From 1d4chan
If Stubbornness had a physical form, then it would look like the Deathwing.

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.


The Deathwing, back when they had that whole Native American schtick going on.

The Deathwing were originally one of the six "Wings" of the Hexagrammaton. A separate set of organisations within the First Legion that was overlaid upon the rank and file. A "normal" Dark Angels squad could be made up of members of any of the six wings and those members could be senior or subservient to his squamates in different ways. When battlefield conditions required it, the members of the wings could reorganise themselves into other more specialised units in order to bring their experience and training to best effect.

The Deathwing were originally the linebreaker troops, capable of shattering enemy formations and creating openings for other units to exploit. They were required to go toe to toe with the enemy and were most often elite units called upon to act as bodyguards for senior officers.

Like the Ravenwing, the Deathwing have a different colour scheme from the rest of the Dark Angels, wearing bone white Terminator armour. Originally, members of the Deathwing could only bear white armour if they had taken a blow intended for another and survived the encounter. The new colour scheme recognising their selfless devotion. Otherwise they retained the black and white colour scheme of the Dark Angels Legion. But after the break up of the legion into Chapters, all members of the Deathwing wear white.

According to apocryphal 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 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[edit]

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.

Deathwing Knights[edit]

Fucking Deathwing Knights...

You thought normal Deathwings were bad. Oh boy, you do NOT want to meet this badass bro-force in 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.

In previous editions, Deathwing Knights were the monsters of Dark Angels' CQC specialists. However by 8th edition, they got hit with a Nerf bat to some decree. On one hand, they lost a whole bunch of special rules including the Fortress of Shields ability. On the other hand, they are still extremely beefy and scary close combat monsters. Their Maces of Absolution are still terrifying, striking at S8 AP-2 and doing THREE damage each, basically losing out to Thunder Hammers by a point of armor penetration but with no drawbacks to accuracy. Plus they have an extra wound for being Terminators. This means a squad of these guys can theoretically take out any high value target in one turn of combat.

Unfortunately, their number of attacks are rather lacking and since damage does not carry over from dead models, it makes these Knights exceptionally vulnerable to being Tarpitted by a horde of cheap GEQs. Which is odd, since in previous editions, these guys ate GEQs like a Mawloc chowing down on some squishy Guardsmen. As such, the Knights require far more assistance from other Dark Angels troops rather than being a one-squad army all by themselves.

In a nutshell, the Deathwing Knights are still the elite choice for the Dark Angels. They are just far more effective being synergised with other Dark Angels troops that deal with hordes like the Mortis Dreadnought for example.

Deathwing Venerable Dreadnought[edit]

The most LOYAL of Venerable Dreadnoughts.

The Dark Angels Venerable Dreadnought or more simply called the Deathwing Dreadnought since the majority of the Dark Angels' Venerable Dreadnoughts seem to comprise almost entirely from the Deathwing. As such, they are the most secretive and quiet of the Venerable Dreadnoughts which is one hell of a feat by itself.

As part of the Inner Circle, these Dreadnoughts only seem to partake in battlefields when there is a certain intel report on Fallen Angels activity FILTHY HERETICS FROM THE TRAITOROUS LEGIONS! Deathwing Dreadnoughts are thus, only found in the Deathwing Redemption Force formation. This formation comprises of units entirely from the Inner Circle such as the Company Master, Interrogator-Chaplain or Librarian, two to five Deathwing Terminator Squads, one Deathwing Command Squad, one Deathwing Knight Squad and a single Deathwing Venerable Dreadnought.

As one can imagine, having a entire force of Inner Circle Dark Angels members including a squad of the infamous Deathwing Knights and a Deathwing Dreadnought all coming to get you, is not the most pleasant of idea to any members of The Fallen FILTHY HERETICAL RUINOUS POWERS!

On tabletop, these Deathwing Dreadnoughts are similar to a classic Dreadnought but with WS2+ and BS2+ and a new rule where it can ignore unsaved wounds on a 6+. Not too shabby. Apparently, something went wrong in the Codex where the Dark Angels Venerable Dreadnoughts got demoted and they're only Deathwing and Inner Circle if we spend a CP. Sigh. But otherwise you get all this for only a slightly higher price tag. Oh, Yeah. Weapon options for the regular Dreadnought apply here too.


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).

7th Edition[edit]

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!

As before; Dreadnoughts can also be members of the Deathwing gaining the same bonuses against the Fallen. HERETICS, as their terminator armoured brothers.

8th Edition[edit]

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!

Unfortunately, once the 'new and shiny' effect wore off of 8th edition Deathwing players (and lovers of termies in general) noticed that their dudes are dying just as fast if not even faster than before. 2+ armor is now affacted by AP-1 weapons which used to be AP5 and thus did jack shit to termies. They can still be drowned in saves just as in previous editions and anti-tank weapons now deal flat 2, D3 or D6 damage which is enough to down a 2-wound termie quite easily. All of this means that despite the double wounds, termies are rather fragile outside of cover or holding storm shields. Chapter Approved publications have helped a lot by reducing points though, so it's not all bad. Still, to kick ass with Deathwing you need to be a) fighting against weaker codices or b) play really well with Deathwing.


  • 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[edit]

Streum On Studio, the developers behind E.Y.E: Divine Cybermancy (aka Tutorial Videos: The Game), developed a first-person shooter featuring Deathwing Terminators in a Space Hulk setting. The singleplayer campaign involves a Librarian (your character) and his two bros (a devastator and an apothecary) assisting in a Deathwing assault on a Space Hulk, with Belial handing out mission objectives. The enemies in the game are various forms of Genestealers, who make a credible threat and whose hybrids have some firepower. You go through ships of various stripes--Mechanicus, Imperial Guard, etc--and they have their differences and nice details. You also have a large armory--Do you want to use an assault cannon? Do that. Want to use Lightning Claws? Go for it. Power fist? Sure, watch those genestealer hybrids explode when you punch them.

Multiplayer campaign involves picking a class with specific abilities--tactical, assault, devastator, apothecary, Librarian, Interrogator Chaplain --and working with your squad to achieve goals and squish bugs.

If it's got a downside, controls and action can be clunky. The upside is, the level of detail and setting accuracy is stupidly high--you can read the words on purity scrolls and notes on the wall. And using a Force Sword or a Heavy Flamer to wipe out a genestealer wave is fun as hell.


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 (Deathwing 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
Ravenwing Darkshroud
Flyers: Dark Talon - Nephilim Jetfighter - Stormraven - Storm Eagle
Allies: Space Marines - Primaris Marines