Warhammer 40,000/Tactics/Space Marines(8E)

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This is the current Edition's Space Marine tactics. 7th Edition Tactics are here.

Why Play Space Marines[edit]

Space Marines are perhaps the best army for beginners. Their units are fairly expensive points-wise, so they usually field fewer bodies and vehicles than most other armies. While you can't bog down your foes in waves of men, this makes army construction cheaper and painting faster. Additionally, Space Marines are dead'ard; their basic troops have Toughness 4 and a 3+ armour save, giving them great staying power compared to most basic infantry of other armies. They're also solid in whatever role they're put in; Marines are good shots, and they're not half bad in an assault, either. Space Marine tanks, on the other hand, may not be as robust or as powerful as those of the Imperial Guard's, but they are dirt-cheap and reliable. Dreadnoughts, while slower than a tank, are slightly better at shooting than predators, present a smaller target and are far better in close combat, and are able to take on heroes, units and other vehicles and come out on top.

With the coming of 8th Ed, Marines are going to be feeling the hurt a lot more. With the changes to how AP functions in-game on top of grav-weaponry getting nerfed to all hell, they can no longer rely on simply shrugging off small arms fire like they used to- weapons whose AP ratings could be safely ignored can now decrease even a Terminator's armor save. On the flipside, Marines will almost always have a save (albeit a 5+ or 6+) they can use, and with cover they can boost their saves to a 2+.

Pros[edit]

  • Easy for beginners to play, yet rewarding for experts. Can be customized to focus on many specific elements (e.g. Terminators, mass jump pack assaults, etc.) without sacrificing viability in the process.
  • Units can do something of everything, with an answer to every situation.
  • You're GW's favorites, so you'll always be the first to get anything new. See also: Primaris Marines, getting the first full Codex in 8e.
  • Due to your small unit sizes and low unit count, you have a good chance to get the +1 on your roll for Turn 1.
  • Loads of powerful characters to choose from, many of which have potent buffs to surrounding units.
  • You'll almost always have an armor save. Many pre-8th AP3 weapons tend to be around AP-2, so power armor still gives a 5+. Similarly, most plasma weapons are AP-3, so while the 6+ won't be reliable by a long shot it's better than not having an armor save at all.

Cons[edit]

  • As the most popular army by a long shot, just about everyone will have some plan for taking you on.
  • Tanks (other than the Forge World ones and the hefty points-priced Land Raider family) are somewhat lacking compared to those of other armies.
  • Unlike with most other armies Chapter Tactics do not apply to vehicles, only infantry, bikes, and dreadnoughts.
  • Small unit sizes mean every lost unit is going to hurt pretty badly, as well as maximizing the damage you'll receive from things that target all units/units in an area, like preliminary bombardments. The best units are also expensive, which means you'll need to focus on quality over quantity.
  • Expensive units also mean you can't benefit as readily from the larger detachments, although Battalions now give more CP.
  • Small unit size also means the units are harder or less efficient to buff with characters or strategems.
  • The "jack of all trades, master of none" rule is very much in effect- except for the Primaris Marines, which tend to have the exact opposite problem of overspecialization.
  • The AP changes mean that even weapons that were merely AP4 are now AP-1 in 8th. A 4+ armor save isn't terrible, but save modifiers are certainly not in your favor if you're called upon to make a lot of them. Bolters are also now AP-0.
  • Space Marines are especially vulnerable during the Psychic Phase; their durability is completely nullified by Smite, and Librarians are too expensive to reliably deny psychic power.
  • All the characters that used to be part of other units (e.g. Apothecary, Champion) moved to the Elites slot, which makes it rather crowded. Consider bringing in an extra Vanguard detachment.
  • Again, being the most popular army doesn't exactly help the diversity seen on tables either. Now, this doesn't mean you can't play whatever you want and doesn't change the fact that the main goal is to have fun but still, do you really want to be the 15th guy with marines in your local gaming center?
  • Being the first to the fray does have a downside, specifically the fact that your codex was the first of 8th edition means power creep has set in and newer codices (yes that's the proper plural) will generally have stronger rules and abilities than yours, and pretty much every army has something to counter you. That being said, keep in mind that the power creep is relatively minor compared to previous editions and that balance changes often end up working in the Space Marines' favor.

Special Rules[edit]

  • And They Shall Know No Fear: Reroll failed morale tests. Not going to come into play that much given your generally good Ld scores, but given how punishing Morale can be it's still a good way to ensure your units don't run off, especially for your already small-ish unit sizes & 2W Primaris. And Apothecaries cannot revive models who fled instead of being slain.
  • Combat Squads: Can split a single full-sized unit into two smaller units before deployment. Works just like it always has, but more unit types can do it (e.g. Centurions). However, in 8E where everyone has Split Fire, transports can be shared and you want MSU for both free Sergeants & CP bonuses, Combat Squads are practically useless...unless you ran out of slots AND can't afford even a Lieutenant HQ tax. E.g. Two 5-man Reiver squads are better than a single Combat Squadded one. However, with the new FAQ and the Rule of 3, Space Marines now have a unique way to circumvent the same limitations that other armies have. Now they just need to have spammable units worth Combat Squadding.
  • Defenders of Humanity: AKA Objective Secured. If your army is battleforged, all Troop units in detachments consisting solely of Space Marines get this ability. When such a unit is within range of an objective it controls that objective even if there are more enemy models within range of that objective, unless they also have a similar ability. It allows your Troops to seize objectives from enemy non-Troops; enemy Troops will outnumber you.
  • The Lost Librarius: Adeptus Astartes Psykers cannot be from the Black Templars Chapter, if you needed reminding. Doesn't affect non-Templar Psykers in allied detachments.

Forge World Special Rules[edit]

  • RELIC: No Battle-forged Detachment may contain more RELIC units than non-RELIC units within any given battlefield role (except for Lords of War; you can take one without needing another LoW first, but this only applies to the first such LoW taken). Also unlocks the Relic of Ancient Glory Stratagem for use.
  • Stratagem - Relic of Ancient Glory: At the beginning of your Fight phase, choose a single friendly RELIC unit. All friendly ADEPTUS ASTARTES models within 6" of the chosen RELIC unit may re-roll the first failed hit roll of the phase.

Chapter Tactics[edit]

Chapter Tactics are special rules based on the <Chapter> keyword that will affect all Infantry, Bikes and Dreadnought units in your army, and only them - other vehicles can go fuck themselves. To benefit from Chapter Tactics, your army must be battle-forged and all units in the detachment must be drawn from the same chapter. GW has changed each 7E Chapter Tactic in a way that allows them to be applicable to a wider variety of units, in an effort to avoid the over-specialized builds of old. However, Chapter-specific Special Characters and Stratagems (and us) still entice you to do exactly the same.

  • Chapters whose primogenitors are unknown are able to take ANY of the Chapter Tactics as they see fit.
  • Servitors are specified to never gain a Chapter Tactic despite having the keyword (instead of just fucking not having it, it lets them ride in a partybus). There are some rules affecting Chapter units, but nobody cares about Servitors because they're shit.
  • Ultramarines - Codex Discipline: Units with this tactic gain 1 to their Leadership characteristic. They also can fall-back and still shoot, with -1 modifier to hit. Ld9 greatly helps MSU, making 4-man units (like bikers) immune to battleshock, and making the sarge of a 5-man unit flee only after two consecutive 6s.
    • Fall Back's main purposes are to give the rest of your army a clear shot and to pull a unit out of a melee fight that would either bog them down for the rest of the game or kill them, this now lets the fleeing squad contribute instead of effectively skipping the rest of the turn; even with the penalty BS4+ still offers you a good chance of hitting an enemy. While meant for squads that got caught in melee by mistake (like Devastators or a ranged Dreadnought), it will also benefit Tacticals by allowing them to repel an offending unit instead of having to commit yet more squads to melee. UM armies that aren't using a melee-oriented list should almost always fall back if they have a chance to do so.
    • Makes using short-ranged weapons WAY easier, as otherwise they'd only get to fire once before getting locked in CC. Especially flamers, which waive away the BS penalty. This greatly benefits your Bikers, who carry a plethora of short-range weapons like Melta, Twin Boltguns, Flamers and even Astartes Shotguns, making Ultramarine Bikers one of the best in the game, arguably better than White Scars.
  • Imperial Fists - Siege Masters: Enemy units do not receive the benefit to their saving throws for being in cover against attacks made by models with this tactic. Units with this tactic can also re-roll failed wounds when targeting a BUILDING.
    • While half of this tactic is situational at best, it does make anti-infantry weapons more effective now that cover affects everyone. Not only cover-relying campers like Rangers and Scouts, but also those armies with "Recieves cover in the open" shenanigans. While most of your infantry is geared to fight other enemy infantry, models like Ironclad Dreadnoughts and Assault Centurions are specifically designed to counter soldiers and buildings alike.
    • The rule enables Imperial Fists to entrench themselves defensively while their opponents cannot, as the benefits of staying in ruins are nullified, forcing your opponent to change the way they deploy. Especially if you focus on infantry that outranges the enemy, like Sternguards and Intercessors. Or you could storm the enemy's strongholds on equal footing, as they both offer them no protection and might even mess with their positioning. Between that and the ability to take down the fortifications of their enemies more effectively, the Imperial Fists are in a position to force many opponents to come to them. Plan countermeasures for deepstrikers, either leaving no space for their arrival, or leading them to kill zones.
    • As of Big FAQ #2, this trait will discourage your opponent from burning command points on the Prepared Positions Stratagem if you get first turn.
  • Black Templars - Righteous Zeal: Units with this tactic can re-roll failed charge rolls. Simple yet effective, downright powerful when combined with massed deepstrike as the improved 48% successful 9" charge chance all but guarantees a combat when two units arrive. And you have a ton of such units: Anything Jump Pack, Reivers, Terminators; Cataphractii's transport issue is all but solved! Even melee Dreadnoughts (especially Leviathans) will improve, as it makes charges vastly more reliable. Other Chapters need to employ either Librarians, Shrike or even CP to do what you can do out of sheer Rage.
    • If you have the numbers, it goes without saying, combat squad everything. One of two 5-man units making the charge is better than 10 dudes standing around doing nothing. It also doubles the grenades they can use (especially Reiver Shock Grenades), and the unit left behind can prevent any characters that didn't make the charge from being sniped when the others do get into melee.
  • Raven Guard - Shadow Masters: Your opponent must subtract 1 from any hit rolls when shooting at units with this tactic if they are more than 12" away. A big help to long-range attackers of all types, from Scout Snipers to ranged Dreads. One of the best chapter tactics available, as is basically good on everything, from units that can pick off opponents from afar to melee units that need to cover long distances to reach their intended targets, preventing them from being shot up quite as badly.
    • It makes you better than Iron Hands at a protracted shoot-out, but worse if the enemy can get close to you, such as by employing their own drop spam. Hilariously, it also makes enemy plasma overheat easier.
  • Salamanders - Master Artisans: A unit with this tactic can re-roll a single failed hit roll and a single failed wound roll each time it shoots or fights. Especially useful to dreadnoughts, characters, MSU and strong single-shot weapons like Lascannons and Meltas. Assuming you hit and wound on 3+, that one shot goes from 44% to wound to over 70%, saves not calculated.
    • While it reduces your dependence on Captains and Lieutenants (allowing you to focus on the other HQs) it also helps them with those 2s, statistically similar to a Chapter Master, which the Salamanders lack unless they spend valuable CP on the Stratagem. Especially Vulkan He'Stan, who is like a Chapter Master only to melta and a Captain to everything else - now the sergeants of melta squads use can reroll for themselves. Considering how the Salamanders are supposed to be a flamer heavy army, this doesn't really help; considering flamers auto hit, so that reroll is useless
  • White Scars - Lightning Assault: Units with this tactic advance +2" (Bikers end up advancing 8"), and can charge after falling back. The buff to advancing is more significant on something the worse its advance was to begin with, so the buff is more noticeable on Infantry and slower models, like Assault Centurions, while also getting your units into position earlier.
    • Charging after falling back is especially useful to units that proc Mortal Wounds on a charge, like Inceptors and your own Deadly Hunter Warlord (and Ironclad Dreadnoughts and Assault Centurions), besides guaranteeing your unit to hit first. It also allows ranged support to help a unit from afar before it charges back into the fray.
    • Makes it easier to use Assault weapons after Advancing, not only short-ranged ones like Melta, Shotguns and Flamers, but also the plethora of Primaris Assault 18"-24" weapons, allowing them to be in range to support those units who fell back prior to another charge. Incidentally, this also decreases the need for expensive Repulsors.
    • By letting them re-engage after falling back, Assault Marines and Vanguard Vets no longer sacrifice their melee phase in order to throw a Melta Bomb, and 8E has no restriction on charging disembarked models or units different to those the unit fired at. Makes White Scars field some of the best Jump Pack Infantry, especially Inceptors.
  • Iron Hands - The Flesh is Weak: Units with this tactic essentially have their old FnP6+, though it doesn't work with supercharged plasma since that removes models outright. While most noticeable on multi-wound models like Characters and Dreadnoughts, it'll also make your Apothecary's life easier. Especially for your cyborg Primaris, statistically getting +0.33 W.
    • Being more difficult to kill is an obvious bonus to your Warlord, but a Terminator Captain or Primaris Captain in Gravis Armour with the Iron Resolve WT gains FnP6+, having seven wounds with which proc them. And unlike Guilliman, who is classified as a Monster, your chapter infantry Captain can be healed by an Apothecary, numerous times. And then you add the Shield Eternal...yes, it's Smashfucker all over again.
      • While it even allows ignoring mortal wounds, a 6+ is not something you should rely on. Overall a rather weak chapter tactic in this edition.
    • While the Raven Guard tactic is usually better at ranges over 12", Iron Hands' resilience allow them to survive in the zones mortalis of the close deepstrike, up-close firefight and melee. Different to Black Templar alpha strikes, it's active more time, so it more than holds merit.
    • As of the April FAQ, the FnP no longer applies to Venerable Dreads, due to the no FnP stacking rule.

Stratagems[edit]

Universal[edit]

LOTS of ways to inflict Mortal Wounds here. Seriously, you can spend 4CP and suddenly everyone in a 3" area gets nuked for 4d3 mortal wounds. Because fuck them.

  • Relics of the Chapter (1 or 3 CP): One use only. Use before the start of the battle. You can have a second Chapter Relic for 1 CP, or 2 extra Relics for 3 CP. You can't take two of the same relic, and all the Relics have to go to different Characters.
  • Linebreaker Bombardment (1 CP): Use in the shooting phase if you have a Vindicator within 6" of two other Vindicators from the same Chapter. Instead of shooting their Demolisher Cannons, pick a spot within 24" of all three and roll a d6 for each unit within 3" of it (+1 if the unit has 10+ models, -1 if it's a Character). On a 4+, the unit takes 3d3 mortal wounds.
    • Averaging 3-4 wounds per unit (three Vindicators average 4.86) irrespective of BS (meaning you can advance those Vindicators into position), reminding an entire edition that pack armies around aura-generating characters what templates used to be, and allowing you to snipe characters using heavy ordnance instead of snipers, the only reason not to use this stratagem is due to a lack of either Vindicators or CP. Be sure to keep your own units at a safe distance, though- they can be hit too if they're too close!
    • Its a lt like killshot, in that your opponent needs to kill one tank to negate the stratagem. Its wise to keep your vindicators safe turn one, then advance into a shooting position as soon as its all clear while ignoring any penalties for moving.
  • Killshot (1 CP): Use in the shooting phase if you have a Predator within 6" of two other Predators from the same Chapter. Add 1 to the wound and damage for all of its attacks against Monsters and Vehicles. Unlike the Vindicator stratagem, while the boost depens on BS and thus on movement & HP, it doesn't restrict your targets to a single spot on the table. So Split fire those 12 Lascannons away, and remember to buy those Hunter Killer missiles.
    • Besides the usual Lascannon wounding on a 2+ (Railguns, eat your heart out), Damage 2 Heavy bolters and Storm bolters can deal pretty hefty damage to low-armour monsters and vehicles.
  • Chapter Masters (3 CP): Use before the start of the game to turn your Captain into a Chapter Master, boosting his aura to reroll all failed hits instead of only 1s. You can't use this twice, or if you already have a named Chapter Master from the same Chapter. Nothing says you can't use it on a named Captain... but come ooooooon.
    • A named Chapter Master costs about +50pts than your would-be generic CM, and brings along a special rule, a relic of some sort, and +1W. Ask yourself if 3 CP are worth only 17pts each plus the loss of the special characteristics. For Imperial Fists, White Scars, Salamanders,Iron Hands, and custom chapters, it's worth more consideration since they have no such special characters for them to take.
  • Orbital Bombardment (3 CP): One use only. If your warlord is a Space Marine (this could be your secondary detachment) and didn't move, you can use this stratagem in the shooting phase instead of having him shoot any weapons. Pick any spot on the battlefield that the warlord can see, and roll a D6 for every unit within 6" of it (subtract 1 if it's rolling for a Character). On a 4+, it takes D3 mortal wounds.
    • While it costs three times as much as Linebreaker and seemingly does 1/3 of the damage, this one needs no Vindicators in position and affects 4 times more area. Still expensive, and might still not hit enough units to replace Linebreaker, but can supplement it.
  • Cluster Mines (1 CP): Use when a Scout Bike squad falls back. On a 2+, one unit you fell back from takes D3 mortal wounds.
    • Best in an Ultramarines list, where you can fall back, pop this, then shoot the same unit for good measure.
  • Masterful Marksmanship (1 CP): When a Sternguard Squad shoots, it adds 1 to wound rolls with its special issue boltguns. +1/6 to wound on a BS3 unit equals to +0.11 wounds per shot, regardless of the target. At most this is 10 Sternguards at 12" do +2.2 wounds the enemy might still save.
  • Empyric Channelling (1 CP): If you have a Librarian within 6" of 2 other Librarians, it can manifest an extra power and you can add 2 to the roll. It does work with Sevrin Loth and other named Adeptus astartes Psykers.
    • Librarius powers don't really need boosts to Psychic Tests. Use this for Spectacular Smite Spam, which requires a test score of 11+. Also good for ensuring Null Zone goes off.
  • Datalink Telemetry (1 CP): When shooting with a Whirlwind, if you have a Land Speeder within 12" of the target, the Whirlwind's shots automatically hit. +2.3 Castellan / +1.33 Vengeance hits, plus the HK missile, with proportionally bigger benefits for damaged Whirlwinds.
  • Hellfire Shells (1 CP): Instead of shooting normally with a heavy bolter, the Space Marine model rolls only once to hit. If it hits, it does D3 mortal wounds. Even if it's a tank. Particularly useful for Salamanders with the free reroll to hit for the unit.
    • The recent FAQ has stated that you can combine the use of this stratagem with a Devastator Squad Armorium Cherub. So feel free to double bubble this stratagem once a game for 2D3 Mortal Wounds if both shots hit! If you were planning on taking a 5 man Tactical Squad with a Heavy Bolter, think about taking as a Devastator squad to make use of this.
      • Take three or more units of single heavy bolter devastators, let rip with 2D3 mortal wounds a turn hitting on 2s with your signum! Consider them fairly expendable/object holders henceforth. Abusing this cheese along with lots of sniper scouts will keep your opponent very honest while generally fucking with their game plan. Throw in smite and orbital bombardment and enemies who rely on high armor/invuln saves/high toughness will have a really miserable game against you. Overlapping sources of mortal wounds (which Space marines are excellent at) will keep even the biggest demon primarchs and tyrannic beasts at bay
  • Auspex Scan (2 CP): When an enemy unit comes in from reserves within 12" of one of your Infantry units, your unit can shoot at it but with a -1BS penalty. It might pay off to keep Devastators/Hellblasters around, as deepstriking Termies can survive hurried bolter fire, and this "emergency" strat can be an unforeseen expense for your relatively-small army.
  • Tactical Flexibility (1 CP): At the start of your movement phase, pick a 10 model unit with the Combat Squads rule and split it into two 5 model units as if they had been deployed as two Combat Squads. On the one hand, you probably should have split your squads before the battle, but on the other hand it could be used to unexpectedly divide a squad in mid-battle to let it take two objectives at once. Still, calling it situational would be an understatement.
  • Flakk Missile (1 CP): When an Infantry model shoots a missile launcher at a unit with Fly, make a single hit roll with +1 to hit. If you hit, do D3 mortal wounds instead of rolling to wound. RAW, the strategem doesn't say that it replaces the normal shot, it just causes Mortal Wounds on a hit - You still theoretically get the regular Krak Missile hit as well. However, the tournaments have ruled against this interpretation, so don't get used to exploiting it. Like Hellfire Shells, Salamanders can get some extra mileage from this with the free reroll.
  • Armour of Contempt (1 CP): When one of your vehicles takes a mortal wound, for the rest of the phase, you get a 5+ to ignore mortal wounds, and can use it on the one you just took. Doesn't work on regular wounds.
  • Only in Death Does Duty End (2 CP): When one of your Characters dies, it can shoot or fight again. Doesn't combo with the Banner abilities on Ancients. Makes your characters too dangerous to deal with in melee, as not even killing them prevents them from hitting back, and most of them have melee boosts on top of being already good fighters. Overcharge their plasma pistol if they were killed at range.
  • Honour the Chapter (3 CP): At the end of the fight phase, pick an Infantry or Biker unit to fight a second time. The usual "fight twice" stratagem, best on characters and units with good weapons to delete someone.
    • Do not besmirch your chapters proud history by affording Abbadon any survival. Finish the job properly! Seriously this could be the pivotal factor in capturing slay the warlord or destroying a tank in one fell combat.
  • Wisdom of the Ancients (1 CP): At the start of any phase, pick a Dreadnought to turn into a 1-phase Captain. Any same Chapter units within 6" can reroll hits of 1 that phase, including itself.
  • Death to the Traitors! (1 CP): When one unit is attacking a Heretic Astartes unit in the fight phase, any 6+ to hit generates another attack with the same weapon. Steal their gimmick to use back on them.
  • Tremor Shells (1 CP): When a Thunderfire cannon shoots, subtract 1 from the wound rolls, but as long as it hits, the target unit gets half move, advance, and charge distances their next turn. Doesn't affect Fly or Titanic units.
    • Rumor has it theres a new Ork codex around the corner. I bet those meddling greenskins will be rushing hundreds of boyz toward your prestigious gun line. This is all it takes to clog up a large horde army. OR, more importantly, drastically reduce the chances that they get off a charge, in cases when they choose to use Da Jump or other such gimmicks.

Chapter-Specific[edit]

These can only be used by a unit from the relevant <Chapter> or their successors.

  • Ultramarines - Scions of Guilliman (1 CP): Makes an Ultramarines Infantry or Bike unit re-roll ones to hit in either the shooting or fight phase. Tactical and Intercessor squads re-roll all failed hits instead.
    • Useful for units that are both far away from Captains and too irrelevant to merit one tagging along with them, especially the above-mentioned Tacticals and Intercessors. Complements Lieutenants, who are more common.
  • Imperial Fists - Bolter Drill (1 CP): When an Infantry unit shoots, any 6+ to hit with a bolt weapon (anything with 'bolt' in the name, and Kantor's gun) lets you roll an additional attack with the same weapon against the same target, which cannot proc another attack. Can't trigger if you are under a negative BS modifier, and positive BS modifiers are only the Rhino Primaris and Devastator Sergeant. Outside of those circumstances, this multiplies your rate of fire by +16.67%, +19.44% if you have re-roll 1s.
    • It's not so much the bonus is too small, it's more that boltguns are shitty weapons themselves. Three Centurion Devastators with Hurricane and Heavy Bolters in rapid fire range is as much bolter an Infantry unit can have, and yet the stratagem only makes them kill 3 more guardsmen. Not worth it, even less so for Sternguard Special Issue Boltguns, who have Masterful Marksmanship available.
  • Black Templars -Abhor the Witch (1 CP): When an enemy psyker manifests a psychic power within 24" of a Black Templars unit, roll a d6. On a 4+ the power is nullified. Patches your inability to take Psykers (but you can always bring allied ones). Unlike Deny the Witch, this ignores the psyker's original roll entirely and works on powers that are purely supportive as well as offensive ones. But it's only once per phase.
  • Raven Guard - Strike from the Shadows (1 CP): AKA Infiltrate. Each time this Stratagem is used, hold back an INFANTRY unit from deploying normally, then deploy them anywhere up to 9" of an opponent just before the game begins. It's just like 7E, and worded to work as a Deep Strike that happens before the first turn begins, so any unit using this will be a drop in need of an anchor...but it also happens before the movement phase, so they can charge out of it. Especially if you manage to go first by hiding the rest of your army in Land Raider Crusaders.
    • Works not only with fast-moving Jump Pack infantry your enemy won't be able to escape from, but also boltstorm Aggressors, as it both puts them close and aren't considered to have moved, so they have the option to shoot twice and/or move-and-charge. Both powerful options.
    • Excellent synergy with your Chapter Tactics, as you can deploy your guns directly into locations where your opponent desperately wants to shift you with his guns. Fire Support squads, Sternguards, Intercessors and Scouts can make good use of it.
    • Raptors under Lias Issodon can do a particularly dirty trick of Infiltrating some of their units this way, pinning an enemy down, and then Ambushing in a further three units in a later phase where the enemy least wants them, stalling any counter-attack that may had developed.
    • Plant a librarian close to anything that has an invuln save and cast Null Zone (prepare a command re roll cuz your up the creek if it fails). Finish off the toughest models with hellblasters and/or lascannons. Since your librarian is so close, consider casting Might of Heroes on himself and jumping into CC to hopefully cause a decent few more wounds and mitigate return fire.
  • Salamanders - Flamecraft (1 CP): When one unit shoots, you can add 1 to all wound rolls with that unit's flame weapons (anything with 'flame' in the name and He'stan's gun, but NOT Inferno Cannons). Your best sources of flamers are Sternguard vets and Aggressors, boost them with He'Stan.
  • White Scars - Born In the Saddle (1 CP): One biker unit can advance, shoot, and charge in the same turn. Now your space Mongolians can give their best Genestealer impression with first-turn charges.
  • Iron Hands - Machine Empathy (1 CP): One Vehicle can move and shoot Heavy weapons with no penalty, and their Assault weapons lose their penalty to shoot after advancing. Works best on vehicles that have LOTS of guns. That's Repulsors and Redemptor Dreads, but a Mortis Dread can benefit as well. The Relic Sicaran in particular will appreciate the boost to Assault weapons.

Tactical Objectives[edit]

11 - Death from Above
1 VP for destroying an enemy unit that turn when the last model in the unit was removed by an attack made by a unit that either arrived by deep striking or has the FLY keyword.
12 - Honour the Chapter
1 VP if one of your Characters made an attack that caused an enemy Character to lose a wound. If the attack killed said enemy Character, get 1d3 VP instead.
13 - No Mercy, No Respite
1 VP if an enemy unit either dies or fails a morale test. Upped to d3 if you have more than 3 enemy units do this.
14 - For the Emperor!
1 VP if at least one Infantry or Biker unit successfully charged that turn.
15 - Lightning Strike
1 VP if you completely destroy an enemy unit that began the turn within their Deployment Zone.
16 - The Emperor's Retribution
1d3 VP if you steal an objective from an enemy, which is upped to 1d3+3 if you steal 3 or more.

Psychic Powers[edit]

Like all 8E factions, in addition to Smite you have access to a faction-specific table of powers. The Librarius Discipline has a power for pretty much every situation, but they're mostly niche enough that it's difficult deciding up front which powers to take - two of them are mortal wound causers which are worse than Smite, three are friendly buffs you can use to help dictate the flow of combat, and one is a really powerful debuff that usually won't go off but can be a gamechanger when it does activate.

Librarius[edit]

  1. Veil of Time (WC6): Select a whole ADEPTUS ASTARTES unit of any kind 18" away from the user; until the start of the next Psychic Phase that unit re-rolls charge and advance rolls, and also gets to go first in Fight Phases even if it didn't charge. So it's not only offensive by letting you reach your opponent faster, but it's also defensive by letting you thin swarms out before they get to roll 50 hits on you. 9" charges are still below 50% chance, so if you sorely want it to charge right after deepstriking go play Black Templars instead. This power also lets you use flamers earlier. Overall one of the most broadly useful power in the Discipline.
  2. Might Of Heroes (WC6): Until the next Psychic Phase, a single ADEPTUS ASTARTES model of any kind within 12" gains +1S +1T & +1A. An awesome power if you have a special snowflake that is already insane in combat (like a dreadnought), makes a powerful character turn into the hulk. Jokes aside, this power is better for challenges than for murdering rank and file, as the strength and attacks will ensure hits and wounds get to your opponent, and the toughness will blunt the attack of your opponent should he survive. Can also be used to help manipulate your opponent into picking a different target to bring down - if you have two heavy targets, like land raiders or dreadnoughts, up front to be shot, and you put this on one of them, your opponent will usually kill the other one, and dictating the flow of battle is always useful.
  3. Psychic Scourge (WC6): Make a Leadership value + 1D6 contested against the Leadership value + 1D6 of an enemy unit within 18" of the psyker. If you beat the enemy they take D3 mortal wounds, equal them they take 1 Mortal Wound, and nothing happens if your total is lower. Basically worse Smite. Its only use is to be used AFTER your Librarian casted Smite, as they can't cast the same power twice. Ultramarines have it easier, but arguably a waste on Tigurius - he's got better things to do with half the Librarius discipline than essentially cast Smite twice.
    • Do note, Smite has to be cast on THE CLOSEST VISIBLE enemy unit, where as Psychic Scourge does not, meaning, though it's a little more counterable, it's better for sniping out models with Mortal Wounds.
  4. Fury of the Ancients (WC7): Range 3D6", aka worse than 18" Smite. Target any visible enemy MODEL within that range and draw a line from the caster to that MODEL, each UNIT under the line takes a mortal wound. Even with multiple small units surrounding the librarian you need a good roll and positioning to make this work. Worse than Psychic Scourge, which is worse than Smite - Its only reason to exist is because your librarian already casted Smite AND another one already used Psychic Scourge, as matched play restricts non-Smite powers to only once per turn.
  5. Psychic Fortress (WC5): Select an ADEPTUS ASTARTES unit 18" away from the user; until the start of your next Psychic Phase, that unit automatically passes morale tests and gains a 4+ chance to ignore Mortal Wounds caused by psychic powers. Mostly protection against Smite, as marines already have high re-rollable Ld. Like with Might of Heroes, if your opponent brought psykers, this can be used to manipulate them into killing the target of your choosing.
    • Black Templars can't bring their own Librarians to buff their Crusaders...but 8E of multiple separate detachments means you can simply bring ones from another chapter.
  6. Null Zone (WC8): Until the start of your next Psychic Phase, enemy units within 6" can't take invulnerable saves and cut the results of their Psychic tests in half, like a nova. A bit difficult to use (but that's what Tigurius and Empyric Channeling are for) as it won't matter against Terminators unless you brought AP-4 weapons, but powerful against enemies that depend on their invulns or psychic powers, like Harlequins, Daemons, Hive Tyrants and Tzeentchians. If you spend a Command Point, Null Zone will go off 68% of the time, slightly better than Tigurius' reroll as Tigurius must reroll both dice to take advantage of his special rule.

Warlord Traits[edit]

Named Characters MUST use their Chapter Specific trait, thus increasing the appeal of taking an unnamed character. Traits can be classified into two different types: Individual (I), which turn your character into a better beatstick, and Support (S), which are usually Auras stacking on top of your warlord's natural one.

Universal[edit]

1. Angel of Death (S): Enemy units within 6" get -1 Leadership. Meh on its own, there are many Imperial sources of Ld debuffs it can be combined with. Versatile separate detachments make allied tactics easier, on top of stacking up to -13Ld. You don't need that much, especially not against things like Orks, but already -4Ld renders Plague Marines as cowardly as Conscripts, and models that flee don't proc FnP-equivalents. Night Lords, eat your hearts out.

Here's a list of the Imperial units that stack with Angel of Death:

  • Adeptus Astartes (-3Ld): Reivers can deepstrike near your Angel of Death, and the Standard of the Emperor Ascendant can be mounted on an Index Biker Ancient. These sources of debuffs can quickly arrive wherever you need them.
  • Dark Angels (-3Ld): Interrogator Chaplains have a natural -1Ld aura, they have the Eye of the Unseen relic for further -1Ld, and Interromancy's Mind Wipe inflicts -1Ld (and will proc more often with your help), along with other Ld powers. That's -3Ld from two characters with Jump Packs.
  • Blood Angels (-1Ld): Sanguinior have a natural -1Ld aura, as does anyone wearing a Sanguinary Mask.
  • Inquisition (-1Ld): Psykers Terrify inflict -1Ld from 18" away, and disable overwatch.
  • Astra Militarum (-3Ld): Psykana's Terrifying Visions inflict -2Ld from a safe 18" away. Armageddon Officers can also bring the Skull Mask of Acheron to spook nearby enemies. Bringing them in a Supreme Command/Battalion is not only cheap, but gives you CP. Bringing them in a Spearhead detachment grants you access to Russes with Objective Secured and Basilisks. Versatile, powerful and easy to use at range. Complements your close-and-personal units.
  • Adeptus Mechanicus (-2Ld): Sicaran Infiltrators are the Mechanicum's faster Reivers, and Metallica has a -1Ld Stratagem.

2. The Imperium's Sword (I): Warlord rerolls failed charges, and gets +1A the turn he charges. Handy for a Captain with a Hammer and Terminator armour or a Jump Pack. Get him into combat turn one and start breaking things immediately out of deepstrike. White Scars can get that +1A over and over.
3. Iron Resolve (I): Warlord gets +1W, and can ignore wounds on a 6. What Smashfuckers are made of. Excellent for Captains in either Bikes, Gravis or Terminator armour.
4. Storm of Fire (S): Each time ANY <Chapter> unit within 6" rolls a 6+ to wound from a shooting attack, the AP of that attack is improved by 1. Remember it affects ANY unit, not just infantry. It gives the biggest benefits to high volume, low strength and AP weapons - that's all sorts Bolters and Flamers. Especially flamers, as they are guaranteed to hit. Both Salamanders and Imperial fists (and Crimson Fists) have a Stratagem for that kind of weapons.

Here's a list of notable high volume of fire units (mere Stormbolter termies isn't that huge), and remember only one model needs to be in range to benefit the whole unit:

  • Aggressors Lets not kid ourselves here, these guys can pump out hundreds of S4 shots with careful execution (144 max. to be exact. 6 Aggs x 6+D6 shots, then firing twice. 114 on average.) They are simply begging for buffs and modifiers. Any form of Captain or Chapter Master will provide the re rolls to hit, Lieutenant for wounds, Storm of Fire for AP. Bring out the model trays...
  • Inceptors (who can keep up with a Jump Pack Warlord). -2 AP Heavy bolter shots can really threaten vehicles...but the Repulsor's got an excellent volume of fire, and may both carry them and your Primaris Warlord.
  • Dreadnoughts, but especially the extra shooty ones like Dual Gatling Redemptor, shooty Leviathan and such. Though rifleman Venerables are more common. Special mention goes to the Deredeo since it can pack Anvilus autocannons and Heavy Bolters for 14 regular shots plus 2d3 from the Aiolos.
  • Scout Bikers and Company Veterans on Bikes (Index 1), who can follow your Biker Warlord around. Especially if they are Ultramarines.
  • Crusader squads. What they lack in individual volume of fire, they make up with sheer marine numbers.
  • Centurions. Devastators would be too close for comfort, and Assault Cents' got short weapons range on a very slow moving platform. Fortunately, Land Raiders like the Redeemer, Crusader and especially the Prometheus (FW) also have a high volume of fire, and makes sense for them to carry your warlord in addition to either Cents or Crusaders.
  • Sternguard Veterans. Your best source of flamers, which will appreciate the boost to AP for those guaranteed hits. They may also use Masterful Marksmanship to proc the boost on a 5+ for their Special Issue Bolters, up to AP-3.
  • Predator tanks may use their Killshot stratagem to proc the boost on a 5+, plus double wounds. Deimos Predators (FW) also carry a tonn of flamers. Special mention to the Sicaran Battle Tank (FW): the Twin Accelerator Autocannon, usually with AP-1, ends up becoming AP-4 on a 6+ to wound, enabling it to reliably hunt vehicles, including flyers.

5. Rites of War (S): Units within 6" automatically pass morale tests. While most of your units already have high re-rollable Ld on small squad sizes, Black Templars 20-man Crusader squads will love it.
6. Champion of Humanity (I): Adds +1 to all hit and wound rolls in the fight phase when targeting Characters.

  • Not everyone can have their own Emperor's Champion...but a Gravis Captain becomes almost as good as one, without forgoing his useful re-rolls aura. This also means Black Templars can have two Emperor's Champion-like figures. And Helbrecht's and Grimaldus' special rules don't need them to be the Warlord to function.

Chapter-Specific[edit]

Be warned you can't take those for your Successors Chapters per latest GW FAQ. So just paint them however you like and run them as their progenitor, unless you're using Forge World Special Characters.

  • Ultramarines - Adept of the Codex (S): When you spend a Command Point to use a Stratagem, roll a 5+ to get it refunded. Versatile, always active and gives you more freedom when using Stratagems, it's one of the best traits you can get.
    • While the CP is refunded on a 5+ (aka 1/3), that same CP you just got back can be regained yet again on a further roll of 5+ when it is spent, so the net impact is multiplying your CP pool by 1.5, not the 1.33 a naive approach would assume. Even more powerful with the bonus CP handed out by Calgar and Guilliman.
  • Imperial Fists - Architect of War (S): Imperial Fist units both within 6" of the warlord and in cover get an extra +1 to their saves vs AP-1 weapons, akin to Lucius dogma or Armageddon vehicles. This makes Heavy Bolters, Assault Cannons, and quite a few other anti-infantry weapons lose their ability to negate cover bonuses, enabling your army to still benefit from cover while you deny your enemy's.
  • Black Templars - Oathkeeper (I): Warlord can do 6" Heroic Interventions. UGH. At least our characters are already awesome on their own, and don't need to be the Warlord.
  • Raven Guard - Silent Stalker (S): The enemy can't fire overwatch against your warlord, enabling him to make the charge first, selflessly (and safely) screening his retinue from overwatch. Works on any kind of warlord...but it's obviously better on those who reroll charge ranges, like Shrike or a Jump Pack Captain with the Raven's Fury.
  • Salamanders - Anvil of Strength (I): The Warlord gets +1 to his Strength characteristic (so it happens BEFORE 2x), enabling Power Fists, Thunder Hammers and Boltstorm Gauntlets to hit at Str10.
  • White Scars - Deadly Hunter (I): Each time he successfully charges, roll a D6. On a 4+, the enemy unit takes a mortal wound. And his Chapter Tactic allows him to charge after falling back, triggering the mortal wound again and again and again.
  • Iron Hands - Merciless Logic (I): The Warlord's 6+ to hit in either shooting or melee proc an extra attack with the same weapon, essentially multiplying his attacks by 7/6. Primaris Captains and the Teeth of Terra make good use of it, as they naturally have more attacks with which to proc the extra ones. For shooting, Biker and Terminator Captains have better chances, as they have two ranged weapons. Best used with Excelsior LR, its always a pleasure to have one additional Lascannon shot for free.
  • Crimson Fists - Tenacious Opponent (I): If there are at least 10 enemy models within 6" of your warlord in the fight phase, he gains D3 extra attacks. The man rises to the situation. Stacks well with the Fist of Vengeance.

Space Marine Armory[edit]

Ranged Weaponry[edit]

  • Assault Bolter: 18", Assault 3 S5 AP-1. Would be a really good gun on assault units. Unfortunately exclusive to Inceptors. That said, you can still perform effective hit and run attacks with it, aided by the Inceptors' ability to shoot after falling back.
  • Boltgun: You know what a bolter is, but if you somehow forgot it's 24" Rapid Fire 1 S4 AP0 1 D. The new AP system hurts it, as it no longer completely invalidates GEQ saves.
    • Bolt Carbine: An Assault 2 Bolter, exclusive to the Reiver Squad.
    • Bolt Rifle: A Boltgun with 30" range and AP-1 making it more effective exclusive to Intercessors.
      • Auto Bolt Rifle: The automatic version, an Assault 2 Bolter. Better than the Bolter and Bolt Rifle, but only from 13"/16"-24", respectively, so mind your positioning. Which you can, because it's an Assault weapon.
      • Stalker Bolt Rifle: Not a sniper rifle, lest it invalidates Scouts too. 36" Heavy 1 AP-2 Bolt Rifle, to give far away targets more than just a poke. Turns Intercessors into something akin to Troop Sternguard.
    • Combi-Weapon: Massively reworked, No longer Single Use, and can even be fired alongside the Bolter part now, at -1BS. But Combi-Flamers don't care for no BS. Available to sergeants and terminators.
    • Special Issue Boltgun: The big brother to both Boltgun and the new Bolt Rifle, wielded by the Sternguard Veterans. Individual ammo types are gone (or rather, the Deatwatch are hogging all of it), but at 30" S4 AP-2 this gun pretty much shoots Dragonfire Vengeance rounds at Kraken range when you consider the new AP and cover system.
    • Storm Bolter/Combi-Bolter: Cheap as chips Rapid Fire 2 Boltgun, typically seen on Terminators, also available to Sarges and found in Rhinos. No longer an Assault weapon, it's especially nasty at Rapid Fire range. Quite a bargain.
  • Bolt Pistol: A bolter in pistol form, meaning you can fire it in melee. Just don't forget it's there.
    • Heavy Bolt Pistol: More like Better Bolt Pistol with AP-1, exclusive to Reivers.
    • Boltstorm Gauntlet: A Bolt Pistol with Pistol 3, attached to a Power Fist, attached to the Gravis Captain.
      • Auto Boltstorm Gauntlets: Paired Boltstorm Gauntlets, but they're Assault 6, meaning they can't be fired in melee but you can run-n'-shoot and be used alongside other guns. Exclusive to Aggressors, who wield them well.
  • Grav Pistol: Deals more damage against targets with an armor save of 3+ or higher, but with only S5 it's less likely to wound than a plasma pistol. Good against heavily armoured characters without the Plasma Pistol's risk. Take this if you are expecting to see heavy infantry more than armor.
  • Plasma Pistol: Fairly effective against MEQs when fired normally, a TEQ-killer when supercharged, but Gets Hot! now risks outright killing the user. A high risk-high reward pistol, your Captain's rerolls reduce Gets Hot to a 1/36 chance. Good against everything, really, as plasma can even wound tanks.

Special Weapons[edit]

  • Flamer: An Assault D6 S4 AP- weapon with 8" range which automatically passes rolls to hit. A classic anti-horde option, now they number of hits is independent of the number of enemies — 20 bunched Guardsmen suffer the same number of hits as 2 terminators: 3.5. Meh, at least it's cheap. 8" range means it can't be used immediately out of a drop pod. Can't overwatch against charges starting more than 8" away, but those aren't reliable anyway, so a flamer is still good in those cases. Don't bother trying to hit airborne units, as they're too tough and armored.
  • Grav-gun: 18" Rapid Fire 1 S5 AP-3 D1, upgrading to D1d3 if the target has a 3+ save or better. No longer a plasma-killer, and while it costs a bit more, has a shorter range, and is less likely to wound things with high Toughness, it can reliably reliably (and safely) kill heavy multi-wound infantry (like Primaris) while no longer being useless against smaller models.
  • Meltagun: 12" Assault 1 S8 AP-4 D1d6, becoming best of two 1d6 Damage at half range. Good against anything with lots of wounds, be they Vehicles, Monsters or even Heavy Infantry. At 12" range Supercharged plasma is better (but riskier) however, and this gun is more expensive, so you really should try and get into half range. While you can advance to close the gap, it is convenient that the unit's other weapons are assault weapons as well. You can't deepstrike closer than 9", however.
  • Plasma weapons: They now have a Safe and Supercharged profile, but Gets Hot now slays the wielder, meaning you can no longer depend on your armor saves to tank Gets Hot. So stick close to a Captain, because Safe plasma isn't really cost-effective. Good against everything, but unless you're shooting it at GEQ you're missing out if you don't overcharge it. Gets Hot applies to the final modified score, meaning +1BS (Devastator Sergeant's Signum, Rhino Primaris' Servo-skull Hub) make you immune to it. Conversely, plasma guns are more likely to overheat at night.
    • Plasma gun: You know what a Plasma gun is too, but for reference, it's 24", Rapid Fire 1, S7/8 AP-3 1/2 D. Good as a Tactical/Crusader squad's Special Weapon. As much of an all-rounder as the marine wielding it.
      • Plasma Incinerator: A Primaris Plasma Gun, because Cawl wanted to make marine guns' as insecure as their wielders. Better 30" range lets it not only rapid fire from further away, but outrange enemies. Better AP-4 makes them a menace even for tanks.
        • Assault Plasma Incinerator: Lighter 24" Assault 2 Str 6/7 version of the Standard Plasma Incinerator. Easier to make it cost effective, as it shoots double than the Standard version from 16"-24", still wounding most infantry on a 3+. The supercharge is still good D2, it just doesn't wound enemies on a 2+.
        • Heavy Plasma Exterminator: The other end of the spectrum. 36" Heavy 1 Str 8/9 lets you wound infantry on a 2+ without having to supercharge, and makes it effective against tanks, enjoying the great range. Which you should keep because it's not Rapid Fire like the other variants. More cost effective against vehicles than against infantry, but it does the job nicely. Overcharging basically makes it a pocket Lascannon that doesn't have excess damage against infantry, at the cost of not ripping apart tanks. Really good for heavily armored enemies with one wound, though admittedly that is a bit of a niche.

Heavy Weapons[edit]

  • Assault Cannon: 24" Heavy 6 S6 AP-1. Brrrt.
  • Grav-cannon with Grav-amp: 24" Heavy 4 Grav-gun. Compared to the Plasma Cannon, it fires more shots but suffers from all the nerfs that the Grav-gun has gotten. Akin to a heavier Heavy Bolter to deal with bigger targets. Note that grav-amp no longer grants wound re-rolls, or does anything at all; it's just part of the basic weapon now.
  • Heavy Bolter: 36" Heavy 3 S5 AP-1. Good against hordes at long range due to its high number of attacks, and still useful against lighter vehicles. It's most efficient against hordes with bad/no save, or things that rely primarily on a weak invulnerable save, like daemons.
  • Heavy Flamer: A Flamer with S+1 and AP-1. More effective against armored targets than its smaller brother (and for GEQ an AP-1 is already a 50% reduction on saves), but cannot be fired after advancing because it's finally Heavy in this edition.
  • Lascannon: Heavy 1 S9 AP-3 D6 D with a range of 48". Your primary long-range anti-vehicle weapon. Don't even try to shoot infantry with this. You'll kill 1 model per shot at most now that overkill damage is exclusive to mortal wounds. Lascannons are one of the big winners in the edition change, though, as they can now threaten Monsters and Lords of War more effectively.
  • Missile Launcher: Can fire either Frag Missiles that act like D6 Bolter shots, or a Krak Missile with S8 AP-2 D6 D. Not quite as good as a Heavy Bolter or a Lascannon in regards to dealing with infantry and vehicles (respectively), but still pretty good at both of those roles. Dev squads with 2 Lascannons and 2 Missile Launchers are a pretty darn good Swiss-Army unit. Good to have at least one Missile Launcher around, due to the Flakk Missile Strategem
  • Multi-melta: A 24" Heavy Meltagun, meaning you can't run with it, but can shoot in melta range out of a deepstrike, now fulfilling the role of Drop Pod Threat-removal.
  • Plasma cannon: Heavy D3 effectively means the same shots as a Plasma gun, but from 36" away instead of 12". You both need to be more careful and to shoot more Supercharges, due to the sheer cost of this weapon. Can be a makeshift "heavy weapons team" with the Devastator Sergeant, as his Signum prevents Gets Hot. Being a Heavy weapon it's best to not supercharge in the move, due to -1BS.
  • Sniper Rifle: A Scout exclusive, it's a 36" Heavy 1 weapon so it's included here. It's only good for fishing mortal wounds, but it can target characters even if they hide behind a unit. A complete lack of AP means they won't be killing a heavy character like a Captain without committing a serious amount of points to it but can kill his supporting Apothecary.

Melee Weapons[edit]

  • Chainsword: Now it actually has a use! Still the basic CCW profile, but it's free and allows for one extra attack, so it's good against enemy hordes. All your sergeants can take it alongside main gun, so it might be worth to swap that bolt pistol he's not using anyway.
  • Chainfist: Sx2 AP-4 2D. Marginally better than a Power Fist against Vehicles, Forts and other highly-armoured invuln-lacking models. Costs 2 points more than a power fist, so paying extra for better AP and more reliable damage could be worth it.
  • Eviscerator: 12 points for a two-handed Chainfist with variable damage on a model with at most 2 attacks. It competes with a power fist with Assault Marones. That being said, Vanguard Vets over Assaults are an option as well so you get thunder hammers. It is a fucking awesome doublehanded chainsword though.
  • Force Weapons: Librarian power weapons with 1d3 Damage instead of just 1, but they cost around the same as a Power Fist. They lack Strx2, but have no penalty to hit. Useful if you're going to hit characters, otherwise they're veeery expensive power weapons.
  • Lightning Claws: S(User) AP-2. Allows you rerolls to wound and grants an extra attack if you have two of them, so either buy the pair or something else. This is the best weapon choice for shredding through single-wound infantry units.
  • Relic Blade: Available to Honour Guard, Vanguard Veteran Sergeants and Captains. A S+2 AP-3 weapon that deals d3 damage per attack. Better than a Power Fist against most infantry-sized targets. Too bad it costs as much as a Thunder Hammer, which always out-damages it, so consider whether the better accuracy is worth the less reliable damage.
  • Power Weapons: Each type of Power Weapon has its own profile now, so pick the right one for the situation. All Power Weapons have a damage value of 1:
    • Power Maul/Power Lance: S+2, AP-1. This is the one you want to use against lightly armored units that rely on toughness to shrug off hits. The Lance is identical to the Maul because reasons.
    • Power Sword: S User AP-3. Best against targets that rely on armour saves over toughness to shrug off hits. Except against frail things with good invulns like Crusaders, who ignore AP anyway.
    • Power Axe: S+1 AP-2. A good enough compromise between the Sword's armor negation and the Maul's brute force. Your best bet for dealing with MEQs and TEQs without sacrificing effectiveness against foes with lighter armor. 1pt more expensive than the other Power Weapons.
  • Mathhammer: Note that we do not take into account the chances to hit, since they do not vary based for the 3 weapons we are looking at. Results are expressed in percentages. We also assume that the weapon is wielded by a basic Space Marine, so with Strength 4. Remember, Axes cost more, so anywhere it ties with one of the other two choices, the other one was better.
Target Power Sword Power Axe Power Maul Winner
TEQs Terminator (T4; 2+/5++) 33.33 33.33 22.22 Power Axe and Sword
Terminator w/ Storm Shield (T4; 2+/3++) 16.67 22.22 22.22 Power Axe and Maul
MEQs Space Marine (T4; 3+) 41.67 44.44 33.33 Power Axe
Captain or Chaplain (T4; 3+/4++) 25 33.33 33.33 Power Axe and Maul
GEQs Hormagaunt (T3; 6+ or no save) 66.67 66.67 83.33 Power Maul
Guardsman, Guardian (T3; 5+) 66.67 66.67 69.44 Power Maul
Aspect Warrior (T3; 4+) 66.67 55.56 55.56 Power Sword
Sister of Battle (T3; 3+) 55.56 44.44 41.67 Power Sword
Other Tyranid Monster (T6; 3+) 27.78 22.22 25 Power Sword
Light Tank or Monster (T7; 3+) 27.78 22.22 16.67 Power Sword
Medium Tank or Monster (T8; 3+) 13.89 22.22 16.67 Power Axe
Heavy Tank or Monster (T8; 2+) 11.11 16.67 11.11 Power Axe

As you can see, it is extremely hard to draw a clear winner between the Power Axe and the Power Sword. It is, however, easy to see that Power Mauls/Lances are crap, only superior when fighting units that will already die in droves to bolter shots or won't die easily to anything due to good invulns. What's easy to remember is that the Axe is stronger against Marines (that you'll face a lot), the Maul is best against Storm Shield Terminators or anyone else with a good invuln, and the Axe is best against most of the tanks. Power Swords have the edge on most things relying only on their armor saves, while Axes scale better against tough things. What you choose between the two is a matter of preference, meta, and gaming group. The special case for Mauls is Toughness 5, where the Maul is best down to Sv3+ and the sword and maul break even on Sv2+, due to how powerful it is to move from 2/6 wound chance to 3/6, but T5 are relatively rare to begin with.

  • Power Fist: Sx2 AP-3 D1d3. Unwieldy is now a -1 penalty to hit rolls, which can be annoying but does mean you're no longer screwed by being forced to attack last all the time. Good against everything, quite cost-effective.
  • Thunder Hammer: The weapon against which all others compare. A Power Fist that always deals 3 damage. Costs +9 points than a Power Fist for Characters, +4 points the rest. The extra reliability could mean the difference between one-shotting a Centurion or getting an Assault Drill in the face, so consider that 4 or 9 point investment over a Fist.

Relics[edit]

If your warlord is a Space Marine Character, you can give 1 Character 1 relic, absolutely free. Weapon relics can only be taken by a unit that can take the weapon it's based on, and you have to pay for the base weapon. The Relics of the Chapter Stratagem can be used before the game starts to take up to 2 more Relics, though they can't be duplicates and each one has to go to a separate character. Named characters can't use relics.

Universal[edit]

  • The Armour Indomitus: Gives a 2+ armor save. Once per game, you can also get a 3+ invulnerable for a turn. You decide whether or not to take the invuln until you actually have to make a save, so you can wait to see if the weapon fails to wound first. Give it to a Character who already has an invuln save for a discount Terminator Captain/Chaplain/etc, or any Character with a 3+ save to upgrade to Artificer armor for the whole game. Notably, this is currently the only way a Primaris character can get a 2+ armor save, due to their inability to take Terminator armor.
  • The Shield Eternal: Replaces a storm shield or combat shield, so available to Captains and Company Champions only. Gives a 3+ invulnerable, and reduces all incoming damage by half (rounding up). The best protection you can hand a Character you really want to keep alive.
  • Standard of the Emperor Ascendant: Ancients only. Add 1 to the roll to get an extra attack when a model dies within 6". Friendly units within 6" auto-pass morale tests, and enemies in the same range get -1 leadership.
  • Teeth of Terra: Replaces a chainsword with a better one with +1S -2 AP 2D, and 1d3 bonus attacks instead of just 1. Good against hordes, better against multi-wound infantry like Primaris models, TEQs, and most characters. (Fun fact: this weapon is exactly the same as the Alpha Legion unique Relic "Blade of the Hydra." Coincidence? I think not!)
  • The Primarch's Wrath: Replaces a boltgun or master-crafted boltgun with an up-gunned storm bolter, making it 24" Rapid Fire 2 S5 AP-1 D2. Can be useful for those officers buffing your ranged units.
  • The Burning Blade: One of Emp's many spare swords. It replaces a power or master-crafted power sword. The +2S is useful, but AP-5 is a bit overkill. D still 1.
    • Typically inferior to the Teeth of Terra - not only does it cost more points to buy the weapon you're replacing, its inferior damage and attack volume mean that against any multi-wound opponent, like any enemy Character, the Teeth will do better. Somewhat better suited for the Primaris Captain, who comes with a master-crafted power sword as his stock wargear, but even then you're trading away Damage 2 for a bit more Strength and ludicrous AP. As a strictly impartial analysis of its stats, it does better than competing weapons when used against large enemy units with a 2+ armor save, no invulnerable save, and 1 Wound.. unfortunately no such target exists.
  • Tome of Malcador: Psyker only. He knows 1 additional Librarius power, which isn't the same as casting 1 additional power. Eh.

Chapter-Specific[edit]

  • Ultramarines - The Sanctic Halo: Captain only (in all his forms, including Primaris). Gives him a 3++ and can deny one power per turn like a Psyker. Fantastic for an Ultramarines Captain, as his most important job is staying alive so you can use Adept of the Codex. Denying psychic powers is also extremely useful, since so many of them allow a Psyker to target a character and inflict mortal wounds that bypass their saves. Plus, you won't need to give up your ranged weapon for the Storm Shield, which is nice. Better than the Armour Indomitus to give your Gravis Captain a 3++ on his already sturdy frame.
  • Imperial Fists - The Spartean: Replaces a bolt pistol. Gives it 2 shots, AP-1, 2 damage, and the ability to target Characters like snipers do. Better than a plasma pistol against MEQs with invulns, even when supercharged, but with 12" range your character might be better off with a relic armour/melee weapon instead.
  • Black Templars - The Crusader's Helm: Increase the range of any abilities on his datasheet by 3". An extended aura range will help buff multiple units at once, which works nicely with Crusader spam.
    • The LR Excelsior ends up with a huge aura from its tank-sized model.
  • Raven Guard - Raven's Fury: Jump Pack model only. Can charge even after advancing, and re-rolls failed charge rolls. While its extra speed might be ignored so your other Jump Infantry can keep up, and Champions don't have access to them, it is of great help to a Silent Stalker RG Warlord to get that charge. Redundant if Shrike is around.
  • Salamanders - The Salamander's Mantle: A straight up +1 Toughness. While notable for pushing Gravis and Biker Captains up to T6, a TH/SS Terminator Captain will appreciate it, as the Mantle makes him more resilient than the Shield Eternal against attacks with Str 5-8, which is most melee weapons. Be the envy of Nurgle armies everywhere.
    • Yes, you can give it to a LR Excelsior to make them difficult to bring down even with meltas.
  • Iron Hands - The Axe of Medusa: Replaces a power axe. Gives it +2S, AP-3, and D2. Basically turns it into a consistent relic blade that can be used by more unit types. Eh.
  • Crimson Fists - The Fist of Vengeance: Replaces a Power Fist, giving it consistent 3 Damage with no penalty to hit. A flat improvement over the Thunder Hammer at Power Fist price. Especially on your Tenacous WS2+ Captain Warlord, to get all the attacks you can. And then you use Honour Thy Chapter...
  • White Scars - Mantle of the Stormseer: Psykers only. The bearer adds +1 when attempting to manifest the Smite power. Tremendous on the Jump Pack Librarian we both know you took, to show up and Smite reliably wherever you need him to.

Unit Analysis[edit]

Unit keywords are Adeptus Astartes, Primaris, Chapter, and the like. Units with a specific Chapter keyword can only be taken by that Chapter. Note that even if most "Bike" variants of characters have been written out of the Codex due to them having no official miniature (and some models due to those miniatures being limited edition), they can still be taken and are legal, using the Index: Imperium 1 datasheets and the latest point costs. White Scars players can thank the God Emperor (Absolutely! Interestingly GW does some good things nowadays!).

HQ[edit]

  • Captain: The basic version of the Captain is the no-frills infantry HQ choice. While his aura can prevent your Chapter's plasma from blowing themselves up (and also affects Vehicles) and he's got a nifty Master-crafted Bolter he can swap for Combis, his stats make him really shine when wielding a Power Fist/Thunder Hammer. While the Storm Shield no longer hinders him in melee, he's already got the protection of being a Character and a 4++. But it's an option, if you absolutely need it.
    • Captain with Jump Pack: What says on the tin, your Captain can now Fly. Deepstrike, 12" movement, jump over units, punch a damn airplane to death. Key above all is that he can jump over the enemy's bubblewrap alongside your Vanguard Vets. He can also fall back and still shoot a Combi-Melta, but a Power Fist punch might be more useful.
    • Captain in Terminator Armor: Essentially +1W and a 2+ save at the cost of -1" movement. Terminator weapon options are more restricted than the regular ones, but can mount a grenade launcher on his power fist.
    • Captain in Cataphractii Armor: More resilient termie suit with a 3++ invuln without needing a Storm Shield, so you can buy a second Lightning Claw. Or a Combi-weapon, if you think the regular Termie captain's grenade gauntlet just isn't enough but you also want the invuln. The price? You'll have to deal with glacial 4" movement and halved advance rolls, so 7" at full sprint. This means you'll have to charge right out of a deep strike or everyone will just run away. That being said, being a tough monster that forces the enemy to run away is useful on itself, though watch out for mortal wounds, against which Cataphractii armour offers no protection.
    • Primaris Captain: Regular foot Captain but Primaris, for when you want a bigger Captain but you aren't buying him a motorcycle, termie suit or extra Lightning Claw. As with most Primaris units, even with +1W +1A he's geared for ranged combat first, melee second (lest he invalidates the regular Captain). Decent personal guns to do stuff while he buffs your frontline/backline dakka, can buy a regular Power Sword as a deterrent, and that's it. Can only mount a Repulsor, but he's not in a hurry to get anywhere anyway. His options are so limited he can't even take a chainsword (and, more importantly, the Teeth of Terra).
    • Primaris Captain in Gravis Armor: Your deadliest captain. He's an up-armoured melee-focused Primaris Captain, with T5 (as opposed to 2+) providing protection against S4/S5/S8/S9 hits (does nothing against lasguns). You'll only use his Master-crafted Power sword against guardsmen because his Boltstorm Gauntlet has Power Fist stats, on top of having a Pistol 3 Boltpistol bolted on. 5" movement but no deepstrike means this guy NEEDS a Repulsor to get anywhere. Clever GW.
      • The Armour Indomitus fixes Gravis' main weakness: a lack of a 2+. Though it's more a case of it being one of the few relics this guy can take, as Primaris units have very restricted wargear choices.
      • When choosing between Gravis or Termie Captains, you'll need to think a bit more beyond mere numbers. Gravis captains do a bit more damage even if they lack Thunder Hammers, but Termie Captains with a 3++ can actually tank more Str8 hits even with T4, so they actually defeat Gravis bois, before Relics and Chapter-specifics ofc. Termie Caps can choose to either teleport in situ or ride a LR with either of two Termie squad flavours, Gravis captains will pretty much only ride with Aggressors in Repulsors. Base your decision on how you want a Captain to do his job.
      • As stated in the Relics section, the Santic Halo gives the Gravis a 3++ to match the Terminator or Cataphracti, so be sure to keep that in mind when directly comparing them. The Gravis Captain also happens to be 7 points cheaper than a Thunder Hammer + Storm Shield Terminator, while the Cataphracti Terminator with a Thunder Hammer will be at LEAST 15 points over the Gravis, more if you take a non-Storm Bolter Combi Weapon. 3+ Armour for the Gravis Captain doesn't matter against anything but AP0, where the Terminator Captains will win out.
    • Captain on Bike: It took Cawl 10 000 years of work to to still come short of what this guy becomes by just riding a bike. He's not only the fastest Captain at 14" movement (barring deepstrikes), but can also become the most resilient one by virtue of combining his T5 with a Storm Shield, something a Gravis can't do. He's also the shootiest, as the bike has a Twin Boltgun and he can swap his Master-Crafted Bolter for a Combi. The thing he does that nobody else can, however, is being a fast T5 W6 TH/SS dude. Resilient, Fast, Stronk, and he's not even the most expensive Captain Lmao!. It's a steal.
  • Librarian: Your good old source of mortal wounds. Although the Librarius discipline is overshadowed by other imperial disciplines like Blood Angels and Grey Knights, it's still a solid one that gives strong buffs to units and characters, of which this model knows two (plus Smite). Librarians are a lot more random in this new edition now you can't spend all warp charges on a psychic power you want to go off at all costs. They're akin to a glass canon (for marine standards), as their Force weapons inflict multiple damage but they themselves lack an invuln save. Can customize their force weapon, and pistol/Combi-weapon, and receive +1 to Deny if the psyker is within 12". Overall, a solid pick for any army.
    • Librarian with Jump Pack: The same, but with all the goodness Fly and 12" movement gives him. Makes it much easier to move the Librarian in range of units you either wish to hit with psychic powers or attempt to deny a power to.
    • Librarian in Terminator Armor: Reduces the Librarian to 5" movement but gives him +1W, a 2+ save and, most importantly, a 5++ and the option to buy a Storm Shield (in the index). Who's a glass canon now? The lower movement does mean it may be slightly more difficult to get him in range of units you want to hit with warpfuckery, so keep that in mind.
    • Librarian on Bike: Gives your Librarian +1T +1W, a two shot Bolter and most of all mobility. A Librarian on Bike can move up to 20" per turn. This means that you can both keep the librarian away from units that can hurt him in close combat while also allowing you to easily get in range of any unit you wish to use a psychic power on. The twin-bolter also provides him with a higher amount of firepower than the other Librarian choices do.
    • Primaris Librarian: Standard Primaris +1W +1A, but can only use a Force Sword and Bolt Pistol. The extra wound lets him survive Perils more reliably, the extra atk is a deterrent. Restricted to a Force Sword and Bolt Pistol, this is the Librarian you should use if you were footslogging him/using a Repulsor anyway instead of pushing him into melee ASAP, as he costs only 5 points more than a regular Librarian, but has the Primaris boost.
  • Chaplain: The guy for melee support. His aura, unlike the Captain's, only affects melee hits, but provides full rerolls without having to buy a full Chapter Master. Useful for any melee squad, especially those with Power Fists and Thunder Hammers. Also mitigates morale damage by sharing his Ld9 (L10 to Ultramarines). His Crozius Arcanum is now somewhere between a Power Axe and Maul at +1S AP-1 2D. While he can swap his Bolt pistol for a plasma one or Combis, swapping it for a Power Fist instead might be more useful than a Combi to this melee specialist, as it's better than his Crozius.
    • Chaplain with Jump Pack: Much like the Captain, to keep up with Vanguard Vets, deepstrike, jump over units, punch Airborne models and the like. Definitely not for falling back to shoot, unless he's a White Scar and can charge back again.
    • Chaplain in Terminator Armor: +1W 2+ armour, at the cost of 5" movement, but can deepstrike. Take this when you want resilience over damage in a deepstrike-capable model, as he cannot swap the Storm Bolter for a Power Fist.
    • Chaplain on Bike: If you're looking for both survivability and the mobility then this is for you. Bikes got a massive buff as they move farther than before, giving the rider an extra wound and a toughness bonus. Lacks the Jump Pack's Fly & deepstrike shenanigans, but can still cover massive amounts of distance per turn.
    • Primaris Chaplain: As you'd expect, the Primaris Marines get their own spin on the Chaplain. He gets the usual Primaris buff (+1W +1A) at the cost of reduced mobility options (Repulsor only) and a price hike. Cannot change his wargear, but his Absolvor Bolt pistol hits like a pocket Heavy Bolter at 16" S5 AP-1 Pistol.
    • Chaplain in a goddamn Dreadnought (Forge World): The Chaplain Dreadnought is the go-to answer for players wishing to run an all dreadnought army. This is one of the best models space marines can currently use in 8th, arguably the best outside of special characters. Being a Character makes this a Dreadnought that CANNOT BE SHOT AT except by snipers, who usually have pitiful AP. It has a 5++ save and also buffs the strength of friendly models fighting the same unit as it, and has heroic intervention and 6+ FNP. It's also reasonably priced, considering its many advantages; 204 points vanilla, but can be cheaper or more expensive depending on wargear choices (taking an assault cannon makes it cost 173, as an example). Despite its strengths, ultimately its buff is weak, more a bonus than something your army can rely on. If you want an HQ that buffs, then the Chaplain Dreadnought is a bad choice; however, if you were planning to bring a dreadnought and/or want a tough and killy HQ, then the Chaplain is a fantastic option that also saves you an elite or heavy support slot.
  • Techmarine: Vehicles may be tougher this edition, but their performance diminishes with wounds, and this guy repairs them for D3 Wounds a turn, no roll required! Being a character he can work in relative safety, so he doesn't need Servitors either, provided you keep at least something between him and the enemy. He also holds the distinction of being able to become your cheapest HQ (57pts with a chainsword), though you shouldn't pick him as a tax HQ if you're just going to have him stand around. You're playing Space Marines, it's not like you're short on vehicle options for him to keep up and running. Beyond just going as cheap as possible, he can generally can be built one of two ways, and they are sadly mutually exclusive. For a more shooty build, he can ditch his pistol for any other Pistol or Ranged weapon and replace his dead weight Servo-arm with something very useful indeed: a Conversion Beamer. This tasty bit of gear functions as a Multi-laser with only D3 shots when at close range, but turns into an Overcharged Plasma Cannon that trades 2 AP for no exploding on a roll of a 1 when over half it's rather impressive 42" range. And for only 8 more points then the arm! The other path is more of a close combat monster; by taking the Servo-harness, you give yourself an extra servo-arm, a Flamer and a Plasma Cutter, which is basically an Assault 1 Plasma Pistol. Quite brutal, but you unfortunately cannot drop both the Servo-arms for Conversion Beamers while wearing the Harness. You should generally build your Cogmarine for where he's going to be hanging out. If he'll be humping the leg of a Deredeo in your backline, take the Beamer and maybe a Storm Bolter if you have points left over. If he's going to be running around in the thick of things keeping your melee dreads from getting splattered, strongly consider the Harness, which carries all Assault weapons and you can repair even after Advancing!
    • Techmarine on Bike: Gives your Techmarine additional staying power (+1T/W), a two shot Bolter, all of the footslogger's wargear options and, most importantly, mobility. A Techmarine on Bike can move 15-20" per turn (22" for White Scars) to keep up with your vehicles, as he can't repair them from the inside. Hilarious amount of dakka with his Servo-Harness, Combi-weapon and bike's twin bolter.
    • Along with Captains, Techmarines are the only HQ units who readily practice marksmanship and have a BS of 2+. Thus a cheap 57 point model makes good use of The Primarchs Wrath on a free bolter, and for another 8 points you can take the Conversion Beamer. Configured in such a way, he adds worthy firepower while aiding in vehicle repairs and generally earning his keep in your list.
  • Lieutenants: A surprising new addition with the advent of C:SM. He's got mini-Captain stats at WS2+ BS3+ W4 A3, but allows re-rolling 1s to wound instead of to hit. Since his aura is different and does good melee damage, he's an excellent complement to a Chaplain (or Captain/Chapter Master) if you can afford him. You can buy up to two Lieutenants per HQ slot, but you should be taking them separately to fill out HQ taxes on detachments. More customizable than his Primaris counterpart.
    • At 63pts base and armed with a Master-crafted Boltgun, he's the one you want as a cheap tax HQ to hang around your units and boost them. Unless you'd rather have someone repairing your vehicles.
    • The Lieutenant and Captain rerolls are mathematically identical: +16.67%. Even with the -1 to hit Unwieldy the end result is still the same. When dedicing which one to use, remember the Captain is better with effects on a hit (Gets Hot, Stratagems), while the Lieutenant is better with effects on wound (sniper Scouts) or weapons that don't roll to hit (flamers). It can also be argued that the Lieutenant provides the same boost as a Captain for cheaper, though the later is a much stronger combatant. The best option, of course, is to take both at once.
    • Lieutenant with Jump Pack: Extra mobility to put those melee skills to good use. No biker or termie variants for him.
    • Primaris Lieutenants: +10pts over the regular Lt. might very well be worth it if you want him to stand back and boost your gunline, plus +1W +1A. And with his Master-crafted Auto/Bolt Rifle he can contribute while doing so. Plus, he can ride in a Repulsor alongside a Primaris Chaplain, for which he should swap his Bolt Rifle for a Power Sword.
  • Rhino Primaris: One half of the Command Tank duo, the Rhino Primaris distinguishes itself from the basic Rhino by 3 things: its twin Plasma Gun, the ability to call an orbital bombardment (a 72" range monster with S10 AP-4 Heavy D3 D6 damage that becomes Heavy D6 when used on a unit with 10 or more models and doesn't need line of sight, but can only be fired once per game), and its servo-skull hub. The hub allows the Rhino Primaris to buff allies within 12" with either a +1 to hit, a -1 to morale tests, or healing a wound (for vehicles only). It only has room to transport 6 units, though that's just enough for a Captain and his Veteran Squad.
    • Never fire the plasma gun on overcharged mode; the risk of destroying the Rhino Primaris isn't worth the extra damage. Unless you use the Servo-skull hubs +1 to hit on the Rhino, in which case you can overheat without risk. Probably better spent on those Hellblasters or Plasma Cannon devastators though.
    • Positioning is important, but it's even more important with the Rhino Primaris. Rhinos are tougher now, but you don't want your light APC in harm's way. But if you camp it behind a ruin that's somewhat central, flying units and other assets fighting in the vicinity all become viable options for the servo-skull hub. Imagine an overhead Caestus flying in, getting tagged by the Rhino, and then vomiting its weapons onto an enemy. Hitting enemy targets with BS 2+ anti-tank weaponry from nowhere? That's the value of positioning.
    • Worst case, have the Rhino Primaris pick itself on Turn 1 with its servo-skull hub, and fire the orbital relay (which can now be fired on turn one, a significant boost from 7th). Hitting on 2+ with a weapon this powerful is amazing, whether it's D3 or D6 shots. Add some way to reroll ones/hits and you can really lay a beating on something. A footslogging Captain may be better here than the Excelsior, but each scenario is different. If the Rhino is far enough back, a Primaris Captain (with a Stalker-pattern Bolter) babysitting some Hellblasters anyway could help.
    • If you're looking for a good base for a conversion, the Damocles Rhino from Forge World is a good start.
  • Land Raider Excelsior: The other half of the Command Tank duo, which comes with a 5+ invulnerable save, the Captain's ability to grant re-rolls for hit results of 1 for units within 6" of it, a pair of twin lascannons, a combi-plasma, and a grav-cannon/grav-amp combo. If you take it, take the Rhino Primaris too - it'll gain a +1 to hit for all shooting attacks if it stays within 24" of the Rhino Primaris. Apart from that, it's fairly similar to the vanilla LR, albeit better able to take on heavy infantry thanks to the grav-cannon.
    • As is the case for the Rhino Primaris, do not overcharge the plasma gun part of the combi-plasma. Your lascannons do everything that an overcharged plasma gun shot can do, without the risk of killing yourself in the process! Unless you're close to the Rhino Primaris, in which case, you might as well, since your rolls of 1 will become 2.
    • Often overlooked, this thing is a Character. While it has too many wounds to 'hide,' you can make this thing your Warlord. May not be a terrible choice in spite of its size, being the toughest vanilla Character in the book. It's expensive, but its sheer size adds a fair distance to its Rites of Battle special rule, meaning that a Chaplain-led melee squad disembarking from this thing can do a tremendous amount of damage while denying your opponent an easy Slay the Warlord. Avoid getting stuck in melee, however. You want this thing shooting at medium/heavy infantry and vehicles.
    • According to GW's Community Team (for now; could be FAQ'd later), Characters in the Index that didn't receive an entry in the Codex still have access to Relics alongside Chapter Tactics and Warlord Traits. As such, the Salamanders and Black Templars can give the Excelsior their respective relics, RAW, as neither replaces a weapon or has a restriction (like the White Scars' relic). It's an expensive choice, but a Salamanders Excelsior as your Warlord with Iron Resolve and the Salamander's Mantle nets you a 17 Wound, Toughness 9 Land Raider with its 2+, 5++, and a 6+++. Conversely, a Black Templars Excelsior with the Crusader's Helm (presumably on the tank's commander, who is modeled with the combi-plasma the vehicle can take) gives you a Rites of Battle bubble approximately twice as large as an Infantry Captain without the Helm, factoring in the Land Raider's size. This means that upon disembarking, you increase the chance the Crusader Squad inside remains within Rites range, even with a re-rolled charge (for that extra distance). Neither are game-breaking, as the tank comes in at some 450 points fully kitted out, and as such should only be used in larger games, but the option exists. For now.

Forge World[edit]

  • Damocles Command Rhino: Only one Damocles can be taken per detachment. It can now transport a single CHARACTER model, and if that model is your Warlord you roll 2d6 at the end of each turn; if the result is less than your Warlord's Ld, you get a bonus Command Point. Valuable, on its own, there's also the Orbital Bombardment, which now functions identically to the Stratagem of the same name (albeit without the CP cost). While the bombardment can be useful if you're lucky, the Damocles is better off acting as a meatshield/Command Point generator for your Warlord, preferably far from the front lines.

Special Characters[edit]

Special Characters are noted with their corresponding <CHAPTER> keyword.

  • Note for all characters that grant rerolls: rerolls occur BEFORE modifiers.
  • Note that the points cost for all special characters includes their wargear. It's noted in the points section, under the points heading in the codex (or index if not in the codex). All other units say "does not include wargear" except special characters where it says "including wargear". All special characters must take their respective chapter's Warlord trait, so Calgar will always refund CP on 5+, Shrike will always have the immunity to overwatch, and so on.
Ultramarines[edit]
  • Marneus Calgar: Papa Smurf, now back in the HQ slot. His Armor of Antilochus grants a 4+ invulnerable save and halves all damage he receives (rounded up, so he's not immune to 1 damage weapons). The Bolter part of the Gauntlets of Ultramar aren't too bad since they deal 2 damage and have AP-1, but you will ignore both them and his relic blade because in melee they act like Power Fists without the -1 to hit. As is the case for all Chapter Master characters, he grants re-rolls for all failed to-hit rolls for units within 6". He can also deep strike, and having him as your Warlord in a Battle-forged army grants 2 bonus Command Points. While both his stats and buffing abilities pale by comparison to Guilliman, he can fill a similar role if you want to save the points and/or the Lord of War slot.
    • Marneus Calgar in Artificer Armour: Papa Smurf, before Swarmlord ate his arms, his legs, and half of his face. One less wound, no halved damage, and no ability to deep strike, and now, since the Codex sets Calgar in the Armor of Antilochus at 200 points, 35 points cheaper than the version in Artificer armor, you have no reason to ever take him in this form unless you're re-creating the battle at the Cold-Steel Ridge or something. Or you desperately need him to fit into a Rhino or Razorback.
  • Captain Sicarius: No longer able to give 10 leadership to his whole detachment, or let a rhino tac squad infiltrate. But he is a bit cheaper now, and his power sword can do D3 mortal wounds if you roll a 6 to wound. He also lets tactical squads near him attack first in melee even if they didn't charge (unless the enemy has a similar skill). Overall, he is weaker in terms of utility than what he was before, and roughly same if not slightly better in terms of melee. The best thing about him is that, at 132 pts, he's pretty cheap. He's not going to make a huge difference, and if you want an amazing HQ you might want to look elsewhere. But he is alright for his price.
  • Chief Librarian Tigurius: Still extremely fragile, with only a 3+ save, no invuln, and only 4W, he'll still die to almost anything, including massed sniper fire, so shield him accordingly and make sure to remove threats to him rapidly. He does have a pretty nifty ability, however, as he can inflict a -1 penalty to all hit rolls against him or a friendly Ultramarine unit within 6" each turn, which helps him or any screening unit to survive. Can also be used on a unit holding an objective to increase its survivability, on a flyer for a -2 to hit for maximum trolling, and so on; this ability has quite a few interesting tactical applications. Is equipped with his rod, a power stave that gives +3 to strength, but you don't want him in close combat anyway, unless facing extremely weak close combat opponents. His mortal wound production from Smite helps against high wound models and hordes.
    • He can re-roll failed Psychic Tests (but not successful ones, even if they Perils), so his expected damage from Smite is 2.09, rather than 1.79, assuming he can live through Perils, which he can always do with his starting health.
      • He knows 3 Librarius powers and Smite, and can cast and deny 2 powers per turn.
      • In general, his odds of casting a power (assuming he lives through Perils) are:
        • Smite: 97.22%
        • Veil of Time: 92.28%
        • Might of Heroes: 92.28%
        • Scourge: 92.28%
        • Fury of the Ancients: 82.64%
        • Psychic Fortress: 97.22%
        • Null Zone: 65.97%
          • For now, this makes Tigurius the only Psyker in the game who can probably succeed at Null Zone without CP assistance, as the others who can access it don't have any rules boosting their odds of success.
  • Chaplain Cassius: He grants a mortal wound against enemy units that kill an Ultramarines model within 6" on a 6+. 3+ Marines die often, so with big numbers in your army Cassius has some punch, and hurts the enemy in their phase. Combine with a Company Ancient and Apothecary to make the marine shoot as he dies, confer a mortal wound, and be brought back to life to shoot the next turn.
  • Sergeant Telion: Telion makes Scout Snipers better. He is armed with a better Sniper Rifle, and Scouts within 3" add 1 to their roll to hit. Telion hits on a 2+, and also has the Ultramarine and Scout keyword. Rolls of one always fail, but modifiers are diminished by his buff to himself.
  • Sergeant Chronus: Sadly, you still can't take Chronus in the Terminus Ultra or FW vehicles , which is a real shame since he can not only repair the tank he's riding in but also fixes its BS to 2+. This might not seem like much of a buff at first, but keep in mind that this overrides the BS decrease that the damage tables would normally force- not only will it be hitting on a 2+, it'll continue to do so even at the point it would normally be hitting on a 5+! Like in 7th edition, he becomes an infantry unit if his tank is destroyed, but a lackluster statline and bad selection of wargear means that Chronus on foot is little more than an extra kill point for the enemy.
    • Depending on whether you want him to fill a Heavy slot or not as well as an HQ slot, the two vehicles he's commonly considered best in are a quadruple lascannon predator or a double assault cannon razorback. In either case, remember that he's not a character until he disembarks, and you want his vehicle to have as many guns as possible, so always take a storm bolter and strongly consider a hunter-killer missile.
    • Which vehicles he can command is a bit suspect; the RAW list is "Rhino, Razorback, Predator, Vindicator, Whirlwind, Hunter, Stalker, Land Raider, Land Raider Crusader or Land Raider Redeemer". However, Land Raiders, Land Raider Crusaders, and Land Raider Redeemers all have the Land Raider keyword, and GW has never in its history, including this edition, had rules tight enough that you could validly assume an explicit list needed to be explicit, so the Crusader and Redeemer entries in the list could be redundant. Can Chronus get inside other vehicles with a keyword from his ridable list? There's no FAQ entry on it.
    • Chronus and Telion are dirt cheap (75 for Telion, 40 for Chronus, although that's on top of the tank he rides), so they will be a great help to fill compulsory HQ slots for bigger detachments. This is a huge boon for Ultramarine players, as this will help get more command points and recycle them thanks to their warlord trait. Throw in cheap Scout Squads for the troop tax (and to make sure Telion is used to his full potential) and you're good to go for a Battalion.
Imperial Fists[edit]
  • Captain Lysander: Lysander is a better TH/SS Terminator Captain; the Fist of Dorn being a S10 Thunder Hammer without the -1 to hit penalty, making up for the actual IF relic pistol. If you have T5 enemies, Lysander's the guy you schedule them a play date with. He also gives +1Ld to nearby Fists, as if Space Marines cared about Leadership (you'd think it'd help Psychic Scourge, but that's a shitty power). Do you know how to use a TH/SS Termie Captain? Then you know all there is to know about Lysander strategy.
Crimson Fists[edit]
  • Pedro Kantor (Crimson Fists): More focused this edition than in the last several; he no longer benefits Sternguard especially, nor especially torments Orks, Pedro Kantor is a CC killing machine in 8E. His Oath of Rynn special rule is now a buff to give +1A to all friendly Crimson Fists models within 6", while 'Chapter Master' affects whole units within that range. And it's great not having to pay CP to get full rerolls. For his price and relatively small footprint he can make a huge impact in any melee.
    • He's excellent when paired with -1 To Hit escorts, like TH/SS Termies/Vets or Aggressors. Add a Lieutenant and you'll be rerolling everything. Being a footslogger, however, you'll need to find him a way to the front line, but at the very least he's got an Assault 4 AP-1 Bolter to jog across the board. Especially with those resilient Primaris, their 2 base attacks and their Assault weapons, who may not be riding Repulsors because you don't give in to GW's shilling.
    • Kantor, being a 'Chapter Master' also lends himself to gun lines. His +1A helps your Marines punch back when onrushing hordes inevitably reach the Marines, Primaris hitting as if they were Vets with chainswords.
Black Templars[edit]
  • High Marshal Helbrecht: The big boss of the Black Templars. All Black Templar units around him reroll all to hit rolls and Black Templar MODELS gain +1 strength — and Str 5 is a sweetspot in this edition. So when this guy rolls up in a Land Raider Crusader and then charges you with his strength 5 rerolling to hit homeboys...you're dead. End of discussion. He himself is no slouch in combat, roasting things with a combi melta, and gains d3 attacks on the charge using what is effectively a Relic Blade.
    • It almost goes without saying, but this makes Power Swords and Lightning Claws the superior weapon vs MEQ, and Power Axes wound on 2+ vs GEQ. He also makes Power Fists S10, but only Plague Marines or Land Raiders would notice, so leave those TH/SS at home, and use the increased space for Ancients and Apothecaries instead.
  • Emperor's Champion: This guy will brutally murder any enemy character, living up to Sigismund's legacy with a plethora of rules to wreck heroes. Well, kinda; he can't kill a generic Captain on his own. While he's certainly got a hate boner against Characters, hurling with five Str7 AP-3 D1d3 attacks that reroll hits and wounds the Champion does 4.3 unsaved wounds on a regular Captain, but the latter's Thunder Hammer inflicts 3.88W on the Champion, who has 1 less wound than him. You could argue the Emperor's Champion hits above his points cost, but a Captain with Thunder Hammer costs only +20pts, aka the Hammer's cost, is good against everything at the same time he boosts your army. Meanwhile, the Emperor's Champion is only effective against characters and monsters. Not to mention the Chad-Captain is FAR more customizable and can deepstrike to put that rerollable BT charge range to good use, while the Virgin Champion has to commute inside a vehicle or walk like a pleb.
    • While both models in that example would end up killing each other because neither of them exists in a bubble, it is precisely in accounting for your retinue where the Captain's re-roll aura makes him surpass the Emperor's Champion, as the Captain's retinue would recieve a boost while the Champion's doesn't. If you are going to boost him use Helbrecht — he turns him Str8 against characters (wounding on 2+), while his Chapter Master aura overrides the Captain's.
  • Chaplain Grimaldus: THE guy for Black Templar's Black Tide lists. He has the usual Chaplain auras, but his real value is his unique Unmatched Zeal rule boosting nearby Black Templar units, giving them another attack on a roll to hit of 6+ (plus the reroll)..A great addition for any unit in a LR Crusader. He's also got a plasma pistol (but be careful) and can bring relic-bearing Cenobyte Servitors to help your Crusader blobs (should you run them as such), though the Servitors aren't characters like he is. His Litanies of Hate overlap with Helbrecht's Chapter Master aura, so try and spread them appart.
Raven Guard[edit]
  • Kayvaan Shrike: He's had a promotion, and now has the Chapter Master special rule. His stat-line still reeks of his old Captain status, not to mention his 5 wounds and only 5 attacks including both his lightning claws. He grants fellow Raven Guard models re-rolls to their charge distance, so he pairs very well with any sort of risk engaging CC alpha strike army. With him alongside your forces, you have a very good chance of getting a charge off even when 9 inches away. If you like using Vanguard Vets and jump packs, Kayvaan is the HQ for your army. He can deep strike more than 9 inches first turn. A 9" charge should go off 28% of the time, but with the re-roll that rises to 48%. Keep that in mind when building an alpha-strike CC army, you'll need more than 2 units charging to reliably get a charge off. His CC attacks now do D3 damage and has the same AP as a power sword, rather than normal lightning claws. Overall he's gotten buffed considerably and his rules (chapter master, re-roll charge, and improved melee potential) makes him a character worth investing in, and all of this for just 150. 150 points for 1st turn charges, Yes please.
    • Chances of at least one unit successfully charging 9" with re-roll buff, with 1 unit charging: 48%; 2 units: 73%; 3 units: 86%; 4 units: 93%.
    • I've even seen entire Raven Guard armies revolve around using Shrike's Winged Deliverance ability, and players do a mass deep strike; as shown above, the more units you choose to charge the more chances you have of making it with at least one squad.
      • Since your deep strikers need "anchor" units - for every deep striking unit, you need a unit to start the game on the table - you should be in the market for cheap anchors, if you're planning this. Currently the cheapest anchor available, period, seems to be Inquisitorial Acolytes (8 points per unit, uses an Elite slot); within Space Marines, Space Wolf cyberwolves are 15 points each, and Fast Attack; within your own chapter, Forge World Space Marine Tarantulas cost 24 apiece (and use a Fast Attack slot). Unfortunately, since you're not Blood Angels, you can't issue jump packs to some otherwise sweet choices, like Company Veterans. Oh, well.
        • This last one might not work anymore due to the big FAQ. You need half your units AND half your total Power Level on the table in deployment AND any deepstrikes on turn 1 have to land in your deployment zone.
          • Still, remember that the Big FAQ rules are both beta and doesn't affect units, that are set up using your Chapter Strategem, Strike from the Shadows. Furthermore, such units do count to the amount of anchors you have on the table.
  • Currently, the best way to field him is to use a backfield IG detachment as a CP battery (preferably with a bunch of mortars), infiltrate him and the majority of your Marines using Strike from the Shadows, then use one or two Deep Striking jump pack units to address problem spots later in the game.
  • Shadow Captain Korvydae: This guy was dropped from the game in a FAQ; instead, you're told to use the model to represent a generic Captain.
    • Good model for a Raven's Fury/thunder hammer Captain. They make decent character assassins, as the sheer speed at which they can close with a target can catch people off guard.
Salamanders[edit]
  • Vulkan He'Stan: Has a Captain's statline, with a 2+ save and a 3+ invuln. Comes with Heavy Flamer, and Relic Blade, and Storm Shield equivalent gear. He has the Captain Rites of Battle ability to let you re-roll hits of 1 for Salamanders units within 6", and his Forgefather ability lets all Salamanders models within 6" re-roll any failed hits and wounds with flame or melta in the name, and with his own Gauntlet of the Forge (note that this affects vehicles and melta-bombs too now, but it doesn't affect the bolter part of combi-weapons). Great for tagging along with Sternguard or Company Vets in a Rhino or Drop Pod. Vulkan standing with a 5-man devastator squad, armed with 4 Multi-Meltas and a Combi-Flamer, is extremely productive, both for shooting hordes and high toughness targets. The forgefather rule made him a more support oriented HQ as his melee is mediocre compared to other named characters worth a similar amount of points (namely Shrike or Lysander). He got used to being an immovable object in 7th (2+,3++,5+++(FnP)) but in 8th all you need to do to is fail one 3+ invulnerable save and you take multiple wounds, or get saddled with Mortal Wounds he can't save against. Still, take him if you are a Salamanders player because his rules aren't by any means bad - and his model is awesome.
    • As long as he's your warlord, he also hits with a solid S7 thanks to the Salamanders Warlord Trait.
    • Alternate take: Vulkan He'Stan riding along with either a squad of Assault Centurions in a Land Raider Redeemer or a squad of Aggressors with Flamestorm Gauntlets can be quite effective. Proper positioning will allow re-rolls to hit and to wound on both Land Raider Flamestorm Cannons, the Land Raider's Multi-Melta and on all 6 of the flamers that you've definitely taken on your Assault Centurions, all preceding a devastating charge. The Aggressors will similarly benefit, whether it's from the 4d6 flamer shots they get if they stay still or the 2d6 they unleash as they move into melee range.
    • Vulkan is insanely good backing up Cyclonic Melta Leviathans, or, keeping it lighter, standard-issue multi-melta/heavy flamer dreads, where he will buff the guns all the way, and they can use Salamanders tactics if they need to in melee.
  • Captain Pellas Mir'san (Forgeworld): He has the statline of a Captain in Terminator Armour, except with a 6" move instead of 5" and without the transport restrictions of being a terminator, but no Teleport Strike. He comes with a combi-flamer, Cinder Edge (functionally identical to a force sword), and Steelsilver, which lets you make an additional attack at S4 no AP and 1 damage against every model within 1". Those attacks are made after his Cinder Edge attacks are resolved and before you consolidate, so it can be a super chainsword or useless depending on what his regular attacks leave behind. He gets the normal Captain Iron Halo for a 4++ and Rites of battle to re-roll 1s to hit within 6". He also gets 2 more attacks when he's within 2" of any enemy Characters. All this for a few points less than a similarly equipped Terminator Captain. He really wants to be in close combat chopping heads to maximize his usefulness. Probably plays best running with Vanguard or Company Vets kitted for close combat, but he'll likely need a transport to get to where you want him as he has no deep strike options on his own.
  • Bray'arth Ashmantle (Forgeworld): He's now even more indestructible than before, being a Character with T9, W8, a 2+/5++, and a 4+ to ignore lost wounds, he's not going down easily. He's also dead killy up close. His two Dreadfire heavy flamers can put out some serious hurt with S6, AP-2 and 3 damage a pop at 8" range. In close combat, his claws have him swinging 4 times at S16, AP-4, and D6 damage, and if you are locked in with someone during the shooting phase, his Burning Wrath is now a 2D6 shot auto hitting S4 pistol with a 2" range. On the downsides: In an edition of HQs buffing your other units, he does nothing to improve nearby Salamanders. He can only be your Warlord if there are no other HQ units, so you'll limit yourself to a smaller number of command points if you want to use him to deny your opponent Slay the Warlord. He can't cause any harm until he gets within 8", so you either buy him a transport or have him be a walking 14" threat bubble. This all comes for the hefty price of 400 pts (more if you buy a Dreadnought Drop Pod or Stormraven for him to ride in).
    • It's worth noting that he is a CHARACTER and hits almost as hard as a Volcano Cannon in close combat. The amount of panic he'll cause walking towards your opponent with a few cheap screening units in front of him (or even a few Rhinos) is well worth the price tag, as is the satisfaction when he finally hits the opponent's gunline and all hell breaks loose. On a side note if you can get your enemy to charge him on overwatch he is likely to butcher MEQ or even TEQs with his dreadfire flamers
  • Harath Shen (Forgeworld): As a Master Apothecary, Harath deploys to the field armed with more than just a Narthecium. He has the same statline as a normal Apothecary, barring Leadership 9. He is armed with a Power Sabre, which is identical to a Master-Crafted Power Sword (Str: User, AP -3, 2 Damage) and Bloodfire, a Plasma Pistol with nothing special (except for causing a mortal wound rather than slaying the bearer). His Master of Chirurgery rule carries over from his 7th edition iteration, it's similar to the Apothecary's ability but the rolls are passed on a 3+ instead of a 4+, and Harath can heal D3+1 Wounds instead of D3. All of this will set you back 75 Points, as opposed to an Apothecary's 72 Points for the same loadout (although it's worth noting that an Apothecary doesn't have access to weapon options). Which means you pay 3 points for his increased medical abilities and the payment of an HQ tax, if you were looking for that. Overall, he's a support Character who can increase the survivability of your Salamanders, but can also do some damage in combat if absolutely necessary; just keep him away from enemy Characters.
White Scars[edit]
  • Kor'sarro Khan: Grants +1 Str to his chapter's units that charged that turn. On-foot units with mid-strength weapons like Vanguard Veterans with Power Axes and Lighting Claws assault terminators get the most benefit. His buff to Str is by Unit, so large units of Assault Marines can carry his buff wide. Their resultant Str 5 is productive. Wide, stringy assault units, strung out before multiple enemy units, like three tanks, are great. They charge one of the enemy units, and then use their pile in to get within 1" of the other units. On a turn they charge they can only target the unit they charged. The next turn those enemy units are locked in melee, and unable to shoot.
    • Kor'sarro Khan on Moondrakkan (White Scars): On bikes he naturally pairs with melee high speed assaulty units. His buff applies to all WHITE SCARS, so the marines he travels well with are the many Infantry Fast Attack options. Jump Pack Assault, Veteran Vanguard. and Bike Squads with Chainswords carry his force multiplier far and fast, and the last one is a perfect fit for the Born in the Saddle Stratagem.
Forgeworld Characters[edit]

These are arranged by Founding, so you can more easily work out what Chapter Tactics to use (when applicable).

Unknown Founding
Astral Claws[edit]

Either Ultramarines or Dark Angels successors, with no great way to decide between the two; your fluffiest bet is Ultramarines, since they make the best bikers anyhow. Although if we look at their Chapter Tactics before 8th, White Scars is the best substitute; in 8E, they actually have the Tactics the Scars would need to be actually worth a damn with bikes (but in 8E, the best biker chapters are Dark Angels and Ultramarines, bringing us right back to those two). Astral Claws love mortal wounds, have I said that enough?

  • Lugft Huron: Chapter Master, with terminator armor, an artificer heavy flamer (Assault, not Heavy, and D1d3), and THE ONE PIMP HAND TO RULE THEM ALL (S+1 AP-5 D1d3, forces rerolls of successful invulns)! "Big Guns Never Tire" ensures he can bring the hurt once per game to anything on the board that's not a character (d6 mortal wounds on a 2+, or usually 2.92). His “Living Legend” rule makes sure you can pull it off on the 2+ with an extra command point as long as you are battle forged and Huron is your Warlord. He can come back from the dead... as often as you can roll a 5+. But he is pricey at 215 pts. Still better in combat than Draigo (who's more expensive), and could even take on Abbadon/Swarmlord. He still has ATSKNF and his chapter master trait allowing rerolls to hit for any Astral Claws unit within six inches for support. Forge World FAQ gave him and Culln the ability to deploy via teleporting.
    • 'Ol Lugft you salty bastard! Take note of this dudes special rule (Big Guns Never Tire) and how well it combines with the rest of the Astartes codex. Lugft Huron is the king of mortal wound spam in a very mortal wound spamming prone army. You have to get creative: I'm talking triple vindicators, librarians, scout snipers, scout bikers, devastators using double hell fire shells, all the other command stratagems, AND a Damocles Command Rhino which doesn't even need Lufgt to ride in for another Orbital Bombardment!!! (your already using forge world so...) You will be that guy to a degree, but this is all totally legal and really just very good tactics. Enjoy frying anything from Magnus to carnifexes all with comfortable ease.
      • BE sure to load up on command points and consider a brigade because this play-style while quite good, is very command point taxing.
  • Armenneus Valthex:Techmarine, with an Assault 2 Conversion Beamer, an AP-1 melee weapon that adds 1d3 attacks when at least 3 enemy models are within 1" of him, and a 6" buff of +1 strength (max 5) to boltguns and storm bolters, specifically.
  • Captain Corien Sumatris: Captain; still a good cost effective melee fighter/buffer, his power sword does D2 and give +D3 attacks on the charge; combined with his ability to gain +1S near enemy CHARACTERS, this makes him a mini-me Helbrecht, although he might be tougher with his 3++. His gun is a lame Pistol 2 now, despite still being called a Bolter. Also has the unique ability to choose his chapter keyword between Astral Claws and Tiger Claws, the latter of which will never be taken, because it disallows other Astral Claws characters from being taken.
  • Arch-Centurion Carnac Commodus: Lieutenant, and improved greatly now; his CC weapon hits as hard as a Heavy Bolter with D2 and vs. INFANTRY every 6+ to-wound does a Mortal Wound, combined with a 6" re-roll 1's to-wound aura makes him another good melee beatstick/buffer for Astral Claws. He also gets a 5++ invul because that's what Void Hardened Armor does now.
    • See above Lugft Huron. Astral Claws love mortal wounds bitchez!!
Blood Ravens[edit]

Probably loyalist Thousand Sons successors; your fluffiest bet is actually to dynamically choose a tactic after learning your opponents' faction, which is not banned by any game rule and will instantly make them feel like the magpies they are.

  • Gabriel Angelos: That's right, Gabe's finally made his official debut on the tabletop, sporting his Dawn of War III look (sadly, the C.S.Goto-style acrobatic feats he displays in the game do not get represented in the rules). He's a Chapter Master in Tartaros Terminator Armour and an Iron Halo, so he has a 2+/4++ save along with 6" movement and the ability to teleport onto the battlefield. For equipment, he's one of those rare guys that has frag/krak grenades in Terminator Armour, which is just as well, because he does not actually have a standard ranged weapon, and his ballistic skill is 3+ anyway, so he's not a shooting guy. However, in melee, his signature weapon, Godsplitter, is a thunder hammer which causes an additional mortal wound whenever it rolls a 6 (not 6+ RAW, so watch your buffs) to wound. It can also be used in a different mode, allowing him to strike every enemy model within 1" once instead of performing attacks normally, rolling to hit each time. This "Swinging Arc" hits at S6 AP-1 and only does one damage, but the swing does not suffer the traditional -1 hit penalty that thunder hammers take; plus his Chapter Master re-rolls, he is very unlikely to miss, so it's better at dealing with hordes than an ordinary Terminator Captain/CM with a thunder hammer. His last special rule is Retribution, which means that if he is ever taken down in the fight phase, the model that killed him (this is RAW, even though the nature of dice means you can't know which one if e.g. a unit of identically equipped Ork Nobs does it, so good luck) will immediately suffer 1d3 mortal wounds without any roll required, so even in the worst-case scenario Gabe can deal out one last "fuck you" to his opponent. Naturally, he's best off rolling with other Tartaros Terminators; not only can they keep up with him more effectively than the standard or Cataphractii versions, they can be kitted out both to aid him in melee fights and to provide him with the covering fire he needs.
Red Scorpions[edit]

Probably loyalist Emperor's Children successors; the closest you're going to get here is probably Ultramarines Chapter Tactics to reflect their hard-on for the Codex Astartes, although Iron Hands might reflect their love of purity (and previous tactics) better.

  • Lord High Commander Carab Culln: Chapter Master. Stats-wise, of the level of other CMs here and in the main book, but his extra rules and weapons loadout is scattered and mediocre. An AP-2 D2 stormbolter, a +1 strength power sword with d3 damage that turns into a beastly x2 strength weapon, BUT only when he's fighting monsters or vehicles, and his personal rules gives every red scorpion within 6" a 6+ FNP style damage ignoring roll (which will stack with Iron Hands Chapter Tactics, should you decide the Red Scorpions chapter is totally their successor). Overall, he's not bad, but has a sword that most of the time is simply average, and a gun that works but you aren't paying a couple hundred points for. Stick him in a fight vs Tyranids or similar and he'll prove his worth, but in comparison to the other chapter master level characters he's not quite focused enough in one area to do a job well enough, plus he's still the same points cost as the rest of them
  • Carab Culln the Risen: the same guy as above, but slapped in a freakin' Leviathan Dreadnought with a Twin Assault Cannon on one arm, and a D4 siege claw with Heavy Bolter on the other. He also packs two Heavy flamers and three Hunter-Killer missiles for shits and giggles. A fairly decent one-use rule "Death Hold", is when he rolls a 6+ to hit, he can opt to grab his opponent and cause d6 mortal wounds, but this renders the built-in Heavy Bolter useless for the rest of the game. Still retains his old rule that gives 6+ FNP to every Red Scorpions within 6", and if he dies roll a d6; on 5+ he explodes causing d3 mortal wounds to every unit within 9". Culln is a little underwhelming compared to other Leviathans. As Storm Cannons are better than his Assault Cannons, but he isn't bound by the Relic rule. This means Red Scorpions won't need to take a Chaplain Dreadnought for that all Dread army. So he is is a consideration for the leader of an allied Vanguard or Spearhead Detachment.
    • While he's still a Character, he has over ten wounds, meaning no hiding him behind a wall of thirty Scouts to kamikaze up the field.
    • "Culln is a little underwhelming compared to other Leviathans". Other Leviathans are for the shooty-shooty. Culln is for the punchy-punchy. Two different tools for two different jobs. Compared to a SCA + claw + triple missile Leviathan, then for one extra point, you gain +1A, +1W, +1D in assault, his Death Hold rule, and a 6+ feel no pain for all Red Scorpion models within 6".
    • "but he isnt bound by the relic rule" he has the relic tag and is bound by the relic rule, so you still have to take a chaplain dread alongside him.
  • Magister Sevrin Loth: Librarian. Cheesier than a fondue convention in Wisconsin for two editions, he's finally been toned down to a 'good-but-not-too-good' level. He can cast two powers and deny three; now that you always choose powers and with the removal of some of the more potent powers, he's lost a lot here. His most powerful trick of gaining a 2++ is completely gone, now he just gets a 2+/4++. He also has nothing to do with command squads now. The only things that stayed the same are his price and his anti-psyker skills; a 6" aura of re-rolls to wound vs Psykers and a +1S Force Axe that always inflicts 3 damage vs Psykers. Still good enough to be a nigh auto-include for any Red Scorpions player.
  • Casan Sabius: New Chapter Master who has inherited the Blade of the Scorpion (S+1 (Sx2 vs monsters/vehicles), AP-3, Dd3) from Culln. He has a 2+/4++ save, and a new rule where if he causes one or more wounds in the Fight phase, one Red Scorpions Infantry unit within 6" gains +1A until the end of that phase. He also has the standard Chapter Master aura bonus, meaning he stacks very well with thunder hammer-wielding escorts, who suffer the usual -1WS.
  • Sirae Karagon: Released as part of a duet with the above dude, we've been told to just use him as a standard Chapter Ancient. Lazy and lame.
  • Dreadnought-Brother Halaar: Comes from the FAQ; he's a generic dreadnought who can take a flamestorm cannon instead of an assault cannon, but thanks to his FAQ entry having lazy writing, he hasn't got the character keyword.
  • Veteran Sergeant Haas: In the same FAQ, this guy is basically completely dropped from the game - instead, you're told to use the model to count as someone else's sergeant.
Minotaurs[edit]

Said to have "chimeric" gene-seed, but given their melee preference your fluffiest bet is Black Templars; however, if you field Moloc, Iron Hands is a good choice instead to represent being rock-hard in melee.

  • Lord Asterion Moloc: Chapter Master. The Lord Master of the Minotaurs is no longer the Marine killer he was before, but he's still a horrifyingly effective character. Sitting at a 2+/3++ with W7, he is harder to take down than some vehicles. His Black Spear makes a return at S+2, -3 AP, and 3 Damage with an additional attack against CHARACTERs. The spear's lasbeam is no longer single use, meaning he can fire that sexy, sexy S8 -2 AP weapon all he likes. he gives the usual Chapter Master buff of re-rolls to failed hits in 6", and also gives his Minotaur infantry re-rolls to failed charges. Even if your opponent, somehow, makes it through all those saves in a charge, he gets to pile in and get off those attacks, making melee with him under any circumstance risky at best.
  • Chaplain Ivanus Enkomi: The Minotaur chaplain character. He's lost the RAGE buff he had before and has no extra special rules over the usual buffs of a chaplain, usual rosarius, powerfist, and crozius. No jump pack, but instead has a grenade discharger. Frag grenades for mobs, krak grenades for tough targets. Worth noting is that, alongside his boss, Minotaurs re-roll charges as well as hits for the fight phase. Do ask yourself when you take him though... did you really WANT to pay 23 points to double the range of the otherwise completely normal frag and krak grenades. Yes, aside from that he boasts an extra attack and an extra wound, compared to normal, so maybe those 23 points have not been spent in vain.
  • Hecaton Aiakos: A character contemptor dreadnought - an HQ choice, but can't be your Warlord. Sporting 13 wounds, a 2+/4++ save, and the ability to ignore wounds on a 6+, he and Moloc apparently both believe that defense is the best offense. Not that either are lacking in that regard. He sports a heavy plasma cannon with all the pain that entails as well as the standard Dreadnought combat weapon. Groundstrike allows him to immediately inflict mortal wounds on a unit in 1" of him if he charged. Also worth mentioning is that, as a RELIC, he gives access to the Relic of Ancient Glory stratagem. All this will set you back in points, however, beating out even Huron for sheer points. Additionally, he can never be your Warlord. But he sure kicks ass. Just let him stay around Moloc for the sweet sweet re-rolls and unleash the moo-moo.
    • Use the WHITE SCARS chapter tactic so Aiakos can fall back and charge and keep dealing out mortal wounds.
  • Sergeant Hamath Kraatos: The FAQ basically tells you to drop this guy from the game, and instead use the model to represent a generic Devastator.


Dark Angels Successors
Star Phantoms[edit]

These guys are DEFINITELY nothing like the Exorcists, and all rumors you have heard that they are successors to the Dark Angels are BLATANTLY FALSE AND HERETICAL PROPAGANDA, PREPARE TO BE PURGED. As their founding chapter is DEFINITELY AND TOTALLY UNKNOWN, treating them as an Unknown Founding chapter makes the most sense for Tactics.

  • Captain Zhrukhal Androcles: Captain. Lost his ability to take Devastators as elites and heavy support. Is identical to a vanilla captain statline wise. He comes with Stonefist, which is a named thunder hammer, and a combi-melta. He is more expensive than a vanilla captain with the same wargear (129 points for Zhrukhal, compared to the 114 points a normal captain would cost with a combi-melta and thunder hammer). He's basically not worth taking compared to a normal captain - you can use a normal captain with the same wargear and use the Star Phantom keyword and get everything he brings for a smaller cost. 8th has made an already unremarkable character even worse.
    • He's actually even worse if you field him as a Dark Angels Company Master, as he will not gain deathwing or Unforgiven.


Grey Knights Successors
Exorcists[edit]

These guys are particularly interesting, because they're a Codex Chapter founded by a non-Codex chapter which has no Chapter Tactics rule. As their founding Chapter is considered to be unknown by most of the Imperium, they get a free choice of Chapter Tactics like any other Chapter of unknown origin. Grey Knights additionally have absolutely no rules in their Codex or Index section covering how to field their successors. Your fluffiest choice of tactic will probably be, like the Blood Ravens, to dynamically choose your tactic after finding out your opponents' faction, as that is how the Chapter fights in the fluff, and no game rule bans it.

  • Captain Silas Alberec: Captain who can Deny the Witch as if he were a basic Psyker (2d6, 1/phase). Also comes with S5, a named power fist (for that sweet S10) that does 3D to a Psyker or Daemon, and an S6 bolt pistol. Best for pounding enemies into beefsteak at melee.


Imperial Fists Successors
Executioners[edit]

Imperial Fists tactics are absolute trash for Executioners; assault is your endgame, and Thulsa Kane helps them do that well. Black Templars, on the other hand, give your guys a better shot at getting into melee while also being semi-fluffy, since Black Templars are still Imperial Fist successors.

  • High Chaplain Thulsa Kane: Chaplain with +1 W and A, and dodgy - enemies have to subtract 1 when hitting him in melee. Has a 6" aura that grants an additional hit for models that roll 6+ To Hit, in addition to the standard Litanies of Hate and Spiritual Leader rules that other chaplains have. His melee weapon, Lifetaker, is a S+2 power sword with D2, which becomes D4 if the target is a character. Also has a plasma pistol with an extra shot.Though he's an impressive beatstick that buffs the melee capabilities of everyone around him, his main issue is mobility since he cannot take a jump pack. Hello Land Raider Crusader.


Iron Hands Successors
Sons of Medusa[edit]
  • Vaylund Cal: Chapter Master/Techmarine. If you ever wanted to see the mechanized fusion of a Techmarine with a Chapter Master, this is the motherfucker for you. Sporting a monstrous statline of S5 (doubled with his Medusan Hammer and Servo-Arms) and an enviable T6, he'll be hard to take down. Also makes an excellent anchor for a firing line, because he gives both a re-roll bubble AND can repair vehicles. However, at 200 he's also noticeably more expensive than getting both a captain and a Techmarine. Unless you're starved on HQ slots, for buffing a mechanized gunline you're better off with the increased flexibility of two units.
    • Alternate Opinion: the Chapter Master Upgrade costs a whole 3CP, which is a fair bit for one unit. Paying 20 points for T6, +2, and a free CM upgrade really doesn't seem that terrible.


Raven Guard Successors
Carcharodons[edit]

Given their preference for close combat and their RAGE, Black Templar tactics are your best bet if you want rules that match fluff; if you want to obey RAW, of course, stick with Raven Guard. Note that Black Templars specifically are banned from taking Adeptus Astartes Psykers, not all Chapters with their Tactics, so in neither case will you lose out on Librarians.

  • Tyberos the Red Wake: Chapter Master. An unholy, terrifying murder machine whose melee damage went through the roof in this edition. Comes with 2 weapons: Hunger and Slake. Hunger is a chainfist that does a flat 3 damage (one better than the normal), and Slake is a lightning claw that does 2 damage while still getting the re-roll to wound. He grants all Carcharodons models within 6" +1S including himself, he also gives all Carcharodons units within 6" re-roll to hits (including shooting). His statline is almost identical to that of a Terminator Captain but Tyberos has 5 attacks instead of 4, 1 more strength due to his buff and 1 less BS. Tyberos excels at fighting small units composed of models with multiple wounds and HQs due to his damage output. Keep an assault unit of some sort alongside him and together they should destroy any MEQ or TEQ unit with absolute ease. While VERY expensive Thunder Hammer armed Vanguard or Assault Termies become more effective at killing high toughness units when alongside Tyberos. ((The S10 they get from Tyberos' buff combined with the Thunder Hammers means they'll go from wounding T8 and T9 units on 4+ and 5+ respectively to wounding them on a 3+ and 3+ respectively (this means they can wound even a Knight or Warhound Titan on a 3+). A squad of 5 will put out 11 AP-3 Dmg 3 Strength 10 hits that can cause a maximum of 33 damage and they get to re-roll misses due to Tyberos. That's a potential of 48 damage in a single fight phase between them and a Hunger using Tyberos (15 from Tyberos 33 from the hammer unit
Raptors[edit]
  • Lias Issodon: Chapter Master. Lias is the king of Infiltration Fuckery. When he infiltrates (at the end of any Movement Phase, thus it supplements Strike from the Shadows), he can take up to three RAPTORS INFANTRY units with him (barring TERMINATORS, PRIMARIS and CENTURIONS, but now allowing jump-pack Marines). Surprise, motherfuckers! He has a 6" aura that adds +1" to all move, advance, charge, and fall back moves (making his base movement 8"), on top of his Chapter Master 6" aura of rerolls to hit. His weapon Malice is a 30" Assault 3 S5 AP-4 D1d3 murdermachine with ignores cover, which he can fire after retreating from melee with Hit & Run. In addition to all of this, Lias essentially has a 0+ save while sitting in any cover (though of course save rolls of 1 always fail, this is more to troll enemies who try to negate cover saves). Plus he has a master-crafted power sword, just in case he needs to run interference to protect your ambushers from small opportunistic chargers. Storm of Fire is the preferred Warlord Trait, as he'll largely be hanging out with other shooters.
    • Potential ambushers to think about are Devastators, Sternguard/Vanguard/Company Veterans, or a Lieutenant. Remember he can also buff Inceptors and Cataphractii Terminators, as they can deep strike next to him without his rule, and any Primaris units you infiltrate with Strike from the Shadows.
    • Raptors seem to be gaining in popularity. Using this dude takes caution and practice, but if done right you can route your enemy in spectacular fashion.


Ultramarines Successors
Howling Griffons[edit]
  • Chaplain Dreadnought Titus: Exactly the same as a normal chaplain dread, but his FNP equivalent is a 5+, not a 6+, and he has fixed weaponry in an assault cannon, heavy flamer, and big ol' smashy fist. He's worth taking if you're playing Howling Griffons and already planned on taking a Chaplain Dreadnought, but otherwise unremarkable.
Marines Errant[edit]
  • Lieutenant Commander Anton Narvaez: Captain. Used to be he was a little worse stats wise than a captain (since he's not a captain) but had more interesting (if weird) wargear. Now he's just as good as a regular captain stat wise, but his wargear got even weirder and even better. He comes with a power sword that on a 6+ to wound does a mortal wound instead (weird), an assault d3 plasma gun with 1 less ap that can't supercharge (weirder) and the Actinic Halo which gives him a 2++ save that is better than his power armour save UNTIL you take an unsaved wound at which points it stops working and only gives a near useless 6++ (legendarily weird). He honestly makes a decently shooty captain who has a decent buff (he provides the captain buff of rerolling 1s to hit, not the lieutenant buff to wounding) and is good for an all rounder and doesn't cost much at all, use your command point rerolls on his invulnerable save to keep him alive all game and outside of mortal wounds he'll be exceptionally tanky... especially for a dude who's just supposed to be a ship captain.
Fire Angels[edit]
  • Captain Tarnus Vale: Captain. Provides a 6+ invuln to nearby vehicles, but isn't riding a bike or using a jump pack, so he'll never keep up with his charges.
Fire Hawks[edit]
  • Knight-Captain Elam Courbray: Captain. The only Forge World character in this list who showed up in a Jump Pack, with the highest Move stat (and the guy in second place, Hecaton Aiakos, can't be your Warlord, although Lias Issodon is the guy in third place). However, because how DARE you tell him what to do, when he comes in from reserve, he teleports in like a boss, rather than falling from the sky like a pleb. Also, he will always try to attack Characters within 1" of him, even if you'd rather he attacked someone else, because, again, FUCK YOU.
Novamarines[edit]
  • Captain Mordaci Blaylock: Captain, and grants a 6+ FNP to nearby infantry.


White Scars Successors
Mantis Warriors[edit]

Raven Guard tactics could be used for these guys due to their preference for guerrilla warfare, although RAW states you must their founding chapter, White Scars.

  • Ahazra Redth: Librarian; can ignore his first Perils of the game.

Troops[edit]

With the new FOCs it is possible to make a Battle Forged list without any Troops at all. Troops are usually where one turns for numbers, as in 8E the player with the most models within 3" of an objective can claim it. However Space Marines are usually outnumbered, so the main reasons to bring Troops were to either build for command points, to field huge units of Crusaders, or to Scout Spam.

However, 8th Edition Codex gives Troops a powerful tool in the form of the Defenders of Humanity rule. As long as even one model in a Troops unit is near an objective, it will remain yours no matter how many enemy models are also present, aka the Objective Secured rule from 7th Edition. Given how hardy your Troops are compared to those of most armies, this means that their value is greater than their stats and wargear would suggest, and while they're still outnumbered by enemy Troops, they can wrestle objective away from other enemy units.

Unfortunately, as 8th Edition drags on it's giving ObSec to every other army as well, so Troops are once again back to Command Point requirements, huge Crusader Squads, or Scout spam, with the recent addition of Intercessors for those who want their objective campers to take more of a beating.

  • Tactical Squad: The same jack-of-all-trades as always. Due to how armour modifiers work in this edition they now benefit from cover, but won't always get their full 3+ save. They can fill in any gaps in your army that might need to be addressed. The best way to look at them as a good middle ground option to your other troops choices. They don't have the early game mobility and good special rules as Scouts, or the same durability and damage output as Intercessors but they can be relied on to get the job done more often than not. Just don't expect them to perform miracles. Heavy weapons are easier to use now they get less penalties for moving and unlimited split fire exists. This edition also encourages you to take them as MSU: less morale vulnerability and many units can fit in the same transport. That way you can put two 5-man units inside a Rhino and have two Sarges with Combis plus 2 Specia/Heavy weapon guys. Four total, as opposed to the three a regular 10-man squad would.
  • Scout Squad: Cheaper than marines, with the same damage output but a 4+ save. The Scout special rule Concealed Positions may be the best troop rule space marines have, allowing them to cut off huge swathes of the board from enemy deep strikes early in the game. But Scouts are more than a mere speed bump. Flexible as the space marines in training they are, they can be used with either ranged and close combat loadouts, but lacking power armour you'll want to have a plan. Furthermore, don't give them Shotguns unless you put them in a Land Speeder Storm. Camo Cloaks let them make better use of cover, but it gives them the same resilience as Tacticals in cover but at a higher model cost. Not to mention there's a hard-to-kill choice now.
    • Scouts with Sniper Rifles are your army's source of, well, sniping. Just like in Rynn's World, a scout with a sniper rifle is not going to kill an Ork Warboss, but they might take down the Pain Boy that supports him. They also help to create a Character denial area during deployment. With good range and a chance for mortal wounds, they're useful for harassing not only characters but also targets of oportunity, like armoured infantry and even tanks.
    • Two battalions each with 15 sniper scouts (in 5 man fire teams) work wonders. If they are all in range your looking at a solid 5 mortal wounds a turn on any unit you want, plus D3 more if you threw in a heavy bolter for hell fire shells.
    • Sniper scouts or even shotguns scouts make fantastic distractions and will bait your opponent into killing a unit that isn't really all that dangerous. Scouts are relatively cheap and force your opponents hand, lest they start piling on mortal wounds or getting into shotgun or charge range. It tempts other players to waste their effort on them. In reality, all of your far more deadly units are moving into position with a turn less damage... which can make all the difference in situations where you didn't go first or become out maneuvered, etc.
  • Intercessor Squad: The big boys. As of Chapter Approved they recieved a discount — that's a 2W model for 18pts as opposed to the mini marine's 1W for 13pts; meaning 30% cheaper wounds. In layman's terms, that's 10 Intercessors (20W) you can bring per 15 Marines/Scouts (15W). Their Bolt Rifles give them a 25"-36" threat range, where most enemies will need to move to even engage them, leaving their cover behind. Stalker Bolt Rifles aren't as cost effective, but let them further abuse the range difference while adding armour penetration, and allows them to contribute to the fight even when securing the back objectives. While they aren't as starved for mobility as other marines due to their range, Auto Bolt Rifles allow them to advance without sacrificing all their shooting, retaining double the shots than other infantry from 12"-24". And with 2 attacks each, plus a 3A sarge who can buy a power sword, they aren't defenseless in a melee. Also even basic Intercessors come with a bolt pistol sidearm, so they actually get 3x S4 attacks each if they're locked in melee. That being said, they're countered by vehicles as their only special weapon is a 30" grenade launcher (but grenades themselves are meh), and they are a prime target for multi-damage weapons, like autocannons.
    • Intercessors are more durable on the tabletop than they appear on paper. Unlike tactical squads, Intercessors don't have heavy weapons which tend to draw fire from the enemy. This means your opponent will generally only fire at intercessors with anti-chaff weapons. As long as the intercessors have cover, they're rolling 2+ saves on T4, with two wounds per model, which is much better than you really need to survive most anti infantry firepower. This means your Intercessors are much better at holding objectives than an equal value of Tactical marines.
    • Intercessors are a good choice for a Raven Guard force, as they are one of the few units able to Rapid Fire from outside 12", allowing them to keep their penalty to be hit.
    • If you're considering getting a squad with Auto-bolt rifles and no other equipment, take a look at Reivers instead. Models cost the same, Bolt Carbines have stats identical to Auto-bolt rifles, but are free. And in addition to that you get AP-1 pistols, Shock grenades and the Terror Troops rule.

Black Templars[edit]

  • Crusader Squad: The guys who make Tacticals irrelevant for BT. There are basically two ways to run Crusader Squads, and it's not regarding melee or shooting, but squad size. Also, keep in mind you can have more Neophytes than Initiates now:
    • The first is abusing MSU as they can bring both a Special AND Heavy weapon (plus Sergeant Combi) in a 5-man squad, 50% more than Tacticals, meaning 6 upgraded guns in a Rhino, or 3 in a Razorback. The same goes for melee, as both the Sarge and 1 Initiate can buy a Power Weapon/Fist, while the others get Chainswords — that's better than shitty Assault Squad Eviscerators, from a Troop Choice (with Defenders of Humanity). Good punch for a unit their size, meaning you can push this basic unit into the offensive instead of being mere Battalion tax.
    • The second way is to use Templar blobs as a way to use the new casualty allocation rules to your benefit: You can use the 3+ armoured Initiates to protect Neophytes from small arms fire, while the cheaper Neos can be used to eat lascannon fire and morale casualties — Scouts are your most cost-effective source of ranged fire, but they lack the Crusader's marines to tank hits from them. A Crusader squad's size makes it vulnerable to morale as much as it makes it benefit more from unit boosts. Chaplains (especially Grimaldus) help their morale at the same time they increase their lethality. So do Captains(Helbrecht)/Lieutenants/Ancients, and the Standard of the Emperor Ascendant/Rites of War Warlords make them immune to morale, so 20-man Crusader squads love them, as they can't fit inside most transports.

Elites[edit]

The Space Marine Elite slot gets work done and carries essential buffing character units like the Apothecary and Company Ancient, as well as a few exotic Forge World vehicles.

  • Apothecary: Now a Character running on his own. Doesn't give out Feel No Pain, but if he's within 3" of a <chapter> Infantry/Biker unit at the end of the Movement phase, he can heal 1d3 wounds on 1 model in it. If no-one's wounded, he gets a 4+ chance to bring 1 dead model back to life with a single wound, but if he fails, he can't do anything else that turn. Can't swap out his weapons, so he's stuck with a bolt pistol and chainsword. Combines great with high end infantry, shooty or assaulty. Bringing a Centurion Devastator back from the dead or healing the linchpin of your army's buff aura is invaluable. Combine with a Company Ancient to make a trade in death.
    • Apothecary on Bike: Same rules as above, except for the price of a Lascannon, you get +1T and +1W, and he's now faster than a Rhino to zip around to where he's needed most. Gets a twin boltgun with the bike for a little dakka.
    • Primaris Apothecary: 13 points for +1W and improved pistols: the reductor pistol, which is a 3" S4 AP-3 D2 pistol, and the Absolver Pistol, which is 16" S5 AP-1 D1. He's a great choice if you want to go for an all-Primaris army. Keep him back and out of assault - he has no business in close combat. He'll do just fine popping off shots with his pistol and keeping nearby units alive.
  • Company Ancient: The old banner bearer, now an Independent Character. The banner adds +1L to any same <chapter> Infantry units within 6". If a <chapter> Infantry model dies within 6", you get a 4+ chance for them to get off one more round of shooting or close combat right then, before your opponent can move on to something else. Note that this only affects models in the bubble, not units, so be mindful when picking who dies. It also sadly doesn't affect bikes. Comes with a bolt pistol that you can swap for a different pistol, combi, or melee weapon. Out of phase shooting is great, and marine infantry die quite a bit in practice. Combine with an Apothecary.
    • Company Ancient on Bike: Gets the same added durability and speed upgrade as an Apothecary on a bike. His aura still only affects Infantry, not bikes.
      • Always take a bike. With the new 60mm x 35mm bike bases, your aura increases from about 6.5" from the center of the model to about 7.75", giving you more than a 15" diameter bubble of bonus actions.
    • Primaris Ancient: Same as a Company Ancient, but with +1W +1A. Comes with a bolt rifle in addition to the pistol, and can't swap his wargear or ride in anything but a Repulsor.
      • Easily worth the 5 points for the +1W alone; the +1A and improved bolter are just icing, as you probably weren't planning on up-gunning your Ancient anyway, and since the Ancient buff is an AOE on multiple units, very compelling overtaking a second Ancient for redundancy.
      • Also of note is the fact that, much like the bike ancient, this guy is mounted on a larger 40mm base, meaning you can get more models into your buff aura.
  • Chapter Ancient: Split off from the Honour Guard, he's the same as a Company Ancient, but comes with a 2+ save and a power sword instead of the pistol (which he can't exchange).
  • Company Champion: Another former Command Squad guy now on his own. He can't bodyguard, but he's WS2+, W4, is a character, has to make a Heroic Intervention if possible, and re-rolls failed hits against Characters. Comes with a master-crafted power sword, bolt pistol, and combat shield for a 5++, but no other wargear options. Multiple Champions can be very interesting when embedded in your gunline, or as part of a larger melee deathstar - Heroic Interventions make them a very useful counter-assault choice, and they can swiftly dispatch most other characters without wasting your Captain / Chapter Master's time.
    • Company Champion on Bike: Same as above, with the bike's +1T, +1W, M14, and twin bolter. Costs a truly staggering 94 points, so best avoided.
  • Chapter Champion: Despite the name, the Codex Chapter Champion isn't unique, so one Chapter can have multiple of him. He has the same mandatory Heroic Intervention and re-roll against characters as a Company Champion, but has +1A and Sv, and different wargear. His Codex entry carries a Power Sword and Champion's Blade (as well as a bolt pistol and grenades), meaning he costs 64 points, so you're paying 10 points over a Company Champion to go from 3+/5++ to 2+ and from A3 S4 AP-3 D2 to A4 S4 AP-3 D1 + A1 S4 AP-2 D1; as you may have just noticed, this means, even before the points difference, your output is going down against anything with 2 or more wounds. Accordingly, you're better off with a Company Champion, even though the Chapter Champion can use the Index to swap his Champion's Blade for a Bolter (which is drastically better on him) or his power sword for something else, simply because the master-crafted power sword on the Company Champion is so efficient and because 2+ isn't that much better than 3+/5++. The closest you're going to get for competition is the Thunder Hammer/Bolter combo, which is 81 points for A4 WS3+ (re-rolling 1s to hit characters) S8 AP-3 D3, which will murder most things more efficiently than the Company Champion will, but only once delivered, and you can't give him a Jump Pack - that's a serious points investment over solving the same problem with Thunder Hammer Vanguard Vets, who can just get to the problem with their Jump Packs.
    • Both Champions have buffs that overlap Chaplains/Captains/Chapter Masters/Salamander Tactics, so plan accordingly - if you're bringing the buffs in from elsewhere, neither is remotely as compelling as TH/SS Company or Vanguard Veterans.
  • Company Veterans: More or less the Command Squad from earlier editions, minus the Apothecary, (Company) Champion, and banner bearer (now a Company Ancient), which are all split off as independent Characters. You can still kit between 2 and 5 of them out however you like (except no special weapons on the Sergeant - he's stuck with combi). They possess an ability similar to the old "Look out, Sir!" rule which lets them intercept a wound from a CHARACTER on a 2+ in exchange for taking a mortal wound, so they're good bodyguards.
    • Far and away the best Infantry unit you can field, both offensively and defensively, per point; all of them can go special/combi weapon+storm shield, thunder hammer+storm shield, or special weapon+thunder hammer, and they can get down to a 2-man unit, emphasizing morale immunity and maximizing the "free" sergeant "upgrade" (even though he is proficient with fewer weapons than his men). Note the sergeant has been FAQed to now have access to storm shields.
    • While it goes without saying taking two melee weapons is idiotic outside of two chainswords, any combination of melee and pistols essentially means you're taking Vanguard Vets, but without the Jump Packs, and with the ability to get down to 2 men, not 5 (particularly useful due to the Sergeant's improved Attack), as well as having the bodyguard ability - if you were going to take Vanguard Vets on foot anyway, such as in a transport, these are better, but you should think long and hard before taking Vanguard Vets with Jump Packs, if you're after melee. The primary reason to take Company Vets is the Special Weapons access, paired with either a thunder hammer or a storm shield (the storm shield is usually your best bet).
    • For the points, you should not take flamers - a storm bolter will deliver more S4 shots in that range per point - but should take combi-flamers, if you're really after 8" of S4 death. However, no tricks here will let you beat out Scout Bikes for S4 hits per point, so you should seriously consider loading them out differently.
    • The opposite is true for plasma, because the shared profile's -1 penalty makes overcharging hopelessly expensive - plasma guns are more efficient than combi-plasmas. Because the Sergeant is stuck with a combi, the unit's ranged output will get slightly more efficient (with diminishing returns) as it gets bigger, if it commits hard to plasma, or the Sergeant can just stick with a combi-flamer.
    • Meltaguns cost more than the Veterans carrying them, and you have no really great way to get them into position to shoot, so in practice, they're best avoided. Grav guns, on the other hand, are just always an inefficient choice, period, compared to plasma.
    • Company Veterans on Bikes (Index Only): Similar to their footslogging counterparts, but with an extra wound and point of toughness per model. Keep in mind that they can only intercept hits for Biker Characters, so if none of your Captains/Chaplains/Librarians are on bikes, they won't be able to bodyguard. It's challenging to justify the points cost here, since you pay 9 more points per bike than a Bike Squad, and don't get additional special weapons access until the 4th unit member, but this is just about the only way to field melee-focused bikes, if you have some sort of weird desire for that. 5 Company Veterans on Bikes each with a Stormbolter can lead to this single unit putting out 40 bolter shots at half range. A tactical squad at half range is 10 shots for 65pts, 6.5 points per bolt fired. A Scout Bike Squad at half range with a Storm Bolter Sergeant is 22 shots for 77 pts, 3.5 points per bolt fired. Meanwhile the Company Veterans on Bikes with Stormbolters comes to 4.75 points a bolter shot.
    • Running two smaller 2 or 3 man squads instead of one larger squad has some tradeoffs. With more small squads, you get more sergeants (i.e. more melee attacks), make multi shot weapons less effective, and make it more likely for your opponent to overcommit when shooting them, since there are fewer guys for the shots to spill to. However, smaller squads make it easier for the opponent to pick off the guy he wants, for the same reason. Small squads are also fully immune to morale, but that's not much worry for a bigger squad anyway.
  • Honour Guard: They seem underwhelming at first, since there're only two models per unit and they have only one more wound compared to the Company Veterans. However, they only cost a minimum of 50 points plus gear (see below) for the entire unit. They possess a 2+ save, which, paired with their W2, is the primary reason to take them - they're worse in melee than Company Vets - and because of their unit size, have no worries about morale tests. Like the Company Veterans, they can intercept wounds for CHARACTERs, so they're good to have around in melee. Remember that you can stick several units into a single transport, so there is nothing stopping you from sticking 8 2-man units of Honour Guard into a single Land Raider Crusader.
    • Codex Honour Guard have a mandatory Power Axe, but Index Honour Guard can take a Sword, Maul, or Relic Blade, so per the FAQ, the Index "wins", letting you take 50 point Sword Guard for bubble wrap/ablative wounds. For any weapon from Power Sword, Maul, or Axe, an Honour Guard costs the same as a Company Vet with a Storm Shield, meaning the choice is W2/2+ or W1/3+/3++; the former is cheaper per wound, which means your bodyguard lasts longer, but the latter is more durable against the majority of potential incoming fire, due to the abundance of higher damage and armour penetrating guns out there. Note also that both units are functionally immune to morale, but the Company Vets hit harder in melee - the Honour Guard unit is 4 attacks, while the Company Vets are 5. Relic Blades are garbage, doubling the cost of the Honour Guard carrying them; Company Vets with Thunder Hammers will outperform them any day.
  • Imperial Space Marine: Now a character rather than just something you can substitute any Space Marine model for, which is good because he's gotten much nastier since last edition. Compared to an average Tactical, he's gained 3 extra wounds, 2 more attacks, and one extra Ld point. But it's his disintegrator combi-gun and disintegrator pistol you should watch out for. They're only 18" Rapid Fire 1 and 9" Pistol 1 (respectively), but with S5, AP-3, and d6 damage (basically a higher damage combi-grav and grav pistol) they have the potential to fuck up a lot of units if it manages to wound them. He is frustrating to use against T6+ Monsters and Vehicles, but against T5 models and less he's a straight thug killer.
  • Centurion Assault Squad: With T5 and 3 wounds apiece, the choppy Space Marine in a Space Marine is a nasty piece of work in melee, especially since it can cause a HoW-like mortal wound on a 4+. However, it can give that ability up in exchange for Hurricane Bolters that act like Rapid Fire 6 Bolters- that's the equivalent of a MSU Tactical squad before you even get into RF range! The Siege Drills are pretty good too, since they act like Chainfists but with one more point of damage and no penalty to hit. As an added bonus, their sarge's omniscope negates cover bonuses. Getting them up the field practically requires a Land Raider. For long range shooting focused marine armies, Assault Cents make a strong counter charge unit. Especially because of having 2 flamers EACH, that make up for 6 D6 of auto hitting surprise in overwatch or tearing apart big blobs of infantry. As a side note: while they were never precisely cheap, they're even more expensive this edition, costing more per model than many characters.
  • Sternguard Veteran Squad: With the special ammunition gone, the sternguard now walk up the field with their beefy Special Issue Boltgun. Packing a punch with its AP-2 and 30" range over the standard issue, the sternguard are much more likely to crunch through all forms of armour, especially in conjunction with the Masterful Marksmanship Stratagem. A special note goes towards combi-weapons; while they don't have the one-use rule anymore, remember that the bolt part of the weapon is the standard one without any AP. However, in 7ed, the cost of the Special Ammo was baked into the Model, but in 8ed, you don't have to pay for the special issue bolt gun if you take a different weapon. This makes using a weapon other than their special bolter less of penalty. They also get the standard veteran extra attack over a normal marine, so they can deal some decent retaliatory damage when they're inevitably charged.
    • Still one of the best units to come out of a drop pod and rapid fire something to death with their special issue boltguns. Their new specialized stratagem gives them +1 to their wound roll, so make sure to have a Captain/Chapter Master near them for the re-rolls, and give him the Storm of Fire Warlord Trait and include a Lieutenant. Now they're shooting 20 shots, re-rolling 1s (or misses if it's the CM), wounding everything less than T8 on a 3/4+, re-rolling 1 s to wound, and every 5 or 6 to wound is resolved at AP-3 (and just for added fun, make them Imperial Fists and ignore that cover their squad is hiding in while you gain the potential for extra shots with the Bolter Drill Stratagem, or make them Salamanders for even more reliable wounding/improved AM and less reliance on a full Chapter Master).
    • When these guys come out of drop pods, don't forget that their rapid fire range is 15", so that can give them some space before the inevitable charge. Most units are only able to rapid fire 12" away, so the following turn, the enemy unit can advance 6" and then be up close for an easy charge. The difference between being 9" away and 6" should not be understated, and should be used to your advantage, so keep that in mind when deploying their drop pod.
      • Note that coming out of a drop pod 12" away if armed with Storm Bolters will be more effective, if riskier.
    • Cheaper than Intercessors, you may consider these instead with some cheap scouts to fill your troops role.
    • Special Issue Boltguns are 2 points, but so are Storm Bolters, which are on the Combi-Weapons list. 4 shots at AP0 is more useful against horde armies with poor armor, but the SIBs can rapid fire from farther away and if paired with their Stratagem they will never wound on anything worse than a 5+.
  • When comparing the Special Issue Boltgun to the Storm Bolter, it can be seen that (ignoring range) the SIB is in general worse than the Storm Bolter against anything that doesn't have a 2+ armour save and an invulnerable of 4++ or worse, while they are the same against 3+ or 2+/3++. When using the stratagem, see the following table.
Save
2+ 3+ 4+ 5+ 6+
To Wound 2+ Special Issue Boltgun Both Storm Bolter Storm Bolter Storm Bolter
3+ Special Issue Boltgun Special Issue Boltgun Special Issue Boltgun Storm Bolter Storm Bolter
4+ Special Issue Boltgun Special Issue Boltgun Special Issue Boltgun Both Storm Bolter
5+ Special Issue Boltgun Special Issue Boltgun Special Issue Boltgun Special Issue Boltgun Storm Bolter
6+ Special Issue Boltgun Special Issue Boltgun Special Issue Boltgun Special Issue Boltgun Special Issue Boltgun
  • Vanguard Veteran Squad: Better assault marines. They can take a large selection of weapons, while using Jump Packs when properly loaded out they can get enemy models engaged in CC and and kill them first turn, if taken in numbers (the easiest way to accomplish a turn 1 deep strike charge is by making many attempts at it). A pretty popular unit in 7th and still could be in 8th, as weapons like lightning claws and power swords can wound things like dreadnoughts and vehicles on 5s. Plasma pistols are a really viable choice in 8th, as you can shoot both pistols on the drop. Each model can take 2 chainswords - that's 4 attacks per model for 90 points (or 80 if you're silly and don't take the Packs), 5 for the Sergeant. Though expensive, with the changes to how invulnerable saves work, a Vanguard squad with Thunder Hammers and Shields can be a superior alternative to taking hammernators. A squad with this set-up can kill some of the most powerful units in the game in a single turn. As an example, 4 groups of 5 hitting Magnus (T7 Sv3+/4++r1 18W) expect to wipe him out in a single turn, although they will cost about 2/3 again his cost, assuming you take the Jump Packs. Vanguard with thunder hammers can do a maximum of 33 damage per turn; if a Captain (or, better, a Chaplain, who will provide a better buff for fewer points), Lieutenant, and/or Guilliman is within buff range, they become particularly terrifying. Revisiting the above math, a nearby jump lieutenant and jump chaplain take the point difference from needing 668 to kill 415 to needing 597 (roughly, 4 squads to 2.5 squads), and that's just their buff, of course - both characters can jump in and help, if they like. Each TH/SS Vet costs 13 points less than a TH/SS Assault Terminator, hits just as hard, can't have their teleport deactivated, has the same invulnerable save, will never need a transport to be effective, and has much higher movement. Their main trade-offs are an armour save of 3+ instead of a 2+ and 1 less wound than a Terminator; however, considering the amount of AP modifying weapons and multi damage weaponry in 8th, this isn't as big a trade-off as it first appears. On the whole, a flexible unit that can be geared to be what you want - as cheap as possible to shred hordes with chainswords, or tooled up to deal with more powerful units.
  • Dreadnought: The Dreadnought is one of the best non-HQ units in the Space Marine index. For 177 you can have a Dreadnought with twin lascannons and the CCW w/Heavy Flamer, or for 165 you can have 5 Devastators with 4 lascannons. That's not the most optimal build for the Dreadnought, either. In an edition that loves the Heavy Flamer, Dreadnoughts can carry 3. The unit is buffed by HQs and provides the same security any other bubble wrap could. And speaking of buffs, remember that the Wisdom of the Ancients Stratagem gives it a Captain's re-rolling aura for a turn.
    • A special note on the capabilities of horde killing. An assault cannon is only 1 point more than taking 2 heavy bolters, in exchange for +1S, which is easily worth it - it will devastate any T3 units, and can deal with T4 too, while the heavy flamer will toast charging units. Should anything survive the onslaught, the dreadnought then packs 4 attacks at S12(!!!) with AP-3 and 3 damage a strike. The dreadnought will smash most things you throw it at, should you manage to get it into melee.
    • Another mention goes to the Riflenought setup with two dual autocannons, spewing out 8 Autocannon shots per turn. Great for tearing up 2 wound models in particular, or throwing some decent hurt at most targets from long range. Notably, it's 5 points cheaper to do this with a regular dread than a Mortis. Even though the Autocannon option isn't in the new codex, luckily we can still use the wargear from the index profile.
  • Venerable Dreadnought: A Venerable Dreadnought has a slightly better WS and BS vs a regular Dreadnought, as well as the ability to negate received wounds on a 6+. It gets all of the same weapon options as a regular dread, so it can fill the role better, if more expensively. Notably, the 2+ BS lets you move and still shoot heavy weapons with a better than 50/50 chance to hit, so if you want your dual twin autocannon or lascannon/missile dread to stay mobile, consider the Venerable. Note that even with the cheapest possible loadouts (missile launcher+assault cannon), this implies a 17.24% cost increase for a 25% gain in performance if you stand still (the gain is better if you move), so unless you're taking Heavy Flamers or a Chapter Master, this is always worth it for the output alone; under a Chapter Master, even if you move the gain is less than the cost, so if you don't care about the durability increase, don't pay for the Venerability. Ven Dreads with the Iron Hands trait don't recieve both benefits.
  • Contemptor Dreadnought: For just a modest points increase over a standard Dreadnought, the Contemptor packs 3 extra inches of movement, 2 extra wounds, +1 strength, the same WS/BS as the Venerable Dreadnought, and a 3+/5++ (it also costs more than a Venerable). All of this, unfortunately, comes with a small consequence. The Contemptor and the Redemptor are the only non-FW dreadnought variants currently that suffer from a Damage Table. Generally speaking, the Contemptor is a goddamn steal for what he costs now. The extra-fast movement speed means he can get into any position he needs to be in very short order, and reach melee combat with almost complete certainty. It's limited to a melee weapon and either a multi-melta or Kheres-pattern Assault Cannon (which has one more point of S compared to the normal AC, in exchange for costing 4 points more - not that S7 vs S6 is a compelling jump) and lacks smoke launchers, but its wargear is still more than enough to take out most enemies. This dangerous combination of potent stats and strong weapons means he can fulfill a wide variety of battlefield roles, and the dizzying array of options its Forge World counterpart (see below) has only makes it even more adaptable:
    • Crowd Control: Go after enemy units and hunt down squads.
    • Elite Hunter: Superb at taking down other Elite Units.
    • Character Killer: His high Strength, Weapon Skill, and Damage means the Contemptor can kill most characters in a single round of combat. He is rightfully to be feared by enemy warlords.
    • Linesman: High toughness, high saves, and high wounds means the Contemptor can stop advances pretty quickly.
  • Ironclad Dreadnought: Ironclad Dreadnoughts are much more melee-oriented than the other Dreadnought types, and the extra point of Toughness they get helps them stick around to get there. It switches out its ranged weapon for a Seismic hammer, which forces a -1 to hit but comes with AP-4 and deals a jaw-dropping 5 damage per attack; if reliability is more your thing, it can be switched for a Dreadnought chainfist which deals "only" 4 damage per attack but retains the high AP and loses the penalty to hit. Always take the chainfist. It averages more damage in all situations, and is slightly cheaper to boot. You can choose to switch the CCW for a hurricane bolter, but that's a bad idea since it re-rolls to hit results of 1 in close combat when it has two melee weapons equipped. Of course, if you plan on keeping close to a Captain or Chaplain (such as riding a Stormraven with them and another squad), that second CCW becomes redundant. Finally, the Ironclad Assault Launchers give it the ability to deal d3 mortal wounds to units within 1" of it after a charge on a 4+, which ensures they'll be softened up when you begin the fight phase.
    • Ludicrously strong against high-wound targets without invulnerable saves such as tanks, Tyranid monsters etc. It can easily earn its points back in a single melee phase, but it is limited by the 6" move.
  • Terminator Squad: Terminators still have to worry about high-AP weaponry, but since very few weapons have anything better than AP-4 they'll almost always be able to use the resulting 6+ armor save (though you could just use the 5++ instead); it's not much, but it helps. At the same time, the addition of an extra Wound to their profile also outright doubles their survivability against massed small arms fire. The 5" movement means they're most effective when deep striking, but footslogging can still work if your opponent's lacking in anti-armor weaponary. The heavy flamer punishes counter charges and has the benefit of autohitting, but you won't be able to fire it the turn they teleport in. Storm Bolters do pour out the Dakka but Bolters aren't very productive. The assault cannon is good for shredding lightly armored infantry and can even pick away at light vehicles if you have nothing better to shoot at. You will never, EVER take the Cyclone Missile Launcher; it is effectively a 36" missile launcher that fires more shots (Heavy 2d3 for the frag missiles, and Heavy 2 for the krak missiles), but for 50!!! fucking points. And you have to take the Storm Bolter with it as well, so that brings you up another 2. For the price of one, you could give your Terminator squad a pair of assault cannons and still have enough left over to pay for almost half of a Combi-melta! Or, alternatively, buy for the same fucking price a pair of regular Missile Launchers and get double the number of Frag Missile shots with a solid foot more range AND split fire. Teleport them onto a midfield objective, when in cover they become quite hard to shift. Deep Strike these guys 9" away from enemy meatsheilds, within Rapid Fire range of their Stormbolters, and launch the equivalent of 20 bolter shots. Follow up with a charge at whatever the meatshield was protecting.
    • Teleport homers work a little differently now; it's set up during deployment, anywhere in your deployment zone, and allows Terminators to skip their move in exchange for re-deploying the unit within 6" of the homer. While this is great for bringing them into an area that needs defending, each homer can only be used once and will be disabled if an enemy moves within 9" of it.
  • Terminator Assault Squad: Still the gold standard of heavy assault troops, especially with the extra wound they've gained. The classic Hammernator setup is still great for smashing in vehicles and heavy infantry alike while taking little damage yourself, but the -1 to hit can be a problem at times. Take a Chaplain along to mitigate the lowered hit rate (remember, though, that re-rolls occur before modifiers, so no re-rolling 3s). A set of Lightning Claws are more reliable and more effective against horde armies due to the additional attack, so it may be a better idea than before to stick with them. Assault Terminators with hammers, shields and near a chaplain or captain can obliterate the most powerful units in 8th in a single turn. The only alternative that offers anywhere near the CC killing power of hammernators are vanguard with hammers (Hammerguard?) and while they have better movement and cost less they lack the durability of terminators having less wounds and a weaker armour save.
    • Never take these guys with only Lightning Claws, you should always include at least 1 with hammer and shield. Why? Tartaros Terminators can take double claws for the exact same cost, have the same stats and 5++, get a 6" move instead of 5", and can add a grenade harness for a bit of shooting on the side; Cataphractii aren't as fast, but have a better invulnerable save, also get the harness, and cost 5 points less when using double claws. The only advantages these guys have over Tartaros are the hammer/shield setup, and a teleport homer for an emergency jump out, so *use* them.
  • Cataphractii Terminator Squad: Cataphractii Terminators come with a 4++, but they're stuck with a movement of 4" and halve the results of their Advance rolls. They can be as lethal in close combat as Assault Terminators (and more durable by far when compared to Assault Terminators with LCs if kitted out that way), but their terribly slow movement means they'll struggle to actually get stuck in without deep striking or hitching a ride on a Land Raider.
    • Remember that to benefit from the Lightning Claw's extra attack, you need to replace both the power fist and the combi-bolter. As lethal as the combination of LCs and a built in Storm Shield can be, it will eat up a lot of points. A good build not available to normal terminators is a LC and a twin boltgun on each terminator, dropping the twin LC for one and taking the boltgun, you only lose one attack and gain a potential 4 strength 4 shots instead, giving your 5 man squad 20 shots, and don't forget you can take a heavy flamer too. On a 10 man unit that is 40 shots and you save yourself 20 points on dropping the extra LC.
    • The sarge's grenade harness is a good way of giving him a ranged attack while still letting him take two lightning claws. It's an Assault D6 12" bolter with -1 AP, which isn't great but is still better than nothing.
    • A unit of 5 Cataphractii Terminators with Twin Lightning Claws costs 210 points. A Terminator Assault Squad with Twin Lightning Claws costs 215 points. A Tartaros Terminator Squad with Twin Lightning Claws costs 215 points. For the reduction of 5 points you lose 1 of movement and gain a 4++ save instead. The sheer durability added and the ability to teleport onto the field means that if you're looking to do Twin Lightning Claw terminators there's literally very little reason to NOT use Cataphractii over normal Terminators. Just keep in mind that after the charge they'll have to footslog unless you have a transport near by. Great when combined with Black Templers for the re-rolling charge to ensure they make the charge.
  • Tartaros Terminator Squad: All the protection of Terminator Armor, but none of the movement penalties! As before, the Tartaros Terminators use Reaper Autocannons instead of Assault Cannons; while they have fewer shots than the AC, which means even with the extra point of strength they'll break even against T7 (and have worse output against T6 ), at least they're slightly cheaper. The improved mobility does come at the expense of losing access to Storm Shields, though, and unlike the Cataphractii your invulnerable save is no better than basic Terminator armor.
    • Up to 2 models can take grenade harnesses; their range overlaps with the Combi-bolter's rapid fire range, so use that to your advantage.
    • The sarge can take a Plasma Blaster or a Volkite Charger. The Plasma Blaster is an 18" Assault 2 plasma gun, with all the strengths and weaknesses that entails. The Volkite Charger is Heavy 2 15" S5 AP0 D2; while it may seem somewhat weak compared to the Plasma Blaster it can still cause multiple wounds without running the risk of blowing yourself up with it in the process. But unlike other 40K Volkite weapons it can't cause more damage on a 6+. Pairing it with the power sword might be a good idea, though - the sword's AP-3 can help compensate for the Volkite's ineffectivenss against armored units. Though you probably want to take a Chainfist as it has better AP and damage compared to the other melee options. If you expect to face TEQs. You should take the Plasma Blaster instead.
  • Servitors: Now that they can be taken independently of a Techmarine, you could use them as a cheap way of adding more plasma cannons to your force, but with WS/BS 5+, Ld6, and only a 4+ armor save, they'll have trouble actually hitting things, die from anything more dangerous than a mean look, and are likely to be lost to morale checks; they don't even get the benefits of Chapter Tactics. Having a Techmarine nearby mitigates their flaws a little by boosting them to Ld 9 and WS/BS 4+, but even then there are much better things you could be doing with your Elites slot.
  • Alternative take: servitors with heavy bolters are actually cheaper then they are base with a servo arm. If you have a tech marine it could be worth taking them as cheap fire support that also helps fill out detachments. 4 Servitors with 2 heavy bolters atm is 56 points, 1 point more then an apothecary, and while they serve a different role there is still a reason to take servitors as they are essentially worse devs in the elite section. But boy are units of them cheap (looking at you brigade)!
  • Reiver Squad: The loyalist equivalent to berserkers, the melee specialists of the Primaris Marines have some steep competition in the Elites slot, but where they're beaten in regards to sheer power they compensate with their unique rules and equipment. They're armed with a heavy bolt pistol that has -1 AP compared to the normal one and a combat blade that functions identically to a chainsword and can be traded for a bolt carbine, but their main draw is their Shock Grenades. They're Grenade d3 weapons that don't deal direct damage, but instead disable the Overwatch of INFANTRY they hit in addition to penalizing their hit rolls by 1. This added advantage in the Fight phase works well with the Reivers' Terror Troops rule, which reduces the Ld of all enemy units within 3" of any model in the Reiver Squad by 1. As a result, they can debuff the Ld of units they're not actually in combat with, which can lead to a nasty chain reaction if they're stationed near units that are already likely to break in the Morale phase. They're also the cheapest of the Primaris Marines released so far by a long shot as well, which makes them a good way of supplementing an Assault Marine-centric force without spending too many points in the process. They can also buy grav chutes which lets them deep strike anywhere more than 9" away from the enemy. Alternatively, you can buy grapnel launchers, which negate vertical movement when calculating how far Reivers can move and allows for them to Outflank a la Space Woof Scouts.
    • A small unit with bolt carbines and grapnel launchers can make a decent harassing unit. Plop them in a building on your opponent's side. Bolt carbines put out twice as many shots as bolters/bolt rifles at 24" and the vertical distance keeps them safe from most assaults while cover helps keep them alive. Next turn hit the floor and advance while shooting, or better yet charge if you have the chance after popping off a shock grenade. It's a small, expendable unit that can still wreak havoc if left unchecked.
    • While not points efficient, it is possible to give Reivers both the grav chutes and grapnel launchers. This really does it open up the board with movement. Have them drop onto a building and use their Bolt Carbines to harass enemy units that get close. If an enemy gets too close, no worries, simply advance away to another building. Because vertical movement is not an issue due to grapnel launchers, you can literally Tarzan around the board. And since assault weapons simple cause a -1 modifier on to hit rolls for a unit that has standard marine ballistic skill, you can see where this is going. With Combat blades, the units charge is not effected. Basically, they can jump down from high ground, assault, and get back into the high ground. Do be aware, however, that if you Advance, you can't Charge. Assault weapons don't mitigate this.
      • These guys are top notch bullies. They won't do much to vehicles/monstrous creatures/heavy infantry... But will abuse MEQ and lower very well. Its funny because a unit like this belongs in a chaos codex with bat wings painted all over it, Guilliman lowered the bar with this lot.
    • Reivers equipped with Grapnel Launchers have the unique ability to ignore vertical movement. This allows them to deploy from deepstrike 9" away, but use a much closer charge range when charging. If you can deepstrike 9" above an enemy model, your Reiver can have a 2" charge.
  • Redemptor Dreadnought: The vanilla dread's Jock roommate. With nearly twice the wounds of a vanilla dreadnought (and degrading stats to accompany the increased durability), the redemptor dreadnought is a solid heavy weapons platform, capable of holding the anti-horde Onslaught Gatling Cannon or the armor-melting Macro Plasma Incinerator, and the anti-air Icarus Rocket Pod as well as a pair of storm bolters or fragstorm grenade launchers. However, it is a heavy points investment, and much of its anti-armor potential might be better handled by specialized units like Devastators, Hellblastors, or Predator variants. Instead, anti-horde fire support appears to be its most effective niche, potentially able to put out a withering volley of mid-strength shooting that will take a significant chunk out of GEQ or weaker units and then follow up with a smack from its CCW, which is d6 damage compared to the normal Dreadnought CCW's d3. But even if it takes the Macro plasma Incinerator, the CCW can still swap its heavy flamer for an Onslaught Gatling Cannon to retain effectiveness against hordes.
    • Equip it with a Plasma incinerator, use the Wisdom of the Ancients strategem and a big unit of Hellblasters and you can re-roll all those overcharges that might blow you to high heaven.
  • Aggressor Squad: The goofy-looking lovechild of a Terminator and a Centurion that outperforms both. They come stock with auto boltstorm gauntlets (so assault instead of pistol) and a frag grenade launcher, or you can trade all that in for Firebat pattern flamestorm gauntlets, which is a pair of flamers. Either you're going for 18 inches of 6+D6 (average: 9.5 shots, 6.33 of which hit) S4 or 8 inches of 2D6 (average: 7) auto-hitting S4, and either way it allows them to put out a lot of short-ranged firepower, with power fists in melee. Generally speaking the bolters+launchers will do better, averaging to only .66 fewer hits than the flamers but at more than double the range, you should really only use flamers if you're going for the Salamanders' flamecraft strat, or just trying to make these fugly models slightly less fugly since taking them means giving up those silly looking grenade launchers. They've got Gravis armor, which makes them T5, move 5", and take up two slots in a Repulsor. Then there's the special rules: Fire Storm, which lets you shoot twice if you don't move (including in Overwatch, which is just plain scary when combined with the flamestorm gauntlets), and Relentless Advance, which lets you advance and fire assault weapons without penalty (this has no effect on the flamers, as they autohit anyway). This makes them surprisingly fast since all their guns are assault. Run and gun for the Emperor! Aggressors are also strong at the front of your army for discouraging/punishing Deep Strikers. If you go 2nd, and someone deep strikes nearby, the Aggressors will count as having not moved. Pop the Auspex Scan so you can shoot the deep strikers, and shoot them twice due to Fire Storm special rule.
    • Aggressors deserve SERIOUS praise. The foulest of enemy is keen to swamp an Astartes force in large bodies of units while also attempting to outmaneuver them. Aggressors can negate these tactics quite well. Drawing from everything mentioned above; squads of three only cost 111 points, can move quite quickly and still retain HIGH volumes of fire. More so, they work well with certain stratagems: Raven Guard SFTS can place them very close if needed. Find a way to get them re-roll support and they are phenomenal.
    • Consider them expendable. Its a valiant and noble role, but a vanguard detachment of 3 squads with a Lieutenant placed in front of your main army is more than enough to contain an opponent and deal significant damage in the process while being affordable.
      • Flame version used in this manner is perhaps the greatest 'speed bump' one could ask for. Kudos if they deploy in cover.
    • 6 with bolters cranks out like 100 shots a turn... fuck mate thats nearly .5 S4 bolter shots per point considering a full six man squad is 222 points. And your getting powerfists, T5 W2. Seriously, What more could you ask for? (Don't say a 2+ save)

Ultramarines[edit]

  • Tyrannic War Veterans: Sternguard Vets, minus the weapons options and with the ability to re-roll all failed rolls to hit or wound TYRANID units. Situational, but since the bugs have gotten significant buffs it might be useful. The unit consists of 4 models, so can be cheaper in total than Sternguard, and make odd arrangements in transportation more viable.

Black Templars[edit]

  • Cenobyte Servitors: Cenobyte Servitors are a 3 man unit that makes all Black Templar units in 12" auto pass morale test and with the unit costing less than most weapons, only the fact it's a elite slot may stop you from taking them. Or, making you to take them to unlock a Vanguard Detachment, or Brigade Detachmnent, or an extra transport to your army. T3, a 4+ save, and non-Character means that if they can be seen, they can be targeted, and removed with minimal fire, so be on the lookout of giving up First Blood to your opponent. If you bringing them, hide them behind a Rhino.

Legion of the Damned[edit]

  • Damned Legionnaires: Tough, deep striking infantry unit. They can be armed with a plasma gun, flamer or a melta along with a heavy flamer or multimelta. The sergeant gets access to shortened list of the usual sergeant weapons. The built-in 3++ invuln keeps the Legion of the Damned on the table longer than other Power Armor infantry units. Heavy Flamers and Flamers are great, but on the turn the LotD unit arrives, it must be 9" away, and the flamers cannot shoot. For this reason LotD is maximized with plasma or melta weapons on the alpha strike. Two squads of LotD can really hurt powerful tanks with two melta weapons in each squad. The flamer heavy loadout is best for objective camping early in the game, as the LotD can grab useful points via their deepstrike turn one.
    • Legion of the Damned can be taken alongside any Imperium army in a Vanguard detachment despite said detachment not having any HQ units in it. However, the detachment will not grant extra CP.

Forge World[edit]

  • Relic Contemptor Dreadnoughts (Forge World): 37 points (around 38%) more naked than a naked normal Contemptor. Two more wounds compared to the standard Contemptor, ignores wounds received on a 6+ AND has a 2+ save, but Attacks also degrade with damage now (rather than Movement). You also get access to way more options than any other Dreadnought. For your convenience, they're all listed below; you can take any two you like, unlike the base Contemptor, which is forced into 1 melee option and has only a Kheres and a Multi-melta to choose from for its main gun. Unfortunately is a Relic, so each one of these forces you to take a non-Relic Elite. If you really just want a Contemptor but better (i.e. filling the same role against the same targets), take 1 chainfist with a heavy flamer and 1 Kheres. You'll get into position for the Kheres faster since your Movement doesn't cripple, it'll take way more work to cripple your statline, and your fist's output in both melee and ranged will be incredible.
    • Cyclone Missile Launcher:Per the FAQ, can take one of these, but it's 50 points for two missile launchers at only 36" range - two actual missile launchers would cost you 50, and have 48" range and the ability to split fire if you wanted. Not a fantastic idea, but better then on Terminators, as it mounts on top of the hull and doesn't replace an arm weapon. The big draw here is the Contemptor's BS2+.
    • Fist Weapon Options:DCCW or Chainfist, with a built-in Storm Bolter, Heavy Flamer, Plasma Blaster (an assault 2 plasma gun at a steep price hike, but sull usable for reasons described below), or Graviton Blaster (an assault 2 grav-gun without paying a point more, which is sadly not nearly enough to make it worthwhile). It's also worth mentioning that Relic Contemptor Dreadnoughts have the Unstoppable Fury rule, while allows them to reroll 1s to-hit if they are armed with two melee weapons, but doesn't specify in which phase. So you have less concern about overcharging your plasma blaster now that you hit on a rerollable 2+. Since your movement no longer cripples, the Heavy Flamer is a really solid choice, allowing you to easily get into position to use it even as your other stats degrade.
      • Chainfists: Contemptor Chainfists gain -1 AP and +1 damage over a normal DCCW. Overall a solid upgrade that lets them do terrible damage to both vehicles and monsters. It's a must-take for all purposes. Don't take 2, though - 1 chainfist + 1 DCCW will give you identical performance while saving you 6 shiny points.
      • Re-rolling hit rolls of 1 is pretty damn worth it, now that rolling with 2 melee weapons only costs you 10 more points.
    • C-Beam Cannon: The new Heavy Conversion Beamer is a single shot weapon that starts at S6 AP-3 that does D3 damage. It also gains +2 points of strength and +D3 damage for each 24" between the target and the firer, totaling S12 AP-3 4d3 Damage at 72" exactly, though realistically it will be S10 AP-3 D3d3 between 48" and 72". In addition, if a model is removed from play as a result of wounds caused then it automatically trigger 2d6 extra auto-hits on the target unit at S6 AP0 D1. Generally speaking, this weapon suffers the exact same problem as the Vindicare Assassin, with a crippling downside that the contemptor MUST remain stationary for the entire turn in order to use it. It cannot be stressed enough that this thing really NEEDS the range, though firing it at infantry squads has a good chance of killing a random mook and triggering an average of seven further S6 hits, which is still better than a twin heavy bolter. At full range, the initial hit will likely knock the crap out of any target, wounding it on a 2+ or 3+ depending on its toughness and generally reducing its save to 5+ or worse but those additional hits will likely be wasted.
      • Against the infantry targets you have a serious chance at one-shotting, the C-Beam Cannon suffers from costing so much. Against GEQs, you'll do a lot of damage even at short range, but not enough to outperform the Kheres, and you'll face similar scaling problems at any range, largely because as your ability to guarantee the "splatter" improves, your splatter's actual value gets worse. This weapon actually becomes the best when used against hard targets at range - at 48" or more away, the only 6+ wounds target it's not your best choice against is T5 or T6, where the twin autocannons take over - but without the range, it's just not going to earn its keep.
    • Kheres Assault Cannon: Take this against 1-wound models at Toughness 3, 5, 6, 7, or 10, (where on God’s green earth you’re going to find a Toughness 6/7/10 1-wound model is beyond me, but just in case...) and mulch your enemies.
    • Twin Heavy Bolters: 68% the cost of a Kheres, in exchange for S5 instead of S7 and 12" more range. S7 isn't a big deal, but S6 is, for shooting up both GEQs and Buildings, should that come up; the tl;dr here is that the THB is your best choice against 1-wound models with Toughness 1, 2, 4, 8, or 9 (although where you'll find those last options is a mystery).
    • Twin Autocannons: Identical to the one on the normal Dread. Worse than either of the above options against single-wound enemies, but the best you can take against 2-wound foes; the twin lascannon, below, only finds viable targets starting at 3-wound targets and above, but this gun remains a good choice all the way up against something; even at 6+ wound targets, this is best against Toughness 5, 6, 7, or 10, due to its relatively cheap cost.
    • Twin Lascannons: Pop vehicles open without having to get into melta range. Probably better on the Contemptor Mortis, though. Has fantastic range, but is crippled by its staggering cost; in order to earn its keep you have to shoot things with the wounds to notice that 1d6 damage rating. Once you're up against 6+ wounds targets, it's best against Toughness 1-4, 8, and 9.
    • Multi-Melta: A terrible idea. Much less effective than twin lascannons, against, well, anything. And the basic Dread or non-FW Contemptor could already take this.
    • Heavy Plasma Cannon: You have a 6+ save against the wounds overcharging this causes, but it's worse than your other choices against anything in the game, overcharged or not. Skip.
  • Relic Deredeo Dreadnought: The end-all solution to your dakka-Dread needs, for when even the Contemptor Mortis won't cut it. Its armor save is slightly worse than the Contemptor's at only a 3+, but to compensate it has 2 more wounds and its invulnerable save rises to 4+ in the Fight phase (but why are you in melee in the first place?) on top of the built-in smoke launchers. For guns, you have the Anvilus Autocannons (8 36" autocannon shots with +1 S) for mulching infantry, the Hellfire Plasma Carronade (5 overcharged plasma gun shots which deal 3 damage each but cause mortal wounds on a 1) as the generalist option, and the Arachnus Lascannon Battery (2 S10 AP-4 D6 Damage shots that deal an extra mortal wound on 6s) for taking out vehicles, and also chest-mounted heavy bolters/heavy flamers. Don't bother upgrading to heavy flamers. While auto-hits are good, the Deredeo should be as far away as possible. It should be shooting things, not tied up in melee. It can supplement the main weapon with either an Aiolos Missile Launcher for extra fire support or an Atomantic Pavaise to give everyone within 6" of itself a 5+ invulnerable save. The latter works great with Devastators or other long-ranged units that can help support the Deredeo's firepower.
    • 8th edition is kind of a mixed bag for the Deredeo. While 8 shots at BS2+/3+ on the move with the Anvillus sure are are great, the 12" range reduction is very painful, especially for the plasma carronade. 24" max means it will be in range of most weapons in addition to the risk of losing wounds which is very probable at 5 shots per turn. So it is advised to have a reroll/repair character nearby should you go for the plasma option.
  • Deimos Pattern Relic Predator: Take a Predator, give it an extra wound, and slap a Plasma Destroyer on it as its turret weapon, and you have one of these tanks. The Plasma Destroyer itself can't be overcharged, but with the same number of shots as the basic Predator Autocannon and 2 Damage it doesn't really need to be. While it can swap out the plasma destroyer for the standard Predator guns, that's a waste of its options. Instead, you should use its unique options: the Conversion Beam cannon to make it a hard-hitting artillery unit, the Magna-Melta for close-range anti-vehicle firepower, and the Infernus cannon for a double dose of heavy flamer goodness.
    • The c-beam isn't bad if you can keep your target at least 24" away. 72", heavy 1, S6, AP-3, Dd3, 2d6 S6 auto-hits if you cause a wound. Pretty solid addition to a gunline, since the infantry can provide a deep-strike and charging buffer. Best utilised against light-vehicles and smaller monsters due to 2d6 auto-hits. It's real downside is that it's heavy 1. You get one-shot. Just the one. Uno. Ein. So try and make sure it's plonked next to a Captain, or have a CP or two set aside to re-roll.
    • Plasma Destroyers fill in the usual plasma niche, but better. 36", S7, AP-3, D2, and does NOT cause a mortal wound. A good counterpart to the autocannons anti-light vehicle, this gun specialises in anti-heavy infantry. In that vein, the range gells with sponson heavy bolters, but can also pair well with sponson lascannons if you're going after monsters.
    • The magna-melta is garbage (24", Heavy d3, S10, AP-4, Dd6, melta rule), and it's 70pts. Hard pass, grab the twin las for vehicle busting. The infernus cannon (8", heavy 2d6, S5, AP-1, D2, auto-hits), isn't much better at its role of infantry killing at 45pts. Predator autocannons, or plasma destroyer will do much better at that role, especially since you don't have to spend at least two turns getting in range. Either grab a Baal Predator or a Hellhound if you want Imperial firepower.
  • Relic Javelin Attack Speeder: The poor Deodorant Tanks got a huge nerf in 8th edition. For the most part, these fulfill the same role as before, that of a Heavy Land Speeder. But they lost the twin-linked rule on their Missile Launchers(WTF). They even lost their trademark Outflank ability. Overall this turned what was already a mediocre relic slot item, at best, into a shitty tool that's worse off than a generic land speeder.
  • Relic Sicaran Battle Tank: The Sicaran has transitioned smoothly into 8th ed, retaining its status a high-speed menace. With a big 14" move, T7, 14 wounds, and 3+ Save it falls in between a Predator and a Land Raider in terms of size and durability. It's armed with a nasty twin accelerator autocannon which has a couple neat tricks. It fires at 48" Assault 8 S7 AP-1 D2, suffers no penalties to its hit rolls when attacking flyers, and a to-wound roll of 6 increases the AP of that hit to -3. It's also armed with a single Heavy Bolter and can grab 2 sponson-mounted Heavy Bolters or 2 sponson-mounted Lascannons, a hunter-killer missile, and a pintle-mounted Storm, Bolter, if you crave more dakka. The Sicaran is a useful anti-air unit in a pinch and is well known for its ability to counter skimmers. Make good use of the Assault rule on its main gun by zipping around and firing while advancing. Thanks to Chapter Approved the Sicaran now only costs 165 points without sponsons.
  • Relic Sicaran Venator Tank Destroyer: The Venator trades the regular Sicaran's quantity of anti-skimmer shots for vehicle annihilation; even if a tank survives the Neutron Pulse Cannon's S12 AP-4 D6 damage hits (all 3 of them), it'll have all its shooting rolls reduced by 1 for the turn, which can make life very difficult for vehicles like Executioners or Tau vehicles with Ion Cannons. Additionally, it doesn't get penalties for moving and firing its heavy weapons.
  • Relic Sicaran Punisher Assault Tank: A new flavor of Sicaran, its draw is the Punisher Rotary Cannon- 18 Heavy Bolter shots guaranteed to make any hordes within 36" hate life. And if you don't move that turn, it re-rolls all to-hit rolls of 1. Enjoy making Orks and Tyranids cry.
  • Relic Sicaran Arcus Strike Tank: Another Sicaran variant, this one is armed with a rotary missile launcher. Though 24" is a bit short-ranged for a vehicle weapon, it's still Heavy 2d6 with S5 AP-2 D1. And not only does it negate cover saves, it also deals an extra mortal wound to INFANTRY units on a 6+ to wound. If you're forced to fight an extra large horde, it can switch its weapon profile to Heavy 4d6 at the expense of not being able to fire its missiles until after the end of the next turn. As a result, taking the heavy bolters/lascannons and the storm bolter is a good idea to ensure it doesn't render itself defenseless after a missile massacre.
  • Relic Sicaran Omega Tank Destroyer: Yet another member of the Sicaran family. Its Omega Plasma Array has two modes; in its normal mode, it acts like a Heavy 6 plasma gun, and when supercharged it becomes Heavy 3 S9 AP-3 3 D and inflicts an extra mortal wound on a 6 to wound, but loses d3 wounds if it rolls a 1 to hit. Unfortunately, its range is no better than that of the Arcus, which is far better at wiping out infantry of all types due to the sheer number of cover-ignoring shots it can fire. The range issue is even worse when trying to use it against vehicles, since it'll be in lascannon/plasma cannon range long before it can shoot back and the -1 to hit from moving is going to make it a lot more likely to blow itself up (and even if it survives, it'll still be overshadowed by the Venator). Overall, it's not bad, but not quite good enough when compared to its competition.
  • Relic Whirlwind Scorpius: The Scorpius is set apart from the basic Whirlwind by its Scorpius Launcher (and its occupation of an Elites slot, not a Heavy one) - while it has only half the range of either of the Whirlwind's rocket types, 3d3 S6 AP-2 D2 shots is still plenty to threaten hordes and light vehicles alike. And as an added bonus, it can fire twice in a shooting phase if the Scorpius hasn't moved in the movement phase.

Dedicated Transport[edit]

  • Rhino: 10 Wounds and a 3+ make the old METAL BOXES harder to crack open than ever before, and it comes with a mean new trick- at the start of the turn, you roll a d6, and on a 6+ the Rhino restores a lost wound. It might not seem like much, but it can make the difference between moving 12" and 6" if it moves you back a step on the damage table. Also now having 2 storm bolters means that you can output a lot of Dakka (8 shots at 12 inches), and Kill off some infantry then tie up vehicles in combat. A breakthrough star of 8th
  • Razorback: Transports that produce offensive output, like a Razorback, are likely to be very strong this edition. 8 lascannons fired by devastators will not destroy a Razorback in one turn on average. That is a lot of Dakka to absorb. If you run them with Heavy Flamers, then no matter how injured your Razorback is, it will still always autohit, until said Razorback is dead.
    • The razorback has 6 different options for its main weapon, making it a very flexible tool for patching up weak points in your army's firepower.
      • Twin Heavy Bolter: The stock option and by far the most boring. Cheap, and that's really all that can be said for it. Use if you're on a budget, but if you're not upgrading the weapon, maybe consider just going with a plain old Rhino instead and drop a couple of Heavy Bolters somewhere else in your army, they're nearly the same cost.
      • Twin Assault Cannon: The crowd favorite and for good reason. 12 S6 AP-1 shots is a substantial threat, allowing you to mulch that Guardsman squad standing on the objective you want before dumping your cargo of marines out to finish them off. Got a notable price bump in Chapter Approved, so it isn't an auto-pick anymore, just a very solid one.
      • Twin Lascannon: The infamous Laserback. The most expensive option, but a damn good one. This is one of the Marine's more cost effective anti-tank options, able to deposit its cargo, then dig in and start picking at tanks and monsters.
      • Twin Heavy Flamer: (Index Only) The Marine's knockoff Immolator, it really suffers from the pathetic 8" range. Even the THB can deal more damage simply by having the range to do so; this weapon will be complete dead weight until you're literally on top of the enemy. Avoid.
      • Lascannon and Twin Plasmagun: (Index Only) A bit of an esoteric choice, with the TAC's price hike, this option is only 1 point more. The real draw is the fact that the Plasmaguns are Rapid Fire, not Heavy, allowing you tear around the board firing without penalty. While it actually outperforms the Twin Lascannon in every area when Overcharging, even when not in Rapid Fire range, it does carry that annoying rule that it dies without saves if it rolls a 1 to hit. Still, an interesting option and certainly worth looking into.
      • Multi-Melta: (Forge World) This is the weapon of the Infernum Pattern Razorback mentioned below, but it is literally the only difference between it and the regular Razorback, so here we are. The cheapest weapon option outside the stock THB, this is the budget anti-tank choice. Workable, but a single 24" melta shot taken at -1 from moving is putting a lot of faith in a 50/50 chance.
  • Land Speeder Storm: Dedicated transport for 5 Scout models, for the same base cost as a normal Landspeeder. Open topped so they can shoot out of it, although still suffer any penalties for shooting heavy weapons after moving, and cannot shoot after falling back even if the vehicle still can. Does not get Concealed Positions, but has an 18" move, to easily re-locate. Starts with a Cerberus Launcher (D6 bolter shots at 18") and a Heavy Bolter that it can swap for a Multi-Melta, Heavy Flamer, or Assault Cannon.
    • Put a Scout Sniper squad inside for a mobile Character killing fire base with a 7 wound buffer. Heavy flamer to discourage charges (and hopefully let you fly away next turn), or a Heavy Bolter/AC to provide supporting fire.
    • Put a Scout Shotgun squad inside with a Heavy Flamer, and charge it up into their face.
  • Drop Pod: Grants a Power Armor unit deepstrike. Tactical Marines can use it to capture objectives, and hamper enemy movement. Melta units can get in close for a hard strike. Assault units can charge out of it if you can make 9 on 2d6. No longer scatters and arrives at the turn you chose. However, at roughly triple the cost from previous editions, fielding even a few of these pods can dig into your budget for proper fighting units.
    • The drop pod has fallen far, far from its previously lofty heights.(Pun Intended) Not scattering sounds great, but because the deploying infantry have to be 9" from the enemy, it equates to rolling roughly a maximum scatter result. The point hike means that, while previously your "no offense worth noting" pods were about 1/8 your total budget for steel rain, they are now 3/8. Finally, they are no longer troops or part of a demi-company, meaning that they have lost ObSec. Taken together, the pods need a lot of help if a drop-heavy list is to be viable again.
    • If you choose to take the Deathwind Launcher in Matched Play, then you are officially retarded, as a Storm Bolter is generally twice as better for its points at 12" and can also shoot up to 24".
    • The only compelling argument for drop pods would be some sort of power armored close combat squad that has some means of assuring it makes the 9inch charge. Meltas are going to be out of a range that makes them particularly useful; multi-melta devastators are perfect as they'll be in double-tap range and you can cram 2x5 man squads into a single pod. Flamers are going to be out of range entirely. While it might be compelling to throw a librarian in to allow that unit re-rolls to charge, that can only grant it to THAT UNIT, not including the librarian or any other characters in the pod who might be there to buff. Or maybe you just drop a unit of Sternguard with Special Issue Bolters and burn some CP to try and kill something crunchy with above average bolter dakka.
  • Repulsor: Holds 10 Primaris Marines (models with Gravis armor count as 2) and carries a fair number of anti-tank or anti-horde weapons to protect its passengers. While it can be built to be a veritable battle tank in its own right, it is a heavy point sink and requires support to get the most out of its statline. As most of its anti-tank damage comes from having the potential to equip the equivalent of four lascannons, it might be best to aim for a mixed build to capitalize on its potential to melt hordes and severely damage vehicles. However, its costs can rack up quickly, so unless you plan to field a lot of Primaris Marines you're probably better off taking a Land Raider variant. It also has the FLY keyword with all of it's dis-/advantages. Take it with a squad of 8 Reivers, a Primaris Chaplain and Apothecary for a rather mean, if expensive assault/harassing Unit. Just hope it survives the onslaught of AT weapons long enough to get them in position.
    • If you're just looking for lots of lascannons or horde-clearing weaponry, there are probably cheaper - if somewhat slower - means of getting them on the table, like a Devastator Squad or Redemptor Dreadnought. Anti-armor setups in particular have the issue that the las-talon has only half the range of the twin lascannons, which means it'll only be able to unleash half its anti-armor firepower at its farthest range. At that matter, most of its other weapons struggle with an equally short range compared to most vehicle-mounted weapons, so it will likely need support when dealing with long-ranged attackers.
    • Defensively, it's nearly identical to a Land Raider; although its armor is only a 3+, it has the same number of wounds as a LR and does a good job at discouraging charges with its Repulsor Field rule (-2 from any charge rolls). The optional Auto Launchers supplement this with an extra -1 to hit on opponent shooting rolls if the Repulsor doesn't shoot.
    • Three Aggressors with Auto-Boltstorm Gauntlets, a Captain in Gravis armor, and a Primaris Lieutenant and Apothecary all fit snugly in this beast, hit like a brick, can heal models around it, and protect otherwise slower models. Outfit the Repulsor with Heavy/Onslaught Gatling Canons and say goodbye to any infantry in 18". If you take a regular Primaris Captain instead of one in Gravis armor, you can also toss a primaris ancient into the floating death-bawks so that the aggressors have a chance to fire when they die as well.
    • When kitting the Repulsor out, decide if you want it fighting tanks or hordes. In terms of pure output, for anti-tank take the Las-talon and Twin Lascannon, for anti-horde take the Heavy Onslaught Gatling Cannon and Twin Heavy Bolter and for balanced take the Heavy Onslaught Gatling Cannon and Twin Lascannon. Do note that in terms of points effectiveness the Twin Heavy Bolter is better than the Heavy Onslaught Gatling Cannon, though.

Forge World[edit]

  • Lucius Pattern Dreadnought Drop Pod: It's a drop pod...for dreadnoughts. A good, relatively cheap option for delivering dreads right into multi-melta range and the ONLY option for deep striking Leviathans and Deredeos at all. (Why you would deep strike a Deredeo is a mystery, but you do you)
    • Note that while it completely lacks any offensive abilites whatsoever, it can still serve one use after its cargo lumbers off: body blocking. It still counts as an enemy model for your opponent in terms of movement and line of sight and thus they have to 1. Kill it, thus sparing one of your other units some damage and since the pod is nearly as tough as a Rhino, it'll take a beating before going down, 2. Go around it, which costs time and forces units out of position, or 3. Go through the hassle of charging it, using pile in to scoot around it and falling back from it, which is really, REALLY dumb. And the model (if you can get ahold of a real one) is massive when its doors are open, denying a huge chunk of board. Bonus points if you can use this to block your opponent's anti-tank from reaching the Dread you just disembarked into his backline on the opposite side of the pod.
  • Infernum Pattern Razorback: A Razorback with a Multi-Melta. Might be tricky to get it into melta range in one piece, but on the other hand it's a Dedicated Transport with a Multi-Melta.
  • Termite Assault Drill: It's a neither a drop pod or a rhino, but something of both. Like a drop pod, the Termite can be deployed at the end of a movement phase close to enemy. Once deployed, however, the termite acts like a very slow Rhino. At 8 inches, this thing isn't going anywhere fast. Not to mention the melta cutter is so short range its only real use is to fight back if it happens to be caught in melee. So why bother? Well the termite has some neat little things going for it. First is the transport capacity. At 12 standard marines(Not terminator, jump pack, or primaris) this little drill is quite the metal box. Add in that deployment and who care if this thing only moves 8 inches a turn. Even better is the Breaching terror special rule with gives enemy units with 12 inches a mortal wound. And then there is the subject of weapons. Storm Boltars are the way to go most of the time due to range and fire output. Heavy flamers are meh, though the increase in movement has helped make the weapon somewhat more viable. Volkite chargers are iffy. They have more range and damage than the flamer, but have a negative 1 to hit on the move. Honestly the Storm Bolters are your best bet. The termite also has a decent melee game, though this is more for protection than anything. That being said, the drill makes for a nasty anti tank melee weapon. Now for the bad news. This thing is expensive points wise, way more so than the drop pod.

Flyers[edit]

  • Stormhawk Interceptor: The Anti-Flying Flyer. Gets a +1 to hit any target with the Fly keyword, to mitigate the penalty for moving and firing heavy weapons. Comes stock with 2 Assault Cannons, 2 Heavy Bolters, and an Icarus Stormcannon. The bolters can be swapped with Skyhammers for more anti-flying or a Typhoon against ground targets, while the Icarus can be swapped for an anti-vehicle laser. Cannot hover unfortunately, but does get to re-roll any 1's for saves and has the normal Hard to Hit.
    • A good choice if you are going up against Tau or Dark Eldar, due to the prevalence of Fly. Especially the icarus/skyhammer combo as it lets you hit anything with Fly on a 2+; with the drawback of hitting everything else only on a 5+.
  • Stormtalon Gunship: The 'Talon has undergone a few noticeable changes this edition. You can hover, of course, but standing still is probably not what you want to do with it. The other change comes from the assault cannon. The weapon now vomits out three times as many shots, but lost much for AP and lost rending completely. This makes it better at clearing infantry than the light vehicles it had been targeting previously. Compared to last edition, it's much tougher but easier to hit. Also technically your cheapest flier, making it good for building Air Wings.
    • Note that the Interceptor on the Stormtalon is different than the Interceptor on the Stormhawk. The 'Talon gets +1 to hit anything WITHOUT the Fly keyword. Most likely a typo, has been renamed Strafing Run in the Codex.
    • If you hover you can fire at ground targets at BS2+, assuming you dont move and have taken no more than 4 wounds (Or you are back to normal 3+ after falling into middle damage bracket, which at that point might as well stay in hover and get the most out of your flyer before it gets toasted). This is actually really damn good, in later turns. having the ability to get a few solid rounds fo shooting makes a big difference. Be sure to play your talons cautiously, as the assault cannon requires you to get within range of enemy Dakka. This flyers true potential can only be achieved by treating it very gently.
    • Also note that, for the usual GW rules-fuckery reasons, the Strafing Run special rule completely invalidates the second half of the Skyhammer Missile Launcher's rules. Skyhammer Missile Launchers gain +1 to hit against units with FLY and -1 to hit against units WITHOUT FLY...but Strafing Run gives a +1 to hit against units WITHOUT FLY. Resulting in a net result of only +1 against FLYing units.
  • Stormraven Gunship: A flying Land Raider and one of the most effective units marines have. T7 means S4 weapons can wound it on a 5+ compared to the Raider's T8, 2 fewer wounds, and a 3+ save instead of a 2+, but it's much faster and has -1 to be hit when zipping around. It's also a bit cheaper than a Land Raider, depending on what you arm it with. In addition to the -1 to hit it, it has the new normal flyer rules. Comes stock with a twin assault cannon, twin heavy bolter, and two stormstrike launchers (72" heavy 1 S8 AP-3 3 damage) that's 20 shots a turn. Can swap the assault cannon for a twin lascannon or twin heavy plasma (that only causes 1 mortal wound for a 1 to hit when supercharged instead of straight killing it). Can swap the heavy bolter for a twin multi-melta or typhoon missile launcher. It can also strap on a couple of hurricane bolters (seriously for 20 points total with 24 bolter shots on rapid range you should ALWAYS take this). It has the same Power of the Machine Spirit as a Land Raider, so it can shoot heavy weapons on the move at no penalty. Can carry 12 Infantry (and can carry Jump, Terminator, and Centurions, but they take extra space) and 1 Dreadnought whose max Wounds value is less than 13. With a 45" max normal move (up to 65" if you advance), you can get right in the face of something, then have an almost guaranteed charge the next turn. There's no restrictions on disembarking from it, so you don't even have to drop to hover if you don't want to. It starts on the board, and can't fly off of it.
    • While all vehicles are more expensive this edition, the big bird can eat up a massive amount of points. All those guns aren't free and the base cost is fairly high, as well. This, combined with the loss of the bulk of flying rules, makes the 'Raven a bit more like a superheavy tank, albeit a fast one.
    • Point cost was further increased for both the bird and the weapons in the CA.
    • Be aware that some armies have dangerous Anti-Air-Guns or even CC (flying demons, monsters...). Your Stormraven carries a huge "Shoot me!" sign right above it's cockpit, so most players I met will try to get it down turn 1 at all cost. This will most likely also kill some of the passengers. IMHO it is a beast on paper but tends to be a duckling in real games.

Forge World[edit]

  • Fire Raptor Assault Gunship: Your replacement for the Storm Raven after Chapter Approved. With T7, 16 wounds and 3+ SV it's almost as tough as a Land Raider. The avanger bolt cannon now packs 10 shots at S6 AP-2 2D, enough to drop a whole Primaris squad. In addition each quad bolter packs 12 heavy bolter shots. Hellstrike missiles are no longer one use only and you can in fact fire 4 missiles at S8 AP-3 3D a turn now. It can take 2 double lascannons instead of the missiles for +1S and the chance to deal more than 3 points (D6) of damage per shot. It can also move and shoot heavy weapons without penalty. You can also swap the heavy bolters for autocannons if you wish for more S/D but only a third of the shots.
    • Note : "The Big April FAQ" made this flyer so expensive that it will most likely heat your shelf for the next 2 years. Don't expect to see this anywhere near a table this edition.
  • Storm Eagle Attack Gunship: The big brother of the Storm Raven that vanilla marines know and love, this elongated flying brick of a hover jet boasts a transport capacity of 20 and some increased firepower along with some additional wounds. It can transport jump infantry and terminators, but not bikes or primaris marines.
    • Storm Eagle Attack Gunship- ROC Pattern (Minotaurs): Expensive as hell, beautiful brick'o'hate. Lord Asterion Moloc demanded extra marine-murder with wings, and the beast was born. Sporting 8 krak missile shots (at D2 each), 4 lascannon shots and option to take twin HBolter\MMelta or some MORE krak missiles, the grizzly brick of flying hate actually has more dakka\point when compared to devastators (2 missile squads 1 lascannon squad). Add power of da machine spirit, 16 wounds and T7 and you can feel the power of the charging flying bull. sort of.
  • Caestus Assault Ram: A flyer designed to ram starships/buildings and disgorge Space Marines into the breach, the Caestus Assault Ram is armed with a number of powerful weapons and abilities. The Caestus is quite survivable with T7, 14 wounds, a 2+ save, and -1 to hit. With the removal of vehicle facing in 8th, the Caestus lost its 5++ against shooting from the front, and is no longer outright immune to small arms fire, but it's much more durable against heavy weapons. It's armed with a Caestus Ram - a melee weapon that hits at S User(8) AP-3, D6D, and increases to WS2+ against buildings when it charges. Its Airborne Ram ability restricts it to declaring charges against and being charged and attacked in melee by units with FLY, but only while it's in not in hover mode. It is also armed with 2 Firefury Missile Batteries, each Heavy 4 S6 AP-1 1D. It is further armed with a Twin Magna-Melta - Heavy 2D3 S10 AP-4 D6D (with the Melta rule), meaning this thing can lay the hurt on medium enemy infantry and enemy armor alike. With its 50" movement (70" if you advance) and PotMS, it can reach out and touch people on turn one. For 370 points (post- Chapter Approved, for the hull and the Melta; missile batteries are free) it's pricey, but given Hard to Hit, its toughness, its wounds, and a 2+ save, it WILL deliver its cargo. It's unique troop bays can carry 10 infantry models in terminator armor or power armor, as well as scouts, with terminators taking up a single space instead of the usual 2. The Caestus helps overcome the low movement of Cataphractii Terminators in particular, potentially delivering them closer than the 9" away they're required to teleport in, and enabling them to redeploy.
    • If you need to choose between this and a Land Raider the Caestus is always the better choice. It's pretty much a flying Land Raider in its own right, only with better durability, firepower, speed, and transport capacity while being impossible to tarpit and actually capable of pulling off effective charges. All this for only 15 points. And woe unto your opponent if they decide to get cute and bring Fortifications.
  • Xiphon Interceptor: A high-speed interceptor, the Xiphon is a heavily armed flyer that channels a strong Battlestar Galactica vibe and - unlike every other Space Marine aircraft - actually looks like it belongs in the air. It sports a respectable BS3+, T7, 11 wounds and a 3+ save. It's armed with 2 Twin Lascannons as well as a Xiphon Missile Battery - Heavy 3 S6 AP-2 D3. It also adds 1 to all hit rolls when targeting units with the "FLY" keyword thus negating the effects of "Hard to Hit" and since a lot of units with "FLY" don't have the "Hard to Hit" bonus it will hit them on a 2+. With a huge 50" move and 4 lascannon and 3 missile shots, it'll put some major hurt on flyers and ground targets alike.
    • 240 pints a piece is steep for a flyer, but your getting the functional equivalent of a flying predator annihilator, with all of the benefits this entails, and it puts colleagues like the IG Vendetta to shame. Has no option(s) for anti horde, but can trash all forms of multi wound models while taking limited damage in return.

Fast Attack[edit]

  • Assault Squad: Can do some decent damage since in 8th mass is better than elite. Flamers (like all flamers in 8th) have good potential, but if you let them deep strike they can`t use the flamers because of the 9 inch room you have to leave to the next unit. Plasma pistols are nice to kill units with high T, but just do one damage if not overcharged. Take melta bombs and / or an Eviscerator for your anti-vehicular needs (now that melta bombs are thrown instead of used in cc, taking both on the sergeant isn't the worst idea in the world). Even just dropping a couple of stock five man squads in front of an opponent gives him something he has to deal with lest his shooty units get tied up, but be cautious of counter charges - you'll lose. Assault Squads should basically never be taken in 8th unless you aim for them to be a "cheap" distraction, Vanguard cost only 2 more points and both superior and much more flexible due to wargear choices.
    • The best melee weapon loadout for your sergeant never includes a power fist, because a thunder hammer does half again the damage for a third again the points, but be wary of buying expensive options - a pair of chainswords is free and often the best bang for your buck, all told, since it lets you attack 4 times. In fact, of all of the possible melee loadouts, the easiest way to always bring the most efficient loadout to bear, without memorizing which weapons are best against which enemy statlines, is a pair of chainswords (or a single chainsword, if carrying a pistol) against single-wound targets and a thunder hammer and chainsword (or just the hammer, if carrying a pistol) against multi-wound ones. Eviscerators cost more than thunder hammers do and do less damage on average, so they're only ever worth it against single-wound targets with high toughness and good saves, which are relatively rare, since most targets with high toughness and good saves have at least two wounds.
    • Don't bring a grav-pistol; it's not useful against enough targets compared to the cheaper plasma pistol, particularly if you're willing to overcharge the thing (which you should be, when you need to).
    • Even meltabombs and plasma pistols will basically never be better than simply having brought Inceptors to the party, in terms of ranged combat.
    • Take a 10 man squad with just chainsword/boltpistol and put them in a rhino, and watch them tear through the enemy. No. 20 more points can literally double your melee output with double chainsword vanguard vets
  • Inceptor Squad: The deadly offspring of a Devastator Squad and a Seraphim Squad that can be taken in squads of 3-6. The mortal wound caused by their pseudo-HoW might look good on paper (on a 6+ does it though?), but when you only have a few models in the unit and no melee weapons melee may not be the most efficient use of them. Instead, take a page from the Seraphim's book and use your improved maneuverability to fire off strafing runs, courtesy of your Assault Bolters - effectively Assault 3 Heavy Bolters. They can also take 18" assault plasma cannons to wipe out MEQs/TEQS and put more hurt on vehicles now, because that shit was easy to make into two hand-held guns apparently. Like Assault Marines with Jump Packs, Inceptors have the FLY keyword, with all the strengths and weaknesses that entails. (On the other hand, that does mean you can be a very good distraction if you force an enemy flyer into melee...)
    • Conversely, assaulting with this unit can be a strategic choice. Charging a unit that is weak in melee will allow the Inceptors to avoid getting shot or tie up the enemy unit for the next turn. Since the Inceptors have the FLY keyword, they can disengage next turn with no penalty and resume shooting. This is a tactical decision and will vary greatly depending on the enemy army.
    • A note on their melee capability: because their squad size is so small, the fact that their sergeant does not pay additional points for his +1A has a great opportunity to shine. More importantly, mortal wounds can be used to bypass otherwise durable targets. Nine min-sized Assault Squads with Jump Packs cost as much as five Inceptor Squads; the number of attacks in each is 99 and 35 + 2.5 mortal wounds (when charging), respectively. Doing the math for you, that means the Inceptors deal more damage per point on the charge against any target which is either T8+ and Sv 2 or Sv 3 (such as a Land Raider), or T5+ and Sv 2. Neither unit will do well in those situations, so you should avoid it, but it's worth noting. Against anything in the game, you're way better off with the Inceptor's guns.
    • These guys do incredibly well as allies. They are able to swoop in and provide brutal close range firepower, and then tank some damage if needed during CC. Perfect for supporting Imperial Guard gun lines. This is a unit that the guard simply don't have, and often need badly.
    • The best chapter tactics for these guys will generally be White Scars or Iron Hands; Ultramarines tactics are close to entirely worthless on them, they fire too many shots to make good use of Salamanders, Imperial Fists tactics are rather shabby on anybody, and Raven Guard tactics will work just fine, but you'll usually be engaging at close enough ranges that the enemy will easily be able to circumvent them.
  • Attack Bike Squad: 47 points for a heavy bolter or 64 points for a multi-melta, but you can't advance and shoot any of your guns, and moving will give the heavy weapon a penalty, so this is usually not a great choice, but the heavy bolter option is noteworthy for making this the cheapest in-Chapter option you have for Fast Attack, if you're looking to fill out a detachment. The full weapons complement of one is the heavy weapon, a twin bolter, 2 bolt pistols (which can't be swapped for chainswords, unlike with standard Bikes), 2 frag grenades, and 6 krak grenades, not that you can throw more than 1 grenade anyway, so the only thing to make sure you're aware of here is the second pistol, should that come up. tl;dr: Take only to fill an FA slot for cheap.
    • Perhaps not. They are rocking 4 wounds at T5, thats exactly twice as durable as an Inceptor for only points two more. They even beat out land speeders for cost per T5 wounds. When you add everything up they are actually a great unit, just hampered by the Heavy Bolters firing restrictions. They could possibly see use in a Raven Guard army, in which the are allowed to hang back then move later on in the game. If you are willing to forego a degree of firepower, for a 100% increase in durability, this is your solution.
  • Bike Squad: For 2 points more than a Scout Bike, you drop from M16 to M14, and lose some weapons - no shotguns, and you have to choose between the pistol and the chainsword, instead of taking both - but you improve from a 4+ save to a 3+ save, and up to two non-Sergeants (minimum unit is Sergeant + 2 non-Sergeants) can take a Special Weapon instead of that pistol or chainsword. The tl;dr here is that the only reason to take this squad is triple melta; you can see below for a discussion of the other choices. 134 points will get you your choice of 3 S8 shots at 26" (with melta-damage at 20"), 2 of which will hit, or 1.5 hitting at 32" and 26", respectively. That isn't remotely as efficient as lascannon Devastators, but those aren't as good as getting onto or holding an objective. Don't take the Attack Bike if you can help it; losing Morale immunity isn't a big deal, but as just mentioned, the primary reason to take bikes is for the mobility, and Attack Bikes hate moving. tl;dr: Take only if you want relatively mobile but durable melta.
    • The first, most obvious choice is Storm Bolters for the Sergeant; if you do that, you're looking at 83 points for 18 S4 shots at 12" or 8 S4 shots at 24" (counting bolt pistols), while T5 and 2W. More points effeceint than Company Veterans on Bikes with all Storm Bolters. Keep in mind Storm Bolters are not on the Special Weapons List. You can't shoot pistols alongside other weapons. This makes taking Flamers the slightly stronger option, giving every model more opportunities to wound while at closer range.
    • The next most obvious choice is Flamers, which is a significant mistake; due to the bolter taxes involved, a triple Flamer squad trying to use their speed and auto-Advancing to get into Flamer range will find itself delivering fewer S4 shots for far more points than a Scout Bike squad. Without Advancing, you'll manage to out-shoot the Scout Bikes, but still by nowhere near enough to justify the cost.
    • Finally, grav and plasma are fairly obviously bad - grav costs more than plasma for less damage against most targets you can be bothered shooting, and plasma is particularly a poor choice on models you've already paid a premium on for durability.
  • Land Speeders: Land speeders are now, for all intents and purposes, slightly bigger, faster, and more heavily armed attack bikes, that don't get Chapter Tactics. The key difference here is that land speeders have the fly keyword, which means if they do manage to survive the melee combat they'll occasionally find themselves in, they can just move out and shoot as normal (albeit with the penalty for moving with heavy weapons). This also makes them excellent at tarpitting gunlines. Missile launchers got great (although overcosted) in this edition, which makes the Typhoon a very solid option, but be cautious as these are also expensive, and whilst the land speeder is very resilient to small arms fire, a good shot from a dedicated anti tank weapon will see it explode rather swiftly. Like the attack bike, it can't move and shoot accurately, so you end up paying for either mobility you don't want or a gun that won't hit, and unlike with the Attack Bike, you can't even begin to try to fix it with Chapter Tactics or by justifying its cost in other ways, so it's usually a bad idea compared to a Razorback for the same job. tl;dr: Stick with a Razorback instead.
    • An interesting loadout for SALAMANDERS is a unit of 3 land speeders kitted out with 6 heavy flamers, as they're one of the units that benefit the most from the Flamecraft stratagem.
  • Scout Bike Squad: Scout bikes got very interesting this edition. They lost scout but gained a second wound and a lot of firepower. Every rider comes loaded for bear, with a twin bolter, combat knife (chainsword), shotgun, and bolt pistol, plus the usual grenades - every non-heavy weapon available to ground pounder Scouts. This makes for 6 S4 shots at 12", two of which become S5 at 6". The minimum unit is the Sergeant plus 2 bikers, but up to 3 non-Sergeants can swap the twin bolter for a grenade launcher, at the ludicrous cost of 9 points, so stay well away; more interestingly, the Sergeant can drop his Pistol for a Storm Bolter for only 2 points, giving him 10 S4 shots at 12", which you should always, always do, encouraging you to field these guys MSU style, even if you weren't already; each 77 point 3-bike squad has a basic threat range of 22 S4 shots out to 28", and outside of debuffs, is utterly immune to morale. tl;dr: One of the best delivery methods you have for a lot of S4 hits happening right now, on a reasonably durable, very mobile platform. A great choice.

Forge World[edit]

  • Deathstorm Drop Pod: A Drop Pod full of automated guns; it can choose either an 18" 2-shot gun with S8 AP-2 D3 D or a 12" 6-shot S6 AP-1 1 D gun. In either case, it must make 1 full shooting attack against anything in range (except for CHARACTERS, who still can only be shot at if they're the closest unit in range).
    • This is really good against a wide range of armies, especially MSU (the more times this thing gets to shoot the better) and gun-lines where an entire army is packed closely together. Granted, you're hitting like an Ork (BS5+ from the movement penalty) the turn you arrive...but you're also shooting like an Ork.
  • Land Speeder Tempest: A tiny drop in movement (well, sort of; see below) from the vanilla type, but has better T and Ld (not that the latter usually matters). Each one is equipped with an Assault Cannon and two Tempest Salvo Launchers (36" Heavy 1d3 S6 AP-3 D2; at only 10 points each, drastically better as a pair than a Typhoon Missile Launcher against anything at all, but the Tempest itself is a good deal more expensive than a vanilla). When Advancing, they must move between 20" and 35"; they also impose a -1 to hit against them in the next Shooting phase and prevents units without the FLY keyword from charging (or being charged by) them.
    • Relative movement: These guys don't have Anti-grav Upwash, so a unit of 3 of them is 5" slower than a unit of 3 vanillas, rather than 1", when not Advancing. When Advancing, they are much faster, regardless of unit size, since they can go their choice of 20-35" (no need to roll), instead of 16-21 for a small unit or 21-26 for a large unit of vanillas. Unfortunately, there's no option to take Assault weapons on them of any stripe.
  • Tarantula Air Defense Battery: As below, but stuck with S8 AP-2 D3 D anti-air missiles that get +1 to hit against flyers and -1 against everything else. MUST target the nearest enemy flyer, and otherwise the nearest enemy non-flyer, but you were probably already planning to do that when you took this unit.
  • Tarantula Sentry Guns: Whoooo boy, these suckers got a huge buff in 8th edition. They ended up gaining a whopping +1 BS, along with Toughness 5 and 4 wounds, which makes them fairly sturdy for a 10 point model. The only really significant downside is that they're M0 and can't deep strike, so they'll sit in your deployment zone the entire game. Tarantulas can be equipped with the following loadouts:
    • Twin Heavy Bolters: These are the default weapons. Good against infantry, but comes with the caveat that it MUST target the nearest INFANTRY model, or else the nearest non-INFANTRY. A steal at 17 points, but restrictive.
    • Twin Assault Cannons: Hands down the best option. Tarantulas with dual assault cannons lose their targeting restrictions entirely, and gain a whopping 12 shots each. These can be a goddamn steal for what they do, and can be considered practically mandatory. Like the THB option, cheaper than two of the base gun at only 35 points.
      • Mathhammer: It costs 27 points to field 6 shots at S5 AP-1 D1 restricted and 45 points to field 12 shots at S6 AP-1 D1 unrestricted, which means the latter would be the better choice even if you didn't also gain the benefit of lifting the restriction. This is so good you even beat the AM version of these things, which cost 24 points for the THB variant.
    • Twin Lascannons: The other default, good against tanks. Also comes with a restriction that it MUST target the nearest enemy non-INFANTRY, or else the nearest INFANTRY. Notably not a steal, since you pay the same cost two lascannons would cost (50 points), but still good.
    • Multi-melta: Same deal as the lascannons, but mathematically worse (carrying two guns is better than carrying one). However, it does unlock your targeting restrictions, so a multi-melta equipped tarantula can fire at anything you want.. Very expensive at 27 points.
      • Mathhammer: The Twin Lascannons have twice the rate of fire and twice the range as the Multimelta, at 60 points rather than 47, with similar performance against the same targets for the rest of the statline, but the targeting restrictions on them can be quite aggravating, since they will happily target things like BEASTS or SWARMS that you don't care about. As for the Multi-Melta, 47 points is two points more than the Assault Cannon variant and you generally won't get into Melta range since you'd have to rely on the enemy to do it for you, so it's only better against medium and heavy vehicles, who are generally fast and/or well-armed enough to deal with turrets handily, which is why neither heavy option is remotely as compelling as the twin assault cannons.

Heavy Support[edit]

  • Devastator Squad: Due to everyone getting Split Fire, you can feel free to mix and match weapons however you like; that said, it's still a good idea to use weapons with similar ranges in case you need to focus your shots on a single opponent. Be sure to keep whoever has the best gun less than 3" from the Sergeant, since his Signum will let that guy hit on a 2+. Finally, the Armorium Cherub has received a big buff- you can use it once per game to effectively give one model in the squad a second shooting phase, or just use it as a cheap (5 points) ablative wound instead. Needless to say, you should always take the cherub.
    • These guys will outperform their Centurion cousins (see below) for points per wound, but won't take nearly as much damage, of course; even before the cherub and assuming the sergeant just sits around like a dork, a full 5-man 4-lascannon squad will be more efficient at killing Land Raiders, even after moving. This is less brutal for competing against hordes, because hurricane bolters are insanely cheap, as opposed to badly overcosted like Centurion Missile Launchers, to the point that horde-hunting Centurions on the move will outperform Heavy Bolter Devastators on the move, although the Centurions go back to being less efficient if the regular Devastators hold still.
    • Due to the changes to how Deep Striking works, Devastators with Multi-meltas can best fill the suicide melta role formerly taken by Sternguard Veterans. You'll take a -1 to hit since it counts as moving when you deploy via the drop pod, but the Signum will cancel that out entirely on one of them. Again, the Armorium Cherub will ensure you can make the most of it.
    • Note that the devastator sergeant has unique wargear alternatives in that he can replace his boltgun with two new weapons. This allows him to uniquely field three bolt pistols, or probably more commonly a storm bolter, chainsword and bolt pistol.
    • Devastators make prime candidates for occupying an Imperial Bunker. For only 100 pts you can give your squad the durability of a Leman Russ (T8, 12W, 3+ sv). Magnificent when paired with a squad full of lascannons.
  • Devastator Centurion Squad: Ridiculously ultra-heavy marines with, each, the firepower of a tank; people either hate or love them. They're slower and easier to kill individually than a tank, but have all the advantages of being Infantry: smaller size, gaining cover in certain terrains (like forests), can go to the second floor of buildings, etc. This unit can be the cornerstone of an army, synergizing well with Chapter Ancient, Apothecary, Chapter Master, and Primaris Lieutenant models. Three Lascannon/ML centurions are all the AT firepower you'll ever need in a TAC list. At T5, 2+ armor, and 3 wounds, they can be a nightmare to kill without antitank weapons. They ignore the movement penalty for firing heavy weapons but only have 4" movement, which isn't a big problem thanks to their long/medium range. With their Sergeant's Omniscope they ignore cover saves, and you can Combat Squad a unit of 6 of them into two 3-man units, great if you only want to spend one Heavy Support slot on them, but remember one of the units won't have the Sergeant and his Omniscope. Try to keep them out of combat, because they're useless in melee and will be tarpitted by basically anything; you can always retreat, but you lose a turn of shooting then, unless you're going with Ultramarines Chapter Tactics.
    • You can give each one of them the weapons you want, and you can shoot at different targets with each weapon, but it's usually much better to make them specialists at some specific task. Because of that, it pays to think well what weapon payload you want to give them before assembling the minis (if your playgroup allows it, you can magnetize their weapons, but speaking from experience here, they're one of the most difficult and time-consuming units to magnetize in 40k):
      • Heavy bolters/Hurricane bolters: The one for killing hordes. Very good at their job, and decent against units of heavily armoured but sparse infantry; bad against anything with decent toughness/armour. Also kinda short-ranged if you want to be in Rapid Fire range to be truly lethal. You can give them Missile Launchers instead if you've got other units good against hordes, but it's usually a bad idea that dilutes the purpose of this loadout.
        • This is the cheapest load out at 333 points; which also gets you exactly 9 bolter aggressors.
      • Lascannons/Missile launchers: Excellent against Vehicles/Monsters/Superheavies (and Characters too if they get close enough), wasted against any other thing. The most useful overall, because of their huge range that lets them be in the back lines, protected by cover and supported by some Character/HQ while sniping big things.
        • This is the most expensive load out ay 465 points; which gets you two quad las predators with room to spare, or two contemptor mortis dreads with twin lascannons
      • Grav Cannons/Missile Launchers: The most narrow focused of the loadouts. Grav Cannons are Heayy 4 S5 AP -3 1 Damage weapons, but they get D3 Damage instead against units with 3+ armor. Because of the low Strength, this is only useful against highly armoured multiwound infantry (TEQs, Primaris Marines, Ogryns, etc) and some random units, like Vehicles with T5 and 3+ armor. But it just so happens that those same targets are difficult to kill efficiently with other weapons (light arms aren't enough against them, anti-tank weapons are too much), so this loadout can be good if you have that specific hole in your army, or know your opponent has a lot of these units. If you give them Hurricane Bolters instead, you lose some focus but become much better against hordes, but if you wanted that, just take Heavy Bolters/Hurricane Bolters instead.
        • This is the mid range load out at 399 points; which gets you two 7 man dev squads with double grab cannon/ launcher each.
    • As we can see, its an impressive unit with compelling abilities... but dear lord its expensive. You have other options which are priced much better with double the wounds. Be sensible, pass.
  • Hellblaster Squad: Some pretty wicked dakka right here. Their Plasma Incinerators are 30" S7 AP-4 D1 normally, with the same boost as other plasma weapons if supercharged (+1 to S and D) - more than enough to wipe out any TEQs they encounter. Run with any character giving re-rolls to hit (e.g. any of the Captain variations) to make these things a monster/tank killer if they get into rapid-fire range. Without a Repulsor, that'll be a difficult task in itself. They're also as expensive as... well, as elite marines carrying souped-up plasma weapons.
    • These guys also love to be joined by Primaris Lieutenants, although the re-rolling of Wounds buffs their damage output without reducing their odds of blowing up when Overcharging.
    • If you happen to be running a Primaris only force, these guys make pretty decent anti vehicle troops. Put them in cover with an Ancient and a Lieutenant, and watch as the Hellblasters just tear through vehicles.
    • The Plasma Incinerators comes in two more variants; a Heavy 1 with 36" and S8/9 that costs 2 points more than the standard option, and a 24" Assault 2 with S6/7 that costs 1 point more.
      • The Rapid Fire (standard) version is definitely the best in general, costing the fewest points for the most output against the most targets, but you'll want to get up close and personal with it - see the Assault version below for shooting things farther away.
      • The Assault version costs you more points for less strength, but better rate of fire in the 16-24" range, and you can fire it after advancing, so you could also consider it to have superior rate of fire in the 16-27.5"; therefore, it's actually better on a squad intended for longer range engagements, rather than one intended for, well, assaulting. Because S7 is so underwhelming compared to S6 or S8 against most real-world targets, it's seldom justified to overcharge this one, although it can be worth it if you're desperate for the increased damage. Take this version to shoot things farther away better, but up close worse, than the Rapid Fire version.
      • The Heavy version costs you more points for worse rate of fire (although you can move and shoot with it out to 36-42" range if you want), but enough Strength to kill MEQs on a 2+ without overcharging. It can also act as an anti-vehicle weapon in a pinch when overcharged; say your opponent has a Land Raider Crusader/Redeemer, two of the best options currently available. With the extra range you can stay completely out of its threat range of 34" and hit it with an overcharged version of this gun. This would wound on a 3+ and do 2 damage each with only a 6+ save. Granted it will take about 18 shots to kill one on average, but a 10 man unit with the two rounds of shooting it will get because of the range increase will badly cripple it at minimum. For long range anti-vehicle and heavy infantry fire support this is definitely the option to go for.
    • Null Zone is particularly deadly if there's a group or two of Hellblasters in range of the Librarian's unfortunate targets, considering their AP-4. This player can attest that one Null Zone was enough to put down three Shield Captains with the aid of Hellblasters and additional anti-armour tools.
  • Thunderfire Cannon:The Thunderfire Cannon has one of the best stratagems, and has found away back into for marine players for reasons beyond its 4D3 shots or Str 5 hits. The TFC Stratagem, which slows an enemy's movement by half, including their Advancement or Charge ranges, can cause traffic jams, failed charges, and slow the deployment of enemy forces. Based on stats and points cost, the TFC is second to the Whirlwind. With all the taxes that a TFC has to take -- paying for the Techmarine, gun and TFC chassis separately -- the TFC manages to cost more than the cheapest Whirlwind variant while having one less Strength. Ignores line of sight and has 5 feet of range, but costs half again as much as just taking Heavy Bolter Devastators. If the Techmarine gunners wander too far from the guns, they're considered destroyed.
    • Alternative Point: Thunderfire cannons may have lost some power, but they have gained survivability. They are effectively a self-sustaining Heavy Support choice: as a VEHICLE, the Techmarine Gunner will automatically repair D3 wounds on it per turn, but as a CHARACTER he cannot be targeted separately unless he is the closest target. Its lower wound score and toughness do make it vulnerable to big damage weapons like Lascannons and meltas though, so be warned. Though if it does die, you now have a techmarine without having used a HQ slot. Also, the techmarine can act independently from the cannon, as long as he stays within 3" to not lose the cannon's shooting. Park a predator (or any other long-range shooty vehicle) next to the techmarine for a free auto-repair each round (doesn't substitute shooting any more), while toasting nearby enemies with plasma cutter and flamer while still shooting the TFC. In a pinch, the TFC could even soak up overwatch, and the techmarine's 2A servo arms and 3A base mop up single targets.
      • When comparing it to the whirlwind, the difference in strength actually doesn't matter against T4 enemies (Though the Whirlwind can switch to Vengeance missiles for S7 killiness) Also, where the whirlwind does 2-12 shots, averaging 7, with diminishing accuracy as it takes wounds; The Thunderfire is more likely to get hits in thanks to more dice, doing between 4-12 shots, averaging 8 with no drop in accuracy and its ability to self-heal.
    • One thing to keep in mind is that the TFC's Techmarine has a slightly different version of Blessing of the Omnissiah. By the way it's worded, this version isn't limited to one repair per vehicle that the other is.
    • The Thunderfire Cannon along side its Stratagem punches way above its weight class. Berzerkers coming in, move 6", charge 12", for a max of 18", would be reduced to move 3", charge max of 6". Without using the Stratagem the TFC is less efficient than Whirlwind.
    • Always remember that the techmarine is loaded with guns himself. If you're paying for them, you may as well be shooting them. And, when you compare the fire output to a whirlwind, the numbers shift in the cannon's favor when the TP is within 8".
  • Predator: Predators now get their own special autocannon profile; it seems like the predator can turn into a monster. For just ten points less than a twin lascannon, you drop to 2 less strength and AP for 2 more shots on average, and guaranteed 3 damage, rather than rolling with an average of 3.5. I don't know how an autocannon can paste Nobs easier than a demolisher cannon but we'll just have to take it. Roll it with an Autocannon and side mounted lascannons for a versatile (but expensive) fuck machine.
    • Dakka predators became good again, being able to chuck out 2D3 Autocannon and 6 Heavy Bolter shots per turn. Consider further augmenting its firepower with a Storm Bolter or a Hunter-killer missile too.
    • Two Laserbacks with Hunter Killer missiles and Stormbolters costs 246 points, while a 4 Lascannon Predator with Hunter Killer missile and Stormbolter costs 210 points. The Predator allows for less drops per 4 lascannons.
  • Vindicator: With the pie plate replaced with 6 hits at the most and MEQs and TEQs now allowed at least some kind of save, the vindicator took a huge nerf. However, with the changes to the wound formula, S10 became very important, and chucking out what are effectively D3 lascannon shots onto an enemy tank isn't something to look down on. With T8 it's bound to shrug off a lot of fire it might soak, but now it suffers from the same schizophrenia the vanilla Land Raider used to. It is an assault gun that's meant to take down buildings, according to the fluff, but it is unlikely to harm one much in the game. The Demolisher cannon is a heavy weapon, so your paltry D3 shots are going to be hitting on 4s if you move (buildings can be very hard to hit, apparently). Getting only 1d3 attacks against a single unit is unreliable and not too scary, as is getting d6 attacks against infantry blobs. The best use of it is probably taking on groups of elite units or vehicles, such as large squads of terminators. But there are other models that do the job better.
    • What you're really taking this for is the Linebreaker Bombardment Stratagem to inflict lots of mortal wounds on multiple units at once. It requires a full squadron of 3 Vindicators to work, but sniping characters with artillery for only 1 CP is worth it.
      • Alternate Take: The Vindicator has one less wound and better Ballistic skill than an Imperial Guard Leman Russ with Demolisher Cannon at 27 fewer points and can get the Linebreaker bombardment when taken in 3s (although the IG Demolisher gets Grinding Advance and benefits from Doctrines like Brutal Strength, not to mention tank orders). Stupidity of the fluff aside, they’re better against high-toughness multi-wound models, which almost every army has at least one unit of (Nobs, Wraithguard, Crisis Suits, Terminators & Primaris Marines, Ogryns), so one Vindicator can find a home in lots of local metas and is actually a cost effective way of getting the DC on the field. Three and a Techmarine to repair in a Spearhead detachment could be a useful and relatively cost effective (432 pts bone stock) distraction carnifex ally.
  • Whirlwind: The Whirlwind has two gun options, Castellan at 2D6 (average: 7) shots of S6, and Vengeance at 2D3 (average: 4) S7, AP-1, and D2. With the higher strength of this weapon the hits you do get will make short work of most infantry, but the ideal purpose of wiping out cheap blob units remains out of reach. You have to choose which gun to take when you build the list, so the latter choice results in a 9% more expensive tank overall, while dealing more damage to anything with at least 2 wounds or 2+ saves.
    • The Vengeance launcher is functionally a twin autocannon that paid 1 point for both +24" (*1.5) range and the ability to fire outside of LOS; the Castellan launcher is more like an assault cannon that paid 4 points for +1 shot but +1 AP and lots more range, with non-LOS targeting. The net result is that which is better is strictly a question of wounds - Castellan is better against 1-wound models, while Vengeance is better against 2+.
  • Hunter: No longer explicitly AA, this weapon delivers a high strength hit equal to a lascannon, re-rolling missed hits whether the model is flying or not.
    • While not an efficient damage dealer, this model is a steal for its points. Exact same base cost as a Predator while making the leap from T7 to T8, and getting a free 5' range lascannon that can reroll hits. Won't spit out as much damage as your other Heavy Support options, but incredibly reliable.
  • Stalker: Now a very flexible gun, it gets +1 to hit against flying things, while suffering a -1 to hit versus non-fliers. For a Stalker to be worth taking, it likely needs to be buffed by an HQ to make it more accurate, otherwise other weapon systems on other vehicles are more productive. Fliers are very popular early in 8th and this is a good anti-air vehicle. It is fairly productive in other roles as well, providing a 48" range and 2 Damage with 6 shots at plasma strength and a Heavy Bolter's AP. The poor AP is mitigated by the Damage done per shot. The tank is tougher than its own weapon, a rare T8 Rhino chassis.
  • Land Raider: Now that the vanilla Land Raider isn't forced to fire all its guns at the same target, it's gone from schizophrenic to an effective all-rounder. For example, you can use its lascannons to pop a vehicle and then follow up with the heavy bolters to wipe out an infantry squad. This is assisted further by the new Power of the Machine Spirit, which lets it ignore the normal penalties for moving and firing heavy weapons. While its transport capacity is still rather small compared to the other Land Raider variants, it still has just enough room to drop a trio of Assault Centurions off or a 5-man squad of Assault Terminators. And with T8, 16 wounds, and a 2+ armor save it'll be a tough nut to crack even with anti-armor weaponry.
  • Land Raider Crusader: As ever, the Hurricane Bolters will shred any infantry within 12" - you have twenty-four bolter shots supplemented by another 12 assault cannon shots. The Frag Assault Launchers also help in regards to transporting and supporting its cargo, since it causes d3 mortal wounds on a 4+ if it finishes a charge within 1" of an opponent. But whatever you do, take the multi-melta. Neither the assault cannons nor the hurricane bolters have enough AP to significantly reduce a MEQ's armor save, and anything with T7 or more (e.g. other vehicles) won't even get their paint scratched. It carries 16 models, so it's still your best choice for transporting Terminators, crusader squads, and other larger units. Stick near a Captain and/or a Lieutenant and laugh maniacally as you shred every infantry squad around you.
    • Also, all those guns can fire without penalty, even if you're moving at maximum speed (which you should be). Somewhere, a Black Templar wipes a manly tear away as he remembers the words "defensive weapons."
  • Land Raider Redeemer: Similar to the Crusader, but trades off the hurricane bolters' volume of shots for the flamestorm cannon's greater strength, higher AP, and improved damage per shot. While you'll have to get in close to make the most of it, the Frag Assault Launchers let you use this to your advantage as you burn down the heavier infantry. Though the flamestorm cannons can threaten lighter vehicles, you should still add the multi-melta to be on the safe side. Carries 12 models. Can easily cockblock a charging unit with 2d6 automatic Flamestorm shots.
    • The flamestorm cannon can, because of flamer autohits, crisp some flyers if you are close enough. Consider if it is worth to put your Land Raider in the open.
  • Bear in mind that the Land Raider has one enormous Achilles heel - it can't fall back and shoot. If even a single model makes it into combat with your Raider then it instantly becomes a lame duck during your next shooting phase. This can make assault-oriented Raiders like the Redeemer and Crusader especially vulnerable.

Forge World[edit]

  • Whirlwind Hyperios: While it's still best used against aircraft because of its +1 to hit against flyers (and -1 against everything else), Heavy 2d3 S8 AP-2 D3 D isn't something to take lightly.
  • Rapier Carrier: A dirt-cheap source of heavy bolter fire, which can also be used as a cheap counter to "light" superheavies like Knights if taken with Laser Destroyers or act as artillery if you use the Quad Launchers (added in the FAQ). Now coming stock with a 12-shot quad bolter at 3/4 of what you pay for a devastator squad armed with same, on a fairly sturdy chassis. Fills out the heavy support requirements of a Spearhead detachment real nice, but keep the gunners safe or it gets auto-removed just like the Thunderfire Cannon.
    • Quad Heavy Bolters are terrible, costing more than 2 twin heavy bolters for the same guns...or... you can ask yourself what kind of plataforms let you take twin heavy bolters and ask yourself if the cost is worth it.
    • The average damage from a laser destroyer is less than its weight in lascannons - 183.33% of the damage for 240% of the price; the difference in strength will never matter against practical targets, while the improvement to AP will come up and won't make up the difference. If you're using the Salamanders chapter tactics and like to focus on single enemy units before moving to another enemy unit the laser destroyer can do a good job while letting your characters help other units.
    • As a result, hands down your best bet is always going to be the Quad Launcher.
      • In Shatter mode this will, for 45 points, outdo two lascannons for 50 points, as losing a point each in strength and AP is more than made up for in doubling its attacks, and the difference in damage is not only slight, it also deals predictable damage, making it invaluable in many contexts, such as shooting Quantum Shielding.
    • In Thunderfire mode, this will shoot what amounts to 8 heavy bolter shots, losing a point of AP in exchange for indirect targeting and improved range. This is inferior to the Quad Heavy Bolter option, so you should regard it as a bonus to the Shatter mode, rather than a good gun in its own right, and take this gun for the purpose of killing off enemy heavies, not massacring enemy lights.
    • They have half of the survivability perk of the Thunderfire, as the Rapier is a vehicle and SM Gunners are functionally Characters without a keyword (can't be targeted unless the closest model). If you take a full battery of Rapiers, strongly consider also taking a Techmarine to repair them or putting a Thunderfire Cannon in the gunline.
  • Mortis Dreadnought: Your go-to dakka dread. It costs 5 points more than a standard dreadnought, with the exact same profile, but it brings the option to double up on weapons the regular dread can't. You can take a pair of twin bolters, autocannons, or lascannons, or a pair of regular missile launchers, assault cannons, multi-meltas, or heavy plasma cannons. All good choices for laying down firepower, with the best guns depending on what you plan to shoot and how many points you can spare.
    • For the classic twin autocannon rifleman setup, this slightly edges out a regular dread. Since Chapter Approved dropped the price of twin autocannons for Forge World but not Codex/Index units, a Mortis comes out 1 point cheaper with the same stats. It's the only gun the normal dread can double up on, and it's only 1 point difference, so if you're going autocannons, it's just a matter of whether you need it to fill an Elite or Heavy Support slot.
  • Contemptor Mortis Dreadnought: Better than the standard Mortis in every way, from the BS 2+ to the 5++. Apart from that, it can do everything the regular Mortis can, only better.
    • Since the v1.1 FAQ/Update, Contemptor Mortis' can once again take Cyclone Missile Launchers. Downside is, like their Terminator counterparts, they're still 50 fucking points for either Heavy 2D3 S4 AP0 D1 OR Heavy 2 S8 AP-2 D6D. With this in mind, however, it could be decent now that EVERYTHING has Split Fire, and you're no longer hitting Flyers on 6s, but only 3+(!!) with at least 6W or more. Churn out some dakka with your two Kheres Assault Cannons (which, keep in mind, can ALSO fire at two different targets, as they are considered 'two identical weapons', and then slam a couple of Krak missiles at a Flyer that screams overhead. Or a tank, I guess, if that's your thing.
  • Siege Dreadnought: This Dread specializes in short-range firepower, coming stock with an Inferno Cannon that acts as a souped up heavy flamer (but costs more than a twin heavy flamer, for reasons) and a seismic hammer with built-in meltagun that suffers from a -1 to hit but will wreck anything that gets hit. With the ability to re-roll all to wound rolls of 1 in the Fight phase when targeting a BUILDING or a unit with a movement stat of 0", its niche as a building killer should be obvious.
  • Relic Leviathan Dreadnought: I AM THE DESTROYER OF ALL THAT EXISTS, THE ANATHEMA OF LIFE, HATRED, AND WRATH GIVEN PHYSICAL FORM, I AM THE FUCKING LEVIATHAN DREADNOUGHT. POINT ME AT ANYTHING, AND IT WILL DIE, FROM THE LOWEST OF GUARDSMEN, TO THE BIGGEST OF TITANS. Ahem, enough of that nonsense! But Mr. Leviathan does have a few good points. The Leviathan Dreadnought is easily one of the deadliest single models in the entire game, barring actual Titans, packing a series of quite frighteningly powerful weapons that can make short work of virtually anything. It packs a Strength and Toughness of 8, with a 2+/4++ saves line, and a whopping 14 wounds. In addition, it actually received a fairly decent points decrease in 8th edition, having dropped in cost by 50 whole points even after all wargear is accounted for. A few things were lost though, as the Leviathan no longer has his frag-launchers (but it did get its hunter-killer missiles back in the FAQ) but in exchange his whole loadout has gotten huge buffs.
    • It has two Heavy Flamers which can't be swapped out for anything, and two Leviathan Siege Claws (Sx2 AP-3 D3 Re-roll failed wounds against Infantry) with in-built meltaguns stock.
      • The Claws can be swapped out (without losing the meltaguns) for Drills, which up the AP and D to -4 and 4, but you stop re-rolling failed wounds against Infantry.
      • The Claws can also be swapped out along with their meltaguns for:
        • Cyclonic Melta Lance: Capable of destroying a Land Raider in a single volley, while being able to shave off 15 wounds from a Knight (leaving it sufficiently weakened that it will no doubt then die to being slammed with 15 additional wounds in melee).
          • Note that this actually has worse AP than the Bombard (although it will usually only matter against Land Raiders and the like, as against any Invuln save at all or a 3+ save or worse they'll tend to equal out), with better rate of fire against 4 or fewer model units and worse damage against Monster/Vehicle/Titanic models but better damage otherwise. A Leviathan with 2x Bombards costs 339, while with 2x Lances it costs 359 (including Heavy Flamers), which means that against a Land Raider, the Lances are only better inside melta range. The Lance will do better against vehicles where the difference in AP doesn't matter, regardless of range (such as any 3+ vehicle, or a 2+ vehicle with an invuln), provided the target unit has 4 or fewer models. It will also do better against infantry units of 4 or fewer models, but as soon as the target unit has 5 or more models in it, the Bombard will simply take over.
            • A Salamanders Leviathan paired with Vulkan is sufficiently better that, ignoring Vulkan's cost, the Lance will be better against a Land Raider outside of melta range, but don't forget that the Bombard Salamanders Leviathan still gets Salamander Chapter Tactics, so if you only examine Vulkan+Leviathan in isolation, the Bombard will easily win. Against infantry spam, he usually will not improve the Lance enough to do much, but remember, the Lance is already better against very small units.
        • Storm Cannon Array: Has a whopping 10 shots, which do 2 damage each. While not quite as horrifyingly deadly against vehicles as the Cyclone Melta, it exchanges sheer output for more reliability. This can be useful since 2-wound weapons occupy a fair niche in the current meta, for their ability to 1-shot the numerous amount of multi-wound models, without suffering from overkill. This makes it the perfect weapon for dealing with models like Terminators.
          • This is basically a seriously up-gunned heavy plasma cannon, with quintuple the usual shot volume and one worse AP in exchange for one better D, and an inability to Overcharge. Costs 5/6 the amount two of the cannons would cost you, though. It is far and away the most efficient gun you can take against most targets of 4 models or less - it will actually outdamage both the Bombard and the Lance against anything T6 or less and T7 Sv 4+ or worse, and that's assuming the target has enough wounds left that no damage gets wasted.
          • For serious, take this gun seriously. It is far and away the most generally useful of the lot; a pair of them will murder most anything foolish enough to get in your way.
        • Grav-Flux Bombard: Now your dedicated horde killer. It deals 1d3 shots, and gains an additional 1d3 shots for every 5 models present in the target unit, which means the Leviathan can get a whopping 11d3 shots when targeting a mob of Conscripts, or 22d3 if equipped with two of these. This essentially means that the grav bombard is your designated weapon loadout if you expect to go up against Infantry Blobs, as it can fry an entire 50 man squad each and every turn. It also does more damage (5, rather than 2) against Vehicles, Buildings, and Titanics, making it more useful than the Lance in many cases.
          • A pair of these is the way to go for horde scrubbing - 2d3 shots every 5 models in the target means you average 4 shots for every 5 targets. The gun is only 18" and you'll take a BS penalty (typically down to 3+) for moving and shooting with it, taking you to 3 1/3 and 2 2/3 hits for every 5 targets, respectively. At S9 AP-5 D2, usually one wound per target is all it will take; assuming you're up against T4 or less without an invuln save, you're looking at 2 7/9 or 2 2/9 (after moving) dead for every 5 models in the target, or around 50% casualties. Hopefully Morale will do the rest of the work for you, or you can just bring two of these things.
  • Deimos Vindicator Laser Destroyer: This thing brings to the battlefield the unique Laser Volley Cannon, which is a 2 shots Lascannon with a few twists: they only have a range of 36" instead of 48, they do a fixed 3 damages (so a little less than the average you do with 1D6) and can be overcharged to go to S10 AP-5 with a fixed 6 damages. Trade-off being that if they shoot that way, they take 3 mortal wounds on each rolls of 1. If it does not move, however, it can shoot twice, but not in overcharged mode. Also note that it gets +1T and +1 wound compared to a predator, but moves 2" less. All in one, this tank is kind of odd. It costs roughly the same as a classic predator with a full lascannon setup, and can pump 4 shoots if it stands still, for an average amount of wounds slighty lower. Its overcharged mode might give you an edge on T5/T9-10 opponents or target with extremely high armor saves, so what you lose in range you get it back in versatily, at price: 2 shots against 4 and the risk of wounding yourself. Between increased durability, shorter range and movement, and varying fire modes, it is hard to draw a clear line between the Predator Annihilitor and the Vindicator Laser destroyer in term of battlefield role, but the later being clearly less efficient while on the move, you might want to invest your money in other Forge World models.
  • Relic Land Raider Proteus: The Proteus has two twin Lascannons like the vanilla LR, but it can choose to take a multi-melta or twin heavy flamer instead of a twin heavy bolter. (There's also an option for a single heavy bolter, but why would you even use that?) But its main draw is the Explorator Augury Web; taking it reduces the Proteus' transport Capacity to 6, but it prevents anyone from deep striking within 12" of the Proteus. Conveniently enough, that happens to be melta range for the multi-melta so suicide melta squads won't be able to get near it. For a more aggressively inclined Proteus, you can take the Heavy Armor instead to give it a 5+ invulnerable save, though it too reduces the Proteus' transport capacity.
  • Land Raider Helios: Also has twin lascannons, but it brings along a Helios Launcher- a Heavy weapon that fires 2d6 autocannon-equivalent shots (albeit only 1 damage) that can fire without LoS. A decent combo of the Whirlwind's different missile types, and it can transport 6 models too.
  • Land Raider Prometheus: A fun toy for your Warlord - if he's embarked within it, one of the Stratagems played on your turn costs 1 less CP to use. It doesn't reduce the cost below 1, but it helps. As an added bonus, its attacks all ignore cover saves, which make its 24 heavy bolter shots absolutely terrifying to light infantry. Carries 10 models.
  • Land Raider Achilles: The rage-inducing and expensive Achilles is back in a big way in 8th ed. T8 with 19 wounds, a 2+ save, and a 4++ Invuln save for good measure makes this raider insanely tough. All for 423pts. The Achilles is armed with a hull-mounted Quad Launcher and 2 sponson-mounted TWIN Multi-Meltas (Heavy 2). The Quad Launcher can fire Shatter shells at Heavy 4 S8 AP-2 3 Damage, or Thunderfire shells at Heavy 4D3 S5 AP0 1 Damage (and can target units not visible to the Achilles). It can also grab a hunter-killer missile and a Storm Bolter for a little extra dakka. This weirdness is compounded by a transport capacity of 6, including terminators and jump pack models. Seriously, go look up a picture of this thing.

Fortifications[edit]

Not often seen, Marines in 8th have tended towards static gun lines like Primarch + Devastators. Fortifications are not a serious part of any meta right now, so using them can be an advantage while the Imperial Fists and Iron Warriors are not common.

  • Castellum Stronghold (Forge World):
  • Primus Redoubt: One of the biggest guns a Space Marine army can field, and it can protect your long range shooting marines. This combines well with Devastators to shield them for a long time

Lords of War[edit]

Ultramarines[edit]

  • Roboute Guilliman:The most effective unit in the Astartes Codex, even with his whopping 400 point cost (as of the Big FAQ). He possesses an impressive statline: WS and BS are both 2+, 8" movement, S6, T6, 6A and has 9 wounds and if he is killed he comes back on a roll of 4+ with D6 wounds. Has the character keyword so can't be shot at unless he's the closest model or by snipers. Shooting wise he uses the Hand of Dominion which is 24" rapid fire 3 S6 AP-1 Dmg 2, which is good but it's CC where you want Guliliman. In close combat he can either use the Hand of Dominion a Sx2 AP-3 Dmg 3 power fist or use the motherfucking Emperor's Sword at S+2 AP-4 Dmg 3 that on a roll of a 6 causes D3 mortal wounds on top of the 3 damage he already caused. In close combat he is one of the best characters in 8th, on top of that lucky rolls can lead to him dishing out a lot of extra damage through mortal wounds. All of that is nice, however, where Guilliman truly shines is his buffs to the rest of the army. Any keyword Imperium unit within 12" adds 1 to advances and charges, re-roll hits of 1 and can re-roll failed morale tests. As the Primarch of the Ultramarines, he gives any Ultramarines units within 6" re-rolls of failed hit and wound rolls as well. Guilliman himself is affected by his own aura, allowing him to add 1 to charges and advances as well as re roll failed hits and wounds. If all that wasn't enough if your army is battleforged you get 3 extra CP. He does everything you'd want a HQ to do, basically. The main reasons not to take him are points cost, wanting a different LOW, if your chapter has a HQ aimed at buffing them (Kantor for Crimson Fists or Tyberos for the Carcharodons are far better for their own chapters as examples), or not wanting to be seen as That Guy.
    • Be aware that since he has the Monster keyword for some odd reason, he tends to interact strangely with several other rules (e.g. taking Transports). Watch for anything that affects Monster units and be prepared to footslog.
  • Land Raider Terminus Ultra (Index only): Not sure why exactly this was moved to Lords of War since its statline is still no different from the other Land Raiders, but it will do a spectacular job of wrecking vehicles thanks to its 8 (!) lascannon shots per turn. 3 to hit rolls of 1 in one turn will cause you to take 6 mortal wounds, but the chances of that are so small that it's unlikely to be an issue. Even if it does happen, it won't be enough to decrease your base stats until you drop to 8 wounds or below, and with the toughness and armor save that comes with being a Land Raider variant that's probably not going to be an issue. Just be sure to watch out for massed infantry- for this reason you should probably take a storm bolter over the multi-melta since any vehicle close enough to be in melta range is going to become a smoldering wreck either way.
    • As of Chapter Approved, the Terminus Ultra is now available to chapters other than Ultramarines as well - but only in open play! And only for 600 pts.!!

Forge World[edit]

Forgeworld FAQ[1] updates the relic rule for LoW, effectively you can get one with no pre-requisites but further ones will still require the 'non-relic' tax. On the other hand, who would even need to bring 4 Lords of War into anything short of the biggest Apocalypse games?. Beware as they are all overpriced, thank daddy GW for that and should never be taken outside of fun games

  • Relic Spartan Assault Tank: The Spartan has always been a bigger nastier Land Raider at heart, and this edition just makes it even meaner. A relic from the Legion days, it boasts an impressive BS3+, S8, T8, W20, a 2+ Save, and PoTMS so it can move and shoot with no penalty. The Steel Behemoth rule allows it to shoot or charge after falling back, and fire its guns even if enemies are within 1" of it. Further, it only benefits from cover saves when at least half the model is obscured. It comes stock with hull-mounted Twin heavy bolters (which can be replaced with Twin heavy flamers), 2 sponson-mounted Quad lascannons (that's a total of 8(!) lascannons), and anything trying to attack it in melee will have to deal with its Crushing tracks, which are S8 AP-2 DD3. And with a WS5+ and 8 attacks, it has a better chance than most tanks of actually hitting with them. If 8 lascannons don't do the trick, they can be swapped for Laser Destroyers to give it the role of blowing superheavies to pieces; its basic profile of S12 AP-4 DD6 is nasty enough as it is, but any time it inflicts damage, you roll a d6. On a 3-5, its damage rises to 2d6, and on a 6 it becomes a staggering 3d6 damage! If you crave even more dakka you can add a pintle-mounted Heavy bolter, Storm Bolter, Heavy flamer, or Multi-melta. Finally, the Spartan has an enormous 25 transport capacity, including Terminators, Jump Pack Infantry, and Centurions (but not Primaris). If it explodes after losing its last wound (on a roll of 6), it deals D6 Mortal Wounds to units with 2D6" inches.
  • Relic Typhon Heavy Siege Tank: The Vindicator's big brother on steroids is a fierce siege engine, boasting BS3+, S8, T9(!), W22, and a 2+ Save. The Dreadhammer siege cannon taking up the entirety of the vehicle drops Heavy 2D6 S10 AP-5 3D shots at 24" or 48" if it holds still. Losing the enormous blast template from the previous edition, the Dreadhammer can now put serious hurt on vehicles and monsters with it's 2D6 high strength high AP shots. In addition to the main gun, it can grab 2 sponson-mounted Lascannons or Heavy bolters, and can also take a pintle-mounted Heavy Bolter, Heavy flamer, Multi-melta, or Storm bolter for extra dakka. The Steel Behemoth rule allows it to shoot or charge after falling back, and fire its guns even if enemies are within 1" of it (except for it's Dreadhammer siege cannon, which must target other units). Further, it only benefits from cover saves when at least half the model is obscured. It has PoTMS so it can move and shoot with no penalty, and it makes a respectable 8 attacks with it's Crushing tracks (decreasing to 6, and then D3 as it takes damage) at WS5+ S8 AP-2 DD3 in melee. If it explodes after losing its last wound (on a roll of 6), it deals D6 Mortal Wounds to units with 2D6" inches.
  • Relic Cerberus Heavy Tank Destroyer: An insane Titan-class laser weapon mounted on a Spartan chassis, boasting BS3+, S8, T9, W22, and a 2+ Save. The Heavy neutron pulse array kicks out Heavy 3 S14 AP-4 3+D6D shots at 72", and causes a -1 to-hit penalty to the shooting attacks of vehicles wounded by this weapon. In addition to the main gun it can grab 2 sponson-mounted Lascannons or Heavy bolters, and can also take a pintle-mounted Heavy Bolter, Heavy flamer, Multi-melta, or Storm bolter for extra dakka. The Steel Behemoth rule allows it to shoot or charge after falling back, and fire its guns even if enemies are within 1" of it (except for it's Heavy neutron pulse array which must target other units). Further, it only benefits from cover saves when at least half the model is obscured. It has PoTMS so it can move and shoot with no penalty, and it makes a respectable 8 attacks with it's Crushing tracks (decreasing to 6, and then D3 as it takes damage) at WS5+ S8 AP-2 DD3 in melee. If it explodes after losing its last wound (on a roll of 5+ thanks to its Unstable Reactor), it deals D6 Mortal Wounds to units with 2D6" inches.
  • Relic Fellblade Superheavy Tank: The Baneblade's exponentially meaner cousin. Absolutely bristling with guns, it has a massively impressive statline of BS3+, S9, T9, W26, a 2+ Save, and PoTMS so it can move and shoot with no penalty. It's enormous and versatile Fellblade accelerator cannon sports two shell types: HE shells are Heavy 2D6 S8 AP-3 2D shots and allow rerolls for the number of shots when targeting a unit with more than 5 models. AE shells are Heavy 2 S14 AP-4 6D shots that work wonders on tanks. It comes stock with a hull-mounted Twin heavy bolter (which can be replaced with a Twin heavy flamer) and 2 sponson-mounted Quad lascannons (which can be swapped for the amazing Laser destroyers like the Spartan). Like the Baneblade it also has a hull-mounted Demolisher cannon. If you crave even more dakka you can add a pintle-mounted Heavy bolter, Storm Bolter, Heavy flamer, or Multi-melta. Finally, anything trying to attack it in melee will have to deal with 9 WS5+ attacks from its Crushing tracks, which are S9 AP-2 DD3. If it explodes after losing its last wound (on a roll of 6), it deals D6 Mortal Wounds to units with 2D6" inches. The Steel Behemoth rule allows it to shoot or charge after falling back, and fire its guns even if enemies are within 1" of it. Further, it only benefits from cover saves when at least half the model is obscured. Despite his cool look and guns it can no longer compare against the regular Baneblade.
  • Relic Falchion Superheavy Tank Destroyer: A Fellblade variant which shares the same statline and special rules but mounts the unbelievably deadly Twin volcano cannon in place of the Fellblade cannon and Demolisher cannon. The Twin volcano cannon can annihilate targets 120" away with Heavy 2D6 S16 AP-5 D2D6 (re-rolling wounds against Titanic units). Just like the Fellblade it comes stock with two Quad lascannon sponsons which can be replaced with Laser destroyers. Given its ability to take the laser destroyers, it's objectively better at destroying superheavies than its Shadowsword counterpart in practically every way. It also sports a hull-mounted Twin heavy bolter which can be replaced with Twin heavy flamers, despite the fact the guns don't actually exist on the model. As per an email from forge world, "it's a copy and pastes error from the Fellblade that hasn't been fixed in an official errata"... yet. Just stick them on with bluetac or something as you're paying the points for them. You can add a pintle-mounted Heavy bolter, Storm Bolter, Heavy flamer, or Multi-melta if you crave even more dakka.
  • Relic Mastodon Super-heavy Siege Transport: Have you ever wanted to transport 40 Marines at once while trashing flyers and generally being nigh-indestructible? Then the Mastodon is the LoW for you! With 30 wounds and a 5+ void shield, the Mastodon is a fucking tough nut to crack, made even more so if it somehow gets into the 6" range for its siege melta array's reroll to kick in.
  • Thunderhawk Assault Gunship: The standard air support and transportation workhouse of the Space Marines. This monstrous flyer will cost you an arm and a leg (in both points and real $) but has some seriously impressive rules. It has a big 20-50" move in Supersonic mode and can hover. Its has BS2+, S10, T9, 30W, a 3+ Save and PoTMS so it can shoot on the move. Its Void-hardened Hull grants it a 5++ save for extra durability. The Thunderhawk Assault Gunship is armed with a Thunderhawk heavy cannon - 48" Heavy 2D6 S8 AP-2 D6D, which can be swapped for the monstrously powerful Turbo-laser destructor - 96" Heavy D3 S16 AP-4 2D6D (6's to wound inflict an additional D3 Mortal Wounds). For secondary weapons it sports 4 Twin heavy bolters and 2 Lascannons at various points on the hull, as well as a choice of Thunderhawk Cluster Bombs or a Hellstrike missile battery. The Cluster bombs can drop once per game on a single unit you flew over, rolling up to 12D6 times (3D6 for every VEHICLE or MONSTER and 1D6 for other models). Each 5+ result deals a Mortal Wound to the unit, though units consisting only of characters cannot be targeted. The Hellstrike battery is 72" Heavy 4 S8 AP-3 D3. It's Colossal Flyer rule forces -1 from shooting attacks against the Thunderhawk, but also forces opponents to measure from where its hull would be if it were at ground level and then add 12" to that measurement (which is an attempt to account for the custom flying bases you need to hold this heavy-ass brick of resin up). It also means that a lot of guns flat-out cannot shoot at it while it's Supersonic. Finally, the Thunderhawk has an impressive transport capacity of 30, including TERMINATORS, JUMP PACK models, CENTURIONS, and BIKES. It is also one of the only vehicles that can transport PRIMARIS models, with each counting for 2 spaces, although you cannot mix them with non-PRIMARIS units. In terms of loadout, 8th edition favors a high volume of shots. As such, the heavy cannon is likely a better option than the turbo laser, as 2D6 (avg. 7) hitting on a 2+ and wounding a Land Raider on a 4+ is better than D3 shots hitting on 2+ and wounding the same target on a 2+, even with the difference in armour save thanks to AP. Command point rerolls benefit the heavy cannon more, due to the increase in variance between rerolling a D6 vs a D3. Additionally, due to the low chance of the Cluster Bombs actually doing what you want them to do, as well as being one-use only, the Hellstrike Missiles are likely a better option.
    • Mathhammer: The above, struck through statement is not actually correct, and a command point spent on the number of attacks won't change it. Given, the cannon is obviously better against squads (2.43 unsaved wounds on non-shield terminators with D6 damage beats anything two attacks could do without a large number of mortal wounds, and the laser only inflicts .33 MWs per shot), but against a Land Raider? 1.45 unsaved wounding hits at d6 damage vs 1.15 unsaved wounding hits at 2d6 damage, +.55 mortal wounds. ~5 wounds vs ~8.6 and a command point only buys the cannon, on average, +.75 wounds. Worse armor and lower toughness change this, but until you hit some ork level T7, 4+ save madness that turbo laser will out perform the cannon vs vehicles/MCs. The canon is better for utility though, hurting vehicles and munching squads.
    • Chapter Approved more than doubled the points cost of the hull of the Thunderhawk, meaning that taking one with Hellstrike Missiles brings this thing up to 1450 points, after buying its secondary weapons. It can absolutely earn its points back, but more as a result of tanking a tremendous amount of enemy gunfire between T9, 30W, decent armor, Hard to Hit, and adding 12" to enemy ranges. It can destroy an enemy Fellblade in one salvo (saw it happen), and it's a hell of a distraction.
  • Thunderhawk Transporter: A Thunderhawk variant designed for airlifting tanks, this unusual vehicle shares the statline of the Thunderhawk (with the exception of 26W - 4 fewer than the Gunship). In addition to 15 models including TERMINATORS, JUMP PACK models, CENTURIONS, and BIKES, it can hoist vehicles into battle in one of the following configurations:
    • 1 model with the LAND RAIDER or SPARTAN ASSAULT TANK keyword.
    • Up to 2 of the following: RHINO, RAZORBACK, INFERNUM RAZORBACK, PREDATOR, DEIMOS PREDATOR, WHIRLWIND, WHIRLWIND HYPERIOS, HUNTER, STALKER, DAMOCLES, VINDICATOR, VINDICATOR DESTROYER, WHIRLWIND SCORPIUS.
      • These vehicles act exactly like other passengers and are subject to the usual restrictions for embarking and disembarking, meaning they can detach while in Supersonic mode at the end of the movement phase. Transported vehicles can carry units at no additional transport cost to the Thunderhawk, so feel free to deep strike 25 dudes in a Spartan PLUS 15 dudes in the Thunderhawk itself. The cost of this unusual ability is the loss of ranged firepower - the Thunderhawk Transporter is armed with 'only' 4 Twin heavy bolters and a Hellstrike missile battery. It's much cheaper than the Thunderhawk Gunship, but its usefulness is somewhat questionable, cool as it may be.
  • Sokar Pattern Stormbird: Pretty much the largest flyer/transport/model Forge World offers next to titans. Damn expensive in points (651... not too bad) and tangible money alike, it can ferry entire demi companies onto the battlefield. Has like 8 lascannons, a host of various missiles and bombs, void shields, and a few heavy bolters here and there for flavor. The void shields can extend and overlap nearby troops 8" away that jumped out if it has hovered. Has 40 wounds, T9, a 5++ after the void shields.
  • Astraeus Super Heavy Tank: This beast of a tank now has its rules released... and it's frankly nastier than anyone gave it credit for. 24 wounds, Toughness 8, 2+ Armour, Power of the Machine Spirit and Steel Behemoth are already bad enough, but then you look at its gear. Firstly, the Void Shield. Just like the Titans, it's a degenerating shield that can block off any wound, mortal or not, and does not care about AP value. However, it cannot protect you from overheating Plasma Eradicators or melee attacks, so watch out for Knight Gallants and other heavy-hitting melee units that somehow get by the Enhanced Repulsor Fields. Said Enhanced Repulsor Fields not only reduce enemy charge rolls by 3", but are also its form of close combat attack. Considering the fields give -2 AP and deals D3 damage per wound, this is surprisingly vicious, especially considering the 8 Strength 9 attacks the tank gets (albeit only at WS 5+, although it still benefits from auras like Litanies of Hate and Rites of Battle). Obviously, however, you're here for the guns and... oh boy. Its twin macro-accelerator cannon is a vicious Heavy 12, S8, AP-2, Damage 3 that ignores all abilities that impose negative hit modifiers when targeting anything with the FLY keyword. Its other default weapons don't seem that threatening at first, however. The two las-rippers are slightly weaker las-talons with a new name, the twin heavy bolter is somewhat useful against infantry, and the storm bolter and ironhail heavy stubber can be augmented with another ironhail heavy stubber. However, the twin heavy bolter can be replaced by a twin Lascannon, and the las-rippers can be replaced by the new Plasma Eradicator, a +1 Strength, AP-4 Plasma Cannon that uniquely only causes one mortal wound per 1 to hit on Supercharge. 90% of the time the Eradicators are the better choice. Not only are they cheaper than Las-Rippers, but they have more range. Being within 24" will put the Astraeus in danger of being chopped up by enemy Knights and makes it a prime target for most Plasma weapons. The lone Storm Bolter won't be doing much of anything regardless.
    • Compared to the Fellblade, its main gun is lacking in terms of pure power but has a more reliable number of shots which will be more effective against light to medium vehicles (especially flyers), as well as 3-wound infantry such as Tyranid Warriors, Grey Knight Paladins, and Custodes. The secondary armament is clearly inferior with the eight Lascannons and Demolisher Cannon of the Fellblade outgunning the Accelerator Cannon itself. In melee it is a mixed picture, the Enhanced Repulsor Fields make the Astraeus harder to engage and hit but it lacks the option to mount any flamer for point defense; the Fellblade can mount up to 3 heavy flamers which will inflict significant overwatch casualties on attacking infantry. The Void Shield gives it an important defensive tool that the Fellblade and most superheavy tanks lack, albeit on a more fragile (T8 not 9), less durable (2 wounds less at 24W) chassis. Most importantly, it's much cheaper than the Fellblade, and since it's not a Relic you can use it as a "non-Relic" tax in the unlikely chance you really want a full Super-Heavy Detachment as a Space Marine army.

Tactics and Strategy[edit]

Command Points[edit]

The first and most helpful thing to remember in 8e is 'use your command points!' An Apothecary's resurrection roll is tremendous. An important Armor Save for example a 2+ on a buff giver, but remember you cannot reroll the number of victory points you earn from a tactical objective (you only collect victory points at the end of your turn, not in any particular phase). In the shooting phase, re-rolling wounds done by a D6 wounds weapon, or the number of shots fired by a D6 shots weapon, are usually the most optimal dice to reroll. Generally speaking, the more variance a dice has, the more efficient a reroll gets. Re-rolling a crappy D6 roll is always better than re-rolling a D3. You should also be aware of the wide variety of potent Space Marine-unique Stratagems out there and plan out which ones you want to use accordingly; for example, a tank-heavy Iron Hands list would be best served with the Killshot, Armor of Contempt, and Machine Empathy Stratagems.

This is especially important for Ultramarines, as two of their special characters (Roboute Guilliman and Marneus Calgar) grant bonus Command Points just for being the Warlord in a Battle-Forged army. Additionally, their unique WT gives them a chance to recycle their CP so you can use even more Stratagems.

  • Carefully read what your stratagems actually do. You can do pretty well just by using the right stratagem at the right time.
    • Got some alpha striked enemies over there? Use Auspex on a heavily armed squad within 12" and they might be gone.
    • The guy with the annoying 3+ invul save? Use a heavy bolter with a hellfire round (and some luck, yes) and see him cry.
    • The freakin' fast close combat unit of insanity coming for you? Use a cannon with the Tremor Shell Stratagem and see them crawling on the floor...
    • You have a nice CC Squad stuck in combat, which could finish of the bad guys next turn? Draw "Honour the Chapter" and kill them right now before they get a chance to hit back.

Army Building[edit]

  • Overall: The Meta is bound to change as codices are released and tournaments are played, but there are a few essential things you need to know when building an army.
    • Anti-armour weapons: The opportunities for fielding lots of big units like vehicles and monsters means that you should be prepared to face a lot of high toughness, good armour save, lots of wounds models. The fact that these models have lots of wounds means you need to put a lot of effort into destroying them. When building an army, make sure you have enough high strength weapons that deal multiple damage. Lascannons and melta weapons are a priority for taking out vehicles, and you will need a lot of either. Hammernators or Dreadnoughts are the close combat variation, but note that most vehicles can move a lot faster than Hammernators, so getting that assault in may be difficult. Just 6 lascannons in 1500 points is NOT ENOUGH anti-tank weaponry. Most vehicles are T7, with some of the harder ones being T8, so Strength 8 weapons are a minimum or else you're wounding on 4+ or 5+. In the case of lighter vehicles, overcharging Hellblasters are an effective alternative to melta weapons, with their increased range and rapid fire ability (at least for the basic Plasma Incinerator) compensating for their comparatively low damage per shot.
    • Tactical Flexibility: From lots of games played it seems to be the goto option for marines. During deployment split 10 men tactical squads into 2 squads of 5 each. Squads of 5 will minimize the effects of moral while giving more flexibility in terms of board control. If you should forget it, or say you change your mind during the game, you can also use a stratagem to split a squad in half.
    • Anti-infantry: This edition favors large hordes of cheap models, so you need to be sure to load up on anti infantry weapons like Assault Cannons, Heavy Bolters and such. Flamers are also pretty good in Overwatch if you expect to be fighting in close quarters, but their random shot count and lack of AP can be an issue if the dice aren't on your side.
  • Mixing Imperium Units: It is tough for Space Marines early on in 8e as the meta metastasizes around cheap hordes, to say nothing of points increases. One approach to the problems marines have early in 8e is to use units outside of Marines in an allied detachment, as cheap Guardsmen/Skitarii can easily be brought alongside an Astartes detachment. Remember that they can't be in the same detachment despite sharing the Imperium keyword.
  • Character Buffing: For those of us that want a pure marine army there are options. One is to double up on your force multipliers at every opportunity. The Troop Tax is no more, and is replaced with an HQ tax. Use those HQs to their maximum. And while HQs and the Lord of War Guilliman improve your hitting and wounding, units inside the elite slot have created a new dynamic for Marines.
    • Apothecaries and Ancients are must-takes in infantry heavy Space Marine armies. Ancients enable out of turn shooting from models you'd otherwise be removing from play, and Apothecaries enable you to bring them back onto the table (only one per Apothecary and only one per target unit, mind, and it only works half the time, but it can bring back a clutch model like a Centurion or an Aggressor). Build around your Warlord! HQs like Kantor, Shrike, Vulcan, and Khan can drastically change your army's peak efficiency. Using Vulcan around loads of melta toting marines is more efficient than Kantor around the same loadout. These named characters are how Space Marine armies are given flavour in 8e. With Kantor, 3 Assault Centurions, 5 hammernators, or 5 Veteran Vanguards with thunder hammers can take out a Knight in one turn of CC. Without Kantor, they only accomplish 50% of the damage.
    • Another popular combination is a Captain (ideally upgraded to Chapter Master if you can spare the CP) and two Lieutenants, the Captain allows hit re-rolls of 1 while the Lieutenants allow wound re-rolls of 1. Add a hellblaster/devastator squad in that 6" radius and you can get a lot of damage on target or multiple targets in a very short amount of time.
      • Bringing only one lieutenant can be more cost-effective, so is preferred if short on points
  • Sergeant Equipment: most of your regular Infantry and Bikers have a Sergeant that takes items from the Sergeant Equipment List. This includes your Tactical/Scout/Assault/Devastator Squads, your Company/Vanguard/Sternguard Veterans, and your Bike Squads and Company Veterans on Bikes. If you don't have specific wargear in mind, ALWAYS take a Storm Bolter and Chainsword instead of leaving them with their default options. This 2-point upgrade adds the same amount of dakka as an entire 13-point Tactical Marine/11-point Scout.
    • Veteran Sergeants all have 3 attacks, so investing in a nice melee weapon is often worth the points, even if you don't intend to use them in assaults. A 16-point Thunder Hammer presents a very serious threat to pretty much any multi-wound model, be it Infantry, Monster, or Vehicle. Taking a Thunder Hammer in this instance is as much about limiting your opponent's options as it is about directly inflicting losses, though landing even a single blow will more than make your points back if you pick the right target.
    • Saying that, remember that most power weapons are only 4 points in 8th. So when low on points left, consider a powersword or something like that. The powerweapons cut through armor nicely.
  • Razor Rush: Razorbacks hauling troops are way better in 8e than they were in 7e, and in 7e they were free. The unit inside the Razorback should do something complimentary to the Razorback, while maintaining a similar weapons range. If inside a Laserback, consider a Plasma Tactical Squad. A Razorback with Heavy Flamers would benefit from a Melta/combi-melta tactical squad. In this MSU approach, it is better to diversify your squads. So while one can bring Devastators with 4 Multimeltas inside a Razorback (5 if you're using the Infernus Razorback to take another multi-melta), that Razorback is going to draw too much attention and those Devs are likely to be stranded.
  • Two Drop Pop: -- No longer as relevant after Chapter Approved. Land Raiders carrying slews of units can easily be arranged into an army with only two drops. Use that to get +1 to the roll to go first on an army that was built assuming first turn. It's never a smart move to compromise your army's effectiveness just to attempt to get first turn. Beware 1-drop Tau Manta armies (not because of their tactics, but because anyone who actually owns a Manta should be considered mentally unstable). The Meta has shifted dramatically to Beta Strike armies. Lias Issodon, Drop Pods, Jump Pack Marines, Terminators, Reivers all have built in Deep Striking on their Data Sheets, keeping units off the table until you deploy them later in the game. Deploying later in the game keeps units safe from gun fire, so you can guarantee your units get to shoot.
  • Command Points and You: If you are gonna go for an all-marine army with CPs, it's gonna be hard to balance multi purpose, jack-of-all-whatchamacallsits with specialized elites, HS, Fast attack and HQs in brigades and battalions. Dodging the Troop Tax is viable with the Outrider, Spearhead and Vanguard detachments, but doesn't give as many command points, and CPs are like Psykers, they may do a little, or they may wreck your shit, and it's good to have a few just in case.
    • You can build a Space Marine Army around 6 troop choices and burning Command Points. You'd likely need to go cheap on Fast Attack units. In this approach every turn you should use Hellfire Shells, Flakk Missiles and Expert Marksmen. If your model dies, but gets one last shot off with an Ancient, use the Flakk Missile and Hellfire stratagem for Mortal Wounds in your opponent's turn. Use Scouts to control how your enemy deep strikes, and use Tacticals to zone off your Deployment Zone. With a large pool of Devastators in your Deployment zone rerolling because of Lieutenants and Captains, when the onrushing hordes reach your army use characters to defend them, and use Honor The Chapter for a game winning Counter Charge by your heroic character. Use the Standard of Emperor Ascendant to maximize this shooting. Because this build takes up a lot of points and few/no vehicles consider using Assault Weapons on your Tactical Marines so they can Advance every turn.
  • Getting Around Smite Spam: Space Marines are unusually vulnerable to Smite Spam armies, because Marines pay a premium for 3+ Armor and T4, yet all of that armor and toughness is useless against Smite. For that reason, it is good to sneak a Black Templar unit or two into a list to use their Stratagem. A Culexus Assassin is a major component to consider from the wider Imperium armies; a Culexus can be used to suppress the first turn of Smites. Fortunately, following the changes to how Smite works you aren't likely to see Smite spamming outside of Thousand Sons and Grey Knights armies nowadays.
  • On Primaris Marines: As these are the primary new toys given to Space Marines, a bit of caution should be taken when using them, especially when considering making an Ultima Founding Chapter, or using chapters who have been heavily supplemented by these new Chadmarines. The first and absolutely most important thing is that these guys are specialized to an extent that is jarring in comparison to other units in the codex. Almost every Primaris unit is a one trick pony, being very good at one role and struggling to do anything else: Aggressors are short ranged shooting DISTRACTION CARNIFEXES that particularly rip apart light to medium infantry from short to mid range and hit hard in melee, but their guns are ineffective against anything with a Toughness score greater than 5 and are sluggish enough to be at risk of getting blasted away before they get into the 18" range that most of their weaponry uses. Reivers are ranged or melee harassers with a powerful grenade capable of disrupting enemy units, some powerful deployment methods, and the potential to cause the worst problems for morale, but fare poorly against anything with morale boosts (or morale immunity, either inherently or due to small unit sizes) or armor saves above a 5+. Inceptors rely on their ability to deep strike and gun down their preferred prey (light infantry for Assault Bolters, everything else for Plasma Exterminators) but also suffer from range issues on top of poor melee ability, and the characters take their roles deathly seriously, having no options that deviate from their purpose (if they even get options, that is- many of them don't even have that). Though the Repulsor does somewhat open them up to versatility, it pays significantly for multi-tasking and is often best for clearing out hordes. These guys are truly Aspect Marines, and should be treated as such, even in a full army of the true scaled bastards. Hellblasters and Intercessors are the exceptions, with the former acting as a solid MEQ/TEQ-killer that can also double as improvised anti-vehicle if needed and the latter being a more expensive but resilient Troops choice that's great at holding down backfield objectives.
  • Space Marine Armies pay a premium for each soldier, and have tools to make the points spent more reliable. Every important unit likely needs a character to maximize its output. Chapter Masters and Lieutenants are essential for getting accurate firepower; other armies lack accuracy but make up for it with volume of fire. Marines will usually have a low model count and so need each shot to work. Ancients help reduce the toll of Alpha Strikes -- getting shot off the board Turn 1 is a thing, and Ancients help you recoup some of your losses by returning fire as models die. Models such as Assault Centurions will benefit from a Chaplain, Captain or Chapter Master but also an Apothecary to bring back lost models. The Marine Formula -- a Unit and it's accompanying support Unit, goes for all the non-character models. Marines are oddly lacking deep striking, compared to their past. Some character builds are great at Deep Striking. A Captain with Thunderhammer and Storm Shield is a strong unit for attacking the enemy's rear, while solo. That Captain is best with the Shield Eternal, giving him some time to make damage. Generally a named Character is not great for Suicide Missions, as the benefits of named characters are usually better used with the rest of the army. The Standard of the Emperor Ascendant is also very valuable for getting the most utility out of the models you pay for. It's very easy to use 2 Relics in every Space Marine Army.


Warhammer 40,000 Tactics Articles
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