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Delve into the Secrets of the Dark Angels: A Comprehensive Guide to Warhammer 40k's Enigmatic First Legion

Delve into the Secrets of the Dark Angels: A Comprehensive Guide to Warhammer 40k's Enigmatic First Legion


Discover the secrets of the Dark Angels, the enigmatic First Legion of Warhammer 40,000. Delve into their rich history, uncover their tactical prowess on the tabletop, and learn about the iconic heroes who lead them into battle. Join us as we explore the hidden truths and shadowy allegiances that define this legendary chapter of Adeptus Astartes.

History and Lore:

The tale of the Dark Angels is one of ancient mysteries and unspoken oaths, shrouded in the shadows of betrayal and redemption. Originating during the tumultuous era of the Great Crusade, the Dark Angels were one of the twenty original Space Marine Legions, created by the Emperor of Mankind to conquer the stars and unite humanity under His rule. Their Primarch, Lion El'Jonson, was discovered on the world of Caliban, a planet engulfed in darkness and strife.

Under the leadership of El'Jonson, the Dark Angels swiftly rose to prominence as formidable warriors and cunning strategists. Their homeworld, Caliban, was a harsh and unforgiving place, where the forests teemed with deadly beasts and ancient secrets lurked beneath the surface. Yet, from this crucible of adversity, the Dark Angels emerged as paragons of martial prowess and unyielding determination.

However, beneath their stoic facade lay a dark secret that would haunt the chapter for millennia to come. During the Horus Heresy, the galaxy-shattering civil war that tore the Imperium apart, the Dark Angels were divided by treachery and betrayal. Some among their ranks turned against their brothers, seduced by the promises of power and glory offered by the arch-traitor Horus and his Chaos allies.

In the aftermath of the Heresy, the Dark Angels were left to grapple with the legacy of their betrayal. Haunted by the specter of the Fallen, those Dark Angels who had turned against their brothers and embraced the dark powers of Chaos, the chapter embarked on a relentless quest for redemption and absolution. Led by the enigmatic Supreme Grand Master Azrael, the Dark Angels sought to hunt down and capture the Fallen, no matter the cost.

To this day, the Dark Angels remain locked in an eternal struggle against the shadows of their past. Theirs is a chapter steeped in secrecy and subterfuge, their true motives known only to the inner circle of their most trusted warriors. Yet, despite the weight of their sins and the burden of their oaths, the Dark Angels continue to stand as vigilant guardians of the Imperium, ever ready to defend humanity from the darkness that threatens to consume it.

Tactics on the Tabletop:

The Dark Angels' tactics on the tabletop reflect their secretive nature and strategic brilliance, characterized by precision strikes and calculated aggression. At the core of their strategy is the utilization of specialized formations and units, each tailored to exploit the weaknesses of their adversaries and achieve victory through superior firepower and maneuverability.

One of the Dark Angels' key strengths lies in their ability to field highly mobile and versatile forces, epitomized by the Ravenwing. Comprised of fast-moving bikers and skimmers, the Ravenwing specializes in lightning-fast strikes and hit-and-run tactics, allowing them to outmaneuver their opponents and strike where they are least expected. Whether harassing enemy flanks or securing key objectives, the Ravenwing provides the Dark Angels with unparalleled speed and flexibility on the battlefield.

In addition to their mobility, the Dark Angels are also masters of precision strikes, exemplified by the elite Deathwing Terminators. Clad in ancient Tactical Dreadnought Armor, the Deathwing are the epitome of resilience and firepower, capable of weathering even the most punishing of enemy assaults while delivering devastating salvos of ranged and melee attacks. Deployed via teleportation or deep strike, the Deathwing can quickly turn the tide of battle in the Dark Angels' favour, annihilating enemy formations with surgical precision.

To complement their specialized formations, the Dark Angels also make use of a wide array of stratagems, relics, and psychic powers to further enhance their tactical prowess on the tabletop. Whether unleashing devastating orbital bombardments, harnessing the power of the Warp to smite their foes, or invoking ancient relics of their chapter's storied history, the Dark Angels have no shortage of tricks up their sleeves to confound and outmaneuver their enemies.

Overall, the Dark Angels' tactics on the tabletop revolve around mobility, precision, and adaptability. By leveraging their specialized formations and units, combined with a diverse array of stratagems and relics, the Dark Angels can dictate the flow of battle and emerge victorious against even the most formidable of adversaries. Whether you're a seasoned commander or a newcomer to the chapter, mastering the tactics of the Dark Angels offers a thrilling and rewarding experience on the tabletop battlefield.

Historic Battles:

The annals of Warhammer 40,000 history are replete with the heroic deeds and epic battles of the Dark Angels, as they stand as the vigilant guardians of the Imperium. Among their most storied engagements is the defence of the Cadian Gate against the forces of Chaos during the 13th Black Crusade. Tasked with holding the line against the tide of heretics and daemons pouring forth from the Eye of Terror, the Dark Angels fought with unyielding resolve and unwavering determination, their valour earning them the admiration of allies and the fear of enemies alike.

Another legendary conflict in the chapter's history is the Hunt for the Fallen, an eternal crusade waged by the Dark Angels against their traitorous brethren. Driven by a sacred oath to capture or destroy those who turned against the Imperium during the Horus Heresy, the Dark Angels have pursued the Fallen across the galaxy for millennia, their quest for redemption and absolution never-ending. From the desolate wastes of Armageddon to the cursed realms of the Eye of Terror, the Dark Angels have relentlessly hunted their quarry, their resolve unshaken by the passage of time or the trials of war.


The Dark Angels face a myriad of enemies in their eternal vigilance against the darkness that threatens the Imperium. Foremost among these adversaries are the Fallen, those traitorous brethren who turned against the Emperor during the Horus Heresy and embraced the corrupting influence of Chaos. Hunted relentlessly by the Dark Angels, the Fallen are a constant thorn in the chapter's side, their presence a stain upon the honour and legacy of the First Legion.

In addition to the Fallen, the Dark Angels also contend with the forces of Chaos, whose malevolent influence seeks to corrupt and destroy all that is pure and righteous in the galaxy. From the legions of the Chaos Space Marines to the daemonic hordes that serve the Ruinous Powers, the Dark Angels stand as bulwarks against the encroaching darkness, their steadfast resolve a beacon of hope amidst the gathering storm.


The Dark Angels boast a diverse array of units, each specializing in specific battlefield roles and tactics. At the vanguard of their forces are the Ravenwing, swift and deadly bikers and skimmers who excel at hit-and-run attacks and lightning-fast strikes. With their mobility and versatility, the Ravenwing provide the Dark Angels with unparalleled speed and maneuverability on the battlefield, allowing them to outflank and outmaneuver their foes with ease.

Meanwhile, the Deathwing Terminators epitomize the chapter's resilience and firepower, clad in ancient Tactical Dreadnought Armor and armed with devastating weaponry. Deployed via teleportation or deep strike, the Deathwing strike fear into the hearts of their enemies as they unleash a hail of gunfire and thunderous blows upon their foes. Whether holding the line against overwhelming odds or leading the charge into the heart of the enemy's defences, the Deathwing are the hammer with which the Dark Angels crush their enemies.

Dark Angels Heroes:

Supreme Grand Master Azrael: Enigmatic leader known for his strategic brilliance and unwavering resolve. Often seen as the guiding force behind the Dark Angels, Azrael's tactical acumen and stoic demeanour inspire loyalty and confidence among his brethren. His presence on the battlefield is a symbol of hope and determination, driving the Dark Angels forward even in the face of overwhelming odds.

Lion El'Jonson: Primarch of the Dark Angels, Lion El'Jonson is a figure of myth and legend within the Imperium. Born on the world of Caliban and raised by the knightly Order, El'Jonson's destiny was forever altered when he was discovered by the Emperor of Mankind. With his unmatched martial prowess and strategic brilliance, El'Jonson led the Dark Angels to countless victories during the Great Crusade, earning him the title of "Lion" and the adoration of his legion. However, his legacy is shrouded in mystery, with whispers of betrayal and redemption following in his wake. Though his fate remains unknown, his influence on the Dark Angels and the Imperium as a whole is undeniable, his legend enduring through the ages as a beacon of hope and inspiration.

Master Belial: Grim and relentless leader of the Deathwing, Master Belial embodies the indomitable spirit of the Dark Angels. With his thunder hammer in hand, Belial leads his brethren into the heart of the enemy's defences, his unwavering determination inspiring those around him to greater feats of valour. A stalwart defender of the Imperium, Master Belial's thunderous blows strike fear into the hearts of his foes, shattering their ranks and leaving chaos in his wake.

Interrogator-Chaplain Ezekiel: Mysterious keeper of dark secrets, Interrogator-Chaplain Ezekiel is a formidable presence on the battlefield. With his unwavering faith and unshakable resolve, Ezekiel inspires his fellow Dark Angels to acts of heroism and sacrifice. As the guardian of the chapter's most closely guarded secrets, Ezekiel's knowledge and insight are invaluable assets in the ongoing battle against the forces of darkness.

Pros and Cons in the Tabletop Game:


  • Specialized units for various battlefield roles, offering versatility and adaptability in combat.
  • Tactical flexibility with versatile formations, allowing players to tailor their strategies to suit any situation.
  • Diverse array of stratagems and relics for tactical advantage, providing players with numerous options for outmanoeuvring and outgunning their opponents.
  • Precision strikes and calculated aggression, enabling players to dictate the flow of battle and seize the initiative.
  • Strong narrative and lore elements, adding depth and immersion to the tabletop experience.


  • Reliance on specialized tactics may limit adaptability, requiring careful planning and coordination to execute effectively.
  • Complexity of hidden agendas and secretive nature, making it challenging for inexperienced players to fully grasp the chapter's strategies and tactics.
  • Vulnerability to opponents disrupting carefully laid plans, necessitating flexibility and adaptability to respond to unexpected threats.
  • Steep learning curve for inexperienced players, requiring time and dedication to master the intricacies of the Dark Angels' tactics and strategies.
  • Potential for narrative focus to overshadow gameplay mechanics, leading to imbalanced and less enjoyable gameplay experiences.


In conclusion, the Dark Angels stand as a testament to the complexity and depth of the Warhammer 40,000 universe. With their rich history, versatile tactics, and iconic heroes, the First Legion continues to captivate and inspire players and fans alike. Whether you're a loyal servant of the Emperor or a secretive hunter of the Fallen, the Dark Angels offer a wealth of opportunities for epic battles and thrilling adventures. So, gather your forces, uncover the secrets of the First Legion, and prepare to unleash the might of the Dark Angels on the tabletop battlefield.

If you are interested in building a Space Marine Dark Angels army but you don't have the time to paint them yourself, then check out our current collection of painted Ultramarines on our store 

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