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With a blast of light, the daemonic figures began to materialize before Lieutenant Coleman’s eyes. Coleman, of the Death world of Krieg, didn’t mind the combat or the danger, not since the battle of Cenker’s Folly. Wave after wave of rampaging Orks, almost unlimited in number, were more than enough to harden the seasoned lieutenant’s resolve.
Regardless, Coleman flinched at the twisting, blinding light of the warp, and shuddered with horrified anticipation. It wasn’t the danger itself, but not knowing what enemy he would face that unnerved the lieutenant, and the rest of the combined platoon surrounding him.
Would they die covered in dripping boils and rotting flesh? Would the woman of their dreams suddenly appear, pulling them in close for a final, agonizing embrace? Or would chaos itself spew from two mouths, guided by four pink arms, until it shattered their front line like glass?
Or worse yet, would Coleman’s nerve break, rendering him useless to his men, forcing the commissar standing alongside him to execute the final option?
Coleman was not afraid of death. He only wished to know which version of it was arriving.
He didn’t have to wait long.
The energy spun and weaved its way through the air, as if drawing the Daemons out of nothingness. The figures were humanoid, with reddish-brown flesh, black fins, and an oversized blade clutched within each set of their powerful, clawed hands.
With an ear shattering roar, the Bloodletters spun towards the platoon, and charged.
In response, Coleman gave a slightly relieved sigh, and called out,
“First rank fire! Second rank fire!”
As one, the combined platoon rained fire down upon the Daemons, slaughtering most of their number.
Daemonettes would have slunk towards the platoon, hidden in terrain, glided through their defenses, and quickly struck before the guardsmen were ready. Plaguebearers would have easily stood up to the fire, and oozed their way through their ranks. Pink Horrors would have fired first, whittling the guardsmen down, and possibly causing them to panic. Hell, even Nurglings would’ve at least been tougher.
The Bloodletters had none of these advantages. The few that survived to reach close combat had trouble climbing over the platoon’s barricade, allowing the guardsmen to dispatch them with bayonets before any damage was done.
Coleman was almost disappointed. Or at least he was until he noticed that the Commissar looked equally disappointed, only for a completely different reason.
With a slight cough, the lieutenant lifted up his gas mask, and bellowed to the men,
“Alright, stay sharp. The battle’s not over, so we have to keep looking for any serious threats…”
Bloodletters don’t work.
There, I said it.
They’re a great unit in theory, and if you look at their stat line alone, they seem quite impressive. After all, they have the same basic statistics of a MEQ, only with power weapons, a better WS, furious charge, and a 5+ invulnerable save instead of an armor save.
So how could this possibly go wrong?
Easily: they deepstrike close to the enemy, get shot to pieces, and then die.
Wait, what if you hide them in cover, or keep them behind other units?
In that case they deepstrike in, spend 2-3 turns doing nothing but marching, and then either get shot to pieces, or arrive a little too late to be useful.
I’ve heard the argument that they’re meant to join ongoing close combats, rather than starting new ones, after the faster and/or tougher units have already tied the enemy down.
I have to admit, that’s possible…but how many Chaos Daemon units really need help in close combat? Chaos Daemons are literally packed with units that easily win close combats in the first round. The only units that don’t aren’t really meant to be kept that close to the enemy.
Okay, for argument’s sake, let’s say I’m wrong and you do need a unit to help finish off a close combat that has already started. In that case, the Bloodletters could help a lot in close combat, but so could Daemonettes, Fiends, Bloodcrushers, Daemon Princes, and any greater Daemon.
The big difference between these units and the Bloodletters is that these alternate units are all either very fast, very resilient, and/or have assault grenades. Bloodletters are/have none of these, making them an inferior choice.
So why do so many players love Bloodletters? Because everyone’s impressed when 1-3 Bloodletters survive long enough to reach close combat, and wind up destroying their opponent’s 10-20 man unit by themselves.
Yeah, that is very impressive…but have you ever noticed that there only ever seems to be 1-3 bloodletters alive by the time you reach close combat? How many were in the unit to begin with? 10-15? So you spent 160-240 points in order to get 1-3 models into close combat?
For 80-90 points you could’ve fielded 2 bloodcrushers, 3 fiends, or a Daemon Prince, and easily matched the Bloodletter unit’s performance, at less than half the cost in points, and with much less risk when deepstriking.
But who am I to judge. Go ahead and use the Bloodletters if you like them. I’m sure your Imperial Guard opponents will thank you for it. ^_^
Look at it from the perspective of an army that DOESN'T have tons of guns to throw coming from a single squad, and/or relies more heavily on having a good armor save. Lets say you DS a squad of them at approximately, 10" from an equal 10 man squad of Troop SM. Double tapped, amounting to about 2 dead Letters'. Your next turn you charge, and kill about 5, before they can strike back if across open terrain (which is possible when your opponent spent their first turn boltering you). They then kill about 1. Not bad for equivalent point cost units. (yes I left out special weapons in this example as I don't know what Marines have at their disposal without increasing the squads point cost.)
Not too bad in my opinion. Also bear in mind, that this will be very close to what happens when you fight against most MEQ armies. Not to mention those 'Letters CAN serve a very important role: Bait and/or distraction. If you look at the statline and think "these guys are wicked" you can bet your opponent will too. With the sheer scariness of most of our units, I see my opponents usually hesitating over what to shoot at, and 'Letters certainly contribute to that, especially after they see what they can do in CC.
Man, I wish it was only 2 Bloodletters dying to 20 boltgun shots. That number is closer to 4-5, and since they are such a soft targets they typically draw concentrated fire. In playing Daemons weekly since the codex was released, I do not have a single experience with Bloodletters performing well.
I am 100% in agreement with mynameisgrax
Everything is better with bacon!
10 boltguns 'double tapping' = 20 shots = 12-13 hits = 6-7 wounds = 4-5 dead bloodletters. That's half the unit, for a 10 strong unit of bloodletters...of course, most marines have a flamer in the unit, which would probably hit about 6-8 bloodletters in the squad, resulting in 3-4 wounds, which would bring the total tally up to 6-7 dead bloodletters.
For the same points you could take 4 bloodcrushers instead. Against them, 12-13 hits = 4-5 wounds = 1-2 failed armor saves. The flamer will probably only get 2-3 hits, resulting in 1 wound, most likely finishing off 1 of the 4 bloodcrushers.
The bloodletters lost 6-7, which is 96-112 points, and the bloodcrushers lost 1, which is 40 points. That's also assuming that only one enemy unit fires at them during your opponent's turn. Unless everything's already tied up in close combat, those bloodletters are gone, where the bloodcrushers would either tough it out, or at least distract your opponent away from everything else on the board.
Agreed. When I play daemons (which is fairly rare) Bloodletters take TONS of fire away from other units .
And when my opponent KNOWS I want them to take the fire from other units, and says, "hey, lets shoot the people they were not expecting me to shoot..." I usually get a full unit of letters for the next turn. WOOPS!
I use letters the same as I use zerkers in an undivided CSM list. If they take fire like I am expecting, fine, my other units didn't. If they don't take fire like I was expecting, fine, they get in close combat.
Its generally a pretty equal trade off. Don't get me wrong, I love crushers, and can completely see where you guys are coming from, I simply use there stat-line to my advantage, one way or another.
The only times I have ever had much problems is with IG and Tau, simply because they have a lot more guns than most lists, with some Orc lists aside, but they generally seem to want to charge me anyways...
Nurglings? Should've been Pink Horrors!
Yes, I'm back. Work's new filter has blocked LO so I have to find ways around it. Bummer.
Bloodletters are crazy fragile, pretty pricey, slow, and, I dunno, don't like the same music as everyone else. It screams bad on its own, that's for sure.
Here's the rub, when you've filled up on Fiends, Flesh Hounds, Heralds, and Plaguebearers, you may have some points lying around. While those speed Daemons running around gutting things, you drop in those Bletters nice and quiet like. They shoot them, no skin off ==My== back, enjoy some Fiends in your face; they ignore them (or can't cuz they're tied up with Fiends), enjoy Fiends in your face, watch them bounce away with H&R, and the Bletters murder you.
Beyond Plaguebearers, Bletters are the only Troops I consistently field (==My== pure Slaaneshis don't count since I have to endure Daemonettes). They either make for a good distraction or can help wrap things up while the Fiends are running down stragglers.
Check out ==My== blog: www.bnhblog.blogspot.com
Hmm...interesting point, but if I'm in that situation (where I need troops, have points to spare, but already have two units of plaguebearers), I'd much rather have pink horrors or daemonettes.
Daemonettes have kind of a bad rep, as they are quite fragile, but they're fast, and can put out more than enough rending attacks to deal with virtually any opponent. Their speed puts them significantly above bloodletters, in my opinion. I like using units of 15-20.
In general, I've found that if you have 15 daemonettes and 15 bloodletters running towards the enemy, by the time the daemonettes reach close combat, they're down to 9-10. By the time the bloodletter reach close combat, they're down to 2-3.
Sounds to me like you more just have horrible luck with Bletters. I don't entirely see how you can lose the equivalent of about two rounds of shooting in Bletters, over Daemonettes, even factoring in Daemonettes being able to fleet. Unless of course you're Bletters are getting shot at by more than just 1 squad, in which case they would appear to be serving their distraction purpose admirably.
P.S. Rechecked my math from my first post. The two is how many save of the six, not how many die. Oh well.
If you can make them work, then by all means use the bloodletters, but for me I've just found that there's nothing they can do that another unit in the army can't do better and/or for less points.
If you want something that will draw away fire and survive, then bloodcrushers or plaguebearers are better. If you want something that can cause a lot of damage, then daemonettes (with fleet, rending and assault grenades), fiends, bloodcrushers, and daemon princes are better.
For me, they just don't have a niche. If a unit in the daemon army isn't fast, then they have to be able to survive concentrated fire, and the bloodletters can't do that.
Daemonettes are far more versatile and survive longer than Bloodletters.
1. Aura lets the Daemonettes deep strike into cover, because they will not be forced to attack at initiative 1 when they do. This also applies to the barricades example mynameisgrax presented in post #1, where the Bloodletters are screwed no matter where they arrive on the board.
2. Fleet allows the Daemonettes to deep strike farther away, which means they are less likely to get charged first (along with the fact that Aura acts like defensive grenades and that the enemy will need a difficult terrain test). So the majority of units are more likely to move away from the Daemonettes. This is good even though you may not still be able to charge them without a couple good rolls, because you are now in control of the position and they are on the defensive.
3. High initiative means Daemonettes get to kill stuff in close combat before it gets a chance to kill them, even against most Eldar and units that make use of furious charge. Bloodletters rely on furious charge, so they only get a good initiative for one round, and that's if they get to charge at all. This means they will often be taking damage first or simultaneously in close combat, being of a lower survival rate even once they get into assault.
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