The Nephilim Jetfighter is the Dark Angels' air superiority fighter. It is flown by the Ravenwing to allow their ground-bound battle-brothers to focus on
catching Fallen Angels SHOWING THEIR DEVOTION TO THE EMPEROR without having to worry about getting attacked from the air.
The Jetfighter was added to the Dark Angels' Codex in 6th edition to help set them apart from the other Chapters of Space Marines that get their own codices. The lore justification is that the Dark Angels had the Jetfighters for longer, but only recently found the STC pattern of a superior engine that made them practical to use (though given that the Nephilim is neither Supersonic nor Fast, the previous engine must have been really bad to force the Dark Angels to keep them grounded).
Nephilim Jetfighters pack a twin-linked set of heavy bolters and six "blacksword" missiles (36" S7 AP3, named because of their black smoke trail -- which is a lot more sensible than the Blood Angels' "bloodstrike" missiles), with a choice of twin-linked lascannons or an Avenger mega bolter in the nose. Not the most difficult of choices.
This fighter is excellent proof that if the different organizations of the Imperium would learn to share and not be selfish assholes, the Long War would be Long Over by now. Seriously, the Dark Angels use this thing to mow down every enemy air craft, even Eldar (the ones who get 40-1 kill-death ratios against Lightnings). Do they share this with the Guard? Hell no! They don't even share it with other Space Marines.
The jerkasses could at least give the Guard and the Navy the data for making damn blacksword missiles. Screw the Mechanicus, they have enough toys to dickslap. Besides, if they got it no one would hear of it again for a few centuries, if ever.
A variant of the Nephilim, in the same way a Darkshroud is a variant of the Land Speeder (both are rocking the "Bolt a bunch of kickass masonry to the hulls" look). It's got a Rift Cannon (a STRENGTH 10 AP 2 BLAST), two Hurricane Bolters and a Stasis Bomb. It lost the Hover Strike special rule but it gets Strafing Run base.
All complaints about this thing are gone. It doesn't need to "Hover" any more, so it can drop a can of derp on a unit, then use the Rift Cannon to obliterate anything (it becomes a Vortex is you roll doubles for scatter) and it can shoot 12 BS5 re-rollable bolter shots to take out hordes. It's weapons may not exactly go hand in hand, it can come on, take out/debuff a unit for your Knights to take care of, then Rift Cannon the heck out of some termis or a vehicle. If your opponent has a couple large squads, the hurricane bolters will take care of them. It may not have any anti-air capabilities, but the Dark Talon got a huge buff in 7th.
The Nephilim and Dark Talon are rather unpopular choices for a Dark Angels army, but their weaknesses have kinda been blown out of proportion. They're not bad, they're just overpriced and overcosted for what they can bring. 7th edition gave them more buffs, so they certainly aren't bad, more in the realm of iffy.
Both flyers suffered the sin of being the second "true" flyers out of the gate in the 6th Edition: The Heldrake that preceded it was rapetastically awesome (until the 7th ed FAQ) showing that the design team were still trying to figure out how these newfangled rules work. It was only after "Death from the Skies" came out that pre-existing Storm-talons/ravens became proper flyers as opposed to fast skimmers and they already had enough firepower to get by in the 6th edition environment, they only really needed (and received) the "flyer" rule to be added to them.
Anyway, onto the Dark Angels. For 170 pts you get a TL Heavy Bolter, six S7 AP3 missiles with Missile Lock, and an Avenger Mega Bolter. The only problem so far is this isn't the "real" AMB, it's a stripped-down AP4 version. For 5 points you can swap it for a TL Lascannon.
The Nephilim is great against skimmers and other light tanks, but an 175 point investment that can't kill AV14 and takes three or four turns to kill AV12 is just too iffy for most players. That's only 25 points less than a Stormraven with the same lascannon + heavy bolter loadout. But the raven has far better missiles, +1 AV all round, ceramite plating, power of the machine spirit also has a transport capacity and can carry dreadnoughts
However, with the advent of the Death from the Skies supplement and the assignment of flyers into set roles, the Nephilim got a buff, mostly as a side effect when you compare it to what happened to other flyers:
Attack Flyers and Bombers no longer have access to the Skyfire rule by default, meaning the Nephilim has little to fear from more heavily armed Stormravens or Stormtalons. Despite being comparatively undergunned for a "Fighter", the ability to immobilise enemy vehicles makes it much more of a threat against its primary target (other Flyers) It also has more AV & HP than most other Fighters, matched only by the Stormfang Gunship, but the Nephilim is also FAR more maneuverable than the Wolf-interceptor, so does better in a dogfight and turns more easily on the tabletop.
Finally, despite the fact that Fighter craft are now primarily intended for use vs other Flyers, suffering -1 BS when shooting ground targets, the Nephilim keeps the Strafing Run rule so it gains +1 BS right back again. Meaning it hasn't lost much of its function against ground targets like all other Fighters did with the move into set roles. Whatever that means, because it's guns weren't exactly shattering worlds in the first place.
Now 8th edition: Firstly, it's hell of a lot easier to run this thing as most detachments have at least 2 Flyer slots, secondly, this thing turned from possibly one of the worst Flyers in the game to a really scary unit. Why? All of its weapons got an upgrade in some way; the Blacksword Missiles are now good against 2+ save stuff due to how AP works in this edition and they're no longer finite, the Avenger Mega Bolter went up to 10 shots at Strength 6 AP-1 essentially making it an Assault Cannon with 10 shots and the Twin Heavy Bolter and Twin Lascannon now gain double shots because of 8th edition again. This thing reunites Dark Angels, Flyers and Dakka together. Cool.
As for the Dark Talon, it's far harder to directly compare to any other flyer since nothing else performs a similar role. Dropping your opponent's Initiative and Weapon Skill by 3 is always hilarious, doubly so when you drop a Blind test on his snipers immediately afterwards, but for 160 points the fact it has only one bomb and the lack of AP wasn't doing it any favors. But that was 6th ed; this is 7th ed where it drops a S10 AP2 Blast that has a 1 in 6 chance of becoming a Destroyer Vortex. Fucking hell YES!
In 8th edition this was changed again but only because Blast templates no longer exist; it gets D3 shots, S:10 AP:-3 D:3, and anything that takes an unsaved wound has a 2 in 3 chance to suffer D3 additional mortal wounds. Stasis bomb also got tweaked; once per game, pick an enemy unit you flew over, and roll a D6 for each model. On a 4+ that model takes a mortal wound. Sensing a pattern here. Then there's 24 Hurricane Bolter shots at rapid fire range. That is even more sexy than before.
|Forces of the Dark Angels|
|Command:|| Apothecary - Company Master - Interrogator-Chaplain |
Chaplain - Librarian - Techmarine - Deathwing Knight
Dark Angels Grand Master
|Troops:|| Assault Squad - Deathwing - Company Veterans |
Devastator Squad - Scout Squad - Tactical Squad
Ravenwing Black Knight - Watcher in the Dark
|Walkers:|| Dreadnought (Venerable Dreadnought - Contemptor Dreadnought) |
Contemptor-Mortis Dreadnought - Mortis Dreadnought
|Transports:|| Land Raider (Land Raider Phobos - Land Raider Crusader |
Land Raider Redeemer - Land Raider Ares
Land Raider Solemnus Aggressor) - Rhino - Drop Pod
|Vehicles:|| Bike Squad - Razorback - Predator - Vindicator - Hunter |
Stalker - Whirlwind - Land Speeder Vengeance
|Flyers:|| Dark Talon - Nephilim Jetfighter - Stormraven - Storm Eagle |
|Allies:||Space Marines - Primaris Marines|