Index: Blood Angels & Flesh Tearers Tactics

Warhammer 40k Blood Angels & Flesh Tearers tactics for 8th edition! Check the Tactics Corner for more great articles.

I get quite a few emails from friends in the community having a tough go of it with Blood Angels and I find myself wondering why? Blood Angels do not have a Codex as of the time of this writing which is an inherent disadvantage compared to those books that do, but they have a lot going for them and can most assuredly win games. Let’s talk about how.

How do you win games of 8th ed 40k?

This is a good place to start as it informs pretty much all of what comes next. In order for any list, any faction to be “good” in an objective sense it needs to be able to win games. Now, if you measure being good by how fun an army is then you can take what I just said and toss it in the dumpster as you don’t need me or anyone else to tell you how to have fun. But being good as we have defined it is actually very simple. It means you have a reasonable expectation of winning a game, regardless of opponent.

Well, how does one do that? In 8th ed 40k missions remain largely as they always have. You win games by holding objectives and/or destroying enemy units. It’s pretty simple, actually. So, you design a list with those principals in mind.

Now, the nuts and bolts of how to do exactly that are varied. That is awesome because it allows nearly infinite room for customization and personalization of your army. In other words, there are many ways to accomplish this, limited only by your imagination. But, it is important to keep a few questions in your mind while creating your own army:

  1. What unit archetypes am I likely to face in a game and how will I deal with them?
  2. How will I score objectives?
  3. How will I prevent my opponent from doing the above to me?

The Common Mistake

Before we jump into list solutions for the above, I want to touch on the biggest mistake I see Blood Angels players making (and one I made myself, to be fair) is to load on up on expensive named Characters to layer tons of buffs onto units but you end up with not enough units to make it all work. What I have found is that if you take less characters and keep them cheap to accomplish your goals, your list will be much more effective.

What to Plan For:

As to the first question, what are the units you are likely to see in the current meta?

  • Screening units: they are critical to the current meta and effective lists not only have them but often feature them. Units such as Conscripts, Brimstone Horrors, Cultists, Scouts, Mortar Teams, etc. serve as a buffer between your opponent’s key units and you. You need to efficiently blow through these. Do Blood Angels have tools to do this?

Yes, you sure do. Death Company are extremely good at it, as are Vanguard Vets. I prefer Death Company and here’s why: the base model for 20pts with a Jump Pack, Bolter and Chainsword, you’ve got a lot. Speed, the ability to stay off the board if needs be, Deep Strike capability, lots of shots (30 for a unit of 15 and you can shoot even if you leave combat!) and lots of attacks in melee (60 on the charge from a full unit, which is no joke) in addition to slightly better defense over a Vanguard Vet. If you make even a single 6+ save to keep a model alive, the ability has more than paid for itself. Compared to Vanguard Vets at 18pts per model with double Chainswords and Jump Packs, that is to me, clearly superior. And Double Chainsword Vanguard Vets are an excellent unit. Mine serve as tremendous street sweepers, disposing of chaff units like nobody’s business. If I could also stack on 10 Bolters to the unit? Yes please. That’s potentially 90 strength 4 attacks into a unit from a full Death Company squad. That not enough for you? Cast Unleash Rage on them from a Librarian or take the Sanguinor and you gain an additional 15 attacks for either or 30 for both. Don’t forget about the awesome Shield of Sanguinius for a 4++ on the entire unit. That 300pt investment in the unit can yield massive damage output.

The problem I see is frequently Blood Angels players simply take too many upgrades on units like Death Company or throw too many support units on them. It is tempting to do this but you just don’t need to. If you play in an MEQ heavy environment, sure, slap a few Power Swords or Axes in there but no need to overdo it. Keep them cheap, efficient and focused in their role.

As stated above, it is tempting to try and take a bunch of characters to really ramp these guys up but you honestly don’t need it. When beating up on chaff or MSU units, you just want lots of attacks and cheap access to rerolls if possible to increase efficiency but with the volume of attacks these guys throw out, it’s often overkill. Give them just enough to do their job. The example of the Sanguinor above, for example, sounds amazing but then you realize you could take nearly another 10 man unit of Death Company for the same points investment and it isn’t even close to as useful, IMO. Lemartes is the one character I would consider for them strictly for the reroll failed charge aura but even that can be overcome with the judicious application of Command Points. As you have no unique stratagems, you don’t have the need to hold on to them as much.

But Death Company aren’t your only option. As you have nearly the entire Space Marine range at your disposal, you can do a lot. Stormraven Gunships, Assault Cannon Razorbacks, Scout Bikers, etc. are all tried and true, extremely efficient chaff clearing units. Many of them, like the Stormraven, are also excellent at taking down armored units, too.

  • Transport Vehicles/Flyers: While not as common as chaff units at present, they’re still common enough to want to plan for. Luckily Blood Angels have the tools.

Blood Angels Assault Squads do the trick quite well. A 5 man unit with 2 Melta Guns or Plasma Guns and a Plasma Pistol on sarge can run and gun like champs. Cheap, mobile, deep strike, firepower. Alternatively, you can run with 3 Plasma Pistols, too to save points but those Melta Guns and Plasma Guns are just so powerful. Support a few units of these with a Captain with Jump Pack, also packing a Combi-Melta and melee weapon of choice, you have a great tank hunting section as he deals good damage himself and buffs the Assault Squads with his reroll 1 aura.

You also have the standby units in Devastator Squads, and Predators, Hellblaster Squads, etc. to get the job done. Again, as Marines of all flavors have such awesome force multipliers available to them, you’ll want to take some to get the most out of these units but as stated: the minimal amount of them.

  • Infiltrators/Deep Strikers/Psykers: The meta features a great deal of extremely hard hitting units that come at you fast (Alpha Legion Berzerkers) or from reserves (Lias Issodon Raptors, Choas Terminator Bombs, etc.) and cheap Smite slangers. Having a way to defend against these is critical.

Blood Angels have access to what I think is one of the best units in the game: Scouts. Scouts are a superb unit. They are one of the best defenses against the above units in the game by creating space between you and your opponent and serve as your screen. They are also great at scoring objectives, being ObSec, and as a Troop, help you unlock detachments to get those sweet Command Points. This is an all star unit and I never leave home without at least 3 units of 5. Typically I run Bolters, but melee scouts work great, too. Sniper Scouts, also bear special mention as they are great for holding backfield objectives and obvious, for sniping enemy characters. This is doubly important as Smite spam is particularly punishing for MEQ armies like Blood Angels and having a tool to deal with it is extremely useful.

Maximizing Efficiency:

But, I don’t have Guilliman! I hear echoing in the distance….so what!? You don’t need him. Besides being a crutch for the weak willed (muahaha!) you can get similar buffing abilities at a lower points investment in the form of a Chapter Master such as Dante or Gabriel Seth, or Captain and a Primaris Lieutenant, Company Ancient or Sanginary Guard Ancient. This gives you similar rerolls to hit and wound at a lower price point.

Gabriel Seth especially, is one of my favorite Chapter Masters in the game because he is so amazingly cost effective at only 135 points. For a full reroll aura on a model that fights decently well, and has a potentially devastating buff in Whirlwind of Gore (although don’t rely on it by any means, just savor the moment when it works!). He is fantastic for serving as your Warlord and keeping him in the back with your shooting units as he is likely to survive the game and can serve as a solid counter assault unit if the action gets close. Backed by a Lt., they give a Roboute-esque buff at a fraction of the cost to give your backfield shooting units quite the boost. Paired with things like Assault Cannon Razorbacks, Hellblasters, Devastators, etc. they form a great fire-base.

Humorously, he and an Lt. are also awesome in a Dreadnought detachment as they give efficient buffs and when Whirlwind of Gore goes off on a Death Company Dreadnought, it’s glorious!

Again though, to hammer this home: you don’t need to take all the bells and whistles. You don’t need a bunch of expensive characters to totally buff your dudes to the max! You need just enough of a boost to allow them to perform their battlefield role. It is tempting to take the Blood Angels named characters, and they are certainly not bad and are fun to play, but you can often get a similar result for cheaper.

Scoring Objectives

As this is critical to winning missions, you need to think about how to accomplish this. As mentioned above, Scouts are incredible for this, but are often used sacrificially and don’t always survive the game. Blood Angels have good options in their Tactical Marines though, as they have some cool weapon options that work quite well. I use Tactical Marines quite frequently and I find that parked in cover with that sweet 2+ save, they are incredibly hard to kill at range and can sit and wrack up points quite easily. However, with access to the sweet Heavy Flamer and a combi-weapon on the sarge (combi-flamer or melta), they can also be used to go after objectives very well, and again, being ObSec, they have a solid scoring advantage.

You can, however, simply choose to forgo troops at all (although you are remiss not to use Scouts) as Index armies are not so Command Point hungry as Codex armies and focus on maximizing kill power.

Bringing it All Together:

So what does this all look like on the table? We’ve covered how to to about achieving goals and stopping your opponent from doing the same but showing these various elements together helps to bring it to life. Now, before I get yelled at because this is a Flesh Tearers list, lol, let me just say this is largely because I love Gabriel Seth not only for his performance on the table but as a bad ass character in the fluff! You could easily swap him out for a Blood Angels character and have the same list if you chose to.

Unit Force Org Cost # Total Weapons Cost # Total Total
Battalion Detachment Flesh Tearers       Command Points 3     1148
Captain w/ J.Pack HQ 93 1 93 Combi-Melta 19 1 19
0 T.Hammer 25 1 25
Librarian w/ J.Pack HQ 116 1 116 Force Sword 12 1 12
Assault Squad Fast 16 5 80 Plasma Gun 13 2 26
0 Plasma Pistol 7 1 7
Assault Squad Fast 16 5 80 Plasma Gun 13 2 26
0 Plasma Pistol 7 1 7
Assault Squad Fast 16 5 80 Melta Gun 17 2 34
0 Plasma Pistol 7 1 7
Death Company w/ J.Packs Elites 20 15 300 P.Sword 4 2 8
Company Ancient Elites 63 1 63 0
Scouts Troops 11 5 55 0
Scouts Troops 11 5 55 0
Scouts Troops 11 5 55 0
Battalion Detachment Flesh Tearers       Command Points 3     852
Gabriel Seth HQ 135 1 135 0
Primaris Lt. HQ 70 1 70 M.C. Auto Bolt Rifle 4 1 4
Scouts Troops 11 5 55 Sniper Rifles 4 5 20
Scouts Troops 11 5 55 Sniper Rifles 4 5 20
Scouts Troops 11 5 55 Sniper Rifles 4 5 20
Devastators Heavy 13 8 104 L.Cannon 25 4 100
0 Cherub 5 1 5
Devastators Heavy 13 8 104 L.Cannon 25 4 100
0 Cherub 5 1 5
0 0
Totals     81 1555       445 2000
Command Points: 9       Detachments: 2

So the list gives you a lot that works in this edition plus it feels like a Blood Angels army with loads of Jump units. You have long ranged firepower that rerolls to hit and 1’s to wound for high efficiency. You have ablative wounds in your Dev squads to soak up firepower if you go second and again, sticking them in cover for that sweet 2+ saves makes a huge difference. They hang out with the Sniper Scouts who do their thing, and share the buffs of Seth and the Lt. to increase their efficiency. The Ancient gives you a 4+ to shoot again after dying special rule and boosts your units’ morale as well. This again mitigates going second and increases the ROI of every point spent on your heavy weapons.

The standard Scouts form an extremely effective buffer, keeping deadly units that come out of reserves or that infiltrate away from you, and then go after objectives.

The Assault Marines and Captain tool around hunting units and the Captain smacks things with his Thunder Hammer if they get too close. In a pinch, he can play offense and go in and take out vehicles and weakened melee characters. You will nearly always keep these gents in reserves to deep strike.

The Death Company bomb are your street sweepers. They hunt screens and chaff units. The Libby supports them, casting 4++ on them the turn they come in which when combined with their Power Armor and latent 6+ FnP save, they are highly durable. With 30 Bolter Shots and potentially having the Captain nearby to boost them, they put out a ton of flak fire. If they can make the charge out of reserves: amazing. Save a Command Point to increase the odds, here. With Unleash Rage also cast on them, they’re just brutally effective in melee with sheer volume of attacks. The few Power Swords in the unit are just in case you find yourself up against another MEQ army. The trick is knowing when to not deep-strike this unit, as when you find yourself playing against a melee army as it is often better to start on the board to increase your chances of getting stuck in right away. Also, as the unit is quite large, morale may become an issue. Keep a few Command Points in your pocket to handle that. This unit will also want to burn command points to swing out of order, too. As you don’t have many stratagems to hog your CP, you can burn them liberally on things like this.

This list gives you the ability to keep units off of the table, hit your opponent where they are vulnerable, deal with common units in the meta, and win missions. It, and versions of it, have worked very well for me when playing Blood Angels/Flesh Tearers.

Without a codex, you are inherently at a disadvantage to factions that do have one. However, that doesn’t mean you have no chance of winning. By playing to your strengths and taking a list built to function in an 8th ed environment, you maximize your odds and hopefully have fun in the process!

What Blood Angels units and tricks have been working best for you?


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About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

78 Responses to “Index: Blood Angels & Flesh Tearers Tactics”

  1. highwind September 22, 2017 1:20 am #

    Many Blood Angel specific units are just ridiculously overpriced

    Death Company Cybots are about 50pts more expensive as Fist+Scourge Hellbrutes for half the attacks and a really useless special rule (Insatiable)!

    Death Company Marines with Chainsword and Bolt Pistol are the same points as Khorne Berzerkers with Chainswords and Chainaxe who attack twice with +2S and -1AP!

    But the biggest joke is the Baal Predator with Twin Assault Cannons, which is exactly 42% more expensive than a Twin Assault Cannon Razorback for NOT having any transport capacity!

    Obviously the most play tested edition ever…

    • Reecius September 22, 2017 7:55 am #

      Lol, I was just waiting for the complain train to leave the station. Some Blood Angels players asked for some tactical advice, I tyr to comply, then the complaining begins.

      Le sigh, lol.

      I assume a Cybot is a Dreadnought?

      Anyway, instead of trying to find things to compare your index to in other books, I would advice looking for things in your index that do work.

      And, as always, please remember the Index is simply there to get you by until you get your codex. I imagine you will be very happy with your codex once it arrives =)

      • highwind September 26, 2017 1:20 am #

        Oh sorry – you rather want to hear the mindless praise-train again that we hear unceasingly since about over half a year now?
        Ok, here we go: Blood Angels are just great! They are as great as any other faction in a really great game which is totally great because it was made great by great company GW! Just play them, they are so great!

        “Anyway, instead of trying to find things to compare your index to in other books, I would advice looking for things in your index that do work.”
        Well, besides the fact that this isnt ‘my index’, me (like many other players) already did that – and the result we came to is rather obvious: NOTHING from BA works in a competitive meta scene! (And this includes the list from your article…)
        My method on dealing with this problem is speak loudly about it so people might notice and change what is wrong, while your methon on dealing with it is playing down on the fact and say everything is fine.

        So, the index is just to get me/us by, until the codex drop?
        Then let me ask you two questions:

        1. Why was GW able to put reasonable point costs on compareable units in the Chaos index (who got their codex-update-treatment within ~3 month after the index was released) but not in the BA-section of the Imperium index (who get their codex-update-treatment probably over half a year later)?

        2. The was a short time where spamming Stormraven with Dante was a thing but that was fixed shortly after (and rightfully – we probably agree on that)…
        So, why is it possible to fix Stormraven spam with a rather complex restriction to the base rule within weeks on the one hand, but not possible to fix some blantly obvious fails in point costs even after month on the other hand?!

      • BBF September 27, 2017 12:18 pm #

        Advice heh

    • Ty September 22, 2017 1:18 pm #

      I heard Reece personally broke into the GW offices and changed the costs of Blood Angels units because he hates the color red.

      • Reecius September 22, 2017 1:43 pm #


        • Gunzhard September 23, 2017 4:23 am #

          Weren’t you guys actually involved in the initial blood angels play test though?

          Is that the case for the coming codex?

          I sort of get the “complain train”, this was supposedly the edition where everything is great, but even Index versus Index show BA in a place, where you’re better off leaving the “ba” units on the shelf. Yup it’s temporary.

          I appreciate what you’re trying to do – But it’s kind of dickish to right off players as complainers when the very advice you gave, using the army you playtested, is failing miserably… and your new advice is to do basically the opposite, and just take vanilla marines.

          • hillshire September 24, 2017 4:27 am

            Worth noting that GW was not taking the notes of the play testers as law. They had there own ideas and formulas which they often stuck to. So, there is little point in blaming the play testers for everything a person doesn’t agree with. Sure, point out places where things can be adjusted or changed but being snide about it helps nobody. Civil discourse is far more productive.

            Also, the index isn’t the final product. They were simply a way of starting 8th on a rough playing field to get players by as codexes are released. Lots of armies are limited in different ways until their codex gets released. Much as I love my Deathwatch, they’re staying out of tournaments until they can function as specialists instead of expensive space marine veterans with a few cool weapon options and some odd unit limitations. But I can still have fun with them while playing with friends and family. Looking forward to their codex release and in the meantime I’m enjoying the AdMech codex. Strongly tempted to build a battalion of Stygies to go with my Raptors.

          • Gunzhard September 24, 2017 12:18 pm

            @hillshire – just to be clear. I was certainly not making “snide remarks”. I actually don’t have much issue with the article, or playtesters, in fact. Most of us fully understand the index are not the final product.

            I was commenting on Reecius condemning of ‘complainers’, when in fact, the very advice, he gave, was bad. I have no intention to be snide or kiss butt, the facts are the facts.

          • Reecius September 25, 2017 5:13 pm

            Fair point, Gunzhard (and I wasn’t trying to be Dickish, FWIW). I was asked to write some competitive tactics and ideas for Index Blood Angels, for just this slice of time right now, pre-codex. So I did, but knew some folks would be mad as it wasn’t “Blood Angels” enough or what have you. To me it is, but that is different for everyone.

            For now, play the flavorful BA units by all means, but to compete in the meta now, IMO, the more generic units will serve you better.

          • highwind September 26, 2017 1:28 am


            I neither said you were trying to be “dickish” nor did my first comment include just a single critic word on your article or your list!
            I purely criticized on the totally lousy written/balanced BA section of the Index (which -just to remind you- people paid money for!)…

  2. Nightman September 22, 2017 1:52 am #

    Great article! But make no mistake. BA are one of the weaker factions right now. All most of their unique units (Dreads/DC/Baal) are overcosted.

    The concepts explained in this article are still very valid tho, two thumbs up.

    • Reecius September 22, 2017 7:58 am #

      Any faction without a Codex is at a disadvantage, as stated. And as we try to say over and again, the indexes are not meant to be a finished product in the sense of having all the bells and whistles, final points costs, etc. They are meant to give you rules to play 8th ed.

      But, thanks, glad you enjoyed the underlying concepts! Hope it helps.

      • Broxus September 22, 2017 9:23 am #

        Thanks for this tactica. So do you not recommend any razorbacks or stormravens? Also I know you have seen the new BA codex. Do you think it we will see some points and rules changes making this a tournament competitive list?

        • Reecius September 22, 2017 9:42 am #

          I love Stormravens and Razorbacks in a BA list, actually! I just prefer infantry armies, often. But yeah, totally those units work.

          And I wish I could give details on the BA Dex, but I cannot. All I can say is that it is BAD ASS. IMO, it is going to really please BA players and be quite the force on the table top, and 100% a competitive Dex.

      • highwind September 26, 2017 1:45 am #

        No offense, but your repeated statement (“Any faction without a Codex is at a disadvantage, as stated”) is just pure and simple a lie!

        The competive 40k scene is currently dominated by Astra Militarum (no Codex) usually mixed with some other Imperial stuff like Celestine (no Codex), Assassins (no Codex) and Forgeworld stuff (much more like an Index than a Codex).
        The other high-tier armies are Chaos Daemons (no Codex) aswell as Orks (no Codex) and Harlequin-Ynnari-soup (no Codex).
        Grey Knights are one of the weakest factions despite having a Codex and -if you discard Guilliman- Space Marines follow close behind.

      • highwind September 26, 2017 1:47 am #

        No offense, but your repeated statement (“Any faction without a Codex is at a disadvantage, as stated”) is just pure and simple a lie!

        The competive 40k scene is currently dominated by Astra Militarum (no Codex) usually mixed with some other Imperial stuff like Celestine (no Codex), Assassins (no Codex) and Forgeworld stuff (much more like an Index than a Codex).
        The other high-tier armies are Chaos Daemons (no Codex) aswell as Orks (no Codex) and Harlequin-Ynnari-soup (no Codex).
        Grey Knights on the other hand are one of the weakest factions despite having a Codex and -if you discard Guilliman- Space Marines follow rather close behind.

  3. Blindhamster September 22, 2017 6:19 am #

    Whilst a fair bit of the advice is sort of valid, You’d be better off running the list as codex marines, as the Blood Angels bring absolutely nothing to it (You could maybe argue that the squad of death company are good but….)

    • Reecius September 22, 2017 8:08 am #

      As I said in the article multiple times, without a Codex you are at an inherent disadvantage. I do not pretend you are not. That is true of everyone, not just BA.

      However, for those who want to play BA, I was trying to help offer up some ideas to do so.

      And Death Company rock, haha. I don’t now how to argue it any other way, personally, but hey, YMMV.

      • Blindhamster September 22, 2017 10:34 am #

        Yeah, I do appreciate that, it’s just… if you’re going to run BA, the BA need to bring something to the table. I did overlook the librarian, shield of sanguinius is an awesome power.

        Using two battalions make sense for maximising command points, but wouldn’t it be better to take a single vatallion and avoid the tax a second one needs?

        Scouts are cheap, but really don’t feel like they play to the few strengths BA currently do get.

        Side note, What are your thoughts on primaris units in BA armies?

        Do you think the lack of power sword on intercessors hurts them at all?

        • Reecius September 22, 2017 11:09 am #

          I guess it boils down to what you consider a Blood Angels army to be? I don’t have to use specialized units to feel like I am playing BA, or SW, or DA, etc. I like to use them but do not feel compelled to do so. That’s just me, though.

          This article and list were meant to say: here, these units work in the current meta and are BA! But if it doesn’t feel sufficient to you as a BA player, then hey, no big deal. Play the way you want to play.

          The battalions are there more because Scouts are so good, so why not? You don’t need the CP, but they certainly don’t hurt! The Scouts give you a mega effective screen and a way to combat smite spam, both of which you need. They may not play to the idea of BA in your mind, but in regards to competing, they serve a vital function. Every competitive list needs to have a plan for dealing with alpha strike melee and smite. And, it is not necessarily because they are cheap, it is because they are good in their role in the list. The cost is secondary.

          Primaris Marines can be good in a BA list. Hellblasters work with Seth and the Lt. well, but can really get alpha struck hard if you go second. Devastators are more resilient for the points due to having ablative wounds, plus the cherub is awesome. Intercessors are OK? I am not the biggest fan of them, they just don’t do enough for the points, IMO.

          • Blindhamster September 22, 2017 12:11 pm

            Honestly it’s more the idea that scout spam is what we have to do.

            I believe most blood angels players play them because they like their background, and like the general play style that they promote.

            There is also the idea that the army surely should play to its strengths, but I suppose the issue is right now, as an index army, it doesnt have army wide strengths (yet).

            How come the big change of view btw? why would the BA go from borderline OP to struggling? The views on here and the GW site about stacking characters felt wrong back when they were being put forward, was it just a miscalculation or due to being viewed in a vacuum or something maybe?

            Totally agree that stacking loads of characters seems like a bad idea due to being so expensive (your list does still include 4 HQ though – couldn’t some of those characters be the ones that were previously viewed as being so worthwhile?)

            Regardless of anything else, I do appreciate you taking the time to try and help!

          • Reecius September 22, 2017 12:28 pm

            Sorry if I made it sound like you have to take Scouts, you don’t but you DO need a screen of some sort or you are leaving a massive gap in your defenses. How you do that is up to you but in competitive play, you must have a strategy for dealing with hard hitting units that come out of reserves or infiltrate. Scouts are just extremely good at stopping those.

            Well, time is the factor not being considered here. When we talked about BA, we were talking Index on Index. We couldn’t give any information about what was to come, despite knowing it. Does that make sense? We had to talk about the game as it was at that time. Codexes change everything as you all see, and those with have a huge advantage over those without.

            And yeah, I could have cut some characters, for sure. I sometimes play BA with just a Captain and Libby. Works just fine. But this combo I think gives you a bit of everything.

            And happy to help!

          • Blindhamster September 22, 2017 12:37 pm

            On index vs index, I honestly don’t see how BA were so much better when marines etc had indexes. Running all those heroes was a bad idea in index world just as much as it is in the current world

          • Reecius September 22, 2017 1:46 pm

            They dominate them in melee. Point for point, with one of their special characters supporting them, they are simply better. In that instance of Marine on Marine, their special characters are 100% worth it.

            Now, in the context of the current meta where MEQs aren’t mega prevalent, then no, they don’t need the extra buffs. Against chaff units they are fine with base stats. Against vehicles, they’re better off shooting them up with awesome Assault Marines totting special weapons.

            Their characters are good and give them the edge vs. similar armies, it’s just that in the environment we are now in, they are not needed.

        • JMac September 23, 2017 6:33 am #

          Don’t overlook the ability to take melta and plasma guns on assault squads. That is something only BA can do.

          • Reecius September 25, 2017 5:13 pm

            Yeah, and it rocks!

  4. PandaSaurusRex September 22, 2017 6:39 am #

    It’s interesting to me that this is almost the exact opposite advice from the earlier video about how you were worried BA would be OP with overlapping buffs from characters.

    The only BA specific units in this list are the Death Company and Seth, who you said could be replaced with a regular Capt for points adjustments.

    Is there something coming in the codex that you think will make BA competitive, or are we just better off running “Red Marines” for another edition?

    • Reecius September 22, 2017 8:06 am #

      During testing that was a concern with Index on Index. You have to understand as well, things change constantly during testing, that is sort of the nature of the beast =)

      The list I present here is not meant to reflect the way things were then, but to try and help Blood Angels players to make a list that works in the current meta using the tools available to them.

      And no, you won’t be running Red Marines. You are still in the index phase, I think you will be very pleased with your codex.

      • PandaSaurusRex September 22, 2017 8:11 am #

        Cool, thanks for the reply.

        The list I have been running lately looks similar to this. I run one battalion with 4 units of scouts with camo cloaks, bolters, and one missile launcher each. Those scouts do work every game.

        • Reecius September 22, 2017 8:21 am #

          Yeah, no doubt. Scouts are amazingly good.

  5. Rariun September 22, 2017 7:27 am #

    wow Reece, I cant believe you just said this list feels like a blood angels list (flesh tearers in this case) when you have Gabriel Seth rolling around with six units of scouts, 3 of which are sniper scouts and two units of devastators.

    Also with the list if you switched seth and the death company for arguably better the vanguard veterans and another character you would gain access to all of the goodies from the space marine codex. the fact is that this is about as much a blood angels list as the 3 stormraven and dante list that won a itc tournament with the only models unique to blood angels were dante and a single tactical marine with a heavy flamer.

    you make very good points about dealing with screens/scoring objectives etc….. but you are a million miles away from doing it in the blood angels way (ripping and tearing at the enemy in close combat and devastating the enemy with the red thirst running through their veins)

    I fear the outlook of what is being said about blood angels be good is all taken from the idea of blood angels playing to much like codex space marines and thus misses the whole point in playing blood angels in the first place.

    where are the:
    librarian dreads,baal preds, death company dreads,death company, sanguinary guard, sanguinary priests, jump packs everywhere storming at the enemy in rage to fight them in close combat?.

    I actually think 8th edition is the best i have ever played and i think a lot of that credit goes to all the play testers, it just seems evident that there is not any genuine blood angels fans (either in the play testing group or rules design team) driving the army into a competitive state of play the way other armies are being driven.

    • Reecius September 22, 2017 8:18 am #

      Well, I think much of it comes down to what you perception of what it means to be a Blood Angels army means. For you it is their special units (which I totally get) but for me it is the idea of a rapid assault army with lots of Jump Packs equipped units. That varies from person to person. BA most certainly use Devastator squads and such in the backstory.

      For example, my Space Wolves army only has a few “Space Wolf” units so to speak, and could be a Space Marines army. To me it is 100% a Space Wolf army despite not having Thunderwolves, Wulfen, wtc.

      That aside, as I said, the idea in the article was to give Blood Angels players a way to use the tools they have now competitively in the meta, now.

      You can use the specialist units, they’re not bad (I actually think you can make a fun BA Dreadnought army, actually), and you could have some good fun with them in a list but I wanted to present an army that worked, now, IMO.

      But also, my ideas are not sacrosanct. I’d love to hear about a BA player kicking butt doing things in a more unique way, and was hoping to get some ideas back from the community.

      • PandaSaurusRex September 22, 2017 9:01 am #

        I sent an email in to the contact@FLG detailing a list I have been using recently that has worked well so far in 8th.

        • Broxus September 22, 2017 9:27 am #

          Why not post it here

  6. Chandler September 22, 2017 8:08 am #

    Let me just say this. I have been running the Seth/Devastator star for a while now and it is legit amazing. The biggest problem the army has is that they don’t have the tricks in the forms of stratagems and the like to make their army work. Lots of people want to compare them to marines right now and you simply can’t. Marines are better because you can build an army centered around maximizing stratagems. You can’t do that with Blood Angels because they have none.

    The purpose of this article is to provide players with options to run a decent list that can hang in the meta right now. It’s a good list and has lots of good options in it. And for those complaining this list isn’t fluffy I suggest you read about Flesh Tearers because they operate more like a standard marine chapter than Blood Angels in terms of using things like Baal Preds (they have only one in the entire chapter by the way), Sanguinary Guard etc. The list passes the fluff eye test so stop bitching about it.

    The units like Sang. Guard and the dreads are not in the list because they are too expensive for what they do. If you want to run dreads then run ML/lascannon dreads who I promise you, with Seth’s aura, will do much more damage over the course of the game than a DC dread will.

    • Reecius September 22, 2017 8:35 am #

      Yes, exactly. Thanks, Chandler.

      You simply cannot compare BA to Marines or Chaos as they have a dex, as I say multiple times in the article.

      This is meant to make the most of what you have in the current meta.

      I think you can make some of the BA special units work though, I just tend to prefer meat and potato units as a preference.

    • highwind September 26, 2017 2:05 am #

      Marines have exactly three worthwhile Stratagems of which one requires a special unit (Sternguard), while the second requires a special CT (Raven Guard) and the last being highly situational (Auspex Scan)…

      How is Seth/non-Grav-Devastators any better than deepstriking-Issodon/SFTS-Grav-Devastators or Guilliman/Hit&Run-Grav-Devastators?

      “And for those complaining this list isn’t fluffy I suggest you read about Flesh Tearers because they operate more like a standard marine chapter”
      A standard marine chapter brings mostly Tactical Squads of which this list has exactly zero!

      • abusepuppy September 26, 2017 2:11 am #

        >Marines have exactly three worthwhile Stratagems

        Linebreaker Bombardment, Killshot, Chapter Master, Born in the Saddle, Abhor the Witch, Strike from the Shadows, Auspex Scan, Flakk Missile, Armour of Contempt, Honor the Chapter, and Wisdom of the Ancients are all well worth using, though some of them require particular chapters/units to use. You won’t pop them all every game, but many of them are extremely powerful tools in the right circumstances.

        >A standard marine chapter brings mostly Tactical Squads of which this list has exactly zero!

        Other than the standard Marine chapters that use mostly Scouts, or Crusaders, or Bike squads, or Devastators, or Assault Marines, or any of the other units that are extremely common among Codex Chapters depending on their nature and circumstances.

        • BBR September 27, 2017 1:34 pm #

          They actually have many more.

  7. MidnightSun September 22, 2017 8:27 am #

    I had seven shades of shit knocked out of me at Throne of Skulls in the UK a few weekends ago. Two Librarians with Jump Packs, a 9-man block of Sanguinary Guard, 2 5-man Tactical Squads with Heavy Flamers in Assault Cannon Razorbacks, 5 Scouts, a Land Raider, a Redemptor Dreadnought and a Leviathan in a Pod. Seized with my Guard and still ended the game having killed seven Sanguinary Guard and a Tactical Marine 🙁

    Shield of Sanguinius is a *crazy* good power, and the Leviathan Dreadnought is just revolting.

    • Chandler September 22, 2017 8:30 am #

      Shield is an amazing power yes. And leviathan dreads are absolutely disgusting.

      • Reecius September 22, 2017 8:33 am #

        Shield is an all star power, thus my predilection for taking max sized units to get the most out of it!

    • Reecius September 22, 2017 8:33 am #

      I have run Tac Squads in Assault Cannon Razorbacks, too. Love them!

      A mean block of Sanguinary Guard? That sounds awesome, I would love to leanr more about that.

  8. GeekmasterK September 22, 2017 8:57 am #

    Hey, Reece! How do you feel about running a Redemptor Dreadnought or two in a Blood Angels list? It’s a model I really want to run, and is a beast on its own, but I have doubts about how well it would synergize with my Blood Angels. Thoughts?

    • Chandler September 22, 2017 9:33 am #

      Run Seth beside one and watch it go. The Redemptor is an amazing dread with it’s firepower. The double gatling cannon build can crank out some damage. 18 shots re-rolling 1s with Seth beside it and re-rolling 1s to wound with a LT nearby is pretty good. Plus the two fragstorm launchers. This thing is amazingly good at mowing down annoying units like conscripts.

      • Reecius September 22, 2017 9:45 am #

        Totally agree! Seth+Lt.+Dreads makes for a fantastic combo.

        • GeekmasterK September 22, 2017 10:41 am #

          Thanks for the quick response! While I currently have what I think is a solid list that I’m getting painted for the SoCal Open and LVO, I’m already looking at alternative builds to find a way to get the Redemptor in there. It’s my favorite Primaris Marine model, and my favorite new 40k model GW has made in recent memory. I’ll be competing in a GT this weekend, and now, there’s a strong possibility of me coming home with a Redemptor kit, regardless of how the tournament goes. It probably won’t see play until next year sometime, but I’m already looking forward to building and painting it! Glad to hear it works well with Blood Angels! 😀

    • Reecius September 22, 2017 9:43 am #

      I think the Redepmptor is solid! Especially with Seth and a Lt. running up with them, they can be extremely effective in a group.

  9. PandaSaurusRex September 22, 2017 9:44 am #

    Here is a list I have been running that has been pretty effective for me. Please keep in mind I have never played in a tournament in my life:


    Commander Dante
    Sang Priest – JP

    Scouts (X5) – boltguns, camo cloaks, ML
    Scouts (X5) – boltguns, camo cloaks, ML
    Scouts (X5) – boltguns, camo cloaks, ML
    Scouts (X5) – boltguns, camo cloaks, ML

    Baal Pred – AC, HB, storm bolter
    Dev Squad (X5) – Lascannons, armor cherub


    Sang Priest

    Death Company (X5) – chainswords, TH
    Death Company (X5) – chainswords, TH
    Terminators (X5) – Claws

    Stormraven – AC, MM, HB

    I use Dante & his pocket Priest to hang around the Devastators & Scouts for those re-rolls & resurrections. I also keep the Death Company close to them as a counter-assault unit.

    I put Meph, Priest, & terminators in the Stormraven to fly around and harass as needed.

    • Reecius September 22, 2017 9:59 am #

      Thanks for sharing and glad you are having success with them!

  10. Jural September 22, 2017 10:29 am #

    Regarding some of this Index/Codex angst… Wow could this have been mitigated with free/cheap Indexes (or if Indexes gave you a one time discount on a codex of your choice)!

    I’m sure we won’t care in 12 months, but for now it really stands out.

    • Reecius September 22, 2017 11:13 am #

      Well, it went the way it went and GW made what they thought was the best decision to get starter rules out there for everyone (indexes) while also trying to get all of the Codexes out ASAP which is where the game really happens, honestly.

      This situation is just temporary. And the price thing comes down to personal opinion. Gamers love to complain about spending money on their hobby almost as much as they love to spend money on their hobby, lol.

      • Jural September 22, 2017 11:40 am #

        I actually don’t feel the prices were out of line, although it was annoying not having any two of my factions in the same index 😉

        I think some sort of financial discount would have really emphasized that this is a work in progress, similar to how the original AoS book converting WHFB really signaled that GW was across those changes.

        Not exactly apples to apples, and again- maybe you can’t stop people from complaining about things they are so invested in anyway.

        • Reecius September 22, 2017 12:01 pm #

          Yeah, fair points. I do not know the whys of all of GW’s choices, but I am sure they made the decision they felt best served their shareholders and customer’s interests. If any of us agree or not depends on our perspectives.

    • Threllen September 22, 2017 11:19 am #

      I’m not so sure that would have really changed anything. Maybe I’m in the minority here but any dislike I have toward indexes has nothing to do with their cost (even though I play DG/TS/CSM/CD which already have received two codexes). It’s more just to do with the total imbalance between codex and index. I’ve found myself shelving my T-sons and my daemons because it’s no fun playing an index army when codex armies get so much more to work with. So making them cheaper or free wouldn’t change my opinion at all. The only thing that would change my opinion is actually releasing 100% of the codexes so we never have to use the indexes again.

      • Jural September 22, 2017 11:36 am #

        I don’t think it would have changed anyone’s experience on the table. It just might have given a more clear signal not to judge the rules based on indexes alone.

        But maybe it wouldn’t have mattered!

        • Reecius September 22, 2017 12:03 pm #

          Also, you have to account for time. You don’t know when things were done, how long the team had to make them, etc. Timing is massively influential on these things.

      • highwind September 26, 2017 2:15 am #

        There is no imbalance because of codex and index!
        Just look at what places high in tournaments: Astra Militarium, Astra Militarium, Astra Militarium, Astra Militarium, Astra Militarium and then some Daemons, Orks and Ynnari-Harlequins – ALL do NOT have a codex!

        There is an imbalance because GW is constantly unable to provide even roughly balanced rules and they proven this for over 20 years / 8 editions now…

  11. WestRider September 22, 2017 3:18 pm #

    Everyone complaining about this being flat out better as a SM list also seems to be missing the Special Weapons in the Assault Squads. If those get cut down to Plasma Pistols, the list loses a significant amount of its ability to nail unscreened targets.

    • Reecius September 22, 2017 4:03 pm #

      Yeah, precisely. I am tempted to run even more of them, they’re great! Like Raptors for Chaos, another bad ass unit. And to me, that is a very uniquely Blood Angels thing, and fun, too!

    • Threllen September 22, 2017 4:43 pm #

      Also misses the fact that Reece didn’t title the article “wherein we bitch about how an index army is worse than a codex army.”

      Doesn’t really matter how this army compares to a SM version… it’s still strong tactics for BA players.

      • Reecius September 22, 2017 5:02 pm #

        Indeed, lol. It’s all good, though. Codexes are coming out at a crazy fast pace. It’s just a matter of time, really.

  12. Blood.Angelx13 September 22, 2017 6:26 pm #

    I enjoyed the fact that you help with a few good unit option’s for an overall army list. Though a few key units are left out & could have use more mentioning like Baal Preds & whirlwinds.

    I do love & used scouts as main troop since I started playing 40K.

    • Reecius September 25, 2017 5:15 pm #

      Yeah, and this article wasn’t meant to the the ONLY competitive BA list, just an example of what has worked for me.

    • highwind September 26, 2017 2:18 am #

      Baal Predators are great!
      They have a super-great special rule and an additional wound in comparison to Razorbacks for the really cheap cost of 42 additional points more and the loss of all transport capacity!
      They work great in every game for me!

  13. Mascus September 22, 2017 9:16 pm #

    Great article, love your take on the BAs. You had some ideas that I hadn’t thought of before which is what it’s all about for me. Quick newbie question, why do your 15 death company get 30 shots? Do take bolters and chainswords instead of bolt pistols?

    • WestRider September 23, 2017 8:50 am #

      Yeah, he mentioned the Bolters at some point in there. Few combats last long enough for Pistols to really be worthwhile.

      • Reecius September 25, 2017 5:15 pm #

        Yeah, Bolters! It’s awesome, very useful.

  14. Shagrat September 23, 2017 8:08 am #

    Man, oh man. It seems like during playtesting BA were considered to have the “potential” to be OP based on their melee and bubble buffs. That’s probably where the expensive points come in for stuff like angelus bolters and our dreads, etc. The “potential” was there in the playtesters eyes .

    Unfortunately, 8th edition melee oriented armies are at a huge disadvantage due to the power of shooting, the ability of enemies to fall back, and the difficulty of index armies to get that first turn alpha charge. Unless you’ve got something bad ass like Khorne Zerkers who are so powerful in melee you really have a hard time putting out enough damage to make melee worthwhile: the slog into combat, weathering overwatch, finally the attack… all to be for naught if the enemy unit decides to fall back leaving you open for more shooting.

    Sure, everybody’s meta is different. Sure DC and SG along with buffy bubble characters have the potential to be awesome and your mileage may vary.

    Unfortunately, BA is a bottom tier army, placing 195th in NOVA after their gimicky Stormraven/Dante list was nerfed. The powerful armies now like horde spam, smite spam, character spam, etc are still viable. Elite armies, and over-costed elite armies especially like BA, suffer.

    That being said this isn’t to gripe about your thread, in fact thank you for putting up this post as a way to find something viable for our BA players.

  15. Adam September 24, 2017 5:59 am #

    I’ve been playing a BA list that I’ve had some success with. I’ve not lost a local game with it and took it to 2nd place in a recent RTT. Unfortunately, I made some adjustments and it didn’t perform quite as well in the Nova missions at the first leg of the Louisiana State Championships. I dropped a flyer in favor of two Las’backs and another unit of Scouts. Meh.

    Lt. Jump Pack, Burning Blade
    Scout Squad x5, Sniper Rifles x5
    Culexus Assassin
    Death Company x5, Jump Packs, Chainswords x5
    Death Company x5, Jump Packs, Chainswords x5
    Death Company Dreadnought, Fists x2, Melta, Magna-Grapple
    Death Company Dreadnought, Fists x2, Melta, Magna-Grapple

    Stormraven, Twin-MM, Twin-AC, Hurricane Bolter x2, Stormstrike x2
    Stormraven, Twin-MM, Twin-AC, Hurricane Bolter x2, Stormstrike x2
    Stormraven, Twin-MM, Twin-AC, Hurricane Bolter x2, Stormstrike x2

    • Adam September 24, 2017 6:06 am #

      What makes this list work is that I have a strong alpha with the Ravens, buffed by Dante and the Lt. I have a small backfield threat with the Scouts. The Culexus provides psychic buffs to the “star.” And I am essentially guaranteed the assaults I want turn two. The problem is that DC Dreads are great, but a bit over-costed when compared to their shooty alternatives. And, the DC don’t have quite enough damage output to earn back their points. They need to have nigh Berzerker amounts of attacks to make them worthwhile. I’m holding out hope that the Codex will make them viable.

      • Reecius September 25, 2017 5:17 pm #

        That looks solid! Very effective list.

  16. KingCro September 24, 2017 6:35 pm #

    Hey Reese,

    Just wanted to say I loved the article and thought this was a very interesting look at how to make an “under powered” army more competitive and give people a chance to use their favorite army more competitively.I (and I’m sure many others) really appreciate these kinds of articles and I really hope to see more in the future covering other factions, especially those maybe not gettign a codex in the near future.

    I for one have been really struggling how to build an Ultramarines (i played them before they were cool! lol) list that doesn’t use Gulliman surrounded by a bunch of razorbacks and devs and things like this really help to make you think of other options.

    Keep up the awesome work!

    • Reecius September 25, 2017 5:17 pm #

      Hey, thanks! And try Clagar, I think he is one of the better Chapter Masters, actually, and a very good substitute for Bobby G.

  17. Stimjam September 24, 2017 7:25 pm #

    It’s a shame that Blood Angels are weak after two editions of lackluster codices. I would be interested in hearing if anyone gets a chance to test this list out, as I think Reece is right that it uses units that BA have that work in the current meta. Codex armies can almost definitely do it better, but if you’re committed to playing BA, you could do worse. Just don’t bring it to a GT and expect to win it all.

    • Reecius September 25, 2017 5:18 pm #

      That is pretty accurate. Just have to wait for the Codex and in the meantime, work with what you’ve got!

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