Monday, December 10, 2012

6th ed. Blood Angels Codex Review: Troops


The next installment in our Blood Angels codex review for 6th is truly a critical one - Troops are what wins or loses you games, and will determine the overall style of the list. Make sure to check the HQs review and
Elites review if you haven't yet!

The top contenders


Assault Marines (Jump packs): The poster boy of the codex and staple unit of the army. Their descent of angels (DOA) rule is excellent, boosting the reliability of the unit when entering via deep strike. And they now get Hammer of Fury which is nice. However full DOA armies are not viable anymore and therefore they will see more usage starting from the board, hugging for cover and always within 6" of a Sang priest for the much needed FNP. It's not a bad idea to keep a Libby with Shield nearby. How many do you need? for larger games (1850-2000) I wouldn't take less than 40 ASM, and probably another unit to take on the home objectives.

Tactical Marines: Very similar to their vanilla counterparts, with the main difference of being able to get FNP via a babysitting Sanguinary Priest. We mainly want them to sit on our objective and make it alive to the end of the game. Is this an expensive proposal? well we could get some scouts for cheaper but they are certainly not very durable. With their ability to combat squad and hold two objectives, shoot a heavy weapon (a plasma cannon seems the best bet if you're facing lots of MEQs) and reasonably defend their objective, I think they are decent.
Another option is to drop pod them but that is in the context of a list with more pods (for example, sternguards and a furioso). While not a great option, I believe troops with rapid-fire bolter at an advantage over those with pistols like ASM.

The situational choices


Assault Marines (RAS): The hull points system and the ability to wreck vehicles by infantry make this option much less appealing than in 5th. I don't think spamming razorbacks and ASM could work nearly as well as in the past, but a unit or two in this configuration might have their place. After all, you can get a scoring unit and a fast vehicle with a heavy weapon for a resonable price.

Put them in ruins and go to ground like there's no tomorrow
Sniper Scouts: This is a unit that takes camo cloaks and sniper rifles and sits in an objective all game long. They can go to ground for a 2+ cover save, making them difficult to remove at distance, and even with their BS3 can hassle devastators and the like (remember the new precision shots rules). Their ability to wound most things on a 4+ (hello T6 Nurgle bikers!) is also interesting. What's wrong with them? well 18 points for a WS/BS3 and 4+ save seems excessive when a tactical costs 16 and a ASM with jump pack 18 points. But if you want a cheap scoring unit and are short in points, the sniper scouts aren't that bad.

Sanguinary Guard (with Dante): aka Dantewing or Nipple wing. 2+ save, precision energy weapons and a sort of short range storm bolter make this army a sort of Deathwing on jump packs. They lack an invulnerable save, though they can get FNP with a priest which in many cases is alike to a 5++. I guess their biggest drawback is in their short numbers so you will still have to take a couple of ASM or tactical marines to ensure you have enough scoring bodies.

Best leave at home


Death Company: Let's get this straight - Death Company have greatly improved in 6th. Not only they are not chasing shadows anymore, but they have 5+ attacks on the charge, FNP/FC without needing a priest around and now can take FNP against energy weapons and plasma. They do strike at I4 now but you can't have it all. The big caveat now is they don't score, and this is massive in 6th. To put it simple, Death Company is more alike to an Elite choice than Troops - expensive, high damage output, plethora of special rules and non-scoring. How to run DC then? in short, consider them as an oddly placed Elite choice. Be assured they will be high in your opponent's priority list. And keep Storm Ravens away! at best they will be charging in T3, while putting the SR at risk, and at worst they all take S10 hits. I think they are at their best drop podded behind the enemy lines, supporting other units.

Scouts: the bog standard scouts are expensive, not very durable and their damage output is, well, inexistent. Don't expect them to survive if shot at or in CC with most things of the 40k universe. Even if you are running Storm Ravens and just want a cheap unit to drop T5 over an objective, why not invest 25 points more and get 5 ASM instead?

Conclusion

Similiar to most Marine codexes, the Troops options are rather narrow - take either ASM or Tacticals, and do it in large numbers. I would be inclined to run 4 o 5 ten ASM squads, supported by a Libby and Sanguinary Priest, and perhaps have a cheap scoring unit to leave in the backfield. These are highly mobile troops with a decent resistance (3+/FNP or 5+cover/FNP) and decent damage output when charging. But 40K is a shooty game more than ever and they will need to be supported while they foot slog the board or will die in droves. This is where other elements of the army (preds, furiosos, LS, SRs...) need to provide a threat that distracts firepower from the ASM.

Tactical marines are the second logical option. They can perform a backfield role, although not for cheap, or be drop-podded along with other units. The scouts seem subpar when considering their value/cost, and Death Company are not scoring so remain out of the question.

4 comments:

  1. I would definitely say that there is an advantage in running BA in a hybrid format. Having enough vehicles on the field to give cover to your jump pack troops and move up your tacticals is really valuable, not to mention the fact that they absorb a lot of shooting and remain functional longer now since glances can't shake or stun you. Razorbacks are a bit expensive, but even still pack a mean punch. I'd also consider running pure BA jumpers with tanks provided via a vanilla book or imperial guard.

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    1. Yes hybrid BA is still up and running, especially when supported by Preds / Vindies - many armies have issues dealing with so many AV13, and this also provides good cover for Mephiston to hide behind

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  2. nice one - thanks for the BA reviews.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks mate :) though I fear these are bit out of date as were written before the Tau/Daemons/Eldar/SM codexes.

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