Monday, December 17, 2012

The Elites Section and Blood Angels [Strategical Exploration]

The Elites section of the Blood Angels book was a real favorite in 5th Edition with more nice units than you can take in the slot. You have single models like: Chaplains, Furioso Dreadnoughts, Furioso Librarians, Techmarines, Sanguinary Priests and Corbulo.  Then there are interesting units like Sternguard Veteran Squads,  Sanguinary Guard, Terminator Squad and Terminator Assault Squad.

 The Elites section has now taken a hit in 6th Edition. The Sanguinary Priest's Furious Charge bonus lost its +1 Initiative and the Feel No Pain rule has been modified (though arguably better). Lightning Claws becoming AP3 took a hit too which means that Lightning Claw Terminators are now a much less viable option than they were. This is quite unfortunate due to how awesome they look as a model and on the table. Blood Angel players should now weigh the importance of their Elites choices versus the scoring possibilities in some missions of the Fast Attack and Heavy sections.Essentially, the Elites section is the only one in the book (other than Death Company, Honour Guard and second HQ choices) that can never possibly score objectives. Have you been treating the above as you do your Elite choices? Maybe not.

Why take them is a legitimate question to explore.

Chaplains, in addition to their own stat line abilities allows re-rolls to hit on the charge. You really want them though for beefing up your small Death Company Squad though because of the extra re-rolls to wound he gives only them. You may consider just using Lemartes anyway though.

The change in the Deep Strike table has made it more friendly for Terminators to drop in. You will want a priest around to get invulnerable re-rolls on those plasma shots they will end up taking or focused firing volume of shots. You might consider taking one Lightning Claw Terminator for manipulating where he will charge into combat or even as the Sergeant for precision attacks to try to take out AP 2 piercing weapons before they can strike at your squad.

Corbulo is a real nice character to have right now with that fantastic 2+ Feel No Pain save of his. He's flexible where you can attach him to any unit that needs toughening up. This might be Sternguard Veterans or maybe an Assault Squad in a Razorback you want to send to claim an enemy objective. Also, a Sanguinary Priest on a bike is a sure handy character to redeploy elsewhere.

Using Divination powers with a Furioso Librarian has some interesting possibilities. Sternguard has already been covered previously here with relevant info here.

On and on and on...You can find purpose for Elites units, but does this actually outweigh the benefits of having more fast attack and heavy support units when they can be scoring? There's a 16% chance for each of Heavy Support or Fast Attack being scoring units even if they are vehicles but not immobilized. There's a 33% chance that one of them will be picked, so you better have at least something from those slots. There's good reason to not load up too many points into your Elites section; however, there's no need to worry about going to the section to pull out something you want or need from it.

When list building for 6th, you should also keep an eye on the percentage of points you are dedicating to each slot. If it is swinging too far in one direction, come up with some creativity to keep you balanced and in the fight. It also means that you better keep your HQ and Elite slots relatively light and your troops survivable enough (one way or anther) to be effective.Your Fast Attack and Heavy Support are going to need to fill multiple roles (scoring, firing support, mobile melta, etc.) yet not lose effectiveness. Perhaps when going about list building, build your troops first, then heavies, fast attack and HQ, then elites last. If you are choosing Elites earlier, you may end up building around Terminators or Sternguard when this is not going to help you win the missions.

Please add your thoughts too in the comment section!


  1. I'm having trouble including any BA elites in 6th. But that's because troops choices are so good they're hard to miss. Still, AssTermies, SangGuard, SternGuard and SangPriests are all viable options and great addition to most armies. Furiosos I'm still in doubt. Hull points just hurt Dreads all around, making them specially weaker in CC, which is supposed to be their confort zone.

  2. Thanks, Anon. The Assault Marines are one of the best troop choices in the game, which makes up for the lack of efficiency in the HQ section.

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