Blood Angels Tactics: HQ Choices:8th Edition


Blood Angels, like all armies in 8th edition Warhammer 40k, got a new lease on life with a massive update and overhaul. The army is truly a heavy hitter in the current version of the game. I'd even go as far as to say they are one of the best Space Marines Chapters (or Adeptus Astartes as they are called now) in the game presently. Maybe even the best.

That said, finding out their tricks might not be so apparent or obvious at first glance, and with a plethora of tools in the shed to choose from, the key is to find the proper one for the right job. These come in the form of character buffs. The right character with the right unit at the right time is crucial. So, let's take a look at some of them and what they do and what units they are best suited to roll with on the table.

Captain - I know, you're rolling your eyes, or probably just scrolling past thinking "Captains are meh, let me find the real good stuff." Sadly, if you did that you are missing out on one of the most important character buffs for our army. The Captain's ability to allow Blood Angels units within 6" to re-roll to hit rolls of 1.  This buff is an amazing one, of course, and has utility in just about any unit we might want to use.

If you're just wanting a cheap buffer for your gunline shooting threats, like Devastators, Predators, Vindicators, etc., the basic foot slogging Captain can fill that role. He's cheap and his range (effectively a 12" diameter) gives him a good sized footprint to buff those lascannons and demolisher cannon shots.

The Captain in Terminator Armor can make a good buff unit for your Thunderhammer and Storm Shield Terminator Assault squads as well.  Re-rolling 1s to hit with thunderhammers is pretty effective. Or throwing him down with a tactical terminator squad firing 20 storm bolter shots re-rolling 1s. Do not underestimate the effectiveness of mass bolter fire in 8th edition. With how cover works now, bolter fire can do a number to Infantry units in the game. Being able to re-roll mass hits like that is pretty sweet!

Where the Captain really shines in a Blood Angels army? With a jump pack. You can deep strike in next to a squad of Death Company letting them re-roll 1s to hit with their massive chainsword and power sword attacks from Black Rage, or even beside a squad of Sanguinary Guard. As long as he is the warlord, the Sanguinary Guard will be able to re-roll all to-hit rolls!

While he makes an ok assault buffer, I have found that the Captain with jump pack shines more when next to a squad of Vanguard Veterans with jump packs and 4-5 plasma pistols. With this unit you can safely supercharge those plasma pistols up as you can re-roll the 1s to mitigate Gets Hot, and they do 2 damage each at -3 AP which is pretty significant for a weapon that costs 7 points. This squad has the power to put a hurting on Monster, Vehicle, and Infantry units alike.

Blood Angels are very much jump pack heavy in this edition and the new rules let jump packs shine. Don't bother with Assault Marines though. For 2 points more per model you get a more flexible squad in Vanguard Veterans that have better leadership and more attacks. Not to mention the ability to be geared up for a variety of different situations. I personally prefer shooty Vanguard Vets as they have the FLY keyword which means they can fall back out of a combat if they get charged and still devastate an opponent with those plasma pistols. And keeping that Captain nearby will further ensure destruction.

While he is a great buffer to any unit really, he works best with units that have high powered shooting. There are better options for buffing assaulting units. Like...

Chaplain -  The age old standby for Blood Angels. Gone are the days where we could take a simple Chaplain as an Elites choice. Now they are HQs but they give an amazing buff in the form of re-roll to-hit rolls in the fight phase for friendly Blood Angels models within 6". Furthermore, Blood Angels units within this range can also use his leadership instead of their own. This really helps mitigate the now crappy leadership of a Death Company squad. He also makes for a fairly cheap buff unit for them coming in at 90 points with a jump pack.  Throw him alongside some Death Company and watch heads begin to roll!  If you are planning on running Death Company, and you probably should due to their low cost and ability to hit like a freight train, then you definitely want to keep a Chaplain nearby.

Sanguinary Priests - Another great and cheap buffing character, the Sanguinary Priest can not only buff up a melee unit like Death Company and Sanguinary Guard, but he can also revive them and add a slain model back in the fight on a 4+ every turn, which is pretty significant. This guy is not a combatant however. He's best used within range of your assault units but not so close as to get engaged on a pile in from your opponent, or a heroic intervention. Keep him close enough to buff the units but out of combat to keep him alive. When combined with a Chaplain, you're looking at +1 str Death Company that can re-roll to hit rolls every turn. A deadly combination. For only 86 points with a Jump Pack, he's a fairly inexpensive buffer that can aid in causing a lot of damage with Death Company or Sanguinary Guard nearby. Even Vanguard Veterans equipped for combat can be deadly especially when you combine him with our next buffer...

The Sanguinor - If you're a Blood Angels player chances are you've never or hardly ever fielded The Sanguinor before. Well, dust off the golden boy because he's back and one of the best HQ choices in the game. His buff allows each unit within 6" to gain +1 attack.

If he's your warlord and rolling near some Sanguinary Guard, suddenly that unit has 3 attacks each, re-rolling to hits. And he is a fantastic combatant himself with a STR 6 AP-4 sword that does 3 damage per hit!  What makes him so versatile however is his ability to Fall Back in the movement phase and still charge on the same turn. That flexibility is what sets him apart. He isn't cheap though, at 170 points but he is pretty tough to bring down against the right targets. With 6 attacks hitting on 2s he can lay down some pain. Not to mention his Death Mask which gives a -1 modifier to the leadership of units within 3" of him. That can be huge in the morale phase after he, or the unit he's attached to lays down some pain.

And if he's next to a squad of Death Company? That's 5 attacks per chainsword on the charge with his buff!

Brother Corbulo - This guy is absolutely amazing for 94 points. Especially if you are running Death Company. His Red Grail ability adds +1 Strength but also allows you to generate extra attacks when you roll 6s to-hit with nearby units! And like the Sanguinary Priest above he can bring back dead models, but more importantly he can re-roll the attempt, as he can re-roll one dice each turn. His inability to take a jump pack limits him, but he is great with Death Company dropping from a Stormraven Gunship, or even out of a Rhino. If you run Death Company heavy armies, then he is a must have for your list.

Librarian - The Librarian is an amazing HQ choice for Blood Angels as he has quite a bit of flexibility. If equipped with a Jump Pack and Force Stave, he's only 130 points and he can throw two important psychic buffs to different units. Shield of Sanguinius which gives a unit a 4++ invulnerable can go a long way in getting those Death Company or Sanguinary Guard up the field. And he can also stack a +1 attacks buff in the form of Unleash Rage. He is a poor man's Sanguinor when combined with a unit of Sanguinary Guard as he can give them the extra attack buff, they can re-roll to-hit rolls if he's the warlord, and can get a 4++. Combined with their speed, it makes the unit very dangerous.

This is a combo that can be used to deep strike down more than 9" away. Throw the buffs on the squad and even if they fail a 9" charge, they have some durability to withstand some return firepower on your opponent's turn with the 4++ and if someone wants to charge them they'll be dealing with extra attacks as well. He also combos quite well with a Death Company unit with a Chaplain or Priest nearby as well.  In addition, if you really need to get that last couple of models out of a unit or just deal some extra damage, the Librarian's Smite power can be pretty huge. Smite in of itself is an amazing power especially when used en masse with other psykers throughout the army like Librarian Dreads or everyone's favorite psyker...

Chief Librarian Mephiston - While he can't take a jump pack, he is quite speedy himself with a 7" move. He has a Str 10 sword that you don't have to roll a power to unlock. He can cast the same buffs as a normal Librarian as well, but these are best suited when he casts them on himself. Mephiston is a brutal combatant and for his price point at 145 points it's hard to beat his damage output if he gets to charge. He is not really a buffer to your units, however, as he relies on getting into combat himself and tearing big Monsters and Vehicles to shreds. Drop him out of a Stormraven and watch him work.

Librarian Dreadnought - These guys are truly fun to play now because they can safely move up the field without concern of being immediately shot to death. They have the Character keyword which means they cannot be targeted in the Shooting phase unless they are the closest enemy model. While walking them up the board is an option, like just about everything else in our army, they work best dropping out of a Stormraven. They can buff a nearby Death Company squad with Unleash Rage or Shield and also have the option to Smite something which is quite nice. They are also pretty solid combatants as well.

Astorath - Astorath is the big daddy Chaplain of all Chaplains for Blood Angels. Like the standard counterpart above he allows your Blood Angels within 6" to re-roll failed to-hit rolls in the fight phase, and provides the leadership buff. In addition, he has a once per game buff called Mass of Doom which can really make your Death Company brutal on the turn you get ready to make your big strike. While Mass of Doom is really neat, I'm not sure that once per game buff warrants paying 53 points more for him than a standard Chaplain, however.

Lemartes - He's basically just like a Chaplain only he only effects Death Company. More importantly he lets you re-roll charge rolls. While you might be tempted to do this with a huge blob of deep striking and expensive Death Company, don't...just don't. A 9" charge even with a re-roll is harder to pull off than you think. If you can make the roll, however that blob can do some punishing damage. I personally find it better to run smaller squads of Death Company units in Stormraven Gunships, however.

Commander Dante - The big cheese himself. The Chapter Master ability alone makes him an amazing character, being able to re-roll all failed to-hit rolls for Blood Angels within 6" makes him incredibly good for buffing units like Death Company or Vanguard Veterans.  His Axe Mortalis is a great Character killer too as he can re-roll failed wound rolls against them when engaged. Like The Sanguinor he also has a Death Mask too for the -1 leadership to enemy units. He is pricey but extremely good.

Gabriel Seth - I absolutely love Seth in this edition. He is an amazing buffer for only 135 points! Keep in mind if you use him he can only buff Flesh Tearers keyword units, but his Chapter Master ability, which is the same as Dante's, is amazing. He is great sitting back on a gunline letting your devastators and heavy tanks re-roll to-hit rolls and also providing some protection from charges from your opponent in the form of a strong counter assault. He's a beatstick in combat as well and fits quite nicely into a Death Company army. You can forego running a Chaplain if you run him out of a Stormraven with a Death Company squad. He will buff them to let them re-roll to-hit rolls and more importantly gives them a potential to fight again in the fight phase if you roll a 6 for them.

So, there you have it, the first Tactics article for 8th edition from yours truly here on the blog. Blood Angels are quite amazing once you find the right synergy of buffs and units. I'll have more Blood Angels tactics articles coming in the future. So far I have been quite impressed with their performance on the table.
Blood Angels Tactics: HQ Choices:8th Edition Blood Angels Tactics: HQ Choices:8th Edition Reviewed by Robert Chandler on 9:24:00 AM Rating: 5

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