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.
--Khorne Berzerkers Unit Review--
Khorne Berzerkers are one of the most beloved units in the game; the reckless abandon towards destruction has always been a source of enjoyment for many players.
Would the 6th edition version match our deep bloodthirsty desires?
The answer lies in understanding the role Khorne Berzerkers play in the new codex.
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 .
By taking a Chainaxe you throw away cheap Khorne Berzerkers on a better chance to kill Fire Warriors, Necron Warriors, and Scouts.
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.
Memory Lane: Khorne Berzerkers
At some point in the 1990s World Eater Chaos Space Marines were divided and thus the universe begate Khorne Berzerkers. Berzerkers are lobotomized super solders for Angron; purged of morals or fear, but replaced with a complete thirst for blood and battle.
By the time the 3rd edition codex rolled around Khorne Berzerkers had an epic history to live up to. Oddly, not much has changed since 3rd edition and now. Berzerkers didn't have WS5, but had a lot of attacks were Fearless and access to the same number of useless Plasma pistols.Of course, it was the access to the armory for champions that made all the fun for these loveable pillagers.
Then came 2002 and 3.5 and Khorne Berzerkers were once again just World Eaters with shorter temper. Now they had BLOOD FRENZY a highly annoying version of Rage where you just had to charge anything that got too close. In return though you could give them Chainaxes which actually were pretty darn powerful against Terminators and Space Marines.
Then we come to 2007 where Khorne Berzerkers finally got WS5, more attacks, and generally decently bland. They had to compete with better troop choices and thus saw little action in the field for many players. Less I forget the tri-Landraider Berzerker lists of DOOM!
--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.
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 interpretation of the rules-- edits will be made accordingly.
Also check out other articles in this series...
- Getting Restarted
- Breaking Down the Codex
- Chaos Space Marine Unit Review
- Cultist Review
- Khorne Berzerkers Review
- Thousand Sons Review
- Noise Marine Review
- Plague Marine Review
- Chosen Review
- Mutilator Review
- Helbrute Review
- Possessed Review
- Chaos Terminator Review
- Chaos Bikes Review
- Chaos Spawn Review
- Raptors Review
- Warp Talons Review
- Heldrake Review
- Havocs Review
- Obliterator Review
- Defiler Review
- Forgefiend Review
- Maulerfiend Review
- Rhino, Vindicator, Predator, Land Raider Review
- Abbadon the Despiler Review
- Huron Blackheart Review
- Kharn the Betrayer Review
- Ahriman Review
- Typhus Review
- Lucius the Eternal Review
- Fabius Bile Review
- Chaos Lord Review
- Chaos Sorcerer Review
- Daemon Prince Review
- Warpsmith Review
- Dark Apostle Review
- Final Breakdown