Games Workshop sent us a review copy of the new Deathwing Assault box; this was passed to me to crack open and get my teeth into. I even had a little while to get some paint on the models, but in what can only be described as a gross underestimation of the work involved (or a wild overestimation of my painting prowess!), I haven’t managed to finish any of them… so this article will involve a few WIP images!
What’s in the box?
In your copy of Deathwing Assault you will find a copy of the new Dark Angels supplement which has a fair bit of information about how the Unforgiven are handling the return of the Lion, and what impact this has had on the hunt for the Fallen. There are new rules for Combat Patrol (and therefore likely a new Combat Patrol box on the way for everyone’s favourite moody Space Marines), along with all the Datasheets you will need to play with your Dark Angels army in 40k. There are Data Cards covering the Dark Angels units for ease of use when you play too.
You’ll also get Belial’s new model, 5 Deathwing Knights and 10 Terminators, with two upgrade sprues which have loads of shoulder pads, helmets, weapons and ‘gubbins’ to customise your models.
Belial in particular is a massive model, he’s really putting the ‘Grand’ in the Grand Master of the Deathwing. All the kits went together beautifully, which is pretty much what you expect from modern plastic kits from GW nowadays!
The Dark Angels benefit from three detachments in the book; the new ones (Deathwing and Ravenwing) have been explored in depth on the Warhammer Community website.
The Unforgiven Taskforce makes a reappearance – I can’t see too many changes from the existing one, but feel free to correct me!
The Company of Hunters is for the Ravenwing players; it allows you to take Outriders as Battleline units (hooray for more bikes!), and 5/6 of the Strategems are centred on Ravenwing units.
The Inner Circle Taskforce covers off the Deathwing side of things; sadly this detachment does not make Deathwing Terminators Battleline, so you’ll have to get your fill from the list of Deathwing units provided on page 59 to maximise your use of Strategems (as 5/6 of them are specific to Deathwing units) – it’s all the usual suspects plus Sternguard and Vanguard Veterans, along with the Repulsor and Repulsor executioner. This provides some interesting modelling decisions for Dark Angels players – all the Bladeguard units are shown in Deathwing white, whereas I think I’ll be going down the line of painting them in the Battle Company colours and running them as Company Veterans (who are sadly absent from the book!). I’ve just realised that Librarians appear to have been kicked out of the Deathwing now (other than Ezekial), but the named characters all come with the keyword, allowing you to spread the Deathwing unit type about a bit by attaching them to other units.
We’ll rip the plaster off straight away; there have been some losses from the ranks and options for the Unforgiven. Apparently, Apothecaries have forgotten how to wear Terminator Armour, the Deathwing Champion has gotten lost somewhere in The Rock, the Deathwing Command Squad has been demoted, the Deathwing Strikemaster suffered a catastrophic Deep Strike mishap and the Ravenwing Talonmaster has misplaced the keys to his speeder. None of them appear in the Codex, but you can work around this by other means in some cases (such as just using a Terminator Captain for your Strikemaster etc.). Fingers crossed for Legends units!
The Lion is still the Lion… he’s a scary prospect in close combat and a pretty model to lead the army, but comes with a pretty price tag to match. In a pure Deathwing Army, he might struggle to find his niche.
The Inner Circle Companions seem like a very interesting bodyguard unit. While they have a Leader in the unit, everyone suffers a penalty to hit them (shooting and melee), and you get bonuses to hit with them when you’re fighting against Character units. They have a couple of different profiles on their weapons to help out with either clearing chaff, or against tougher targets. The surprise for me here is that the preview online had one of them holding a banner of some description – this is absent from the unit entry and appears to just be a cool looking part to add to your models. They lack an invulnerable save (unless you bring Azrael to the party), but almost certainly have a place in your list.
Azrael is much as he was before, still rocking that glorious new sculpt he has. For me, it feels like he’ll be most at home leading some Inner Circle Companions or some Hellblasters – sadly, the Supreme Grand Master still can’t join Terminators!
Asmodai comes in at the bargain price of 65 points and give full re-rerolls to his unit’s melee attacks. He has some rules around intimidating other characters, and bring the all-important Deathwing keyword with him.
Belial is still one of our premier character assassins – his weapons both coming with the Precision key word to help eliminate scarier targets who might otherwise do terrible things to your units! He’s still cheap as chips and has his Strikes of Retribution rule to help out. Oddly enough, he can join units of Terminators.
Ezekial is still running his Second Edition model, so is feeling rather small compared to his Primaris-sized brothers now. I suspect we’ll be seeing some clever conversions with the Inner Circle Companion models to get him up to size before long! He can attach to a large number of units and brings the Book of Salvation which pumps up his unit’s attacks characteristic… just don’t get him killed…
No new model for Sammael, but the Master of the Ravenwing comes roaring back on to the battlefield with the ability to confer Advance and Charge on a unit he has joined. His sword also seems to be a little sharper than Belial’s, giving him an extra pip of AP.
Lazarus is still in the book – I don’t know much about him as a character, but he really seems to dislike Psykers, with rules across his wargear helping him do more damage to them and resist their attacks.
Deathwing Terminators are much as you would expect, with one major difference – you can no longer mix and match your Assault Terminator loadouts into the same squad as your Tactical Terminators. All Deathwing Squads are your traditional Storm Bolter and Power Fist load out (with the normal upgrades like Chainfists and Assault Cannons), and can take a Plasma Cannon. They’re 5-10 men. They benefit from their Watcher in the Dark ability still (as one comes on the upgrade sprue) and can ignore penalties to their ‘To Hit’ roll.
Deathwing Knights have had it a little rough for this supplement. They’re coming in at 290 points and are capped at a 5-man unit; they have the choice of D1 Power Swords, or can sacrifice one of their five attacks and a pip of AP to take Maces of Absolution for some D2 output. The Sergeant can take the best of both worlds in the form of either a Great Weapon of the Unforgiven or a Relic Weapon. They have a permanent -1 Damage rule and 4 wounds a piece, meaning they should be challenging to put down.
The Ravenwing Command Squad survived the edition change and are a 3-man Leader unit which can attach to either Outriders or Black Knights. They get the usual banner bonuses for having the Ancient, bonuses to their move and advance for having the Champion and the ability to revive one model per turn with the Apothecary – this crucially excludes ATV models (if attached to Outriders) as well as Character Models, so no reviving your Champion if he bites it at an inopportune moment.
The Black Knights are a 3-6 model unit (taking you to 9 models if you attach the Command Squad); they’re a fast-moving unit with decent output in terms of close-in shooting and close combat, with a particular focus on Monster and Vehicle hunting.
The Darkshroud and Vengeance Land Speeders are still in the book; they both come with pretty niche rules that I’m struggling to find a place for in my list. The Darkshroud provides some defensive buffs to models stood near it, and the Vengeance provides an out-of-sequence shooting attack if a Dark Angels unit close to it is destroyed.
The same applies to the Dark Talon and the Nephilim – neither one will be finding much play in my list, through the Dark Talon does have the ability to disrupt enemy movement by dropping stasis bombs on units.
I’ll admit, I’m not a massive Crusade player, but this section is fully fleshed out with some very thematic agendas and missions for the Dark Angels player to follow – there’s plenty here about capturing the fallen to keep even the most die-hard Unforgiven entertained for hours at a time.
Is it any good?
In short – yes. This is a rather good box to either expand an exiting Dark Angels army or to dip your toe into a (heavily Deathwing themed) Dark Angels list for the first time.
The Codex in particular is impressive with the artwork throughout – there’s a lot of large pictures spanning double pages, with text above them; I find it very reminiscent of the Forgeworld Heresy Black Books. There’s a good mix of classic and new art in the books, and the expansion of their background is well done.
I’m personally a fan of the Deathwing Terminators being moved back to an upgrade kit rather than having a bespoke kit (Heresy, I know!). I think they benefit from the largely cleaner lines of the new Terminator kit, and the upgrade sprue provides plenty of gubbins for customising them.
All in all, I’m pretty happy with the box... I just need finish painting it!
Now, back to the painting table before Drake realises that I’m away!