We’ve already checked the Blood Angels codex. And you? Let’s discuss the most interesting ideas about how to play this army.
But first, we should mention the design. It’s really great – lots of new (really new) arts, color schemes, miniature photos – all BA players will be satisfied. However, there’s a problem, same with all 8th edition hardback books – the cover is not hard enough and has a tendency to bend. It is easily corrected if you keep it between the other books on the shelf, but doesn’t please at all, considering the price of the book.
So, you’ve definitely heard about those awesome Librarian Dreadnaughts. And the point is not directly in them but in the new psychic powers. Due to the Wings of Sanguinius the dreadnaught can now move extra 12 inches and re-roll charge distance. And Quickening adds D3 extra attacks and 3 extra inches to charge and advance moves. And, sure, each of these dreadnaughts is armed with a powerful close combat weapon. So, you get a completely autonomous? Ultimately fast and quite a powerful fighter which is not so easy to hurt. The only bad thing is that in Matched Play where you can’t cast same psychic powers, there’s no use taking many of them.
Traditional favorites of all players – Death Company have the same price, but now they are greatly boosted by the new stratagems – 3D6 charge after deepstrike, or bonus movement (+advance) before the 1st game turn if you prefer to keep them on the table. The access to close combat weapons in any combination and a decent amount of attacks (Don’t forget Blood Rage and +1 attack spell) make them an ultimate threat to almost any unit in the game.
And it’s high time to mention characters since BA codex always had the most interesting and charismatic ones. It might seem weird in this edition, but they provoke you to create a Death Star, just like in the 7th ed. Each has his own useful bonuses and they greatly work together. Sanguinor adds an attack (so, DC now have 5), Lemartes gives charge and to-hit re-rolls (btw, in this edition he looks more effective than Astorath). Sanguiniary priest (sure, with jump pack) increases strength, and Sanguiniary Guard Ancient grants re-roll of 1-s to wound. Considering the fact that it’s all auras, you can boost even two squads this way. And if you play a narrative game and allowed to use more than 1 similar stratagem per turn… Just imagine 40 Death Company marines, with all possible boosts, falling from the skies and charging the entire enemy army at the first turn. Sure, you are not likely to use it in sport games, but it sounds quite frightening.
And when you have such warriors like DC, Sanguiniary Guard may seem strange. A tough unit (2nd wound works), with a strong weapon, but have fewer attacks and have the same purpose on the battlefield. But it seems that the choice depends on what you like most – durability or aggression.
Another two units which compete each other – dreadnaughts (sure, except for the Librarian, he’s perfect). DC dreadnaught can consolidate 6 inches and gets a bonus attack for the Blood Rage. Furioso is cheaper and can take range weapon. The stock wargear and statline are the same, so the choice again depends on what you prefer.
Comparing to all these units and special rules, the vanilla space marines part of the codex doesn’t look interesting at all. Even with all the units except for the Centurions and TFK now available. New stratagems don't help primaris and they remain an army-on-their-own. A gunline of devastators and laspreds is still up to date, nonetheless, A Baal Predator with assault cannons and bolters is quite nice. However, unique BA squads and tactics, made for them make this codex much more interesting than standard space marines. With almost the same basis, BA have much more tactical solutions, interesting units, and gameplay concepts. If you add here nice models and charismatic characters, you’ll get a solid reason to try playing BA even if you have vanilla space marines.