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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mechanised Blood Angels - the Support


Here we are again with some Blood Angels mech loving. Last post we looked at the core of many BA Mech lists, the Razorback. Whilst more expensive than your usual Marine Mech list, BA Mech has the joy of being fast which gives them a lot more options in terms of how to play and effective equipment on their tanks. This is seen in the different Razorback options we have but now we need to support the Razorbacks with other firepower. We can go the full fast mech spam route, particularly with Razorbacks or something a bit more Hybrid. I will include the six Pred options here but I won't focus too much on them as we've discussed it before.

We obviously want everything to be fast, that's what BA mech is all about but we can have some slower elements which provide fire support such as Devastators or Rifledreads. Let's look at the units and their specific roles.

Sternguard/Honor Guard - These bring something the Assault Marines cannont - two meltaguns in a small unit. They are pricey when you factor in the cost of Rhinos but allow for more flexible use of meltaguns (top-hatch), add to the mech going forward and add more MEQ bodies for the opponent to contend with. Add in the FNP/FC bubbles Honor Guard provide and those MEQs are even more durable than normal. Honor Guard also have the option of being run as disruption through Descent of Angels but this is a pretty expensive way to use them.

Librarian - really the only viable HQ for a BA Mech army though Mephy can of course be used as a beater unit. Libbys provide access to Honor Guard and the all important Shield of Sanguine + psychic hood utility. The 2nd power can often be a bit of a conundrum to pick but there are a lot of goodies there.

Terminators - These guys might seem the odd ones out but as a hammer, they are pretty effective, especially with FNP. The Stormbolters + CML allow them to simply move up the field and lay down firepower and their durability against small arms fire makes them a huge pain to deal with for many armies. They add some significant combat punch Mech BA often lacks but are weak to units with power weapons.

Sanguinary Priests - less important than in Jumper or Hybrid lists, Priests should still show strongly. Even just a 100 point investment is going to turn your Marines from eh to super annoying in combat. Add in Corbulo for some that potential game winning re-roll and the joy of WS5 on all of the Priests and whilst not a super requirement, give Blood Angels mech a lot of flexibility.

Land Speeders - Something I think is overlooked in the Blood Angels codex due to the fast nature of everything else, Speeders are still highly efficient and bring to the table fast MMs (compared to meltaguns which need to disembark or top hatch) and mobile firepower in Typhoon Missile Launchers. Since everything else is fast and the Speeders can squadron up and they become much less of an automatic shoot me first unit and fit very well within the army.

Storm Ravens - The Land Speeders big brother can be used as a very expensive gunboat in a BA Mech list and can be an effective means of bringing more combat punch to the frontlines through Furioso Dreads. They are expensive though considering their durability level.

Dreadnoughts/Missile Devs - These guys are static but can provide ranged firepower over the mechwall which can be really important if you're using FlamerBacks. Line of Sight can be an issue, particularly with Devastators so careful deployment of these guys is necessary. The Devastators have the addition of bringing another Razorback/Rhino to the game which can allow for some combat squadding fun with Assault Marines.

Predators - The most obvious addition to Razorbacks/Rhinos in the Fast Attack and Heavy Support choices due to their increased Front Armor and different weapon options. Baals are quite pricey for what they bring but put out a lot of shots or have an AP3 template and have scouting for disruption purposes. Normal Predators can bring ranged firepower to combat infantry or tanks alike and are more used as flankers than pushing forward with the rest of the mech wall. It's important to keep their sponson LoS clear and with so many tanks this can be difficult.

Attack Bikes - another often overlooked unit in the Blood Angels codex, Attack Bikes are easy to hide and with FNP, very annoying to put down. S8+ still does them in but with lots of tanks running around, dedicating S8+ firepower to them can be difficult. Able to bring mobile Heavy Bolters or MM to the table, Attack Bikes can easily fulfil which ever role needs shoring up in the BA mech army.

And there we have it. There are other options or ways to utilise these units but these are the best fits IMO and to get that best fit, depends a lot upon what Razorback layout you use. For example, I think the ACLC Preds work a lot better in a LasPlas or AssBack based list compared to a Flamerback based list where being able to shoot over (i.e. Dreads) tanks is more important. The important thing to understand with the support is how the list is going to play and this depends a lot on the type of Razorback you are taking en masse with your Troops. Flamerbacks are going to have a lot of potential for blocking, not only your opponent but your own fire lanes so aggressive units such as Attack Bikes, Speeders and other Rhinos/Razorback melta units are going to work well here. Assbacks love the midfield and are often the best compliment for the Six Pred basis of lists. LasPlas are much more flexible in their positioning but are going to prefer mid- to backfield and thus are less likely to clog fire lanes but have less weight pushing into the enemy.

You can find a lot of example BA Mech armies under the Army List Compilation page but here is the list I've been using of late. It's very similar to the Flamestorm concept but with more backfield firepower.

Librarian w/Shield, Sword
2x Priest w/LClaw
6x5x ASM w/meltagun, infernous pistol, Flamerback
3x2x Typhoon
3x Rifledread

You have the aggressive nature of the Flamerbacks pushing the enemy and disrupting their movement with the offensive capabilities to deal with both infantry and tanks. The Libby + Priests provide extra bodies and bonuses to make the small Marines still somewhat scary on foot and in combat whilst the Speeders + Dreads provide 12 S8 and S7 shots each from the backfield.

This can easily be changed so the Razorbacks are AssBacks or LasPlas by dropping Typhoon squadron or Rifledread though you are then playing a more mid- to backfield game.

Here also are two examples from YTTH of good Mech BA lists using units outside of the Six Preds: one with FNP Attack Bikes and another with FNP Terminators.

Remember, the point of these articles was to show options outside of the Six Preds which seem so common. The Six Pred based lists are an excellent list but not the only way to run Mech BA and there are a lot of options outside of those Predators and AV13. I hope this has given some insight into this and will set the creative juices a flowing.

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