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1K Zone Mortalis - What are Blood Angels doing?

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  • 139 posts
  • Location:Agri-fiefs of Cascadia
  • Faction: Dark Angels

So, I got it in my head to eventually do a Heresy force and started playing around with lists. Generally the list is trying to cover as many of the ZM it units (Terminators, Dreads, Breachers) but really I haven't the slightest.
My first concern is that it isn't necessarily a very Blood Angels-y list - the first iteration was a DoR list until I realized it doesn't work with the ZM deepstrike restrictions, and tougher Breachers just seemed like a better option. I was also considering either expanding it to 1250pts and taking some Terminators or swapping something out for them, but I'm not sure what.

Zone Mortalis 1,000pts

Blood Angels, Loyalist
Rite of War: Zone Mortalis Assault Force


Delegatus [120]: Artificer Armour, Blade of Perdition, Bolt Pistol, Jump Pack, Melta Bombs, Warlord



Dawnbreaker Cohort [265]:

. 5x Dawnbreaker Legionary, 5x Fallen-star Pattern Power Spear, Melta Bombs
. Dawnbreaker Champion: Equinox Power blade Case

Legion Dreadnought Talon [175]:
Legion Dreadnought:
Armoured Ceramite, Flamestorm Cannon, Hunter-killer Missile
. Dreadnought Close Combat Weapon: Heavy Flamer

Legion Veteran Tactical Squad [180]:

. 4x Veteran Space Marines: 4x Bolt Pistol, 4x Chainswords/Combat Blades, 3x Combi-plasma, 1x Plasma gun

. Veteran Sergeant: Artificer Armour, Bolt Pistol, Power Fist, Combi-plasma

. Veteran Tactics: Stalkers


Legion Breacher Siege Squad [260]:

. 9x Breacher Siege Space Marines: 2x Graviton Gun, Legion Vexilla
. Breacher Siege Sergeant: Bolter, Melta Bombs, Power Axe

Edited by tinpact, 11 January 2022 - 07:40 AM.

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Eternal Despair

Eternal Despair


  • 132 posts
  • Location:Melbourne Australia

Welcome to the Heresy, it's always nice to see new people joining the game. so before I get into the list itself there are 3 different force organisation charts that are used in ZM, the Attacker, the Defender and the Combatant force organisation charts. Now this list would be illegal in both the defender and combatant force orgs as they both cap out at two elite choices each and your list has 3. Now it would be legal as an Attacker list as that force org has 3 elites slots but in general most people use the combatant force org as it ensures that you don't have to search out for opponents with either a combatant or defender list and allows you to play as the attacker or defender in the ZM missions.

So the first thing that jumps out at me when looking at this list is that you've opted to take the dawn breaker cohort. In standard games they are a very nice unit to play with however if you take a look on page 4 of the ZM rules you'll find that any jump infantry unit that moves more than 6 inches in the movement phases in ZM will suffer a dangerous terrain check. Now it's only a 1/6 chance of failing the dangerous terrain check and you'll still get your armour save even if you fail it but I've had it happen to myself several times in my games so I'd recommend opting for something else instead.

For alternatives I'd recommend switching to a unit of 5 tartarous terminators with two chain fists, 3 power axes and 5x combi meltas or plasma. With the blood angels legion rule the axes hit just as hard vs marines as a powerfist while saving you 5 points while the chainfists allow you to take on dreadnoughts a lot more comfortably due to the extra d6 penetration. The choice of combi weapon comces down to personal preference and each has their benefits, the plasma is the better option for killing other single wound terminator units and bulk infantry in general due to having twice as many shots due to rapid fire at the same range, plus having a superior range in general. However the risk of blowing yourself up will always be there and is worth considering, the plasma can also put solid work in vs the rear of dreadnoughts due to strength 7 in a pinch. Now Melta on the other hand is hands down better at blowing up dreadnoughts and ZM doors due to the melta rule all without the risk to themselves. Additionally they are by far the better choice for killing 2 wound terminators as well as terminator units benefiting from Feel No Pain as the S8 of the weapon inflicts instant death, its much easier to get a single wound through to kill a justaerin terminator than trying to get two through. Lastly is the choice of terminator armour, mobility is key in ZM and the inability for cataphractii to run I've found is often a killer. lastly due to the ZM assault force you can run this unit as a non compulsory troops choice and deploy it via deep-strike. As an aside a non-compulsary choice just means that while it takes up a force org chart slot like troops or HQ it doesn't count towards the minimum number of that slot required for a legal list.

Now since you won't have the dawn breakers anymore you can take the jump pack of the delegatus and you can now afford to give him a refractor field for that all important 5+ invulnerable save so he doesn't just die the first time he runs into a power fist.

I always love seeing the humble box dreadnought in ZM over the more ubiquitous contempter and contemptor cortus as they don't get as much love as they should. I love the idea behind it going with that flamestorm cannon as it just absolutely melts marines especially when they are packed in tight in ZM. Now personally I don't think that armoured ceramite is worth it as melta guns don't need that extra d6 to pen a dreadnought any way and are usually in volumes large enough that they'll kill it any way so I tend to save the 20 points, with the saved points I highly recommend taking a chainfist to help ensure that when it winds up in combat with another dread that its attacks are basically guaranteed to do damage.

Now the veterans are a fine choice in ZM however they're taking up a valuable elite slot and I'd like to add in an apothecary into the list with the points saved to might I suggest instead of taking veterans to instead take the legion Seeker squad now while they have 2 less attacks than the veteran squad in close combat (2 base + 1 for bolt pistols and chainswords vs 1 base) and lack the veteran tactics they do get 3 really important traits, the first is BS5 so they'll hit a lot more, next they have a rule called marked for death which allows them to select one unit before the games starts and they gain the preferred enemy rule against that unit which can be especially lethal when coupled with their 3rd trait, Legion seekers have multiple types of ammo like sternguard from 40k in editions prior. The ammo types are mostly different except for the Kraken bolts (range 30 s4 ap4 rapid fire) which are the same as they were, the one I would like to highlight are scorpius rounds, while they are heavy they are also strength 5 ap2 and have shred which makes them, about as lethal as plasma to marines all without being gets hot and not a single use. and they're short 18 inch range isn't as much of an issue in ZM. Since they lean much more into shooting than the vets I'd recommend not bothering with the power fist on the seargent just to save some points. 

Now last up is the legion breacher squad and my advice for these will change will depend on whether or not you and your group play with the optional cold void rules found on page 6 of the ZM rules PDF.  If you don't know what these extra rules do they do a few things but the biggest thing they introduce is that all S4 attacks (and higher) from both shooting and close combat gain the rending rule unless the unit they are attacking is either a vehicle, has a 2+ armour save or has hardened armour and breachers have void hardened armour so therefore ignore the rending. Now while not included as part of the standard suite of ZM rules from what I've seen they are extremely popular and every game of ZM I've played except for peoples first game or two while they get the hang of it I've played with cold void. So now onto the advice:

My two cents on the unit is that if your not playing with the cold void rules your going to get more out of the humble legion tactical squad in ZM for three reasons. 1. breachers are very expensive for the points you pay. For a similar amount of points as your breachers you can get two 10 man tactical squads (albeit bare bones ones) for 10 points less even, and that extra board presence and 10 bodies is probably going to do more for you. Secondly the 2 reasons for breachers being so expensive are due to the hardened armour which doesn't do much without cold void and the boarding shields granting them an invulnerable, now I'm not saying these are bad or useless but the extra 10 bodies and board presence I find is worth more. Lastly breachers hit like a wet noodle in close combat, due to the breacher shields they can never get the bonus attack from extra close combat weapons meaning they'll only have one attack in combat, and you'd rather take the charge than charge as you can overwatch and the shields cause the attacking unit to not get their extra attack on the charge.

Now if you do intend to with the cold void rules there's a case to be made for the breachers as all of a sudden ignoring all that rending is pretty massive. As for the loadout I'd reccomend adding a nuncio vox so your terminators don't scatter when they deep strike in if they come in near the vox, as for the graviton guns they're a great gun however they are a heavy blast weapon which means as soon as the unit moves that gun isn't firing which considering how important moving in ZM is will be often, instead the melta gun which cost the same is still a potent gun and can be used when you move. 

With that said though if you do play with cold void rules especially for blood angels I'd actually still go for the two tactical squads. the reason being is that all their attacks are now rending and if you give them extra close combat weapons suddenly on the charge they dish out 30 rending attacks that wound marines on a 3+ in addition to all the other benefits to running them over breachers in ZM games without cold void. The specific load out I would give them is giving the Sergeants  artificer armour, a power axe and a melta bomb while giving the whole squad the chainswords in addition to their bolters so that they remain flexible and can whittle down the enemy from a particularly long corridor while still packing the extra attack in close combat.

at the end of the day the choice is yours between the breachers and tacticals but I believe the tacticals fit the blood angels whole feel a lot more than the breachers. Plus if you want to be crafty you can buy the assault squads, get a hold of some normal back packs and magnetise the jump packs so that in normal games you can run them as assault marines. 

If you do run the breachers with the extra points buy an apothecary with artificer armour and stick him with them and then as many extra seekers as you can fit (should be 2 or 3) but regardless of if you'll play with cold void I believe the tacticals are the better way to go

So if you decide to include all my suggestions your list should look something like this:

Blood Angels ZM 1000 

Delegatus: artificer armour; Blade of Perdition;  refractor field 105
10 Tactical Space Marines: Tactical Sergeant (artificer armour; power weapon; melta bombs); 9 Tactical Space Marines; bolters; chainswords; nuncio-vox 180
10 Tactical Space Marines: Tactical Sergeant (artificer armour; power weapon; melta bombs); 9 Tactical Space Marines; chainswords 170
5 Terminators: Terminator Sergeant (combi-weapon; power weapon); 4 Terminators; 4 × combi-weapon; 2 × power weapon; 2 × chainfist 230
Dreadnought Talon
• Dreadnought: Flamestorm cannon; Dreadnought chainfist 150
5 Seekers: Strike Leader (artificer armour); 4 Seekers 165
1,000 points


Now with the Zone Mortalis missions half your army unit wise (not including independent characters attatched to a unit) must start in reserve with that in mind I'd start the tactical squad without the nuncio vox and the terminators off of the board, since the terminators deep strike if they come on with in 6 inches of the unit they won't scatter which is huge considering how small the corridors of a ZM board are. that means that the tactical squad does have to walk on from your board edge but that's still better than your initial list where you'd most likely have two units walking on.


Edited by Eternal Despair, 12 January 2022 - 12:16 PM.

  • Wolf in the Shadows, LameBeard and tinpact like this




  • 139 posts
  • Location:Agri-fiefs of Cascadia
  • Faction: Dark Angels

Ah, I hadn't seen this until recently. Thank you for the input, firstly. After reading through the rules a few more times I came to similar conclusions - I had originally swapped Seekers for Vets to save points, but without jump packs the WS5 and chainsword tacs seem a lot more appealing.


Also, how are Esotericists? I haven't seen a lot about them, but a discount Librarian that knows a few unit buffs seems like a good option to attach to a Terminator squad.

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