Everything We Know about Dark Angels: Ritual of the Damned Warhammer 40K 8th Edition

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The next upcoming Psychic Awakening book, “Ritual Of The Damned”, will feature Thousand Sons, Grey Knights, and finally Dark Angels. The Grey Knights and Thousand Sons have already been given some teasers, and now it’s the Dark Angels turn. The Dark Angels  are receiving a variety of updates to not only make them “Codex Compliant”, but also to improve the quality of life for any Ravenwing or Deathwing players out there. There’s even a new character coming out for them. There’s a lot to be excited about here, so let’s dig in!

First, we have a new character to lead your Dark Angels forces. His name is Lazarus, Commander of the 5th Company. Lazarus is the first Primaris to make it inside the Inner Circle, so we can probably expect to see him become a recurring character in the Dark Angels lore. Gameplay wise, he will most likely have a typical Primaris Captain statline, complete with an aura to re-roll 1’s to hit. He also has a unique sword, the Enmity’s Edge. It’s a Strength 6, AP-4, Damage D3 Power Sword which is pretty potent. In addition, it re-rolls to wound and even re-rolls Damage against Psykers, a nice bonus. He also has an extra unique relic, The Spritshield Helm, which gives a 5+ save against Mortal Wounds to friendly Dark Angel units within 6” and for Lazarus himself it’s a 4+ instead.

We don’t have the points cost for Lazarus yet which makes gauging exactly how good he is difficult. However, if he’s fairly priced he can provide a fairly useful counter-charge unit for some fire support that also improves your defenses against Mortal Wounds. Because he’s Primaris, it’s very unlikely that he will have mobility options like taking a Jump Pack or Bike. Regardless, although he isn’t very competitive, he’s likely to be an important figure in the fluff and barring an absurd points cost he’s more than playable.

Next, we get confirmation that the Dark Angels will be “Codex Compliant”, which means that the Dark Angels are going to be made to properly mirror Space Marines proper. This means full (or almost full) access to all the units available in Codex: Space Marines, their trait will most likely be modified to affect all Dark Angels units, and they gain access to things like Combat Doctrines and Chaplain Litanies. In addition, they are receiving their own “Super Doctrine”, Relentless Hunt.

This is one of the tamer “Super Doctrines” in the game, but that’s a very contextual statement. Most of these abilities are frankly grossly overpowered in conjunction with Combat Doctrines. For Dark Angels, improving the range on many of their units  will line up nicely with their trait, as it generally encourages you to stand still and shoot targets at long range. Now, they can engage their opponent at greater distances with some bonus AP on their Heavy Weapons which should greatly improve the power of the Dark Angels Codex without breaking them wide open. Speaking of standing still, Dark Angels are receiving a unique litany for their Chaplains which will greatly assist them on that front.

As part of being made “Codex Compliant”, their Chaplains are receiving the same rules update that other Space Marine Chapters received. Each Chaplain pulls from a pool of 6 Litanies, but each Chapter also gets their own unique one. Dark Angels Chaplains will get Stoic Prosecution, which is probably one of the best Chapter specific litanies. For starters, this Litany is an aura and not a buff that your Chaplain provides to a single unit, so with smart positioning you can get a lot of Infantry units in. This prayer also makes your Chaplain effectively a Captain since he can provide re-roll 1’s to hit from this in conjunction with the Dark Angels trait.

Finally, it also interacts nicely with Bolter Discipline. Wrap all of this together and you can get a squad of Intercessors with Bolt Rifles moving 6” and reaching out 36” for their Rapid Fire Range. That’s a 42” threat range for some very reasonable Anti-Infantry Firepower. You can also take some Stalker Pattern Bolt Rifles if you want to reach all the way across a table. If you’re a Dark Angels player and you don’t own an Interrogator Chaplain, you should definitely get one.

Ritual Of The Damned will also provide extra rules just for the Ravenwing and Deathwing, so if you have some Deathwing Knights or Ravenwing Black Knights sitting on a shelf, it looks like it’s time to dust them off! For Ravenwing, we received two new Warlord Traits. Impeccable Mobility combo’s nicely with Black Knights as it allows them to Advance up the board and shoot their Plasma Talons without needing to use Speed Of the Raven. Plus, they will even benefit from the slightly improved range off of Relentless Hunt. On the other hand, we have the Outrider Warlord Trait to allow you to get a pregame move with your Warlord and one other Ravenwing unit. This is great for some early game pressure, and will combo nicely with some of the other things that the Dark Angels are receiving for the Deathwing.

First, we have the Key of Achrabael, a fairly straightforward Relic to improve the damage of a Character. You could throw this on an Interrogator Chaplain that knows the Mantra of Strength and have a one man wrecking ball, as he would be at +2 Strength, +2 Attacks, and +1 Damage between the Mantra and the Key of Achrabael. That being said, where things get really good for the Deathwing though is a new Stratagem that pushes Deathwing Knights up several notches.

This Stratagem is exactly the shot in the arm that Deathwing Knights have needed to function. Allowing them to drop within 6” instead of 9” makes the odds of them succeeding a charge roll go from a 28% to about 72%. Throw in a Command Re-roll and it’s practically a guarantee. The only catch here is that the unit of Ravenwing Bikes can’t advance the turn you use this Stratagem, which isn’t usually an issue since you have 2 turns of movement before you can drop these bad boys in. However, on long table edges or opponents with lots of well positioned screening units, the Outrider Warlord Trait can buy you the extra movement you need to make sure this combo happens. If Deathwing Knights get anything extra beyond this, then you can expect them to become a regular unit in most Dark Angels lists.

In Conclusion

That wraps us up for the previews that we’ve seen for the Dark Angels today! Overall, the releases so far are really positive, and we only have snippets of the full picture. Although Dark Angels probably won’t up dominating the top tables at major events from Ritual Of The Damned, the army will go up several pegs. If you have one, you should probably get ready to put it on the table for a game or 3 once Ritual Of The Damned comes out.

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