Monday 14 May 2018

Deathwatch Codex Review: Part 3- HQ Units

Part 3 of my Deathwatch codex review will take a look at the HQ options that are available to the Deathwatch army.

HQ Units
The Deathwatch units are pretty much unchanged in choices, with the addition of some Primaris characters to the army. One of the big boosts in the HQ section is that more units can now take a Jump Pack. In the index, only the Watch Master had this option, leading to a serious lack of mobility for the characters outside of transport vehicles. Now, the Librarian and Chaplain have access to the Jump Pack, making it easier for them to support your units.

Watch Master
The Watch Master is pretty much unchanged from the Index version and still a pretty good option to lead the army.

He comes in at 130 pts, and has a Space Marine Chapter Master's stats, along with a 2+ armour save and 4+ invulnerable save, great for his durability. His Guardian Spear is a solid weapon. In shooting, it is a Bolter with S4, AP-1 and 2 damage per shot, plus it can use Special Issue Ammunition. This gives you the option of going up to AP-3, or AP-2 at longer range, or wounding on a 2+. In combat, he is S5, AP-3 and D3 damage per wound.

Hitting on a 2+ re-rollable in combat and shooting, he can be counted on to make the most of his 4 attacks. There are a number of Warlord traits, Relics and stratagems that can make him even better (see the reviews for details on these).

Best of all, he provides re-rolls to hit for all Deathwatch units within 6". This is great, improving the accuracy of your units. Given the smaller, elite nature of the army, you need to maximise your attacks and firepower. The re-rolls of the Chapter Master combined with Mission Tactics gives you a lot of re-rolls to get the most out of your nearby units.

He still lacks some mobility options, but he will usually be going in a Corvus Blackstar with a Kill Team to get up close with the enemy army.

I think the Watch Master is a solid option and will probably be taking one in every army list I use. He is the best choice for your warlord, giving you not only great re-roll bubbles and a solid character, but a discount on the stratagem for changing your Mission Tactics. 

Watch Captain Artemis
One of the best models in the Deathwatch range in my opinion, Artemis has seen some improvement in the codex.

His Hellfire Extremis combi-flamer is now back to wounding on a 2+ against non-vehicle units, which is a nice boost and return to his 7th edition weaponry. His Stasis Grenade is also brilliant. This is a one use only grenade that does D6 mortal wounds if he hits. If he misses, it does D6 mortal wounds to himself, but on a 2+ re-rollable to hit, you need to be pretty unlucky for it to damage him (just don't use it in overwatch!).

He has a Watch Master's stats, a 6+ feel no pain and a Power Sword. I would like a better melee weapon on him or a Relic.

The biggest issue with Artemis is his high points cost, coming in at 130 pts. A Watch Captain with Power Sword and Combi-flamer comes in at 90 pts. That's 40 pts for a 6+ feel no pain, the stasis grenade and a flamer that wounds on a 2+. That's a pretty hefty price tag, despite how useful the Stasis grenade can be.

I don't think he is quite worth the points cost in the codex. Every once in a while, his Stasis grenade may win you the game by finishing off a key enemy vehicle or slaying an enemy unit or warlord, but most of the time he is just a pretty expensive character.

Watch Captain
Another solid character for the Deathwatch. He has a Space Marine Captain's stats and provides re-rolls of 1's to hit for nearby Deathwatch units. He has access to the Xeonophase blade, a power sword that forces your opponent to re-roll successful invulnerable saves, which can be pretty potent against selected units (Necron Wraiths spring to mind). He can now take a Relic Blade, which gives him higher strength and damage attacks now too.

He can take a Jump Pack for added mobility. I can see the Watch Captain being used as an escort for a unit of Bikers, giving them a re-roll to hit bubble that will make their Bolters more powerful. He can also take Terminator Armour, which is quite useful now the Storm Bolter gets special issue ammunition.

The Primaris variant of the Watch Captain can now also be taken. This gives him an extra wound and attack, but at the downside that he lacks a lot of the transport or mobility options available to the Watch Captain.

I will probably run a Watch Captain in a number of my lists. He is a cheaper HQ option than the Watch Master for filling out HQ slots in a Battalion. He is also able to keep up with faster units such as the Bikers or Vanguard Veterans.

The Deathwatch Librarian is the same as a Space Marine Librarian, but with Special Issue Ammunition.

I'm not a huge fan of the Librarius Discipline that the Deathwatch Librarian has access to. It has some decent powers, but nothing too spectacular. Null Zone is useful, but is so short ranged that you will rarely get to use it. I might put one in a Corvus Blackstar to get close to the enemy to use Null Zone. Also, Might of Heroes might be useful on the Watch Master.

He now gets to take a Jump Pack or Terminator armour. The addition of the Jump Pack is nice, giving him the option to deep strike or keep up with Bikers or Vanguard Veterans. A Librarian with Veil of Time could be useful for making sure your Vanguard Veterans get to charge into combat.

Again, the Primaris Librarian can be taken in the codex. This gives you a Librarian with an extra wound and attack, better boosting his durability at the expense of some mobility.

I might try out the Librarian in a list from time to time. If anything, he can always try to block a smite attack against my units. I just think his psychic powers are not the best. They are either too short ranged, too difficult to cast or just not that impressive.

The biggest boost for the Deathwatch Chaplain is the added mobility of taking a Jump Pack. This allows him to support some Vanguard Veterans armed for combat, either moving up the board or deep striking and charging the enemy army.

The only downside of this is ensuring that the squad can get into combat with a good charge roll. Otherwise, they are stuck on the table to be shot at by the enemy army.

You can also take the Chaplain in Terminator Armour or the Primaris Captain.

I'd probably stick to the Jump Pack Chaplain, or put him in a Corvus with my Kill Team. I think I might run him in support with some Vanguard Veterans to go after the enemy army as a potent combat threat.

You don't really want many of your units in combat, so may not field a Chaplain all that often. In some ways, a Watch Master provides even better re-rolls and a stronger combat character.

The Deathwatch HQ units are pretty much unchanged from the Index version. However, they have more options for mobility now in the form of a Jump Pack, which is nice and helps make them more useful.

You can also take the Primaris versions, giving you units that are slightly tougher and hit harder in combat. However, for many of these units you want to get close to the enemy and they can lack that ability. Some salvation comes in the form of the Teleportarium Stratagem, allowing you to put the Primaris Characters in reserve and "deep strike" them onto the table in later turns. This gives them a nice mobility boost and allows them to get up close with the enemy army.

I think in my first games, I will want two battalions for the command points, so may try a version of all four characters and see how they perform.

Deathwatch Codex Review
Deathwatch Codex Video Review
Part 1- Special Rules, Relics and Warlord Traits
Part 2- Stratagems
Part 3- HQ Units
Part 4- Troops
Part 5- Fast Attack
Part 6- Elites
Part 7- Heavy Support
Part 8- Flyers and Dedicated Transports

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