Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Space Marine Codex Review: Part 8- Dedicated Transports

Next up for my Space Marine Codex review is the dedicated transports that are available for the army. Many of the transports have seen some great benefits thanks to the change to vehicle rules for 8th edition, while the Drop Pod has seen some decrease in utility from its previous incarnations. 

Dedicated Transports
The classic transport vehicle for the Space Marine army is back and is a fantastic way to keep your Marines safe in 8th edition.

The Rhino has benefited greatly from the update to 8th edition. Gaining T7, 10 wounds and a 3+ save has made it so much more durable than it ever was in previous editions of the game. It can now no longer be destroyed in a single shot (at least with most weapons), with even a Lascannon taking three successful wounds and average damage rolls to completely destroy it. In most of my games so far, the Rhino has been fantastic, ferrying my squads to where they need to be in relative safety.

The Smoke Launchers are another great bonus, with -1 to hit actually proving to be very effective at keeping it safer for a turn. The fact that you can advance and still use the smoke launchers means you can get to your opponent even faster.

Another benefit of the Rhino is the fact that vehicles can now charge into combat. This means you can use the tougher chassis of the Rhino to soak up potentially devastating overwatch fire before the squad it was transporting charges in. Getting to charge from a transport vehicle is another big boost for the utility of the Rhino, as you no longer have to spend a turn in the open before launching a charge.

The Rhino also gets to repair a wound on a roll of a 6 each turn, but statistically, you will be lucky to recover one wound per game. Still, it is a nice little bonus. Also, the Rhino can be risky when it is destroyed. It explodes on a roll of a 6, doing D3 mortal wounds to every unit within 6". This doesn't sound like much, but I've had plenty of exploding vehicles causing havoc to both players in my games, as an ill-timed explosion can devastate a battle line. Always something to bear in mind and maybe keep a Command Point spare to re-roll an explosion result.

Overall, the Rhino is greatly improved in 8th edition and will likely be a frequent sight in many Space Marine armies.

Another greatly improved unit for the Space Marine army, both in the added durability to transport vehicles and the vastly increased firepower for what were once twin-linked weapons.

The Razorback has all the benefits listed for the Rhino above (with the exception of the repair roll and a slightly reduced transport capacity of 6), but gets some great additional firepower.

Two popular weapons options are the Twin Assault Cannon and Twin Lascannon. The twin Assault Cannon is great in 8th edition, able to put out 12 high strength shots. That volume of fire can be devastating for many opponent's units, and even helps to mitigate the effects of moving and shooting the heavy weapon thanks to the number of shots.
The Twin Lascannon provides some great long range anti-tank firepower for your army. It is probably better to be used for a stationary firing vehicle than a transport vehicle thanks to the fewer shots, but you should still reliably get one shot hitting on the move.

While more expensive than the Rhino, I think that the added firepower is well worth the investment.

Drop Pod
Ah, how the mighty have fallen. What was once pretty much the only transport option for Space Marine armies has now seen its utility reduced somewhat in 8th edition.

The Drop Pod has seen a bit in a reduction in its durability. Where it was once one of the toughest transport options, it now lags behind the Rhino and Razorback, with only toughness of 6 and 8 wounds.

The Drop Pod still comes in handy at deploying units quickly and in forward positions, especially in the early turns. While they are much more accurate now, they are not as useful for grabbing objectives as they once were. I have found that most objectives are held quite early in the game, so I can't actually deploy the pod near the objective to hold it.

Another issue with the Drop Pod is that it can provide some protection for enemy units. An enemy unit can charge the drop pod with little fear; the overwatch fire is unlikely to cause much damage and the Drop Pod gets no attacks in combat. This keeps the enemy unit safe from firepower in your turn, then allows them to simply fall back or destroy it in your turn and move freely in their own. This works particularly well with units with the Fly keyword, as they can fall back and still fire to full effect. Just something to watch out for when deploying the Drop Pod.

Fortunately, the Drop Pod did see a little bit of a price drop from the Index, going down to 95 points for the Storm Bolter version. Still pretty expensive compared to the Rhino, but I do still find some uses for it in my White Scars army for selected units.

Land Speeder Storm
One of my favourite units in 7th edition still has its uses in 8th edition, but has lost many of the special rules that made it so useful.

First up, the Land Speeder Storm is fast, with a move of 18". This allows you to get into position very quickly and get the Scouts inside to where they need to go. With toughness of 5 and 7 wounds (plus a 4+ save), it is not the most durable of vehicles, but should be tough for most infantry to take out quickly.

It comes with a Heavy Bolter and Cerberus Launcher (18", Heavy D6, S4 AP0 damage 1), so can put out a decent level of firepower on the move, but is still hitting on 4+. The Storm is also open-topped, allowing a unit embarked on it to fire in the shooting phase. This is great for providing a unit with added protection, but still allowing them to fire to full effect.

One benefit of the Landspeeder Storm is that it has the Fly keyword. This allows it to fall back from combat and still fire to full effect. As I mentioned in the Land Speeder review, this makes it great for tying up enemy units to stop them from firing the following turn, but still allowing it to fall back and fire in your own turn. At 80 points, it is not the cheapest of options, and is certainly not as durable as the Rhino, but provides a much faster platform for your Scouts and still allows them to shoot in the shooting phase.

A new Primaris vehicle and a nice looking kit to boot, but does it perform well?

The Repulsor is pretty much a flying Land Raider. It stats are comparable, moving 10" at full strength and will a toughness of 8, 16 wounds and a 3+ save. It is going to take a considerable amount of firepower to take it down.

The Repulsor also packs a considerable amount of firepower as well. Its basic load out includes a Heavy Onslaught Gatling Cannon (30" heavy 12, S5, AP-1), a twin Heavy Bolter, an Ironhail heavy stubber (a S4 heavy bolter), an Icarus heavy stubber (a S4 heavy bolter that gets +1 to hit against Fly units and -1 to hit against other units), two krakstorm grenade launchers (18", assault 1, S6, AP-1, D3 damage) and auto launchers (essentially smoke launchers).

This allows the Repulsor to put out a lot of medium to long range S4-6 firepower, great for taking on hordes of infantry. It also has the option to replace many of its weapons with higher strength firepower such as twin Lascannons or Las-talons, as well as an Icarus Rocket Pod. This allows you to tool up the Repulsor for hunting infantry or for targeting mosters/vehicles. In addition, power of the machine spirit allows it to move and fire to full effect.

The Repulsor also does not suffer one of the big disadvantages of the Land Raider. As it has the Fly keyword, it cannot be tied up in assault and can fall back from combat and crucially still fire to full effect. In addition, it gets to ignore terrain when moving, making it a bit more mobile, able to jump over ruins rather than having to go round them. Enemy units also suffer -2 to their charge roll when attempting to assault the Repulsor, so even better for keeping it safe.

It is also one of the only transport options for Primaris Marines, able to transport 10 Primaris Marines or 5 Inceptor Marines.

It actually works out cheaper than the Land Raider, but still comes in at a huge 287 points for just the base model. If only it could transport something other than Primaris Marines, this would be a fantastic addition to the Space Marine arsenal.

As it is, I still think it is a solid option to add to an army if you want a very tough source of potential anti-infantry and anti-air firepower in the one package. I would be interested to try this in my army, but don't know if I will be investing in one to try it out.

The Space Marines have some great options for transport vehicles. Though the Drop Pod has seen some reduction in its effectiveness, it is more than made up for by the changes to the Rhino and Razorback.

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. More good work as always pal! A couple of razorbacks are essential components in most of my lists these days, and whilst I would still use drop pods, I think the days of massed pod assaults are gone.

    1. Cheers Nick! Yeah, its a solid option now, with some much firepower available (especially with the twin assault cannon). So glad that I have one for my White Scars now. Will definitely think about adding a second.

  2. Shame about the Drop Pod, but it does mean I don't have to paint any more! Urrgh.... they took ages

    1. Yeah, they could be a bit of a chore to try and get done. Oh well, my two for my armies are now more than enough!