Dark Angels Review: HQ: Sammael

Hi everyone, Michael here with a review of the Grand Master of the Ravenwing, Sammael. For more reviews and analyses, check out the Tactics Corner.


Sammael is an HQ choice for a Dark Angels army, who can either be taken on his jetbike (Corvex) or in a Land Speeder (Sableclaw). In both versions, he has some formidable firepower and has some great combat ability, especially on the turn that he charges. In addition, he provides some nice buffs for the Dark Angels army, particularly for the forces of the Ravenwing. In Corvex, he costs 183 points, in Sableclaw he costs 216 points. He is a unique HQ choices, so can only be taken in either Corvex or Sableclaw, not both.

I would give Sammael the Competitive rating in either option. He is a solid combat character and provides some very nice buffing abilities to nearby units.



  • Raven Sword- +1S, AP-3, 2 damage. This weapon has strength x2 if Sammael charged in the preceding charge phase.
  • Bolt Pistol
  • Frag and Krak Grenades
  • Twin Storm Bolter
  • Plasma Cannon


  • Raven Sword
  • Twin Assault Cannon
  • Twin Heavy Bolter


  • Inner Circle- Automatically passes morale tests. May re-roll all failed To Hit rolls against Fallen units in the Fight phase.
  • Jink- If he advances, he gains a 4+ invulnerable save against shooting attacks until the start of his next movement phase.
  • Rites of Battle- You can re-roll 1’s to Hit for friendly Dark Angels units within 6″.
  • Grand Master of the Ravenwing- You can re-roll all failed to Hit rolls for friendly Ravenwing units within 6″ of Sammael
  • Iron Halo- 4+ invulnerable save.
  • Swift Judgement (Corvex only)- Advances 2D6″ instead of D6″.
  • Explodes (Sableclaw only)- When reduced to 0 wounds, on a roll of a 6 he explodes. Each unit within 3″ suffers a single mortal wound.
  • Master of Manoeuvre (warlord trait)- You can re-roll the dice to see how far friendly Dark Angels units Advance or Charge within 6″ of Sammael.
  • Keywords: Imperium, Adeptus Astartes, Dark Angels, Ravenwing, Character, Grand Master, Sammael, Fly, Biker (Corvex only), Vehicle (Sableclaw only).


Sammael has a solid statline for a Dark Angels character. He has WS and BS 2+, so is solid at both shooting and combat, especially when combined with his re-rolls. He is S4, T6, has 6 wounds on Corvex (7 on Sableclaw), 5 attacks and a 3+ save.

Sammael has a good level of durability on the table. Toughness 6, 6-7 wounds, a 3+ save and 4+ invulnerable save is really good for a Space Marine character. In addition, as he is a character, he can only be targeted by shooting if he is the closest unit or the enemy unit has a rule allowing them to target characters, so he should be able to survive quite a while on the tabletop.

He has very high mobility (14″ on Corvex, 16″ on Sableclaw), as well as the Fly keyword, allowing him to move over intervening terrain. On Corvex, he can advance up to a further 12″, making him highly mobile. If he is your warlord, he even gets to re-roll the advance move, giving him a greater chance of getting where you need him to go.

He has some very potent combat ability. On the turn he charges, he gets 5 attacks at S9 that hit on a 2+ re-rollable, with -3AP. That is going to tear through most units that don’t have an invulnerable save and is even going to put a dent on vehicles and monsters. I like the flat 2 damage rather than a D3 roll. I think this makes his combat output more reliable, so you know who to send him up against, rather than hoping he rolls high for each damage roll. After he charges, he is still S5, meaning he will wound most infantry on a 3+ and other Bikers on a 5+. I think this is a great change to the Raven Sword, as one of the biggest problems with Sammael in previous editions of the games was he was limited to S4.

On Corvex, he has some good firepower output as well. His Twin Storm Bolter is great for taking on weakly armoured infantry, with 8 shots at close range, hitting on a 2+ re-rollable. His Plasma Cannon is also useful in some circumstances, but the D3 shots can be pretty variable (don’t you always roll a 1 for these weapons?). You can overcharge it, but I definitely wouldn’t risk it, as you don’t want the odds of killing off such an expensive character, even with his re-rolls to Hit.

On Sableclaw, he has some seriously impressive firepower. Twelve Assault Cannon and six Heavy Bolter shots are going to do a lot of work against most enemy units. Even on the move, he is still hitting on a 3+ and re-rolling 1’s to Hit, so can still have a lot of accurate fire going on the move.

In both cases, he has the Fly keyword, allowing him to disengage from combat and still provide some firepower to help support your army.

In previous editions of the game, Corvex was the far superior option for me. However, in 8th edition, I think that Sableclaw perhaps takes the edge. The extra wound is great for his durability, plus the additional mid-strength firepower is great for mowing through units of chaff or putting the hurt on smaller, more heavily armoured units. Since the change to the rules means he is equally effective in combat in either choice, I think Sableclaw comes out on top for me in this edition. He is a little expensive at over 200 points, but I think he will still do work for your army in most situations.

As well as being a potent force on his own, Sammael also provides some nice bonuses for nearby Dark Angels units. He gets a re-roll to Hit of 1’s bubble for all Dark Angels. This can make him a useful unit for getting bonus re-rolls to many Dark Angels units. He will be useful sitting back on a gunline and boosting their firepower output. If he is not mobile, he is also hitting on a 2+ with his potent firepower. As the game goes on, he can use his awesome mobility to go out and grab objectives or to finish off weakened enemy units that are holding them.

Sammael also provides amazing support for Ravenwing units, giving them full re-rolls to Hit if they are within 6″. This is great on the really powerful Black Knights, allowing their fantastic Plasma Talons to do serious work in the shooting phase. You can also risk overcharging the Plasma Talons with Sammael nearby, giving you less risk of killing off your own units with overheats rolls. I like to run all Ravenwing armies, so you will always see Sammael in my list, supporting a unit of Black Knights in the cover of a Darkshroud to help keep him safer.

There are a number of useful Stratagems in the Dark Angels codex for Sammael.

Speed of the Raven allows him to Advance and still shoot and assault. On Corvex, this gives Sammael an incredible threat range, able to get across the board and into assault very quickly, especially if he is your warlord and gets to re-roll both the Advance and Charge roll. I wouldn’t recommend sending him off on his own against the enemy army though, as he is unlikely to survive long against the whole enemy army!

Only in Death Does Duty End and Honour the Chapter are great Stratagems for allowing Sammael to fight again in combat. This is especially potent if he charges, as he will be putting out a lot of very high strength attacks and potentially doing up to 20 damage in a single turn (unlikely, but possible).

Uses of Sammael

As I have said above, Sammael plays a key role in my Ravenwing army. He supports a unit of Black Knights and a Darkshroud and will go right after the enemy army. Sending the three units down one flank stops them from being overwhelmed by enemy firepower or attacks, as it limits the number of units that can get to them. Having Sammael nearby for re-rolls allows the Black Knights to do a lot of damage with their shooting and combat attacks. When boosted with Weapons of the Dark Age (adding 1 to the damage of the their Plasma Weapons), the Black Knights can put out an incredible amount of Plasma wounds on an enemy unit.

The Darkshroud helps to keep the units a bit safer from the enemy firepower that they are likely to receive. Sammael can also be used to charge in and take on any bigger threats in combat that the Black Knights couldn’t handle.

I’ve found that Sammael is also great for taking on enemy Flyers in combat and dealing with them that way. For example, I have used him to take on the dreaded Eldar Wraithfighter. These flyers can tear apart a Space Marine Bike army thanks to their Smite abilities, as well as their auto-hit Flamer weapons that will shred your Bike units. Having the Darkshroud nearby is also useful, allowing it to charge in first and potentially soak up the overwatch fire and allow Sammael to charge in relative safety. A quick burst from the Black Knights with Sammael’s re-rolls beforehand can also help to soften it up, making it all that easier for the Ravenwing Grand Master to finish it off in combat.


As you can see, Sammael is a fantastic choice for a Dark Angels army, in either form. He is a tough and mobile character that has access to some great firepower and very strong combat abilities. He is a great support for the Ravenwing units in your army, boosting their damage output thanks to his re-roll abilities. He is a strong choice for any competitive army list.

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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: HQ: Sammael”

  1. Dakkath December 24, 2017 4:35 am #

    Sammy’s in an interesting place with several rules that don’t work together. Jink is useless for him, thanks to his iron halo, yet he gets to reroll advance distance. On the other hand, without spending a stratagem on him he can’t shoot after advancing either.

    On a positive note, in 8th he finally learned how to drive closer and hit them with his sword :p

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr December 24, 2017 4:58 am #

      Yeah, Jink and Inner Circle are pretty useless on Sammael. Think they have just been included out of a sense of completeness.

  2. Ste December 24, 2017 7:38 am #

    Isn’t he S8 on the charge? The sword becomes S x2. I don’t know which one I want to take in my list Sammael or a Talonmaster

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr December 24, 2017 9:42 am #

      The Raven Sword also gives him +1S, so on the charge, he will go up to S9 (S5 in combat the rest of the time).

      I think the Talonmaster is a solid choice too. If you afford both in your army, they will really boost nearby Ravenwing units.

  3. Ste December 24, 2017 12:20 pm #

    The sword reads ‘This weapon has strength x2 if sammael…’ To me that says strength x2 replaces strength +1.

    I’m using Sammael or a Talonmaster to support 2 squads of 4 man black knights, all of which back up the Deathwing. Either is a good choice, but I don’t know which one I prefer

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr December 24, 2017 1:32 pm #

      Yeah, I can see that interpretation.

      • abusepuppy December 24, 2017 2:34 pm #

        I would be curious to see how you could explain any other interpretation.

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