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Well, I'm getting the itch to start a SM army and Blood Angels have caught my eye. It's becoming more difficult to wait for my Space Wolves, though they are expected soon. Dark Angels have never been my thing and with the rumors of all future armies having lists similar to DA/BA/CSM about, I'm reluctant to make up my own chapter for fear that it will be rendered obsolete/pointless in the future. I don't build/paint quickly (due to time constraints), so I'm looking at a 12-16 month project.
When I'm ready to start (within the next few months), I want to have an idea of where to start and where I want to go with my army. Who knows, maybe this itch will pass, but in the meantime I want to hear thoughts about what works for the BA.
We're about 6 months out from the WD release of their rules and Katie Drake started a nice little discussion about the changes. I've read through it, but I believe experience and time has probably changed some initial thoughts on the army. On top of this, with the 5th Edition rumors floating about, it would understandable that there may be some new views on the BA, so feel free to include those thoughts as well (especially considering my timeline).
Personally, I'm interested in a Mech BA list (BA Rhinos, Baal Pred(s), some Dreads). Any thoughts on this matter would be greatly appreciated.
Karmoon: "well.. any kore = good kore" 12:35pm PST 23 May 2007
I think a mech army of BA would work well. Allows you to get that much closer to the enemy faster. Transport for each squad getting close. Also a chaplain with the death company would work wonders.
As for the dreads I like the idea of big machines walking forward roasting the enemy with fire.
Baal predators are my favorite tank so I would suggest the use of one.
Well I have played a few dozen games with the new BA codex so I will offer my thoughts and experiences thus far:
I have tried the all out assault army in various configurations, as well as a more counter-assault based army. I find that the counter assault tends to work a bit better, but both tend to be fairly viable choices. The main problem I have had with the all out assault lists is that if something unexpected happens, it is more difficult to react when all of your units are locked in combat (sometimes getting their butts handed to them) than it is with a bit more fire support and sturdy units not engaged. I have not tried a mechanized list (mostly because my assault units with backpacks rather than jump packs are limited) but I know somebody who uses one and has had very good results with it. So while I cannot offer much experience based advice on a mech list, I can say that some have had success with it. The two troops units around which I have been basing most of my lists for a while are: a 10 man tactical squad with power fist, plasma gun, lascannon, and a rhino, plus a 5 man assault squad with a power fist and jump packs. I have had the most success when starting my lists with these two units, and I have tried pretty much every other type of configuation for troops selections at various times, so I stick with them.
Let us now talk about the specific units after having used most of them several times. Throughout this entire analysis, I am assuming that the reader is trying to be as competative as possible.
Librarian - I have used a basic Librarian a few times with little success. He is cheap, but does not do a whole lot. The fact that he only has a LD of 9 significantly diminishes the usefulness of his psychic hood. On his own, he is not a horrible option. However, we have much better options.
Chaplain - It is very difficult to justify using a normal chaplain with a jump pack when Lemartes is only 5 points more. The rest of his upgrades can be okay, but are often unnecessary. Part of this is because he often hangs out with the Death Company, and they tend to shred just about anything that gets near them. The added protection from terminator armor or a bike are not as useful as they would otherwise be because he does not get hit a lot unless the DC gets bogged down. The added speed of a bike is also usually unnecessary, because he usually needs to stay close to the Death Company (otherwise they go bonkers). In a mechanized list, if you are running your DC without jump packs in a Land Raider, you would have to use somebody other than Lemartes. Otherwise, it is probably inefficient to bring somebody other than Lemartes (assuming your DC has jump packs - which is also a no brainer buy for the most part).
Company Captain - I have used him with decent results. The one I most commonly use when I take one is equipped with a jump pack and lightning claws. He has rarely been exceptional, but has also rarely been disappointing. Rather, he tends to feel like a standard HQ unit - nothing special, but nothing at which to sniffle. It is nice to have LD 10 on all your marines, though.
Tycho - If you want a basic company captain, he is a good buy. He really does not do anything special, though. And you virtually always will be taking a Chaplain, so there is no need to consider him just because of the compulsary HQ choice. With the new Ork codex, he does now hit Nobz with a banner pole on 3s, though For the most part, he is fairly pointless.
Corbulo - I have tried a few times to take advantage of the furious charge he grants people by taking a list with a lot of scouts, having them infiltrate, and sticking him in a rhino to get within range quickly, so that the scouts can get a turn 2 FC. It never seemed to work the way I wanted it to, though, and they got FC a lot less often than I had hoped (although some of my other units, like tactical squads, did benefit from the furious charge whereas that was not my initial intention; a nice benefit). I want to try him a bit more though, because it seems like he could be fairly good with a little finess. However, I may also be hoping for something that is simply not there.
Lemartes - Here is our no brainer HQ choice. At such a bargain, it is difficult to justify not taking him almost every time. The Death Mask is much more effective than I would have initially thought, and the extra wound has carried him through numerous games where he otherwise would have died. This is an easy first choice for an HQ unit.
Dante - A great commander, Dante offers much in the way of both great close combat abilities, as well as abilities that support the rest of your army. Rites of Battle is great for the rest of your units, and his abilities that grant preferred enemy and -1WS/BS are a bit helpful for units surrounding him. However, if the rumors are true, he will be an absolute monster in 5th edition. In particular, preferred enemy allegedly is going to change from hitting on 3+ to rerolling hits in close combat. This means that all units within 12" of him are going to get Litanies of Hate... every turn! He will see a ton of use in 5th edition if these rumors wind up being accurate, but as he is now, if you are going to spend that many points on an HQ choice, Mephiston is the better buy.
Mephiston - I use him a lot. He tears through infantry, can do a bit of damage to light/medium armored vehicles, and is great at taking out ICs and MCs. All that considered, the major reason he gets the edge over Dante is that he is the best way to get a LD10 psychic hood. This is very important in some games, especially against Eldar and Chaos. Just watch out for hidden power fists.
Honor Guard - This is a fairly good unit, and tends to work best as a mobile shooty unit. Slap some jump packs or a drop pod on them, give them a couple of plasma guns, and have the Sanguinary Priest heal the plasma gunners when they get hot. It can also be configured to be a fairly decent CC unit, but the Veteran Assault Squads are more flexible and so are generally a better choice if you want an assault unit.
Death Company - This is another no brainer in the codex. The option of giving them jump packs at 5 points per model is also an easy one unless you plan on transporting them in a Land Raider. The rhino option is far from interesting, as they may not have jump packs and the rhino is easy to destroy, leaving them walking for the rest of the game. The mechanized lists often have them transported in a Land Raider, although I prefer the jump packs. I also find it hard to justify spending that many points on a transport vehicle which I intend to not fire for the first few turns of the game while I get them into assault range. In games of over 1k points, I almost always take 10 of these guys. It is simply one of the best units in the game. One thing I find that often happens with them is that they jump in, finish off a unit, and jump to another, something that you must wait a turn to do if you want to pile them back into the Land Raider.
Veteran Assault Squad - This is the second best unit in the codex (after the DC). The versatility of this unit is simply amazing, and they are very well priced. One thing I try to keep in mind is that I have often been sorry when building the unit to cost 300 points or more. They do die just as easily as other marines, and putting that many points into an 8 man unit can hurt if something unexpected happens (there seems to be a consensus that 8 veterans is the optimal number for a unit - my experience tends to agree with this). My favorite build is 8 vets with a thunder hammer, meltagun, and a flamer. This is a very flexible build that excels at everything. It is not a monster close combat unit, and should not be used as such. But it is amazingly diverse, and is very useful in virtually all situations. You can also tool the unit up to be a monster close combat unit if that is what you want. You can stick them in a drop pod with bolters to good effect as well. There are some units in the game that really get hurt when hit by bolter rounds, but are often difficult to target (genestealers, harlequins, etc). A unit of veterans in a drop pod are very nice for taking out that particular type of unit, and they will hold their own in close combat as well, especially if you give them a little something extra, like a power fist. The ability to drop pod two meltaguns is also very nice. All in all, an amazing unit.
Scouts - As I mentioned in the Corbulo section, I thought that there could possibly be some potential in these guys, but I have been disappointed with my results. They would be quite useful were they still a troops choice. However, now that they are elites, there are too many other units vying for the precious elites slots to give these guys much consideration. The elites section of the codex is simply too competative. Furthermore, you do not get a Death Company marine with them. Boo.
Dreadnaught - The Dreadnaughts can pack a bit of a punch, but is too expensive to realistically be considered in a competative environment at the moment. For the cost, you get a slow moving assault cannon. Although it can be great in close combat, again it is very slow moving. A drop pod helps this out a bit, but adds an even higher cost for a unit that can easily get to fire its assault cannon once before it gets toasted. It has simply been too many points for most situations in my experience. Remember, this is a unit that can be taken out in one shot All this may change with 5th edition if the rumors hold true, as it will be able to fleet, thus allowing it to cover a bit more ground.
Furioso Dreadnaught - The Furioso Dreadnaught has the same problem as the normal Dreadnaught; it is too expensive. Again, we have a unit that is going to take a few turns to reach the line. The Death Company upgrade is pretty sweet, but requires a Chaplain to remain close (otherwise he will certainly be shot to death before he reaches the opponent's line). A drop pod is also an interesting option, but again, that costs more points, and has it sit out in the open for a turn before it gets to do anything. You can give it extra armor and venerable status in order to increase its survivability, but now we are getting into the 200+ point range for a unit that can go down in one shot. Some people like to drop pod a DC furioso with extra armor and venerable status, claiming that it is a distraction for the opponent to have this close combat monster all of a sudden land in the middle of their army. But if you ask me, that is a pretty darn expensive distraction, and one that you will have little control over once it is placed. Again, if the 5th edition rumors hold true, this may become a more interesting option.
Terminators - In my experience, these have been too slow. They are a great bargain for the cost - in fact, after taking into account that they give us a Death Company marine, not only do we have the cheapest terminators in the game, but our terminators cost the same per model as do our tactical and devastator marines! You can put them in a Land Raider, but as previously mentioned, the Land Raider is a bit too expensive to purchase as a transport vehicle if you ask me. They may also deep strike, though I am not a huge fan of normal deep strike, either. These guys just cannot quite seem to keep up with the rest of my army, so I have not been using them that much lately, but perhaps I ought to try them out again soon. There may be something I overlooked. To be honest, I have not really tried out the terminators with lightning claws or thunder hammers/storm shields very much. There may be something there, but they also move quite slowly. I would not be surprised if they turned out to be decent, but I do not expect them to be fantastic.
Tactical Squad - I do not need to say much about these on a space marine forum. I already mentioned why I prefer the counter assault style of the army. If you run a mechanized list, you will probably have a couple of these in rhinos. They are priced well considering we get a DC marine and a veteran sergeant in them. There is not much else to say.
Assault Squad - I have never been very impressed with the ten man assault squad. A unit of 5 veterans costs nearly the same as 5 normal assault marines and is flat out better. Take a unit or two of 5 with a power fist to fill out your troops requirement, but other than that they are not terribly efficient. There are simply better options once you get past the requirements. This may change if the 5th edition rumors prove to be true about only troops selections counting as scoring units.
Attack Bike - This is another one of the best units in the codex, and is where the bulk of our anti-tank capability comes from. An attack bike with a multi melta is cheap, durable, fast, never breaks, always scoring, and can assault. I have never been disappointed with my attack bikes. I usually take them as single bike units with multi meltas for either tank hunting, or turbo boosting in order to engage troublesome units in close combat quickly (such as Crisis suits and devastator squads). However, one other configuration has worked well for me: three attack bikes, one with a multi melta and two with heavy bolters. Here we have a relatively cheap anti-infantry unit that is also capable of tank hunting. It now can break and be pushed below scoring, although it will be very difficult to wipe them all out, leaving the multi melta available for taking out tanks all game long. It also mows down GEQ.
Bikes - I have not tried these, but I cannot envision them being better than a unit of attack bikes for roughly the same price. They are not a very popular option, and probably for good reason.
Land Speeders - These have worked decently for me in combat patrol, especially the tornado pattern. However, in larger points games, they have been too brittle. Again, attack bikes are just a much better buy, as in my experience the speeders tend to not survive as long in addition to costing more.
Devastator Squad - With the new combat squadding rules, these guys are fairly good. Stick four missile launchers on a ten man unit, or two on a five man unit, and they provide decent anti-tank capabilities. However, with the attack bikes, meltaguns in the veterans, and lascannon on tacticals, I find I already have a decent amount of anti-tank weaponry in my standard lists. This unit has not been a bad choice whenever I have tried it by any means, but I would usually prefer a veteran assault squad, which would run about the same price as a 10 man devastator squad. Do not bother taking lascannons in devastator squads either, they are too expensive.
Predator - In my experience, the twin linked lascannons with heavy bolters have been a good choice, but not fantastic. Others with whom I have spoken have had different results. Some people really like them, so all I can say is give them a shot. The auto cannon and heavy bolter variety is a very cheap version, and is a fairly good anti-GEQ unit. These are decent units, and tend to be staples in marine armies, so I suppose I do not need to say a lot more on the subject. They often complement the army fairly well, and would probably be even better in a mechanized list, due to having so many armored targets.
Baal Predator - This is my favorite heavy support choice. I have never been disappointed with my Baal Predators. I was a little weary at first, but they have proven to be very effective. The assault cannons can add a bit of anti-tank firepower in a pinch, but mostly these things are for mowing down infantry. The over charged engines are also very nice, allowing for them to move 12" and fire in the same turn. This lets them keep up with the rest of the army for the most part. One important note, though: because they need to be close to the enemy due to the range of the assault cannons, I often find them out in the open. This leaves them a bit vulnerable, and very often they are destroyed by the end of the game.
Vindicator: In my experience, these get shot quickly. Since a lot of your force is going to be moving up to engage enemy units as quickly as possible, these have to move along with them. I have not been very impressed by them whenever I have used them, as in order to fire they need to keep pace with the rest of the army. They often only get to fire once. Some people with whom I have spoken have found a bit of success running two Baal Predators around a Vindicator, so perhaps you could give that a try if you wanted to use them. But I have only been marginally happy with them for the most part. Always take the dozer blade, though. First of all, it looks cool. Second of all, it is cheap. And third of all, the easiest way to get a shot off with one of these is to keep it out of LOS until you plan to fire, which often means popping out of dangerous terrain. I have often been very happy that I took the dozer blade, while I have never wished I had spent the points on something else.
Land Raider/Land Raider Crusader - I am not much of a Land Raider guy, and have little experience with them in the new codex. They are cheaper in our codex than in other marine codexes, which is nice. They would probably fit well in a mechanized list. That said, I have relatively little experience with these, as they are just not my thing. Maybe it is my playstyle, but they have never really appealed to me. Give them a try, especially in a mechanized list. They may turn out to be quite good.
Anyhow, those are my thoughts and experiences from the new codex so far. I hope it has provided some insight.
I'd just like to echo everything that's been said so far. It mirrors my thoughts exactly. Rep.
With the upcoming WH40k.v5 changes, Rhinos should be a little more survivable, making the BA's engine-tuning even more valuable.
They're not Terror troops, or even full-on Assault troops, though. They are an excellent counter-assault or forward-defense force.
That said, considering the time you say you take to paint, doing the Space Wolves wouldn't really be bad. If you start now painting basic Tac Marines, Rhinos, Land Raiders, etc., you won't have to spend time painting them when all the new models come out.
WHFB: Dwarfs || WH40k: Imperial Fists, Necrons || WM/H: Trollbloods || BFG: Necrons
Thanks for the reps folks, glad you liked my analysis
I was thinking about the nature of the topic, which is of course, "Blood Angels Today"
An army with a playerbase the size of the BAs is going to stabilize pretty quickly and distill itself down to an "ideal" list. If not ideal, there are still certain elements that are naturally found in practically every list.
(This might end up sounding a little cynical)
Firstly, every list is led by Chaplain Lemartes. There's no reason not to take him. Honor Guards are seen a little more now, but not really. Very, very rarely, you'll see a Mephiston, but never in a competiive environment.
Elites are always a big death company and a medium Veteran Assault Squad.
Troops are nearly always minimized Assault squads, to maximize the number of Powerfists.
Occasionally, you'll see a ten-man Lascannon Tac Squad.
Fast Attack are pretty much only the great new Attack Bikes with the occasional LST
Heavy Support is usually a Baal Predator, occasionally a four ML Dev Squad.
Extraneous Units, put only in the codex for completion's sake.:
All the special characters, the Commander, the Librarian, the Techmarine.
Dreadnoughts, Techmarines, Bikers, Scouts, non-LST Landspeeders, non-Baal Tanks.
This actually makes building a list a lot easier.
(I told you it would be cynical.)
WHFB: Dwarfs || WH40k: Imperial Fists, Necrons || WM/H: Trollbloods || BFG: Necrons
I just noticed that a unit had been left out of the Heavy Support section and given the fact that there's an all-new threat on the block in the form of the Orks. Lootas in particular are a terrible threat to every unit in the Blood Angels army that doesn't have AV14. As such, I feel that it's my duty as a fellow Blood Angels player to ensure that no one overlooks our most humble of options - the Whirlwind.
Since it's the cheapest tank available (not counting transports) the Whirlwind will rarely break the bank when it comes to crafting your list. According to the Blood Angel FAQ we get to choose which type of ammunition to use upon deploying it which means that it can be very useful against a good variety of opponents. Are you worried about the Lootas mentioned above? Go with the napalm-like missiles to burn them out of cover and force a Pinning test (I think). Are you up against static units of Fire Warriors? The Vengeance missiles are perfect for blasting them to bits with their good AP value.
Lastly, one great advantage of the Whirlwind is its ability to fire indirectly. Space Marine vehicles generally have poor armor values and the ability to stay completely out of sight and still influence the battle isn't something that should be overlooked. So while the Whirlwind may not be as destructive as a Baal Predator or able to take down armored targets like Devastator Squads it can still perform admirably against almost every army. I personally own two and have taken them both to battle on more than one occasion.
I don't know where you play...the GTA, I suppose, but I know I never see Orks where I play. The Whirlwind is a great tank, but not against 90% of the armies the average player faces.
WHFB: Dwarfs || WH40k: Imperial Fists, Necrons || WM/H: Trollbloods || BFG: Necrons