Hey everyone, the new Blood Angels are upon us! Here is our traditional review of the new Codex: Blood Angels: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly! Up first, the HQ section and some overall rules.
Usual caveats apply here: this is a first reading review, our opinions can and will change. We will also likely get a rule reading wrong here or there, although we strive not to. And, as always, use what you like to use! These are just opinions. Check out the Tactics Corner for more great reviews!
There’s a lot to like in the new book! I know quite a few folks freaked out a bit about the changes, and that is understandable, but I for one am very positive about the new Blood Angels and think there are a lot of cool, effective lists in here. Let’s jump into it!
Furious Charge. Awesome! Essentially the “Chapter Tactics” of the Blood Angels. I dig it. This really boosts MEQs in melee and while they still fall short of the really nasty stuff out there, this means they all get a really nice boost to assault and helps a ton for things like vehicles, MCs, other infantry, etc. It makes assault units even better at what they do and shooty units get a nice boost to make them a tad more multi-functional.
Wargear. Blood Angels get some slick wargear options. I really love having the Heavy Flamer in the Tac Squad! Finally, I’ve been waiting for that for years. But also the ability to “dual-wield” all the fun pistols is also ace. You can have a Sarge in a unit with 2 Inferno Pistols if you wanted, which can be a nice boost to Rhino rush or Drop Pod style lists and it looks awesome, John Woo style!
Psychic Powers. The Blood Angels powers are all pretty solid. The Quickening is a great Primaris and can turn some of the characters into absolute beat-sticks! Fear of the Darkness vs. armies like Tau or Orks can be devastating and is useful against any army that isn’t Fearless. Unleash Rage and Shield are both great utility powers that I could see being fantastic for any unit, really. Great blessings. Even Blood Boil, the least appealing of them to me at first glance, is still not bad. Wings of Sanguinius looks like it could be interesting too, as it allows you to move in the movement phase and then “jump” in the psychic phase which is awesome to get a unit in position to take a side or rear shot in the shooting phase, or to then run in the shooting phase and cover a lot of ground to grab an objective. In all, these are solid. The real question is do you take these over BRB powers?
Relics. In general, I dig them. Nothing that jumps out as ultra-powerful, but all of them are solid. Gallian’s Staff will be great for a psyker to improve the odds of getting off key powers (reroll 1’s on the psychic test but take a wound if you roll an additional 1) and at only 10pts is a steal. Fury of Baal and Valour’s Edge are decent little upgrades if you want a solid but not outstanding piece of kit for a character (pistol and sword respectively). The sword (ap2 power sword) would typically not look so awesome but when you consider that BA can easily get +1 Str and In on the charge, it becomes pretty appealing at only 5pts over a normal power sword. The Crown Angelic can be quite good against the right opponent and for 10pts, is quite a steal. A Fear check at -2 can turn a tough fight into an easy one, assuming the target is susceptible to Fear, of course. This might be one that is better for league play where you know who you will be up against. The Angel’s Wing is solid, it is a Jump Pack that allows you to reroll the scatter die, and the mishap table, plus gives defense against Interceptor (can only snap fire on the model with it), and for only 10pts over the cost of a Jump Pack..not bad at all. The real winner though, is the Veritas Vitea, which gives you an extra Warlord Trait on the Strategic table. Nice! This means you get potentially 4 rolls on the table (assuming your Warlord is in a detachment that grants you a reroll on the Warlord Trait) and Strategic is easily the best table. I think this will be the most commonly seen BA Relic.
Librarian. He is a solid choice for your HQ. He gives you access to Relics, solid powers, is cheap, and fills the HQ slot. He’s not amazing, but some of the very solid BA psychic powers can really beef up a unit. Keep him cheap, slap a jump pack or bike on him, and have him run around with a unit that he can ratchet up in power. I would look at taking Gallian’s Staff every time as a way to help get those key powers off. I would say always take Meph over him, but alas, Meph doesn’t have a way to move quickly on his own, anymore. The only real downside to the Libby is that with only 2 wounds, he is likely to die and give up Warlord if he is the Warlord.
Mephiston. Yes he got nerfed, but, he gained some solid benefits, got a nice price reduction and is still a really solid choice. My only real complaint with him now is that he is slow. However, for the points you get a lot. He is now an IC, so you can stick him in a unit. And, he has one, really compelling ability: chopping Knights in half! Meph can still get himself up to strength 10 with his inbuilt power: Sanguine Sword. Plus, he can buff himself with the Quickening to go up to 8 attacks on the charge. At I5 or 6, with WS6, he has really good odds of taking a Knight down in a single go, especially if you can give him some rerolls to hit. Combine this with the ability that he also cuts down 3+ MC’s just as easily (Force Weapon), and he is solid. The thing to watch out for is Str10 attacks that swing before him, but if you put him in a unit with a character that can fall on the sword in a challenge to take on things like DPs, he will quite easily dispatch them. He also comes with Adamantium Will if he is the Warlord which when combined with his ML3 psyker status, means you can get up to a 3+ DtW roll. Nice! In all, I think Meph is a great HQ, I just wish he moved a little quicker. A ML3 psyker with 3 wounds and kicks ass in HtH. Not bad at all.
Astorath. He’s very good! Fairly costed for what you get: 2+/4++, 3 wound, fast moving HQ, that buffs his unit with Zealot. His Warlord trait is a nice little boost (Adamantium Will), and he does hit pretty hard in melee with his power axe which unfortunately is two handed, but, inflicts ID on a to wound roll of a 6. Interesting that they clarified it works even if he would not normally be able to wound the target which answers that old debate for other weapons with a similar rule in terms of intent. Clearly, Astorath wants to go with Death Company where he gives them the ability to reroll wound rolls in addition to rerolling to hit which is a big buff. In all, solid choice especially if you plan on running Death Company with jump packs.
Sanguinary Priest. This is a fantastic HQ. For a measly 60pts, you get an IC that fills your HQ slot, and gives his unit +1 WS (so long as they are BA Faction), and FnP! Nice one. He also gets access to Relics, and lots of wargear options. He himself is middling in stats, but that is OK. You put him with any unit and make them better: Assault Termies, Sanguinary Guard, Vanguards, etc. Just a great support unit that can also do some work in assault if you give him a weapon. Not bad at all! I think we will be seeing lots of Priests in the HQ slots for BA. Plus, the new models is really ace looking.
Corbulo. Again, a really solid HQ choice. Corbulo is on foot, but, he has a 6″ +1WS and Initiative aura which is pretty slick. It also means he can go up to I8 on the charge which is funny (I5 base+Red Grail, Warlord Trait, Red Thirst). He himself also grants his unit FnP, and packs a Str5 rending attack that can go up to 6 on the charge which is solid for chopping vehicles in half. Not bad at all for a very reasonable price point, and he does have 3 wounds. His Far-Seeing Eye got toned down a bit, but is still a nice little boost with a single reroll once per game at a critical moment. Again, he’s slow, but that isn’t a deal breaker at all.
Tycho (either version). Wow. He is just awful. His pimp slap doesn’t even ignore armor anymore. Only a bolt pistol, no CC weapon, but digital lasers? I know that is sort of what his model looks like he has but holy crap… Yeah, he’s extremely bad. While I am sure some folks will use him for nostalgia and on occasion his master crafted melta will have some shining moments, there is no reason to ever take him in the HQ slot from an efficiency perspective.
Captain: He’s solid! Not amazing by any means, but you can give him some decent kit on the cheap and have a nice, melee character. He’s not hammer unit either, but he gives you access to relics on a fairly good chassis. The only reason he is in the Ugly category is because there’s no compelling reason to take him over the other HQ choices.
Librarian Dreadnought. Dreads just struggle, which is why he’s in the Ugly and not Good category. They’re just so damn easy to destroy. That said, he is relatively cheap for an AV13 dread which helps a ton, and he is a psyker. If you can manage to get him into combat, he can cast Quickenning and/or Force on Himself and be very dangerous to targets with his Strength 10, AP2 melee attacks (and unfortunately, it appears that his Power Fist is a Specialist Weapon, preventing him from getting a bonus attack for two melee weapons) but he lacks grenades, and a way to get into combat reliably. You could stick him in a Stormraven, Pod, or a Dreadnought Drop Pod which helps a ton. However, for the points, I don’t think you’d want to run with him as your HQ. Not a bad choice, just not as good as the other HQs, IMO.
The Sanguinor. Again, not bad, but not great. He is EW, which is awesome, but with T4, 3 wounds and a 2+/4++ isn’t ultra durable, especially considering that he is not an IC and so has to run solo. His weapon is AP3, so he isn’t that scary in assault, but he does go up to strength 6 on the charge, which is nice. You take him for his Aura of Fervor buff, which gives all BA units It is actually models, not units within 6″, yikes, he’s pretty awful!) within 6″ +1 attack. That is awesome, but he has to be up in the mix to grant his bonus and a savvy player will target and destroy him relatively quickly for an easy kill and a way to debuff your nearby units which is why I don’t list his Warlord Trait as a plus (12″ Fearless aura). In order to use it, you have to make him the Warlord, meaning he becomes an even bigger target and therefore bigger liability. He is fairly costed for what you get, and in a Descent of Angels style list could have a place, but in general terms I would pass.
Techmarine. Beyond being a cheapo way to fill the HQ slot, he is middling as he only has a single wound. Not much to see here honestly, other than the fact that with Furious Charge he does go up to strength 9 on the assault with his Servo Arm. Other than that, he’s standard fair. If you run him as your Warlord, he’d be good to keep hidden for Warlord denial, slap the Veritas Vitea on him and bolster a ruin, staying out of harm’s way. I don’t see much reason beyond that to take him over the other choices.
Chaplain. He is solid, but for my money there is only one reason to ever take him over Astorath: you need a Chappy on foot for some reason. The generic Chappy has less wounds, a lower save, and doesn’t grant Death Company rerolls to wound. He is cheaper though, but has an inferior weapon and less attacks. You can give him Relics though, which can open up some interesting combos but really, this guy falls into the sub-optimal category for HQ choices in this book. Zealot would be great for Termies or Death Company on foot coming out of a Land Raider, but that is a unit that works best in for fun games in most cases. Outside of that, I would prefer the cheaper Priest of Libby, or the better Astorath, for similar roles.
HQ down! The rest of the book to come, shortly!