Monday, August 13, 2012

Blood Angels in 6th: Special Characters

I've decided to update my previous Tacticas to take into account 6th Edition. However, these won't be quite as in-depth as my initial analysis. For the most part, units haven't changed too much but I'll be highlighting those changes here. First off, I wanted to discuss special character HQs.

Commander Dante:

Dante is still a strong choice in 6th. He’s got a great statline, though his power axe wastes his I6, but his 2+ save is now much harder to crack. In addition, he’s one of the only characters we can take with a 2+ save and a jump pack, allowing him to absorb hits for power armored squads. By the same token, the ability to take Sanguinary Guard as Troops is far better than it was. Just avoid large squads with power fists.

Dante’s ability to deep strike without scattering is still quite handy for taking out hard to reach targets, though other squads can make risky deep strikes now that the deep strike mishap table is less punishing. However, the ability to give a squad Hit and Run is very useful now. 6th Edition has seen the return of true tar-pit units now that Fearless has no downside. Dante and his squad always have the option to Hit and Run out of combat with tar-pits, ensuring that they can engage important targets.

Chapter Master Gabriel Seth:

I think Seth is a big loser in 6th Edition. With S8 rending attacks, he’s not terribly good at cutting through infantry. His main claim to fame was the ability to tear through vehicles, and to reliably hit even fast moving vehicles using Whirlwind of Gore. He’ll still tear through vehicles in assault, but so will any model with meltabombs. Now that vehicles are far easier to hit in close combat, Seth has kind of lost his niche.

Astorath the Grim:

Astorath is our other option for a jump pack character with a 2+ save. Thus, he works well as a shield for our power armored squads (though not as well as Dante as Astorath has 1 less wound). Astorath carries a strength 6 power axe, so he will go at I1, but his 2+ save means that he'll probably survive to swing it. In addition, he forces the enemy to re-roll successful invulnerable saves, meaning he does an excellent job taking out enemy characters and heavy troops. This renders him far more dangerous in close-combat than the standard Chaplain.

Finally, his Shadow of the Primarch rule is still handy for reducing your reliance on Priests. With both Furious Charge and Feel No Pain being arguably weaker in this edition, I’ve heard many players say that Priests are a less attractive option. While I still think Feel No Pain is worth the extra points, Astorath allows you to keep the hitting power of Furious Charge without spending points on Priests.

The Sanguinor:

The Sanguinor is still a tank. He once again got a bit more durable because of his 2+ save, but he was never really worried about power weapons with his 3+ invulnerable save. His Aura of Fervour adds to the hitting power of our squads, somewhat making up for their reduced numbers (due to Feel No Pain on a 5+ and striking at I4).

It’s also worth noting that The Sanguinor’s Blessing is extremely useful given the new Challenge rules. A sergeant with the blessing and a power weapon has an extremely good chance of killing most other squad upgrade characters before they even get to strike.

Mephiston, Lord of Death:

I’ve read a lot of arguments about whether Mephiston is better or worse in 6th Edition. In my mind, he got better. Sure, he can’t take out Terminators anymore, but he also doesn’t have to care about power swords. If any enemy gets to strike Mephiston with a power fist, it means you charged the wrong squad.

In addition, Mephiston’s powers became much harder to counter because he casts them on himself. Deny the Witch doesn’t apply to them, so only Space Wolves, Tyranids, and Eldar make his powers harder to cast. Given his reliance on Wings of Sangunius, this is great.

Captain Tycho:

Tycho got a bit better, but he’s still not a really attractive choice. He does have artificer armor so he can take hits for his squad. In addition, his Dead Man’s Hand simply ignores armor, making his attacks some of the few close-combat attacks in the game that penetrate 2+ armor at normal initiative.


  1. "Astorath also presents an option for a Chaplain with an AP3 weapon that strikes at initiative. This renders him far more dangerous in close-combat than the standard Chaplain."

    Does Astorath not have an forgive me if I'm wrong, I've not read the Blood Angels Codex, but I'd have thought he'd strike like a power axe?

  2. He does indeed have an axe, but it has quite a few special rules (always strikes at S6, enemy re-rolls successful invulnerable saves). This clearly qualifies it as a unique power weapon, which is AP3.

    It's the only case that is so clear, as Dante's axe and Glaives Encarmine can be argued either way since their only special rule is master-crafted.


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