Friday, 27 July 2018

Warhammer World GT- Deathwatch Army Review

With another tournament out of the way, it is now time to review my army and how it performed over the course of the weekend. 

As a reminder, my army consisted of:

Battalion Detachment (Deathwatch)
Watch Master- Guardian Spear
Watch Captain- Jump Pack, Thunder Hammer, Storm Shield
Kill Team 1: Watch Sergeant and 9 Veterans- 10 Storm Bolters, 2 Storm Shields, 8 Chainswords 
Kill Team 2: Intercessor Sergeant and 9 Intercessors- Bolt Rifles, Bolt Pistols, Auxiliary Grenade Launcher 
Kill Team 3: Watch Sergeant and 4 Veterans- 2 Frag Cannons, Storm Shield, 3 Shotguns, 2 Chainswords. 5 Vanguard Veterans- 4 Bolt Pistols, 3 Chainswords, Storm Shield, Pair of Lightning Claws
Rhino- 2 Storm Bolters
Kill Team 4: Watch Sergeant and 4 Veterans- 3 Combi-Meltas, 2 Bolters, Storm Shield, 4 Chainswords
Razorback- Twin Lascannons, Storm Bolter

Battalion Detachment (Astra Militarum, Cadian)
Company Commander- Plasma Pistol, Chainsword, Grand Strategist Warlord Trait, Kurov's Aquila
Company Commander- Laspistol, Chainsword 
Infantry Squad- Lascannon, Grenade Launcher 
Infantry Squad- Lascannon, Grenade Launcher
Infantry Squad- Lascannon 
30 Conscripts- Lasguns

Auxiliary Detachment (Assassins)
Culexus Assassin 

Let's take a look at the individual units and how they performed in my games. 

Watch Master
The main role of the Watch Master in this army was to accompany the Storm Bolter Kill Team and Intercessor Squad from deep strike reserves. With the Watch Master's full re-rolls to hit, he was there to maximise the firepower output of the two squads, ensuring that they could perform a valuable beta-strike on the enemy army. 

In this role, he was quite successful, allowing my squads to perform powerful attacks on my opponent's forces when they arrive.

His combat ability was a bit wasted, as he only got into combat in a couple of the games I played at the tournament. In combat, he did quite well, taking out a Necron Overlord and a Bullgryn. However, this was not his main role in the army, simply a nice bonus. 

In one game, I gave the Watch Master the Tome of Ectoclades. I probably should have done this in all of my games, as it was very useful when the main Deathwatch army was using different Mission Tactics to the units arriving from reserve. 

I would take the Watch Master in the army again. 

Watch Captain

The Watch Captain was armed with a Jump Pack, Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield. With this wargear, he was fast, mobile and had good combat offence and defence capabilities. 

He started most of the game deployed on the board. The reason for this was that I could not put him in reserve with my other units thanks to the new Beta-rule reserves restrictions. This was probably for the best, as he functioned better on the tabletop from the start, able to hide behind the Rhino or Razorback and move into position for assault in relative safety. 

His performance was a bit mixed in my games. In the first game, he was obliterated by a unit of Bullgryn before he could attack. In game 2, he was obliterated by an Imperial Knight in the shooting phase. In game 3, he spent most of his time chasing a Bike squad, trying to kill them. This was a bit atypical, as my opponent's Storm Shield saves were incredibly good, so he should have wiped out the squad sooner. 

In game 4, he performed well, taking out a number of Destroyers, as well as a Cryptek, and tanking a lot of shots from the enemy army. In game 5, he did quite well, taking out a Company Commander, Astropath and a number of Guardsmen. Had the game gone on, he probably would have slain the enemy warlord, and worried a number of enemy tanks in combat. 

Overall, I think he was worth taking in the army. Another strategy might have been to give him the Beacon Angelus. This would have allowed him to teleport some of my squads into better positions during the game. 

Kill Team 1
This squad was armed with 10 Storm Bolters and two Storm Shields. This squad was pretty powerful on the tabletop. They were always deployed in the Teleportarium, able to go where they were needed to bring their potent firepower to bear. 

In the first game, they helped to take out a unit of enemy Dragoons. In game 2, they did little, but so did the rest of my army. 

In game 3, they were able to take out half a unit of Necron warriors before they were decimated, so not a lot of damage for their investment. In this game, I might have been better holding them off to go after the scarabs and the objective in later turns. 

In game 4, they took out a key unit in the enemy army and were able to threaten a number of others. In the final game, they wiped out a couple of Infantry squads and probably would have done a lot more damage had the game gone on. 

Overall, I think they were worth taking. They put out a lot of firepower, and are a big threat that need to be dealt with. 

Kill Team 2
This consisted of 10 Intercessors with Bolt Rifles. I'm not sure about this kill team. The extra -1AP on their Bolt rifles is useful, making them a bit more powerful against heavily armoured units and vehicles. 

However, their lack of durability can be an issue. They don't have the option to take a Storm Shield, like the other Kill Teams, so can easily be taken out by a number of high damage weapons. 

In game 1, they did great against the Dragoons, decimating them in the shooting phase and finishing them off in the assault phase. In game 2, they died like much of the rest of my army. 

In game 3, they didn't do much damage to the Necron Destroyers and were quickly wiped out in reply. I maybe should have saved them till turn 2 and come in at rapid fire range to make the most of the Hellfire shells. 

In game 4, they did a lot of damage to the enemy Primaris Marines and enemy Terminators. In game 5 they did a lot of damage to an enemy Basilisk and took a lot of the return firepower of the Leman Russ tanks before falling. 

Overall, I'm not sure they were worth taking. I think another unit identical to Kill Team 1 might have helped with the increased volume of shots against most units. However, they may not have done as well against enemy vehicles. 

Kill Team 3
This unit had 2 Frag Cannons, three Shotguns and a Storm Shield. The Frag Cannons are a potent weapon and able to do a lot of damage to whatever enemy unit they targeted. This unit went in the Rhino, moving up on the enemy army to get into range with the Frag Cannons. 

They did well in most games, able to cause serious damage whenever they fired at their target. They tended to die pretty quickly after, but were able to be a big threat while they were on the board. 

I would probably take this unit again. 

Kill Team 4
This unit was armed with three combi-meltas and a Storm Shield. This unit was a bit wasted in my games. The big problem was range. I was unable to get them into range to utilise their Meltaguns in most games. 

The reason for this was that I deployed them in the Razorback. In most games, I didn't want to move it too much to make use of its Twin Lascannon firepower. This meant the unit was slow to get into the game. 

I think deploying them in the Rhino may have helped matters. Alternatively, I could have put the combi-Meltas in the Storm Bolter Kill Team and armed this unit with something else, probably more Frag Cannons if I had the points to spare. 

Vanguard Veterans
This unit was a bit of a waste to be honest. My plan was to use them as a mobile reserve unit with objective secured to go after objectives in the end game. 

That plan didn't really work out. Most of the time, they were brought in from reserve, failed a charge and were quickly obliterated in the following turn. 

The only game they did perform well was in the final game where they started on the board. They were able to get first blood and tie up an enemy unit to stop them from being shot in the following turn. 

I would probably drop this unit in a future list, or put them on the board from the start. 

This unit provided some nice anti-tank firepower for my army, something that can be lacking in the Deathwatch. 

I think this was a good investment in the army and worth taking again. There were only a few games where it did not survive till the end. 

Company Commanders
These were great for getting the most out of the Guard army. 

One was my warlord with the Grand Strategist and Kurov's Aquila. This gave me lots of opportunities to get back command points for my army, which was a big help during my games. He hid at the back of the board for most of the games, so only died in the game against the Knights. 

The other Commander tended to accompany the Conscripts, using the Move, Move, Move order to get them into the optimal position to trap the enemy army or go after objectives. 

I would definitely take at least one Company Commander again. 

Infantry Squads
The Infantry Squads were in the army to provide bodies for holding objectives and giving my army some anti-tank firepower. 

As they were Cadian, I could order the squad to get full re-rolls to hit in the shooting phase. This was great for ensuring that the Lascannons hit their vehicle targets and had an impact on the game. Using move, move, move could also get them into position quickly for grabbing objectives. 

I would probably swap the Lascannons for the more versatile Missile Launcher. In only the game against the Knights would the Lascannon have been more useful. In every other game, the ability to fire the Frag Missiles would have been a useful ability to have. 

This is especially the case in game 5, where the enemy tanks were out of range of my Lascannons, but the enemy Infantry Squads would have been in range of the Missile Launchers. As it was, my Lascannons could only pick off one Guardsman per turn. 

I might even consider dropping down to two infantry squads to reduce my number of deployment drops. 

The giant unit of 30 conscripts was a great addition to my army. They created a lot of board presence and seemed to be a threat that the enemy army could not ignore. 

With the Move, Move, Move order, this unit can move incredibly quickly, allowing them to establish a lot of board presence quickly and to control objectives. 

The other bonus of the unit is that most armies do not have the volume of firepower to kill them all in a single turn at long range. In three of the four games where I went second, my opponent poured most of their firepower into the conscript squad in their first turn. By careful casualty removal, I was able to stop the squad from being fully wiped out by the enemy firepower. In the morale phase, I simply used Insane Bravery to stop the casualties from fleeing and denied my opponent first blood on turn 1 in a number of the games. 

I would definitely take this unit again, they shore up some of the weaknesses in the Deathwatch army by giving me a nice meat screen and ability to take objectives. 

Culexus Assassin
The Assassin was another unit that performed above expectation in my games. I only came up against one psyker in my five games, but this was not where his strength lay. 

The ability to only be hit on a 6+ in shooting or combat is great, allowing the Assassin to tie up a number of key units in my games. 

In game 1, the lone Assassin was able to tie up a powered up unit of Bullgryn for several turns, stopping them from running around my lines and decimating them. 

In game 3, he was able to kill off the Scarabs and tie up a unit of Necron Warriors in combat for a number of turns to keep their firepower in check. 

He doesn't do that much damage, but can be key in blocking enemy units or grabbing objectives late in the game. I would probably take the Assassin again in a tournament list. 

I think the army performed well in my games. One of the issues is the number of deployment drops, as in most of my games, my opponent was getting the +1 to go first and I was going second. Fortunately, the army was able to sustain the enemy firepower in most games, mostly thanks to the conscripts. 

The only game I had trouble was against the Imperial Knights, but there was little I could do against them anyway.


  1. First off, just a quick note that this post seems to have somehow been set to black text on a black background, which is a little bit awkward to read ;)

    Vanguard Veterans: As I said before, I really don't like trying to Charge from Reserves without some kind of buff. Definitely either start them on the table, or ditch them. 5-strong Squads seem pretty flimsy in 8th, too. I think this might be kind of a "go big or go home" sort of situation.

    Razorback: Last time I ran DeathWatch, I had two of these, plus a Twin-Las/Missile Dread, in my backfield, and they did very well for me, even without a Character buffing them. With a Watch Captain or Master back there, they would have been phenomenal. You could definitely do a lot worse than adding another Razorback or two here.

    The Guard Battalion was clearly a very strong buff to the DeathWatch in multiple ways. I need to start using one of those when I cycle around to playing Imperials again.

    Culexus Assassins are basically just dick-moves incarnate. They're really the main reason for the Character nerf from Chapter Approved. Even without those sorts of shenanigans, as you've noted, only being hit on 6+ is an amazing ability. Very possibly the best of the Assassins right now.

    1. The Gretchin have been removed from the system! It should be a bit more readable now, thanks.

      I think a big squad of Vangaurd Veterans could do well if deployed on the board from the start. However, not sure they would be worth it. It might be better adding them to a kill team and getting the benefits that way, plus more Bolters.

      I think another Razorback with Twin Lascannon is a good shout. It would give me some more much neeeded anti-tank, especially if I am going to be seeing more Knights.

      The Guard Battalion is super useful for the Deathwatch, definitely for the command points. I might even add a Basilisk to the army, I was impressed with the firepower they could put out.

      Yeah, the Assassin is definitely a good annoyance unit. Really hard to take out without massed firepower. He is easily the best Assassin by far.

    2. I think more knights is going to be a given - but then again the new FOTM of cults/orks/space wolves might have the tools to put them back in their place and death watch are well positioned against them.

      Have you considered varying the guard part of the army at all? There's a lot of lists running Catachan melee focused detachments. Stack Straken, a priest, a bullgryn bodyguard, and you get snipe protection and a ton of cheap S4 attacks with the ability to fight twice. Catachan artillery - manticores and basilisks - might be a better fit than another razorback for anti-tank

    3. In your Army, I think dropping the Vanguard or folding them into another KT is probably best. Getting the most out of a big Unit of Vanguard like that would probably require a different approach to the Army from the ground up, with the Vanguard being a central element, rather than a supporting Unit.

    4. I had considered varying the Guard part a bit. They were in the army mostly as a back up to the Deathwatch, who I wanted to be the main focus of the army.

      Bullgryns backed up by a psyker are a solid defensive unit. They can soak up a lot of firepower. Offensively, I don't think they are that great, but it doesn't really matter when they can take the firepower of a whole army.

      I think I may need to add some stronger artillery. The Basilisk is cheap and can be pretty effective with the right buffs.