The next chapter of Psychic Awakening, Blood of Baal, is coming right on the heels of Faith and Fury. Inside it will be expanded rules for both Blood Angels and Tyranids. The Blood Angels have just had their new rules previewed, and we’re here to tell you about it and break down what it means for the Sons of Sanguinius.
The first thing GW reveals is that the Blood Angels are now going to be fully compliant with the Codex Astartes, which means that they are getting all of the rules that regular Space Marines get, like Angels of Death and Combat Doctrines. Effectively, this moves Blood Angels from being a separate army from Space Marines rulewise to being a larger version of a Supplement for Space Marines while still being contained inside their own codex.
This is a step in the right direction, as it’s the first step towards bringing all of the loyalist Space Marine armies loosely in line with one another. Hopefully we see this change to Space Wolves, Dark Angels, and to some degree even Grey Knights down the road. Speaking of, the first unique thing that we get to see for Blood Angels is their “Super Doctrine”. Every Chapter in Codex: Space Marines has a specific Combat Doctrine that they receive an extra bonus while it’s the active Doctrine, and for Blood Angels it’s the Assault Doctrine.
Blood Angels already get +1 to Wound on the first round of combat, and all Astartes get +1 Attack on the first round as well. With these new rules tacked on, even a small 5 man Scout Squad with Combat Knives can make a shattering 21 Attacks at +1 to wound and AP-1! That’s just the floor on how scary this is, imagine a squad of Death Company coming in on Turn 3!
Historically in 8th Edition, Blood Angels have been an army that quickly runs out of gas after a few turns since many of their abilities are CP intensive and the army doesn’t have stellar defenses. This update alone is a huge boost as it will give any Blood Angels player a second wind as they enter the Assault Doctrine on their third turn, allowing them to keep up the pressure on their opponent even as their CP and other tools start to diminish.
Moving right along, Games Workshop has also revealed that Blood Angels will be receiving new Stratagems and Relics as well. They previewed a Relic for a Librarian Dreadnought, a unit that is unique to Blood Angels alone.
Blood Angels have a decent psychic lore with a variety of unit buffs and even a couple of personal buffs as well. The Biomantic Sarcophagus makes for a flexible psyker that can provide a buff or two, or a reliable one man Smash Captain(er, Dreadnought?). With Quickening and Wings of Sanguinius, your Dreadnought can move a total of 18” and still be eligible to Charge. He even gets +3 to his Charge Roll, and if he swings in on the turn the Assault Doctrine is live, he’ll make an average of 7 Strength 10 AP-5 Damage 3 swings at +1 to Wound! And with the ability to re-roll a dice for each test thanks to the Biomantic Sarcophagus, it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll get both powers off.
There’s still much more to cover, and already the Blood Angels are looking like a terror to face on the tabletop! As part of falling in line with Codex: Space Marines, Blood Angels Chaplains are getting full access to Litanies of Battle, and they’re even getting a unique Litany on top!
Honestly, this Litany isn’t too impressive. Blood Angels already have plenty of effective weapons and ways to penetrate the armor of their foes. This might see some use here and there, but it’s not the mainstay choice for a Blood Angels Chaplain. However, what many a canny Blood Angels player will take full advantage of is the Canticle of Hate from Codex: Space Marine proper, as that provides a +2 to Charge and +3” to Pile In and Consolidate!
Although it requires tight movement since the Chaplain has to be on the table the turn he prays (meaning he can’t drop in with the unit on the same turn), this provides Blood Angels with a tool they have desperately needed. They now have ways to consistently make their charges without burning all of their Command Points on Descent of Angels for a 3D6 Charge. Of course you can still do that for a game winning play, but you’re no longer forced into it. This is an all around huge improvement for their Chaplains and Chaplain Characters, like Lemartes.
The Blood Angels are famous for their close combat prowess, but they’re no slouches when it comes to shooting as well! Blood Angels are receiving multiple new Stratagems as well, including one to help Intercessors blow their opposition away at a safe distance.
The best use for this Stratagem will most likely be buffing a sizeable unit of Intercessors on Turn 2, during the Tactical Doctrine. The thing is, you either have to be up close and personal so you’re naturally in Rapid Fire range, or stand still to take advantage of Bolter Discipline. You won’t be using this every game, but it is a cool Stratagem that also gives Blood Angels some depth beyond being just a melee whirlwind of destruction.
This preview also gives us confirmation that you will be able to have Death Company Intercessors. This has bigger ramifications lore wise then gameplay wise, since it means that maybe the Primaris aren’t as perfect/incorruptible as Cawl thought. Gameplay wise, unless the upgrade is dirt cheap, Death Company Intercessors actually aren’t very good.
Death Company are a melee powerhouse and Intercessors are slow and lack a lot of useful weapons other than a Thunder Hammer on your Sergeant. There might be more rules to further improve this, but the most utility you will get out of this is a 6+ check to shrug off damage, which could be solid for a point or two. What is definitely solid however, is the update for Flesh Tearers. They’re being given their own super charged version of Red Thirst to help compensate for the fact they don’t get all the things Blood Angels get.
Red Thirst is already a powerful trait, and Fury Within gives you a little extra AP to boost. The exact power of Flesh Tearers is yet to be seen, but it sounds like they are going to be getting their own Warlord Traits, Relics, and Stratagems as well. This should make them stand out much more compared to Blood Angels proper, and give them a little more identity to boot.
Our preview today closes with none other than Mephiston himself. This guy literally had a building fall on him and it just made him angrier, and he’s got the rules to back it up!
As far as Space Marine statlines go, Mephiston is tough as nails at Toughness 5 and a baseline 2+ Save. He should also still have his 5+ Feel No Pain from the Codex, and his sword even got its own name!
Remember that Dreadnought setup we talked about? Well, Mephiston can make 9 S10 AP-4 Damage D3 swings this way, which should still be more than enough to kill most things in the game unless they have a rock solid invulnerable save. Although the raw damage potential on Mephiston is lower, his durability is actually fairly similar to the Librarian Dreadnought and he can fit in far more places than the Dread, since he’s a smaller and has the Infantry keyword, unlike the Dreadnought who has the Vehicle keyword.
Who is Excited?
One of our Fans from Nights at The Game Table Facebook Page, Chris Chance is super excited for this release and already has some interesting combos prepared.
That about wraps us up for today. The Blood Angels look to be getting a massive power boost in the upcoming Blood of Baal release, and they’re getting some updates to their model range as well! All in all, it’s a good time to be a Blood Angel.
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As always a big thanks to Games Workshop for the images provided for our article.