My Tactics pledge: I am not the greatest player, nor a seal pup. I will endeavor to speak from my experience and always be honest about what is theory and what is play tested. Never will I assume to know better than anyone else... unless I must call out ego or pretension.
It also matters understanding what units allow Berzerkers to survive and thrive. The previous codex never did Berzerkers any favors: they couldn't pop transports before assaulting, they competed with better troop choices, and they lacked a certain sustained survivability.
To refresh your memory here is a side by side comparison between 6th and 4th edition codexes. (Click to Enlarge)
So what changed between editions?
- Cheaper-- 21 to 19 pts
- Attack Profile Change-- 2 to 1 base attack
- New Chainaxe option
- Leadership Profile Change-- 10 to 8
- Access to Icon of Wrath
Don't forget Khorne Berzerker Champions can now get Combi-weapons. Plus there is Veterans of the Long War.
--Discount Sale at the Blood God counter--
The drop of 2 pts is a big deal and the larger the units the better. In comparison Berzerkers are 1 pt cheaper than Grey Knights and only 3 pts more expensive than a Tactical Space Marine. Khorne Berzerkers have few upgrades, so keeping their cost low isn't a problem.
--Raging at the Dying of the Light--
At first glance the loss of an extra attack is huge, but when you consider the changes to the Mark of Khorne(pg41 MRB) Rage & Counter-attack it is close to a wash. It does really put an emphasis to finish the fight in the first round of combat. Rage also becomes negated if you assault multiple units at once. Khorne Berzerkers have always been about starting fights, the problem has been can they finish them?
--Chainaxe the Missed Opportunity--
I was quite annoyed when I saw the Chainaxe, it was a golden opportunity to add something really cool to Khorne Berzerkers instead it is an over priced piece of crap. 3 pts is ridiculous for AP4, this is an item Berzerkers should just have. By taking a Chainaxe you throw away cheap Khorne Berzerkers on a better chance to kill Fire Warriors, Necron Warriors, and Scouts. It is so situational it is hard to consider any general reason to take them.
--Loss of Leadership--
This ones doesn't make much sense because the unit is Fearless. There are powers and such where this does matter, but still I am not sure the point. My guess it is an attempt at consistency with the rest of the Codex.
Why would I want an Icon that gives me a power (Furious Charge) I already have? Well ask yourself is re-rolling charge distance worth 15 pts? Under almost all situations it is. Think about the drawbacks of Infantry: lack of increase charge probability is up there. Icon of wrath really gives Khorne Berzerkers an extra threat and insurance against short distance charge failure.
Conversely, the nerf to Furious Charge really hurt Khorne Berzerkers... like so many units. Without I5 Khorne Berzerkers are really susceptible to crapping out after the first round. I5 was the best way for Berzerkers to avoid taking crippling casualties. The Furious Charge change puts Khorne Berzerkers squarely as a secondary assault threat .
So how do you give Khorne Berzerkers a chance to excel?
It is important to remember that Berzerkers are still a Fearless unit, and Fearless units are much more survivable in 6th edition-- a consolation prize for the Furious Charge nerf.
Khorne Berzerkers make a great secondary assault unit. Piling into an assault is a great way to use Berzerkers. They should never be your primary assault unit, unless your plan is gang up with multiple Berzerkers units. Cheaper Berzerkers does give you the ability to pile on more Berzerker units than ever before.
It is also an example of where Cultists make all the difference; Cultists allows you take more risks with other scoring units. Berzerkers can also be a great deterrent and protection to fragile backfield units. Having Berzerkers hover around the back-end of the midfield keeps them poised to take objectives and at the same time support other units.
Waiting for your opponent is another key with Berzerkers, even when your inclination is to rush them forward and assault, because of the survivability issues one bad assault can doom them immediately.
It is for those reasons that Khorne Berzerkers are best not spammed, unless you are going with a themed army. A support unit should never be the thrust of your army. Terminators are better assaulters and so many other squads better shooters, Berzerkers can fit a specific role if you want them to, but don't expect them to do everything.
Khorne Berzerkers are one of the best Elite options if you have already picked another Cult troop unit for scoring purposes. Chosen and Mutilators have their problems and Terminators can get expensive, so if you have the points Berzerkers are a cheap assault option for shooty armies.
--Ways to play Khorne Berzerkers--
Death Star Configuration: 325 pts 15-man Khorne Berzerker unit with Icon of Wrath, Power Axe. This unit stays cheaper than Terminators and is a good delivery system for HQs. Take Kharn for Hatred and Psychic immunity.
Balanced Configuration: 285 pts 10-man Khorne Berzerker unit with Icon of Wrath, Power Sword, Veterans of the Long War, Melta bombs, Rhino w/ Dirge caster. Keep this unit back enough to protect support units. Great unit for dealing with Drop pod units. Remember Rhino is only for late rush scoring/contesting not for embarking.
MSU Configuration: 175 pts 5-man Khorne Berzerker unit with Combi-Melta, Power weapon, Rhino w/ Combi-melta. Really only for Khorne themed armies, so many better MSU options in the codex to choose from. Still can do some damage if need be and has some anti-tank.
Horde Configuration: 460 pts 20-man Khorne Berzerker unit Combi-Flamer, Power fist, Icon of wrath, Veterans of the Long War. Setup shop in midfield and see how many terrified marines you can kill. Run without a HQ. This is one big distraction that allows other elements of your army do there jobs.
There is plenty of other ways to play Khorne Berzerkers, just remember they are best used as a support unit for the rest of your army.