The Captain is generally not a popular choice. He lacks any unique abilities that benefit the army, instead relying on assault killing power to earn his points. In Codex: Space Marines, he is outdone by the Chapter Master for a fairly small cost in points. For the Blood Angels, this isn’t really a problem as Dante, while better in combat, is very expensive compared to a similarly equipped Captain and doesn’t fill your mandatory HQ slot.
The Captain has fairly standard options, but there are a few unique Blood Angels items that make him stand out. The most important is Valour’s Edge. While a Space Marine Captain has to take an unwieldy weapon to get AP2 (or pay for the very expensive Burning Blade), Valour’s Edge allows a Blood Angel Captain to cut through the best armor in the game without slowing down for only a few more points than a standard power sword. Its lack of a strength bonus is compensated for by Furious Charge. I also like to arm him with an inferno pistol, which allows him to take an extra wound off tough targets as he charges and to threaten vehicles. I prefer a pistol over a storm shield because the pistol gives you an extra attack with Valour’s Edge. Beyond that, artificer armor is pretty much a given, as well as some way to get him to assault. The jump pack is the fluffiest option, but the bike is once again probably superior.
I’ve been taking a fresh look at the Captain. As we’ll see soon, most of the support characters benefit only the squad that they join. My Executioners have taught me to love MSU style armies and Combat Squads, and I plan to apply this to my Blood Angels. It’s been working out so far. However, it means that I will rarely take large, hammer squads that really benefit from single unit buffs. This makes the Chaplain, Librarian, and Sanguinary Priest less useful, while the Captain works really well here. I can essentially treat him as a separate unit, either giving extra killing power to one of my squads that needs it or breaking off to deal with a separate target.
Tycho was never the most powerful choice, but he is even less useful in this codex. He lost Dead Man’s Hand, so he is absolutely sad in close-combat, and Rites of Battle, so he no longer supports the rest of the army. He has Hatred(Orks) and Red Rampage, which only benefit him in assault, where he really shouldn’t be. His combi-bolter is pretty nice, with an 18” range on the melta, master-crafted, and AP4 on the bolter, but that’s not nearly enough to make him worthwhile.
Tycho the Lost represents Tycho after he fell to the Black Rage, and he gains the standard Death Company rules Fearless, Rage, and Feel No Pain. He has an extra attack compared to Captain Tycho, but is otherwise not any better in assault.
I really don’t think GW knows what to do with Tycho. They seem hamstrung by his old model, which has no close-combat weapon at all. I’d hate to see him dropped, so I think they really need to put out a new model with some decent wargear.
Deathstorm brings us Captain Karlaen of the First Company. He comes with Terminator armor, a storm bolter, and a master-crafted thunder hammer. He comes with Counter-attack, which will give him an extra attack when his squad is inevitably charged by the enemy (since they won’t be moving fast with a Terminator Captain). However, the main reason that you take Karlaen is that he always has Strategic Genius as his Warlord Trait. This is one of the best traits from the main rulebook, allowing you to re-roll any Reserve Rolls and add +1 to Seize the Initiative rolls. This turns Karlaen from a lackluster Terminator Captain to an amazing support character.
If you will be relying on units arriving from reserve, Karlaen is absolutely worth taking as your Warlord. As for using him, he seems best when added to a Deep Striking or Land Raider mounted Terminator squad. That will get him close enough to hit the enemy with his hammer and make the enemy think twice about counter-charging the squad.