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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

How To: Blood Rodeo

One of the most anticipated articles…ever? This article has been floating around for some time and been requested/demanded/bribed for/blackmailed/threatened with explicit sexual activities/honeyed/burned/stolen/barraged/and anything else you could imagine that involves someone politely asking me to post it. Thanks for your patience! So, the Blood Rodeo is a list built around Bikes and Assault Marines from the Blood Angels codex and is the thought-child of ProfessorCurly and myself. As the months wore on and its popularity grew, even Stelek waded in with his additions and the final template for the Blood Rodeo was born. You can see My Blood Rodeo by clicking what I just wrote but how to play this army? There have been hints, brief discussions and tantalising bits of nothing on this blog so it’s time for this stupid introduction to end and for us to get into the meat of the Blood Rodeo. This article will look at what the concept of Blood Rodeo is and why it works, breaks down individual units and why they were chosen and provides throughout an overall army strategy.

As stated above, the Blood Rodeo is built around Bikes and Assault Marines from the Blood Angels codex. Unlike regular bike lists this means the bikes are not scoring but the Assault Marines are. There are a couple of things which make this list and concept work. The first one is obviously scoring ASM. Whilst scoring bikes are arguably better, we have scoring ASM which provides the list with the needed mobility, special weapons and combat prowess across multiple units. Whilst ASM aren’t great assault troops they are a sight better than Tactical Marines & Bikes and when combined with the FNP/FC bubbles Blood Angels have access to, they are greatly improved. This brings us to the 2nd point on why this list works. FNP/FC bubbles. FNP makes the whole army (Bikes & ASM) very survivable, especially in combat against anything without power weapons. As stated above, FC makes the ASM ‘good’ assault troops and even makes Bikes on the charge better than terrible but it still doesn’t make the army a good combat army as an entity. This is where the Terminators come in and the major concept of this list, bubble-wrapping.

This works by ‘wrapping’ the ASM with the combat squadded bikes. The bikes aren’t great in combat even on the charge w/FC and are a higher toughness (which combined with FNP makes them very tough against anything which doesn’t ignore saves) and are therefore better able in this role to accept charges. This protects the ASM from charges and because ASM have jump packs, they are able to jump over the combat and assault the units engaged with the Bikes. Ergo, the Rodeo. This takes advantage of both the FNP and FC aspects of the Blood Chalice to great effect. Furthermore, with the FAQ changes to FNP/FC bubbles it is also easier to get the ASM those benefits by tucking the Sanguinary Priests behind the combat on the bike side (but not engaged in the combat). This is a key part of how the army works and should be practiced as once FNP disappears you‘ve just got a bunch of Marines & Bikes who are mediocre in combat. The obvious alternative is to have the Sanguinary Priests assault with the ASM as you can get an extra special weapon and a higher WS IC involved.

However, there is still the glaring weakness of no real scary combat units in this list and without VV or HG to suck up power weapon hits on storm shields, super combat units which ignore saves can be very problematic for the Blood Rodeo. Enter Stelek’s change: Terminators. Whilst TH/SS terminators don’t benefit from Descent of Angels, deep striking them on the enemy’s side of the engagement line (where the Bikes & ASM are involved in conflict) provides you with a huge rock unit which will beat most other rock units in combat (and anything else besides). This is another key point of the Blood Rodeo, where and when to deep strike these guys. Sometimes it is better to run the Terminators behind the Bike bubble-wrap and assault forward as a gap opens and sometimes it’s better to reserve them and have them walk on. Let’s take a quick look.

Reserve on foot: the only time you really want to do this is when you are playing defensively against armies like Daemons, Jumpers or Drop Pods. Since the enemy is approaching you, by the time your Terminators walk on you have either created a huge “no go” zone for your opponent or will be able to assault something on the turn your arrive.

Reserve: this should be the most common option as you want your Terminators to drop behind the engagement line and be able to wreck face by either threatening more of your opponent’s army or countering super units. The one problem with this is they may turn up later or earlier than you need them.

Walk: this should generally be against shooty lists with a large amount of Ap2+ weaponry. Dropping these guys in will generally have them shot to pieces by such weaponry as your opponent focuses on them. By deploying them on the table, you’ve forced your opponent to make a choice on what to shoot. Furthermore, armies like this such as IG and Tau need to be overwhelmed with targets and don’t really have units the Terminators are designed to counter anyway. It can also be difficult to bull the Terminators through your lines and requires a bit of finesse to do so.

So why Terminators? VV, HG or Sanguinary Guard would fit the theme of Blood Rodeo much better whilst still providing either a strong combat punch or steely combat defences through storm shields. For this however, we want both. This rules out Sanguinary Guard as they are incapable of receiving an invulnerable save. HG and VV are both options then (particularly VV who can benefit from Descent of Angels and Heroic Intervention). However, for the point costs Terminators are flat better as they have both great defences (2+/3++) and can dish out the hurt with 10-15+ TH attacks. Whilst HG and VV can both get combat weapons like LCs and storm shields for defence, that’s 35 points just for the upgrades and the Terminators still have a better armor save and can deal more damage in combat with their Thunder Hammers. Whilst they have less mobility, with the nature of the Blood Rodeo they can generally get to where they are needed one turn after they deep-strike in.

We’ve now looked at how the army works in theory and why we’ve taken the lynchpin unit of Terminators. We’ve also highlighted the major points on why this list can work (FNP/FC, ASM as Troops, Bikes as bubble-wrap) and why ASM and bikes are chosen. Let’s take a final peek at how the list operates on the table and what its strengths and weaknesses are.

In most games the Terminators and 1 combat squad of ASM will reserve via Deep-Strike. This allows the Blood Rodeo to land units behind the engagement line and expand the threat zone. Whilst Blood Rodeo is a very mobile army, it is susceptible to being bogged down in combat due to the lack of raw power by the ASM and bikes. The majority of the time the ASM and Bike squads should therefore be combat squadded. Whilst this gives you a potential ~15 Kill Points, meh, still less than mech lists and it gives you a lot more flexibility and mobility. The bikers then run as a screen for the ASM and will generally turbo-boost T1 for a 3+ cover with the ASM moving and running behind them. This gets the whole army (minus what’s in reserve) in your face very quickly and once the Bikes are engaged in combat, the ASM can jump over them and assault the units behind. It’s important to attempt to focus the PFists squads on a unit you want dead which the Terminators are unable to get to. The army also has a large amount of melta and flamer weapons with which to tackle both infantry and tank based armies and it’s important to try and de-mech your opponent ASAP so your ASM can benefit on the charge. Remember, the Bikes are there to accept charges and die whilst the real damage in combat comes from mass ASM attacks and the Terminators.

So what does this army do well against? It has the ability to deal with all different types of armies out there but fairs very well against mech armies. With the speed and mobility of bikers, transports and tanks can quickly be destroyed which allows the ASM to assault the juicy insides. The combined bolter and flamer fire + the bubble-wrap of bikes also allows them to do well against foot lists as the ASM are choosing when and where to fight. Combined with FNP and the ease of cover for most models, the Blood Rodeo is able to weather a lot of shooting before crumbling and once they get into combat with such lists, even Bikers are generally pretty good in comparison.

However, there are certain builds the Blood Rodeo dislikes and they are generally combat oriented themselves. Whilst armies like foot Orks or Tyranids (horde based) don’t threaten Marine statlines w/FNP much, other armies like Daemons or Tyranids with lots of monstrous creatures can be problematic. Due to the short-range of the Rodeo’s weapons, it can be hard to take down multiple high toughness, multiple wound models (especially if they have invuls). Terminators really help here as well as they can crush such models. When playing these type of lists it is therefore important to make your bubble-wrap very solid so your bikers accept the charge (and hopefully die) so you can focus fire your meltaguns into tough units and pick when you assault. Against balanced lists which contain Dreads or MCs, make sure these are your primary targets as they can really ruin your day in combat.

So there you have it folks, a couple pages on how to play the Blood Rodeo. Kudos to Curly for our thought-child, Smurfy for play-testing, Stelek for updating with Terminators and anyone who has played or is planning on playing this style of army.

14 pinkments:

Jt3n said...

Yay! It's up! Call off the hitman!

I can't wait for the day I go to buy models for this list... the guys working at the store are gonna give me some weird looks!

Thanks for How to!

Chumbalaya said...


Alwin said...

I'll take on the roll of nay sayer when it comes to terminators. I like the idea but even if you tie up targets with other squads getting them into combat is problematic.

The lack of DoA means you scatter 2d6, greatly decreasing the chance of deepstriking where you want to. Calculating the chances for this is not really viable as theres too many variables.

Personally, I would still opt for VV for because of the reduced scatter (which is huge) AND the increased reserve roll.

Then again, I have 0 experience with this concept and because of that I urge you with terrible sexual threats to give us battle reports highlighting the use of the terminators.

grav said...

I think the deep striking might actually work with this army seeing as turn 2 would probably be the turn your stuff arrives in the enemy deployment zone.

The problem would be when you roll poorly and don't get them untill turn 4-5

The_King_Elessar said...

I still want a video BatRep to SEE the army in action...but also to see Kirbs' 1337 skillz.

Von said...

I really want to try this. I haven't been able to shake off the idea of doing Blood Angels entirely, and this army includes lots of things I really like and haven't got the chance to play before (being a long-term Chaos player...).

Venerable said...

Wicked.Enjoyed its 'evolution'...great to see a tactica (if you like) for it...

grav said...

I'm very interested in the problematic matchups. It's why I'm reluctant to take a full jumper army to a tournament.

Could you elaborate on these a bit more?

Smurfy said...

Alwin -

First BR I've done using the list.

Other notable things about the list -

1. It's small. The model count really gets to you when you only have 9/10 Squads to shuffle around, not withstanding IC shenanigans.

2. I too wanna drop the Terminators, but see why they are essential from playing the list...Find another Rock/Hammer unit for roughly equal points and I'll even consider downing the normal bikes to Scout Bikes with Grenade Launchers and Combi-Melta Sarges...Yes really...

3. Very clearly has a front-line regardless of mobility (the bikes) so keep Alexander's Hammer and Anvil in mind - Your Anvils are your Bikes with FNP, your Hammers are everything else.

4. Hates bubblewrap and Plas with a passion. Tau > This list 99% of the time unless their rolls are horrible.

Ishamael said...

Kirby, you've forced me to do something that I've wanted to do for some time since I first heard the phrase "Blood Rodeo".

You brought it on yourself.

Kirby said...

Well thank you cherrubs...

@Alwin; whilst you can roll VV's you are going to need a lot more precision in your attacks and your exacerbate your weaknesses against MC styled lists. TH/SS > MC's.

Bat-reps coming as I'm building this list atm (as well as re-vamping my Tau). You'll get pretty pics (36/36 paint lol) but no vids :P.

@grav; I'll see if I can do a post on that for BA foot lists in general.

The Wolf's Lunch said...

And what happens when someone knows you're taking the Blood Rodeo and decides to take tempest?

Oh wait, we already know don't we kirby :P

Good How To though, but I don't think I have the money to start a BA army, nor the want to paint more power armour.

Kirby said...

Because tailoring is nice Kyle =p.

0range said...

Sweet, I'm gone for a while and promptly miss this!

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