Sunday, December 28, 2014

New 7th Edition Blood Angels Codex Review - Elites (Part 2 of 2)

Back on track with the review series and onto the second part of the Elites section. I'm certainly finding it useful to know what I'm going to be facing next time Matt and I play.

Only difference this has over any other Space Marine dread is that it has Furious Charge. Not important for a dreadnought, I suppose it also has initiative 5 on the charge if part of Baal detachment. But all this is pointless discussion as no-one will run them when they are in the same slot as the following two selections….

Death Company Dreadnought
I love the idea of a dreadnought falling to the Black Rage and rampaging through the enemy ranks. I think that the rules for the Death Company Dread do it justice and definitely make it a viable choice in a very crowded Elites slot.

Get one of these to charge into combat and it will do immense damage to a unit. On the charge it has 6 attacks at initiative 5 (Baal) with S10 AP2. Give him talons and he will also re-roll wounds. He ignores Shaken and Stunned and can take magna grapples which will help him get there too. But this of course is the main weakness of a dreadnought, getting them there. They will be a prime target to any heavy weapons fire that your opponent has, so what are your options? Well you could run several dreadnoughts in your army, I already discussed the possibility of running 6 (7 with Cassor the Damned as a troop selection) maximum including 4 Elites and 2 libby dread HQ’s. This is extreme of course, but it is reasonable to run a few in drop pods and have them all come down turn one, this gives your opponent too many targets and should allow some to get in to combat and start wrecking stuff. Your other option is a Stormraven, put one in raven and it can assault straight out, this coupled with the ravens manoeuvrability should ensure the dreadnought gets into combat as long as the raven survives long enough. The other problem with this idea of course is that it has to be in reserve, which sometimes means it doesn't arrive until turn 4, which also means the dread can't charge until turn 5, which is a complete waste and a massive points sink. You could make this less likely to happen by having something that helps reserves to arrive such as the Descent of Angels warlord trait, which Dante has. Even so I personally prefer dropping a few dreads on top of my opponent  turn 1, but I would also use the Stormraven method, especially if only running a single Dreadnought.

Furioso Dreadnought
There is an interesting comparison to be made here between the Furioso and the DC dreadnoughts, as they are both exactly the same points value, but both have very different rules and stats.

So lets say we kit them both out exactly the same way, with two blood talons:

Kitted in this way the DC dread gets 6 attacks on the charge at WS4 I5 S10 AP2, re-roll wounds. Against a WS4 opponent that gives 3 hits and 3 wounds. When not charging he will get 2 hits and 2 wounds.

Furioso on the charge gets 4 attacks at WS5 I5 S10 AP2, re-roll wounds. Against WS4 opponent will get 2.67 hits and 2.67 wounds. When not charging he will get 2 hits and 2 wounds.

So when fighting WS4 oppoents with this loadout both are closely matched, but the DC dread edges it offensively with the potential to get many more hits and wounds if you have some lucky rolls. However defensively the Furioso has the edge, just because it is AV13 compared to the DC dreads AV12, the DC dread ignores Shaken and Stunned, but this is nowhere near as good as the extra armour point on the front, which is especially good in close combat, it makes even power fists and thunder hammers struggle sometimes. Of course the other thing to consider is that not all opponents are WS4 and any other WS will tip the balance even more in favour of the DC dread in terms of damage output, for example if assaulting a vehicle then the DC dread has a much better chance of wrecking it. But the main selling point of the Furioso for me is the AV13, it makes it so much more durable, which is what dreadnoughts need. AV13 rules out any weapon below strength 7 and makes strength 7 weapons (the most common strength of weapons capable of doing damage) half as likely to do any damage, and incapable of penetrating. (don't forget WS5 also adds to the defense as it's more likely your opponent will be hitting on 4s and riptides etc will be hitting on 5+ - ed.)

The other reason I like Furiosos is because you can give them frag cannons. Many people don't like these, but I do. It's a 2 shot strength 6 Rending flamer, what's not to love? Equip your Furioso with a frag cannon and heavy flamer and put him in a drop pod, 4 high strength flame templates straight out of the pod turn one and the dreadnought is still very capable is combat too.

Vanguard Veterans
These are the 4th option for a fast moving hard hitting squad, after looking at DC, Command Squads and Sanguinary Guard. If you are only wanting a small 5 man unit then any of the other 3 options are better than vanguards. For example a 5 man command squad with jump packs is 15 points more than a 5 man vanguard squad with jump packs. For the 15 points extra you get a champion with a power sword and combat shield (and better WS) and Feel No Pain as standard for the unit, otherwise they have the same stats and access to similar wargear (with some unit specific options). So for a small unit don't bother with these.

However if you are wanting to run a specialised 10 man unit then vanguard vets are the way to do it. They can all have thunder hammers and storm shields if you want or they could all have dual inferno pistols. Obviously this is massively expensive, but you can do it.

Sternguard Veterans
It is worth noting that a 5 man unit of BA Sternguard are 10 points cheaper than regular space marine Sternguard, which is nice. I definitely think these are still worth consideration for many lists. The special issue ammunition is as always very versatile and the ability to kit them out with loads of combi-meltas is always attractive. Of course they can now be put with a priest to make them more survivable plus the WS boost coupled with Furious Charge makes them pretty decent in combat too.

That wraps up the Elites section then. Onto the last couple of articles covering Fast, Heavy and Lords of War. I'll try and get Matt to wrap the series up with some discussion about list building and general tactics. 

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