Before you sit down and build an army list you should have a plan. What do you want the list to be able to do? How do you plan to win the game? What sorts of other lists will your list have trouble with?
If you are playing a heavily meched up BA list then you are likely taking advantage of the discount on transport vehicles for assault squads and you’re going to spam them. Meaning you are going to have five or six minimum sized assault squads, each with a melta gun and possibly with or without a power fist/weapon on the veteran sergeant.
You’re going to have this backed up by anywhere from four to six predators. (Baals from the fast attack org slots and regular space marine predators from the heavy support org slots) Another school of thought here is that you could use Vindicators in the heavy support slots. With all these tanks you are going to have the ability to do TONS of tank shocking and while it might be risky you’ll have the ability to bunch up enemy troops and drop pie plates on them. That tactic is not for the feint of heart though as you can scatter on to your own tanks. Still might be worth it, especially if it isn’t a kill point mission and your transport is already empty.
That leads me to the main question and point of the article. This type of list should never step foot on the ground. Your squads should be nicely buttoned up in their razorbacks all game long, never exposing themselves to small arms fire that would give them a reason to use their feel no pain.
If there ‘should’ be no reason to use feel no pain, and you won’t be on the table to execute any charges, then you don’t need a priest. Or do you?
Is one of the greatest strengths of the Blood Angel codex ever worth not fielding? It is 50 points for naked priest. If he is near even 10 marines you are basically paying 5 points each for feel no pain and furious charge. If he is around 20 marines then that effective cost is halved.
The priest helps keep everyone around him alive for longer. So while you intend to never be on the table top with your troops we all know that playing against the higher end lists that your AV 11 transport vehicles will be turned into slag at some point during the game. You will find yourself trying to hold an objective later in the game with a handful of Assault Marines doing their best to crouch behind cover.
While feel no pain won’t work on everything, having the 50/50 chance of re-passing those crucial failed armor saves to multi laser and heavy bolter fire is amazing. It can be the difference between tying a close game and losing it completely.
Think of a priest like an insurance policy. You might never need it, but when you do you’ll be thanking your lucky stars that you have it.
To answer the question: Does a Blood Angel mechanized list need Priests? I say yes. The list needs them as much as any list ever needs anything. There are ways to win with many different combinations but in any way you look at it the priest is always a smart buy.
What’s your take on BA Priests? A luxury for the point rich, or “never leave home without it”?