Okay, after beating my head against the wall, trying to shake loose a solid Blood Angels list...
...well, I hurt my head. So I sat down for a bit and thumbed through the Codex for the umpteenth time. I've been reading blogs and posts all over the net, so I know it's not just me that's having issues. I finally realized the list isn't going to look the way I expect it to; that, coupled with some advice from friends (like the King's most excellent refutation of my original list) gave me the idea of starting fresh, with some general guidelines to follow. Let's start with those guidelines:
1) Our HQ is the Librarian with Jump Pack. That's psychic defense and killy-goodness rolled into one, for a reasonable price tag of 125pts.
2) Chaplains get expensive fast, so any list including them is going to be small and hard-hitting. Why? Because you'll inevitably build a list to maximize the charge, using the Chaplain with the Sanguinary Priest plus at least 10 Death Company/Terminators/Vanguard or the like. Frankly, I think perhaps the best use of the Chaplain is to add him like a cherry on the top of another list. Don't over-think him. But I'm not using him at this time.
3) This is going to be an all-infantry force. I can't crack the hybrid list at this time.
A word on that... List-Hammer isn't my strength, even after a year of studying it. I actually started blogging at places like YTTH in order to learn how to build a better army. My conclusion? Sometimes a sub par is the best option. There! How helpful was that! Not very? You obviously don't have my super-awesome-understanding of the Metagame... what? That doesn't exist? Okay, I'm confused.
Seriously, my time hasn't been wasted, since I have a better understanding of that side of the game, but I've come to realize I'll never know it as well as Evil Homer, Stelek, Darkwynn, Goatboy, TKE, Chumby... dudes like that. I'm always going to fiddle, and playtest, and try to make stuff work - that's my strength. I had to learn when that was appropriate though, since I was famous for changing my list right before a major tournament. Doing that kind of stupid shit drove my friends nuts. The Master Manipulator (every store needs one) actually implemented a rule for our latest Army Build Project stating you had to play the 3 event games per month with the same list, simply to encourage me to learn an army better. He's a benevolent dictator.
4) No Death Company and no Vanguard. I need to understand the flow of the army before adding an element like these.
Okay, let's jot down some ideas...
a) Two Sanguinary Priests. Yup; necessary, but last time I had both with Jump Packs - is that the right call? Maybe, since I suspect the key to the Blood Angels now and in the future will be jumping these little blighters from position to position, but for now, since I know I'm going to have both forward and rearguard elements, I'll take one with a Jump Pack and one without. Also, I know I'm taking a Librarian with a Jump Pack. That's 75/50/125 for the three, but now I'm done with single-man units.
b) Next, let's jot down what I want to include and start getting an idea of the numbers. I want a full-sized Terminators unit with Cyclone Missile Launchers: 460. Two full-sized Assault Squads with 2x MG and a PF: 470. Two full-sized Devastator Squads with 4x Missile Launchers and a PF for the Sgt.: also 470.
Now, the general idea is I want the option to combat-squad every unit, depending on who I face. With big numbers like these, I'm fast running out of points, but I'm desperate for more Troops. No mech, so Tactical Squads are out. No Death Company - see #4. I could fit in another Assault Squad... but how about Scouts? Do they have a place? I've played Daemons enough to know the board gets crowded quick; do I want to risk my most expensive unit to a deep-strike mishap? Locator Beacon.
c) A full-sized unit of Scouts with Bolters, a PF, and a Locator Beacon: 190. The idea here is a cheap utility-unit. I can split it up and hold objectives or place them forward to support an aggressive assault should I need to deep strike the Terminators. With the Black Rage and/or the Priest within range, not to mention the Power Fist on the Sgt., I have a unit capable of supporting close-combat if necessary... but that's not really their role. Having this unit gives me options, allowing the Assault Squads to concentrate on the fight.
Okay, I'm down to my last few hundred points. I've my rearguard: the Devastators are going to combat-squad, so I'll have 4 units of Missiles taking out light mech. Supported by the Sanguinary Priest, they should be fairly survivable. Also, they're Blood Angels - they'll be no slouches if the enemy brings the fight to me: that's what the Power Fists are for. The problem, as I see it, is the phrase 'light mech.' My army has Melta Guns and Power Fists for taking out heavy mech up close, but I'd rather they didn't have to. Rereading the 'dex, I saw what the little-used Signum does. Okay, one weapon gets BS5? That gave me an idea: I'm going to spend an additional 15pts per squad to upgrade one of the launchers to a Lascannon. Now, I'll combat squad each unit with 3 Missile Launchers in one 5-man squad and the Sgt. w PF and Lascannon in the other. The Lascannon can target heavy mech at BS5, leaving my Missile Launchers to soften up Rhinos, Razorbacks, and the like. Also, if my Sgt. has to move, say to counter-assault, I'm only short one heavy weapon firing.
d) I'm at 1870. I'd love another Priest... I spend my last 130 on an Honor Guard with a Company Standard. Sure, I'd love to add more to this unit - what's that? Why are you shaking your head?
WHAT? I'd have to BUY Jump Packs?
Well hell. I'm tired of playing.
d, Part II) Okay, a cherry on the sundae: a Reclusiarch with a Jump Pack. I scavenge the extra 25pts by taking the Power Fist from the Scout Sgt. - he didn't need it anyway, he's got to pay attention to the Locator Beacon.
Why a Reclusiarch instead of a Chaplain, HQ instead of Elite? I think the extra W, I, and A are worth it... plus, I've got a cool model already painted - and he's on a big base.
Okay, that's my working list, 64 models. Keep in mind, they're pretty survivable, and they should hit like a ton of bricks. A potential 12 squads, as needed.
4) Chaplain, Librarian, and Priests
20) Assault Squads
10) Scout Squad
20) Devastator Squads
The only question is, did I hit the mark? Am I closer? No idea! Take it apart, folks.
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