Tuesday 16 June 2015

White Scars- New Codex Changes Review

I finally got my new Space Marine codex in hand last night and spent an hour or so admiring some of the art and miniatures and having a look over the new rules. I'm not going to review the entire codex, there will be plenty of people doing that in the coming weeks, but thought that I would take a look at some of the changes that will most directly affect my most recent army; the White Scars.
1. Mounted Assault
The new rules for mounted assault means that any bike-mounted independent character can turn your bike squads into troops. This is a change from the last codex where only a bike-mounted Chapter Master or Khan on Moondakken had the ability to do this. Want a White Scars army led by a bike-mounted Librarian bolstering his forces with arcane powers or a bike-mounted Chaplain inspiring his troops to victory (I just like the aesthetic of a Chaplain on a white bike, something about the contrast of black and white), well now you can! This now gives you access to a cheaper HQ unit if you want to cram even more bikes into your army.
The other big change is that the bike squads no longer have to be a minimum of 5, but can be the standard minimum three instead. Whether this will lead to three-man grav bombs (2 grav guns and combi-grav) running around the board is anyone's guess. I will probably stick to 5-man squads (or even extend them) as even though bikes are still fairly durable, you want a couple of extra bodies available for casualties before you start to lose your special weapons.
The ability of HQ units to make bikes troops has given me hope for the Ravenwing and Deathwing in the new Dark Angels codex, as many codices were losing the ability to change the unit type of certain squads (I'm looking at you, Orks!)

2. Kor'sarro Khan
Khan has not changed much in the new codex, the only difference is that he now has a better warlord trait. The old warlord trait suited his background (extra victory points if the enemy warlord was slain in a challenge), but was quite difficult to achieve against most combat-orientated warlords available. His new warlord trait gives a nice boost to the army in general as well as being able to retain the extra victory points for slaying the enemy warlord thanks to the master of the hunt rule (for those times that you come up against a guard commander in combat).
His army-wide Scout ability has been limited to prevent Scouting Landraiders, which is probably a good thing, and specifies Rhinos and Razorbacks. Under the old rules, it said any unit with a dedicated transport could Scout, it never said you had to be in the transport. I don't know if anyone ever played it this way, I was certainly never cheesy enough to try it.  
3. Chapter Tactics
The White Scars chapter tactics have had some improvement over the last codex (I'm not sure they needed any improvement, but it is always welcome). The biggest is that the restriction of Bulky and Very Bulky troops from Hit and Run has been removed. You know what that means, Hit and Run Centurions, Hit and Run Terminators, Hit and Run Dreadnoughts! Sick of your grav Centurions being tied down in combat with the enemy chaff? Now you can hit and run out of combat (at least two thirds of the time) and vent your fury on the enemy. Given that all hit and run occurs on 3D6, this potentially allows you to put a good distance between you and the enemy to prevent next turn assaults with most infantry (average roll of 10-11" on 3D6, followed by 6" move would make it difficult for most non-fleet infantry to catch you next turn).
In addition, they have gained the ability to re-roll run moves. This could come in handy in the game of objective grabbing, when a poor run move stops you from claiming the objective you need.
4. Detachments
Some of the new detachments look interesting and could see some use for White Scars depending on your play style. For me, the battle demi-company looks like it could be fun to try out. It would be great is there was an option for taking bike squads in place of the three compulsory tactical squads, but you can't have everything.
The Stormwing detachment could also be quite thematic for a White Scars army. I would probably use it in larger games though, as having over 400 pts tied up in reserves (not to mention the cost of units in the Stormraven) is a lot to have missing in 1500 pts.
5. Drop Pods
Did drop pods move to fast attack? I think I saw some chatter about this online (but I don't have the codex to hand at the moment).
If so, I can finally take terminators and Centurions in a White Scars army without feeling dirty inside, as they now have a fast way to get them into battle.

In addition, the general points decrease in some units has helped. My recent blog wars army now comes in at 55 pts cheaper under the new codex. Enough for another attack bike or some bikes to bolster my existing units.

So that's my initial thoughts on the new codex. I've got a game lined up on Thursday that I will use to try out some new units I haven't played in a while. I want to take some terminators for once and maybe give Dreadnoughts another go!

How has the codex changed your Chapter? Any big buffs or tactical shake-ups you want to give a go?


  1. I used to run a bike list under the old codex, my biggest issue is that whilst it's still possible using a CAD, as you pointed out it's not possible to do that using the demi company. I'm hopeful there might be a dataslate release later to cover bike companies.

    My main list therefore I think will change quite significantly, my first sketched out concept (to be covered in a blog post later) being the demi company with support from the 1st company formation and the storm wing.

    I'll definitely be keeping my bikes, possibly even adding to them with some more bike mounted characters (got captain and chaplain, but I'd love a libby and some grav command squad guys for flexibility) but the bike list won't be seen so often now sadly (I don't generally use white scar tactics for them, since my marines are an imperial fists successor.

    1. A White Scars/bike orientated formation would be nice (as long as I don't need to buy a new supplement for it).

      I'm not actually sure how many of the new formations I can field with my White Scars, as I don't have a huge force at the moment, I reckon I could just about field the demi company (I don't have a lot of tactical marines for them). I assume the Dark Angels will get their own and I have way more of them.

      Also, good on you, a marine bike army that didn't run white scars (in a rainbow of colours). I didn't know such a thing existed.

    2. Haha, well it did make the competitive guys at club die a little inside every time they saw it - but I saw the main advantage of chapter tactics being I could get tank hunter on my lascannon centurions, which caused lots of vehicles lots of problems (they killed a soul grinder on turn 1 in the first game I fielded them!)

      I can definitely do the demi company, the storm wing and strike force ultra.

      I can probably cobble together a 1st company strike force and the 10th company one too.

      I'm 1 land raider short of their formation, and I'm probably light on tanks for the armoured option too.

      I need to buy devastators, but they're going to have to wait unfortunately.

  2. Will you be keeping an eye out for Horus Heresy White Scars ideas also? Did you see the upgrades from the WW opening? (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-SMUX6gWP1uc/VVd1QKYoIII/AAAAAAAALyI/IPYssogbLSc/s1600/P1130588.JPG)

    Also have you read 'Brotherhood of the Storm' and 'Scars' yet? You might get some excellent inspiration there-in - they are the most interesting depictions of the Legion/Chapter yet.

    1. I hadn't seen the heresy stuff yet, I've tended to steer clear of 30k at the moment (far too pricey for my blood), though I have seen some white scars conversions on the 30k jetbikes that look quite good.

      I haven't read those yet, so will keep an eye out for them. I'm in the middle of end times Archaon at the moment, so will be looking for something new soon. I've only just started reading the heresy novels (I'm up to flight of the Eisenstein), but have been enjoying them so far, especially the ones before Horus's turn to the dark side.

      Have you read the Gaunt's Ghost novels yet? I thoroughly recommend them, Dan Abnett is a brilliant writer and his depiction of the guard is what made me start to collect them.

  3. I love Abnett - I read First & Only when it was first out in the 90s when I was at school, wrote some dreadful essay on it at school :D I know many ppl online critique Abnett's later novels, but I've really enjoyed the depth found in books like 'Blood Pact' or 'Salvation's Reach' (which of course has a Chogorian in it :D ). It has been a shame that 'The Warmaster' has been so delayed :/

    Abnett's Heresy books are interesting, and the playfulness seen, for example, in books like 'Pariah' and 'Salvation's Reach' is definitely there in 'Prospero Burns' and the entirely present-tense 'Know No Fear'.

    But about the Scars - Wraight's 'Brotherhood of the Storm' and 'Scars' you should check out. They are two of my favourite 40k texts full stop. 'Brotherhood' is set before the Heresy, so easy to read without catching up on others. It's three first-person narratives about the Scars, intersecting through shared thematic ideas about change and transition. It's stunning, maybe even virtuosic and attempts to meld the generally orientalised V Legion with a more globalised, post-colonial, Eurasian perspective. It is still orientalised, but has moved from barbarian Mongol to Yuan dynasty and Tamarind Persia in how they are conceived I think.

    The only books you would have to read before 'Scars' to be fully caught up are the initial 5 (up to 'Fulgrim' & therefore covering up to Istvaan 5), 'Legion' (by Abnett), 'A Thousand Sons' (by McNeil) and 'Prospero Burns' (again, Abnett). It's a magic work, that follows on from Brotherhood by developing the Khan (or Khagan, Khan of Khans). It includes some very surprising ideas.

    1. Thanks for the advice, I will now definitely need to check them out.
      I wasn't a big fan of Blood Pact, but really enjoyed Salvation's Reach. I liked the portrayal of the different Space Marines. It really brought about the image of elite warriors that are used sparingly (in contrast to what we generally see on the tabletop) that are as alien to the humans that serve alongside them as the enemies they fight.

    2. That's definitely how Abnett writes Astartes in 'Legion' and 'Prospero Burns' too (about the Alpha Legion and Space Wolves respectively), but I don't want to spoil them too much. But each shows a kind of elite alienation in its Astartes - although of course there are millions of astartes at operation in the Crusade, but the XX and VI are some of the smallest legions. 'Know No Fear', which is about Calth and the UMs, reveals a rather more humanistic impulse.

      If you want to read KNF, also, I think you should pick up 'The First Heretic', 'Aurelian' and 'The Butcher's Nails' beforehand.

      It is something I keep putting off doing due to work is a 'Legion-by-Legion' kind of chronology of what books to read and how they intersect, a bit like this for Star Trek lit (http://www.thetrekcollective.com/p/trek-lit-reading-order.html). But it's 22 to 25 chronologies...kinda exhausting to do :D

  4. Hey Micheal.

    I'm loving the new dex, saving points like you are as well. I'm able to field a full battle company under the detachment thingy, meaning free transports! But I think I'm gonna have to get into the sky hammer formation. Potentially 40 marines on turn one? Yes please! Especially since the devastators thing will work for their combat squared boltguns as well :)

    1. I really want to try the Skyhammer too, but I need to pick up some assault marines (never had any for my scars and my Dark Angels don't have any drop pods). Being able to assault from deep strike is a huge bonus, especially when the enemy cannot overwatch (TAKE THAT TAU!).
      I can see things getting very messy when you add in the ultramarines or imperial fists chapter tactics.

  5. Well, the cool thing is you get the ultramarine tactics when you take the Gladius detachment. So you can go salamanders or white scars and then run a detachment and you get them for that. Plus, the Demi company is all objective secured, including the dreadnought, devs, and bikes!

    1. I really want to try out some of the new formations. I have a game this Thursday, so might have a go with them. The only problem is that the Dark Angels codex is out this weekend too, so I really want to play with the Dark Angels again! Too many new toys GW, I simply don't have the time to play with them all!