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Hungry Like the Wolf...
Karanak is Khorne's favorite pet, tracking down prey across time, space, and even within the mind!
Many changes have taken place for Khorne's doggy since the last time we saw him, and certainly all for the better. The only question is, does Khorne really need another character hunter and especially one that yet again won't always do the job?
If you want to see just how many changes Karanak has gone through, take a look this side by side rules comparison between 2008 and 2013
(Click to Enlarge)
Compare & Contrast
- Profile increases
- Points increase 35 to 120
- Changes to Prey of the Blood God
- Brass Collar of Bloody Vengeance
- Upgrade to HQ
--A True Hunter--
Karanak got a make-over worthy of his fluff. Highlights being T5, I6, W3 all making Karanak harder to kill. Best being taking all those S8 wounds so lesser multi-wound models don't die out right. Karanak got some passive bonuses like Hatred and improved tricks for being a Beast in 6th edition.
All the profile increases come with a hefty cost; Karanak is now triple the cost he once was. In return for the greater cost you get a much better unit; one with a lot of flexibility, and isn't as expensive as an equivalent Khorne Herald. The only thing lacking, if the purpose is to kill characters, is AP3 attacks or something like Rending to really justify the points increase.
--Chasing the Postman--
With Beasts now ignoring terrain for the most part, it only made sensePrey of the Blood GodNominate one enemy character. Karanak re-rolls all failed To Hit and To Wound rolls against the nominated model and his unit. got changed and changed to made fluffy sense. Still, this special rule doesn't go far enough for the points you are investing into Karanak, this would've been a good opportunity (again) to give some AP2 attacks or a debuff against Karanak's prey.
--Gnawing them Back to the Warp--
This unexpected gift is one nasty little trick. Brass Collar of Bloody VengeanceAny Psyker that takes a Psychic test within 12 inches of Karanak suffers Perils of the Warp on any roll that includes a double. The Brass Collar of Bloody vengeance is also a Collar of Khorne. is the type of power I would like to see more of. The Brass Collar of Bloody VengeanceAny Psyker that takes a Psychic test within 12 inches of Karanak suffers Perils of the Warp on any roll that includes a double. The Brass Collar of Bloody vengeance is also a Collar of Khorne. isn't overly powerful, but creative and can cause problems for your opponent's psykers, making them think twice before generating a power.
--A Better Pack Leader--
Like other upgrade characters in 6th edition, Karanak has been moved, in this case, from Fast Attack to HQ, and now is a Herald. Karanak can now join any Khorne unit and make them better, by boosting his buddies with the Greater Locus of FuryThis model, and all models in its unit, have the Rage special rule. Models with Rage gain +2 attacks for charging..
The only question is, does Khorne really need another character hunter and especially one that yet again won't always do the job?
Putting it all Together...
Karanak like Skulltaker is a middle of the road HQ choice. He isn't too expensive for what you get, but you can obviously do better.
This biggest problem with Karanak isn't so much his killing ability, but while tricksy doesn't bring anything too useful to an army.
Still, with that said, Karanak does have some redeeming qualities. The best quality is T5, for Khorne T5 is a rare commodity, and if you can get it you better take it. Rightfully, Karanak should lead the charge for any Flesh Hound unit he joins, he can take the high strength shots and still Look Out Sir the puny ones when necessary.
Karanak leading a unit of Flesh Hounds, he has it all, Greater Locus of FuryThis model, and all models in its unit, have the Rage special rule. Models with Rage gain +2 attacks for charging., multiple wounds, trunk full of attacks. Their is though a few major drawbacks for taking Karanak with your Flesh Hounds; first he is wounded easier because of majority T4, and he doesn't have an AP3 or AP2 weapon.
Oddly enough, those drawbacks are the reason Karanak works better with an another unit: Heralds of Khorne. Karanak along with Juggernaut of KhorneThe model reviceives +1 Toughness, +1 Wounds, +1 Attack and his unit becomes Cavalry Heralds have the same toughness and those Heralds can take AP2 weapons. Karanak can take unwanted Challenges depending on the situation and if you want you can always use Heroic Intervention to swap him out with another Herald in later assault rounds. The biggest reason for taking Karanak with Heralds is the Brass Collar of Bloody VengeanceAny Psyker that takes a Psychic test within 12 inches of Karanak suffers Perils of the Warp on any roll that includes a double. The Brass Collar of Bloody vengeance is also a Collar of Khorne., this a sneaky way of getting 2+ to Deny the Witch rolls in any unit he joins. Oh, how could I forget, Karanak like any good dog has Scout, which is transferable to any unit he joins as well.
Along with a small unit of Bloodcrushers you have a death star with ablative rounds, Banner of BloodA banner of blood is an Icon of Chaos. Once per game the unit bearing the banner of blood can charge 6+D6. Declare you are using the banner of blood before the distance is rolled., psychic defense, and speed. Things get even thicker, when you consider taking Karanak and Skulltaker together, now you have two characters with wounds to spread around, and depending opposing characters different challenge options.
What about Karanak with Bloodletters?
Once again Karanak unique skill set is worthwhile, this is the easiest way to get Bloodletters Outflank from Scout. This works well, especially, if you don't want to use overpriced non-scoring Bloodcrushers for the same trick. If your intention is to always Outflank, you can take a blob of Bloodletters along with Khorne Heralds and go for it. The idea here, is break off once the Bloodletters get whittled down. This still takes advantage of Karanak and the Herald's speed, while delivered them safely to the enemy's backside.
Karanak, is a handy tool for Khorne armies, but lacking any low AP attacks, compared to just taking another Herald of Khorne is really glaring. In addition, the idea of Karanak leading a Khorne force just doesn't seem right-- I just cannot visualize Karanak barking out understandable orders.
I am sure many players would gladly just have Karanak back as an upgrade character one with rending attacks and a cheaper cost. You would still have Karanak while not taking up a valuable HQ slot.
-- Karanak Sample Lists--
A Word about Allies
Karanak, isn't a good ally because he cannot join allied units, thus negating his special abilities. Karanak is also priced a little too high for what you get. Karanak limitations as an ally means giving up the HQ slot for a unit that isn't a Monstrous Creature and few benefits.
Remember unlike other Battle Brothers Daemons ICs cannot join with Chaos Space Marine units under any circumstance.
Overall, Karanak is a skosh better than Skulltaker, because he isn't bound by silly challenging and provides a little more utility for a Khorne army. If you are looking for creative ways to play a Khorne force Karanak isn't a bad choice. The biggest problem with Karanak will always be the very, very, very bad Finecast model available.
It's Like Tactics is rated theory hammer because these are general observations and assumptions based on only few tested games.
For tactical articles feel free to email me to continue the discussion or if you discover an inaccurate interpretations of the rules-- edits will be made accordingly.
Also check out other articles in this series...
- Chaos Space Marine Tactica Link Page
- Chaos Daemons Impressions
- Breaking Down Chaos Daemons
- Bloodletters of Khorne Review
- Pink Horrors of Tzeentch Review
- Plaguebearers of Nurgle Review
- Deamonettes of Slaanesh Review
- Bloodcrushers of Khorne Review
- Flamers of Tzeentch Review
- Beasts of Nurgle Review
- Fiends of Slaanesh Review
- Flesh Hounds of Khorne Review
- Screamers of Tzeentch Review
- Plague Drones of Nurgle Review
- Chaos Furies Review
- Seekers of Slannesh Review
- Soul Grinder Review
- Skull Cannon of Khorne Review
- Nurglings Review
- Skarbrand Review
- Kairos Fateweaver Review
- Ku'Gath the Plaguefather Review
- Bloodthirster Review
- Lord of Change Review
- Great Unclean One Review
- Keeper of Secrets Review
- Daemon Prince Review
- Skulltaker Review
- The Changling Review
- The Blue Scribes Review
- Epidemius Review
- The Masque Review
- Herald of Khorne Review
- Herald of Tzeentch Review
- Herald of Nurgle Review
- Herald of Slaanesh Review
- Exalted, Seeker, Hellflayer Chariots of Slaanesh Review
- Burning Chariot of Tzeentch Review
- A Look Back and Final Chaos Codex Daemons Breakdown