Hi everyone, Michael here to take a look at the new hotness, the Dark Angels. This review will take a look at the new stratagems available in the book. For more reviews and analyses, check out the Tactics Corner.
As well as the powerful stratagems in the Space Marine Codex, Dark Angels have access to a range of new ones to boost the power of the army even further.
Wrath of the Lion (2CP)– Use in the command phase if a combat doctrine is active. Each time a Dark Angels model from your army makes an attack with a weapon specified in the active combat doctrine, an unmodified wound roll of a 6 improves the AP by 1. Cumulative with the active doctrine bonus.
Situational. This is way too expensive. A one in six chance of getting an AP bonus on selected weapons is pretty poor, especially for 2CP. Might be useful if you really need to kill an enemy unit and it only cost 1CP, but I don’t see this getting used that much. There are simply better stratagems to spend your CP on.
Intractable (2CP)– Use in your movement phase when a unit falls back. The unit can still shoot. If they have the Inner Circle ability, they may fall back automatically and do not need to test.
Competitive. Now this is a stratagem definitely worth 2CP. The ability to fall back and shoot is great for most units in the game, especially since it is much more restricted with the changes to Fly. Being able to fall back with an Inner Circle unit is also a great bonus, without having to hinge on a Ld test. Capricious dice stopping your Terminators from falling back could ruin a battle plan, so having a guaranteed exit is probably worth it in some circumstances. Given the firepower of many Marine units, this is a great ability, with no negative penalty for shooting. However, many Dark Angels infantry are able to fire in combat to almost full effect, so save this for your Terminators or Ravenwing units, or if you are simply running low on CP.
Deathwing Assault (1CP)– Use when a Deathwing unit shoots. Add 1 to the wound roll if it was set up on the battlefield as a result of a Teleport Homer or Teleport Strike that turn.
Competitive. Another strong stratagem for the Deathwing. Getting +1 to wound on the turn they arrive with their Storm Bolters or Heavy Weapons is a great boost, allowing you to clear out enemy infantry with their massed firepower. Can be combined with Fury of the First for +1 to hit, making the unit even more effective on the turn that they deploy.
Line Unbreakable (1CP)– Use at the start of the fight phase. Select one Dark Angels Infantry unit. Until the end of the phase, that unit can only be targeted for melee attacks by enemy models in engagement range.
Competitive. A bargain at 1CP. This could be really effective against horde units. It essentially means that only models in base contact or within 1/2″ are able to attack your selected unit. This stops massed infantry from getting their full compliment of attacks, blocking “second row” fighters from participating. Really useful if you find a character surrounded by an enemy unit, or are able to block the enemy unit by terrain or other units in your army. I don’t see it being used all the time, but could help a unit survive to hold an objective and win you the game.
High-Speed Focus (1CP)- Use in the enemy shooting phase when an attack is allocated to a Ravenwing Vehicle unit. The unit gains a 4+ invulnerable save against ranged attacks.
Efficient. This stratagem is now limited to Ravenwing vehicles, but is still useful. If you don’t get the first turn, gives you a measure of protection for your Ravenwing vehicles, going from a 5+ to a 4+ invulnerable save. Key for keeping your Flyers or Darkshroud alive, or if one of your Talonmasters gets targeted by enemy firepower if they suddenly find themselves out in the open.
No Foe Too Great to Subdue (2CP)– Use in the fight phase. Each time a chosen unit of Deathwing Knights makes an attack against an enemy vehicle or monster, add 1 to the wound roll and AP.
Competitive. At S8, this will allow Deathwing Knights to wound most Vehicles and Monsters on a 2+ at AP-3 (-4 in the assault doctrine) and damage 3, hitting on a 2+. This turns Deathwing Knights into a very powerful melee threat for enemy Vehicles and Monsters. Even Knights will fear a unit of Deathwing Knights, as they will be wounding on a 3+ against them. Deathwing Knights are already a solid choice thanks to the bonuses of Inner Circle, and this makes them even better in combat.
Marked for Command (1CP)– One Huntmaster or Knight Master or Sergeant can take a MC Weapon, Digital Weapon, Atonement or Bolts of Judgement.
Situational. Allows you to give one of your Squad leaders a selected piece of special issue wargear. Not a bad bonus, but I don’t see myself ever using this. There are simply better relics to take or to spend your CP on.
Paragon of the Chapter (1CP)– Give a Dark Angels warlord trait to a character that is not your warlord.
Efficient. A solid stratagem that should see use. The Dark Angels have a number of useful traits, so it is worth taking one of these in your games if you can spare the CP.
Honoured by the Rock (1CP)– Allows you to give a Dark Angels relic to a warlord from a Dark Angels successor chapter.
Situational. A nice bonus, as Dark Angels have a number of useful relics.
Tactical Appraisal (1CP)- Use in the command phase. Select one Dark Angels unit within 6″ of your warlord. Select one combat doctrine. Until the start of your next command phase, apply that doctrine to the unit instead of the currently active one.
Efficient. A strong stratagem for turning back the clock on your doctrines or boosting a unit to the assault doctrine early. Very useful for the Ravenwing or Deathwing, as they get some good bonuses in other doctrines. Cheaper than the main codex stratagem allowing a unit to be active in all doctrines at once. Not as powerful overall, but cheaper to use if you only need a unit for a specific task, such as shooting or combat.
The Hunt (2CP/3CP)– Use at the start of the first battle round. Select one Ravenwing unit. It may make a normal move as if it were the movement phase, but must end up more than 9″ from enemy models. Costs 2CP if the unit has 5 or fewer models, 3CP if it has more.
Competitive. A very strong stratagem. This essentially allows you to redeploy a unit if you do not get the first turn, or move up on the enemy army if you do. This would allow you to put a unit of Black Knights in the open at the edge of your deployment zone. If you get the first turn, you can move up to be in key position to shoot or charge, or to be within range of an objective. Alternatively, if you go second, you get to re-deploy the unit to hide them or move up behind cover closer to the enemy army. This is very useful as the Speed of the Raven stratagem (allowing them to advance and still shoot and charge) no longer exists.
Also useful for moving up on an objective that your opponent has abandoned or moving a unit into range to block a secondary, such as Investigate Sight. I need to check the wording on pre-game stratagems to see if this can be used more than once. Probably not going to be used too much at 2 or 3 CP each, but could get you out of trouble if your opponent also has a re-deploy ability.
A great boost for early game board control, especially with the movement bonuses the Ravenwing already get on the first turn.
Targeting Guidance (2CP)– Use in the shooting phase. Select one enemy unit within 18″ of a Ravenwing Landspeeder or Storm Speeder unit. Add 1 to hit rolls when friendly Dark Angels units target that unit.
Efficient. A strong bonus for your firepower. Ravenwing Landspeeders have some great firepower and durability (thanks to the Jink save), so they can be tough to shift and are pretty cheap. Well worth taking this for some boost to your firepower. Pairs well with the Talonmaster, allowing you to ignore cover on the unit as well as giving you +1 to hit.
Swift Strike (2CP/3CP)– Use in the fight phase after a Ravenwing unit has fought. The unit may fall back as if it were the movement phase, or can move as normal if not in engagement range. Costs 2CP if the unit has 5 or fewer models, 3CP if it has more.
Competitive. Amazing! This allows your Ravenwing to strike at an enemy unit and then fall back to avoid attacks back. They can either retreat to the safety of the army, or plunge forward to contest or steal an objective your opponent thought was safe. I can see this being used a lot. Great on objective secured Bikers.
Secret Agenda (1CP)– Use when selecting a secondary objective. Do not reveal the objective to your opponent until you score victory points for it.
Situational. This was much better under the maelstrom rules, but could be useful. I don’t see it being used too often. There are few objectives that are scored at the end of the game and are worth taking, so you are going to have to reveal your secret objective pretty early on in most games. To be honest, your opponent can probably guess what objectives you are taking in most games anyway, so it’s worth saving the CP.
Stasis Shell (2CP)– Use when a Ravenwing model with an Astartes Grenade Launcher fires That model makes a single attack, if it hits the enemy unit is caught in stasis until the end of your next turn. While in stasis, the enemy unit (excluding Vehicles and Monsters) cannot fall back.
Efficient. A situational, but effective stratagem. Stopping an enemy unit from falling back is a great bonus. This could allow you to pin an enemy unit in combat with your Terminators if they are unable to destroy them in a single round, or happen to consolidate into them after killing another enemy unit. The changes to combat order in your opponent’s turn also makes this pretty effective, giving your units the chance of striking first.
Weapons from the Dark Age (2CP)– Use in the shooting phase when a Dark Angels unit is selected to fire. Until the end of the phase, add 1 to the damage characteristic of any plasma weapons the unit is equipped with.
Competitive. An old favourite, but still worth it at 2CP. This is amazing on Dark Angels units, particularly Black Knights, Hellblasters and Plasma Inceptors. Especially useful now that a few units and armies are able to reduce damage on incoming attacks. Great for taking on Death Guard with overcharging weapons and still being able to kill them. A solid tool stratagem for the Dark Angels that should see use in most games.
As you can see, the Dark Angels have access to a number of useful stratagems. I am particularly happy with the Ravenwing stratagems, giving them a further boost to the already significant bonuses the new book has given them.