New Dark Angels Codex Review (6th Edition Warhammer 40k) Part 2
Welcome to Part 2 of the Dark Angels Review!
Thank you for continuing to read my review of the new Dark Angels codex. This is the second part of my review and will focus on the Troops and Elite sections of the army list. There are some incredible new options for Dark Angels players that really bring the army up to 6th edition Warhammer 40k. If you haven't yet read Part 1 of my review, please click below to start at the beginning. Part 1 covers the beginning chapters of the book and the HQ section, including special characters, new wargear, and the company's banners and standards.
Let us now dive into the meat of any army list: Troops.
Dark Angels Troops
Having an adequate number of troops in your army is more important than ever in 6th edition 40k. Five out of the six battle missions require troops to capture objectives, though two of these missions do let you use either Fast Attack or Heavy Support to claim objectives. Taking the minimum two troops is not a good idea anymore, as it means you will be relying entirely on either secondary objects (only worth a point each) or tabling your opponent (wiping him out!).
So how many troop selections should you take? I say at least three full strength squads, but four is better. Remember that Dark Angels tactical squads can "combat squad" before the game, effectively giving you more troop units on the field, but also reducing each units' wounds and firepower. To combat squad or not to combat squad... likely it will depend on your mission and your opponent's army.
All Dark Angels tactical squads have the standard marine equipment and special rules, with the addition of Grim Resolve, which gives the unit Stubborn (always use full Leadership for Morale and Pinning checks).
Just like the new Chaos Space Marine codex, we now buy Dark Angels troops as a unit of five, with the sergeant included. This is pretty cheap at only 70 points, but the sergeant is only Leadership 8. A ten point upgrade will buy a veteran sergeant with Leadership 9. With this five man unit you can now buy either a special weapon or a heavy weapon. This is a big change!
Heavy weapon options are now... get ready:
- Heavy Bolter
- Missile Launcher
+ Flakk missiles extra option!
- Plasma Cannon
For 95 points you can now get a 5 man squad with flakk missiles. That's pretty good because you'll be hitting flyers on a 3+ with a Strength 7 missile. I don't expect every Dark Angels army to spam this option, but if Flyers become more and more common, then I expect these little anti-air units will be seen frequently.
So can you take two flakk missile launchers with 10 men?! No, sorry. A full 10 marine squad will open up one special and one heavy weapon. No doubling up on a single option.
What can we say about Dark Angel tactical marines? They have great armor, good weapons, and can be built to take on a variety of roles. I know lots of people love the Deathwing or Ravenwing armies, but there is something to be said about rank after rank of power armored marines slinging explosive bolts down range.
Tactical squads can also purchase a dedicated transport: drop pods, rhinos, or razorbacks. When you look at the five man heavy weapon options and throw in a razorback, and you can create some interesting little tanks.
For ten points cheaper, you can also buy a five man scout squad. They have a lesser profile and only 4+ armor, so you would think that they'd be a lot cheaper. However, they have some great special rules available: infiltrate, move through cover, and scout. These rules make these infantry units very maneuverable and very flexible on deployment. You can purchase up to 5 more scouts to max out at 10.
A note on the Scout special rule. After all deployment (including infiltrators) the scout rule lets a unit re-deploy up to 6" from its original spot. This can be great for faking out an opponent or getting a little closer to some cover or an objective on turn 1. You can infiltrate and then scout-move, to really mess with your opponent's head. Finally, you can also Outflank with these units, which lets you come in as reserves and appear on the side of the board (randomly).
So what can scout do offensively? They come with bolters, bolt pistols, frag and krak grenades standard, but you can switch out bolters for Space Marine shotguns (12" Str 4 Assault 2), combat knives (close combat weapon) or Sniper Rifles for free.
The shotguns are interesting, giving you a shoot-then-assault option, but scouts aren't the best in melee. I'm not sure if this is a better option then standard bolters. The extra melee weapon gives your guys 2 attacks (3 on the charge). Not bad for taking out weaker units.
I think most people will be going for the sniper rifles, however. Snipers rock in 6th edition, as any roll to hit of a 6 will give a Precision Shot - letting you choose the specific model hit. All sniper rifles wound everything on a 4+ and a 6 to wound gives you Rending. A full unit of 10 of these guys is a pretty nice fire base to take out enemy heavy weapons, artillery, or even characters.
Also, one scout can take a heavy bolter or a missile launcher (even at just 5 guys) and you can upgrade to flakk missiles, too.
The last upgrade available to scouts, at a mere 2 points a piece is camo-cloaks, which give a +1 cover save similar to stealth. Notice that the camo cloaks do not GIVE stealth, which mean that scouts could still benefit from stealth if gained somehow (night fighting or some other Dark Angels wargear). A unit of scouts with camo cloaks that somehow was shrouded would have a +3 to their cover save. Nice!
That covers it for the basic troop selection! I think there are some strong choices here. Basic tactical squads are some of the best troop choices in any army and scouts definitely have their place. As great as these choices are, I have a feeling that many players are excited about taking terminators as troops, which Dark Angels can do if the right HQ choice is selected. Continue reading all about the Elite section of the army list below!
Dark Angels Elites
The Dark Angels army only has three choices for Elites: Company Veterans, Deathwing Terminators, and Deathwing Knight (a new choice). One great thing about Dark Angels is that two special characters unlock Deathwing Terminators as Troops! All terminator armies have been possible for awhile now with the Grey Knights codex, but the Deathwing has a flavor all of its own. Let's dive in, starting with the Company Veterans.
These guys are typical of most Space Marine veteran squads, but the Dark Angels veterans wear cool robes! They have 2 attacks base and an increased leadership, but it's their highly customizable options that make them stand out from normal tactical squads. You can replace their bolters with chain swords for free, giving the models 3 attacks in melee and 4 on the charge. Combat shields are 5 points a piece and give a 6+ invulnerable, but don't take up any hands. Full Storm Shields are available, too! These could be an okay melee unit, but I have a feeling they are little over priced for what they can dish out.
Up to three marines can choose from a wide list of melee and ranged weapons, from power weapons, lightning claws, to combi-weapons. A full 10 man squad can take 2 special weapons, while one member can take a heavy weapon at any squad size. The way I see it, a 5 man squad could have 3 plasma pistols, 2 plasma guns, and a drop pod. That could be interesting.
These terminators can be taken as Elites or as Troops if you take Azrael or Belial as your HQ choice. We all know what Terminators can do (and how they are better in 6th edition than in 5th due to power swords only being AP3!). I will instead just bullet-point the highlights:
- Up to ten man squads (a big change from the old 'dex)
- Plasma cannon is a heavy option
- A heavy weapon can be taken for every 5 models, so 2 in a ten man squad.
- Lighting claws are free, and thunder hammer / storm shield is 5 point per model.
This could be the whole story, but it's not! We have to look at the special rules these guys come with:
- Deathwing Assault - All units with this rule can choose to use it before the game starts. If you do, secretly write down Turn 1 or Turn 2 on a paper. This is the turn that all Deathwing Assault units will automatically arrive via Deep Strike (scattering as normal... except for Belial's unit!). This means you can have your entire Terminator army in your opponent's face Turn 1!
- Vengeful Strike - All weapons count as twin-linked on the turn the unit deep strikes. Storm bolters just got nasty!
- Inner Circle - Fearless. Oh yeah... did we mention that Deathwing terminators wont ever break?!
- Split Fire - Make a Morale test to fire a single weapon at a different target than the rest of your unit. I think ALL units in the game should have this, but Deathwing get it. Think how cool this can be. Pop a tank with a heavy and unload storm bolters on infantry.
These guys are just full of options and full of flavor. Deathwing armies are going to be very popular! The last of the Elite section are the new Deathwing Knights. They are basically terminators that are dedicated to hunting the Fallen, and have some nice wargear at their disposal, especially when fighting Chaos Space Marines.
These guys are Deathwing terminators in robes who carry giant power maces. Don't worry, versus Chaos Marines, they are AP3. They can even do a special strike that makes them AP2 versus everything for a round. Yes, these guys have all sorts of special wargear and rules. Let's check 'em out.
First, they are WS 5 and have the Inner Circle rule (fearless). They can Deathwing Assault like the terminators described above. However, instead of getting that neat twin-linked special rule they get:
- Fortress of Shields - Inner Circle models in base contact with 2 or more other models gain +1 Toughness. This can make your entire squad Toughness 5 if you position them right.
- You Cannot Hide - Gives all models Precision Strike in melee with rolls of 6 to hit.
Their wargear is pretty amazing as well. They all come with Storm Shields, but instead of Thunder Hammers, they have special maces. Their maces of absolution have a normal mode and Smite mode. The normal mode is like a standard power mace, but against any Chaos Space Marine unit, the AP increases to AP 3. That's strength 6 hits, at AP3, hitting at normal initiative. These guys are going to kill Traitors. No question. They have a "one time use" Smite mode which increases the strength to + 6 and AP 2 (or AP 1 versus Chaos). That was not a mistype. They are Strength 10 when using Smite mode for one round.
Their sergeant carries a giant flail, which is an AP3 power mace (increase to AP2 versus Chaos, but no smite mode).
The last thing about Deathwing units (terminator or knights) is that you can take a Landraider as a dedicated transport. However, the landraider MUST be upgraded with the Deathwing Vehicle special rule. This gives Preferred Enemy (Chaos Space Marines) and if your Deathwing vehicle suffers a penetrating hit, you can force your opponent to re-roll the damage result. It costs 30 points and is mandatory, making Deathwing Landraiders expensive.
Dark Angels Fast Attack
At nearly 2,000 words, I am pushing the boundary at what this format can hold. There are some exciting changed and entire new troops to look at in the Dark Angels Fast Attack and Heavy Support sections; including two new flyers and two new skimmers!
Please leave a comment below, ask a question, or visit one of my other articles listed below. Thank you for reading!