Warhammer 40,000/7th Edition Tactics/Deathwatch

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Why Play Deathwatch[edit]

Codex Deathwatch Cover.jpg

The battle-brothers of the Deathwatch are the foremost xenos hunters in the Imperium. They are a black-clad brotherhood of noble warriors, bound by ancient oaths to defend Mankind from the alien, no matter its form. Hand-picked from the breadth of the Adeptus Astartes for their expertise in the slaughter of xenos threats, each of those who have joined the Long Vigil is a hero, tempered in the furnace of conflict and girded for battle with an arsenal of specialist weaponry. When the Watch Companies of the Deathwatch go to war en masse, there is no alien in the expanse of the galaxy that they cannot overcome.

Reasons why they're awesome:

  • Operators operating operationally - The Deathwatch is the Imperium's premier xenos-hunting special forces, and as a result get the best gear.
  • Codex: Your Dudes - The relatively small model count and composition of many different chapters allows for great modelling and character opportunities. More so than any other army - you can really individualize each model, as they are all experienced veterans from different chapters. Trade bits with other Marine players to make each model stand out. Run your Kill-team from the Deathwatch RPG as part of your army!
  • Awesome paint scheme - Because Black and Silver is the new Black.
  • MSU Shenanigans - Deathwatch can run Terminators, Vanguard Veterans and Bikers in smaller squad sizes than normal. While this was done to accomodate the assorted "mixed" Kill Team formations, you could theoretically run a bunch of "solo" Terminators with Cyclone Missile Launchers if it tickles your fancy.
  • Quick and easy to get onto the table - The simple (but awesome) paint scheme, combined with the low model count, means Deathwatch are one of the fastest armies to get built, painted, and battle-ready. And, if you like to play Sternguard and Vanguard veterans as count as Deathwatch, you likely already have the beginnings of a kill-team or two ready to go.
  • Easy access to AP3/2 - Special Issue Ammunition, combined with Mission Tactics to re-roll 1s, means you will crush other MEQ armies with Vengeance Rounds, and Frag Cannons are absolutely lethal, especially when you can take 4 of them in a unit to absolutely destroy heavy Vehicles or TEQ.
  • Sternguard - The Army - Your bare-bones Troops are among the best in the game and can handle anything from light infantry to MEQs to light vehicles with just their bolters and grenades. Two attacks each, too, so they are on par with Grey Hunters in melee. This versatility is costly, but it also means you are a bit less reliant on Special Weapons.
  • STEEL RAIN - With formations, you can easily give the majority of your army the ability to Deep Strike. Otherwise, mass Drop Pods is a preferrable deployment option for this army both because of its tremendous alpha-strike potential and its need to be precisely in the right place at the right time to be able to make a difference.
  • X-Com is your favorite video game and you want a 40k army like it. Assemble a squad of six, call your Blackstar the Skyranger, and play the Kill-team supplement against vile xenos threatening the Imperium. Deploying Inquisitor Bradford is NOT optional.
  • You want to tailor your list against 4+ armies and say that it's fluffy.

Reasons why they're not awesome:

  • Low model count - Just like the Grey Knights, each model is extremely expensive, even when compared to other Space Marine chapters. You will be outnumbered, possibly easily outmaneuvered, and are much easier to table than most armies. Also, given widespread access to AP3/AP2 in this edition, a 2+ or 3+ save won't do you any good, you can only make so many Storm Shield saves (and keep in mind those drive the point cost up further) with Bladestorm/Plasma flying about. In addition, with Boltguns, Lasguns, and Pulse Rifles, there's only so many 2+/3+ Armor saves you can make anyway.
  • Mediocre long-range shooting - While you do have Razorbacks, Land Raiders, and Missile Launchers, you're not really interested in sticking far back, you want to get up in your opponent's face and use Special Ammo or Frag Cannons or Shotguns and the like. This means that an army with long range shooting (Guard/Tau/Ad Mech) will likely have the advantage at longer distances. This is counter-balanced by the fact that all of your units can Deep Strike if you use the Black Spear Strike Force.
  • No tanks - the only tanks you have are Razorbacks and Land Raiders. The Deathwatch lack all of the other armored toys the regular marines have.
  • No Objective Secured - there are no formations with ObSec for this army, period. They are not here to hold objectives, they are here to kill. But this means a clever opponent can out-play you by taking points. You can take a CAD with Deathwatch, but the comparative mediocrity of just having Mission Tactics as opposed to Deep Striking Kill-teams with a cornucopia of rerolls makes it barely worth it. Always play to the mission and use allies to hold objectives for you.
  • Marines on foot - Other than the Corvus Blackstar, Rhino, and Landraider variants, Death Watch have little in the way of mobility. Combine the attraction of large squads with limited transport options and you begin to find 6" movement is not enough without excellent placement.
  • Bland Formations/Mission Tactics - Although Deathwatch are the Chamber Militant of the Ordo Xenos, one can joke they really fight on behalf of the Ordo Xerox. Their Mission Tactics are all copypaste "reroll 1s to hit versus X", and all their formations are either "reroll 1s to wound", or "reroll to wound versus X".
  • Missing Content - Unlike the Deathwatch_(RPG), there are no Devastators(only Dreadnoughts and Land Raiders have the big guns), Champions, Techmarines, Kill-Marines, Apothecaries or Keepers. Nor is there the option to take Scout Armor. While only Bolters and Stalkers have Special Ammunition. Chapter-specific Specialties are impossible without taking allies. There are numerous hints this was a "rushjob" codex, from Deathwatch HQs not getting Bikes, to the Bane Bolts Relic having a profile for Stalker Boltguns despite HQs not having any way to take a Stalker Bolt Gun! One of the more controversial aspects was how Deathwatch Veterans could (according to their Armory) take both Shotguns and Boltguns, only for it to be clarified otherwise in the FAQ.

Special Rules[edit]

Mission Tactics - The Deathwatch version of Chapter Tactics. At the beginning of your first turn, pick a force organization slot (Purgatus=HQ, Dominatus=Elite, Furor=Troops, Venator=Fast Attack, Malleus=Heavy Support). You reroll 1s to hit against enemy units of that type. Once per game, you can change which type you get this rule against.

Warlord Traits[edit]

  1. Bane of Monstrosities:Warlord reroll to wound and to pen. vs MC, Tanks and superheavies.
  2. Lord of Hidden Knowledge: Roll a D6. That many times Warlord OR his unit may re-roll one to Hit, Wound or Pen roll.
  3. Castellan of the Black Vault: All Warlord's weapons are Master-Crafted (Not the relics)
  4. Bringer of the Red Dawn: Warlord has Night Vision. May choose to have Night Fight during the first turn.
  5. Vigilance Incarnate: May change the Mission Tactic one additional time. Watch Captain Artemis has this trait.
  6. Master of the Voidhunt: At the beginning of any turn, Warlord may order a bombardment on an enemy unit at 12" or less. Roll a D6. On a 3+ Target suffers D3 hits, S6, AP4. On a result of 6, D3 hits, S10, AP2.

Tactical Objectives[edit]

Due to the unique Deathwatch rules, you have 3 different sets of Tactical Objectives, but you can choose only 1 at the start of a battle.

Primus Tactical Objectives[edit]

  • 11 - Dominate: +1 VP for controlling the objective closest to the enemy Warlord. If the enemy warlord's already dead, then the opponent simply picks the objective you have to take.
  • 12 - Nullification: +1 VP if there are no Psykers, Brotherhood of Psykers/Sorcerers, or Psychic Pilot models on the field.
  • 13 - Crippling Blow: +1 VP for each enemy unit with the HQ battle role that was destroyed, up to 5 VP. Basically, fuck Herohammer.
  • 14 - Destroy their Elite: +1 VP if at least one enemy Elite unit was wiped out. Easy money, given Deathwatch mission tactics.
  • 15 - Priority Targets: Draw the card, make note of which enemy unit has the highest wound count (in case of tie, opponent chooses). Score 1 VP if you kill that model. Score D3 VP if it was a Gargantuan creature. Wraithknight, say hello to Combi-grav and Frag Cannons!
  • 16 - Headshots: +1 VP for each enemy character slain, up to 6 VP. No, seriously, fuck Herohammer.

Secundus Tactical Objectives[edit]

First 3 Tactical Objectives are the same as Primus, but the next 3 target troop choices.

  • 24 - Thin Their Ranks: Make note of which enemy unit has the most models. You get 1 VP if it's completely wiped out. Bring out the Infernus Heavy Bolters, and it should be easy enough to crush blobs.
  • 5 - Attrition: +1 VP if you eliminated at least one enemy unit with the Troops role. +D3 VP if you killed more than 3.
  • 26 - Widespread Destruction: +1 VP if you removed at least 1 model from 3 different units. If you killed 1+ models from 6 or more units, score D3, and if you kill at least 1 model from every enemy unit in their army, you get D3+3 VP.

Tertius Tactical Objectives[edit]

First 3 Objectives are same as the other 2, but next 3 target the big hitters.

  • 34 - No Support: +1 VP if you destroyed 1 unit in either the Heavy Support or Lord of War categories. Score D3 if you killed at least 3 units from the 2 categories in any combo.
  • 35 - Immobilise: +1 VP if you destroy at least 1 enemy Fast Attack unit.
  • 36 - Destructos Titanicus: Make a note of which enemy model has the highest number of Hullpoints. If there's a tie, the enemy picks the unit you have to destroy. Score D3 VP if the model is destroyed by the end of your turn, score D3+3 VP if it was a Superheavy.

Wargear[edit]

Melee Weapons[edit]

In addition to power weapons, power fists, thunder hammers, lightning claws, relic blades, and chainswords, the Deathwatch have access to rare and powerful melee weapons.

  • Guardian Spear: Watch masters only, because the Deathwatch somehow have access to Custodes equipment. Aside from functioning as a special ammo using boltgun, it's S+1, AP2, Two-handed and has the Block special rule: Nominate 1 attack allocated to the bearer. Once the enemy rolls their hit you roll a die and if it beats the enemy's hit roll, the enemy's attack is blocked and does nothing. AP2 at initiative is awesome as always, and Block may come in handy to stop Power Fists/Thunderhammers/Decapitating Strikes/Instant Death attacks. Funny to picture the Watch master literally parry the Imperial Knight's reaper chainsword with what may as well be a butter knife when compared to that massive D-weapon. By blocking one of their hits, you reduce the chance of getting slapped with ID/a Deathblow, which still is baller.
  • Xenophase Blade: Literally jacking Necron Phase Swords in place of Power Swords. It's a Power Sword that forces all successful invulnerable saves to be re-rolled. Now that's big against those whose only save is an Invuln (like Harlequins and Chaos Daemons) as well as Necrons, Guard, and those whose HQ units at best have 3+ Armor that's ignored by the Xenophase blade and fall back on Invulns. Kill Team Sergeants and Watch Captains can take this.
  • Heavy Thunderhammer: 30 points for an even more rapetastic Thunderhammer. S10 AP2, Melee, Unwieldy, Concussive, Two-Handed and on to wound rolls of 6, you get Instant Death (Pulverize Special Rule)! Costs more than the veteran carrying it by far and makes them a huge target, but the opportunity to one-shot high value commanders, monstrous creatures, and heavy multi-wound thickies like Thunderwolves, Paladins, and Centurions might make it worth it.

Ranged Weapons[edit]

In addition to Boltguns, Storm Bolters, Combi-weapons, Plasma Pistols, Grav-pistols, Hand Flamers, and Inferno Pistols, the Deathwatch have the following:

  • Stalker pattern Boltgun: The special Deathwatch Boltguns. 5 points each. 30" SX AP5, Heavy 2, Sniper. You'll never use the base profile because Special Ammunition offers direct upgrades. Has its own special-issue ammunition profiles.
    • Dragonfire Bolt: SX AP5 Heavy 2 sniper, ignores cover, 30". Good for taking out Bikes of any kind due to circumventing toughness bonuses, the possibility to rend (ignoring armor) is there too, and this just straight up denies Skilled Rider shenanigans (Ravenwing and White Scars, we're looking at you).
    • Hellfire Round: SX AP5 Heavy 2 sniper, Poisoned (2+), 30". Probably the best type to use overall. Snipers wound on 4+ naturally, but Poisoned 2+ means you'll statistically score way more wounds since often a 50/50 shot is too risky.
      • The Sniper special rule makes these a real threat for Riptides. Wounding on 2s with AP2 on 6s means a five vet team can troll one into wasting its nova on the shield.
    • Kraken Bolt: SX AP4 Heavy 2 sniper, 36". Another great choice. Straight upgrade from the basic ammo.
    • Vengeance Round: SX AP3 Heavy 2 sniper, gets hot, 24". Actually ideal for dealing with Wraithguard/Greater Daemons/Tyranid Monsters since they always wound on 4+, ignoring a Monstrous Creature's high toughness and ignoring armor saves (the Riptide and the Tyrannofex have 2+ armor, but they're one of the very few MCs that have one).
  • Deathwatch Shotgun: Special shotgun that fires different rounds, kind of like a Special Ammo shotgun but with different effects.
    • Cryptclearer Round: S4 AP- Assault 2 Shred, 16".
    • Xenopurge slug: S4 AP4 Assault 2, 16".
    • Wyrmsbreath shell: S3 AP6 Assault 1 Template. Note that this gives Wall of Death so arm your guys with this and fire 5d3 overwatch hits. Editorial note: Since this is a free swap-over, and like the Stalkers is not limited by anything but bodies of men in your force, it's possible to take up to ten of these, though it is a very costly investment to have such a short-to-mid range unit at 220 pts...
  • Auxiliary Meltagun: Remember how that one Salamanders guy in Overkill has a meltagun on his Powerfist? Yeah, well now every Terminator can have it. It's the same cost as a normal meltagun, perfect for a suicide termie. Works wonders in a Furor Kill-team, since they re-roll armour penetration against Troops DTs, as you can break open a Metal Box and charge the former occupants without wasting any weapon slots on special weapons.
    • Modelling Note: Brantar is the only model in the range that has it, so unless you have extra Chainfists and Meltaguns lying around, replacing either arm on Branatar model is very easy, or just get Inferno Pistol, cut off the grip, glue to power fist, done, they are very cheap on bits sites since no one was buying them before. Another way to model these auxiliary weapons is to grab the unused melta bits from your Devastator Centurions and attach them to your power fists

Heavy Weapons[edit]

In addition to Heavy Bolters, Heavy Flamers, and Missile Launchers, 4 Marines per Veteran Squad can take these. Just let that sink in. You could have 4 S5 AP4 templates doing D3 auto-hits on overwatch (so basically if you're Orks, Daemons, Eldar, Nids, or Guard, don't charge at all and just remove the models because they'll get roasted again).

Infernus Heavy Bolter
Yep. It's a Combi-Heavy-Flamer Heavy-Bolter, it either fires as an Assault 3 HB or a Heavy Flamer. What makes this thing glorious is that it can repeatedly use either fire mode, and you can assault after firing and/or move and fire at full Ballistic skill. No 1-use only kind of thing. Though, not worth it since just a handful of points more gives you vastly superior...
Deathwatch Frag Cannon
A gun taken from old Furioso Dreadnoughts and upgraded. It has 2 firing modes:
Range S AP Type
Template 6 - Assault 2, Rending
Range S AP Type
24 7 3 Assault 2, Strength 9, AP 2 when target is within 12".

Special-Issue Wargear[edit]

In addition to Auspexes, Combat Shields, Digital Weapons, and Meltabombs, here's some Deathwatch Special Issue Wargear.

  • Clavis: Watch Masters only. Reduces enemy vehicle's WS, BS, and Initiative values by 1 when within 6" of bearer. Fuck enemy walkers.
  • Special Ammunition: Veterans and all units with Bolt guns/Stalker Bolters/pistols/Combi-weapons get this too, and some ammo types can be used by the Heavy Bolters. Essentially, you can choose to fire 1 of 4 types of special rounds instead of the basic 24" S4 AP5 Rapid Fire shot, but all models in a unit must fire the same type of ammo:
    • Dragonfire bolts: S4 AP5, Ignores Cover. Great for taking out cover-camping Orks, Guardians, Kroot, and in a stretch Nurgle Daemons due to the shrouded bonus. Also great for circumventing Tyranid Venomthropes, and denying Jink saves to Eldar/Dark Eldar/Harlequin paper boats. This round will also cripple a Tau player who needs his Pathfinders to stay alive.
    • Hellfire rounds: The most simple and universal of the special rounds, S1 AP5, Poisoned (2+). Go for it if a target is too tough to be wounded with Vengeance Rounds, or if your target is out in the open and has 5+ or 6+ armor since you'll score a lot more wounds. Said lots of wounds may be worth it against 2+ armored opponents as well.
      • Hellfire Shells: Heavy Bolters and Infernus Heavy Bolters get Hellfire Shells which are 24" S1 AP- Poisoned 2+ Heavy 1 blasts.
    • Kraken bolts: 30" range (15" on Pistols) with S4 AP4. Great for dealing with Dire Avengers, Tempestus Scions, Carapace Armor guard Veterans, Fire Warriors, and 'Eavy Armored Orks.
    • Vengeance rounds: 18" range (9" on Pistols) with S4 AP3, but Gets Hot! just like Plasma guns. Ideal for disposing with Fire Dragons, Crisis Suits, and in fact is worth it against MEQ in general. (Note, with your mission tactic rerolls you can use this with only a 1/59 (1/108 with 2+ armor) chance of dying from a given shot. Spam them.)
  • Storm Shield: Gives you a 3+ Invulnerable save. No, Chaplains and Librarians can't take it (which is bullshit since the main Space Marine Codex allows them to take both Storm Shields in Terminator Armor and the Relic Shield Eternal) and neither can Watch Masters, but the Captain, Veterans, Vanguard Veterans, and Terminators can take this.
    • A Storm Shield is a Veteran squad's best friend when you need to carry your cover with you to stop the ocean of AP3/2, or need protection in close combat. Otherwise, keep it simple and load up on more marines.

Vehicle Equipment[edit]

In addition to Extra Armor, Pintle Storm Bolters, Dozer Blades, and Hunter Killer Missiles, Deathwatch vehicles have the following:

  • Auspex Array: Now your ship has Strafing Run!
    • Opinion: Most of your weapons being Twin-Linked at BS4 makes the Halo-Launchers almost always a better option. The Auspex is also more expensive than the Halo Launchers as well. The Array is best utilized for your 72" S8 AP2 Storm Strike missiles. Otherwise, it isn't vital.
  • Infernum Halo-Launcher: Now your ship can re-roll jinks!

Relics of the Vigilant[edit]

  • Banebolts of Eryxia: (10 points) Specialist ammo that is S5 AP4 as a Pistol or Assault 1 in a regular bolter; if used in a Stalker Boltgun it is SX AP4 Heavy 2 instead (this being said, no ICs can actually have a Stalker RAW, so no sniper HQs for you.) Regardless of the weapon it also inflicts Instant Death on a wound roll of 6.
    • Note that HQs with access to Terminator Armor (Librarian and Watch Captain) Can still use this if they take a Combi-Weapon. giving the ammo greater overall range.
    • A good option to put on the Librarian required in a Purgatus kill team, as it's primary utility would be to kill multi-wound characters that usually inhabit the HQ slot, And those Re-rolled wounds will help pile on the saves, alongside the rest of the killteam. Remember that Force has the same purpose, so between firing this, and charging in after getting force off, the character just has to fail one save your Librarian makes them take.
  • The Tome of Ectoclades: (10 points) At the beginning of your turn, the bearer may choose one Mission Tactic. When doing so, bearer and his unit gain that mission tactic in addition to the one granted normally. Always use it with a squad equipped with plasmaguns or combi-plasmas, or when you expect to use Vengeance Rounds a lot, since with a bit of pre-planning you can almost completely negate Gets Hot! with this.
  • Osseus Key: (15 points) A super-Clavis, meaning only Watch Masters can use this. In addition to the usual effects of a Clavis, if the bearer attacks a vehicle, after resolving your normal attacks roll a D6. 1 - no effect. 2-3 Vehicle suffers a glancing hit. 4+ Vehicle suffers a penetraing hit. Combined with Melta-bombs if you bought them for the Watch Master, this should be a breeze.
  • Dominus Aegis: (20 points) It's a great big tower shield the user can plant into the ground to create a force field. If the bearer does not move in their movement phase, both he and his unit get a 4++ invulnerable save until the start of their next movement phase. Meaning you can Run or charge, or be in close combat, and still get an invuln.
    • This is NOT a Storm Shield, it does not provide a 3++. Despite being described as a tower shield, the Dominus Aegis does not replace any of the users weapons or take up a free hand reducing his attacks, so nothing prevents you from taking this and a Storm Shield (think of it as a 20 pt upgrade for one of those new big Deathwatch storm shields). It also doesn't provide any other Invulnerable Save improvement on its own, your Captains, Chaplains and Masters all have an inherent 4++ anyway.
    • You can join a Deathwatch IC to any Imperial unit, and this relic will give them an invuln. You no longer need Azrael to give a 4++ save to a 50-man Combined Squad, though they lose it if your IC moves. A Librarian or a Chaplain with this is a great force multiplier.
  • Thief of Secrets: (20 points) A slightly cooler power sword. After a model suffers an unsaved wound, the wielder learns all weaknesses of the enemy he just hit. From then on if used to attack a model of that same kind, it wounds on 2+. For example, after a Carnifex suffers an unsaved wound, bearer may wound any Carnifex on a 2+. This means that Monstrous Creatures no longer become a big problem in combat. The problem is that it still starts out as a regular Power Sword, so you still have to face down those Carnifexes/Wraithlords/Daemons before you get any advantage. Furious Charge from the Watch Team formation and/or the psychic power Hammerhand may make up for it.
    • This is a non-Specialist Weapon power sword that can absolutely massacre low-T models and characters, especially with to-wound rerolls from the Watch Company formation. It has more in common with a Lightning Claw than a Power Fist. It can be taken by any Deathwatch HQ, replacing their Melee weapon, and it costs just 5 pts more than an ordinary power sword.
      • This is the only way to swap the Chaplain's crozius for a better melee weapon.
  • The Beacon Angelis: (30 points) Friendly units do not scatter when Deep Striking within 6" of the bearer, and once per game, at the beginning of your Movement Phase (so after arriving from Reserves at the start of the turn), you can remove a Deathwatch unit from the battlefield (even if it is in combat) and Deep Strike the unit back within 6" of the bearer, a-la reverse Gate of Infinity or the old Vargard Obyron ability. Note that you DO NOT need to be on the table at the start of your turn to use it, unlike normal Teleport Homers/Locator Beacons (whilst it does not specifically say that you have to be on the board at the start of the turn, its wording says that you may use it at the START of the movement phase, so before bringing in reserves), so feel free to drop in a tight cluster of Drop Pods in otherwise hard-to-reach locations on the first turn. Alternatively, use it as an allied asset for the likes of Deathwing, Nemesis and Talon Strikeforces, and Skyhammer Annihilation Force to completely negate the risk of first-turn DS scatter and mishaps *NOPE GW buttfucked the beacon to require you to be on the table at the start of the turn in the FAQ* . Also, it is perfect for mind games, like baiting or reverse-baiting the enemy with isolated squads that he knows you can easily teleport away or summon help for in your turn. Finally, it does not specify it can only teleport Infantry, so, unless stated otherwise, feel free to summon Land Raiders or Blackstars from the other end of the table. You can't charge out of them on the same turn, though (due to the rules of Deep Strike), so it's still a 2nd turn charge at best. Buying this is actually 5 pt cheaper than buying a drop-pod, so if you want to always drop in a pair of squads/Kill-teams together, buy a single pod and the Beacon instead, provided you have a model who can carry it. Overall, this can be considered one of the most powerful and versatile relics in the game, just because of all the options.

Unit Analysis[edit]

HQ[edit]

  • Watch Master: Chapter Master equivalent. Has the CM's statline with Artificer Armor (2+) and an Iron Halo (4++). He allows you to change the mission tactics one extra time, and comes with a Guardian Spear and Clavis. However, you're still S5 with the spear, and S6 with krak grenades, so if you're going to base a squad around him, make sure someone is packing some form of CC anti-tank (Chainfist, Meltabombs, Heavy Thunderhammer). May take Special Issue Wargear and/or Relics. In general, he is more of a support character for a melee-oriented Kill-team — use him to win challenges, kill 2+ models before I1, and de-buff vehicles, but be mindful he is not a true combat monster.
  • Watch Captain: Literally a vanilla Captain with Sternguard Special Ammunition for his pistol/Combi-weapon/Boltgun. 95 points compared to his vanilla counterpart. He can take Artificer Armor, Terminator Armor, a Jump Pack, a Storm Shield, Special Issue Wargear, ranged weapons, melee weapons, and relics. Also if you want free ranged dakka for a squad he can swap his pistol for a Bolt gun for free. Basically a build-a-bear HQ of your choice, tailored to what squad he'll go with. The FAQ gave him back his special ammo in case he takes Terminator Armor. Grab that Combi-weapon! Just don't go crazy with Vengeance Rounds. Unless you want to see how long Terminator Armor keeps him alive.
  • Chaplain: An HQ with Zealot (Fearless & Hatred), 2 wounds, a 4+ Invuln, a Power Maul, and Special Ammunition. At 95 points, he's fairly cheap, and you can't really go wrong. Excellent force multiplier and excellent choice vs Melee-based Xenos like Orks and Tyranids. Stick him in with Vanguard veterans and Terminators to really get the most out of Zealot. However, his mobility is ONLY locked to a transport or on-foot, as he can't grab a bike or jump pack. May take items from the Ranged list, Special Issue Wargear, or Relics.
  • Librarian: Cheap and is a great force multiplier. 70 points compared to the 65 point vanilla, but more or less has the exact same rules. He gets a Force Weapon and a Psychic hood, and has Special Ammo for his Bolt Pistol or Combi-weapon if you want to give him one. He can be upgraded to ML2, and gets rolls on every rulebook discipline and Space Marine exclusive psychic powers. Can also take Terminator Armor, Ranged Weapons, Special Issue Wargear, and Relics. Terminator armor may be worth it since unlike Chaplains and Watch Captains he doesn't have an Invuln. The FAQ gave him back his special ammo in case he takes Terminator Armor. Grab that Combi-weapon!

Special Characters[edit]

  • Watch Captain Artemis (Death Masque): Hailing from the days of Inquisitor, Artemis is a character with two extremely awesome pieces of wargear. Power Sword, Special Ammo, a Stasis Bomb, and the Combi-Flamer Hellfire Extremis. The bomb allows him to exchange his attacks in melee to drop a Strength D attack on his enemy, potentially killing himself if he misses the shot. It's suicidal, but it's a killer way to make a statement. Hellfire Extremis? An unlimited(nope, faq'ed) One-use Combi-flamer with Poisoned (2+). Say goodbye to those Guardsmen, Gaunts, Cultists, and Orks. Also makes Overwatch horrifically painful. Finally, he has a 6+ Feel No Pain, for what that's worth. Of course, you can use him in place of a regular Watch Captain in any Deathwatch formations. Include him in a Watch Company and stick him into a Strategium Command Team with a Chaplain, so he can re-roll his attempt to hit with the Stasis Bomb if needed and kick ass in general (though he won't get Furious Charge, he will benefit from Zealot as normal).
    • Note: Artemis is pretty fucking amazing against Gene-stealer cult
  • Ortan Cassius (Overkill): Lesser in every effective way to his Codex counterpart, Deathwatch Cassius loses his Combi-flamer Infernus, his Chapter Tactics, his Warlord trait, his Feel No Pain, his Preferred Enemy (Tyranids), and is T4 instead of T6. What does he get for it? Special Issue Ammunition. For his bolt pistol. He is exactly the same cost as a regular Deathwatch Chaplain and they use the same model to represent one in the Codex. However, he's been FAQ'ed to get Mission Tactics, though.
  • Jensus Natorian (Overkill): Like Cassius, compared to a Codex librarian, this angry Magpie kinda falls a little short. He has no Chapter tactics, no optional wargear and again, the only thing Jensus has to show for it is Special Issue Ammunition. Reminder, he is exactly the same cost as a regular ML2 Deathwatch Librarian and they use the same model to represent one in the Codex. FAQ'ed to be able to use mission tactics, and every Deathwatch psychic power, so he's a bit more able to pull his weight, now.

Troops[edit]

  • Veterans: Sternguard Veterans as Troops. Veterans with the same basic wargear as Sternguard and universal Special-Issue Ammunition conferred by the Deathwatch. 22 points per model (same as Sternguard). Minimum squad of 5, maximum of 10. May take up to 4 heavy weapons. Any veteran may take a Heavy Thunder Hammer (lol S10 AP2) for 30 points. One may become a Black Shield for 15 points, and one may be upgraded to Watch Sergeant to access Xenophasing blades and the Special Equipment List. These are your very expensive, but very versatile Troops choice. For the same price of Sternguard, you can access a far more versatile selection of wargear to suit your short-ranged shooting needs. Treat them exactly as their statline and wargear list shows: Space Marine Veterans with fantastic short ranged shooting wargear veterans. This means enjoying the versatility and power of Deathwatch equipment, but also being mindful of only having 3+ armour saves (base) and none of the durability shenanigans like Iron Hands Chapter Tactics or easy invulnerable saves. They are powerful shock troops and pair well with your access to dedicated transports, but they are only as durable as Tactical Marines and can become VERY expensive targets.
    • Black Shield: One (and only one) Veteran in the unit may be upgraded to a Black Shield, gaining WS5, the (Character) rule, and the special rule Atonement Through Honor which lets the Black Shield double his attacks (before any modifiers) while locked in combat that either outnumbers his unit, or a unit that an Independent Character, Monstrous Creature, or Vehicle. Naturally, you can kit him out however you want, but it makes sense to give him some hardcore melee options and throw him into the thick of it with a small unit of melee Vets. With a pair of Lightning Claws that's 6 AP3 Shred attacks against enemy mooks on the charge. All at WS5. He's a blender! The Black Shield cannot take the Heavy Thunder Hammer as it does not count as a Veteran when choosing weapons. This has been confirmed by the official FAQ
    • You can take up to 4 heavy weapons. You can take dedicated transports (helloooo drop pods). You can take the shockingly powerful Frag-Cannon which fires at ASSAULT 2 (holy shit you can move and fire normally AND assault). One of the Frag-Cannon's profiles is 12", S9, AP2, Assault 2. This monster of a weapon clocks in at the same price of a lascannon. That is to say, you can have a squad of 5 of these veterans packing 4 Frag-Cannons in a drop pod. Use Drop Pod Assault and Inertial Guidance to land where you want, when you want. Disembark and put 8 lascannon shots into your target. Clever positioning of your drop pod and cover means your squad could even survive a full turn while the opponent now needs to maneuver to respond to the shitstorm developing in their lines.
    • And you can give these in-your-face pseudo-Devastators Storm Shields too. 3++ Assault heavy weapons. Doing 1D3 (template weapons with multiple shots still do only 1d3 hits in Overwatch) S6 Rending Overwatch hits. From each gun. Also remember that Mission Tactics plus some Kill-teams and proper targeting allow you to have what amounts to close-range ~BS5 Tank/Monster Hunters Assault Lascannons. Truly Deathwatch has some godlike firepower at their disposal.
    • See that Close Combat Weapon listed in their wargear? Seems useless without a pistol or a second CCW, doesn't it? Well, you can exchange it for a second boltgun, then replace it with a Special Weapon (but, by FAQ, shotgun and bolter are specifically forbidden as a combo). Or, take your boltgun and exchange it for a second Melee weapon. This works in the same way SM Biker upgrades work — they can exchange their bolt pistol for a chainsword, then replace it with a Special Weapon (otherwise they would be unable to take any specials). So you can have any combo you wish. Screw combi-weapons, just take a heavy flamer (!) or a meltagun for the same cost.
    • Be aware, when building a squad of Deathwatch Space Marine from the Kit, there are only one-handed Bolters. What that means is when you want to build your Vets with only Bolters you need to have some left arm-bits laying around. Or you can give every Veteran a Powersword for the left arm, but that would be crazy, right? RIGHT!?
  • Squad Donatus (Overkill): All members have veteran stats, power armour, frag and krak grenades, special issue ammunition, and ATSKNF. They cover all their bases decently enough, but they suffer at any focused task between only a combi melta and frag cannon for heavy weapons and only a power sword and plasma pistol to fight anything MEQ and up in melee.
    • Vael Donatus (Ultramarine): Squad leader purely because GW is still waving their massive blue boner for Ultramarines and is only equipped with a boltgun and has Precision Shots
    • Drenn Redblade (Space Wolf): Rookie of the team, holding the rank of Blood Claw, but still has the statline of a veteran. Bolter, TWO close combat weapons, and counter-attack (3 attacks minimum, +1 whenever he's charging or being charged).
    • Rodricus Grytt (Imperial Fist): Devastator sergeant, has the Frag Cannon troopers everywhere now enjoy.
    • Ennox Sorrlock (Iron Hand): Moderately unremarkable, but at least his model has bionics the Hands are famed for, which come with FNP 6+ and a simple combi-melta.
    • Zameon Gydrael (Dark Angel)

Company Champion, but doesn't lead the team due to the aforementioned Ultraboner. Comes with stubborn (which means he loses out on the BS2 Snap-Firing his chapter normally gets), a plasma pistol, and power sword.

  • Squad Crull (Death Masque): No, not that one. This guy is a vet with Hatred, a xenophase blade, and a combi-melta. His team is composed of two swords and bolters, one stalker bolter, and one Infernus HB with Hellfire shells. Though not packing pistols harms their melee game a bit, everyone having ammo means they're an ideal force for eliminating enemies at range.

Elite[edit]

  • Terminators: Same price as old Terminators at 40 points each. Very expensive, but they all start with Fearless. Every one can swap their Power Fist for a Power Weapon free, or take a Power Fist with an in-built Melta-gun for 10 points. Fuck that vehicle. If that is not your style, you can also equip EACH model with your choice of a cyclone missile launcher, an assault cannon, or a heavy flamer. So you can create Relentless Devastator Terminators the likes of which haven't been seen since the Horus Heresy. This gets expensive fast, but having up to five assault cannons in each squad puts out an immense amount of dakka, and five heavy flamers in one squad is the bane of all horde/assault based armies. Or you can also do your best Deathwing impression replace the model's weapons with mix-and-match Lightning Claws or Thunder Hammers and Storm Shields. Just be aware you are going to face a couple unusual limitations. You start with one model (and just one) in the unit and can only get a maximum of five models in the unit. Also, they can't take a sergeant, which isn't an issue given each one can be kitted out to deal with literally anything. An expensive squad consists of 5 Terminators with Cyclones and TH/SS coming to 75 points each to deal with pretty much anything your opponent can bring, and you generally don't want to build a squad like this because they'll be split between wanting to make their points back in melee and wanting to make their points back at range. If you have them focus on their missile launchers it'll be really hard for them to use their melee weapons and if you have them focus on their melee weapons (usually by running them inside a transport before assaulting) then they'll almost never use their missile launchers. Single model spam is also an effective use of Terminators, they can deep strike, contest objectives, and are a big enough threat that the enemy must dedicate at least some firepower to kill, otherwise they'll have a Powerfist rampaging through their backfield.
    • One of the more versatile load outs is buying a full Termi squad Melta Powerfists and Cyclones. Allowing them to keep their Storm Bolters. This makes them a huge threat to infantry blobs, vehicles and MCs while being able to throw out some decent Overwatch or Assaults in return. Just make sure you bought Teleport Hormers to get them in range of what ever you want removed from the table. As Deathwatch Terminators can't take Dedicated Transports at all.
    • Garran Branatar (Overkill): One of the few models in this formation to have something akin to his Chapter Tactics, with a 4+ FNP against flamer weapons, and his FLAMER ONLY re-rolls to-wound and armour penetration rolls. Not sure why you'd use his heavy flamer for armour when he has a melta gun, but whatever (well because that's a pretty venom you have there *Burns xenos*). His fist and mounted meltagun are also Master-crafted and he gets Split Fire (which is only applicable in the Kill-Team Cassius formation, since he doesn't have independent character and thus cannot join any squad), making him not only almost twice the price of a basic Termie, but also very worth it. Might see some use as a kamikaze unit in regular games, if you've got the points leftover.
  • Dreadnought: It's a Dreadnought, it gets your Mission Tactics like your other Deathwatch veterans. However it doesn't have access to Heavy Bolters or Autocannons. Not a huge issue since those don't come in the plastic kits, but be aware of that when building your own.
  • Venerable Dreadnought: It's a slightly pricier Dread. It does Dread things while also being slightly tougher but with the same options.
    • Venerable Dreadnought Nihilus: A Blackshield Dread with a Plasma Cannon. Though he lacks the melee guts of the un-dreaded Blackshields, he does come with a 6+ Invuln that ups to 5+ when hit by Witchfire. At the very least, he's capable of handling himself if he's alone.
  • Vanguard Veterans: Same as Vanilla, but at 25 points per model, they get Special Ammo for their bolt pistols. Just like terminators, you start with one model and can only get a maximum of five in the unit. Second, no sergeants, which means no relics or special wargear. the last part is less of an issue since you can pretty much kit the unit out for whatever you need dead, but the former means that any casualties you take are going to hurt. Like Terminators, single-model units aren't a bad option here, they can get a cheap power weapon and/or meltabombs and be just enough of a threat that the enemy has to do something.
    • Edryc Setorax (Overkill): Twin lightning claws, jump pack, deep strike, and stealth. Also has Shrouded for the first game turn, and can use his jump pack for both movement AND assault, and re-rolls failed HoW attacks. Much better than the next guy on this list...
    • Antor Delassio (Overkill): Hand flamer, chainsword, deep strike, and furious charge. Pretty unremarkable in every way, though that flamer can help soften mobs before the charge.
    • Squad Galatael (Death Masque): A vanguard vet with Precision Strikes, a plasma pistol, and a sword. His team has two heavy hammers, one sword and SS, and one maul and SS. Shove the shields up front to weather the blows, keep the hammermen alive to kill shit with hilarious overkill.

Fast Attack[edit]

  • Bikers: They have the Skilled Rider and Split Fire USR, get Special Ammunition default on their Twin-linked Boltguns, and can get Power Weapons for 5 points, cheap as chips! However, like Terminators, they start out with 1 guy at 30 points and can only be upgraded to 5 bikers total. Still, each and every one gets a Power Weapon for 5 points! Just like Vanguard Veterans and Terminators, single model units of bikers can be a huge annoyance for the enemy, taking a bit of firepower to kill and raging up the field with a Deathwatch teleport homer.
    • Jetek Suberei: Power sword, special issue ammunition, split fire, hit and run, skilled rider, and +1S to HoW hits. Not too bad, but remember he can't be taken as part of a squad, like the the Vanguard guys and the Termie. If he's used on his own, use him to pester big units and then run away, looking for a good place to bring in Terminators with his Teleport Homer.
  • Rhino: The classic metal box returns to the Deathwatch. Reliable and cheap as ever, the Rhino is great for getting your squads into combat quickly. In addition to using Rhinos as cover and blocking, you can take advantage of the number of Assault 'heavy' weapons Deathwatch have like frag-cannons and Infernus bolters. Have small squads with these weapons riding in your Rhino and fire from its hatches while protecting them from all the AP3 being thrown around. You can force your opponent into slagging the 35 point Rhino (and potentially just giving you cover) or deal with your harassment for the rest of the game. The Rhino and Razorback are also worthy ground transports when you can't afford more Corvus Blackstars and can't rely on the fickleness of large numbers of drop pod reserve rolls. The Rhino is still cheap and still gets you exactly where you need to go.
  • Razorback: What's known in military terms as an Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV), the Razorback is basically a Rhino that trades 4 of its transport capacity for a turret gun. It is one of the best choices for a SM army themed on firepower. The Razorback was almost made for Deathwatch. As Deathwatch, you can expect to take lots of small, focused squads of around 5 men. The Razorback is an ideal carrier for those men with its smaller transport capacity. In addition to the firepower it packs, you can make use of the Assault 'heavy' weapons Deathwatch brings like frag-cannons and Infernus bolters to ride into battle, disembark and shoot the enemy to hell while the Razorback gives fire support. Perfect for situations where you don't need all the transport space Rhinos have but still want to have useful transport. More importantly, it's your most cost-effective form of long-range firepower since Deathwatch doesn't get Predators.
  • Drop Pod:Also great, mainly because of its ability to deep strike into the most useful position. Inertial Guidance lets it avoid scattering onto impassible terrain and models, which prevents Deep Strike mishaps that don't involve the table edge. Excellent tool to hunt tanks with squads of melta, or drop down a Dreadnought where they least expect it. These transports suffer from the "Half on turn 1, half regular reserve" rule common to deep-striking forces nowadays (bring an odd number of them if you bring more than one, because the "half on turn one" is rounded up). However, even a single Drop Pod is a major psychological tool. A Deep-striking Veteran squad or Dreadnought is almost guaranteed to change how your opponent deploys, so consider this carefully.
    • Thanks to 7th, Drop Pods are now scoring. And if they delivered an ObSec troop squad to the battlefield, they're also denial units.
    • Also note that the Drop Pod is one of two units able to take a Locator Beacon, good for Deep Striking reinforcements for whatever the Drop Pod was carrying. Pair with your new and awesomer, customisable Terminator squads.
    • The time honoured tradition of having Sternguard Veteran suicide squads in drop pods can still be done as Deathwatch and since you're taking them as troops, you can have even more dropping fun. However, don't just treat veterans as one-hit suicide squads from drop pods. Clever deployment and use of cover and the drop pod model itself can leave you deploying in positions where you can cause damage but your opponent can't lay down their entire army on your next turn. Your veterans get expensive, so try and get the most out of them before they die.
  • Corvus Blackstar: UH-60 Blackhawk in SPACE.The air transport Space Marine players have been waiting for since the beginning of time. The Corvus Blackstar is a 180 point Assault Transport with 12 transport slots and can carry Jump Pack Infantry and Bikers. Has Armoured Ceramite, a Blackstar Cluster Launcher (granting Large Blast Ignore Cover Bombs), a Twin-linked Assault Cannon and 4 Stormstrike missiles. For 5 points, you can take Wargear to re-roll Jink saves. 10 points gets you Strafing Run. You can replace the assault cannon with a twin-linked lascannon for free and replace the missiles with a Blackstar RocketLauncher for large blast , Ignores Cover bombs (which is a mix of large blast and strength 6 skyfire missiles. GW nomenclature at its finest). The Blackstar helps plug several holes in a Deathwatch Army, giving it ranged AT with some staying power which it normally lacks.
    • Loadout: You want the Auspex Array. Strafing Run cuts your miss rate in half versus the majority of targets in the game. The main question then becomes whether you want to keep the Stormstrikes or take the Blackstar Launcher. Given 99% of players outright ignored Skies of Death, the Skyfire bonus for the Launcher is mostly pointless, and Deathwatch do not lack for anti-infantry. Keep the Stormstrikes, and focus on a trouble target.

Heavy Support[edit]

Deathwatch get the same three Land Raider variants that all Loyalist Marine variants get: The Phobos, Crusader, and Redeemer. That's it. They're expensive, not durable enough for their points in a game where Grav can neutralize them, or Haywire can kill them. To top it off, Deathwatch get the Black Spear Strike Force and Blackstars for getting into position even faster. In general, it's best to ignore this slot. To add insult to injury, Deathwatch have no Techmarines or even any formations that might patch over their known deficiencies.

Formations[edit]

  • Kill Team Cassius (Overkill): Every member of the Overkill set forms a single unit that cannot be broken up, even by Cassius or Natorian who have IC, and gimps the mobility of the jump packs and bike as a result. The positive is that you get to re-roll to-wound and armour penetration rolls of 1, and having everyone in one unit does somewhat offset their individual weaknesses. Now with delicious mission tactics since the latest FAQ
    • Another slightly overlooked detail thus far is that the entire unit gains the special rules from individual characters. This list is; counter-attack, fearless, hit & run, shrouded (first turn only), stealth, stubborn (slightly redundant because of fearless), and zealot. However losing the character that brought the rules to the table loses it for the whole squad, meaning if the White Scar dies, you lose your ability to hit & run.
    • If you've taken this unit and feel like you're about to be charged, keep Branatar (Salamander terminator), Delassio (Blood Angel Sergeant), and Grytt (Imperial Fist Sergeant) near the front, since they all have template weapons to fire in overwatch. And don't forget that as long as the Space Wolf is still alive, the entire squad gains counter-attack.
  • Watch Team Artemis (Death Masque): While everyone in the Death Masque set CAN smash into a mega-unit, such is not totally necessary. Even outside of it, everyone gets FnP 6+ from being near the captain, Hatred from being near the Sternguard sarge, and Precision Strikes from being near the Vanguard sarge. Add to this a re-roll of 1 on any to-wound or pen rolls, and you get a force that's remarkably better-assembled than Cassius' team, as there's not as many outliers in mobility as well as the option to avoid being slammed together,.
  • Watchblade Taskforce (Battleforce): 1 Watchmaster, 3 units of Veterans, 1 Deathwatch Terminator Squad, 1 DW biker squad, and 1 Razorback. As long as the Watch Master is alive and on the battlefield, all units have the Hit and Run USR, and if 2 or more units from this formation are locked in with the same enemy unit, they auto-pass the initiative test to H&R.
  • Indomitus Kill Team (Start Collecting! Deathwatch): 1 Watch Captain (but not Artemis, despite him being in the box, 1 full Kill Team and 1 Venerable Dreadnought. Watch Captain joins the Kill Team, you know the rest. You get to re-roll any failed To-Wound rolls and armour penetration rolls for models from this Formation that are either controlling an Objective Marker or targeting an enemy unit that is controlling an Objective Marker. So, it's easy objective removal, too bad you can't secure it for yourself

Black Spear Strike Force[edit]

Another variant of the Gladius, this one is, like the Deathwatch itself, focused in small numbers and pairing together things of unlikely composure. Alongside the mandatory WT re-roll, they gain one extra Mission Tactic use and grants all not-vehicle units Deep Strike, so you can have surprise bikes up everyone's ass. Also because you can stick multiple Librarians into pretty much every kill Team you can have a lot more psychic kick then might be expected.

One downside of the BSSF is that because of the ubiquitous need for regular veterans in all your kill teams, you cannot have whole units of bikes or Jump packs. So while you can Deep Strike everything, you won't have any fast moving squads until those five guys (minimum) bite the dust. It is really designed around Deep Striking proper Kill-teams near their assigned targets to murder the hell out of them and using Blackstars as your primary mobility and fire support (in case your prey is too dangerous to Deep Strike near, is surrounded by bodies, needs softening up before committing, or attempts to flee), since you can have as many of these as you want, but it is not a "seize ground fast" army, with most Kill-teams moving on foot, nor it is a "form a battleline and hold the objectives" one, lacking any ObSec whatsoever or any durability beyond standard MEQ/TEQ stats. Arguably, you positively need another, more conventional force to do these tasks (cracking transports from afar, sweeping areas of any remaining enemies, holding backfield, capturing and holding objectives) for the Black Spear, just like in fluff. Thankfully, it is an Imperial faction and allying someone in is very easy.

Command Formation (1-3)[edit]

  • Commander Guardian: An HQ choice or Dread. You probably want the Dreadnought, to avoid an HQ tax.

Core Formations (1+)[edit]

  • Kill-Team: A squad of Veterans. The only option that lets you use combat squads, but otherwise unremarkable.
  • Aquila Kill-Team: One Veteran Squad, with the option for Librarians, Terminators, Vanguard Veterans, or Bikes, so long as the whole team doesn't exceed 10 models. They all combine to become a bigger squad with the ability to re-roll to-wound and penetration rolls of 1. This is deceptively good due to the way the various unit options interact. By joining a Vanguard veteran to a unit, the entire team gains the ability to reroll charge distances and ignore disorganized charges. Taking a terminator gives you access to fearless and a host of additional weapons on a relentless model. Taking bikes grants split fire and skilled rider to the entire unit.
    • As written the codex gives you very little reason to use anything but Aquila kill teams the majority of the time, the following other kill team variants are best used only when kitting for very specific threat types, such as high-AV targets or high-toughness monstrous creatures. Remember when doing so that in many armies the highest AV targets are usually dedicated transports or LoW choices, and high-toughness targets can be anything from HQ to Elites to HS, making the trade off of generalist for specialist very dubious.
    • Alternate take: Aquila Kill-Teams only allow you to re-roll 1s for wounding/penetration. The other specialized kill-teams allow you to re-roll all failed wounds/pens. Furor and Purgatus kill-teams are good since there's almost always Troops and HQ units (With HQ units that are ICs, you gain your re-rolls on the HQ's joined unit!).
    • That said, remember that Dedicated Transports take on the battlefield role of their squad, so Furor kill-teams will re-roll pens against any Troop transports AND re-roll wounds against Troops, which is really good! You are virtually guaranteed to have Troops choices in any opposing army, so taking Furor and Aquila teams in a Watch Company will almost ensure you will be able to use your bonuses.
  • Furor Kill-Team: One unit of Veterans (with at least one of either a frag cannon or Infernus HB), one unit of Terminators, and any number of Librarians, Vanguard Veterans, or bikes up to a maximum of 10 models. This becomes a big unit with a re-roll to-wound or pen against troops.
  • Venator Kill-Team: One unit of Veterans, one unit of Bikes, any number of Librarians, Vanguard Veterans, or Terminators, so long as you have at least two bikers up to a maximum of 10 models in the entire team. They all become a big unit and can re-roll to-wound or pens against fast attack enemies.
  • Malleus Kill-Team: One unit of Veterans, one unit of Terminators, and any number of Librarians, Vanguard Veterans, or Bikes up to a maximum of 10 models with at least two of them using thunder hammers (heavy or not). They become a big unit and can re-roll to-wound or pen against heavy support.
  • Dominatus Kill-Team: One unit of Veterans, one unit of Vanguard Veterans (with a minimum of 2), any number of Librarians, Terminators, or Bikes up to a maximum of 10 models. They become a big unit and can re-roll to-wound or pen against Elites.
  • Purgatus Kill-Team: One unit of Veterans, one unit of Terminators, a Librarian, and any number of Bikes or Vanguard Veterans up to a maximum of 10 models and a vet grabs a stalker bolter. They become a big unit and can re-roll to-wound/pen against HQ.
  • Strategium Command-Team: One Watch Captain/Chaplain/Librarian, accompanied by one unit of Veterans/Kill-Team formation above:
    • If commanded by a Watch Captain, all models gain FNP (6+), which helps survivability.
    • If commanded by a Chaplain, all models gain Furious Charge for melee shenanigans. Combo it with Vanguards Veterans to get maximum benefit on your charges.
    • If commanded by a Librarian, all models gain Stubborn and Adamantium Will so they can hold the line no matter what.
      • Remember that Adamantium Will combos with Psychic Hood to provide additional Deny the Witch protection for every unit within 12", and the re-roll of ones to wound in an Aquila team, combined with a force axe, heightens the chance of landing Instant Death. If you don't want to take a separate Librarius Conclave from C:SM, this is your alternative. Ally in inquisitorial psykers for additional Warp Charges, they are really cheap.
      • Unless the Kill Team is part of a Watch Company, if you were planning to add a Librarian to it then you may as well do this and get the additional benefit
  • Watch Company: One Watch Captain, accompanied by four units of Veterans/Kill-Team formations. Everyone gets to re-roll to-wound against units including Warlords, Psykers, and Independent Characters.

Auxiliary Formations (1+)[edit]

  • Ancient: A Dreadnought of any sort.
  • Armour: Pick a Land Raider. Any Land Raider.
  • Dropship: It's a Corvus Blackstar.
  • Dropship Wing: Three Blackstars put together. Along with any Death from the Skies formation they take, they can re-roll to-wound/armour penetration against Flying Monstrous Creatures and Flyers.

Allies[edit]

Battle Brothers[edit]

  • Space Marines: Throw these guys in to get more bodies with scouts and some other fun tools like grav-weapons and the FW stuff (Until such a time that FW allows you to hijack it for your own)
  • Who forgot that FW already answered this query? The Deathwatch have access to Thunderhawk Gunships, Caestus Assault Rams, Xiphon-Pattern Interceptors, Leviathan Dreadnoughts, Achilles-Pattern Land Raiders, and any Contemptor Dreadnought variant.
    • Iron Hands: A bare-bones Fist of Medusa provides a combination of durable long-ranged armored fire support, sorely lacking in your army with no access to foot Lascannons and AV13 tanks, and cheap-ish, hard as nails ObSec troops to take points and carry meltaguns. Their IWND, potentially ObSec Drop-pods with locator beacons and Deathwind launchers can be especially useful for your outnumbered and all-Deep Striking detachment. Also, they have access to both the cheesy Skyhammer Annihilation Force and the Librarius Conclave, though at this point you likely serve as their allies, not vice versa. And no Troop taxes for your IWND vehicles.
    • White Scars: A Hunting Force and a Speartip Strike in a Scarblade potentially combine very well with your deep-striking footslog Veterans, they blow up enemy super-heavies, deathstars and tanks with grav and multi-meltas, and pin down or tie up their fire support, while you de-transport and clean up enemy troops with superior guns, missiles and special ammo. They can also Infiltrate scout bikes with locator beacons in convenient locations.
  • Blood Angels: Amusingly enough, the Blood Angel Psychic Discipline's Primaris has a fair bit of potential to buff any of the Kill Team Cassius models, due to them all being characters. Jerek Suberei goes from amusing to bring a budget Eversor.
  • Dark Angels: Ravenwing Knights in a Ravenwing Strike Force can bring an unholy amount of cheap-ish mobile plasma fire on Scout, Hit and Run, Skilled Rider, re-rolls Jink, potentially Stealth platforms, and are no slouches in melee either. Take their Attack Bikes to carry multi-meltas for you, and your Veterans will be free to bring their own infantry-destroying toys. Sadly, their Teleport Homers only work on your full Terminator squads, limiting their potential. The Ravenwing & Deathwing Terminators have a small selection of exclusive equipment that Deathwatch can't take.(Just like the Fluff!) Rift Cannons, Plasma Talons, Corvus hammers, Maces of Absolution plus Flail of the Unforgiven , Plasma Cannons and Plasma Storm Batteries are great for wrecking enemy MEQs. While a Deathwing Command Squad with an Apothecary and Land Raider DT will be very difficult to remove from an objective. TLDR: Dark Angels allies make spamming either Bikes, Terminators or both a viable strategy.
  • Grey Knights: Unless you care about Psychic terminators, then no need to apply. You have much better ranged firepower from Frag Cannons, and I dare say much better melee weapons (Xenophase blades and Great Thunderhammers beat out Daemonhammers for being S10 naturally and can Instant Death without Force). Skip. The Deathwatch are better against every army except Daemons (and that part is debatable, since Deathwatch has Xenophase weaponry).
  • Space Wolves: Cavalry. Alternately, the Spear of Russ to add tank support if you choose.
  • Imperial Guard: They have the bodies and excellent long range firepower. What else is there to say?
    • A Cadian Battlegroup with the Emperor's Fist, Emperor's Blade, Emperor's Wrath formations and an Infantry Platoon can give you armored support, ObSec troops with special weapons, ample Blast and Skyfire artillery and multiple auto- or lascannon teams under orders respectively, leaving your Kill-Teams completely free to destroy enemy units. Also, their vehicles can take Augur Arrays for 25 pts to help you land Deep Strikes.
    • For the lulz, put your Deathwatch kill teams on the back of a Stormlord and trollface your opponent as he has to come within megabolter range to use meltas.
    • The Guard gives Deathwatch something it sorely lacks, cheap expendable wounds and tarpits. A single Allied Detachment can bring over a hundred warm bodies onto the table for around 500 points with three attached ML 2 psykers at 75 points a pop. That is about cost of ten terminators with heavy weapons and a tin can to transport them in.
  • Imperial Knights: Stick a Knight Crusader with a battle cannon and gatling cannon in the back for some much needed long range BRRRRRRRRRRRTTT to support your special space marine snowflakes. Anything gets close, stomp it out of existence. The knight should be enough of a distraction to let your marines pretend they are callsign Bravo Two Zero and get inside your opponents OODA loop and do their business.
  • Militarum Tempestus: Your little brothers. Cheaper to MSU, as they cost 70 pts a squad to your 110 pts, easier to Deep Strike because of Move through Cover, can ObSec when taken in a CAD (and they don't have a Decurion so they don't lose anything this way), can bring 2 specials with 5 men, and have AP3 basic guns with good Orders. On the other hand, they are less durable and worthless in melee. They can have value, but you have to plan ahead how you are going to use them.
  • Sisters of Battle: Honestly what the bolter babes can offer the Deathwatch is limited compared to other Battle Brother factions. Celestine makes a decent IC for your jump pack vanguard veterans, they make for cheap(er) suicide melta squads with multimelta transports and Exorcists are always fun for some long ranged shooting.
  • Inquisition: Why haven't you taken it yet? Seriously, you get 3 Elites Choices (Read: 3 units of Inquisitorial Henchmen) and each of them can take a transport like a Rhino, or a Chimera or a Land Raider or a Valkyrie. That makes it worth it right up front, so this should be your first choice right here. Servo-skulls and Mystics will serve you very well for deep strike since every single unit in a Black Spear Strike Force has deep strike, but there is stunning overlap between Inquisition henchmen and how versatile your Veterans are.
    • Take an inquisitor and 3 units of henchmen, each with a psyker and two acolytes. For under 80 points, you get a few units that can hold back field objectives while you let your Kill teams take the fight to the enemy and shoot things to shit, and 3 denial dice, which will help you hopefully stop a crucial power or two from going off when you don't want it too.
  • Officio Assassinorum: A natural fit, both in fluff and in crunch, though there is some overlap. A Vindicare sniper is absolutely perfect for this army, allowing you to remove select MEQ-killing models from the table (such as plasmagunners), thus preserving the lives of your relatively squishy and expensive Veterans, and provides a modicum of heavy ranged anti-tank in the form of S10 AP2 Turbo-penetrators. He can also man a Skyfire emplacement, ignoring Jink when he does so. A Culexus is an excellent anti-psyker defence in case you didn't take Librarians, is a straight counter to psyker deathstar bullshit, and is a good DISTRACTION CARNIFEX in his own right. Callidus and Eversor are debatable, some of your Kill-teams are already tailored for the same purposes they serve (Dominatus, Purgatus and Furor), but they arguably do it better for cheaper and can augment your own efforts, and the Eversor is arguably the best DISTRACTION CARNIFEX in the whole game. A Black Spear Strike Force with an Officio Assassinorum Execution Force is a scary army to face indeed.
  • Cult Mechanicus: All the Grav and Haywire you will ever require, some electro-priests with amazing dice output, and big MEQ-slaying robots. Generally not the best choice of ally for the Deathwatch, unless you also take a Knight and want to keep it in perfect condition, since they don't really do anything you can't.
  • Skitarii: Can give you some good medium infantry to hold points or debuff enemies, decent outflankers, and excellent anti-air. A combination of Vanguard and Infiltrators can help your melee units to decimate powerful multi-wound enemies with near impunity, and you can give them transports, anti-horde and meltaguns, which they sorely need.
  • Adeptus Astra Telepathica: Take an Astropath and upgrade it to ML2, then successfully cast a psychic power to reroll your reserves. Make like an Elysian and drop veterans from the sky while adding warpcharges to the pool.

Allies of Convenience[edit]

  • Eldar: Your job is to kill them, not be buddy-buddy. That said, Fire Prisms or Falcons can remedy your lack of long range shooting, and missile Vypers give you cheap, mobile, expendable utility heavy weapons, including AA.

Desperate Allies[edit]

  • Dark Eldar: You're basically opposite sides of the same fragile coin. Dark Eldar are simply faster and more fragile than you.
  • Tau: Does everything you do, but with better reach and more utility powers.

Come the Apocalypse[edit]

  • Orks: Chaff. Useless, fragile chaff. You might be able to use their planes or specialist Formations, but as with all DA/CtA allies, if you start too close to each other, you're doing it wrong.
  • Necrons: All the anti-tank you could ever want, but not much other than that. Could use a large warrior block or two as a tarpit or distraction, or the ever useful croissants.
  • Chaos Space Marines: Honestly, you're not getting shit here. You already have heretical tools (Xeno-heresy, Chaos-heresy, who cares?) and everything they do can be done better by grabbing basic mehrens.
  • Chaos Daemons: Why? They aren't nearly as versatile, only a bare handful of units can avoid One Eye Open, and almost all of them die quickly. Still, there are some diamonds in the rough (Infernal Tetrad, Tallyband, Warpflame Host/Burning Skyhost), but this is more useful for null-deploying one half of the list or the other than providing much that the Deathwatch lacks, i.e: cheap bodies and long-range firepower, with either half camping homeground Objectives while the other beats face.
  • Tyranids: Tyrannofex provides some good long range firepower, but without an accompanying synapse creature is liable to hurt itself. Gaunts provide cheap bodies, but again need a high-point synapse creature like a Warrior unit, and once the synapse is dead, the gaunts will almost certainly kill themselves or the Deathwatch if they have IB: Feed. Since this mug was let loose on them, one of the worst armies in the game. Unless you're playing using an older edition, stay clear (especially as older editions don't have rules for Deathwatch.)


Warhammer 40,000 Tactics Articles
General Tactics
Imperium
Chaos
Eldar
Necrons
Orks
Tau
Tyranids