Posts by Desc440

Blood Angels Codex Review: ‘Till 6th Comes Around…

CMON


Good day Ladies (all zero of you) and Gentlemen,

So, as I sure you have noticed, there have not been any new BA Codex Review entries for some time. As you can probably guess, that is due to 6th ed being just around the corner – it would be a waste of time to do in-depth analysis on the remaining units only for that analysis to become invalid with changes brought on by the new edition of 40k. Ergo, I’m going to do a quick conclusion here and will endeavour to continue the series properly once I have understood the implications of the 6th ed changes on our beloved Bloods. I also intend to update the entries for those units that I have already reviewed, as they will most likely be affected as well (for example: if power weapons count as AP3, as some sources have suggested, this will obviously have a big impact on Sanguinary Guards).
 

Ok, here we go:

Land Raiders (all 3 variants): Overcosted and too vulnerable to melta. If you MUST use one, go for the Crusader.
 
Vanguard Veterans: Jump packs cost too much. Can be useful in a pure DoA list, but otherwise, take a pass.
 
Land Speeders: Good unit, but difficult to overlook the fact that Attack Bikes get to take advantage of Feel No Pain. I use those primarily in the Typhoon configuration. Hide them behind autolas preds to get a 4+ cover save will still firing to full effect. Otherwise, a good choice, just somewhat overshadowed by Attack Bikes.
 
Baal Predator: Overcosted to a certain extent. Still, the fact that it’s not a Heavy Support choice opens up some possibilities. Not a first tier choice, but useable.

Attack Bikes: Excellent, especially when in range of a Priest. Highly recommend them.

Bike Squad: See Blood Rodeo.

Scout Bike Squad: Awful. 

Dreadnought: Rifledread is still a good unit, but autolas preds give them a lot of tough competition. I’d say go for the Preds in most circumstances, but if you like Dreads better, you aren’t making a bad choice.

Stormraven Gunship: Overcosted and too fragile. We’ll see what 6th ed does for it.

Predator: Excellent in autolas configuration. If you’re lacking in anti-infantry firepower, the good old Dakkapred is still as reliable as ever.

Devastator Squad: Another good choice, especially for Jump lists. 5 men, 4 missiles – industry standard.

Vindicator: Helped by being Fast, still crap due to all other one-gun tank issues.

Whirlwind: Maybe in 6th this will be our anti-aircraft vehicle? In the meantime, don’t bother.


Blood Angels Codex Review Part 8: Dedicated Transports Part 1

CMON

Good day honoured blog junkies,

Here is the next instalment of the Blood Angels Codex Review. We shall have a look at the Rhino, Razorback and the Drop Pod.

Rhino

Metal Bawks, Red Edition.

So the Blood Angels Rhino… exactly the same as the normal Rhino, but Fast and 15 points more expensive.

This may come as a shock to some, but I don’t like Blood Angels Rhinos too much. The reason is that the extra 15 points doesn’t feel justified – sure, being Fast is nice to get close-in to the enemy faster, but does the extra 6 inches of movement warrant a 40% price increase?

I’m more than happy to pay 15 pts extra to be able to move and shoot at full effect with my Predators. I’m more than happy with that price to have Flamerbacks and Assbacks that are actually useful, as well. But for Rhinos? You don’t have any armament worth speaking of that would benefit from the interaction between guns and the rules for Fast vehicles, and since you can’t shoot out of the top hatch when moving more than 6 inches, and can’t jump out of a transport that moves Flat Out, you aren’t really gaining much of anything over the bog standard Rhino aside from an extra 6 inch move on turn one, and maybe on turn two. Extra ramming strength? Again, does that warrant the 15 pts?

That’s not to say the Rhino is without its uses, of course, but whenever possible, I try to work around them and use Flamerbacks instead. Not always possible, but it’s usually easy enough.

Razorback

The (Fast) Razorback is another staple feature of the Blood Angels army.

The BA Razorback is entirely unique amongst Marines in that many of the turret options that simply do not work for the other Chapters suddenly become a valid option when you add the Fast rule. Twin-linked Heavy Flamers are probably the most obvious example of this fact: not only is that turret “free” (whereas Vanilla Marines/Wolves pay a hefty amount of points for it), but it benefits greatly from being mounted on a Fast chassis – it can get in range faster via Flat Out move on Turn 1/2, and is far more capable of bringing its templates to bear thanks to 12 inch move + shoot ability. In addition, it synergises well with the aggressive potential of the Blood Angels army.

The BA Assback (Bassback? Bassback and Blamerback for TLHF?) also benefits greatly from the Fast hull. The big problem of the stock Assback is that it is far more difficult to get it in range and keep it in range while still firing due to the “short” 24” range of the gun. Tack on an extra 6” of move-and-shoot a turn, and this problem mostly goes away. Personnaly, I LOVE this configuration for its versatility, though it kinda sucks whenever playing against Mechdar; Wave Serpents tell you to go fornicate your headdress with your Rending AssCannons. That said, armies which seek to take a middle-of-the-road approach between aggressiveness and defensiveness will find much to like about the TLAC Razor.

The “classic” Razor setup – Twin plasma/Lascannon AKA Plasmaback (Blasmaback? Okay I’ll stop…) – also benefits from being Fast, but it gets a lot of tough competition from the Assback and Flamerback for inclusion in a list. I would say that if you are aiming for pure shooty force, the Plasmaback can be a good fit, but otherwise, you need to take a good hard look at the other variants and make sure they wouldn’t actually benefit you more.

The last two turrets – Twin Heavy Bolters and Twin Lascannons – just don’t measure up. The twin las… well, what’s the point? Yay, you can run away at Cruising speed while firing a single lascannon shot? I dunno, maybe there’s an amazing Twin Las Razor list hiding somewhere on the net, but I haven’t seen it. As far as the Bolterback goes, its damage output is just totally underwhelming. You are just better off reworking your list so either it functions well with Flamerbacks, or making some cuts somewhere to put some Twin Assault Cannons turrets on your Razors.

In conclusion, the Blood Angel Razorback is blessed with having more than one turret type that is functional. This opens up a LOT of different builds, and when you take the discount that Assault Squads get for their vehicles into account, it’s not hard to see why ASM + Razors are so popular.

Drop Pod

“The Codex Astartes names this maneuver Steel Rain.”
Attr. to Captain Indrick “Spess Mahreens” Boreale

The Drop Pod, as depicted in the Marine fluff, is one of their signature pieces of kit. Sadly, it translates very poorly in game terms.

The Pod itself is not really to blame for this: 35 pts for a 12/12/12 open-topped vehicle that can drop anywhere on the board with reduced chances of Mishap while carrying 10 guys or a Dread seems like a reasonable deal to me. The Deathwind is a bit pricy for what it is, in my opinion – but it is optional, not mandatory. No, the problem lies with the Drop Pod Assault rule.

Said rule states that half of your pods, rounded up, will always drop on turn 1, and the rest will arrive from Reserves as per the normal rules for units Deep Striking. What this translates into is that a full Drop army will always arrive piecemeal, to be picked apart by the opponent. If you “game” the rule by taking support elements with pods that deploy empty (Devs or Dreads, usually) so that your whole force can drop in together on turn 1, your opponent will just send his whole army into Reserves. You are now stuck on foot with a limited amount of mobility, which is bad.

A popular – but usually bad – tactic is to send melta-armed dudes podding into the enemy line to slag a tank. I say usually bad because people like to use a 10-man Sternguard squad equipped with 6-8 combi meltas for this task. Result: your opponent castles properly, the Sternguards kill two 35-pts Rhinos, get focus-fired/charged in return, and it’s now a ~1700 pts vs ~1900 pts game. GG.

One way to make this tactic work better is to use the Corbulo Maneuver: by using The Far-Seeing Eye, you can reliably bring in a pod on turn 2 (of course you need to drop an empty pod on turn 1 for this), which results in having all your units hitting the enemy line together instead of in “waves”. This makes it much harder for your opponent to counter.

In summary, the Drop Pod Assault rule severely hampers the usefulness of Drop Pods. You can work around that to a certain extent, but you have to make sure the necessary investment is worth it.

Conclusion

In this review, we have had a look at one great Dedicated Transport (the Razorback), one that is a bit “meh” (the Rhino) and one that is a PITA to work with (the Drop Pod). With Razors being so clearly superior in almost all contexts, it is plain to see why it forms the basis of many a Blood Angels list.

40k Fallacy: “Single-gun tanks are all bad”

2+invulnerable

It is a somewhat well-known fact that most of the single-gun tanks, such as the Vindicator, are generally not very cost-effective. They tend to be quite expensive, in spite of the fact that they have one very very important weakness: as soon as their gun is gone, they basically become a glorified moving wall. Where the problem arises is when one starts to automatically make the “single gun vehicle = bad” association in one’s head.

The reason I bring this up is that I often see this argument brought up whenever the relative merits of Assbacks and Plasmabacks are being discussed for the Blood Angels. Whenever an argument on the subject arises, the proponents of the Twin-Plas/Las will often immediately state that the Assault Cannon option is flat out inferior because it can be nullified with a single Weapon Destroyed result, while the Plasmaback needs two to be defanged.

It’s not a completely worthless argument, but it fails to take into account some factors which are pretty important:

1- Unlike say a Vindicator, the Assback’s function within the army isn’t uniquely to provide fire support. As long as it is still mobile, it is still fulfilling the “transport troops to destination” role, and as long as it is still not destroyed, “protect troops from harm” is also being accomplished. Ergo, its cost-effectiveness isn’t entirely nullified by a single Weapon Destroyed result.

2- Outside of Squadrons, it is rare to be able to take more than 3 single-gun tanks like the Vindicator. This means that it is harder to accomplish redundancy or to fully capitalize on the strong points of the vehicle; imagine for a second that you could take 9 Vindicators in separate FoC slots… much scarier prospect that a normal list with 3 Vindis tacked on. Well that is exactly what you can do with TLAC Razorbacks – you can easily go with 6 of them to carry Assault Squads in your Troops slots, and then another 3-6 from Elites or Heavy Support (Dev transports) if you want. What this means is that even if one of the Razors loses its turret, it’s not quite as big a deal – you have 5-8 more as backups, instead of 1-2 more.

3- Cost. An Assback is considerably less expensive then most other single-gun tanks. Ergo, when its gun goes, you’re losing less “points” than when a Demolisher cannon gets destroyed, for example. Ergo, the “risk” with taking a single-gun transport is less of an issue from that angle, since you invested less points in taking it.

4- Role within the army. I’m always baffled whenever someone overlooks this point: you should consider the unit within the context of the army it is a part of, not just within a vacuum. For example, if I intend to play a more aggressive list, where the ASM are supported by Priests and are all packing a melta, an Infernus and a Power Weapon, what is going to synergise better? The Plasmaback which loses half of its firepower if it moves at Cruising Speed, or the Assback which can do 12″ and fire to full effect?

5- Relative merit of the unit and alternatives. This ties in to number 4, but is a little different. When you compare the Assback and the Plasmaback, and look beyond the single-gun issue, it becomes immediately obvious that the Assback has some non-negligeable advantages that shouldn’t be overlooked, chief amongst them the fact that it is a more versatile turret and is able to move and shoot at full effect all the time. That is not to say that the Plasmaback is bad or doesn’t have its own advantages; I am telling you that you need to take into account the relative merit of the Assback before rejecting it out of hand due to the single gun. Are the advantages important enough to make up for the disadvantage of having a single gun? In some cases, yes they are.

In summary, you need to ask yourself some questions before blindly classifying a single-gun tank as “bad”: Is it expensive? Can I get a lot of them to ensure redundancy? Is shooting its only role? How well does it synergise with the rest of my list? What merits does it have that could compensate for its single-gun weakness, and how do those compare to the other units I could get for the same points? If the answers are “yes”, “no”, “yes”, “not well” and “none, not well”, then it’s safe to say you have a bad gun tank, but otherwise, you might just have a useful unit – in part or in full.