Sunday, 16 February 2014

Reviewing the SM codex, Part 6: Heavy Support

Preface

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. 

Devastators 

Strengths
4 Heavy weapons
Second best for building specific kinds firepower
Ablative wounds
Good Reach
Weaknesses
Still just power armoured marines
Pricy
No good way of making an impact for their price
Builds
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 

Strengths
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
Weaknesses
Slow, with it being relatively expensive to make them fast. 
No overwatch
Builds
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

Strengths
4 blasts with varying roles for varying needs. 
Very flexible
Weaknesses
No ablative wounds, techmarine can't take servitors, techmarine doesn't have independent characters.
Builds
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 

Predator 

Strengths
Cheap chassis with good output for points
Av13 OTF.
Weaknesses
Can't be taken in squadrons of 3 just yet. 
Builds
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.

Vindicator

Strengths
S10AP2
AV13 OTF
Cheap Chassis
Weaknesses
Needs to get close with AV11/10 OTS/R
Builds
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 

Whirlwind 

Strengths
Cheap-as-chips 
Long Range anti-infantry
Easy to hide
Weaknesses
If it's seen and it's dangerous, it's toast.
Builds
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.

Hunter 

Strengths
Excellent anti-flyer weapon
Afterthought can scare flyers into leaving the board. 
AV12 OTF/S. 
Cheap
Skyfire works on wave serpents.
Weaknesses
Next to useless against ground-based targets. 
Builds
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. 

Stalker

Strengths
AV12 OTF/S.
Quad Gun for less than an ADL
Weaknesses
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.
Builds
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 

Godhammer 

Strengths
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
Weaknesses
Pricey
Poor damage output
Builds
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. 

Crusader 

Strengths
AV14 all around.
Good anti-infantry output
High Capacity
Excellent assault platform with the potential to shear ablative wounds from the charge recipient. 
Weaknesses
Pricey.
Builds
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.

Redeemer

Strengths
AV14 all around
Decent infantry transport capacity
Good anti-MEQ tank
Excellent assault platform
Weaknesses
Minute range forces you to be within assault range.
Guns need torrent
Gets within melta range.
Builds
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

Strengths
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
Weaknesses
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.
Builds
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.