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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Flamestorm Blood Angels...WIP

Long-winded Introduction

Quick note - this is a rather lengthy article as many List Building ones are, I've done some sub-headings if you'd like to skip to specific sections.

You know what I'm tired of? Listening to whining about Grey Knights - most especially when I pull my boys in baby blue with magenta trim out. It's annoying - lack of easy melta outside of Henchmen is annoying guys okay? Add in I just can't get a 1750 list I'm really super happy with atm and I've decided to move my 40k painting to an old project I haven't touched for a while...Flamestorm Blood Angels! With the demise of Immolator spam from Witchunters thanks to the crap that is Cruddance, Blood Angels are really the only army which can do this style of play well - no more lamenting having more bodies, meltaguns, vehicles and ranged firepower from the Sisters list!

The problem with making this list was sourcing heavy flamers for the Razorbacks - something I was not looking forward to doing. It's been hard enough getting Dreadnought heavy flamers for most of my Land Speeders when I run them as MM/HF but 12+ for Razorbacks? count me out! Then of course the Grey Knight boxed set came along (ironic this) and there it was...the Incinerator. Not only are these guys going to rarely be used for Grey Knights outside of Grandmasters or Purgation squads, but people part with them quite freely, they are easy to magnetise and fit perfectly into my scratch built Razorback turrets. That solves that issue!

Again though, my foucs of recent months has been on painting and using my Grey Knights (and Tyranids with the ATC and all that jazz) but my ears are weary of the bleeding hey suffer from bleating sheep. Enter Blood Angels and Flamestorm - no one complains about them right? With the concept in mind I have to decide how I'm actually going to build and run it (without proxying for once!). There are a lot of options which I'll outline below but what's important here is outside of a few incinerators to get for the Razorbacks - very little modelling work has to be done. I've got all the tanks, marines, magnets and weapons I need and most of the Marines are already magnetised and ready to become Assault Marines or Tacticals at the drop of hat. I do have a fair amount of greenstuff work to get the shoulder pads done and paint all the marines (the tanks for the most part are done) but it'll be a nice change-up from Grey Knights and Vanilla Mech and finally let me do those Incinerator conversions and play the army properly.

The List Building Process

So long winded introduction aside, let's look at some lists we can do here. Now remember, the main points level here is 1750 because I'm reasonably happy with my Grey Knights at 2000. My Mech Marines also works well at 1750 but i've been using them more at 2000 lately with the Thunderbubble concept worked in and we all know how well Tyranids do currently right? This is a good points level for Flamestorm as you can get everything you need quite cheaply and then add expansions as you see fit. We've looked at this concept before in detail so I won't do so much here but we'll still run a list building exercise.

What we need to start with then is two things - the Flamerbacks which merits the army its name and the fire support. The second is fire support which BA have quite a few options for as outlined in this Heavy Support comparison. In this list I'm going with Rifledreads for several reasons. First, they don't need a babysitting Priest like Devastators to be really durable and whilst they are vulnerable to suppression, they also add saturation to the field. Second, LoS generally isn't an issue with them as they can see over Rhino hulls. Devastators on the ground and sponsons of Predators do not have this luxury and with aggressive Razorbacks, this could be an issue. With this in mind we are going to be super boring spammy and grab max of each unit.

5x Assault Marines w/meltagun, infernous pistol, Razorback w/Twin-linked Heavy Flamer
5x Assault Marines w/meltagun, infernous pistol, Razorback w/Twin-linked Heavy Flamer
5x Assault Marines w/meltagun, infernous pistol, Razorback w/Twin-linked Heavy Flamer
5x Assault Marines w/meltagun, infernous pistol, Razorback w/Twin-linked Heavy Flamer
5x Assault Marines w/meltagun, infernous pistol, Razorback w/Twin-linked Heavy Flamer
5x Assault Marines w/meltagun, infernous pistol, Razorback w/Twin-linked Heavy Flamer

Dreadnought w/2x twin-linked autocannons
Dreadnought w/2x twin-linked autocannons
Dreadnought w/2x twin-linked autocannons

That's 1230 points gone for six double melta units, six twin-linked heavy flamers, six twin-linked autocannons, 30 Marines and nine vehicles. Um - sold. This is why Flamestorm can work very well at lower points, even 1500. We have everything we need outside of a HQ and we haven't even hit 1250 points. This means even Mephiston fits nicely into a 1500 list with a bit of shaving bringing in a Sanguinary Priest.

So let's look briefly at our options to flesh the list out. Our best bet is really going to be Fast Attack I believe for a couple of reasons. First, all the choices there are awesome outside of Vanguard Vets. Second, they fit well with the army in some form. Third, fitting in Elites can do several things all of which are generally better utilised at the 2000 points level where you can reliably double them up - i.e. Shootynators, Sanguinary Guard, Sternguard in Rhinos/Razorbacks though Sanguinary Priests are still a good idea. Obviously we also have to add in an HQ to meet our basic FOC requirements so let's do that now.

There are two real options here - a Librarian or a Librarian on drugs called Mephiston. Both offer utility to the army but in completely different ways with the only common factor being the Psychic Hood. The Librarian is going to offer the great support spell of Sanguine Shield which can ensure your vehicles have some sort of cover save at all times whilst also bringing a Force Weapon to the mix which can be buffed by spells like Sanguine Sword, Unleash Rage, etc. He's a cheap utility tool which works well in a mass mech and combat environment. Mephiston on the other hand is a beat-stick. He's going to hide behind the advancing Mech wall,  jump over it and hack and slash small units to death and generally laugh at firepower heading his way. His only downside is high strength/low AP weaponry when he's not in cover or units with mass armor ignoring attacks. Using him correctly generally means avoiding these scenarios as often as possible. Either choice is fine - it just depends what I want to do with the army in general. If I don't take Mephiston I'm going to have to try and get some combat firepower elsewhere - I don't have a backfield blob of Imperial Guard holding objectives so my Marines sometimes need to carve through things in combat. This also saves me 150 points however and the Librarian is still pretty decent in combat.

For now, we'll take the Librarian as he benefits the whole army with Sanguine Shield and the psychic hood and I'm not hanging on teether hooks in regards to Mephiston's Wings of Sanguinius psychic power. This sets us back 100 points and jumps us to 1330, 420 points left!

Librarian w/Sanguine Shield, Sanguine Sword

Back to our support... we've got over 400 points to spend which means we can get quite a lot. Four typhoons is 360 which provides more ranged firepower. Each Sanguinary Priest is 50 points and makes my scoring much stronger due to FNP and scarier in assault with Furious Charge. Power weapons are 15 points (90 for six) and provide some needed combat oomph. Multi-melta Attack Bike squads of two are 100 points (300 for three squads) and give me melta outside of the guys inside my transports. Naked Baals are 115 points (345 for three) or 145 with sponsons (435 for three) and can provide suppression fire, ranged anti-infantry or an AP3 template. Six MM/HF Speeders is 420 points which further what my Flamerbacks are already doing but don't expose my scoring units to harm. The combination of all these is nearly endless so let's look at several lists and go from there.

The List!

There are a ton of options and really too many to go through so I've put a list together after much umming and ahhing which I feel comfortable with currently.

Librarian w/Shield, Sword
Honor Guard w/3x Meltaguns, Razorback w/TL-Heavy Flamer
Sanguinary Priest w/Lightning Claw
1x5x ASM w/meltagun, infernous pistol, Razorback w/TL- Heavy Flamer
2x5x ASM w/meltagun, infernous pistol, power weapon, Razorback w/TL-Heavy Flamer
2x5x ASM w/meltagun, Razorback w/LasPlas
2x Flamestorm Baals
3x Rifledreads

32 infantry, 11 tanks

So what I get... four double melta aggressive units (11 melta total), four models with power weapons, six aggressive tanks with template weapons, five backfield units with two being scoring and two FNP/FC bubbles. The only thing I really lack is suppression fire with only five units capable of shooting and no HKM alpha-strike. This means I'm relying quite a bit on the meltaguns doing their thing but with six tanks speeding your way + two in midfield, those meltaguns will generally come to play quite quickly.

I'm still not sold on only having 22 models to throw at the enemy though. Whilst they all should have FNP/FC and therefore pretty durable and pack a decent punch, the punch isn't overwhelming. The question becomes - to have more options within the army (i.e. spamming less), have I diluted my forward punch too much? Vehicle and template wise - no, but body wise? Potentially, so I'll need to do some play-testing against other aggressive lists like Nids (yes Nids), Rock armies, Orks, etc. and see how it goes (though of course the Templates help a lot against aggressive hordes).

Anyway thoughts and opinions appreciated in terms of end list result - it's moved a bit away from the pure Flamestorm modification of Immolator spam but gives me more options on the table-top because of this.

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