Over the last few years I have remained very loyal to Games Workshop and the two armies I play in Warhammer 40k, Blood Angels and Tyranids. From shared codexes to pamphlet-dexes and even PDF-dexes, through FAQ's and edition changes, I've played those two armies through thick and thin, and enjoyed every minute of it. However, over the last year or so, I think the odds have stacked significantly against them and it's starting to wear on me.
Lets go over Blood Angels. When Imperial Armour Apocalypse Second Edition came out, it was supposed to add a lot of versatility to multiple armies. Everybody got tons of shiny new units in the form of Contemptor Dreadnoughts and new vehicle variants, as well as a ton of updates to existing IA units to make things mesh with 5th Edition more. The problem is, when you look at all of the cool vehicles like the Siege Dreadnought, the Land Raider Achilles, the Mortis-Pattern Contemptor Dreadnought, and the Caestus Assault Ram, you'll notice that the Blood Angels are specifically left out of the list of Chapters that have access to these amazing units. Why? Why is one of the most loyal chapters denied access to these? The Mortis Contemptor, with dual Kheres-pattern Assault Cannons is highly reminiscent of other Blood Angels vehicle designs and falls in-line with older Blood Angels codex philosophies (assault cannons everywhere). The Caestus Assault Ram is a Storm Raven/Thunder Hawk knock-off, and the Siege Dreadnought can easily be a Furioso. If "Space Marines" get them, then why doesn't EVERY chapter? If it's just a design decision, then why the hell do Space Wolves get access to all of the above? What makes them deserve these units over Blood Angels? Hell, they're practically a Legion anyways, along with Black Templars!
And then, 6th edition dropped. Initially, rumors (based on both the actual book and the previous leak) ran rampant that Descent of Angels lists were going to be extremely competitive at tournaments for the following reasons:
- Lists with more scoring units and actual bodies on the table would prevail over mechanized lists
- Deep Strike mishaps became less painful by 50% (the unit only dies on a 1 instead of on a 1-2)
- Vanguard Veterans' Heroic Intervention ability is one of only two that lets a unit assault from reserves
- A Jump Pack used in the assault phase lets you re-roll your charge distance and gives you Hammer of Wrath
While these are somewhat true, most people forget that a Descent of Angels army has never won any major tournament, nor do Blood Angels dominate any meta, anywhere. With it's main two gimmicks being either extremely weak or strongly countered, most competitive players have written off the army altogether. The army is still considered to be found lacking in 6th, which brings me to my next point regarding Blood Angels.
The most recent FAQ now turns Dante's and Astorath's Power Axes into Initiative 1 weapons, makes our three-power-per-turn uuber caster Mephiston only able to take two powers from the core book, and the rules themselves turned Chaplain's weapons into AP4 NERF bats, dropped the Initiative bonus off of Furious Charge, and worsened the Feel No Pain save from a 4+ to a 5+. If you want to see the definition of a worthless unit, look at the 50 point Sanguinary Priest who now gives approximately 41.7% fewer benefits to his buddies within 6". What a joke.
As for Tyranids, well, we all know how bad Tyranids are with the double-whammy of the 6th edition rules and their FAQ, so I won't go into that. Need proof that the army is just plain dead? Look at all the "But Nids are AWESOME" blogs that were popular on the internet a year ago that are now either gone or have switched focus to a tournament-viable army (I'm looking at you, Synaps3).
With 6th Edition AND the FAQ stacked against the Tyranids, the army is even more difficult to play. Sure, Boneswords still completely ignore all armor and Psychic Hoods got super-NERFed, and that's cool, but with Tyranids' last refuge being stripped away from them via cover saves generally dropping from a 4+ to a 5+ and the "can't assault the turn you arrive from reserves" rule, the army is basically neutered especially considering most of their main problems from 5th Edition carried over to 6th as well.
What's the point of all of this? Well, at this juncture, I'm not entirely sure that I have the skill or even the desire to figure out how to make Blood Angels and Tyranids competitive, or at least "challenging". Aside from stupid, over-costed flyer shenanigans, I just don't think the current iterations of these two armies have what it takes to be fun, challenging armies in 6th edition, that is until they get new codexes in 2014. Call me just a bad player for not being able to figure these 'dexes out, and I won't argue.
Once I'm done with the games of 40k that I have scheduled throughout the rest of this year, I'll be done playing with the Blood Angels and Tyranids for a few years until they get the attention they deserve. With GW's business practices, price hikes, and complete disregard for my armies (and several others), I'm pretty much done with them for a while.
I have finally succumbed to the Red Thirst and/or Black Rage, and will be focusing solely on my beautiful Cygnar from Warmachine, and Card Games like Magic The Gathering and Pokémon! :D