Blood of Baal – The Goonhammer Review – Part 1 – Blood Angels

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When the new Codex: Space Marines released in August with an all-new slate of Codex Supplements covering the compliant first-founding chapters, speculation began as to whether the standalone chapters – the Blood Angels, Dark Angels, and Space Wolves – would get a similar treatment and access to the coveted new Combat Doctrines rules.

Well Blood Angels players need wonder no more – with the release of Psychic Awakening III – Blood of Baal, Blood Angels have crossed the Rubicon Supplementaris, receiving supplement-like support, access to Combat Doctrines, and a set of new stratagems that bring them in-line with other Supplements. As we covered in our Start Competing for this faction, from once being pretty much the best that Space Marines had to offer Blood Angels had fallen pretty far behind the curve – and the good news for BA players is that Games Workshop were clearly aware of this, because this book gives them a spectacular shot in the arm. Settle down and get ready to get hyped, because Goonhammer is here to guide you into this golden new era for the sons of Sanguinius!

Special Rules

Blood Angels Primaris Lieutenant

Blood Angels Primaris Lieutenant. Credit: Jack Hunter

Angels of Death (Access to Combat Doctrines)

With this new release, Blood Angels are officially in the Supplement fold. Blood Angels units now have the Angels of Death special rule and with it, access to Combat Doctrines that armies from Codex: Space Marines get. If this was all they got, it’d be a massive improvement, but they also get access to their own Chapter Doctrine. And as with other supplements, models in a Blood Angels army only get access to the Savage Echoes if the entire army is either a Blood Angels unit or from the same Blood Angels successor Chapter.

Quite apart from being an extremely powerful ability in its own right, this means it’s now possible to soup Blood Angels with Codex Marines without switching off Doctrines. We already see Iron Hands/Imperial Fists souping up with Raven Guard/White Scars to provide coverage for shooting and melee is already a thing, and we expect to see Marine players start looking at Blood Angels as an option for the melee half of this equation.

Do note, however, that Blood Angels detachments still don’t get access to some of the abilities specific to Space Marine detachments, and notably don’t get access to the various character upgrades from Faith and Fury, as those specifically refer to updating models from Codex Space Marines.

Chapter Doctrine: Savage Echoes

While the Assault Doctrine is active, if a unit with this ability charges, is charged, or performs a Heroic intervention, they get +1 Attack until the end of the turn. This stacks with Shock Assault and turns Blood Angels into incredibly nasty fighters when the Assault Doctrine is active, combining with The Red Thirst Chapter Tactic to give them +1 to Wound. One big upside to this Chapter Doctrine is that while it’s good, it’s not so good that it discourages souping with Blood Angels, particularly if you’re combining them with other marine chapters.

Chapter Tactic: The Red Thirst

Blood Angels Intercessors

Blood Angels Intercessors. Credit: Jack Hunter

When resolving an attack by a melee weapon with a model with this rule in the turn in which it charged, was charged, or performed a Heroic Intervention, add 1 to the Wound roll. This is the same as before, BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE — Now, units with this rule also get +1 to their Advance and Charge rolls. This is an insanely good boost to Blood Angels, who now get a massive across-the-board boost to their ability to get into combat, especially after teleporting in or dropping from the skies. Added to their existing stratagems, this Tactic really helps the Blood Angels contend with the mobility options of White Scars and Raven Guard, and combined with Savage Echoes, should push them into the upper tiers of competitive play as a standalone army, and potentially makes Blood Angels Smash Captains even stronger includes in Imperium Soup.

This also now applies to all units, not just DREADNOUGHTs, INFANTRY and BIKERs, so Invictors and Terrax Drills can be happy!

Relics of Baal

Blood Angels get brought in line with the other Marine factions, getting new Relics of Baal added on top of their pre-existing set and a list of Special Issue wargear that can be handed out to Successor Chapters. We cover these later on.

Litanies

Blood Angels Terminator Chaplain

Blood Angels Terminator Chaplain. Credit: Jack Hunter

Blood Angels Chaplains get the standard Litanies of Battle plus their own special prayer. Blood Angels have some extremely potent Named Character Chaplains, so getting access to these is extremely good, as it makes having multiple of them kicking around way less redundant.

From the core list, they’ll benefit especially from the Canticle of Hate, which doesn’t stack with their Chapter Tactic but giving them +2 to their charge distances, where turning a 9” charge into a 7” charge gives Blood Angels players a massive increase in the viability of multiple deep striking-assault squads and is superior to the standard +1″ they receive in turning long-shots into real threats. Using Mantra of Strength on Blood Angels chaplains also turns them into absolute killing machines.

Blood Angel’s special litany is as follows:

  • Invocation of Destruction: Pick a Blood Angels unit within 6”. When you make an attack by a melee weapon with a model in that unitt, on an unmodified wound roll of 6, the AP of the attack becomes -4. This can be really nasty when you think about how many attacks Blood Angels can throw out with something like a squad of Veteran Intercessors, but it needs a big squad with lots of attacks to be worthwhile. As with the other Chapter Litanies though, you know this for free in addition to your chosen ones, so it’s pure upside. B

Successor Chapters

The rules for Blood Angels successor chapters are now tidied up and brought in line with the way they work for other Marines, meaning that they can now use all the stratagems and draw on the Relics of Baal (including the ones from the existing Codex) via a stratagem. The Flesh Tearers, the most notable successor, have also been fleshed out with some rules of their own, which we cover later on.

It’s nice that being a Blood Angels successor is no longer a completely thankless thing – but there’s still not much reason to do it unless you want to use a FW Named Character from one of them, as you can’t design your own Chapter Tactic, and lose access to the amazing Named Characters from the Blood Angels book.

New/Updated Units

HQ

Mephiston

Source: Warhammer Community

With the release of the new supplement, Mephiston has received a new Primaris model and it looks great. As the second-oldest character model in the modern 40k range (Ragnar says hi), he was well overdue for an update. With his new Primaris model comes a new statline – Mephiston now sports +1 Attack and +1 Wound, and costs 15 points less than old Mephiston, who already saw play in tournament armies. He’s kept the ability to cast and deny twice and still knows three Sanguinary powers. He also still lacks an invulnerable save but his 2+ base save and 5+ FNP continue to largely make up for it, even more so with an extra wound. He’s also gained the CHIEF LIBRARIAN keyword. Overall it’s a fine update and Mephiston is more playable than ever.

Lemartes

Blood Angels Chaplain Lemartes

Blood Angels Chaplain Lemartes. Credit: Jack Hunter

Lemartes also got an updated datasheet to reflect his ability to use Litanies. His statline is unchanged, but gaining Litanies is a major boost. Lemartes gets to know two in addition to the Litany of Hate and can use one per battle round. That’s good, because Litany of Hate is a bit redundant with his Fury Unbound ability. His baseline 5A and S6/AP-2 from his weapon also makes him very good as a Smash Chaplain, so having a “spare” litany slot for Mantra of Strength is fantastic. At 100 points, the new and improved Lemartes is an inexpensive upgrade over a regular Jump Pack Chaplain and worth inclusion in any list going hard on Death Company, and honestly probably just on his own as a herohammer beatstick.

Astorath

Astorath the Grim, Redeemer of the Lost

Astorath the Grim, Redeemer of the Lost. Credit: Jack Hunter

The other Blood Angels Chaplain character also gets a new datasheet in Blood of Baal. Astorath now has the Master of Sanctity keyword but his core abilities haven’t otherwise changed. The good news is that he now knows 3 litanies in addition to the Litany of Hate and can chant two per battle round, giving him some versatility and the ability to buff hit and wound rolls for a shooting unit, if that’s what you’re looking for. He’s still 105 points. A lot of the new abilities make bringing large squads of Death Company pretty attractive, so making them completely fearless rather than just giving them an Ld buff is also very relevant, though if he wants to act as a force multiplier for them he does need to use a Litany or his once-per-battle chant to do it. Like Lemartes, he’s also very nasty in the Smash Chaplain role – he has one fewer attack, but hits with more AP and a chance at being D3, so will also make mincemeat of a lot of stuff.

If you’re running Death Company Lemartes is still your first point of call, but there’s a large degree of “why not both”?

Wings Note: Blood Angel “superfriends” detachments of a bunch of their named characters were already a fringe thing in competitive play, and I expect to see these two Chaplains absolutely everywhere in that configuration.

Sanguinary Priests

These have been updated from their codex datasheet to make the option to take a jump pack “core”, stopping it being lost to legends as the Index options go away. That’s a really nice bonus, as these really need to be able to keep up with jump pack units in Blood Angels to be worthwhile, and we know Blood Angels were sad about losing them. This is a really nice touch from GW.

…The One Weird Miss

Blood Angels Chapter Master Dante

Blood Angels Chapter Master Dante. Credit: Jack Hunter

There’s no update datasheet for Commander Dante, leaving him languishing with “old” Chapter Master re-rolls. He got a point cut in CA so is still great, but this is really painful. It will almost certainly get FAQed into his original datasheet at speed, but for now, -1 to hits still work better against his re-rolls than other Marines.

Elites

Death Company Intercessors

The true new unit in the Blood of Baal shows us that Blood Angels Primaris Marines are in fact, not free from the curse of their Death Visions and so Intercessors can join the Death Company. Death Company Intercessors get the ability to give a single model a chainsword, power fist, power sword, or thunder hammer or replace their bolt rifle with a chainsword or hand flamer. They get the Black Rage ability, giving them the ability to ignore wounds on a D6 roll of a 6 and an extra attack on the charge, and the DEATH COMPANY keyword, giving them access to new buffs and stratagems.

These guys can be a total buzzsaw in combat, but the lack of chainswords for the entire unit feels like a real missed opportunity. Sure, we know that technically there’s no model for chainsword Intercessors, but space marine hands with chainswords aren’t exactly hard to come by and there are even multiple Blood Angel variants. So Death Company Intercessors are in a weird place. They have some neat tricks (though note that they can’t be upgraded to Veterans) and durability, but they don’t really have much in the way of higher-AP or multi-damage weapons and their transport/conveyance options are pretty limited – an Impulsor seems like a good option for them, though they can’t charge out of it. Still, at only +1 points per model over regular Intercessors, it might be worth it just for the 6+ ignore wounds on a unit of 5 to hold objectives.

Wings Note: I think the pricing is fine on these for the extra attack and 6+++ – the main issue is sitting in an Elites slot, which just makes them so much less useful for filling detachments. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised to see these out and about, they’ve very cost-efficient.

In-Lining of Marine Units

All the new units added in the Marine codex are re-printed here so that you can use them without needing FAQs or other books. As far as we’re aware, there’s nothing else changed. Chaplains are also updated to have Litanies. These datasheets include:

  • Chaplains
  • Phobos Characters
  • Phobos Troops
  • Intercessors (adding sergeant options)
  • Invictors
  • Eliminators
  • Suppressors
  • Impulsors
  • Repulsor Executioners

A bunch of this stuff is definitely good for Blood Angels (Phobos stuff, Invictors, Impulsors) but there isn’t that much new to talk about with them – go take a look at our unit review for Codex Marines if you’re interested in our thoughts. Impulsors carrying Intercessors with a Thunder Hammer sergeant is probably the biggest unique win for the Blood Angels.

Along with the Phobos units, the Obscuration Discipline and Vanguard Warlord traits are reprinted here. For the latter that does actually matter – the wording in the interim PDFs meant that non-Codex Phobos Characters could still use the old, better version of Target Priority. Blood Angels weren’t really the ones making use of that, but if you were you can’t any more!

Improved Units

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Librarian Dreadnought

Blood Angels Librarian Dreadnoughts were already capable combat monsters seeing tournament play but now having access to the Duty Eternal stratagem and a relic to boost their powers and cast rates makes them even more attractive as options. So, uh, we guess they’ll be even more popular then.

Smash Captains

Blood Angels Captain with Thunder Hammer

Blood Angels Captain with Thunder Hammer. Credit: Jack Hunter

The original and best, accept no substitutes. While they do now have to pay full price for their thunder hammers, there’s a bunch of stuff to like here too, most notably getting access to the Master Crafted special issue wargear and the Hero of the Chapter stratagem. That means you can now have multiple ways to build yourself a smash captain with a D4 thunder hammer without them having to be your actual warlord (or if you just want two), making it less of a big deal if they get killed after doing their job. Transhuman Physiology and Refusal to Die also give you options on letting them actually tank a hit-back too.

Wings Note: …also, before you head to the comments section to tell me we’ve missed the option of D5 thunder hammers, we haven’t – Artisan of War can’t be combined with Master Crafted.

Elites

Sanguinary Guard

Blood Angels Sanguinary Guard

Blood Angels Sanguinary Guard. Credit: Jack Hunter

Some of the big winners of this update, now receiving three stratagems that boost their effectiveness in addition to a chapter tactic and litany that can help them make a charge out of Deep Strike most of the time. They’re still a pricey unit (although all their melee weapons got a cut in CA), but now with ways to boost their pre-charge shooting, melee damage output, and protect them in melee, they have a lot more going for them. Like any high-cost, high-impact unit, they’re also big fans of Transhuman Physiology.

Invictor

Blood Angels mostly didn’t mind that much that their vehicles didn’t get Chapter Tactics beforehand, as the effect only really mattered for DREADNOUGHTs, INFANTRY and BIKERs anyway. The Invictor was the one big exception, so it’s nice to see that it can now murder punch stuff even harder than before.

Death Company

Blood Angels Death Company

Blood Angels Death Company. Credit: Jack Hunter

Perhaps even more than Sanguinary Guard, these need a real look now. Between a point cut in CA and the Refusal to Die and Transhuman Physiology stratagems making them far tougher to clear out, these have a very good chance of getting over the line, especially as the boost to Advance/Charge makes it that much harder to backline from a squad using Forlorn Fury to move up, and also improves the chances of a Jump Pack unit hitting combat straight away. The only real drawback is not being able to scatter in some storm shields for an invuln, meaning that they’re definitely in contention with Vanguard Veterans for the slot.

Assault Terminators & Vanguard Veterans

These get grouped because the reason is basically the same – +1 to charges is a big deal for any melee unit that can come in from Deep Strike and hit hard, and Transhuman Physiology makes elite units more palatable. VanVets also have the advantage in Blood Angels that they can use Upon Wings of Fire to redeploy, allowing them to do a turn 1 strike. Both units also become hellish blenders once the Doctrine goes up.

Nothing here is really news if you’ve seen what these can do in White Scars, but they’re definitely good here as well!

Stratagems, Traits and Relics

Blood Angels Primaris Lieutenant

Blood Angels Primaris Lieutenant. Credit: Jack Hunter

Blood Angels got a whopping 23 new Stratagems in Blood of Baal, with most of them replicating stratagems in the recent Codex: Space Marines as part of the effort to bring them into (mostly) compliance with the new model. They also get a couple of stratagems that offer major boosts to Sanguinary Guard.

Stratagems

  • Duty Eternal – 1 CP: A Space Marines stratagem comes to the Blood Angels. Used when a Dreadnought is the target of an attack, halves incoming damage until the end of the phase. Particularly useful for Blood Angels because Librarian Dreadnoughts can use it to stay alive. A
  • Veteran Intercessors – 1/2 CP: Another Space Marines donation. Upgrade a Blood Angels Intercessor Squad of 5/6+ models to be Veterans, giving them +1 Attack and +1 Ld. Sadly, can’t be used to upgrade Death Company Intercessors but still useful for turning a regular squad into a deadlier combat threat before the battle. B
  • Masterful Marksmanship – 1 CP: Reprinted here from Codex: Blood Angels with new wording to allow it to work in Overwatch. Used when a Sternguard Veteran Squad shoots or fires Overwatch. Until the end of the phase, it gets +1 to wound when attacking with a special issue boltgun. Helpful for pushing through the extra damage but not enough to make Sternguard viable. B
  • Fury of the FIrst – 1 CP: Use at the start of any phase to give a unit of Blood Angels Terminators +1 to hit for a phase. Another Space Marines donation. Especially helpful because Blood Angels will likely get more use out of Assault Terminators with their sweet new rules that give them a hundred attacks each. B+
  • Hunter-Slayer Missile – 1 CP: Donated from Space Marines. Use in the shooting phase with a Blood Angels repulsor, pick a Vehicle/Monster unit within 48” and not within 1” of any other units in your army, roll a D6 and if it’s greater than or equal to your ballistic skill, the target takes D3 mortal wounds. Helpful for getting some extra damage off with your Repulsor/Executioner. B
  • Rapid Fire – 2 CP: Donated from Codex: Space Marines. Use at the start of your shooting phase on a Blood Angels Intercessor or Death Company Intercessors unit to turn bolt rifles in that unit into Rapid Fire 2 weapons for the rest of the phase. Nasty way to double the firepower of a unit before it charges in and wrecks something. B
  • Big Guns Never Tire – 1 CP: Also donated from Codex: Space Marines. Use when a Blood Angels Vehicle is chosen to shoot in the Shooting phase. Until the end of the phase, the unit ignores the penalty for moving and firing heavy weapons. A helpful stratagem to have in your back pocket pretty much all the time. A
  • Visage of the Damned – 1 CP: Use in the Fight phase on a Blood Angels unit that has the Death Mask ability. Until the end of the phase, units that attack that unit get -1 to hit. An interesting way to protect squads from being struck back if they can’t finish the job or consolidate into another unit. B
  • Hero of the Chapter – 1 CP: Space Marines donation. Gives another model in your army a warlord trait. Very useful to have, and opens up more strategies for when you want to have Artisan of War and Gift of Foresight. Would be more useful if the Blood Angels had better Warlord Traits. B
  • Transhuman Physiology – 2 CP: Donated from Space Marines. Use when a non-vehicle, non-servitor unit is targeted. Until the end of the phase, wound rolls of 1/2/3 always fail when attacking that unit. Helpful for boosting the longevity of your models, especially when you have to shrug off a bunch of high-strength attacks. B
    Wings Note: 
    This is an A here. Actual play experience is showing that we under-rated this in the core Marine book, and it’s near its best in Blood Angels thanks to them having incentives to go in on large, elite infantry squads.
  • Vengeance of the Machine Spirit – 2 CP: Space Marines donation. Use when a Land Raider, Repulsor, or Stormraven dies. You can have it either automatically explode, or shoot one of its ranged weapons as if it were your shooting phase, or make one attack with its melee weapons as if it were the fight phase using the top profile. You’re never going to use the melee option, but the other two are pretty good, especially when the gun you fire with can be a twin lascannon. B
  • Refusal to Die – 1 CP: Use in any phase after the Death Company are targeted with an attack. Until the end of the phase, when they take a wound, roll a D6; on a 5+, that wound isn’t lost. You can only use this once per turn. Boosts the Death Company FNP ability by 1 and helps keep them alive. Also creates an incentive to take larger fightman squads. B
    Wings Note: 
    B+ from me, it’s priced to move and if Death Company “get there” this will be part ofwhy.
  • Steady Advance – 1 CP: Use in the shooting phase when you shoot with an Infantry unit. Until the end of the phase they count as being stationary for the Bolter Discipline ability. Situationally useful for when you need to reposition a squad and still double-shoot, and probably does its best work on Sternguard Veterans. B
  • Honoured by Baal – 1 CP: Lets you give a Blood Angels relic to a successor. Useful if you are a successor. A
  • Hammer of Wrath – 1 CP: Donated from Space Marines. When a Blood Angels Jump Pack unit finishes a charge, you can use this to roll a D6 for each model in the unit within 1” of an enemy model and on a 5+ that enemy model’s unit takes a mortal wound. Neat because you may be using more jump infantry but won’t do enough when it’s used and you should be able to kill things easy enough without the extra mortals. C
  • Death on the Wind – 1 CP: Use in the Fight phase. Pick a Sanguinary Guard unit. Until the end of the phase, when you resolve an attack for a model in that unit, damage results of 1 become 2s. Really beefs up the Sanguinary Guard, where the shift from doing 1-3 damage to 2-3 damage per hit is a major increase and ensures you won’t lose any hits when you’re fighting Primaris marines and is extra useful against Iron Hands. Coming in with 4 attacks each and wounding on 2+ with axes against T4 infantry makes Sanguinary Guard a scary unit to deal with. A
  • Target Sighted – 3 CP: Space Marines Donation. Allows an Intercessor or Death Company Intercessor to shoot a character that isn’t the closest unit for a single phase and they score extra mortal wounds on wound rolls of 6+. Expensive but very useful when you need to remove an aura. B+
  • Unbridled Ardour – 1 CP: Use in the Charge phase to let a Blood Angels unit Heroically Intervene as though it were a character and move up to 6” when doing so. Useful to trap a unit or drop in unannounced when an opponent hasn’t been careful. B-
    Wings Note:
    I think this will be operating more like a B+ until people get used to it. This is going to catch sooooo many people out.
  • Adaptive Strategy – 1 CP: Use at the start of the battle round if there are any Blood Angels characters on the battlefield. Once per battle, you can turn back the current combat doctrine by one, i.e. going from Assault back to Tactical or Tactical back to Devastator. Useful to have the flexibility but because you’ll want to be in Assault Doctrine as soon as possible most games, probably not as useful as it’d be in other marine armies. C+
  • Boltstorm – 2 CP: The Space Marines/Vigilus Stratagem that allows Blood Angels/Death Company Intercessors to automatically hit within half range. Neat but seldom worth it. B-
  • Explosive Judgment – 1 CP: Use in the shooting phase to give a unit of Sanguinary Guard re-rolls to wound with Angelus boltguns for a phase and their targets don’t get the benefit of cover. Sanguinary Guard get some big boosts between this and Death on the Wind and while DotW is more useful, this one’s not bad either. B
    Wings Note:
    C+ for me here – it’s nice, but bear in mind that the boltguns have very short range, meaning that if you shoot too well with them you risk clearing out your charge targets!
  • Gene-Wrought Might – 1 CP: Space Marines donation. When a Blood Angels Primaris Infantry unit fights with melee weapons, to hit rolls of 6 automatically score a hit and cause a wound (don’t roll). Helpful for pushing through more damage against a key target, B
  • Chalice Overflowing – 1 CP: Use in your Movement phase to let a Sanguinary Priest use his Narthecium ability an extra time and you can double up targeting a unit with Narthecium in a turn. Can be helpful for making sure you put a multi-wound unit back on the table or getting multiple models back in a unit. C+
    Wings Note: Worth nothing that, for whatever reason, the Sanguinary Novitiate doesn’t have the right keywords for this. Also, as far as I can see from the wording if you try and revive a model from your first attempt, you won’t currently be able to try again because the priest can’t do anything else. 

Warlord Traits

Blood of Baal offers Blood Angels no new Warlord Traits which is fine, but also a bit of a shame if you’re a Blood Angels player, because the Blood Angel set is merely OK.

Psychic Powers

No new psychic powers, either, though the Obscuration discipline is reproduced for Phobos Librarians.

Relics

Blood Angels Praetor

Blood Angels Praetor. Credit: Jack Hunter

Blood Angels got 5 new relics in Blood of Baal, plus Special Issue Wargear, same as the other Supplement Chapters. Note that these are Blood Angels only, but one can be given to a successor using the Honoured by Baal Stratagem.

  • Decimator: Replaces a master-crafted auto-bolt rifle and bumps you up to S5, AP-2, D2, and you don’t take a penalty to hit when Advancing and firing. A nice little boost for a Lieutenant, but it’s not going to replace a better melee option. C+
  • Wrath of Baal: Sanguinary Ancient banner. At the start of your Movement phase, add 2 to the Move of friendly Blood Angels Jump Pack units within 6”. Bonus lasts until end of turn. An interesting boost for Jump infantry trying to make a turn 1 charge but still not quite enough to get there. C+
    Wings Note:
    Being in competition with the Standard of Sacrifice kind of sucks here. I do think it could have some play, as it helps you redeploy quickly once you’ve done your first strike, but probably doesn’t get there over the Standard.
  • Biomantic Sarcophagus: For a Librarian Dreadnought. Adds 6” to the range of the model’s psychic powers and once per turn, when you take a psychic or deny the witch test with this model, you can re-roll one of the dice. This is really good, and helpful for making sure your Dreadnought can pass the WC 7 test for casting Quickening before he hops into combat. A
  • Figure of Death: Replaces a Crozius with one that’s S+1, AP-2 D2 and when you make a successful wound roll the target unit gets -2 to its Ld for the rest of the turn. This isn’t worth your time. D
  • Gleaming Pinions: Jump Pack model only. The bearer can charge in a turn in which it fell back, and it gets +1 to its charge distances. This is really, really good on a Smash Captain. Pairs with the Chapter Tactic to turn 9” deep strike charges into 7” charges that are very manageable. A

The Gleaming Pinions and Biomantic Sarcophagus are both top-tier relics that will be everywhere, the Pinions continuing the theme of adding a whole bunch of effective support for a second Smash Captain, as the Angel’s Wing probably still goes on the first.

Special Issue Wargear

Blood Angels and their successors also get access to Special Issue Wargear, a list of ‘lesser’ relics. Note that these are in addition to the Archangel’s Shard in Codex: Blood Angels. Disappointingly, Blood Angels don’t get an equivalent of the Honoured Sergeant stratagem to give some of these to a squad sergeant.

  • Adamantine Mantle: When this model loses a wound, roll a D6; on a 5+, the wound isn’t lost. Same as the Space Marine chapters. Useful on a Smash Captain for extending his survivability. B
  • Artificer Armour: Gives a model a 2+ save and a 5+ invulnerable save. Somewhat useful on a smash captain, where the boost to his armor save may help, but more likely to be useful on a Jump Pack LIbrarian, who won’t have an invulnerable save otherwise. B
  • Quake Bolts: The Blood Angels special bolter ammo. Give this to someone and you can choose to shoot with these bolts instead when firing a bolt weapon. When you shoot with these, make only one attack, but if you hit, the target is “felled” until the end of the turn and the attack continues. When you attack a felled unit in melee, add 1 to the hit roll. This is surprisingly useful compared to other relic ammo, and is a great way to help take out big targets where you need to mitigate the -1 to hit from Thunder Hammers. Strong combo with these and Smash Captains. A
  • Master-Crafted Weapon: Give a weapon +1 damage and it’s considered to be a Relic of Baal. Useful ability almost all the time, great on Smash Captains and a standard go-to for Successors. A
  • Digital Weapons: Less useful. When you fight, you make 1 extra attack using the “close combat weapon profile” and if you hit, you score a mortal wound. Not strong enough to merit taking. D
  • Fleshrender Grenades: Replaces frag grenades with some that are type Grenade 3, S5, AP-3 2 Damage and the target doesn’t get the benefit of cover. These are pretty great, but the 6” range is a brutal downer and with no way to get them into a grenade launcher, they just don’t get there. C
  • Icon of the Angel: When you make charge rolls for friendly Blood Angels/successors within 3” of this model, you can re-roll any of the dice. Basically an Icon of Khorne with a 3” aura and another stackable way to make sure you absolutely hit that charge the turn your unit lands on the table. A

Flesh Tearers

Similar to the Crimson Fists in Codex Supplement: Imperial Fists, Flesh Tearers have their own section carved out of the new Blood Angels content, and their own Chapter Tactic to replace The Red Thirst. They still keep the Savage Echoes doctrine, and access stratagems and warlord traits like a Successor, as well as getting some extra relics and traits of their own.

Fury Within

When you make an attack with a melee weapon with a model with this ability in the turn in which it charged, was charged, or intervened, add 1 to the wound roll. In addition, when resolving an attack made with a melee weapon by a model in this unit, on an unmodified roll of 6, improve the weapon’s AP by 1 for that Attack.

On the whole, this is less strong than the Blood Angels Tactic, which really makes dropping in and pulverizing enemy units much more viable. On the other hand, it encourages larger, foot-slogging squads and jump infantry that start on the table, or drop in turn to before charging on turn 3. Especially good with power axes and power axe/chainsword Death Company.

Wings Note: Sadly this is wildly weaker than the new version of Red Thirst, especially as it doesn’t stack with the AP boost from Assault Doctrine.

Warlord Traits

The Flesh Tearers get their own trio of Warlord Traits and they’re… OK.

  • Merciless Butcher: The warlord gets +1 attack in the fight phase for every 5 enemy models within 3” of it, to a max of 3. Not sure why they bothered capping this, given how hard it is to have 20+ enemy models within 3” of you, but it’s OK. This is Gabriel Seth’s new default Warlord Trait and it’s basically a sidegrade and a good reason to just make someone else your warlord. C
  • Of Wrath and Rage: When you make a melee attack with this Warlord, every unmodified 6 to hit gives you an additional attack with the same weapon. These don’t generate more. It’s a fine ability. C
    Wings Note: This is better than it looks and much closer to a B. As we discovered in Smash Captain Thunderdome, adding this effect with a Thunder hammer is actually a super effective force multiplier, especially given how many attacks you can reach in this book.
  • Cretacian Born: Overwatch attacks can’t be made against this warlord. The best of the three traits and helpful for just plowing in with a smash captain. A

The Blood Angels list is mediocre so having more choices is fine, but if you want to play herohammer these aren’t luring you away from the NC Chaplains.

Stratagems

In addition to all the Blood Angels stratagems, Flesh Tearers also get access to two extra stratagems.

  • Savage Destruction – 2 CP: Use at the start of the Fight phase and pick an enemy unit. Until the end of the turn when a model in that unit is destroyed by a Flesh Tearers attack, it counts as two models destroyed for morale purposes. This would might be usable at 1 CP but at 2 CP it’s not something you’re ever going to want to pay for. D
  • Aggressive Onslaught – 1 CP: Use in the fight phase to give a Flesh Tearers infantry the ability to pile-in 6” instead of 3”. This is an interesting stratagem – a 6” pile-in move is pretty uncommon, and normally abilities like this change the consolidate move. This works really well with Honour the Chapter to give you a unit that can pile in twice at 6” each time, moving 12” and tying up multiple other units. There are a lot of shenanigans you can get up to with this. A

Relics

Instead of giving them an Archangel’s Shard from Codex: Blood Angels, Flesh Tearers can get access to two relics of their own (these are in addition to the Special-Issue Wargear options).

  • Severer of Threads: Replaces a chainsword with one that’s S+1, AP-1, 1 Damage and when you fight you get D3 extra attacks and when you’re attacking Infantry, unmodified wound rolls of 6 inflict 1 mortal wound in addition to other damage. Basically a watered-down Ghorisvex’s Teeth. It’s not bad, but that 1 damage spot in its profile really hurts it. Still better than the shard, though and replacing a free weapon means the model stays cheap. B-
    Wings Note: Unless it’s got some totally mental special ability, D1 on a relic melee weapon is a hard pass from me in any book with access to Master Crafted.
  • Sorrow’s Genesis: Sanguinary Priest, Primaris Apothecary, and Sanguinary Novitates can take this to gain the Sorrow’s Genesis ability. At the end of the Movement phase, this model can give medical attention to a Flesh Tearers infantry or biker unit within 3” and it regains up to 3 lost wounds. If all the models are at full wounds then you instead roll a D6 and on a 2+ you return a model with 3 lost wounds regained. This doesn’t stack with Narthecium on a unit. Basically a super-charged healing that doesn’t cost you the turn if you fail and is more than likely going to get you back a Terminator or Aggressor. B
    Wings Note:
    Sadly this doesn’t work with the Chalice Overflowing stratagem, otherwise it would be seriously good.

Thoughts

Sadly, there’s a big degree of “why bother?” on this. Nothing here makes up for losing the insane new version of Red Thirst or the pre-built Smash Chaplains, so we suspect this will be used strictly for flavourful armies rather than to eke out a major competitive advantage.

Army List

Blood Angels Slam Captain

Blood Angels Slam Captain. Credit: Jack Hunter

So how does all of this come together? Well, you’ll have to forgive your poor authors because at this point our brains are thoroughly melted from turning around this and our CA review, so complicated list building (with freshly updated point values no less) is a bit beyond us. Luckily, Blood Angels lend themselves extremely well to uncomplicated but also insanely brutal strategies. Here we explore the complicated nuances of hitting things with really big sticks.

Army List - Click to Expand

Battalion – 973

Dante – 150
Lemartes – 100
Mephiston – 145

1×6 Intercessors w/Thunder Hammer – 118
2×5 Intercessors w/Thunder Hammer – 202

3x Impulsor w/Skytalon, 1 w/Extra Stubber – 258

Battalion – 1025

Astaroth – 105
Smash Captain – 143 (Death Visions)

3×5 Scouts w/knives – 165

15 Jump Death Company 10x w/chainswords/bolters, 5x w/Thunder Hammers – 350

2x Flamer Invictors – 262

This could certainly be tweaked and optimised but the core power here is ridiculous. Pretty much every unit other than the scouts is a serious threat to anything they touch in combat, and if you take the first turn the Death Company are going to be rampaging right from the word go. Two Battalions gives you lots of CP to power your tricks, and all the nastiest named characters are here to party as well!

Coming Soon to a Meta Near You

If you’ve been wondering when we’d finally get a break from all these Iron Hands, Imperial Fists, Raven Guard, and White Scars armies choking the meta well then good news! Blood Angels should be pouring back in soon, giving Marine players another option in their armies. The big difference is that Blood Angels should also work fine as a stand-alone army now, which is a big upside for players who have been frustrated that the only way to run their army competitively was as a small detachment added on to a list with knights and guardsmen. This update gives them the extra push they needed and Blood Angels should play significantly differently from other marine armies, owing to some powerful unique units and differing strategic focus.

We hope you’re as excited about this new release as we are. Join us tomorrow when we look at the Tyranids half of the new book and as always, if you have any questions, comments, or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or shoot us an email at contact@goonhammer.com.

 

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