This Tuesday's games club was the first solo outing for my 1750pt Flesh Tearers army. It was my first serious attempt at a Blood Angels Codex force and has been bubbling in the cauldron of my mind for a while.
The main thrust of the army is assault. Not surprising to some, for sure - they are Blood Angels after all - but to many the Blood Angel Codex has made them a far better shooty army. So, I'm going against the grain and trying to come up with a way to make them work. It won't win me all battles, but as long as I break even, I'll be happy.
One thing I've always tried fitting into any Blood Angels list, regardless of Codex, is the Death Company. The unit has always been interesting and fluffy. This Codex has them as a very resilient unit of marines that can get very expensive, very fast. Most of the time I've seen them used as a tarpit unit which does seem effective, but I got tired of tarpits with Dark Eldar Wytches, so I didn't want to go down that route again.
So, how to make them killy? Firstly I needed a way to overcome or at least limit the problems "Rage" will cause. This meant transportation - so a Rhino, a Land Raider or a Storm Raven. Rhino's... no - they aren't assault vehicles so I can't use them how I would want to. It also gives an opponent a turn to react if they want to kite them. Land Raiders are nice, but with the fact I want to run with certain other things in the army (namely drop pods) then the Storm Raven fits better - especially as a Death Company Dreadnought will be tagging along for the ride.
Once out, assuming their initial kill is successful, they are then in slow-motion for the rest of the game. This is where a lot of the kiting issues come in. So, they will be equipped with Jump Packs - this makes them expensive (and you wouldn't see a tournament bigshot doing it I'm sure - but for fun local games and to break even if I do a tournament, sure) but also increases their threat range. Whatever tries to kite them now stands a very good chance of being caught or having to move too far to avoid it which will mean the DC can go after a closer target.
If I am having Jump Packs, that leads nicely into Lemartes, the upgrade character for the unit. He is a decent Chaplain in his own right with the usual gear + Jump Pack but also makes the DC re-roll to hit and wound on the charge. If wounded his Strength goes to 5 and his Attacks go to 5 too (6 with bolt pistol and power weapon or 7 on the charge). He also comes with an Initiative of 6 - which means on a furious charge he is one of the few marines that can actually go before halberd-wielding Grey Knights when he charges (frankly making him priceless ;)).
So with Lemartes to lead them, the restriction of the Storm Raven to six Jump Pack guys, I need to kit out 5 Death Company. More expense here, but you can't rely on Lemartes to do everything. So taking advantage of furious charge will be two DC wielding Power Weapons. Next to hit big things, a Thunder Hammer. Finally to soak wounds, two normal guys with bolt pistols and chainswords. All in all, an expensive unit.
So, this week saw their first run out as a unit in a 1750 battle vs World Eater Chaos Marines. The Death Company for their part did everything I could have asked. Leaping from the Storm Raven, they were able to get the charge on a unit of Berserkers and wiped them out in one round of combat. They were then charged by a second unit of berserkers (who had successfully wounded Lemartes with a Plasma Pistol). Lemartes pretty much dismantled half of the berserkers before the power sword guys finished the rest off - the resilience of the Death Company helping them survive the chainaxe hits. The Berserker with powerfist never got a chance to attack.
The Jump Packs worked here allowing Lemartes and crew to get into combat straight away and Lemartes showed Kharn exactly what bat-sh!t crazy really is forcing him to take seven power weapon hits with only one wound left. After that, even though the Chosen were on the other side of the battlefield, between the consolidation from the Kharn fight and another turn the DC were in range of a charge if the game went to a turn 6. As it was, the assault squad proved more than a match for the Chosen with a spectacular death or glory from a meltagun marine saw off the Chosen's Rhino and the assault squad itself did the beatdown on the Chosen with the Sergeants powerfist putting an end to the final Chaos Marine to win the game (via tabling).
The Death Company performed as I hoped (but never expected) and between them and the Death Company Dreadnought (who accounted for a full Raptor squad and an Obliterator) were responsible for most of the kills on my side. Granted, there is a lot of points tied up in them, granted they won't always rock like they did (I'm sure despite Lemartes they'll get trounced by Grey Knights with Halberds... what doesn't ;)) and sometimes they'll do badly - but they fit the assault theme of the army very well. They also do that by being very "Blood Angels" - the Death Company is one of the key aspects of the Chapter so I am glad I can use them.
The models are actually built now, so they will be painted shortly. Pictures to follow I hope!