Before I started my Blood Angels army, I thought long and hard about which power armoured codex to run. I knew I wanted to start a homebrewed Space Marine chapter, but wasn't sure who their progenitor would be. I eventually went with the Blood Angels, as I liked the Sanguinary Guard models and they had always been one of my favourite chapters. However, with the Marine Codex dropping a few months ago, I've been giving the Blood Angels book a much more critical look.
I've always been a fan of building my own characters, and the relics available in the Space Marine codex look awesome. But I can wait for next BA codex to drop and see those neat relics. Until then, I'm stuck with some broken characters.
Let's take the Captain. He cannot take artificer armour, despite almost every special character sporting it. Also, he doesn't have the "Descent of Angels" special rule (none of the regular independent characters have it). Again, every special character with a jump pack has this special rule.
I run a Captain with a jump pack converted from Gabriel Seth. I already have to use some wonky counts-as rules for his eviserator, and when I put him deep striking with my Sanguinary Guard, they no longer benefit from "Descent of Angels." Also, why doesn't the Honour Guard have this special rule?
These are issues that could be easily fixed with a FAQ update. I'm trying to "Forge the Narrative" my army, but I feel like the rules hamstring my creativity.
The Good in the Book
I keep thinking of ways to run my Blood Angels as codex marines to have access to the cool new toys (hello Hunter, you sexy beast!), but today I thought that I need to start looking at the cool units that BA players have access to rather than thinking about what I'm missing. Death Company and Sanguinary Guard are two great assault units that I already run, and Baal Predators are no joke. Also, Blood Angels have a plethora of dreadnoughts.
Now dreadnoughts (and most monstrous creatures) suffer from a low number of attacks to really make a dent in combat. However, a Death Company Dread with claws can wreak some real damage. Yes, it's only striking at AP 3, but the unit is meant to be tearing up a huge mob of orks, not going toe to toe with terminators. And with fleet, it won't be missing a charge (unlike my Death Company and Sanguinary Guard, who enjoy tripping over their shoe laces).
I often overlook the Furioso Dreadnought, as the Elites section of the Blood Angels book is chock full of stuff, but that could be a good unit to crack tough enenmy combat units. With front armour 13, the walker could challenge strength 8 with relative safety and at WS 6, most things will be rolling on a 4+ while the Furioso strikes at 3+. Just watch out for chainfists.
There's plenty more I can talk about regarding this 'dex, but I think that's enough for now without covering ground that's been already stomped flat on the internet. Though the Blood Angels book is starting to show it's age--especially with the high cost of many units--there are some surprises still there that could really shine in sixth edition. I've just gotta get painting so I can acquire more toys!
On characters: I've seen this in a lot of the codexes. You can never quite make an equivalent HQ choice as the special characters for an equivalent point value. My example is trying to make a daemon prince equivalent to a Bloodthirster. You just can't do it. But that makes me wonder why so many people are averse to using special characters. I don't know if the Blood Angels characters are any good but...
The points cost doesn't bother me, I just want to make it interesting. I could always run my Captain as a "counts as" something. I'm really hoping the next codex has some awesome chapter relics that allow people to make really interesting characters (ala the SM dex). It just bothers me that I'll have to wait for the new codex before my characters can get artificer armour, and may have to wait that long before they fix the Descent of Angels issue.
On a different note, the rules for Astorath the Grim could work for my Captain (stats are similar, he's got a big heavy melee weapon). Only problem is he has all those chaplain rules that don't really fit.