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.