Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Dark Angels, FAQs, and Gee Dub Price Point!

I got my hands on the Dark Angels codex when it dropped. Fifty bucks was a hefty sum for a 40K book that ISN'T Forgeworld...and if it weren't for the Olympic Cards and Comics gift certificate that I received at Christmas, I probably would have passed.

I will admit, the book is beautiful, albeit small in page count. I REALLY like the cover art for this codex. When compared to the cover for Blood Angels in 5th Edition (Dave Gallagher, what happened?), I was most pleased. I've singled out Gallagher for his Blood Angels 5th Ed. cover, which I strongly dislike, because that was my first codex. The mealy face of the Blood Angel bugs the shit out of me, and when that picture is compared to the likes of Gallagher's Marneus Calgar- the difference is like day and night. A part of me is curious if Gallagher's Blood Angel cover is a tip of the hat to John Blanche, but I digress.

Rant aside, back to the Dark Angels: There were quite a few spelling and grammatical errors as well as missing or incorrect rule entries- as though the book was pushed through production too fast. Bush league. When you compare the beauty of the book to the lack of quality control it really is a disappointing product for 50 bucks.

I really do like the way that the army list is presented in the book. Units may be taken at their base cost with minimal selection(s) and gear, with plenty of customizable options if one wants to spend the points. Troop options include Tactical Squads, Scout Squads. Taking the corresponding HQ unit in a DA primary detachment, a player may also take as troop units Deathwing Terminators, and Ravenwing bike squads.

Units that initially stood out to me:
  • Azreal costs a little over 200 points, and in a primary detachment allows a player to count Ravenwing and Deathwing units as troops. Azriel confers a 4+ invuln. save to himself and the unit he is attached to. Every DA unit may use his leadership of 10 for morale and pinning tests. Azreal gets a power sword that adds two to his strength, and master-crafted (although it is AP3). Strangely enough, Azreal's special rules do not include ATSKNF.
  • The Librarian HQ with a base cost of sixty-something points! Cheap! for thirty-odd points you can upgrade the Libby to level two.
  • Auspex (for less than ten points) a device that subtracts 1 from an opposing unit's cover save. Wow.
  • A five-man Tactical (TAC) squad's base cost is under 100 points- in fact it is almost the same price as a base squad of Blood Angel scouts- A five-man DA scout squad is 10 points less. A tough sell to convince me to save 10 points and pick a scout squad over a TAC squad, rest assured.
  • A marine in a TAC squad may take a missile launcher as a heavy weapon for 15 points. If he does, he may also pay an additional 10 points to include Flaak missiles (ouch!). Not really the answer to fliers, loading so many points onto one +3 marine that can get barrage-sniped out of existence. Perhaps a Dev squad in an Aegis line, surrounded by Darkshrouds...
  • Deathwing Assault and Vengeful strike: Units with the DW Assault and Terminator armor get to choose which turn they arrive from reserves (turn 1, or turn 2). Futher, a unit that has the DW Assault rule, and the vengeful strike rule, treat all ranged weapons as twin-linked weapons on the turn in which they arrive from reserves. Fun shenanigans and expensive Termies.
  • Ravenwing Bike Squads are 10 points cheaper than BA Bike Squads, base cost, but do not get the ATSKNF special rule. Instead, Ravenwing Bike Squads get the 'hit and run' special rules. As long as they pass that initiative test, Ravenwing Bikers could prove really annoying!
  • No Attack Bike Squads :(
  • Nephilim Jet Fighter is pricey for the weapon options you get- it is only 20 points less than a Storm Raven. In comparison, the Nephilim is AV11 all around, and does not get any cool protection against the bonus 'juice range' of melta weapons. The Fighter's rules are 'meh', but the model and kit itself is striking. Too bad.
  • The Flying Church is just not worth mentioning other than for the lulz. 
  •  The Darkshroud is an 80 point Landspeeder that benefits from the shrouded special rule, and confers stealth to any friendly unit in 6 inches. Me likey.
Did I mention I love the smell of printers ink in a new book? On that, the Dark Angels codex delivers! Every time I open the thing it has that 'new book' smell that I love!

The Halbred of Caliban is pretty badass. It makes you wonder why Azreal isn't sportin' it...

On January 13th Games Workshop released a number of 40K FAQs across all of their current codexes and rule book. There were many noteworthy tweaks and corrections that the Internet is all about- especially the Helldrake (I guess GW really wants to improve the sales on that particular model). Of note was the little tweak in the BA Codex stating that a Stormraven may only carry two units; one squad of up to 12 models, and one Dreadnought- it would seem a unit that has divided into combat squad(s) may not ride together in the Stormraven as a result. Dumb.

In the BRB, the doozy was that ill-written number on page 3, 'When making a Shooting attack against a unit, can Wounds from the Wound Pool be allocated to models that were not within range any of the shooting models when To Hit rolls were made (i.e. half the targeted model are in the shooting models' range, and half are not)? (p15) A: No." Its obvious the intent, but, I'm confused as to why since this goes against the rules as they first appeared in the BRB. So, if casualities are taken to the point where a unit's surviving models are now out of range of those weapons that contributed to the wound pool- the unit suffers no further wounds from that particular wound pool, and the wounds are lost. Wha? Note to self: Toss in a weapon that extends past the range of the rest of the unit (i.e. missile launcher in a Tac squad), that way any target unit straddling that 24" maximum bolter range, won't necessisarily negate my wound pool- I like to call it 'rubberbanding'.

Force Weapons trump Feel No Pain- not that unreasonable.

Rending does not count as AP2. Personally, I didn't think it did.

Blessings, Reserve Rolls, and Outflank Moves all occur in order of the controlling player's choice. Makes sense.

Azreal can be taken as an HQ choice in an allied detachment. This was a good clarification. Based on the rule as it was written in the DA 'dex, I leaned to the opposite, actually.

Space Wolf units that join a scout squad may no longer benefit from their 'Behind Enemy Lines' special rule- wtf? Wow, one more reason not to take scouts. Gotit, Geedub!

GW Pricing:
One thing evident with the release of the Dark Angel kits were their relevant pricing. Now many have argued that these kits include a plethora of bits, and in some cases special weapons, however, spending 65 bucks on a Landspeeder, 49 dollars for Sammael, or 60 bucks on a squad of Terminator squad seems exuberant excessive (I'm sure Geedub is very exuberant that hobbyists are willing to pay that much). GW prices are pricing me right out of the hobby, and I can't imagine trying to break into the game as a new player at current price point. The prices continue to slow down my 40K purchasing, and another annual price hike would grind my spending to a halt. That isn't crying, or 'sandy vagging', it is the simple truth. I have bills and responsibilities that make purchasing an army, or a new codex (even) impractical. Fortunately for me, when I do get away from work, I play 40K at an FLGS where I can field 3rd party and non GW models- Thank You Olympic Cards and Comics!


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