Rediscovering Angels Part 3: The Assault Squad

Hey there everyone, Xaereth from Delusions of Grandeur here once again, continuing my series on the Blood Angels and what they can do for you.  Today I want to talk a little bit about the RAS (Regular Assault Squad), and their place in a Blood Angels army.

In the last part of this series, I talked about the Librarians.  While the Librarian can add quite a bit of versatility to your lists, the real conundrum is what exactly to do with the scoring units.  They're definitely an integral part for any list you make, and people have lots of different takes on exactly what to do with them.

It's a somewhat difficult discussion, because the assault squad can be used to fill so many different roles in the Blood Angels army.  Lots of somewhat obvious considerations about them, so I'll list them quickly in a fun bullet-point format and then get into the meat of the topic.

  • Can have 2 special weapons
  • Can take cheap (fast!) transports
  • Take cheap razorbacks
  • Scoring
  • Reasonable at assault, but not really 'elite'
  • Bullet point format is pretty awesome, see? 
So, easy stuff out of the way.  Lets get to the meat of the matter.  The truth is, very often people use the RAS incorrectly in their lists.  An example of this would be using Razorspam lists, where a person can buy a Las Cannon/Twin-linked Plasma gun on a Razorback with a unit inside for 165 (if you spring for the melta gun).  People see this as efficient, because they can sit back and shoot to their hearts content, and then 'assault' when the enemy gets too close.

What I see in a unit like that is simply this:  they're paying 165 for a scoring Las Cannon/plasma gun.  The troops inside will likely never get out, despite the fact that they're paying 110 points for them.  Sure, the Las Cannon/plasma gun are worth 55 points.  The troops don't want to get out, because they die incredibly easily, to almost anything substantial.  The idea people have though, is that spam/redundancy is a good thing.  Two las cannons are better than one, right?

So, people compound their problem, and take 5 or 6 of them.  For 6, they're paying 990 points for 6 las cannons and 6 plasma guns, as well as 30 extremely mediocre marines.  The list has no problem scoring, but I can think of 207 better things to do with 990 points than 6 las cannons and 6 plasma guns (or worse, 6 assault cannons, or twin linked las cannons).  990 points of guard shooting wins this matchup every time, and still stays scoring.  Heck, 500 points of guard would give this list a run for its money.

I'm not going to tell you it's a waste of points to get a single razorback to hold objectives in the back.  But I will say that razorspam isn't the answer to the Blood Angels problem.  Wolves play that style much better than Blood Angels, since their troops are better in assault (in a vacuum), and cheaper.  It simply does not lend itself to the strengths of the army:  fast, resiliant, hard hard-hitters.

So, what to do, if Razorspam is out?  It all depends on what you want in your list.  The thing I want to stress here the most though, is using every point you spend in a meaningful way.  This includes having an actual use for the guys in the Razorbacks, if that's how you choose to go.

Blood Angels have a lot of ways to go about using their Assault Squads.  I'll now go over general 'templates' of how I see Assault Squads potentially being most useful.  Please note that these can be mix and matched to best effect- it doesn't need to be a 'spam' army.

Remember, there are likely other ways to play them, but these are the ones I find to be the most useful, since I want to use every point I spend to threaten my enemy's army.  Assault marines don't really shoot very well, and therefore, should be used to do something combat-oriented.

Template #1:  Jump Troops

 10x Assault Marines w/ 2 Melta Guns, Power Fist, Infernus Pistol

This is probably the most obvious one, since it's the 'default' option.  This squad is going to need some access to Feel No Pain to be effective, or they'll simply get shot off the board.  The nice thing about jump troops with FNP is that they take the opposition's high-strength weaponry and force them to choose between your tanks or your jump troops, since most armies won't have enough to get through your essential 2+ save on 10 guys.  They get harder and harder to deal with by taking more and more jump troops.  I'm not for sure advocating an all jump marine list, but I think it's for sure doable.

People sometimes take flamers with assault marines, which I feel is somewhat counter-intuitive.  Assault Marines with FC and FNP are going to do pretty well in combat, which is the 'ultimate' form of anti-troop anyways.  I could go on about flamers, but I'll leave it at that for now.  The meltas help to keep this squad versatile, since you're paying about 250 points for it.  The same goes for the fist.  If you're wondering about maybe bringing a power weapon for the squad to keep it 'cheaper', please read this.  Fists help in both combat and in killing tanks you encounter.

This squad also has the option to split into combat squads, where one has the fist and the other has the two meltas- they can deepstrike, and let the meltas suicide against a land raider or whatever, while the other combat squad is still just jumping around causing mayhem.  I slapped the infernus pistol on the sergeant not so much for anti-tank (though it helps with that too), but because it helps to insta-death things that BA struggle to beat in close combat, as well as helping provide high strength low AP vs. Monstrous creatures that BA don't want anything to do with.  Also, killing one extra berzerker or wolf guard is always a nice thing before you charge in there :)

One other quick note:  It's usually going to be more cost-effective to simply buy a full 10-man squad rather than two 5-man squads.  The cost is around the same, and if needed, you can always split the two into combat squads, with the added benefit of choosing where your meltas/sergeant is.  The only reason you should go for a 5-man squad that I can see is if you really want another sergeant.  /shrug

Template #2:  Rhino-borne

10x Assault Marines w/ 2x Melta Guns, Power Fist, Infernus Pistol, Rhino, Dozer Blades

These guys are excellent in getting in someone's face quick.  A tau gunline needs to go first against them in order to stop the rhino, or it's too late.  People sometimes think that a rhino prohibits an assault army from getting into assault quickly, but if you play your rhinos in the correct manner, it really isn't a step backward from using Jump Marines, just a little different.  They aren't as exposed, but can be stopped by a single shot.

The dozer blade on an 'in your face quickly' assault army is a must.  If you immobilize yourself before you get to where you need to be, it's a sad day for you.  Trust me, 5 points is worth it on these guys.

Really your call, I prefer Template #1 better, personally, since so many lists out there have easy counters vs. AV11.

Template #3:  Razor-borne

5x Assault Marines w/ Melta Gun, Infernus Pistol, Power Weapon/Claw, Razorback w/ TL Heavy Flamer
Sanguinary Priest

This one is an interesting option.  Basically it goes along behind (or in front of, your call) your jump marines, and provides that FNP bubble, as well as mobile scoring.  The Heavy Flamer is much more of an 'in your face' kind of loadout for a razorback, and it's cheap like crazy!  The marines inside don't have a fist, so that it doesn't tempt you into charging into anything big with them.  Rather, they can be used to threaten other tanks by moving 12", turning around and disembarking the squad and melta-ing the target.  Another option is to give the sergeant a power weapon, since he's likely to have FC.

This squad is a mobile support bunker, capable of threatening troops (HF, close combat troops w/ FNP/FC), threatening tanks (two melta weapons) and keeping the other guys around your army supplied with sweet FNP (you can also swap the librarian in and out of here to provide cover saves, etc.). Total (priest included) cost is 210.  Very affordable for the flexibility it affords your army.

One more thing to note is that the Priest in this situation is much more protected than he would be with the Jump Squad, and more efficient here than he would be in the Rhino squad, because in the rhino squad, it would require the squad to go down to 9 men, and would have to get rid of the extra melta.  In this instance, you want to keep him as safe as possible, because it's the buffs you're paying for, not the combat prowess.

So, those are the templates I feel are likely to be the best for this army.  There are lots of options of course, and like I said, a single razorback sitting in the backfield shooting away with its Las Cannon might not be a total waste of points- even Blood Angels need to hold objectives in Capture and Control.

What do you think?  Does this make sense?  Are there other 'templates' I missed with assault marines?  Please let me know, I want to hear from you!

Until next time!

P.S.  I hope you didn't mind that I brought my razorspam for this article.  lol, sorry... once I thought of it, it had to be done.

Haha!  X shooting down my list on my own blog.  :)  He is right though, and the key to doing well with my razorspam list is knowing when to use your precious troops inside.  It's all good! Jawaballs


dzer0 said...

I think that if you ran 6 squads of min/max assault troops by themselves they would be garbage. You never get them out, and hug cover the whole game.

Run the same 6 squads in 2 distinct 3 unit teams, each with a priest and fight in a unified front then you change the argument completely. 15 assault marines with fnp/fc, 3 power weapons/fist, 3 melta/flamer all hitting the same proximity on the field is very strong. The trick is keeping your razspam together, working as a team to accomplish a specific goal. Pay attention to who gets fearless and you can even quagmire/counter assault off your units.

Xaereth said...

Heh, I guess my main point is that you need an actual use for the guys inside. If they just sit in their transports (as I see lots and lots of players doing), they're just an expensive waste of points.

Throwing in a priest and better weapons is probably a change for the better, just gotta be careful. Starts getting expensive real quick :)

dzer0 said...

I couldn't agree more, great article as always.

Bröm said...

I was using a razorback spam until now
- 2 x razorback heavy bolter 5 ASM melta+power weapon
- 2 x Razorback Las/plas 5 ASM melta+power weapon
- 1 x LR redeemer 5 ASM power weapon with libby and priest (boosting bunker)
In addition 2 pred (autocanon only, cheap, fast and deadly), 2 baals (ACannon), 2 furiosos, 1 vindic, 1 speeder (MM) so it is a 13 vehicule list, the problem is that too many vehicules killls vehicult, It is really hard to manage the line of sight to have clear gunlines, in addition razorback has decent gun but only av11 so they are KO really quickly...

Here is a list I'll test it is a mech/jump army mix. With BA rules I can keep assaut squad on reserve to deny anti-infantery shooting on first turn. Then jump infantery DS near the armored shield and hide behind...

Here is my first attempt :
libby (shield+rage)
5 ASM melta, power weapon Razorback heavy bolter
5 ASM melta, power weapon Razorback Las/plas
5 ASM melta, power weapon LR redeemer
6 ASM Thunder hammer (just cause an ASM with a TH is so sexy XD)
2 baals (Acannons)
2 furiosos
1 priest
2 preds
1 vindicator

I thinks this list can work really great, and this is not a 100% mech list also so I will not have the comment : oh a full mech army again ^^

Lox said...

Well Brom, I do like the furiosos, baals, and preds. Personally, I think the vindicator is taking it a bit over the top, but I never liked vindicators anyway.

The biggest thing I don't like about this list is the way your splitting up your troops. Groups of six ASM's aren't as cost or combat effective as a group of 10, but more importantly, they are easy to kill (which is bad if your playing for killpoints).

Im guessing you want the PF's, which is why your breaking your army up like this, and I suppose that works. However, I would get rid of one of the 6 man squads, and slap those points into putting more in the LR. I like full LR's, they are painful to your enemies. :) I would also toss a beacon on somebody in the LR to give you a strong "no scatter zone" for deepstriking ASM's.

Finally, and most important in my opinion, bring a special character of some kind. Mestiphon is a butcher, Dante is a BA (and not just a blood angel), and the Sanguinor has a lot of REALLY cool special rules.

Lox said...

After actually looking at the rules for beacons, that would require scouts, of which I am a fan, but not for your style of army. Of course, you can grab another fist on the cheap.

Jeffery said...

I'm a new player that picked up Blood Angels due to their aggressive nature and I've spent every day reading from this site or some of the other linked sites from here.

I guess my point is Thank you! Currently working my Blood Angels up to a 1k Point Army and enjoying them greatly.

On a side note anyone know a good place to get some feedback on army listings? Don't really want to just post in random forums.

Jawaballs said...

Send me an email and I will try to post your list up here.

Jeffery said...

Thanks Jawaballs!

Looked around the site and can't seem to find your email link? Can you direct me to that.

Jeffery said...

Well I'll post it here for the time being. It's only a 1k point army and I am intentionally avoiding any vehicles (I like razorbacks and dreadnoughts but my group is all new and do not know how to handle them and tired of steam rolling every body). I still have 110 points left and not sure what to do with them.

HQ Librarian
(+) Unleash Rage
(+) Fear of the Darkness
(+) Jump Pack
Troop Assault Squad
(+) Additional Models (5)
(+) Power Fist
(+) Meltagun
Troop Assault Squad
(+) Power Fist
Troop Assault Squad
(+) Power Fist
Heavy Support Devastator Squad
(+) Missile Launcher
(+) Missile Launcher
Elite Sanguinary Priest
(+) Power Sword
(+) Jump Pack
Elite Sanguinary Priest
(+) Power Sword
(+) Jump Pack

The general strategy is for my squads to get stuck in as soon as possible and use my devastator squad as fire support and anti-vehicle. One 10 man assault squad will have the priest and librarian while the other 2 will stick close together to get the priest bubble.

Any suggestions?

B. said...

Great article! But where can I find the rule that the priest bubbele works from inside a transport?

Xaereth said...

Heh, and here I thought that people had abandoned this thread :)

Jeffery: I'm always looking for more content for my own blog. If you go to my linked site at the top of this post, there's my email address that you can send lists to. Happy to do critique on it, and let other readers do it too :)

That is, if Jawa doesn't get to it first :-p

B: Thanks :) I've never had this come up before, but I guess it seems to make sense- since you can't measure from the model giving the aura himself, then you measure from the point where he *could* be at any given time. The vehicle itself is replacing the priest model in this instance.

If someone can find somewhere that says this more precisely, feel free to chime in :)

B. said...

At first: Sory for my bad english, I'm not a native speaker.
Second: Thanks for your answer. The problem is that my opponent said: "There is no rule that states, the priest could use his aura in a vehicle. He is not on the table, so the blood chalice cannot work."
I have not found any striking riposte yet...

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