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Blood Angels: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Part 3 of 3: Fast Attack, Heavy Support and LoW

10 Minute Read
Dec 30 2014
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Hey everyone, Reecius here to finish this review! In this final installment, we’ll cover Fast Attack, Heavy Support and Lords of War choices. 

The Good

Rhinos
It’s a Rhino, but faster! Not much to say beyond the fact that it does what a Rhino does for 10pts more, but at turbo speed. Considering that the new Tactical Squads are so solid, and units like Sternguard love the old trusty, Rhino, it’s a great choice. Lastly, a potentially ObSec unit that can cover this much ground is never a bad investment. As for upgrades, possibly Dozer Blades, or the cheap, extra Storm Bolter as being a fast vehicle, the Rhino will always be able to shoot both at full BS so long as it doesn’t go flat out.  Baring that I would keep ’em cheap. Also as a fast choice, you can opt to take a Rhino on its own, which doesn’t do a lot for Blood Angels themselves, it does open up a lot of wonky combos with allies. Might not be a bad ride for your Culexus assassin!
Razorbacks
As above, they’re the vehicle we know and love, but faster at an increased price. Being able to move 12″ and still fire is a nice little bonus for the Razorback. The load-out that takes maximum advantage of this is the Las-Cannon with Twin Plasma gun, although any of the other options can have a place. I have always loved the Twin Assault Cannon.  Raozrbacks aren’t what they were in 5th ed by any means, and will lose a shoot-out with MC’s or Wave Serpents (stupid Serpent Sheidl, lol!), but with Knights so prevalent  fast Razorbacks flying around the flanks as harassing units can help to take those big buggers down. Again, if they are ObSec (dedicated transport for an ObSec unit, or have an ObSec unit inside), they can also win you the game. They also provide a nice way to get the very appealing 5 man, dual Melta Assault Squads around the table. Same concepts apply to the fast attack Razorback as to the Rhino.
Drop Pod
A Drop Pod in the fast slot is good fun. As with the Rhino, the crazier aspects of it really show when used with allies. Centurions in a Drop Pod, or IG Command Squads with 4 special weapons, Ogryn/Bullgryn, Sisters of Battle, etc. Let your imagination go wild!
As a transport for Blood Angels, they’re fantastic as Blood Angels can min/max like crazy. You can take 2 meltas in an Assault Squad riding in a pod for a song. These units are excellent for killing Knights. Drop down so that each melta gun is in a different arc of the Knight’s armor and you are sure to bypass the Ion Shield with at least one of the guns. Plus, again, if the unit is ObSec, it can be great for holding or contesting objectives (although, even non-ObSec versions can do this, too, of course). Blood Angels can make a great Drop Pod army between all of the tools they have available to them. Death Company, Sternguard, Tactical Marines, Dreadnaughts and Assault marines will form the core of this, but there are a great deal of options available when taking Drop Pods.
Assault Squads
No, they are not troops anymore, but as Blood Angels are a codex standard chapter, it was always kind of weird that they were. However, there are detachments now that let you take them en masse, so, for all of you out there with loads of them, hopefully you don’t feel too put off. Assault Marines are cheap which is their main strength, and they come stock with Furious Charge, which is obviously helpful in melee. With the potential +1 Initiative from the BA Detachment and some of the Formations, they can be fairly good in assault. However, the real strength they provide (IMO) is the ability to pack in 2 Melta Guns or Plasma Guns in a 5 man unit (I guess none of the other chapters have mastered the skill or holding something besides a Flamer with a jump pack yet, lol). This means you can min/max these guys like crazy for a cheap price point, pack ’em in a pod or keep them standard with Jump Packs and you have a solid little unit. As with any MSU list, everything counts in large amounts, so taking 3 units of these will give you some powerful options for battling armor and Knights.
Bike Squad
They’re not White Scars, but, they do what all Biker units do: provide you with mobility and fire-power on the cheap. A unit of 3 with twin melta/grav/plas/flamer are all good. Toss in a M.Melta Attack Bike and for a low price point you get a lot of punch. Furious Charge is just icing on the cake.

Attack Bike Squad
As above: speed and firepower. Heavy Bolters or Multi-Meltas have a place. Heavy Boltes+Twin Bolters on a speedy unit are solid for hunting MSU scoring units like Eldar Jetbikes, Scout squads, etc. or for hunting light transports. With Furious Charge, they can go into melee against small units like that and do quite well. The Multi-Melta version is obviously nice for hunting heavier units, particularly armor. In all, these often overlooked units are quite useful.
Stormraven Gunship
At 200pts base, the Stormaraven gives you a lot of utility. It’s mobile, fairly durable, packs solid firepower, and can transport valuable units around the tabletop. As it is a heavy slot choice, it isn’t competing with those valuable fast attack choices. I always prefer the twin Assault Cannon and twin Multi-Melta load out for versatility. I tend to pass on the Hurricane Bolters as they are quite pricey, but they are certainly not a bad choice and when they are good, they’re really good. As units inside can opt to disembark even if the Stormraven has moved over 6,” you have the ability to put them nearly anywhere on the table to snatch up objectives or strike at enemy targets. Just be careful with what you put in the vehicle, as flying transports that eat it tend to kill their passengers. The locator Beacon is a solid choice here for ensuring your cargo lands where you want them. Lastly, and obviously, the Stormraven provides some solid AA vs. FMCs or Flyers.
Devastator Squad
Same old unit you know and love. They’re cheap, and pack solid firepower. The Furious Charge is a bit wasted here, but oh well. Many Chapter Tactics are lost on Devs. What they do is provide solid firepower at a very reasonable price point on an Infantry body that is easily protected with cover.

Predator
Predators haven’t been good in ages, but, a fast predator makes all the difference. Unlike the Baal Pred, which must get close to fire its main weapons and thus expose it’s vulnerable flanks and rear armor, the Predator Annihilator can stay back at maximum range, protecting it’s weak sides, and put 3 Las Cannon shots downrange while staying mobile for the same price point as a 5 man Dev squad with 4 las cannons. Or, you can opt for the old trusty Auto-Cannon/Las-Cannon load out to save points and still provide some valuable firepower on the move. The Predator Destructor load out though, still simply lacks the firepower to contribute a whole lot. Not bad, but you can get more for less in other units.
Commander Dante
Eternal Warrior on one of the oldest Space Marines in the game…finally! Oh, and this I6 model’s axe is no longer Unwieldy, lols. Glad they fixed that. Commander Dante is a very solid choice. He provides a lot of utility, hits hard, is fast, beefs up your army, is fairly durable, and gives his unit Hit and Run.  Not bad at all. His Warlord Trait allows you to play your Blood Angels largely as you did last edition, with rerolls to reserves and only a D6″ scatter for Jump, Flyer and Skimmer units. He can go up to Strength 7, AP2 on the charge with 6 attacks, and if you beef him up with psychic buffs, can get 10 attacks on the carge! I would run him with Death Company, personally, or Sanguinary Guard, and let him do his thing. In a Descent of Angels style list, you pretty much have to take Dante to get the most out of him. In all, a great LoW for a Blood Angels Player.

The Bad

Gabriel Seth
Le sigh. I love Seth’s model, dig his fluff but his rules fall flat. With just a few changes here or there, he’d be all right, but as is there isn’t much reason to take him. As a LoW, you have to take another HQ, so why bother with Seth outside of fluff reasons? He does chop-chop vehicles really well with his Strength x2 + Furious Charge, Rending melee weapon. However, so do a lot of other things! He has mediocre defense (3+/4++, T4, 4 wounds, no EW), mediocre offense (AP4), and he’s slow to boot. He does have Rage, can have Rampage if he is the Warlord, and in the right circumstances could do some work, but in general terms he falls just shy of the mark in too many categories to warrant taking him outside of a Flesh Tearers themed list.

The Ugly

Land Speeder Squadrons
They just aren’t what they used to be. They are not bad at all, but in a meta of ultra durable targets like FMCs in cover, etc. a unit that is fairly pricey that can get smoked in a single shot vs. targets which cannot, tends to be a liability. They still can function well as a flanking/harassing unit, though. I prefer the Typhoon load-out as range is often the Land Speeder’s best asset for staying alive. That said, they do tend to give up First Blood/Kill Points quite easily, and suffer to anything that is fast and hit’s decently hard: Ie. flyers.
Scout Bikers
I want to love these guys so much! However, they are just a bit too weak for what they do. If they had even a 3+, it would tip them over into the good category. Sure, Scouts have a 4+ as a theme of sorts, but even Guardian Jetbikes get a 3+! Anyway, they don’t hit very hard, even with the Astartes Grenade Launchers due to their low BS, but with a Locator Beacon, Scouts and Infiltrate, there is a lot of room for combos in there if you can pull it off. In an MSU list they could be used to bring in Drop Pods or other Deep Striking units (including out of a Stormraven). With Furious Charge, they hit OK in melee. But in general, these guys may look cool, but they just don’t contribute that much to a list.
Baal Predator
This was a tough call, as they do provide some solid firepower, but, for 30pts over a Razorback which can do dang near the same thing, the Baal Pred really only has his AV13 front armor to justify this points increase. Considering the massive firepower of many things in the game now, and the speed which flyers and FMCs can bypass that front arc on a vehicle that has to get within 24″ to fire, it really isn’t that hot. Yes, at times it will be awesome, but for my money I’d rather have a Razorback that can also transport a unit. Heavy Bolters do help the damage output which is nice, but bring this unit up to a hefty price point. The Flamestorm cannon has never worked on this vehicle, IME, so I don’t put much stock in it, particularly now that the vehicle can’t Scout/Outflank which were the only times I found that it got to fire even once.

Vindicator
In an edition of things that laugh at a single strength 10 shot on a relatively fragile predator chassis, the Blood Angels version being able to move 12″ and fire with Overcharged Engines saves this vehicle from going into the Bad category. It is still not amazing due to its potential inaccuracy on a vehicle that often only ever gets to fire once, but the extra speed helps a lot. It makes me sad that a weapon like the mighty Demolisher cannon can feel so underpowered. I’d like to see variable wound weapons back in the game, but hey, that is wish-listing. In reality a Vindicator will occasionally have a good game, but will typically disappoint.
Whirlwind
Well, it’s what you get for barrage! As always, the Whirlwind is solid for hunting weak units which we see a lot in the game now for objective taking in both mission styles, but it really doesn’t hit that hard, can often miss and is easy to destroy. Not bad, but not great, either.
Land Raiders
They’re a mainstay unit of the game and represent the classic big risk/big reward unit. They can be amazing, providing solid firepower on the move while delivering a powerful unit into melee. They can also get blown up on the first shot, leaving you 250+pts poorer and your nasty assault unit with a long walk into enemy guns ahead of it. Some folks love Land Raiders, some don’t. I have 3, personally, but tend to leave them at home in tournament games in favor of more reliable, less risky, cheaper alternatives. However, when they do work, they work in a big way. I just find that in a multi-round event, your odds of drawing an army that can easily destroy a Land Raider at range are high enough to make them just too risky to invest points into. YMMV, and I know a lot of folks that swear by them.
Check out the Tactics Corner for more great reviews!

Well, that’s a wrap! We’ll provide more coverage on BA detachments and formations at a later date. For now, what types of Blood Angels lists are you thinking about taking?

Reece Robbins
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