Blood Angels Tactica – Moving Forward Post-FAQ

Hello Battle-Brothers! Captain Morgan from Forge the Narrative here again to give you my thoughts on tactics for Blood Angels in a post-Big FAQ world.

The Angel Would Want Us to Hope

Ok folks, real talk here, things got a bit harder for assault armies in general, but not necessarily in an impossible way. GW has been very clear that they felt the turn 1 alpha strike was too much and that it disadvantaged a lot of armies who could not screen effectively. As an army that capitalized on that hard-hitting turn 1, our army is going to feel that keenly. While this also protects us from shooting alpha strike, it presents its own challenges that we need to take into account for our own lists going forward. That doesn’t mean that we are down for the count completely.

Just dropping in for some tactica

The obvious conclusion to come to is that armies that excel at shooting are going to do much better, and that builds are going to lean towards armies that can deliver powerful blows from a safe distance, and receive/survive those blows in return from similar armies since they know they’ll be safe from a turn 1 assault. This also means that they’ll have a turn to position their units to create screens from units that normally left that role to scouts or nurglings. With certain armies’ mobility, that means they could spread out so that we would only be able to deploy deep strikers in our own deployment zone anyways to keep 9″ away.

U mad bro?

So our main problems are: prevalence of overwhelming firepower in the early turn, and the additional protection of one or possibly two turns of enemy movement to create board control and protection from assaults in later turns.

So What Are Our Solutions?

“I got your back, bro!”
“Thanks, bro!”
“Bro!”

We basically have to make a choice when building our army between durability and shooting power.

Durability

Durable units that can survive the first turn of shooting (or two if you don’t get the first turn), advance up the board and crunch the enemy as you go. There are a couple ways to do that, but based on my own experience soaking up the firepower of some of the shooting out there, footslogging it up the board would only be possible in environments with good terrain (which is hit or miss depending on events). I think the big winners for this option are Primaris units, especially Aggressors and Inceptors.

My cup is full

Multiple wound models with T5 make for a great base to build a list around. Aggressors are small enough to ‘hide’ but since their weapons are assault and they can advance without too much penalty, they can move up the board at a decent clip and benefit well from the banner relic. Inceptors can start the game on the board and move up to shoot and clear screens as well. They can also reposition using ‘Wings of Fire’ later if you need to move them somewhere else. You are going to want that durability and mobility. Hellblasters are a good option as well, though we don’t do them as well as more shooty Astartes armies. Guilliman’s value in this particular instance can’t be overstated, but we don’t have him (and Dante is too expensive to fill that role) so we make do with the best we have.

Shooting Power

The other option is to build enough shooting in your army to clear out screens so your reserve assault has a clear path to wreak havoc in the back line. There are a few good options there, and they all need support in one way or another, but I think they are worth considering. Devastators are going to be a good option, and also benefit from being supported via a backfield captain and the Company Ancient’s banner. Missile launchers are a great loadout since they have multiple firing modes, but you’ll want at least one heavy bolter in there to take advantage of the ‘Hellfire Rounds’ stratagem with. Nothing better for clearing out stubborn units in cover than mortal wounds.

If you have access to them, the Forge World Quad Mortars are great options for long-range shooting that can clear screens and ignore line of sight, and at 85 points per mortar team they are pretty affordable points-wise. They also need some babysitting, however, so keeping characters in the back to support them will add a bit of a tax to using them. Sicaran battle tanks are still very solid and an affordable choice. Using the ‘Lucifer Engines’ stratagem, you could hide one behind terrain and make a long move to get into a more desirable firing position. All of these have the ability to help clear out those pesky screens in anticipation of your glorious assault in later turns.

My First FAQ Test List

For me, my own list building will focus around the idea of having a solid, survivable fire base to build my army around so I can clear screens and get stuck in in the later turns.  It’s no secret that I go for pure BA lists, and accept the limitations of that. Still, with the changes it gives me a chance to take a fresh look at the faction and shake up my list design. This is the first one I’ve come up with, and is still in the theory stages but I thought I’d share it here.

Here’s the list: 13 CP’s of pure BA goodness.

Battalion:

  • HQ: Mephiston
  • HQ: Captain, JP/Relic Blade, MC boltgun
  • Troops: Scouts (boltguns)
  • Troops: Scouts (combat blade)
  • Troops: Scouts (combat blade)

Battalion:

  • HQ: Captain TH/SS JP
  • HQ: Sanguinor
  • HQ: Lt w/JP & Power Sword
  • Troops: Intercessors (stock)
  • Troops: Intercessors (stock)
  • Troops: Intercessors (stock)
  • Elites Death Co. 5x DC w/boltguns & Chainswords, 2x w/boltguns & Power Swords
  • Elites: Sanguinary Guard, 4x w/sword and Angelus Boltuns 2x with fist and angelus, 2x with sword and inferno pistol
  • Fast Attack: Scout Bikers x3
  • Fast Attack: Scout Bikers x3
  • Flyer: Stormtalon w/HB
  • Flyer: Stormtalon w/HB

1999 points.

Methodology

My methodology came from trying to stay true to the fast, aggressive nature of the BA strategy, while also keeping tools that can lay down some fire. I’ve broken this down by what jobs need to be done:

Chaff Clearing: Death Company, Stormtalons, Scout Bikers

Death Company use forlorn fury to advance up the board. Boltguns to shoot at one target, then charge another. A couple power swords in case there is some power armor. Kitted out to kill infantry.

Talons can hang back, deployed last to position them to be safe from enemy turn 1 shooting. They can cover distance and lay down some decent firepower. Supported by the re-rolls from the Relic Blade Captain if possible, they will help kill chaff specifically in cover to negate the bonus from cover. They should also be able to get close enough to units such as RG/Alpha Legion/Alaitoc who have the -1 to shooting from range (where something like mortars will hit less reliably). They’ll likely get shot down and not survive the game, but they can close the distance and lay down 18 shots each to open the way for the SG later. I also like the idea of an aggressive push. I may not be charging on turn 1 with reserves, but I am pushing models aggressively forward. 

The scout bikers have two roles: chaff clearing with shooting and objective grabbing. If possible, they could also assault depending on how the enemy movement pans out. Their T5 and 2 wounds each will add some survivability. They will also work to support the scouts in providing board presence and control for any enemy deepstrikers.

Objective Holders: Intercessors, Scout Bikers, Scouts, Mephiston

The intercessors will deploy in cover. They should be durable enough to survive if deployed cleverly and out of LOS. Longer range on their rifles and the -1 with 2 wounds seems worth it in comparison to a regular tac marine. While more scouts would be cheaper, they won’t be as durable. A squad of 5 Intercessors have a 2+ save in cover and 10 wounds for 90 points, which is how much a sniper scout squad with camo cloaks costs. To me, the better save against ignores cover shooting (like Missile Pods or Hive Guard) and higher wound count sells these guys better than scouts for durable backfield support. 

Mephiston has some psychic support, mobility, and some muscle to deter other alpha or beta strikers and support the squads nearby.

Scout bikers (as above) are mobile with reliable shooting potential and great for board control.

Regular scouts will advance up for board control in no-man’s land. With some other books with turn 1 assault abilities or things like Chaos Alpha Legion or Raven Guard infiltrators, having the extra space will be useful. If that’s not an issue, then they can set up to help control objectives around the board. 

The Haymaker:

The SG with Captain Smash are the obvious hammer, deployed with the Lt. on turn 2 wherever it will hurt the most. This tactic should be fairly self-explanatory at this point, but suffice to say I’ve got to clear a path for them to smash the juiciest target the enemy has, or force them to close ranks to deter the assault (hopefully taking them off of objectives so my own units can close in). I’m going to have to play cagey with them, since my normal catalog of support characters is reduced significantly. Once committed, they will HAVE to do work so it’ll be important to use them wisely and deliver the pain.

It’s A Whole New World

I’d love to hear what you guys think about BA moving forward. I know many are already saying that BA are dead and 40k is now a shooting gallery, but I aim to change a few minds about it. Let me know what you think is going to be the staple of BA listbuilding in the comments below!

Cheers!

Captain Morgan

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!

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About Chris Morgan

Chief Librarian of Forge the Narrative, Blood Angel enthusiast, and slayer of traitors and heretics, he'd rather be playing 30k right now. Follow him @sanguine_morgan on twitter and you can be twits together!

30 Responses to “Blood Angels Tactica – Moving Forward Post-FAQ”

  1. Chandler May 1, 2018 7:35 am #

    Chris, I love how you are wanting to remain pure here and I give you kudos for that. The list I think is certainly a decent one. That being said, I truly don’t see us having the ability to truly compete at a high level without Guard support. Sure you might win a RTT with a pure Blood Angels army but they are a 3-2 or 4-1 army at the GT level without Guard allies. The FAQ hit us extremely hard.

    • Reecius
      Reecius May 1, 2018 7:57 am #

      You’ll never win with that attitude, buddy! =P

      • Ujayim May 1, 2018 8:45 am #

        With… the attitude for optimization? Wouldn’t that, strictly, end up with more wins?

        • Reecius
          Reecius May 1, 2018 9:33 am #

          Did everyone’s sense of humor around here suddenly die? Lol, why so serious, batman? haha

          I was joking, thus the: =P

          Going forward I will add: THIS IS A JOKE, NOT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY.

          That way it will be crystal clear, haha. Perhaps not funny to everyone, but at least the intent will be communicated.

    • Chris Morgan
      Chris Morgan May 2, 2018 10:01 am #

      Guard just don’t interest me at this point. The concept is awesome, but I am not very much into the model range (at least for the infantry). I also do not think I can compete for any sort of BA prize when I am just BA by virtue of having a bit more points in BA but the meat of the list is guard. This is a standard I set for myself, and like I said in the article, I accept the limitations for that. If other people want to incorporate guard into their lists, they are welcome to do so. I am not competing to be the best 40k player, but I want to feel like I’m a good Blood Angels player.

      The FAQ shakes thing up, but it’s not any worse than it was back in 6th and 7th editions for us. Even 4th edition’s PDF heresy.

  2. Kaughnor May 1, 2018 9:55 am #

    Do you think BA might find comfort in a post faq world running rhino rush lists?

    • Ujayim May 1, 2018 9:59 am #

      I love running Scout Bikes.

      They work really, really well as Blood Angels. 10/10 would recommend every time.

      • Reecius
        Reecius May 1, 2018 10:08 am #

        Scout Bikes are absolutely awesome. Totally agree.

    • HighMarshalMorgan May 1, 2018 11:55 am #

      While I have not played BA I think they would. For my BT I have had success using them with double crusader squads inside them with lots of dakka. From what I understand BA assault squads can take fun things like 2 melta guns and a melta pistol in a single squad. Put 2 of those in a rhino and you could cause some pain. Or mix in 1 melta, 1 plasma squad.

    • Chris Morgan
      Chris Morgan May 2, 2018 10:02 am #

      I played a list with 3 rhinos in the Index days and did pretty well with it.

  3. Rob Butcher May 1, 2018 11:35 pm #

    I love the approach of taking the best things in your Codex to solve this problem. Good luck, you’ll have fun with that list.

    Reece keeps mentioning that it’s up to each TO what forces are allowed. How about a one-Codex tournament – call it PURE W40K ?

    • WestRider May 2, 2018 1:53 pm #

      There actually is one of those up here near Seattle (Tacoma, specifically). Takes it a step further, even, with no duplication of Factions allowed until each 16-player bracket is filled. The Elvensword Ambassadorial Tournament. It’s a pretty cool event.

  4. Addnid May 2, 2018 1:22 am #

    Now that seems like a really fun (yet deceptively competitive) TAC list. I specifically love that nothing but troops is selected more than twice. It also blends nicely scouts, primaris, and “normal” marines.
    The list kind of reflects well that blood angels were nearly wiped out during Baal, incidentally.

    The only vehicules being flyers, it offers no “easy to hit” big targets for enemy AV, which is good.
    Tau would be a very hard counter to this list no ? (But in my book, well hard counters are to be expected and accepted, there is little way to combine a list that looks good with a list that minimizes hard counters)

  5. Xerxus May 2, 2018 9:55 am #

    I don’t rate the stormtalons in this list since they give the opponent’s AT weapons an efficient target. If they were drawing fire away from more important units then maybe, but this army doesn’t have nearly enough target saturation on turn 1. Better to go all infantry and force the opponent to waste his lascannons.

    • Chris Morgan
      Chris Morgan May 2, 2018 10:12 am #

      Yeah they do present a target for sure. What I like about them is the ability to get up close and deliver some dakka. With their mobility, depending on deployment, there’s a chance that I could stay out of range of said lascannons and shoot them when I move up. It’s a gamble, but I’m working with what I’ve got so far as tools go. That said, the all-infantry option does work counter-meta where people are expecting to see more vehicles again. I still like the idea of devs. I’ll be playing with a couple options.

      • Dakkath May 2, 2018 11:11 am #

        With the ST speed you could just reserve them and fly them on to nearly any point on the board anyway.

        • Chris Morgan
          Chris Morgan May 2, 2018 11:57 am #

          I don’t think you can start them off the table.

          • Dakkath May 2, 2018 7:51 pm
            #

            Why not?

          • Michael Corr
            Michael Corr May 4, 2018 12:29 am
            #

            The Stormtalon has no option to go into reserve in its rules. Flyers no longer start off the board and cannot leave the board (using the standard rules).

      • Mitchell Woerner May 2, 2018 8:42 pm #

        I think you should cut the STs for Inceptors, or maybe even Baal Predators(although those might be too expensive). I think we’ll see slightly less screen but Inceptors are flexible enough that they’ll still be useful after. Can score objectives too.

  6. Allio May 2, 2018 10:20 am #

    Nice list, i wanna see what we can do BA with this proposition! I like your idéa 😉

  7. Elric May 3, 2018 5:54 am #

    When can we expect another Necron article? 🙂

  8. Chad May 5, 2018 5:58 am #

    Other than not being able to assault a unit taking up a floor in a ruin….nothing changed for ba. You weren’t ds turn one w sang guard anyway. You waited until turn 2 when screens were cleared by your dc. Othereise the sang guard just charged a screen and died. Not sure what you mean by ba got hit hard. Feels click baity.

    • The Unseen May 6, 2018 3:21 am #

      There are other units that want to deepstrike in the BA codex than just sanguinary guard, some of which you did actually want to bring down turn 1, and those units are now pretty garbage.
      Like, Inceptors, Company Vets with specials, assault marines and terminators went from “meh” to outright terrible, and cheap squads of DC to clear screens turn 1.

      All of those units are dead weight till turn 2 now.

      And not being able to deepstrike a librarian or mephiston (in a pod) and then use wings is also a hell of a nerf as well.

      So yeah, glad you aren’t an authority figure Chad.

      Anyway, as far as the list is concerned, the planes are a glaring weakness as someone already stated. A smart opponent isn’t going to let you hide your planes on most boards, and they are going to get targeted by literally every anti-tank weapon that can shoot at them. I would drop down to all infantry, so the best your opponent has to shoot his lascannons or equivalent at is a 2 wound infantry model.

      Since you often times aren’t going to get first turn with 17 drops, the squad of 7 DC you forlorn up the table aren’t going to do much except die in a lot of games. And by my count, you have almost 600 pts in HQ’s, which will probably come back to bite you. Our characters are good, but they aren’t going to win the game by themselves without something to support.

  9. peter.cosgrove May 24, 2018 4:07 am #

    My solution is to bring a bastion/Plasma Obliterator with 12 DC w/ 4 Thunder Hammers, bolters/chainswords, Lemartes, and a librarian with the Jumppack relic, put a 2nd unit of DC into reserve for turn 2. Move the DC out before the first turn using the stratagem if you get first turn which will push you 16-22 inches forward of deployment, use them to clear the screens and bind a unit up so they don’t get shot down from the fall back. Then bring the 2nd unit of DC out on turn 2, hoping that Lemartes survives for their charge. Use the librarian after the psychic phase movement/charge to bind up the big shooter in front so the DC can’t be overwatched and leave a aura trail back to Lemartes in case he misses the charge.

    I have had to also change the list to bring a codex librarian for null zone for Mortarian, so I take salamander devastators with the ammo cherub for the hit/wound re-rolls. 2 squads devestators will get you 10 shots from lascannons, 4 shots at BS2, first turn rerolling a 1-2 hit/wound, which is arguably better than long fangs. Put them into bunkers in the fortification detachment.

    Having to build a good looking Plasma Obliterator is engaging because it’s OOP.

    • peter.cosgrove May 24, 2018 5:45 am #

      You could do the same thing with a Storm Eagle, but you will only get 10 DC in it. And for SM shooting, the removal of firing ports from the Rhino was probably the most significant nerf to SM in 8E

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