Hello everyone! Chris Morgan here from the FTN Librarius with some fresh tactica for you. With the new Blood Angels codex out, you had better believe that I have been hitting the books hard looking for dynamic ways to descend upon my foes. Speaking of books, it would be remiss of me to not talk about some of the best HQ’s available for the Blood Angels: The Librarians.
HQ Review: The Librarius
The Blood Angels have a long and storied history as a chapter with stronger psychic inclinations than many of their contemporaries. In game terms for 40k 8th edition, that means that there are a bevy of options with which to bring the psychic might of the army to bear. Before we dive deep into the HQ options themselves, we should talk a bit about the BA powers.
The Blood Angels psychic powers are fairly distinct from others in that they have more spells that are caster-specific, meaning that the powers don’t help a different unit than the caster. While there are some spells (some critical ones) that do buff other units, the ones that you will be using the most like Wings of Sanguinius and Quickening only benefit the psyker. Since in Matched Play you can only cast each non-smite power once, you want to make sure that you are putting the right powers on the right model, which means having specific jobs in mind for each psyker you take.
This, in my opinion, is designed well as it allows for each psyker to have a role and be useful without wasted overlap of abilities. With that in mind, build your librarians to do a job, and I usually narrow it down to the SUPPORT caster and the COMBAT caster in my lists. The SUPPORT caster rolls around with my army’s dedicated assault elements, throwing around buffs like the 5++ from Shield of Sanguinius and the +1 attacks from Unleash Rage. The COMBAT caster focuses on those abilities that will let him deliver damage, so Wings of Sanguinius (for mobility) and Quickening for the +D3 attacks and mobility buffs.
Also, as with any army with psykers, be wary of the culexus assassin. Though the Culexus hasn’t been ultimately necessary as much since the nerf to malefic lords, there are still plenty of players who swear by them (and for good reason).
With that in mind, let’s get started reviewing the different Librarian options you have in the new codex.
It’s hard to go wrong with a classic, and the classic Librarians are no exception. Coming in strong with 2 powers they can cast and one attempt to deny, they are the standard go-to when deciding on psychic support for your army. For me, there is no better competitive option for these guys than to take them with the Jump Pack option. There are few reasons I can think of where you wouldn’t want this option as a Blood Angels player, since the stratagems that benefit Jump Pack units benefit them as well. They do well in either SUPPORT or COMBAT role*. As SUPPORT they can drop down next to your Sanguinary Guard squad or Death Company squad and cast Shield or Rage on them, greatly increasing both survivability and combat effectiveness. Pay attention to your opponent’s army.
As COMBAT, you can drop down then cast Wings to give yourself a free 12″ move in the psychic phase then re-rolling charges, giving you plenty of a bad dice safety net when making your charge rolls. Depending on your opponent’s screening deployment, you can potentially get past the screen and chomp up some of the characters supporting the backfield. This makes a Jump Librarian an efficient assassin since the force weapons deal D3 damage each. If you are able to get Quickening off (not guaranteed at a charge cost of 7), you could be swinging down buffing characters with 6 attacks doing multiple damage per hit.
Sadly, the Terminator Librarians I have are probably towards the bottom of my desired loadouts for the time being, since the option to take a storm shield was removed from them in the codex. Yes, I know that the index flow chart lets you take them, but even so a Terminator won’t be able to keep up well with the mobility we’ll see in most Blood Angels lists, and benefits from fewer of the stratagems. Paired with some other terminator units, it may be worth a consideration, but we’ll save terminator tactica for another time. The option is there if you want to take it, but I think you’ll quickly find yourself wishing you had a jump pack and the ability to redeploy via Wings of Fire. Perhaps with the initial teleportation, Wings of Sanguinius, and a built-in 2+/5++ save he could function much like your jump pack assassin, but you’ll pay for those in points.
*TIP: Hybrid Loadouts
So far I’ve focused on creating single-role options for the librarians, but your own assault unit loadout can help you decide (Sanguinary Guard vs. Death Company). If your opponent has low AP weapons that don’t modify armor very much, then you could potentially forego Shield of Sanguinius and instead slip in a combat or mobility power instead since your Sanguinary Guard won’t really get lower than a 5+ save anyways by virtue of their stock 2+ save. Alternatively, if you have Death Company, that 5++ could be critical for you keeping them alive. Use your best judgement – 8th edition more than any other rewards intelligent player choices.
The new kids on the block have some good things going for them. In fact, I think that Blood Angels versions are probably the best out there, and that mostly comes down to the mobility offered by their powers. Primaris (for now) are heavily dependent on footslogging it up the board, and assault units can struggle to get stuck in. The Blood Angels powers offer the Primaris Librarian the ability to keep up fairly well with jump units (provided the power works). The extra attack and wound can come in useful as well in keeping them alive better than their Astartes counterparts. 101 points is not too bad a price point if you are on a budget for some psychic support. I think that if you have to get a Librarian on foot, you’ll want to go with this guy as he’s worth the extra points. Still, I prefer the Jump Librarian the best, but your army composition will inform you the best of what type of support you need.
Furioso Dreadnought Librarians
Here’s where things get interesting. Even since the index, the FLD has been a character, and since it has less than 10 wounds, it is subject to the character rules, meaning it cannot be targeted if another one of your units is closer in the shooting phase. This makes for an incredibly survivable, tough, strong character that can perform a variety of roles. His one weakness is a low number of attacks. Most dreads have 4 attacks, and this guy has 3. That said, he hits on 2’s, and there are great ways to supplement his attacks. Quickening is the first option, but the Red Rampage stratagem also applies to these characters, offering an extra D3 attacks on one of your characters in the fight phase at the cost of a single command point. This means your 3 attacks now averages at about 6, and could go as high as 9 in a single phase. Combine that with the warlord trait that adds +1 damage to your AP-4 glaive, making it 4 damage. You’re going to be hitting everything on 2’s and wounding everything on 2’s (re-rolling with the proper support from captains and lieutenants, or even the Chapter Ancients stratagem). You will cut through most vehicles like butter, and even Primarchs will have to tread carefully. The strength of having a fixed 3 damage on his weapons (4 with Artisan of War) and AP-4 on his halberd cannot be understated in comparison to any other librarian option on this list. Just be prepared to pay the points, because he’s the most expensive option out of all the Librarians here.
With the damage potential firmly established, let’t talk mobility. Frankly, he’s got the same problems that a Primaris Librarian does in that his transports are expensive. Stormravens are not as good as they used to be, and while still a threat, they are also a big target. The Lucius dread pod is an option for you as well if you can get your hands on one. While an extra investment in points on an already more expensive model, it is a great way to deliver him to where he’ll do the most damage, especially if you go with Wings. While he won’t be as nimble as a jump pack librarian swooping over and around screens, he’ll hit much harder if you can connect. If you’re on a budget, I think it would be better to have this guy taking a SUPPORT role in your backfield, relying on Wings for mobility to follow along with your counter-assault units or to re-position later while presenting a viable threat to your opponent’s alpha-strike models. Also, if you play a FLD and don’t at least once charge a flyer using wings, you are missing out on one of the things that is best in life.
The Lord of Death
This is my favorite part of this article. Mephiston has been and remains my absolute favorite character in all of 40k, and for good reason. I would argue that Mephison in 8th edition is better and more powerful than in any other edition of 40k thus far. Some may miss the old days of Mephiston being S6 T6 back in 5th edition, but I assure you he is much better now. Mephiston has a lot to offer and I would argue is an auto-include HQ. His Sanguine Sword (which is a sword, not a power now, so you always get it) is x2 Strength, so he’s swinging at S10 and with the Red Thirst I don’t know of an enemy in the game he won’t wound on 2’s. He’s hitting on 2’s with 4 attacks (which can be buffed in manners similar to what I’ve discussed already), at Ap-3 D3 damage each. He can cast twice and deny twice, which can be very important when going against a psychic-heavy enemy army without resorting to culexus assassins. He is a character, so he can be protected easily just by having surrounding units. His base movement is 7″ and when combined with Wings he can fly around 19″ and re-roll charge distances. He can very easily cross the map and get where you need him. He’s got a 2+ save followed by an inherent 5+ to ignore any damage that makes it through, making him survivable and giving him some staying power all on a 5 wound model. This is all at 145 points!
In my opinion, Mephiston should be one of the first HQ’s you buy as a Blood Angels player. He is a threat to every model in the game, he’s affordable, he’s mobile, and he fits in a regular drop pod with a bunch of other dudes if the mood strikes you. Mephiston will make the most of all of the combat spells you cast on him. In my opinion he is the ultimate COMBAT role psyker in the book, and he can operate fairly autonomously without the need of a bunch of other units or characters to support him. Whenever choosing psychic support for your army, he should be a top contender for your consideration, even if you aren’t looking to build a psychic list. The Lord of Death is back and in a big way.
The Right HQ For You
As with anything, your choice of HQ is going to depend on your build, but I think for those players who are looking to bring powerful heroes to the table that aren’t named characters, it’s hard to get more heroic than some of these Angels swooping in to chop up enemy characters. Stay tuned as we look over more of the different HQ options in the Blood Angels codex. If you’re looking to add some of these guys to your collection, be sure to check out the Frontline Store.
I hope you guys found this review helpful. Let me know what you think of this tactica, or tell me some of your favorite flying Dreadnought stories.
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