Howdy folks. Alex (From the fang) and I headed to Wargames Emporium in Sheffield yesterday to immmerse ourselves in the new Dark Angels release. We bought a codex and roughly one of the plastic kits each, and I also picked sammael on corvex. We then settled down for a day of codex appraisal and kit assembly while the better halves went to watch Les Mis - an excellent arrangement that couldn't have been planned better! I wanted to jot down some reactions to the release overall before the rumoured FAQ comes out so that I could then write a post-FAQ article to correspond.
For the most part my reaction to everything has been positive. I will break it down into categories to make life easier:
Prices are a bit steep for some of the kits but overall I loved everything and thought they really did a good job of supplementing the DA range. The two command kits have a wealth of parts and the flyer looks great. Speeder has grown on me though the pulpit still sticks out like a wart. Belial and Azmodai are nice enough, but not for me. I prefer the DV chaplain and you can convert a better Belial from the DWC set IMO.
Presentation, layout and background are great. Loved the cover and the colour pages. Think the new format books are defintely worth the price increase. The point costings for most things are fine and the tactical squads are finally organised how SM squads should be in the lists (able to take special or heavy at 5-man) with things like devastator weapons and TH/SS costs pulled into line with other books. The new units are also good for the most part (see below) and I especially love the use of all the archaeotech and special rules.
3 areas for improvement:
1. Vengeance - despite the models shortcomings (and why 2 HPs - the thing is the size of a rhino) I had hoped it would bea great option for RW heavy support. Sadly, for the points it doesn't really measure up. The best comparison is a full lascannon predator which is the same points as a HB vengeance. AV13 and 3HPs compared to AV10 and 2 HPs, the potential for destroying armour provided by 3 lascannons vs 3 24" plasma gun shots. The large plasma shot and speed is all the vengeance has in its favour so IMO its overcosted. Maybe the FAQ will make the secondary fire mode blast, which would be a marginal improvement? We'll see.
2. Armoury - I just can't warm to the armoury - it makes list building so much harder when you keep having to refer to different sections. I guess in time when the different area are committed to memory it will b easier but for now it seems like they've taken a step back in codex design with this.
3. Flyers - this is my biggest gripe. The Nephilim especially. It comes in at just under the price of a stormraven and is dubbed an air superiority fighter. Yet the thing can barely scratch AV12 and is only really effective at lightly armoured flyers/ground vehicles. True, by comparison the Stormraven (and defintely IG flyers) are undercosted for what they do but when I see the firepower of a stormraven combined with ceramite armour, POTMS and AV12 all round and a transport capacity, for a mere 20pts more, I start to wonder what they were thinking with the Nephilim. Even compared to the Ork flyer it is lacking in anti-air potential. I hold out hope thatt he FAQ makes it more competitive as I would hate for such a nice model to be only used in fun games rather than competitive ones.
Those 3 things aside (you can't please everyone after all) I think it is a superb effort that has set the standard very high for the next codices. Well done JV!
Look out for a couple of articles in the next few days containing Belial/Azrael plastic conversions and a tutorial on how to convert plasma talons from plasma guns / pistols for those DV black-knight wannabees!