Short Daemon Tactica: Bloodcrushers of Khorne

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Bloodcrushers of Khorne are pretty deadly, even though they have been somewhat downgraded since last edition, and are still a prime assault unit of any Daemon force.  There are even a few ways to overcome the units’ new problem with 2+ armour saves. Plus, it also gives me an excuse to break out a  MegaDeth song.

Ok, lets start from the beginning, because it colours a lot of people’s perceptions about the usability of Bloodcrushers. It will also explain why, depending on where you play, Daemon players are likely to throttle you if you try to bring up the unit in a conversation.

Bloodcrushers useful
A typical reaction to “I still think Bloodcrushers are useful”

Now, last edition the unit were god level good. They had a one point higher toughness, a 3+ save and power weapons still ignored all saves completely instead of just being AP3 Hellblades like they are now – so naturally every Daemon force had a unit or two.  But instead of screaming ‘Worst.Unit. Ever!’ like some parts of the internet, I’ll be explaining how to use them best, despite their diminished status. Call it an act of spite for having to wade through a year of forum after forum saying Phil Kelly is the worst human alive [I thought it was The Cruddace? – Ed]

For a start, Bloodcrushers are now Cavalry, making them able to cross the board by Turn 2 instead of being late game challengers as they were in the past. This increased speed somewhat makes up for a diminished survivability and means that the unit is now able to do flanking attacks or surprise a unit or two (not to mention they can pick and choose their targets more readily to avoid those pesky 2+ saves). Combine this with the ability to strip a unit of cover from the Bloodcannon and they can still kick a lot of arse.

Bloodcrusher model by Games Workshop
Bloodcrusher model by Games Workshop

Now, whilst their use is mostly limited to killing 3+ save units (of which there are many), the addition of a unit champion or Heralds gives you access to AP2 weaponry. The Axe of Khorne is one of the few god specific weapons I would consider trading the humble Etherblade for, as it has the same stats and swaps Master-Crafted for Instant Death on a 6 to
wound. What your play style is will determine which upgrade you choose I think.

One big change to Bloodcrushers is that I would now consider Deep Striking them, or at the very least hugging cover. That increased vulnerability, paired with their reputation from the last codex, means they will attract a lot of firepower – especially in Space Marine or Necron armies where AP3 close combat weapons are a scary prospect.

All in all, Bloodcrushers aren’t the strongest of units you can have in a mono Khorne force. But use them well as they will still eat a few units before their demise and draw a lot of firepower. For that, and the awesome models, they are worth trying.

So what are you waiting for? Its time to crush ’em!

Bloodcrushers are available from Firestorm Games, priced £30.15.

Short Daemon Tactica: Fleshhounds of Khorne

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Flesh Hounds offer a Khorne player many things. Speed, power, resilience (and used to have hair Fabio would be proud of). But most importantly- a Turn 2 assault anywhere on the board. In this lies the units power. That and their hair.

Khorne_Flesh_Hounds
Seriously, check out those luscious locks. 

There’s something you’ll notice upon looking at the stats of Flesh Hounds- these guys are pretty brutal. Strength 6 and a decent number of Attacks gives you the ability to hurt almost everything in the game. An uncharacteristic Weapon Skill 5 (these are Beasts after all) means you will be able to deliver on that threat in combat and being Beasts means you can get there in time, before the unit gets worn down by these newfangled “ranged weapon” things I hear all the kids in the 40k universe are playing with these days.

Lord of Khorne's armies Fabio spits on you sir!
Lord of Khorne’s armies Fabio spits on you and your cowardly ways sir!

Then there’s the wonderful Scout rule the unit has. Sure, you can’t get a first Turn charge like you could in the days of old, but a free 12″ redeployment before the game starts isn’t too shabby. What’s more, as it’s a redeployment instead of a move, you can start in difficult terrain for the cover saves, confident it won’t be too much of a hindrance.

I would use Flesh Hounds as as smallish units of interceptors, picking off Heavy Weapon toting squads that can cause major pain to the rest of your army. They can mix it up with most units but assault specialists are probably beyond their capabilities most of the time.

Now available with fins!
Now available with fins!

Which brings us to the units only possible ‘upgrade’, in the form of Karanak, who can be purchased as a HQ choice and added to the unit. Though by ‘upgrade’ I mean ‘He costs HOW MUCH?!’

Coming in at just over the cost of 7 regular Flesh Hounds, he’s a little too pricey for me, even if by adding him in gives the unit Rage, re-rolls for himself against one enemy unit and his extra resistance to psychic powers.

Looking at the stats yourself, you may feel the model is worth those points, in which case bulk up the unit size wise and just make the most of it. Including Karanak changes the units focus to more of a character hunter, so use them as such, lest you miss out on the investment you made in getting him. It will turn the unit into a prime target though, which I’m not sure they will be well disposed to cope with – hence the need to increase the unit size.

All in all, Flesh Hounds offer a Khorne Daemon army flexibility and disruption abilities, getting up close and personal and locking down those which may hurt your army most.

Whilst they got unfairly overlooked in the past, now that Blood Crushers are no longer an auto include in every Daemon army you should try them out. Khorne is the god of all types of war after all.

Next Daemon Tactica, its Blood Crusher time.

Flesh Hounds of Khorne are available from Games Workshop, priced £30.

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.