Saturday, December 10, 2016

Deathwing Tactics Part 1: Rules and Detachments

Deathwing Tactics Part 1: Rules and Detachments

The prizes for the painting contest were that each of the winners got to request an article for the blog. Appropriately, /u/Merendino used his first-place Deathwing to request a Deathwing Tactics article. These next couple articles come courtesy of him.

I’m going to write these articles in the reverse order of how I wrote the Ravenwing tactics, starting with special rules and detachments and then moving to individual units. It’s worth noting that terminators as a whole are in a bad place, being slow, expensive melee units reliant on low toughness and a good armor save. However, a number of the bonuses Deathwing have help push them above other terminators, if not to tournament-playability then at least to useful units.

The titular rule actually provides very little to Deathwing terminators and Dark Angel special characters. Fearless is fairly redundant with their Ld 9/10 and Stubborn, and Hatred(CSM) doesn’t make up for the fact you’re going to want Hatred on their melee units anyways.

Split Fire
Both Deathwing Terminator and Command Squads get this rule, and it is excellent. Terminators have some pretty good ranged weapon choices, and being able to shoot them and then charge a different unit is great. It also combos well with the next rule.

Vengeful Strike
Another extra rule we got to justify the higher price tag on Deathwing terminators, twin linked ranged weapons on the turn you Deep Strike is good. It’s nothing amazing but it helps make that expensive heavy weapon worth it.

Deathwing Redemption Force
Our unique formation, and the only way to get Deathwing into a Lion’s Blade Detachment, this formation is not very good. When compared to the Deathwing Strike Force below, you are taking a mandatory two units of Deathwing terminators and giving up two HQ slots. In return, you get Preferred Enemy(CSM), can run and shoot or shoot and run on the turn you Deep Strike, and pick a turn before the game starts that all models in the Redemption Force will arrive. The second rule is shared by the Strike Force, the first rule is pretty useless (all you’re getting is rerolls to-wound of one and reroll hits of one after the turn you deep strike) and the third rule is patently worse than the Strike Force version. Unless you’re going for a fluffy army there is no reason to take this formation over a Strike Force.

Deathwing Strike Force
This, along with the Ravenwing Strike Force, was GW’s way of letting us play our old pure-terminator and pure-bike armies from the 6th edition codex. While you technically can’t do that with the Deathwing Strike Force thanks to all units starting in reserve, it’s a decent detachment and piles more rules onto the Deathwing to help make them useful. 1-3 HQ and 2-12 Elite choices, all must be terminators or venerable dreadnoughts. Seems appropriate, and puts it head and shoulders above the Redemption Force already by letting us take more of our best terminator units (HQ’s) and doesn’t make us pay a tax of basic terminators. For the rules, we get the run/shoot or shoot/run from the Redemption Force to make sure we don’t eat templates the following turn, re-roll warlord traits, and if our army also includes a Ravenwing Attack Squadron or Ravenwing Strike Force, each terminator unit can choose to pass or fail it’s reserve roll. While that last part may seem like a bit of a restriction, remember it’s impossible to run this detachment alone without tabling yourself, and Ravenwing bikes are all equipped with teleport homers. The synergy is both fluffy and crunchy, and makes this detachment head-and-shoulders above the Redemption Force.

Combined Arms/Allied Detachment
While this is still an option, I would almost always take the Deathwing Strike Force. The only time I would want to take Deathwing terminators in a CAD would be to start them on the board in a land raider or other transport. However, land raiders, like terminators themselves, aren’t in the best place right now and aren’t a great investment for carting around an expensive unit. Barring that situation, keep them in their specialty detachment.

With a pile of special rules, and a detachment that lets you take a bunch of the best units tax-free, Deathwing terminators definitely stand out above other faction’s terminators. While they share most of the weaknesses of other terminators, the extra buffs make them more capable offensively and a bit less vulnerable when Deep Striking. The Deathwing Strike Force is a clear winner in terms of how to get them into your list.

Next week, we’ll go over individual Deathwing units.

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