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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Fire and Wings, Metal and Death


It is now and finally time to show off my Blood Angels.  It is important to note that I actually painted the vast majority of the army waaaaaay back in May of '10, and finally based the models last week.  In between that time, I've moved, quit the hobby, gotten back into it, worked on other armies, and any number of other excuses. 

Headquarters

I just needed to have this model in the army.  He's the avenging angel of the chapter and some legends say that he's not even a real being.  Being a follower of the greatest myths of the chapter, I believe he is Askaellon, First Master of the Blood Angels and leader of the Sanguinary Guard.  For that to be true, that would make the Sanguinor 10 millenia old!
The Sanguinor    275 pts

For all the years that I've actually been rolling dice and moving space marines around the tables, this guy has been there.  He's the oldest living space marine in the galaxy, and commands some of the mightiest forces in the Imperium.  Although his skills aren't as powerful as some of the other warriors of his rank, Dante's tactical brilliance and raw combat prowess is known far and wide.  Beyond that, he commands the Sanguinary Guard nowadays and gives the battle companies a massive enhancement when they come to battle.
Lord Commander Dante     225 pts

Elites

All Blood Angel armies are accompanies by the Sanguinary Priest, a sect of warriors charged with the well-being of the chapter.  They oversee the physical health as well as the spiritual purity of the battle-brothers in times of need, but their most important function is to retrieve the gene-seed from fallen warriors.  Without this sacred task, the chapter would have failed millenia ago and would be little more than an old myth.
Sanguinary Priest w/ power weapon and jump pack     90 pts

Troops

The Sanguinary Guard are the reason that I overcame my hatred of Blood Angels.  When GW released these models and I had the glory of laying hands on them early, my mind was changed.  I still hate Blood Angels, mind you, but these guys are the 'thing' that puts this army over the line on coolness.  I mean, as awesome as Ultramarines are, do they have any angels with big blades?  Nope.  Therefore, I had to include this unit.  I hope to have at least one more soon, but that requires money...
Sanguinary Guard w/ Chapter Banner, death masks, power fist, and inferno pistol     275 pts

Every Battle Company in a space marine army is organized the same, according to the Codex Astartes.  They include 6 Tactical Squads, 2 Assault Squads, and 2 Devastator Squads.  Most Blood Angel armies more readily deploy their assault squads than any other.  This is a matter of training as well as benefitting from the chapter's strengths.  No matter the mission, however, tactical squads are always present and always mounted in their fast transports to keep up with the assault squads.
Tactical Squad w/ flamer and multi-melta     170 pts
Rhino w/ overcharged engines and extra armor     65 pts

Assault Squad w/ flamer, meltagun, power weapon, and plasma pistol     235 pts

Assault Squad w/ flamer, meltagun, and thunderhammer     235 pts

Fast Attack

These are the trademard Blood Angels battle tanks.  Eschewing anti-tank firepower to shred infantry better, the Baal Predator is a fearsome beast.  I armed mine with Flamestorm cannons and lots of dakka, hoping to take advantage of the 'outflanking' ability of the vehicles.  Being especially vulnerable to heavy weapons squads, my army needed to be able to flush out units in cover.  Go go gadget Baal!
Baal Predator w/ Flamestorm cannon, heavy bolter sponsons, and storm bolter     155 pts

Baal Predator w/ Flamestorm cannon, heavy bolter sponsons, and storm bolter     155 pts

Heavy Support

With the vast majority of my points put into HQ and assault units, I only had a few points left.  Looking around, I noticed that the Destructor is actually very cheap and, with the Blood Angels' overcharged engines, was very effective at laying down dakka.  So far, I haven't been disappointed in it, but my predator hasn't really been tested either...
Predator w/ autocannon turret, heavy bolter sponsons, and storm bolter     110 pts

And finally, put it all together and it comes out to a smooth 1990 pts.  In the few games that I've played, I've drawn almost all of them.  But I also must admit that I've used Grey Knight Terminators instead of the Sanguinor, which worked out pretty well.  But I play the game for coolness and fluff, and I changed over to the Sanguinor as soon as he was painted.


It is also important to note that the bases aren't fancy and the squads lack any sort of markings.  This is because a)I'm lazy and b)I'm waiting on a tournament.  Turns out, as of last night, my LGS is running a tournament in two weeks, which means I'll have to add that stuff to the army and y'all will get to see how I do it on this here blog.  Stay tuned for that in the future...

Happy Gaming!

Full Frontal

It's time to revisit that old column, Full Frontal.  In these articles, I directly compare the multiple patterns or versions of some wargear and rank them.  Today's article happens to be about the vaunted Predator Tank.
As a Blood Angels player, I have access to up to six of these battle tanks, giving me alot of options.  Most space marine armies can only have three and then still don't have access to the Baal patterns.  For this article, I'm going to assume that I'm playing my Blood Angels, or that ALL space marines have access to all versions (minus the supercharged engines, of course).  Let's get started:

Predator Mk 1
This is the oldest version of the Predator.  It only came with a turret-mounted autocannon and sponson-mounted lascannons.  The Imperial armies used this vehicle as their main battle tank, claiming it was fast and well-armed.  Unfortunately, the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th editions made this vehicle almost obsolete.  Luckily, the new 5th edition has put the tank back on par with the other marks. 
In fact, in the modern era of tank combat, this version of the predator is both cheap and effective.  The lascannons are obvious tank-busters, but the autocannon does have the stopping power to ruin most transports' days.  Add the ballistic skill of the space marine gunners and you have a powerful armored bohemoth. 
There was a point I thought this tank was as stupid as it gets, but I've since changed my mind and I rank it pretty good.

Predator Destructor
This version of the Predator is the cheapest of them all.  It is armed with the turret-mounted autocannon and sponson-mounted heavy bolters (although it can be armed like the Mk I).  Of all the versions of the tank, this version sees the least use.  It's single role as an infantry-support vehicle means that it's rarely needed, as the infantry of the 41st millenium are usually well-supported already.  For facing against horde armies, such as Tyranids and Orks, this vehicle always earns its points back.  When facing against immobile marines and IG, this tank is little more than a few extra points on the table.
Overall, I rank it as okay.

Predator Annihilator
The Annihilator is the most well-known and feared Predator on the battlefield.  Packing a turret-mounted twin lascannon and usually sporting the lascannon sponsons, it strikes fear into any enemy commander foolish enough to bring armor to war.  The Annihilator, especially during the 4th edition era, was often armed with sponson-mounted heavy bolters, allowing it to fulfill a tank-hunter and an infantry-support role simultaneously.  With the mobility issue brought by 5th edition, the 'all-lascannon' version has taken over again. 
I rank the Annihilator as Awesome-sauce.  It's almost never not worth it.

Baal Predator
This Predator is lucky enough to mount a turret twin-assault cannon, giving it a huge amount of anti-infantry firepower.  The sponsons are also typically armed with heavy bolters, but are sometimes given the shorter-ranged heavy flamers for that 'close-in' support.  The Blood Angels, using almost exclusively strike tactics, enjoy having a battle tank that shreds infantry and works best at close range.  Compared to the Destructor pattern, the Baal is dead even, trading a bit of punch for more firepower. 
I rank the Baal Predator as okay, although its place in the BA codex really ups it to awesome-on-a-stick.

Firestorm Baal Predator
This battle tank is just wrong.  Having the armor of the Predator, with the flame-heavy weapons loadout, makes this vehicle a truly fearsome opponent for mass horde armies and even Space Marines themselves.
The turret mounts a flamestorm cannon which fires the most powerful flamethrower gout known to mankind.  The inferno is so hot the even power armor melts under it.  The sponsons are usually armed with heavy bolters like the Baal pattern, but heavy flamers can be taken as well.  This much fire is more than a match for the enemy's infantry squads, and the tank is relatively cheap as well. 
Overall, I rank this Predator as cool-as-hell.  Mostly because it shoots hell onto people, and that's just cool.

To finally summarize
I like the Predator tanks, especially with the wide variety of choices.  Although I don't often use them in most of my marine armies, my Blood Angels would be no fun without them.  My favorites aren't always the most tactical version, but I'm willing to rank them this way from top to bottom:

1.  Predator Annihilator
2.  Flamestorm Baal Predator
3.  Predator Mk I
4.  Baal Predator
5.  Predator Destructor

And with that, I'm gonna go build a new tank for one of my armies...