Monday, 6 July 2015

Dark Angels Codex Review Part 4- HQ and Troops

Welcome to part 4 of my Dark Angels 7th Edition codex review, which will focus on the HQ and Troops choices.

I have already covered my review of Belial in the Deathwing review and covered Sammael and Sabreclaw in the Ravenwing review. This section will look at the remaining HQ units in the codex.

For an additional 20 pts on a regular Chaplain, you get +1 BS, A, I and W, in addition to getting Fear and Fearless (through the Deathwing special rule). I think that this is a pretty good bonus for the points cost. The fact that he grants Zealot and Fearless on a unit makes him a strong buff for any unit he joins and he would be absolutely brutal mounted on a bike to accompany some Black Knights or a Ravenwing Command Squad (in fact, I have just purchased a Chaplain on a bike to do this very thing). He would also be useful in a unit of Deathwing Knights or Deathwing close combat terminators, as their low model count and low number of attacks would allow the Zealot re-rolls to make them more powerful in the first turn of combat.

I thought that joining a character on a bike with a unit of Black Knights or Ravenwing would diminish the bikes by making them lose the Hit and Run or Scout special rules, but after reading the rules it states that only one model in the unit needs to have the special rule for it to take effect. This means that you can add a bike-mounted Interrogator-Chaplain, Chaplain or Librarian to a unit of bikers without losing some of the special rules that make them more effective.

The only downside of the Interrogator Chaplain is that the Crozius Arcanum is AP4, meaning he will struggle to deal with power armoured foes. Other than that, a very solid HQ choice that I look forward to fielding.

The same cost as before, but gains +1 WS and preferred enemy (chaos space marines) over the previous incarnation. He gets the standard special rules that an Interrogator-Chaplain does. The Blades of Reason still have instant death, but with no AP value or strength bonus, they may struggle to cause any damage against the opponents you may wish to use instant death against (multi-wound characters or monstrous creatures).
His warlord trait gives him an ignores cover bolt pistol, hardly a game winner, and he get bonus victory points for slaying the enemy warlord in a challenge; something he will struggle to do if they have a 2+ or 3+ armour save.
At 30 pts more than a standard Interrogator-Chaplain, he doesn't really bring any bonus to the character that is worth the extra points. I would probably give him a miss.

This model has the same base cost and stats as in the 6th edition codex, but the upgrade to mastery level 2 had gotten 10 pts cheaper and brings him in line with a Codex Space Marine Librarian.
A decent profile on an independent character, but not amazing. The reason you will take a librarian is to access the amazing new Interromancy psychic powers (or other great psychic powers). If you are taking Interromancy, you may want to have the Librarian on a bike or a jump pack in case you get some of the short ranged psychic powers, but that will depend on the rest of your army build.

A very good HQ unit that should provide some interesting psychic support for your army.

The same points cost and stats as the 6th edition codex, but sees a couple of changes in his wargear. The Traitor's Bane is now a master-crafted force sword, a change for the better as it is now no longer two-handed, so you will get an extra attack with the bolt pistol now. In addition, the Book of Salvation provides +1 A for all models within 6", as opposed to the +1 WS bonus it used to provide. A change for the better in my opinion, as in most instances, an additional attack will result in more wounds than more chance of hitting with fewer attacks.
Ezekiel is also mastery level 3, meaning he will have more psychic powers to use and more chance of getting the power(s) you really want to use. His warlord trait (courage of the lion) is also one of the best traits on the Dark Angels table.
Ezekiel has gotten a lot better than in the previous codex and for only 145 pts is an absolute bargain, one I expect a lot of people to field. It's a shame he does not have an invulnerable save or access to a bike or terminator armour, but you can't have everything. He will be good to bolster a backfield gunline or will need some sort of transport option to get him to the enemy quicker.

Company Master:
No stats change or points cost change, but he now has access to a Relic blade. The Company Master is essentially a Space Marine Captain. He is a good, all round character that can provide good buffs to your army depending on the warlord trait. The real benefit of the Company Master is that he can be outfitted to match your play style and army with access to the best wargear and weapons in the army. The only thing he can't do in the new codex is take a space marine bike. Apart from that, he can suit almost any battlefield role you want him to.
A decent, relatively cheap character with Fearless, that can be upgraded to make more powerful. A solid marine leader, cheap and cheerful, but not spectacular.

The same as in the space marine codex and the previous dark angels codex. For the same cost as a Company Master, he has poorer stats and is not Fearless, but will give a unit Zealot. If you are wanting to take a Chaplain, I would go with the Interrogator-Chaplain. For a little extra, you get boosted stats, Fear and Fearless.

The same as the Codex Space Marine variant, he provides some nice special rules for bolstering the cover save on one piece of terrain in your deployment zone and can repair vehicles.
I don't really see the appeal of Techmarines (especially without the thunderfire cannon) and don't think I have ever fielded one. A decent and cheap HQ if it suit your style of army, but I never bother with him.

Some very good choices are available in the Dark Angels HQ slot. My personal favourites are Sammael, the Interrogator Chaplain and Ezekiel (or a Librarian on a bike, failing that).

Tactical Squad:
The supposed bread and butter of a space marine army, I must admit that I have a soft spot for the good old tactical squad. Although scouts may be seen as the more competitive choice, I like the imagery of large numbers of tactical squads advancing in to battle.
The same cost, stats and options as their Codex Space Marine brethren, they get the benefit of Grim Resolve, making them slightly superior. What is great is that they now have access to Grav weaponry, making them as fearsome to heavily armoured foes as the other Adeptus Astartes.

I am a big fan of tactical squads, they are a solid troops choice that can be bolstered further by the use of the Dark Angels formations.

Scout Squad:
Generally seen as the more competitive troops choice, especially now that they have regained WS and BS 4 (sorry, Blood Angels and Space Wolves!), Dark Angels scout squads are actually slightly weaker than their Codex Space Marine counterparts. They still have the same stats, cost and special rules, but cannot purchase a teleport homer or have access to the great Landspeeder Storm as a dedicated transport. They do, however, gain Grim Resolve through the Dark Angels special rules.

Overall, the Dark Angels have some very decent HQ choices; an improved Chaplain, a powerful psyker special character and a tough, jetbike-mounted special character.

They have the same basic troops choices as Codex space marines, that are solid choices. It is unfortunate that the Dark Angels have lost the ability to make Ravenwing bikers and Deathwing terminators troops choices, but this has been partially mitigated through the formations available to the army.

Hope you enjoyed this section of the review, Part 5 will deal with the remaining Elites and Fast Attack choices.

Part 1- Ravenwing
Part 2- Deathwing
Part 3- Special rules, Traits, Psychics and Relics
Part 4- HQ and Troops
Part 5- Elites and Fast Attack
Part 6- Heavy Support and Lord of War
Part 7- Formations


  1. HQ choices seem to bea little lacklustre. I really struggle trying to get my head round the Dark Angels, it seems the Hive Mind has had far too much effect on me than I thought. I've got Asmodai, a chaplain and a Techmarine and they seem a bit pants, a little annoyed the Techmarine now takes up a HQ slot when previously he didn't, gone are the days when you needed one per vehicle!

    Just looking to paint up some figures at them moment, competitive it will not be but I'll get there eventually.

    Just a question, what do you mean by 'partially mitigated through the formations available to the army'? Does it allow them to be obsec? Was that one of the special rules? You may have covered it and I don't have the rulebook yet, so apologies if I missed it.

    1. No, unfortunately the Ravenwing and Deathwing Strike Force don't get objective secured. I meant that the formations allow you to take more Elite choices (for Deathwing) and Fast Attack choices (for Ravenwing) than the standard force organisation chart, allowing you to include a lot more of the units without going unbound.

  2. The Captain and Chaplain mostly matter because they unlock the Battle Company, which is a pretty sweet deal. And I guess a Captain in Terminator Armour is usually better than Belial for the price in many ways.

    Librarian is probably the default choice if using a CAD or something. Fairly cheap, decent in Combat, and very flexible. Zeke is a very solid choice if you don't need a Bike.

    That said, Zealot is essentially Hatred+Fearless, so the difference between a regular Chaplain and an Interrogator-Chaplain isn't quite as large as the review indicates. Probably still worth shelling out just for the upgraded statline tho.

    1. The Captain and Chaplain are necessary for taking certain formations, that doesn't necessarily make them good choices.

      I think Librarians are the big winners in this codex thanks to the new Interromancy powers and Ezekiel has some great abilities for quite a low points cost (compared to a similarly upgraded Librarian).

      I forgot that Zealot gave Fearless as well, so you still get that from the Chaplain. I think the stat increase is worth the cost, plus you might get lucky with the Fear test.

    2. It doesn't make them good Units in and of themselves, but it can make them a worthwhile tax if you build your Battle Company well.

      The Librarian is definitely the clear choice in a CAD, tho, no argument there.

  3. Thanks for doing these mike! Really good read and informative. Things keep coming thick and fast!

    1. Thanks Luke. I'm glad people are enjoying them and that they are finding them informative. The next part will be up tomorrow.

  4. Ezekiels Warlord trait is Courage of the first Legion not Courage of the Lion. (I'm updating my 6E codex to a 7E with the differences and cross referencing a PDF I found with this article. Gotta make sure it's all good info before I go and mark up my codex with mis-information. (Don't want to spend another $70)