[Archive] The Daemonsmith's Handbook - K'daai Fireborn


Week 6: K’daai Fireborn

Welcome to the sixth chapter in the Daemonsmith’s Handbook! Please post your K’daai Fireborn tips and tactics here.

Note that the K’daai Destroyer will be included in a future thread.

Some suggested topics for discussion:

- Ideal unit size and number of units

- Tactics


The K’daai Fireborn were so fantastic in my first and second game that I decided as soon as game 2 was done I needed to have a second unit of them to add to my army - they’re that good. One of my opponents (a veteran Warhammer Fantasy player who was playing Tomb Kings that game) couldn’t believe how good they were, and his remark was that they would still be a bargain at twice the price.  Maybe not literally, but this is a good mindset to keep when making your army list.  Unless you’re planning for a specific tactic or scenario, K’daai Fireborn should be one of your staple units.

Of course keep in mind that if you want to get the most bang for your buck, steer clear of units and characters with magical weapons. As per FW’s latest FAQ, hits from non-magical weapons must re-roll successful Wounds, it’s a shame to lose that massive perk by putting these guys up against Chaos Knights with their Ensorcelled weapons.  And along this same line of thinking, maintaining the unit’s Stomp and Fear special rules are very important, so keep this in mind if you have to choose between regular infantry vs. Monsters or Monstrous Infantry and the like.  The K’daai will never break, but you’re penalized big time (take Wounds) if they lose combat, and once a unit of K’daai Fireborn start to waiver, if they can’t turn the tide of the battle, they’ll be gone quickly.  

Because K’daai Fireborn can potentially burn themselves out after Game Turn 2 you also need to be thinking about getting them into combat ASAP while they’re still at 100% effectiveness (in terms of the points you spent). If they’re not getting into combat until turn 3 or 4 there’s a chance you could already be down a model or two - which comes back around to their effectiveness in battle, as soon as you start losing K’daai and the unit begins to underperform (i.e. lose combat) they’ll burn out all the quicker.

I’ve been running my K’daai Fireborn, with a Manburner for the extra attack, 3-wide and in two ranks, this way I get the supporting attacks from the second rank.  The fact that they’re a Special choice is fantastic as I’m always tempted to spend a few more points on a unit of K’daai.  As I only have one unit at present I don’t have any tactics or input on running multiples… except that, like I said above, after my first two games I was sold on having another unit of them. At least with two units it’s harder for your opponent to evade a unit of K’daai :wink:

One last thought here too which occurred to me last game - Although the K’daai are amazing and can really dish out the pain (Fear, automatic flaming hits at the start of combat, their regular attacks, plus the stomp at the end, then forcing opponents to re-roll Wounds, followed by a 4+ AS…) you may want to keep in mind just how many points you’re putting into your K’daai, and also how you’re going to use them.  Sure they may be able to wipe out a unit or two after several turns, but by the end of a 6 turn game, they could easily be gone themselves, even if they were never in combat.  Either by being dealt Wounds by foes, burning themselves out at the start of each turn, or losing combat, your unit has a lot of ways to be removed from the table even if they do nothing - and these could be valueable game-winning points you relinquish to your opponent simply by dint of the fact that the K’daai are designed in their core rules to only be a temporary unit.   Buyer beware!

In what distant deeps or skies

Burnt the fire of thine eyes?

On what wings dare he aspire?

What the hand dare sieze the fire?

What the hammer? what the chain?

In what furnace was thy brain?

What the anvil? what dread grasp

Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

Excerpts from “Tyger! Tyger! burning bright” - Blake



I�?Tve used Fireborn in every game I�?Tve played since buying some and found them exceptionally effective.

In general I tend towards the smaller game (1000 points) so at the moment I run a unit of 3 with a Manburner though I intend on getting another three on my next visit to Warhammer World in a couple of weeks to bolster this unit up to 6 and make them more survivable.

I concur with Nicodemus (especially with a smaller unit) getting them into combat as soon as humanly possible is vital, preferably against T3 troops where the ST4 auto hit thanks to the Blazing Body rule can really do a lot of damage. The strength 5 combat hits are also pretty handy and with a WS 4 it�?Ts going to be a rare opponent where you�?Tre hitting on 4s or better followed by a flaming hit that will negate heavy armour.

I have found over a few games they are pretty good at taking down small elite units (Swordmasters, Black Guard etc.) the Auto hits can with a bit of luck decimate a rank before any blows are struck and the re-rolling any wounds caused is pretty useful even against reasonably high strength attacks.

My own tactic, such as it is, is to try to leave them until last during deployment and line them up against whatever looks a juicy target as far forward as the deployment type allows and go for it. It�?Ts not much of a tactic I admit but so far it�?Ts proved pretty effective but if they�?Tre not in combat by the beginning of the second turn then they can start losing wounds due to the burning bright rule and then loose combat effectiveness.

Despite losing the stomp attack they can also be pretty good at taking down small units of cavalry. The combination of auto hits at the start of the combat, the decent toughness, forcing the reroll of successful wounds and the ward save has meant they�?Tve comfortably survived the charge of a unit of cold one knights and then done serious damage in return.

I know they�?Tre an expensive unit and the risk of them burning out is fairly high (especially on a small unit) but on balance I think they are one of the �?odon�?Tt leave home without them�?� units for the Legion of Azgorh.




I’ve used them quite some games too, always in a unit of 6 as you take quite some damage from Burning Bright (the T test you have to start making from turn 2 onwards).

I’m not overly fond of them, against some opponents (maintl S3/T3 troops) they are awesome, but they still also have the Unstable rule so that even if they stay in combat because Unbreakable they lose extra wounds because of combat difference. And as they are only W2 each that doenst leave you with a lot of leftovers at the end of a game.

Because of all this taking a unit smaller than 6 is just a to big of a gamble.

But they are a friendly option over the way more effective Kadaai Destroyer, so If you play a friendly game/tournament or dont want the to obvious choice of the destroyer take these guys.

They do have M6 and I4 both something very handy to have along side dwarves, and of course they are a great modelling/painting opportunity and thats a great reason to bring them.

Groznit Goregut:

Can someone remind me what the Unstable rule does again? Is it like Undead where you lose a wound for each CR you are down by? Or is it the Demon rule where you roll your Ld and then lose wounds for each point over?

@Bolg: Is it an either or with K’Daai? Why can’t you take a Destroyer and Fireborn?

Grimbold Blackhammer:

Against St3/T3 models, K’daii Fireborn are amazing. But I’ve had them be significantly less amazing versus tougher foes. They are really excellent and clearing away chaff and such but against a decent unit, they die very quickly. Versus missile attacks they are fabulous - it takes 100 ST3 arrows to statistically do a single wound and 50 ST4 crossbows. And with a 50% chance to stop an incoming cannonball from streaking though your lines, I use mine as the vanguard of my army.

In my mind their big weakness (aside from Burning Bright) is the lack of a musician. Not being able to do swift reforms means they have to be used carefully or it’s too easy to run into positioning problems with them.

Grimbold Blackhammer


Can someone remind me what the Unstable rule does again?

@Bolg: Is it an either or with K'Daai?  Why can't you take a Destroyer and Fireborn?

Groznit Goregut
Unstable: Units that are unstable that lose the combat suffer one extra wound for witch they lose the combat. nos save of any kind.

Yes you can take both a Destroyer and Fireborn as Fireborns are a Special choice and the Destroyer is a Rare. I simply said that they are a more friendly alternative for the Destroyer. Personally I just never thought about taking both.


To me, fireborn seem a bit underwhelming. As everyone has stated, they can do some serious damage to toughness 3 models, and decent damage to toughness 4, but all at a high points cost. This wouldn’t be a huge problem for me if they didn’t have the toughness test self-destruct that comes along with it. I can see a unit of 6ish being a great shock troop, but one that will have a tough time making it’s points back.

Some synergy that I have thought about with these guys is with certain spells. Flaming sword of rhuin makes these guys into wrecking balls, making their low number of attacks, stomp and the blazing body much better against higher toughness enemies. Spells in the lore of shadow (if taking a lammasu) or death also would work very well with them as well, although I have yet to try it. Reducing an opponents ws, s or t all plays very well into the favour of the fireborn (possibly more so than any other unit in our army as these guys are some of the most fragile units the chaos dwarfs have access too, and are a relatively high priority target due to this) and really would make them a tough unit to crack.

All this being said, I kind of consider the fireborn to only be good at things a large portion of the chaos dwarf army is already good at, and that is killing lots of t3 troops. With access to things like the deathshrieker, magma cannon and blunderbusses (and s4 core troops) we can already do that for a better price, and in a more reliable fashion. A shame since they are great in concept and look incredible.

Groznit Goregut:

One thing that no one has mentioned so far is their speed. When Chaos Dwarfs are M3 and Hobgoblins M4, these guys are zipping at M6. I’m building a list with a fast attack portion of the army and M6 is important.

Also, they can be good cannon screens for the K’Daai Destroyer. Put them about 4-6" in front of the Destroyer and the enemy will have a hard time finding the right range to hit the Destroyer. Then, there are the re-rolls to wound and the Ward Save to try to stop the cannon ball from going through the Fireborn to hit the Destroyer. Sure, not 100% safe, but making him guess different ranges and hope he bounces enough, rolling to wound twice, the ward save, and then not rolling a 1 for wounds throws in a lot of variable that could make a cannon miss the Destroyer.

From a lot of the people on here, it seems that they aren’t so good on paper, but work much better on the field. I need more experience with them, though.


On using them as a cannon screen for the destroyer, I am not sold on their effectiveness. A Destroyer’s base is c. 6" deep, and with a 1" gap minimum between the Fireborn and the Destroyer, the only cannon ball you can stop is one that has a 2" overshoot. You could of course position your destroyer so that you show your flank to the cannon (c. 4") but then you are probably ruining your charge for the next turn and even then only stopping 2" or 4" overshoots.

And even if the fireborn DID catch a cannon ball, they are then blocking a charge with your destroyer. You would then need to charge the fireborn before the destroyer, so need to make sure you have 2 viable targets to charge, or you are wasting both your fireborn and destroyer charging the same target.

I also think their use to your army depends on the type of game you are playing. Friendly 100 pt win loss games they will work well, as you can use them and lose them without much thought, and will probably get mileage from them. However, in a 20-0 or similar tournament scoring system, that is points you are giving your opponent that will dent your score. At 2 wounds each, they are too vulnerable for me in this type of game.

Groznit Goregut:

I’m more thinking of using the Fireborn as a cannon ball screen on the first turn when you aren’t facing a fast opponent. That’s probably the greatest point of weakness against cannons, especially if they get to go first. Having the Fireborn there on the first turn isn’t bad.

As for overshots, it’s not the distance that you are hoping for. It’s the ward save on the Fireborn, chance of rolling a 1 for wounds, and the overshot. It’s not just one thing as they are all not a great chance, but if you just add numerous variables into it, there is a greater chance that SOMETHING might work in your favor.


The fact that you can now measure cannon ball shots simply means that your opponent simply aims directly at the fireborn and relies on the minimum 2" overshoot to bypass them and then hopefully hit the destroyer directly behind (at least that’s what I’d do).




The first time I read K’daai rules I thank “WTF?” Now, after using them, I cannot march to the battle without them.

IMHO, they are the really “hammer” unit of CDs, thanks to their big strengh and numbers of automatic impacts.

About the number of unit, I always get six fire daemons, for prevent the additional wounds that for sure they will take, for unstable or burning bright rules.

As it has said above, you should choose the appropiate enemy for K’daais, taking special careful with magical attacks or flaming-resistant units, like Chaos Knigths or Dragon Princes. If you can avoid this kind of units, they will make a slaugther,.

Other weak point of them is their low Leadership (7!!!). They are unbreakable, aye, but some spells (souls arch of Tomb Kings, for example) use L for making harm. K’daai have a 4+ ward save, but only two wounds.


Gents do not forget a rather massive boost all fireborn got.

The burning bright rule got a bit better as per that last Forge World FAQ, you don’t start rolling until turn “3”.

"Q. Do I roll for the K�?Tdaai �?~Burning Bright�?T rule at the start of each player turn after the 2nd?

A. No, at the start of each game turn after the 2nd."

That rule change is massive for the destroyer. For the fire-born it can make a huge difference as well.

Da Crusha:

Gents do not forget a rather massive boost all fireborn got.
The burning bright rule got a bit better as per that last Forge World FAQ, you don't start rolling until turn "3".
"Q. Do I roll for the K�?Tdaai �?~Burning Bright�?T rule at the start of each player turn after the 2nd?
A. No, at the start of each game turn after the 2nd."

That rule change is massive for the destroyer.  For the fire-born it can make a huge difference as well.

I believe it means you roll for burning bright after the start of the second game turn. it just doesn't make sense why they would give it a buff for no reason at all. the ruling was just intended to clarify that the test is taken during game turns and not player turns.


I’ve always used the beginning of my own player turn regardless of if I’ve gone first or second.




I fail to see how anyone can argue with when it happens. It states very clearly in the forgeworld FAQ you start rolling after the second turn. What comes after 2? 3, you do not roll for the test until turn 3. It is as clear as day, what did forgeworld intended with this FAQ? It seems they meant to make your fireborn last longer. Argue it as much as you want but the answer they give is ironclad.


but the answer they give is ironclad.
But so surprising...:o Unless they confirm it, I still play it at the start of turn two...


Best unit in the list for me: fast, hitty, Monstrous and a unit of them can’t be one-shotted like the Destroyer. They consistently demolish non-great weapon infantry and also most other Monstrous Infantry (Trolls and Treekin are their favourite meal). They also like Maneaters as they always seem to be sporting the Banner of Eternal Flame these days :wink:

6 is the magic number for me, and also the minimum I’d take. Just make sure you keep them away from poison and Str 6 enemies and they’ll tear people a new one. Mine usually deploy on a flank as they don’t have any risk of panicking.

Always wondered what a Fireborn Deathstar of 18 would do… :hashut

Trying to screen a Destroyer with Fireborn is undermining the Destroyer’s best stat - his Movement of 9. He can’t do his job this way and the Fireborn are wasted in that role. Just take the cannonballs, they should have one turn of firing before he hits home. If the Destroyer is winning every game for you, then you aren’t using the rest of your army properly.


I pretty much always deploy mine front and centre. They have the best chance of getting onto combat before having to take toughness tests. Also against elves this tends to be where they put their sword masters :slight_smile: