KDK Review: Elites: Bloodcrushers


Hello, Veterans and Rookies of the table-top. Scuba Steve here to talk about the fastest Crushers this side of Blood River. That’s right! Today’s tactics discussion is going to be on the KDK Bloodcrushers! They’re fast, they’re ruthless, and they’re all you’ll need to take your game to the next level with Khorne Daemonkin! As always, for more great articles, be sure to check out the Tactics Corner!


Here Comes the BOOM!

I would classify the KDK Bloodcrushers as being one of those “stealth” units in a codex. At first glance, sure, they seem underwhelming for their cost. However, when you start to think around their perceived purpose and identify ways to play to the strengths of the unit, then there are some really awesome “up-sides” to using a few units of these bad boys in your army. Like I do with all of my articles, let’s break down the unit’s special abilities and rate them on a scale of “Just okay” to “Good”, it will help if we can all acknowledge what, exactly, makes a unit good and why.


  • Hellblade (Good): It should be no secret that any weapon that can reliably kill a Space Marine is a good weapon. The fact that all of the attacks carried out by a unit of Bloodcrushers can just rip a Tactical Squad or Aspect Warrior to shreds means that Bloodcrushers were built to take on those kinds of targets. Never again will a Tactical Squad give you attitude.

Special Rules:

  • Blood for the Blood God!/Skulls for the Skull Throne! (Good): These special rules are fantastic, if you target the right units, Bloodcrushers can be a fantastic way to generate Blood Tithe points and benefit from them greatly. In particular, the +1 attack characteristic can really help turn the tides of combat if done at the right time.
  • Deep Strike/Fearless (Good): THANK KHORNE! They have Fearless! If you ever do lose combat, there will be no running away! Considering they have a leadership value of 7, the bump of Fearless was really needed and incredibly useful! Never will they flee! NEVER! The Deep Strike special rule can be a bit of a trap, I wouldn’t recomend Deep Striking units like this, with no shooting weapons and Dreadnought sized bases, they can be a real pain in the ass to Deep Strike safely, I would always recommend hiding them on the first round of the game and using them to charge forward and apply pressure instead. Remember that Cavalry are not slowed down by Terrain, they can just move on through!
  • Daemon of Khorne (Good)Who says “no” to Furious Charge? They become Strength 6 on the charge?! Not only can they reliably pop the rear armor of most vehicles, but they can also Instant Death most Eldar (without Jet Bikes). Additionally, they will VERY likely, be wounding on 2’s with all of those sweet, sweet AP 3 attacks. I get all revved up just saying it out loud… I love the smell of AP 3 in the morning… mmm…



  • Additional Bloodcrushers (Just okay): This is also a trap. It may seem good to pile on the dudes, but you don’t need them. The crushers never have to check moral and with 4-5 attacks on the charge per model, you won’t really need more of them. Plus, the more you tack on, the bigger a target they become. Play these guys MSU style and you’ll do just fine.
  • Bloodhunter (Just okay): Again, not necessary, you’re paying 5 points for one additional attack and the downfall of having to challenge ALL OF THE TIME! Not always the best choice. Keep them cheap, don’t buy the Bloodhunter.
  • Instrument of Chaos/Banner (Good): Of these two options, the Banner of Blood is actually a decent upgrade. To use the banner properly, you really need to plan out your moves and really make sure you really reap the Banner’s benefits. First of all, it is awesome if you have a great deal of Deep Striking/Summoned units – No scatter is definitely desirable. Additionally, the ability to turn ties in the Assault Phase into a Win can never be a bad thing. Lastly, once per game, you can effectively guarantee yourself a crucial charge and charge d6+6 instead of 2d6.

Alright… all-in-all, pretty good. Let’s move on to HOW you can use them on the table top!


The Whites of Their Eyes!

There are so many ways to use Bloodcrushers! I have come up with two different strategies you can take from this article and feel free to leave a few more in the comments section!

  1. Up Close: As you can probably deduce, the core of this tactic is being close to your opponent – you’re not wrong. The basic premise of this strategy is to charge your opponent with multiple units of Bloodcrushers, applying incredible pressure to your opponent. With this kind of Blitz attack, placement during deployment and movement is really important, you need to move towards particular targets that your opponent is trying to protect, the application of pressure only matters if your opponent cares about the targets you are charging towards. Additionally, saturation of threats with this strategy is key! I would suggest using this strategy with an army format that allows you to use formations to adjust the allotment of Elites you can reasonably take. I would suggest either of the KDK formations: Brazn Onslaught (a personal favorite) or the Chanel Cohort. Once you’ve closed on those prime targets with three/four units of Bloodcrushers, you will likely be able to charge them in the following turn, the best way to ensure that you have your Bloodcrushers alive and well in this initial charge, is to use the terrain to your advantage; Cavalry units are never slowed down by terrain and can really use those cover saves to their advantage. Once they have made contact with the enemy lines, just let them do what they do best.
  2. Personal: This strategy has a slightly more nuanced approach… Instead of barreling forward with your Bloodcrushers, use their speed to contest objectives and chase down “problem units”. What I mean by the “problem units” is those pesky units that every opponent has, sitting on back line objectives, infiltrating onto key objectives, or holding Line Breaker, these kind of units are the PERFECT target for Bloodcrushers because they are usually a little on the weaker side (Scouts, Rangers, etc…), they won’t have the power to fend off the close combat might of a unit of crushers. Additionally, it is also a great use of the Banner of Blood, using the unit’s speed to effectively get a locator beacon to a point on the board where you need it most; making summoning in reinforcements, or securing safe Deep Strikes from reserves.


Sometimes… Dreams Need to be Crushed…

This unit is not the be-all-end-all… unfortunately, they have a really, really BIG downside… Toughness 4… They are a multi-wound model with Toughness 4… Instant Death here we come. Missile Launchers do them in… seems bad. Well, it is bad… You can’t have your super awesome cavalry unit dying to a bunch of Krak Missiles, very underwhelming and super unimpressive. Well, that’s the way it is, unfortunately. These bad boys are by no means Thunderwolf Cavalry. Additionally, having a 6+ armor save and a 5++ don’t make them any more survivable. So, that means you have to be EXTRA careful about where and how you position the Bloodcrushers, use their speed to keep them out of LOS or in some awesome cover.

Out For Blood… and Crush Soda

Well, there it is, not the most fantastic unit in the codex, but definitely a sharp tool in the shed. By using the banner and the Bloodcrusher’s speed to optimize how you use them, I think that everyone will find that they do have spot in most KDK lists, no one can argue with Speed and Power, and the Bloodcrusher has both. I challenge you all to give them a try and find a few different ways to get them off the shelf and onto the tabletop. If you’re interesting in giving them a shot, I hear that Frontline Gaming sells GW products for up to 25% off! A stellar deal! Until next time…

Scuba Steve, Signing Out



10 Responses to “KDK Review: Elites: Bloodcrushers”

  1. Vilicate May 27, 2016 3:22 pm #

    Personally, I think I’d always pay the points for the Bloodhunter. For 5 points, you get an extra attack, and the character rules. So this can potentially help you to spread out wound with LoS, as well as either getting killed in a challenge (Tithe Point) or killing your opponent in a challenge (also a Tithe Point). Again, you also have the ability to slough off some wounds in combat to potentially non-hurt models to keep you going with full attacks a little longer.

    • westrider May 27, 2016 9:30 pm #

      Yeah, the Blood Tithe makes Champions a much more attractive proposition in KDK than in CD or CSM. I really need to get around to converting up some Counts-As for these, the more I think about them. They’ve got their flaws, but there’s definitely some potential there that I’d like to play around with.

      I also don’t really think it’s necessary to use Formations to open up Elites slots for them. If you’re taking enough to justify the Formation, go for it, but it’s not like Elites slots are hotly contested in KDK.

  2. abusepuppy May 27, 2016 10:23 pm #

    Bloodcrushers are vulnerable to high-strength weapons (because of Instant Death), low-strength weapons (because of their mediocre Toughness and weak save), shooting, and melee (due to lack of grenades/ability to hurt walkers.) They hit less hard than a comparable unit of Bloodletters (especially on the charge) and while they are faster, both units can Deep Strike (and probably will) so that tends to make it less meaningful.

    Bloodcrushers are fine when you get them for free off a summon, but as a unit you pay points for they are pretty garbage. A unit of rapid-firing Tactical Marines will wipe out most of the squad in one go, especially if you count overwatch and their getting to swing before the ‘Crushers in combat.

    • BobC May 28, 2016 3:23 am #

      I agree. But I think the big problem isn’t that they are fragile, but that they are a ton of points. When you look at their points cost, I see no reason to take them over bloodletters or hounds

      • abusepuppy May 28, 2016 5:34 am #

        Well, sure, but those are really two sides of the same coin; unit functionality is always contingent on cost. If Scatter Bikes were 100pts each no one would use them (even if statwise they were the same), and thus for Bloodcrushers as well.

        Going from T5 to T4 hurt a lot as well, even with the improvement to three wounds. It made them _much_ easier to kill with both heavy and basic weapons.

  3. Horton May 29, 2016 3:31 pm #

    I have found these guys to be pretty good when backed up by other assault units. Yes, they are fragile, but they really fill a hole in a lot of KDK lists. I always try and summon these guys, and have found 2 minimum units of them to be good. I also always take the bloodhunter.

  4. Trasvi May 29, 2016 9:49 pm #

    When playing competitively, they’re a bit overpriced but fantastic to summon in if you can. If nothing else, they present enough of a threat to most units that they act as a fire magnet.

    On the other hand, I think they’re pretty good for ‘friendly’ games. They’re pretty devastating if even a single one makes it in to combat with 90% of units in the game, but they’re fragile enough that doing so definitely isn’t guaranteed. If more units were their power level, I think 40k would be a better game.

    • westrider May 30, 2016 12:02 am #

      This reminds me of something I’ve been thinking of for a while now. There’s almost nothing in 40K that is so powerful or awful that it’s inherently problematic for balance. It would be possible to rebalance the Game with basically any Unit as the benchmark and make it work. The issue is that we’re stuck with a Rules set with this huge range of power levels, trying to make something work that includes both ScatBikes and Wyches as they’re currently written.

  5. Threllen May 31, 2016 6:05 am #

    All the things that could go right for Bloodcrushers… usually don’t. You pay 45pts a piece for a multi-wound model that is only T4 with garbage saves. Like AP said above, standard boltgun fire is going to crush them and if the opponent has missiles or lascannons, don’t even think about it. Sure they get a good amount of AP3 attacks in CC, but I just don’t find they ever justify their points.

    For their price you can buy 4.5 Bloodletters. Bloodletters may only be T3 but I’d much rather have 4.5 of them per 1 Bloodcrusher. Especially since deep striking ‘letters can get an assault turn 3 and only leaves them in the open for one turn worth of shooting which is about the same as a ‘Crusher.

    Also, they cost almost the same as 3 flesh hounds. Flesh hounds may not have the AP3 sword, but they’re faster and losing one to ID doesn’t mean you just lost a 45pt model. I just don’t see any reason to pay for Crushers over Bloodletters or Flesh Hounds.

  6. Mathew September 15, 2016 2:07 pm #

    I love the models, their by far the coolest models in the game, it makes me sad that their only t4 meaning on the table they are garbage. the best way to protect them is again sadly with a sorcerer on bike with shrouded and have then jumping between ruins for a 2up cover save, but again very very unfluffy 🙁 I would love to field a big unit of 9 of these bad boys but for above reasons my unit of 20 dogs is just soooooo much better.

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