There are a number of dataslates available for the Blood Angels to use but to date, there is little discussion into there use and synergy with our forces. The aim of this article is to 1) share and impart our collective knowledge to our fellow captains and 2) to get some discussion going on the lesser-known potential boons to our forces. I want this thread to remain in flux and will happily edit the first post as people reply with their own ideas so we can get the optimal use out of each unit.
Further discussion guides can be found from post #6 onwards on the BA resource thread
Cypher's rules are currently compiled as an online dataslate, which can be found in full as an iBook or an eBook. Alternatively, a naughty copy can be googled... The official model is available via GW Online or places like Ebay. To kitbash one, simply use a robed minature with a (preferably ornate) bolt pistol, plasma pistol and sheathed sword. The new DA upgrade sprue works well for this.
Cypher has Faction: Dark Angels or Faction: Chaos Space Marines for the duration of the battle. Whichever you choose, his is considered exempt from the normal restrictions meaning you can take him in either a Baal Strike Force, Combined Arms Detachment and/or a flesh Tearers Strike Force. Basically, you use Faction: Dark Angels if taking him solo (so he can mingle with the rest of your army), Faction: Chaos Space Marines if using the Formation.
As per the latest rulebook FAQ (which can be found in the BA-centric FAQ thread), an Independent Character with Infiltrate can only join those models that have Infiltrate during Deployment. An obvious choice here is adding him to a Scout squad which will boost them immensely, be it stopping power, making them Shrouded and giving them Hit and Run (which can be great on Scouts if used correctly). However, we have the potential to really capitalise on this ability thanks to one Relic: the Veritas Vitae The VV gives us an extra role on the Stategic Warlord Trait table. With both rolls on there, we have a one in three chance of rolling the Master of Ambush trait whereby your Warlord and three units gain Infiltrate. Now all of a sudden we have the potential of adding Shrouded and Hit and Run to our Terminators, Death Company, Mephiston, and so on. This has the potential to be exceedingly nasty. Also, these can be put into reserve and subsequently outflanked, so Cypher leading a strong shooty-counter attack squad from the side can look promising.
With Fleet, Cypher can make a tag team with Mephiston, DC Tycho or any Independent Character with Quickening active and still make use of it (should you wish). Certainly the Mephiston combo looks promising with T5 base or (potentially) higher should Biomancy be used. On the subject of Quickening, this gives Cypher an INT of 9/10 and 4/5/6 ATK before charging, almost half of which are STR 7 AP 2. That is going to munch through anything and will add much needed AP2 where needed.
Whilst we can't join a squad at the start, remember that he can subsequently join up with others later on. Again, here he can tank for pretty much anything and the four shots (in the shooting phase and his 3/4 in combat) can do damage. As an Independent Character, he can form a mini team with the Sanguinor and thusly convey across the aforementioned buffs and will himself collect Fearless should it be needed...
Another useful option for Cypher is for him to man a battlefield debris weapon. With his high BS he will give any quad gun/icarus lascannon re-rolls to hit and he will ensure that things like the macro cannon will have a very minor scatter. Situational, but potentially useful all the same.
Using the formation
Firstly, as the formation using Chosen to represent the Fallen, these are ally level Come the Apocalypse and thus, the units in this formation must remain more than 6" away from the rest of your army at all times. Fortunately, every model belonging to the formation has Infiltrate so this shouldn't be too much of a problem. This also means that they wont be able to use any of our transports.
As a general rule, Chaos doesn't like the current Chosen ruleset. However, these "counts-as" Chosen have Leadership 10 if near Cypher (which they will be), And They Shall Know No Fear and less Chaosy toys, so how can and why should we use them? First, lets compare them to Sternguard. The base cost is cheaper and whilst they lack grav options, a heavy flamer and special issue ammunition, they have more options to take special weapons. As an example, for 140 points you can have a Champion with combi-melta and four Chosen with melta guns begin the game 18" away from a prime target. 28 points will increase that number of regular melta guns to five. This. Has. Potential. Alternatively, you can Outflank this or a plasma version (which better compliments Cypher) for further fun. As the formation can take three units, that's a Titan-killing amount of melta weaponry. The best part is that even with the melta gun, the Chosen retain their bolt pistol and close combat weapon meaning that's three ATK base and four on the charge should you need it. Better yet, start them in a no-mans land Fortification with an Escape Hatch. This will boost them a further 12" on the first turn which again has a huge amount of potential.
Speaking of combat, you could keep them cheap and throw in the odd upgrade. This is an assault unit that starts 18" away (good), with a power first, etc, that can't be singled out (good), but is a tad pricey (bad). With the same stats as Vanguard and similar cost, they lack the obvious durability (storm shields) and mobility (jump packs) afforded by them. Still, they do have Cypher to tip the balance. That said, whilst a combat option is possible, Blood Angels are not really lacking in combat options.
Of the options, an Icon of Vengeance would give the unit Fearless which isn't strictly necessary given they have access to And They Shall Know No Fear and that we have no means of using this unit as a road block. With the unit Champion having to issue a challenge, a power sword/lightning claw may be a decent upgrade, but only if you have the points to spare. Same goes for melta bombs. The heavy weapons don't really make use of the veteran statline, but there is always a niche for what is essentially a squad of infiltrating heavy weapon. However, this then becomes an expensive Tactical/Scout squad so it's not going to be seen often.
So there you have it. Be it Cypher alone or Cypher with friends, he offers a unique way to augment our forces and offers some interesting modelling opportunities. However, this post isn't the be all and end all of the discussion: how do you use your Cypher? Post below so it can be added to this post and the discussion can remain fluid and this post in flux.
Finally, I should also point out that Cypher is an excellent second vow for the ETL: just make a bolt pistol and plasma pistol gunslinger from your bits box, give him a sword and there you go!
Thanks for reading.
Edited by Jolemai, 13 October 2015 - 01:26 PM.