Dark Angels Codex Review Part 2: Dark Angels Units

The Sons of the Lion are roaring back onto the stage of the 40k universe. Read on to learn what they’ve got to offer in the second part of this Dark Angels 8th ed Codex Review.

As always, check the Tactics Corner for more great articles, reviews and lists. And if you missed it, you can read Part 1 of this article covering the special rules of the Dark Angels.

And, if you would like to purchase any of the items shown in this article, you can do so through Frontline Gaming’s web-store at a discount every day and we offer FREE shipping on orders over $99 within the continental USA!

Rating System

  • Competitive: This is a codex entry (unit, stratagem, item, etc.) that has a place in essentially any competitive list built with this faction regardless of unit choices or is the source of a significant force multiplication effect for other units.
  • Efficient: This is a codex entry that can stand on its own merit in a matched play list but works best when combo’d up with other units or in specific situations to become very powerful but may not always be seen.
  • Situational: This is a codex entry that may not pass as competitive on its own merits but can be made effective in a creative list, as a meta-buster, or in a specific combo or scenario where it ratchets up in power to potentially very high strength but otherwise will not be seen very often.

Dark Angels Unique Units

Below are units unique to Dark Angels, or units that have a unique Dark Angels flavor to them but are available to other Space Marines. Dark Angels got a lot of what used to be Space Marine only units such as the Stalker and Hunter tanks, Cataphractii armor, etc. but also lack some key units such as Vanguard and Sternguard Vets, Thunderfire Cannons, etc.

What better place to start than with what is arguably the best unit in the Dark Angels aresenal: Azrael, Chapter Master of the Dark Angels. Azrael is a home run unit, and one you will see in most competitive Dark Angels armies outside of those that are focusing on Ravenwing or Deathwing builds. He’s really just amazingly well rounded. For one, he’s got Chapter Master stats plus 6 wounds over the typical 5. He also boasts a full re-roll arua for Dark Angels, a 2+ armor save, and some slick weapons. The Lion’s Wrath is a Master-crafted Bolter+Plasma Gun. The Sword of Secrets is +2 strength, AP-3, D3 damage and does a Mortal Wound in addition to normal damage on a wound roll of 6+. He also comes stock with Brilliant Strategist warlord trait (the best one, IMO) and has a 4++ aura for Dark Angels Infantry and Biker models within 6″ of him. Lastly, he gives you a bonus command point if he is your Warlord. All this and only 180 points. Damn, son. That is a great all around choice for Warlord. His only downside is his slow speed but that is pretty easily overcome due to being protected by the Character keyword and the solid transportation options available to Dark Angels. As he also boasts the Deathwing keyword, anything that would boost them also works on him such as the Deathwing Ancient’s +1 attack buff. He compliments many of the other characters extremely well, too, such as Librarians, Lieutenants, etc. who normally don’t have access to an invulnerable save, making them much more durable and benefiting one another with their various buffing auras. Competitive.

Belial is much improved over previous versions of this unit. Belial has standard Terminator Captain stats, a re-roll 1’s aura for Dark Angels and a full re-roll aura for Deathwing out to 6.” He additionally has a 4++ and the Sword of Silence, which is strength +1, AP-3, 2 Damage and always wounds on a 2+ unless targeting a Vehicle. Lastly, he is -1 to hit in melee. For 150 points, he is a solid choice in a Deathwing themed army for that sweet re-roll aura, and he is a solid combatant in melee thanks to his special rules. He’s also, obviously, Deathwing and as such can gain the various benefits available to them. For best results, run him with a big unit of Deathwing in reserves, deep strike down, use the Deathwing Assault strat to double shoot and then go for charge. In a general purposes Dark Angels army he is probably a pass though, as Azrael is quite simply superior. In a non-Deathwing army: Efficient, In a Deathwing army: Competitive.

Sammael, master of the Ravenwing, is a great unit. He rocks around on either a Jetbike or in his Land Speeder, Sableclaw. On his Jetbike, he’s got some solid stats with toughness 6, 6 wounds and 5 attacks. He’s also got the Fly keyword, a Plasma Cannon, twin Storm Bolter (yeah, you read that right, Rapid Fire 4!) and the Raven Sword which is strength +1, AP-3, 2 Damage. On the turn he charges, it goes to strength x2! He also has a 4++, a re-roll 1’s aura for Dark Angels and a full re-roll aura for Ravenwing at 6.” Lastly, he advanced 2D6.” He runs 183 on his Jetbike, not at all a bad investment for such a well rounded model. In his Land Speeder he’s a little pricier at 216, but has a 16″ move,and 7 wounds. He still rocks the the Raven Sword, but with a twin Assault Cannon and Twin Heavy bolter which are at his solid BS2+ and obviously re-rolling misses. He still has his 4++ as well. Not a bad trade, IMO, and either option is quite a solid choice. As he has the Master of Manoeuvre Warlord Trait, he also provides a re-roll charges and advance moves for he and Dark Angels within 6″ which is great for getting those charges out of reserves off for Deathwing units. You can also long-bomb charge with him using the Speed of the Raven strat to move his 14″ + 2D6″ advance (with a re-roll if your Warlord) and then shoot normally and charge to snipe out a unit on an objective or hit an enemy character, etc. if needs be. Sammael is overall though, a fantastic choice, particularly to run around buffing Ravenwing units like Black Knights, Land Speeders, Talon Masters, their Fliers, etc. The Talon Master particularly compliments him well with his re-roll 1’s to wound aura and can keep up with he and other high-speed Ravenwing units. Competitive.

The Interrogator-Chaplain is an interesting unit. While Chaplains in this edition are largely unspectacular, the Interrogator-Chaplain specifically in the Dark Angels army breaks that general definition. The reason being that not only does he have an additional wound over a standard Chaplain and the Deathwing keyword, he’s got an extra rule over the standard Chaplain buffs. Aura of Dread lowers enemy leadership by 1 if they’re within 6″ of him. The reason this is so cool, is that many of the very potent Dark Angels psychic powers hinge on the enemy leadership characteristic. Trephination, Engulfing Fear and Mind Wipe particularly, are significantly enhanced by this. If you further combo this with the Eye of the Unseen relic, you can get a -2 Leadership debuff which dramatically increases the effect the previous powers have in addition to the obvious benefit of causing your opponent to take heavier casualties in the Morale phase. If you’ve got some Reivers nearby, they can stack an additional -1 on to targets as well, for some crippling debuffs. I have found this to be very strong when you need to debuff a key enemy unit such as a Shadowsword, Magnus, Celestine, etc. If you find yourself playing armies susceptible to morale, which is most armies apart from those with some sort of fearless rule, Engulfing Fear combined with him causes a LOT of Morale casualties. It’s a solid combo. Slapping a Jump Pack on him is the best bet for mobility and when he needs to jump in and fight, he’s a solid combatant and of course, buffs everyone around him with re-rolls in melee and a leadership boost. Alternatively, in a Deathwing army you can put him in Terminator armor and he can Deep-strike and all the other fun stuff, too. Generally speaking, he may not have a place in every list but if you build for him, he’s awesome. Situational.

The Ravenwing Talonmaster is a very cool unit. It is a Character land Speeder that rocks a Twin Heavy Bolter and Twin Assault Cannon, but also the Lieutenant re-roll 1’s to wound aura and his shooting attacks ignore cover, too! He’s also pretty solid in melee with a Power Sword and 4 attacks at WS 2+. He’s not cheap at 188 points but as he has the Character keyword he’s protected from most shooting and he’s Toughness 6 with 6 wounds, too. He pairs especially well with Sammael as they two can rock around with other Ravenwing units giving them re-rolls to hit and 1’s to wound which these two lay down some heavy firepower themselves, protected from most counter attacks. Toss in a Darkshroud for the -1 to hit and you’ve got a trifecta of very awesome support units for a Ravenwing army. For laughs, give him the Heavenfall Blade and he becomes fairly scary in melee. He’s also good just in general terms in a Dark Angels army to fill the roll a Lieutenant usually does but with a lot more durability, speed and firepower. Competitive.

Asmodai is an interesting character and a great force multiplier. He’s got the typical Interrogator-Chaplain stats but also has the additional benefit of a +1 attack aura for Dark Angels within 6″ and the Fury of the Lion Warlord Trait which gives a +1 strength boost to nearby Dark Angels when he charges, is charged of heroically intervenes. Not bad, lol! He also comes with the Blades of Reason, which are a strength user, AP 0, D6 damage attacks. They don’t always kick in but can be very powerful when they do. He’s also very reasonably costed at 130pts. His only downside is that he’s on foot. However, this is not so bad and he pairs up extremely well with Azrael for a very potent layering of buffs for multiple nearby units. Also, as he is Deathwing, you can combo him with the Deathwing Ancient for a +2 attacks layered buff that can seriously crank up your key units’ damage output. He’s an all around great HQ for a Dark Angels army. Competitive.

Ezekiel, Chief Librarian of the Dark Angels, is a solid choice for your psychic support. He has a fairly standard Librarian stat line but with an extra wound. Additionally, like most named Librarians, he gets 2 Deny the Witch attempts instead of only 1 which is quite handy. His special aura though gives Dark Angels within 6″ of him that die in the fight phase a pile in and last, single attack in melee before being removed as a casualty. Unlike most Librarians he also has an invul save and a 4++ at that! Lastly, he packs a special bolt pistol and force sword. The Deliverer is 12″ range, Pistol 1, strength 4, AP-1, 2 damage. Not bad for a pistol! Traitor’s Bane is strength +1, AP-3, D3 damage with +1 damage vs. enemy psykers. Again, not bad. Ezekiel is a pysker that wants to be up on the front lines with melee troops, debuffing enemy units, stopping their pyschic powers, and buffing up his allies. At 135pts, that is a lot to love and if not opting for the more common Libby with Jump Pack, or if you plan on playing your Libby very defensively for some reason, there’s no reason not to take Ezekiel and gain access to the excellent Dark Angels psychic powers. It’s good to note that like other Librarians, Ezekiel also has the Deathwing keyword. Competitive.

The Dark Angels Master is the equivalent of a Captain in a Space Marines army, and identical in essentially every way. I bring it up only to mention some of the cool things you can do with him in a Dark Angels army. I recommend giving him the standard Jump Pack/Thunder Hammer/Storm Shield kit unless you want him to rock the Heavenfall Blade or Mace of Redemption in which case he’s quite punchy especially with the Deathwing upgrade and a banner nearby. However, with the Shroud of Heroes giving him a -1 to be hit, and casting aversion and/or mind wipe on a tough target he would not normally be able to fight, such as Mortarion or something similar, he can go in and hold them up for quite some time as they struggle to hit him, gaining up to a combined -3 to hit in one round, essentially. Plus those attacks that do go through his first defense, he backs that up with a 3++ with a potential CP re-roll. If you make him your Warlord and give him Brilliant Strategist, you get a free re-roll once per game, too. It means his damage output–while still absolutely respectable–isn’t what he’s really there for. He plays defense and holds up things that would normally swat him like a fly which can be critical to containing these big threats. You just have to be wary of things like Smite which bypass his defenses. In melee, if you can keep him from being the closest enemy model that helps a lot as Smite won’t hit him, or keep an Apothecary close to heal him and possibly a Librarian trying to stop that key Smite (and remember, Libbys get +1 to Deny if within 12″). Likewise, he can wade into a big unit of models who’ve been hit by Aversion while equipped with the Shroud of Heroes. Most units of models with a -2 to hit him and considering he’s a single model, often won’t be able to bring their entire unit’s attacks to bear on him meaning they won’t do much damage and he can simply get in their way and hold them up for a while. To keep him equipped to do either, give him a Storm Shield and a Power Sword or Maul and you can opt to go offense or defense with a Command Point spent to give him whichever relic you like depending on the circumstances of the game. You can also give him the Deathwing keyword for 1 CP using the Inner Circle strat to ramp up his offense considerably. As with pretty much all Space Marine Captain style characters, he’s cheap, fun to play, effective and if used correctly can have a far bigger impact on the game than a quick look at his stats would indicate was possible. Competitive.

The Company Champion for Dark Angels is fun to note as he appears at first glance to be identical to the Space Marines version apart from one key difference. First, for whatever reason, lol, he packs a better melee weapon those most named characters! The Blade of Claiban is strength +3, AP-3, D3 damage. WOW, ok. So with BS 2+ and a 5++, and at only 44pt this little bad-ass can seriously do some work. This gent, or a few of them, near Asmodai and possibly Azrael and/or a Lieutenant creates a nasty little Character bomb that can be delivered via Drop Pod for example, into the enemy backfield and cause havoc. While not a unit you will see in every list, he is surprisingly good for how cheap he is. Efficient.

Company Veterans are similar to a Command Squad in a Space Marines army, and have many of the same strengths and weaknesses. They boast a wide variety of options, being able to take Combat Shields, Storm Shields, special weapons, pistols, combi-weapons, melee weapons, a heavy weapon, etc. They, like all veterans, also have 2 attacks base. Lastly, they have the ability to take a Mortal Wound on a 2+ instead of a Dark Angels Character taking it that is within 3″ of them. You can go a lot of different directions with these guys, gearing them up for melee, shooting, defense or to simply soak wounds for a character and keep them in the game longer. Typically, you see them kitted out with Plasma Guns to deliver a concentrated blast, often buffed up with the Weapons from the Dark Ages strat. Alternatively you can gear them up for defense and go with Storm Shields and Storm Bolters, using them to engage hard hitting units and try to buffer them, again, Aversion and Mind Wipe are your friends here. They have worked best for me in a Drop Pod or Rhino along with a smattering of Characters of your choice. I usually give them Plasma Guns to deliver a big punch buffed up by the Characters who stay behind them and then go in to melee. However, due to their flexibility, you can really do what you like with them. All Storm Bolters and Chainswords for example, would be cheap and quite good, too. Their only real limitation is the fact that they are limited to a unit of 5. Efficient.

The various Deathwing units all share some commonalities in regards to strengths and weaknesses. For one, they’re all Inner Circle so they are immune to morale, and get re-rolls vs. the Fallen. This is a nice boost as in my opinion, if you play them you should run a maximum sized unit. The reason being to take advantage of the various stratagems and psychic powers, etc. you will want to use on them. They’re “normal” Terminators in other respects but can mix Thunder Hammers and Lightening Claws in with Tactical Terminator options so you can have Storm shields in there along with Cyclone Missile Launchers and the option for a Plasma Cannon, too. Alternatively, you can go with Cataphractii or Tartaros armor opening up different wargear options, the best of which in my mind is Cataphractii with a Storm Bolter and Lightening Claw. The reason being they get a 4++, the fantastic weight of fire of the Storm Bolter and a more well rounded and cheaper weapon in the Ligthening Claw over the Power Fist. You can drop them down with Belial and possibly a Lieutenant, open up twice with Storm Bolters using the Deathwing Assault stratagem for a total of 80 shots re-rolling hits and 1’s to wound and just shred screen units. You’re unlikely to get into melee that turn but you’ve got sturdy defense to hopefully weather the storm and get stuck in the next turn where Honour the Chapter is you best friend to swing twice. Obviously the excellent Deathwing Ancient helps out tremendously for not only the +1 attack for Deathwing aura, but also because that unit is good on his own equipped with a Storm Shield and Thunder Hammer with 5 wounds and base 3 attacks (boosted to 4 by his own aura, of course). If you are playing Deathwing you want to bring the Ancient, he’s such a force multiplier. Often, you will take him anyway as he buffs many of your characters up quite a bit beyond just being a solid melee unit.

Likewise, the Deathwing Apothecary is a decent choice to heal wounded models which happens a lot as they’re all multi-wound. Especially Deathwing Characters in melee will start taking wounds and the ability to heal them up gives you more turns to smack your opponent over the head with their various weapons. He can also resurrect a model on a 4+, but I find it is often better to focus on healing as that is a certainty. The Deathwing Champion is quite the killer, himself. He’s got 5 base wounds, 3 attacks and a powerful melee weapon, the Halbred of Claiban, which gives him strength 7, AP-4, D3 damage attacks. Backed by the Ancient, this guy hits like a Captain and then some. Not bad at all.

Deathwing Knights deserve a special mention. They are essentially Thunder Hammer Stormshield terminators that don’t have a -1 to hit on their weapons, and the sarge bears a Flail of the Unforgiven, which is quite solid as the damage it deals carries over model to model as in Age of Sigmar, meaning with a single wound dealt he can kill two models. At strength 6, AP-3, that is likely to occur. The real benefit of these gents though, is that no -1 to hit. It ramps up their damage output considerably over standard Terminators and if you want to go heavy in melee, these are your guys. The only real riddle for them is how to deliver them into combat. Once they get there, you can use the Fortress of Shields strat plus another buff like Aversion on the enemy unit to make them extremely hard to kill. And, like the Deathwing listed above, they love the Ancient for the bonus attack and Asmodai, too, for potentially 4 attacks, each. Honour the Chapter is begging to be used on them as is Righteous Repugnance. When positioned well, they can wade into pretty much anything and beat the snot out of it. Again though, it’s getting them there that’s the challenge. I personally prefer the Land Raider Crusader as I have found that in the current meta, a lot of armies don’t actually have the tools to deal with it. Dark Reapers and a Bobby G Gunline being notable exceptions but even Reapers have to focus a LOT of attention on it to kill it. For most armies its innate toughness and a potential -1 to hit from a Darkshroud make it seriously tough. The other big issue with it has been getting stuck in combat and unable to shoot, however with the Intractable strat, I find it isn’t so bad. And you really only need it to survive a turn or two and the Deathwing Knights go and deliver a thumping on a key enemy unit. However, it is a lot of eggs in a single basket so play cagey with it it you choose to go this route and be prepared to have it occasionally go poof on turn 1. Lastly, and most importantly, the Knights are fun to use.

  • Deathwing general rating: Situational. Why? They can be great if you gear up to use them specifically but on their own, they are a bit pricey and not always effective in the current meta.
  • Deathwing Ancient: Competitive. Why? This guy’s a gem and so long as you have any Deathwing units (which is many of your characters) he’s great and does well just on his own.

The Dark Angels Chapter Ancient is notable because his banner has the standard 4+ to shoot or punch again before dying rule that Space Marines have but also the added benefit of giving them a WS and BS of 2+ when they do this. This is basically a Relic Banner effect without using up a Relic slot, although it is more expensive. The Chapter Ancient runs you 85pts, so quite a bit pricier than the standard Ancient but especially when combined with Grim Resolve means that when the banner triggers you have a 97% chance of hitting without any negative modifiers. This means almost every shot fired or punch thrown will find its target, making it actually more efficient than the Standard of the Emperor Ascendant over a large group (assuming no other buffs). So, if running shooting units such as Hellbalsters or Devastators for example, this gent makes them a LOT deadlier. Competitive.

The Ravenwing units are very similar to the Deathwing in many ways. They are expensive, hit hard but must be played very carefully to be effective. They all have the Jink special rule, giving them a 4++ vs. shooting after they advance until the start of the next movement phase. This pairs up extremely well with the Speed of the Raven stratagem, allowing them to shoot and charge after advancing. For this reason, you will often want to focus on one large unit of Ravenwing, typically Black Knights, to gain maximum benefit from this and other stratagems, psychic powers, etc. Now, unlike Deathwing who don’t have any real options for cheap units, with Ravenwing you do. So while you may want to focus on one big unit of them for your heavy hitting, you absolutely can take some small units of say, Ravenwing Bikers for 81pts for 3 with your choice of special weapons. Scout Bikers are still more appealing to me generally as they have loads of dakka, but a Ravenwing unit with plasma can do some work. Also, they can take Chainswords, too, for the extra melee attack. The Attack Bike is pretty middling, but is good for filling Fast Attack slots in a Brigade.

The Land Speeders are interesting as they can be taken in units of up to 5. The reason this is cool as you can get a lot of mileage out of strats and buffs on them. Now, is this the best unit out there? No. But you could give them all a 4++ while moving 20+D6″ and still shoot which is pretty cool.

The Ravenwing Characters are essentially identical to their Deathwing counterparts. They are all based off of the Black Knight template, equipped with a Plasma Talon (assault 2 Plasma Gun at 18″ range), but with the standard rules for an Apothecary, Ancient and Champion. Their Ancient has the +1 attack bonus like the Deathwing Ancient but for Ravenwing instead. Their Champion also has a Blade of Caliban like the foot Champion and as such, packs some serious heat in combat. They follow the exact same guidelines as with Deathwing. If you choose to go big with a unit of Black Knights, the Ancient is a solid choice for the +1 attack. The Champion is just plain good, and the Apothecary helps to keep them all alive.

Black Knights are the elite Ravenwing unit and as such boast the Inner Circle special rule in addition to Jink, meaning they automatically pass morale tests. They all come with a Plasma Talon and can take a Corvus Hammer, which is a strength +1, AP-1, 1 damage melee weapons that does D3 damage on a 6+ to wound. You can swap in a Ravenwing Grenade Launcher into the unit but this is only really worth it if you want to use the Stasis Shell strat. But to be fair, the strat is quite useful as it allows you to deal D3 Mortal Wounds instead of normal shooting which helps a lot to deal with tough units like Magnus, but also to finish off a unit that didn’t quite die from previous attacks. And, when paired with Hellfire Shells and Flakk Missiles allows the Dark Angels player multiple ways to deal Mortal Wounds at range.

The models themselves are base 2 attacks so they are not only good in the shooting phase but also in the assault phase as well. You can run them in units of 3 and they’re still effective (if a bit expensive) and if you need an objective taken, they will splat your average objective holding unit with ease. However, I like running a big unit of 10 of them to max out the impact of Speed of the Raven, Honour the Chapter, Weapons from the Dark Age, Righteous Repugnance, etc. Now, bear in mind that while they are good in melee, they aren’t GREAT at it. So, even with the Ancient boosting their attacks, they will struggle with some of the really tough units in the game. They will knock the snot out of screen units, though. Generally speaking, this is a very well rounded unit that is fearless, good at shooting, good in melee, fast and fun to play. You just have to be careful in how you use them as they will die if your opponent focuses on them. I like to start them near Azrael and a Darkshroud for the sweet 4++ and -1 to hit buffs. Then, once the game starts they use Speed of the Raven and Weapons from the Dark Age pretty much every turn until I run out of CP or they die. So far, it’s been a rare game they didn’t have a big impact.

However you slice it, these guys like being near their buffing characters as all Space marines do. Sammael is great for the full re-roll arua, as is Azrael (although he often struggles to keep up), and the Talonmaster for re-rolls of 1 or a Lieutenant with a Jump Pack, too for the same reason.

  • Ravenwing General Rating: Situational.
  • Ravenwing Black Knights Rating: Competitive.

The Ravenwing Darkshroud is a fantastic unit and one you will see in most Dark Angels lists. The reason being that it provides an awesome defensive buff, giving Dark Angels units within 6″ -1 to hit in the shooting phase. That’s about all he does, though, lol. He does have a Heavy Bolter which you can swap out for an Assault Cannon but really you want this gent as far from enemy shooting as possible, preferably hidden if at all possible. Advance with him every turn possible to trigger Jink, and help keep units around him alive longer. He’s got toughness 6 with 9 wounds and a 3+, so he’s reasonably resilient but any dedicated firepower will drop him. At 136 points he’s not cheap, either. However, even if all he does is draw a lot of enemy firepower on turn 1, he’s still proven to be very useful. I have found that the best way to play him is in the rear with the shooting units, hunkered down as much out of LoS as possible, making your Devastators, Hellblasters, Predators, etc. all harder to destroy. If running Predators, a Techmarine is a great investment as he can bounce around repairing any of them. Also, if you run the solid Dark Angels flyers, he gives them a combined -2 to be hit which makes them very tough cookies. And of course powers like Aversion, Mind Wipe, and the Shroud of Heroes relic all combine with this to make units all but unable to be shot. In all, this is an excellent unit. Competitive.

The Land Speeder Vengeance is a fun unit. It’s got the same chassis as the Darkshroud, and same option for a Heavy Bolter or Assault Cannon, but additionally has the Plasma Storm Battery. It gives you Heavy D6, 36″ ranged, strength 7, AP-3, 2 Damage shots. That can overcharge up to strength 8, 3 damage and of course with Weapons from the Dark Age, goes up to 4 damage. That would be awesome if the number of shots wasn’t so random. He’s not too pricey though, at 128 with the heavy bolter. However, despite the powerful nature of his weapon, due to the fact that it is heavy (meaning -1 to hit if you move) and subject to chance to such a degree, it may not see too much playtime. Situational.

I am a very big fan of the Dark Talon. It is light flyer at only toughness 6 with 10 wounds and a 3+, but it packs quite a punch. It comes stock with 2 Hurricane Bolters, a Rift Cannon and Stasis Bomb for 160 pts base. It also has the Hover Jet rule, allowing it to become a skimmer basically, and the Strafing Run rule which gives it +1 to hit against anything that doesn’t have the Fly keyword. That means within 12″ it packs 24 bolter shots hitting on 2’s even if it moved! Not bad. The Rift Cannon is a solid weapon, too. It’s short ranged at 18″, but is Heavy D3, strength 10, AP-3, 3 damage. On top of that, if it damages it’s target but doesn’t kill it, the target may take an additional D3 Mortal Wounds. Lastly, it’s Stasis Bomb is a once per game attack n the movement phase that hits a unit the Dark Talon flew over, dealing a Mortal Wound to each model in the unit (up to a max of 10) on a 4+. For the points this is a solid unit that is a threat to a wide variety of targets that you see in the current meta in this edition. He can clear chaff, take on heavy targets and is fast. He goes great with the Darkshroud as described above for a -2 to be hit from shooting, and can cruise around with your various Ravening buffing characters, too, benefiting from their auras. Lastly, he’s got Jink and so can use the Speed of the Raven strat to gain a 4++ and still be able to shoot. What I find he does best is free up the rest of your army to focus on other types of targets while he gives you quite a bit of effective chaff clearing, accurate, mobile firepower. Competitive.

The Nephilim Jetfighter is another very cool flyer. It has the same chassis as the Dark Talon but boasts a different set of weapons. It’s got a twin Heavy Bolter, 2 Blacksword Missile Launchers (Heavy 1, strength 7, AP-3, 2 damage), and an Avenger Mega Bolter (Heavy 10, strength 6, AP-1, 1 damage). You can swap the Avenger Mega Bolter for a Twin Lascannon but for me, you want the weight of fire to keep him multi-functional. With his base load-out he’s got 16 AP-1 shots and the two missiles which is notable firepower. As he also has the Strafing Run rule, he’s accurate, too. At 175 points base he’s a tad pricey but not at all unreasonable for the firepower you get. As with the Dark Talon keep him near buffing characters and the Darkshroud for maximum benefit. For my money, I’d go with the Dark Talon due to its weapon load out and roll in an army, but the Nephilim is a solid choice, too. Efficient.

And the Dark Angels, done and dusted! What are all of your favorite combos and tricks so far?

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About Reecius

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

41 Responses to “Dark Angels Codex Review Part 2: Dark Angels Units”

  1. Akaiyou December 13, 2017 7:37 pm
    #

    I didn’t read the article yet, I just wanted to THANK YOU for finally posting this lol I’ve waited and refreshed this page for the past 2 days every 2-3 hours waiting on this.

    If you are looking for some honest feedback, then heed the following:

    The new system you adopted for doing these Codex Reviews is PURE WIN! I’m honestly upset that you didn’t do them this way sooner (Hint: You could perhaps redo the earlier codex reviews)
    The competitive, efficient, situational break down is cool as all hell and really feels like a hard honest look and has even guided some of my purchases with Blood Angels this holiday season. I didn’t own Lemartes or a Sanguinor before but now I do! I have 30 death company and 15 sanguinary guard that def want to hang out with them.

    In case you can’t tell I’m a big fan of your work on these last couple codex reviews. I am crossing my fingers and hoping the trend continues and hopefully you’ll also cover all those other units that arent chapter specific since they don’t all work the exact same way. For example I feel that I should take my Inceptors from Dark Imperium and allocate them to my Blood Angels army since it seems like a better use for them. It’s too late for my 10-man Hellblasters to join the ranks of Dark Angels and their plasma spam, I already painted those in Ultramarine colors. 🙁 But details such as these would be great to read a review on to see which Primaris marines work best with which chapters.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 14, 2017 9:45 am
      #

      Thank you very much for the kind words, I appreciate it and glad to hear you like the rating system.

      Sorry it took me a while to post it, things have just been hectic here.

      Yeah, Lemartes and the Sanguinor are very strong characters, my personal favorite in BA along with the Captain.

      We plan to continue with the rating system for sure, it has been well received.

      I plan on doing an entire Primaris review, I was kind of waiting for Wolves to round out the Marines to do it as they do it very well but I can always go back and update the article when their full dex is out. Lots of folks want to know how to play Priamris Marines effectively.

  2. Blight1 December 13, 2017 9:14 pm
    #

    I am very happy for my Dark Angel’s friends….
    Now reveal everything about the daemon codex Reece. You have the power. I’ve made the sacrifices.

    Need me some deepstrike.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 14, 2017 9:41 am
      #

      Haha, I cannot say anything, yet. Sorry =P

  3. Xenos Player December 13, 2017 11:14 pm
    #

    As a Tyranid player who thought your reviews were freely useful, I second the motion to retrospectively add the same grading system to previous reviews. Also useful to see what the Dark Angels have. Glad they fixed the parking lot!

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 14, 2017 9:46 am
      #

      Yeah, that is a big task but I can go back and add some rankings to previews reviews if it is appreciated and helpful. Glad you liked it!

  4. Dakkath December 14, 2017 12:03 am
    #

    I’m surprised you didn’t talk more about the ravenwing grenade launcher, since the stratagem basically gives you another hellfire shell per turn.

    • Bossanooga December 14, 2017 9:32 am
      #

      I was beginning to wonder if I was the only one to notice how crazy useful the hellfire shell will be. Those last couple pesky wounds on that big thing you didn’t quite kill… The prerequisite statement before use will be “Finish Him!” (said in mortal kombat style of course).

      • Reecius
        Reecius December 14, 2017 9:47 am
        #

        Yeah, I use them all the dang time, too. I always bring a heavy Bolter and Missile Launcher for just that reason.

        • Bossanooga December 14, 2017 12:30 pm
          #

          Didn’t mean to sound like a know it all ;P Was thinking more specifically about the stasis shells, and advancing bikers being able to weasel their way through traffic as character snipers.

          And Reece, these new style reviews are a fantastic. You’ve put yourself ahead of the noise out there, and continue to be a great hub for our community.

          • Reecius
            Reecius December 14, 2017 12:42 pm
            #

            Well thank you, sir! That is very kind of you to say.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 14, 2017 9:47 am
      #

      I mentioned it, figured by now most Marine players knew how good the Hellfire Rounds and Flakk Missile strat are but I can totally add another line to emphasize it.

  5. Michael Corr
    Michael Corr December 14, 2017 1:40 am
    #

    Great review, Reece! I’ll second that the new format is great, gives a lot of information in a concise and readable fashion.
    Really looking forward to getting this codex at the weekned. Re-based the rest of my Ravenwing army in preparation. Can’t wait to get some games in and get started on my reviews!

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 14, 2017 9:48 am
      #

      Thanks! I look forward to reading yours, you always do a great job on them, particularly with Power Armor armies.

      Feel free to use the ranking system for yourself, too if you like, buddy.

      • Michael Corr
        Michael Corr December 14, 2017 10:05 am
        #

        I might have to adopt the ranking system. It helps you still be positive about a unit you are reviewing, but also lets players know how competitive it will be in games.

        • Reecius
          Reecius December 14, 2017 11:00 am
          #

          Exactly. I find nothing useful in being ultra negative. Some people have these units and want to use them. Telling them they’re trash doesn’t help anyone. Show ways for them to be useful if you wanted to use them but be honest in how competitive they may or may not be.

  6. David MacLellan December 14, 2017 3:13 am
    #

    With so much negativity flying around after the various video reviews I was really looking forward to seeing what you felt about the DA book.im relieved to see that you definitely don’t have the same doom and gloom many commentators seem to have, as I tend to find your reviews the most useful anyway.
    Love the new grading system, it makes it really easy to quickly skim the article for key points.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 14, 2017 9:51 am
      #

      Glad you enjoy the new format.

      Yeah, I understand why people think Dark Angels don’t look strong at a glance. The combos and strengths don’t jump off of the page at you. I think this book especially is a good example of where being a play tester really gives us a different perspective. This book has some really powerful synergies but they aren’t readily apparent. You have to play it a few times to get it.

  7. Xenos Player December 14, 2017 5:31 am
    #

    One of the things I’m curious about is. They are giving Dark Angels and Blood Angels access to units they didn’t already have. They have access to some/lots/all of the standard Space marine strategems, they get more of their own, more relics, multiple good characters. Why would anyone who doesn’t want RG bother with any of the other chapters? Is there enough in the space marine codex for each of the other chapters to counter the seemingly huge benefits of especially the chapters with their own codexs

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr December 14, 2017 7:45 am
      #

      I still think there is room for other Chapters. Raven Guard, for example, still have one of the best warlord traits and a great stratagem for deployment.
      Plus, BA and DA don’t have access to all the good units in the Space Marine codex. Haven’t seen the codex yet, but highly doubt Dark Angels get Sternguard Veterans or Vanguard Veterans.

      • Reecius
        Reecius December 14, 2017 9:53 am
        #

        They do not have Sternguard or Vanguard, no, but they did get Stalkers, Hunters, etc.

        Space Marines are still great. They have some strats that rock, especially Tremor Shells with the Thunderfire Cannon. I cannot stress how good that is.

        RG are amazing. White Scars are really good, I am surprised more folks haven’t caught on to it, yet. I think people just get stuck in group think and since no one is talking about WS strengths, no one is aware of it.

        • Michael Corr
          Michael Corr December 14, 2017 10:09 am
          #

          I am quite enjoying my White Scars army. The extra to advance is great for Bikes and can be really handy for grabbing objectives.
          I’ve not found much use for the assault after falling back part yet, but that is probably just the units I am running. I am still trying to run as many bikes as possible in many armies, maybe I need to switch to more Jump Pack troops.

          • Reecius
            Reecius December 14, 2017 10:59 am
            #

            Dude, that is the best part! Somewhat counter to the fluff, White Scars are better off with Jump Packs than Bikes in many cases (although a few units of Bikes are great!), and the key is Characters with Jump packs and Vanguard Vets with jump packs, running in and out of combat, shooting and charging after. It is so dang good.

        • Xenos Player December 14, 2017 2:41 pm
          #

          That’s quite funny that white scars have got so little publicity where as people have been raving about Tyranids Kraken which have similar abilities

          • Reecius
            Reecius December 14, 2017 2:58 pm
            #

            Yeah, lol, exactly. White Scars with a hero hammer/jump pack combo are very good.

  8. Orkimedes December 14, 2017 6:32 am
    #

    This is awesome. Any list ideas for something centered around Azrael? Do you use him in a Greenwing list or mix him in to something with Ravenwing/Deathwing elements?

    One random thing that’s worth noting for Azrael specifically is that he is super vulnerable to psychic powers that allow your opponent to have a character fire his weapon (like dominate), since Lion’s Wrath still auto kills him on an overcharge and you can overchage it on 1’s or 2’s (or even 3’s if you have a dark shroud and your opponent chooses a target protected by it). So keep him far away from those inquisitors.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 14, 2017 9:54 am
      #

      That’s actually a good point about Azrael and popping himself, lol. Have to keep that in mind when it pops up and another reason to always bring a Libby in a DA army.

      Azrael is so good you can honestly use him in whatever way makes the most sense to you. You can keep him in the back with shooty units, buffing the hell out of them, you can play aggressively with other characters and either close ranged shooting units or melee units, etc. He’s seriously an amazing HQ choice and you can slap him in damn near any DA army and he makes it better.

  9. Adam Vollrath December 14, 2017 10:11 am
    #

    Great review, great writing. thanks.

    Doesn’t Azreal provide 2 additional Command Points now? Check the book.

    Ezekiel already has a 4++ in 8th edition so he doesn’t benefit from Azreal’s Lion Helm.

    Thanks for acknowledging the Deathwing Ancient. I’ve been yelling about him since the Index came out.

    My Land Raider Crusader is collecting dust but you’ve convinced me to put it back on the table. I’m also convinced the Dark Talon is a great unit but I can’t like the model. Maybe convert something else?

    Are you sure Black Knights get Inner Circle? And what’s their max unit size? I heard it was back down to 8.

    Thanks again

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 14, 2017 11:04 am
      #

      My book says 1 for Azrael.

      Ezekiel does indeed have a 4++ good catch, I totally forgot about that.

      The Deathwing Ancient is baller. Even just with other Characters he’s great.

      I have been using Land Riaders a lot in Dark Angels largely due to the fact that they can leave combat and still shoot if they get tagged with the strat. It’s a bit pricey but that is their biggest weakness in general terms. Plus, in this horde/anti-horde meta we’re seeing in competitive play, they often are too tough for your opponent to deal with at range.

      The Dark Talon does look stupid, I agree, but if you don’t put all the gothic churchy bits on it, I think it looks very cool. Basically build it like the Jefighter with different guns.

      Black Knights have Inner Circle, yes, and can are unit size 3-10.

      Glad you found it useful!

  10. Monkey man December 14, 2017 3:01 pm
    #

    What your thoughts on the plasma inceptors now they have gone down In Points ? They seem very strong for their points . Each guy has 2d3 plasma shots for 59 points.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 14, 2017 3:07 pm
      #

      Yeah, they’re great. Especially for Dark Angels. They come wit their own delivery mechanism, too. You can drop them down next to Azrael for increased protection and a re-roll and do a lot of damage.

  11. WestRider December 14, 2017 4:10 pm
    #

    Whoa. The Darkshroud buffs all DA now, not just RW? That’s a huge boost.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 14, 2017 4:12 pm
      #

      Yup =)

    • nelsonus December 15, 2017 3:10 pm
      #

      What do you mean? It buffed all DA in the index as well.

      • WestRider December 15, 2017 3:41 pm
        #

        I haven’t really looked closely at DA since 7th. They were one of the things that ended up going when I had to trim down my collection, and no one else around here has any Ravenwing.

  12. nelsonus December 15, 2017 3:12 pm
    #

    Great review. I’m excited to hear about the primaris parts as well to see how you think they fit in.

    Mostly though I’m excited to play with Plasma weapons and not think I’m nerfing myself.

    • bonesaww666 December 15, 2017 10:55 pm
      #

      You were playing with Plasma and felt it was a nerf?

      This statement perplexed me!

  13. bonesaww666 December 15, 2017 11:00 pm
    #

    I think this book could open up some pretty slick Raven Wing armies, if I didn’t hate Loyalist scum so much I may be tempted to make an army of them!

    The combo’s for Deathwing are just glorious also, between Warlord Traits and Character buffs I think you could make a solid go out of them, maybe taking scouts to hold ones own backline and free up the members of the Inner Circle to deepstrike and get stuck in.

    • Manuel December 18, 2017 8:25 pm
      #

      Tje good thing about DA is that you can play with them even if you hate loyalists =P

      (Op: great articles! Thaks for your work on these)

  14. JS December 17, 2017 12:08 am
    #

    So how would you build a 1500pts must out of this?
    You need many units and HQs for the synergy it seems there is always but enough points…

  15. Adam Vollrath January 3, 2018 9:18 am
    #

    Necroing an old thread to post my unit reviews:

    HQ: Azreal will be Warlord of nearly every Dark Angel army. Sammeal, Belial, Asmodai, Talonmaster, and a Jump Pack Master fill out the remaining HQ slots to support the rest of your army.

    Troops: Scouts. Some with heavy weapons for mortal wound stratagems.

    Elites: For now, the Company Champion’s Blade of Caliban costs 0. Abuse this until it changes but don’t spend money on it. Aggressors with boltstorms pair well with Azreal. Deathwing Ancient belongs in every Deathwing army.

    Fast Attack: This is the good stuff. Plasma Inceptors and Black Knights are the best Dark Angels units and can anchor an alpha-strike army. Darkshroud provides powerful defense if you need to play for all 6 turns.

    Heavy Support: Plasma Cannon Devastators love Grim Resolve. Hellblasters pair well with Azreal.

    Flyer: Dark Talon is great. Stormraven recently got more expensive but Fire Raptors got cheaper. Both require support to succeed.

    Dedicated Transport: These don’t really help Dark Angels.