Saturday, 5 January 2013

A foray into bloodangels

Blood angels

A brief history of an Author's gaming. 

I started 40k with Space Marines. Plain, simple space marines. They were poorly painted and they were rag-tag, often comprising multiple squads as I carelessly misplaced models and had my rhino's shattered by the full onslaught of a dog chewing on them. 

As time has gone on, I've become a better gamer. I understand the game and the models I need better. As a result, I've become more careful with my models and that has spurred me onto becomming a better painter.
A better gamer I may be, but this has its drawbacks. I no longer feel compelled to simply field an army and play, I want to win. I want to win, hard. So, I felt I could no longer use Space Marines. I tried grey knights, for the love of purifiers and that awe-inspiring flyer model. (Not the stormraven itself, but the idea of having a flying land raider.) 

I found that as sixth edition rolled around, Stormravens changed. I could no longer field my grey knight purifiers as I once had in my storm ravens, for want to keep them alive. Add to that a major weakness in hull points and the supremacy of flyers, I no longer felt that grey knights would allow me to field the army I wanted to field. 

I moved to Blood angels. Blood angels are a good mix of my old Space Marines and my newer grey knights - on one hand, I would have amazing fire-power. The other, devastating assault units. So, My blood angels 2k force was born. 

I started by making an army centred around TH/SS terminators. I then moved to Death company, until my list comprised just 32 infantry, 2 dreadnoughts, 2 flyers and 2 tanks - as it does now. 

This is the beginnings of something more competitive - I hope. 

Reclusiarch Mazda

Attached to the 4th company, and leading it's death company is Reclusiarch Ahura Mazda. Described as the bringer of light and wisdom to the darkness of the death company, the Reclusiarch leads his enraged comrades from the front - cracking heads with his power maul. 

I chose to make his helm a specific cream colour, much like the cloth that marks his parchments. That way, he'll stand out from his death company companions. 

Highlights on the backpack - I made sure that
he wouldn't have death company pads - otherwise
he's from the death company kit. 
The Reclusiarch is, for all intents and purposes a captain with WS5 and better rules. His good invulnerable save and strong bonuses for death company make him an ideal leader - ironically, he has to be my warlord, yet I must throw him in the line of fire more readily than other HQs. He also lends 5 S6 attacks to the fight, as well as a 4+ invulnerable save. I'm rather pleased that such a character could be produced with bits and didn't require a separate kit - not paying $40 for a chaplain always makes the wallet heave a sigh of relief.

The Power weapon has been done like any other power sword.
I was a little bit tentative about including the power sword. It is the definition of a double-edged sword, because although it provides something special to the chaplain, it is also not technically legal. While I'm sure noone's going to pull me up about having a power sword instead of a pistol, the possibility is always there.

I thought after reading about chaplains singing hymns as they crushed heads that a chaplain looking into a power sword would be almost poetic, hence its inclusion.

Lost Brother Alexander 

Alexander was a first company veteran before he fell to the black rage. He served in the second company honour guard before that, and had actually at a time been considered for captaincy. His fall was most notable as the flaw manifested a blindness in the hardened fighter. His eyes did not become red as usual, but rather a pale grey or white. His skill at arms has gone unaffected, it seems. It is believed he possesses the same foresight that is gifted to the high sanguinary priest or to Sanguinius himself. 

I'm gonna enjoy people telling me those eyes aren't finished.

details on the fist
Blood angels death company, are, in my opinion, one of the only units still able to effectively hide multiple power fists in ablative wounds. with the correct wrap and pile in, fists can bring the hurt when and only when they have to - on assault two of them bring 10 attacks with full re-rolls. I'm looking forward to facing paladins in the future. 

The model was given a boltgun. This decision was made on the basis that he would gain nothing from using a pistol in combat and that he has relentless, meaning he can always fire his boltgun, even on the assault. 

Ablative wounds, or the bolt pistol and chainsword dudes.

these guys will be just there to protect the mauls and fists. OTC they still bring 5 WS5 S5 attacks with full re-rolls, meaning they can still cause some hurt on the enemy. That said, I plan on doing less with them, so that I can reduce the time spent on models. - this was my test model. 
A dead man... running?

I tried some kind of free-hand to denote original rank. It didn't work out. 

This model was the first I ever highlighted a purity seal before washing it. I like the result. 

The Christmas presents (Blood Angel Assault Marine Sergeant)

I also bought a box of sanguinary guard to make my sergeants and priests with. The actual marines will be using Forgeworld MkIV Assault marines - with a similar kind of jump pack. So, I thought that I'd use the Sanguinary bodies and jump packs to make them stand out. I think it has worked brilliantly.
I'm sticking with the clean white I think. The rest of the model is clean, why must the wings be dirty?
Notice the Null rod used as a power maul.

The jump pack and view from the back - I really like how this looks. 

the helm and maul
My only complaint about the sanguinary guard model was that the wings HAVE to be placed like that. It is impossible to make them flare with the shoulder pads where they are. I was really disappointed by this.

Bolt pistol and company marking - red and green, the Christmas presents.
All in all, I like my models so far. I just hope I have the persistence to keep this up. 

Friday, 4 January 2013

AP2 Fixation


We all know sixth edition brought weird and wonderful changes to 40k, notably flyers and hull points for tanks, as well as weird psychic powers that were almost… generic. By far the most uncomfortable changes have occurred in assault, where certain armies have simply become unviable. Certain units severely weakened. Those same units that could once deal with multiple threats per turn are actually hindered by entering multiple combats. I know armies (armies, geddit?) that have suffered as a result of changes, especially in the way close combat weapons work. It has been horrific. Sometimes, models have had their entire arms amputated to compensate for the changes! 

I am of course, referring to Power weapons being AP3. Now, I am promising not to complain about AP3 weaponry - quite the opposite, in fact. The main observation that I have is thus: 

As Power Weapons have been reduced to AP3, people have become eccentric. Rather than gain a large strength (Power fists or Power Mauls) or points bonus (usually -15 to remove the weapon), they limit their models with Unwieldly +1 S AP2 Axes 

This belief is erroneous. There are so many hindrances to the fabled Power Axe, people simply glaze over them. To put it succinctly and to quote a friend, 

“People think that a single sarge with an axe will INSTA PWN ALL DUH TERMINATORZ”


Last edition, a Tactical marine sergeant with a power sword and a bolt pistol was a terrible option – although it dealt with all armour equally, most often a power sword was eschewed for a powerfist. Which, although equal at dealing with armour, was only slightly more expensive and the speed modifier was acceptable – maybe because of wound allocation. Nowadays, everyone’s so worried about the poorness of the ubiquitous power sword that they’ve done a strange thing. Rather than stick with the reliable if slow power of a power fist, they’ve shifted to the arguably “made in china” assault weapon. While the Axe is matched AP and speed with the Power fist, it trades strength for price.

I question this. While “Lean and mean” has always been the normal play style, with points cost always being an issue – everyone always squeezes the potential of their points to fit in that extra sanguinary priest or that seventeenth vendetta. I don’t question this logic because it’s cheaper to get a power axe than a power fist, but that if one is so set on purchasing something else that they simply have to economise on that power fist, why bother with the special combat weapon at all? Surely, it is far cheaper to simply leave a sergeant with a chainsword or – the horror – a boltgun rather than force him to use a subpar close combat weapon?


Axes are +1 S at AP2 I1 with the normal 2CCW bonus. Because of their AP2, they can replace power fists when points are an issue, putting out an extra attack in exchange for strength.

Power swords are normal S at AP3 I(standard) with the normal 2CCW bonus. Swords are left unchanged in most respects, but are now next to useless against terminators.

Power Mauls are +2 S at AP4 I(standard) with the normal 2CCW bonus. Mauls provide a tactically significant strength bonus without sacrificing speed, but lack infantry armour penetration. They are better against AP2 than power swords, and excellent against low-toughness mutliple wound models.

Powerfists are *2 S at AP2 I(standard) without the normal 2CCW bonus. Fists are arguably the best weapon on a S4 or 5 model. The downside is reduced weight of attacks and low speed. They are the most expensive, but make up for this in being able to really bring the hurt on paladins and terminators. 

Another, "interesting" addition of 6th edition is the Power Lance. 

This strange weapon is +1 S at AP3 on the charge. I don't consider these useful. If you're going to waste your time with on-the-charge bonuses, why not just take a power maul? the Strength bonus is consistent and better - you aren't gonna be winning fights on the charge if you use these stupid weapons. 


I’m mostly a Space Marine Player myself. I can’t comment on most armies. I have thought about the bonuses that the different power weapons give to Marines of a BA and SM persuasion, as well as GK to a lesser extent (Though, GK have only truly have special power weapons and my comments differ greatly for them). I can make comments on them most easily – as I have been.

For units that will undoubtedly end up in combat, all power weapons are an option. Power axes and fists are worst on characters (like an assault marine sergeant or veteran) as they often die before they strike. Fists (and by extension axes) are an excellent (“excellent”) option on non-named character (like death company) as they can’t be singled out by assaults and, if placed correctly can be protected by ablative wounds. Characters who are unable to get an invulnerable save of some sort should look at Power Mauls or swords – the extra attack can make the difference, and a power maul has so many tactical applications that it is simply not possible to not consider it. On squads like Sanguinary Guard, where the upgrade to a power fist is relatively cheap (10 points?), using them over an axe is always advisable.

In short, Axes have applications. But so do Power swords and so do Power Mauls. But, it seems to me that a squad sergeant really doesn’t stand a chance in combat, now that he can be singled out. The value of any close combat weapon on such a character has dropped dramatically. The game is shooting now anyway. Spend those 15 points on a missile launcher somewhere.

An afterthought:

In writing this, I always assumed a Strength of 4. This was wrong of me, as some armies aren’t like SM (hard to believe, I know.) So, I’ve taken them into account

Power fists start to have their bonus reduced after S5. As S10 is the cap, models with Strengths higher than 5 are actually wasting some of the value of their fist. On the other hand, fists bonuses get smaller and smaller as the Strength value of the model decreases. This, in effect, limits the effective range of a power fist to approximately S3-6 (and that’s pushing it.) Anything lower, a maul is more valuable and anything higher, mauls and axes are more value for their cost bonuses (anything with S6 or higher should be pretty expensive…)