The Deathwing is the Dark Angels' name for their First Company; currently led by Belial. Unlike the First Companies of Codex Astartes-compliant Chapters, the Deathwing exclusively fights in bone-white Terminator armor, and never forms power-armored Veteran Squads.
Like the Ravenwing, the Deathwing have a different colour scheme from the rest of the Dark Angels, wearing bone white Terminator armour. Deathwing armour originally retained the black and white colour scheme of the Dark Angels Legion, but according to Chapter legend, a group of Terminators under Captain Ezekiel (birth name Cloud Runner, no relation to the Chief Librarian) returned to the Dark Angels ancient recruiting world of Plains World to find that the planet had been infiltrated by genestealers. Rather than subject the planet to Exterminatus, at the urging of Librarian Lucian (real name Two Heads Talking), the Terminators, all natives of Plains World, decided to fight off the genestealers and save the still uncorrupted native humans. They proceeded to undergo Plains World's death ritual, where warriors would paint themselves in ashes, but since they didn't have that, they repainted their armour white. The warriors succeeded in eradicating the genestealer's cult at the cost of everybody but Captain Ezekiel and when the Dark Angels later returned to reclaimed the suits of armor if not their bearers, they henceforth kept the suits of the First Company painted white in memory of their battle-brothers glorious final battle.
This story was written way back in early 2nd edition, and doesn't really gel with current 40k canon (especially the parts where 300-year-old veterans are worried about dying of old age or the concept of retirement). It is thus speculated in-story that this legend was ultimately made up by the Inner Circle as an easy justification for outsiders and neophytes, but also as a mean to to prepare the Dark Angels for eventually learning about the Fallen (warriors long gone from their homeworld returning to find outside influences corrupting it bears more than a little similarity to Lion El'Jonson coming back from the Horus Heresy to find Luther had fallen to Chaos).
Function and Strength
They are part of the Dark Angels' Inner Circle, the secretive cabal that hunts the Fallen Angels, members of the Dark Angels Legion who (allegedly) fell to Chaos during the Horus Heresy -- in fact, the traditional way to join the Inner Circle (and thus earn promotion to a Company Master, Librarian, or Interrogator-Chaplain) is to be inducted into the chapter's secrets during their time in the Deathwing. It should be mentioned that Azrael was inducted directly into the Deathwing Knights without passing through the "lower" ranks of Deathwing, meaning that there are exceptions.
The Ravenwing are the exception to the promotion rule, having their own Inner Circle in the Black Knights where their veterans are gathered, taught the truth and from which their new captain is chosen. It also explains how Sammael became captain without ever donning the old bone white blast suit.
The old 6e Dark Angels codex was sketchy about how many members make up the Deathwing, though heavily implied that it's more than just a "mere" 100. While the 7e codex played with this even more, on one page stating an exact number of squads that the Deathwing is reported to have while openly contradicting that number on other pages; leaving just as much open to debate and assumption... The "official" list for 999.M41 denotes twenty regular squads and up to three squads of Deathwing Knights, plus the Command Squad. So if assumed to be at full strength could total around 235+ members, but the book also goes on to state that the true number is a carefully guarded secret and that: "as with Deathwing squads" the numbers of Deathwing's support assets are deliberately obfuscated to outsiders. By the way, this applies to the Ravenwing and Inner Circle too.
The 8th edition Codex plays with this even more, stating that during the Siege of Dominus Prime, the Dark Angels and Angels of Vengeance both deployed their entire 1st companies, officially recording nearly two-hundred terminators as part of the action, but states that in truth their number was substantially higher than that.
With the fact that each of the Unforgiven chapters also appears to include a similar formation (though under different names) implies that the original Dark Angels Legion had a metric butt-ton of terminator armour lying around that no-one else knew about, which is "a luxury few chapters can match" and in fact other chapters like the Novamarines and Minotaurs are considered exceptional in that they can muster that many suits or Terminator armour for their veterans when the Unforgiven do it as a matter of course. I guess the Lion decided to run off with all the terminator armor because Leman took all the Dreadnoughts and Ships.
You thought normal Deathwings were bad. Oh boy, you do NOT want to meet these badass bro-force into battle, ESPECIALLY if you are part of the Heretic Astartes
Deathwing Knights are fierce warriors with ridiculously over-the-top armor that it loops all the way back to Awesome. These are the elites of the elites who are part of the fighting organization of the Dark Angels and their successors' Deathwing units. It is said that in them lives on some semblance of Lion El'Jonson himself and they embody his silent strength. These veterans are the most trusted and experienced warriors of the Deathwing and make up the Company's own exclusive Inner Circle, learning the some of the hidden truths of the Unforgiven.
Deathwing Knights are garbed in long robes, hold huge storm shields, and are most commonly armed with Maces of Absolution. The squads are themselves led by a Knight Master, who wields the Flail of the Unforgiven. Deathwing Knights are also frequently accompanied by Watchers in the Dark.
Deathwing Knights are considered as the Dark Angels answer to close combat superiority. As most Dark Angel players should tell you, it is essential to have at least a couple of Deathwing Knights to cover the rear as the rest of your forces spray a unholy amount of Dakka and plasma from far away.
Deathwing Terminators are not very different from Terminators available to Codex Chapters, but are loaded up with a plethora of special rules. The fluff states that very few Dark Angels forces ever travel without being accompanied by at least one squad, because they never know when evidence of the Fallen might turn up. But when they have their mind set on something they go all out. This is represented in-game by a Deathwing Strike Force detachment, allowing up to 123 terminators to take the field (
generally a poor tactical decision NO WAY! WHO DOESN'T LOVE HAVING 123 TERMINATORS when your opponent has 1230 ORK BOYZ? 10 to 1? Deathwing eat those odds for BREAKFAST).
Ever since the 6th Edition Codex by Jeremy Vetock (praise be his name) the Deathwing now rape Chaos Space Marines, which makes perfect sense considering it is their primary duty to take down
the Fallen. HERETICS and this has carried on into the 7e codex.
The regular Deathwing have some handy new rules: they are Fearless and Stubborn, have Hatred (Chaos Space Marines), Overwatch on BS2, have the ability to Split-Fire, have all of their guns Twin-Linked the same turn they arrive from Deep Strike, and have access to Plasma Cannon, which while not entirely useful, on a terminator is awesome. Furthermore, individual Deathwing terminators can choose their weapon selection rather than having it relatively fixed as in other chapters. This is all before you squeeze them into a formation.
They also have a unique unit: the Deathwing Knights who are the the Elite-within-the-Elite; each armed with an AP3 power mace and storm shield. Nothing says repent like a WS5/T5 Terminator with a mace the size of a man charging at you with the hammer of wrath!
Deathwing LOVE 8th edition. With regular terminators retaining all bonuses over vanilla terminators and now being able to Deep Strike them AND charge them is something that they've always been wanting. Deathwing Knights are still badass as they now have super powerful maces and a flail that spills its damage over. 5-wound Apothecaries, Ancients and Champions are now a thing so they can go around separately doing what they need to do. Ven Dreadnoughts are still here as well, so, Deathwing enjoy kicking lots of ass this edition. Also, they're some of the last Fearless units in the game, so, good on them!
- The "-wing" suffix has come to be used as shorthand to refer to other all-Terminator armies, like Draigowing, where Kaldor Draigo allows a Grey Knights army to take Paladin (super-Terminator) squads as Troops, or Loganwing, where Logan Grimnar (of the Space Wolves) causes Wolf Guard (which may be Terminator-armored) to count as Troops. As of 7th edition, most codices let you run -wing armies through ways other than force chart position manipulation, but Pepperidge Farm Remembers. *BLAM* /tg/ remembers.
Space Hulk: Deathwing
Streum On Studio, the developers behind E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy, is currently developing a first-person shooter featuring Deathwing Terminators in a Space Hulk setting. Not a lot is known about it yet, except that it's being made in the Unreal Engine 4 (meaning pretty damn good graphics) They recently released a trailer, which looks fucking awesome (Aside from the serious crashing issues.) . Deathwing will be released on December 14th 2016.
- You can watch it here
- And here is the second official trailer with extra-TROLLING pop-mariachi music, who needs bland gothic chants anyway? (Ah! The RAGE!)
- And here is the better edition, a little editing by some fans
- some FAGGOT with no inspiration decided to make a more GRIMDARK cookie cutter action movie trailer version.
- ACTUAL gameplay trailer.
- The Gamescom teaser - we now have a release date! And no backflipping terminators!
The Models of the Deathwing Knights Are as awesome as you'd think.