Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Why we like all things Dark Angel!

Hey guys, today its not so much focussed on painting goodies, but why in fact we are loving the new Dark Angels Codex.


Madeye and I are very different people, in that when we crack a new book I’ll head straight for the in game rules and give a cursory glance to the fluff at a later date, Madeye however will gleefully troll through the fluff and if he doesn’t like it then there’s no interest from him in playing the army at all! Well let me tell you that he’s mightily pleased with the fluff for the first legion. Describing it as a real return to form from Games Workshop writers. As much as anything else they’ve done a great job of collating all of the great pieces that have been done in previous editions of the codex (the elder amongst us will remember the most excellent 2nd edition ‘dex “Angels of Death”). Also there has been further exposition on the inner working of the chapter hierarchy, their eternal quest for the fallen and how this plays out in a military sense. Basically it’s all good stuff and should keep everyone from veterans to Neophytes pretty satisfid… And no, we don’t care about Cypher…at all

You tournament hard cases will by this point be saying something like “enough of the flowers and poetry Quigley, get me to the rules and junk”

If you insist...

I think this codex has some of the most interesting ways to play the game that we’ve seen in 6th edition so far and what’s more I think a lot of people have as yet been overlooking them. For starters let’s talk about debuffs, this codex has them in spades and on good platforms. The Ravenwing Knights access to grenade launcher is pretty awesome. The way I’m reading drops the toughness of the whole enemy unit and with them having str 5 on the charge, they can comfortably be wounding enemy units on 2+ in cc…another insane combo is the ability to reduce the instant death threshold for multi wound units and then follow it up with a volley of plasma shots to the face…paladins, nob bikers, even monstrous creatures should be seriously concerned about this type of ability! Another prevalent debuff in the codex is blind, which can reduce your WS and BS to 1….also stasis can do the same trick. The Dark Angels may be a small and elite force, but if you do it right you’ll be so far ahead of your opponent in the stat race that numbers really won’t matter!

On the other side of it we have buffs, of which there are loads! For starters we have the Sacred Standards, these bad boys are only one per army but with bloody good reason. A lot of attention is going to the standard of devastation, giving boltguns salvo 2/4 while within 6”, its hard to protect and expensive but if done right can be absolutely horrifying for an opponent (particularly in this era of infantry hammer). Fortitude passing off FNP is brilliant and even the mass counter attack of retribution has its place. We also have the most excellent dark shroud speeder…passing off stealth to its super friends, deathwing knights getting bonus toughness for basing up is just another example of an excellent and yet simple mechanic!

One thing that really strikes me is that you’re not paying an abundance of points for anything, marines are cheaply costed to balance out the expense of the first and second company goodies. Regular land speeders are cheap as chips to allow back up to be bought in the form of the “super speeders”, librarians are cheap because command squads are not and so on and so on. This sense of balance is prevalent all over the codex and is something that I’m going to enjoy seeing on the tabletop over the coming weeks and months (at Shack Attack 2 in particular) and has inspired us to knock together a store army for ourselves to use until some good customer takes it off our hands.

So lets here from you, good people! What are your thoughts on the Dark Angels?



  1. I'm always following the development of 40k with interest and the new trend of buffs, debuffs and unit-specific abilities sounds excellent and a touch familiar. :) I think if they continue to take the best elements of other wargames, you'll see a return to characterful, iconic 40k rather than "spam list of the week" 40k. This is a very good thing.

    Some of your other comments suggest the opposite though. You say that some things are expensive but other things are dirt cheap to compensate. Codexes full of over-costed and under-costed units are bad for the game. If the undercosted stuff isn't good enough, it's also bad for the codex.

    The end result is always going to be spamming of the mis-priced stuff, which works against the first trend. I realise that you say it's balanced internally so my question is whether it strikes you as a codex that's balanced against all the other codexes?

  2. No no, nothing is particularly over or under costed. It tends to be a case that one can use something of a lower cost to offset the higher costing items (ie using a low point librarian to unlock a high point command squad). Not that the book is filled with vastly skewed points values or cheap spam

  3. See, now that sounds very promising. A lot of the WW2 game systems do something similar to produce historically correct forces. If you use units to unlock other units, you build in a measure of list diversity automatically. Done right, we might actually start seeing fluffy forces by default.