40k Space Marines – Is Codex: Blood Angels Overpowered?

A lot has been said around the internet and gaming community recently about Games Workshop’s latest release, Codex: Blood Angels. The aforementioned sayings tend to run along the lines that it’s overpowered, imbalanced and made of win. My favourite comment so far has been from a chap at Bolter and Chainsword who said:

“The new BA codex is so overpowered that holding it will give you and your friends within six feet Feel No Pain and Furious Charge in real life.”

But is it really all that bad? I got my grubby power fist on a copy last week…

In a word… no. Sorry to disappoint everyone who likes a good stab at GW, but I don’t consider it all that bad. However, it does do the codex creep to a small extent, and is slightly better than Codex: Space Marines.

For example, Assault Marines now become a troops choice, and thus scoring units. In addition, those assault marines have a one in six chance of gaining furious charge and when they deep strike they will only scatter 1D6 rather than the usual 2D6 of regular assault marines. So they are mildly better, at the same points cost. The downside? They lose Combat Tactics. Aww heck they can live without that!

Tactical marines remain the same as their regular brothers, but again have a one in six chance of gaining furious charge, and lose Combat Tactics. This I think does hinder Blood Angels slightly, as for these guys Combat Tactics is actually a pretty useful skill. In addition, the plethora of special characters with their funky little rules is gone, which may be to the detriment of bigger armies.

Another mild difference is in command squads. The regular squad has an apocathary who grants his unit feel no pain special rule. The Blood Angel equivalent costs the same AND gives squads within 6″ feel no pain AND furious charge. A mild improvement which is typical of this Codex.

The big difference however, is with vehicles. All vehicles, except the Land Raider (which can deepstrike), count as fast. In addition, Blood Angels seem to have more choice in dreadnoughts, with the twin lightning claw and librarian options making people go weak at the knees. The snazzy fast attack Baal predator adds an extra option that regular marines don’t get. There are points differences, and Blood Angel vehicles do cost a little more. But heck, their Rhinos now move 18″! The biggest potential ‘Whoops we didn’t think of that’ moment for Games Workshop in this codex has to be making the vindicator fast. A bargain at only 30 points extra! This now makes this pokey little tank a serious threat to everyone. Even if it doesn’t actually destroy anything it’s psychological impact is going to be immense.

So to sum up… Codex: Blood Angels is not overpowered. It’s a jaunty fun, novel, power armoured roll in the hay roughly in line with other space marine forces. It is mildly better and has a few minor improvements over Codex: Space Marines with very little in the way of extra points cost. In a competitive sense I personally think that it has made vanilla space marines a little obsolete. The only reason I can see for taking a Codex: Space Marine force to a tournament now is that either you love Combat Tactics (which is a good skill), you want to use Thunderfire Cannons (which lets face it, are a little bit delicate) or you rely on one of the special characters for force wide special rules.

It might be time then to get your glitter out and sprinkle it on your brothers then!