Today on List-Tech we have the most requested BAO tourney list: Danny Kwan’s 5-1 Blood Angels list.
The list-tech segment is a series of articles designed to focus on unique, competitive lists crafted by players in the community in order to provide new and experienced players with tactics, tips, and tricks to use in the heat of battle. For more great tactics articles head on over to Frontlinegaming!
“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win”
― Sun Tzu,
Today on List-Tech I will be highlighting the two most requested lists from the 2016 BAO. If you would like to check out Brandon Grant’s Undefeated Dark Angels list and the List-Tech for it click here. Otherwise keep on reading to find out how to beat over 160 players with a very uncommon Blood Angels list.
Danny Kwan’s Blood Angels
Librarian (ML1), Veritas Vitae, Force Sword, Auspex
Furioso Dreadnought, Frag Cannon, Melta Gun, Drop Pod
Command Squad, Melta Guns (x3), Drop Pod
Tactical Squad (x5), Melta Gun, Sergeant with Infernus Pistol, Drop Pod
Tactical Squad (x5), Heavy Flamer, Sergeant with Infernus Pistol, Drop Pod
Fire Raptor, Heavy Bolter Sponsons
White Scars CAD
Librarian (ML2), Hunters Eye, Force Stave
Scout Squad (x5)
Scout Squad (x5), Land Speeder Storm with Heavy Flamer
Storm Talon, Skyhammer Missile Launcher
Storm Talon, Skyhammer Missile Launcher
Centurion Devastators, Grav Cannon and Grav Amp (x2), Sergeant with Grav Cannon and Grav Amp and Omniscope
The List Interview
1. Tell us a little bit about your army, why did you go with certain units? Why did you pick this army list in particular? Is there anything special about your army that you want to highlight?
As a Blood Angels (BA) player, my options are often extremely limited. I lack a lot of what is available to Space Marine (SM) players and I don’t really get that much in return for what is sacrificed. To be honest, I think that it would be crazy for me to use a pure BA force in a competitive meta because the codex is extremely under powered compared to their SM counterparts. However, the BA Codex does have a lot of hidden gems that allows for tactical fluidity, assuming that the player knows what they are looking for and how to best take advantage of what is available.
By looking at my list, it’s apparent that I don’t use too many codex specific units except for the Furioso Dreadnought and Mephiston. I have two Tactical Squads embarked on Drop Pods, one with a Heavy Flamer (Which is available only to BA Tactical Squads), and the other with a Melta Gun. Both Tactical Sergeants have Inferno Pistols (Str 8 Ap 1, Range 6, Melta, and are also only available to BA models). My warlord is a Mastery Level (ML) 1 Librarian with an Auspex and the Veritas Vitae, which grants my warlord an additional Warlord Trait (WT) on the Strategic Table. The last two units for my BA Combined Arms Detachment are a Command Squad loaded with three Melta Guns, a compulsory Sanguinary Priest (Grants Feel No Pain), and Company Champion and a Fire Raptor with Twin-Linked Quad Heavy Bolters.
For those who are wondering why I included a Dreadnought and Mephiston: My Furioso Dreadnought is armed with a Frag Cannon (Str 6 AP- Rending Template that fires twice) and can generally wreck Guard equivalent blobs and doubles out Canoptek Scarabs, Ripper Swarms, and Nurglings. Mephiston is there to kill Monstrous Creatures and Imperial Knights with his ability to cast Strength 10 for his sword and Force.
My White Scars CAD is comprised of a ML 2 Librarian with the Hunters Eye, two squads of Scouts, one with a Land Speeder Storm that is equipped with a Heavy Flamer, two Storm Talons equipped with Skyhammer Missiles, and a unit of Grav-Centurions.
The main idea behind my army is to be fluid yet surgical. I have a lot of options for deployment (Infiltrate, Deep Strike, Scout, and Outflank) that allows me to be where I need to be and a good combination of weapons and models that allows me to kill what I need to kill. As with all players, my tactics are situationally dependent upon the opponent and their army, but, unlike say a “Wolf-Star” or a “Battle Company”, my list has the advantage of not being forced to play in any specific way because of the aforementioned reasons as well as my ability to access two WTs on the Strategic Table (I also get to re-roll my WTs because I’m running a Combined Arms Detachment).
My friend, Myles, compares my list to a “Glass Hammer.” One of the major weaknesses of my army is that I must be able to maximize the amount of damage that I can inflict within the first two turns or I’ll get outpaced because I lack mobility. With that in mind, I chose to include two Storm Talons and a Fire Raptor to supplement my fire power and to have the added ability to go into hovering mode and claim some additional board presence later in the game.
2. What expectations did you have for the meta? Were there any armies you were worried about? What match-ups did you feel most comfortable with?
My expectations regarding the meta were fairly straight forward and inline with everyone else. I expected to see a lot of Eldar, Tau, Necron, and SM players with the kind of powerful lists that are associated with each army. Luckily, I’ve had the good fortune of being able to play and lose against a variety of amazing armies at my local gaming store. The overwhelming amount of losses that I’ve suffered have helped me develop enough insight into how each army works. Familiarity breeds comfort and comfort makes it a lot easier to prioritize the targets that largely contributed to my losses in the past.
To be honest, there weren’t too many armies that I was worried about because I have a decent to good understanding of how each one works. However, the three armies that I did secretly worry about were: Tau (Early Warning Override spells doom for me every time), Imperial Knights (Those 5 Knight lists… really, is that necessary? Lol), and a Renegades list piloted by Adam Solis (I haven’t quite figured out how to win against his horde of zombies that are protected by a Void Shield Generator yet).
I don’t want to say that I felt more comfortable with one army over another. If anything, I felt more comfortable with certain missions over other missions. I kind of expected every player to have an excellent grasp on how to play their army and that their army was comprised of the most point efficient and lethal units from their respective codices. I absolutely hate playing Purge the Alien because of how many points I can potentially give up, unless it’s against a SM Battle Company.
3. How did you prepare yourself and your list for “meta” armies like Eldar varients, Battle company, and Daemon lists? Who did you beat on the way to victory at the tournament?
In my opinion, the best way to prepare yourself for any tournament is to simply be brilliant at the basics. By that I mean knowing and understanding the rules of the game and the rules for your army. You have to know what each unit is capable of and how to maximize its potential in order to play to the mission. In addition, you have to know something about the army that you’re playing against. If you have no experience with that specific army then you should ask plenty of questions and not simply take the player at their word. As Travis Simpson, a manager at Game Empire Pasadena, says, “You have to be your own advocate.” My first round match up was against a Dark Angels player who essentially ran a “Wolf-Star” comprising 3 Iron Priests on Thunder Wolves with 3 Cyber Wolves each that were attached to a Ravenwing Command Squad. He incorrectly stated that his Wolves had an Armor Save of 6 which meant that the majority save for the unit would be 6 thus causing my Grav-Cannons to wound on a 6’s. Having played against Space Wolves in the past, I knew that Iron Priests didn’t have the option to take Fenrisian Wolves (The unit containing models with a 6 save) and that the Cyber Wolves had an Armor Save of 4+. Had I not know this information and politely asked my opponent to verify my claim then my Grav-Cannons would have been essentially useless against his “Wolf-Star.” As the Blood Ravens like to say, “Knowledge is power.”
In regards to my victories, I’ll have to say that I was very fortunate to be matched up against the opponents that I had for each specific round. None of my games were won easily, especially my fifth round against a SM Iron Hands player who ran two Command Squads on Bikes, each Marine with a Power Fist, Storm Shield, and Grav-Gun. For the latter half of the game, he was able to masterfully exploit my lack of mobility and he literally fisted each of my units to death. However, he didn’t play to the mission and ignored my Drop Pods and Scouts in his haste to destroy the last of my Grav-Centurions during the bottom of the fifth turn. Luckily, the game ended on turn 5 and my Drop Pods and Scouts were still controlling the Objective Markers.
4. Hindsight is 20-20 and looking back on the tournament was there anything you would have changed about your list to better accommodate the meta you experienced?
Even with 20/20 hindsight, I don’t think that I would have changed my list in order to accommodate the meta. I have considered swapping the BA Tactical Squad with a WS Tactical Squad with a Combi-Melta (Sergeant), Melta Gun, so that I can use the 30th Anniversary Tactical Marine with his sweet Strength 5 AP2 Rapid Fire, Instant Death, gun, but I don’t know if ITC allows the model. (We don’t) I have also been tinkering with the idea of removing Mephiston and replacing him with another Furioso Dreadnought with a Frag Cannon in a Drop Pod. Despite his potential, Mephiston has done nothing but fail me during the BAO.
2nd Round: Against Wulfen: Mephiston cast Warp Speed and was Strength 10. (9 attacks on the charge) He dealt 8 wounds and only killed one Wulfen. I just removed Mephiston and told my opponent not to bother rolling.
4th Round: Against a lone Necron Overlord with 1 wound and only a 3+ Armor Save, Resurrection Orb had already been used: Mephiston cast Force (5 attacks). Failed 4 to hit rolls, failed the to wound roll, then got murdered causing my Command Squad and Warlord to run off the board.
5th Round: Against an Iron Hands Tech Priest on a Bike: Mephiston cast Iron Arm (5 attacks). Failed 4 to hit rolls and caused 1 woundl. My opponent saved the single wound with a FNP and then Servo-Armed Mephiston to death.
6th Round: Against a grounded Fly-rant with 2 wounds: Mephiston cast Strength 10 and Force (6 attacks on the charge). Failed 4 to hit rolls and 2 to wound rolls. He was promptly murdered right after.
5. What are some tips or tricks you have for people who might want to start using your army?
Tips for using the BA Codex. Uhm. It’s not a very forgiving codex to use unless you run them as allies or have a really good plan with them and use a lot of Forge World models. The BA Formations and Detachments generally aren’t that useful in this current meta. I could be wrong, but I think most people would agree, especially after GW nerfed the Angel’s Fury Spearhead Force. Overall, I think that any force can be decent given the players knowledge and experience with their army, but as previously stated, any mistakes that are made by a BA player aren’t very forgiving in a game unlike with the SM codex where transports are free, etc, etc. Best tip is to just have fun and expect to lose several games. Hopefully after that, you’ll start gaining some meaningful experience that will help you figure out different and creative ways to win!