Tuesday 19 December 2017

8th Edition Codex Dark Angels Review: Part 2- Stratagems and Interromancy Discipline

Part 2 of my review of the new 8th edition Dark Angels codex will focus on the new Stratagems for the army, as well as the Interromancy discipline. 

The Dark Angels have access to many of the Stratagems available to Space Marines, as well as some unique Dark Angels ones that add a lot of power to your army. I'm going to take a look at the Dark Angels specific Stratagems in the new book. 

Relics of the Rock (1CP/3CP)
This is the standard one extra Relic for 1 command point, or two Relics for three command points. 

This is a decent Stratagem, but one I probably wouldn't use too often. I tend to only take one Relic, but the Dark Angels do have access to some pretty decent ones, so taking one extra could be of use. 

Deathwing Assault (2CP/3CP)
Used when a unit of Deathwing arrives on the battlefield using Teleport Strike (Deep Strike). The unit can immediately make a shooting attack as if it were the shooting phase. If the unit consists of 5 or fewer models it costs 2CP, if it is 6 or more it costs 3CP. 

If this was 1CP/2CP, I could see a use for this, but it seems like a very expensive stratagem for the bonus it provides. One good thing is that you get to fire before your opponent can use some form of Interceptor fire or Stratagem, so it could be useful for targeting these units. As Terminators are still not great in 8th edition, I would probably avoid this one in most cases. 

Stasis Shell (1CP)
Used when a model with a Ravenwing Grenade Launcher attacks a character. Make a single To Hit roll, adding one to the result. If you hit, the shot does D3 mortal wounds. 

This may not be used all that often, but can deal a pretty powerful blow to enemy characters when you do use it. You will generally be hitting on a 2+, so have good odds of getting it off and doing an automatic D3 wounds. If you roll well, you should be able to finish off a wounded character or cause serious damage to an unwounded one. The problem with Stratagems like this is that it can easily eat up a couple of command points; one to use it and one to re-roll the hit if you miss or re-roll the damage result if you roll a 1 or a 2.

Never Forgive, Never Forget (1CP)
Allows a single unit to make an additional attack for each 6+ rolled in the Fight phase against Heretic Astartes units. Against Fallen, Deathwing make additional attacks on a 4+.

Situational, but could be of use when you know you are facing Chaos Space Marines with your hard hitters, such as Ravenwing Knights or Deathwing Knights. There are also a number of ways to get additional attacks in combat with these units (banners and character special rules), so this could amount to a fair number of extra hits if you are lucky.

The Lion and the Wolf (1CP)
Used if your army contains Space Wolves Infantry. A single Dark Angels and Space Wolves infantry model "fight". On a roll of a 4+, the model suffers a mortal wound, but gets +1 strength, WS, attacks and Ld.

A bit of a weird one. I don't tend to run mixed armies, so there is little chance of me using this Stratagem. Only really useful on character models or other multi-wound models, but gives them a nice boost if it works. Useful if you have an Apothecary in the army to heal the wounded characters/models.

Hunt the Fallen (1CP)
Select an enemy Infantry Character. They gain +1 attack, but Dark Angels units can re-roll failed To Hit rolls against them in the Fight Phase. Ravenwing and Deathwing units can re-roll failed charges against the model.

Could be useful to go after a buffing character hiding behind an enemy unit. You declare a charge on the unit and the character and get to re-roll your charge to the unit. Could also be useful for targeting the enemy warlord in combat, assuming you finish them off on the charge and the +1 attack doesn't come in to play.

Weapons from the Dark Age (1CP)
Increase the damage characteristic of Plasma Weapons by 1 for a single Dark Angels unit for the phase when it fires in the Shooting Phase.

This is a fantastic Stratagem, and one I will imagine I will be using very often. This will be great on a number of units, including Black Knights and Hellblaster Squads. This will allow you to do two damage without overcharging or three when you do overcharge. Thanks to Grim Resolve allowing you to re-roll 1's to hit if you do not move, this makes overcharging and causing huge damage to an enemy unit much more reliable. This seems like a brilliant Stratagem and I can't wait to try it out.

Intractable (2CP)
Allows a unit to Fall Back and still fire in the shooting phase.

Another great stratagem. This has so much utility, stopping your opponent from tying up a great shooting unit with chaff. Will be great for vehicles to move away from their attackers and still fire on them. Also great for Bikers, who have high volumes of firepower but sometimes lack a bit of combat punch. Expensive at 2 command points, but may have been far too powerful for only one command point.

Speed of the Raven (1CP)
A clone of the White Scars Stratagem, allows a unit of Bikers to still shoot and charge after advancing.

I use this all the time on my White Scars Bike Squads and see me doing the exact same with the Ravenwing. A great stratagem that practically guarantees a first turn charge, unless your opponent is very deep in their deployment zone. Will be amazing with Black Knights, and great with other Bikers for grabbing objectives and still getting to shoot. I hope they FAQ that the unit does not suffer -1 to hit for advancing and firing Assault weapons. As it is written now, they would still suffer -1 to hit for advancing and firing Assault weapons, but would suffer no penalty to Rapid Fire weapons or Heavy Weapons (other than the standard -1 to hit for moving and firing Heavy Weapons).

Secret Agenda (1CP)
In a maelstrom game, you don't need to reveal your cards to your opponent until you score them.

It may not seem like it, but this is an incredible stratagem. I love maelstrom games and this will give you a big edge in them. Your opponent won't know what objectives you are going after, or what objectives to block you from getting. This will be great for Defend Objective cards where you need to hold them for two turns and won't need to reveal your plan. This is incredibly good in my opinion and a bargain at one command point.

Fortress of Shields (1CP)
Used at the start of the Fight phase on a Deathwing unit with at least 3 Storm Shields in it. Your opponent suffers -1 to wound against the unit for the rest of the Fight phase,

This is aimed at units of combat Deathwing Terminators or Deathwing Knights and should really improve their durability in combat. With this Stratagem, most units will now be wounding them on a 5+ (or even 6+), while more powerful units and characters will only be wounding on a 3+ at best. Added to the invulnerable save of the Storm Shields and 2+ armour save, this should help them survive in combat considerably, which is where you want them to be. It's a pity you can use this for the whole turn to protect you against shooting and combat attacks, as it is more likely the shooting phase where your Terminators are going to suffer against most armies.

Inner Circle (1CP)
Used before the battle. Select one Dark Angels Master, Dreadnought or Land Raider. This unit gains the Deathwing keyword and Unforgiven special rule.

This one will be very situational and I don't really see much need for it. The only time I can see it being of use is if your army contains Belial. This gives Deathwing units full re-rolls to hit within 6", so could be useful for your Land Raider or Dreadnought to help make them more accurate. The combat re-rolls will be useful for the Dreadnought or Master if you are facing Fallen, but that will be a rarity.

The Dark Angels have access to some really great unique stratagems to help them as an army. Given the unique units they can field, Weapons from the Dark Age, Speed of the Raven and Intractable are fantastic stratagems and should see a lot of use in a Dark Angels army. I also think that Secret Agenda is amazing if you regularly play maelstrom missions, so perfect for me.

As well as the unique stratagems, they also get access to a number of the useful Space Marine ones, such as Auspex Scan, Flakk Missile, Only in Death Does Duty End and Honour the Chapter.

Interromancy Discipline
The Dark Angels Librarians also get an expanded discipline from the Index, featuring some fantastic new powers to use.

Mind Worm (casting value 6)
An enemy unit within 12" suffers a mortal wound and may only be chosen to fight in the Fight phase after all other eligible units (regardless of other special rules).

Pretty much unchanged from the Index. This can be useful in the right circumstances, allowing you to try and take out enemy units in the fight phase before they get a chance to attack. A decent power, but there are better ones in the discipline worth taking.

Aversion (casting value 6)
An enemy unit within 24" suffers -1 to hit until your next psychic phase.

A fantastic power and one that works well with other units and Relics in the Dark Angels army. This is great for diminishing a single enemy unit. When combined with the Darkshroud, the unit will be at -2 to hit in the shooting phase (-3 with the Shroud of Heroes). With the Shroud of Heroes, they will be at -2 to hit in the Fight phase against a character.

This has the ability to seriously hurt your opponent. If you cast it on a Baneblade variant, they will be hitting on a 5+, or a 6+ with a Darkshroud. This effectively takes it out of the game without having to fire a single shot at it. This is a fantastic power and one I could take in every game.

Righteous Repugnance (casting value 7)
A friendly Dark Angels unit within 12" can re-roll all failed To Hit and To Wound rolls with melee weapons until your next psychic phase.

Another incredibly strong power in the right unit. On a unit of Black Knights or Deathwing Knights this will be amazing, greatly increasing your damage output for the unit for a battle round (or is it turn?). Even a regular squad will find this useful, potentially allowing them to fend off an attack. I can again see this getting a lot of use in a Dark Angels army.

Trephination (casting value 7)
Targets the closest enemy unit within 18". Roll 2D6, for each point it beats the units Ld value, they suffer a mortal wound. If you roll 11 or more on the psychic test, you can add 2 to the 2D6 roll to determine the number of mortal wounds.

This power has the potential to cause a fair amount of damage on an enemy unit, but it requires a lot of things to go right. You need to succeed on the casting value first and not have the power blocked. Then you need to roll high enough to make it worthwhile and cause some wounds. Given an average Ld of 7 for many infantry units, you need to roll reasonable high to get some wounds. I think Smite is a better option than this in almost all cases. The one upside of this power is that Dark Angels have access to a number of ways to decrease the Ld of enemy units, so this could help you cause a bit more damage if you can get the combinations working.

Engulfing Fear (casting value 6)
Your opponent must roll 2 dice for morale tests and discard the lowest when within 6" of the psyker until your next psychic phase.

Decent enough, but very short ranged and quite situational depending on what army your opponent is using.

Mind Wipe (casting value 7)
Targets an enemy unit within 18". If cast, each player rolls a D6 and adds their Ld value. If the Dark Angels Librarian beats the value of your opponent, the unit reduces its WS, BS and Ld by 1 permanently.

This could be very useful under the right circumstances. You can cast this multiple times on the same unit during the game, so if you get it off a couple of times, you will seriously harm the abilities of an enemy unit. This also works well when combined with Trephination, reducing the Ld of enemy units and making them more susceptible to taking mortal wounds.

I would say that all of the powers can be useful in the right circumstances, but for me, the best powers are Aversion, Righteous Repugnance and Mind Wipe. I would love to have all three in every game, but if I only had to choose two, I would definitely take Aversion and maybe Mind Wipe. Righteous Repugnance is great on the Black Knights, but in my army they normally operate near Sammael, so would get re-rolls to hit anyway. The re-rolls to wound would be great for causing maximum damage or for taking on tougher vehicles or monsters.

So that is part two of my review complete. The next part will take a look at the Ravenwing units in the codex. 


  1. Argh, that's frustrating, I'd written almost exactly the same thing as secret agenda for a narrative event the brotherhood are planning next year! Bloody GW, stealing my ideas...

    1. Haha! Some interesting rules you are coming up with there, Nick.

    2. You better believe it! You know I don't like to run events just using the basic stuff!

    3. The only gaming event where you will need a sleeping bag!

    4. You just wait pal, next time you’re going to need a calculator, a ball of string, some bubblegum, and a chicken. ;)