Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Dark Angels Analysis - Command Squads

Apologies again for the lack of content, I have numerous excuses today, so here's an insert into my own personal life. I've given my Word Bearers a kick start, for 40kuk's Age of Armies, and so have been busy painting like mad for them. Secondly, I came back up to Sheffield on Friday for Easter, and thirdly, I've gotten into League of Legends. My name on there is Roghrax, named after the Champion of Khorne who took more skulls than he knew what to do with. Add me if you're on. Anyway, forth!

Today I am going to be concluding the Dark Angels analysis. I realise that I am behind schedule with these things, and I'd like to begin with Daemons as quickly as possible. Additionally, when I do get into Chaos Daemons, the format of these posts will change. I'll still be doing a post for each individual unit for the most part, but it will take the format of building lists around that unit. From the GT I have learnt that it's even harder than I thought to take a unit out of context and analyse it on its own. So I will be building lists around the unit to give it some context. It will also take more of a, 'scatttergun' approach, as I pick on units in a totally random order.

The concluding post is on the Command Squads.

There are 3 types of command squad, the standard Command Squad (essentially a Veterans squad), a Deathwing Command Squad (essentially a Terminator squad) and a Ravenwing Command Squad (essentially a Black Knight squad).

I'm not going to go into those units really, merely talk about how they are different and the banners and other wargear options they can take.

I'll start with the Ravenwing first, as they have few new options. The first is to take a Narthecium for 30pts, upgrading one biker to an Apothecary. I probably wouldn't go with this unless you're going for a massive squad. Yes you get FNP up to S10 which is nice but you're increasing your points cost by 25% for that. Again, you can swap a Plasma Talon for a Grenade Launcher, see the Black Knights post for that, although I do think that I undersold them a little in hindsight (the Black Knights as a whole).

Additionally, you have the option of swapping your Corvus Hammer for a Blade of Caliban. The comparison is that the Blade of Caliban has an AP value (3) and is Unwieldy, whilst the Corvus Hammer Rends and is 5pts cheaper. Corvus Hammer for me no contest.

Now into the exciting stuff. Banners. For 15pts you can get the Ravenwing Company banner, which makes all units essentially better at hit and run, getting out faster and always passing. Not bad. Next up, the Revered Standard. Close units re-roll Morale and Pinning and within 6” you get Crusader, which makes you run and sweep faster. For 25pts I wouldn't bother, especially with there being better options.

Now, in the Codex it says that you can take Relic Banners. According to the same £30 book there is no Relic Banners section in the Codex, so I referred to the FAQ, because apparently £30 isn't enough to warrant a correct book. After looking through 2 pages of corrections, I've discovered that apparently I'm meant to look in Sacred Standards instead. Right (I think I've made my stance on this clear). I'll come on to Sacred Standards once we've been through all of the Command Squads, as they can all take them.

Moving onto the standard Command Squad, essentially this is made up of Veterans, which gives you a clue to my feelings on these guys (see the Veterans post). The only real difference between them and the Veterans are some of the wargear options. +15pts for Feel No Pain is nice, but you're still not particularly durable, Missile launchers aren't going to care for example, and with proper barrage use your opponent can pick out your Apothecary no problem, granted you have a 4+ look out sir but it's not particularly reliable either. If you want a banner, I'd go for the Deathwing Command Squad or the Ravenwing Biker Squad, as the Command Squad itself doesn't really bring anything to the table. Sure, Deathwing Terminators can do the same job as the Deathwing Command squad without the Banner, same for Black Knights and the Ravenwing Command, but there is no reason to take regular Veterans for Dark Angels except maybe a Plasma Bomb, and you really don't want to risk your precious Magic Flag doing that do you?

They do have one special banner that no other unit can take, the Chapter Banner, this does the same as all of the others (re-roll morale and pinning, alternatively you can take the Company Banner on these guys and get this for 30pts less), but it also gives the squad wielding it +1 attack. All for almost 50pts. The problem with this is that in order to make this unit into any sort of decent hammer you need to spend a shed-load of points. First upgrading them, then finding a Land Raider so that they don't get chewed up and spat out on the way to combat, then you need to find units to tie up your opponent's shooting so that it doesn't wreck you the moment you come through your first unit, etc, etc. And all this time I'm sat here thinking, ''why not just take Deathwing?' There is nothing that Veterans can do that another unit in the Codex cannot do better, Command Squad or Elites choice. This includes banner bearing.

Finally, the Deathwing Command Squad, the most expensive Command Squad that you can take at 220pts. It is identical in every way (except for it doesn't come with a Sergeant) to the standard Deathwing Squad. So if for some reason you have filled up all of the slots that you can with Terminators (with or without Belial, the former being a strange prospect, the latter just as much as you should probably take him if this is your circumstance), you can take a Deathwing Command.

Therefore, the difference is the inclusion of Banners. Obviously you can take the Revered standard, or for 25pts more you could get the Deathwing Company Banner. Everyone within 6” gets Inner Circle – Fearless – and +1 attack, nice. That's pretty good for its points, and when you're taking lots of Terminator squads around them that's even better. The only thing that I really see with that is whether or not you want to clump your guys up, if your opponent's spread out you could be in trouble, as you're not really very quick, but in most of the missions your opponent doesn't have a choice, the Relic, Emperor's Will, Hammer and Anvil Deployment, Vanguard Strike Deployment, etc.

So, the Command Squad Wide Banners. Standard of Retribution, 12” Diameter, standard Morale and Pinning shenanigans, and then everyone gets counter-attack too. That's pretty good, that's nice in a Deathwing Army specifically, think even harder about charging your blocks as it's much harder to tie them up when you're increasing your attacks by 50% when charged. Not too bad a buy, would probably buy it on Deathwing. It's also the cheapest at just under 50pts.

The second is the most expensive. The Banner of Fortitude, almost 90pts, morale and pinning shenanigans, and everyone within 12” gets Feel No Pain. I actually laughed at this when I first saw it, near on 100pts for feel no pain within 12” from a guy that can be sniped out, you're having a laugh, it doesn't even stack on allies! But then, if you're running a 'Rampage' style list so to speak, whereby you throw a crap load of targets at your opponent and dare them to try and take them all down, then this actually isn't bad, it makes it even harder for your opponent to shift your targets, and if they're shooting at the squad with this banner first, well, that's less shots into your other targets. I'd either stick this on Deathwing deep striking in, or Ravenwing, speeding up.

Now I'm tempting myself to get a Dark Angels army, as they're so capable of hurling so many strong targets upfield, I need to control myself, my wallet's already suffering.

The Standard of Devastation is the middle man, same as a Librarian, but the most commonly seen (as in, I've actually seen this used). What it does is it makes all Boltguns Salvo 2/4. Where I've seen this is in Biker lists, as they're relentless, and each bike is churning out 4 twin-linked Bolt shots per turn. In today's torrent obsessed meta in the UK, that is really nice. As I say, this is for Ravenwing Command Squads, following lots of squads of Ravenwing Bikers.

So, in conclusion, Deathwing and Ravenwing Command Squads are good if you're looking for the Banner, the cheapest special flag is ok on Deathwing, the expensive special flag may possibly be ok on either depending on your list, and the flag of Devastation is excellent on Bikers, but remember to build your list around it.

And that finally concludes the Dark Angels Analysis, I've thrown my toys out the pram and procrastinated as much as I can but it's done. I may try a different format for the Daemons analysis, as I think I mentioned in one of the GT posts, it's extremely difficult to take a unit out of context and try and do a good job of breaking it down. So, what I'm probably going to be doing with Daemons (although I find them a little more exciting than Dark Angels so you never know) is build a list around each unit in the Codex, and see how it works, this allows for more of a feel of how the unit works in the army, and as a Daemon player I'll probably do a few more practice games to see how they work than I did with Dark Angels.

Sorry again for the lack of content, I should be back to regular day scheduling from now on.

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