Comparing Tzaangors to Bloodletters
Think Bloodletter bombs are good? You bet they are, but Tzeentch has some new toys out with the Thousand Sons Codex. We’re talking Tzaangor Bombs!
The Bloodletter Bomb
Since the release of Codex: Chaos Daemons, Bloodletters have been found in just about every list. They feature a very straight forward strategy:
- 30x Bloodletters with a Daemonic Icon
- 1 Command Point is used to upgrade the Icon to a Banner of Blood
- 2 Command Points are used to place them into reserve
Going a bit further, you take a Bloodmaster with them for another Command Point and you’ve boosted their ability to wound.
Topping it all off, for 3 more Command Points, those Bloodletters get to fight again using Frenetic Bloodlust.
Recently, Tzaangors have gotten a huge boon with the release of Codex: Thousand Sons. They probably could have called it Codex: Tzaangors, because thats how much love they got. Here’s how they stack up against Bloodletters, when taken in a squad of 30.
|Tzaangor w/ Blades||3+||4||2||-1||5++||1|
- A unit of 30x Tzaangors with Brayhorn and Tzaangor Blades costs 220pts
- A unit of 30x Bloodletters with an Instrument and Icon costs 235pts
When we look at these two units side-by-side, there are some simple differences between them. These numbers are calculated against you’re standard T4/3+ save Space Marines.
- 30x Bloodletters will (on average) produce 51.6 hits of which 34.4 will wound. At -3 AP, 28.7 wounds will stick beyond saves.
- 30x Tzaangors will (on average) produce 41.3 hits of which 20.6 will wound. At -1 AP, 10.3 wounds will stick beyond saves.
Without a doubt, on the first round of attacks, Bloodletters hit hard! Bloodletters get that nasty +1 to Strength and Attacks on their first round of fighting after charging or being charged.
So, in terms of dishing out the death, Bloodletters rule the day. Over 100% more efficient than Tzaangors against your standard Marines and, when you consider they can wound on 3’s against even T5 enemies (with Bloodmaster), you’re talking about an entirely different level of output.
But what about factoring in things like their ability to get into combat the same turn they arrive? Or bonuses being applied from powers like Prescience?
Let’s start without any buffs:
- On average, Bloodletters will produce a 10.5” charge, which becomes 11.5” with a daemonic icon. This means on average, Bloodletters will make their charge 74% of the time
- If a Bloodmaster comes along with the Khorne Locus of Rage (re-roll charges) then our chances jump to 93%
- On average, Tzaangors will produce a 7” charge, which becomes 8” with the Brayhorn. This means on average, Tzaangors will make their charge 27.78% of the time
Amazing what just adding 1D6 to your pool does to improve your odds. However, Tzaangors have the Heretic Astartes keyword, which means they can be targeted by Warptime. This means we could bring a sorcerer along to Warptime those Tzaangors in, how does that improve our chances?
- With a warpcharge value of 6, our Sorcerer has a 72% chance of successfully casting
- If we make our sorcerer our Warlord, we can kick these chances up to 83%
- And if our Sorcerer is bearing Terminator armor, and is also our Warlord, that chance increases to 92%
- On a successful casting of Warptime, the Tzaangors’ chances of making that charge jump to 97%
Here’s what the combined chances look like
|Chance to Cast||Chance to Charge if successful||Combined|
Which pretty much proves that if you want to run that Tzaangor Bomb, you need to bring some Warptime with you. Otherwise, you’re more likely to have those beastmen just standing there to be fired at - not good!
Which Sorcerer To Bring?
Here’s where things get a bit interesting from a choice standpoint.
|Cost||Re-Roll 1s Aura?||Max Bonus to Cast||Cost to Deepstrike|
|Sorcerer||104 Pts||No||+1||-2 Command Points|
|Jump Pack Sorcerer||128 Pts||No||+1||-|
|Terminator Sorcerer w/ Familiar||140 Pts||No||+2||-|
|Exalted Sorcerer||121 Pts||Yes||+1||-2 Command Points|
The big question really becomes: do you take the Terminator Sorcerer or the Exalted Sorcerer? So, what is the effect of having the Exalted Sorcerer’s aura on the Tzaangors?
- In order to gain the aura, at least 2 models will need to be discounted from combat in order to achieve the 6” aura range. This is to take into account the movement distance after charging.
- 28 Tzaangors re-rolling 1s to hit will on average produce 45.1 hits resulting in 22.5 wounds on your standard Marine in a fight phase. At -1 AP, 11.2 of those wounds will stick
- 30 Tzaangors with Prescience will on average produce 50 hits resulting in 25 wounds on your standard Marine in a fight phase. At -1 AP, 12.5 of these wounds will stick.
- 30 Tzaangors with Prescience and Veterans of the Long War produce 50.8 hits resulting in 33.8 wounds. At -1 AP, 16.9 of these wounds will stick.
Out of an entire squad of 30 Tzaangors, each swinging with 2 attacks, these bonuses only yield 1 and 2 extra wounds on average respectively. Prescience has the better results of the two, even if you take an unrealistic 30 models with the aura.
Which leads me to believe that the better option here is to take the Terminator Sorcerer with a Familiar but without the Warlord trait (use it on something else, like a Daemon Prince). We save 2 command points and still maintain a hefty 83% chance to pull warptime off. Let’s not forget that we also have that Command Re-roll and Cabilistic Focus as options to us if the situation presents itself.
Also worth pointing out is the massive boost we get from throwing Veterans of the Long War onto the pile as well, boosting our hits and wounds even if we decide to fight a second time.
One other thing to compare between the Tzaangor Bomb and the Bloodletter Bomb is what it costs to pull this maneuver off. This is where I think Tzaangors really shine. These numbers also assume you’re taking advantage of the Cycle of Slaughter and Frenetic Bloodlust stratagems to have your units fight a second time. Wounds are calculated for after saves (3+) and assuming all units survived the counter attack.
|Point Cost||Command Points||Get Into Combat||First Round Wounds||Second Round Wounds|
|Tzaangors w/ Jump Pack Sorcerer & Prescience, Veterans of the Long War||348pts||4||82%||16.9||33.8|
|Bloodletters w/ Bloodmaster||291pts||7||90%||28.6||57.4|
While the Bloodletters and Bloodmaster combination are significantly cheaper, you’re looking at triple the command points needed to pull it off. Still, we’re left trailing when it comes to sheer output and effectiveness in Tzaangor land.
Weaver of Fates
Also, one other option for thought here. As our stats above show, Prescience and our Re-roll 1’s aura only give us a marginal improvement on the total wounds that end up sticking (2). However, if we know our goal is going to be to swing again with Cycle of Slaughter, we can improve the invulnerable save to 4++ on the Tzaangors, which should have the effect of reducing wounds taken by 50% (again, on average). This means we have a greater likelihood of having more Tzaangors survive and, as a result, more wounds applied.
Tzaangors are pretty awesome, and it’s interesting to see how these fare after a round of counter attacks. On one hand, Tzaangors are an excellent choice to cut through hordes of infantry and marines. On the other hand, Bloodletters have the versatility to remain effective against higher-armor units such as vehicles.
So, if you plan to run a Tzaangor Bomb, here’s what gives you the best efficiency:
- 30x Tzaangors with Blades and Brayhorn
- Jump Pack Sorcerer with High Magister Warlord Trait
Thanks to support from /r/ThousandSons, I’ve revised some of the stats and errors made in the original posting.