Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Deathwing Tactics Part 2: HQ

Deathwing Tactics Part 2: HQ

Part 2 of my Deathwing tactics, as requested by the painting contest winner /u/Merendino.

The Deathwing have a number of pretty good options for their HQ choices. The most important decision is usually how to equip them and whether to put them with Deathwing Knights or a Command Squad.

If you played Deathwing in 6th edition or earlier you already own this guy, and while he is no longer mandatory to get those sweet troop choice terminators, he received a number of buff in this codex to make up for it. Like a lot of Dark Angels named characters, he got one of our worst warlord traits, but otherwise he has a lot of utility as both a beatstick and support character. Flawless deep striking makes him ideal for any Deathwing squad, as well as cramming into other imperial armies, and re-rolling hits in a challenge makes him relatively scary in combat. He’s a good choice, but his biggest flaw is that he’s always going to be stuck with that useless warlord trait and need to have another character come along to be warlord and hope to get Rapid Manoeuvre to make up for how slow terminators are. If you put him with Deathwing Knights, definitely give him a shield/hammer. It makes him much tougher to kill and combos well with the Knight Master striking at I4 but AP3. In a command squad his sword is fine to take advantage of his high initiative and the champion’s AP2 weapon.

Interrogator Chaplain
Probably the outright best choice for Deathwing, the Interrogator Chaplain has almost the statline of a Company Master, buffs his entire unit in melee, can take all of the good toys, and isn’t stuck with a bad warlord trait. Take the Mace of Redemption and a storm shield and he becomes an expensive but excellent force multiplier for Deathwing Knights. He can work ok with a Command Squad, but his potential is probably wasted there compared to with a unit of knights. There isn’t much else to say about him, just take him unless you have a very specific use for another character.

A lot of the utility a Librarian gains while on a bike is unfortunately lost in terminator armor. The extra speed and point of toughness make a huge difference for the squishiest of the Deathwing, and the Interrogator Chaplain’s melee buffs are far more useful with terminators than with Black Knights. That being said, the Librarian is probably better suited to go with a Command Squad than Belial or an Interrogator Chaplain. Grab the Eye of the Unseen to buff both their melee and whatever ranged weapon you have in the unit, and the Librarian will benefit a lot from the Feel No Pain the apothecary provides. Like Belial, still a good choice for the Deathwing, but lacks the balls-out awesomeness of the Chaplain. Also can roll for his warlord trait which is big.

Not in terminator armor, but Ezekiel is a decent choice to go with Deathwing who are footslogging or in a transport. Like the other named characters, Ezekiel is stuck with a crappy warlord trait, but his buff to attacks, good statline, and level 3 mastery make him worth more the more points you put into a unit. If you’re going to have another character to buff the unit (probably an Interrogator Chaplain) and hopefully get a more useful warlord trait, than Ezekiel is good for buffing the unit with things like rerollable saves or +1 toughness. I just wouldn’t take him unless you’ve already invested a fair amount in the unit.

Azrael and Asmodai
These are two other characters with the Deathwing rule that could potentially be used for a footslogging unit. Unfortunately, both of them end up being a lot of wasted points. Azrael’s 4+ invuln is wasted on Deathwing Knights and only a minor buff to a command squad, and while picking his warlord trait is good, Sammael is both cheaper and gives his unit Hit and Run as well if you need Rapid Manoeuvre. Asmodai is just generally overcosted and loses a lot of the options regular Interrogator Chaplains have, making neither of these guys very good options for Deathwing.

So the Interrogator Chaplain comes out as a clear winner thanks to melee buffs being far more important for the Deathwing, but Librarians, Belial, and Ezekiel all have their uses within a Deathwing army as well.

Next week I’ll wrap this up by going over the actual unit options for the Deathwing.

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