4th Edition Codex Dark Angels Review

4th Edition

DA Codex cover image

This review is intended to give a detailed summary of the new Codex and the implications to tactics and army list-building.

The review is in two major parts:

Part 1 (written by Isiah) looks at the physical aspects of the Codex,
Part 2 (written by Gillyfish) covers the major changes to the army list. Gillyfish's review was originally posted on the Bolter and Chainsword Forum during February 2007, and my thanks goes to him for allowing me to use it here too.

So let's dive in and see what we shall be playing with for the next 5 or 6 years.

Part 1

Overall look, background and presentation

The first thing to say is that this is a standalone Codex which is used without referencing the Codex Space Marines and this takes a bit of getting used at first — but at least it means you don't see the annoying "refer to Codex Space Marines entry page—" which has got to be a good thing.

The layout mechanics follows a similar style to the recent Eldar Codex and for me this is a definite improvement with weapons and wargear options locked into their respective units. But more of that later.

OK so the Codex is divided up into roughly four sections each further sub-divided into more specialist categories. But the main ones are:

The Dark Angels

The first section of the Codex has separate sections detailing specific background information on the Chapter, including their history; famous past battles, Chapter organisation and Rights of Initiation. Now some of this is new, other bits are recycled from the 1996 Codex Angels of Death and make a welcome comeback.

The Forces of the Dark Angels

The next section gives a complete run down on DA characters and special characters, the Ravenwing and Deathwing elite companies and their methods of warfare and all other units within a Dark Angels army. This is the real meat of the Codex and where much of the new items reside.

A useful section on weapons and wargear is here too — remember this is a standalone Codex so now a necessary inclusion — but much of this will be familiar to those who own Codex: Space Marines.

Within each unit, vehicle, character or equipment entry comes full game stats, weaponry and wargear carried plus any other special rules or features where applicable. So this will become a handy reference source during gameplay.

The Dark Angels Army

This section contains 16 colour pages of photographs of beautifully painted and made up armies, individual models (kind of like a mini Dark Angels catalogue) including some mini conversion ideas for things like a Deathwing Apothecary; illustrations of Dark Angels and various Successor Chapters' insignia and armour colours. Unusually, there is no painting guide but there is a small 'advert' for Games Workshop painting hobby guides.

There is also quite a bit of welcome new background to the Dark Angel Successors — including the introduction of some previously unknown Chapters. All have a brief history detailing their foundation and famous past battles etc. I am sure this will provide modellers and gamers alike with new army-building opportunities.

The Dark Angels Army List

The last section contains all game-related points costs for characters, units and vehicles together with all respective relevant wargear and weapon upgrade options. A summary sheet at the back of the Codex features all troop types, vehicles and character stats. This system prevents the common confusion of what types of wargear or weapons are available to who, so should make list building a bit easier as now it is tied in closely with little room for ambiguity.

I have two gripes with the Codex. First is that some of the illustrations are old (very old in some cases) which I found disappointing as they sit uneasily with the new artwork which is superb. But an overall 'lightning' of the page layouts has given the Codex has a nice accessible feel. Indeed the increased number of pages allows for some illustrations to be full page which adds to the character of the Codex and that can only be good.

Secondly the rather odd colour green used on the armour and vehicles in the photographs of completed army examples. it looks to me that these pictures have been retouched quite heavily and we are left with a totally unconvincing Dark Angels green. This is odd, because on the cut-out photographs of individual models the green is about right, although here the images are overall too dark and would benefit from a slight lightning in order to show more detail.

However overall there is a fair bit of new information to soak up for both the newcomer and fanatic alike — as it really expands on the scant knowledge we already have on the Dark Angels — as well as providing the tool to field and play a Dark Angel or Successor army. The design is much better and information is presented, to me anyway, more logically.

Part 2

Army List

The bit I suspect that most people are nervous about. I'll give you an overview first then later I will try and write a bit about the choices open to us.

There does seem to be a desire to simplify entries and limit choices to those they feel are most appropriate. Apparent 'no-brainer' choices have been removed or increased in points (so a basic Dreadnought costs more, you can't get terminator honours and Annihilators cost the earth). On the other side, certain choices are no more viable than their C:SM equivalent (Destructors, Veterans, Command Squads, Rhinos and Razorbacks). So there's a definite sense of 'swings and roundabouts' when compared to the normal SM Codex.

The DA army list definitely is more than a sum of its parts. With the exception of some of the special characters, the HQ choices seem underpowered when compared to their codex equivalents. However, Chaplains and Masters allow you to purchase certain additional equipment for Command Squads which benefit your army in different ways. So expect to see many more banners and, for that matter, Command squads. Each option is designed to work with the rest of the army. As we already know, the Ravenwing and Deathwing combination is potent. But other units also add things to your army. Command squads have the potential to be very useful to the troops around them. The option of having mutually supportive combat squads led by Veteran sergeants with power weapons shouldn't be sniffed at either. Interestingly, the DA have plenty of anti-tank capability open to them and they aren't all in the form of lascannon or multi-meltas; the option to equip every power-armoured sergeant in the army with cheap melta bombs means that your basic squads will have the potential to be very, very good all-rounders. They are now perfect for supporting your specialists as you need them to.

With the likelihood of DA armies consisting of lots of small squads, horde armies will be a menace. Interestingly, DA anti-infantry options seemed to have been given a bit of a polish, presumably to make up for this. There's also plenty that can take out MEQs. But the real shift in power seems to have been away from characters and vehicles and into the infantry. Want close-combat nastiness? use a Command Squad or Company Vets. Are they too slow for you? Take a Ravenwing Attack Squadron and the Master of the Ravenwing so you can give the bikes the Ravenwing banner. Then attach a Librarian or Chaplain on a bike and watch them carve into the enemy on turn one or two.

Before we dive in, a quick word on a couple of major changes to DA doctrine.

Hunt the Fallen

This has gone as has the special rule for Cypher. Many might not lament these exclusions, but it does take away a fluffy rule, The loss of these rules is odd considering the amount of times the Fallen and Cypher are mentioned in the DA background.

Allies

It would seem that Allies are no longer forbidden territory, although Dark Angel purists may baulk at the thought of taking Inquisitors, the lifting of this restriction could present some interesting possibilities for gameplay.

HQ Selection

The DA are spoilt for choice then it comes to HQ selections. With 'special' characters not requiring your opponent's consent to field, you can pretty much use anyone you like! One interesting thing is that you don't have any points limits or unit selections that you have to make in order to use the characters. So you can deploy Sammael in an army otherwise devoid of Ravenwing. The same goes for Belial. Now, as I said earlier, compared to straight SM characters, ours can seem distinctly underpowered (with some notable exceptions). The subject of terminator honours has been debated at some length already, so I won't go into that again. DA characters seem to come into their own in allowing you to take useful equipment elsewhere in the army or in what they add to your force and I shall be trying to consider them in that light.

One thing to note from the off. All DA characters are Fearless (in some form or other), but not many DA squads are. Therefore the only way to ensure that your character retains the Fearless ability is to use Deathwing, Ravenwing or Command Squads to accompany them. Chaplains are the exception here, as are one of the standards. So if you fancy making your Company Veterans Fearless, you'll either need to attach a Chaplain, use a standard (which would mean taking an Interrogator Chaplain in this instance) and then you could attach your other character and still have them count as Fearless. Anyway, I'm getting bogged down in detail here, so onto the entries.

Azrael

Azrael is a monster. Much of his equipment is already known, so I can confirm that the rumours about everything being master-crafted are true. The Lion Helm works pretty much as rumoured. In addition to bestowing his Ld characteristic on the army Azrael allows one member of a command squad to take the Chapter standard (basically the same as the rumoured abilities of the Deathwing banner), making that squad particularly lethal. He comes in at more points than Calgar (less than a Land Raider though) but is probably worth it if you're going to take a big army. Expect him to kill most things up close.

Belial

Belial with three 'free' interchangeable weapon options, comes in at just a few points cheaper than the standard C:SM equivalent. Except the latter will have an additional attack granted by his armour. I suspect that Codex Space Marines won't have that additional attack for too much longer because GW don't like 'no-brainer' options. On the plus side, you can attach Belial to one of those Terminator squads that arrive on turn one. Now, this may make Belial seem a poor value HQ choice. However, Belial's worth is not as a line character; he allows you to take terminators as troops as well as Elites and the Deathwing banner and Deathwing Apothecary he allows you to field should also make him a worthwhile choice if you are planning to go with a terminator-heavy force. The cost of doing this isn't too exorbitant either (or so it seems so far). As with other company masters, everyone gets his leadership too. Not much point for Deathwing armies, but otherwise rather nice…

Sammael

Probably the most discussed HQ option. He's quite expensive (again, more than Calgar but less than Azrael). At first the jetbike option seems the obvious one to take. Apart from the fact that the Plasma Cannon can still get hot. Oh, and that jetbikes can only fire as many weapons as they have riders. So I find myself wondering why he has two weapons!! GW oversight perhaps? That said, the possibility of taking a very fast plasma cannon with several wounds is still an attractive option and he should prove to be annoyingly effective in close combat. The flying Land Raider (sorry, Land Speeder) should be interesting too, especially since it can Deep Strike (but can't shoot the turn it arrives). The squad upgrades he allows are another good reason for taking him and they are pretty much identical to Belial's which should make for some tasty close combat bikers, especially if a bike riding Chaplain or Librarian are added. Again, Sammael's Ld value will be used by the rest of the army which in these days without stubborn, should prove to be very useful.

Ezekiel

He's only a touch more in terms of cost than Tigurius. However, he has better armour and just about everything he carries is master-crafted, so he should be able to cause some damage. Ezekiel has a choice of three psychic powers; more than any other Librarian I'm aware of. However, they are all pretty short range, although their potential destructive power is immense.

Mind Worm potentially allows you to eradicate dangerous enemy models, but you’re probably only going to get it past lower leadership enemies. It's also quite a restrictive power as it counts as a heavy weapon. That said, it affects everything with a leadership value so Necrons and Tyranids should have a reason to fear him. I'll discuss the other powers below. He's also our only Ld 10 Librarian so I would imagine he'll get some use. The book of salvation is nifty too, acting in exactly the same way as the sacred standard that Interrogator Chaplains grant you access to. I can see Ezekiel being used a lot, if for no other reason than as the primary anti-psyker defence in the army.

Interrogator Chaplains

They come in at more points than Codex Chaplains and grant the same abilities. They can use a bike, jump pack or terminator armour and they have a range of weapon choices that includes combi-weapons, plasma pistols, melta bombs and power fists. I would take this as an indication of two things:

  • Chaplains in standard marine armies are too cheap (makes sense — I can't remember the last time I saw a SM army without a Chaplain);
  • The ability to make the squad they lead Fearless is very useful to the DA.

Interrogator Chaplains also give you access to the sacred standard in your command squads which will make all DA within a certain radius Fearless. Which is great if you want to have another character attached to a squad that isn't usually Fearless. Since the Command Squad with the banner don't need to be with the Chaplain, this is actually pretty useful and it doesn't cost the earth either.

Chaplains

Like a Reclusiarch. They can't take terminator armour or give command squads a sacred standard. However, they still have a use (I think). Try giving them a bike and attaching them to a full Ravenwing attack squadron with Ravenwing standard. Everyone then gets an additional attack and the ability to re-roll misses on the charge. Should cause problems. Again, they are slightly more expensive than a standard Reclusiarch.

Company Masters

Cost wise, these guys are the same as a the C:SM equivalent if armed with an Iron Halo. Add to that a range of equipment and Fearless and you have your commander. He's a good option for the DA and has a good range of available upgrades including a jump pack, combi-weapons etc. No bike or terminator armour (because Sammael and Belial cover those angles). Again, he grants his Ld to the entire army (definitely worthwhile if you're taking the DA company focused option). He also allows you to take a company champion in your command squad; an option that DA get cheaper than codex marines. That's probably worth taking if your master is to be your only HQ option; attach the master to the squad to ensure you have the Fearless ability and you have a squad that can be used to maximise your cc potential.

Librarian

Another controversial change here. DA librarians come with two powers and cost a smidge more than a codex codicier. Their profile isn't as good as a codicier though (he is only Ld9). Having said that, the defensive psychic power should be handy.

The offensive power Hellfire has the potential to be devastating or useless (depends on how you roll). It uses the flamer template, so if you're planning to get the most out of your librarian you'll want to get him close to your enemy quickly. So you'll be wanting to take the bike, jump pack or terminator armour options (teleport). I'm veering towards the first two there. That should make him quite killy. Unlike the other HQ options he doesn't give your command squad any additional options but his psychic abilities may be quite handy.

Against opponents like daemon prices and such, Force Barrier the other psychic power, which allows you to take a Ld test to ignore a wound (any wound) will be very helpful, basically being a 2+ inv. save to the first wound after passing a psychic test of course.

Command squads

Okay, first the downside with these guys. They come in squads of five and you can't increase their numbers. Power weapons and fists cost the same as they do for characters (same as they do throughout the Codex). Plasma guns are more expensive than in Codex Chapters (again, carried across the codex).

Now for the upsides. They each have the profile of a Veteran Sergeant and are only slightly more expensive than Codex Veteran Space Marines without any upgrades. So the basic squad has good cc and morale.

They can be equipped for close combat, with two of them having plasma pistols or power weapons or power fists etc. Any number of them can be given melta bombs and two of them can be given a special weapon. One can be upgraded to be an apothecary and another to carry a company standard. Now here's where your choice of HQ plays a part. The Interrogator Chaplain allows you to upgrade the Standard Bearer to carry a Sacred standard (great if you want a line of Fearless marines). I can see myself using this option when I want to have a line of advancing combat squads. I'd keep these guys slightly behind my combat squads and arm them with two plasma guns. The line advances and these guys can provide supporting fire and counter charge anything that gets in the way. Your company master allows them to purchase a company champion, in which case you might as well get these guys charging into combat at the first available opportunity. Three power weapons charging and everyone with a base of two attacks? Yes please! If you're taking that option though you'll be wanting to ensure that they are screened behind your combat squads. Basically these guys work out as far cheaper than their codex equivalents if given the same equipment. Put them in a supporting role or use them to lead the charge into cc and they should do well.

Elites Selection

Deathwing Terminator Squad

You know much of this already; limited to five men, a more expensive assault cannon, cheaper heavy flamer, cyclone and chainfist and you can mix and match for free. Yes, you can give your cyclone-toting-termie claws now (I just like the way that trips off the tongue). Deathwing Assault is standard for terminators so you can use it in any game you take them in. You can attach terminator-armoured characters to the squad who can then assault in this manner too. They are a smidge more expensive than standard termies, which is probably due to their being Fearless (as well as being able to drop on turn one). You already know that they'll work well with Ravenwing bikers, but they are still be able to drop (if less accurately) on their own. This enables you to call your opponent's bluff with the Ravenwing if you wish. If you decide to use them in conjunction with the Ravenwing then the two unit types should be able to really deliver some shooty punishment. If there looks like there will be a unit that will punish the terminators with their next round of shooting, then it may be worth charging in with your Fearless Ravenwing bikers. Terminators can support them the following turn and you've cut down on the firepower directed at them. It's expensive and won't always work, but it might keep your terminators safe.

Dreadnought

The basic Dreadnought comes with the same equipment as in codex: SM, but with the addition of a searchlight and smoke launchers. However, he is a fair bit more expensive (as has been stated, it's more than a marine). Now, DA Dreads do have more weapons options (TL autocannon, plasma cannon, multi-melta, etc.) and many of them are free swaps. The cost of upgrading to missile launcher and TL lascannon is pretty much the same, but, as stated, the base cost is higher. On the plus side, any DA Dreadnought can be upgraded to Venerable for a price and there's no limit on the number of Venerable Dreads in an army (beyond the number of Elite choices you have). Now, I have put some thought into this and I suspect the points hike has been not so much about the price of an assault cannon (otherwise why put it in as basic equipment when less effective options could be used as the base, so that people have to really think about upgrading to the acannon?). Rather, I think it's because Dreadnoughts seem to have fallen into the 'no-brainer' category. I don't remember seeing a Space marine army without one, at least, not for some time. The additional cost may well make people wonder about taking them a bit more and might push them towards the other Elite choices.

Techmarines

These guys have had a tweak as have their Servitors! You already know that they don't take up an Elite slot nor are they an Independent Character any longer. The only condition on taking them is that you have to have taken a vehicle from the Elites or Heavy Support section if you are going to field one (or more). So transports and Speeder don't count. In terms of cost, your fully servo-harnessed techie is exactly the same as the Codex equivalent. Without the harness, he's slightly more costly but comes with artificer armour as standard. The servitors have been simplified in that there is now one profile for all of them. So they all now have the same ability to hit things up close and at range as a space marine. Another bonus is that they now also combine the benefits of a combat servitor with those of a tech servitor. So they have a servo-arm (not a powerfist — this is one attack at the same strength as a SM powerfist) and a ccw as standard. The upgrade to carry a gun is standard no matter the choice you take. So there's no difference between a heavy bolter, a multi-melta and a plasma cannon (no upper limit for the latter either). In cost terms, this makes for a light increase on a gun servitor with a heavy bolter and a decrease for the other two. So it's now entirely possible to buy three dreadnoughts and assign each a techmarine with servitors to fix it. So you can quite happily take a support Dread and then give him a Techie with two combat servitors (who can fix it) and two plasma cannon armed ones. Stay stationary and blast the living daylights out of anything you fancy. They can also take a transport vehicle or Drop Pod.

Company Veterans

As with Command Squads, these guys each come with the same stat lines as a Veteran Sergeant. They are far cheaper than their Codex Marine Veteran equivalents if equipped with Termie Honours. They get the standard grenades and you can choose whether to have the bolt pistol/ccw or bolter/bolt pistol combo. They get the standard three transport options too. Now the upgrades (the fun part). You can add up to five further models (the only squad to have this option in the army), so squads of six or ten are perfectly viable. Now, you can only give them one special and one heavy weapon, but in terms of other options you can have a field day. For a start, you can give three of them a power weapon, plasma pistol, lightning claw (single or double), thunder hammer, storm bolter, power fist, combi-weapon (but these are 'or' choices, not 'ands', although you can mix and match between most of the options I've listed). Any of them can take combat or storm shields and melta bombs. For some unknown reason, plasma cannons are more expensive for this squad than for DA Tactical Squads, although all the other heavy and special choices are the same price. Now, they have the potential to get pricey if equipped with power weapons and other gubbins, but I'd imagine that most people will want to have a few ablative veterans, so that probably isn't too big a deal. However, power weapons and other equipment cost the same as they do for characters so you really have to think about the role you want them to perform. They can use the combat squad rule if you use the maximum number of marines in the unit. The damage potential from these guys and a Deathwing or Ravenwing banner in close proximity is quite eye-wateringly high.

Scouts

Pretty much the same options as in the Codex SM in terms of wargear and cost (but our shotguns are better at S4). However, Veteran Sergeant is standard and they can use combat squads. Both heavy weapons choices are more expensive (double) and the power weapon, plasma pistol and power fist options for the sergeant are charged at character prices (same throughout the 'dex, so this will probably be the last time I mention it). The sergeant can also take melta bombs. All of them have grenades (quite useful) and they can use combat squads (which counteracts the cost of the heavy weapons a little in my view). All of them can have sniper rifles too, should you wish to do so.

Troops Selection

Tactical Squad

Right. You already know that it starts off as five men with a Veteran Sergeant. They all have the much-publicised frag, krak and bolt pistol in addition to their bolters. The sergeant can have a bp/ccw instead and he can upgrade the ccw to a power weapon or fist, or he can upgrade the pistol to plasma. he can also get melta bombs pretty cheaply, which may be a nice addition to the squad's anti-armour capabilities. The squad can be upgraded to ten men and can then have a heavy weapon. Special weapons can be bought from the off. The interesting things here are the prices. Missile Launchers, Heavy Bolters and Multi-Meltas can all be bought for the same price (so H. Bolter's have gone up in price slightly), plasma cannon have come down in price from C:SM and lascannons have gone up slightly (basically they swapped prices). In terms of special weapons I suppose the headline news is that plasma guns are more expensive. Meltas are the same and flamers are slightly cheaper. Obviously the unit can use the combat squads rule. The rejigging of the points may well reflect the fact that GW wish to cut down on the las/plas combo, or the fact that plasma guns are now more useful in a combat squad context (you're more likely to get into rapid-fire range). Of course, it could be the fact that nearly all plasma weapons cost the same amount. Pass. Anyway, in an army that doesn't include MotDW or MotRW, these guys will be your key unit. They actually do seem to fulfil the 'tactical' label — they are jacks-of-all-trades. I think they could be profitably used to complement your big hitting unit — be they assault or shooting. What do I mean by this? Well, your 'assault' combat squads provide excellent close support to assault squads and can always charge in to lend a hand and your 'shooty' combat squad can supplement the weaponry of the Devastators or tanks by concentrating on targets that those units haven't been equipped to deal with. Nothing new there perhaps, but you'd hope that the special weapon option will now get more use in addition to the heavy weapon option. Your opponent might have to chose between shooting at the anti-tank Dev squad or the combat squad with melta gun and melta bombs (not to mention krak grenades). I think only time will tell how effective they are.
They have the standard transport options.

Fast Attack Selection

Assault squads

Your basic Assault Marine costs the same as his Codex:SM equivalent but comes with krak grenades as well. The sergeant can be customised fairly well with options for a plasma pistol, power weapon, fist, melta bombs and a combat shield (no claws, hammers or storm shields though — sorry). The unit can deep strike and if upgraded to ten can split into two combat squads. The option for flamers has gone, which is a shame. Plasma pistols can be given to two squad members (in addition to the sergeant), although they cost about three times as much as in C:SM. I have to say, I'm yet to be convinced that they are worth that much, but perhaps that's what playtesting has revealed. Anyway, they can ditch their jump packs and take a standard transport (not a Razorback though) if they wish for free. Now that may give you a cheap option for a squad of five, but it may not be worth it for ten. Depends on the role you want them for I suppose! I confess that my initial reaction to them having the combat squad rule was 'Why would you want them to split?' but I can see that that might be useful against Tau or Guard where two squads can prevent two of you opponent's squads from firing and you still have a good chance of slaughtering them. Against MEQs I would have thought that ten would be necessary. Still, the option is there!

Ravenwing Attack Squadron

Ooo, where to start? Okay, you already know that the base unit is 3 bikes (including veteran sergeant) and that it can be upgraded with a further three bikes and an attack bike and Land Speeder (with HB and AC — that's fixed in this entry). You also know that they can split into four units. Now a bit more nitty-gritty; the attack bike can be bought without upgrading to six bikes. The Land Speeder only comes once you have six bikes (you don't have to have the Attack Bike). The attack bike can choose between HB or MM options without incurring any additional cost. The attack bike itself costs exactly the same as it does in C:SM. The Land Speeder is about twice that. All Bikes and the Attack Bike have Scouts and Fearless, frag, krak, teleport homers and either a bolt pistol or chainsword. Two bikers have the option of having a special weapon and the cost of those is the same as it is for a Tactical Squad. The sergeant can have the usual power weapon, fist, plasma pistol and melta bombs. Now for the good bit. Each bike works out at the teensiest-tiniest point increase over the standard C:SM biker. The Ravenwing have stolen something of a march in the biker department it would seem…

Ravenwing Support Squadron

Some bad news here first; the base-cost of a Land Speeder has increased. They cannot deep strike (predictable, since GW seem to have regretted giving that option to C:SM in the first place - hence the FAQ. Not a big deal since RW could never deep strike their speeders anyway. *Shrugs*). That means the MotRW in Land Speeder is the only Land Speeder in the army that can deep strike. Now, you can have a maximum of five speeders (it starts at one) in this unit so they can be bigger than the Codex equivalent, so the squadron (if maxed out) is probably more survivable the the SM equivalent (ablative Land Speeders anyone?). All get the choice of having a multi-melta or a heavy bolter. One can be upgraded to a typhoon (for less cost than the Codex SM equivalent) and another to a tornado with either heavy flamer or assault cannon. the latter upgrade has increased slightly in cost, the former remains the same. So you can still have a speeder with HB/HF or MM/AC should you so wish. This entry seems a good way to deploy those single speeders (of any type) that we all have or a small squadron of them. They may be worth the additional points (in other words, too cheap in C:SM), but until a few games are under my belt with the new 'dex I honestly can't say for certain. I would be interested to see how a full squadron does though.

Heavy Support Selection

Devastator squad

All the 'usual' gubbins first; frag, krak, bolt pistol, vet sergeant, combat squad, standard transport options. The Vet Sergeant can be given melta-bombs, power weapon, fist, plasma pistol etc. Interestingly, the way it's worded means he can be given a bolter and power weapon but the tactical squad vet can't (only a power weapon/pistol combo there, I'm afraid). Onto the heavy weapons. They can take four heavy weapons from the off — no need to take a ten man squad. Compared to C:SM costs, the HB, lascannon and missile launcher have remained at the same price. Multi-meltas and plasma cannons have dropped in price. So we actually win out a bit with this entry. In addition the combat squads rule adds a very welcome degree of flexibility to the squad, allowing you to tailor each combat squad to a specific role. I can see plasma cannons getting more use and possibly even the multi-melta. Since the Vet Sergeant's presence is going to mean that a lot of people don't want to 'waste' his additional attack I can see people using a combat squad to assault with (whether it has heavy weapons or not!). Interestingly, I think this does actually open up the possibility of deploying your Vet forward (or in a transport vehicle to get them into position) along with a couple of multi-meltas to really cause some anti-tank problems — they then also have the option of charging into cc after a suitable volley of pistol fire! However, that could be quite a difficult tactic to pull off!

Tanks overview

Okay, I'm going to be quite brief about the tanks as they are something of a known quantity. I will pull out nuggets of interest for you though, especially where things have changed. One note before I start; all DA vehicles come with searchlight and smoke as standard. I'm sure most of you knew that already though!! Extra armour has gone up in price (three times that of C:SM), storm bolters have come down, hunter-killers are the same as are dozer blades. Power of the machine spirit cannot be purchased - only Land Raiders have it and it comes as standard.

Land Raider

Same price as C:SM. No dozer blade option for DA (which make A LOT of sense). Other upgrades mentioned above are available.

Land Raider Crusader

Cheaper but without extra armour as standard (well, it is supposed to be 'extra' armour) which makes up the deficit. Can take sixteen marines (termies count as two as standard now). Otherwise the same as C:SM. Same upgrades available as the Land Raider.

Predator

The vehicle entry with the most changes. All standard upgrades (including the dozer blade) are available. Without sponsons the Predator is cheaper than the C:SM alternative whether armed with Autocannon or Lascannon. The traditional Destructor pattern (with HB sponsons) is cheaper than C:SM Destructor without sponsons! The full Annihilator (lascannon sponsons) is more expensive than the C:SM variant by more than the cost of a marine. TLLC with HB sponsons comes out at exactly the same price as in C:SM. AC with LC sponson is a smidgen more expensive than the Codex equivalent. Basically, sponson prices have gone up considerably. I suspect we'll be seeing quite a few more Destructors, but it's nice to see that a Predator without sponsons is now a bit more realistically priced!

Whirlwind

Same price as C:SM. Standard DA upgrades are available. You don't get the option of having Castellan mines, instead you get the incendiary version — Basically a bolter pie-plate that negates cover saves. Great for getting horde armies out of cover and into the open where you can hit them with everything else!

Vindicator

Same price as Codex:SM.

Transport Section

Now here is an interesting thing; there's no wording that says a transport has to stay assigned to the unit it was purchased with. Maybe it says it somewhere else that I have missed (I have looked though) or in the main 40k rulebook. However, it does say 'dedicated' transport option, but it isn't terribly clear what they mean by that as they haven't spelt it out in the same way they have in the marine 'dex. I sense a FAQ coming on…

Rhino

Cheap! Very cheap! It still has the Repair rule and the standard DA upgrades available to it. Now a far more attractive option. And with two Stormbolters.

Razorback

Again, cheaper than they were, in fact by more points than the reduction for a Rhino (for the HB one anyway). Still has a transport capacity of six and comes with the standard DA upgradesavailable to it. The twin-lascannon version still works out cheaper than the C:SM equivalent despitethe fact that the price of the upgrade has gone up. Still, it's cheaper than buying five men and alascannon! Again, I suspect these are now more viable, especially with all the combat squads thatwill be floating around.

Drop Pods

More expensive and there's no option for deathwind missile upgrade at all. The rules for using a drop pod and the way it lands have been tweaked slightly, but I can't really go into those in any detail without infringing IP, so I won't! Suffice to say that they are broadly the same. They can still transport terminators despite the fact that Terminators don't have access to them (presumably useful if you are dropping characters attached to squads that can drop). I suspect we'll see fewer of these. They are still listed as a Dreadnought transport option by the way.

Conclusion

So that's it. Our Codex for the next 4 or 5 years maybe. Whilst some of the new rules may be not to everyone's taste and overall there is a lack of both flexibility in wargear options and choice of units, we are going to have to live with it, discovering new ways of playing and winning. I think it is a very nicely presented package, with the usual high production values associated with Games Workshop, but it does lack the significant items that made the DA a great Chapter to game with: Stubborn upgrades, the three Sacred Standards and Asmodai.

OK so now all I need to do is go and memorise it.

Overall Rating

Rating score 3 out of 5

Price

UK PRICE: £12.00 (when first published)
ISBN: 1-84154-807-3
PRODUCT CODE: 60 03 01 01 009


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