Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Angel's Blade Review Part 3: More Formations and Detachments!

Here we are again! In yesterday's post I went over the Command and Core formations from the new book. Today it's the Auxiliaries and the Detachments. Let's crack on shall we?


Archangels Orbital Intervention Force

The Archangels Orbital Intervention Force or 'AOIF' (which I like to think will be the noise your opponent might make when this arrives) is a potentially powerful little (600pts minimum - not so little) formation that gives a nice special rule that benefits shooty and hitty Terminators. The formation is 3 Terminator squads in any combination you like. Assault Terminators get the same disordered charge when they arrive, like the Golden Host, but coupled with this is the ability for regular Termie units to shoot twice on the turn they arrive, and at different targets if they like. Game wise I'll wait and see how this fares, but Terminators teleporting in and going crazy with guns, or immediately charging the enemy is seriously cool. They also all arrive on a single reserve roll which is nice. They have to be kept in Deep Strike Reserve but why would you want to take this one any orther way? Another one I will try and squeeze in when I can.

10th Company Ambush Force

Basically the 10th Company Task Force from Codex: Space Marines. 3-5 squads of Scouts or Scout Bikes (which have to take mines). Infiltrating units get Stealth if they haven't already (until they do anything but shoot) and everyone gets precision shots in the first turn. Could be handy if you want to force special weapons models to have to make saves and definitely handy if you combine it with Night Fighting and sit them in ruins. Anything with Ignores Cover will just ruin this formation but then it possibly would anyway. Could be good for snatching objectives quickly at the start of the game or sitting on an objective from setup.

Lucifer Armoured Task Force

This guy. This. Guy. I really want to play with this one. Tech Marine, 3-5 units of Baal or Regular Predators and 1-3 Land Raiders in your favourite flavour. Everything gets Scout and all the tanks (ALL THE TANKS) get Overcharged Engines for free. Fast Land Raiders. The possibilites for this one are immense. That gives your Land Raider Redeemer an 18" move up to the first turn and can still fire both Flamestorm Cannons and the Assault Cannon at full BS (thank you Power of the Machine Spirit)! You also have the speed to get those Predators into position for for the long shots in the first turn, or get those Baal Predators into range. It has potential this one, even if it is quite pricey in points. There is even more to this one as well. All will become clearer in the Detachments part...

Stormraven Squadron

Despite the name, there is nothing that suggests the Stormravens in this formation are a squadron as we know it in the rest of the game. This is just 2-4 Stormravens that have a nice one-per-game special rule which could be useful. At the start of a turn you nominate a target and any Stormraven that is in range and has line of sight fires all of it's remaining Stormstrike missiles at the target. Each one can then move and shoot their other weapons as normal in the same turn. Could be useful for taking out a Wraithknight or at least shaving off wounds. Combine this with the rules from Death From The Skies and this could be vicious. One bone of contention (or not, really) will be when exactly you can use this strike. It says at the beginning of your turn so really they can't do this in the second turn because moving on from reserves comes first. I am pretty sure this is a 3rd turn onwards ability. What is nice is if you have used a few of your missiles you can then save this to make sure a particular vehicle/Monstrous or Gargantuan Creature at a crucial point. It does mean you are risking those ravens being blown out of the sky before they get chance to contribute, but, c'est la vie. If you are going to take a couple of ravens anyway, this is worth it for the extra shots.

Rapid Assault Force

1-3 of your fast movers: Assault Squad, Bike Squad, Attack Bike Squad or Land Speeder Squadron. No special rules for this one. Both this and the Fire Support Force are Auxiliary fillers basically but they are excellent for filling that slot for very little points, allowing you to max out the big powerful formations. I think these will come in very useful for that reason.

Fire Support Force

Similar to the above but this is your hard hitters. 1-3 Devastator Squads, Vindicator Squadrons or Whirlwind Squadrons. The Vindicators getting the big blast might mean this gets taken as the Auxiliary a fair bit by people. If I ever get 3 of them, I will be trying that.


Moving on to the Detachments, there are 2 in Angel's Blade. Similar to codices that have come through in the last year or two, these are the Blood Angel's 'Decurion' detachments.

Angel's Blade Strike Force

The first of the detachments is for use with the mainstream of the Blood Angels. Minimum is 1 Core and 1 Auxiliary with an optional upto 5 Command formations. The Death Company Strike Force is an Auxiliary for this one. If you fill that, you get a trait re-roll (as always) and Red Thirst for the whole force. This is actually better than the Baal Strike Force etc, because it gives Red Thirst with more flexibility. The Archangels Demi-Company, for instance, never had Red Thirst. It's a shame that the Battle Demi-Company doesn't get a unique special rule but it does mean you can take it on it's own and still have Red Thirst. I actually think the lack of transports is probably a sensible choice because of the overcharged engines. Those Razorbacks and Rhinos would be even better than the C:SM and we simply can't have that! Objective Secured would have been nice but I think this book is trying to drive BAs towards what they should be doing, fluffwise. Smashing skulls. You don't need ObSec if you are doing a good job of assaulting squads off objectives. That's my theory anyway. It will need some serious hours play testing but I don't see this being up their with the best 'Decurions' available at the moment. This detachment also get's Zealot for any squads that drop below half their starting number. So you are going to want to be taking 10 man squads in that Demi-Company to make this even remotely useful.

Lost Brotherhood Strike Force

This is the second detachment and this is the Death Company focused one. It has it's own Command formation which is 1-3 of Astorath, Lemartes or a Death Company Chaplain. Not really worth mentioning in the formations yesterday, as it's just a way to get those guys into your force. The detachment has a minimum of 1 Core and 1 Command with an optional upto 5 Auxiliary which can be chosen from the Archangels Orbital Intervention Force, 10th Company Ambush Force, Lucifer Armoured Task Force, Stormraven Squadron or Rapid Assault Force. This also gives the trait re-roll and Red Thirst but also confers a free 6" move that isn't a Scout, immediately after setup. I think this is another rule that is potentially very powerful as it is now giving your Death Company with jump packs a potential of 30" in the first turn with a charge or 24" with a re-rollable charge! This is giving them the chance to do what they do best. Rip 'n' tear. But wait. There's more. That move applies to every unit in the force including, you guessed it, your scouting fast tanks! So your Land Raiders are potentially half way across the table before the first turn even begins. You now can cross the table 24" and fire 3 weapons at full BS. It's incredibly strong for a Land Raider Redeemer as you can get them where they can burn stuff in the first turn. Or your bike squads or Land Speeders or many other things. Doesn't apply to anything arriving from reserve unfortunately but there are big possibilities with this one all the same.

Well, that's all the formations and both detachments. Check out the next post when I will talk about new Warlord Traits, Relics and my general thoughts about a couple of lists I want to try.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Angel's Blade Review Part 2: Formations and Detachments

Hello again! Time for part 2 of the review. This time I will run through the new (and not so new) formations from between the covers of Angel's Blade. Strap yourselves in, there's a lot to get through, so this will be a two-parter!


There are 12 formations in Angel's Blade, 9 of them new. As you've no doubt come to expect, these are categorised into Command, Core and Auxiliary formations for the larger detachments (more on that later). The bias seems to be slightly towards assault, which pleases me fluffwise, but it remains to be seen whether they work out well in games. There are also one or two formations that make use of the changes to the vehicles that Blood Angels can take. Here's the list:


Golden Host

This one has certainly piqued my interest and I will definitely be trying it. It consists of Dante or The Sanguinor plus between 2 and 5 squads of Sanguinary Guard. Firstly, you can choose which turn they arrive from turn 2 onwards with no rolling and you can re-roll the scatter for their Deep Strike arrival and they must arrive together. Secondly, and this could be a biggy, they can make a disordered charge after arriving. The latter is certainly going to make them a threat when combined with the former and there are actually benefits to taking The Sanguinor (at last) as well as Dante.

  • If you take Dante, you can put him in a squad with the banner and negate the lost charge attack bonus. You also can use his warlord trait to reduce that re-rollable scatter to just D6" which is rather nice. Plus Dante is just an excellent character in general. Precision pain train!
  • If you take The Sanguinor, you partly negate the disordered charge for the rest of the Sanguinary Guard squads in the formation, as long as you keep them fairly tight to him as he confers the +1 Attack regardless of the charge being disordered. Sadly, he still can't join squads, but he can at least help out his golden buddies.
More interestingly and possibly overlooked at first glance is the fact you can pick when your rip and tear units arrive. This, for me at least, could take them from "I hope they survive" to "Where do I need these bad asses?". I look forward to seeing if this is useful. 10/10 for cool though.

Leaders of the Angelic Host

Straightforward this one. One character, optional Command Squad, optional Stormraven. The character can be a Terminator Captain, Captain Tycho, a Librarian, Mephiston, a Sanguinary Priest or Brother Corbulo. A simple way to get HQs into your force and, as you will see, you can fit a good few in! Strangely, like every other formation, Captain Karlaen is not an option for this, despite being mentioned several times in the fluff of the book. It almost feels like they want to try and remove Karlaen as a playable character and have him as a generic Terminator Captain that you can call Karlaen. I will probably bring this point up at least 20 more times before the review is done! No special rules for this formation, it's a plain command slot filler.

Chapter Ancients

They didn't give BAs Dreadnought Squads (Squadrons?) but this formation makes up for that a bit. You can take 3 to 5 of any flavour of Dreadnought. This includes regular Dreadnoughts, Furioso and even Librarian flavoured coffin robots. Yeah, that's right, you can take 5 Librarian Dreadnoughts as a formation. Okay, so that's at least 750 points but who is going to know where to start with that? I won't be taking 5 Librarian Dreads. The special rule for this formation is situational but nice. Once per battle you can shoot or pile in and attack in the movement phase instead of moving. You then get to do your normal shooting or combat as well. Nice to add the chance of clearing up a combat or taking extra shots at that vehicle or whatever. Moreover these dreadnoughts are seperate and don't suffer from having to keep coherency or massed fire at the 'unit' so are a bit harder to kill off. Nice, but I'm not sure how useful this will be.


Battle Demi-Company

The same as the Blooded  Demi-Company from Shield of Baal: Exterminatus with the exception that you can take a Bike Squad, Attack Bike Squad or unit of Land Speeders instead of the Assault Squad. Gets exactly the same special rules as the BDC as well: re-roll the warlord trait and Red Thirst which gives +1 Initiative on the charge. This is strange because the detachment also bestows Red Thirst, and as much as I would like a double Initiative boost, this does not stack. You can't be double thirsty. Seems a tad lazy but there are other benefits to taking the detachment. We're getting to that. So this is the standard Captain or Chaplain, Command Squad (if you take the Captain), 3 Tactical Squads, Assault/Bikes/Attack Bikes/Land Speeders, Devastator Squad, Dreadnought and a Furioso Dreadnought (if you take the Chaplain). No changes here.

Archangels Demi-Company

The formation of the same name from Exterminatus but you can't use the Archangels Warlord Traits (you do get a re-roll on the Codex: Blood Angels traits though) and you get to roll for reserves FROM THE FIRST TURN. Useful in Maelstrom games when you want to snatch those first few objectives or if you want to null deploy with some drop pods. Maybe a bit risky but there is only a minute chance you will fluff the roll and the re-roll for every single unit. Alpha strike is go with this one. Cheap version is to take stock Sternguard with drop pods or Razorbacks. Not sure if you can start rolling for the second half of your drop pods from turn 1. Pretty sure you would still be turn 2 for those. Let me know what you think in the comments. Expensive version you take Terminators for face smashing goodness, sprinkled with Heavy Flamers, Assault Cannons or Cyclones for shooting fun. Stubborn also included for extra relentlessness, but not Relentless (har har).

Death Company Strike Force

This is both a Core choice and an Auxiliary, depending on the detachment, so I'm putting it here. This one I am excited to have a play with. The new Death Company Chaplain is joined by 3 Death Company Squads and 1-3 DC Dreads. Any DC squad or Dread with 12" of the Chaplain get's an extra attack. This is insanely good. Death Company are already good at the rip 'n' tear but this just makes them murderous. Take Bolt Pistols in your squads and you get 6 attacks per model on the charge. Even better, take Bolters and get to Rapid Fire then charge and get 5 attacks each. There are not many infantry units that won't be a pink mist after that kind of crazy rolling. The icing on that cake is that thanks to GW getting it together and giving BA Dreads the attacks they deserve, you could be looking at 9 S10 AP2 Shred attacks on the charge if you take Blood Talons (and you should). You can also take Stormravens as dedicated transports so you have a few options for delivering the black-armoured maniacs.

Right, that will do for tonight. I will cover the Auxiliaries and the Detachment in tomorrow's post.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Angel's Blade Review Part 1: Unit Updates

So Angel's Blade, the Blood Angels part of the new Black Crusade supplements was officially released today, and Blood Angels being my main army, I had to get my hands on the limited edition version. So here's a brief review of what has changed in terms of individual units. Over the next few days I will also write about formations, gear and rules changes and my initial thoughts on the updates as a whole and then a small piece about the limited edition.

Read on to see what's changed!


So one of the big changes to units in Angel's Blade is the changes to vehicles. Firstly is the addition of the ability to take Predators, Vindicators and Whirlwinds in squadrons as in Codex Adeptus Astartes: Space Marines (C:SM from here on out because that's a lot to type each time), and like C:SM, the vehicle squadrons gain special rules like Linebreaker Bombardment for Vindicators, Killshot for Predators etc. Along with this Baal Predators can also be taken in squadrons and get to re-roll 1s to wound which is pretty nice and Land Speeder squadrons with 3 or more Land Speeders can move an extra 6" when moving flat out.

Dreadnoughts can't be taken in squads per se, but they can be taken in a formation which means they don't have to maintain coherence and they gain a nice once per battle special rule. More on that in the formations review though.

Interesting thought about these squadrons is that they all have access to Overcharged Engines as well which potentially makes them more powerful than their C:SM counterparts. Manoeuvrability is always good to have.


There are two main changes to characters in the book. First is addition of the Terminator Captain as opposed to the Codex: Blood Angels (C:BA) Captain who can take Terminator Armour as an option. The Terminator Captain is 135pts base and comes with Storm Bolter, Thunder hammer and Iron Halo as standard which means it works out exactly the same cost as a similarly equipped Captain from the Codex. There seems to be two reasons for doing this. Firstly, there are one or two formations that call specifically for a Terminator Captain so this makes it slightly easier (maybe) to know what to drop into the formation and secondly because it gives the Terminator Captain the option to swap out the Thunder hammer for Captain Karlaen's Hammer of Baal Relic which has been added as an extra piece of wargear. Oddly, Karlaen is referenced throughout the book but at no point is there an option to take him in formations and the like which is a shame because Counter Attack can be handy from time to time.

The second change is the addition of a proper Death Company Chaplain. This is basically a jump pack Chaplain with an Inferno Pistol that costs 125pts. It's 5 pts more expensive than the C:BA equivalent but you get the Rites of Blood special rule. Guess what. Re-roll to wound is back. Him and his unit on the turn he charged. That's re-roll to hit and to wound at charge time back in the fray. You have been missed. He also gets access to new Death Company wargear if taken in certain formations but more on that in another post. Overall this guy will probably be making it into plenty of my lists and GW were helpful in releasing a lovely model a while back which was perfectly equipped to be the new DC Chaplain. Funny eh?

Other Units

Assault squads got a mildly annoying update. On the one hand they now have access to the Eviscerator for vehicle rip n' tear but they also removed the jump packs (you have to add them like C:SM), dropped the price to 70pts but took away the free transports. I'm not sure many BA players wanted this. Yes, you can now take those melta squads for 15 base points cheaper but you are paying for transports! A free Rhino/Razorback/Drop Pod was well worth the 15 point tax. Sad times in my opinion.

Devastator squads also got updated and as far as I can tell the changes were the addition of the Grav Cannon and Grav Amp and the Armorium Cherub. The Cherub is the same 5 point deal from C:SM and probably worth it for that crucial one-model twin linked at a vital point. The Grav Cannon and Amp is a big deal and moves the BAs closer to being able to deal with the pesky Monstrous and Gargantuan Creatures. Previously there was only access to Grav via the Grav Gun and Grav Pistol or the Space Marine Command Tanks if you are lucky enough to get to Warhammer World. Now we can drop pod those Grav Devastators in and do what the other Chapters do. Wreck face. It's fair to say that opinion is polarised on Grav at the moment; if you have it and use it, you love it, if you come up against it, you generally hate it; but BAs needed something to make Wraithknights and Tau suits sweat a bit more.

What Blood Angels Didn't Get

So if you were expecting Centurions, Stormtalons, Stormhawks, Thunderfire Cannons, Ironclad or Venerable Dreadnoughts, Land Speeder Storm or Typhoon, Hunters or Stalkers, then you will be disappointed. Did Blood Angels need them? Competitively, yes. In the tournament scene access to some of these things would see Blood Angels on a more even footing with other Space Marine Chapters. I have lamented the lack of some of these units many times in the past, but I realised it would also lose the character of the Chapter. If you want to win tournaments then you will probably gravitate to the armies that are very good at taking all comers. I like fluff and more and more I am moving towards playing what is 'cool' rather than what is optimised. Blood Angels may not be consistently performing well in tournaments after this update but they certainly are still awesome and I look forward to testing out all the new formations and rules!

Seamless link!

Next up I will go through the new formations and detachments. Check back tomorrow to see what we got!

Thursday, 15 September 2016

The Angels Are Coming!

Hello again blog readership!

It has been a long hiatus since my last post. I haven't had a great deal to post about hobby wise. Until now.

That's right. Blood Angels are getting an update! The second part of the new Black Crusade supplement, Angel's Blade, is released on Saturday and to say I am excited is an understatement. Caveat right here. I realise the rumours about the contents are already circulating and it looks as if the Sons of Sanguinius have been slightly left out in the cold again, but I couldn't care less because it's still an improvement.

There are various things rumoured (probably true) to be coming but we know for a fact is this:

  • 9 new formations
  • 2 new detachments
  • updates to Devastator and Assault Squads
  • vehicle squadrons
  • new Death Company relics
This is all common knowledge from GW's website. Also there are a number of box sets and one-click bundles that suggest they may be formations from the book. I don't want to speculate any further because it's only a couple of days until we know for sure. I have the limited edition of the book on the way so expect a full review from me, along with how it will affect my lists, starting Saturday!

Until then, here's a photo of the elite of my Blood Angels mustering (being built and painted) for war!

Lemartes, Astorath, Dante and...other Chaplain standing at the head of the neatly arranged and unpainted Sanguinary Guard and Death Company