Total War: Warhammer 3 – Khorne Beginner Guide

Quick Links

  • Khorne's Playstyle
  • Key Units
  • Unique Mechanics
  • Legendary Lord
  • First Ten Turns

Blood for the Blood God, Skulls for the Skull Throne! Khorne, the Chaos God of War, Rage, and Strength, brings an aggressive and brutal edge to Total War: Warhammer III. Specialising in powerful melee units, Khorne can quickly dominate both the battlefield and campaign map, and provides a fun, fast-paced playstyle that is backed up by a deadly army roster.

This beginners guide will cover the fundamentals of a successful Khorne campaign, including army and campaign recommendations, unique mechanics, Legendary Lord, and advice for the first ten turns.

Khorne's Playstyle

Best Matchup: Slaanesh – They will have come into melee to kill you, and that is where you shine, especially as Slaaneshi units possess extremely low armor and durability

Worst Matchup: Nurgle – His units have the ability to outlast you, and on the campaign map, his constant plagues can prove problematic to your advances

Khorne plays in the exact opposite way to Tzeentch. His strengths lie in powerful aggressive melee infantry and cavalry, and lacks any substantial spell casting or missile units. Your preferred playstyle will generally remain similar in most matchups, run at the enemy and kill them! You should expect to win the majority of infantry contests, or at the very least inflict heavy casualties, and you are able to protect your flanks with some strong cavalry options in the form of Bloodcrushers and Skullcrushers.

Khorne does not come with any reliable spell casters or missile users, and has to rely mainly on Skullcannons for any form of long range damage. While very powerful, Khorne cannot compete with factions such as Tzeentch or Cathay when it comes to inflicting damage from afar. Your best bet against factions such as these are to either flank them with cavalry, smash through their frontline, or go over top with Bloodthirsters. You should dominate in melee, and your units are not slow either, unlike Nurgle.

Battlefield Tips

Strangely for the God of War, Khorne can sometimes struggle on the battlefield. Other factions possess a greater variety of options, whereas he will always have to be the aggressor. It is best to lean into the role, not waiting for your opponents to engage, but instead be proactive. You can flank very effectively with either Minotaurs or cavalry, and get your Bloodthirsters onto either the enemy Lord, or ranged troops.

Blasting through the weakest point of your opponents line is your number one priority, as this can allow you to surround enemy units, or being to run at their ranged, forcing them to kite. While you excel in melee, you should be aware of any enemy spells that might punish you for blobbing.

You will not have any spells of your own, and are instead reliant on Lord and Hero abilities, as well as Army Abilities. While some of these can be useful, microing spell casters is not something you are going to have to worry about when playing Khorne.

  • Some units to avoid are the Soul Grinder of Khorne, and Spawn of Khorne. Both of these are fairly weak, and other units in your possession can fulfill their roles much better.

Khorne may not have the most creative of rosters to choose from, but you will have some of the highest damage Infantry in the entire Warhammer world.

Campaign Tips

While Khorne can field some strong units on the battlefield, it is on the campaign map where he truly shines. The combination of Blood Host, Bloodletting, and Blood For The Blood God allow you to maintain momentum even in the very early game. They provide the perfect storm for enabling an aggressive playstyle. Gaining movement after razing and winning battles is extremely powerful, and the casualty replenishment provided by Bloodletting means you won't need to stop and heal as much as other factions. Utilise Blood Hosts to capture minor settlements, while your main army tackles the heavily defended areas.

Sometimes razing for Skulls will be better than razing for a Blood Host, especially when it comes to conserving money. Khorne will often operate at a loss, as you will need to manage your income in order to take attrition. Both sacking and raiding will help with your cash flow, as well as remembering that Blood Hosts are very expendable, and should be thrown away if income becomes a severe problem. Being able to replenish in foreign territory is absolutely incredible, and means you can keep up the pressure without waiting to heal.

However, this military might does come with a drawback. Khorne is awful at diplomacy, receiving negative relations with every other faction. Get any deals you can in the early game, because by the time you have rampaged across half the world, nobody is going to like you very much…

Key Units

UnitDescriptionTips
Bloodletters of Khorne
  • Very cost-effective, high damage, semi low durability
  • Your starting melee infantry, these are fantastic for trading up against more valuable enemies, thanks to their magical and armour-piercing attacks
Minotaurs of Khorne (Great Weapons)
  • Khorne's best anti-large unit, good speed, high damage
  • Preferred to the standard Minotaur variant, these are great for taking down large single entity monsters, such as Terracotta Sentinels
Bloodthirster
  • Large, flying, single entity monsters with massive damage output and good speed
  • Great choices for attacking enemy ranged units, these winged Daemons are strong in melee and make a great doomstack
  • A special mention should go to the Skullcannon, as this provides your only strong ranged option and can be useful to round out an army build.

Unique Mechanics

Skulls

Rather fittingly for the Skull God, you will want to gather as much of this unique currency as possible. There are plenty of ways to generate them, including battles, buildings, sieges, and dilemmas. Enemy armies will spawn piles of skulls for you to collect, and Khorne can end up being quite reliant on these, as they are needed in order to occupy settlements and research technologies. If there are ruined settlements in a region with an occupied Khornate one, then there is a chance every turn to passively colonise the ruins. This means you should occupy sparingly, as you can rely on passively spreading your territory without hindering your armies.

Skulls can also be used to activate The Skull Throne, a powerful ten turn buff that grants your armies multiple benefits:

  • Increased movement range after razing
  • Increase to post battle income
  • Army ability to summon a unit of Bloodletters
  • Increase to Blood Host unit numbers on spawn

Blood Hosts

One of the strongest unique mechanics to grace the trilogy, Blood Hosts allow you to keep up map pressure and provides an advantage for razing instead of occupying. Choosing the Blood for the Blood God option when razing, provides casualty replenishment rate for your army, and spawns a friendly Blood Host army. The unit numbers/quality will depend on your technologies, skills, and how many previous Blood Hosts you have spawned. You cannot add to or take away from these armies, and you should treat them as an expendable resource. These armies can help you continue your rampage across the map, and are entirely built to generate you momentum. A fantastic way to claim territory and farm to farm skulls, Blood Hosts are the key mechanic to making Khorne snowball out of control.

Bloodletting

Similar in nature to the Greenskins Fightiness mechanic, Bloodletting encourages you to keep up your aggression throughout the game, granting multiple bonuses to your armies for continually winning battles. This synergises greatly with Blood Hosts, as you will be fighting a great number of battles. Although Khorne normally exists with an income deficit, Bloodletting is a reliable way to reduce army upkeep and increase casualty replenishment, both crucial for maintaining momentum.

Unholy Manifestations and Corruption

All Chaos Daemon factions possess the Unholy Manifestations mechanic, whereby they may exorcise a powerful rite with a cooldown. Khorne's Manifestations require a certain amount of Khorne Corruption to unlock, and become enhanced when he is in Ascendance in The Great Game.

  • The Great Game: The Chaos Gods will cycle through who is currently the Ascendant, granting the holder stronger Unholy Manifestations. There is currently no way to influence this.

Khorne has the following Manifestations available to him:

ManifestationDescriptionTips
Eternal WarSpawns a small Khornate army that immediately attacks your own army.
  • Very useful for increasing your Bloodletting meter, and to generate Skulls/income
  • The army is extremely weak and should be an easy victory every time
Call of BattleGrants a large increase to campaign movement range for one turn.
  • Useful if you want to make an aggressive play or catch up to a fleeing enemy army
Slaughter IncarnateDoubles Skull gains from battle for several turns.
  • Nice for increased Skull generation
  • Best used when you know you will be fighting a large amount of battles in a short period of time
Khorne's GlareDisables a friendly army’s movement for several turns. At the end it razes the local settlement and gives a massive number of skulls.
  • Useful for when you need a large supply of Skulls, or when you were going to disband the army anyway
  • Alongside unlocking later Manifestations, Khorne Corruption will grant you bonuses to Control, Melee Attack and Melee Defence.

Cults

All Chaos Daemon factions can create Cultist settlements within other faction areas. Within these you can construct special Infrastructure buildings that can passively generate resources.

While free Skulls are certainly nice, the most intriguing building is certainly the Arena.

  • Arena: Destroys the cult upon completion but teleports your faction leader (and their army) to the settlement.

This can be incredible, as it allows you to instantly arrive somewhere else on the map and continue your destructive rampage!

Legendary Lord

Khorne's chosen Legendary Lord (ironically) is Skarbrand the Exiled. The greatest of the Exalted Bloodthirsters, Skarbrand once grew so arrogant he dared to strike Khorne when his back was turned. Khorne merely laughed and cast Skarband down from the Brass Citadel, doomed to exile for eternity. Skarbrand nows wanders the Warhammer world, seeking to amass as many Skulls as possible in order regain Khorne's favour.

A devastating melee Lord, Skarbrand gains bonuses to Blood Host unit creation, Regeneration for himself, and wields a devastating unique weapon, Slaughter and Carnage, that grows stronger with each kill he makes on the battlefield.

Strategy with Skarbrand is quite simple. Let him kill stuff. Very few units can go toe-to-toe with him in a duel, and Skarbrand actually has decent speed, allowing him to be powerful yet mobile.

His Lord effects are:

EffectTips
Increased Campaign Movement range after winning a battle
  • Absolutely ridiculous!
  • Skarbrand is unrivaled in his aggression, constantly advancing across the map, and synergises amazingly with The Skull Throne's movement increase after razing.
Lower recruitment cost when in razed or enemy territory
  • Very handy as you will not be sitting around in friendly territory for very long

Important skills to level on Skarbrand include:

  • Blood Feast
  • Unholy Resilience
  • Drinker of Blood
  • Restless Fury
  • Locus of Endless War
  • Lightning Strike

Skarbrand can really make use of many of the utility skills, as they will allow him to keep his army constantly moving and replenishing. Although it can simply be more fun to turn him into a one unit doomstack by buffing his combat strength….

First Ten Turns

When playing as Skarbrand the Exiled, you will begin your campaign in the Bloodfire Falls province, holder of the Infernius settlement.

TurnObjective
One
  • Immediately activate The Skull Throne
  • Attack and destroy the enemy Gharhar army (try to manually fight)
  • Level Route Marcher on Skarbrand
  • Move and attack The Brass Glacier (best to manually fight in order to preserve your army)
  • Raze the settlement with Blood for the Blood God
  • Move Skarbrand as far South as possible and choose Daemonic Portal stance, recruit three Bloodletters of Khorne
  • Level Inspiring Presence on Skarbrand
  • Move your new Bloodreaper South to try and catch up to your army
  • Demolish the Kennels in Infernius and build a War Amphitheatre
  • Research Serial Killing in the Technology Tree
Two
  • Move both of your armies as far South as you can without marching
  • Activate the Eternal War Unholy Manifestation on Skarbrand's army
  • Defeat the small force, and this should grant you enough movement to attack Deathaxe's Monolith with your Blood Host reinforcing
  • This will be a hard battle, but very winnable with both of your armies
  • Raze the settlement with Blood for the Blood God
  • Build a Khornate Calefactor and upgrade your War Amphitheatre in Infernius
  • Level Skulltakers three times and Blood Feast once on Skarbrand
  • Move Skarbrand North West and enter Daemonic Portal stance
  • Move the Bloodreaper South
Three
  • March your Blood Hosts North West and move Skarbrand along with them, recruit one more Bloodletters of Khorne if you have lost any units, if not, refrain from doing so
  • Move your Bloodreaper along behind them (one day he will catch up)
Four
  • Move Skarbrand right up to The Folly of Malofex, and finally embed your Bloodreaper into his army
  • Move both Blood Hosts up (not in March) to reinforce Skarbrand
  • Declare war and attack the settlement (will be an easy victory)
  • Raze the settlement with Blood for the Blood God
  • Move the three moveable armies up to the enemy army above you (sometimes they won't be there) and attack them, taking Casualty Replenishment rate as your post battle loot
  • March all three armies North, keeping them together
  • Level Blood Feast twice on Skarband and Training and Brutal Charge on the Bloodreaper
Five
  • You should have one Blood Host lagging behind the rest, move them West towards Chasm of Torment
  • Move the rest of your armies to attack The Shifting Monolith, this time occupying after the battle
  • Level Brutal Charge on Skarbrand and Kill! on The Bloodreaper
  • Move your Northern Blood Hosts South West towards Chasm of Torment (there might be a Beastmen army hovering around, if so, you can deviate to go and kill it)
  • Build Cultist Camp in The Shifting Monolith
Six
  • Either move Skarbrand South to join the Blood Hosts or send him to kill the Beastmen beforehand
  • Attack the Chasm of Torment with the Blood Hosts and raze it with Blood for the Blood God
  • Move all Blood Hosts West towards the Fortress of the Damned
  • Level Kill! on Skarbrand
  • Upgrade The Shifting Monolith settlement
  • Research Skull Harvesting
Seven
  • Move your gang of Blood Hosts (with or without Skarbrand) to attack the Fortress of the Damned
  • Raze it with Blood for the Blood God
  • Upgrade the Infernius to an Infernal Citadel
  • Keep moving the Blood Hosts North West
Eight
  • You might meet N'kari coming down South, if so, welcome him with the full force of your Blood Hosts
  • Keep Skarbrand on the move, as well as your Blood Hosts
Nine
  • Move all Blood Hosts up to The Palace of Ruin and prepare to attack it on the following turn
  • Your capital might have been attacked by now, this is not really a problem, as you will simply reclaim it upon your return, killing off N'kari is much more important
Ten
  • You should have four Blood Hosts outside the Palace of Ruin, so attack with all four, and occupy the settlement, building a Soul Keep as the primary building
  • The Seducers of Slaanesh might now be dead
  • Your next move will be to move towards The Fetiod Catacombs, and continue your unstoppable rampage, spawning Blood Hosts and occupying province capitals.

Further Tips:

  • Another option is to ignore the Slaaneshi faction, and immediately go and destroy the Gharhar, although this will likely lead to you chasing a Slaaneshi army around in your territory or sacrificing your capital.
  • After taking The Shifting Monolith you can also send Skarbrand North by himself and let the Blood Hosts attack N'kari
  • You will end these first turns having conquered two provinces, spawned an unhealthy amount of Blood Hosts, and be on the verge of destroying the Seducers of Slaanesh. Not bad for only ten turns!
  • If you come across any Skull Piles left by other armies, you should pick them up as you travel.

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