Thursday, 27 February 2014

Reviewing the Chaos Demons Codex, Part 1A. AWSR and Warpstorm


Hi guys, I had a lot of fun doing my review of the Space Marine codex, so I've decided to do something similar for the Chaos Demons Codex. I also plan to review the Tau Codexes and if I end up having time over the next few months, some of the other sixth edition codexes that I haven't actually played as. In this first segment of my review of the Chaos Demons Codex, I plan to review the random tables that make Demons so Daunting, and hopefully reveal the ways to turn them to your advantage. As a note on perspective my comp-demons list is monokhorne, while my competitive list is basically undivided - except for slaanesh because I don't like his sugardrop nipple ring bullshit.

Finally, I apologise for the late delivery of this post, I had O-week this week and that's always a little hectic as a university student. 



Demon While not explicitly army wide, every single unit in the codex has the Demon Special Rule. This is huge, giving them a 5++ off the bat. the other nice ting it does is give every unit in your army fear. Now, fear is like soul blaze or pinning, people tend to forget it exists. However, since every unit in your army has this USR, you're bound to cause a unit to fail a fear test every once in a while, which could cause quite a deal of good for your army.

Tzeentch: Re-rolls ones for saves (of any kind) and gives +3 LD when casting psychic powers. Tzeench doesn't feel SITW as badly as demons do. (Except khorne, since he doesn't care). Also ensures all psychic powers are generally reliable. 

Khorne: Furious Charge and something about Chariots. Furious Charge is nice against most armies that doen't have T2 base (3 in the case of crushers). A bloodthirster potentially gets S8 base OTC, which is huge if you need to take out medium armour or lots of T4 with multiple wounds. Furious charge also makes all khorne units about 1/6 better against the majority of infantry in play at the moment.  

Nurgle: Slow and Purposeful (eh), shrouded and Defensive Grenades. Charging these guys sucks and if you're in charge range they usually have 2+ cover. Makes Plaguebearers the best cappers in Codex Daemons. 

Slaanesh: +3" on their run moves and fleet on their DP, GD, and lessers, oh and soulgrinders. Doesn't really help fast attack or elites, since both already have fleet, but they get +6" to run moves instead.
Edit: Totallynotalphalegion of dakkadakka pointed out that I forgot to mention that slaanesh gives rending to his lackeys. this is huge, meaning that slaanesh's followers can either drown their targets in sheer weight of attacks, or use that same weight of attacks to garner enough rending wounds to tear their opponent to ribbons. Either way, slaaneshi daemons of all stripes are scary opponents because of this nature - they also tend to go before you, adding to the hurt. 

Daemonic Instability
Well fuck allies, right? Everyone's Convenience because of this rule. But that's okay, because it also gives you carefully worded fearless that lets you... 

1. Go to ground
2. Not be affected by terrify
3. Take wounds from losing combat.
4. Not Join units without the Daemonic Instability Special Rule
5. Also, you can't join units that aren't the same alignment as you

1. is huge for nurgle daemons - Plaguebearers have no shooting so they just hide out on a piece of 5+ terrain with an objective and get a constant 2+ cover save. 

2. Again, huge. Terrify really hurts armies that rely on fearless, but it's useless here. 

3. This hurts, especially if you roll double 6's (feels pretty good if you roll double 1's!) but if you play your cards right this should happen with your heavy hitters. IF you lose combat, you've probably already lost the game. 

4. What do Chaos Space Marines really offer you that you can't already get?

5. Meh. That's fair.

A byproduct of this rule is that no unit has a leadership above 9, and even then only the very best of the best of the best HQ's have LD9. this does hurt when you actually have to roll daemonic instability checks. 

Not really a USR, but 6 out of 39 choices have these rules. 2 are of Khorne, 2 of Slaanesh and 2 of Nurgle. 

The Khorne and Nurgle benefit from Fleet from both sets of rules, and all benefit from move through cover for their beasts. Again, all benefit from hammer of wrath when it is in use. 

Warp Storm Table 

The Bad
2. A 2.7% chance of Daemonic Instability test on every unit. this hurts you, but it also hurts your opponent if he plays Daemons. With an average leadership of 7 in most units, 59% of the time you won't take any wounds from this, so roughly 2 out of 5 units will take 2.5 wounds from it. 

3. A 5.55% chance of a character with Daemonic instability basically being killed. (LD 9 characters should take 1.5 wounds on LD9, but LD8 characters should die to it.) This one really hurts in min/max lists. But, characters are 5 points a pop. Take them on your troops, even if they recieve no greater rewards. If you have 4 important characters (heralds and greater daemons) and 4 minor characters (squad leaders), you have a 50/50 chance of hurting either. This is even less painful if you're playing against daemons. 

4. An 8.33% chance that the warp storm will murder your entire family for giggles. This rule makes a grimoired unit 25% less effective at resisting damage, fateweaver 33% less effective at resisting damage and a normal squad 50% less effective at resisting damage. It's dark days when you roll this without a re-roll, but you can live through it, if it isn't turn one through three.

Verdict There's about a 1/6 chance that something will go wrong, given the percentage chance that these rolls will come up - they're not that bad, except 4. Screw 4. 

The Sometimes good, Somtimes bad
5. An 11.11% chance of causing 1/6 enemy units ("enemy" including your own daemons of nurgle) to be 'hit' (it still scatters) by a S4AP5 large blast that ignores cover and has the barrage special rule. This is very useful against tyranids and guard, and any army that daemons would generally beat anyway (except tau, I guess - it hurts pathfinders). This one's gonna get a generally good from me, as it doesn't really hurt nurgle daemons that much and can hurt the rght enemy targets a great deal.

6. A 13.88% chance of causing 1/6 enemy (and your tzeench daemons) units with T3 to lose 3 wounds (assuming they are lacking an invulnerable save, and don't have a 2+.) Very nice, probably my favourite of the warp storm table's "could be good" section. very effective on the right targets, including fateweaver. 

7. A 16.67% chance to do... nothing! But seriously, this is like free parking in monopoly. You get a pass. For this turn.

8. A 13.88 chance of causing 1/6 enemy units (and your khorne daemons) to lose about 3 wounds (1.75 if they're T6). This one's nice, because most khorne units don't care about S6 rending, and it can hurt enemy tanks, which is never a bad thing. 

9. An 11.11% chance of causing 1/6 enemy units (and your slaanesh daemons) to take a small blast battlecannon to the face. Useful against the large majority of enemy targets. Also barrage, which is always nice. 

Verdict: About a 4/6 chance that something that could be good and could really hurt happens. These effects are designed to try to make there be some benefit to making monogod armies; if you only run khorne for example, the worst these options can ever punish you is a 1/6 chance that you'll take D6 wounds. I think Nurgle's rot is probably the hardest of the deals, and it will really hurt fateweaver if it ever goes off on him.

The Good

10. An 8.33% chance that the warp storm will make your entire family millionaires for giggles. +1 to invulnerable saves is invaluable in an army that relies solely on its invulnerable saves to carry the day, so there's never a dull moment when this result is rolled. 

11. A 5.55% chance of getting a free herald in exchange for your enemy's warlord/backup psyker. Not useful that often as you'll only ever roll it once against that enemy army with multiple psykers, and there's like a 50/50 chance they'll pass the test (LD10). if you find a LD9/8/7 psyker, you've got yourself a herald. If there are no Psykers, you get a 7, which isn't anything to sniff at.

12. A 2.77% chance of gaining 10 bloodletters, daemonettes or plaguebearers for your army. Not that useful in kill points, but very useful in scouring and the two D3+2 objective missions.

Verdict: About a 1/6 chance that something good will happen. Even in kill points, 12 can be useful - if your enemy is having to fire overwatch into 10 plaguebearers that just appeared instead of your dedicated combat unit, you'll thank your lucky stars. 

Parting Thoughts

I was going to try to write about all the psychic powers and greater rewards in this thread as well, but I felt that it would take a very long wall of text to do all of them justice. Instead, I've split it into two different sections for your reading pleasure. 

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Reviewing the SM codex, Part 6: Heavy Support


This is the final part of this coverage. I'm sure you all know the score by now, but if you don't, I Go through and rank the different units on an abstract scaling system to give an opinion of each unit that will hopefully allow the player to do justice with just about any unit. 

Unfortunately, a lot of the heavy support slot is hard to truly upgrade, or judge their rules - a lot of them only have the generic upgrades. With that in mind, I've chosen to abstain instead, just saying "factory settings" for those units. 

Foot Support 

These are pretty hard hitters who are set apart from their kindreds by their ground based nature. If you can set them up in a good place, they can be one of the most effective units in your army, but they're usually not very survivable. 


4 Heavy weapons
Second best for building specific kinds firepower
Ablative wounds
Good Reach
Still just power armoured marines
No good way of making an impact for their price
10 Devastators with either Lascannons or missile launchers. 200-220 points
This is a nice firepower build. Missile launchers give flexibility allowing the player to take on a range of foes from enemy marines to nids and guard. Lascannons give good anti-monster and anti-tank. 
10 Devastators with Heavy Bolters - 180 points
Not the strongest build, but some armies just need anti-infantry. There's a steep price to them, but if you need what they offer, it's worth consideration. 
10 Devastators with Multi-meltas - 180 points
Not very powerful given the lack of long range, but if you need an area denied to your enemy, this is a good way to do it. Not very good against FMC spam, or infantry. Acceptable against tanks. 
Chapter Tactics
Imperial Fists give good chapter tactics for every one of the above builds. Ultramarines, obviously works well. 

Price 7/10 Hard to justify, but it's decent for their price.
Survivability 7/10 The ablative wounds help
Damage Output 7/10 A good amount of output for their price.
Rules 5/10 Nothing of note, unless you go IF/UM. 
Mobility 2(0)/10 No movement capabilities whatsoever.
Ad. Jimsolo of Dakkadakka rightfully pointed out that a score of zero is not reasonable while giving a thunderfire cannon a 5 for what is effectively the same problem. On this basis, the score is raised. Devs are still more hindered by not being able to move, however.
Overall 6/10 A solid choice, if you can take having a static option.

Centurion Devastators 

T5, 2 wounds with 2+. 
Excellent output
Can cater to long ranged anti-tank, close ranged anti-infantry (light or heavy, but not both) 
Can fire on the move
Slow, with it being relatively expensive to make them fast. 
No overwatch
3 Centurions with TLLC and ML. 270 points
I put this build with kantor in a firestorm redoubt. Kantor never dies and I have solid output all game. They can move out of the building and still shoot if they need to. 
3-6 centurions with Grav Cannon/Amp and ML - 270~540 points
Want a deathsatar? Done.
Above, but with Tigurius and Farsight, or using drop beacons along with buffmander
A quasi-farsight bomb with the deathstar in the allies section. Grav cannons crump anything at 24" range and farsight ensures you dispatch with combats quickly and that you can gate effectively.
Chapter Tactics
Imperial Fists works best. 

Price 6/10 Probably about 10 points too much each, but reasonable.
Survivability 6/10 No invulnerable save hurts, but T5 makes up for this somehow.
Damage Output 10/10 Unrivalled in a vacuum. 
Rules 7/10 Relentless makes these guys.
Mobility 4/10 Expensive or unneeded.
Overall 6.6/10 Very solid choice. 

Thunderfire Cannon

4 blasts with varying roles for varying needs. 
Very flexible
No ablative wounds, techmarine can't take servitors, techmarine doesn't have independent characters.
two of these hiding on a skyshield or firestorm redoubt.
8 blasts a turn, what infantry do you need slowed/killed?
Chapter Tactics
None really helps it.

Price 9/10 Very point-efficient.
Survivability 6/10 T7 helps, but not much.
Damage Output 9/10 Tactical flexibility so rarely goes hand-in-hand with excellent output. 
Rules 8(7)/10 The multiple fire modes of the thunderfire cannon go a long way to making effective. Since it can cause difficult and/or dangerous terrain to the target and still hurt them for S4, it can be very effective at slowing down infantry and non-beasts fast-movers - 4 of them means you can potentially affect quite a few targets.. The Ignores cover is pretty nice.
Ad. I forgot about Bolster defences! Thanks to Nevelon of Dakkadakka for pointing this out for me.
Mobility 5/10 You don't move it. Who cares when it has a 60" range.
Overall 7.4/10 One of the stronger units in the codex, in my opinion. 

Main Battle Tanks 


Cheap chassis with good output for points
Av13 OTF.
Can't be taken in squadrons of 3 just yet. 
Predator with AC/LC build. - 115 points
5 points cheaper than it was in 5th, this build is very solid for anti-tank output. Shame it can't get skyfire. 
Predator with AC/HB build - 95 points
Solid anti-infantry unit. 8 shots at high strength AP4 should put most enemies down.

Price 8/10 Very good price for what you get. Shame you can't get more. 
Survivability 6/10 AV13 mitigates the HP factor in a S7 rich environment. 
Damage Output 7/10 Respectable
Rules 5/10 
Mobility 4/10 Mediocre, and you don't really want to unless you're going to be snap shooting anyway/
Overall 6/10 Very nice choice for the price. Still a great damn shame you can't get more.


Cheap Chassis
Needs to get close with AV11/10 OTS/R
Factory edition - 125 points. 
I don't think I need to make much of an argument for this build. There's no real reason to add more to it. 

Price 7/10 Took a price hike from last edition, but still a good performer for the price
Survivability 4/10 AV13 is nice and all, but when you need to get so close it starts to hurt. 
Damage Output 6/10 Hinderred by its speed
Rules 5/10 
Mobility 6/10 One weapon means it's usually on the move, but you need to be on the move towards your enemy and that's not always wise. 
Overall 5.6/10 Decent for its price. Three of them will make a good anti-infantry workhorse if you have the needed skyfire. 

Long Range Support Tanks 


Long Range anti-infantry
Easy to hide
If it's seen and it's dangerous, it's toast.
Factory Settings: 
Why pay more for less? The whirlwind does exactly what it would do no matter what upgrades you buy it. Adding to the price doesn't add to the effectiveness.

Price 9/10 Very nice is a by-word for underpriced.
Survivability 5/10 the lack of a need to be in sight makes this AV11 chassis fairly safe.
Damage Output 6/10 You'll enjoy it when you need it, but what marines list needs more anti-infantry? 
Rules 6/10 - barrage is a powerful tool
Mobility 4/10 It doesn't move, it hides. 
Overall 5.8/10 Its price carries the day, a solid choice, if not the most needed, but thunder fires can do it better.


Excellent anti-flyer weapon
Afterthought can scare flyers into leaving the board. 
AV12 OTF/S. 
Skyfire works on wave serpents.
Next to useless against ground-based targets. 
Factory settings. 
This unit will perform better than you might think, holding its own against any flyer you need dead. Even if they miss, they have a reasonable chance of doing something eventually, which is nice. 

Price 6/10 Decent for what you get. 
Survivability 5/10 If it's a threat, it'll die pretty soon. If it isn't, it'll ensure you don't get tabled. 
Damage Output 6/10 Very nice against its "niche". It's a good thing this niche is a huge part of the game. It's brought down by its inability to deal with anything but its niche. 
Rules 8/10 Armourbane and savant lock make this unit a worthwhile take.
Mobility 6/10 It can move fast against enemies it can't hurt, and it can shoot hard against enemies it can. 
Overall 6.2/10 If you need anti-air, this could be worth it. 


Quad Gun for less than an ADL
There's nothing special about the quad gun, unless you *really* want to fire at BS2 - could be useful if you need to fire at multiple targets to cause grounding tests.
Factory settings
Although even then, a quad gun would probably serve you better. It would have interceptor, too. 

Price 5/10 Decent for what you get, I guess.
Survivability 5/10 Read: hunter.
Damage Output 5/10 Good at causing grounding tests, otherwise go with a quad gun. Good at supplementing a quad gun's output. 
Rules 6/10 I've got to admit, there are places where that Servo tracking could actually be useful, but there's only ever one fateweaver. 
Mobility 5/10 Does it really need to move much? 
Overall 5.2/10 Very mediocre.

Land Raiders 


AV14 all 'round
PotMS is still useful
You know how nobody expects the inquisition? Yeah, well nobody expects five of these rocking up.
You can charge out of it
Poor damage output
The build is the same for all of these in my mind; On each Land Raider you take it as it stands with a multi-melta. 260 points.
this gives you a bit of forward-moving anti-tank with a nice counter-punch potential. Also good at blocking charges.

Price 3/10 Given its hull points, the Land Raider needed a price drop. 
Survivability 6/10 AV14 is still a pretty tough nut to crack.
Damage Output 3/10 Awful output is only mitigated by PotMS. Two TLLC is not that good anymore.
Rules 7/10 the Land Raider's saving graces is giving a unit an effective assaulting platform that's hard to crack and that it can use PotMS while moving 12". 
Mobility 6/10 PotMS ensures the land raider is still relatively effective on the march.
Overall 5/10 The worst of the land raider bunch, but not by much. 


AV14 all around.
Good anti-infantry output
High Capacity
Excellent assault platform with the potential to shear ablative wounds from the charge recipient. 
Crusader with a multi-melta
Multi-melta gives you some anti-tank punch through POTMS, while your tank focusses on infantry. 

Price 4/10 Marginally better than a land raider godhammer, but only because its weapons can do more. 
Survivability 5/10 This Land Raider needs to waltz within 12" to be effective. Not a pretty sight when your opponent brings his meltaguns to bear.
Damage Output 6/10 Decent if you're in range, and you'll have to be if you're using it right.
Rules 6/10 Giving assault grenades and assault out-of-transport capabilities to centurions or terminators is huge. Also, PotMS. 
Mobility 7/10 It's 24" range ensures that it will move as quickly as it can for its first few turns. 
Overall 5.6/10 A strong take, if you really like assault.


AV14 all around
Decent infantry transport capacity
Good anti-MEQ tank
Excellent assault platform
Minute range forces you to be within assault range.
Guns need torrent
Gets within melta range.
Redeemer with Multi-melta.
Same build as the crusader, but it can move faster because it won't be doing much at 24". 

Price 5/10 The best of the lot, with good weapons to boot. 
Survivability 4/10 Remember what I said about the crusader? That. But worse.
Damage Output 7/10 Excellent at clearing out cheap meq cockblockers for your terminators/whatever.
Rules 6/10 Read: crusader
Mobility 7/10 Its tiny range forces it to move very quickly. 
Overall 5.8/10 Strongest of the land raiders, the weakest Heavy Support choice in this codex.

Storm Raven

Flyer with AV12 all round (I.e; AV15.)
Decent infantry transport capacity
Good Anti-infantry and tank platform, decent dogfighter.
Acceptable assault platform
Can deliver two units into assault very effectively
Very vulnerable when it unloads cargo
AV12 doesn't cut it if it's not in the sky
Can kill two units it's trying to deliver into assault very effectively.
Iron Fists with Hurricane bolters, multi-melta and assault cannon - 230 points
IF you take this build, your tank will be effective at engaging just about any target - it has missiles to put hurt on tanks and monsters, and a lot of dakka to put hurt on infantry and those with invulnerable saves. 

Price 7/10 Would probably still be reasonable if it were taken at 250 points (with hurricanes)
Survivability 6/10 Excellent, unless you need it to deliver charge cargo.
Damage Output 8/10 Rivalled by almost none in terms of versatility.
Rules 5/10 Read: crusader. Read: Flyer rules
Mobility 10/10 Very capable of delivering your units into the thick of combat, can get anywhere quickly. Can also allow you to deepstrike centurions, if you're into that.
Overall 7.2/10 A solid choice if you have the points.

The winner:

The Storm raven and the thunderfire cannon tie, for two very similar reasons. Both are relatively underpriced and do a lot for that price. Both are very capable of completing multiple roles, although the stormraven's roles are more geared towards doing damage and the thunderfire only has strength against foot troops. 

Overall winner:

Wait for it... It's a Three way tie! 

There are three units that take the cake for my "top of the pops" of the Space Marine Codex. They are:

Tigurius: 8.4 for his versatility as an HQ. 
Command Squad: 8.4 For their damage output as an elite unit
Biker Marine Squad: 8.4 for their extreme versatility and the role of being a useful troops choice in the Space Marine Codex. 

This concludes my coverage of the space marine Codex. I will be doing a quick review of the weapons of the Space Marine codex (both assault and shooting) over the  next three or so weeks, so stay tuned!

If you'd like me to review your current-ed codex, leave a comment on either this page or the redirecting Dakkadakka thread. 

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Reviewing the SM codex, Part 5: Fast Attack


Okay, I lied. This, this here is the saddest entry in SM. Fast Attack makes the Elites look like they've got their shit together. That said, this is the stomping ground of the venerable Land Speeder, who takes his place at the top of the list in terms of scores, only because bikes are so much better as troops. 

Assault Squad 

3+ save meant for close combat 
At most 4 attacks per man at S4AP-
No feasible means of anti-tank
No feasible means of anti MEQ/TEQ
No feasible means of getting into combat.
0 Assault Marines - 0 points. 
Okay, maybe a serious build
5 guys with a flamer in a razorback
dirty deeds done dirt cheap. Basically a tactical marine squad for rooting out a late game objective holder. Go home if they have a 3+ save. 
Chapter Tactics
Ravenguard, although any chapter tactics works - they're on the shelf anyway.

Price 5/10 Justifiability doesn't mean worthwhile.
Survivability 3/10 So awful that they never get shot at and thus, never die; an honorary 5/10 for this.
Damage output 2/10 These guys are giving Scout Marines a run for their money.
Rules 3/10 ATSKNF would be nice, if they could score
Mobility 6/10 Deepstriking would be invaluable on a troop. Unfortunately, this is not a troop.
Overall 3.8/10 Awful unit, but I can't in my right mind give it too bad a score. 

Space Marine Bike Squad 

83 points for a 30" melta threat radius first turn? That's reasonable. Attack bikes do it better. 
Good source of cheap special weapons
Tough, for what it costs.
Tiny Squad Size
You wouldn't really run more than one or two unless you were going bike squads.
3 bikers with meltaguns or flamers with white scars
Meltaguns give you a decent anti-tank bonus. Bikers with flamers can root out pathfinders exceptionally well
Chapter Tactics
Korsarro Khan's variation on White Scars

Price 7/10 Cheap as chips is what you pay for. 
Survivability 6/10 Not bad for a 3-man squad.
Damage output 8/10 This can be a major threat first turn without really being a loss when it dies. 
Rules 6/10 white scars or bust
Mobility 8/10 Not being troops makes this iteration of bikes less effective, but they're still good. 
Overall 7/10 Pretty damn good, even if they don't score.

Attack Bike 

Tanky T5 with 2 wounds and a heavy weapon
Good range 
Good Suicide unit that takes a bit of firepower to bring down.
Tiny unit size
Usually dies quickly
relatively expensive
the trick only works once.
3 attack bikes with multi-meltas - 165 pts
A bit more expensive than the other version, but more output and it can reach further. Definitely a good buy if you need to deal with a lot of armour quickly. 
Another interesting build to try is 
3 attack bikes with heavy bolters - not awfully effective at 135 pts, but sometimes all you want is a bit of extra mid-range shooting attacks. 
Chapter Tactics
White Scars, but this unit works okay with anything really. You want to outflank it but it can do being used as a mid-gam killer if you hide it well. 

Price 6/10 Price is reasonable, but not great.
Survivability 8/10 Hard to rub out.
Damage output 6/10 Reasonable.
Rules 5/10 I give them honorary Eternal warrior status
Mobility 6/10 Awe inspiring for such a bulky unit. 
Overall 6.2/10 Deece. 

Squad Scout Bike Squad 

5 S6AP4 shots into the rear of a serpent sounds like nothing until you find it being useful midgame. 
reasonably hardy
Very cheap
Scouts without scoring
Easy enough to kill with the right shooting.
3 bikers with 2 AGL - 64 pts 
Chapter Tactics
Everything bar white scars, since it's wasteful in WS. 

Price 8/10 Awesome.
Survivability 5/10 Not good, but not bad.
Damage output 6/10 Great, for their price.
Rules 6/10 Outflank is worth the BS3. 
Mobility 6/10 Outflanking is good on a unit with T5, even if it can't score.
Overall 6.2/10 They aren't an *excellent* choice, but they fill a nice niche if you have 60 or so points left over.

Storm Talon 

Decent output
BS5 against ground targets
Can double-up threat counts second turn.
AV11, 2 hull points
I wouldn't really run them any other way than with a TML for 145* - it's just a wasteful unit to not be at least capable against all flyers.

Dakkadakka's Deschenus Maximus runs them with the skyhammer, for 125 points. He finds that they're better against FMC who have a 3++, or a save worse than 3+. (so Daemons.)
If you want something that's arguably better against AV10 and unnoticably better against AV11, you might want to consider this build. But, I don't endorse it. 

Price 5(4)/10 Not really justified. if they had HP3, sure.
Ad. Price was incorrect. 
Survivability 3(2)/10 A joke
Ad. They are Invulnerable to bolters, something which landspeeders can't claim
Damage output 7/10 They make up for their Survivability here.
Rules 7/10 Awesome.
Mobility 7/10 Being able to fly on with another unit can be gold. 
Overall 5.6/10 Not the best, but not the worst flyer in the game.

* Thankyou to Deschenus Maximus of Dakkadakka for pointing out my mistake.

Land Speeder Squadron

Decent output
Good against FMC
Fast enough when firing
can be very fast if you plan on firing at an FMC.
AV10, 2 HP - made up in part by jink save.
3 with CML - 225 pts
they put out more missile launcher shots than a devastator team for roughly the same price. They sacrifice survivability for mobility and then gain back some survivability with their save.
3 with 2x HB - 180 pts
Not a strictly speaking excellent choice, but 18 S5AP4 shots will do, on average, a grounding test and .33 of a wound to a hive tyrant FMC.
3x 2x HB - 180 pts
The above, but as 3 seperate units. Much less survivable and a hindrance in both the scouring and kill points, but if you're likely to face lots of FMC, it could make it up by giving you on average, 3 grounding tests per turn. 
3 with 2x MM - 240 pts
Not an awful choice; it does the same thing as 2 attack bike squadrons for a 28% price reduction - of course, you'll overkill the unit you do hit and you can't move as fast with these guys.
3x 2x MM - 240 points.
Lets you target 3 different units, but shares problems that the 3x 2x HB unit has. 

Price 6/10 Reasonable, but not great.
Survivability 3(4)/10 Jink saves go some way to mitigating their weaknesses.
Ad. Math on AV10 with jinks doesn't make them as good as I felt they were, even in HP6 squads.
Damage output 9/10 Can rival and beat out devastator teams.
Ad. They're better than a devastator team against certain targets.
Rules 6/10 They have them, you just don't bother. 
Mobility 6(8)/10 They beat devastators at their own game.
Ad. Can't go quite as quickly as I thought they could.
Overall 6.0/10 Possibly one of the most personalisable units in SM, and that's pretty cool. 

This concludes my coverage of the Space Marine Fast Attack Slot, and I doubt that any of my beliefs are that surprising; we all know that SM fast attack is lacking, like most slots in this army book to the naked eye. Once you start to find the units you like though, the outlook becomes less bleak. 

Stay tuned next week for the next installment of... Yeah, this isn't a serial. We're doing Heavy supports sometime before the monday after the 11th.


Ad. stands for changes made after the post was presented. This is where I've gone back and I've changed values because I'd misinterpreted rules or I'd made blatant mistakes, as is the case with stormtalon pricing.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Reviewing the SM codex, Part 4: Elites


So, now we approach the fourth part of this little series, and most probably my saddest entry. Elites are a shamble in Space Marines, with the space marine's legendary unwillingness to be more customisable coming through. There is no Riptide here, and there is no definitively good unit in terms of output. But, you can always scrape together something.


There's been some complaint about my ratings system, because they're not happy with my rating of one unit against another, I must point out that I never claimed that these ratings were indicative of the unit's abilities compared to other units in the same slot. While I do moderate my levels so they are consistent, certain units get extra or less points for the same rules, simply because they interact with the rule differently. 

You would complain if a car only carried two litres of peterol, but you don't complain that your lawn-mower does. You can't compare Tactical Marines Special rules to Crusader Squad's Special rules, because they do not interact the same way.

Finally, Vehicles receive no chapter tactics suggestions. Iron hands and white scars are the only ones that affect it anyway. Also, vehicles are quite capable of having no rules. IF this is the case, they will get a 5/10 because they aren't hindered by special rules either. 

Power Armoured 

These two are the power armoured veterans of the army, with options thrown in. Being relatively cheap with 2 attacks and nice enough rules; the former is a much-improved, much more flexible and customisable version of the lauded tactical marine squad, the latter is what assault marines are already. 

Sternguard Veterans 

Special Issue Ammunition
Can get two special weapons
Can get combi weapons for every man
2 attacks, leadership 9
fairly cheap, at 25 points per model. 
Position as a scoring unit that is not fast attack or heavy support means that they're a safe unit for scoring during both big guns never tire and the scouring.
Still a tactical marine, just a point extra of leadership and attacks.
nearly twice to almost three times the price of that tactical marine
Can get pricy, with combi-weapons
Combi-weapons are the most literal example of a "Blown load"
10 Sternguard with 4 Combi-gravs, 4 Combi-meltas, Meltagun and grav gun in a drop pod, 370 points. Weighing in at a hefty 33.5 points per model, these 10 sternguard are the very definition of an alpha strike. Need that land raider, manticore, bastion or vital enemy vehicle destroyed? The meltaguns can do it. Need a Wraithknight, hive tyrant, riptide or daemon prince downed? Call on those grav gunners. You can take out two vital targets in one go, and do it well. You have to ask whether or not 370-740 points is worth making the rest of the game safe for you
10 Sternguard with 4 combi-gravs, 4 combi-meltas, drop pod. 345 points. Slightly cheaper version of the above, to be run forward during kill points and defensively during scoring missions. This is how I run them.
5 sternguard with 5 combi-meltas, drop pod. 205 points.  An excellent alphastrike unit, with real throw-away potential. They get the drop on your opponent, and from there on are completely unthreatening. Assuming you've gotten first blood, your opponent probably won't bother. 
Chapter Tactics
Imperial Fists. Bolter drill might not be that great for them, but kantor makes them exceedingly useful. 'tis a shame they're not simply made troops, as then you could drop 110~240 points from your list and that's enough for another squad of sternguard. 
Failing in that, ultramarines could work. As could white scars if you want to outflank or scout with them. But why would you use anything but kantor with this unit? 

Price 7/10 They justify their 11 point price increase over tactical marines, but not enough to make their price that much better.
Survivability 4/10 They're more threatening than tactical marines. This makes them higher up on the shit list. They're no more survivable. 
Damage Output 7/10 Don't fuck with them - they wound wraithknights on a 2+. 
Rules 9/10 They're scoring, and special issue ammunition makes them extremely flexible, with hellfire rounds being statistically better on overwatch than bolters with re-roll 1's. They can take combi-weapons, which while not a rule, might as well be since it is a permission. 
Mobility 8/10 In drop pods, they get right where they need to be, quickly. They have the output to make them getting there worthwhile.
Overall 7/10 This is very much a tactical marines+ unit, and that's exactly what we needed in elites. 

Vanguard Veterans

2 attacks, LD9
Can get the weapons to be decent in assault.
Gets expensive when you put weapons on them
Assault Marine+. They can't score, they can't benefit from Ultramarines tactics.
10 Vanguard Veterans with 4 Power Axes, jump packs. 280 points
They aren't going to do much, but it'll hurt a bit if they get into assault. It's a shame they can't assault off the deepstrike, or they would be gold. 
Chapter Tactics
Ravenguard, I guess.

Price 3/10 Not enough is good or effective about them to make 19-22 ppm worthwhile.
Survivability 3/10 Threatening enough to make it onto the shitlist, not effective enough to make them worthwhile.
Damage Output 3/10 Awful. They need a chaplain or something to make them good.
Rules 3/10 Heroic Intervention is a joke now. 
Mobility 1/10 They need to assault, but have no way to get the drop on their opponent.
Overall 2.6/10 If I've overlooked something, I apologise. I can just find no justification, except fluff for this unit. 

Terminator Armoured 

2+5++ was once the king of 40k, with so many armies scrambling for the most terminators in their army. One even succeeded, with paladins being one of the most powerful armies for a long time. Unfortunately, these marines are not nearly as good; moreover, who the hell takes paladins anymore?

Assault Terminators 

Gods of assault, hard to knock down, and hard beat in terms of output. Their damage output rivals that of 3 devastators, but first you need to get them there.
Hardy, second only the paladins in the terminator armour races. 
Overwatch, Hull Points on Land Raiders, and storm ravens not being reliable have all detracted from their usefulness. 
5 with 5 thunderhammers, land raider redeemer and Cassius or a chaplain. Best taken with a burning blade chapter master for I5 output. 465 points Plus characters. 
This unit still puts out a lot of hurt in assault. They ruin everything but wraithknights (including wraithknights with a chaplain and a single casualty only.)
Chapter Tactics
Ironhands, although just about anything works. They're hardy anyway. Ultramarines works well. 

Price 4/10 These guys were gods in fifth. They're hard to justify now.
Survivability 7/10 2 wounds would be nice, but they're still so hardy that it doesn't matter. You feel every loss.
Damage Output 9/10 Rivals 3 devastator teams.
Rules 5/10 nothing special.
Mobility 3/10 they really need a land raider. 
Overall 5.6/10 They're good, they just aren't great.

Tactical Terminators

Still Terminators
Get 2 missiles per turn, as well as 10 boltguns. Makes for a relatively good anti-infantry shooting. 
Good overwatch output
5++ only. 
5 terminators with CML. Transport optional. 
Seriously a pretty good unit. Doesn't have the output that a devastator squad does, but it's nice. Put behind skyshield for best results.
10 terminators with 2 CML. Land Raider Redeemer, Chaplain, ADL Skyshield 710 + characters/Fort
Put 2 CML behind fortification for your firebase. They get a 2+3+4++5++ on the skyshield, which is admirable. Against everything but eldar and tau, combat squad the teams, putting the other 5 in the land raider and marching them over to your enemy as a counterpunch unit.
Chapter Tactics
Anything goes.

Price 3/10 40 points is not reasonable for terminators in 6th edition.
Survivability 4/10 Their price makes them a tough loss.
Damage Output 6/10 Decent. Can make up two separate elements of your army quite nicely. 
Rules 5/10 Nothing special.
Mobility 4/10 They can make use of deepstrikes.
Overall 4.2/10 They aren't great, but they aren't terrible either.


Dreadnoughts were kind of a big thing when I started 40k. I loved my first dreadnought to bits. So much so that I've been scavenging bits off of it ever since. Unfortunately, this doesn't make dreadnoughts good. Like most walkers, they suffer from having all the problems monsters do with none of the benefits, and excellent move to output ratios without the weaponry to make use of it. 


AV12/12/10 with 3 HP. 
Good range of long-range firepower
Cheap Firesupport
No Combat ability
Hindered if you give it combat capabilities. 
AV12 isn't that hard when it's a threat. 
2x TLAC, 120 pts. The original, the best. 4 S7AP4 shots gives decent output, with 1 guaranteed hit. a hit with any army that wants long range firesupport, but I don't feel its worth it anymore.
TLLC and ML 135. Not quite as good, and overshadowed by the Stormtalon's output, but this dreadnought can still put out a bit of hurt. Worth it if you need more high-strength than anti-air. 

Price 7/10 Nice and cheap. 
Survivability 7/10 Decent.
Damage Output 6/10 Decent.
Rules  5/10 None whatsoever.
Mobility 4/10 6" moves hinder this vehicle's distance covering, but it does okay since it's always shooting.
Overall 5.8/10 Not the best walker on the market, but probably the best for Marines.


AV12/12/10, 3 HP with a  2.7% chance of exploding against AP 3 to -, 11% chance of exploding against AP 2 and a 25% chance against AP1. 
Good Accurate range of long range firepower
Cheapish survivable firesupport
Meh Combat ability
Hindered if you give it combat capabilities
AV12 isn't hard when it's a threat. 
IF you haven't realised, Venerable Dreads are the same as dreads with a rule, +1 WS and BS. Their builds are the same, they've just bought Venerable. 

Price 5/10 Still pretty cheap. 
Survivability 8/10 It'll take more than 1 lascannon to put baby down. 
Damage Output 7/10 Better than the standard. 
Rules 7/10 Venerable is good if you understand math.
Mobility 4/10 See: dreadnought
Overall 6.2/10 For a hefty price increase, dreadnoughts get better.


AV13/13/10 with 3 HP
Good at close range.
Good in assault
Good at getting into assault, if it's not the primary threat
Still a tank
Still dies to one lascannon.
Bare bones is fine. Throw on ironclad assault launchers if you've got points, and put it in a drop pod and you're set. (170-80 pts)

Price 5/10 Decent for the chassis and output. 
Survivability 8/10 AV13 is great in a world run by AV11/12.
Damage Output 5/10 It gets into assault. isn't that enough?
Rules 5/10 Nothing of Note.
Mobility 5/10 You want it near your enemy, it can do this. It needs to be shot at for a turn first, though.
Overall 5.6/10 Not too good, but not too bad either. 


Legion of the Damned 

3++ save.
2 attacks each
decent at range and in combat, relentless.
Ignores Cover
Fear, which is nice.
Dies even harder to boltguns.
5 with Combi-, multi- and meltagun. 155 pts. 
A decent deepstrike unit that's none too afraid of intercepting enemies. It'll get 3 Melta shots into an important target, then it'll take a bit of eradicating, meaning you have a turn with only half firepower being thrown your way. 

Price 6/10 Not good, but reasonable.
Survivability 7/10 Annoying to kill, but hurtful when they die. 
Damage Output 8/10 They'll only get one turn in, but it'll hurt. 
Rules 7/10 Nice. Fear will be overlooked until it helps you against a target without fearless or ATSKNF.
Mobility 7/10 They get there, even if they scatter.
Overall 7/10 Really nice unit, that's often overlooked. Don't let their price dissuade you; they're not as good as sternguard, but they're still worth a try.

Centurion Assault Squad

T5, 2W with 2+. 
S9AP2 attacks
No negatives for charging through terrain, doesn't feel charges too bad.
Good weapons
No invulnerable save, no way to get one. 
Not a veteran squad, making those assault drills a little wasteful. 
5 in a crusader with a chaplain, 1 with IAS, 4 with hurricane bolters. All take meltaguns. 575 pts + character
A good, solid assault unit that should get into assault against all but the tauiest of overwatchers. Once in assault, they'll dish out hurt against any monster not designed for combat, and will wrec tanks and infantry alike. Try to hide them in combats for your enemy's turn, because they'll feel it if they get fired on. 
Chapter Tactics
Iron hands, although ultramarines and salamanders also work here.

Price 2/10 Very hard to justify
Survivability 5/10 T5 is nice, but wasted without an invulnerable save. 
Damage Output 6/10 You can sniff at it. 
Rules 6/10 MTC is kinda nice, not very useful but it's there?
Mobility 3/10 They need a land raider, can't deepstrike.
Overall 4.4/10 Awful unit, but not the worst. 


This concludes my coverage of the elites section of the Space Marine Codex. Tune in sometime before next monday for my coverage of the Fast Attack or Heavy Support Slot! 

No, I haven't decided whether I want a lot of depression or a lot of writing just yet.