Hi everyone, Michael here with a review of the glorious 1st company of the Dark Angels, the Deathwing Terminator Squad. For more reviews, analyses and battle reports, check out the Tactics Corner.
The Deathwing are the elite of the Dark Angels army, at least from a background perspective. The Deathwing Terminator Squad actually gets some nice special rule bonuses compared to regular Codex Space Marine Terminators and have a wide variety of options that can lead to some great unit customisation if you so desire. They also have access to a couple of formations that give huge bonuses to their reserves manipulation, essentially choosing when the units arrive. This makes it very easy for your Terminator Squads to arrive when and when you want them, in combination with other units in the army. At the end of they day though, they are still just better Space Marine Terminators, so come with many of the drawbacks of this unit, namely they are very expensive for what they can do. The basic squad size consists of 5 Deathwing Terminators for 200 pts, with the option to include up to 5 more Terminators.
- Terminator Armour
- Storm Bolter
- Power Fist
- Power Sword (Deathwing Sergeant only)
- Any model may replace its weapons with a pair of Lightning Claws (free) or a Storm Shield and Thunder Hammer (10 pts).
- Any model may take a Chainfist in place of its Power Fist.
- One in 5 Deathwing Terminators may take a Heavy Weapon; Heavy Flamer, Plasma Cannon, Assault Cannon, Cyclone Missile Launcher.
- The unit may take a Perfidious Relic of the Unforgiven- gives the unit Adamantium Will and Fear.
- May take a Land Raider as a Dedicated Transport (any variant).
- Deathwing- Fearless and Hatred (Chaos Space Marines)
- Grim Resolve- Fires overwatch at BS2
- Split Fire
- Vengeful Strike- When arriving by Deep Strike, the unit treats all ranged weapons as Twin-Linked until the end of the turn.
Compared to regular Space Marine Terminators, Deathwing Terminators are a bit of a bargain. For only 5 pts more per model, the unit gets Fearless, Split Fire and gets Twin-Linked shots on the turn it arrives from deep strike for all its shooting attacks. In a vacuum, that is some really good bonuses for just the cost of some Meltabombs.
The Deathwing Terminator Squad provides the dual role of Terminator Squad and Terminator Assault Squad, giving the Deathwing Terminators a huge range of weapons options, allowing you to arm the squad to cater to your needs.
As a shooting unit, they are decent, but not amazing. A Storm Bolter is a decent gun against light infantry and the re-rolls to hit on the turn you arrive are nice, allowing you to do maximum damage when you arrive. The unit also has access to all the standard Terminator Heavy Weapons, so you can take the weapon which compliments your army best; Heavy Flamer for clearing out infantry for cover or an Assault Cannon for dealing with heavier infantry and even a chance at taking on vehicle. In addition, the squad can also be outfitted with a Plasma Cannon (they are Dark Angels after all!). This is actually a decent choice for the Terminators, giving them some valuable AP2 firepower. As the unit is relentless, you can fire on the move, and the 2+ save means only a 1 in 36 chance of losing a Terminator to Gets Hot. With Split Fire, you can actually get a lot of use out of the squad’s Heavy Weapon, using it to target an enemy vehicle or armoured infantry, while the squad’s Storm Bolters go to work on the light infantry.
You can choose to arm the squad for combat, giving them either Lightning Claws or Thunder Hammers and Storm Shields. You can also choose to take a mixed squad, armed for both combat and shooting. This is a little inefficient, with the mixed purpose unit, but could come in useful at times. In most cases though, you are better sticking to a single role- either combat or shooting.
One of the best things about the squad, in my opinion, is the option to replace the Sergeant’s Power Sword with a Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield. One of the biggest annoyances for me in a regular Terminator squad is being stuck with the Sergeant’s Power Sword with no option to switch it. With the Deathwing squad, you can give the Sergeant a Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield, giving you additional AP2 attacks, as well as a 3+ invulnerable to try and tank any incoming AP2 wounds that would trouble your Terminators. Another advantage of the Deathwing Squad is that it allow you to take a Cyclone Missile Launcher on your Assault Terminators, giving you some firepower to use to soften up an enemy target or still participate if your unit finds itself out of position.
The Perfidious Relic of the Unforgiven is decent enough, but not really worth the points unless you know you will be facing a psychic heavy army and will be under fire from them. In this case, Adamantium Will can be a nice bonus. Fear can be useful in some situations, but most units you will face are either immune to it or you won’t really need the Fear bonus in dealing with them.
Grim Resolve is also a nice bonus for the Terminators, as you are more likely to be getting assaulted when the unit arrives from Deep Strike, so the chance to cause extra overwatch wounds is good for the Deathwing.
Despite all their wargear options and special rules bonuses, the Deathwing are still overpriced for what they can do, just like normal Terminators. Forty points for a T4, 1W model with a Storm Bolter is a lot to pay. The 2+ armour save is nice, but in the age of Grav and scatter lasers, it doesn’t really count for much in competitive play. A Deathwing Terminator costs the same as a Ravenwing Black Knight, and the Black Knight outshines the Terminator in almost every respect.
The Deathwing Terminators have access to a couple of formations that add some further bonuses to the unit.
The Deathwing Redemption Force consists of a character in Terminator Armour, 2-5 units of Deathwing Terminator Squads and the option of taking a Deathwing Command Squad, Deathwing Knights and a Venerable Dreadnought. All units in the formation must start in Deep Strike reserve, but you get to choose in secret, before the game, on which turn the whole formation will arrive (turns 2-4). All units arrive automatically, giving you a huge number of reserves that can arrive when you want them. In addition, each unit gains a pseudo-battle focus the turn they arrive, able to either run then shoot, or shoot and then run. This helps to spread your units out, making them less tempting to template weapons, get into weapons range if the Deep Strike goes awry, or try and get out of the enemy’s weapon range after shooting. The downside of this formation is that it is pretty expensive (480 points minimum) and that you have to predict which turn your arrival will be most effective before the game begins.
The Deathwing Strike Force is a Dark Angels detachment consisting entirely of Deathwing units. The detachment must start the game in deep strike reserve. If the army includes a Ravenwing Attack Squadron or a Ravenwing Strike Force, you can choose to automatically pass or fail any reserve rolls for units in the formation. In addition, you also get the pseudo-battle focus described above. What is great about this detachment is that you can essentially decide when your units will arrive from reserve based on how the game is going and don’t need to bring in all the units in the formation en masse as with the Deathwing Redemption Force, though this is still a good tactic to try and overwhelm a section of the enemy army. This detachment is obviously best used in conjunction with the Ravenwing formation/detachments listed above. As all the Ravenwing have teleport homers, this allows you to pretty much ensure the Deathwing will arrive where and when you want them to, making this a potent strike unit if armed correctly for your opponent’s army.
For me, a Librarian in Terminator armour makes a great accompanying character for a unit of Deathwing Terminators. If you are using the Interromancy Discipline, the short range of many of the powers means that you will want to be closing with the enemy quickly, and deep striking is a great way to do this. Many of the Interromancy powers will help boost the Deathwing, either by giving them additional attacks or diminishing the abilities of the enemy army to make it easier for the Deathwing to deal with them.
Any Ravenwing units will also be of great benefit to the Deathwing Terminators. Dark Angels armies have the most widespread access to Teleport Homers of any Space Marine Force, as all Ravenwing Bikes are equipped with them. This allows you to bring down the Deathwing with a high degree of accuracy. Given the mobility of the Ravenwing, it will generally be very easy to get them into position for the arrival of the Deathwing Terminators, especially if you are using the formation/detachment to give you even more control over when your reserves arrive.
Deathwing Terminators, while not a fantastic unit, do get some great bonuses over regular Space Marine Terminators that can make their inclusion worthwhile in a casual game. In any competitive game, they will be quickly eliminated by the mass of AP2 attacks in the game or volume of shots that can be levelled against them. Sometimes, however, the rule of cool can dominate. They are great models with a very striking colour scheme, and are fun to field every once in a while as an iconic part of the Dark Angels army.
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