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19/09/2013

Codex Review: Space Marines - Heavy Support


Back with another part of the Space Marine codex review and this time it is the heavy support. If you missed the previous part you can find it here: Codex Review: Space Marines - Heavy Support

Devastators


Devastators have taken a worthy 20 points decrease, which makes these guys a much more attractive option.

There was been some wargear points changes too (these effect all units in the codex not just Devs). The heavy bolter and mutli melta got cheaper while the missile launcher remains the same. You do also have the option of taking flakk missiles, but this can make the Devs pretty expensive though makes them versatile. The plasma cannon and lascannon dropped in points and both become massively cheaper. The plasma cannon is certainly a more viable option.

Summary

The same old Devs as before though have have taken a much needed points drop. Even the signum remains the same which allows one model to get +1 ballistic skill, I have seen this used for a single unique weapon in a squad i.e a single lascannon and three missile launchers.

Rating: 7/10

Centurion Devastators

The Centurion Devs are one of the new units in the Space Marine codex and are the shooty version of their assault brothers. They also cost the same points as the assault Centurions and have an identical profile.

Cent-Devs are anti troop in standard form and come with a twin-linked heavy bolter and also a hurricane bolter. You can switch weaponry the hurricane bolter for missile launcher while the heavy bolter can be switched for a lascannon or grav cannon with grav amp - the latter two pretty expensive, though I wouldn't be surprised to see players using the grav cannon. The grav cannon is a beast with salvo 3/5 and the amp allows re-rolls to wound and damage a vehicle. Keep in mind that the Cent-Devs have slow and purposeful, this makes them relentless so they will be firing 5 shots each with the grav cannon - evil!

If you use Imperial Fists Centurion Devastators get tank hunter and +1 when rolling on the damage table, a nice little perk.

An option the Sgt can take is the omniscope, this allows split fire and can be extremely useful allowing the fire power to be spread and not bunched up tackling a single target.

Cent-Devs have the option to take a land raider as dedicated transport. I can't see them needing it really, though you could spam Land Raider Godhammers for a crap load of twin-linked lascannons.

Summary

Like the assault version, I am still not sold on these. It feels like GW had to jam in something new and shiny to lure people in to buy the new codex. The Centurions really only offer heavy weapons on a more durable infantry platform. There are many units which offer roughly the same for a lot less in points for a example a minimum sized unit with grav cannons will cost 250 points, but to be fair can knock out 15 shots with re-roll to wound!

Rating: 6.5/10

Thunderfire Cannon

I am pretty shocked that GW hasn't changed the Thunderfire Cannon, after all majority of other units have changed! The cannon remains the same, though has got better survivibility thanks artillery rules, though these changes have been around since 6th ed hit a year ago.

All shots from the Thunderfire Cannon have now become barrage, this means the Thunderfire is extremely useful for sniping.

Summary

Same old Thunderfire, still good for hordes and now thanks to the barrage can be handy for sniping out important characters i.e Apothecary or items of wargear i.e banner bearers.

Rating: 7/10

Predator, Vindicator & Whirlwind

The Predator got more expensive as a base cost, though the sponsons and turret took points drops and when added/swapped the Predator build works out cheaper. On a further note the Predator is now the same cost now same cost as CSM unit and makes units uniform across codexes.

The Vindicator took 10 points increase and now matches CSM codex in terms of points costs.

Whirlwind took a massive 20 points reduction and that's about it.

Summary

Same tanks we all love and know. It is nice to see points reductions on the Whirlwind and Predator, I have always thought the lascannon turret was too expensive on the Predator.

Rating: 7.5/10 (Predator), 6.5/10 (Whirlwind) 7/10 (Vindicator)

Hunter

The Hunter is one of the new Space Marine tanks on the block and costs a little less than the standard Predator. If you think of it as an av12 Rhino then you cannot go wrong.

The Hunter is one of two vehicles which offers anti air support and the Hunter does this by using the skyspear missile launcher. The skyspear is 60" S7 AP2, heavy 1, armourbane. It also had a funky savant lock rule which lets you place a counter next to a flyer or flying monstrous creature if you miss. At the start of EACH subsequent phase you roll a D6 and on 5+ the counter is removed while the target suffers a hit from the weapon - vehicles are hit on the rear armour. I'll note that if the target leaves combat airspace then the counter is lost.

Unfortunately the Hunter only has one weapon so it needs a storm bolter adding to add to those random weapon destroyed results.

Summary

The Hunter is a pretty cheap anti air solution, but it lacks interceptor so only can fire at anything flying or skimmers. In addition it's funky tracking rule only works against flyers - doesn't work against skimmers. As the Hunter doesn't have interceptor it means it is very situational and you will only get use out of it if the opponent brings the right units, if not then the Hunter probably won't be firing at all.

The savant lock ability is nice, but can be easily lost if a flyer goes off the board - this of course does take a little pressure off the opponent without a flyer on the table. However it can only fires a single shot and hitting the target is only on a 5+, admittly this is rolled for until you get a 5+.

Rating: 5.5/10

Stalker

The Stalker is the big brother to the Hunter and adds a lot more skyfire to the party. Like the Hunter is it an av12 Rhino, though is a little more expensive than the Hunter, but still reasonable.

The Stalker has the icarus stormcannon array is basically a heavy 4 autocannon which is twin-linked. You can split fire and fire at two different targets, but when doing this you lose the twin-linked rule and this is done as BS2, though the weapon will fires heavy 4 at both targets.

Just like the Hunter the Stalker suffers from single weapon syndrome so needs a storm bolter adding. It also only has the skyfire rule so is only good against flying targets or skimmers.

Summary

I really do like the Stalker and I think it is a more effective anti air solution than the Hunter, it should hit 3.56 shots on average, but against av12 flyers it will only score 1.16 worth of damage. It will be more effective against flying monsters such as Hive Tyrants, Greater Daemons and Daemon Princes etc. You still have the problem that the Stalker has a limited role and that's against flyers and skimmers, if your opponent doesn't bring these then the Stalker is useless.

Rating: 6.5/10

Land Raiders (all variants)

The standard Land Raider dropped back down to transport capacity of 10 and matches the CSM codex. Other two remain the same. Sorry this one is short and sweet, but same old same old.

Summary

Same Land Raiders as before though the Godhammer lost some of it's attraction as it can now only carry 10 models, so if you want a unit of Terminators with a Terminator HQ to go inside the Land Raider then tough chedder or pick another variant.

As much as I like Land Raiders the changes to 6th hasn't been too good for them, particularly the Crusader which could move 6" and fire everything. I think they will stay on the shelf like they have for much of 5th edition.

Rating: 6.5 (Land Raider) 6.0 (Land Raider Crusader) 6.0 (Land Raider Redeemer)

Stormraven

Yay! Space Marines now get a Stormraven! It's about time too, though at this point I do not think it matters as Space Marines got anti air support in the form of the Stormtalon, flakk missiles and the two ground vehicle units.

The Stomraven's missiles changed from other codexes and it now carries stormstrike missiles which are S8 AP2. I believe Blood Angel  bloodstrike missiles are AP1 if I remember right, so a nerf on that, which is a shame and also strange they are different.

Summary

On one hand I am surprised the Stormraven didn't change points cost as it is pretty undercosted for what you get as a flyer. On the other hand I am not, since when do GW increase points by a large magin to make units what they are actually worth?

It is also a shame it doesn't get the AP1 missiles like the Blood Angels counter part. Maybe that will get hit with an FAQ?

Rating: 7.5/10

Final Thoughts

Devs have become fairly cheaper and I can see them being used in Imperial Fist armies for that sweet tank hunter rule. Expect to see them with missile launchers once again.

Centurions are like a hybrid mutant love child of Devastators and Terminators. I feel like GW put these in because they had to include something. There's a lot cheaper units out there who can do a better job, though if you want grav weaponry then these guys are king even if they cost as much as a Land Raider!

Thunderfire is sweet gaining the barrage rule and very reasonably costed. In the metagame of hybrid armies I think it should do really well.

The original tanks (Predator, Vindicator, Whirlwind and all Land Raiders) remainly mostly unchanged. Points decrease is nice, though same the Land Raider got the transport numbers changed, but at least it matches the CSM codex and all is fair.

The new anti air tanks are ok. I think that's all they will ever be and nothing more. The lack of interceptor means they have a limited role on the table top and if the opponent doesn't bring those units these tanks can shoot at or these units are all destroyed then both these tanks will become useless and will only be good for tank shocking, ramming and LOS blocking.

Stormraven is a Stormraven. Shame the missiles got nerfed but it is what it is. It is still a cheap flyer considering what you get, though personally I would like to see a dedicated anti flyer flyer and ditch the transport ability.