Playing Deathwing: Getting Comfortable with the Army

Hey everyone, Reecius here with another update on learning to play my new Deathwing army!

For those of you that have been following, I have been blogging about my new Deathwing army, how it plays, getting the list tuned up, etc. I managed to get another game in last night against a nasty triple Lord of Skulls list which was a good test for my army’s capabilities.

Here is my opponent’s list from memory:

  • Iron Warriors
  • Lord Discordant
  • Master of Possession
  • Cultists x 10
  • Defiler
  • Defiler
  • Lord of Skulls
  • Lord of Skulls
  • Lord of Skulls

Here’s my current list:

  • Deathwing Vanguard
  • Starting CP: 4 (lol)
  • Belial
  • Master of Sanctity: Wise Orator
  • Deathwing Terminators x 10: Cyclone x 2, L.Caws on Sarge
  • Deathwing Terminators x 10: Cyclone, Assault Cannon, L.Caws on Sarge
  • Deathwing Knights x 7
  • Deathwing Command Squad x 2, T.Hammer/S.Shield x 2
  • Deathwing Command Squad x 2
  • Deathwing Command Squad x 2
  • Ravenwing Apothecary: Chief Apothecary, Reliquary of the Repentant, Selfless Healer
  • Deathwing Champion: Chapter Champion, Martial Exemplar, Key of Achrabael
  • Deathwing Ancient: Chapter Ancient, Steadfast Example, Pennant of Remembrance

This was a really intimidating list to play against and to be frank, I didn’t really know what to do against it other than to get my Termies into melee with it as fast as possible.

I deployed on the line in my now standard deployment and my opponent did the same thing. I stuck my two objective grabbing units near objectives. We rolled for it and my opponent won the roll and opted to go first.

I have never played against this list and was pretty shocked at the firepower it sent downfield. The big boys hitting on 2’s and re-rolling 1’s to hit and wound is no joke! They let me have it with buckets of dice and one of the Lords made it into combat. When the dust settled I had lost 6 Terminators. Again, the army wide Transhuman, high armor and 5+++ is just so tough. You make just 1 or 2 of those FnP saves and a single Termie can eat multiple high damage shots before going down. As you reduce so much damage between the 4+ to wound and high saves, by the time you get to the damage rolls the FnP just squelches any real output.

The Apothecary did what he do, and healed a Terminator and brought another back to life. I fired 2 Cyclones and all available Storm Bolters into the DiscoLord and damn near killed him, then my boys went into my opponent’s army in hand to hand and dropped the hammer of god on them, lol. A full unit of Terminators hit a Lord of Skulls and thanks to some below average saves on my opponent’s part, destroyed him in one round of combat. With all of the crazy buffs you can put on the Termies they get crazy powerful with bonuses to hit, re-rolls, bonuses to wound, etc. It’s wild.


I dropped the second Lord to a single wound in the same round of combat, just failing to kill him and he swung into Belial with a whopping 24 attacks but didn’t manage to kill him! That was a rough turn for my opponent and really illustrated the durability of the Deathwing.

My opponent was now in all the way and so had to commit to the fight and sent in the house on his turn 2. He managed to kill another 5 Terminators and when his wounded Lord of Skulls exploded, dealt another 15-20 mortal wounds between our two armies, it was crazy. I have to say, and have said before, I really do not like the explode rules. It’s just too swingy. I think if it were just wounds, not mortal wounds, it would be a lot fairer and have less of an impact on close games.

My turn 2, the Deathwing Knights came in and I pressed into the scrum hard. With all of my characters still alive, the Hammer Command Squad, 5 remaining Deathwing Terminators and now the Deathwing Knights, the force was overwhelming and I smashed through the last Lord, the Discolord and 1 of the Defilers. We called it at that point as my opponent only had a few models left.

We both agreed he should have stayed away from me and shot as he had massively more firepower than I did. He would have given up board control but could have whittled me down before committing to the assault and doing so all at once instead of in waves. That would have given him far better odds of winning. The insane durability of the Deathwing is no joke, I was taking massive punishment and just shrugging it off. If you can somehow take out the Ancient and/or Apothecary they become vastly easier to kill. However, thanks to the Command Squad’s ability to make them untargetable in the shooting phase if within 3″, that is not easy to do.

And again, with the layered buffs available to me, the offensive power is crazy with this army. You just obliterate things. Even the shooting is strong despite it being just a few units that really shoot. I am seriously tempted to go all Tactical Terminators as their firepower is wild. Once you get into melee, nothing I have encountered so far has stood up to them, not even close. With the Apothecary also having a -1 invul aura (lol, why?) and the high AP of the weapons, it tends to be a slaughter.

Now, I am still learning how to play 9th again, and my opponents aren’t used to playing against Deathwing, but it sure seems like this army is a real deal power list to me so far. What do you all think?


About Reecius

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

4 Responses to “Playing Deathwing: Getting Comfortable with the Army”

  1. Avatar
    Casey H December 18, 2020 4:53 pm #

    I’m happy to have sent you FLG folks a clarifying Q some weeks back about my DW army, thus establishing the time-line of being an early bird bandwagoner, instead of eye-balling things and seeing whether Reece’s army would crash and burn.

    Plus, most of my DW termies are 30 years old. I’m dang happy to make an army with them again! Now, gimme a teacher-pushed covid vaccination and masked opponents ….



    • Reecius
      Reecius December 19, 2020 7:45 am #

      You were a true trend setter =)

  2. Avatar
    Jochem January 13, 2021 10:26 am #

    Nice list but you can only use hero of the chapter twice

    • Reecius
      Reecius January 13, 2021 11:54 am #

      Yeah, for sure got that wrong.

Leave a Reply