Codex Deathwatch was released just before Imperial Knights then seem to have been forgotten. But many say they have what it takes to go the distance.
Several prominent competitive players stated before that they thought Deathwatch is solid and can go the distance shortly after their official release. So since then, they have slipped back into anonymity and honestly you never seem to hear anything about them anymore. Is Deathwatch genuinely competitive now that the dust has finally settled?
My answer is yes they are, but they require tactical play and need an ally to shore up their weaknesses.
I would even go so far as to say Deathwatch is currently the best all-around Space Marine army right now. Personally, I have no plans to play Knights with my army because I like to avoid crutch units, which is what they are in my mind.
If you watch video battle reports you might come away with the feeling Knights are nigh unbeatable, and the games I’ve seen that featured the newly released Deathwatch can’t seem to win. The thing is it doesn’t have to be that way. Consider that Deathwatch has some solid core units, great stratagems, and some fantastic wargear. So how to put it all together is the question.
Veterans and Primaris Space Marines
These two units are your core troops (object), and they are both quite robust.
Veteran Killteams have access to some unique special weapons such as the frag cannon and a lot of really good options. Their bolt weapons have Special Issue Ammo (SIA) which offers a plethora of versatility – Vets can quickly bolter down a lot of tough enemy units. Think of Vets as Sternguard on crack due to the various types of superior SIA rounds plus other options such as spamming chainswords for those sweet, sweet extra attacks. For example, Hellfire rounds automatically wound on 2+ and depending on what slot the target enemy units come from the Vets are rerolling 1s to wound… that’s really good. Stick them beside a Watchmaster, and they are rerolling misses too. There are means to change the chosen enemy slot such as using a stratagem – for example; you can first focus fire on enemy troops to sweep aside chaff then later switch to enemy elites.
My current build is four veterans with stormbolters and chainswords, Watch Sergeant with a power ax and stormbolter plus another veteran with either a frag cannon or Infernus Heavy Bolter. One of the Vets replaces his chainsword for a stormshield for some much needed resilience. There are many good builds though; this is just one example. Add a Black Shield and the kill team CSM suddenly heroically intervene.
Primaris Killteams have the option to mix various models from different units and gain extra abilities. Primaris kill teams also have access to SIA… Bolt rifles at AP2 for example. My current build is a five-man Intercessor squad which is mandatory and attach two plasma Inceptors. There’s some good strong synergy here for sure. Plasma is always a good thing which shores up one of the significant drawbacks to fielding Intercessors.
The Watchmaster is must take and functions similar to a Chapter Master plus he sports a Guardian Spear (think Custodes). Watch Captains have access to some very powerful wargear, relics and Warlord traits for the super buffs. My favorite combination is jump pack, Thunderhammer, stormbolter, Castellan of the Black Vault (Warlord trait) which makes a weapon +1 damage plus inflict mortal wounds on rolls of 6 to wound, plus Bane bolts (relic) which also inflict mortal wounds and has access to SIA as well… this is ubër Captain Smash. I think a Librarian is a solid third pick if you’ve got the points left over for psychic defense and Smite; I’d equip him with a jump pack as well for the mobility.
Core & Buddies from Baal
So these units form your core for a battalion. Run this with another battalion such as Blood Angels, and you’ve suddenly got 13 command points to start the game which is not shabby.
I have to mention the Leviathan dreadnaught armed with two storm cannons and two heavy flamers… it can potentially delete an enemy unit per turn plus you can use a stratagem to place him in deep strike reserve to ward off enemy alpha strikes. You’ll need another heavy support – my go-to unit is the quad launcher – it doesn’t require line of sight to target enemy units and is excellent for clearing out more chaff.
~I’d like to write more articles on Deathwatch and would like to know what types of topics you’d like featured. Let me know in the comments.