Start Competing: Blood Angels Tactics

Want to play power armored space vampires? Want to play herohammer with some of the strongest characters in the game? Want to run Khorne Berserkers, but your loyalty to the Emperor runs strong? Want to have fun visual options with different colors across your army? Then the Blood Angels may be the chapter for you.

As with the rest of these articles, the idea is not to give an exhaustive review of every single unit and option. Instead, each section will give a brief summary of what’s available, picking up on key units/relics/stratagems, highlighting clear trap choices, and then discussing how best to utilise the good stuff. Blood Angels are in a slightly awkward place here, sharing many units with Codex Space Marines, but also not following the current pattern of supplements – instead all the units are rewritten in their own codex. For the most part, these units behave the same, so we’re only going to touch in detail on units that are particularly good for a Blood Angel army. We’ll also touch on the Forge World units that are interesting, although most units in that index aren’t compelling choices.

Also, following the publication of Blood of Baal, the Flesh Tearers successor Chapter gained a Chapter tactic of their own and some additional Warlord traits, relics, and stratagems. We’ll touch on these separately below.

Note that these Start Competing articles are always written at a point in time, and therefore some information may be out of date if there have been developments in the game since it was written. This article has now been updated as of May 2020 to reflect the Blood of Baal update and the lists that were in play in February/March 2020.

Blood Angels Assault Squad

Blood Angels Assault Squad. Credit: Jack Hunter

Army Strengths

  • Extremely strong melee presence. Their Chapter tactic means that any unit with a decent weight of attacks can be deadly in combat, even when getting charged
  • Very good early game presence with multiple ways to get reliable first-turn charges and charges out of deep strike
  • Characters that can go toe-to-toe with almost anything in the game, even Knights
  • Powerful elite infantry and characters

Army Weaknesses

  • Expensive models and high CP costs in an army which can really tempt you to fire off CP with reckless abandon
  • Very reliant on melee, being vulnerable to screening if played poorly
Blood Angels Primaris Lieutenant

Blood Angels Primaris Lieutenant. Credit: Jack Hunter

Competitive Ranking

Medium-Strong. Following the release of Blood of Baal, the Blood Angels gained significant buffs both in terms of extra perks for themselves as well as gaining some key stratagems from the Space Marines book such as Transhuman Physiology. Blood Angels armies have seen a great deal more success since then, with top 4 appearances in competitive events. They’re still very melee-focused which makes them a high skill army to play well, but they’re much more capable of doing the business once they get there than they were.

Where are my rules?

You can find the Blood Angels’ rules in the following sources:

Codex: Blood Angels 8th edition released December 2017 (FAQ version 1.4 last updated 30/9/19)
Forge World: Imperial Armour Index – Forces of the Adeptus Astartes (FAQ version 1.7 updated 30.9/19)
Psychic Awakening: Blood of Baal (FAQ version 1.1 updated 27/02/20)
Terrax-Pattern Assault Drill: Warhammer Community or the Forge World product page

Blood of Baal

We’re going to reference Blood of Baal a number of times throughout the following, and we thought it would be helpful to have a quick run down of exactly what the book changed right at the start here. It adds, as follows:

  • The Angels of Death ability to all units except SERVITORs, which incorporates And They Shall Know No Fear, Bolter Discipline, Shock Assault, and Combat Doctrines
  • Updated weapon profiles for auto bolt rifles, demolisher cannons, flamestorm cannons, hand flamers, Icarus rocket pods, master-crafted auto-bolt rifles, master-crafted stalker bolt rifles, and stalker bolt rifles
  • New datasheets for Chief Librarian Mephiston, Astorath, Lemartes, Chaplains, Sanguinary Priests, and Intercessor squads, which replace the ones found in the codex
  • A completely new datasheet for Death Company Intercessors
  • Datasheets for the Repulsor Executioner, Captain in Phobos armour, Librarian in Phobos armour, Lieutenants in Phobos armour, Infiltrator squads, Incursor squads, Invictor Tactical Warsuits, Suppressor squads, Eliminator squads, and the Impulsor. These replace the ones from the Shadowspear booklet where relevant and are direct copies of the datasheets from Codex: Space Marines
  • The new “Savage Echoes” special doctrine for pure Blood Angels armies
  • An updated version of the Red Thirst Chapter tactic
  • The Vanguard Warlord traits
  • 22 new stratagems, which are a mix of copies from the Space Marines codex and completely new Blood Angels exclusive ones
  • The Obscuration discipline for Phobos Librarians
  • Litanies of Battle, which Blood Angels Chaplains now have access to, 6 of which are copies from Codex: Space Marines and one of which is “Invocation of Destruction,” a unique litany exclusive to Blood Angels
  • 5 new relics for Blood Angels armies
  • 7 new pieces of special-issue wargear, of which 4 are copies of those found in the codex supplements for Codex: Space Marines and 3 of which are unique to Blood Angels
  • A separate list of new content for Flesh Tearers, including a unique Chapter tactic (Fury Within), 3 Warlord traits, 2 stratagems, and 2 relics, all of which are exclusive to the Flesh Tearers

Eagle-eyed readers might have counted the stratagems mentioned above and said “aha, but there’s actually 23 new stratagems in the book, not 22!” However, Adaptive Strategy was copied for Blood Angels in this book and then immediately deleted in the February 2020 Space Marine FAQ. So it goes.

Special Rules

Much like any of the chapters in Codex Space Marines, the Blood Angels have a Chapter tactic, The Red Thirst, and following the publication of Blood of Baal this not only got buffed in effect but also broadened to work universally. If you’re looking at your codex and thinking “if only my Predators were better in melee,” well, a) what’s wrong with you and b) following Blood of Baal, they are! BoB also brings in a bunch of new stratagems and adds the “Angels of Death” ability to Blood Angels units, which incorporates a bunch of special rules which were originally introduced to vanilla Space Marines in their codex. They additionally got their own special doctrine, “Savage Echoes.”

The Red Thirst:

In any turn a unit with this ability charged, was charged, or made a Heroic Intervention, you may add 1 to its wound rolls in the fight phase. You also get +1 to Advance and charge rolls. This is the key rule that differentiates a Blood Angel army from any other, making all their units viable in melee. Even just an Intercessor squad is wounding a Knight on 5s, or other Marines on 3s, making charging just to tie a unit up dangerous – and this is the reason the Blood Angel smash captain is still among the best of the bunch. +1 to charge is fantastic for coming out of deep strike, and +1 Advance isn’t too shabby for getting across the board, though Blood Angels don’t have a way to advance and charge to make it the absolute best it could be.

Black Rage:

You can add 1 to this unit’s Attacks characteristic for the duration of the Fight Phase if it charged in the preceding Charge phase. In addition, roll a D6 each time this unit loses a wound. On a 6 the wound is ignored and has no effect. By default, this rule is applied to Chaplain Lemartes, the Death Company, and the Death Company Dreadnought, helping all of them with both their survivability and damage output. The stratagem Death Visions of Sanguinius can also be used for one CP to give this rule to non-Primaris Captains, Chaplains, and Lieutenants who are not named characters.

Angels of Death

Angels of Death is a four-in-one special rule common to all Space Marine units. The four are And They Shall Know No FearBolter DisciplineShock Assault, and Combat Doctrines. The first three are always-on, but the last one only works in “pure” armies – a Battle-forged army where every unit excluding SERVITOR or UNALIGNED units has the Combat Doctrines ability. As well as the rules presented here, each Chapter has a special bonus in one of the three doctrines almost all of which are playstyle-defining, and for this reason the vast majority of Space Marines armies are monofaction rather than being souped as was powerful for most of 8th edition.

And They Shall Know No Fear

The first rule is one that Marines have had throughout the edition – when a Morale test is taken for a unit with ATSKNF, it can re-roll the dice. This is a helpful ability for keeping your units around a little longer. It also has a side application – you can optionally choose to re-roll even if you pass the first time, for example if you have a single model being tri-pointed, which can be handy if you would rather remove that model and be able to shoot the unit trapping it.

Bolter Discipline

Way back in 2nd edition, “Rapid Fire” was a Marine special rule which let them fire more than equivalent units. As time went on Rapid Fire became the weapon type we know and love, and Marines, and their iconic boltguns, began to seem less and less effective. Bolter Discipline is the intended solution to that.

Bolter Discipline is basically an expansion of the states in which models are able to benefit from Rapid Fire. Normally it’s just for being at half range – so for example, your ordinary boltgun is Rapid Fire 1, and has a 24″ range, so if the model firing it is within 12″ of its target it can fire 2 shots instead of 1. Instead, for units with this rule firing Rapid Fire bolt weapons, they can fire twice if:

  • The firing model’s target is within half the weapon’s maximum range (the ordinary rapid fire state),
  • OR the firing model is INFANTRY and every model in its unit remained stationary in your previous Movement phase,
  • OR the firing model is a TERMINATOR, BIKER, CENTURION, or DREADNOUGHT

This is a big step up in terms of the output of Rapid Fire bolt weapons. Back-line objective holding squads can now put out significant amounts of firepower if they stay still. Even more fearsome, Terminators, Centurions, Bikes, and Dreadnoughts can double fire even if they move – which means that they can put out a pile of shots at long range while still manoeuvreing around the table.

Shock Assault

Bolter Discipline makes Blood Angels units better at shooting with their iconic weapons; Shock Assault completes the other half of the Space Marine puzzle, allowing them to get into the kind of close-range firefights followed up by melee charges that you would expect from the fluff. It’s a very simple rule – in a turn in which a unit with Shock Assault makes a charge move, is charged, or performs a Heroic Intervention, each model in the unit adds 1 to its Attacks characteristic. This means that a basic, 5-man squad of Intercessors with a Sergeant with a chainsword is putting out 17 attacks (3 for each Intercessor, and 5 for the Intercessor Sergeant). For taking on light or even medium infantry that’s a whole lot of punches at S4. Even better, it applies to characters too, increasing the effectiveness of your slam Captains, Chaplains, etc.

Combat Doctrines

Combat Doctrines represents the progressive method of war which Space Marines, including the Blood Angels, follow – opening up with devastating long-range firepower, followed by close-range engagements, and then finally a charge into melee. The three doctrines are Devastator, Tactical, and Assault. Players begin the game in Devastator. At the beginning of battle round 2, they automatically change into Tactical. In round 3, they can choose to either stay in Tactical or change into Assault. From round 4 onwards, they must move to Assault, where they stay for the rest of the game. Each Doctrine increases the AP of a particular weapon type by 1 (i.e. AP0 becomes AP-1, AP-1 becomes AP-2, etc.)

The types are:

  • Devastator: Heavy and Grenade weapons
  • Tactical: Rapid Fire and Assault weapons
  • Assault: Pistol and melee weapons (remember, all models are considered to have a S: User, AP:0 close combat weapon)

This is a very powerful rule, particularly as it ties in with the special extra Doctrines each Chapter receives (we will discuss these in the relevant section below). The most powerful and obvious application is to Heavy weapons – all of your biggest guns gaining an extra point of AP from the beginning of the game is a huge benefit. To pick an obvious example, the lascannon goes from being AP-3 to AP-4, which against many of its primary targets means it goes from being saved 1/6th of the time to automatically penetrating armour. It’s somewhat reduced in scope from how it worked at release, though; the original version let you choose whether to progress forwards or not, whereas following the February FAQ you are now required to progress, as described above. This works fine for the Blood Angels, though – they want to be in Assault as fast as possible anyway, and their “special” Chapter doctrine works in this phase.

Speaking of, that doctrine is Savage Echoes – while the Assault Doctrine is active, if a unit with this ability makes a charge move, is charged, or performed a Heroic Intervention, add 1 to the Attacks characteristic of models in that unit until the end of the turn (which is cumulative with Shock Assault). This is a very powerful ability for a pure Blood Angels army – it pairs well with the Chapter tactic, and since Blood Angels are already throwing out high quality attacks, having more of them is a big gain.

Stratagems, Traits and Relics

Stratagems

The Blood Angel codex stratagems are all over the place, and great example of early 8th edition design. There’s a mix of things like Red Rampage or Descent of Angels that are key to running the army and will be used all the time, and things that are impractical to use or rely on, like Killshot or Linebreaker Bombardment.

  • Armoury of Baal – 1/3CP: Your standard extra Relic stratagem. BA have at least two good relics so you’re going to want to make use of this to get them. A
  • Forlorn Fury – 2CP: At the start of the first battle round, you can move (including an advance if you wish) a DEATH COMPANY INFANTRY unit. You can only use this once per battle. If you’re including Death Company this is very good if you go first – it lets you get up in their face and threaten to do bad things early on. You can also use it with a Smash Captain if they’ve been incautious about deployment. Worth noting that in the 2020 ITC format this is a lot more powerful than other places, since you know if you’re definitely going first or second and therefore can deploy your Death Company appropriately.  B+
  • Behold the Golden Host – 1CP: After a Blood Angels unit with the Death Mask ability sets up on the battlefield, increase the range of that ability to 12″ until the start of your next turn. Noooooooo. F
  • Auspex Scan – 2CP: Do a shooting intercept on a unit that sets up within 12″ at -1 to hit. Blood Angels are probably a bit less likely to be packing stuff that’s really good with this than most Marines, but it’s still OK. Can be funny on, say, a big unit of Sanguinary Guard blasting away at a unit of GSC that just set up unfortunately nearby. B
  • Death Visions of Sanguinius – 1CP: Give a non-Primaris Captain, Lieutenant or Chaplain the Black Rage ability and the DEATH COMPANY keyword. A key ingredient to the original Smash Captain build, accept no substitutes. A
  • Wisdom of the Ancients – 1CP: Turn a DREADNOUGHT into a captain for a turn, giving a re-roll 1s to hit aura. Potentially good fun with a Librarian Dreadnought, as they can’t be sniped out and it lets them pull double duty while Dante is off doing murder. Still usually feels like you could spend the points more efficiently elsewhere though. B-
  • Strike of the Archangels – 2CP: Use after a TERMINATOR unit sets up on the battlefield – re-roll hits for them till the start of next turn. This is way too expensive for what it is, and Terminators aren’t really where you’re looking for your big Deep Strike hitters in this army. C
  • Tactical Flexibility – 1CP: Split a unit that can validly Combat Squad up into those sub-squads mid-game. Almost never relevant for BAs. D
  • Cluster Mines – 1CP: A Scout Bike squad causes D3 MWs on a 2+ when they fall back. Scout bikes are at least OK and maybe a bit more likely to hit melee in BAs? Still very marginal. C
  • Upon Wings of Fire – 2CP: Before a JUMP PACK unit moves, redeploy them anywhere >9″ away from the enemy instead. Extremely good, part 2 of the classic smash captain recipe and an absolute staple of this army. A
  • Orbital Bombardment – 3CP: Call in an orbital strike on an area to deal d3 MWs to units on a 4+ (characters on 5+), as long as your Chapter Master doesn’t move. Marginal at the best of times and BAs have waaay better things to do with their CP. C-
  • Datalink Telemetry – 1CP: Something about Land Speeders. F
  • Lucifer Pattern Engines – 1CP: Use when you advance a non-DREADNOUGH/FLY VEHICLE. It auto advances 6″, or 6″+d6″ if it’s a Baal Predator. The Baal Predator bit is mostly to be ignored, but there can be some value in moving a model at speed to steal an objective or something. Sadly, there aren’t many good targets right now. Potentially good if you’ve decided you want to take something like a bumper car Hunter in your BA. C+
  • Empyric Channeling – 1CP: At the start of your psychic phase, if you have a BLOOD ANGELS PSYKER within 6″ of two other BLOOD ANGELS PSYKERS, you can manifest an extra power at +2 to cast. Thanks to Librarian Dreads and Mephiston BA lists often do contain two psykers, but the third is a bit of a tough sell. Does not, therefore, come up super often. C
  • Killshot – 1CP: Lets three Predators get +1 to wound and +1 damage against MONSTERS or VEHICLES. Leaving aside that you only get to use this if you go first in most matchups where it would matter, the fact that it doesn’t apply to Baal Predators is one of the greatest crimes in 8th. Weirdly, it’s still in this book (and in DA/SW/the Chaos ones) despite having been deleted from the baseline Space Marines. It’s still irrelevant though – Blood Angels aren’t going heavy on any vehicles, let alone slightly overcosted small Marine ones. E
  • Linebreaker Bombardment – 1CP: Three Vindicators can combine fire for a big Mortal Wound blast. Look, Vindicators are better now, we get that, but you still aren’t taking three in a Blood Angels list. F
  • Hellfire Shells – 1CP: An INFANTRY unit can fire a heavy bolter for a special d3 MWs shot. Fine. B
  • Descent of Angels – 2CP: A JUMP PACK unit that deep struck or redeployed this turn gets a 3d6 charge. Pretty vital for making your alpha strikes land reliably. A
  • Red Rampage – 1CP: A CHARACTER gets +d3 attacks for the fight phase. Another spicy Smash Captain ingredient designed to send priority targets on a one-way trip to hammer town. Remember it lasts for both fights if you combine it with Honour the Chapter or Only in Death Does Duty EndA
  • Armour of Contempt – 1CP: Gives a vehicle a 5+++ against MWs for a phase. As ever, when this is good it’s very good, but BAs are likely to have fewer good targets than normal Marines. C+
  • Flakk Missile – 1CP: An INFANTRY model with a missile launcher fires a MW missile at a FLY target with +1 to hit. Fine. B
  • Vengeance for Sanguinius – 1CP: Get an extra attack for each 6+ to hit in melee against HERETIC ASTARTES or 4+ against BLACK LEGION. Very rarely comes up, and the fact that a Smash Captain can’t even use it against a Discolord (because their -1 to hit means they don’t benefit) is criminal. Is at least “OK” when it’s relevant. C
  • Honour the Chapter – 3CP: An INFANTRY or BIKER unit fights twice. Yes it sucks that BAs don’t yet have the new version where this works on any unit. It’s still real good. A
  • Only in Death Does Duty End – 2CP: A CHARACTER can fight on death. Real good, as it means your Smash Captains very reliably get the job done even against things that can kill them. A

The Blood Angels also gained a list of new stratagems in Blood of Baal, some of which are reprints from Codex: Space Marines and some of which are unique to them (note that we removed Masterful Marksmanship from the list above as it changed; the new version is listed below):

  • Duty Eternal – 1 CP: A Space Marines stratagem comes to the Blood Angels. Used when a Dreadnought is the target of an attack, -1 to incoming damage until the end of the phase (FAQed back from half damage in February). 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. It may not be the best thing in the codex, but if you wanted to e.g. run a big pile of Assault Terminators with their sweet new rules that give them a hundred attacks each, this is going to help you to do that. B
  • Hunter-Slayer Missile – 1 CP: As per Codex: 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. A completely fine stratagem for getting some extra damage off with your Repulsor/Executioner. B
  • Rapid Fire – 2 CP:  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: 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, though maybe a little less relevant for BA than other Chapters. B+
  • 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. It doesn’t quite get there just because death masks are pretty rare and the main unit that can take them – Sanguinary Guard – probably doesn’t want to have to pay for them just to use this. C
  • 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: 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. Especially great in Blood Angels which often want to build around expensive elite blocks like Sanguinary Guard. A
  • Vengeance of the Machine Spirit – 2 CP: 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. Mostly doesn’t get there just because the vehicles it applies to are mediocre at best. 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+
  • 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 – you can pick up the Standard of Sacrifice or Angel’s Wings. A
  • Hammer of Wrath – 1 CP: 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. 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: 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, assuming you’ve taken stalker bolter Intercessors in the first place. 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. Great for anti-wrapping, or catching out an unwary opponent who thought they could avoid tangling with some of your combat block. B
  • 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.  Nil. Nada. An ex-stratagem.
  • 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. Just make sure not to kill your own charge target! B
  • 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, especially big vehicles or monsters. 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. For whatever reason, the Sanguinary Novitiate doesn’t have the right keywords for this – so full Priests only. C+

Warlord Traits

Blood Angels First Captain Raldoron

Blood Angels First Captain Raldoron. Credit: Jack Hunter

Blood Angel warlord traits are mostly designed around playing herohammer, and the ones that aren’t are also not useful.

  • Speed of the Primarch: Fight first. At this point the rules writers have largely realised that this ability is terrible when only on a single model. This codex pre-dates this revelation. This is terrible. It’s also Mephiston’s required Warlord trait so uhhh maybe don’t make that guy your Warlord. F
  • Artisan of War: +1 Damage to one of the warlord’s non-relic weapons. You can use this and the new “master-crafted” special issue wargear item to get two damage 4 smash Captains, which is pretty great. Probably the best of the bunch. A
  • Soulwarden: Gain a deny, or deny one extra time. Extremely mediocre. C
  • Heroic Bearing: Blood Angels within 6″ auto-pass morale. Completely unnecessary. D
  • Gift of Foresight: Your warlord has a 6+++ and can re-roll 1s on the roll, or a 5+++ if they have the Black Rage. It’s a shame you can’t boost Primaris characters with Death Visions of Sanguinius as this would be great on a Gravis Captain, but it’s still one of the better ones on this list. B
  • Selfless Valour: Your warlord has a 6″ Heroic Intervention. Is at least fine, and can catch people out if they’re not paying attention. B

They also now have access to the Vanguard Warlord traits for Phobos characters:

  • Shoot and Fade: Pick a Phobos unit within 6″ at the end of the shooting phase. Buffed from its previous incarnation, where it could only affect the character. That unit can move, but cannot advance and cannot then charge. It’s a bit like the Eldar stratagem Fire and Fade, and potentially fun for bossing some Eliminators in and out of line of sight or something, though probably not exactly the playstyle you’re looking for in Blood Angels. Still an interesting trait in the arsenal. B-
  • Lord of Deceit: Lets you redeploy 3 Phobos units at the start of the first battle round. Another stolen Eldar trick . A bit of a nerf, as in the Shadowspear rules it affected everything, and the restriction hurts a lot here. Potentially good for pulling tricks with Incursors. B+
  • Master of the Vanguard: Phobos units get +1 Advance and Charge in an aura. You want to be deep in Phobos units to make the most of it, but if you are then it’s great for making an impact. A list that went heavy on an aggressive Incursor push might be fun with this and the Chapter tactic. B
  • Stealth Adept: Warlord gets -1 to hit against him. Fine, but the Phobos characters kind of need to be more threatening for this to be good. C
  • Target Priority: Pick a Phobos unit to get +1 to hit. Another nerf-by-keyword. Potentially quite good with Eliminators – this is the one thing that messes up the maths of “buff sergeant always better”, as making three Las Fusils hit on 2s is pretty tasty. However, it’s an open question if that’s “worth” the slot. B
  • Marksman’s Honours: +1D to the warlord’s ranged weapons. This can be very funny in Raven Guard with their special bullets, or for throwing on a Phobos Captain with his master-crafted damage 3 gun to make it damage 4 and potentially able to punk out even mid-tier characters in a single shot, but not necessarily the first thing you want. A good target for Hero of the Chapter in the right situation. B

Relics

Continuing the theme of early 8th edition design, these relics are a mix of very useful relics that are near a must-take, and things that will be left on the shelf nearly all the time. Not a lot of meaningful choices here.

  • The Hammer of Baal: Thunder Hammer without the -1 to hit. It’s fine, but Artisan of War is a marginally better increase to the damage output of a Captain, so tends to be used instead. B
  • The Angel’s Wing: Big money. A relic Jump Pack that gives you re-roll charges and stops you being overwatched. Easily the best of the lot, and frequently seen in both pure and soup usage. Goes great with Descent of Angels, as they combine to give you an extremely small chance of failing the charge. A
  • Veritas Vitae: Regain a CP when you use a stratagem on a 5+. Since the advent of Tactical Restraint this often isn’t needed in soup lists, but in pure Blood Angels it will almost always pay for itself, and you should take it. B+
  • Gallian’s Staff: Relic force stave with +1 to cast smite. Not worth it, especially as you will often have Librarian Dreadnoughts or Mephiston as your psykers, who can’t use this. C
  • Archangel’s Shard: Relic power sword/master-crafted power sword. Is a power sword with damage d3 against monsters or d6 against daemon monsters. If you have a character that can take it kicking around it’s a fine flex pick in the right games, but it’s so rare for this to be super great, and you aren’t likely including many viable candidates. C
  • Standard of Sacrifice: Relic banner for an ANCIENT. Gives a 5+++ to non-DEATH COMPANY models within 6″. The aura is pretty small and this takes some using, but AoE 5+++ is a very powerful effect, especially if you have a pile of 2-wound, 2+ save bodies on the table. A

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. If you have just one Sanguinary Ancient, you probably want the Standard of Sacrifice first, though it’s possible to take 2 and get both. B
  • 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 when so many other great relics are in the army. 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, boosting up units (smash Captains/Librarian Dreadnoughts) that were already good and making them even better.

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 or hammer-toting Death Company. 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

Psychic Powers

The Blood Angels have their own psychic lore, predictably named the Sanguinary discipline. Psychic powers here are primarily buffs for both the psyker, turning him into a combat monster, and other units, boosting their offense or defense. There are also the mandatory not-smites, neither of which are very useful.

Blood Angels Librarian

Blood Angels Librarian. Credit: Jack Hunter

  1. Quickening – WC7: Add 3 to the psyker’s Advance and Charge rolls, and make D3 additional attacks in the Fight phase. One half of turning a Librarian Dreadnought or Mephiston into a guided missile, this power significantly increases both damage output and charge reliability. It can also be used out of deep strike to give a librarian a 6″ charge, though neither Mephiston nor a Librarian Dreadnought can actually deep strike. A
  2. Unleash Rage – WC6: Select a friendly Blood Angels unit within 12″, and add 1 to their Attacks characteristics until the next psychic phase. A great choice on a buffing librarian, this is a huge increase to the damage output of a squad of Sanguinary Guard, Death Company, or Vanguard Veterans. A
  3. Shield of Sanguinius – WC6: Select a friendly Blood Angels unit within 12″, and grant them a 5++ invulnerable save. Useful, but not really critical. A good fourth pick, but it’s only really protecting against plasma rather than common high-volume weapons. C
  4. Blood Boil – WC6: Target a visible enemy within 6″ and compare 2d6 to their toughness. If it exceeds toughness, do D3 mortal wounds. If it more than doubles, do 3 mortal wounds. If your librarian is at 6″ from the enemy just charge them, a self-buff with Quickening will increase damage output more than Blood Boil, which is most likely to just be smite with an additional condition and less range. F
  5. The Blood Lance – WC6: Select a visible enemy model within 12″, and draw a line. Roll a D6 for each model passed over, and do a mortal wound on a 5+. Only even maybe useful if it can cross 6 or more models, this is another spell where smite should just be cast instead. F
  6. Wings of Sanguinius – WC5: If this goes off, the psyker’s move characteristic is increased to 12″, they get to immediately move, gain the Fly keyword, and can re-roll failed charge rolls. There’s no way this should only be WC5, this would be good if it only gave Fly, much less everything else. Either Mephiston or a Librarian Dreadnought should be taking this in every army. A

They also now have access to the Obscuration discipline for Phobos psykers, as per Codex Space Marines.

On the whole, these are a good set of powers and got better with the new Phobos units entering the mix, where we have some quality targets to throw them on. The biggest benefit to this discipline is that all of its powers have a Warp Charge cost of 6, so they’re all pretty easy to cast. Blood Angels have a great selection of powers in their own lore which gel better with their aggressive melee-focused gameplay, but there’s still some ok stuff here if you want to play a Phobos-heavy army:

  1. Shrouding (WC 6). Pick a friendly BLOOD ANGELS Phobos unit within 18″ of the psyker. Until the start of your next psychic phase, enemies can only shoot at that unit if it’s the closest visible target or they’re firing Overwatch. A strong effect, but it can potentially be at odds with the notion that your Phobos-armored units may be closer than the rest of the army. Its best use is protecting Eliminators, who are going to be high-value targets for enemy fire, or a backfield squad sitting on an objective that has your whole Blood Angels army in front of it punching things. B
  2. Soul Sight (WC 6). Pick a friendly BLOOD ANGELS Phobos unit within 18″. Until the start of your next Psychic phase, when that unit shoots, it can re-roll the hit roll and the units it targets do not get the benefit of cover to their saving throws. This one hasn’t changed either, but picked up more utility from Eliminators becoming even better. Works well paired with either of bolt sniper rifles and las-fusils. A
  3. Mind Raid (WC 6). Pick a visible enemy model within 18″ of the psyker. It takes a mortal wound. If your army is Battle-Forged and the model is a CHARACTER, roll 3D6. If you roll equal to or above its Leadership characteristic, you get 1 Command Point. An interesting ability that hasn’t changed much, the big problem with Mind Raid is that most of the time you’re just going to have better stuff to do and getting within 18″ of an enemy character may just not be what you want your Phobos Librarian doing. C
  4. Hallucination (WC 6). Pick a visible enemy unit within 18″ of the psyker. It gets -1 to its Ld and your opponent rolls 2D6. If the result is higher than the unit’s Ld, that unit suffers a -1 to its hit rolls until the start of your next psychic phase. This is another potentially solid ability that mimics the Dark Angel and Space Wolves powers to degrade enemy hit rolls, but runs a dangerous risk of doing nothing at all a lot of the time.  C
  5. Tenebrous Curse (WC 6). Pick a visible enemy unit within 18″ that doesn’t have the FLY keyword. It takes a mortal wound and its Movement stat, Advance, and Charge rolls are halved until the start of your next psychic phase. Against something like a Lord Discordant-heavy Chaos army this can be extremely potent, but is also incredibly dead in others – it would do literal nothing against e.g. Eldar. One to keep in the back pocket for the right match-up. B / E (based on matchup)
  6. Temporal Corridor (WC 6). Pick a friendly BLOOD ANGELS Phobos unit within 3″. It can move as though it was the Movement phase. It can’t Fall Back and must Advance, and when it does, you roll 3D6 and discard two of the rolls. You can’t use this on a unit more than once in a Psychic phase. At first glance this feels like a loyalist Warptime, but the Phobos and Advance restrictions really take a lot of the wind out from under its sails. B

Chaplain Litanies

With Blood of Baal, the Blood Angels gained access to the “Litanies of Battle” list copied from Codex: Space Marines. Your Chaplain knows the Litany of Hate on his datasheet, which allows re-rolls to hit in the Fight phase for units within 6″, and one of the following:

  1. Litany of Faith – When friendly <CHAPTER> units within 6″ suffer a mortal wound, roll a D6. On a 5+, they ignore that wound. Doesn’t stack with other abilities.
  2. Catechism of Fire – Pick a friendly <CHAPTER> unit within 6″. That unit gets +1 to its To Wound rolls when it shoots the closest visible unit.
  3. Exhortation of Rage – Pick a friendly <CHAPTER> unit within 6″. When that unit fights, unmodified 6s give you another attack with the same weapon. The new attacks don’t cause further attacks.
  4. Mantra of Strength – Add 1 to the Chaplain’s Strength and Attack characteristics and 1 to the Damage characteristic of its melee weapons.
  5. Recitation of Focus – Pick a friendly <CHAPTER> unit within 6″. Add 1 to the To Hit rolls of that unit’s attacks made with ranged weapons.
  6. Canticle of Hate – Add 2 to charge rolls for friendly <CHAPTER> units within 6″ of this model and friendly <CHAPTER> units within 6″ can move 6″ when they pile in or consolidate. Doesn’t stack with other abilities that increase these ranges.

Additionally, like other chapters, the Sons of Sanguinius get their own special litany 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 unit, 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 Death Company or 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.

This is a great little toolbox to pick from, and you can really make a Chaplain into a key part of your battle plan by picking the right litanies. It’s taken something like 8 editions but Chaplains are finally useful utility characters! There’s some obvious utility here from the Canticle of Hate, which doesn’t stack with the Chapter tactic but does give you a bonus that’s flat better than the +1″, and the Mantra of Strength which can turbo-boost a Chaplain’s melee ability (and don’t sleep on comboing this with the two special character Chaplains that Blood Angels have). The other litanies all have utility, though, whether that’s protecting your expensive combat units from a volley of Smites, or potentially giving your Sanguinary Guard guns a bit of extra punch with +1 to wound. You should be picking based on your plan and, where possible, your match-up to get the right litany for the situation.

Units

In each section, we’ll list out the units in the slot, then discuss them in detail. We’re going to aim to only look at the units in each slot that are especially relevant or are unique to Blood Angels, as Blood Angels have many units and most of them are shared with Codex: Space Marines – if something isn’t talked about here, consult Start Competing: Space Marines instead. We’ll be touching on Forge World units when they make sense, and ignoring the chaff units that make little sense in a competitive list.

HQ

Unit List - click to expand

  • Commander Dante
  • Gabriel Seth
  • The Sanguinor
  • Brother Corbulo
  • Sanguinary Priest
  • Chief Librarian Mephiston
  • Librarian Dreadnought
  • Librarian
  • Primaris Librarian
  • Phobos Librarian
  • Librarian (in Terminator Armour)
  • Astorath
  • Lemartes
  • Chaplain (in Terminator Armour)
  • Primaris Chaplain
  • Chaplain
  • Tycho the Lost
  • Captain
  • Captain Tycho
  • Captain (in Terminator Armour)
  • Captain (in Cataphractii Armour)
  • Captain (in Phobos Armour)
  • Primaris Captain
  • Captain (in Gravis Armor)
  • Lieutenants
  • Primaris Lieutenants
  • Phobos Lieutenants
  • Techmarine

In addition to the standard variety of Space Marine buff characters, the Blood Angels are the hero-hammer chapter. They’ve got a ton of named characters, most of whom are strong choices, and can use psychic powers, relics, and stratagems to vastly increase the damage output of everyone.

Blood Angels Chapter Master Dante

Blood Angels Chapter Master Dante. Credit: Jack Hunter

Commander Dante

Both a force multiplier and a melee beast in his own right, Dante is a strong choice in any full Blood Angels army. He’s not really worth taking if he doesn’t have anything to buff, but if he can connect with a good unit of Sanguinary Guard or Death Company he can do a lot of work. In addition to giving them full chapter master re-rolls (though currently still the old pre-modifier style), Dante has 7 attacks on the charge, hitting at s6 with +1 to wound, and doing d3 damage. He’ll kill pretty much any character short of a primarch he gets in combat with. Not worth making him your warlord, his mandatory trait sucks. He’s even fairly cheap at his modern cost of 150pts. The main strike against him is that the other characters in the book offer just as much combat punch, while also offering greater utility to the units around them, especially since the Chaplains offer full combat re-rolls with the Litany of Hate rather than the old version of Chapter Master. 

 

Blood Angels Primarch Sanguinius

Blood Angels Primarch Sanguinius. Credit: Jack Hunter

The Sanguinor

The Sanguinor is another interesting model in the vein of Dante, a massive buff for friendly units while also being a great combat character. He doesn’t provide any sort of re-roll aura, instead adding an additional attack to Blood Angels Infantry within 6”. The combination of the Sanguinor’s aura and Shock Assault on the charge can provide a 33% increase to a unit of Sanguinary Guard, helping turbo-boost them into a unit of devastating killers. The Sanguinor himself has 5 attacks (7, once you consider his own aura and Shock Assault) with his strength 6, ap-4, damage d3 sword, and can fall back and still charge every turn. At just 130pts, he’s become a common sight in competitive lists.

Brother Corbulo

Corbulo is the most elite of the Blood Angels special flavor of apothecaries, and brings some special bonuses along with the standard ability to heal or revive a model. His The Red Grail ability increases the strength of Blood Angels Infantry units by 1 within 6”, and allows any Blood Angels units within 6” during the fight phase to make additional attacks when they roll a 6 to hit. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a jump pack, so probably won’t be in the same place as your strong melee units, which really reduces his utility.

Sanguinary Priest

The Sanguinary Priest is the other HQ slot Apothecary equivalent. He’s very similar to Corbulo, though his cup of blood only increases strength by 1, it doesn’t provide any exploding attacks. The jump pack version was expected to go away with the Legends update, but happily Blood of Baal updated the datasheet so he could still take one, which is nice and gives him better utility than Corbulo. Sanguinary Priests also got access to a new stratagem in Blood of Baal, Chalice Overflowing, which mimics the Selfless Healer trait from Codex: Space Marines and allows him to use the Narthecium twice in a turn.

Chief Librarian Mephiston

Your magical brain-powers beatstick, Mephiston starts out with a base strength and toughness 5, with a weapon that doubles his strength. Against something like a Knight he’s going to be wounding it on a 2+ for D3 damage a swing, and can both cast and deny 2 powers. He also gained +1 Attack and +1 Wound after becoming Primarisified in Blood of Baal. Typically Mephiston’s psychic powers will be chosen as self buffs, with Wings of Sanguinius giving him a free 12” move, the FLY keyword, and a charge re-roll. Quickening gives Mephiston D3 additional attacks, and adds 3” to both advance and charge rolls, though he knows 3 and can potentially take Unleash Rage or Shield of Sanguinius and act in more of a buffing role – for example, if he’s paired in a list with a Librarian Dreadnought, which is using Wings for itself to go crashing into the front line while Mephiston sits back and buffs before setting off the next turn.

Librarian Dreadnought

The Librarian Dreadnought is similar to Mephiston, and will likely to be using the same psychic powers, though trading some volume of attacks for better damage reliability. The dreadnought has 4 attacks on the charge at strength 10, ap-4, and flat 3 damage, as well as being an 8 wound toughness 7 character. With only 1 deny he’s not quite as good in the psychic phase as Mephiston, but he’ll still do a great job of imitating a blender against any hard targets. They also benefited from the Biomantic Sarcophagus relic in Blood of Baal, which has a neat range effect which can help them buff things from further away, but more importantly allows them to re-roll one of the Psychic or Deny test dice each turn, making their casting more reliable. At just 142pts, and still able to be screened as a CHARACTER, the Librarian Dread is a tough nut to crack and offers huge combat punch. And of course it can use brain magic to make itself fly.

Blood Angels Librarian Dreadnought

Blood Angels Librarian Dreadnought. Credit: Jack Hunter

 

Lemartes

Also buffed in Blood of Baal, Chaplain Lemartes continues the general theme of Blood Angels characters being great in the fight phase while also buffing an aspect of the army, with Lemartes’ area of focus being the Death Company. His special rule Fury Unbound gives friendly Death Company units within 6” a re-roll of any failed charge rolls and (thanks to BoB) true-Chapter-Master re-rolls in the fight phase, and Guardian of the Lost allows them to use his leadership. That second rule can easily be underrated, as these are Space Marines, but Death Company are often taken in large units and have a relatively low leadership of their own, so additional morale protections are very welcome. Additionally, he’s able to chant a litany every turn (though sadly not 2 like his datasheet says, per the FAQ), either buffing himself or offering buffs to other units around him. 

Blood Angels Chaplain Lemartes

Blood Angels Chaplain Lemartes. Credit: Jack Hunter

Astorath

Astorath is the High Chaplain of the Blood Angels, and that inevitably means that he’s concerned with the Death Company as well. He totes a gigantic axe which gives him +2 strength, AP-3 and d3 damage as well as a powerful set of buffs. His main gimmick is a once-per-game prayer that buffs all units within 6″, with a d6 roll to find out what it does – usually giving them +1 to hit for the rest of the turn, though it might also force them to take mortal wounds on a 1 or give them a 4+ invulnerable save and +1 to hit on a 6. His Redeemer of the Lost ability is similar to Lemartes’, though in his case he allows all Blood Angels units within 6″ to use his Leadership, and makes Death Company pass automatically, a straight upgrade on Lemartes’ version. Finally, he effectively replicates the Master of Sanctity character that Codex: Space Marines can take, knowing two litanies and being able to chant two per turn (again, not three – for some reason this was walked back almost immediately in the FAQ). Remember that all Chaplains know the Litany of Hate and their Chapter litany, so effectively he knows 4. He’s a great force multiplier, or alternatively, he works perfectly well in a very heavy herohammer list, as another character with a powerful melee weapon and a jump pack doesn’t go far amiss in that context!

Blood Angels Slam Captain

Blood Angels Slam Captain. Credit: Jack Hunter

Captains

Blood Angels are the source of the OG Smash Captain, a captain armed with a jump pack, thunder hammer, and storm shield. For a long time the absolute best counter to a Knight, the captain starts out at 4 attacks, picks up one additional from Shock Assault, one additional from the 1CP Death Visions of Sanguinius pre-game stratagem, and D3 additional attacks from the 1CP Red Rampage stratagem. While this alone is extremely effective, the Angel’s Wing relic jump pack is typically added to provide a re-roll on the charge and nullify overwatch, and the Artisan of War warlord trait to boost the thunder hammer to 4 damage – and you can even do this twice, by taking a second guy using the Master-crafted Weapon piece of special issue wargear (though there’s so many good relics in Blood Angels following Blood of Baal that you may not want or need to – the Gleaming Pinions offer a great alternative if you’re more concerned with making sure he gets into combat than what hes when he gets there). If all that isn’t enough to kill whatever he’s pointed at, Honour the Chapter and Only In Death Does Duty End stratagems each provide a way to fight a second time. 

Troops

Unit List - click to expand

  • Tactical Squad
  • Scout Squad
  • Intercessor Squad
  • Infiltrator Squad
  • Incursor Squad

Running the same set of troop choices as Codex Space Marines the Blood Angels get to make use of them a little differently.

Tactical Squad

The most generic and historic Space Marine troop choice, Tactical Squads don’t really have much of a place in a Blood Angels army – they don’t especially benefit from anything that Blood Angels bring to the table, and Scouts are better for just filling a Troops slot and taking advantage of the melee buffs the codex brings. If you absolutely must have a cheap unit to sit back on an objective, well, they’re not the worst for that job, and one of the lists featured at the end has a unit doing exactly that.

Scout Squad

Blood Angel Scouts are great fun. Deploying 9” away from your enemy, they have a near guaranteed first turn charge. Taking a bolt pistol and combat knife, the Shock-Assaulting Scouts have three attacks each when charging, and will wound other Marines on a 3+ or Guardsmen, Eldar, and the like on a 2+. For only 55 points these do a great job of clearing screens early, or getting your early wraps off to allow the rest of your army to pile forwards.. They’re also the cheapest way to fill out a battalion if you’re bringing some Blood Angels characters in a soup list.

Blood Angels Intercessors

Blood Angels Intercessors. Credit: Jack Hunter

Intercessor Squad

Intercessors are in an interesting place for Blood Angels, with the same melee strength as a Scout squad but better shooting and durability. Useful as tough-to-shift backfield objective holders, these are mostly only seen in a pure Blood Angel army, as Scouts perform a more useful role in soup largely by being much cheaper. Their chief advantage over Infiltrators and Incursors (which are better able to get up the table independently) is their ability to take real melee weapons on a Sergeant – a protected thunder hammer with a bunch of swings and +1 to wound is no joke.

Infiltrator Squad

The first of the sneaky Phobos squads that Blood Angels now access through Blood of Baal, Infiltrators are primarily a close ranged shooting unit. In addition to bolt carbines that can autowound on a 6 to-hit they project a 12” anti-deep strike bubble, which helps keep enemy units from counter-deploying against your Blood Angels. At 110 points for a squad they’re a more durable alternative to Scouts with a couple bonus features, but are still not tremendously useful for Blood Angels – Incursors are cheaper and offer more combat potential.

Incursor Squad

Incursors are the alternative to Infiltrators, another Phobos unit that can set up 9” from the enemy, but this time slightly melee focused. In addition to ignoring modifiers when shooting with their bolt carbines, Incursors have exploding 6s in melee. They’re a little cheaper than Infiltrators at 95 points, and mesh a little better with the Blood Angel chapter tactics. They make a great alternative to Scouts – they basically do the same thing better but for more points, which is a trade-off that you’ll need to consider but can often be worthwhile.

Elites

Unit List - click to expand

  • Sanguinary Guard
  • Sanguinary Ancient
  • Primaris Apothecary
  • Aggressor Squad
  • Sanguinary Novitiate
  • Death Company Dreadnought
  • Death Company
  • Death Company Intercessors
  • Servitors
  • Terminator Ancient
  • Company Ancient
  • Primaris Ancient
  • Company Champion
  • Company Veterans
  • Reiver Squad
  • Terminator Squad
  • Terminator Assault Squad
  • Cataphractii Terminator Squad
  • Tartaros Terminator Squad
  • Vanguard Veteran Squad
  • Sternguard Veteran Squad
  • Dreadnought
  • Furioso Dreadnought
  • Contemptor Dreadnought
  • Redemptor Dreadnought
  • Invictor Tactical Warsuit

Elites are where Blood Angels really shine. All their good unique units are here, and so are the good melee units out of Codex Space Marines. This slot is extra bloated with Forge World units, but we’re only going to touch on the ones that particularly stand out.

Blood Angels Sanguinary Guard

Blood Angels Sanguinary Guard. Credit: Jack Hunter

Sanguinary Guard

Shiny elite infantry in gold comprise one of the two super important Blood Angels elites. Equipped with jump packs, the equivalent of force weapons, and a 2+ save Sanguinary Guard are the elite killers. They have a choice of encarmine swords, encarmine axes, or power fists, and all three have shown up in competitive lists – either in mixed units or mono-weapons. They also bring angelus boltguns, a storm bolter which trades 12″ range for a point of AP, and they can also take plasma pistols or inferno pistols (though generally people don’t). The Sanguinor, a librarian with Unleash Rage, and Sanguinary Ancients are key support units, with the first two providing additional melee attacks, and the Ancient providing a to-hit re-roll with a jump pack and potentially the Standard of Sacrifice as well. Although the Sanguinary Guard have Heirs of Azkaellon, it’s not a reliable source of re-rolls, being based on having individual models in range of the warlord rather than the unit. The unit can also take death masks, giving enemy units within 3″ of them -1 to Leadership (note that this says “All models in the unit” so it’s a binary option – either they all have them or none of them do, which means they’re probably too costly for the ability to be useful).

Sanguinary Guard have received several buffs from the initial codex. Firstly, they’re now a lot cheaper. Secondly, Blood of Baal gave them some tasty new stratagems to work with. They benefit greatly from Transhuman Physiology of course, becoming less vulnerable to the kind of weapons designed to blast through their 2+ save, 2-wound profile. Secondly they can make use of Death on the Wind to treat damage rolls of 1 as 2, making their combat punch much more reliable – especially for fighting other 2-wound units. More niche is Explosive Judgment, which allows their angelus boltguns to re-roll wounds and ignore cover – the boltguns aren’t the main attraction here, but they do have a great rate of fire, and if you’re in Tactical Doctrine you’re taking a Marine in cover from a 2+ to a 5+ save. If you’re going heavy on Sanguinary Guard, then it’s worth keeping in the back pocket.

Sanguinary Ancient

The sanguinary ancient provides re-rolls for wound rolls of 1 on a jump pack equipped body. Costing between 2 and 5 points fewer than a jump pack equipped lieutenant, he comes equipped with either an encarmine sword or power fist, an angelus boltgun, and a 2+ armor save. His only loss compared to the lieutenant is hitting at WS 3+ instead of 2+, but with each hit being much better that’s not a significant loss. He’s also able to take the relic Standard of Sacrifice, giving models within 6” a 5+ Feel No Pain. This will often end up out of range during the initial charge, but can keep an entire squad of Sanguinary Guard buffed during prior or subsequent turns.

Sanguinary Novitiate

Novitiates are a renamed Apothecary unique to the Blood Angels. Unlike Sanguinary Priests, they didn’t get a jump pack option in Blood of Baal, and Priests do basically everything better than them anyway.

Death Company Dreadnought

Death Company dreadnoughts look terrifying at first glance – 6 attacks when charging, wounding anything on 2s, with plenty of re-rolls. It can even take a Magna-grapple to gain +2” to charge distance when charging a vehicle. Unfortunately it’s rather expensive – you’re paying points over a Furioso dreadnought to gain 1 attack and a 6+ feel no pain, or you can just get a relic Contemptor for better durability, mobility, and hitting on a 2+, or take a Librarian Dreadnought which is slightly less hateful if it reaches combat but is a lot more likely to get there in the first place. Ultimately likely to end up as a “cool” model rather than a “good” one.

Blood Angels Death Company

Blood Angels Death Company. Credit: Jack Hunter

Death Company

Accompanying the Sanguinary Guard, Death Company are the other stars of the Blood Angels show. Available in squads of up to 15, with 5 attacks per chainsword-equipped model when charging (2 base, chainsword, Shock Assault, Black Rage) they are a premium horde clearing unit and can even take out heavier targets through weight of attacks, especially with +1 to wound. Any of them can take virtually any melee weapon upgrades, though they’re still power armored bodies. Care should be taken to ensure the squad doesn’t get too expensive to be efficient. One of the most useful things they can do is to exchange their bolt pistol for an upgraded melee weapon rather than their chainsword, keeping their damage output in the fight phase where they get the most buffs. As with Sanguinary Guard they partner well with The Sanguinor, Unleash Rage, and Sanguinary Ancients. They’ve got two options to get in to combat on the first turn, depending on who is taking the first turn. Forlorn Fury allows them to move and advance prior to the first round, an additional 12+d6” of movement, opening up a fairly easy first turn charge on many deployments, or combo Upon Wings of Fire with Descent of Angels for a 3d6 charge at 9”. Like Sanguinary Guard, they gained a useful new stratagem in Blood of Baal, in their case Refusal to Die, buffing their 6+ Feel No Pain to a 5+. This can make them tough to take down even when ranging far ahead of the rest of the army. 

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- though sadly they’re not Troops, so they lose out on objective secured.

Terminator Ancient

The Terminator ancient is worth mentioning here as he carries a different standard than any of the other Blood Angels ancients. His Archangel Standard allows friendly units within 6” to re-roll any failed hit rolls in the fight phase, effectively turning him into a chapter master. Of limited use as his 5” move means he struggles to keep up with jump troops, but he does provide an additional option.

Vanguard Veteran Squad

While unable to get quite as many total attacks as a full squad of death company, Vanguard Veterans offer a slightly lower price point for a 10 man squad that’s not paying for any melee weapons. Armed with 2 chainswords, a Vanguard Vet puts out the same 5 attacks on the charge as a Death Company marine, but saves 3 points per model doing so. Being limited to 10 models in the squad makes buffs less effective, and of course they lose out on the stratagem and character support which only affects Death Company as well as the 6+ Feel No Pain from Black Rage.

Furioso Dreadnought

Effectively the same as the Death Company dreadnought, the Furioso loses one attack and the Feel No Pain to be a bit cheaper. Much like the Death Company version, the Furioso is cool but the LIbrarian Dreadnought is right there if you want something to get to combat fast and with character protection, and the Relic Contemptor does the actual punching even better if you want to spend a premium.

Blood Angels Contemptor Dreadnought

Blood Angels Contemptor Dreadnought. Credit: Jack Hunter

Relic Contemptor Dreadnought

Not to be confused with the underwhelming Contemptor Dreadnought in the codex, the Forge World Relic Contemptor is one of the most useful dreadnoughts in any Marine codex. Although it’s a fantastic gun platform, we’re going to take a look at it in melee. When equipped with two dreadnought combat weapons it hits on 2s, re-rolls 1s, has 5 attacks on the charge, has the same Feel No Pain as the Death Company Dread, but also picks up a 5++ invulnerable save, an extra inch of movement, and a whole bucket of wounds. Of the melee dreadnoughts the Relic Contemptor is the clear winner, though it shares the same problem of actually making it to combat that the others have. Some players like a build with a twin lascannon and cyclone missiles as well as a single Dreadnought close combat weapon, which gives it a more mixed role in the army.

Invictor Tactical Warsuit

Another new option, the Invictor is another source of first turn melee pressure. Able to deploy 9” from your opponent’s deployment zone, then move 10” before charging, this warsuit needs to be screened against extremely effectively or it’s tying up an important target right away. 2d6 autohits at 12”, a heavy bolter, and a couple stubbers are great at cleaning up those screens, and then it’s wounding T8 targets on a 3+ in melee. These don’t seem to have quite made it into winning Blood Angels armies, but if you’re looking at a more casual game they have basically the right profile for a successful unit in a Blood Angels list – they’re able to get to combat quickly and they hit like a truck while they’re there.

Fast Attack

Unit List - click to expand

  • Assault Squad
  • Bike Squad
  • Attack Bike Squad
  • Land Speeders
  • Scout Bike Squad
  • Inceptor Squad
  • Suppressor Squad
Blood Angels Assault Squad

Blood Angels Assault Squad. Credit: Jack Hunter

The Blood Angels have the same Fast Attack choices as Codex Space Marines, and like them they’re mostly not terrific. Inceptors and Suppressors both have some interesting uses, but the rest aren’t particularly compelling. The most disappointing of the bunch are Assault Marines, once a core component of competitive Blood Angels lists (hello, 5th edition) which nowadays should really just read “use these as Vanguard Veterans instead.”

Inceptor Squads

Although Inceptors don’t do anything particularly special for Blood Angels, they can still fill an important role helping clear out screens on turn 2. Much like for any other Marine army they provide high volume fire that won’t get shot off the board turn 1 and can be placed where needed, and are much more likely in a Blood Angel army to be dropped near something to provide re-rolls. Again, not a top-tier unit, but if you want to use them in your army you can definitely find a role for them.

Suppressor Squads

Suppressor squads continue the trend of the new Vanguard units finding useful roles in a Blood Angel army. In this army we see their damage output as secondary to their key role of shutting overwatch down, especially if facing an army of Iron Hands, Imperial Fists, Ultramarines, or Tau, all of whom have ways to improve the potency of their defensive fire. Any way to help get melee units into combat unscathed is great.

Heavy Support

Unit List - click to expand

  • Devastator Squad
  • Predator
  • Hellblaster Squad
  • Baal Predator
  • Hunter
  • Stalker
  • Whirlwind
  • Vindicator
  • Land Raider
  • Land Raider Crusader
  • Land Raider Redeemer
  • Eliminator Squad
  • Repulsor Executioner

As befitting a Space Marine chapter the Blood Angels have a lot of options for Heavy Support, but there aren’t many that are good takes. Some of the Forge World dreadnought options are competitive choices regardless of chapter, and Eliminator squads are evergreen wherever they show up, but in general a competitive Blood Angel army won’t spend many points here – you’re better off souping in Chapters that have much stronger options to form a firebase.

Devastator Squad

Blood Angels have the unique ability to fill a devastator squad with heavy flamers. This is really cool, but sadly nearly completely useless unless you’re playing a significantly non-standard mission type like Zone Mortalis.

Baal Predator

The Blood Angels get a unique Predator tank, armed with either assault cannons or a giant flamestorm cannon. The Blood Angels have a history of more mobile vehicles than other chapters, represented here by the Overcharged Engines special rule, which allows you to take the highest result on 2 dice when advancing. This can stack with the Lucifer Pattern Engines stratagem to advance 6+d6”, which can move the tank in a real hurry, but as all the weapons are Heavy they won’t be firing at anything. At a minimum of 120 points the Baal Predator is too expensive to use purely for objectives and bumper cars.

Dedicated Transports

Unit List - click to expand

  • Rhino
  • Razorback
  • Drop Pod
  • Land Speeder Storm
  • Repulsor
  • Impulsor

Impulsor

The premier Space Marine bumper car, the Impulsor is faster than a Rhino, tougher than a Rhino, has more firepower than a Rhino, and is a more useful transport, especially since it moves around Primaris Marines who generally lack the ability to get forwards fast. It has the Assault Vehicle rule, allowing models embarked to disembark after movement (though this prohibits them from charging), allowing it to push up and get a squad into rapid fire range quickly, or to protect a squad or two of something like Eliminators from turn 1 firepower before throwing them out into a convenient location It also has a number of optional upgrades, giving it options to increase firepower, increase durability (the shield dome giving it a 4+ invulnerable save is huge for defense), or an orbital strike (not hugely useful, but potentially funny). Space Wolves seem to be the melee Chapter which is getting the most use out of Impulsors, but there is definitely potential for a Blood Angels Primaris-focused army to go deep on them and see at least some success.

Flyers

Unit List - click to expand

  • Stormhawk Interceptor
  • Stormraven Gunship
  • Stormtalon Gunship

Blood Angel flyers aren’t anything special. Most of the Blood Angel damage output is on jump packs and wants to be in melee, so it already has a lot of mobility. Both the Stormhawk and Stormtalon are pure weapon platforms, so they aren’t do anything that can’t be replicated elsewhere.

Blood Angels Stormraven

Blood Angels Stormraven. Credit: Jack Hunter

Stormraven Gunship

Once upon a time the Stormraven was unique to the Blood Angels, though the desire to sell more of them saw them spread to other Chapters – first the Grey Knights, and then to everyone except Space Wolves and Dark Angels, who have their own fur-covered or secretive planes. The Stormraven does offer a few useful things for a Blood Angels army, though tempered by how many eggs need to get put into one basket. As we looked at earlier, the Blood Angels have a few solid melee dreadnoughts that have trouble with delivery – a Stormraven lets them get into position for a turn 2 charge. It also opens up the opportunity to take Vanguard Veterans or Death Company without jump packs, saving a few points on the individual squads in exchange for needing the Stormraven to place them. Overall, a fun unit to use at your local RTT, but don’t expect it to carry you to success in a GT.

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. Overall though, it doesn’t really get there – the new Red Thirst is so much better than this, especially in Assault Doctrine where the bonus AP won’t stack.

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. B It’s worth reading the Smash Captain Thunderdome which talks about this; 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 named 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. In theory this isn’t totally horrible, but 2CP is hefty for what you get when you think about how good other BA stratagems are and how often you’re going to need this effect vs. either staying wrapped in combat or just outright killing the unit. D
  • Aggressive Onslaught – 1 CP: Use in the Fight phase to give a Flesh Tearers infantry unit 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. If this was damage 2 it would be tasty, but damage 1 just isn’t worth it on a relic weapon unless its other stats are truly exceptional, and these ain’t. C
  • 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. 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 the only real purpose is if you absolutely love Flesh Tearers enough to want to use Gabriel Seth, and therefore lock yourself to the actual-factual FLESH TEARERS keyword.

Speaking of, we should discuss the one Flesh Tearers unit:

Gabriel Seth

A slightly angrier version of Dante, Seth is the chapter master of the Flesh Tearers. He has 4 attacks (5 on the charge) with exploding 6s at strength 8, ap-2, 3 damage, so has a lot of damage output. Lacking a jump pack he can have trouble keeping up with the rest of the army, but when he is with them he gives units within 6” of him during the Fight phase a 1/6 chance to fight a second time. His profile is good fun, and his model is awesome, but he’s slow and taking him means locking yourself into a subfaction of Blood Angels which is just straight worse than using the full range of the codex.

Lists

Finally, let’s look at some sample Blood Angels lists. Coming into February 2020, there was a spate of Blood Angels top 4 performances at GTs, and we’re lucky to have some great examples to show you.

First up, let’s take a look at the Sanguinary Guard/Death Company heavy list that has become a staple of Blood Angels gameplay. Stephen Box took a list like this to the Las Vegas Open, and other people have been playing it too. We have a few different versions of it – Jason Robertson’s list from Scottish Take Over 7 (4th), Luke Purcell’s from the Coastal Wargaming GT (3rd), and Stephen’s from the Warp Storm GT (1st). The first two are 2000pts and the third is 1750pts.

Jason Robertson's List - click to expand

++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Imperium – Blood Angels) [27 PL, 400pts] ++
**CHAPTER**: Blood Angels

+ HQ [15 PL, 235pts] +
Astorath [6 PL, 105pts]: Invocation of Destruction, Litanies of Hate
The Sanguinor [9 PL, 130pts]: Warlord

+ Troops [12 PL, 165pts] +

Scout Squad [4 PL, 55pts] . Scout [11pts]: Boltgun x4
. Scout Sergeant [11pts]: Boltgun, Chainsword

Scout Squad [4 PL, 55pts] . Scout [11pts]: Boltgun x4
. Scout Sergeant [11pts]: Boltgun, Chainsword

Scout Squad [4 PL, 55pts] . Scout [11pts]: Boltgun x4
. Scout Sergeant [11pts]: Boltgun, Chainsword

++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Imperium – Blood Angels) [28 PL, 467pts] ++
**CHAPTER**: Blood Angels

+ HQ [13 PL, 212pts] +
Librarian Dreadnought [9 PL, 142pts]: Furioso fist [30pts], Storm bolter [2pts] Sanguinary Priest [4 PL, 70pts]: Bolt pistol, Chainsword, Jump Pack [1 PL, 10pts]

+ Troops [15 PL, 255pts] +
Intercessor Squad [5 PL, 85pts]: Bolt rifle, 4x Intercessor [68pts] . Intercessor Sergeant [17pts]: Chainsword
Intercessor Squad [5 PL, 85pts]: Bolt rifle, 4x Intercessor [68pts] . Intercessor Sergeant [17pts]: Chainsword
Intercessor Squad [5 PL, 85pts]: Bolt rifle, 4x Intercessor [68pts] . Intercessor Sergeant [17pts]: Chainsword

++ Vanguard Detachment +1CP (Imperium – Blood Angels) [99 PL, 1,133pts] ++

+ HQ [6 PL, 143pts] +
Captain [6 PL, 143pts]: Jump Pack [1 PL, 19pts], Storm shield [10pts], Thunder hammer [40pts]

+ Elites [93 PL, 990pts] +
Death Company [27 PL, 246pts]: Jump Pack [3 PL, 33pts] . Death Company Marine [31pts]: Thunder hammer [16pts] x3
. Death Company Marine [15pts]: Bolt pistol and chainsword x8

Sanguinary Ancient [6 PL, 63pts]: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine sword [8pts] Sanguinary Guard [20 PL, 227pts] . Sanguinary Guard [29pts]: Angelus boltgun, Power fist [9pts] x3
. Sanguinary Guard [28pts]: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine sword [8pts] x5

Sanguinary Guard [20 PL, 227pts] . Sanguinary Guard [29pts]: Angelus boltgun, Power fist [9pts] x3
. Sanguinary Guard [28pts]: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine sword [8pts] x5

Sanguinary Guard [20 PL, 227pts] . Sanguinary Guard [29pts]: Angelus boltgun, Power fist [9pts] x3
. Sanguinary Guard [28pts]: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine sword [8pts] x5
++ Total: [154 PL, 2,000pts] ++

Luke Purcell's List - click to expand

++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Imperium – Blood Angels) [36 PL, 589pts] ++

**CHAPTER**: Blood Angels

+ HQ [11 PL, 205pts] +

Astorath [6 PL, 105pts]: 3. Exhortation of Rage, 6. Canticle of Hate, Invocation of Destruction, Litanies of Hate

Lemartes [5 PL, 100pts]: 4. Mantra of Strength, Invocation of Destruction, Litanies of Hate

+ Troops [15 PL, 250pts] +

Incursor Squad [5 PL, 95pts]: 4x Incursor [76pts], Incursor Sergeant [19pts]

Incursor Squad [5 PL, 95pts]: 4x Incursor [76pts], Incursor Sergeant [19pts]

Tactical Squad [5 PL, 60pts] . 4x Space Marine [48pts] . Space Marine Sergeant [12pts] . . Bolt pistol and boltgun

+ Elites [6 PL, 65pts] +

Sanguinary Ancient [6 PL, 65pts]: 3. Soulwarden, Angelus boltgun, Death mask [2pts], Encarmine sword [8pts], Standard of Sacrifice, Warlord

+ Heavy Support [4 PL, 69pts] +

Eliminator Squad [4 PL, 69pts] . 2x Eliminator [48pts]: 2x Bolt sniper rifle [6pts], 2x Camo cloak [6pts] . Eliminator Sergeant [21pts]: Camo cloak [3pts]

++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Imperium – Blood Angels) [100 PL, 1,407pts, -2CP] ++
**CHAPTER**: Blood Angels

+ HQ [23 PL, 430pts, -2CP] +

Captain [6 PL, 143pts, -2CP]: 2. Artisan of War, Death Visions of Sanguinius [-1CP], Hero of The Chapter [-1CP], Jump Pack [1 PL, 19pts], Storm shield [10pts], The Angel’s Wing (replaces jump pack), Thunder hammer [40pts]

Chief Librarian Mephiston (Primaris) [8 PL, 145pts]

Librarian Dreadnought [9 PL, 142pts]: 1. Quickening, 6. Wings of Sanguinus, Furioso fist [30pts], Storm bolter [2pts]

+ Troops [12 PL, 165pts] +

Scout Squad [4 PL, 55pts] . Scout [11pts]: Combat knife x4
. Scout Sergeant [11pts]: Boltgun, Chainsword

Scout Squad [4 PL, 55pts] . Scout [11pts]: Combat knife x4
. Scout Sergeant [11pts]: Boltgun, Chainsword

Scout Squad [4 PL, 55pts] . Scout [11pts]: Boltgun x4
. Scout Sergeant [11pts]: Bolt pistol, Boltgun

+ Elites [65 PL, 812pts] +

Death Company [27 PL, 308pts]: Jump Pack [3 PL, 45pts] . Death Company Marine [31pts]: Thunder hammer [16pts] . Death Company Marine [24pts]: Power fist [9pts] x2
. Death Company Marine [19pts]: Power sword [4pts] . Death Company Marine [15pts]: Bolt pistol and chainsword x11

Death Company [18 PL, 218pts]: Jump Pack [2 PL, 30pts] . Death Company Marine [31pts]: Thunder hammer [16pts] . Death Company Marine [24pts]: Power fist [9pts] x2
. Death Company Marine [19pts]: Power sword [4pts] . Death Company Marine [15pts]: Bolt pistol and chainsword x6

Sanguinary Guard [20 PL, 286pts] . Sanguinary Guard [29pts]: Angelus boltgun, Power fist [9pts] x2
. Sanguinary Guard [29pts]: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine axe [9pts] x4
. Sanguinary Guard [28pts]: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine sword [8pts] x4

Stephen Box's List - click to expand

Blood Angels Battalion (+5 CP, 695 pts)

HQ: Astorath
HQ: Lemartes

Troops: Scouts x5 w/Bolter
Troops: Scouts x5 w/Bolter
Troops: Scouts x5 w/Combat knife, pistol

EL: Death Company x11 w/Jump Pack, 4x Thunder hammer
EL: Sanguinary Ancient w/Angelus boltgun, Encarmine sword

Blood Angels Battalion (+5 CP, 1,055 pts)

HQ: Captain w/Jump pack, power fist, storm shield, Warlord
HQ: The Sanguinor

Troops: Scouts x5 w/Combat knife, pistol
Troops: Scouts x5 w/Combat knife, pistol
Troops: Scouts x5 w/Combat knife, pistol

EL: Sanguinary Guard x8 w/Angelus boltgun, Encarmine sword
EL: Sanguinary Guard x7 w/Angelus boltgun, Encarmine sword
EL: Sanguinary Guard x8 w/Angelus boltgun, Encarmine sword

We interviewed Stephen just after his GT win, and you can see the similarities across all 3 armies – they’re all built around a core of big combat blocks of Death Company and Sanguinary Guard. Death Company offer an excellent forward threat, with their ability to make a pre-game move (including an Advance) with Forlorn Fury – with the Chapter tactic, they can be anywhere from 14″-21″ across the table before the game even begins. This is especially powerful in ITC, where you know for sure whether you’re going first or not. This offers huge potential for bursting forwards, clearing out screens and wrapping enemy units, with the Sanguinary Guard following in behind. Their high number of attacks and ability to tote special weapons like thunder hammers make them a threat to any unit in the game. Alternatively, they can remain with the rest of the combat block.

Sanuginary Guard, as discussed in the units section, are just all-around good – against anything less than AP-4 they’re just as resilient as a Terminator, but with a 12″ move and FLY, and of course boosted by the Standard of Sacrifice. Although it’s short-ranged, they bring a lot of horde-clearing firepower. Exactly how they’re equipped differs between individuals – Stephen’s list, with the tighter points limit, equips them all with encarmine swords, whereas the other two lists have a mix of swords, axes, and power fists. Like the Death Company, a mix of weapon profiles allows them to be a threat to any target, especially when combined with the Red Thirst – the axe wounds on a 2+ against T4 models, and on a 4+ even against Knights, in the first round of combat.

The supporting characters offer great utility. Every list featured includes Astorath, who offers the ability to chant two litanies a turn as well, as well as potentially buffing your combat block with Mass of Doom. Two lists also feature the Sanguinor, adding +1 to the attacks of every INFANTRY unit within 6″, and 2/3 take Lemartes, who opens up the potential for the Death Company to re-roll charges and hit rolls. It’s notable that Stephen, playing at the lower points level, chose to take all 3. Not only do the characters offer great buffs to the units around them, all three have powerful combat profiles of their own.

Jason and Luke’s lists also feature Librarian Dreadnoughts, and Luke’s also includes Chief Librarian Mephiston. These powerful psykers have been discussed in the units section above, and with tough screens in front of them they’re hard for an opponent to deal with before they make it into combat. They also offer potential further buffs to the units around them with Unleash Rage or potentially even Shield of Sanguinius.

It’s worth noting that this list is very well-suited to the more standard kind of terrain that’s begin to feature at many events – the “NOVA Ls” or central ruins. The whole army can pile into one and hide out of line of sight, and with the army mostly having FLY, INFANTRY, or both (even the Dreadnoughts, with Wings of Sanguinius) they’re great at getting around those walls while using them in their defensive favour. On more open tables, it may struggle a little, with so much of its power being in the Fight phase – though it has the tools to swing a big turn 1 punch from the Death Company and Scouts, whether that’s actually killing stuff or just tying it up and preventing it from gunning down the elite elements, and of course the jump pack-equipped units can always try and take advantage of deep strike too.

If you want to know more about the list, we have two videos from Vanguard Tactics with Stephen Box talking about his version of it – the first is a battle report facing off against Iron Hands, and the second is a tournament report as he takes it through its paces at Greetings from the Warp.

 

Chris Chance has a similar list from the Gigabytes GT (3rd):

Chris Chance's List - click to expand

Chris Chance – Gigabytes GT

++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Imperium – Blood Angels) [32 PL, 4CP, 557pts] ++

**CHAPTER**: Blood Angels

+ HQ +

Astorath [6 PL, 105pts]: Invocation of Destruction, Litanies of Hate

Captain [6 PL, -1CP, 143pts]: Death Visions of Sanguinius, Jump Pack, Storm shield, The Angel’s Wing (replaces jump pack), Thunder hammer

+ Troops +

Scout Squad [4 PL, 55pts] . Scout: Combat knife x4
. Scout Sergeant: Bolt pistol, Chainsword

Scout Squad [4 PL, 55pts] . Scout: Combat knife x4
. Scout Sergeant: Bolt pistol, Chainsword

Scout Squad [4 PL, 55pts] . Scout: Combat knife x4
. Scout Sergeant: Bolt pistol, Chainsword

+ Heavy Support +

Eliminator Squad [4 PL, 72pts] . 2x Eliminator: 2x Bolt sniper rifle, 2x Camo cloak
. Eliminator Sergeant: Bolt sniper rifle, Camo cloak

Eliminator Squad [4 PL, 72pts] . 2x Eliminator: 2x Bolt sniper rifle, 2x Camo cloak
. Eliminator Sergeant: Bolt sniper rifle, Camo cloak

++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Imperium – Blood Angels) [29 PL, 5CP, 546pts] ++

**CHAPTER**: Blood Angels

+ HQ +

Captain [6 PL, 112pts]: Icon of The Angel, Jump Pack, Power fist, Storm shield, Warlord

Chief Librarian Mephiston (Primaris) [8 PL, 145pts]

+ Troops +

Intercessor Squad [5 PL, 102pts]: Auxiliary grenade launcher, Bolt rifle, 4x Intercessor
. Intercessor Sergeant: Thunder hammer

Intercessor Squad [5 PL, 102pts]: Auxiliary grenade launcher, Bolt rifle, 4x Intercessor
. Intercessor Sergeant: Thunder hammer

Intercessor Squad [5 PL, 85pts]: Bolt rifle, 4x Intercessor
. Intercessor Sergeant: Chainsword

++ Vanguard Detachment +1CP (Imperium – Blood Angels) [70 PL, 1CP, 892pts] ++

**CHAPTER**: Blood Angels

+ HQ +

Sanguinary Priest [4 PL, 70pts]: Bolt pistol, Chainsword, Jump Pack

+ Elites +

Aggressor Squad [12 PL, 185pts] . 4x Aggressor
. . 4x Auto boltstorm gauntlets and fragstorm grenade launcher: 4x Auto boltstorm gauntlets, 4x Fragstorm grenade launcher
. Aggressor Sergeant . Auto boltstorm gauntlets and fragstorm grenade launcher: Auto boltstorm gauntlets, Fragstorm grenade launcher

Sanguinary Ancient [6 PL, 66pts]: Angelus boltgun, Death mask, Power fist, Standard of Sacrifice

Sanguinary Guard [20 PL, 203pts] . Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Power fist x7

Sanguinary Guard [20 PL, 174pts] . Sanguinary Guard: Angelus boltgun, Encarmine axe x6

+ Dedicated Transport +

Impulsor [4 PL, 97pts]: 2 Storm Bolters, Shield Dome

Impulsor [4 PL, 97pts]: 2 Storm Bolters, Shield Dome

++ Total: [131 PL, 10CP, 1,995pts] ++

As you can see, this list shares some key features – the two blocks of Sanguinary Guard, and the ever-present Astorath and battalion of Scouts. However, the Sanguinary Guard are smaller units with all the same weapons – axes or fists – and a heavier reliance on the classic fire and forget smash Captain instead of the Chaplain characters or the Sanguinor. Additionally, it makes use of a double set of Eliminators (which we also saw in a unit of in Luke’s list) and a pair of Impulsors. The Impulsors have a couple of useful roles – they’re great blockers and screens, since they’re tough to clear and are -2″ to charge, and with FLY and a 14″ move paired with their 4+ invulnerable save they can be great bullies for piling into units that you don’t want overwatching your combat block on its way in. Their Assault Vehicle rule can also be used aggressively, to allow the thunder-hammer armed Intercessors to move up at pace with the combat units, or more defensively as a way to hide the Eliminators before dropping them out into cover similarly to how Vik Vijay discussed doing with his Iron Hands at the Beachhead Brawl (though of course they’re a little less good at doing it in Blood Angels).

Finally, we have the Josh Minnich’s list from CAGBash XIII:

Joshua Minnich's List - click to expand

**++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Imperium – Space Marines) [35 PL, 6CP, 667pts] ++**
****Chapter Selection**:** White Scars

**+ HQ +**
**Captain [6 PL, 143pts]:** Jump Pack, Storm shield, Thunder hammer

**Chaplain [5 PL, -1CP, 92pts]:** 4. Mantra of Strength, 6. Canticle of Hate, Jump Pack, Litany of Hate, Storm bolter, Stratagem: Master of Sanctity, Warlord, Wise Orator

**Khan on Bike [6 PL, 100pts]**

**+ Troops +**
**Incursor Squad [5 PL, 95pts]:** 4x Incursor, Incursor Sergeant

**Incursor Squad [5 PL, 95pts]:** 4x Incursor, Incursor Sergeant

**Incursor Squad [5 PL, 95pts]:** 4x Incursor, Incursor Sergeant

**+ Elites +**
**Company Champion [3 PL, -1CP, 47pts]:** Combat shield, Master-crafted power sword, Stratagem: Chapter Champion

**++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Imperium – Blood Angels) [40 PL, 4CP, 697pts] ++**
****CHAPTER**:** Blood Angels

**+ HQ +**
**Astorath [6 PL, 105pts]:** 3. Exhortation of Rage, 4. Mantra of Strength, Invocation of Destruction, Litanies of Hate

**Captain [6 PL, -1CP, 143pts]:** Death Visions of Sanguinius, Jump Pack, Storm shield, Thunder hammer

**Chief Librarian Mephiston (Primaris) [8 PL, 145pts]:** 1. Quickening, 2. Unleash Rage, 6. Wings of Sanguinus

**+ Troops +**
**Incursor Squad [10 PL, 114pts]:** 5x Incursor, Incursor Sergeant

**Incursor Squad [5 PL, 95pts]:** 4x Incursor, Incursor Sergeant

**Incursor Squad [5 PL, 95pts]:** 4x Incursor, Incursor Sergeant

**++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Imperium – Space Marines) [32 PL, 5CP, 636pts] ++**

****Chapter Selection****
. **Salamanders**

**+ HQ +**
**Captain [6 PL, 143pts]:** Jump Pack, Storm shield, Thunder hammer

**Captain on Bike [6 PL, 140pts]:** Storm shield, Thunder hammer, Twin boltgun

**Primaris Librarian [5 PL, 98pts]:** Force sword

**+ Troops +**
**Intercessor Squad [5 PL, 85pts]:** Bolt rifle
. **4x Intercessor**
. **Intercessor Sergeant**

**Intercessor Squad [5 PL, 85pts]:** Bolt rifle
. **4x Intercessor**
. **Intercessor Sergeant**

**Intercessor Squad [5 PL, 85pts]:** Bolt rifle
. **4x Intercessor**
. **Intercessor Sergeant**

**++ Total: [107 PL, 15CP, 2,000pts] ++**

This isn’t so much a “Blood Angels” list as a great example of using Blood Angels in a role familiar to many Blood Angels players over the last couple of years – as a powerful component of soup, in this case a Space Marines soup list with White Scars and Salamanders. If you want to talk about herohammer, this is it right here – it puts 10 powerful characters on the board, a mix of flying guys, bike guys, and the Primaris Librarian and Company Champion hoofing it forwards on foot. It also makes heavy use of Incursor squads, a fantastic choice for both White Scars and Blood Angels since each of their Chapter tactic benefits them enormously. Aggressive forward pushes from the Incursors tie up enemy screens, allowing the flying circus of characters to get forward and start beating faces. It takes careful manoeuvre and great use of the combat phase, particularly with the White Scars Incursors making use of their Chapter tactic to wrap units, fall back, and then charge and wrap again, buying valuable time before literally all of the heroes of the Imperium make it in and start hammering away.

The Wrap-up

Blood Angels Astraeus Grav-Tank

Blood Angels Astraeus Grav-Tank. Credit: Jack Hunter

Blood Angels got a huge shot in the arm with Blood of Baal. They still lean on a few key units, but now have a lot more to offer players alongside their existing gimmick of supercharged heroes bouncing around the battle. They’re also a bit less reliant on Doctrines than some chapters, making them more amenable to souping. Hopefully this has left you with some ideas on how you want to build your angelic space vampires. As always, if you have any questions, comments, feedback, or vitriolic abuse, fire it off to contact@goonhammer.com and we’ll respond in kind.

 

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