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17/09/2013

Codex Review: Space Marines - Elites


Rolling out with the new part of the Space Marine codex review; elites. If you missed the previous review you can find it here: Codex Review: Space Marines - Elites

Vanguard Veterans

The Vanguard have taken massive changes in the new Space Marine codex; they have moved from fast attack to elite, taken a huge 30 point decrease and have lost the ability to assault from deep strike.

Vanguard were the only unit in the game which could assault from deep strike. Now their rule allows them to auto pass tests for glorious intervention and they do not lose the +1 attack from disordered charges (multi charge). Vanguard wasn't that popular previously due to their high points cost, but the assault from deep strike ability could be a game changer as it allowed Vanguard to assault before the enemy unit could react. I guess this is why the rule was changed. However, now they can auto take over in glorious intervention, this is great if you warlord is taking a pasting and you need some regular joe to take the pain for you.

The Vanguard have options for close combat weapon weaponry which cost the same as previously. They also have options for plasma and grav pistols, though considering the cost I wouldn't bother with these. Storm shields have taken a points drop, but are they worth it on a single wound model? I don't think so as torrent of fire will still bring them down etc.

Another change is that the Sgt doesn't get the power weapon as standard.

One of the biggest changes to Vanguard is the huge decrease in jump packs, these have taken a massive 7 points decrease.

Summary

Vanguard were begging for a change since they got introduced in the last codex and have now been given those much needed changes. However, they lost their uniqueness and feel just like a more expensive Assault Squad who can take more melee weapons. The glorious intervention is nice, especially if a character is taking a pasting and you do not want them to get butt whipped. The added bonus of having Vanguard in the elite section does allow you to do a heavy jump themed army - Raven Guard anyone with stealth and infiltrate with Shrike?

Rating: 6.5/10

Sternguard Veterans

Sternguard have taken a small points decrease by 3 points per model other than that they remain the same.

Options remain the same for the Sternguard i.e heavy weapons, melee weapons for the Sgt etc. Combi weapons have doubled in points cost though. The combi options are nice, though I wouldn't take combi flamers as dragon rounds ignore cover already. Grav might be handy and so will plasma as Sternguard lack AP2. Melta is going to be at the top for tank busting as it gives the Sternguard a little flexibility.

Summary

Still the old cool Sternguard with a nice points deduction on the side. Pedro still makes them scoring, which is sweet if you fancy a Sternguard heavy list.

Rating: 8/10

Dreadnought

Like everything else the Dreadnought has taken a points reduction; 5 points loss.

Usual weaponry is available, some of it is very cheap i.e twin-linked autocannon while the twin-linked lascannon is still silly high. The second twin-linked autocannon is more costly than previously, but thanks to the Dreadnought's overall point reduction it still works out cheaper for the Rifleman setup.

The Venerable Dreadnought has lost it's own unit and now is an upgrade for the Dreadnought. It costs a damn lot cheaper as well - 40 points difference! Still works the same though, which is a shame as can be glanced to death. I would have thought Venerable might allow re-roll failed cover saves or something.

Summary

Same old same old. Keep in mind that the Master of the Forge can make Dreadnoughts heavy support as well as elite - that's all Dreadnoughts by the way.

Rating: 7.5/10

Ironclad Dreadnought

Well, I am shocked, a unit that didn't get a points reduction!

The Ironclad is the same unit as before, though some wargear is cheaper such as switching the meltagun for a flamer is now free and the ironclad grenade launchers are now 10 points. I am quite surprised you have to pay extra for grenades considering the Ironclad is an assault Dreadnought.

The seismic hammer got labelled as AP1 as well. It already was in its own way as the hammer gave +1 on the vehicle damage chart.

Summary

I used to love the Ironclad Dreadnought though when I used them I found them to be very meh and I think that is still the case. They have a single role and that's vehicle destruction or building smashing. They do not have a huge amount of fire power or enough close combat attacks to work as a dedicated close combat slaying machine. Not to mention the age of assault Dreadnoughts is gone.

Rating: 5/10

Legion of the Damned

The LoD (Legion of the Damned) was a unit rarely used in the previous codex. One of those reasons was due to high points cost, which thankfully has been significantly reduced by 30 points.

LoD rules remain the same though they got the addition that their weapons ignore cover. At first glance you might think this is a bit meh as they only have bolters, though these can slay weak troops and xenos etc. Take a longer look and you can see LoD can access special and heavy weaponry - plasma cannon which ignores cover? I think you get the idea. Don't forget they have slow and purposeful so they will be dishing out pain with those heavy weapons all the time.

Summary

Although the LoD have taken a much needed points reduction I still cannot see them getting used them much. They are basically Space Marines with a 3+ inv save and have ignores cover. The ignores cover is nice, but is it worth sacrificing an elite slot for?

Rating: 6/10

Terminators

To keep things simple I am going to look at both Terminator units here. Shockingly these units haven't changed in points.

Terminators saw some points changes for wargear, heavy flamer got more expensive while the assault cannon and cyclone got cheaper.

Unsurprisingly Assault Terminators have to pay 5 points to switch lightning claws to a thunder hammer and storm shield, though this has been the way since the Blood Angels codex.

One big change is dedicated transports. Both units can still take a Land Raider, though now any unit can take a Land Raider while previously it was ONE Terminator squad who could take a dedicated Land Raider. I guess if you are playing big enough games you could get six Land Raiders into an army and three of them loaded up with Terminators.

Summary

Same Terminators we all love and know. Wargear changed points for the better and fair, though strange the heavy flamer went up in points.

Rating: 8.5/10

Centurion Assault Squad

Ah the new Transformers, er I mean Space Marines! :) The Centurions as the new boys on the block and looking to steal the limelight from Assault Terminators. Think of the Centurion as a two wound Terminator with no invulnerable save along with S5 & T5. You can pick up a unit of three for 190 points.

Centurions are armed with a twin-linked flamer, ironclad assault launchers and two siege drills. The siege drills are pretty beefy and are S9 AP2, armourbane specialist weapon. So a Centurion is going to get three attacks on the charge.

You can switch the assault launchers for hurricane bolters, though keep in mind if you do this then the Centurions have no grenades. The flamer can be switched for a meltagun.

The sgt can take a funky thing called an omniscope, this allows the unit to split fire. This is very handy if you have given your unit meltaguns and want to tackle several vehicles at once. If any vehicle survives you can charge it with those nasty siege drills.

The Centurions have the decimator protocols rule which allows them to fire two weapons, though this only comes into play if you have taken the hurricane bolters. They also have slow and purposeful and move through cover.

Summary

I get the impression the Centurions were added because GW felt they had to introduce something new into the codex (after all they added so much new units in the previous codex) and the Centurions give a forced impression. I also feel that they were designed to offer something else for Assault Terminators and while it is swings and roundabouts with survival I feel that Assault Terminators are still better. Add into the mix that the Centurions cannot deep strike so will need a Land Raider if you want to get them any where.

Rating: 4/10

Final Thoughts

Vanguard Veterans have taken much needed points changes, but without their assault from deep strike gimmick I feel they are nothing more than more expensive Assault Marines and can only help in making a themed Assault Marine army. I don't think there's anything to see with these guys, moving on...

Sternguard I feel have taken a points reduction because GW felt they had to do something with them. I don't think Sternguard were silly costed considering what they can do and never have been a bad unit. Ultimately the costs work out the same maybe even more when you start taking the more expensive combi weaponry which has doubled in cost!

It is nice to see the Venerable Dreadnought come down in points, but hull points still make this unit pretty useless for the extra points cost. I also doubt the Ironclad will see much use and really is a cheaper Centurion in vehicle form. The normal Dreadnought still shines the most and the Rifleman pattern has had a nice 5 points discount.

I doubt Legion of the Damned will get used...

Terminators are Terminators, some slightly different points costs and the change for Land Raiders as dedicated. Nothing too amazing.

Centurions just feel like they have been shoehorned into the codex because a new unit had to be added. Assault Terminators are still better and offer more flexibility in terms of deployment. Without a Land Raider the Centurions will rarely see the fight and can be avoid.

That's the elites done and dusted. What are your thoughts and what do you think of the new Centurions?