A month on and I thought I would give voice to the 5 things I thought could have been done better in the Dark Angels codex. I've written a corresponding article here relating to Chaos Space Marines.
First off let me say I think that overall this release was handled very well. The boxed sets, if somewhat pricey, were a fantastic complement to the range and the book overall has some very nice elements and organisational changes which I hope find their way into the SM codex eventually. This article focusses on the book content and not the models. In no particular order:
1. More special Characters:
I was disappointed that certain characters did not only not make it into the rules, but also are no longer even mentioned in the Codex. Naaman would have made for a great Telion-style scout upgrade, Bethor would have been nice to include as an upgrade which was the only way to take the chapter banner, along with a couple of rules for him. Also, Sapphon would have been nice to include. It's a nice touch that Seraphicus was retconned into the army list though (but what were they thinking with the rules for Asmodai)
2. Mortis Dreadnought
An already iconic DA unit, it's such a pity they didn't make the cut. It's not as if FW items aren't already in GW rulebook - take all dreadnought entries that reference autocannons or heavy bolters (not to mention hydras). I would have loved to field a mortis dreadnought (we still can but only with autocannons same as the rest of the chapters) and all it would have taken was a slight change to the army list entry.
3. Land Speeder Vengeance:
Compared to a predator it's hard to make a LSV justifiable. Sure, it fills a heavy slot in a RW only force, but the gun is just terribly conceived as basically being an assault 3 plasma gun. I can see a use for the pie plate, but it's very situational (i.e vs deepstriking terminators) and is going to make itself a priority target, needing both an auspex and darkshroud to make it function most effectively. With only 2 HPs (silly, considering the size and AV of the model) it will die very easily even to small arms fire. Compared to a triple lascannon predator for the same points it really doesn't come out very favourably.
While the Darktalon can almost be justified (would be better with a large blast gun but never mind) for the points, it's very hard to justify a Nephilim. A self-proclaimed 'air superiority fighter' with a major identity crisis (it has strafing run FFS!), it just can't compare to the flyers of other armies for the points you pay, especially with the likes of the stormraven being more widely available now and the stormtalon taking a price drop. Beautiful a model as it is, I just can't see it making its way into many of my lists until it gets an overhaul. My solution would be give the missiles ordnance and drop the points to around 150. It would function much better in both air and ground armour hunting that way, on par with other flyers.
5. Better FOC layout:
A very minor niggle here but I think a bit of FOC jiggling could have been done to make an all ravenwing army an easier build. A good example would be moving black knights to elites or one of the flyers to heavy. Saying that though I like how they structured the techmarine entry and hope all codices follow suit.