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Codex Review: Space Marines - Final Overview

The Space Marine codex review is finally at an end. I thought I would finish off with a sort of summary article on units broken down into FoC and then give the codex a final rating and see how it compares to other books.

If you missed the previous review articles here they are:

Space Marines HQ Review
Space Marines Troops Review
Space Marines Elites Review
Space Marines Fast Attack Review
Space Marines Heavy Support Review
Space Marines Special Characters Review

Final Overview


The Space Marine HQ choices haven't changed a huge amount, mostly seen some points drops and I feel that's because GW felt like that had to change something.

Captain and Chapter Master are pretty much the same except the Chapter Master has an extra wound and attack along with the orbital bombardment for a fair bit extra points. Personally I would keep it cheap and go the Captain route. I seem to have an attraction to the burning blade, but taking a wound isn't good, but to be fair it is only on the roll of a 1. I have read people mentioning about the shield eternal (grants eternal warrior and adamantium will), though I feel 50 points for this is a bit much especially since the Captain or Chapter Master should be on a bike (makes units of 5 or less bikers troops).

Command Squad is pretty much the same though with some adjusted points costs. A unit of these with quad grav guns will be nasty. I wouldn't be surprised to see plasma either with an Apothecary.

Chaplain and Librarian are practically the same. It is a bit bizarre the Librarian can only be mastery level 2. Is this a mistake in the codex?

Honour Guard are behind the pack, they are cheap, but you need a Pod and even though they are in 2+ armour save they will still go down quickly to low AP or small arms fire.


Tactical Squads are much better now they can take a single special weapon for a unit of five dudes or a single heavy weapon. I wouldn't be surprised to see armies using Imperial Fist chapter tactics so can re-roll 1's with those bolters and Ultramarine armies so they can re-roll to hit (once). MSU Tact units will probably make a come back.

Scouts have taken a nice dip in points and can take Speeder Storms as dedicated. This can make a nice distraction unit and if survives can get in an alpha strike if going second.

Crusader Squads are only available to Black Templars. They will be good for doing large Space Marine units or Land Raider Crusader spam. They also have the benefit of taking a 'hidden' special close combat weapon, but they are basic Space Marines so only have a single base attack.


I think the Vanguard have lost their gimmick ability and that is what made them stand out and made them different. They can auto interrupt challenges, which might be handy if your warlord etc is getting a pounding, but that's all they do. Bottom line is they are slightly more expensive Assault Marines and with them shifted into elites they can help make a heavy jump army.

Sternguard are still sweet. It is a shame they pay more for combi weapons, but I guess it is fair, why should they get combi weaps cheaper?

Dreadnoughts are pretty much the same, shame only the rifleman setup is cost effective. Venerable Dreadnought is still junk and the Ironclad is mediocre at best. These would be the last units I would take as elites if I am honest.

Legion of the Damned become pretty good as a suicide unit. They can re-roll deep strike scatter dice and their weapons have ignore cover, they also have slow and purposeful so an all melta unit is possible. If you have some spare points and an elite slot then these guys are among the best out the bunch.

Terminators are Terminators, people will still take Assault Terminators even though the hammers cost more, but I think that's fair.

Assault Centurions are just junk. They need a Land Raider to get into combat pumping up their points cost and the T5 will make them harder to kill against small arms but the lack of invulnerable save means low AP weapons will bitch slap them and monstrous creatures will just punk them with smash.

Fast Attack

Assault Squads are pretty piss poor. The only special option available to them is flamers, whoopy doo!

Speeders are ok. The Typhoon which seemed to get a love previously has taken a points drop. I am not a huge fan of the Typhoon pattern personally and prefer the dual multi melta.

Stormtalon is like an annoying wasp, won't bother you at first and then will get on your nerves a little bit. I guess it is ok for a cheap flyer, though it kills infantry and the entire Space Marine codex can do that and against enemy flyers the Stormtalon requires more investing in points. The escort rule is sweet though for reserve bonus :)

Bike Squads will be the rage with grav guns. Scout Bikes on the other hand suck arse.

Heavy Support

Devs are ok, but those missile launchers will still be the choice of weapons and works out roughly the same as the previous codex if I am right. Devs will see a lot of use in Imperial Fist armies as they get tank hunter, well worth the points then.

Centurion Devastators are mildly better than the assault version and that is putting is nicely. The only use I can see them for is bringing the hurt with mass grav cannons, though this is extremely pricey. Unfortunately the models still look shit.

Thunderfire Cannon will be the choice of the precise player thanks to barrage rule. The meta may worry about this thanks to hybrid lists as the Thunderfire can snipe out those important models.

The original three tanks (Predator, Vindicator and Whirlwind) are mostly the same. Land Raiders are pretty much the same, though the Godhammer pattern lost some transport capicity. I doubt 40k will see Land Raiders back in action in the meta for some time.

The Space Marine codex got the addition of the under costed Stormraven; it is about time other chapters got the use out of it. It isn't a bad unit, though to make real use of the assault ramp you need to drop it into skimmer mode = dead. At least units can bail out of it when it is zooming, but they will be standing there looking like lemons. If you do not use the transport ability then you are just paying for two twin-linked missiles and four one shot missiles.

The new anti air ground vehicles, the Stalker and Hunter are average. The Hunter is the worst of the two with the single shot and the little gimmick of a heat seeker missile. The Stalker is the better one, but really is just an autocannon which can split fire and pump shots as BS2. I s'pose the Stalker is cheaper than an ADL with quad gun, but you do not get the protection and the quad gun cannot be taken out in a single shot (rare things can do this i.e wraithcannon).

Special Characters

Most of the special characters are just normal Marine HQ units with a few special rules thrown in. They are pretty expensive for what they do and most of them are average at best. Out of the lost Khan and Tigurius are the best, the others come way behind.

Final Thoughts

The Space Marine codex has some strong troop choices and flexible options for HQ, which is good as these are the required units to play. Elites are pretty strong with only two boo-boo units in there, same for fast attack too. Heavy support seems to be slightly weaker and offers little new and is populated more with older units and then the new stuff heavy support does offer is only something we have seen before or units which are mediocre at the best.

Overall I would give the Space Marine codex a 6.5/10, maybe a 7 once the 40k community gets to grips with it. It feels like the previous codex with a few points and rules changes and then a few new units thrown in and it feels like this was done because Games Workshop forced themselves to do this. I think the Marine codex was just down purely to introduce some flyer related units and to bring the book into line using the 6th ed format and make the book hard back.

I would say the Space Marine codex is probably on par with the Chaos Daemons and Dark Angels codexes, but xenos still rule the roost with Eldar and Tau.

How are you finding the Space Marine codex now it has been around a few weeks?