Dark Angels Review: HQs: Sammael

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Hi everyone, Michael here with a review of the head honcho of the Ravenwing, Sammael, Grand Master of the Ravenwing. For more reveiws, analyses and battle reports, check out the Tactics Corner.

Overview:

Sammael is a strong special character for the Dark Angels, but carries a hefty price tag to go with his abilities. He has some decent combat ability, with a great sword for combat, but is hampered by his average strength. He also has some good firepower and can provide a range of buffs for any unit that he joins. He has a Space Marine Captain’s stats and comes mounted on a jetbike for 200 pts, but comes with a whole host of special rules.

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Wargear:

  • Bolt Pistol
  • Plasma Cannon
  • Twin-linked Storm Bolter
  • Frag and Krak Grenades
  • Iron Halo
  • Teleport Homer
  • Raven Sword- A master-crafted, AP2 power weapon.

Special Rules:

  • Eternal Warrior
  • Fearless
  • Grim Resolve- Has Stubborn and fires Overwatch at BS2 (unless Jinking).
  • Hatred (Chaos Space Marines)
  • Hit and Run
  • Independent Character
  • Ravenwing- can re-roll failed Jink saves
  • Scout
  • Skilled Rider
  • Swift Vengeance- Can fire two ranged weapons in the shooting phase.
  • Rapid Manoeuvre (Warlord Trait)- Sammael and his unit adds 3″ to their maximum move for moving Flat Out, Turbo-boosting or assault moves.

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Tactics:

I really like Sammael, both the models and the rules that he brings to the table. He has some decent combat ability and brings a lot of special rules to any unit that he joins, but I just don’t think he is worth his high points cost in a competitive Dark Angels list. In a casual game, however, he is a lot of fun and will generally perform well against a range of opponents.

As a character, Sammael is actually quite durable. With T5, 3 wounds, Eternal Warrior, and a 3+/4++ or 3+ re-rollable Jink save, he can actually take a fair amount of damage. He can act as a reasonable tank model in any unit he joins, but lacks the 2+ armour save or 3+ invulnerable save to make him really effective in this role. Eternal Warrior is great though, allowing you to risk using him to tank a single high strength shot with his 4++ if you don’t want to jink with your unit that turn.

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Sammael is also pretty good in combat. He has WS6, I5 and has 5 attacks on the charge with an AP2 power weapon that strikes at initiative. The only thing that lets him down is his strength of 4. This makes it difficult for him to take out any models other than basic infantry (T3 or T4). If he had access to Furious Charge, this may go some way to mitigating his weaker aspects in combat, but he does not have this as standard. He is best going after standard infantry or those with 2+ armour saves that lack the strength or volume of attacks to seriously worry him in combat (such as Devastator Centurions).

His firepower is actually pretty good too. He comes with a plasma cannon, which can actually be quite potent when he fires it. BS5 means you are more likely to hit with it, but it does come with the risk of getting hot and wounding Sammael. The other downside is that you cannot fire it if you choose to Jink, which you will probably be doing much of the time. Getting to fire two weapons in the shooting phase is useful, but more limited if you are going to be Jinking with him.

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He also comes armed with a Teleport Homer. This can be useful in the right circumstances, but only really applies to Terminators, so is likely to be of limited use in most competitive armies.

Where Sammael does well is in the special rules he can grant to his unit. Any unit he joins will gain Fearless, Hit and Run, Scout and Skilled Rider. These are some potent buffs to grant to a combat unit. Scout allows them to get to the enemy faster, Fearless will stop an inopportune failed morale check from wrecking your plans and Hit and Run will give the unit a chance to run from an unfavourable combat or allow them to go in for a second charge for maximum impact. Having Sammael as your warlord also gives the unit access to Rapid Manoeuvre. An extra 3″ bonus to charge range is great, making your average charge a whopping 10″. This allows you to make it into combat with most targets and even allows you to risk some longer range charges as well. The additional 3″ to turbo-boost is also useful for late game objective grabbing. Given that Sammael has a potential 39″ move (normal move and 27″ turbo-boost), he can actually be quite useful for late game objective grabbing, allowing him to travel far to secure or contest objectives.

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One of the ironies is that Sammael has limited use in joining a unit of Black Knights or Ravenwing bikers. The Ravenwing already have access to Scout and Hit and Run, with the Black Knights also having access to Skilled Rider. He can provide them with Fearless, but an Interrogator-Chaplain on a Bike will grant this, as well as giving them access to Zealot re-rolls. If I do take Sammael in a Dark Angels army, I will still put him with a unit of Black Knights though. The extra 3″ to charge move is great for the Black Knights, as well as allowing Sammael to challenge any characters that may slaughter the Black Knights with ease. You just have to hope that Sammael survives the attacks.

In other Space Marine armies, Sammael can be a useful addition to another squad, giving them the bonuses listed above. This can make Sammael a popular choice for Deathstar-type units or for boosting another Bike unit that lacks Skilled Rider, Scout or Hit and Run. Though there are cheaper ways to gain access to Fearless and Hit and Run, Sammael can still pack a punch in combat which makes his inclusion worthwhile. Adding Sammael to a unit of Space Marine Bikes gives them access to a host of great special rules for this unit. It will be of limited use for White Scars bikers as they already have Scout (assuming you take Khan) and ignore difficult terrain when moving, but will come in very handy for other Chapters’ Bike units.

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In conclusion, I really do like Sammael. I think he is a fantastic model and certainly has his uses on the battlefield. Whenever my Ravenwing Strike Force goes to battle, they are invariably led by Sammael (in fact, this was the only way to take them for a long time!). He is not the most competitive of choices, but he is damn fun in a game and generally survives till the end if you point him at the right targets.

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About Michael Corr

An avid 40k player and blogger from Scotland. I started in 3rd edition and have been playing ever since. I detail my adventures in my own blog "St Andrews Wargaming", highlighting my mediocre painting skills, regular battle reports and my occasional random ramblings.

7 Responses to “Dark Angels Review: HQs: Sammael”

  1. abusepuppy November 9, 2016 7:27 am
    #

    My big problems with Sammy are that he’s 200pts for a model with three wounds and S4 in combat. He’s fairly resilient to shooting, but if he’s actually rolling his invuln/armor save he will die pretty quickly. Add in on top of that his mediocre ability to actually put out any damage and you have a character who really doesn’t impress much at all- the warlord trait is nice, but it ain’t “most of a Land Raider” nice.

    It’s compounded by his extremely shitty shooting weapons. Of all the guns they could give him, a Plasma Cannon is basically the worst- if it Gets Hot, his weak armor save means his chances of taking damage are nontrivial and his small wound pool means every one that goes through really hurts. But that usually won’t matter, because he can’t fire it when he’s Jinking (i.e. all the time), so it’s mostly just a huge waste.

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr November 9, 2016 8:27 am
      #

      I agree, he really doesn’t justify his points cost at all in most lists. I find that an Interrogator-Chaplain with the Mace of Redemption on a bike is a much better choice and cheaper too.

      I have actually managed to have Sammael kill himself a few times when firing his Plasma Cannon. Very annoying, but funny when it happens.

  2. Beau November 9, 2016 3:49 pm
    #

    I stick him with my sm biker conclave as a tank and have them pump the unit hopefully with some biomancy. I also frequently have him hunt scatbikes and warp spiders

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr November 9, 2016 11:53 pm
      #

      That should work well, he will give them access to a whole host of great special rules and they should be able to buff up his weaknesses.

  3. Dunmer November 9, 2016 10:31 pm
    #

    I run mine as sable claw and have the dark shroud and a another Landseer and some black knights running up one side of the board. Sableclaw in front means a 14 armour 2+ jink that is rerollable. Sure you only have 2 hull points and you have to jink every turn but you twin linked with heavy bolter and an assault cannon! Plus in a ravenwing strike force you can fire normally turn 2 anyway.

    The other ravenwing are useful and geared to take out what I need. But mostly they are there to bubble wrap sammael rear armour so his big weakness can’t be exposed.

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr November 9, 2016 11:59 pm
      #

      Have you had much success with him on the speeder?

      I’m not a huge fan of Sableclaw. Yes, it is a very tough Landspeeder, but having to jink every turn seems like a waste of its firepower. What is the point of taking it if you are going to be jinking every turn and not firing to full effect?
      Plus with rear armour 10 and two hull points, he falls so easily in combat. He does have the 4+ invulnerable, but I have seen him fall to a regular bike squad with grenades (pre draft FAQ). For 60 pts less, you could simply take two Landspeeders with Heavy Bolters and Assault cannons, same amount of firepower, double the number of hull points (though not AV14).

      If I am taking Sammael, I much prefer to put him in an actual unit and have him buff them, as well as doing some damage in combat. Plus, I think he just looks cooler on the jetbike!

      • Dunmer November 10, 2016 4:53 pm
        #

        I bubble wrap him with terrain and black knights and my other speeders though so I often make it very hard for people to get that Av 10. As for having to jink every turn, well it sucks but he aint unloading into my fragile darkshroud which is keeping everyone going.

        Do not forget when you move over a unit you can do D3+1 str 4 ap2 hits that ignore cover. Got an annoying squad running around? Move across them, get free hits, then shred them with your guns.

        I have had good success but my scene isnt the most competitive so take it for what it is. The bike is very good and arguably better but I like my sableclaw model and I think he can be pretty strong if played to a certain style. I run a 6 man black knight command squad with all the trimmings so I feel sammael doesnt add much special rules except the extra 3inches. Shoot even getting the Ravenwing formation so you can overwatch for other units and people will have a hard time charging him to expose his only weakness of 10av.

        I feel its a stylistic choice and neither is a bad choice.