Primaris Marines

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"They were forged for Mankind's darkest hour, and that hour is upon us"
- Roboute Guilliman

"In a galaxy wreathed in darkness, we must be the light"
- Unnamed Primaris Officer

"Today, we are canceling the apocalypse!"
- Pacific Rim


Look out Chaos, there's a new kid on the block.

Primaris Marines (also known as Ultra-Ultramarines, Space Space Marines, Primarines, NuMarines, Chadmarines, The Greater-est of them all, Adeptus Restartes, Super Space Marines, Biglymarines, 8thmarines, Bigmars, Spacesigmarines, Guillimarines, Special Snowflake Marines, Primarysues, Marines II: Electric Boogaloo, the Replacements and the New Kids) are the next step forward in Space Marine evolution (not counting the Raptor supermarines by Corax during the Horus Heresy before Alpharius spiked the gene-tech with Daemon Blood). Big Bobby G got together with Belisarius Cawl and put together this next generation of Astartes. They are bigger, faster, stronger, and maybe smarter than all that have come before them. Buckle up boys, its about to get hot in here.

History and Background[edit]

Shortly after the conclusion of the Horus Heresy, Guilliman predicted that another major Chaos attack on the Imperium might come at some point in the future. Though the Space Marines had proven themselves worthy defenders of Mankind, the Primarch foresaw that there might be a time where even they would struggle against the onslaught of the Ruinous Powers - because Roboute himself broke Legions in chapters, and those tend to have problems fighting Black Crusades against hundreds of thousands CSM (the reason why Dorn declined Codex Astartes at first, being one of the few after the Scouring to suppose the Traitor Legions may be back one day). But nowadays it turns out Guilliman knew about it as well - which makes the whole situation awkward to say the least.

Ahem, in a frankly extreme show of just as planned, our Spiritual Liege gained the aid of Archmagos Belisarius Cawl and began a program to create a new, superior form of Space Marines in secret over the next ten millennia. To assist him, Guilliman gave Cawl a relic called the Sangprimus Portum- a device containing the purest samples of each Primarch's genetic material that outstripped even the gene-seed in its potency.

Even after he was poisoned by Fulgrim, Guilliman's plan continued without anybody learning about it, and by the time of his revival, Primaris Marines were ready to be unveiled to the Imperium - the only thing needed was a sanction from the Primarch himself.

In conjunction with the Ultima Founding, there are now going to be entirely new chapters composed just of Primaris Marines as well, with some taking over the fortress-monasteries of extinct chapters.

However, in the Black Library novel "Dark Imperium", Guilliman calls Primarises "Cawl's blasphemous hordes". So much for daddy's love, eh?

New Stuff[edit]

  • The basic Primaris Marine is encased in Mark X Tacticus Armour. Basically, it's the best of all the suits that came before it, wrapped up into one convenient package; no Beakie schnozz, but it's got that sweet Maximus style vox grill. As usual, mechanically this is entirely cosmetic.
  • They wield the Mark II Cawl-pattern Bolt rifle as their standard firearm. Apparently a "perfected" version of the ubiquitous bolter, it does have an improved statline - 30" Rapid Fire 1 S4 AP-1 D1 - which appears to be a boltgun with an extended barrel.
    • Its statline is one AP worse than the new "Special Issue Boltgun" Sternguard carry, but their big selling point is some combination of being cheaper/easier to manufacture and using more readily available/cheaper/easier to manufacture ammunition, reflected in their points cost - bolt rifles are the same gun for 3 points cheaper in 8E.
    • At least two variants of Bolt Rifle exist- the Auto Bolt Rifle, which has lower AP but is better suited for longer ranges due to being Assault 2, and the Stalker Bolt Rifle, a Heavy 1 sniper variant with superior range and one extra point of AP.
  • An enhanced gene-seed, which was created by combining the purified genetic material of the Loyalist Primarchs with parts of the Custodes creation process (as they don't have gene-seed) that adds 3 more organs to the existing 20.
    • The new organs are:
      • Sinew Coils, which turn the Primaris Marines into Inspector Gadget....okay, we may be joking here, but it's basically metallic coils wrapped around the Marine's tendons and ligaments that can contract with extreme force.
        • This is particularly interesting, as it's not actually a living organ, and hence is presumably not developed from gene-seed at all.
      • The Magnificat, which just sets the rest of the superhuman organs into overdrive (and is itself part of a super-organ dubbed the Immortis Gland, though the information needed to complete it is lost), as well as producing additional growth hormone.
      • Belisarian Furnace (because Cawl gets a robo-boner for naming things after himself), essentially a 'last-stand' organ, which gives a Primaris Marine a supercharged adrenaline rush near death while triggering rapid tissue and bone regeneration. This presumably explains the additional Wound they have.

Potential Problems[edit]

  • While Primaris Marines are created from the gene-seed of all the Loyalist Primarchs, it is unknown how some of the more extreme genetic quirks of each bloodline will manifest in them. We could see anything from Blood Angels with cute little Cupid wings, to Flesh Tearers with terrifying vampire fangs, to transparent Raven Guard, to even blacker Salamanders, to Lamenters with greying temples and bags under their eyes (for a true "too old for this shit" attitude), to Black Dragons that look like a metal hedgehog with giant, adamantium coated bone spines and Space Wolves with fluffy little tails. But then again there's NO reason to actually expect the new modifications to worsen their genetic quirks. They're marines with new enhancements, not marines with a double dose of gene-seed or anything. It's probably somewhat more likely to strengthen their resistance to their quirks if anything. It's all up to whatever GeeDubs wants to do though, so anything is possible.
    • According to Cawl, the Primaris gene-seed is actually even more stable than the standard version, with an estimated deviancy of .001% per generation. So far, it's at least been stable enough to create a Space Wolves successor that hasn't immediately devolved into Wulfen.
      • It's unknown how stable normal marines who have been "upgraded" are, however.
    • Robbie MacNiven, writer of the Carcharodons novel Red Tithe, has revealed that everyone's favorite space sharks WILL be receiving their own Primaris Marines, adding to the above interest in Chapter-specific quirks among Primaris. PRAISE THE FORGOTTEN ONE.
  • In terms of actual combat experience, these guys are jumping into the deep end as green as an ork's asscrack. They may be bigger, stronger, faster, and have better armor and weapons, but that doesn’t change the fact that the marines they are reinforcing are their seniors by centuries, not even mentioning the battle experience of Chaos Marines. Well maybe yes/no: The Dark Imperium novel says that the first batch of Primaris Marines are actually augmented space marines from the days after the Horus Heresy put into stasis and are constantly pestering the whippersnappers with tales of what the Imperium was like 10,000 years ago.
    • Later it's stated that they mainly consist of Neophytes from various chapters who were drafted into the program, so they are utterly green ONLY harshly trained and have little true combat experience compared to most Marines. Think scouts on steroids.
    • Rather than making interesting fluff out of this idea, the writers are trying to jump the plot forward from year 41,001 to 41,113 via the Indominus Crusade, a 112 year crusade where an entire Legion of (mixed ancestry) Primaris marines called the Unnumbered Sons of the Primarchs (or Greyshields, after their shared heraldry) got enough experience that the writers can just treat Primaris Marines as normal Space Marines. Which sucks, because there could've been a great story in that.
  • Primaris Marines are probably much harder and more expensive to produce than regular Astartes, especially when their borrowed Custodes lineage is taken into account. There may be entire chapters of them at first, but those numbers may not last long as they will likely be far harder to replenish after heavy casualties, and Primaris chapters probably wouldn't be able to bounce back from something like Rynn's World.
  • Chaos will be interested in the Primaris Marines. The Chaos Gods are not happy with the existence of the Primaris Marines, and are creating some warp charged warriors to counter them (enhanced Chosen, perhaps). Fabulous Bill became obsessed with "perfecting" the Primaris Marines from the moment he first encountered them and has already begun trying to kidnap Primaris Marines for dissection. They've supposedly been made resistant to Chaos influence, but "resistant" doesn't mean "immune" by a long shot, since they still have a soul. In fact a Noxious Blightbringer is able to effect them in Dark Imperium, successfully hurting and trying to get them to turn. And come to think of it, the cover image of 8th Edition does seem to partially show a Plague Marine in Tacitus armor...
    • The discovery that Cawl wanted to use Traitor Legion gene-seed as well as the gene-seed of the missing legions to make Primaris Marines doesn't help the matter; Guilliman refused to let him do so, but he has a feeling Cawl will try it anyway with predictable results.
      • Cawl claims that it was only due to the influence of the traitorous Primarchs that their Legions fell to Chaos. While this may be true, attempting to test that theory would almost certainly be a bad idea.
      • The reasons as to why the the Lost Legions were purged so thoroughly were apparently so unthinkably horrible (so much that even after his rebellion had begun, Horus was still unwilling to break the vow he made to never speak of the Missing Primarchs) that Cawl trying to use their DNA might bite him in the ass even harder than for using gene-seed from the Traitor Primarchs.
  • While barely explored in-universe so far, the various alien races in the setting may also take exception to or dangerous interest in the Primaris Marines. Orks would likely find them entertaining to fight, and Tyranids would just see them as more biomass to consume, with some extra chewy bits from the Sinew Coils. Given Fabulous Bill's interest in them, it's likely Fabius' Commorite mentors will also find interest in them, as will a certain spider-legged robot scientist. Fortunately, this could only benefit the Ynnari-Imperium alliance, who will most likely be the most accepting of it. There's no reason the Tau will see any problems, though if a kroot managed to eat a dead Primaris. that could lead to some "developments".

Forces of the Primaris Marines[edit]

Primaris Marines don't get to select from a variety of equipment loadouts, but the equipment they do carry is designed by Cawl, who is shockingly competent, so they usually outgun their non-Primaris equivalents who tried to choose an otherwise identical loadout; this forces them to depend on other units to support them to fill in any gaps (much like Eldar Aspect Warriors). They enjoy, as of 8E, +1W and +1A relative to a regular marine, making them more durable and a lot more dangerous in melee combat. Some of them wear Mark X Gravis Armour, for another +1T.

  • Primaris Captain: Primaris Captains are the analogues of Space Marine Captains. They are decked out in the new Gravis Armor which somehow manages to be even MOAR egg-shaped than a Squat Hearthguard. They're armed with a mini-Gauntlet of Ultramar/Hand of Dominion (I.E. a three-shot bolt pistol built into a power fist) and a master-crafted power sword. Others use the Mark X Tacitus power armor and wield a power sword and their choice of Stalker Boltgun or Auto Bolt Rifle. There's also a plasma pistol and power fist model exclusive to Games Workshop stores celebrating their anniversaries.
  • Primaris Librarian: Just what it sounds like. Has a fancy-looking Force Sword.
  • Primaris Chaplain: Self-explanatory; they wear black robes as though they're aping on the Interrogator-Chaplains. In battle, they wear an Iron Halo and carry a Crozius Arcanum alongside a specialized Absolver Bolt Pistol. To double down on the skull motif, their breastplate looks like a ribcage.
  • Primaris Lieutenants: The Primaris Lieutenants are somewhere between a Captain and a Sergeant in rank, and are often the most experienced of a Primaris Squad. Their role is to take command of demi-companies when the Captain is absent, freeing Chaplains and Librarians to focus on their own specialties. Lieutenants are differentiated from their fellow marines by a red-on-white stripe on their helms. Some of them can be helmetless which often showcase an extreme amount of Hair-esy. They can either use a power sword or a master-crafted automatic version of the Bolt Rifle (shorter range and worse ap, but better rate of fire at long range, fireable after Advancing, and more damage per shot from being master-crafted).
  • Primaris Ancients: Primaris Marines dubbed honorable enough to have the privilege of carrying the Standard's Banner. 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. At least until he's been upgraded. In case you were wondering, "Ancient" is a 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.
  • Primaris Apothecary: A specialization of Primaris Marine only seen so far in artwork and recent promo photos. Their left bracer appears to have a screen on it for monitoring lifesigns, and they have a pistol with a reductor built into it for geneseed removal (and the occasional puncturing of enemy skulls). The Narthecium attached to a cyberdong mechadendrite on the Apothecary's back.
  • Primaris Techmarine: One of them acts as the pintle gunner for the Repulsor Tank. That's about all we know.
  • Reivers: Reivers are Space Marines created from the gene-seed of Sly Marbo. Think Catachan Jungle Fighters in Power Armor. It's time to piss yourselves, traitorous scum. Reivers are the only true close-combat specialist Infantry for the Primaris and are pretty good at it overall. Compared to Intercessors they have a Combat Knife for another attack and an improved Bolt Pistol with greater Armour Penetration, and the ability to negatively effect enemy morale. They can be equipped for more ranged combat but that is not why you take them. They have Deep-Strike option like everyone else, but also a new grappling hook that allows them to both outflank and jump-up ruins like they're nothing. But arguably their biggest trump-card is their special grenade that causes effected units to lose both their overwatch and minus one to shooting. While not the most devastating CC unit in the game they make excellent back-field harassers and synergize wonderfully with the rest of your army with their ability to cripple enemy gun-lines.
  • Aggressors: Aggressors are basically Primaris Terminators mixed in with Centurions. They , an even more specialized Gravis armor, and either an automatic version of the Primaris Captain's Boltstorm Gauntlet paired with shoulder-mounted grenade launchers or a flamer-equipped version of said gauntlet dubbed the Flamestorm gauntlet. Regardless of what they're equipped with, they specialize in close-range firepower that obliterates light infantry.
  • Intercessors: Intercessors are the standard SUPER bolter Marines, having most in common with a bare-bones tactical squad as they're armed with Primaris versions of the same things (such as their super bolters and Mk X armour). Compared to tacticals, they perform better in melee and have greater armour penetration on their basic weapons along with being more survivable, making them effective in a wider variety of situations. This is both a strength and a weakness, as while they may be bigger Jacks of all trades, they're even worse masters of nothing. Compared to Tacticals they have fewer weapon and transport options and only one type of heavy weapon choice. This might be part of the reason that other Primaris Marines are more specialized: to compensate/synergize. As Primaris specialists may be more vulnerable to heavy firepower and be fire-magnets, Intercessors with their flexibility they can more reliably protect other more valuable units and plug any holes that arise from specialist losses, or make themselves useful against any foe until the hard-hitting second wave arrives (being the most versatile as far as Primaris Marines go).
  • Inceptors: Inceptors are the Assault Marines equivalent drop troops of the Primaris Marines and are equipped with a new pattern of Jump Packs, two Assault Bolters, which are basically sawn off Heavy Bolters, a pair of hand-portable Plasma Cannons, and a pair of absolutely ridiculous-looking shoe-shovels. Unlike Assault Squads, the Inceptors' focus is on firepower and a pseudo Hammer of Wrath. This makes them closer in role to Assault Bikes as a fast moving strafing unit and harasser. They lack melee weapons of any kind; this doesn't mean they can't fight in melee, as their sheer weight allows them to crush their enemies to death, and they still have the statline of "normal" Primaris marines along with being even tougher to hurt, making them not completely useless in a scrap. Don't get it in your head that their melee ability is "good", though, or even decent, and only engage in melee if you have to; they do far better blowing things into tiny pieces.
  • Hellblasters: Hellblasters are Primaris Marines who make Flash Gitz green(er) with envy. They use Plasma Incinerators, enhanced Plasma Guns with longer range and armor piercing ability. Aside from that, there's nothing special about them as compared to "regular" Primaris marines. Very expensive and vulnerable to strong weapons, but they fuck up TEQs and can pose a threat to vehicles if they can get into Rapid Fire range, though outside of said range it's not as suicidal to unload a charged volley, so they can threaten vehicles there, too. Also, with the changes to how cover works, they are terrifying against cover campers. With how big a fire magnet these guys are, if you get these guys close to an expensive or dangerous vehicle or multiwound TEQs feel free to HELLBLAST them into oblivion in a suicide barrage. (That is, IF they're at risk of being wiped out or swarmed.)
  • Primaris Redemptor Dreadnought: For no matter how great and glorious they may be, in the grim future even they are not immortal. Though how enough of these brand spanking-new Space Marines were curbstomped just enough to warrant Dreadnaught status, we'll (probably) never know (hundreds of thousands of Primaris fighting in the over a century long indomitus crusade may be the answer). Times be desperate, yo. Probably because they're so hard to kill that just about all of them that couldn't be saved are made dread-ful.
  • Repulsor: The Repulsor is the standard transport and/or tank (nobody's entirely sure yet) of the Primaris Marines. Which is good for them, because they can't go inside standard Space Marine transports, including ones that can hold Terminators, Centurions, and (in 30k) even fucking Primarchs. There must be some mysterious force surpassing even the Emperor blocking the door - which also blocks the door on this thing if you try to convince a non-Primaris to go inside. Being a floating Metal Box, it might be considered the spiritual successor to the Grav-Rhino, if you covered said Grav-Rhino with missile pods everywhere, including on its rear and sides, put twin-linked lascannon in the front hull, and gave it what looks like a heavy stubber as a coaxial gun to go with the turret lascannon and pintle-mounted Gatling gun.
  • Overlord: The Overlord is the Primaris-exclusive dropship used to support the bigger frames of the Primaris Marines. You would think the Thunderhawk would be big enough for them, but it seems they are too special to share the same vehicle with their smaller brothers. Anyways, the Overlord is noticeable for one thing. It is ECKS BAWKS HUEG, making a Thunderhawk look like a Stormtalon in comparison. In terms of specs, it is the Corvus Blackstar on steroids. Seriously, it has powerful quintuple engines and twinned hulls thick enough to permit insertion from orbit, like Thunderhawks or Stormbirds, and like Blackstars, Overlords possess twin transport bays with their own assault doors, but they're considerably bigger (they can carry up to 40 of your Chadmarines) and even more blessed with advanced technologies like fucking energy shields (Guess Cawl kind of 'borrowed' some of that sweet ass energy shields from the pointy-eared gitz). Additionally, the Overlord is equipped with anti-munitions cannons, wing-mounted Desolator Lascannons, nose-mounted Melta Cannons and Heavy Bolters fixed on its lower wing surfaces. This thing is pretty much a flying Titan or an Imperial Manta.

On the Tabletop[edit]

Crunch wise, Primaris Space Marines are about as physically dangerous as Space Marines are already supposed to be fluff-wise, so they get an additional Attack and an additional Wound; weapons which deal additional Wounds seem to be fairly common now, so while it might not be a big improvement it can still be helpful. However, they also have exclusive access to shiny new toys from Cawl, including a "basically Kraken" Bolter with +6" range and -1 AP, a Plasma gun with +6" range and -4 AP, and half-range one-handed Assault Heavy Bolters and Plasma Cannons. That they dual-wield. With jump packs. Defensively, so far only they have access to Gravis armor, which grants +1 Toughness (and even then only the Captain, Aggressors, and Inceptors can use it). Finally, their squads don't mix weapon types, with all members carrying the same loadout; whether this will be a benefit or a downside relative to "standard" marines being able to carry a mixed loadout remains to be seen with the other new rules in 8th, such as the ability of any squad to split its fire across multiple targets.

Most of the Primaris units so far also cost nearly twice as many points as their older counterparts and have unit sizes no larger than a 5 10 model maximum (including the Serge). This strongly suggests they will be more useful as a supplement to standard Marine forces than they might be as outright replacements; they're far too inflexible and expensive to be fielded effectively on their own, and their lack of melee specialists and access to weaponry with a range greater than 36" is a glaring flaw (for now) as well. And while their movement is no worse than any other Marine, for reasons that totally aren't financial in origin they can't take any transports usable by standard Marines. Not Rhinos, not Drop Pods, not Land Raiders, not even the motherfucking Mastodon. They can use the Thunderhawk, but odds are you're not going to have room for it in your standard 2000 points game, and even then, it has to be carrying only Primaris Marines (and in that case, it still can't carry too many). They have a special transport called a Repulsor (which is a grav tank), which somehow can't carry non-Primaris, but besides that they have no choice but to go footslogging.

However, single-model units can be astonishingly efficient - the most extreme case is the Primaris Librarian, who has a static, unchangeable loadout, but costs the exact same as a non-Primaris Librarian with the same loadout (a bolt pistol and Force Sword).

Rules Datasheets[edit]

Gallery[edit]

Forces of the Primaris Marines
Command: Primaris Ancient - Primaris Apothecary - Primaris Captain
Primaris Chaplain - Primaris Librarian - Primaris Lieutenant
Troops: Aggressor - Hellblaster - Inceptor - Intercessor - Reiver
Vehicles: Redemptor Dreadnought - Repulsor Tank
Flyers: Overlord
Allies: Space Marines