Warhammer 40k 9th Edition Deathwatch Tactics: Deathwatch Codex


This is a full breakdown for Warhammer 40K 9th Edition Deathwatch Tactics using the Codex Supplement: Deathwatch. 

Now fully compatible with Codex: Space Marines, this supplement will assist you in fielding all of the unique Deathwatch units along with their special rules and abilities. One of the biggest changes has been the integration of the Deathwatch using the same core book as the rest of the Space Marine Chapters. 

Want to learn more about the Deathwatch in 40k lore? Click here to check out our 25 facts about the Deathwatch!

Chapter Tactics

As per Codex: Space Marines, the Deathwatch Chapter tactic can be found within the Chapter Tactics section alongside all of the other different flavors. The following is their specific Tactic described just as all of the other Chapter descriptions found in our Codex: Space Marine breakdown/review. 

Deathwatch: Xenos Hunters

The experts of hunting the alien. The Deathwatch are extreme hunters in general but take extra pride against the xenos factions in the Warhammer universe. They are all able to re-roll hit rolls of 1 in melee against; Tyranids, Aeldari, Ork, Necron and T’au Empire units. Essentially any close combat unit with this tactic will excel against any of the stated races. A Terminator Assault Squad bearing thunder hammers and storm shields will strike more true even when wielding these heavy weapons. 

Deathwatch now have the battlefield role they wish to gain efficiency against built into their tactic. Once both armies are finished deploying, the Deathwatch player then selects a battlefield role such as: HQ, Elite, Troop, etc. Until the end of the battle, they are now able to re-roll a wound roll of 1 against said units with that battlefield role. Against Xenos factions, these two tactics combined together may almost guarantee excellent efficiency without support characters hovering around and more functionally independent units if need be.

Warhammer 40k 9th Edition Deathwatch Tactics: Battle-Forged Rules

Detachment Abilities

As long as every unit in your army has the Deathwatch keyword (excluding Agents of the Imperium and the Unaligned keyword) your army will benefit from this ability:

Mission Tactics

The Deathwatch specific mission tactic is quite an excellent variation of the well-known Space Marine’s Combat Doctrines. They are able to still benefit from the Devastator Doctrine for one Battle Round, the Tactical Doctrine for two Battle Rounds and the Assault Doctrine for three Battle Rounds. The difference is that the Deathwatch may select which Doctrines are active in any combination of the order (standard Combat Doctrines must be in this order: Devastator Turn 1, Tactical Turns 2 or 3, and Assault Turns 3 to 5). This is a very powerful Tactic when creating an army list to benefit and execute your gameplan on specific turns. If you need all of your Heavy and Grenade weapons to excel on Turn 3, simply wait until then to activate the Devastator Doctrine for its single-use.


Death to the Alien!:

When needing to take down an enemy Xenos unit, use this stratagem. A unit of Bladeguard is all but guaranteed to slice through any Xenos hordes. A unit such as them will now not only be dishing out quality but an insane amount of output on the charge. All the Xenos factions under the sun need to watch out for this one in hand to hand combat with any unit from the Deathwatch arsenal of units.

Prognosticating Volley:

Aeldari are known to be hard to hit and when targeting them with your aerial spotters, be sure to bring them down with this one. Now even mass bolters can really leave a mark if not worse. Try firing a unit of 10 Intercessors with Auto Bolt Rifles at an Aeldari Flyer or any vehicle for that matter and wait for the look of shock on your opponent’s face.

Synaptic Severance:

The smartest of the Bugs (Tyranids) have to keep their distance when near any Deathwatch unit in general, knowing this stratagem exists. Assault Intercessors are more likely than ever to carve through any of the leading characters. Even with a weapon as common as the Astartes chainsword within Kill Team Cassius at extreme rates which normally you would think wouldn’t be possible. Most of the Tyranid’s main units have the Synapse keyword. This means that you’re when up against the bug race, this can see quite efficient play and often.

Epic Deed Stratagems

Adaptive Tactics:

An ability that is timely but needs to be used strategically when the moment is right. This is a solid piece of utility against any xenos army in which you come up against as you can adapt to the way the game has begun to shape. For instance, depending on which units still remain, you can start to formulate a plan and make a decision on which units you wish to benefit against such as targeting Troops units with ranged weapons to increase their efficiency so all of your various Kill Teams can clean up.

Atonement through Honour:

This definitely has its place in threatening any opponent and a great reason to include units containing a Black Shield throughout your army. When in a prime position on the center of an objective, threaten any units that dare step onto it with a strong ability such as this one. Multiple Kill Team units on different objectives with this same tactic in mind require your opponent to dedicate more than chaff units to really take over. This helps split up an opponent’s force and can really be a tactical lead in which you can dictate the tempo of the game.

Warhammer 40k 9th Edition Deathwatch Tactics: Requisition Stratagems

Sanction of the Black Vault: Turn a Sergeant into a Hero as we know we have all wanted to do. This can definitely add character to a list and even a hidden gem that can be utilized in times of dire need throughout the course of many matches. A Sergeant model from an Aggressor squad as an example can be graced with some of the most precious wargear known to their codex with even a simple relic such as Master-Crafted chapter relics while being the secondary general your force may need.

A Vigil Unmatched: Two for the price of one is this stratagem’s motto. This has a great customization feel to it and if you cannot decide on two separate traits, this will be used more often than not.  A great combination would be for a Watch Master to have The Ties that Bind and Rites of War traits to make him an Objective Secured creating machine across the board.

Warhammer 40k 9th Edition Deathwatch Tactics: Strategic Plot Stratagems

Stem the Green Tide:

This next stratagem really does what it says in its title. Slow down or even completely thwart the Green Tide entirely when your enemy charges in a massive unit of Ork Boyz. To really dish out the most amount of damage and get the most out of all its effects, Set to Defend a Defensible terrain feature with a unit of Aggressors and watch the trauma this will cause to any opponent on the end of this combo. An Ork player really needs to think twice before declaring any charges against an opponent with an ability this strong.

Priority Doctrine Adoption:

Doctrines are so key when referring to Space Marines. The key Doctrine active could literally be game-changing. Cater your needs when and where they are required on a key unit in the thick of the battle at hand. Before firing your Auto Bolt Rifles with Intercessors into a horde, watch the masses of enemy models whittle away. Situational but useful in many cases throughout a match when needing that extra added potency from the unit of your choice.

Targeting Scramblers:

When playing against any T’au Empire armies, this is a must use. Markerlights are what make their army tick and this stratagem puts you into full-on denial mode. Any T’au player will want to place Marker counters on your best units, so when in trouble, simply activate this and restore parody from your tactical side of the match. Completely deny any edge the other opponent thought they had over you and assist in keeping a squad of Heavy Intercessors around in the match for a turn or two longer even.


This will more than just stunt the return of any Necrons attempting to rise from the dead. When needing to keep them down, this is a must when bringing down the majority of a unit. Try opening fire into a massive block of Necron Warriors with a unit such as Plasma Inceptors which you would expect the majority to not return, being melted down to nothing by their exceptional Blast weaponry. Although thematic, let’s keep them down and out for the count.

Brotherhood of Veterans:

This is an exceptional ability, being able to advance and charge as White Scars and threaten enemy units with a scary melee punch, or even having exploding 6’s as Imperial Fists with opening up with your Intercessor’s trusty bolt weapons. The possibility of combinations are endless here and all you need is a bit of creativity when scheming which unit to activate this on. Every unit in your Codex really increases its efficiency and customizes the approach of every interaction.

Disruptive Launch:

When worried about your Deathwatch Jump Pack/ Indomitor Kill Team units containing an Inceptor or Vanguard Veteran being tied up and rendered useless the following turn, this is a great option to have. Knowing that you can not be tied up so easily by other enemy units, and even your Vanguard Veterans being able to become active once again with some quality weapons to bear, can be massive in many instances.


When deploying, sometimes you would prefer to place key targets of your opponents into reserve but Strategic Reserve just doesn’t do it for you. This completely changes that mindset of old and helps expand your tactical horizons with a utility of this sort. Very key when a Dreadnought with a ton of damage output strategically enters a game halfway through to completely flip the script on a battle, thwarting your opponent’s strategy.

Relentless Assault:

 Having this ability is partially like having White Scar bikers in your army. Units with resources such as this one can definitely turn the game on its head when properly used. Lure in a weaker unit with your bikes, just to gain movement (pile in and consolidate) then activate an ability such as this one to gain an insane amount of movement to hit what you need the next turn. Biker units are already going to be an excellent choice for the Deathwatch, this reinforces why these models are almost an auto-include to strengthen your army at its core.

Warhammer 40k 9th Edition Deathwatch Tactics: Wargear Stratagems

Shroud Field:

A great way of keeping a Flyer around is by screening out enemy units from making that contact. Threat ranges can be hard to work around and especially going deeper into enemy territory puts a Flyer such as this one, at risk.  Before your opponent has a chance to strike (if you go first), use this to ensure the Corvus Blackstar gets the job it’s needed to do, executed to a tee. This can be a vital unit that needs longevity to perform its role to make up for what it lacks, such as not being able to capture objectives, etc. A great stratagem that is unique in more ways than one.


 This will help plink off those extra few wounds to bring down some of the mightiest of units fielded on the tabletop. This can come in handy in quite a few matchups, however may encourage over aggressive play. One must be careful when asking what they wish for, depending on the unit they intend to utilize this on.

Special-Issue Loadout:

 Special-Issue Ammunition is much harder to come by in this latest release for the Deathwatch. However, this stratagem can change that for the unit of your choice. This does add some flexibility to your force when in need of the extra punch you require, especially when the Devastator Doctrine is active. For instance, 10 Intercessors now have weapons that can seriously leave more than just a mark against most enemy infantry units from any faction.

Warhammer 40k 9th Edition Deathwatch Tactics: Kill Team Specialisms

Specialisms now cost additional points to upgrade Kill Teams in the same waypoints are paid to upgrade units in the Codex: Space Marines Chapter Command section. The way this system works is as follows: 

Any Kill Team upgraded with their specific Specialism will have the ability to re-roll wound rolls of 1 for any attacks made according to the specific Battlefield Role they benefit against. When you have selected an army-wide Battlefield Role to benefit from the Xenos Hunters: Chapter Tactic, the upgraded unit may re-roll all wound rolls when attacks are made against that specific Battlefield Role (Example: If you have selected the Troops Battlefield Role to benefit against – army-wide via Xenos Hunters, all units are able to re-roll wound rolls of 1 when they attack. Any units upgraded to the Furor Specialism may re-roll all wound rolls in this case). 

The following describes which Kill Team Specialisms benefit against which Battlefield Roles:


(Select one additional Battlefield Role, different from the one you have chosen for the Xenos Hunters Chapter Tactic). You definitely want to focus on more Troops and/or Elites when selecting an additional roll. Those two Battlefield roles are usually the most commonly used and when opening fire with any units in your codex such as eradicators or even Suppressors, you want the best efficiency against them. 


Fast Attack or Flyer. Fast Attack will be the more predominant choice here as a lot of the best armies currently have these battlefield role units such as Vertus Praetors, Skyweavers, and Canoptek Wraiths.


Heavy Support, Lord of War, or Dedicated Transport. Surprisingly, Transports are very common nowadays in the current meta, and cracking open these vehicles is key to getting to the juicier units inside. Ripping open a Starweaver with a unit of Heavy Inrecessors is even more possible than ever now in order to tear apart the Troupe or Characters inside with your other smaller arms fire units such as Infiltrators or even Reivers nearby. 


Elites. This Battlefield role is one of the most crucial in the game, usually creating the bulk of a list of the biggest killing threats from your opponent’s standpoint. A unit of Inceptors becomes extremely more lethal when gaining these added efficiencies with the potential to even have Chapter Re-rolls in general.


Troops. Most commonly found in any list are their troops and always need to be dealt with, being that these are the majority of scoring units. Even a unit of Nurglings may be blown away by a unit of Infiltrators if they get to close while benefiting from this ability against them.


HQ. Armies require Characters for the most part, to make them tick, A unit of Eliminators are more viable than they have ever been in general. Benefitting against this particular role will force your enemy to either play ultra defensively, or risk their precious characters on any turn of the game.

Warhammer 40k 9th Edition Deathwatch Tactics: Army Rules

Warlord Traits

Vigilance Incarnate:

 A solid option to consistently do throughout the game. The key component with the Deathwatch is their adaptability and this definitely embodies that profile. Simply identify which units you need to target and which Battlefield role you need to benefit against. When determining what units not to be brought down on the opposite side of the board, strategically adapt a unit of Eradicators to what needs to be dealt with and easily blow most units away (infantry or vehicles, especially when within half range).

Paragon of their Chapter:

Some fantastic Warlord Traits can be found in Codex: Space Marines alongside the list within the Deathwatch Supplement. Being able to give a Watch Master a trait such as the Rites of War is an amazing option to think about when creating an army list. Making units Objective Secured who usually have no business being so.

Nowhere to Hide (Aura):

A unit granted such an ability can dig out some of the toughest units. Some units are even able to ignore Ap-1 weapons from enemy factions, so using this stratagem really makes a massive difference, swinging the advantage in your favor when opening fire with even small arms fire from a biker unit. This is a decent option, considering how much terrain may be on some tables and how much more dense a battlefield is with the new board size in competitive matched play. 

Optimised Priority (Aura):

Actions can be the name of the game in some cases. If you have built an army that is geared toward completing Actions, this Trait is a massive help to never feel like you’re forfeiting your army’s efficiency when doing so. This ability is also a stratagem in Codex: Space Marines which is a very solid ability. Actions are what help you win games in some cases and depending on your Secondaries chosen, can be vital in being as efficient as possible. This alone is scary to tell your opponent and can change the way they approach the matchup, knowing that you are executing two things at once and playing both aspects of the game (the mission and interacting with your opponent’s army).

Castellan of the Black Vault:

An interesting tool to buff a custom character such as a Watch Master. This Warlord may also be given one of the other specific pieces within the codex simultaneously to benefit from. A specific combo or two such as the Dominus Aegis Relic and Adamantine Mantle Relic can make your Watch Master exceptionally durable to survive the toughest of battles.

The Ties that Bind (Aura):

A very strong aura trait is The Ties that Bind as it allows units to benefit from two separate abilities. This will help your units stick around at increased odds, so as not to worry as much when running larger squad sizes. As well as solidifying the grounds you stand on when on an objective, this will force your opponent to either sacrifice their precious Objective Secured models, or risk not taking an objective from you if you are not fully wiped from the objective you are currently occupying. Very useful, similar to the Rites of War ability found in Codex: Space Marines. Position a sticky unit of now three wound Terminators with such an ability and watch your opponent begin to sweat when trying to figure out the interaction. 

Warhammer 40k 9th Edition Deathwatch Tactics: Relics

The Beacon Angelis:

There are only a handful of Relics that have an ability such as this one in the game and can be very powerful when changing the strategy of the match or reinforcing a tactic needing to be executed. A Kill Team of your choice, tactically positioned in the midfield drawing enemy units away from more vital units on your end is one way to play this relic or to simply bolster the bearer’s protection. 

Dominus Aegis:

This is fantastic when needing to keep units alive for as long as possible and being able to shrug off the most lethal of weapons. A unit of Gravis armor Space Marines such as Inceptors becomes significantly more durable as most opponents will tend to target a unit such as them early on. 

Osseus Key:

This can be very helpful against heavy mechanized lists. Although it is an aggressive play when in effect, for it to be properly utilized, you will need to be in the thick of the battle. Place this model with this relic deep into your opponent’s mechanized ocean and watch them suffer when firing from all of their fronts. 

The Thief of Secrets:

Very comparable to a Power Sword in profile however, it has a fantastic special ability. Being extremely useful in any matchup for that matter, place this on a Captain and have them lead the charge, shredding tough characters to bits with ease. Against any Xenos faction, the output also rapidly increases as one would expect it should, being as they are the true hunters of the Xenos. s. 

The Tome of Ectoclades:

An Aggressor squad with this Relic activated on them is bound to eliminate any target standing in their way. This will increase efficiency drastically, especially when also placing Chapter Master re-rolls upon this same unit. This adds extra punishment against an enemy unit you intend to vanquish.

Adamantine Mantle:

A simple yet effective Relic when given to the right bearer. Space Marines do not generally have abilities such as this, so a key Watch Master needing to remain alive to grant a Warlord Trait aura or ability each turn on a friendly unit such as The Ties that Bind is great to have around for as long as possible.

Master-Crafted Weapon:

 The weapon is considered to now be a Chapter Relic. Watch Masters and Captains really hit harder than ever with this and excel at much higher rates against tougher, higher wounded infantry units such as Tyranid Warriors or Blightlord Terminators. 

Digital Weapons:

A unique Relic, allowing you to make an additional attack with a different weapon profile from the Warhammer 40,000 Core Book. This is another way to put out that extra damage at times in which the bearer may lack. If the bearer has an excellent weapon skill characteristic, this will see more play than even intended causing more damage more frequently than not, every time they are in combat. 

Artificer Armour:

Artificer armour is the same type that Terminator units are equipped with. This is a good option for added durability. Increasing the bearer’s durability can be key and can be a cheaper way to do so instead of paying for wargear such as a Storm Shield to keep this Character around. Even place this on a Deathwatch Sergeant and promote them with this upgraded armour choice to lead a Kill Team as a mini hero.

The Blackweave Shroud:

This Relic is excellent when coming up against heavy psychic armies or units such as C’Tans that dish out extraordinary amounts of mortal wounds. Mortal wounds seem to be more common with some of the stronger factions, such as Daemons and even Grey Knights. This will heavily deter these armies from targeting this bearer as they will not be able to brush  this model away so easily and even regret it in the ensuing rounds once they are potentially charged and destroyed. It is definitely a very solid Relic that will enhance the model’s durability.

Spear of the First Vigil:

This increases its shot output as well as its melee damage. A very solid upgrade for a weapon that will lead your force in most cases. Watch Masters are very key to a Deathwatch army’s success, so it makes sense they bear the mightiest of weapons and are able to level the biggest and baddest enemies of them all. Use this in hand to hand against Elite and the toughest of infantry such as resilient Obliterators and strike them down with precision.

The Soul Fortress:

A solid debuff to other enemy psykers at a much more potent range. When denying powers, you can play less aggressive and have better positioning than the normal version of Psychic Hood allows you to be. Far too often, players get too close to enemy armies to try and have the added bonus, only to their own demise the following turn. This also helps when up against a Tyranid army as an example, being able to cast freely without worrying about the debuffs of their own, which can make a big difference in many cases. 

Banebolts of Eryxia:

Use this bolt to make a difference in any match against tough opposition.  A very solid shot, enough to takedown most Elite infantry. Best used against 3 wound models and even best used in a mirror match when up against heavy gravis units or the newly updated Terminators (loyal or traitor in the near future) of any kind.

Vhorkan-Pattern Auspicator:

Being that the Fly keyword is a very strong ability in 9th Edition, many armies will try to include these units therefore making this Relic quite viable. Adding increased efficiency against anything is great, however some of the top factions which are successful Fly such as Harlequins. A unit attempting to strike Skyweavers into mounds of machine and Aeldari blood need a  relic such as this one to guarantee to get the job done as often as possible.

Artificer Bolt Cache:

A simple buff to a character’s weapon. When learning about its benefits, even a Lieutenant with a Relic such as this can really see an increase in the quality of their ranged weapons in which they bear. Even softening up infantry units or plinking the final wound, Special-Ammunition has proven to be quite strong in most of its forms. The more the merrier in most cases when building a Deathwatch force, and truly inspiring the ranks around this bearer with this solid weapon upgrade at their disposal.

Eye of Abiding:

This improves the bearers accuracy dramatically. It also gives you away around the toughest of armour. Some enemy units have tough invulnerable saves to crack and get through. This finds a way and can be greatly utilized by the martial prowess of a Watch Master almost any time they interact with these tough adversaries. Quantity can be key over quality with this one, but in both instances, has a purpose and definite utility when striking true and hard.

Warhammer 40k 9th Edition Deathwatch Tactics: Xenopurge Discipline

Premorphic Resonance:

(WC6) – Three separate abilities will be put into effect until the start of your next turn. Dishing more damage when being charged is key in many matchups, especially when a unit such as rapid fire bolt rifle Intercessors are striking their mark on the way in at a more efficient rate. If the unit is within engagement range of any enemy models, it can strike before your enemy has a chance to blink, making them regret the decision of tangoing with your unit in the first place. The last added benefit can see a unit as beastly as Aggressors strike faster than ever in their own mini paradise with a psychic power of this quality. That unit in particular can benefit from every one of those buffs and not just to a small degree but to a high level in each category of this power.

Fortified with Contempt:

(WC6) – A very strong psychic power that can go a long way over the course of a battle adding resilience to key units. Place this on a unit of Outriders, locking down a mid-board objective, and watch an opponent struggle to remove them from the table. It adds a deceivingly high amount of durability to any unit in general and is great to have this option. 

Neural Void:

(WC7) – Two debuffs will be activated against the target of your choice with this power. When worried about taking a big hit from a combat threat such as any of the new Destroyer cult units from the Necrons arsenal, this will reduce the opponent’s ability to really make a massive impact when they strike. In addition, one of the most powerful abilities from a psychic power known to date is also part of this power and makes sense at the slightly higher warp charge required. It is seriously incredible on the tabletop and essentially gives you a say in who your opponent will engage with. This power casted by a Librarian with the Soul Fortress relic has increased odds of these being put into effect and is a definite consideration when creating a game plan including this power.

Psychic Cleanse:

(WC6) – All enemy models within range of the psyker must attempt to withstand this witchfire. This can be a solid form of mortal wound generation when caught in the thick of the battle or an extra way to attempt picking off a few wounds to soften up the enemy before shooting or charging. This is best utilized when surrounded by more enemy units of course and can definitely create havoc for your opponent to deal with losses on various units at once before they have time to react.

Mantle of Shadow:

(WC6) – This is a great way of keeping a unit in the backfield alive while forcing the enemy to want to get closer to your blending units at a cost. A unit of Infiltrators can comfortably screen out a section of the board with ease and no pressure for the most part. All depending on how your army advances forward and takes the board, this can be huge when denying a deepstrike and your opponent literally not being able to deal with this screen. 


(WC7) – Enemy Characters, especially those of the Xenos, have great impacts for their respective armies. Reducing their abilities’ effective synergy ranges, if not denying them completely, is a crazy powerful ability (also explaining the higher warp charge value required). In the world of 40K auras can be king at times and almost every army will revolve around a few key abilities. This can not only regulate who gets them from the opposing army or even denying it entirely (if you get lucky) which can hurt efficiency, abilities or even the amount of tricks a unit is capable of doing through their own combinations. 

Warhammer 40k 9th Edition Deathwatch Tactics: Match Play Rules

Chapter Approved Rules

Battlefield Supremacy

The Long Vigil: This Secondary may be difficult to execute but has a great reward if completed. Although this cannot be scored in the first turn, with the right list build, this can become very achievable against some matchups. There however are matchups where this may not be possible when facing armies such as Grey Knights and Genestealer Cult. Armies such as these have deployment tricks and ways to work around the usually reserves parameters when entering the field of play.

Purge the Enemy

Cull Order: This secondary is an interesting choice, however gives your opponent a say in the decision. After both sides have finished deploying, starting with your opponent, both players alternate selecting Battlefield Roles (HQ, Elites, etc.) from the units in your opponent’s army. Once three have been selected, score 5 victory points after every unit has been destroyed from a Battlefield Role selected. Example: If your opponent has 3 Troop choices and Troops were selected as one of the 3. Once you have destroyed all three of those units, score 5 victory points. 

Shadow Operations

Cripple Stronghold: This is very difficult to achieve as this will project the game plan you intend to execute and prepare your opponent even before deploying for what you intend on doing. Although you score 6 points each time this is completed, this can be quite difficult to accomplish, especially against tough, durable armies such as Death Guard. A positive outlook for this secondary is that you can hope that your opponent will play very defensively to negate you from achieving this, giving you the rest of the board to dominate and win the game. 

No Mercy, No Respite

Suffer Not the Alien: Up against a Xenos faction of any kind, this secondary is a fairly safe bet. As a No Mercy, No Respite secondary, I can imagine Deathwatch players will always consider this one against a Xenos faction. They are the Xenos Hunters after all, very fitting for them indeed. 

Warhammer 40k 9th Edition Deathwatch Tactics: Datasheets


Special- Issue Ammunition:

When a model is selected to shoot with a weapon with this ability, select one of the following Special Rounds to fire:

Dragonfire Bolt:

Terrain plays a massive role in 9th edition due to the density of the boards relative to its new size. Auto Bolt Rifle Intercessors being able to dig out infantry at fairly high ranges are crucial to winning a game and in prime areas of the board with said terrain to take cover in. 

Hellfire Rounds:

Use these rounds when looking to take down enemy Vehicles or even when you are up against Knights of any kind. Even a Deathwatch Veteran squad can really increase their odds somewhat at punching holes through these giant monstrosities at a better rate than one would normally imagine.

Kraken Bolts:

Deathwatch Veterans heavily increase their threat potential with Kraken Bolts as it not only increases their threat range but also improves their potential efficiency when causing damage. Firing weapons such as these into any light infantry units, all but guarantees their demise from a more strategic point. 

Vengeance Rounds:

In a 40k world now, where multi-wound models are becoming the golden standard, in a mirror match, this profile may actually be the most commonly used by any squad firing with Special-Issue Ammunition.

All of the various types of ammunition are great choices and can have a massive impact across the battlefield. The only issue currently is that many unit’s weapons have lost this special ability and therefore making few and far between actually benefit from this.

Mixed Unit:

When using a Toughness characteristic, you may use whatever the majority toughness the models have. For example: if there are three T5 models and two T4 models, T5 is the profile that can currently be used for the unit. Bolter Discipline will still work normally on a model to model basis. Any other abilities such as Fly will only apply to the individual models in which have this on their normal datasheets (Kill Teams are constructed from many datasheets throughout Codex: Space Marines, which is where all the rules on each model are located).hness the models have.

Warhammer 40k 9th Edition Deathwatch Tactics: Creating Kill Teams

Proteus Kill Team 

This unit contains 1 Watch Sergeant, 4 Deathwatch Veterans. You may add any of the following 5 models to this unit: 1 Deathwatch Veteran, 1 Deathwatch Terminator, 1 Veteran Biker, 1 Vanguard Veteran.

Abilities: Only Veteran Bikers can use the Turbo-boost ability if their unit only contains Veteran Biker models. 

Recommended Build: A 10 man squad with 1 Watch Sergeant, 4 Deathwatch Veterans as well as 5 Vanguard Veterans. This allows you to combat squad each into 2 separate (even) units. Creating a backfield objective holder with the Special-Issue Ammunition ability as well as a forward-moving option that hits fast and hard in the Vanguard Veterans. The unit is best when splitting ways and fulfilling separate rolls. The key here being that the Vanguard Veterans (along with the other Veterans) gain the Objective Secured keyword, threatening any opponents scoring ability. 

Fortis Kill Team

This unit contains 1 Intercessor Sergeant, 4 Intercessors. You may add any of the following 5 models to this unit: 1 Intercessor, 1 Assault Intercessor, 1 Outrider, 1 Hellblaster. 

Abilities: Devastating Charge only applies to Outrider models. Outriders can only turbo-boost if their unit only contains Outriders.

  • Recommended Build: A 10 man squad with 1 Intercessor Sergeant, 4 Intercessors, and 5 Outriders. This is potentially the strongest Kill Team option, being the first and only Space Marine Chapter that can not only have 5 Outriders in a single squad (after you split this unit via Combat Squad) but also having them become Objective Secured. Turn them into White Scars for a turn and hammer away at any unit you can imagine, hitting even harder than White Scars in this case, due to the sheer amount of quantity/weight of attacks. 

Indomitor Kill Team

This unit contains 1 Heavy Intercessor Sergeant, 4 Heavy Intercessors. You may add any of the following 5 models to this unit: 1 Heavy Intercessor, 1 Aggressor, 1 Inceptor, 1 Eradicator.

Abilities: Only Eradicators can shoot twice when using the Total Obliteration ability. 

Recommended Build: A 10 man squad with 1 Heavy Intercessor Sergeant, 4 Heavy Intercessors, and 5 Aggressors. They all move the same way and will never drag each other down. Moving as a ferocious block through the middle of the board, a potential key way of playing this unit is by posting upon an objective and waiting for enemy units to even think of charging with an utter amount of destruction from Overwatch. 

Spectrus Kill Team

This unit contains 1 Infiltrator Sergeant, 4 Infiltrators. You may add any of the following 5 models to this unit: 1 Infiltrator, 1 Incursor, 1 Reiver, 1 Eliminator. 

Abilities: Omni-Scramblers are only applied while there are Infiltrator models in this unit. Multi-Spectrum Array only applies to Incursor models in this unit. Terror Troops only applicable to Reiver models in this unit. 

Recommended Build: A 10 man squad with 1 Infiltrator Sergeant, 4 Infiltrators, 1 Reiver, and 4 Eliminators. This unit has so much potential to act in so many different ways. Characters need to absolutely hide when up against the first only chapter that can have more than 3 Eliminators in a squad. While also screening out reserves massively with Infiltrators. The reason for the lone Reiver is due to their ultra-powerful stratagem from Codex: Space Marines which can break an opponent’s game plan.

Warhammer 40k 9th Edition Deathwatch Tactics: Units


Watch Master

The Watch Master returns to lead these hunters into battle. This unit is an excellent choice as they have the “Watch Master” ability on their datasheet which is equivalent to the “Chapter Master” ability found in Codex: Space Marines. Also with the ability to customize this Character with many different Relics and Warlord Traits, they can be quite vital and can even be the pillar you build your army around. Equipped with a Vigil SPear (which can be upgrade) they will also make quick work of enemy infantry with ranged attacks or carve through the toughest of adversaries in melee. 

Watch Captain Artemis

One of the greatest heroes of legend and a well-known Deathwatch Character. Artemis is the equivalent of a Space Marine Captain with abilities such as “Rites of Battle”. However, equipped with great ranged and melee weapons, Artemis can surpass expectations on the battlefield in most cases. Another interesting ability on his datasheet is “Unstoppable Champion” which adds that extra bit of durability that a character of his prowess deserves. He can ignore lost wounds on the roll of a 6. 

Chaplain Cassius 

Chaplain Cassius returns in this supplement intended to represent an earlier point in his life. He still is one of the most powerful Chaplains to date and is quite an inspiring leader on the battlefield. Alongside his great abilities in combat and Xenos hunting skill he has a few abilities making him a great choice to include in your army. An ability such as Fiery Conviction is very strong when needing to inspire the ranks of Space Marines around him. When reciting a litany, add 1 to the roll (litanies are now recited on a 2+ in this case).

Codicier Natorian 

A strong psyker within the Deathwatch ranks is Codicier Natorian. Having an excellent combat weapon such as Duty’s Revelation is but a fraction of the reason why to include this unit in your army. He is also a very powerful psyker. This is from an ability on his datasheet called “Battle-psyker”. Adding 1 to psychic tests when attempting to manifest the Smite psychic power or a Witchfire psychic power such as Psychic Cleanse. 


Deathwatch Veterans (Core)

This unit is the classic Deathwatch tactical Marine equivalent. The ability to have multiple different load-outs makes them a fantastic option as well as having the Core keyword to benefit from the range of auras or buffing abilities throughout the main Codex and this supplement. The biggest change we can almost all agree on is the added wound on each model. Bringing these soldiers in line with the rest of their Firstborn counterparts and right on track with Primaris Space Marines.

Kill Team Cassius (Core)

This KillTeam takes a slightly different approach in the Troop slot, allowing there to be Veterans of any kind (Bikers, Vanguard, Terminators). A flexible unit such as this can be potent when all the various combinations are added together. The ability to be equipped with weapons that fire Special-Issue Ammunition is a great option to have in your force. When in large squad sizes, the “Unflinching” special ability is perfect for this unit. This unit automatically will pass any Morale tests. 


Deathwatch Terminator Squad (Core)

Deathwatch terminators are quite on par with the Terminators found in Codex: Space Marines (essentially identical). Just as viable of an option as they have ever been, Terminators most definitely have a place in many lists especially considering that they have also gone up by 1 wound on their characteristic as all other Terminator Squads have. 

Fast Attack

Veteran Bike Squad 

This squad is a great choice that is unique to the Deathwatch. Being able to have up to 6 Veteran Bikers and an Attack Bike is great for taking over the board in no time at all. With their solid toughness making them durable and great movement (highly mobile), this unit can have multiple roles it fulfills all at once throughout the course of a battle. Whether it be threatening objectives further away, contested by your opponent or a fast shooting platform with a solid amount of firepower. 


Corvus Blackstar

This unique Flyer returns to the Deathwatch’s aid in this supplement. Equipped with two blackstar rocket launchers and a twin assault cannon, this model has a decent loadout to hail down upon enemy units below. As an Aircraft with the Hard to Hit ability, it is tougher to bring down out of the sky while also adding 1 to its saving throws against other enemy Aircraft model’s attacks. One of the best reasons to include this in your force is its transport capacity. It can transport up to 12 models and can take Infantry or Biker units, very unique indeed. Jump pack and Terminator models count as two spots while Biker models count as three. This can allow you to take customized Kill Team Cassius units exactly where you need them and not worry about any model slowing the others down (Terminators usually).

Warhammer 40k 9th Edition Deathwatch Tactics: Recommended Secondaries for Matched Play (Competitive Play) 

When fielding a Deathwatch army, you must select Secondary scoring options that are achievable and mesh well with the overall playstyle of the list you have constructed. Deathwatch seem to be quite mobile considering they are Space Marines due to their many movement tricks and ability to have units Teleport Strike if need be.

A unit such as Aggressors are a fantastic choice for the Deathwatch, as they can now come in as Reinforcements into the thick of the battle with Flamestorm Gauntlets, perform an Action and still utilize all of their firepower (a stratagem from Codex: Space Marines).

The following are three Secondary choices selected in order to gain as many victory points as possible (generally speaking) throughout a competitive game. 

When playing a Xenos Faction (depending on their build and Mission of course): 

  • Battlefield Supremacy: Engage on All Fronts
  • No Mercy, No Respite: Suffer Not the Alien
  • Shadow Operations: Deploy Scramblers

When up against the other (non-Xenos) Factions (also depending on your opponents build and Mission): 

  • Battlefield Supremacy: Engage on All Fronts
  • No Mercy, No Respite: Oaths of Moment
  • Shadow Operations: Raise the Banners High

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