It’s time to talk about the new Dark Angels codex. Is it as good as the Blood Angels’ is, or the idea that interesting codices of the 8th edition don’t come out in a row?
The most anticipated question – it a gunline still an ultimate solution, just like in the vanilla space marines codex? Yes and no. Grim resolve now gives you re-roll of 1-s in shooting if the unit remained stationary. What is it if not an allusion to the gunline? Now you don’t even need a captain for this. Who is rightfully called Master in this book. Also, all the units from the vanilla codex which were not here have been added, just like in BA book. So, you have all the ingredients for the ideal gunline (except for Guilliman).
But, sure, all DA players came here not for this. Everyone wants to know how to do first 2 companies play. It’s obvious that in the 8th edition all their units became tougher, due to the second wound. However, part of the special rules has moved to the stratagems, and lost the versatility. And some have gone completely.
For example, Death Wing. Id you prefer these guys, the Knights are an auto-choice for you. They are almost like the hammer-terminators, but don’t have a penalty for the hit rolls. Also, your librarian can give them a complete re-roll to hit and to wound. And the stratagem «Fortress of shields» which used to be a special rule helps you survive the first turn after deep strike, if the charge fails. And here’s the point where a stratagem for charge reroll or an additional D6 might be useful (like in BA book). But there’s nothing like this. A special Death Wing stratagem gives an additional shooting. Not so useful, but at least motivates you to use ordinary terminators. By the way, catafractii and tartaros are also in this book. If you like miniatures, of course. Otherwise, there’s no practical use of them.
Your favorite guys from the previous editions – Raven Wing. They also feel strange. It’s great that they have jink – 4++ looks invuln looks even better than the cover save. The fact that it’s given only after advancing is still ok, since range weapons have assault type, and you can also use a special stratagem for shooting and charging after it. Again – stratagem, not a special rule. Honestly, it starts to bother. In general, Raven Wing knights still deal a serious damage with their plasma talons and corvus hammers, so you will definitely use them. You won’t get any 2+ cover save now since Dark shroud only gives -1 to hit, but the squad is still very durable. By the way, plasma version of this hover is also very cool, considering the stratagem that increases the damage of all plasma weapons.
And the other stratagems are not very useful. They are either copied from the vanilla codex, or look more narrative than useful. Boosting your characters after fighting with a friendly space wolf won’t make you take a wolfs’ detachment to use it. And focus of the whole army on the one «fallen» character never worked well. The magic is great. Its focused on attack and is really powerful. An interesting thing is that now we have an ability to make a unit attack the last. Something totally new. You will definitely use it to destroy strong characters instead of that weird stratagem.
In general, the codex look…as expected. It looks like GW game-designers don’t know that they want from Dark Angels. There seems to be 3 different game concepts, but none of them has many details and combinations. Everyone already knows how to play terminators in 8th edition. Green wing suggests standard gunline, which is already boring. Only bikes give you somehow interesting gameplay where you have to think before moving miniatures. Don’t get me wrong – the book is playable, competitive and have some options. Bot there’s no admiration like with Blood Angels – all the game concepts have a unit which is much better than the others. So, the choice is reduced to minimum. However, it won’t prevent any DA players from gaming. For anyone else it means that the next codex has the chance to appear really interesting and variative.