Friday, June 3, 2011

Codex Review: BA Sangnuinary Priests

As I continue my look at various BA units, I next come to the humble Sanguinary Priest.  This model is perhaps one of the leading reasons BA have their own distinct flavor.  They are also the reason many BA units are worth taking.  These units create some of the best synergy in the game. 

You may choose to fill a single elite slot with 1-3 sanguinary priests.  They ring in at 50pts. per model naked and come with a generous supply of upgrades.  One priest can be upgraded to Brother Corbulo for 105pt. (totally don't recommend it, even it you have the model).  For such a premium price, they had better do something amazing, and believe me, they don't dissappoint.

For 50 points base, you get a marine statline that has WS5, 2 attacks and LD9.  They also come equipped with the normal assault style loadout: power armor, bolt pistol/chainsword, frag and krak grenades.  They also come with the Blood Chalice.  This is the key piece of equipment for a priest.  It grants a 6" radius bubble around the priest that grants both furious charge and feel no pain. It is important to note that the priest doesn't have to join a squad for it to benefit.  The priest counts as an IC and can join units, but also can be targetted in combat like an IC.

Equipment and Loadouts
Think of an upgrade and this guy can get it.  This also means that he can get expensive quickly.  Let's take a look.  A priest can wear a jump pack or terminator armor, or ride a marine bike.  He can also take a storm bolter, any combi weapon, an infernus or plasma pistol, or a hand flamer.  He may take a lightning claw, power sword, or power fist as well.  So as you can see this guy can take a veritable array of weaponry. 

I see only one thing lacking.  Aside from terminator armor, there is no way to give a priest an invul save, so he is an extremely squishy 1 wound, T4 model when it comes to low AP or power weaponry. 

And as you can see, for a 1 wound model, he can be very expensive.  Just to take him as jump infantry you are paying 75pt. So, be careful how you kit him out.  I generally see him kitted a few ways:

Priest by the ever-popular Jawaballs
1) naked- 50 points, tags along with an assault squad and tries not to get into combat.
2) jump infantry- 75 point, tags along with jump infantry so he can deepstrike and/or keep up with that 12" jump move.
3) + lightning claw, either 1) 65pt. or 2) 90pt. makes use of his WS5 to pile on some additional power weapon wounds. I would run him this way under two conditions: a) you have extra points, and/or b) you are putting him with a unit with lots of power weapons like sanguinary guard so that his power weapon wounds can't be marginalized by wound allocation.
4) the full kit, power weapon + infernus pistol, plasma pistol, or hand flamer, depending on how you kit this guy, he is expensive.  Again, if you want a theme-y priest or something then you can do this, otherwise, I would leave this dude at home.

There are a few tactics that are useful with this guy.  I am going to approach them all from a DoA/jump-ish perspective. 
1) Remember that you don't have to be in a squad to give the benefits of the blood chalice to that squad.  If range weaponry isn't an issue or if you can get him into cover, it is often a good idea to pop him out of a squad before it assaults, leaving him in range.  This way he can't be singled out by power weapons or fists. 

2) You can't go wrong with a 50 point, naked priest to baby sit your devestators.  Granting them FNP is great if they are in cover, but if something gets too close, the FC option becomes nice as in most cases in 40k it is best to assault rather than be assaulted.

3) Dante's precision strike rule is wonderful when combined with a priest.  A great tactic is to DS in a vanguard squad and then have Dante DS in a squad containing a priest (generally toting melta) so that the vanguards can get FNP/FC for their heroic intervention and to help by popping a key transport before they assault. 

If anyone else has a tactic for their priest, let me know.  Remember these are the tactics I have used/found useful when running my jump-ish list.  What say you, are priests worth their points cost?  I sometimes feel like people (including myself) think they are mandatory, though they aren't.  This leads to inordinant amounts of points being spent on them.  Share your thoughts.

Other useful articles:
Blood Angel Characters: Dante
Codex Review: Blood Angel Sanguinary Guard


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