"A strong core of reliable and adaptable warriors that can lay down fire while advancing or holding down terrain is an invaluable aid to any tactician. In the case of strike forces bolstered by Primaris battle-brothers, this role is fulfilled by the Intercessor Squads."
- – Games Workshop
An Intercessor, who can be part of an Intercessor Squad, is the standard multirole heavy infantry unit of the Primaris Space Marines. It is NOT to be easily confused with the similarly named Inceptors which is also another type of Primaris Marines (and it’s possible that even GW got confused, since “Inceptor” actually means “new graduate,” and the Inceptors, by contrast, are veterans who can intercede via Deep Strike). Intercessors are similar in combat function to a Tactical Squad of standard Astartes or a Legion Tactical Squad of ancient Astartes Legionaries. They are by far the most common form of Primaris Marines out there during the Indomitus Crusade by the beginning of the 42nd Millennium. At its height, the Primaris Marines numbered in the tens of thousands, easily becoming a Primaris Legion, and with that many Primaris running along came with that much Intercessors as well. After the Unnumbered Sons dissolved, Chapters started to make their own Primaris as well, meaning that this is the standard Marine squad of the present day.
As you can imagine, having a legions worth of these jacked out marines has forced the armies of Chaos to be hard on work to counter them. Fortunately for the Imperium, the Intercessors are made to adapt to situations that would have gimped most specialized chapters thanks in no small part to the revised edition of the Codex Astartes by Big Bobby G. Indeed, they have since been adopted by the Raven Guard and Imperial Fists as drop site defenders and breach suppressors, respectively.
The standard flavor of Intercessors are the most well rounded. Their jack-of-all-trades role is reflected by their armament, that being the Cawl-pattern Bolt Rifle (basically the Bolter on steroids), a Bolt Pistol, a combat knife for melee, and frag and krak grenades. Intercessors are able to swap their Bolt Rifles for an Auto Bolt Rifle, which is basically the LMG of Bolters or a Stalker Bolt Rifle, a Bolt Sniper Rifle. Additionally, much as the Marinelets may take a special/heavy weapon, one in five may take an Auxiliary Grenade Launcher which, although a squad can have up to two, doesn't let a unit throw more than one grenade per turn RAW. Luckily, this was finally fixed in 9th and even given a boost, as the Auxiliary Launcher is now an Astartes Grenade Launcher and simply an additional weapon (which means they can fire it with their main gun). All of them wear the standard-issue Mark X: Tacticus Pattern Armour.
Over the course of 8th edition, Intercessor Sgts gradually received the option to take chainswords, power weapons (sans Axes), and/or hand flamers. Apparently Intercessor sergeants hid the keys to the chapter armory from all of the Primaris HQ's.
9E mixes things up by introducing Assault Intercessor squads, the result of Bobby G cribbing (more) notes from the Legion days. The basic troops get to replace their Bolt Rifles with Chainswords, and their bolt pistols with the Heavy Bolt Pistols used by Reivers (albeit closer to the classic Boltgun in appearance). The sarge can take the same options as a regular Intercessor sergeant (e.g. hand flamer, power weapons) in addition to a Plasma Pistol and Thunder Hammer. Like their normal counterparts, they too wear the standard-issue Mark X: Tacticus Pattern Armour.
The Mk. X Gravis-clad Heavy Intercessors carry Heavy Bolt Rifles by default with the potential to swap them out for the shorter ranged and less powerful but faster firing Hellstorm Bolt Rifles, or the harder hitting, slower firing, and longer ranged Executor Bolt Rifles. One out of five squad members may be given either a heavy bolter or one of two heavy bolter variants corresponding with the previously mentioned HBR variations, which oddly makes them more like Tacs than regular Intercessors. Note that the sergeant CANNOT swap his weapons out.
Offensively, S4 means they're no better in melee than regular Intercessors, and even the bump to S5 guns only makes them more points-efficient against T5 and up (though they're basically even against T4 if re-rolling 1s). Defensively, Gravis armour grants an extra wound and point of toughness, putting them in a fantastic spot in 9th edition. Most dedicated anti-chaff is in the T4/5 range, meaning it's much more likely to bounce off, while the extra wound gives them more survivability against small-arms and outright doubles their durability against the D2 weapons which are more common this edition.
Overall, if you want offensive Troops you'll be far better served by virtually any other option. However, they make absolutely fantastic anvils, as most armies just don't really have a point-efficient way to engage them that they wouldn't rather be pointing elsewhere.
At a glance, 'light' Intercessors appear similar to Tactical Marines, and in truth there's a good deal of overlap between their rules. However, while both units are flexible, flexibility means something different to each. For Tacs, flexibility is the ability to shoot at a variety of targets efficiently by adding a heavy weapon to the squad. For light Intercessors, you can only really efficiently engage one kind of target, but you have the flexibility to do so efficiently in either ranged or melee combat, the latter of which is a notable weakness for tactical squads due to their very low number of attacks.
This is the primary divider between Tactical Marines and Intercessors, so keep it in mind when choosing your troops. Against almost all targets, Tactical Marines will shoot better if backed up with the proper heavy weapon, so pick them if you want a pure gunline unit or to spread out your heavy weapons so they can't be picked off in tidy chunks by a savvy opponent. However, if you want a unit that can respond quickly to stall or even stop hostile advances while still being able to contribute effectively against most enemy infantry in the shooting phase, then light Intercessors are a reliable pick.
Assault Intercessors, surprisingly, fill a completely different role in your army. Pistols and chainswords mean they're a pure melee unit, with little to nothing in the way of tactical flexibility. For this reason, they're best looked at as a completely different unit rather than just a mild variant of light Intercessors. The primary reason to take these guys is, unsurprisingly, melee-focused lists, but do bear in mind that they're no faster than any of your other Troops and as Primaris, it's expensive to box them up and ship them to your enemy's front line.
Nonetheless, Assault Intercessors have their uses. The combination of newly-buffed Chainswords plus Shock Assault means they can absolutely drown enemies in attacks, which is usually more than sufficient against most enemy troops; a squad of 10 will run you just 190pts, and shit out 40 S4 AP-1 attacks even before accounting for buffs. But the primary advantage here is that you're doing this with a Troops unit. Yes, they're going to cost significantly more than Vanguard Veterans if you give them a transport in lieu of jump packs, but it means one more unit of Elites on the field, and the Elites section is very competitive for Marines in 9th.
Finally, Heavy Intercessors fill a similar role to light Intercessors, but with more of an emphasis on durability than damage output. There is absolutely no scenario here where the boys in gravis will outdamage their lighter brethren for points, so if you want damage output, skip them and drop a few extra points in your Elites and Heavy Support slots.
Offensively, Heavy Intercessors are about as flexible as light Intercessors, hitting just as hard (though less points-efficiently) in melee, so they can fill the same general role. However, where they really shine is defensively. T5 and 3W with a 3+Sv means that most armies just don't have a way to shoot at the efficiently; anti-chaff will bounce off, and they aren't nearly expensive or threatening enough to justify wasting high-power weapons on. Even weapons dedicated to murdering MEQs usually average 2 damage, meaning they're effectively twice as durable.
Heavy Intercessors are therefore best used in one of two roles. The first is the same as light Intercessors; frontline speedbumps who can move to intercept and stall enemy charges from clogging up the guns of more valuable units. The second, as incredibly efficient objective holders who can simply absorb so much punishment that it isn't worth wasting time shooting at them. They're effective in either role, but their low damage output efficiency means they must be supported by strong damage dealers elsewhere.
|Forces of the Primaris Marines|
|Command:||Helix Adept - Judiciar - Primaris Ancient - Primaris Apothecary |
Primaris Captain - Primaris Chaplain - Primaris Librarian - Primaris Lieutenant
Primaris Techmarine - Vanguard Librarian - Vanguard Lieutenant
|Troops:||Aggressor - Bladeguard Veteran - Eliminator - Eradicator - Hellblaster |
Inceptor - Incursor - Infiltrator - Intercessor - Reiver - Suppressor
|Vehicles:||Gladiator Tank - Impulsor - Invictor Tactical Warsuit - Invader ATV |
Primaris Outriders - Redemptor Dreadnought - Repulsor Tank - Storm Speeder
|Super Heavies:||Astraeus Super-Heavy Tank|
|Spacecraft:||Space Marine Landing Craft|