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Warhammer 40,000 NEW Codex Supplement Dark Angels – Crusade Review – 40k 9th Edition – Hunting the Fallen

Introduction

Codex Supplement Dark Angels is the latest 9th edition book to be released, designed to be used alongside the current Codex Space Marines book. Listeners of the Podcast will know we are big fans of the Crusade system so we thought we’d focus this article on the new Crusade Rules for the Dark Angels which revolves around their tireless hunt for the Fallen

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Hunting the Fallen

Codex Dark Angels contains some really fun rules for playing this army in Crusade games. These rules focus on the Dark Angel’s tireless hunt for the Fallen, those 1st Legion Traitors who turned on the Lion and sided with Luther during the dying days of the Horus Heresy. There have been plenty of stories and small bits of literature that describe Dark Angels mysteriously disappearing from a battle once some unknown objective has been met, or even coming to blows with other Imperial Forces who may have inadvertently stumbled upon one of the Fallen. Thanks to the new Crusade Rules you can really capture the character of this most mysterious of Space Marine Chapters in your games of 40K too!

Dark Angels are loyal to the Emperor and wider Imperium and, like other Space Marine Chapters, will spend most of their time battling traitors, heretics and xenos in an effort to defend the Master of Mankind’s realm. There is another mission though, known only to the most senior members of the Dark Angels Chapter that supercedes this duty. That is to track down each and every one of those Fallen Dark Angels and make them repent for their past sins. It is this mission that you, the Dark Angels player, must keep at the front of your mind during each and every one of your Crusade games.

To this end a Dark Angels Crusade army will accumulate a unique resource called “Unforgiven Points” over the course of their Crusade campaign. This is a measure of the quantity and quality of information or leads that your force has gathered in it’s effort to track down a member of the Fallen. Points are gained after each battle and can be further supplemented by different Agendas or Characters who may join your Crusade. Once you’ve collected enough points you can spend them to attempt to capture your quarry during a normal Crusade game. At this point, your “Unforgiven Points” tally is reset to zero and you may attempt a “Capture Mission”.

This mission follows all the normal rules for a Crusade game however the opposing player is instructed to include an additional Space Marine Captain, Librarian or Cypher unit in their army. This unit does not interfere with any of the army building rules (such as Detachment restrictions or slot requirements) and is used to represent the Fallen Dark Angel that has finally been tracked down. The unit cannot be the Warlord, will not gain experience points and cannot be set up in reserves.

In addition both the Dark Angels player and opponent must select a unique Agenda specific to this Capture Mission. The Dark Angels player must select the “Capture the Fallen” Agenda, rewarding units that destroy a Fallen unit and the Dark Angels Warlord himself with 3 experience points. Likewise the opponent must select the “Assist the Stranger” Agenda – if the Fallen unit manages to survive the battle their Warlord will receive an additional 3 experience points and an extra Requisition Point too!

This reminds me of the old Codex Daemonhunter rules from 3rd edition 40K that allowed the opponent to include Daemons in their army when fighting against the Grey Knights. It’s hard sometimes in Matched Play to get immersed in the background of your armies and why they may be fighting this particular battle whilst you’re trying to focus on winning the game itself. This is where the Crusade Rules really shine, allowing you to play your army as they are reflected in the background. The Dark Angels Crusade rules do a great job of increasing this level of immersion as your Deathwing Terminators surrender a key objective mid-game to storm a building and attempt to capture an elusive Fallen traitor.

Requisitions

Dark Angels Crusade armies gain access to four unique Requisitions, most of which tie in to the hunt for the Fallen.

Interrogation – This Requisition can be purchased following any mission where a Fallen (excluding Cypher) was destroyed. You can pick up to two Deathwing Librarians or Interrogator Chaplains from your army to attempt to an interrogation on the captured Fallen. You roll 2D6 to determine the result of the interrogation and depending on the value rolled, reward both, one or none of the selected units with a special Battle Trait from a selection of six.

Inauguration – As above, this Requisition is purchased following any mission where a Fallen (excluding Cypher) was destroyed. The unit that destroyed the Fallen unit can either gain the Inner Circle keyword or be replaced with a new unit from the list provided. This represents a Dark Angel being elevated within the inner ranks of the Dark Angels Chapter and being brought into the fold of some of their darkest secrets.

Inner Circle – You can purchase this Requisition to bestow the Inner Circle keyword on a Character after they have gained a rank.

The Lion and The Wolf – Most Warhammer fans know of the ‘friendly’ rivalry between the 1st Legion and Wolves of Fenris. This Requisition grants additional bonuses to a Dark Angels Character whenever they target a Space Wolves unit.

Agendas

We’ve already mentioned one of the Dark Angels Agendas above but you also get acces to five more.

Mental Interrogation – By selecting this Agendayou gain access to a new Psychic Action allowing Librarians to attempt to psychically interrogate a nearby enemy Character. The Librarian gains experience points for each successful interrogation and in addition, each successful interrogation results in a mark being added to your “Metal Interrogation Tally”. This is a single tally that you maintain for all of your Librarians across your Crusade force and you’ll receieve additional “Unforgiven Points” once this reaches certain thresholds.

Dark Rumour – The existence of the Fallen and the mission to track down and capture each of them is a secret to even the majority of Dark Angels themselves. Only the most senior members of the Chapter, those in the Deathwing, Ravenwing and Inner Circle are privy to such knowledge. This Agenda rewards your Crusade with additional “Unforgiven Points” if such a unit is able to destroy an Enemy Warlord with a bonus granted if this is achieved with a melee attack.

Encircle the Foe – A straight forward Agenda that rewards your Ravenwing units with additional experience points if you are able to position four of them in each corner of the battlefield at the end of a game.

The Deathwing Cometh – An Agenda that rewards your Deathwing units with additional experience if they are able to destory enemy units on the same turn they arrive using the Teleport Strike rules with a bonus given if that unit was a Character.

Honorifics

Dark Angels Characters gain access to a bespoke list of Honorifics that they must use in place of those found in Codex Space Marines.

Master of the Deathwing – Once per battle you may use the Deathwing Assault Stratagem at a cost of 0CP.

Master of the Ravenwing – Once per battle you may use the Swift Strike Stratagem at a cost of 0CP.

Keeper of the Unseen Ritual – Once per battle you may use a Battle Tactic Stratagem at a cost of 0CP.

Master of the Watchers – If this Character is part of your army you gain additional “Unforgiven Points” at the end of the game.

It’s worth pointing out that Belial, Sammael and Lazarus benefit automatically from the appropriate Honorific above.

Crusade Relics

The Dark Angels gain access to eight new Crusade Relics (that’s more than the Blood Angels and Space Wolves received).

Lion’s Roar – This is a souped up Combi-Plasma.

The Raven’s Eyes – A useful piece of equipment for a Ravenwing model that allows it to ignore movement and Ballistic Skill modifiers.

Monster Slayer of Caliban – An upgraded Power Sword that gains a bonus when wielded against Vehicles or Monsters.

Shield of Calloson – That most useful of 3+ invulnerable saves returns with an added bonus to armour saving throws thrown in too!

Mantle of the Seneschal – This relic buffs up most of a Characters attributes and provides a useful Aura that grants +1 to hit for nearby Core Dark Angels units.

The Standard of Retribution – This Standard grants an Aura which reduces incoming Damage to nearby Core Dark Angels units.

The Standard of Fortitude – Allows neaby Core Dark Angels units to count as Remain Stationary in the Shooting Phase.

The Standard of Devastation – Grants nearby Core Dark Angels units exploding hits on unmodified 6’s against the closest target.

Battle Traits

Finally there are selection of Battle Trait tables for Inner Circle, Ravenwing Aircraft, Deathwing Infantry, Ravenwing Bikers/Land Speeders and Non-Deathwing Infantry units to choose from. These provide a range of buffs to attributes and dice rolls, more efficient ways to use command points and different ways to gain additional “Unforgiven Points”.

Summary

I’m really happy with the Dark Angels Crusade Rules and I think they do a great job of immersing you in the Dark Angel’s obsessive hunt for the Fallen. I mentioned that this particular trait of the Dark Angels does not really come across in regular Matched Play games yet I feel that you’ll soon become obsessed with maxing out that “Unforgiven Points” tally over the course of your Crusade campaign, allowing you to use your Dark Angels army in keeping with how they are portrayed in the background.

Good hunting!

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