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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Blood Angels in 6th: Initial Analysis

So, how do our beloved Bangles get affected by the new rules?

Well it's a bit early to tell, but here are some observations (in no particular order of importance):

-Our libbies got both boosted and nerfed all at the same time. Boosted in that opposing libbies can't stop our powers that help our own units (Shield, Wings, etc), nerfed because our hoods got nerfed too. Mephiston and Libby Dreads are much more reliable now. That said, fudgemuiffin Wolves and Eldar still have their great psy defence, so it's not all roses.

-FnP got changed to a 5+ that ignores everything but Instand Death. Is this a boost or a nerf? I think that within the context of 6th (or what I perceive it will be), it is more of a boost than a nerf: low Ap weapons are much more relevant now, so being able to bounce Plasma more reliably is a boon. Also, having some kind of save against power weapons is nice.

-Furious Charge got nerfed pretty badly, since it no longer boosts your Initiative. This sucks. A lot. It was a big part of playing BA properly, and it helped a lot with our survivability in assaults. Also note that you don't get the Strength boost if you charge more than one unit (stupid, stupid change... *sigh*)

-Random charges = ugh. I think it wouldn't have been so bad if it had been say 4" + D3, but 2D6 is just painful.

-Pure DoA lists are now impossible, due to the Reserve rule stating that you can only keep 50 percent of your army in reserve. It wasn't a great list, but its a massive slap in the face to those that built such a force. Thanks, GW!

-Razorspam got hit with the nerfbat pretty fierce. Not only are light vehicles much more reliably destroyed due to Hull Points, but the way disembarking rules work really make it harder to use Razors and ASM together effectively. Before, you'd move up on turn 1 and 2, and disembark/assault on T3. To pull off a T3 assault now, you have to disembark on T2, leaving you open to getting shot and charged preemptively. Not good.

-While on the topic of Razors, I think the Assback is still the best turret to have in spite of the boost Plasmabacks got (shoot 2 weapons at Cruising Speed for Fast vehicles). The reasons for this are as follows:
  1. The single gun is much less of an issue now that glances don't roll on the damage chart.
  2. The TLAC is a much better anti-air platform than the las/plas: more shots and all of them are twin-linked.
  3. While the plasmaback is better at 12 inches when shooting at MEQ and vehicles, that is not a good position to be in due to the way assaults against vehicles are resolved now. Combine this with the fact that pre-measuring vastly helps keeping your Assbacks both in range of their guns and out of assault range and... yeah.
-Assault Squad loadouts is going to change some. Not so much in the special weapon department (melta is still the best choice there), but the way you equip your sergeants will have to evolve. The good old powerfist is just not as godlike as it once was: dreads can be hurt by meltabombs much more easily now, and if you get stuck in against things like Wraithlords, you can simply elect to run away (unless you are in the throes of the Red Thirst). That said, fists/hammers combined with a Storm Shield is going to be a good combo in Challenges – you get a 3++ followed by a 5+ FnP against Power Weapons, and you get to bypass the awesomeness of 2+ saves and instagib most ICs. If you want to go cheaper, just getting the Storm Shield will be a good buy for jump lists – stick him at the front of the squad and soak up plasma shots like its nothing, using Look Out Sir to pass on regular wounds to the regular guys. Otherwise, twin Plasma Pistols I think is going to be a thing thanks to the Gunslinger rules (fire both pistols). Finally, completely naked sergeants (save for maybe a meltabomb) seems like it might not be a bad idea to save points.

-Sanguinary Guard went from bad to actually pretty decent. Power Weapons just bounce off thanks to their 2+ and 5+ FnP, and as long as their is a Libby with Shield around, they should fair ok against Plasma too (5+ cover and 5+ FnP). The rules for Glaive Encarmines are still a bit up in the air – GW didn't bother to FAQ them (nor Dante's Axe Mortalis, for that matter). I think they will end up being a master-crafted, two-handed version of whatever they are model-wise (axes or swords).

-If Sang Guard are good now, Termies are simply godlike. They can kill tanks in CC super easy, are a pain to remove even with plasma, can use Deep Strike with much greater effect, and can use Allied SM Libbies with Gate to move around. Simply win.

-Speaking of the FAQ, there is a non-sensical ruling that Independent Chars falling to the Red Thirst can only join squads who also fell or the Death Company. You will probably remember at this point that none of our ICs have Red Thirst... so lol at Gee Dubs for failing at FAQing once again. I assume that in a future FAQ, all ICs will get it, so best make sure you have at least a small squad of DC in your army or else it will lead to some rather unfortunate situations where your ICs will have to walk/jump on their own...

-BTW, the DC/DC Dread got massively boosted – not only does Rage no longer makes them uncontrollable, but on top of that they get +2 attack on the charge instead of +1. Too bad that the Crozius Arcanum of the chappies got nerfed to AP4 at the same time or else Lemartes would have been a real beast.

-The combat dreads seem much more useable to me now. With the rise of Plasma, we should see a decrease in melta. Additionaly, it will be possible to "snipe" power fists due to the wound allocation rules – not easily done, but possible. In any case, we might see less of those anyways, as I explained earlier, and krak grenades can't do much to you.

-Searchlights are a must now that Night Fight will be that much more frequent.

-An important bit in the FAQ is that Combat Squads from a single unit can now share a transport. This. Is. MASSIVE. Other Marine armies benefit from it more than we do (due to making use of the Rhino much more than us), but god it will feel good to break out my Land Raiders again (who are now much more useable). I'm dreaming of a list with 2-3 Raiders and a bunch Preds – high AV spam that is actually effective!

-The Storm Raven went from piece of crap to overpowered in one fell swoop. This is not so much due to the rules for flyers being OP in so much as that NOTHING HAS fudgemuiffins SKYFIRE! Having one measely quad gun from the Aegis kit isn't going to cut it, nor will a couple of Hydras (who are now crap thanks to being useless against ground targets). Thankfully, I own 3 Ravens that have been sitting in their boxes until now. Still, I think this is a massive cock-up on Gee Dubs part. I suppose it might be brought into balance if all missile launchers get Flakk missiles, but that is no done deal.

-Corbulo is pretty amusing now that FnP ignores almost everything. Might have to start using him more as a bullet sponge.

-Tac Squads got boosted, but still remain inferior to Assault Squads in this Codex.

-Devastator Squads being able to snap fire when moving is kinda neat, but mostly useless as you are hitting on sixes. I suppose that if you are going to try shoot down airplanes, you might as well take the opportunity to reposition while you are at it.

-Sternguards are beastly. Take special note that Pedro Kantor's Hold the Line wasn't FAQed to prevent non-Vanilla SM sternies from scoring. Fun times ahead!

-Bike Squads got some nice boost in the form of Jink and being able to take FnP saves against missiles and Lascannons. On that note, it might be interesting to use Bikes instead of Jump Packs for ICs so they become far less vulnerable to Instand Death.

-CC Scouts are still crap (more so now that they can only get a 5+ cover). Sniper Scouts are more vulnerable unless they are in a Ruin, but otherwise get a nice boost from Precision shots (sixes on Hits = allocate wounds to opponent).

-Drop Pods might be a tad more useable now that they can come in on a 3+ on T2, and that, thanks to Allies and Fortifications, you have a plethora of ways to reroll or augment your reserve rolls. Will have to examine this further.

-Land Speeders are now more awesome than ever. Double melta suicide antitank was never more cost-effective than this. Also, using Squadrons of them is much less derp, thanks to the new squadron rules.

-Rhinos being able to carry 2 combat squads is nice. Might see more use in my lists.

-Preds still as solid as ever. Actually better now that you can scoot away from trouble and still fire 2 lascannons.

-Vindicators: massive boost. Less likely to get defanged, immobilised or stunlocked. Reduced cover saves make the big gun much more potent against infantry. New interaction between blasts and vehicles makes it that much better at killing enemy armour. Will have to see if I can't whip up a list that includes a couple.

-Baal Pred can't Flat Out + smoke on scout move. Aaaaw :-(.

-Techmarines boosted slightly in that they can bolster the cover of more than just Ruins now, and can repair Hull Points. Still crap, overall.

-Captains still lolbad. Worse off than other Captains due to having no access to 2+ saves.

-I can see Dante becoming more popular now that Sang Guard aren't a joke. His axe nerf is unfortunate. Guess getting old makes you slow even if you are a space marines, huh?

-Seth still awful.

-Astorath more useful now that DC are much better. His axe is AP3 now, which makes it special rule sorta useless – how many units have good invulnerable saves (read: at least 4++) and not have a 2+ save as well?

-Tycho got a relative boost in that his Dead Man's Hand strikes at initiative while "ignoring armour" instead of being given a fixed AP value.

-Sanguinor even more of a bad joke now: easier to torrent away and his weapon is AP3.

-I thought that Vanguards would be much easier to use thanks to the reroll for jump packs when charging and Hammer of Wrath. Sadly, GW FAQed that fantasy of mine pretty damn quick.

-Attack bike now eat missiles for breakfast. I think that it might still be a better choice over Speeders for our melta hunters as Speeders can't contest objectives now.

-Bike squads... well, now that we can ally with SM, it seems less smart to use our own Bikes. Dunno, will have to think this over more.

-Scout Bike squads are even more hilariously bad – they can't even do the first-turn charge trick anymore. Avoid like the plague.

-Dreads still a solid choice, though if the missile launcher gets Flakk missiles, I think TLAC + ML combo will become the norm.

-Whirlwind still aweful. I suspect that at some point in the future, it will get some sort of Skyfire option.

-Allies open up a whole new world of opportunities. The first thing that came to mind was Jump BA + Devs allied with IG Platoon with a bunch of Heavy Weapon Teams to boost long range anti-tank.

That's it for now. If I think of something more, I will do a Part Deux to this article.

Comment away, Gentlemen!

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