Blood Angels: An Outside Opinion

Adam from the Dice Abide brings us his view on the new Blood Angels. Check out the Tactics Corner for more articles!

If it wasn’t clear by the title, I don’t play Blood Angels. I don’t want to pretend that I do, or even have in recent history (though I did play them when Furioso’s were new models and weighed 3 pounds). That said, this book has some really interesting stuff that’s making it’s way though my little brain. Instead of breaking down the book, unit by unit, I’m going to use a more holistic approach, and talk about how I about the book as a single entity. I will also point out what units I think work well for the play style I think it encourages, and maybe some that don’t, but don’t expect it to get that deep into the exact wargear that I think a unit of Death Company should be carrying. warhammer 40k space marine concept art adrian smith blood angels tycho 1280x1843 wallpaper_www.wallpaperhi.com_58

A Drop (pod) of Blood (Angels)

Right out the gate, the Blood Angels book appears to be one built around a devastating drop pod assault. Their tactical squads get access to an inexpensive heavy flamer, meaning they have the only heavy weapon that’s effective the turn they land. Every slot, save heavy support (unless playing with FW, then Deathstorm Drop Pods), has a unit or two that are particularly effective when given a drop pod. Out of HQ you can take Librarian Dreadnoughts in pods, Elites can be filled with Command Squads laden with meltaguns, various dreadnoughts, and the classic Sternguard. Troops like I said would be tactical squads, you can take 5 with 2 hand flamers on the sergeant for a devastating flame attack, or take larger squads with another flamer, or combat squad them for 2 meltas (combi on the sergeant), and a 5-man with the heavy flamer, there are plenty of options here. Out of fast attack you have probably the most under priced option, Assault Marines in drop pods. For a mere 105 points you can take 5 Assault Marines with 2 meltaguns in a drop pod, and for 30 more you can give the sergeant 2 inferno pistols, giving you an effective 4 meltaguns in 1 drop pod for practically nothing. If you want to make matters more interesting, in Leviathan Exterminatus, there is a detachment allowing up to 6 fast attack, so for 1215 points, you could end up with a mixture of 9 5-man squads in pods, either 5-man assault marines with quad meltas, or 5-man tac squads with heavy flamers and 2 hand flamers. That’s pretty damn gross. 660px-1,662,0,360-Ángeles_sangrientos_2

What of Jump?

I know that before, BA players were quite proud of their troop based Assault Marines… I know this because of all the crying and moaning that has surrounded the rumors of the release. As if to predict this, Games Workshop has already released a Detachment that allows players to take 6 fast attack. Unfortunately however, I personally think that jump troops still aren’t that great in the game, regardless if you can take a large amount of them or not.

Other Formations

In addition to the new 6 fast attack Detachment in Leviathan Exterminatus, there is another one that gives you a totally different army, one comprising entirely of up to 16 elites choices. I’m not sure if it’ll actually be that competitive, since it’s only restricted to “veteran” units (____ terminators and ____ vets), plus only Furioso Dreadnoughts (not other kinds for some reason), but it does give the whole detachment the old Decent of Angels 1D6″ scatter on deep strike. One formation in particular that I think is opening up a world of possibility is the Angel’s Fury Spearhead Force. It has a long name, but holy hell, is it worth remembering. It contains 3 Stormravens, and 3 10-man tactical squads that are deployed inside them. The formation lets the Stormravens roll for reserves on turn 1, with a re-roll, and it gives the tactical squads objective secured. That right there would be good enough for me, but to make it better, if anything deepstrikes within 12″ of two of the tactical squads (which it seems works if they’re in the storm ravens), it can assault the turn it deep strikes. So when you take this detachment and combine it with either the pure elites detachment, you can do something like having 2 Furioso’s drop in turn 1 and charge on the tail of the 3 flying on Stormravens.

As Imperial Knight Allies

Naturally, I need to think about my own bias. The Angel’s Fury Spearhead Force is pretty fun to think about, but really, you can only fit in 2 knights along side it, which would leave you with a Tactical Marine as warlord. That said, I think it would be a pretty fun, and maybe even effective army, but I think there are better options. The Blood Angels book brings a very devastating drop pod force, which fill the need for anti-transport and objective secured very well, though they’re incredibly light on AA, basically relying on Storm Ravens, which are good, but very expensive. Some hyperios platforms can help shore up this weakness, but they’re nowhere as good as they once were. Blood-Angels-Art

In Conclusion

The hordes of veteran BA players are braying about how their codex got nerfed for XY and Z, exclaiming that their hordes of previously used assault marines will continue to gather dust. Being a total outsider to the army, I see the new codex as a devastating Space Marine list that is thoughtfully designed to close the gap and get right in the face of the enemy with upmost efficiency. Like everything else in 40k, things change, new strategies evolve, and if you want to be competitive, you’re going to have to adapt.


About Adam

Cofounder of RUMBL – player finder for Miniatures Wargames. I also run a little blog called TheDiceAbide, check it out.

13 Responses to “Blood Angels: An Outside Opinion”

  1. Avatar
    Cavalier December 26, 2014 5:09 am #

    Nice article Adam. I like your approach to looking at the book/formations in terms of the variety of builds it lends itself to and evaluating their viability as an assembly of army types as opposed to the unit by unit thing which can easily overlook unit-combination synergy and overall army strength.

    While I don’t play BA’s either… my brother dabbles in them to represent his Revilers (Ravenguard successors) so he’s always been attracted to their assault squad tricks and buffs. The Angel’s Fury Spearhead Force is what immediately caught both our eyes… while I’m not sure how competitive it’d be in a tourney due to the huge points investment but for bigger games in campaigns and Apocalypse ultimate showdowns where major pride is on the line this formation could be an absolute game changer.

    Those”non-standard” games which fall outside of the pick-up/tourney scenes are still a big part of what makes the game great, especially for climactic campaign conclusions and the value that a lot of these formations bring to those games is really exciting for those of us like to run linked games and campaigns.

  2. Avatar
    Marcus December 26, 2014 6:21 am #

    I agree that the 7th ed BA look like a viable assault army but the codex on it’s own suffers from severe slot congestion and really needs the formations from the Baal books to make it work. Very much like the Nid codex. The special rules and options in terms of reserve manipulation make the BA look fairly solid but it’s going to take a while to see how competitive the army is.

    The new book heavily pushes a playing style based on elites coming out of reserve. Veteran players who had themed lists based on mech or jump ASM are now justifiably upset as they are forced to alter their lists considerably to play their armies again. It’s one thing having to buy the new shiny power unit, but to invest in a mandatory upgrade to keep what you already have is not much fun. It’s very similar to what happened to DE, the external balance improved but a popular (although not very competitive) theme like wych cult was gutted.

  3. Avatar
    Johnny kryptonite December 26, 2014 7:21 am #

    I read it as the squads need to be deployed to allow assault from deep strike. Otherwise I like the article.

    • Avatar
      Dr.insanotron December 26, 2014 8:53 am #

      Why? It’s pretty clear in the BRB that effects that are measured from a model that is embarked in a transport is instead measured from the hull of the vehicle.

      • Avatar
        Dr.insanotron December 26, 2014 8:55 am #

        Just like how the teleport homer it’s self works from inside the storm raven

  4. Avatar
    iNcontroL December 26, 2014 10:15 am #

    Nice article as always dude!

  5. Avatar
    Jake December 26, 2014 12:16 pm #

    Great article.

  6. Avatar
    Andreas December 26, 2014 1:48 pm #

    You mention Leviathan Exterminatus, but I can’t find anything called that. Do you mean something from Shield of Baal?

    • Avatar
      Dr.insanotron December 26, 2014 4:55 pm #

      Yes and Decembers white dwarf

      • Adam
        Adam ( December 26, 2014 5:24 pm #

        You youngin’s and your weekly white dwarfs and leviathan balls, I’m glad you were able to still somehow able to decipher my cryptic messages.

  7. Avatar
    Asmeralda December 26, 2014 7:59 pm #

    I do not own any of the extra formations but am still enjoying the new codex. I started with Blood Angels during the “rhino rush” era. My favorite changes so far are the point reductions across the board to be more in line with other marine codices as well as Mephiston becoming an independent character. My least favorite aspect of the codex is the Sanguinor is still unplayable. My 2 cents.

    • Jeremy Veysseire
      MikhailLenin December 27, 2014 12:30 am #

      Honestly Sanguinor should have been a Summoning Spell that is Warp Charge 3 that can only be harnessed with 6’s!

      • Reecius
        Reecius December 27, 2014 10:29 am #

        Lol, I love that! That would have been way better, haha.

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