Blues produced a first half packed full of intensity and huge desire, yet it was a breakaway try from Scotland international wing Sean Lamont that gave the Warriors a slender 13-6 lead at the break.
Fly half Rhys Patchell cut the lead to a point on the hour and the ascendancy was with the home side.
However, an intercept score from Niko Matawalu saw Warriors, who finished runners-up in the league last season, take control and the livewire replacement grabbed another ten minutes from time to secure the win.
It was ultimately a frustrating afternoon for Director of Rugby Mark Hammett, but the Blues boss would have been encouraged by the effort of his troops who threw everything at Warriors before the late surge.
After a minute’s silence for former Cardiff RFC legend Tony Williams was impeccably observed, a roar greeted the first action of the home season with newcomer Adam Thomas solid under the high ball before Patchell chipped in behind and Dan Fish almost collected at full pace.
A huge surge from the home pack from a driving lineout resulted in a penalty that Patchell confidently slotted over from wide left for a 3-0 lead after four minutes.
Glasgow looked to respond with some neat offloading and a quick tap and go penalty from Lamont that took them deep in the Blues’ 22.
A penalty for not rolling away in the tackle handed the Warriors a chance to level the game and scrum half Henry Pyrgos slotted the kick to draw the sides level after a pulsating opening ten minutes.
Peter Horne looked to unlock Blues with a cross kick to Lamont that ran into the tramlines as Glasgow continued to play with pace and dynamism all over the pitch, while Pyrgos put the visitors ahead after another penalty on 13 minutes.
Patchell was the orchestrator for Blues as he kicked in behind to force Glasgow into a dangerous quick lineout before cranking up the expansive options a few notches with a sublime behind the back pass to Thomas.
Another big home forward drive was greeted with huge cheers of encouragement and forced Glasgow back before Lewis Jones injected some pace around the fringes. The penalty was secured on the floor for Patchell to make no mistake.
Summer signings Jarrad Hoeata and Manoa Vosawai were rattling into contact while Josh Turnbull and Sam Warburton were big ball carriers for Blues in the opening quarter as the pack looked to combine menacingly as a unit.
Slick hands from Glasgow sent Lamont into space, but Blues were handing out some thundering hits all over the field as Filo Paulo crunched his man and won the penalty as Warriors held on under huge pressure at the fiercely contested breakdown.
The game was being played an incredible pace and Blues were meeting fire with fire as Vosawai continued to smash into contact at regularly intervals while Warburton was menacing when contesting the ball on the floor.
Scrum half Jones hauled prop Alex Allan out of the way after he found himself the wrong side of the ruck, as Blues looked to go at pace down the blindside.
However, it was Glasgow that struck out of nowhere as Lamont stripped the ball down the left wing and broke away into space before bulldozing over the last man to touch down for a 13-6 lead six minutes before the break.
Opposite number Alex Cuthbert showcased his quick feet and searing pace as he blew open a gap in midfield before finally being hauled down.
The final play of the half saw Patchell miss a long-range kick left as Glasgow took a seven-point lead into the changing rooms after a pulsating open half.
There was no let-off after the break as Blues started the second half with real direction, with Fish skipping inside and breaking away before feeding the supporting Jones. Vosawai took the ball on before a low kick into the corner just evaded the on-rushing Cuthbert.
The Glasgow scrum was under huge pressure and folded twice in quick succession to hand Blues a penalty. Patchell lined up a monster kick from inside his own half and he duly drilled the penalty over.
Warriors were suddenly hemorrhaging penalties at the scrum as once again they were shunted off their own ball. Patchell again pointed to the posts, but this time his effort pulled up short.
Blues had noticeably upped the work rate and when the ball was kicked away from the ruck a yellow card followed for prop Gordon Reid. The resulting kick from Patchell cut the lead to a point just before the hour.
But, just as the momentum looked to have swung to the home side, a clinical blow from Glasgow saw Matawalu touch down in the corner after intercepting a pass. Duncan Weir’s superb touch line conversion put the visitors 20-12 ahead.
The try was a huge blow to Blues but replacement Macauley Cook looked to stoke the fires as he bounced off two tacklers down the touchline as the home hunted a way back into the game with less than 20 minutes on the clock.
Referee John Lacey incensed the home crowd when he pulled Richard Smith back after he broke away after picking off a pass, as he deemed Blues offside as they defended their line, and ice-cool fly half replacement Weir again split the posts as the gap widened.
The final blow came as Matawalu put even more clear space between the two teams as he rounded off a clinical attack down the left as Glasgow ensured they took the points back north of the border.
04m Patchell p 3-0
09m Pyrgos p 3-3
13m Pyrgos p 3-6
18m Patchell p 6-6
34m Lamont t Pyrgos c 6-13
48m Patchell p 9-13
57m Patchell p 12-13
59m Matawalu t Weir c 12-20
62m Weir p 12-23
67m Weir p 12-26
69m Matawalu t Weir c 12-33
Cardiff Blues: 15 Adam Thomas, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Cory Allen (Smith 62), 12 Gavin Evans, 11 Dan Fish, 10 Rhys Patchell (Davies 70), 9 Lewis Jones (Williams 58), 1 Sam Hobbs (Filise 72), 2 Matthew Rees (Dacey 62), 3 Adam Jones (Andrews 70), 4 Jarrad Hoeata (Cook 55), 5 Filo Paulo, 6 Josh Turnbull (Navidi 62), 7 Sam Warburton, 8 Manoa Vosawai
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Taufa’ao Filise, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Macauley Cook, 20 Josh Navidi, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Richard Smith