Codex Review: Blood Angels Part 1: Stratagems, Warlord Traits, Relics and Psychic Powers

The Sons of Sanguinius are here and ready to tear a bloody swathe through the enemies of the Imperium! Read on to learn what they have to offer with their 8th edition Blood Angels 40k Codex now with units ranked by usefulness!

As always, check the Tactics Corner for more great articles, reviews and lists.

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The Blood Angels are reborn with a Codex and what a Codex it is. This book has tremendous melee power and a boat load of tricks and combos to explore. It really is a great example of a Codex that reflects the backstory of the army and plays well while doing it. If you like Blood Angels, I think you will be getting exactly what you want in regards to their play-style. They have incredible combos and mobility, plus they have units from the Space Marine book they previously did not so there are tons of new options. However, the real power is in the interplay between the stratagems, Warlord Traits, Psychic Powers and relics.

Rating System

I have been catching some flack lately for not being “real” enough, lol, so while my enthusiasm for this Codex is so very sincere, I will include a simple rating system for items reviewed in order to indicate their relative power level in matched play games in my estimation. Of course, this is an opinion so feel free to disagree! I rarely ever see units as “broken” or “garbage” which is the typical binary judgement in internet hyperbole. Even the worst unit can win you the game if it is in the right place at the right time. Units are all simply more or less efficient based on the current situation of any given game. So with that in mind, here is the shiny new rating system:

  • Competitive: This is a codex entry (unit, stratagem, item, etc.) that has a place in essentially any competitive list built with this faction regardless of unit choices or is the source of a significant force multiplication effect for other units.
  • Efficient: This is a codex entry that can stand on its own merit in a matched play list but works best when combo’d up with other units or in specific situations to become very powerful but may not always be seen.
  • Situational: This is a codex entry that may not pass as competitive on its own merits but can be made effective in a creative list, as a meta-buster, or in a specific combo or scenario where it ratchets up in power to potentially very high strength but otherwise will not be seen very often.

Special Rules

There’s a reason why we always begin these reviews with the back of the book rules, as in 8th ed 40k, these are largely what will define your army list strategy. It is also where the real power of a book comes from in most cases. Let’s dive in to see what the Blood Angels have:

  • Defenders of Humanity: This is your standard Objective Secured rule and applies to their troops choices in a Battle-forged, Blood Angels army. Competitive.

  • The Red Thirst: In any turn in which a unit with this ability charges, is charged of performs a Heroic Intervention, you may add 1 to its wound rolls in the Fight phase. Competitive.

WOW! That is red hot slice of rules right there. This is the Blood Angels “Chapter Tactics” and hot dam is it good. This is at the core of what makes Blood Angels so incredibly powerful as a melee army. This means in melee your units never wound on worse than a 5+ in the first round of a fight, and typically will be wounding most vehicles on a 4+, and most infantry on a 3+ or 2+. When you add in a Sanguinary Priest to the mix for their +1 strength buff, it gets even crazier. All of their units become threatening in combat, from the humble Scout to the now reduced cost Intercessors who in a Blood Angels list are no joke. You will often find yourself putting Power Weapons on sarges as they become so much more viable. When backed by the many ways they have to get re-rolls to hit and wound, Blood Angels melee units become extremely efficient in the fight phase, but they also shoot well, too. As we dig further into this book, the myriad ways their defining rule comes in to play will become evident. But essentially, nearly every unit in your army gets a free “Veterans of the Long War” stratagem in the first round of melee. That is seriously legit. As a fun example of what is possible, a tooled up unit of 15 Death Company could potentially pump out over 200 attacks in a single Fight phase! And no, that was not a typo.


Per usual in 8th ed, this is where the real power of a Codex often lays. Blood Angels have been gifted with some incredible stratagems too, that when mastered allow you to pull off some devastating combos.

  • Armoury of Baal: 1/3CP,  Your standard “extra Relics” stratagem. This has been available to every Codex we’ve seen so far and it is only as good as the Relics it gives you access to.
    • Well, thankfully for Blood Angels players, they have excellent Relics available to them. I rarely found myself playing Blood Angels without taking 1 extra Relic. I didn’t often take 2, but I always assumed I was playing the game with -1 CP as they have so many awesome choices which we will cover below. Competitive.
  • Forlorn Fury: 2 CP, used before the first Battle Round but before the game begins, a unit of Death Company Infantry may move and advance as if it were the Movement phase.
    • This is an amazing stratagem. The reason why is not only because it gives you pre-game movement after you know who is going first, but also because it ignores the normal defense against “infiltrating” in the form of Scouts, Nurglings, other Infiltrators, etc. as there is no restriction on how the unit moves other than those for normal movement. And of course, and quite obviously, a unit of 15 Death Company with Jump Packs moving 12+D6″ before the game begins (and especially if you know you are going first) are going to do some serious work on turn 1 as they are almost assured to charge that turn. In all, an A+ stratagem. Competitive.
  • Behold the Golden Host: 1 CP, Used after a Blood Angels unit with a Death Mask is set up on the battlefield, until the start of your next turn the range of their Death Mask ability is increased to 12″.
    • This is a decent stratagem in the right circumstance, but won’t come up that often. However, when it does, it will cause your opponent to lose multiple extra models to morale and thus is similar to some free Mortal Wounds. Ideally, you drop in, pop it, then hit multiple units with damage in range and when they take their Morale tests, should cumulatively lose several extra models. Situational.
  • Auspex Scan: 2 CP, Similar to other Adeptus Astartes, this stratagem allows you to fire on an enemy unit within 12″ of one of your Infantry units when it is set up on the battlefield with a -1 to hit.
    • This is a really useful stratagem and one I use often when facing enemy deep-strikers/out-flankers/etc. It won’t come up in every game but when it does it is extremely useful, particularly if you have a solid shooting unit to use it on like Sternguard or Devastators, etc. I find it often pushes your opponent’s deep-striking units back beyond 12″ to avoid it and thus reducing the amount of damage they can typically deal to you.  Efficient.

  • Death Visions of Sanguinius: 1 CP, Use this stratagem before the game begins on one of your Captains, Chaplains, or Lieutenants (but no Primaris units). That model then gains the Death Company keyword and the Black Rage ability.
    • This is another amazing stratagem that many players will use most, if not every game. The reason being is that the Death Company keyword opens up a lot of possible combos for you. For example, it would qualify a Character for the Forlorn Fury stratagem described above. And when combo’d with some of the other crazy abilities Blood Angels have, such as their Relic jump pack The Angel’s Wing, you can potentially turn 1 charge into something like Kastelan Robots before they ever shoot, ignoring overwatch. However, that is just the tip of the iceberg. You also get the 6+ FnP save which can be further combo’d with the Gift of Foresight Warlord Trait for a 5+ FnP style save, re-rolling 1’s, and +1 attack on charge. As if that weren’t enough, it also qualifies you for any bonuses Death Company get such as Lemartes‘ Guardian of the Lost rule. Competitive.
  • Wisdom of the Ancients: 1 CP, gives a Blood Angels Dreadnought a re-roll 1’s to hit aura for that phase.
    • This one is good when it’s needed but won’t be needed that frequently. Not bad at all and can be a real life saver in the right situation, but will not be used in most lists that frequently. Situational.

  • Strike of the Archangels: 2 CP, When a unit of Blood Angels Terminators is set up on the battlefield, you can re-roll failed hit rolls for that unit until the start of your next turn (meaning it would work in shooting and melee, potentially in Overwatch and your opponent’s Fight phase, too).
    • This is an interesting stratagem as it is really good on its own merit, but when you consider you can place any of the many re-roll characters in your army near the Terminators and get the same or similar result you have consider when you would actually use it. The answer is when you want a unit of Terminators to act on their own while your support characters go elsewhere. So, while really a great stratagem, in the context of an army with other tools to do the same thing it will only come in handy in very specific circumstances. Situational.
  • Tactical Flexibility: 1 CP, allows you to Combat Squad a unit of 10 Blood Angels that have the rule, splitting them up in to two 5 man units.
    • This is obviously very situational. Frequently to get those lovely Command Points you will be running low model count units anyway, and when you do take large units it is typically to leverage a psychic power, stratagem, etc. and as such you won’t want to break them up. However, if you are in a situation where you need to grab two objectives or something similar, and have a unit able to split it could win you the game. Situational.
  • Cluster Mines: 1 CP, used when a Scout Biker unit falls back from combat. On a 2+, they deal D3 Mortal Wounds to a unit within 1″ before they leave combat.
    • A solid stratagem when you can use it. Obviously, it only applies if you have Scout Bikers in your army, and further then they are withdrawing from combat. As someone who loves Scout Bikers and uses them all the time, I can say it is a really fun one to use when it is applicable. However, this is not a stratagem you will be using in every game. Situational.

  • Upon Wings of Fire: 1 CP, use this stratagem at the beginning of your movement phase before moving a Blood Angels Jump Pack unit. Remove the unit from the battlefield and then set it up at the end of the phase, anywhere on the battlefield more than 9″ from any enemy models.
    • This stratagem is absolute fire, particularly combined with Descent of Angels. This gives you the ability to strike nearly anywhere on the battlefield which is tremendously useful after one of your heavy hitting units like Death Company or Sanguinary Guard have obliterated whatever was unfortunate enough to be in their way, and then do it again! But beyond that, this is just an incredible stratagem for winning missions and hitting key enemy units that would be otherwise out of range. It could be used also to feint during deployment to get your opponent to counter the positioning of a unit who then pops over to the other side of the table. Competitive.
  • Orbital Bombardment: 3 CP, this stratagem is used once per battle, if your Warlord doesn’t move or fire their weapon normally, they may select a point on the battlefield visible to him. Every enemy units within D6″ of that points takes D3 Mortal Wounds on the roll of a 4+. Characters are hit on a 5+.
    • This is a stratagem that can be very useful and is used quite often in Adeptus Astartes armies. As you will always have a Warlord, it will always be an option. It’s good when it is good, but isn’t always the right call. Efficient.
  • Masterful Marksmanship: 1 CP, this stratagem is used when a unit of Sternguard with Special Issue Boltguns shoots. They add 1 to their wound rolls in that shooting phase.
    • I personally love this stratagem, but I very frequently run a unit of 10 Sternguard with Special Issue Bolters. If you don’t, then this obviously isn’t gong to come into play. If you use it, you built a unit to take advantage of it and it is very good, though. Sternguard used in this way are exceptionally good at clearing infantry that don’t have an invulnerable save and are surprisingly good at taking out light and medium vehicles, too, as they will be wounding them on a 4+ at AP-2. I’ve cracked many a transport vehicle with these gents. Situational.
  • Datalink Telemetery: 1 CP, this stratagem is used when a Whirlwind fires on an enemy target within 12″ of one of your Land Speeders. The Whirlwind’s attacks automatically hit the target.
    • This is another stratagem that is cool if you build the ability to use it in to your list. Whirlwinds are an underrated unit and with the ability to automatically hit their target via this strat, they remove one variable from their damage equation. This combo is not likely to appear in top lists but if you have the models and want to use them, this is a stratagem you will enjoy quite a bit. Situational.

  • Lucifer-Pattern Engines: 1 CP, Us this stratagem before advancing with a Blood Angels Vehicle (other than a Dreadnought or a vehicle that can Fly). Increase its movement by 6″. If the unit is a Baal Predator, increase their movement by 6+D6″.
    • This is a useful stratagem, particularly with Baal Predators who then have a huge movement, and are great for repositioning, grabbing objectives, etc. It is also great for getting dedicated transports into a great position to unleash the models inside such as a Rhino or Land Raider. Situational.
  • Empyric Channeling: 1 CP, used at the start of the psychic phase if a Blood Angels Psyker is within 6″ of at least 2 other Blood Angels Psykers. The Psyker can immediately attempt to manifest one additional power and when he does so, adds +2 to the test.
    • This like many stratagems, is really powerful when you can use it. However, it is not often you will have 3 Psykers on the table for most Space Marines armies don’t field many Librarians, but Blood Angels with Mephiston and a pair of Librarian Dreadnoughts is a powerful set of units and you may find yourself in position to use it, where it is particularly nasty for trying to get the full powered smite, or for casting or the Quickening. Situational.
  • Killshot: 1 CP, use this stratagem in the shooting phase if a Predator is within 6″ two other Predators. Add 1 to the wound rolls and damage of all of the attacks of each Predator if they target a Vehicle or Monster.
    • This is a fun and potentially extremely powerful stratagem but also one that is easily shut down by losing one of the vehicles or getting stuck in combat. For best effect, I recommend taking 4+ Predators with a variety of weapon load-outs to not pigeonhole yourself into all Las Cannons and end up playing a horde. Personally, I think the dakka Predator is the best choice as you use them to clear out infantry and light vehicles and if you find yourself facing some heavier targets, the strat makes them much more effective at dealing with them for a single CP. Even if you take some casualties, you can still leverage it but you aren’t completely reliant on it. Have a Lieutenant and Captain nearby (or even better, Seth) and go to town. Situational.

  • Linebreaker Bombardment: 1 CP, used in the shooting phase if a Blood Angels Vindicator is within 6″ of at least two other Vindicators. Instead of firing normally, they pick a point within 24″ of all three tanks and every unit within 3″ of that point takes 3D3 Mortal Wounds on a 4+ adding +1 if they contain 10 or more models and subtracting 1 if they are a character.
    • Much like the Killshot strat above, this is potentially devastating but hard to actually pull off in many cases as having all 3 tanks within 24″ of the same spot is fairly limiting and shutting one of the tanks down is easy to do by engaging them in melee, simply destroying them with shooting, etc. And, much like the strat above, if you want to use it, I recommend taking 4+ Vindicators to buy a little insurance in case you lose one early or get it wrapped up in combat. However, if you play it right and keep them screened, this can seriously nuke your opponent’s army hard. Situational.
  • Hellfire Shells: 1 CP, used when firing an Infantry model’s Heavy Bolter. Instead of firing normally, on a successful hit you deal D3 Mortal Wounds to the target.
    • This is a great strat and one I use all the dang time. Because of it, you should always have at least a single Heavy Bolter on an Infantry model to take advantage of those long ranged Mortal Wounds. Efficient.
  • Descent of Angels: 2 CP, used in the Charge phase for a Blood Angels Jump Pack unit that has been set up on the battlefield that turn. They roll 3D6 for their charge instead of 2D6.
    • BOOM! And here my pretties, is a stratagem that defines a faction. This one is absolutely devastatingly powerful, even better than Forlorn Fury as it is not so first turn dependent. The ability to drop down 15 Death Company or 10 Sanguinary Guard and have a very good chance of making the charge is game changing. As these units hit terribly hard, there are few things in the game that can take the punch they deliver. Death Company especially benefit from this as with Lemartes nearby giving them a re-roll to their charge roll. This is a tactic that will be employed in pretty much every competitive Blood Angels army no matter how you employ it. Even better, you can use Upon Wings of Fire to do it again the turn after they arrive and every turn thereafter until you run out of CP. As Death Company can also do an absolutely staggering amount of damage, they will be screen clearer supreme. However, if you kit them out for pure damage output they really can destroy anything. We’ll get to that in more depth later, but suffice it to say, this is THE stratagem in the Blood Angels arsenal. Competitive.

  • Red Rampage: 1 CP, used in the fight phase, give a Blood Angels Character that charged in the charge phase D3 additional attacks for the duration of the fight phase.
    • Another gem of a strat. This is one you will find yourself using pretty much every time you can. As Blood Angels have so many ways to stack additional attacks onto units, you can get to truly ridiculous levels of damage output from a single Character. For example, Dante could potentially get his 6+D3 from the strat+1 from the Sanguinor, +1 from Unleash Rage for potentially 11 attacks and can use the Honour the Chapter strat to attack again, for potentially 22 attacks, lol. And there are a lot more, even crazier combos in here to make Blood Angels Characters utterly lethal combatants. Competitive.
  • Armour of Contempt: 1 CP, gives a vehicle a 5+ save vs Mortal Wounds for a phase, used right before a vehicle would take a Mortal Wound.
    • This is actually a super useful strat. With all of the Smite spam, and various other Mortal Wound shenanigans in the game, the need for a defense against them comes up frequently. Efficient.
  • Flakk Missile: 1 CP, used when a Blood Angels Infantry model with a Missile Launcher fires at an enemy unit with the Fly keyword. Add +1 to the hit roll, and if the target is hit, you deal D3 Mortal Wounds instead of the normal damage.
    • Another great utility strat and just like Hellfire Shells, the reason I pretty much always include at least one Missile Launcher on an Infantry model. FOr tough targets like Magnus, or Mortarion, this is an effective tool to reliably deal damage to them and help wear them down. Efficient.
  • Vengeance for Sanguinius: 1 CP, used in the Fight phase when one of your units fights. For each hit roll of a 6+, you generate one additional attack. If fighting against Black Legion units, you generate additional attacks on a 4+.
    • Obviously a great strat for a melee focused army, particularly one that can put out so many attacks. You will use this one not as often as you may think, but when it is needed, it is incredibly good. And if your opponent is Black Legion, well, lol, sucks for them. Efficient.
  • Honour the Chapter: 3 CP, Select a Blood Angels Infantry of Biker unit to fight for a second time at the end of the Fight phase.
    • This is a bread and butter strat for Blood Angels. You will use this one frequently, being limited only by your CP reserves. Sanguinary Guard, Characters, Death Company, etc. all absolutely devastate things in combat. Units like Death Company can hit one screen unit, obliterate it, then consolidate into another unit, pop the strat, and wreck them, too. It also helps you to smash up big tough units like super heavies, etc. pretty easily. An extremely powerful strat. Competitive.
  • Only in Death Does Duty End: 2 CP, use this strat when a Character in your army dies, before removing the model they can either shoot as if it were the shooting phase or fight as if it were the fight phase.
    • This is another gem. Once you get a really choppy character into melee with your opponent, you are essentially assured to fight twice if you need to. Once normally, and the second time either thanks to this strat or Honour the Chapter. It means a kitted out melee Character can almost be assured to destroy many units in the game you would not otherwise be able to. Alternatively, can you use it to shoot again as well but this will largely only come in to play in limited circumstances as most Characters don’t have nearly as powerful shooting and if they do, it is typically short ranged. Competitive.

Warlord Traits

The Blood Angels have some great Warlord Traits as well, which provide the opportunity for some crazy combos.

  • Speed of the Primarch: You can always choose your Warlord to fight first in the Fight phase.
    • This is a good Warlord Trait for prolonged combats as it almost ensures you get to swing multiple times before dying. It pairs very well with Only in Death Does Duty End, too. It means you can count on getting two rounds of combat out a character in most instances. However, Blood Angels really want to always be charging, not stuck in to grinding melees. This is a trait that while not bad, won’t be chosen as often as some of the others. Situational.

  • Artisan of War: Add 1 to the damage characteristic of one weapon carried by your Warlord, but this cannot be a Relic of Baal.
    • This is a really cool Warlord Trait for obvious reasons. But, where it really gets crazy is in the myriad ways Blood Angels can get extra attacks. You get a ton of mileage out of that extra damage due to the multiplier of bonus attacks. For me, I prefer using the Thunder Hammer as at 4 damage a pop, that is vicious. However, Lightening Claws are great too. Alternatively, you could put it on a Combi-plasma to mix things up but again, a melee weapon is where you get the most bang for your buck. Competitive.
  • Soulwarden: You can attempt to Deny the Witch with your Warlord, if they already can, you can try again.
    • Not bad at all, especially if you find yourself up against a psychic heavy army and you don’t have any psychic defense. If you play in a format that lets you pick your trait on the fly (and you should, it is so much more fun!) then this can be a solid choice in some match-ups. Situational.
  • Heroic Bearing: Friendly Blood Angels units within 6″ of your Warlord automatically pass morale checks.
    • This is really solid if you run more than 5 strong units. If you do not and are straight MSU, then it won’t have much impact as ATSKNF will be enough for you. If you do run units of 6+ models or find yourself facing a morale debuffing army like Night Lords then this can be a real life saver. Situational.

  • Gift of Foresight: Your Warlord gains a 6+ FnP style save, re-rolling 1’s. If your Warlord has the Black Rage ability, it boosts up to 5+, re-rolling 1’s.
    • This is a great Warlord Trait and one that will be selected frequently as the Death Visions of Sanguinius strat pairs with it so well to create a truly scary character. Between the two, you gain a bonus attack on the charge, access to all of the awesome Death Company bonuses and a 5+ FnP, re-rolling 1’s. That significantly boosts your offense and defense and opens up a ton of new options for you tactically through all of the various other strats and such available only to Death Company. This is a trait that will be selected very frequently. Competitive.
  • Selfless Valour: Your Warlord can heroically intervene from 6″ instead of 3″.
    • This trait in most armies isn’t all that appealing but with Blood Angels, it’s very strong. As you’ll often be equipped with a Jump Pack, the 6″ move means you can often clear intervening models and terrain and engage a unit in combat when they thought they were safe, and Red Thirst triggers on Heroic Intervention, too. With the sheer power of Blood Angels melee characters, and the fact you can kill an enemy unit in their turn, freeing you up to charge and assault again in your turn, this is a really powerful ability. Competitive.

Relics of Baal

  • The Hammer of Baal: Replaces a Thunder Hammer. Has the same stats but with no -1 to hit.
    • This is an incredible weapon. Ignoring the -1 to his means you are hitting with a 97% accuracy instead of 78% on a Captain who’s re-rolling 1’s to hit. It’s a huge increase in reliability and will be the cause of much devastation. Competitive.
  • The Angel’s Wings: Model with a Jump Pack only. You can re-roll failed charge rolls for this model and the enemy may not fire Overwatch at them.
    • Another absolutely incredible relic. The ability to ignore Overwatch is powerful and often underrated. Imagine charging a Shadowsword and ignoring Overwatch and then smashing it in half with your Hammer. Or, charging into Kastelan Robots, etc. Once you engage, every other unit can go into the same combat without taking casualties. As a matter of course, simply declare every unit within 12″ of this model a target and then roll and see how far you go. Plus the re-roll helps a ton for making charges out of reserves or critical long charges. Competitive.

  • The Veritas Vitae: So long as the bearer is on the battlefield, every time you use a stratagem, on a 5+ you gain a Command Point back.
    • This is the shining star relic and one most Blood Angels players will take as their default choice. It’s not quite as good as the Ultramarines or Astra Militarum version, but it is still very useful as Blood Angels are CP hungry. Competitive.
  • Gallian’s Staff: Replaces a model’s Force Stave. Gives the bearer a +1 to psychic checks when casting Smite.
    • Not bad but when compared to the other choices pales a bit. If you take it, you won’t hate it but you may wish you opted for one of the other options. However, if you find yourself facing say, Magnus and need your Libby to do some damage to him with Smites, then you may want to select this on the fly to increase the odds of damaging him, or a very tough model like him. Situational.
  • Archangel’s Shard: Replaces a model’s Power Sword or Master-crafted Power Sword. It has normal Power Weapon stats, but if fighting a Monster goes up to D3 damage and if fighting a Daemon Monster, goes up to a whopping D6 damage.
    • So this is a highly situationally useful but when the situation arise…it’s brutal! And remember, units like Mortarion have the Daemon and Monster keywords. The incredible damage output on this this makes a humble Captain capable of is truly staggering. If you really kit him out, he can go up to 10+ attacks, and can swing twice with stratagem support. A 97 Captain with a Jump Pack and Power Sword can potentially chop Mortarion in half! Situational.

  • Standard of Sacrifice: Ancient model only, the model’s banner additionally gains the following ability: Roll a D6 each time a friendly Blood Angels model within 6″ of the bearer loses a wound, on a 5+ that wound is not lost. Does not work on model’s with the Black Rage special rule.
    • And to mix things up…another excellent stratagem! Blood Angels players will often want to take this as it stacks with an existing Banner, many of which are excellent choices on their own. The ability to further enhance your gun line Hellblasters and Devastators with a 5+ FnP style save, or the same for your Sanguinary Guard or Vanguard as they move up field is incredibly useful. Competitive.

Sanguinary Discipline

  • Quickening: WC 7, if manifested, you can add 3 to advance and charge rolls you make for the psyker and make an additional D3 attacks with them in the Fight phase until the start of the next psychic phase.
    • A seriously tremendous power when considered in the context of Blood Angels whose Psykers can pack a punch. Librarian Dreads and Mephiston in particular love this power and it goes with Wings of Sanguinius like steak with fries. The two together make your psyker extremely mobile, able to clear screening units and charge deep into your enemy’s formations. Competitive.
  • Unleash Rage: WC 6, if manifested, select a Blood Angels unit within 12″ of the psyker. The gain a bonus attack until the start of your next psychic phase.
    • An all-star power. This is going to often be a go to ability, as it cranks up your already scary units to an 11. Death Company rock 5 attacks each on the charge! 6 if the Sanguinor is nearby, lol. It’s crazy. Whomever you chose to cast it on, they will become significantly more powerful as a result. Competitive.
  • Shield of Sangunius: WC 6, If manifested, choose a Blood Angels unit within 12″, until the begenning of your next psychic phase, that unit has a 5++.
    • Again, an amazing power. You will be casting this one most likely every turn as it gives you so much more mileage out of your units. Competitive.
  • Blood Boil: WC 6, select a visible enemy unit within 6″ of the psyker and roll 2d6. If the total exceeds the highest toughness characteristic in the target unit, they suffer D3 mortal wounds. It you double their Toughness, you deal 3 Mortal Wounds.
    • A decent damage spell, but very close ranged. However, if you find yourself wading into something like buffed up Conscripts or Horrors, this can be a great way when paired with Smite, to chew through them. Efficient.
  • The Blood Lance: WC 6, If manifested, select a visible enemy model within 12″ and draw a line between them and the psyker. Roll a D6 for each model the centre of the line passes over. For each roll of a 5+ that model’s unit suffers a Mortal Wound.
    • Again, a solid damage spell and while not as appealing in general as the buffing powers, it can be quite good to deal damage to a tightly packed unit. Efficient.

  • Wings of Sanguinius: WC 5, if manifested, the psyker can immediately move as if it were the Movement phase but his move characteristic is 12″ and he gains the Fly keyword until the start of the next Psychic phase. Additionally, you can re-roll failed charge rolls.
    • Wow, what an amazing power. Again, for many armies this would be mediocre, but as Blood Angels psykers are actually quite strong so this gives you tremendous threat range. You can move in the movement phase, jump in the psychic phase, hopefully clearing screens and then charge with a re-roll in the charge phase to cause serious disruption. A tactically fantastic power. Competitive.

That’s it for the this one, and we’ll be back soon to cover the Blood Angels specific units! What do you think about Blood Angels so far? Read Part 2 of this article, here.

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About Reecius

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102 Responses to “Codex Review: Blood Angels Part 1: Stratagems, Warlord Traits, Relics and Psychic Powers”

  1. CWDub December 2, 2017 8:26 am #

    Holy shit. This looks like an amazing codex.

    • Reecius December 2, 2017 12:28 pm #

      It seriously is. Very well crafted codex.

  2. GhostValley December 2, 2017 8:30 am #

    It is an embarrassment of riches. It is almost impossible to decide which warlord trait to pair with what relics and what pregame stratagems to go with. The artisan of war begs to go with the hammer of Baal, but then what about the veritas? So important if want to pull off the 3d6 charge and move before game stratagems. But the standard feels auto include also. But then how do you have the space to DC up a captain? I am paralysed for choice. Not a bad situation to be in.

    • FatCat December 2, 2017 10:50 am #

      clearly not. It states that relics of baal are excluded.

      • GhostValley December 2, 2017 12:34 pm #

        Missed that. Makes that choice easier

    • Reecius December 2, 2017 12:27 pm #

      You really do have an awesome variety of good combos available to you. It’s a great book.

      • GhostValley December 2, 2017 3:27 pm #

        So if you were going with a Death Company Jump Pack Captain, would you be taking the Hammer of Baal with the Gift of Foresight warlord trait or take the Angels Wings and Artisan of War and a regular hammer?

        The math seems favour a hit on 2s hammer vs dmg 4 but it is hard to put a number on how valuable reroll charges could be

        • Reecius December 3, 2017 12:23 pm #

          Yeah, hitting on 2’s and wounding on a 2+ with re-rolls of 1’s mean almost a perfect conversion of attacks into damage. It is very, very good.

  3. Ahkris December 2, 2017 8:36 am #

    I like the new rating system, people doing D&D handbooks have used this system as well for ages now. Lets you talk about the lesser options without having to explain too much and be too negative, great addition.

    • Reecius December 2, 2017 12:26 pm #

      Exactly. And thanks! Glad you find it useful.

  4. CJ December 2, 2017 9:12 am #

    Ok.. let’s clarify this.

    I see the fight twice stratagem, you talk about charging a screen, wiping it, consolidating into another unit, and fighting that.
    Now, this is something I’ve been told repeatedly isn’t possible (for my bezerkers, who can actually do it 3 times) as you can only fight units you declare a charge against.
    Is this right ?

    • Ahkris December 2, 2017 9:26 am #

      And thats why you declare a charge both on the screen and the unit behind it you want to consolidate into 🙂

    • David December 2, 2017 9:37 am #

      You can only attack units you declare a charge against, but nothing stops you from declaring multiple units to begin with. They just get their overwatch if they can see you.

    • Venkarel December 2, 2017 1:19 pm #

      As said below you target anything and everything during your charge.
      Just remember you can only target units within 12″ as that is the theoretical max distance you actual can charge.

  5. NinetyNineNo December 2, 2017 9:13 am #

    Interesting. Blood Boil got retooled, with the selling point being the possibility of double damage — quite a change from its Index version. Blood Lance looks like a worse Fury of the Ancients at first glance — but the fixed range and targeting on models instead of unit give it some nice output, if situational. I rather like these two, will run numbers on them later.

    I think Sanguinary is the first discipline in 8th to feature self-only buffs — and geared toward melee as they are, clearly intended for Mephiston and the Librarian Dreadnought, which is nicely flavorful. The other two are buffing powers too — I could see a particularly fluff-inclined player dump all four buffs on Mephiston and enjoying the carnage. Inefficient, but fun. Oh, and Shield of Sanguinius got a nerf, it was a 4++ in the Index if I’m not mistaken.

    A small note on the “+1 to Smite” relic, which a couple of other armies (CWE and WS) also have. It doesn’t look like much, but bear in mind it doubles your chance of the empowered cast and halves the chance of failure. Still very situational, but something to keep in mind.

    I like psychic powers, can you tell?

    • Reecius December 2, 2017 12:26 pm #

      Good point on the staff. It certainly does increase the odds of super smite significantly. And yeah, the powers are very useful.

  6. rvd1ofakind December 2, 2017 9:23 am #

    Rating system :O
    Missing “Garbage, I don’t know why anyone would take this unit, like, come on man, I don’t know what they were thinking when they priced this unit at this price point because wow… just wow… I don’t even know, so how are you guys doing, what did you have for breakfast today, oh crap this is still a rating description kbye”
    Sounds catchy.

    • ryan December 2, 2017 9:59 am #

      when are we going to be able to ignore posts by certain users on this site?

      • Venkarel December 2, 2017 1:20 pm #

        Hopefully never as likes and ignores lead directly to “echo chambers”.

        • Ryan December 2, 2017 2:26 pm #

          And constant drivel and negativity should be celebrated?

          • Ujayim December 2, 2017 7:10 pm

            You’re an adult. Just don’t read it.

          • rvd1ofakind December 3, 2017 12:08 am

            spoilers: /s means I’m not serious if you can’t tell.

          • notrvd1ofakind December 3, 2017 12:09 am

            Also using a different account is so hard btw. I can do it every post, haha

          • rvd1ofakind December 3, 2017 12:30 am

            also “You’re an adult. Just don’t read it.” That’s a very brave guess if he couldn’t figure out I’m not serious despite a wrote a damn “/s” at the end

          • MidnightSun December 3, 2017 3:10 am

            The joke


            C’mon, man. Just because someone’s been a critic, possibly excessively or unreasonably before, doesn’t mean you should slam them every time you see them without stopping to think about their post. Be the change! 😀

          • Ujayim December 3, 2017 5:51 am

            I mean, your inability to take a hint that despite even adding /s you’re still a giant sperg to the point that people want an ignore feature just for you is more telling about you than them.

            Take a hint. Chill out.

          • AngryPanda December 3, 2017 5:57 am

            Chill rvd1, let them have their echo chamber. Everything is perfect, new GW selling a torrent of books to fix the torrent they just sold you is perfect. Also this is a new game and we need to treat them like kids learning their first step instead of a giant company released the 8th iteration of this ruleset which they should have learned from.

          • rvd1ofakind December 3, 2017 8:34 am

            Ok, mr panda, I’m sorry.
            Just don’t break my models :s

            ps: if you don’t get it, google “never say no to panda”

          • Venkarel December 3, 2017 8:57 am

            Or read it and present a valid cognizant reply rebutting the points you disagree with.

          • Ytook December 3, 2017 3:34 pm

            Careful there Panda, that ‘2 real 4 u sheeple’ edge is awful sharp, wouldn’t want do yourself an injury now

  7. Blight1 December 2, 2017 9:32 am #

    So can you use on wings of fire while in combat and does it count as a retreat if you do? It seems like it could be used to simply leave combat and charge whatever you want considering the other abilities.
    Hope the new rating system gets some people off you back. Never been tempted by blood angels before but you make them sound fun.

    • Reecius December 2, 2017 12:25 pm #

      I think you can leave combat and still charge, etc. You are not withdrawing.

      And yeah, lol. I try to present everything in terms of how they can be useful, not just write things off.

      • Bossanooga December 4, 2017 6:40 am #

        I had a discussion at my local group on this one, and couldn’t find a clear answer. Movement rules for when your unit begins within an inch of enemy state that you can either stay put OR fall back. If the unit isn’t remaining in position, that would seem to default to falling back… which would restrict shooting, advance, charge etc. A counter argument is that you are removing it from play, and re deploying, allowing this “movement” without penalty. Tide of Traitors for CSM cultists works similarly, but at a different part of the movement phase. Any chance you could provide a bit more clarity on this?

        And by the way, keep up the good work. What you’re doing is a great boon to this community. Loving 8th edition, and loving the material you provide to enjoy it better.

        • Reecius December 4, 2017 10:47 am #

          Yeah, IIRC GW already set precedent on this one with another, similar ability (Gate of Infinity I think) and said you could as you were not performing the Fall Back action which triggers the other rules.

  8. Nick Wenker December 2, 2017 10:51 am #

    Wow, what an incredibly powerful codex. Wish I played BA, with all those melee and mobility options. Amazing relics, warlord traits and stratagems. I know I say this every time, but after seeing the incredible power and fun play styles of IG, Nids, Eldar, and now BA, I really hope Daemons come off even half as lucky. Tournaments are going to be very diverse in 2018.

    • Blight1 December 2, 2017 12:06 pm #

      Oh my yes do I need a good daemons codex. I absolutely loved their 7th ed dex. At least after the curse of the Wulfen add on. Need my relics and powers back. Also wouldn’t mind at least some deepstrike. Summoning just doesn’t cut it.

    • Reecius December 2, 2017 12:24 pm #

      I LOVE this book. It is such a good codex.

  9. Reymarinho December 2, 2017 12:03 pm #

    I don’t think pure BA will be competitive as the other armies you listed. The units in the book haven’t changed and they lack access to a cheap screen. They may do well when mixed with guard though.

    • Reecius December 2, 2017 12:23 pm #

      For total optimization, maybe, but Scouts are one of the best units in the game for just that reason. They are excellent at creating space, move blocking and generally being awesome.

      • Reymarinho December 2, 2017 4:04 pm #

        Agreed scouts are awesome! Do you have plans for a batrep with BA? I’d love to see them against the nids.

        • Reecius December 3, 2017 12:24 pm #

          Filming one as I type this =)

  10. Shas’O December 2, 2017 12:33 pm #

    Love the review! Thanks for doing a rating system!

  11. Ujayim December 2, 2017 12:36 pm #

    Ranking system is great. Thank you for it.

  12. Danny Kwan December 2, 2017 12:42 pm #

    Well then… this will do.

    • Reecius December 3, 2017 12:33 pm #

      Yeah, lol. You should be stoked, buddy.

  13. Dakkath December 2, 2017 1:12 pm #

    Gonna have to disagree on the “Efficient” rating for Orbital Bombardment. You have to catch 3 units within the (variable) radius for an average of 1 mortal wound. At the cost of a whopping 3 command points. That’s situational as all get out and frankly deserves an “inefficient” rating. On a side note, I find it weird that OB hits characters more often than units.

    Ignore all of the above if “Every enemy units within D6″ of that points takes D3 Mortal Wounds on the roll of a 6+. Characters are hit on a 5+” is a typo.

    • WestRider December 2, 2017 10:31 pm #

      I’m pretty sure that’s a typo, and it’s a copy/paste of the one from the regular SM Dex, which is 5+ on Characters, 4+ on all other Units.

      • Reecius December 3, 2017 12:25 pm #

        Ah, yes, that is a typo, sorry. It is the same as the Space Marines’.

        • Dakkath December 3, 2017 10:00 pm #

          I’m still gonna say it deserves a “situational” rating, as it still only averages a single mortal wound per unit in the variable radius and still costs 3 cp.

          • Reecius December 4, 2017 10:50 am

            Fair enough. I went with Efficient because any BA army can use it whenever they want, essentially, meaning it didn’t need anything special to trigger it and that it could be good in any game. How good it is is honestly going to vary a lot based on circumstance of course, but you can always do it.

  14. GreenInk December 2, 2017 2:02 pm #

    Cheers for the review! Love the new rating system.

  15. Vybert December 2, 2017 2:55 pm #

    Another exciting codex release. I’m glad to see that assault options are really viable again

    • Reecius December 3, 2017 12:39 pm #

      Very much so. This is the most powerful melee army in the game, IMO.

  16. Dbiesto December 2, 2017 2:58 pm #

    I have a feeling BA/DA/AM/RG are going to be the detachments until SW drop. Imperium super friends to counter others weaknesses appears to be growing. Im hoping they do some similar improvements with chaos daemons Strats. Majority of units need points reduction across the board/ make summoned troops obsec. As of right now, they get killed fast and cant hold objectives if there is an obsec within the area. I have 3 soul grinders just collecting dust but I love the models so will never sell them lol.

    • Shas’O December 2, 2017 7:09 pm #

      I agree that Imperium super friends is bad, but the counter can’t be to make chaos super friends more powerful. What about Xenos armies? There should just be a limit of one codex per detachment.

  17. Dunmer December 2, 2017 3:52 pm #

    I can just imagine it in my head, 15 Jump pack death company tooled up with a few extra weapons. Move on average 27 inches turn one. Shit maybe throw on a 5++ on them if im worried. Then drop Lemartes and a priest at the end of the movement phase for them buffs.

    My blood angels were built for fun and what more could fun can you have doing this

    • Reecius December 3, 2017 12:40 pm #

      Yeah, exactly. It’s super strong.

  18. Nightman December 2, 2017 3:59 pm #

    Thanks for posting the review. A bit salty that they changed shield of sanguineous to a 5++, but loving the codex overall!

    GW community guys on stream stated that killshot would work on Baal Preds, did they just read the rule wrong?

    • Reecius December 4, 2017 10:51 am #

      I am not seeing that with the Baal preds, but they do get things wrong on the community sit on occasion as do we all.

      And yeah, the 5++ was a nerf, but you also got a 5+ FnP banner which can impact multiple units. I think it is a net positive in defense.

  19. Requizen December 2, 2017 9:18 pm #

    Looks amazing! Honestly making me want to start a BA army to be honest.

    Please let Necrons be this good Please let Necrons be this good Please let Necrons be this good…

    • Reecius December 4, 2017 10:52 am #

      As a Necron player I will guess that you will LOVE what you get when your time comes =)

      Just have to wait and see.

  20. Arachnofiend December 2, 2017 9:51 pm #

    Hey wait a minute, why is Empyric Channeling so much better than Cabalistic Focus? They’re the same for the same cost except the former lets you manifest a power in addition to the ones you could normally. If Cabalistic Focus meant Magnus could manifest all four of his powers I’d actually be excited about it.

  21. SideshowLucifer December 3, 2017 4:11 am #

    Glad to see Blood Angles get their flavor back. Looks solid thus far. Will wait for the unit entries to see how they fared.

  22. ecstasy_in_service December 3, 2017 7:40 am #

    Great article, its super long and must have been a hella hard time but is really helpful and something I will be checking frequently while deciding army lists.

    • Reecius December 3, 2017 12:38 pm #

      Glad it’s of help to you! And yeah, these take me a long time to write so I am glad they’re useful.

  23. GeekmasterK December 3, 2017 9:16 am #

    I know another Blood Angels player besides myself who thinks they got an underwhelming codex, based solely on what GW said during a live stream. He’s convinced that it’s basically just the index with points reductions, and that the rest of the codex won’t make them viable. I can’t wait until he’s proven wrong when he sees the full codex in action! Little does he suspect…

    • Reecius December 3, 2017 12:38 pm #

      Yeah, lol, what? This Codex is extremely strong.

      • GeekmasterK December 3, 2017 1:17 pm #

        I don’t get why he’s underwhelmed, either, lol! He even used the term “smoke and mirrors” when describing it. He seems to think that GW is just hyping it up to get people to buy it, but that it’s actually a disappointing codex. Also, he said that the only thing that could save the codex in a competitive setting is for Sanguinius to come back from the dead and be announced as a model at the last minute.

        He’s the only one I know personally who doesn’t seem to think this codex is very good, and it’s baffling to me.

        • Reecius December 4, 2017 10:55 am #

          Eh, if Sanguinius was coming back I don’t think it would be a last minute thing.

          You don’t have to have a Primarch to be competitive, that is silly. Most of the top level competitive armies right now don’t use the Primarchs outside of the occasional Bobby G army that sneaks in. The best Chaos armies I am seeing don’t usually take Morty or Maggie these days.

          But, all good. Blood Angels are the premiere melee army, IMO. Your friend’s experiences may differ.

          • GeekmasterK December 4, 2017 1:15 pm

            I think it partially has to do with how prominent Robby G and Morty are in my local meta, and partially with him just not having seen the codex on the table yet. He did mention that he was hoping the unit profiles would get updates, like how many Craftworlds units did with new abilities. I guess it might just be a matter of what he expected being different than what he got? I know that can sometimes distort perception of somethinf, even if the end result is a good one.

          • Reecius December 4, 2017 1:32 pm

            Not many profile changes, no. Points reductions in some cases but the strength of the dex is in the strats, warlord traits, relics, etc.

  24. Broxus December 3, 2017 11:44 am #

    Only problem I see is that many units that needed points cut still didn’t get them. Especially the death company which still should be 1-2 pts cheaper per model. Why is Dante still so expensive??

    • Reecius December 3, 2017 12:37 pm #

      Death company should be 18 points? The same as a Vanguard Vet? That doesn’t compute. Vanguard Vets are probably a point too cheap, honestly.

      Death Company are very fairly priced and with their stratagems are stupendously powerful.

  25. Richie December 3, 2017 12:41 pm #

    I think a key thing is going to be efficiency (I always think this tbf) but it is going to be sooo easy to splurge loads of points into not many models or strategies.

    Infiltrating scouts with chainswords, +1 to wound @ WS3+ (Fingers crossed that’s a thing?)

    • Reecius December 4, 2017 10:56 am #

      Yeah, the key with BA is to realize you need quite a few CP to really function at maximum impact. So, IMO, you need lots of troops and the minimum number of support characters, and focus on 1-2 mega hard hitting units.

  26. Adam Vollrath December 3, 2017 7:49 pm #

    Great review! I like how you highlighted Strategems like the Whirlwind/Speeder: they’re not meant to be competitive, they’re for fun and forging a narrative. Speaks to the value of 8th edition Strategems in general.

    • Reecius December 4, 2017 10:56 am #

      Precisely. People forget they aren’t all meant strictly for maximum efficiency matched play games. Some of them are just for fun!

  27. Ytook December 4, 2017 2:53 am #

    As someone who isn’t massively competitive I like the rating system, never got along with reviews that just dismiss stuff out of hand if it isn’t the top tier, so this seems a good middle ground 🙂

    • Reecius December 4, 2017 10:57 am #

      Thanks! Yeah, that was the intent. I really dislike just dismissing units, too. Plus, some people have them and want to use them, they are looking for good advice, not just: don’t use them! lol

  28. Aled W Mathias December 4, 2017 3:49 am #

    I still really think they missed massive opportunities. Dante should be cheaper or provide addition CPs. It boggles the mind that the Second in command of the Imperium doesn’t offer CPs but the likes of Bjorn, Azrael and Calgar do (and lets be honest we really need CPs with these integral stratagems).
    The Baal predator is hugely overcosted and the stratagem thats supposed to enhance it only affects advancing and not movement. Huge disappointments. Sicarans are now the best “dakka” tank we have access to…..Not our own variant of predator.

    Otherwise I think the codex is good. We have some strong builds and can certainly be competitive.

    • Reecius December 4, 2017 10:59 am #

      Dante is a boss, though. He may not have gotten all the goodies you hoped for (and I see your angle, he has been fighting the good fight for ever) but I am guessing they wanted to emphasize his martial prowess instead of his strategic mind. That is why he has so many attacks, wounds, etc.

  29. TrexPushups December 4, 2017 7:10 am #

    So do blood angels lack the chapter-master stratagem that codex marines get?

    • Reecius December 4, 2017 10:58 am #

      Yes, because they have a Chapter Master (Dante). That strat for Marines is for generic Chapters that do not have a Chapter Master in the game, yet.

      • Niklas December 21, 2017 10:05 am #

        That is the worst excuse ever. Even Ultramarines can use that stratagem if they don’t field Calgar. What about blood angels successors? Not everyone using the codex plays straight up blood angels.

  30. Sigismund December 4, 2017 9:55 am #

    A great and helpful review, this book sounds amazing! As a Black Templars player I’ve got to say, I think I will be completely outmatched. Blood angels sounds not only like a better option, but a hell of a lot of fun with so much speed and awesome stratagems.

    • Reecius December 4, 2017 11:00 am #

      Glad you liked it! BT are still really good, just different. In pure melee power yeah, BA have the edge I think, but BT are still capable of getting it done, IMO. You have some solid buffing characters, just not the absolute blender units and strats that BA have.

      • Sigismund December 4, 2017 2:07 pm #

        I’d be really interested to hear your opinions on running a Templar force to best take advantage of their strengths in combat.

        • Reecius December 4, 2017 2:21 pm #

          Yeah, for sure. My goal is to go in to depth on each of the Chapters when things calm down a bit. The rapid release schedule means it is tough for me to keep up with everything but we certainly will in a bit more time.

          • Sigismund December 4, 2017 3:43 pm

            Awesome! Yeah it has been mental how fast they are putting stuff out, pretty incredible.

          • Reecius December 4, 2017 4:18 pm

            It really has, have had trouble keeping up, lol.

  31. Jural December 4, 2017 11:42 am #

    It’s weird to rate Stratagems, relics, and warlord traits as efficient and situational, lol! That usually applies to things with an opportunity cost (like units, or faction, etc.) But since you can change all three match by match, they should never be less than competitive, really.

    But I like this format, it gives a good idea of what will be spammed and what will end up rarely used!

    Blood Angels gives us the best interpretation of a faction so far, narrowly edging out the super fun Death Guard. Grey Knights are tied for last… that release looks worse and worse as time goes on…

    • Reecius December 4, 2017 2:22 pm #

      You don’t like Grey Knights? We are seriously in love with them, here. All of the staff universally things they are outstanding, however, we also think they are tough to play as a solo faction. We find them to be outstanding when you take them with something else such as Astra Militarum.

      • Jural December 4, 2017 6:53 pm #

        Grey Knights as a solo faction are hard to play, but I am talking about from a fluff perspective vs. gameplay. I really haven’t found them to be the Anti Daemon force they should be!

        My Daemon and Chaos lists just overwhelm the all Grey Knight lists when I’ve played them. It just feels like those match ups should be very difficult for CSD and Chaos, but it ends up being GK fighting the uphill battles.

        Conversely, the Grey Knights taken to support other factions end up being super versatile and effective troops, especially augmenting the gunlines of IG.

  32. Chandler December 4, 2017 12:33 pm #

    Wow. Blood Angels sound amazing. And as a longtime fan of the army and player I am super hyped for this. Death Company will be absolutely monstrous to deal with. Red Thirst is an awesome ability. Rerolling 3d6 charged will be huge. Captains jumping around hammering things with D4 thunderhammers. Flying librarian dreads. Cannot wait to get these guys back on the table.

    • Reecius December 4, 2017 1:43 pm #

      They’re quite good, lol. Hit like a truck.

  33. Jural December 4, 2017 6:56 pm #

    I really like how Blood Angels do a great job in melee while being nothing like the Khorne models. If a Khorne book (World Eaters) ever comes out, it would be easy to differentiate it from Blood Angels and have two separate, effective, MEQ marine squads. Also, Slaanesh is quite a bit different (if not so melee centric.)

    Good game design. I was so nervous we would have a cookie cutter edition after the SM Codex launched and we heard rumors of so many repeated chapter tactics with CSM…

  34. Giovanni December 16, 2017 6:32 am #

    Hey guys, can you please let me know if vengeance for sanguinius Is only vs heretic astartes or vs anyone? I know it’s especially good vs Black legion, but reading from different sources It Is not clear if It works only vs Chaos marines or anybody

    • Reecius December 16, 2017 10:40 am #

      As it says, Heretic Astartes only.

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