Codex: Deathwatch – Building Primaris Kill Teams

The Deathwatch are one of the most versatile armies in Warhammer 40,000. Thanks to Special Issue Ammunition, Mission Tactics and a vast array of Stratagems, each unit is more than capable of tackling a range of threats.

Codex: Deathwatch was the perfect opportunity to bring Primaris Space Marines fully into the fold of the Imperium’s most elite xenos hunters, with a thematic twist – just as Deathwatch Veterans represent a collection of individuals from a range of Chapters, each with their own skills that contribute towards the performance of a team as a whole, you’ll be able to boost your squads of Intercessors with members from other Primaris units.

When you’re building your mixed units, you won’t just benefit from their weapons – many options also provide special abilities to the squad they join. In this way, you’ll be able to turn each of your Troops choices into a deadly collection of specialists benefitting from a range of stacking bonuses.

Here’s what each Primaris Space Marine role contributes to your Kill Team:


Intercessors make up the bulk of your Primaris units and are as solid a choice as they’ve always been – with Special Issue Ammunition, their bolt weapons are pretty scary, and they do a great job at holding objectives.

Reivers are great for short ranged mixed Primaris units. For one, they’ll give the squad access to Terror Troops, while for another, they can provide you with an ever-useful shock grenade, causing nearby enemies to suffer penalties to hit and preventing them from firing Overwatch should you want to make an opportunistic charge.

Aggressors are a great utility choice for Intercessor squads. As well as providing an Overwatch deterrent to anyone that tries to charge you, and some hard-hitting close combat attacks against anyone who gets close enough, these guys allow your squad to fire on the move with greater accuracy:

Inceptors are a superb choice for Intercessor squads, offering you the ability to fall back and shoot as if you could also Fly. This means that should you get charged, you won’t suffer any reduction to your shooting output in the next turn. Nifty!


While Hellblasters don’t offer any special rules to your wider squad, they provide the majority of the damage for your mixed Primaris units with their deadly plasma weaponry.

It may seem a little ruthless, but Hellblasters also benefit considerably from having some bodies that cost fewer points in the squad to take some wounds, so you can absorb a bit of damage without losing too much offensive power in return.

There are all sorts of ways you can build your mixed Primaris units – it comes down to which combination of abilities, weapons and so on you like using the most. If you’re taking Assault weapons, an Aggressor is a must, while close-ranged units will benefit considerably from an Inceptor. Here are a few builds you might want to try:

Close Assault Specialists

6x Intercessors with bolt rifles
1x Inceptor with assault bolters
2x Aggressors with flamestorm gauntlets
1x Reivers with bolt carbine

This unit is designed to fight up close and personal, closing in right on enemy lines and unleashing punishing short-ranged firepower. The Aggressors act as a deterrent to any unit willing to charge you while providing some extra punch in close combat, while the Inceptor allows you to engage units in your turn before retreating and laying down fire at the next opportunity. Staying close will allow you to capitalise on the armour piercing power of vengeance rounds as well as the Reiver’s
shock grenades.


5x Intercessors with 4x stalker bolt rifles and 1x grenade launcher
4x Hellblasters with heavy plasma incinerators
1x Aggressor with auto boltstorm gauntlets and fragstorm grenade launcher

This unit is designed to sit back on an objective and provide long-ranged supporting fire. The Intercessors will be able to reliably stack up wounds with Hellfire rounds, as well as providing a handy ablative screen for the Hellblasters, while the Aggressor will let you move and shoot, meaning you won’t have to sacrifice mobility when taking more powerful Heavy weapons.

Assault Firebase

5x Intercessors with auto bolt rifles
3x Hellblasters with assault plasma incinerators
1x Aggressor with flamestorm gauntlets
1 x Inceptor with two plasma exterminators

This unit is a twist on the above, designed to operate at mid-range. Thanks to the Aggressor, you’ll be able to advance and fire your assault weapons without penalty, while the Inceptor means that getting charged won’t stop you from retreating and firing.

As you can see, with the new codex, the Deathwatch are set to be the ideal army for those who love tinkering with and optimising their lists – or just players that want to make the most of their Troops selections. You’ll be able to pre-order Codex: Deathwatch this weekend, but it’s never too early to start building your Primaris Kill Team – why not kick it off with some Intercessors?

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