The new Dark Angels are out but which units are worth using and which are better left on the shelf? Inigo Montoya here with the first part of my Dark Angels review. I will be breaking down everything in the codex and giving you the lowdown on the latest iteration of the first chapter. Today we're jumping right in with the HQ units!
One of the best HQ choices in the codex, Azrael is the Supreme Grand Master of the Dark Angels and he must be your warlord. He gets to choose his warlord trait, and he passes his leadership on to the rest of his army. His 2+ 4+ fnp(6) on 4 wounds makes him quite survivable. He is fearless and really doesn’t like Chaos Space Marines much.
His wargear is pretty nice as well: 4+ invulnerable save, 6+ feel no pain, a master-crafted combi plasma gun and a S6 AP3 master-crafted sword swinging at initiative 5 ensures that everything short of terminators folds under his weight.
His real strength is unlocking both Deathwing and Ravenwing as troops and passing fearless on to the squad he joins. This guy is solid from top to bottom.
Ezekial is a much better choice this time around. He is the only mastery level 3 psyker in the codex, and he must take mind worm as one of his psychic abilities. Mind worm has been revised, and other than the 12” range is now an awesome ability. S4 AP2 assault D3, ignoring cover and singling out IC’s on a to-hit roll of 6. A 3 point reduction in WS, BS, I, and LD is really nothing to laugh at, and single wound models just die.
Ezekial is also Inner Circle and is fearless.
His wargear is decent – artificer armor, a relic that increases WS by 1 on all friendly models within 6”, a master-crafted bolt pistol, and a master-crafted ap3 force weapon swinging at I5 make him a serious threat in combat and in challenges. His lack of fearless is a real hit on his overall effectiveness, and this is reflected in his rating.
The Master Interrogator-Chaplain is here, and he is pissed. Hatred, fearless, fear, a melee weapon that causes instant death – he will be a good addition to a decent close combat squad, acting as a force multiplier and making his squad a real threat on the tabletop.
His wargear is minimal and a 3+ makes him as much of a liability as an asset. I just can’t see him making the tabletop much when a standard interrogator-chaplain has everything he has except the ID weapon for 30 points less.
Belial was hit with a huge points increase, and although he costs substantially more than he did in the last codex, he is still reasonable priced. He unlocks terminators as troops and allows you to determine which round deep striking terminators will come down – the first or second. No rolling for reserves, they just come in on the turns you decided on after determining warlord traits. . I cannot overstate how powerful the ability to determine what squad arrives on turn one and what squads arrive on turn 2 is. Putting Belials squad where it needs to be on turn one and dropping the remaining terminator on his beacon on turn two is unbelievably nasty. Not enough for you? His unit doesn’t scatter when they come in and he has a teleport homer. He is fearless and he too has a strong dislike for chaos space marines.
If you choose shooty Belial, his storm bolter gets precision shot on a 5+. The sword of silence is a master-crafter AP3 sword that wounds on 2+. He can swap his sword and storm bolter for lightning claws or a thunder hammer and storm shield. Take a good look at the model, because I think you will be seeing it a lot in the near future.
As with the previous codex, Sammael can ride his jetbike or his super land speeder. Unlike the previous codex, he is both points effective and useful on either. This guy is fearless and is the only eternal warrior in the Dark Angels Codex. When on the jetbike he has a twin-linked bolter and a plasma cannon. He has a teleport homer, scout, skilled rider, and hit and run, making him difficult to deal with and highly effective when properly applied. When on the speeder, he has a twin-linked heavy bolter and a twin-linked assault cannon on an AV 14-14-10 chassis that can deep strike. He unlocks Ravenwing as troops, and like a few of his named friends, has preferred enemy: chaos space marines. He gets to add d6” to his turbo boost / flat out move.
Sammael gets a 4+ invulnerable save on his bike or for his speeder, and when on his bike, sports an AP2 master-crafted sword that hits at I5.
The captains of the Dark Angels. These guys are your generic HQ beatsticks, and they can be kitted to do a decent job of it – for a cost. They aren’t great with a 3+ 4+ and 3 wounds on a T4 body, and if you kit them to be effective, their cost becomes prohibitive.
The Company Master is very customizable and relatively effective in combat, but there are so many better HQ choices in the codex that I can’t help but find him lacking.
Interrogator-Chaplain is the big brother of the generic chaplain, and he does his thing a little differently. He is 20 points more than a base chaplain, which is not a trivial points investment. He is, however, a little more than a standard chaplain, so the points difference can potentially be justified.
He is fearless, has a better stat line and an additional wound, can become a terminator, and can take chapter relics. So 20 points for +1 BS, Initiative, attacks, wounds, and fearless? If I am looking for a chaplain, that is a no-brainer. Add in the ability to take chapter relics and terminator armor, and this guy is really solid. If you are building a close-combat oriented list and you feel that the rock unit in your army just doesn't hit hard enough, this guy is the HQ for you.
Why? When the interrogator chaplain is only 20 points more base, there is no reason to take this guy.
This guy is crazy-cheap. He is fearless, can take items from the chapter relics section, and can take terminator armor. He cannot be upgraded to mastery level 3, but even at one and two he is a solid value. This will be the most used non-special character HQ in the codex.
This guy is a standard techmarine in the HQ slot. I do not understand why he is in the most competitive slot in the codex, but it is what it is. He can take servitors like his counterparts from other chapters, and can take special issue wargear, (hint: power field generator) but I just don’t think he will be as useful as some of the other HQ choices.
At first glance, the command squad is an infinitely configurable unit that can be kitted to do nearly anything you might need done. This is a true statement, but with one very real caveat: when kitted for close combat, ranged superiority, or tank hunting, they quickly become an expensive power armor points sink. They can do nearly anything, but point for point, there are far better choices for any of the tasks I mentioned at a reduced cost. On a positive note, they don’t take up a FOC slot, but I just don’t think that is enough to make them worth taking to the battlefield.
Deathwing Command Squad
This unit is not cheap, and I am not sold on the banners and standards yet. FNP took a serious hit in 6th, and I am not sure that 5+FNP is worth bringing this squad. They are heavy hitters, but so are standard Deathwing terminators for the same points. I am up in the air on this unit right now, and I will have a better idea of how well they can perform after some play testing.
Ravenwing Command Squad
Very similar to the Deathwing command squad for bikes, the value of this unit is going to rely on the effectiveness of standards and banners. For now I will say the jury is still out on this unit as well.