Saturday, 10 August 2013

Fixing the Dark Angels Codex

The new Space Marine rumours and subsequent Dark Angel and Chaos Space Marine player discontent made me want to revisit this topic as I firmly believe that there is always room for improvement in everything. With the advent of digital codices it is now easier than ever for GW to hold their hands up and say 'you know what, we didn't get it quite right, but here we'll fix it for you'. That of course would depend upon them admitting they're not perfect in the first place and thus, rarely happens. Dark Angels seem to be a bit of an exception to this, however, as it had a massive FAQ upon release and several unit entries were changed. I think this says more about the bad proofreading/playtesting for this particular book than anything, but it also gives me some hope that they may revisit the FAQ and fix some of the glaring issues that present themselves in the Codex. Here is my rundown of those issues and the fairly simple ways to address them. Please feel free to chime in to the debate, whether it's to agree, disagree or make further suggestions. Cheers.

The Dark Angels lack their iconic mortis dreadnought as well as anti-air power in this codex. One simple solution would be to add the mortis upgrade to the dreadnought entry for XX points. The FW version has both skyfire and interceptor if the dreadnought remains still. I would say for appropriate points costing this is a good ruleset and should allow the use of either twin autocannons, missile launchers or lascannons. I would expect that a venerable mortis lascannon dreadnought would come in at over 200 points but be well worth it and also make your opponent think about target priority before they waltz their heldrakes onto the board.

Again, one of the primary issues with the book is its lack of AA capability. The Nephilim really needs to be an air superiority fighter like it is billed. I would recommend a price drop to bring it more in line with more recent flyer releases as well as adding something to its firepower. The missiles are really the area that needs addressing, and I think either s7 or ordnance being added should suffice alongside a price drop. At the moment it just doesn't have that edge against other flyers. 

Dark Talon
Not much room to change things with the talon, but I think the primary armament would benefit from large blast and the entry overall from a small price reduction. 

Land Speeder vengeance
I haven't seen a single one of these since the codex was released and with good reason. It's more expensive than a las-predator and far less resilient with weaker firepower. The saving grace for this model is to make it more competitive. I would make the primary fire mode twin-linked and the secondary fire mode twin linked (maybe heavy 4), with the model overall dropping about 10 points. This would redefine its role somewhat and also make it a more considerable option against its peers. 

This is an issue that I take exception with in all 40k as it suspends the belief of what one is trying to recreate on the tabletop. When I see models conga-lined so that one model in a 10-model unit is within the range of the darkshroud and the furthest model is some 24" away from the radius of effect, it makes me sigh. Simple fix for this one, make the area of effect only apply to models, not the unit. You could argue the same for standards but as they are more about troops seeing the banner and being inspired than being physically concealed, I'm happy for conga-lining in those cases. 

It seems no surprise that most of the items in here relate to one of two things (or both). One is that the codex was clearly not written with addressing the relatively new concept of anti-air defence in 6th edition. One could blame the author, but then the same guy wrote the Tau codex released a few months later which has arguably the best AA defence in the game. The second issue seems to lie with all the new units introduced, which to me says poor design. The relative points costs, roles and capabilites of all of the new units mentioned above just seem half-thought through, which is sad really as many people were waiting a long time for a DA update, which seems to have been outdated relatively fast. Sadder still that they are the poster boys for this edition. So what do you say GW, own up to not getting things quite right and throw DA players a bone with fixing some of these oversights.


  1. Agreed, good points.

    But concerning the dark shroud ... I think that soemthing along the lines of the Shadowseer ability (that it can only be targeted when you see it with 2D6 x 2) would be fluff wise perfect, and with all those new cover ignoring weapons(S7 serpent shields ...), land speeder are just too fragile ..

  2. Have to agree with most of what you're saying mate. I was excited about the idea of starting a ravenwing army as I loved the idea of all those bikes and speeders zipping around. Sadly the banner/darkshroud converts the army into a gunline that just happens to be mounted on bikes. It's a real shame for the dynamic army that could've been possible. I'd also argue that they should've addressed the DW issue a bit. The individual units don't feel too expensive but at the same time you struggle to afford much at less than 2K points.

    I quickly lost interest in my DA army when the Tau book was announced as I'd been waiting for that since I started playing 40K again. The biggest shame for me is the flyer which is a stunning model let down by awful rules.

  3. The new Space Marine rumours and subsequent Dark Angel and Chaos Space Marine player discontent made me want to revisit this topic as I firmly believe that there is always room for improvement in everything. angel workshops