Well here we are folks. It's hard to imagine it's been almost 5 years since the Angels got an update. For anyone who doesn't know, Blood Angels are my first love in 40k and have been for about 20 years now. They are my largest army and I have around 200 models including a battle company. I love everything about them: the background, colour scheme, heraldry, unique equipment, fighting style, Primarch, noble/savage and tragic curse. So expect plenty of posts over the next few weeks as things start to take shape.
Last time around saw some great additions to the ranks. The armoury got expanded with various pistols and blades, veteran assault squads got hit with the codex bat and split down the middle, sanguinary priests got a unique entry and awesome area effect power, a few new special characters were introduced along with a new psychic power list, Dreadnoughts got some new variants and toys, death company got even meaner, land raiders became dedicated transports and could deep strike (!), we got the first marine flyer, sanguinary guard, a new chaplain, the Sanguinor etc etc. I could go on. Basically, I thought it was a great release at the time, and it has stood the test relatively well. But now it's looking dated and an update is definitely welcomed with open arms.
In terms of models they were pretty much split into 2 waves, with the sanguinary guard, Baal and death company arriving with the codex, sanguinor, astorath and lemartes and the second wave bringing along the (soon to not be) unique Stormraven flyer and a plastic dreadnought kit. These kits were all pretty much faultless and gave the Blood Angels a comprehensive range to be proud of. In addition, the beauty of Blood Angels is they've benefitted from subsequent codex marine updates too in the form of the plastic veteran, tactical and character kits.
Shield of Baal was our first solid inkling that a Blood Angel release was on the horizon. The moment I spotted what they did with Sanctus reach I would have put money on the same being true for Blood Angels and I'm thrilled that turned out to be the case. I may get ahold of the campaign books once they are reprinted and the model/codex releases are out of the way as my regular gaming partner plays Tyranids so it makes sense. As for Deathstorm, the same formula was used as for Stormclaw - older models boxed with a pair of limited character figures - both of which are beautiful. New base sizes came as a surprise but I can firmly say my models will be staying 25mm - I cannot begin to fathom rebasing my entire collection but will likely treat any new collections to the larger bases.
So what do we know so far. We have a very shiny new hardback codex which will hopefully bring us up to scratch with both codex space marines and 7th edition. We retained unique psychic powers, which was likely given the background but still gave pause for thought when wolves/orks/BAs lost their powers through FAQ earlier in the year. We've been granted a unique tactical squad kit - an unprecedented but far from unwelcome move, especially as it adds heavy flamers (Sorry Sallie players), grav weapons (Sorry DA players) and a host of beautiful new bits to play with. We also have a new sanguinary priest model, which although a dramatic departure from what we're used to is a beautiful addition to the army - mine shall certainly be used as Corbulo.
What remains to be seen is which other rumours turn out to be true. Apparantly Blood talons and magna grapples will change and the primaris psychic power will be quickening. While the bog standard marine wargear/rules and certain Blood Angel specific items (infernus pistols etc) are sure to stay the same, there are a great many things with potential to change. Points costs, red thirst, priests, descent of Angels etc etc etc all have potential to change. Other rumours pointed to two new kits to be released the week after the codex wave. The first was a new terminator kit which would allow normal, death company and honour guard terminators to be built. The other model was an update (Logan Style) for Mephiston like a mini-Nagash. Wishlisting; probably. Would it be welcomed; hell yes. We won't have to wait long to find out.
What is for sure is that 5th Edition was a huge push for certain armies to drag them to a better place. Whole armies got drastic updates / revamps - namely Necrons, Dark Eldar and Blood Angels. This left several 6th edition armies needing similar treatment but not quite on the same scale. When we came to 7th, the impact of 6th has become clear with GW in fact over-reaching in some cases and having to trim back on the gaming content of the codexes or slim down the releases, most notably with Dark Eldar and Grey Knights. Once Blood Angels are done (and Necrons are sure to follow shortly) 40k will be in a really good place to turn another corner and say 'OK, so we have really comprehensive model ranges and shiny books, what can we achieve now?' This hopefully will turn their attention to other things such as model wave releases (More plastic Chaos please!), campaigns, other fringe armies (Sororitas, Mechanicus), more supplements and fixing some of the odd one out books in terms of power levels (Dark Angels and Eldar being opposite ends of the spectrum here). I suspect the Codex release schedule will crank down a few notches from what it has been. Exciting times are hopefully ahead in 2015 as we step into the relative unknown. Cheers.