Monday, April 12, 2010

Blood Angels: Initial Thoughts

I was able to pick up a Blood Angels Codex this weekend and have had some time to briefly look it over. This article will not be a formal review, but rather will attempt to point out some of the army's more obvious pro's and con's and potential army designs.

While Blood Angels may be a Space Marine variant, there are a few important deviations in their codex that are cause for fairly significant general play styles (as compared to most Marine codices). Almost all Marine armies are good at what I refer to as mid-ranged firefights, which usually involves Flamers, Meltas and rapid-Firing Bolters. Blood Angels on the other hand, while they'll still rely heavily on Flamers and Meltas, tend to trade in their Bolters for Bolt Pistols, an additional close combat attack and mobility. Furthermore, Flamer/Melta options are often replaced with their weaker/shorter ranged (respectively) and more expensive hand-based (pistol) varients. These tendencies lend to Blood Angels' shift in fighting paradigm from mid-ranged to a short ranged/close combat oriented codex. This accompanied by their widespread employment of fast vehicles changes the way that Blood Angels will tend to be played.

1. Vehicles:

The first thing that is evident to me is the Blood Angels' shift to using almost exclusively fast vehicles versus other marine variants. This, coupled with the cost reduction bestowed by assault squads who remove their jump packs, can potentially yield some impressive results. In the Heavy section of the FOC, we have the new Stormraven, but we also now have more viable Predator and Vindicator options (don't underestimate the ability of a Pred or Vind to move 12" and still fire, or a Pred to move 6" and drop all of their shots. Or to have mobile AV 13 providing cover your jump infantry as they move up the field (though this is probably best suited to Baal Preds with their close-ranged weaponry and potential Scout move, hurray for AV 13 in the Fast FOC). For Rhino rush armies, Blood Angels now have the inexpensive means to cross the field 6" faster than their general rhino counterparts (potentially for fewer points). Now it's also important to note that the inclusion of searchlights on your vehicles is now optional at 1pt/model and this may effect your play in DOW missions...Oh and by the way...Elite Dreadnoughts now have the potential to be librarians and fast (yea, thought i might just throw that in there).

Potential Army Thoughts:
A. The (usually wolf oriented) maximum overdrive (razorback spam) list can be very effectively shifted to suit BA. [Faster and Cheaper RBacks with Assault Marines].
B. Land-Raider spam is another list type that I would expect to work quite well with BA. [Cheaper Land-Raiders with Assault Marines]

2. Dreadnoughts, Dreadnoughts...and some more dreadnoughts?:

Dreadnoughts are available in all but two FOC slots in the army. Elites, Troops and Heavy can all support dreads of various types. Elites: Furioso (+1 front AV, +1 attack, +2WS and some nasty options including the option upgrade to a librarian); Troops: Death Company (+2 attacks, +1WS, Fleet, Furious Charge, 'nasty options' and all for a troops slot. The only real downside being they're subject to rage.); Heavy: (This is your standard dread). Now let me quickly touch on what librarian dreads can do. They have a force weapon, a psychic hood and the potential to select any of the BA librarian powers (including the Wings of Sanguinius, which allows them to move as though they had a jump pack).

Potential Army Thoughts:
A. Dreadnought spam [Availability of Dreads in the FOC]
B. Death Company Dreadnought/Stormraven Rush [Stormraven, Deathcompany, DC Dreads]

3. Infantry

Every FOC section (except for heavy) has at least one option for jump pack based infantry. This is all well and good, but on their own, jump packs aren't always that impressive an option. However, when Blood Angels' jump pack units deepstrike, they now only scatter D6 and can reroll failed deepstrike reserve rolls. This is very important as you don't need to necessarily take drop pods for a reliable and effective mass deepstriking army. Also, there are multiple units in the Blood Angels codex that confer Feel No Pain and Furious Charge on other units within 6"...Nurgle Angels anyone? On top of this, they have all of the standard Marine unit options that you know and love.

Potential Army Thoughts:
A. Jump Pack Army (many different variations, potentially FNP) [Infantry]

4. Special Characters

I'm really not partial to most of the Blood Angels' special characters, though there are a few who catch my eye for particular uses. I recommend checking out Mephiston, Chapter Master Gabriel Seth, Commander Dante and Astorath the Grimm.

Potential Army Thoughts:
A. Death Company spam [Astorath the Grimm]
B. Sanguinary Guard spam [Commander Dante]

These were just some thoughts that crossed my mind as I briefly skimmed through the new codex. I'll elaborate on some of these ideas in future posts. Thoughts? Suggestions? Do you require clarifications? Don't hesitate to comment and be forward with your opinion.


  1. I like how almost every army idea is spam based. Eggs Bacon Spam.

  2. LOl, Pretty much. You can definitely run more diversified lists, but in general redundancy will allow you to
    1. Reduce an opponent's damage output on any given turn (shooting lascannons at infantry or bolters at tanks, because there are no other viable targets is inefficient)
    2. Better saturate an opponent's potential spam with multiple units/weapons capable of dealing with said spam.
    3. Not rely on 1 or two units to perform any given (potentially game-changing) task.

    I'll see if I'll have time to write a list in the next few days that doesn't emphasize spam like the above ideas.

    Thanks for the feedback :)