Don't bring guns to a knife fight

Over at the FTW network there is currently a series of what must have unit we always have in our army list. Not the type of unit we put onto the table because the Codex says we have to, but the type of unit we simply like too much to leave it at home.
Well, from the intro picture my choice is obvious: it’s the Baal Predator, of course. On the one hand, the Baal Predator is very fluffy as it’s a unique Blood Angels’ build that isn’t mimicked by the Ultramarines yet (see e.g. Vanguard Veterans or Ironclad Dreadnoughts).
On the other hand, the Baal Predator is a fairly devastating weapon: it’s twinlinked Assault Canons fire with a high and reliable accuracy and the Rending rule even allows them to crack a Land Raider with a little bit of luck. If you add Heavy Bolter side sponsons, you pump out quite a few shots in every turn, especially if the Overcharged Engines throw is successful and the Baal moves and fires all weapons.
I for my part don’t use Heavy Bolters, however, as nothing screams “Assault!” more than Heavy Flamer side sponsons. Yes, Heavy Bolters are indefinitely better because you can fire them all game and not just in the last round when you closed in on the enemy (or not at all if the Baal explodes while getting there). However, Blood Angels are a close combat army and I think nothing’s cooler than tanks scorching everything before the Rhinos with the infantry arrive. Plus my fellow Tyranid player has a huuuge respect from my Heavy Flamers, so even the better.
Of course, the Heavy Flamer loadout has one huge drawback: distance. My default setup is filling the three Heavy Support slots with two Baal Predators (both with Heavy Flamers) and one Vindicator meaning that my thread bubble is limited to 24″ of firing range. Especially when I play against Imperial Guard or other tank heavy lists this is a real problem as my tanks tend to die before they do any real damage. Furthermore, using Heavy Flamers in a turn automatically means that the tank will get charged in the next turn, so you better make sure you always drive minimally 6″ far.
In conclusion, one can say that my must have pick is mostly based on fluff and style reasons rather than pure power. However, rumors go through the WWW that in the new Blood Angels Codex Games Workshop makes taking Heavy Flamers worth their points again… ;-)


Bug hunting!

Last night we had another Apocalypse game over at the League of Gentlemen. It’s part of Goldark’s campaign about his hive fleet landing on Imperial planets. Once again, the Tyranids won by a sight margin having Goldark win every single game of the entire campaign!
So, here’s what happened during the Apocalpyse to Parcival’s Blood Angels (click for larger pictures):

The 3rd and 4th Tactical Squad dig in in an old industrial ruin to score on the mission objective hidden there. A deepstriking spore mine can be successfully shot before it does any harm and everything is tight for flanking Genestealers.

In the meantime, Parcival and his Honor Guard are fighting a desperate fight in the trenches along with his tanks and Dreadnoughts plus the support of the Inquisition.

The Death Company is doing what they’re best at – dying! (against a swarm of winged Tyranid Warriors. Me: “Gee, the Death Company is easily going to wipe those Gargoyles! :-D What’s that you say? Those AREN’T Gargoyles???”)

In the meantime, the Deathwing is holding the western flank.

On the northern flank, the Tyranids are closing in!

The Landspeeder is teaching a lesson to the Biovore with the remaining Heavy Bolter: it’s being shot into pieces and decides to flee.

With their retinues dead, Parcival and the Inquisitor still hold the trenches against the masses of bugs.

So does Belial at the western front.

The Tyranids finally charge into the factory and the Blood Angels greet them with waves of Bolter fire. Since this was the last turn of the game, both Tyranids and Blood Angels contested the mission objective.
The Imperium lost against the Tyranids 10:12.


The rise of Mephiston

Back in 4th Edition, Chaplain Lemartes and Chief Librarian Mephiston were THE power combo as Mephiston all by himself was a one man army. With the nerf of the Feel No Pain rule in 5th Edition that changed into favoring the Dante/Corbulo combo as they let nearby units benefit from their skills. Mephiston became overcosted and rather feeble with no Invulnerable Save.
However, I get the feeling that Mephiston is coming back as psychers are getting increasingly popular again. Everyone knows the Chaos Lash. The Psychic Choir of the Imperial Guard really hurts you as your models will run off the table after minor losses. With the new Space Wolves Codex and their psychic powers everybody will play Njal Stormcaller and his brothers.
In the midst of all of this, Mephiston still has his Psychic Hood with an unlimited range and Leadership 10 giving him the best stats to nullify the enemy’s sorcery. Yes, you can also protect your troops against the enemy’s spells by putting them into transports, but at least in my case my Rhinos always break while the enemy’s remain intact.  Furthermore, Mephiston still has this aura of invincibility from former days that makes other players go “Yikes, there’s Mephiston!”
Overhere, we usually play with a 1750 limit which makes you think twice if you want to put 300 points on the table for Dante and Corbulo. I rather limit myself to one HQ and bring in more Attack Bikes and/or Land Speeders instead to increase the number of Melta weapons. That’s why I usually run Lemartes (Corbulo alone usually doesn’t do any good as there are too many conditions to be met to make him bring out his full potential), but lately I have made good experiences with deepstriking my Death Company behind enemy lines. Usually, I minimize my DC, so if they die immediately, they are still a nice distraction for the other player. If he decides to ignore them and let them run havoc within his ranks even the better. So, there’s the open slot for Mephiston – he’ll see a lot lore game time in my near future. And then we’ll see what happens with him in the new Codex. 


Codex: Space Wolves as seen through the eyes of a Blood Angel

It was in 1993 when young Parcival got into contact with Games Workshop products. As an avid RPG player I started to play Wood Elves in Blood Bowl and then started to collect a Warhammer Fantasy Wood Elves army. However, in 40K there was a Space Marine Chapter with a charisma unlike any other. After I borrowed the Codex from a friend and read it through, the Sons of Leman Russ always have been my secret love.
So, with the new Space Wolves Codex available in stores, I got my copy as well, although I don’t plan to collect an army (yet). Besides for the love of the Space Wolves Chapter I purchased this Codex also for a very specific second reason, namely if I could find hints in it on what to expect with the rumored Codex Blood Angels that is supposed to be released in 2010.
These days, everybody speaks about how broken Space Wolves are and how to create hard hitting army lists. Here, I want to look at something pretty much gone unnoticed from the mainstream chatter but that could be specifically interesting for Blood Angels players.
Logan Grimnar, Chapter Master of the Space Wolves, doesn’t have the Orbital Bombardment rule, but Eternal Warrior. I see this as a sign of hope that Dante will get Eternal Warrior, too, but I doubt he’ll get the Orbital Bombardment. (Isn’t it odd that the Chapter Master of the Humpdy Dumpdy Springflowers Chapter has the competence to order an Oribtal Bombardment, but two of the most senior Chapter Masters don’t?)
Njal Stormcaller – I don’t even dare to imagine what broken psychic powers Mephiston could possibly get – plus an adequate saving throw.
Similar to the Vanilla Codex, the Wolf Lord allows a lot more options in terms of equipment. I expect the next Blood Angels Captains to get the same treatment.
The Iron Priest lacks the Independent Character rule that the Vanilla Techmarine has. The Blood Angels Techmarine doesn’t have it and probably won’t get it either.
Wolf Guard can have Terminator Armor and still board Drop Pods – maybe this is a hint that Blood Angels Terminators keep their ability to deploy in Drop Pods as well?
Wolf Scouts are Elites – I expect the Blood Angels Scouts to stay in the Elite slot, too. In other words, nobody is going to play them in the future either.
Grey Hunters are 15 points per model, Vanilla Tacticals 16. Blood Angels are between 15 and 17 points depending on how you count (30 points for Death Company subtracted), so the cost for the average Tactical Squad is going to stay the same more or less. However, Space Wolves and Vanilla can have between 5 and 10 Marines in a squad while Blood Angels only can have blocks of five. I guess more flexibility will be added here as well – plus the free flamer and the free Missile Launcher.
Skyclaws have special weapons, so do Vanilla Assault Squads. I expect Blood Angels Assault squads to receive the same weapon options (currently restricted to Veteran Assault Squads). This could provide some much needed punch for our second choice in the Troops slot.
Space Wolves don’t have the Landspeeder Storm, so Blood Angels probably won’t get it either. That’s okay, after all Vanilla Chapters deserve some unique units, too. I like the approach that special Chapters like Space Wolves and Blood Angels don’t seem to get everything the Vanillas do plus some more added extras as it adds to diversity.
The Space Wolves’ Land Raider rules have been adapted to the Vanilla ones. Blood Angels players will be happy to see the same happening to theirs as well. Rhinos and Drop Pods only cost 35 points, so the Blood Angels are going to get cheaper as well.
Yes, the Space Wolves have the 3+ INV Storm Shield, the Whirlwind can choose the ammo type before firing, Wolf Guard can have the Cyclone Missile Launcher and Rhinos have access points. If those things are not in the next Blood Angels Codex, I am going insane. 


Rumors: Blood Angels Terminators in new Space Hulk Box

There weren’t much news at today’s Games Day in Köln, Germany, but the t-shirts (featuring a Terminator helmet for staffers and a Tyranid head for the general audience) made it pretty clear that the Mystery Box is the new Space Hulk game.
According to rumors in the BoLS Lounge there will be Blood Angels Terminators in the new game again, which is strongly confirmed by the Games Day cover.
I expect many boarding operations coming up in our local gaming club. 
Update: Space Hulk has been officially anounced and is available for preorder on the GW website. Man, those Blood Angels Terminators are so beautifully made that I could cry.  And I feel almost ashamed of my old Terminators that I am currently painting. 


Fresh off the painting table: OOP Space Hulk BA Terminators

As usual, click the image for a larger view:
My OOP Terminators from the old Space Hulk box painted as the 3rd (pictured above) and 4th Squad of the 1st Blood Angels Company. I didn’t take a picture of the 4th Squad as it really looks just the same.
With the three Terminators from my previous post I have now painted a total of 13 Terminators out of my 25 total. When I am done with the remaining half I will throw all my Terminators and Jump Packers at my enemies in Planet Strike. :-D


Battle Report: Another BA vs DA (2000 Points)

Brother Sergeant Standing Wolf stared at the ruins. The Fallen stood stoically with the electrocuffs around his wrists knowing that any attempt to change his fate had become futile. “Avenger, this is Death Wing One, do you copy?” – “Loud and clear, Death Wing One.” – “We are ready to teleport back into orbit with our freight.” – “Negative, Death Wing One, negative. Teleporting is currently not possible because of a solar storm, Brother Techmarine Rondran is adjusting the signal matrix. Please stand by.” – “Aye, we are standing by. Death Wing One over and out.” Standing Wolf had been watching the horizon for the entire conversation with the ship in orbit because he was expecting someone to arrive. And there he saw them. Red shapes bouncing from the earth as if they were human rubber balls. They were the Blood Angels who originally found a trace of the Fallen when he got too imprudent dealing with his stolen artifacts. The Dark Angels managed to sneak into the orbit and trace the Fallen while the Blood Angels were still busy exchanging formalities with the local authorities. Everything would have been perfect and gone unnoticed. This solar storm really happened at the worst possible moment – one could almost think that Chaos was behind this all. Yet Standing Wolf readied his Storm Bolter for the secret of the Chapter had to be kept at all costs. “Please, God Emperor, please don’t let this happen.”
“Capture the Fallen” Scenario
For this game, we played the homebrew scenario “Capture the Fallen”.
The game is being played over the long table edges.
The terrain is a city fight terrain that provides a lot of cover.
The Fallen is being placed with a Death Wing Squad in a bunker in the center of the table. As long as there is at least one Death Wing Terminator in base contact with the Fallen, the Fallen is captured. If the Fallen is free, he walks 2D6 into a random direction in every movement phase.
The Death Wing wins, if they manage to teleport back into orbit before the game runs out.
The Blood Angels win if the Fallen is still on the surface of the planet when the game runs out.
The Death Wing rolls a D6 at the end of its movement phase. The teleport is successful if the rolled dice beats one of the following conditions:
Turn 1: no roll
Turn 2: 6+
Turn 3: 5+
Turn 4: 4+
Turn 5: 3+
Turn 6: 2+
Turn 7: 1+
The Blood Angels may carry a jammer in a vehicle that worsens the Death Wing roll by -1 if it’s within 12 inches of the Fallen.
Army Lists (2’000 points each)
My Blood Angels list:
(all infantry has Jump Packs)
Lord Dante
Chaplain Lemartes
Death Company (10 strong)
2x Veteran Assault Squad VAS (8 strong, Thunderhammer & Stormshield, 2 pairs of Lightning Claws, 2 Flamers)
2x Regular Assault Squad RAS (10 strong, Powerfist, 2 Plasma Pistols)
2x Land Speeder (Multimelta, Assault Canon)
The Death Wing list:
Death Wing Squad (Apothecarius, guarding the Fallen in the bunker)
Land Raider Redeemer with Death Wing Squad and Grey Knight Psychic Johann Kraus
Land Raider Crusader with Death Wing Squad and Captain Belial
3x Venerable Dreadnought
Battle Report
Turn 1:
The DA get to move first. The Land Raider Redeemer and a Venerable Dreadnought are flanking the bunker on the left.
The Land Raider Crusader is flanking the bunker on the right.
The other two Venerable Dreadnoughts move into cover behind the bunker.
The Blood Angels move everything they have towards the bunker. The Death Company is in the center, a Land Speeder on every flank. The Land Speeder on the right flank is in fire range and shoots at the Death Wing Squad in the bunker, but doesn’t do any damage.
Turn 2:
The DA fail their teleport roll.
The missiles of the Death Wing Squad in the bunker manage to shoot the Land Speeder on the right; it explodes. Unfortunately, this Land Speeder also carried the jammer.
The Land Speeder on the left manages to shoot the Land Raider Redeemer with the Multimelta and destroys it.
The Death Company is landing in front of the bunker and is running into the room on 1st floor level (the Death Wing and the Fallen or on the 2nd floor).
Turn 3:
The DA succeed in their teleport roll with a straight 6 on the dice.
The Fallen and the entire Death Wing Squad guarding him are removed from play.
We decide to keep playing, however.
Belial and his Death Wing Squad exit the Land Raider Crusader and charge Lemartes and the Death Company in the bunker. They kill 6 Death Company Marines, but the Death Company is taking 3 Terminators with them on the journey over Hades.
The RAS on the left charges the Venerable Dreadnought, but only inflicts a shaken result.
Turn 4:
Belial and his Terminators continue to kill Death Company Marines.
Grey Knight Johann Kraus assists the Dreadnought on the left against the RAS, but sees himself cut up by their Chainswords.
The Death Wing Squad previously walking with Johann Kraus moves into the bunker to assist Belial.
Dante an his RAS land on the roof of the bunker.
Dantes Inferno Pistols has the Venerable Dreadnought behind the bunker explode.
The RAS on the left manages to destroy the Venerable Dreadnought’s close combat weapon.
The VAS on the left attacks the 2nd Venerable Dreadnought, but only gets a shaken result.
The VAS on the right attacks the Land Raider Crusader, but only gets a shaken result.
Turn 5:
The Death Company is finally being wiped out.
The Land Raider Crusader shoots at the VAS. They fail their morale check and fall back.
The Blood Angels on the left fail their moral checks as well and fall back.
Dante and his RAS descend to the 1st floor of the bunker and attack Belial.
They manage to kill all remaining Terminators except Belial. However, Belial kills Dante in return.
Turn 6:
The Dreadnoughts and the remaining Land Raider Crusader manage to kill all Blood Angels infantry models as they are falling back.
The remaining Land Speeder takes a shot at the Land Raider Crusader, but fails to do any damage.
Turn 7:
The Crusader kills the Land Speeder. The Blood Angels model count is down at 0.
Critical Review
Although it’s pure madness to fight Land Raiders and Dreadnoughts with such a Blood Angels list, it did a lot better than I expected.
After my last game, I wanted to balance my squads better by giving each VAS a Thunderhammer and Powerclaws. Also Dantes Inferno Pistol definitely was worth its points.
In the end, it was one factor that broke my neck: the Death Wing charging my Death Company instead of my Death Company charging them. The Death Company heavily relies on the Furious Charge and the Chaplain’s rerolls.
If I had had Dante and Corbulo nearby whenever I fought Terminators, I would probably have won.
Finally, this game has also shown that it’s pointless to fight Dreadnoughts and Land Raiders in close combat. A sergeant with Powerfist/Thunderhammer is hitting with 2 attacks (more or less) in every turn. This just isn’t good enough to get a lot of rolls on the vehicle damage chart.
Lord Dante moved with his men towards the bunker. Brother Lemartes and his doomed angels had already slipped into it. Dante was looking forward to finally questioning that shadowy character who may know something about the whereabouts of the Amulet of Sanguinius. Suddenly, the screams of the Death Company changed into some supernatural frenzy. They must really have hit a terrifying enemy. Dante landed on top of the bunker and his reflexes placed a clean shot on the giant standing behind it. He didn’t trust his eyes as he saw that he just fell Brother Dreadnought Bethor and all his honorable insignia. Dante rushed down the stair to the bunker’s first floor where the frenzy suddenly had stopped. There was black and bone colored armor all over the floor. “Belial,” Dante hissed, “what treachery is this?” The answer came back in form of a pair of Lightning Claws digging deep into his armor.


Fresh off the painting table: Triumvirate

I am currently busy painting a total of 25 Blood Angels Terminators. Fresh off the painting table are the three HQ models who are going to be the Triumvirate of my 1st Company.

The Terminator Captain has fought many battles and seen all enemies the universe has to offer. He’s the type of guy who arrives with the first wave on the surface of a planet and is the last to be teleported up again. His Storm Bolter and Energy Sword are relatively simple weapons, but he knows to master them well. The more killy weapons are being carried by his Honor Guard who would never let themselves be separated from him. Of course, the Captain would never back away from an enemy, but it’s his Honor Guard taking care of the most imminent threads that lets him lead his company even at the frontline.
I’m especially happy with this picture because it nicely shows the different shade of red between the robe and the Power Armor.

The Terminator Chaplain is the Captain’s dark advisor. The Chaplain knows too well the human beings’ faults and weaknesses, but he also knows their strengths and noble feats. While the Captain may be a great tactician, the Chaplain is the strategist who makes sure that everything going on within the company is in the will of the God Emperor. The Chaplain leads the company in prayer, works as its spiritual adviser and sorts out those who are falling to the Black Rage.
I didn’t paint this Chaplain in any special way. However, I decided to leave the eye sockets in the same bone color as the rest of the skull (quickly thought about black or bright green) because this makes him more ghostly in my eyes. I also decided to glue the halo directly to his head rather than having it sit on the Power Armor because it adds more to the look of a tortured person as well. After all, the Chaplain knows all shades of life and death very well.

The Terminator Librarian is the keeper of the company’s arcane knowledge and the chief psychic. Whereas the other two characters heavily rely on their cognitive skills, the Librarian explores unknown worlds with his intuition. He channels the ruinous powers from the Warp into forms that help him and his battle brothers in their quest in the name of the God Emperor. He’s a mighty battle mage and both respected as much as feared not only by his enemies – but by his battle brothers, too.
When I was doing the Librarian I just wanted to combine the Librarians’ typical blue Power Armor with my other default colors for the Blood Angels Chapter. With Red, Yellow and Blue he turned out really bright and funky, however. When I look at the model it kinda feels to me as if Papa Smurf is carrying his own mushroom house. However, after a little while I think the funny look is actually quite good. If the Captain is the king and the Chaplain the dark advisor in the background, then the Librarian functions as the jester. The people around him find him rather strange and quite often don’t know what to make out of his words, as he speaks of things nobody else addresses and sees things nobody else can see, but the company’s Captain knows very well that sometimes the Librarian is his only weapon against the most dangerous enemies.


How to paint Blood Angels

One of the most frequent questions by newbies is how to paint Blood Angles. Well, for a large part I consider myself to be a newbie still, but I guess I have figured out the painting part.
My painting style has some shortcuts but is also very keen on details so I can keep up a speed that is fairly productive and produce decent looking miniatures at the same time. Just add more shortcuts or take better care of the details to get the quality you want. If you want an even shorter guide (only five steps, hurray!) you can look into Games Workshops slightly outdated Painting Blood Angels article. After all, my way is not the only way to paint. :-)

  • Basecoat the miniature with white color. Some people prefer black color because it makes all following layers of colors look darker. However, I prefer white as it allows you to see the details on the miniature better plus you can always darken the colors with inks later.
  • After that, I paint the entire model with Mechrite Red. This provides the needed base color and prevents any white spots that may be hard to paint later.
  • Next, I paint any part with Iyanden Dark Sun that is supposed to have a lighter color on the finished model. Good examples are faces, paper scrolls, wings, golden parts etc. Furthermore, Iyanden Dark Sun is a really good base color for yellow as it hardly shines through.
  • In a next step, I apply a wash called Flesh Wash on the entire model. This wash has gone out of production, but you can use Ogryn Flesh instead. This wash darkens the lower areas of the red Power Armor and adds more depth to the model. If you have any question concerning inks and washes, I recommendSkarboy’s excellent tutorial.
  • Once the wash is dry, I paint the yellow (e.g. an Assault Marine’s helmet) and bone colors (e.g. skulls, bones, and scrolls). For yellow I like Bad Moon Yellow, but once again this paint is out of production so you may have to find a substitute. The bone colored parts are simply being drybrushed with Bleached Bone. Just get some paint with your brush and wipe it off again on a piece of cloth until there is hardly any paint left on the bursh.
  • Now it’s time for the Blood Red. On the average trooper, I use Blood Red only to highlight the edges of the Power Armor so the brown wash still leaves a dirty/muddy look. In the case of veterans I paint everything over with Blood Red except for the lower areas where the brown wash accumulated. This gives a fresher/cleaner look to the veterans and you get an effect called Brown Lining for free as the dark lines are already there – you just have to make sure you don’t paint them over with the Blood Red.
  • In a next step it’s wise to do the black parts on your model, mainly the Bolters and other weapons.
  • Up next is the miniature’s face if it goes without a helmet. Do a base skin ofDwarf Flesh, darken it with Ogryn Flesh, and finally highlight it again with Elf Flesh. The hardest part are the eyes as it takes a calm hand to do the black dot in the center. However, the more you try it, the easier it will get. If you prefer, you can paint the eye entirely black first and paint white parts second.
  • Now is the time to do all the details you didn’t pay attention to before, for example ornaments, tubes and cables, metallic parts of the weapons, etc.
  • Finally, you can add more highlights on the Power Armor by drybrushingBlazing Orange and Bad Moon Yellow on the appropriate parts. Just check where the light comes from and drybrush the parts of the model that it shines on. I suggest you work in a well lit room. If you’re in a dark room with just one lamp you may very well see the bright spots on the surface of the miniature, but there are also strong shadows that distort the shape of the miniature and make it harder to paint.
I usually water down my paints quite a bit so I get thin and smooth layers of color. Sometimes it takes you more than one layer until a color looks good, but that’s still better than having thick paint ruin the surface of your model.
I use Games Workshop paints just because they are convenient, but you may use other paints as well. Everybody has to find his/her own set of paints, I guess. When I was a teen and had less money, I used Humbrol oil-based paints, they are mainly designed to paint World War II armies. Now I swung over to Games Workshop paints because it’s easier to just add water (I take it directly from the tab) and because I have the paints I need all ready to use. I don’t mix paints and paint straight out of the pot. I love to paint, but I also like to keep things fairly simple.
One last piece of advice: everyone can paint good looking miniatures as long as they try to paint cleanly. If there is a speckle by mistake, just paint over it again with the correct color. Painting isn’t hard as long as you try to paint cleanly. There are painters who check the weather report before priming their miniatures, they have special sets of brushes and their arsenal of individually mixed colors. Surely they are pros and create master pieces, but you don’t need all that to paint a good looking miniature that you can bring to your local game store. :-)


Blood Angels standard bearers

Well, finally my standard bearers are done. The freehands are not at Golden Demon level, but they’re good enough to work as center pieces of my army.
Lord Dante’s Honor Guard Standard Bearer:

The angel holding the bloody cloth is supposed to make everyone remember thedeath of the Primarch Sanguinius and his sacrifice to bring down the evil traitor.
Blood Angels’ 2nd Company Standard Bearer:

The Grail is supposed to give the Blood Angels hope because although their Primarch is dead, they have still his blood running in their veins that enables them to embark for many great crusades still.
One can see a lot of Christian symbolism in all of this, but hey – why should Games Workshop reinvent the wheel when human history is full of powerful lore?

Sanguinius holding the Gates of Terra

Over at Bolter & Chainsword there is a thread running for a couple of weeks alreadythat displays amazing commissioned artwork displaying the Primarch Sanguinius holding the Gates of Terra. If you jump to the (current) end of the thread, you can download even a highres version as the customer decided to share this piece of art with every other fan. :-)