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January 22, 2013

40K : Dark Angels HQs

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Hey guys, Learn2Eel here, and I’m back here to give my initial thoughts on the awesome new Dark Angels

I hope this first impressions and review is both helpful and enjoyable for any and all aspiring Dark Angels players, or even those who are looking at what to expect from the first legion! Lets dive right in.

Headquarters

Azrael – With five attacks base (two close combat weapons) with a S6 master-crafted power sword, in addition to his cool special combi-plasma, you might think Azrael is a nasty combat character. The best reason to take him though are his support abilities – all Dark Angels use his Leadership of 10, he makes Deathwing Terminators and Ravenwing Attack Squadrons Troops, he can pick his Warlord Trait, and he grants the unit he is with a 4+ invulnerable save. Overall, for only slightly more than two hundred points, he is a steal and essential to mixed or “Multi-Wing” army lists. 

Ezekiel – Toting a stat-line more in line with a Company Master on top of his 2+ armour save, Ezekiel is a highly cost effective mastery level three psyker that comes with a very nasty sniping/debuff psychic power on top of two powers from rulebook disciplines. With both his bolt pistol and two-handed force sword master-crafted, he is decent in combat and gives a very nice +1 Weapon Skill to every friendly Dark Angels unit within 6”! You cannot go wrong with Ezekiel. 

Asmodai – He’s back, and he is rocking an awesome model; unfortunately, rules wise he is surpassed by the more cost effective Interrogator Chaplains. The benefits of Asmodai include causing Fear and having an extra weapon to use instead of your Crozius Arcanum – a Strength as user and AP- instant death weapon. Not bad at all, but not really worth the extra points you pay for him – as such, he is fine, but not the best in his role.

Belial – If you want a Terminator-armoured Company Master, this is where you should be heading – Belial is versatile and is a great commander to lead any Deathwing-themed force. Making Deathwing Terminators a Troops choice has many obvious benefits, though if he deep strikes, the unit he does it with does not scatter at all – combined with the Deathwing Assault and Vengeful Strike rules, and you have one nasty Alpha Strike unit! He is nasty in combat, with a Fleshbane AP3 sword, or you can rock a thunder hammer and storm shield – both are great, though the lightning claws are cool too.

Sammael (Corvex) – Mounted on a jetbike and being the only Eternal Warrior in the codex, Sammael is pretty unique – he has both a plasma cannon and a twin-linked storm bolter, giving him a lot of firepower. He also has an AP2 power weapon that strikes at Initiative – with a 4+ invulnerable save, Sammael is nasty in any phase of the game, and you would be wise to make full use of his abilities. 

Sammael (Sableclaw) – An AV 14/14/10 Land Speeder with a twin-linked assault cannon and a twin-linked heavy bolter, you say? Oh, it has a 4+ invulnerable save too? Yes indeed – the Sableclaw is nasty, though it is still relatively easy to destroy if one can get around to the rear armour. In general, I would usually recommend putting Sammael on Corvex as he maintains his quality melee capabilities and can still attach to units – though the Sableclaw is a good option too, by all means.

Company Master – Cheap and cheerful, though their abilities tend to pale in comparison to the named characters – their support abilities are also generally outweighed heavily by both Librarians and Interrogator Chaplains for the points. If you use them, make them an awesome character killer by giving them either one of the cool relic weapons – hunt the Fallen! The fact that you can’t mount them on a bike is disappointing for those wanting to do more Ravenwing themed armies – in general, I find the Company Mastery to be an inferior choice to most other units in the slot.

Interrogator Chaplain – Sporting a power maul and a 4+ invulnerable save with a stat line just shy of a Company Master, the Interrogator Chaplain provides great value in the form of buffs – making the unit he is with have Fearless and Hatred (Everything) can significantly increase their combat potential. With access to chapter relics, bikes, jump packs and terminator armour, the Interrogator is very customizable – however, think more about what unit they can benefit most before deciding to outfit them; do that, and they won’t fail to impress.

Chaplain – The Chaplain is essentially a watered-down version of the Interrogator Chaplain, which comes as no surprise – though the Chaplain is somewhat cheaper, the benefits those points gives you more than justify purchasing an Interrogator instead. A Chaplain also has no access to terminator armour. You should employ these if you are strapped for points or want them solely for their buff abilities, though if you want a Warlord or more effective option, I would recommend the Interrogator. 

Librarian – Exceedingly inexpensive for what they do, Librarians are a fantastic option that should always be considered for any Dark Angels player – with access to four psychic disciplines, they are incredibly versatile, with my usual recommendation being to take Divination; obviously, it depends on the kind of way you equip the Librarian though. It can be a great support unit, or even a devastating offensive threat – with access to dangerous equipment such as a combi-plasma cannon or a Strength +3 AP3 mace, as well as Terminator armour or a bike, the Librarian is incredibly efficient and, importantly, fun to boot. 

Techmarine – For every other HQ choice you field that isn’t a command squad, you can take one of these guys – a very cheap way of adding a few extra power fist attacks as well as being able to repair vehicles, the Techmarine is an efficient way of helping out both mechanized and infantry-based armies. He also boosts the cover save of a single piece of terrain in your deployment zone – this obviously works very well with Tactical Marines and Devastators, giving them that extra buffer against AP3 or AP2 weaponry. 

Servitors – Being able to take a squad of these for every Techmarine in your army is both fun and useful – they are a cheap way to boost repair efforts, whilst adding additional power fist attacks and even some strong firepower, though at a price. Though I would generally attach a Techmarine to another unit, Servitors are not a bad unit at all to run him with – remember that like the Techmarine, they do not take up a Force Organization slot.

Command Squad – They are essentially a Veteran squad that has access to more special weapons and some unique options; such as the ability to add an Apothecary, a Company Champion or one of many standards. The Apothecary is a cheap and useful addition, though I feel the Company Champion may not be worth it, as the Blade of Caliban and a combat shield isn’t too great for the points. With access to the standards (which will be discussed in depth later) and many special weapons, they have a lot of options, though you should resist blowing too many points on them – they are nonetheless a worthwhile addition to any Dark Angels force.

Deathwing Command Squad – This is exactly the same as a basic Deathwing Terminator squad but with some additional options in line with the regular Command Squad – namely access to a Deathwing Champion sporting an awesome Strength +2 AP2 weapon and an Apothecary, as well as the standards. The Champion is a worthwhile upgrade here, but you will have to weigh up whether Feel No Pain is worth the significant investment – as with the Command Squad, the standards will be discussed more later. As with regular Deathwing Terminators, these are a great unit and should be considered for any Terminator-armoured character.

Ravenwing Command Squad – These are very much in line with Black Knights, albeit being cheaper base – they are durable, quick and have nasty wargear, all the while being very cost-effective. As with the other Command Squads, you can take a very expensive Apothecary, a cheap but ineffective Champion, and one of many awesome standards. These are great to attach Sammael or a bike-riding HQ too – remember they also have access to the very nasty Ravenwing Grenade Launcher, a weapon sure to make monstrous creatures and the like cry!

In Summary – There are so many great options in this slot that it is hard to say who I would clearly favour for competitive armies, though I feel Librarians, Belial and Azrael will likely be the most popular. The weaker options, such as Company Masters and Chaplains, aren’t all that bad really – it is mostly just they are over-shadowed by all the other options here! As for Command Squads, it is definitely a case of which units would suit your army best – mixed armies would likely benefit from the standard Command Squad more, whilst Ravenwing will want to be around their own Command Squad.

You can read even more Dark Angels thoughts in the Lounge here.  Have at it folks!
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