on the battlefield in his name.
- Daemonic weapons
- Physical mutations
- Enhanced strength
The more prominent of a slayer a follower of Khorne becomes, the more mutated they become. Eventually, these champions will be considered for the ascension into a daemon prince.
Curses of Khorne
A notable curse of Khorne is the Murder-Curse. It’s as simple as it sounds, the curse turns people into bloodthirsty, raging madmen. The symptoms of the curse are red eyes, blue-black veins, and constant screams that praise Khorne.
Those corrupted by Khorne experience incredible bloodlust and often descend into mindless frenzy. Though none are safe, the afflictions of Khorne are most likely to manifest within the brutal locations of the universe.
The Daemons of Khorne
Every Chaos God has its own daemons. These reflect the domains of the Chaos God, sometimes being literal fragments of them. Regardless, there are quite a few types of daemons, each with unique traits.
Among the lesser Daemons of Khorne, Bloodletters are the most common. These daemons are easily identified by their horned and tall heads, hunched posture, and blood-colored skin.
In battle, these daemons are extremely savage and fierce. Rushing into the thick of the battle to showcase their martial prowess and spill as much blood as possible. They are skilled but very impulsive. Without somebody to guide them, Bloodletters descend into an unfocused rage of bloodshed.
However, you shouldn’t be fooled into thinking this makes them any less of a threat.
The weapon of choice for them are Hellblades. These weapons can tear through armor and flesh alike, rending the very soul of its victims. Some may wield different weapons but these daemonic swords are key ones.
Flesh hounds represent Daemonic Beasts of Khorne. Their appearance is vaguely canine, hence their name, though the daemonic nature is easy to distinguish through the bone protrusions, incredible size, and rending maw.
These tireless predators can easily track down their prey and are immune to psychic attacks. The focus of these speedy beasts is often on eliminating key targets on the battlefield such as generals.
Plenty of other daemons compose armies of Khorne. These include:
- Juggernauts: daemons made of daemonic metal to be used as mounts
- Bloodcrushers: daemonic cavalry combining Bloodthirsters and Juggernauts
- Daemon Engines of Khorne: half-technology, half-daemons constructs
The Lord of Rage’s worship is to be expected in such an aggressive universe. The number of his devotees is frequently kept in check by their recklessness, which makes their lives short. However, that doesn’t mean there weren’t or aren’t many notable members among his followers.
Khorne’s Mortal Champions: The World Eaters Legion
The twelfth legion of space marines used to be called War Hounds. Their name somewhat stems from extremely aggressive candidates picked during screening for the legion. Though the hound in their name was a prideful note of appreciation by their primarch, Angron.
However, as time rolled on, their behavior became far more fierce. Angron himself required that his legions be augmented with Butcher’s Nails. An augmentation that connects straight to one’s skull, increasing their fierceness in combat. Eventually, his legions all bore this augment.
With so much rage amongst their number, it was only a question of time before Angron’s legion would go down the path of the Lord of Rage. Changing their name to World Eaters and openly worshiping the Chaos God. Many of his numbers became Khorne Berzerkers and the organization of the once mighty legion crumbled.
Now, the World Eaters roam the galaxy in plentiful warbands. Spilling blood wherever possible while crushing any foe in their path. Recently, their primarch returned as a daemon prince. Ready to set the galaxy on fire, the daemon primarch now leads plentiful numbers of his sons across the sector.
Of course, Khorne is rarely lacking in terms of warriors. Khorne Berzerkers, whom we mentioned before, are the most recognized of his followers. These violent warriors fight with all forms of chain weaponry, rushing into the grievous melee. The only ranged weapon they employ being a simple pistol, which only holds purpose until enemies are within axe range.
One of the most well-known warbands of Khorne-aligned traitor marines. Skulltakers are led by Zhufor, a chaos lord of much renown, who has spent millennia in constant, unyielding violence.
Zhufor leads Skulltakers into battle, the most important of which include: the Invasion of Ultramar, Cholercaust Blood Crusade, and Siege of Vraks. The last one earned him the nickname “Butcher of Vraks”.
Khorne has cults that spread his furious behavior. Among them, some of the most known followers are:
- The Blood Pact
- Blood Cults
- Blooded Hands
- Cadian 666th
- Eightfold Blessing
- Sons of Slaughter
The cultists are still warriors in their practice. Showcasing the worship by slaughtering in the name of Khorne and little else.
Khorne’s Influence in Other Factions
No sapient creature is ever truly safe from Khorne. The domains of rage and bloodlust have made this Chaos God’s worship wide and his warbands loudly heard:
Chaos Space Marines:
- Blades of Rage
- Blades of the Despoiler
- Blood Disciples
- Uraka’s Head-Hunters
- Rage Legion
- House Annihilation
- Legio Audax
- Legio Vulpa
Khorne in Gameplay
Of course, just like every other chaos God, Khorne’s followers, and daemons are playable on the tabletop. These units are often characterized by their powerful charges. Getting into melee spikes the power of the army significantly.
Khorne’s Strengths and Weaknesses
Khorne wants to spill blood and by Skull Throne the rules allow you to do so. Extra attacks, better charges, and devastating potency in melee are all you need.
However, Khorne hates sorcerers. Which means your armies will be lacking any psychic powers. That makes Khorne quite vulnerable to psykers, as they cannot attempt to deny their casts.
Depending on the general composition of your army, it’s possible to have barely any ranged firepower too. While this can be troublesome to play with, it’s something Khorne has many ways to deal with.
Although, in the end, Khorne is squarely focused on melee combat. Find the optimal way to rush past distractions and dice up your foes as soon as possible if you want best results. Which is something the numerous mobility options will enable.
Khorne in Different Game Modes
Though not the strongest, Khorne does possess quite a few good units in his army. Matched play can be a bit tough due to rough ranged abilities and no psykers. However, they are still extremely potent in melee. Even more so with all the abilities to close the distance.
Narrative play is a bit more satisfying. As narrative play generally pits players with premade armies or affords little starting points if you are doing something like Crusade, it’s easier to cover your weakness.
Open play, once again, helps with options a bit. Fewer meta armies mean more people will bring less-rounded options. This is beneficial to Khorne as people may focus on some less efficient choices.
Khorne Best Units and Strategies
Khorne units are typically melee-focused and excel at close combat. They include units such as Bloodletters, Skullreapers, and Khorne Berzerkers.
Strategies for Khorne armies often involve getting these units into close combat as quickly as possible and utilizing abilities and buffs that enhance their combat effectiveness. Khorne armies may also benefit from having fast-moving units that can quickly close the distance with enemy units.
Army building with Khorne is very direct. Max out on your strongest melee and then get the support that will allow those units to survive.
Within the options of your roster, these are always safe picks:
- Flesh Hounds
Though we mentioned them before, these daemons are best for Khorne’s strategies. These almost always end up in melee combat. To get to melee, make sure to hide behind any available cover while opening the path for your best charging units. Leave the least mobile units on objectives.
Khorne is among the simpler of the Chaos Gods. His desires for slaughter and violence are bolstered by a battle-weary universe. Though the simplicity of Khorne’s actions is a bit dull, the threat he and his daemons pose within the world is still palpable. With the sheer might of those within their ranks, it’s best to never face a daemon than judge its motives.