Sunday, 13 January 2013
A review of Codex Dark Angels
First and most importantly this codex is Ward free, and while i feel a great amount of sympathy for the tau players who likely will have him "write" thier codex it does mean that the Dark Angels are free of the absurdity that his work contains.
Another thing that should be pointed out here is that the Dark Angels are not a true "codex chapter" anymore if u take the fluff as is tho the list will let you make it as much a codex chapter as any other.
In my honest opinion this codex is THE best space marine rule set since 4th edition giving the player back the choices that Ward took away and as long as you stay away from the Dark Angel specific things would make for a far better more balanced list than the current codex space marines for a standard marine player.
I should also point out the sheer amount of equipment that hasnt been used at all or properly since 2nd edition. This has been the real icing on the cake for me, things like the Conversion field blinding nearby units when u pass a save, a displacer field teleporting the user when he passes a save. The book has an actual armoury page again for equipping characters.
The general rules for Dark Angels, as well as having the usual 2 ( combat squads, and they shall know no fear) Dark angels have a few of thier own. Grim Resolve is the army wide special rule, it makes all DA units Stubborn but also disallows them the option of automatically failing a morale check. The other rule is Inner Circle and not suprisingly is for deathwing and certain hq choices, the Inner circle rule grants the unit Fearless and also preffered enemy CSM. As expected the book also has a new Warlords Trait table these genreally make the warlord and his unit faster or harder to break as well as the usual affecting reserves.
Starting with the general HQ choices.
The Company Master is the only DA HQ that cannot take a bike, he is pretty much the generic captain with the usual choices plus all the new DA equipment and Relic weaponry, he can also take a Watcher in the Dark as a sidekick granting him the fear and adamantium will rules. Whatever u need this guy can be geared toward it.
Interrogater-Chaplain. Stats wise they are the same as a blood angel Reclusiarch and the same as the company master -1 Ws. He too has Inncer circle and the zealot rule plus full acces to the armoury section,
Nothing really special going on with him but is a nice middle ground between the regular chaplain and the company master but I imagine for most it would be as much an asthectic choice as tactical.
Chaplain. The basic standard chaplain from any other codex and the worst of the hqs avaliable. The regular chaplain costs as much as a company master and has very limited acces to the armoury (isnt even allowed terminator armour) and is the only DA ive noticed that has niether Inner Circle or Grim Resolve.
Librarian. Again the same stats as any generic librarian, the major differance is that he only costs 65 points to start with and can be upgraded to mastery 2 for 35 further points. Also has full access to the armoury and the Inner Circle specail rule. It should be pointed out that bar Eziekiel the DA librarians generate all powers from the core disciplines.
Techmarines. One of the changes I simply love, techmarines may be takin in the same manner as a command squad now, on a 1 per hq basis without filling any slots and can still take a unit of servitors. Not really any diferant to a codex techmarine but some of the DA equipment can give u some new options.
Command Squads.Each of the 3 command squads regular, ravenwing and Deathwing are retricted to 1 per HQ with the deathwing also requiring an hq in terminator armour and the Ravenwing a bike mounted hq. The regular command squad is pretty much the same as the others availiable with a few minor exceptions most noticibly is the choice of banners they can choose from especially the Sacred Standards each of which allows every unit within 12" to reroll morale and pinning tests, they also do somthing else which is incredibly dangerous if used right. The standard of Retribution gives all units within 12" counterattack, the standard of Fortitude gives them feel no pain and the banner of devastation gives all freindly bolter armed units within 6" salvo 2/4!. In addition to the standards they have the usual choices of pretty much any standard weapon or to upgrade 1 to an apothecary or a company champion. The company champion is equipped with a blade of caliban which is essentially an ap3 power axe. not great
The Deathwing command squad is much the same with the choices being terminator gear instead, they too have access to the standards but the army is limited to 1 Sacred standard. The deathwing champion is armed with a Halberd of Caliban which is +2S and ap 2 and 2 handed, it also has the Bane of the Traitor special rule that all deathwing unique weapons have which lowers the ap by 1 vs chaos space marines. They can take an apothecary and 1 mini can have a heavy weapon including the new Plasma cannon option, the rest of the squad can take lightning claws 4 free or th/ss or chainfists for +5 points per model. They can also select a land raider as a dedicated transport.
The Ravenwing squad consits of 3 Black Knights which are the new elite ravenwing veterans, each is armed with a Corvus hammer [+1S ap- rending] and a bike mounted plasma talon which is a range 18 plasma gun. They have the same upgrade and banner options as the other squads.
Tactical Squads. Finally actually tactical again, the squad now costs a low 70 points with additional marines costing just 14pts each. The squad comes with a basic seargant with the same stats as a line marine but can be upgraded to a veteran for 10pts giving him the +1 A and Ld. Another important change is the option to take a heavy OR special weapon at 5 man strong rather than being forced to max the squad although you must still max the squad to get BOTH weapons. Weapons also have to be paid for now but the units new low price has already been factored into this [a squad with a missle launcher and flamer and a vet sarge still costs 170pts]. The usual transport options are avaliable but 1 other significant change is the option to take flakk missles for a further 10 points giving some nice cheap AA capability.
Scouts. Much the same with the same regular sarge being upgradable to a vet. The basic scouts are 60pts for 5 and 12pts each after, can take camo cloaks at +2pts each and the usual weapons for free, they can take heavy bolter for 8pts?! and a missle launcher for 15pts with flakk missles for another 10pts.
Company Veterans. No Sternguard or Vanguard here [thank god]. 5 vets for 90 points and 18 points each after. The equipment options are a little dissapointing as by default they have just a standard bolter and bolt pistol, they may switch the bolter for a chainsword for free but only up to 3 marines regardless of squad size may take a storm bolter or combi weapon or a powerweapon/ fist or lightning claws. The entire squad can be givin combat shields, melta bombs or storm shields.For every 5 models 1 marine can take a special weapon, 1 veteran may also take a heavy weapon. They come across as more of a veteran tactical squad which is no bad thing but personally id have liked to add more CC weapons. One plan that came to mind was to give them all storm shields [just 10pts each] and park them next to a standard of devastation, 4 shots a piece and 3++ saves and would also be a good use of the forgeworld breaching shields.
Deathwing. Terminators. Max of 10 in a squad now with 1 heavy per 5 and any may switch his weapons for lightning claws for free or hammer and shield for 5pts each [chainfist too]. The squad has the split fire special rule and may take a land raider as a transport.. The player can declare a Deathwing assault that works similarly to drop pods except that every squad deepstrikes in the 1st or 2nd turn and arrive automatically. Furthermore on a turn they arrive by deepstrike deathwing count their weapons as twinlinked
Deathwing Knights. Bigger Terminators. They have Ws 5 as standard and come with a storm shield and a mace of absolution while the Knight master has a Flail of the Unforgiven. Both of these weapons have the Bane of the Traitor special rule [-1 ap vs CSM]. The maces are a basic power maul but once per game may strike at +6S Ap2! while the flail is +2S Ap3 all the time. The Unit also has the hammer of wrath special rule and a new scary one called fortress of shields which means when any of the unit is touching at least 2 others [like when they deepstrike] they get +1 touighness. More lol the squad can pick their targets with to hit rolls of 6 just like characters. they may take a watcher in the dark and a land raider as a dedicated transport.
Dreadnought. Nothing new.
Ravenwing Attack Squadron. 3 bikes with the option for another 3 and an attack bike if there are 6 bikes the squad may take a landspeeder. the units are deployed together but the attackbike and landspeeder are sepreate units and may move independantly. The squad comes wit a teleport home, the hit and run and scouts special rules and may combat squad and have the usual 2 bikers gun upgrade options.
Ravenwing Support Squadron. 1-5 Landspeeders, same as always.
Black Knights. Eilte bikers that are potentailly devastating. The squad starts 3 strong but can take 7 more, each bike is equipped with a range 18 plasma gun and every black knight has a bolt pitsol and a corvus hammer [+1S Ap- Rending] and have 2 A on their profile naturally. For every 3 minitatures in the squad 1 may upgrade his plasma talon to a ravenwing grenade launcher, it fires the standard grenade launcher rounds AND rad rounds which lower the targets T by 1 for the turn AND stasis rounds which lower the targets WS and I by 1 for the rest of the turn. The unit also has hit and run, scouts and skilled riders to boot!. Scary.
Darkshroud. This is the Landspeeder Vengence with the DJ stand on the back. The effect it gives is that it itself has the shrouded special rule and all friendly units within 6" get stealth.It also adds +1 to nearby combat resolution. Despite the size differance it still has only 2 HP and is still armour 10. For 20 points it can upgrade its heavy bolter to an assault cannon. The Cost and appearance of model remove any little appeal that taking this would have.
Assault squad. As Normal
Nephilum Jet fighter. The wisdom that chose to name it the Nephilum which means fallen angel as a unit within the DA is top notch but sarcasm aside its better than the "Dark Talon". The basic equipment is Twin Lascannons and H.bolters with 6 Blacksword missles which are 1 use range 36 Krak grenades. the Lascannons can be swapped for an Avenger Mega bolter but unlike the bolt cannon mounted on the Avenger strike fighter it only fires 5 shots and at Ap4. It has a special rule that lets it exchange weapon destroyed results on enemy vehicles for immobilized and also has the strafing run and missle lock special rules. Supposedly this thing is for shooting down other aircraft but honestly it will struggle with anything above armour 10 if u switch out the lascannons.
Dark Talon. A flyer mounting the Rift Cannon which in its description works in much the same way as an Eldar D-cannon which as you may know uses a large blast and always wounds on a 2+ at Ap2 so you would probably think it has a similar weapon profile, well it has a large blast true enough but only at strength 5 ap- but it does have the blind rule [yay] to represent direct exposure to the warp. The darktalon also comes with twin hurricane bolters and a single use stasis bomb. The stasis bomb uses a large blast and drops whatevers under its Ws and I by -3 for the rest of the turn. Like the Darkshroud I personally wudnt be willing to Pay the money for something of questionable use.
Devastators. Same as always but priced like the tactical squads now. Cheaper.
Vehicles. preds whirlwinds and vindicator plus the 3 raider variants are all the same as normal.
Land Speeder Vengence. I had hoped that since the model is god awful that it would make up for it with some decent rules but thats unfortunatley not true, like the darkshroud it has no better stats than a regular speeder making it a large obvious target for your opponent who will in all likelyhood drop it with a round of bolter fire. The massive Plasma storm battery has 2 firing profiles, both at range 24. Burst mode fires 3 plasma gun shots, thats it. Charged mode is a large blast plasma gun which its quite good but if ur opponents sees it coming the chances of gettin more than 1 shot are slim and a Vindicator is cheaper altho not so fast.
There are a few pieces of DA unique equipment options I think are worth mentioning like the Porta-Rack. If the bearer kills an enemy character in close combat he gains fear and preferred enemy special rules, additionally the Dark Angel player may now count his enemies Teleport homers and Locator beacons as his own!. The powerfield generator is back too which grants the bearer and all models friend or foe within 3" a 4++ save. Also there is the Infravisor which gives nightvision but lowers the wearers I to 1 for blind tests.
Special Character time.
Azrael. The same stats as a company master but Azrael has several very good bonuses, for one he can pick his DA warlord trait and two he makes all DA ld 10, he also has no less than 4 relic items.
The Lion Helm grants Azrael and his unit a 4++ save
The Lions Wrath is a mastercrafted combiplasma that has the blind special rule.
The Protector is Azraels artificer armour that gives him FNP (6+)
The Sword of Secrets is a mastercrafted Relic blade.
Where all this not enough taking Azrael makes both deathwing AND ravenwing troops and all for 215 points.
Ezekiel. A librarian with the same stats as an Interrogater Chapain and Mastery Lvl 3. He has the Hunt warlord trait which which counts any enemy hq killed by him as a victory point. He has the mind worm psychic power which causes d3 S4 ap 2 hits and anyone that is wounded by it looses 3 from Ws, Bs, I and Ld for the rest of the game.
He has 2 Relics.
The book of salvation gives all DA units within 6 of him +1 Ws
The Traitors Bane is a mastercrafted 2 handed force sword that Ironically doesnt have the bane of traitors special rule.
Asmodai. Exactly the same as a regular Interrogater Chaplain except that he has the blades of reason which are are users S no ap and cause instant death and are a specialist weapon.
Belial. Company Master in Terminator armour. he can choose his targets on a 5+ instead of 6 and the unit he joins doesnt scatter when arriving from deepstrike. He has a powersword with fleshbane. Makes Deathwing Troops.
Sammael. Riding his Jetbike he has impressive stats including a 4+ invul save and a mastercrafted Ap2 powersword, the bike has twinlinked storm bolters and a plasma cannon. he also has the eternal warrior special rule due to his adamantine mantle. He can choose to ride instead in his Armour 14 landspeeder if which also benefits from his invul save and has twin assualt cannons and H.bolters. Makes Ravenwing Troops.
Thats All Folks