Hello again 40k fans, Captain Morgan here again from the FTN Librarius with some discussion on the Chaplains of the Blood Angels. Chaplains are responsible for keeping the faith of their parent chapters, but few chapters can claim the burden of responsibility equal to that of the Blood Angels Chaplains who stand vigil over those lost to the Black Rage. So, what does this mean on the table?
As always, check the Tactics Corner for more great content.
They’re Great Chaps
Just last week there was a great review on Chaplains for the Space Marine book by Michael Corr that you should definitely check out. It would be redundant of me to go over the things that our two books share, since all of the different basic Chaplain options in the Blood Angels codex exist in more-or-less the same format as their regular astartes counterparts. One thing that is worth noting on the regular Chaplains is the additional access to unique Blood Angels wargear such as the Inferno Pistol (9pts) and Hand Flamer (1pt). Those options can help fill out some additional tank hunter or chaff clearing roles, though for me the Inferno Pistol is the way to go if I put anything on the at all. They also benefit from the chapter trait of the Red Thirst when in combat, which means that in most cases BA Chaplains will hit harder in combat.
Considering that they are going to be in close supporting units with a combat role, that can never be a bad thing. On that note, I want to spend the rest of the article talking about the character Chaplains that the Blood Angels have that will make the most impact, and honestly the ones that I think will be seeing more of the table than their more vanilla counterparts: Lemartes and Astorath.
Astorath the Grim – Redeemer of the Lost
Astorath is a character with a bloody reputation that has seen mixed performances in his 7 years in the Blood Angels army. With the 8th Edition codex we get to see GW’s latest take on the character, and he’s much different that he was before. Astorath’s former iterations provided re-rolls to hit and to wound on Death Company units he was attached to, and while the re-roll to hit is still there (now in 8th Edition form as an aura around his person affecting all BA units within 6″), he no longer provides the re-roll to wound. For some people in the Blood Angels community, that seems like a nerf, but Astorath’s skills and potential have moved in a different direction now, and I don’t think they should be ignored and undervalued.
In a vacuum, Astorath has some good things going for him. He has a 2+/4++ and a jump pack, which means he is a better, more mobile version of the Terminator Chaplain. His weapon, the Executioner’s Axe, improved from the index version at +2S, Ap-3, and D3 damage (automatic 3 on 6’s to wound), which makes him more dangerous than a Terminator Chaplain. With 5 wounds and 4 attacks, he’s about as killy as you could expect for a named character. Where he gets interesting though is in the unique abilities he has. For instance, his ‘Redeemer of the Lost’ rule lets all BA units use his leadership instead of theirs, and also lets Death Company units automatically pass their Leadership tests. If you are running large 15-man squads of Death Company, having him close will keep them safe from wipeouts due to heavy losses. With the amount of fire that Death Company draw, it’s not hard to see the usefulness in that.
Finally, his ‘Mass of Doom’ ability has some potential to benefit large swathes of your army. At the start of the movement phase you roll a D6 for every Blood Angels unit within 6″ of Astorath, and on a 2+ they get +1 to hit in combat until the end of your turn (on a 1 the unit takes a single mortal wound, and on a six the unit gets a 4++). My initial reaction was “Ok, but he already improves their hits with his re-rolls so isn’t this a bit redundant?”Upon close reading, this effect persists even if units move away from Astorath, or vice versa. If you have Astorath close to a group of units about to make some charges, but you need to redeploy him via ‘Wings of Fire’ and you want that extra bit of insurance that their attacks will connect, then this allows you to use him (once per game, mind you) to support two combat fronts at once. As both the stratagem and the ability occur at the start of the movement phase, you as the owning player can choose the order in which these occur, so pay special attention to your movement order and turn sequences. This ability requires some forethought and planning, and it requires him to be on the table to work, so be wise in your decisions to take and use Astorath. You don’t want to run into situations where he is killed before he can use his ability, or your units are killed or spent before he can get in position to use the ability.
Lemartes – Guardian of the Lost
Lemartes is my favorite BA chaplain, and his role is as focused on the table as his character is in the narrative. Lemartes is a chaplain who focuses only on the Death Company, and you won’t want to take him without them. If I’m speaking honestly, I don’t think you want to take Death Company without Lemartes ever either. The main difference between Lemartes and a basic JP Chaplain is that where the Chaplain gives his auras to anyone, Lemartes only benefits Death Company, because he is Death Company. He has the same keywords as the lost he shepherds, so that means he gets +1 attack on the charge (making it 6 attacks), hitting on 2’s, re-rolling misses. With the Blood Crozius and S+2, Ap-2, D3 damage, he’s going to be hitting and hurting whatever he swings at. With his 3+ save, he’s not as survivable as Astorath, but comes with a cheaper pricetag at 129 points, and at 1 fewer wound, he can still hang in there since he benefits from the 6+++ from the Black Rage.
The biggest benefit to him though is his ‘Fury Unbound’ rule, which benefits all models with the ‘Death Company’ keyword by allowing them to re-roll charge distances and to-hit rolls. This means it works for the Death Company, the Death Company Dreadnought, and any character who you have given the abilities from the “Death Visions of Sanguinius” stratagem. Astorath’s leadership buff helps for sure, but if I have to choose between the two of them, then Lemartes is my first choice to support the Death Company. With Blood Angels you always want to be in combat and Lemartes can not only add insurance to charges for people who roll like I do on charge distances in normal situations, but especially for those coming in with Death Company from reserves looking to make a charge, but saving your ‘Wings of Fire’ stratagem for a unit like the Sanguinary Guard.
That’s how I use him, saving the stratagem for that haymaker charge from the Sanguinary Guard and then for a secondary left hook I come in with Lemartes and the Death Company on another flank. That one-two punch combo can destroy screens and leave opponents softer interior units open to danger. The pressure he allows you to put on your opponent’s flanks cannot be undervalued. Any time you can saturate your opponent with units that must die and force them to make a critical choice on what they are prepared to lose the next turn only benefits you in the long term.
Back in Black
I hope you guys enjoyed this tactica! I’ve been using my Death Company a lot, and especially Lemartes (peas in a pod) to great effect on the table. If you have any cool stories about using these units, tell me about them in the comments! Also be sure to check the FLG Store if you’re looking to add some of these units to your roster. Stay tuned for some more reviews, as in the next article I will sink my teeth into the Commanders of the Angels Host.
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