Playing Against The New Blood Angels Codex - First Impressions

Having gotten in a few games against the new Blood Angels Codex in the last couple of weeks I figured I would share what I have learned about the units and tactics that I have face so far.

Fast Vindicators - You hear a TON about these guys on the tubes. People are saying they are going to be a game changer. I'm not so sure. The biggest boost that these guys have ins't their slightly range - it's that you will always need sixes to hit them. If you don't have the long range shooting to put them down they will be a major thorn in your side. Since they are fast you are going to have a hard time getting into melta range.

Descent of Angels - this rule is huge. It is almost like have the benefit of a drop pod without the drawbacks (giving up an extra kill point.) You can still scatter onto something that will cause a mishap, but a d6 scatter is a LOT tighter than 2d6. Being able to re-roll the reserves roll makes these guys much more reliable at coming in early.

Image from Games Workshop

Astorath - This guy is a monster. He is a HUGE force multiplier. He gives you army Red Thirst on a 1-3 instead of just on a 1. That alone makes him worth taking. But wait! There's more! He also happens to be a close combat monster, lets you take as many units of Death Company as you want, and he has Descent of Angels - add all that up and the dude is HUGE! Games Workshop put up an article up about this guy and the rest of the Blood Angels HQ choices.

Baal Predators - These aren't as annoying as they used to be in my opinion. In the previous Codex they were the only fast offensive tank. Now all the offensive tanks are fast so they loose some of the percevied annoyance since they are no longer the only one. Don't get me wrong - they are still murder on the table. Moving 6" and putting out 10 shots (when armed with Assault Cannon and Heavy Bolter Sponsons) is amazing.

They can put the hurt on units from long range, pop tanks from long range, hit elite units from long range - they can really just about do anything from long range. The key on this unit that I have seen is to keep it right at the edge of it's effetive range. This makes it really hard to counter. You will have a hard time catching it and it will be able to blast away while running away from you.

Death Company - Oh sweet choppy death wagons. These guys are still insane. So far I have been facing two units of five with an attached Chaplain. In the previous Codex Jester would field eight or nine of these guys with a Chaplain and just murder whatever they hit. In the new Codex he is fielding them five strong and they are murdering just as well. The secret is giving them a Power Fist and a Power Weapon. This gives the squad about 12 armour ignoring attacks on the charge (between the Power Fist and two Power Weapons including the Chaplain.) They will be re-rolling hits on the charge so you really just don't stand a chance.

Feel no pain offsets the losses that you will take from the unit being so small and fast Rhinos or Razorbacks will help ensue that they get across the table in one piece. Starting at 12" and then moving 18" puts you 30" across the board - an excellent setup for a second turn charge.

Death Company Dreadnought with Blood Talons - These guys are amazing. For every unsaved wound they cause they get another attack - and the attacks just keep coming. These guys are basically armed with str 6 Lightning Claws. This model with just absolutely tear through units of Space Marines (or pretty much anything else.) Since it hits at initiative 5 on the charge and starts with five attacks you are just pretty much done for. What balances this out is that it has rage - it must assault the closest unit, it also is at a bit of a loss against strongly armoured vehicles and other Dreadnoughts. If you manage to blow off one of it's arms it no longer generates extra attacks. One more way to calm down this beast is to hit it wiht a unit that has areally good invulnerable save (Storm Shields!) as it only gets the extra attacks on failed saves. I really like the balancing act that this model has - it is amazing against certain units, but is balanced by it's weaknesses.

Now onto the Tactics. In the games that I have played against Jester so far he has held all of his units in reserve against me. I play a quasi-alpha strike list and by holding all of his units in reserve it makes my deployment very tricky. You would think that by holding everything in reserves the Blood Angels would be at a disadvantage to get across the board to far objectvives. This porves to not be the case though. Their humble Rhino and Razorback are both fast. This means that they can drive 18" onto the table on the turn they arrive. Far off objective aren't so hard to get to after all.

As I said above small units of Death Company will still get the job done. By taking smaller numbers with a bit higher concentration of special weapons you can put the hurt down in short order. Even assaulting these guys with anything but a veteran unit will prove to be fruitless. Your best bet is going to be to shoot these guys with Plasma Guns. They will pretty much ignore Bolter fire with their 3+/4++ and high str low ap single shots will be put onto the Chaplain with his 4++.

In the first game that I played we rolled Kill Points. I ended up loosing that game seven to nine - still pretty close. The next game we played was multiple objectives (we rolled 5) and that one was even closer. It came down to the last turn - it was going to be a draw but I failed a morale check and my last remaining dude ran off of the objective after his unit got shot to pieces. The games have been hard fought and lots of fun. I feel that Blood Angles players are only going to be getting better with their new Codex as we move forward so I would definitely be on the lookout for some hard fought games in the near future.

The Blood Angels speed makes them hard to deal with. They can close on you when you don't want them to and are able to escape to safety as you approach towards them. I think we might see a bit of a resurgence in a few unit types as we move forward. I think Devestator like units (especially Long Fangs with their Split Fire rule) would do good against Blood Angels with their mix of Jump Infantry and lightly armored vehicles. Plasma will continue to get a bit better in the metagame since most of the Blood Angels tanks have low enough armor for Plasma to deal with - also the Stormraven negates the extra d6 that Melta gives so there is that.