The following is a guest article from a legionaire known as Hector the Mightily Bestowed. He had some issues with my power rankings , specifically Dark Angels and Blood Angels. Here is his response.
We have all read crazy internet power rankings putting the Blood Angels far down in the standings. Some of the truly crazy even put them below Sisters of Battle (GASP)! In fact (or my opinion, whichever), there are only two armies I would put above them, the Tau and Eldar. There are quite a few armies that I think are about tied with Blood Angels, but not above. Let me break it down:
HQ: This is simple: if they have a name, don’t take them… I’m sure the new codex will bring the heroes back into glory (Dante is the oldest living space marine, he should be better, and finally, we will be able to win battles without our opponent blaming it all on Mepheston). There are two choices I take in the HQ section, and both are solid; Chaplains and Librarians. Chaplains go with your Death Company (see below) and I like to drop a Biomancy Librarian in with a tactical squad in a drop pod (see below). Chaplains and Librarians, that is it… Wait, you say, Astorath the Grim is good. Yes he is… Don’t take him. But he is a chaplain too, and gives red thirst on all your troops on 4+ and lets you take multiple Death Company units. Yes he does… Don’t take him, whose review is this anyway?
Elites: Also simple: Furiosos and Sanguinary Priests. I always take a Furioso or two in drop pods. AV 13 and plenty of wrecking power both short range shooting and hand to hand makes these guys amazing. Now with vehicles with a slightly higher survival rate, these already formidable beasts will have a better time. Taking a drop pod with these guys is important though, since they don’t have the options for longer range weapons. Picking psychic powers for the Furioso Librarian can be tricky though, I’m still trying to find the right one. Blood Angel Terminators are about as good as anyone else’s. I usually skip them.
Sanguinary priests are awesome, but costly. 50 points base with a 25 point jump pack… Ouch. But they currently have a 6 inch bubble, so they don’t need to be with a unit, just need to be close when it matters. I like dropping them in drop pods with tactical squads, near where I want my assault marines to charge, or even better, vanguard veterans. And let me just say Brother Corbulo is as good as everyone says he is. I usually take just Brother Corbulo (or another foot slogger) but I have watched jump-packed, power-fisted Sang Priests ruin the enemy’s day more than once (Str 10 on the charge? yes please).
Troops: Just like space marines, with the small addition of ASSAULT MARINES!!!! Although 10 of these beauties with no upgrades will cost you more than a fully upgraded 6 man space marine squad with its own upgraded razorback… OK, let’s call this a wash. Wait, our tactical marines are 4 points more than regular space marines with less options. Does Red Thirst make up those points? If I ever remember to roll it at the beginning for the battle I will let you know… BTW, Decent of Angels is a decent special rule, but do not think that you can deep strike Assault squads and be successful; you will instead die in a fire. Leave the deep striking for the Vanguard Veterans. Move the Assault squads up the field, in cover or ideally, out of sight.
Anyone who has been charged by Death Company remembers it… My Death Company has erased just about every squad it has charged (all respect to the Incubi…). I always have a chaplain with my death company. Re-roll to hit AND wound? Overkill is underrated in my book. 10 death company with BP/CCW (200 points) will have 50 WS 5 str 5 attacks on the charge. Without a chaplain, they will cause 7ish unsaved wounds against MEQs. With a chaplain there they will cause 13ish unsaved wounds against MEQs. See the difference? BTW, they will cause around 6 wounds after saves on terminators, don’t those guys run around in groups of 5? Sure the Chaplain costs 130 points, but you got to take an HQ anyways… Note: the wound count above does NOT take the Chaplain’s attacks into count. Now they only thing they are missing is a solid ride… Oh wait, they are down in the Heavy Section.
And for every 5 Death Company, you can take a D Co Dreadnought. I like them with blood talons, hanging off the back of a Storm raven. Nothing chews through MEQs like a D Co Dreadnought with Blood talons and a “Can Do” attitude.
Dedicated transports: Two words: fast vehicles… enough said. Well, maybe not. Drop pods are key to every victory I have with Blood Angels. And what happened to drop pods? They got better, by a lot. Page 162 states “any vehicle arriving via deep strike counts as traveling at combat speed” which means Deathwind missile pods (12″ range large blast str 5) are super viable now since they can fire on the turn they arrive. But since this is not Blood Angel specific, you might think it doesn’t make them better specifically for Blood Angels, but you would be wrong. Victory with Blood Angels is reliant on fast moving, hard hitting units making it across the battlefield. Dropping Furiosos and tact squads with priests to tie up the enemy until the Death Company arrives is Blood Angels all the way, and the extra firepower (at a cost) to help them clear off the bad guys is very helpful.
Fast attack: Baal Predators are cool, can travel 12″ and still fire its inferno flamer template, which is wicked good. 13 AV front, and you got a solid MEQs remover. Like everything else, it works better in pairs. Sure, crew shaken results suck, but they are not shooting at your Stormraven now are they? Vanguard Veterans are cool, and with the FAQ making them lame being gone, they are back to being able to jump in from reserves and charge into combat. Pair that with locator beacons on your drop pods, makes a hard hitting, deadly accurate force. I used to spend a lot of points making them battlefield gods (lightning claws and TH/SS combos), but didn’t really get the mileage out of them. Now I keep them simple, with a melta bomb or two tossed in. They only cost 15 points more than the troop equivalent (losing OS) but gain an attack, and Heroic Intervention. With that priest hanging out by the drop pod to give them buffs, it’s amazing.
Heavy: Here you will find even more Dreadnoughts. That’s right boys and girls, dreadnoughts are in three sections of the codex, meaning in 2000 points, you can have up to 11 of these beasts (Three Furioso, three heavy, and 5 Death Company dreads). Granted this is a stupid army (a chaplain with no upgrades and a 25 man foot slogging Death Company, with only 55 points left to buy stuff, like guns for your dreads), but you can do it. I have 4 dreadnoughts in most of my armies, and they put in work for me.
Stormravens and Land Raiders are my go-to transports for my Death Company. I prefer Stormravens, due to the fact they can carry a dreadnought also, but at a very real risk. If they die, kiss all your troops good bye (and your general, since he will be a chaplain and riding with the Death Company…) In every battle I have taken Death Company in a Stormraven or Land Raider (or both, or 2 of one) and strongly believe that they are the only way to deploy Death Company. Jump packs are too expensive, and drop pods leave them vulnerable to someone charging them, and then they lose out on everything that makes them great (10 man squad only causes ~3 unsaved wounds on MEQs).
I’m sure Vindicators should be mentioned. Personally I don’t use them, but they are solid choices. They are fast vehicles, so can move 12″ and blast their MOAB templates. In their place I use dreadnoughts in drop pods with great effects. The problems I find is they (the Vindicators) don’t play well with the rest of my army. I want most of my army stuck up in your face, tearing it off. Tossing around pie plates is fun, right up until it scatters on to your own troops. Stupid Officers calling in danger close missions doesn’t work in real life, and doesn’t work in Warhammer either.
Tactics: I have given my opinions on what’s what in the codex, and here is how I use them. I try to set up the battlefield with LOS blocking terrain, separating the opponent’s deployment zone into sectors that cannot support each other. I also put every objective I can on my opponent’s side of the board. Turn 1 I drop in 2-3 drop pods. Usually it is a pair of Furiosos, one being a Librarian and then a tactical squad (8 man) with a Librarian (lvl 2 who takes Biomancy) and Brother Corbulo. My drop pods have locator beacons for follow up troops and Deathwind missile launchers. In my back field I have a missile/Lascannon dreadnought and pushing across the board I have an assault squad, attack bike squad (with multi-meltas) and potentially a Land Raider filled with Death Company (but again, I prefer Stormravens. Turn 2 hopefully sees the arrival of the rest of my drop pods (more dreadnoughts and tact squads), my Stormraven(s), and my Vanguard Veterans. The Vanguard (who arrives in the second wave, so the name doesn’t make sense) and drop pods reinforce any of the first wave and the Stormravens zooms across the board blasting anything in the air out of the sky, and hopefully dropping their precious cargo off where it is needed most (in the thick of it).
It is easy to say that my first wave will die under the full firepower of the enemy, but as many of you can attest to, my first wave usually does a fair amount of damage and if I have set up the field well, and is not getting shot at by everyone and their mother. And just as the enemy is recovering, my reinforcements arrive to finish the job. I often take an Aegis defense line with a comms relay to make sure my second wave arrives in time.
I also like to add in Dark Angel allies, and put a HQ with a power field generator on the Stormraven, and make it a Techpriest for max fun. And nothing helps out my first turn drop pod strike like Belial and his Terminators.
In closing, Blood Angels codex is one of the oldest, but fights on the battlefield just as well as any. Just today I tabled my Necron Opponent on turn 3 (he only took 4 night scythes, the silly man). Like any other Warhammer 40k army, a competent commander will find a way to win, and the Blood Angels put plenty of tools in their hands. What the commander does with those tools, well, that’s the question, isn’t it?