Thursday, 17 May 2018

Dark Angels Army List Analysis- London GT

With the London 40k Grand Tournament coming up this weekend, I thought I'd take a look at the list I am taking and how the army has been performing in practice games so far. 

The list that I am taking is:
Battalion Detachment, Dark Angels [1078 pts] +5 CP
HQ1: Azrael (180)- WARLORD- [180 pts] +1 CP
HQ2: Primaris Lieutenant (70)- Master-crafted Auto Bolt Rifle (4), Bolt Pistol (0), Frag and Krak Grenades (0), Eye fo the Unseen (Relic)- [74 pts]
Troop1: 5 Scouts (55)- 4 Boltguns (0), Bolt Pistols (0), Frag and Krak Grenades (0). Sergeant has Boltgun (0) and Chainsword (0)- [55 pts]
Troop2: 5 Scouts (55)- 4 Boltguns (0), Bolt Pistols (0), Frag and Krak Grenades (0). Sergeant has Boltgun (0) and Chainsword (0)- [55 pts]
Troop3: 5 Scouts (55)- 5 Astartes Shotguns (0), Bolt Pistols (0), Frag and Krak Grenades (0)- [55 pts]
Troop4: 5 Intercessors (90)- 5 Bolt Rifles (0), Bolt Pistols (0), Frag and Krak Grenades (0)- [90 pts]
Troop5: 5 Intercessors (90)- 5 Bolt Rifles (0), Bolt Pistols (0), Frag and Krak Grenades (0)- [90 pts]
Elites1: Primaris Ancient (69)- Bolt Rifle (0), Bolt Pistol (0), Frag and Krak Grenades (0)- [69 pts]
Heavy Support1: 10 Hellblasters (180)- 10 Plasma Incinerators (150), Bolt Pistols (0), Frag and Krak Grenades (0)- [330 pts]
Heavy Support2: 5 Devastators (65)- Bolters (0), Heavy Bolter (10), Armorium Cherub (5), Bolt Pistols (0), Frag and Krak Grenades (0)- [80 pts]

Outrider Detachment, Dark Angels [922 pts] +1 CP
HQ1: Sammael (183 pts)- [183 pts]
Fast Attack1: 5 Ravenwing Black Knights (230)- Plasma Talons (0), Corvus Hammers (0), Bolt Pistols (0), Frag and Krak Grenades (0)- [230 pts]
Fast Attack2: Ravenwing Darkshroud (128)- Assault Cannon (22)- [150 pts]
Fast Attack3: 4 Ravenwing Bikers (100)- Twin Boltguns (8), Chainswords (0), 2 Meltaguns (34), Sergeant with Storm Bolter (2), Bolt Pistols (0), Frag and Krak Grenades (0)- [144 pts]
Fast Attack4: 4 Ravenwing Bikers (100)- Twin Boltguns (8), Chainswords (0), Flamer (9), Sergeant with Storm Bolter (2), Bolt Pistols (0), Frag and Krak Grenades (0)- [119 pts]
Fast Attack5: 3 Ravenwing Bikers (75)- Twin Boltguns (6), Chainswords (0), Plasma Gun (13), Sergeant with Storm Bolter (2), Bolt Pistols (0), Frag and Krak Grenades (0)- [96 pts]

10 Command Points total

Quite a balanced army, I feel. It has a lot of fire support elements, as well as some faster moving units for grabbing objectives and going after the enemy forces. Let's take a look at the units and see how they have been performing.

Army Special Rules
Grim Resolve is a great Chapter Tactics to have. Getting re-rolls of 1's to hit in the shooting phase if I didn't move is great for most of my army. A lot of the squads don't move around much, so getting free re-rolls helps to boost their damage output in the shooting phase. It's not of much use to my Bikers, but my infantry units benefit from it a fair bit.

The morale mitigation is also great. I can't lose more than one model to a failed morale test. In most units, this is not an issue, but it is great for the Hellblasters, meaning I can take a unit of 10 with little to fear from morale.

Jink is also great on the Bikers. While advancing reduces their firepower significantly (for the most part), the 4+ invulnerable save can more than make up for this. This allows my Bikers to focus on going after objectives and gives them a measure of protection against the enemy firepower. 

The warlord of the army, Azrael is one of the best Chapter Masters available to the Space Marines. His big bonus is the 4+ invulnerable save he gives to all infantry and bike units within 6". He also gives full re-rolls to hit to all units within 6". This gives him a huge offensive and defensive boost to the nearby units. 

He is also no slouch in combat, putting out a number of S6 power sword attacks that do D3 damage each. He can attack any threats to the Hellblasters and usually comes out on top. 

Not only that, his warlord trait gives him the chance to get command points back on a 5+ (as well as a free re-roll once per game), great for this army that relies on stratagems to boost their damage. 

I usually keep him with the Hellblasters, providing them some great protection, as well as re-rolls to hit that helps keep them safe from killing themselves with overcharging their Plasma Incinerators. He has really boosted their damage output in many games, as well as holding his own in combat against a number of tough enemy squads and characters. 

His warlord trait is a bit variable. In some games, I get a number of command points back to use again, in other games, I don't make a single 5+ roll and it seems a bit wasted. He is a lynchpin of the list, making the Hellblasters a powerful component of the army. 

Primaris Lieutenant
Another support character, mostly for the Hellblasters once more, helping to get the most of their Plasma weaponry. 

His Master Crafted Auto Bolt Rifle can be a nasty surprise, doing two damage, it can threaten multi-wound enemy models or characters when they get close. 

I gave him the Eye of the Unseen Relic. I might have preferred the Heavenfall Blade, but there was simply no character in my army I could take this with. The Eye does have some hidden benefits. In combination with Azrael, I can potentially take out enemy characters on the charge before they have a chance to strike, as the Eye forces them to go last in combat. 

This has allowed me to cripple an enemy attack a couple of times, by using my units to slay the enemy character in combat. 

Primaris Ancient
The Ancient is in the list to make the Hellblaster squad a bit more powerful. When one is slain within 6", he allows them to shoot back at the enemy army on a 4+. He also provides a bit more character support for combat.

His ability is a bit variable, sometimes I get a lot of shots in games that do damage, other games, I can never seem to roll that 4+ to shoot back. I think he is a strong addition to the list, giving me a big of protection against going second.

Scout Squads
This list was mostly built before the recent FAQ, meaning that at least 3 units of Scouts were essential in the list to block enemy deep strikers.

Since the FAQ, they are still incredibly useful in the list, but not as essential as they once were. They are still great for blocking enemy deep striking or simply enemy movement from the first turn. They are also useful for going after objectives a bit further away from my army, as their infiltrate move allows them to get there quickly.

I have two squads armed with Bolters, one with a Heavy Bolters as well. The Bolters add some more firepower to the army, while the Heavy Bolter is great for taking wounds off tougher units or gives me another way to use the Hellfire Shells stratagem.

One squad comes armed with Shotguns, for some high strength firepower at close range, as well as having the ability to advance and still fire.

The Scouts are the most likely squad to give up first blood in my games, and it is rare for them to survive to the end of the game. However, they are a handy sacrificial unit for going after objectives and have objective secured to steal them from the enemy army.

I think in the future, I might reduce the number of Scout squads or take one big squad that I can combat squad in a game if I wish.

I'm pretty pleased with how the Intercessors perform in the army. They don't tend to do much, but are great for holding backfield objectives and for blocking my opponent from deep striking into my deployment zone.

The extra wound is great for their durability, especially if you can get them into cover. The extra range on their Bolt Rifles also means that they can fire off the odd shot, even at the back of my deployment zone.

I think they are a strong choice for the army over a Tactical Squad.

This was originally a tactical squad, but were quickly switched to a Devastator squad after a few play tests.

The squad is just a basic 5-man squad with a Heavy Bolter and Armorium cherub. This squad is great for the Hellfire Shells stratagems. Thanks to the Sergeant's Signum, the Heavy Bolter hits on a 2+ (re-rolling 1's if it did not move) and will do D3 mortal wounds with the stratagem. Using the Armorium cherub, I can fire the stratagem again for free, so can potentially do 2D3 mortal wounds on an enemy unit.

This unit has done pretty well in most games, holding a backfield objective and shooting with the Heavy Bolter occassionally if a target presents itself.

This is one of the core units in the army. The squad of 10 is very powerful, especially when backed up by Azrael, the Lieutenant and Ancient.

The 30" range on their guns is great, allowing them to fire from the very first turn. They generally move up the board to get into rapid fire range and threat the enemy army.

This unit gets even better when using Weapons of the Dark Age. This allows each gun to do 3 damage per wound when overcharging. There is little on the board that has stood up to their firepower when it is levelled at them.

The morale mitigation of Grim Resolve also helps to keep them safe if they lose too many models to enemy fire. While expensive, this unit has performed very well in every game that I have used them.

Sammael is another great character in the list. He is fast, has good firepower and is very strong on the turn he charges into combat. This allows him to threaten a range of enemy units. He works as good support for the Black Knights, allowing them to overcharge their Plasma Talons in relative safety.

I tend to rush him up the board with the Black Knights, so he rarely survives a game. I should play with him a bit more conservatively in my games.

Black Knights
Another solid unit in the army. Their Plasma Talons can put out a lot of very strong firepower, especially when overcharging and/or with weapons of the Dark Age.

I tend to use Speed of the Raven on them to go up to the enemy army, fire and then charge into combat. Even with the Corvus Hammers, their combat ability is not great. Again, I should really play a bit more conservatively with them so that they survive more than a single turn.

They have performed reasonably well in my games, but not as good as I would have liked. Part of this may be not surviving long past turn 1. It might be more useful to keep them in step with Azrael to get protection from his invulnerable save, as well as forcing my opponent to shoot at the Hellblasters or Black Knights.

These three units give my army some much needed mobility. The force can be quite slow on the table, so I need these squads for grabbing objectives and taking the fight to the enemy. I added a Storm Bolter to each Sergeant (option from the Index) to give them additional Bolter shots for only a couple of points each.

As a result, they rarely survive to the end of the game, but they do gain me some points in my games. They can advance to get their Jink save, but this relies on them surviving turn 1 or me getting the first turn.

Another great support unit for the Dark Angels. The -1 to hit bubble is great for stopping a lot of enemy firepower from coming in and stopping "exploding 6's" abilities on units such as Necrons.

I tend to keep it with the Hellblasters to help keep them safe for longer. Most opponents tend to ignore it for some reason, which I am more than happy to encourage.

There are a number of stratagems that the army uses a lot, which really boosts their usefulness.

Weapons of the Dark Age is one that gets used most often. It adds 1 to the damage of any Plasma Weapons. With a big unit of Hellblasters and a unit of Dark Knights, this stratagem gives me the ability to put out a ton of high strength, good damage firepower. A unit of Black Knights or Hellblasters overcharging can generally kill an enemy vehicle or monster in a single turn of shooting.

Speed of the Raven is another great stratagem that I use. This allows a unit of Bikers to advance and still shoot and charge. This is great for getting into rapid fire range, or for simply allowing me to shoot to full effect while also getting a Jink save on one unit.

Hellfire Shells is another one I use often. The ability to deal mortal wounds is great, especially on units with a strong invulnerable save.

Secret Agenda is a brilliant stratagem on maelstrom games. For one CP, I can keep my maelstrom cards secret from my opponent, only revealing them when I score them. This is fantastic, especially for "Defend Objective X" cards, as your opponent doesn't know what objective you are trying to hold. It is also great for Spoils of War, as your opponent doesn't know what "Secure Objective X" cards you draw. This can lead them to not going after an easy extra point if they are not on the objective. I think I will use this in all of my games.

Auspex Scan is great, especially if you can get it off on the Hellblasters. Most of the time though, I keep them safe from enemy deep strikers, so I don't tend to waste the command points on Scout units.

The list doesn't have the best mobility. I have a number of mobile Biker units, but these can be taken out quite easily with dedicated firepower. The Jink save should help them a bit, but if I roll poor for my invulnerable saves, my Bikers can die easily, especially to weapons that do multi-damage per wound.

The army also has 16 deployment drops, meaning I won't get the +1 to go first in many cases. It can also give up a lot of kill points, which is an area where I suffer. It might have been better to take a squad of 10 Intercessors and 10 Scouts. I could combat squad them in missions where kill points are not an issue or use the Tactical Flexibility stratagem to split them after the game starts.

I think it is a strong list that I am taking. It is so far undefeated, but it hasn't gone up against some of the crazier net lists or against Smite spam armies yet.

I hope to give a good showing at the tournament and think the list is quite good to do so. It will all depend on what I come up against and how I play the missions. 


  1. Looks good! I would be joining you but had to sell my ticket due to a family do being on. Look forward to the battle reports!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Looks like a list that rewards good objective play - should suit you well! Good luck!

  4. Good luck, hope your WeeMen perform well! (Very patriotic blog banner too) ;)

    1. Cheers Siph! Yeah, thought it was about time I got a logo for the blog.