It seems to me that the first response everyone has to the Blood Angel book (and now to the Dark Eldar book as well) is that 'it's so broken that every unit can have Feel No Pain (henceforth referred to as 'FNP'). While I agree with folks about it being potentially good, I also feel that the efficient use of the FNP mechanism is also far harder to achieve than most people generally grasp at first.
The first thing to consider is this: How useful will FNP actually be to the army (or unit)?
One thing I've noticed in the 40k community, is how people immediately decide that just because something is good against their army specifically, that it's broken. The fact is, if a person hasn't properly prepared for the possibility that they might face off against lots of FNP, they didn't do a good job building their army list.
Lots of things out there are designed to hurt Power Armor, and most of those things will also negate FNP. Power Klaws in an Ork list, Plasma spam in a Guard list (or template spam, for that matter), Characters of any sort, etc. are all going to make the 'net value' of FNP go down as a whole. It's not like it can be used against everything.
Second thing to consider: Will the unit who has FNP do any good if they're still alive?
It might seriously be better if that squad just dies, so the game can move forward.
A third thing to consider: How many points is 'too much' for a unit to have FNP?
This is one reason I think many people who theoryhammer wyches often fail:
- To get FNP, they need a Haemonculi to give them a pain token.
- The Haemonculi isn't going to of much use in the game otherwise unless you spend more points, so you're essentially paying the full 50 points of the Haemonculi to get FNP on a Wych squad.
- That's 5 points per model, for a (flawed) 4+ save against anything that doesn't have power weapons or S6+.
- Very not worth it. It wasn't even worth it to me when I still thought Haemonculi were only 35 points, lol.
FNP on my Wolfstar? If that was an actual upgrade, I'd for sure pay 5 points per model. I'd probably go up to ~7 or 8 points per model, to be honest. The value to me to keep them alive is worth that many extra points, whereas giving FNP to something like an ork boy for those points per model would be a waste, simply because those models are not nearly as valuable as the Wolfstar.
FNP on an assault squad in the form of a 75-point priest? I'm paying 50 points (after taking out the points for a veteran w/ JP) for FNP, which is 5 points per model. These guys are pretty lame when you come down to it- they really don't do a whole lot for their points as it is. Is ~5 points per model worth it for them to get FNP and (the far less useful USR) Furious Charge? Probably not. What if there was a way to get it for ~2 per model? Much better!
As in, if someone brings a Demon army with only things that negate FNP, does this army auto-lose? If the answer is yes, then the list isn't working. A competitive list won't auto-lose to any army out there. Remember: FNP is a tool, but not something to base an entire army off of. Too much of anything can indeed be a very bad thing, and FNP is a perfect example.
So there you go. A quick blurb on how to think about FNP, and if it's the right USR for you.
As a side note, for those of you who didn't already know, I'm also posting over on Jawaball's blog. I'll have lots of Blood Angels specifics laid out in short order, including practical uses of this article in the context of competitive Blood Angels lists. Stay tuned!
Let me know what you think! Did this article make any sense? Was it all super obvious? Maybe it was way deeper than anything you'd ever heard. heh, I can dream can't I? Seriously though, I'd like to hear from you!