Sunday 12 July 2015

Blood Angels - Are we that bad? Part 4 - Fast Attack and Heavy Support

Hello readers,

This is my penultimate retrospective of the blood angels codex assessing how it work relative to the new space marines and hopefully convincing many people that we still have great unique units that can mix it with some of the best. We aren't the top tier dog codex but we are not a bad codex and I think its important to make this distinction. 

Today I will be dealing with the Fast Attack and Heavy Support options in the codex. Despite there being a wealth of options in these sections, this part of the review will be fairly short, as for the most part these are not significantly different from the vanilla codex, with only 1 unique option among the whole lot! 

Fast Attack

So before I look at the units (which are virtually identical though sadly lacking a bit compared to vanilla marines) I'm going to look at a key mechanic/wargear option of the blood angels which is primarily a "fast" component but also crops up a lot in the Heavy support section.

This is Overcharged engines. Overcharged engines come as standard with certain vehicles which I will mention individually or they are a purchasable upgrade for several vehicles, mostly in heavy support. Overcharged engines grant the "Fast" rule to the vehicles. This allows these vehicles to move 6 inches and fire all their weapons or move 12 inches and fire 2 weapons at full ballistic skill. Furthermore they can flat out 12 inches if desired. I think overcharged engines are brilliant and much maligned by people. 

Example: The humble rhino can now carry its 10 troops 24 inches in a turn. That is 24 inches and if it survives it can move another 6 inches, disembark 6 inches and up to a 12 inch charge. The range of a rhino is massively increased in an offensive manner when given the fast rule. (Error - no charging from rhino)... But still, as an objective secured unit it effectively has a 27 inch range for grabbing objective (24 inch movement and be within 3 of the objective) or it can disembark a squad for a further objective grabbing reach!

As I said these come standard with some vehicles or are purchasable for 10 points for other vehicles. I think by and large they are great value for 10 points. 

Dedicated Transports. This covers the humble Drop pod, Rhino, and Razorback. They are all functionally the same as vanilla marines except that both the rhino and razorback have overcharged engines. In the case of the rhino, the above example illustrates the benefit of being fast, whilst with the razorback the extra speed really increases the threat bubble of their armaments which can be used effectively to making firing lanes with less of the board safe from their reach, especially if equipped with lascannons against vehicles or heavy bolters against mid range infantry.

Assault squads. These guys are not better than the vanilla assault marines, but they aren't worse either. They just fulfil their role in a different way I feel. These guys are well equipped to drop pod in and flame the crap out of a unit, with a regular flamer and 2 hand flamers on the sarge providing ample horde killing goodness. However this does beg the question why not take a 5 man tactical squad with a heavy flamer and 2 hand flamers? (Double Error! I meant to say meltas and inferno pistols but was writing from memory like a fool, these guys can pop open most things on a good to middling day - still don't rate them as an assault units compared to better options though sadly). Assault squads doe have the benefit of furious charge which means that couple with a jump pack assault a squad of 5 will do 5 strength 4 Hammer of wrath attacks, and 15 strength 5 normal attacks which for a barebones 85 points is pretty good. Especially as if you have enough other threats they are likely to be ignored.

Bikes and Assault bike. As far as I can see there is little difference from vanilla marines. I have never found space marines on bike appealing aside from Ravenwing personally. From my standpoint I like the idea of the lighter scouts on bikes but not the full hulkers. These guys also have furious charge of course, which as I state in the assault squad section is a really nice buff on the charge compared to vanilla marines.

Scout Bikes. Exactly the same problem as regular scouts. An additional 1 WS and BS coupled with furious charge would make these an excellent cheap harassing unit but they just aren't worth taking compared to both vanilla marines and other units in the codex like assault marines. Skip unless you're theming a force I would say. As noted in the comments a good delivery system for locator beacons but I still don't like taking scouts in a BA force and there are great ways in formations or wargear to reduce scatter with more flavour. But if you definitely need that precision drop these would be a good way to go!

Landspeeder Squadon. Same as always and no different from Vanilla as far as I can see. The aesthetic of these guys has never appealed to me and I've never had interest in taking them so I'm afraid you'll have to look elsewhere for any useful comments!

Overall. Fast Attack is a solid section if a very unremarkable section in the Blood Angel Codex. It is almost exactly on a par with the Vanilla codex with overcharged engines really standing out as an excellent addition, but these become far more important in heavy support. Furious charged added to hammer of wrath attacks on bikes and jump pack assault are also viable options.

The main discrepancy here is not only scouts and their reduced stats but also the unfathomable exclusion of the stormtalon and land speeder storms. I see no reason why these shouldn't be available to Blood Angels, it just boggles me sometimes!!

Heavy Support

So on the big guns as it were. There is a single unique unit in here that I will go over then I will round up my thoughts on the rest in a big jumble as for the most part they are all the same as vanilla or the benefits that Blood Angels gives the vehicles is the same. 

Baal Predator. Coming in at 115 points I think this is 10 points overcosted, but its still a good choice. It comes with overcharged engines as stock and it has the option of the triple flame loadout for 135 points and I think that is as good as ever. Blaze up the fields of battle and toast everything in your way. I think if you aren't going for this option then the Dakk predator with assault cannons/heavy bolters is good for the same price but I think I would just take a regular predator and give it overcharged engines to take advantage of the extra range and firing 2 weapons at full BS after a 12 inch move. 

Predator and Vindicator. Both are a minor bit more expensive than their Vanilla brethren but not horrendously so. The addition of overcharged engines however can really make them shine. A 12 inch move before firing that autocannon and still having a full BS heavy bolter on the spare? Top notch. Or even better a 12 inch move followed by the demolisher cannon giving it an effective 36 in range, invaluable in delivering that S10 AP1 goodness to the heart of the enemy. I think these both lift these tanks that little bit beyond vanilla ones, but you do pay for it with the upgrade and the base points being higher so its not a gimme by any means.

Whirlwind. These guys also benefit from being able to move 12 and still fire their ordinance regularly but I don't really see the upgrade being that worth it as they are not a terribly competitive choice anyway and they have excellent range. If you take them, take them stock but I would rather spend the points on other things. Saying that, cheap for what they are.

Devastators. Nothing much here part from not having access to heavy grav weapons. I don't like grav weapons I have to say. I think the concept is cool but they are taking place in a saturated special weapons lists and becoming all to easily available I think for weapons of such supposed rarity. Devastators are still good if you already take them but vanilla ones are better.

All landraider variant. Nothing really changed her compared to Vanilla, they all have their strengths and weakness but I genuinely love them all the same. They are such an iconic vehicle for 40k to me, I remember the current kit coming out and being blown away by it. They aren't the most competitive but they are bloody cool as hell!!

Storm Raven Gunship. Last but by no means least. Not unique the Blood Angels for quite some time now, but much like England and our inability to win the world cup we cans till lay claim to being the spiritual home of these great beast. There are no great differences to Vanilla but I love this guy and have recently acquired my own. There are few loadouts on this that aren't great and there are none that are bad. Buy one and enjoy making swoosh noises like I have :D

Overall. The Baal predator is a great unique piece of kit and I think it looks great equipped either way but my preference is certainly for the flame variant to remove stubborn cover hogging units. The overcharged engine upgrade is the next best thing in this section as it really lifts predators and vindicators to another level, if the base points cost was the same as the vanilla then they would be bloody brilliant. The devastators really lose out with no grav cannons but they are still a solid choice if you want a stationary force of covering fire.

Both of these sections suffer from being fairly vanilla in general but with such a glut of options in all other areas of the codex I can't complaint too much. No-one should have trouble making a decently flavour blood angel force. And if you aren't taking those unique units, quite honestly play vanilla. You play blood angels so you can wield their special snowflakes and smash other armies in the face so get to it! 

My final instalment will look at our wargear, Lords of War and my pick of the detachments/formations from the codex and the whole shield of Baal supplement story.

Till then,

Peace out



  1. Still can't Charge on the Turn you Disembark from a Rhino, unfortunately, even if it's Fast.

    BA Assault Marines strike me as way better than SM ones. Forget the Flamers, leave those to the Tacs, they can get Meltas and Inferno Pistols, plus their Drop Pods are effectively cheaper than for SM Assault Squads. 135 Points for 4 Melta shots in a Drop Pod? No one else can come close to that. Plus, Furious Charge and Red Thirst make them substantially better at actually being Assault Marines than any of the SM Chapter Tactics.

    The stats on Scout Bikers don't matter. They're just a way to start a Locator Beacon on the board if you're running a Drop List.

    Fast Vehicles: The ability for an AutoLas or Annihilator Predator to move 6 and still fire everything is pretty impressive, too. It also makes the Las/Plas Razorback substantially better, since that one normally can't move at all and fire both weapons, but a Fast one can move 12" and fire both.

    1. Ah bugger I forgot about the old assault vehicle thing, spent too long playing with dark eldar and all open topped transports! They are still great objective grabbers either with the rhino or delivering a squad to the destination.

      I wrote most of this from memory and you are indeed right, I meant to talk about meltas and inferno pistols, problems of rushing a long blog post (or at least long for me). However, if you are taking assault marines as an assault element in your BA force I just can't help but think that role is fulfilled better elsewhere such as Death Company. It irks me muchly that assault is secondary as a role for them despite it being a titular component!

      Certainly a good delivery system but I think there are far better options for reducing scatter than scouts, some through formations as I will mention next time. And again I don't really get taking scouts as part of a BA force, but that my own private bugbear :P

      Couldn't agree more, the fast addition in the heavy support, really makes those vehicles shine and for 10 points is an absolute steal.

      Thanks for the comments anyway! You are the first comment outside of my 3 regulars so much obliged to you :)


    2. You recently started showing up in From the Fang's blogroll (or at least I noticed you recently). I actually meant to start commenting a few days ago, but Firefox was having some issue with reCaptcha that they just got sorted out today.

      Where they are useful as actual Assault Units, I think, is another role that Marines really shouldn't need, but things like WraithGuard with D-Scythes and Lion's Blade full BS Overwatch are making important, which is something cheap to throw in first to soak the Overwatch. Much better to have 17 Point ASM taking those hits than 20-40 Point Death Company or Sanguinary Guard.

      Also an excellent point on the other means of reducing Scatter. I'm used to thinking of them in the context of a Vanilla Marine Army, where most of those other options aren't available.

    3. Ah yes I think Alex added me on there recently!

      I hadn't considered that tactic actually which is really good, its always nice to have people fill in holes that I've left out of an article. I think that not crossing my mind probably stems from me designed themed lists like all death company lists for example. So please keep the good nuggets coming :)

      Yeah there are some good formations from shield of baal that while limiting because you have to take specific units are great for reducing scatter of deep striking units, I'm also a fan of using inquisitors with servo skulls for a 6 inch reduction in scatter as they are just our there to begin with and are a minimal investment.

      I may write an article on inquisitors and their uses in the future in fact.

      hopefully I'll have the final section of this review up late this week then I'll move on to something else or just more hobbying!

  2. Hammer of wrath hits with unmodified strengh and without any special rules that model have.

    And 2 sponson flamers are worse than heavy bolters because you steal hits from your main flame canon, because you have to resolve one template after another.
    So if first one make some damage second one hits less.
    Not to mention that with heavy bolters you're able to shoot with both guns (second one will be snap shooting) and you don't steal hits from your main turret gun and still able to turn Baal with the front armor towards the enemy.

    But still - losing scout, flamer-baal became useless kamikaze

    1. I did mention the HoW attacks are only strength 4? Its just the regular attacks that hit at S5.

      I prefer the flamers because although you can only shoot two, you can get great coverage of horde blob squads (where numbers of to hit isn't really an issue) as you can face them side on (indeed as you point out conceding a weaker facing as a detriment) and the flamers have lots of coverage to get lots of hit. And there other job is to flush enemies out of cover, if these horde (and therefore you will have lots of models to hit) they are likely to be high armour save models that ignores the AP of the flamers anyway. In which case doubling up on the same area is preferable.

      Honestly, if I want Dakka on vehicles I'd honestly rather spend 25 pts more and get 2 razorbacks with twin linked assault cannons. They don't need the over charged engines as they only have the 1 weapon to fire anyway and they can carry troops in a pinch.

      The flamer variant of the Baal predator brings the flamestorm AP3 cannon on a fast relatively cheap vehicle which nothing else can (only the land raider variant has that one) and its uniquely blood angel. And I'm a sucker for our unique stuff :P

      Thanks for the comment though, its always nice to debate things :) Come back again!

    2. Actually, you resolve all templates (from a unit) at the same time. Common misconception.