View Full Version : Dark Angels- What are they?

22-03-2011, 09:07
On behalf of a friend tired of Necrons and wanting a Dark Angels army, what are they like? What are their strengths, weaknesses, unique units? How strong are they as a army? What strategy generally works best with them? (ie. Combat, long range shoot out, deep strike etc.)\


22-03-2011, 09:15
Dark Angels are... odd. They were nerfed pretty heavily when the latest Marine Codex came out but since have had an FAQ that alters a lot of their weaponry to bring it in line with Codex: Space Marines (Storm Shields, Cyclone Launchers etc).
They are quite similar I suppose to Codex: Space Marines (with some slight weaknesses, Tactical squads cost slightly more, scouts have better stats but are elite etc), however, they have the option to (cheaply) take Terminators as Troops through the use of a Special Character and take Ravenwing Squadrons (consisting of bikes, attack bikes and landspeeders - a full squad is 6 bikes, 1 attack bike and 1 landspeeder, but you don't have to take all of it) as troops through another SC.

Overall they're probably not quite as competitive as vanilla Space Marines but, in my opinion, offer some very fluffy (and effective, if played correctly) armylists.

22-03-2011, 13:20
I really like their fluff, but I do question their need for a separate codex.

Chaos Undecided
22-03-2011, 14:09
In a nutshell slightly more points expensive space marines who are suffering from older codex syndrome as newer marine forces have stolen or improved upon most of their options. Much more interesting fluff than most chapters though and it would be something of an injustice for them to be lumped in with those upstarts in the I wannabe an Ultramarine!!! book :p

22-03-2011, 15:13
I love the aesthetic of the Dark Angels, as they currently stand theres very little I feel justifies them having their own book. If the next marine book were to have captains similar to Samael and Belial (Bikes and Termies respectively), or even include them, then there would be no need for a separate book. All of the things that once made the DAs a unique chapter have been rolled into the marine codex with the exception of troop termies, and even that is no longer unique to them.

22-03-2011, 15:33
Since I love fielding my DA I have to speak up and say that yes, they are slightly more expensive than C: SM and the Ravenwing Attack Squadrons can cost a lot (400 points or so when kitted out), but who can fault them when you get a scoring Land Speeder in the Attack Squadron? Those things have turned defeat into a draw or even a victory more times than I could mention here. Sammael is also a nice element for the army in his Land Speeder with the AV 14 on the front and sides (keep him away form assault t all costs though or you'll be very sorry) and is very shooty and a great horde killer.

Deathwing are a good army with a couple of Land Raiders (now aided with the addition of the current Machine Spirit rule) plus all of those wargear is now on par with C: SM. The FAQ update has also made the Deathwing Command Squad one of the nastiest SM units in the game (give them a cyclone and thunderhammer & storm shields combo and see what I mean). Belial is arguably the most cost effective SM HQ choice in the game with how cheap he is and the option of taking lightning claws or thunder hammer and storm shield upgrades for free!

The generalist list (power armour) is a little weaker than C: SM, but it still works well and can belt out a lot of fire power for a few extra points. However, if this is the list you want I recommend C: SM instead (and I'm a die hard "use your DA Codex for your DA army" person).

Interrogator Chaplains are superb also!

Another thing, the fluff is far superior to the later SM codices being less fan boy and more purist to the DA and how/what they are. Also, there's mystery left to them, something the 5E SM books seem to fail to deliver.

In all, they are a (slightly) weaker codex due to points differences, but they're been bumped up a fair bit thanks to the rules updates they're received and are a army worth considering.

22-03-2011, 15:40
In my opinion Dark Angels have some of the most interesting fluff out of all the chapters. Game-wise for a fluffy army you'd see a lot of plasma weapons I reckon. There's no rules for it or anything however we used to be the only chapter who could field plasma cannons in tactical squads, the reason being that the Dark Angels are the first founding chapter and so are first in line to the armouries for the special stuff like plasma and terminator armour. Plus, if you look at the codex front cover art (current and previous ones) there's always a dark angel packing a plasma pistol. I think of it like: the Salamanders prefer melta/flamer type stuff and Dark Angels prefer plasma weapons. But that's just a humble observation, like I said nothing to do with the rules.

Not only the chapter though but the companies all have their individual fluff, for instance the story of how the Deathwing came to paint their armour white is well worth looking up for an aspiring DA player.

However, if you're looking for a tournament topping marine chapter I'd say look elsewhere like the Khorne Berserkers (aka Blood Angels) or Space Wolves perhaps, since the current DA codex is, I think it's fair to say, ********.

Wade Wilson
22-03-2011, 15:52
Fluffwise....They were the first of the Space Marine legions and fought with distinction throughout the Horus Herasy. Or at least that is what official imperial records suggest. The main driving force with Dark Angels is that they have a great secret shame happened to them during the Herasy. As such they are now one of the most secretive, pius and suspicious of all the chapters and have a hidden agenda (the hunting of the fallen)which takes priority over virtualy every other mission. As such many of the other Marine chapters dont trust them although their commanders are valued as great tacticians and their marines are stubborn to a falt, never backing down even against overwhelming numbers.

Gamewise...their codex was released before the newest SM dex and it shows. There is no auto-win units or characters, no particularly chapter specific rules, and often there is outdated or expensive weapon choices.

What you do get though is alot of armywide fearless or LD 10 units thanks to rites of battle and characters. Yes sometimes Fearless is a negative but if you want to play an army that just wont run away DA may be your friends army of choice. The option to make an all Deathwing or Ravenwing army is encouraged by the inclusion of their respective chapter masters as character choices.
Deathwing being some of the most versitile terminators in the game (can include mixes of terminators carrying th/ss, cyclone missile launchers, storm bolters and power fists/swords, assault cannons, heavy flammers, chainfists and TLC)aer all fearless and so will never be forced to take a pinning test or become subject to most LD based tests. Better yet one terminator unit can be given an apothacry and standard bearer for feel no pain and an extra attack. This makes at least one squad in the army one of the deadliest units in the entire game.
Ravenwing are an expensive option as an all biker/speeder army. They have some nifty special rules that can suprise an opponent such as scout and the ability to outflank. With access to many small squadrens with special weapons you can make a very effective albiet expensive 'raider' army. Again they can have one squadren with feel no pain and an extra attack (although you may not want to get your bikers into c/c as their strongest asset is their manuverability). With plenty of melta options available to them they are very effective at short range anti mech and with the new FAQ giving access to proper landspeeder tornados they have some good ranged support too.

A mix of both these armies is often used as all ravenwing bikes come with a teleport homer to allow up to half of any deathwing squads in reserve to appear via deepstrike accuratly on turn one. With their scout move that can get them very very close to the enemy if you dont have landraiders to transport them...

Their assault and devestator marines are unfortunelty much more expensive than Vanilla marines which is a shame. Whilst no more nor less an assault based army than any other chapter DA have in the fluff often relied on overwhelming firepoer to soften up targets. Their standard tactical squads are allso a bit pricier as they dont come with a free flammer or missile launcher like other marines (and their other special weapon choices are overpriced). Still a tactical marine is a tactical marine, love 'em or hate em. Nice and cheap rhinos at least.

Chapter Masters are pretty baddass (although still slightly weaker than their vanilla marine brethern) and can be given some pretty good weapon combos (and the rites of battle rule gives every unit in the army LD10 for LD tests) but the real shining character avaiable are interrorgator chaplins. They have Master level stats and the ability to allow rerolls in c/c to the unit their are attached with on the turn they charge. In a deathwing unit with Belial, the +1 attack banner and feel no pain charging out of a landraider crusadro this makes for one of the most devestating attacks in the game, a real 'Deathstar' unit.

Goodness me, i didnt realise how much i had written...my bad. I love my DA army. they have none of the (at times beardy) special rules as some of the newer marine dexes but can stand proud against any of them. Whether they warrent their own codex...ell thats a discussion for another topic. But along with BA in the Angels of Death codex from 2nd ed they were one of the first armies to have their own codex and have had one in every edition barr 5th (and rogue trader i think).

22-03-2011, 16:01
Dark Angels are what got me into 40k and Warhammer in general, and it's partly because they have some of the best background of all the space marine chapters. But right now their model range and codex isn't all that inspiring, they really need updating to be in line with other space marine chapters again, with their own terminator set for Deathwing and so-on.

Personally I don't see why any space marine chapter should have its own codex, as I liked the older style of having a single core codex with supplements for each chapter. That would make a lot more sense for the very vast and complex Imperial forces as it would have been easier to handle the Inquisition and other weird branches by simply having them refer to other relevant army books as required if they wanted to add marines or imperial guard. That said, when I first started collecting in 2nd edition Dark Angels came as a combi-codex with Blood Angels for some bizarre reason heh.

I find that the push to keep coming out with new stuff rather than remastering existing stuff has had a negative affect overall on the space marines, as a lot of little things that made Dark Angels unique, like their land-speeders and the twin-lascannon + missile launcher dreadnaught, are now available to everyone, which means that a lot of chapters are strangely unfocused. Dark Angels are fundamentally a regular space marine army, they don't have a lot of unique units as such, but those that they have are particularly nasty, such as Deathwing and Ravenwing, as everyone has terminators and bikes, just not these terminators and bikes!

Anyway, here's hoping they get updated again soon. In the interim, if the history has you keen to collect them, then you can always just field them as a regular space marine army until an update comes, since you won't really have anything missing if you do.

22-03-2011, 16:53
On behalf of a friend tired of Necrons and wanting a Dark Angels army, what are they like? What are their strengths, weaknesses, unique units? How strong are they as a army? What strategy generally works best with them? (ie. Combat, long range shoot out, deep strike etc.)\


Congrats to your friend for starting up a new army!

Dark Angels: Strengths include all that you find in a standard Marine force. High armor saves, elite units with a blend of close combat and shooting strength (not doing either -astoundingly- well, but both well enough) and high leadership. Their Deathwing terminators can take a mixture of close-combat and ranged weapons within their squads as well as Apothecaries to bestow FNP onto their units.

Weaknesses: As mentioned earlier, when compared to standard Marines, you end up paying a bit more in Pts for units and upgrades, and some of their powers (librarians) and wargear (special character's in particular) are very understated by comparison. This is compounded when you select the forces "unique" to the Dark Angels, Deathwing and Ravenwing.

Unique units: By selecting the special characters Belial or Sammael you unlock the ability to field an entire Deathwing (fearless terminator) or Ravenwing (bike and landspeeder) force. While you can field some of these units on their own without the need of taking the special characters, many players enjoy the fluffiness of taking an entire army of them.

As an army, I wouldn't say they are very strong, but this is in no way a definitive thing. Any army can beat any other army depending on how good a player you are, your ability to plan and use your units, and of course, a lot of luck. If your friend is looking for a -powerful- army, I would ask, "powerful compared to what?"

As with most other Marine armies, the strategies that you use will find greater or lesser success based on the whims of fortune and the opponent's army. If you are selecting a fast moving, close combat focused army using drop pods and rhinos to close with the enemy, you may be disappointed when the 'Nid/Dark Eldar player you have as an opponent cackles in glee. I will always advocate playing the strategy that appeals most to you at the moment, and strikes you as fun, but recommend doing what Marines are known for doing well: Have a balanced force incorporating a breadth of units that are intended to support one another as you fight towards the game's objective. If you want versatility, I can think of few other armies that do this as well as Space Marines, and Dark Angels share this flexibility to a degree.

Above all, the thing that Dark Angels bring the to table is -character-. The Dark Angel's models really capture the imagery of the robed warrior-monk, and give the entire army a very cool theme and tone. With background (arguably) deeper than any other Chapter and a sinister secret to drive them onward, there is always something to keep you coming back to the Dark Angels. The army looks great, is fun to paint, and no one will accuse you of "jumping on a bandwagon" for starting to play them!

Hope that helps!

23-03-2011, 01:38
Sounds sweet!!! Out of interest, who is the DA Primarch?

23-03-2011, 01:41
Sounds sweet!!! Out of interest, who is the DA Primarch?

Lion El'Jonson, blessed be his name.

Here's (http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Lion_El%27Jonson) a Lexicanum entry about him that you and your pal can look over.

Wade Wilson
23-03-2011, 11:06
Lion El'Jonson, blessed be his name.

Here's (http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Lion_El%27Jonson) a Lexicanum entry about him that you and your pal can look over.

For the Lion!!!

23-03-2011, 11:21
Dark Angels are... odd. They were nerfed pretty heavily when the latest Marine Codex came out
Actually they have not been nerfed, but the others got boosted far bejond. And with the FAQ the DA got boosted too. Now what is better than paying for a 3+ invul when having a 5+ default? Yea, right! Pay nothing for it!

24-03-2011, 14:13
If you want to carry on the Lio0n theme into the actual army, Scibor do some nice lion head shields that make great storm shields. I'm going to be getting a few for my next thunder hammer squad ;)

24-03-2011, 18:56
Dark Angel Codex might be outdated, but play them right and you can go toe to toe with most other codex, just study the codex/faq.

Typhoons are now your friend, coming in at 75 pts for a MM/TML (2 shot Krak or Frag Missile Launcher is now a nice boon)

Int-Chap, good unit to have with a Deathwing Close Assault Squad

Belial, Super Cheaper and able to make Deathwing as Troop choice, plus now the TH/SS options make him able to soak some wounds.

Deathwing/Ravenwing Comamnd squad with FNP! now that just all kinda of crazy!


24-03-2011, 19:50
To me, the most iconic part of the chapter is their Deathwing.

I am not a marine player, i don't really like "ultramarines", finding them a bit too cliché and a horrible name for credibility's sake. Blood Angles combine a bit too much stereotypes (engineered super human half vampire mutant)

But the heroic fights of Deathwing terminators vs Genestealers in cramped Space Hulks really made me like the dark angels.

Game wise, the deathwing is apparently a challenge in 40k, but it does make you a good player too, unlike "Parking lots" kind of play.

24-03-2011, 22:58
Fluff is great but hasn't been expanded on in over a decade which is a cryin' shame (basically the fluff chapter is a reprint of what was in the 2nd Edition Angels of Death codex and bits from the Storm of Vengeance campaign mixed with some random battles they decided to make up; they haven't expanded much since 1996). This wouldn't be a problem except that other marine chapters have and that expansion is usually in the form of taking unique features from the Dark Angels.

So at this point most other codices can pull the same tricks as the Dark Angels but with better results. The only real build we have is one of the best TH&SS terminator squad in the game (but it is limited to five members at most). Add an apothecary and standard bearer that are provided by Belial for his command unit and you have a cheap unit that is pretty killy (though Belial himself is pretty underwhelming though his TH&SS version is vastly undercosted to make up for it).

Other than the Deathwing we basically pay more points for less. Our Ravenwing are okay but I find them to be over-priced for what they are and a normal Space Marine biker army can pack more bikes which are just as survivable as the RW. The only real reason to take Ravenwing is for the teleport homers to bring in the Deathwing safely.

So besides the wings the normal troops just aren't worth the price, Devastators are okay (not overwhelming but close in cost to vanilla devastors) while the Assault Marines are jacked up in price by a pretty insane amount (I think we end up paying 40 points or so more for them than normal). We also get less options than they do with no real power-for-specialization boon one would expect.

Oh and we don't even have as much access to our faction-specific designs as other chapters get. The Ravenwing Land Speeder from 2nd Edition was spread to all chapters in 3rd Edition and with the 4th Edition codex we actually got less access to it than the other chapters (we can only have one in a Land Speeder squad, other chapters can take a full squad of them). Then came the Forge World devised Mortis Dreadnought. It didn't show up in our codex proper but did in the vanilla codex and every marine codex since.

Oh and I didn't mention about Ravenwing squads, they are hampered by silly squad composition as well. Six bikes, an attack bike and a land speeder are the max squad composition. We lost the option of taking full attack bike squads and the ability to load up on our iconic land speeders for this "bonus".

So all in all the fluff is still good but could use some expansion to give the Dark Angels some uniqueness again. For instance how about going into more detail on our recruitment methods. The Blood Angels and Space Wolves get a lot of coverage here but we have no idea about how the Dark Angels set it up outside of what we see in the Story of the Deathwing, which is an awesome story, but it is pretty much completely retconned at this point since it was written for Rogue Trader instead of the current iteration. More info about how the Inner Circle operates would be good to as that is kind of a big difference between how we operate compared to other chapters yet the differences between Grand Masters and Masters are never explained and it is obvious they aren't the differences between a Captain and a Chapter Master since Dark Angels and successors each have multiple Grand Masters per chapter. Basically it is about time they expand past the fluff of 1996 and forge some new ground (but please do not use Ward to do it, please).

The rules need to be updated to stop the stagnation the DA have been suffering since 3E took our unique vehicle (the only unique vehicle between the marine chapters in 2nd I might add).

They are still my favourite army but lack of any update of not in over a decade has made them fall to the wayside for me. Here's hoping their next codex can actually do them justice and make them exciting and new like they were back in the Angels of Death codex (or even in the Rogue Trader fluff).

24-03-2011, 23:29
You'll find most competitive DA players now will run Belial and Deathwing. Dark Angels ability to give TH/SS terminators, cycline missile launchers make them very appealing to most.

They do need a new codex though. I would love to see the Mortis Dreadnought in there.

25-03-2011, 15:45
Samael is also interesting, makes bikes as troops and can be played on a jetbike or in his Land Speeder which is really a Land Raider but Fast and Skimmer. Quite the infantry mower.