Chapter Approved 2019: Deathwatch Changes

Hi everyone, Michael here to take a look at what the changes in Chapter Approved 2019 mean for the Deathwatch. For more reviews and analyses, check out the Tactics Corner.

I eagerly grabbed my copy of Chapter Approved 2019 to see what changes were in store for one of my favourite armies, the Deathwatch. There were some very interesting changes for the boys in black and silver with the points updated.

While the Deathwatch have been overtaken in some aspects by the new Marine Codex and supplements, there is still a lot of fun to be had with the army, and the new changes should help them even further in boosting their offensive potential on the tabletop. Let’s take a look at some of the main points changes for the Deathwatch in Chapter Approved 2019.

Storm Bolter Veterans

A Deathwatch Veteran armed with a Storm Bolter has dropped from 18 pts to 16 pts (or 18 pts with a Storm Shield). As one of the premier units for the Deathwatch, any reduction in points cost for the Storm Bolter Veterans is a big boost to the army. Coupled with Special Issue Ammuniton, the Storm Bolter Veterans can still put out an incredible amount of strong firepower on the tabletop.

The reduced cost of the Drop Pod is also a big boost for the Deathwatch Veterans. You can put a unit of 9 Veterans with Storm Bolters and Storm Shields, along with a support character in a Drop Pod. Not only does this allow you to drop the Veteran Squad on turn 1, you also save 2 precious CP from having to use the Teleportarium stratagem for the two units. The downside of this is that you cannot include a Vanguard Veteran or Terminator in the Veteran squad, which does limit their utility somewhat.

Watch Master

The Watch Master got a 15 pts reduction to 115 pts. This character is a must-have for the Deathwatch army, giving you re-rolls to hit within 6″, as well as putting out some decent firepower and combat ability. Getting a points reduction makes him an even better bargain in the list.

Smash Captain

With the Thunder Hammer going up to 40 pts for characters, the Deathwatch Smash Captain goes up to 143 pts. I still think he is worth it in most lists, giving the Deathwatch a powerful melee character, but you will need to find the extra points to get him in your list.

Heavy Thunder Hammer

The Heavy Thunder Hammer gets a much needed points reduction, going from 30 points(!), down to 18 pts. At its previous cost, this item was pretty much useless and never really saw play in most lists.

However, the combination of Shock Assault and the price reduction means that this is now a viable option for adding some strong melee punch to your Deathwatch squads. At only 2 points more than a regular Thunder Hammer, the additional damage of the Heavy Thunder Hammer is definitely worth considering on a melee unit. Half the time you are going to be doing more damage than a regular Thunder Hammer, but it is going to be very frustrating when you get a wound through and roll a 1 or 2 for the damage.

Corvus Blackstar

The Corvus dropped 10 points in Chapter Approved. A great model, but still not worth taking, in my opinion.


The Stalker Boltgun dropped from 4 pts to only 1 point in Chapter Approved. This is a great gun to equip to backfield objective holding units in the army. As you can no longer use Bolter Discipline with the Special Issue Ammunition, the Stalker Boltgun gives you the ability to put out a reasonable level of firepower with a 5-man squad sitting in your deployment zone, as well as getting the benefits of special issue ammunition in addition to their increased AP.

The Frag Cannon also dropped to 20 pts. This Frag Cannon has seen some reduction in play due to the changes to reserves not allowing you to fire the Frag rounds when deploying from the Teleportarium or a Drop Pod. However, it does give you some medium range anti-tank firepower, as well as proving a useful deterrent to charging units, thanks to its automatic hits. Sticking one in a Drop Pod Kill Team will discourage enemy units from assaulting you.


The Deathwatch got some nice points reductions in Chapter Approved 2019, which should help give them a little boost. The already great Storm Bolter Kill Team got a nice reduction in points, as well as the ever useful Watch Master. I think Heavy Thunder Hammers could prove to be a useful addition to the army now, thanks to the bonus attacks from Shock Assault, as well as a hefty points reduction. Add in a Chaplain or Watch Master for some re-rolls, and these Veterans could do a lot of damage to enemy vehicles and monsters.

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



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.

7 Responses to “Chapter Approved 2019: Deathwatch Changes”

  1. Fred F December 12, 2019 7:14 am #

    It’s frustrating the Heavy Thunder Hammer can’t go on a Black Shield or Sergeant. They have 1 more attack than the Vanguard or regular Vet. The biggest lose in taking a HTH is losing another storm bolter from the squad and another source of 3++

    The Intercessor Bolt Rifle has gone from 1pt to 0. That saves a few points.

    I’m not sure the Thunder Hammer is worth it on the Captain anymore. Deathwatch are already scrapping for points and that’s a big increase. Just 2 TH’s on Captain costs as much as the entire army savings from Storm Bolters. Also I think combi-bolters went down as well. I’m not 100% sure about that though.

    When I was doing well with DW, it was a horde meta and everyone didn’t have -2 ap guns. Marines with doctrines means there are a ton of -2 guns out there. I jumped ship to marines, but still look back fondly on my Men in Black.

    • Michael Corr December 12, 2019 7:58 am #

      Intercessors have gotten a little cheaper too, not huge savings, but decent for a squad.

      It would be great to have the Heavy Thunder Hammer on a Sergeant or Black Shield. The loss of the Storm Bolter loses a lot of firepower, but I was thinking you could give it to a squad of Vanguard Veterans or the Vanguard Veteran in the mixed squad, as then you are not really losing out on the firepower.

      The price jump for the smash Captain is pretty hefty. I still think he is worth it in some lists, as he can deal with a lot of threats that Deathwatch don’t have an easy answer for, such as vehicles and Knights (outside of Forgeworld).

      • Fred F December 12, 2019 11:25 am #

        Interesting idea of the HTH on a squad of Vanguard Vets. Maybe a 5-man squad with 2 hammers and 3 storm shields. Kind of a hit squad.

    • Ubersonic May 2, 2020 3:11 am #

      It’s even more frustrating that GW’s official guide to building a DW kill team from 2016 still has a Black Shield with Heavy Thunder Hammer as one of it’s example models, you think they would update/remove it as they know people are buying the kit and building this unusable model >.>

      • Zweischneid May 2, 2020 11:19 am #


        Just like there is an explicit build to the brand new Banshee kit allowing you to build them without a Banshee mask (advertised as on Warhammer Community as a Ynnari-unique variant), yet there are no rules to actually field Banshees without masks (Ynnari or otherwise).

        It happens.

        • abusepuppy May 4, 2020 6:36 am #

          Not every modeling option is reflected in the rules.

  2. Bryan December 21, 2019 2:34 pm #

    It’s interesting to note that you get the bolter half of any combi weapons for free. Including the heavy bolter half of the infernus hb.

    Also you can get 4 vanguard with the same load out as a smash captain or hth’s and save 3 points. Not sure if that’s better since they can’t hide as easily, don’t hit as often, and lose attacks as they take damage. On the other hand it’s 8 more attacks on the charge (11 more if you include the 5th vanguard for a full squad. )

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