Dark Angels, Hot or Not?

Hello all,

It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for an installment of Rawdogger’s Randoms. Today I’m going to discuss the much maligned Dark Angel codex. Constantly the red headed step child to the more athletic and handsome Codex Space Marines, the Dark Angels seem to get the short end of the stick edition after edition due to their place in the order of codex updates. I myself have been known to harp on the poor Dark Angels from time to time, though deep down I find that I have a soft spot in my heart for the poor zealot bastards. While the codex does suffer from not having some of the cool toys Codex Space Marines get to take to the table and having a supposedly elite force made up of not so stellar Terminators, there are bright spots to be found. Just not in the Deathwing section. Ever. So let’s look at some of the units and war gear options that will make you want to swipe right when building your Dark Angels competitive list. That’s a Tinder joke in case you missed it.

So to start off we add a couple Imperial Knights……



Azrael, Supreme Grand Master of the Dark Angels – Hotness Level (Your Mom)

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Let’s start with the main man with the plan, Azrael. He makes all Ravenwing and…sigh…Deathwing units Troop choices, which gives them the Objective Controlled special rule. This also increases the number of those units you can field. He is able to choose whichever DA Warlord Trait you wish, no need to roll for it. Though he is not stellar in terms of his stat line, having the same stats as a Space Marine Captain, it’s his war gear items that really bring him up in the power level. Thanks to his Lion Helm, he confers a 4+ invulnerable save to whichever unit he joins (you see this a lot in joining Astra Militarum blobs) and his special power armor suit known as Protector confers a 2+ armor save with Feel No Pain to Azrael himself. Nice one! His Sword of Secrets makes his power sword S6 AP3 , Master-Crafted and his combi-bolter Lion’s Wrath gives him a single 24” plasma cannon shot per game. On top of all this war gear he has the old Space Marine Captain character trait of conferring his leadership value to any DA models on the board and has the Inner Circle special rule, which makes him Fearless (and his unit) as well as preferred enemy Chaos Space Marines. That’s great since you will more than likely be seeing a bunch of Chaos Space Marine armies on the top tables at your next tournament….

Interrogator-Chaplains – Hotness Level (Anime Pillow)


Yes I know what you are thinking, what the hell does a Chaplain HQ bring to the table? Multiple Sicaran Battle Tanks, that’s what BRUH?!? A large part of the problem that the DA Codex has is it’s lack of anit-flyer units. If you say flakk missiles I will reach out my hand from this computer and slap your face off.

The Ravenwing – Hotness Level (Jon Hamm’s Bulg)

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Here is the real meat and potatoes of the DA codex. The Ravenwing not only bring to the table the same speed and durability we have come to love with Space Marines bikers, but offer the DA player much more in versatility and lethality. To start off Ravenwing bikers can be made ob sec troop choices with the inclusion of Azrael or the Ravenwing special character Sammael, who narrowly missed being on this list. They come stock with Scout, which give the DA player a ton of options when choosing how to deploy their army. They also come with Hit and Run, which can be an incredibly useful and annoying tool. You think those White Scar chumps were the first to have that? Don’t even, OK? If you run a full 6 man squad you can attach an Attack Bike AND a Land Speeder, though the Land Speeder cannot join the squad and is vulnerable to high strength weaponry such as Bolters. Ravenwing also come with a free Teleport Homer which doesn’t matter much since you won’t be taking Deathwing, right?

Ravenwing Black Knights – Hotness Level (Olivia Munn in Attack of the Show)

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The Black Knights get all of the great things we discussed above with the Ravenwing Bikers, with the addition of some key war gear options and stats. The have an extra attack characteristic, which brings them up to 3 base with their Corvus Hammer and bolt pistols. The Corvus Hammer makes their attacks strength 5 with Rending. Umm, I’ll take three units please. The real gem of the Black Knights is the replacement of their twin-linked bolters with twin-linked Plasma Talons, which are 18” plasma guns on a relentless model. They do suffer from Gets Hot but the twin-linked rule does alleviate some of those concerns. You can have a model take a Ravenwing Grenade Launcher which lowers the toughness characteristic by 1 of any model that is hit by it’s blast. Thanks to the shooting rules in 7th edition you can fire that first, lower the toughness of the model you want to kill (Wraithknight) and then unload with your Plasma Talons. Just to add to the bad-assery the Black Knights come stock with the Skilled Rider special rule.

Ravenwing Command Squad – Hotness Level (Heidi from Home Improvement 1993-1999)

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To build upon the building blocks above, the Ravenwing Command Squad has all the war gear and special rules of the Ravenwing Black Knights but can take even more great war gear options. One member is an Apothecary, giving the unit a Feel No Pain roll just in case those Plasma Talons decide to Get Hot despite their twin-linked nature. One member can be made into a Champion with some neat close combat war gear, but to be honest if you are in close combat with this unit something has gone terribly wrong. The real beauty of this squad is their access to the Sacred Standards. The unit can take one of several unit buffing banners such as the Standard of Devastation which gives all units within 12” the torrent 2/4 special rule for their boltguns as well as my favorite the Banner of Fortitude which gives all DA units within 12” the Feel No Pain special rule. Very important if you are running large units of Ravenwing Black Knights that are rapid firing Plasma Talons. The unit tend to get fairly pricey with these banners so protect them as much as you can with a durable character on a bike with an invulnerable save.

Dark Angel Special Issue War gear – Hotness Level (Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits)

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The Dark Angels have a lot going for them in the special wargear section. I find myself scanning the pages every once in a while and somehow finding a cool piece of war gear that I had missed previously. The top war gear piece that most will be familiar with is the Power Field Generator. For a mere 30 points, the bearer of this item confers a 4+ invulnerable save to any models (not just DA models) within 3”. The item has been recently nerfed by GW to say that an embarked model with the item does not confer the save to the vehicle they are embarked on. Oh well, you can’t win them all. Some other cool war gear items are the Displacer Field which gives the bearer a 3+ invulnerable save and the Porta-Pack, which gives the bearer and his unit the Preferred Enemy special rule if they kill and enemy character in close combat.


So there you have it. In every dog turd there is a grain that will one day sprout from the dirt to grow into a large tree or something. Not sure where that analogy was going but I thought I’d shoot for it anyways. The Dark Angels can be a competitive army but really need to include the units listed above with some help from Forgeworld and allies that can fill some of the areas where they are lacking.


What are your thoughts on the Dark Angels codex? Are there any units that I missed that stand out to you as must haves?




About Jason

Raw Dogger, aka, Phat J Sleaze (formerly of the Booty Boyzzz) is a highly opinionated, questionably skilled 40k enthusiast. When not working at Frontline Gaming, he can be found down on Jabroni Avenue.

25 Responses to “Dark Angels, Hot or Not?”

  1. Grimphister February 5, 2015 1:19 pm #

    Ha…an anime pillow…

  2. fluger February 5, 2015 1:23 pm #

    Poor DA. They need a new dex.

    However, they are case in point of how GW doesn’t ALWAYS just make new models super broken in order to sell models (see: DA flyers). So, that’s nice.

  3. RoockieBoy February 5, 2015 1:25 pm #

    Nice one raw dogger! I used to play Astra Militarum allied with Azrael for the 4++ bubble you mentioned, then I realised I could do the same thing but using DA as primary, and so I started using lots of bikes, Azrael, and a large IG blob. Then, the codex space marines landed, and all my unpainted bikes were suddenly used as White Scars.
    Just to clarify, Azrael’s FNP is 6+, and to make bikes troops, he MUST be in the primary detachment. Also, with their speed and movement, the black knights make some kind of anti air, as they’re able to get rear armor on flyers, and pour many twin linked plasma shots.
    I really wish they could make it to the top tiers, but nowadays… It’s hard…
    Keep it up man!
    P.S. Missing some of your batreps… Gonna have to talk to Old-man-Reece about it hehe

  4. Nova star February 5, 2015 1:28 pm #

    White scars do it better 😉

    • AbusePuppy February 5, 2015 6:00 pm #

      Yeah, WS ignore terrain tests, Ravenwing do not. That’s a pretty huge thing right there. (And they have the improved HoW hits as well.)

      • Nova star February 5, 2015 6:03 pm #

        There also cheaper and the characters to unlock them are cheaper and Khan( if warlord) gives them all scout to offset the ravenwing ability,

        • Eldarain February 5, 2015 7:31 pm #

          And they all have skilled rider don’t they? Only the Black Knights and whichever squad Sammael joins get it for RW.

          I know it was fairly depressing plugging my Ravenwing army into C:SM and being able to have the ubiquitous CM instead of Sammael and also having a couple hundred points to spend.

          • AbusePuppy February 6, 2015 2:14 pm

            They don’t have Skilled Rider, although their abilities effectively mimic it for most purposes. (Skilled Rider “echoes” to the unit, whereas the WS tactic does not. Skilled Rider also stacks with the WS tactic, if you have a way to get both.)

        • Raw Dogger February 5, 2015 8:03 pm #

          That is all correct but this article is not about White Scars

  5. Nick W February 5, 2015 1:53 pm #

    FYI, Dark Angels have a very strong AA unit thanks to Forgeworld…the Mortis Dread. They are the only chapter that can take more than one. It’s ~150 points for optional skyfire/interceptor (so you can still fire on ground targets) with two twin-linked lascannons. Grab two and put them in ruins that have been buffed, and you have some very strong AA and all-purpose shooting.

  6. 42 February 5, 2015 5:38 pm #

    “Standard of Devastation which gives all units within 12” the torrent 2/4 special rule “.

    I believe you mean the salvo special rule. On relentless bikers the 4 bolter shots at 24” each is… Devastating.

    Awesome write up man. I play against a DA guy lots and he loves his ravenwing army and kicks a$$ using many of the units you mentioned. (including the dual sicarans. say bye bye to my AV)

    Great codex. l am really hoping the ability to choose/unlock alternate troop choices with an HQ isn’t a thing of the past. Maybe different force org charts ala necron duracron?(sp? haha)

    • Eldarain February 5, 2015 7:28 pm #

      There will probably be flexible Ravenwing and Deathwing “Decurion” style detachments in the next codex.

    • Raw Dogger February 5, 2015 8:04 pm #

      DOH you are correct, sir I did mean Salvo.

  7. Andrew Maletz February 5, 2015 8:22 pm #

    I thought the banners (at least Devastation) got faq’ed where the salvo only applies to models within range, not whole units.

  8. Kurtxes February 6, 2015 12:05 am #

    “Vunerable to high strength weapons such as bolters”
    I lost my shit hahahahha

  9. Cavalier February 6, 2015 3:44 am #

    Great points Jason. The bikes alone make DA competitive particularly the Black Knights who can really get after it. They are a tough army to play, expensive in points but they have great tools but they favor an aggressive play style which makes them fun. Plus who doesn’t love an underdog?

    • Stainless Steel Rat February 6, 2015 4:23 am #

      And they have been challenging underdogs for a very long time. DA were my first army way back when & I still play them for that reason. It’s easy to play the “flavour of the edition” top tier armies. With a little cunning you can assemble truly nasty lists that will win with comparative ease. I know as I went through that initial hyper-competitive phase and fortunately evolved out of it. DA have remained at the top of my collection (despite their seemingly constant nerfing by GW) and I regularly return to them. And yes, the Black Knights do add a nice bit of kick-ass to the chapter.

      • Cavalier February 7, 2015 4:18 am #


  10. Life of Adept Brian February 6, 2015 4:41 am #

    Great write up – really enjoyed reading this. DA (specifically DW), was my first army years ago…

    I still still play them from time to time. It’s really too bad terminators are not that great anymore. The thing is, I suck at the game, so playing an underdog list gives me every excuse I need to make me feel better. I like to use Belial (with LCs), 3 small DW units (heavy on the LCs and HF, an AC thrown in for variety, a couple of TH/SS, and SB/PF boys), loaded into 3 Land Raider variants, and depending on the size of the game backed by basic dreads. I have a tac squad that sometimes sees the tabletop, to secure some backfield objectives. The idea is usually to ignore the mission objectives altogether and just try to smash through and steamroller the enemy. It looks cool. Obviously it rarely works, they usually run out of steam. It is a nostalgia thing with me… Good times had by all

    • Raw Dogger February 6, 2015 9:04 am #

      Dude I give DW a lot a crap but I LOVE Terminators. I have around 40 of them of all varieties. For a fun game I will still bust out a Deathwing list with a couple Contemptors but the meta in our area is really competitive so for the most part they collect dust on my shelf. It’s such a shame that the coolest looking models in the game are some of the worst in terms of point cost and functionality. They just need a little boost to make them better, such as +1 wound or even a toughness of 5.

      • CNitram February 6, 2015 7:10 pm #

        IMO, +1 W & T with no points increase. Terminator Armor is twice the cost of a Bike upgrade (1 Stat bonus), but less than a Thunderwolf (3 Stat bonus), so 2 falls in line. Hell, if “Marines inside Marines” get 2 wounds why should the most protective/advanced armor (in the fluff) not have similar?

        P.S. Enjoyed the article!

  11. Deuce11 February 6, 2015 6:39 am #

    First off… loved the writing style and all the sarcasm.

    Now about DA. I am a sucker for DW and they still stink. I have been thinking about trip landraiders with PFG techmarine on a bike following close behind and 15 terminators. With some points to spare I take MMs on the raiders (2 phobos, 1 crusader) and a FW Mortis Dread.

    Other potentially better builds might include drop pod vet heavy lists.

    Ermmmm that is all i got hahaha

  12. LWG.Brother C February 6, 2015 6:58 pm #

    I have been using Ravenwing at local events here and been cleaning house with them. White scars have nothing on th r bolter banner. And back knights are amaze balls. For fun run an allied Detachment in there too and throw W squads of Grav bikes and a chapter master with the works.

  13. WestRider February 7, 2015 2:17 am #

    I’m pretty sure the Attack Bike has to stay separate from the Bike Squad, too. It’s been a while since I ran them, but I seem to recall that being one of the major drawbacks. It’s kind of buried in the Ravenwing Combat Squads Rule, IIRC.

  14. @miral February 7, 2015 3:55 pm #

    A friend of mine just won a (small) tourney with a DA list: dark-shroud, feel no pain-banner, lots of meltas and an allied chapter master protectig the banner. This does work, guys! Give it a try (just not deathwing) 🙂

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