Storm Bolters of Devastation – A 40K Rules Conundrum!

It is time, once again, to call upon the crowd-wisdom of my loyal Pins of War blog-readers to solve me a Warhammer 40K rules conundrum.

Reading the latest Dark Angels codex for Warhammer 40K 6th Edition, I was (and remain) deeply impressed with the new and shiny Ravenwing options. As a consequence, I paid little attention to two Dark Angels fan-favourites, one old (Deathwing Terminators) and one news (Standard of Devastation), which together whipped up some heated rules-debates recently.

In short, does the Standard of Devastation’s effect apply to the Deathwing’s trusty storm bolters?

#1 – The Dark Angels Standard of Devastation

Let’s start with the already infamous Standard of Devastation and its effect.

Codex Dark Angels Standard of Devastation

Dark Angels Standard of Devastation

I really like this piece of unique battle gear. Everything that gives a bit more pizazz to the humble Space Marine boltgun, making them more than mere ablative wounds for the guy with the melta gun, is a good thing in my book.

The Standard of Devastation was quickly identified as a worthy options in a Warhammer 40K Dark Angels list. Naturally, trying to get the most out of it, some lists sought to apply it not only to regular Tac-Marine bolters, but to more exotic bolt-weapons, including the hurricane bolters found on Land Raider Crusaders or the new Ravenwing Dark Talons.

To an old-school player the term boltgun, as used in the text above, always struck me as referring to the trusty old rapid-fire bolter. Hurricane bolters was already stretching it. Or so I thought.

#2 – Of Storm Bolters and Other Boltguns

Now, the most recent 6th Edition rulebook for Warhammer 40K (p. 56 in the pocket version I have) also uses “boltguns” as a top-level category describing a whole range of different weapons that – by the 40K background – fire the same bolt-ammunition.

These include the Terminators’ standard armament of storm bolters.

Warhammer 40.000 6th Edition Boltguns

Warhammer 40K 6th Edition Boltguns

It says that there “are many variations of boltguns”, including those listed above (found the typo?).

Now. Does the Standard of Devastation affect all these boltguns?

If so, it would certainly add a bit of oompf to a Deathwing squad bearing the Standard of Devastation (and, inversely, you’d want to keep your distance with a Vulcan mega-bolter-sporting Titan).

Or is the Standard of Devastation only meant for “normal” (as in, rapid-fire) boltguns after all?

You’re call!

Do Dark Angels Storm Bolters benefit from the Standard of Devastation?

  • Yes - 2/4 salvo Storm Bolters hurray!! (35%, 94 Votes)
  • No - Only classic rapid fire Boltguns are affected (62%, 164 Votes)
  • Other - (please explain in comments) (3%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 265

Loading ... Loading ...

Thank you for voting!




I am Zweischneid. Wargame Addict. Hopeless painter and founder of Pins of War. I hope you enjoyed this article. Don't forget to share your favourite miniature pictures and wargaming videos at
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  • belverker

    I was going to say no as I think that would be rule as intended, but based on that piece from the rulebook i’d say yes as long as you’d take the downside if your better boltguns are in range (until they faq it anyway)

  • Kevin Suttell

    I voted yes as the description like you said in the rulebook has the category boltguns and then lists all boltguns. I also never thought it was a stretch to include the Hurricane bolters as they are described as three sets of bolters per sponson.

    • Craig

      isn’t that the Sternguard issue all over again ?? “boltgun” means the standard version. That list of bolter weapons has nothing to do with it, it’s not even a rule page, it’s the armory section which is purely about fluff. Or are we going to have to argue about the shapes of weapons since some powermauls or claws don’t look like the ones on the pictures in the BRB ?

      • Zweischneid

        Well, if they had named that list “bolter weapons” (not least in light of the 5th Edition Sternguard thing), there’d be no problem.

        A rather surprisingly (and uncomfortably) split there in the poll, which (at the very least) seems to indicate that this might be an issue on many a tables (until FAQed).

        • Craig

          I totally agree with you that the naming of that list as “bolterguns” is more than a stupid oversight.

          But nevertheless, there’s no reason to take “boltguns” = boltguns list. Rather the opposite, it’s applied caselaw. On the next page in the rulebook is a tab called missile launcher and their ammo. There’s written that all missile launchers have these types of ammo. Does it mean that we all get flakk ammo now ? IG sentinels, hvy weapon teams, Eldar missile launchers (<- same name) all space marine missile launchers … ? No, it does not.

          What also proves that boltguns in this case is just standard boltguns, sternguard issue (solved in favour of standard boltgun) IG lasgun -1st rank fire etc ( lasguns as standard lasgun, not hot shot).

          We have no case in which it has been ruled in favour of a whole type of the same weapons. We've only got cases in which it's ruled in favour of a single weapon.

          • Zweischneid

            Good points.

            I fear, however, that rulings on “case law” precedents doesn’t have a very strong tradition in 40K:

            The “RAW”-crowd (or at least those that give it a bad name) have a strong preference for (only) literal interpretations by the actual words used.

          • Craig

            Well, I won’t ever argue with a RAW gamer again, we’ll roll dice which rule we apply and get done with the game.

            But, there is possibility to find out what they mean, or what their intention was with the banner … does anyone got a DA codex and rulebook in french, spanish or german ?

          • Craig

            friend of mine has the DA codex and BRB in german, here are pictures.

            The banner makes “Bolter” (Boltguns) to 2/4. The weapon category is called Boltwaffen (Bolt weapons) and the Bolter is listed there as standard Boltgun we know.

          • Zweischneid

            Pretty awesome observation. Thanks for that.

      • Kevin Suttell

        Yeah I see your point. I just think there should have been a much clearer explanation as “affects boltguns, combi-bolters, and bolt pistols only”. I feel like it was just lazy to describe as it is. GW just needs to be much more clearer in their descriptions is all.

  • orlando_the_technicoloured

    Boltguns is a very clear description, and as per the table in 6th all those are bolt guns so you get the benefits (or the penalties) for all on the list
    (now whether GW really intended this ? but at present there’s no cause for dispute)

    • Azrell

      But the 6th edition rule book table is irrelevant if the DA book lists a “boltgun” as an individual weapon with a specific profile. Also, in the case of a storm bolter the precedent is set with sternguard and special ammo.

  • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

    Voted no, not because that’s how I believe the rule works (RAW it does seem to imply that the whole boltgun family will benefit, and thats how I’d rule it as a tournament officer) but because I am fairly that’s not how GW intended it and I expect them to rule ‘no’ in the next FAQ. It would be unbalancing otherwise, a trio of land raider crusaders with a couple of bolter toting flyers overhead would be ridiculous.

    • Zweischneid

      To be fair, it would be fairly difficult to get all these into a 6″ of a Standard Bearer :)

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        banner in the middle land raider, one land raider parked either side, flyer above.

  • Thomas Reidy

    If the label for the boltgun was listed as Bolter – then I would say yes as boltgun would imply a class of weapons. Instead in the back of the rule book it lists boltgun as a separate weapon profile to use etc. just like a large list of weapons in the game. This would imply that it is actually a separate weapon instead of just a class of weapons.

    Now shame on GW for not spelling it out fully – but I think the idea of the boltgun class is more of a fluff idea then anything else. They all use a similarly designed bullet etc. I am sure an FAQ will come out and just answer it completely but locally and on the INAT FAQ it was labeled as only working on Boltguns – not Stormbolters and the like.

    thus I voted No.

  • Brother Jacob

    As a general rule if I think I will have to “Convince” an opponent on how something works by flipping pages and showing a single obscure line of text to make my point, it usually means its not what was intended.

    • Zweischneid


      But what do you do if you encounter a person holding that rule book page in your face, gleefully pointing to the point where it says “boltguns”?

  • Zweischneid

    One of the closest polls I ever had. Yet the longer it ran, the more the “Storm Bolters of Devastation” lost ground.

    Still interesting. Poll closed however!