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12/09/2013

Codex Review: Space Marines - HQ


The new Space Marine codex is now here and getting those feathers ruffled with the fanbois. Personally I didn't think the SM codex needed that much of an update and from what I have seen the codex is disappointing from an art point of view as it only re-uses old artwork and adds colour.

But anyway, on with the review!

Chapter Master

The Chapter Master is the same boss Marine we all know but do not love. The only and small difference is the CM got a 5 points increase, but when you consider you get chapter tactics (run down post coming later) thrown in with that, which can give you a nice bonus, then I do not think you can complain too much. The Chapter Master also gains an extra attack and wound.

The CM did get one big change and that is allowing bike squads of at least five models to be troop units.

Chapter Master still has the orbital bombardment, which stills works the same way as before.

Summary

Even though the Chapter Master has been given the make your bikes troops option the CM still offers very little besides being able to take Honour Guard. Whatever the Chapter Master can do a Captain can do and costs a fair bit less, though the Captain does have one less attack and one less wound.

Rating: 3/10

Honour Guard

Honour Guard remain the same profile wise though have taken a massive 30 points decrease!

HG can bring a chapter banner and that gives re-roll failed pinning and morale checks for units within 12". In addition all friendly models in the same unit get +1 attack. Consider that Honour Guard have power weapons as standard and have 4 attacks on the charge I do not think it is too bad, however, do make the banner worth while I think you will need a squad of five models.

Honour Guard can also take the relic known as the emperor ascendant. This allows units within 12" and same chapter tactic to re-roll failed morale and pinning checks. In addition units within 6" gain hatred and +1 to assault results while the banner unit have the fear rule.

Summary

While a lot cheaper, the Honour Guard are still normal Marines just in 2+ armour. As they do not have any form of an invulnerable save they can be easily minced by AP2 weapons or below via shooting or close combat.

Rating: 4/10

Captain/Terminator Captain

Same Captain as before though has taken a 10 points drop and gains the chapter tactics rule. Still allows bike units fix strong to be taken as troops choice, of course this isn't optional for a Terminator Captain.

Wargear has had some changed points cost i.e relic blade is now 25 points while artificer armour is 20 points. The popular setup of relic blade, storm shield and artificer armour and grenade launcher is still do-able and is pretty cheap. I couldn't find any mention of the aux grenade launcher so I think it has been dropped.

Summary

Still the same Captain as before with a small points decrease. The fluffy bunny inside of me says Captains are great, while the gamer inside me says one on a bike with a storm shield and power fist might be ok.

Rating: 6/10

Command Squad

These guys have taken a nice 15 point decrease and gained chapter tactics special rule, however the unit does not include an Apothecary, this costs 15 points make the unit cost the same as the previous codex.

Another big change for the Command Squad is that the unit can be taken for a Librarian and Chaplain, so if you do not fancy a Captain then that's no biggy :)

Wargear has taken some points drops in areas such as storm shields now costing 10 points and the entire squad can take bikes for a cheapo 35 points for the unit! They still have the option of all the normal wargear (no jump packs) so you can customise them as you like.

Summary

Command Squads will be very popular in White Scar armies; a typical unit carrying quad plasma riding on bikes will cost just under 200 points. Add an Apothecary in there and maybe some melta bombs to finish off vehicles etc and you have a nasty fast moving unit which can easily gain it's points back if focused at the right target.

Rating: 7.5/10

Librarian

The Librarian has taken a massive points drop and now matches the Librarian in the Dark Angels codex and also the Chaos Space Marines Sorcerer.

The Libby has access to biomancy, pyromancy, telekinesis and telepathy powers. An extra mastery level is only 25 points (Dark Angels Libby is 35 points a level!) so you can get a pretty cheap and powerful psyker for under 100 points. Unfortunately you can only boost the Libby up to mastery level 2.

* Black Templar armies cannot take Librarians, they just don't like 'em!

Summary

I wouldn't be surprised to see a mastery level 2 Libby on a bike racing about the battlefield with an invisible Command Squad with a little bit of psychic screech or puppet master on the side.

I haven't focused on the terminator units yet, but I could see a Centurion Assault unit deep striking with the Libby with the powers mentioned above - this would make the Libby majority T5. Also a Termie-Libby is pretty cheap; 100 points including a storm shield!

Rating: 7.5/10

Chaplain

Pretty much the same Chaplain as before though has taken a 10 points drop.

The Chaplain gains the zealot rule, though really this is the same before (re-roll to hit first round of combat) and gives the fearless rule.

The Chaplain gets a new item of wargear and that's the power fist, this is particularly handy as the crozius is a power maul and is AP4. The addition of the power fist gives the Chaplain a little extra punch - see what I did there?

Summary

I think the Chaplain will be a very popular HQ choice alongside the Librarian and I wouldn't be surprised to see both of them in lists together, especially now they get plastic models. The re-roll to hit makes the Chaplain a nice force multiplier unit and if thrown in with a cc handy mobile unit i.e combat ready Command Squad then the Chaplain would make a very deadly unit buffer.

Rating: 8/10

Master of Forge

The big daddy Techmarine has dropped 10 points in the new codex and still allows for Dreadnoughts (any type) to be taken as heavy support as well as elite choices. Let's not forget the MotF gets chapter tactics too.

Unless I have missed something, the Techmarine remains the same as previously.

Summary

The only use I can see a Master of the Forge being is if you fancy a Dreadnought heavy army (do people still do those?) or some mobile repairman for heavy mech lists. I guess you could throw on a conversion beamer, bike and thunder hammer on the MotF and lob him into a Command Squad and tank the none AP2 or below wounds.

Rating: 6.5/10

Techmarine

The Techmarine and his Servitor buddies have been shifted to HQ slot, though you can only take the Techmarine if you use another HQ choice (not including Command Squads, Honour Guard etc).

Nothing much has changed on the Techmarine besides how the servo arm works, though this isn't a surprise as the Dark Angels Techmarine works in the same way.

Summary

I find the Techmarine is kind of playing second fiddle to the MotF, I mean what does the Techmarine offer besides cheaper vehicle repairs and bolster defences? At the moment I can't see much of a place in an army for the Techmarine and I think will be unused just like previously.

Rating: 5/10


Final Thoughts

I have to admit I am pretty disappointed in the HQ section. The units have remained pretty much the same though all have taken some point changes. In some cases is feels like G.W has changed points just because they had to do something and many units still function the same as they did in the old codex.

Some units of course will work better with chapter tactics i.e Techmarine and Master of the Forge using Iron Hands chapter tactics. A Captain using White Scars chapter tactics would be useful too, though any White Scar player would probably just take Khan.

The shiners in the HQ dept are the Librarian, Chaplain and Command Squad. I can see these units being used the most and perhaps even together in some unit of super bad ass bitch smackdown.

How are you finding the Space Marine HQ choices?