Sunday, 13 January 2013

First impressions on the new codex!

I've had the codex for nearly half a day now (yes, I did download it at midnight!) and after having a quick ready and a a sleep, here's the first review/impressions of the codex! I'll do a more complete article after I've done all the unit analysis' as a nice way to round off all the articles directly linked to the codex.

Okay, as I've just said, I've got the digital/iPad edition of the codex but this review will focus on the codex itself, not any iPad element of the codex (I've got a separate article planned  focusing on the benefits of a digital codex)

From having only a quick read through the codex I can say it does look well written; by that I don't necessarily mean all the rules are watertight (there is already some debate over the wording of Deathwing Assault, more on that later) but I mean the codex has a good fluff section, is well set out, has good content, good art work and a nice range of units for you to use which seem pretty balanced (there's not auto-win button that I can see just yet).

For this review I will review each section in general, what I like/dislike, then at the end do a brief summary on where I see the book fitting power level wise and some of my favourite units so far. This is not a review of the rules/units in detail, just a broad summary of the book.

The Dark Angels

This section is the main fluff section of the codex (I'm not sure if it's called that in the printed versions, but it is in the iPad one so that's what I'll be calling it!); it follows the bog standard layout of most of the other marines codex's (general info about the chapter, founding and history, organisation, more 'modern' fluff (e.g. Hunt for the fallen) the timeline (which I think is a great feature in the codex's  gives you a sense of perspective in where the Dark Angels are now and where they will go) and The End is Nigh - pretty much reinforcing the grim darkness of the 40k universe and setting the scene for where things are going; everything getting much worse etc. I'd be surprised if the development team did ever move the story on though, which is a shame but for the time being at least this little section at the end is the closest we'll be getting to a moving on timeline wise of 40k.

Overall, I like the background section in this book, it has a nice balance of fluff, some interesting stories and pieces of information (little background boxes like the one for the Master of the Rock). There's no atrocious pieces of background (aka Draigo) so its a pretty good start to the book!

The Unforgiven

Now we're onto the rules section; each unit has a nice profile with some specific background material, rules, stats etc. you know the score. What I like about the way this book has been put together is that you have your Greenwing all together, then your Deathwing and then your Ravenwing, you're not jumping about all over the place, everything is nicely ordered.

Army-wide special rules look pretty good for the Dark Angels, as you'd expect for any Space Marine army we have ATSKNF and Combat Squads (not for all squads mind you, notably ravenwing bikers and tactical marines have this rule). We have stubborn and while that can be seen as a disadvantage with ATSKNF (you can voluntarily fail a morale check) it adds some character to the army and makes it a bit more interesting to play; which Dark Angel in their right mind would voluntarily fall back?! Several units have the Inner Circle special rule, giving them fearless and preferred-enemy Chaos Space Marines (mainly Deathwing, Ravenwing and HQ choices). You get a feeling that if you're playing against Chaos Space Marines you're going to have an easier ride with this codex, there are some other rules later on which do you a long way to helping you chop through CSM petty easily. Expect to see fear in CSM player's eyes when they see you unpacking the Deathwing Knights! The Warlord Traits are pretty good too, with only one result not being of much use in certain situations (+/- 1 to any reserve rolls) which is a nice thing, nothing worse than rolling a useless trait! Only problem is all of the special characters (except 1) come with a Warlord trait, so don't expect to be rolling on the table at all if you have a special character!

The Deathwing will be pretty unique in terms of special rules; Deathwing assault has been improved and you can now deep strike all your Deathwing troops on turn 1 or 2, no need to roll for reserves. This is a welcomed change as the Deathwing now have the rules to enable you to play them the way they should be played, a whole cohort of Terminators appearing out of nowhere in one go, annihilating everything in there path. With rules letting all your weapons count as twin linked on the turn you deep strike, toughness 5 terminators and having Belail in your squad meaning you won't scatter, the Deathwing are now a force to be reckoned with! The addition of some new Deathwing units is nice; my favourite being the Deathwing Knights, these are definitely going to be the unit for inflicting maximum damage on your opponent, a ready made deathstar. Why? Let's just say that anyone who finds 10, toughness 5 Terminators with storm shields and (albeit 1 use) strength 10 Ap 1 weapons deepstriking into the middle of your lines with no scatter on turn 1 has a difficult game ahead of them (that's not the mention the other Terminator squads dropping in firing with twin-linked weapons!)

Ravenwing forces have also got a boost with this new codex. Bike squads come with teleporter homers as standard, and combined with the speed of the bikes in 6th, and scout moves, there's no reason why you shouldn't be taking a bike squad or two to help with guiding in your Deathwing  We're already starting to see the synergy in this codex and we've only just flicked through a few units so far! While you can play 1 element on its own, I feel that the key to winning to Dark Angels will be extreme synergy between the different 'wings'. Back to the Ravenwing and the Black Knights are just as deadly as the Deathwing ones; capable of carrying grenade launchers which can reduce the initiative & weapon skill or the toughness of your opponents. Both new Landspeeders compliment the existing Ravenwing forces very well and both flyers (despite the negative press they've been getting in some forums out there) are useful and do have a place in the army! Ravenwing forces will be very viable, very fast moving and very deadly!

Now onto the rest of the army, the 'normal marines' or greenwing if you will. They are slightly less unique than the rest of the army, not as many special rules, however, they will form a solid core for your army, with lots of Plasma! You have most of the basic Space Marine units available (Tactical, Assault, Devastator etc.) and some are cheaper than their vanilla counterparts. Plasma seems prevalent with lots of choices for that, as well as flakk missiles available! So if you want a devastator squad with x4 flakk missiles you can now do it! Apart from that there's nothing too special to write home about just now, you'll have to wait till articles come out for each individual unit for more details.

Armoury of the Rock

The final section I'm going to review is the armoury, there's no point going over the model pages (just look at the pictures on the Games-Workshop website, that's all that's in that section) or the army list (nothing interesting that I can particularly comment on there!).

As it seems to be and hopefully will be a trend in the new 6th edition codex's we have a nice armoury section, with some new and some old pieces of wargear! I don't want to go into too much detail here as I think certain items are best explained when I do a unit by unit review. In brief, we have a wide range of Melee weapons, good ranged weapons and some interesting special wargear. Banners?! Did I mention banners?! We have some excellent options regarding banners, think salvo 2/4 on 10 relentless ravenwing bikers...

Thoughts on the iPad version

Just a few thoughts on the iPad version of the codex. I think I'll be buying all my codex's on the iPad from now on, it's so much easier! Ever looked in the army list and wondered what that rule was? No problem, just touch it and you can see what the rule is! No more flicking back between the main rulebook and a different page in the codex. No more needing to keep reminding yourself what wargear is special issue wargear; this is nice and easy when writing an army list, a lot quicker and a lot less frustrating. It's also a lot smaller and easier to carry around when at tournaments etc. with easy access to any page and any information/rules. It's nice to be able to zoom in on artwork and know you can't accidentally tear out a page! Basically I much  prefer the iBooks version.

Closing Comments

Overall I'm really impressed with the new Codex, it has a nice range of units, good internal balance, a focus on synergy (which in turn promotes a good tactical list composition) and lots of different list builds! I can see this not only being a fun codex to play with but one which will also be quite competitive without being overpowered/broken which will result in cries of cheese coming from every person who you play.

Make sure you check back here over the next few days for army lists, individual unit tactics, army wide tactics, a podcast, unboxing videos and much more!

What are your opinions on the new Codex? Leave your thoughts below!


  1. I've become a big fan of the new codex this weekend! I'm impressed by its balance, but as a chaos player as well I'm looking at it thinking about those maces of absolution -- they're exceptionally good!

    1. They are! Units of Deathwing Knights will eat through a Chaos Space Marine army, Maces for the regular armour then Smite for anything with a high toughness/low armour value (the new Daemon engines anyone?). On the flip side, with relatively little anti-air (its not easy to fit it in with other units being relatively expensive) a pair of Helldrakes will slice through the rest of the army (normal marines and bikes); swings and roundabouts really.

  2. Does the iPad-version have same bugs than the printed one (like plasma talon NOT listed as rapid in fire in Armoury and as rapid fire in the ref. sheet or Darkshroud not having stealth in The Unforgiven chapter but has stealth listed in it's special rules in Angels of Death chapter, ie. army list)?

    All in all , the codex looks good.

    1. As far as I can see there aren't any errors like that, and even if there are any mistakes when there is an errata it'll be automatically updated on the iPad version.

  3. i really liked this review! it helped me start my deathwing army. check out my dark angels blog, it starts at the beginning with 1 HQ and 2 troops, and progresses with every battle

    painting and modeling photos are also in there :)



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    check out my dark angels blog, it starts at the beginning with 1 HQ and 2 troops, and progresses with every battle.


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