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Bloodthirster?
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Old 30 Apr 2005, 01:01   #1 (permalink)
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Default Bloodthirster?

I have a friend who likes to bring a Bloodthirster when he plays Chaos. Brings meaning Summons. How the heck am I spos'd to beat that thing? Is using Rail Guns the Best way?
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Old 30 Apr 2005, 02:26   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bloodthirster?

Plasma my man, plasma, Railguns still give him his 4+ invunerable, plasma may still wound on 4's but its cheaper and doesnt fill up the HS slots(although an Ion on the second or third head might be a good Idea)
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Old 30 Apr 2005, 02:58   #3 (permalink)
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[size=12pt]By Inquisitorial Mandate! Field Report on Tau killing a Bloodthirster; Report #MLVX3098u43.22[/size]
[size=7pt]Brought to you by your Friendly Neighborhood Inquisitor, MalVeauX[/size]

The Tau don't quite the same history with Chaos as say, the Eldar or the Imperium of Man does, but every now and then there is a little show down in which case the Tau are so surprised by this kind of daemonic pressense that they will go as far to think that it was God of Khorne himself and not simply an avatar. Greater Daemons are not to be underestimated with Tau, however, they are quite beatable. In our situation we have a Bloodthirster to worry about. So let's take a look at what we can expect and what we have that can be helpful against one.

Know the Daemon:

First of all, it's important to understand how summoning works and how it effects us. Summoning a Greater Daemon takes considerable time and requires flesh to do it. That being said, before the game, our opponent will have selected a single champion model in his army to act as the daemon vessel for the Greater Daemon. This champion fights with the strength of the possessing daemon and this is one of the tickets we can use for ourself to prepare for him. Things to remember: Greater Daemons are summoned beginning on turn two. They must be resisted or invited. Resisted daemons are still summoned on a roll of a 6. Invited daemons only arrive on a 4+ (ever). That means there's always a 50/50 chance that the Greater Daemon will arrive when our opponent wants it to. Also note, he must do this every turn starting on turn 2. The other thing to note is that the aspiring champion that summons the Greater Daemon must either be marked with chaos undivided or the mark of chaos that corresponds with the patron god (in our case, Khorne). Should the daemon vessel be killed before possession occurs, the Greater Daemon is automatically summoned at the end of the turn (which means, no chance for you to assault or shoot at it the same turn it arrives in this manner). It's also important to note that a Bloodthirster must always assault when possible which can be a great benefit for us avoiding combat if we force him to attack a skimmer for example.

The Bloodthirster moves fast with Daemonic Flight. It has 4 wounds and a 3+ armor save as well as the 4+ invulnerable save. This is exceptional because a 3+ save is still hard to beat with such as high toughness and no ability to insta-kill the Greater Daemon. We all know how horrible the combat phase is with Tau vs. Blood Thirster, so we will not go into that--just know that you -will- lose.
  • If you get into combat with a Bloodthirster, know that they have Daemonic Visage (-2 to your leadership) and that they count as 10 models in terms of outnumbering. That means a successful combat round will generally result in the Greater Daemon outnumbering you, possibly at high ratios, causing -3 to -5 moral checks and then easily killing the fleeing models with a sweeping advance--then flight and assault happens again next turn. It would be wise to avoid this.

Before and After Summoning of the Bloodthirster:

There are two ways to start the fight against the Bloodthirster. The first way is the in the host form. Your opponent does not have to tell you which champion is acting as the daemon vessel. So in that sense, we cannot easily just shoot down a squad and destroy it fast to make the summoning go wrong. However, we can try to find him quickly. Usually the Bloodthirster will be summoned quickly due to his awesome power and so this will be happening on either turn 2 or 3 at times, but generally I would expect turn 3 or 4 for the final invitation of the Summoning (due to the 50/50 chance of success). So how do we find the champion quickly? Assault. Kroot can be an immense help in locating the Daemon Vessel because if we infiltrate a squad with a possible Champion that is the daemon vessel, we can get into combat with them relatively easily. Every model is required to make attacks--you may then question the strength of the champion--if it's really strong, you found your Bloodthirster (note: Bloodthirsters are Strength 8, a champion with a powerfist would have S10, without a powerfist, S8). Many times, the Bloodthirster is going to possess a fast model however, so keep an eye out for enemy Bikes, Raptors or very fast moving infantry (ie: mounted or large raging squads). If you destroy the daemon vessel before it is successfully summoned--it will take 3D6 Instability tests at the end of each Chaos turn which on average will kill it in 2 or 3 turns alone without even shooting it--however, don't rely on luck--shoot it down!

Shooting a Bloodthirster is the easy part. Pretty hard to miss that beast. However, successfully wounding it and it staying wounded is the problem. Once the Bloodthirster is unleashed, if it's within 18 inches of anything of yours other than vehicles, you will have a very difficult time getting rid of him. But remember that he must always assault when possible! If he's too close to another squad, feed him a Devilfish or something that will be more difficult to destroy in a single charge. Shooting at the Bloodthirster is a considerable challenge. It may seem simple, and it is simple really, but it requires almost all of your firepower to complete leaving the rest of the Chaos forces to run free a single turn, or even more.
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Old 30 Apr 2005, 02:58   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bloodthirster?

  • Tau Units vs. Bloodthirster:

    The Tau have a lot of firepower and every weapon our Tau units have can wound the Greater Daemon without too much trouble (exception: Flamer). However, because our Greater Daemon can avoid many of our attacks with a very respectable 3+ armor save and a 4+ invulnerable save for our heavy weapons coupled with a toughness of 6, some units are simply better than others at taking on this task. However one thing is for certain--it will take more than one squad to do this job! Tau must work together to annihilate this beast. So let's take a look at what we have and what it can do.
    • Ethereal

    I think it's safe to say that this is not a viable option. However, sometimes luck favors the bold...
    • Commander Shas'O; Shas'El

    Our Commanders will greatly help against a Bloodthirster simply because of their accuracy of shots. The less we waste, the more we save! Commanders are grouped in the same weapon categories as normal XV8 Crisis suits--so I will wait to list out their weapons and use against a Bloodthirster there together. However, know that Commanders can considerably change our average chances due to hitting more often with more powerful, but fewer shot weapons (such as Fusion Blasters).
    • XV8 Crisis Battlesuit

    The Crisis suit will probably donate the most attention to our Greater Daemon target due to their number of weapons and the number of weapons which are high powered and ranged enough to help us. However, sometimes, it's easier to take down a Bloodthirster at close range which is actually convenient since he may be close range anyways by the time we get a chance to fire. Small squad can deliver some power, but large squads of XV8's will make a good difference due to ease of wounding. The more armor saves we cause, the faster they will be failed.
    • Weapons:

      Flamer - Although the Flamer is possible to wound the Bloodthirster on a 6 and a normal armor save is taken, I seriously doubt many people will be in this situation to use this Flamer at this range. It is not terribly useful and there is not strategy to it other than to just roll the dice and pray. At least you automatically hit!

      Burst Cannon - Burst Cannons are indeed quite useful against a Bloodthirster. We can wound relatively well and with multiple shots we can attempt to cause enough wounds to force some armor saves, however, they are normal armor saves of a 3+ in this case. Burst Cannons on an XV8 is not the best way to go, but if it's all you have, it's all you have. Just for reference, 3 Burst Cannons will hit 4~5 times on average and wound once with a 2/3 chance to pass the armor save (that means low chances); so in otherwords, this is a waste of time if next turn is the assault phase for sure.

      Plasma Rifle - Hail to the King baby. Plasma rains supreme in most cases, but how about against a Greater Daemon? At maximum range the plasma rifle is a nice weapon and will wound with average results and result in average invulnerable saves. Considering we will hit on a 4+ and wound on a 4+ and then the wound is saved on a 4+, you can already guess that this will require quite a number of plasma rifles to happen easily (reference: at 24 inches, it would take 32 plasma rifles on average to kill a Bloodthirster!). We really need help, so at close range, the plasma rifle becomes far more potent and much more reasonable (combined with other units and other weapons). At 12 inch range, 6 plasma rifle shots will result in 1 or 2 wounds at best and maybe 1 wound total, but the Bloodthirster has 4 wounds so this is still a problem. Twin-linking the plasma helps, but not by much--more weapons actually help more often. Markerlight guided plasma at close range will still result in about 2 wounds with luck on average. But remember, averages go up and down in the real game, so you may cause more damage than this or nothing at all!

      Fusion Blaster - She wounds easily and is saved against half the time. Still, it's as useful as a railgun without wasting a railgunshot. Since we only have a single shot at this and it's up close, it really needs to be a supporting shot followed up by a lot of something else. However, this is a great weapon for that "last wound" that you may be striving for. A full team of Crisis will only be able to cause a wound on this Greater Daemon with 3 Fusion Blasters 1~2 times and then it will result in 0~1 wounds in total. Not the best option, but you can hope for a single wound at least. The strength really helps in this case so this could be a great candidate to mix with another weapon to increase our odds.

      Missile Pod - The Missile Pod is a great weapon that will hit often and wound easy, but normal armor saves are taken. A squad with 6 Missile Pod shots will result in 2 wounds which will be passed 2/3rds of the time. This actually can result in a single wound and could be considered about as useful as close range plasma rifles that are rapidfiring, only at much longer range. Twin-linked Missile Pods (6) would not be very helpful. Markerlight guided Missile Pods are decent, forcing on average about 2 or 3 armor saves which will be failed 1/3rd of the time. It's still a chance for about a single wound, maybe 2 if you're lucky. The point is that Missile Pods on their own can cause good damage to this single target at very good ranges and many XV8's with Missile Pods could indeed probably cause enough damage to do the job supported by another source and that is good since Missile Pods are going to be more common in most armies anyways.
      • A common configuration such as FireKnife at 24 inch range would result in about a single wound on a Bloodthirster on average (maybe 2 when lucky). At closer range, this increases to about 2 wounds on average but still very poor chances. The good news is that it's a good shot for a single squad to pull off. Another common configuration of plasma rifles and fusion blasters at close range would result in 1~2 wounds as well, but still not that bad for a single squad.
    • XV15 Stealth Team

    A full squad of XV15's have a decent chance at supporting the fight, but have less odds compared to Fire Warriors and come into the same boat as the Crisis suits. We can cause damage, but the successful wounds are what the problems are. A full squad will wound a Bloodthirster on average about 2~3 times (on a 5+). That will be saved on a 3+ save so maybe a single successful wound will result from this. Not terribly great odds considering the price, but again, a good supporting unit for the job. The bad news is how close we'll have to be when it comes time to assault if we fail in bringing her down.
    • Fire Warriors

    Fire Warriors have a decent chance, a little higher than Stealth Suits but also come in with good mobility if we're mounted in a Devilfish to quickly bring our shots to the right spot when the time comes. This may not be possible due to the nature of summoning, but it's worth exploring. The Devilfish can also be used as assault bait when possible (which is not always possible, but at least it's a chance). Fire Warriors will cause about 4 wounds on average which will be saved on a 3+ resulting in about 1 or 2 wounds (if lucky). The good news is that these are good odds for a basic trooper!
    • Kroot

    In the shooting phase, we can supply up to 40 rapidfire shots which will result in about 4 wounds on average which will in turn result in about 1 or 2 wounds if we're lucky. It's not a great idea to waste this many Kroot to fire, but sometimes it's necessary. However, I think Kroot are far more useful in finding the Daemon Vessel in the first place in the combat phase which is ultimately very helpful to prevent a surprise from happening (but this is not going to work all the time of course, in fact, not even very often). In the combat phase, our Kroot could possibly assault or be assaulted by the Bloodthirster. If we assaulted with a full squad of Kroot, we would hit on a 5+ due to the incredibly high weapon skill of the Greater Daemon. That means our 60 attacks (if they all even were in range) would hit about 20 times and wound on 6+, for about 3 or 4 wounds if we're lucky. These will be saved on a 3+ and result in maybe 1 or 2 wounds total. We have pretty much the same effect shooting so depending on the situation, choose which would be more beneficial for you (the Bloodthirster will chop through Kroot in combat, but at least they may hold him there for a single turn for you to prepare to shoot him).
    • Gun Drones

    Gundrones are useful for at least putting a Blood Thirster into combat, but he will most of them instantly and move on, but perhaps gain a turn for us. The good news is that we at least strike at the same time due to our initiative here and may have a chance to cause a single wound, with some extreme luck (hitting on 5+, wounding on 6+, 3+ save... not good!); odds are you will not cause a wound, but when you're desperate you're desperate. It's possible at least to stay near him to force him to assault them to waste his assaults that he is required to make (though they'll probably be shot down by the rest of the army due to this). In the shooting phase, we can probably wound him ounce with a little luck which will be saved all together, possibly a single wound will come from this with really good luck. Overall this is not a good idea as your other units have far better chances at this task.
    • Pathfinders

    The pulse carbines of the Pathfinders can cause about 1 wound which will probably be saved against. They have other talents though. The Railrifle option could be a possibility although we do not hit often enough to make good use of these weapons, but at least they're an option with the same odds as the plasma rifles at maximum range. In our case, they can cause a single wound which has a 50/50 chance to be saved. These are not good odds but at least our markerlights could be painting the Greater Daemon for other units, such as missile pods and plasma or railguns. Seeker missiles are surprisingly decent against the Blood Thirster allowing us to fire 4 seekers which will wound on a 2+ and be saved half the time. This gives us about 2 wounds right away! The problem is even getting a chance to do this due to the Daemon being summoned later in the game. However, at least it's good to know that seekermissiles actually have really good chances to help take down the beast. This squad has high potential to supply their own damage and support another unit or simply support another unit.
    • Kroot Hounds

    Kroot hounds are assault only, or at least they're wounds for the chopping block. They will only aid our Kroot a little more even with a maximum squad (or two). However of the price, it's not entirely worth it. Generally these units are not taken often enough to warrant how they will perform, but at least know that if you add 8 to your existing maximum squad of Kroot, they will provide a single extra wound which will be saved against with a 3+. Not really worth it for the price (guns simply work better, hitting easier).
    • XV-88 Broadside

    As expected, this is a good idea. With the Railguns, we're going to hit often and wound often and still be saved against half the time. It really can be a problem. However, this is a great way to start the show and tear down the first wound or the last wound. You can expect a single wound from this squad with just the railguns. If you have some twin-linked plasma, you can add some fun to the mix, but really it's not that much. Smart Missile Systems also would grant us some chances, but really this is considering 3 XV-88's working together. At least the protocol is simple - Railguns work well. Combined with plasma, they'll especially burn a Bloodthirster well, but even a full squad will not do the job on their own; they will need support!
    • Hammerhead

    We have two weapons to consider really, though burstcannons and smart missile systems themselves can also be helpful. But we are more concerned with the two main batteries.
    • Railgun: - We already know how well the the Railgun will do. If we hit, we'll wound and it will be saved half the time. However, massed railguns will do the job. This is quite expensive however.

      Ion Cannon: - Ion Cannons are interesting in that they help kill Greater Daemons better than railguns and plasma. They're a great weapon that will probably hit twice and wound twice on average but will be saved against half the time. At least you can expect a single wound with some average luck (on the plus side at least). If you're guided you could even go for 1~2 wounds using the markerlights. Two Icon Cannons side by side combined with seeker missiles would destroy a Bloodthirster rather well--but that is an expensive investment indeed.

    An Ion Cannon in conjunction with the burst cannons at close range would cause about 1 wound on average, maybe 2 if we're really lucky. And the smart missiles go down from there. Even adding all those shots, we don't raise our chances very quickly due to the high toughness and high armor save.
    • KrootOx

    If you have one you've probably lost the game anyways (ok, that's sarcasm) but at least you can actually do something. In the shooting phase, you have a very small chance to cause a single wound. But this is a very, very small chance. In close combat, attached with a bunch of Kroot, we have yet another very small chance to do anything. This unit is at least more useful against a Bloodthirster in the shooting phase and combat phase than an Ethereal, but nothing else in the army list (that's saying -a lot-). Consider this an honorable mention.

    [hr]

    So knowing what our units do usually and knowing which units we take. What are good combinations of units to come out with good results. Two firewarriors squads at close range can cause 2 or 3 wounds together probably. Combined with a single squad of Fireknife Crisis suits, we can achieve that 4th wound. However, a 4th squad will be needed to ensure all of this, stemming from any unit (a Commander, Pathfinders, XV15 Stealth Suits, XV-88, Hammerhead). So the good news is, whatever you take you will have the chance to kill this beast, but you definitely will need to work together to pull it off. However, from the minimum number of units working together to cause enough wounds at once to pull this off, it's hard due to that 4+ invulnerable save (making it harder to kill than a Wraithlord).

    Pathfinders with Seeker Missiles can cause 2 wounds on their own on average (those are the best odds we have from a single unit really). Crisis with close range plasma can supply another 1 or 2 wounds to finish the job. Add in two railguns and we have 4 wounds pretty easily. However, not everyone uses Pathfinders.

    My personal opinion this matter is that mounted squads of Firewarriors have the best ability combined with XV8 Crisis suits with plasma or missile pods to cause the most damage with decent reaction time and space. That means, we can move and intercept this Greater Daemon and unleash all of our shots and tear it down with roughly 3 units and combined with a railgun we can probably ensure enough damage to do the job. However, this all requires tremendous luck on your part, or terrible luck on his armor saves. I generally would always push volume over penetration against the Bloodthirster due to the 4+ invulnerable save negating half our penetrating hits. In that case, Pathfinders, Stealthsuits and Fire Warriors are right on the money if working together. These should be the "first to fire" when taking on that Bloodthirster. They should be supported by a single full squad of XV8 Crisis Suits -or- an Ion Cannon. Otherwise, they should be supported by XV8 Crisis Suits or XV-88 Broadsides (a squad of them).

    Apply what you know now to your own army list and you should have your answer as to how to destroy that Bloodthirster with good chances to pull it off. Just remember, if he is successfully summoned, he generally will be in combat with you and most of this will be tossed out of the window as you're scrambling to stay alive. Just remember to pull together and wait for combat to end so that you can unload everything possible into the beast. Volume and Focus Fire! Don't let it span out over a few turns either, not that you'll have that choice!

    Good luck to you and for the Greater Good!

    [size=7pt]End Transmission[/size]
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Old 30 Apr 2005, 03:05   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bloodthirster?

OMG, well that has me outclassed ;D
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Old 30 Apr 2005, 03:30   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bloodthirster?

Simple.* Brace the big guy.* He doesn't get to choose which model he charges, once he has selected a unit to charge.* He must move into contact with the closest model using the least amount of movement (pg. 37).* That means he should only be touching one model on the turn he charges.*

If you aren't bunched up, that means about three or four other models will be in the kill-zone.* None of them should survive.* For the reasons MalVeaux mentioned, your unit should have huge leadership penalties and will break.* You can use an Ethereal to reroll a successful test.* If the greater daemon is not in contact with any of your models at the end of the assault phase (and he shouldn't be), he may not do a sweeping advance (pg. 43).* All he can do is consolidate, since none of your surviving models are in contact with him.* As this is not a sweeping advance, you get to fall back 2d6 instead of d6 + I(2) (pg. 43).* Your opponent, on the other hand, only gets to consolidate 3" (pg. 44)* Being fast doesn't help him there.* In fact, unless I am missing something, the 3" consolidation move is completely independant of movement type, so jetpacks and cavalry get no bonus at all.

Even if you manage to roll a 2 or 3 and he catches you (which he shouldn't because all the models within 3" will have been killed), it gets treated as a new assault rather than as an overrun (pg. 44).* He still has a chance to destroy you outright that way, but it is very slim and still prevents him from sweeping into another unit.

You can drag him halfway around the board with this little trick, rapid-firing at him with half your army on every one of your turns.* *All this for the price of three or four Fire Warriors per turn.* Just make sure you keep your models at their full 2" coherency.* This is all due to the fact that Tau are so bad in close combat that it sometimes works in our favor.* I think GW may have dropped the ball in the latest assault rules.* Every army in the game can pull off the brace.* The Tau are slightly better at it because of the Ethereal.

Good luck!
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Old 30 Apr 2005, 04:03   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bloodthirster?

Khanaris:

Absolutely correct. Gundrones in squads as upgrades make excellent starting points for braces. The 3 inch consolidation is simply that--3 inches! Even a greater daemon is subject to those terms. Taking full advantage of coherency will definitely help out big time in combats, if he hits you from the angle you want him to. The problem is that with a 12 inch move, he can probably hit you from any direction, in which case your entire squad will need to be very well spread out. Tightly packed Tau simply will get run down--so keeping them far apart to ensure no base to base contact at the end of combat is a great way to "escape the clutches of death."

Dragging him around the board all game is not going to happen though. He still has a movement phase, and if he's living, he may choose a new squad to move off towards and assault them. Once you start dragging him -- if terrain permits and the dice are with you, you'll probably want to keep all other units very, very far away otherwise, they're potential cat-food as well.
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Old 30 Apr 2005, 04:06   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bloodthirster?

Good point. Does he have to charge the closest enemy unit, or just any unit in range?* The 12" move does make it a little difficult to lead him precisely where you want him.* The other hazard I didn't mention before is that he may just send you off the board.* This is one more reason to keep your Fire Warriors mounted and away from your deployment zone.
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Old 30 Apr 2005, 04:16   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bloodthirster?

That's the thing - he doesn't suffer from Blood Rage - he IS rage He doesn't have to charge the closet enemy unit, merely he must charge a enemy if he's able to. So if he has two targets in range, doesn't matter which, he must charge one of them.

It's best to keep Fire Warriors in a skimmer when you know an assault is on the way from a Bloodthirster; that way they can simply fly up, unload their payload and be supported by other units to hopefully finish the job in a single swoop. He he's free to tromp around even a single turn, he'll catch the valuable and soft suits. If the Kroot can find you the vessel before the summoning, that really really helps but the chances of that are very hit or miss depending on how many Kroot you take and who goes first and all that good stuff. Rotten instability and shooting will remove a Greater Daemon very quickly.

Another important note that is specific to the Blood Thirster in our case, is that they fly, but do not take difficult terrain tests when landing. So don't expect to play keep away via terrain. Greater Daemons are mean... that they are.
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Old 30 Apr 2005, 05:54   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bloodthirster?

Nice post Mal. Khanaris's tactic is also a good one though ideally you want to brace the daemon so that he's angling away from your other troops. That puts a little more space between you and the big nasty. It's a shame that it doesn't suffer from blood rage, so can't be lead around quite as easily as a glaive prince or beserkers. I think this is one of those units that's going to be really tough for tau to deal with in many situations so that the best tactic is what you might title "The care and feeding of a bloodthirster." In other words, you need to try and feed it specific units, preferably in a brace formation, and force him to waste most of his game killing a few kroot, drones, or FWs per turn.
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