The Archangels Strike Force is a very specialized detachment. It requires a single HQ choice and two Elites, and has an optional HQ and 14 Elites! I saw this and immediately envisioned an army of Sanguinary Guard and Death Company charging across the table, but the restrictions put an end to that dream. The Elites are restricted to both types of Terminators, Sternguard and Vanguard Veterans (up to 10 of these units), and Furioso Dreadnoughts (up to 6), while the HQ has to be in Terminator armor. All units can take Dedicated Transports. This can be used to produce an extremely fluffy 1st Company army, but its flexibility is extremely limited.
In exchange for these restrictions, the Warlord gets a re-roll on the Archangels Warlord Traits table (more on that later) and the army gets a modified Descent of Angels, called Storm of Angels. This allows all units arriving from Deep Strike to re-roll failed Reserve Rolls and to only scatter D6”. In addition, you get access to some special wargear (also discussed below).
The Archangels Strike Force’s rules definitely want you to Deep Strike most of the army, and they provide the greatest benefit to standard Terminators. Sternguard and Furiosos will be in Drop Pods, so they don’t care much how far they scatter. Storm of Angels is more useful for Assault Terminators and Vanguard Veterans, but they won’t do much on the turn they arrive (unless you give those Veterans a lot of special pistols). Deep Striking is a serviceable way to deploy assault units, but it’s far from optimal. Of the choices, only standard Terminators really get a lot out of Storm of Angels, but otherwise they’re standard Terminators, with the weaknesses that entails.
At the end of the day, the Archangels Strike Force is the Blood Angels answer to the Deathwing. If you love Terminators with a bit of support, but you want them to be red instead of bone, then an Archangels Strike Force is exactly what you’re looking for. It’s not going to make a big splash on the competitive scene, but it could be quite fun to play.
Archangels Warlord Traits
Grim Determination: Your Warlord gets Fearless. Not awful, but also not amazing in an army where the lowest LD is 9.
Aggressive Defense: Your Warlord and his unit get Counter-attack. Again, not bad, particularly as your Terminators are much more likely to get charged than to charge.
Blood Champion: Your Warlord re-rolls failed To-Hit rolls in a challenge. It’s handy if you get him in a challenge, but this can be difficult against any opponent except Chaos Marines.
Master of the Field: Your Warlord and his unit have Objective Secured, which is pretty huge given this Detachment has no other way to get it. With Objective Secured, Terminators could actually throw a major wrench in your opponent’s plans due to their durability.
Lord of Baal: You can re-roll failed Morale and Pinning checks for all friendly Blood Angels within 12” or your Warlord. I loved this trait on the standard Blood Angels table, and it’s just as good here, though it won’t apply to allies.
Angel of Death: Your Warlord has Preferred Enemy. This is a nice buff for any unit he joins, and it adds some extra hitting power to Terminator shooting, which can be lackluster. I definitely wouldn’t complain if I rolled this.
Relics of the Archangels
The Banner of the Archangel Host is a Company Standard that can be carried by a Terminator Assault squad. In addition to the normal benefits of a Company Standard, it grants the unit Preferred Enemy. This is a nice bonus, but the Banner of the Archangel host is six times the cost of the regular Company Standard, and our Assault Terminators honestly don’t need Preferred Enemy to deal with most targets. If it were cheaper or could be taken on Terminator squads to bolster their shooting, it might be worthwhile, but I would avoid it as is.
Archangel’s Edge is a power sword that can be given to any Terminator Sergeant for a few points. On To Wound rolls of 6, it inflicts Instant Death on Monstrous Creatures. This is hardly something you can count on, but it’s a fun piece of gear for an appropriately cheap price.
The Executioners Hood is a cheap upgrade to a psychic hood that makes the bearer immune to Shadows in the Warp. Again, it’s a very small benefit at a very small cost, and it could be fun if you’re playing a fluffy game against Tyranids.