Friday, 19 February 2016

Death Company - How should I kit them out?

My Flesh Tearer Tactical Approach

I have been progressing with my Flesh Tearers over some time now and have enough built and painted to create a big enough force to game with.
My force focuses on fast movement, assault and lots of bodies to pressure an opponent and isolate parts of their army to take it apart bit by bit. In my mind this is how the Flesh Tearers would fight although probably more recklessly with a lot more blood and violence!

The Flesh Tearer Force
So without going into too much detail, in a 1500 point force I have a librarian with jump pack, 3 assault squads with jump packs, 2 tactical squads in drop pods, 1 assault terminator squad (to be positioned with wings of Sanguinius hopefully!) and a death company squad with jump packs. All units can be positioned where I need them fast! All units have furious charge for +1 strength and I take the Baal strike force detachment for +1 initiative on the charge.

My only headache has been to know how to equip my 8 man death company squad. These are the big hitters, the squad that will take any others out once they get the charge.

The Original Death Company Idea
My original thought was to keep costs down and take them with just chainswords and pistols and rely on volume of attacks to get them through. After trying this a couple of times it seemed that non-meq units got stomped but any marine equivalent caused me problems and the Death company would get stuck in combat. It seemed I needed something more...

Phase 2
To help with combat against marines I stepped it up by adding 2 power swords to the squad. This still kept them fairly cheap but gave them 10 ap3 attacks on the charge at I5 and S5 as well as 30 normal attacks at I5 & S5! In math hammer terms the marine kill rate has gone from 4.4 kills to 6.1 kills on the charge. I tried this layout and it definitely worked better, especially working in conjunction with an assault squad.

Unfortunately then I ran into a problem. A big contemptor shaped problem. I just couldn't deal with walkers as I couldn't hurt them and what began to happen was I would stroll through some marines and then a dreadnaught of some kind would charge me next turn making my elite assault unit a one hit wonder...

Phase 3
To combat this but still keep the hitting power I needed to sacrifice speed and points.
I decided to add a powerfist and a power sword. These additions pumped up the expense of the unit but gave me 2 things - an ability to hurt terminators and also some tools to punk dreads.

On the charge I now have 10 ap3 attacks and 20 ap- attacks hitting at I5 and S5. This is enough to remove enough infantry that I don't get hurt badly when the initiative step 4 comes around. Then I am piling in at I1 with 4 S9 & 4 S7 attacks at ap2. This is more than enough to clear out any other infantry and hurt terminators or a dreadnaught if I need to.

I started off with the idea of having a fairly cheap elite squad to pick off my opponents units. Along the way my idea's changed a little as I realised that this squad was quite important to me and needed to be a little harder hitting. Consequently I now have an 8 man squad worth 254 points! I am happy with the layout at the moment but I do need to play test them more.
If you are wondering why I didn't up the number of death company from 8 I found that with jump packs I struggled to manoeuvre any more that that around the battlefield effectively.

My work in progress death company

To The Future
Has my death company finished its evolution? Probably not. As I play more it may change but at the moment my only consideration is whether or not to include a Sanguinary Priest.
A possible addition?

This would bump the squad points up considerably and use a valuable HQ slot which is annoying. Also a priest would waste(?) his feel no pain on a squad that already has it albeit increasing it from a 5+ to a 4+.
On the positive side the squad gets seriously killy with a priests attacks involved and most importantly increasing the squad's WS to 5. This would give an extra 6.3 attacks when hitting on the charge which is huge - especially against terminators.

Personally I think I will try it as I'm not sure I can resist a squad that hits in lose combat with WS5, I5, S5 with a 4+ feel no pain! That is surely the essence of the Flesh Tearers right there....

I would love to know what other people do for their death company. Please get in touch either by commenting or on twitter at @4dadsapocalypse.



  1. I love jump packs so this sort of army makes me happy.
    I had a similar issue though, a 20 man assault squad can easily get held up by breachers shield squads who are impossible to kill! I've started knitting the team out with plasma pistols to solve this issue though

  2. Could you not add a chaplain instead as it allows the death company to re-roll hits and wounds on the first turn of combat? Makes them much more dangerous.

  3. Yes I've been looking at that. They are both hq choices. A priest gets me hits on ws5 all the time, feel no pain (which is wasted with this unit) and costs 60 points. A chaplain gets me rerolls on hits for first round of combat on ws4 (unfortunately not wounds Lemartes), has a 4+ inv save and costs 90 points. Still can't decide but I need to be able to land all my hits on the charge as a 4+ to hit hurts...

  4. Hey, it's NTaW from Heresy. That site is killing my posts with how buggy it's being so here I am!

    You have certainly stumbled upon the two weaknesses of the Death Company: Walkers and good armour saves. I almost never take less than 10 models in the unit, with two power fists. It comes out to 280 which is a little thicker than what you have, but those bodies get taken off mighty fast once the game gets rolling as I'm sure you've noticed. Not to mention, protracted combats mean they aren't killing a new unit every turn once they get into the enemy's lines. You can dabble with power axes but you lose the ability to Instant Death T4 models. You can put in power swords but then again you could spend those points on your HQ option, which brings me to my next point:

    The model leading your DC. A Priest is a tempting thing. WS5 is pretty swanky...except a lot of other specialist units have WS5 as well. I'm not sure what you're always coming up against but in my games Zealot (which I've actually been playing as only triggering on the charge...stupid multiple rule editions in my brain...) means a heck of a lot more to my DC. To counter the fact that you may not have AP3 at Initiative in the squad take Valour's Edge on the Chappy. Now you've got AP2 at Initiative 6 on the charge assuming you're running a Baal Strike Force Detachment, which handily solves the 3+/2+ armour save weakness of the unit. Sure you can give your Priest that weapon as well and rock out with WS5 but your Priest will be the only Character in the unit and I'll take the Chappy's 4+ invulnerable save over a 5+ Feel No Pain every day of the week. I know it's more expensive than what you've been toying with, but as you said: the squad is important and it needs to be heavy hitting.

    As an alternate option for the Priest, he's great in a 10 man Assault squad for that 'near Death (Company) experience'. For added joy, attack Dante to the same unit. Sure a lot of people like him in Sanguinary Guard or Death Company but he honestly doesn't need help in combat unless the dice are firmly against you. He needs a meat shield to get him there and Assault marines with a Priest is the cheapest way of pulling that off I find. Every DC or SG model removed is a morale blow to me as a player, but pulling off a bunch of Assault marines? Who cares! hahaha

    Hope this helps, pal.

  5. Hey NTaw! Its been a while since we communicated last. I haven't been on Heresy for a long time - since it crashed really as most people that were active left at that point. Shame as I really enjoyed the site. Anyhow thanks for your comment, really interesting reading.
    I do run the Baal strike force as why would you not take a +1 bonus to initiative for free?! This is why I like two power swords but you're right they are pricey.
    I think I will put 2 more marines in to make it a 10 man squad and include the Chaplain as I do think that he rocks out better with the rosarius and zealot where the priests FnP is already in the squad. I also love the idea of Valour's edge - how have I not seen that before? I think I will keep the 2 power swords, 1 axe and 1 power fist for now and see how 6 chainswords and a chaplain go.
    I am really tempted by putting a priest in my assault squad with 2 hand flamers and twin lightning claw sergeant and go infantry hunting but my only concern is that the chaplain and priest take up both hq slots and I do love a librarian!!!

    Might have to try it though and I think a play test with Dante might open my eyes a little to the art of war!

    Thanks for the ideas.

  6. That Baal Strike Force is just too good not to take. The Formations in the SoB:E book are lame to the max with the exception of the Archangels Detachment. I've started using it to clear my Furioso Dreadnoughts and Sternguard out of my Elites section so I can still rock Sanguinary Guard and Death Company in larger games without dabbling with 40 Tactical marines (I only have three Rhinos :/). It also 'forced' me to buy that fancy BA Libby in Terminator armour hahaha

    The Priest in the Assault squad is a blast, in all honesty I could never get away with a lone psyker in my army. I face Daemons (10+ ML points), Eldar (10+), and Grey Knights (highest he's got yet in a game is 21) pretty regularly and as you can see with the number of dice, even my Blessings get denied outside of blind luck. It kills me to look at my painstakingly converted and painted up DV Librarian and simply never use him outside of Apocalypse-sized games, but the squad buffs that happen as a part of a model's Special Rules are a lot more reliable than those brought in by psychic powers for me.

    One day we will get a Librarius Conclave like the rest of the folks in power armour. One day...