Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Sons of Caliban

Hello all, Schlemazal here (introduction post here, in case you want to know who I am). Now that the world has decided not to end, it’s time to look forward to the next release for my favorite army, the Dark Angels. The DA have been my primary army, through thick and thin, since the tail end of 3rd edition (mostly because I’m as stubborn as my terminators used to be), so I’m excited to see an update that will make them actually competitive again. I’m going to reserve any real judgment on the rules (or Matt Ward’s fluff) until I can actually see the codex, but we can still talk about the rumors and some of the models that have been shown off.

I hope this is just a bad photo, otherwise that is some ridiculous motion blur

I’m cautiously optimistic about most of what I’ve seen, so we’ll start with what I see as the good:

1 – Army-wide rule making plasma less dangerous to use. I know there’s some question as to whether or not the Dark Angels really have more access to plasma weaponry than other chapters, but I think the preference has been there since 3rd Edition when we had slightly cheaper plasma cannons and I’m happy to see this preference really becoming official.

2 – Banners conferring army rules rather than special characters. One of the biggest issues I’ve had with the recent codices has been the emphasis on particular special characters being used to define how an army plays, and I’m very pleased to see that GW is finally moving away from this model.

Azrael approves of banners

3 – Models. I like almost all the new models I’ve seen (with the notable exception of the new landspeeder, but I’ll talk about that in a moment). I think the new flyer (Nephilim) looks very slick, and the rules to go with it sound good for an air-superiority fighter. The new terminator models are amazing as well in my opinion, and I will definitely be buying some. I also like that they seem to have finally picked a monkish theme to stick with rather than alternating between Dark Angels being monks/knights and native americans.

I was in the middle of updating these suckers too

4 – Sternguard Veterans. I’ve wanted to be able to field these ever since they came out in Codex: SM, and now I finally can.

Now the bad:

1 – My main complaint with the new codex is simply the lack of attention to most of the chapter. While this may turn out to not be the case at all, the rumors make it seem that virtually all the new units and models are Deathwing/Ravenwing. I get that they are the ‘interesting’ portion of the chapter, but as somebody who has traditionally fielded a company list, I’d like to see some love for the other 80% of the chapter (Occupy the Rock anyone?).

 2 – Land Speeder Vengeance. In addition to simply being an ugly model, I can’t help but feel like this won’t be a particularly useful unit. No matter what the Plasma Storm Battery actually does, having an armament like that in addition to an assault cannon and a heavy bolter is far too many weapons for a speeder. Land speeders die very quickly, and one with that much firepower will only draw more attention, along with a higher points cost.

The Unknown:

1 – Deathwing Knights. I have mixed feelings on this unit. On the one side, it strikes me as very cool, but at the same time, the idea of arming terminators with weapons that can’t even kill marines is frankly insane. This one really depends on how much they cost and what their special rules do.

2 – The Dark Talon. I’m hoping that this one is as cool as the Nephilim, though I will have to wait and see. The Rift Cannon is basically a giant question mark right now.

3 – The Fluff. With Matt Ward writing the codex, I’m desperately hoping that the fluff won’t be mangled. As always, I’m going to be cautiously optimistic in this case. Besides, he can’t possibly come up with anything more insane than the idea that the Dark Angels are actually a chaos sect trying to stop the emperor’s reincarnated spirit/starchild (Cypher) from reaching the golden throne and slaying his own corpse to set his psychic powers free and destroy the chaos gods, right? On second thought, I’m not sure I want to know the answer to that question.

Ask your chaplain if Matt Ward is right for you before use

As always, comments and suggestions are appreciated.