Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Guest Post: Jeff's Initial Space Marine Army List Thoughts


Initial Army List Thoughts



With all the choices out there, its hard to choose exactly what chapter you want.  Thankfully the quasi build-a-chapter style of the new book can really help those power armor fan boys out there!  Jeff chimes in today with his well written thoughts on picking your chapter.  

Welcome back. In my previous post, I introduced myself and what I am planning. Today I would like to share with you my initial thoughts in regards to the various chapter tactics and potential army lists with each of them


Initial Army List Thoughts

The great thing about the new Space Marine codex is the sheer amount of viable options that the chapter tactics system opens up. For those of you that are not aware the chapter tactics system allows space marine players to select a chapter tactics that provides in game benefits and helps to tailor the army a specific battlefield role and align to a fluff.

My favorites (in no particular order) are:

  • Iron Hands – 6+ FnP for everyone and It will not die on independent characters and vehicles, and Ominissah just loves them.
  • Sentinels of Terra – Twin linked bolters at 12”
  • White Scars - +1 Jink and Ignore Dangerous Terrain for bikes, and Hit & Run
  • Raven Scout – Scouting army of death.


I have to admit that the Ultramarines tactics are solid as well, and arguably one of the strongest set of chapter tactics. I just cannot bring myself to play the boys in blue.

If you recall from my first post my criteria for a new army is:

  • Mobility
  • Durability
  • Ability to paint effectively.




Iron Hands – When I look through the Iron Hands traits what really stands out to me is the ability to make vehicles more viable by increasing their durability. Additionally the +1 to Blessing of Omnissiah means that basic techmarines add +2 to their roll, meaning they repair a hull point 66% of the time.
Also it’s hard to discount the 6+ FnP. It is by no means over powered but increases the overall durability of every Iron Hand marine in the detachment. This basically means that 1 out of every 6 unsaved wounds will be ignored on average.


Initial List Idea – Death From Above
Master of the Forge, Power Axe
Master of the Forge, Power Axe
Techmarine, Melta-Bombs
5x Scouts with Camo Cloaks, Sniper Rifles
5x Scouts with Bolt Pistol, Close Combat Weapon, Melta-Bombs
10x Space Marines, Meltagun, Multi-Melta, Rhino
10x Space Marines, Meltagun, Multi-Melta, Rhino
Stormtalon, TL-Assault Cannon, Skyhammer Missile Launcher
Stormtalon, TL-Assault Cannon, Skyhammer Missile Launcher
Stormtalon, TL-Assault Cannon, Skyhammer Missile Launcher
Storm Raven, TL-Assault Cannon, TL-MultiMelta, Hurricane Bolters
Storm Raven, TL-Assault Cannon, TL-MultiMelta, Hurricane Bolters
Storm Raven, TL-Assault Cannon, TL-MultiMelta, Hurricane Bolters

The Masters of the forge, and techmarines each ride with one of the Storm Ravens repairing as needed. Sniper scouts hang on back objective and shoot targets of opportunity. Close combat scouts outflank and try to pick on any vehicles left in the back field unprotected. The air force flies in and does the work while the tactical squads advance to secure objectives.

Overall I think it would be highly mobile and fairly durable against many armies.




White Scars – Let’s face it, White Scars screams bike army of doom. I almost feel bad for Ravenwing players out there as they figure out how to repaint all of their bikes white. Yea, I know from a fluff perspective that White Scars are supposed to be bike army but let’s take a quick look at why they are so viable within the current dex.





  • +1 to their Jink save. – Normally a biker gets a 5+ cover save if they move and 4+ for turbo boosting. White Scars on the other hand rock a 4+ for moving and 3+ for turbo boosting.
  • Auto Pass Dangerous Terrain – Ruins in your way? Objective sitting in a forest? Who cares? As a White Scars biker you simply pass any dangerous terrain tests you are required to take. Granting the bikers a freedom of movement that historically has been limited to Eldar (light and dark) have had.
  • Str 5 Hammer of Wrath – Admittedly the average space marine biker is rather meh in close combat. One attach base, two on the charge at WS4 Str4 plus a Str 4 Hammer of Wrath. Honestly not a lot to write home about. White Scars on the other hand get a boost and add +1 Str to their Hammer of Wrath attacks. Giving them just a bit more punch in CC. Where I see the real value of this is against rear armor 10 vehicles. 5 Str 5 Hammer of Wrath attacks and 5 Str 6 Krak grenade attacks gives a normal squad of bikers a fairly reliable chance to strip the hull points off an armor ten vehicle. The additional +1 Str means that your Hammer of Wrath attacks can impact AV 11 vehicles as well.
  • Hit & Run – Don’t want to be stuck in combat? Then leave. Often the bane of bikers is getting locked in protracted combats limiting their mobility. With the addition of Hit & Run White Scar bikers can jump out of combat and are free to act, even shoot and recharge the unit.


What more could you want as biker army, oh yea Scout for early game pressure or outflank shenanigans. Enter the Master of the Hunt, Kor’sarro Khan, when he is your warlord White Scar bikers and models with a dedicated transport gain the Scout USR (emphasis mine). Which means all of your bikers, and troopers with a dedicated transport can redeploy 12” before the game begins.

Initial List Idea – Sons of Anarchy
Kor’sarro Khan on bike (warlord)
Chapter Master, bike, artificer armor, shield eternal, thunder hammer
Command Squad, 4x Grav Guns, Apothocary
5x Space Marine Bikers, 2x Grav Guns, Combi-Grav
5x Space Marine Bikers, 2x Grav Guns, Combi-Grav
5x Space Marine Bikers, 2x Grav Guns, Combi-Grav
5x Space Marine Bikers, 2x Grav Guns, Combi-Grav
Stormtalon, TL-Assault Cannon, Skyhammer Missile Launcher
Stormtalon, TL-Assault Cannon, Skyhammer Missile Launcher
Thunderfire Cannon
Thunderfire Cannon
Rune Priest, Bike, JoWW, Living Lighting, Runic Axe
5x Grey Hunters, Flamer

This is a pretty standard White Scars list. A similar list at 2000pts won the Feast of Blades Open. It has good durability and highly mobile and can play in every phase of the game. I am not sold on this list but would give me a good place to start and iterate from.

Pro Tip: When Khan is your warlord you can give your thunderfire cannons scout if you purchase them a drop pod

Imperial Fists (Sentinels of Terra) – I am not a huge fan of the basic Imperial Fist tactics, rerolling ones just doesn’t seem as valuable as what the other chapters bring to the table. Basically this equates to you only being able to reroll half of your misses. However, this company of figured out how to shoot better at close range and reroll all of their misses within 12”. All you have to do is get them into a position where they are able to double tap their bolters. Oh yea this works on all bolters, bolt pistols, storm bolters, heavy bolters, and combi-bolters firing the bolt rounds.


To me this army screams drop pods as they are able to maximize the potential of their bolter drill.

Initial List Idea – Airborne Ranger
Captain, Artificer Armor, Combi-Melta, Storm Shield, Auspex
Command Squad, Apothecary, 4x Grav Guns, Drop Pod
10x Tactical Marines, Meltagun, MultiMelta, Combi-Melta, Drop Pod
10x Tactical Marines, Meltagun, MultiMelta, Combi-Melta, Drop Pod
10x Tactical Marines, Flamer, Combi-Flamer, Drop Pod
10x Tactical Marines, Flamer, Combi-Flamer, Drop Pod
10x Tactical Marines, Grav Gun, Combi-Grav Gun, Drop Pod
10x Tactical Marines, Grav Gun, Combi-Grav Gun, Drop Pod
5x Devastator Marines, 4x Heavy Bolters, Combi-Grav Gun, Drop Pod
5x Devastator Marines, 4x Heavy Bolters, Combi-Grav Gun, Drop Pod

The idea behind the list is to pretty simple. Drop 50ish marines within 12” of the enemy on turn one and alpha strike them. Use follow up wave(s) on turn 2 and later to secure objectives and finish off anything that tried to run. I think the skill behind this list will be learning what needs to drop when and where to deal the most amount of damage possible.

Overall I think this is lacking in durability and mobility. Granted the sheer number of bodies goes a long way to compensate for the lack of durability, however 2 or 3 helldrakes are going to create a not so fun game. From a mobility perspective their initial mobility is huge but falls off after the pods arrive.


Raven Guard – I hadn’t really thought much of Raven Guard until a buddy of mine was trying to make a decent list out of his existing marines without having to buy tons of new models. As we theorized lists and the idea of an old school rhino rush using White Scars tactics was a common theme. The issue we kept running into is although White Scars can do it you are locked into taking Khan to get Scout USR and you lose out on a lot of the benefits of White Scars chapter tactics provides. As a result the lists always seemed lacking.



Enter Frontline Gaming video battle report between Raven Guard vs Taudar



I recommend taking a few minutes and watching this battle report. It is an interesting take on Raven Guard.
Overall I think that Raven Guard have potential with the rhino rush but with my buddy seriously looking at doing this style, I think I am going to pass.

My plan at this point is playtest each of these lists to get a sense of the list I would prefer to play more. So in my next post I will be talking through my play test experiments thus far and discuss why you should playtest before you buy.

7 comments:

  1. I love the Ironwing list, that's pretty much the core of what I was thinking of going with. The Airborne Ranger list I like too, there's something so underdog about Dev Squads with Heavy Bolters I love it. HB's look so cool, but they are generally shunned in game.

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  2. A great read so far, are you thinking of doing a slightly chaotic paint scheme to extend yourself to one extra codex? Looking forward to your playtest post!

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    1. At this point I am not sure. I have some ideas on color scheme and chapter iconography that I'll be sharing soon. I have never been huge fan of the choas look.

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  3. Food for thought...an Iron hands chapter master on a bike with a shield eternal is apparently pretty beastly and would unlock bikes as troops. The biker troops may not be as hot as other chapters but 6+ FNP on a T5 chassis is nothing to balk at. Plus their mobile and you can get some tasty grav guns too. I think the air force list can be powerful but if you're going to run it I'd recommend an aegis with comm relay. It guarantees you good cover so you don't get tabled before the flyers come on and helps you get those flyers out quickly. Anyways just my two cents. I'll be interested to see where you go with this...good luck!

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    1. Oh yea, the Iron Hands chapter master on bike with shield and artificer armor looks amazing.

      I have a several playtest games this week that i'll be sharing what happened and what I learned from them.

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  4. I wouldn't bother with the Power Axe on the Master of the Forge, give him a Lightning Claw if anything, then you can choose between 2 power fists or PF/LC

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    ReplyDelete