To Sweep the Leg

Cortana: “What….is that?”

Gravemind: “I?….I am a monument to all your sins.”

Greetings everyone! This is TheGraveMind, you might know me from “the back 40k”. If you don’t, allow me a quick intro. I’ve been playing 40k for about 5 years now, starting with Tyranids and this last year I started up a Marine force. I have an affinity for a fast moving style of army, with a strong close combat element. The Dark Eldar have been looking at me for a while now… but I made a deal with myself that if I get my Blood angels fully painted, I can start DE. I’m hoping to write a few articles along the way to display my attempts at complete a Space marine army. I’ll get around to showing how I’ve learned to paint power armor, and magnetize an entire Marine strike force, but for now I think we should start with some basics.

Let’s really take a look at Blood angels and the options they present.  It all really starts with Assault marines. Sometimes referred to as ASM or RAS, they are the back bone of most Blood angel lists. They are troops that come with jump packs allowing for a viable all infantry army style. They also have a discount on transports, so you can change out their jump packs for free drop pods if you want to make a drop pod force, or get 15 point rhinos and go the mech route.  Now if you choose to go with the mech or drop pod path, then they pretty much follow the normal concepts for those archetype builds, just cheaper/fast and with some variation on supporting roles.

I want to take a good look at Jump Infantry lists. I’ve been trying a mostly Jump list and have had some good success. My list at 1.5k is the following

  • Reclusiarch with jump packs
  • Priests with inferno pistol, power weapon, and jump pack
  • Priests with power weapon, and jump pack
  • Furioso with blood fists, melta-gun, heavy flamer
  • ASM x10, Inferno pistol and power fist on Sarge, Meltaguns x2
  • ASM x10, Power fist on sarge, meltagun, flamer
  • Land Speeder x2 with typhoons and heavy bolters
  • Bike squad x3 with plasmaguns x2 and combi-plasma
  • Stormraven with typhoons and plasma cannon

 The original list had a librarian (lance and unleash rage) instead of the Reclus, the ASMs had melta x2 and power weapons, Raven was MMelta/assault cannon, and the bike squad was a 5-man jump squad. I got fed up with my psychic powers always getting canceled when I needed them, so I switched to the Reclusiarch for a more consistent reroll effect. I also realized the bane of my list was terminators, I had to sacrifice an entire assault squad to hit with enough power weapons to kill them off. So I dropped the 5-man squad for some plasma bikers, and then changed my raven to typhoons/plasma cannon. Typhoons have a good chance of damaging vehicles, increased range and I felt are more versatile. The plasma cannon is again for more AP2 shots, and might change to lascannons for more anti vehicle. I took the left over points and upgraded to power fists to help against bigger targets.

So lets see what it brings to the table and how it works when put to the test. Trial by fire!

Well, It has a good amount of the four things every list needs if you want to look at it that way. I have long range light tank fire in the forms of a lot of typhoons and plasma bikes can lend in here if no other targets are available. I have a decent amount of meltas and powerfists to help deal with tanks up close if need be. Dreadnought, reclusiarch, and priests all help act as force multipliers and bring the whole rest of the army together in being able to wipe out most of an army in close combat. Between skimmers and jump packs, the whole list has an incredible amount of mobility.

Having the proper elements is part of it, but knowing how to use it against your enemy is another large part.  The whole list has the ability to function when put into reserves. With only having about 4 or 5 units on the table, going second can hurt, so I tried to work around this. By putting everything in reserve, I open up some interesting tactics. My assault squads can jump down, and instantly be within melta gun range, and start wrecking the army. The typhoons, raven and bikes do not have the reroll and so do not like being held in reserves. If I think you can hide the bikes or typhoons, consider keeping them on the board, but with true-LOS, I don’t get hopes up as they will take the entire fire first turn.  It is a lot about judging your opponent and knowing what their army is capable of.

Here is the big secret of playing jumpers, Sweep the flank. Seems simple enough, but it has pulled me through fights I didn’t even think I had a chance.  I’ll set up mostly forward and center given the option. First turn I’ll turbo boost the raven up, so even if it dies, it has brought the Furisoso closer. I keep the reclusiarch with the flamer squad behind the melta squad, for anti infantry mop up and counter attacking. Typhoons strafe the back field and try and take out the softest/dangerous long range targets. The goal is to minimize their missiles and lascannons fire at you, and cause general havoc in their middle field. With a storm raven and two full assault squads coming at their face, the opponent has to think quickly, and with little long range fire, hopefully will not be able to take down your typhoons as they will generally need this to take down the raven and accompanying dread.

From there, you pick the side that seems the weakest, and you turbo boost what you need to, jump the rest, all the while firing at the units closest to the center. What this does is cause stunned/immobilized/wrecks to bunch in the middle, and keep the other flank further away for a turn. As you progress you are causing more damage to be placed between you and the other side. FNP full assault squads can take a lot of fire and still come out ok and this is the real trick. With them deep into the enemy lines, your typhoons can continue to harass their army, while the raven and dread act like a wall in the middle, trying to survive and deal as much damage as they can while blocking the path.

I have had a game where I seized the initiative; turbo boosted the raven with the dread, and failed to do enough suppression and so lost my raven in their first turn of fire. The dread was left in the open to all of their short range fire power and the supporting unit nearest also went down. Almost 500 points of my 1.5k list was eliminated on the first turn without doing much damage. But with that much wreckage in the middle (I prefer to use the enemies when I can), I was able to take my two assault squads and typhoons and take a side, sweeping through his army. His terminators had to go around/over the raven’s wreckage, and I was only slowed by a relic blade/storm shield captain. The game wouldn’t end when I needed it too and so he was able to push to a victory, but up to bottom of turn 6 the game had been mine.

I’m not trying to brag, as I’ve lost more than my share, but simply trying to show the power of a simple tactic when used well. This list still needs some tweaks and I’m open to suggestions. Certain types of castling can give it trouble, while others do not. It can generally handle MSU and multiple vehicle lists well enough as it gives cover as I create wrecks and get in their face so early on. Other elite armies often are the cause of the most annoyance. Grey Knights, Nurgle, and Dreads, and especially Mephiston all present problems that aren’t slowed as easily as MSU, and can often bog up my assault units long enough. If they aren’t able to wipe a unit and jump to the next target, they are working at a good capacity. So what have you guys tried out?

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