My initial thoughts on the new Blood Angels and a first Battle Report with them

So Codex Blood Angels hit the streets this week and a lot of digital ink was wasted describing how it had destroyed people’s favourite armies, that they would stop play 40k and that GW had raped their babies, grandmas, puppies and kittens. In other words, the usual reaction to a new Codex. For once, I decided to be strong and wait and see. And I guess I managed to do that to some extent.

My initial response is this:

I don’t like:
Assault Marines no longer being Troops, as that kills the ‘Everyone flies’/Descent of Angels’ army list which was fun without being overpowered. It makes sense in a 7th edition world, but makes me sad when compared to Marines getting Bikers as Troops when adding a Chapter Master or Captain on Bike.

No Storm Talon. It figures that the flying Marines are the only ones without a second flyer. On the other hand, I really don’t see where they could have put it, as the FOC looks rather crowded the way it is, but adding the Storm Talon would have brought them to parity with Codex Marines without breaking the game.

Baal Predators as Heavy Support. Makes that slot over-crowded, but on the other hand they would have clashed with Assault Marines in Fast Attack. It does however stop AV13 wall armies running 5-6 Predator chassis tanks, not that those were over-powered either.

Sanguinary Priests being HQ and Chaplains no longer being Elites either. That is painful as it means that there are even more units in the HQ part, but with Vanguard Veterans, Dreadnoughts (who were Heavy Support before whilst Furioso Dreads were Elites, now being Elite or HQ for the Librarian version) and Death Company (normal and Dreadnoughts) all moving into the Elites section, someone had to move. It also consolidates all Independent Characters in the HQ slot, where they belong in my opinion.

Vanguard Assault Marines are rather pointless, being a point less than Death Company in the same slot, gaining Heroic Intervention, but losing Rage and Feel No Pain now that DC lost their ‘No Scoring’ rule. Really, I might be missing something as I actually used my Death Company on two occasions last game to make multi-charges, but on the whole, I firmly believe that Rage and FNP as significantly better than no penalties for multiple charges and an automatic Glorious Intervention, because when did you actually use that rule? Don’t worry, I will wait here while you go look it up in the Rulebook. Back already? Yes, it is not that game-breaking of a rule.

–> Playing double Combined Arms Detachments will remedy the bigger issues. Of course, tournaments don’t allow that, but this is not a tournament blog. As Tactical Squads can now get either a Special or Heavy Weapon for 5 men and no longer pay the Veteran Sergeant tax, it is possible to simply split your two compulsory units into 4 by running 5-men instead of 10-men units without paying more points or losing out on weapon options. So if you really need that third HQ slot for a Sanguinary Priest or that fourth Heavy Support slot for another Predator chassis, it is not that difficult. And I for one have no problem with multiple detachments if that is what GW wants us to do.

I like:

The overall cost reduction bringing their costs in line with Dark Angels and Codex Marines. Death Company with Jump Packs dropped 12 points per model, Vanguard and Sanguinary Guard dropped 7 points per model and Assault Marines 2 points per model. Sanguinary Priest went up by 10, but gained a second wound, which is a bargain for ten points. In addition, Jump Packs for characters got ten points cheaper and Librarians got a whopping 35 points cheaper. That adds up fast and with Predators also becoming cheaper and Overcharged Engines optional on some units (thus saving you more points if you don’t wish to add it), you might just be able to squeeze in an extra unit or so in 1750-2000 points.

Assault Marines keeping their unique access to meltaguns AND being able to get two for 5 guys. I assume that throwing in a free Fast Rhino and a combi-melta on the Sergeant for a total of 115 points would have been harsh on an Objective Secured unit.

Captains gain access to Artificer Armour whilst keeping Storm Shields. It might not come into play often, but a 2+/3++ might make them good tanks without breaking the bank the way Chapter Masters with Shield Eternal do.

Speaking of Chapter Masters, Dante is back and he finally got Eternal Warrior! That and the fact that the Axe Mortalis now swings with Initiative 6 make him definitely worth considering. As he is also a Lord of War, he does not even cost an HQ slot to boot.

Veritas Vitae gives a second Strategic Warlord trait. Infiltrating Assault Marines are go with 4 tries to roll a ‘3’ on 1d6. I know that this is a lazy rehash of the Finking Kap in the Orks Codex, but it is still a second roll on the best Warlord table printed, or lets you try out one of the new Blood Angels traits (which vary from the weak +1 Ini for the Warlord or Rampage to the decent Adamantium Will or Fearless in 12″). Ok, who am I kidding, you know you want that double roll on the Strategic table.

In conclusion, I am convinced that they are not the broken sauce that are Eldar and Space Marine Bikers, but that they actually are a step up and can bring the smack down.

And to prove that, I challenged people to fight them and promptly got roped into a 3.000 points slugfest. Yes, 3.000 points to see how they do. The game was in a new(ish) gaming and wargaming club in Luxemburg, the Cercle d’Alea. They apparently have a very supportive local council that has given them access to a very nice room with storage space too and I will definitely try to head there more often in the future.

I ran:

Librarian: Lvl 2, Jump Pack, Veritas Vitae

Sanguinary Priest: Jump Pack, Power Sword

10 Tactical Marines: Rhino, Plasma Gun, Missile Launcher

10 Tactical Marines: Rhino, Meltagun, Combi-Melta

10 Tactical Marines: Rhino, Missile Launcher, Meltagun

10 Scouts: Veteran Sergeant with Power Sword

Lemartes (secret tech to run 3 ‘HQs’ in one detachment as he is still Elites)

14 Death Company: Jump Packs, 2 Power Fists, Power Sword

5 Sanguinary Guard: Chapter Banner, Power Fist, 2 Axes and 2 Swords

10 Assault Marines: Rhino, 2 Meltaguns, Thunderhammer

10 Assault Marines: Jump Pack, Power Fist, 2 Meltaguns

2 Attack Bikes: Multi-Melta

Baal Predator: Assault Cannon

Baal Predator: Assault Cannon, 2 Heavy Bolters

Sicaran Battle Tank: 2 Heavy Bolters

Knight Errant

I played Arnaud, fielding a Dark Eldar army with 4 Raiders full of Warriors with Splinter Racks on each Raider, 2 units of Scourges with Haywire Blasters, some Mandrakes, a Ravager, 2 units of Reavers with a mix of weapons, Drazhar in a Raider full of Incubi with an adopted Haemonculus with a Webway Portal, the formation consisting of 2 units of Wracks with double Liquifier in Venoms that automatically deep-strike turn 1, the formation consisting of a Haemonculus, a Cronos and a Talos with a Webway Portal (both from the Covens list) and two Razorwings. He also had an allied detachment with an Autarch on Jetbike, some Jetbikes and a battery of Shadow Weavers.

We played Escalation, the Maelstrom mission where you draw one card turn 1, 2 turn 2 and so forth. I won the roll to deploy and there was no night-fighting. He had Conqueror of Cities (Stealth and Move Through Cover in ruins) as his Warlord trait, I rolled the same and my bonus one was Strategic Genius (+1 to Seize and re-roll reserves). He tried to Seize, but failed.

I put most of my army on the left flank or behind the Fortress of Retribution, trying to force him to concentrate on the other flank so the Knight and Sicaran could soften him up before my Jump Pack units would jump over the Fortress to finish him off, especially as we treated it as a ruin and all our units could move on top of it without taking Dangerous Terrain checks.

He only deployed his Reavers and Windrider Jetbikes, his Mandrakes and his artillery, arguing that either the game would be over in 20 minutes and we could try again or it would work. The rest was in reserves, most of it deepstriking thanks to Webway Portals or Raiders having Deep Strike.

So my plan was foiled and I would have to deal with an army that could deploy at will. Yikes. My first objective was Domination (hold all 6 Objectives) and I realised that I could easily do that turn 2 with a bit of groundwork.

The rest will be explained in the pictures.

2014-12-13 14.44.05

My left flank after the first turn. Most guys moved forward. The Death Company had tried a charge on the Mandrakes behind the Tower, but failed by an inch.

2014-12-13 14.44.08

My right flank after turn 1. The Sanguinary Guard can be seen behind the tower, where it wiped out the Mandrakes to take First Blood. They would probably die, but as he had two units of Wracks that would gain d3 VP if they caused First Blood, I had to take it.

2014-12-13 14.44.13

View from the side.

2014-12-13 14.44.20

And a closer view of the right, including his Reavers in both buildings.

2014-12-13 15.04.47

Reavers come out to wipe out the Attack Bikes, but have to finish them in assault, meaning that they could not move back into cover.

2014-12-13 15.04.50

Reavers kill 4 Sanguinary Guard with their Rending Hammer of Wrath attacks, but fail to kill the final one.

2014-12-13 15.47.38

My Scouts got pinned by the Shadow Weavers. The Librarian joins the Tactical Squad and hopes to use Fear of Darkness to chase the Guardians off their artillery, but it is dispelled. On the bottom, you see an Assault Marine turned backwards, as this was where both Wrack units had landed. They had failed to kill much despite 4 Liquifiers and 24 Splinter shots. Yup, my dice were hot.

2014-12-13 15.47.45

The leftovers after I exploded one Venom in melee, wrecked one with shooting and wiped out the passengers in melee. The last two Wracks from the exploded one had to emergency disembark, so did nothing next turn, then died. At the end of my second turn, I have 8 VP, as I have achieved Dominate for 6 points, First Blood and destroyed 3 units in melee for one point for Blood and Guts (so I had 4 on 2d3, which is exactly average), to 0 for Arnaud. The heat was on for him.

 

2014-12-13 15.47.48

Two Raiders full of dudes and two units of Scourges (one hidden behind the Bastion on the bottom) drop next to the Sicaran. The last Sanguinary Guard made it out of the combat with the Reavers because the Knights stomped them all flat. The Sanguinary priest split off the Assault Squad to claim Objective one to guarantee Domination. He took 20 shots to the face and made all but one save, still hanging in thanks to his new second wound. However, the Scourges manage to toast the Sicaran after it had wiped out the Reavers on the right the turn before.

 

 

 

2014-12-13 15.47.52

The Ravager comes in, but does little to the Knight. The Autarch is in the building, penetrating the Baal Predator in front of the building but not blowing it up.

2014-12-13 16.35.30

The Knight fails to penetrate either of the Raiders also does not manage to kill the last two Scourges after the Sanguinary Guard and a Missile Launcher hit them, so it has to charge them, fails to hit them with its Sword, then stomps them and penetrates the first Raider with the same stomp.

2014-12-13 16.35.34

Concentrated fire forces the Ravager to jink.

2014-12-13 16.35.38

I charge the Haemonculus and his Monstrous Creatures, but fail to harm them. The Scouts fight with the Jetbikes and that Raider contains Drazhar and his Incubi who really want to score the Kingslayer objective and thus need to kill my Librarian, who doesn’t realise that half my army is using him as bait to lure out Drazhar for my Kingslayer objective.

2014-12-13 16.36.26

Death Company wipe out a unit of Scourges and the bottom Raider.

2014-12-13 17.35.52

That Raider kills my Sanguinary Priest, then gets pummeled by the Death Company in my fourth turn.

2014-12-13 17.35.55

Drazhar has killed my Warlord and his unit without breaking stride, so the Scouts decide to grenade the Raider instead of going toe-to-toe with him.

2014-12-13 17.35.59

The last Raider immobilises itself on the Venom wreck it landed on and is then blown up by a Combat Squad. Its passengers had killed off the remaining Assault Marines the turn before, then killed the Combat Squad in their turn, leaving Objective 3 ripe for the taking.

2014-12-13 17.36.55

Another shot of Drazhar and his boys.

2014-12-13 17.41.20

The Sanguinary Guard after he single-handedly killed the passengers of the Raider the Death Company had blown up. Still kicking.

2014-12-13 18.24.28

Endgame. I need to hold twice as many Objectives as he does, so my Rhino has to drive all the way back, including a Flat Out move to get on Objective 5. They are also there to lure Drazhar out in the open as the Death Company is on the right, just outside the shot and they can probably take out the Incubi as there are not many left. The Knight is also on the right, so he would have helped too.

2014-12-13 18.24.32

On the very right of this picture, you can see a single Marine behind the Sicaran. That guy just rolled double 2 for his two cover saves against the Razorwing’s cannons. Good thing that going to ground plus ruins plus Stealth (Ruins) gives you a 2+ cover save. The Tacticals on top have just grenaded the Ravager.

At this stage, it was getting rather late and we had reached turn 5. I had 19 victory points at that stage, including First Blood and Linebreaker, while he had 12 including Slay the Warlord and Linebreaker. As I would have drawn another 4 cards asking me to hold objectives he was nowhere near and his last units were all boxed up on the left without a chance of breaking out against my Knight and Death Company, we called it there.

Overall, it was a good game with a very nice opponent and a good test for the Blood Angels.

As a bonus, this would be my first 2.000 points list:

Librarian: Lvl 2, Jump Pack, Veritas Vitae

Sanguinary Priest: Bolt Pistol, Jump Pack, Power Weapon

Lemartes

10 Death Company: Jump Packs, 1 Power Fist

10 Tactical Marines: Meltagun, Missile Launcher, Rhino

10 Tactical Marines: Plasma gun, Missile Launcher, Rhino

10 Assault Marines: Rhino, 2 Meltaguns, Veteran with Power Fist

10 Assault Marines: 2 Meltagun, Veteran with Power Fist

2 Attack Bikes: Multi-Melta

Baal Predator: Heavy Bolters

Baal Predator: Heavy Bolters

Sicaran Battle Tank: Heavy Bolters

 

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