Primaris Space Marines

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

"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!"

Marshal Senior Princep Stacker Pentecost, from the movie Pacific Rim Collegia Titanica

"Hey, if space marines are our highest selling product, why don't we make better space marines? Super-duper space marines if you will. That will make the big bucks."

– Unnamed GW employee at some point in our actual real world if you can believe it

True-Scale Space Marines Primaris Space Marines (also known as Primaris Marines, Ultra-Ultramarines, Space Marine Space Marines, Spacer Marines, Primarines, NuMarines, Chadmarines, The Greater-est of them all, Adeptus Restartes, Gigglymarines, Super Space Marines, Biglymarines, Big League Marines, Space-marine Space-marine Space-Marines, 8thmarines, Bigmars, Guillimarines, Primarysues, Ultra-Ultrasmurfs, Skubmarines, Marines II: Electric Boogaloo, Tonka-Marines, Nobmarines, Spacecast Eternals, the Replacements, 40K Jason Xs and the New Kids) are the next step forward in Space Marine evolution, not counting the Raptor Supermarines made by Corax during the Horus Heresy before Alpharius spiked the gene-tech with Daemon Blood.

Big Bobby G got together with Belisarius Cawl because each heard the other liked Space Marines, so they put more Astartes in their Astartes, and the end result was this next generation of the Emperor's fearless defenders of humanity. They are bigger, stronger, tougher and maybe smarter than all that have come before them (big "maybe", though).

Buckle up boys, it's about to get hot and skubby 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 of 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 (though Guilliman probably didn't plan to be made Fulgrim's bitch), 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. The artifact was actually a Selenar construct originally named the "Magna Mater" which was used to create the original Space Marines, and was secured by the Sisypheum's crew from Chaos hands on Luna during the Siege of Terra.

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. In addition many chapters conveniently devastated by recent conflicts are also being reinforced by the Primaris joining their ranks. Some to the point that they essentially become Primaris chapters with the original marines becoming a minority in the ranks.

Standard marines can also be "transformed" into Primaris Marines. The first revealed to have gone through with this procedure was Marneus Calgar. However, the process, dubbed the "Rubicon Primaris" (as in the phrase "crossing the Rubicon") is also agonizing even by Space Marine standards (Imperial Fists be like "tell me more"), very difficult (the description of it we have for when Marneus Calgar went through it has his entire body sliced open and briefly killed him in the process- they had to jump-start his heart to revive him afterwards), and according to Cawl himself it had a 61.6% chance of failure until Cawl had enough data to refine the process. By the final years of the Plague Wars in Ultramar the process seemed to be stable enough that it was considered unusual for high ranking officers to not undergo the process. However it still remained a lengthy and agonizing process not to be taken lightly. By and large, it's indisputably easier to make new Primaris from scratch rather than convert old marines, which are becoming rarer every passing year anyway, so expect the procedure to be mostly restricted to special characters who need to stick around for meta reasons.

The introduction of the Primaris marines and the Rubicon Primaris has been controversially received by the current space marine chapters across the Imperium, with opinions ranging from enthusiastic to full-on hostility - Guilliman himself has referred to the Primaris as "Cawl's blasphemous hordes", not because he himself is distasteful of them (quite the opposite, in fact), but as a reference to how controversial their implementation has been to the wider Imperium. Some claim that the Primaris would be the end of many chapters' traditions and character (which isn’t meta at all) and is against what the Emperor intended for the Astartes. Others claim they will breathe new life into many struggling chapters and an ailing Imperium. Which admittedly is true for those guys.

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 (note: Shrike’s new armor has a Beakie helmet, and the Raven Guard upgrade kit includes one as well), but it's got that sweet Maximus style vox grill. As usual, mechanically this is entirely cosmetic.
    • We don't talk about Mark IX Power Armour.
    • Bigger, tougher Primaris Marines wear Mark X Gravis Armour. As of 8E, this translates to +1T and +1W. Shiny. Comes with bodybuilder belly armour.
    • Reivers and Vanguard Primaris Marines wear Mark X Phobos Armour, sleeker-looking, with crocs, capris, and skull-faced helmets for the Reivers. The other guys have helmets somewhat similar to the Mark VII Armor.
    • Suppressors wear Mark X Omnis Armor, which combines elements of the Tacticus Armor and the Inceptor's version of the Gravis Armor.
  • 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 and shorter ranges but offers greater mobility and rate of fire due to being Assault 3, and the Stalker Bolt Rifle, a Heavy 1 sniper variant with superior range and one extra point of AP and damage.
  • An enhanced gene-seed, which was created using purified genetic material of the Loyalist Primarchs from the Sangprimus Portum, and adding 3 more organs to the existing 19. It's also worth noting that Cawl did something to make the Primaris Marines physically incapable of turning traitor. Guilliman's internal monologue in Dark Imperium reveals that he considers it an impossibility for Primarines to turn, unlike "the old breed". Even though he is against the use of genes from the traitor legions despite the extreme heroics of the loyalists of those legions. Which is seriously a dick move (but probably won't stop Cawl either way). It makes sense though since most non-Terran traitor legion members stayed with their Primarchs as opposed to the Terrans who mostly stayed loyal to the Emperor, Girlyman is just hedging his bets. This has interesting implications about whether or not the Primaris marines truly have free will, assuming that they truly are unable to fall to Chaos- it is just as likely that they haven't been active long enough for any corruption to take hold yet. The book War of Secrets heavily implies they have some kind of innate Chaos resistance, being immune to a psychic plague that infested other Space Marines.
    • 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 (Actually, in the book "Dark Imperium: Plague War" Guy Haley describes them as a "network of supplementary muscles unique to the Primaris Marines". So maybe they are a real organic implant and not a bionic one. Who knows because, for example, the Dark Imperium books also contradicts the 8th Edition Codices about the original primaris haven't been recruited from the original legiones homeworlds. So what we could have here is just another classic case of author messing up the fluff again as it is described as metallic in most other publications).
      • 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 intended for Primarchs, though the information needed to complete it is lost), as well as producing additional growth hormone.
        • Notably, this explains their name. Primaris Marines from a Primarch's gland.
      • 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.
        • The organ also happens to be essential in the implementation of the Rubicon Primaris. The current procedure apparently kills the patient for a short while and the organs healing abilities is essential in reviving the patient post operation (at least that is what occured in Marneus Calgars case) assuming that they come back alive at all.

Potential Problems[edit]

  • What the hell is gonna happen to the old stuff? Primaris can't fit in Land Raiders or Rhinos. What about Mk. I-IX Power Armor? Spare Dreadnought Chasis? Centurions? What happens to them? (They'll become op with Imperial Fists, apparently.)
  • Primaris marines were made from all extant Loyalist genelines, and thanks to the material made available to Belisarius Cawl through the Sangprimus Portum, show little to none of the idiosyncrasies that usually mark the bloodlines of Russ and Sanguinius. Not only that, but according to an (admittedly biased) in-universe source, there's only a .001% chance of genetic deviation per generation, which means that the Primaris genestock are incredibly stable as well. Interestingly, thanks to Cawl's work Chapters that have lost organs through the centuries (like the Imperial Fists) or have malfunctioning organs (like the Raven Guard) all of a sudden have a complete set of organs thanks to the influx of new Primaris blood.
    • This means of course that Chapters like the Space Wolves, who due to the same quirks of their genetics were unable to have successors, can now have them, without fear of them devolving into Wulfen in one generation (though they can still be affected by its bestial rage). Despite this stability, some people (see Gabriel Seth) aren't too happy at this flagrant tinkering with the Emperor's work. Despite the fact the Primarchs and Astartes were created by teams of gene-smiths and the Emperor acted more like a project leader than personal inventor. The memories from one of the major head guys of said projects and creator of the black carapace, Ezekiel Sedayne, got grafted into Cawl's brain. So everything should be fine... right? What could go wrong? Besides, Cawl was a major part of the project for the Emperor. If anyone has a right to tinker with it, he does.
    • It's worth noting that in the Kill Team Focus: The Adeptus Astartes, Black Dragons Reivers with bone mutations are mentioned. Maybe this is due to the purposeful mutation farming by the Black Dragons, or maybe the mutation rate is higher than Daddy Cawl cares to admit. That said, it's been 100 years (Retcon, it's been 12 or so years) since the Ultima Founding, and chapters can, presumably, create their own Primaris Marines, not to mention the AdMech were the ones who (unintentionally) gave them their specific mutation in the first place, so maybe Cawl's fucking around with them or he purposefully gave their Primaris the same mutation. Wouldn't be the first time an engineer went "It's not a bug, it's a feature!" They might also have been Marines who followed in Calgar's footsteps and became Primaris.
    • The update to the Blood Angels confirms this, with the appearance of Death Company Intercessors. We know Dante's going to be disappointed at that, for sure, though Gabe will probably be smug at this. Don’t see why they didn’t expect it. The Black Rage is a psychic curse, not genetic, and the Red Thirst was infrequent before a Greater Daemon dramatically enhanced it for lulz. Either way, both curses are supernatural, not genetic (the genetic part of the Red Thirst was infrequent, the enhanced occurrences is sorcerous).
    • Same with the Space Wolves. Turns out the Primaris aren't so immune to their parent chapter's mutations. Which doesn't bode so well for the Wolfspear.
  • Being bigger actually gives more disadvantages than advantages. None of the old marine weapon, armour and vehicles fit Primaris, so they need everything purpose made for them. More so, as everything needs to be upscaled for their size, same things would cost more to produce and maintain as they do for regular marines, as they just take more materiel and probably more work-hours to make them too. Primaris may have trouble crawling through tight places normal marine can fit through, and being head and a half higher they stick out of standard-issue imperial trenches and fortifications, pretty much begging for a sniper to take them down, unless said trenches and fortifications are built with Primaris in mind (which returns us back for Primaris-specific stuff being more expensive). Finally, they're just bigger targets, which is bad. Basically the only real advantage of bigger size is being slightly tougher and having reach advantage in close combat.
    • However trying to apply to much real world logic to 40k practicality is not necessarily accurate either. Where tons of the imperium and even Xeno armies have vehicles and mechs that are far bigger than necessray or just fly in the face of concepts such as practicality or reasonable sizes to avoid enemy targets. Yet this is never brought up nor shown to have any real impact on the battle field when honestly have a tank the size of a building should just scream "artillery me to death!!!". So honestly Primaris being bigger really wouldn't make that much of an issue (and there not that much bigger anyway).
  • Cawl’s work isn’t always perfect, and his arrogance gives him a tendency to overreach. This is exemplified in Alpha Primus, the first and prototype Primaris Marine, who seems to be Cawl’s heretical attempt at making his own Primarch (see the Magnificat, above), and has since been relegated to being the archmagos' bodyguard. He’s so giant that he towers over even other Primaris, is an extremely powerful psyker, and is described as “more gifted” than any other Astartes. He also exists in a constant state of pain, both physical and mental, which gives him a personality that Marvin the Paranoid Android would find tedious, and he’s nominally considered a failure. He even has a stitched-together face to reinforce the parallels with Frankenstein’s Monster (the original, highly intelligent but extremely emo one). Whether the Primaris as a whole will eventually turn out to be a more subtle example of Cawl’s overreach is an open question. Most Primaris dismiss this concern as they believe Guilliman would immediately execute Cawl if he attempted to create a Primarch and that even Cawl isn't willing to push his luck that far.
  • Despite being bigger and stronger than "regular" Astartes, what the Primaris initially lacked was actual battlefield experience (a fact bemoaned by Captain Felix of the Ultramarines in Dark Imperium to have been the cause of most of the initial losses to the Primaris). While this has been mostly been offset by the long and hard-fought Indomitus Crusade, even after a hundred-odd years of war the average Primaris marine is looked upon as a relative greenhorn by regular Astartes veterans. They have a lot to prove to their adopted Chapters as a result.
    • We get little hints of this having to prove themselves goodness in the Dark Angels codex. A group of Hellblasters are half put off, half inspired by the strictness of their primogenitor. After the squad gets trapped in a hive city for days fighting off enemies, they rack up so many kills even Belial can't help but smile.
  • The Dark Angel example above illustrates another problem: how well will the new Primaris Marines get along with their chapter? The Dark Angels are an extreme example given their issues UNSWERVING LOYALTY TO THE IMPERIUM, but other chapters may have their own problems getting the first couple batches of Primaris marines to get with the traditions and cultures of their chapters. The Space Wolves were mentioned as being similar, as some of the Wolf Lords initially questioned the worth of those not born on Fenris to be called sons of Leman Russ, despite the Legion’s recruitment practices prior to finding its Primarch and their extensive achievements during that period. In spite of their misgivings and claims that Guilliman was using them to dilute their traditions, Logan Grimnar ordered that they be integrated into the packs; however, rivalries between Primaris Space Wolves and their shorter counterparts are still common. At least papa wolf doesn’t take shit and accepts whatever helps protect humanity.
    • As the Primaris have no Terminators (Aggressors are debatable). (Yet, if GW thought that far ahead.) I.e. Hellblasters and Inceptors can be deployed in place of Sternguard and Vanguard Veterans in other chapters. With the exception of Primaris Librarians, induction into the Inner Circle or the upper ranks of the Ravenwing is unlikely, at least until some time passes. Or in fluff they might end up being added without specialized vehicles and the size issue could he handwaved. There are also rumors of Primaris getting actual Terminators and Bikers "soon". Though it's best to take them with a grain of salt as they've been around since Primaris Marines were announced for Dark Angels.
      • The Non-Terminator Deathwing issue has also since been dealt with, as the BladeGuard Veterans in the Indomitus box leaked by GW have Deathwing transfers. Yes, this means we have power armored Deathwing troops again. GW seems to have forgotten about their own fluff for the one hundredth time. As only a single Aggressor has joined so far. Blade Guard also don't solve the problem of promoting a Hellblaster or Eliminator to the Inner Circle. For Codex Chapters that would be like promoting a 2nd Company Devastator into the 1st. While giving him gear to fight as a Vanguard Vet rather than making him a member Sternguard. Equivalent to telling a member of US SOCOM that he has to fight as a Dark Age Knight after he's no longer an NCO.
      • Primaris Bikers were mentioned in a novel and now have models, and Primaris Land Speeders may be a thing soon due to that incredibly bad quality leak. They lack a Black Knight equivalent making them unable join the Inner Circle as well.
  • 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 (likely along the lines of the Greater Possessed). 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 affect 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 an extremely 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. (Though it is worth nothing that the Lost Legions were not executed along their Primarchs but instead given over to the Ultramarines and Imperial Fists)
  • 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. While most are much less interested in genetic modification, we've already had;
    • Urien Rakarth has expressed interest in them in spite of what he calls Guilliman's "lack of imagination", and has requested his Haemonculi bring as many to him as possible; more unnervingly, he has expressed that he will be saving his best oubliette for the Primarch if he ever wished to "learn from the master". Given the upheavals in Commorragh with the Dysjunction, the birth of Ynnead and Vect becoming a Living Muse, there are other parties among the Dark Eldar who'd likely take an interest in Primaris marines for more "material".
    • It would be equally unsurprising if a certain spider-legged robot mad scientist also wanted to collect a few Primaris specimens. In the latest lore he's becoming a more active player on the galactic stage between creating the Null Sector and signing on with the newly returned Silent King, and Primaris marines could be considered prime targets for bio-transference.
    • At least one Ork Mekboy came up with the idea of creating more potent bullets to deal with "da big beakies". As of the Ork codex, Mad Dok Grotsnik (You know, the guy who CREATED GHAZGHKULL) has kidnapped a bunch of Silver Skulls Primaris marines for unknown purposes. So that bodes well.
    • The Tyranids, being what they are, will definitely incorporate the DNA of Primaris marines into their makeup if they can get any into the digestion pools.
  • The book "War of Secrets" has the Primaris Marines of the Dark Angels (at least all Primaris Marines of Terran stock) heavily influenced by the culture of Mars: they call the Emperor the Omnissiah, reverently call their creator 'Pater Cawl', and swear to the glory of "chapter, Terra and Mars". This raises the question of if they are more loyal to the Adeptus Mechanicus than the Imperium or even their own Chapter. Indeed, in the book its one of the main reasons the Dark Angels don't trust them.
  • Despite the Primaris widely being seen as, and intended to be, the replacements for standard Astartes, and most Chapters having the means and technology to create Primaris Space Marines of their own, many still choose to continue creating standard Space Marines as well for their more flexible and readily available equipment and combat doctrines (not to mention being able to drive all the space marine vehicles that the Primaris are apparently too cool for). Outside of full Primaris chapters, the newmarines are gonna have to just get used to being supplementary. Not that this is surprising- only so much gene-seed is produced, and nobody's dumb enough to just throw it out.
    • While the Rubicon Primaris can convert existing Astartes into Primaris, the process is life-threatening, complex, and prone to failure due to lack of refinement. On top of all that, it has caused a fair degree of friction in itself, with some Marines welcoming the possibility for all Astartes to become Primaris and others whispering of possible refusal or even open revolt if the transformation was made compulsory, although given how risky the procedure is, this probably isn't an overt concern.
  • Reality has come to prove that the Primaris are just as capable of going renegade as the old marines are if fate shits in their breakfast hard enough (And once you're renegade, taking the extra step into outright Chaos worship becomes a very very hard line not to cross, just ask the Soul Drinkers). In a recent Psychic Awakening story, when Primaris reinforcements are brought to the Brazen Drakes, the fleet finds the Drakes' homeworld consumed by war and the chapter turned heretic. The Custodes immediately condemn the Primaris Brazen Drakes as tainted as well and order them apprehended (which does not make a lot of sense in this case since the Reinforcements had nothing to do with the corruption). The Primaris try to speak in their own defense, several times arguing with the Custodes pointing his gun straight at them, and with predictable results. The Primaris fight back, and before long the whole fleet is being torn apart. While they could technically be considered Renegades and not actual traitors, that often ends up becoming a distinction without a difference in practice.

Forces of the Primaris Marines[edit]

"Lord Commander, the batch 3789-Alpha is missing! Just after the visit of..." "I know."

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 (and another wound as of the 8.5e codex).

  • Primaris Captain: Primaris Captains are the analogues of Space Marine Captains. They wear Mark X Tacticus 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. The Indomitus Boxed Set introduces yet another variant, following the Bladeguard, by wielding a master-crafted power sword, heavy bolt pistol and relic shield.
    • Captain in Gravis Armor: A variant of captain who is 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 the option of either a power sword, a chainsword, or a second power fist sans bolt pistol. As of 9E, there is also a version with a Heavy Bolt Rifle.
    • Vanguard Captain: As above, but equipped with a Master Crafted Instigator Bolt Rifle, Phobos Armor and a Cameleoline Cloak for some sneaky breeki action.
  • Primaris Librarian: Just what it sounds like. Has a fancy-looking Force Sword.
    • Vanguard Librarian: A variant used by the Vanguard Primaris Marines. Has a camo-robe, just in case an 8 foot tall lightning-flinging, power armoured wizard needs to be subtle. Or maybe he's cosplaying as a Dark Angel, we don't know. In either case, he has a different set of powers that focus on making his allies even sneakier.
  • 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 the specialized Absolver Bolt Pistol (think of it as a magnum variant). To double up on the skull motif, their breastplate looks like a ribcage. They can also ride bikes thanks to the introduction of Outriders.
  • Judiciar: New Primaris character fresh out of AOS introduced for 9th edition. Apparently Cawl and/or Guilliman looked at the Master of Execution and said "Those guys are cool, let's make our own version." He wears black armor like a chaplain and a bitchin' skull mask and carries a fuckoff-huge executioner's sword as well as an hourglass called the 'Temporomortis' cause he ain't got time for your bullshit.
  • Primaris Lieutenants: The Primaris Lieutenants are somewhere between a Captain and a Sergeant in rank (no shit), and are often the most experienced of a Primaris force when a Captain has better things to do. 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). The new 9th edition lieutenant variant gets a storm shield, power sword and a NEO-volkite pistol; apparently Cawl has been poking around in the archives again.
    • Vanguard Lieutenant: Lieutenants of the Vanguard Primaris swap out their bolt rifles for an occulus bolt carbine that helps them pick off enemies from far away, and while they only use a basic combat knife they're surprisingly good with it. They can also deep strike via grav-chute like the Reivers.
  • Primaris Ancients: Primaris Marines dubbed honourable enough to have the privilege of carrying the Standard/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.
    • Bladeguard Ancient: Introduced in 9th Edition. The flag standard is now a skeletal effigy, also straight out of AOS (hello Lord Relictor!).
  • Primaris Apothecary: A specialization of Primaris Marine first seen in artwork and promo photos, and now has rules and a model. 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, another can pilot the Firestrike Servo-Turret. 9th Edition finally decided to give them an individual model, armed with a back-pack mounted heavy bolter (see Tor Garadon and Malkaan Feirros except in Tactictus armor) and a servo-arm.
    • It is possible that the shoulder gun is an Assault Bolter instead of a Heavy Bolter. As seen in the announcement video, it's stubbier and has the same box magazine as the Assault Bolter. Plus this guy is in basic Mk. X - Feirros in Gravis armor has a Heavy Bolter so this may also serve to differentiate the two. Just something to keep in mind.
  • 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, but with a 3+ save. They have 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).
    • Assault Intercessors: Take an Intercessor and swap out the bolt rifle for a heavy bolt pistol and chainsword. Now if only they had jump packs...
    • Heavy Intercessors: Gravis-armored Intercessors with bigger bolt rifles (in three different flavors) and the potential to swap them out for Heavy Bolters, similar to a Devastator Marine squad.
  • 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.)
  • Outriders: Primaris Bikers. The White Scars' dream come true.
  • Bladeguard Veterans: 1st Company veterans, decked out in a master-crafted power sword and a storm shield. Looks to be the Primaris equivalent of Assault Terminators or Honour Guard. For some reason, they get 3 wounds despite not wearing Gravis armour, which is what gives Aggressors and Inceptors their 3 wounds. So they get 2 wounds for being primaris and then an extra for... being veterans?
  • Eradicators Gravis-armored Primaris wielding Meltaguns. As rifles. And they can take Multi-Meltas too. The Fire Dragons called, they want their gimmick back.
  • 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 Dreadnought 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 technically it's an Infantry Fighting Vehicle, as the Yanks say, just like the Razorback: designed to carry infantry and then provide heavier direct fire to support them) 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.
    • Repulsor Executioner: Now the Repulsor is an ACTUAL battle tank still an IFV, and is incredibly well kitted out while still maintaining some transport capacity.
  • Gladiator Tank: The "proper" battle tank for the Primaris Marines, based on the Impulsor chassis. Has three different variations: the Valiant has multi-meltas and las-talons for close quarters destruction of enemy armour and heavy infantry, the Reaper packs tempest bolters and twin heavy Onslaught Gatling Cannons to erase infantry, and the Lancer has a big lascannon ideal for blasting tanks from far away.
  • Storm Speeder: The bastard child of a Land Speeder and a Repulsor. Comes in anti-infantry, anti-vehicle, and anti-aircraft variations. All of which have an unfortunately placed gunner's seat all but designed to induce deafness.
  • Invader ATV: Looks sillier than the Wolfquad, but packs either an Onslaught Gatling Cannon or a multi-melta. Appears to be the equivalent of the Attack Bike.
  • Firestrike Servo-Turret: A possible homage of a static Sabre Weapons Battery, a static anti-air turret. Operated by a lone Techmarine.
  • Hammerfall Bunker: Because apparently the Deathstorm drop pod just wasn't killy enough for Cawl's special boys. The Hammerfall is a mobile bunker that can be dropped from orbit to open up a big ol' can of "Fuck You" on anything that gets too close. It comes with eight heavy bolters or heavy flamers (two per side), and a Hammerfall missile launcher on top, armed with superfrag and superkrak missiles, because GW really have run out of original names.
  • 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.
  • Astraeus Super-Heavy Tank: Surely the result of a drunken 3-way between a Mastodon, a Sicaran, and a somewhat reluctant Repulsor, the Astraeus is the first Primaris super-heavy tank (implying there will be more variants on the way) and looking to be an utter beast on the tabletop - it's armed with Land Raider style frontal Heavy Bolter mount, two front angled sponsons for Las-Rippers or Plasma Eradicators, topped with a turret mounted dual Macro-Accelerator Cannon. Given how expensive it is to field a decently kitted repulsor, it remains to be seen how viable it will be to concentrate so many points into one vehicle.

Vanguard Space Marines[edit]

Apparently Guilliman and Cawl swapped notes with Sigmar when it came to organizing the Primaris forces. The Primaris of the Vanguard Space Marines are geared mainly towards guerilla warfare and infiltration; most of them wear the Phobos pattern armor Reivers wear, since it offers improved mobility with no loss of protection (leading to the obvious question of why anyone wears the base Tacticus pattern). The only exception is the Suppressor, who wears Omnis pattern armor, which is effectively the Phobos version of Gravis armor, because Primaris Marines are so bad at using standard jump packs.

  • Vanguard Captains: The final evolution of the Scout Marine. Armed with a sniper rifle, beard, moustache and a few party tricks, most of which are shared with the scout.
  • Vanguard Lieutenants: A melee heavy Lt. with an improved boltgun and the same deepstrike ability the rest of the vanguard has.
  • Vanguard Librarians: A stealth librarian specializing in buffs. Only Vanguard HQ worth a damn.
  • Helix Adepts: Because GW loves repeating themselves here's a retro Apothecary who remembers that it's smarter to stay in a unit than to stand alone as an elite. Same skills as normal medic but a more limited target pool.
  • Eliminators: Essentially power-armored sniper scouts equipped with exotic ammunition, or if you want to be a smart ass Primaris Sternguard with Scout Gear. Their Bolt weapons look like oversized G36s. They can also equip Las Fusils to pick off vehicles from afar.
  • Infiltrators: These appear to be the equivalents of the Intercessors, at least in the sense of being the standard Bolter-wielders. They appear to be using some kind of scoped Bolt Carbine variant and smoke grenades.
  • Incursors: An alternate build for Infiltrators that specialize in hitting dug in or concealed enemies with the aid of multi-spectrum arrays and occulus bolt carbines.
  • Suppressors: What you get when you cross an Inceptor with a Devastator. Those big autocannons are sure to make the Scourges jealous. Totally not based on the Zakus from Gundam.
  • Impulsor: A light transport and support vehicle for Vanguard marines that can outfitted for a variety of roles including orbital bombardment spotter.
  • Invictor Tactical Warsuit: A stripped down Redemptor Dreadnought with its sarcophagus removed and replaced with a cockpit, sound dampening technology, and a giant removable heavy bolter sidearm.

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; 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).

Primaris armies can seem deceptively small, however, they have an incredible wound density. This makes your basic squads like Intercessors far more point efficient than Tactical Marines (since in 8th edition Tac Marines just kind of completely suck eggs), and are the better option when it comes to holding down homefield objectives. They're also by far some of the best bolter infantry available, with a number of advantages over basic Sternguard (though lacking access to combi-weapons). Other squads such as Hellblasters vs Devastators, Aggressors vs Terminators, etc. are less clear-cut, but overall the Primaris squads are more than able to carry their own weight, providing value in their role, sacrificing a little bit of flexibility for durability but not quite enough to make them Eldar-level cripples outside their niche.

Currently the Primaris are considered to be much more of a shooty army than a punchy one. They can handle themselves in melee yes, and aggressors and rievers can dish it out in CQC, but they currently lack ultraheavy weight facepunchers like Assault Terminators, Killsaw Meganobz or Bikernobz, Necron Wraiths, Melee Warriors and 'Fexes, Wraithblades and so on. They can handle the chaff in close combat but lack true top tier facepunchers. The majority of their shooting is also within the 4-7 strength range and virtually all of it is within the 12-36 inch range bracket due to their extreme focus on infantry. They're a little awkward to use as a standalone army at the moment since they currently have a fraction of the unit choices available to more established armies, but entirely usable to newbies and old pros alike and are a generally very forgiving army where while there's not a whole lot of units and load-outs to choose from, everything's role is pretty immediately obvious at a glance.

It is very unlikely that this will remain the case indefinitely as their model range is almost certain to expand dramatically over the years with goodies like fliers, vehicles, walkers, new guns, melee units, bikes and all that neat stuff but keep in mind that as of right now they're an army meant to dominate infantry gunfights, not win artillery duels, go about tank jousting, bomb things from the stratosphere, zoom around objectives in bikes or transports, or punch things in the face. That being said, they'll shred shit up in short to mid ranged infantry gunfights and have enough other options to handle other targets without feeling hopeless. The other benefit of course, is that this is an army that is very young and have the spotlight shining on them and are guaranteed to only get more options in the near future until they can finally rival the bewildering array of toys the OG Space Marines can field.

Of course the downside to that is that none of us are exactly sure how future content will change up the Primaris as an army as they're still finding their character as a faction so it's difficult to plan around that and you'll almost definitely find yourself needing to get at least some of the future models. Looking at the patterns of stormcast eternal releases over in Age of Sigmar seems to be a somewhat decent guide to what the future might hold though. Certain sore weaknesses that will likely get closed at some point are dedicated anti-tank infantry (rather than the Eliminators with las-fusils being anti-heavy infantry and Hellblasters being jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none), transports with large model counts, heavy assault infantry with Invuln saves like Terminators, bikers, a non-transport non-super heavy tank, artillery, fliers and Primaris Techmarines (no, the Repulsor pintle gunner doesn't count). Note that pretty much all of these are covered by the OG marine range, but these are likely to come up over the years.

As of the 9e release announcements, basic assault infantry in the form of Assault Intercessors, anti tank infantry in the form of Eradicators, bikers in the form Outriders, elite assault in the form of Bladeguard Veterans (+ their Ancient), fast attack in the form of the Invader ATV, dedicated AA in the form of the Firestrike-Servo Turret, fortification in the form of the orbital dropping Hammerfall Bunker, Judiciar executioners, Chaplain on Bike and a standard Techmarine are now on the books.

Rules Datasheets[edit]

The Community Reaction and GW's Handling[edit]

This isn't even an over reaction, you can do all these things with the 8.5 codex and Ultramarine supplement. Clearly Ward still has some influence because the Ultramarines are the greatest of them all nowhere near as good as other Marine chapters, especially the meta-defining Iron Hands, even in the 8.5 codex + supplement.

Games Workshop brought Roboutte Guilliman back to life and he personally created all-new Space Marines. How do you THINK the community reacted?

When Primaris marines first came out, the reaction was anything and everything between rage and genuine excitement. Primaris defenders loved the amazing models (let's be honest, GW has master-level sculptors these days) and the new future-tech to play with, combined with some genuinely promising Advancing the Storyline, flipping the status quo from "a decrepit empire resting on its laurels" to "the last hurrah of the Imperium with one desperate final generation leading the charge." And after 6th and 7th edition were filled with list after list, unit after unit specifically designed around reducing Space Marines to slag while shrugging off bolter fire like it was gentle rain, the chance to have some Marines and Boltguns that actually lived up to their fluff was a breath of fresh air.

As for criticisms, many argued that the Numarines looked too smooth and shiny to be proper Marines, in some cases treading on the Deathwatch (start a firefight between the Deathwatch and some Raven Guard Infiltrators, and just try and figure out which side is which), in other cases lacking the iconic Gothic look made famous by the Classic Marines, as well as much of the iconography like skulls. Then there's accusations of Guilliman and Cawl just being too noblebright, too advanced, and rapidly approaching Mary Sue territory — just suddenly showing up with hundreds of thousands of reserve forces that are flat-out better than what the Emperor created, complete with flotillas of hovertanks that were seemingly invented with no difficulty whatsoever. This was, of course, ultimately rooted in the fear of an inevitable squatting of Classic Marines, which for Oldfags would mean the end of their lovingly collected armies.

There has also been the problem with balance. At the beginning of 8th edition, 2 wound troops were relatively tough to shift and with their generally longer range weaponry, they became the king of gun-lining very quickly. Impulsors have an assload of guns and could theoretically challenge anything, including fliers. Hellblasters became a favorite of absolutely everyone for their ability to delete MEQs, TEQs, and even light vehicles in a single volley. On the flipside, more expensive Marines were having trouble shifting the early 8th edition horde meta, and would often just get pushed off objectives. The relative lack of melee options was a sticking point for both fluffy and crunchy players. For a while Primaris were seen as soup ingredients, with a good half their range sitting on the shelf for most players... then Codex: Space Marine 8.5 released, in which all semblance of Primaris units being balanced went out the window. Doctrines (which also affected Firstborn) increased the overall killing power of Primaris weapons. Aggressors were one of the most common uber units as in 8.5 they gained an extra wound, becoming T5 3W infantry, that could vomit out copious amount of fire resulting in the situation of them being able to wipe out multiple enemy units at range while taking relatively few casualties in return. In addition multiple Primaris units got their own unique rules that seemed like they were specifically designed to fuck with their opponents, which for many felt like a deviation from how marines traditionally played and some argued that the Primaris marines were stepping on other armies toes, by both stealing their play style and taking resources away from their armies, many of which could have used new releases and updates. The last half of 8th edition was Marine-dominated, and many fa/tg/uys would refuse play against Primaris/Primaris heavy armies.

As of the release of 9th, GW has rebalanced Marines to tried to bring other armies new codex's in line with Space Marine, however two new Primaris units the Heavy Intercessors, and Eradicators have both proved to be exceptionally strong units all on their own and quite possibly the strongest Troop and Heavy Support choice in the entire game at the moment. GW's solution to fixing marines in general wasn't taking things away from them, but adding more thing to everyone else resulting in 9th edition suffering very badly from rules bloat.

As for the Firstborn going the way of the dodo? GeeDubs seems to be holding off on that, releases have been kind of schizophrenic. Things alternate between waves of nothing but Primaris (a whole box set dedicated to Outriders and Bladeguard Veterans) and some pats on the back for the Firstborn (lots of buffs for Terminators, and a 2021 re-release of the Stormhawk of all things).

Nowadays/tg/ is partially split on the matter, those who like Primaris, those who still hate them, and those who have accepted them and build their lists to combat them.





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
Structures: Hammerfall Bunker
Vehicles: Gladiator Tank - Impulsor - Invictor Tactical Warsuit - Invader ATV
Primaris Outriders - Redemptor Dreadnought - Repulsor Tank - Storm Speeder
Super Heavies: Astraeus Super-Heavy Tank
Flyers: Overlord Gunship
Spacecraft: Space Marine Landing Craft
Allies: Space Marines