A guest editorial by Jason, aka Raw Dawger, on the Blood Angels and their failings as he sees them.
Hello, my name is Jason, and I am a Blood Angels player (Hello Jason!). I’m here today to talk about the most played army and why it consistently loses every tournament. Take a tournament, any tournament, and I would be willing to bet my left nut that the majority of armies you will see will be the Sons of Sanguinius. It’s like clockwork; I can set my watch to it. The sea of red is undeniable, and I want to ask one simple question. Why? Why are players bringing an army that has no way to deal with top tier tournament lists? Why are players bringing 7 dreadnaughts to face off against Space Wolf missile spam? Why are players bringing DOA to a tournament that features armies such as Horde Orks and Dark Eldar Venom spam? I could go on for hours asking these rhetorical questions to myself, in the dark, naked. But I won’t. Having played every possible variation of the Blood Angels, I have come to the conclusion that the army is firmly stuck in the middle tier and won’t be going anywhere soon.
(I hear a cacophony of noise!) What’s that? What about Razorspam you ask? You have a point there, at this moment the most viable build for the Blood Angels is Razorspam, the act of building a list entirely around fast moving razorbacks with min-maxed assault squads. What’s the problem with this build? I’m glad you asked, chump. In a killpoints game against Long Fang spam, Psyrifle dread spam, or venom/lances/blaster spam, you may as well shake your opponents hand and get an early lunch. Yes, you get fast razorbacks that can move 6” and fire a twin linked plasma gun and lascannon. That’s just great, except you are forgetting that those same vehicles are also armor 11, which means in a universe with a plethora of strength 7+ shots, your razorback has about as much chance as a corndog in Iowa. Oh, remember your brilliant tactic of having 5 naked assault marines with a flamer inside the transport? Well, they’ll be leaving next. 2 kill points. Backing up these Razorbacks will usually be 3 Baal Predators (which, admittedly, can be very devastating, if you don’t move over 6’’) and three Dakka Predators (also equally devastating, these are actually my favorite units in the game). The problem with this is that codices are and have been for some time very anti-mech oriented, which means while your super fast armor 13 tanks may be damaging the enemy, a good tournament player will be laughing his ass off as his 20+ missile launchers/Dark Lances/twin-linked strength 8 auto cannons/etc wipe your ass off the table. Nice job, schmuck! Speaking of anti-mech, this leads us to our next “viable” Blood Angel build, the DOA.
The DOA stands for Decent of Angels, that is, an army consisting of marines sporting the Blood Angels’ favorite type of equipment, the jump pack. Typically what you will see in this army are several assault squads with tri-melta/powerfist combos, Sanguinary Guard (super assault squads with no invulnerable save = fail), priests (a 75-90 point, one wound, toughness 4 model, great value!) and expensive named special characters in order to conceivably overwhelm your opponent with the most proficient close combat army in the universe. The problem is, Blood Angels are HARDLY the best assault army in the game, you just get pay the points to pretend they are. Go ahead, charge that Grey Knight unit that is half your size. What’s that? That mob of Orks spoiling for a fight?….guess what, you lose. IG blob squads eat you for lunch. So what are you paying for? Well, hopefully marines that feel no pain and have furious charge, which will cost you around 225 points for three priests to spread around your army (with jump packs). This build used to be somewhat viable when you were able to combat squad units before deep-striking, but thanks to the most recent Codex Space Marine FAQ this is no longer allowed (i.e. you cannot split your 10 man squad in half and then drop them.) Don’t get me wrong, the ability to scatter 1d6 and re-roll the reserves die is huge, and is the reason you see so many DOA armies at tournaments. The main problem with this build, and all Blood Angel builds, is that you don’t get the efficiency for the point cost that other codices enjoy. Sure, that 350 point Vanguard Veteran unit looks cool on paper, but the reality is in a one on one fight with other dedicated assault units such as Thunderwolf Cavalry, the fight is more lopsided than when Arnold Schwarzenegger beat up that fat guy in Commando.
Popular Blood Angel unit choices and why they fail!
Wow! Some strong opinions expressed here. Anyone feel that this is a stern, but fair opinion? Any dissenters? I do have to agree that I see more Blood Angels players at events than any other army, and rarely see them win. But, Paul Murphy has consistently done well with them, as have a few other tournament players. However, are they the exception to the rule?