Thursday 19 May 2016

Horus Heresy Review: Deathstorm Drop Pod - AKA The Cluster F**K


Instead of yesterday offering where you drive a giant flying ram at your opponent, today we discuss how best to drop heavy and explodey things on their heads from afar... The Deathstorm Drop Pod does just that!!!

Unit Stats

The deathstorm has the drop pod standard stats line of:

BS  Front   Side   Rear   HP
 4      12        12      12     3

Overview - Noting special here! Just to note it costs 90 points base and is a heavy support unit.

Special Rules

Plenty of special rules makes this  monster much much more than your usual drop pod (the payload of guns helps too).

Deep Strike - Like a normal drop pod

Immobile - Like a normal drop pod

Inertial Guidance System - Like a normal drop pod

Area Denial - Any successful morale or pinning checks made by the Deathstorm on the turn it arrives MUST be re-rolled (tasty in 30k where ATSKNF is not in effect)

Independent Machine-spirits - Each weapon on a deathstorm drop pod may fire independently at different targets if it wishes. This is what gives the deathstorm a continued tactical presence after the initial shock and awe tactic.

Automated Weapons: When a Deathstorm Drop Pod lands, it opens fire indiscriminately in its first Shooting phase. Each unit (enemy or friendly) within 12" of the model’s weapon takes an attack from the deathstorm. Each target unit with one or more models in range suffers D3 full shooting attacks BUT resolved at BS 2. Fires normally from the next turn.

Overview - Mostly as a normal drop pod, though you may note the lack of the Drop Pod Assault special rule. Area Denial and Independent Machine Spirits are excellent rules as you will see from the equipment section. However the automated weapon rule has the chance to just F**K up anyones day, yes you are hitting on 5's, but that COULD be 6 x S8 AP3 shots on the turn they arrive....


As standard the Deathstorm comes with the following weapon as standard:

Five DeathStorm Frag Launchers - 48", S5, AP4, Heavy 1 Small Blast, Pinning.

In a predominantly Marine game this seems like an odd choice of armament as you will likely only cause a wound or two on any given squad (with the chance of a large scatter), and then they will be re-rolling any passed morale/pinning checks on a 9 if a sergeant is included. The odds aren't terribly good I feel. 

Overview - That's it for its standard load out, but as you'll see from the option below it can offer more!


As its only offensive upgrade option the Deathstorm may take:

Five DeathStorm Krak Launchers - 48", S8, AP3, Heavy 2

Strength and AP are marine killing standard AND you get two shots a launcher that TEN(!!!) shots each turn. Not only that but the strength is high enough to do a good job at worrying light to medium armour too.

Its second only upgrade is the ability to take the Drop Pod Assault special rule, thus allowing it to come in turn one with no rolls required.


I love the Deathstorm drop pod. It has such a serious amount of cool factor to it. HOWEVER there are problems. The two main problems are the cost and the slot it fills. The heavy support slot is a very busy section that has lots to offer and using up a slot for essentially a suicide unit might not be the best use. Additionally if you pimp this thing out it will cost 145 points!! That is a LOT! For comparison you can buy an Anvillus pattern drop pod for only 100 points. This has some offensive capability, can jink and can offload marines for a charge on turn two.

The deathstorm definitely has its place though, in a fast moving army with little reliance on heavy support (lots of jump and jetbike/bike units), this can provide a hell of a wake up call to your opponent if 3 of them drop down first turn (so you'd need 5 pods of any variety total to get that) which could potentially put out 30 x S8 AP3 shots in the second turn if they all survive. That is super tasty...

Overall - I think again with this unit it only really works for its points in larger games AND you need to be very invested in an army style which facilitates the use of heavy support slots by these guys, taking one seems a little half arsed and I would suggest if you are going to take them take at least 2 and have 2 other pods in your army to give you the OPTION of bringing them both down first turn.

Peace out,



  1. Sounds like my kinda nasty!

    1. I absolutely thought of you when writing this! Half way through I just thought "I bet Nick would love some of these"...

    2. I'm sorely tempted with the Dusk Knights I'm working on to just go completely mad and buy ridiculous quantities of Devastators - I'm loving building and painting the Grav Cannon guy at the moment. It'd be good to get some 9th company in amongst the fourth.

      That's it, I'm decided, next time I have money I'm buying lots of heavy support.

      Hazard Company and Thunder Company, that would also justify the Cataphractii Captain I've just bought to make my planned grav cannon devastators truly horrible.

    3. I feel like with careful magnetisation you could add some custom rocket pods to your next few drop pods as well if you wanted to run these things on the cheap too, though I think the actual pods are larger but eh... I wouldn't complain!

      I'm thinking of selling my BaC contemptor and Cataphractii termies if you are interested in calling Dibs?

      I think your colour scheme will work well with heavy stuff! Nice and beefy and you know what they say about armies and their owners ;)

    4. You're a bad influence Mr Hill! Depends on how long you're willing to wait. Probably can't justify it before the Autumn, but if you've still got them then I may cave in!

      Wait a minute, are you saying I'm fat? ;) You're probably right, I could do with losing a few pounds, oh well, playing for 24 hours straight in August will help, right?

    5. Ah time is no issue mate, I'd rather foist them on you than piddle around with eBay and facebook, I've even got a second kheres cannon for the dread to convert on. I'll stick em in a drawer and forget about them for a bit...

      Haha I jest only! Though I have banned myself from eating chocolate before 8pm because I am larding up I think... Absolutely it will help, I only ever bring the finest artichoke and tofu to games of 40k to nibble on as I work.... *cough* chocolate, red bull and haribo really *cough*

  2. Wow, I didn't realize its normal range was 48 inches...that's AWESOME.

    1. I know right! Two of these with overlapping fire lanes in the enemy deployment zone makes them priority one! You can commandeer some for your Orks right ;)

    2. Don't get me started again! All you read about in every novel is how the orks plummet from space in giant rok's to make planetfall. Or teleport giant moons. Or have awesome flying transports.

      *picks up ork codex*

      *flips slowly*

    3. Hahaha oh dear, that made me snort drink in laughter. You'll have to make a converted Ork Skyhammer Annihilation Force ;)

  3. Aye, the deathstorm pod is an odd duck - definitely fluffy for certain armies/tactics, and ties in well to certain Rites of War where the HS choices are curtailed due to various restrictions. It's a very cool, albeit situational, choice for an assault army!

    1. Yeah it would be less odd if it was slightly cheaper or came with drop pod assault as standard (not sure why it doesn't to be honest). Still I think it would be excellent fun to run 3 of them!

  4. I'm ashamed to say I didn't know this was a thing... but now strangely I need one in my life! Or two...

  5. Interesting. I kind of like the 40K version better, since it gets Large Blasts instead of Pinning on the basic loadout. Unfortunately, it only gets to shoot one Unit per Turn after the initial landing.

    The odd thing about them to me is that they don't actually work very well in full Drop Lists, since you can't get aggressive with the list without your own podded dudes getting caught up in the blast zone.

    1. Doesn't the 40k one also get the option of assault cannons?

      Agreed, these work best in a fast force that closes the ground well after the drop pods have done their first turn thang, though I would still take a few drop pods to ensure that all of my deathstorm came in turn one if I wanted them too.

    2. It can take Assault Cannon, but it's only BS2, so I feel like I'd rather have it tossing Large Blasts around, and just generally making a whole area dangerous, rather than getting 1-2 S6 Hits per Turn.