By their martial prowess and valor is Mankind preserved from extinction at the hands of a galaxy filled with unimaginable terrors. With bolter and chainsword they hold the foes of Mankind at bay in an unending battle for survival. Yet the Blood Angels are touched by a terrible flaw that threatens to undo their endless centuries of heroism, a dark madness that only strength of will can hope to contain. The Blood Angels are the masters of war in all its forms, but they excel in the savage arena of close assault above all others. Assault Squads, Death Company, Sanguinary Guard - these are the spearhead of your host, but the rest of the army must follow close behind.
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This guide is now out of date. Use at your own risk. I am writing this article to assist anyone who is thinking about starting to play 40k and plans to begin collecting a Blood Angels army. While most of the advice below is aimed at those who are new to 40k, some of it may be of use to anyone who is new to Blood Angels or wants to make an existing uncompetitive army more competitive.
Before we begin, I want to explain my 40k background and discuss my goals for this article. My intention with these paragraphs is to help you, the reader, decide how much to follow my advice. I have been playing 40k for a little less than a year, and Blood Angels are my only army.
I consider myself a competitive player, and I plan to be a tournament player eventually. At the moment, I have no tournament experience. I have acheived a pretty decent record for a 40k novice, I believe, of 4 wins, 6 draws and 2 losses. The fact that my army was put together recently should be helpful as well.
This article is intended to help someone who owns no 40k products and has no 40k experience get to the point where they have a good point army that could do well in a tournament in the hands of a decent player. I am not here to teach you the rules, give you advice on painting, or make you an expert tactician on the tabletop.
I am going to mostly stick to giving advice on choosing what to buy and explaining my theories on how to make a competitive army list. My number one goal with this article is to help you avoid mistakes that I have either made myself or observed others making, mistakes that lead to wasted money and losing games. Of course, there are many reasons to play 40k other than a simple desire to defeat other players.
All of the advice I will be giving assumes you want to build an army that wins, and that you are willing to consider any legal army choice that helps this goal. In particular, I assume you do not prefer to take certain units because of how they look or other "coolness" factors.
I also assume you are willing to acquire pieces of models that do not come standard in GW kits. For example, I assume you are willing to use Meltaguns in your Assault Squads, even though they do not come in the Assault Squad box. Finally, I also assume you will not avoid effective army choices because others think they are "cheesy" or "unfair" or "spam". As you will see, I believe good units should be taken in multiples, and I assume you are willing to do so. First Steps In this section, I will lay out the things you should do before you buy your first 40k models.
I strongly suggest you do these things before you buy models, to avoid "oh, crap" moments later. That list was selected to include only models that should always be useful to you. I am assuming that you have already decided to play Blood Angels for whatever reason.
If you are not fully committed, your first task should be deciding which army is for you. To do this, I suggest you read as many army codexes as you can. Borrow them from friends, look at the samples at your Friendly Local Gaming Store, or use other methods. Assuming you are playing Blood Angels, the first thing you should do is buy the 40k rulebook usually called the Big Grey Rulebook and the Blood Angels codex. It would be a very good idea to read them both completely before proceeding.
Ideally, you should have most of the rules memorized before your first game. This worked for me, as I like to read and am generally good at that sort of thing. You will have no idea what a good army is until you fully understand the rules and are very familiar with the Blood Angels codex. One side note: Beware the suggestions Games Workshop gives on their website. You may be able to get good advice from a GW employee, but keep in mind that their job is to sell models.
The advice GW gives on the web is completely terrible, and their sample army lists are a joke. Now, I am assuming you plan to fully paint your models. It is totally ok, in my opinion at least, to try stuff out with unpainted models. It is also totally lame, again in my opinion, to play unpainted models once you know what you want your list to be. In the sections that follow, I will tell you how to magnetize your models, so wanting to have flexibility is not an excuse.
I suggest you get in the painting habit early. If you can go to an official GW store, you can ask to play an introduction game. Non-GW stores have the stuff to do a sample game too, or you can ask people that play there to help you. Use these games to get a feel for the game, and get a sense for what sort of army you want. I suggest you play these sample games before you buy any models, in case you decide a different army is more what you want.
Obviously, you will get more out of what follows if you have done more reading than less. At the very least, the discussion below should help you decide which sort of army you want. I am not going to go through the codex, explain what each unit is good at, discuss its pros and cons, and give it a ranking. You can read, and hopefully you can think, so the first two things should be blindingly obvious once you know the rules.
What I am going to do is describe the two main types of Blood Angels army, list the units that fit in each one, and briefly discuss why that type of army works well. If a unit is not discussed, you can assume that lacking the unit will not cripple your army list. It does not mean the omitted unit is terrible, merely not essential and not one of the most obviously attractive choices. As mentioned above, good armies tend to contain multiples of things. If there is enough interest, I might put together an article some day that explains why that is the case using Economic theory.
For now, the main reason is that you want to keep your opponent from being able to destroy the things that scare him the most quickly. Now, the next thing we want to do is play to the strengths of the Blood Angels codex. One must accept that other armies can do some things better than Blood Angels can. For example, if you want to shoot as many Large Blasts as possible, an Imperial Guard army would be a better choice.
Our goal is to pick at least one of the things the BA codex is good at and exploit the hell out of it. In particular, we want to avoid strategies that other Space Marine armies can do better. There are three major things that the Blood Angels codex has that most others do not: Almost all our vehicles are Fast, we have the ability to easily give units Furious Charge and Feel No Pain, and we have the Descent of Angels special rule. If the terms used in the previous paragraph are unfamiliar to you, read the rulebook or the codex.
The first type of army is usually simply called Mech. It mostly uses the first advantage, the fact that all our vehicles are Fast. Being Fast helps in two ways. First, we can cover more ground.
Second, our vehicles can move and shoot more weapons than standard vehicles. Another critical advantage is that we can get discounts on Razorbacks by taking Assault Marines as Troops. This helps get more vehicles on the table. The icing on the cake is that we can take a tank the Baal Predator out of the Fast Attack slot.
This allows us to field more armor than other Space Marine lists. Mech lists are always based around a core of Assault Marines in Razorbacks. They are usually supported by Baal Predators and either Predators with an Autocannon turret and Lascannon sponsons, or Vindicators.
A Librarian is the standard HQ choice, but some people like Mephiston. The last common unit is Furioso Dreadnoughts, who can be upgraded to Librarians or not. Mech Blood Angels lists are generally believed to be some of the strongest lists in existence today.
This is actually a problem in big tournaments, as every ambitious player is prepared for them. The other type of list is usually called a Descent of Angels list.
The idea is to leverage the Descent of Angels special rule, along with the glory that is Sanguinary Priests. Good versions of this type of list never include any vehicles whatsoever. Again, the army is built around Assault Marines, although this army tends to take them in squads of 10 instead of 5 and keeps the Jump Packs.
The last possibility is including Devastators to provide fire support. DoA lists are not quite as powerful as mech lists, but they are less common and less feared, which is an advantage. They do have major problems against certain lists, however, and need more player skill. So, decide which type of army you want.
The good news is that Assault Marines and Librarians are good in both, so I am going to suggest you start by buying them, so you can change your mind later. To be fully flexible, though, you need to do a little more work. You need to magnetize your models, and that is what is discussed next.
For example, a model may have a choice of weapons. If you were to assemble the model by simply gluing all the parts together, you will not be able to change the weapon option in the future. Magnetizing the model allows you to make a switch. While magnetizing models is mostly pretty easy, it does require planning ahead, as magnets do not come in the standard kits.
Since your eventual goal is a point army, you should buy stuff that will fit it, even if you plan to play at smaller point levels first. This means you may not have the most competitive army at first, especially if you play at first like I did.
Consider it a learning experience. You should also buy everything you need to assemble and paint. That includes plastic glue, super glue, spray primer, paint, brushes, a modelling knife, a plastic snipper and of course magnets. Most if not all of these things can be purchased more cheaply at non-GW stores if you want to.
Codex (Warhammer 40,000)
Pretty awesome , unlike the prissy Twilight sparkling shit you see elsewhere. Did we mention deep-striking Land Raiders? He can deal with pretty much any kind of enemy in the game with a decent chance of winning. Take him and Mephiston for extra lulz. Instead of making his normal attacks, he can instead inflict an automatic hit on every enemy model in base contact with him, which can be extremely useful against hordes. Also, if an enemy rolls a one to hit him, Seth kicks them in the fucking balls.
This guide is now out of date. Use at your own risk. I am writing this article to assist anyone who is thinking about starting to play 40k and plans to begin collecting a Blood Angels army. While most of the advice below is aimed at those who are new to 40k, some of it may be of use to anyone who is new to Blood Angels or wants to make an existing uncompetitive army more competitive. Before we begin, I want to explain my 40k background and discuss my goals for this article.