Clan Fokus: Deathskulls

Welcome to Clan Fokus – a new series on Warhammer Community where we’ll be taking a closer look at all the new Clan Kulturs in the new Codex: Orks. These powerful special rules let you tailor your play-style and offer huge benefits to nearly every unit in your army. We’ll be previewing a new Clan Kultur every day this week – looking today at the Deathskulls.

This article was originally published on the Warhammer-community page.

You never really own a gun in the 41st Millennium – you merely look after it for a bit until an Ork takes it from your cooling corpse. No Ork clan demonstrates this shamelessly larcenous quality better than the Deathskulls – avaricious, superstitious Orks who’ll steal anything that isn’t nailed down… after which they’ll steal everything that is nailed down. Including the nails.

But how do they get away with it without getting clobbered first? ’Cos dey’z lucky gitz, of course! Orks hold to a number of simple but utterly unshakable beliefs, the two most prominent being that red ones go faster and blue ones are lucky. The Deathskulls exemplify the latter, daubing their armour, vehicles and clothing in blue to ensure their luck will be as outrageous as they can get away with. But how does this affect ‘da Boyz in Blue’? Let’s take a look…

Blue paint is actually lucky (well, for Orks, anyway). In fact, it’s so lucky that every Deathskulls unit gets a 6+ invulnerable save! From gaining a chance to save against those pesky lascannon shots on your Deff Dreads to adding a little bit more durability on your hordes of Boyz, what’s not to love? And you get a series of auspicious re-rolls whenever you’re shootin’ or krumpin’ stuff (all the better for lootin’ their gubbinz afterwards, of course). What’s more, having “Dis is Ours! Zogg Off!” – a rule that gives you priority when you score objectives – on no less than all of your Infantry units helps you keep a control of the battlefield. Lucky gitz indeed!

Top Units

The Deathskulls know better than any that to steal something, sometimes you need to blow it up first. That’s where Tankbustas come in. Like before, they get re-rolls to hit against all Vehicles but combine them with the Wreckers Stratagem and they’ll be smashing their way through Land Raiders, Imperial Knights and any other particularly durable targets with relative ease.

Tankbustas get even deadlier when combined with the Extra Stikkbombs Stratagem. By allowing every model in the unit to throw a Grenade weapon, you’ll be able to douse the enemy in Tankbusta bombs – a deadly deluge that few could hope to survive!

Lootas are a great choice in an Ork army, thanks to their excellent long-ranged firepower. Capable of blowing apart infantry and tanks alike, these ladz are a cracking choice in the new codex and benefit enormously from a brand-new Ork Stratagem that really lets them live up to their name – Loot It:

As this Stratagem can be activated even when one of your own vehicles is destroyed, it can be surprisingly easy to utilise. This Stratagem works for most Ork infantry, but is particularly useful with Lootas, who give you a chance to recover the Command Points you just spent on it!

Scrapping vehicles, mobbing objectives and shrugging off krak missiles with nothing more than a lick of blue paint – the Deathskulls really are something. If you’re looking for a cracking all-round Clan Kultur, then like the Deathskulls themselves, you’re in luck! You’ll be able to get your hands on the Clan Kulturs for yourself soon, as Codex: Orks is available to pre-order tomorrow!

But that doesn’t mean we’re done yet – we’ve also got another preview planned for tomorrow, where we’ll be looking at the sneaky Blood Axes, so check back soon…


And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!



About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

39 Responses to “Clan Fokus: Deathskulls”

  1. Tom Sawyer October 26, 2018 9:41 am #

    Mixed feelings on this one, but I definitely think its the most unique of the traits. I could imagine a list of tankbustas and shooty killa kanz using this pretty effectively though. This trait just works so well with rokkits.

  2. Ty October 26, 2018 11:13 am #

    So my question now is how good can msu Orks be?

  3. Danny McDevitt October 26, 2018 11:18 am #

    I think this is one of the stealth good Kulturs. It has so many different abilities tied into one – and it’s amazing on the new models that are being released.

  4. rvd1ofakind October 26, 2018 11:18 am #

    Apparently you get get your transport blown up and use the Loot it stratagem on the passengers. The visual in my head is pretty fn cool, not gonna lie.

    Stompa and Gorkanaut got just completelly destroyed by those knights on stream though. And they were buffed to all hell btw (Stompa got almost 3x damage output basically). Sooooo much salt about them and buggies just getting oneshotted.

    • rvd1ofakind October 26, 2018 11:23 am #

      The salt is on stream and Dakka BTW. I’m not salty yet since I want to see all of the stuff they have first.

    • red3_standingby October 26, 2018 3:41 pm #

      I wrote a function in AnyDice to give me the damage output of a Knight against a Snakebites Stompa under a KFF. Knights really don’t hit a Stompa that hard unless it’s a Castellan using Order or Companions. Since the Stompa was revealed to have a new profile every 10 wounds we can quickly summarize it using percent chances of knocking it down a number of damage profiles or more.

      Assumptions: Castellan overcharging Cawl’s Wrath against a Snakebites Stompa under a KFF, firing both primary weapons.

      Without Order of Companions:
      • chance to deal 3 damage or less: 13.39%
      • chance to deal 1 damage profile or more: 59.35%
      • chance to deal 2 damage profiles or more: 17.02%
      • chance to deal 3 damage profiles or more: 2.29%
      • chance to kill the Stompa: 0.15%

      With Order of Companions:
      • chance to deal 3 damage or less: 0.37%
      • chance to deal 1 damage profile or more: 89.59%
      • chance to deal 2 damage profiles or more: 53% flat
      • chance to deal 3 damage profiles or more: 20.99%
      • chance to kill the Stompa: 4.22%

      So a normal Castellan overcharging Cawl’s Wrath has a pretty reasonable damage spread against it, but Order of Companions is just a stupidly powerful stratagem and I’m not sure what to do about it.

      • NinetyNineNo October 26, 2018 4:38 pm #

        Few instances in 8E are as blatant a showing of “GW can’t do math” as Order of Companions.

  5. Office Waaagh! October 26, 2018 11:36 am #

    This is an interesting one. The re-rolls and invul are the obvious draws, but getting ObSec on non-troops I think is where the money is here. ObSec Meganobz, Warboss, Nobz, etc could potentially be very challenging to get off an objective, and just moving scouts or an infantry squad or whatever into range of the objective wouldn’t cut it. And I could see some nonsense with untargetable obsec mek gun crews, especially since the re-rolls would be particularly useful for mek guns.

    Probably not the way to go with big boyz units, the Snakebites trait is probably better for them if you’re looking to give them extra staying power, but this will be a decent competitor with the Bad Moons for a support detachment.

    • Trentat October 28, 2018 6:25 am #

      Fortunately/unfortunately Mek Guns are keyword and therefore can never get access to Klan rules.

      Probably a good thing since ObSec, auto-hitting, re-roll wound, re-roll damage Traktor Cannons for same points as a Marine with a Missile Launcher might be a little much!

  6. WestRider October 26, 2018 2:48 pm #

    Very pleasantly surprised by this one. I was expecting either a 6++ or Salamanders-style re-rolls, but instead, they got the 6++, better re-rolls, and Detachment-wide ObSec!

    The re-rolls seem like a minor part of the Kultur for the most part, but they’re still definitely going to have an impact, and on stuff like Characters and Vehicles, they’re potentially amazing. 6++ is one of those “not great, but not going to complain” abilities that will save a bit of damage here and there. ObSec on non-Troops is just fantastic, makes Lootaz and Mek Gunz much better at holding backfield Objectives against the usual Outflanker or fast MSU types of things that tend to go back there, and just generally means that everything is going to be a nuisance that needs to get cleared off of Objectives. Any one of them would have been disappointing, but all three together seems pretty awesome.

    • NinetyNineNo October 26, 2018 4:40 pm #

      Disagree on the rerolls alone being disappointing. Note the wording. Salamanders get one hit OR wound reroll per unit per phase. Sa’cea get one hit reroll per unit per shooting phase. Deathskulls get one hit AND one wound AND one damage reroll per unit per phase.

      • WestRider October 26, 2018 7:55 pm #

        The rule is strictly better, yes. But in the context of an Army that mostly relies on large numbers of attacks that are individually decent but not great, each individual re-roll is worth less than it is when that re-roll is being used to increase the reliability of something like a Meltagun or Markerlight in each Unit.

        • Zweischneid October 27, 2018 1:57 pm #

          @WestRider Not even remotely true in an Army that has access to auto-hitting tractor cannons, Lol.

          Those tractor cannons auto-hitting, deathskull re-roll to wound on a -5 something, deathskull re-roll of damage on the melta-like 2D6 pick the highest, auto-exploding all vehicles it kills?

          For 45 points or so? Lol. Those Deathskull tractor beams are gonna be everywhere! Literally everywhere!!

          • Ty October 28, 2018 2:44 am

            Wait what? Did they really buff the tractor kannon that much?

          • WestRider October 29, 2018 10:31 pm

            See Trentat’s comment above. Mek Gunz don’t get Klan benefits, apparently.

          • Reecius October 30, 2018 8:05 am

            Yeah, they have the Gretchin Keyword which means no Clan Kultures. Still very good, though.

        • Zweischneid October 27, 2018 1:58 pm #

          @WestRider Not even remotely true in an Army that has access to auto-hitting tractor cannons, Lol.

          Those tractor cannons auto-hitting, deathskull re-roll to wound on a -5 something, deathskull re-roll of damage on the melta-like 2D6 pick the highest, auto-exploding all vehicles it kills?

          For 45 points or so? Lol. Those Deathskull tractor beams are gonna be everywhere! Literally everywhere!!

          Move aside Castellan, Grotesque & Grand Strategist. The newest most broken thing has arrived 🙂

          • Reecius October 30, 2018 8:51 am

            Except for the fact that it doesn’t work that way, friend. The sky is not falling, Chicken Little =)

            Traktor Kannons are good but not nearly as good as you think they are.

      • Kitani October 27, 2018 12:44 am #

        Actually, it’s EXACTLY like Salamanders, which reroll one hit AND one wound.

        • WestRider October 27, 2018 1:22 am #

          Nope, it’s still better. Deffskullz can also re-roll a Damage result, and it applies each time they shoot or fight, which makes a difference if there’s a Stratagem allowing them to do either more than once in a Phase.

          • Kitani October 30, 2018 2:27 am

            Yeah, overlooked that bit, thanks, and it’s freaking awesome.

  7. red3_standingby October 26, 2018 3:50 pm #

    This seems like the way to go for a Spearhead detachment. It gives obsec to lootas and mek gunz. It lets mek gunz become way more efficient with the reroll on hit, wound, and damage for every single gun, because they’re all individual units.

    If you’re running 3 detachments, and why wouldn’t you, make one Evil Sunz for the 8″ charge from deep strike, make one Deathskulls for the outrageously efficient mek gunz and obsec backfield lootas, then the third is a flex pick between skarboyz Goffs, shoota boyz Bad Moons and 6+++ Snakebites.

    • Reecius October 29, 2018 8:16 pm #

      The mek guns are very good, no doubt. We’ll see what f they prove to be over powered or not in time, butas you noted, there are a lot of ways to play orks effectively.

  8. NinetyNineNo October 26, 2018 4:35 pm #

    So… Strictly better Salamanders trait plus free 6++ plus ObSec on non-troop infantry, just because. This codex was a labour of love alright. Can we get the guys who worked on this one, DE and Knights to rewrite SM, CSM, GK and AdMech, for starters?

    …and Tau, please.

    • rvd1ofakind October 26, 2018 6:46 pm #

      Uh.. Hello? Daemons and Necrons?

    • Reecius October 29, 2018 7:23 pm #

      You can’t compare chapter tactics in a vacuum. It’s an incomplete picture.

  9. Don Tomaso October 28, 2018 8:45 pm #

    So, if anyone has looked in the codex yet, is the codex disparity vs the current SM garbage really THIS horrible?

    If so then chapter approved really have a gigantic mountain to climb.

    From BnC:

    “Lol having a look at the new Ork codex.

    For 4 command points you can teleport in a Gorkanaughts and then, after shooting, charge 3D6 and it has the same close combat output as an Imperial Knight.

    To put it bluntly, the Marine codex is officially so rubbish and so far behind that we’d need a new one to make this army competitive, or fun in the same way.
    There’s no fixing it. There’s only scrapping it.

    The worst thing is the codex is BORING. So damn boring. I’m currently building an AdMech and Knight army, thank God for that otherwise I simply would have no interest in the game.

    Deathskulls have the Salamanders and Iron Hands tactics rolled into one, plus ObSec on every infantry model, and the tactics apply to every unit? Simply ridiculous. “

    • Ty October 28, 2018 10:44 pm #

      A Gorkanaught does 6 damage in close combat?

      • Reecius October 29, 2018 7:12 pm #

        D6 or flat 2 with 3x as many attacks as normal.

        A Gallant has more potential damage output at greater accuracy and with better defense at not much more in points. The above post is hyperbolic.

    • Reecius October 29, 2018 7:18 pm #

      Ah yes, Don Tomato back to make a negative comment about Space Marines on an article not about Space Marines….

      And if they’re so horribly bad and unplayable please explain how I made top bracket at NOVA with a pure Marines army for the second year in a row?

      Marines have issues but they still compete. Orks are great, and they’re new so their cool combis are a bit shocking but the meta will adapt as it always does. Soon, the ork combos will be old hat and you’ll be complaining about something else being too good or too bad or whatever.

  10. rvd1ofakind October 29, 2018 11:46 pm #

    So do Mek Gunz get kulture or not? The rule says “units composed of entirelly GRETCHIN” do not get it. But it isn’t entirelly gretchin. It’s 5 Gretchin and a Vechile that is most definitelly not Gretchin because it’s a mchine and not a goblin lol

    • rvd1ofakind October 29, 2018 11:47 pm #

      PS: to all people freaking out about Traktor guns – KMKs are better against anything not -2 to hit.

      • rvd1ofakind October 30, 2018 4:50 am #

        Ok, I calculcated smasha guns and they’re almost as good damage per point as KMK (which is better than reapers, obliterators or castellan with no raven or double shoot respectivelly) and costs 2x less. That’s 6 T5 wounds for 31 pts with insane damage output (or 108 T5 wounds for 558). That’s insane.

    • Ty October 30, 2018 8:16 am #

      Does the unit have the Gretchin keyword? If so it’s gretchin.
      Vehicles also generally don’t have preffered cultural tactics lol

      • Reecius October 30, 2018 8:45 am #

        They have the Gretchin keyword, yes.

        The Grot Krew rules says you treat the gun and crew as one model for all rules purposes, and that model has the gretchin keyword.

  11. Dom Tomaso November 1, 2018 3:10 pm #

    “Ah yes, Don Tomato back to make a negative comment about Space Marines on an article not about Space Marines….

    And if they’re so horribly bad and unplayable please explain how I made top bracket at NOVA with a pure Marines army for the second year in a row?”

    Ah the geedub salesman is back whitewashing pathetically lagging shit codexes with a straight face. Cute:)

    With your track record I dont much take you seriously.
    It has been a year now and I STILL await your explanation as to why grey knight terminators and SM “templates” are “sooo strong”.

    Of course you managed the impossible and ended up 15 with a SM army or rather scout army, you know the meta inside out AND because the only thing worth taking in a SM force these days are naked scouts and guilliman and STILL no one is actually winning or consistently making top 10 with anything else then a smash captain and two scout squads as allies to something actually worth playing.

    I´m guessing you didnt win anything by taking these guys:

    So apart from you using scouts how many other SM lists not based on scout spam or allies (one smash captain and two naked scout squads in a knight list does not count) made it into top 10 at major tournaments recently?

    Are you really going to sit here and defend the shit that is the SM codex? I dare guess no articles over how much the entire book needs to be redone will ever be posted on the frontline site because people might all of a sudden buy less models.
    Strange then how GW says they will add a big fix to the crap that is the SM in the December CA, mean SM are perfectly fine and dont need any fixing..or maybe you know somehting GW dont?

    And since we are at the explain-to-me level of conversation please DO explain to me how come no SM players out there still figured out that to counter all the prevailing horde meta all they need to do is take a sooo-strong flamer in a sooo-strong tactical squad, put them in a sooo-strong drop pod and then melt all the orks away?

    I distinctly recall you telling me how dumb I was for not realizing how much flamers and whirlwind templates ROCK in this edition.

    I´m eagerly awaiting you post your winning SM lists for me to learn from, I SO wish to see how you managed to reach almost top 10 twice with units like tacticals, centurions, dreadnoughts and naturally you used a soo-strong land raider redeemer carrying terminators as a crown jewel in your list.
    “..or was it scouts scouts scouts, sniper scouts, sniper scouts, gulliman, scouts scouts aaaand a sternguard squad?”
    Hundreds of players in how-to-fix threads on dakka, bnc, fb etc eagerly await to see this thread where they will finally be shown how wrong they are about landspeeders and assault marines and pretty much everything else including their strategems not being utter trash!

    You do realize you only make a fool out of your self trying to whitewash codexes like SM because reality reasons I hope.
    I? I merely state the truth that most already agree on and call garbage for what it is, garbage in the hope of some deluded mini salesman finally getting it and there IS actually hope for you yet. After all it only took you a year to finally crawl to the cross and grudgingly admit that GKs maybe, kinda, possibly, might just be a we tad to weak. Personally, I almost choked from laughter when I saw that happen on the channel that fervently lifts everything to high heaven with endless streams of adjectives.

    Keep it up Reece and dont forget, if you use 3 “awesome” adjectives per sentence describing the tactical.-squad flamer it all of a sudden becomes so much better!

    I´m also still awaiting abusedpuppys explanation on how GKs are awesome now, been what now, half a year and still not a pip. The fb gk group is still awaiting the explanation, they are all wrong you see.
    Wonder why no talk about useless codexes here..oh right, this is a thread about orks, the latest “fun” codex that actually works so no whining about the bottom garbage soooo-strong codexes allowed. Lets not mention to people that some things are simply not worth buying no matter how many incredible adjectives you use to dress them up in.

    • Reecius November 1, 2018 3:36 pm #

      Dude, you thought the Grey Knight Terminator thing was serious? Haha, that was a running joke, friend.

      That was as far as I got, though. I don’t feel like arguing with you and didn’t bother reading any further.

      You don’t like them and think they’re bad? Fine, that’s your prerogative.

      While I feel they certainly have room for improvement (as I have said many times) I will continue to play them and both have fun and be successful in tournaments, too. You do whatever you want, bro. I am sure from your perspective, you are correct and I seem crazy, which is fine.


  12. Don Tomaso November 1, 2018 6:33 pm #

    Pity, you should really have read it, especially this post since your “fun” SM fantasies just made some in our gaming group quit the hobby while waiting for this shit being fixed.

    “Dude, you thought the Grey Knight Terminator thing was serious? Haha, that was a running joke, friend.”

    Alright I´ll give you the benefit of the doubt.
    Although..did you joke about the flamers, whirlwinds, sm templates, assault marines etc too or was it just GKT?

    “That was as far as I got, though. I don’t feel like arguing with you and didn’t bother reading any further.”

    What a surprise you decided to run away after I mentioned the worst unit in the entire 8th game: cents.
    You didnt read that hot-to-fix BnC thread I guess?
    Let me give you a little quote:

    With Las Cannon and missiles they are over 130 points each I think. I’ll need to check.
    Imagine it. a 3 wound, t5 guy with no invul and 4″ movement costing more than a Ravager lol!

    Add another 25 to that.

    You get three destroyers per centurion near as dammit.

    Ok, so just taking a Heavy Bolters puts a Centurion at 110 points!!!

    They are 155 points with las cannon and missiles. LOL it’s so much worse than I had remembered. That’s only 9 points less than An Armiger Warglaive! 5 Points less than a Custodes Biker Captain.

    They need to drop the cost by 100 points or more per MODEL. Utter crap. Do not buy unless CA reduced them to 1/3 of current cost.

    I say reduce the points by 60-80, but increase their movement values to a tac squad. Moving 4″ is awful, they should only have that move value at 1 hp

    Worst unit in the entire game? Yep lol

    “You don’t like them and think they’re bad? Fine, that’s your prerogative.”
    Of course, I just “thin” they are bad, yep, I´m SO wrong and clearly dont understand what a powerhouse the sm dex is.
    Wonder why GW themselves said they need to fix the codex when there is nothing to be fixed because you know, you happen to come in 15 with a scout spam list.

    “While I feel they certainly have room for improvement (as I have said many times) I will continue to play them and both have fun and be successful in tournaments, too. ”

    Define improvement?
    Most people think they need the whole codex redone.
    Besides, I am a warhammer fanatic and there is NOTHING fun about playing pure SM competitive right now. As a matter of fact I actually quit the game and so did two of my 40k friends. We dont have a hundred different armies to choose from and we are all waiting for the SM to be fixed because no matter how many adjectives and pathetic whitewashing excuses you babble up, the codex stinks!
    Yep, quitting the gaming, just painting and waiting for sm to be fixed. How´s that “fun” for you?

    Guess it hurts to hear the truth of the garbage codex when you were the one helping make it but if you help remake it instead of hiding behind lame excuses that everybody else is wrong then I´m sure it will both help the game AND your sales in the end.


    Get back to me when you manage to crawl up a 15 placement not using scouts. You DO know there are other units in the SM dex right? Wonder why you dont use them, everything is sooo strong after all.


    • Jace November 1, 2018 8:26 pm #

      Yeesh you’re a wanker.

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