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40K: Deathwatch Preview – Adapt & Overcome

4 Minute Read
May 1 2018

The Deathwatch are coming this weekend to pre-order and Games Workshop is previewing what they can do – but the question is can the Elite Swiss Army Knife of 40K work in 8th edition? Let’s take a look and find out!

via Warhammer Community

From an increased list of units that can take advantage of the ever useful Special Issue Ammunition and Mission Tactics – a powerful ability for Infantry, Bikers and Dreadnoughts that turns your opponent’s over-specialisation against them – to mixed units of Primaris Space Marines and a dizzying array of Stratagems, you’ll find the Deathwatch codex rewarding whether you’re an existing collector or you’re looking to field one of Warhammer 40,000’s most elite armies for the first time.

The first thing to note is that Primaris Marines are now confirmed to be joining the Deathwatch. And Mixed Units at that! It’s going to be pretty interesting to see what GW has in store for all those Primaris Weapons. Along with their enhanced weapon profiles, they are also getting Special Issue Ammunition, a hallmark of the Deathwatch:

 “…this special rule allows bolt weapons to adjust their firing profile to suit their target – against tougher models, for instance, you’ll be able to use poisonous hellfire rounds, while units in cover can be dispatched with dragonfire bolts.

Kraken bolts, for example, help compensate for the lower AP of the auto bolt rifle, while a Reiver’s heavy bolt pistol firing vengeance rounds would have an AP of -3!”

But that’s not all – there is a new kind of Ammo available via stratagem – the Tempest Shell:


D3 Mortal Wounds if it hits! I’ll take that for a CP.

That’s not the only stratagem GW was previewing. Adaptive Tactics allows you to change-up your Missions Tactics, and if you’re Warlord is a Watch Master, you get a discounted version too:

I really like the idea that your Warlord gets access to stratagems at a discounted rate. This stratagem makes me wish they had used this concept sooner instead of the Warlord Traits that allow you to get back CP, you get a discount on certain stratagems. Ah well…Maybe in the next go around. Regardless, I’m now curious about those Mission Tactics! If remember from their previous incarnation, they could adapt their tactics based on their enemy – it’s pretty much the same idea, but with some extra tricks now:

“At the start of the game, you’ll get to pick a Mission Tactic which corresponds to a Battlefield Role – Troops, Fast Attack, Elites, etc. – and your entire army will gain re-rolls of 1s to wound against that unit. Like Chapter Tactics, Mission Tactics applies to all your infantry, Bikers and Dreadnoughts, so you’ll be able to take advantage of a wide range of units.”

No slot is safe from these guys! Your Bikers, Infantry and Dreadnoughts are going to be able to put the hurt on the target with the ability to re-roll 1s to wound. But if you’re running low on CPs? No worries – the Deathwatch have some other work-arounds:


Your Warlord can choose this trait and you can swap out your Mission Tactic at the start of your turn. Conversely, you could also give a character the Tome of Ectoclades:

I’m not entirely sure if having this information encased in the skin of an alien is a good idea…but it sure is grim dark! Why they don’t upload this to a digital format and pass it out to every marine chapter is beyond me. Lore questions aside, it’s allows the Deathwatch units within 6″ of the bearer to pick-and-choose which ability they want to use. That’s pretty sweet!

The Deathwatch sound like they have the right tools to put up a fight. We’ll be taking a look at the rest of previews all this week from Games Workshop to see how they are going to hold up!


What do you think? Are the Deathwatch off to a strong start? How about those mixed Primaris units…that’s going to be interesting for sure!

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