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!


  1. Nice one Ian, Blood Angels were my first 40k love so it's good to see them getting an update!

    Keep em coming, and for fluff gaming keep an eye out on my blog for an announcement in the next few weeks.

    1. Intriguing! Thanks Nick! I will keep an eye out for this fluffy announcement!

  2. Great read ... Looking forward to part 2

    1. Thanks Neil! Part 2 will be today at some point. Slightly delayed because there are so many new things to assess!