Space Marine Review: Heavy Support: Devastator Squad

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Hi everyone, Michael here to bring you a review of another Space Marine unit, this time the mighty Devastator Squad. For more reviews, tactics and analyses, check out the Tactics Corner.

The Devastator Squad is a great way of bringing multiple heavy weapons to the battlefield, concentrated in one unit. They have been around pretty much since the inception of the Space Marine army and have received some nice buffs and new wargear in the 7th edition codex to keep up with the new kids on the block, the Centurion Devastators. The squad consists of 5 Space Marines with the option to add an additional 5 Marines to the unit, all for the standard Space Marine cost of 14 points per model.

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Wargear:

  • Boltgun
  • Bolt Pistol
  • Frag Grenades
  • Krak Grenades
  • Signum (Sergeant only)- If the bearer does not shoot, one other model in the unit may fire at BS5
  • Up to four Marines may take items from the Heavy Weapons List (Heavy Bolter, Multi-melta, Missile Launcher, Plasma Cannon, Lascannon and Grav-cannon and Grav-amp)
  • May take an Armoured Cherub (one use only. One model may re-roll all To Hit rolls that shooting phase).
  • May upgrade to a Veteran Sergeant. The Sergeant/Veteran Sergeant may take Melee or Ranged Weapons and may take Meltabombs
  • The unit may take a Rhino, Razorback or Drop Pod as a Dedicated Transport

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Special Rules:

  • ATSKNF
  • Chapter Tactics
  • Combat Squads

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Tactics:

The Space Marine Devastator Squad can fulfil a number of battlefield roles, depending on how you arm them (Remember, the Grav-cannon and Grav-amp is not the only option the unit has!). If you want to use the Devastators for tank hunting, they can be armed with either Lascannons or Multi-meltas. Heavy Bolters are great for taking on horde armies with low armour saves, whereas Plasma Cannons are great for destroying more elite infantry and other units. Missile Launcher can fulfil a multiple roles; Krak missiles can be used to hunt vehicles or elite infantry, Frag missiles are useful for horde armies and Flakk missiles are used to target enemy flyers. In the 7th edition codex, the option to arm the Devastators with Grav-cannons and Grav-amps was introduced and has become an extremely popular choice in the current meta.

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Whatever heavy weapons option you decide to go with, it is generally best to stick to a single type of weapon in each squad. A Devastator squad with 4 Lascannons or 4 Heavy Bolters is going to have a much clearer battlefield role that one that is armed with two Lascannons and two Heavy Bolters. The utility of the unit can also be augmented by equipping the squad Sergeant with an equivalent Combi-weapon to the squad’s Heavy Weapons. The Armoured Cherub is also a decent option at only 5 pts, providing you with a key re-roll when you really need that Lascannon to hit its target.

The Squad size can be increased up to 10 models. I would say that it is always useful to add an extra member or two to the squad if you have the points to spare. The extra squad members essentially act as ablative wounds to stop you having to remove your precious Heavy Weapons as the unit starts to take casualties.

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Unit Synergy

Without a doubt, the Cataphractii Terminator Captain has been a huge boost to Devastator Squads. The addition of Slow and Purposeful to the unit means that the Devastators can move and fire their Heavy Weapons without the penalty of firing Snap Shots. This had greatly increased the manoeuvrability of the Devastator Squad and means that they can be deployed via Drop Pod and still fire effectively on the turn that they arrive.

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In additon, the Cataphractii Terminator Captain greatly increases the durability of the Devastator unit, giving a model that can tank wounds thanks to his 2+ armour save and 4+ Invulnerable Save (with re-rolls on 1’s). It gets even better if he adds a Storm Shield or the Shield Eternal.

Chapter Tactics

Many of the Space Marine Chapter Tactics complement the Devastator Squad very well.

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The Ultramarines Chapter Tactics give a great buff to the Devastator Squad, providing re-rolls of 1’s to hit with the Tactical Doctrine and full re-rolls with the Devastator Doctrine.

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The White Scars doctrine is great for providing your Devastators with Hit and Run, great for stopping your unit from getting locked in combat and being unable to bring their Heavy Weapons to bear.

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The Imperial Fists Chapter Tactics are possibly the best suited for Devastators. The Seige Masters special rule gives your Devastators Tank Hunter. This is fantastic is they are armed for tank hunting, as those re-rolls will give you the best chance of taking out enemy vehicles.

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The Raven Guard Chapter Tactics are great for helping the survivability of your Devastators in the first turn. If they are deployed in ruins, they will get a 2+ cover save on the first turn, great for keeping them safe from the enemy guns.

Formations

There are several formations that boost the potential of your Devastator squad.

One of the great bonuses of the Battle Demi-Company is that it gives your Devastator Squad Objective Secured. This makes them even better for holding backfield objectives. In addition, any transport vehicle purchased for the squad will also gain Objective Secured.

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The Stormlance Battle Demi-Company also grants some nice bonuses for Devastator Squads. The Mobile Firebase rule allows the Devastators to get back in their transport vehicle after shooting, increasing their durability as the squad’s transport will need to be taken out before the Devastators can be targeted. In addition, Clear and Sweep gives the unit re-rolls To Hit against enemy units holding objective markers. This formation is obviously best suited for Grav-Cannon Devastators, who can still move and fire at full BS. The only caveat is that the unit must start the game embarked in their transport, so will need to disembark to fire on the first turn.

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Perhaps one of the more (in)famous formations for boosting Devastator Squads is the Skyhammer Annihilation Force. This formation contains two units of Devastators, deployed in Drop Pods on turn 1 or 2 (your choice). The formation special rules grant the Devastators Relentless on the turn they arrive, greatly boosting their utility. In addition, the Suppressing Fusillade rule forces a unit targeted by the Devastators to take a Morale Test on 3D6 (even if no casualties were caused). If the test is failed, the unit must Go To Ground. Even if the test is passed, the enemy unit cannot fire Overwatch- great for the Assault Squads in the formation who can also charge on the turn they arrive from Deep Strike.

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Overall:

The Devastator Squad is a great addition to any Space Marine army, it’s battlefield role dependent on how you choose to arm them and how they are deployed. They provide some great firepower to your force, which can be considerably boosted by adding some very useful Characters or through Formation special rules.

And as always, Frontline Gaming sells Games Workshop product at up to 25% off of retail, every day!

You can also pick up some cheap models in our Second Hand Shop. Some of these gems are quite rare, sometimes they’re fully painted!

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About Michael Corr

An avid 40k player and blogger from Scotland. I started in 3rd edition and have been playing ever since. I detail my adventures in my own blog "St Andrews Wargaming", highlighting my mediocre painting skills, regular battle reports and my occasional random ramblings.

15 Responses to “Space Marine Review: Heavy Support: Devastator Squad”

  1. Rob August 16, 2016 6:31 am
    #

    Only thing I would add is that a single Devastator squad can be used as a cheap auxiliary for an IF sternhammer force 🙂 good review though and forgot how they can be used in a stornlance!

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr August 16, 2016 11:48 pm
      #

      That’s a good tip Rob. The Sternhammer is one of the weirder of the Gladius-type formations available to the Space Marines.

  2. punchymango August 16, 2016 12:24 pm
    #

    Khan really benefits devastators. He teaches their rhino driver the subtle art of “so, like, what if we drove further forward before the battle starts, right? And then you opened the top hatch and shot them in the face?”

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr August 16, 2016 11:48 pm
      #

      Khan is just awesome all round!

  3. westrider August 16, 2016 3:24 pm
    #

    The messed up thing is, even against their supposed ideal targets, Heavy Bolters still aren’t very good. Other than range, the only time they’re better than Grav Cannon is against 6+ Svs, and even then, not by much. Actually, I think if you adjust for cost, they might be slightly better against 5+ as well, but still. That’s how good the Grav Cannon/Amp is.

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr August 16, 2016 11:47 pm
      #

      Yeah, the grav cannon is just crazy good at the moment. But boy, do you pay for it!

  4. punchymango August 17, 2016 10:14 am
    #

    I sympathize with the writer for an entry like this, where there’s just not a ton to say. “geif grav cannon, apply to enemy, profit”

    • AngryPanda August 17, 2016 1:04 pm
      #

      That’s pretty much half of Codex Space Marines right now though and they do an admirable job of making full articles out of it 🙂

      • Michael Corr
        Michael Corr August 18, 2016 12:00 am
        #

        It’s true. There is so much variety in the Space Marine codex right now, but it seems to be grav all the way! I can’t really complain though as I play it that way too.
        When was the last time you saw a flamer or plasma gun in a marine list (not attached to a vehicle)?

        I don’t think Reecius would allow me to simply write “take grav” for all my reviews. Would be worth a try though……..
        I’ve just had a flash of inspiration. How to make Terminators better? Give them all access to grav cannons!

        • Bryan August 18, 2016 5:51 am
          #

          Mixing a few melta weapons into the Grav chain party is never a bad idea, knights are a thing!

          • Michael Corr
            Michael Corr August 18, 2016 6:26 am
            #

            It’s normally grav that takes care of Knights for me. My meltaguns and multi-meltas always seem to miss against them.

        • AngryPanda August 18, 2016 6:36 am
          #

          Grav Terminators! That’ll solve everything!

        • AngryPanda August 18, 2016 6:38 am
          #

          “Take Grav” would be the best article series. You can start it with describing any sort of problem.
          “This week we will tell you how to deal with X. X does Y and Z and you thus need to deal with it. How? Take Grav!”

          • punchymango August 18, 2016 10:03 am
            #

            We need a new honest codex article, just to rename all the books.

            Codex: Grav Cannons
            Codex: Spider Spam
            Codex: Helldrakes
            Codex: Comorragh Uber
            Codex: Black Knight Spam
            Codex: Thunderstar
            Codex: Riptide Wing

            And so on. Maybe make a mecha joke about how AdMech and Skitarri are both pretty meh but if you own that one white dwarf they harness their fighting spirit combine into War Convo?

          • Michael Corr
            Michael Corr August 18, 2016 11:23 pm
            #

            I’ll get working on my Codex: Grav review right away!