October 2020 FAQ Update Review – Blood Angels

An article by and    Gaming Hot Take Warhammer 40k        0

In advance of the upcoming release of Codex: Space Marines and as promised, Games Workshop dropped a massive FAQ update on us today (remember when we said fifteen books needed FAQs? Turns out it was more). There’s a lot to digest, so we’re poring over every word of the updates and noting what’s changed and our thoughts on what it means for the faction. In this article we’re looking at the Blood Angels and their holdover Index.

Every faction in the game got some kind of update in this round, most of which are just minor datasheet updates or weapon profiles being brought in line with the current ones from Codex: Space Marines. However Blood Angels, Dark Angels, Space Wolves, Deathwatch, and Black Templars got more extensive updates, with full ‘Index Astartes’ PDFs to tide them over until their supplements arrive later in the year (or uh, in the new year for Dark Angels and ??? for Black Templars). You can find the Blood Angels index here.

These include a fairly bald statement at the top which clarifies exactly how all this is working – 

Codex: Blood Angels will soon be replaced with Codex Supplement: Blood Angels, and will fully integrate with the latest edition of Codex: Space Marines. In the meantime, this document will allow you to wage war using your Blood Angels specific units alongside those units presented in Codex: Space Marines, as well as use a selection of Blood Angels rules that were published in Psychic Awakening: Blood of Baal. The rules presented in the 8th edition (printed 2018) version of Codex: Blood Angels are no longer supported, and cannot be used. Similarly, if a Blood Angels rule from Psychic Awakening: Blood of Baal does not feature within this document, it cannot be used. When Codex Supplement: Blood Angels is released, all of the rules within that will then replace and supersede this entire document, at which point none of the rules here can be used. Some of the rules found in this section have previously been published in Psychic Awakening: Blood of Baal. With the exceptions noted below, these rules have not been revised or altered since they were originally published, and with the exception of clarifying which of them apply to Blood Angels successor Chapters, no new rules have been added.

If the wording of a previously published rule has changed, it will be due to one of the following circumstances:

• The original rule contained an error, or else an ambiguity that caused us to publish an FAQ. In either case, the rule has been reworded to incorporate any previously published errata and clarify any raised ambiguities.

• The original rule required updating as the result of rules presented in either the 9th edition of Warhammer 40,000 or the 9th edition of Codex: Space Marines, in order to function as intended with the rules and terminology presented in one of these books (Engagement Range, use of the Core keyword, etc.). Such rules have been reworded, but are functionally the same.

• If the original rule had two separate effects, those rules have been reformatted so each effect is presented with its own bullet point. In all such instances, the effect of the rules remains unchanged; it is simply a style and formatting change to match how such rules are presented in other 9th edition publications.

• Stratagems have had labels applied to them (Battle Tactic, Strategic Ploy, Epic Deed, Requisition etc.) and if a rule is an aura ability, then that rule has been reworded or labelled in such a way as to make it clear it is an aura ability. None of these changes have rules implications and the effect of the rule remains unchanged – it is simply to match the style of rules that appear in other 9th edition publications. This document also contains fully updated datasheets, weapon profiles and points values for all the Blood Angels-specific units and weapons. These take into account all of the commensurate changes and updates made in Codex: Space Marines. The points values and Power Ratings presented in this document supersede any that have been previously published. 

What that basically means is – the Codex is gone. All the rules in Blood of Baal are gone. If it’s not in this index, it is dead. There’s some pretty extensive changes, so we’re here to take you through them. We’ll go in the same order as the Index to keep it as clear as possible.

Blood Angels Assault Intercessor

Blood Angels Assault Intercessor. Credit: Jack Hunter

Detachment abilities

Savage Echoes

No changes here – Blood Angels retain their +1 Attack in the Assault Doctrine. This remains good, especially now you can put stuff into all doctrines for 2CP so they can access it earlier if they need to.

Stratagems

After having like a full 40 unique stratagems, Blood Angels now have…. 4, one of which is just about giving successors relics. Ugh. Don’t forget they have access to the basic Marine ones too, and this is obviously just waiting for the codex, but in the meantime – ugh.

Refusal to Die is a straight copy from Blood of Baal, allowing a single DEATH COMPANY unit to go to a 5+ FNP when chosen as the target of an attack for 1CP. It now has the Battle Tactic category.

Honoured by Baal is a Requisition stratagem, and is exactly what it was before – give a Successor one proper Relic of Baal. 

Unbridled Ardour is now 3CP instead of 1, which hurts – it does the exact same thing it’s just 3x more expensive. 

Finally there’s Explosive Judgment for 1CP, which again is a straight copy from Blood of Baal – re-roll wounds and ignore cover for a SANGUINARY GUARD unit.

Flesh Tearers do a little better out of all this, with both their Blood of Baal stratagems – Savage Destruction and Aggressive Onslaught – reappearing unchanged.

Relics

Relics of Baal

These are mostly just straight copy-pastes from the Blood of Baal relics. Decimator is unchanged, Wrath of Baal gets some neat bullet points and now only affects CORE (and the Ancient himself), Biomantic Sarcophagus is unchanged, Figure of Death is the same except it gets the same +2 Strength that regular croziuses get, Gleaming Pinions is unchanged.

Blood Angels Eradicators.

Blood Angels Eradicators. Credit: Corrode

Special Issue Wargear

These are all the same as in Blood of Baal, except that Icon of the Angel is CORE units only – no more using it for slam Captains (not that those are a thing now anyway).

Relics of Cretacia

The Flesh Tearers stuff is again pretty much unchanged – Sorrow’s Genesis now replaces Combat Restoratives and means you can double-dip on ressing models in units – which is pretty sweet.

Abilities

Black Rage has now taken some tweaks. Units with it can no longer Fall Back (let’s face it this makes sense – the Death Company are far too busy getting stuck in to want to run away). Units suffering from it also can’t perform any actions, which again, those guys think they’re Sanguinius about to get murdered by Horus – they’re not raising flags or checking out objectives with auspexes. Otherwise it’s much the same – +1 attack on the charge or when performing a Heroic Intervention, and 6+ FNP.

Named characters also get a little call-out in this section – Gabriel Seth has to be a Merciless Butcher, while all other characters must take Speed of the Primarch from the base Marine codex (i.e. fight first in combat). This sucks, but it’s a clear ‘just wait for the codex, dummy’ so whatever.

Blood Angels Bladeguard Veterans

Blood Angels Bladeguard Veterans. Credit: Corrode

Datasheets

All the BA datasheets you would expect are here, i.e. all the unique units and characters from the codex. Nothing has been cut, which is nice. There’s no mention of Assault Squads retaining their plasma gun/meltagun option, though.

Commander Dante

Starting from the top, let’s look at Commander Dante, the big golden boss. He’s had a bunch of little tweaks to his datasheet, mostly straight buffs but with one big nerf. First up, his Axe Mortalis goes from +2s to +3s i.e. making him strength 7. This doesn’t help him double out anything, but does make him a little better at fighting vehicles. On the flip side, he loses wound reroll against characters.

Looking further down, he’s picked up a bunch of great new abilities. First up he’s wearing the Death Mask of Sanguinius, which is now a flat -1 to hit him (yes, both shooting and melee). Additionally, as Lord Regent of the Imperium Nihilus he gains a rule befitting his status – +1 CP if he’s your Warlord. Finally, because he didn’t have enough rules, he is an Epic Hero of the Imperium – once per battle, if this model is selected to use an Epic Deed Stratagem, that Stratagem costs 0 Command points. Right now the only one of these that’s relevant is Only in Death Does Duty End – so basically Dante will always go down fighting. That’s quite fitting, and for free it’s great, but hopefully this is future-proofing for the Codex where a few more Epic Deeds arrive to give him a little more to do with it. He also picks up the new version of Chapter Master and gains Rites of Battle.

Blood Angels Chapter Master Dante

Blood Angels Chapter Master Dante. Credit: Jack Hunter

Gabriel Seth

Placed here alongside his fellow Chapter Master, The Flesh Tearers Guy gets some significant new updates. He’s gained an extra attack over before, which is neat, and both of his unique abilities have changed completely. The Lord of Slaughter rule goes from the weird previous version which allowed models to fight again if they consolidated and rolled a 6, and instead now adds +1 damage on a wound roll of 6 for all CORE units within 6” (which, naturally, exempts Seth himself).

Seth isn’t completely absent an appetite for destruction though, as Whirlwind of Gore no longer gives him additional hits on a 6+ – instead, if he’s in Engagement Range at the end of the Fight phase, he gets to fight again for free. His upper limit is therefore 14 attacks per round, counting Shock Assault and Savage Echoes, which is a fair old bit when he’s throwing around Blood Reaver which remains the same as before. Like Dante, he gets Chapter Master and Rites of Battle.

The Sanguinor

Everyone’s favourite golden ghost has had some substantial changes. His Encarmine Broadsword goes to flat D2, and unmodified 6s to wound also do mortal wounds. On the downside, his  Aura of Fervour no longer stacks with Shock Assault and only affects CORE or CHARACTERS – which basically means it’s only relevant if you’re in the second round of a combat. Which isn’t really a situation you want to end up in with Blood Angels.

With that out of the way, it’s back to buffs – like Dante he has a death mask, although being a psychic energy ghost it’s called Angelic Visage and has the same -1 to hit effect, though in this case it’s only melee attacks.

Avenging Angel allows you to charge if you fell back as before, and also adds “This model is eligible to perform a Heroic Intervention if it is within 6” horizontally and 5” vertically of any enemy unit, instead of 3” horizontally and 5” vertically. Each time this model makes a Heroic Intervention move, it can move up to 6” instead of 3”. All other rules for Heroic Interventions still apply.” Which is nice!

However, the most heroic intervention of all comes from Miraculous Saviour: At the end of the Heroic Interventions step of your opponent’s Charge phase, if this model has not yet been set up on the battlefield, and if any enemy units finished a charge move within Engagement Range of any friendly Blood Angels units this phase, you can set up this model within Engagement Range of one of those enemy units. This model counts as having performed a Heroic Intervention in the turn it uses this ability. If you don’t want to read all that, what that means is the Sanguinor can deep strike into engagement range if a friendly unit was charged. Truly the angel we all need.

The Sanguinor

The Sanguinor. Credit: Corrode

Brother Corbulo

The Sanguinary High Priest has also had a complete rework, basically getting the Chief Apothecary rules from the new codex built-in. He loses his Far-Seeing Eye re-roll, and gains a point of AP on Heaven’s Teeth. The Red Grail now means that CORE and CHARACTER units within 6” count as being in Assault Doctrine even if in Devastator or Tactical. This specifically mentions ‘when that unit makes an attack’ so presumably it means you get the bonus AP and don’t also dip into Savage Echoes, but still, getting extra AP all game is no bad thing. Additionally, the Narthecium changes to the 6+ Feel No Pain as per the regular Apothecary, and he gains Combat Restoratives and Sanguinary High Priest so he can heal d3 wounds to an INFANTRY or BIKER unit and do it twice per turn.

Sanguinary Priest

The Sanguinary Priest retains his access to a jump pack (hell yeah) and otherwise gains the Narthecium ability above. His Blood Chalice is the same as the Red Grail except it has to pick one CORE or CHARACTER within 6” in the Command Phase instead of being an aura, and naturally it can only use Combat Restoratives once per turn.

Chief Librarian Mephiston

Doesn’t change. Thanks Blood of Baal! He’s also a Chief Librarian but doesn’t get to access Psychic Mastery, which sucks.

Primaris Mephiston. Credit: Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms

Librarian Dreadnought

The Librarian Dreadnought is mostly the same, except for one huge thing – its force halberd now does d3+3 damage (yay!) and gives you a bonus attack (YAY!)…. But also you can only use it for one attack. Boooooooo. I guess they had to make the fist relevant somehow. It’s also only S+2 and AP-2 now, so yeah, they really want you to have a reason to care that the furioso fist exists – though they also drop to WS3+, which is Not Great! There is one minor buff here, which is that it gains an additional attack to get up to 4 base, and of course it picks up Duty Eternal as well, but uh…. Also there’s no Sanguinary Discipline any more. So he can’t gain FLY or Quicken himself. Eesh. Let’s hope the lore comes back in the codex (we assume it will).

Astorath

Moving swiftly on from the Librarian Dreadnought, let’s look at the Redeemer of the Lost. One huge change stands out immediately: Mass of Doom becomes a regular litany and can be used each round. It still involves rolling a D6, but now the bad result is Merciful Execution – one model just fucking dies rather than taking a mortal wound, but you still get the +1 to hit. 2-5 remains +1 to hit, and then 6 is +1 to hit and the 4+ invulnerable save. This is a good change overall – there’s no more of the feel bad from nuking one of your own models for no reward, and the ability is now just another litany you can chant rather than being a once per game thing. The Executioner’s Axe goes from d3 damage to flat 3, which is a huge trade up.

Astorath the Grim, Redeemer of the Lost

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

Lemartes

Lemartes loses an attack, going down from 5 to 4. The Blood Crozius goes from d3 damage to flat 2, which is fine, I guess. Lemartes also gets some very targeted changes to his abilities –  Fury Unbound has been changed to DEATH COMPANY CORE or CHARACTER and now only gives re-rolls to charge and removes the re-rolls to hit. Guardian of the Lost now is a limitation on his litanies – aura effects from Lemartes only apply to DEATH COMPANY and targeted litanies can only target DEATH COMPANY. On the plus side, Lemartes can chant litanies that have already been used this turn – so if you want him and some Death Company roving around one part of the table while Astorath buffs another block somewhere else, then great, you can do that, and he can chant two litanies again. He gains a new rule, Light in the Dark, which is basically the 6” leadership bubble that Guardian of the Lost used to be. 

Overall Lemartes has been changed back to being a buff vehicle for Death Company rather than being a general-purpose and basically always-better Chaplain, and is slightly less of a beatstick in his own right than he used to be.

Tycho and Tycho the Lost

The two Tychos gain an additional point of AP on their melee attacks, which is nice. Tycho the Lost additionally gets a new aura, Forlorn Hero, which gives DEATH COMPANY CORE units within 9” re-roll hit rolls of 1. Blood Song gets the new melta rule.

Sanguinary Guard

Wow there’s a lot of unique Blood Angels characters. Moving out of the HQ slots finally, let’s take a look at Sanguinary Guard – who frankly are just as rules-heavy as any of the above characters. Something that will immediately disappoint hopeful BA players is that they stay at 2 wounds rather than gaining a 3rd, which is a bit of a shame – they’re now about as tough as Tactical Marine with only the 2+ save to separate them, and with no access to Transhuman they’re looking decidedly squishy. Although they might not have gotten a bonus wound they did get a bonus attack, bringing them up to 3 each base, and a chunky points drop – from 34 in Chapter Approved to 30 here, with power fists at +5. Naturally, encarmine weapons got the +1 Strength buff that all other power weapons did, and they’re also flat 2 damage rather than d3 now. The Angelic Visage rule works as it does for the Sanguinor so they’re -1 to hit in melee, and angelus boltguns picked up an additional 6” range to bring them up to 18” – not bad at all!

Finally, their Heirs of Azkaellon ability has changed significantly – instead of re-rolls to hit for being within 6” of a Blood Angels Warlord, it’s now a +1 to hit. Not bad if they’re within range of a re-roll 1s to hit bubble anyway, since that’s functionally the same thing. Some big changes, but coming down to 30ppm with a buff to their attacks and more consistent damage is probably ok, and thankfully they’re CORE.

Blood Angels Sanguinary Guard

Blood Angels Sanguinary Guard. Credit: Jack Hunter

Sanguinary Ancient

The Sanguinary Ancient takes a nasty jump from 75pts to 125pts, which is what we in the trade call ‘a fucking lot.’ His sword is free now though and he can switch to either the axe or a power fist for no extra cost. 

The Blood Angels Chapter Banner is now a Command Phase ability, allowing you to pick one CORE unit within 6” and give it +1 to hit. Additionally he gains the normal Astartes Banner ability, previously not included in the Sanguinary package. He has the same Heirs of Azkaellon as the other Sanguinary Guard, as well as Angelic Visage. Possibly the biggest change isn’t on the datasheet at all though – the Standard of Sacrifice has headed off to the fortress-monastery for a clean, and is no longer available to hand out a 5+ FNP to every Blood Angel that cares to have it.

Death Company Dreadnought

Death Company Dreadnoughts have picked up a completely new rule – instead of the Magna-grapple adding to charge rolls, it now means that you roll 2d6 against a non-AIRCRAFT enemy’s Strength when they try to fall back – if the roll beats their strength, they’re stuck. Does this finally gives Death Company Dreadnoughts a reason to exist? Only time will tell. They also gained another attack, bringing them up to 5 base, and naturally they got Duty Eternal on the datasheet and the SMOKESCREEN keyword. Blood talons lose their hit re-roll and the Insatiable ability has completely disappeared. They’re also not CORE what the hell GW. Along with Furiosos, they also drop to 6″ move, in line with normal Dreadnoughts. For Dreads entirely focused on running up and punching things this seems churlish.

Death Company Marines

Big changes all around for Death Company. Let’s start with the good – they have 2 wounds now! They also picked up Astartes chainswords so they got AP. Good. The bad: they can no longer take a boltgun and a chainsword together. This is a dumb as hell change, for no other reason than that the kit has been around for 10 years and this is the first time it’s been true. Poor form, GW.

Oh one other huge change – the unit size is now 5-10 rather than 5-15. This is a big change – more models in a single unit means more models buffed by a single effect, and bigger units are also easier to string back for auras and such even in a post-9th ed coherency world. No more of that, as DC normalise to a standard Marine unit size.

Blood Angels Death Company

Blood Angels Death Company. Credit: Jack Hunter

Death Company Intercessors

A datasheet that originated in Blood of Baal, and is now updated to allow them to take a heavy bolt pistol and Astartes chainsword instead of their various kinds of bolt rifle. They also gained another attack, for base 3 – so Death Company Intercessors with the chainsword loadout are now a cool 6 attacks on the charge, or 7 if they’re in Assault Doctrine and under Savage Echoes. At 24ppm, you gotta be able to do something with that.

Furioso Dreadnought

Like its Death Company brother, the Furioso Dreadnought gains the new version of Magna-grapple and the SMOKESCREEN keyword as well as Duty Eternal. Their heavy frag cannon is now 18” range, 2d3 shots, S7 AP-1 D2 and Blast – a huge buff to their previously pretty anaemic shooting, though it doesn’t automatically hit any more. If you aren’t using the frag cannon though, and preferred the close combat options, those have gotten a lot weaker. The Furioso no longer gets to re-roll failed hits for having paired weapons and instead gets +1 Attack. Losing the re-roll hurts a lot, since again, they aren’t CORE. This is a baffling change – I can just about see where you might say For Fluff Reasons that Death Company Dreads are too far gone to be CORE (though in that case, why not regular Death Company too?) but Furiosos? Just weird – or maybe just missed, who knows. Like the regular Marine Dreadnoughts, and shared with the Librarian and Death Company versions, these explode less ferociously now too.

Baal Predator

Finally we get to the Baal Predator. Honestly I was tempted to write ‘who cares’ here, but well, its flamestorm cannon goes from an 8” to an 18” range, which is actually pretty good. It also gains the SMOKESCREEN keyword. Overcharged Engines is now a flat auto-Advance 6”, but there’s still no way to shoot its guns while advancing so, sure, ok. I guess if you have one around late game and need to get to an objective right now that’s cool.

Weapon Profiles

As well as getting the standard Codex: Space Marines changes, BA get their own set of buffs for their unique weapons. We’ve covered these off in their unit entries.

Points

Finally it’s time to talk about points. There’s an awful lot that’s changed, some of it fine, some of it confusing.

  • Astorath – 150pts up from 110pts. Jesus Christ that’s eye-watering, even for being able to use Mass of Doom multiple times.
  • Brother Corbulo – 115pts up from 90pts. A pattern is forming.
  • Captain Tycho – 95pts and Tycho the Lost – 100pts. Somewhat weird here as regular Tycho goes down 5pts and Tycho the lost goes up 15pts. At 100 Tycho the Lost is actually kind of cool for buffing Death Company, I guess.
  • Chief Librarian Mephiston – 155pts down from 170pts. YES. This is more like it.
  • Commander Dante – up a mere 5pts to 175pts after getting a fair whack of buffs. Paying 5pts more for a bonus CP isn’t bad on its own merits, never mind the rest of his changes.
  • Gabriel Seth  – 160pts up from 140pts. He is a lot better than before. Is he 160pts good? Open question.
  • Lemartes – 120pts up from 110pts. Ok this one is some bullshit given that he is objectively worse now. He has fewer attacks and his buffs are a lot more restrictive, why does he cost more than before?
  • Librarian Dreadnought – 150pts base, with +5pts for either a heavy flamer or a meltagun. Goes up from 120pts base in the Munitorum Field Manual, but no longer has to pay for its furioso fist (previously 20pts) or its storm bolter (3pts), so ends up being a net 7pt change. Gaining an attack (effectively 2 since you get a free one with the halberd) and Duty Eternal for the price of a slightly worse general-purpose melee weapon is probably fine, but in the short term where he’s waddling 8” a turn instead of flying, it looks rough. Wait and see what comes with the codex here.
  • Sanguinary Priest – 90pts, with +30pts for a jump pack. Previously 65/90, so that’s a steep, steep jump – though he does benefit from the new FNP aura, the new Combat Restoratives, and of course hands out bonus AP now too.
  • The Sanguinor – 150pts, against 140pts previously. Seems fine – his aura not stacking with Shock Assault sucks, but his other abilities are pretty great and most of them are new, and Miraculous Saviour is such a unique effect that paying a mere 10pts more for it seems pretty worthwhile to us.
  • Death Company – 22pts per model up from 19 in the MFM, or 25 with jump packs up from 21. Some steep changes here, particularly combined with the new squad size limit. 3ppm on foot extra or 4ppm for jump packs for the sake of a bonus wound and a point of AP is probably reasonable, but in a tightly-costed army already it’s a big squeeze to add 40pts to a full 10-model unit. Most of their special weapons are ok at 5pts, though thunder hammers are 15.
  • Death Company Dreadnoughts – 125pts, which once you account for the fists and the storm bolters is actually a slight drop. The magna-grapple is only 5pts more, so you probably want one if you’re taking this guy, and he gained an extra attack and Duty Eternal to boot.
  • Death Company Intercessors – a mere 1pt increase from 23pts before to 24pts, with the additional option of switching to chainswords and a bonus attack as well. These might actually be priced to move now, trading not being able to do actions for again, we stress, 6 attacks on the charge, or 7 if you’re nasty.
  • Furioso Dreadnoughts – 120pts, up from 75 + 20 + 20 – so 5pts more to get a bit worse overall. Baffling. The frag cannon is free if you fancy trying that out.
  • Baal Predator – also 120pts, up from 100pts in the codex, but again – before it was paying 25pts for the flamestorm, so it’s actually 5pts cheaper. The twin assault cannon is +10 though to be honest it’s not that interesting here – what you want is the giant range increase on the flamer. The sponsons are 15pts per gun, i.e. 30pts total, which is no change from before – so overall you drop 5pts for a unit which might actually matter for the first time since 2011, or at least is worth a second look now.
Blood Angels Intercessors

Blood Angels Intercessors. Credit: Jack Hunter

Wrap-up

That’s everything for the Blood Angels. There’s a lot here just thanks to the weight of unique characters, and the points are a bit all over the place but mostly seem ok – the nerfs seem mainly targeted at Astorath and Lemartes, particularly the former, while the rest seem to have either stayed about stable or gotten significant buffs for fairly small increase. 

As ever, if you have comments or feedback then let us know on social media (Twitter or Facebook, whichever is your sin) or on contact@goonhammer.com.

 

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