Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Space Marine Codex Review: Part 6- Fast Attack

Part 6 of the review looks at the Fast Attack section. As a White Scars player, this is possibly one of my favourite sections of the Space Marine codex and one I will draw much of my army from in many of my army lists. 

Fast Attack
Bike Squad
One of the units that I used most often with my White Scars in 7th edition, this unit has undergone a few changes in the new Space Marine Codex.

The big changes for Bikes is that their move has increased to 14" and they now have 2 wounds each. While this improves their durability somewhat, it really doesn't make up for the loss of the Jink save that they had. However, few units have that kind of durability in 40k now, so it's a loss felt across the board.

The other change in Bikers is an increase in their firepower. The Twin Boltgun is now Rapid Fire 2, meaning four shots each at 12". This means a unit of 5 Bikers can put out 20 Bolter shots inside rapid fire range, which is pretty impressive. Even better, if you take two special weapons in the squad, you can still fire your Bolters and can even target a separate unit with the special weapons.

Speaking of special weapons, it is great that the Grav Gun is no longer the automatic choice. Meltaguns, Plasma guns and Flamers are now all equally valid choices depending on what role you want the unit to perform. In addition, the change to the combi-weapon rules mean that arming your Sergeant with a combi-weapon to compliment the Special Weapons of the squads is a great idea, as he can still fire with them every turn.

Equally, adding an Attack Bike to the squad is equally valid as you are no longer losing the shooting of the entire squad if you choose to fire its Multi-melta at another target.

For my White Scars bikers, I would be inclined to take the Chainsword over the Bolt Pistol option. Given the White Scars chapter tactics of falling back and still getting to charge, going for extra attacks in combat seems like the better option for them.

The automatic 6" advance is great for getting into position to grab objectives, made even better by the bonus 2" to advance moves that White Scars get.

I think Bike squads will still be useful option for my Space Marine army and I can see me fielding a number of units in my games.

Assault Squad
The assault squad saw a resurgence in popularity in 7th edition thanks to the arrival of the Battle Demi-company.
They still have their places in 8th edition, but are a little less effective I feel. Each model comes with a Bolt Pistol and Chainsword, giving them 2 attacks each in combat. They have effectively lost an attack, as you no longer get +1 attack for charging. A full squad of 10 can still put out a lot of attacks in combat, but hitting on 3+ and wounding on 4+ isn't going to be too awesome, especially if your opponent has a decent armour save.

Up to two Marines can take a Flamer or Plasma Pistol, which can be useful for some extra firepower in the squad. However, the Flamer won't be able to fire if you arrive using Jump Pack assault. One in 5 can also take an Eviscerator. While this was a complete waste of points in 7th edition, the fact that it no longer strikes last and its impressive profile can make it a worthwhile inclusion, though 22 pts for a single attack that hits on a 4+ might not be the most efficient use of points. You would be better off with a Power Fist on your Sergeant if you really want a more powerful attack.

I always think you should have them in Jump Packs for the added mobility. Getting to charge from Jump Pack assault is also a great new feature of 8th edition, helping them to potentially get stuck in straight away. They can also be used for grabbing remote objectives thanks to Jump Pack assault.

I think assault Marines are a decent option, but if I want a jump pack assault unit, I would probably go for Vanguard Veterans with upgraded melee weapons. I would probably give the Assault Marines a miss against power armoured units, but they could be useful against armies such as Guard or Orks thanks to their higher volume of attacks.

Land Speeders
Another useful unit in the Space Marine army is back with some improvements. The Landspeeder has an increased move of 16", making it highly mobile. I has also gone up to 6 wounds with a 3+ save, but is only T5. This should help it against standard infantry or weapons, but more powerful anti-tank weapons will have little problem bringing it down.

It has all the standard armament options available, though the cost of some of these have gone up considerably. My favourite load out was a Multi-melta and Typhoon Missile Launcher. In the new codex, this version now costs 147 pts, which is a bit pricey for me. The added mobility of the Landspeeder should help you get into melta range now much easier, though you now have the disadvantage of -1 to hit for moving and firing your heavy weapons.

One of the best things about the Land Speeder is the fly keyword. This allows it to fall back and still shoot to full effect. This makes the Land Speeder a useful tool for tying up enemy units to stop them shooting. Given its high mobility, it should be easy to get it to backfield units. There it can assault enemy tanks or units and stop them from shooting your troops (assuming it survives the overwatch fire). The following turn, it can fall back (if the enemy has not already done so) and shoot to full effect, hopefully protecting your other units from enemy firepower. It might even be able to do a little damage in combat, as it hits on a 3+ with 2 attacks.

Even a bare bones Land Speeder is still 80 points, so not the cheapest of expendable units, but its high mobility does help with this role. I look forward to trying out some Land Speeder units in my games.

Attack Bike Squad
This unit was a favourite of mine for tank hunting in the last edition of the game. I can see them performing the same role in 8th edition.

The Attack Bike has gone up to four wounds, making it pretty durable against small arms fire. It comes armed with a Twin Bolter and Heavy Bolter, which can be upgraded to a Multi-melta. The problem with the Multi-melta is that it is still a single shot, but this can be mitigated somewhat by the use of Command Point re-rolls. The other downside is that the attack bikes will be hitting on a 4+ thanks to them being Heavy Weapons.

Attack Bikes also benefit from the increased move of 14". This means that you can potentially get into Melta range on the first turn, making the Multi-melta even more potent.

Scout Bike Squad
One of my favourite units from 7th edition has got even better with the new rules for 40k.

Scout Bikers have similar stats to Space Marine Bikes, except they have only a 4+ save, but a 16" movement. The extra wound for Bikers is a great boost to their durability.

Scout Bikers also come with a plethora of weaponry. Each Bike has a twin Boltgun, each scout has a Bolt Pistol, Shotgun (12", assault 2, S4) and combat knife (+1 attack). Thanks to the new shooting rules, each Scout Biker can fire their Twin Boltgun and Shotgun each turn. At 12" range, each Biker puts out six S4 shots, which adds up to some pretty potent firepower for a sizeable unit. At 6" range, the shotguns get +1 strength, making them even better at wounding the enemy. A unit of 5 or 6 Bikers is going to put out a lot of firepower at short range, which is even easier to get to thanks to their increased movement value.

Up to three Bikers can be upgraded to carry Astartes Grenade launchers. These are 24" versions of Frag and Krak grenades, so can be used for some high strength, multi-damage Krak attacks or for lots of S3 attacks using the Frag rounds. I'm not sure if I would upgrade too many of them, preferring the Bolter rounds.

In combat, each Biker gets 2 attacks thanks to the combat knife. While not spectacular in combat, they should be able to hold their own as well as any Marine squad.

The Scout Bikers also get the automatic 6" when advancing, meaning they can get around the board even faster. With the 2" bonus for being White Scars, this unit can advance up to 24" in the movement phase, allowing them to cover huge stretches of the board, great for getting across the board or to objectives. What makes it even better is that they can do this and still fire their Shotguns or Grenade Launchers at -1BS. This gives the squad a massive threat range on the board.

Another benefit of the squad is the Cluster Mines Stratagem. This allows the squad to do D3 mortal wounds to an enemy unit on a 2+ when they fall back, all for just one command point. This has the potential to do a fair bit of damage to an enemy unit. If the squad is White Scars, they can still assault once more after falling back.

The squad has lost any form of infiltrate ability, but given their speed on the battlefield, you should be able to easily get where you need to go with them with ease.

Overall, I think the Scout Bikers are a great unit. I plan to take a squad quite often with my White Scars and look forward to seeing how well they perform.

Inceptor Squad
A new Primaris addition to the fast attack slot, the Inceptors are a jump pack unit with some potent firepower available to them.

This squad has Primaris stats, but with T5 and a move of 10". They can enter from reserve, deploying outwith 9" from enemy units. This is probably the best way to deploy them, as you can keep them away from the enemy firepower before you are able to shoot.

They come armed with two Assault Bolters. These are 18" assault 3, S5 AP-1 weapons. A unit of three will put out 18 S5 shots at a fairly decent range. That is some pretty potent firepower for the unit.
They can swap them out for Plasma Exterminators, which is a pretty powerful option. These are 18" assault D3 plasma guns, giving you a fair amount of powerful anti-armour firepower. A unit of three will put out 6D3 plasma shots, which could be incredibly potent with some good rolls. This is a very expensive option though, as a single Inceptor with two Plasma Exterminators costs 86 pts, which I don't think is worth the cost. Even the standard Inceptor is 60 points, which is still pretty expensive for its damage output.

A decent squad, not sure they are worth the points.

The codex contains some great choices for your army. I think that Scout Bikes are going to be a popular unit thanks to the awesome firepower they can put out for a very reasonable cost. I can see me using a lot of these choices for my White Scars army, as much of my current army is made up of these units.

Space Marine Codex Review
Part 1- Special Rules, Chapter Tactics, Warlord Traits
Part 2- Relics, Stratagems, Librarius Discipline
Part 3- HQ Units
Part 4- Troops
Part 5- Elites


  1. I'm certainly glad I've got 9 scout bikes! I've tried them once so far when they didn't achieve all that much, but that might have been because they were up against normal marine bikes, which isn't really their ideal target.

    1. Yeah, I'll just need to make do with my 6 Scout Bikers and thousands of regular Bikers!

    2. Are you planning on expanding the white scars at all this edition then? You've got a pretty big spread already haven't you?

    3. Probably not. I already had 5000 pts in "old money". Might need to add Khan on foot or Chaplain with Jump pack.

  2. Oh yeah, and if you're going to take assault squads, you definitely want the power fist, but I think plasma pistols are also quite important now, and they could make a significant addition to the damage output. Quite cheap too, though as you said, Vanguard are way in front in terms of utility.

  3. Personally I am glad bikes lost jink this edition. They were too good in 7th, especially when used as white scars or dark angels with their rerollable 2+ jink. They are now nearer what they should be, tough, fast but still killable

    1. Yeah, even as a Bike player I knew they were ridiculously overpowered in 7th edition.

    2. I'd say that from the index they were overpriced, but with the codex release and the midpoint they hit with the cost, the extra wound and the bonus to shooting they get from being able to fire the bike and their own guns, I'd say they're now about right. I'm certainly thinking about picking up a squad or two to supplement what I've got and give me another option.

  4. Dont forget the Crushing Charge rule for Inceptors which is really useful for... erm.. Has anyone got any spare Razorbacks that they don't want?

    1. Yeah, don't think people will be getting too worked up over that. All those old Battle Company players should have a spare Razorback or 12 to sell to you.

    2. Assuming they're not keeping them! Razorbacks are still gooood! Not free good, but still very definitely worth including!

    3. Oh yeah, they're brilliant, but I doubt many people will be running 10+ in 8th edition.