Meanwhile, this is the first post in another guest post series by Matt as, like with the Grey Knights, he's far more familiar with their rules and how to use them to great effect on the battlefield. Over to Matt...
Hello everyone, I've returned for another codex review on Alex’s blog due to my favourite (and first ever) army getting a new codex.
This is my second review after doing the GK codex a while back. I will be sticking to the same format of first looking at army wide rules and wargear before moving onto units one FOC section at a time. I will only be reviewing units that are unique to Blood Angels (or have unique abilities etc.) as we all know what a space marine bike squad does or a drop pod, although they may get mentioned when discussing tactics and army choices.
I also like to try and review the codex based on its own merit without too much comparison to how it was before. It is irrelevant how it was before because those rules are now obsolete, a much more useful thing is to look at how the rules in this codex will work in 7th when compared to other current armies, which is the angle I will look at it from.
Army Wide Special Rules
Combat squads – I only mention this to point out that neither Sanguinary Guard nor Death Company squads have this rule. Death Company perhaps makes sense as they are a bit too mental to tactically break off into smaller units, but you would think Sanguinary Guard would be able to.
Furious Charge – Everyone in the codex has this, which is great and really makes sense for Blood Angels. That extra strength on the charge really makes a difference too especially when charging with a large number of attacks (don't forget this doesn't work on disordered charges).
Most of these only affect the warlord and so the table is somewhat similar to the personal table in the main rulebook.
- Warlord has Rampage – a bit rubbish, your warlord is often going to be in a unit and so you often won't even get the benefit.
- Warlord gets +1 Initiative – Also a bit rubbish, your warlord's initiative will already be quite high, it could make a difference sometimes and is better than the previous one I suppose.
- Make a weapon master crafted – perhaps the worst one yet? Re-roll one dice to hit if it's a one. It's fluffy as Blood Angels like to make stuff, but they could have done something better than this like +1 strength to a weapon or something
- Warlord has Adamantium Will – now sometimes this really does help, but its still a rubbish trait, if someone really wants to get a power off against you they often will and +1 to Deny is not going to help, sometimes you will roll this when the opponent doesn't even have any psykers.
- Descent of Angels – finally a good trait! All skimmers, flyers and jump units re-roll reserve rolls. This is excellent, even if it's just to get your Stormraven in. Plus D6” less scatter on jump and skimmer Deep Strike, which is also great and allows for much riskier deep striking to get those meltaguns in range or to stop enemy units getting out of charge range
- All armies of Imperium units are fearless within 12”. This could be awesome if used correctly. The warlord could be in the middle of an Astra Militarum infantry army for example, making the entire army fearless.
The best one here is clearly number 5, which thankfully is Dante's warlord trait....
Most unit specific wargear I will cover when I come to review that specific unit. But there are a few Blood Angel only pieces which can be purchased for a range of units that I want to look at:
Overcharged Engines – One of the best things in the entire codex! Make any vehicle (except Land Raiders) gain the 'fast' unit type. Awesome! Especially on Whirlwinds…… OK, not Whirlwinds (unless the only opponents you play are Orks). But Vindicators really do benefit from this upgrade. A Vindicator always seems great on paper with a S10 AP2 large blast, until you remember its only 24” range. But make a Vindicator Fast and now it can move 12” before firing giving it an effective 36” range, much more viable.
However, my favourite always has been, and probably still is, Fast Predators. Many people will think that making a predator Fast is not worth it, these people are wrong. Making it fast allows you to move it up to 6” and still fire all weapons, this is infinitely better than pivoting on the spot for getting firing solutions and for making it harder for close assault units to get to you and to hit you if they do. Also you can move 12” and still fire 2 of the weapons on full BS compared to all on snap shot without overcharged engines. Predators can be kitted out in many different ways and are perhaps a little underrated at the moment. I used to run mine with autocannon turret and lascannon sponsons, but with the changes to vehicle damage and lower costs I actually think that the classic predator annihilator (all lascannons) is the best way to kit them out for tank and MC hunting. The other way to kit them out is autocannon and heavy bolter sponsons, which puts out 8 shots per turn, 3 of these gives you loads of dakka and will cause massive damage against infantry heavy armies.
Don't forget being Fast allows BA vehicles to deliver passengers and get to objectives much quicker. A Fast Rhino with objective secured could be a game winner.
Magna Grapple – These are great, giving dreadnoughts Move Through Cover all the time and also Fleet when charging vehicles really makes a dreadnought a more tempting option. I'll cover this in more detail when I get to dreadnoughts in the elite section.
Relics of Baal
I'll only talk about the ones that are perhaps worth considering here:
Angels Wing – a jump pack with re-roll scatter (this coupled with Descent of Angels is almost as good as not scattering). Plus can only be Snap Shot when intercepted, makes landing next to Riptides safer (assuming you can kill it before the Tau player's next turn). Also, re-roll results on mishap table makes risking those tight Deep Strike spots much safer. This is definitely worth considering if you plan on deep striking a jump unit in.
Veritas Vitae – gives another roll on Strategic table. If you are not taking a special character as warlord then I suggest taking this and rolling on the Strategic table twice. It is the best warlord trait chart in 40K at the moment so getting two traits from it is great (especially when a CAD will give you a re-roll on the first one - ed.).
Gallian's Staff – this is just like the Liber Daemonica in the GK codex in that it allows you to re-roll 1s when making psychic tests. This is great except it causes an automatic wound if you re-roll a one into a one, which happens to me regularly, so I think I’ll be steering clear. Not bad for the points though I suppose
Valours Edge – for 5 points more than a power sword this is well worth it. I would argue that it is as good if not better than a power fist in many situations. Allows you to strike at Initiative and gives the additional attack if paired with a pistol. This is the sword that Mephiston should have :(
Baal Strike Force
As a BA player you should always run this detachment over a CAD. It is same as a Combined Arms Detachment except that you have to have at least one Elite and can have up to 4, which is nice for lots of Dreadnoughts or Death Company etc. But what makes this detachment great is the +1 Initiative to all BA units on the charge for the entire game. This puts all units on at least Initiative 5, which is above most other armies average initiative. Couple this with Furious Charge and loads of attacks and you will be able to create units that can potentially wipe out enemy units before they can even strike back!
That's it for the first post then. Matt will return in a couple of days with a look at the HQ section. Feel free to post comments here and I'll get Matt to respond. I hope you enjoy the review and that it helps see the silver lining in this book.