Dark Angels Tactics: Fast Attack
Assault Squads: The Dark Angels Assault Squad starts off at 125 points, and can add 5 more for a total of 235 points. Compared to the C:SM assault marines, that's 25 more points base and 45 more for 10. Just like C:SM, they can drop their jump packs for a free Rhino/Drop Pod. The only advantage that I've been able to find in the DA Assault squad over the vanilla counterpart is that they can take 2 plasma pistols in a 5-man squad, instead of 1 per 5. Their sergeant has the expected options of plasma pistol, power weapon, power fist, meltabombs or a combat shield. Unfortunately, the Assault Squad is a victim of it's age, the inflated points cost with less options means that they are infrequently taken in most Dark Angels armies. I would be willing to try out a squad of 5 with 3 plasma pistols and a power fist for tank hunting, but that's still questionable for nearly 200 points.
Ravenwing Attack Squad: This is the most interesting DA Fast Attack choice by miles, and a lot can be said about them, first lets look at their rules and options. They are Fearless and Scouts, which means they aren't going to run from taking casualties, and can get close to the enemy fast, unfortunately though, their special rules prohibit turbo boosting with their scout move. As far as equipment goes, they're like your every day bike, except with an awesome Teleport Homer. Combining the scout move, teleport homer and Deathwing Assault means that you can have a squad of terminators come in on the board 18" away from your deployment zone without scatter!
Now lets check out their options. They can add 3 more bikes, take 2 special weapons, sergeant gets the usual power weapon/fist and meltabomb choices; I usually stick to giving them a couple meltaguns, and possibly some more bodies, with only 1 attack, I don't like to get them in combat so I tend to avoid the CC upgrades for the sergeant. In addition, they can add an Attack Bike and a Land Speeder with heavy bolter and assault cannon. The Attack Bike and Land Speeder are very interesting choices because while they are purchased with the squad, they are treated as entirely separate units. This means for 170 points you could take 3 bikes and an attack bike, scout them forward 12" and have 2 teleport homers deep on the board for your Deathwing to deepstrike onto. The Land Speeder is a bit steep at 100 points, but there is a very important rule which is has, it is a Scoring Unit. This immediately makes that 100 point speeder look like an amazing option; you can hold it back, then at the end of the game, fly it up to snag objectives, or even use it to camp one on your own side (though that wouldn't be taking much advantage of it's speed). If you're using Sammael, you are getting 3 scoring units per troops choice, which is a ton of saturation for objective games.
They cost a bit more than C:SM bikes, but when you use their special rules combined with terminators, they are very well worth it. My biggest piece of advice with them though is to keep them out of combat. One attack, S4, with maybe a power weapon/fist in the squad isn't going to do much damage for how many points they are; use their speed to avoid combat, deliver terminators or get in melta range.
Ravenwing Support Squadron: This seems like your fairly standard Speeder squad at first, but there are a couple key differences. Fist of all, they are 65 points, but come with either a heavy bolter or multi-melta, so 15 more points base, but only 5 more than C:SM with a Multi-melta. Also, only on model may take a Typhoon launcher, but it is 30 points LESS than C:SM, which means a 75 point speeder with multi-melta and a Typhoon launcher a total bargain! One model per squad can be a "Tornado" pattern with either an assault cannon or heavy flamer. Another, less important difference is that their squad size is 1-5, instead of 1-3. That means for 325 points you could take a squad of 5 speeders with multi-meltas, which is kind of a terrifying thought, but probably more for fun than practicality, except against squads of IG tanks. I usually just take squads of 1 with a Typhoon missile launcher, it's just too good of a deal to pass up.
As always, if you have anything to add to this, please feel free in the comments!
Stay tuned for next week when I cover Dark Angels Heavy Support!
Assault Marine credited to Zap of the RelicNews.com forum