The First Legion, the Dark Angels, epitomize the concept of being a “Jack of All Trades”, but not necessarily “Masters of None”
During the later stages of the Unification Wars and the early days of the Great Crusade, they amassed a wealth of combat experience, before many other Legions had even been established. They developed many of the tactics and strategies that were later adopted by the other Legions, and became the most battle-hardened of all the Imperium’s forces.
Other Legions that followed then have tended to become more specialised, whereas the First Legion, have not neglected any aspect of warfare and look to maintain a balanced capability on the battlefield.
This army offers more options to customise lists than any of the other seventeen Legions, with six Legion Traits in the form of the Hexagrammaton, and six very good, yet restrictive Rites of War.
The Dark Angels have few weaknesses, but they cannot match their counterparts in the other Legions that have chosen to specialise in one form of warfare.
They will never outmaneuver the White Scars, they will never match an Armoured Spearhead of the Iron Hands, nor out duel the Emperor’s Children.
But they are adaptable and can fill gaps in the way they build their lists in a way no other Legion can.
You can also see out Legion Focus episode from February 2023 here or listen below!
- Legion Rules
- Rites of War
- Unique Units
- Unique Characters
- Paladin of the Hekatonystika
- Farith Redloss
- Marduck Sedras, Lord of the Twenty-third Order, Eskaton of the Dreadwing, Preceptor of the Shattered Sceptre
- Corswain, Paladin of the Ninth Order, Champion of the Dark Angels Legion
- Lion El’Johnson, The First Primarch, The Lion, Son of the Forest, Primarch of the Dark Angels
- Example Lists
Legion Trait – The Hexagrammaton
In contrast to other Legions that often have a single special rule to define their unique identity, the Dark Angels embrace versatility and diverse tactics through a comprehensive system known as The Hexagrammaton.
This overarching special rule assigns a distinct unit subtype to every unit equipped with the Legiones Astartes (Dark Angels) rule, corresponding to the specific Hexagrammaton wing to which they belong. Each subtype comes with its own set of rules and confers various advantages for those who opt for it.
A unit can only benefit from a single sub-type each turn. The rule also specifies that Apothecaries and Techmarines should share the same sub-type as the unit they are attached to.
So if units are joined by an Independent Character from a different wing, they must decide which sub-type rule they will be affected by during that turn. Additionally, Dedicated Transports must align with the same sub-type as the unit for which they are acquired.
The Stormwing sub-type grants a +1 bonus to hit when using bolters, combi-bolters, or bolt pistols, whether it’s during your own turn or as part of a reaction.
The choice for whom to give this to is straightforward, assigning this sub-type to your Tactical or Breacher Squads allows them to unleash their firepower with what effectively amounts to a Ballistic Skill 5.
A twenty man squad can unleash a staggering 60 bolter shots when employing Fury of the Legion, and the +1 to hit means that these warriors will be hitting their targets on a 2+ most of the time.
This elevates bolter-based firepower from being deadly to absolutely devastating, allowing them to rain down a hail of bolter fire that few others can match in terms of sheer intensity.
The Deathwing sub-type provides a +1 bonus to hit during melee combat when wielding nearly any type of sword.
Additionally, vehicles gain a +1 Strength bonus when performing a Ram Attack.
The +1 bonus to hit in melee combat is not the same as a direct increase in Weapon Skill. If your base Weapon Skill and your opponent’s are both 4, you’ll still be hitting on 4+ after applying this bonus; however, it effectively means you’re hitting on a 3+ instead of a 4+.
While the Deathwing is often associated with Terminator-heavy lists, this particular sub-type doesn’t synergize well with Legion Terminators, as these units are typically equipped with Power Fists, Thunder Hammers, or Lightning Claws for maximum close combat effectiveness.
Interestingly, Deathwing finds its niche with Power Armor units like Tactical, Despoiler, and Assault squads, as these units often carry Chainswords in large numbers. The sub-type is also quite beneficial for your Power Sword-wielding Veterans, enhancing their melee prowess.
So, despite its Terminator roots, Deathwing proves to be a valuable choice for other infantry units armed with swords.
The Dreadwing sub-type offers a unique defensive advantage by reducing the Strength of Flame, Plasma, Volkite, and Phosphex weapons that target units with this sub-type by -1. Additionally, Poisoned (X) weapons require one worse result than usual on the to-wound roll when attacking these units.
However, Dreadwing is particularly effective for ranged units that do not meet the criteria for Stormwing and do not necessarily require the benefits of the Stormwing sub-type. One of its notable strengths lies in its ability to reduce incoming damage, making your units more resilient to these specific weapon types.
This sub-type is especially advantageous for Dreadnoughts and Automata, which were already durable and now become even more challenging to take down with Plasma and Volkite weapons, as these weapons will wound them on 5+ or 6+ instead of their usual strength-based wounding. This added resilience makes them extremely difficult to eliminate, often requiring heavy firepower like Lascannons or Meltas to deal with them effectively.
For units like Tactical Support Squads and Heavy Support Squads that are primarily focused on engaging infantry rather than vehicles, the Dreadwing sub-type is also beneficial. It allows these units to withstand enemy firepower more effectively, keeping them in the fight for a longer duration.
The Ironwing sub-type bestows a valuable benefit of re-rolling 1s on to-hit rolls when targeting vehicles. Furthermore, Ironwing vehicles gain the ability to make snap-shots at Ballistic Skill 2 instead of the usual Ballistic Skill 1.
This sub-type is particularly well-suited for Tactical Support Squads and Heavy Support Squads that are focused on targeting vehicles, as well as most of your vehicles.
The ability to make snap shots at BS 2 is highly beneficial for many vehicles, as it allows them to maintain a reasonable level of accuracy even when moving at high speeds across the battlefield.
While it doesn’t apply to Dreadnoughts and Automata, this sub-type is still beneficial because units like infantry typically have a Ballistic Skill of 4, so re-rolling 1s means you’re effectively re-rolling half of your missed shots. For units with Ballistic Skill 5, like Dreadnoughts, they get the full benefit, re-rolling all misses.
The Firewing sub-type offers a more specialised advantage by providing a +1 bonus to wound when attacking units that contain at least one Independent Character. This sub-type is particularly suited for units like Seeker Squads, as it enhances their effectiveness when engaging enemy forces that include Independent Characters.
It can be particularly effective with weapons that have a low Strength but possess AP2, such as Phosphex or Power Axes. In such cases, the +1 to wound can significantly improve their effectiveness against units containing Independent Characters. Additionally, when combined with the associated Rite of War, Firewing can become a powerful choice that enhances your overall strategy.
The Ravenwing sub-type offers a significant advantage in terms of mobility.
Units that are not vehicles gain an extra inch of movement when they choose to Run, while Cavalry units are granted the ability to re-roll their damage mitigation rolls when utilizing Shrouded. For vehicles, there’s a notable increase of +2 inches to their movement when they opt to move at Cruising Speed.
The Cavalry bonus doesn’t apply to Land Speeders and Javelins since they already enjoy re-rolls thanks to the Harbingers of the Legion rule. However, this enhancement proves highly effective for bike and jetbike units.
Interestingly, Thunder Hammer Terminators will find the Ravenwing sub-type appealing because it complements their playstyle. Unlike Deathwing or Firewing, which provide bonuses these Terminators don’t necessarily need, Ravenwing’s added speed is advantageous for them.
Dark Angels have access to a Reaction called Angels of Death that can be used once per game in response to being charged. The unit takes a Leadership test, and if successful, they gain Fearless and induce Fear (2) in nearby enemies until the end of the next turn. If the test is failed, they instead gain Stubborn and impose Fear (1).
What sets this reaction apart is its relatively enduring effect, lasting for a full game turn, which is atypical compared to most reactions that are temporary in nature. The variable nature of the reaction is intriguing, but it’s worth noting that many units likely to utilize this reaction have high Leadership values, making success more likely.
While this Reaction may not be as overwhelmingly powerful as some other Legions’ reactions, it has its own strategic value. Fear rules, have gained importance in this edition, as they directly reduce the Leadership values of nearby enemy units within a 12″ radius. This can make it significantly more challenging for opponents to maintain their morale and can increase the likelihood of enemy units fleeing the battlefield in the following turn.
Furthermore, this Reaction can help ensure that the unit that triggered it remains in the fight until the end. So, while it may not guarantee victory in combat, it adds an element of psychological pressure and can be a tactical asset in creating unfavorable conditions for your opponent.
Marshal of the Crown
Marshal of the Crown offers a specific set of benefits, Models belonging to the same Hexagrammaton sub-type receive a +1 Leadership boost (up to a maximum of 10) when they have line of sight to the Warlord.
Additionally, Marshal of the Crown provides an extra reaction in a phase based on the wing you choose.
- For Deathwing and Dreadwing: This bonus Reaction is available during the Assault phase.
- For Stormwing and Ironwing: The bonus Reaction applies during the Shooting phase.
- For Ravenwing and Firewing: The bonus Reaction is utilized during the Movement phase.
Both the Deathwing and Stormwing Rites can grant units Stubborn, and when combined with the Marshal of the Crown’s Leadership boost, this makes these units highly resilient and difficult to dislodge from their positions.
Seneschal of the Keys
You select a single faction, and once per battle, you can declare a turn to be Decisive. During this Decisive turn, the Warlord and their unit gain a +1 increase in Weapon Skill (WS) and Ballistic Skill (BS) when facing units that include at least one model from the chosen faction.
Additionally, the Warlord gains an extra Reaction, which can be used specifically during the Assault phase.
This ability can also be combined effectively with the Deathwing or Firewing Rite, enabling your unit to achieve a 2+ to hit when facing opponents with equal Weapon Skill, which can be crucial when dealing with formidable adversaries like the enemy Praetor’s squad that must be eliminated without fail.
A +1 Strength Power Sword that can be taken by any Character at a cost of 5 points.
This strength augmentation is pretty good as it shifts your wound rolls from requiring a 4+ to a 3+ when targeting AV 3+ Marines.
It becomes a compelling option when considering that any character contemplating its use will likely belong to the Deathwing sub-type, thereby gaining a +1 bonus to their hit rolls.
Independent Characters however can take a Terranic Greatswords instead. What makes them intriguing is their distinctiveness compared to a Power Fist.
Typically, weapon swaps tend to be somewhat similar to the items they replace. However, with an AP 3, Rending (5+), and Murderous Strike (5+), it’s challenging to envision passing up this weapon.
Even though it comes with reduced strength and the Two-handed rule, which limits the number of attacks you can make, Terranic Greatswords excel in carving through power armor effortlessly. They also present a substantial likelihood of dispatching an opponent’s character in a single strike, all at full initiative.
They also pose a potential threat to vehicles, with Rending slightly outperforming a power fist in that regard.
It’s difficult to conceive of a scenario where you wouldn’t equip every Independent Character with one of these, especially if they belong to the Deathwing.
The Dark Angels have two unique Plasma Weapons that they can swap in for any Plasma Gun. But the entire squad must opt for the same upgrade if there are multiple in the squad.
While this choice significantly boosts both your accuracy and firepower, it comes at the expense of halving your effective range, and you’ll certainly notice the absence of the S7.
The Plasma Burner can be succinctly described as a “Plasma Flamer” for 10 points.
It employs the Flamer template, making it possible for a squad armed with it to effectively drench the enemy in S6 Breaching (4+) firepower, with the added perk of automatic Overwatch hits.
The best part? Unlike other Plasma weapons, there’s no “Gets Hot” rule, but it comes at a higher cost than a Meltagun.
This is a Twin-Linked Assault 3 Plasma weapon with S6 that can replace a Plasma Gun for an additional 5 points.
Plasma repeaters offer a slightly lower strength and reduced range compared to a standard plasma gun. But they compensate with Assault 3, providing more shots at close range, and gaining the Twin-Linked rule.
It’s particularly effective in reaction situations because you’ll almost always achieve more hits and it offers a longer range for Return Fire. Unlike the Burner, it still has Gets Hot but the Twin-Linked aspect helps mitigate any potential overheating issues.
While they come at a higher cost than a standard Plasma Gun, their effectiveness when used correctly makes them a valuable asset on the battlefield.
For a mere 5 points, Missile Launchers (Not Havoc Launchers unfortunately, or this discussion would be very different) now have the option to equip an S4 Blast missile that includes the Concussive (1) rule.
This means that any target affected by these missiles, regardless of whether they successfully save against the wounds inflicted, must subsequently pass a Leadership test. Failure to do so results in their Weapon Skill being reduced by one until the conclusion of the following Assault phase.
But they are limited with a 24″ range and the requirement for a clear line of sight to the target, they are not worth the investment.
Rites of War
The Unbroken Vow
The Unbroken Vow is the Deathwing’s Rite of War, akin to Pride of the Legion.
It permits the selection of Terminators and Veterans as troops, and must be of the Deathwing, but they lack the Line designation found in Pride while gaining Heart of the Legion instead, so they cannot score objectives, necessitating the inclusion of other units for that purpose.
Terminators’ limited weapon options can be challenging, as they need swords to gain the benefits of the Deathwing, while other weapon choices might be more desirable.
Inductii would be great in this role, but you can also take Stormwing Tactical Marines.
A single objective marker must be placed at the center of the table after deployment. Failure to control this objective by the end of the battle results in the opposing player gaining +1 VP, or +D3 VP if the objective is controlled by the opposing player.
The Unbroken Vow is suitable for spamming elite units and is particularly effective at pushing the enemy away from objectives but less effective at capturing them.
If this Rite of War is used in the Primary Detachment, the Warlord must have the Deathwing sub-type or be the Lion, who also benefits from the +1 attack bonus near an objective.
The Unbroken Vow can be used in an Allied Detachment and allows for allies, though the options are limited to the very costly Agents of the Emperor.
There are no restrictions on the Hexagrammaton type for the compulsory HQ in Allied Detachments, but selecting Deathwing is advisable for the +1 attack bonus.
The Storm of War
This Rite allows you to include a Centurion in any unit of Tacticals, Despoilers, or Assaults that consists of Twenty or more models without using up a Force Organization Chart slot. However, this Centurion cannot be given a Consul upgrade and is a permanent part of the unit. This unique feature adds a significant boost to your unit’s leadership and capabilities.
But those Compulsory Troops choices must take their maximum unit size, and cannot select Dedicated Transports, meaning they must move on foot. And they cannot use Deep Strike, Flanking Assault, or Subterranean Assault.
Legion Tactical, Despoiler, and Assault Squads can also be taken as Elites choices, and Legion Assault Squads can be selected as Fast Attack choices. And all those squad types in whatever FOC slot they are in must have the Stormwing sub-type.
All Stormwing characters, including Squad Sergeants and Centurions, gain the Stubborn special rule, making your squads more resilient.
If the Primary Detachment uses this Rite of War, the army’s Warlord must have the Stormwing sub-type or be the Lion. The Lion does not benefit from this Rite, as he is Fearless by default and doesn’t gain additional advantages from Stubborn.
Allied detachments do not require a Stormwing HQ, allowing for flexibility in detachment composition.
But is a 3000 point list composed of pretty much just Marines in Power Armour worth it?
You won’t be that effective, but your opponents may struggle to deal with such a large number of models, and you will excel in objective based missions.
The Serpent’s Bane
The Serpent’s Bane is the Firewing Rite of War, and if you’re keen on hunting characters or playing smaller games where these bonuses hold greater value, this is the one for you!
Legion Seekers can be taken as Troops, although they do not become Line units. All Troops choices in the Detachment must also have the Firewing sub-type.
You can choose three enemy Primarch, HQ, Elites, or Lords of War units as Priority Targets at the start of the game. All models with the Firewing sub-type gain a +1 bonus to hit these targets. This bonus complements the Firewing rule, which grants +1 to wound against Independent Characters.
All Characters and Independent Characters with the Firewing sub-type gain +1 Attack when engaged in combat with Priority Targets, including the Lion himself when using the Firewing sub-type.
You can select up to three Troops choices with the Firewing sub-type to grant them the Infiltrate special rule. Seekers and Recon Marines already have Infiltrate, so this Rite allows you to maximize its potential with other units like Tactical Support Squads armed with Plasma Burners for example.
At the end of the battle, your opponent gains +3 Victory Points for each Priority Target unit that is still on the table and not falling back or pinned.
While this is no longer an automatic loss as it was in the previous edition, failing to eliminate Priority Targets can still put you at a significant disadvantage. Your opponent can potentially earn up to +9 VP by keeping just one model from each target unit alive and avoiding falling back or being pinned.
The Steel Fist
The Ironwing Annihilation Force is a variant of the generic Armoured Spearhead Rite, and it takes the focus on tanks to another level.
Predator Squadrons can be taken as Troops choices. This allows you to bring Support Squads without needing other Troops infantry units, as your Predators fulfill the Compulsory Troops requirement. Kratos Squadrons can also be taken as Elites choices.
Your tanks don’t gain the Line, meaning they cannot score objectives. So, it’s advisable to include a couple of Tactical squads to ensure you have some scoring units in your force.
All infantry units with the Ironwing sub-type consisting of ten models or fewer can select a Land Raider Proteus Carrier as a Dedicated Transport. If the unit has more than ten models, it can take a Spartan as a Dedicated Transport. This flexibility enables you to field Land Raiders and Spartans more readily and opens up Heavy Support slots for Dreadnoughts, Sicarans, and Fire Raptors.
The Infantry you do take must begin the game embarked upon a transport vehicle with sufficient capacity to carry them and you can’t take any flying transports.
Also, infiltrating Land Raiders by taking them as Dedicated Transports for Recon Marines and Scouts!
All Troops choices and their dedicated transports, Predator Squadrons, and Kratos Squadrons must have the Ironwing sub-type.
If the Primary Detachment uses this Rite of War, the army’s Warlord must have the Ironwing sub-type or be the Lion.
This allows you to have the Primarch as your Warlord, which is an improvement over Armoured Spearhead, where your Warlord must be a tank.
Additionally, you can lead an Allied Detachment with an Independent Character from another Hexagrammaton type, as Ironwing is not particularly beneficial for them in general, and your Retinue doesn’t require the Rite to take a Land Raider.
The Eskaton Imperative
This is the Dreadwing Rite of War and is unique among rites as it affects the entire battlefield by transforming large portions into both Difficult and Dangerous Terrain, a challenge for all forces involved. This rite mandates the removal of the enemy from the field through any means necessary, a task particularly well-suited for your Destroyer
Destroyer Assault Squads, Mortalis Destroyer Squads, and Dreadwing Interemptors become Troops choices, although they do not gain Line. All Troops choices and Destroyer Squads must have the Dreadwing sub-type.
Furthermore, all units belonging to the Dreadwing automatically pass Dangerous Terrain tests, potentially leading you to favor Dreadwing vehicles, despite it initially seeming unwise.
Before deployment, the player using this rite may strategically place two Eskaton markers on the battlefield, each more than 6″ from a table edge or any Deployment Zone. The area within 6″ of these markers becomes Dangerous Terrain, making it challenging for your opponent to contest objectives within that area without suffering a +1 to wound penalty.
At the end of the game, if any enemy units in their own Deployment Zone are neither Pinned nor Falling Back, the enemy player gains additional D3 victory points. So you need to include pinning weapons in your army.
Because you cannot Pin a Dreadnought or a Vehicle, Anti-vehicle firepower is essential, something that Destroyer Squads lack.
If the Primary Detachment utilizes this Rite of War, the Warlord must have the Dreadwing sub-type or be the Lion and you cannot take any Fortifications
The Seeker’s Arrow
The Ravenwing get The Seekers Arrow, in which you can field Sky-hunters and Outriders as Troops without Line. If you want bikes to capture Objectives, consider taking some biker Command Squads and Heralds.
Units composed entirely of Infantry or Cavalry models with the Ravenwing sub-type gain the Outflank special rule. So you can quickly deploy your units where needed and can be especially advantageous for units armed with ranged weaponry or melee units arriving from unexpected directions.
Independent Characters possessing both the Cavalry unit type and the Ravenwing sub-type gain Rampage (2), enhancing their combat prowess. So equip them with Thunder Hammers for effective close combat engagement or Terranic Greatswords to win challenges at higher initiative values.
All Troops and Fast Attack choices must have the Ravenwing sub-type and vehicles in detachments using this Rite of War can only possess the Fast, Skimmer, or Flyer sub-types.
You are restricted to one Heavy Support choice, which limits your heavy firepower options. So Sky-hunters, Sabres, Land Speeders and Flyers for your heavy weapons.
If the Primary Detachment utilizes this Rite of War, the Warlord must have the Ravenwing sub-type or be the Lion, but as he does not possess the Cavalry or Infantry sub-types necessary for Rampage and Outflank he gains no benefit from this Rite of War.
For thier Inductii, the Dark Angels replace a Tactical Squad with one armed with Volkite Chargers, but without Hexagrammaton or Fury of the Legion
A ten man Volkite Charger Support Squad costs 145 points, whereas with Inductii you pay 100 points for a squad of ten or 200 points for twenty and get the Line special rule as a bonus.
You still retain the benefits of Heart of the Legion, including Feel No Pain and Stubborn, when securing objectives.
We would also suggest equipping them with Chainswords since you can still charge after firing Volkite Chargers and giving the sergeant a Power Fist is another solid choice.
But their utility in Dark Angels Rites of War are quite limited since they don’t belong to the Hexagrammaton. This means they don’t meet the requirement in five out of the six Hexagrammaton Rites of War, which dictate that Troops must be of the appropriate sub-type.
In the one Dark Angels Rite of War that doesn’t outright forbid them, The Unbroken Vow, they can support your Terminators and Veterans which lack the Line rule, and thus the Inductii would be your main scoring units. But given that Veterans and Terminators can already take Combi-Volkites, you have to ask, if more Volkite firepower is necessary (Michael – Its always necessary)
Inner Circle Knights Cenoibium
The elite Terminators of the Dark Angels, the Inner Circle Knights Cenobium are a slightly different proposition to the rest of the units available to the Dark Angels.
They are both part of the wings but also exemplars of the orders, the knightly organisations that exist within the legion that have many members, but few true adherents. The Cenobium are those true adherents, and they are one of the coolest set of minis available to buy and have some interesting rules to go alongside.
Equipped with Cataphractii Terminator Armor, Terranic Greatswords, Stubborn, Adamantium Will (3+), and the choice of one of the Orders of the Hekatonystika as outlined below.
- Augurs of Weakness:- Grants +1 Strength when rolling for Armor Penetration against a vehicle with AV11 or higher, fantastic with Thunder Hammers, which become S9.
But this is probably a niche choice
- Icons of Resolve:- Offers +1 Leadership when Charged or Charging, it’s not exceptionally compelling.
- Slayers of Kings:- Allows re-rolling of 1s to hit in close combat against enemy models with WS5 or higher, or all failed hits in Challenges against WS5 or higher opponents.
This option becomes particularly valuable if you’re wielding Thunder Hammers, as it compensates for the lost to-hit bonus from not adopting the Deathwing. But if you do take Deathwing, its probably the best choice of the Orders.
- Hunters of Beasts:- Grants re-rolling of 1s to wound in close combat against models with T5 or provides complete re-rolls for failed wounds against Toughness 6 or higher.
It excels at dealing with Dreadnoughts by re-rolling wound rolls on Rending/Murderous Strike Terranic Greatswords, as well as against Mechanicum Automata and Custodes.
- Reapers of Hosts:- Yields +1 Attack when in base contact with more than one model. This option is versatile against any opponent compared to the other choices, but ensuring every model benefits can be challenging.
- Breakers of Witches:- Grants re-rolls for to-hit and to-wound rolls against units containing Daemons, Psykers, or Corrupted units. This is excellent for confronting Word Bearers and Thousand Sons, but relatively ineffective against other adversaries.
This unit can still select a Hexagrammation sub-type. Notably, Deathwing applies to Terranic Greatswords, allowing for a 2+ WS4 hit rate.
With Reaper of Hosts, the Preceptor shares the same WS and attacks as a Praetor armed with a single weapon. While the Preceptor may likely perish in the process, they have a strong chance of vanquishing enemy ICs in a challenge, especially when wielding a Thunder Hammer and part of the Deathwing.
Order of the Broken Claw Inner Circle Knights Cenobium
These come from the Exemplary Battles series, they retains the same statline and loadout for the same cost.
However, they have a fixed Order of the Hekatonystika that uniquely lowers their required to-wound rolls by one (turning a 4+ into a 3+, and so on, with a minimum of 2+) against Dreadnought unit types, Corrupted Unit types, Monstrous subtypes, and/or Shackled Automata. This means that they are formidable monster slayers.
They also have the option to exchange their Terranic Greatswords for Advex-Mors Greatswords for an additional +2 points. The Advex-Mors Greatsword replaces Murderous Strike (5+) with the Brutal (2) rule, which offers exceptional value. Instead of only causing Instant Death on 33% of their wounding rolls, now all their wounding rolls force the target to make two saves, and they still possess the Rending rule.
Deathwing Companion Detachment
A unit of WS5 Veterans equipped with artificer armor and Calibanite Warblades, who can serve as a Retinue for a model with the Master of the Legion special rule.
Their Death-sworn Companions rule is a standout feature. Although the Look Out Sir rule no longer exists, for units containing models with this rule, they ignore the Precision Strikes/Shots and Sniper rules.
Additionally, casualties from shooting and melee attacks are always allocated by the controlling player. This means that even if attacked by a formidable character like a Primarch, who is usually responsible for allocating hits from their own attacks, the Deathwing Companions can intercept blows and absorb the damage, making them exceptional bodyguards.
The Cytheron Pattern Aegises provides a 5++ invulnerable save against melee attacks and a 4++ against shooting. Unlike Boarding Shields, it doesn’t interfere with a model’s ability to make Two-handed attacks or gain +1 Attack for dual wielding. Generally, there is no downside to taking an Aegis, aside from the cost.
To deploy the Aegis bubble that grants their saves to the entire squad and reduces enemy Initiative by one point, two or more models with Aegises are required, but those models cannot make attacks whilst its active.
This bubble doesn’t affect Primarchs, but it can be saved for situations where you believe you can eliminate an enemy squad with your remaining models or if the enemy has a model that you want to engage first
Deathwing Terminator Cataphractii Companions
A Legacies unit, they require a Master of the Legion with Cataphractii armor and cost more than Deathwing Companions with Cytheron shields
They serve as unbreakable bunkers on the battlefield and retain the benefits of being companions, such as WS5 and a Leadership boost. While they don’t possess any ranged weapons beyond combi-weapons, they offer various melee weapon options at no additional cost, including Terranic Greatswords, dual Lighting Claws or Power Fists, and cost-effective Thunder Hammers. However, like Terminator Command Squads, you are limited to a maximum of 5 models in this unit.
Deathwing Terminator Tartaros Companions
A Legacies unit, mostly same as above, but need a Tartaros Master of the Legion
They offer a different tactical approach compared to their Cataphractii-armored counterparts. With the Tartaros pattern, they become more mobile and cost-effective, but they sacrifice the constant 5++ invulnerable save.
A squad of Destroyers armed with Plasma Burners, Rad Grenades, a single Bolt Pistol paired with a close combat weapon for +1 attack, and possessing the Counter-attack (1) and Stubborn special rules plus the option to upgrade 1/5 models to have a plasma incinerator with the added benefit of torrent 9″.
Interemptors offer excellent value for their points cost, coming in 60 points cheaper than a Tactical Support Squad equipped with the same weapons while providing additional equipment and special rules. This makes them a cost-effective choice for delivering firepower.
They are formidable anti-Terminator hunters, capable of inflicting multiple AP2 Instant Death wounds on Overwatch, This synergy between their weaponry and Rad Grenades can make them a potent defensive unit.
But they lack the second wound that Veterans possess, making them relatively fragile for an elite unit. This vulnerability means that getting them into range to unleash their firepower can be challenging as oponents who recognize their threat will likely prioritize eliminating them quickly.
Firewing Enigmatrus Cabal
A Legacies unit thats designed to hunt down enemy Characters, and it comes equipped with a range of wargear and special rules to support this mission.
With WS5, three base attacks, two close combat weapons, Jump Packs, Initiative 5, and the Marked for Death special rule, this kill-team excels at taking down enemy Independent Characters. They can re-roll 1s to wound their chosen target and gain a +1 bonus to to-wound rolls against units containing Independent Characters.
The unique Calibanite Charge Blade provides additional utility by allowing them to declare a Blade Charge once per game, granting Rending (3+) for a turn. This can be particularly useful for delivering multiple AP2 wounds to their target.
The Needle Pistols, while lacking armor penetration, offer Pistol 2, Poisoned (3+), and Pinning, providing a decent number of shots that are likely to wound and potentially disrupt enemy units.
If equipped with the Suspensor Web Missile Launcher, they gain access to Frag, Krak, and Stasis shells, offering versatility in dealing with various threats, including the potential to reduce an enemy’s WS with Stasis shells.
Their power armor and 3+ save make them vulnerable to attacks from enemy Independent Characters with AP3 or better weapons. Caution is required when engaging such characters, and focusing on Unwieldy characters or using Concussive Stasis missiles may be a better strategy.
With WS5, they won’t be taking down WS6 Praetors or named characters.
Excindo Battle Automata
A Legacies unit while powerful, come with unique challenges and considerations in their use.
The Excindio Battle Automata boasts impressive offensive capabilities with a combination of high-strength melee attacks, ranged options such as Graviton Guns and Irad-Cleansers, and the potential to swap out Power Claws and Manipulator Arms for heavy weapons. This versatility allows them to handle a variety of targets.
With Toughness 7, a 2+ save, and a 5++ invulnerable save, the Excindio is a resilient unit that can withstand a significant amount of firepower. This makes it challenging for opponents to bring down, but the Excindio is not included in many typical anti-machine rules, which can surprise opponents. It is however, it is still vulnerable to Instant Death.
When wounded, the Excindio must make a Leadership check or be forced to attack the closest target, even if it’s one of your units, so careful positioning and timing are crucial.
Paladin of the Hekatonystika
A unique Consul choice that costs 30 points, and gains WS6, which enhances their melee combat prowess, and Leadership 10, making them a strong presence on the battlefield, and he wields a Terranic Greatsword.
He also gains Adamantium Will (3+), and Stubborn, making it harder for enemy psykers to affect him, and less likely to fail Leadership tests.
he Consul can choose one of the Orders of the Hekatonystika plus a Hexagrammaton sub-type, Hexagrammaton sub-type, allowing for versatility and adaptability in different situations.
The Master of the Deathwing, costs 13 points more compared to a Cataphractii Praetor armed with a Volkite Charger.
He is very resilient which stems from his armor’s inherent Feel No Pain (5+) capability, offering an added layer of protection. Holguin wields the Viridian Blade, a Master-crafted sword with a S6 and AP of 2. It benefits from the Deathwing’s +1 To-Hit bonus and incorporates Reaping Blow (2), which grants him extra attacks when engaging multiple adversaries. Holguin has Stubborn rather than Inexorable, enabling him to maintain his composure when facing fear-inducing opponents.
However, his Achilles’ heel lies in vulnerabilities to attacks that cause Instant Death, as they bypass his Feel No Pain and can swiftly eliminate him. While he lacks the means to dispatch opponents in a single strike, he can muster a maximum of eight attacks during a charge (enhanced by the Unbroken Vow rite’s potential +1 attack bonus), relying on a barrage of accurate AP2 strikes to overcome his foes.
In the Dark Angels’ arsenal, Farith Redloss stands out as a rare character equipped with Rad Grenades but devoid of Bitter Duty.
It’s worth noting that the Deathbringer’s Aegis isn’t explicitly specified as Cataphractii Terminator Armour. Therefore, adhering to the rulebook’s guidance that the rules for unique or personalized suits should be strictly derived from their descriptions rather than inferred from other sources, Holguin, despite having the Heavy subtype and a 2+/4++ save, should be able to execute a Sweeping Advance if his opponent withdraws from close combat.
After the Heresy Fairth Redloss assumes the role of the first Chapter Master of the Dark Angels.
His Master-crafted AP2 Axe boasts two distinct settings: a Two-Handed mode with a strength boost of +3 but Unwieldy, and a one-handed mode with a user’s strength and the Reaping Blow (3) ability.
He can choose a ranged weapon prior to battle, offering several options.
- The Neural Shredder Carbine stands out with its 18″ range, Assault 2, AP2, Poisoned (4+), Ignores Cover, and Pinning capabilities, making it effective against infantry.
- The Atomantic Pulse Pistol, while suitable for damaging tanks, has a limited range of 6″.
- The Shard-Bolt Pistol is another choice, boasting Pistol 4, Rending (6+), and Moonsilver, which doubles unsaved wounds against Daemons and Psykers.
The Atomantic Pulse Pistol is redundant as Redloss already possesses Melta Bombs so the decision lies between the Neural Shredder and the Bolt Pistol.
When wielding his pistols one-handed, he gains an additional attack, adding to his versatility.
He has a 2+/4++ save, and as a member of the Dreadwing, he mitigates the strength of common special weapon attacks. Furthermore, he enjoys a 2+ invulnerable save against Melta and Crawling Fire attacks, and Poisoned attacks only affect him on a roll of 6+. With Battle Hardened (1) it means he ignores Instant Death from attacks with a strength of 8-9.
Marduck Sedras, Lord of the Twenty-third Order, Eskaton of the Dreadwing, Preceptor of the Shattered Sceptre
Costing 220 points, Marduk Sedras, a Dreadwing character is equipped with a formidable arsenal. He carries a Plasma Burner, three Phosphex Bombs, and a Grenade Harness.
His combat prowess is impressive, boasting WS6, BS5, I5, A4 and Ld10. His armor provides a 2+ armor save and a 4++ invulnerable save, along with the ability to automatically pass Dangerous Terrain tests.
His sword, The Death of Worlds, offers a substantial +5 Strength bonus but suffers from being unwieldy. It has a unique ability to reduce invulnerable saves against it, which is a rare feature in the game. However, its unwieldy nature means he often strikes at Initiative 1, potentially limiting its utility.
His unique warlord trait, Preceptor of the Shattered Sceptre, allows him to select a unit of Inner Circle Knights of the Cenobium as his retinue. While this may seem interesting, it might not be considered a significant advantage, especially given that it swaps out your entire warlord trait (except for the bonus reaction) just to bring a unit without occupying a FOC slot. This is underwhelming compared to other warlord traits available.
The Cenobium can choose any Hexagrammaton sub-type, as they are not bound to the Dreadwing sub-type like Marduk himself.
The Ancient of War ability, on the other hand, is quite intriguing. It grants Preferred Enemy against a chosen faction to all units that begin the game with at least one model (or their transport) within 6″ of Marduk, for the entire game. This ability has substantial potential, although it does carry some risk, as clustering your units at the start may make them vulnerable to enemy artillery attacks. If Sedras begins the game in Reserves of any type, this rule does not function.
Also like Holguin, his ornate Terminator plate, isn’t explicitly specified as Cataphractii Terminator Armour. Therefore he can perform Sweeping Advances. However, if he is placed in his retinue of Inner Circle Knights, he will lose this ability.
Corswain, Paladin of the Ninth Order, Champion of the Dark Angels Legion
The Seneschal of the Lion, Corswain is a formidable force on the battlefield. As a member of the Deathwing, he benefits from a +1 to hit in melee combat when wielding The Blade.
Corswain’s WS7 is exceptionally high, ensuring he is highly skilled in combat. He benefits from Precision Strikes (4+), allowing him to selectively target opponents within enemy units effectively. His Master-crafted 2+ to hit means he can reliably strike even against opponents with a Weapon Skill of 6 or lower, maintaining this advantage when facing foes of equal skill.
Within Challenges, Corswain’s Duellist’s Edge (2) rule elevates his Initiative to 7, positioning him ahead of the majority of opponents who can realistically threaten him, with only a few exceptions.
On the defensive front, Corswain boasts a 2+ armor save and a 4++ invulnerable save, which increases to a 3++ in close combat. Moreover, opponents with a Weapon Skill of 6 or lower, which includes most non-unique models, hit him on a 5+, significantly reducing their accuracy. This level of protection is substantial and enhances his survivability in close-quarters engagements.
Placing Corswain in a Companion Detachment is advisable, as it not only includes a squad of melee Veterans who complement Corswain’s style but can also serve as a buffer to absorb potential attacks against him.
Lion El’Johnson, The First Primarch, The Lion, Son of the Forest, Primarch of the Dark Angels
One of the most expensive primarchs, costing a substantial 450 points. However, he undeniably offers excellent value for his price.
His statline remains robust, boasting impressive attributes such as WS8, S7, I7, and 7 attacks. These attributes position him as above average among the core Primarch abilities. True to his lore, he excels in versatility and competence across various scenarios, requiring strategic decisions from the player before and during battles.
Additionally, he possesses the valuable Adamantium Will (3+) ability as part of his standard Primarch package.
He possesses the Legiones Astartes (Dark Angels) special rule, and at the start of each of your turns, the Lion can select a new Hexagrammaton sub-type to gain an advantage depending on the situation. For example, he can choose the Dreadwing sub-type when out of charge range and expecting enemy special weapon fire, or the Ironwing sub-type when his squad is armed with Combi-Meltas and needs to target enemy vehicles.
Moreover, he can benefit from the Legion’s Rites of War, such as gaining +1 attack through the Unbroken Vow or Serpent’s Bane Rites, depending on his chosen Hexagrammaton sub-type.
The Lion’s unique warlord trait, “Sire of the Dark Angels,” grants Crusader to the entire army and a +1 Leadership bonus to visible Dark Angels, proves valuable. The increased Leadership also enhances the reliability of psychic powers, particularly beneficial when the Lion serves as the Master of the Legion, eliminating the need for a Praetor and potentially freeing up an HQ slot for a Psyker.
“Point of the Blade” allows him to make a guaranteed charge of 8″ or less, bypassing any penalties from Difficult or Dangerous Terrain but also foregoing any bonuses the charged unit might receive. Additionally, he possesses “Stasis Grenades,” which can be used once per game to attempt to reduce the enemy’s initiative during a charge.
The Lion’s Choler is a key feature, granting him extra attacks as he takes damage, reaching an impressive nine attacks when reduced to two wounds or less.
The Lion has the unique privilege of choosing between two weapons.
- The Lion Sword is the superior choice for general use, featuring Master-crafted, Strength-User, AP1, Fleshbane, Armourbane (Melee), and Instant Death properties. This weapon allows him to engage nearly any non-Primarch target and inflict Instant Death each turn. Even against vehicles, its Strength 7 Armourbane ensures a strong chance of penetrating armor, making it effective against Land Raiders and similar targets.
- The Wolf Blade, on the other hand, possesses Strength +2, AP3, Master-crafted, Shred, Breaching (4+), Reaping Blow (2), and Fearsome Ruin. While the lower AP3 might seem inferior at first glance, its ability to wound more frequently than Fleshbane, especially with Shred, ensures that the majority of his inflicted wounds are still at Strength 9 AP2, causing Instant Death against most Marines. However, there are situations where it may struggle against 2+ saves. The Wolf Blade is primarily used to eliminate entire squads with bonus attacks from Reaping Blow (2), forcing morale checks with Fearsome Ruin, and then executing Sweeping Advances with his high Initiative and Crusader bonus.
The Fusil Actinaeus stands out among primarch ranged weapons and is an Assault 2 S7 AP3 Plasma weapon with Twin-linked, Rending (3+), and Blind.
The Leonine Panoply continues to provide a 2+/4++ save and a single re-rollable invulnerable save each turn, offering decent protection against opponents wielding AP2 weapons without a high volume of attacks.
This is a list from Graham
Rite of War: Steel Fist + HQ: + Marduk Sedras [220Pts] Praetor [160Pts]: Ironwing, Marshal of the Crown, Warlord, Nemesis Bolter, Paragon Blade + Elites: + Dreadwing Interemptor Squad Interemptor Praefectus Artificer Armour, Augury Scanner, 8x Interemptors, 2x Phosphex Bomb, Plasma Incinerator . Land Raider Proteus Carrier Kratos: Ironwing . 2x Volkite Culverins, Flare Shield, Volkite Calivers, Pintle Mounted Multi-Melta, Searchlights, Volkite Cardanelle + Troops: + Predator Squadron: Ironwing, 2x Lascannons, Magna-Melta Cannon Predator Squadron: Ironwing, 2x Lascannons, Magna-Melta Cannon Predator Squadron: Ironwing, 2x Lascannons, Magna-Melta Cannon Tactical Squad: Stormwing . Legion Tactical Sergeant: Artificer Armour . 9x Legionaries . Rhino Transport Tactical Squad: Stormwing . Legion Tactical Sergeant: Artificer Armour . 9x Legionaries . Rhino Transport + Heavy Support: + Scorpius Squadon: Ravenwing, Scorpius x 2 Sicaran Punisher Squadron: Ravenwing . Sicaran Punisher: 2x Heavy Bolters Sponsons, Pintle Mounted Heavy Bolter x 2 Vindicator Squadron: Ironwing . Vindicator: Centreline Mounted magna laser destroyer x 3
Michael came up with this list after the release of the Inductii.
Rite of War: The Unbroken Vow + HQ: + Praetor in Cataphractii Terminator Armour: Deathwing, Marshal of the Crown, Warlord, Terranic Greatsword, Volkite Charger . Deathwing Companion Detachment . . Deathwing Companion: Calibanite Warblade, Cytheron Pattern Aegis x 4 . . Deathwing Oathbearer: Plasma Pistol, Calibanite Warblade . . Land Raider Proteus Carrier: Magna Combi-Weapon - Plasma Gun, Twin-linked Lascannon . Legion Cataphractii Praetor: Cataphractii Terminator Armour, + Elites: + Contemptor Dreadnought: Ironwing, Gravis Lascannon, Gravis Power Fist with in-built ranged weapon, Meltagun Contemptor Dreadnought: Ironwing, Gravis Melta Cannon, Gravis Power Fist with in-built ranged weapon, Meltagun Dreadwing Interemptor Squad: Artificer Armour, Augury Scanner, Interemptor Praefectus, 4x Interemptors, Meltabombs, 3x Phosphex Bomb, Plasma Incinerator Inner Circle Knights Cenobium: Deathwing, Slayers of Kings . Order Cenobites: Terranic Greatsword x 4 + Troops: + Scout Squad: Firewing . Legion Scout: Nemesis Bolter x 5 Tactical Squad (Inductii) . Legion Tactical Sergeant, Power Fist, Volkite Charger . 9x Legionaries 9x Volkite Charger . Rhino Transport: Magna Combi-Weapon - Plasma Gun Tactical Squad (Inductii) . Legion Tactical Sergeant, Power Fist, Volkite Charger . 9x Legionaries 9x Volkite Charger . Rhino Transport: Magna Combi-Weapon - Plasma Gun Terminator Cataphractii Squad: Deathwing . Cataphractii: Combi-Bolter, Power Fist . Cataphractii: Chainfist, Combi-Bolter x 2 . Cataphractii: Reaper Autocannon, Power Fist . Cataphractii Sergeant: Combi-Bolter, Power Fist Terminator Cataphractii Squad: Deathwing . Cataphractii: Combi-Bolter, Power Fist . Cataphractii: Chainfist, Combi-Bolter x 2 . Cataphractii: Heavy Flamer, Power Fist . Cataphractii Sergeant: Combi-Bolter, Power Fist + Heavy Support: + Leviathan Dreadnought: Dreadwing, Leviathan Siege Claw, Leviathan Siege Drill, Phosphex Discharger, 2x Twin-linked Volkite Calivers Sicaran Squadron: Ironwing . Sicaran: 2x Volkite Culverins, Heavy Bolter
Here is one from Chris
+ HQ: + Corswain: Warlord + Elites: + Apothecarion Detachment . Apothecary: Deathwing, Warhawk Jump Pack x 2 Dreadwing Interemptor Squad: Interemptor Praefectus, 10x Interemptors . Land Raider Proteus Carrier: Magna Combi-Weapon - Meltagun Inner Circle Knights Cenobium: Deathwing, Slayers of Kings . Land Raider Spartan: Deathwing . . Land Raider Spartan: Flare Shield, Pintle-mounted Magna Combi-Weapon - Meltagun . Order Cenobites: Thunder Hammer x 2 . Order Cenobites: Terranic Greatsword x 5 Rapier Battery: Gravis Heavy Bolter Battery x 2, Stormwing + Troops: + Assault Squad: Combat Shields, Deathwing . Legion Assault Sergeant: Meltabombs, Power Armour, Calibanite Warblade . 14x Legionaries 13x Chainsword, Power Sword Assault Squad: Combat Shields, Deathwing . Legion Assault Sergeant: Meltabombs, Power Armour, Calibanite Warblade . 14x Legionaries 13x Chainsword, Power Sword + Fast Attack: + Xiphon Interceptor: Ironwing + Heavy Support: + Deredeo Dreadnought Talon: Ironwing, Aiolos Missile Launcher, Arachnus Heavy Lascannon Battery + Primarch: + Lion El'Jonson: The Lion Sword
Here is another list from Michael
Rite of War: The Storm Of War + HQ: + Centurion, Cataphractii: Deathwing, Herald , Terranic Greatsword Praetor: Stormwing, Warlord, Archaeotech Pistol, Artificer Armour, Master-crafted Terranic Greatsword . Deathwing Companion Detachment: Legion Vexilla . . Deathwing Companion: Cytheron Pattern Aegis, Terranic Greatsword x 4 . . Deathwing Oathbearer: Bolter, Calibanite Warblade . . Land Raider Proteus Carrier: Twin-linked Heavy Bolter + Elites: + Apothecarion Detachment . Apothecary: Artificer Armour, Bolt Pistol, Stormwing x 3 . . Chainsword: Chainswor Inner Circle Knights Cenobium: Deathwing, Legion Vexilla, Slayers of Kings . Land Raider Proteus Carrier: Twin-linked Heavy Bolter . Order Cenobites: Terranic Greatsword x 4 . Order Preceptor: Thunder Hammer + Troops: + Tactical Squad: Stormwing . . Legion Centurion, Stormwing,Terranic Greatsword . Legion Tactical Sergeant: Artificer Armour, Chain Bayonet, Calibanite Warblade . 17x Legionaries (collective): 19x Chain Bayonet, Augury Scanner, Legion Vexilla Tactical Squad: Stormwing . . Legion Centurion, Stormwing,Terranic Greatsword . Legion Tactical Sergeant: Artificer Armour, Chain Bayonet, Calibanite Warblade . 17x Legionaries (collective): 19x Chain Bayonet, Augury Scanner, Legion Vexilla Tactical Squad: Stormwing . . Legion Centurion, Stormwing,Terranic Greatsword . Legion Tactical Sergeant: Artificer Armour, Chain Bayonet, Calibanite Warblade . 17x Legionaries (collective): 19x Chain Bayonet, Augury Scanner, Legion Vexilla Tactical Support Squad: Dreadwing, Plasma Burner . Rhino Transport: Dozer Blade + Heavy Support: + Vindicator Squadron: Ironwing . Vindicator: Centreline Mounted magna laser destroyer x 2
And finally here is Robs
Rite of War: Serpent's Bane (DA) + HQ: + Corswain Praetor, Cataphractii: Firewing, Warlord , Paragon Blade , Magna Combi-Weapon - Disintegrator + Elites: + Contemptor Dreadnought: Ironwing, Gravis Lascannon, Gravis Power Fist with in-built Meltagun Terminator Cataphractii Squad: Firewing . Cataphractii: Chainfist, Combi-Bolter x 5 . Cataphractii: Power Fist . Magna Combi-Weapon - Meltagun . Cataphractii: Power Fist . Magna Combi-Weapon - Plasma Gun . Cataphractii, Reaper Autocannon, Power Sword x 2 . Cataphractii Sergeant: Grenade Harness, Power Sword + Troops: + Seeker Squad: Firewing . Legion Seeker: Magna Combi-Weapon - Meltagun x 9 . Legion Seeker Sergeant: Artificer Armour, Magna Combi-Weapon - Meltagun Seeker Squad: Firewing, Meltabombs . Land Raider Proteus Carrier: Twin-linked Lascannon . Legion Seeker: Chain Bayonet, Kraken Bolter x 9 . Legion Seeker Sergeant: Artificer Armour, Chain Bayonet, Kraken Bolter Seeker Squad: Firewing . Legion Seeker: Magna Combi-Weapon - Plasma Gun x 9 . Legion Seeker Sergeant: Artificer Armour, Magna Combi-Weapon - Plasma Gun Tactical Support Squad: Firewing, Rotor Cannon . Legion Tactical Support Sergeant: Artificer Armour . 9x Legionaries: Augury Scanner + Heavy Support: + Land Raider Spartan: Ironwing, 2x Lascannon Destroyer, Flare Shield, Twin-linked Lascannon Sicaran Arcus: Ironwing, 2x Lascannons, Skyspear Warheads, Heavy Bolter
As a disclaimer, I have used some LLM tools to help me write this article, I am extremely dyslexic and the use of such tools has helped me keep the grammar on track and the article sound less like the rambling thoughts of a madman.
No that doesn’t mean I had this written by an LLM, I just used it as a tool to help me, but I think its important to disclose that information.