New Dark Angels Codex Review (6th Edition Warhammer 40k) Part 3
Welcome to Part Three!
Thank you for continuing to read my review of the new Dark Angels codex for Warhammer 40k 6th edition! If this is the first of my articles that you've stumbled upon, you might want to head back and read parts 1 and 2 of my review, focusing on the Dark Angels special rules, HQ, wargear, Troops, and Elite choices of the army book.
In this article I will be presenting the Fast Attack and Heavy Support options. So without further adieu!
Dark Angels Fast Attack
The basic entry in the Fast Attack section is the Ravenwing Attack Squadron, in which you get two bikers and a sergeant. They have the standard space marine biker equipment (bolt pistol, grenades, twin-linked boltgun, etc), however the whole squad is equipped with teleport homers. This is a huge advantage because you don't have to worry about a single model being sniped and you losing your teleport homer. Basically, wherever the Ravenwing goes, Deathwing terminators are sure to follow.
The real interesting thing about this unit, though, is how many options you can add to it. You can add up to 3 more bikers for just under 30 points each. Up to two of the models can take a special weapon (flamer, melta, plasma). The sergeant can also be upgraded and take close combat or ranged weapons.
You could potentially have three models with three plasma guns (1 plasma combo) for 120 points. That's not a bad little hit squad to speed forward 12" and double-tap their plasma guns into a terminator squad or the weak armor of a vehicle.
Beyond the weapons, the bike squad can also add an Attack Bike with heavy bolter or multi-melta which is attacked with the squad. If you have 6 bikers, you can ALSO add a single Landspeeder which can be upgraded with anything from a multi-melta to an assault cannon.
If you think about it, this is a lot of firepower roaming around together: 6 bikes with up to 3 plasma weapons, 3 twin-linked bolters, and then two heavy weapons from the Attack Bike and Landspeeder. Considering everything in this unit has either an armor value or is Toughness 5 with power armor, it's a pretty tough unit, too!
On top of all these weapons and choices, the Attack Squadron also has the Grim Resolve special rule, Hit and Run, and Scouts! This is a very fast and flexible unit that will not get stuck in melee. Also, they can Combat Squad if you have 6 bikes, so you can flood the field with little bike squads and a lot of heavy/special weapons.
Oh yeah! If you take Sammael as your HQ, you unlock these Ravenwing Attack Squadrons as troops. Yes! It's possible with this Dark Angels codex to have every unit in your army be on a bike or in a vehicle and be claiming objectives.
What Else?! New Units!
Of course, there is a lot more to look at other than the basic biker squad. There is the obligatory Jump Pack assault squad, 5-10 infantry men with jump packs, special weapons, and close combat weapons. There's nothing particularly special about this unit, but there's nothing wrong with it either! If close combat is your thing, then these guys just as fast as bikers (minus turboboosting) and hit harder in melee because they will be throwing more dice.
Just a hint regarding jump troops, they almost always work better as a reserve unit staying with your battle line to plug gaps, or jumping forward later in the game. If your single jump unit just charges forward turn 1, hoping for a turn 2 assault, they almost always get shot to hell!
You can also field a squadron of Landspeeders (up to 4 in a unit). These are fast, but lightly armored vehicles that pack a big punch as each as a heavy weapon on it. You can gear them to take out infantry or vehicles to your liking, and they look awesome on the field.
So what's new?
Ravenwing Black Knights are an assault oriented biker unit. They have all the same special rules as a normal attack squad (including teleport homers), but also add Skilled Rider. However, they have some new weapons! Instead of twin-linked bolters, they have Plasma Talons which is a twin-linked plasma gun with an 18" range. Every Black Knight gets this weapon, so that is a lot of plasma! Since Bikers are also Relentless, the Black Knights can also assault after they fire.
When they assault, Black Knights also have 2 attacks in their profile and carry bolt pistols and Corvis Hammers. Since they have two melee weapons, they are not throwing 3 dice and 4 on the assault. The Corvis Hammer gives +1 str and has the Rending rule, so now these Knights are Str 5 and can now glance/penetrate armor values between 12-14!
Whew, I like these guys! They are expensive at just under 30 points per model. A 10 man unit with a few minor upgrades are going to run just about 300 points. It will be throwing 40+ Str 5 rending dice on an assault, and that's after 20 plasma twin-linked plasma dice in the shooting phase.
More Fast Attack?!
Yes, there is more!
The Ravenwing Darkshroud is a Landspeeder with some cool gear. First, it gives +1 to assault results for nearby Dark Angel units, but it also gives the Stealth special rule, giving a +1 bonus to cover saves. The Darkshroud is also has the Shrouded special rule, so it has a nice boost to its own cover save, especially if it is turboboosting around the board to get that initial cover save.
It's not going to kill a lot on its own, but it will help keep some units alive longer if strategically placed.
Nephilim Jetfighter is a brand new flyer (with a new kit). This is a vehicle killing Flyer (or it's supposed to be), equipped with a twin-linked heavy bolter, twin-linked lascannon, and 6 missiles! It has the Strafing Run special rule (bonus to hit land targets), but also the Unrelenting Hunter rule that allows it to treat Weapon Destroyed results as Immobalized (against enemies). This sounds good, but its Blacksword missiles are only Str 6... so against most enemy Flyers it is having to roll 5's to penetrate. However, it does have that twin-linked lascannon... so between that and the missiles, I suppose it stands a good chance of taking out enemy Flyers. It's not auto-win, but it's not terrible!
Ravenwing Dark Talon is another new Flyer that is geared to killing infantry. It has two hurricane bolters, but two new weapons as well: the rift cannon and a stasis bomb. The rift cannon is an 18" Str 5 blast weapon (AP -) that has the Blind special rule. I don't think this is great for killing space marine or their chaos equivalent, however, against low initiative models like Orks or Necrons, I think it could work. Kill a couple models and being Blind lowers their WS and BS to 1 if they fail an initiative test. That will put the hurt on a mob of Ork boyz if you follow up with an immediate assault of your own.
The stasis bomb is a large blast bomb (Str 3) that automatically reduces the WS and Initiative by -3 on any unit hit. That's just on a hit! So fly the Dark Talon over an enemy assault unit, drop the bomb, and then counter assault with your own unit to really put on the hurt.
These new units are not amazing on their own, however, they are force multipliers that help your other units perform better. Whether its benefiting from a cover bonus or debuffing your enemy, a Dark Angels army will be deadly if combined arms are used effectively.
Dark Angels Heavy Support
While most of the new units have been in the Elite or Fast Attack areas, the Heavy Support for Dark Angels still has a lot of firepower to offer. Instead of going unit by unit, I will say that all the standard Space Marine tanks are there, from Predators to Landraiders and their normal variants. All of these are good options that balance points, armor, and firepower pretty well.
I will say that Devastator Squads can get Flakk missiles now. If you aren't convinced that the new Dark Angel flyers will take out enemy flyers, then a Devastator squad can do the trick for you. You must put them in some cover, though, as they will be the first thing targeted in your army! They do not have the Interceptor rule, so they are going to have to weather at least one turn of enemy fire before they can launch their missiles!
So what is new in Heavy Support? The Landspeeder Vengeance. This Landspeeder packs a powerful punch with its Plasma Storm Batter (and optional assault cannon upgrade). The Plasma Storm Battery is basically a 24" plasma gun with two modes: either a Heavy 3 or a Heavy 1 Large Blast. Can you imagine a 5" blast hitting right in the middle of an enemy squad? This thing could potentially wipe out entire squads every turn. The problem I have here is that this model is just under 150 points without the assault cannon, and its only an AV 10 vehicle with 2 hull points. That's a lot of points that can be taken out by a bunch of glancing hits from bolters from 24" away.
Dark Angels Poll
What do you think about the new codex?
That brings us to the end of the Dark Angels codex. There's a lot more to this book than just single army entries, as the units are multi-layered and are meant to compliment each other. When I get a little more experience playing with the different units, I'd love to write some tactics articles. In the mean time, thank you for reading and I'd love to see what you think about this army.
Why not take the poll to the right and let us know what you think about the power level of the new Dark Angels. Is this codex a boost in power, a missed opportunity, or a great balance of fluff and crunch? Feel free to add your comments at the bottom of this article. We've had some great conversations and new tips from readers in other articles. I can't wait to hear what you think!
Also, feel free to browse my other Warhammer 40k articles discussing rules and other codexes!