Let’s talk about why Dark Angels might be overpowered in the new Space Marine Codex.
Another year and another Space Marine Codex. We sure are getting a lot of those these days, however this new one does promise to focus things down a little more by putting the core units for all (Grey Knights excluded) Space Marine chapters in one book. Now the Dark Angels, Space Wolves, Blood Angels and even Death Watch will work just like the other chapters, with a core book and a supplement. Maybe even a Psychic Awakening, but that remains unclear. When GW announced the new Codex the other week we got a look at some of the new abilities in it. One of those, the chapter tactics for the Dark Angels really stood out to me. In fact if we are reading it correctly it looks like Dark Angels just might be broken. Let us take a look.
Currently the Dark Angels have the Chapter Tactic Grim Resolve. This allows any unit that did not move in the prior movement phase to re-roll hit rolls of 1 while shooting. It also makes it so Dark Angels units cannot lose more than one model when they fail a morale test. As Chapter Tactics go I’d say this is not really that good. Space Marines in general don’t care much about morale, so that the 2nd part is largely useless. While re-rolling 1s to hit is always good, Space Marines have plenty of access to re-rolls, particularly in the form of captains. This is something Marines can already do easily so it doesn’t actually give the army anything new.
Now lets look at the supposed new tactic. This was taken from the video GW showed off. In one part of you can see the chapter tactics page and keen eyed people were able to make parts of it out. As best we can tell the new tactic says:
“Dark Angels: 1) +1 to hit if the unit did not move in this turn and 2) something about Combat Attrition.”
Now I’m going to assume that the +1 to hit is only in shooting, even though thats something we can’t see clearly, and not both shooting and combat, but even that alone could be enough to break Dark Angels. Let’s talk about why that’s so good.
A Bonkers Rule
Frankly I’m not sure I even need to really discuss why an army having a blanket ability to get +1 to shooting is so good. This would be something pretty unprecedented and would effectively make a Dark Angels army be BS 2+. With the easy access to re-rolling ones it would make them incredibly accurate at long range firepower, to the point where they would almost never miss. Certainly Space Wolves do get a nice blanket +1 in combat on the turn they charge or are charged, but this is of much more limited use as you tend to charge a lot less than you will shoot.
I almost can’t think of a better rule for an army. Effectively making it so that any units that don’t move just auto hit is bonkers good. Space Marines have some crazy good shooting already, and this will only make it better, with units like the Repuslor Executioner and the new Gladiator putting out a ton of shots. We all likely can recall just how deadly Iron Hands with their high accuracy were, and this will in many ways be worse. Yes it will force a bit of a static force, which could be bad in 9th, but I think you could see powerful Dark Angels builds with a strong fire base and then fast Speeders and Bikes jumping around to grab objectives.
The Rest of the Army
Dark Angels have some pretty good unique units. In particular they have really good speeders and bikes. One of the problems the army had in 8th however is that Speeders are normally armed with heavy weapons and so took a -1 to hit when moving, significantly decreasing their offensive capacity. In 9th this is going to be reversed. Moving Speeders can now fire at full effect, while any that stay still will get a bonus to hit. This means that you can either push forward with a fast Speeder attack to grab objectives. Or sit still for a turn throwing out super accurate firepower, then next turn rush forward to grab objectives. The Talonmaster in particular seems really good.
Bikes also look really good in 9th, with their speed allowing them to move up and grab objectives, and their extra wounds letting them hold them. Luckily for the Dark Angels they have really good bikes also, meaning they can excel here, which a bit of classic and Primaris bikes grabbing and holding objectives while a super accurate firebase tears the enemy apart. It seems like a lot of the Dark Angels abilities are going to come into their own here.
From what I’m seeing it looks like Dark Angels are going to be really good in this new codex. Now, grain of salt here, we don’t know the full wording of the rule, we could be reading it wrong or it could be changed. It could also work in close combat as well as shooting, which if that’s the case… the would make the rule even better then it already seems. It also seems to have some effect on Combat Attrition. I haven’t really talked about this because i don’t think it matters much, as I said Marines don’t really care about morale much. We also admittedly don’t know what stratagems or units will change in the Dark Angels supplement. Overall Dark Angels just seem really good, maybe even broken with how the new rule looks. I guess it’s about time Chaos got a break.
Let us know what you think about the Dark Angel’s Chapter Tactic, down in the comments!