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Goatboy’s Warhammer 40K – Codex Blood Angels First Impressions

9 Minute Read
Nov 30 2020
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Goatboy here and I give thanks we got a new 40k codex – the Blood Angels Supplement! Let’s go over it.

Overall it isn’t too bad as it has a ton of characters, some decent updated Stratagems, and some interesting options.  The book screams to get into assault for sure – with so many things pushing it into the direction.  It makes me think building lists will move towards very aggressive styles – again going for a bully/pushing your opponent into their zone.  Thankfully there is a Stratagem designed to do that.  With that – let’s start at the top and make sure way to the bottom of this Supplement.

Secondaries

The Secondaries show up first and while they are not as good as the Space Wolves one (not as simple and easy to get) they are not bad if you build your army around it.  I talked about the Assault based on that activates if you have more units in your enemies deployment zone versus them having units in your deployment zone.  You get 4 points at the end of the turn so there are some easy ways to get this done with some Drop Pods, Death Company fast movement, and Upon Wings of Fire shenanigans.  This Secondary can hit 15 points pretty easily if you build your army around it so it can be useful.  I am not a fan of the Challenge Stratagem as the opponent gets to pick a character.  If you could pick someone you could call out that would be more interesting – but oh well.  If you are playing a majority Death Company army you could pick their Secondary that gives you 3 points a turn for killing something with the Death Company.  It isn’t too bad and you could mix this with Engage on all Fronts and another kill type option to load up on Secondaries that feed each other.  Death From Above is another weird one if you have a ton of redeploy/deep striking options in the army.  I don’t think it will be used but again – you can build an army around it. This is what I expect to happen as we finally get more events showing up and codexes coming out – building around Secondaries to hit that 45 on the back end.  Just like ITC moved into armies that forced bad decisions by opponents or just got specific missions very easily.

Detachments

We have 2 basic Detachment rules with the upgraded super Assault option and a new one detailing a Death Company based option called The Lost.  The upgraded Assault Doctrine detachment is pretty good as it gives you another Attack on top of all the other attack bonuses.  We have talked about how Death Company can hit up to 7 attacks a model so it is a scary thing to think about.  It again is an ability that will be active at most 3 turns in a game so it is something you need to think about when you hit that sweet turn 3 spot.  The Lost is a new Detachment that allows you to upgrade a Captain and 2 Lieutenants to “Death Company status” which changes their Auras to only effecting Death Company Core and gaining all the Black Rage goodness and badness.  You can also take regular Captains as well as the upgraded Death Company Captain isn’t the best to lead regular Marines because he is all angry and whatnot.  Each upgrade does cost points to the character but it isn’t too terrible to get a better punching Character and setting up your Death Company army.

Speaking about Death Company also get Death Vision extra rules that a character can “power up” once a game.  There is a Stratagem that lets you either do another one or power up 2 at once.  This isn’t too bad as you either get to hit more times, get a 3+ invulnerable save, or cause a decent amount of mortal wounds.  On top of all of that – you got the Black Rage which gives you another attack, a 6+ Feel No Pain (up to a 5+ with a Stratagem), and you can’t fall or perform actions.  Again this type of army is pretty much locked into the whole – get there, get punching, and take all their damned candy.

Stratagems

Next up is the Stratagems which had a large number of changes.  Red Rampage is no longer a character bonus as it instead goes to a unit and gives them a chance to get another -1 to their AP for their melee attacks on wound rolls of a 6.  Upon Wings of Fire is basically the same with just wording to match the new editions reinforcement step etc.  Descent of Angels is also changed by removing the whole 3d6 charge but now you get a +1 to the hit roll and can ignore all modifiers to the charge roll.  I talked already about giving a +1 to FNP for Death Company and it again costs 1 for models under 5 and 2 for models over 5.  There is a weird Character Sacrifice style stratagem that forces opponents to only attack the Character if within Engagement range.  Too bad it excludes Vehicles as I could see it being amazing with Librarian Dreads.  Speaking of Librarians you get a simple 1CP cast another spell option that seems decent to get that extra Smite you need.  There is a Blood Chalice Stratagem that goes into letting you activate the Chalice again – which is a pretty powerful ability as you force it to be the Assault Doctrine phase for a unit.  You start to see the combo options with this rule as you can set up some nutty charges and assaults with your DC as needed.  They of course have the pregame move for DC again so expect to see that getting revved up if the Black Armored Blood Angels become a thing.

Warlords & Psychics

Warlord traits are pretty simple – Nothing too crazy. I do like the double Relic option as you can get a blinged-out Warlord if you want.  I am sure there are some fun combos with the regular Marine book Relics and Blood Angel options.  The Reroll 1 Wound, Hit, and one Saving throw role isn’t bad either as you can combo up with either a very powerful monster hitting warlord with dual Warlord Traits and even dual Relics.  It gets funky based on what you want to do there.  Heck, there is a fun combo with Flesh Tearers where you can have extra attacks based on models near you and then gain an extra hit on an unmodified roll of a  6.

The Psychic spells are ok – I like the flat 5+ invulnerable save you can give to a unit which is helpful for those DC Intercessors you can throw out.  Quickening seems destined to show up for Mephiston or the Librarian Dreadnought.  My Favorite is the Wings of Sanguinus as usual as you get to move 12″ after casting it and with the smaller tabletops you can get something mean right into your opponent’s business.  Overall the powers are ok – nothing that will break the game but all benefiting the style of brutal Assault army you expect for the Blood Angels.

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Relics

I like the Relics but always think there should be more.  Of course, I am not thinking about the ones in the main Marine book – so expect some of these to show up in Blood Angel armies.  The Teeth of Terra seems destined to show up in armies as all those extra attacks are pretty awesome of a unit killer.  I like Visage of Death as it turns off Objective Secured on units within 3″ which is pretty dang mean.  You also get a -1 to hit on top of that so it is pretty good.  It sucks you can’t take it on Librarian Dreadnoughts – but it seems something to think about for things like Primaris Chaplains on bikes or other big based characters.  The Icon of the Angel feels like a banner but it isn’t as it gives you a 6″ reroll charge bubble.  The Hammer of Baal is back and we know that it is pretty dang mean as well.  Flesh Tearers get two relics with the talked about Crimson Plate (faster-moving Terminator armor) and their Giant Chainsword of death.  The Special Issue Wargear that fits for Blood Angels is ok – nothing too spicy but there could be some fun combos to get more damage out of your weapons as needed.

The Units

Finally, we get to a large number of Dataslates and all the characters are there.  I would think we would have had an updated Dante model – but we still got the extremely old golden one to look at.  I like how Seth is a Chapter Master as well as Dante.  This is pretty handy if you want to play those characters as well.  I like how the Sanguinor can just show up if your opponent assaulted you which is pretty dang neat.  I talked a bit about the Blood Chalice ability and it seems pretty well set up to show up for Blood Angels armies.  The Sanguinary Priest can select a core unit within 6″ of the Command phase to act like it is the Assault Doctrine this turn.  With the Stratagem to allow you to do it twice and you start to see how you can have a ton of DC coming in hot very quickly.  Mephiston will be a monster as you can set up 3 spell turns with a Stratagem to fully set up his assault monster capabilities.  I also still like the Librarian Dread as he gets all the fun from being a Dreadnought and can cast spells like a boss.  If you are doing DC armies get ready to see Lemartes as he gives out a ton of “auras” with the ability to throw out a Litany.  Being able to auto pass a Prayer will be powerful indeed and he can throw two out a turn as needed.  Tycho is back too in all his old school model glory.

Onto the regular units we got Sanguinary Guard to think about as they have a decent number of attacks, still are core, and have the Jump Pack keyword.  I was hoping we would see them go to 3 wounds but that might be a little much on a jump unit that isn’t Primaris obviously.  The Ancient seems good as you can select Core units to get a +1 to the hit roll.  The DC Dreadnought seems like it needs more attacks – but that is just me.  I think we should see Dreads have more offensive power just so we could see them more often.  We finally get to some more DC options in the regular Death Company with Jump Packs and the new DC Intercessors.  Overall if you are playing DC look for these two units to show up.  I wish the Intercessors were set up to be DC Assault Intercessors to give them a double attack Stratagem ability.  I guess that might have been too good – but as they are not a troop choice we can only see so many.  They both also cost a lot which will limit how many of these crazies will see hit the tabletop.  The Furioso Dreadnought is back too – but it just feels ok.  I don’t know how good these guys would be and it is odd it would have the same amount of attacks as the DC one if equipped with two CCW options.

The last option is what annoys me the most as the Baal Predator just feels out of place.  I was expecting a Baal Gladiator option to show up here even though it would be expensive to do it.  That seems like one of those no-brainer options that you could use to make the Blood Angels feel more unique.  I also wonder why the Baal Flamestorm Cannon isn’t 2d6 hits but that is just me.  I was wondering if we would see some kind of overcharged Rhino in here as well – but that would be pretty strong in the shortened tabletop we see now.

The Verdict

Overall the book seems fine – it isn’t as interesting to me as Space Wolves or Death Watch.  The overall heavy-handed push to assault is ok – just feels like there could have been some extra stuff to make it more interesting.  I am pretty sad there are no Relics for the Librarian Dreadnoughts as it is a very unique option for the army that I feel could have been pushed pretty heavily.  I am hoping we see Librarian Dreads show up fully for Grey Knights but will see.

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What are your thoughts on the book?

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