I recently noticed that when I put together my Khorne Daemonkin lists I tend to gravitate towards the Bloodletters as Troop choices - this I find odd as I would normally never touch them if playing from the Chaos Daemons codex. So I decided to do some comparisons with the other Troop choices from the new Khrone codex and attempt to find a logical reason for my Bloodletter madness.
I'm going to start by jumping right into the comparisons and focus on the most important characteristics like cost effectiveness, special rules and usefulness for utilizing the Blood Tithe game mechanic.
"We live and die for our Lord and Master Khorne. Mostly die."
Straight Imperial Guard infantry stats but with a worse armor save.
A pistol and a close combat weapon. Option to upgrade to an auto gun (LOL).
Mark of Khorne, BFTBG!
The Champion comes with the unit automatically and has a Leadership of 8. Not exactly blowing my skirt up when I have a 28% chance of failing a Leadership check to summon a Prince or Bloodthirster with Blood Tithe. But the champion does give you the option to attempt to do so.
As far as challenges go he won't win many but he still banks you a Blood Tithe point when he dies in a challenge so that is good.
Cultists lost some of their cost effectiveness due to the points tax for Mark of Khorne and BFTBG! special rule. As far as taxes go those are not bad! But you can't spam as many cheap Cultists in this codex as you could before. Overall, these are still a good buy as cheap throw away infantry and backfield objective sitters. They can also net you a quick Blood Tithe point when a unit gets wiped so minimal Cultist units are probably the best for cost effectiveness.
Chaos Space Marines
"We fight for millennium to harvest skulls of those whom we murder - all in the name of the Blood God."
Space Marine norm.
Bolt gun, bolt pistol, frag/krak grenades.
Some options to get special weapons and close combat weapon, same old stuff.
Mark of Khorne, BFTBG!
The Champion comes with the squad and he isn't a slouch like a Cultist champion so he could rack up Blood Tithe points for winning challenges, maybe. The big deal to take away here is that the champion has a 9 Leadership thus making him more reliable than a Cultist champ on passing a Leadership check to summon a Prince/Bloodthirster.
The Khorne Chaos Marines come with a 1 point tax which isn't all that bad, it nets two special rules for that price. The bad thing is that you can't go minimal, you have to start your unit at 8 models just like all the other Khorne Troop selections. Add in a Rhino and you are already more than 3/4 on the way to 200 points. Considering that Chaos Marines are about the price of normal Space Marines and do not have And They Shall Know No Fear and considering that two other Khorne Troop choices are Fearless it seems that Chaos Marines sadly still suffer from the problems of the previous codex. They are still not cost effective choices.
"Kill, murder, maim! As if chattel for the slaughter butcher all whom stand in our way then lay their still bloodied skulls at the feet of Khorne!"
Space Marine norm but with WS 5.
Bolt pistol, close combat weapon, frag/krak grenades.
Some options like Icon of Wrath, plasma pistols and chain axes (what a joke).
Fearless, Furious Charge, Mark of Khorne, BFTBG!
Just like with the Chaos Space Marines the champion has the potential to rack up some Blood Tithe points in challenges (even more so) and he is a good sacrifice for the Prince/Bloodthirster with Leadership 9.
Berzerkers are melee specialists and so if they can get the charge off in melee they can wreak some havoc and have the potential to harvest some Blood Tithe points by killing other units, more so than Chaos Marines or Cultists.
Happily Berzerkers do not pay an additional tax for BFTBG! but they are still a tad on the pricey side despite all the good stuff you get. They are almost twice the price of a Bloodletter but are also twice as robust with a 3+ save. Fearless is great to have, equalizing the field against loyalist marines.
Khorne Berzerkers look great on paper but they still suffer from that one big problem: getting them into combat quickly and safely. Berzerkers have two options, both pricey, the Land Raider and he Dreadclaw. Otherwise, they have to deal with riding in a Rhino and not able to assault until a turn after they disembark. I like the Dreadclaw option myself, the middle of the road choice.
Overall, it's not very cost effective to bring a bunch of Berzerkers to a game. Perhaps one squad would be good for a shock troop unit but you need to make sure they can get into assault, not get shot at a lot and they need to be the ones doing he charging or they lose a major advantage with Furious Charge.
"Blood and skulls! Our only purpose."
Like a Space Marine but with WS 5, T 3, Ld 7 and armor 6+/5++.
Hellblade (AP 3)
Fearless, Daemon of Khorne, Deep Strike, Mark of Khorne, BFTBG!
You can upgrade a model into a Blood Reaper (character) for a mere 5 points and I would hardily recommend this option so you can challenge and get more Blood Tithe points. With a WS 5 and AP 3 the Blood Reaper has a good chance to win/tie some challenges. Unfortunately, because the models are daemons Blood Reapers can not be used to turn into a Prince/Bloodthirster.
If you can get your Bloodletters into combat they can kill some units (like Marines) for Blood Tithe points but they aren't so good against hordes, 2+ saves or decent Invulnerable saves.
For the cost (2/3 of a Marine) the Bloodletter is not a bad bargain but not all that great either. They have a great killing tool with the AP 3 Hellblade but will suffer if involved in prolonged fights because they have a glass jaw with T 3 and Sv 5++. That is their weakness, they don't have staying power. Focused shooting can wreak them quickly so you have to use terrain to your advantage.
If Bloodletters didn't have Deep Strike and Fearless I would have to say that they would not be cost efficient, but because they do that makes them more mobile and keeps them on the board despite taking losses. They aren't a great unit, maybe not even all that good, but they are decent for the price you pay for them in this codex.
Chaos Cultists are nice and cheap but won't win you any combats, they are cannon fodder. They will net you a Blood Tithe when the unit is destroyed.
Chaos Space Marines are still the redheaded stepchild, not having Fearless hurts a lot, but they are still useful. It is hard to justify taking many of them when you have cheaper alternatives. But they are worth consideration just for the champion in case you want to sack him for a Prince/Bloodthirster.
Khorne Berzerkers can be good butchers in the right circumstances but too costly to field in big numbers.
Bloodletters seem to be in that 'just right' zone for me, not to costly and middling to good at combat, at least for this codex anyway. The biggest selling point is Fearless (a buff) and the ability to Deep Strike so I can place them wherever they are needed most on the battlefield. They can also fight, quite well against the right opponents, but beware of their glass jaw.
What do you guys think?