[Archive] Death Rocket?

Groznit Goregut:

Hello All,

I’ve seen a number of people who say they don’t like using death rockets at all in their list. Or, people who started to use them and then took them out. I’m told that 4 bolt throwers are better, instead.

Now, since I come from Greenskins, I know that 4 spear chukkas are about the only way you can get anything to hit! With that said, are death rockets that bad? They seem very similar to a stone thrower, but with a crazier (and fun) misfire. I’ve had people go on and on about how they are so good with stone throwers, but I just don’t have that luck. I can guess spot on often, but the chances of getting a direct hit are beyond me most of the time. Is that the reason people don’t like death rockets?


Hi Groznit

I personal think that the death rocket is a amazing war machine, i have 2 in my 2000 pts list, they where one of the things that i really wanted to include in the list, a nice strength 4 hit smack in the middle of a unit with no armours saves aloud is a must i think.

Yes they can scatter form where you want but if you are smart and aim for a big cluster of units chance is that it will scatter on to something, once i missed judged the range and hit in front of a unit of slaves but i scattered 10 " on to a Gray sear, the look on my opponents face was price less even more so when he failed his look out sir roll and took a wound.

It all depends on what you like if you like to have your army a little random but able to really hurt some heavy armoured units they are great fun but if you want a higher chance to hit each game go with the bolt throwers

Its really just down to what you like, the best thing you can do is try them out for a few games and see what you think

happy hunting :hat off


Fluffwise and model wise death rockets are ace. A rocket that loops high over the battle field and crush randomly here and there is waaaay too cool to not try. I tried just to find they rarely kill something important. Yes, if they fall over amassed troops is really fun but, if the enemy has a lot of cheap troops it is really easy to kill many people but the enemy still have a lot of troops. If the enemy has elite troops, it is not easy to kill troops and you end the battle with a score of just 4-5 kills. I think I’m quite good in guessing range but death rockets never give back their value, at least in my experience.

Bolt throwers are effective only if you field 4+. But they are really important to kill stuff we have problems to handle like big monsters and knights. Even against massed troops they are no bad, with the ability to kill ranks over ranks.

Bolt throwers are able to kill lonely characters, try to aim 4-6 bolts to a lone vampire, you’re quite sure if he survive 1st turn of shooting he’ll hide in a forest. A death rocket s not able to deal damage to big monsters and lonely characters even if you’re ace at guessing range… if you 're not super lucky of course!



Deathrockets can be very effective against massed troops, bolt-throwers are effective against just about anything. If you want a very shooty CD list then 2 EarthShakers and 4 bolt-throwers are about as good as it gets (any more and you are short of points elsewhere). But it all depends on who your regular opponents are and what style of game you like to play


Personally I’m a fan of the Death Rocket. For many reasons. The sheer ability to say “I’m firing death at you” or simply the name “Death Rocket” is funny. I like the figure (I have two of the old classic ones), and I love the crew.

Death Rockets are a nice deal individually or with two of them. Bolt throwers are best used in groups.

The advantage the Death Rocket has is against heavy cavalry. When it hits them it can possibly up to 3, maybe 4 (if you roll well on partials). The bolt throwers will only drop one cav unless it’s a flank shot, Brets, or multiple ranks. In the later two situations the Bolt thrower could kill even more if the template lands right. They still allow no armor like the bolt thrower, no roll to hit. Plus if they drift, they might still hit enemy figures anyways. Also, the hole has S8 D3… so against nastiness (monsters) or characters (on a monstrous mount or if the unit is to small/failed look out sir) are in danger. The death rocket is still effective on infantry, with the sheer number of possible hits (dropped 7 Dark Elve warriors last night in one shot, which was good rolling I grant you). It’s also very stable. 1/3 of the time you misfire, it’s the rockets going in some crazy direction. Basically a larger drift.

Monsters, I think both are very effective. A monster, in my experience, can get the little hole on it. I respectfully disagree with Bassman, but as he said it might be I’m just luckier. I’ve gotten very good at guessing ranges, having played Empire quite a bit. I also tend to aim in clusters of targets. I’m not knocking Bassman or his advice; I’m just saying it’s worked decently enough for me. For some reason I either hit dead on, or get hilarious drifts… like drifting on right on top of a halfling hot pot once.

Bolt throwers work best against monsters, or units with a lot of ranks (infantry). If you have a lot of bolt throwers then you can go volume fire on smaller elite units/cavalry. That will work. Plus our bolt throwers are dirt cheap so they are not a bad buy at all. You can get 2 2/3 bolt throwers for each death rocket, so point wise both are fairly good in my opinion. They still do D3 wounds, but are S6. However, unless you get the hole on the target (from the death rocket) the bolt thrower is better. If you only take 1-2 bolt throwers it won’t be quite as deadly. As most of the time, you’re likely to be shooting cav in the front… you really need 3-4 bolt throwers to equal a decent death rocket shot. Elite troops seem to come in 2-3 total ranks… 2 bolt throwers, statistically, only kill 2-3 guys. However, when you have 3-4… then the math quickly goes in favor of the bolt throwers. It really is about scale with the bolt throwers.

The other slight for Bolt throwers in my mind is… our blunderbuss are great for massive units of troops (especially skeletons, zombies, and the like) even more so with crossfire!  Since I tend to run lower warmachines I run with the death rocket. No penalties to shoot and dropping knight fairly regularly (due to a few more hits) help the Death Rocker. Plus the random 1 on the first hit, or 2 on the 2nd doesn�?Tt seem to be a problem.

My personal belief is to field a mix of both. A couple bolt throwers and a death rocket. This gives you some flexibility.  If you’re going warmachine light, then the death rocket is better, if you’re going for larger numbers bolt throwers are better.

(edit: sorry about paragraph spacing, I wrote this in word)

Time of Madness:

I agree with Swissdicator on most points.

For coolness factor (yes it matters) the death rocket is right up there. I love the model, fluff and rules for it.

As far as gaming goes the bolt throwers are better and easier to use (less luck/guess work involved). In saying that I hate seeing people spam bolt throwers, it makes me sick to see armies with 4-8 and 2 earthshakers :frowning: Those are the types of lists that give us a bad name.

If you want take a couple of each, still gives you lots of shooting with less cheese.

Time of Madness

Groznit Goregut:

Thanks everybody! I think I will try out a Death Rocket. It’s all conceptual now as I don’t have an army built yet. I can proxy with my gobbo spear chukka’s and rock lobba to test things out, though.

I know that 4 bolt throwers is more effective, but I’m worried about composition scores.


Just let Loki use them for you ! - last game i saw him play with them they destroyed a dwarf army almost by themselves- he was lucky not to misfire at all but they where incredibly devastating.

Personally i still prefer my bolt throwers but it was certainly impressive


Thanks Ubertechie very kind of you to say :slight_smile: the blessing of hashut was with me in that game, i was able to kill 15 hammers, 16 iron brakers, and 8 or 9 warriors with just the death rockets, i had two full turns of direct hits in the center of these uints which made one hell of a mess of his battle line so much so that he gave up on turn 3 with only killing 6 of my models,

death rockest never leave home with out them :slight_smile:

Border Reiver:

I’ve have mixed feelings about the Death Rocket - from 5th ed til a few years ago, my DRs ALWAYS misfired at somepoint in the battle and blew up (and in one very humerous incident in 5th ed, the missile ricocheted 5 times around the board and landed on the launcher) and I used to refer to them as 75 free VPs to my opponent (5th ed rules). And then I stopped using them (I have 2).

However, given the decidedly lackluster performance of my Earthshaker in my last 5 games, One is about to get a new lease on life, and we’ll see how it does.


Maybe it’s just my secret love for having a giant bazooka on wheels crewed by midgets talking, but I never leave home without my Death Rocket. This will become especially true with the new Lizardmen book, which places a much heavier emphasis on including Stegadons in your army. Where a Bolt Thrower might simply skewer one skink out of five and be done, a Death Rocket can potentially do much more than that, with a 50% chance per skink of causing a S4 hit with no saves allowed (eg, die on a 2+), plus the fact that if the hole lands anywhere on the Steg’s base the beastie itself has a 2 in 3 chance of taking an automatic S8 hit causing D6 wounds.

They may not be as reliable as Bolt Throwers, but I’ve been playing for so many years now that I can typically guess my ranges within a deviation of, at most, 2". Sometimes I even throw in some inch fractions (eg, 36 and 5/8 inches) just to show off. If you’re experienced enough to guess ranges like this then you’ll quickly learn the value of having one of these things around.

For example, I played a Lizardmen army once where I had 2 rockets and an earthshaker single-handedly destroy an entire unit of 20 Temple Guard housing a 2nd generation Slann. My two Bolt Throwers by comparison managed to put a wound on the Steg and kill two howdah skinks. Granted, I may have been a bit lucky with my scatter die, but there are plenty of cases, especially in the last few books that have been released, where being able to hit a large number of models at once with a no-save hit is absolute gold. This is without even mentioning the possibility of blowing up that nasty Black Coach or Khorne chariot in one go without having to get your hands dirty.

Also, one thing I forgot to mention, for those under the impression that it simply costs too much for a stone thrower, consider that compared to other vanilla stone throwers the Death Rocket is much more reliable - you do not lose any crew on a misfire roll of 2-3, and you still have the odd chance of doing some damage on a hit and a misfire. Even if the rocket flies off somewhere harmless on this result I’ll definitely take that over potentially losing another round of shooting or blowing up. Given the choice between a Goblin Rock Lobba for 70pts (75pts with a Bully) and a Death Rocket for 80, I know which one I would take in a heartbeat.


For the reasons mentioned, yes they are fluffy but they are to unreliable for the points. I also agree that against large horde armies they make sense to use them there.

The problem as I see it is that for the points bolt throwers are a much better value. The chances to hit with four bolt throwers means that something will hit. Single Death Rocket, Meh.

In short entirely fluffy, no one will argue that, worth the points? Questionable, as always YMMV.


Are they really mutually exclusive? I guess running 4 bolt throwers, the earthshaker and a Death Rocket would probably lose you friends tho…


There are some tournaments where I have heard of people taking 8 bolt throwers! :o


There are some tournaments where I have heard of people taking 8 bolt throwers! :o

That's nutty. It so sounds a bit cheesy in my book! Though... sheesh... not a big investment in points either.

Once I get some bolt throwers built and painted, I'll probably go for a mix. I like the variety.

The BT is a *great* points deal, I won't argue that. I just think that people are a bit harsh on the Death Rocket. Compared to warmachines in general the Death Rocket is not a bad deal.


Are they really mutually exclusive? I guess running 4 bolt throwers, the earthshaker and a Death Rocket would probably lose you friends tho...

It really depends on the environment you play in. I used to play at 2250 points with this setting and nobody complained, expecially when they grinded me to death with Demons and Vampire Counts... well they usually play at GTs and European Tournament... :(
In this environment a death rocket is considered an auto-handicap! :o
But even in less competitive environments nobody complained. even against dwarfs. When you have army books updated, 40-50 magic weapons-items- banners and so you cannot really complain against a pdf army zillion of years old! IMO :hashut


There are some tournaments where I have heard of people taking 8 bolt throwers! :o

I have tried this and the optimum number is 4 bolt throwers - with 8 you struggle to deploy them well and run out of decent targets on later turns. Plus with the 120 points you save going from 8 to 4 you can get 3 units of 20 naked hobgoblins.


The BT is a *great* points deal, I won't argue that. I just think that people are a bit harsh on the Death Rocket. Compared to warmachines in general the Death Rocket is not a bad deal.

This is exactly my thinking. Our death rocket is really a rather good deal. Renufus showed why in his post so I wont write the same thing again.
(I haven't got any good idea yet as how to convert one though, so I wont be able to use one in my frist CD game on the 21:st sadly.)


Alan the evil:

I think that death rocket it’s a good choice in an army with a majority of infantry troops…

I mean if we play an attending tactic it’s good to have a great charge of fire with war machines. Death rocket works well in team with earthshaker: we have so the possiblity to have more shooting phases on enemy troops if we slow down them. And death rocket is more reliable than other stone thrower of the game.

It’s good to use a combination of earthshaker, 2 death rockets, 4 bolt thrower for have all kind of target under attack… and it could be good using even sorcerer lord with two sorcerer of 2 level for bombing enemyes.

It is different if we want play attacking lists in wich we go straight on becoming unlucky targets of dungerous hit/misfire of death rocket

Usually i don’t use them because in Italy we play with FIGW rules in which we cannot use more than 5 war machines on 2250 pt lists… and I prefear Bolt thrower for a great presence of large target in these kind of lists… but a stone thrower wo has got 92% of possibility on shooting each turn it’s somethingvery good

Da Crusha:

I used one today and killed a 300 hundred point bsb. :cheers