Short Daemon Tactica: Bloodletters

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Khorne units seem deceptively easy to use. Blunt, simple and direct, but there’s more nuance to them than first meets the eye.

The first thing you will probably notice about a unit of Bloodletters is that Strength 4 and Weapon Skill 5 they’re packing. Combined with Furious Charge and a close combat weapon with AP3 leaves no doubt as to how they are intended to be used in the game. It goes some way towards explaining why the unit will cost more at base than other Troop choices in a Chaos Daemon army too.

But regardless of this, they have some fundamental weaknesses and redundancies that make me unsure if they are the combat powerhouses people take them for. Make no mistake, they’re very awesome for a troops choice. But they are only good at one type of combat alone, so I would hesitate to say they are as good as something like Daemonettes, which stand a better chance in all sorts of combat situations.

Bloodletters, painted by the MyTraitorGuard blog

Regardless though, the unit still has a darn impressive stat line – even if Toughness 3 is something that means that Imperial Guard stand a good chance against them in combat with sufficient numbers. Still, with Ballistic Skill 5 you can be assured that any daemon army that needs some protection from fliers can look no further. Khorne cares not where the blood flows from after all, even if it takes a while for it to fall from 50,000 feet.

I’m tempted to take the unit in large numbers to not only terrify your opponent, but to also soak up the losses that having a Toughness 3 and only a 5+ Invulnerable save brings. It also means that if the unit encounters something with a 2+ save, there’s more wounds to soak up the damage whilst the mandatory champion upgrade with the Etherblade upgrade hacks through them.

It’s either that or Deepstriking smaller units in, letting faster units like Bloodcrushers with icons create precision strikes.

Converted Bloodletters, by Alex Kolodotschko on Dakka Dakka.

When it comes to including a Herald in the unit, whereas other Heralds add different dimensions or utilities, the Khorne Herald just makes then better at killing things. The Greater Locus of Fury never seems to bring enough of a benefit to outweigh its negatives and whilst the Exalted Locus of Wrath is fun, I would be tempted, if going for a mostly infantry force, to stick him on a Blood Throne of Khorne instead. Whereas the cheap and cheerful Lesser Locus of Abjuration can make a large section of your army pretty resistant to Daemonic Instability.

In the end, Bloodletters can be seen as a specialised troops choice for taking out medium to heavy infantry units. They will suffer against anything too hard due to their low toughness, high cost per model, and AP3 in combat – but will give everything else a run for their money. They’re a unit that needs other things to work alongside them to let them fulfill their role well.

But when you manage to pull something off with them, your opponent won’t forget in a hurry.

Bloodletter artwork used by Games Workshop for the Daemons Codex.

Next time I’ll be taking Flesh Hounds of Khorne

*Lets not talk about the token 6+ save wooo, Bloodletters are safe if one day Imperial Guard rifle butts negate invulnerable saves.

Bloodletters are available from Firestorm Games priced £16.20.

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