40K: Are the New Blood Angels Viable Again?

The Blood Angels slow downward spiral may be over.  Here’s why!

Blood Angels are my favorite army so I’m excited to see the rules coming out from the new codex. As is the way of the Internet players want to size them up right away to see how they will stack up versus the current meta and see if they can shift the meta.

The Blood Angel’s Twisting Path
There has already been some discussion as to the nerfing of the Blood Angels assault Marines… Going on what I’ve heard they no longer count as a troop and have been moved back to Fast Attack. By my count they were only a troop choice at most twice out of five codices (2nd edition Angels of Death, 3rd edition, 4th edition White Dwarf-PDF, 5th edition and 7th edition). To me it’s not a big deal and I’m liking what I’ve heard about the new tactical Marines plus scouts in general are quite popular now. To be honest I can’t remember the last time I saw anyone competitively fielding Blood Angels… Their downward spiral coincided with the release of 5th edition Grey Knights. A lesser nerf is Dante no longer makes Sanguinary Guard count as objective secured but really many of us knew this would most likely be the case.

The Early Standouts
The three units that stand out to me so far are Dante, Sanguinary Guard and Death Company. The latter two units have both received a significant reduction in points plus Sanguinary Guard can now be taken up to ten per squad. My third edition army featured a full squad of Honor Guard with jump packs and all the characters (Sanguinary Priest, Techmarine, Sergeant and Standard Bearer) plus a large contingent of jump pack Death Company… It was good times for sure and now this style can be played again. I know that Sanguinary Guard are not the same thing as Honor Guard but being able to field a squad of ten with some characters attached can be just as good if not better (e.g., the 2+ armor save). Dante is now where we always wanted him to be with Eternal Warrior and an AP2 axe that swings at initiative

The Big “IF”
The big question is can a jump heavy army be competitive versus the likes of eldar, Tau, Space Marines and Imperial Knights. Obviously I haven’t played a game yet with the new rules but my gut feeling is yes they can. From what I’ve read so far you can field a mobile army with good short range fire power and it’s going to be very powerful in mėlee… The real question to me is how to reliably deliver the army into close combat circumventing all the massive amounts of fire power we now see. If this is possible then Blood Angels can shift the meta.

The inclusion of some drop podding units such as Tactical Marines and Dreadnoughts can serve as both a distraction for the power house jump units and provide a limited alpha strike. So jump Assault Marines are a thing of the past – every point spent towards a Marine with a jump pack strapped across his back should be going towards the elite choices. I can see Assault Marines still filling a vital role with five man squads with two meltaguns dropping down in pods.

Only time will tell if the new Blood Angels can compete on the top tables – my gut feeling could be wrong but I think some of the more intrepid players will give them a chance and I’ve got an army case full of them.

-BlackBlowFly

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