Monday, 1 June 2015

Angels Looking for Redemption

I think it comes as a surprise to no one that I am mainly an Eldar player. So when it came to a cityfight event in the local store this weekend, I thought I would go completely at odds to the norm and try out the new Blood Angels. I don't have a huge force, but it would give me a chance to break the seal on the new book and look at the game from a different perspective.

In the end, the fight went badly. It was an utter landslide, yet it was refreshing, I'd not lost many games in the past 12 months, so chalking up a mark in the loss column would keep me honest and give me a chance to try and see what I am doing wrong.

1) It's hard to write a good list with an unfamiliar army first time out. I've become so used to the way the Eldar work, that it was incredibly difficult to attempt to write a Blood Angels list. I have no idea what is good, how things work, or even how to play them. I think the big thing that hit home this idea is that if I had 60 points spare with the Eldar, that would be a squad of Rangers, with the Blood Angels, it's a single Sanguinary Priest. Numbers just aren't on my side.

2) In group games where you don't know who is on your side, don't rely on others to fill in your weaknesses. My 1000 points were pretty weak, but it's all I had, 3 of my 5 squads contained flamers, I didn't see that as a problem until I was teamed up with two other Blood Angel players who were also packing the heat. We were up against some heavy armour too, so we were truly up against it, and playing lengthways on an 8x4 foot board and it was game over before the first dice was rolled. In these situations, you really have to either guarantee a team up to have a balanced force, or write your army without considering team mates to prevent everyone coming to the party with the same thing.

Plenty of WiP with this army so far.
 3) The dice will hate you on some games. It didn't help that I had one of *those* games, failed to cast Wings of Sanguinius on 4 dice, failed 4 charges in a row (rolling three 3" charges in succession), failed almost every armour save at the start of the game, it was an epic list of failure. The thing is, these games will happen, and they are really annoying. However, if I had made any of those rolls, would the outcome of the game have changed? I don't think it would have, so while it was painful at the time, considering the big picture it didn't matter what was rolled.

4) Don't expect your opponent to play like you. After my Deep Striking disappointment left me plenty vulnerable, I was surprised that my Astra Militarum opponent unloaded his Chimera, then piled lasgun shots into my Terminators before shooting his plasma toting Leman Russ into them and annihilating them. Personally, I would have just shot the tank, especially as he had rotated it to face me in the movement phase and it wasn't like a last minute choice after the Guard failed. But, people play how they want, and you have to gauge your opponent quickly in these games if you want to have a chance at beating them. Perhaps it was a bit of creeping arrogance in this case after coming off the back of many wins. It won't be happening again believe me.

5) Those expensive weapons count. I've never been sold on taking big weapons on units, why take strong weapons when you can roll more dice? That was until I had a Thunder Hammer and Power Fist on my Assault Death Company. Before they went, against normal Assault Marines, it was an even fight, then they rolled and things just went squish. It's definitely opened my eyes to taking those options in the future.

Just this one guy means vehicles are threatened too.
6) Know your rules. I tell everyone this and failed to adhere to this rule myself. I ran the Baal Detachment from the Codex, then proceeded to forget to apply the bonus rules you get for fielding it. That +1 Initiative could have come in handy a few times during the game but if you forget it, then it's never going to help.

7) Laugh it off. It's a game, it's not personal and the people you are up against are only trying to do the same thing as you. If the game is going badly for you, laugh it off, make light of the situation, without degrading your opponent. For example, when my Terminators were getting squished I said "the best thing about 2+ saves is that it hurts more when you fail them", yet I see too many people just go into a mood when they lose a unit. Being gracious in defeat means you will more than likely get another game in, being a sore loser means you won't and you don't come out of it looking good.

I have a few Dreadnoughts, they all used to be Terminators.
8) There is always the next game. More importantly, what are you going to do different next game? I was hampered by lack of movement, I only considered a 48" playing field, not a 96" one so I was at fault for that. But, as I want to expand this small army, I'm thinking of throwing the Tactical Squad into a Rhino, I know people swear by Drop Pods but Blood Angel Rhinos are fast and I don't want to paint a pod after hearing the horror stories. If I stick with the Dreadnoughts, they may have to be put into a pod just to try and negate his low mobility. It's these things that I was alluding to in my first point, address the issues that you can address, ignore the ones you can't (I'm looking at you dice) and accept that losing is part of the game, that way, you can come back stronger next time.

Fire was just too tempting.
I'm planning on building a 1500 point Blood Angel force to give me something to play when my main armies are in the Work in Progress phase, however, as this is a new month, this also means that I need to get back on the Harlequin train, and there is a big box of Eldar sitting next to me.


  1. Knowing your army is really the most important part of 40k. There are so many rules to remember. The best advice I've ever gotten from anyone regarding playing this game....was just to pick a list, and stick with it over and over and over again...until you know how the synergy of each section works in concert with one another!

  2. The only issue I had with the game was the deployment. Trying to squeeze 4k points of Mechaniucs, Guard, Marines and Grey Knights into a 4 foot wide deplyment zone wasn't fun with everyone wanting to be at the front thanks to short ranged weapons. Other than that I think I've got a decent feel for how to play the Cult units on their own, just need to work on getting them working with the Skitarii and getting everything painted :)