Thursday, February 2, 2017

40K Thursday - Blood Angels Holiday Battle 4: 2000 points "Cloak and Shadows II"

The undercard featured Blaster's Eldar vs. Red's Necrons
Despite losing badly in terms of card-based VP's last time I felt like I was finally figuring out how to use the Blood Angels on the table. With 2000 points to play with this time I had some new ideas I wanted to try out - let's talk about the list:

This is a Baal Strike Force - it means they get the Red Thirst rule which is a +1 initiative on the charge and can take 4 Elite choice, vs. the 3 of a normal Combined Arms Detachment. Most of their units have Furious Charge (+1 Strength on the charge) as a standard thing anyway. Swinging with a Strength of 5 at an initiative 5 means they go before most armies and hit harder than most as well so melee is definitely a place they want to be.

  • Mephiston
  • Librarian (with a jump pack, Mastery Level 2)
I really like Mephiston and had fun with him last game so I brought him in again. He will once again be riding the drop pod express. He has a bodyguard upgrade this time - more on that below.

I decided to double-down on psykers by bringing in a generic level 2 librarian. I wanted someone to accompany one of my Death Company squads so I gave him a jump pack. The priest had worked alright last game but the DC already has the Feel No Pain special rule which is the Priest's main benefit, so he doesn't add much to that unit. A psyker on the other hand adds a variety of useful buff powers so he made more sense this time.

I mean he's basically Dracula with power armor and a lightsaber - how can you not like that?
Also, remember that in 40K he's one of the good guys.

  • Tactical Squad: A 5-man squad with bolters and a missile launcher
  • Tactical Squad: A 5-man squad with bolters and a plasma cannon
I caved here. I've always been a "full 10-man squad" guy when it comes to tactical marines, from my original Howling Griffons (20 tac marines in two squads) back in Rogue Trader through my Crimson Fists (30 in 3 squads) to even my chaos marines (30 in 3 for my Iron Warriors too). It's a new age though and for the BA's tac marines are just not where the action is. All of the marine forces have formations now that reward taking multiple tactical squads in some way but none of them require full-strength versions. These typically require 3-6 of these squads so the incentive is to take minimum size units to get the bonus then spend your points elsewhere. The current BA version of this formation is nothing special but the Baal Strike Force is hungry for points for those 4 Elite choices. For this fight I went with the two minimum sized squads with a heavy weapon each. They can park on an objective or in cover and maybe contribute in some way.

  • Death Company: A 7-man jump pack squad with two power weapons (accompanied by the Librarian)
  • Death Company: A 7-man jump pack squad with two power weapons (accompanied by Dante - see below)
  • Furioso Dread with a frag cannon and a heavy flamer in a drop pod (appeared in the last two fights)
  • Sternguard veterans: An 8-man squad with 4 combi-meltas and 2 heavy flamers in a drop pod (accompanied by Mephiston)
This is a big chunk of the "hammer" part of the army. Two units of Death Company this time, both accompanied by a heavy-hitter. Jump packs give them speed, plus they are fearless and have Feel No Pain and 5 attacks each on the charge ... yeah. 

The always-good dread in a drop pod to clear a squad out of cover with triple templates. I expect one of these will be in pretty much every list I take from now on.

The biggest change here is the Sternguard. You don't hear a ton about them in most Blood Angels lists but they are in the book. They're legendary for being a drop-melta squad but they have uses beyond that. Their Special Issue Ammo makes them good against anything in the game. Being able to take a combi-weapon is a nice option, but being able to bring heavy flamers is good too. Their 2 attacks (along with all of the other BA boosts) means they can do some harm in assault as well. I think they have a lot of potential, and Mephiston will only make them better.

Fast Attack
  • Assault Squad: 5-man squad with 2 melta guns plus two inferno pistols on the sergeant in a drop pod (also appeared in the last fight)
  • Bike Squad: 3 bikes, 2 grav guns plus a combi-grav on a sergeant, and an Attack Bike with a multi-melta (altered since the last fight)
  • Bike Squad: 3 bikes, 2 grav guns plus a combi-grav on a sergeant, and an Attack Bike with a multi-melta (altered since the last fight)
This is the rest of the "hammer" of the army. Despite their inability to kill the land raider last time, I still like the drop-melta squad. That can't happen every time, right? They are a much bigger threat than the classic multi-melta dread in a drop pod and give me 4 melta shots instead of just one. I think they're a must-take. 

The bikes have been reshuffled this time. Instead of one bigger squad (with fewer guns) I've split them into two squads and added multi-melta bikes as reinforcements. This makes them really nasty against heavy infantry and vehicles both. It's a little tempting to gear up those sergeants - make him a veteran, give him a power sword, and charge them into something since they are such a mobile unit but  I really want them to shoot things, not charge things, so I'm keeping him bare bones other than the grav weapon. 

Heavy Support

None! No devastators! No predators! No land raiders! This is unusual for me but I am learning.

Lord of War

  • Dante, the chapter master of the Blood Angels

A chapter master leading a unit of death company - yeah! It might be overkill but he is a beast in melee and so are they so they should work well together. I've had a nicely painted mini of this guy for two years now and never gotten the chance to use him. With artificer armor, an iron halo, and Eternal Warrior he's not going down easy, and with Hit and Run he and his boys can go find another party if they get bored in any particular fight.

The plan
The tac squads, the bikes, and the DC all start on the board, with 3 drop pods waiting in reserve.

  • The bikes are a shooting threat to almost any unit in a marine army so they each pick something and go for it, grabbing objectives as needed
  • The tacs hold ground
  • The DC target the biggest threats and begin jumping their way. I don;t care much about objectives with them - they are on the table to destroy things.
  • Turn 1 the drop-melta assault squad pods in and wrecks a tank
  • Turn 1 Meph and the sternguard pod in on the biggest other threat - tank or infantry or monster - and melta/special/flamer/psyker it off the board - this is my most flexible unit for both positioning (being able to land anywhere on the board) and ability to destroy any target
  • Turn 2 (or whenever we roll him up) the Furioso pods in and erases a troublesome squad

The Fight
Blaster took most of usual faves - Blood claws + wolf priest in a land raider crusader, long fangs, couple of grey hunter squads, and this time he also added a pair of dreadnoughts. He also brought Logan Grimnar, chapter master of the Space Wolves, so there was a chance we could have two chapter masters going toe to toe in this fight.

I went second. I forgot to grab a pre-game pic of the field so we will open with the end of Turn 1:

You can see we already have a pretty good fight going on here. 
  • At the top of the picture his grey hunters are behind the tower as my Dante-led death company move up towards them.
  • On the right side my librarian-led death company have com over a bridge headed for the land raider
  • The upper drop pod is my melta assault squad. They were aiming for the land raider but deviated ridiculously far and ended up over there. They opened up on that plasma cannon dread and managed all of 2 hull points. Again.
  • The lower drop pod is the sternguard. They were kind of  a patchwork unit for this fight so there are red guys, blue guys, and Meph but that's all one squad. Meph has buffed the squad and then they blasted the raider and took off 3 (out of 4) hull points - gah! We did manage to immobilize the thing though. The yellow rings are crew stunned or something similar. 
  • At the bottom of the pic that's a grey hunter squad on the ground and his long fangs up in the building. 

Here's another view of Turn 1 - one of my tac squads is in that red ruin at the left getting blasted by his long fangs. the other is out of frame in the woods at the middle of the bottom there. 

Turn 2

At the back of the field Logan Grimnar and his Thunder Hammer Storm Shield wolf guard terminators deep strike in. 

The inevitable swarm of blood claws gets the jump on my death company. My guys are not quite as strong when they don't get the charge so this is bad - my guys eventually go down under the weight of attacks here.

Both grav bike squadrons find themselves within range of Logan's squad. Zap zap!

Dante and the other death company leap in to the claws, determined to avenge their brothers.

The grand melee: In the center the long fangs blast the sternguard and blow several away. The plasma cannon dread torches the drop-melta squad who break and run. The grey hunters shoot more sternguard. The Blood Angels return the favor and finish them off. 

Turn 3

On Turn 3 the plasma dread charges Mephiston who points his trusty plasma pistol that way and ZAP! The dread goes down to an incredible overwatch shot that hits and glances, taking off his last hull point, dropping the armored wolf in his tracks!

The Furioso drops in with a goal of eliminating the long fangs. He drops in, moves up into the building, and BLAM BLAM WHOSH ... the long fangs are gone! Exactly as planned!

Logan's damaged squad blasts the tac marines in a desperate attempt to claim objective 5, then fails its charge. The tac squad kills one more terminator as the bikes close in.

On the BA turn Mephiston charges in and destroys the remaining wolf dread with his red lightsaber and Blaster concedes!

(That's two dreadnought kills on one turn for the psychic vampire BTW)

The VP total was only 4-2 but I was about to score Slay the Warlord and he didn't have much left on the table.  
  • Dropping a TH/SS unit with his warlord that far back seemed like a mistake to me. he had two cards that would score if he took objective 5 and that does matter but I don't know that would drop 400+ points that far away from the more intense part of the fight.
  • The Furioso did exactly what I wanted him to do!
  • Sternguard are awesome but they are fairly expensive tooled up like that. I may have to adjust them some in the next battle.
  • Meph was a superstar just as I had hoped. I think he's my guy for medium to bigger fights
  • It sucks when your death company get charged - but that's why you take two of them!
  • The tac marines sat on objectives and took casualties. they didn't inflict much harm but they did their job.
  • Drop pods are amazing but they don't always land where you want them to - that's why you take 3 of them! Or maybe 5 next time ...
I'll have more thoughts in the next post wrapping up the whole series and also what I'm going to do with the army next.

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