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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Armies in 5th: Psychic Powers: Blood Angels

The newest book! There was a recent discussion about Blood Angels HQs sucking over on Warseer recently but I’ll cover that in a later post. Right now, we’ll just focus on the BA psychic powers. BA have two platforms for this, the Librarian (including the unique Mephiston) and Furioso. Mephiston is a close combat beast and has no options on what to take so you’ll have to review the powers below whilst the Libby is similar to that of the Marine codex and the Rune Priest of the SW codex but they get to bring a squad of Honor Guard to the table if they wish. Like the previous books, these guys aren’t great at combat but thanks to some decent combat skills and the BA book, are much more likely to be usable there. Furiosos are obviously more combat oriented and have the survivability of an AV13 dreadnought! They are however expensive and most effective within meltagun range and I’d generally only take Furiosos when they were in some way dropping for Blood Lance. All three units bring hoods to the table which means you can really cover your anti-psy quite easily.

Blood Lance – best spell in the book. This spell debunks castling unbelievably well and anyone who castles up against this spell deserves 4+ tanks to be hit by hit. Outside of tanks in a line, this is still essentially a meltagun against high AV targets and can hit multiple units. The short-ranged coincides with the rest of the army style but can be problematic with the Libby’s statline. This is particularly good on deep strikes to line up tanks as early as possible and nullify the range issue.

Shield of Sanguine – Every marine player is jealous of this one spell. Thanks to the way the 5th edition codex is worded, BA players can cast a power in their turn and also this spell in their opponent’s shooting phase to give everything within 6” a 5+ cover save. Important for Mech armies and Jumper armies which won’t always be able to get cover for everyone.

The Sanguine Sword – A power to make you S10! This is what SM needed for their Libby, not quickening or might of heroes and also can be used in the opponent’s assault phase so like Shield, can be used in conjunction with a power during the BA’s turn. This makes the Libby quite capable of anti-tank in combat or handing out some serious hurt w/I5 on the charge in combat. Still suffers from his poorish statline though so is not a combat monster and not really usable on the Furioso (imagine if they could get Blood Talons & Librarian upgrade...).

Might of Heroes – very usable on a Furioso dreadnought where they already have an impressive number of attacks, strength and survivability. Like the previous powers, can be used in an opponent’s turn which is a huge plus once the Dread gets into CC. Like in the SM codex though, the Librarian has much better powers to use as they aren’t great in combat but Mephiston would love this spell.

Wings of Sanguinius – Not of much use on a Librarian who can buy a jump pack for 25 pts and then have another spell available but jump pack Dreadnoughts? Okay! Problematic when nullified though as the Dreadnoughts can be left behind and it does mean the Dreadnought isn’t packing Blood Lance (I’m assuming Might Of Heroes here) so that needs to be brought up with other Librarians which means your force can be very psychic reliant.

Unleash Rage – This generally is going to make a unit “too” powerful where the unit simply chews through whatever they assault leaving them open to return fire and is therefore better on lighter squads such as ASM. This then seems like a waste of a very good power and the Libby might benefit more from Sanguine Sword to add combat weight behind the ASM attacks. Furiosos might benefit from this but seems like overkill since Dreadnoughts cannot join squads so it’s impact is minimised.

Fear of Darkness – nerfed from its 4th edition Vanilla version, it’s now only one unit instead of all within 24”. Not reliable against most armies because of high Ld and only affecting one unit (even Ld7/8 is more likely to pass) and Blood Lance is a much better psychic shooting attack.

Shackle Soul – Forcing a unit to take a potential 3 Ld tests is nice but the unit simply uses its action for that turn rather than falling back, aw. With an average Ld of 7 or 8 this might mean a squad may not get to perform a single action in an given turn but the Librarian has to be close to use it and most important units you’d like to stop from doing something are higher Ld anyway.

Smite – like in the Vanilla codex there are much better shooting spells to be used than this (i.e. Blood Lance). Lack of strength and short range means it has very little utility and is too unreliable to cause significant damage thanks to low strength.

Blood Boil – yes there is a spell which is worse than Smite! It’s only really effective when an Ld of 5 or less is rolled and then the player can pick which model takes a wound but again has a short range. It’s basically like a worse Mind War as less than 25% of the time can the opposing player can actually pick what takes a wound and thus target special models.

Overall, Blood Lance, Shield of sanguine and the Sanguine Sword are hard to get by as good powers for both the Librarian and Furioso though the Furioso can also take advantage of Might of Heroes and Wings of Sanguinius. I think Unleash Rage has potential but doesn’t bring the consistency of use or impact to a Blood Angels list like the other spells do. Fear of Darkness onwards are generally just junk unfortunately. Mephiston gets Sanguine Sword, Wings of Sanguinius and Unleash Rage which makes him a very powerful combat character in his own right but could really benefit from Might of Heroes to up his Attacks.

A lot more options and platforms on which to bring psychic powers opens up a lot of versatility and use on the psychic front for Blood Angels and some thought needs to go into what platform is used and what spells will best compliment the army style you are running.

6 pinkments:

Chumbalaya said...

BA have a smaller pool of good spells than SW, but what they do have that's good is very good.

HolyCause said...

I think Shield of Sanguinius shouldn't be in your opponent's shooting phase. That makes it too good imo.

I'd consider SoS to be better than Blood Lance - SoS works in a lot of BA builds whereas Blood Lance I can see only really working in a deep striking setting. With decent bubble wrap and the short range on the power it can be negated rather easily.

Stopping Wings on a Libby dreadnought is hilarious (or even funnier, he perils on double ones and immobilizes himself). I always envision the Dreadnaught going "for the emperor and sa... *thump* WHAT THE FUCK?"

Kirby said...

I certainly agree BL is better when DSing via pods/jumpers but the lance ability adds that extra oomph against AV14. Not sure which SoS you mean there, Shield or Sword? Shield is just golden because it can be used in the opponent's phase <3.

HolyCause said...

Shield, sorry. It never occurred to me that the acronym would mean Sword. lol

My dual raider list does indeed hate Blood Lance, but unless they are deep striked it's easily avoided.

MagicJuggler said...

Whoawhoawhoa...I knew Warseer was dumb and all, but Blood Angel powers suck?

Wow, that's a lot of Kool-aid to swallow...

Kirby said...

BLood Lance suffers from range issues indeed, but in a mech v mech environment, it makes opponent's mech worse (generally; DE/Tau/Eldar just giggle). It stops mech training to an extent and is basically made of win. When you take a secondary power which can be cast in your opponent's turn (i.e. Shield), well what's not to love :)!

@MJ; they were more like "our HQs suck." *thinks back half a year.* they were like that over SM HQs as well *looks at Null Zone*...what?

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