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A Bloody Mess...

Bloodthirster, the quintessential harbinger of destruction, the angel of Khorne can finally live up to his calling. The Bloodthirster for whatever reason has never lived up to the fluff, but on the strength of Flying Monstrous Creatures everything is bloody again.

Before we get to the Bloodthirster's transformation, from afterthought to forethought, let us compare his rules past and present.

(Click to Enlarge)

Bloodthirster Rules 2013

Bloodthirster Rules 2008



Compare &  Contrast

  • Stat Increases
  • Lash of Khorne
  • Axe of Khorne
  • Demonic Rewards
  • Stat Decreases

--Fit to Kill--

The increased Initiative has the Bloodthirster going first in most situations, additional the Thirster is more survivable with the extra wound. The Bloodthirster still has WS10 making most opponents hitting on 5s; they got more attacks making them complete beasts, and with BS10 they aren't going to miss with the whip either!

--Killer Lashes--

Replacing Death Strike with the stock Lash of Khorne is actually pretty good, because of the as before mentioned BS10. This means Bloodthirsters will be hitting targets with ease, targets like Flyers and AP2 isn't bad either. Now, if the Lash of Khorne had just a little higher strength this would be a deadly tool, but as it is something is better than nothing.

--Skull Splitter--

The Axe of Khorne isn't a needed tool, but a welcome one for the Bloodthirster. You can never overlook the potential to cause Instant Death, especially in the current Monstrous Creature heavy environment. The Axe of Khorne doesn't take anything away, and along with the Lash of Khorne makes WYSIWYG sense.

--Blessings from the Blood God--

As most players know the Daemonic Rewards are where it is at. Since the Bloodthirster is such a combat beast already taking Hellforged Artefacts makes sense. Taking the Grimoire of True Names or The Portalglyph are pretty good investments for a Bloodthirster.

--Carnage comes with a Cost--

The Bloodthirster has been hit with some minor downgrades. The Bloodthirster have less strength, but with the 6th edition Smash rule you won't really have to worry. As well Bloodthirsters have less Leadership then before, this can be a big problem for any monstrous Deamon creature, because even losing combat by one, can easily pop them back to the Warp.


Bloodthirster, the quintessential harbinger of destruction, the angel of Khorne can finally live up to his calling.

Putting it all Together...

The Bloodthirster will never be as glamorous as the other Greater Deamons, since it lacks any psychic ability, but what it lacks in mind games it gains in back with complete brutality. A Bloodthirster can take on pretty much anything, minus stuff like Thunder Hammers, but even then they still have to hit.

Bloodthirsters have two great defensive abilities: Flying and WS10. Being a Flying Monstrous Creature protects from a lot of shooting and WS10 protects from taking too many wounds in assault. Having T6 should prevent even Tau Overwatch from doing that much damage, but in the world of so many re-rolling opportunists anything is possible. Even with all the subtle defense mechanisms, you still have to take care of this flying behemoth. 

Bloodthirsters are best built around lists where they're not the design focus. If you plan on your Bloodthirster being the main focus be prepared for a world of disappointment. The Bloodthirster should be treated as the crust for your Daemon cake, not the filling.

The Bloodthirster has a reputation that doesn’t justify its ability. Similarly, like many irrational fears, most opponents will focus only on the Bloodthirster flying straight at them. The Bloodthirster isn’t a bad option and the target magnet it creates can tactically be very useful. A Bloodthirster can divert fire that would otherwise target units like Flesh Hounds or Seekers

Bloodthirsters can force a opponent to deal with it, providing distraction for a unit like Fateweaver; thus making a Bloodthirster buddy system imperative. Bloodthirsters complement other units like a Khorne Herald Star  especially if you are using the Grimoire. Since, the Bloodthirster doesn’t necessary need Greater Rewards for survival using those points on the Grimoire are well spent. Having two equally bad threats like a Herald Star and a Bloodthirster should give your opponent pause. The same goes when taking another Greater Deamon, especially something like a Great Unclean One who can utilize Biomancy and other tricks to devastate your opponent.

Bloodthirsters seem to work better when mixed up with other Chaos Gods. Eventhough, Bloodthirsters cannot get psychic powers it doesn’t stop them from receiving Blessings, having buffs makes a Bloodthirster even more dangerous. Bloodthirsters unlock Daemon Princes for Heavy Support, now typically the best Daemon Princes are the ones with psychic powers, but the case for a Khorne's flying friends needs to be made.

Going Khorne is cheap when you take out those pesky psychic powers. The GW design team realized quickly, being a Deamon of Khorne is fine and dandy applied to single wound models, but for the Monstrous Creature class, it becomes pretty useless, so they did the right thing, and made the upgrade cost inconsequential. Leaving Bloodthirsters, Soul Grinders, Heralds, and Daemon Princes of Khorne pretty cheap. Cheap enough that you don’t mind splurging on Daemonic Rewards to really up the ante. If your focus is in your face death and destruction you really can't go that wrong with Khorne.

All my crowing for Bloodthirster still doesn’t change the fact you have a 250 point, five wound model, which could  be a large squad of Flesh Hounds instead. The single-minded tactical impetus for Khorne has always been about Assault and thus a Bloodthirster has to be judged by, "how much can this model kill and for how much"? In game play terms it makes the Bloodthirster a second fiddle to more cost-effective units. That still shouldn’t discount the importance of flying. Just be careful when deciding if the a Bloodthirster is right for you and ask yourself, "Can I accomplish the same things at fewer points"?

-- Bloodthirster Sample Lists--

Bloodthirster Example List 1

Bloodthirster Example List 2

Bloodthirster Example List 3

Bloodthirster Example List 4

 A Word about Allies

The Bloodthirster is quite the point sink for any ally force. The Bloodthirster though are helpful for specific lists: lists relying on shooting. A Bloodthirster for ablative wounds as the rest of your army shoots unimpeded. As well, a Bloodthirster for counter charging or objective bodyguard is another possibility. 

Remember unlike other Battle Brothers Daemons ICs cannot join with Chaos Space Marine units under any circumstance.

Final Thoughts...

Overall, Bloodthirster is a middle of the road unit. You shouldn't build an entire army around a Bloodthirster, but as fire magnet and general bad ass he does the trick. Now, if only Games Workshop would get off their ass and update the 10-year-old kit, to something resembling the kickass Forge World one, everyone would be happy.


It's Like Tactics is rated theory hammer because these are general observations and assumptions based on only few tested games.