A lot of pixel-ink has been spilled on the interwebs over the last weeks, trying to divine the do’s and don’ts of the new 6th Edition Dark Angels codex. Fortunately, the new list is surprisingly “deep”, offering a great variety of lists and builds that seem viable and fun. It avoids “no-brain” choices such as Long Fangs and is up there with other diverse, multi-lists books, such as Blood Angels.
Still, there are better and less enticing choices. The following is an attempt to create a “hit-list” of the best choices offered in each FoC. Not all of them will be equally useful in all Dark Angels armies, obviously. However, one or the other will likely be fielded in most Dark Angels lists.
Have a look and see if you agree!
#1 – HQ – The Dark Angels Librarian
If you read my blog before, you know Sammael is my favourite Dark Angels Special Character.
Does he still come out on top, if you add nameless HQ-choices and command squads to the competition? If you’re bound on Ravenwing, he likely will do just that. Yet, to get away from the Ravenwing fetish and look at the larger picture, the basic Librarian (with all his options) is a choice that you cannot really go wrong with (which, of course, is true for many Space Marine books).
- DA Librarian start out cheaper than their 5th Edition brethren. Points saved right there!
- Access to Divination, Pyromancy, Telepathy and Telekinesis offers both choice and access to popular disciplines (such as Divination)
- Of course (like all HQ), access to the Chapter Relics and Special Issue wargear (Power Field Generator being a great favourite for a more supporting-type of character)
What more could you possibly want?
#2 – Troops – Dark Angels Tactical Marines
Troops are a tough one. Do I include the potential Deathwing and Ravenwing troops. Or not?
By definition, they should be better as troops than those included here by default. If not, why would anyone bother “unlocking” inferior options through a Special Character? Defeats the purpose.
Without the options unlocked through Special Characters, there are only Tactical Marines and Scouts as troop choices. Tactical Marines win hands down. The recent re-shuffling of the point cost structure helps Dark Angels Tactical Marines over their 5th (or 4th) Edition counterparts. You can get a dirt-cheap squad of power-armoured Marines to hunker down on an objective. Or tool them up for whatever purpose you have in mind. With the latter, specialists will likely do better.
Giving Azreal’s Rites of Battles rule, I wonder if someone would try a Dark Angels “green tide” army, eschewing Sergeants and other add-ons, to field as many 3+ bodies as possible.
#3 – Elite – Deathwing Terminators
Thanks to the way the rules for Deathwing Assault have been re-worked, this is essentially a toss-up between “regular” Deathwing Terminators and the even more fearsome Deathwing Knights. Deathwing Assault allows you to choose (!) to deepstrike to the battlefield on turn one or two. That rule alone leaves other credible Elite entries, such as Dreadnoughts, in the dust.
Add to that – for the regular Deathwing Terminators – Vengeful Strike (all weapons TL when they arrive), Split Fire and a generous selection of weapons to choose from, and you’ll have a winner.
Deathwing Knights are awesome, no doubt there. Their narrow focus (combined with high costs) make them a very specialized choice. Not so the Deathwing Terminators.
- They deep-strike precisely when you want them (and precisely where you want them, if you bring some Ravenwing)
- They pack quality, TL-firepower where you need it, on multiple targets so no shot is wasted.
- They can choose weapons for almost any job that needs doing.
- Optionally, you can make them troops (using Belial or Azrael)
It is almost too good to be true. These guys definitely put the sexy back into Terminators.
#4 – Fast Attack – The Ravewing Darkshroud
Fast Attack in the Dark Angels Codex is a crowded field. Ravenwing Bikes, Black Knights, the Dark Angel flyers. It’s a tough choice, but to make one I pick the Ravenwing Darkshroud.
For one, it’s a quintessentially grim-gothic 40K model. It’s unmistakably not any kind of ‘generic’ sci-fi. For another, it appeals to my love for unit-synergy. 5th Edition has too often been a bleak wasteland of spam-armies (Long Fangs, Venoms) with only a few silver linings of unit-synergy worth taking (Sanguinary Priests, Crypteks), it’s good to see the concept getting more lovin’ again.
And the Darkshroud simply rocks the job! And it’s cheap for what it does too.
- It grants Stealth to all friendly Dark Angels within 6”
- It adds +1 to combat resolution for each friendly Dark Angels unit within 12”.
That alone makes it a massive boost to any Ravenwing-heavy army in particular. Most Ravenwing units will benefit from a 4+ Jink, if a Darkshroud is nearby. Black Knights, with Skilled Rider, make that a 3+! Of course, “stealthing” units has many good uses, even for non-Ravenwing choices. The Darkshroud also has the Shrouded rule, making it – as Land Speeders go – a tough nut to crack.
The Darkshroud, along with Sammael, is the reason I am seriously mulling over a Ravenwing list.
#5 – Heavy – Land Raider Crusader (+ Standard of Devastation)
I have to cheat a bit on the last one.
There aren’t a whole lot of new things in Heavy Support. The main addition is the Land Speeder Vengeance. It’s nice, but not (in my humble opinion) exceptionally though. Whirlwinds got a discount. I am not sure, if this solves the issue with this venerable Space Marine classic.
The hidden gem instead is the Land Raider Crusader, even though little changed with the vehicle itself compared to other Space Marine books. Two new options stand out.
- The LRC can be upgraded to a Deathwing Vehicle, making it hate Chaos and venerable (this is mandatory, if it’s transporting Deathwing units).
- The LRC’s hurricane bolters benefit greatly from the Standard of Devastation.
A Land Raider Crusader, packing a (Deathwing) Command Squad with this banner, can sell out a freighting amount of shots. Once you cleared the rabble with a torrent of bolter-shells, it can unload it’s deathstar-cargo in classic Land Raider fashion.
The approach suffers the obvious draw-backs of a pricy, all-eggs-in-one-basket strategy. Yet for those looking to make such a build, the LRC + Standard of Devastation combo certainly brings a new flavour to this type of list.
#6 – Conclusion – Do you agree?
So much for my brief outline.
Do you agree? If not, what are the best picks per FoC in your opinion?
I am looking forward to your comment!