Tactical Toolbox – Judging Dreadnoughts

Dreadnoughts are cool. This is a simple, undeniable fact. From the classic Castraferrum design to the new Primaris Redemptor and the ancient (but still sturdy) Contemptor, they both look good and are a formidable part of any Space Marine force. And today, we have Chris from the Forge the Narrative podcast here to talk about how best to use them in your Blood Angels armies. Here’s Chris:

Hello, everyone. Chris Morgan from Forge the Narrative here to offer some insight into the new Codex: Blood Angels. Today’s tactica will revolve around the glorious fallen of the Adeptus Astartes, the mighty Dreadnoughts! We’re going to take a look at the main Dreadnought variants the Blood Angels and their successors have employed over the years, starting with the rage-fuelled Death Company Dreadnought, then on to its precursor, the noble and deadly Furioso Dreadnought, and finally the Librarian Dreadnought. Now, with the additions of the Contemptor and the Redemptor to the codex as new kids on the block, it’s time to look at what these distinct and seasoned Dreadnoughts offer over their new kin.  

Dreading the Company of Death

Since the glorious days of Moriar the Chosen, the idea of a Dreadnought fallen to the Black Rage has captured the imaginations of Blood Angels players. After all, who doesn’t like the idea of a giant, stompy sarcophagus with adamantium claws and a penchant for violence? Well, the dream is certainly still alive with the new Death Company Dreadnought rules. There are some significant changes to the Dreadnought from Index: Imperium 1. Firstly, the base points cost has been reduced by a whopping 38 points, and that means that it’s going to be a lot easier to field this guy than it was before.

One of the signature weapons for these bad boys are the blood talons. They’re +4 Strength, AP -2, 3 Damage each, and re-roll to hit and to wound in combat. With the Red Thirst trait, this can be devastating for targets of their melee attacks. Not only are you hitting better in combat, you’re also usually wounding on 2s with a re-roll!  You will force your opponent to make many saves. Its survivability is also improved with the Black Rage keyword, which lets it ignore damage on a roll of a 6.

The movement on a Death Company Dreadnought is 8″, instead of the normal 6″ for your conventional Space Marines Dreadnought. Since these guys always want to be in combat, it’s nice they have a bit more speed to get up in the face of your opponent, and you can also pack them into a Stormraven. Consider using it in conjunction with Chaplain Lemartes, as he lets them re-roll charge distances when within 6″ of him at the start of their charge, for that extra guarantee that your murder machine gets up close and personal. Just drop them together close by and let the carnage unfold. Depending on your points, consider a magna-grapple as well to help close the distance to a pesky vehicle by adding 2″ to your charge. You’ll want to get this guy stuck in as soon as possible, because your opponent will, understandably, make killing him a priority.

Fists of Furioso

We can’t forget the original close combat Dreadnought. While not as sturdy or punchy as the Death Company Dreadnought, since it lacks the Black Rage, the Furioso Dreadnought has some terrifying armoury options and is just as fast. For a little extra firepower, consider the frag cannon, weighing in with 2D6 shots that automatically hit at an 8″ range. When combined with something like a heavy flamer, you’ll dole out a lot of close-ranged death to large, hazardous infantry units such as Poxwalkers or Genestealers that venture too close.

The Furioso comes stocked with dual Furioso fists, with the option to upgrade to the shooting variant above or to blood talons. The points come in cheaper with the Furioso fists than with the blood talons as well, which is good if you are running an army on a points budget. Remember, with the Red Thirst, you will almost always be wounding on 2s during the first round of combat, even against high Toughness units like Renegade Imperial Knights and Exocrines.

Remember Your Library Card

The Librarian Dreadnought is one of the most distinct Dreadnoughts in the range, and the new codex gives it a host of new tricks you can bring to the table. The Librarian Dreadnought is a Character and an HQ choice, meaning you could potentially field an entire army of Dreadnoughts with these guys leading the charge. Since they’re Characters with fewer than 10 wounds, Librarian Dreadnoughts are harder for your opponent to target. They also have access to Warlord Traits and Relics of Baal, as well their psychic powers.

A fan favourite psychic power from years past is the Wings of Sanguinius. This makes your Librarian Dreadnoughts even faster than the jump pack infantry that should be accompanying them. Being able to move, then move 12″ again in the Psychic phase, and then re-rolling charge distances, means that these guys have an incredible threat range. Additionally, you can use them to charge flying units since the power gives you the Fly keyword, meaning no units are safe in the air from this walker. Even just knowing this could potentially mess with how your opponent deploys their Flyers since the weapons on this Dreadnought do not hit like a soft feather. The power lasts until your next Psychic phase, meaning you keep your 12″ move in your next Movement phase as well. One trick to try is to strap this bad boy to the back of a Stormraven, drop it next to an enemy unit, and cast wings of Sanguinius. This will let you move in closer in the Psychic phase and help you get that charge off more easily, or you could even fly over a screening unit to sink your teeth into the softer and juicier targets on the other side, like those pesky Characters or Basilisks.

The Librarian Dreadnought does suffer from a lack of base Attacks, starting at 3, however, there are plenty of ways to supplement this. If Character buffs aren’t enough, the Quickening psychic power is there to help you out by offering an extra D3 attacks. You can then further supplement this with another D3 attacks by using the Red Rampage Stratagem. This turns your 3 Attack Dreadnought into a 5-9 Attack Dreadnought! Since the Librarian Dreadnought already hits on 2s, you are very likely to land some successful hits. Using the Wisdom of the Ancients Stratagem, you could further insure yourself against bad luck by letting the Dreadnought and other units nearby re-roll 1s on their rolls to hit. If you put the Artisan of War Warlord Trait on your Librarian Dreadnought, you can increase the Damage of one of his weapons by one, further increasing his damage potential.

You can also choose to unleash psychic assaults on your enemy. There are a bevy of damaging psychic spells at your disposal. Blood Boil is a great supplement to Smite, offering extra mortal wound potential. While situational, Blood Lance could help you weed out some larger units of infantry with mortal wounds as well. Suffice to say, you want to make sure you return your checked-out books to this guy when you’re done, or he will exact a high price in blood when he comes to collect.

Flying Off Into the Sunset

Well, that should serve as a giant first adamantium step into your Dreadnought journey. There’s a lot to be excited about in the new Blood Angels codex, and these guys are just the start. If you’re looking for more Blood Angels tactica, check out the Forge the Narrative podcast, or you can reach out to me on the Forge the Narrative Facebook page. Stay loyal, my friends, and dread not the future!

And with that dread-ful pun (see, we can do them too), we’ll thank Chris for his insights. You can pick up the various Dreadnought kits now to add some armoured might to your Blood Angels force. When you get them painted, remember to share them with us on the Warhammer 40,000 Facebook page or tag them with #paintingwarhammer on Instagram – we love seeing pictures of Dreadnoughts.

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