Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Dark Angels Codex Review: Part 3- Warlord Traits

The third part of my Dark Angels Codex Review will look at the Warlord Traits available for the army. The Dark Angels have access to six standard traits, but also have additional Deathwing and Ravenwing traits to add to your army. 

Warlord Traits
Brilliant Strategist- In your command phase, select one friendly Dark Angels unit within 6" of the warlord. Until the start of the next command phase, the unit considers the previous doctrine to be active for the attack. i.e. if the unit is in the Tactical Doctrine, then the Devastator Doctrine is considered to be active for that attack. 

A decent trait for boosting the firepower of your units with selected weapons. It would be better if you could choose which doctrine was active for the unit, but there are stratagems that allow you to do this. Not one I think I would choose all that often, but could be useful with some army builds. It is not limited to core units, so your vehicles could benefit from this. 

Fury of the Lion (Aura)- When a Dark Angels unit is within 6" of the warlord, if this warlord made a charge move, was charged or performed a Heroic Intervention in this turn, add 2 to the strength characteristic of that unit. 

A solid warlord trait if your army is focused on assault. The one limitation is that your warlord has to have made a charge, so there is a risk you could fail the charge or your other units could fail a charge. Getting to wound most infantry on a 3+ is a big boost. This works better if you pair it with +1 to wound in combat from the Chaplain's litany. 

Calibanite Knight- Each time the Warlord makes a melee attack again an Infantry or Biker model, an unmodified wound roll of a 2+ always succeeds. 

A solid trait for a combat character. Works well with a melee weapon with a high AP and high damage potential. 

Stubborn Tenacity- When this warlord is destroyed, if it does not Explode, you can use this warlord trait instead of other abilities that take effect when the model is slain. If you do, the Warlord is not removed from play until the start of the next turn or the end of the battle (whichever comes first). Until that happens, it is still considered to be in play, but any further wounds this Warlord would lose are not lost. 

This is a pretty solid trait to take on a combat warlord. This allows you to keep going with a powerful character for a turn, even if they are slain due to shooting or overwatch fire, etc. This has the potential to allow you to finish off an enemy unit in combat, or fire with a powerful shooting character one last time. This could have some interesting interactions with the new maelstrom rules, as it would technically negate your opponent's ability to score a card for slaying your warlord. However, this would be a pretty game-y interpretation of the rule. 

Decisive Tactician (Aura)- Add 1 to advance and charge rolls for Core units made within 6" of the warlord. 

A solid bonus for the mobile or deep striking elements of the army. Strong on a Deathwing character, reducing the charge distance from reserve. 

Honour of the First Legion- The warlord can perform a heroic intervention up to 6" horizontally and 5" vertically. 

Another great trait on a combat character, making them great for guarding objectives from enemy units. Also makes it more difficult to charge your units, giving the warlord a strong counter-attack range. 

Ravenwing Warlord Traits
Lighning-Fast Reactions- Each time an attack is made against the Warlord, subtract 1 from the Hit roll. 

A strong defensive bonus for a Ravenwing character. Allows you to protect your Talonmaster or Apothecary to some degree from enemy attacks. 

Master of Manoeuvre- This warlord is eligible to either shoot or charge in a turn in which it Fell Back. 

From the wording of the trait, I'm guessing you can only do one of these in a turn in which you fell back. This makes it less useful, but still a strong trait. The ability to fall back and still shoot with a Talonmaster, or fall back and charge with Sammael could be very strong in some games. Probably not one I would choose that often, but could come in handy every once in a while. 

Deathwing Warlord Traits
Watched- Once per battle in your opponent's Psychic phase, this warlord can attempt to resist one additional psychic power, even if it is not a Psyker or within 24". The Deny the Witch test is automatically passed. 

For me, this is an incredible warlord trait. The ability to completely shut down an enemy psychic power can be game changing in the right circumstances. The ability to shut down Warp Time or Quicken on an enemy unit could leave them stranded and vulnerable to your firepower. Equally, the ability to shut down Death Hex or Null Zone can help to protect your own units and force your opponent to cancel an assault when already in position. The ability to disrupt your opponent's plan is a strong ability to have. Pit it is only available on Deathwing characters, as I would love to have this in my Ravenwing army. 

Inexorable- Subtract 1 from damage on attacks made against this warlord (to a minimum of 1). 

This is solid when combined with Inner Circle, meaning they cannot be wounded on a 1-3. This should make a Deathwing character pretty tough to take down. 

The Dark Angels have access to some really strong warlord traits. The Deathwing ones in particular are solid, with Watched being one of the best for me. 

I'm not wild about the Ravenwing ones, and would probably choose another trait. For example, Fury of the Lion would be great on a Ravenwing Champion who was accompanying a unit of Black Knights, especially if they have power mauls, going up to S8. 


  1. Great codex review series, Mike. I enjoy reading your perspectives on the rules.

    1. Thanks Dave, it's nice to know that someone is actually reading them!

  2. I think Calabanite Knight on an Interrogator-Chaplain with Jump Pack and Teeth of Terra relic, plus the +1S/A/Dmg Litany and Imperium Sword WL Trait would be pretty good... 10 attacks that always wound infantry on a 2+, are AP-3 (in Assault Doctrine) and Dmg3 would be a terror against things like Gravis Armor Marines, Terminators, Bullgryn, and even DG Plague Marines.

    1. There was a meme going around that an Interrogator Chaplain is now the deadliest melee character. With all the buffs active, I can totally believe that!