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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sanguinary Priests

Sanguinary Priests are the heart of most Blood Angel armies. They give every squad within 6” the furious charge and feel no pain special rules, so they are an incredible force multiplier. This increases both the killing power and durability of any squad, so almost any squad will greatly benefit from having a Priest around. They have the statline of a veteran sergeant with an extra point of weapon skill, so they are pretty fragile for an independent character. You have to take this into account to get the most out of them.


Think of Sanguinary Priests as a squad upgrade. Equip the Priest so that he can keep up with whatever squad you want him to support. If he’ll be supporting an Assault squad, a jump pack and perhaps a power weapon are in order. If his main role is to give Devastators feel no pain, then a bolt pistol and chainsword are all he needs.

I want to give special mention to how to arm a Priest supporting an Assault squad. Many people suggest taking them without a power weapon for one of two reasons. First, they suggest that it is best to keep the relatively fragile Priest out of base contact so that he can’t be targeted. However, the rules for assault require independent characters to move as fast as possible to reach base contact and allow them to force other models out of the way. This means that you can usually keep the Priest out of contact for the first round of contact, but seldom longer than that. The second reason for not giving the Priest a power weapon is that his attacks are at the same initiative as the rest of the squad, and can therefore be swamped out during wound allocation. This is a much better reason to avoid the power weapon, as you will often lose a kill as your opponent stacks wounds on unique models. Even so, I think the Priest’s fragility is best compensated for by wiping out as much of the enemy squad as possible before they get to strike back. Every model that the Priest kills results in fewer attacks directed at him.

Sanguinary Priests grant units the special rules that everyone associates with Blood Angels. They’re not required for mechanized armies, as the infantry will be doing relatively little of the killing. However, Priests allow a jump pack based army to function. They make Assault squads a real threat while granting jump squads enough resiliency to cross the table and reach assault. The number of priestly auras that an army needs is heavily dependent on army build and playstyle, but I’ve found that one Priest for every two squads that need his support works well. Giving every squad that needs furious charge a Priest gets too expensive, but I have a hard time keeping three units close enough that they can all benefit from the Priest.

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