Tactics and Strategy: Angel's Blade: The Golden Host

Angel's Blade has been out for a while now, and I've been perusing over it here and there, and while for the most part, I don't really feel the supplement offers much in the way of strong competitive builds for Blood Angels, I do think there are some gems in the book.  One such gem is The Golden Host Formation.

The Golden Host is a formation which requires you to either take Commander Dante or the Sanguinor along with 2-5 squads of Sanguinary Guard.  The formation is unique in that it offers two very interesting special rules.

Airborne Assault:

Starting from the second turn, you may choose the turn in which the units in the formation arrive from reserves.  You don't have to roll for them at all.  All units must arrive on the same turn and all must Deep Strike.  You can re-roll the scatter dice when units from the formation arrive from Deep Strike Reserve.

Glory of Sanguinius:
Units in this formation can charge the turn they arrive from Deep Strike Reserve but always count as making a disordered charge when they do so.
The formation is extremely versatile in what it can offer you.  The most important thing I think in the special rules is that you may choose when they come in from reserves after turn 2.  It completely takes the randomness out of the equation.  This means you can effectively come in on a turn in which you can both benefit the most from their arrival and do the most damage to the opponent from their charge.  That is simply an incredible ability that can be invaluable in games.

These boys do tend to get pricey, especially when you start stacking wargear on them.  It's best to keep these guys as cheap as possible yet still capable of providing some good punch when they arrive.  I would recommend running only 2 squads in an 1850 list with a chapter banner (worth the points), a single powerfist, 3 swords, and an axe.  No death masks. No special weapons.  Just their normal Angelus Boltguns.  Keep it simple and dedicated to one thing; hitting a unit hard the turn they arrive.

The great thing about the Formation is that you don't have to use it in an Angel's Blade Strike Force Detachment (although you can).  You can stick it alongside a Baal Strike Force or a Combined Arms Detachment.

Commander Dante is the obvious choice here between the two characters available.  He is an absolute monster in combat, and capable of standing toe-to-toe with nearly any enemy unit.  You'll need to ensure you make him your army's warlord when using this formation so that you can benefit from his warlord trait, which allows you to scatter 1d6 when your Sanguinary Guard units come in.  Being able to re-roll the scatter makes them incredibly reliable when trying to get into position to make that charge.

The one drawback here is that you count as making a disordered charge, which means you lose the bonus attack for charging and don't get the benefit of either Red Thirst (if taken in an Angel's Blade Strike Force) or Furious Charge.  This is why the Chapter Banners are so important.  They help offset the loss of that attack from charging.  The Sanguinary Guard's weapons being master-crafted help guarantee you get some hits in combat.

Because of the formation's unique ability to come in essentially whenever you want, you can wait for the perfect opportunity to strike a devastating blow against your enemy.  Perhaps when they are safely camped on an objective with a unit, or when their warlord is locked into a challenge with another unit. 

This formation works best as a beta strike group to come in and clean up with some aggressive pressure from the other units in your army.  Drop pods with tacticals, assault squads, and sternguard work really well at applying pressure early on while The Host and Dante come in and finish things up, and Dante's ability to Hit and Run with one of the squads makes getting where you need to be on the board much easier.

In my opinion The Golden Host is the best formation out of the new book.  It is pricey, but what you can get out of it is worth the points investment.  Is this alone going to make Blood Angels competitive again? Not anytime soon, but it is a good start.

Tactics and Strategy: Angel's Blade: The Golden Host Tactics and Strategy: Angel's Blade: The Golden Host Reviewed by Robert Chandler on 2:46:00 PM Rating: 5

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