This is the list that I have been slowly tweaking since the new Khorne book came out. It is a lot of fun to provoke terror, wage psychological warfare, and sometimes cause brutal megadeath. My tournament performance hasn’t been exceptional, but honestly, I think that’s on me, not the list. It is also not an especially distinctive list; the basic trick of the list seems to be fairly common with daemon armies. Still, these are my reflections on it; I hope it can be of some use to others.
I don’t have brilliant comments about the use of Blood Tithe. I often second guess myself and just end up summoning another Bloodthirster in the late game. Not bad, but probably not ideal. I’m trying to work on maximizing the 3- and 4-point options.
I do love the Locus of Fury, though. Khorne often needs help hitting.
Artefacts, Command Traits & Abilities
The Bloodlords’ artefact is key to the whole list. It takes the power of the new Tyrants of Blood and enables it to always go first. Of course, this means the general is sure to die before the battle is over. Still, even then, the battalion effect still applies.
For the extra artefact, I am trying the Gryph-Feather Charm on one of the Insensate Rage Bloodthirsters. I tried the Amberglaive and found it adequate, but mostly I want to keep as many ‘thirsters standing for as long as possible. I’ve played many games with Armor of Scorn on one of them, but nobody throws damaging spells at the guy and the 6+ save rarely seems to make much difference. I’m hoping a universal -1 to be hit will fend off those shooting attacks while he closes.
The rest of the Bloodlords’ abilities are decent. The 14” move on the general helps, but ideally he needs to move with the other 3 ‘thirsters, and stupid Skarbrand can’t fly on broken wings, so it’s not perfect. Rushing the general ahead is foolish and, while I could put the Halo on a different ‘thirster than the general, I don’t see that that would change the dynamics of advancing all that much.
The healing command ability is easy to forget. This list doesn’t rely much on Command Points other than maybe the WoK re-roll all hits ability. The good thing about the healing is that it can heal multiple ‘thirsters (and probably a wounded Wrathmonger) all at the same time. I try to use it to get a wounded ‘thirster up at least one line on his damage table.
Re-rolling 1s to wound against Heroes and Monsters is solid, as this list definitely looks to hunt down buff-y leader-types and turn them into red mist.
To me, the 2 Insensate Rage ‘thirsters are the heroes among the heroes. They are admittedly super-swingy and need the priest’s Killing Frenzy, but when the dice go your way it is an awesome sight to behold. Two of them means twice the chances to make magic happen.
Skarbrand is a big target. If opponents fail to realize the importance of the general or the annoyance of the priests, they’ll target him, which is OK. He is almost sure to die before the battle ends (I think he only made it to the end of one game so far), but he is reliable enough to kill a few units before leaving.
I chose the WoK Bloodthirster over the Unfettered Fury, who is far more popular because of his command ability. However, two things I like about the WoK: 1) his command ability works well with the Insensate Rage attacks, and 2) his ranged attacks are useful. The flail is hard to land, but can easily squash a pesky wizard being screened. The fire breath is convenient for taking out a wounded unit to open up better charge options.
Slaughterpriests need no explanation.
So why is there no Bloodsecrator? So far, I’ve discovered that this list’s 4 unbinds (one at +2) is usually enough to handle a decent amount of magic. I miss the +1 attack buff for sure, but the Wrathmongers mostly fulfil that role, and the utility of 2 prayers and 2 Blood Boils gives me more flexibility. (I’ve also learned that “Blood Boil” *really* applies to the opposing player when you keep using it against his army.)
The rest of the units on the list are pretty forgettable and serve merely utility purposes.
The flesh hounds rush forward to grab an objective on the flanks. They can often hold it long enough to score points before they die.
I have had many games where the Bloodreavers stay in the back and tailgate while the Bloodthirsters fly around killing things. Other games, though, they need to hold an objective. If they have to fight, usually something has gone wrong for me. I suspect I can still leverage them for better positioning shenanigans in the future.
Tyrants of Blood is really cool. Things are going right when all 4 ‘thirsters are engaged. The general attacks, then the rest of them attack. Fun.
I’d love to get another Battalion in here to lower drops (currently at 7), but they involve changing out one of the 4 Bloodthirsters, and I’m not yet willing to do that.
Magic, Endless & Realm Spells
The only Judgment on the list is the Wrath-Axe. I have tried all 3 of them in this list at different times. The icon isn’t great, but the skulls are very cool (even if they are more for intimidation than actual effect). Previously, I had the skulls and the axe with a single Khorgorath. I traded out the Khorgy and the skulls for Wrathmongers.
I like the Wrath-Axe because it’s big and gets in the way, it provides a penalty to opponent’s hit rolls (which, again, helps ‘thirsters not die), and deals loads of mortal wounds. But even when it appears, it never stays around.
The list is designed to set-up the first big hits and then to keep hitting so hard that there is nothing left to kill.
To effect this, the Bloodthirsters should move conservatively in the 1st round so that all of them are in position to charge and attack at the same time. This also gives time for Skarbrand to heat up.
Once the battalion is able to attack all at once, they should be able to easily continue to do so against most armies. The Bloodthirsters will likely all get picked off eventually, but they should do enough damage to keep the opponent from getting too much control of the board.
The list definitely has weaknesses: like any melee army, they can be picked apart by a lot of shooting (though Bloodthirsters at least have a pretty generous wound table if they survive). It is not as fast as it should be. Armies with a lot of teleportation can control objectives and score points faster. It relies on a little more luck than other armies to make the big show. But it’s generally lots of fun to play even when it doesn’t win the day.