Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Angel's Blade: Detachment and Core Formations

The Angel's Blade Strike Force is a relatively flexible Detachment, requiring only 1 Core Formation and 1 Auxiliary Formation, with no limits on how many of either you can take, and allowing up to 5 Command Formations. It's Command Benefits include:

The Angel's Virtue: This is the almost obligatory re-roll for Warlord Trait when rolling on the tables in Codex: Blood Angels or in Angel's Blade. Strangely, the only Warlord table in Angel's Blade can't be taken within the Angel's Blade Strike Force, so you're really limited to the the Blood Angels' traits.

The Red Thirst is the rule we all know and love from the Baal Strike Force, giving our squads +1 Initiative on the charge. I'm just happy that it can apply to Formations now.

The Sons of Sanguinius is the only truly new Command Benefit, and it grants Zealot to any unit reduced to half its starting models. I've heard a lot of people saying that this isn't a great rule, but I think it could be quite useful. Often, objectives are held at the end of the game by the last couple models from otherwise destroyed squads. Now, these models will be Fearless, making them even better objective holders. In addition, our durable assault units such as Sanguinary Guard, Death Company, and Assault Terminators are rarely wiped out all at once. I almost always have the remnants of these squads running around in the last turns of game, assaulting small objective holding units. Being able to re-roll their attacks on the charge is an excellent bonus given how many high-quality attacks these models have.

There are two core choices available:

The Battle Demi-Company requires:
-A Captain and Command Squad or a Chaplain and a Furioso
-3 Tactical squads
-An Assault squad, Bike squad, Attack Bike squad, or Land Speeder squadron
-A Devastator Squad
-A Dreadnought

It comes with the Command Benefits The Angel's Virtue and The Red Thirst, which you may recognize as being conferred by the Angel's Blade Strike Force. This means that the Blood Angels Battle Demi-Company has no extra bonuses, making it inferior to the Space Marine Battle Demi-Company, which gets Objective Secured and an extra Tactical Doctine, and the Dark Angel's Battle Demi-Company, which gets Objective Secured.

While it would be nice to have Objective Secured, I'm not terribly sad at it's omission. What bothers me more are the extra requirements compared to the Space Marine Battle Demi-Company. The Blood Angels are required to take a Dreadnought and either a Command Squad and a Furioso, while these are optional for their Space Marine cousins. At minimum, this raises the cost of your Core by 200 points, and probably closer to 300 once the units are properly equipped.

I've never been a Dreadnought player personally, and the only ones I own are the original metal Furioso, which I bought when it was first released because I was excited to have a Blood Angel specific unit, and the Death Company Dreadnought that came with Deathstorm. I don't have the Drop Pods required to run the Dreadnoughts efficiently, so I'm going to have to pick up quite a few kits to run this Core Formation. I'm not trying to complain; it's just that I own over 8,000 points of Blood Angels and it's rare that I can't field whatever I feel like.

Even with all of it's downsides, I'll be building toward a Battle Demi-Company. I've really enjoyed using one with my Executioners, and it just feels like the way a Space Marine army should be built.

The Archangels Demi-Company requires:
-A Terminator Captain
-2 Furioso Dreadnoughts
-5 Units of Terminators, Assault Terminators, Vanguard Veterans or Sternguard Veterans

These guys actually come with some decent Command Benefits. They all gain Stubborn, so these LD 9 units probably won't be falling back. Elite Strike Force allows them to make Reserve Rolls on their first turn, and is complemented by Storm of Angels, which allows all Deep Striking units from the Formation to re-roll failed Reserve Rolls and to scatter D6" less when they arrive. Finally, The Angel's Virtue once again allows you to re-roll your Warlord Trait if the Warlord is part of the Formation.

The Archangels Demi-Company is flexible even if it's expensive. You can deploy the entire Formation by very accurate deep strike and there's an excellent chance that they'll all drop first turn due to Drop Pod Assault and their re-roll. If Dante is your warlord, Vanguard Veterans can deep strike with no scatter at all! This is the new way to run a Descent of Angels list, which was lost to us with the release of 6th Edition.

These bonuses need to be good, as all of our Terminators except those armed with thunder hammers and storm shields are overpriced compared to Space Marines, and our Vanguard Veterans pay extra for their power weapons and have a much worse version of Heroic Intervention. Even so, this is probably the stronger Core choice if you have the models to field it. You'll be able to drop lots of Elite squads right into your opponent's face turn 1, daring them to recover the initiative.


  1. Interesting review, I was all set to point out the dreadnought was optional in a marine demi company until you clarified things!

    I've seen some very nasty concept lists for Blood Angels using dreadnoughts so I find it interesting you don't use them much, I think they have improved substantially in recent times and I'm very much looking forward to putting a contemptor talon on the table with my marine army.

    The Archangels demi-company looks nasty indeed, though without the ability to charge on the turn they arrive they will all very much need to be resilient units to survive, and ironically shortly after the formation's release, the genestealer cult pretty much negate this type of tactic, making jump units far more practical than other deep striking models.

  2. Yeah, I had to do a double take when I saw that the Command Squad and Dreadnought were required choices. It really increases the cost of the Demi-Company compared to the Space Marine version.

    I've seen Andrew Whittaker's 6 Dreadnought list, and it's quite impressive, but not really why I started Blood Angels. I'm more of a fan of jump infantry and fast tanks, but I guess I'll have to learn to love Dreadnoughts too if I want to use the Demi-Company.

    The rules for the Archangel's Demi-Company impress me even if the units don't. I'll probably give it a try with Assault Terminators and Vanguard Veterans.

    I haven't been able to look over the rules for Genestealer Cult yet. How do they make jump units better?

    1. I can understand that, dreads seem to have become a blood Angels thing more recently.

      The genestealer cult can really negate the benefits of drop pods etc as they can voluntarily go into reserve in their movement phase, redeploying again in the next turn, but jump infantry have the mobility to counter that at least.


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