Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Space Marine Codex Review: Part 5- Elites

Part 5 of my 8th edition Codex Space Marine review will take a look at the Elites section of the codex. The Elites choices for Space Marines seems to have undergone a big expansion since 7th edition. A lot of this has to do with choices such as the Apothecary and Champion moving from a Command Squad to their own distinct choices.

Chapter Ancient
The Chapter Ancient is a new addition to the army in 8th edition. He comes with what I would call the standard Space Marine Character stat line, with similar stats to the Lieutenant, Chaplain or Librarian. So on his own, he is a decent character, able to hold his own in combat (he comes with a Power Sword) against standard infantry and is fairly durable with 4 wounds and a 2+ armour save.

Where he comes into his own is in with the Astartes Banner. The Banner on the Chapter Ancient gives +1Ld to friendly Astartes units within 6". This is a pretty good bonus, meaning that most units will be Ld8 (or 9 if the Sergeant is still alive). Coupled to And They Shall Know No Fear, this helps prevent your units from losing members to morale tests, keeping them in the fight for longer. The big bonus from the banner comes in the form of "resurrecting models". Each time a model is removed within 6" of the Ancient, on a 4+ that model may make an attack with one of its weapons as if it were the shooting phase, or may make a single attack as if it were the fight phase.

This is obviously a very powerful ability if used correctly. I think the Chapter Ancient will be of more use to a gunline army, parked next to a unit of Devastators or Devastator Centurions. This will allow 50% of your casualties to still fire at the enemy army before they are removed. This can be very useful if you lose the first turn, allowing many of your models in a unit to fire at the enemy army even if they are being wiped out. On a Bolter, this may not be a big deal, but a Lascannon or Missile Launcher is a different matter. Note that the two effects are specified differently in the rule. All UNITS within 6" of the Ancient gain +1Ld, while the resurrection shot only affects all MODELS within 6". This means that you cannot spread out your units with only a single model in range to get the benefits to all members of the squad. If this was the case, the Banner would be ridiculously overpowered (more so than many feel it is already).

Unusually, the Banner specifies a single attack in close combat. This is surprising, given that there is no limit on how many shots the model can make with a single weapon in the shooting phase. For example, a Terminator with an Assault Cannon would get to make 6 shots with the weapon, but only a single attack with his Power Fist. To me, this makes the banner more effective for a gunline army, as you are likely to get more attacks in many cases.

If you are planning to use a Chapter Ancient in your army as the foundation for a gameplan, the Standard of the Emperor Ascendant is pretty much a compulsory inclusion in your army. This increases the chances of getting a resurrection shot from 50% to around 67%, giving you much better odds of getting the ability off on nearby models.

The Chapter Ancient seems like a solid inclusion in any Space Marine army. At 76 points, he is not too expensive an addition to the army, but you may wish to go for the cheaper version to get roughly the same effect.

Company Ancient
This is essentially the cheaper version of the Chapter Ancient. He comes with Ld 8 instead of 9 (not really an issue), no Power Sword and a 3+ armour save, but the rest of his stats are the same as the Chapter Ancient.

Other than that, the Banner does the exact same job as the Company Ancient, but for 11 points less. If you are running a gunline army, the Company Ancient may be the better choice, as at least he comes with a Bolter. In addition, he has the option to take a pistol, combi-weapon or Melee weapon, which the Chapter Ancient does not. This makes the Company Ancient a much more versatile inclusion in your army, as you can go for an extra shooting weapon or a different kind of power weapon if you wish.

Again, a very solid choice for a Space Marine army. Your only decision is whether you really want the 2+ armour save, or the option to go with a ranged weapon instead.

Chapter Champion
The Chapter Champion is a powerful assault character that can be used to boost the combat efficiency of an attack for a very reasonable points cost.

The Champion hits on a 2+ in combat, with S4 and 4 attacks. He is armed with the Champion's Blade (-2AP) and a Power Sword (-3AP). The Champion's Blade gives an additional attack when used, boosting the Champion up to 5 attacks each round. I say each round, as even if you want to attack with the Power Sword, it is worth putting one of his four attacks on the Champion's Blade just to gain the extra attack. So, you will generally gave 3 attacks at AP-3 and two at AP-2. Hitting on 2+ with S4, you should be able to take on most infantry fairly easily.

In terms of durability, he has a 2+ save, which is pretty potent in combat, T4 and 4 wounds. He lacks an invulnerable save, but as long as you don't put him up against any serious combat units or characters, he should do very well in assault. He must also make any Heroic Intervention that he can make, but gets re-rolls to hit against Characters. He seems like an ideal unit to go after weaker buffing characters or weaker combat characters in assault.

The main drawback is that you will need some sort of transport for him, as he no longer has the option to take a Jump Pack or Bike. Overall, I think he is a solid character to take to support a combat unit in a Rhino or Razorback, and at only 44 points, he is a bit of a bargain at doing this.

Honour Guard
The Honour Guard are back to try and protect your characters from additional harm that may befall them.
The Honour Guard are Marines with one extra wound and attack, as well as Ld9 and a 2+ armour save. They also come with a Power Axe as standard. A unit contains only 2 Honour Guard and cannot include any more models.

Their big draw is that they can protect nearby characters from harm. Any time a nearby character suffers a wound, on a 2+ the character can ignore the wound, but the Honour Guard take a mortal wound. This seems like a good trade off on paper, but it completely ignores the 2+ armour of the Honour Guard and seems like a pretty pricey way to ignore wounds on a character (the two honour guard come in at just over 50 points).

Given the change to shooting rules, Characters are much more difficult to target, so I'm not sure I see too much use for the Honour Guard. They could be useful for keeping Characters safe from Sniper-type units that can target them directly, so can be a useful addition to your army if you really need to keep a character alive for as long as possible. However, given the firepower available now in 8th edition, you will probably need a couple of squads of Honour Guard for this.

They can be useful for passing on wounds in combat to keep a character alive, and they do seem to come well armed for combat, with a Power Axe and an extra attack each.

Overall, not sure this is a unit you will be seeing too often in Space Marine armies.

Another unit that was pretty much compulsory in every Command Squad has now seen him move to his own individual slot.

The Apothecary has the standard Marine Character stats, and only comes armed with a Bolt Pistol and Chainsword. He has no further wargear options, so is pretty limited in his combat and shooting abilities, however, it is his Narthecium ability that is the sole reason to take him.

The Narthecium allows you to heal D3 wounds on a single model within 3". Alternatively, you can attempt to revive a slain model. On a 4+, an infantry or Biker model that has previously been slain is returned to the battlefield with one wound. I can generally see this being used on Infantry, as the Apothecary doesn't really have the mobility to keep up with a unit of Bikers or those with Jump Packs.

Used on the right unit, this can be a powerful ability. Bringing back a Centurion, Terminator or even a Vanguard Veteran in the right circumstances could be a big boost to your army. Bringing back a Tactical Marine or Scout can be useful for the extra shots, but does seem like a bit of a waste of his abilities.

I would say that the Apothecary could be worth the points if you use him to support small, elite and expensive units such as Centurions, or for following a powerful character and healing his wounds as they are suffered. For regular infantry, you would probably be better spending the points on additional members of the squad.

Company Champion
Another solid combat character that is a toned down version of the Chapter Champion stats-wise, but oddly enough seems to come with a better weapon. Compared to the Chapter Champion, the Company Champion gets one less attack and point of Leadership, as well as a 3+ armour save instead of a 2+ armour save.

This means the Company Champion has 3 attacks, hitting on a 2+. However, he does come with a Master-crafted Power Sword, meaning each successful attack does 2 damage. The Chapter Champion does do 2 extra attacks, but each of his 5 attacks is only one damage, so potentially the Company Champion has the potential to do more wounds in combat. However, this only has an effect when going after multi-wound models, as generally, the Chapter Champions extra attacks are more of a bonus. At 20 points cheaper than the Chapter Champion as well, this seems like a solid character to add to any combat unit in a transport vehicle. He should be able to help do a few extra wounds against standard infantry in combat.

If you have a combat-centric unit and can't afford a Chaplain, the Company Champion is a nice cheap choice to add to the squad to help them out.

Company Veterans
An amalgam of the old Veterans squad and Command Squad, now that the individual units such as Apothecary and Champion have been moved out of it.

Much like before, Company Veterans are Marines with an extra attack and point of Leadership. Interestingly, the squad can be fielded in sizes of 2-5 models. At 16 pts each, this is a fairly cheap unit for what they can do, but do go up a lot in price depending on how you arm them.

Each Veteran comes with a Bolt Pistol and Chainsword, nothing too exciting there. However, much like in previous editions, the real benefit to the squad is being able to equip them with a range of Melee and Special Weapons. Any member of the squad can replace their Chainsword with a Storm Shield, Bolter, combi-weapon, melee weapon, pistol or special weapon. Alternatively, they can replace their Bolt Pistols with a Storm Shield, pistol or Melee weapon.

This squad can be equipped to perform a number of battlefield roles. You can arm them all with Meltaguns or Plasma Guns, put them in a drop pod or other transport and go armour hunting. Alternatively, you could go for a Melee unit, arming them with a variety of power weapons. Add a Rhino/Razorback and a Chaplain and you have a powerful assault unit that will beat most standard infantry in the game and will give some elite units something to worry about. The squad also gets access to Storm Shields at 5 pts per model, making it a wise investment to put a couple in the squad to save them from the more power weapon shots that are very likely to come their way.

Once again, the squad has lost their ability to go on Bikes in the codex, so you will probably want to have some form of transport vehicle for them.

The squad also has the Command Squad Bodyguard ability. Much like the Honour Guard, if any Character loses a wound within 3" of the Veterans, they can ignore the wound on a 2+, but the Veteran squad takes a mortal wound instead. I would be disinclined to use this ability much, especially as you are likely to be carrying special weapons on the squad, making the loss of each member more costly. If you want to use a bodyguard unit for one of your characters, the Honour Guard are a more points efficient use for this, as they have twice as many wounds, but at less than twice the cost.

Overall, the Command Squad are a solid choice, able to be well tooled up for a variety of battlefield roles. They allow you to take a unit with a range of Special Weapons or Combi-weapons and can even be fielded in smaller units than Sternguard Veterans. They make a useful suicide unit for taking out prime targets. For example, a unit of 2 or 3 with Meltaguns could be useful to send after an enemy tank, without worrying too much about the retribution likely to come their way after.

Servitors are back with a sort of cheap source of Heavy Weapons for the army. The squad contains 4 Servitors armed with Servo-arms. Though the Servitors themselves are pretty cheap (only 2 pts each), one you add on the servo-arm cost, they become more expensive than Tactical Marines.

Up to two Servitors may replace their servo-arm with a Plasma Cannon, Heavy Bolter or Multi-melta. The Servitors only hit on a 5+ though, so this may not be the best investment for them.

If there is a Techmarine within 6", they go up to a 4+ to hit (as well as Ld9), almost forcing you to take a Techmarine if you wish to take a unit of Servitors with Heavy Weapons.

I'm not really sure what role the Servitors are supposed to perform in the army. They no longer give any bonus to repair rolls, or aid the Techmarine in any fashion. If every member of the squad could take a Heavy Weapon, I could see some use for them, but only 2 in the squad means you are still paying full price for two Servitors.

I would proabably give this unit a miss.

Reiver Squad
Another new addition to the lineup for the Primaris Marines, the Reiver Squad serve as a useful distraction assault force for your army.

This Squad has Primaris Marine stats and come armed with a Bolt Carbine (an assault 2 Bolter), Heavy Bolt Pistol (a bolt pistol with -1AP) and frag, krak and shock grenades. Shock grenades are possibly their most interesting wargear choice. These are 6" D3 shot grenades. They don't do any damage, but if they hit, the target unit cannot fire overwatch and is at -1 to hit. This is a really good effect to be able to put on enemy units. Shutting down the overwatch of an enemy unit and making them worse in combat and shooting is going to be great for softening up enemy units for a powerful assault.

The Reivers also get a couple of nice movement options in Grapnel Launchers and Grav-chutes.
Grapnel launchers allow them to ignore vertical distances when moving. This is great for assaulting enemy units in ruins, where the extra vertical movement can often stop your assault. In addition, they can use them to come on from reserve within 6" of any table edge that is at least 9" from enemy units. This can be great for disrupting your opponent's deployment zone. Unfortunately, this puts them out of range for their Shock Grenades, so you need to plan at least a turn in advance to stop enemy overwatch.
Using Grav-chutes they can come on from reserve anywhere on the battlefield at least 9" from an enemy unit.

If you are playing on a board with a lot of ruins, I would be inclined to go for the Grapnel Launchers. Unless you are playing against a really aggressive army such as Orks or Tyranids, there are bound to be some backfield units for you to target, either to destroy them or to tie them up in combat and stop them from shooting.

The Reivers also cause -1Ld to enemy units within 3", making them useful for causing extra damage from morale tests.

The Reivers seem like a solid unit choice and could be quite effective if you are planning on running an assault-heavy force.

Aggressor Squad
Another new addition to the Space Marine army, the Aggressor Squad is a Primaris Squad that appears to specialise in a lot of short range anti-infantry firepower.

The squad consists of between 3-6 Aggressors. They have a Primaris Statline, but with T5 and only a 5" move.
They come armed with Auto boltstorm gauntlets and a Fragstorm Grenade launcher as standard. The Auto boltstorm gauntlet is an 18" Assault 6 Bolter, that is also essentially a Power Fist in combat. The Fragstorm grenade launcher is an 18" assault D6 Bolter as well. As you can see, the squad puts out a fair amount of S4 firepower, so will be quite effective against standard infantry with poor to moderate armour saves, but will probably struggle against tougher or more heavily armoured units. In combat they will be able to cause some damage, with two power fist attacks hitting on a 4+. A unit of 3 should be able to put some hurt on enemy vehicles with ease.

They can choose to exchange the Auto Boltstorm Gauntlets and Fragstorm Grenade launcher for Flamestorm Gauntlets. These are an Assault 2D6 flamer. This weapon will be pretty potent at short range, as a unit of 3 will put out 6D6 S4 shots that hit automatically. This should cause a lot of damage to infantry units. In addition, these Gauntlets also function as a power fist in combat, meanign that you could charge in and mop up any survivors if you wish, or put the hurt on some heavily armed units.

The Aggressors do have some special rules to help them in shooting. The Fire Storm rule allows them to fire twice if they did not move during their turn, including overwatch fire. Relentless advance allows them to advance and shoot without the -1 to hit penalty.

Relentless Advance is great for getting them closer to the enemy, which will be needed given their 5" move and the severe lack of transport options for Primaris Marines. This is important, as their weapons are generally shorter ranged, especially the Flamestorm Gauntlets. Even with this rule, it is going to take at least one turn of moving to get in range for the standard loadout, and maybe a couple of turns to get into range with the Flamestorm Gauntlets if your opponent remains stationary.

Fire Storm is also a great special rule, but a bit of a juxtaposition with the weapons on the Aggressors, which are on the shorter range. Unless your opponent is going to come to you, you will need to move the unit to get into weapons range, especially the flame weapons. However, once you are in range, these could be devastating. A unit of 3 Aggressors will put out 12D6 S4 shots if they don't move, that hit automatically! This even works in overwatch, meaning that a lot of unit will probably hesitate before charging in to them.

The Aggressors are a weird unit for me. Their weapons want to force them to get close to the enemy unit, but then remain stationary once they are there. The unit also lacks many of the transport options available to regular Marines, making it difficult to get closer. With T5, 2 wounds and a 3+ save, they are not the toughest of units to destroy. Any gunline will probably target them and destroy them before they can get into range with the Flamestorm Gauntlets. However, if you are facing an opponent that is going to be coming to you and assaulting you, the Flamestorm Gauntlets could be a powerful deterrent against assault.

At 43 points per model, I think the Aggressors seem a bit too expensive for what they can do. Against certain armies (Orks and Tyranids spring to mind) they could be well worth the investment, but I think they will struggle to do much damage against a range of opponents.

Terminator Squads (All Varieties)
The old faithful are back, with much more variety to the squads than before. 8th edition has been pretty kind to Terminators and the new Space Marine Codex gets a bit kinder to them too.

The new edition of 40k saw Terminators finally go up to 2 wounds, something many players had been hoping for for a while. In addition, the Storm Bolter got better, going up to 4 shots each at close range. The release of the Codex has also seen the cost of Power Fists go down to 12 points, meaning a standard Terminator now costs 40 points. Unfortunately, the Terminator Sergeant appear to still be armed with a Power Sword, with no way to replace this with a Power Fist. This wargear choice has always annoyed me, as it feels like you are simply losing more powerful attacks, especially now that Power Fists no longer always strike last.

As always, one Terminator in 5 can replace their Storm Bolter with a Heavy Weapon; either an Assault Cannon, Heavy Flamer or a Cyclone Missile Launcher (which does not replace the Storm Bolter).

Teleport Strike is also useful in getting the Terminators to the right position. This allows you to arrive from reserve anywhere on the battlefield at least 9" from an enemy unit. This puts you in rapid fire position and putting out 20 shots with your storm bolters on a standard squad, with the potential to charge in to combat and cause some damage with your Power Fists after. Another new addition is changed rules for Teleport Homers. Instead of allowing you to Deep Strike with increased accuracy, these now give you the option to redeploy your Terminator squad. Teleport Homers are set up in your deployment zone and at the end of any of your movement phases, a squad of Terminators can re-deploy within 6" of the homer (which is destroyed once used or when an enemy unit gets within 9"). This can even be used to escape from combat, allowing you to get out of an unfavourable assault if any of your unit has survived. This allows you to play very aggressively with the Terminators, teleporting near the enemy army, loosing off your Storm Bolter shots and then re-deploying to support your backfield units the following turn.

Terminator Assault Squads are also back, allowing you to take a unit with a Pair of Lightning Claws or a Storm Shield and Thunder Hammer. They have also seen a slight reduction, with a Terminator with Lightning Claws coming in at 43 points, and a Storm Shield and Thunder Hammer coming in at 52 points. For some reason, the base Assault Terminator is 5 pts more expensive than the standard Terminator for the exact same stats and special rules. Very odd.

I personally like the Lightning Claws options for the extra attack and re-rolls to wound. Assault Terminators also get slightly better under 8th edition as they can potentially assault after teleporting in. They now no longer need to weather a turn of enemy firepower or buy an expensive Land Raider transport to effectively assault the enemy army.

You also now have the option for Cataphractii Terminators, who gain the benefit of a 4+ invulnerable save, but at a reduced movement of 4", as well as halving the advance roll each time. This squad has comparable firepower to the regular Terminator squad with their Combi-Bolters. This is a fairly decent unit for increased durability over regular Terminators, but at seriously restricted movement.

Another option for the Terminator squad is the Tartaros Terminator Squad. This squad has an increased movement of 6" (compared to 5" for regular Terminators), as well as some unique weapons options. The Squad can take a Reaper Autocannon (Heavy 4, S7 AP-1) or the Sergeant can take a Plasma Blaster (assault 2 18" Plasma Gun). In addition, you can take a mixed squad of Lightning Claws and the Power Fist/combi-bolter armament, though this may not be the most effective load out.

Overall, Terminators remain a fun, if not the most competitive, choice. They are a staple of the Space Marine army and have seem some decent improvements in 8th edition, making them well worth including in your army.

Vanguard Veterans
One of my favourite units for the Deathwatch, fortunately, the Space Marines have the same unit for me to take in my games.

Vanguard Veterans are primarily a combat unit and you should be tooling them up for such. The squad has a Veteran profile, so a standard Marine with +1 attacks and Leadership. They come with a Bolt Pistol and Chainsword as standard, so already have 3 attacks in combat.

The entire squad can take Jump Packs, which is an option I would recommend. This boosts their mobility on the battlefield, helping them get into combat, or allowing them to "deep strike" onto the battlefield and charge an enemy unit, without having to face the enemy firepower before they are ready.

Each member of the squad can take a Storm Shield and Melee weapon/pistol or take two melee weapons/pistols. My favourite is a Pair of Lightning Claws. This can be expensive on the squad (30 pts per model), but having 3 attacks and re-rolling to wound at -2AP can cause a lot of damage to enemy squads in combat. Add in a supporting Chaplain with Jump Pack for re-rolls to hit and this unit can put out a lot of damage in combat. The Sergeant can also take a Relic Blade, meaning that he can punch with a fair bit of damage in combat. One member of the squad can also take Meltabombs, meaning they can be a threat to vehicles if necessary. While I don't think Meltabombs are as useful now that they can't be used in assault, they can still be effective in the right circumstances. You could also go with Power Weapons for a cheaper unit, or give them all a Storm Shield as well for added protection.

A tooled up Vanguard Veteran squad is also a prime use for the Honour the Chapter Stratagem. While pricey at 3 Command Points, getting to attack twice with your squad could turn the tide of the battle in many games, especially if you somehow have some poor attacks in the first attempt.

I like the Vanguard Veteran squad. They can be expensive if you load them up for combat, but should solidly hit an enemy unit when you use them.

Sternguard Veteran Squad
Another of my favourite elite units, the Sternguard have gotten even better in the codex thanks to the Stratagems available.

The Sternguard come with Veterans stats, meaning an extra attack, but this of little use as you really don't want the Sternguard in combat. The reason for this is their Special Issue Boltgun. This replaces their special issue ammunition, but is not really too much of a loss. The special issue Boltgun is a Bolter with an extra 6" range and AP-2. This is a great weapon against a range of opponents, able to severely reduce the armour saves of many enemy units.

Any member of the squad may take a combi-bolter and up to two may take a Special Weapon, Heavy Weapon or Heavy Flamer. I don't see much point in this to be honest, and think you are better off sticking with the Special Issue Boltgun. If you want a unit armed with combi-weapons or special weapons, you are better off taking a unit of Company Veterans.

Sternguard get even better when coupled with the Masterful Marksmanship Stratagem. This gives the entire unit +1 to wound with the special issue bolters. For only one command point this can greatly increase the damage that a unit does each turn. You will wound many infantry units on a 3+ or 2+, and can even wound most vehicles on a 4+. A unit of rapid firing Sternguard can cause a lot of damage on an enemy unit. As a result, you probably want a full unit of 10 to make the most effect out of the Stratagem.

As you want to get maximum impact with your Sternguard, they really do benefit from having some form of transport vehicle. I like the idea of putting them in a Drop Pod, as they can be kept in reserve before they fire and be deployed within rapid fire range for greatest effect.

The Dreadnought is another unit that has greatly benefited from the change in rules to 8th edition. Thanks to gaining wounds and an armour save, it is now much more durable than it once was, no longer able to be killed in one shot except from the most powerful of weapons. Plus, they can no longer be simply immobilised and rendered ineffective.

The Dreadnought can take all the standard weapons options for shooting or for combat, though its shooting is less effective thanks to the penalties for moving and shooting with heavy weapons.

One downside is that the Dreadnought can no longer be deployed from a standard Drop Pod, reducing its mobility somewhat from 7th edition.

The Venerable Dreadnought also returns, getting an increased WS and BS of 2+ and gaining a 6+ save against all wounds. While it doesn't sound like much, these saves can actually be pretty effective in game terms.

Ironclad Dreadnought
The Ironclad Dreadnought also returns, gaining a point of toughness (to T8). This is actually a fairly significant change as S4 units are now wounding it on a 6+ instead of a 5+, almost doubling its durability. This Dreadnought more than any is ideally suited for getting up close and personal in assault. Even Missile Launchers and Meltaguns will only be wounding it on a 4+.

It comes armed with a Seismic Hammer and Dreadnought Close Combat Weapon. The Seismic hammer is an awesome melee weapon, hitting at S12 with -4AP and a massive 5 damage with each wound. You are at -1 to hit, but anything you hit will suffer greatly. This is a great unit for taking one enemy vehicles, as only a few wounds will hinder a vehicle considerably. In addition, the Ironclad gets to re-roll 1's to hit while armed with two combat weapons.

The Assault Launchers are also a nice option, allowing you to do D3 mortal wounds on enemy units within 1" on a 4+ when you charge. This can be great for further damaging enemy units or vehicles.

This is a unit that very much is geared towards going after big vehicles or multi-wound models, especially as it also comes with a Meltagun to soften them up a bit before you charge in.

At 147 pts, I think the Ironclad is a real bargain. The only issue you have is ensuring it survives to get to close combat, as it is likely to be a big target of the enemy army, especially if they know its capabilities once it gets there.

Contemptor Dreadnought
One of the latest additions to the Space Marine arsenal, the Contemptor Dreadnought is another powerful unit to have.

It gains S7 and 10 wounds, giving it a reducing power profile, similar to other vehicles. The increase to S7 is actually a big boost, as it is now wounding T7 units on a 2+ with its Dreadnought combat weapon. This means it is a big threat to vehicles and other tough monsters, as at full strength it will be hitting on a 2+ and wounding on a 2+, doing 3 damage with each wound. With four attacks, it will cause a fair amount of damage, enough to cripple most vehicles with one round of attacks.

In terms of shooting, it comes with a multi-melta, further adding to its anti-vehicle abilities. Alternatively, it can take a Kheres pattern assault cannon, which gains +1S over a normal assault cannon. I think the Kheres assault cannon is a good choice simply for the volume of shots, still hitting on a 3+ while moving if the Dreadnought is at full strength.

It also gains a 5+ invulnerable save, meaning you are saving a third of most standard wounds against it.

The Contemptor is another solid choice for a Dreadnought in your army, a bit more pricey than the other Dreadnoughts, but it does have its own uses.

Redemptor Dreadnought
The newest Dreadnought addition and big daddy of the Dreadnought world is new to the Space Marine army.

The Redemptor has T7, 13 wounds and a 3+ armour save, making it pretty durable against most weapons. At full strength, it hits in shooting and combat on a 3+, with a diminishing profile as it takes damage.

It comes armed with a Heavy Onslaught Gatling Cannon (30", Heavy 12, S5 AP-1), Heavy Flamer, Icarus Rocket Pod (24", Heavy D3, S7 AP-1) and two Fragstorm Grenade Launchers (18", assault D6, S4) as standard. The rocket pod gets a to hit bonus for firing at unit with Fly and a penalty against non-fly units.

This is a fair amount of firepower for the Dreadnought, though it is only hitting on 4+ with most of its guns if it moves. It is able to swap out the Heavy Flamer for an onslaught gatling cannon, which is the same as the Heavy Onslaught gatling cannon, but with only 6 shots. This means it can put out 18 S5 AP-1 shots each turn with its two Gatling cannons. It can also take a Macro Plasma Incinerator, which is essentially a Plasma Cannon, but with +1 strength and an extra -1AP. I tend to prefer the Heavy Onslaught gatling cannon for volume of shots, but the Plasma Incinerator could be very effective against heavily armoured targets.

In combat, the Redemptor strikes at S14 with -3AP and D6 damage. This means it can do a fair amount of damage, as it will be wounding all but the toughest of units on a 2+, though D6 damage can be highly variable. It is annoying when you roll a 1 for the damage roll.

The Redemptor comes in at just over 200 points for the standard load out, making it a pretty expensive inclusion in your army.

Centurion Assault Squad
A seldom seen unit on the table in 7th edition, I don't think there is going to be too much of a change to that in 8th edition.

The Centurion assault squad hits on a 3+, has S and T 5, three wounds, 2 attacks and a 2+ save. They come armed with two flamers, seige drills (x2S, AP-4 3 damage) and centurion assault launchers. The assault launchers do a mortal wound on a 4+ to enemy units within 1" after the charge. The biggest killer of this unit for me is their move of 4". Given their standard weapon load out, they want to be as close to the enemy as possible and in combat. With such a slow move value, you either need to spend several turns advancing on the enemy army or go for an expensive transport option such as the Land Raider, as Centurions can no longer go in Drop Pods.

Also, the unit no longer gets +1 attack for having two Siege Drills, so you are stuck with the two base attacks on each Centurion, though suffer no to Hit penalty with the drills.

You can replace the two flamers with two Meltaguns, but again, you need to actually get to the unit you are trying to kill.

A bit of a miss for me, I don't see them being used in many armies.

Congratulations if you made it this far in one reading! This has to be one of the most packed sections of the entire codex, with a wealth of choices available to a Space Marine player.

What I like about this section is the number of cheaper options available. This makes it great if you are planning on filling out a Brigade or Vanguard Detachment for bonus command points. For example, you could take three units of 2 Company Veterans and a Lieutenant for only 159 points, filling out the minimum requirements for a Vanguard Detachment and gaining an extra Command Point. If you put them all in a transport vehicle, you are not really increasing your deployment drops by much.

There are a whole range of great Elites choices in the army, all of which suit many army builds and playstyles.

Space Marine Codex Review
Part 3- HQ Units
Part 4- Troops
Part 5- Elites
Part 6- Fast Attack
Part 7- Heavy Support
Part 9- Flyers


  1. Good stuff my friend, I can't disagree with most of what you've said there! Having been on the receiving end of the Aggressors when I brought in a vanguard veteran unit from reserve and watched them take out 6 of the 7 using the auxspex scan stratagem, I can confirm that the volume of shooting they put out is scary! If you get into combat though that drops a lot, as my captain with relic blade pretty much took out the whole squad on his own.

    One thing I'm seriously considering on my vanguard veterans is pistols. I'm thinking that a full unit of 10 of these guys dropping in with grav or plasma pistols could seriously ruin anyone's day, especially units like terminators, though even vehicles might think twice when faced by 10 overcharged plasma pistol shots (obviously at that point you want a captain nearby for his re-rolls!).

    As you also pointed out, 10 sternguard can put out a lot of shots and even against a knight using that stratagem a full unit should be able to put 4 wounds on it with fairly average rolls if they're in range to re-roll hit rolls.

    I'm not convinced enough to want to include them yet though, I've tried them a couple of times and whilst the shots are nice, I've not really faced too much armoured stuff that warrants the -2ap in any quantity - it may be the armies I'm facing but I either get hordes or not much infantry at all, certainly not so much that my assault cannon razorbacks can't handle it.

    1. I've used the Sternguard in two games now and they have been really effective each time. They do tend to get charged very quickly and taken out, but that first round of shooting can be brutal.

      I like keeping the Vanguard Veterans for combat, but it can be a bit of a waste if they fail their charge on the turn they arrive.

    2. black templars ftw

  2. Thanks for the review, it's got me thinking a bit deeper about my army options.

    An idea I like for the Company Champion, especially if you're using multiple relics, is to give him The Shield Eternal. Bumps him to a 3+ inv and halves damage taken, on such a cheap character.

    A question about Vanguard - do you field yours in squads of 5 or 10? I am currently building a squad of 5. Two lightning claws, 2 TH&SS, sgt with SS and relic blade. I'm considering adding another 5 marines to it, but with basic loadouts (or switch the bolt pistol for SS as they're only 5pts).

    I'm also confused around the Aggressors. I like the models and the background for them, but they do seem to have limitied utility. If you know you're facing hordes of infantry, they'll be useful... but expensive. I might get a unit just for very casual games.

    1. I tend to run the Vanguard Veterans in units of 5. I think that 10 are too expensive, especially if you are arming them for combat. I think a unit of 5 should be able to cripple most units you put them against, but if you want to go for the 10, I think you are on the right path- 5 tooled up Veterans and 5 basic ones for extra attacks or as ablative wounds.

  3. Great review, a lot of work and words. Cheers mate

  4. I actually don't mind the mandatory Power Sword on Terminator Sergeants so much anymore. Even tho the Strength and Damage aren't as good as the rest of the Squad, it's at least got an impressive -3 AP now, and with the relatively low volume of Attacks they have, having someone in there who doesn't suffer the -1 to Hit is sometimes kind of nice.