Warhammer 40,000 NEW Codex Supplement Blood Angels Review – 40k 9th Edition
Codex Supplement Blood Angels is the 3rd of the new style 9th edition Codex Supplements designed to be used alongside the recent Warhammer 40,000 9th edition Space Marines Codex. We’ve been lucky enough to receive a review copy and we’ll be taking a close look at the contents in this article.
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As expected, this 40k Codex Supplement is slightly smaller than the parent Codex Space Marines with a page count of 80 with about of a third of the book given over to lore and background, a small section containing images and painting references and then about half of the book dedicated to gaming content.
The book opens with a nice chunky section covering the lore of the Blood Angels. There are sections describing the creation of the Blood Angels Legion, their earliest history and their Primarch Sanguinius. There is information on each of the famous Blood Angels and Flesh Tearers heroes, the different units and Successor Chapters. It’s well worth making a brew, having a sit down and getting stuck into the lore in order to get the feel for the army!
In line with other 9th edition Codexes and Supplements, the rules section of the book starts with a very useful colour coded contents page, allowing the reader to quickly locate a specific section. I’ll take a closer look at each section below. This section of the book is intended to be used in conjuntion with the main Codex Space Marines. There are a lot of references to rules in the main book but hopefully this should not cause too much hassle during a game thanks to the handy Index and Glossary in the new 9th edition Codexes.
One thing we did notice is that unlike the other 9th edition books we’ve seen so far, the Matched Play section has shifted a little in where it appears in the book – so we assume this will be the layout going forwards.
First up in this section are the new Detachment Abilities. Just like the Space Wolves supplement, the first thing the book makes clear is that a Blood Angels Detachment is also an Adeptus Astartes Detachment and therefore gains the relevant abilities as descibed in the parent Codex Space Marines namely Company Command and their Chapter Tactic “The Red Thirst” (which grants a +1 to wound bonus if the unit charged, is charged or performs a Heroic Intervention in addition to +1 to advance and charge rolls). In addtion to this a Blood Angels Detachment gains the Savage Echoes ability.
There are also a new set of rules relating to the Death Company simply titled “The Lost”. These rules allow you to induct a single Captain and up to 2 Lieutenant (excluding named characters) units into the Death Company for a points cost.
Such a unit gains gains several new abilities and replaces some existing ones. They gain the “Black Rage” and “Death Visions” abilities (which we’ll cover below) and swap their “Rites of Battle” and “Tactical Precision” abilities for a similar abilitie which now only affects other Death Company units. What is also really useful is that Death Company character units are excluded from the Company Command rule and so you can now include two Captains in your detatchment for example.
On that subject it’s worth remembering that the Chapter Command rules from the parent Codex Space Marines also apply allowing you to upgrade the relevant units appropriately.
There are 17 unique Stratagems in the Codex once again split into different categories. 15 of these Stratagems are listed as Blood Angels and 2 are listed as Flesh Tearers specific Stratagems. It’s worth noting that all Blood Angels Successor Chapters (including Flesh Tearers) get access to the 15 Blood Angels Stratagems but only a Flesh Tearers army can use the 2 Flesh Tearers specific Stratagems.
Descent of Angels (Battle Tactic) – Used at the end of your Movement phase a single Core Jump Pack unit can re-roll subsequent charges that turn and gains +1 to hit for the rest of the turn (both ranged and melee). Only costs 1CP and looks like it is well suited to Sanguinary Guard units.
Vengeance for Sanguinius (Battle Tactic) – Costs 1CP and can be used on any Blood Angels unit in the Fight phase. Allows them to re-roll hits and wounds against Black Legion units.
Refusal to Die (Battle Tactic) – Used on a Death Company unit when they are chosen as a target for an attack, granting them a 5+++. Cost varies between 1/2CP depending on the size of the Death Company unit.
Aggressive Onslaught (Battle Tactic) – The first of the Flesh Tearer specific Stratagems. This costs 1CP and adds +3″ to pile-in or consolidation moves to an affected Infantry unit.
Angel’s Sacrifice (Epic Deed) – This is an interesting Stratagem and it will be fun to see how it can be exploited effectivly in games. It costs 1CP and effectivily forces an opponent to target the affected Character unit (excluding vehicles) during the Fight phase. You can sacrifice a lowly Character unit to the Nightbringer perhaps?
Spiritual Might (Epic Deed) – For 1CP a Psyker can attempt to manifest one additional power. Useful in this army with the strong Psykers and Discipline available to it.
Visions of Sanguinius (Epic Deed)
Angel Exemplar (Requisition), Angel Ascendant (Requisition) and Honoured by the Arx Angelicum (Requisition) – Your standard “extra Relics, Traits and Successor” Stratagems are all present here, as expected.
Lucifer-Pattern Engines (Requisition) – For 1CP you can upgrade the engines on your non-Dreadnought, non-Flying Vehicles. A Vehicle upgraded as such Advances 6″ rather than having to roll.
Red Rampage (Strategic Ploy) –
Unbridled Ardour (Strategic Ploy) – For 1CP you can allow a unit of Sanguinary Guard to Heroically Intervene as if they were a Character (up to 6″).
Forlorn Fury (Strategic Ploy) – Costs 1/2CP depending on the size (and type) of the targeted unit. This Stratagem allows you to move a single Death Company unit up to 12″ at the start of the first battle round, before the turn begins…wowzers!
Upon Wings of Fire (Strategic Ploy) – A bit different this time round, for 1CP you can remove a Core Jump Infantry unit from the battlefield during your Movement phase. They can then be set up on the battlefield in the following Reinforcement step of your next Movement phase (with the usual 9″ restrictions). Handy for protecting units of Sanguinary Guard from enemy attacks between fights and allows you to combo with the Descent of Angels stratagem above.
Savage Destruction (Strategic Ploy) – The 2nd Flesh Tearers Strategem costing 1CP. Enforces a -1 penalty to the Combat Attrition tests for enemies within Engagement range of the targeted Flesh Tearers unit.
Chalice Overflowing (Wargear) – Costing 1CP, allows a Sanguinary Priest unit to use their Blood Chalice ability an additional time during that phase, allowing 2 units to benefit from the Assault Doctrine at once!
The next section of the book is the Army Rules sections, covering Warlord Traits, Relics and Psychic Powers. We’ll go through each section below.
Blood Angels players get 6 Warlord Traits to choose from. Flesh Tearers Warlords can use these Warlord Traits as well or choose one from the 3 Flesh Tearers specific Warlord Traits instead.
Speed of the Primarch – Enables the Warlord to fight first in the Fight phase.
Soulwarden – Grants a 6″ aura that affects all nearby Blood Angels units giving them a 5+++ against mortal wounds.
Heroic Bearing – Extends the the Rites of Battle, Tactical Precision, Chapter Master and Spiritual Leader auras by 3″. In addition adds +1 Leadership to Blood Angels Core units within 9″.
Gift of Foresight – Allows the Warlord to re-roll one hit, wound and saving throw a turn. Can save you some CP during a game.
Selfless Valour – Allows the Warlord to Heroically Intervene ehilst within 6″ of an enemy unit rather than 3″.
As mentioned, Flesh Tearers Warlords get access to an additional 3 Warlord Traits.
Of Wrath and Rage – Grants exploding hits in melee.
Cretacian Born – Prevents targeted units from firing Overwatch or Set to Defend when this Warlord charges. In addition the Warlord can re-roll charges. A very strong Warlord Trait.
There are 7 Relics (5 for Blood Angels, 2 for Flesh Tearers) and 8 Special-Issue Wargear to assign to non-named Characters (excluding Vehicles) which we’ll look at below.
Wrath of Baal – A special banner that adds 2″ to the Move, Advance and Fallback distance of nearby Blood Angels units.
Visage of Death – Bestows a -1 to hit penalty to melee attacks made against the bearer which on it’s own makes this a great Relic. That’s not all however as it also strips the Objective Secured ability (and other similar abilities) from enemy units within 3″.
Hammer of Baal – A Thunder Hammer without the penalty to hit and better AP.
Gallian’s Staff – A Force Stave with better AP that also buffs Psychic Test rolls.
The Crimson Plate – The 1st of the Flesh Tearers unique Relics, this is a special suit of Terminator armour that adds +1″ to the bearer’s movement, pile-in and consolidation moves. In addition let’s the bearer advance and charge!
Severer – A really cool Chainsword with better stats and the added bonus of inflicting mortal wounds on an unmodified wound roll of 5+ (in addition to it’s normal damage!). In the right circumstances you’ll be getting a crazy number of AP-4 D2 attacks in with this thing with the chance to inflict quite a few mortal wounds too!
Admantine Mantle – Grants a 5+++ to the bearer.
Artificer Armour – Grants a 2+/5+++ to the bearer.
Master-Crafted Weapon – Adds 1 to the damage characteristic of an equipped weapon.
Digital Weapons – Grants an additional basic close combat attack. If the attack hits it inflicts a single mortal wound.
Quake Bolts – If the bearer is equiped with a Bolt weapon they can make a single special attack. If it hits the target unit receives a debuff until the end of the turn allowing Blood Angels units to add +1 to each melee attack roll they make against it.
Archangel’s Shard – A special Power Sword with increased Strength, AP and Damage. The Damage is further increased if used against Chaos units and further still if used against Chaos Monsters!
Fleshrender Grenades – A nasty S5 AP-3 D2 grenade that makes D3 shots and has the Blast rule. In addition the targetted unit cannot gain the benefit of Light Cover against the attack.
Gleaming Pinions – A cool Jump Pack that allows the bearer to charge after falling back in addition to re-rolling Charge rolls.
In addition to Librarius Discipline in the main Codex Space Marines, Blood Angels also get access to a unique list of powers.
Quickening – With a Warp Charge of 6, this allows the Psyker to re-roll Advance and Charge rolls and grants +D3 attacks! Very useful on a Librarian Dreadnought.
Unleash Rage – Can be cast on a Blood Angels Core unit within 12″ with a Warp Charge of 6. Grants the targetted unit exploding hits on a 6 in melee.
Shield of Sanguinius – Can be used to give a 5++ to a Blood Angels unit within 18″.
Blood Boil – An improved version of Smite really. You target an enemy unit that is visible and within 18″ and then roll 2D6. If you beat the target unit’s Toughness you inflict D3 mortal wounds. If you double the target unit’s Toughness you inflict 3 mortal wounds instead. Has a Warp Charge of 6.
Blood Lance – You draw a line between the Psyker and a visible enemy unit within 18″. Roll a dice for each model under the line and on a 5+ inflict 1 mortal wound on that model’s unit. Not quite as effective as Blood Boil in my opinion.
Wings of Sanguinius – Grants the Psyker the Fly keyword and increases their Movement characteristic to 12″ until the end of the Psychic phase. In addition, the Psyker can make a Normal or Fallback move.
I’ll cover the Chapter Approved section of the book here. An army of Blood Angels can select one from a choice of four unique Blood Angels Secondary Objectives to use in a Matched Play game.
Blade of Sanguinius (Purge the Enemy) – At the start of the first Command Phase you issue a challenge from one of your Character units that the opponent must accept with one of own Characters or Warlord. This secondary objective grants 0-15 victory points at the end of the battle depending on whether you manage to destroy the unit that accepted the challenge and the manner in which the unit was destroyed. Blood Angels certainly have the tools to collect the full 15 points from this secondary but it all depends on what characters the opponent has available to them to accept the challenge as to whether it’s worth picking this or not.
Fury of the Lost (No Mercy, No Respite) – Collect 3 victory points at the end of each of your turns if you managed to destroy a unit with a Death Company unit. Destroy units is what Death Company do, so if you can make sure you can keep at least one such unit kicking around all game this might net you the full 15 points. In an army with lots of Death Company units this seems like a no brainer. If you’re only taking 1 or 2 units of Death Company then perhaps it’s not such a great choice.
Death from Above (No Mercy, No Respite) – You gain between 2-3 victory points a turn if you manage to destroy a unit with a unit that was set up on the battlefield in any of your Reinforcement steps.
Relentless Assault (Battlefield Supremacy) – You can score 4 victory points each turn if you have more Blood Angels units in the opponent’s deployment zone than they have units in yours.
I’m not sure there are any stand out Secondary Objectives in the list above and I think Blood Angels players will need to think carefully about which they choose. Against some opponent’s the Blade of Sanguinius would be an excellent pick but against others, not so much.
The Crusade Rules section is next, but I’ll come back to this at the end. Next we’ll head straight to the Datasheets section and have a closer look.
Just before the Datasheets themselves there is a single page which provides a description of some of the unique Blood Angels abilities that appear of some of the Datasheets themselves. This includes the Black Rage and Death Visions abilities as follows :-
The Death Visions ability is found on a very small number of Death Company units (namely the inducted Death Company characters and Tycho) and represents the Blood Angel reliving the experience of their Primarch as he battled his way to face Horus on the bridge of the Vengeful Spirit 10,000 years ago. There are three unique visions which can each be used once per battle when a model with the Death Visions is selected to fight.
The Grace of the Angel – The unit gains a 3++ save until the end of the turn.
To Slay the Warmaster – Instead of making any attacks, both player roll a dice. If the Blood Angels player wins the roll off he inflicts 3+D3 mortal wounds.
It’s worth remembering at this point that a lot of the ‘common’ Space Marine abilities that appear on the following Datasheets (such as Angels of Death and Combat Doctrines) are not detailed in this book and instead players must instead look in the parent Codex Space Marines for this information.
There are 18 unique Blood Angels Datasheets in this book that can be used in conjuction with the majority of Datasheets from the main Codex Space Marines. There appear to be no changes to the recent Errata versions with the exception of Tycho the Lost who gains the Death Visions ability above.
Towards the end of the book you’ll find the hand Weapons Profiles, Points Values, Glossary and Reference as is standard with the 9th edition books.
We’re big fans of Crusade (as those who listen to our Podcast will know :D) and I have to say that for me, the most exciting parts of the new Blood Angels codex can be found here in the Crusade section. As is now the norm, there are new Agendas, Requisitions, Crusade Relics, Honorifics and even a section on The Flaw to use in your Crusade campaigns. We’ll take a closer look at them all now.
Blood Angels players get to choose 1 Agenda from a list of 4 when playing Crusade games.
An Honourable Death in Battle – This is a really cool Agenda that can be both a blessing and a curse for your Crusade Force. Once you’ve chosen this Agenda you also select one Death Company unit from your army. If that unit is destroyed all other Blood Angels units in your army gain 1 experience point and you gain an additional Requisition Point at the end of the game and you remove this Death Company unit from your Order of Battle. If that unit survives however you gain no Requisition Points at the end of the battle.
Purity Through Bloodshed – After choosing this Agenda you select one non-Death Company unit in your army. They gain additional experience points based on the number of enemy units they destroy in melee. In addition they also have the opportunity at the end of the battle to reduce their Flaw count (more on this shortly).
Valour of the Angels – Your Blood Angels non-Death Company Characters gain additional experience based on a Valour tally they accrue during the battle. They add to this tally by Heroically Intervening, destroying Characters, Monsters and Warlords with melee weapons and also by dying themselves. If the latter happens then you can choose to remove the unit from your Order of Battle and other Blood Angels units get experience instead.
There are 4 new Blood Angels Requistions to spend your RP on.
Descent into Madness – Once a Captain or Lieutenant gains 2 or more Flaw points you can spend 1 RP to induct them in to the Death Company as per the rules described earlier.
Noble Heritage – Representing the fact that Blood Angels are amongst the longest-lived of all the Astartes this Requisition lets you give one of your non-Death Company Characters an additional Battle Trait. It costs 1 RP and the Character must have accrued 71 experience points! Haha!
Blood Cleansing – You can use the Requisition to reduce the Flaw count on a unit. It costs 2 RP and can only be used on a unit once.
So we’ve mentioned a Flaw count several times now but what exactly is it and what does it do? Since the earliest days of the Blood Angels history they have suffered and attempted to keep hidden two curses – the Red Thirst and Black Rage – collectivly known as the Flaw. It’s origins lie back in the earliest days of the 31st Millenium with the creation of the Blood Angels Space Marine Legion and that of their gene-sire, the Primarch Sanguinius. So strong is the bond between Blood Angel and Primarch that Sanguinius’s own memories are encoded into the very blood they share, including that most tragic memory – the death of Sanguinius at the hands of the traitor Horus. The shock and power of this memory afflicts each and every descendant of Sanguinius and can trigger the Black Rage in any of that line on the eve of battle. A Space Marine so affected is driven insane as they relive the experience of Sanguinius battling his way towards the bridge of the Vengeful Spirit to meet his death at the hands of his brother Horus. The Black Rage is a curse that no Son of Sanguinius can keep at bay and eventually all (well…most) Blood Angels succumb to this madness. This is all represented in your Crusade games using the rules for The Flaw.
Basically at the end of each battle you take a Black Rage test for each unit in your army by rolling a dice and comparing the result to the number of units that unit destroyed with melee weapons during that battle. If the roll is equal to or less than this tally the unit gains a Flaw point. Each time the unit gains a 3rd Flaw point in this way you must a leadership test for that unit using 3D6. If this test is passed the unit has not yet succumbed and you reduce the Flaw count by 1. If the test is failed though then a model from that unit has succumbed to the effects of the Black Rage.
There are different end results depending on the type of unit that failed this test. Captain or Lieutenant units get inducted in the Death Company as per the rules described earlier in this post. Other Character units are removed from your Order of Battle and replaced with a Death Compamy Lieutenant model instead. Dreadnoughts are replaced with Death Company Dreadnoughts and finally any other unit suffers a Devastating Blow (as per the Out of Action rules).
Death Company units in your army don’t gain experience however they can be given additional battle traits at the time they are added to your Order of Battle. In additon Death Compay Characters and Dreadnoughts can never have Honorifics, Warlord Traits, Relics and cannot be upgraded with Requisitions that grant such effects.
Overall I like these rules, they can really be used to show your Crusade force battling against the Black Rage and slowing losing models to the Flaw over the course of a Crusade although I do wish there was a bit more flexibility in the different Death Company Characters you could include though (like Chaplains and Librarians for example).
Next up are the Crusade Relics. There are more here than we saw for the Space Wolves with a choice of 7 to choose from.
Decimator (Artificer Relic) – This relic is replaces a master-crafted auto bolt rifle has an awsome statline and automatically hits its target!
Hood of Baal (Artificer Relic) – Extends the range of the Psykers Psychic Hood and allows them to ignore modifiers to Psychic Tests.
Figure of Death (Antiquity Relic) – A beefed up Crozius Arcanum which inflicts a leadership penalty on units that suffer casualties from this weapon.
Chalice of Baal (Antiquity Relic) – Increases the range of a Sanguinary Priest’s Blood Chalice ability.
The Angel’s Wing (Antiquity Relic) – Allows the bearer to ignore Overwatch and re-roll charges.
The Encarmine Warblade (Legendary Relic) – A Power Sword with +2S AP-4 and 3 flat damage. In addition, a wound roll of a 6 inflicts 2 mortal wounds in addition to normal damage!
Last but not least are the Blood Angels Honorifics. Instead of the Honorifics found in the parent Space Marine codex, Blood Angels Captains can use the list presented in this book instead. These include the following new Honorifics.
Shield of Baal – Allows you to use a Battle Tactic Stratagem twice per phase (limited to once per battle).
Lord Adjudicator – Allows you to use the Angel’s Sacrifice Stratagem for 0 CP and can be also help reduce a unit’s Flaw count at the end of a battle.
Caller of the Fires – Allows you to use the Red Rampage Stratagem for 0 CP and can be also provides a small bonus to Black Rage tests.
Lord of Skyfall – Allows you to use the Descent of Angels or Upon Wings of Fire Stratagem for 0 CP and can be also provides a small bonus to Resupply, Repair and Recuperate Requisition costs.
Master of Sieges – As an attacker you gain an extra D3 Command Points, increasing to 3 if the opponent’s army includes any Fortications.
Overall I’m quite happy with this next iteration of the Blood Angels codex. Most of the units themselves have been improved (as per the Errata) and when coupled with the solid Blood Angels Chapter rules you end up with a fearsome close combat army on the table. Reading through the codex a lot of the favourite Relics and abilities from the previous codex have made the jump, although it is true that some are only available to Crusade armies. I also really liked the Flesh Tearers support in this book, in fact some of the best Relics and abilities belong to this Successor Chapter which will please fans of this army. Finally the Death Company rules are great and it’s definetly going to be fun watching my Crusade force slowly succumb to the Black Rage!