Blue-Washing the Legions
So the new Blood Angels Codex is imminent. Recently we got a look at the “New Units” to be featured in it. Here’s the list from Warhammer Community. Inceptors, Reivers, Cataphractii and Tartaros pattern Terminators, Stormhawk Interceptors, Stormtalons Gunships, Hunters, and Stalkers. Stormraven Gunships. None of these is actually a new unit. I’m guessing they get all the other Primaris units, since they come in the FUKHUEG BOX that GW has up for pre-order (not a great savings BUT if you want to add Primaris to your existing blood angels, or start a new army there ARE some savings so go for it) but there’s 0 in the way of actually new units. All of these are units that currently exist now with the exception of the Primaris Lieutenant.
What’s more interesting, or concerning, is that these new units do not have the Black Rage. So that’s no Death Company, no tragic flaw, just a Red Thirst bonus to attacks. From the stream we got a lot of stratagems, most of which are picked up from the Space Marine codex although they did steal some speed from the Craftworld one. I worry a lot that the Blood Angels are becoming Ultramarines painted blue. Sanguinary Guard, Death Company, and the special characters are… ok. Librarian Dreadnoughts are great, Furioso Dreadnoughts are great. Death Company Dreadnoughts are apparently amazing. All the flavor comes from old units. OLD units. Like, Eldar old. Like Squats old.
I think this is one of two things. Either a missed opportunity where GW wanted to get this army out fast without bothering to add anything good so they just threw in all the old shit they hadn’t given them before, or a deliberate step to bring all the chapters closer together. This has happened before. Black Templars used to have a codex. Imperial Fists used to at least rate a supplement. Then they stopped getting new stuff and started losing stuff they had. Now they sit in the “other” section of the Space Marine Codex.
I don’t think GW wants to get rid of the Blood Angels. After all, before the obsession with Ultramarines came about THEY WERE THE POSTER CHILD FOR 40k
3rd Edition btw featured the Black Templar. 4th Edition’s Battle for Macragge actually brought the Ultras into the spotlight.
I do think GW is painting themselves into a corner. Primaris are lore poison. They are so loyal and pure they never fall to chaos. They are better at shooting, they are better in close combat, they are tougher when taking damage. Have you ever been cornered by a guy in your FLGS telling you about his homebrew chapter that are “like X chapter but better”? That’s the primaris marines. There’s no flaw. In fact they clean up flaws that already exist. I have to think going forward that something will change. Right now they are literally a bad fanfic of existing marines. Only they are GW’s bad fanfic. They are GW’s bad homebrew, and they are mucking up the Blood Angels.
Here’s the funny thing. I don’t hate Primaris unconditionally. I think it’s great that GW is advancing the story. I think it’s very interesting to have these new troops joining the chapters. I think conflicts like that between Dante and Seth in Devastation of Baal and soon whatever happens in the upcoming Dark Angels book are super interesting. But so far all the flaws, all the conflict drivers emotionally are coming from non-primaris characters. War of Secrets doesn’t come out until 2018 so any real resolution is going to take some time to get to us Dark Angels fans. On the tabletop they are very interesting. Intercessors are very good overall, but have no ability to specialize for better firepower up close or at long range, just solid, above average firepower, 2 wounds, and 2 attacks in melee. Hellblasters have less power individually than devastators, but everyone gets a big gun! 2 wounds each! And now for something completely different. Inceptors are just plain neat. I love them and already have 6. I may go up to 12! Repulsors are crazy tanks. I’m VERY MUCH disappointed by the build, it’s just sloppily executed, but they are great tanks. Ton of firepower, ton of points. Really neat and go well with the slick, lots of firepower look of primaris. There’s so much to like about them.
Fluff wise I love the idea of them being less experienced, less adept at the little things, and having some penalties to go with their strengths. The recent Alpha Legion book played on this some. They simply don’t know what they don’t know. However they haven’t shown any fundamental flaw. GW fluff operates on pretty much the classical model. Heroes have a tragic flaw. Guilliman can’t NOT build an Empire. The Lion can’t NOT be secretive and sinister. Dorn can’t NOT be defensive and stubborn. The Khan can’t NOT be inscrutable and hate centralization. Horus can’t NOT desire power. Perturabo can’t NOT be jealous. The Primaris can’t… what. What is their tragic flaw? When do they stop being the bonnie blue boys.
And next week pre-orders for the Dark Angels codex go up. I was hopeful at one point that we’d see the Lion come back in the codex. Now I’d settle for not having the codex be a glorified index with 8 pages of badly updated fluff.