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8th Edition Blood Angels: Shafted Again

EDIT: For the latest information about Blood Angels in 8th, Go Here: Blood Angels Chapter Tactics and Stratagems Explained

Blood Angels getting the short end of the improvement stick seems like a recurring theme in every edition of 40K. On closer inspection of the current Index, 8th Edition seems not much different really.

Which is an absolute shame. The original Angels of Death was my first ever codex, and I learnt to read by flicking through sinister Dark Angel stories, and gore-splattered Blood Angel tragedies. 

I was a weird kid.

I had a connection to the Bangels, and red power armour was amongst my first failures of painting. It turns out you need to rinse your brush in between painting green grass bases and red armour.

Despite some really rocking models, the actual crunch always falls short of their fluff. But don't just mistake this for bittervet, neckbeard grousing. I think I can show you the failings of the current rule set objectively, and without resorting to emotional stories.

Starting from the beginning:

No Red Thirst

Yeah. For the first time since I can remember, the average Blood Angel is exactly the same as a vanilla Space Marine. That's actually fairly shocking. Unlike the Dark Angels, whose Grim Resolve overwatch abilities were a relatively new development, the Blood Angels have always had some rule for the Red Thirst.

Granted in second edition I think it was a rather terrible rule where they were forced to run towards the enemy, but it was there.

You could make the argument that there are no Chapter tactics in the Index for White Scars, Iron Hands, etc., but the difference there will be the Space Marine codex coming out later this month. Bangels may well have to wait a year, and what scares me is that it might even be a tandem release with Tyranids... and as far as I can tell they're still waiting for a 7th edition codex!

A strange rule to leave out for the space vampire army.

Sanguinary Discipline

I was going to say that the BAngel psychic power list was objectively worse than the Librarius discipline, but on reflection it's actually fairly good.

Blood boil seems like it would be monstrous on low toughness armies like Eldar. The average number rolled on 3 dice is 10.5, meaning that any Toughness 3 unit hit by this is going to loose 7 models. In fact, we'd be looking at 1 in 216 chance of not getting a single wound off, provided you pass the psychic test.

Shield of Sanguinius is fair, but I think the Librarius Veil of time power would have been far better for the BAngels. A 4+ invulnerable is nice, but hitting first regardless of charging is something that would make any close combat themed army happy.

I have to admit, I had a fit of Black Rage when I saw Might of Heroes compared to Unleash Rage, but once I had a chance to read the wording, yeah Unleash is better. Might of Heroes targets a single model, whereas Unleash targets a unit. Bring a big mosh of Death Company, and pour Imperial Guard levels of close combat dice on the enemy.

Speaking of which

Death Company still kind of meh

We're back on track showing why the Blood Angels aren't so good with this one. We need to do some comparisons with other units though. Well, one specifically.

The Death Company come with the Black Rage, but are otherwise the same as any other company veteran squad. Same stats as everyone, and what amounts to Veteran Vanguard squad soptions plus the inferno pistol. Well you can see here:

death company data sheet 8th edition
Taken from Bell of Lost Souls
 That's 9 Power Levels for 5 guys, and the Black Rage giving them an extra attack on the charge with a 6+ Feel no Pain. For an extra Power Level you can give them jump packs for the jump pack assault and the Fly key word.

Which sounds great until you realise for three more points you get these guys:

wulfen data sheet 8th edition
Taken from 3++
 Now you may be thinking the worse ballistic skill and amour save would make the difference of the far, faaaar better special rules. But let's just do a quick comparison:

  • Better base movement.
  • Can advance and assault for an average 10.5-inch move.
  • Re-rolling failed charge rolls
  • 5+ Feel no Pain, which double the numbers of saves that it can make.
  • Three attacks base.
  • Two wounds base
  • Extra point of strength
  • Can attack after getting killed.
  • Buffs the other Space Wolves around them

What's even worse is that the Wulfen can take a Storm Shield, neatly ignoring that disadvantage of the lower armour save. And if you think a better ballistic skill and the ability to take bolters makes up for all that, then you're missing the point of rage-blind vampires living the torturous death of what is essentially their father.

They're not calm, collected snipers is what I'm saying.

No melta-guns on Assault Marines

That is a baffling choice, as I'm willing to bet every single Blood Angel Assault squad out there is armed with a pair of melta guns. And all it would have taken was a similar footnote to give the tactical squads heavy flamers.

So give up and collect Space Wolves?


At least not yet.

The interesting thing with this is how little effort has gone into differentiating each of the Space Marines Chapters. There is an awful lot of flavour missing from each different colour of power armour, and I can only assume this is in preparation for some really cool stuff somewhere close down the line.

It also appears that the Blood Angel conflict is going to be central to the Dark Imperium part of the galaxy, both in terms of geography and plot. I think we can expect a tandem release alongside Tyranids in the near future, and whilst it is pure speculation, I would only give it 3 months until the first rumours start surfacing for that.

I also think that Blood Angels have some of the best looking Space Marine models out there, and any of those would look good on your shelf long after they become rules redundant. Unlike the spartan look of the regular marine or the messy barbarian look of the Space Wolves, Blood Angels armour has an artistic quality which could make it look like a fine piece of art. They are, in effect, perfect glass cabinet residents.

If you're looking to play with them though, the bright spark here is that they're literally Space Marines with some unique units. Whilst you can happily field Primaris Marines, and Ultramarine player can't field Sanguinary Guard, or the utter bullet-hose of the Baal predator. And lets not forget psychic dreadnoughts which even the Grey knights are jealous of!

So there is hope for the Sons of Sanguinius yet.

Until next time!

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  1. Replies
    1. We can but hope that the Nipples of Sanguinius are protected as we go into 8th Edition... but must accept they'll be a bit difficult to model onto the Mark X chest plate!

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. On the upshot, melta assault squads were FAQ'ed back in.

    While DC definitely took a hit from the nerf bat, they're still CQC monsters. I ran a squad yesterday in a Land Raider Crusader with Lemartes deep striking in when they unloaded and they ran roughshod over everything they touched. I think they benefit from being run in small to medium sized units, although 15 of them benefitting from some psyker shenanigans could be cool.

    I do think they're worth skipping in a power level game unless you reeeeally kit them out. PLs are calculated by taking an average of every possible loadout. Trouble is, DC can take some pretty expensive upgrades whose costs are figured in. When you take a 9 PL DC, that factors in the nutter who built guys with power fists and inferno pistols, which come out to 57 points for a footslogging marine. PLs are better representations of value for squads whose equipment loadouts don't vary too much (tactical squads have only three models, at most, you can mess with, while primaris marines have none) and seem better exploited by vehicles capable of just piling on upgrades (a Land Raider with its Multi Melta AND Storm Bolter AND HK Missile).

    1. Thanks for commenting, and thank Sanguinius the meltagun assault marines got FAQ'd back! I still think the DC are underwhelming in rules compared to what their fluff makes them out to be. They're not much better than upgraded veterans right now, but I hope to see them revisited in the future.

      Er... hopefully not going the Wulfen route and growing bat wings or stupidly large fangs.

  3. Time for a revisit old boy, the codex is out on saturday. It's better than I had hoped for and I considered myself comparably sceptic to yourself.

    1. Better than you hoped for, you say? I'll need to get myself a copy then! I've gone through some of the stratagems and chapter tactics elsewhere in the blog already, but I'm curious about the stuff that hasn't been revealed. Thanks very much for the comment!


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