|Battle Cry||"By the Blood Of Sanguinius!"
"For The Emperor and Sanguinius!"
|Successor Chapters||Angels Encarmine
Knights of Blood
Blood Swords (Claimed otherwise in Codex: Blood Angels 5th ed.)
|Colours||Red with black detailing|
The Blood Angels (also known as the Blood Angles, or the Bangles for short) were the 9th Space Marine Legion created by the Empra, and also known as the most batshit insane loyalist chapter in the Imperium. They're also all Bishonen. No srsly, all of them...
Oh and Hive Fleet Leviathan is coming to devour their homeworld, while also getting attacked by a Khornate army lead by their ancient enemy Ka'bandha. But since these guys aren't pussies like the Ultramarines, this isn't that big a deal.
Also they are one of the only chapters that can call on it's successor chapters and reasonably expect more than just a call back. Even the ones that don't like them all that well. The only other ones than we can find that can do that is the Dark Angels (for obvious reasons) and the Ultramarines. This is pretty justified for the Blood Angels, as all Blood Angel descendants are united by the twin curses/blessings of Sanguinius. So you mess with one of them too much, you might just get an entire legion attacking you. Or if it were during the Time of Ending, getting them to unite to defend their ancestral homeworld Baal. Whichever.
Their Primarch was Sanguinius, a Primarch who was best known for being a good-looking nice guy with a bad temper that made him look like satan. He also had angel-like wings that either due to radiation on Baal, or he just came like that out of his birthing pod, no one is sure, although current dex states that villagers nearly killed him due to his possession of wings when he was found at the site now known as Angel's Fall, implying that he came out of his birthing pod with them. (just be sure not to use the "M" word around the Bangles). Many of the Blood Angels emulate those wings by focusing on jump pack assaults, so the Blood Angels and successor chapter forces doctrinally see a lot more Assault Squads than the typical Space Marine strike force. Their current Chapter Master is a Dante, the oldest non-Dreadnought-interred loyalist Space Marine in history.
They had a brotherly rivalry against the World Eaters, if only the Imperial Fists/Iron Warriors and Ultramarines/Alpha Legion could have managed to get that... It turned out pretty messy when the Horus Heresy started.
In times of dire need, they are aided by the Sanguinor, a guy who seems to be a Blood Angel in a more literal sense. Maybe he's some psychic manifestation of the Chapter. Maybe he's a ghost of Sanguinius. Nobody knows. The important thing is that he enjoys piledriving Bloodthirsters from space, killing Eldar Avatars, and killing a bunch of Night Lords, saving Dante's life in the process as it was otherwise a textbook suicide mission, a redemptive one, to be specific. In recent Black Library tales he appeared to lead Blood Angels brethren in a heroic last stand against Hive Fleet Leviathan, where the squad sergeant punched a hole in a Carnifex's chest after being impaled, allowing the rest of his squad to live. He took off after that, but not after he managed to renew the Astartes' faith in humanity.
Blood Angels Legion took the implementation of the Codex Astartes with notably less bitching than other chapters due to the death of their Primarch and the onset of the Black Rage. They took the news of the Codex as stoically as they could and follow the strictures of the codex as much as they see wisdom in it (i.e. the division of the legion into chapters, companies, and squads).
Like their brethren in the Raven Guard, they have a natural predilection for jump packs and using their brains (as opposed to blindly following the codex), but due to their chapter's curse have had to tweak things a bit. Once they get out of scout training they immediately go into Assault squads rather than the Devastator squads per the Codex (ala the Space Wolves), though not strictly because of the brash youth of the newly raised marines. This variation allows the new marine to become accustomed to the nature of his jump pack they'll be using a lot, and to take note of those who are best able to keep tabs on their fury and those who are most likely to give in. Devastators are usually reserved for brethren able to keep tabs on the Red thirst better, as fire support functionally afflicted by ADHD isn't really the most useful in any situation.
The Red Thirst, The Black Rage, and You!
The Blood Angels and successors have a genetic defect in their gene-seed known most commonly as "The Flaw". It seems to have much more representation in the fluff than in the crunch, but that's standard fare for a life-threatening, damnation-courting mutation that pop up at any time.
The Red Thirst is what makes them space vampires, and if they don't drink enough blood they become psychos who get locked away.
The Red Thirst has always been a part of the Blood Angels and during the Great Crusade, Sanguinius went to great lengths to hide it from the Emperor for fear of being erased from the records, although odds are that the Emperor might have already known. They even introduced Chaplains to the Legion before the Edict of Nikaea, not just to monitor psykers, but to look out for brothers who might be giving into their bloodlusts.
In the lore the general effect is that the Red Rage makes a Blood Angel really fucking angry and get an uncontrollable craving for Bloody Marys made with real blood. Thus most Blood Angels Chaplains require certification for anger management therapy before they get the job. Interestingly, that logically makes the Red Thirst harder to deal with than the Black Rage, since their treatment for a permanent psychotic episode is to give their armor a new lick of paint and point them at the enemy.
On the tabletop this has the odd consequence of occasionally making your units Fearless and Furious Chargers if they give into the temptation. Though independent characters have enough control over themselves that they are immune to its effects. Over the previous editions, GW continually changed their minds over how the rules for the Thirst should be represented; in the 3rd Edition the Red Thirst made a bit more sense and was something to actually be wary of, as your units had a potential to lose control at the thought of blood and move out of position towards the enemy. This which wasn't fun, especially if your devastator squads didn't pull that critical round of shooting.
As with the Black Rage, some chapters are more susceptible than others: The originally named "Blood Drinkers" are notorious amongst their allies for allegedly leaving exsanguinated corpses wherever they show up. On the upside they are the only chapter who have tangible rule regarding how they handle the Red Thirst; where if they have recently sated themselves, they gain a boost to WS and suffer penalties to social checks if they refrain from feeding.
On the other hand, the Black Rage is the Red Thirst's angrier, more troublesome brother. The one who dresses in black all the time, and that shows up at random times to complicate your life. It's a terminal state, where the battle brother has completely succumbs to the Red Thirst, willingly or not, and has psychotic break.
Battle brothers who succumb to Black Rage are overcome with Sanguinius's genetic memories, and see themselves as Sanguinius battling Horus on his battle barge. This has the unfortunate side-effect of making them completely lose touch with reality, fighting a battle that they can never ever win since the outcome of the hallucinations has already occurred. On the plus side though, their disconnection with what is going on around them turns them into immensely powerful warriors, since each and every one of them believe that they are Sanguinius.
Long story short a marine afflicted with "Black Rage" will be almost as angry as an Angry Marine except that they can't control themselves. If this happens in a warzone they will be quietly directed into small groups and paint their armour black by a chaplain before the worst of the hallucinations take over. If they aren't somehow killed, Astorath will come and execute them on the battlefield since no other Blood Angel has the stomach to kill his own battle brothers. If this happens off the battlefield, these unfortunates will be locked away in the Tower of the Lost so they can spend the rest of their days drooling and howling under the care of the Chaplains unless Astorath pays them a visit.
Therefore the Death Company is a group of Blood Angels on the battlefield who are afflicted by the Black Rage, each force of Blood Angels and their successors has one since the hallucinations could pop up at any time and they can't exactly plan for losing valuable battle brothers at opportune moments. Though some are more susceptible than others, which makes those chapter's responses to the occurrence of Black Rage quite varied.
On the tabletop this allows you to bring a squad of Berserkers sans-Khorne, but with more RAGE and customisation options. You can also take several squads if Astorath has shown up, as he always seems to know where and when his brothers will succumb.
- GW keep changing the rules with these guys; nowadays you can purchase units of Death Company as part of your army at a not-insignificant cost, though in ancient times it used to happen spontaneously for free where you had to roll for squads at the start of battle, potentially losing members to bulk up your Death Company, which made fluff-sense, but
could annoy you if you lost a sergeant or special weapons guy that you paid the points for.Except that it didn't, since you chose which model to take off, and sending a veteran sergeant to the Death Company was the only way of giving power weapon/fists (excluding the chaplain) to the squad. Loosing a termie or tooled-up honour guard made you cry though...
- Don't forget Drop-Podding Blood-Taloned Death Company Dreadnoughts, since the Black Rage can overcome any battle-brother, even those locked in Dreadnoughts. Fuck. I need a cigarette after that ass-raping
In short, by 6th Edition both of the Blood Angels curses have been made super duper and can only benefit your army when they spring on you. By contrast, they used to historically work in a manner far more appropriate to the fluff, though could certainly mess with your day if you were playing Blood Angels... which is something any Blood Angels commander in the fluff would actually have to deal with anyway.
Speaking of 6th Edition...
With the advent of 6th ed Blood Angels fell from their former spot of broken, cheese-tastic rape-machine to just plain broke. First off, CQC is pretty much dead--random charge distances will muck up your charge every time. Changes to Furious Charge mean no more auto-attacking before your opponent knows what hit him. Furioso's aren't as gloriously nasty as they used to be with power weapons having AP values now--so now they're not just a fire and forget death blender. And you end up paying out the nose for things that C:SM can get for many times cheaper. And (like C:DA) you lose out on a lot of toys that the other guys get. Also for some reason Mephiston can rip open Land Raiders with his bare hands and level monstrous creatures to nothing but cinders...but his sword bounces off of Terminators. Stormravens can't deep-strike anymore, what with new flier rules and all and Sanguinary priests aren't as awesome due to the new 5+ FNP. Dante's stupid high initiative is rendered moot cuz his axe is unwieldy. And Astaroth has a pretty high chance of eating it as soon as combat starts. And there's basically only two lists now that are anywhere near competitive.
It isn't all bad though. All Artificer/Terminator armour was made better so Sanguinary Guard can laugh off most things a MEQ will throw at them (unless they get plasma'd to death)and despite the downgrade to the priests they also, kind of, got an upgrade in that FNP will resist all but instant death. And Blood Angels don't make a particularly bad Shooty army, they have the same BS as regular marine armies...they just pay more for it. And they did manage to keep all the fast vehicles to themselves, though that upgrade has been around since 3rd ed Chapter Approved.
The true bummer about Blood Angels is a lot of their cool and unique toys got taken away from them. The Stormraven got shipped in with C:SM and they didn't even get the Stormtalon as a return favor. Forge World started putting out predator variants so you can basically "build your own Baal!" just without the FA force organization and Lucifer pattern engines.
All in all, 6th ed turned a brutally nasty army into something that is still playable. Just not a brainless assault army like it used to be.
UPDATE: As of the 6th edition rulebook, Blood Angels and Necrons can form an "Unholy Alliance". For reference, Necrons can form the exact same alliance with the Black Templars. This implies that the whole scenario with the Necrons and the 'Nids was part of the then-upcoming Necron fluff change wherein the Necrons went from omnicidal kill bots to an actual empire capable of politics and forming alliances
Daily rituals of the Blood Angels
0400 - Reveille - The Blood Angels are roused from their coffins to start the day.
0410 - Grooming - The Blood Angels take the time to comb their hair and brush their teeth. Special attention is given to the fangs.
0430 - Morning meal - A light meal is prepared by the chapter serfs for the Blood Angels. Consuming a chapter serf is explicitly prohibited.
0500 - Morning prayer.
0600 - Morning firing rituals - The Blood Angels assemble for target practice. The Blood Angels have an unusually large amount of a heretical series of books from the ancient days of Terra called the Twilight Saga, which they use for target practice by the thousands.
0700 - Battle practice - The Blood Angels begin practice in the battle cages. Frequently, the Blood Angels will forgo their Bolters for melee weapons.
1200 - Midday meal - The Blood Angels consume a light meal made for them by the chapter serfs. The chapter serfs are still explicitly off the menu.
1300 - Deep strike training - The Blood Angels practice their deep strike maneuvers.
1600 - Evening firing rituals.
1700 - Staring contests - Fools brave enough to challenge Mephiston to a staring contest do so now. Usually its just the neophytes who don't know any better.
1715 - Round up - Staring contests are over, and those who went mad while staring into Mephiston's eyes must be tracked down and dragged from the walls of the fortress-monastery.
1730 - Evening prayer.
1900 - Evening meal - A feast is prepared by the chapter serfs, usually of animals who were killed during the Deep Strike training. The chapter serfs may be consumed depending on how good the first two meals were. Using the Red Grail in drinking contests is explicitly prohibited by order of the Sanguinary Priests.
2000 - Free Time - The Blood Angels are allowed to engage in free time. Some reflect on their duty to the Emperor. Others play video games. Some just pose moodily and bare-chested in front of a mirror. Still others will engage in artistic activities. A good vampire movie is often shown for the Blood Angels entertainment.
0000 - Rest - The Blood Angels retire to their coffins for the evening.
Notable Members of the Blood Angels
- Sanguinius - Primarch
- Dante - Current Chapter Master. Dude's mad old and prefers not to mention anything about having a Necron's cell phone number.
- Mephiston - Chief Librarian and resident named rape train.
- Corbulo - High Sanguinary Priest.
- Astorath - Keeper of Sanctity and the dude who kills Death Company nutjobs.
- Erasmus Tycho - Captain, proof that Your dudes has a reason to exist.
- Moriar the Chosen - Matt Ward's excuse for making generic Death Company Dreads a thing.
- Sanguinor - May be or may be not Sanguinius reborn...or Azkaellon...or a Warp Entity made by the desires of the Blood Angels...or all three together...DAMMIT!, IT'S COMPLICATED.