created : over 5 years ago

Deathwatch codex review

Tags : warhammer 40 000 deathwatch review

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Hello everyone !!

This week GW sent us the DeathWatch codex for review (thx).
I'll start with the fluff/illustration and then the rules.

Illustration & Fluff

There are a lot of very fine artwork in the book. I know this is open to interpretation but i personally liked the visual of the book. Especially all the fighting scenes that look like early 2000 comics !



There are a few tidbits of fluff on how the DW works, stay vigilent and so on..

The most interesting part is of course the Primaris question :

Here a force organisation of a fortress.

Fortress description

They have Primaris : Watch captain, Librarian, Chaplain (spoiler, nearly all the Primaris released yet are present in the codex)

Let's jump to the rules part !!

The Rules !

This codex is first a space marines codex, so you get most of the options you would find in a chapter codex.
Chapter master, captain, librarian, chaplain, all the Primaris Marines entry (but lieutenant and gravis captain), Dread, LR, Corvus.
-They get the usual special rules : Combat squad and Atsknf.
-Special issue ammunition for every bolter.
-Troops get defenders of humanity if battle forged + mission tactics (reroll wound roll of 1 against a selected type of target)
-They get some nasty stratagem against xenos.
-Multiple stratagem grating +1 to wound rolls vs a type of target.

There 4 entry that i want to look closely : Veteran squad, Intercessor squad, Terminator squad, bike squad.

Veteran Squad
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Veteran squad are the Meat of a DeathWatch army.

-They replace the tactical squad of Space marines chapter.
-They count as troop and benefit fully from the FAQ granting 5 commands points to a Battalion Detachment (you need 3 troops)
-A DW veteran squad get the Defender of the Humanity rule, meaning they get the objective control no matter how many models contest them ^^(funny when you have terminators or bikes in squad)
-Each type of model you take grant you a special power. like terminator giving auto pass to morale test.
-Up to 4 veterans can take heavy weapons and Up to 3 Terminators can get Heavy weapons (What !).
-Vanguard veteran can get The heavy Thunder Hammer, it is a D6 wound hammer, that deal 6 when rolling 6+ on wound. (There is a stratagem to add +1 to damage roll and chaplain still grant wound reroll).
-The amount of possibilities and shenanigan granted by the wound allocation rule is largeeee ^^
-Deathwatch vet get 2 unique heavy weapons : The DW frag cannon (flamer mode or shotgun S9 ^^⁾ and the Infernus heavy Bolter (flamer or HBolter or both ^^).
-Deathwatch shotgun with 3 types of shot.
-Biker can't take specials weapons.

There is a second troop choice in the codex., the Primaris Mixed squad !

Intercessor Squad
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-Replace the normal intercessor squad. It's the same as the veteran squad but with Primaris and you get better profile but less options.
-Inceptor & Aggressors weapons don't get the specials ammo :(
-Each type of Primaris grant you a special rules. (see the image)
-10 Intercessors equipped with bolt rifle and kraken ammo (+6range -1ap) can rapid fire at 18" with -2AP. Add that a chapter master grant reroll to hit and a stratagem grant a +1 to wound roll, that hurt !
-The Stalker Bolt rifle with 1 Aggressor granting move and shoot without malus make sense too.
-Being able to mix super expensive Hellblaster with Intercessor is good too.
-Off course they get the Defender of humanity rules for objective control^^

The Terminator squad

As in the Veteran squad, the terminator squad can pick 3 heavy weapons !!!
Any terminator can get shield/claw.
Access to the power fist + Meltagun combo.
Auto pass moral test.

Hot stuff !

Bike squad

-As in the veteran squad, no special ranged weapons. :(
-But special ammo on the bike twin boltgun (rapid fire 2 DAKKAAA)
-Relentless assault (flee and charge)
-Any models can get a power weapons.
-1 biker can get a Deathwatch teleport homer (Placed at start in your deploy zone, one use, at the end of a mov phase teleport a terminator units or a unit with at least 1 terminator within 6 of the beacon.)

Clearly a melee focused unit.

Psychic Power

They are "ok"

one exemple :
-Null zone : Casting value of 8, remove invul save in 6" around the psyker.
-Viel to time : Reroll charge and run for a unit + always fight first.


Nothing incredibly powerful.

One exemple :

Banebolt of Eryxia +1 dmg to a ranged weapon shooting special ammunitions and hit 6+ = 1 extra MW. Work great on the chapter master gun lance or a master crafted bolt rifle (2 shots with 3dmg with special munition)

Warlord Trait

-Changing battle tactics once per game.
-Re rolling wounds vs monster & vehicule.


The Codex is nice, i enjoyed reading it, there are some cute tactics with teleport.
Specials ammo allow simple Bolter to engage a large number of targets.
To me, the really interesting part is the construction of Veteran and Intercessors squad, mixing profile and abilities as i want is super fun.

Ok that's it for me !
Ask question in comment i'll try to answer :D


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