The Deathwatch remains one of my favourite Space Marine chapters, just behind Dark Angels and the Black Templars. This is primarily due to the sheer versatility of possibilities. Along with the custom of keeping the parent chapters shoulder armour can add a nice splash of colour to the army that is otherwise denied. With the new book, the Deathwatch dispatch into 9th edition Warhammer 40,000. We’re here to tell you how they’ve gotten on.
Following the new standard codex pattern the Deathwatch supplement is incredibly easy to use. With Battle-Forged, Army, Crusade, Matched Play, Datasheets, Points, Wargear and Rules Reference all easily accessible from the tabs on the side of the book.
The Deathwatch are unique for two reasons. Firstly, you have a mix of chapters. Secondly, the models within a unit can vary wildly. This can help to keep the army feeling a bit fresh compared to a sea of same-coloured Space Marines. The book ties into this and permits plenty of varied forces amongst your Deathwatch.
Combat Squads for the Deathwatch
Other than Kill Team Cassius, which is itself a squad, there are 5 squads to choose from. The Deathwatch Veteran Squad is the most rigid in terms of structure. It contains a Watch Sergeant and 4-9 Veterans one of which can be a Black shield.
Through to four specialist squads which vary in basic composition and also specialisation. From the Proteus kill team which starts at four Deathwatch veterans and a Watch Sergeant. You can then add Veteran, Terminator, Biker or Vanguard Veteran. Then, onward to the Spectrus Kill Team Kill Team starting with an Infiltrator Sergeant and four infiltrators. This can be expanded by adding Infiltrators Incursors, Reivers, or Eliminators.
This is where the fun starts each model retains its abilities from its original Datasheet. Although replaces all the Keywords from the datasheet to fit in with the Deathwatch.
However if you take for example a Proteous Kill Team with 5 terminators in it then you can combat squad the terminators. That combat squad is able to act like a terminator squad (teleporting into the battle whilst being immensely armoured, and such). The same deal applies with the bikes, or units that include Inceptors or Vanguard Veterans with Jump packs with these assault squads gaining the fly special rule. However, these units will still only count as basic troops. Thus, you could field a real variety of different combat squads in your Deathwatch force. All whilst not constrained by the normal force composition rules of the more compliant codex chapters.
There is also plenty of additional content in the book to bolster the value that you get. There’s an onslaught of Crusade rules in which I believe Deathwatch can truly shine. With the Deathwatch forces being diverse and unique, your armies can truly develop and grow, helping to increase your sense of attachment and investment throughout any campaign. It’s in Crusade where I think Deathwatch can truly shine.
They also get access to their own Stratagems and Relics, as expected. The offering is quite light in the book, however, with it being a supplement it’s worth reiterating that you can fall back onto plenty of the Space Marine codex and the content.
The lore/background offering is unfortunately light, coming in at a meager 20-pages. With this being a supplement, it’s likely to sit a little uncomfortably with those who owned the previous Deathwatch book. The older book was more substantial at over a hundred pages. This is my biggest issue with the book (and likely future supplements) and would, of course, would prefer more content for my purchase.
Codex Deathwatch is a great read with some very useful, if limited, background fluff inside it. Admittedly, like all Space Marine supplements, you are going to need the Space Marine Codex as well to get the best for your buck on this supplement. The Deathwatch book does serve its purpose exceedingly well and will differentiate the Deathwatch forces from other Space Marine chapters effectively. I cannot wait to see the wild ideas that people are going to come up with. Thanks to their very unique way of building combat squads.
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