Dark Angels Review: Heavy Support: Devastator Squad

Hi everyone, Michael here with a review of the Dark Angels Devastator Squad. For more reviews and analyses, check out the Tactics Corner.

Overview:

The Devastator Squad provides the Heavy Support firepower for the Space Marine army. They are an infantry unit designed to specialise in long range warfare, punishing the enemy army with their superior firepower and providing valuable support for the frontal assault units in the Chapter.

On the tabletop, the Devastator Squad is a great source of long ranged firepower for your army. They can function well enough on their own and can be armed with a variety of Heavy Weapons in order to perform a variety of battlefield roles. The Chapter Tactics of the Dark Angels are a huge benefit for the Devastator Squad, providing some strong buffs that do not require you having nearby characters to get the most out of the unit.

The squad consists of one Space Marine Sergeant and four Space Marines, with the option to increase the squad size up to 10. Each Marine costs 13 points (so 65 points for the basic squad).

I would give the Dark Angels Devastator Squad the Competitive rating. They provide a nice and cheap source of long ranged firepower for the Dark Angels army. While their damage output can be boosted by nearby buffing characters, thanks to their special rules, they can function well on their own and still support your army with some potent firepower.

Wargear:

  • Boltgun
  • Bolt Pistol
  • Frag and Krak Grenades
  • The Sergeant may replace his Boltgun with items from the Sergeant Equipment list.
  • Up to four Space Marines may replace their Boltguns with an item from the Heavy Weapons list (Grav-cannon and Grav-amp, Heavy Bolter, Lascannon, Missile Launcher, Multi-melta, Plasma Cannon).
  • The squad may be accompanied by an Armorium Cherub.

Abilities:

  • And They Shall Know No Fear
  • Combat Squads- Before any models are deployed, a Devastator Squad containing 10 models may be split into two units of 5 models.
  • Signum- Before the unit shoots in the shooting phase, you may choose one model within 3″ of the Sergeant. You can add 1 to the hit rolls for that model during the phase.
  • Armorium Cherub- Once per game, after a model in the unit has fired, an Armorium Cherub will allow the model to immediately shoot again. The Cherub is ignored for the purposes of morale.
  • Grim Resolve- You can re-roll hit rolls of 1 for this unit whenever it shoots (including overwatch) if it did not move in its prior movement phase. In addition, this unit can never lose more than a single model due to a failed morale test.
  • Keywords: Imperium, Adeptus Astartes, Dark Angels, Infantry, Devastator Squad.

Tactics:

The Dark Angels Devastator Squad functions much in the same was as the Space Marine Devastator Squad. You can check out the review to familiarise yourself with their abilities and playstyle and prevent too much repetition here. This review will focus more on the benefits of the Dark Angels Devastator squad and the different stratagems and unit synergies they can gain access to.

The Grim Resolve Chapter Tactics really boost the abilities of the Dark Angels Devastator squad. As the squad will want to remain stationary to fire most turns, you will get to re-roll failed to hit rolls of 1, allowing you to re-roll half your failed hits in most cases. This is a great boost for the unit, essentially giving you a free Captain-type re-roll without having to have a character babysitting the squad.

The morale bonuses are also great for the Dark Angels. For the majority of Space Marine units, you will want to keep the squad size at 5 to essentially negate the effects of morale for the squad. With the Dark Angels, you can never lose more than a single model to a failed morale test. This allows you to increase the squad size of the Devastators if you wish, supplying you with some nice ablative wounds to keep your Sergeant and valuable Heavy Weapons alive for longer from the enemy firepower or melee attacks.

I think the Dark Angels Chapter Tactics are some of the best for the Devastator Squad, right up there with Salamanders and Raven Guard, at least for me. These two huge buffs give the Dark Angels Devastator squad some strong buffs to their firepower and durability.

Grim Resolve, combined with the Signum, makes one weapon in the squad incredibly accurate. It allows one Heavy Weapon to hit on a 2+, re-rolling 1’s to hit if they do not move. This makes that one Heavy Weapon an almost guaranteed hit on an enemy unit that does not have any negative to hit modifiers. This is a great weapon to use on some mortal wound dealing stratagems.

For example, on a Heavy Bolter, you can use Hellfire Shells to fire a single shot that hits on a 2+ re-rollable and does D3 mortal wounds. Used in combination with the Armorium Cherub, and you are almost guaranteed to get 2D3 mortal wounds on a unit in the enemy army. This can equally be used on a Missile Launcher with the Flakk Missile stratagem, making this very good for taking wounds from an enemy flyer. With the bonus from the Signum and Flakk Missile, you will still be hitting Flyers on a 2+ re-rollable in most cases, dealing mortal wounds to the enemy unit.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Dark Angels Devastators do very well when armed with Plasma Cannons. Thanks to the inherent re-roll of 1’s to hit, overcharging their Plasma Cannon shots is less likely to kill off your Devastators, without needing a Master to stay nearby to give them re-rolls to hit. This gets even better when combined with Weapons of the Dark Age, adding 1 to the damage of any Plasma Weapons in the unit. A unit with 4 Plasma Cannons can potentially put out 12 Plasma shots doing 3 damage each with the stratagem. That has the potential to do 36 wounds in a single turn! Highly unlikely in most situations, but still very strong damage output against units lacking a strong invulnerable save.

Remember, with the Signum in effect, it is impossible for one of the Devastators to be slain, as they cannot roll a 1 to hit without any negative modifiers, helping to keep at least one of them alive for a bit longer. With a unit of Plasma Cannons, it can be worth giving the Sergeant a Combi-Plasma as well. This maximises your damage output and use for the Weapons of the Dark Age stratagem, although he may be out of range of some targets that the Plasma Cannons can reach. Also worth note is that using the Signum no longer prevents the Sergeant from shooting (a hold over from 7th edition that many players still use), so your Combi-weapon shot will not be wasted.

Stratagems

As well as the every useful Auspex Scan, Hellfire Shells and Flakk Missile Stratagems, the Dark Angels have access to a few more that will be of use to the Devastator Squad.

As mentioned above, Weapons of the Dark Age is a great stratagem on units armed with Plasma Weaponry. Going up to three damage with each wound is a great boost for taking out vehicles or multi-wound models. Added to the increased safety on overcharging for units that did not move, this unit can put out a lot of damage on enemy units.

Intractable is another fantastic stratagem that the Devastators may be able to benefit from. This allows a unit to fall back and still shoot in the shooting phase for 2CP. This stops your opponent from tying up the Devastator squad in combat, as you can fall back and unload your heavy weapons at them at point blank range.

Unit Synergy

There are a number of units that come boost the abilities of the Devastator Squad, some Dark Angels specific.

A Lieutenant is a great accompanying unit for the Devastator Squad. With their inherent re-rolls of 1’s to hit from not moving, a re-roll of 1’s to wound will help the unit maximise their damage potential each turn.

Azrael also makes a great support character for a unit of Devastators. Not only does he provide them with full re-rolls to hit, he also gives them a 4+ invulnerable save, greatly boosting their durability. He also serves as a potent melee threat and could potentially dissuade opportunistic assaults to stop the unit from firing in the following turn, as a heroic intervention from Azrael can pack a big punch in combat.

A Ravenwing Darkshroud also helps with the durability of the Devastator Squad, proving -1 to hit for nearby units. This makes the unit safer from enemy firepower, while they aim their own potent firepower at the foe.

Overall

The Dark Angels Devastator Squad is a strong addition to the Dark Angels army. Even without buffing characters or stratagems, their inherent abilities make them a reliable choice for strong, long-range firepower.

In addition, you don’t need to max out on Heavy Weapons or squad size to have an effective unit. I frequently run a 5-man Devastator Squad with a single Heavy Bolter and Armorium Cherub in my army. This comes in at only 80 pts, but provides a great backfield unit for sitting in cover and holding an objective. The Heavy Bolter can reliably put mortal wounds on an enemy unit each turn using the Hellfire Shells stratagem, as long as you have command points to keep feeding it.

A unit or two of Devastators forms a solid base for a Dark Angels gunline. If they stay stationary each turn, they provide some solid firepower with increased accuracy over regular Space Marine Devastators.

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

secondhandhsop

 

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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.

9 Responses to “Dark Angels Review: Heavy Support: Devastator Squad”

  1. Ste November 12, 2018 11:38 am #

    I use a five man plasma squad, a five man dev squad and a lieutenant. I keep going back and forth between combi-plasma and stock bolter on the sergeant. It adds that little extra fire power, but when I use them the devs always draw fire and the sergeant is the first to go so it feels like a waste of points.

    The safer option is giving a lieutenant a combi-plasma. It ends up being either/or with the point I have spare.

    • Reecius
      Reecius November 12, 2018 12:29 pm #

      I like to take 7 strong Dev squads if I am using 4 heavy weapons for just that reason. They always get targeted first and you need to be able to soak up some damage without sacrificing the good models.

      • Michael Corr
        Michael Corr November 13, 2018 1:28 am #

        Yeah, a few ablative wounds can make a big difference to a Devastator squad. Just an extra turn of all those heavy weapons firing can have a big impact.

        • Reecius
          Reecius November 13, 2018 7:15 am #

          Indeed, and Marines in cover are not easy to kill in most instances. Particularly with someone like Azrael around.

          • Michael Corr
            Michael Corr November 13, 2018 7:16 am
            #

            He is amazing. Makes a big unit of Hellblasters very viable for Dark Angels (especially when added to the Weapons of the Dark Age stratagem).

          • Reecius
            Reecius November 13, 2018 8:08 am
            #

            Yeah, at the tournament I was at last weekend, my unit of Meganobz went from 10 to like 2 from a single round of shooting from Inceptors with the 3 damage plasma…brutal, lol.

  2. T-Dox November 13, 2018 2:59 am #

    Great write-up. I really enjoy the tactic posts.
    One thing though: overcharged plasma kills on a natural one, so the +1 from the signum doesn’t help. Or was this errata’d?

    • Icoop November 13, 2018 6:45 am #

      From “Designer’s Notes”
      “Q: When making a hit roll with a
      supercharged plasma weapon, do you
      determine whether a ‘1’ was rolled before
      or after applying re-rolls and modifiers?
      A: You apply all re-rolls and modifiers first.
      For example, if, after re-rolls and modifiers,
      the final result is then a 1 (or counts as a 1, as
      explained above), then the supercharged plasma
      weapon injures or kills the firer.”

      • Michael Corr
        Michael Corr November 13, 2018 7:15 am #

        Yeah, you determine the ‘1’ to hit after modifiers have been applied. This is what makes overcharging Plasma more dangerous when firing at units with negative “to hit” modifiers.

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