Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Dark Angels in 6th Edition Part 1: Deathwing!

Old School here to talk about the Dark Angels based on my 6th Edition games with the codex and some thoughts I have looking at the FAQ and the new rules. I will cover the codex (and allies) in a series of posts. This will be the first post.

I will cover Deathwing Terminators and some general thoughts in this post and then Ravenwing units and some units I generally used/ plan to use now and what has effected them, our psykers and allies (both who we can take to help us and where we are likely to be used by others) in a series of posts each day until I am done. If you are a fan of the Unforgiven, it may have been a while since you have read anything modern to such an extent! I hope to convey knowledge that may be useful, while not coming off as an expert, because, it is early in 6th edition and we are all new right now!

The strengths and weaknesses in the codex remain generally the same and some of the units that were borderline weak received a boost in some areas. Our tactical Marines are still not our best choices and with the ability to take allies, we will likely see our troops filled by units from other codices when we aren't taking our bikes as terminators as troops! Let's get to why we are really here though, the Deathwing!

Deathwing Terminators

With the changes to fearless, Deathwing terminators can lock units in close combat without the fear of rolling that extra die in case we lose combat - which for me, is always a "1" for some reason. We still maintain the ability to take Cyclone missile launchers with assault weapons. With the way our codex works, I recommend putting the CML onto the Sergeant so we can A) Make lucky precision shots and also use Look Out Sir to prevent us from losing the launcher, which can certainly happen if people are soaking our 5-man squads in massed firepower - which is what they will do if they are smart.

The random charge is both a boost and a hindrance to us. I could roll short and fail, allowing myself to be shot more, but the opponents I have faced so far have tried to hang back from me a little more, fearing a long charge. Combined with the fearless boost, I think it allows us to gang up on units we have already locked in combat a little better than we used to.

The Terminator Command Squad upgrades provided by Belial are great and with the changes to FnP, we will be able to take that 5+ against power axes and other non-double toughness weapons that may pass through our 2+ armor. I also still stand by the use of the banner as having that extra attack will set us up for success against against other close combat specialists. The squad can get a little dicey since the rules for taking wounds from the direction of the shooter makes a squad heavy with heavy weapons, banners and apothecaries makes movement and thinking at least a turn ahead critical. A smart mobile opponent will try to focus on you from directions that could force you to lose your nice toys.

The general nerf to power weapons also means that our terminator squads are heartier against the average close combat specialists in that regular power weapons allow us to take the 2+ save, while weapons like power axes will swing simultaneously with us, extending our killing force by not losing bodies at a higher initiative step.

This has also led me to want to experiment more with lightning claws and maybe extend the use of storm bolter terminators beyond the usual one squad that I take. I still like my hammers and shields, but I do think we can start to mix it up more without as much loss as we would have taken in 5th edition.

That is it for now. Like I said, this edition is new to all of us and I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback, so please fire away. It will make all of us better in the long run. The post will be coming along every day, so look out for more of the Dark Angels in 6th Edition!


  1. One of the more interesting additions to a pure Deathwing army will be a Terminator Librarian. With access to Prescience by default, he becomes a super-Chaplain (albeit one that can be countered by psychic defences in a way a Chaplain cannot).

    Chainfists are now really close range melta-weapons, what with their 3+ to hit at worst. That said, there is not much in the game that Thunder Hammers cannot wreck by themselves. I can see me adding a set of paired Lightning Claws to each unit.

    A TH/SS sarge will still be ideal. He can challenge enemy ICs. If they kill him, the rest of the squad avoids the overspilling wounds. If not, he can kill just about anything with his hammer. I like the idea of sticking the CML on him.

    1. I forgot all about talking about chainfists and other weapons! I will add them later this evening. I agree about the Terminator librarian, but it seems like I roll a lot of tens in my tests and usually, that isn't bad, so I might do allies just for a better libby or stick to Zeak for good measure and a potential second power. Thanks for the inspiration Sholto.

  2. I agree with sticking a TH/SS on the Cyclone model for protection, but I don't agree with it being the sergeant. Sure you will get Look Out Sir rolls for him to help, but I don't want him being picked off in a challenge.

    TH/SS is still good on the sergeant, but power weapon and lightning claws are both awesome options too, as using him to take out "hidden" power fists or nemesis daemonhammers can really boost the squad's survivability.

    With the opponent getting to shoot us on the charge, extra durability in combat is more important than ever.

    1. Yeah, I didn't take challenges into account. I think in that case, I will test how often a CML actually does precise shots (I can guess almost never for me!) though I think most squads if not all will eventually migrate away from that.

      I have plenty of magnetic Lightening claws lying around, so I will start experimenting with them on my Sgt. The hidden powerfist factor is one that I would like to have the initiative value to challenge and silence, though I do play a lot of High I armies, they tend to also have AP3 power weapons, so we will see where it goes.

    2. not only are you right, you're right -- the sergeant doesn't have the ability to upgrade to the CML, only one of the Terms in the squad.

      plus, between challenges and the ability to give the sgt an ap3 power sword that benefits in initiative-order combat, it's an easy way to lose ranged capability.

  3. Awesome feedback guys. I am looking to add some of the wisdom from fellow DW players into this article for the benefit of all. It's nice in a new edition to be able to work with each other for the benefit of all!

  4. Ahh, perfect timing... Check out my deathwing, stole the painting technique from the Vanus Temple blog:


  5. Damnit I knew I should have stuck with finishing my Deathwing!
    Great article.
    There are also some really solid points in the comments as well.
    Thanks for posting this.

  6. I've been running my DW with a slightly different weapon lineup than most, it was tuned for wound allocation, and I may need to go back to the drawing board for it, but it was along these lines:

    2x TH/SS
    1x CML/CF/SB
    1x PF/SB
    1x PW/SB

    I'm considering going with a power maul on the sergeant, +2 S, keeps the SB shots. Also considering dropping the chainfist, either going with another TH/SS, or maybe just going with a PF/SB. I'm torn, because the CF is basically the only thing that can wreck a LR in my list, but simultaneously, I could probably glance it pretty effectively on the charge with PF. I suppose I just need to playtest it out.

  7. Love the article I am deviating away from land raiders. In the 2k battle I recently had holding objectives with no backup was very difficult. Land raiders just eat up to many points, I believe raider spam took a hit in this edition.

    1. Yeah, I really didn't use the land raider above 1500 points as I wanted to put more terminators on the board at 1850+ to screw with guys who brought lots of anti tank weapons.

  8. I don't know if it's better to take TH/SS Sarges to meta against the one or two close combat characters in the enemy army, or to take Power Sword Sarges to meta against the probably 5 or 6 Power Axe wielding Sarges we're likely to face in the opposing army. Being able to take that power axe out before it gets a chance to attack could be a pretty good way to keep those Terminators alive, and the power fists should be able to clean house on the remaining models anyway.

    1. My thoughts are leaning more toward the lightning claw sergeant these days as it at least can make up for a little bad rolling. At least then, the random ax chuds out there won't be rolling over one of my termies with some S6 and unlucky saves on my part.

  9. You cant play sergeant with power maul. codex says pretty clearly that sergeant has power sword.