Dark Angels Advantages and Divergences

25 January 2012 | 5th Edition

With the current conflicting state of affairs regarding differences in same-name equipment, wargear and in some cases rules between the 4th Edition Codex Dark Angels, the 5th Edition Codex Space Marines and the 5th Edition 40K rulebook (BRB), it seems a good opportunity to flag up where the Codex Dark Angels offers advantages to our gameplay or significant divergence to either of them.

It is hoped that when or if challenged by an opponent unfamiliar with the intricacies of the Codex Dark Angels you can point out page references to cite the relevant Dark Angel RAW rule required.

Last updated in the light of changes brought about by the DA Update v1.2 released in January 2012.

Abbreviations used

C:DA = Codex Dark Angels and any subsequent related FAQ.
C:SM = Codex Space Marines and any subsequent related FAQ.
RAW = Rules As Written. BRB = Big Red Book (the Warhammer 40K main Rulebook) and any subsequent related FAQ.

Unless specified otherwise, all page numbers are from C:DA.

1. Dark Angels' Codex overrides the rulebook

Where items conflict in rules between the C:DA and the main 40K rulebook then the Codex always takes precedence unless we are told otherwise.

It is important to note and remember this, as will be seen later the C:DA diverges significantly from the rulebook regarding what can be scoring units.

2. Dark Angel special rules

Deathwing and Ravenwing

I have not covered the different organisation nor special rules of either of these companies as they are pretty well known. However, some more specialist aspects of their rules have been included where they diverge from the mainstream C:SM and BRB in similar units.

Deathwing Assault [page 28]
Any terminator-armoured character my attach to a DW squad to utilise Deathwing Assault.
This rule does not exist in C:SM.

Ravenwing Scout move [page 27]
Ravenwing bikes may not Turbo Boost during their Scout move.
C:SM Scout Bikes may Turbo Boost during their Scout move.

Ravenwing Sergeants [page 85]
When upgrading some weapons the sergeant retains his bolt pistol. Thus if he upgrades to a power weapon he gains an additional attack through having a special (power weapon) and a normal (pistol) weapon.
C:SM Bike sergeants loose ther bolt pistol when upgrading weapons.

Stacking weapons: Ravenwing sergeants can stack some of their weapons upgrades. Thus he could upgrade to have both a powerfist (or power weapon) and a plasma pistol too.
This is not possible in C:SM.

3. Dark Angel characters

DA Company Masters [page 80]
Masters can stack weapons choices allowed in the upgrades available in C:DA. Therefore a Master can have up to 3 different weapons eg: combine a plasma pistol, stormbolter and a power fist.
This is not possible in C:SM.

DA Chaplains and Interogator-Chaplains [page 80]
Both have BS5. Also both have 3 Attacks at Initiatve 5. However, the DA Chaplain is only Ld9.
The Interogator-Chaplain has 3 Wounds.
C:SM Chaplains are BS4 with 2 Attacks at Initiatve 4. But are Ld10.

DA Librarians [page 81]
These have BS5 and 3 Attacks at Initiative 5.
DA Librarians are also given two fixed psychic powers.
C:SM Librarians are BS4 with 2 Attacks at at Initiative 4. They may take 2 from a choice of 9 psychic powers.

DA Command squads [page 81]
Any DA HQ Independent Character can take a Command Squad. Think about that, you could have two Apothecaries if your army was big enough to warrant multiple ICs and Command squads, three if Belial is present.
In C:SM a Command squad can only be taken by a Captain.

DA Techmarines and Servitors [page 82]
The Techamrine is not and Independent Character and he takes up no space in the Force Org Chart.
C:SM Techmarines are Independent Characters taking an Elite slot.

Servitors are taken as part of the Techmarine's unit and he cannot leave them unless they are all killed.
C:SM Servitors can only be taken as separate unit(s) only.

Servitors themselves are WS4 and BS4.
C:SM Servitors are BS3 WS3.

4. Dark Angel units

DA Scouts [page 83]
DA Scouts squads are WS4 and BS4 and are taken as Elites choices.
C:SM Scout squads are a WS3 and BS3 Troops choice unit. Note that the Scout Sergeant remains WS4 and BS4.

DA Tactical squads [page 84]
Squads purchased as 5-man strong unit may take a special weapon.
This is not possible in C:SM.

DA Land Raiders / Crusaders [page 34, 35]
Land Raider Crusaders get a built-in multi-melta for free.
This rule does not exist in the C:SM.

Land Raiders carry fewer models than those in the C:SM:
The DA LR can carry 10 power armoured models (or 5 Terminators), the DA LRC 16 power armoured models (or 8 Terminators).
The C:SM LR can carry 12 (or 6 Terminators), the LRC can carry 16 (or 8 termies) respectively.

DA Drop pod [page 87]
Drop Pods carry fewer models than those in the C:SM.
The DA DP can carry 10 power armoured models (or 5 Terminators) or one Dreadnought.
The C:SM DP can carry 12 (or 6 Terminators) or one Dreadnought.

DA DPs do not have the Drop Pod Assault special rule.
The C:SM DPs Drop Pod Assault special rule forces 50% (rounding up) of them to enter play on Turn 1.

DA DPs do not have a locator beacon.
C:SM DPs do.

5. Dark Angel armoury

DA Terminator armour [page 53]
DA IC's in termy armour are not Relentless. With a combi-plasma upgrade they must follow the Rapid Fire rules so can't move and fire once to maximum range, but can move and fire two shots up to 12".
C:SM terminator-armoured models are Relentless.

DA Psychic hoods [page 38]
Have unlimited range.
C:SM Psychic Hood has a range 24".

DA Thunder hammer [page 52]
The Thunder hammer causes a 'crew shaken' result when it merely hits a vehicle.
C:SM follows the rules in the BRB where Thunder hammers must cause damage to grant the 'crew shaken' result.

6. Summary

With every new FAQ release during our 4th Edition Codex the DA's advantages and divergences have slipped away. When it comes to divergences slipping away sometimes this is good, the Storm Shield being a prime example. But the latest divergence to go is that of previously always scoring RAS Attack Bikes and Land Speeders, sadly rendered a thing of the past in January 2012 and can only be bad.

7. A note on updates

This article was last updated in early 2012 based on the Dark Angels 4th Edition Codex and the Space Marines 5th Edition Codex. No updates have been undertaken covering their respective 6th Edition Codexes.


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