"Drink deep of victory and remember the fallen."
-Inscription over the archway leading to the Sepulchre of Heroes on Baal Secondus
This post will review the historical entries of the current Blood Angel Vanguard Veterans. Let's go back to their first mention in the Rick Priestly and Jervis Johnson created Angels of Death Codex (I guess it will be the Dark Angels' turn in the sun now after too much time in the chambers with the Interrogator Chaplains.) "The members of the Blood Angels 1st Company fight as assault troops when not equipped as Terminators" (p. 48). Here they are labelled as a Veteran Assault Squad. Also in the entry "A single Battle squad of Blood Angels Veterans forms the personal honour guard of the Chapter's commander" (p.48) Interestingly they could split the purchasing of jump packs between combat squads that meant you could take 10 and have five of them with jump packs and five without if you wanted. The stat line had them at weapon skill 5, ballistic skill 5 and initiative 5. I would sure like to see that come back because veterans should be able to take down a regular marine more easily than just having an extra attack. It would also add some more difference between them rather than simply an extra attack and additional war gear options (Why bother? I guess it's just another thing to blame Gav Thorpe for then in the 3rd Edition BA codex.).
Codex: Blood Angels (3rd Edition) had the Veteran Assault squad moving from the now defunct Squads section to the Elites section. Unfortunately, they also dropped their WS, BS and I back to 4. They also had limitations put on the amount of Wargear they could take "Even amongst these supreme fighters, there are those whose martial skills put them above their battle-brothers.These remarkable individuals are accepted into the First Company and form hard-hitting shock squads that can tear the heart out of an enemy army." Well, I guess they used to be like that but dropping the stats sure knocks the wind out of that quote.
Codex: Blood Angels (4th Edition) by Jervis Johnson still had the Veteran Assault squad in the elites section which look very similar to what the excellent Assault squad is in the 5th Edition Blood Angels codex. They already had jump packs attached but could take them off for a free transport. They kept the same stat line they had in the 3rd Edition codex.
Last, we come to Ward's 5th Edition version of Codex: Blood Angels. They have now changed their name to Vanguard Veterans and moved them to the fast attack slot (in line with the previously made Codex: Space Marines). They lost some options for shooting weapons but gained more close combat ones. They also gained the Heroic Intervention rule as the space marine codex but combined with the Descent of Angels rule made it somewhat more powerful. Although they are better than their Codex: Space Marine brethren, they still suffer from being over-costed in comparison to the scoring unit of the Assault squad. Let's hope for the next codex that they will be given a stat boost or more special rules to make them exciting choices to take.