Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Blood Angels Thoughts on Request, Part 1

This is a request in from Boc, an old disciple of Spite and provider of random inspiration. For the record, it's more like genetically-engineered supermen raining from the sky screaming hallelujah unto the Emperor, and that's good enough for them.
On my way towards finding a list, I think it's important to discuss what makes the Blood Angels stand out as marines. Ok, yes, we're all used to ignoring morale rules, and getting ready to shoot a bunch of T4, 3+ save guys that just don't quite.

So, what makes the Blood Angels special? Here's what jumps out at me:

Blood Angel Core Competencies
The Jump Pack Army
Assault marines are a troops choice, and a viable one at that. While costly, you can take ten of them, give them a pair of meltaguns, a powerfist, and a welter-weight flamer. It'll cost you 245 points, but it makes for a quick, versatile troops section that's not bad in combat. You'll look for a little more punch elsewhere, but this is a solid building block, and there are plenty of choices available that can pace them.

The other thing worth noting with the Jump Pack army is Descent of Angels. Holding jump packers with this rule in deep strike? You get to re-roll the reserves roll (so you've got a 75% chance of coming in ON TURN TWO) and you roll scatter dice + 1d6. Yeah. You heard that right; it can and will rain men where you want them. Sick, isn't it?

Feel No Pain/Furious Charge bubbles
Sanguinary Priests can grant Feel No Pain and Furious Charge to units within six inches. You can get three per elite slot, and kit them out with jump packs, bikes, or terminator armor. On the down side, they're 50 points bare, and go up from there.

The Fast Vehicle Army
Most of your vehicles are indeed Fast (and the land raider can deep strike, so yeah). Predators? Get a firing position again. Razorbacks and Rhinos? Get your troops or guns where they need to be. Oh, and you can take six predators now; the Baal Predator can fit into the Fast Attack slot. You can put heavy flamers or heavy bolters on the side, and the turret can take the stupidly nasty Flamestorm Cannon, which is a flamer with S6, AP3. Smells like roasted geneseed...

Note also that your vehicles ARE a little more expensive, but you're FAST. Use it, man.

The other big vehicular debut is the Storm Raven. Want to air-lift a dreadnought? You can now. AV12 all-around and immune to melta, it's also a Fast Skimmer that can put guns and troops where you want them when you need them there. In larger games, I think you can make room for one just for the sheer utility it brings to the table.

Dreadnoughts of Nasty
Note that regular dreadnoughts (IE: the ones often seen either falling out of a drop pod with MM/HF or sitting with a pair of twin autocannons) are now heavy support. You can get the Possessed Death Company Dreadnought as a troops choice if you take a Death Company unit. Or, you can get the Furioso Dreadnought, which has an AV13 front, and can be a librarian with a jump-pack-like power.

Your mileage may vary, but I've got a soft spot for the flying Furiosos.

Death Company
Relentless, feels no pain, and can't score. Thankfully, they're not compulsory. You can take them if you like, and they have plenty of melee options. Downside: yeah, they got a little bit of Rage going on. They don't require a Sanguinary High Priest to give them Feel No Pain and Furious charge, but they ARE 20 a head now, and 35 with jump packs. You can also have a 30-man-strong Death Company if you so desire. I suppose you could theoretically have the most expensive single squad in the game if you want with 30 flying thunder-hammer-toting maniacs, which would cost you around 1900 points.

What To Do With This Stuff?
One crucial difference between this book and the regular SM book is that you lose combat tactics, and instead get the Red Thirst. Basically, this gives your guys a small chance to trade And They Shall Know No Fear for Furious Charge and Fearless. Neat, yes, but it DOES keep regular bolter guys from trying to break off and fire again during your turn. That being the case, when you get into a fist fight, you either win or come home in a box.

Your first question with the BA army is do you want to do foot (IE: Jump Packs) or mechanized, and then there's a question of the flavor of mechanized.

Honestly, if you're not going to play with the extra goodies in the book, go use another marine codex. You can't just plug 'n' play your SM army, or even your old BA army. It's as simple as that. Note that you DO have a lot of the same/similar units; you still have sternguard/vanguard vets (and vanguard's still not worth taking, really), terminators, land raiders, MM/HF speeders, scouts, and so on and so forth. Your HQ set and librarian powers are different, but most of the new guys are pricy and I'm going to focus on some of the newer stuff.

So, what would I do? Frankly, I'm drawn to two of the army types:
1) Half-Dozen Predators of Death
2) Jump Pack Marines from Hell

With Boc's request in mind, I'm going to set out a rough pair of lists, and explain my choices in both of them.

Predator Demolition Derby
Well, first off, I'm going to use Assault Marines as my core. Three units of 10 guys + 2 meltaguns + powerfist + hand flamer cost me 735.

My heavy support predators will be lascannon sponsons with turret autocannons. Why? I need the long-range firepower to stop/slow transports more than I need anti-infantry. Trust me on that. This puts me at 1140.

The Baals? I will take Flamestorm cannons on them, and nothing else. Why? If I had sponsons, I would a) have to move slower to use them, and B) be unable to put them side-to-side, thus forming a nice wall for my jumpers to hide behind. Three of them put me at 1485. Why not take the assault cannon? It's inferior for cover-busting, and it's honestly not that great at hiding armor. I'm taking it because it is abjectly frightening to infantry, and I can push them up the field quickly.

Let's take stock. Right now, I have 30 troops, an advancing wall of three short-ranged, nasty tanks, and three guys sitting back and attacking lighter armor. I have about 500 points, and at this point, I need an HQ minimum. I also could use a couple of those Feel No Pain bubbles, and something to deal with nastier CC troops. Powerfists are nice, and furious charge + flamers + massed pistol/sword beatings can handle crunchier targets while giving me a backup weapon, but I'm not sure if that'll be enough against heavier targets. Let's do some math (and assume I get a Furious Charge) off at:

T6, 3+ save monstrous creature, assuming a 4+ to hit.
Powerfist: 3 swings, 1.5 hits, 1.25 wounds, or one.
Regular Swings: 27; 13.5 hits, wound on 5+ for 4.5 wounds, so 1.5 get through. Not that overwhelming.

Against Terminators:
Powerfist: 3 swings, 1.5 hits, 1.25 wounds, probably bag a regular terminator, questionable against a storm shield packer.
Regular attacks: 27 attacks, 13.5 hits, wound on 3+ so you get 9 wounds, and 1-2 get through. Also not so great.

Ok, my hypothesis is confirmed, I need nastier weapons. I have 500 points. Two Sanguinary High Priests and a Librarian with a jump pack puts me at 1760. I just have room for a shiny, nasty unit of Sanguinary Guard. I'll give them a powerfist, and then a pair of Infernus Pistols for taking wounds off harder targets. These guys have four mastercrafted power weapons on the (furious) charge, which will do a number on harder targets. Plus, they look cool.

This leaves us at 1990. Let's go ahead and give the Librarian a hand flamer or something cool like that, and call it 2,000. What's that look like?

Ride of the Predators
Librarian [135]
-Jump Pack, Hand Flamer
Powers: Sanguine Sword (melee at S10), Unleash Rage (Preferred enemy for self/unit)

2 Sanguinary Priests w/ Jump Packs [150]

Sanguinary Guard [230]
-Powerfist, 2 Infernus Pistols

10 Assault Marines [245]
-Powerfist, Hand Flamer, 2 Meltaguns

10 Assault Marines [245]
-Powerfist, Hand Flamer, 2 Meltaguns

10 Assault Marines [245]
-Powerfist, Hand Flamer, 2 Meltaguns

Fast Attack
Baal Predator w/ Flamestorm Cannon [115]
Baal Predator w/ Flamestorm Cannon [115]
Baal Predator w/ Flamestorm Cannon [115]

Heavy Support
Predator w/ Autocannon, Lascannon Sponsons [135]
Predator w/ Autocannon, Lascannon Sponsons [135]
Predator w/ Autocannon, Lascannon Sponsons [135]

Total: 2000/2000

So, recap:
3 hefty troops units waiting to crush face; you should be able to get Feel No Pain/Furious Charge coverage on them all.
Sanguinary Guard may be five guys, but they should also be furious charge with mastercrafted power weapons, and 2+ armor.
Librarian goes where you think you'll need Preferred enemy or an S10 fist to the gonads.
3 Predators provide a screen/flamer threat.
3 Predators sit in the back and provide you with long-range fire.

The one worry I have with a list like this is against shootier enemies, but in such a case you can deep-strike your units if you think it's necessary (and you'll get them reasonably quickly). You can also combat-squad the anti-tank elements if you feel you need to get the meltaguns in there, and I think the d6 scatter plus deep-strike placement is at least worth a look and experiment, as you don't necessarily NEED the +2d6 against lighter armor.

This being a wall o' text, I'll follow up with the Flying Dreadnought brainstorm in another post, just for sake of everyone's sanity.

Feedback? Thoughts? Faced anything or run anything like this before?


Chumbalaya said...

I like that set up. I tried out the 6 Pred dealy but with dakka Baals. Very mean to transports and the RAS bust up cover well enough on their own.

I ran Mephiston instead of the Librarian and did he ever cause a ruckus. Hiding behind the Baals kept him safe until it was time to unleash the beast.

Raptor1313 said...

I almost threw in Mephiston, but he made the points come out wonky. He cost me the Sanguinary Guard and Librarian, and left me with a weird like 40-50 points left over to allocate.

My only real worry about Mephiston is that he cries little girly tears if someone deprives him of his psychic powers. I mean, he's still tough and all, but no one wants to carpool with him (NB: he's NOT an IC, so he gets the rhino to himself...) and without the wings of Sanguinus, he's not getting anywhere very fast.

Anonymous said...

Drop the lib and and a single priest and take Dante. The sang gaurd become troops, they don't scatter when deep striking with him and the whole squad gets hit and run. Make sure you have the priest in there too. Thats 5 troops choices with 2+ save, feel no pain and hit and run.

Raptor1313 said...

Dante is 225; the Librarian (135) and a priest (75) leave me 15 points short of getting Dante. I'd probably pull hand flamers out of two of the regular assault squads, and find some place to stow 5 points. I guess the Sanguinary Priest gets a meltbomb or storm bolter.

Honestly, I don't think Dante's needed in this list. First, a lone priest is going to be hard-pressed to hand out his buff to everyone, especially once I get stuck in. Unless the enemy's nice enough to bunch up for me, I doubt I'll get Furious Charge and Feel No Pain on everyone, and that's half the perk of bringing Blood Angels.

Second, I'm not sure I want to give up my psychic defense to make a lone unit scoring. To get actual use out of the precision deep-strike with Dante, he's riding with meltaguns or the Sanguinary Guard. The guard are dropping THREE INCHES AWAY to get melta love. Yeah, they can do it, but that's a 500+ point unit, or 1/4 of my army in a neat little package. They'll have to address it, but even without Dante they'd have to address the Guard if they had melee nastiness.

Bottom line: I can trade my ability to hand out FnP and Furious Charge across my army, along with my psychic defense, to precision-drop (IF I intend to do it) a unit and get some shots in.

I admit Dante can be nasty and worth fielding, but I don't honestly think fitting him in this list does me any favors.

If you're going to use Dante, I'd commit to running 2-3 units of Sanguinary Guard and making it the point of the army.

Anonymous said...

I friggin love you.

I had been looking at Furiosos in my initial list (I suppose I could get off my rear and actually post something on my blog) with another 1-2 heavy dreads and no preds.

This list is certainly interesting and, luckily for me, I've already ordered the HQ choice, elite choice, and at least 1 of the assault squads.

Thanks a ton, Master o Spite. We'll get some games in with the good ole Venom Guard (CHAAAOOOSSSS) in October when I get back to the States, so I can re-show you the true meaning of fear :P


Raptor1313 said...

The fact that Furioso Librarians can move like they've got Jump Packs is what makes them nasty in my book. Add in an AV13 front and...yeah. Things get FUN.

Not necessarily sure I'd go for heavy support regular dreads in the list; the Pillbox Pred (las sponsons, autocannon turret) is more durable at that extreme range and can relocate better unless terrain is involved. Regular Dreds get a 6" move and all their shooting, or 6+d6 hauling. The Fast Predator gets 6" and all guns, ore 12" and one gun. It IS more vulnerable to flanking, though, but has more weapons. On the flip side, even a half-dozen guardsmen can hold a dreadnought down. Honestly, I'd probably pick the Predators for that reason.

I'll clear time for October, but I gotta wonder how much of the 'nid love you've seen...granted, I'll probably have the bulk of them painted by then. I only painted 13 of them this month, but that was 11 termagants and two Trygons, so yeah.

Anonymous said...

Oh and I've discovered the actual most expensive troop choice...Death Company with jump pack and DUAL WIELDING THUNDERHAMMERS! Yeah, pure win at 95 pts a pop, 2850 pts for 30 of them. That's an Apocalypse match just waiting to happen...