Tuesday 7 June 2022

Horus Heresy: Dark Angels Preview

Hi all

We continue with our Horus Heresy review by looking at the new Dark Angels Legion 

Assessment of their special Legion Trait (The Hexagrammaton):

The Dark Angel Legion trait is tailored to specific units, every “wing” of the Dark Angels is affected differently, so you can customise your army given it’s specific needs or your chosen playstyle. This adds so much depth into army list building and you really have to think about what you’re trying to achieve. For example members of the Stormwing gain +1 to hit when using bolt weapons (Gun,Combi and Pistol). This also includes reactions so can be especially useful in certain situations. Firewing for example are your character killers each model in the unit gaining +1 to Wound against Independent Characters. In a world where everyone is extraordinary having these bonuses really make them stand out.

Assessment of their Advance Reaction (The Angels of Death):
Like the other Advanced Reactions this can only be used once per battle but again it makes the Dark Angels a difficult prospect for any traitor Legions. When a charge has been declared against one of your Dark Angel units you must take a leadership test using the lowest leadership in the unit making the reaction, if you pass then your unit gets the following rules Fear (2) and Fearless until the end of your next turn, if you fail then you gain Stubborn and Fear (1)

Assessment of their Warlord Traits:

Marshal of the Crown, basically you pick a Hexagrammaton sub-type from your army and any of this subtype gains +1 Leadership if they can draw line of sight to your warlord and the bonus of being able to use an extra reaction during your opponents turn, this is dictated by your sub-type, so;

Deathwing, Dreadwing - Assault Phase 
Stormwing , Ironwing – Shooting Phase 
Ravenwing, Firewing – Movement Phase

As you can see this has the potential to be an absolute game changer, forcing your opponent into really thinking about how they go about their battleplans. The +1 Leadership may not sound like much but having a higher leadership on your units can tip the balance at a critical point.

The additional Reaction can only be done when your warlord has not been removed as a casualty, this can make him a target.

Seneschal of the Keys, this trait is more situational than Marshal of the Crown in that once per battle you can select a decisive turn, this means at the start of your turn you can select an enemy faction and your warlord and any unit he has joined gets +1 WS and BS against that chosen faction, also you may make an additional reaction in your opponent’s assault phase.
Both Warlord Traits have their merits but for me I think Marshal of the Crown is probably the more beneficial over the course of a battle.

Assessment of their Rights of War: (These can only be used when you have at least one model with the Master of the Legion special rule)
Each “wing” of the Dark Angels gets their own Rite of War and allows for customisation of your Army depending on which you wish to go for, I have listed a couple below and potential uses but each is powerful in it’s own right and allows you to tailor your army to specific needs.

The Steel Fist: This right of war allows the following:
  • Legion Predator Squadrons may be taken as Troop choices
  • Legion Kratos Squadrons may be taken as Elites choices
  • All units in a Detachment using this Rite of War made up entirely of Infantry, the Ironwing
sub-type and with 10 or fewer models may take a Land Raider Proteus Carrier as a dedicated
transport or if more than 10 models may take a Land Raider Spartan

There are limitations on this, all must be the Ironwing Sub-type and you cannot Deepstrike, Flank Assault or Subterranean Assault.

Really situational but if you want a mainly tank army your prayers have been answered. The Eskaton Imperative: When only total eradication is good enough:
  • Legion Destroyer Assault Squads, Legion Mortalis Destroyer Squads and Dreadwing Interemptor Squads can be taken as Troops choices (Hooray!! )
  • All models with the Dreadwing sub-type automatically pass Dangerous Terrain tests
  • For the duration of the battle all Open Terrain outside of any players deployment zone count as Difficult Terrain, whilst Impassable, Dangerous Terrain, Buildings and Fortifications are unaffected. Also before any models are deployed the Dark Angel Player places up to two Eskaton Markers (use dice or any token no larger than 25mm) the area within 6” of these markers count as Dangerous Terrain in addition to any other effects
  • All models with the Dreadwing sub-type gain +1 Wound against enemies within any Dangerous Terrain or affected by a rule that makes them act as if in Dangerous Terrain
Again there are limitations places upon this Rite of War, but to me this is the more fun one and has the potential to really mess with your opponents plans.

Assessment of their Armoury:

Calibanite Warblade +1 Str AP 3 and Rending 6+ and classed as a power weapon

Plasma Repeater Str 6 and AP 4 Assault 3, Gets Hot, Twin-Linked and Breaching 4+ They have a Short range I know but for those that love Plasma these are a fine addition especially when used with reactions, you have the potential to melt entire units... Smoking Wellies anyone?

Terranic Greatsword +2 Str AP 3, Rending 5+ and Murderous Strike 5+, the guys that wield these will be a massive threat, in my opinion one of the best melee weapons in the game.

Stasis Missiles, these are a little underwhelming for me, although to be fair I haven’t had a chance to use these in game yet.

Legiones Consularis: Paladin on the Hekatonystika
Any Legion Centurion, Tartaros Centurion, Cataphractii Centurion can be upgraded to a paladin, he gains the following; upgrade to WS 6 and Ld 10 in addition he gets Stubborn and Adamantium Will (3+) he must also take a Terranic Greatsword (oh no!! lol)

Assessment of the Primarch:
The big guy himself is a fearsome beast with impressive stats even for a Primarch this combined with the ability of taking a different Hexagrammaton sub type at the start of each turn means he is always well equipped for any situation he finds himself in.

He comes with the Sire of the Dark Angels warlord trait giving every Dark Angel the Crusader special rule and +1 to Ld to a maximum of 10 if they can draw LoS to the Primarch, he also grants one additional Reaction per shooting phase as long as he is still in the battle.
His wargear is equally impressive with the Lion Sword coming in with Str User and AP 1 and the following, Armourbane, Fleshbane, Master-Crafted, Instant Death and Two Handed. This combined with his High Initiative (7) and 7 Attacks and he should wreck whatever he is in combat with. His Armour (The Leonine Panoply) gives a 2+ save and 4+ Invulnerable also allowing him to reroll the first failed invulnerable per turn. The Wolf Blade is equally impressive boasting +2 Str AP 3, Breaching (4+) Reaping Blow(2) Master Crafter and Fearsome Ruin (Any unit that suffers damage from this weapon must make a Morale Check using 3 dice and keeping the highest)
Each of the Lions weapons benefit from the Hexagrammaton to hit bonuses if the Lion is in that chosen Sub Type.

Assessment of the Special Units:
Inner Circle Knight Cenobium
Standard 5 man unit can take an additional 5 each, armed with Cataphractii Terminator Armour and Terranic Greatswords with Digital Plasma Weapons Range Template Str 4 AP 4 Assault 1 and Breaching 6. Close combat is where these guys excel with WS 5 and 2 attacks and 3 of the Preceptor, they also benefit from the Orders of the Hekatonystika Special Rule:
  • Augers of Weakness ( +1 Str against AV 11+)
  • Icons of Resolve (+1 Ld to a max of 10 on any turn in which it or it was charged)
  • Slayers of Kings (Models may reroll rolls of 1 when fighting opponents with a WS 5 or higher)
  • Hunters of Beasts (Models may reroll rolls of 1 when fighting opponents with a T of 5 or reroll all failed wound rolls if the T is 6 or higher)
  • Reapers of Hosts (+1 Attack if in base to base contact with more than one enemy model)
  • Breakers of Witches (Reroll all Hit and Wound in close combat against Daemons, Psykers and Corrupted enemies)
Dreadwing Interemptor Squad
These come in 5 man squads with the Dreadwing unit type. They can take an additional 10 Interemptors. They are armed with Plasma Burners (Range Template Str 6 and AP 4) and for every 5 you can replace this with a Plasma Incinerator (Range Template Str 6 AP 4, Torrent 9”) or a Missile Launcher with Rad and Stasis Missiles. Other upgrades are available like Phosphex and Melta Bombs and Artificer Armour for the Praefectus.

Deathwing Companions
A 5 man squad with the ability to upgrade to 10. Armed with a Calibanite Warblade and a Bolt Pistol and wearing Artificer Armour. They have a few unique items and abilities:
  • Any Model may replace its Bolter for Cytheron Pattern Aegis
  • Death Sworn Companions
Cytheron Pattern Aegis can be used in 1 of 2 ways a 4+invulnerable against Shooting and 5+ Invulnerable against Melee and any enemy models engaged in melee have their Initiative reduced by 1. But when these are deployed they cannot make any attacks in any phase. A really situational item that I think may only be useful when camping objectives.

Death Sworn Companions, a unit with at least one model with this rule ignores Precision Strikes(X) Precision Shots (X) and Sniper Special Rules and casualties from shooting and melee attacks are always chosen by the controlling player. This is an awesome ability and can really help safeguard heroes. One of my favourite rules so far.
Assessment of their Warlords

What can be said about Corswain other than he’s an absolute beast in close combat with Duellists Edge (2) making him as fast as his Primarch coupled with WS 7 and 4 Str 6 attacks with Murderous Strike (4+) and a 3++ in close combat, he is going to cause a headache for anyone who gets near him. If he is your Warlord he must take Marshal of the Crown which is in my opinion the stronger of the 2 Warlord Traits.

Marduk Sedras
Where Corswain is the master duellist Marduk is the power hitter, his sword The Death of Worlds confers the following Str +5 and AP2 and has the ability Curse of Dead Worlds reducing his opponents invulnerable save by 1. Factor this in with WS6 and 4 Attacks and he can really dish out the hurt. He must take the Warlord Trait Preceptor of the Shattered Sceptre, which is basically a unit of Inner Circle Knights Cenobium that don’t use a Force Organisation slot and is part of Marduk’s unit. You may also make an additional reaction per Assault Phase. He has Regalia of the Shattered Sceptre which conveys a 2+ armour save and a 4+ invulnerable save, this also allows him to automatically pass any Dangerous Terrain Tests.

Thanks to Games Workshop for the review copy. 

Engine Phil


  1. Thanks for the review! They seem funny and strong to play.. unless the different wing rules do not confuse the player! :D

    1. They do have amazing rules and will take a bit of getting used to for sure. I think the customisation of the army really puts them up there as one of the more competitive armies, but will take some getting used to. :)

    2. Yep! We'll see how the players take them, specially in tournaments. Amazing reviews BTW!