Thursday, January 24, 2013

New Dark Angels Codex Thoughts: Heavy Support

OST here with the last of my thoughts on the new DA codex before I get into potential list ideas (I have to find a way to run my Death Wing!). Today we are looking at Heavy Support, so since many of our choices are the same as other books, this will be rather short.

Let's start with the new stuff, the Land Speeder Vengeance

The LSV is the new kid on the block, sharing a very unfortunate model with the Dark Shroud which I reviewed in the FA thoughts. Unlike the Dark Shroud, this speeder is just as unfortunate as it's model (in my opinion). Alright, so for the price of a Blood Angels Vindicator, you get a land speeder rocking a weapon that can either throw out three small blast plasma cannon shots or a single large blast with the same damage profile ... at 24". I was kind of still ok with it, until that last part, honestly. Having an expensive vehicle that for some reason (despite its size) is still AV10 with 2HP with your standard jink save ect that goes along with being a speeder, but to harm people, you have to be within bolter range (wich is also the standard range for most S4 weapons and you can't boost away or any other special move. You are stuck. I hope you can do some serious damage with this thing. Basically, the range and vulnerability make this either a suice unit or a surgical skirmisher. The skirmisher idea has merit (hanging by the edges, killing things that can kill it back and funneling the enemy), but most armies you will be up against aren't that linear and have ways to get you ... or weapons that can reach you. The common trend toward low vehicle saturation also means you won't see many of these and if you do, it will be with those rare mech lists out there, which I actually predict will gain a resurgence soon.

With that ugly duck out of the way, I really just want to talk about the whirlwind.

The whirlwind didn't get the flak missiles everyone raved about in the rumors, but it did see a point reduction to 65 points, making it an actual bargain ... but I say that with a caveat: It is still points wasted unless it fits a weakness your DA army has. Most of the DA army will have great anti-infantry options between salvo banners and plasma bikes and whatever else, but there are versions of the army that specifically struggle with hordes: The Death Wing and the Raven Wing. The former struggles because they are not very quick, few in number and don't have a ton of guns. The latter suffers because while they are quicker, they are more fragile, still rather few in number and dependant on tricks (banner) if they want to bring serious anti-horde firepower down. With that being said "pure wing" guys will balk at the idea of whirlwind support, but smart DW and RW players will be looking at these in much the same way we used to eye our single typhoon speeders last edition.

Beyond those two things, there are points adjustments here and there to fine tune some of the choices, which I feel most players in the game are familiar with and where they can fit into any Space Marine list of any brand or color. There are little nuances like Death Wing vehicle, which makes you LR venerable, but I don't really consider it a value for the points cost. Other than that, the Devestators are also worth a look and they have gotten cheaper as well. I think they can be good additions to the list, but I don't see a huge need to over explain a classic unit.

Overall, I think I will mess around with whirlwinds to see if they fill any roles I used to leave for speeders in my old DW lists and with the armies I mess with going forward with this dex. Incidentally, CVinton is playing Raven Wing or at least toying with it, so there will be another author to discuss DA with us as well.

For now I leave it open to you, though. What are your thoughts on the heavy slot? Am I crazy and LSV is the greatest skimmer in SM history? Am I over valuing the slight value I gave the whirlwind? Would you just like to add some perspective based on experience? I am down for anything. Fire away!


  1. I like whirlwinds. Those incendiary rounds are nice too and I think unique to the Dark Angels - though that may have changed in the FAQs (I'm a bit behind). Land speeders are nice and more durable than in other armies, but if you aren't moving your are dead, and shear weight of fire can pull them out of the skies pretty fast. If you need support in the air I'd go flyer before speeder, but I am possibly the worst general in the history of anything ever so you know...

  2. I could be wrong, but isn't the Plasma Storm Battery either Heavy 3 or Heavy 1 Large Blast. Not the 3 Small Blasts.

  3. The whirlwind fills the "take away enemy cover" gap in the DA codex.

    I have always been a fan of the Whirlwind. For 65 points it is a steal.

    The barrage ability can win you the game with wound allocation rules. I recently won a hard fought battle where the Whirlwind was the MVP...Sat one behind a hill targeted the IG Commander, used no cover shell and landed smack on target...6 wounds later...First Blood and Warlord in one shell.

    This is a "perfect scenario", but without that tank in my list I would not have had the option. Some games it does nada, admitted.

    Anyway, good read. Interested to see your list thoughts. I am just finishing up "RavenWing" by Gav Thorpe. The story involves much interaction between the DA 5th Co. (Tacticals) and the Ravenwing with Sammael. There is a great character tearing things up with his bolter in the book and this has me pondering what can be done with RW+Tacticals.


  4. I think we will see a lot of Devastator units come back. I think they will fill a hole in Deathwing based armies. Taking either a couple mixed units with Plasma Cannons and Flakk Missiles. Or like I plan two 5-man units with 4 flakk missiles and one 5-man unit with 4 plasma cannons all behind a defense line with a quad gun. I think the three devastator units will provide enough anti-air support and drop enough small blast templates on hordes to thin them out before the deathwing mop up the rest.

  5. The Whirlwind is looking really really good now. With the amount of Orks and Imperial Gaurd hiding behind ADL's out there the Whirlwind did get alot better.

    1. That is absolutely true. While the DA didn't get a Heldrake, or in this case some kind of fire breathing angel, the whirlwind will help thin the heards out there. Hell even I have 60 shoota boys for when I feel froggy, so I imagine they are in every closet in the hobby (lol).

    2. even keeping space marines from being a 2+ would be nice.

  6. I have so consistently overlooked the whirlwind so many times in the other codexes that I did that again here. 65 points. Really?! As a budding Ravenwing army player I'd love three of these to take the kill pressure off my bikes and off my banner. Even for vehicle breaking it has potential with the 2d6 take the highest. Not a bad deal, really. I'll have to try them out this weekend and report back, sir.