In this section we will have a look at the Warhammer 40000 Dark Angel army, the successor chapters and how to win more games using them.
Introduction to the Dark Angels
Ok, let’s get something out of the way up-front. Even though the Dark Angel army looks like the generic Adeptus Astartes Ultra Marine army, they are not the same and have quite a different style of play. If you play your Dark Angle army in the way that you play standard Space Marines, you will loose!
The next major point is that the Dark Angel army is not one army, but three. There in the Battle Line army with your tactical Space Marines, there is the Ravenwing with the fast strike force units, and there is the Deathwing with the Terminator armoured close combat troops. To win games you will need all three, and you will need then in the right balance.
In the 2017 Codex: Dark Angels you can find the army specific rules starting on page 134.
- Also see: Warhammer 40k 8th Edition Space Marine Tactics
- Also buy: Discount Dark Angel Codex and Models from Element Games
Dark Angle Chapter Tactics
On page 134 of the Codex: Dark Angles we are introduced to the Dark Angel Chapter Tactics. These are two special rules that you can use if you have a detachment that is battle forged and only contains Dark Angel units. You can find the rules for battle forged detachments in the main rule book on page 240. Basically the Chapter Tactics are rewards for playing a well formed detachment using only Dark Angles ( or successor chapters ). If you can create a battle forged army then the extra rules certainly may it worth while!
Defenders of Humanity
This is a special rule that we have seen (by other names) in all the 8th edition codexes. Basically it means that it is easier to capture and hold objectives if you have a Dark Angle only detachment. Not all battle have objectives and objective marker, but since their introduction in the 7th edition of WH40k they are very popular as they force the game to be more dynamic. Before objective marker player use to just form barracked battle lines and shoot at each other from a distance.
As most armies that you will face will be battle forged too this rule does tend to cancel it’s self out. However if you are not playing a battle forged detachment you will be at a disadvantage.
This is a uniquely Dark Angel special rule. The Grim Resolve special rule has two parts. The first represents the Dark Angel superb defensive fire control, and the second part represents the legendary Dark Angle stubbornness.
Strict Fire Discipline
Dark Angel Battle Forged Detachments can re-roll 1’s to hit in the shooting phase, if they did not move in the previous movement phase. As I understand it, coming in from reserves counts as moving, so new arrivals do not get this bonus when they arrive.
This bonus is slightly different from the Company Masters ‘Rights of Battle’ special rule. The Rights of Battle allow re-rolls of 1 for units withing 6″ of the Master, and works in the Fight phase as well as the Shooting and Overwatch phases. The Rights of Battle also works even the unit has moved. The Strict Fire Discipline only affects Infantry, Bike, and Dreadnought.
The effect of the Strict Fire Discipline is that it encourages your Battle Line troops to get in to position fast and stay there. The result of this special rule is that stationary units will hit 7 out of 9 times. This is up from 6 out of 9 for standard Space Marines. This is great except that Tactical Objective based games favour armies that are more fluid. The way around this is to have units who’s objective is to hold the line and some units that will go forth and grab objectives under the covering fire provided and some units that specialise in close combat. Enter the Ravenwing and Deathwing!
Dark Angle Stratagems
On page 135 of the 2017 Codex: Dark Angels you can find 26 stratagems for the Dark Angel army. This a good number of stratagems for a single army.
Battle Line Dark Angel Units
You won’t find references to Battle Line Units in the Codex. Battle Line Units is a phrase I use to identify the rank and file units of the 3rd to 9th Companies. The battle line units will be the core your army.
In the Battle Line section you will find most of the Dark Angle units. Dark Angel Battle Line Units include:
- Chaplain, Primaris Chaplain
- Librarian, Primaris Librarian
- Master in Power, Gravis, Cataphractii, or Terminator armour
- Primaris Lieutenants
- Intercessor Squads
- Scout Squads, Scout Bike Squads
- Company Veterans
- Chapter Ancients
- Dreadnoughts, Venerable Dreadnought, Redemptor Dreadnought
- Devastator Squads
- Hell blaster Squads
- Stalkers, Hunters, and Whirlwinds
- Land Raider, Crusader, Redeemer and Repulsor
- Stromraven Gunship
Deathwing Dark Angel Units
Deathwing Terminator armoured units can be tactical, backed up with Land Raiders they can even be fast, however they are too expensive to field in enough number to win games. For this reason they are best used as close combat troops, and as close combat troops they are awesome!
Dark Angel Deathwing Units include:
- Masters in Terminator or Cataphractii Armour
- Chaplains and Interrogator Chaplains in Terminator Armour
- Librarians in Terminator Armour
- Deathwing Apothecary
- Deathwing Ancient
- Deathwing Champion
- Deathwing Terminator Squads
- Deathwing Knights
- Deathwing Cataphractii Terminator Squads
- Deathwing Tartaros Terminator Squads
Venerable Dreadnoughts use to be Deathwing too, but this seems to have been dropped.
Ravenwing Dark Angel Units
When there is a need for speed the Dark Angles go to the Ravenwing. Like the Deathwing the Ravenwing could operate as an independent army, and on a large open battle field they would work well. However in the more close confines of the regular wh40k battle table the Ravenwing need to call upon the regular battle line and Deathwing units to go where they can not (up stairs!).
- Sammael on Corvex or Sableclaw
- Ravenwing Talon Master
- Ravenwing Apothecary
- Ravenwing Ancient
- Ravenwing Champion
- Ravenwing Bike Squad
- Ravenwing Attack Bike Squad
- Ravenwing Land Speeders
- Ravenwing Darkshroud
- Ravenwing Land Speeder Vengeance
- Ravenwing Black Knights
- Ravenwing Dark Tallon
- Nephilim Jetfighter