Deathwatch Codex Rumors: HQs, Flyers, and Relics

Continuing to look at the new Deathwatch rumors, here is my take on some of the other units available to the Marines of the Ordos Xenos:


[1] Watch Captain/DW Librarian/DW Chaplain — It appears that these HQ choices are basically the same as their “vanilla” Marine counterparts (i.e. Captain/Librarian/Chaplain), but with Special Issue Ammo stock and access to Deathwatch specific Relics, Wargear, and Rules. I think the DW Librarian in particular will be a key part of many DW forces, especially if he has access to all the core Rulebook Disciplines and the four new Space Marine disciplines (i.e. Librarius, Fulmination, Technomancy, Geokinesis). While the Watch Captain can take AA or TDA and also can choose a Jump Pack (but not a bike), unfortunately DW Librarians can only choose TDA and DW Chaplains, for some reason, have not mobility/armor upgrade options.

[2] Watch Master — The DW counterpart to a Chapter Master (and a stat-line to match, supposedly), this is a bit of a unique unit, since he comes stock with Artificer Armor, an Iron Halo, a Guardian Spear (S+1 AP2, Two-Handed, can attempt to Block one enemy close combat attack per turn and also has an integrated Bolter with Special Issue Ammunition), and a Clavis (reduces nearby enemy vehicles WS/BS/I by -1). More significantly, the Watch Master has the “Tactic Master” special rule, which means that, if he is chosen as the WL, you may change the Mission Tactic rule one additional time per game, which can be a very key ability for competitive gameplay. Other than this, he can only take Special Issue Wargear and Relics, but even with these limited options, I think the Watch Master will see use in many armies because of flexibility and overall battle prowess.

[3] Corvus Blackstar — The “special ops” flyer unique to the Deathwatch, what we know so far is that this is basically a more capable version of a Stormraven, with a TLed Assault Cannon, Blackstar Cluster Launcher (S4, AP6, Heavy 1, Large Blast [or] S5, AP4, Heavy 1, Small Blast, Ignore Cover), 4 x Stormstrike missiles, and a Transport Capacity of 12 models (can carry Jump Infantry and Bikes even). Additionally, it has Ceramite Plating, the Assault Vehicle rule, and can pay for upgrades to give it Strafing Run and to re-roll Jink saves. Finally, it can trade out its TL Assault Cannon for a TLed Lascannon for free and replace its Stormstrike Missiles for a Blackstar Rocket Launcher, which has two shooting modes: 30″ S6, AP4, Heavy 1D6, Skyfire [or] 30″ S4, AP5 Heavy 1, Large Blast, Ignores Cover. Finally, it can add on a Hurricane Bolter and/or a Locator Beacon as upgrades. I expect the Blackstar to be expensive points-wise and to play several key roles in the army, from fire support gunship to assault transport to late-game objective seizer.

***Banebolts of Eryxia — Decent Relic that can be used in a Bolt Pistol at 12″ S5 AP4 Pistol, Kill Shot (ID on 6+ to Wound) or Bolter at 24″ S5 AP4 Assault 1, Kill Shot (same as pistol profile). While there is a profile for Stalker Boltguns, since no character who has access to Relics can take a Stalker Boltgun, this is irrelevant right now (hopefully an Errata fixes this by allowing a single DW Veteran armed with a Stalker Boltgun to take this Relic, as that would be quite a potent combo, auto-wounding and causing an AP2, Instant Death wound on any roll of 6+ to Wound).

***The Beacon of Angels — A Locator Beacon that can, once per game, “teleport” a friendly DW unit from anywhere on the board (even in close combat) to within 6″ of the bearer with no scatter. There are a ton of applications for this, including pulling a shooty DW unit out of melee so it can get back to applying its firepower to “bouncing” in another unit to double the firepower on a key enemy target for a turn.

***Dominus Aegis — If the bearer does not move, he and his unit gets 4++. Basically the poor man’s version of Azrael’s Lion’s Helm, this is still a pretty amazing piece of kit, especially if you can combine it with the Sanctuary power from a friendly attached Librarian or even an allied Stern for a 3++. Obviously, this is great for holding Objectives and is also outstanding in protracted Close Combat, since after the initial charge the unit will by default be stationary in the movement phase.

***Osseus Key — A Clavis like what Watch Masters have, but with an additional ability if the bearer attacks a vehicle: Roll a D6; on a 1 there is no effect; on a 2-3 the Vehicle suffers a Glance; on 4-6 the vehicle suffers a Penetration (so basically like enhanced Haywire). Pretty useful when attacking a vehicle, especially a Walker that you really need to kill in order to get out of the combat and move on to something else.

***Thief of Secrets — A Power Sword that, once it inflicts an Unsaved Wound on a certain model type, always wounds models of the same type on a 2+ in the future (so if you, for example, inflict an Unsaved Wound on a Necron Wraith, then when make any attacks on Necron Wraiths later in the game, the sword always wounds them on a 2+). While this sounds decent, if it is just an S: User AP3 Power Sword as per the rumors, it will be difficult to get that first Unsaved Wound on models that you really want to have the 2+ to wound against, like Wraithknights, Chapter Masters with 2+/3++ armor, Stormsurges, etc., so I see the utility of this Relic being limited (if it has AP2 or something like that, then it might actually be quite competitive).

***Tome of Ectoclades — Allow the bearer and his unit to choose a second Mission Tactic at the start of EVERY TURN, in addition to the “army-wide” one that is in effect for all DW units. This can be exceptionally useful, I think, since it can allow the entire army to have bonuses versus, say, enemy Troop units, but the WL and his unit can get a bonus against a different type of unit that also needs to be dealt with, giving you some really flexibility.


Overall, I would say pretty good value on these HQs, the Corvus Blackstar, and the DW Relics, at least relative to what we know about the rest of the Codex so far and also in comparison to what other armies get in this department (I, like some others, am a little surprised not to see a DW Techmarine in the rumors so far, but we will see). The more I look at this, the more I am excited about the Deathwatch faction, both as allies and as a stand-alone, competitive army in its own right.


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