There’s a new Blood Angels codex coming this weekend, and naturally, tidbits are leaking out ahead of schedule. Some of the changes sound awesome, while some… not so much. There’s a round-up of supposed changes over on Faeit 212, if you haven’t read them yet.
But what could they mean? Let’s take a look at some of the big-ticket changes, both good and bad. This isn’t going to be an exhaustive look, just my thoughts and opinions on a few things which caught my eye. Once the codex is officially out, I’ll be looking at it in more depth.
Everything has it now, which is nice (it’s +1S on the turn you charge), but of limited use for many units (Tactical/Scout/Devastator squads, Sternguard, shooty Terminators).
Pro: Now a Lord of War choice, so not competing for an HQ slot. They’ve fixed his axe by removing the “unwieldy” special rule. Eternal Warrior makes him more survivable.
Con: No longer unlocks Sanquinary Guard as Troop choices.
Overall I’d say this is a win.
Pro: Confer +1WS and Feel No Pain on the unit they join. Combined with Furious Charge, and Blood Angels are starting to look quite nasty if they can get the charge in.
Con: No more bubble, and competing for HQ slots
A mixed blessing. The buff is nice. If we can still take more than 1 per slot, that’ll go some way towards easing the competition for HQ slots (Captain, Librarian, Librarian Dreadnought, Chaplain, Priests, named characters)
Pro: Furious Charge?
Con: No longer troop choices! If they have the same choice of special weapons as Codex: Space Marines, then they’ll only have access to Flamers, but no news on this yet.
This is a big one for me. Assault squads as troops was one of the fun, unique aspects of the previous Blood Angel books. Taking this away removes a lot of flavour from the army. Not to mention it pretty much invalidates my current army list, unless I want to play Unbound – which would exclude me from any organised event where Unbound usually isn’t allowed. When I read this change, my heart sank at first.
Pro: Cheaper, particularly with jump packs. Lots of special rules.
Con: Reduced WS. Moved to Elite slot, so no longer troops. Chaplains no longer confer bonuses, unless it’s Astorath.
Some people will complain about the loss of Death Company troops, but I’m not really fussed. It felt odd having them there in my view. Combine with some of the other special rules, the right kit, and the right delivery mechanism, to make them very nasty pain point for your opponent. Death Company dreadnoughts are now fighting with other dreadnoughts (except Librarians) for the same slots.
The Codex-specific Detachment
Gives you extra Elite slots and +1I on the turn you charge. Combine this with Furious Charge, and the bonuses from Priests, and you’re looking at +1WS, +1S, and +1I on the charge, plus Feel No Pain. Fill those Elite slots with Lightning Claw terminators and you’re talking WS5 I5 Terminators with 4 S5 AP3 attacks that get rerolls to wound. Anything left over will be hitting Terminator armour with added FNP, making them very survivable. You’ll mulch through quite a lot of an enemy unit if you can get the charge off. If…
Command and Honour squads have supposedly been removed, which further reduces the number of assault-oriented troops you can potentially fit into a list. It doesn’t make much sense, really, which is why I have more than a little hope a lot of these rumoured changes are someone trolling.
It’d be a bit confused to move much of the army structure back towards “vanilla” Space Marines, while stripping out some of the choices the main codex has had for years, plus not adding any of the new units at all – the Hunter and Stalker tanks, Centurions, and Storm Talon are all missing from the new Blood Angels codex.
Wrapping up, if these changes are accurate, Blood Angels players are going to have to spend some time studying the new book to find exactly how Games Workshop thinks the army should play. On one hand we have a lot of assault-based buffs and bonuses, on the other we have a somewhat confused force organisation which doesn’t necessarily reflect those characteristics. I’m sure there will be plenty synergies to be found, but it’s going to cause some of us to re-evaluate our army lists from the ground up.
Of course, come Saturday we might find all these changes were a load of baloney! Or we could find it’s much, much worse than we feared… at which point we’ll be waiting for Games Workshop to fix the codex by releasing a bunch of Formations and Dataslates like they did for Tyranids.
What are your thoughts on the changes? Sound off in the comments section!