The ultimate DA build?

5th Edition

Deathwing and Ravenwing
Deathwing terminators: still considered the best DA infantry option.
Models by Bevulf.

Anyone heavily involved with the serious business of 40K gaming will get to see a lot of army lists and a lot of talk as to what works best and why. It's quite interesting to see certain builds coming to light and working well competitively.

In what must be considered the Autumn of 5th Edition, one of the most popular DA builds that is gaining increasing traction and considered by many to be playing to our strengths from the 4th Edition Codex + Jan 2012 FAQ is the one detailed below. Essentially a DA 'ultimate' list for want of a better expression? Obviously your local meta game or a specific opponent must always inform your list-building, but as a starting point the below currently isn't a bad place to be.

List 1: 2000 points

UnitPoints
Belial
w/ th/ss
130
Deathwing Terminator Squad 1
1 x cyclone/th/ss, 1 x th/ss [apoth], 1 x th/ss [banner], 1 x th/ss, 1 x sb/cf
295
Deathwing Terminator Squad 2
1 x cyclone/sb/pf, 1 x sb/pf, 1 x sb/cf, 2 x th/ss
240
Deathwing Terminator Squad 3
1 x cyclone/sb/pf, 1 x sb/pf, 1 x sb/cf, 2 x th/ss
240
Deathwing Terminator Squad 4
1 x cyclone/sb/pf, 1 x sb/pf, 1 x sb/cf, 2 x th/ss
240
Deathwing Terminator Squad 5
1 x cyclone/sb/pf, 1 x sb/pf, 1 x sb/cf, 2 x th/ss
240
Land speeder Typhoon
w/ multi-melta
75
Land speeder Typhoon
w/ multi-melta
75
Land speeder Typhoon
w/ multi-melta
75
Predator
w/ autocannon turret, lascannon sponsons
130
Predator
w/ autocannon turret, lascannon sponsons
130
Predator
w/ autocannon turret, lascannon sponsons
130
  2000

List 2: 1500 points

Three Typhoons and a lonely Pred.

UnitPoints
Belial
w/ th/ss
130
Deathwing Terminator Squad 1
1 x cyclone/th/ss, 1 x th/ss [apoth], 1 x th/ss [banner], 1 x th/ss [banner], 1 x sb/cf
295
Deathwing Terminator Squad 2
1 x cyclone/sb/pf, 1 x sb/pf, 1 x sb/cf, 2 x th/ss
240
Deathwing Terminator Squad 3
1 x cyclone/sb/pf, 1 x sb/pf, 1 x sb/cf, 2 x th/ss
240
Deathwing Terminator Squad 4
1 x cyclone/sb/pf, 1 x sb/pf, 1 x sb/cf, 2 x th/ss
240
Land speeder Typhoon
w/ multi-melta
75
Land speeder Typhoon
w/ multi-melta
75
Land speeder Typhoon
w/ multi-melta
75
Predator
w/ autocannon turret, lascannon sponsons
130
  1500

Just watch the lone Pred doesn't get canned too early!

List 3: 1500 points

A cheeky number with two Preds and two Typhoons.

UnitPoints
Belial
w/ th/ss
130
Deathwing Terminator Squad 1
1 x cyclone/th/ss, 1 x th/ss [apoth], 2 x th/ss, 1 x sb/cf
270
Deathwing Terminator Squad 2
1 x cyclone/sb/pf, 1 x sb/pf, 1 x sb/cf, 2 x th/ss
240
Deathwing Terminator Squad 3
1 x cyclone/sb/pf, 1 x sb/pf, 1 x sb/cf, 2 x th/ss
240
Deathwing Terminator Squad 4
1 x cyclone/sb/pf, 1 x sb/pf, 1 x sb/cf, 2 x th/ss
240
Land speeder Typhoon
w/ multi-melta
75
Land speeder Typhoon
w/ multi-melta
75
Predator
w/ autocannon turret, lascannon sponsons
130
Predator
w/ autocannon turret, heavy bolter sponsons, dozer blade
100
  1500

If you want to run with the Deathwing Company banner in the 1500 list you can, but you will need to downgrade the lascannon sponsons to heavy bolters. In balanace the lascannons are actually more useful as they give the list something that Deathwing squads can't offer — long range high str shots.

Under the bonnet

What's interesting in these lists is the lack of Dreadnoughts (previously the least expensive fire-support unit available as a DW unit). Things have moved on. Pure Deathwing has kind of died a death in 5th Edition + 4th Edition codex in the more competitive gaming environments in favour of a more pragmatic approach to picking the best options available to the DA as a whole. Hence the lack of both Dreadnoughts and Land Raiders.

That death was first forced upon us by the necessity to include Ravenwing teleport homer bikes for less risky Deathwing Assault. And that has now further blossomed into a confident, true DA build cherry-picking the best from the complete toolbox.

And one can see why as all the improved list items from the Jan 2012 FAQ are spammed: thunder hammers/storm shields; Typhoons, currently one of the cheapest in 40K; cyclone missle launchers, currently the cheapest in the game. Predators aren't improved and remain more expensive than their C:SM counterparts yet still offer a good mobile weapons chassis able to cope with a wide variety of targets while pumping out a wall of shots. They offer better value than Dreadnoughts but lack cc capability, unless you consider Tank Shock! a kind of equivalent.

The three Typhoons are interesting in that they can be easy Kill points. But one must offset that against their damage potential early in the game. It's interesting to see that they are considered a better option and for more points, than a 3-bike Ravenwing suicide squadron (melta guns) plus Attack bike.

Tactically from the Troops slots point of view, it isn't a particularly mobile list, unless you get ahead and chance the DW squads to non-homered Deathwing Assault. And that lack of mobility can hamper in some scenarios and match ups.

What this list has…

Guts

All infantry Fearless. All infantry intimidating, particularly deepstruck right into the enemies' faces.

Firepower

And most at table-width 48" range too. For instance the second 1500 point list (List 3) could chuck out 12 missile shots, 6 heavy bolter shots, 2 lascannon shots, 4 x autocannon shots, 2 multi-melta shots and 20 storm bolter shots — most of that on the move — per turn. OK so you aren't going to outgun Imperial Guard but not bad for an essentially Deathwing-centred build.

Cheeky sniping

That's what that 48" weaponry is for. Deploy tanks and Typhoons in cover, and get firing early. Later in the game use the skimmers' speed to position for side armour shots. The same with the Deathwing squads. Even in the 1500 lists you can deploy two squads and put two in reserve (not the most efficient split granted) to get some of those cyclones firing. Don't worry about the storm bolters initially as you might never, or rarely, get to fire them — they are there to help soften before assault.

Infantry durability

Thanks to a combination of termy armour and storm shields. Use cover wisely.

Leadership

LD10 across the board thanks to Belial's Rites of Battle.

What this list lacks…

Psychic defence/offence

No Librarian. No inbuilt psychic ability.

Bodies

Meaning a lack of wounds. Relying mostly on the 2+/5++ or 3++. Apart from the tanks, everything's vulnerble to massed small arms fire.

Transports

The choice here is footslog or Deathwing Assault. No cocooning within transports for a turn or two. Hence a lack of speed from the Troop units. But, they can walk and shoot their heavy weapons which is something. They can Run! too, but you waste shooting so only use it when there is absolutely nothing to shoot at.

Scoring units

All builds suffer from being outnumbered by opponents' scoring units. Not necessarily a disadvantage providing you can keep yours alive and mobile longer than theirs.

And in closing

Mess around with the number of storm shields in your squads until you find the solution that hits the mark for you.


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