Death Company and Me – A Psychopath Like No Other

Hello all!

Rawdogger hear to talk about an old school unit that still kicks a lot of ass and takes very few names (because they are too busy kicking asses) the classic Death Company.

Now, a lot can be said regarding the overall Blood Angels codex release about a year ago.  Some people might say it’s ridiculously underpowered.  Others may say it is the worst codex to come out since Chaos Space Marines 5th-7th edition.  Still more probably say that the Blood Angel codex is about as useless as bringing a Blood Angels list to a competitive 40k tournament.  One thing that we can all agree on is that Blood Angels codex is a real piece of shit.  It breaks my heart to write that, truly it does.  I’ve been a Blood Angel fan and player for most of my Warhammer 40k career.  I own three Baal Predators.  THREE!  Since they are now a heavy support choice for some reason they’ve been unceremoniously binned with the wtf fast attack Assault Marines. Who else owns a metal Captain Tycho, HUH?  CAN YOU TELL ME THAT?   While there is almost nothing good I can say about the overall Blood Angels codex release, there are a FEW exceptions that can be made. One of those would be the Death Company.

 Death Company

Who doesn’t love these guys?

Let’s start with some of their stats.  They have the basic Space Marine stat line except they have an additional base attack.  They actually went down in WS in the new edition but it’s not that big of a deal since they also went down in point cost.  A unit of 5 costs 100 pts and you have the option to add 10 more at 20 pts per model.

 Let’s look at their swag.

  • Power Armor
  • Bolt Pistol
  • Chainsword
  • Frag Grenades
  • Krak Grenades

The unit has the option to ditch their bolt pistol for bolt guns at no extra cost but I wouldn’t do that since the bolt pistol and chainsword combo gets you base 3 attacks.  Any model can take a melee weapon but that can add up quick.  I generally give one guy a power fist and another a power sword and call it a day.  There are no characters in the Death Company so you don’t have to worry about your melee weapon dudes getting singled out in CC by a Chaos Space Marine sergeant.  SNAP!  The best piece of wargear that the Death Company can take is the Jump Pack, which costs 3 points per model.  I think it’s almost an auto take for this unit since you’ll want to get them engaged in close combat as soon as possible.

How about them special rules now?

  • Fearless – Kind of cool against leadership debuf shenanigans we are seeing a bit.  And They Shall Know Know Fear is better in most every case but Fearless is ok.
  • Feel No Pain – Generally FNP on a toughness 4 model isn’t much to talk about, especially since FNP moved to a 5+ in 7th edition but hey anything that will save a couple 20 point dudes is ok in my book.
  • Furious Charge – This is fantastic for the murder machine Death Company.  Strength 5 on the charge?  PLEASE THANKS MAN
  • Rage – The secret sauce that makes that ass kicking burger taste DELICIOUS.  +2 attacks on the charge brings you to 5 attacks from each Death Company member.  With a power fist and power sword being rocked, NO cocks will be safe.
  • Relentless – Meh, good if you take bolters on the dudes but why would you ever do that?

So now that we’ve gone over what makes these guys tick, here are a few tips and tricks for getting the most out of your psychopathic Space Marines.

  • Remember that they are 20 pt Space Marines.  No matter how buff and berserk these guys are, they will still die from poor dice rolling, albeit a bit slower thanks to the Feel No Pain.  Each guy you lose on the way to combat will cost you potentially 5 attacks on the charge.
  • Take them with a Chaplain.  This may be a no brainer but so is learning how to read and ask Frankie how that turned out.  The Chaplain allows you to re-roll those attacks on the charge.  With strength 5 and power fists thrown in for good measure you won’t have any issues wounding whatever you hit but that will all go to shit if you miss half your to hit rolls.  Trust me, I know all about rolling really poorly.
  • Take Astorath if you can afford his high point cost.  He is the only way to get the old school re-roll to hit and to wound with the Death Company.  If you are near full strength and you have old Astorath rolling dirty with your squad you will evaporate ANYTHING you hit.
  • Keep them cheap.  It will be tempting to load out the squad with numerous power fists and power weapons and infernus pistols and what have you but you need to remember that at 20 points base and another 3 points for a jump pack, they are already super expensive and they aren’t THAT hard to take out.
  • They work REALLY well in the three Storm Raven formation that lets anyone coming in from Deep Strike reserve assault the turn they arrive if they come in within 12” of at least two of the Storm Ravens.  Yes they can’t do this turn 1 but there is a chance you’re ravens won’t come in turn 1 either and a smart opponent will just null deploy anyways.
  • My favorite way to run them is 10 Death Company with jump packs with Astorath and a Sanguinary Priest with the Angels Wing relic.  What that is is a jump pack that that allows the bearer and it’s unit to re-roll their scatter the turn they come in from Deep Strike and allow you to re-roll on the mishap table when you scatter twice onto your opponent.  The best part about this 25 pt relic is that any unit with the Interceptor special rule only snap fires at the bearer and its unit the turn they Deep Strike.  Take that TAU YOU BUTTHOLES.


So there you have it.  The proverbial diamond in the turd that is the Blood Angels codex.  I hope this article shed some light on one of the most classic and underrated units in the game.


What are some of your favorite ways of running your Death Company Squad?


About Jason

Raw Dogger, aka, Phat J Sleaze (formerly of the Booty Boyzzz) is a highly opinionated, questionably skilled 40k enthusiast. When not working at Frontline Gaming, he can be found down on Jabroni Avenue.

26 Responses to “Death Company and Me – A Psychopath Like No Other”

  1. Steve July 23, 2015 3:04 am #

    Totally agree with you here mate, i run bloods and amongst my now mediocre codex death company is all that gives me solace in the assault.

    I used to rock 2 full squads of 10 with jumps and 2 fist in each both lead by a reclusiarch but facing eldar lists, 5 venom DE lists and necrons just made me sad to cross the table to i have had to sacrifice it for 4 squads of 5 death Company running MSU style with a weapon upgrade in each unit.

    There sole purpose now is to protect the 2 Deredeo Dreadnoughts and the ignores cover scorpius hitting where needed, distracting else where and when the 2nd detachment stormraven arrives with scouts, another chaplain and and death company dreadnought on the rear move a little more forward.

    As absolutely gay as it is for me to take forge world as i just cant take allies the Deredeo and the the whirlwind have plugged massive holes for me allowing me to run my bloods in a non pod spam list making the game a little more enjoyable than just 2 full squads of Death Company and as many pods as i can cram in with melta, flame and furiosos.

    Death company in full squads, MSU, always good, all the time however D weapons and serious firepower rendering my feel no pain useless have led me to at least 4 squads of 5 in a 2 detachment list cause they would have killed at least 10 anyways, also deredeos are best for stopping those annoying piss any eldar players with deepstriking D scythe flamers, get Deredeo spam up ya!


  2. pascalnz July 23, 2015 3:24 am #

    bolters mean they are a pain at range and attack a unit with higher initiative that could kill them before they swing. is it the best choice… maybe, maybe not…but it’s not a no brainer.
    the problem with taking them with a chaplain or astorath, is that they wipe any unit they charge[usually] and then get shot to death in the next turn.

    also, if you try the multi assault route to try and hold them in combat they can get hurt on the return and they do very little damage missing out on the +2 attacks and +1 strength

    in an all out assault army especially with a main force of sanguinary guard+dante+priest and a couple of fragioso’s in Lucius pods to keep the pressure off them turn one they can have a purpose.

    But if you just have one main CC unit, they don’t hold a candle to sanguinary guard. 2+ armour and a far more efficient use of priests[throw in the ap2 sword relic] with the goodness of the chapter banner and dante. Sang guard last at least twice as long in most situations and cost a lot less than twice the price[considering the armament]. in some circumstances[vs ap3] they last a hell of a lot longer. Getting the single charge isn’t nearly as important to them, meaning they are far better during a multi charge situation, and if they get left out in the open are far more likely to survive.

    with a collects assassin nearby in a raven or rhino, they’ll do serious work vs almost any death star.

    The BA codex isn’t great… sadly. all the formations really only work above 2k points, if they work at all. The Itc banning first turn assaults with drop pods and they tri raven formation is a personal bugbear of mine[Still love your work 99% of the time boys;)] when it’s perfectly fine by RAW and will still pretty much auto not win a GT, purely because of hammer and anvil deployment and guys that can bubble wrap or null deploy.
    And the sanguine wing that grants 400 points of free equipment is the most poisoned chalice I can imagine in a formation, bad units with a fixed awful deployment and the loss of detachment bonuses.

    the first company detachment is nice if you want to spam dreads in pods [scatter 1d6 less] and the preferred enemy banner for a terminator assault squad has a bit of promise.
    and of course the basic baal strike force with +1 initiative and an extra elite on the charge isn’t bad.
    and of course flesh tearers are a great way to get ALL the drop pods
    The libby dread can easily end a wraith knight if it has the quickening and force up[but it usually has to assault from a raven.
    Dante is a beast and priests and mephiston have nice place.
    I cry a few manly tears at dreads not getting 4 attacks base though.. sigh… iron clads are better in combat than furioso’s:(

    I’ll be taking a pure BA force[might squeeze in a cullexus] to ITC next year fingers crossed I can get around top thirty again[one loss]
    I love those crazy red devils:) and at 2500 and above they really come into there own.. you just don’t see it that often;P

    • Raw Dogger July 23, 2015 3:21 pm #

      Pascal your endless optimism is my foil.

  3. Dom July 23, 2015 4:07 am #

    While the Blood Angels Codex was implicitly nerfed quite a bit when the new Codex:SM and Dark Angels hit, along with shiny formations and BS4 Scouts, it is in its whole nowhere as bad as promoted here.
    True, the Baal Pred in HS sucks, but I had preferred a regular Predator in the last book as well, the Baal is and was just overpriced for his ‘meh’ weaponry.

    Other than that, with Sanguinary Guard (+Priest) and (multiple) cheap units of Death Company, there’s plenty to like in the current book. Then there’s Dante, who is an absolute beast. I do really like heavy flamers in Tac Squad when going for a well-rounded list, something not even Salamanders can do.
    You can still play the Flesh Tearers when you want to go Assault Marines, also there’s the Baal Strike Force for a shiny Initiative buff. The Furioso is still my favorite Dreadnought to put in a Pod, maybe he has 2 less attacks but he also has the best Dakka out there.

    If you’re not playing in a hyper-competitive environment where everybody and their dogs maxes out grav, Invisibility and co., the BA book is just fine.
    Sure everyone (including me) is a little upset about having the worst Scouts and Dreadnoughts, but oh well, nothing to worry about too much in the end.
    And on the bright side, we have the best, cheapest and most 5-man assault squads in Drop Pods, kind of nice if you ask me.

    • wellspokenman July 23, 2015 6:56 am #

      You are where I was when the last Space Marine Codex hit. I was upset, but I thought “Hey, Dark Angels aren’t that bad, we still have x, y,and z.” I was wrong. They were that bad. Time will not be kind to BA. This jump is big enough that you will even find things difficult outside tournaments. I feel bad for you guys.

      • Dom July 23, 2015 7:26 am #

        I’m still having lots of fun playing them in my community, and maybe we’ll just house rule Scouts’ BS/WS and Dreadnought attacks.
        I can live very well without grav cannons as well, don’t like them much to begin with.

        But this is just me and my local group. My statements are about as universally valid as the ones in this blog post. Which is, not at all.

        • Novastar July 23, 2015 4:37 pm #

          BA have grav guns though

      • punchymango July 26, 2015 1:23 am #

        I was briefly tempted to drive myself insane trying to paint up a Lamenters force when the BA book dropped.

        I’m really glad I didn’t. 🙁

  4. Johnny Kryptonite July 23, 2015 5:35 am #

    Dogger tells it how it is C:BA is a turd that needs flushed. The writers didn’t understand any of the problems or the strengths of the army it was a blatant money grab with no thought put into the nuances like FOC or scouting baals. Hell tycho went from deadmans hand to limp dick with no freaking cc weapon at all?! Travesty. When die hard fans can’t even open the book without raging something is wrong.

  5. westrider July 23, 2015 7:08 am #

    I always give a Bolter to the dude with the Power Fist. It’s free, it looks cool, and he’s not getting the bonus attack anyhow.

    I’m also in the camp that the BA Dex is not, objectively, nearly as bad as it’s commonly taken to be. I will entirely grant, however, that they’re not really BAs as we’ve come to know them, and much of the stuff that works doesn’t really work like we feel BAs should.

  6. iNcontroL July 23, 2015 7:28 am #

    nice article as always jason!

  7. Mike July 23, 2015 9:54 am #

    BA are fun to play and have several builds that work ok at the funsies levels.
    Once you start playing where your opponents are list building to win, and not just to dust off their mutilators and flashgits, things turn bleak.
    The codex writers didn’t know what they were doing for sure. Sanguinor is still terrible, Tycho got nerfed hard, I’m not a big fan of Mephy anymore since his t5 is pretty wasted in a squad of t4 guys and random psychic powers are dumb, lemartes takes up an elite slot on his own, and anyone like me who owns something to the tune of 8 sanguinary priests is pretty annoyed that you can now only run 2 per detachment with no over hq’s. No formations to help with that or anything. Elites and hq’s are overcrowded with the book’s only real good choices other than fa pods…

    Right now the only way to compete as a BA player is to take a BA warlord, a tiny BA detachment, possibly FT for the taxi service, and then spend your other 1500ish points on allies from an actual competitive book.

    One correction: DC did not get a points drop from last book to this one, the jump packs did. DC were 20 a man before but had 15 point packs that dropped to 3 point packs.

    My favorite way to run them is 140 point 5 man jump squads with 4 regular joes and one fist.

  8. Greg Verzosa July 23, 2015 9:57 am #

    I’m just sad that space marines and my old, rock solid 6th ed Iron Hands had to get updated before I could finish all of the DC in my planned Dante, Sang Priest, Astorath, and Librarian plus 12 DC star. I knew it wasn’t going to be a ‘great’ list, but I was stoked to have some fun with it. Now that the Iron Hands are touched up, I’ll probably finish painting the DC, but I’m not sure when it’ll get to see the table unless I wander down the street into the local GW store and play more ‘fun’ games.

  9. th3maninblak July 23, 2015 10:12 am #

    I have to disagree with you on certain points here and say that the book is nowhere near as bad as people say. Is it on par with the new DA/SM? Absolutely not. But i would say we are middle of the pack as far as armies go, along with wolves. We just have to stick to very specific units to remain competitive.

    Or maybe I’m wrong, and at the highest levels of tournament play there is simply no way BA can compete. But i know that at a local/regional tournament level they can still win.

    • Raw Dogger July 23, 2015 3:05 pm #

      A lot of the big problems with the codex is that there were so many unnecessary and arbitrary changes that really heart the faction overall. The move of the Baal Predator to the Heavy Support slot made the AV 13 armor rush list impossible due to having both the Baal and regular Predators competing for spots. Moving the Assault Marines into Fast Attack also punished players and took away a very unique and powerful mechanic for the faction.

    • Mike July 23, 2015 6:45 pm #

      Not targeting you specifically, but generally when I hear someone say “oh it’s middle-of-the-pack,” it’s a cop-out, and when questioned further, they typically can’t name more than 3 books out of 20 that they consider worse. Bottom quarter != middle.

      • th3maninblak July 23, 2015 9:31 pm #

        Equal or slightly worse than wolves or orks, better than GK, dark eldar, chaos, sisters, and AM.

        And I can get behind your reasoning, Raw Dogger. I was more than a bit miffed at losing assault marine troops. But on the bright side, I would rather have fast tanks than gimmicky tank squadrons any day and we have access to criminally cheap and accurately deep striking melta units in fast attack.

        Also, I think you should give the Baal another look. I did recently with the advent of av10-11 mechanized lists making a comback alongside the t4 3+ save bikes you’re seeing with eldar. I have had an immense amount of luck with them.

  10. Nightman July 23, 2015 1:20 pm #

    I have around 20 games in 7th with DC, i was convinced they were superior compared to SG in the beginning, but it feels like SG have a slight edge now due to meta shifting more towards high volume dakka shots, but our meta might be different. If i do run DC it’s usually 2 5 man units with either a fist or an axe. A big unit will so often overkill and disordered charges are so unforgiving with DC.

    Great article as always!

  11. Ming July 23, 2015 4:42 pm #

    I’m locally doing well with blood Angels…certainly the DC are a must have unit, as is the DC dread. I’ve been trying out the Angels wrath formation and have decided it’s not as good as some of the others. Last night though I played vs DAs and dang…all that plasma fire can hurt!

  12. jonathan July 24, 2015 1:05 pm #

    Good article on death company. But come on BA are not that bad. Especially with the two recent expansions – if you play BA regularly you have no excuse for not buying these! There’s like 15 pages of additional rules. Death company, and death company dreadnought as troops? Capt Karlaen always has +1 to steal – combine that with coteaz or assassin and you’ll be stealing all the time. Dante is arguably the best melee space marine in existence. Draigo is the only one that comes close and he doesn’t have a jump pack, hit and run, or a mini-melta. Dante could be the glue to any melee bike star. No scout? Just flat out you’re not charging t1 anyway. You get to assault out of stormravens. Furious charge, and usually +1 ini is nothing to laugh at. You can put a mega apothecary hq on any unit you want. Biggest challenge in the codex is it is close combat centered, which can be hard to play. There are so many ways to be creative

  13. Crispy86 July 25, 2015 2:33 pm #

    Damn the burns! Great article

  14. Japatoes July 26, 2015 1:27 pm #

    Has FLG reconsidered changing there ruling on the 1st turn charges via drop pods and tri raven since Sky hammer? It seems somewhat unfair to allow sky hammer and the chaos Claws that allows first turn assaults but not BA.

  15. Alex Yuen July 27, 2015 10:33 am #

    I love the days when death company is not a unit that you can purchase.

  16. David Bowles November 25, 2015 2:56 pm #

    Blood Angels are indeed the worst list in the game at the present. Even worse than CSM, as they have much better Forge World options. BA are truly, truly pathetic.

  17. Cronhour November 26, 2015 3:04 pm #

    The death company are great but their not the only good thing in a terrible codex, and they actually had a nerf, no more ws5, no more rerolls to wounds bar Astorath and the removal of Reclusiarchs because.

    We suffer from seemingly being an experiment or maybe the last of the old generation with a half hearted attempt at throwing us a bone with the shield of Baal series. as far as the SoB books go the formations are very inflexible in comparison to the new gladius style detachments and the bonus they give are generally terrible, stubborn, rerolling warlord traits, rage on a charge roll of 10 or more etc. To get these we have to give up the initiative on the charge from the Baal strike force. Not to mention all the best formations have points amounts that limit them to games of 2k and above to fit them in.

    Then there the blatantly FAQable fixes that could help us balance out in the short term, ws/bs of scouts, dreadnought attacks (which is not just since space marine, DC dreads should be closer to murderfang levels of attacks.) Baals are a standout pointless unit though why aren’t they squadrons with some suitable bonus? More importantly why don’t they have bloody Torrent? If you want to sell them or see them back in ba lists give them bloody torrent and I’ll buy 3 tomorrow.

    That being said we’ve got some positives. Assault squads are great, 135 for four melta shots in a pod, 110 for 4 templates, I think any blood Angel list not taking at least one melta pod is missing out, personally I’d say a minimal of 3 is required.
    Bikes getting grav is good but just in line with sm.
    Furioso dreads are nice, str13 makes them resilient in assault and the frag cannon is a really nice weapon with str6 and rending, though they do suffer from low base attacks and being vehicles ( seriously need to find a solution for fixing dreads)
    Sanguinary guard are a nice unit, they won’t win a game on their own but 2 up save with master crafted power weapons and a chapter banner are very nice

    • Cronhour November 26, 2015 4:19 pm #

      (Accidentally posted early)

      Librarian dreads have a role to play, Storm Ravens are good even though I never use them anymore, all the normal sm tanks are better with fast, though lack or squadrons sucks.

      HQ wise we’re pretty balanced, we don’t get anything especially tanky like our Sm cousins but our relics are quite nice in their own way, an ap2 sword at initiative relatively cheap (4mbs) and the stand out veritas vitae. Almost all the strategic traits are good, but with the type of lists ba should be running some of them are truly great.
      Move through cover/ stealth ruins is great for getting JP units across a table ( though it should probably be a chosable type or just flat move through cover/stealth terrain as even at warhammer world I ran into a lack of scenery.
      Night fighting turn one plus night vision, this is gold with out melta drop pods, we get to alpha someone’s soft sport with melta gaining the bonus from night fighting while ignoring it ourselves.
      Infiltrate to the warlord and 3 units has its uses and has won me a couple of games, sure you can’t charge turn one, but getting your units closer or into a better/more threatening position is very useful.
      Plus one to seize is often useful while the reroll on reserves is usually good.
      -1 to opponents rolls is not the best but can be nice.
      Pinning tests to three units has aperture good chance of being useful.
      Don’t forget these are Army wide benefits though so even allies benifit from them

      Captains are ok but without the eternal warrior rule were more a beatstick than a tank.
      Chaplains are depressing ( I want my fing Reclusiarchs back!)
      Sanguinary priests are great! 60 points to fill a HQ slot and give fnp to any unit, plus one ws to blood Angels. They buff our assault units like DC, Sanguinary Guard, Dante, while making them more resilient through FnP.
      Librarians are great, we get a 10 point relic to reroll 1s on physic tests, we get dig and biomancy access which gel well but also sanguinary discipline which will give you at least one assault buff, the primaris can be used to buff any character in the unit so you can suddenly make the power sword wielding sergeant a threat or buff a baddass into a monster, through sanguinary discipline it’s possible to get Dante up to 10 attacks at I 10 which is pretty ridiculous.

      Our tac squads get heavy flamers which is a nice departure from the standard and gels with the get stuck in nature of ba, flame push charge at I5 s5 means we’re likely to clear out codex compliant breathe ran off objectives.

      My favourites have to be scouts through. Everyone talks about a “troop tax” but at 55 points a unit they’re one of my most efficient units game after game. They’re either infiltrating up close to provide a threat or distraction, catching out the complacent opponent (“I5 scouts? Wounding on 3s?) eating up a small unit, scoring objectives, getting me line breaker, eating an over watch off something nasty before my DC or SG Blow in, because they so cheap I don’t care as much about losing them but due to our traits they will almost always make multiples of their points back whether it be eating a couple of combat squads or knocking in a tanks back doors (3 attacks at str 5 beats 1 at str 6)

      Overall were not the strongest but we have some great synergies, play really well with maelstrom missions, work really well with allies and forgeworld units (rapier artillery compliments our assult and pod elements really well.)
      Most of all I’ve found balanced assult lists work really well, three pods, two jump units and hqs backed up by some long range shooting.

      I had fun catching people out with a corbulo beach head backed up with advancing DC.
      3 assault squads turn one in pods one 9 man with cornbs and 4 templates giving the I and ws bonus bubble while the DC units swept up the flanks (even when charged we go before marines and they eat 4 WoD) tacs in pods to drop on objectives turn 2/3.

      The key I’ve found is to give them two many small threats to deal with. The scouts the, the pods, the assault units, any forgeworld shooting you can muster (rapiers, sicarians, and Deredeo have all worked admirably in that role thus far.)

      I’d love a gladius if only for the fluffy formations we could get (sanguinary high council?) but all I really want is to get scout and dread parity, Reclusiarchs back, and maybe torrent on my baals. Then I can add allies to taste to be competitive.

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