40K: Fixing The Angels of Death

The Angels of Death are coming back! The Blood Angels and Dark Angels are getting new books, but will they be enough?

Since Games Workshop announced the next three codexes fans have been speculating how they will impact the game. We know for sure that each codex is going to get it’s own special rules, relics, Warlord Traits, Stratagems, and Psychic Powers – but will there be more than just new window dressing?

Two Ways To Do This

Each book has two ways it can go. It could follow the path of the Grey Knights books. It’s functional and “different enough” from the “Vanilla” Space Marines book to be worth it, but it feels a little shallow. Maybe it’s the lack of Sub-Factions (aka successor Chapters) with unique rules within the book, but the Grey Knights feel a little too specialized now. The seem to have slipped back into their pre-5th edition days of being “really good at killing Daemons” as-per the lore, but they lack their post-5th edition era appeal.

On the other hand, these books could go the way of the Chaos Space Marine Book. That is to say, books that can stand on their own and feel like they are in a good spot. I think that these books need to include Sub-faction rules for their successors chapters. The Blood Angels have quite a few that could be pulled in and so do the Dark Angels, even if they are traitors.

Personally, I hope they don’t follow in the path of the Grey Knights – not that army is bad per-se, it’s just feel like it’s missing something where the Space Marine/Chaos Marine books feel a lot more whole. And I think that’s directly because of the Sub-Factions with rules.

The Blood Angels

As it stands now, The Blood Angels are a chapter on their back foot. Baal was recently invaded and spared due to the Galaxy-spanning Warp Storm. Sure, the Indomitus Crusade showed up with reinforcements and the Primaris Protocol Marines have been gifted to the Sons of Sanguinius now and they are on the mend – but I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of their hated foe Ka’Bandha the Bloodthrister. What the future holds for the Blood Angels – time will tell. It’s going to be very interesting to see how the Primaris Marines to take the Black Rage, I’ll say that much!

Things We’d Like To See

After the Sub-factions the first thing we’d love to see are some new Character Models. Please updated Dante. Please update Mephiston. Maybe not by the end of the year but in 2018 at least! Unfortunately, I don’t think we’re going to be seeing any new models from GW for either the Blood Angels or the Dark Angels. Prove me wrong GW…Please prove me wrong.

We also want to know what the heck is going to happen to their chapter next. And where did the Hive Fleet actually GO?! Were they all killed by Khorne Daemons? If so, how did that battle go down – yes, we know the Tyranids were apparently killed but HOW?! And that’s GOT to cause some problems in the warp-space around Baal, right? How is that going to impact the Blood Angels moving forward? So many questions…

Blood Angels should be scary fast and scary in close combat. We’re hoping that a Death Company army is cheaper to field and just as deadly (if not more so). We want their vehicles to be faster than their Marine counter-parts. We want the Sanguinary Guard to be the wrecking balls they should be and we want to see MORE Flesh Tearers …And Lamenters!

There are lots more things – but most of all, we want to see the Blood Angels be something OTHER than Red Space Marines. We want them to have their own flavor and unique abilities that make them worth playing.

The Dark Angels

The First Legion is one of the most sinister chapters in all of 40k. They are mysterious and foreboding. And they have a unique duality that follows them wherever they go. Are they Traitors (yes) are they Loyalist (…yes) and that’s one thing we’d like to see played up. Keep in mind that Cypher got to Terra in the Gathering Storm. He didn’t get a chance to “speak with the Emperor” but he did get to hang-out with Guilliman for a good stretch… I think we all want to know how that played out. The Fallen are also still running around the Galaxy as well! The Dark Angels have quite a bit of interesting things happening around and to them and for the first time in a long time GW is actually moving forward with the story line.

Things We’d Like To See

As far as sub-factions, the Dark Angels already have two very obvious choices: Deathwing and Ravenwing. I mean, c’mon, right? They each need to get cool rules that make playing either as a stand-alone army not only doable but fun and competative! Plus, with the keyword system and the way unit’s can’t cross-pollenate, we won’t be seeing White Scar + Ravenwing Bike squads full of characters running around as a mega unit. I think GW can really take the Ravenwing out of the shadow of that and make them a cool army. Same goes for the Deathwing – make them an elite fighting force of all Terminators! Now that Terminators have different types of armor to choose from and have 2 wounds, think of the possibilities.

But there are lots of other successor chapters to choose from as well. And that brings us back to their basic marines… They need to return to their classic stubbornness that the Dark Angels are known for. I’m leaning towards something that impacts their leadership tests and makes them harder to force to flee. And PLASMA. They need to be the dominate chapter when it comes to plasma tech. I’m not sure how GW can do that now that all marines have excellent plasma but I’m sure they will come up with something. In fact, you could start with the Salamanders “Flamecraft” rule and just replace Flame/fire with Plasma…that would be a good start. Dark Angel Helblasters would quickly become one of the most terrifying infantry units in the game.

We’d also love to see new models, of course. But perhaps more importantly, we’d like to see their current range get some love in the rules department. Ravenwing’s unique Land Speeder kit and the Nephilm Jet kit are both newer kits that didn’t get a lot of love from the Hobby side of the community. I can’t blame them. But their rules didn’t help either…

Another facet we’d love to see explored is the antagonism between the Dark Angels and the Night Lords. Those two legions have some serious beef and we want to see that explode in the lore. Oh and speaking of beef – how about the ancient rivalry between the Dark Angels and the Space Wolves?! Bring that back, please!

Lastly, we think that the Dark Angel’s Primarch Lion El’Jonson is probably up next in terms of returning Primarchs. He does make the most sense considering 1) the Dark Angels have a body 2) He didn’t “die” like other Primarchs. He’s deep within the rock sleeping…10,000 years is a heck of a power-nap! We think it’s an obvious choice to bring him back and to have his sons bring the pain with them.


What do you hope Games Workshop does with “The Angels of Death” either with the Lore or with their Rules? Let us know in the comments below!

  • Davis Centis

    Am I the only one that misses the Death Company being made at random from their squads? I loved that roll for their units; they automatically got a “free” unit, but such units came at the cost of their existing units getting smaller. Sometimes the Red Thirst would consume a whole squad! I remember Blood Angel Devastators living in fear of the Black Rage. Other times the Death Company didn’t even show up, and that Death Company Chaplain had nothing better to do. Would love to see this return.

    • Bakvrad

      I remember 😀
      Maybe you can pay cp to turn a unit into death company midgame. Would be a nice turn, when their rage consumes them as soon as they have contact with the enemy 😉

      • Adam Richard Corrigan

        That would be awesome. I want the red thirst to be a +1 to wound when they charge or an extra attack for each wound caused in combat.

    • I_am_Alpharius

      Yeah that was a fun rule for them. I feel it fell by the way side as although very in tune with background, it was very punitive to the the Blood Angels player by losing models from units.

      I can see there being a Stratagem that allows you elect to remove a unit from the game and replace it with a Death Company unit. A little bit like the Fresh Converts stratagem in Codex Ad-Mech.

    • Hank

      The BA community wanted non-mandatory DC for years, and we got them finally in 5th edition. Prior to that, the 3rd edition codex (with the randomly generated DC) and the White Dwarf/PDF codex (with a DC “tax” on each unit), every BA army was forced to take some DC, which usually resulted in having to build your army around DC, otherwise you’d possibly have wasted models.

      By removing mandatory DC, they opened up list building for BA armies. You no longer felt compelled to take a chaplain and to maximize your DC generation (either randomly, or from “taxed” units), giving you more points to play with. If they were to return to mandatory DC, that would probably be seen as a step back.

    • Koen Diepen Van

      While that is very fluffy it was way to high impact.

  • thebear1121

    After reading about the Imperium Secondus , I too would intrigued to see the Lion wake up. A world were Gulliman has all but been proclaimed all but Emperor incarnate, and walks around with his sword. Seeing as it was Gulliman that broke the Lion Sword in the first place. Also isn’t Luther free now? I thought the Changeling got into the Rock and set him free at the end of Warzone Fenris. It’d be a good read to see where that has landed the 1st Legion.

    • BrianDavion

      Gulliman’s sword isn’t the Lion sword. it’s the emperor’s sword

      • James Regan

        i think he intended it that way, though i did have to look twice ’emperor incarnate and walking around with [the emperors] sword’ is another way to read it. The lion doesn’t have a sword, as cyphers been carrying it for years, though they’d probably find something for him somewhere, even if it would be funny to have a primarch who could only use fisticuffs on account of someone nicking his blade

        • thebear1121

          Yes, Gulliman has the Emp’s sword. Apologizes, I didn’t proof read enough fml. The Lion DID have a sword. Gulliman snaps it over his knee and denounces the Lion, in the book Imperium Secondus (which is a great read).

    • Jimmy Rajden

      If the lion wanted to take the throne he just wasted 10000 good years while Robute was in stasis. So I seriously hope they dont make him jelly.

  • David

    The blood angels survived because they they were saved by khorne who they were secretly in league with all along

  • I_am_Alpharius

    I’m sure half a dozen successor Chapters will get a look in. Can’t see why they would not. In summary….you want Blood Angels to play like Blood Angels and Dark Angels to play like Dark Angels….

  • Dalinair

    Since they wont resurect sanguinius I want pimped out 5th ed mephiston ++

    • I_am_Alpharius

      Why won’t they resurrect Sanguinius? The background is all in place for them to do it.

      Lore already alludes to him being re-incarnated via the vessel that is the Sanguinor, ever since that character was introduced, and Blood Angels have Sanguinius’s body on Baal. Lore also alludes that Sanguinius’s soul is floating around the warp due due to his psychic prowess.

      So add a little Cawl body thinkery, using the Sanguinor as a conduit, maybe with a bit of help from the Ynnari, and bing-bang-bong he can jump back into his body. I can imagine that could presented as quite a painful experience for Sanguinius’s. Hence, maybe his psychic anguish in returning to his body could be just as horrifying to the Blood Angels and the shockwave is enough to trigger the black rage.

      • James Regan

        a pimped out mephiston is more interesting and more consistent with the lore however. We know Horus was in the soul killing mood that day- given the emperors bodies had all been dead for more than 30,000 years by the time of the battle of Terra, hitting him with a pointy glove probably wasn’t what caused the damage, and i doubt Sanguinius was anywhere near his psychic capability.
        Boosting Mephiston up is also more interesting than just having the primarch come back as well, because he’s specifically not just another demi-god someone suddenly realised they had lying around in the basement. We don’t know what the lord of death is, or what he might be capable of, in any practical sense, but he is a well established character in the lore, and is due a model update anyway

      • Orblivion

        Because it erases Sanguinius’ entire purpose in the lore. Not only is he the martyr of the series, but his death also plays a pivotal role in what the Blood Angels are today. If he’s no longer dead, then he makes a poor martyr and the Blood Angels lose some of their flavor. I’d rather see the Sanguinor be turned into an Avatar of Sanguinius.

        • I_am_Alpharius

          He’s been “dead” 10,000 years, really not sure how resurrecting him lessens his death that far in the fictional past.

        • Dalinair

          I thought this might happen then i looked at the puny sanguinius model and thought, as much as i’d love it, i cant see him being this avatar of sanginius, if they re-made his model that’s entirely possible tho but it’s not all that old, so i can’t see them doing it.

          • Muninwing

            yeah, the sanguinor isn’t the reincarnation of the primarch… that’s a gross exaggeration. there was a Sanguinor before he died, too, iirc. it’s a BA fanboy wish that just doesn;t fit with the theme or the feel of the ‘verse or its fluff.

            he’s dead.

            and as much as GW likes to retcon and muddy the fluff, like they did with the poorly expanded “lone guardsman” who defied Horus and bought the emperor time to strike down his rebellious son, a heroic sacrifice and a character’s death have a significant impact upon a storyline.

            i’m not saying they cannot resurrect him. Cawl can possibly be blamed for that too, with his marty stu of technology retconning special powers. i’m saying that it would probably be terrible writing, would probably compromise some other parts of the fluff and cheapen them, and would in general be a lame attempt to pander to fans instead of write some quality original material on their own.

          • Dalinair

            Yeah I agree, though it seems it might not stop them if changing some fluff results in happier general customer base and cold hard cash sales. To me it falls under a similar category as female space marines in established non sister chapters, there are loads of feminist protests about getting them, personally I couldnt care either way but it’s only a matter of time till they change the fluff to allow them.

          • Muninwing

            meh… over half of the “female space marines” advocates are not feminists… they’re creepers who want to fetishize everything. look what they did to my little pony. so the argument there is… complicated… and half the time the opposite of what it seems.

            it’s why i’m actually against making the change. but way in favor of female guard.

            the fluff really shouldn’t change much… develop and broaden is different from complete changes. and thus, i have bigger issues with Cawl and the shoehorning in of these new things (that don;t much fit the tone nor the prior development of the fluff) than i do with the boys’ club.

      • Commissar Molotov

        Oh, that I’ve lived long enough to see the 40K fluff prostituted like this.

      • zeno666

        Sounds bad enough to be GW fluff

    • Adam Richard Corrigan

      2nd ed Mehiston. Str7, T6. An absolute murder machine.

      • Punisher

        Str and T almost does not matter any more….. Only the number of wounds you have and the Damage that you can inflict. S and T are secound grade stats now that you cant instantkill anything 🙂

        • Adam Richard Corrigan

          But it would as T6 means you have to have str 12 to wound on 2’s and he would be str14 with his sword so wounding predator/rhino’s on 2’s.

          • Punisher

            I get it. I think that Mephiston is one of the most interesting in 40k. His personal strugle about why he is so powerfull and how he became The Lord of Death. I only play Blood Angels. The problem for me is the lore about all the characters i love in BA lore are not reflected on the tabletop…. If Mephiston were to get rules to reflect the vast old lore and NEW books that describe his powers and martielskill…. He would be 350 points with rules that could rival the primarchs. Witch i would love 😀 Dont’t write that Mephiston is the STRONGEST psyker in the imperium except Big E and then make him a worse psyker then many other Chief Librarians. GW you can make great lore! Now make great rules to reflect that lore!

            (NOT only for Blood Angels but for ALL chapters/races you write about. Many people read the lore, fall in love with it and want to play with that army and want the lore reflected on the tabletop)

            As many others i would love to playtest or help your designteam with lore inspired design rules to the tabletop in each race.

            Speaking for a BA point of view. I want the whole chapter to excel in Close Combat and Air combat compered to other chapters. DC actually being able to soak wounds that would kill other Spacemarines…. That is not a 6+ feel no pain…… So MAYBE one out of a squad of 5 dc….. I love 40k and i want it to flourish! I believe that the way is lore inspired rules on the tabletop for each race. That said. 8th edition is a GIANT improvement from 6th and 7th!

          • Adam Richard Corrigan

            I totally agree, I also collect Eldar and would love to see my Avatar actually be the shard of a war god not someone who regularly dies to everything. 5 Custodes(who are cheaper) will destroy him every time. Dante needs to be the leader that even other Chapter Masters follow. Death Company need to cause lots of damage and mortal wounds to friendly models on a roll of 1. Sanguinary Guard need to be the best of the best with ws 2+.

          • Orblivion

            I agree that Dante needs to be a BAMF, especially if the new lore rumor is true and he really defeated the Swarmlord.

          • Punisher

            Dante is a BAMF right now with his BA buff and CC rules… He can deal a lot of pain on his own. My biggest problem is that he gives no Command points…. The lore says he was the best military commander in the imperium before Guiliman woke up again. So many other chapter masters get at least 1 or 2 Command points…. And Dante gets ZERO…. Even that… He has NO speciel rules…. He’s “just” a named chaptermaster with a relic Axe and better stats…. No rules that make him truly unique or rules that explains why he has survived over 1500+ years….

          • Punisher

            There are many changes i would do for it to be lore friendly. How about all “standard” spacemarines have 2 wounds? All elite and primaris have 3 wounds. A spacemarine is through all the lore…. Able to take hits that would kill normal men…. Right now the only difference there is on the table top that with 1 wound and a 3+ armor save…. It’s a fraction harder to kill a “normal” spacemarine then a IG…. This should NOT be….. Read your own lore GW. Since there is no more cap on stats…. How about “normal” spacemarines have T5 or T6 AND 2 wounds at least…. That would give the player that EVERY spacemarine is a tanky killingmachine as in the lore. AND YES ofc this can only be done with a whole new points system where EVERY model gets new points value…. Im just saying…. You can make your game reflect your OWN lore with rules that made people fell their army is like in the lore! You opened your stat cap… Now use it for more then Strength and Wounds…. Let’s get a Toughness score that spreads from 1 to 16 if it helps you determine the vast difference in tough creatures/vehicles.

      • zeno666

        Its an old model that GW doesn’t really want to sell any longer, so he won’t be that good :

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      His body was moved to Luna. So he is probably going to be rezzed.

      Most likely the Sanguinor has been the Psychic essence of Sanguinius this whole time.

  • Bakvrad

    Actually it’s quite obvious what we are getting and it’s probably nothing from the things above (remember the fallen are in Codex Chaos space Marines)
    Successor chapters? Why? Vanilla didn’t have them either/didn’t have different rules (except black templars of course)
    Rules different to the index? Slight chance but unlikely.
    Primarchs? Come on, they would already have stated: „and it comes with a mistery finally solved!“
    We get stratagems, warlord traits, objective secured, items, Primaris Marines and bad jokes about Dark Angels (not fallen) being traitorous from people who didn’t read any books at all. Honestly: by now the only thing, that keeps Dark Angels being mysterious is the fact, that lion el Johnson hasn’t returned yet. Almost every other mystery has been solved in any of the books I guess 🙁

    • Mike Forrey

      I can’t wait to see how bad the fiction is that gets Primaris marines into the Dark Angles. That’s going to have to be one whooper of a tale. It would be more entertaining to see Azrael tell Bobby G to go take a flying leap and keep them.

      • Bakvrad

        Actually I believe that they aren’t an issue at all. Otherwise all the other non-deathwing Marines would be as much as a problem. With Dark Angels, indoctrination starts as scouts by the veteran sergeants, primaris obviously deserve the attention of the best of the best: interrogator chaplains. They can send those, that are suspicious to suicide commandos…

      • BrassWitch

        They’d simply keep primaris marines out of the command structure, using them as simple rank and file marines for the companies IMO

  • gunsrlove

    “And where did the Hive Fleet actually GO?! Were they all killed by Khorne Daemons? If so, how did that battle go down – yes, we know the Tyranids were apparently killed but HOW?!”

    Tyranid Codex came out last week. Devastation of Baal comes out this week.

  • grendel

    All the chapters that use the same rules (the whole BA legion) have been put together in the same place to suffer massive losses. Just to see Guilliman arriving with reinforcements… It seems that the BA Codex it’s going to be using lots of Primaris units to me

    • Orblivion

      I’m fine with that, as long as we get an Assault Squad equivalent release alongside the codex.

      • grendel


  • Vincent Goude

    Juste imagine if Dante After following the primaris protocole exhibit further features of sanguinuis!

  • Dioscuri

    At a minimum, I’m hoping for some point reductions – for vehicles like the Furioso and Death Company Dread in particular. Assault marines as troop choices would be amazing too and would fit my image of the blood angels (fast assault!). I also hope we get some interesting lore regarding the integration of Primaris Marines. If they succumb to the Black Rage, do they join the Death Company? If so, will we get Primaris sized Death Company marines?

    • Bootneck

      All sounds good but do you think the “perfect one” would allow tainted chapters to get hold of that tech?

      I just don’t think the arrogance of the Ultramarines would allow it.

    • grendel

      Don’t think that we’ll have Primaris in the DG. I think they were ‘clean’ so far. Obviously that’s something that will change with time but at the moment seems difficult.
      I’m afraid we won’t see any new miniature, perhaps a Primarised Dante? If anything would be assault primaris and that’s a no since would be unfair for the other chapters

    • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

      FOC slot manipulation is dead, outside of CSMs. Giving Assault squads Defenders of Humanity in Outrider Detachments, however, could work.

  • Tim

    Eh I’m pretty against needing chapter tactics for the successors. Grey knights fell flat because it already is a small army with not a ton of choices and they didn’t really add anything. Admech fell down for the same reason. I’d like to see a new chapter specific primaris unit or two for each. We need to see assault get buffed for blood angels and the wings need work for dark angels.

    • Punisher

      Not only assault my friend. We need Air fighters that reflect that Blood Angels excel and focus on air superiority/close combat. I hope that the Stormtalon and Stormhawk will be in the new codex and at least one stratagem that reflect aerial combat focus of the Blood Angels. Close combat and air superiority should be the core of Blood Angels rules and mechanics since they excel at these 2 areas compared to other chapters. Would also like to see that Librarians for BA was 5 points cheaper to mimic the fact they have more psykers in their aspirants then other chapters…. (Your own lore GW)

      • Muninwing

        if balance is cared about at all, then two identical models should never have point differences. having those 5 points might motivate more to be taken, but it’s undermining to the actual game itself, even just in that small amount.

  • Drpx

    I’m expecting Primaris Blood Angels to have some sort of special immunity to the Black Rage. It’s par for the course.

    • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

      I don’t expect Primaris Death Company, but I do hope for more character options, and some useful stratagems.

  • Corelin

    If Dark Angels don’t get access to older marks of Terminator armor I’m throwing a damn fit.

    • Marcus Clark

      Screw that, I want damn Liberian and Chaplin Dreadnoughts, why Blood angels even get them was stupid. Death Company, Ball Predator, Storm gunships, sanguine guard, The only other vehicle they need is a faster transport with no guns but more speed. DA first take the plasma storm battery and jam it, useless vehicle. Then the Raven wing jet, first give it Heavy bolters or lascannons and the Vulcan cannon rather than vulcan or lascannons, atm its not effective, also give it jink when moving flatout. The shadow caster, is great but every time someone uses it they huddle their whole army around the damn thing only to have it killed by turn 2, give it the character stat, then reduce the invul to 5+ and increase the range to 18″. Plasma, I like what I read earlier, DA with plasma considered master-crafted, re roll failed hits of 1. Not to OP and you still cant re-roll a re-roll (excluding CP).

  • Chet Atkinson

    As a BA and DA I’m cold to the new codexes:( No new minis and just some strategems. Will stick to indexes and print out the strategems that Bols will publish on here.

  • Ronin

    Step 1: Make them OP
    Step 2: …..
    Step 3: Profit!

  • kryczek

    As a BA player I’m pretty sure were on to plums. The only things I think we’ll get are Archangels terminators becoming 3-5. This will give us a Terminator and Sanguinary lieutenants which will be the only new thing for BA other than primaris. I’m pretty sure of this due to the banners in the boxes. Basically this is just another reason for GW to charge us for the indexe’s all over again.

  • Mad Max

    Things we want to see. Chapter approved.

    The weeping angles of the emperor can go cry in a corner of space. Xenos have really been boned with the all the heretic emperor’s lap dogs getting all their toys. GW making wonder bread great again, the imperium, ya that is what i meant. The bland crusty dry imperium run by those the emperor would cut down given the opportunity. But go go bland team, may your codices fall apart and your dice forever roll ones.

  • zeno666

    Blood Angels.
    Assault marines troops.
    Death Company on par with Berserkers.
    Lower Baal tank points and give it something interesting for beeing fast, perhaps ignore -1 to shoot with heavy weapons?
    Make Sanguinary Guard worth taking.
    Fix their characters