Saturday, December 8, 2012

Blood Angels: Synchronise!

Some of Burkhardt's Blood Angels.
They're much nicer than yours. And mine.
As Duncan will tell you, this article is late. Like, really late. No, it isn't a crude reference to Blood Angels bleeding profusely and suffering from insanity for 5 days a month: nor is about the phenomenon of menstrual synchrony; its about a few blogs that have got together to throw up a few ideas about how 6th edition has affected how they build Blood Angel armies now and how they've changed compared to how they were in 5th. I've just had to deal with the fact that I've been too ill to post recently despite this article being almost entirely complete for two weeks already. I'll add a few ideas to how to build army ideas that the lads have suggested beforehand and things I think will work based on games I've played, such as Allies which the lads have given scant regard to.

Little Dave over at the Red Thirst and Caolán of the Skibb Wargamers and are my co-conspirators in this endeavour, although I hope that a few more heads will contribute their thoughts on how they've rebuilt their BA (or their own armies as is the case with Dan from Tzarkahn40k and his Guard), especially with a return to the scene of an ETC veteran (2007) in the shape of Big Rog (pronounced Roj) recently running a Blood Rodeo list and Burkhardt (such pretty, pretty models) overcoming his distaste for anything random and inefficient. How un-Germanic - it must be the case that he has been here for too long already.


Ze German's 1850 point 5th ed Mech list. For 6th, just add more dudes.
Meched-up
Caolán was first up with his thoughts on how mech has fared under 6th and I reckon that while it has been hit with the nerf stick, it does have a place in the army acting as support units: either to throw out firepower from afar or to transport guys into the fight. I reckon the old pure AV 13 wall might be gone the way of the dodo though as its speed no longer saves it (always hit on 3+ in combat as opposed to the old rule of being hit on 6's if you moved over 6") and with Hull Points now part of the picture they're more susceptible to being taken out by glancing hits. This goes double against Necrons with their cheap-as-chips Crypteks with Haywire thingies that take vehicles apart in one shooting phase, not to mention Gauss weapons and Tesla that shoots 4 times and gets 8 hits.

Land Raiders are a unit that becomes less and less favourable the more I think about them. They were fine in 5th as they were a pain for most armies to take out (it helped to explain the proliferation of melta) but with the changes in 6th they've take a hit not only to their durability but also to their killing power as a Phobos/Godhammer can only kill 5 models a turn maximum while the now more destructive (against Infantry) Redeemer and Crusader are expensive short-ranged options to get a unit into combat, even if they are Assault Vehicles. You really are paying a premium to get your guys across the board without being shot and still assault after they've disembarked. I'm thinking that instead of a 230+ point vehicle to drive you across the board it might just be better to get another 230 point unit instead. Twice as many guys takes twice as much firepower to kill, after all.

Said unit can then be used to protect the AV 13 hulls by acting as a counter-charge unit or even as bubblewrap as they'll be toughened up by the addition of a FNP character nearby, although keeping a line of guys behind the tanks ready to charge the enemy is probably the best approach to take. Where Caolan has suggested a list running with small squads (2 Honour Guards and 5 RAS all in Razorbacks) I might suggest taking beefed-up squads of Infantry so they can get into a fight/shot at and hang in there until the end of the game to grab objectives or add their guns/combat ability to a fight.

There's also Allies to consider which, as Caolán suggests, can completely change the way that the army is built. Including other Marines will result in different builds to what including Guardsmen will give you. I might aswell throw a few suggestions here or it might get confusing later on.

Libby with Shield, Sword (swap to Divination)
100 pts
2 x Sang Priests
100 pts
3 x Baal Preds
435 pts
3 x AutoLas Preds
405 pts
2 x 10 Tacs with Missile Launcher, Plasma Gun & Combi-Plas
380 pts
2 x 10 RAS with Jump Packs, 2 Meltas
420 pts

So there's still a wall of AV 13 hulls with a mix of anti-infantry and anti-tank and a whole pile of FNP bodies to counter-attack in case something gets too close, as well as grab objectives as they're all scoring. They can be combat-squadded to get up to 8 Troops, including Deep Striking Melta which can take Combi-Meltas in place of the Tac's Combi-Plasma, and there are enough bodies to keep the characters alive. It's also not crippled by having its defensive units being cooped up inside Rhinos/Razors and being stunlocked and the points spent on a Land Raider will go twards getting you two AutoLas Preds instead, which can shoot at up to 2 targets every turn and they have 6 Hull Points to boot albeit with softer side/rear AV.

Werewolves & Vampires.
I bet you were expecting a Twilight reference.
Allies can change this up in a few different ways. For example, if you add some Wolves to this you can get a stronger counter-attack element at the expense of some ranged firepower.

Take out the 2 Tac squads: (380) and a Sang Priest (50)
1 Rune Priest with Jaws, Storm Caller
100 pts
10 Grey Hunters with 2 Melta guns, Wolf Banner
165 pts
10 Grey Hunters with 2 Melta guns, Wolf Banner
165 pts

I was hoping to stick a Chooser in there to give you something that pushes Infiltrators away from you buying time for your guns but I need to find 10 points. At least you've got Jaws for sniping or bagging Monsters or another Divination source (2 Presciences is not to be sniffed at) while your Tac Marines have been upgraded to actual Grey Hunters, sans FNP, with Wolf Banners. Never mind adding them together, most armies won't want to go near 20 Grey Hunters or 20 FNP Assault Marines in the first place. It doesn't really matter which unit you use as bait as they both represent a problem: GH have Counter-Attack at Ld 10 (you'll have a Libby & Priest in one and the RP in another) and Wolf Banners to re-roll their ones aswell.

We will return shortly to our regularly scheduled broadcast...
Wolf Banners - here's a hilarious catch. The SW FAQ hasn't been changed to reflect the new Allies elements so when you add a non-SW character into a Grey Hunter unit with a Wolf Standard, they too are able to re-roll 1's in the Assault Phase. I was trying to get Corbulo in there for a 2+ re-rolled Look Out, Sir and 2+ re-rolled Feel No Pain but couldn't do it without dropping a tank, which is not a great trade. It does at least give your Libby and Sang Priest much better odds of killing stuff and staying out of danger for a turn. I'm thinking of other hilarious combos with this like Lysander or Calgar or a Bike-mounted 2+ save plus FNP Captain (or any other 2+ shenangian Battle Brother) with a Wolf Banner unit but for now I'll focus on BA lists.

Guardsmen, while lacking Wolf Banners, add something by giving you access to lots of cheap guns and bodies, as well as increasing the number of vehicles in the list.

From the above list remove the Tacs (380), a Priest (50) and an Baal Pred (145) pts
Add in a Manticore
160 pts
Primaris Psyker with Force Axe
70 pts
10 Vets with 3 Plasma Guns in Chimera with Heavy Flamer
170 pts
10 Vets with 3 Plasma Guns in Chimera with Heavy Flamer
170 pts

You've kept to the Mech theme and have managed to squeeze in more Plasma and even Manticore Rockets. The RAS protect the Vets while the Preds form a wall around the squishy AV 10 sides of the Chimeras and they all point AV 12 & 13 at the enemy and block off LOS to the Manticore at the back. The other option is to have a Guard Blob screen and load up on more guns.

Remove Tacs:
Primaris Psyker with Force Axe
70 pts
Platoon
Command Squad
4 x Infantry squads with Lascannon
310 pts

That unit might be a bit squishy on its own but you can always deprive it of Heavy Weapons for combat weapons and use them aggressively to back up your RAS and vehicles. You are a bit light on Troops but you do get more guns and can play more defensively with the BA Infantry in your army.

Another option is to mechanise everything, including the Infantry.

Libby
100 pts
2 x Baal Preds
290 pts
2 x AutoLas Preds
270 pts
2 x 10 RAS with 2 Meltas
420 pts
2 x Rhino
30 pts

That should add up to 1110 points, leaving you with over 700 points to spend on buffing your BA by adding in Sang Priests or Honour Guard, or using it to buy mechanised Marine or Guard units e.g. a Stormraven, a Vendetta and one or two units of Vets in Chimeras should fit in just fine. Crons are another option as they give you access to cheap Flyers and insane Cryptek gear to buff their Infantry units, especially seeing as they aren't full of derp when they're around Blood Angels.

A Mat Ward Bro-fisting Flyerwing might be:
Libby
2 x Sang Priest
2 x 10 RAS
2 x Stormravens

Necron Overlord
Crypteks with killy stuff
5 Deathmarks in Night Scythe
2 x 5 Warriors in Night Scythe
Annihilation Barge

Loads of Flyers with the option to deploy some fairly resilient units on the board who take a pounding until the AirCav arrives. I could go on about it but I'll stop and let you form your own ideas on it.

Infantry
Between gin, Little Dave was able to throw a few thoughts down on running BA Infantry. The first was Pod-based and the second was based on Jumpers, which I spoke about in 5th ed a few times.

Taiwanese Death Pods. Not to be confused with the Angels of Death Pods.
I might as well start with BA Drop Pod Assaults. I didn't think much of it in 5th as it meant that you dumped large chunks of your army on the table early in the game and you could either be blown away as there was nowhere for you to hide or the opponent could simply reserve his whole army and pick a side to come on and go from there. Then Grey Knights arrived with Warp Quake.

In 6th ed, this build has been given a new lease of life thanks to the changes to deployment (having to deploy half your army) and the introduction of First Blood which reward the aggressive player. Dave's list at Moo6 was very aggressive and designed to dump lots of scoring FNP bodies into the enemy's face from the off and have a few scoring units drop further backfield to grab objectives while the enemy is busy dealing with all of the guns in their deployment zone: not only was it likely to get First Blood (which is a big deal under our 8/6/6 scoring system) but it was also quite good at getting Linebreaker as most of the army started in the enemy half of the board. I asked Dave was it the best approach to take, as it appears to overexpose scoring units and his response is:
As to your question about throwing all my scoring into their face? Yes, I do still think it's the best way for BA to deal with things, 1-4 scoring units in certain missions such as Big Guns never tire is usually safe enough. Shooting is even better now but with generally increased assault (threat) ranges and the buff to FnP I think it's absolutely fine to throw them at your opponent. In fact, it's needed against Guard.

The Drop Pod army also became more viable now with Characters not being worth 1 unit when in a pod with another squad, meaning BA can have nothing at all on the board if your opponent went first.
And here I thought Null Deployments were a thing of the past (if we're operating under false assumptions then feel free to correct us) . He's got a sound argument: dump (literally) a ton of FNP Marines in your opponents face and many times they'll have fits trying to come to terms with it.

Here's Dave's 1500 pts Drop Pod Bukkake list (because it lands in your face):

Librarian w/ Blood Lance + Shield, Infernus Pistol, Force Axe
Sanguinary Priest w/ Power Fist, Infernus Pistol Sanguinary Priest w/ Power Fist, Infernus Pistol
8 Sternguard, 5 Combi-Plasma, 1 Combi-Melta, 2 Meltaguns, Drop Pod, Locator Beacon
9 Sternguard, 4 Combi-Plasma, 3 Combi-Melta, 2 Meltaguns, Drop Pod, Locator Beacon
10 Assault Marines, 2 Meltaguns, Power Fist, Drop Pod, Locator Beacon
10 Assault Marines, 2 Meltaguns, Power Fist, Drop Pod5 Assault Marines, Meltagun, Infernus Pistol, Drop Pod

So that's lots of FNP, lots of hidden Power Fists and combi-weapons and the option to have lots of scoring units. This army has a fair few options open to it to take it to 1850 points and you can run it pure BA as Dave suggests with more of the same but I think that a certain non-BA somebody deserves special mention here.

Pedro Kantor
The Vanilla Space Marine FAQ has updated Pedro to say that he doesn't give Inspiring Presence Attacks to non-regular SM units, only those chosen from Codex Space Marines but it doesn't say anything about his Hold the Line rule which I take it to mean that Sternguard units in a Blood Angel army are also scoring.

So you can run all of the Sternguard with funky weapons and have a skeleton crew of Tacs to take objectives later in the game. Bear in mind that Pedro also comes with an Orbital Bombardment so he's able to stay still and drop it like its hot and surprise some fools. It's only if he stays still though.

Remember when Pedro was based on this guy?
BA Libby with Axe
2 x Sang Priests
10 Sternguard in Pod with 5 Combi-Weapons
8 Sternguard in Pod with 5 Combi-Weapons
10 RAS in Pod with 2 x Melta
10 RAS in Pod with 2 x Melta
RAS in Pod with some guns

Pedro
10 Sternguard in Pod with 5 Combi-Weapons
Tacs in Pod with some guns

Pedro goes in the Tac Marine Pod or Sternguard Pod as necessary while the Sang Priests go with Sternguard and RAS respectively. The reason for 10 Sternguard is you can combat squad them and get up to 9 scoring units in a game. They might only be 5-strong but with FNP bubbles and Pedro throwing out +1 Attack (SM Sternguard will have 3 base) they'll take some beating before they're taken down.

Another way to run this list is to have lots of boots on the ground to take a pounding at the start and have the Pods rain down to cause damage and allow the rest of the army work away. It might also help against Warp Quake as you don't have to shit bricks every time one of your units scatter toward the Grey Knight's fuckbubble. Playtested? They totally were.

Guard slot in nicely here, as they can give you lots of bodies and cheap Lascannons to pour out heavy firepower, not to mention access to Manticores and Colossi to help you crack open vehicles and wipe out small units of troops with one shot, respectively. Using your Infantry to crack open tanks and your tanks to crack open Infantry is always a solid idea. A blob of guys with a Prescience Libby is nearly always a good buy and it means that you aren't dumping all of your scoring into the enemy's face, as sometimes it can be a bad idea against armies that aren't afraid of assaulting Marines. Even Marines with Feel No Pain.

Horde
Recently I came up against a Tycho-led Foot Horde and it turned out to be quite resilient - it was 30 or 40 Tacs and/or RAS with 3 Dev squads (1 all-Plasma Cannon and 2 all-Missiles) behind an Aegis Line with a Quad gun. It put out a lot of firepower and the Tacs were all able to fight as they had hidden Axes on the Sarges and FNP for added durability.

That's one way to approach it. Another is to ally in other Marines or Guardsmen. GK give you anti-Daemon with their Warp Quakes and S5 Storm Bolters; Wolves give you Grey Hunters and Rune Priests while Vanilla Marines give you access to scoring Sternguard as suggested above, as well as Lysander for a combat monster with the option for Hit and Run shenanigans by teaming up Dante and the Khan.

Guardsmen give you lots of bodies with either hidden Axes or Lascannons to help your advancing Marines: a  Libby with Prescience makes them a lot more reliable while Dante can hop in there and give them Hit and Run: when teamed up with a Primaris Psyker with Endurance they're horrifying as they get to move and fire Lascannons and/or 1RF2RF (1st Rank Fire, 2nd Rank Fire) before assaulting and if they don't like what they're fighting they can just skip out of combat, cast Endurance and hit the unit again.

You can also lump Jumpers under this description as they're simply a faster moving horde. One list I looked at was, as Dave has dubbed it 'Can I axe you a question?':

Dante
Libby with Axe
Primaris Psyker with Axe
50 Guardsmen with 5 x Axe and Meltabomb
3 x 10 RAS with Axe, Meltabomb, 2 Meltaguns
2 x Priest with Jump Pack, Axe
Sang Guard with Banner, Fist, and a few Axes for a laugh, like

The Sang Guard were in there because they're another scoring unit and they give you a Banner that lets you re-roll Morale and Pinning tests (you do not want Dante plus Guardsmen plus whatever else to go running on Turn 1) but I'm not sold on them even if they give you some more Axes. For the same points you can shovel in a multitude of different killy things such as a Manticore, Colossus, Vendetta or even a Stormraven, which can kill up to 2 Flyers a turn, or even another 10-man RAS unit to give you 40 RAS and 50 Guardsmen running across the field waiting to axe you more questions.

If you really wanted you could swap out Dante and the Sang Guard for Astorath and a pile of Death Company but you wouldn't get that many of the latter and the former isn't as good all-round as his superior officer - having Dante put a wound on an enemy psyker (with most Marine ones typically having only having 2 to begin with) can really put the hurt on an opponent as they'll often be forced onto the defensive with them as they won't want to risk falling over to a single Perils of the Warp attack. He's also packing Hit and Run at Initiative 6 which is a huge deal for combat units. Astorath on the other hand gives you Fearless and the potential for more Fearless/Furious Charge BA units and statistically he kills more stuff in combat thanks to his Executioner's Axe. Either way, they've both got Axes so they slot in nicely into this list but I reckon that Dante edges it (sorry) as his abilities do more to buff the army than Astorath's buffs do.

You might notice that I've consistently gone for the Guard Primaris Psyker as an allied Guard HQ choice over any other options such as the Lord Commissar or the Company Command Squad. The reasons for that are twofold: Firstly he's got a Force Axe with Precision Strike which doubles-up with the Prescience power  which BA Libbies have access to and he's able to roll on the Biomancy table which brings a decent range of buff and debuff powers; Secondly, he's much easier to protect and move around than the CCS despite the lack of options he has in comparison (the Astropath and Fleet Officer are worth their weight in gold in 6th ed) - by sticking him within a Guard blob he's got plenty of opportunity to use Lo,S to throw a wound on a nearby pleb on a 2+ and if anything does get through he's got a 5+ Invul save to save him which counts double against enemies with Precision Strike as he gets to pass the buck 84% of the time.

Typically a CCS will need a Chimera or Aegis Line to hide behind or a few extra bodyguards to take a couple of wounds before they get to the squishy, valuable, innards. 50 guys with T3 and 5+ saves is one thing: 5 guys with T3 and 5 saves is another. You can always hide them in a Vendetta but you don't get the most out of their orders which are really good: re-rolls to hit against Vehicles and Monsters (Fire on my target?) is a sort of re-roll for Prescience if you are using Heavy weapons to tag Flyers while Bring it Down (the re-roll successful cover saves one) is like adding Misfortune to a unit with the bonus that it can't be stopped via Deny the Witch. You can overcome the problem of what to include by running Guard as primary but as long as is BA primary then you'll have to decide which of the HQ choices supports rest of the army better?

This is not how Blood Rodeo works.
Blood Rodeo
This is a term coined over on YTTH but popularised by Kirby on 3++. Its a hybrid of Jumper and Bikes that is pushed into the enemy's face in order to apply pressure early on even though it gets a battering on the way in. It wasn't great in 5th ed as being in a metal bawks was the thing to be doing but with the 6th ed changes it pays to have a ton of boots on the ground and the Blood Rodeo is one build that BA can do comfortably with or without Allies.

So here's a build with Allies included.

Dante
2 x Sang Priests with Jump Packs
3 x 10 RAS with 2 Meltas, Axe, Meltabomb
3 x Attack Bikes with Heavy Bolters

Khan
2 x 5 Bikers with 2 Melta and Attack Bike with Multi-Melta

Two guys with Hit and Run should result in some shenanigans even though you've lost out on a Libby's buff powers. Thankfully you've got 5 scoring units with either T5 or T4 and FNP to throw down the enemy's throat with everything in the army moving 12" in order to get into position. The Blood Angel RAS are able to utilise their Jump Packs to Deep Strike Melta guns if they're facing an enemy loaded up with scary ordnance that would otherwise demolish them in one turn and although the Khan can give a Biker unit Outflank it is probably a better idea to keep the army together to hit the enemy in one place all at once and then just leave combat where it is unfavourable to you with up to two of your units (you have an 84% chance to leave after all) and then just get stuck in again the turn after.

The other option is to take cheaper generic characters such as a regular Biker captain or a BA Libby and free up points for more support units. A SM Captain with a Relic Blade and Storm Shield can deal a lot of damage and is quite durable while a Libby with Prescience is always nice to have floating around.

Blood Angels can of course do this without resorting to having anyone else join them thanks to the ability to spread FNP around, and even though it comes at the expense of scoring units you will still have enough guys to get the job done.

Libby on Bike with Axe
2 x Sang Priest with Jump Pack
4 x 10 RAS with 2 Meltas, Axe
3 x 5 Bikers with 2 x 2 Plasma and 1 x Melta, with Attack Biker with Melta in each unit.

Turn 1 - Move Flat Out with Bikers and run with Jumpers.
Turn 2 - Charge.
Turn 3 - Profit.

No question marks here for the Underpants Gnomes to explain.

Conclusion
I was always warned that I should never finish an essay or exam question with the words 'In summary' or 'In conclusion' in the final paragraph as a judge or counsel would demolish you for it but its late and I want to sleep. Hopefully the few of us that posited a few thoughts across our various mouthpieces have managed to cobble together enough ideas on different ways to build 6th ed lists for the sons of Baal to give you food for thought in your own games and to show just how varied and ultimately competitive they can be against a range of opponents so that you stand a chance no matter what you're running and what you're playing against.

If you feel that a particular army build has been missed or a unit type has been glossed over then feel free to light up the comments box and let me know. The other lads will be watching this too so hopefully they'll chime in with a few more ideas of their own, either here or on their own platforms with some more ideas. Enjoy.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting and giving praise to my models. I just think, you could have made it a bit shorter :-).

    As for my experience in sixth: I have no clue about the "meta" so I have (almost) no clue about what I think will be good. So far I haven't played against flyers but my tendency is, to just ignore them. Partially, because I think BA just don't have good enough counters, partially because I don't like the concept of models playing their own game. Sulk. Anyways, list I've used so far:

    Astorath with 2 Assault Squads and two libby dreads, some Preds, a storm raven, aegis line, Tac squad.

    10 Tac Termis with Lysander, Feel No Pain bubble, Dev Squads and Tac Squads, Libbies with Divination.

    Generally my experience is that things got more balanced out. That's maybe because people are trying stuff and use less optimized builds at this stage. But anyways, so far it looks like you can play almost everything if you know what you're doing.

    For me it's too early to say anything more in depth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for adding your thoughts. You're not the only one with no clue about the 'meta' which is what is attracting some people back to the game after a break and driving some established players away as old reliable methods of playing have to be forgotten about and lots of new toys bought.

      Countering Flyers, Necrons and Daemons are top of the list for most and if you can do that then you should be able to tackle anything that comes your way. Fwiw, I reckon Blood Angels have the tools to do it (tackle any enemy, that is) without Allies but they do bring a lot of options to the table as I've said above.

      I wonder if there are any armies that are bad match-ups for Blood Angels, in general as opposed to a specific build?

      Delete
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