Primaris Ancients are Primaris Marines dubbed honorable enough to have the privilege of carrying the Standard for a company or full Chapter of Marines. Identifiable by their white helmets (although that could change depending on the Chapter), they are in no way related to another dude-clad-in-power-armor-wearing-a-white-helmet-that-also-comes-with-the-same-name-from-a-certain-WH40K-game.
The Primaris Ancient functions pretty much the same as regular old Adeptus Astartes Standard Bearers with the exception of the equipment and armor they are carrying.
In case you were wondering, "Ancient" is an old corruption of the rank of "Ensign" which was a term for an army's flagbearer in the Middle Ages, so it has nothing to do with how old the Marine in question actually is; that said, since you have to earn enough honor to hold the standard, these guys are likely somewhat ancient.
The Primaris Ancient is often confused with the Primaris Apothecary as they both seem to offer some buffs or special support abilities to their Primaris comrades. Usually, the confusion stems from the fact that from a newfag's perspective, both of these units have a similar ability to recoup some of the value from slain marines, and both of them seem very worthwhile when teaming up with the more expensive Primaris marine choices.
The key difference to differentiate between the two however (Other than the obvious differing appearance of the marines), is that the Ancient allows a mortally slain allied unit to fight once before dying (Think of it as a last stand or the Belisarian Furnace working in action), whilst the Apothecary tells him to suck it up, stop being a pussy and get back in the fight. Both of these marines offer unique playstyles with neither of the two being blatantly superior than the other. So whether you want to have an Ancient or Apothecary is up to you.
Basically, if you want to have a unit that brings back downed units, then choose the Apothecary, if you want to allow your dying unit to offer one last fuck you to the enemy, then choose the Ancient. And if you want that dead unit to come back and do it again next turn, you take them both.
A new elite variant of the Primaris Ancient that functions almost exactly the same. The Bladeguard Ancient is a Bladeguard Veteran blessed with the honor of carrying the Standard for the entire retinue of these veteran squads.
Some people think the Standard is a bit of a weird deviation from the basic banner as it is literally what is presumed to be a dead Astartes hung up like Jesus on the cross. It's fairly standard practice for the more religious elements of the imperium to carry reliquaries into battle, and in this case, it echoes the Bladeguard Captain's relic shield. Then again, there are more ridiculous standards like the
giant marble column beatstick Simulacrum Imperialis used by the Bolter Bitches' Imagifier. So having a relatively slim and small (In comparison) iconography as a standard is not really the most far fetched design choice produced for the Primaris, ESPECIALLY when we have 'gems' like the Invader ATV for us to bitch about.
Because they are Bladeguards, they usually hang out with the other cool kids in the playground, although they will support and assist other Primaris and Firstborn forces if necessary. They also carry around a weird-ass pendant with a silver/metallic hand as an iconography-like piece. We have no idea what the purpose of that thing is. Possibly for some cultural/spiritual ooga booga shit for their rituals or something.
On the tabletop in 9th Edition, they act pretty much the same as the more common Primaris Ancient. Which is that of a support unit meant to buff surrounding allies near him. However, because he is JUST THAT GOOD, he gains a second aura by giving +1 to hit to all Bladeguard units within 6" at the cost of his Rifle or any weapon for that matter. Other than that, he shares the same stats as his other Bladeguard friends.
|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|