The Dark Fortress

The Dark Vengeance army list

6th Edition

Dark Angel Company Master
"Grrr! where's a lascannon when you want one?".
Image: Coloured Company Master by MajesticChicken. Original art © Games Workshop.

Let's put the Dark Angels contingent from the Dark Vengeance 40K starter box into an army list to see how it holds together as a viable 'beginners' force.

Should be fairly straightforward shouldn't it?

The army list has been compiled using models and wargear that they come out of the box with. In some cases I've cheated and added 'invisible' wargear in the form of melta bombs (Company Master and the Ravenwing Sergeant), and an psychic Mastery upgrade (Librarian). These upgrades have added 45 points to the basic list.

We're using the 6th Edition Codex Dark Angels.

Unit Points
Company Master Balthasar
Power sword, combi-plasma, melta bombs
Librarian Turmiel
Force sword, bolt pistol, Mastery level 2
Deathwing Terminator Squad Barachiel (5)
1 x assault cannon, 1 x chainsfist
Tactical Squad Raphael (10)
1 x Veteran sergeant, 1 x plasma pistol, 1 x plasma gun,
1 x plasma cannon
Ravenwing Attack Squadron Arion (3)
1 x Veteran sergeant, 1 x plasma gun, melta bombs

That's 20 models on the table in total. And now you can see the reason to add the meltabombs and psychic upgrades as it takes the list to a more 'rounded' points value of 770.

A few points to note

As written on the Dark Vengeance roster sheet this would not be a legal 40K force as their is only one Troop unit. The Tactical squad would need to be rostered as two 5-man squads, one with the heavy weapon and the other with the special weapon (yes this is legal using the 6th Edition DA Codex), with a Sergeant added to one squad.

The Tactical and Ravenwing sergeants are Ld9 as per the Dark Vengeance roster details. This would actually be a 10 points apiece Veteran Sergeant upgrade from the DA Codex where these sergeants would only be Ld8 at base. To be honest this might be very worthwhile upgrade as the Master no longer has the battlefield-wide Rites of Battle Ld boost in the 6th Edition Codex so a good internal unit Ld value is essential.

The Librarian is unbelieveably cheap and comes with a bolt pistol and force weapon at base. He is only Mastery Level 1 base so again I'd recommend the upgrade to Mastery Level 2 as being automatic.

I haven't included the special edition character Interrogator-Chaplain Seraphicus in the above list as I'm guessing not many people would have him. He complicates the issue being yet another HQ choice — rendering the DA contingent illegal if everything was fielded at once when using the standard 40K force organisation chart. But for completeness sake here he is:

Unit Points
Interrogator-Chaplain Seraphicus
Crozius, plasma pistol

Is this out-of-the-box army any good?

In terms of structure, for a small list it isn't bad. Two HQ's are a bit overkill at this level — I don't usually consider two until at the 1750-2000 points size. But in terms of an army to learn with the Librarian is an interesting choice.

The proliferation of plasma-based weaponry as an obvious and in my opinion, misplaced hark back to out 3.5 edition codex where we had access to cheaper plasma cannons and a supposed excellence in using plasma weapons. All that disappeared in the 4th Edition Codex (as did a lot of other interesting DA stuff), but now seems back on the agenda. Unfortunately this supposed excellence doesn't help with the DA's resilience to Gets Hot!

To me the Ravenwing squadron looks a bit bland, for the same reason the Tactical squad does: no power fists or power weapons for the sergeants. This is a bit of a disappointment as far as these two units are concerned.

I really wish the RW Squadron had had an Attack Bike model too. Would have been a very usefull extra fast firebase model. Oh well.

The Deathwing squad has been traditionally set up like something from 2nd Edition Codex Angels of Death, with an assault cannon trooper, a chainsword trooper and a power sword-wielding sergeant. Nothing wrong it that but things have moved on a bit. I'm surprised there are no twin claws models or thunder hammer/storm shield models to add flavour. Still at least there isn't a heavy flamer — let's be thankful for that.

Lack of transport here is a big issue. Yes the Deathwing can deep strike and yes the bikers are mobile, but spare a thought for the foot slogging HQs and the Tactical squad in a game where mobility is king.

How could this list be improved?

Well bringing this lot up to 1000 points would be a start so that means 230 points to spend. Remember, this has to be a legal 40K force as defined by the Force Org chart in the main Rule Book. And here's the shopping list, some would be swaps for existing weapons or models rather than out-and-out additions:

  • Belial
  • One Terminator armour upgrade
  • One thunder hammer and storm shield
  • One Rhino
  • One lascannon
  • Two power weapons (swords)
  • Three meltaguns
  • One Attack Bike
Unit Points
Sword of Silence, storm bolter
Librarian Turmiel
Terminator armour, storm bolter, Mastery Level 2
Deathwing Terminator Squad Barachiel (5)
1 x assault cannon, 1 x chainsfist, 1 x th/ss
Tactical Squad Raphael (10)
1 x veteran sergeant, 1 x plasma pistol, 1 x power weapon, 1 x meltagun,
1 x lascannon, Rhino
Ravenwing Attack Squadron Arion (3+1)
1 x veteran sergeant, 1 x power weapon, 2 x meltaguns, melta bombs
1 x Attack Bike w/ multi-melta

Only 22 models on the table but more like it for all round general gaming versus a wide range of opponents I think. More importantly it is a legal force.

I still baulk at using the two HQs at this level frankly. Belial isn't cheap but he does make the DW squad Troops and has very useful force-multiplying special rules to make them more effective. Belial and the Attack Bike are maybe the best straight offensive and possibly game-changing additions here. The Attack Bike providing another importnat teleport homer don't forget.

With the Rhino there is a bit more mobility in the list. It would probably be worthwhile to combat squad the Tactical squad and put the Sergeant and meltagun in the transport, the lascannon combat squad remains on the table.

The Librarian can now Deathwing Assault with the DW squad if he wishes making his termy armour upgrade such a good purhcase.

Undoubtably Terminator-heavy this wouldn't be everyone's expansion ideal. Keeping Company Master Balthasar rather than using Belial would leave room for a Typhoon in the list. With an extra unit and less points spent on HQs it's another way to field 1000 points. Just remember to field two five-man Tactical squads instead of the one big one.


The models out of Dark Vengeance box are pretty much perfectly geared to face the Chaos opponents also included. Especially as the DW squad, Master and the Librarian all now have Preferred Enemy (Chaos) as part of their Inner Circle special rule (actually they don't as per the DV rules but we're moving on from them yes?). Deathwing gains Split Fire and Vengeful Strike, the latter ideal for ranged weapon DW squads as included in the box set. Tactical squads gain Stubborn, although this isn't always ideal as you can get tied up fighting close combats you can never win and be ground down through attrition. On the other hand it means you could stay in close combat even if you put in a poor display during any one particular turn of cc and then win the next.

Many of the Chaos models are Cultist infantry with 6+ armour saves, while only seven are wearing power armour with only the Helbrute having an AV value. All perfectly suited to being splattered by the DAs plasma weapons, bolters, power weapons, storm bolters and assault cannon, all aided by the Psychic powers of the Librarian (Prescience being my favourite from the Divination set).

For a relatively small points force it's pretty well balanced for small games, being generally average at most things but brilliant at nothing. The inclusion of Belial into the basic starter set would have greatly boosted its ability — and would have made it a legal list.

I'm hoping no points errors have crept into the army lists. Feel free to tell me if there are.


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