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Today is an auspicious day, the official release of the Dark Angels sees my running a tournament at The Wizard's Keep and Godfrey and I both assembling the first components to build opposing armies. I am going to be busy most of the day with the tournament, but I've spent the last few hours looking at the Dark Angels codex and think that it has some serious possibilities, especially if you like themes or want to run widely varying lists out of a single codex. There have been some very noticeable changes both in the story of the Dark Angels and with the design of marines that I hope will carry over to other codices. Specifics after the break.
Let's start with the changes to the story of the Dark Angels. On of the most talked about figures in their lore, Cypher, is there but one of the more interesting theories about him has been laid to rest, specifically that he is the Lion. He is not. We know this because we now know the fate of the Lion, even if the Dark Angels do not. The codex states that the Emperor and the Watchers in the Dark know The Lion sleeps (tonight) in a stasis chamber deep in the Rock. I agree with Godfrey that the progression of the story toward some conclusion is a step in the right direction, as is the deepening of the questions around the Dark Angels' loyalty to the Emperor. I originally chose the handle Underground Heretic because I loved the idea that the Dark Angels who returned to Caliban and scattered their brethren were actually the faction that had sided with Horus, but felt they needed to conceal their treachery. However, I think the choice to make Luther a quasi-possessed mad man rather than a tortured oracle who protested his innocence was a bad step. It was made more plausible with the location of the Lion in the Rock, but I feel this changed the Lion from a dread harbinger of Rhana Dandra (let's be honest, Ragnarok) to a demigod who is either unable or unwilling to emerge and lead the Imperium out of darkness.
While they do not have combat tactics, Dark Angels retain ATSKNF and gain Grim Resolve, which is Stubborn and does not allow the unit to voluntarily fail leadership under any circumstances. While there aren't many instances where choosing to fail is beneficial, this is still a minor cost to gain Stubborn. There are plenty of new codex special rules to get familiar with, but many are combinations of BRB special rules (e.g. Inner Circle is Fearless and PE:CSM). There are some new options for vehicles and some price changes (e.g 55 point HB razorback and venerable land raiders) that should be interesting to consider over the next few days. So far, good job mr. Vetock.