"Now you are a devastator, brother."
- – Avitus
Devastator Squad is the Codex Astartes designation for a Space Marine squad of heavy weapon specialists. The Devastators' purpose can be put in simple terms: blow shit up. If something needs more than a bolter to crack, the commanding battle-brother will call in his Devastators to crack it. Devastators can kill fortifications and armored vehicles with lascannons, plasma cannons, and multi-meltas and lay waste to infantry with heavy bolters, heavy flamers, and missile launchers.
A Codex-compliant chapter maintains two Devastator squads in each battle company and a reserve company of Devastators, which wears the company color blue. According to the Codex's writings, a scout will be assigned to a Devastator squad after receiving the Black Carapace implant. In the process of becoming a full battle-brother, he will learn how to control his power armor while he serves as an assistant gunner. In time, he will be permitted to handle the heavy weapons himself, learning their strengths and weaknesses as he gains combat experience.
Chapters that pay less homage to the Codex organize their heavy weapon brothers differently. Among the Space Wolves, the heavy weapons are the responsibility of units called "Long Fangs." They are veterans of centuries of warfare, with ash-grey hair and enormous canine teeth, who have enough skill and experience to know when and where the firepower of their Chapter's irreplaceable relics will be needed. The Blood Angels promote their scouts into Assault Squads first and then into the Devastators once the battle-brothers have worked out their aggression. Blood Angels Devastators must have control over their Red Thirst, lest they throw down their weapons and charge their foes. The Black Templars specialize in mobility and armored assaults and therefore have no formal Devastators in their ranks, instead handing the duties to the initiates and neophytes. The otherwise Codex-compliant Star Phantoms maintain an extra Devastator squad in each company over a sixth tactical squad. This is partially because they suffer such high losses in campaigns and therefore keep extra newbs, and partially because they're team-killing fucktards that like to blow shit up.
Havoc being their Chaos counterpart.
On the Tabletop
A Devastator squad is a unit of five to ten tactical marines with heavy weapons (much like the options available to tactical squads) with one Sergeant, who likes to pose in the light from all the explosions his squad are bound to make in his wake. Devastators received quite the beating in 8th Edition, at least if you play with point values. Except for the Heavy Bolter and Grav-Cannons (who remained the same and became cheaper respectively), the heavy weapons have been bumped up by 10 points in cost. The Marines themselves are 1 point cheaper, so there's that. Do notice that you don't get any weapons for free, so calculate accordingly. The heavy weapons list remained the same, but some of the weapons were changed for this edition:
- Heavy Bolters remain the cheapest at 10 points, but because they have only AP-1 they have become quite a bit less effective than they used to be against their preferred targets: everything that's not as tough as a MEQ. It does mean that they're more effective against MEQs though, and with the new wounding mechanics S5 means it can wound most things on a 5+ at worst.
- Plasma Cannons clock in at 21 points, and as a Heavy D3 weapon can dish out quite some pain. S7 AP-3 would be very effective when dropped on something like TEQs, except that many of those now have two or more wounds. To handle this you can risk death to up your Strength to 8 and get 2 damage, which is not really worth the risk. It does work when you REALLY want to wound something with T8, and such things will likely have loads of wounds so your 2 damage won't cut it. And while Heavy D3 looks nice, in practice it does less damage to blocks of infantry since it used to employ the small blast template. While somewhat more effective against single big targets that aren't vehicles like Monstrous Creatures, the plasma cannon still struggles to find damage this edition. Additionally, it also has trouble competing against the more potent Plasma Incinerators and Plasma Exterminators used by the Hellblasters and Inceptors, respectively. Sector Mechanicus (and Dark Angels if you're lucky enough to be one) gives a strategem just to buff plasma damage. This effectively turns them into d3 lascannons for round if you really need the extra punch.
- Missile Launchers are either a Heavy D6 S4 light infantry killer or an S8 AP-2 D6 damage vehicle hunter. The damage is good, but the APS-2 means that your opponent will have to roll their armor save very poorly to get the full effect of the damage.
- Lascannons are the big juicy tank poppers. 48" Heavy 1, S9 AP-3 D6 damage. The big attraction here is S9: it means that you can wound Land Raiders and Monoliths on a 3+ while all the other weapons get a 4+. Most tanks will still keep a 6+ save, but the massive amount of damage you'll be causing will put a dent in them for sure. Plus, it's a lot safer than using the short-ranged tank popper you have.
- Multi-Meltas are only Heavy 1, but with S8 AP-4 and D6 damage that gets a reroll within 12", if they hit something within range it'll take it down. Sucky against large groups, but if they can roll up next to a juicy target (vehicle, monstrous creature) and blow their load it'll die. And note that this works against EVERYTHING, not just vehicles. You hear that? That's the sound of a crying Tyranid player. And with the change to how Deep Striking works this edition, Multi-Melta Devastators (especially with the Cherub) have replaced Sternguard Veterans as the premier "suicide melta" unit for drop pods. They'll take a slight ding to their BS since they count as having moved after Deep Striking, but the Signum can compensate for that easily.
- Grav-Cannons clock in at 28 points, but they are beasts. 24" is a bit short ranged, but at Heavy 4 S5 AP-3 they can do some damage. It gets even better when firing on a model with a save of 3+ or better: it ups your damage output from 1 to D3. While not as effective against vehicles anymore due to their greatly reduced chance to actually wound, the Grav-Cannons now excel at taking down MEQs/TEQs and things that sit right under the threshold of Monstrous Creature status, and with a bit of luck can even hurt one of those rather badly. But again, beware the range: you are vulnerable.
The Blood Angels have access to one more Heavy Weapon: the Heavy Flamer. Clocking in at 17 points each they deal D6 hits each at S5 AP-1 D1. This makes them very effective against most horde units but have a VERY short range and deal an average of 14 hits, which has a decent shot of really thinning out enemy units using Morale. But against regular Flamers, which are a lot cheaper and deal a similar amount of damage, they are not all that better. Plus, the Heavy Bolter does the same thing albeit at a lower damage output at more than four times the range, and with the difference in points you can buy two additional meat shields.
On top of that there are two other additions. The Signum of the Sergeant now lets you add 1 to all to hit rolls of a model within the unit (this can include the sergeant himself) and does not prevent the sergeant from shooting. ALWAYS USE THIS, for it is a free +1 to hit. RAW you can give him THREE pistols: one is the standard Bolt Pistol and the other two can be a mix of Bolt, Plasma and Grav pistols. The latter two are not in any way cheap, clocking in at 14 and 16 for a pair, but your opponent's face when you tell him that your Sergeant is going to shoot THRICE at 12" range with some rather nasty damage. In addition, for a small 5 points you can get yourself an Armorium Cherub who can reload the weapon of a model within the unit to let him shoot a second time and doubles as an ablative wound. This can really save your ass in certain situations, especially when using the unit as a suicide squad. Because of the way shooting works in 8th Edition you can now let any model from your unit shoot at any target within range. This means that yes, you can finally field your Devastators with a variety of guns as they're always depicted on the boxes. It's best to pick guns with similar ranges so that some guns won't have to sit the round out because there are no targets within range. Taking ablative wounds in the form of extra Devastators is advised, but not required. Similarly, Devastators get more out of fortifications in 8th, with a nice 2+ and +1Ld for a Defense Line or a Bunker for close to the cost of making the squad 10-man.
When using Power Ratings instead of points Devastators become radically more effective. Now you can pick whatever heavy weapon you want without looking at the cost, making Devastators very lethal while being only 2 points more expensive than a Tactical Squad. And not only can you take the Cherub for free, you can also gear up your sergeant at no cost. In addition to opting to give your Sergeant three pistols you can also go for a Combi-weapon instead. The Combi-Plasma has the longest range at 24" with both the Bolter and Plasma, but if you want to drop a Multi-Melta squad within 12" taking the Combi-Melta for that extra oomph might be interesting. You can fire both guns at the same time at the cost of a -1 to hit penalty. While this might seem hilarious to do it's not that good, since most targets that you need a Multi-Melta for can easily shrug off a Bolter. And having that free hidden Thunder Hammer to drop might be worth it for your opponent's look alone. You can still take the 5 extra Marines at 4 Power Rating, which will help greatly when your opponent brings their ordnance to bear against you.
|Forces of the Blood Angels|
|Command:|| Apothecary - Brother-Captain - Brother-Sergeant - Chaplain |
Chapter Master - Librarian - Sanguinary Priest - Techmarine
|Troops:|| Assault Squad - Devastator Squad - Sanguinary Guard - Scout Squad |
Tactical Squad - Terminator Squad - Veteran Squad
|Death Company:||Death Company - Death Company Chaplain - Death Company Terminator|
|Walkers:|| Contemptor-Furioso Dreadnought - Death Company Dreadnought |
Dreadnought - Furioso Dreadnought - Librarian Dreadnought
|Transports:||Drop Pod - Razorback - Rhino|
|Vehicles:|| Baal Predator - Land Raider (Land Raider Crusader - Land Raider Phobos |
Land Raider Redeemer - Land Raider Angel Infernus)
Predator Tank - Vindicator - Hunter - Stalker - Whirlwind
|Flyers:||Stormhawk - Stormraven - Stormtalon - Storm Eagle - Thunderhawk|
|Allies:||Space Marines - Primaris Marines|
|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|