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 you’re a beginner we recommend you check out out our Beginner’s 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 40,000 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. You’ll 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 you’re 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 it’s situational and all dependent on how you want to shape your force. Include 2-3 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 2-3 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 bearer’s weapon. This increases your unit’s 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 one’s 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 unit’s 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. That’s 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 10-14 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 it’s 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 2-5. 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 one’s 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 one’s 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 unit’s 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 40,000. 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 it’s 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,
Scout Squad (Core)
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 1-3 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 1-3 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 10. There’s a full 6 shots against a unit of 11 or more models. It’s 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 one’s 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 one’s 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.
How to get more free 40k tactics and tips!
If you have any questions or want to chat 40k tactics with us, make sure to join our Facebook group Game Talk for Gamers! You can chat with us and all our tactical writers by clicking the link below and joining our group!
We also have a free 40k guide book that gives you tactics and tips for playing Warhammer 40k, painting, miniatures, and even how to save money on 40k supplies!
If you’d like the Nights Team to give you a free Army List designed for you free of charge click this link to schedule a time with one of our team members: https://nightsatthegametable.youcanbook.me
As always thanks for reading our Space Marine Codex Review!
Special thanks to Games Workshop for the use of their images and for making the best game ever!