Um wow... is the short version... no actually I can go shorter... Woot :)
It's here it's pretty, in hard back and mine.... Mwahahahahahaha...
And from what Ive seen pretty darn awesomesauce. Maybe because Im a long time (rogue trader era) Dark Angels player I appreciate what Jeremy Vetock did with this codex.
It is a Space Marine Codex yet completely different to any of the other SM codexes out there now. Despite the new shiny Deathwing Ravenwing close combat options, Warlord Traits, Chapter Relics and special characters that encourage you to get into close combat, the heart of the new Dark Angels Codex is a shooting army, or rather thats how I see the Codex intending to work. Tripple wing I think is the way to go. Deathwing for being truly horrendous Ravewing for its synergies with Deathwing and the pressures that the bikes put on the opposing line and Greenwing for their very cheap options to make up for the expensive Deathwing and Ravenwing. However I feel that you can totally build a single wing (of any of the bone black or green), dual wing or my preference of tripple wing. In short a very flexible list.
I also feel and have stated previously that the new 6th ed feels like its going back towards 2nd ed (the good bits) as well as keeping all the good bits from 5th edition. This Codex along with the small steps from the Codex Space Marine has confirmed this notion going back to the war gear lists (almost) of 2nd edition with displacer fields and conversion shields, auspexes and the like. Insert nostalgia feelings here.
Pretty much all their special rules are geared to one thing hunting the fallen.
The special characters have had a bit of a boost since the last codex... Ok lot of a boost yes Sammael and Belial can take the basic ravenwing and deathwing respectively as troops... rather they must take them as troops which is different to the last codex. I think the biggest difference is Azreal as if you take him both basic ravenwing and deathwing are troops and he still has his rites of battle Ld 10 for everyone.Belial gets an iron halo but can still swap out his weapons. the big change to Sammeal is that his landspeeder uses his iron halo for a 4+ invun and they all have WS6. If you stick Ezekiel (now a Lvl 3) in the same squad it goes up by 1 to WS7 and that squad being a deathwing knight squad with the WS 6 with Ezekiel thats one kick arse deathstar unit. Azreal can choose a dark angel warlord trait neat huh? Not really impressed with Asmodai the character or the new minature. Belial doesn't scatter among other neat tricks. You do pay through the nose for the neat tricks.... but they are cool neat tricks
Theres a new rule called inner circle which will give characters fearless and prefered enemy CSM Techmarines and normal Chaplains dont get it interogator chaplains do as do the rest of the characters. Librarians can take a 2nd level hurrah. Command squads are cool, but not very different for the last codex.
Scouts are troops and are cheap. Im disappointed that unlike Codex space marine where you can take teleport homers. You can swap out bolters for sniper rifles for free Scout missile launchers can take flak. Tacticals options are cool and cheap not quite as cheap CSM but you can take a heavy weapon in a 5 man squad. Flak is available.
Deathwings knights have toughness 5 in basetobase contact and both knights and ordinary Deathwing get twinlinked on the deepstrike turn. DW knights have WS5 and their weapons pop an +1 AP against Codex CSM. The Electronic copies have reportedly difference with the hard back company veterans options but they havent changed much however they dont get the special ammo from Sternguard. (edit the FAQ is out and is now in line with the electronic copy.) Dreadnoughts are cheaper and if you upgrade it to Venerable Dreadnought it makes it prefered enemy CSM as well as +1 WS and BS
Devastators are cheap with flak. Plasma is very cheap. The vehicles are cheaper except for Landraiders which can now be upgraded to Venerable and get prefered enemy CSM and can be taken as a dedicated transport for deathwing units. Which means in a single Force org you can get 14 Landraiders neat huh? Of course that would be an appocolypse size game. The new Vengeance is interesting and probably a bit expensive for what it does but like all the Ravenwing landspeeders it can deep strike it does give a pure ravenwing army some more options splash template weapons.
In my first game with the new Codex I got caught out so used to ravenwing having fearless I was very surprised that they only had Stubborn and ATKNF and naturally failed the first Ld test I really wasnt impressed after many games of fearlessness. To be fair they fled a whole three inches which with ATKNF they got back an zoomed off to where they supposed to be. But they dropped alot of points too the ravenwing knights are are slightly more expensive then what the old ravenwing. Both get hit and run Knights get skilled rider as well.
The ravenwing attack squadron can still get an attack bike and Landspeeder, and combat squad them. The Landspeeder support squadron can get all the bells and whistles of the options of the newer Space Marines codexes. The darkshroud isn't particually combat effect but I see that it will be good as a combat multiplier by making whatever it accompanies more survivable. Assault squads are cheaper and can have multiple flamers. The Jetfighter and the Dark Talon seem a little over pointed but I like the Jet fighter and will get one... atleast. Dark Talon is a force multipler smacking things with Stasis gubbins ahead of the assault that the elite units are capable of.
Drop pods are cheaper and can get a deathwind launcher and a locator beacon, they also get drop pod assault. Razorback are more expensive but can get all the options including the old school lascannon and twinlinked plasma guns which I have one of.
And Ive barely scratched the surface there are other curlicules but I feel that the Codex book has a lot of synergies where the various components help the other and I cant wait to try them out. Im more impressed with this codex that what Ive seen of the CSM codex. I'm kind of surprised that there is already and updated FAQ 4 days after the release.
To end this review I give this codex two thumbs up.