Friday 4 May 2018

Codex Deathwatch Reveals- Initial Thoughts

This week, there were several posts from Warhammer Community about the upcoming Deathwatch Codex. This is one that I am really looking forward to, as Deathwatch were one of my favourite armies at the end of 7th edition. 

I've been following the reveals with some interest, and here are my thoughts on what has been shown so far.

Special Issue Ammunition
These rounds look to be pretty much unchanged from their current incarnation. I would like to have seen a change to Dragonfire Bolts. These give you +1 to hit against units in cover. For me, the trade off of +1 to hit vs +1 to your opponent's save is pretty much a wash on Deathwatch Veterans. 

The big news is that Primaris Marines will be able to now use Special Issue Ammunition on their weapons. This is a huge boost, making their weapons even more powerful. Intercessors will be great with the special issue ammunition, thanks to their boosted range and -1AP on their Bolt Rifles. This will make the Dragonfire Bolts useful, giving you +1 to hit units in cover and effectively negating their cover save thanks to the Bolt Rifle. The other rounds will also be very useful, the Vengeance rounds giving you -3AP at 24" range! 

Unless Deathwatch Veterans get a big points reduction, I can see them being replaced by Primaris Intercessors in most armies, due to the extra wounds and attacks. As it is now, the Deathwatch Veteran is more expensive than the Primaris Marine. 
The only benefit of the Deathwatch Veterans will be their access to a wider range of wargear and transport options. 

Another reveal was the Tempest Shell stratagem. This is essentially Hellfire Shells, allowing you to do D3 mortal wounds with a Bolter weapon. This is a great boost, allowing most basic troops in the Deathwatch to do mortal wounds on the fly. 

Mission Tactics
These look to be the "Chapter Tactics" of the army. You pick a specific battlefield role (HQ, Troops, etc) and get to re--roll 1's to wound against these units. 

A nice bonus to have pretty much army-wide with the Deathwatch. Especially good when combined with the special issue ammunition that wounds on a 2+. 

As before, there will be ways to change your Mission Tactics, either through the warlord's abilities or a stratagem. 

I think these are reasonably strong, giving you good general abilities against any army. However, a lot of the Chapter Tactics/army special rules are more powerful than these. The -1 to hit, or ability to fall back and still fire are big boosts to many armies. 

Primaris Kill Teams
You will apparently be able to form Primaris Marines into kill teams, much like the Deathwatch Veterans. 

This will give you some great options and special rules. For example, Aggressors will allow a unit to advance and still fire their weapons. An Inceptor will allow the unit to fall back and still fire, making their inclusion very potent. 

I can see me picking up a few more Primaris Marines to add to my Deathwatch force. 

This post yesterday got me really excited. Some of the stratagems available look awesome, and I like that they are tailored to each Xeonos race. 

The reanimation protocols ability can be very strong. It is so frustrating to almost wipe out a Necron unit, fail to do so, and see much of the unit come back in the following turn. This will seriously hamper the ability of a selected Necron unit to survive an attack. 

This one has the potential to be awesome and cripple an enemy charge. If the unit is assaulting something with Frag Cannons, odds are you will be able to completely shut down an enemy charge. If only this applied to all enemy units! 

Another fantastic stratagem for Dealing with Tyranids. This will allow you to target many of the synapse creatures that you cannot normally go after, such as the Broodlord or Malanthrope. Not only do you get to target them, but the wounding on 2+ shells will be a big boost for damaging them. 

This is an interesting form of intercept that can target units with fly. Could be very useful in certain circumstances. 

Another nice bonus for keeping your unit safer by removing markerlights from your unit. 

The Doctrines are a nice addition to the army as well. These give one unit +1 to wound against a selected unit type. This would work very well when combined with the Mission Tactics, giving you re-rolls of 1's to wound. My first thought was using this on a unit of Meltaguns. You would be wounding most vehicles on a 2+ with the stratagem and getting re-rolls of 1's to wound. This should make a mess of any enemy vehicles quite easily. 

Most of these stratagems are pretty expensive at 2 command points each, so I can see you burning through the command points very quickly. Luckily, the Deathwatch seem to be able to access the generic "regain command points" that most armies now have access to. 

I'm looking forward to the release of the codex next week. The reveals have made me more interested in seeing what the codex has to offer. 


  1. while I only have a squad and a blackstar’s worth of deathwatch I am really liking what I see from the way GW are bringing them in to the 8th edition. It looks like a very clever way of getting a very unique marine army.

    Unsurprisingly primaris will be taking a centre stage in this codex and if you want bodies on the ground they will be the default option with “normal” marines being used in a support capacity for specialist weapons (similar to other marine codex’s)

    A few units need a bit o a tweak and I think looking at the costs in the other marine codex’s I would expect them to be on par with that.

    I look forward to seeing how you update your army.

    Final note the Tempest shells only work against vehicles. Very useful in an army that as you have mentioned in your previous reports has a lack of anti tank options

    I can’t keep up with all your posts.

    Great report yesterday, I will try and comment on it later.

    I am also waiting to hear your feedback on your white scars army. I played a very similar list the other day and I it didn’t perform well at all. It seemed to lack any hard hitting units to deal with big stuff like a lord of change.

    1. Cheers Toonboy!
      Yes, you are right about the Tempest shells only being used on vehicles, I missed that.

      I can't keep up with my posts either! I need to get my White Scars tournament review written up. It was a decent list, but don't think it was as good as the first iteration. As you say, it didn't feel too powerful on the tabletop.

  2. I like the strategums, but the primaris are of little concern to me. I know why they are adding them, but I've painted a good amount of infantry that, as I finished it just as 8th dropped, I have barely used... I don't particularly want to jump on the primaris bandwagon and paint more models for my army. I want the models I've already painted to be able to function. I don't need top tier, I just want to feel like I can put up a fight... take the game to turn 3 maybe :P And I want to do that without NEEDING primaris. But I shall wait till I have my codex in hand and see how it all gels together. so far there are some promising signs, but it the big thing of the book is being able to do deathwatch btut with primaris instead, that isn't going to cut the mustard for me...

    1. Yeah, I'd hate to have to field mostly Primaris to be competitive with the Deathwatch.
      I think Kill Teams will still be useful thanks to the variety of weapons options available, and the transport options. I would like to see Bikers get a reasonable points reduction to make them worth fielding.

      I think the new Beta rules on reserves will help them a little, as the lack of cheap screening units was a big issue for my Deathwatch. Also, some form of Auspex scan would be very powerful thanks to the special issue ammunition.

  3. I've been looking forward to seeing your take on these previews. I'm really excited about the possibilities for my own DeathWatch.

    I'm planning on just using my pre-existing DW at first, but will probably add in a couple of Primaris Kill Teams eventually. Specifically, I'm thinking one with 5 Intercessors, 4 Hellblasters, and an Inceptor so they can get out of trouble without losing firepower if they get Charged. Maybe one with Stalker Bolt Rifles and an Aggressor, but that feels kind of expensive for what it gains. Probably one with an Aggressor and a bunch of Auto Bolt Rifles, and maybe a couple of Assault Plasma Incinerators and a Reiver, too.

    I'm also kind of assuming that they're going to get equivalents of most of the "generic" SM Stratagems, like Only in Death, Honour the Chapter, and Auspex Scan.

    It's really going to come down to the pricing, tho. As a worst case scenario, if the DW Primaris get bumped up in points for gaining Special Issue Ammo, they could end up in more or less the same spot as now.

    1. Yeah, my fear is the Primaris Marines simply get more expensive thanks to special issue ammunition. If that is the case, the Deathwatch will still struggle to get bodies on the table.

      I think the Aggressor will be useful in the Primaris Kill Team. The ability to advance and still fire to full effect will help the mobility of the Primaris Marines a fair bit.

    2. Over on War of Sigmar, Bob said the Veterans are two points cheaper, and the Intercessors are the same as vanilla SM:

      Sounds like a good start!

    3. By the looks of the reviews so far, Veterans are 17 pts and Intercessors are 19 pts each. Seems like they are really pushing Primaris for Deathwatch. Only 2 pts for an extra wound, longer range gun and -1 AP. Not really much competition.