Yesterday I received my Dark Angels pre-orders from my FLGS. I’ve opened everything, read through the majority of the supplement and must say, I’m over the moon with the book. Now it is quite thin, being just a supplement. (You will still need the main space marine codex if you want to play this faction.) However what it provides is background lore on the Dark Angels, as well as an explanation of the Chapter’s structure, squad markings and paint schemes for the main chapter itself, as well as the Dark Angels successor chapters.
Of course it also includes all the rules for running a Dark Angels force, including all of our special characters and units. There is also a fairly sizeable section for Crusade play rules, allowing you to make a Crusade force and manage them through a campaign. My local META isn’t hyper competitive and so chances are good we will be able to have a Crusade campaign at some point. (Exciting stuff!)
As has always been a staple of the Games workshop books, the artwork here is stunning and seeped in that Grimdark goodness which we love 40k for. The book’s layout also seems to be quite user friendly, with the different sections clearly defined. This is something I’m sure to appreciate once we can play games again and a lovely change from some of the older books where key pieces of information would be scattered over different sections. (Cue sticky tabs…) Overall I’m very happy with the supplement, however would have liked to see even more lore packed into the first section. Regardless, the book is well presented and has everything I expected from a Codex Supplement.
The Data cards are a “nice to have” but not necessary for play. What they do is let you see all your force stratagems and psychic powers, without needing to flick between those pages in your codex. They seem quite handy and should help speed up play.
Finally we move onto the Combat Patrol. My main reason for getting this box was to give my collection a boost of plasma as I only own the easy to build dreadnought and Inceptors. It’s always handy to have another squad of troops though and this set comes with the upgrade sprue. As for the on foot chaplain, I already have one of these from the Indomitus box, however as this guy looks a little different, I suppose he could be ran as a Dark Angels Interrogator-Chaplain.
Onto thinking about lists, we now have options to build just for Ravenwing or Deathwing and both of these seem to be performing very strongly at the moment. As my collection mainly consisting of “Greenwing” however, my best bet will be to go with elements from all 3 sections of the Dark Angels and my hope is that this will provide a good balance of movement, firepower and defence.
With my current collection, I’m thinking of running a battalion with Azrael as my warlord. Not only does Azrael provide some lovely synergies with Hellblasters (of which I have 10) but he also gives you a 4+ feel no pain to bikes and infantry and his supreme tactician ability gives you an additional 2CP. For a force that seems quite CP hungry, this looks to be a great addition.
My other HQ slot will be a Ravenwing Talonmaster (or possibly 2, points permitting.) With it’s twin assault cannon and twin heavy bolter it’s going to put out some serious firepower. What’s more, its packed with synergies which my outriders will benefit from, including reroll wound rolls of 1 and ignores cover for one select enemy unit. This is a unit which I do not yet have in my collection, however I have the Ravenwing upgrade sprue components ready and so just need a landspeeder.
That’s both HQs complete. Next we have the Plasma inceptors and Deathwing knights. These will be coming in from deep strike to deal with any big nasty threats. I’ll only likely run small squads of these, but they should pack a ton of punch and the deathwing knights inner circle ability should make them incredibly hard to shift off key objectives
I’ll also be running the Ravenwing Apothecary. This unit just adds an incredible amount of durability to the army, allowing units to heal D3 wounds and giving a 6+ FNP aura. What’s more, if upgraded to a Chief Apothecary, he makes the Combat revival stratagem free and that D3 becomes a flat 3 wounds healed. He’s also on a bike so has great movement, plus gets Jink so is also quite durable. Sat behind the Hellblasters, he should make overcharging a breeze (especially when combined with Azrael). I can honestly see this character getting nerfed very soon as it simply ticks too many boxes.
Of course I’ll also be running my standard 5 man squads of intercessors with bolt rifles. I’d choose bolt rifles over Stalker bolt rifles now as the Sons of the Lion (Fire Discipline) rule now allows Assault and rapid fire weapons to shoot while engaged in close combat. As the standard bolt rifle also has the greater range, this feels like the best all round choice in terms of utility. Allowing the unit to function up close and personal, or on backfield objectives.
The last choice of units will really come down to how many points I have left. I’d really like to run a plasma Redemptor dreadnought. More plasma is very much welcome in this list and I love the miniature. However I also really like the new Bladeguard models for that knightly aesthetic (Plus they also get the inner circle rules, making them very durable!). For units I don’t have in the collection but which stand out, a Primaris Librarian would be an excellent addition, as the Dark Angels new and improved Interromancy Psychic discipline is very strong. I can’t see adding one of those making me many friends down at the club though.
I’ve yet to sit down and actually build my list, however the above points show the direction I’m heading in. This army has a lot of synergy and being able to build a “3 wing” list which functions as described in the fluff is brilliant.