A review of the DA Official FAQ
Update version 1.2
released January 2012

20 January 2012 | 5th Edition

DA FAQ 2012 page 1 DA FAQ 2012 page 2 DA FAQ 2012 page 3 DA FAQ 2012 page 4

In a low key launch from GW reminiscent to that of January 2011, a raft of Official Updates were recently released for most 40K codeces and the main rule book too. The Dark Angels', now at v1.2, was part of that release. So what's in it for us?

Any DA FAQ is greeted with great expectation around here of course as there's no knowing what GW might change — especially after last years unexpectedly positive changes for us. But in this instance those expectations have seriously flat lined I'm sorry to say. And the timing seems peculiar for the DA too, one might expect a Necron FAQ as that codex is new and hasn't yet had one. But the DA?

Down to small the print

I will follow previous formats here and look at the whole faq as a new standalone item, even with so few new items from the previous one.

There are 8 items in the Errata section alone where typos are cleared up and they are all as the v1.1 update. There are 27 rules questions clarified in the FAQ section — with 3 new ones not covered in the previous FAQ.

But as last years' the headline to this update comes within the Amendments section — of which there is one new addition (item number 2) to the existing 12.

I have classified these updates into four broad types:

Typo addition
a straight change or addition to the printed text.

RAW
where the rule was covered by RAW but was misleading or confusing or just needed reinforcing.

Clarification
where the rule was not covered specifically by RAW so required further explanation.

New Rule or an Amendment
where the FAQ has created something different to existing RAW, or something new entirely.

I'll cover headline section first:

1. The Amendment items

All items here fall into the New Rule or Amendment category.

1 Narthecium/Reductor
In game terms now confers Feel No Pain USR as in C:SM.
Comment: A great boost for Greenwing Command squads and of course Ravenwing and Deathwing squads where an Apothecary is present. Greatly improves immunity to massed small arms fire — and for the whole unit.

2 Ravenwing Combat Squads
The gist of the change surrounds Ravenwing Attack Squadron combat squads. Attack Bikes and Land Speeders are now considered as being "independent units of one model". All reference to them being independent scoring models has been removed.
Comment: A blow for the Ravening. No more scoring RAS Attack Bikes in the Fast Attack slots and no more scoring RAS speeders anywhere. In truth this follows the ruling of the 5th Edition rule book vis-à-vis only Troop units and non-vehicles being able to score. But three and a half years into 5th Edition and with 6th expected in July 2012 why change it now?

3 Typhoon missile launcher
Functions as the Typhoon missile launcher in C:SM.
Comment: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. Rather like the cyclone (see below), a great boost at no additional cost. The Ravenwing's Typhoon can now be kitted out as a heavy fire-support chassis for a measly 75 points despite the higher base cost of our speeders. Probably the unit that will see the biggest useage increase - particularly in support of Deathwing armies.

4 Cyclone missile launcher
In game terms now functions as the cyclone in C:SM.
Comment: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. Despite the performance boost the existing DA points cost has not changed making this weapon a very good choice. The extra shot doubles its firepower and takes it very close to the performance (in some situations) of the more expensive assault cannon. Expect to see Deathwing units spamming these bad boys.

5 Sniper rifle
In game terms now functions as the Sniper rifle in C:SM.
Comment: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. The change of weapon type is brought about by the status of 'sniper' weapons in the 5th Edition rule book.

6 Storm shield
Now functions as the storm shield in C:SM.
Comment: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. Another excellent boost at no cost change. The 'free' upgrade to a Deathwing terminator model making this a very attractive tool for Deathwing builds. Again as with cyclones, expect to see these extensively spammed.

7 Whirlwinds multiple missile launcher, and Whirlwinds
In both cases now function as those named items in C:SM.
Comment: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. A bringing into line exercise and a good boost.

8 Power of the Machine Spirit
Now functions as PotMS in C:SM.
Comment: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. Massive boost to Land Raiders in terms of firing but a disadvantage in terms of no longer being able to move when Crew Stunned. Expect to see more extra armour taken on Raiders to compensate maybe.

9 Drop pods, profile
Now as Drop pods in C:SM.
Comment: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. Another alignment exercise but our pods are still more expensive than those in C:SM and lack Drop Pod Assault, the Locator Beacon and two seats!

10 Combat Shields
Now function as combat shields in C:SM.
Comment: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. Not an improvement per se but were not used that widely anyway, so not a great detriment overall I don't think.

11 Smoke Launchers
Now function as Smoke Launchers in the main 5th edition rule book.
Comment: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. Well it's brought us into line but I'm ambivalent on the actual gameplay outcome. I see this as a slight loss.

12 Company Veteran squad, options
Upping the cost of this units storm shields to that of C:SM's Command squad entry. Comment: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. Reflecting the storm shield's new abilities yes but a strange one this given the lack of points changes on other boosted weapon or wargear updates.

2. The Errata items

Note that all these items are straight cut and paste from the previous Update v1.1 of Jan 2011 with no new additions.

1 Combat Squads
New Rule: With a bit of thought GW neatly brought the DA into line with the 5th Ed rule book.
Comment: It means that only DA troop units are scoring, and, remain scoring until the last man. So no more loopholes allowing Vets, Scouts, Devs and Assault Squads to be scoring units at 50% and above.

"Units held in reserve may not be split into combat squads and vice versa" note that this line has been deleted and is key to unlocking later FAQ issues so keep it in mind.

2 Sacred Standards
Typo addition: Clearly stating rules apply to friendly units only.
Comment: Long overdue and a useful clarification but common sense would have pointed this way anyway. For those that use Sacred Standards at least it means that your rules-savy opponent can't claim any advantage.

3 Book of Salvation
Typo addition: Again clearly stating rules apply to friendly units only.
Comment: Long overdue and a useful clarification but common sense would have pointed this way anyway. And again stops any opponent rules-lawyering so ultimately that has got to be good.

4 Ravenwing Company Standard
Typo additions: So only one Standard, no surprise there.
Comment: A bit of an odd rule to correct, but clarification is always better than no clarification. But did anyone attempt to take more than one Standard?

5 Searchlights
Typo addition: Clearly stating how searchlights function with regards Night Fight and shooting.
Comment: Useful but I hadn't encountered a problem with this anyway.

6 Command Squad weapon upgrade options
Typo addition: Tidies up a messy rule.
Comment: Never an issue as far as I know, but great that it's been clarified nevertheless.

7 Veteran Squad weapon upgrade options
New Rule: It would seem that all models in a Veteran squad can now upgrade their weapons.
Comment: An interesting development and it's a great boost for these squads (which were good anyway) and means that at least we have a highly customisable if but expensive unit with which to take on the Sternguard Vets and other specialist cc units.

8 Scout Squad weapon upgrade options
Typo addition: Tidies up a messy issue that caused some awkwardness.
Comment: Long overdue, but now we know that Scout Sergeants can take a sniper rifle.

3. The FAQ items

Most of these items were in the previous DA update, but there are a couple of new ones thrown in here. More interesting was the one that has now been taking out. That referred to being able to ask your opponent for permission to use items from the (then) new Codex:SM.

There are a lot of items in this section, 24 in fact. Three items are new: Q3, 4 and 16.

Q1 ATSKNF and regrouping
Clarification: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. Clearing up a slightly confusing rule.
Comment: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. Well it's RAW but useful nonetheless.

Q2 Combat squads in vehicles
RAW: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. Reinforcing the main rule book that clearly states that only one unit may occupy a transport at any one time, including during deployment.
Comment: A slightly reworded question from the previous faq that now includes deployment in a dedicated transport.

Q3 Deploying combat squads into different locations
Clarification: Clears up any confusion over the deployment positions of combat squads.
Comment: This is also present in the January 2012 Space Marines Update and thus follows suit. Tidies up what could be a contentious area.

Q4 Deploying combat squads with Infiltrate special rule
Clarification: A very similar question to Q3 above.
Comment: This is also present in the January 2012 Space Marines Update and thus follows suit. Tidies up what could be a contentious area.

Q5 Taking a Razorback for a 10-man squad
Clarification: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011.Yes 10-man squads can take a Razorback.
Comment: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. This one has saved a lot of repeat questions I should imagine. Obviously all 10 can't sit in it at once, wounds will have to be taken or the squad combat-squadded.

Q6 Outflanking RAS speeders
RAW: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. Saves embarrassing moments at deployment.
Comment: As RAS speeders don't have the Scout special rule was it ever an issue?

Q7 Techmarine mending inside a vehicle
Clarification: A useful one at that.
Comment: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. Great new for embarked Techies.

Q8 Techmarine multiple mending
Clarification: A useful one at that.
Comment: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. No more multiple fixing.

Q9 PotMS and Smoke
Clarification: Tidies up a messy issue.
Comment: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. This would sometimes come up for discussion during a game as the rules for Smoke Launchers and PotMS seemed to clash.

Q10 Drop pods, Combat squads and arrival from reserve
Clarification: This ruling is a direct reversal of that used in the earlier "Canadian" FAQ. DA cannot put split combat squads into reserve, deploying one in a pod, and the other either from reserve or on the table.
Comment: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. Follows the rule book.

Q11 Deploying empty drop pods
New Rule: Useful addition as there are a couple of tactical tricks now opened up.
Comment: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. An odd one this, but good for building cheap objective-grabbers as dedicated transports can at least contest objectives, and for building a drop pod wall for cover (though terrain is cheaper!!).

Q12 Immobilised drop pods
RAW: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. Simple clarification.
Comment: RAW so not really an issue.

Q13 Drop pods scattering off the table
RAW: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. Simple clarification.
Comment: RAW so not really an issue.

Q14 Assaulting from drop pods on the turn they land
Clarification: Shuts the gate once and for all on this one.
Comment: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. A very useful clarification to existing but confusing conjunction of rules (ie open topped vehicles and no assaulting on arrival from deep strike). It was contentious when the DA book first came out, but seemed to have died a death due to the imposition of common sense. In tournaments this was frequently included in House Rules anyway.

Q15 Which psychic powers are 'shooting'
RAW: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. Sorts shooting from assault phase psychic powers.
Comment: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. A useful clarification but not earth shattering as the rules were pretty clear anyway. No real change to gameplay and with DA Librarians being so unpopular now (apart from those in terminator armour) this will effect few people.

Q16 Rolling to hit with Mind Worm
Clarification: As Mind Worm is a shooting psychic power rolling to hit is a requirement unless told otherwise.
Comment: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. The rules were pretty clear anyway but useful clarification nonetheless.

Q17 Limit to wargear
Clarification: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. No limit to those who have the option – and they can use them all.
Comment: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. Not a problem as it was covered by RAW.

Q18 Company Masters and three weapons
Clarification: Uniquely DA Masters can have three weapons – but be modeled as such.
Comment: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. Although it was covered by RAW it's useful primarily for the modeling comment.

Q19 Chaplains and Librarians on bikes
Clarification: No Ravenwing special rules for characters on bikes bought as wargear.
Comment: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. As strange one this – particularly for the Chaplain as he is listed in the Chapter Organisation chart (p15 DA Codex) as being a de-facto member of the Ravenwing, so surely a sloppy oversight on GW's part here. The Librarian not getting RW rules is more understandable but still a bit nit-picky.

Q20 Company Champion and Azrael
Clarification: Azrael gets a Command squad, but not the Company Champion.
Comment: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. A straight RAW issue now put to rest.

Q21 Deathwing and Ravenwing specialists
Clarification: Good news for those who want to load everything onto just one model.
Comment: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. Covered by RAW but needed clearing up.

Q22 Combi-weapons and costs for Company veterans
Clarification: States that all combi-weapons are the same cost.
Comment: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. Not a major issue and could have been sorted by common sense so no change here.

Q23 Storm Shields and Company Veterans
Clarification: Storm shields for all no matter what weapon upgrade.
Comment: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. Note though that Vet squad storm shields have gone up in cost.

Q24 Expandable Squads
Clarification: For those who would try to build large squads by adding multiples of 5 additional models to a single unit.
Comment: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. This was a RAW issue mainly, brought up on a web forum, but unlikely to ever have been attempted in all seriousness on the tabletop.

Q25 Scout Sergeants and Sniper rifle upgrades
Clarification: Thumbs up for Scout Sergeants.
Comment: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. This rule is actually redundant as it is covered by Errata item #8. A cut and paste from the previous FAQ that should have been deleted.

Q26 Veteran Sergeants weapon and wargear upgrades
Clarification: A thumbs up for Veteran Sergeants.
Comment: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. Again, this rule is actually redundant as it is covered by Errata item #7. Another cut and paste from the previous FAQ that should have been deleted.

Q27 Choosing to shoot bolt pistols rather than another weapon before assaulting
Clarification: Clearly states what can be done in terms of shooting which weapon.
Comment: In Update v1.1 of Jan 2011. One of the advantages of carrying a bolt pistol now fully set in stone. Still, it doesn't help you to remember you can do it though does it?

OK I hope I've not missed anything.

4. Summary

An update where the changes to Ravenwing Combat Squads were the main headline and probably should have been sorted out in last years update anyway. Nothing much else was brought to the table. Certainly no closer coming together with C:SM in terms of unit points costs etc. Another missed oportunity then to create a more level playing field?

With 6th Edition launching in July 2012 and the rule book seems likely to include extensive FAQs within it to bring codexes quickly up to date and with 2013 looking odds-on for a new DA Codex anyway, in all probability this might be the last standalone Update for our current Codex that we will see. Unless of course, GW hash up Codex integration with 6th Edition which of course is quite pssible.

Overall a disappointing FAQ for the DA. But no doubt welcomed by non-DAers who could never understand how a speeder should be able to score anyway.


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