Friday, December 19, 2014

Codex Blood Angels First Impressions (Praise and Rant)

So one would have expected for me to be A LOT more vocal this week on my blog. I have been some what on BoLS comments and such BUT not here. The reason is I have gone through the grieving process. All the steps.
1- Denial. No way they lost assault squads as troops. This just has to be rumors. It isn't possible.
3- Bargaining. Why not just retcon the fluff to make a BA battle co more assault squads, or just 2 reserve companies as assault squads
4- Depression. Everything is ruined... whats the point of even playing.
5- Acceptance. Okay now I am ready to write about this on Sepulchre

I wanted to make sure I was the most objective I could be. Some phases of the 5 steps may come out in my discussion, but overall I will say my mood has stabilized and my impression of the book has improved.

So I will do this in a Good, Bad, Ugly format

1- DANTE STRIKES AT INITIATIVE. This was one of my biggest problems with the old book. TBH I am still angry at GW's laziness of waiting for a new codex vice just adding an FAQ line saying that the Axe Mortalis isn't unwieldly. Eternal Warrior is another God-Emperor send for the most Bad A Mother in 40k. At over 1100 years old and still rocking out, he needed this as he is becoming the definition of Eternal Warrior. (Which means they better not kill him Sanguinius style once 40k End Times rolls around).

2- The book is beautiful. I am really glad I skipped out on the Sanguinary Guard edition, as apparently that just had a different cover, slip case and lame prints. There is no reason for it when looking at the quality of this book IMO. My only complaint is the unit pictures could have been a little smaller and the options put in the unit selection vice an armory. This is something I will get used to though, and surely I'll memorize the points anyways.
3- A true 7th Edition Assault Army. Army wide Furious Charge and Baal Strike Force make this possible. I wanted BA to be the Assault Army that 7th needed. With these, they are. +1 S and +1 I is BACK! 

4- So many buffs. Loosing +1 I on Furious Charge in the transition from 5th to 6th ed was a major disappointment for me. The fact that it has come back is GREAT and really bolsters the concept that BA are the 7th edition Assault Army. Not only that, but there are WS buffs, rerolls, etc. etc. It is just nice.

5- Sanguinary Discipline. Great Table. I like all the powers. The only one kinda meh to me is Fear of Darkness, but the primaris power more than makes up for that. 

6- Relics. Once again, really impressed with the table. The only one kinda meh is the Crown Angelic. There are alot of ld based things in the codex though, so can be okay. I just see no reason to take it over the other items. Particularly the Veritas Vitae.
7- Cheaper and Scoring Death Company. FINALLY you will see these guys on the table again. And with Astorath they will have Jump Packs too. The last edition was depressing in how it made such a fundamental BA unit just not worth taking.

8- Mortis Dread. It may just be TL Autocannons, but the standard dread can finally be a Mortis type variant. Now FW just needs to get on the same page in their books/faqs.

9- Access to grav weapons. DS Vanguard w/ Grav Pistols means BA now have a great way to deal with Centurions, Obliterators, DPs and the like. Additionally, bikes can take them, so we can be level with other SM in that regard. Only wish the regular assault squad (RAS) could access them as well in the form of the grav gun, but I get why they can't.

1- Another Retcon to Honour Guards- This isn't big, but why did they have to change their name to command squad. Further more, now they can no longer take chapter banners, just company banners. I guess they are pressing the Sanguinary Guard as Dante's personal retinue. Additionally, they retconned the Exsanguinator into just being a Narthecium. 
2- OVER CROWDING- Everything but Troops just seems so over crowded now. It is annoying. The ones that are most annoying in this sense to me are
-Standard Dread moved to Elites. It was a nice cheap way to fill in Heavy Support. Now with so many elites, they will be overshadowed, even with a new Mortis style option
-Command Squad to Elites. The idea of a non-force org retinue is disappearing from the game, but with the nerfing this squad received (no Chapter Banner option) and having to compete with all t she other Elites, it will be seldom used (which is unfortunate I have 2...)
-Librarian Dread to HQ. As an upgrade to Furioso dreads, it was good. Great way to generate more warp charge and you still got a Dread out of it. Now, when compared to the rest of the HQ's it isn't a really good choice. And just hope you don't roll up soul warden for a warlord trait.
-Techmarine to HQ. I could have stomached this if he could get a conversion beamer or thunderfire cannon, but it is essentially the same techmarine as before, just competing in the most important slot in the book. You'll likely only see techmarines in fluff based lists or unbound.
-Vanguard to Elites. It makes sense, especially with assault squads moving back to Fast Attack, but there isn't too much reason to take them over Sanguinary Guard or Death Company. I still like them for all the options they have and I am sure there will be alot of clever use of them. I just feel they should have stayed in Fast Attack and would have made for a very good choice in that slot. Keeping them in FA would have helped the Elites slot a lot IMO.
I understand moving Death Company and the DC dread, but with so much other stuff in that slot it would have been nice to see DC as troops. I know they are getting rid of force org alts, but this would have been great for Seth, and would have better justified his status as a Warlord.

3- No Deathmasks on Chaplains. I know that the last Codex did either, but I think it would have been a nice addition and it make sense for guys wearing skulls for faces. There seems to be a lot of fear mechanics in this army, and while most people consider it defunct, as a cheap upgrade it wouldn't be bad to have around.

4- Loosing Liturgies of Blood on Chaplains. Sure Chaplains still have Zealot, but it stinks to loose the ability to make DC truly BRUTAL, The fact that they are scoring makes up for it, keeping this from being ugly. If you really want this, just take Astorath, but you are stuck with Jump DC if you didn't want that.

5- Tycho. IMO the worst of the HQ choices. And tons of Nerfing. Unless your gaming group has tons of Ork players or you are playing 3rd Co specifically, pass on him. It would be nice to see a Formation or detachment with some cool rules centered around him to make him usefull, but it is unlikely that will happen.

1- Loosing Assault Marines as Troops. This was a BIG thing to me and is what made me truly angry to begin with. I have accepted it and understand why BUT it still belongs in the UGLY. This has forced a lot of players to change their collections, and it set BA apart from all other marines in a way that no one else had. Other codicies get bike and terminator Troops. Sure SW lost that, but they get Bolter, BP & CCW Grey Hunters and Blood Claw mobs. Sure I can take multiple detachments to get more than 3 if that is the issue, but they are no longer ObSec which is truly a bummer. Fortunately Baal Strike Force gives the +1 I benefit and makes an good alternative to CAD, which makes the ObSec point moot. However, Blood Angel Allied Detachments won't be utilized as much IMO, or at least not as much as they would have been given RAS Troops.
I discredit the argument people use that "Well they are a codex chapter, so Tactical Squads outnumber Assault Squads by far, so why would they be Troops?' Well, Assault Squads in ALL CODEX CHAPTERS outnumber Scouts, so why are they troops. And in terms of Doctrine, all Chapter, and Blood Angels more so than any, use Assault Squads as frontline battle soldiers, while scouts are supposed to be operating independently, away from the main battle force. But scouts are troops. If fluff is the argument for this change, I think it is disproven. Furthermore, with all the Retcons that have happened to BA over the years, it would have been easy to change a small bit of fluff to say a BA Battle Company had 5 Tac and 3 Assault squads instead, to represent their affinity for CC. Or make one of the Tactical reserve companies an Assault reserve and just say more BA spend time here before ascending to the ranks of a BA Battle Co Tactical Squad. This would have been characterful Retcons, rather than the mighty swings of the Bland Hammer that have occurred.

2- Lemartes being a separate Elites slot. With how crowded the Elites section is and how little he offers, he should have just been an upgrade character to DC, especially since he can only join DC. One of my favourite characters fluff wise, yet really just not worth taking. 
3- Nothing New. While I can live without Centurions (I'll likely get some one day just because I actually do think they look kinda cool), not getting the Storm Talon really pisses me off. Every other chapter got our Flyer, FW still restricts BA from several of their flyers because we originally were the only ones with Ravens, AND every other SM codex that has come out has gotten their own flyers with the release. All we asked for was an existing model. I have talked before on how the Storm Talon fits perfectly in with BA. But it was not to be. I often find it hard to fit in all 200+ points of a Raven unless I am building the list around it. But the 110 of a Talon would have been easy. We also didn't get conversion beamers or thunderfires (as mentioned earlier) for Techmarines. Even more importantly...

4- NO LAND SPEEDER STORM. This became bigger than the lack of Storm Talon when I realized I would have to pay a "Scout Tax" in each list to get minimum troops. I would happily take Scouts (I am begrudgingly taking them now) if we got the storm. Why would I fully have embraced them. Well, loading up a CC oriented Scout Squad into the only open topped Space Marine Vehicle. Now imagine +1 I, Furious Charging Scouts out of a Storm. It would have been glorious, which is probably why it didn't get included. But this one option would have made BA scouts one of the best Troop Choices IN THE ENTIRE GAME. This one thing would have made me happy and at terms with the codex from the onset.

THE WEIRD (So this a reference to The Good, The Bad, The Weird. It is a Korean made Spaghetti Western and is AMAZING. GO WATCH IT NOW)

These are things that are neither Good, Bad or Ugly. More of missed opportunities.
No my model, wish he was though.
1- Moriar the Chosen. I am depressed that Moriar the Chosen didn't make a comeback. Maybe a dataslate will have him one day (would have been a great Advent Calendar release on the BA day instead of a Sanguinary Priest painting guide, especially since that painting guide is straight out of the Sons of Sanguinius guide book).

2- BA Captains. Not bad, not good. Just kinda there. It would have been nice if they had done something to make them interesting. I don't know what they could have done, but as is Fluff is the only reason to take them.

3- Gabriel Seth as a LOW. While I get it, he is a chapter master, he is in the same slot as 300+ point super heavy tanks. Just not a really convincing LOW IMO. Sanguinor or Mephiston could have been better choices, though I do like the new Mephiston rules. I guess he is a cheap way to work in a LOW and keep a HQ slot open, but he just doesn't seem on the same level as other LOW, even Dante. He may even be the cheapest one in the game.

4- Deathstorm Box Set- What? Why is this here? Well the bigger question is why did they NOT put the Blood Angels Terminator Assault Squad into the Death Storm box. I am sure several people who preordered Death Storm were angry with this one. Fortunately I just went ahead and bought the DS book on Ebay for $10. Dodged that bullet of sorrow...

So that is all I can really think to say right now on the codex. I am sure as I get games in I will coalesce my opinions and thoughts more on the codex. Overall, I guess I am happy with it. Not jumping with joy, but just a general sense of being pleased with the release (besides $30 for a Sanguinary Priest or BA Lib Termie, but those are separate issues).