40K Tactica: Bloodthirster Revisited


Blog for the blood god

There’s a recent Bloodthirster who can bring the serious hurt AND go first.  Take a look at your red winged nightmare!

Hi guys, Dean from Blog for The Blood God here with an update / revision to my original Tactica: The Bloodthirster

Tactica: The Bloodthirster Revisited

Thanks to the release of Warzone Fenris – Curse of The Wolfen, Bloodthirsters have some shiny new toys and tricks up thier sleeves, one of these tricks may have solved on of the bloodthirsters biggest weaknesses…


Almost everybody agrees that when it comes to Bloodthirsters, the Bloodthirster of Insensate Rage is the biggest baddest mother around, he puts out 8 attacks on the charge with WS 10 all of which land at Strength D. This usually results in anywhere from 10 – 20 wounds / hull points inflicted often denying Invulnerable saves, making him a great counter to Super Heavies and Elite units.


However this bloodthirster has 1 key weakness, and it is a weakness that is easy to exploit… he must always strike and pile in at initiative 1. This means units like Imperial knights, wraithknights and Elite Characters have a very real chance to drop him before he gets to strike. So with that in mind I present an alternative that could very well become the new star player for team Bloodthirster.

Skullreaver Bloodthirster

The Wrath of Khorne Bloodthirster or Bloodthirster of Unfettered Fury upgraded with the Skullreaver (artefact from the Curse of The Wulfen)


This Bloodthirster strikes at initiative 9, which few units in the game surpass. This means you will almost always strike first. This Bloodthirster will also strike with 8 attacks at weapon skill 10, and thanks to the Skullreaver any roll of 6 to hit will strike at Strength D.

This means you still have the capacity to tear through vehicles but on top of that you now have a huge advantage against Elite characters and units! With the Wrath of Khorne Bloodthirster you also get Hatred (characters) meaning you get to re-roll all misses in the first round of combat, with 8 attacks you will likely roll one 6 and miss about 3 attacks, giving you 50% chance of rolling another 6.

Having playtested the crud out of this I have found you very rarely roll less than two 6s meaning two of your 8 attacks are coming in at strength D, which when you include all of the additional attacks this is more than enough to drop most units… but wait it gets better!

A very popular counter tactic against Wrath of Khorne bloodthirsters is to accept the challenge with a character that has a solid invulnerable save or even just a multi wound character and tank the wounds, but since you choose which order to allocate wounds you can force your opponent to take the Strength D wounds on his tank character and then have all of the Strength 7 Ap2 wounds spill onto the unit before any of them get to make attacks!

If you do not have the points for the Wrath of Khorne Bloodthirster this loadout works similarly well on the Bloodthirster of Unfettered Fury, losing Hatred does mean you will likely only roll a single 6 each phase but it does come in 50pts cheaper.. so you get what you pay for.

Mathhammer Time!

With all of that said, lets consult the Math hammer gods to see how big of a difference this new loadout has when compared to the fan favourite Insensate Rage…

Mathhammer has the average damage output of an Insensate Rage Bloodthirster something like this: 8 attacks > 6 Hits > 1 roll of 6 (6+D6 wounds) and 4 rolls of 2-5 (D3 Wounds) = 6+D6+4D3 = 17 wounds/hull points…. with a maximum of 8 models removed as casualties.

this applies to any unit / vehicle as the Strength D attacks do not roll against tougness / armour value, so to get a comparison lets try the Skullreaver weilding Bloodthirster against a few different targets…

VS Tougnesss 5 or Lower

8 attacks > 6 hits > 1 at Strength D, 5 at S7 Ap2 = 5 wounds…. which would be the same as the Insensate Rage Bloodthirster only this guy goes first

VS Wraithknight

8 attacks > 6 hits > 1 at Strength D, 5 at S7 Ap2 = approx 4 wounds with a 1/6 chance of inflicting 6+D6 wounds… this one is hard to call who is superior choice, Insensate rage will kill the wraithknight outright on average BUT the wraithknight strikes first and has a very real chance of killing you first or taking you down with him via stomps. I am leaning towards the Fury bloodthirster as the superior choice here

VS Imperial Knight

8 attacks > 6 hits > 1 at Strength D, 5 at S7 Ap2 = Approximately 3 Hull points with a 1/6 chance of killing the Imperial Knight outright but i think you are better off with the Insensate Rage Bloodthirster here as he usually survives the first round against a knight and almost always kills it in return.

VS Av10 (average vehicle rear)

8 attacks > 6 hits > 1 at Strength D, 5 at S7 Ap2 = approximately 6 hull points with a 1/6 chance of inflicting 6+D6 Hull Points… while the Bloodthirster of Insensate Rage puts out significantly more damage here its 17 hull points is serious overkill on anything other than a titan, both units are perfectly capable of dropping most vehicles in a single charge

VS Av12 (walkers or heavy vehicles)

8 attacks > 6 hits > 1 at Strength D, 5 at S7 Ap2 = approx 3 Hull points removed…. risky as it might nit be enough to kill, however going first means if you do kill your opponents you will walk away unscathed.

So what do you guys think? Do we have a new King amongst the ranks of the blood god? Or does Mr Insensate rage hold his title as supreme bloodthirster!

Also do not forget to check me out on facebook over at Blog for the Blood God for the latest on everything Khorne! I also have a Youtube Channel with everything from Battle Reports to Painting Tutorials and Early Unboxing and product reviews.

Thanks for tuning in, Stay Bloody everyone!


  • Charon

    The correct way to use the Insensate Rage Thirster is to team him up with a tentacle fiend. This way the dreadful knight is down to 1 Attack that hits the thirster on a 5.
    While the skullreaver is indeed the more versatile choice, it is only available to daemon armies (which do not make much use of BT) and not to KDK armies (which would use it every day of the week)

    • Zack Seiders

      only minor flop with that plan is the chance of the punk stomping the thirster. BUT I do agree, maulerfiends make excellent partners for the bloodthirster and renegade knight. Had to really do anything to the other d melee weapon if you only have one attack.

      • Charon

        Dont mind the stomp too much as it in the same I step and the knight is more expensive. Even if you end up killing each other you got the better end of the trade while still having the possibility to summon a new thirster.

        • Zack Seiders

          Only catch is the thirster is going to be a vanilla one instead of dat axe. “by that point the big axe already served its purpose.

          • Charon


  • wibbling

    Why not take Skarbrand? With fleshbane, instant death and AP2 he’s a monster.

    Apologies for the irony.

    • Djbz

      Because he has to walk, which makes him very easy to kill.

      • grendal1989

        Yeah…I First Rank, Second Rank’ed 20 guardsmen on a blood thirster in rapid fire range. It could not withstand the Emperor’s flashlights.

        • Djbz

          Those things are the bane of monstrous creatures…

        • Niklas Persson

          I don’t suppose you’d let me borrow your dice sometime? I mean, 60 lasgun shots should be 30 hits, 5 wounds and 1.67 failed saves. If you killed one with just that then well… that has to be some nice rolling on your part.

          • Djbz

            Lasguns don’t subscribe to average rolls.
            They either do awesome, or do nothing.

          • mathhammer

            odds of 60 lasgun shots killing a thirster.
            Probability of 1 wound = (3/6)* (1/6)*(2/6) = 2.7%
            Probability of X or more wounds is

        • Spacefrisian

          I Kept a Secret, than my opponent had 1 less Bloodthirster.

        • nurglitch

          That’s why Khorne invented the Skull Cannon.

    • euansmith

      I thought it was his murderous personality that made him a monster?

    • Mike Holmberg

      Because unless your facing drooling idiot skarbrand will never hit his target alive?

  • mathhammer

    Okay your mathhammer is overly generous, let me rework the first one:

    8 attacks > 6 Hits > 1 roll of 6 (6+D6 wounds) and 4 rolls of 2-5
    (D3 Wounds) = 6+D6+4D3 = 17 wounds/hull points…. with a maximum of 8
    models removed as casualties.

    First calculate the probability of a single trial,
    To Hit: (going with WS 10+ hatred) ((4/6)+(2/6*4/6)) = 89%
    To Wound: it’s chained (S7 Ap2) and going T4 right now
    Destroyer option: ((1/6)*((4/6*D3)+(1/6*(6+D6)))
    Normal roll : ((4/6)*1)
    so 8 attacks

    given 8 trials what is the chance of getting X number of destroyer hits: (.89) * ((1/6)*((4/6)+(1/6))) = 12.1 %

    P(X>=1) = 64%
    P(X>=2) = 25%
    P(x>=3) = 6%

    so from here were dealing with the 64% chance to get a destroyer attack we know the average wounds per D attack is: ((4/6*1.5)+(1/6*(6+3))) = 2.5 wounds

    now calculate the chances of getting X number of non destroyer hits (.89) * (.67) = 59.1%

    P(X>=1) = 99%
    P(X>=2) = 99%
    P(X>=3) = 94%
    P(X>=4) = 81%
    P(X>=5) = 57%

    so lets stop there and use P(X>=5)
    so I think your safe saying he can put out a good solid 7.5 wounds.

    Note: I just did this in the window and barely checked it so possibility of an error is high.
    Note: to calculate multiple trials use the Binomial Formula.

    • Spacefrisian

      Mathahmmer fails against actuall dice rolling. Always funny to see one do Mathhammer skills of awesomness (waisting 5 to 10 minutes during a match) and than have it fail on the actuall dice rolls.

      • Damistar

        Mathhammer only tells you odds, but it’s based on the concept of if you roll six dice you’ll get a 1,2,3,4,5, and 6 every time.

        • mathhammer

          and that is why you use a Binomial Formula to remove that ridiculous assumption.

  • benn grimm

    Doesn’t the KDK faq say that bloodthirsters aren’t allowed to select wargear from the Daemon book? If so, I’d say that logically extends to the COTW book as well.

    • Charon

      Aye as these items/formations have the CD symbol.

    • I assume he was talking about daemons since he didn’t specifically mention Kdk

      • benn grimm

        Yeah I guess I just assumed, did sound a lot like he was talking kdk though.

        • The 40 fleshhound objective corrupting with bubble herald list is actually pretty mean, especially since you have a lot of control over the warp storm results. I definitely see a spot for the bloodthirster in that list (although unfluffily Fateweaver is a much better choice since it gets you a warp storm reroll and the single die reroll, stupid broken bird)