Deathwimg Command Squad vs Deathwing Terminators
By - RandomMissingSignal
Ok, theres a bit of difference from your title to your OP.
Knights =/= Terminators
They both do very different roles because of the 1st Company rule.
The Terminators gain the ObSec rule for being used within a 1st Company Detachment, and that is their biggest advantage over Deathwing Knights (and it is significant). Having the Terminators with ObSec means they can play into Stubborn Defiance without any additional support. They are also very durable and can mix it up on Objectives vs other armies melee elites (which don't generally have the ObSec keyword).
The other benefit the Deathwing Terminators over other Terminators is that they can mix and match their squad options. Regular Terminators need to be fielded as either dakka Terminators (Stormbolters + Heavy Weapons), or assault Terminators (TH/SS + LCs). Deathwing Terminators can mix these options up within the same squad so you are able to be more flexible with your units builds, and more importantly, how these combat squad down.
My advice here is to not view the Deathwing Terminators as a block of 10, but 2 units of 5 to get the most out of stacking 2x Heavy Weapons in a single 5-man Combat Squad. The classic example is just to stack 2x CML's or Assault Cannons in a 5-man unit with Stormbolters, and then have the other 5-man section used an Assault unit with just TH/SS or LC models. My favourite build at the moment is:
* 1x Sgt with TH/SS
* 2x Terminators with TH/SS
* 5x Terminators with Stormbolters (3x Powerfists, 2x Chainfists)
* 2x Terminators with Cyclones and Twin Lightning Claws
This squad then splits down to the leave the 5-man Stormbolters in one squad with the CML's and faux-Assault Terminators in another.
The Deathwing Knights do not have ObSec natively. Instead, they carry a very similar role to regular Assault Terminators, but start a WS2 and have no -1 to hit on their Mace. The Knight-Masters flail also has the unique ability that excess damage carries over (splash damage). This means the Flail can be a good option for being Master Crafted using the *Marked for Command* stratagem as the D2 can kill 2x Guardsmen / Necron Warriors etc.
The other point of note for the DWK is their unique stratagem *No Foe Too Great to Subdue* which is +1 to wound and +1AP vs Vehicles or Monsters.
The DWK are basically just a hammer. You just want to run them into your opponents face and start swinging.
**Deathwing Command Squads**
Deathwing Commands are **extremely** flexible and you can build them to fill roles in your list that the other types of Terminator units cant do either to unit size, or unit cost. They do not have the ObSec ability natively, but do carry the Bodyguard rule - so no friendly characters can be targeted if they are within 3" of the DWCS.
The units clock in as low as 70pts for 2x Terminators with dual Lightning Claws, but its often worth adding a TH/SS to the Sgt for the extra 10pts just to buff their durability. Some of the main uses of DWCS I've seen are:
* Action Monkeys - at 70pts they're the cheapest option you're going to get in a Deathwing list. Use them for Raising Banners, Deploying Scramblers etc while the rest of your units that are around the 200pts mark engage in the battle and create space for them to work;
* Character Protection - with the Bodyguard rule you can drop 3 units of 2 in behind Obscurring terrain and then ping Talonmasters around the board to end up with 3" of a squad and be untargetable; or
* Deep Strike Threats - its much harder to screen out 2 Terminators than it is a squad of 5 on the 40mm bases. They can be used a threat to drop in behind your opponent and force them to screen early game, splitting their priority; or come in as a Deep Strike reserve to support your Characters positioning. Both of these roles work well from Deep Strike as it over-comes the Deathwing main weakness - speed.
**Regular / Assault Terminators**
Just a quick note on the Terminators from the Space Marine Codex. Don't sleep on the Teleport Homer which is an option none of the Deathwing units get. Being able to throw a 10-man brick up the board to force your opponents movement early game, then return them to Deep Strike and relocate them later is an option that the Deathwing Terminators cant do - once down they have to powerwalk everywhere.
Heavy Deatwing lists are currently seen as a bit of a trap atm, their speed being their main limiting feature in a game where armies like Drukhari / Harliequinns / Whitescars etc just exist. Instead the current list-designs for Deathwing are to support our Ravenwing brethren.
In these builds the focus started off with a single unit of 10 Terminators featuring as an anchor to provide the ObSec while a heavy Ravenwing presence run around the board killing everything. This archetype has taken a bit of shake-up recently with Drukhari landing but u/Togden87 recently ran a very successful deviation from this with just 3x Command Squads being used to fulfil the requirements for a Deathwing Vanguard and then the list was loaded with Ravening elements (including 2x Landspeeder Vengeance which is cool). You can read more about his list here:
And it was also recently covered on the Goonhammer article for the Red River GT, here:
excellent primer on all Terminators!
Amazing list, thanks
Command Squads are mostly used in units of 2 to get bodyguard on talonmasters or other characters, and as action monkeys.
Normal terminators are in squads of 5-10 and do what all terminators do, + holding a specific Objective if you go the Stubborn route
I only use command squads to bodyguard my talonmasters, as my list is usually Ravenwing heavy