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The Good Butcher
The Bloodletter of Khorne has always been an iconic unit for Chaos, representing the little devil in all of us. Their last incarnation was known for its middling results, but for the new Chaos Deamons codex it is safe to say their will be plenty of power armor split open by the HellbladesMelee AP3 of Khorne.
Like most things in Warhammer 40k it comes down to cost, and like all the troops choices in this book, Bloodletters lost a chunk of points. The point reduction doesn't come without some pain, but the essence of the Bloodletter isn't lost.
So, what did the Bloodletter lose and gain between the old and new codex? Here is a side by side comparison.
(Click to Enlarge)
Compare & Contrast
- 16 to 10 points a model
- 2 to 1 Attacks
- 4 to 3 Toughness
- Rewards, Instruments, Icons
---Half a dozen cheaper and all the better--
Bloodletter cost reduction is dramatic. Games Workshop usually puts a severe price hikes for any AP3 wielding unit, but with the recent changes to Power WeaponsThere are four categories of power weapon: power axes, power mauls, power mauls, power swords, and power lances. If a model's wargear says it has a power weapon. look at the model to tell which type of power weapon it has. it has allowed provided more flexibility, making the 10 point Bloodletter is the cheapest pure Marine killer in the game.
--Less Blood for the Blood God--
The most detrimental change to Bloodletters is their base number of attacks being reduced. It makes it very important Bloodletters kill off units on the initial charge, because the damage output drops off so considerably in later rounds. The cheapness of Bloodletters makes this change understandable and with Heralds and Daemonic LociSome Daemon units can purchase Daemonic Loci. There are three tiers of Locus: lesser, greater,exalted. If a unit contains two more more loci, only the strongest takes effect, ignoring the weaker ones. If there are two loci of the same tier, choose which one applies. it can be mitigated.
--Weaker for the Blood God--
The toughness reduction got the most whining out of the peanut gallery, but in all honestly the amount of Bloodletters you can put on the board is fair compensation. It just means knowing what targets to use your Bloodletters on, and dog piling with other units helps.
--Leader of the Pack--
As we get more and more 6th edition codexes it has become clear that most units get an upgrade character. The Bloodreaper is only important if you intended to run Heralds with your Bloodletters. Having an extra attack and ability to take a challenge is all important, especially with a Herald.
--More bang for your Blood--
The always silly Fury of KhorneA model with Fury of Khorne gained Rending. If a model has the Rending special rule, each to wound roll of 6, the target suffers a Wound, regardless of Toughnes, resolved at AP 2 is going and replaced with Lesser and Greater rewards for your Bloodreaper. The lesser Magic Weapon is where it is at. The Axe of KhorneAxe of Khorne is Melee AP 2 with Decapitation Blow and Specialist Weapon. Decapitation Blow makes all Wound rolls of 6 have the Instant Death special Rule is a great tool for any Bloodreaper. The Greater Reward possibilities aren't that powerful in the hands of a single wound model. The Instrument of Chaos does a lot more than before allowing for tandem Deep Striking and messing with the Warp Storm table. Icon of ChaosWhen determining the assault result, add one to your total if there are one or more friendly units with an Icon of Chaos locked in that combat. In addition, any friendly unit attempting to Deep Strike within 6 or 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.are welcomed additions, providing safe Deep Striking and/or increased charge range for Bloodletters.
The 10 point Bloodletter is the cheapest pure Marine killer in the game.
Putting it all Together
The best way to view a Bloodletter of Khorne is as mini-Grey Knight Strike unit.
Both have AP3 weapons, both can increase there strength, and both have base one attack. At 10 points a pop Bloodletters indubitably have the edge, with cost efficiency.
Bloodletters are precision killers. The can often guarantee at the least mutual assured destruction against most units. If you need some MEQ hunting for you army Bloodletters are where it is at; even if the plan is just to sprinkle them in, stay cheap without upgrades. 40 attacks at Weapon Skill 5 and Strength 5 is pretty much all you need to decimate a target.
Bloodletters though get a little more interesting when you start to think about a Khorne primary force. This is where 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., Skull Cannons, and Daemonic RewardsMany Daemon characters can purchase daemonic rewards. A character has the option to purchase certain rewards: Lesser, Greater, and Exalted Daemonic Rewards in any combination -- the rewards are determined randomly. A character can always swap any reward for a Magic Weapon, and Heralds come in.
The brilliance of the Chaos Daemons codex is that mono-god lists are possible and flexible. Increasing the effectiveness of Bloodletters starts with the adding a Herald of Khorne. Greater Locus of FuryThis model, and all models in its unit, have the Rage special rule. Models with Rage gain +2 attacks for charging. or Exalted Locus of WrathThis model, and all models in its, have Hatred special rule. A model with Hatred re-rolls all misses during the first round of each combat provides Bloodletters some amazing benefits.
This is where the Bloodreaper comes in. Heralds and Bloodreapers should always be taken together. The Bloodreaper provides the extra character to take Challenges and can also get access to the Axe of KhorneAxe of Khorne is Melee AP 2 with Decapitation Blow and Specialist Weapon. Decapitation Blow makes all Wound rolls of 6 have the Instant Death special Rule . With most of the upgrade characters, investing too many points into rewards isn’t all that good, but for the Bloodreaper having an Instant Death, AP2 weapon is all-purpose against most characters.
The biggest question with Bloodletters is unit size. Bloodletters benefit from larger squads; not only because of the reduced toughness, but also the few attacks they generate. So, squads of 15-20 should be the norm, unless you are really planning lists where Bloodletters units are your only scoring units.
The Icon of ChaosWhen determining the assault result, add one to your total if there are one or more friendly units with an Icon of Chaos locked in that combat. In addition, any friendly unit attempting to Deep Strike within 6 or 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. is another useful tool for Bloodletters.
Having some assurances with charges is important, but unlike Beast or Calvary units the Icon of ChaosWhen determining the assault result, add one to your total if there are one or more friendly units with an Icon of Chaos locked in that combat. In addition, any friendly unit attempting to Deep Strike within 6 or 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.isn’t a must buy for Bloodletters.
Keeping Bloodletters cheap is often the best policy. Icon of ChaosWhen deterring the assault result, add one to your total if there are one or more friendly units with an Icon of Chaos locked in that combat. In addition, any friendly unit attempting to Deep Strike within 6 and Instruments of ChaosWhen a unit with an Instrument in Deep Strike passes its Reserve Roll, you can also choose another friendly unit still in Deep Strike to automatically arrive from reserve. for Bloodletters are situational at best.
It really depends on the strategy your list is trying to accomplished, but without Psykers or much shooting, Khorne Deep Striking isn’t all that important.
If you plan on running Bloodthristers and other Flying Monstrous Creatures having the guarantee to bringing them in or have them safely arrive is worth considering, but like many things, this creates many “what ifs” and moving parts to be effective.
Just remember that Bloodletters are all about the HellbladesMelee AP3 and with the Skull Cannon they can attack most targets without fear of being neutered. With the meta forever MEQ heavy having unit that can easily destroy most scoring units is a mega plus!
--Ways to play Bloodletters of Khorne--
Death Star Configuration: 195 pts 16-man Bloodletter unit with Bloodreaper, Axe of Khorne, Banner of Blood
Balanced Configuration: 145 pts 13-man Bloodletter unit with Bloodreaper, Axe of Khorne
MSU Configuration: 100 pts 10-man Bloodletter unit
Horde Configuration: 210 pts 20-man Bloodletter unit with Icon of Chaos
A Word about Chaos Space Marine Allies
Like all the Deamon troop, having Bloodletters is a cheap way to get an effective unit in any allied force. Bloodletters have always filled the anti-Marine role very well, and with your Chaos Space Marine forces focused else where, having Bloodletters to counter-charge or distract is a solid use of points. Conversely, having Chaos Space Marines to do the shooting for your Bloodletters can minimize the damage output of units that kill Bloodletters with ease.
Remember unlike other Battle Brothers Daemons ICs cannot join with Chaos Space Marine units under any situation.
Overall, Bloodletters are better than ever before. Bloodletters are better because they are cheaper and start on the board. They can run with the rest of the pack and not fear being singled out from a bad Deep Strike. This is all important because it makes mono-Khorne armies a possibility, unlike in the last edition where you would see maybe one unit only for distraction.
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