Sunday, February 11, 2018

Blood Angels 2k "All Comers" List

Just a quick list share of what I think I am going to build to play to after Adepticon (have too much before then to get to this).
This list is designed to be fairly competitive IMO without being utterly ridiculous. Avoids using my Fire Raptor even!

Blood Angels 2k- 2000 pts, 8 CP, 3 Dets, 13 Drops

Battalion Det- +3 CP
HQ: Captain (Slamguinius)- 129: Angel's Wing, Storm Shield, Thunder Hammer, Warlord: Artisan of War
HQ: The Sanguinor- 170
Troops: Intercessor Squad (5)- 91: Bolt Carbines, 1 x Chainsword, 1 x Auxiliary Grenade Launcher
Troops: Intercessor Squad (5)- 91: Bolt Carbines, 1 x Chainsword, 1 x Auxiliary Grenade Launcher
Troops: Intercessor Squad (5)- 91: Bolt Carbines, 1 x Chainsword, 1 x Auxiliary Grenade Launcher

Spearhead Det- +1 CP
HQ: Librarian Dreadnought- 172: Furioso Fist w/ Storm Bolter, Unleash Rage, Wings of Sanguinius
Heavy Support: Mortis Dreadnought- 109: 2 x Twin Heavy Bolters
Heavy Support: Devastator Squad (5)- 110: 4 x Heavy Bolters, Amorium Cherub, 1 x Bolter
Heavy Support: Relic Leviathan Dreadnought- 334: Storm Cannon Array, Cyclonic Melta Lance, 2 x Heavy Flamers
Dedicated Transport: Lucius Pattern Dreadnought Drop Pod- 80

Vanguard Det- +1CP
HQ: Lemartes- 129
Elites: Death Company(5)- 116: Jump Packs, 4 x Bolter & Chainsword, 1 x Thunderhammer
Elites: Sanguinary Guard (4)- 140: 4 x Angelus Boltgun, 3 x Encarmine Sword, Powerfist
Elites: Relic Deredo Dreadnought- 237: Anvillus Autocannon Battery, Twin Heavy Bolter, Atomantic Pavaise

So a quick breakdown. The battalion is there really to supply much needed CP to fuel Captain Slamguinius. Gives me some reliable objective holders too in the form of Intercessors. They are just superior in almost everything to tactical marines, particularly for Blood Angels.

Form a gunline with them and the Mortis Dread handing out with the Deredo to take advantages of its bubble invulnerable. I thought about 2 mortis dreads, but I would want to spread them out. Thus I went with a devastator squad instead. Same number of heavy bolters (though with a little more splitfire utility), more fragile HOWEVER they can go many places a dread can't and benefit from cover.  Thus their inclusion. Put them on the table away from the Deredo and you can still have them be protected. Anywho, those units will prodvide a solid and hard to kill firewall.

The Leviathan is meant to ride down in that drop pod and storm around wrecking face unsupported. Hoefully he can clutch some pretty vital first turn kills with him and...


Not going to talk too much about him here, but a captain equipped as I equipped him and with the appropriate strategems, can be a death fueled nightmare for people. Able to pretty much solo anything in the game. Supported by a Leviathan... DEATH.
Lastly is the rest of the Assault Corps. The Librarian Dread is there to boost Captain Slam, and if not needed or too far away, he is still a flying dreadnought with the Wings of Sanguinius. Sanguinor and Lemartes boost Slam and the DC/Sanguinary guard. And are combat beasts them selves.

I feel like this list does a good job blending all the toys available without being too OP or too fluffy. It is designed to win missions and handle the various problem lists out there can present it, from massed firepower to flyer wings. Can't wait to run it.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Blood Angels at LVO: Interview with NOVA Open organizer Mike Brandt

LVO was a few weeks ago and I thought it was SUPER COOL to see sooooo many Blood Angels in the top 8 (3 lists with BA in top 8, including one pure BA list, and another one with BA in the top 10). Going into the top 8 was one stand out to me, Mike Brandt, founder and TO for the NOVA Open tournament. He was #2 going into round 7 and finished 5th overall! I reached out to him and he most graciously accepted my request for an interview.
Mike's List from the 2018 LVO
 1- First of all congrats for going into the Top 8 in second place and finishing 5th overall! Before the tournament started, did you think you would make it that far?

Well thanks! To be honest, no one should ever think they’ll make the Top 8 / Finals. There are several factors that weigh in to your performance at an event of this size. First and foremost is luck! Even the best lists that attended were not well-rounded enough to tackle every possible permutation in 8th Edition. Lists like the 15 Artemia Hellhounds I faced in Round 6 will almost auto-counter several of the lists that ended up making it to the Top 8, for instance. So you need to go up against the right lists to get there … if you get super unlucky and get paired against 6 straight mirror matches w/ similar lists piloted by good players (which can absolutely happen), can you really say your dice will be reliable enough that you truly think you’ll make Top 8?

Second is army list. I’ll talk about it a bit more in the other questions I’m sure, but I selected my list in part because I could just barely fit it + all my gaming aids/dice into a single KR MultiCase Card Case. Not only are these things durable and lightweight, they fit into my overhead luggage along w/ my clothes. So I didn’t have to check any bags, and only had one small box with a handle to have to carry around with me. Since I was aware I chose a list in part because it was fun to play and compact, I didn’t think I’d do as well as if I’d taken a more traditionally optimal one. But it is still a really strong list.

Finally is just the chance of the dice and the improvement of the hobby. When I first started playing in RTTs and GTs back in 4th and 5th, I went something like 40 tournament games before I took a loss. The competitive community was a lot less mature back then, and even the “top” players at the time were not really at the level they are today. As much as it’s easy to think highly of oneself, it’s important to recognize that even if you are one of the better players out there, there are plenty of guys who can and will match you move for move and thought for thought. I certainly played several of them at LVO, and you can’t control every little thing to the point of guaranteeing wins forever in that environment. I figured, ultimately, that I would go around 4-2 or 5-1 … and I guess in all honesty I wasn’t too far off my hunch (finishing up 6-1)!

2- Your list comprised of Catachans and Blood Angels. Are you primarily an Imperial Guard player or Blood Angels player?

Historically, I’m an Imperial Guard player. My list included the same Catachan models that won GTs in 4th and 5th. Blood Angels, however, have always been my favorite Marine army, and my first regular play opponent always used them over 10 years ago. It was really exciting to bring a bunch of Jump Pack marines with character support, as that’s largely the type of list he played. I didn’t go into things with intent to have my Blood Angels be a larger or smaller part … just kinda worked out that they were the largest % of the army. That percentage will likely increase going forward, however, as I’m already working on ways to fit Reivers and other bits into my Angels’ list at the expense of some of the Catachan body count.
3- What was the thought process behind the list you designed? Why Catachans? Did you specifically not want to take vehicles and if so, why?

I didn’t take vehicles beyond the Sentinels primarily b/c of travel concerns (see above). It was a very real consideration to turn some of the sentinels into Hellhounds (either Artemia or regular pattern). But they wouldn’t fit in the box.

Catachans are both my favorite guard regiment and the best guardsmen to take in the current game. As fun as it is to shoot better with Cadians, guardsmen just die far too easily to every threat mechanism for them to be relied upon. By taking Catachans with Straken and the Priest, you’re able to create models that all throw more attacks than an Assault Marine at S4. By taking 100 of them, you can take the unavoidable turn 1 hit where you lose 40 or 50, and still have a very effective combat force remaining. By using Catachans, I was able to effectively ignore opponents who threw what they thought were powerful combat threats at them (i.e. shining spears with protect/fortune, Mortarion, Death Company + Characters, etc.). The Catachans, played and maneuvered correctly, would lose 2-3 squads to these threats before promptly throwing so many bullets and blades at them with decent odds that they’d fall over. What this meant was I could spend the Sanguinary Guard going after other things, and opponents often fell into this trap. They’d assume I’d have to use the Sangguard to bail out the Catachans, so they’d throw their “bullets” as it were (their big threats) at the Rambos and leave exposed elements for the SG to exploit. In every single game, this flipped things in my favor. The Catachans also reliably took out things (Between my couple prep games and the event itself) like shining spears, Morty, Mephiston + Celestine + 15 Death Company, big buffed Plaguebearer squads, and more.

The Sanguinary Guard were initially only present once in the list, but that ended up not being correct in test games. I added the 2nd squad and went all in on 3 scout squads instead of just a Patrol because I wanted that “second bullet.” My regular play partner and longtime buddy Tony Kopach actually made the recommendation. I also wanted to be able to deploy a squad of SG on the board at times w/ the Characters, so that I could threaten more aggressive opponents with two reliable charges instead of just one. It worked out really well, and I fell in love w/ these guys by end of event.
4- Blood Angels were in 3 of the top 10 lists, with number 4 going into the top 8 being a pure Blood Angels list. Do you think they can and will stay a strong competitive army as the meta evolves? Do you think Sanguinary Guard may get hit by the proverbial “Nerf Bat”?

I think Angels synergize well with other armies, and work well on their own. I don’t know they are all that reliable as a pure army, but they give you everything something like a guard army is lacking. More importantly, they’re quite reliable - +1 to Wound is an extremely powerful trait, being able to re-deepstrike your key units is crazy good, 3d6 charging solves the biggest problem w/ charging. There’s just a lot to like about them. I liked them right from the get-go during Playtest as part of the Mournival playtesting group for GW.

5- I know from some personal discussion with you after NOVA 2017 that there were issues with Forge World on the tournament scene at the start of 8th. However, from what I see, none of the LVO top 8 have any forgeworld. Do you feel those issues have largely been resolved? If so, do you think codex releases have done that on their own or did Chapter Approved have more influence in balancing it out?

I think they are resolving. I also know many of us don’t believe in taking FW units on principle – they aren’t as well balanced, and often can be pretty extreme. Alex Fennell did have a Cyclops Demo Tank, so I guess it wasn’t totally FW-free. The Fire Raptor is, unfortunately, still an enormous problem that drains the fun out of games for its opponents – hopefully we can get that polished up a bit on the points front, too! I think it also was observed by some that Chapter Approved may have gone too far on some of the problem FW units. I honestly (And literally) can’t say for sure what my opinion is there, but I do know that units which get priced a little too high are generally less bad for the game than units priced a little too low and subsequently spammed. I hope in future CA we can continue to fine-tune the point costs of units (including FW) to get the game into a really sweet place.

6- If you could go back now and change one thing about your list before LVO, would you and what would it be?

I’d really like to find a way to add some Custodes to it. The models I use primarily for guard are Forgeworld Solar Auxilia, and I’d like to be able to have kind of an “Army of Terra” theme / feel to the army. I’d also probably drop the Sanguinary Priest in favor of Encarmine Axes, as most units I wanted to punch the hardest had invuls I’d run into either way (whether AP-3 or AP-2), and this makes one less character that I need to trail back into in order to get buffs. I might still also try and find a way to turn the Sentinels into Hellhounds … the Scouts were so effective at their job when presented in squads of 3 that the Sentinels did almost nothing for me all tournament save cede a few extra kills. I’d MUCH rather instead of HH or Sents, take Reivers or similar, but I run into the issue of needing the Command Points provided by the Guard Brigade. Honestly if not for the need to have a full brigade CP-wise, my army would be MUCH heavier BA than it presently is. Reivers are a very real consideration for a future add.

7- The LVO final was essentially a mirror match of two Eldar/ Ynnari armies What are your thoughts on Eldar, and particularly Ynnari, still being on top of the Tournament scene after such a powerful ride through the latter half of 7th edition? Do you think they need “fixes” and if so, what?

Reapers, Shining Spears, and Spiritseers are all undercosted. I think fixing their point costs will resolve most of the issues w/ Craftworld armies. It wouldn’t hurt to prevent strats being used with Ynnari dets, regardless of included . But I think it’s important to note that the Top 8 all kinda knew each other, and really good players do well at every event. So they knew the kind of lists they were all thinking about, which influences things. Good players DO tend to gravitate toward powerful lists, and the Eldar are no exception, but there were tons of people with similar Eldar lists sitting on the mid tables bemoaning their misfortune and not realizing it was simply b/c the top players really are MUCH better on the tabletop. I wish the community as a whole was more aware of the fact that while some armies are too powerful and obviously get taken by better players as a result, those good players almost always wind up at or near the top. I have no doubt if every one of them had taken the Blood Angel list I used, they’d have all made the Finals or gotten very close, and we’d be having a different discussion on the internet. Bit of a shame, really – it’s better to look at the field as a whole (though in this case, Eldar still did really well across the field haha).
8- Enough about LVO, onto NOVA. You are the founder and primary TO for the NOVA Open. Excited for 2018? Any big plans in motion?

OMG we are so excited! NOVA Open is all about providing a professional, enjoyable experience to our attendees while creating a feeling of family, friendship, and warmth. It’s a big gaming party where we raise money for charity! This year we are expanding all of our events yet again, and there are some really cool tweaks to the famous missions coming up. NOVA’s missions and format are sort of the “Grandfather” of what you see in the ITC, AdeptiCon, and other places (sufficient rounds for an undefeated champ, progressive primaries w/ selectable secondaries, etc.), and we’re always attacking our own system from every possible angle in search of ways to improve. I think we’ve made some pretty neat breakthroughs this year that I’m excited to share with people in the very near future. Outside of the 40K events, we’re also adding a much broader array of entertainment options in the Charity Lounge (located in an awesome rooftop bar/restaurant that we set up overlooking DC and National Airport), potentially to include open mic, comedy acts, and a wider range of musical acts. is the place to go for more information … and e-mail to sign up for our newsletter. Registration opens at 8PM US EST on March 1, and a lot of stuff tends to sell out in the first few minutes, so be ready!

(ed. I went last year for the first time and I am going again this year. Great fun, good venue, very professional and well run event!

9- Can you take a moment to tell us about the NOVA Open Charitable Foundation?

The NOVA Open began as a picnic tabled 40K tournament in the August VA heat back in 2009. I hosted it to raise money for Breast Cancer Research, as my Mom is a survivor. She was inspired herself by it, and joined the NOVA staff a few years later (she’s still one of / maybe the most important person to its success annually). When we got very serious about charity, we formed the Foundation to ensure all activities were done above board, transparently, and in a way that ensured the greatest % of funds went directly to the charities we support, hence the formation of the NOVA Open Charitable Foundation, which is a formal 501(c)(3). Laurie Brandt now runs that, independently of NOVA proper, and in fact was just selected as one of the first Warhammer Heroes! We primarily direct the funds we raise through at-con activities, global charitable army and mini raffles, and silent auctions (among other things) to Doctors Without Borders, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and the Fisher House Foundation. At times, we’ll support other charities based on the request of donors or in support of special causes. Check out more information at

(ed. They run amazing raffles year round, for beautiful armies and models. Add it to your favourites bar!

10- What are you looking forward to the most about NOVA this year?

a. The people, smiles, and warmth of it all. And I don’t mean August in Virginia (but yes that’s a thing). I try to make a point of saying hello to every attendee, and it’s just one of the best times of the year. Customer service and raising money for good causes are two things that are just SO important to the staff (we’re all volunteers), and it shows in how they treat our guests. For first timers, I feel like it’ll be a different experience than you might see at other cons (different, not saying better – that’s all about individual experience). Moreover, we’ve somehow been able to infuse that family / fun / love / professionalism feel in our attendee base over time, so they show up with the same enthusiasm and connectedness that our staff shows.

And now a final “lightning round”
1- Best Chaos God?
The Emperor

2- Gork or Mork?

3- Favourite Edition of 40k?

4- Favourite Army you DON’T play?
Sisters of Battle

5- If you had unlimited Time and Money, what would be your dream army/hobby project?
Hive Fleet Dendrobates, with every brood painted and converted to look like Poison Arrow frogs. I got close to this once, but lack the time/money/skill to pull off and/or commission the conversion project required to truly put it together. It would be super neato. Spawning Pools as gorgeous bromeliads … the whole works. Probably would bake in actual Dendrobates microhabitats into the army so there were live poison arrow frogs living in micro-terrariums inside the display. Back in another life, I worked with some pretty exotic and large animals for a number of years, and I’m passionate about space dinosaurs because of it. Nids were my first army.

6- Star Wars or Star Trek?
Star Wars, though I wish it were higher science.

7- Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter?
Abstain. ASoIaF (ed. A Song of Fire and Ice)

8- Pineapple on Pizza, Yes or No?
Only when in HI.

9- Preferred brand of Super Glue?
Gorilla gel.

10- Lord Commander Dante- Great Imperial Hero or Greatest Imperial Hero?
Old vampire with delusions of grand martyrdom. I’ve actually never been a huge fan of the named Blood Angels really across the board. I much prefer the image of these cultured but still rank-and-file marines who protect the weak, do their best, but occasionally just snap and go totally batshit insane. The image is so effective a microcosm of the Imperium at a whole – this nominally “good guy” force that’s hiding a sort of abject horror directly resulting from the tragedy of the Heresy, and always one fraction of a second from bursting forth and taking entire civilizations down with it. A super good guy version who never really goes bad and is just sure he’s gonna be the one to save the Emperor at the end of days? Meh. (ed. I'll just put you down for "Great Imperial Hero" then)