Blood Angels Codex Review/Thoughts
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First up are the special rules. ATSKNF and combat squads are standard affair. Descent of Angels is fun (jump pack models may re-roll failed reserve rolls and only scatter 1d6"). Red Thirst is meh (roll a die for each unit, on a 1 they exchange ATSKNF for furious charge and fearless). Getting fearless is nice, but furious charge is kinda meh-ish considering some of the other parts of the codex. The big part about the ability is the fact that you roll after deployment. If you rolled before, at least you'd go into the game knowing what you're working with. Most units have it, ICs generally don't. All vehicles based on the rhino chassis are now fast (so, rhinos, baals, vindies, etc.). As one final note... vehicles pretty much don't have searchlights. WTF? Seriously. You can buy them for the cost of old frag grenades, but still... that's just silly.
Might as well move onto HQs next. Regarding special characteres in general... don't even think about including some of them in less than 1500. Just... just don't. Overall, they're expensive as klkn. Even at 2000, some of them are really expensive. At 1500, they're going to radically change how your army plays for sure.
First up is Dante. Overall, I don't like him. I think he's far too overpriced for what he does. Heck, I think he's overpriced compared to his old cost (yeah, his points went up... wee...). Even before, his only real upside was preferred enemy bubble. Since he's lost that, I don't see much point in playing him. He's got a couple nifty abilities, but nothing game breaking. Making an enemy IC lose stats (-1WS,I,A,W) is neat. Making Sanguinary Guard scoring is cool, but I don't think it will make for a competitive list. His death mask, much like the SG's, is nice but not nearly effective enough for my liking. If it modified enemy leadership at all, I'd consider taking Dante. As is, for the units you really want to fail, they're generally ld9 or 10. The vast majority of the time, they're not going to fail. Overall... meh. If he had eternal warrior or even a 6" preferred enemy bubble (or, heck, even just his squad only), I could see using him. As is, I'd only run him if I have at least two units of sanguinary guard (to really benefit from making them scoring).
Now onto a special character I like: Astorath. He's a hair cheaper than Dante, but still relatively expensive. He has artificer armour, bolt pistol, nades, jump pack, rosarious, and a S6 two-handed power weapon that forces successful invulnerable saves to be re-rolled. Can I get a "hells yeah?" I don't know if it's just me, but I absolutely love these kinds of weapons. Let's see what else... oh, yeah, he makes his squad fearless alongside him. Awesome. He counts as a chaplain so allows re-rolls to hit on the charge. However, if he's with death company, they can both re-roll to hit and wound. Mmm... sexy. Oh, as a final bit of gravy, Red Thirst now kicks in on a 1-3. Having over half your army fearless is a great thing, in my opinion. Plus, especially if you're fairly heavily mechanized, you won't have to rely as heavily upon supporting units. He's still expensive, but I like him.
How about Seth? Gotta have some love for the flesh tearers. Well, he's a whole heck of a lot cheaper than any of the other characters, but he doesn't have a jump pack. He's got a 2-handed S8 rending chainsword... meh. It's cool, but no dog's Twilight quite yet. Instead of making his regular attacks, Seth may auto-hit every model in base contact with him (yeah... model... screw you wound allocation!). That is, quite frankly, pure awesome. It's quite easy to get 3 or 4 enemy models in base to base (I think 6 is the max for the default infantry base, but don't quote me). Also, as a final kick to the 'nads, any to-hit rolls against him that show up as 1 cause the attacking unit to suffer an automatic strength 4 hit. So, if the enemy rolls 6 ones, they take 6 S4 hits. On top of Seth's attacks. For his points, he's nifty. You can definitely fit him into a 1500 point list comfortably (although probably not with another HQ tagging along, depending on what you'd want to bring). He can't have a jump pack, sadly. I'd want to throw him in a crusader along with some assault termies or death company.
Tycho... meh. He's got 2 version and a nifty bolter. I don't like his death company version, as he's apparently forgotten how to be an independent character (no... seriously...). I'd only take his DC version if you're actually running DC. However, he also has fleet... but DC don't... serious "what the deuce" here, people. He has preferred enemy orks. Rites of battle in his captain version. Overall... just... meh. Nothing special about him, really. He's a captain with a couple of little tricks and that's about it. I don't think I'll ever field him, but he's not as useless as he used to be. He's still technically dead, however.
Now for the two beatstick special characters...
Mephiston. Ah, Mephiston. Thou art special. Thou art as expensive as a friggin' land raider. Thou art S6 and T6 with 5 wounds. Thou art... oh... lol. Yeah, Mephiston's an absolute beatstick. Still no invulnerable save nor eternal warrior, but think about how expensive he'd be if he did. He knows three psychic powers (sanguine sword [S10], unleash rage [preferred enemy], and wings of sanguinius [counts as jump infantry]) and can cast 3 per turn. Any independent character in base contact with Mephy must take a ld test at -4 or meph gets to re-roll to-hit and to-wound. Overall, he is a beatstick of awesomeness. Expensive as klkn. But awesome. No independent character, so he can't hide in a unit. Run him behind a land raider to block LOS or at least behind anything else to give him a 4+ cover. Point him at something big and scary and laugh as you hit it at I8 (make sure he's in a furious charge bubble and it's just silly). Once again... expensive as klkn.
And, of course, sanguinor. Costing a full powerfist more than mephiston, what does he do? A whole heck of a lot, actually. He actually has an invul save (3+), for one. And eternal warrior (but T4). However, he's a beat stick in a slightly more specific way than mephiston. As soon as you place the sanguinor on the table, you pick one HQ unit your opponent controls. The sanguinor re-rolls all failed to hit and to wound rolls against him for the entire battle. Also, one of your sergeants (randomly chosen; roll a die ftw!) gets +1WS, W, I, A for the game. Yeah... craziness. He's A6 S6 I7 on the charge with a master-crafted power wepaon. All friendly units within 6" (but not him) get +1 attack. Awesome. I actually prefer him over mephiston for not only being a beatstick, but being a force multiplier (love force multipliers). Once again, like mephiston, he's not an independent character, so has to run around on his own. At 3 wounds and T4, you pretty much need to hide him until he can hit your opponent's lines. Once he gets there, though, awesomeness ensues. Prohibitively expensive. I'd say 2k at a minimum for him or the rest of your army's going to suffer.
That's it for the special characters. Stand-outs in my mind are Astorath and Seth, with The Sanguinor taking a well-earnt 3rd. Dante's overpriced, mephiston's mega expensive but deserves it, and tycho's still just meh.
Oh, and there are still generic HQ's! Librarian's the same as C:SM more or less. He can take an infernus pistol at the same price as a plasma pistol (6" meltagun). Personally, I really like the psychic powers, and a librarian doesn't really need much extra equipment. For a cheap HQ, he's great, never mind the ld10 psychic hood. His psychic powers allow him to be at the forefront of an assault and he's a great force multiplier (Unleash Rage has got to be one of my favourite psychic powers ever). Speaking of, let's talk about psychic powers...
- Blood Boil puts one wound on a model within 12" with no armour saves. If the psychic test is 5 or less, you pick. 6 or more, opponent picks. Meh.
- Fear of the Darkness forces an enemy unit within 24" to take a morale test at -2. It's neat, if nothing else.
- Might of Heroes. +D3 attacks. Weee...
- Shackle Soul. Now this one's cool, if only average in effectiveness. One enemy unit within 12" is forced to take a leadership test before they move, before they shoot/run, and before they assault (that's right, up at 3 tests). If they fail the test they can't perform that action (e.g. moving). I like it, and it ignores fearless to boot.
- Shield of Sanguinius. All units within 6" get a 5+ cover save. Great for jump pack heavy forces. Average for any others. I'd say it's slightly more useful overall in the BA codex than the SM Definition: Space Marinescodex (given the prevalance of JP).
- Smite. Weeaboo shooting magics.
- Blood Lance. Wicked shooting attack. 4d6" line from the libbie. Any enemy unit (not model) in the lance's path takes a S8AP1 lance hit. Ignores friendly units and anything locked in close combat. Great against mech heavy lists and for sniping lone ICs. Just as good as jaws, but in a different way. I like it, but not enough to always use it.
- Sanguine Sword. S10 weeaboo fighting magics.
- Unleash Rage. My absolute favourite of all the psychic powers. The libbie and his unit get preferred enemy until end of turn. It can be used at the start of either player's assault phase (so preferred enemy in all assault phases! yay!). It has to be used before any charges are declared, of course. Basically, libbies are now uber-chaplains.
- Wings of Sangunius. Infantry get magical jump packs. Bike get magical jet bikes. Neat, but I'd rather buy the libbie a jump pack or bike. It's kinda funny if he has termie armour, though, and suddenly hops 12".
The reclusiarch is a slightly beefed up chaplain. Yay! You should know what to do here. Oh, but he can't control death company. Nothing can control the death company.
Oh, Captain, where did your artificer armour go? Really, I see very little reason to field a captain, but that's really just my playstyle. He can't take a relic blade, which sucks. A little dissapointing, but give him some lightning claws or something and watch him go to town when he's boosted with furious charge.
1 Honour Guard can be taken for every HQ choice you take (any HQ choice). They come stock with 4 honour guard and a sanguinary novitiate (read Sanguinary Priests lower down for more info on his blood chalice). Pretty standard fare here. If you like honour guard, you won't be dissapointed. If you don't like them, then you probably won't care for them here, either. I'd run them with jump packs and bounce them along as a "look at me, I'm scary!" type of deal. Great if you're running other jump pack units, otherwise so-so.
Onto elites! Hooray!
First up are the sanguinary priests. My favourite of the new units, sang priests are bought as units of 1-3 models but are independt characters (so may split up). One wound models that they are, go hide them in a squad. They have the Blood Chalice, which means that all friendly squads within 6" get furious charge and feel no pain... yeah... yeah, they really do. Go read that again after your pants finish drying. All friendly squads within 6" get furious charge and feel no pain. Feel no frickin' pain! Assault termies with FNP? Entire armies with FNP? Yeah... utterly badass. They're cheap, to boot, being the same cost as a MM attack bike. They can take jump packs or bikes as well as standard guns and CC fair. I love force multipliers, and these guys are some of the best around in my opinion. Love em. They're cheap enough that at least one should appear in most lists, in my opinion. I mean... really... they're that amazing. You could have 9 in an army, but that's just silly. 2 or 3 would be the most you'll need, in my opinion. Brother Corbulo can be bought as one of the 1-3 and costs double plus a melta bomb. 2 wounds, otherwise the same as he currently is. He has a S5 rending chainsword and has feel no pain on himself on a 2+ (but still standard for everyone else). What's fun is he allows you to re-roll one die roll per game. Any die roll. Any. If he dies before you use it, tough luck. If you haven't bought another SC, I'd say he's an average buy. A tad expensive for what he does, but that single re-roll can be awesome if used right.
Sternguard are in the new codex. Weeaboo shootins'!
Termies are here and are the same as C:SM.
Assault termies are almost the same, but it costs a meltabomb to get TH/SS over LC. Lame, but understandable. LC are actually good for us due to furious charge (S5/I5 really does make all the difference). Add a Priest and maybe a chaplain or termie libbie with unleash rage and go to town pretending to be black templar (but with feel no pain! ). I'd probably do 3 LC/2 TH.Definition: Thunder Hammer If you're absolutely nuts, do 4/1, but you'd better be hitting some soft targets with that one.
Techmarines. Meh. Good in a shooty mech list, same as always. However, considering how fast our mech is... I don't see him as good as a choice as the SM Definition: Space Marinestechmarine.
Chaplains are the same as C:SM (althought they let DC re-roll to hit and wound). But are elite choices. Duuuuuuuurrrrrr...
Sanguinary Gaurd are a unit I like more and more the more I look at them more (yes, I did that on purpose ). Most people are comparing them to assault termies, but I feel as though that gives an unfair comparison. For a better comparison, look at vanguard veterans. 5 veterans with power swords and jump packs costs 225 points for 20 power weapon attacks on the charge. Not bad. For 230 points, sanguinary guard will put out 20 master-crafted power weapon attacks (so, 5 re-roll max), have a 2+ save, higher ld, and are fearless. Have I convinced you yet? They're the same price as a termie squad base. They can take a banner for the same cost as a TH Definition: Thunder Hammer(+1 attack to all models in the squad). They can take death masks for a PF Definition: Power Fist(same rules as Dante's, so... meh... save in multiples; if you have two or three units running around with death masks, you stand an okay chance of it going off once or twice per game, which is nice). They can take an infernus pistol or a power fist for the cost of a meltagun. They come with master-crafted power weapons and angelus bolters (12" A2 S4 AP4). They're also fearless (did I mention that before? I think I did). I like SG despite their relatively high cost. I feel as though they're better in a jump pack heavy list rather than a mechanized one. Exception being if you run them in storm ravens, then they'd fit in great (their squad +IC). If you run SG with a Sanguinary Priest, they're just scary (think about it for a minute ). Never mind if you add a libbie with unleash rage or a chaplain. So... yeah... I really like these guys. Not perfect for every list, but they've got some sexy models to boot!
Did I hear anyone say Furioso Dreadnought? Did I hear anyone say WS6 13-12-10? Did I hear anyone say 2(3) attacks? What, you don't like that one? Did I tell you about the A2 S6 rending template weapon? How about the dreadnought lightning claws that allow you to re-roll your S6 wounds? How about the fact that they give you an extra attack immediately for every unsaved wound they do? How about the fact that you can actually gain infinite attacks from a single dreadnought with these weapons? Man, even I'm annoying myself with those question marks . But, yeah, infinite attacks dreadnought lightning claws. Sexy. The frag cannon is also awesome, but then you can't take two of the claws (you need both to unlock the extra extra attacks). Either option is viable, in my opinion. They can take a drop pod like any dread. Furiosos have 2 DCCW weapons base and are armed with a meltagun and a storm bolter, so your old models are not moot. I feel as though they're better taking the blood talons or possibly the frag cannon, but they're not bad base. S10 is fun in and of itself. They cost a powerfist more than a captain and can take the calws (Blood Talons) for free. And the frag cannon for free. They also have the magna-grapple: it's 12" S8AP2. If it scores a glancing or penetrating hit, roll a D6 and add 8. If it beats the vehicle's highest armour value, drag it 2d6" towards the dread. It stops 1" away from difficult/impassable terrain, another vehicle, or any infantry unit in close combat. All infantry it's dragged over coun tas being tank shocked (woohoo!). Lots of crazy fun. Plus the dread can now attack it. Yay! Did I mention this doesn't replace the dread's weapons? Yeah... it doesn't. So, if you want DCCW on your furioso, I'd recommend the magna grapple. Oh, you can also make the furioso a librarian for the cost of a MM attack bike. The thing counts as a ld10 psyker (perils gives a glancing hit) and can pick 2 powers. He exchanges all equipment for a DCCW with a storm bolter, smoke launchers, a force weapon (S6, remember, you have to choose between this and the DCCW), and a psychic hood. Cool, but not overpowered. I'd give it a wash for utility on that one. If it was a HQ choice, I'd be all over it. Overall, though, I really like the new furioso. I'd take two or three, probably in pods. If you're going to do something, you might as well do it right (threat overload ftw).
It's time for troops!
Assault squads are much cheaper, as they should be. Same options as C:SM, but add meltaguns, infernus pistols, and hand flamers S3 AP6 template). Me likey. Oh, they can drop their packs for a price reduction for a transport (cost of a drop pod). 'tis cool.
Scout squads are here. Pretty much the same as C:SM, IIRC.
Death Company dreads are here. WS5, Armour 12-12-10. +1A over the furioso.. It can take blood talons for free. It has fleet and ignores shaken and stunned results. Overall... not a fan for one reason: rage. Being led around the board is not fun. At the same cost as the furioso, I'd rather be able to control the dread, never mind the higher front armour and higher WS. I'll sacrifice an attack for that. Oh, you can only take 1 DC dread for every 5 DC in your army. Speaking of...
Death Company. They're a 0-1 choice (unless you have astorath) that are not a scoring unit. Same ppm as vanguard. It costs a plasma gun per model for jump packs. They've got a +1 boost to WS as compared to before, but have lost rending. Oh, and they're relentless and can take bolters (or bolt pistols, which is what you probably should be taking). They can now take power weapons, fists, etc. For every 5 models, they can have a hand flamer, infernus pistol, or plasma pistol. Overall... I'm not a huge fan. Rage with no way of controlling it is no fun, in my opinion. They're also expensive with jump packs, just as expensive as they used to be. I'd leave them packless and throw them in a crusader if you're planning on giving them a chaplain. If you don't want to bother with IC support, give them a rhino and hope they make it (but do enjoy the fire they soak up, or the chaos they unleash if they do make it). Oh, Lemartes is also here, but as an upgrade character to death company (yeah, he forgot how to be an IC). Lemartes also apparently forgot how to control death company and is now completely insane, as he too is suffering from the black rage. He gives the DC their re-rolls and can't be picked out in combat. But, and of course there's a "but," he has a jump pack. Meaning no transport for his DC. Meaning... I don't like him anymore. Which is sad, cause I love Lemartes (especially his new model). If he gave the DC rending, he might be worth it to tag along with JP DC. What is cool is he gets some bonuses if he takes a wound (he only has 2). I'd say allocate one to him as soon as possible as he can't be singled out.
Oh, there are also tactical marines.............. what am I supposed to say here? They're friggin' tactical marines, man!
Ah, fast attack... you're so chock full of goodies!
Vanguard are in. Although they cost a meltagun less, they're still really expensive. HI is actually good now considering DoA allows them to scatter 1d6". I've seen math done for it and they end up with around a 2/3 chance of getting a charge off now. Sick. I like them for a deep striking list, but there are probably better options for a standard list.
Land speeders are in. Cool.
Baal preds are now a bit more expensive (a plasma gun more than a chaplain). They can take heavy flamers or heavy bolter sponsoons as an additional cost. They can also swap out their twin-linked assault cannon for a flamestorm cannon. They're fast, of course. They also have scout. Yeah, you heard me, scout. Suddenly those flamers are looking mighty nice, no? I like them both in flame mode and standard. Flame baals fill a very niche roll and should be taken if you need massive templatage. TLAC/HB Baals are still amazing fire support.
Attack bikes, regular bikes, and scout bikes are all in. Fun times.
Heavy Support time!
Dreadnoughts are in, same as before.
Preds are here, but are fast.
Whirlwinds, as well!
Devs are in. Their heavy weapons are cheaper (heck yeah!). Not a great choice for BA, sadly, as they're far too static. Nice to see GW Definition: Games Workshoptrying, though.
And, of course, the stand-out of the heavy support section: the Stormraven Gunship. At the same cost as the pdf's Dante, we get a fast skimmer with 12 all-around that has a twin-linked heavy bolter, twin-linked assault cannon, 4 one-shot 72" S8 AP1 missiles. It ignores melta's extra die (so melta will only roll 1d6 for pen all the time). You get a few weapon options (multi-melta instead of the heavy bolter is the standout for me). As a funny add-on, you can give it side sponson hurricane bolters for a TH Definition: Thunder Hammercost. It can carry 12 infantry/6 JP as well as a single dreadnought. If the vehicle explodes, the dread takes a S4 hit to the rear armour. When disembarking, you use the vehicle's entire base. Overall... I don't like it as much as I was hoping for. It's basically combining a land raider crusader, a rhino, and a predator in one (if that makes sense, lol). Yes, it has a good amount of firepower, but not quite blistering. Yes, it can carry a lot of models, but not a ridiculous amount (especially not JP). Yes, it can carry a dread... and that's really friggin cool. Rear armour 12 is also kinda funny. I don't think the melta rule will change much. For me, it's just far too fragile for the cost. Anything S7/S8 will be able to keep the stormraven glanced all game, never mind having decent enough odds at actually downing the thing. I can see why people like it, and I'd love to try it out, but I just don't see myself using it a lot of the time (although, to be honest, there aint much competition in HS).
And... dedicated transports! Including land raiders! ... yeah...
Rhinos and razorbacks are in with a slight points increase. I feel it balances out fast nicely.
Drop pods are the same.
Land raiders of all varients (standard, crusader, redeemer, standard points) are dedicated transports. They can only be bought as a dedicated transport. This will affect somewhere around... oh, I don't know... 0 army lists, as even tactical squads can take one of these things. Yeah... pretty much anything can take one of the bloody things. Oh, and they can deep strike... *facepalm* Completely worthless ability, in my opinion. Completely... 100%... worthless. Difference for the sake of difference is just a slap in the face, in my opinion.
And so ends the unit review!
So, what are my overall thoughts regarding the codex? I like it, I like it a lot. There are a couple of silly things and a couple of things I don't really like, but on the whole I like the fact that there's variety. There's a whole bunch of lists I have running around my head that I want to play, including pure jump pack (as some of you may have seen; although now I'm definitely swapping the VGV for some SG ), AV13 spam (so many Baals... and vindies!), and dread spam. Of course, I think these basic ideas will enter the heads of most people as they read through the codex. Whether you have the baals to do it or not is up to you, but I'm sure as hell going to try it sooner or later.
As far as competitiveness is concerned, it's leaps and bounds above the pdf dex. Points costs are now in line and we have some downright nasty tricks up our sleeves. Sanguinary priests are a hidden gem that I doubt enough people are going to employ. Death company in jump packs are still going to be running around, but this just seems silly to me (seriously... rage is such an easy ability to manipulate). Storm raven spam will occur, but at 3 max, I wouldn't call that spam. 3 AV12 vehicles are not hard to destroy, so I would caution anyone who wants to try this to be careful about it. It would be an interesting army, to be sure, but a glass hammer.
In fact, that's something I feel from a lot of the codex: we're a glass cannon. We have a lot of neat abilities and a lot of great tricks, but a smart opponent can punk us pretty easily (leading DC, hidden powerfists vs priests, etc.). Sure, a lot of our stuff is legitimately hard to kill, but it starts getting costly. Initially, we won't have to think as much as we did with the pdf dex, but as people wise up, we'll once again have to step up our game, simply in a different way.
Games aren't going to be lost because we're down some 200 odd points or whatnot and army sizes are going to be comparable to C:SM if you stick with standard options. If you vary into the really nifty stuff, you're going to find yourself low on numbers, once again playing up the glass cannon aspect.
Our opponents, possibly more so than anything else in our codex, are going to be surprised by our speed. 18" rhinos are simply ridiculous. While we've always had this, the fact that it's guaranteed is a great thing in my opinion. In fact, virtually our entire mech force can move 6" and fire everything to maximum effect. Mechanized lists are probably going to be tournament winners for BA and I'll be sure to kick around some ideas in my own noggin' as well as yours when I have them solidified (unless you get them down in writing first, then all credit to ya ).
So... yeah... I am a very happy person.
I also don't want to play another game with this stupid pdf dex. So sad there's still 3 weeks until the new one is released. That will be a glorious day, for sure. I'm going to be sure to have my army ready, will you?