Psychic Awakening: Deathwatch

G-dubs brings us a preview of the upcoming Psychic Awakening updates for the mighty Deathwatch!

Across the run of the Psychic Awakening books, almost every Warhammer 40,000 faction has had its time in the spotlight as the narrative of a galaxy in turmoil has encompassed them. As well as the story, each faction has received rules updates to give you more options on the battlefield.

Two factions – the Deathwatch and the Harlequins – aren’t in the books, but remain forces to be reckoned with. As such, they’re getting new rules like everyone else, but in their case across two issues of White Dwarf. First up are the xenos-hunting Space Marines of the Deathwatch, coming your way in White Dwarf 453. Let’s take a look at what’s coming.

The Imperium’s Elite

This update brings the Deathwatch in line with the rest of their Adeptus Astartes brothers. They gain the Angels of Death suite of abilities, including Shock Assault, Bolter Discipline and Combat Doctrines. 

Gaining Combat Doctrines is a big win for the Deathwatch – especially with the additional AP that each of the doctrines gives to various weapons. Coupled with special issue ammunition, this tactical flexibility makes your Deathwatch fearsome opponents indeed. This is only enhanced by their new Stratagems, which are the same ones gained by other Chapters, putting the Deathwatch on par with the rest of their brethren.

Stratagems of the Long Watch

Each of these new options enhances a particular Deathwatch unit in various ways, reflecting their veteran status and elite abilities. Duty Eternal, for example, allows your Dreadnoughts to stride through hails of enemy fire virtually unscathed, while Veteran Fury gives Terminators +1 to hit on all attacks for an entire phase.

Your Intercessors have a trio of Stratagems that give each of their bolt rifles additional abilities. Boltstorm gives auto bolt rifles automatic hits within half range, while Intercessors with stalker bolt rifles can fire at Characters and cause mortal wounds using Target Sighted. Rapid Fire turns bolt rifles into Rapid Fire 2 weapons, doubling the firepower of a squad armed with them – and with Bolter Discipline and the Tactical Doctrine active, this doubles again at close range, for a storm of armour-piercing shots that few foes will survive.

This is just a taster of the 14 Stratagems that will give your Deathwatch a plethora of additional tactical options. Many of them can be further enhanced by the six new Litanies of Battle that Deathwatch Chaplains will have access to. Your close-range bolt rifle volleys will benefit from the +1 to wound that Catechism of Fire provides, or +1 to hit from the Recitation of Focus, while other litanies will allow more reliable charges, enhanced melee ability or even the ability to shrug off mortal wounds.

Finally, the update gives Deathwatch Intercessor Sergeants new weapons options, including hand flamers, power fists and thunder hammers, providing you with loads of new tools to use in purging the xenos from the Imperium!


You’ll get hold of these rules in White Dwarf 453, which will be on sale in digital form on the 2nd of May. If you want to plan a Deathwatch army, you can download the eBook of the codex now and pick up Virtual Vouchers to start buying your army when the webstore is back up and running – and for every £50 of vouchers you buy, we’ll give you an additional £5! Check out the offer now.

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

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12 Responses to “Psychic Awakening: Deathwatch”

  1. Avatar
    NinetyNineNo April 11, 2020 8:52 am #

    Well that’s a kick in the nuts. Doesn’t bode well for the clowns.

  2. Avatar
    Spera April 11, 2020 4:40 pm #

    I can’t understand what are peopple complaing about. Death watch was already good, their only problem was that marines outclassed them and now it’s gone with them getting sm2.0 stuff like doctrines. With updating their stuff they’ll get a lot of power, and the didn’t need much…
    And they haven’t shown what unique things they did get.

    • Avatar
      nschattman April 11, 2020 7:50 pm #

      I think the concern is that they will get little if anything that is “new” or unique to Deathwatch.

    • Avatar
      Ohlmann April 12, 2020 1:39 am #

      Honestly, when everything in the preview is old stuff, you can bet there won’t be much new stuff.

      Also, honestly, the deathwatch is a faction that should go away. There’s too many armies whose entire pitch is “marine, but eliter”, when marines are already supposed to be the elite.

      • Avatar
        abusepuppy April 12, 2020 7:50 am #

        Tempestus Scions, the elite fighting force of humanity.
        Space Marines, the eliter fighting force of post-humanity.
        Deathwatch, the even more eliter fighting force of veteran marines.
        Grey Knights, the elitest of the elite secret brotherhood of supermarines.
        Adeptus Custodes, the elitest elites who ever elited an elite in the halls of elitism.

        And coming this fall: Adeptus Primarches, the very elitest eliters who elite even harder than any elite has ever elited in this elite elite of elite eliteness elite elite elite elite elite.

      • Avatar
        Spera April 12, 2020 12:16 pm #

        Well yes, but actually no. They cold go route of making them feel more like kill teams. And that would make them different enough form other elites.

    • Avatar
      red3_standingby April 12, 2020 5:05 pm #

      “and they haven’t shown what unique things they did get.”

      That’s the problem. 14 stratagems is the typical amount that is shared between the marine codices. Same with 6 litanies. Those two numbers tell us that they aren’t getting any unique strats or a unique litany.

      Add onto that no mention of a super doctrine, relics, warlord traits, psychic powers, or access to new units like impulsors or phobos marines. I’d bet anyone right now that Deathwatch are getting literally nothing unique to them, which would also explain why they’re not getting their own book.

      • Avatar
        red3_standingby April 12, 2020 5:15 pm #

        If DW can just get a super doctrine, access to phobos marines and impulsors; and a rewrite of SIA that lets the AP stack with combat doctrines then I can be happy. I don’t need a unique litany, unique psychic discipline, or unique stratagems, even though every other marine army has these. It’s not much to ask for, but I’m fully prepared to be disappointed.

        • Michael Corr
          Michael Corr April 14, 2020 3:31 am #

          Even if the AP bonus of Doctrines and SIA stack, they are going to be pretty worthless for most ammo types on Intercessors. You are better using Hellfire all the time, as Kraken and Vengeance are already maxed out on Vengeance rounds. Though the assault options do get a lot more interesting!

  3. Michael Corr
    Michael Corr April 14, 2020 3:29 am #

    I’m pretty sure the Deathwatch aren’t going to get anything new at all from these updates.

    • Avatar
      Zweischneid April 14, 2020 5:58 am #

      Just the preview alone is 5 more stratagems then Drukhari or Ynnari got …. lol

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