Friday, April 10, 2015

Blood Angels in 7th: Detachments: Baal Strike Force

The Baal Strike Force is the detachment included in Codex: Blood Angels, and it definitely is a competitive alternative to the Combined Arms Detachment (CAD). It includes a compulsory HQ, Elite, and two Troops choices, and has all the optional choices of a CAD, along with an extra Elite slot. In essence, you can think of it like a CAD with an extra, compulsory Elite slot. In exchange for these compulsories, your warlord can re-roll his warlord trait as long as he rolls on the Blood Angels table, and all of your units get The Red Thirst, gaining +1 Initiative when they charge. Be careful on that Warlord re-roll. I see a lot of players assume they get it when rolling on the Warlord Trait tables in the main rulebook. To my knowledge, only the CAD allows re-rolls on those.

Due to their very similar requirements, you will always have to compare the CAD to the Baal Strike Force when deciding how to build your army. A compulsory Elite slot is no hardship given Blood Angels many excellent Elites choices, and an extra Elites choice can be very handy. You’re really deciding on whether you want Objective Secured or The Red Thirst.

In general, if you’re planning on taking a shooty army or winning your games with a heavy scoring presence, Objective Secured is by far the better choice. If your army intends to get into combat and win by wiping out the enemy (at least to the point that it is easy to hold objectives without Objective Secured), then The Red Thirst will serve you better. If you decide to go with a Baal Strike Force, what type of army should you build?

A fast and aggressive one. Your units get a big buff when and only when they charge. This makes fast assault units your best choices, and you should really capitalize on your four Elites choices, with Sanguinary Guard, Death Company, Vanguard Veterans, and Assault Terminators doing much of the heavy lifting in your army. Don’t neglect your fire support; you have just as much access to these choices as a CAD and they play a vital role in allowing your assault units to reach the enemy.

The biggest difference is that there is very little reason to take more Troops than required. Tactical squads get very little benefit from The Red Thirst. Assault Scouts get a decent benefit, but will usually be outperformed by more mobile choices in other slots. It’s an odd sensation choosing Troops based only on their own merits rather than an advantage given to them by their slot, and it’s taken me a while to wrap my mind around.

The Baal Strike Force gives some very substantial benefits and encourages the style of Blood Angels army that I want to run anyway. To my mind, this makes the Baal Strike Force the gold standard when it comes to Blood Angel Detachments, and I have to seriously consider whether it’s worth trading The Red Thirst for the benefits provided by other detachments and formations.


  1. I'm planning on joining a campaign at my flgs playing BA. We're starting at 750 points and are mostly newbs with a few vets for guidance. What would you suggest as an easy to play effective list? For example am I better off with two 5 man tac squads? Whats the best choice for an HQ? At this point I see myself aggressively closing with and attacking my enemies. BA seems to imply that fast, aggressive play is encouraged, with less sitting back shooting.

    1. If you want to go aggressive, I would definitely use the Baal Strike Force. For Troops for such a small game, I would just go with 2 5-strong Scout squads armed for assault. They're cheap, aggressive, and they get close to the enemy very quickly. I really like Tactical squads, but they work best in large numbers, and they need Rhinos (which are relatively more expensive for small squads). If you take Tactical squads, I would suggest 2 10-strong squads in Rhinos, which will usually split into 4 5-strong squads, each with a special weapon. This will be a lot of targets for most opponents in smaller games, but they'll cost a lot more than the Scouts and really limit your further options.

      For cheap HQs, I like Chaplains or Librarians. Both are solid, and the Librarian works well in small games where no player can bring overwhelming numbers of psychic dice. The Librarian is more flexible, while the Chaplain is more durable and reliably helps our assault units.

      Finally, you'll need an Elite. Your best choice for small games is 5 Death Company with jump packs, with a power fist or power weapon to add a little bit of extra hitting power. This is a good place to put your HQ.

      That should run you a bit over 350 points as your base. I would suggest adding either an Assault squad in a Drop Pod or Bike squad, as each can deliver meltaguns to important targets very quickly.

      That should give you a strong core and allow you to round out your army to your playstyle. If you like lots of infantry, add more Scouts, maybe give their sergeants some power weapons. If you want to stick with Elite assault units, another squad of Death Company or Sanguinary Guard should fit easily. If you think you'll be fighting against a lot of vehicles, take more Assault or Bike squads.

      As an example, I put together this list:

      Chaplain w/ Jump Pack

      6 Death Company w/ jump packs, power fist
      5 Death Company w/ jump packs, power fist

      6 Scouts w/ bolt pistols, close-combat weapons, Sgt w/ meltabombs
      5 Scouts w/ bolt pistols, close-combat weapons, Sgt w/ meltabombs

      5 Assault Marines w/ 2 meltaguns, Drop Pod
      5 Assault Marines w/ 2 meltaguns, Drop Pod

      That comes to 749 points and should cover your bases against most enemies while still being very aggressive. Having an even number of Drop Pods is not optimal, but I can't see a way around it in 750 points. You could add a 3rd Pod with maybe a Furioso as you expand your army.

  2. Wow cool! Thanks so much. The plan is to start at 750 points and then add on, but at this point I'm not sure of all the details.

  3. No problem! Don't hesitate to send me a comment or an email if there's anything else I might be able to help with. And please let me know how it goes!

  4. So I went out and picked up a Librarian, box of tactical squad and DC, and a rhino. I plan to get a box of Scouts and was thinking Assault Squad. This is the list I'm thinking:

    -Gallians Staff
    -Terminator Armour

    Tac Squad x 10
    -Vet. Sergeant
    -Melta Bombs

    Scout Squad x 5
    -Camo Cloaks x 5
    -Sniper Rifles x 4
    -Heavy Bolter w/ Hellfire Shells
    -Vet Sergeant
    -Melta Bombs

    Death Company Squad x 5
    -Jump Packs
    -Not sure on the rest of the load out?

    Assault Squad x 5
    -Not sure how to load out

    - Dedicated transport for tactical squad

    That should get me very close to 750 points depending on how I load out my squads. I'm on a budget so I'm looking to save on purchasing models. Any advice?

  5. So on further thought after seeing that assault squads are no longer available on the GW site, I'm thinking of dropping the Assault squad and adding 5 more scouts. I'm wavering on equipping them all as snipers, or as an close combat squad. or Figuring out a way to include a unit of Terminator Assault squad. My guess would be that this would then also require a drop pod too. I'm heavily leaning towards the scouts at this point.

  6. Rumor has it that a new Assault squad box will be released next week, so that's probably why the old box isn't on the site anymore. Don't be discouraged. I imagine the new box will look great! The old one was starting to look its age.

    Your Terminator Librarian will be harder to use if you don't have any other squads to put him in. Since he can't ride in the Rhino, he'll probably be alone and an easy target. If you want to take him (and he is an awesome looking model), I like your idea of trying to force in a squad of Assault Terminators. They are a solid unit, though expensive for a small starter force. If you can catch the enemy, your Terminators will probably be more than they can handle with so few points. They don't really need a Drop Pod since they can deep strike already, but it would make sure they arrive first turn. If you want to save points and money, just put some Teleport Homers on your Troops. This will make sure your Terminators arrive safely in good position.

    Tactical Marines and Scouts are both solid options. I would skip Veteran Sergeant upgrades on any shooty units. Save them for units that will get into assault, where the extra attack with a power weapon will be really valuable. The extra LD is okay, but with ATSKNF, Blood Angels aren't so worried about failing LD tests.

    I've found that a very flexible Tactical squad carries a meltagun and heavy flamer. Combat squad them so that they can both fire at different targets but can ride in the same Rhino.

    I only like Sniper Scouts if they have Objective Secured, in which case they're great for holding out of the way objectives. If you want to be more aggressive (or are planning a Baal Strike Force), take Scouts with close combat weapons and pistols. They're cheaper and they'll do more damage against most targets.

    I like to give a squad of 5 Death Company either a power fist or a power sword, depending how many points I have around. Any more and the squad gets expensive and might lose upgraded models before reaching combat. The standard Death Company are still great with 5 attacks on the charge.

    I prefer my assault squads to carry 2 meltaguns. It helps deal with vehicles, which we're not really good at killing. 5 Assault Marines with two meltaguns are a good unit with just that, but you could give the sergeant and inferno pistol or two for extra armor killing (though that's very expensive) or make him an veteran sergeant with a power weapon so they can assault well once they've run out of tanks to melta.

    I think a strong core of the army would be a Tactical squad in Rhino, some assault Scouts, and a squad of jump pack Death Company. Then round that out as you like. Assault Terminators with a Librarian may fit, and would give you a real hammer unit. Alternatively, you could accentuate speed with another jump pack unit or some bikes.

    Just think about how all of the units in the army will interact. For example, just taking the Librarian in Terminator armor would either leave him along (maybe hanging out with sniper Scouts, where he couldn't do much) or force one of your faster units to hang back and walk forward slowly with him. Neither option is a good one. Alternatively, taking him and joining him with a squad of Assault Terminators means that he'll be safer and the Terminators will benefit from his psychic powers, so they both get better. Add in some aggressive Scouts or Tactical Marines with teleport homers, and all those psychicly buffed Terminators can now safely land right in the enemy's face. The parts work together better than they could individually.

  7. I'm not familiar with the rules enough, but I thought that the Librarian would be able to move with the Death Company and be able to buff them.

    Since I've already bought the Librarian I need to find a way to make him work.

    I was defiantly going for the Baal Strike Force.

    I just need to figure out the best load out so I can include the assault scouts and Terminator assault squad.

  8. The Librarian can join the Death Company, but he can only move 6". With jump packs, the Death Company can move 12" each turn, so would either have to leave him behind or sacrifice half of their movement. If he were in power armor with a jump pack, he would also move 12" so it wouldn't be a problem.

    I would pair the Librarian with a unit of 5 Assault Terminators. The Terminators are okay armed however you like, but I like 3 thunder hammer/storm shields and 2 pairs of lightning claws. Gives you some durability, and the ability to hurt any enemy.

    Assault Scouts don't need much. I usually just give the Sergeant a meltabomb so the squad can hurt tanks and run them that way. If you want some extra killing power, make the Sergeant a veteran and give him a power sword. Since you're taking Terminators, give the Sergeant a teleport homer too. Scout squads should be kept cheap and just allow you to get into the enemy's face quickly and hit them with lots of attacks. They're great for killing light infantry, and will even wear down Marines with weight of attacks. Leave hard enemy units for the Terminators or Death Company.


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