Hey, folks! I’m taking a break from the philosophy series this week to reflect on my reflections on the new Space Marine book and how it affects my favorite faction. In my last tactics article, we talked about a lot of what the Blood Angels lost with the interim update, but with the SM book now out and in my hands, I wanted to take a moment and talk about some of the things I like from reading the new book. Also, check the Tactics Corner for more great articles on gaming in 40K!
Ordained to the Priesthood
While I remain grateful that the Sanguinary Priest with Jump Pack managed to dodge the legends bullet, his upgrades and profile certainly didn’t survive the journey intact. Since back in 3rd edition, a savage melee Sanguinary Priest or High Priest has been a staple of lists, but the updated datasheets only allow him a chainsword, now an ‘Astartes Chainsword’ (a lovely distinction by the way; I love the nuance). Luckily, this makes the Sanguinary Priest an excellent candidate for the “Teeth of Terra” relic; adding 3 more attacks at +1 S with AP -2 and 2 damage is pretty tasty on his profile. And, since he has the APOTHECARY keyword, he is eligible to be upgraded to a Chief Apothecary. Between all of these things, priests are in a good place to become a solid support character who’s also got a reasonable amount of teeth (heh). I’m more excited than I have been in a long time to field a Sanguinary Priest.
New Books in the Librarius
I’ll admit, losing the Blood Angels-specific psychic powers was a bit of a blow for me (because: me). That said, taking the time to read through the marine codex psychic powers, I’ve found some new ways to enjoy bringing my psykers into games of 40K. Shield of Sanguinius is gone, sure, but Psychic Fortress is a better power overall. An aura for a 5++ instead of just giving it to one unit is a pretty solid deal, especially for a warp charge of six. Veil of time is also a great support power for a combat chapter like the Blood Angels, allowing us to re-roll charge distances and strike first in combat for the affected unit. Null Zone is also something nice to have in your back pocket depending on who you are fighting – a great choice when facing tough things with high invulnerable saves. While Mephiston is a bit down in the doldrums, the Librarian Dreadnought is in great shape. Perhaps not as mobile as he used to be, he puts out more damage than a normal librarian (5 attacks first round with a D3 fist, plus the extra glaive freebie attack at D3+3 damage is pretty scary), has a built-in -1 to damage taken, is a character with less than 10 wounds, and has the LIBRARIAN keyword – making him eligible to be upgraded to CHIEF LIBRARIAN. Give him the ‘Biomantic Sarcophagus’ relic, and he’ll get re-rolls on the three powers/two denies that he’s got. He can fill more (giant stompy) shoes with the ‘Wisdom of the Ancients’ stratagem, letting him act as a Captain or a Lieutenant on the field. Not bad!
A Sheetload of Data
This is more of a quality of life benefit, but it is worth repeating that the Blood Angels now have built-in access to all of the Codex: Space Marines datasheets right out of the gate. As a decades-long Blood Angels player, I can remember well the years of being an afterthought to the release of new models and kits from the SM range. Thunderfire cannons? Grav Weapons? Stormtalons? Centurions? Ironclad Dreads? That’s just the tip of the list-berg. Yeah, there are still a few things that are restricted here and there among the Chapters, but I think that is the right balance to take when it comes to giving character. It would have been another thing as well if there had been a specific reason listed out in the old books that justified why some stuff was shared and some stuff wasn’t (the old “Bad relationship with Mars” thing for BA was there, but awfully vague). Also, some of these things created huge gaps in a Chapter’s viability. Now we have more creative freedom to find good combos for our army. Now I have to read all of it again…
Even with supplements like Blood of Baal helping to fill gaps between books and releases, there were still things that were missing. In this case, I’m talking about stratagems like ‘Orbital Bombardment’ which were given only to Space Marine chapter masters that weren’t Dante for some reason. Now it’s there, and even better, it’s opened up for more than just Chapter Masters. This also falls into a quality of life improvement as well, since, for our opponents, no one has to differentiate between some codex powers being worded differently between books (like the Chapter Master rule’s wording). Beyond that, there’s a lot of “and” involved in the new book. We have access to our warlord trait AND the SM warlord traits, at least so far (and as long as you aren’t a named character). For me, it’s going to take some time getting used to all the stuff that I didn’t have before that I have now while I wait for the new stuff to come out. I’ll have some thoughts about supplements once the first batch is released since we’ll be able to better tell what they do to the chapter’s overall theme and character.
An Ongoing Conversation
What do you think? Is my rare show of optimism misplaced, or are BA not as ‘worse off’ as people like to say they are? Let me know in the comments below!
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