Friday, 19 December 2014

Blood Angels Codex review - Elites


This may take some time as there are so many options to cover in this slot. Thankfully the Baal Strike Force detachment gives you one more slot to play with. Dreadnoughts are now all in this slot (except Cassor and Librarians) making them crowded but it makes sense. All veterans, death company, Lemartes and sanguinary guard also reside here now, although 3 of the specialist marines moved to HQ and in return the command squad moved to elites so there's a net gain to the slot.

Command squad:

OK, so this is a weird one. Honour Guard are now called Command squads and they are an Elite slot rather than a slotless HQ choice. On the plus side the Sanguinary novitiate and champion are included for free in the base cost. Jump packs for the squad cost a power fist and you can tool up the 3 veterans with storm shields and melee/ranged weapons. If you have the points and a slot spare they may make for a decent melta or plasma unit to accompany a character. I like the fact the novitiate is distinguished from the Sanguinary priest now by being a lesser statline and having no chalice. They're a reasonable unit that will most likely lose out to other Slots, but the free feel no pain for the unit and ability to wield multiple special weapons may make them tempting. I feel assault squads will still perform that role better though.

Death company squad:

We are in the company of death brothers. They're back and better than ever. No longer limited to one per army, they are available in squads of 5-15 rather than 3-30 now. They are not a troops choice any more but, on the plus side, they can score just like every other unit which is huge. Jump packs cost 20% of their previous cost and any model can have melee weapons or pistols. They disd however lose a point of weapon skill. That's about all that changed to be honest. They are still the same base cost and retain rage, feel no pain, furious charge, rage and relentless. Stick a priest with them and take a Baal strike force detachment and they are nigh upon unstoppable and more mobile for a fraction of the cost. I usually run most with bolters just to give them more flexibility if your opponent decides to try and evade you. Never leave home without them!


Now his own Elite slot, old Lemmy is back. Regular Chaplain stats and abilities for 40 points more save for the following. The blood crozius is master crafted and Lemmy has an initiative of 6. He is a zealot but also has the same feel no pain, rage, furious charge and relentless as other death company. Like Tycho the lost he can only join death company and his fury unbound rule now means he only adds one strength and attacks when wounded. On the plus side 20 points cheaper, but on the downside he no longer grants death company rerolls to wound and doesn't gain those extra two attacks when wounded. Plus he takes up a precious slot now and can't hide in the squad like before. A reasonable choice if you have the slot free and HQ already taken up but he wouldn't be my first choice.

Sanguinary Guard:

The unit everyone seems excited about, Sanguinary Guard have undergone some subtle but important changes. Their weapon options remain the same and death masks now cost only 1pt each and cause fear. Encarmine blades and axes can be freely exchanged for versatility. The Chapter banner is also a bit cheaper now and will grant an extra attack. They're still fearless and gain furious charge as standard. Descent of Angels is gone, however, so you'll need Dante or a model with descent of angels attached to get more accurate deep striking now. Most importantly, they got 7 points cheaper each and also can now be taken in 10-man squads, but no combat squads. These guys will be one of the stand out units of the codex now especially when paired with say Dante and a priest in a Baal strike force to grant them massive potential on the charge. I hope to add 5 more to my squad at some point.


They get furious charge which is of limited use unless you charge a vehicle with a damaged/shooty dreadnought. With the initiative boost from the formation they could be great in one-on-one dreadnought fights though. Pretty much the same points and role as a codex Marine dreadnought now and have been shifted to the elites slot from heavy support. Can't generally see them being taken over a furioso or death company dread to be fair with slots being so in demand.

Death company Dreadnought:

The same base cost with the same rules more or less, except you no longer have to take a unit of death company to take one. Main changes are to wargear in that blood talons are now a 10 point upgrade which gains them shred and the magna grapple has changed to grant move through cover and rerolls to charge range against vehicles. They also replace the smoke launchers now. They did however lose fleet and a point of weapon skill (as did regular death company), though they can still benefit from the army wide bolstering rules. Oh, and free searchlights! I'd still consider taking them but to be honest Cassor is a much better choice as he's cheaper and has objective secured. I use a stormraven to get them to where they need to go but if you prefer drop pods, it's worth noting Cassor has no pod option and the DC dread does.

Furioso Dreadnought:

Same cost as a death company dreadnought with one less attack but one higher front AV and WS. The furioso is the only model with access to my beloved frag cannon, which in 7th needs careful consideration when shooting a squad with it and a heavy flamer lest you remove all your targets too soon. You are limited to either 2 power fists, a power fist and frag cannon (5pts) or two blood talons (10pts). In addition to a magna grapple you can also select extra armour unlike the death company dreadnought. Still a solid choice and deadly in a drop pod with the frag cannon/heavy flamer combo.

Terminator squad:

Same as the codex except for furious charge which will only really influence the Sergeant in practical terms. Despite owning the beautiful Space Hulk set, I have a hard time justifying using these chaps over Assault terminators. Doubt they'll see much usage to be honest.

Squad Alpheus:

A shield of Baal unit, they are practically identical to the equivalently armed terminator squad, the only differences being that they have a set number of marines / weapons loadout and that Sergeant Alpheus has preferred enemy: Tyranids. Meh.

Terminator assault squad:

I was always a fan of these chaps and little has changed in that regard. With the combat perks available to the army they are a natural choice. Only real change is that they all get furious charge as standard, which combined with the option to get +1 initiative for the formation makes lightning claws a more valid option. With a priest added that gets even better (why oh why no terminators armour option). Lastly, you can add in a company banner to one terminator, which although pretty is rarely that useful. Verdict: they;ll be a decent choice for rounded armies that rely less on mobility. Mixed squads are a decent option with Blood Angels.

Vanguard veteran squad:

Hmm, a tricky one this as Vanguard are one point shy of death company but seem to be inferior to them in almost every way. The only benefits I can see are access to a relic blade (yay), heroic intervention, which now ignores disordered charges (quite useful actually) and allows automatic glorious interventions and the ability to combat squad. One major benefit is being able to equip some squad members with storm shields to tank those shots on approach to combat, which actually makes them more survivable than sanguinary guard vs low AP but not against everything else (like sanguinary guard they'll almost need a mandatory priest). Not a bad choice but I just can't see anyone choosing them over death company or sanguinary guard.

Sternguard veteran squad:

The same as the codex equivalent now aside from having furious charge and the sergeant having more weapon options to choose from. I won't get into sternguard tactics as we'll be here all day aside to say that I don't think they'll see much use in Blood Angels lists as they don't have as much of a role to play in a Blood Angel army. The tactical/assault squads can handle the firepower while the other specialist squad outcompete them in this slot for the assaulting side of things.

1 comment:

  1. This codex seems quite good and strong, tbh. But is still very annoying that they changed things so subtly that now pretty much everything that was in my old army list needs to be changed, remodelled or plainly put aside. Yeah, they didn't nerf blood angels after all, IF people are ready to reinvest a lot of money and time to make it work. I guess this makes perfect sense from a GW point of view. It's even briliant tbh. Still quite dishonest imho since people it's not given the choice: you can make a perfectly working army list with what you got and painted in all these years or you can enjoy new stuff for a hefty but reasonable price. You are literally forced to take the second option, or play a sub-optimal army for the years to come. Not very fair, but i guess we should be used to that kind of behaviour coming from GW by now...