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40K: Dark Angels Rules Unmasked

5 Minute Read
Dec 4 2017

GW rips the hooded cloak of treachery off some of the Dark Angels’ new rules. Check out Stratagems, Psychic Powers, and more!

That’s right friends. The Dark Angels are stepping out of the treacherous shadows that they lurk in, brooding about things grimly, before they grit their teeth and do more deeds worth brooding about in dark shadows. For now though, we have a look at their rules, including many of their upcoming stratagems which show their grim, brooding determination to brood over grim matters.


This is the Dark Angel everyone’s talking about, right?

This makes me wonder if somewhere out there, a group of Fallen are enjoying a nice sunny picnic. Or like, flying kites. Maybe singing some songs to one another? At any rate, let’s look at their rules.

via Warhammer Community

First up, we have their faction rule. Or army-wide special rule similar to Chapter Tactics, as GW officially calls it. It’s Grim Resolve–we’ve seen it previewed in those White Dwarf pictures before, and now we have the full details on it. Not only do you get to reroll 1’s on your to-hit rolls if you didn’t move (including overwatch), you also get to (for the most part) ignore Morale.


But then of course we have their new stratagems to look through as well, including a few familiar faces:

There are all sorts of Stratagems to benefit your army, from Codex: Space Marines standbys like Killshot and Flakk Missile, to more esoteric options based around the unique ways in which the Dark Angels go to war.

This seems pretty strong. Plasma is already one of the better weapons in the game, and now you’re increasing the damage characteristic to 2 base, or 3 if you’re overcharging, which, let’s be honest you are–because you likely didn’t need to move and are rerolling 1’s due to your native special rule. But ALSO note that this is any unit–which can include Hellblasters, or units armed with heavier plasma weaponry.

But more than being known for their Plasma, the Dark Angels are known for being traitors. And the Hunt the Fallen stratagem belies their need to pin their treachery on the supposed “Fallen” who are totally the ones who are traitors and not some attempt to desperately convince the outside world that they aren’t a bunch of traitors. Which they are. But you can blame another character in your enemy’s lists–give them an extra Attack in close combat, but any Dark Angels that get into close combat get to reroll misses and failed charges–presumably as your units scream “tell us who the real traitor is.”



But in addition to offensive Stratagems, the Dark Angels also have a pretty strong suite of defensive options.

With at least three storm shields, you can have a Deathwing unit that’s never going to be wounded on anything better than a 3+ or more likely you’ll be wounded on 4’s and 5’s.

And you can make any unit in your army a party to the Dark Angels’ dark secrets (of trechery) by press-ganging them into the Inner Circle and making them Deathwings. Obviously this is so that you can make your Deathwing Land Raider charge the enemy character you’ve designated with Hunt the Fallen AND NO OTHER REASON.

But wait–there’s more.

The new codex was also an opportunity for the Design Studio to work out how the Dark Angels are structured in the wake of the UItima founding. As you may know, most Space Marine companies now have two lieutenants that serve alongside the company Captain. In the Dark Angels, this has been expanded to include the Ravenwing – the legendary, all-mounted 2nd Company of the Unforgiven. Ravenwing lieutenants are known as Talonmasters, and they serve alongside Sammael (or his successor equivalent) with specially modified Land Speeders. On the tabletop, these guys are pretty nifty. With a twin heavy bolter and a twin assault cannon, they’ve got a punishing number of shots (particularly with Sammael nearby providing re-rolls to hit) and they also help the rest of your army excel, removing cover saves from nearby enemies and providing your Dark Angels with re-rolls of 1s to wound.

This is incredibly gross–and I can see a Land Speeder assault being punishing with these rules. And while your Land Speeders are devastating one flank, your Warlord can be rooting out “the Fallen” by targeting enemy Characters with their Heroic Interventions.


This is already pretty awesome before we factor in the many powerful Warlord Traits and Relics of Caliban available to Dark Angels characters. Our favourite combo is the Huntsman Warlord Trait and the Lion’s Roar relic; together, you’ll be able to shoot characters out of the units they’re supporting.

This puts actually dangerous weapons into the hands of someone who can target characters without their special protection. I’m forseeing a lot of Warlords taking that trait and putting an end to some of the “I’ve got twenty guys you can’t shoot because of this one unit that’s standing right here” nonsense. Death to the Malefic Lords! Or, get your command points back with Brilliant Strategist:

Finally, for your Librarians – from Ezekiel to your Primaris reinforcements – there are 3 new psychic powers to take advantage of using some nasty Leadership-based mechanics. One trick you can pull of is using Mind Wipe to drop the stats on an enemy character before following up with a deadly Trephination attack:

Although honestly, a Smite is probably going to be better most of the time. But–if you can either find a unit with low leadership or one that you’ve dinged, you might stand a chance of paying this off–still, it seems very swingy, especially if you’re using two psychic powers to set it up.

I don’t know what any of this has to do with James Cameron’s ahead-of-its-time TV series from 2000, but, I’m eager to find out.


Author: J.R. Zambrano
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