Posted by Jawaballs at 8:22 AM
Image credit goes to Ron at From The Warp. Thanks Ron for the volume of fantastic stuff you put into the interwebs.
After the Sanguinary Priest, the second most dynamic element in the new Blood Angels codex is the advent of the fast moving tank combined with the Twin Linked Assault Cannon. TL asscans are tremendously dangerous, with the ability to mow down infantry, and kill Land Raiders! But they are notoriously short ranged. However, the Blood Angels have fixed that problem by mounting them on just about every thing!
First of all, the Baal Predator:
This juicy baby has been upgraded beyond a BA players wildest dreams. First of all, they dropped the Over Charged Engine random roll and gave it a flat Fast Vehicle rule instead. Now it can always move as if it is a fast tank. That means it can move 6" and fire all of it's guns, 12" and fire one main and all defensive, and up to 18" flat out, and 24" if you happen to be on a road. (I have never been able to play on a road to date.) In addition to the 'fast' designation, they were also given the 'scout' universal special rule, and moved from the Heavy Support classification over to Fast Attack.
It is the combination of all of these rules changes that shifted the way I use my Baal Predators. With the PDF, I used to use them as dakka dakka gun platform, outfitting them with heavy bolters and storm bolters as well as extra armor. They were devastating to infantry, belching out 12 shots a turn after moving 6", provided that they did not stall out.
But now? It is all different. Sure I can outfit them with the dakka shots and use them the same, but the consistently fast tank feature has made them much more reliable in the moving phase and given them a different role in my army. Now every turn I move them 12" and fire the asscan. I dropped all of the upgrades, taking just the base tank. There is no need for heavy bolters if I am moving the tank 12" every turn!
The chief instigator in this change of tactics for me is the Scout special rule. Now the BP can get a free scout move before the game begins, or use Flank March to enter the game from reserves, from the side of the table. Both of these applications of the scout rule convert the BP from a fearsome troop hunter, into a good troop hunter, and fearsome tank killer. The scout move and flank march option allow the BP to easily get in behind enemy armor, taking 4 twin linked, strength 6 rending shots at back armor. This allows you to open up a war from two different angles, creating a cross fire effect. A great example of how this is useful is a recent game vs an Eldar force comprised of 3 serpents and 3 falcons. My BPs scout moved 18" right to the back line, right next to the clustered skimmers. While I was still only getting side shots, what this did was force the Eldar player to remain stationary until he dealt with the BP threat. Moving out would expose his vulnerable rear armor to either the BPs or my other tanks on my side of the board. This allowed me to advance and corner the Eldar player, taking away his primary advantage of speed for a couple of turns.
The flank march option is equally useful, or even more so in some circumstances, however it is highly dependent on a random die roll. The die roll determines which turn they enter play on, and which side they are able to come onto the table on. In at least half of the games I have played flanking preds, they came onto the wrong side of the table. Even their speed could not make up for being 5 feet away from the action! But, if you are able to get them in on the side of the table you want, you will almost certainly get those prized back shots on tanks, or on weak troops holding vital objectives.
All of this said, the most important strength of the new Baal Predator is that 12" asscan. Most people simply have no clue of just how far 12", and it is essentially increasing the range of your asscan from 24" to 36". A hidden advantage of this is that it protects the tank from assault. Assaulters need 6s to hit the tank after it moves 12". This greatly reduces the effectiveness of nids and other assault dependent forces while giving you a mobile wall of armor that has some serious teeth.
What happens when your TLAC is finally blown off? Well, now you have an armor 13 guided ramming missle! All this for the Wal-Mart Rollback cost of 115 points.
How do you best use the 12" asscan? Well, you pack as many as you can into your army. Razorbacks benefit from this, though they are not as durable. Also, Land Raider Crusaders can reap the benefit as well! You can move 12", machine spirit your TLAC, and belch out a squad of terminators.
A smartly designed army will have half a dozen 12" asscans, zooming all over the table, and spewing death upon whatever it desires.
More to come...