Blood Angels: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Part 2: Troops and Elites

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We’re back with part 2! As always, check out the Tactics Corner for more great articles!

Eastwood-Clint-Good-the-Bad-and-the-Ugly-The

The Good

Tactical Squads

You know em, you love em. Not much sense in spending a lot of time on Tactical Marines as they are the mainstay of the game. The Blood Angels version, besides being red and angry, sport some shiny kit not available to all the other chapters. For one, the very awesome Heavy Flamer which I have been wanting to see on a Tactical Squad for ages. This gives you a mobile heavy weapon that meshes really well with the bolters of the unit. Pair this with a flamer in the unit and melta bombs on sarge and you have a great, well rounded scoring unit. Or, toss them a melta gun and twin melta pistols on the sarge and you have a very well rounded unit able to deal with armor and infantry. Toss these fellas in a fast Rhino or Drop Pod and profit. Combat Squads is almost always the way to roll with them (apart from Kill Point style missions) and a cool little tidbit: it appears that a combat squaded unit in a Rhino can fire one model from each combat squad at two different targets out of the hatch of a Rhino. Cool! Plus, Furious Charge obviously helps when they have to fix bayonets and resort to fisticuffs.

Scout Squad

I love Scouts, not gonna deny it. So, take my bias into consideration, but, evidence on the tabletop has borne out my enthusiasm for the little buggers. Scouts, infiltrate, MtC, ATSKNF, and Grenades=a killer value for 11pts per model. Combine this with the fact that BA Scouts have Furious Charge and possibly +1 In on the charge if you use the BA Detachment, and they are really solid. You’d be surprised what Scouts can take out in melee if you dog pile the target with them. The clear choice for their kit (IMO) is to run them in assault mode with pistol and shank, with a either a melta bomb on sarge, or go for the gusto and upgrade to a vet sarge and give him a power sword or maul to take advantage of the In and strength boost. You can always toss them a teleport homer if you plan on bringing in some Termies, too, as they tend to be in good position.

Death Company Squad

This is the gem of the Elites slot, for me.  The iconic Blood Angels unit got worse in some ways, better in others, but on the whole is a great addition to your army. They still pack some great rules such as Furious Charge, Rage, FnP, Relentless and Fearless. They also get Jump Packs at only 3pts per model, which makes them very efficient for what you get. That, plus the fact they don’t have to pay for a Priest for FnP, come with Rage, don’t need to buy a Sarge and the fact that they can hide the heavy hitting weapons in their unit makes these the best choice for building an assault unit, in my eyes. They’re fast, reliable, hit quite hard, are reasonably durable, and provide a tremendous escort for a character that can keep up with them, or work well on their own. In my opinion, running them cheap is imporant. Just Jump Packs, a pair of Fists and nothing else. Their high volume of strength 5 attacks (5 per model) when they assault will mulch most things, and 8 hidden strength 9 fists on the assault will take out most other problems you may find yourself facing in a game. Consider Astorath as the reroll to hit and wound for them cranks their damage output up to an 11, and makes them ultra reliable. You could also run them in a Pod if you wanted as they could double tap and then assault the next turn after double tapping Bolters again (Relentless), or even run them with Bolters and Jump Packs for a different approach to the unit (Fist should pair with Bolters anyway for the extra shots and as they are Relentless, it won’t prevent assaults).You can also run them with powerful utility characters such as Azrael to give them a 4++ and really crank up their durability. The possibilities for a strong foundation of a unit like this are limitless. I give Death Company two thumbs up!

Sanguinary Guard

I had a tough time making up my mind as to whether I felt these guys belonged in the Ugly or Good category. They have a lot to like, 2+, fast, str 4 ap 4 assault 2, 12″ shooting, master crafted power weapons, can cause fear…all good for a reasonable price point considering what you get. You can give them all melta pistols, a Chapter Banner which grants +1 attack, or a power fist or Encarmine Axe (master crafted, two handed power axe). They don’t have an invul save, which can obviously be a bummer vs. the wrong opponent, and they are not cheap for a 1 wound model. However, they do give you a lot for the points when taken into consideration as a unit and if you take 5 with no upgrades, that only runs you 165pts. 2 swords, 3 axes, and you have a solid flanking unit that can gobble up lighter scoring units and vehicles with ease for not too many points. Play them conservatively, pick your targets well, and you will have a lot of success with them. Toss them into something good in assault and you will be a sad panda as you pick up your be-nippled, golden warriors by the handful. For extra oomph, run them with a Priest with a jump pack if you up them to more than 5 models, and they can do some work but they function just fine on their own, too. Just be wary of investing too many points into them as they can get smoked fast by ap 2 attacks. In all, the Bling Wing can get it done if you play them smart and I think will really have a place in an MSU build, so Good is my final vote.

Assault Terminators

Hammernators are the only version that still get it done. Lighting Claws look baller, with +1 strength and In they occasionally will rock the house, but in general terms, simply don’t work well enough.  Hammerantors are durable enough and hit hard enough that they still rate as an all around melee threat that warrants their points cost. Stick them in a pod, or a Land Raider and go to town. They don’t even need character support (one of their strengths) but obviously a Priest helps with +1 WS and FnP, although often the things they end up fighting ignore FnP, sadly. Astra Militarum Priests are an incredible boost for them as they allow them to reroll saves or wounds, which if it goes off, is bananas and makes them one of the best assault units in the game. Really, the only question to ask yourself with a unit like this is how you are going to get them into combat. Once there, they handle the rest. Just be wary of units with a boat load of attacks that swing first as that is the weakness of Hammernators. If you think you will be facing these types of opponents, be sure to bring a tank character along to soak the chaff, or a Priest for that nice FnP bonus.

Sternguard

Just like regular Sternguard, but cheaper (10pts cheaper for the squad over the Marine version) and come with Furious Charge. What’s not to like? Sternguard are an excellent unit. Poison 2+ shooting minces MCs, Ignores Cover rounds helps a ton to mitigate all the silly Shrouding in the game at present, and they aren’t bad in a fist fight, either. They go great in a Pod or on Foot. Sternguard are a great, all around unit that will not disappoint you.

the bad

The Bad

Dreadnought (All varieties)

I want to love them. I have like, 9 or 10 at this stage. But, simply put, Dreads do not get it done in most cases in a competitive 7th ed environment. Some folks out there love them and have success with them and I salute those of you who do. But, there is a reason you never see them at top tables in tournaments and that is because they are just too easy to kill in this edition and don’t put out that much damage, generally speaking. If you can get them into the right target in melee, they can be all stars, but typically they tend to be a liability. Single shot weapons just don’t get it done in a meta of MCs that have high cover saves and lots of wounds, and even the Assault Cannon which used to be great, is a bit of a wet noodle compared to what is out there these days. AV12 just falls flat in the face of the insane firepower that units like Flyrants, Wave Serpents and Missilesides put out. Combine that with the fact that they are slow, take cover saves like vehicles and you have a recipe for disappointment. If only Dreads were just MCs, they’d be rock stars, but alas, they are not. Sorry, buddy, maybe next edition!

Now, those general statements aside, there are some ways to use them if you have your heart set on it. Drop Pods, particularly the Dreadnought Drop Pod (FW model) help a ton. A Pod will obviously get you into position reliably, but the Dread Drop Pod deserves special mention. You can stay inside it if you need the protection for a turn, and it provides Shrouding to itself, the Dread if it is standing on one of the ramps, and to units behind it that the enemy draws LoS to. It is also an assault vehicle so if you opt to stay inside, you can assault the next turn (not the turn you come in, though). So, if you take a single Dread like the Death Company or Furioso, this would be my preferred method of getting them there. Or, if you really want to give it the old heave ho, take a LOT of them, all in Dread Drop Pods, and you stand very good odds of getting a significant number of them into melee where they can do some serious work. Outside of specialized functions or lists such as those though, I have to give a sad thumbs down to ye old Dreads this edition baring those with some really powerful mitigating special rules.

Tactical Terminators

Sigh, much like Dreads, I love them, have tons of them, but they are quite simply overpriced for what you get in this edition. You never see Tactical Terminators, anymore, which is sad. They are just too expensive for a single wound model with a meh gun and decent assault. Yes, a fist is great, but they rarely survive in the numbers you need to do anything with them. The issue is that while yes, on paper they have good gear and stats, smart players either shoot them with ap2 and 1 weapons where their 5++ leaves them gutted, or simply throws dice ad them and those 1’s come along eventually. In melee, MC swing first usually, and kill so many of them, they don’t have the gusto left to deal a killing blow. If every Termie had an Assault Cannon or something, then we’d be talking, but as is they need a pretty serious points reduction to be effective for a competitive list.

Vanguard Veterans

Yeah, they still aren’t good. Expensive, and absolutely pale in comparison to Death Company. There is no reason to take them over DC, for my money. You save a point per model and gaing Heroic Intervention (no penalty for multi assault) but lose so many USRs, it just isn’t worth it.

ugly

The Ugly

Command Squad

Command Squad in the Elites section, no longer tied to an HQ model…interesting. This is a funky little unit. Typically, the best bet for a Command Squad was 4-5 special weapons, maybe the Apothecary, toss them in a pod or on bikes and go hunting big game. This unit quite clearly wants to be built for assault though (must take the apoth and Company Champion). The Champ has to challenge (lame), and comes with a power sword and combat shield which are OK, but he does have Furious Charge and is WS5. Not bad, but not that great, honestly, as in a challenge he will get the royal beat down against anything that is geared for combat. FnP helps of course, but obviously not against ID attacks. 3 Special Weapons isn’t bad on the vets, but you pay for that champ who dilutes their potency in shooting and doesn’t help a ton in assault. If you do kit them for assault, they get mega expensive, quick, and are easy to kill while being limited to 5 bodies means they don’t hit all that hard and each casualty really hurts. You could give 3 of them Storm Shields and if the whole unit has jump packs, they’re a sort of flying tar pit, but that’s a lot of points to spend for that utility. I’d rather take Death Company or Sanguinary Guard for the assault role who are typically better and cheaper, and these chaps simply don’t shoot that well. So, for their slightly confused role, they are not bad at all, but not great either. I’d pass.

Lemartes

He looks like death on wheels, but’s he’s very pricey, not that durable, and doesn’t hit that hard (although admittedly, he can mince vehicles). Now, that’s not to say he’s bad, he isn’t at all, but is it worth this price tag to take him over Astorath to go with Death Company (he can only join DC)? IMO, no. For a few dollars more, you get better offense and utility with Astorath. So again, not bad, but not great. Use him for a themed DC unit and you won’t be disappointed but won’t be overwhelmed, either.

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About Reecius

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25 Responses to “Blood Angels: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Part 2: Troops and Elites”

  1. Cthoss December 24, 2014 1:09 am
    #

    One thing you missed with Lemartes is that he is an Elites choice, not an HQ. This means that if you play an event that limits detachments or forbids double primaries, you can get two regular HQs, like Librarians or Sanguinary Priests, and still get a Chaplain to run with your Death Company. In addition, he is a mere 25 points more than a Chaplain with Jump Pack and gets Feel No Pain, Rage and Rage Unbound, which is a bargain.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 24, 2014 11:04 am
      #

      All fair points, thanks for sharing your view on him.

  2. brentinKorea December 24, 2014 3:22 am
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    Glad scouts are better costed now. No landspeeder storm is an unfortunate choice by gw.
    Also where are you looking that the combat scouts can target different units? Thanks

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 24, 2014 11:04 am
      #

      What do you mean by target different units?

    • Stu December 25, 2014 12:42 am
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      Are you miss reading “combat squads” in the tactical squad section? The part where if they are sharing a ride in a rhino each unit can shoot at a separate target from inside.

  3. Pascal Roggen December 24, 2014 3:34 am
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    a wierd thing I noticed on sang guard, I could be wrong but it appears there is no limit of one chapter banner per army. you could run as many squads with chapter banners as you like, and at +1 attack for everyone in the unit I think ti’s a pretty sound 25 point investment:P

    the only point I can see for VV’s is 10 point storm shields in a large squad, with a priest to maximise the multiassualt rule.

    they can be used as pistol carriers, 5 guys in a pod with 10 infernos pistols is 270 odd points. if you take them from an archangels detachment they’ll only scatter 1d6, so will always be in melta range after disembarking.
    Is it better than 270 points for 2 squads of assault marines in pods with 8 melta total that scatter 2d6….. not sure… but i think it’s worth a look at least

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 24, 2014 11:05 am
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      Yeah, that is pretty pricey, but it could be fun.

  4. fluger December 24, 2014 9:35 am
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    FINALLY!

    BA Tacticals are the first actually Tactical tactical marines ever! They actually do decently in melee with S5, and they are good at clearing infantry with the heavy flamer and bolters. Very versatile!

    I REALLY think BA scouts are a step above every other scout out there with the exception of Sentinels of Terra version with bolters. 3 S5 attacks is actually TWICE as effective at taking out rear AV10 vehicles compared to a single krak grenade (takes 9 grenade attacks to kill 3 HPs, and takes 4.5 BA fight scouts to do the same thing) that normal scouts kick out. Bonus that they still have the krak for any subsequent round.

    BA is one of the few armies I could see running a double CAD with mostly troops and looking feisty.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 24, 2014 11:08 am
      #

      Yeah, I agree. Between the awesome Tacticals, Fast transports, Infiltrating Scouts and Assault squads in Pods, you have a great ground pounder army.

      • fluger December 24, 2014 12:04 pm
        #

        Also, I know you don’t rate Dreads very high, but no love for Furiosos in a pod?

        With the frag cannon and a meltagun they can threaten literally anything in the game on the drop, and they are servicable on the assault with S10 and WS5. Bonus that they are AV13 on the front, so are more rugged than the AV12 normal dreads. At 130 pts, they really aren’t THAT expensive, and even with the pod tax, I still think they are nice.

        • AbusePuppy December 24, 2014 2:11 pm
          #

          Threaten, maybe, but I think they’re hard-pressed to consistently do much damage. Even Guardsmen get armor saves against the Frag Cannon and a single BS4 meltagun isn’t really that worrisome to most things. For 165pts, I think you just need something that performs better.

          • Novastar December 24, 2014 3:51 pm
            #

            160 gets you a Sicaran w/heavy bolter sponsons and a dozer blade, and that will do work all day

          • Pascal Roggen December 24, 2014 6:03 pm
            #

            in a lucius pod they are amazing, 2 or 3 on the drop, 1 or 2 at least will get to survive till the next turn then shoot and assault.

            I’ve used the frag canon for a long time and the amount of wounds it puts out is epic. its not that great against guardsman, but it is good against marines, every rend is worth a lot more, same vs try knight terms etc, also taken hull points off of land raiders and immobilised waveseprents as well.

          • Nightman December 25, 2014 4:46 am
            #

            Frag Cannon dread is usually semi MVP when i play, no armor save, but str 6 assault 2 means tons of wounds (+ the rending). It’s mostly a MEQ counter though.

            In the new dex there seems to be better options. Its definitely stronger then the other dreads though.

          • Reecius
            Reecius December 25, 2014 11:22 am
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            AV13 helps a ton, too. Glad to hear it is going well for you!

          • Nightman December 25, 2014 12:15 pm
            #

            It’s not amazing, i just love the look of dreads, and the old dex didt have to many options. I don’t understand why GW thinks dreads are broken. I will try to use them from time to time just for fun.

        • Reecius
          Reecius December 25, 2014 11:28 am
          #

          With Tau on the scene, I don’t really value anything that comes in from reserves as they get smoked before doing anything. As Tau are still one of the big dogs in the yard, you have to plan for them. IME, only massed reserves works as you can overwhelm them. Onsies and Twosies get annihilated before acting.

          • fluger December 26, 2014 9:07 am
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            I was thinking in the context of a full drop pod assault.

  5. Chris December 24, 2014 11:23 am
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    I’ve actually been pondering the Command Squad as a sort of bodyguard for Mephiston, in an Assault Cannon Razorback, with only 3 plasma pistols as upgrades (could go inferno pistols instead?) It’s not a huge points investment, and with potential Psychic Shenanigans could be interesting….as an aside has anyone figured out what to put Mephy with now he’s an IC? the above is the most interesting plan I’ve thought of so far.

  6. Banguinius December 24, 2014 11:40 am
    #

    What are your thoughts on dreads assaulting out of hovering stormravens?

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 25, 2014 11:28 am
      #

      Lots of eggs in a single basket.

  7. jy2
    jy2 December 24, 2014 1:06 pm
    #

    A couple of my thoughts:

    The command squad is best on bikes IMO. That is their real strength. However, BA just doesn’t do bikers as well as the other marine armies.

    As good as scouts are, I rank them below below Marine scouts just because they can’t take Land Speeder Storms as dedicated transports. You’re losing out on excellent mobility, some flexibility and another cheap ObSec unit.

    Dreadnoughts, despite being vulnerable to massed S7 shooting, is still an improvement over previous editions thanks to MC’s getting nerfed against them. Currently, a dreadnought even has a chance to kill an MC in combat. I think the Furioso dread is still a good choice and the death company dread, if it still has those lightning claws that still can still keep on hitting, is still scary. Also, dreads can be used effectively to tarpit certain dangerous units like flesh hounds, beastpacks, the SkyTyrant formation and other such units.

    • TableTopJosh December 25, 2014 6:35 am
      #

      I think BA scouts offer slightly more usefulness to the overall aggressive playstyle that most BA list will be taking making them just as useful or more useful than vanilla scoute. Yes they cant take speeders and fly onto objectives in the late game but they can provide a much more reliable threat to your enemy early in the battle. BA also get access to fast rhinos, free pods and jump infsntry for fast objective grabbing.

      I think BA scouts will be played differently than vanilla scouts. Instead of taking 2 units in speeders to grab objectives, BA players may take 4 to 6 min units with MBs, giving them a lot of Obsec units and some ealry game pressure, especially with 2 pods of melta assualt squads come in at the same time.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 25, 2014 11:26 am
      #

      Thanks for your input.

  8. Nuffsed December 25, 2014 3:21 pm
    #

    i got a question about the Death Company and DC Dread from the Deathstorm book. You gotta field them exactly as detailed in the book, but other than that you move you Death Company to a Troops slot and maybe even get ObSec. Are these acceptable units at a tournament?