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Blood Vow

Happiness is success... (Buddha)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Winning with PDF Blood Angels

I was asked to post my thoughts on winning with Blood Angels so I decided to post here so I can share my thoughts with everyone. Typically I am against net lists as I don't think they help anyone to become a better player but... I am putting my Blood Angels aside after playing them for the past few years so I can start playing daemons, and a new codex is not far off so what I say here will only hold true for a few more months.

If you want to play this army competively there is only one template that works -> Dante & Corbulo. Some people simply hate special characters so you'll get dinged on your soft scores from time to time but on the other hand most people are not familar with the new Blood Angels and the general consensus is that Blood Angels are at best a mid tier list. I played one person in the third round of the Ard Boyz semi finals this year who was fielding a dual lash list - he was not familiar with Blood Angels, the game ended in a draw and afterwards he vehemently accused me of serious cheating allegations, most of which were based on his lack of knowledge of the army and it's rules. That is a very extreme case but I thought I should mention it. There are people who think they should be able to roll Blood Angels and when they lose they'll blame it on anything but their lack of effective tactics to counter this army. So just be aware of that.

I think 40k is all about what I call the force bubble theory. Mostly you ate playing to control objectives so if you place them as closely together as possible then force multipliers become much more potent since you will end up playing the game on only a fraction of the tabletop. To me the combination of Dante and Corbulo is currently one of the strongest force multipliers in the game... Dante grants preferred enemy to any friendly BA unit within 12" and also drops enemy units by -1 WS that are within 6". Corbulo grants furious charge to any friendly BA unit within 12" and has a narcethium that allows you to ignore one failed armor save to any friendly BA unit within 6" once per player turn... that might not sound as good as FNP but if you have a strong unit such as a veteran assault squad or assault terminators the ability to ignore two wounds per turn is quite valuable. It can be used on a unit locked in close combat as long as Corbulo is not engaged but it does not work against instant death or attacks that ignore armor saves in close combat. I keep Corbulo in a landraider and he never disembarks unless the tank is destroyed. You can measure from the of the landraider when using his powers which greatly extends the range. This in turn increases the effective zone of your force bubble. What you want to do in objective based games is to get on top of the objectives as quickly as possible, wait for the enemy to approach while you shoot them then counter assault. This simple tactic is tried and true, it's won me many many games! I'll talk about killpoints later.

Here are the units I recommend:
Dante & Corbulo
9x VAS/2x meltagun, 3x power fist
10x tactical Marine/lascannon, meltagun, power fist - rhino
5x terminator/4x pairs of lightning claws, thunder hammer & storm shield
Death Company without jump packs

There are some other good choices such as Baal Predators, our special dreadnaughts and Honorguard but the choices I listed above are all i use. I know a lot of BA players that tout their regular assault squads (count as troop choices) but to be honest they are very expensive and in all actuality they don't do that well in close combat. On the other hand tactical Marines are excellent for holding objectives plus with preferred enemy and furious charge it can be argued that they are better than Khorne Berzerkers.

I highly recommend a heavily mechanized list. You will have to learn about rhino tactics to play this style and it perfectly dovetails with my counter assault tactics. If you are playing against another army that is strong in assault bait the player telling them that your Blood Angels can pound them... Invariably they will move their army straight towards yours and then you can counter assault. It works like a charm. Rhinos are very durable and you can use them to shield your army from enemy shooting. The landraider allows you to assault from a moving transport with those assault terminators... It's amazing to me how often people don't see that coming. I learned that tactic playing Matt back in the 2007 Chicago GT when brought Al's Space Wolves. The landraider also gives you two twin linked lascannons which I believe is the best answer to lightly armored mech lists. The landraider is extremely resilient, great at shooting armor and can deliver a powerful unit into the heart of the battle. Those assault terminators will have furious charge plus can reroll hit and wounds... It's a very powerful unit indeed.

In terms of killpoints I try to minimize the use of units that give up easy killpoints such as the popular MMAB and rhinos. Yes you need the rhinos but don't go overboard. Giving away a lot of easy kill points will lose games.

Here is a sample list I like a lot:

Dante joined to VAS
VAS/ as listed above
Corbulo and 5x DC in a rhino
5x assault terminators in a landraider
2x 10x tactical Marine/ as listed above

This is a small elite army. You only have three rhinos but coupled with the landraider you have a heavy mech list with only three easy killpoints. You have three heavy hitting assault units - VAS, terminators and Death Company. The tactical Marines can assault as well if you find yourself in a pinch.

Here is an advanced tactic I referred to as Linking Assaults:

Linking Assaults

This is what i refer to as an advanced tactic. It works extremely well versus horde armies such as Tyranids and Orks. Form your rhino wall such that the opponent cannot outflank you your wall. They will head straight towards the rhinos and charge them. The rhinos are destroyed and your troops disembark on the side opposite to the attackers. You have held back your landraider and the VAS. Your turn your troops move through the wrecked transports so they can shoot and assault. The VAS flies up into the center to shoot and charge as well. The landraider comes around the side to deliver the terminators. Position your units such that they all charge multiple units and it should form one long chain so you have basically one big combat. Put your power fists on monsterous creatures/warbosses and the rest of your Marines assault the squishy models, such as gaunts, orks and genestealers... Don't be afraid to charge genetstealers in this situation... You can shoot them first to thin down their numbers. Here is the net result - you kill a ton of squishies and put a few wound on the big nasties. The enemy loses the overall combat by 10+ wounds. Tyranids are fearless due to synapse and orks are fearless due to mob size... So each individual enemy unit has to take all those combined armor saves. Gaunts, genestealers and orks die in droves while the big nasties as also fail some saves as well since there are so many to take! The enemy line will crumble in one turn. I also once used this tactic to kill 25 assault terminators in just one round of close combat... It's just simply that good. You can win the game in one turn. It takes some practice to be able to pull this off but you'll figure it out soon enough.

I hope this helps shed some insight into this wonderful PDF army.



jawaballs said...

Nice post. I like seeing alternative Blood Angels views. I personally have never taken a BA Land Raider or Terminators, but have always wanted to. They are sitting on my back shelf because I have so many other projects to work on. I am of the heavily mech rhino list belief, but some day I am going to show up at a tournament and drop a LRC on the table. I love my Dante and Corbs combo, but how about dropping Dante for Mephiston and throwing him and Corbs in a LRC with the LC Termies? Then you can unload them seperately, and slaughter even more stuff!

My newest idea is all Drop Pods. I know... they leave too much to chance, but since Blood Angels do not have Drop Pod Assault, the standard Drop Pod defense is not as useful against them. People shoot down the DP army idea before it really gets a chance to be investigated. What ya think about that?


Green Blow Fly said...

Nice to see you stop by Jawa. : )

I used Mephiston a lot prior to 5th edition but with the new rules for Feel No Pain and Eternal Warrior he has been hit by the nerf bat. I'm hoping he gets some kind of invulnerable save in the rumored new codex plus a 4th wound. He is very expensive... He was a scary monster in fourth edition but now it's just not the same. Sure if you put him in an LRC with Corbs and assault termies they would rampage but that is a lot of eggs in one basket.

I have finally been able to switch over to my new daemons army and I have to tell you that they are a lot of fun to play. Blood Angels require a lot of hard thinking... Certainly in the hands of a capable general they can smash anything but it's fun to have an army much more resilient that can dish out more punishment. So I am taking a little break from my favorite chapter for awhile.

I agree that mech is the way to go. It pretty much hoses up armies like Nidz and Orks. I am seeing a return of dakka Nidz but they have no real answer to mech other than to get very lucky.


Green Blow Fly said...

In regards to drop pods I think they work best for dreadnaughts. The main problem I see with an all drop pod army is versus mobile armies such as mechdar. It could possibly be a good counter to mech IG though. I have FW drop pods so opponents can't shoot through them... Hee hee!

I think the best way to run a lot of pods is as follows:

2x Death Company Furisio Dreadnaught/heavy flamer - pod
2x full tactical squad/power fist, lascannon, meltagun - pod
Lemartes + DC (jump packs)
Landspeeder Tornadoes

I know most BA players love their MMAB but they are easy killpoints in my opinion. The landspeeder is just as fast and can shoot a lot more. Landspeeders in general are a much better counter to xenos skimmercraft in my opinion.

If you could also squeeze in an assault squad with jump packs that could help. The main problem in general with BA is that everything is so bloody expensive and having to field ten man Marine squads for your troops only compounds this problem. I never combat squad my troops by the way... Again very easy killpoints.