|Warhammer 40,000/6th Edition Tactics/Space Marines
WE ARE THE SPEHSS MAHREENS! WE ARE THE EMPRA'S FUREH!
This is the latest Edition's tactics. 5th Edition Tactics are here.
News: 6th edition Codex is HERE, written by Cruddance himself! Go go Pyromarines!
 Why Play Space Marines
Why AREN'T you playing them?
In all seriousness, Space Marines are perhaps the best army for beginners. Their units are fairly expensive points-wise, so they can't field as many units as most other armies. While you can't bog down your foes in waves of men, this makes army construction cheaper and painting faster. Additionally, Space Marines are dead 'ard; their basic troops have Toughness 4 and a 3+ armor save (except for the Scouts), giving them great staying power against most basic infantry of other armies. They're also very forgiving in whatever role they're put in; Marines are good shots, and they're not half bad in an assault, either. Just bear in mind that once the novelty of seeing your brilliantly painted chapter wears off there's little incentive to continue playing C:SM instead of Space Wolves, Blood/Dark Angels or Grey Knights.
Space Marine tanks, on the other hand, while not as robust or as powerful as those of the Imperial Guard's, are dirt-cheap and reliable. Tanks aside, they have Dreadnoughts; while not quite as good at shooting as a tank, Dreadnoughts are cheaper and a smaller target than a tank and are far better in close combat (unless you are one of those idiots who has cheating good luck with tank shocking...), able to take on heroes, units and other tanks and come out on top.
Other benefits include:
- eBay-ability. Space marines are the most commonly auctioned off army. This makes starting out with them "second hand" cheap (by Warhammer standards...)
- Easy to paint. The broad, flat areas (legs, shoulders) and defined ridges make painting straight-forward and simple. Little is easier to paint than a space marine. They even drybrush well for the "Lazy painter" who just wants a force finished on the table ASAP.
- Quick to build, easy to convert. Space marines have the greatest range of bitz available to any army in any game. Not just from Games Workshop, there are several companies out there that make GW-Marine conversion bitz. Almost everyone who plays 40k has some space marine bitz sitting around, and they're almost all plastic, so you can easily make a force that's really "you".
- Easy for beginners. Your basic troop can take a bit of abuse, as such, they army is relatively forgiving of "newb" mistakes, and you aren't horribly FUBAR because of a single poorly-thought out move. Very little in the codex is "dead weight" so almost any unit purchased will be a welcome addition to your growing force.
- Rewarding for experts. Space marines are an army that you can really grow with. Once you learn how to shuffle your metal boxes around, and get the gist of the game, a closer examination of the space marine codex reveals a wealth and depth of available army builds and tactics unrivaled in the current 40k codices.
- Space Marines are also the latest codex release. New units are a large battle suit "Centurion" marine type available in Devastator or Assault Marine flavors and two AA vehicles (missile and dual tri-barrel cannon variants) ripped from Epic. Common consensus is that the Centurions are a result of a GW Marketing meeting where they decided to double their profits by putting their top selling model line inside itself like a Russian Doll, doubling its appeal and selling them for
twice four times the price! The AA tanks look decent, but new plastic Sternguard and Vanguard vets look best! Also, the Black Templars have been rolled into here, so they've lost several special tools, but gained all of the toys that almost every other chapter gets.
- GW have a long history of tilting things in your favor. The introduction of AP values to melee weapons was largely for the benefit of Marines and especially Terminators and so you can kill heavily armored troops without burning your fingers, the grav gun has been introduced. Other armies have weaknesses but whenever a weakness is found for the Marines, GW just releases something to patch over it.
 Unit Analysis
NEWS: The New Space Marines Codex just came out so you can expect his page to be undergoing a lot of edits and overhauls, you have been warned.
 Chapter Tactics
The Chapter Tactics have been redone. Rather than needing a special character, you get one of seven army-wide rules - one for each of the First Founding Chapters and the Black Templars. This also applies to their successor Chapters. Note that special characters may not be part of a detachment that does not have the same version of Chapter Tactics as them - i.e. Papa Smurf can't lead a detachment of Salamanders, however he can be taken if you're, say, Iron Snakes, as you can choose what Chapter they "are" and thus what Tactics they have; furthermore, counts-as characters are still a thing, you just have use the Chapter Tactics they're associated with.
- Ultramarines: You have three single-use powers ("Doctrines"), each of which lasts for one turn.
- Assault: Re-roll charges, Assault Marines and Bikes get Fleet.
- Tactical: Re-roll ones to hit for shooting, Tactical Marines get to re-roll all shots.
- Devastator: Re-roll Snap Shots, Devastators are also Relentless unless they disembarked from a transport.
- Imperial Fists: Bolter Drill - re-roll ones to hit with bolter shots (doesn't apply to Sternguard special ammunition). Also, Devastators (both normal and Centurion) get Tank Hunters and add 1 to building damage rolls. See the Fortifications section for ADL Quad gun shenanigans.
- Salamanders: Master-Crafted, Master-Crafted everywhere; characters get one weapon Master-Crafted for free (which can include ANY weapon, even one bought as an upgrade). Also can re-roll saves from flame-inflicted wounds and twin-linked flame weapons for you. Just remember you can't twin-link vehicle flame weapons anymore since they don't have the Chapter Tactics special rule. (Also get to re-roll vehicle pen rolls with flame weapons, but when's that going to be any use?)
- Raven Guard: Stealth on the first turn and Scouts, but only for none Bulky models, so not for assault marines(They only count as bulky for transport purposes). Also, all Jump Packs can be used in movement as well as assault. Jump Infantry also re-roll failed To Wound rolls for Hammer of Wrath hits. This is the only Chapter Tactic other than White Scars with Khan that can run Mech Marines well against a variety of lists.
- Iron Hands: Feel No Pain (6+), vehicles and characters get It Will Not Die, and Techmarines/Masters of the Forge get +1 to Blessings of the Omnissiah. Nice. If you plan on defying the meta and going mech, this is a must-have.
- White Scars: Models with the 'bike' unit type, gain the ability to automatically pass dangerous terrain tests, and gain +1 to their 'Jink' save. They also gain +1S on their Hammer of Wrath attacks. Everything except Terminators and Centurions gain Hit and Run.
- Black Templars: Their characters get re-rolls To Hit and Rending while in challenges and all of their units have Crusader and Adamantium Will. BT are the only ones who can field Crusader Squads, who kept the ability to field a special and heavy weapon in a 5-man squad and take Scouts in their Marine squad. Also, no psykers for you.
Forge World also provided chapter tactics for a whole bunch of later-founding chapters:
- Red Scorpions: Can replace tactical sergeants with apothecaries for free, and re-roll failed Pinning tests, but cannot go to ground voluntarily or buy camo cloaks, which render scout objective campers useless. Not like you really need them with FNP tacticals.
- Carcharodons: Gain fear and tactical marines can exchange any bolt weapon (either the bolter or bolt pistol) for a chainsword or BUY an extra chainsword or combat blade for +1 pt. After winning their first assault or forcing an enemy unit to fallback they go full berserker mode and get Rage with a minor penalty of being forced to consolidate towards nearest enemy unit. Use these rules to proxy your
Night Lords ANGRY MARINES!! if you (for some stupid reason) don't like the idea of badass Space Sharks. Keep in mind that if you use this Chapter Tactic, you can only ally with other Imperial armies, and even then their relationship is downgraded to Desperate Allies. (Note that since all your characters already get Fear from these tactics the Angel of Death Warlord trait is useless to you, meaning theres a 1 in 6 chance of getting a useless trait)
- Raptors: Stealth on the first turn and Scouts. Just like their progenitor Raven Guard. Unlike the Raven Guard they can use bolters and bolt pistols as Heavy 1 Rending weapon, making their tacticals and especially sternguards basically anti-everything units, capable of brutally murdering MCs and AV12 or less vehicles. Much better than RG, considering 6-th edition is a shoooty edition, and have a lot of utterly broken MCs that are quite vulnerable to Rending.
- Mantis Warriors:
May take multilasers Everything not Bulky (so not Assault Marines) get move through cover and hammer of wrath, and if it charges through cover it also get furious charge - this mostly makes tacticals better at melee, where you don't want them to be, but also could make honor guards and vanguard veterans worth their points. If they are primary detachment, they also can re-roll failed seize initiative. But more important, their Librarians get access to Divination, which is priceless.
- Executioners: Get something like Stubborn on steroids, ignoring ALL negative Ld modifiers no matter what. Yes, even magic. Their characters inflict ID on to wound rolls of 6 in challenges but must also issue challenges if they got the highest WS in the squad.
- Angels Revenant: Get Hatred and Preferred Enemy against Necrons, and if enemy force happen to have no Necrons they become Fearless after losing half the units. The first one if very powerful against Necrons (and considering Newcron popularity you would face a lot of them), but the later is meh.
- Red Hunters: These ones are tricky - you get one-turn-use ability that give one of the six useful special rules (Counter-attack, Monster Hunter, Tank Hunters, Hatred, Skyfire or Interceptor) to X units (including dreads), where X is a number of the current turn, so this bring a bit of risk management into the game. Used properly, this ability could be devastating, for example, this gives you easily the most powerful anti air weapon in the game, four devastators with lascannons and sky fire. This obviously works better when taken in allied detachment as with fewer units you can get more out of a fixed number of special rules. and speaking about allies, they can ally with the Gray Knights and Sisters of Battle as Battle Brothers (as long as their detachment has an Inquisitor with them).
- Star Phantoms: Get to reroll ones on reserve rolls for deep-strikers and can launch army-wide twin-link on all weapons for one turn. Mass-droppod dakka hail of death!
- Minotaurs: Get to reroll Pining tests, do not suffer Morale tests from shooting, and get Crusade and +1 charge range on the enemy deploy zone. One of the worst ones.
- Fire Hawks: Get +1S for all flamer weapon the turn they deep strike and can get hand flamers for their characters. Their Assault Marines and Vanguards are scoring, but not troops.
- Astral Claws: Get Stubborn, their Bikes have Skilled Rider, and their speeders - Scout. Does it remind you some other
hidden traitors LOYALISTS?
- Dark Angels: Termies and HQs get Fearless and Preferred Enemy: Chaos Marines, everyone else gets Stubborn. Additionally, all bikes get Scouts and Hit & Run. Lose Centurions, that hydra ripoff, and get really bad fliers.
- Blood Angels: Jump Pack units only scatter 1d6 when Deep Striking instead of 2d6, and vehicles either get Fast or Deep Strike. Before the game begins, roll a D6 for each unit with "The Red Thirst" on a roll of 1 that unit gains Fearless and Furious Charge and loses And They Shall Know No Fear.
- Space Wolves: Counter Attack and Acute Senses for everyone, plus really excellent tacticals.
 Warlord Traits
1. Angel of Death: The Warlord has Fear. Always useful for a CC HQ, nothing like the enemy swinging at WS1 to tip an assault in your favor. Cassius and Shrike have this by default.
2. The Imperium's Sword: One use only. For one assault phase the warlord and his unit have Furious Charge. Good for boosting an assault of your choice. Sicarius and Helbrecht have this by default.
3. Storm of Fire: One use only. For one shooting phase a friendly codex squad within 12" may re-roll any failed to hit rolls. Useful if you really need something to hit. Tigurius has this by default.
4. Rites of War: Friendly codex units within 12" of the warlord can use his leadership instead of their own for morale tests. Good for keeping your marines in the fight. Grimaldus has this by default.
5. Iron Resolve: Add plus one to the assault results total if the warlord is locked in that combat. Weak on its own, made better when you put used with a banner. Predro and Vulkan have it by default.
6. Champion of Humanity: If your warlord kills the enemy warlord in a challenge you get D3 extra victory points, in addition to the points you would normally get from slaying the warlord. You don't get the extra points if they are killed in a sweeping advance however. Since Slay the Warlord is a secondary objective in all 6 of the main missions this is always useful. Lysander and Khan have this by default.
 Chapter Relics
- The Burning Blade - A power sword that gives +3S to attacks, AP2 and Blind. Its "Incandescent" rule means that it sort-of Gets Hot (take a S4 AP2 hit). It is believed to be the Emperor's sword, as it was found in the wreckage of Horus's flagship and was the only thing that wasn't corrupted by Chaos. Probably true, since it's too big for anyone but a Marine to think about using, and in most pictures depicting the Emperor's battle with Horus his sword's on fire. Despite this, it is not Two-Handed.
- In general, its a good choice if you're looking to build a very killy HQ, it amplifies your MC killing ability significantly. Don't even think about giving it to anyone else except to a Chapter Master (or a Captain if you're short on points). Its a waste otherwise.
- The Armour Indomitus - A 2+/6++ suit of Artificer Armour that gives the wearer Relentless and a 2++ save once per game for a phase of your choosing. How covenient.
- Pretty crappy honestly, it costs far too much and The Shield Eternal is all the defense you'll need anyway, and its more persistent.
- The Shield Eternal - A Storm Shield that gives the user Adamantium Will and Eternal Warrior. A pretty good choice if you're running a tough cookie. Can also be used to troll shooty armies by placing it in front of a unit and giving it to a cheap character like a Librarian to absorb hits like a boss. Give it to a Chapter Master with Artificer Armour using Iron Hands Chapter Tactics and BAM! You've got yourself a 2+/3++ It Will Not Die Character with 6+ Feel No Pain.
- A Little Note - This just became redundant in most cases for Iron Hands. With their supplement, you can't take this, but not to fear, you got something BETTER. Chains of the Gorgon doesn't take a weapon slot, grants a 3++ Save, Eternal Warrior, and +1 on your FNP rolls. Combined with an Apothecary in a biker command squad, your chapter master will be able to go toe to toe with Abaddon and not only survive, but likely win.
- The Primarch's Wrath - A Master-Crafted, Salvo 3/5, AP4 bolter with Shred.
- The weapon of choice for your Bike or Terminator Captain, as Relentless will let you use this thing to its full potential every turn. Overall, not the strongest choice of the relics, but it is the cheapest so it might be an okay choice if you only have a few points left over after army building.
- Teeth of Terra - A chainsword with +2S, AP3, Specialist Weapon, Strikedown and Rampage.
- Quite good for thinning out hordes and killing entire squads if given to a Captain/Master. With Rampage, you're getting 4 + D3 attacks on the charge and 3 + D3 each assault phase if the former unit is chosen.
- Standard of the Emperor Ascendant - A standard that gives the usual benefits to friendly units in 12' using the same chapter tactics as the wielder. Codex: Space Marine units within 6" of the bearer have Hatred, and +1 to assault results. The bearer and his unit inflict Fear. Quite good for buffing an assault-y unit. Good if you wanted a Chaplain, but couldn't fit one into your list.
 HQ Units
- Chapter Master: Properly kitted out, this guy can become a nigh-unstoppable rape machine that can go toe to toe with most any other character except maybe Failbaddon and the Swarmlord. For 40 points more than a Captain, these guys get +1 A, +1 W and an Orbital Bombardment, which is neat, but not all that reliable. Mounting him on a Bike or giving him Terminator Armour now allows you to launch this S10 AP1 Large Blast AND move. A decent (but expensive) build is one of these guys on a Bike with Artificer Armour, a Storm Shield and the Burning Blade. A cheaper and more survivable option is Artificer Armor, Shield Eternal, and a weapon of your choice (either relic blade or Thunder Hammer). Iron Hands Chapter Tactics work well here. Another big benefit is that they get Honour Guard instead of Command Squads, and they now also allow Bikes as Troops if they are on a bike as well. All in all, an excellent HQ choice. Just remember he'll get expensive very fast, so consider a Captain if you want to spend some points elsewhere. For maximum cheese, go with the Chapter Master Smashfucker build for a unit that is all but indestructible and can make even melee beasts like Abbadon wet themselves in fear.
- Honour Guard - The new edition gave these guys a major overhaul! They laugh at almost all power weapons now, and can be kitted out to slaughter MEQ (PS) TEQ (PA) or hordes (PM). Or you can give them power lances if you have a jousting fetish and don't like winning. They are fragile against low-AP shooting, but that shouldn't be an issue, because you put them in a Land Raider, right? Right. While Terminators have the ability to take obscene amounts of punishment, of literally any kind (2+/3++ IS bitchin') these guys can dish out many times more damage, and the Champion is astoundingly good at dueling. They can have five attacks on the charge, and four in subsequent turns, with the Champion having one more and at WS5. Each. For 25 points/model. With Power Axes. Pair them with Sevrin Loth or Tyberos to make them monstrous. Watch out for the lack of invulnerable saves, though.
- Giving them all relic blades and one the Chapter Banner makes them surprisingly effective at slaughtering MEQs or anything not I5 or better (I'm looking at you 20 strong Necron Warrior squad). They still die horribly against TEQs, unless you get some lucky hits in at I4. Take a shooty terminator squad and laugh as they flee the assault cannon's hail of death right into your relic blades. But if you are fighting any Space Marine variant, don't bother, unless you have an extra 250 pts lying around (and how the balls did you do that?).
- For some ridiculous reason, GW only sells these guys along with Marneus Calgar. Like he's the only Chapter Master who's ever had an Honor Guard (because when they were realesed he did, its in the 4th codex). Kit-bash the Masters of the Chapter pack with a Sternguard Squad to deny Matt Ward his Ultramarines fetish.
- Emperor's Champion: This guy serves one purpose and one purpose only - butchering enemy champions and Warlords in challenges, and with a new AP2 Black Sword and 2+/4++ he does it well while being surprisingly cheap. Unlike the last Black Templars book, he is now a valid Warlord, but also takes up an HQ slot. Much like another swordy character from a certain Spiritual Liege's abomination, this guy has a pair of fighting styles: if he uses his one handed technique, his to-wound rolls of 6 cause instant death; using his sword two-handed makes him unwieldy but grants +2S. Arguably, you're gonna be using this guy in challenges, so you'll totally be throwing down with the one-handed style, which stacks nicely with Black Templars Chapter Tactics. The other style is largely for chewing up the rank and file and/or high-initiative punks, but that's ONLY if you run out of dudes to challenge and MURDER with your
MURDER Black Sword. Don't forget that the EmpChamp also carries a pistol, so you get a bonus attack when using the one-handed technique.
- Captain - No longer just good for handicapping your army, the Captain is a versatile and generally pretty useful HQ choice.The only thing you should definitely not do with this guy is just leave him with a power weapon or fist and expect him to do well. Storm Shield should be strongly considered, and a few of the Relics are worth taking to make him a strong combatant. He doesn't have to go with his Command Squad and you can fit him into a variety of units, such as Sternguard, Vanguards, Terminators, etc. All have their merits.
- The Biker Captain deserves special mention; Biker Marines are a very nasty build, so it is worth taking a Captain for allowing Bikers as Troops should you want to do so. For a cheap Biker Command Squad leader, give him a Relic Blade and a Bike; alternately, you can load him out for solo work with a Relic Blade, Storm Shield, Artificer Armour and minor upgrades. Hellfire rounds are an option also you may consider the primarch's wrath.
- Terminator Captain: - Now separate from the regular captain for some reason. Was meh in 5th edition and still meh now. Anything he can do, a Captain in Artificer Armor can do better and for around the same cost. Unless you're starting him in a unit of Terminators and are going to teleport him onto the field (and you damn well better have a teleport homer on the ground if you're doing that) pass on him and take a captain with Artificer Armor instead.
- Librarian - Used to be the best generic HQ option, but is now much less awesome due having to roll for powers and no access to Divination. It's harder to build a coherent list or strategy around one, so plan carefully. Unlike the Captain and the Chaplain, he normally has no Invulnerable save, but he can take Terminator Armor, giving a 5+ Invuln - which can be upgraded to 3+ with a Storm Shield. This is extremely useful; you might not be able to take Invuln saves against Perils of the Warp any more, but you can take it against everything else. And you WILL be taking it against everything else because Librarians are priority targets. You are, however, now limited to rolling powers from Biomancy, Pyromancy, Telekinesis, and/or Telepathy. Overall, unless you sorely need him for a gimmick with Chapter Relics, a Primaris power or to unlock a Command Squad, he's not worth it.
- Chaplain - A wonderful companion for Assault Marines, Vanguard Veterans, or Bikers, his melee-boosting abilities are quite helpful, and he's pretty damned good himself. Though if you're not putting him on a Bike or in a Jump Pack and are using the Ultramarine Chapter Tactics, consider taking Ortan Cassius instead if you can afford the extra 40 points. 6th edition nerfed him a bit, his Crozius now has only AP4, so he is not so killy against other power-armored guys, though keep in mind he now hits at Strength 6. Chaplains ostensibly fit nice into the Black Templars, wherein they will boost a basic squad's fighting ability - and you should expect to get your Templars in close combat or else WTF is wrong with you?
Recommend giving this guy a pair of lightning claws if you want him to do challenges: re-rolls to hit and wound plus rending make him a mini-Shrike! Chaplains can't take lightning claws anymore, although you can take a Term Captain w/ LCs for the same effect, just more costly. If you have the Emperor's Champion in the same unit, give the Chaplain the Teeth of Terra to seriously fuck up anyone that isn't a TEQ. If you don't have the points for a Chaplain but want his CC buffs, consider taking the relic standard instead, as it has similar (and arguably better) effects for a good bit cheaper.
- Command Squad - Now you can have a squad of these for your Chaplain and Librarian as well as your captain! A pretty nice, versatile squad. An Apothecary gives them Feel no Pain, and makes them pretty tough to kill with small-arms fire (they still fold to S8, though, which is fairly abundant in the form of Krak Missiles, GK Psyflemen and Power Fists), and at a much cheaper price tag than the Honour Guard. Fits excellently in a Razorback or Drop Pod, and can be equipped with a variety of melee and ranged weaponry. Biker Command Squads, while very costly and vulnerable to S10, provide a beatstick unit to an army in need of it, as Bikers are terrible in assault. Tool them out with Storm Shields, Lightning Claws, a Power Fist and two Meltaguns, (Errata'd - they're back in, take those two Meltaguns, you beautiful bastard) and they'll beat the hell out of any unit you can't shoot to bits. Remember their vulnerabilities, though - that 3+ invuln WILL fail you from time to time, so don't be careless with them. Take them with your Captains, or you'll be sorry.
- Alternate Opinion: Never outfit Command Squads for CC. Firstly, special weapon spam like plasmas or Grav is far better and far more killy. Secondly, the idea that this unit can take on most targets is absolute rubbish - against a competent CC unit they'll get ripped to pieces and a MC will eat them for dinner. However, they can eat back-line units and low armored mobs. They are not mandatory, and you do not need to stick them with the Captain.
- Master of the Forge - Most often an overlooked, but pretty decent HQ. He lacks an invulnerable save, shouldn't go with anything that can be threatened with CC, and he works best as a shooting or support HQ. A Conversion Beamer and a Bike is nice support for a home scoring unit or a Biker unit (Bikes being Relentless by default). Ultimately, his usefulness is in his FoC moving ability, which allows you to field all three basic Dreadnought types as Heavy Support. This is beyond nice, as it frees up your excellent Elites slots. His recent points drop just sweetens the deal. He can be more easily attached to squads willy-nilly to augment them than a Libby or Chaplain, because he gives you repairs, a TL PP, a Flamer, S8 attacks, and a 2+ armour save for sucking up wounds - as well as his other benefits. A good place to put the Primarch's Wrath relic with his high BS with out the urge to throw him into combat (and waste the shooting power of the relic).
- Another Take: With his Servo-Harness, and The Shield Eternal, this guy has a 2+/3++ with Eternal Warrior and Adamantium Will, with 3 AP1 Power Fist attacks base. All of this is cheaper than an equivalent build with a Captain, at the cost of 2 WS and 1 W, and gets a Twin-Linked Plasma Pistol and Flamer to boot. You can augment this with another Plasma Pistol, for 2+ saves and light vehicles, making better use of that high BS. Being an IC lets you mitigate that Wounds issue some, leaving you with a dead killy HQ that makes Scouts extra tough and Dreadnoughts rain from the sky. You can stick him with
extra wounds Servitors to ensure the vehicle carting him around never ever stops moving, or leave them behind to make room inside a LRC for 7 Assault Termies and a Chaplain to ruin something's day. Suddenly, the nerdy kid from Mars is mulching people in CQC. Iron Hands rejoice.
- Techmarine Now moved to the HQ section, but doesn't take up a slot. You can take one for every HQ you have bar Command Squads, Servitors, Honour Guard, and other Techmarines,, so they became a bit more viable. Can be a useful unit in smaller point games (~1000 or lower). Unfortunately, he has a hard time keeping up with the vehicles he's supposed to repair, unless he's, you know, INSIDE of it. However, an overlooked aspect of the Techy is that he's an absolute monster in close combat against non-Power Weapon-wielding opponents. Fitting him with a Servo-Harness will have him crank out ten shitloads of attacks, so throw one on and watch a tarpit vanish like magic. Also, don't overlook his terrain cover save buff. can really help out a ranged unit than relies on cover (looking at Scouts or Thunderfire Cannons here).
- Alternative Opinion: Techmarines are just about usable in Grey Knights, because they get Psychotroke Grenades and Matt Ward Grenades, and can join a Death Cult Assassin unit - making them into even more horrendous kill-machines. The basic Space Marine Techmarine, however, sucks dick. In assault with a Servo-Harness, he gets 2 Power Fist attacks. Hooray! It's a deal for downers. You pay almost as much as the Master of the Forge, who has an extra wound, an extra pip of stats, and unlocks Dreads as Heavy Support. Never take one, unless you have points to spare and nowhere else to spend them (and how the flaming pants did you do that?).
- Servitors - Who forgot about these? They help the MotF or Techmarine repair stuff (add 1 to the Blessings roll for each one that has a servo-harness). That's all you will use them for, because a 10pt Heavy Bolter or Multi-Melta and 20pt Plasma Cannon at BS3 is kinda wasteful, as they will need to be running around with their master repairing stuff. 50pts for a full squad. Stick the whole lot in a Land Raider or Thunderhawk Gunship (you
rich testicle-deprived bastard) and laugh as the single gun your enemy's volley of Krak Missiles shot off repairs itself and shoots back. Oh, and don't leave them alone, they will probably Mindlock and stand there soaking up bullets with their faces.
- Damocles Rhino (Forgeworld) Yes, an HQ vehicle! Now 75 pts in IA12 and no longer takes up a HQ slot, so you still have to take another HQ. Although the most expensive in terms of real money, point-wise it's one of your cheapest HQs. Armed with nothing but a Storm Bolter and a Searchlight for defense, with no transport capacity, it may not seem like an obvious choice. In fact, the Damocles' true power lies in its incredible support abilities - it allows a single Orbital Bombardment in the same way as a Chapter Master, lets all teleporting units within 12" arrive without scatter, and allows the owning player to modify reserve rolls by plus or minus one. In a Deep Strike-heavy army, with Terminators or such like, the Damocles is one of the best choices you can make. Also, don't buy it. Converting a normal Rhino is easy enough.
 Special Characters
Space Marine players also have access to a variety of special characters, most of which change how the whole army works. They're all fairly expensive, and, as such, should be viewed as force multipliers rather than stand-alone units.
- Marneus Augustus Calgar - Aka "Big Papa Smurf", is the most expensive character in the codex, and also the most powerful in hand-to-hand, other than Lysander. He's a Chapter Master with double power-fists, an AP 2 storm bolter , Eternal Warrior, Titanic Might gives him Tank Hunters in CC and His main power is "God of War" which lets you use a Combat Doctrine twice. He can also swap-out his artificer armour for Terminator armor (allowing him to deepstrike) and even gets a free teleport homer, it should be noted he can still Sweeping Advance in terminator armour. He also has a power sword, you know, in case you don't want to hit at Initiative 1, but nobody ever uses it (keep on fisting). He also has the most useless rule that lets him take 3 Honour Guard units which is pointless outside of Apocalypse games, if only because no one has that many spare points lying around. If you've noticed, pretty much his entire arsenal makes a mockery out of armor saves, even his ranged weapons. Also lets you choose to pass or fail any and all Morale checks. Still, the Papa is horribly expensive for what he does and the new codex upped his cost.
- That said he does have a few new bluffs to make up for the points raise, namely the fact he can allow you to use an Ultramarine power twice and you roll the warlord traits three times picking one. Meaning you could have twinlink everything for THREE TURNS.
- Cato Sicarius - A somewhat expensive Captain. He allows one *tactical* squad to take either Counter-Attack, Infiltrate, Scout, or Tank Hunters, and gives you a +1 to Reserve Rolls. He's stuck with the crappy one-use Furious Charge warlord trait. Cato is pretty average in hand-to-hand combat. Being a bit tougher than most Space Marine characters (2+ armor, Feel No Pain) and having the option to make a single attack that causes Instant Death. But other than that, he's just got 4 power-weapon attacks. He's got a nice laundry list of utility, great durability, and fair combat prowess, though it comes at a fairly high price. He also has the benefit of being the Captain of the 2nd Company so 99% of Smurf players are already using his Company Heraldry on their models and therefore he should be taken in all Ultramarine armies, unless its one of the 3 Ultramarine armies that isn't 2nd Company. By the way, his loadout is the default loadout for 4th Edition Captains, so he is somewhat nostalgic. And he is a glory whore, really.
- Varro Tigurius - Tigurius has gotten cheaper in the new codex while retaining the ability to re-roll reserves. Powers have changed though and he now has access to all the BRB disciplines and can re-roll powers you don't want. He's still your only option for Mastery Level 3 from the base Codex, and his exclusive Psychic Hood lets him re-roll failed psychic tests. All in all, an improvement from the last book.
- Ortan Cassius - Special character Chaplain. He's pretty much a normal, power-armored Chaplain, but at T6 with feel no pain and a master-crafted combi-flamer with the boltgun having the "poisoned (2+)" special rule, though it's only S1. If you're planning on taking a Chaplain in power armor (or even terminator armor), it might as well be this guy, he's only 10 points more expensive than a stock Chaplain with Terminator, and a lot more survivable. He and his unit now cause Fear thanks to his Warlord Trait.
- Darnath Lysander - One of the toughest kids on the block. Lysander is a Space Marine Captain, but has Eternal Warrior, 4 wounds, Terminator armor, a Storm Shield and a S10 Thunder Hammer. His utility has mostly been lost from the previous edition, and his price has been increased by 30 points, but the destructive power of Lysander is undeniable as very few units in the space marine codex can deliver strength 10 close combat attacks and take the equivalent in return. It is worth noting that Lysander also allows all friendly Imperial fists within 12" to reroll morale and pinning checks, including himself, which ensures your battleline remains intact and friendly units are always on hand to respond to any changes in the field.
- Pedro Kantor - While Pedro boasts the same statline as a regular chapter master, his viability is assured in the numerous support special rules he carries, including the ability to treat sternguard veterans as scoring units, which allows these flexible units a greater degree of use on the field, holding down any objectives they might have cleared rather than waiting on a troops choice to move in and pick it up. In addition, all friendly units in his detachment have the Preferred Enemy (Orks) special rule, and all models within 12" gain +1 attack, amplifying the combat potential of your specialists, such as vanguard vets, terminators and honor guard. In terms of equipment, Pedro suffers from the lack of artificer armour and eternal warrior, making the character rather squishy in comparison to other special characters out there, this of course is evident in close combat, where his powerfist is more of a hindrance than a boon. Alternatively, Pedro can sit just outside of close combat, as one of his main strengths is his storm bolter, a 4 shot weapon with an AP of 4 which allows Pedro to suppress light units and deal quite a few casualties to any unit in the open, this is topped by his orbital bombardment, allowing him to deliver a high explosive payload on any unit you see fit.
- High Marshal Helbrecht - New to the Vanilla Marines codex, Helbrecht is the High Marshal(Chapter Master) of the Black Templars. He has the stats of a regular chapter master with artificer armor, a combi-melta, a master-crafted power sword that gives him d3 bonus attacks on the charge, and the Imperium's Sword Warlord trait. However he lacks an Orbital Bombardment. His wargear isn't anything special, but he's pretty point efficient for what you get. With the bonus from his sword he can get an ungodly seven attacks on a charge, meaning he's likely to eat most of a squad if someone doesn't accept his challenge. His special rule Crusader of Wrath, grants him and all other space marines hatred and fleet for one assault phase, making for a truly horrific army-wide charge. His sword is only AP3 so he'll still get bogged down by 2+ saves outside of challenges where he'll have rending. Also, due to the rules for Hatred units already locked in close combat will not get the bonus from it when he uses Crusade of Wrath, so don't expect it to break your units out of tar pits they're already stuck in.
- Chaplian Grimaldus - Another Black Templars character. He's gotten slightly cheaper, has another wound, and has It Will Not Die which replaces his previous Only in Death Does Duty End rule. He also has the Zealot rule and projects it to any Black Templar units within 6" of him. His servitors also project a 6+ invulnerable save to any Black Tempar within 6" of him. He's not a frontline dueling character but he works well if used with Helbrecht to make your Crusader Squads enter BEAST MODE.
- Emperor's Champion - The third Black Templars character. He retains most of his original stats and has all the same wargear. The Black Sword is AP2 Master crafted, and his armor gives him 2+4++. He is no longer mandatory for lists over 750 and isn't restricted to joining troop squads, but you no longer get to take vows. He always issues and accepts challenges, and can now choose between two stances when in challenges. One makes the black sword a Relic Blade with unwieldy, the second makes him cause instant death on a roll of 6 to wound. For 140 points he's essentially a nerfed Captain, with -1 to BS, W, and A. Except that he comes with an AP2 sword and he doesn't need BS, he's not going to be shooting.He's a good choice if you want a substitute to handle an assault that the Captain is too busy to, but in most cases he's too expensive to justify that. You're only gonna take him if you wanna play a fluffy list.
- Kayvaan Shrike - A Space Marine Captain with a Jump Pack, and two Master-Crafted Lightning Claws (which also have Rending, so he won't be stuck fighting a Dreadnought). Shrike himself has Stealth and Infiltrate, but can only join Jump Infantry units before deploying. A captain with the same wargear (and artificer armor) costs less, so you must carefully consider how valuable the special rules he lends (to himself and one squad) are.
- NOTE: Shrike has a Jump Pack but a Command Squad cannot take Jump Packs, either put him in an Assault Squad for mediocrity or a Vanguard Squad for Awesome
But Impracticality. While taking biker command squad retinue sound good at first glance, bikers get a 5+ jink save, and Shrike does not - so he would be blasted off the table in a single volley of focus-fire, and as previously stated, Shrike may only join with Jump Infantry before deploying, meaning that you will need to join during the course of the game, so good luck pulling that off.
- For people who can think for more than 5 seconds: Shrike is about subversion and misdirection. He can infiltrate a Vanguard Vet squad near an opponents weak point in their front line or on a flank to wreak havoc in their back field. He is not designed to go toe-to-toe with Abaddon. He exploits weakness in the true Raven Guard way. Go hunt some skimmers, Long Fangs or the like then cut back in and slaughter their front line from behind the moment your line connects. Shrike requires more prowess than a player starting out to use properly.
- Shadow Captain Korvydae: One of the few non-Badab War Forgeworld characters, he is a Captain with TH+Jump Pack+BP+IH, and he and his squad have hit and run. On top of this, he makes assault marines troops so long as you have a squad of scouts in the army. Not a bad choice, all things considered. Pair him with shrike if you want an entire army of fleet, troops ASM.
- Vulkan He'Stan - Previously one of the most commonly used special characters, Vulkan is now Salamanders-only. Vulkan has the same stat-line as a Captain (while not actually *being* a Captain currently in the fluff, he was one before becoming Forgefather, so he does have access to a Command Squad). Vulkan is tricked out for up-close-and-dirty face-bashing with essentially the best gear possible (Artificer armor, 3+ Invulnerable Save, Master-crafted Relic Blade, and a Heavy Flamer). Use him to kill any and all infantry short of TEQ. His Warlord Trait, Iron Resolve, adds +1 to combat results for his unit, further enhancing his effectiveness. He adds onto the "Chapter Tactics (Salamanders)" rule by making meltaguns, combi-meltas, and multi-meltas master-crafted. Enemy vehicle crews will shit themselves at the very thought of drop podding melta squads. Taking him results in a chain reaction — he is only worth it if you really focus on melta weapons, which are short-ranged. Being short-ranged means your army is open to assault, thus you need combat units (read: Assault Terminators) yourself to defend. So, Vulkan drastically changes the way you approach list building, even more so than the base Salamander Chapter Tactics rule does.
- Pellas Mir’San (Forgeworld): Captain with WS 7, artificer armor, an AP2 Power Weapon and combi-flamer. He has some interesting tricks in close combat, and can do some Calgar-like morale magick with his squad. Unfortunately he suffers the crippling disadvantage of not being Vulkan He’Stan.
- Harath Shen (Forgeworld): Master apothecary with artificer armor, plasma pistol and power weapon. For 135 pts. Shen allow you to put FNP 4+ to the squad you need it. While he has no invuln, you get to reroll Look Out Sir rolls. If you ever want 2+/3++ FNP assault terminators (and who doesn’t?), this guy delivers. Also has a really unique warlord trait where you can get victory points back for destroyed units within 6" on a 5+, but he's unlikely to ever be your warlord with Ld9.
- Bray’Arth Ashmatle (Forgeworld): Dreadnought HQ, forged by primarch Vulkan himself! Bray’Arth is a hell of a monster: with his front armor 13, 4 HP, venerable and immune to ALL extra dice roll to armor penetration (melta, armourbane, rending, Kharn, fucking Vindicare turbopenetrator shot, etc.) he is almost impossible to kill, without S10 weapon or some weird shit like haywire or gauss. He is armed with two DCCW’s with inbuilt heavy flamers, which also can count as single twin-linked meltagun, and he can forgo one close combat attack to auto hit anything in BtB contact with S5 AP4, so he can fuck up near anything, from tanks and monsters (though not as much now do to the Smash attacks monsters can do now, even stuff that couldn't scratch him before can now do a S10 attack on him, though it does half their attacks), to the big tarpit blobs. Off cause, he is extremely expensive at both points and pounds, but he totally worth every point. Put him into Lucius pattern drop pod. Drop him in to the middle of enemy gunline. Laugh maniacally. Field him against Bjorn and make compensating jokes. Beware DE Witches, Swooping Hawks and... Fire Warriors in melee - sure, his burning wrath could kill a lot of them, but at initiative of 1, which moght be too late after he got haywired.
- Kor'Sarro Khan - This crazy Mongol adds onto "Chapter Tactics (White Scars)" by giving every bike squad and squad with a dedicated transport scout, which in turn allows for outflanking, allowing them to come in from the side of the table; additionally, he has Furious Charge, (does not confer to is unit) Other than that, he's an average Captain (who can be upgraded to ride a bike) whose power weapon just so happens to cause Instant Death on a roll of 6. He's an awesome character for a White Scars army. Outflanking is also a gamble if you take Kor'Sarro Khan in a No Bikes Mech army, screwing up the outflank rolls can put all your scoring units on one side and anti-tank fire will make them all footslog. But goddammit, an outflanking squad of Assault Terminators in a Land Raider? Hell yeah.
- There are also a lot of special characters from Forge World Badab War IA-s. NOTE: Forge World has released new Chapter Tactics for all the Chapters relevant to these characters. If you take a character with the Chapter Tactics of one of the Forge World Chapters, you have to take them in a detachment of that Chapter. However, some of the Forge World Chapters have the same Chapter Tactics as Chapters in Codex:Space Marines, and you can take those characters in those armies, i.e., Vaylund Cal in an Iron Hands detachment. Most of these characters also have updated rules not yet discussed here.
- Anton Narvaez: Marines Errant captain, with -1 WS, power weapon, bolt pistol, MC plasma gun and 3+ invuln instead of 4+ (with 50% chance to lose it each time it fails). He also has Scout and Move Through Cover USR’s. Can select D3 units of Tacticals, Devastators, Sternguard or himself and any Command Squad he has with him to Deep Strike via teleportation rolling 3 dice for scatter dropping the highest if the don't get a 'hit'
- Corien Sumatris:
Red Corsairs Astral Claws captain, with +1WS, -1BS, MC power weapon, which gives him +1 additional attack on charge, storm shield, and some weird 12’’-range assault bolter. His main ability is to give Furious Charge to his squad (and himself) and +1WS to all your infantry within 12’’ of him. At 165 pts. he is a bit costly, so use his special powers properly (obviously, by putting him in dedicated CC squad).
- Elam Courbray:
Legion of the Damned Fire Hawks captain with jump pack and rending power sword, as well as I6. Like Culln, Elam can choose to do a SMASH attack instead. Gives his squad Hit and Run and Counter Attack USRs. His warlord trait is a swooping hawk-like blast attack when he deep strikes which he doesn't need to scatter around, but he is unlikely to be your warlord with Ld9.
- Mordaci Baylock: Novamarines terminator-captain with MC-shredding chainfist and storm bolter (WTF?). He can make his terminator squad choose to fail or pass any morale and pinning test, make terminators scoring and… that’s all. He cost 30 pts. more than vanilla captain with his wargear, so, take him only if you have a lot of termies, Though if you are, why aren't your playing Dark Angels.
- Tarnus Vale: Fire Angels captain with… WHAT? Plasma pistol and chainsword? What the fuck? Why 175 points? But then you realize that he trades combat tactics for tank hunters! Sweet Jesus, this would put mech-armies you face in to world of hurt. In sixth, tank hunters lets you reroll failed armour pen rolls. This is better against everything where you glance on 5+, almost as good when you glance on a 6, and only really worse if you'd need to roll a 7 to glance. Even if your opponent doesn't bring Mech (which might actually happen in this edition), you get free Extra Armour on all of your Razorbacks and Rhinos so every piece of mech you take is 15pts off of his exorbitant cost.
- Zhurukhal Androcles: Star Phantom captain with power fist and combi-melta. Makes Devastator Elites AND Heavy support and little else. Though not as devastating as Vale, he is cheaper and actually have some decent wargear.
- Silas Alberec: Exorcists captain with MC thunder hammer and S5 (which always wound daemons on 2+, if S10 isn't enough), bolt pistol, teleport homer. He gives FNP 5+ to himself and his unit against ANYTHING with psychic powers or marks of chaos or daemons, and his warlord trait lets you take morale checks on 3D6 and choosing the best. and is reasonably priced for his wargear.
- Lugft Huron:
Red Corsairs Astral Claws chapter master, with terminator armor, heavy flamer, and AP2 lightning claw which forces opponent to reroll successful invulns. His orbital bombardment is S10 AP1 ordnance 2, his “living legend” rule makes all your army Ld10. He can come back from the dead... but only once. But he is expensive as hell for 235 pts.
- Lord High Commander Carab Culln: Red Scorpions chapter master, with terminator armor, teleport homer, MC storm bolter and a MC power sword that can give him SMASH! Eternal Warrior and any Red Scorpion in his detachment can use his leadership for Morale and Pinning his warlord trait gives any Red Scorpion locked in combat a +1 to combat resolution; +2 if he himself in is a challenge however he can never make a Look Out Sir!
- Commander Carab Culln: Same Guy, but back when he was first captain. Most of the same wargear, except his sword is a regular relic blade, and he doesn't gain extra attacks or a teleport homer, and doesn't give you apothecaries. Only advantage is saving 25 points.
- Lias Issodon:
Reasonable Marines Raptors chapter master. He only has a power sword and pistol for close combat, -1WS and +1BS, compared to a standard chapter master, but is armed with some monstrous R30 Salvo 2/4 bolter with special ammunition (that must use the profiles described in C:SM), and can use the Raptor tactic of H1 rending, so he is a shooty chapter master, which is rare. He has no Invulnerable save, but this is made up for with artificer armour and shroud. The main reason you would like to take him is his special abilities: he forces a -1 on enemy reserve rolls, can reroll his own reserves (even successful ones), and he can cripple (or even kill) one enemy's MC or vehicle before the game even starts. For some reason he doesn't have an invulnerable save or orbital bombardment, but he is relatively cheap, so shut up, camp his raptors in the covers and shoot people to death like reasonable marines should do.
- Asterion Moloc: Minotaurs chapter master with terminator armor, storm shield, and eternal warrior but one less attack (FAQ update - enjoy a manly 4 attacks like everyone else) and basically a Custodes halberd (+2S AP2 two handed weapon), except it shoots a powerful laser beam once per game instead of bolts. He also gives assault grenades and fearless to his squad and his "Sanctioned Fratricide" rule give his whole army the Preferred Enemy: space marines (any non-chaos) at a cost of making all of them desperate allies. He is VERY expensive, but he has one of the few AP2 close combat weapons without unwieldy in a vanilla marine army, and with so many loyal marine armies around, preferred enemy could work more often than not.
- Tyberos The Red Wake: Carcharodons chapter master with terminator armor and two weapons, which could count as lightning claws or chainfists and allocate hits with either as he wants with 5 base attacks. No iron halo, so his invuln is only 5+. Tyberos himself is a terrifying murderous machine in close combat, when subject to RAGE! usr, he AND EVERY Carcharodon unit that is subject to Rage becomes +1 str for the rest of the battle. His warlord trait 'savage beyond reason' gives him and his unit preferred enemy (infantry). He also allows you to take one LC-terminator unit as troops. And he costs less than a vanilla chapter master with two chainfists.
- Sevrin Loth: Red Scorpions chief librarian. Master lvl. 3 and can pick his powers from Biomancy, Telepathy or Telekinesis. Yes, pick, not roll - get all that Biomancy goodies with Enfeble, Endurance and maybe Life Leech to restore Peril wounds (with 3 powers per turn you WOULD get perils). He has a 2+ armor save, which can become 2+ invulnerable (with a warp charge spent, no psy test required), and he has gotten much cheaper at 175 pts. Also, he can have honour guard, except better. Because, you see, his honour guard can have axes, and he can give them force dome, or FNP/relentless if you go biomancy. Because of this, and since axes aren't specialist weapons, they get 4 ap2 attacks each on the charge, 5 for the champ. And that's without a banner, which wouldn't be bad in a unit of Sevrin Loth +4 guards. Not so bad compared to assault termies now, eh?
- Azhara Redth: Mantis Warriors chief librarian. He is not a monster-psyker, like Tigurius or Loth, and only cast 2 powers per turn, but he have in-built 5+ invuln. His special psy-power “Mirage” gives any unit shrouded, and if they're attacked, their attackers make a disordered charge. Which is beyond awesome. He also forces a -1 on enemy reserve rolls and replace combat tactics with Infiltrators USR (though you can not infiltrate guys with their transport, like those damned Red Corsairs). He gets to re-roll to seize the initiative too. On top of this, epistolary librarian cost only 15 pts less than Redth. Also, he is the only vanilla marine with access to divination psychic powers, meaning he can make squads durable with mirage, and then make them shootier AND killier with prescience. Win.
- Take Redth and assault termies in Land Raider. Cast Mirage on LR and screen it with some tall, fast and cheap models (allied Rough Riders comes in mind). Look at your opponent face when he realize your uber metal box has 3+ cover.
- Armenneus Valthex:
Red Corsairs Astral Claws master of the forge, also known as “Alchemancer” with conversion beamer and some weird techno-thing called “Indynabula” which counts as two power weapons, and give him 5+ invuln, counter-strike USR. He can also make one squad’s bolters poisoned 2+, turning them to cheap wannabe-sternguards. And he's surprisingly cheap, assuming his shiny wargear - maybe, to compensate those schizophrenic combination of ranged-oriented and close-combat-oriented bits.
- Vaylund Cal:
Iron Hands Sons of Medusa master of the forge with iron halo, thunder hammer, servo-harness, and monstrous creature stat line. Being an Iron Hand he gets FnP 6+ and It Will Not Die and +1 to Repair rolls. While being expensive as hell, he could put a lot of hurt in close combat and extremely hard to kill for his T6. For further expense, he can give devastator units in the army Toughness 5 for 50 points per squad, but don't expect it to save you against plasma firepower.
Doom Kane: Executioners high chaplain with artificer armor, plasma pistol and S6 AP2 Unwieldy sword. With +1WS/BS/W/A, eternal warrior and big 12” aura of “reroll 1 on to-wound” he also can replace combat tactics for stubborn. The only thing, Kane don’t have, is jump pack to join assault squad, or terminator armor to join teleporting assault termies.
- Ivanus Enkomi: Minotaurs reclusiarch with "Crozius Arkanos" (S:User Master Crafted, Concussive, AP3 with built-in twin linked grenade launcher) power fist, jump pack and With +1 initiative, +1 attack, and extra +1 attack on charge for him and his squad he costs only 25 pts more than a vanilla chaplain with fist and jet pack.
- Chaplain-Dreadnought Titus: Howling Griffons dreadnought with +1 attack, which can reroll failed to hit roll in CC, and make everyone within 12” fearless. Also, despite being a vehicle he also becomes a Scoring unit if he's the only HQ left in the army and can also benefit from Ultramarines chapter tactics. For 15 pts. more than ordinary venerable dreadnought In 6-th editions venerable dreads are shit, so don't even think to take Titus unless you REALLY want that 12"-fearless aura.
- Tactical Squad - Your bread-and-butter scoring units. These guys don't excel at anything but are decent at everything. Unfortunately, their balance tends to be their downfall as most other basic troops tend to be better at everything than they are (see: Grey Hunters), and they're a tad expensive when fully kitted out. Keep them at a distance if possible, but keep in mind to make effective use of your Rapid Fire range. Great for camping objectives as the one thing they're best at doing is staying alive for a good while. Always take Rhinos or Razorbacks with your Tacs, even if they're camping an objective. Metal Boxes make excellent walls and mobile shields for your troops. Take at least 2 squads of these guys in every army.
- Veteran Sergeant Haas (Red Scorpions) - An upgrade to a tactical squad sergeant, 60 points gives you a 2W, artificer armoured, Iron Halo sergeant with a power sword and a pistol. That's not why you take him, however. You take him because he makes your squad RELENTLESS. Yes, that is every bit as awesome as it sounds, for a squad so reliant on "heavy" and "rapid fire" weapons. Allows for rhino hatch-firing shenanigans.
- Important side note, if you plan to assault with these men remember they all have Bolt pistols, meaning you can unleash 10 bolts while still being able to assault. Generally, though, you shouldn't assault with Tacticals, but if you do, remember to shoot with your pistols/assault weapons first.
- If you manage to run away and your enemy catches you, your Marines aren't auto-killed but continue the fight instead (6-th ed threw No Retreat rule away). Remember this! Next thing to remember, if your enemy does not catch you and you broke out in their close-combat phase, on your next turn which comes right up your Marines are auto-rallied as usual. They also count as not having moved. In other words, rocket launcher in the face or 9" move (you do get your 3" regroup move as well as usual 6").
- Loadouts for Tacs will usually consist of a few configurations: Flamer, Multi-Melta, and Combi-Weapon or Power Weapon on the Sergeant is the tried-and-true kit that threatens Infantry and Tanks both, and discourages either from getting close to your squad. Any Special Weapon, Missile Launcher, and Power Fist on the Sergeant is the old 5th Edition default for using Combat Squads by leaving the ML behind to take potshots at armor or infantry while your Rhino advances with the Sarge and special weapon. And finally, a Meltagun, Multi-Melta, and Combi-Melta on the Sarge, aka the Meltabunker, which decks your squad out for anti-tank duty. Thanks to the revised Combat Squads, you can leave the Multi-Melta in the Rhino to take shots from mobile protection (a pseudo MM turret for your Rhino) while your Sarge and Meltagunner can get out and hold an objective while discouraging enemy tanks from approaching them. If you plan on keeping the unit with your Sarge in the back firing the entire time and COMPLETELY avoiding combat, avoiding the bolt pistol/CC weapon combo in favor of a boltgun is best.
- Never take a CC weapon, grav or plasma pistol on the Sergeant. Ever. They're worthless, and they scare nobody. Not Orks, not that nasty squad of Terminators, not the rampaging Khorne Berserkers. They're far too expensive and they take away points from your list. If you are nuts enough to take a plasma pistol though, your opponent will give you respect knuckles when your Sergeant one-shots a rampaging Dreadnought.
- Also, this is the edition of MC's and hard-to-kill infantry, not vehicles. Outfitting them with meltaguns makes their use far too specific and the role is better given to a unit that can do AT and something else at the same time just as well. (e.g a Tri-Las Predator)
- If you are going Mech, do not give them heavy weapons. You won't get to fire them, or they'll be a waste of points by being inaccurate due to snapshots.
- Crusader Squad - Essentially a beefed up tactical squad that is capable of taking neophytes as meatshields and a Sword Brother as a Veteran Sergeant for your initiates to survive longer and therefore be able to make the charge once they have gotten within range. They come standard with the Black Templars Chapter Tactics.
- There are two ways to kit out your neophytes for close combat. Pistol/CCW allows a S4 AP5 shot before combat, and two S4 attacks at I4. The Shotgun option allows for two S4 shots before combat and a S4 attack at I4. The AP5 of the bolt pistol will rarely be more useful than the extra shot before overwatch is even fired. Also keep in mind the shooting attacks will always hit on a 4+, whereas the close combat attacks (at WS3) will sometimes hit on a 5+. Another consideration is that you might accidentally gimp your charge distance if you kill too many models in the shooting phase-shotguns can do this if you run into Termagaunts or the like. Black Templars should be running in the shooting phase to make use of their Crusaders special rule. The only time this wouldn't be true is if your squad used an LRC to get up close and is already within 6 inches of the enemy and can assault that turn. Crusader Squads want lots of Bolt Pistols and CCWs if you are using anything other than 5 man las-plas squads because Crusader Squads should be focused on assaulting. Use tactical squads if you want to sit back and shoot.
- If you wish to switch between these options, assemble your scouts with close combat weapons and pistols, then trim the hands off the shotgun models and glue them to the scouts back as though holstered.
- Also, don't make the mistake of giving a Crusader Squad a heavy weapon if you're running any squad bigger than the 5-man special/heavy squad. Crusader Squads can't Combat Squad, and you always want to be playing aggressively with Black Templars. Use the slot you'd normally use for a heavy weapon to buy either a power weapon or power fist.
- You can both a special AND a heavy weapon with just 5 guys. Thats right, Las/Plas is back baby!
- Scout Squad - A decent unit, especially if you want to focus on more expensive units for your army. You really don't need more than one squad of these guys, if any at all to go along with Tacs. Scouting and Infiltrating, they can put a Teleport Homer on the board rather fast and uncomfortably close to your enemy's forces, so keep that in mind if you run Terminators of either flavor. Not the worst unit in the world, but your points are often better spent elsewhere.
- One of the classic Scout combos is to take a Techmarine (Master Of the Forge or a Thunderfire Cannon's crew also count). Give your scouts Camo Cloaks, put them into a ruin that you "fortify" with the aforementioned Techmarine's special power, and enjoy a 2+ cover save.
- A second is the "Scout Missile" (though this doesn't work in 6th anymore) in which a small suicide squad of Scouts (often with a Power Fist and/or Melta Bomb) is placed in a Land Speeder Storm and tasked with turn 1 assassination of a vital target (such as a high-cost Tank, vulnerable shooting unit, etc). Not good, but fun.
- A final tactic worth mentioning is the "Shrike Stampede" You load up on scouts armed for hand-to-hand combat, Infiltrate as close as possible to the enemy (18") take your 6" scout move, and on turn one, scream "kekekezergrush" while charging in and hoping for the best. Not actually a good tactic, but fun, and catches some people off guard. You're just not allowed to assault in the first player turn, with infiltrating/scouting units. You can definitely still assault in Turn 1, and if you're player 2, you can assault in turn 1 with infiltrating units.
- Sniper Scouts: Due to 6th edition Sniper Rifle rules, a full sniper squad is also worthwhile again. The rifles only cost 1 point and on a 6 you get to pick out the target you kill rather than your opponent. Plus sniper weapons always count as pinning, bogging down your enemies with morale tests. Their purpose is naturally sitting around, so give them Camo Cloaks and a fortified ruin, or alternatively Telion (stealth for free). A 9-man squad with Telion and a missile launcher will cost you 171 pts, but give you 10 Pinning and Rending shots per turn and a missile. It is more of a wild card, since MEQs and even TEQs die like bitches to rending, but you need to roll 6s. But it is great when you can deter a heavy melee unit for a turn or two by pinning it with some lucky rolls (letting you get heavier weapons to bear).
- Torias Telion - An upgrade to a Scout Sergeant, Telion gives you a Rending, Pinning, Sniper-boltgun that you get to allocate the wounds from. He can also forfeit his shooting (aww) to allow one model in his squad to shoot at BS 6 (say, a scout with a missile launcher). Useful for putting pressure on your opponent and picking off specialists, which he will at least once in a game (problem, hidden Power Fists?) Pricey, so consider your points. Also worth noting that he gives free Stealth to his unit. So combined with the Techmarine-ruin-camo cloak strategy above, or even hidden in regular area terrain, his 2+ cover save makes him tough to flush out.
- Scouts are have a great place in manning the Quad Gun on the Aegis Defense Line. Take Sniper Rifles and a rocket launcher, put them behind the line with an objective in your deployment zone, and have one guy man the Quad Gun. Throw in Telion with his free stealth cloaks for delicious 2+ save and the ability to have a BS6 rocket or Quad Gun at will and you have a rather solid back line.
 Dedicated Transports
- Rhinos - Very cheap and good transport since space marines are KNOWN TO HIDE IN MEHTAL BAWKSES, DA KOWARDZ! TEH FEWLZ! There's not much to say about it beyond "use it!" Seriously, don't footslog your marines. A walking marine is a dead marine, and dead men hold no objectives. The only upgrades recommended are the Dozer Blade and maybe Hunter-Killer Missiles (if you have a lot of HK's in your army already). Once the guys are out of it, you can basically throw it away in petty dick moves like preventing charges, blocking line of sight, and tank shocking people into tight formation to be hit with flamers, more useful for shielding your own guys as it's side armour is 11, as opposed to the 10 most transports have (*cough* Chimera *cough*) so str 4 weapons (standard infantry power) can't glance it. You can also use its speed to dick around with Necrons if you feel like trolling them and don't really care about winning.
- NOTE: look on the entry for the rhino in your codex and you will notice a rule that no-one ever uses, which is a shame because it totally rocks: opt out of shooting for a 1/6 chance of repairing an immobilized result. Your opponent cries when he thinks he's immobilised your transport and then it starts moving again. I mean, what else are you going to do in that phase? You're not Chaos, you don't get decent guns on your Rhinos.
- Exploit 6-th edition rules: Now you could flat-out Rhinos in shooting phase. This means your tacticals, sternguards and devastators could dakka on enemy and THEN you flat-out nearby Rhino in front of them, basically negating fire back. Its all fair and legal. Guard and weeaboo space communists could do the same, but their transports aren't as cheap as yours and actually have some good guns, so they can not skip shooting as easy as you.
- Using the Raven Guard or Khan-Scars Chapter Tactics a very nasty and potent trick can be pulled with Rhino squads. Start by deploying on 12, then scout 12 in your metal box before the game starts. In your first movement go 6 and disembark your infantry a further 6. Good at maths? You're now on their deployment line, and you can fire. Your opponent won't anticipate it and it gives you total board control by the end of turn 1 - you can dictate exactly where the fighting goes. That's invaluable.
- Razorback - The Razorback is a basically a Rhino but you can fit heavier guns on it including anti-tank weapons and of course more expensive than a standard Metal box. It is one of the best choices for a SM army themed on firepower. Best configuration is a Tactical Squad of 10 with Lascannon and Melta gun/Plasma gun. "But you can't fit 10 men in that tiny metal box!!11" Actually, if you check the Space Marine FAQ a Tactical squad can choose a Razorback as a dedicated transport even if it has more than 10 men. So at game start you combat squad them, one with the Sergeant and PG/MG, and the other with Lascannon. The former goes in your transport, the latter stays at the back of the board, providing fire support and capturing your home objective. Give the Razorback twin linked lascannons. The LC/TLPG looks nice but its an illusion. The TL re-roll can win or lose games, and the PG is too much of an oddball for any task you use it for. Its short range, can damage the vehicle and isn't particularly effective against heavy infantry or light vehicles. This combo can be brutal in both low points and higher points games, giving you a lot of firepower. Just remember to be careful with your deployment if you come up against a gunline.
- The Raven Guard scout gimmick and the TL heavy flamer work well together here.
- Drop Pod - Also great, mainly because of it's ability to deep strike in the most useful position. Another great reason is the ability to avoid impossible terrain and models, thereby avoiding deep strike mishaps. Excellent tool to hunt tanks with squads of melta, or drop down a dreadnought where they least expect it. These transports suffer from the "Half on turn 1, half regular reserve" rule common to deep-striking forces nowadays (bring an odd number of them if you bring more than one, because the "half on turn one" is rounded up). However, even a single Drop Pod is a major psychological tool. A Deep-striking Dreadnought is almost guaranteed to change how your opponent deploys. Consider this carefully.
- - Also note that the drop pod is one of two units able to take a Locator Beacon.
- - The Deathwind launcher is now cheaper, but no more effective than it was before. Most pros stand against it, but for now with the reduced price you can pay a little more than a tact marine for the ability to lock down a 12" area around a drop pod with a S5 AP- pie plate.
- 6-th ed. note: drop-pods now can be shot down with interceptor shots, so beware quad guns and hydra platforms. Interceptor shots are fired at the end of the Drop-Pod-equipped player's movement phase, meaning AFTER it lands and the Spess Mehreens disembark. And yes, it still counts as open-topped against Interceptor.
- Land Speeder Storm - 6th edition may be where the land speeder storm finally comes out of the back of the model enthusiasts closet and onto the table as a viable and fun model to incorporate into your army. There are a lot of drawbacks to the storm in comparison to the your other choices of dedicated transport. AV10 all around and open topped means that if anything even gives this thing an angry look it has the chance of exploding into a giant fireball that will eat your squad of scouts. On the other hand the fact that the storm is a skimmer means that it gets a jink save and can flat out 30" in a turn and is also an assault vehicle! If you keep this thing behind cover it becomes a decent skirmisher and lets you grab late game objectives with scoring scouts. The BS3 of the storm is rather silly, but totally mitigated by the heavy flamer you can replace it's standard heavy bolter it comes with stock for the cost of zero points, and when running scouts you really don't want to be running them at anything that is tougher than them anyway. Lastly the Cerberus launcher got an overhaul and remains to be seen on the table whether it is anything more than a pointless gimmick. A S2 AP nothing large blast with blinding may just give you the edge on your enemy letting the scouts jump out and suddenly have a half decent chance of being the ones doing the killing rather than being a cheap single turn distraction for a larger unit. giving your scouts shotguns verses bolt pistols depends on what you are planning on fighting. As the storm is open topped this gives you a bunch of extra shots that you can fire off and then decide afterward if you are going to jump out and charge. for AP5 and worse the pistols seem like a better deal as they will cut through armor but for marines/firewarriors/guardians and better you are probably better served by the shotguns and hoping for weight of fire to do the work for you. All of this and the scout squad to go with it will only run you about 100 points. even adding every upgrade you can think of this unit won't even cost more than 150. That's savings that you can bank on.
- Terminator Squad - It's terminators, what's not to like about them? Expensive, but good. The regular terminators are best teleported in, but it depends on your enemies composition. If he has no AP2 or AP1 weaponry, footslogging them can be good, especially if you have an assault cannon or cyclone. In small point games, terminators are nigh impossible to kill without AP 2. If the enemy does have heavy weapons, it's best to deep strike them, and hope you can eliminate that weapon before that, or put them out of harms way. Can also go in a Land Raider, but I think it's a waste on normal terminators. All termies are buffed by new edition now that melee weapons have AP values, so they now laugh at power weapons (warning, boneswords, klavies, warscythes, power axes, powerfists, hammers, and monstrous creatures still laugh at your armour save and first three haven't unwieldy), making (insert something here)wing armies much harder to kill.
- Assault Terminators - Is where you want a Land Raider at. These are the gold standard of assault units. Seriously, nearly every other dedicated assault unit in the game is compared to these fuckers, and 9 times out of ten, they cannot compare (That last 1 of 10 would most likely be genestealers or Incubi). They should absolutely not be footslogged if it can be avoidable. Always keep a majority of them with thunder hammers, a composition of perhaps 3 thunderhammers and 2 lightning claws are the best, to get that 3+ Invulnerable save if he brings out anything big and nasty. These guys attract a LOT of firepower (i.e. all of it) so keeping them alive can be difficult. They wreck just about anything in the game. You don't have to worry about Grey Knights any more, unless they bring a lot of Daemon Hammers because their other Nemesis Force weapons are all AP3. Space marines now pay for their TH/SS at 5pts a pop.
Put these guys w/ storm shields right in front of a unit of horrors. Now, any wounds you take give you FnP, bonus points for iron hands or 2-wound termies.
- As cool as they are, remember that they're expensive. Quite expensive. Like, A ready-for-battle-in-a-raider-squad will cost you 450+ points. Is that the best use of 450+ points? Choose carefully...
- Also remember that a Land Raider is not 100% mandatory. If you want their Close Combat ability, but shrink at the price, consider putting a teleport homer or two in your list. It allows them a "Kinda safe" means of entering play that doesn't cost more points than the squad itself. Just be sure you have enough storm shields in the squad to cover your ass or you WILL be shot off table!
- A third note: remember, a single Land Raider is a massive bullet magnet. Viable competitive lists bring two, but that's only viable at 2k pts, because you still want some support for your Termies.
- Here is a little known fact: painting your terminators can mean the difference between getting focus fired out on turn one and surviving till the end of the game. Paint your terminators with as little care as possible. Dark colors work best. Try assemble poorly as well. Try to get the end result to look like it was painted by a 10 year old. Then, find a cheap unit like scouts or a combat squad and hire somebody to paint then at an exceptional level of quality. While the enemy focus fires the decoy, you termies deep strike, sit it out for a turn, and charge!
- Sternguard Veterans - 22 points for the first 5 models in which you have to also pay for a Vet Sgt. and 22 for each after, and a very versatile ranged squad. Give combi-weapons to as many of them as you can, beware, for they're 10 points now so think is the one shot really worth it? they are also one of only 2 squads to be able to take a Heavy Flamer. If you are fond of having a good ranged unit that can deal with almost any threat, bring in a squad of these in a Rhino or Drop pod. Razorback is bad as it requires disembarkation with the inevitable "SHOOT THEM OFF" from your enemy afterwards, while Rhino has the hatch. They also have access to a mix of two special/heavy weapons. If you take Pedro Kantor, they're scoring units (NOT troops, you still need to take tacticals) which allows you for some good ol' 4th edition style Las/Plas teams... but at too high a cost to be worth it. Another thing to be aware of is that although a storm bolter looks like a good upgrade, but you can't use their special ammo with it, which is TOTAL BULLSHIT, but them's the breaks.
- Oh, and don't forget: Sternies get base 2 attacks. Not a lot of opponents know this, so when they get 3A on the charge or 2A when defending some players are a little surprised. Still, they should shoot first, assault only if completely necessary. Even Pedro Kantor doesn't make them super efficient at CC due to their cost.
- Combi-Meltas make tanks cry, and Combi-Flamers make assaulting these guys a bad idea, BRING BOTH. Generally you'll want to avoid Combi-Plasmas unless you know you're going up against a lot of 2+ Armor saves, in which case you could use combi-gravs, and even then your Tacs should probably be packing Plasma Guns and Sternguard even have some AP3 ammo specially for killing Chaos Marines (no seriously). Just remember the AP3 bolter shot is 18", meaning it Rapid Fires art 9", and it has Gets Hot!, so beware.
- Remember, you can bring up to two(!) Heavy Flamers in a 5-man Squad, and at only 10 Points each they're a steal. Take 9 dudes. Add a Librarian Pyro or Bio or Telpathy, put them in a Rhino or Drop pod, and laugh maniacally as you then pop out and butcher a unit. Doesn't matter what it is, if it don't have 2+ armour, Sternies will kill it. Trygon? Six wounds is cute, but when you take 12 or 15 armour saves? Not so hot. Hordes? Combi-Flamers and Hellfire Rounds. Entrenched Guardsmen with Stealth Pants? Dragonfires and Heavy Flamers. 3+ saves? Vengeance Rounds if you feel lucky, punk, or bury them in Hellfire wounds.
- Rapidfire now work on half range, not fixed 12", so kraken rounds now rapidfire on 15" and vengeance only on 9".
- Sternguard vets can take a drop pod as a dedicated transport. Give them combi-meltas and drop them on the heaviest tank the enemy has on turn 1. They pop out, and the tank gets shot at by 5 meltaguns at once, destroying it or making it useless before it can even do anything. Granted, your 150ish pt squad will probaby be rage-killed by everything that your opponent can throw at it, which is actually great, because now he/she/it/hermaphrodite just spent a turn killing one squad and no longer has their precious baneblade(or whatever you murdered).
- Vanguard Veterans Substantially cheaper and the same cost as Sternguard when you give them jump packs. They are better ASM for only a few more points(+1a, +1Ld0). They lost the assault from deepstrike, but everything in this game is going to lose it anyway. The points decrease is well worth it. They each can take a Storm Shield for the cost of a combi weapon and take various power weapons at cost. Give a few the 3++ and stick them out front for saves against those pesky blastmasters and watch them survive. These are they guys you choose when you want elite jump infantry as opposed to just more ASMs by taking a few SS for all that low AP cover ignoring meta and some power weapons to cut down foes for less than the cost of two ASM units.
- Veteran Sergeant Culln - Yes, this is the same guy who is the Red Scorpions Chapter Master. And First Captain. Yeah, it's weird. Anyways, the gist of it is that he is a 60 point upgrade to a sergeant, just like Haas, and he has two wounds, a jump pack and a relic blade, and gives the squad stubborn and re-roll to hits in CC. Fantastic, but on an already underwhelming unit, he is the only special character in the game with heroic intervention, so he's all your vanguards have got. Basically a budget chaplain with AP3, one less attack due to relic blade, heroic intervention, re-rolls that work on subsequent turns and a much, much lower price tag. Not enough to make them "good", but makes them better. Especially if you take the forgeworld character who makes them scoring.
- If you deep strike them anyway, a locator beacon is the best bet: first, drop pod an Ironclad dreadnought directly on top of an powerful enemy tank, and the drop pod will scatter to right next to it (Scout bikes work too, but less reliably). Then while the dread ties up the tank, use the pod's locator beacon to swoop in 5 Vanguard vets with melta bombs, then charge them straight into the tank and melt it into little pieces. With 5 vets all with melta bombs, this will work on anything from warbuggies to BANEBLADES!!! Once that's done, your vets and the Ironclad can go hunting.
- Note they can each take a plasma or grav pistol. Take both and duel wield flying cowboy marines.
- Dreadnought - There are 3 ways you can field this beast. The first is by making it a gun platform. There is no other option than putting a pair of TL Autocannons on it in this method. And even then faggot Grey Knights will laugh at your pitiful S7. Anything else in this configuration is a waste. The second way to field it is to optimise it for melee. Never do this. The first lesson most Space Marine players learn is that a CC Dread is good for nothing but locking a unit up. And you pay out the ass for that luxury. Its because you get a pitifully low amount of attacks, 4 S10 attacks on the charge at I4 sounds brilliant on paper, but in practice you'll be killing 1-2 Marines each round of combat. And they will be ripping you to shreds with Krak Grenades at the same time. The third, and best way to field a Dreadnought is as a Multi Melta Dread in a drop pod. On the first turn drop it near your opponent's prize tank (e.g a Land Raider filled with faggot Grey Knights)and pop it on the first turn.
- Now Venerable is an upgrade to the normal Dread, and at 25 points (10 of which are for the +1 on WS and BS) it's a steal.
- Ironclad Dreadnought - You won't be getting krak'd to death anymore, but you pay more and for only a marginal increase in effectiveness. Not bad as a suicide DP dread. Don't come under the illusion that the Hurricane Bolter is worthwhile. It isn't. Somewhat useful in that the seismic hammer and chainfist are interchangeable (before the game starts, obviously), so if you are fighting lots of light vehicles, use the hammer (+1 to damage roll), and the chainfist practically guarantees a penetrating hit on AV14 (S10 + 2d6). Deepstrike it in a drop pod next to their AV14 tank and laugh as they spend a turn killing it with all their heavy weapons (while your MM land speeder gets into range). Also, with the Stormraven going vanilla, you can crap the Ironclad there with a squad to give it support, cover and utterly destroy any threat that gets too close. Furthermore, the Stormraven is a Flyer and Assault vehicle! Imagine combining it with the Ironclad.
- Siege Dreadnought (Forgeworld): An interesting, somewhat cost effective alternative to the Ironclad, albeit not as heavily armoured. Has an inferno cannon with (which can be replaced with a multi-melta for free) and an assault drill with a built in heavy flamer. Can also mount two hunter-killer missiles just like an Ironclad, but the standout feature is that assault drill: +D6 for armour pen rolls on bunkers, fortifications, buildings and motionless vehicles. Then you get to take a free heavy flamer shot against anyone inside.
- Chaplain Dreadnought (Forgeworld) - Because why the hell not? The idea behind this thing is take everything you like about a Venerable Dreadnought, all of Forgeworld's dreadnoughts (except the Contemptor) and a Chaplain. You can take pretty much every gun, including an inferno cannon, plus you can double up on DCW's plus heavy flamer. This thing has the Venerable and Litany of Hate rules, plus a Venerable's stat-line.
- Contemptor-Pattern Dreadnought (Forgeworld) - A more advanced dreadnought, with more weapons options, greater base strength, 13 12 10 armour, a weapon skill of 5 and a substantial points hike. Also comes with 'fleet' (even more useful in 6E - although average charge distance is a bit lower, you don't need to sacrifice your shooting), and atomantic shielding (5+ inv. against shooting, 6+ inv. against close combat, and +1" to explosion if it suffers a 'vehicle explodes' result). Adding an extra dreadnought CCW would be best to take full advantage of 'fleet', but a shooty dread may be good since at range it retains a 5+ inv. save, and because the Kheres Pattern assault cannon is murderlicious (it's an assault cannon that's assault fucking 6!). However, the better loadout is two dread CCW's (one of which may be a chainfist), because contemptors get access to some nifty built-in guns to their hands: there's your standard storm bolter and heavy flamer, plus a plasma blaster (assault 2 plasma gun with an 18" range) and the freaky-deaky graviton gun. This gat shoots an AP3 small blast that forces a strength test or die and makes the terrain it hit difficult; vehicles are auto-glanced. Oh, and you can give the contemptor BS5 to go with its WS5 for a small upgrade, plus you can mount a typhoon missile launcher - on its back without giving up its arm guns!
- Contemptor Mortis (Forgeworld): Probably the best Contemptor variant, this guy trades in fleet for BS5 and Skyfire and Interceptor if it stands still and can mount a big gun in each arm PLUS a cyclone missile launcher. Here's your loadout: ignore everything and take 2 Kheres pattern assault cannons and a cyclone missile launcher. There! You're done. If you find yourself not in range of the assault cannons, move forward and throw down with a couple of BS5 missiles. If you DO have something in assault cannon range, hold still and let the rape flow - your dread will loose a total of 12 S6 AP4 rending shots at 24" on a hapless unit and if you stood still, you can drop 2 more missiles on the poor fuckers ALL OF IT HITTING ON 2'S! You will tear apart tanks, mow down infantry and blast aircraft out of the sky with this fucking thing.
- Hecaton Aiakos (Forge World) A unique contemptor dreadnought character for the Minotaurs chapter, comes with a plasma cannon. Costs a fortune but he's much improved over a normal contemptor; first he's Venerable, which is something other contemptors don't get, letting you force re-rolls on the damage chart. Second he's got +1 to his Initiative, Ballistic Skill AND a +1 bonus to his atomantic shielding, so his invulnerable save is 4+ against shooting, making him a good choice for a footslogging army. On the flip side his rear AV is 10 and his explosion radius in increased by 2".
- The Legion of the Damned - Improved from utter shit to very well usable! At the same cost Sternguards used to have, you get Fear, Fearless, Slow and Purposeful, 3++, and all shooting Ignores Cover. Yes, all of it, including any special or heavy weapons WHICH ARE NOW THE SAME PRICE AS EVERYONE ELSE'S.They are also one of the 2 units that can take Heavy Flamers. On the downside, they can only arrive through deepstrike, meaning if there's something you want them to kill, you'll have to wait a while, can't be joined by Independant Characters, and they don't get any of the new, juicy Chapter Tactics, but this update more than makes up for that.
- With the increasing amount of low AP weaponry and cover ignoring that is 6th these guys have some merit. The can contest and mow things down. Strike them near things with low AP weapons (Give them a Plasma Cannon, to see S7 AP 2 Ignores Cover Blast) or the backfield and watch them turn firefights around. They will die to massed fire(What in this game doesn't?) but can tank low volume high power hits. Sure you can minmax a list and leave them at home at how may of you are playing in world class tournaments and need 1d4chan tactics? They are good but not uber. Most of all they are fun.
- Pro-Tip: You can use them as mobile cover for any troops and/or assault screens.
- Centurion Assault Squad - New beefy assault unit in the new Codex. While 50% more expensive than assault terminators they are like, three times more durable (T5, 2 wounds), albeit fewer in number (though not as terrible as Mutilators) and without invulnerable saves. They are armed with double S9 chainfists WITHOUT unwieldy, and swing them on WS4 I4 (despite their war suits not being synchronised with the Black Carapace, meaning they should be I2 at best). Having only two attacks per base (3 on the sarge) and SAP they aren't good at killing any infantry other than TEQs (and only if they have no storm shields or equivalents), though double flamers and hurricane bolters help a bit, but any vehicle or building they successfully charge is already dead, just too stupid to realize it. Which brings us to their main problem - with close to zero mobility and no deep strike, it's almost impossible for them to charge anything without a Land Raider's help, and you can fit only 5 in a Crusader or 4 in a Redeemer. Spending near 500 points to kill a single enemy TEQ squad, vehicle or bastion and then being kited for the rest of the game is nowhere near cost-effective. With a massive points cost decrease, they might be worth it, but for now they're massively overcosted.
- Another take - If you want a cheaper way to transport your Centurions, a StormRaven is both a cheaper and interesting option compare to the Land Raiders. To keep it cheap, give it a TL Assault Cannon and a TL Multi-Melta. Hurricane Bolters is a nice option if you have the points, which will add more anti-infantry shooting that Centurions lack, but it isn't required. As for how to use your Assault squad, that depends on what you want them to do. If you want to go tank/transport hunting with them, slap on the melta guns
and either the Imperial Fists or Salamanders tactics. The former gives them the Tank Hunters special rule, while the latter grants the Sergeant a Master-Crafted weapon (Preferably the Melta guns), (Idiot! Imperial Fists chapter tactics don't apply to Assault Centurions and twin linked flamers/meltas already get the same rerolls as Salamanders, apply master-crafted to the drills) when combined with the StormRaven's MM (Either way), this makes their job easier, and can assault the passengers after its destroyed. Now for going against infantry, either the Flamer or Melta gun is fine (Your choice), and the Iron Hands, Black Templars, or Ultrasmurfs tactics fits in this role. The 6++ FnP can give them a bit more survivability in combat and against AP2/1 shootings, and the Sergeant gets It Will Not Die and so does the SR too! BT on the other hand grants them +1 to Deny the Witch, which is great against Tzeentch Daemons and other psykers, but you can forget the Crusader rule due to Slow and Purposeful. Finally the Smurf tactics allows them to reroll charge distance once per a game, which is not bad at all. Either role you go for, have fun with them in casual games (Don't take them in tournies or in a competitive metas).
 Fast Attack
- Assault Squad - Melee troops that can work both for deep striking or flying across the map. Not too expensive for what they do, and with a special character and a decently-equipped sergeant they can handle most situations. They might not fare so well against super-melee squads, but their mobility helps them pick and choose, and dual flamers even the odds against foes that would normally be far too numerous for them to consider taking on. Also if you can, give 'em melta bombs and watch them rampage through enemy armor columns. Upgrade the Sergeant to give them at least one guy with a power weapon.
- You can also trade in their jump packs for a rhino or drop pod, which might work to confuse your opponent when he thinks it's a tactical squad incoming, but then a bunch of guys with chainswords jump out and slice them in half. It really depends on your playstyle and the mission; keeping your guys in a tank limits mobility slightly, but keeps them alive against small arms; a drop pod lets them go anywhere, but they can't assault when they come out; standard jump packs let them go anywhere.
- Take a drop pod and two flamers. You now have a 95 point unit that can decimate most infantry. Happy burning.
- Land Speeders - One of the most awesome and potentially rage-inducing units in the Codex. These little buggers are very fragile, but also very underrated. They come very cheap with a multi-melta, and can bring a heavy flamer for infantry hunting. Deep striking, they are excellent tank or infantry hunters. Their only problem is that they may not last very long after they get their shots off, but if they do, they can deal some real damage to the enemy. Alternatively, try taking a Typhoon Missile Launcher and keeping it far out of harm's reach, raining missiles at shit. When tackling enemy armour with multi-meltas, use the land speeder's maneuverability to your advantage: put the target between the speeder and the rest of his army, and pray you destroy the vehicle in one salvo, WITHOUT blowing it up. With any luck, the burning wreck will keep your flimsy aluminum speeder out of the kill zone. Obviously, this means you take on flank vehicles, charging this into the center of his army is a waste of a good land speeder, unless it's to kill a Leman Russ or something (an enemy's primary tank/threat) in a turn 1 suicide run. Do remember to BLOCK enemy transports and tanks, since they can't move through the Speeder (and only AV14 tanks have the tiniest hope to ram him off). Great for delaying that big fat Land Raider from reaching your lines, for a 70 pts sacrifice (and a decent chance to kill said Raider with your underslung multi-melta).
- Relic Javelin Attack Speeder (Forge World) - An upgunned and uparmored Land Speeder that flies solo. AV11 means it is now invulnerable to bolter fire, but still melts under anti-tank (though jink saves help a bit). Costs as much as a naked Predator, packs much more firepower and mobility, and as a nice bonus it looks absolutely fabulous. The main downside is a real money price - almost THREE TIMES MORE than regular speeder - like it's silver-plated or something.
- Stormtalon Gunship - The bastard child of a Thunderhawk and a Land Speeder, this fast flyer comes with AV 11 all around, TL assault cannons and heavy bolters, and can exchange the HBs for TL lascannons, a typhoon ML, or a Skyhammer ML (which is basically a 3-shot autocannon). While more expensive than Land Speeder, this little fucker is a lot more survivable, and has some interesting rules.
- Bike Squad - Once hardly used except as the odd troop choice with a captain, these guys are now one of the most competitive parts of the new codex. for three reasons: Grav-guns - these guys are relentless, so they can fire their Grav weapons at full range and power while moving and can still charge afterwards. Price - these guys have had a price reduction, making a kitted-up squad of 7 bikers only cost as much as a tactical squad. White Scars Chapter Tactics - Skilled Rider, Hit and Run, and +1 to str on Hammer of Wrath, and you also take Khan for everyone to have scouts. All this for still only 1 pt more than a CSM biker. DO NOT take them as Fast Attack; putting them in a Troops slot lets you bring your flyers and attack bike squads/speeders. It's a crowded FOC slot, so try to avoid taking them as FA.
- Attack Bike - The Yang to Land Speeders' Yin, this is the Marines' other great FA unit. The debate on the relative merits of the Speeder and the Attack Bike is endless. Great for their two wounds, and heavy weapons. Can fit into variety of roles, from tank hunting to infantry harassing, but their low number of attacks and inability to take a power fist means they should be kept out of all but the easiest of melee combats (e.g., Fire Warriors). Attack Bikes also benefit from a wider array of Chapter Tactics when compared to Land Speeders, although the advantages may not be very significant (White Scars obviously being an exception).
- Scout Bike Squad - Pretty decent anti-infantry shooting unit, with Infiltrate, Scout and 6 Frag blasts, which means they can hurt light infantry from a safe distance (24") right on turn 1, but they're a glass cannon (T5 helps, though). Krak grenades can glance or penetrate a bawks, too, so use them.
- Locator Beacons. They're one of two units that can take them, and the only unit that can both start on the board, and be mobile.
- Infiltrate + Scout move. They can turbo-boost to within 12" of the enemy before the game actually starts. This, combined with a Locator Beacon, allows for tactical insertion of your drop pods and, if you should so fancy, a scout-missile.
- Caestus Assault Ram (Forge World) - Craziest vehicle in the game, designed to ram things (hence the name), and accomplishes this by having a 5+ inv. save against attacks on the front (inc. rams, either from the enemy ramming you or you ramming them), re-rolling the armour penetration dice when ramming with +1 to the vehicle damage roll, and nigh-impenetrable for a flyer armour of 13 13 11. Comes with a twin-linked MAGNA-MELTA (WTF?), which is: range:18" str:8 AP:1 type:Heavy 1, large blast, melta. Sound fun, eh? Holds ten men, ideal for punching a hole in the enemy battle lines and disgorging troops, AND it's an assault vehicle, so they can get straight into close combat (and no restriction against carrying terminators, in fact, they only count as one man inside this, not two!). Now this means that the Caestus has to be fast, and it is! Its type is: Flyer (hover mode), and it STILL can ram/tank shock while zooming. Comes stock with extra armour and Ceramite shielding (immunity to 'melta' rule). Options are: Firefury missile battery (range: 36" str:6 AP:4 type:Heavy 4, blast, twin-linked, one-use), Teleport homer, and Frag assault launchers. One should use the Caestus to ram straight through the strongest point of your enemy's force, in most battles you'll be there on turn one, thanks to the 36" afterburner. Ram a tank with this (generally, given the colossal afterburner, you'll give them a S10 hit) and then deploy the men inside (preferably dedicated H2H troops), and charge straight in against the nearest infantry, or if you feel like it, shove a grenade up a nearby tank's tailpipe.
- Lucius Pattern Drop Pod (Forge World) - big dreadnought drop pod, which allow your dread to deep strike. With the newest update, you can no longer assault out of a deep strike. Instead it gets a rule where the transported dreadnought, the drop pod itself, and anything shot at through the drop pod get the shrouded special rule on the turn it drops down, which is pretty damn nice. Note that the drop pod assault rule DOES NOT require the dreadnought to actually EXIT the drop pod when it comes down, and as it is a transport, it can stay inside, safe from most shooting, and use the pod as ablative armor.As drop pod is open-topped, your dread could even shoot out of it. It also has the assault vehicle special rule, so if anyone is actually stupid enough to stay within charge range of the drop pod, it can then get out of it and start annihilating the nearest enemy unit.
- Hyperios Air Defense Battery (Forge World) - One to four twin-linked missile turrets with Skyfiring, Intercepting, Heat-seeking krak missiles for only 35 points each. Perfect for trolling fliers. Unlike the other Space Marine Sentry Guns, they don't have firing modes thanks to Automated Artillery, allowing you to direct the shots at your leisure. This configuration does most jobs you ask it to without complaint. For 10 points you can replace one of the launchers with a Command Platform that gives the other platforms Split Fire, not that you need to.
 Heavy Support
- Predator - A decent dakka unit. They serve two real purposes, Infantry killing, or Tank Hunting.
- Infantry killing predators should be equipped with the default auto-cannon, and Heavy Bolter sponsors. It's dirt cheap (95pts) and can dakka pretty well. Upgrades are usually not necessary: Extra Armor is not critical, as you will in 99% cases be out of reach of any units with CC anti-tank, and 24" Storm Bolters won't get to shoot much after the 36" guns are done. The only thing worth considering is the Hunter-Killer missile, but even then, it's only efficient in numbers (like, 7-8 HKMs). Dakka Preds are mediocre unfortanutely, you're killing about 1-2 MEQ a turn at best and you're wasting HS slots that are far better spent. A Thunderfire Cannon is far better firepower.
- Tri-Las Predators are a very good choice in this slot. They're good for a number of reasons- first of all, missile launchers now suck balls, and GW decided that giving every Codex a dozen new ways to massacre MEQ was a great idea, meaning Devastators with Lascannons need extra ablative wounds, inflating their already more expensive price even higher. In a competitive list these are your Hammer units for taking out the heavy hitting MC's. A unit with high strength AP2 runs up the board and cripples or wounds something like a Riptide until its on its last legs. They're the Anvil on which the ground is set, and where you're going to strike with your Hammer. You can very reliably kill a Riptide or Wraithknight in three or four turns or even two if you get lucky. In addition, they can take out vehicles very well, don't take a large drop in effectiveness like Devs do when they lose men, and they're immune to small arms and the majority of the impromptu AT people take.
- Predator Executioner (Forgeworld) - Do you remember Leman Russ Executioner? Well, space marines look at it, and say "we need something like that". With 3-shot plasma cannon this thing would blast MEQ and TEQ from table next turn they come in range. Additionally, you can swap main gun for heavy conversion beamer - this would only work better on high distances, and force you to move or shoot, but 48-72" S10 AP1 big blast shot would retake the price of tank the second it shot - think of it like a long range Vindicator.
- Predator Infernus (Forgeworld) - Predator with turret mounted flamestorm cannon (those AP3 flamethrower from Redeemer). While highly devastating at close range it's just too slow. Slow flamer tanks sucks. If you want one that bad, just take allied Blood Angels with a Baal Pred. If this thing come close to any non-TEQ infantry, it would ruin their day, and then die to a single melta shot, or hail of krak grenades. But most commonly it would just die, because big scary flamer, approaching your lines attract a LOT of fire. Thank god, this tank is also cheap, so you can use it as expendable fire magnet. Alternatively Infernus can exchange his super-flamer for MAGNA-MELTA (R18 S8 AP1 Heavy1, Large Blast, Melta), transforming into wannabe-Vindicator.
- Devastator Squad - These are your tactical marines. Except they don't score. And their heavy weapons
cost more same price now so they're much cheaper now. 6th Edition was not kind of them. If you take them at all, 1-2 ablative wounds are mandatory, and never mix weapons. Bear in mind you're in 6th, not 5th edition now and Missile Launchers work well because since vehicles aren't half as common anymore and unlike other anti tank weapons you can go and throw some anti infantry frag missiles around when there aren't any tanks. Mind you MC's that shrug off the krak Missiles are much more common but missiles work well as a general choice, good at nothing in particular but not really wanting in any one place. The only other weapon worth taking are plasma cannons if the rest of your bases are covered. Why? Heavy Bolters are too ineffective against anything tougher than MEQ. Multi Meltas are too short ranged. Lascannons are better provided through Tri-Las.
- Vigilator Sergeant Hamath Kraatos (Minotaurs Special Character) - FUCKING EXCELLENT: a BS+1, 2-wound, Devastator Sergeant with a Heavy Bolter and preferred enemy (anything not a Vehicle, Monstrous Creature or cavalry/beasts for some reason). Has the added bonus of being able to switch his normal shooting for a special "assassin shell" which is basically a S6 AP3 Sniper rifle. His rules wording explicitly states he may only be taken in an "army representing the minotaurs chapter", so you shouldn't be able to combo him with non-minotaurs special characters.
- The only time Multi-Melta Devs are worth is with Salamander CT. Vulkan twin-linking them means that even when snapshot (say, when coming out of a drop pod right into melta range) they have a chance to hit something.
- Don't forget the Sergeant! He can take combi-weapons for one turn of extra punch. Or can be given a Power Fist for when someone charges your poor, vulnerable shooting squad. He also comes, stock, with a Signum. No one ever remembers to use it, which is a shame because +1BS to a single model in the squad can come in handy...
- Four plasma cannons might seem like a waste of points, since they might blow themselves up, but if you get some lucky rolls in, you can obliterate any heavy infantry squad from three feet away. Bit of a risk, but they are the only infantry weapons that can take on multiple terminators in one shot (and if your oppenent's army is grouped, you will at least hit something).
- Remember that Devastators can take flakk missiles now. A minimum strength squad with MLs & flakk missiles is almost as effective against fliers as a tricked-out Stormraven and comes a lot cheaper.
- Take some red shirt boltgun marines if you don't want your fragile Devastator squad heavy weapons dying the instant your opponent glances at it (though this does increase the cost).
- You could do much worse than a Heavy Bolter-wielding Dev squad if you're using the Imperial Fist chapter tactics. Lots of rerolls, and the ability to go through hull points on light vehicles like piss through toilet paper.
- Centurion Devastator Squad - The shooting versions of their punchy brethren. If you seek cheap dakka, go elsewhere, as those guys are expensive as hell and only bring half or even a third the firepower of a Devastator squad of the same price. Though they are tough as hell, menacing and attract a lot of firepower. There is no reason to go with lascannons and MLs to hunt mech - regular devs camping in heavy cover do it better, but the standard setup with double HB's and Hurricane Bolters is kinda good at killing light infantry hordes (and in 6e you WILL face hordes). The last option is grav-cannons and grav-amps, which can vomit 5 AP2 shots per model that wound on a model's armor save roll with rerolls, but it's only 24" range. A squad of 4-5 grav centurions will eat any MEQ, TEQ, MC, or GC unit within 24" in one volley, but will be tarpitted by ANYTHING till the end of the game - being A1 with no close combat weapon they'll struggle to kill even Fire Warriors in CC. Grav centurions are really only good for killing heavily-armored death star units like mega-nobz, terminators, and monstrous/gargantuan creatures. Much like their Assault counterparts, these guys are massively overcosted, even with the Grav Cannons. For the same price as three man unit with Grav Cannons or Lascannons, you could have a Land Raider. Why aren't you taking the Land Raider again?
- A nice setup for them is with twin-linked lascannons and missile launchers. Pair them with Imperial Fists Chapter Tactics, an omniscope on the sargent (so that they have Night Vision and can split fire) and camp them in cover. Tanks won't trouble you anymore this way.
- Vindicator - This guy has a big, scary gun. Hampered by its short range, this S10 AP2 pie-plate causes most people (especially other marine players) nightmares. It's bound to draw fire, lots and lots of fire. This is good because it keeps guns trained away from the rest of your army, but bad because it's easily shot down from the side (especially if your opponent deploys his anti-tank in opposite corners) and easily neutralized (glancing hits don't shake/stun anymore, but add up quickly, and EVERY damage result on a penetrating hit either makes it useless for at least a turn, if not permanently). In addition, they suck against MC's, Thunderfires are better at wiping infantry off objectives and they take up valuable HS slots.
- Land Raider - The biggest metal box of all. Can carry termies, and lets them assault after disembarking. Comes in eight flavors:
- Classic (or Godhammer) pattern Land Raider - 2 sets of twin-linked lascannons and a twin-linked heavy bolter. Carries 10 (it was 12 in 5th edition until it got changed). You'd think its good for tank hunting. You'd be wrong. It's just too expensive for that. Land Raiders need to be transporting stuff, and running forward at great speeds. This Land Raider is a confused beast, best left alone. If you want a little bit more reasoning for why the classic Land Raider is comparatively useless, here's a bit more explanation: for the cost of having it on the table, this Land Raider needs to be able to do both of its roles effectively at the same time, but since transporting soldiers doesn't work well with standing up front and shooting too, there's no real way to make this one as effective as it needs to be. It's not completely useless thanks to Power of the Machine Spirit which allows an additional weapon to be fired at a different target (even while shaken/stunned), theoretically allowing you to move 6" and destroy two enemy tanks (if you're lucky). This tactic works quite well with Antaro Chronus as his BS 5 makes this more likely.
- Crusader - 2 sets of "Hurricane Bolters" (3 regular bolters, all twin-linked) and 1 twin-linked Assault cannon, and the 6th edition changes to the rules have greatly improved its weapons. Carries 16(!) This was, and sometimes still is, the old standby transport for terminators. Often with a multi-melta added (for popping shots at tanks). This carries up to 8 Terminators up close to the foe where they do their work. The Crusader WANTS to be up close, where its short-ranged, anti-infantry guns work wonders to support the squad it was escorting. Give it Extra Armor, nothing sucks more than a stunned Land Raider. This used to be the ultimate in Terminator delivery, but recently a challenger has appeared...
- Redeemer - Keeps the twin-linked Assault Cannon of the Crusader, but replaces the side-mounted Hurricane Bolters with a pair of Flamestorm Cannons, nasty S6 AP3 flamers. Carries 12. The only other Land Raider you should even consider, even if it doesn't fit as many Terminators. Far Nastier against infantry than the crusader, but needs to be up closer... which means melta-range. Whoops. Also, it doesn't help that Flamestrom Cannons being mounted on the side means that the Redeemer can have difficulty hitting things directly in front of it. Multi-Melta optional, but nice. And the cherry on top: 10 points cheaper than the other two Land Raider varieties. Remember, you may not be allowed to snap shot templates, but power of the machine spirit means you can move 12 an still make someone extra crispy.
- Terminus Ultra (Apocalypse) - Leman Russes and Baneblades got you down? Are Hammerhead gunships making you throw fits? Tyrannofexes slaughtering your tanks? Titans kicking your ass when you have none of your own? Do Predator Annihilators simply fail to cut it for you? Are your desperate, suicidal charges against a Monolith with only two tactical marines, two Predator Destructors, and three Land Speeders proving to be totally ineffective? Then the Terminus Ultra is a tank for you!!! Coming equipped with three(!) twin-linked lascannons and two single lascannons, it's only a measly 50 points more expensive than the standard Land Raider and has no troop carrying capacity. It is extremely effective against enemy armour, the Land raiders special rule allows the Terminus Ultra to easily take out 2 light vehicles in a single shooting phase or completely annihilate one heavy vehicle, I once managed to destroy a Warhound Titan with this thing. But some unlucky rolls can lead to the tank blowing up, through overheating of the lascannon batteries (like REALLY unlucky, about a .3343% chance or 13 in 3888 odds). Best used at long range, picking off the enemy vehicles one by one, or two by two. Pretty much, it causes enemy vehicles to suffer critical existence failure to an even greater degree than the Redeemer causes enemy infantry to spontaneously combust (probably because the Redeemer doesn't have an additional two weapon mounts.) If you could stick on a multi-melta or an additional Las-Cannon, all your anti-vehicle problems could be fixed but not even Matt Ward is willing to go that far. Antaro Chronus turns this into pretty much the final word in Imperial tank destroyers.
- Achilles (Forgeworld) - Oh hell yes. For the same price as the Terminus Ultra, this beast sports a Thunderfire Cannon and twin-linked multi-melta sponsons, has immunity to the Melta and Lance special rules, puts a -1 penalty on most other attacks, can carry six models, and doesn't go 'splodey. Put a scout squad and a techmarine in it, plonk it down on an objective, and watch your opponent throw a shit fit. Eldar and Dark Eldar will really Rage at it since that don't have much anti-tank outside of meltas and lances. Tthough, they have haywire/D-weapon, and you really should beware them, as hawks, wraithguards, witches and scourges would blow your "expensive but invincible" tank in eye blink, once they came in threat range. (another option is to take a iron hand character, which gives the achilles IWND. Then ally in a cheap DA librarian with bike and Powerfield generator for a 4++ (divination for rerollable inv save shenanigans). Just try and destroy that platform of death, I dare you...)
- Ares (Apocalypse) - This is for when a Vindicator just won't cut it. Comes standard with a Demolisher cannon, twin linked Assault cannons, twin-linked heavy flamer sponsons, and a siege shield, can take extra armour for +15pts, and always do have extra armour on it, the whole point of this tank is to get to the enemy lines as quickly as possible, therefore as soon as it's stunned, it's losing an entire turn of blowing the enemy apart as you'll reach them a turn later. When it was released there were those who questioned the point of the Demolisher cannon (By 'those', I mean Idiots, who wouldn't want a demolisher cannon...), as it's an ordnance weapon, no other weapons can be fired. HOWEVER, with the new 'Power of he machine spirit' rule, just make sure the Demolisher is the extra weapon you fire with POTMS, and you can still unleash all your weapons when stationary. Costs as much as two-and-a-half Vindicators, but a hell of a lot more survivable, and has more close-combat attack options into the bargain. This tank is the absolute final word in terminal close quarters battle, the demolisher cannon will annihilate half a unit, many more will be mown down by the Assault cannon, then move in to mop up with twin-linked heavy flamers (re-roll to wound), so... it's pretty good its Armour can stand up to the punishment it will no doubt sustain on it's way to the enemy front lines.
- Irritatingly, there is no way to buy a kit for this vehicle, Forgeworld or otherwise, so you have to build it from scratch.
- Helios (Forgeworld) - A Whirlwind on steroids, which comes stock with twin-linked lascannon sponsons. More survivable and versatile than the Whirlwind, but is not worth the points cost. Also carries six models for some insane reason. If you ask us, it'd probably be better off not being able to transport infantry in exchange for two more gun mounts, probably autocannons. Mais c'est la vie. Not bad if you're only transporting six models anyways (i.e. command squad) since it's basically ten points to upgrade the heavy bolter to a whirlwind launcher, which can be PotMS fired at at infantry while you hit something with lascannon. Not that a command squad needs a LR, but this could be an awesome choice for them if you do it anyways.
- Prometheus (Forgeworld) An uber crusader. Two quad heavy bolters is the same number of shots as hurricane bolters at <12", twice as many at 12-24, and can actually shoot up to 36, with the advantage of being S5. It's a HB dev squad, twin-linked. Granted, it loses the assault cannon, but it gains dedicated transport status in siege assault lists, and fucks with cover saves and boosts reserve rolls (2+ reserves ftw!). Don't put it near enemy heavy armour, but a solid tank overall.
- Antaro Chronus - Not really a character so much as he is an upgrade to a tank. An expensive upgrade to a tank. He makes it BS 5, and ignores shaken and stunned results. Great, for a shooty tank... but you don't really have many shooty tanks expensive enough to merit this upgrade, except the Land Raider Terminus Ultra, conversely you could put him in an Achilles and make it even MORE resilient, resulting in absolutely 3PIC RAGE by your opponent as ridiculous amounts of firepower are literally thrown at the Achilles and nothing happens. The reccent update also gives the Tank It Will Not Die and a price drop meaning he may be worth it for something that takes a lot of fire. Plus, you have a 2/3 chance of making the tank worth 2 kill points, as the 1W mook who pops out won't do much but die horribly. Remember though, he is only allowed to be used on Ultramarine vehicles. That means you cannot use him if you don't have Ultramarine allies. I'm sure most friendly games will let it slide, but if you want to be playing tournaments with him in a Spartan Assault Tank, you're going to have to paint it blue and every other model you have.
- Note: You can take him if you're an Ultramarine successor chapter or use your allies slot to have some smurfs.
- Actually, Chronus only counts as an upgrade for the tank, meaning that he is part of the tank unit even when he jumps ship. Funny to way to troll your opponent when he misses out on an extra kill point!!
- Spartan Assault Tank (Forgeworld) - Forgeworld takes the old schizophrenic Land Raider, and pumps it up with steroids. Fucking five hull points, two twin-linked two-shot lascannons (it almost gets off as many lascannon shots as a terminus ultra while still being able to carry troops, doesn't go boom when you roll badly, and gets way more goodies), TL heavy bolters, transport capacity of 25, in-built extra armor, good-old 14/14/14, PotMS and Assault Vehicle. You even can take frag launchers (which got far more awesome with the new grenade rules) and ceramite shielding (fuck you, meltaguns) for a marginal increase in points. Meaning it can do the roles of the Terminus Ultra, the Achilles, and the Ares all at the same time, all it really needs are some burny weapons. But what are the drawbacks you ask? This uber metal box can not be taken as a dedicated transport at all. Also, as a Forgeworld model, it will cost you a unicorn's soul.
- At only 45 points more, there is no reason to take the Godhammer landraider over this beast ever again.
- Your opponent might hate your guts if you field this.
- Want to make your opponent cry or perhaps even strangle you? Take this beast, the Armoured Ceramite upgrade (Just in case), the Iron Hands Chapter Tactics, a Master of the Forge and with a few Servitors (One should do), and if you have the points add a techmarine with a servoharness as well. If you do all that you will end with HP 5, It Will Not Die and Melta Immune Spartan Assault Tank (That's AV 14 all around no less) and a MotF with a 2+ Blessing of the Omnissiah Rolls with a 3+ roll of insurance from the Techmarine. Make sure those guys are in the vehicle as of the recent faq, Techs can repair while in the vehicle. This will only cost you 440 points.
- Whirlwind - An often forgotten option, the cheap whirlwind tank is actually an excellent troop hunter. Especially against the "swarm" armies (Nids, Orks, Guard). It comes stock with a choice of two shots, one with a better strength and AP for hunting troops in the open, and another, weaker shot that ignores cover saves (quite useful). The Whirlwind's real boon is it's ability to fire indirectly, and only having one gun means you can shuffle around every turn without compromising your fire power, on top of this, the 'barrage' type of its weapon means approaching units that have poor leadership(guardsmen, gaunts etc.) can be easily pinned and stay there while you pound them. While it lacks the sheer range and firepower of the Imperial Guard's Basilisk, it is pretty damned good for an artillery unit. Thanks to 6-th edition there is more infantry and less tanks around, so Whirlwind now can found a lot more use. Another often overlooked part of the barrage rule in 6-th edition is that wound allocation is always done from the centre of the blast marker! The Whirlwind just became a lot more useful. With BS4 and a direct shot you have slightly less than a 50% chance to get that large blast placed exactly where you want it. Use it to selectively snipe special weapons models hidden in the middle or back of units. Perfect for taking away ion/rail rifles from Tau Pathfinders for example. Go for characters if you want, but remember that 'Look out Sir!' still applies so they have a good chance to survive. DO NOTE that the Whirlwind can fire its main armament at Combat Speed, so reserving it to preserve it from anti-tank fire in the beginning and having it come in later in the game is perfectly viable, though it would cost you one or two turns of shooting.
- Whirlwind Hyperios (Forgeworld) - This thing is supposed to be your main ground based anti-air,
since your Devastators didn't get flak missiles,yes they do, but it sucks. One skyfire/interceptor krak shot per turn, even twin-linked is just don't cut it, and you can not squadron this thing, like IG player squadron their Hydras.
- Relic Whirlwind Scorpius - Unlike the standard Whirlwind, the Scorpius fires a small blast, but at S8 and AP3 it eats marines for breakfast. And if it stands still it can fire D3+1 templates.
- Thunderfire Cannon - This is forgotten a lot in 6-th edition but can be very useful at putting pressure on scoring units and is the only thing I use it for, it can choose 3 different shell types, one at strength 6, one which Ignores cover at strength 5 and the last causes models affected by the blast to move through difficult terrain. Keep this far away as possible with a good line of sight, if your lucky you can end up with 20 wounds if all goes to plan, Ive seen MEQ's buckle hard under the pressure it can fire off. 6-th edition buffed artillery staying power, by giving it 2 wounds and 3+ save, so it won't die like a bitch to a single krak shot or turn of bolter fire. But it still completely stationary. This doesn't fare so well in small games as it attract attention quicker, It is forgotten about most of the time in larger games which is great as it will harass your opponent's infantry. Most forget that it even exists in Apocalypse games where you'll have access to units with even more firepower and the sheer amount of dakka that will be tossed around will cause this gun to spontaneously explode. The Thunderfire Cannon does have one saving grace, however: it comes with a free Techmarine with a servo-harness. If you plan on taking Techmarines anyway and have the slots open, you might as well get one cannon round out of it for 25 points. Against armies that are heavily mechanized and must bunch up all their transports, 1-2 Thunderfire Cannons can cockblock the entire army with the earthquake shells, provided you actually have something else in the list for breaking those transports. Also the Earthquake shells can really fuck vehicle squadrons by making them waste movement to go around the templates (but again, if you're using this as a big tactic, you sure as fuck need something else to break those vehicles!!)
- TFCs can be Awesome in Apocalypse if you use them right, especially against horde armies you can just spam the Subterranean shells at. The key here is the Subterranean Shell's Tremor rule; opponents really don't like it when you're constantly putting down Blast templates of difficult/dangerous terrain in their way, even if the shell doesn't hurt anything. Do this every turn you're not firing on infantry, and many start trying to spread out and attempt a pincer rather than risk terrain tests.
- 6th Edition has made all Thunderfire Cannon shells Barrage. Fun times ahead.
- Stormraven Gunship: Basically, a flying Land Raider. It costs 200 points base, has AV12 all around and meltaguns don't get the extra D6 for AP when shooting at them. It's also bristling with guns; it has a twin-linked heavy bolter, a twin-linked assault cannon, and four Stormstrike missiles (72" S8 AP2, Concussive, Ordnance, one shot each), and that's only standard issue. It can replace the heavy bolters with a twin-linked multimelta for free or a Typhoon missile launcher for 25 points, and replace the assault cannon with a twin-linked plasma cannon or a twin-linked lascannon for free. And if that's not enough dakka for you, it can take hurricane bolters in side sponsons. It can't deep strike anymore, but it can take a locator beacon, but the real gravy comes with its transport capacity; it can carry 12 guys in power armor (or 6 Jump Infantry/Terminators) AND one Dreadnought. Watch your opponent cry tears of bitter rage as your Vanguard Vet's with power weapons come out of fucking nowhere to ruin his day. It'll cost you an arm and a leg, but you certainly get what you pay for. And speaking of 6th edition it's a flyer. You need it.
- If you're going Iron Hands, take a Tech with a servo harness or a MotF and stick them in there to regain your hullpoints. You will be targeted so it's always important to bring these guys to make sure your Stormraven stays up in the air. In the end you will have a It will not die Storm Raven with a 3+ (4+ if not Iron Hands) Blessing of the Omnissiah rolls. Trust me, nothing can easily take it down with all those dice rolls that keeps it up. Take both if you got the points to spare.
- Take one of these full of power weapon VV's/dread and a Stormtalon escort. Drink your opponents tears. Bonus points for being Raven Guard.
- Another deathstar you can use is Lysander with a full load of Assault Hammernators with a dreadnaught. Expensive, but deadly.
- Storm Eagle (Forge World) - Your transport Flyer. (IA12 moved it to heavy) Occupies the middle-ground between the Stormraven and the Thunderhawk. Transport capacity of 20, with terminators and jump infantry counting as 2 models each. Impressive arsenal of weaponry, standard armament: Hull-mounted twin-linked Heavy Bolter, Hull-mounted Vengeance Launcher (Range:48"|Str:5|AP:4|Heavy 2, Large Blast). Optional armament includes: Switching Heavy bolters for Multi-meltas or a Typhoon missile launcher, and adding 4 Hellstrike Missiles or 2 Twin-linked Lascannon under the wings. Also get ceramite shielding, and the 'Power of the Machine Spirit' special rule, along with 12|12|12 armour. Can also deep strike, and disembarking infantry can assault in the same turn.
- Same with the Stormraven. Motf/Tech with a servo Harness put them inside and stay up.
- Deathstorm Drop Pod (Forgeworld) - Expecting the drop pod that just landed to contain troops or a heavy weapons platform you don't have to worry about until next turn? SURPRISE! Whirlwind missiles! For you! In the face! When this modified drop pod lands, it immediately attacks every unit (friend or foe) in 12" and in line of sight d3 times, then attacks normally every subsequent turn. It can also be upgraded to assault cannons for an extra 20 points, but this should only be done if you expect it to survive more than one turn (and you really shouldn't). Very situational, but if your opponent fields lots of small units relatively close together, dropping this in the middle of them is almost guaranteed to ruin his day. Can't take a locator beacon, though.
- Hunter - One of the new Space Marine AA weapons. Comes with a massive missile launcher, which is S7 AP2 and armourbane, so rather than glancing enemy flyers to death like the most flakk tanks it is designed to blast it in one shot. Hunter's misses transform into missiles on the target's tail that hit REAR armor on 5+ each turn and don't time out unless the target leave the table, which is kinda funny and overall useful, especially against IG and Tau flyers. You don't get the lock-on if shooting at a non-flyer, but remember, skyfire still allows full BS shooting at skimmers. Use one to pop eldar, tau, deldar and necron vehicles of all sorts.
- Stalker - The other new Space Marine AA weapon. Comes with a pair of triple barrelled autocannons. For all intents and purposes it is basically a Hydra Flakk Tank with better side armor, BS and crappy ability to fire at two different targets (which you would never use) for the cost of lower range. And yes, it is as cheap as Hydra. The main drawback is the same - no Interceptor, so it is useless against ground targets and would be blown to shreds by the flyers the turn they arrive from reserves.
- Just take an ADL with a Quadgun.
- If a the stalker's "dual targets" mode has the servo-tracking special rule, and "all shots fired using the servo-tracking special rule are made at BS2", what happens when it makes snap-shots?
- Answer: Need to hit on 6's still. The sevo-tracking just changes the BS of the stalker, it doesn't override Snap Shots.
- Space Marine Sentry Gun Battery (Forge World) - From IA:12 you get a battery of up to three immobile twin-linked Heavy Bolters for the bargain cost of 15 points each and swap them for a Multi-melta for five or pay ten for TL Lascannons. Being automated, you have very little control over what they actually do in the battle, they select their own targets based on pre-set criteria, you basically just get to choose at deployment what their arcs are: 360 degrees but at 18" range, or 90 degrees at 36" range, so you're rarely going to be blasting things across the table with these things. You DO get the ability to deep strike them for a laugh or give them camo netting for stealth if you can set them up in a good spot to make them invulnerable to most shooting. (while you can pay the cost for both, just don't because it you deep strike into cover you are waiting for a mishap.)
- DON'T EVER mix and match guns or targeting criteria, nowhere in the rules do they say they deploy separately or behave any differently from any other artillery battery, meaning they should all be firing at the same target, which is still the one they select for themselves...
- As a added bonus though, you can instead swap the guns for a Hyperios Missile Launcher (see Fast Attack section).
 Super Heavy [all Forge World]
- Thunderhawk Gunship - There is only one reason why you don't already have one, it costs a shitload of cash(£399), apart from this... small price... the Thunderhawk has virtually no downsides, at 700 points it's certainly expensive, and it doesn't have much armour (12,12,10) but it does have 3 structure points and is immune to the 'melta' special rule. It's title of gunship is well deserved, it has a turbo laser (yes a fucking strength D weapon with a 5" blast!!!), four twin-linked heavy Bolters, two Lascannons and 6 weapon pylons, which can contain bombs or Hellstrike missiles. It also has a "modest" transport capacity of 30, so you can hold an entire 10 man squad of Terminators in this thing AND a techmarine and servitors to keep the thing running (they ARE allowed to repair vehicles they're embarked on, awesome). As the only super heavy vehicle in the space marines armoury, you will almost never field more than one of these, fortunately, you only need one. The best way to use this vehicle is to get close combat Terminators right into the middle of the enemies most dangerous shooting formation, then use the fearsome weapons on the gunship to destroy enemy vehicles that can insta-kill your guys, allowing your Terminators to destroy the shooty infantry and keep your grunts alive. Used properly this vehicle WILL make your opponent shit bricks, used improperly, it will do nothing but die uselessly as it gets pummeled by 700 points worth of enemy lascannons, rockets, missiles, battle cannon and lances, then it will explode and take the most of the rest of your army with it, because of this NEVER EVER keep it static, it's tempting to just hang back and pummel the enemies vehicles with the turbo laser, but don't.
- Good New you can now use this bad boy in normal games, why? Not a good ideal seeing how its 700 points....
- Fellblade - This is your
ELEVEN THIRTEEN BARRELS OF HELL: Quad-lascannon or laser destroyer sponsons, twin-linked heavy bolters/flamers and a demolisher cannon on the hull, and a fuck-huge Accelerator Cannon (also known as a rape cannon) mounted on top. On top of that, you can take a pintle-mounted storm bolter, heavy bolter, heavy flamer or multi-melta, pushing it up to a mighty FIFTEEN BARRELS OF HELL. Take it with Armoured Ceramite to protect it from IG Melta-Vet squads, and make sure to protect the relatively vunerable rear, and you have a tank that'll put any of your friend's Baneblade variants to shame.
- Titan Hammer Formation - This isn't actually a superheavy tank, but it belongs in this section because THIS is how you kill titans, superheavies and Biotitans. The Formation is Lysander and 2+ TH/SS terminator squads (who can take heavy weapons, TH/SS/CML FTW!) they must all deepstrike, within 12" of where Lysander deepstrikes, but they only scatter D6", and are fearless, and LYSANDER GETS A VORTEX GRENADE! Sweet Jesus, this could reduce Tyranid players to tears as you one-shot their biotitans (D6 wounds on gargantuan creatures, no saves) Baneblades (D3 structure points)and Primarchs (removed with no saves allowed). Best part about vortex is the blast can drift around, and one-shot ANOTHER biotitan! Fuck yeah! Anything that survives can try it's luck with dozens of TH/SS terminators toting heavy weapons led by Lysander, with fearless.
- Aegis Defence Line: Cheap means of getting a quad gun. Scouts with camo cloaks and telion make this another delicious 2+ cover save. Even better, play Imperial Fists or take an Imperial Fists detachment. Take a Devastator squad. Have them man the Quad gun. You now have a BS5 Quad gun that is twin-linked, and re-rolls failed pens/glances against all vehicles. This thing will fucking blow Heldrakes out of the sky in a single Shooting phase if you're a little lucky.
- Skyshield Landing Pad: 4++ save, park your vehicles that are just going to stay still and shoot on top of this thing. It can't be demolished, laugh as your predators rain death unmolested.(Technically you can put a war-hound titan on-top of this and still get an invun save but you have to take dangerous terrain test if you move off of it).
- Imperial Bastion: It basically serves the same role as the Aegis Line, but it has more guns and better cover. It's as expensive as the Skyshield, though, without protecting your tanks, and your infantry squads probably won't find it worthwhile to sit around all game--unless they're Devastators, which is where this shines.
Fortress of RedemptionG.I. JOE COBRA COMMAND CENTER PLAYSET: It's a massive "centerpiece" terrain model, which is kinda silly when you think about it. It basically forces you to sit around and shoot, and it certainly does have plenty of firepower, but then you don't necessarily want to do that--you're not Impy Guard or Tau, remember. Really, the biggest question when taking this is, for that price, why aren't you taking another Land Raider?
 Sentinels of Terra
- Close Ranged Bolter Drill: Replaces the Imperial Fists Bolter Drill with rerolls to hit at half range. Works for bolt pistols, boltguns, storm bolters, heavy bolters, combi-weapons firing as bolters. Does not apply to Special Issue Ammo. Useful, but now you have to be closer to the enemy, so watch out.
- Centurion Warsuits: Like Centurions? Now Centurion Devastator Squads are Elites and Heavy Support, Centurion Assault Squads are Fast Attack and Elites. Useful for freeing up slots for more useful things like Vindicators, but mostly this is for fluff rather than spam. Take 54 Marines wearing larger Marines for lols.
- Tor Garadon: Upgrade for a Tactical Squad. Has profile of Captain rather than Sergeant (though he does get promoted to Captain, so it fits), power fist, grenades (frag and krak)and Spartean (see below). Makes his Tac Squad HQ. Pretty good, open ups cheap HQ option, with meatshields. Kit him up and hunt a tank.
 Warlord Traits
With Stronghold Assault expansion coming, Warlord traits involving buildings are going to become much more useful.
- 1-Siege Lord: Shots from Warlord and unit add 1 to their roll on building damage table. Maybe useful in apoc, if your opponents spam fortifications, but really, no.
- 2-Tenacious Opponent: Warlord It Will Not Die. Nice.
- 3-Wise Commander: While your Warlord is alive, add or subtract 1 from reserve rolls. Very nice, very nice indeed.
- 4-Indomitable: Provided the Warlord and his unit don't move, they get Fearless and Counter Attack until the start of your next turn. Useful if the enemy breaks your lines, maybe too situational.
- 5-Architect of War: The building your Warlord cowers in gets -1 to damage rolls against it. Ugh.
- 6-Fleet Commander: One use, Infinite Range, S10 AP1, Large Blast Ordinance Barrage that ignores BS when scattering. Sure, your Warlord can't fire another weapon that turn, but really, why should he? Awesomesauce.
 Company Relics
- The Eye of Hypnoth: Used in place of a shooting attack, for 15 points you reduce a unit or building's cover save by 1 until the end of the phase. 18" range and non-cumulative with the Auspex, but it is cheap. Chuck it on a Scout Squad with Snipers, peg off a pesky commander.
- The Angel of Sacrifice: Chaplain only, replaced crozius arcanum. When killed in assault, Chaplain stays around until close combat attacks are resolved, and then attacks. S+2, AP 4 Concussive, very cheap, if you have a Chaplain, it's an auto include.
- The Bones of Orsak: Librarian gets extra warp charge and rerolls failed psychic tests. Yes please, save yourself from perils.
- The Banner of Staganda: Can only be carried by anyone that can take a Company Standard, bearer gets Counter-Attack and Crusader, and Imperial Fists within 12" reroll failed moral and pinning tests.
- The Spartean: Garadon's Pistol, if you aren't taking Garadon you can chuck it on someone else. Master Crafted Bolt Pistol that Ignores Cover. If you have the points to spare, take it, can't hurt.
With close range bolter drill, this turns the army into a close quaters monster, a bit like the opposite of the tau who want to stay away from the enemy this one wants to get within a 12-8 inch range to make the most of twinlinked bolters. But that means you either always moving forward to get into this golden butter zone, additionally your enemy will be in a perfect place to charge you if you try to shoot his melee troops. It might be best to ignore heavy weapons in tactical squads since your be moving most turns. Think Aspect Eldar and keep your tactical focused on destroying infantry and use your extra Centurions to deal with armor and even terminators will fall under enough bolter fire.
 Clan Raukaan
- Company Rules: Dreadnoughts can be taken as either Heavy or Elite Choices without a Master of the Forge and two Techmarines can be taken for each HQ; three if the HQ is a MotF. Handy if you want to run two MotF, six Techmarines and 6 Dreadnoughts.
 Warlord Traits
- 1-Adept of the Omnissiah - Gain Blessing of the Omnissiah or a re-roll if they already have it.
- 2-Will of Iron - Warlord becomes Fearless...But why would you even want this, you have ATSKNF already.
- 3-FLESH IS WEAK - +1 to FNP roll. This is the pick you want when using Chapter Master Smashfucker. And why wouldn't you be using him when running an Iron Hands list?
- 4-Student of History - In an attempt to avoid winding up without heads, the Warlord and Clan Raukaan unit can auto-fail Morale checks.
- 5-Merciless Resolve - Warlord and friendly Clan Raukaan units with 12" get Crusader USR
- 6-Target Protocols - Warlord and Clan Raukaan unit can re-roll To Hits of 1 in shooting phase. Definitely a way to make them Fists and Smurfs jelly of your sexy augmetics.
 Company Relics
- The Mindforge Stave: Force. Thunderhammer. So. Cool. Can't. Stop. Talking. Like. Shatner.
- Axe of Medusa: Master-crafted Power Axe with +2S, A to-hit roll of 6 makes it +4S usually making you hit at S8.
- Betrayers Bane: Master-crafted Combi-Melta with 'unlimited' melta shots, just in case you REALLY wanna wreck that tank.
- Iron Stone: Clan Raukaan Tanks and Walkers within six inches pass IWND of 4+ and a 6 will repair Immobilized or Weapon Destroyed.
- The Tempered Helm: Morale tests within 24" use the wearers leadership. One unit within 12" can re-roll 1's to-hit.
- Gorgon Chain: effects based on how many wounds the user has suffered,0 wounds suffered gets 3++, +1 to FNP, EW; 1 wound suffered gets 3++, EW; 2 wounds suffered 3++; 3 wounds suffered gets 4++; these are affected by IWND so regaining wounds makes it stronger again. Give this to a well-equipped Captain, attach an Apothecary to his unit, and laugh as everything short of a MC dies in close combat to him while he shrugs off wounds thanks to his supercharged FNP. Did I mention that IWND will return any buffs lost from taking Wounds?
With this supplement the Iron Hands chapter master went from ded killy an' ded 'ard to even more killy and even 'arder. The Gorgon Chain doesn't replace a weapon so your chapter master can now wield a thunder hammer and a lightning claw for an additional attack and the option to strike at initative, with access to 4+ or even 3+ FNP through apothecaries and lucky warlord trait rolls.
Not exactly fluffy, buuuut, since you've got all those tech marines, all of which have bolster defenses, you could stick a bunch of scouts in the bolstered cover. A bit more fluffy, Raptor as allies would go nicely for your Sons of Medusa.
If you don't care about fluff, then stealth suits and eldar will love your bolstered cover.
Other than that, you can stick techmarines in squads as special weapon toting seargents or you can have them take along servitors for repair work or to carry plasma cannons.
Take along some Inquisitorial allies, and use the arcoglagellants as failed aspirants.
 Battle Brothers
- Other Chapters of muhreens: Let's get this serious: if you're relying on MOAR marines it's because they have toys that you don't. With that clear, let's see what have your less Codex-compliant battle-brothers. Allying with other Codex-compliant chapters is good only if you want two different Chapter Tactics or another Chapter's special character.
- Codex Space Marines: Unlike other Codexs, space marines can ally with themselves, so it's worth noting it here. In general use each chapter tactic works well with a unit and tactic. Combine chapter tactics to get the more out of certain units then one chapter tactic alone can give you. Fist have better devastators thanks to Tank hunters, while Ravens have better assault Marines. Combine them to have Tank hunting dev's de-can a transport for Assault marines to charge with extra hammer of wraths, or Salmanders cook with re-rolling wound flamers, or any combination you can come up with.
- Black Templars: While not the brightest thing in the world to do now that Black Templars are included in the Codex Space Marines, this can be done if you wanted to mix chapter tactics. Say, your primary detachment is Imperial fists and in that detachment you kit your devastators out for anti tank duty, while the BTs act as, basically, scoring assault marines with land raiders.
- Blood Angels: You're allying with BA because two things: speedy tanks and surgical deep striking jet-packaged assault units. Otherwise GTFO. They have a good assault unit in Death company, good MEQ blasting in the Sanguinary guard and Vanguard veterans and their rhino-variants tanks are fast, which can be wonderful with certain ones.
- Dark Angels: We are talking about the Deathwing and Ravenwing. The Deathwing have some nasty terminators that can be used if you can't (or don't want to) use yours. The Ravenwing are the same, but replacing terminators for bikes, Land speeders (this includes the Vengeance and Darkshroud patterns), and flyers. AND librarian with divination powers (that can take power shield generator as well), just stick him with devastator squad and enjoy. Combining Darkshroud with the White Scars or Astral Claws could lead to entire army of 3+ covered bikers (2+ on turbo-boost).
- Space Wolves: WOLFWOLFWOLFWOLFYWOLF... Ahem. Jokes aside, the Thunderwolves are a godsend to the vanilla. Resistant, fast and strong assault unit; even the TH/SS termies can't say that.
- Imperial Guard: They gives the Tarpit, cheap infantry and meatshields that may come in handy to the marines. Also useful for their artillery and tanks. Also very fluffy, everybody knows of hopeless IG whose asses must be saved by the marines. Also Leman Russes
- Tau Empire: What are the Tau? ? Ungodly shooting power. You can give them infantry that doesn't suck in CqC. Also, their crisis commanders have wargear that confers special rules to the entire squad, so laugh as your night vision shroud and stealth devastators or Hit and Run assault terminators mess with the enemy. Also, crisis suits are just like attack bikes, except better in every way. Stealth and Pathfinder teams Teleport beacons are also great for deepstrikers in your army, especially with infiltrating stealths, who work great with Lucius drop-poded dreads and Vanguard vets.
- Inquisition: Why haven't you taken it yet? Seriously, you get 3 Elites Choices (Read: 3 units of Inquisitorial Henchmen) and each of them can take a transport like a Rhino, or a Chimera or a Land Raider or a Valkyrie. That makes it worth it right up front, but with the right load out, they can fill holes in your army, so this should be your first choice right here, but their biggest draw is that they allow you to take an additional allied detachment as well. Consider taking a Inquisitor in a Valkyrie and a tarpit or two of Acolytes, while still having a full Guard artillery battery and doing some screening with large blocks of bolter brothers; or a four lascannon Devastator squad buffed by a psyker Inquisitor while Space Wolves take care of the melee combat. If there's something your current army is lacking, the Inquisition has something that can compensate for it.
 Allies of Convenience
- Grey Knights: Three words. Two. Wound. Terminators. Basically a DISTRACTION CARNIFEX, and pretty damn survivable, even without the Assault Terminator 3++ from Storm Shields. Just keep them away from S8+ weapons - there's nothing worse than Paladins going down to Krak Missiles. Up against another Marines player with a few Deep Striking units? Warp Quake, motherfucker. 5+ and 6's to Glance getting annoying? Eat some Autocannon Psyflemen.
- Adepta Sororitas: They actually have rules outside of White Dwarf now! And Exorcists. Yes please. Consider a command squad with Condemnor Boltguns if expecting to face Screamerstars or faggots.
 Desperate Allies
- Dark Eldar: They are faster than you, so use that. A good strategy with them are using them as skirmishers and go against one unit at once. Kabalites are good versus infantry and monsters or launch Wyches against vehicles. Do not invest in Haemonculi's minions, you have better stuff. Remember keep them far from your units. The marines will likely survive one turn stopped and useless, the DE don't.
- Necrons: They're the anvil. You're the hammer. Let the undead robots take the shit, because they can handle it. You can deep strike later to win the day. Also useful when there are many high-armor (13+) vehicles in the field.
- Orks: Use them as a first and expendable wave to tarpit and soften the enemy or silence their biggest cannons by assaulting them (or both), so you can later choose better your attacks. But remember that you have to begin the marine offensive when every one of the orks are dead, as the "One eye open" rule can ruin even the best plan.
 Building Your Army
Games Workshop always advocates it, and it bears repeating: start with an HQ and two Troops.
- For your HQ, you are somewhat split for choice. If you're playing a chapter with SC's, they're a good starting point. Support HQ's like a Libby or Master of the Forge are worth considering. If you're looking to create a badass retinue for a tough guy character then a Captain or Chapter Master with tooled up weaponry is a good starting point. Fundamentally, HQ choice comes down to planning - they are the most difficult units to integrate by far. You could just take a 65 Libby to minimise the tax, but in many cases that becomes a waste in itself - what the hell is it going to accomplish? Its still a lot of points. Base your HQ on things that *will* happen, not what *might* happen.
- e.g don't put a Captain inside a rhino with a Tactical squad and expect him to reach enemy lines. You'll get obliberated. However- if you take RG chapter tactics and pull off the maximum movement, he will reach threat range by the beginning of turn 2. Drop pods, Land Raiders, strong retinues, all are good assurance a Captain *will* and not *might*.
- Good starting troops are:
- Tactical Squads. They're your bread and butter. Unless you're writing a gimmicky spam list you're going to have them. They're an oddball, or a guilty pleasure if you will. Having a load of bolters is not good for your list in all honesty, you want your Tac squads to have maximised firepower or potential. Don't equip them for AT, they suck at it, tanks are too rare to compensate for with an entire unit for, and the alternatives are better. You *need* a method of transporting them. Consider very carefully how you choose to do so, you should not mix and match pods with rhinos unless its just one or two pods and they're carrying a deadly alpha strike unit. Rhinos only become truly good if you're using either the Raven Guard chapter tactic or Khan and the White Scars - you need the mobility and alpha strike potential scout gives you. Razorbacks are alright but don't form a good core unless you're either taking them minimum or maxing them out. The best options here are generally Plasma and Flamers for wiping infantry. Don't forget the Sarge can take a combi-weapon - and by the Emperor make it the same as your special, or he'll twitch.
- Scout Squads. Sniper Scouts are the time honoured classic choice for holding backfield objectives. Honestly, they're not that good at all, but by throne are they cheap. In 6th you can use them as a counter attack or alpha strike unit by abusing Land Speeder Storms, which let you charge out of them with open topped and move a long distance at the start of the game with scout. They can also snatch objectives at the last second.
- Biker Squads. These became very good with the new Codex, and they're a very viable choice for basing an army around, but you need a Captain/Master/SC to field them as troops. Grav Gun spam makes them a very nasty bastion of firepower.
Once you've got a start on your army, the most important thing to do is play the game. A lot. Learn what you like. Build your army around that.
Some things to keep in mind:
- Note that generic marines are a "jack-of-all trades, master of none" type army: each unit type has a loose yet specific role that they're best at, and because something in the Codex covers each base the army itself is adaptable to pretty much any tactic. Don't run lists around the concept as a whole though. You want your units to have focus. Taking Devastators? don't mix and match your anti-infantry and anti-tank. You want to annihilate what you shoot at. Consider this trait a convenience (or at worst, a hindrance) and nothing else.
- Never, ever, ever take CC weapons in non CC orientated squads like Tacticals, Sternguard, or Bikers. The objective of those squads is to shoot. What they can't already kill in CC will not be changed by a CC weapon. They're expensive and they massacre your focus. Also bear in mind that weapons like plasma or grav pistols are extremely inefficient for what you pay - they're not worth taking, but a combi-weapon that is both cheaper and supports the squad role is.
- MEHTAL BAWKSES save your life and time. Space marines love being in metal boxes. They make the tough marines even tougher. Stop them from getting bogged down in pointless hand to hand combats, prevent them from being pinned, and, perhaps most importantly, let them move faster and prevent them from being tarpitted. Invest in rhinos/razorbacks.
- take drop pods. They're just as good rhinos. Put your marines in high priority area's with out worrying about hull points.
- You're not a Khorne Berserker. You're not even a Blood Angel. You cannot turn anything at close range into mulch while being fearless. Pick your close combats wisely. Pure H2H focused space marine armies will struggle against codices that were actually designed with close combat in mind.
- You're not a Tau Fire Warrior. You can't out-shoot *everything* no matter how many guns you take.
- You're not a Guardsman, Sluggaboy, or Gaunt. You cannot defeat your enemies through weight of numbers alone. Don't sacrifice your men without careful consideration.
- You're not a Grey Knight, Movie Marine, or Necron Immortal. You cannot rely on individual strength to win. Do not rely too strongly on small numbers of high priced units.
- You're not a Necron Immortal or a Necron Warrior. You are tough, but you can't get back up. Stay under freaking cover!
- You're not a Leman Russ Squadron. You can't take a bunch of vehicles and just crush everything in your way. Your tanks are good, but not great, so keep them just as alert as the rest of your minis and let them do their jobs.
Overall, space marine armies require
BALANCE FOCUS to succeed. As Charles Darwin (didn't actually) say: "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change."
The logic is that you need a hard counter to whatever pops up in this edition. Missile Devastators made mincemeat of vehicles last edition like it was going out of fashion. And it did, because now if you come up against a Riptide that every Tau *will* have they're absolutely worthless. Most people don't even take vehicles anymore.
Another thing of note is that your chapter is not long just a color scheme, you should build your army to be suit their chapter tactics, ie Raven Guard assault marines, white scars bikes ect.
You need to consider the following when writing a list:
- Anti Scoring. You want to wash them off objectives, because objectives win games. Preferably with minimum effort. Examples : 3 Flamer Assault Squad with DP, Thunderfire Cannon, anything else that ignores cover or reliably reaches their scoring.
- Anti Tank. Not half as important this edition but still needs to be considered, you don't want to be boned when you inevitably come up against someone who anticipates a lack of AT. Don't take Melta. Its too situational, unreliable and takes away your focus. Good examples include: Tri-Las Predators, Storm Talons, (even if you don't have the AT guns you can still fly behind and fire at their rear armour with your 360' gun) Devastators. If it can't also do Anti-MC you should probably not take it.
- Anti Monstrous Creatures. High strength, low AP guns that pound the wounds off these fuckers. They're almost always deadly and critical to your opponent's strategy. The trick is killing them so hard and so fast your opponent crumbles. They vary from Nid MC's that rampage towards you to backfield MCs such as Riptides. You need to plan for the latter especially. Good examples include: Alpha striking Sternguard with combi weapons, Tri-Las Predators, any ranged unit or set of ranged units that can leverage a large amount of high strength AP2 firepower reliably. Don't deal in *might*'s, deal in *will*'s. CC units are not a good choice for this category because they are a *might* on the face of it.
- Anti Flyer. You need to shoot these down before they wreck your list without compromising it. A fortification with Quad Gun is a good easy choice, but you need to plan about how you're going to use them best. Taking your own flyers is a valid counter - they can elect to get skyfire. The Hunter/Stalker have benefits each and are both worth considering.
- List backbone. Its all well and good covering all of this, but if your list is literally a jumbled mess of different units performing different roles with no cohesion you're in trouble. When you look at your list become your own opponent. Think about what they would target first, what is easy to neutralize, and about the amount of damage they would need to inflict in order to cripple your chances at winning.
- Also relating to list backbone, duality. It is inevitable that a unit can't always reliably achieve its goal. You will take casualties. The easiest way to absorb every punch is to have another layer under your skin - take pairs, triples, quadruplets even of units with the same role. You destroyed a Rhino with 10 Tactical Marines? Here's 3 more squads that all pose the same threat. Unless a unit is exceedingly hard to kill or extremely reliable (e.g in a low points game a DP Sternguard alpha strike unit or a squad of 10 Terminatrs) you should always have duality.
"Ye who dare enter within these sacred walls, heed the wisdom of the ancients as it is written, but see past the mere limitations of words and bold statements.
1) Thou shalt ne'er dismount from thy sacred steel coffin. Doing so is equal to doing the enemy's work. He cannot hurt thou until he hast dismounted thou power armored asses from thy rhinos, and all thy most fearsome weapons are usable from thy blessed rhino hatch of potent power and might.
2) Thou shalt fear no evil, for thou art fear incarnate, but thou shalt not let this power go to thine head. Thou shalt respect the enemy as thou respect thy own forces, for arrogance leads to thine own downfall, and the perfunctory loss of massive chunks of thine army to 'only lasguns,' and 'puny long-ranged meltaguns,' or 'that immobilized chaos dread in the corner.'
3) Whilst thine sacred, holy, blessed space marines are an elite force, the likes of which has ne'er been seen prior to, nor since, strength is still to be found in numbers. For whilst a solitary squad of thine most esteemed sternguard will fall versus a score of chaos marines, 3 squads shall not.
4) Thou shalt ensure thou uses the enemy's strengths and weaknesses against them equally. If thine foe is strong up close, thou shall prevent him from getting there. If he is slow and plentiful, thou wilst thin his ranks with potshots, whilst biding thine time to lay into him with tankshock, sacred heavy flamer, and assaults on thine terms. If he is powerful at range, you will drive towards him most fearlessly, making careful use of terrain, smoke launchers, the superior armor value of thine vigilant and invincible predators, and bunkering up where his guns are the thinnest. If his numbers be but few yet strong in spirit and body, thou shalt focus fire on one unit at a time, until it is no more. If the enemy is fast, thou shall present him with a wall of rhinos shielding thy sacred space marine infantry, and careful placement and redeployment to make his valiant efforts for victory futile. If thou art facing thine British Firing Line, pummel them with devastators and then assault them in many different places. Thine foe's supporting fire shalt make an arse out of you if thou don't.
5) Thou shalt not, under any circumstance, allow the vile enemy to have her or his way. If faced with a charge from a score of ork boyz, thou shalt famously unload thy blessed boltpistols and holy promethium from thine flamers into their ranks, and thereafter take the charge most gloriously and defyingly, denying them the initiative, all charging bonuses, and catching the enemy commander unprepared, for yours is the gear, the profile, and the abilities to turn certain death into certain victory for the glory of the Emperor.
6) Thou will fight on all ground, in all terrain, on all fields of combat, and thou wilt do so with stubborn cunning, and the unrelenting, unlimited imagination held by all human beings. Thou wilt use the pieces of the board for all they're worth, and attacking the flanks of any entrenched, isolated firebase with no doubt or hesitation in mind, for it takes a lot of autocannons to guarantee the kill of even a single rhino, and thou wilt field at least 4 at all times.
7) The only way to waste firepower is to be out of range.
8) Thou shalt always hold the initiative. Thou shalt press on, and use thine forces expertly, while applying pressure to the enemy from the flanks, the rear, and the front - anywhere it is possible. Thou shalt never remain immobile, for giving up thy movement is tantamount to rolling over like a bitch, and presenting thy previously mentioned power armored ass to the enemy.
9) Thine space marines are few in numbers, yet strong and reliable. They will hold the line where lesser men may not, and survive firepower that would render any ordinary squad dead. Thou shalt trust in thine power armor, thine krak grenades, holy boltgun, boltpistol, and thine most underestimated frag grenade, for few of the foe's elite are as royally equipped as thine grunts, or as capable of using them.
10) Thou shalt learn to appreciate a very powerful, versatile, unfocused profile, for yours is the strength and power of three lesser men, contained in one package. Where a man may be exceptional at shooting or combat, thine grunts are capable of both in equal measure, and blessed with the gear to make both a reality.
11) Whilst a plasma gun will ignore thy power armor, it will not ignore thy high leadership, or thy sacred cover save. Unless you elect to fall back, you will hold most stubbornly on a consistent basis.
12) Cowardice is naught but an illusion of lesser men. The popular sentiment is 'he who runs away lives to fight another day.' This is not so. He who runs away lives to rapid fire bolters against the foe that made him run away.
13) Knowledge is power, but power is useless if it's not being put to use. Study thy opponent's tome of lore and wisdom. Read it again, closer. Put the words to mind, so thou wilt not hesitate that destroyers are indeed toughness 5, and a krak missile thusly wilst not inflict instant death upon it.
14) Thou shalt ne'er do the opponent's work for him. While the lesser races, such as eldar, are wont to kill their own units with Yriel's eye of death, you know better. Thou shalt not ever, under any circumstance, nuke too close to your own units, or 'assault' with a depleted 3 man tactical squad - no! For that tactical squad shall hide inside the nearby, immobilized rhino, so that thy foe has to dig them out to score the killpoint, and make thy 3 space marines stop firing bolters.
15) Though it may take a lesser foe 10 shots fired to damage armor, thy space marines bring melta, and thy blessed profile gives thou a significantly higher chance to score hits, cutting the necessary firepower down considerably. Thou wilt not forget this, for it is the mark of a fool to focus too little or too much dakka and manpower on the task of destroying a single chimera.
16) Thou shalt not load up on tactical marines, for it weakens your army immensely. Thine two mandatory meltabunkers are plenty, and thy further troops slots shalt only ever be employed in case thou needeth more plasmaback or assbacks."
Source (this blog also has a wealth of useful info about playing tabletop 40k, so check it out).
 Common Playing Styles
 Drop Pod Assault aka Steehl Rehn
This can take on several layers of tactics, depending on -what- you're putting in the drop pods (however the overall strategy is almost always basically the same). Either way, a mass drop pod assault will cause the opponent to massively shift the way he deploys his armor, especially any heavy tanks he has (expecting plenty of melta which you should be packing).
Take note that if you want a cluster of drop pods to deepstrike in the same general area for some reason, a locator beacon is a handy tool to take on a Scouting bike squad or your on your first wave of pods. And -where- you drop those pods are crucial; and while you don't have to worry about landing on terrain or enemies, you want your placement of drop pods to inhibit enemy movement and create choke points where you need them.
A string of drop pods across an enemy flank prevents all movement unless he goes around or -explodes- the drop pod in question. In addition to all this, the enemy has to devote some firepower to silence those storm bolters you should be firing into the enemy units' backs.
- Do note, however, that smart opponent could block crucial parts of battlefield with widely spread cheap units, like consripts, cultists, gretchin or kroot (who are not that cheap but can infiltrate), and of course with new terrain deployment system he may just put tank traps (which are impassible terrain for vehicles) anywhere he don't want your drop pods.
- The second problem you may face is interceptor shots - this means some of your drop pods or their passengers may be shot down right after they land, so be sure to screen meltaguns, sergeants and heavy weapons with some expendable bolter dudes and try to move as far away from pods as possible: S3 explosion isn't that dangerous for your MEQ's, but some days dice gods just wouldn't be on your side.
The best Chapter Tactic that goes with this is Salamanders as you can get flamers right into the enemy's face from turn 1. If you want to actually to be able to use melta's and justify their existence in your tactical squads, then take Vulkan He'Stan (at 1500pts or above at least). Combi-meltas are great with him because that one-shot for 10pts is more likely to hit, so it's a little bit safer to load up on them. But remember that flamer weapons mounted on vehicles don't count as they don't have Chapter Tactics. Basically there's a lot of synergy between drop pod assaults and Salamanders, but you'll want to load up on flamers and meltas to take advantage of the short range engagement
- With Deathwind Launchers seeing a drop in points cost, they become a little more viable to purchase if you got points lying around. For the cost of a Sniper Scout squad or a Landspeeder with a multi-melta you can arm four drop pods with a S5 AP- pie plate that can do a respectable amount of damage should an enemy infantry unit or even a light vehicle come too close. People gripe about the 12" range but you should really see it as locking down a 12" radius all around the drop pod. However it's go all-in or not at all with these typically.
- If you take long-range arty in your Heavy Support slots (Thunderfire Cannons, Whirlwind, allied IG arty, etc.) and have them on the table on turn 1, you can support your 1st wave drop pods straight from turn 1 and not have to have them completely without support. The best way to do this is load up on all anti-armor special weapons such as meltas, crack open transports, and then let the artillery fly on the exposed troops
- Ironclads are tough, intimidating, and provide a good AV13 distraction for squishier units in a first wave. Other Dreadnoughts can be krak'd to death but are cheaper if you're on a budget.
- Sternguard are one of the best units to put in your drop pods. Take the typical x3-x4 combi-meltas and blow up an expensive tank on turn 1. Or be more flexible and take combi-plas or combi-flamers. OR take advantage of your Chapter Tactics and take two Heavy Flamers for some burny time
- Assault squads with x2 flamers is small, cheap, and pretty burny
- Tactical squads should be normally taken as a full 10man unit since they can split up from the drop pod to deal with different targets. If you're packing a multi-melta with Vulkan, you have a decent chance of hitting something with it as well.
- You can either take Vet sergeants with master-crafted power weapons for the inevitable charge and be relatively choppy in CC, or slim down with regular sergeants and take a master-crafted combi-weapon instead.
DE DREADED DROP POD DEEPSTRIKE OF DEATH: Take a Master of the Forge and six Lucius podded Ironclads decked for melee. Load up the rest of your army however you see fit and watch as your opponent's jaw drops to the floor when you land and assault with all the dreads you're capable of taking. Be sure to inform your opponent that the Codex Astartes calls this maneuver STEEL REHN.
FORGEMAN MODE: as above, but drop Mortis Dreads in such a way that you've got your opponent pinned between your troops' gunline and your dread's gunline.
 Mechanized Assault
When I'm talking mech, I'm talking armor over flesh, AV versus T, and tank treads versus boots on the ground. This is a lesser-played style that has both been nerfed and strengthened in different ways thanks to 6th Edition. With the Hull Points system, every vehicle becomes more fragile, meaning mobility and cover are the most important things for keeping your vehicles alive. In addition, no longer being able to move 12" and disembark cripples your mobility and ability to react on the fly to different situations over long distance - you now have a 24" deadly threat range with a squad inside a Rhino. To compensate, you gain the ability to go flat out and move up to 18" in a turn with a transport - though this is of limited use.
Unfortunately, this is not a very competitive playstyle. It's brutal, and often even when it does work, the firepower you leverage against your opponent is not sufficient. It is, however, not entirely doom and gloom. If you run a mechanized list you should seriously consider either the Raven Guard Chapter Tactics or the White Scars Chapter Tactics with Khan as a HQ.
The advantages they confer make your army go from sub-competitive to just below tournament-level (tournament level if you're both lucky and good).
Both of these options give your mechanized infantry Scout, which they absolutely *need* in order to be as good as they should be. They give massive amounts of flexibility to your infantry and the potential for an alpha strike that leaves your opponent in checkmate after the first turn.
How, might you ask? Take your Mechanized Infantry and deploy them as close to the enemy as possible. Before the game, scout 12" towards the enemy. You now have a few options.
- Option 1) Move 6",disembark 6", be in their deployment zone, and fire. This gives you your alpha strike that, with the right units, can annihilate your opponent's deadliest unit or cripple part of his force.
- Option 2) Move 12", flat out 6". This allows you to compensate if your opponent bunches up and option 1 is not viable. Sometimes, having your men ready to react (remember you'll get a potential 6" move and 6" disembark instead of just the former) and staying inside the metal box is the best course of action.
- Option 3) Move 12", pop smoke. Use only if your opponent either had nothing that is worth risking getting out of the boxes to eliminate or if your opponent has a strong gunline with lots of anti-infantry firepower that you can't cripple.
Alternatively, you can do none of the above and outflank. This can be a risky but effective way of delivering an alpha strike or capturing an objective without being struck by fire.
Now, the real question is what to put in your Rhinos? As previously mentioned, a mech SM list suffers greatly from sometimes not being able to leverage enough firepower. This should be your primary concern.
Tactical Squads should probably not be taken with full numbers at 10 men - unless you plan to abuse combat squads for a very specific use. Reason being, you do not want heavy weapons. There is no reason to maximise bolters. Heavy weapons will rarely get to fire effectively and now cost you points out the ass. Taking a special weapon and combi-weapon should be considered mandatory. Do not give this squad melta guns. Leave that to the other elements in your army, because you want your Tacticals to leverage as much firepower against infantry or MC's as is humanly possible, and have enough duplicates that losses do not necessarily mean defeat.
- Grav Guns are a matter of debate. They are flexible against vehicles (if you can get off enough shots) if you do encounter them, if you do dig in the extra shot is invaluable, and they get the extra shots at longer range than a Plasma Gun. If there's a Daemon Prince or CC unit they even reduce their initiative to 1, giving you better odds if you get dragged into a CC. However, they suck hairy balls against anything that isn't wearing power armour or better, and are utterly useless against buildings.
- Flamers are exceedingly good at quickly wiping anything weaker than Marines off of objectives. They also provide some effective overwatch. Even power armored units will feel the heat due to the sheer number of wounds a flamer can throw at a unit. Their biggest drawback is being absolutely worthless against MCs.
- Plasma Guns are good in that unless a rare high-toughness MC like a Wraithknight appears you'll be wounding on good rolls all the time. They don't suffer the drawbacks of Salvo (half range if you move, for instance) and have a greater maximum range than Grav weapons.
You should take at least one Sternguard squad tooled up with enough firepower to destroy (not just cause medium damage to) a unit. Using #Option 1 they can pull off some kills that win games. They are the guys that are going to hunt the nastiest, shittiest, pain-in-the ass targets that your bolters and Tacticals can't handle.
It's for this reason that they should have combi-plasmas or gravs. You might not survive into the following turn, as they will be a very high priority target, so what you shoot at needs to die. 4-5 combi-weapons should be sufficient. Heavy Flamers are worth considering, and the squad should not end up having more than 7-8 men. Do not tool up the Sergeant unless it's with a combi-weapon.
There may be other units that perform this role almost as well - you may want to consider them, too. The effectiveness of the Grav-Gun Bikers remains to be seen, but they could fill the same niche.
These two units should form your core. In the end you should have a minimum of 3 mechanized squads, preferably 4. With the strong anti-infantry and anti-MC capability they provide you can look to everything else. Units you may want to consider include:
- Tri-Las Predators or Devastators with Lascannons. If shit luck strikes and your Sternguard fail or don't do as well as you plan, these guys are Plan B. If there's tanks to kill, these are the units that will be your best counters.
- Storm Talons or possibly Storm Ravens. They provide AA and additional firepower on the fly (no pun intended) where its needed. In a pinch they can also serve as backup AT.
- Land Speeder Storm Scouts. Deep Strike disruption, cheap scoring, can tackle weaker troops, and you can take a heavy flamer for free at 45 points, which negates the need for flamer Tacticals.
- Assault Squads with flamers and either a free drop pod or rhino. Unbelievably cheap and (in certain circumstances) incredibly effective.
- Grav Gun Bikers, for the same reasons as Sternguard.
- Grav Cannon shooty Centurions in a Land Raider.
They can pull the same shit the rest of your army can as LR's don't have bulky - therefore they get scout. They are very bulky. All the downsides of the Grav-Cannon range are forgotten. Bear in mind that they're shit in melee so if they get caught they're boned. Of course, if you enough points for this, you can probably use them better elsewhere.