Space Marines are the iconic faction of Warhammer 40, The very origins of the setting lie with the Space Marines, beginning with the C release which existed prior to Rogue Trader, and then the iconic RTB01 Imperial Space Marines box which did so much to define the early look of 40k. There are very few 40k players who have never painted a Space Marine, and they remain the best-selling and most popular faction by a long way.
In the last year or so of 8th edition, Marines were very strong, particularly when using the Iron Hands and Raven Guard Chapter rules. This continued even after a number of significant FAQs, and the transition to 9th edition didnt slow them down at all although the previously unfavoured Salamanders became the top chapter, gaining significant upside from the 9th ed missions and rules as well as new units introduced in the Indomitus box.
As is traditional, Space Marines received one of the first new codexes of 9th, releasing alongside the updated Necrons. This included a significant change to previous editions, or, looked at another way, a revival of a concept from 3rd all Space Marines except the Grey Knights are now included in the base codex, including those divergent chapters that previously had their own separate codexes i.e. the Blood Angels, Dark Angels, Space Wolves, and even the xenos-hunting Deathwatch. Following on from the precedent established in 8th, these chapters have their own supplement codexes with additional stratagems, relics, Warlord traits, and their unique units and characters. This is a fantastic change one of the lowlights of 8th was the increasingly messy situation of the different Chapter rules diverging as new releases for Codex: Space Marines had to fit into the various other chapters, and having them all share a common core solves that problem immediately.
What this means is that this Start Competing article will be a little different to others. With 13 possible chapters to choose from including the successors (Flesh Tearers, Black Templars, and Crimson Fists) who also have tactics in the codex, there is simply too much here to do justice to it in a single article without also making it unreadable. Instead we are going to do a series of our own supplement articles to match the various books, which will form a companion to this piece. This article will cover the content of Codex: Space Marines itself plus the Marine options in the Forge World book, and then the Chapter-specific content will be these supplementary articles. The latter will also include the example list type content although theres commonalities between many successful Space Marine lists, it makes more sense to talk about those in the context of the chapter supplement theyre drawn from.
As ever, this strategy article is fixed in a specific time and place, and may be subject to change as the meta continues to evolve and new releases bring different armies up and down in power and relevance. At time of publication it is December the new codex is here and has had a reasonable run of time in place, and the supplements for Blood Angels, Deathwatch and Space Wolves have been released. Dark Angels, and Black Templars are still reliant on index articles until the release of their supplements (Dark Angels have been announced, the latter is a mystery, but surely they cant be stuck with a PDF index forever?).
Salamanders Primaris Chaplain on Bike. Credit: Rockfish
- Huge, diverse range. Space Marines have an answer to basically any question, and usually several. If you find yourself struggling against a particular opponent or army, you can probably find something in the book to help.
- Jacks of all trades, masters of all. Many, many Marine units offer both powerful shooting and combat abilities, making them very flexible on the table.
- Varied playstyles. You can completely change the character of a Space Marine army simply by changing which supplement it draws its rules from.
- Tough and reliable. Space Marine units have great profiles, with even the basic Marine offering high Strength and Toughness and a 3+ save. Theyre a resilient army which can be forgiving for newer players.
- Target-rich army: All your units are good, but that makes them all valuable targets. Since they mostly trend towards the lower end of the mobility spectrum (at least once they’re on the board), opponents with high powered mobile units can strike surgically and do a lot of damage.
- Meta leader: Marines are a prominent part of the meta and the one army you can guarantee every opponent will have thought about when designing their list. You are unlikely to get a good run of favourable match-ups.
Credit: Robert TheChirurgeon Jones
Strong. Space Marines are among the strongest factions in the game. They are routinely putting up good tournament results in a wide variety of different builds. Unlike some players we dont think theyre the S-tier army that utterly dominates the game a short skim of GT results suggests that theyre just one of a range of strong factions but theres no arguing that they arent among the best, and the unrivalled ability they have to switch between playstyles should keep them flexible and dangerous in the long term.
Chapter Tactics and Successor Chapters
There are thirteen Chapters with Chapter Tactics listed in the Space Marines codex. These traits apply to all units except SERVITOR and BEAST units. The traits are as follows:
Grim Resolve: Each time a model makes an attack, unless that unit has moved this turn (excluding pile-in/consolidation), +1 to hit rolls. Additionally, they automatically pass Combat Attrition tests. DA have had that can only lose one model to Morale thing absolutely forever. Its actually kind of nice here because Marines are more vulnerable to Morale than they have been for a while. That said, the main thing here is that +1 to hit it does rather push you towards static play, but when so much of your game is about taking and holding objectives thats not as bad as it sounds. Middling just because so much of your game is about movement in 9th though note its about having moved this turn and so you do get the +1 to hit in your opponents turn if they charge you.
Lightning Assault: White Scars units can Advance and charge or Fall Back and charge, and they ignore the -1 to hit for advancing and firing Assault weapons. This is a stupidly good tactic Advance and charge makes a ton of combat units much more viable, and theres a bunch of great Assault weapons where its helpful to be able to functionally extend their range by 1-6 without penalty, especially since one of the White Scars stratagems, Hunters Fusillades, lets you treat any weapon as being Assault for a turn.
Hunters Unleashed: If a unit has made a charge, been charged, or made a heroic intervention, it gets +1 to hit in melee. All units with this tactic can perform a Heroic Intervention. This is a dangerous tactic for 9th edition gameplay the +1 to hit is nice to have, but the heroic intervention thing means that any unit attempting to flip an objective that Wolves are holding has to assume theyre getting into melee which is exactly where you dont want to be against most Space Wolves units.
Siege Masters: Imperial Fists ignore Light Cover with ranged attacks, and on an unmodified 6 to hit with a bolt weapon they get 1 additional hit. This is fine, and the more terrain-heavy boards were seeing in 9th make ignoring cover a nice thing to have.
Imperial Fists Redemptor Dreadnought. Credit: Jack Hunter
No Matter the Odds: Crimson Fists units get +1 to hit against units that have 5 more models than their unit at the time they are chosen to shoot, and like their bigger brothers in the Imperial Fists, on an unmodified 6 to hit with a bolt weapon they get 1 additional hit. The Crimson Fists tactic has always been a bit more dubious than others because its so conditional on what your opponents army is like if you turn up and play a bunch of MSU you get very little out of the first half and this version now only applies to ranged attacks instead of melee as well like it did in 8th, which is an odd choice. It might start looking a little better than it does right now if hordes of Necron Warriors and Ork Boyz remain a meta staple, but you can usually do better.
Righteous Zeal: Black Templars can re-roll Advance and charge rolls, and get a 5+ to ignore mortal wounds. This has gotten a soft nerf from last editions version, as Games Workshop seem to be pushing back against the wording that arrived at the end of 8th allowing you to re-roll any or all dice for things like charges. Its still a decent tactic for a melee-focused Chapter, and the 5+ to ignore mortals is reasonably helpful for things like big blocks of Terminators which are vulnerable to little else.
Red Thirst: +1 to advance and charge rolls, and +1 to wound with melee attacks when a unit with this tactic charged, is charged, or performed a Heroic Intervention. A very good Chapter tactic, both making it easier for your units to get where theyre going and then making them more effective when they get there. +1 to wound is a reasonably rare effect which can make a big difference in allowing a unit to punch above its weight class, and it also, importantly, is very helpful for Marine vs Marine mirror matches where your guys are just better at wounding in melee than your opponent.
Blood Angels Bladeguard Veterans. Credit: Corrode
Fury Within: Flesh Tearers mirror the +1 to wound part of their parent Chapters tactic. Additionally, on an unmodified wound roll of a 6, melee attacks gain an extra point of AP which explicitly stacks with the Assault Doctrine bonus. Overall I think BA is slightly better, but this isnt a bad tactic at all it keeps the important punch up part, the AP thing is at least ok.
The Flesh is Weak: Iron Hands units gain a 6+ Feel No Pain, and models with a damage table count as having double the wounds remaining for the purposes of the damage table. A fine tactic, making your Marines 20% more resilient than normal, and allowing your vehicles most importantly for most purposes, Dreadnoughts to keep on truckin even as they take damage.
Codex Discipline: Ultramarines get +1 Leadership, and they can Fall Back and shoot, at -1 to hit. Completely fine and the most consistent tactic in the game in terms of its effects. A bit less important than it was thanks to the new Big Guns Never Tire allowing units to shoot in combat, but its nice to have the option of just whipping them out and shooting a more important target.
Forged in Battle: Each time a unit shoots or fights, you can re-roll one wound roll, and you treat AP-1 as AP0 instead. A solid tactic still, making your weapons a little more reliable and your models a little tougher to dakka off the board with low-mid quality shooting.
Salamanders Indomitus Captain Credit: Chris Cowie
Shadow Masters: When a unit with this tactic is targeted by a ranged attack from more than 18 away, then the unit is treated as having Light Cover. Additionally, if that unit is INFANTRY entirely on or within a terrain feature, and the attacker is more than 12 away, then the unit is treated as having the benefits of dense cover. A tactic that seems to get worse with every iteration. Its still fine but the range bands are a bigger problem on the smaller boards of 9th edition.
Xenos Hunters: Models with this tactic get re-roll 1s to hit in melee against TYRANIDS, AELDARI, ORK, NECRONS, or TAU EMPIRE units. Additionally, they can pick one Battlefield Role after deployment; until the end of the game, your units can re-roll wound rolls of 1 against any enemy unit with that Battlefield Role. Pure upside in the change to 9th here for Deathwatch, as they gain a new ability (the rerolls to hit), and get a better version of the old one you are no longer stuck with having some battlefield roles just not included in the list and unable to be chosen.
Continuing on a theme from the previous book, in addition to the tactics for the 13 main Marine factions described above, Games Workshop took a page out of its 4th edition playbook and released an updated system for making your own custom rules for Successor Chapters. The system is pretty simple: Instead of taking one of the defined chapters, you build your own Successor Chapter with its own subfaction keword (such as RAPTORS or MENTORS or GOONHAMMER or whatever), and instead of using another chapters trait, you pick two from the list of Successor Chapter Tactics. Most of these replicate half of the main Chapters tactics and power-wise they range from Meh to Decent but there are a few stand-outs and combinations that work well.
As Psychic Awakening books have come out, many armies have received similar custom sub-faction rules, and this trend has continued with Necrons as the first other 9th edition codex. Normally these are a straight replacement for a regular Craftworld or Hive Fleet or whatever else you get your custom trait, but you lose access to any faction-specific relics, stratagems, etc. This is not the case for Space Marines. When you create a successor chapter from this list, you can choose one of the nine First Founding chapters (so the list above excluding Black Templars, Flesh Tearers, Deathwatch, and Crimson Fists) to be descended from. You then get access to almost all of the benefits of that Chapter from its supplement the special Doctrine (more on that when we hit the supplements), the stratagems, warlord traits, and psychic powers and the Special-issue Wargear in each book. There is also some limited access to the proper Relics from each chapter, via stratagem. The only limitation is that you cant take the named characters from that supplement, as these are keyword-locked although interestingly the Forge World characters can gain custom traits, since their tactics are not defined.
The Successor Tactics
Thats a big deal, because it means that you can freely combine the abilities below with a powerful supplement and get the best of both worlds. Most of these tactics are straight carry-forwards from 8th, but a couple have changed significantly.
- Bolter Fusillades. Re-roll To Hit rolls of 1 on bolt weapons. A somewhat interesting ability that allows your Intercessors and Tactical Marines to range free from their Captains, and just go harder on Lieutenants instead. However, youll probably find you want to take buff characters anyway, leaving this a marginal boost at best. This does have the slightly cute benefit now that your characters, who cant benefit from their own auras any more, can use this for re-rolls but you dont care that much about your Captains bolt pistol. C
- Born Heroes. If you charge, melee attacks are +1 to hit. One of the big changes from 8th, and a significant improvement. Now combos well with something like Hungry for Battle for an aggressive melee Chapter. B
- Duellists. When fighting in melee against INFANTRY or BIKER units, unmodified To Hit rolls of a 6 always hits and automatically scores a Wound. Cant be combined with Whirlwind of Rage. Helps pretty much everything go through hordes more efficiently, but the limited scope of targets makes it a lot less appealing than Whirlwind of Rage. Would be more useful if there were more high toughness infantry out there to fight. C
- Fearsome Aspect. Enemy units within 3 get a -1 modifier to their Leadership. Ultimately not that useful just ask the Night Lords how often this one works out, and theirs actually stacks up to a D
- Hungry for Battle. Units with this trait get +1 to their Advance and Charge rolls. Very useful, particularly if you are trying to make charges out of deep strike, where even a 1 difference bumps your odds up to 42% before considering re-rolls. A
- Inheritors of the Primarch. You give up the ability to choose a second tactic but instead you get to pick one of the First Founding Chapter Tactics instead. This locks you in to designating yourself a successor of that chapter. If this was the only way to get your custom chapter access to the supplement rules it would be worth it. It would also be interesting if it let you take one of the core chapter tactics across to a successor of another chapter. Sadly, it does neither, so is ultimately a bit pointless its only use is if you for some reason want to play your Chapter as being just like their parent one, for fluff, but not get any of the other bits. Not a serious consideration for competitive play, that. D
Blood Ravens Bladeguard. Credit Soggy
- Knowledge is Power. Re-roll any or all dice rolls of a 1 when attempting to manifest or deny a psychic power. Helpful for avoiding Perils of the Warp and smoothing out psychic results, but ultimately not as good as having a +1. Also only applies to a few units in the army, and Librarians still arent the Marines strong suit. C
- Long-range Marksmen. Add 3 to the range characteristic of Rapid Fire and Heavy weapons (but not flame weapons) for units with this tactic. If youre looking at lists from before this book came out you will probably see a lot of this, particularly on Raven Guard Centurion lists from 8th and, in 9th, Salamanders Successors. The former are dead and buried and the latter dont need this any more, since flamers the main reason to use it, so you can fire them out of deep strike are a) 12 range now and b) excluded anyway. Without that its merely fine. B-
- Master Artisans. When a unit with this trait fights, fires Overwatch, or shoots in the shooting phase, you can re-roll one hit roll. With Chapter Master much less easy to blanket your whole army in, this is nice for having in the back pocket for MSU squads with heavy weapons (which might actually be a thing now that Tactical Marines are ok again). Less essential now that you dont get a wound re-roll as well. B
- Preferred Enemy. When you select this tactic, choose one of Chaos Knights, Tyranids, Aeldari, Orks, Heretic Astartes, Necrons, or Tau Empire. When resolving an attack made by a melee weapon against a unit with that keyword, in the same turn you charged, were charged, or made a Heroic Intervention, you can re-roll the result. This is just a bad rule. Its absurdly specific, requiring many hoops to jump through to see in action, and its focused entirely on one enemy faction. We see what theyre going for here from a fluff standpoint, trying to create stories for Chapters that have old rivalries against a particular foe, but it just doesnt work. Its the worst kind of rule: in a tournament, it wont be do enough to be worth taking, and in casual play, any time you take this its going to feel like you are tailoring your list to fight a specific opponent. It doesnt work for either kind of play, and naturally for fluff reasons you cant even pick half the most common armies in the game Imperium in general but also other Marines specifically. We hated it last edition and adding Chaos Knights to it for 9th doesnt make us hate it less now. F
- Rapid Assault. Units with this tactic dont suffer the penalty from Advancing and shooting Assault weapons. This is a neat ability. Its good in White Scars but there its paired with the insanely good Advance and charge here in the Successors its a bit more whatever. B-
- Scions of the Forge. Models with this trait that have a damage table always count as having twice the number of wounds remaining for the purposes of their stats on the table. Fine but if you want this, you really should just play Iron Hands, where the other half of their tactic complements this better than anything else in the Successor list. C
- Stalwart. When rolling To Wound rolls for attacks against models with this trait, an unmodified roll of a 1 or 2 always fails, irrespective of the Strength or abilities of the attacker. Not horrible cutting out the ability for your regular Primaris and firstborn units to get exploded by lascannons and the like is neat but if youre going heavy on Gravis armour it will often be the case that a 2 will fail anyway, so you get nothing from this. C
- Stealthy. Units with this Tactic count as having the benefit of light cover for their saves when being attacked from more than 18 away with ranged weapons. Along with Master Artisans, absolutely essential in the last edition, and along with Master Artisans, suitably nerfed for this one. You can still get game out of this, but its merely fine now. B
- Stoic. Units with this ability add 1 to their Leadership characteristic. This is just not something Marines need. F
- Tactical Withdrawal. Units with this tactic can charge in the same turn in which they make a Fall Back move. A reasonable upgrade and a natural pairing with Rapid Assault if you wanted to build like 2/3rds of White Scars but perhaps using a different parent or something. B-
- Warded. When a model with this Tactic suffers a mortal wound, it can roll a D6, and on a 5+ that wound is negated. A neat ability if youre going up against lots of Smites, but ultimately very situational and not strong enough to take over the other options unless mortal wounds become much more common in the meta. Do not let Chase fool you with his ideas about this being worth trading for Inner Circle in his Dark Angels he is a madman. D
- Whirlwind of Rage. In the combat after a model with this Tactic has charged, was charged, or made a Heroic Intervention, when rolling its attacks, any unmodified to hit roll of a 6 causes an additional hit. Cant be combined with Duellists. As-is, its a very nice ability to add on to any of the other combat-centric Successor Traits (Hungry for Battle, Tactical Withdrawal, Rapid Assault). The fact that this doesnt have any targeting restrictions (unlike Duellists) makes it a much more appealing general choice, although its at its best on powerful characters or things like Dreadnoughts where every extra attack counts. A solid choice if you want to get into melee. B
The Excoriators, an Imperial Fists successor chapter. Credit: Skails
Combining These Tactics
A couple of obvious combos stick out straight away:
- Born Heroes/Whirlwind of Rage, which you will see again in the Raven Guard article as this exact combo won the Vasteras Autumn Bash. +1 to hit in melee combined with 6s for extra hits makes for very powerful charges. Also very handy for units toting hammers and fists, as you basically get to ignore the hit penalty they normally impose and sometimes will even luck into a couple of extra hits with them.
- Stealthy/Master Artisans, a classic pairing that is probably less good now but might at least be worth looking at again.
This is a whole new section for 9th edition, and there’s lots going on here. Chapter Command represents the top-ranking officers in the Space Marine army, the highest respective person in their role, such as the Chapter Master or Chief Apothecary. These are upgrades to existing units that you’d take, making them more powerful and giving them access to new warlord traits and relics. Rules for these were first introduced in Faith and Fury for 8th, but they’ve been changed significantly here from that first iteration. The biggest change is that the upgrades for your chapter leaders are now paid for with regular-old army building points rather than by using stratagems for CP. They all return here, plus there’s a new section for Chapter Masters to come into their own, with some light restrictions – Deathwatch can’t take Chapter Masters and Blood Angels can’t take Chapter Ancients, since those already exist in different forms in their individual supplements.
Many of the custom relics and warlord traits for Chapter Command units have returned from Faith & Fury, although now there’s only one Warlord Trait and one Relic for each entry, so those have been adjusted and in some cases, combined or baked into the main sheet.
The new Masters of the Chapter, as per Warhammer Community. After a short controversy these points ended up being the correct ones.
We’d like to welcome you to the new era of SLAM MASTERS. The Chapter Master costs +40 points on a Captain and now, as well as the regular re-roll 1s to hit aura, he has an ability which lets him pick a single CORE or CHARACTER unit within 6” to get full re-rolls to hit. As such he can help himself out and smash things with force. Also a Chapter Master has an exemption that lets you take him and a Captain, so you can have your SLAM MASTER cake and eat your captain aura too.
The Chapter Master appears to have pulled rank on the Chapter Champion, stealing the Angel Artifice relic that originally belonged to him in Faith & Fury; this gives him a 2+ save and +1 to his Wounds and Toughness characteristics. This is pretty good on a jump pack model, essentially turning the model into a more mobile, FLYing Terminator though you can also potentially make a truly horrifying bike Captain. The Master of the Codex Warlord trait lets you score 1 CP each turn on a 4+. Not exactly essential on average its CP across the course of a game (assuming the Chapter Master lives throughout), but with only 5 rolls that is subject to a lot of variance. Its not a horrible trait and sometimes it will pay off and youll get a bonus 5CP in a game, but most of the time you can do better.
Blood Angels Slam Master. Credit: Corrode
Master of Sanctity
The top Chaplain returns. He loses The Sacrosanct Rosarius and Bellowing Firebrand abilities (points to anyone who could tell you what those did to begin with) but The Emperor’s Judgment Relic returns with a minor tweak.You’re still never going to take it, Benediction of Fury is right there. The basic upgrade here gives you the ability to know and chant an extra litany, which is huge upside as the litanies are all good and a great buff to your game plan. The Wise Orator Warlord trait gets a massive overhaul from last editions version, giving +1 to reciting litanies (marginally worse than re-rolling like before) and dropping the cost of the Commanding Oratory Stratagem to 1 CP. Both effects are worth the reasonably cheap cost of the upgrade.
Primaris Chaplain. Credit: Scottish SRM McLarceny
Master of The Forge
The Master of the Forge keeps Warden of the Ancients and Mortis Machina. The basic effect here is auto-healing 3 wounds on a vehicle instead of d3 very good for keeping your tanks and Dreadnoughts on the table a bit longer. Warden turns him into a dreadnought buffbot – on top of the Techmarine’s ability to natively give one +1 to hit with their shooting, he gives +1 strength and +1 attack to all dreadnoughts within 6″. This feels a bit like it was copy-pasted from the previous version without much thought as to how it works in 9th – previously that +1 strength would have been +2 thanks to the way weapon modifiers worked, but now it does literally nothing for how effective your melee Dreadnought is unless they’re somehow punching a Titan. It does give a shooty Dreadnought a minor benefit, but those are now a lot rarer and also you probably dont care. Mortis Machina is an upgrade to his power axe, hitting at strength 7 for 3 damage with an additional mortal wound against vehicles. On a Primaris Techmarine this might just about be worthwhile, since he comes with four base attacks.
A Chief Librarian knows a third power (from their chosen discipline, no mix-and-matching), and can deny a second. They can take Psychic Mastery to give +1 to their psychic tests, and a Neural Shroud to increase their deny range to 24″. Taking this guy with his trait is a good no-nonsense pick for getting key powers off – your odds on a WC7 power increase from 58% (i.e. just over half the time) to 72% (nearly 3/4s of the time). Theres at least one power in the list which is a potential build-around (Psychic Fortress) and so maximising your chances of that being available every turn you need it is worthwhile.
Holy shit. This guy. This fucking guy. His base upgrade allows him to use his Combat Restoratives healing ability twice instead of once, though on different units. Now hold on, you might be saying, Ive heard of this Father of the Future thing that was really powerful before, can I still take that? Well, you’re in luck, because that’s now baked into the Apothecary’s datasheet (though notably, it now has no bonus effect for Iron Hands, who instead have to live with the same 6+ as everyone else gets. Boo hoo). So for +15 pts, you’re essentially getting both of the former Faith & Fury Warlord Traits with the option of a new-and-improved Selfless Healer, which makes him heal a flat 3 wounds instead of d3 on both of his targets, and also lets him use the new Combat Revival stratagem for free, letting him revive a dead model at full wounds without having to spend your precious CP. You can also give him the Acquittal relic bolt pistol, which has a decent profile at strength 5, AP-3, damage 2. It only gets better when you point it at an INFANTRY model, though, since it always wounds on a 2+ and goes up to an impressive damage 4. This is the rare example of a relic gun which might actually be worthwhile though probably still not. Apothecaries arent a complete auto-take, but they are Very Good, and if youre taking one you basically should just assume youre taking this and his Warlord trait as well.
Imperial Fists Primaris Apothecary. Credit: Jack Hunter
The Chapter Ancient gains an ok ability, Chapter Banner, which affects a single CORE unit within 6” and gives +1 to hit with melee attacks. This is cute but you have to do it in the Command phase so it cant hit deep striking units or ones rolling out of transports and the Bladeguard Ancient just natively hands it out to Bladeguard units anyway, so that obvious combo kind of wastes its potential. The Warlord trait, however, is Steadfast Example, granting Objective Secured to all Core units within 6″ and making existing Objective Secured models count twice. Steadfast is a great pickup; in 9th edition objective-heavy games, bumping up the effective size of an Intercessor squad or giving Objective Secured to some Bladeguard Veterans is a great way to flip objectives and stay ahead on the primary scoring. The Pennant of the Fallen relic is slightly more niche, allowing dying models to make 2 attacks instead of 1 with the Astartes banner.
The Chapter Champion gains 3 bonus abilities for his upgrade Skilful Parry, which makes melee attacks that target him -1 to hit, Exquisite Swordsman, which allows him to wounds against enemy CHARACTER units in melee, and the eponymous Chapter Champion, making him Attacks 5 and Leadership 9. The Martial Exemplar Warlord trait affects CORE and CHARACTER units within 6, allowing them to re-roll charges, and the Blade of Triumph relic is S+3 AP-3 damage 3. For a mere 70pts the Chapter Champion is death on legs the main strike against him is the need to actually get him to combat, though hes an excellent pick for a linebacker type unit in a footslogging castle.
Ultramarines Chapter Champion. Credit Gumbo SRM McLongname
Unlike almost everything else in the Army Rules section, the stratagems are not a simple roll-forward of content from the previous books with some minor tweaking around the edges. A few of them have survived, either wholly or in name only, but a huge swathe of these are completely new to the 9th edition codex. Stratagems now have categories, too, which dont seem to actually do much right now, though Commander Dante in the Blood Angels index can use an Epic Deed for free if he wants to and presumably more of that kind of thing will be rolling out.
Note that in the list below we are usually going to skip the ADEPTUS ASTARTES keyword unless its the only one the stratagem targets or its otherwise important. Just bear in mind that all of these are restricted to ADEPTUS ASTARTES units you cant use Steady Advance on a squad of allied Guardsmen or whatever. Also, youll probably notice that a lot of the letter grades here are hovering around in the Bs and As that reflects some much better stratagem design, with a lot more stuff which is at least situationally useful or if your plan needs it instead of there being a few good stratagems and then a lot of space-filler.
Battle Tactic Stratagems
- Death to the Traitors! 1CP Use in the Fight phase when an ADEPTUS ASTARTES unit is selected to fight. They can re-roll hits for melee attacks against HERETIC ASTARTES units. This is actually more relevant than it ever has been since most non-CORE units cant access re-rolls readily any more. The restriction to fighting Chaos Marines is fluffy but also limits its usefulness, but its handy to have in your back pocket if youre playing against them and need a unit to get full re-rolls in melee. C+
- Honour the Chapter 2CP A unit of Assault Intercessors can fight again at the end of the Fight phase. Tying this specifically to Assault Intercessors (not even INTERCESSOR in general, stopping you using it with Veteran Intercessors or Death Company Intercessors for some reason) hurts it a lot, but Assault Intercessors arent bad at all and if you get a reasonable number of them into combat, getting to fight twice is a worthwhile use of 2CP against the right target. B- mostly because of its limited targets.
- Fury of the First 1CP Use in either the Shooting or the Fight phase; pick an ADEPTUS ASTARTES unit and any TERMINATOR model in that unit gets +1 to hit. The wording here is quite specific now, which allows Deathwatch or Space Wolves units that contain both Terminator and non-Terminator models to get the buff for the Terminator if they want it, which is nice. A good stratagem, especially for hammer or fist-wielding Terminators who have a built-in -1 to hit in melee, and cheap for what it does. B
- Transhuman Physiology 1CP/2CP Use when a PRIMARIS unit is targeted for an attack. Until the end of the phase, wound rolls of automatically fail, irrespective of any other abilities. This has gotten some interesting tweaks its now Primaris-only, but also, for a unit of 5 or fewer models it only costs 1CP, with the cost going up to 2CP for units of 6 or more. Overall that works out as an upgrade in most cases. Remains a key component of the Marine stratagem arsenal. A
- Rapid Fire 2CP One INTERCESSOR SQUAD or VETERAN INTERCESSOR SQUAD can fire again at the end of the Shooting phase (see Honour the Chapter, how hard was that??) Intercessors bring decent shooting and getting to double-shoot them is good for getting the most out of them. For 2CP you really want there to be a lot of them, though. B
- Gene-wrought Might 1CP Use in the Fight phase when a PRIMARIS unit is selected to fight. Unmodified 6s to hit automatically wound. If you have a reasonable volume of attacks going out against a tough target, this can help tip the balance Assault Intercessors or Outriders are an obvious pick here for something that is going to dump a boatload of S4 attacks into something and where auto-wounding would help them out a lot, and its reasonably cheap. B
- Unyielding in the Face of the Foe 1CP Use when a MK X GRAVIS unit from your army is selected as the target of an attack; until the end of the phase you get +1 to armour saves against weapons with Damage 1. A helpful stratagem for keeping your fat boys on the table longer anyone trying to dakka them off with low quality weaponry has to work that bit harder to do so. B
Assault Intercessors w/ Hand Flamer and Thunder Hammer. Credit: Rockfish
Epic Deed Stratagems
- Only in Death Does Duty End 2CP Use in the Fight phase, when an CHARACTER that has not already fought is destroyed. That model can fight before it dies. A huge change here from the old version, as you can no longer fight, die, and fight again. Its still good if your guy gets sucker punched, but a lot less powerful than it was. B
- Armour of Contempt 1CP 5+ against mortal wounds for a vehicle. Simple, effective stratagem, especially in a meta full of Harlequin bikes. B+
- Power of the Machine Spirit 2CP Use in the Command phase and select one MACHINE SPIRIT model from your army. Until the next Command phase that unit is considered to have full wounds remaining for its damage table. Handy but the list of MACHINE SPIRIT vehicles is quite short basically Land Raiders, Stormravens, and Repulsors and you probably arent investing in them to begin with, and then 2CP to act on top profile is quite a lot. If you brought one and need it to do something useful while clinging on to life its not like this is bad, though. C+
- Wisdom of the Ancients 1CP Use in the Command phase; one DREADNOUGHT (except WULFEN or DEATH COMPANY ones) can have either Rites of Battle or Tactical Precision (i.e. re-roll 1s to hit or 1s to wound for CORE within 6) until the start of your next Command phase. A huge glow-up for this stratagem you can now pick between either a Captain or Lieutenant aura, and it lasts a whole turn instead of just one phase. Dreadnoughts are good in this book and this just makes them even better, for a minimal cost. A
- Commanding Oratory 2CP Use at the start of any phase other than your Command phase. One CHAPLAIN that has not recited a litany this turn can automatically recite one that hasnt already been recited by a friendly model this turn. It does this automatically with no roll, and takes effect until the start of your next Command phase. A solid stratagem in its own right, and even better for a Wise Orator Master of Sanctity who can use it for 1CP. Its not just great because you can auto-chant one, but also because it allows you huge flexibility in using Chaplain litanies in situations you simply couldnt before. A
- Combat Revival 1CP Use at the end of your Movement phase. An APOTHECARY can pick one INFANTRY or BIKER unit that is within 3 and not at its Starting Strength; one of that units models is returned with its full wounds. A Selfless Healer Chief Apothecary can use this for 0CP. Extremely good Apothecaries are already great, you have lots of high-value models in your army, and when you can do it for free its even better. The funniest use-case is picking up an Invader ATV at its full 8 wounds, but outside of Ravenwing (where the Apothecary can go on a bike in order to keep up with them) the more likely use is to back up Gravis units or Bladeguard. A
Imperial Fists Primaris Apothecary. Credit: Jack Hunter
- Relic of the Chapter 1CP Use before the battle if your Warlord has the Adeptus Astartes keyword. One ADEPTUS ASTARTES CHARACTER can be given one Chapter Relic. You can only use this once per game in Combat Patrol/Incursion, twice in Strike Force, and three times in Onslaught. All the normal rules for relics apply you cant double up on Relics and you cant give a character more than one. Some subtle changes to the functioning of this from previous iterations firstly, you can only use it if you have an ADEPTUS ASTARTES Warlord, so you cant soup Marines in with something else and get their Relics. Secondly, youre restricted on the number of uses by the game size. Also, in the Matched Play and GT formats, you must write this stuff down on your list rather than being able to decide at the table.
- Hero of the Chapter 1CP Use before the battle if your Warlord has the Adeptus Astartes keyword. One ADEPTUS ASTARTES CHARACTER (excluding named characters) can be given a Warlord Trait. You can only use this once per game in Combat Patrol/Incursion, twice in Strike Force, and three times in Onslaught. As with relics you cant have duplicate traits or double up on traits on one guy.
Were not rating these for obvious reasons you want to use them if you want more relics or traits on your list and if you dont then theyre irrelevant. Marines have good traits and relics in abundance so it would be surprising if you never wanted to, but it all depends on what your list is doing.
Strategic Ploy Stratagems
- Hit-and-Run Warfare 1CP Use in your movement phase when an BIKER, LAND SPEEDER, or STORM SPEEDER unit from your army Falls Back. That unit can still shot this turn. Decent enough stratagem if your units get tagged or stuck in a combat they would rather leave. B
- Hammer of Wrath 1CP Use in your Charge phase when a JUMP PACK unit finishes a charge move. Pick one enemy unit within Engagement Range of that unit and roll 1d6 for each model in your jump pack unit that is within Engagement Range of that unit. Do 1 mortal wound for each roll that equals or exceeds the enemy units Toughness. Buffed from its old version, as now a unit of something like Vanguard Vets can go slamming into T3 or T4 models and do % of its own model count in mortal wounds. Vanguard Vets and their equivalents being good again is a great time for this stratagem to finally be usable. B
- Skilled Riders 1CP When your opponent shoots a BIKER, LAND SPEEDER, or STORM SPEEDER unit that Advanced in your turn, make them -1 to hit until the end of the phase. Its ok but a serious downgrade, and requiring you to advance to use it is rough for a lot of chapters for what you get now. B-
- Uncompromising Fire 2CP One INFANTRY unit in your army that is performing an action can shoot without that action failing. Very handy for something like Deploy Scramblers, where you might want to deep strike a unit in and be able to shoot something and still do the action. B+
- Steady Advance 2CP Use when an INFANTRY unit from your army makes a Normal Move. It counts as having Remained Stationary. A good stratagem, though pricey and both Iron Hands and Salamanders can replicate some or all of the effect for cheaper. Worth noting that this specifies Normal Move so you a) cant use it on things that Fall Back and b) cant use it on units deep striking or arriving by Drop Pod. Obvious good targets include Eradicators with the heavy melta rifle, and foot Devastators. B
- Adaptive Strategy 2CP Use in your Command phase. Your Warlord must be on the battlefield and you must have a combat doctrine active (i.e. you cant use it if youre souped and dont have doctrines). One CORE unit from your army that is on the battlefield counts as being in all three of Devastator, Tactical, and Assault doctrine when it makes an attack. Theres one interesting thing to note here most of the time it works how you would think, i.e. you get bonus AP with all your weapons and you get to use your super doctrine, so bonus damage for White Scars melee weapons or Imperial Fists shooting at vehicles, and so on. However, for the Blood Angels doctrine Savage Echoes, it doesnt function. Whether this is meant to be the case or not is hard to know. Outside of that particular edge case this is a great stratagem though sometimes you just really need a unit to get your Assault Doctrine bonus early, or you need your Devastator doctrine bonus to be paying off later in the game. B+
- Suppression Fire 1CP Use in your Shooting phase when firing a Whirlwind. Until the end of the phase, if you hit with a weapon with Blast, then until the start of your next turn the target cannot fire Overwatch or Set to Defend, and cannot fight until all eligible units from your army have done so. Cute although less essential than it might have been since Overwatch is less of a thing, and the fight last effect is less good than the Judiciar one since you can use Counter-offensive to break out of it. Also you have to take a Whirlwind and those are ok at best now. B
- Terror Troops 2CP Use in your Command phase. Select one REIVER unit, which until your next Command phase gains an aura which means that an enemy unit within 3 loses Objective Secured or similar abilities, and additionally, until the end of the turn, when that REIVER unit makes a Normal Move, Advance move, or charge move within 3 of an enemy unit that is performing an action, roll 2D6 if you beat their Leadership, their action automatically fails. This is ok but probably not good enough to make Reivers worth taking however, the Reiver Lieutenant also has the REIVER keyword and otherwise costs no more than a normal Primaris Lieutenant. Using him as a platform for this stuff is a great way to get the benefit without having to actually use Reivers. B
- Guerilla Tactics 1CP Use in your Movement phase when a PHOBOS unit that is more than 6 from any enemy models is selected to move. Put that unit into Strategic Reserves. Its not quite clear if youre meant to be able to then immediately bring them back in somewhere else on the table, though it does logically follow that you can. Very handy for popping a Phobos unit out to perform an action in a distant part of the board, or score Engage or Linebreaker, or whatever else, especially for 1CP. Again, remember it can also apply to the characters so those can start on the board and then jump to join a unit arriving from reserves somewhere else. A-
- Orbital Bombardment 3CP Use in your Command phase, if your Warlord is on the battlefield. Pick a point on the battlefield and place a marker on that point. At the start of your next Command phase, roll one d6 for each enemy unit within 6 of the centre of the marker, with +1 to the roll if the unit is within 3 and -1 for a CHARACTER. On a that unit takes d3 mortal wounds, on a 6+ that unit takes d6 mortal wounds. The marker is then removed, and you can only use this stratagem once. Some important things to note here first is the timing, where the effect doesnt go off until the turn after you initiate it. That means it can often be best used as a deterrent, forcing an opponent to avoid a particular objective marker or point on the table for a turn. Secondly, you can just pick any point on the table now, no need to see it or for your Warlord not to move or whatever else. Third, it is possible to make this unfailable its not a characteristic test, so if it hits a unit within 3 of the centre point they automatically take at least d3 mortals. Its very expensive and very telegraphed, but a lot more interesting than it was and great for breaking up a castle by forcing your opponent to move, or striking at things you couldnt otherwise see, or just exercising some board control. Many lists cant afford it, but if yours can it is genuinely worth thinking about. B
Space Marine Intercessor. Credit: Pendulin
- Auspex Scan 2CP Use at the end of the Reinforcements step of your opponents Movement phase. One INFANTRY unit that is not in Engagement Range of any enemy units can shoot at any enemy unit that was set up as Reinforcements this turn and that is within 12 of their unit. Solid and the timing thing stops people being able to draw it out early. B
- Tremor Shells 1CP Use when a THUNDERFIRE CANNON shoots; until the end of the phase it has -1 to wound, but if it hits a unit that is not TITANIC and cannot FLY then until the start of your next Movement phase that unit has half movement and -2 to advance and charge rolls. A slightly simpler effect than it used to have, but also finally worded properly so the second half of it actually works. Thunderfire Cannons arent the terrors they used to be but having exactly one to sit behind terrain and blast this at things isnt the worst plan possible. B
- Shock and Awe 1CP Use in your Shooting phase when a SHOCK GRENADES unit or Land Speeder Storm is selected to shoot. Pick one enemy unit within 6; until the start of your next turn that unit cannot fire Overwatch or Set to Defend and is -1 to hit. Cute, and another thing that the Reiver LT can do. That guy has great utility. B
- Assault Launchers 1CP Use at the start of your Charge phase. An ASSAULT LAUNCHERS unit (i.e. Land Raider Crusader or Redeeemer, or Assault Centurions with the assault launchers) can target one enemy unit within 9 that isnt a vehicle or monster. That unit can either brace and take d3 mortals, or duck for cover in which case it is -1 Attacks and cannot fire Overwatch or Set to Defend. The stratagem isnt bad but youre just not going to have the units on the table to ever want to do this. C
- Melta Bomb 1CP In the Fight phase, one MELTA BOMB unit can pick one model to make a single attack that must target an enemy vehicle; if it hits, that unit takes 2d3 mortal wounds. Melta bomb units includes Vanguard Veterans, Assault Squads, and the humble Tactical Squad. Probably the best use is on a squad of Vanguard Vets, if you have a cheap guy with a chainsword and shield to tank hits, as he can then throw some helpful mortals into a vehicle if necessary. Tacticals having it is cute, too, as it gives them an extra utility that Intercessors dont have. B
- Grav Pulse 1CP You can either use this in your Movement phase, so that a REPULSOR FIELD (Impulsor or Repulsor) unit can fall back and shoot, or in your opponents Charge phase, when a REPULSOR FIELD unit is charged, which gives -2 to charges until the end of the phase. Its a shame that this is kind of just replacing an ability that used to be native, but its still good and great for pulling out on an unwary opponent. B
- Hellfire Shells 1CP Use in your Shooting phase when an INFANTRY model from your army shoots with a heavy bolter, hellstorm heavy bolter, or an executor heavy bolter. You can only make one attack with that weapon this phase, but if you hit then the target takes d3 mortals, or if they are a MONSTER they take a flat 3 mortals. Cheap heavy bolters are abundant now, particularly in Heavy Intercessor units but also potentially on objective-camping Tactical Squads and the like too, and being able to do a flat 3 to monsters makes it extra good. B+
- Flakk Missile 1CP Use when an INFANTRY model targets an enemy AIRCRAFT with a missile launcher. You only make one attack but its at +1 to hit, and if you hit the target takes 2d3 mortal wounds. Decent but planes are vastly less common in 9th than in 8th though Ad Mech do seem to be bringing them still, and 2d3 is a reasonably chunky number of mortals to blast into one for a CP. B
- Smokescreen 1CP Use in your opponents Shooting phase when they target a SMOKESCREEN unit. Until the end of the phase, attacks against that unit are at -1 to hit. SMOKESCREEN includes the vehicles youd expect all the classic Marine ones, small Dreads, plus also Gladiators, Repulsors with auto launchers, and Infiltrators/Incursors and its stronger here than in the Skilled Riders version as you dont have to give anything up to access it. In some was this is even a buff to the old smoke launchers rule, as its no longer once per game and its reactive when an opponent actually shoots you rather than yo having to bust it and hope there was any benefit. B
White Scars Infiltrators Credit: Alfredo Ramirez
Something of a pattern in this book is that much of the content in this section has barely changed from the recent 8th edition book, except for like one thing which has been completely rewritten. If youre coming at this from that perspective, dont be lulled into a false sense of security.
Similar to Psychic powers, there are two warlord trait lists one for regular characters and one restricted to anyone in PHOBOS armour because being tacticool makes you better (?). The main codex ones are good, and theres also a table each in the codex supplements (contained in their own sections below), which means most Marine armies have 18 different Warlord traits to pick from (plus the ones available to the upgraded Chapter Command characters).
Credit: Alfredo Ramirez
- Fear Made Manifest: While an enemy unit is within 6 of the Warlord, it has -1 Ld and -1 to Combat Attrition tests (i.e. models will run away more easily). Not as awful as its previous incarnation, but still doesnt really do a lot that you want to spend a valuable Warlord trait pick on using. C
- The Imperiums Sword: Re-roll charges, and get +1S/A when you charge or make a Heroic Intervention. A fantastic trait the Strength thing is mildly less relevant now because of how weapon modifiers work in 9th, but its still very good. A
- Iron Resolve: +1 W and a 6+ FNP. Fine, and can be funny if taken on e.g. a bike or Gravis-armoured character, but you can do better and a 6+ FNP is not hard to come by in Marines if you really want one. C+
- Champion of Humanity: Get an extra attack and +1 to hit and wound rolls against characters. Usually outclassed by The Imperiums Sword on big hitters, but can outdo it on things with hit penalties or the Teeth of Terra. B
- Storm of Fire: Shooting attacks from CORE units within 6 of your warlord get an extra 1AP on a 6 to wound. Might be handy for a Warlord babysitting a backfield contingent of Heavy weapons, which will roll out of Devastator on turn 1, but probably just not really worth it at the volume of fire youd be outputting. C
- Rites of War: Friendly CORE and CHARACTER uints within 6 have the objective secured ability. This is the one that significantly changed, and at just the right time an aura of Obsec is a great thing to have in 9th edition. Besides anything else it lets your Warlord flip objectives solo when facing off against non-Obsec units, but it also enables you to take heavy melee hitters like Bladeguard and Terminators and make them both more able to flip things and more difficult to hit back at. A
From this list your most likely two picks are Imperiums Sword and Rites of War, depending mostly on whether your character is there to hit things in the face or to buff whats around him.
Ultramarines Primaris Lieutenant. Credit: Artum
- Shoot and Fade: Once per turn, you can move a friendly PHOBOS unit within 6 of the Warlord after it shoots, and it can make a Normal move or Advance; either way it cannot then charge. Theres some fun potential tricks here with either shooting and then moving onto objectives or out of line of sight, but having to pick this for your Warlord and then set the move up in advance restricts its usefulness. B-
- Lord of Deceit: Lets you redeploy up 3 Phobos units after both players have deployed their armies. You can put those units into Strategic Reserves for free if you want, and ignore restrictions on how many units you can put in reserves, and unlike the previous iteration you can deploy them anywhere instead of being required to place into your deployment zone. This is all great except that the timing has also changed from the old version, and now you do this after deploying instead of before the first battle round so you dont know whos going first. Thats a substantial drop in power even with the new cool tricks. Its still possible to get something out of this, but you need a very definite plan. B-
- Master of the Vanguard: Phobos units get +1 to move and Charge in an aura. You want to be deep in Phobos units to make the most of it, but if you are then its great for making an impact. Might be fun for a White Scars Phobos-themed army or stacking with a Hungry for Battle successor for +2 to charges. B
- Stealth Adept: This Warlord cannot be targeted with ranged attacks unless it is the closest eligible target. Notably this is not Look Out Sir, so he cant be targeted by snipers or other units which ignore that rule. A much better trait than its previous -1 to hit version, especially with 9ths new character targeting rules a Phobos Captain or similar with this trait can now safely sit in the backfield plinking away and holding an objective, completely unable to be targeted by nasties that might want to shoot him off it. B+
- Target Priority: Pick a Phobos unit to get +1 to hit with ranged attacks. A fairly straightforward buff. The main limitation is just the available units to put this on Infiltrators and Incursors arent that good at shooting, and while Eliminators are they are already BS2+ and also you can struggle to maximise the use out of this when theres only 3 of them. B
- Marksmans Honours: +1D to the warlords ranged weapons, excluding Grenades and Relics. This can be very funny in Raven Guard with their special bullets, or for throwing on a Phobos Captain with his master-crafted damage 3 gun to make it damage 4 and potentially able to punk out even mid-tier characters in a single shot, but not necessarily the first thing you want. Like a lot of Warlord traits, this one was better when you could pick it up situationally, instead of having to commit to it on your list. B
The Phobos traits are largely cool rather than optimal, but theres definitely fun things you can do with them, especially if youve gone in hard with Phobos units.
Chapter Warlord Traits
One other thing included in this book is a set of 13 Chapter warlord traits. Well cover them here partly because theyre printed in the main codex, and partly because there is one relevant case (Deathwatch) where you can get one of these and take it from this list specifically, so it would be doing those players a disservice to completely ignore them. These ones wont be rated because in most contexts they arent really comparable to each other well talk about them in their proper context in their supplement articles.
- Brilliant Strategiest (Dark Angels) Pick one unit within 6 of your Warlord in the Command phase; when you make an attack, if your army is in Tactical they count as being in Devastator, or if your army is in Assault they count as being in Tactical
- Deadly Hunter (White Scars) After the Warlord makes a charge move, pick one enemy unit within 1 and roll a D6; on a 2+ that unit takes 1 mortal wound
- Beastslayer (Space Wolves) While the Warlord is within Engagement Range of enemy MONSTER or VEHICLE units, it gets +1 Attack, +1 to hit, and +1 to wound
- Architect of War (Imperial Fists) A friendly IMPERIAL FISTS CORE unit within 6 of the Warlord treats AP-1 as AP0 if it is receiving the benefits of cover
- Refuse to Die (Crimson Fists) The first time the Warlord dies, you can roll a 4+ to get them back up with d3 wounds remaining
- Oathkeeper (Black Templars) 6 heroic intervention
- Speed of the Primarch (Blood Angels) The Warlord can fight first in the Fight phase
- Merciless Butcher (Flesh Tearers) Each time this Warlord fights, it can make d3 additional attacks if there are 5 or more enemy models within 3 of it
- Adept of the Omnissiah (Iron Hands) A non-Techmarine Warlord can heal a friendly Iron Hands vehicle within 1 for 1 wound. A Techmarine Warlord gets D3+1 insteaed of its normal D3.
- Adept of the Codex (Ultramarines) While the Warlord is on the battlefield, you can refund a CP on a 5+ when using a stratagem
- Anvil of Strength (Salamanders) +2 Strength
- Echo of the Ravenspire (Raven Guard) Once per battle, the Warlord can be removed from the table if it is not within 6 of any enemy models, and then be set up again in the Reinforcements step of the next Movement phase more than 9 away from enemy models
- Vigilance Incarnate (Deathwatch) In your Command phase, you can pick one friendly DEATHWATCH CORE unit within 6; each time you do, you can pick one Battlefiel Roe and until your next Command phase that unit can re-roll wounds of 1 against an enemy unit with that Battlefield Role
Much like with Warlord traits, the main set of relics isnt the full story, with each supplement coming with more. However, with their new largely-unlimited availability its worth Marine players knowing all the tools they have access to, so lets take a tour as we close out the main book. If youre coming here from the 8th ed codex, these have not changed much only the Ghostweave Cloak has a substantially new effect, while the rest range from identical to minor tweaks.
- The Armour Indomitus: An INFANTRY or BIKER model has a 2+ save, and once per game can activate a 3++ for the rest of the turn when called on to make a save. It also, new in the 9the edition codex, gives you +1 wound. An exceptional defensive buff and worth considering for any character planning on getting into the thick of it. A Gravis Captain with this is an absolute wall of ceramite. B but only because Marines have a lot of good relics, and theres times when this will be absolutely the right choice.
- The Shield Eternal: A relic storm shield that gives its bearer the ability to ignore wounds on a 5+ (a FNP save, for you old-timers). Theres a solid buff here but it may not be enough over a standard storm shield to justify this relic over an offensive buff. Which youll rather have will depend on the meta and how often you think your smash character will have to worry about getting hit back. B+
- Standard of the Emperor Ascendant: +3 to the Astartes Banner ability for an Ancient, and re-roll Morale for <CHAPTER> CORE within that range. A neat replacement for the old ATSKNF effect, but nothing to write home about. C+
- Teeth of Terra: Replaces an Astartes chainsword with a weapon that gives +1 Strength, AP-2, D2, and 3 extra attacks. This thing is showing up everywhere cheap slash Captains are a great replacement for the old slam Captain. A
Crimson Fists Teeth of Terra Captain. Credit: Corrode
- Primarchs Wrath: A powered-up boltgun at Rapid Fire 2, S5 AP-2 D2. Has always been fine. Is still fine. Lots of things in this section are fine, but with like 40 choices this isnt the one youre leaning on. C
- The Burning Blade: Replaces power swords (of either regular or master-crafted flavour) with a weapon that gives S+3, AP-5, D2. Combined with Imperiums Sword, you can have a guy charging around at S8 with this. Very competitive with a power fist or hammer now, especially with the AP-5 meaning that targets without invulnerable saves will simply melt away. B+
- Purgatorus: A relic which can replace all the different kinds of bolt pistol. 3 shots at 18, S5, AP-3, D2. GW are really, really trying with making relic guns worth taking, and if you really have nothing else you want to take, this goes on just about anyone. C
- Reliquary of Gathalmor: Primaris only. Gives -1 to enemy casts within 18, and causes enemy models that fail a psychic test within 18 to take D3 MWs on a 4+. A powerful tool to have access to this can severely disrupt an enemy armys Psychic phase plans. Better in the days when you could flex pick stuff at the table nowadays its probably too niche to want it on your list. C
- Bellicos Bolt Rifle: Replaces a master crafted auto bolt-rifle. Adds a shot and a point of damage. Fine, but like with all the ranged weapons thus far the magnitude of enhancement compared to the melee options is tiny. C
- Lament: A master crafted stalker bolt rifle. Slightly interesting it adds a MW on any successful wound, which means that the normally one-shot weapon can pick off two infantry models, but is that worth a slot? Probably not. C
- Ghostweave Cloak: The only relic that had a complete rewrite between books. This is PHOBOS only and now gives you two effects when making a Normal, Advance, or Fall Back move, you can move across models as if they were not there; additionally, attacks against the bearer are at -1 to hit. Kind of cute as an idea but it just doesnt really do anything for you that you especially want. C
- Tome of Malcador: A psyker knows +1 power from any discipline they have access to. This is interesting it lets you mix and match powers from one of the main lists and one of the supplements (where you otherwise cant). Its pretty great, letting you combo the best powers across multiple disciplines. A
- Benediction of Fury: Just when we were beginning to tune out after a string of interchangeable guns, this comes along! A crozius that gives S+2, AP-2, damage 3 and does a mortal wound on a 6 to wound. Less essential now because the regular crozius also gives you S+2, but the damage 3 and mortal wound effect do help the Chaplain become a really fearsome beatstick especially if combined with the Mantra of Strength. A
Credit: Alfredo Ramirez
- The Honour Vehement: Replaces Shock Assault with a flat +1 attack in a 6 bubble for CORE units only. The vast, vast majority of combat happens either on the charge or when charged, so this just isnt that good. C
- The Vox Espiritum: Primaris only. Extend auras by 3. This does not apply to psychic powers but does now apply to litany auras, in a change from 8th. Its not the worlds most exciting effect and auras are a bit more marginal now than they were before, but theres likely to be something you can think of to do with this. B
The Librarius discipline gets some minor tweaks and one big power change. That big change is highly relevant to the discipline, though, and elevates it from middling to good.
- Veil of Time (Blessing, WC 6). Affects a <CHAPTER> unit within 18. Until your next Psychic phase, that unit can re-roll Advance and Charge rolls, and always fights first in the Fight phase if it started the Fight phase within Engagement Range. A solid ability when paired with the Hungry for Battle Chapter Tactic, and you want to try and make those 8 Deep Strike charges, where being able to re-roll a failed result ups your chances of making an 8 charge to 63% without spending CP. B
- Might of Heroes (Blessing, WC 6). Affects a <CHAPTER> CORE or CHARACTER model within 12. Until the start of your next Psychic phase, that model gets +1 Strength, +1 Toughness, and +1 Attack. Helpful for boosting Dreadnoughts and characters to insane damage output levels, and also helpful for bringing a key Dreadnought up to T8. B
- Null Zone (Blessing, Aura, WC 7). Until the start of your next psychic phase, units cant make invulnerable saves while they are within 6 of the psyker, and when a Psychic test is taken for an enemy model within 6, the result is halved. Null Zone got a significant change in the 9th edition book, reverting back to units rather than enemy units so yes, it strips your own invulnerable saves as well. This makes it overall worse, but potentially still very helpful for removing invulnerables where really necessary just be mindful of your own units. B
- Psychic Scourge (Witchfire, WC 6). Choose an enemy unit within 18 and roll a D6, then add your Ld value. Your opponent does the same. If you score higher, that unit takes D3 mortal wounds. If you score equal, they take 1 mortal wound. Basically a worse Smite, and not something were going to use very often. Its slightly better for Ultramarines since their Chapter Tactic gives them a +1 boost to Ld, but there are almost always going to be other powers youd rather use. D
- Fury of the Ancients (Witchfire, WC 7). Select a visible enemy model within 12 of the psyker and draw an imaginary straight line between the two, each unit under the line takes a mortal wound. No changes, still bad. D
- Psychic Fortress (Blessing, Aura, WC 6). Until the start of your next Psychic phase, friendly units within 6 have a 5+ invulnerable save. A huge step up from its previous iteration, turning this from a fairly pointless and situational power into a potent one which adds great defensive power to units that otherwise lack an invulnerable of their own. A
Obscuration is the Phobos discipline, and is filled with utility powers that are often interesting but also often quite mediocre.
- Shrouding (Blessing, WC 6). Pick a friendly <CHAPTER> Phobos unit within 18 of the psyker. Until the start of your next psychic phase, enemies can only shoot at that unit if its the closest visible target. A strong effect, but it can potentially be at odds with the notion that your Phobos-armored units may be closer than the rest of the army. B
- Soul Sight (Blessing, WC 6). Pick a friendly <CHAPTER> Phobos unit within 18. Until the start of your next Psychic phase, when that unit shoots, it can re-roll the hit roll and the units it targets do not get the benefit of cover to their saving throws. Can be helpful for boosting a unit of Eliminators or similar the main issue with it is that Phobos units often arent that big of a deal for shooting or for Eliminators, that they have very low model counts so the benefit of taking a Librarian to sit within 18 of them and give them hit re-rolls is low. B
- Mind Raid (Witchfire, WC 6). Pick a visible enemy model within 18 of the psyker. It takes a mortal wound. If the model is a CHARACTER, roll 3D6. If you roll equal to or above its Leadership characteristic, you get 1 Command Point. An interesting ability, but the big problem with Mind Raid is that most of the time youre just going to have better stuff to do and getting within 18 of an enemy character may just not be what you want your Phobos Librarian doing. C
- Hallucination (Malediction, WC 6). Pick a visible enemy unit within 18 of the psyker. It gets -1 to its Ld and that unit suffers a -1 to its hit rolls until the start of your next psychic phase. Somewhat improved from before without the silly stuff about beating enemy Leadership on 2D6, but also less relevant in an edition with a cap on hit modifiers. Fine if you dont have a strong preference for a second power. B
- Tenebrous Curse (Malediction, WC 7). Pick a visible enemy unit within 18 that doesnt have the FLY keyword. It takes a mortal wound. Until the start of your next Psychic phase, halve its Movement stat, and subtract 2 from Advance, and Charge rolls. This gained a point of warp charge compared to the previous book, making it harder to cast. Against something like a Lord Discordant-heavy Chaos army this can be extremely potent, but is also incredibly dead in others it would do literal nothing against e.g. Eldar. Without the ability to flex powers at the table any more, this loses a lot of its lustre theres too many match-ups where units that would matter are just immune to it. D
- Temporal Corridor (Blessing, WC 5). Pick a friendly <CHAPTER> Phobos unit within 6 of the psyker which is not in Engagement Range of any enemy models. It can move as though it was the Movement phase. It cant Fall Back but can make either a Normal Move or Advance; if it Advances it can automatically move 6. The unit cannot shoot or fight this turn. At first glance this feels like a loyalist Warptime, but the Phobos restrictions and particularly the limiter on being able to fight or shoot turn it into a pure mobility power excellent for pushing a unit into position on an objective or something and extending its range, poor for getting into a scrap. Its cheap but Phobos units can already usually get where they need to without having to bring a Librarian along to help out in a way that stops them being able to shoot or fight. C
Litanies of Battle
A concept originally introduced for Dark Apostles in Chaos and then ported to Space Marines in the second 8th ed codex. Theres 7 basic litanies, which affect CORE and CHARACTER only your Chaplain knows the Litany of Hate, which allows re-rolls to hit in the Fight phase for units within 6, and one of the following (two, if hes the Master of Sanctity see the Chapter Command section):
- Litany of Faith – When friendly <CHAPTER> units within 6″ suffer a mortal wound, roll a D6. On a 5+, they ignore that wound. Doesn’t stack with other abilities. Now clarified as an aura ability.
- Catechism of Fire – Pick a friendly <CHAPTER> unit within 6″. That unit gets +1 to its To Wound rolls when it shoots the closest visible unit.
- Exhortation of Rage – Pick a friendly <CHAPTER> unit within 6″. That units melee attacks have +1 To Wound. The only real change in the new codex, and a big one +1 to wound is a relatively rare effect, and can really change the maths on a melee unit.
- Mantra of Strength – Add 1 to the Chaplain’s Strength and Attack characteristics and 1 to the Damage characteristic of its melee weapons.
- Recitation of Focus – Pick a friendly <CHAPTER> unit within 6″. Add 1 to the To Hit rolls of that unit’s attacks made with ranged weapons.
- Canticle of Hate – Add 2 to charge rolls for friendly <CHAPTER> units within 6″ of this model and friendly <CHAPTER> units within 6″ can move 6″ when they pile in or consolidate. Doesn’t stack with other abilities that increase these ranges.
This is a great little toolbox to pick from, and you can really make a Chaplain into a key part of your battle plan by picking the right litanies. It took something like 8 editions but Chaplains are finally useful utility characters! Combat armies will get a lot of benefit from the Canticle of Hate allowing +2 to charge rolls or +1 to wound in melee, while shooting-focused armies can get a lot of mileage out of +1 to hit or +1 to wound closes visible. The Chaplain himself can even be a bit of a beatstick with the Mantra of Strength, especially when combined with the relic crozius. Its also worth bearing in mind here that you normally chant litanies in your Command phase, needing to roll a 3+ to do so, but dont forget you can spend 2CP on the Commanding Oratory stratagem to chant one automatically at the end start any other phase instead which opens up a lot of possibilities for Chaplains coming out of transports or the various deep strike options and then still throwing a critical buff on, or trading CP for certainty if theres something that you really need this turn.
In addition to the 6 litanies presented here, Black Templars have a whole table of their own known as the Litanies of the Devout (in contrast to these, which are the Litanies of Battle) which they can choose to use as an alternative. There were formerly individual litanies for each Chapter, too, introduced in the Faith & Fury book these have now gone the way of the dodo, per the Marine FAQ. Do not allow your White Scars opponent to re-roll all his melee wounds, no matter how much he wants to.
Chapter Approved Rules Secondary Objectives
Every 9th codex comes with a little section entitled Chapter Approved Rules, which lists bonus secondary objectives which are unique to that faction. There are some significant restrictions on these you can only take one of your secondaries from these, and every model in your army must be ADEPTUS ASTARTES (excluding UNALIGNED or AGENT OF THE IMPERIUM), and just to cover the edge case your Warlord must also be ADEPTUS ASTARTES. The secondaries still fit within the different categories as per the normal missions, so you cant double up on Battlefield Supremacy or whatever if you pick one in that category here, you cant take one from that category from the normal list.
Space Marines are unique in that both the base codex and the supplements have secondary objectives in (well, the new 9th ed ones anyway hard luck Ultrafailures) and because of how theyre worded you can actually take one of each. Well cover the individual Chapter secondaries in their own supplement articles.
The ones in this book are:
- Codex Warfare Purge the Enemy you score up to 5pts for each enemy unit you kill with Heavy or Grenade weapons while your army is in the Devastator doctrine, up to 5pts for each enemy unit you kill with Rapid Fire or Assault weapons in the Tactical doctrine, and up to 5pts for each enemy unit you kill with melee or Pistol weapons in the Assault doctrine
- Shock Tactics Battlefield Supremacy score 3pts at the end of the battle round if you control an objective that your opponent controlled at the start of the battle round
- Oaths of Moment No Mercy, No Respite score 2pts at the end of the battle round if you have a unit wholly within 6 of the centre of the table, score 1pt at the end of the battle round if you killed any enemy MONSTER, CHARACTER, or VEHICLE unit this battle round with an ADEPTUS ASTARTES unit, score 1pt at the end of the battle round if none of your units failed a Morale check or Fell Back this turn
These are basically listed in reading order in the codex but also in order from bad to good.
Codex Warfare is dogshit with far too many strings attached. Firstly your opponent needs to have 15+ units on the table to begin with, and then you need to kill precisely 5 on turn 1 (Adaptive Strategy doesnt help you here as the requirement is what your army is in), and then you need to kill units with precisely the right weapon type at each stage. Your capacity to miss kills with the right weapon type is just too great for this to be any good, especially with the timing restriction in place as well.
Shock Tactics isnt great either. If you think youre going to be trading objectives a lot then its possibly an ok pick, though its in the same category as Linebreaker and Engage on All Fronts which are both easier picks most of the time. On turn 1 theres going to be a lot of times this is unscorable especially if you go first and need to flip an opponent of their backfield or deployment zone objectives, never mind maps where none of the objectives are in deployment zones and your opponent potentially isnt even holding one at the beginning of the game or even if you go second but the ones youre attacking arent ones they hold at the start. Theres every possibility that by taking this you start thinking in terms of scoring secondary points (by flipping objectives that they held at the start of the round) and taking your eye off the primary.
Oaths of Moment, then, has a lot of expectation placed on it. However, this one is genuinely good, for a couple of reasons. The first is simply that you have 4pts on offer every turn and therefore can score a up to 20pts in a game which means that you dont have to get a perfect run on it to max out at the secondary cap of This gives you a little leeway not to have to worry about meeting every condition every turn you can catch up later, or have built a lead already that means you can take your foot off the pedal a bit in later rounds. Second, the objectives are all reasonably easy to meet. Just holding mid is very possible for Marines, especially since you can deploy scouting units out into the mid zone to ensure you get it turn one; even better on maps where theres a mid-table objective that you want to hold anyway. Monster, character, or vehicle is a fairly generous selection of unit types to kill though also the part thats most dependent on your opponents list, and its 1pt per round no matter how many you kill, so its easy to run out of points-bearing units if you sweep a flank or something early. Finally theres the Morale and Fall Back bit. This is a little bit restrictive especially if playing one of the Chapters where Fall Back and X is part of their strengths, but its a choice you can make as to whether points or greater strategy matter at that moment. Morale is generally not that big of a concern for Marines, especially with MSU builds, though its slightly moreso now that ATSKNF has changed. Overall the flexibility is what makes this great you have a bunch of fairly easy conditions to meet and the pressure is off a bit to try and meet all of them all the time. Its also in a fairly weak category, which helps.
There are a number of common army rules that many or all of your units have, as well as tweaking a few bits of list-building, which are defined at the very start of the Datasheets section of the codex. Most of these will be quite familiar to experienced players of Space Marines, but theyve had a few tweaks between editions, so make sure you read them over carefully.
Angels of Death
Angels of Death is a four-in-one special rule common to all Space Marine units. The four are And They Shall Know No Fear, Bolter Discipline, Shock Assault, and Combat Doctrines. The first three are always-on, but the last one only works in pure armies a Battle-forged army where every unit excluding SERVITOR or UNALIGNED units has the Combat Doctrines ability. As well as the rules presented here, each Chapter has a special bonus in one of the three doctrines, and for this reason the vast majority of Space Marines armies are monofaction rather than being souped as was powerful for most of 8th edition.
And They Shall Know No Fear
A simple rule to begin with Space Marines never take modifiers to Combat Attrition tests, meaning that if they fail a Morale check additional models only run away on a roll of a 1. This is a significant change from 8th, and an easy one to miss.
Way back in 2nd edition, Rapid Fire was a Marine special rule which let them fire more than equivalent units. As time went on Rapid Fire became the weapon type we know and love, and Marines, and their iconic boltguns, began to seem less and less effective. Bolter Discipline is the intended solution to that.
Bolter Discipline is basically an expansion of the states in which models are able to benefit from Rapid Fire. Normally its just for being at half range so for example, your ordinary boltgun is Rapid Fire 1, and has a 24 range, so if the model firing it is within 12 of its target it can fire 2 shots instead of 1. Instead, for units with this rule firing Rapid Fire bolt weapons, they can fire twice if:
- The firing models target is within half the weapons maximum range (the ordinary rapid fire state),
- OR the firing model is INFANTRY and every model in its unit remained stationary in your previous Movement phase (except Centurions),
- OR the firing model is a TERMINATOR or BIKER
Note that Centurions used to always Rapid Fire as per point 3, but are now completely exempted from Bolter Discipline and cant benefit from it at all they Rapid Fire like any other unit. Dreadnoughts also lost the capability, which mostly doesnt matter but is a bit of a shame for the Ironclad which briefly had at least some argument to mount its hurricane bolter.
This is a big step up in terms of the output of Rapid Fire bolt weapons. Back-line objective holding squads can now put out significant amounts of firepower if they stay still. Even more fearsome, Terminators and Bikes can double fire even if they move which means that they can put out a pile of shots at long range while still manoeuvreing around the table.
Bolter Discipline makes Space Marine units better at shooting with their iconic weapons; Shock Assault completes the other half of the Space Marine puzzle, allowing them to get into the kind of close-range firefights followed up by melee charges that you would expect from the fluff. Its a very simple rule in a turn in which a unit with Shock Assault makes a charge move, is charged, or performs a Heroic Intervention, each model in the unit adds 1 to its Attacks characteristic. This means that a basic, 5-man squad of Intercessors with a Sergeant with a chainsword is putting out 17 attacks (3 for each Intercessor, and 5 for the Intercessor Sergeant). For taking on light or even medium infantry thats a whole lot of punches at S4. Even better, it applies to characters too, increasing the effectiveness of your slam Captains, Chaplains, etc.
Combat Doctrines represents the progressive method of war which Space Marines follow opening up with devastating long-range firepower, followed by close-range engagements, and then finally a charge into melee. The three doctrines are Devastator, Tactical, and Assault. Players begin the game in Devastator. At the beginning of battle round 2, they automatically change into Tactical. In round 3, they can choose to either stay in Tactical or change into Assault. From round 4 onwards, they must move to Assault, where they stay for the rest of the game. Each Doctrine increases the AP of a particular weapon type by 1 (i.e. AP0 becomes AP-1, AP-1 becomes AP-2, etc.)
The types are:
- Devastator: Heavy and Grenade weapons
- Tactical: Rapid Fire and Assault weapons
- Assault: Pistol and melee weapons (remember, all models are considered to have a S: User, AP:0 close combat weapon)
This is a very powerful rule, particularly as it ties in with the special extra Doctrines each Chapter receives (discussed in their individual articles). The most powerful and obvious application is to Heavy weapons all of your biggest guns gaining an extra point of AP at the beginning of the game is a huge benefit. To pick an obvious example, the lascannon goes from being AP-3 to AP-4, which against many of its primary targets means it goes from being saved 1/6th of the time to automatically penetrating armour.
Four key Marine deployment abilities have been codified in the front of the book, so that rather than each datasheet having to spell it out they can instead refer back here. This is a far saner way of organising things. The abilities are as follows:
At the start of deployment, before any units have been set up, a unit with Combat Squads that contains its maximum possible number of models (i.e. a Tactical Squad which contains 10 models, and no fewer) can choose to split into two units containing as equal a number of models as possible. Helpful if you want to take a large unit in some scenarios but two smaller ones would be beneficial for other match-ups you can put the big unit on your list and then choose to split it depending on opponent. Particularly powerful with Deathwatch because of their unusual unit compositions.
Death From Above/Teleport Strike
Ok technically theres five deployment abilities here but these two are functionally identical. In both cases, units with this ability can set up in Reinforcements instead of being deployed on the table. In the Reinforcements step of your Movement phase you can choose to set up such a unit anywhere on the table that is more than 9 from any enemy models.
During deployment, you can set up these units anywhere on the battlefield more than 9 away from the enemy deployment zone and any enemy models.
During deployment, instead of setting this unit up on the battlefield, it can outflank and deploy in the Reinforcements step of the Movement phase it can set up anywhere on the table more than 9 away from enemy models and also wholly within 6 of any battlefield edge.
Non-Codex Compliant Chapters
There are a few restrictions on which Chapters can take which units. These are as follows:
- You cannot select Grey Knights or Legion of the Damned when nominating which Chapter a unit is from. Grey Knights have their own rules and Legion of the Damned have been banished to the shadow realm.
- Black Templars cannot take LIBRARIAN units at all.
- Dark Angels cannot take STERNGUARD VETERAN SQUAD or VANGUARD VETERAN SQUAD units, nor can any of their successor chapters.
- Deathwatch cannot take any ASSAULT SQUAD, ATTACK BIKE SQUAD, BIKE SQUAD, DEVASTATOR SQUAD, STERNGUARD VETERAN SQUAD, TACTICAL SQUAD, or SCOUT units. Theyre a chapter of veterans, those losers arent elite enough.
- Space Wolves cannot take APOTHECARY, ASSAULT SQUAD, DEVASTATOR SQUAD, STERNGUARD VETERAN SQUAD, TACTICAL SQUAD, or VANGUARD VETERAN SQUAD units, nor can their successors. They have their own versions of those units, which are special and drink mjod.
Finally, after what feels like much to-do, we reach the units section the actual models youre going to be putting on the table. Space Marines have altogether too many datasheets. Nearly everything in the book has at least some sort of potential use, so were going to be spending a lot of time here. Were also going to be compressing a few datasheets theres no real reason to look at all seven datasheets for a Captain separately, as theyre 90% similar; rest assured that well call out the important variations. We will also cover the Forge World options in their relevant sections, except the characters which will either slot in with their Chapter or will be in a separate Forge World Successors article, and the Lords of War, which are all bad and dont need further consideration except for the Astraeus. Its worth noting the new Martial Legacy rule here, which makes Relic units cost you 1 CP for each one you take a meaningful sacrifice to take a single unit. We will not cover anything from Legends.
Raven Guard Phobos Captain Credit: Dan Boyd
Captains are a hugely useful unit for Space Marines, and its a rare list which doesnt include any. A basic, power-armour-wearing, non-Primaris Captain totes a master-crafted boltgun and chainsword and has a fairly impressive statline, with a 6 Move, WS and BS 2+, S4 T4, W5, A4, Ld9, Sv3+. They also have the Rites of Battle rule, which means that friendly <CHAPTER> CORE units within 6 can re-roll 1s to hit, and an Iron Halo granting them a 4+ invulnerable save. Thats not a bad package on its own hes reasonable in melee, and basically any Space Marine army is improved by having access to re-roll 1s to hit, and the Captains aura (along with the Lieutenants re-roll 1s to wound, see below) is a fundamental part of the Space Marine battlepile formation a bunch of units all arranged on the board to be within range of these powerful auras.
That isnt all that Captains do, though. The power-armoured Captain has a huge range of equipment it can access, being able to swap his boltgun for anything on the Combi-weapons, Melee weapons, or Pistols lists, or swap his chainsword for a relic blade or a weapon from the Melee weapons list, or have a storm shield instead of his chainsword. He can also take a jump pack (which also allows him to deep strike), increasing his move to 12 and giving him FLY. There are literally dozens of possible combinations of wargear available.
Captain options dont stop at the one datasheet, however. In total there are 7 different datasheets you can pick from, each of which is slightly different. The most similar to the basic Captain is the Captain on Bike this improves his move to 14, grants him +1 T and +1 W (so T5, W6), and gives him the Turbo-boost ability to auto-advance 6. Otherwise you can take basically the same wargear as the default datasheet. It was formerly very common for either a jump pack or bike Captain to take a thunder hammer and storm shield as a way to get a cheap, efficient melee killer on the table, either arriving from deep strike or just turbo-boosting forwards on the bike. In 9th this is more expensive and less powerful, but theres a great alternative in the form of the slash Captain still taking the storm shield, but carrying just a basic chainsword to swap for the Teeth of Terra relic, unlocking bonus attacks and a very competitive melee weapon for a minimal cost.
You can alternatively take a Terminator Captain. The Cataphractii datasheet from the previous book seems to have disappeared entirely from this one and is presumably meant to now be represented by the generic Terminator, which gains a few options to represent this. The Terminator loses an inch of movement but gains +1W and a 2+ save.
Towering over the Firstborn guys, theres the Primaris Captains. The default Primaris Captain has the same statline as above but with +1 W +1 A. Primaris Captains have a truly bewildering datasheet with a bunch of different mutually-exclusive wargear loadouts which they can swap between, to represent the various different models GW have released for a Primaris Captain which are in no way interchangeable with each other, a problem only exacerbated by the Indomitus Captain (whose loadout is honestly pretty great) and the inclusion of a Dark Angels-exclusive Captain. Alternatively you can have a Primaris Captain in Gravis armour, which also gives him +1 T and +1 W over the Primaris statline (so T5, W7!) and grants him a boltstorm gauntlet (like an Aggressor) and a master-crafted power sword. Theres also now a Captain with master-crafted heavy bolt rifle which is an incredibly awkward way to describe what is, basically, a Gravis Captain with a gun instead of his melee kit. Its nice for the option to exist but with all that the Captain can offer, its hard to see what extra capability this gives. Its also a bit weird to look at the Primaris Captain datasheet with all of its different loadouts and wonder why that exists but Gravis Captain has two completely separate datasheets for a simple weapon swap. Such are the ways of Games Workshop.
Sneaking in at the end, theres the Phobos Captain, with no changes in statline from the regular Primaris guy but toting a master-crafted instigator bolt carbine (i.e. a damage 3 sniper rifle!), an omni-scrambler (which prevents deep strike within 12), a camo cloak for +2 save in cover, and finally the Concealed Positions rule which lets him infiltrate at deployment.
As previously described in the Chapter Command section, a single Captain can be upgraded to a Chapter Master, unlocking a new ability to give a CORE unit full re-rolls, as well as an extra Warlord trait and relic.
Thats an utterly bewildering array of options dont worry, no other single unit has this many things it can be! The most common types of Captain you see on the table are either slam captains, with the hammer/shield/jump pack combo, or barebones Captains, possibly upgraded to Chapter Masters, whose job is mainly to offer buffs to the units surrounding them. Whether theyre regular power-armoured guys, Primaris, or Phobos depends on the exact list design and player preference, and even a cheap backline Captain can be pretty fearsome in melee as a linebacker unit, if given a power fist or one of the relic weapons like the Teeth of Terra or the Burning Blade.
Lieutenants made their first appearance in decades in 8th edition and have now multipled with a vengeance. Their statline is a bit worse than a Captains, though in 9th edition they now have both BS2+ and WS+ instead of just the latter, and they have a unique aura which allows CORE units within 6 to re-roll 1s to wound. This is a hugely powerful ability which makes them worth including basically on their own. They came in small Marine, Primaris, Reiver, and Phobos varieties, with a whole array of wargear options depending on their size and armour, and much like Captains the exact type you take will come down to preference small Marine for just get this guy on the table to give his buff, Primaris to be a little bit tougher and fightier, and Phobos if you want him to go infiltrating upfield with your other Phobos units (though note that, for some reason, this guy doesnt actually infiltrate if you want him to scoot up table youll have to take the grav-chute version which allows him to deep strike).
An interesting new dimension in 9th is the Reiver Lieutenant, previously just a gear swap on the Lieutenant in Phobos Armour datasheet and now broken out as a unit in his own right. The Reiver LT is fairly mediocre in a fight and his gun is merely ok the reason he stands out is that he shares both the REIVER and SHOCK GRENADE keywords with the Reiver unit, and therefore can access two stratagems that use those. Reivers themselves are still just kind of bad, but the stratagems Terror Troops, which lets you turn off enemy obsec and potentially cause units to fail actions, and Shock and Awe, which lets you prevent Overwatch and make enemy units -1 to hit are pretty good, and being able to access them is really helpful. He still brings the same aura as a regular Primaris Lieutenant and costs no more points, and a fair number of factions can at least plausibly give him a relic weapon to replace his knife for real melee capability if they want to, so hes very much worth a look over the regular guys.
This is our complete breakdown of Space Marine Tactics for Warhammer 40k 9th Edition. Use this breakdown to create synergy and strong combos with your Space Marines army. If youre a beginner we recommend you check out out our Beginners Guide for Space Marines by clicking here.
Note: Not included in this Space Marine Codex Review are Forgeworld units.
Introduction to Space Marine Tactics
From the lore to the tabletop, Space Marines are the most popular faction in the Warhammer 40, universe. There are many flavours of Space Marines. The consistent cover boy of the hobby is the well known Ultramarines (in blue). One of their strongest assets is their depth in datasheets with 98 to boast within this Codex. They are at an all time high in the options they have to construct a list. Whether it be Primaris or Firstborn, either direction can find success on the tabletop.
Over the course of this review, we will dive deeper into what the new codex has in store. The strengths and weaknesses as well as various combinations to bolster your existing collections. A key change which a reader will immediately notice is the addition of the “Core” keyword within Codex: Space Marines. This now changes how buffing abilities are either allocated or simply which can benefit from them. This has been a clear tell of which direction Games-Workshop is growing. The game and all Codexes should see these changes across the board. Let’s take a look at what mankind’s saviours have to offer!
Space Marine Tactics Rules (Matched Play Competitive)
Detachment Abilities is the first section geared towards matched play within the rules section of the codex. It refers to the usual construction of a detachment within a Space Marine force to share a keyword.
A new component to the list structure is the Company Command. This now limits the amount of specific HQ (Character) choices one may take when building an army. Gone are the days of triple smash captains roaming the field of battle. Frustrating the opponents heavy hitters (within one detachment at least). The best Detachments to take when constructing a Space Marine force are a Battalion and Patrol. A Battalion encourages more Troop options. Which are the key to sticking to the mission and playing to the strengths of some Secondaries as well. A Patrol on the other hand creates a slightly different dynamic. An army list with a detachment as such are actually best constructed when taking two of them (a double Patrol). This allows the list creator (you) the opportunity to include more characters and hence building a more Elite-centric force.
Space Marine Tactics Codex Review: The Basics
Chapter Tactics are essentially selecting what Chapter fits your playstyle. From a more progressive, gun line approach, you could take the Imperial Fists who are experts with the infamous boltgun. For a more charge first and ask questions later approach, the White Scars are a great choice. Ultimatley there are endless ways to design an army which is why the game is so fun!
The true winners of 9th Edition are the mid-ranged armies in terms of ranged weapon options. Close combat is almost exactly at the same level since most of the game will be decided in the mid-board. The more durable/devastating units are in hand to hand will assist you in achieving your victory.
Space Marine Codex Review: Chapter Tactics
Dark Angels: Grim Resolve
- The Dark Angels have a revitalized chapter tactic that sees them hit more efficiently. This is now more well-rounded towards firing any ranged weapons when in a tactical position. Where this can see an even better boost is when being charged in combat. Or partaking in multiple rounds as they will become more clinical with their precision and efficiency. A unit such as Assault Intercessors becomes an absolute nightmare for your opponent to go up against.
- A large added bonus which has seen a large change in 9th is Morale and combat attrition in particular. Scoring Primary and Secondary points is the name of the game. This will definitely assist with that in many scenarios. A unit of 5 Terminators equipped with Storm Shields are one of the best options in the Codex to truly benefit from this ability. Especially when attempting to lockdown a midboard position with increased durability from an Apothecary.
White Scars: Lightning Assault
- As melee specialists, they have a very powerful tactic when utilizing units such as Bladeguard Veterans. They are geared to slice open an enemy while also being durable enough to take a punch. These units have incredible probability rates at taking down most unis in the game. This is not even considering the fact that this increases further whilst in their Super Doctrine.
- Constantly being on the move and assaulting at high speeds is part of the theme here. The second part of their tactic allows them to take advantage of just that strategy. This plays perfectly in line with the function of the army. Also, you can use a unit like the new Eradicators to advance up the board alongside the rest of your army to keep up at no penalty.
Space Wolves: Hunters Unleashed
- The mighty Wolves of Fenris see themselves striking their marks at efficient rates. Specifically when meeting any foe in hand to hand combat. Essentially ignoring hit modifiers with heavy melee weapons. Power fists and thunder hammers. Land more efficient blows with the trusty astartes chainsword (now base AP -1), is a very strong tactic to have. Try Units such as Vanguard Veterans with Lightning Claws (claws are very suitable as wolves). They will be incredibly strong for Space Wolves, considering their Tactic plus the weapon’s innate ability.
- The Space Wolves now all have the ability to threaten the opponents army. No matter where your opponent tries to play around them near an objective as a prime example. Any unit truly benefits from this tactic especially when equipped with melee weapons that can dice enemy infantry. The key to this all comes down to the positioning of your models. How you intend on luring in your prey is super thematic for the beasts of Fenris.
Imperial Fists: Siege Masters
- As Siege Masters, cover means nothing to the mighty Imperial Fists. Units such as the Heavy Intercessor can benefit from both tactics. Having their high AP weaponry really sting on impact and also having an attack generation from being a “bolt” weapon.
- As profoundly known, they retain their efficiency with any “bolt” weapon. Additional hits with weapons that are labeled with “bolt” in their name are just as strong as they have ever been for the mighty Fists. As stated in the previous part, Space Marines really do pride themselves on how efficient of an army they can be. Denying terrain benefits or similar abilities and multiplying shots is nothing to be overlooked in 9th Edition. A unit of Intercessors with Bolt Rifles can easily dig out light infantry units without breaking a sweat.
Crimson Fists: No matter the Odds
- The Crimson Fists are used to being outnumbered. As a matter of fact, they thrive when they are against the odds. This will see most of its success against horde style army builds. Predominantly seen on the tabletop as Orks, Tyranids and Genestealer Cult. Being that Space Marines do have a bunch of MSU (multiple small units) builds, this can be put into effect more often than not.
- As successors to their noble cousins, the Imperial Fists, they too share the same ability to have additional quantity generation. Therefore, increased probability, with a “bolt” weapon when striking with precision. Even a Devastator squad with Heavy Bolters will surprise you. Consider how well they can perform when firing against just about any enemy units. Such as more Elite infantry or even mirror matched Space Marines themselves.
Black Templars: Righteous Zeal
- The crusaders themselves relish the opportunity to meet the foe in hand to hand combat. Close combat units such as assault marines could really be potent now more than ever with a tactic like this behind them. Being able to meet the enemy in and to hand combat at much more efficient rates. Increasing your odds in any circumstance (positively of course) is always beneficial. Think Assault Intercessors getting into combat more consistently and then being able to fight twice. This increases your odds through the roof at achieving their mission you have set them out to complete.
- This prepares them for the most gruesome of battles against psychic heavy armies. Such as the Thousand Sons and Grey Knights. Or against armies like the Necrons who have shards of Star Gods (C’Tans) that issue lethal amounts of mortal wounds. Mortal wounds have a large role in the game now. Any form of defensive mechanism against such armies with a strong output is key for survival. The key for this tactic is using higher wound screening units. Such as a 10 man Infiltrator Squad to stump an entire phase worth of damage. Mitigating the damage suffered across your entire force.
Blood Angels: Red Thirst
- The sons of Sanguinius are one of the deadliest of adversaries in combat. Whether it be their ability to get there or how hard they hit, they can do it all. Their army wide ability ensures their delivery into battle at some of the fastest of rates in the game. Probability is a massive part of 40K. Something you need to consider for almost every interaction a unit can perform. This tactic increases probabilities for interaction where close combat units excel. It demonstrates just a fraction of why they are one of the most revered chapters in hand to hand combat.
- Blood Angels pack a punch. Usually in the first round of combat in the fight phase. Vanguard Veterans can pack a serious punch in combat when wielding a thunder hammer for example. This will see them wounding even toughness 8 models on a 3+. Anything toughness 7 or lower on a 2+.
Flesh Tearers: Fury Within
- The different yet similar relatives of the Blood Angels. Lead by Chapter Master Gabriel Seth share the same bonus in combat. A strong tactic for any units that thrive in hand to hand combat. Like the assault intercessor or relic terminator. Removing enemy units became much easier with these power armoured heroes with this tactic.
- The difference of the two tactics is the second part for the Flesh Tearers. Which sees the armour penetration of melee attacks increased when striking precise blows against their target. When in the assault doctrine, this can see chainswords go from -1 AP to a -3 AP.
Iron Hands: The Flesh is Weak
- The Iron Hands are known for their resilience. What better way to embody this than having an extra layer of durability. This used to stack with their Apothecary in the last Codex which was a very powerful stacking ability. To some this seems as a bit of a nerf because naturally they lost their durability in a sense. Rather than focus on that aspect of the new update, one can see this as a buff. Reason being that it is similar to having a free apothecary model around units at all times. This is due to the new narthecium ability which can come at a premium.
- Units with degrading profiles truly are empowered as Iron Hands. For example, a Redemptor Dreadnought has a ballistic skill of 3+. With all the fire power it contains, one would like to see it shooting as efficiently as possible. Ideally for as long as they can. When a Redemptor Dreadnought is brought down to 6 wounds, it degrades into its second profile of a 4+ normally. However as Iron Hands, you will count as being on 12 wounds in this instance which is its top profile.
Ultramarines: Codex Discipline
- “And they shall know no fear” changed. Now leadership and morale are more important than ever. When bringing larger squads of Space Marines a higher leadership is very valuable. To ensure your models do not run from the field of battle. Ultramarines naturally increase their leadership characteristics, which is very fitting as the sons of Guilliman. A unit of 10 Terminators is a chunky block of destruction to remove but they will be sure to not shy away from any fight.
- The second part of their tactic is a very strong ability. Able to always be firing on all fronts. No matter what opponent they are up against. When the enemy tags a potent unit with a ton of firepower such as Eradictors normally they’re power becomes nullified. Take advantage of the hard-hitting ranged weaponry in your arsenal as Ultramarines.
Salamanders: Forged in Battle
- The first part of their tactic has seen a slight decline. Now they are only able to gain efficiency on wound rolls. As Space Marines Are experts when hitting their mark. The ability to gain efficiency on both hits and wounds was nice but not necessary in their previous variation. Marines have always had the accessibility to buffing characters. Like captains who give re-rolls of 1 with the Rites of Battle aura. A strategically placed heavy weapon such as a missile launcher on a Tactical Marine has become much more efficient. Increasesing their probability of truly leaving a mark.
- Salamanders are known to have tough skin. With the evolution of the game, higher AP has been more prominent. Especially when dealing damage to Space Marines but you can be sure against any form of small arms fire, the Salamanders will stick around. To combo this chapter tactic, models with storm shields are exceptionally resilient. A bladeguard veteran has their armour save increased to a 2+ and being able to ignore some weapons efficiency completely. In order to even think about shifting a unit of 5, you will need to have a significant output of AP-2 to AP-3 for them to flinch a muscle.
Raven Guard: Shadow Masters
- Raven Guard are the masters of the shadows. They know how to be discreet and virtually invisible in broad daylight. A unit of tactical marines have not been a competitive choice since before Primaris Marines. They can now see much more play. Firstborn Marines have been given an extra wound army wide. When sitting back on an objective, essentially have an artificer armour save.
- In conjunction with the first part of their tactic, this adds an additional defensive mechanic throughout the entire Chapter. This is arguably one of the better combinations for durability seeing that they will now use two benefits simultaneously. The downside of their tactic is the change to the table size and how the missions require an army to play. You may find yourself in close quarters more often than not and therefore invalidating what this tactic can offer you.
Deathwatch: Xenos Hunters
- The experts of hunting aliens. The Deathwatch are extreme hunters in general but take extra pride against the xenos factions in the Warhammer universe. They are all able to have better efficiency in melee against; Tyranids, Aeldari, Orks, Necrons and T’au Empire units. Essentially any close combat unit with this tactic will excel against any of the stated races. A Terminator Assault Squad bearing Thunder Hammers and Storm Shields will strike more true even when wielding these heavy weapons.
- Deathwatch now have the battlefield role they wish to gain efficiency against built into their tactic. Against xenos factions, these two tactics combined together may almost guarantee excellent efficiency. Even without support characters hovering around and more functionally independent units if need be.
Space Marine Tactics: Successor Chapter Tactics
The following are a few of the strongest Succesor Chapter Tactics combinations that can be discovered throughout this section of Codex: Space Marines Review.
Born Heroes/ Tactical Withdrawal:
This is a melee centric armies paradise. These two combined gives you a tactical edge when meeting the foe in hand to hand combat while always benefitting from both of these tactics at the same time. A unit of Bladeguard Veterans strongly embody these tactics put together at its finest. Charging head on and hitting harder than most combat units in the game. The key to this combo is when being charged, a unit as durable as them can take the hit with their storm shields. Use key strategems such as Transhuman Physiology as well. In your preceding phase flipping the script on your opponent and gaining movement from their charge. Then hitting just as hard shortly after.
These two combined equals a very resilient Space Marine force. The ability to make a unit of Vanguard Veterans even more courageous (if that’s even possible). Then making each of them mini juggernauts is crucial in having them make an impact on the field of battle. Take over a midfield objective with such a unit (Vanguard Veterans with storm shields). You will understand why they are so incredible for 9th edition. Fast and Durable units will really thrive under these two tactics. When considering your playstyle, these might actually be a simple combination to try.
Long-Range Marksmen/ Rapid Assault:
Increasing your threat range can be super key in many matches. Imagine a mirror match (Space Marine armies are very common in the meta). Units such as Devastator Squads and Plasma Inceptors can both benefit in strong ways separately. Depending on what you need them to do and when. Increasing a Plasma Inceptors overall threat range while not losing efficiency is an incredible option to have. On the other hand, a unit of Multi-Melta Devastators nearly go from a mid-ranged threat to nearly long-range assassins. Coming out of a drop pod with a unit such as them allows you to keep your distance and force you to come closer to them in order for them to be dealt with. Very strong, considering your opponent will now need to interact with your closer melee units leading your front lines.
Hungry for Battle/ Whirlwind of Rage:
At first glance this seems mainly focused toward combat armies however with a part of Hungry for Battle, it gives you a bit more mobility than average and therefore increasing threat ranges with specific units such as Hellblasters armed with Assault Plasma Incinerators. However, overall this does increase efficiency when colliding with opposing forces anywhere on the board when interacting. Multiplication of already high quality attacks is incredible at bringing down some seriously tough units. When making that first sweet contact with the Silent King, you may need this to achieve victory as ever strike will count.
Long-Range Marksmen/ Stealthy:
These play hand in hand with one another. While increasing your unit’s durability and dictating that through your own threat range, this could see some serious competitive play. Out ranging opponents while still focusing on the mission can be tough. Stealthy in this scenario will reduce the probability of amount of damage to your key units such as a Suppressors. Now more viable than ever with these two tactics. Drop-in and strike from a fairly long range. Youll be able to take more of a hit due to your opponent’s reduced efficiency.
An exceptionally solid tactic when fielding many weapons with “bolt” in their name such as the Intercessor’s Auto Bolt Rifle. This allows models with this weapon type to have a re-roll mechanic innately. As if they have a Captain with the “Rites of Battle” special ability nearby at all times.
This mimics part of the Space Wolves ability. An increases to their combat ability with melee weapons when a unit makes a charge move. When constructing an army, if you want to hit with the most efficiency in close combat, this is definitely a must take for you. A unit such as assault intercessors hit their targets at the same rate a Captain does.
This tactic sees the precision strikes multiply its output and gives you a fighting chance against the toughest of hides. Situational but still effective when coming up against much tougher units. If you have a high volume of low strength (average Space Marines with a chainsword) attacks going up against a T8 vehicle for example, every wound landed counts when attempting to bring it down.
A tactic such as this one has its uses. May not be the best way to build your Chapter around. This is more potent versus higher model count armies and hordes in general. Against an elite army such as Custodes, one can assume this tactic won’t be utilized frequently if at all throughout the match.
Hungry for Battle:
This mirrors the first part of the Blood Angels chapter tactic. The ability to increase any movement ability in the game is stronger now more than ever. Since the change of the board size in the new edition . Closing down the enemy at an increased rate or shortening the charge for a unit out of reserve by an inch could be the difference between victory and defeat.
Space Marines are supposed to know no fear. With this tactic, no models will run from the field of battle during the combat attrition test. This can encourage taking larger squad sizes such as 10 Assault Terminators in a White Scars list, without the worry of taking too many losses and fleeing with more than you had hoped for.
Inheritors of the Primarch:
This tactic simply allows you to create your own custom chapter while still being able to adopt any of the main chapter tactics within the codex. So insert your <chapter> name and play as any chapter based on the way you would want your Space Marines to perform on the tabletop. If you enjoy some of the other chapters stratagems and supplements either new and old, this could be another reason to take this tactic. An example being, naming your chapter (insert chapter name) as an Imperial Fist successor and then adopting the regal sons of Dorn’s chapter tactic along with them.
Knowledge is Power
This seems to be a more niche decision. For the opponent you know youre up against or if you would like to create a psychic heavy army. The ability to re-roll when casting or denying a power can be strong. Virtually stopping you from suffering from the perils of the warp. Again its situational and all dependent on how you want to shape your force. Include psykers and even upgrade one to a chief librarian, this could have significant play when executing your strategies.
Now, being only able to increase the range of two specific weapon types (Rapid Fire and Heavy) is a new limit. When selecting weapon options, keep this tactic in mind if you have chosen it when actually constructing the units in your army. This does not mean Assault type weapons are useless to you now, they definitely have a place. When selecting wargear, Rapid Fire and Heavy should be the more favoured options.
This is a solid customization option when looking to have the odd heavy weapon hit its mark more often, like a lascannon strategically placed in a tactical squad. A free re-roll never hurts to have on a per unit basis.
Facing any foe other than those from the Imperium suffer against this tactic. Melee attacks made against: Chaos Knights, Tyranids, Aeldari, Ork, Heretic Astartes, Necrons and T’au Empire units gain extra efficiency on a more independent basis. Definitely a unique ability and more of a meta call decision.
Models with this tactic can advance and fire Assault weapons at no penalty. A fantastic use of this tactic would be when including units of the new Eradicators. Being that they are in Gravis armour, any amount of extra movement can be crucial when finding the right angle to fire at an enemy unit, ignoring the -1 penalty is a big bonus.
Scions of the Forge
When fielding a heavy mechanized list filled with dreadnoughts and other Space Marine vehicles, this tactic ensures efficiency at all times allowing a unit which has degrading profiles to count as double the wounds for the purpose of their characteristics. This is identical to the second half of the Iron Hands tactic. Multiple Gladiator variants can see more usage out of a tactic such as this.
Essentially a mini version of the Transhuman Physiology Stratagem. Not as powerful as the aforementioned Transhuman ability but definitely a decent way of adding endurance army wide to several units which can reap the benefits of this added bonus. Units such as assault intercessors can withstand heavy enemy firepower of S8 or higher, reducing the amount of wounds inflicted on average.
This is taken from the first part of the Raven Guard chapter tactic. Like mentioned in the earlier description, it can be a very useful tactic as always counting as being in light cover when outside of a set range. The only consistent downfall is the way 9th edition has geared the mission style to favour armies who are in closer proximity and fighting over objectives, both of those scenarios tending to be within the range they benefit from and only benefitting situationally.
Additional leadership army wide may be overlooked at first. The sons of Guilliman (the Ultramarines) benefit from this ability and are no slouches on the field of battle. Having a higher leadership sometimes may open the floor to having larger squad sizes when not worried about Blast weapons and taking a unit such as a 10 man Terminator squad may be more viable for board presence. On the other hand, a smaller sized unit is all but guaranteed to not suffer from any morale checks.
A definite favourite for close combat armies. The ability to always be a combat threat, even in a turn in which the unit fell back can be very powerful. Whether it be to charge a unit and tie up heavy weapon specialist infantry models or charging a screen as a decoy, just to fall back and charge a more significant enemy target the next turn.
When facing an enemy army that generates a large amount of mortal wounds, this may be your best chance at survival. In some cases beyond your enemies psychic output, some weapons inflict mortal wounds in addition to the damage profile of the bearers weapon. This increases your units chance of remaining on the table which is always important as Space Marines.
Whirlwind of Rage
Simlar to how the Imperial Fist’s chapter tactic works with “bolt” weapons, this tactic works for all melee weapons. Definitely a melee units paradise when wanting to generate as much hurt upon the enemy unit to remove it from the battle. As stated in the codex, this tactic is not able to be selected alongside the “Duellists” tactic as that combo would be a little too powerful. We can see why this would be problematic when let us say applying it to White Scar Vanguard Veterans with Double Lightning claws… the sheer output would be beyond devastating.
Space Marine Tactics: Chapter Command
The Chapter Command option has now gone through an overhaul. Rather than spending precious command points to upgrade a generic character, you now have a point valuation that varies on which rank you would like to upgrade. An example of this being the most sought after Chapter Master that was almost an auto-include in any Space Marine build, now being a points upgrade instead of Command points.
A Chapter Master embodies the spirit of their Primarch in which they hail from. They not only are exceptional warriors but inspire the ranks around them. Chapter Master is necessary for armies that have extreme units which require the utmost efficiency. An Imperial Fists army for example can massively benefit from a Chapter Master within their ranks, giving a high increase in efficiency to units such as Bolter Aggressors. This should allow a player to think more on an independent unit basis of which units they feel can act on their own or benefit from the Chapter Master when need be.
Master of Sanctity
The Master of Sanctity is an important buffing character in a Space Marine army. With exceptional Litanies such as the Canticle of Hate and Mantra of Strength at their disposal, these priests are multi-faceted units which add a ton of positives to any chapter in which they are taken as. Try the Canticle of Hate as a prime example. When bringing in a squad of Assault Marines, we all need this unit to make that charge at some point when it is crucial. Now with the ability to automatically chant that litany, a unit of White Scar Assault Marines are much more likely to make it in when and where they need to in order to dish out some great damage in their super doctrine or to simply shut down a ton of your opponent’s firepower.
Master of the Forge
When upgrading this unit, it comes down to the sheer efficiency you require from it. This master of the chapter can be a strong choice in a heavy mechanized army. A Dreadnought within the Master of the Forge’s aura becomes stronger and more fierce, adding 1 to two of its characteristics. The key ability takes the random roll of a dice out of the game when healing a nearby “Vehicle” restoring wounds on a more consistent basis. This in some cases could be the difference of bringing a vehicle back to its top bracket or getting unlucky and only restoring 1 wound lost.
Essentially the upgrade for this chapter command turns the unit into a super librarian like many of the named character variations for specific chapters. Whether it be casting mind mending powers or increasing your friendly units durability with “Psychic Fortress” to grant another layer of durability to friendly units within range, they can be the tool to make an army tick in many different scenarios. Try taking this upgraded librarian with incredible powers such as Veil of TIme and Null Zone and threaten the enemy in multiple ways. He will be able to cast powers more efficiently while being able to protect surrounding units from otheir psychic onslaughts quite well. No need to worry as much when storming the enemy deployment zone with a Reivers and the like knowing this guy is behind them as a psychic barrier.
Arguably the finest of the options will be the Chief Apothecary alongside a stratagem that costs 0 CP when this upgrade is made for a warlord trait. You will be resurrecting fallen friendly models every turn as well as healing units twice per turn. With the narthecium ability naturally giving an ignore lost wounds ability, the Apothecary, which does not take up any precious HQ slots is almost an auto-include across the board for any flavour of Space Marine. You will be shockingly surprised at how much damage a unit of Iron Hands Heavy Intercessors can withstand with this fella behind them. Units that are tough and efficient such as them will be excellent options to keep around your Apothecary while also slowly advancing in to more tactical positions as a core group (hopefully not too slow).
The best part of this upgrade by far is the “Steadfast Example” Warlord Trait Aura which allows a unit to be given objective secured. A prime example of when this could be used at its peak performance is when storming the middle of the board with thunder hammer and storm shield Terminators (now at 3 wounds per model) to grant them objective secured to hold off an objective from pesky enemy troops nearby.
It essentially turns a company champion into a more fearsome fighter, very situational and more of an option that you can do, but not one that you need. One of the least seen upgrades we can presume will be the Chapter Champion. Not due to the lack of quality for the model but mainly the points invested altogether to make them worth taking can easily be put into other areas of ones list to bolster it further. As an elite spot as well, the Space Marines have many, but can most certainly fill up those slots in a list quite quickly with the catalogue of options they have.
Space Marine Codex Review: Stratagems
Battle Tactics Stratagems
Death to the Traitors!
When waging war against the ruinous powers of Chaos, this stratagem is a must play in close combat. When an Adeptus Astartes unit from your army is selected to attack against a Heretic Astartes unit, watch them really strike with the pride of their Primarch in every attack made. Used in a timely situation, it can all but guarantee an increase in efficiency or if you know there are no captains nearby to inspire your units with an ability such as “Rites of Battle”, this is increasingly beneficial. (1CP)
Honour the Chapter
This has taken a fairly large knock since the last codex in many ways. The older variation allowed any Adeptus Astartes unit to fight again in the same Fight Phase at a steep cost. The issue however was that almost all the time, players were willing to spend those resources time and again in order to ensure the enemy unit was destroyed. The latest edition of codex now allows only an “Assault Intercessor Squad to fight again in the same phase. Definitely not as ruthless from past options but a tool in the box to use if need be. With the fairly cost price of said unit, many Space Marine players will have them on the tabletop to take advantage of this at one time or another. (2CP)
Fury of the First
A Terminator Squad specific stratagem which has been utilized in the previous edition returns and is potentially more important than ever. With Terminators now increased to 3 wounds per model, we are more likely to see these grizzled veterans on the tabletop more than previously seen, especially in tournament play. Terminators are not known to have endless amounts of attacks but what they do have is quality. Every hit that is landed is crucial in bringing down an enemy unit when needed. (1CP)
Many feel it has been nerfed and many also feel it is far more overpowered in its latest version of the stratagem. When a Primaris unit is selected as the target of an attack this can completely cut your opponents potential damage nearly in half. On a unit of 5 models or less it will cost 1 command point and if more than 5 models, 2 command points. At first it seems like the change is very negative for Space Marines as this seems limiting in what can be affected by this. However, if history has taught us anything, the wave of Primaris Marines are at an all time high and units of 5 Bladeguard or 5 Aggressors will see heavy durability increases for a mere 1 command point. 1 which almost any player will spend time and time again to ensure a crucial units survival. (1/2CP)
Situationally helpful like most stratagems are, but very effective to say the least. A 10 man squad of Intercessors equipped with the Assault Bolt Rifle will output a whopping 60 shots in a turn in which this stratagem is used. Thats enough to clear most units off of the tabletop, let alone a Xenos infantry horde. (2CP)
An increasingly functional stratagem that allows Primaris keyword units to really thrive in combats that they may not seem to be favoured in. When striking a foe with righteous might, this stratagem can easily be put in place to heighten the odds of bringing down tougher enemy units such as vehicles or monsters. Definitely a consideration when comparing your units strength vs the enemies toughness characteristics. (1CP)
Unyielding in the Face of the Foe
With the increase in Gravis units being featured on the tabletop, one can assume a stratagem such as this one will be seen quite often. Units such as Aggressors and Eradicators will heavily benefit from this, being able to essentially brush off any small arms fire incoming. This can also force an enemy to increase the amount of firepower directed and said unit in order to attempt bringing them down and therefore drawing higher quality units away from the rest of your force. (1CP)
Epic Deed Stratagems
Only in Death does Duty End
A slight change since its previous version with the ability to only fight on death with the character if it has not previously made attacks this turn. A bit of a hit, but a justified one nonetheless. There are many named characters with mass amounts of high damage outputs that were quite frustrating to any and all opponents being able to fight twice essentially before being removed from the battlefield. Even a unit such as the smash captain of old was able to on average (fighting twice) make anywhere between attacks all at -4AP, flat 4 damage (with a relic or warlord trait) and level a Knight in one swoop. (2CP)
Armour of Contempt
When up against an army with a high mortal wound output, this is extremely important in attempting to keep a vehicle alive. Armies with mass psychic powers or others with specialized weaponry such as haywire, are easily able to cripple if not destroy vehicles. When a unit is about to suffer a wound as the result of a mortal wound, this stratagem may be activated to mitigate some of the damage coming through to some degree. This seriously could be the difference in many cases between being destroyed or not. (1CP)
Power of the Machine Spirit
For one full battle round, essentially, an Adeptus Astartes Machine Spirit unit can act as if it is on its top tier profile when making an attack as an example. The amount of command points it costs may be considered steep, however when considering these models with said keyword are quite powerful and extremely efficient on their respective top profiles, it is situational yet effective. A Gladiator of any variant can seriously put out a ton of damage at any point in the battle whilst on the battlefield. (2CP)
Wisdom of the Ancients
When selecting a Dreadnought unit on the battlefield (excluding Wulfen and Death Company) this stratagem may be activated. One of the two abilities may be selected as active until the start of your next command phase: Rites of Battle (Aura) which is the exact same as a captain. The second option being Tactical Precision (Aura) which is also identical to the ability of a lieutenant. Both could be crucial when strategically triggered in order to increase the efficiency of surrounding units or in most cases the dreadnought themselves. (1CP).
This stratagem is a brand new addition to the list and a crucial one nonetheless. In a turn in which a chaplain did not recite a litany in the command phase this stratagem may be activated. If a crucial charge is needed as an example, bypass the command phase when needing to chant your litanies and then activate this right at the start of the charge phase. You then gain all the benefits of the litany as if chanted normally. (2CP)
This is super beneficial to any Astartes army fielding an Apothecary. Resurrecting models is such a strong ability that they can revive models who have fallen at any point in the battle as long as the unit is still alive. Where this becomes especially fantastic is when upgrading to a Chief Apothecary, this stratagem becomes free to use (once per turn as normal). (1CP)
Relic of the Chapter
A simple stratagem which will be used in many list builds, allows you to take an additional relic for your army. Relics such as the Armour Indomitus and the Teeth of Terra are difficult to select between. No need any more, being as that you can pick and choose with less limitations when customizing characters. When mustering your force, if playing a Strike Force battle this can be used twice. If playing an Onslaught battle, up to three times. (1CP per relic)
Hero of the Chapter
Like the stratagem above, this allows you to add more character to your army when selecting a warlord trait. The Rites of War trait seems to be one of the more competitive choices but an additional model with The Imperium’s Sword can have great use on a different area of the battlefield simultaneously. A Strike Force battle may see this used twice and for Onslaught, up to three times. (1CP per warlord trait)
Strategic Ploy Stratagem
When falling back with an Adeptus Astartes Biker, Land Speeder or Storm Speeder, that unit is still eligible to shoot in that turn. Extremely powerful with a unit of Attack Bikes for example, armed with the newly improved Heavy Bolters to ensure they rain hail down upon the enemy turn after turn. (1CP)
Hammer of Wrath
When finishing a charge move with jump pack infantry, this is an excellent way of really hurting the charged unit before even swinging a weapon. When charging a poxwalker screen with a unit of 10 assault marines, one can expect half to be brought down before the chainswords start swinging. (1CP)
When an Adeptus Astartes Biker, Land Speeder or Storm Speeder is selected as the target of an attack in your opponent’s shooting phase, you may activate this stratagem to decrease any enemy incoming fire. Extremely useful when trying to fend off enemy fire power and keep these highly mobile units alive for as long as needed. Worry a tad less when storming up the board with an already tough unit of Outriders to help them get to their final destination. (1CP)
This may be a hidden gem for now, but definitely not for long. In a turn in which a unit is performing an action, this allows it to still be eligible to shoot. On a unit such as eradicators marching up the board, this is increasingly powerful being able to play both sides of the game. Playing to the mission raising a banner as an example, while still shooting down the most powerful of enemy units all in one blow. (2CP)
When making a Normal Move, your Adeptus Astartes Infantry unit will count as remaining stationary. This is best used for a unit such as a Space Marine Devastator squad. When moving with a heavy weapon as infantry, you are immediately at a -1 when shooting. This essentially cancels out the fact of your movement and becoming increasingly efficient for said unit to move their full distance and fire at no penalty. (2CP)
This stratagem has taken a big overhaul and has a lot to offer. You may select a Core unit from your army (as long as your warlord is on the battlefield) and until your next command phase, all Combat Doctrines will be active for them. Therefore meaning, yes you will benefit from all the extra AP on every weapon in that selected units arsenal (Grenade, Assault, Melee, etc.). Situational as most stratagems are but definitely a lot of play to be had with this one for many units within this codex. (2CP)
A stratagem such as this one makes a unit become playable if they are usually an afterthought. A Whirlwind unit becomes more intriguing when discovering the abilities this stratagem grants. In addition to stumping enemy unit’s defensive stands being made, they cannot fight until its potentially too late. Wow, potent for many reasons. Whether you are trying to avoid a gruelling Overwatch segment from the Tau or playing a heavy combat army such as Khorne Daemons, this has many fantastic uses and can see a ton of Marine forces bring a Whirlwind or two for its utility. (1CP)
Overall, one can make an argument to now feature Reivers in their army. However, the pressing issue is the common fact that there are so many fantatic Elite choices that it is hard to find a spot or the points to fit them in a roster. Rather than an Elite choice, take a Reiver Lieutenant and have this ability at your disposal, while also having a great buffing character added to your roster. (2CP)
A fantastic use for a stratagem such as this one is when needing to reinforce a screen on a different side of the board or even later in a match when needing to complete a secondary action. A unit of Incursors or Infiltrators are almost an auto-include with an ability of this power. (1CP)
Unlike its previous variation, this now has an automatic radius when put into effect. Units within said radius suffer mortal wounds on the roll of a The biggest change is that the mortal wound output happens in the following command phase and therefore gives your opponent the opportunity to move away from the position of the blast radius. This is very powerful against a slow foot slogging army but may not see too much play around high mobility factions such as the Aeldari races. (3CP)
In a phase in which an enemy unit arrives as a reinforcements, you are immediately able to react with this one. This definitely will make an enemy unit think twice before placing their models anywhere on the battlefield. Especially when a unit such as Aggressors are in a strategic position to react on the tabletop at any given moment to utilize this ability. (2CP)
Although the Thunderfire Cannon has taken a major hit in its tabletop quality, this stratagem is still a great piece of utility to keep in mind when building a list or when you include one. Against units that are not Titanic or Fly, can definitely have a major impact in how they perform with restrictions such as these. Try slowing down a unit of fast moving infantry such as Harlequin Troupe and see a massive difference over the course of the match. (1CP)
Shock and Awe
When activated by an Adeptus Astartes Shock Grenades or Land Speeder Storm unit, two effects take place on one selected unit within range. This is a great piece of utility however the main concern is that there are very few units that can take advantage of this stratagem and essentially dictates which units must be taken. (1CP)
At the start of your charge phase, select one Adeptus Astartes Assault Launchers unit to benefit from this stratagem. Not ideal for any enemy unit about to be charged. Similarly to the Shock and Awe stratagem, there are a handful of units that can actually benefit from this and who have the keyword to activate it. Again, limiting what you may take in order to take advantage of it, but definitely a niche bit of utility which can help at any point in a battle. (1CP)
In the fight phase when this stratagem is activated make sure to strike with this model last as they will essentially substitute their melee attacks with the use of the Melta Bomb. Very effective when hoping to take off the last few wounds of a vehicle and get some extra movement from making the charge all in one play. A very effective tool to keep in your back pocket at any time throughout the battle. (1CP)
An Adeptus Astartes Repulsor Field unit from your army may activate this to put one of two abilities into effect. It tended to be a bit much and not fun for anyone when let us say charging a Repulsor or even two Impulsors at a -4, then all of them being able to fallback and fire. For the cheap command points charge, this is still a very strong ability that will definitely still be commonly used. (1CP)
In the shooting phase, when an Adeptus Astartes Infantry unit armed with either a Heavy Bolter, Hellstorm Heavy Bolter or an Executioner Heavy Bolter makes a ranged attack, select a model to use this ability insead. A solid ability to activate overall, and with the Heavy Intercessor unit on the rise, we should be seeing this frequently used as they are armed with described weapons above in almost all cases. (1CP)
When an Adeptus Astartes Infantry unit from your army makes a ranged attack with a Missile Launcher against an enemy Aircraft choose this profile instead when in dire need to bring it down. A unit of Devastator Space Marines was already a positive unit to include in your current force, now going up to 2 wounds per model and this piece of utility reinforces their viability as a great tool box addition. (1CP)
Any time a stratagem is activated and carves into an enemy units efficiency, it is always fantastic to use. A unit such as Incursors or many of the Space Marine vehicles, become increasingly more durable. Especially a unit such as a Venerable Dreadnought then being -1 to hit and -1 Damage (to a minimum of 1) due to its Duty Eternal ability. (1CP)
Space Marine Codex Review: Warlord Traits
Space Marine Warlord Traits
Fear Made Manifest
This trait is an aura that affects enemy units in two ways simultaneously. This is not the most competitive choice of the bunch, however it definitely hurts units in which they already suffer from morale in general. Horde infantry units will heavily be affected by this when below half strength, fleeing on the roll of a 1,2 or 3. Depending on the matchup, one may argue its utility to have as an additional trait taken but definitely not on the character leading your force.
The Imperium’s Sword
This benefits the Warlord in two ways. The trait acts as a significant buffing mechanic to bolster the warlord’s offensive output. Many enemies may shy away from the challenge of taking on this model head on knowing what it can do when benefitting from all of its added bonuses.You will definitely be able to thrash through tougher units with more ease and getting there at an efficient rate. Take on a unit of Chaos Spawn and watch them swiftly be removed from play.
When looking to add to your Warlord’s defensive buffs, this may be a key addition to ensuring their survival. Added durability is always a welcoming option when building around a key centerpiece. All dependent on the build you are intending on having.
Champion of Humanity
When looking to slay enemy characters, this is the strongest option of the bunch for added bonuses against the enemy. This Warlord Trait is extremely potent and adds a ton of efficiency to the bearer when engaged with the mightiest of enemy characters, even the likes of Abaddon or Typhus.
Storm of Fire
This is an aura for <chapter> core units within range of your Warlord. A fantastic yet simple option of utilizing this Trait is when a unit of Intercessors open fire with their bolt rifles in the tactical doctrine, the weapon will be at AP-3 when striking with precision. Heavily important at bringing down tougher armoured foes.
Rites of War
This is potentially the best option of all Warlord Traits across the codex. Just the tactical presence it brings to your force and dictates how your opponent has to interact with you benefits ones army tenfold. Securing an objective with a 5 man Bladeguard Veteran squad near your warlord and not having to worry about a much weaker unit simply touching the objective with a single Objective Secured model is a massive change in the game play of the match.
Space Marine Codex Review: Vanguard Warlord Traits
Shoot and Fade
This is specifically key when hoping to fire and move out of line of sight after doing so with a unit such as Eliminators attempting to pick off enemy characters or gaining extra movement with an Infiltrator squad to screen out a part of the board more thoroughly. Any extra movement on the tabletop is always a benefit to the general.
Lord of Deceit
A very handy tool in ones list. The ability to counter deployment and reposition before a match begins but after deployment is a fantastic ability. Very strong in countering your enemies play and even misleading them to believe where you intend on truly deploying.
Master of the Vanguard
This aura affects friendly <chapter> Phobos units within range of your warlord. A strong piece added to many armies, especially those of the close combat variations. Any time you have the ability to draw in closer to strike the enemy at more efficient rates, is highly beneficial. A unit even such as Incursors now have more mobility and can pack a punch at a faster rate. Even utilizing this to tie up enemy models is an excellent option, matchup depending.
This definitely is a great added ability to ensure your warlords survival. Unless you are throwing him first into the fray and needing his survival to ensure victory, this may be just the trait you need to have all the pieces align when needed. No need to worry about pesky enemy snipers just waiting for a clear opportunity.
Not the best pick of the bunch, but still has a purpose when needed. This only affects a limited group of units within the codex and it may be difficult to comprise an army of many of them at once to really benefit from this ability every turn. More of a niche army build will suit a trait such as this one.
If your warlord is equipped with an exceptional ranged weapon in which you intend on getting the most from it, this definitely adds the extra punch it needs. A Phobos Captain firing a Master-Crafted instigator bolt carbine becomes damage 4 every time a wound is inflicted. This literally can execute an Obliterator outright or leave a serious dent in a vehicle or monster. A weapon such as this is also able to ignore the Look Out, Sir rule and pick on enemy characters with precision.
Space Marine Codex Review: Chapter Warlord Traits
Dark Angels: Brilliant Strategist
Depending on the army build of the Dark Angels player, this trait has two excellent functions. If needing a unit in the tactical doctrine to turn back a combat doctrine to Devastator for the turn, it may. As well as if they are in the Assault Doctrine, acting as if they are in Tactical instead. It adds flexibility to a units punch and how you can manipulate the AP of a friendly unit on command.
White Scars: Deadly Hunter
For White Scars players, this does not come across as a particularly strong ability. Depending on the warlord taken, they tend to not need to rush into the thick of battle turn after turn. This leads to the belief that this trait will not be utilized as often as hoped.
Space Wolves: Beastslayer
This truly embodies a Space Wolves warlord feel. When up against an enemy vehicle or monster is when they are in their element, being able to strike harder than in any other case. A Captain with a Relic Blade can really leave a mark on any vehicle such as Venomcrawlers. For added intensity, make this weapon Master-Crafted and watch nearly any small vehicles or monsters fold.
Imperial Fists: Architect of War
This more or less bolsters friendly core units within range of your warlord while taking cover. Not the highest pick one would take for an Imperial Fist warlord, but dependent on the battlefield and if your strategy leads to a fire fight, this could turn into quite the gem. A unit of Imperial Fist Terminators bearing storm shields will be next to impossible to dig out by any small arms fire across any faction.
Crimson Fists: Refuse to Die
The epitome of resilience and refusing to die is this warlord trait. Abilities such as this one are very rare and can have an incredible impact on the game. As a dice needs to be rolled no matter the case, remember to not hinge the entire strategy on that warlord returning time and time again.
Black Templars: Oathkeeper
A Black Templar warlord with this ability relishes the opportunity to be involved in the thick of combat at all times with these abilities granted to the unit. A very strong ability to deter the enemy from charging nearby friendly units, unless they intend on fighting the fiercest of the Templar’s wrath. Strategically leave a gap between friendly models for your Warlord’s base to fit through and never let the opponent have an easy decision when charging in.
Blood Angels: Speed of the Primarch
Situationally strong, but not the key to a Blood Angels faction’s success. The main downsides of this trait are that an enemy can still interrupt and overtake this ability or if they are a charging unit, that takes precedence as it is the opponents phase to activate first.
Flesh Tearers: Merciless Butcher
A mass infantry killing character’s dream. This is very suited to the savage successor chapter of the Blood Angels. Flesh Tearers are already a melee force to be reckoned with, this adds an additional flavourful touch to the unit leading the force. Going into most units, they will benefit from this and carve through much more than anticipated.
Iron Hands: Adept of the Omnissiah
This trait is about healing friendly vehicles to increase the longevity of its abilities throughout the course of the match. Replacing its current datasheet ability, Blessing of the Omnissiah, this adds the consistency one needs when requiring your most vicious vehicles such as a Repulsor Executioner to be always firing at full cylinders.
Ultramarines: Adept of the Codex
Command Points are crucial to many forces across the entirety of Warhammer 40, The Ultramarines being tactical geniuses are able to replenish their spent CP with this ability. For a codex and army such as the Ultramarines, stratagems are key to their success and how they function. The ability to comfortably Transhuman a Gravis unit or a key Intercessor squad every turn is huge when measuring the armies success.
Salamanders: Anvil of Strength
Simple but effective. This warlord will be guaranteed to inflict damage on any unit it comes into contact with. Wielding a power fist for example, will be striking a unit at Strength 12 in combat. Enough to wound light vehicles on a 2+ and even wound the largest of Knights on a 3+.
Raven Guard: Echo of the Ravenspire
In definite Raven Guard fashion, this warlord can disappear at the end of your movement phase as long as they are outside of a set range from any enemy units. A great use of this tactic is possibly luring your opponent to a less strategic part of the board only to reappear on the other side safe and sound, backing up other sections of the attack on the enemies opposite front.
Deathwatch: Vigilance Incarnate
The Deathwatch specialize in targeting their assaults against specific battlefield roles and any Xenos race. This trait allows one friendly Deathwatch core unit within range of the warlord to benefit from attacks made against a chosen battlefield role. Until the start of your next command phase, that unit may re-roll wound rolls of 1 against that chosen battlefield role unit. When needing an important Elite unit of your opponents to be taken down, look no further and specialize when and where you need it on the battlefield.
Space Marine Codex Review: Relics
The Armour Indomitus
On a unit such as a Captain, this could be an excellent addition to their wargear. Being able to shrug off smaller arms fire with ease and increasing their longevity throughout the battle. Really take any opponent by surprise when they also power up for a phase and refuse to go down with the special force field as an option.
The Shield Eternal
A character with a shield for wargear may upgrade it to this relic. This relic is slightly redundant as the updated Storm Shield rule, as an example does the first two parts of this relic. The added ability to ignore wounds is definitely fantastic but with a Chief Apothecary potentially nearby, there will already be a unit granting an ignoring wounds aura.
Standard of the Emperor Ascendant
An Ancient model only may take this relic. With the change to the special rule “And They Shall Know No Fear”, this relic may come in handy more often than previously thought. Re-rolling a failed morale test at a crucial time is always a positive as a Space Marine. The less models fleeing the battle, the better as we all know.
Teeth of Terra
Replace an Astartes Chainsword with this relic. A very popular relic indeed. Strength, AP and damage will increase by 1 in each characteristic from the typical chainsword. This is made to hunt 2 wound models and when fighting fire with fire (Astartes vs Astartes), this can make all the difference. A White Scars Captain may even see the best use out of this one, being able to increase the damage of this weapon to flat 3 once the Assault Doctrine is active.
This relic is able to replace a few of the boltgun variants listed in its description. It can project more shots especially when rapid firing and has a higher Strength, AP and Damage characteristic. As for weapon relics, this may not see the most use when compared to its competitors but is still viable nonetheless as all relics can be.
The Burning Blade
Replacing a few of the sword variants throughout the codex is this next relic. This becomes a glorified relic blade which seems like a fantastic option in the current edition. The strength increases significantly, followed by the AP going through the roof. If a model does not have an invulnerable save, death will shortly follow. The common theme in many upgraded weapons and relics, continues to be the flat 2 damage characteristic. In 9th edition these weapons are truly king when looking for consistency and executing their mission.
The majority of the bolt pistol variations may be replaced by this relic. As a much stronger version of a heavy bolt pistol, this relic really does pack quite the punch, cracking the toughest of armour and landing a deadly blow. The only question one must ask themself is, do I need to upgrade this character’s pistol? If the answer is yes, then this relic suits the build of your force and you will have this gloriously wielded on the battlefield.
Reliquary of Gathalamor
A Primaris model only may take this relic. This aura assists in resisting the powers of the warp, generated by enemy psykers. More of a psychic barrier than anything else, makes this relic only fulfill a niche category and is definitely matchup dependent. Where this can see its best use is on a Librarian that is in the thick of the battle, forcing enemy psykers away from this bearer in fear of being casted back to the warp.
Bellicos Bolt Rifle
A straight substitute for a model equipped with a master-crafted bolt rifle. With a few more shots added to the profile and solid strength characteristic, this relic can surely bring down enemy infantry quite easily when placed in the right hands, such as a Captain. A Captain targeting opposing Primaris Marines or the recently confirmed Chaos Space Marines when they eventually get their update, will be perfect candidates to meet their demise on the end of this rifle.
This relic is one of the stronger ranged weapon options on the list. It replaces an already exceptional weapon (a master-crafted stalker bolt rifle) with an even better variation. In addition to added strength and damage it has on its profile, it cannot also generate mortal wounds in addition. Definitely a strong relic option if you intend on taking down tough elite models such as Custodian Guards, Blightlords and Bullgryn.
A Phobos model only may be equipped with this relic. The bearer will be granted two separate abilities.The theme of 9th edition is directly favouring mobile forces when competing on the table and a Relic such as this one, ensures the bearer gets where they need to (for the most part) when necessary. A character with this Relic gains multiple benefits, not shying away from enemy engagement of any kind and always having a way out or around the enemy.
Tome of Malcador
Strong but situational. Situational because it really does depend on how you intend on building your armies strategy. If in need of that extra power that helps your army tick from top to bottom, this will definitely be the exact relic you are looking for. However, in most cases, the two you already can take normally will tend to be: Psychic Fortress and Null Zone.
Benediction of Fury
A Chaplain model only may replace their Crozius Arcanum with this relic. Similar to the average crozius but with 1 higher damage on its base characteristic. The main differentiator is the special ability which inflicts mortal wounds in addition, depending on how true your priest strikes their foe.
The Honour Vehement
When a selected unit fights, it will be able to have more quantity than it once believed it could. The unfortunate side of the relic is that it is clearly stated, it is not cumulative with the Shock Assault ability. So definitely situational, but if you do intend on sticking around for multiple rounds of combat, this can be handy on any of those occasions.
The Vox Espiritum
Only affecting aura abilities not psychic powers is completely understandable when realizing the power of this ability. Increase the range of auras of this unit by a set range and see “Auras” truly benefit an army when placed in the correct bearer’s hands. That goes for very powerful auras such as the Narthecium ability of an Apothecary or a Captain’s Rites of Battle ability.
Space Marine Codex Review: Psychic Powers
Space Marine Codex Review: Librarius Discipline
Veil of Time: (WC6)
Quite a helpful ability when needing to remove enemy units from the battle or contest objectives across the board. This is definitely strong when activating in the second round of combat as in 9th edition a fundamental mechanic change has now enabled your enemy to activate with the first non-charging combat. This will not only add the rate of how often a unit can get into engagement but also give a unit of Bladeguard two opportunities to strike a foe consecutively whilst in combat.
Might of Heroes: (WC6)
A single model may have this power casted upon them (yes, only one model such as the sergeant of a tactical squad). This is best utilized on a strong melee character such as the Judiciar making them even more exceptional in combat. Making a unit fight last in this case and then decapitating them, being the Emperor’s judgement.
Null Zone: (WC7)
This psychic power has two very strong abilities. The first is slightly debatable as it removes the invulnerable save of any units within range of this psyker. That is the issue. It states “units” not “enemy units”. This may be an oversight of the abilities effect but until it is rectified, if at all, one must be careful when casting this around friendly models. The second ability is also very powerful, and unlike its first aura, only affects enemy psykers. This truly does what it says on the label, nullifying all who come within this aura. Cast this before charging into a unit of Custodes bearing storm shields and watch the look on your opponent’s face, they will swiftly perish from any incoming melee units, let alone Bladeguard Veterans or Terminators of any kind.
Psychic Scourge: (WC6)
This is similar to the damage of a smite but with an extra obstacle to overcome. Not the best option to take from the psychic list and situational on the army you are up against. This can be useful when needing to attempt to produce that extra mortal wound output before shooting or fighting. Even when needing to clear a screen of Kabalite warriors for example, in order to destroy the Ravagers or Venoms behind.
Fury of the Ancients: (WC6)
This actually may be quite beneficial against an opponent fielding several units especially if they have deployed and moved them forward as a castle. Orks tend to really take over large portions of the board with many units. This can do decent damage against an army such as that when approaching from a flank and targeting multiple screening units such as Grots (forcing morale) and even whittling away a few Ork Boyz.
Psychic Fortress: (WC6)
A changed version of its previous form. Psychic Fortress has only one use now and that is to grant an aura for friendly <chapter> units. Be sure when casting to not cast Null Zone in the same phase and you will be sure to see quality use out of this power. A few units surrounding this Psyker in Gravis armour such as Eradicators, Aggressors and even the new Heavy Intercessors, will have extreme added durability, and if up against the strongest of weapons such as a Demolisher cannon, can always Transhuman and turn the math of that outcome on its head.
Space Marine Codex Review: Obscuration Discipline
We have seen abilities such as this be the crux of many great armies success such as the Death Guard’s Cloud of Flies stratagem. Keeping a crucial unit alive turn after turn is always a positive or even simply using this on an Infiltrator squad guarding an objective nearby.
Soul Sight: (WC6)
A unit of Eliminators will almost always hit with every shot fired as well as ensure the kill leaving most units helpless against their higher AP value weaponry. A unit of Imperial Fists Eliminators will not only have precision when making attacks but also have the opportunity to multiply their ranged assault against characters or smaller elite infantry units such as Deathshroud Terminators.
Mind Raid: (WC6)
The first part may be useful when picking off the final wound of a model but the more interesting use of this power is the second effect. Command Points are very useful at any point of the battle and gaining them is definitely beneficial in assisting your army execute their strategies. Using this to soften a screen and then gaining resources never hurts when accumulating momentum in a match.
A visible enemy unit is affected by this power in two ways. Whether trying to force an enemy unit to fail a morale test or simply hinder their performance when attempting to inflict damage upon your units, this power has two solid reasons for why it should be taken. Making models from an Ork Boyz unit flee from the field may not be as easy as it sounds unless adding a modifier. If that same unit of Ork Boyz may be troublesome before you potentially force them to flee, you can definitely mitigate the damage output that squad normally can do on their average performance.
Tenebrous Curse: (WC7)
Any high mobility forces you go up against will dread having this power used against them turn after turn. A very strong power when affecting an important enemy unit. Try using this against a Keeper of Secrets and watch it struggle to make it into the thick of battle while also being slowly chipped away at in the process.
Temporal Corridor: (WC5)
Whether it be to get out of charge range of a deadly enemy unit, out of line of sight to be safe or to throw a unit of yours onto an objective to take it off an opponent, many strategic plays can be made from this power. A great play is to broaden the effectiveness of your screen with an Infiltrators unit and really more enemy reinforcements away from the core of your army.
Space Marine Codex Review: Litanies of Battle
Litany of Hate: (Aura)
Every chaplain innately is able to chant this in a battle and does not have to be selected as one of the optional litanies. Very handy in most situations as we have discussed over the course of this review since a lot of the fighting will be taken care of in the middle of the board in hand to hand combat. Increasing the efficiency of a unit such as Vanguard Veterans equipped with Lightning claws can really do damage when playing as any Space Marine chapter for that matter.
Litany of Faith: (Aura)
Definitely a great tool to keep in your back pocket, but not necessarily the auto take from the list. Against select armies this can see great effect, but like previously stated, against some armies this may not come up. Against Grey Knights or Thousand Sons, this is a seriously powerful litany, however taking this to prepare for only a few factions in the game really comes down to a meta call at your local tournament scene.
Catechism of Fire
This definitely adds increased efficiency for ranged weapons when landing blows with authority. A unit of Aggressors can really benefit from this litany as they will be able to evaporate the closest target at an insane rate.
Exhortation of Rage
This has changed from the previous version, first featured in the Psychic Awakening: Faith and Fury. This is a much stronger option than generating the extra attacks like before. A great example of this being utilized is on a White Scars Bladeguard Veteran Squad essentially acting as Blood Angels for a fight phase, a very strong buff to any melee unit in fact.
Mantra of Strength
This must be chanted on the priest themselves, This turns them into quite a force in combat, increasing their Strength, Attacks and their melee weapons damage characteristic. Once successfully chanted, this chaplain can go toe to toe with the mightiest of foes (excluding a primarch or two). Even 3 wound models will shy away from this chaplain as they will fear losing a model per swing, in a unit such as opposing Inceptors.
Recitation of Focus
Similar to the catechism of fire litany with a slight change. Chant both of these on a unit of aggressors and watch the closest enemy target melt under their hurricane of bullets. With both litanies successfully chanted, you can expect to wipe full squads of Necron warriors without them even having a chance to reanimate. We must prepare for units that can be prominent in the meta, especially when they are vital to your opponent’s force.
Canticle of Hate: (Aura)
A crucial way of seeing this used, is when arriving via reinforcements and desperately needing to make a charge. A chaplain can now automatically chant this litany with the stratagem Commanding Oratory on arrival. Guaranteeing they and any units within or set up in the aura will be getting this benefit. A Master of Sanctity can even complete this tactic by spending less resources being a part of the Chapter Command upgrade option.
Space Marine Codex Review: Chapter Approved Rules
Space Marine Codex Review: Codex Specific Secondaries
New to 9th Edition Codexes are the option of having faction specific secondaries for matched play within. Choose from these with the same restrictions as normal (1 Secondary choice from each category) and tailor the theme of your game plan with the specific factions approach. They may not all be the strongest options, but they definitely give your Space Marines a flavourful feeling when completing a task on the battlefield. This Space Marine Codex Review does not include secondaries from supplements.
Purge the Enemy
- Codex Warfare: In summary, you must destroy quite a few units while each Combat Doctrine is active (with the weapons that the doctrine benefits). At first it may seem quite simple, but keep in mind you only get the devastator doctrine naturally active for 1 turn. Without spending resources, this will give you only one opportunity. An additional factor is that you need to gear your army with the variety of weapons it needs in order to actually complete this. If Heavy or Grenade weapons are not your cup of tea, neither will this secondary be. An army built with Multi-Melta Devastators, Invictor Tactical Warsuits and a unit such as Inceptors could be the core needed to get the most out of this secondary.
- Shock Tactics: This has an Astartes feel to it as Space Marines do intend on removing enemies from Objectives. There definitely is play to this in quite a few matchups but most likely not all. If your opponent simply does not have many units, fielding an elite army, there may be only a potential of 2 turns to score this. Fortunately, as a secondary, it can be selected before the battle and after you know what you are up against. Therefore allowing you to dictate whether or not you will get the most out of this secondary. A unit such as Bladeguard can be sure to push most units aside and flip an objective in their favour quite consistently.
No Mercy, No Respite
- Oaths of Moment : Competitively this has to be the strongest option of the bunch. A reason being is that the Category that this falls under does not have the strongest of options against the majority of opponents. It can be an easy selection due to what needs to be completed to score victory points. After reading through the various methods of scoring, we can understand why a Space Marine player may feel quite comfortable selecting this one. Space Marines are some of the bravest of units in the game especially when taken in smaller squad sizes and depending on the unit, can easily hold their ground while dishing out devastating blows to the toughest of enemies. Hold your ground with Assault Terminators centrally and when in a 5 man squad, will rarely fail morale or need to fall back.
Space Marine Codex Review: Datasheets
Space Marine Codex Review: Abilities
Angels of Death: This ability briefly described, includes the following four buffs to all Adeptus Astartes armies. Angels of Death units benefit from the following:
And They Shall Know No Fear:Units with this ability are able to stick around longer when in the bloodiest of fights (every infantry unit).
Bolter Discipline: When firing Rapid Fire bolt weapons, units equipped with these weapons may rapid fire at half of the weapon’s range, the shooting model (infantry) remained stationary (excluding centurions) or the unit is a Biker or Terminator.
Shock Assault: A unit with this ability adds quantity to their attack characteristic when charging, charged or performed a heroic intervention.
Combat Doctrines: As per the latest update of the Combat Doctrines, the same function has remained. (Devastator Doctrine: Heavy and Grenade; Tactical Doctrine: Rapide Fire and Assault; Assault Doctrine: Melee and Pistol).
Space Marine Codex Review: Deployment Abilities
A great tactic to split your forces and keep your opponents guessing. Sometimes its not always beneficial to keep maximum sized squads together in every matchup, especially when trying to avoid enemy units with the Blast ability altogether. A great example of this ability is by splitting a unit of 10 Infiltrators in order to be able to go in two separate directions and screen out much more of the board than previously able to.
Death from Above
Reserves are very crucial in many matchups and truly can give you a tactical edge when appropriately utilized. Plasma Inceptors have an incredible amount of firepower and when coming out of reserve, gives you the drop against any opposing faction. This will also keep them protected and have the rest of your army deal with the enemy units that threaten your Inceptors before they arrive.
Units with this ability allow you to gain board control and even act upon various Secondaries at a faster rate. This allows early screening to counter an enemy unit if you lack mobility throughout the rest of your force and doubly more effective if they have the Phobos keyword to utilize a key stratagem (Guerilla Tactics) to get them out of some bad scenarios. Infiltrators can gain a further push forward into the middle of the board to not only screen out enemy units, which they of course are incredible at but also to be on an objective, forcing your opponent to use resources to remove you from strategic points.
Similar to coming out of Strategic Reserve, this ability allows a unit to be set up on the battlefield as a reinforcement within a set range of any table edge and still the normal ranges away from enemy models when coming out of reserve. A unit such as Eradicators coming in always hangs a massive threat over your opponent’s head until they arrive. This can force an opponent to play with extreme caution and risk losing the board presence, just to prepare for a unit such as their onslaught
Units such as Terminators will have this ability on their datasheet. It is another way to have them placed in Reserve and arrive during the Reinforcement step. Dropping Terminators out of reserve, similar to the other units, gives your opponent a threat in which they need to prepare and defend against. If any gaps open up, one can easily take advantage of defensive errors and make anyone pay with a unit of their strengths and durability to add.
Space Marine Codex Review: Space Marine Units
Space Marine Codex Review: Captains
Primaris Captains include the: Primaris Captain, Captain with Master-Crafted Heavy Bolt Rifle, Captain in Phobos Armour, Captain in Gravis Armour Datasheets. Majority of Primaris Space Marine armies will see these select characters on the battlefield leading their forces. Abilities such as all Captain’s Rites of Battle ability are great when looking to buff friendly models (this aura only affects core now). When upgrading any of these characters to a Chapter Master is where the real difference is made. One unit selected in the Command Phase will be truly inspired to perform more efficiently among the rest, re-rolling all hit rolls in any phase.
Captain in Terminator Armour
The main differences from the captains listed above are that this Space Marine has not yet crossed the Rubicon Primaris and is still benefiting from other options such as embarking in a Land Raider. Equipped with Terminator Armour, this character does have the best armour save characteristic while still being protected by an Iron Halo for a 4+ invulnerable save.
The standard Firstborn Space Marine Captain. The longest enduring Heroes of the Chapter and with also the ability to be upgraded to a Chapter Master, are more viable than any other previous editions. The main change to this Captain is how they will be played on the tabletop. Rather than throwing them away as the typical beatstick we have known them as, tactically maneuver the field inspiring the units around them with a jump pack to exemplify their full glory.
Captain on Bike
The same situation as the normal non-Primaris Captain but on a bike! Bikes in general have seen a massive comeback in this edition for various reasons. They are one of the fastest options Space Marines have access to and have a lot of tactical prowess that goes along with playing on the tabletop. A Captain on Bike upgraded to a Chapter Master, leading the new Indomitus Outriders into battle may be not only epic, but a competitive option as well.
Space Marine Codex Review: Lieutenants
Primaris Lieutenants include: Primari Lieutenant, Lieutenant in Reiver Armour, Lieutenant in Phobos Armour datasheets. As well as molding in with the rest of your Primaris force, Lieutenants bring two key qualities to assist your army. They have the Tactical Precision (aura) ability allowing models within range to re-roll wound rolls of 1 in any phase. The second being that they have a new datasheet ability by the name of Company Heroes. Essentially, any two “Lieutenant” keyword models will only take up one battlefield role slot. Definitely a great consideration when having access to the multiple variations and not being worried about 1 being in two places at once.
The standard Lieutenant is also a part of the Codex as expected, following along the rest of his Firstborn battle brothers. Being able to be equipped with a jump pack is nothing to shrug off. Having this option makes this lieutenant the most mobile of the bunch and allowing this character to be in a better position when needed.
Space Marine Codex Review: Librarians
Primaris Librarians include: Primaris Librarian, Librarian in Phobos Armour datasheets. Upgrading to a Chief Librarian is always a solid option when constructing a list. This allows the selected unit to know an extra power which can be crucial while still benefiting from all its Primaris counterpart abilities.
Librarian in Terminator Armour
Definitely the most resilient pick of all the Space Marine Librarian choices. The Terminator Armour variation is also a great option to keep an important psyker alive for as long as possible. Added durability always helps a crucial character get the job done. Having the Teleport Strike ability on their datasheet, they are able to drop in as a reinforcement when and where their psychic energy is most needed.
A librarian with access to not only a jump pack but a variety of other transport options (Rhino, Razorback, Drop Pod) is a great flexible option to have when building a list. Primaris variations of any kind unfortunately cannot utilize any of those listed methods of transportation or delivery. This is the common differentiator between the variations of this unit and truly depends on the way you are building your force or theme in which you wish to display on the battlefield.
Space Marine Codex Review: Chaplains
When selecting a Chaplain model to include in your army, it is heavily dependent on your armies theme or how you intend them to perform on the tabletop. A Primaris Chaplain is quite flexible in what functionality they have, whether they are played offensively or defensively. To add extra efficiency to this model, or any (non-named) Chaplain in the Space Marine Codex, upgrade them to a Master of Sanctity to all but guarantee the Litanies you chant are inspiring. A few of the minor differences between the four different Chaplain options is their ranged weapon as well as their method of delivery.
Primaris Chaplain on Bike
The fastest option of the bunch by far is the Chaplain on Bike. With a stratagem making them -1 to hit, while also having the highest toughness and wounds characteristic from the list, this character is definitely one of the most durable of the selections. Automatically advancing and being in the perfect spot when a crucial aura is needed may also be the key to an armies success when executing your gameplan.
Chaplain in Terminator Armour
The ability to teleport strike is quite beneficial on a Chaplain unit as this can protect them from any harm until you need them to arrive in the heat of the moment. With the best save characteristic, this unit is definitely durable, while still assisting your army with the select litanies you have provided them with.
Last of the Chaplain selections is the classic Chaplain unit. Also being able to be upgraded to a Master of Sanctity is crucial, especially when equipped with a jump pack and arriving via reinforcements. As mentioned earlier in the Litanies section, they may arrive with a unit such as Vanguard Veterans and chant the litany most desperately needed automatically in order to either get them into the fray or see them have exceptional efficiency when striking the foe.
Space Marine Codex Review: Techmarines
A new 9th Edition model released to the vast range Space Marines is a stunning addition. When upgraded to a Master of the Forge, you will definitely see their utility across the board in a mechanized list. With an arsenal of weapons on their datasheet they are no slouch when acting independently either. This can cause more than one issue for an opponent when attempting to figure how this unit will be used.
This Techmarine unit has been the go to for all Space Marine players when including a character that benefits any vehicle or artillery unit. With the ability to also be upgraded to a Master of the Forge, this unit is still a very viable option and slightly cheaper than his latest Primaris brother.
When including a Techamarine unit in your army, a servitor unit of 4 can be taken at no battlefield role slot. Essentially a free elite unit to field for multiple purposes. Although they do become more efficient next to a Techamarine, that is not the most competitive reason to take this humble unit. An infantry unit of servitors can act independently and complete actions across the board. If you are worried about their survival, place them into strategic reserve and have them complete the action when brought in from reinforcements. A very cheap price to pay, to win on the mission.
Space Marine Codex Review: Troops
Intercessor Squad (Core)
The first Troop squad of the Primaris variants are the swiss army knife of options. The standard Intercessor. A strong Troop choice for anySpace Marine force to include as their core with access to a few bolt weapon variants that each have their specific roles they can fulfill. Equip a 10 man unit with Auto Bolt Rifles and fire 30 shots on the move. If somehow the enemy unit has survived, use the Rapid Fire Stratagem to do it once more.
Assault Intercessor Squad (Core)
A recent addition in the new Indomitus boxed set to the Space Marine core and the cheapest of the Primaris options. Any Astartes force can utilize their combat prowess and watch them further excel within a combat flavour’s hands such as White Scars or Blood Angels. All wielding Astartes Chainswords and capable of carving through any enemy troops with ease is a great addition to any forces options.
Heavy Intercessor Squad (Core)
The latest Troop unit released for Space Marines are the Heavy Intercessors. Being Primaris and in Gravis armour makes them not only the toughest but most durable, coming in at a whopping 3 wounds and still able to have the Transhuman Physiology Stratagem used on them. They are the priciest of the options, but for their role they fulfill on the table, could definitely be a strong option for most Astartes forces.
Infiltrator Squad (Core)
The most valuable reason to use Infiltrators over their Incursor brethren is due to their Omni-Scrambler ability. When going against an army who thrives on their punch from Reinforcement, this unit can cross out most of their plans. Enemy units cannot be set up within 12” of them due to this ability and therefore screening out more of what now is an even smaller board.
Incursor Squad (Core)
The cheaper option of the two Phobos Troop units are the Incursors. These are a much stronger version of how scouts were played, still being able to forward deploy and contest objectives while not being blown away by a stiff breeze.
Tactical Squad (Core)
A very much revitalized option due to one key factor. They now have 2 WOUNDS! Yes, that is correct, just like their Primaris Troop counterparts, they now have been brought inline to be a viable option once again. A definite consideration, being that they are more durable now, is taking a special heavy weapon to have more efficient damage output across the board. A tactical Space Marine bearing a Heavy Bolter is more competitive than in recent editions and should be considered any time you are crafting a list.
Space Marine Codex Review: Elites
This unit is at its best when upgraded to a Chapter Champion, benefiting from a few solid buffs. There is no doubt that in combat this model will get the job done, however being somewhat of a more glorified sergeant, this unit may be difficult to fit into a Space Marine list, especially when taking a vital Elite Battlefield Role slot. There is no doubt that in combat this model will get the job done,
Possibly one of the biggest downfalls of the Codex saw this beloved Troop unit put into the Elites category. They were once the simple tax you included in order to unlock a Battalion detachment and had their specific roles they fulfilled quite efficiently for their points. We can understand, to some extent, why this change happened. From a lore perspective, scouts are not the core of an Adeptus Astartes army, seeing them on the tabletop more frequently than any novels we’ve delved into before.
Space Marine Codex Review: Apothecaries
An amazing change to the Narthecium ability has essentially made any Apothecary variation an auto-include. Unfortunately due to an error of keywords, this unit technically cannot be upgraded to a Chief Apothecary. One can assume this will change, making them very viable as expected, but until that simple errata is released, this model may only be played in its standard form (still an excellent choice for any Space Marine build).
When selecting between either of the Apothecary variants, it really depends on the theme of your force and how you intend on delivering these models toward your friendly units. Whether it be in a Rhino or footslogging up the board, it may really come down to which Transports you prefer and the aesthetic of the army. Additionally, upgrade them to a Chief Apothecary and they will certainly earn their place in your force bringing back models on full wounds turn after turn.
Space Marine Codex Review: Ancients
Any unit with the Ancient keyword may be upgraded to a Chapter Ancient. The best incentive to do so is in order to take the specific Warlord Trait granted to the upgraded model. The Warlord Trait “Steadfast Example” makes any core units within range of the bearer have the Objective Secured keyword. Very strong when having this aura affect Elite units. As a Firstborn Space Marine, it is the only Ancient option which can be added to a Command Squad if you would like to construct one.
Similar to the standard Company Ancient but of the Primaris variation. A definite stronger choice for the majority of Space Marine builds, simply due to the Primaris synergies such as stratagems available. As all Ancients do, they have the Astartes Banner aura ability, which on the roll of a 4+, before removing a fallen model may shoot as if it were your shooting phase or make a single attack within engagement range. One can definitely take advantage of an ability such as this when as an example, having a Devastator Squad nearby to fire heavy weapons on death as if it were your shooting phase.
Arguably the best option of all the Ancient variations is the Bladeguard Ancient from the Indomitus boxed set. Being able to be upgraded. Having the built in Astartes Banner ability and also an additional aura unique to this unit. “Deeds of Heroism” adds 1 to the attack roll to <chapter> Bladeguard within range. Adding more efficiency to one of the best Space Marine units in the Codex is an insane buff which puts those armoured knights in a better spot if one would think they were not capable of getting better.
Ancient in Terminator Armour
The last version of the Ancients is this heavy armoured unit. Taking this Ancient really comes down to preference and how you wish to build your force. Still being a Terminator of course, allows them to arrive on the battlefield via Teleport Strike and having a Crux Terminatus (an invulnerable save) for added durability.
Veteran Intercessor Squad (Core)
Potentially the least taken option from the Codex but still available to select. A Veteran Intercessor squad is a slightly better variation of their Troop choice form (being Veterans), however they take up an elite slot instead. This used to be a Stratagem upgrade now simply turned to its own datasheet.
Bladeguard Veteran Squad (Core)
Currently the most point for point efficient melee model in the Codex and potentially in the game. They are a multi-wound model equipped with a Storm Shield (now a different defensive buff), making them very durable while also being able to dice anything they come into contact with in melee. A 5 man unit of Bladeguard Veterans can withstand some of the mightiest of punches thrown their way from any units and give the opponent more than one thing to think about when they are deployed on the tabletop.
Company Veterans (Core)
Company Veterans may also be added to a Command Squad at no additional Battlefield Slot Role as long as a Detachment includes a <Chapter> Captain. The key ability found on their Datasheet is the “Bodyguard” special rule. This rule enables them to always blockout enemy firepower from targeting Character units within 3” of them.
Vanguard Veterans (Core)
One of the best updated units in the Codex by far have been the Vanguard Veterans. Having a ton of versatility on what weapon upgrades they may take while also forming well into many different Chapter Tactics has seen them become an amazing, revitalized option. Including them as White Scars with Jump Packs and Lightning Claws will see each model be able to advance and charge and when attacking having 5 attacks each (non-sergeant models) at damage 2 whilst in the Assault Doctrine.
Sternguard Veterans (Core)
The ranged counterparts of the Vanguard Veterans are the Sternguard variation. The additional wound added to their datasheet has made them significantly more durable while still having a fantastic ranged output. Special Issue Boltgun Veterans disembarking out of a drop pod can truly evaporate any screening units or most infantry squads for that matter.
The only model in the Space Marine Codex with a fight last ability. The ability on the Datasheet (“Tempormortis”) is a very strong ability making one enemy unit within 3” of this model not eligible to fight this phase until all other eligible units have done so. A strategically placed Judiciar with The Vox Espiritum Relic can be a very powerful deterrent from enemy units charging into your lines. In addition to this powerful ability, the Judiciar is an exceptional warrior in melee being capable of decapitating the fiercest of enemies.
Reiver Squad (Core)
This unit is an interesting spot, simply due to which Battlefield Role Slot category they fall under. As an Elite, it can be difficult to justify taking this squad for their points cost. A key feature is the “Terror Troops” aura ability, subtracting the leadership of models within 3” by 2. The most competitive reason to feature a unit of Reivers is also due to the Stratagem “Terror Troops”. Being able to shut off an enemies Objective Secured ability could be crucial in most matches, especially against an army such as Custodes.
Aggressor Squad (Core)
Although they lost their ability to double shoot, Aggressors still have a deadly amount of firepower, enough to hail pain upon enemy units. With the increase in range for their Flamestorm Gauntlets, they are able to have a further threat range than before (moving, advancing and firing assault weapons as White Scars, ignoring the penalty). They do have the Core keyword and therefore benefit from all of the buffing Characters throughout the Codex. Chapter Master re-rolls or gaining Objective Secure through the Rites of War Warlord Trait.
Space Marine Codex Review: Terminators
Terminator Assault Squad (Core)
Terminators are back and with a vengeance. Assault variant Terminators effectively have a 1+ save now (the roll of a 1 still always fails) when wielding a Storm Shield. Additionally they now have gone up by 1 wound on their datasheet. Even more durable and harder to remove from play for your opponents. Thunder Hammers are still a viable option even with their slight decrease in AP, however the interesting weapon selection is the Lightning Claw. More attacks on an even more durable unit can only increase their melee output.
Terminator Squad (Core)
The classic Terminator Squad can truly do it all. Having a great punch in melee (they come stock with Power Fists) as well as being armed with Storm Bolters or a special weapon upgrade. The Heavy Flamer is increasingly looking like a great option as it is now able to reach enemy units coming in as Reinforcements via Teleport Strike.
Relic Terminator Squad (Core)
A Relic Terminator Squad is similar to the classic variations. The main difference is the weapon options they are able to take such as a Reaper Autocannon, Grenade Harness and Plasma blaster. Unique weapon options like these are hard to come by and if interested in fielding this unique, tough unit with said weapons, Relic Terminators are the squad to deliver the Emperor’s wrath.
Centurion Assault Squad
The Centurions in general have taken quite a hit across the board. Not being able to rapid fire their hurricane bolters at all times like previously as well as evidently not being a Core unit. Of course, depending on the Chapter you select can vary their performances but for the points cost to field a unit of them, Aggressors can fulfill a similar role with more synergy in most lists. Assault Centurions do still have their uses and a strategic way for them to perform well is by keeping them as a backfield deterrent, preferably near an objective. In combat, their high AP and immense damage can easily deliver devastating blows to any unit they come into contact with.
Invictor Tactical Warsuit
As not being a Dreadnought but still a vehicle similar to one, the Warsuit definitely has its value and specific roles it can fulfill on the tabletop. Having the “Concealed Positions” ability for a unit of this strength is incredible to apply immediate pressure against any opponent. Being able to set up 9” away from your opponents deployment zone and moving 10” on their top bracket is a recipe for a tactical opponent to be forced further back than planned, giving you more board control to dictate the tempo. As well as having an arsenal of ranged weapons, the Invictor is also an excellent choice in mirror matches due to weapons such as the newly improved Heavy Bolter and Twin ironhail autocannon at D2.
Space Marine Codex Review: Dreadnoughts
Before exploring the various Dreadnoughts Space Marines have access to, a special rule that is an innate ability has really changed the outlook of why one should include one in a list. “Duty Eternal” is now a part of every Dreadnought variant’s datasheet subtracting 1 from the damage characteristic of weapons targeting this model (to a minimum of 1).
The standard Dreadnought has flexibility in which weapon options it has access to and can be customized to perform as needed at a decent points cost.
Contemptor Dreadnought (Core)
The biggest differences between a Contemptor and the standard Dreadnought is the move characteristic and an ability on its datasheet by the name of “Atomantic Shielding”. This variant is faster and therefore able to have a slightly further threat range, being also able to use a unique weapon such as the Kheres-pattern assault cannon. The special ability mentioned grants this model a 5+ invulnerable save. This stacked with Duty Eternal, is an excellent combination for a dreadnought to have significantly more durability while still being able to be healed by a nearby Techmarine.
Venerable Dreadnought (Core)
When considering a Venerable Dreadnought, it may be an easy choice to include this unit over the standard variation. For not many more points you gain a better weapon skill and ballistic skill. In addition to “Duty Eternal”, this unit has the “Unyielding Ancient” ability on their datasheet. This allows them to ignore wounds on the roll of 6.
Ironclad Dreadnought (Core)
The Ironclad variant is definitely one of the strongest Dreadnought options for close combat. Whether they are wielding a Dreadnought chainfist to take down vehicles or a Seismic hammer to pummel just about anything (flat damage 5), this unit hits hardest on a consistent basis. Also being the toughest of the bunch is another strong reason to include this variant when considering a choice of Dreadnought. The “Wrecker” ability on their datasheet allows them to re-roll hit rolls of 1 when using their Ironclad combat weapon.
Redemptor Dreadnought (Core)
A fast Dreadnought with more wounds than the rest has been a strong choice for many Space Marine players in recent times, especially having this murder machines backup a Primaris force. Also having an insane arsenal of weapons to bear, makes the Redemptor a very strong choice to melt just about anything. Especially bearing a weapon such as the Macro plasma incinerator, threatens just about any unit it takes aim at (extra lethal when supercharged). When in combat, being a vehicle, they are not only able to fire their full payload into a unit within engagement range but also are no slouches in combat with a more consistent profile on their Redemptor fist.
Space Marine Codex Review: Fast Attack
Assault Squad (Core)
Essentially a standard Space Marine but with a jump pack. Now also at 2 wounds makes this fast unit a great addition to any list. Whether it be to get quicker into the fray or using the Death From Above ability to complete an action on arrival.
Outrider Squad (Core)
This unit has definitely made a massive impact in many games since being released in the Indomitus boxed set. A fantastic, fast option for any Space Marine army to clear screens and even tie up enemy units. This unit will most certainly be best used as Dark Angels Ravenwing or White Scars. Being able to automatically advance 6” and then charge as White Scars can almost guarantee a turn 1 charge on any mission up, or forcing your opponent to deploy extremely defensive to avoid such an assault.
Invader ATV Squad
An incredible and controversial unit (hopefully just controversial for now). The Invader ATV (although not Core) is an incredible unit and that is not considering its cheap cost for what it can produce on the tabletop. It may be taken in units of and is a durable, fast unit. Being equipped with a Multi-melta will see this unit truly shine as the Multi-melta now has double the output with more consistent damage output. The controversial part is currently a Apothecary being able to revive an entire ATV in a squad back to full wounds. TIme will tell if a balance may be achieved but in the meantime all we can do is wait for the outcome and react accordingly like all good wargamers do.
Bike Squad (Core)
This unit may be considered a cheaper version of Outriders to a degree. Being at 3 wounds and still quite tough, allow them to perform as a frontline pressure unit in most matchups. A positive reason to include a classic Bike Squad is due to their flexibility with weapon options. Whether equipped with a Heavy bolter or Multi-melta, this unit can definitely add solid utility to a roster for a fair points cost.
Scout Bike Squad (Core)
A neat way to use a unit of this nature is to place them in reserve and Outflank them. Coming in a later turn to move block an opponent, reacting to whichever direction they have shifted their army. Another simple way of utilizing them is either charging their high quality firepower as soon possible, which is achievable with their long movement. They still are a tough Space Marine unit, since they are on Bikes and definitely could see some quality play similar to the other biker units.
Attack Bike Squad (Core)
An Attack Bike Squad may be a hidden gem within this Codex. Whether preparing for anti-vehicle and equipping all 3 bikes with Multi-melas or a more all comers approach equipped with Heavy bolters. They can put out a surprising amount of firepower and the key to their success is this all being due to their fantastic threat range (range of movement + weapon range).
Suppressor Squad (Core)
Suppressors may have made a comeback with the slight change to their datasheet. Now having more shots to distribute at a great range is an excellent reason to include them in your list if they were not already. A key ability on their datasheet could be crucial in some matchups. When this unit scores a hit against an enemy unit, that unit cannot fire overwatch. Has a T’au gunline been giving you issues? Shoot 3 different units (one with each Suppressor) before you charge in and watch them lose their greatest asset (Overwatch).
Inceptor Squad (Core)
An incredibly strong unit found within Codex: Space Marines are the Inceptors. When armed with Plasma exterminators, they are able to shoot the maximum amount of shots against units of 6 or more models (due to the weapons Blast ability). A simple 3 man squad can dish out 6D3 shots per turn and depending on the Chapter taken as, can even ignore the advancing and firing Assault weapons penalty as White Scars for the example.
Space Marine Codex Review: Storm Speeders
The all new Storm Speeders. A very fast and tough unit that can definitely wreak havoc on the tabletop, giving your opponents a difficult time until they are dealt with (easier said than done due to their toughness and wounds characteristics). There have been three variants introduced to the range of miniatures.
Storm Speeder Hailstrike
The Hailstrike is geared more towards anti-infantry purpose, equipped with a Fragstorm grenade launcher, Onslaught gatling cannon and Twin ironhail heavy stubber. All excellent weapons to remove those pesky screens or most Objective Secured infantry holding or contesting objectives.
Storm Speeder Thunderstrike
Interestingly enough having a better ballistic skill than the other two variants while having equipment geared toward dealing with vehicles, especially Flyers. Armed with the unique Stormfury missiles and a weapon such as the Twin Icarus rocket pod (this weapon adds 1 to hit rolls against Aircraft units), the Thunderstrike can punish any enemy Aircrafts roaming the battlefield.
Storm Speeder Hammerstrike
This is definitely the best anti-any armour in the game variation of the three. Not very many shots come from this unit, but the quality is where it makes a difference. Equipped with a Melta destroyer, this unit is almost guaranteed to melt any vehicles that stand in their way. The new Melta weapon ability ensures consistent damage when within half range, taking the randomness out of the roll (to a degree).
Space Marine Codex Review: Land Speeders
The humble Land Speeder has been around for many editions of the game. It still adds decent utility for a fair cost, having incredible mobility and being quite tough against small arms fire.
An interesting way of utilizing this unit at its best, is for its “Datalink Telemetry” ability. You may select one enemy unit within 18” to allow friendly <Chapter> Whirlwind units to add 1 to their hit rolls with a Blast weapon. Extremely vital when attempting to hit a target in order to use the Suppression Fire Stratagem which requires a hit to be scored for it to activate.
Land Speeder Tornadoes
This variant is best utilized to whittle away screening or light infantry units. Any models in the squad may be equipped with an Assault cannon and Heavy Bolter. Both excellent weapons to get said job completed throughout the course of the battle.
Land Speeder Typhoons
Slightly different from the Tornadoes, this unit is armed with a Typhoon missile launcher making it quite flexible in target priority. As well as being able to also swap its Heavy bolter for a Multi-melta for added ant-vehicle punch.
Space Marine Codex Review: Heavy Support
Hellblaster Squad (Core)
Like many other units throughout the Codex, Hellblasters may see a resurgence in inclusion due to their weapon options. They can be very flexible by taking one of three high quality Plasma weapons: Plasma incinerator (stock), Heavy plasma incinerator or the Assault plasma incinerator. The difference between the three options seems minor however, when electing them to perform their duty, they will surely need the right option in their hands in order to be successful. This of course depending on what tasks you require them to execute.
Eliminator Squad (Core)
Many may have missed the ballistic skill change on their profiles which has become better. This makes sense as they are supposed to be the finest of shots, eliminating enemies from afar. Still being equipped with the most utilized Bolt sniper rifle, they may still target enemy Characters (ignoring the Look out, Sir special rule). Being a bolt weapon, this unit may see quality play as Imperial Fists, exploding their sniper rounds on unmodified hit rolls of 6.
Centurion Devastator Squad
Similar to the Assault Centurions, these Heavy Support variants are still a solid unit, however have also lost their Boltr Discipline ability (now excluded) as well as not being Core to benefit from the majority of Aura abilities. You will most likely see this unit most effective when equipped with either Heavy bolters (as Imperial Fists preferably) or Lascannons (within majority of Chapters).
Eradicator Squad (Core)
Point for point one of the best units in the Codex are the new Eradicators from the Indomitus boxed set. Their standard Melta rifle was already incredible, allowing them to advance and fire these excellent Assault weapons. Now one model may exchange their Melta rifle for a Heavy melta rifle. This weapon, when within half range, has a damage characteristic of D6+4 making it one of the deadliest anti-any model in the game, weapons.
Devastator Squad (Core)
Also benefiting from the added wound on their datasheet, a classic Devastator Squad has become increasingly more viable. This added durability combined with the newly improved Multi-melta option, could see a squad of 5 disembark from a Drop Pod evaporating the enemy unit of your choice.
What once was an auto-include, may be an afterthought after this unit’s update. Although it is still able to shoot enemy units that are not in line of sight, it has gone down in its weapon’s strength characteristic. With the increase in tougher units and more terrain to take cover in, even in the Devastator Doctrine this unit is not going to be as efficient as it once was. There definitely is some play with this unit when needing to fulfill a specific niche your army requires as well as one key Stratagem (Tremor Shells) which has its effectiveness.
A brand new Artillery unit recently added to the vast collection is the Firestrike Servo-Turret. They may be taken in squad sizes of and may be equipped with one of two weapon options. They may either be equipped with a Twin accelerator autocannon to easily deal with light vehicles and any infantry or a Twin las-talon for the biggest of enemy units. Although not a Core unit, the Servo-Turret can definitely reign excellent firepower across the battlefield when strategically placed and with an exceptional ballistic skill characteristic.
The Hunter is specifically equipped with a Skyspear missile launcher, which is very anti-vehicle but especially Aircrafts. The normal profile of its weapon is D6 damage which is great however, when targeting an Aircraft unit, it has a damage characteristic of D6+6. This unit is one of the most potent in the game and shooting down Flyers out of the sky.
Similar to the Hunter, the Stalker also specializes in striking down Aircraft units equipped with an Icarus stormcannon. This weapon allows you to make double the attacks against Aircraft units when firing, adding 1 to its hit rolls.
The Whirlwind, in recent times, has been a debatable option to include in a Space Marine army. Mostly utilized as Imperial Fists, ignoring light cover when using either of its long-ranged blast weapons. A significant reason to include a Whirlwind or even two in a list is due to its Suppression FIre Stratagem. This piece of utility is incredible to have the option of shutting down Overwatch and making an enemy unit not eligible to fight until all of your units have.
Space Marine Codex Review: Predators
The Predator can be taken as one of two options with essentially two separate main turrets.
This unit is equipped with a unique Predator Autocannon dealing out 3 damage per wound as well as being able to have either Heavy bolters or Lascannons for side sponsons. Definitely a versatile vehicle that can unleash a solid amount of firepower.
With the same side sponsons available to choose from, the differentiator is the main turret, a Twin lascannon. This essentially comes down to preference of loadouts on your Predator or the cost of points you are willing to spend. The Destructor being the slightly pricier point option.
Space Marine Codex Review: Gladiators
Constructed on a Repulsor chassis, this unit is a very tough vehicle and can be constructed in 3 different builds according to the role you wish for it to fulfill.
The main weapon this model is equipped with is the Lancer laser destroyer. An exceptional anti-heavy armour weapon with a consistent D3+3 damage characteristic to boast.
The Reaper may be one of the best anti-infantry vehicles in the game. With a Tempest bolter and main weapon, Twin heavy onslaught gatling cannon. The latter is a Heavy 24 shot weapon that can mow the battlefield of enemy infantry. Surely clearing any units denying your forward march.
Quite opposite to the Reaper is the Valiant. Equipped with a Multi-melta, Twin las-talon and a few more options that can be added, this vehicle is definitely favoured in bringing down monsters and vehicles that enter the mid-board.
A key change to this unit is on its Demolisher cannon’s profile. It is now a Blast weapon. This can definitely find the consistency it once lacked against units of 6 to Theres a full 6 shots against a unit of 11 or more models. Its deceivingly tough a T8. The Vindicator, for its point cost, may find its way back into armies on the tabletop.
Space Marine Codex Review: Land Raiders
The most well known vehicle/transport since the earliest releases of Space Marines is the Land Raider. As a tough body, excellent save characteristic, this may be the vehicle of choice to lead your Firstborn Space Marines into battle.
The classic Land Raider is equipped with a twin heavy bolter and 2 twin lascannons. In addition to these excellent weapons it is equipped with, it may also transport up to 10 <Chapter> infantry models (excluding Primaris).
Land Raider Crusader
The noble Crusader variant may not have the strongest of weapon options. Equipped with a Twin assault cannon and 2 hurricane bolters. Notably has the largest transportation capacity. It is able to transport 16 <Chapter> infantry models at a time (excluding Primaris).
Land Raider Redeemer
The Redeemer is almost a middle ground option between the other two variants having solid weapon options such as a Flamestorm cannon and Twin assault cannon while still being able to transport 12 <Chapter> infantry models (excluding Primaris).
Space Marine Codex Review: Repulsor/ Executioner
The Repulsor and Repulsor Executioner are essentially the Land Raider equivalents for Primaris Space Marines to an extent. The unfortunate changes have been losing the Fly keyword which we can agree was a tad much. Its main defensive ability was turned into a Stratagem (Grav Pulse).
This unit is definitely a fantastic Transport option for Primaris Marines with a capacity of 10 <Chapter> Primaris infantry models. In addition to its large capacity, it also has 9 different weapons it is equipped with. All geared toward dealing with clearing light infantry.
The Executioner also has a transport capacity, that of 6 <Chapter> Primaris infantry models. It can also hold Mk X Gravis armour units such as a 3 man Aggressor Squad. The big difference from the Executioner to the standard build or from any vehicle in the Space Marine Codex, is its incredible arsenal of weapons and main turret equipped at all times. It Boast a similar weapon list as the Repulsor (almost one in the same). It has the option to keep its Macro plasma incinerator equipped or exchange it for a Heavy laser destroyer. Both exceptional weapons on such a tough chassis that can rip through any enemy units standing between them and glory.
Space Marine Codex Review: Dedicated Transports
These two units are the Firstborn/Classic Space Marine’s ride of choice. The most well known Transport potentially in the game is the humble Rhino. Able to transport entire Tactical Squads since the earliest of editions. The Razorback still being the alternative. It has less transportation slots available but has a weapon platform to fend off nearby enemies with ease.
The Primaris equivalent of the Rhino essentially, has been heavily relied on since first being introduced to the range. Their durability and mobility were their key to success on the tabletop. Some major changes have hit them quite negatively. Losing a save characteristic value on their Shield Dome as well as losing the “Fly” keyword. Two fairly large changes that will definitely lead to less being taken in ones army list.
The one and done champion of Transports. Drop Pods assail into the battle dropping off troops where needed and planting their mark. Delivering hard hitting units such as Devastator Squads have been the best of their uses in recent competitive play. Then becoming a screen and move blocking mechanism to control your enemies mobility to some extent.
Land Speeder Storm
Still a viable option in 9th now is this Scout specific Transport. The Land Speeder Storm offers extreme mobility compared to all other Space Marine vehicles (Non-flyers). Can also Outflank if needed. Transporting Scouts when and where they are needed in almost any turn can be very effective for stealing an objective. Move block enemy units with this unit among other more quality uses. Being an assault vehicle may be its best quality. A Scout squad can disembark after the Speeder has moved its full 18”.
Space Marine Codex Review: Flyers
In comparison to the Stormtalon Gunship, the Interceptor is essentially a more armoured version. Also geared towards mowing down enemy infantry with the capabilities to equip against flyers with an Icarus Stormcannon. The unique piece of wargear which is part of its build, is the Infernum halo-launcher. The wargear is an extra layer of saving throw against enemy Aircraft. Gearing this unit to be the best of the Space Marine Codex in an aerial battle.
Consider the cost of this model as a flying gun platform. It could definitely see some great use and quality play on the tabletop. Having the “Hard to Hit” ability adds to their durability in most cases. Equip it to takedown Infantry or Vehicles depending on what you need from this unit.
This gunship is also a decent transport and is supposed to be a flying Land Raider. Unfortunately, though not as tough and more points to field. The classic Land Raider currently does seem like the better option. When creating your list, this unit definitely does have the ability to fulfill a specific niche your army requires. Against the right matchup, could see the weapons it bears really put in work. All dependent on the role you seek for it to fulfill.
Space Marine Codex Review: Fortifications
The Hammerfall bunker is one of the latest units added to the vast range within the new Codex. With the change to heavy Bolters seeing an increase in damage and the reliable Flamer always hitting its mark, you can see potential in a unit that brings these weapons to bear. The best part of this unit is the “Defensive Array” ability on its datasheet. This allows you to shoot at all visible targets with either of its array weapons equipped. An example being, if your opponent has two visible units, it can declare its Hammerfall missile launcher at one and its heavy Bolter array can shoot at both! Definitely one of the first models of its kind.
Unfortunately as a fortification, it is not able to gain access to any of the chapter specific traits or abilities such as combat doctrines. This may come as a surprise and at first glance may not find a spot to synergize into ones army list. Rather than synergize, it has multiple functions it can act as. On the battlefield from an offensive standpoint, it can be a frontline deterrent with its heavy Bolter array option or defensively with its heavy Flamer array, it can be placed as a supporting fire platform in close quarters that can screen out a strategic area of the board. This Space Marine Codex Review does not include Unaligned Fortifications.
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Space Marine Tactical Squads Loadout
The Space Marine Tactical Squad once formed the backbone of their armies. Now, in 9th edition they face a great deal of competition from specialized Primaris squads. Still, older battle brothers still have the strength to be part of your army.
Were going over the Tactical squad today to explain their options to newer players. Lets take an in depth look.
Tactical Squad Ups & Downs
Tactical Squads use the same building blocks as Primaris troop selections. Start with a minimum 5 man squad and upgrade to 10 marines if you want. Power Levels are identical to most of the Primaris troops and your per model points are the lowest in the troops section.
Now, that slight lag in points comes with two costs. Standard marines have one less Attack on their profile. Also, their main weapon, the boltgun, lags behind other units weapons. Intercessors tend to have better range and AP. Infiltrators and Incursors bolt carbines, while at the same range, AP, and Strength, have their own special rules.
So, why pick the Tactical Marine squad? Their advantages lies in versatility. They have a variety of heavy and special weapons available to tune your squad into the right tool for any job. Then their sergeant also selects from a large assortment of melee, pistols, and combi-weapons to further enhance your unit.
Secret Superpower More Options
So, youre building the Tactical squad. Among your earliest decisions will be squad size. A full ten man Tactical squad may include a heavy weapon and a special weapon. A smaller squad may only choose one or the other, not both. The larger squad lasts longer on the tabletop, but two 5-marine squads double-up on your sergeants options.
As you start play, I would recommend the going with two small squads. This provides you some flexibility as you play. At a later date, assemble a second tactical squad box to bring your existing squads up to full strength. Or go all in on multiple small units!
Now on to the weapons of your marines
Heavy Weapons Selection
Heavy weapons are large, unwieldy devices with the Heavy rate of fire. While youre able to fire them on the move, youll need to remain stationary to get full accuracy.
For heavy weapons, only the missile launcher is included in the Tactical box. For the rest of these high power options youll have to grab a box of the Devastators which has 2 each of the heavy weapons. Heavy weapons are large, unwieldy devices with the Heavy rate of fire.
Missile Launcher: Without a doubt the most common Space Marine heavy infantry weapon. The missile launcher has been present in every plastic kit since at least third edition. A versatile weapon, missile launchers succeed at a engaging every kind of target. Krak missiles target vehicles, monsters, and multi-wound models. Meanwhile, the frag missile increases your attacks against hordes by a D6 and has Blast.
Heavy bolter: Another very common weapon from Warhammer 40,s past, heavy bolters return strongly in 9th edition. The main reason, their Damage changed from 1 to 2. This, once again allows them to engage all low and mid range targets. Any unsaved wounds also kill both regular and Primaris marines in standard armors.
Lascannon: The primary Imperial anti-tank weapon, lascannons still excel in that role. Strength 9 gives you a 3+, or better, to wound everything on the battlefield. Their high AP makes that wound stick. Lascannons, still fit to purpose.
Multi-melta: Another classic given a new lease on life, multi-meltas excel at anti-everything work. They combine high strength, AP wounds, and improved rate of fire in one powerful package. While still limited in range, they saw a large increase in 9th, making them even deadlier on the cluttered battlefields of 40K.
Plasma cannon: Formerly the premiere anti-marine weapon, plasma cannons havent changed much. High strength, AP, and blast permit you to engage all but the toughest of targets. Supercharging lets you go after Toughness 8, but at a risk. The only drawback to this choice is a random rate of fire, D3. The plasma cannon makes another good generalist weapon.
Grav-cannon: The newest weapon in the Tactical marine arsenal, grav-cannons are now the premiere anti-marine and equivalent weapon. While a little shorter ranged than a heavy bolter, grav-cannons make up with improved rate of fire, strength, and AP. Also, when they attack a model with a 3+ or better save, their Damage increases to 2.
Special Weapons Selection
Very similar to their heavy weapon cousins, special weapons squeeze superior firepower into a rifle sized package. They lack the range and increased rate of fire of their larger counterparts, but possess more punch than a boltgun.
Flamer: Your premier assault weapon, flamers may be fired even when advancing and always hit. Among their drawbacks are a 12 inch range and your constant desire to squeeze another grav or plasma gun into your list. However, flamers also make the perfect overwatch weapon due to the always hit trick.
Grav-gun: Still great at killing marines and other heavy armor opponents, their limited range may make the plasma gun more attractive. However, youre unlikely to lose the model when rolling a 1 with a grav-gun.
Meltagun: Just the gun for packing more anti-tank firepower into a squad.
While their range is low, their Assault type lets you extend it with a regular move or even an advance. Your accuracy may suffer, but nothing beats pouring melta fire into a tank from a starting point 19+ inches away.
Plasma gun: Among the most sought after special weapons in prior editions, plasma guns freely engaged a whole gamut of foes. With eighth edition they became even better as it could be fired on standard at Strength 7 without the chance of losing your marine. Just like the plasma cannon, this special weapon takes on almost all comers.
Tying Weapons to Roles
Weve already talked about squad sizes, but now we know more about our weapon options. Time to dig into a few more questions before completing our squads.
Who am I expecting to fight against? This question concerns your opposing player and the Codex they bring to the battle. In groups of friends youll already have a good idea of this. Mitchell might only have Necrons, while Tony brings Orks, and Chris has played Astra Militarum since the dawn of time. Youll want to choose weapons based on this knowledge. Against Mitchell, youll be proffering anti-tank and marine killing weapons like plasma, melta, grav, lascannons, and so on. Against Tony, youll want flamers, heavy bolters, and missiles. Chris, well thats a harder call.
How do they equip themselves? In a local game, What collection of models does your opponent have and what do they like to bring to the table. Back to Chris, hes got enough tanks to fill a parking lot and around guardsmen. While balanced weapon choices would seem best, flamers and heavy bolters for his infantry, las and melta for the tanks, youre out some firepower if he only brings one extreme or another. Youll want to outfit with weapons that can swing at either set of targets. Missile launchers and plasma fill that position.
Going into an unknow situation, like playing at a club or tournament, brings up an entirely different set of responses. You might face anything! Remember, options are your superpower. Select a solid core of generalist kit centered on missiles and/or plasma. Spice with specialists on each extreme, multi-meltas and lascannons for heavy weapons, flamers and grav for special weapons
What role does this squad play in my battleplan? Finally, how will you use your troops once they begin play. Units intended to hold back field objectives or form part of a firebase need long ranged weapons. Units intended to move forward want to carry Assault or Rapid Fire weapons. Shorter ranged heavy weapons also get consideration since they usually trade range for rate of fire. Of course, a full strength Tactical squad may use their Combat Squad Deployment Ability to split themselves up with each part having one weapon dedicated to their particular role!
Sorry friends, this article is running a bit long for today. Ill be back soon to discuss your sergeants options. The choices made for the sergeant of a Tactical squad are very similar to those made for other original marine squads. Youll see how it applies across the board to Assault and Devastator squads as well.
Filed Under: Games WorkshopTagged With: Space Marines, Tactical Squad, Warhammer 40kSours: https://www.gametalknetwork.com/index.php//02/18/space-marine-tactical-squads-loadout/
Welcome to Codex: Space Marines
It feels like weve only just been down this road, but its a new edition and so its time for another Space Marines codex, accompanied by one of the largest model releases weve seen in a long time (though notably not all coming out this week instead its likely to be spaced out over the next couple of months).
Excitingly, this book not only covers the vanilla Chapters weve come to expect will be included here, but also the divergent ones which previously had their own standalone codexes (i.e. Blood Angels, Dark Angels, and Space Wolves) as well as the veterans of the Deathwatch. Fear not if you play one of those chapters although the base Chapter Tactics are in here, theres a further run of codex supplements similar to the existing ones for the First Founding Chapters; three of these are coming out in November, while the Dark Angels are early next year, whatever that means.
As well as incorporating the Marine Weirdos, this book is a full-fledged 9th edition publication, with Crusade options, unique secondary objectives for Matched Play, a completely revised list of stratagems and relics, and of course a ton of rules for all those new units we mentioned before. With such a stacked set of stuff to look at, this is going to be a lengthy one! As always, our thanks to GW for the review copy. Were going to cover all the big changes here, along with all the new stuff. The Crusade options well cover in their own article, looking at how they fit into the wider context of Crusade campaigns, and although we touch on some of the key changes to them here, later in the week well have a detailed examination of how all this affects the various different supplements. Finally, as this article goes live Liam and James will be playing with the new Marine and Necron rules, ready to produce an Editor Showdown battle report seeing how it all works out on the table so look forward to that one later in the week too!
With such a huge raft of stuff to look at, were going to opt for the easiest method of starting from the front and working through- so Faction Rules first, and then onwards from there. The review were mostly keeping an eye toward whats changed from last years book, but well be following up next week with an article on how to get started with the new book.
There’s been some subtle but important changes to the overall faction rules here, and some helpful clarifications.
First off, theres the Angels of Death special rule. This is an army-wide special rule for Space Marines that incorporates four key rules: And They Shall Know No Fear, Bolter Discipline, Shock Assault, and Combat Doctrines.
- ATSKNF (And They Shall Know No Fear) lets a unit ignore Combat Attrition modifiers, a change from the prior editions rule that had Marines re-roll Morale checks.
- Bolter Discipline lets Marines rapid fire bolt weapons if they remain stationary or are Terminators or Bikers. This has been changed to specifically exempt CENTURION units.
- Shock Assault gives Marine units +1 Attack in any combat phase after they charge, are charged, or heroically intervene. This is unchanged.
- Combat Doctrines gives Marine armies army-wide boosts to their weapons AP depending on the mode the army is in. The version in the 9th edition codex functions the same as it did in 8th edition after FAQs adjusted it to force you to change doctrines from Devastator to Tactical on turn 2, and Tactical to Assault on turn 4. The rule now specifically incorporates the new AGENT OF THE IMPERIUM keyword from Psychic Awakening, rather than you having to refer to those entries and work backwards to know including them without breaking doctrines was allowed.
The codex has a new ‘Deployment Abilities’ box-out for rules which details all the common variants on deployment Deep Strike (here ‘Death from Above’ or ‘Teleport Strike’, which are the same thing but for fluff reasons have different names), which allows a unit to drop into the battlefield more than 9 away from an enemy unit, outflank (uh, ‘Outflank’), infiltrate (Concealed Positions), and so on. The Combat Squads rule, which allows you to split larger squads into smaller ones before deployment, also lives here. This takes these common rules off the datasheets and into this section, which is great in terms of quality of life reprinting all this stuff across multiple entries took up pointless space, so it’s nice to just have it all contained here.
Every unit in in an ADEPTUS ASTARTES detachment gains the Chapter Tactics ability and Troops choices in the detachment get Objective Secured. These are hold-overs from 8th edition, but (as will be familiar to anyone using the 40k app) they are now specifically grouped together as Detachment Abilities. Similarly to doctrines, these apply to ADEPTUS ASTARTES detachments that contain only ADEPTUS ASTARTES units (though it can also include UNALIGNED and AGENT OF THE IMPERIUM units). Additionally and this is the big new one a detachment can only contain one CAPTAIN and up to two LIEUTENANTS. So if you want to double up on smash captains, youll have to double up on detachments (or take a SMASH MASTER, which well talk about a little later).
Blood Ravens Outriders. Credit Soggy
Space Marines are organized into chapters, fighting bodies of about one thousand warriors, give or take. Each of these has their own way of doing business, and has special rules that reflect that. Some are better at punching things, some are better at shooting things, some are better at not dying.
One of the most-anticipated changes here is the folding of Dark Angels, Blood Angels, Deathwatch, and Space Wolves into the main codex. For the most part this is an improvement, normalising the unit lists and making future updates to the Marine range hugely easier to manage, but sometimes it’s bad, because it gives Space Wolves units they don’t deserve. A short section at the front of the rules lays out the exceptions Black Templars still don’t get Librarians, for example but mostly this standardizes the Marine armory across all the divergent chapters, which is an unalloyed good thing; probably the biggest impact here is on Deathwatch, who are excluded from a few common units but otherwise have access to a vastly bigger range than they did before, and are now much less likely to miss out on updates since GW doesn’t have to jam in new kinds of Kill Team every time the regular Marine book gets a couple of new datasheets.
Additionally, as promised, the datasheets you would expect can now be Deathwing/Ravenwing or Wolf Guard, making them fully-fledged Dark Angels/Space Wolves units that will be able to take advantage of other rules in those upcoming supplements so yes, go ahead and paint those Bladeguard Veterans in bone or your Outriders in black, or uh, stick a wolf tail on them, whatever. We’re not judging.
However, and this isn’t news since we knew it was coming, there’s no mention of how the codex-specific units or the old stratagems in those books will be handled. This is likely something only Greg cares about, due to the delayed release of the Dark Angels supplement. It isn’t a huge deal for the other codexes-that-are-becoming-supplements, as it’ll be a short wait to get those books released and clarify the situation, but with the Dark Angels update so far out we can only live in hope for an FAQ that explains things, likely by allowing limited cherry-picking out of the 8th edition codex for them. At least on launch day, though, there will be the slightly weird situation where the three divergent Chapters can utilise stratagems from the very first 8th Marine book which were deleted by the v2 book for codex Marines, and then also use stratagems from their Psychic Awakening books which have been deleted from this book. In a month’s time (indeed possibly less than that if we get FAQs) it won’t matter, and frankly no-one is that excited about using Killshot anyway, but it’s funny to think about.
Chapter Tactics are the subfaction rules for Space Marines, with each one applying to a chapter. They apply to every non-Servitor, non-Beast unit in a Space Marines detachment, provided every unit is from the same Chapter. These have been recently previewed on Warhammer-Community, but well cover them again here. There’s now a girthy 13 Chapter Tactics in the book, incorporating all nine First Founding Chapters, plus the really notable successors who have their own rules: The Crimson Fists, Black Templars, the Flesh Tearers, and the Deathwatch.
- The Dark Angels Grim Resolve Chapter Tactic has changed significantly; it now gives units +1 to their To Hit rolls if they didnt move this turn (excluding pile in and consolidate moves), and they fully ignore combat attrition. This is a fairly powerful buff sources of re-roll 1s are a penny a pound in Space Marines, but +1 to hit is a bit rarer and Dark Angels can also use their Chapters litany to count as not moving so they can be mobile and still get the best of the tactic.
- The Space Wolves Hunters Unleased tactic has changed as well; they retain their +1 to hit in melee in any turn in which they charged, were charged, or Heroically Intervened, but now instead of characters heroically intervening 6”, all of their units can always perform a heroic intervention. This is an extremely powerful ability, since it gives every Space Wolves unit a deadly threat radius at all times and gives them the ability to move (and capture or clear objectives) off-turn if opponents arent careful.
- The Crimson Fists No Matter The Odds Chapter Tactic gives them +1 to hit with shooting attacks against units with at least 5 more models than the attacking unit (with vehicles counting as 5 on both sides), and gives them an additional hit when rolling an unmodified 6 to hit with bolt weapons. This is a slight downgrade from their prior ability, which also boosted melee attacks. Thanks a bunch GW.
- Black Templars’ Righteous Zeal lets them re-roll Advance and charge rolls and allows them to ignore mortal wounds on a D6 roll of 5+. This is a sidegrade from their prior ability, which only allowed re-rolls on charges, but now they have to re-roll all the dice on a charge roll rather than any of the dice, which is not as good. As we’ll see when we come to the Warlord traits section, ‘any or all’ seems to be a mechanic they’re moving away from.
- Iron Hands The Flesh is Weak gives them the ability to ignore lost wounds on a D6 roll of a 6 and their vehicles count as having double the number of wounds remaining when youre looking up their stats with a degrading profile. Compared to the last book theyve lost the ability to hit on 5s with Overwatch, which is a downgrade but Overwatch is less relevant than it was, and they can still spend a CP to Overwatch on a 4+ if they really want to. If youre an Iron Hands player, you likely wont feel this change much.
- Salamanders have Forged in Battle, which gives them a re-roll to wound each time a unit is selected to shoot or fight and they treat incoming attacks with AP-1 as being AP 0. This is a big step down for them in that theyve lost their free hit re-roll but kept the wound re-roll. On the whole this is fine, and how much youll feel it depends on how many flamers youre planning to field.
- The Raven Guard’s Shadow Masters tactic gives them the benefit of light cover (+1 to their save) when theyre being targeted from more than 18 away (rather than 12”), similar to the Stealthy successor tactic. Also Raven Guard INFANTRY get the benefits of Dense Cover (-1 to be hit) from more than 12 away.
- Finally there’s Deathwatch, whose Xenos Hunters trait lets them re-roll hit rolls of 1 for melee attacks against xenos factions, and they keep their mission tactics ability, which gives them the ability to re-roll wound rolls of 1 against a single Battlefield Role of their choice during the game. The Xenos benefit is new, and fluffy, while the Battlefield Role choice is now any, and not a limited list as before.
- The five remaining chapters White Scars, Imperial Fists, Blood Angels, Flesh Tearers, and Ultramarines Chapter Tactics are unchanged (except that Fists is clarified to ignore Light Cover, which is how it worked anyway but is now explicit in the text). Of these, the Ultramarines and White Scars tactics havent changed but have gotten better in 9th edition thanks to broader rules changes.
The Ignis Brethren. Credit: SRM
Successor Chapter Tactics
Successor Chapter Tactics return, giving players the ability to create their own special chapters and assign rules to them by picking two abilities from a list. In 8th edition these were very powerful; competitive marine lists would often see Master Artisans combined with Long-Range Marksmen or Stealthy for some truly frightening armies. In this new book they’ve changed these traits quite a bit, dialing them back to the point that taking a First Founding chapter is likely to be a better play.
For the most part these are the same, but a few have changed significantly:
- Born Heroes is now completely different instead of allowing Characters to Intervene 6”, it gives charging units +1 to hit with melee attacks.
- Fearsome Aspectgains the (Aura) tag. That means that e.g. Ad Mech can turn it off, not that anyone was taking it before or is taking it now
- Indomitablenow lets units automatically pass combat attrition tests. Mostly a wording change the overall effect is the same.
- Inheritors of the Primarchnow includes Dark Angels, Blood Angels, and Space Wolves. No Deathwatch or Flesh Tearers, for obvious reasons
- Long-Range Marksmenhas been nerfed a bit; it adds 3” to the range of Rapid Fire and Heavy weapons, excluding Flame weapons.Less of a hit that it might seem at first, since most flame weapons have been bumped from 8” to 12” anyway.
- Master Artisansnow only lets you re-roll one hit roll instead of a hit roll and a wound roll.
- Preferred Enemynow gives you one more option for your choices: CHAOS KNIGHTS, and only lets you re-roll hit rolls of 1 rather than all hit rolls, but you get it on all melee attacks instead of just attacks the turn you charge/intervene/are charged.
- Stealthygot a big nerf now the range on it is 18” rather than 12”.
This is a whole new section, and there’s lots going on here. Chapter Command represents the top-ranking officers in the Space Marine army, the highest respective person in their role, such as the Chapter Master or Chief Apothecary. These are upgrades to existing units that youd take, making them more powerful and giving them access to new warlord traits and relics. Rules for these were first introduced in Faith and Fury, but theyve been changed significantly here from that first iteration. The biggest change is that the upgrades for your chapter leaders are now paid for with regular-old army building points rather than by using stratagems for CP. They all return here, plus there’s a new section for Chapter Masters to come into their own, with some light restrictions Deathwatch can’t take Chapter Masters and Blood Angels can’t take Chapter Ancients, since those already exist in different forms in their individual supplements.
Many of the custom relics and warlord traits for Chapter Command units have returned from Faith & Fury, although now there’s only one Warlord Trait and one Relic for each entry, so those have been adjusted and in some cases, combined or baked into the main sheet.
The new Masters of the Chapter, as per Warhammer Community
If you were losing your mind over the potential loss of the Slam Captain thanks to aura changes, we’d like to welcome you to the new era of SLAM MASTERS. The Chapter Master costs +40 points on a Captain and now, as well as the regular re-roll 1s to hit aura, he has an ability which lets him pick a single CORE or CHARACTER unit within 6” to get full re-rolls to hit. As such he can help himself out and smash things with force, just like he used to and while 40pts is a lot to pay for this ability, thunder hammers have normalised to 20pts, so he gains some back there. Also a Chapter Master has an exemption that lets you take him and a captain, so you can have your SLAM MASTER cake and eat your captain aura too though coming in at pts for the equivalent to the 8th edition loadout is pretty steep.
Chapter Masters also get their own bespoke Warlord Traits and Relics now, just like the other chapter command units got in Faith & Fury. The Chapter Master appears to have pulled rank on the Chapter Champion, stealing the Angel Artifice relic; this gives him a 2+ save and +1 to his Wounds and Toughness characteristics. This is pretty good on a jump pack model, essentially turning the model into a more mobile, FLYing Terminator. The Master of the Codex Warlord trait lets you score 1 CP each turn on a 4+.
Crimson Fists Slam Captain. Credit: Corrode
Master of Sanctity
The top Chaplain returns. He loses The Sacrosanct Rosarius and Bellowing Firebrand abilities (points to anyone who could tell you what those did to begin with) but The Emperor’s Judgment Relic returns with a minor tweak. You’re still never going to take it, Benediction of Fury is right there. The Wise Orator Warlord trait gets a massive overhaul however, giving +1 to reciting litanies (marginally worse than re-rolling like before) and dropping the cost of the Commanding Oratory Stratagem to 1 CP.
Primaris Chaplain. Credit: SRM
Master of The Forge
The Master of the Forge loses the Endurant Protector relics and the Master of the Machine Trait (no one is sad about this) but keeps Warden of the Ancients and Mortis Machina. These things are otherwise pretty much unchanged. Warden turns him into a dreadnought buffbot on top of the techmarine’s ability natively to natively give one +1 to hit with their shooting, he gives +1 strength and +1 attack to all dreadnoughts within 6. This feels a bit like it was copy-pasted from the previous book without much thought as to how it works in 9th previously that +1 strength would have been +2 thanks to the way weapon modifiers worked, but now it will have zero effect on how effective your Dreadnought is unless theyre somehow punching a Titan. Mortis Machina is an upgrade to his power axe, hitting at strength 7 for 3 damage with an additional mortal wound against vehicles. As good as it is, its still probably not something youre ever going take.
A Chief Librarian knows a third power (from their chosen discipline, no mix-and-matching), and can deny a second. They can take Psychic Mastery to give +1 to their psychic tests, and a Neural Shroud to increase their deny range to 24. Taking this guy with his trait is a good no-nonsense pick for getting key powers off your odds on a WC7 power increase from 58% (i.e. just over half the time) to 72% (nearly 3/4s of the time).
Holy shit. This guy. This fucking guy. He loses the re-roll abilty he had before, but picks up the old Selfless Healer Warlord trait that lets him heal two models instead of one. Now hold on, you might be saying, what if I wanted to take Father of the Future for that 6+ ignore wounds? Well, you’re in luck, because that’s now baked into the Apothecary’s datasheet (though notably, it now has no bonus effect for Iron Hands, who instead have to live with the same 6+ as everyone else gets. Boo hoo). So for +15 pts, you’re essentially getting both of the Faith & Fury Warlord Traits with the option of a new-and-improved Selfless Healer, which makes him heal a flat 3 wounds instead of d3 on both of his targets, and also lets them use the new Combat Revival stratagem for free, letting them revive a dead model at full wounds without having to spend your precious CP. You can also give him the Acquittal relic bolt pistol, which has a decent profile at strength 5, AP-3, damage 2. It only gets better when you point it at an INFANTRY model, though, since it always wounds on a 2+ and goes up to an impressive damage 4.
GREGNOTE: If the Deathwing Apothecary is still legal I am loving the concept of playing Combat Ambulance with him, deep striking in to heal twice and then revive a guy, before giving everyone a 6+ FnP. This upgrade is hilariously good and I straight up don’t know why you would ever take a regular apothecary when the Chief is so rude.
Imperial Fists Primaris Apothecary. Credit: Jack Hunter
The Chapter Ancient has gotten a major overhaul; the Chapter Banner ability only affects a single CORE unit within 6” and gives +1 to hit with melee attacks. Otherwise, Steadfast Example, granting Objective Secured to all Core units within 6 and making existing Objective Secured models count twice, and Pennant of the Fallen, allowing models to make 2 attacks in melee rather than just 1 when they die return. In 9th edition objective-heavy games Steadfast Example can be a solid pickup, bumping up the effective size of an Intercessor squad or giving Objective Secured to some Bladeguard Veterans.
The Chapter Champion returns and picks up the Exquisite Swordsman ability for free, letting him re-roll wounds against enemy CHARACTERs in melee. Master Duellist and The Angel Artifice Relic are gone (with the latter becoming a Chapter Master option), Martial Exemplar now affects CORE units and CHARACTERs, and the Blade of Triumph relic goes from S+2 AP-4 to S+3 AP-3, making it better against most T6/T7 targets.
Overall, this is a good consolidation of what already existed some abilities have been sensibly in-lined, a few others have gone to the pit of hell from which they were spawned (Master of Machines), and we’re down to a generally more svelte design. Making these points rather than CP is going to hurt a little in terms of getting things into lists, but on the plus side itll help getting to use some of the huge new selection of stratagems.
Ultramarines Chapter Champion. Credit SRM
Speaking of which, lets talk about the datasheets! There are a huge number of changes to these, ranging from minor tweaks to fundamental alterations. There are also quite a few abilities or wargear options here that have now been moved to be stratagems instead melta bombs and smoke launchers, for example, but there’s more on this below and some stratagems have been moved to being abilities. The Primaris Hover Tanks all lost the FLY keyword and their ability to reduce enemy charge distance has been moved to the Grav Pulse stratagem. In general, most of the same pieces are here, but as a microcosm of the change from 8th to 9th writ large, enough minor shuffling of small moving parts manages to completely change the whole.
What about that CORE keyword we saw so much of in the previews? Well, uh, I wouldn’t worry about it. Almost anything that isn’t a vehicle, a character, or a Centurion is CORE. Dreadnoughts and bikes are, ATVs are not. The big losers here are non-Dreadnought vehicles, which are completely absent from CORE.
Codex: Space Marines has a lot of units. More than any other faction in the game, and Marines have more units in some Battlefield Roles than entire armies have across every book. Well be talking about the new datasheets in detail in the next section and next week. For now, well break down changes to the returning datasheets broadly across the unit categories to make some kind of sense of them, and put them in a nice list format (if youre reading this and asking where the new datasheets are, these have their own section further down):
- The Primaris Captain gets his new Indomitus loadout added to the datasheet. Other than that he’s pretty much unchanged except the obvious with his aura only affecting CORE units, which excludes himself (which is common to all the Captains, naturally). This is also our first sight of some of the new and slightly confusing wording for loadouts if he doesn’t have an MC power sword he can get the plasma pistol/power fist thing from that one exclusive model, or the Indomitus wargear set by swapping out his MC auto bolt rifle. Or if he doesnt do that he can swap that auto bolt rifle for a stalker version. If he has either of those he can also, uh, take an MC power sword. If he’s a Dark Angel he can swap either of those guns for a special issue bolt carbine and if he has that and doesn’t already have an MC sword he can take a power fist. There’s a few instances of this elsewhere in the book with wargear kind of swapping around to accommodate all the different fixed model variants that came out through 8th edition, and it’s not exactly the neatest bit of rules-writing.
- The Phobos Captain is unchanged, but both he and Infiltrators now have an important clarification Omni-scramblers does not have the aura tag, so it isn’t one and can’t be turned off or otherwise ignored.
- In a reverse from the Primaris Captain datasheet, the Lieutenant in Phobos armour has now been split into two, with one sheet for the Reiver loadout and another for the Phobos version. This is eminently sensible since his sheet was a mess before. The Reiver guy keeps REIVER and picks up SHOCK GRENADES, which will play into a couple of stratagems later on.
- The Techmarine now has an Omnissian power axe rather than his regular one, making him +2 Strength, AP-2 and D2. His repair ability now changes to 3” from the 1” range it was before, and he gains a new ability called Awaken the Machine Spirits in the Command phase pick a vehicle within 3”, and add 1 to its hit rolls. Master of Machines hasn’t totally gone away! Servo-arms have also lost their -1 to hit rule, which is nice (for this guy and for Servitors)
- All Chaplains now get a +2 Strength Crozius, which brings them up to S6 nice for squishing puny elves
White Scars Assault Intercessor Credit: Alfredo Ramirez
- Assault Intercessors get a substantial upgrade over their Indomitus version, as the Sergeant can now take a hammer, fist, or power sword.
- The Infiltrator Helix Adept now no longer heals but instead sets the damage of the first failed save to 0. They also gain the SMOKESCREEN keyword, of which more in the stratagems section
- Incursors no longer get extra hits on 6s with their paired combat blades, but they are AP-1 now, which is nice. The haywire mine is no longer deployed, but instead on a 2+ it does d3 mortals to a unit that charged your Incursors (or 3 if that unit is a VEHICLE). There’s a slightly ridiculous attempt to get around the whole ‘we made a model with a base to be your deployable haywire mine’ thing by suggesting you use the mine as a marker, which is pretty funny when you remember the box comes with a guy modelled holding one. Like Infiltrators, they also gain SMOKESCREEN
- Tactical Squads obviously get a big change, going up to 2 wounds (and 18pts!). They also pick up the MELTA BOMB keyword, which is cool and gives them a further little bit of utility to separate them from Intercessors
Salamanders Judiciar. Credit: Rockfish
- Speaking of abilities being moved to stratagems, Apothecaries can now only natively heal models which havent died yet (this is more useful now that all Marines have 2 wounds); the “bring an INFANTRY/BIKER model back to life” trick is now a 1CP stratagem (or free for Chief Apothecaries with their new warlord trait), but it also brings the model back at full wounds and yes it works on Invader ATVs. All 8 wounds of an ATV. Have fun with that.
- Scouts are elites now and as predicted stay at a single Wound, so you officially have zero reason to take them (watch us be proved wrong on this by the very first top 4 Marine list post-codex).
- If you take Company Vets, you can now take an Apothecary, Company Champion, and Company Ancient without spending a FOC slot. Neat if you want more than one of these, but they have to be the non-Primaris version.
- Speaking of the Company Champion, the combat shield picks up the same +1 to saves as its bigger brother, the storm shield
- The Bladeguard Ancient is unchanged from Indomitus except that he picks up the ANCIENT keyword, so he can actually take the relic banners now
- Bladeguard gain the option of a neo-volkite pistol or a plasma pistol on the Sergeant, can now come in squads of up to 6, and are otherwise unchanged
- The Judiciar gets some huge changes. His Tempermortis ability is now only 3”, but a wording change now means that it works how many people online thought it did the enemy unit he picks is not eligible to fight this phase until after all eligible units your side have done so. This now definitively works to prevent you using Counter-offensive to break out of it, because that unit is no longer eligible to fight, and also stops chargers being eligible to fight.
- Terror Troops on Reiver (and the Reiver LT, which is now a separate datasheet to the Phobos guy) is now -2 Ld, I guess. Reivers also gain AP-2 on their pistols
- RIP Aggressors they lost Firestorm and Relentless Advance, though their fists are now flat damage 2 and their guns can split fire which is… ok.
- Terminators and Terminator Assault Squads are up to 3 wounds, and got the changes to wargear you would expect. They also gained a new ability with the teleport homer once per game, they can redeploy by being removed in your Movement phase and being redeployed in your next Movement phase, either wholly within your own deployment zone or within 3 of any friendly <CHAPTER> model (and also in both cases, more than 9 from enemy models). This is a huge increase in their maneuverability on the table
- Tartaros and Cataphractii Terminators are just gone now, and replaced by the Relic Terminator datasheet. This lets you mix and match them and is pretty flexible on loadouts, though they dont get access to teleport homers
- Centurion Assault Squads get the ASSAULT LAUNCHERS keyword now (unsurprisingly) and are otherwise unchanged.
- Invictor loses Heavy Sidearm, which basically means it has to take the -1 to hit for Big Guns Never Tire. It does still have a regular heavy bolter and not the 1 shot thing that people were anticipating from the box datasheet, though, which is nice
- All Dreads: Duty Eternal is in the datasheet and is a flat -1 to all damage (to a minimum of 1). Dread explosions also got toned down, with regular Dreads now just 1 mortal wound instead of d3, and the Redemptor (and Invictor) going down from d6 to d3 mortal wounds.
- Redemptor fists are now d3+3 damage!
- The Contemptor is now 9W this is a buff for Iron Hands, as you can now have them benefit from Look Out, Sir! combined with March of the Ancients. I’m sure what everyone wanted to see here was ‘a buff for Iron Hands.’
- Assault Squads are basically the same, besides the obvious changes to their wounds and gaining Astartes chainswords. The Eviscerator is now S+3 AP-4 damage 2 and still -1 to hit, which is just as relevant as it was before. They also get MELTA BOMB as a keyword, which is nice
- Bikes do get 3 wounds! Hooray.
- Scout Bikes don’t.
- Attack Bikes are still 4.
- Suppressors gain an extra shot on their accelerator autocannons! But then they lose a point of AP. Maybe one day Games Workshop will remember they made these guys and revisit them.
- There are three types of Land Speeder now. The base model can only carry a single gun, but moves an extra two inches and has Datalink Telemetry built-in (+1 to hit for Whirlwinds if they tag a unit in LoS and within 18”). The other two option packages available at the dealership the double-gun Tornado and the good old Typhoon don’t get access to that ability at all. Anti-Grav Upwash is entirely gone.
Ultramarines Outriders. Credit: SRM
- Like Land Speeders, there’s two types of Predator now. The Predator Annihilator/Destructor thing is a nice throwback to older editions, but they’re the same unit except for the turret weapon. It’s genuinely confusing why anyone did this.
- Hellblasters gain another shot on their assault incinerators, bringing them up to a cool 3 shots, and +1 damage on the heavy incinerator, making them 2 base or 3 when overcharged. They stay at 33pts/model maybe this is enough to push them into usability?
- Eliminators ignore LoS (look out sir) but don’t ignore LoS (line of sight) any more. Also if the sarge has a carbine they get to move after shooting if they’re not in Engagement Range, so that’s neat. However, they can’t fall back on overwatch any more, and they no longer get the +1 to hit/wound for giving up the Sergeant’s shooting. Mortis rounds go to a flat 2 damage instead of d3, as is the pattern.
- Eradicators gain the option of a heavy melta rifle, Heavy 1 S8 AP-4 Damage D6+2/+4 at half range, go up to squad size , and can take 1 multi-melta per 3. You also can’t Total Obliteration after advancing any more.
- The Hunter’s gun is now wildly better at shooting planes it gets +2 to hit against AIRCRAFT and does D6+6 damage when it wounds them. It no longer has penalties against non-FLY things.
- The Stalker follows suit, with its gun now being 2 hit rolls for each shot against AIRCRAFT and +1 to hit them.
- Vindicator siege shields exist again after having an edition off, and if you take one now they get +1 to saves against ranged weapons. This is cute, I guess
- Repulsors are HS now, not Transports, and get a free Hunter-Slayer missile. Auto-launchers give it the SMOKESCREEN keyword.
- RepEx Aquilon Optics is now +1 to hit with the main gun rather than shooting twice. The macro-plasma mirrors the Redemptor version, becoming 2 or 3 damage instead of 1 or 2. The plasma… might be good now?
- Thunderfire Cannons take a further nerf, going down to Strength 4, losing their point of AP, and not being CORE. They did at least go down a few points from Chapter Approved, to
Blood Angels Eradicators. Credit: Corrode
- Drop pods explicitly let you null-deploy, because lol, why not
- The Land Speeder Storm (the scout transport) gets Assault Transport (the Impulsor rule)
- Impulsors lose FLY. Their shield is now a 5+, as accidentally previewed on WarCom a little while ago. The -2 to charge is now a stratagem. I don’t know who in the studio was upset by Impulsors, but it’s had a lasting effect and I am distinctly Not Here For It. On the plus side, they’re slightly cheaper now since their weapons are free.
Crimson Fists Impulsor. Credit: Corrode
- The Stormhawk Interceptor gets a change to its Infernum Halo-Launcher, which now gives +1 to saves against incoming attacks from AIRCRAFT rather than an additional -1 to hit, and loses the Interceptor rule. Its equipment has now substantially changed, too by default it comes with the skyhammer instead of the Icarus stormcannon. Both weapons are the same as before except that in line with others they are just +1 to hit against AIRCRAFT, and additionally the stormcannon makes 2 hit rolls against AIRCRAFT for each shot.
- The Stormtalon loses Strafing Run, which is probably fair enough now it doesn’t take a penalty to hit for moving. Like the Stormhawk, the skyhammer is now the default option, and can be swapped for two heavy bolters, two lascannons, or a Typhoon missile launcher.
Imperial Fist Stormtalon Gunships. Credit: Jack Hunter
We can’t figure out the rhyme or reason for condensing some sheets (Relic Terminators), expanding others (Land Speeders), and introducing entirely new ones (three for Gladiators, and six different Lieutenants), but in general it seemsfine, I guess? It’s admittedly a little strange that of the 98 touted datasheets in here, fully 21 of them are HQs, but there’s certainly no shortage of units to choose from in any slot regardless.
It wouldn’t be a Space Marine codex without an entire faction’s worth of new units, and this book doesn’t disappoint, with a veritable feast of additions to the range. Remember, this is not even including all the stuff that was already featured in Indomitus, which weve included in ‘Datasheet Changes’ above.’ The new units flesh out the Primaris range, adding a new Troops choice, new HQ options, and new vehicles. Plus a turret.
Captain with master-crafted heavy bolt rifle
Probably the least exciting of the new sheets, for a Gravis captain. He has a master-crafted heavy bolt rifle and a master-crafted power sword, and naturally he’s T5 with a bonus wound to normal. Personally I rate the model but this sure is A Guy To Fit The New Releases. Does make you wonder where the Gravis LT is, or why the Dark Imperium Gravis Captain is still stuck in limbo.
Primaris Chaplain on Bike
Or, as he’s otherwise known, Bikertaker. The Bike Chaplain does not get +2 Attacks on the charge, as many people were loudly insisting he would, but he does get a chunky 2 extra wounds over the normal version to be 7 full wounds of biker goodness. Otherwise his datasheet is exactly what you would expect from ‘a Chaplain, but on a bike’ and like all other Chaplains he can be a Wolf Priest or, since he’s on a bike, Ravenwing.
The Techmarine finally joins the plus-sized section of the Chapter command with a Primaris version. Naturally this one is absent all the options the small guy can get, but his base loadout is pretty cool he has a ‘forge bolter’ which is basically an Assault heavy bolter, including the damage 2 bit and which also allows him to still shoot his pistol or throw a grenade, and as with his spanner-bothering brothers he totes an Omnissian power axe. He also has a mechadendrite, Adeptus Mechanicus style, which lets him throw out 2 extra attacks at S5, and because that still isn’t enough weapons he also has a grav-pistol and a servo-arm. So yeah this guy has three different CC weapons, two guns, and grenades. It’s a lot, for only 10pts over a regular Techmarine though with fewer options to change any of that kit, whereas the small Techmarine has a huge weapon list to pick from should he feel like it. Weirdly this guy doesnt seem to be able to be an Iron Priest.
Heavy Intercessor Squad
Heavy Intercessors make their appearance here as the sixth Space Marines troop choice. We won’t spend too long on them as Warhammer Community previewed them already yes they’re T5 W3, yes they have ‘heavy’ versions of all the regular bolt rifles, and yes at some point in playtesting the names were clearly changed from heavy stalker and heavy auto to executor/hellstorm respectively, and then forgotten in the options list. I am gonna paint so many of these.
Veteran Intercessor Squad
Veteran Intercessors used to be a stratagem but now they’re a datasheet in the Elites slot. They’re like regular Intercessors but with +1 attack, and they can swap the Intercessor bolt rifles for the Assault Intercessor heavy bolt pistol and Astartes chainsword. Neatly, these can also be Wolf Guard. Is it ever going to be worth it to pay 2ppm extra for Intercessors with +1 attack but no obsec (+3 for the Assault version)? Probably not, but it’s nice that the option exists for people who just want to make really cool Intercessors and have it mean something.
Invader ATV Squad
This is what you’re here for. Yeah, the leaks were right these are 80pts for the onslaught gatling version or 85pts with a multi-melta. Honestly, either version looks good with the twin auto bolt rifles a single ATV can put out 14 shots per turn for clearing hordes, or of course they can be tankbusters with effective 38” range multi-meltas. They do explode, which is quite funny, for a single MW at 3” and note of course that this means an ATV can explode and then an Apothecary can resurrect it, which is the kind of miracle that the Sisters of Battle wish they could make happen. They can also be Ravenwing, which I’m sure won’t cause any problems.
These three are separate datasheets the Hailstrike, the Thunderstrike, and the Hammerstrike. They all share most of the statline previewed on Warhammer Community. The Hammerstrike, a close range tank hunter, you can see on the graphic below.
The Hailstrike is anti-infantry focused, with an onslaught gatling cannon, a twin ironhail heavy stubber, and two fragstorm grenade launchers making for 16+2d6 shots per platform.
The Thunderstrike is an anti-tank/anti-flyer platform. With a base BS of 2+ its effectively countering the -1 to-hit from supersonic, and its weaponry works out to being roughly 3 lascannons between the Thunderstrike Las-Talon (at strength 10) and Stormfury Missiles. It also packs a twin icarus rocket pod, which no longer has a penalty to hit ground targets just the +1 to-hit against Aircraft.
All of them can be Ravenwing. Seriously this book has like tripled the options available to Ravenwing armies.
Like the Speeders, there’s three variants of the Gladiator the Lancer, the Reaper, and the Valiant. At a first look all of are somewhat overcosted. The guns are pretty fun the Reaper can throw out a cool 40 shots at rapid fire range, and they’re all T8 and W12 which is a substantial upgrade over the Impulsor chassis in terms of Toughness, but uh, the Lancer is the cheapest at a flat pts and for that it gets 2 fragstorm grenade launchers and a weaker version of the Repulsor Executioner’s heavy laser destroyer, with 2 shots at S10 AP-3 damage D3+3. It does share the Aquilon Optics rule making it +1 to hit with the turret. You can get 5 Eradicators for one of these, with 3 more wounds and access to re-rolls. Like a lot of Marine units these aren’t really bad per se, but there’s better options for the same job in the same codex, never mind all the Forge World kit, and these are directly competing with Eradicators
I nearly forgot the turret in writing this up. Its here, its rules already leaked, it looks fine I guess? Its output is pretty decent and they can come in squads of 3, but on the other hand theyre 90pts for a T5 W5 model that doesnt move anywhere fast and isnt CORE. On the smaller board the twin las-talon might have decent output, but it costs another 40pts.
The Bunker is here! It is kind of bad, actually! It can take either a heavy bolter array or a heavy flamer array, each of which fires at everything in range and line of sight each turn, as well as having a Hammerfall missile launcher which is either heavy 2D6 S6 AP0 D1 with Blast, or 2 shots at S10 AP-2 Dd6. Notably, it’s only BS4+, and it degrades. Otherwise it’s T8 with 14 wounds and costs a princely pts and amusingly, explodes 6” for d6 wounds, just what you want stuck in the middle of your army with a huge footprint. No, it can’t deep strike or anything. The idea is cute and the concept of ‘it shoots heavy bolters at everything it can see’ is quite funny, but with a lot of talk about having good terrain on 9th boards, you would hope this thing couldn’t see too much when it’s stuck in a deployment zone, and at that point you’re really asking ‘how many heavy bolter shots is pts worth?’ and the answer is probably not going to be ‘however many this can put out.’
Miscellaneous Weapon Rules and Changes
Redemptor Dreadnought. Credit: SRM
Where we haven’t picked them out above, here’s a set of the other changes to weapons and such:
- Grav-cannons now 30” range and flat 2 damage.
- As previewed, the multi-melta is now 2 shots, and d6+2 damage at half range
- Power weapons now +1 strength over their previous profiles, as already previewed
- Power fist flat 2 damage
- Thunder hammers now only AP-2 but still flat 3 damage
- Combat shields In addition to the 5+ invulnerable save, these also give +1 to armor saves
- Relic Blades now +3 strength and flat 2 damage
- Reiver pistol now AP-2 instead of -1
- Aggressor melee flat 2 damage
- Lightning claws +1 attack per claw, not for the pair. Puts Assault Terminators with dual claws up to 5 attacks on the charge.
- Chainfist d3 damage, or flat 3 into a vehicle
- Dreadnought Chainfist 2d3 damage, or flat 6 into a vehicle
- Heavy Onslaught Cannon up to strength 6
- Onslaught gatling cannon 8 shots, up from 6
- Icarus rocket pod +1 to hit AIRCRAFT, no penalty for shooting other stuff
- Impulsor Icarus Missiles flat 2 damage, +1 to hit AIRCRAFT, no penalty for shooting other stuff
- Impulsor Icarus Skytalon Array up to 8 shots from 6, +1 to hit AIRCRAFT, no penalty for shooting other stuff
- Heavy plasma cannons go up to damage 2, 3 overcharged, just like the macro plasma
- Speaking of plasma, its now universally unmodified 1s to hit good for shooting at planes, bad if you could make yourself unkillable with a +1 to hit before
Space Marines have a whopping four pages of regular stratagems and one of the first things you’ll notice when you thumb through them is that the stratagems have been split up into five broad categories:
- Battle Tactic
- Epic Deed
- Strategic Ploy
Requisition is the smallest category with just two stratagems Relic of the Chapter and Hero of the Chapter and the big upside is that this makes it clear that these are the “pre-battle” stratagems you’ll be spending RP for in your Crusade games. The interesting thing is that these stratagems now have scaling effects Relic of the Chapter is one use only for Combat Patrol and Incursion, two uses for Strike Force, or three uses for Onslaught. Hero of the Chapter is the same so you can have up to three models with a Warlord trait at 2, points, plus the supplement stratagems allowing you to double up on one guy.
Rainbow Warriors Judiciar by Craig MasterSlowPoke Sniffen
The Battle Tactic category has 7 stratagems, which are mostly returning names, if not effects:
- Death to the Traitors!
- Honour the Chapter
- Fury of the First
- Transhuman Physiology
- Rapid Fire
- Gene-wrought Might
- Unyielding in the Face of the Foe
Despite the familiar names, every stratagem here except for Gene-Wrought Might has changed. Some in more subtle ways Fury of the First can affect any unit but now gives Terminators +1 to hit (making it work on mixed armor units in Space Wolf and Deathwatch armies), others in major ones Honour the Chapter only works on Assault Intercessors now, which is something, alright. Transhuman Physiology is now Primaris-only, and costs 1CP for units of 5 or less or, as Space Marine players typically call them, ‘units.’ Others have gotten a complete overhaul Rapid Fire lets an Intercessor (or Veteran Intercessor) Squad shoot again at the end of a Shooting phase. Unyielding in the Face of the Foe is new here, a 1 CP stratagem that gives a Mk. X Gravis unit +1 to its saves against incoming attacks with a damage characteristic of 1.
The Epic Deed category has 6 stratagems, and again most of these are familiar names. There doesn’t seem to be all that much to distinguish these mechanically from Battle Tactic and Strategic Ploy stratagems.
- Only in Death Does Duty End
- Armour of Contempt
- Power of the Machine Spirit
- Wisdom of the Ancients
- Commanding Oratory
- Combat Revival
Again, we have a mix of unchanged (Armour of Contempt) and tweaked stratagems Only in Death Does Duty End is basically the same butit can only be used on models that didn’t already fight (so no more double-fighting with a dying character), plus a few new ones. Commanding Oratory and Combat Revival are used on Chaplains and Apothecaries, respectively. The former lets a Chaplain automatically pass his roll to chant one litany, but it only works in non-Command phases on guys who didn’t chant which is a small cost on a regular Chaplain, but has a big impact on a Master of Sanctity who can normally cast two. It might, also, allow you to cast a litany your Chaplain doesn’t know, although the wording here isn’t totally clear. The latter allows an Apothecary to automatically revive a dead INFANTRY or BIKER unit. Both of these get cheaper for a Master of the Chapter Commanding Oratory goes down from 2CP to 1CP for a Master of Sanctity, while Combat Revival is free for a Chief Apothecary. Rounding out the category, Power of the Machine Spirit is new and lets a MACHINE SPIRIT vehicle operate at its top profile for a turn, while Wisdom of the Ancients functions similarly to its former version but now lasts from Command Phase to Command Phase, and lets you pick either a Captain or Lieutenant’s aura.
Crimson Fists intercessors. Credit: Corrode
There are 10 Strategic Ploy stratagems, and most of these are all-new, though there are a few returning faces with major changes:
- Hit-and-run Warfare
- Hammer of Wrath
- Skilled Riders
- Uncompromising Fire
- Steady Advance
- Adaptive Strategy
- Suppression Fire
- Terror Troops
- Guerrilla Tactics
- Orbital Bombardment
Hammer of Wrath sees a welcome update here. Now when a JUMP PACK unit finishes a Charge move, it can pick one enemy unit within Engagement Range roll one D6 for each model in your JUMP PACK unit, and each roll that equals or exceeds the target unit’s Toughness does 1 mortal wound. This is a nice boost and makes your fat jump packers slamming into a unit of weaker stuff feel actually impactful. Suppression Fire sees a major overhaul, turning off Overwatch and Set to Defend, and forcing a unit to fight last in any turn in which it takes a hit from the Whirlwind you use the strat on. Steady Advance gets a huge upgrade here, now allowing an infantry unit that made a Normal Move to be considered stationary, which wouldve been big-time money for Aggressors.
Adaptive Strategy is back, baby; for 2 CP, if your Warlord is on the battlefield you can pick a CORE unit on the table and it’s treated as having all of Devastator, Tactical, and Assault Doctrine active for the next turn. Great for getting some more use out of your special Doctrine for Iron Hands and Imperial Fists players, but also don’t sleep on the potential to jump a White Scars units forward a turn and into their +1 damage mode, or even just for a unit with mixed weaponry to get to benefit from AP-1 to all of them for a turn. Orbital Bombardment also has a major overhaul. It’s used once per game in the Command phase if your warlord is on the battlefield pick a point on the table and in your next Command phase roll a D6; on a anything within 6” of that point takes D3 mortal wounds and on a 6 they take D6. Units within 3” of the marker are +1 to the roll and yes, that means they can be auto-hit while CHARACTER models are Do take care to note that it hits units in this range, not enemy units; the Battle Barge bombarding you from the stratosphere is not in fact able to avoid hitting your own guys if they stand on the point. That’s a very cool adjustment that both works thematically while also making the stratagem as much about area denial as doing damage you can pick a key objective that you aren’t going to be able to contest, and dare your opponent to come and take it at the risk of their unit being obliterated from space.
Skilled Riders gets an equally big change its now -1 to hit for BIKERS and SPEEDERs instead of the invulnerable save.
Among the new stratagems, there’s a lot to like. Uncompromising Fire lets a unit perform an action and still shoot, while Hit-and-Run Warfare lets a BIKER, LAND SPEEDER, or STORM SPEEDER unit Fall Back and shoot. Guerilla Tactics lets you put a PHOBOS unit that’s more than 6” away from an enemy unit back into Strategic Reserves, which makes Infiltrators even better as they have additional value after their screening abilities have done their job. Terror Troops gives a unit of Reivers an aura that turns off Objective Secured for enemies within 3” and causes actions to automatically fail if the Reivers come within 3” of an enemy performing one and can roll over the enemy Ld on 2D6. This likely still isn’t enough to make Reivers worth fielding though as highlighted above, the Reiver LT gains some utility here, as a regular LT which can also be a vector to turn off ObSec or cause actions to fail.
Imperial Fists Redemptor Dreadnought. Credit: Jack Hunter
Finally, the Wargear Stratagems category has 9 strats in it, all of which have either changed significantly or are new.
- Auspex Scan
- Tremor Shells
- Shock and Awe
- Assault Launchers
- Melta Bomb
- Grav Pulse
- Hellfire Shells
- Flakk Missile
Auspex Scan works at the end of your opponents Movement phase on units set up as Reinforcements, and no longer gives you a -1 to hit penalty so it’s no longer possible to try and draw it out with careful stacking (but on the flip side, you can put CHARACTERS down safely in the knowledge that a later unit can LoSir for them if necessary). Tremor Shells is much the same as before, halving movement and giving -2 to Advance and Charge rolls for a target hit by it but a key wording change means it now actually works against charges, which is nice. Flakk Missile now does 2D3 mortal wounds and gets +1 to hit, but must target an AIRCRAFT instead of just FLY. Hellfire Shells was rumoured to also do 2d3 mortals, but instead it remains at d3 and a flat 3 against MONSTER units. Shock and Awe gets ported here from the Black Templars’ list in Faith & Fury, and has gotten an overhaul now SHOCK GRENADES (Reivers or, again, the Reiver LT) or LAND SPEEDER STORM units can use this in the shooting phase against an enemy within 6” to prevent an enemy from firing overwatch or setting to defend and giving them -1 to their hit rolls. So, same effect but not on Land Raiders. No word as yet on how Black Templars are affected by this change, but it would be weird if they kept two strats with the same name and effect but affecting a different unit.
Melta Bomb is new, and lets a MELTA BOMB unit make a single melee attack against a vehicle that does 2D3 mortal wounds on a hit it’s worth keeping in mind here that MELTA BOMB units includes Tactical Squads and Assault Squads as well as Vanguard Veterans. Grav Pulse is also new, and works with a REPULSOR FIELD unit to either let the unit fall back and shoot or give a charging unit -2 to its charge rolls, effectively giving Repulsors and Impulsors back some of their lost functionality after the changes to their datasheets and the 8th edition FLY rules.
Smokescreen is a new Stratagem that for 1 CP gives a SMOKESCREEN unit -1 to be hit in the enemy Shooting phase. Also ported over from things that were previously on the datasheet are Assault Launchers though these are completely new, as they can now target a non-VEHICLE or MONSTER in 9” and force it to either brace (take d3 mortal wounds) or duck for cover, which makes them -1 Attack and unable to fire Overwatch or Set to Defend. This is a fun one because the -1 Attack is not a minimum of 1 so yes, you can fire these at a unit and give them 0 attacks.
What’s Not in this book
With all the new stratagems, we were bound to lose some of the old ones. So pay your respects for the following stratagems: Duty Eternal (now a unit rule), Veteran Intercessors (now a unit), Boltstorm, Hunter-Slayer Missile (now a unit rule), Cluster Mines, Gravitic Amplification, Masterful Marksmanship, Big Guns Never Tire, Target Sighted, Skyfire, Vengeance of the Machine Spirit, and Tactical Flexibility.
White Scars Chapter Champion Credit: Alfredo Ramirez
As before, there are 12 Warlord traits in the book, six regular and six for Phobos-armoured characters. The effects are now all neatly set out in bullet points instead of just being blocks of text, which is nice presentation.
For the regular traits, we have:
- Fear Made Manifest which keeps its previous effect and is also -1 to Combat Attrition rolls for units within 6”
- Imperium’s Sword is re-roll charges (not any/all dice any more) and is otherwise unchanged
- Iron Resolve is unchanged
- Champion of Humanity is unchanged
- Storm of Fire has the aura tag now and only affects CORE, otherwise unchanged
- Rites of War has a big change like Storm of Fire it has the aura tag now and only affects CORE or CHARACTER, but instead of its previous effect it now gives those units Objective Secured which in the objective-flipping game of 9th edition could actually be a strong pick, particularly as you can now take up to 3 characters with traits
Over in the Phobos category, there’s some bigger changes:
- Shoot and Fade is similar to before except you declare after shooting instead of at the start of the phase, and Advancing is optional (but you still can’t charge)
- Lord of Deceit gets BIG changes, as you can now redeploy anywhere instead of having to pull back into your deployment zone, or even put units into Strategic Reserves for free, but you have to do it pre-roll off which ends up being a big nerf to its effectiveness, as you no longer get to redeploy after knowing who’s going first
- Master of the Vanguard gets the aura tag, and a slight nerf as now you get +1 to your Move characteristic instead of Move and Advance rolls
- Stealth Adept completely changed from the previous version, as your Warlord can now not be targeted with ranged attacks unless it is the closest eligible target. Basically a super version of the old character rule, as not only does your Warlord have to be the closest eligible unit, you can’t ignore it with snipers now. A Phobos Captain with this can now conceivably be untargetable with ranged weapons, and use his own aura to prevent units from deep striking into the position where they can see him or be able to charge him
- Target Priority is unchanged except it happens in the Command phase now
- Master Marksman is just a renamed Marksman’s Honours
Salamanders Space Marine. Credit: PierreTheMime
Chapter Warlord traits
Like the previous book, there’s a get-you-by Warlord trait for each of the Chapters, most of which are unchanged from the supplements.
However, for Dark Angels specifically there is some good news despite their late update, though: Brilliant Strategist is completely changed, and is Double S-Tier Platinum Ultra good now. Rather than being a 5+ CP regen, it now allows any unit (not just Core!) within 6” of your Warlord to roll back one doctrine step, either from Tactical to Devastator or from Assault to Tactical. That means three full turns of blasting away with heavy weapons with the extra AP and range from their Chapter Doctrine, helping offset the fact that Dark Angels lost their coolest trick to an FAQ change right after they got it.
The Space Wolves trait is also suggestive of changes there’s nothing about Sagas any more, and instead the trait is just ‘Beastslayer’, giving +1 to hit and wound for attacks that target VEHICLE and MONSTER units as well as +1 Attack to the Warlord if they are in Engagement Range of a VEHICLE/MONSTER. Without seeing the supplement it’s hard to know if this is a deliberate choice or not, but maybe we’re going to see the end of Sagas and a move to more normal traits for Wolves.
Flesh Tearers get Merciless Butcher from their Blood of Baal update,but with a significant update now you get d3 attacks if there are 5 or more enemy models within 3”, instead of +1 for each 5. Overall more effective in a world where there’s lots of armies with 5 model units.
Deathwatch also get a change to Vigilance Incarnate, which previously allowed you to change your Mission Tactic instead, now, you can pick one CORE unit within 6” in your Command phase, and that unit can until the start of your next Command phase pick a different Battlefield Role to re-roll 1s to wound against. Once again, a straight buff, and less all-or-nothing than the previous version.
Around half the relics have been changed, but they’re mostly just tweaks here and there. These and psychic powers are the least changed parts of the book, though there’s a couple of key surprises. We’ll just list the changes here:
- The Armour Indomitus now gives +1 wound as well as its other effects
- Shield Eternal is now in line with other storm shields i.e. 4+ invulnerable, +1 to armour save rolls, and still gives its FNP
- Standard of the Emperor Ascendant now gives re-roll Morale instead of auto-pass, replicating the old ATSKNF
- Primarch’s Wrath gained a point of AP
- Purgatorus gains another shot and is now 18” range
- Ghostweave Cloak is completely changed now the bearer moves over other models as if they were not there when making Normal/Advance/Fall Back moves, and is -1 to hit.
- Vox Espiritum still does not increase the range of psychic power auras but does increase the range of Litany auras (or, rather, they are not exempted as they used to be)
As with relics, there’s only minor changes to Psychic powers. Powers now have types like 7th, too, which is neat if they end up doing anything with it.
In the Librarius discipline, we have:
- Veil of Time Blessing, otherwise unchanged
- Might of Heroes Blessing, only affects CORE or CHARACTER
- Null Zone Blessing, gains the aura tag also changes back to the old wording where it affects units rather than enemy units, so as worded right now it removes your invulnerable saves as well!
- Psychic Scourge Witchfire, otherwise unchanged
- Fury of the Ancients Witchfire, WC6 now, increased to 18” range, and instead of having to draw closest to closest the line can now be drawn from any part to any part. Still probably never going to be taken.
- Psychic Fortress Blessing, WC6 now, 5+ invulnerable save for ALL units within 6” instead of the previous effect. This is much better, especially with a Chief Librarian handing it out and casting on a 5+.
Over in Obscuration, we have some other small changes:
- Shrouding Blessing, can now not be targeted by Overwatch either
- Soul Sight Blessing, otherwise unchanged
- Mind Raid Witchfire, otherwise unchanged
- Hallucination Malediction, no longer rolls 2D6 against leadership, just automatically makes them -1 to hit with shooting attacks
- Tenebrous Curse Malediction, WC7 now, halve Movement but -2 to advance and charge rolls
- Temporal Corridor Blessing, WC5 now. You don’t have to advance but if you do your unit auto-advances 6”; on the other hand, you are completely exempted from shooting or fighting this turn. Weirdly it doesn’t stop you charging, just fighting, so White Scars can potentially use this to move 12” and charge and then just not get to swing but still potentially fire across the table and take an objective. Presumably this will end up getting erratad.
All Litanies are now CORE or CHARACTER only (except Mantra of Strength which obviously only affects the Chaplain himself). Most are otherwise the same, except Exhortation of Rage which is now +1 to wound in melee for one unit within 6 instead of its previous effect, thus catapulting it way up the list in terms of relevance. The big difference for litanies is something wed already seen in the Indomitus release Litanies are now changed in your Command phase rather than at the start of the battle round, making defensive abilities much less useful. This isnt such a big deal for marines standard litanies, but it does have implications for Litany of Faith, which can only become active to protect you from mortal wounds on your turn.
One thing we dont know is quite whats happened to the Chapter litanies. They were printed in Faith & Fury and theyre not reprinted here. They arent in the individual supplements, naturally, so have they gone completely? If Blood Angels et. al show up with their litanies in those books, then do we just assume that the other chapters still need Faith & Fury for a single paragraph of rules text? This is one more question that we hope will shortly be answered by the expected FAQ.
Imperial Fists Primaris Chaplain. Credit: Jack Hunter
One much-touted feature of the new codexes is the inclusion of army-specific secondary objectives. Per the rules in the book these can be used in any setting where you pick secondaries, including the GT pack. You can only use these if your army and Warlord are pure ADEPTUS ASTARTES (except for AGENT OF THE IMPERIUM or FORTIFICATION models). Whether TOs will allow these or not, especially at this early stage where most armies dont have access to them, is an open question as is the possibility that the Chapter supplements due next month have more of these things in. For now though we can only look at whats in front of us, and here they are in the format objective name category name description:
- Codex Warfare Purge the Enemy score 1pt per unit destroyed with Heavy or Grenade Weapons while your army is in Devastator Doctrine, 1pt per unit destroyed with Rapid Fire or Assault weapons in Tactical, 1pt per unit destroyed with melee or Pistol weapons in Assault
- Shock Tactics Battlefield Supremacy score 3pts at the end of the battle round if you control one or more objectives with an ADEPTUS ASTARTES unit at the end of the battle round that were controlled by your opponent at the start of the battle round
- Oaths of Moment No Mercy, No Respite score points at the end of each battle round if a) any ADEPTUS ASTARTES unit in your army destroyed an enemy CHARACTER, VEHICLE, or MONSTER unit (1pt/round), or b) as long as no ADEPTUS ASTARTES unit in your army failed Morale or fell back (1pt/round), or c) if an ADEPTUS ASTARTES unit from your army is wholly within 6 of the centre of the battlefield (2pts/round)
Codex Warfare is pretty much total junk and I cant imagine anyone ever picking it. Your opponent needs to have 15+ units and then you have to gamble that youre going to kill at least 5 of each in the right doctrine with the right kind of weapon, including killing 5 with Heavy weapons on turn 1. Adaptive Strategy doesnt even help here, since your army has to be in the right doctrine. This feels like it might have been written before Doctrines were changed to move in fixed progression, and no-one returned to look at it since.
Shock Tactics, on the other hand, is pretty good in an edition where youre looking to take objectives off people, and is very thematic. Its even good for a go second objective, as you score it at the end of the battle round. The downsides are that a) if youre expecting to go out and dominate the majority of objectives on your own terms, you end up not scoring anything from it, and b) your opponent has to control the objective at the start of the battle round to count so if youre repeatedly trading the same point, you might end up taking an objective back every turn and scoring nothing for it.
Finally, theres Oaths of Moment, which is probably the pick of the bunch No Mercy, No Respite is a fairly weak category against a lot of factions, and being able to score 4pts per turn allows you to control the tempo of scoring a little bit.
Enough about rules and models, let’s talk about everyone’s favorite subject, we know you’ve been waiting for it, that’s right, the time is now: print formatting and document design.
- Get a load of the DPI improvements on this bad boy. And all with those fonts.
- We love that they put all the deployment changes into one section at the front instead of printing it everywhere on all the sheets.
- The new points section is staggeringly well laid-out.
- BULLET POINTS
The datasheets are generally pretty clear, and seem to have been set up with a focus on limiting options. This could be seen as a bad thing, but so far as we can tell, anything non-Legends is still legal, and the only hangup seems to be that you might have to poke around a bit to find the sheet your chosen layout lives on now. Some of them are still a bit complex Vanguard Veterans are kind of a nightmare, for example but in general the trend toward streamlining datasheets has come close to apotheosis, with only a couple of options to choose from and lots of things that were ‘optional, but you’re going to take it every time’ in-lined to be default, and many common abilities filed away together instead of being reprinted a dozen times.
I’m sure someone out there has a list built that doesn’t work anymore, but typically the split-out datasheets aren’t preventing you from doing anything you weren’t already not doing (Oh no, you mean I can’t mix HB/AssCan speeders in with MM ones! Say it ain’t so!), and the condensed ones aren’t either (Aaah, my list that used three squads of Cataphractii and three more of Tartaros violates the Rule of Three now!), but in exchange everything got clearer and cleaner and the sheets aren’t nearly as confusing. Big fan.
By our conservative estimate, there are no fewer than fifteen books out there with marines rules that are still valid until FAQs are issued this Codex only invalidates the prior one, meaning that we’ll need FAQs for Faith & Fury, Ritual of the Damned, Blood of Baal, Saga of the Beast, each marine supplement (Ultramarines, White Scars, Imperial Fists, Iron Hands, Salamanders, and Raven Guard), and each of the Space Wolves, Blood Angels, Deathwatch, and Dark Angels codexes until those supplements come out.
Were closing in on 10, words on the new book, so overall what do we think of it?
First up, the very simple observation here is that there are a lot of changes. Anyone expecting this to be a near-reprint of the 8th ed book is completely off the mark; instead we see substantial alterations all across the piece, even down to the fundamental level of changing the MEQ statline to 2 wounds.
In general, it feels like theres been a effort to reduce the amount of castling and reliance on powerful aura effects, with substantial reductions in both their prevalence and impact. Dropping Chapter Master to a single unit is a particularly big change units with -1 to hit modifiers are the biggest winners, as Marines no longer simply brute force their way through it.
Theres some interesting decisions in terms of which abilities have been in-lined natively such as with Techmarines or Apothecaries, and which have been moved to be stratagems and therefore have an associated cost and effectively become once per turn (smoke launchers, repulsor fields). It seems like the thrust is for the support characters to be more impactful and meaningful, without them just offering huge buffs to everything around them though the Apothecary still seems like a prime target for auto-inclusion in any list.
There has been a definite attempt to push Dreadnoughts to the fore unlike other vehicles they retain CORE, they have Duty Eternal built in natively, and their explosions are less damaging if they go off in your lines. The Redemptor in particular has gotten some big changes, with the plasma becoming a very powerful option and its fist now being far more consistent in its damage output. We are officially long on Dreadnoughts.
Jack: Im a bit disappointed by this. With the Core keyword it seems like theyre opening up space to build armies around different categories of units, but then they went hard on buffs for dreadnoughts, with nothing for other tanks. Sure, the Techmarine can buff one but why wouldnt you have him buff something that gets re-rolls and has Duty Eternal? Not the end of the world, but still a miss in my mind.
Though theres no doubt well have another dozen Marine additions in a year or two, the new units go a long way towards completing the Primaris range a Primaris army now has all its possible characters, a broad spread of roles for infantry, its own bikes, and the complete set of vehicle equivalents. At the same time, though, the old Marine units make huge gains against their bigger counterparts thanks to gaining an additional wound, and retain a great deal more flexibility in their weapon options. Whether were one step closer to the entire old range being squatted or whether Space Marines really stabilise around there being a hundred datasheets with big and little versions of the same units is an open question; our guess is that as long as people keep buying the little guys, theyll stay relevant and therefore in production.
Picking out a couple of recent trends in list design, its interesting to see what will change. Impulsors have been substantially depowered going to the 5+ is one thing, but also losing FLY and the repulsor field carrying a CP cost is a big hit to their effectiveness. A lot of armies were utilising multiple of these filled with Bladeguard Veterans, and whether that trend continues when theyre harder to get around the table and to utilise as bumper cars is uncertain. Grav Devastators may not be completely dead but with Gravitic Amplification gone theyre probably not going to be showing up 10 to a list any more losing access to wound re-rolls is a substantial drop in their effectiveness, and being flat damage 2 lowers their utility against all the new 3-wound models in the wild, though theyre a bit tougher to clear off the table now after the initial drop at an added 3ppm.
Aggressors, who were also experiencing something of a renaissance, may also be back on the bench. Losing both their key abilities is a big strike to their effectiveness, and they didnt get any cheaper to compensate. The minor change to be flat damage 2 in melee and able to separately target their guns probably doesnt help them enough, though there may well be a place for them still just to offer a small, tough infantry unit which can help deal with the recent trend towards hordes.
The recent trend for Land Speeder Storms looks likely to wane, as the Scouts inside them are no longer Objective Secured and therefore substantially more vulnerable to being demeched and then flipped off an objective though gaining Assault Vehicle does now make them great for bursting forwards with the Scouts jumping out to do an action.
What about the general power level of the book? Thats a hard one to answer, since were not just thinking about this codex but also the 10 supplements, at least 4 of which are due to be released and potentially substantially changed in the next few months. It definitely seems like some of the most obnoxious features of the previous codex have been altered. The new units are mostly very cool, but with the possible exception of the Invader ATV they dont seem that powerful though Im sure that someone will find some horrendous list using the turret or something that will immediately prove me wrong.
Theres lots more to think about summing up 98 datasheets with literally hundreds of different stratagem, relic, and psychic options but well have to leave it there for now. Do check back later in the week for our look at Crusade, our review of the impacts on the individual supplements, and of course a battle report using the new options both for this book and the Necrons which review you should also go and read right now, because Space Marines are not the only army with a raft of changes from their 9th ed book!
Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at [email protected]
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Edition tactical marines 9th
The universe of Warhammer 40, isn’t just filled with those fighting desperately against the encroaching tide of Chaos, such as the Imperium or the Eldar. Some Warhammer 40k armies – like the infamous Chaos Space Marines (a.k.a. Heretic Astartes) – choose to fight for it.
Chaos, in the 41st millennium, throws a wide net over malcontents, wizards, heretics, and many others who choose to throw their lot in with dark gods. Some come to Chaos to learn forbidden knowledge, others for power, others for freedom from restrictive rules. No-one is immune to the siren song of Chaos – not even, of course, the Imperium’s elite guardians: the Space Marines.
Chaos Space Marines have been a staple of the setting going all the way back to the original Adeptus Titanicus board game. Legend has it the original version of this titanic battling game would have contained Imperium titans facing off against their Eldar counterparts but an issue with the models saw the Eldar being dropped from the box at the last minute. A hasty bit of rethinking and retooling, along with some new lore, saw the idea of a schism in the Imperium being born. This allowed the box to contain two sets of human-style titans, with one set belonging to the traitorous forces of Horus and his heresy.
Whatever their beginnings, Chaos Space Marines have become one of the most well represented forces in Warhammer 40k. From the tabletop to fiction, the superhuman power-armoured warriors of Chaos have become almost as iconic as their imperial counterparts.
We invite you to delve into the darker side of the Warhammer 40, universe with us and learn just who the Chaos Space Marines are, where they come from, and how they play on the tabletop battlefield.
Chaos Space Marines lore
Chaos itself has existed in the setting as long as sentient beings have drawn breath, but for Chaos Space Marines we have to look instead to three select individuals: the Emperor, Horus, and Lorgar.
Horus was the fulcrum around which the Chaos Space Marines pivoted from loyalty to heresy
The Emperor is responsible for creating all Space Marines and their genetic fathers, the Primarchs, so will always be partially behind the creation of Chaos Space Marines. It does appear, especially with some revelations in some of the novels, that the rot which led many Space Marines to the dark side set in exceedingly early. Humanity’s Emperor may have gained some of the powers and knowledge he used to create the Primarchs from the Chaos Gods themselves – meaning that the fall of many legions of Space Marines may have been inevitable right from the start. Horus was the fulcrum around which the Chaos Space Marines pivoted from loyalty to heresy. He was the Warmaster of all Space Marines until a combination of hubris, plotting, and a magic knife led him to the welcoming arms of Chaos. His fall led many other legions to go with him, either manipulated to Chaos’ side, or drawn through promises of power beyond imagination, more often than not aided by Primarchs’ simple hatred of the Emperor himself.
The final architect of the Horus Heresy and the Space Marines’ fall to Chaos was the Primarch of the Word Bearers, Lorgar. A religious zealot who worshipped the Emperor as a god, he redirected his faith to an older power when his fervour was rebuffed by the Master of Mankind. This saw him embrace Chaos earlier than any of the other Primarchs, leading him to begin seeding traitors throughout his brothers’ legions. It was one of these, Erebus, who oversaw the final corruption of Horus, leading the way to over ten thousand years of endless war.
Emperor’s lapdogs: Read our Warhammer 40k Space Marines guide
Other Primarchs joined the ranks of Horus and Lorgar: Magnus and his Thousand Sons; Angron and the World Eaters; Alpharius of the mysterious Alpha Legion; Fulgrim and his perfection-seeking sons, the Emperor’s Children; Perturabo and the Iron Warriors; Konrad Curze of the Night Lords; and, finally Mortarion of the Death Guard.
Unfortunately for Horus, his uprising did not go quite according to plan. Though he struck down the loyalist Primarch Sanguinius, of the Blood Angels – and dealt a mortal blow to the Emperor – Horus himself was slain, and his fleets and legions splintered, unable to overcome Earth’s defences. Fleeing into the Eye of Terror, a giant rent in reality caused by the fall of the Aeldari Empire, the traitors escaped the loyalists’ wrath, and continue to plot, plan, and lick their wounds, waiting for a time they will be able to wreak revenge on the Imperium once again.
Though unity has long since fled the Chaos Space Marines (many legions are now little more than pirates or raiders) they still occasionally work together under the direction of the new Warmaster; Abaddon the Despoiler. He and his Black Legion make the core of the blade forever pointed at the throat of humanity, and many Black Crusades have spilled forth from the Eye of Terror to bring ruin to the Imperium under Abaddon’s banner.
Now, in the closing years of the 41st Millennium, the Chaos Space Marines are beginning to reclaim the galaxy little by little. Cadia, the bastion world guarding the Eye of Terror, has fallen, and a vast storm of warp energy has ripped the galaxy in two. This is a time of instability – and it’s a time that Abaddon hopes will see Chaos Space Marines become ascendant over the slowly wasting Imperium.
Who are the Chaos Space Marines Characters?
With lore stretching back to the early days of Warhammer 40,, and many books and releases behind them, there are plenty of Chaos Space Marine characters to choose from. If you’re looking for inventive models that stretch the definition of a Space Marine, you’re looking in the right place. Let’s meet the gang.
Abaddon the Despoiler
When Horus fell, it was a time of great despair for all Chaos Space Marines – and none felt that despair more keenly than his own legion, the Sons of Horus. Eventually they managed to reform through strength of will alone, and that strength came from one of the Sons of Horus’ most powerful and fearsome warriors: Abaddon. Blessed by all four Chaos Gods but loyal to none, he leads the reborn and remixed Sons of Horus – now known as the Black Legion and incorporating parts of all traitor legions – in a never-ending crusade against the Imperium. Unlike many Chaos Space Marines, Abaddon the Despoiler doesn’t truly believe in Chaos; he is motivated purely by his great hatred for the Emperor and all those loyal to Him.
While Fabius Bile is certainly a Chaos Space Marine (he was one of the Emperor’s Children legion after all), he has long since strayed from any one legion. Devoted to nothing but his own perverted ideal of perfecting Space Marine flesh, he has become a chirurgeon and scientist without peer, mainly because he’ll conduct experiments no sane person would dare consider. He travels throughout the known galaxy, always seeking to create a new version of the Space Marine – one better, faster, stronger, more adaptable. With the rise of Primaris Space Marines, he may now have all the new material he’ll ever need to twist Chaos Space Marines into new forms, finally perfecting his life’s work.
Not all Chaos Space Marines fell during the Horus Heresy. Huron Blackheart of the Red Corsairs is a more recent convert. Leader of the loyalist Red Corsairs, he was assigned to patrol the Maelstrom, a much smaller area of warp instability like the Eye of Terror. Lufgt Huron was not overly devoted to the Imperium, however, and, over time, began to stray from official doctrine. Eventually he led the Red Corsairs in rebellion, taking over the planet Badab and making it his own personal kingdom. The Imperium noticed – and, after a vicious war known as the Badab War, Huron Blackheart and the Red Corsairs were ousted. Now they make the Maelstrom their home, sending out raids for supplies, pirating nearby shipping lanes, and always working to further Huron Blackheart’s dreams for power.
Lucius the Eternal
Once upon a time, Lucius was simply a legionnaire of the Emperor’s Children who was exceptionally devoted to mastering the blade. This desire for perfection is common in many of this legion, but Lucius took it to extremes. After the legion fell to Chaos, he continued his quest, facing down many in single combat to prove that he is the finest swordsman who ever existed. Blessed by Slaanesh, he has unnatural abilities at his beck and call, and, even though he has been slain many times, he always returns, emerging from the skin of the victor like a parasite.
Haarken Worldclaimer, Herald of the Apocalypse
Abaddon the Despoiler cannot be everywhere – so he uses Haarken Worldclaimer as his voice and mouthpiece. If Chaos has a direct human form, it may be in Haarken Worldclaimer, who takes a savage glee in battle, with his vast army of jetpack-borne Chaos Raptors. You’ll often find Haarken sent ahead of the Black Legion, sowing discord wherever he goes, with fast strikes designed to spread fear and disruption. Though he is not a Night Lord, he weaponises fear much as they would, able to drive his foes to madness and worse through manipulation of terrifying messages and broadcasts.
Khârn the Betrayer
Khârn wasn’t always known as the Betrayer. Once, this World Eater was an intelligent and empathetic warrior who only took pleasure in bloodshed once his terrible, torturous brain implants, the Butcher’s Nails, took hold. After many lifetimes fighting in the eternal war, countless losses (including his much beloved friend Argel Tal), and seeing his Primarch, Angron, become a Daemon Prince, Khârn has descended into a rage that will never end. He finally became known as The Betrayer when he, in a frenzy, turned on his own forces, slaughtering scores of them before he could be subdued. Now he is Khorne’s fury incarnate, always where the fighting is thickest, wielding his Primarch’s long-forgotten axe as he hews skulls for the Throne of Skulls and spills blood for the Blood God.
Chaos Space Marines in 9th Edition
Chaos Space Marines are one of the most common armies you’ll face in games of Warhammer 40k (after their loyalist brethren, of course). In general, they receive a fair amount of attention both from Games Workshop and from the community, and, as a result, you’ll find some interesting rules and ways to play when you set down a Chaos Space Marine force on the tabletop.
Machine union: Our full guide to the Adeptus Mechanicus
With so many different legions to choose from, you’ll have a huge array of choices ahead of you; some legions favour Psychic abilities, for instance, whilst others prefer going toe-to-toe in melee. There are, however, some rules that are universal and will affect Chaos Space Marines no matter which legion you plump for, so let’s dive into how Chaos Space Marines perform in the 9th Edition of Warhammer 40,
Kicking off all things Psyker: the Dark Hereticus discipline contains some of 9th Edition’s best spells. In particular you’ll see a lot of mileage out of Death Hex, a power that strips a visible unit within 12” of their invulnerable saves for a turn. If you’re facing off against an army that relies on this in lieu of having tough models, this can be devastating.
Prescience grants a unit +1 to hit all turn
Another brilliant Psychic ability is Prescience, which gives a nice little +1 buff to all hit rolls until your next Psychic Phase. With buffs being a little less buff-y in 9th Edition, this is a reliable way to boost your army’s power.
Lastly, Warptime is an absolute standout ability that lets a unit within 3” of the casting Psyker move again, as if it were the movement phase. See your army race up the board with this one, surprising your enemy by putting even slow-moving units where they least expect.
When playing a Chaos Space Marine army, you’ll probably find yourself relying on Stratagems quite heavily, meaning you’ll need to keep an eye on your Command Points. This is because, as with Psychic abilities, Chaos Space Marines have access to some brilliant Stratagems that can make the difference between victory and defeat.
Daemonforge, for example, lets a Daemon Vehicle reroll failed hit and wound rolls for the rest of the phase -great for ensuring a key vehicle gets its damage done.
Endless Cacophony allows a Slaanesh Infantry or Bike unit to shoot again, which, when used correctly, can be devastating. Imagine an Obliterator squad shooting twice in one turn. Horrifying.
Finally, Veterans of the Long War lets an Infantry or Biker unit add +1 to wound rolls until the end of the phase, which just makes taking lives in the name of the dark gods that little bit easier.
Chaos Space Marines in close combat
The other areas where Chaos Space Marines excel is in Melee, as they have some of the finest melee troops in the game, with Berserkers and Possessed ready and very willing to positively rip opponents limb from limb.
Chaos Space Marines also have access to some cheap troops, with recent points re-balancing meaning that you can easily field swathes of useful cannon fodder, in the shape of Cultists. HQs and Characters have also recently seen their usability buffed, with many Chaos Space Marine HQs and Character models offering key versatility on the battlefield (all hail the Lord Discordant).
Somewhere in the middle of usability when it comes to a Chaos Space Marine army in 9th Edition is the Daemonic Ritual rule. This rule allows a Character model to attempt to summon daemonic reinforcements from the same Chaos God that they worship.
Like many Chaos rules, Daemon summoning can be very luck based
This might, on the face of it, be a wonderful way to customise your force once the battle has started – as you could theoretically summon in melee or ranged support if you’re desperately in need of them. Unfortunately, summoning, like many Chaos-specific rules, can be a little luck based, as you’ll need to roll for them. This means you might not get the units you wanted if you roll poorly – or could even end up inflicting mortal wounds on your would-be summoning Character.
It also means you need to take a smaller force at the start of the battle, as you’ll need to set aside points to use for your summoned troops. These all make summoning a little less viable, unless you’re playing a legion such as the Word Bearers who have specific rules to offset the downsides.
Two wound Chaos Space Marines when?
Where Chaos Space Marines may need a little extra support in 9th Edition is in their shooting (which remains as unpredictable and short-ranged as it did in 8th Edition) and, significantly, in their durability.
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After the rollout of Space Marines’ beefy, two-wounds-per-model Primaris units, GW announced that all fully-fledged Space Marines (loyalist or traitor) would be bumped up to two wounds with the release of their 9th Edition codexes, but not before.
We now know the remaining codex release dates for , and, sadly, we’ve seen neither hide nor hair of the Chaos Space Marines 9th Edition codex just yet. Consequently, your average Chaos Space Marine is still a chunk weaker than most power-armoured foes, and, as such, must be protected if you want to see them engage with the enemy.
Chaos Space Marines can be quite competitive in the right hands
Overall, Chaos Space Marines are in an in-between spot right now in 9th Edition. Without a 9th Edition codex, they haven’t had the benefit of a large-scale rebalancing or critical look at their rules; in addition, they carry over some of the nagging issues they had in 8th Edition. That said, they can be a competitive army in the right hands, and feature strong units, Characters, and rules that can be brutal when used correctly. If nothing else, Chaos Space Marines in 9th Edition have more options available to them than nearly any other army barring Space Marines, meaning that, if there’s a way you’d like to play them, you can. Their breadth, along with the ability to bring in Chaos Daemons as support, means you can enjoy the best of what Games Workshop has to offer, both in terms of rules and models.
Starting a Chaos Space Marines army
When approaching a brand new Chaos Space Marine army, there’ll be a variety of ways to build out a competitive, complete force, which will depend on the way you want to go and what you want to focus on. Still, there are a few basics that every Chaos Space Marine army can benefit from, so let’s take a look at them.
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Firstly we’d definitely recommend getting your hands on the revamped Start Collecting! Chaos Space Marines box. This contains a Master of Possession, a Venomcrawler, two Obliterators, two Greater Possessed, and a unit of ten Chaos Space Marines. This is an incredibly versatile box, giving you access to Psychic abilities, a strong vehicle, two of the best shooting models that Chaos Space Marines have access to, two powerful melee models, and a standard workhorse squad of the main guys themselves: the Chaos Space Marines.
From there, you should look at providing yourself a little defence. What’s more defensive than a meat shield? Nothing, so get grabbing some Chaos Cultists. These are a horde unit and won’t do much in either melee or ranged combat, but they will do one thing: they’ll draw fire whilst you get your units into position. Don’t feel sad about seeing them get mown down; they’re only humans.
Possessed have great synergy with the Greater Possessed from your Start Collecting box
As we mentioned above, when it comes to melee, you can’t do better than Berserkers or Possessed. Berserkers make a truly unholy number of attacks with chain axes when they get into close combat, whilst Possessed have great synergy with the Greater Possessed from your Start Collecting! box. Choose either, or both! Indulge yourself; it will please Slaanesh. When it comes to shooting, you’ll already have some Obliterators – which will consistently put the fear of the dark gods into your foe – but, for true versatility, you can’t go wrong with some Havocs. These are your heavy weapon troops, and can come equipped with a wide array of weapons, meaning you’ll have some swiss-army-knife ranged support for your battlefield adventures.
To build out some character in your force, we’d recommend looking at a Sorcerer with Jump Pack, to be able to take advantage of more Psychic abilities while zipping around the board, giving Warptime to your troops in unexpected places, and keeping your opponent on their toes. In addition, a Dark Apostle is an essential purchase, as they give your army access to lots of buffs and effects through their prayers – which can help make your force more competitive.
Our final recommendation for your starter Chaos Space Marine army is a Chaos Rhino. What good is a melee unit if you can’t get it into melee? This transport should see your survivability improve somewhat, especially if you’re using Berserkers – so stuff them on board and race to the front as fast as you can.
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From there on, what you purchase will depend on which legion you’re intending your army to be from. For a Word Bearers army, you may want to focus on daemonic troops, such as more Possessed, or even dipping a toe into actual Chaos Daemons. For Night Lords, you could be looking at some Warp Talons and Raptors to divide up your enemy’s forces with rapid attacks. Or, if you’re looking at making a World Eaters army, you’ll want more Berserkers. A lot more Berserkers. And then even more Berserkers.
Now you should be more acquainted with the fearsome, fun-loving chaps who make up the Chaos Space Marines, with a few ideas of what to watch for on the battlefield, and who you might want to pick up when building a force. Just remember: the Chaos Gods are fickle, but, if you do your best to please them, you’ll soon see your opponent’s army burn in the fires of your unholy vengeance.
She played with her tongue around the head, squeezed the penis with her lips, sometimes biting lightly, adding to the thrill. I finally rolled to the base of the trunk and started to pour out. Olga did not let go of the penis from her mouth and diligently swallowed everything.
Having sucked and licked everything to a drop, she got up and hugged me. I unhurriedly unbuttoned her bra and took it off her.
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Here either break the window, or I suggest we wait out until tomorrow. Where is the glory, by the way. -He is in Manchurk until the weekend, on business.