Thursday 25 August 2016

Codex Deathwatch Review: Part 3- Fast Attack

Welcome to part 3 of my review of the Deathwatch Codex. This section of the review will cover the Fast Attack portions of the army. 

Unusually, a Deathwatch Biker unit consists of only a single model, with the option of taking a squad of up to 5 models. The Bikers have a Veteran's profile and come armed with Special Issue Ammunition for their bike. The unit also gains Split Fire and Skilled Rider. This is great for ensuring that the bikers don't kill themselves with difficult terrain and gives them a bonus to their Jink save. In addition, any model can take a power weapon (only 5 pts), meltabombs or a teleport homer. 

I like the Deathwatch bikers. Special issue ammunition on a twin-linked bolter is actually pretty useful. It should help prevent you killing yourself with the AP3 gets hot shells. I also like that you can give each biker a power weapon for cheap, making it a potent combat unit if you wish. I just wish I could attach a Deathwatch Chaplain to the unit to maximise their combat potential. 

The unit also gets Split Fire. This is slightly less useful as the unit has no access to special weapons. However, it could be useful if you target a second unit with your bolter fire and fire one bolter at the unit you wish to assault, and may have more use in some of the Kill Team formations available.

Even though you can field only one or two models, I would probably stick to squads of 3 as a minimum, as they can die easily with concentrated fire. The single model is nice though if you have some points to spare and need something else in the army. The single model could dart from objective to objective in a maelstrom game, forcing your opponent to waste a unit's shooting at one model to take him out. If you wanted to be really nasty, you could go unbound and take 10+ individual bikers in your army. 

Corvus Blackstar
The new Deathwatch flyer (or Aliens dropship as many are calling it) is a pretty impressive vehicle, but pretty pricey to boot.
The flyer comes with front and side armour 12, with rear armour 11 and 3 hull points. Already, that is a pretty durable chasis, almost as tough as the Stormraven. It comes armed as standard with a twin-linked Assault Cannon, Blackstar Cluster Launcher, four Stormstrike Missiles and ceramite plating. That is an impressive amount of firepower for the flyer. You have the option to replace the assault cannons with a lascannon and the the stormstrike missiles with a twin-linked Blackstar rocket launcher.

It has a number of upgrades available such as extra armour and hurricane bolters. It can also take an Infernum Halo-launcher (for re-rollable jink saves) or an Auspex array (to give it Strafing Run).

In addition, it has a transport capacity of 12 models and can even carry Bikes or Jump Infantry! To top it all off, it is an assault vehicle too!

I really like the flyer, not only the model, but the rules as well. It is pretty pricey, coming in just shy of 200 pts, though the addition of a few upgrades will take it up to that level quite easily. I would most likely go for Extra Armour and the Halo-launcher, especially if I am using it as an assault vehicle. Giving the flyer Strafing Run is great for boosting its firepower, but I'd rather go for the re-rollable Jink for its transport capacity.

It has a decent amount of firepower, especially if you take the Blackstar Rocket Launcher. I can see it being very useful in a Deathwatch army and will help counteract some of the mobility issues that certain units may have. Plus, the image of bikers ramping out of the flyer straight into the enemy is a great one during a game.

The fast attack slots also include the Rhino, Razorback and Drop Pod. These are identical to their Codex Space Marine counterparts, so will not be reviewed here.

The Deathwatch Bikers and Corvus Blackstar are great choices for the army and I can see them being very popular with Deathwatch players.

I will not be reviewing the Elites and Heavy Support options for the codex. These contain units lifted directly out of Codex Space Marines, but do get Mission Tactics for the most part.

Deathwatch Codex Review


  1. I can also see running multiple solo Bikers with Teleport Homers to guide in Deep Strikers, especially in the BlackSpear. For the most part, tho, I think the option for singles is for the Kill Teams, which is also where Split Fire becomes a much more valuable Rule for them.

    I'm a fan of the BlackStar as well. Something about its loadout makes it feel a bit more usable as a Flyer than the StormRaven, and the mobility it provides is much more needed for DW than the Raven is for other Marines.

    The Terminators have enough differences in Squad Composition and options that they might be worth a review. The Vanguard don't need it on their own, they only get interesting when included in a Kill Team.

    1. I'll take another look at the Terminators to see if it is worth putting something together.
      I've been reading through the Kill Teams and I'm really not sold on them at the moment. Will have a good think about them for the review.

    2. The Aquila and Furor Kill Teams are the only ones I think are worthwhile outside of narrative play, but those two, I think, can have a significant role. I went into a bit more detail about them on my blog the other day.

    3. My formation reviews just went up today. Overall, I'm not too wild about them, just don't see the point in most of them.

  2. Corvus can only take one option between the Re-Roll Jink or the Strafing run unfortunately. Would be awesome to take both.

  3. I actually just did an article looking at the Corvus Blackstar:

    I appreciate your thoughts on it above, as always, and will be quite interested to see how you and other find it to be in actual gaming experience in the future.