Guest Editorial on Dark Angels by Dr.Insanotron

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A guest editorial from Dr. Insanotron on Dark Angels. Please note, this tactic was written assuming the Banner of Devastation worked on Storm Bolters. That is no longer accurate within the context of the BAO FAQ, but the tactics here are still very sound. 

Dr.Insanotron from Sinister Wargaming here and today I would Like to take a little time and talk about the army I plan to take to this years BAO, why I have chosen the units I have and how I plan to us them in a game. To date, I have gone through about five versions of this army since the codex came out and so far this version is the one I like best and feel it will give me the best odds of success. I must also say that I am very happy with the new codex, there are so many Different options that I like in this book that I really feel I will be able to play around with it for a long time before I get bored and move on to something new. But for now the Unforgiven are here to stay.

Ok, so to start here is my list so far:

Dark Angels 1750 BAO



Belial (190), Storm Bolter & The Sword of Silence (0)                                                                              190

Command Squad (100), Banner of Devastation (65), 5x Bloters (0)                                                    165


Land Raider Proteus (225), Armored Ceramite (20), Dozer Blade (5)                                      245


5x Deathwing (220), 1x Cyclone Missile Launchers (25)                                                                            245

5x Deathwing (220), 1x Cyclone Missile Launchers (25)                                                                            245

5x Deathwing (220), 1x Cyclone Missile Launchers (25)                                                                            245

7 scouts (84), Camo Clocks (14)                                                                                                                            98

7 scouts (84), Camo Clocks (14)                                                                                                                            98


3x Hyperios Launchers (105)                                                                                                                               105

3x Hyperios Launchers (105)                                                                                                                               105

TOTAL = 1750

Let’s break this down unit by unit and talk about my choices and some of the basic ideas of how I plan to use them.

BELIAL. So if you want to run Deathwing as troops you have two options: Belial or Azreal. There are a couple of reason why I went with Belail; for starters he is 25pts cheaper and when you are playing a low model count army every little bit really helps. Another big reason I like him is that outside of the Ravenwing he has the only Teleport Homer in the book. Now a lot of people would say that that’s not a big deal and that I should use his tactical precision to bring a unit of Deathwing that he joins on to the board without scattering.  I do still have the option to do this if I feel it would be a better tactical move. However, that’s not really how the army is built. Belial is meant to go in the Proteus with the command squad, scout move forward before the game and the terminators Deep Strike in off his Homer with out scattering. From here he can then stay in the Radier or jump out and join one of the squads if needed.

Now for his weapon load-out I decided to go with his storm bolter and the Sword of Silence for a couple of reasons: one, I want to take as much advantage of the banner as I can before I lose it, two, Belial’s shooting attacks have precision shot on a 5+ and he is a pretty good shooting HQ. The Sword of Silence is also a great weapon as it’s a power sword that has Flesh Bane (always wound on a 2+) which makes it a really great weapon for dealing with most infantry in the game. It is really a stand out when fighting MCs such as Tyranids or Chaos Daemons . He also has an Iron Halo so not having the Storm Shield  isn’t the end of the world, however he does lose out on the ability to take out vehicles and terminators with the AP2 that he would have with a thunder hammer and storm shield.

Command Squad. Well the BAO and other events that I play in are ruling that the Banner of Devastation works on Storm Bolters (this is not longer the case, but these tips still work great for other units -ed) so I had to have one to go with the Terminators and this squad is the cheapest way to get it in my army. The squad goes in the Proteus for survivability and to increase the range of the banner. I also decided to give them bolters in case they get blown out of their Land Radier. That way they can then shoot things up with there salvo 4 bolters.

Land Raider Proteus. This is one of the things that I keep going back and forth on: what type of Land Raider too take. I finally decided to go with the Proteus mainly due to how I had planned to play the army and the fact that the Proteus has scout. So with my free move before the game I move my Raider 12″ to where I want to drop the Deathwing, then use Belial’s Teleport Homer to drop them within 6.” This also means they are automatically within range of the Banner of Devastation. In addition, the Proteus gives me a way to mess with my opponent’s reserves by giving him a -1 to his rolls. This will hopefully make him come in peace-meal witch will give my Hyperios Launchers an easier time dealing with things like enemy fliers. Finally I take Armored Ceramite. This is a huge deal when dealing with armies that use Melta weapons to deal with heavy tanks as ittakes away the extra d6 armor penetration for melta weapons.

Deathwing. These are the backbone and main hitting force of the army. These guys pack a nasty punch when they are within 6″ of the Banner, putting down 60 twin-linked storm bolter shots (again, this rule no longer works this way -ed) and 6 twin-linked cyclone missile shots the turn they drop in. With the new Deathwing Assault rule I’m almost guaranteed to get a nasty first turn of shooting. But so far the best thing that I have found that the new Deathwing over the old is Split Fire. This has been a big bonus and tactical advantage  It means that every shot my terminators take can be put on the best target for the weapon, storm bolters into the infantry and missiles into tanks and MC’s. No shot gets wasted. My three squads can fire at and possibly kill six of my opponent’s units: very nice for a small force.

Scouts. With the new rules for sniper rifles these guys have done great things for me. Precision Strike for these squads with thier 36″ range and Infiltrate often spells the end for heavy weapons, special weapons, banner bearers, and any other non IC character my opponent finds important. Another big use I’ve found for them is taking out artillery such as Imperial Guard Saber Platforms, Quad Guns, and Ork Loobas, etc. Even though you wont just kill them all they are normally small squads with a low LD so making them take break tests and pinning tests is pretty easy. they are also an OK option for shooting at MC’s, great for putting the last wound on a beat up Monster.

With the rest of the army being so aggressive and in-your-face, these guys are often ignored until the end of the game. With their camo clocks they are pretty tough as long as I can keep them out of hand to hand combat. They also can use their scout and infiltrate rules to camp on objective’s. Coming in at under 100pts, these guys are a steal. However I am thinking about trying them out in a six man squad with bolters and a missile launcher

Hyperios Launchers. The best AA Marines can buy, period. with fliers being so popular I can count on running into a few armies with more then one flier in them and these are my answer. I have found they eat AV 11 and lower fliers and flying MC’s for breakfast and can at least stun the rest. They are also great for dealing with transports and MC’s and most importantly killing that SOB the Doom before he ever gets to use his Essence Drain BS, and with two squads of them he can’t even hide behind his sPods as the first squad will kill the sPod and the second unit with a little luck will mess him up.

OK so there you have it, now let’s go over how I have been making an army like this work for me:


 One of the most important and over-looked parts of the game is deployment, which includes objective placement  You can really set yourself up for success or dig yourself a deep hole before the game starts with the placement of your objectives and forces. I do tend to have a standard deployment for this army that works in most every game I play. I almost always set the Landraider up in the center of the board to keep my opponent guessing as to where I’m going, then I use its Scout move to get into the position I want. I will then set up the two units of Hyperios Launchers flanking the Raider about six inches from my board edge except in hammer and anvil in witch case it will be six inches from edge of my deployment zone. This position will usually mean that there is nowhere on the board that at least one of the units wont have range to. I will also always look for a piece of terrain to set them up in so that I can get them a cover save. from here I will infiltrate with the scouts placing them in terrain that gives them shots on the targets that I want them to deal with.

As far as objective placement goes, where I place them depends on what army my opponent is playing. Against horde type armies other than Guard, I will place them near the back of my board edge. This allows me to deep strike within 24″ of the enemy. As he advances I can fall back while shooting, ending the game in range of the objectives. If I’m playing against a lower model count army or Guard, I tend to place my objectives 12″ away from an opponent’s, preferably in no mans land. this will let me be aggressive, Deep Striking in and pushing the pace of the game. One of the best ways to kill Guard units (other than blob squads) is to assault it and watch it fold. The fact that my Scouts are infiltrating really means I can put my objectives anywhere and can start the game holding them if I want to. Another tactic I us when placing objectives, depending on how many I have to place, is to put up to half of them in the open and the other half in terrain  The half in the open will always be those I place closer to my opponent. These are almost always the ones they end up going for mid game, allowing me to catch them in the open when they do so. Those I place in terrain are normally the ones that the Scouts are camping on.

In Game Tactics

A big part of the game that I always try for are the secondary VPs and this list is really well built to earn these points I almost always get First Blood and have a really good chance at Line Breaker. The only point that is often up in the air is Slay the Warlord, but if my opponent’s warlord isn’t in a transport or in reserve I can normally get both First Blood and Slay the Warlord the turn my Deathwing drop in. This puts the pressure on my opponent from the start to make up points.

This army largely plays the same from game to game with just the positioning that I drop in being the biggest difference. I drop forward on armies that I have a hand to hand advantage over such as Guard, Tau, most Marine units, Eldar (except Harlequins),  Sisters, Necrons, etc. Against armies that have a hand to hand advantage over me I will drop in just inside the 24″ bubble. I then begin firing and falling back against armies like Orks, Tryanids, Deathstar units, etc. In either cases I will use a tactic I like to call Tactical Division.

Tactical Division

 This is the heart of how I play this army and I believe it is the biggest reason for my success with it.

The basic idea behind it is to cripple your opponent’s army in the first two turns while suffering minimal damage in return. I achieve this is by dividing my opponent’s army into the units I want to kill in the first two turns of the game. I split his army into the units I will put off dealing with until later and the units I want to kill now. I need the targeted units to be near each other so I can shut off the rest of his army. I then drop my terminators in off the teleport homer and then move my Land Raider to block LOS to them for as many units other than the ones I have selected as my targets. The Land Raider’s nickname is “the shoe box” and is one of the biggest reasons why this tactic works so well. That along with keeping my banner safe and increases its area of effect are some of its main benefits.

The icing on the cake with this tactic is when you bring all of the synergistic elements of the list together. The scouting Raider with the teleport homer inside it, the teleport homer and the units making a Deathwing Assualt, the banner coupled with all the storm bolters and Vengeful Strike, and last but not least: Split Fire allowing me to put all the shots where I need them. In most of the games I have played so far I have been able to do so much damage in the first two turns of the game that my opponents have not been able to recover. I will be putting up examples of this tactic in our future Video battle reports so keep an eye out for them.

I hope you all enjoyed this article and I look forward to writing an after action report after the BAO. Until then good luck and happy gaming!


About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

4 Responses to “Guest Editorial on Dark Angels by Dr.Insanotron”

  1. Tangentical February 25, 2013 6:29 am #

    I don’t think i’ve seen it anywhere yet but has anyone considered a 5 man assault squad…

    Don’t call me crazy yet.

    For 85 points you get 5 dudes and can swap out jump packs for a drop pod (or Rhino) for free.

    You can upgrade two dudes to flamers for 5 points each and the sarge to a combi flamer for another 10.

    So for 105 points you get a 5 man squad in drop pod with three alpha striking flamers and a drop pod you can use to obscure enemy fire. To do this with veterans would cost you (well you can’t even do it but over 140!).

    Even if you wanted a Rhino elsewhere in your force you could keep the assault squad min 5 man and effectively get the 35 point Rhino and have 5 footslogging assault marines for 10points each (ok, so 5 guys wont do much but it still seems like a steal).

    I only really mention this because someone said to me that no-one will ever run assault squads with Dark Angels and I decided to be contrary…

    • dr.insanotron February 25, 2013 9:37 am #

      I like your outside of the box thinking.

      Here is another one I haven’t heard anyone talking about. You take 5-6 ten man scout squads with bootees. Infiltrate them to within 24″ of the enemy. Then you take a command squad with the banner of devastation in a drop pod, bring them in turn 1 with 6″ of as many scouts squads as you can and let er rip

  2. Ben Cromwell February 25, 2013 9:17 am #

    That sounds like a very interesting idea

  3. Cameron February 25, 2013 5:33 pm #

    You’ve got good anti-air and plenty of anti-vehicle (might have a little trouble with land raiders without any melta). The hyperios launchers will give you great anti-flyer.

    However, even if the storm bolters worked with the banner, I think you’re still going to have serious problems with horde armies.

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