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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Blood Lance Analysis

Blood Lance is perhaps one of the most gut-wrenching powers available to Blood Angels yet it doesn't seem to have garnered the acclaim it deserves. Check out the last couple of posts (scroll down) from this page over on the Warseer Blood Angels tactica. Posts by DrunkTerminator make me think there is some misconception on what Blood Lance actually does and why it does what it does which has prompted this article. So a quick rules re-cap, Blood Lance is a psyhic power available to Blood Angels (btw who is tired of BA posts? me! come on Dark Eldar!) which is a shooting power with a range of 4D6" (~14" avg) S8 AP1 lance and can hit multiple units. Very nice anti-tank.

The obvious draw-backs of this power are it's limited range and it can be blocked by psychic defenses. However, the pros far, far out weigh these. Your to hit roll is an Ld test based on Ld10 (i.e. much higher chance than even a 2+ to hit) though this is dropped from 30-50% when psychice defenses are present (hence taking 2). The ability to hit up to 10+ tanks with one shot is also insane (unlikely and requires a stupid opponent but insane all the same) and can help BA damage AV14 without getting in melta range (gogo Lance). However, the ability to hit multiple tanks/units is why this power is so powerful and a must have for any list based around deep-striking.

Here comes in the misconception. Blood Lance is rarely going to get multiple hits off on tanks. 2-3 and you're doing well. Why? Because it forces your opponent to spread their tanks and this is good for you because you can now focus your attack (either with BA's speed or your less dangerous and more accurate deep-striking/reserves) and your opponent is less likely to generate their own cover. This forces them to rely upon terrain and things like smoke launchers or moving fast for skimmers. You're forcing your opponent's hand just by having Blood Lance in your army. If your opponent does castle up to defend against your deep strike or runs mech trains, well you're hitting 5+ tanks on an average roll. Here's where the misconception arises again.

If an opponent is castling or mech training, their tanks are close together and since most tanks are 3"-4" wide, you're hitting 4-5 tanks on an average roll if you get a side shot. Whilst each tank might get cover depending on what happens, positioning, etc. your damage potential is much much higher than if your opponent wandered about with his tanks spread out which is very important. As unlikely as it is, damaging or destroying 4+ tanks with one shot is game changing and your opponent should never give you this opportunity. It might not happen but it's a far better choice for him to spread out just a little bit so this cannot happen. This means you've dictated the way he plays the game and can assist you in the win. Whilst spreading your tanks out is minor, across 10+ tanks that's a lot of extra room to cover and as stated above, you are more able to focus your attack due to BA's speed.

Is it worth taking in both Mech and Jumper lists? Yes. Is it going to destroy or hit 4+ tanks every turn/game? No but it forces your opponent to play differently and that is very much worth it even if your Libby has to jump out of an RBack to do it (he's still being blocked from assault).

9 pinkments:

Venerable said...

Lance is a wicked power, it definately forces/makes the other player think about his positioning and, IMHO, that is perhaps its greatest asset.
I play all mech, but its still great to watch a guy twitch and then pause when placing/moving tanks in game..

Good read.

AbusePuppy said...

Lance, while awesome, always seems to be fighting for space when I'm taking a Libby. Shield feels like basically an auto-include in most lists, and after that Sword, Unleash Rage (to play pseudo-chaplain), and Fear of the Darkness (to screw with Nobs and other mediocre Ld units) are all strong contenders.

Katie Drake said...

Agree with the Puppy (though I take Unleash before Sword).

VT2 said...

It's very simple.
People still haven't meched up, so the lance gets a lot less whine than 'your weaponskill and ballisticskill are now both 1,' lash of submission, jaws of the world furry, and DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!!!!

Maiku said...

Here's a question that came up when I was using the Lance:

Do they get cover saves from intervening tanks?

ie: The first tank gets hit, no save. The second tank in the line is 50% behind the first tank, does it get a cover save?

I'm saying a hesitant no because fluff-wise it's just going straight through stuff; but then again, fluff has no place in rules...

Eltnot said...

Game play wise, I see it working in the same manner as having lots of blast weapons does with infantry. Sure it won't kill much but they have to spread out to create that situation. This makes it harder to pull strong assaults and makes it easier to assault the enemy.

Sgt. Brisbane said...

I absolutely love Blood Lance. Love it. It's a third melta in my jump pack squads, but better!

Love it.

@Maiku: I'm guessing no cover. You just draw a line, you're not actually shooting at the second tank in the line.

Katie Drake said...

You get cover. Nothing in the rules says that you don't get cover. It's sort of like aiming at one unit with a blast weapon and then the template scattering onto an entirely different unit. No, you're not hitting your original target but the unit that was hit could still get cover (following the usual rules for determining cover).

Kirby said...

They get cover as per normal rules. What would be interesting would be if a vehicle explodes. The BRB suggests all attacks are resolved at once but if you explode the 1st vehicle in line you'd have clear LoS to the next one, etc.

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