Saturday, 25 January 2014

Reviewing the SM codex, Part 3: Troops and Dedicated Transports

Preface

So, things change a little bit here. I can't give you ideas on how to build your army around these units, but I can give you an idea of how they could perform on the field. So, I'll show you ways I'd build these units, what their purposes would be in my army. I'll also try to give an idea of what I think the internet might do differently, if it is that different. I've also got dedicated transports. I'm not going to go too much into detail about them, as for the most part they'll be part of the "builds" of other units. That said, they do have some personal merits, each of them.

I've also added an extra option that I feel is pertinent to the choosing of any unit that isn't a leader, and that is mobility. This is score replaces Army Bonuses. 


Troops


Tactical Marines 

Strengths
Cheap Enough
WS/BS4
Can get a 5-wound missile launcher or lascannon. 
A squad of 5 can buffer against assaulters just long enough that you can get another round of shooting from something effective.
Weaknesses
The 3+ save is not a good reason to take them just to score. 
Their best role is scoring.
Tactical marines are the most blatant example of Space Marine's inability to have units that are role-specific. 
Builds
5 with a ML/LC in a rhino. 120-25 points. Good for holding an objective, and claiming linebreaker late game. Don't expect it to do much more than hold an objective and fill your minimum troops requirements
5 with a Meltagun and combi-melta in a rhino or razorback - 125 or 145 points. Good for grabbing linebreaker, can be a good mid-game tank killer, with just enough output to take down a weakened artillery piece or take a lucky shot at a flyer. The Razorback also gives you a twin-linked heavy bolter - perfect for causing grounded tests on FMC. 
Chapter Tactics
Works Well with White Scars, Crimson fists, salamanders (if you go with the right build) and ultramarines. 

Price - 6/10 They came down considerably, in terms of their ability to take a missile launcher - they dropped 85 points in this regard.
Survivability 5/10 They set the benchmark for survivability
Damage Output 2/10 Laughable, but they are just a troops unit.
Rules 7/10 ATSKNF is invaluable on a troop unit. 
Mobility 5/10 Rhinos make these coolios - try a drop pod once in a while, just for giggles.
Overall 5/10 Mediocrity, thine name is Tactical marines. 


Scout  Marines 

Strengths
Invaluably priced
Good range of tools at their disposal, can make themselves known in combat and at range
Stealth is cheap
In a Vacuum, Scout marines outperform marines in survivability against APs 1,2 and 3 weapons. 
Weaknesses
The BS3 hurts until you realise you do more to infantry at a longer range. 
It's cool to theory craft about the difference between a 3+ and a 4+ until you have to roll a few armour saves.
Builds
5 scouts. 55 points. Keep it cheap, keep it simple. 15 points is nothing until you need it to get a piece of equipment. Marines Wreck MSU, so MSU is no competition for 110 points of ol' reliable.
5 scouts with sniper rifles and camo cloaks - 70 points, same as marines, yet with better range and stealth. 
5 scouts with combat weapons
Want a unit that can muscle in on MSU? 15 S4 attacks is still 15 S4 attacks. Tactical marines can't do this. 
10 scouts with snipers and camo cloaks, with telion behind an ADL with a quad gun 289 points BS6 is nice on a flyer, and 3+ saves makes tactical marines frustrated. Put it in a bastion for a 2+ coversave.
Chapter Tactics
Eh, Raven guard works okay if you don't wanna pay for cloaks. Ultramarines works as scouts can fill almost any role that you might ask for. Salamanders makes them a little more survivable against flamers, but most AP4 anyway. Nothing is really needed to make them good.

Price 8/10 I think they should be 10, but 11 is reasonable for their abilities.
Survivability 7/10 People worry about AP3 and 2, so they take it over AP4. When was the last time you saw someone spam heavy bolters? Also, when was the last time someone shot at a unit of scouts that weren't crowding an objective?
Damage Output 3/10 Laughable, but that's okay. Them not being threatening is a good thing.
Rules 8/10 If they had stealth base and got shrouded through cloaks, even for more points than a tactical marine, they would be auto-include
Mobility 7/10 if you deepstrike a lot of stuff, teleport homers might be nice. They can outflank to do something to a target on the side of the board, too.
Overall 6.6/10 They're decent, okay?


Crusader Squad 

Strengths
Excellent, fairly cheap Ablative Wounds.
Good Way to hide 5 Power Fist attacks (OTC)
Largest potential Scoring unit for Marines
Weaknesses
Tactical Marines in black templar's clothing
Still Black Templars
Builds
10 Initiates, 10 Neophytes, Missile Launcher and Flamer, Sword Brother -270 points. Hardest Marine unit in the codex in terms of wounds. Take a Sword Brother for the leadership, but of course it isn't necessary. This unit is good for holding the objective, and insanely good with a relic.

8 Initiates, 7 Neophytes with Sword Brother, Power fist, Powerfist on Sword Brother, Meltagun and Chaplain with a Power Fist. Land Raider Crusader
600 points of fuck-you, a good counterpunch unit, but insanely good to hold the objective with. We all know land raiders aren't as hardy as they once were, but at 1k you automatically win the Relic, at 1850 you have a decent chance with most missions (save for 4-5 objectives), assuming you don't face a farsight bomb.

5 Initiates, 5 neophytes, Missile Launcher or meltagun 130-35
Nice objective holder, cheap. Put it in a Rhino for extra giggles until turn 5. 
Chapter Tactics You should take these with Ultramarines Chapter Tactics. Obviously. 

Price 8/10 - Neophytes are a point cheaper than normal scouts. They make their parent initiates a lot harder for it.
Survivability 8/10 Best troop in the codex for it.
Damage Output 3/10 It's a tactical marine squad that can hide 2-3 power fists. Gets a healthy number of attacks at 14 with kantor and a chappie. 
Rules 7/10 A benchmark for mediocrity
Mobility 5/10 They're tactical marines with access to Blood Angels Transports.
Overall 5.8/10 Not the worst, but definitely not the best.


Biker Marines

Strengths
Cheap Price
High Toughness, good survivability
Good Weapon loadouts
Huge threat radius
Actually Threatening.
Weaknesses
5 man squads
can't get that third special weapon which would make these units so great. you can go combi-weapon, which is nice. 
Builds 
5 bikes with 2x Melta or Grav, Combi Melta/grav optional. 125-145 points
Excellent alpha striker, not as good as the command squad but a respectable output nonetheless.

5 bikes with 2x flamers, sergeant has power lance. 130 points
Need some pathfinders taken care of? these are your guys. After the pathfinders are dealt with your opponent will either be so hurt by their actions, they'll take the heat off the rest of your army, or they will be ignored until late game where they can bust out the hurt on an unsuspecting and stranded unit of fire warriors, that were oh-so conveniently placed in a devilfish because apparently, people actually use devilfish.

5 bikes with 2 meltaguns, Attack Bike with Multi-Melta, Sergeant has combi-melta - 159 points
A nice alternative if you absolutely need a lot of melta first turn. Not so heavy on price that it can't compete with command squads, but not so cheap that you would automatically take it.

5 bare bikes. No, Seriously, this works. They can soak overwatch while another unit charges, or can be held in reserve until late game, outflank and claim an objective somewhere. Best 105 points you ever spent. Maybe go 115 for two flamers, since it's so damn cheap and effective.

Chapter Tactics Bikes are great because you can take a chapter master or a captain on a bike and get great scoring units. Therefore, I'm not going to tell you that you must take white scars, however, Ultramarines, Ravenguard, Salamanders (to an extent), Black templars (doy) and imperial fists (no devastators and your bolters are already twin-linked) are all pretty useless for bikes. So, uh, I guess that leaves Iron Hands and white scars. White scars gives you scouts, Outflank therein, Hit and Run and ignores terrain.


Price 7/10 Not as cheap as scouts, but not as useless.
Survivability 7/10 Admirable. 
Damage Output 9/10 Only surpassed by certain units
Rules 9/10 Biker Marines with white scars are just so versatile; the extra HOW is nice, as is the jink save bonus.
Mobility 10/10 These units can move 12", turbo boost and outflank. Did I mention they have f*cking scouts? What about motherf*cking Hit and f*cking run?
Overall 8.4/10 Best of a mediocre bunch, and by best, I mean I would stand by this unit for this codex, even if something gets a S7AP2 gun that ignores cover just to piss you off. 


Transports 

Since these are just transport vehicles, I won't go into too much detail - if you need to read how to take them, look at the entries for the units I suggest them on.


Rhino 

Strengths
For some reason, the point for point most expensive armies in the game in terms of points, gets these cheap-as-chips, transports.
AV11 on the front and sides protects against small arms fire
Smoke launchers can be a saving grace
One storm bolter is all that's needed to ground an FMC.
Small physical frame makes them easy to hide.
Weaknesses
AV11 on the front and sides does not protect against medium-arms fire like autocannons.
Easy fist blood. 

Price 10/10 - outstanding.
Survivability 4/10 About what you'd expect from a 35 point vehicle, first blood bait. 
Damage Output 3/10 Negligible, but not to be dismissed. Don't point out this oxymoron. 
Rules 4/10 Repair is kinda nice?
Mobility 7/10 up to 18" covered in one turn means you threaten any objective within 30".
Overall 5.6/10 They're cheap, and their abilities reflect that; yet their ability is to be cheap


Razorback 

Strengths
Still a Damn cheap unit. gives you some anti-infantry fire support for relatively little.
One TL heavy bolter should hit an FMC once.
Everything about a Rhino, except for having a smaller troop capacity.
Weaknesses
Still a Rhino Chassis. 

Price 9/10 55 is a bit steep, but 40 was too cheap, 45 wouldn't have been much of a leap, but I don't think 50 would help me sleep. (rhyme intended, enjoy.) 
Survivability 3/10 More threatening than a rhino, more expensive, a better first blood target.
Damage Output 4/10 More threatening than a rhino for only 143% of the price!
Rules 3/10 Less bonuses. 
Mobility 6/10 It can do the same thing as a rhino, but you don't want it to; that heavy bolter is too good late game.
Overall 5/10 Still a better transport than a Chimera.


Drop Pod 

Strengths
AV12 hull makes for a hard target to crack
Non-threatening nature (coupled with threatening nature of occupants) leads to the vehicle not being first blood.
1 storm bolter is all it takes to bring an FMC down.
Nice distraction, or stall unit.
Makes any unit threatening.
Accurate, safe deepstrike.
Weaknesses
It doesn't do anything after it's dropped. Maybe it'll kill a guardsman or two? If it kills 7 guardsman you've gotten your pointsworth back.

Price 10/10 Considering what the Drop pod *is*, it's a damn good price. And it makes Sternguard worth the 31 point price-tag. 
Survivability 6/10 I usually have all 3 standing at the end of the game
Damage Output 3/10 A rhino that can't move. Good weapon reach, though.
Rules 6/10 Excellent bonuses. would be even better if troops could stay embarked upon the open topped tank cone of doom.
Mobility 8/10 lessened by lack of a good way of being useful after it blows its very literal load. Could drop a unit of skin-bare marines turn 4 if you play it right. Could change the game.
Overall 6.6/10 A much better take for 35 points. Would reccommend to armies that suit the in-your-face playstyle. 


Land Speeder Storm 

This looks like a blue stretch limousine,
not a combat transport vehicle. 
Strengths
Cheapish?
Fast skimmer that can transp- oh wait, you don't want your scouts in a vehicle, or anywhere near your opponent.
Can deepstrike, I guess?
Jink, bonus shooting attack
Weaknesses
AV10 shell.
Everything about it just screams first blood, or easy kill point.

Price 2/10 25 points might be too steep for this.
Survivability 1/10 Laughable.
Damage Output 3/10 A bit better than a rhino, for the turn you can use it.
Rules 3/10 Move along.
Mobility 4/10 It's just too fragile to make the 100 point pricetag sound more enticing than a 105-35 point biker squad. Bikers are more survivable.
Overall 2.6/10 If you want my advice, don't.

This has been my coverage of the troops section of the Space Marine Codex. Next week, I'll be covering one of the three exotic options. I'm guessing it'll be elites, since there are more jokes I can make about Assault Centurions and Ironclad Dreadnoughts than I can about ass- I rescind my earlier comments, I just recalled that Assault Marines are an actual thing outside the blood angels codex.