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40k – Tactica: Against the Blood Angels Razorspam

7 Minute Read
Aug 26 2011
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Bigred asked the BoLS staff to write about how to defeat competitive lists after some players had returned from Switzerland.   Imperius Dominatus responded.

Razorback Blood Angels or Razorspam Angels can really cause some issues for some people. Whether this is gaming issues or just plain annoying Blood Angels mostly tend to come across as annoying and perhaps the most annoying army out there. A lot of people don’t like these style of lists calling them cheesy, beardy etc etc. They probably fit the with the term competitive better, though this can also be false depending on the player using said list. I prefer the term optimized.

I’m going to take my own Blood Angel mech list and use this as a example of a Razor list. In this post I’ll be taking a older codex, Eldar and using a mech style list with them. I think the Eldar codex isn’t too bad. Some consider it old though, and not as strong as the latest batch of codexes by Matt Ward lol. My mate who I play regularly plays mech Eldar so I’ll take his list as a example. I’ll also note that we’ve had some close games together and he has beaten my Blood Angels before anyone cries out.

The goal of this article isn’t to say this is the only or best way to face down the razorspam list, but to give you a thought experiment on how it can be done, and the player’s thought process behind the attempt.

Blood Angels “Wing Striker” – 2,000 points

HQ
Librarian – shield of sanguinus & unleash rage
Librarian – shield of sanguinus & unleash rage
Honour Guard w/ Razorback – 2 x flamers – Razorback w/ lascannon & twin-linked plasma gun
Honour Guard w/ Razorback – 2 x meltaguns – Razorback w/ lascannon & twin-linked plasma gun

Elite
1 x Sanguinary Priest

Troops
5 x Assault Marines w/ Razorback – 1 x flamer – sgt w/ power weapon – Razorback w/ lascannon & twin-linked plasmagun
5 x Assault Marines w/ Razorback – 1 x flamer – sgt w/ power weapon – Razorback w/ lascannon & twin-linked plasmagun
5 x Assault Marines w/ Razorback – 1 x flamer – sgt w/ power weapon – Razorback w/ lascannon & twin-linked plasmagun
5 x Assault Marines w/ Razorback – 1 x meltagun – Razorback w/ lascannon & twin-linked plasmagun
5 x Assault Marines w/ Razorback – 1 x meltagun – Razorback w/ lascannon & twin-linked plasmagun
5 x Assault Marines w/ Razorback – 1 x meltagun – Razorback w/ lascannon & twin-linked plasmagun

Heavy Support
Vindicator
Vindicator

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Total: 2,000

Eldar “Wave-Walker” – 2,000 points

HQ
Eldrad
Autarch – fusion gun

Elites
5 x Fire Dragons w/ Wave Serpent – twin-linked shuriken cannon & shuriken cannon
5 x Fire Dragons w/ Wave Serpent – twin-linked shuriken cannon & shuriken cannon
5 x Fire Dragons w/ Wave Serpent – twin-linked shuriken cannon & shuriken cannon

Troops
5 x Dire Avengers w/ Wave Serpent – twin-linked shuriken cannon & shuriken cannon
5 x Dire Avengers w/ Wave Serpent – twin-linked shuriken cannon & shuriken cannon
5 x Dire Avengers w/ Wave Serpent – twin-linked shuriken cannon & shuriken cannon

Heavy Support
3 x War Walkers – 2 x eldar missile launchers per Walker
3 x War Walkers – 2 x eldar missile launchers per Walker
3 x War Walkers – 2 x eldar missile launchers per Walker

Target Priority

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First thing to do is pick out the threats in the Blood Angels army. The first thing the untrained eye is probably going to spot is the double Vindicators and probably rightly so. The Vindies are S10 AP2 large blast nastyness and can catch people off guard as they are fast vehicles so they can move 12″ and still fire. If the Blood Angel player starts 12″ from the board edge and moves 12″ that’s a total range of 48″, right across the board! Now the Vindicators in my list serve dual purpose 1. Anti horde and elite 2. Asborb fire. They do the second job much better (though my Vindies unnaturally hit a lot) which leaves the weaker Razorbacks to go without any issues. The more fire power the Vindicators asborb the better.

So far the Vindicators have been decided on as a threat. All Razorbacks are also a threat especially ones with melta, though the melta doesn’t get the 2D6 armour pen against the Wave Serpents it does get the AP1. Basically everything in this army is a threat.

Before moving on and doing tactics how to deal with these threats lets truely look at the real threats and actual strengths of the Blood Angels army from a Angel players perspective. Vindicators as I mentioned asborb fire power, though they can be a pain. While not a threat themselves Sanguinary Priests and Librarians are utility units which extend the life of the army. You kill the Librarians and Priests first then no more Feel no Pain, Furious Charge and 5+ cover saves. You take all that away and Blood Angels become a normal but fast moving Space Marine army.

Deployment

It’s difficult to talk about deployment in full detail due to who goes first, the setup and terrain. We will instead go into minor detail on this.

The Blood Angel player will most likely castle up to keep all the units together to benefit from the 5+ cover save. This can be a problem for any enemy unit wishing to get close as limited enemy units will feel the full wrath of the entire Blood Angels army. The Blood Angel in a castle formation will deploy in the centre or refused flank. Angels could also do split fire base – basically either way everything is going to have a 5+ cover save.

Now if the Eldar go second they should deploy refused flank if the Blood Angel player has split fire base. This way it is the full force of the entire Eldar army against a smaller portion of the Blood Angel army. Without full fire power support and weight of numbers the smaller part of the Angels army will fall.

If the Blood Angel player has deployed in the center then Eldar should deploy refused flank, again if going second. This will allow the Eldar to attack the Blood Angels from two directions, and using terrain for cover when approaching. With fire power coming from two different directions the Blood Angels player will have difficult choices to make in order to eliminate enemy units.

If the Eldar gets to go first it’s probably best to deploy refused flank and use Eldrad to fortune units. Or deploy in the centre using the Wave Serpents while War Walkers deploy along the Eldar table edge in the centre, left and right so they cover all angles. I personally wouldn’t use reserves but that’s just me.

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Trained to kill

Now Eldar know what to take out first and deployed they should have a easier time.

Presuming Eldar go first they should move into range as quickly as possible. Remember skimmers only need to go just over 12″ to claim they are moving flat out which gives them a 4+ cover save. Use this cover save and not going the maximum flat out speed to the Eldar advantage – this way you won’t be putting yourself into range so quickly and get cover save too. After all the Eldar guns except EMLs won’t be in range. Though just remember any skimmer going flat out and then is immobilised is actually wrecked, also based on my bad luck with dangerous terrain rolls for vehicles don’t go flat out into terrain either 😉

The War Walkers should now torrent Razorbacks carrying Librarians. If these Razorbacks are immobilised or stunned that’s a problem for the Angels player as the formation cannot move with been out of shield range or the Librarians need to bail out to move up with the formation. With the Librarians exposed from their own doing or from mass EML fire, use shuriken cannons to torrent them until dead – this may take a lot of shuriken fire thanks to feel no pain but the units are small and will go down.

Lets at this time presume the above took a turn to do and in the mean time the Blood Angels player would have shot those War Walkers and probably destroyed a entire units worth of War Walkers. Fire Dragons while a issue for the Blood Angel player, can be destroyed easily because they are a suicide unit and have to expose themselves (ohhh-err). The War Walkers are the immediate threats due to their range and can reach out and touch something along with their enormous amount of fire power. It just depends how much the Angel player is willing to risk once those Fire Dragons are in range. All in all the Eldar player should have a decent amount of anti tank left.

Continue to use the EMLs to blow open Razorbacks carrying Librarians and Priests, if possible use Fire Dragons to destroy a Honour Guard unit with those meltas, providing there’s no cover those Honour Guard are dead – feel no pain that! Yes I know Dragons are best destroying tanks but anything which can cut through power armour and stop feel no pain is awesome. Use the remaining Fire Dragons to neutralise the Vindicators, now you’re out the tanks (Fire Dragons only probably) the Vindicators have easier time taking out infantry than vehicles – especially Wave Serpents because of the pesky energy fields.

At this point it should be presumed at least a single Librarian should be dead along with a unit carrying a Priest, another Priest unit should be exposed. The Blood Angels shield protection has limited coverage and the Feel no Pain is running out. The Eldar should now strike at the units which have no protection from shield and Feel no Pain, like taking out the weak members of a herd. Just remember when picking the Angel units off try to stick with the plan and continue to take out the units which give the Blood Angels their strengths, after all those units are in Razorbacks and you’re reducing those in numbers too.

Once Librarians and Priests are dead the Blood Angels will be a lot easier to manage. Take out the units which threaten you the most and depending on your situation. It should just be a case of torrenting units until they’re dead – then rinse and repeat onto the next unit. Then give yourself a pat on the back as you should have defeated a nasty Blood Angels list.

I hope this helps people realise that tough lists like mech Blood Angels can be defeated (I’m sure people will say they already can) with a little thought. Eldar was just a example of using a older or should I say “elder” codex lol to do that. If you have another older codex i.e Tau the same should still apply, which is basically focussing on good target priority.

So, what are your most dreaded matchups between the new “power builds” and your favorite older codex, and how do you cope out on the tabletop?  The floor is yours Generals.

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