Total War Warhammer 3 - Beginner's Guide for Khorne | GAME3A

Total War Warhammer 3 - Beginner's Guide for Khorne

Blood for the Blood God, Skulls for the Skull Throne! Khorne, the Chaos God of War, Wrath, and Strength, brings an aggressive and brutal touch to Tota...

Amy West Sept 23, 2023
Total War Warhammer 3 - Beginner's Guide for Khorne

Blood for the Blood God, Skulls for the Skull Throne! Khorne, the Chaos God of War, Wrath, and Strength, brings an aggressive and brutal touch to Total War: Warhammer 3. With specialized melee units, Khorne can quickly dominate the battlefield and campaign map, offering an entertaining, fast-paced playstyle supported by a deadly roster of armies.

This guide covers the basics of a successful Khorne campaign, including recommendations for army and campaign, unique mechanics, legendary lords, and advice for the first ten turns.

Updated on September 23, 2023, by Sean Murray: While Khorne may be the most straightforward faction, it doesn't mean you don't need a strategy. That's why we have updated this guide with improved formatting and additional specialized tips to make your Khorne gameplay even better.

Khorne's Playstyle

Total War Warhammer 3 - Khorne Beginner Guide

Due to the numerous factions encountered on the map of the Mortal Realms, Khorne has a variety of matchups, as some factions can more easily handle its relatively one-dimensional playstyle.

Best Matchup

Vampire Counts - Lack of ranged troops means you will primarily engage them in a melee contest, and this is where you shine. You have the units to grind through their low-tier chaff, and innate Magic Resist prevents them from nuking you down with their strong magic.

Worst Matchup

High Elves - Extremely powerful ranged units can decimate your melee-focused armies, and if you cannot flank successfully, you might struggle to break through their decent frontline options.

Khorne plays in direct opposition to factions like Tzeentch. His strengths lie in powerful, aggressive melee infantry and cavalry, while lacking notable spellcasting or ranged units. Your preferred playstyle will typically behave similarly in most encounters: Charge at the enemy and kill them!

You should expect to win most infantry engagements (or at least inflict heavy losses), and you can protect your flanks with strong cavalry options like Bloodcrushers and Skullcrushers.

Khorne lacks reliable spellcasters or ranged units and must primarily rely on Skullcannons to inflict damage from a distance. Although very powerful, Khorne cannot compete with factions like Tzeentch or Cathay when it comes to dealing damage from afar.

Your best option against factions like these is either to attack them from the flanks with cavalry, break through their frontline, or bypass them with Bloodthirsters. You should aim to dominate in close combat, and your units are also not slow, unlike Nurgle.

Battlefield Tips

Total War Warhammer 3 - Khorne Beginner

Strangely enough, Khorne, the God of War, can sometimes face difficulties on the battlefield. Other factions possess a greater variety of options while Khorne always needs to be the aggressor. It's best to embrace the role, not waiting for your enemies to attack but instead taking proactive action.

You can effectively attack with Minotaurs or cavalry from the flanks and position your Bloodthirsters against the enemy lord or ranged units.

Breaking through the weakest point in your opponent's line should be your top priority, as it can allow you to surround enemy units or put pressure on their ranged units, forcing them to retreat. While you excel in close combat, you should be aware that enemy spells could punish you if you clump up too much.

You won't have any spells of your own and will instead rely on the abilities of your lord, heroes, and army abilities. While some of these can be useful, you don't have to worry about the micromanagement of spellcasters when playing as Khorne.

Units you should avoid are the Soulgrinder of Khorne and the Bloodthrone of Khorne. Both are relatively weak, and other units in your roster can fulfill their roles much better.

Khorne may not have the most creative selection of units, but you will have some of the highest damage-dealing units in the entire Warhammer world.

Campaign Tips

Total War Warhammer 3 - Khorne

While Khorne can deploy some strong units on the battlefield, it is on the campaign map where he truly shines. The combination of Bloodlust, Bloodshed, and Blood for the Blood God allows you to maintain momentum even in the early stages of the game.

They provide the perfect storm to enable an aggressive playstyle. The ability to continue moving after razing settlements and winning battles is extremely powerful, and the replenishment mechanic through Bloodshed means you don't have to halt and heal as often as other factions. Utilize Bloodlust to capture smaller settlements while your main army tackles heavily defended areas.

Sometimes it's better to raze settlements for skulls rather than for Bloodlust, especially when it comes to saving money. Khorne will often have to accept losses as you manage your income to sustain losses.

Both raiding and plundering will help with your cash flow, and remember that Bloodlust is highly expendable and should be discarded if income becomes a serious issue. The ability to replenish in foreign territory is absolutely incredible and means you can maintain pressure without having to wait for healing.

However, this military power has a disadvantage. Khorne is terrible in diplomacy and has negative relations with every other faction. In the early game, try to make as many deals as possible because once you have devastated half the world, nobody will particularly like you...

Key Units

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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 armor-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


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 is deserved for skull-hurling, as this is your only strong ranged option and can be useful to complement an army composition.

Unique Mechanics

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In line with the Skull-Skull God, you want to collect as much of this unique currency as possible. There are many ways to generate it, including battles, buildings, sieges, and dilemmas. Enemy armies will leave piles of skulls for you to collect, and Khorne can become quite dependent on them as they are needed to occupy settlements and research technologies.

If there are destroyed settlements in a region and one of them is occupied by Khorne, there is a chance that the ruins will be passively colonized every turn. This means that you should occupy sparingly, as you can rely on the passive expansion of your territory without hindering your armies.

Skulls can also be used to activate the Skull Throne, a powerful buff that lasts for ten turns and grants multiple advantages to your armies:

  • 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

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One of the strongest unique mechanics in the trilogy is Bloodguests, which allow you to maintain pressure on the map and provide an advantage in burning instead of occupying. If you choose the "Blood for the Blood God" option when burning, your army will receive a casualty replenishment, and a friendly Bloodguest army will be created.

The quantity and quality of the units depend on your technologies, abilities, and the number of previous blood guests you have summoned.

You cannot add or subtract anything from these armies, and you should treat them as expendable resources. These armies can assist you in advancing your campaign across the map and are solely designed to generate momentum.

An extraordinary means to claim territories and gather skulls are blood guests, the pivotal mechanic to unleash Khorne uncontrollably.


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Similar to the Waaagh! mechanic of the Greenskins, bloodshed encourages you to maintain an aggressive stance throughout the game, providing your armies with multiple bonuses for sustained victories in battles. This aligns seamlessly with the blood guests, as you will engage in a significant number of battles.

Despite Khorne typically suffering from an income deficit, bloodshed provides a dependable means to reduce army upkeep costs and increase the compensation for losses, both of which are crucial to maintaining momentum.

Unholy Manifestations and Corruption


All Chaos Daemon factions possess the mechanism of Unholy Manifestations, wherein they can perform a potent ritual with a cooldown. The manifestations of Khorne require a specific amount of Khorne corruption to be unlocked and are enhanced when he is in the Ascendancy phase of the Great Game.

The Great Game: The Chaos Gods will take turns as the current Ascendant, bestowing stronger unholy manifestations upon their chosen vessel. Currently, there is no means to influence this.

Khorne has the following manifestations available:




Eternal War

Spawns a small Khornate army that immediately attacks your own army.

Very useful for increasing your Bloodletting meter and generating Skulls/income

The army is extremely weak and should be an easy victory every time all

Call of Battle

Grants 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 Incarnate

Doubles 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 Glare

Disables 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 are going to disband the army anyway

In addition to the manifestations unlocked later on, Khorne corruption grants bonuses to control, melee attack, and melee defense.


All Chaos Daemon factions can establish cultist settlements in territories belonging to other factions. Within these settlements, special infrastructure buildings can be constructed, capable of passively generating resources. While free skulls are certainly nice, the most intriguing building is undoubtedly the arena.

Arena: Upon completion, it obliterates the cult but teleports your faction leader (and their army) to the settlement. This can be incredibly powerful as it allows you to instantly arrive at a different location on the map and continue your destructive campaign!

Legendary Lord

The chosen legendary Lord of Khorne (ironically) is Skarbrand the Exiled. The mightiest of the Exalted Bloodthirsters, Skarbrand once grew so arrogant that he dared to strike Khorne from behind. Khorne merely laughed and cast Skarbrand down from the Brass Citadel, condemning him to eternal exile. Skarbrand now roams the world of Warhammer, seeking to amass as many skulls as possible to regain the favor of Khorne.

A devastating melee lord, Skarbrand receives bonuses to the recruitment of Blood Guest units, self-regeneration, and wields a devastating unique weapon called Battle and Slaughter, which grows stronger with each enemy he slays on the battlefield.

The strategy with Skarbrand is quite straightforward. Let him kill things. Very few units can match him in a duel, and Skarbrand actually has decent speed, allowing him to be both mighty and mobile.

His Lord effects are:



Increased Campaign Movement range after winning a battle

Absolutely ridiculous!

Skarbrand is unrivaled in his aggression, constantly advancing across the map, and synergizes 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 make use of many support abilities as they enable him to keep his army constantly in motion and replenished. Although it can be more enjoyable to turn him into a single unstoppable force by bolstering his combat prowess...

First Ten Turns

Realm Of Chaos First Ten Turns

When playing as Skarbrand the Exiled in the "Realm of Chaos" campaign, you start in the province of Bloodfire Falls, where the settlement of Infernius is located.




  • 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 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


  • 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


  • 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)


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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 toward the Fortress of the Damned
  • Level Kill! on Skarbrand
  • Upgrade The Shifting Monolith settlement
  • Research Skull Harvesting


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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 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. However, 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.

Immortal Empires First Ten Turns

When playing the "Immortal Empires" campaign, you will instead start in the province of The Barrier Idols, where the settlement of Deff Gorge is located. The placement amidst various enemies, particularly the Greenskins, ensures an entertaining campaign where you can jump right into the action - something that Skarbrand appreciates.




  • Don't embed your Bloodreaper into Skarbrand's army, as this will limit your movement this turn
  • Attack the nearby Top Knotz army, taking casualty replenishment if you sustain hefty injuries
  • Level Inspiring Presence on Skarbrand
  • Attack and raze Agrul Migdhal with Blood for the Blood God
  • Enter Demonic Portal stance and recruit three Bloodletters of Khorne
  • Level Route Marcher and Blood Feast on Skarbrand
  • Now embed your Bloodreaper into Skarbrand's army
  • Upgrade The Forge to The Armoury in Deff Gorge
  • Research Serial Killing in your technology tree


  • March both of your armies as far West as possible


  • Normal move your Blood Host West and move Skarbrand in Demonic Portal stance along with them


  • Attack and encircle Gor Gazan with Skarbrand, and move the Blood Host up to support
  • Should be a very easy auto-resolve, so attack and raze the settlement with Blood for the Blood God
  • Level Blood Feast on Skarbrand and Increase Mobility on your Bloodreaper
  • Move your first Blood Host and Skarbrand North West towards Stormhenge


  • Move all three of your armies up to Stormhenge and raze it with Skulls for the Skull Throne
  • Level Brutal Charge on your Bloodreaper
  • If you are having money problems, you can also sack the settlement


  • Research Spread Rage in your technology tree
  • Attack any nearby Top Knotz with your combined armies, and make your way towards Galbaraz using march stance
  • Level Blood Feast and Brutal Charge on Skarbrand and Increase Mobility and Kill on your Bloodreaper


  • Move up to Galbaraz and attack it, occupying it, as it is the provincial capital
  • Build a War Ampitheatre in Galbaraz, and level Kill on Skarbrand and your Bloodreaper
  • At this point, your aim is to try and finish off the Top Knotz by razing their final two settlements


  • Move all your armies towards Gronti Mingol


  • Attack Gronti Mingol, and raze it with Skulls for the Skull Throne
  • Move South East towards Floating Village, upgrading any settlement that levels up and making sure you are building down the right side of the Capital building line


  • You probably won't be able to reach anywhere important this turn, but keep marching towards the Floating Village, and finish off the Top Knotz in the next couple of turns
  • You have a good selection of next targets, but the Knights of Origo will likely have declared war on you at this stage, so they are a decent choice

Further Tips:

  • Due to how important early game momentum is, try to manually fight your battles and preserve as many troops as possible
  • The Knights of Origo may cause issues, especially if they came and start occupying any ruins, so keep a watchful eye on them
  • Try to initiate diplomacy with Harbinger of Disaster and take any allies you can get, as Skarbrand is not very popular...