MSU Raven, Blood Angels in 6ED
A guest editorial on Blood Angels in 6th ed by Anonymou5.
First, a caveat, this article is pretty late, I started it a while ago, and then got bogged down by work. So, you’ll notice it involves Black Templar allies that can no longer exist. That said, the list concept is still solid. I should have finished this right after Raw Dogger posted his Blood Angels article, then we could have had Blood Angels week on Frontline Gaming! Complete with Battle Reports in character as your favorite Twilight character. I know the audience, right?
Blood Angels get a lot of shit talked about them nowadays, and probably rightfully so. They are unequivocally one of the weakest Armies in the game, and are overpaying for a lot of special rules that no longer really help. That said, they can work in Sixth Edition. I know Kenny Boucher did pretty well with them at Nova, and more importantly, I know my ATC Teammate Andrew did well with them.
I normally hate List Hammer articles, so I apologize for this one, because it absolutely has some Listhammering in it. Hopefully, I provide enough tactical insight to make up for it, but if not, I promise I will get back to scrawling tactical graphics on my power point to try to express concepts soon enough.
When putting together our ATC team, we designed Andrew’s list to act as an Attacker List. It was designed to capitalize on specific match ups and help the Team as a whole. Specifically, it was designed to beat Wave Serpeants and Daemons (both of which it handles quite easily). Unfortunately, at the last minute, we had two players drop out, and replaced them with very inexperienced players. That meant that Andrew, due to his skill as a player, was moved to a Defender. Bad for the Team, good for comparing a very niche Blood Angels build to a highly competitive meta.
We named Andrew’s List MSU Raven, for obvious reasons. Here it is, 1999+1
5 man Assault Squad with 2 Meltaguns and Infernus Pistol
5 man Assault Squad with 2 Meltaguns and Infernus Pistol
Scout Squad with snipers and camo cloaks
Stormraven with Lascannon, MM, Hurricane Bolters
Stormraven with Assault Cannon, MM, Hurricane Bolters
Stormraven with Lascannon, MM
Marshall with Artificer Armor, Stormshield
5 man Crusader Squad with Las/Plas
5 man Crusader Squad with Las/Plas
Stormraven with Assault Cannon and MM
Aegis with Comms Relay
So how does this list work? I mean besides the basics? Obviously Stormravens shoot stuff…
First, Mephiston. I know, he sucks right? That’s what everyone says. He has a power sword, he can’t kill Terminators, he’s terrible. Well, it’s true, he can’t kill Terminators. You know who Mephiston is a lot faster than? Terminators. If Mephy is fighting Terminators, you’re an idiot. Also, who plays Terminators anymore? I hear you now, “what if my opponent has nothing but Terminators? I’m screwed.” Well, in that case your opponent is either likely playing Deathwing or Draigowing. If it’s Deathwing, congratulations, you’re on the bottom table and I’m sorry you tried using Mephiston. If it’s Draigowing, you have almost as many STR8 AP2 shots as he has models, I think you’ll be okay.
Okay, got it, Mephiston can’t kill Terminators. What can he kill? Everything else. Daemon Princes without Iron Arm? Stay away from Mephiston. Wraithknights? Dead. Backfield units hiding out? Dead. Riptides? Dead. Sure, a Riptide is technically a TDA equivalent, but Mephy is doing one wound before a Riptide does six.
I hear your further complain, “He can’t join a unit, he’s just going to get shot at!” Look at this guy.
Look how small he is. He can hide pretty damn easily. You know why he’s holding his sword up? Because he’s read page 8 of the rule book and he knows his sword doesn’t count for Line of Sight purposes. Lord of Death and Literacy.
He’s easy to hide, he’s fast, and he can kill anything not wearing TDA or sporting Iron Arm/Eternal Warrior. If only we played in a meta with giant, multi wound, monstrous creatures everywhere. Oh wait, Mephiston is good. The internet is stupid. Here’s how Andrew put it:
“He is simultaneously a scalpel and a blunt object. His size and mobility make him easy to hide and ensure he gets where he needs to go. When he gets there he either annihilates his targets, or he dies while soaking up a full turn of their best shooting. Either way, he’s done what I needed him to do“
Okay, Mephiston is hiding, the Ravens are off the board, how is he not getting tabled turn 1? Enter the Marshall and his boys. They man the Comms Relay. Sometimes he placed this out of sight entirely, sometimes ATC had awful terrain and well, he lost, right? No, stop being wrong with your hypothetical questions readers. The Marshall has 2+ armor, a 3++, and a 2+ look out sir. The squad has a 2+ cover. Actually pretty damn durable at extreme range. They only have to last one turn, then the pain starts.
Scouts infiltrate/outflank depending on what’s needed. Assault squads Descent of Angels, and put 6 melta gun shots into something. They also have FNP, because 11 T4, 3+, 5+, bodies landing with precision is actually pretty durable. They can avoid true firepower because of their reduced scatter.
Well, okay, that makes sense, you say. What about Storm Ravens? They suck, right? They are overcosted compared to the Vendetta. Well, they are overcosted, but they’re still a bear to deal with. First of all, 4 Ravens can engage 8 targets. That’s already pretty nasty, and with a nice mix of weaponry. Plus, rear armor 12 makes them very hard for Daemons to deal with. Plus, four of them makes them hard for everyone to deal with. Four Ravens tends to overload anti air? Well, what about Tau? Tau are the toughest match in the current meta, no doubt there. But Ravens outrange Broadsides and can alpha strike them. Riptides actually aren’t reliable anti air, especially when packing Ion Accelerators as is common, especially not when dealing with four targets, and running away from Mephiston….
The list works well. But here, let me show you.
Andrew’s first match up, Tau.
EWO Commaner with some shield drones
3 man Crisis Team with Plasma
2xRiptides with IA, Fusion, Interceptor, Skyfire
2x 10 Firewarriors in a Devilfish
2 x 10 Kroot with a Hound
2 x 6 Pathfinders
Sunshark Bomber with Networked MLs
Ionhead with SMS
Railhead with SMS
I’ll be the first to tell you, that’s not a perfect Tau list. But it should have the tools to handle MSU Raven. Two Skyfire/Interceptor Riptides. Skyfire Markerlights from the Bomber. Plenty of Troops. Ignores cover Plasma from the Crisis Team with the Commander. Tons of AP1/2 in general to kill Mephy.
Well, Andrew won handedly. Mephiston boxed in the Riptides, and eventually killed at least one (although he did die). No Ravens died. The Marshall sacrificed his Crusader squad to the plasma bomb, then killed them in close combat. Hurricane Bolters liquidated Troops, and Multi Meltas killed vehicles. Gunslinger squads precision landed on cleared objectives and hid. The tools of the Blood Angels list worked together to take a majority of objectives and keep the Riptides from contesting/surviving.
Andrew’s second opponent was the Imperial Guard/Space Wolves Army from Quality Control.
1xAegis With Comms Relay
I will say both of them were babies during this game. Plenty of arguing about rules, I don’t care who was right, they were both being ridiculous. My QC opponent and I had a perfectly fun and close game that went to the wire at the adjacent table.
That said, Andrew won. The Vendettas came on first and killed Mephy. The Ravens then killed the Vendettas, and started putting down guardsmen. To quote Andrew again Moral of the Story here is to never leave home without a couple set of hurricane bolters cause combined with the AC’s they will absolutely kill 15 Guardsmen a turn per Raven” I’m not going to check his mathhammer, because that’s probably close enough and makes the point. Ravens can kill blobs.
This was the same opponent who narrowly beat JY2 in the finals. Not to say Andrew is better than JY2, but it’s an example of MSU Raven competing and winning against high level players.
Game 3 Andrew drew Eldar.
4 Wave Serpents with 10 Dire Avengers
1 Wave Serpent with Fire Dragons
2 Fire Prisms
As Andrew put it: “this was the match up my list was basically designed for. The game went exactly as it was designed, cocky as that sounds, it’s just a bad match up for the Eldar. Turn one he killed basically nothing…. just went to ground and made 2+’s. He kept his shields up on a couple of the serpents but not all. I only got 3 ravens on in turn 2, but that was enough. Went 3 for 3 killing serpents. Turn 2 he flew on the CH and killed one raven. It then died immediately to my 4th Raven that came on. The deep striking gunslinger squads also killed their targets on the drop. No shields on the back. Mephiston hopped along behind the ravens killing anything that got out of the serpents after they exploded. Unfortunately he couldn’t make a save, and eventually died to the remnant of a dire avenger squad. In the end I won 29 to 1.”
It does sound cocky, but MSU Raven owns Serpent spam pretty hard. Andrew actually playtested the list a bunch against a better Eldar player, running a much more optimized Serpent list. Snapfiring S7 does not win gunfights against Storm Ravens. Mephy owns WKs. Blood Angels actually hold the advantage over one of the stronger current meta builds, crazy as it sounds.
Andrew’s 4th game was against the other style of Eldar, Footdar. This time the general was Nick Rose from BOLS.
20 Guardians with a Bright Lance
20 Guardians with a Bright Lance and a Serpent to look at
5 man Ranger Squad
2x 3 man Windrider Squad
2x 8 man Warp Spiders
6 Dark Reapers with an Exarch and a Wave Serpent.
If you remember from my past article https://www.frontlinegaming.org/2013/08/16/guest-editorial-by-anonymou5-fateweaver-versus-the-world-or-a-way-to-fight-tau-a-tournament-vignette/
BOLS smoked us. Andrew was no different, in talking to him after, he had never considered the possibility of a Footdar build like this one, and was completely taken aback by how they played. Warp Spiders in his face immediately caught him off guard.
In his words “ Killed the serpents and a few guardians but thats it. I put Meph in a raven with the plan of having him assault out and Force weapon the WK. Didn’t go to plan though. His Spiders couldn’t have rolled more 6’s and I couldn’t have failed more jinks. only 3 ravens came on in turn one and 3 were dead by turn 4. Colossal butt kicking but somehow I managed to pull out a point by nabbing line breaker. “
I can’t say Footdar is a bad match up, because Andrew had never played versus it, Nick is a top tier player, and this was the fourth game in a single day. That said, it’s something to watch out for if playing MSU Raven.
Game 5 started off day 2, and Andrew drew another Army that he was designed to beat. Daemons.
2xBloodthirsters with dual Greater Rewards
Worth noting, in this game type Fast Attack were scoring. 42 scoring Fleshhounds. This ended up being “one of those games” where the dice went crazy. Mephiston killed all 42 Fleshhounds and a Bloodthirster. This happened:
And the Thirster made made something like 12 5++ saves.
All in all, Andrew won. Even without crazy dice, it’s a pretty easy match up for MSU Raven. Really, almost all Daemon builds are easy match ups for MSU Raven. Daemons have one answer to Storm Ravens (besides ignore them and do that at your own peril), which is a Daemon Prince of Slaanesh with Iron Arm. They have few real answers to Mephiston; mainly Balesword Princes and Seekers/Daemonettes. Even Iron Arm Princes are going to have a rough fight, unless they’re Grimoired. Worth noting, that’s another tournament caliber Army that MSU Raven has the advantage over.
Andrew’s last game ended up being against one of his friends, and is a game that we only let happen because we were out of the running for first. I called the game “Second Turn Wins” The opponent had 9 Scythes, ha. Well, Andrew got first turn. He did manage to keep it close, only barely losing. But he still lost.
Funnily enough, MSU Raven does pretty well against Wraithwing, but we never tested against Crossaint Wing…because why would we ever match that? Andrew wanted it though, so he got it. I hope he’s happy.
That said, he went 4-2 against a highly competitive meta, and beat a Tau list with the tools to give him trouble. MSU Raven is a good counter to Daemons and Serpents, and isn’t auto lose versus Tau. I honestly think it’s a solid list for RTTs, but probably not GT Worthy. Blood Angels aren’t dead yet.
The BT allies still basically work with the new codex, so please no comments about how that change ruined the list; the concept lives on.
(also, thanks for JY2 for taking a picture of my teammate’s list at the top, which I forgot to do myself, haha)