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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Blood Angels Codex Review: Part 7: Troops Part 2


Hello again, kind strangers.

Continuing on from last time, we shall complete our look at the Blood Angels Troops section with Death Company Dreadnoughts, Scout Squads and Assault Squads. If you’re wondering why this took so long: I just couldn’t be arsed, to be honest.

Here we go!

Death Company Dreadnoughts

Death Company Dreads (DCD for short) share many of the features of the Furioso, but differ significantly in more than one respect.

The most telling difference is the fact that DCD are a (non-scoring) Troops choice that can only be selected after purchasing 5 Death Company dudes. This is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, this means that you are free to select other choices for your Elites, but on the other, this will make getting a good amount of Scoring bodies on the field somewhat difficult (at least 2 of your 6 Troops slots being occupied by non-Scoring units).

As for the differences between the units themselves, the DCD is easier to destroy (AV12 front against AV13 for the Furioso), harder to get it where you want it (Rage) and not as flexible (no Libby upgrade nor Frag Cannon) but is cheaper (no need for Extra Armour), impossible to suppress (ignores shaken/stunned), more efficient/deadly (4 attacks and Furious Charge as stock - only WS 5 but the difference betweem WS 5 and 6 is generally irrelevant anyways) and mostly harder to avoid (Fleet).

All in all, if I were to compare the two units in a vacuum, while neglecting the Libby option (which really is a completely different beast), I would have to give the nod to the DCD due to it having Fleet; it really helps it get to where it can do some damage, which offsets a lot of the weaknesses of the unit. That said, due to the fact that it eats into your Troops slots and requires you to take another non-scoring Troop to gain access to it, I would probably favour the Furioso in most lists. YMMV.

Scout Squads

Compared to the other Troops options, Scout Squads seem pretty lacklustre. While that is mostly true, they are not entirely useless.

Generally speaking, Scouts will fill one of two very distinctive roles: offensive infiltrators or defensive objective holders. In the offensive role, they… well, just plain suck. Low WS and armour save, no melta (or non-Heavy special weapons at all, actually) save for maybe a combi on the Sarge, and difficulty in getting them in range of a Priest early (not impossible, but certainly impractical in most lists) means that for the vast majority of the time, spending your points on an Assault Squad instead will reap you greater rewards. If Scouts were massively cheaper, such that sending a sacrificial unit of them to disrupt the opponent wouldn’t cost you an arm, I would be more forgiving of their failings, but at 13 pts a pop, there just isn’t enough there to justify taking them.

On the flipside, using them defensively to hold objectives is not a bad use of points. 100 pts will net you a missile launcher and a couple of sniper shots from a unit that will be very hard to remove from an objective in cover unless they get assaulted or BBQed with a heavy flamer. Full mechanised lists might want to look at other options for backfield scoring, but Jump+Dev, Blood Rodeo or even Hybrid armies may want to take this unit under consideration.

Assault Squads

Assault Squads are by far our best Troops choice. Not only do they allow us to do a good dismounted infantry list (DoA/Bloodhammer/Blood Rodeo), but they are also excellent in mechanised lists.

When used in dismounted lists, Assault Squads will tend to follow a template very familiar to most of you: 10 guys, power fist on the sarge and 2 meltaguns. This setup works well because it is able to deal both with tanks (meltas, fist as backup) and infantry (25 attacks at S and I 5 when in range of a Priest), plus has the mobility to act and react to the evolving situation during the game. They are kinda forcing you to play a certain way (offensively), but in my view, it’s probably best to have to play aggressively, and be good at it, than having the option to play either offensively or defensively, but sucking at both (*cough!* Tac Squads! *cough!*). In addition, Descent of Angels allows you to do a pretty decent full-Reserves army, for which you will want to have a solid core of 30+ Assault Marines. More than one army has difficulty dealing with that many FC-in, FnP Marines, but there are some bad matchups for that type of list though, so it’s not my go-to army type for competitive events. It's important to make sure DoA isn't used as an excuse to all reserve, all the time. Many games it's better to deploy on the table but having that option will force your opponent to consider it (particularly when deploying first) or can make a couple of smaller units brought in a bunch more reliable.

In mech lists, you have a bit more variance in setups, depending on the role you intend for the squad to fill as well as which vehicle it will be riding. Rhino/Raider-borne units will most likely want to adopt the same setup that jumper units have, but it gets a bit more fuzzy when it comes to troops ferried by Razorback. In most cases, you will want a meltagun as you special weapon, but beyond that, the rest of your list will dictate how you set up your squad. For example, in a list that focuses almost exclusively on shooting, in which Assault Squads are ferried by Las/Plas Razors, you will probably want to limit the amount of points you expand on your squads – probably go with the melta and that’s it. On the flipside, a more aggressive list using lots of Flamerbacks will see more use for upgrades such as Infernus pistols and possibly power weapons.

In summary, Assault Squads should be your default Troop choice for basically every BA list you come up with. There are of course exceptions, but the best generalist lists almost always start with a strong core of ASM.


The BA book is blessed with a large number of Troop options, but in reality, it is really hard to justify not going with Assault Squads in almost all instances. There is some scope to include sniper Scouts and yes, even Tactical Squads sometimes – but for general use, ASM are the way to go.


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