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Blood Angels: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Part 2: Troops and Elites

10 Minute Read
Dec 24 2014
We’re back with part 2 of the Blood Angels Review! Check out the Tactics Corner for more great articles. 

The Good

Tactical Squads
You know em, you love em. Not much sense in spending a lot of time on Tactical Marines as they are the mainstay of the game. The Blood Angels version, besides being red and angry, sport some shiny kit not available to all the other chapters. For one, the very awesome Heavy Flamer which I have been wanting to see on a Tactical Squad for ages. This gives you a mobile heavy weapon that meshes really well with the bolters of the unit. Pair this with a flamer in the unit and melta bombs on sarge and you have a great, well rounded scoring unit. Or, toss them a melta gun and twin melta pistols on the sarge and you have a very well rounded unit able to deal with armor and infantry. Toss these fellas in a fast Rhino or Drop Pod and profit. Combat Squads is almost always the way to roll with them (apart from Kill Point style missions) and a cool little tidbit: it appears that a combat squaded unit in a Rhino can fire one model from each combat squad at two different targets out of the hatch of a Rhino. Cool! Plus, Furious Charge obviously helps when they have to fix bayonets and resort to fisticuffs.
Scout Squad
I love Scouts, not gonna deny it. So, take my bias into consideration, but, evidence on the tabletop has borne out my enthusiasm for the little buggers. Scouts, infiltrate, MtC, ATSKNF, and Grenades=a killer value for 11pts per model. Combine this with the fact that BA Scouts have Furious Charge and possibly +1 In on the charge if you use the BA Detachment, and they are really solid. You’d be surprised what Scouts can take out in melee if you dog pile the target with them. The clear choice for their kit (IMO) is to run them in assault mode with pistol and shank, with a either a melta bomb on sarge, or go for the gusto and upgrade to a vet sarge and give him a power sword or maul to take advantage of the In and strength boost. You can always toss them a teleport homer if you plan on bringing in some Termies, too, as they tend to be in good position.
Death Company Squad
This is the gem of the Elites slot, for me.  The iconic Blood Angels unit got worse in some ways, better in others, but on the whole is a great addition to your army. They still pack some great rules such as Furious Charge, Rage, FnP, Relentless and Fearless. They also get Jump Packs at only 3pts per model, which makes them very efficient for what you get. That, plus the fact they don’t have to pay for a Priest for FnP, come with Rage, don’t need to buy a Sarge and the fact that they can hide the heavy hitting weapons in their unit makes these the best choice for building an assault unit, in my eyes. They’re fast, reliable, hit quite hard, are reasonably durable, and provide a tremendous escort for a character that can keep up with them, or work well on their own. In my opinion, running them cheap is imporant. Just Jump Packs, a pair of Fists and nothing else. Their high volume of strength 5 attacks (5 per model) when they assault will mulch most things, and 8 hidden strength 9 fists on the assault will take out most other problems you may find yourself facing in a game. Consider Astorath as the reroll to hit and wound for them cranks their damage output up to an 11, and makes them ultra reliable. You could also run them in a Pod if you wanted as they could double tap and then assault the next turn after double tapping Bolters again (Relentless), or even run them with Bolters and Jump Packs for a different approach to the unit (Fist should pair with Bolters anyway for the extra shots and as they are Relentless, it won’t prevent assaults).You can also run them with powerful utility characters such as Azrael to give them a 4++ and really crank up their durability. The possibilities for a strong foundation of a unit like this are limitless. I give Death Company two thumbs up!
Sanguinary Guard
I had a tough time making up my mind as to whether I felt these guys belonged in the Ugly or Good category. They have a lot to like, 2+, fast, str 4 ap 4 assault 2, 12″ shooting, master crafted power weapons, can cause fear…all good for a reasonable price point considering what you get. You can give them all melta pistols, a Chapter Banner which grants +1 attack, or a power fist or Encarmine Axe (master crafted, two handed power axe). They don’t have an invul save, which can obviously be a bummer vs. the wrong opponent, and they are not cheap for a 1 wound model. However, they do give you a lot for the points when taken into consideration as a unit and if you take 5 with no upgrades, that only runs you 165pts. 2 swords, 3 axes, and you have a solid flanking unit that can gobble up lighter scoring units and vehicles with ease for not too many points. Play them conservatively, pick your targets well, and you will have a lot of success with them. Toss them into something good in assault and you will be a sad panda as you pick up your be-nippled, golden warriors by the handful. For extra oomph, run them with a Priest with a jump pack if you up them to more than 5 models, and they can do some work but they function just fine on their own, too. Just be wary of investing too many points into them as they can get smoked fast by ap 2 attacks. In all, the Bling Wing can get it done if you play them smart and I think will really have a place in an MSU build, so Good is my final vote.
Assault Terminators
Hammernators are the only version that still get it done. Lighting Claws look baller, with +1 strength and In they occasionally will rock the house, but in general terms, simply don’t work well enough.  Hammernators are durable enough and hit hard enough that they still rate as an all around melee threat that warrants their points cost. Stick them in a pod, or a Land Raider and go to town. They don’t even need character support (one of their strengths) but obviously a Priest helps with +1 WS and FnP, although often the things they end up fighting ignore FnP, sadly. Astra Militarum Priests are an incredible boost for them as they allow them to reroll saves or wounds, which if it goes off, is bananas and makes them one of the best assault units in the game. Really, the only question to ask yourself with a unit like this is how you are going to get them into combat. Once there, they handle the rest. Just be wary of units with a boat load of attacks that swing first as that is the weakness of Hammernators. If you think you will be facing these types of opponents, be sure to bring a tank character along to soak the chaff, or a Priest for that nice FnP bonus.
Just like regular Sternguard, but cheaper (10pts cheaper for the squad over the Marine version) and come with Furious Charge. What’s not to like? Sternguard are an excellent unit. Poison 2+ shooting minces MCs, Ignores Cover rounds helps a ton to mitigate all the silly Shrouding in the game at present, and they aren’t bad in a fist fight, either. They go great in a Pod or on Foot. Sternguard are a great, all around unit that will not disappoint you.

The Bad

Dreadnought (All varieties)
I want to love them. I have like, 9 or 10 at this stage. But, simply put, Dreads do not get it done in most cases in a competitive 7th ed environment. Some folks out there love them and have success with them and I salute those of you who do. But, there is a reason you never see them at top tables in tournaments and that is because they are just too easy to kill in this edition and don’t put out that much damage, generally speaking. If you can get them into the right target in melee, they can be all stars, but typically they tend to be a liability. Single shot weapons just don’t get it done in a meta of MCs that have high cover saves and lots of wounds, and even the Assault Cannon which used to be great, is a bit of a wet noodle compared to what is out there these days. AV12 just falls flat in the face of the insane firepower that units like Flyrants, Wave Serpents and Missilesides put out. Combine that with the fact that they are slow, take cover saves like vehicles and you have a recipe for disappointment. If only Dreads were just MCs, they’d be rock stars, but alas, they are not. Sorry, buddy, maybe next edition!
Now, those general statements aside, there are some ways to use them if you have your heart set on it. Drop Pods, particularly the Dreadnought Drop Pod (FW model) help a ton. A Pod will obviously get you into position reliably, but the Dread Drop Pod deserves special mention. You can stay inside it if you need the protection for a turn, and it provides Shrouding to itself, the Dread if it is standing on one of the ramps, and to units behind it that the enemy draws LoS to. It is also an assault vehicle so if you opt to stay inside, you can assault the next turn (not the turn you come in, though). So, if you take a single Dread like the Death Company or Furioso, this would be my preferred method of getting them there. Or, if you really want to give it the old heave ho, take a LOT of them, all in Dread Drop Pods, and you stand very good odds of getting a significant number of them into melee where they can do some serious work. Outside of specialized functions or lists such as those though, I have to give a sad thumbs down to ye old Dreads this edition baring those with some really powerful mitigating special rules.
Tactical Terminators
Sigh, much like Dreads, I love them, have tons of them, but they are quite simply overpriced for what you get in this edition. You never see Tactical Terminators, anymore, which is sad. They are just too expensive for a single wound model with a meh gun and decent assault. Yes, a fist is great, but they rarely survive in the numbers you need to do anything with them. The issue is that while yes, on paper they have good gear and stats, smart players either shoot them with ap2 and 1 weapons where their 5++ leaves them gutted, or simply throws dice ad them and those 1’s come along eventually. In melee, MC swing first usually, and kill so many of them, they don’t have the gusto left to deal a killing blow. If every Termie had an Assault Cannon or something, then we’d be talking, but as is they need a pretty serious points reduction to be effective for a competitive list.
Vanguard Veterans
Yeah, they still aren’t good. Expensive, and absolutely pale in comparison to Death Company. There is no reason to take them over DC, for my money. You save a point per model and gain Heroic Intervention (no penalty for multi assault) but lose so many USRs, it just isn’t worth it.

The Ugly

Command Squad
Command Squad in the Elites section, no longer tied to an HQ model…interesting. This is a funky little unit. Typically, the best bet for a Command Squad was 4-5 special weapons, maybe the Apothecary, toss them in a pod or on bikes and go hunting big game. This unit quite clearly wants to be built for assault though (must take the apoth and Company Champion). The Champ has to challenge (lame), and comes with a power sword and combat shield which are OK, but he does have Furious Charge and is WS5. Not bad, but not that great, honestly, as in a challenge he will get the royal beat down against anything that is geared for combat. FnP helps of course, but obviously not against ID attacks. 3 Special Weapons isn’t bad on the vets, but you pay for that champ who dilutes their potency in shooting and doesn’t help a ton in assault. If you do kit them for assault, they get mega expensive, quick, and are easy to kill while being limited to 5 bodies means they don’t hit all that hard and each casualty really hurts. You could give 3 of them Storm Shields and if the whole unit has jump packs, they’re a sort of flying tar pit, but that’s a lot of points to spend for that utility. I’d rather take Death Company or Sanguinary Guard for the assault role who are typically better and cheaper, and these chaps simply don’t shoot that well. So, for their slightly confused role, they are not bad at all, but not great either. I’d pass.

He looks like death on wheels, but’s he’s very pricey, not that durable, and doesn’t hit that hard (although admittedly, he can mince vehicles). Now, that’s not to say he’s bad, he isn’t at all, but is it worth this price tag to take him over Astorath to go with Death Company (he can only join DC)? IMO, no. For a few dollars more, you get better offense and utility with Astorath. So again, not bad, but not great. Use him for a themed DC unit and you won’t be disappointed but won’t be overwhelmed, either.

Agree, disagree?  Get your thoughts in the comments!

Reece Robbins
Author: Reece Robbins
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