Saturday, September 6, 2008

Codex: Dark Angels Review

Warning! This is a long one
Company Master and Company Champion. 5th company
Hey everyone. After my praise of the new Space Marine codex I got the idea to put up my thoughts on the Dark Angels Codex. A little review if you will. Now its been out for a bit now but I think it deserves to be looked at again especially since the new Space Marine codex is coming out. Now to compare the two but because the new codex will have similarities in tactical load out for marines with this Codex. So here we go.
Codex Dark Angels:
length 88 pages
Before we talk rules I will talk briefly on what is in the codex. Background information and fluff. Pictures of the army throughout. The forces section has information for all the units in the codex. A new Wargear section with drawings. Information for weapons and armor and upgrades are there. Specific things like Rosarius are given a page number to there specific sections in the codex. I will not talk more about this as the codex has been around and this is primarily about the Dark Angels unit rules and the like so here we go.
First thing I will talk about is Deathwing Assault. (Note that the new Drop pod Assault for the codex space marine codex works essentially the same way). Deathwing Assault is based around the Deathwing Terminator squads and what it does is makes half of your terminator squads held in reserve, rounded up, to automatically teleport in on your first turn. Note that it is automatic so there is no reserve rolling needed on the first turn. You choose which squads come into play first turn. Also you can attach Independent characters in terminator to a terminator squad. So Interrogator chaplain attached to a squad counts as 1 unit. The reasoning for this is because if you make a pure deathwing force and hold them in reserve GW wants you to have something on the field turn 1 so you and your opponent don't just sit there as you fail reserve rolls. Lets move on to the Deathwing.
Deathwing are terminator squads. The Dark Angels first company is comprised only of terminators. Big difference here is that you can only get 5 man squads and only 1 special weapon (assault cannon, heavy flamer, cyclone missile launcher). The really nice thing is that you can mix assault and shooting terminators together in one squad. So a heavy flamer w/ powerfist can be with assault marines. So your assault terminators can have members of there squad shooting as they close in making the unit more effective overall. The biggest unique thing is that the cyclone missile launcher can go on any terminator type. This means you can have the missile launcher on a thunder hammer storm shield or on twin lightning claw. This is really nice because you can have a predominantly assault squad with anti tank punch or anti horde long range punch. There big thing is that they are fearless. Now I know fearless has hurt some larger units and I think that makes perfect sense but I will talk about that another time. Now with Deathwing fearless is great. Why? Because your only a 5 man squad. If you lose close combat chances are you are either already wiped out or its only going to be by at most 4 wounds. making four 2+ saves isn't hard. a squad of these with assault cannon and a chainfist is 250 pts. not that bad considering there terminators and average terminator cost is 40 pts a model.
Ravenwing. Now this is how you can make your deathwing assault really shine depending. Ravenwing squads are radically different from other marine bikers and speeders. They do not have attack bike squads and they cannot have 3 assault cannon land speeder squads. So this means they are broken up as thus: Attack squadrons and support squadrons. Attack Squadrons have up to 6 bikers an attack bike and a land speeder with assault cannon and heavy bolter. A full attack squad with power fist and 2 melta guns will run you over 400 points. Its expensive but worth it. The Support squadrons are Land Speeder squadrons. They can be a max of 5 speeders. Catch is you can only have 1 assault cannon and 1 typhoon missile launcher. Its unfortunate but what is nice is that you can have multi meltas with any configuration. Is a good support role unit hence its name. a 3 speeder squad with a typhoon launcher is a good anti horde unit. Now what makes the ravenwing worth this? All bikers are fearless and they have scout. So they can outflank or get a free 12 inch move before the game. Also every biker has a teleport homer meaning deathwing assaults can be very precise. That is a lot of stuff for bikers. Again fearless is good because you don't want them to ever fall back. The attack squads are good at tank hunting. Now understandably people are upset at the lack of attack bike squads but i like this new set up for my ravenwing. Now that attack squadron can also combat squad into 2 three bike squads the attack bike and the land speeder. Normally the attack bike and land speeder deploy and move on there own anyway. So what is combat squad?
Combat squads are something introduced in this codex and will be in the new space marine codex. It allows a full squad to break into two even halves at deployment basically. The units in this codex that can do that are: Company veterans, scouts, tactical squads, assault squads, ravenwing attack squadrons, and devastators.
The special characters in this codex are fair. Azreal and Ezekial have artificer armor. There rules are essentially the same. Ezekial is the only 3 wound Ld 10 librarian in the codex. Belial the deathwing special character allows terminator troop choices and Sammael allows attack squads as troops. He is also the only thing to have a mantle. He also has his jet bike which has twin linked storm bolters and a plasma cannon on it. Or he can be in his land speeder which has twin linked assault cannons and twin linked heavy bolters. It also has front and side armor of 14 which is pretty great. All in all the special characters are all good. Belial is the least spectacular but he is also the cheapest and allows terminator troops which is a strong troop choice.
Company veterans are essentially veterans in power armor. They are from the battle companies instead of first company. What is nice is that you can have 4 combi weapons in the squad. (The FAQ states the Sergeant can take any upgrade allowed to the squad) So what I am working on is a squad of company veterans with 4 combi plasma and a plasmagun in drop pod. But yea they are your power armored veterans for the army.
Scouts are elite choices and other then that it is essentially the same.
Assault Squads are nearly the same but the big change is that they cannot take flamers only plasma pistols.
Tactical squads are different in that they need to be 10 man in order to get a heavy weapon. But they can take a razorback transport regardless of the size. other dedicated transport options are rhinos or drop pod.
Dreadnoughts are elite and roughly the same. they can be made venerable but cannot be given veteran skills.
Devastator squads are essentially the same stat and option wise. They do have combat squads
Chaplains and interrogator chaplains are different entries. The Difference is the Interrogator chaplain is the better of the two with 3 wounds and can take terminator armor.
Company Master comes standard with Iron halo. has weapon upgrade options. Can be given a jump pack but that is it. To get a captain on bike you must take Sammael and to get a terminator captain you must take Belial.
Techmarines come standard with a 2+ save. There servitors can have more then 1 plasma cannon per squad. Techmarine can be upgraded to have a servo harness.
Command squads are essentially the same but in order to take a company champion you need to have a Company Master.
Land Raider and Land Raider crusader are essentially the same as they are in other codices. The difference is that they are the only vehicle to have Power of the Machine Spirit (which is true in the new codex).
Predators are cheaper for 95 points you have a auto cannon and heavy bolter sponson predator. Lascannon upgrades are expensive but still is a decent cost for the tank.
Vindicator is essentially the same.
Whirlwinds are nearly the same. Difference is they don't have the mine missile instead they have a large blast template flamer. It ignores cover and has str 4 ap 5. But this new codex doesn't have the mine missile either.
Rhinos are 35 points Drop pods are 50.
The razorback is 50 points standard
Important! all power armored marines come with a bolter, bolt pistol, frag and krak grenades standard. That includes devastators so do not forget.
We are coming towards the end of my epic post. I want to make it clear though that I did not go into great detail with things like standards and what hey do and the subtle difference of things. The Lions Helm and Ezekiel's book function a little differently but I wont go into it. That is really something for people interested in playing Dark Angels to sit down sit down and read while reading the codex for themselves.
There are some differences but all in all the codex is really solid. the ability to actually make use of the heavy weapon in a tactical squad while advancing with the assault stuff is nice. Its a codex that you have to read a few times to see the little things that are changed and then utilize. Its not overpowered and it really isn't a weak codex is what I'm trying to convey in this epic post.
Hope those that read all the way to the end enjoyed a glimpse into the unforgiven. For those that already play Dark Angels and read the codex I'm sorry if you read all this.
Repent! For Tomorrow you die!
Until next time.


Anonymous said...

Read your FAQ again. The Veteran Squad's sergeant is upgraded as a veteran, not on his own. The maximum number of combi-weapons you can have is three, not four. The FAQ is only saying that the Sergeant can choose from the squad's upgrades, not take those in addition to the squad.

Keeper of the Fortress said...

It says he can take any of the weapons or upgrades allowed to a veteran. Now I have no ran this by any "judges" at any of the tournaments so you may indeed be right. But ive talked about it with other people and we do believe he can.

The reason we think this is because the sergeant in every other entry has his own entry for wargear and the like.

Of course we could be wrong.