Scraping the Bottom
Posted by Corelin
So the new Space Marine Codex for 8th is out. With it came updates to the non-Codex chapters. Blood Angels, Space Wolves, and of course, my beloved Dark Angels. To call this update a sop gives it far too much credence. I’m going to talk about 4 main portions of the update, and examine the effects that DA players have to work under while we wait for a new codex that hopefully will rectify the situation.
But first a bit of context so you can see the power level DA were in before the update. Here’s this morning’s ITC rankings.
Ouch. So before the Codex, DA were virtually non-competitive vs regular Space Marines. That’s the environment we existed in Friday. From there we see four main changes to the new Marine Armies.
First off is Doctrines. This is a huge one, handing out -1 AP to either Heavy and Grenade weapons, Rapid Fire and Assault, or Pistol and Melee, depending on which you are on. This basically puts regular marines back where they were in 7th as long as their doctrine is going, and boosts intercessors a LOT, with grenades and grenade launchers getting some real “reach out and touch someone” on turn 1. Dark Angels did not get this in the update, leaving all our troops with inferior AP, and no way to “tip the scale” depending on what phase of the battle is going on.
Second is Litanies of Battle. This is GW’s attempt to make Chaplains much more valuable and I am here for it. Basically each chaplain gets to pick a Litany he can recite every turn. Some of these are very powerful, even if virtually all are situational. Of course DA didn’t get this in the update either.
Third was stat changes. This affects DA in a different way. Lots of Primaris units received +1 wound. Gravis units in particular. This DID get given to DA; however it’s still a nerf. Gravis units are now tougher than Terminators, relegating two of the few special DA units rather less effective. Those being Deathwing terminators and Deathwing knights. While DA has access to the units with more wounds, these units don’t have the same access to power boosts that vanilla space marine units have.
Finally there’s point changes. Many units received new, lower costs, which DA do not have. There were some increases (especially Thunder Hammers) which haven’t hit DA yet, but in general Dark Angels armies built to mirror vanilla marines will have fewer, less potent models on the table, compared to their basic bitch brethren.
I do want to point out that some changes did hit equally, Angels of Death being a big one, but even these hit equally. Every change has had either zero net effect or a negative net effect, leaving an already weaker army further behind the power curve.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel. GW has said there will be something for DA next month, but I am less than sanguine about it. We’re pretty late in the day for us to get what I think would help the most (The Lion) and I strongly doubt we will get more than a near-equalizer. Rules that bring things roughly in-line with Vanilla marines but don’t address the larger power imbalance.
I would LIKE to see a new chapter tactic. Grim Resolve doesn’t mean much of anything in a world of buff auras and MSU. I think something like a +3″ to aura abilities would be suitably strong, and also show the control the inner circle exerts over the Unforgiven. I know that’s very strong but… DA need something very strong at this point. Space Marines got boosted because they honestly needed it to be a top tier army. DA weren’t a top tier army, or even an average tier, now they are getting shoved even lower, and Space Wolves, Blood Angels, Grey Knights, and Death Watch with us.