Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Using Speed (can be fun)

One of the things that a friend and I theorized about when Codex: Blood Angels released was the the use of speed not just as a tool, but also as a weapon. I went as far as to say that the top tier armies in early 2010 were:

Imperial Guard - They broke the metagame wide open with the sheer number and quality of guns they could field. Often times, taking the first turn with an IG army meant an almost automatic win, and many players would go to ridiculous lengths (like placing their entire army in reserve) to counteract the effectiveness of this massed firepower. In my eyes, there is often no overcoming such an advantage. IG are weighted too heavily on the side of ranged weaponry. Since armies often start the game on opposite sides of the table, the Guard have an amazing and unfair advantage. Weird missions and bad dice are the only thing that should cause a good IG army to lose.

Blood Angles - In their own right they are powerful enough to take on most other armies, but against the Imperial Guard their speed is an essential factor. They are the only army (at least they were before Dark Eldar) that could drastically and safely decrease the distance between itself and an IG force in a reasonable amount of time - in other words, they move as fast as the IG can shoot. In addition, they can accomplish almost all their goals with their hearty and effective troop choice - the Assault Squad. So it kills stuff? And it's a scoring unit? And it moves fast? How can you go wrong with an army whose scoring units are highly effective at smashing things?!

I theorized that a BA force which utilized as many fast vehicles as was reasonable would yield amazing results. The following list came to mind:

Reclusiarch - 130

Librarian - 100
Blood Lance, Sanguine Sword

Honor Guard (5) - 235
Powerfist, 2x Lightning Claw, Company Standard, Meltagun, Rhino

Sanguinary Priest - 75
Combi-Flamer, Lightning Claw

Assault Squad #1 (5) - 145
Flamer, Lightning Claw, Hand Flamer, Rhino

Assault Squad #2 (10) - 250
2x Meltagun, Powerfist, Rhino

Assault Squad #3 (10) - 250
2x Meltagun, Powerfist, Rhino

Assault Squad #4 (10) - 250
2x Meltagun, Powerfist, Rhino

Baal Predator #1 - 115
Flamestorm Cannon

Baal Predator #2 - 115
Flamestorm Cannon

Baal Predator #3 - 115
Flamestorm Cannon

Predator #1 - 70

Predator #2 - 70

Predator #3 - 70

I wanted a Blood Angel army that could, if I really desired, match an IG force on a unit for unit basis. This army has 18 units, with the possibility of another three if combat squads are utilized. When dealing with IG forces that utilize a lot of armor, it's all important to neutralize as much of the armor as possible. Perhaps that's a no-brainer, but if you don't take out one of their units (and quickly) for each one of yours that's lost, you risk an even greater imbalance of power.

The overall strategy of this BA force is that it should go on the offensive as fast as possible. Every one of your units is a potential threat for an IG force, and because of the increased mobility of BA vehicles, they are more than just the single weapon they carry. They have the option of utilizing both Tank Shocks and ramming as legitimate tactics. The ability of the Baal Predators to scout is important because it sends your opponent a message: deal with them or they will disrupt your forces. For instance, if you end up with traditional 12" deployment, you deploy your Baal Predators as far forward as possible, scout move before the game, and on the first turn you're in range for a high strength tank shock. That's +6 for moving 18", +1 for being a tank, +3 for each point of armor above 10. That's a strength 10 attack against an average IG vehicle AV of 12 (and side AV of 10 for Chimeras). Of course you take a hit in return, but against AV 10 it's strength 7 versus your Baal front armor of 13. Anyhow, even though it's statistically unlikely that you will destroy an enemy vehicle with this maneuver, it's possible that you'll take no damage, and that you'll prevent the opponent's vehicle from firing and force them to deal with the threat of your Baal in the midst of their vehicles. And while your other vehicles aren't capable of scouting, they are entirely capable of shooting forward with an 18" move. This allows your foot troops to get into charge range during your second turn.

1 comment:

  1. I like that list. Fast vehicles are one of the main reasons I started a BA army, that and better Troop choices. If I changed anything about the list it would be adding dozer blades to the Rhinos and trying to work in another priest somewhere. I'm a sucker for Sanguinary Priests! I'm off to check prices on Predators...