So if someone is choosing Blood Angels in a Tournament setting, then either they are loyal to the Chapter and don't care quite so badly about winning (a non-WAAC player) or they are banking on a confidence in their ability to overmatch opponents through a superior OODA loop. Wait, OODA whatnow!?
wiki OODA Loop) or numerous other websites.
The bottom line is the OODA Loop is basically a formalized way to make decisions. All of gaming (40k or not) is based on decision making. In fact, Game Theory itself is the study of Decision Making.
Please examine the following list: Note that said list writer chose items which are all straightforward to use, and require little-to-no inspiration when employing them.
2x Ordo Xenos Inquisitor: Conversion Beamer, Lvl 1 Psyker
2x Henchmen Bands: 3x Warrior Acolyte
1x Rune Priest in Power Armour, (Jaws; Living Lightning)
1x Grey Hunters 5x men w/flamer
1x GK Strike Squad: 10x men, 2x Psycannon
5x GK Strike Squad: 5x men, 1x Psycannon
5x Razorback: TLAC, psybolt ammo
Ok well we see that the above list plays itself. There is next to no decision cycle, and by using a list like the above the player has removed all coherent thought when it comes to an OODA loop. Now they do have small decisions to make regarding target-priority, but next to that it's just rolling dice. There's no thoughts towards scheme of maneuver, tactical employment, ambushes, diversions, or reactive play-style of any sort. This is the reason WAAC players get so much hate-- because they tend to use optimized lists. But not lists which are optimized for Game Theory play-style, but rather lists that are optimized for the opposite: removing the OODA loop almost entirely. Those lists have less Sun Tzu in them than a fortune cookie.
The OODA Loop is what separates Good Players from Poor Players. More than that, decision making separates Good Players from Amazing Players. An amazing player has many hours of game experience to provide referential templates, he understands the difference between Tactics and Strategy, and he understands that Objective is the most important principle of warfare when it comes to 40k. But more than any of those, a Tournament Contender makes the best decisions.
So back to Blood Angels, our favored Sons of Sanguinius. Blood Angel players have the task of playing the game without possessing anything Top Tier (well, Mephiston is a unique factor- he can accomplish things other codices only dream of. Death Company is unique but requires care to employ correctly). And make no mistake, there are other codices that have an even harder time than Blood Angels do—we are hardly the worst off when it comes to the Codex power-level metagame. But there is a reason why recent tournaments in 6th edition are now developing a disturbing trend where the top placers are the premier shooting codices. Dedicated shooting lists are easy to play and require very low decision making capabilities. Now, please don't take this a slander against these armies-- depending on the list-build, these Armies can be challenging to play and can require adept decision making-- but those builds are purposefully taking handicaps by refusal to optimize.
So if Blood Angels want to play competitively, a BA player must play to the strengths of our Codex. Not just in the way that is easily apparent either—it doesn’t mean loading up on Jump Troops and charge forth with chainswords revving. Sometimes that is the correct decision, but often it is not. But when you design a list that only plays one way no matter what you are facing, then you’ve done no better than WAAC players who remove their OODA loops. Make no mistake—Blood Angels are a finesse codex. We have certain fixed-costs and generally lower body-count on the battlefield. The reason we remain playable in spite of these limitations is the fact that we are the most resilient ‘fast codex.’ Other codices can be faster, but will be less survivable.
So what does speed give us with respect to winning through superior decision making? Mobility enables flexibility and ability for successful execution of maneuver warfare. Shooting lists generally only have two ways to mitigate threats: raw target elimination (obviously) and use of screens. However, hybrid lists are able to mitigate threats through a mixture of Elimination, Screens, Diversions, Fixes and Ambushes. If you try to fight an optimized list at its own game, you’ll almost certainly lose. However, a hybrid list is going to have an increased menu of options available to it. Hybrid lists are flexible, which is yet another key principle of warfare. The internet spews disdain about underpowered hybrid lists yet their owners can place and even win consistently in competitive play. This is because a Contender hybrid-player possesses high-level decision making with a wide library of tactics and strategies.
Having flexibility is not good enough by itself—a Player must understand his flexibility and select the winning decisions.
Now, we come back to the OODA loop. A flexible Blood Angel list means a player already has an increased number of decisions to make, right from Turn 0 (game setup). Finesse armies are extremely unforgiving, and your goal should be to make as many deliberate decisions as possible by defeating your ingrained ‘business as usual’ assumptions. For veteran players, you make more subconscious decisions than you think—often reinforced by years of successful results, but don’t mean they are always the best decisions. Newer or Poor players will become lost in the Observe step and never truly Orient. But make no mistake, Orient is the MOST crucial step of the OODA Loop. Blood Angels must Orient themselves correctly to all situations or they will fail to make the best Decision. Correctly orienting involves target prioritization and threat prediction, branching out in decision-trees all the way to the finish of the game. Hence Players with the highest powers of prediction are often the hardest to beat. You should orient on all the possibilities which can yield positive results, and which promote your Turn 0 strategy to win. A predictable opponent is supremely defeatable no matter their list. Force yourself to break patterns—a patterned player is a predictable player. Personally, I find games against experienced players can be a lot less mentally taxing because new players make crazy decisions that may not make sense—which can throw me off my game. If you can harness the power of a wildcard decision tied back into otherwise conventional play, then you can gain an edge not easily measurable. Finding a way into your opponent’s own OODA loop and playing mindgames can earn you a win--- this ties back into Sun Tzu’s proverb “All Warfare is based in deception.”
(note: this is also why cookie-cutter shooting lists favor removal of their OODA loop—because then their OODA cannot easily be subverted through mindgames or deception tactics)
Further explaining why our old man Sun Tzu was on to something, the fact the Blood Angels possess superior mobility means we can best employ his maxim “When strong, appear weak. When weak, appear strong.” Blood Angels can achieve Turn 2 melee fairly easily, but that doesn’t mean that should be your goal in every game. Sometimes you can win by placing a defense line in midfield, jump to it then go to ground every turn before finishing with an objective grab. Outside the box thinking only helps armies that can switch strategies mid-game. If there are 5 objectives, posture on deployment as if you are going for a certain 3 of 5, then instead use jump-packs to redeploy and go for a different 3 (ie Refuse Flank followed by Tactical Redeployment—a slower list may not react quick enough). Placing key items in reserves adds loads of flexibility, tempered against asset availability of course. When and what to reserve is yet again a major decision, and not one to be made lightly. The Orient phase of your OODA loop is when you tabulate your costs and benefits, and you evaluate the cost-benefit analysis during the Decide phase.
An unimaginative list can only win games through one way- and if you come prepared with a menu of options to face these lists, then you have answered their whole army. They cannot switch playstyle mid-game to counter your counter.
On the whole, Blood Angels for Tournament play can be highly successful. I would caution all the Battlebrothers however, not to attempt using the Blood Angel codex in the manner that 'Internet Tournament Players' write their lists (Edit: meaning Passive Maneuver, Power Projection doctrine). The biggest asset Blood Angels have at our disposal is supreme flexibility derived from mobility and balanced, objective-oriented play-style bolstered by deliberate, focused decision making.
Spammers are asleep at the wheel gentlemen. Let's show them a Better Class of Player
Post Article Edits:
A sample Battle Report that demonstrates the OODA Loop in action is posted here: http://www.bolterand...howtopic=262266
A non-definitive list of Blood Angel Competitive List-writing: For my general ideas on increasing flexibility in a given Blood Angel list, here are some personal thoughts. The list is by no means exhaustive, nor will every point work for every player. Most of the players on this forum will be familiar with most of this. But in general, and for me personally:
- The core of the vast majority of my lists begin with 20 Jump Assault Marines and a Jump Sanguinary Priest.
- Mephiston > than any other two Independent Characters. Caveat: Jump Librarian and Jump Priest may provide better Force Multipliers if your list contains 20+ Jump Marines.
- Allies should provide unique options/abilities or else do not take them. Example-- BA Razorback Mechanized does not benefit from Chimera Mechanized IG, but Hybrid or Aggressive BA will benefit from cheap IG on foot (provide cheap screens, cheap scoring).
- Prescience Librarians are better in more situations than Chaplains. Chaplains are ok, but outclassed by the GW introduction of Prescience. Librarians will always win the flexibility argument over a Chaplain/Reclusiarch now.
- Reserves greatly increase late game flexibility, but greatly reduce early game asset availability. A list which must heavily utilize reserves must include some form of reserves-booster (Comms Relay, Descent of Angels, Drop-pods, IG Astropath [will only affect IG allies though], etc). Reason is that an enemy list with a Reserves influence effect (IG Master of Fleet, GK Warp Quake, Warlord powers) may severely mitigate you.
- Know Thyself! (know your list). You must know what a list is good against, and what a list is weak against (As per the Problem Set-- LINK). In general, most Blood Angel lists are excellent versus Light/Medium/Fast Infantry and Light/Heavy Vehicles. In general, Blood Angel lists may struggle against Heavy Infantry, Shock Units and Hero-Level Characters.
- Foot-Infantry generally play best in midfield (or possess long-range weapons of course). Deploy them as far forward in your deployment zone as possible- moving 6" per turn they will reach mid-table on Turn 2. Transports are almost essential but not always required.
- Use Drop-Pod Tacticals to arrive anywhere Turn1. Use reserved-Rhino Tacticals to arrive to mid-board Turn2+ (Move+Flatout 24"). I personally cannot use Tacticals very well, they always underperform for my playstyle. If I played versus Daemons more, I'd use them more though.
- The #1 best diversion-maker available is any unit in a drop-pod. Almost all builds can benefit from a single drop-podded Unit; think very hard if you mean to include 2-4 pods. The best pod inclusions for any list are 1 or 5+. 1 will be precision diversion maker, 5+ will be an Alphastrike list.
- BA Predators should anticipate utilizing constant maneuver to continually change the battlefield situation. Moving 12" is huge, and may be strategically worth more than firing all weapons at full-BS. Stationary BA predators must having a very compelling reason to do so since we pay more points than SW/SM for the Fast classification.
- Use multimeltas on Attack Bikes and double heavy bolters on Land Speeders for best value and maximized role-employment. Some espouse dual-MM on Speeders but they are less resilient than Bikes at melta-ranges. Dual-HB Speeders are 10pts per shot= great value. 180pts for 18 shots, cast Prescience and reap the deathly harvest (Look out for this enemy combo, Space Wolves do this too!).
- Vehicles with Template weapons are suicide-units; generally poor value when facing an experienced opponent.
- Fortifications do not violate flexibility doctrine if utilized aggressively; rarely will a 'backedge-backfield' fortification be a good idea. Forward deploy them, anticipate where you will need them in the mid-to-late game.
- Excess wargear does not necessarily make a unit more flexible; Example- Meltabombs or Combi-weapons can be good, but Hunter-Killer Missiles or Stormbolters on vehicles are usually bad. No unit needs more than 1 Power Weapon per 3 models (usually less at 1 per 4-5).
- You must have an extremely good reason not to take max-special weapons in Jump Assault Squads.
Terminators (any type) are not flexible. They are still playable though, as a rock to anchor your maneuver. If your Terminators survive a game, generally it means you did not use them aggressively enough.
Edited by CitadelArmyGuy, 03 June 2013 - 04:55 AM.