Northamptonshire I am in you. Therefore today's post shall be written from my phone, robbing me of my word processor so apologies if I can't spell.
Back onto Daemons today, and we're halfway through the Troops section. This time looking at probably the most recognisable of the Chaos Daemons, indeed, one adorns the front cover. The Bloodletters.
There have been 4 real significant changes changes to their statlines. The first relates to Daemonic Instability, their leadership being reduced to 7. Secondly, they have been given a BS...of 5. Not a bad jump at all, and pretty much guarantees them 4 hits a turn on a Quad Gun. Thirdly, and possibly the most talked about stat change, their Toughness has been dropped to 3. Finally, their base attacks stat has been dropped from 2 to 1. I haven't seen much talk on this but I think that this is an important one. Other than that, they have also seen a hefty points decrease, dropping from 16pts to 10.
It's actually pretty difficult to sum these guys up really. Yes they don't stand up too well, now being no more durable than an Eldar Guardian each. But they are still cheap, 20 of them will set you back 200pts, whether that's optimal is a tale for another day however, so how should they work?
Well, every single Bloodletter is armed with what is essentially a Power Sword, for a 10pt model, that's pretty good. In past posts I've often had a bit to say about AP3 in close combat, and I'm going to explain that now.
Think about close combat units for a minute, the 2 types of close combat units that are around are those in which each model is durable (Terminators, etc) and those where they have a high model count (Ork Boyz). So how do Bloodletters stack up against each of these. Let's say that 20 Bloodletters are charged by some Terminators, you're getting 20 attacks. You don't have the weight of attacks nor the low enough AP value to bring them down, sure the WS5 really helps, but then you're getting about 6-7 wounds in total and dropping 1 Terminator, terrifying for 200pts.
Then you come up against Ork Boyz, again, you're probably dropping 6-7 boyz because your AP now is good enough but they 23 Orks behind aren't going to care. On the charge, your attacks are double, so you're probably dropping 2 Terminators and 13 Boyz, again, the 17 boyz behind aren't going to care, and although they are almost certain to lose combat they're Fearless. The Terminators however, will probably still have enough to win combat and force your Daemonic Instability test.
Where you're obviously going to be most effective is against standard power armour, but name me Power Armoured unit that want's to get into assault that is also good enough to be seen regularly on tabletops. Death Company? Rare as they're so expensive for Power Armour. Assault Marines? Kind of meh. So all of the units that you're going to be good against in Assault are also units that are going to be making an effort to avoid combat. Therefore, if you want to kill anything with your Bloodletters, you're going to need to be really aggressive with them. I'm probably talking Deep Striking here, preying on units of Long Fangs/Devastators, forcing them to move or die. Dropping into your opponent's lines with a 10 strong squad (only 100pts) and just being a nuisance.
Alternatively, they tend to have a psychological effect too. I'm running Bloodletters in my Chaos army that I'm building, for 2 reasons. Firstly, they are excellent on a Quad Gun, BS5 essentially guarantees you 4 hits per turn with that thing. Secondly, they're another Troops choice, to benefit from the cover save from the Aegis, with the new ability to go to ground, whilst holding objectives. Finally, they do have that psychological effect, whereby, they do look rather mean, and they tend to be something that your opponent really doesn't want to get close to, even if they aren't actually much of a threat. Therefore, using them as a deterrant for getting close to your more fragile units such as Cultists in the backfield is a valid tactic.
To summarise, I do like Bloodletters, I think that they're are much more viable now than they were in the last edition of the Codex, but if I was looking for an all-round assault unit to cause damage I would probably go for Daemonettes, who are a little cheaper, quicker, just as durable, have more attacks and have the potential for AP2, even if their Strength is a little lower.