Warhammer 40,000/Tactics/Space Marines (9E)

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This is the current 9th Edition's Space Marine tactics. 8th Edition Tactics are here.


Why Play Space Marines[edit]

The Emperor’s finest; the Space Marines; the Angels of Death; the warriors of the Adeptus Astartes go by many names, and all spell annihilation to the enemies of Mankind. Possessing terrifying speed, strength, and resilience, the Space Marines are genetically engineered super-soldiers whose humanity has been sacrificed so that they may unflinchingly stand against those who would see the Imperium fall. They go to war clad in nigh-impenetrable armour. They wield devastating weapons such as the bolt rifle, the chainsword and the lascannon. They can speed into battle in armoured tanks and gunships, drop from the skies on grav-chutes and jump packs, or even teleport directly into their enemies’ midst. Coupled with their unshakeable resolve, the strike forces of Adeptus Astartes are the most powerful and tactically flexible in the Imperium.


  • Easy for beginners to play, the army is highly customizable with generally acceptable grades of viability.
  • Your basic units are pretty well rounded and durable with strength 4, toughness 4, 3+ armor saves, and 2 wounds base.
  • Space Marines are the iconic poster boy army of 40k, you're always going to be the first out of the gate with a new book and some new models every edition.
  • You have a variety of useful psychic powers, many of which are flat-out buffs of other armies' powers.
  • Loads of powerful characters to choose from, many of which have potent buffs to surrounding units.
  • Units can do something of everything, with an answer to every situation.
  • Many of your models are simple to paint with their solid colors and easily identified highlight areas - this makes painting your army very beginner friendly.


  • Space Marines have the largest pool of units in the game, it can feel overwhelming when deciding what to take and many units seem redundant.
  • As the most popular army by a long shot, most people build their armies with at least a few options for killing Space Marines present.
  • GW releases new units with overpowered statlines at breakneck pace, which results in massive drain on both your time and your wallet. In the long term, this can cause hobby fatigue and/or feelings of resentment.
  • The Elites slot is overcrowded.
  • You will almost always be outnumbered, though some Chapter tactics make use of low model counts, and codex has some answers to this.
  • Marines vs. Marines is grating and monotonous, which sucks since it's the most popular faction in the game.
  • Eradicators are stupidly overpowered and unquestionably cheese. Bring a squad or two at most - any more than that is firmly in That Guy territory.


  • Space Marines sit at the middle of the spectrum between ranged and melee armies. They're fundamentally a shooty army, but on the spectrum of shooty troops they are the least fucked in melee. They don't have a lot of attacks, so the longer they stay in melee with melee specialists the worse it's going for them. Their durability comes at a points premium per unit, which underlines the Astartes' greatest nemesis: Hordes. Astartes aren't Custodes; their points premium doesn't make them so tough that they can shrug off an entire squad worth of knives and flashlights. The fluff may say an Astartes is worth a hundred men, but in their respective roles, guardsmen and boyz are more points economical. Playing Space Marines is not about playing to strengths... it's about playing to the enemy's weaknesses.

Special Rules[edit]

  • Troops gain Objective Secured.
  • Company Command: Can only have one Captain and two Lieutenants per Detachment. Aka fuck you to homebrew chapters that have a non-Codex organisation ...or even canon ones like the Space Wolves.
  • Chapter Command: Most non-named Characters (i.e. all except Lieutenants and Judiciars) can have a Chapter Command upgrade for PL and pts. Each <Chapter> Army can only have one Chapter Command model and some named Characters already have the relevant keyword. Crusade forces cannot start with a non-named Chapter Command model.
    • Using <Ultramarines> as an example, your army cannot have Marneus Calgar and an <Ultramarine> Captain upgraded to a Chapter Master in the same army. However, you can have an <Ultramarine> Chapter Master and a <Salamander> Chapter Master in the same army.
  • 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). While MSU is better, it does give Space Marines a unique way to circumvent the Rule of Three or Detachment Limits. Now they just need to have spammable units worth Combat Squadding, like Eradicators.
    • With the introduction of Shock Assault (see below), it is worth considering the use of some of the older tactics, back when a Tactical Marine was worth more than just a bolter. One such tactic was to put your guns in one squad and your melee in another, using the ranged weapons to soften up a target, then the melee (basically a sergeant with either a power weapon or fist) to finish it off, or better yet, to tie up the target unit and finish it off (hopefully) during the opponent's turn, denying them a turn at shooting and forcing them to basically waste their melee on chaff. You can also put the sergeant in the ranged unit with a combi-weapon for a total of three bolters and two special weapons in one squad, and a heavy weapon in the other for a makeshift Devastator Squad.
  • Angels of Death: A rule owned by all Space Marines whatever its colour, subdivided into four. Because GW likes to keep it simple.

When taking Combat Attrition tests, ignore all modifiers, meaning you don't care about being at half strength.

  • Don't take this as an excuse to let your Sergeant die first - failing Morale in the first place is much worse than being better at resisting Combat Attrition until you reach casualty rates your units generally won't be large enough to suffer to begin with.

Models using a rapid fire bolt weapon can double their number of shots (i.e. rapid-fire) if at least one of the following conditions is met. They don't stack, so no triple or quadruple shots if you meet more than one condition. The conditions are:

  • The target is within the weapon's half range (normal rapid fire rules).
  • The model is Infantry (excluding Centurions) and every model of its unit remained stationary during the previous Movement Phase. If a Devastator's Heavy Weapon Marine moves, the Sergeant cannot use Bolter Discipline on his boltgun.
    • This gives your Marines the option to commit to those objectives instead of having to get close to the enemy. Factions like Tau may have long-ranged small arms, but Space Marines can rapid fire from full range away.
  • The firing model is a Terminator or Biker.
    • This right here is the good shit. Footslogging Terminators now have a significantly improved threat capacity and Bikers are somehow even more deadly fast than they already were. Be aware it does not apply to Dreads.

If a unit with this rule charges, gets charged, or performs a Heroic Intervention, models in the unit gain +1A until the end of the turn (stacks with fighting twice, like with a stratagem, for +2A total).

  • Gives the generally lackluster melee of most Primaris Infantry and chainsword Assault Marines a little bit of a boost. Killer on units with power weapons, like Terminators. Also means foes have to be a bit more careful about charging at Tacticals and such to tie them up, and that they can assist in a melee in a pinch.
  • Remember that this ability is not Infantry exclusive; Dreadnoughts really appreciate the extra attack, and even your Transports can hit a little harder in the first round of combat (Space Marines bring a whole new meaning to road rage).

Feels like it's 7th edition all over again. Each of the three Combat Doctrines gives an AP-1 buff to different weapon types in your armies (non-cumulative with buffs from other sources). You have to use each Doctrine in order, starting with the Devastator Doctrine, and then must move through each Doctrine. Once you switch there's no going back, so pay attention to the rhythm of the game. Your army gains this if all units in it have this rule, meaning taking a Guardsman Battalion would prevent the Marine detachment from getting this rule, but allied Marine detachments are okay even from a different <Chapter>.

  • Specialist Doctrines, from supplemental Chapter Codexes, stack with this. Bringing Chapters with different Specialist Doctrines prevents either Chapter from getting theirs, which encourages you to have a one-Chapter army.
      1. On turn 1, your army will always start with the Devastator Doctrine turned on, giving all your heavy and grenade weapons the extra -1 AP so that you can soften entrenched Infantry and cripple enemy Vehicles from afar in preparation for your advance (the benefit to grenades generally won't come up unless you went second and got Alpha Struck). Remember the first points of AP are the most important ones: AP-2 heavy bolters and assault cannons are more noticeable than AP-4 lascannons. Do keep in mind that the plethora of sniper rifles and heavy flamers (incendium/inferno/flamestorm cannons) are heavy weapons.
      2. On the 2nd turn you switch to Tactical Doctrine, shifting the boost to your rapid fire and assault weapons. Be it to close the distance to the enemy or because your vehicles are about to give their last, this mostly passes the ranged baton to your Infantry, and amusingly, your Rhinos and Drop Pods. Storm bolters and auto bolt rifles work wonders here.
      3. On the 3rd or 4th turn you shift to Assault Doctrine (you must change to assault on the 4th turn) giving the extra AP to your pistol and melee attacks. Do remember to fire those pistols right before charging and during melee.
  • Armour of Contempt: The Q2 2022 Balance Dataslate came ringing in again to show how much GW fucking LOVES Space Marines (plus CSM, AM Vehicles, and SoB. So not that bad). Now any attacks against your army reduce their AP by 1, now absolutely forcing enemies to grab their AP2 guns. The only time this doesn't apply is if you already have a shield (Because otherwise we'd see the busted Bladeguard again) or any other AP reduction power.
  • Death From Above/Teleport Strike: Deep Strike by another name, most common on Jump Pack and Terminator models. Set them aside during deployment and set them up 9" from enemy models during the Reinforcement Step. The fact that they have different names actually does come up for Deathwatch, because you can get both into the same unit (which causes neither to work).
  • Concealed Positions: Infiltrate by another name, most common on Scout and Phobos models. Set them up anywhere on the field 9" from enemy deployment zone or models during deployment.
  • Outflank: Like Deep Strike, but must be wholly within 6" of a board edge and 9" from enemy models during the Reinforcement Step.
  • Martial Legacy (FW): Relic unit rules for certain Forge World models. If your army is battle-forged, each unit with this rule increases the cost of a detachment that includes it by 1CP. Essentially, you pay 1CP per Martial Legacy unit in your army.

Chapter Tactics[edit]

Chapter Tactics are special rules based on the <Chapter> keyword that will affect every unit in a detachment except for servitors and Beast. To benefit from Chapter Tactics, your army must be battle-forged, and all units in the detachment must be drawn from the same chapter. Super-Heavy Auxiliary Detachments also don't benefit from this, so if you want your Raven Guard Thunderhawks to get free cover, you need to take three. A reminder that <chapter> Ultramarines is not the same faction as <regiment> Ultramarines, even if both faction keywords are "Ultramarines".

They are explored in greater detail in their respective section at the bottom of this page, but as a quick reminder of the GW and FW tactics and recommendations:

  • Blood Angels - Red Thirst: Gains +1 to wound rolls when Shock Assault is active, gains +1 to advance and charge rolls.
    • Flesh Tearers - Fury Within: Gains +1 to wound rolls when Shock Assault is active, unmodified wound rolls of 6 gain -1AP that is cumulative with the Assault Doctrine.
    • Blood Angels have the successor tactic Hungry for Battle, and an ability not available as a Successor Tactic. Neither of the Flesh Tearers abilities are available as Successor Tactics.
  • Dark Angels - Grim Resolve: Gains +1 to hit rolls unless this unit has moved (except pile-in or consolidation), automatically passes Combat Attrition Tests. The Jink and Inner Circle rules depend on this tactic to function, so they are:
    • Jink (typically found on bikes and land speeders): Models in this unit have a 5++ invulnerable save against ranged attacks, which is lost if it Remains Stationary, until the following Movement phase; increases to 4++ if it Advances.
    • Inner Circle (typically found on terminators, sometimes found on bikes, land speeders, and dreadnoughts):
      • Each time a Morale test is taken for this unit, it is automatically passed.
      • While this unit is within Engagement Range of any enemy FALLEN units, unless this unit has the VEHICLE keyword, this unit cannot be selected to Fall Back.
      • Each time you select this unit to Fall Back, unless it has the VEHICLE, RAVENWING, or CHAPTER MASTER keywords, roll 2D6: if the result is less than or equal to the unit’s Leadership characteristic it can Fall Back, otherwise it cannot Fall Back and must Remain Stationary instead.
      • Each time an attack is made against this unit, if it is INFANTRY, an unmodified wound roll of 1-3 always fails, irrespective of any abilities that the weapon or the model making that attack may have.
    • The second base ability is the Successor Tactic Indomitable, while the former isn't available as a Successor Tactic. Jink isn't available either, or Inner Circle morale immunity, but the Inner Circle resistance to being wounded is Stalwart, only better in that it works on rolls of 3 and worse in that it's significantly restricted in what models have it.
  • Deathwatch - Xenos Hunters: Gains re-roll 1s to melee hits against TYRANIDS, AELDARI, ORK, NECRONS, or T'AU empire; select one battlefield role after deployment and re-roll wound rolls of 1 against that battlefield role.
    • This is five copies of the Successor Tactic Preferred Enemy, and an ability not available as a Successor Tactic.
  • Imperial Fists: Unmodified hit rolls of 6 with bolt weapons count as two hits, ranged attacks ignore Light Cover.
    • Neither of these two abilities are available as Successor Tactics.
    • Black Templars - Righteous Zeal: Re-roll advance and charge rolls, ignore mortal wounds on a 5+++.
      • The second ability is the Successor Tactic Warded, while the first is similar to but different from Hungry for Battle.
      • Despite being a successor chapter, Black Templars have their own distinct doctrine bonus from their founding chapter.
    • Crimson Fists - No Matter The Odds: Hit rolls of unmodified 6 with bolt weapons count as two hits, +1 to ranged hits against target units with five more models than the shooter's unit, and vehicle models count as 5.
      • Neither of these two abilities are available as Successor Tactics
    • Exorcists (WD 462) - By My Will I Deny Thee: Warded and Stalwart.
    • Minotaurs (FW): Duellists and Stalwart (recommended).
  • Iron Hands - The Flesh Is Weak: Ignore lost wounds on a 6+++, models with degrading characteristics count as having double the number of wounds for the purposes of determining which characteristics they use.
    • The second ability is the Successor Tactic Scions of the Forge, while the first is not available as a Successor Tactic, instead coming from Apothecaries.
  • Raven Guard - Shadow Masters: Ranged attacks from a unit farther than 18" away grant the RG unit the bonus of Light Cover (+1 Sv), ranged attacks from further than 12" away against an infantry RG unit entirely on/within a terrain feature grant the RG unit the benefit of Dense Cover (-1 to be hit).
    • Carcharodons (FW): Stealthy and Whirlwind of Rage successor tactics (recommended).
    • Raven Guard have the Successor Tactic Stealthy and an ability not available as a Successor Tactic.
  • Salamanders - Forged In Battle: A unit can re-roll one failed wound roll whenever it is selected to shoot or fight, enemy attacks cannot re-roll to wound.
  • Space Wolves - Hunters Unleashed: Gains +1 to hit rolls when Shock Assault is active, units can Heroically Intervene like Characters.
    • This is the Successor Tactic Born Heroes but better or Whirlwind of Rage but worse, depending on how you look at it, and an ability not available as a Successor Tactic.
  • Ultramarines - Codex Discipline: Units gain +1Ld, units can shoot after falling back with a -1 to hit rolls.
    • Astral Claws (FW): Hungry for Battle and Rapid Assault successor tactics (recommended).
    • Blood Ravens (FW): Knowledge is Power and Stalwart successor tactics (recommended).
    • Emperor's Spears (WD) - Redden the Earth: Hungry For Battle and Whirlwind Of Rage successor tactics.
    • Red Scorpions (FW): Inheritors of the Primarch - Ultramarines successor tactic (recommended).
    • Silver Templars - The Bond Martial (WD): Duellists and Master Artisans successor tactics.
    • Tome Keepers (WD): Bolter Fusillades and Indomitable successor tactics (recommended).
    • Ultramarines have the Successor Tactic Stoic and an ability not available as a Chapter Tactic.
  • White Scars - Lightning Assault: Units can charge after falling back or advancing, units can advance and shoot assault weapons without penalty.
    • These are the Successor Tactics Rapid Assault and Tactical Withdrawal, plus the ability to charge after advancing.

Successor Tactics[edit]

All Successor chapters that don't already have associated Chapter tactics must make their own. It's the fourth edition all over again, once more you're allowed to create a bespoke chapter tactic for Your Dudes by combining any 2 of 18 available options, or use a First Founding chapter's tactics. The available options are listed below. A special note for Deathwatch, who have a stratagem for adopting 1 chapter or successor tactic: each of the options below is a distinct successor tactic, and you combine 2 successor tactics to make a custom chapter tactic for your chapter. As a result, if you're using the stratagem to pick from this list, you can pick one item, not two.

  • Inheritors of the Primarch: Sacrifice the ability to take a second successor tactic in favour of directly copying a First Founding Chapter Tactic.
    • As this still excludes you from taking named characters from that First Founding Chapter, the only reason to ever choose this is when you want a Forgeworld named character and his detachment to have a First Founding Chapter Tactic. Like giving the Astral Claws the White Scars trait so they can charge after advancing like when renegade. While you could say it's so you can use your parent's tactic without the colour scheme...no rule actually requires you to match colour scheme and keywords, though some tournaments might get 'sniffy' on the subject.
    • The only restriction is that, if your chapter's primogenitor is known, if you use Inheritors of the Primarch it would need to be from their parent chapter. Examples: the Novamarines' parent chapter is the Ultramarines, so you can't use Inheritors to give them the White Scars' trait (because that's not their parent chapter), and you can't give any chapter the Black Templars' CT (because that's not a First Founding chapter).
      • Remember that suspected provenance does not count, so e.g. Carcharodons can take this with anything, not just Raven Guard.
  • Bolter Fusillades: Re-roll hit rolls of 1 when using bolt weapons. Not only frees your ONLY Captain from babysitting line squads so they can focus on the big guns, but it also means you can shift your HQ towards Lieutenants, as anything with bolt weapons is effectively inside a Captain's aura. That means not only your dozen primaris bolt types, but also the hurricane and heavy bolters of vehicles you can't boost because they're not core. Keep in mind the Lt's re-roll is statistically identical to the Captain's (better for anything that automatically hits, but worse for anything that hurts you on a 1; neither one affects the odds that a successful hit is a 6 or that a successful wound is a 6, although a Chapter Master's aura can be used to manipulate the former).
    • Deathwatch: Useful to give Veteran squads re-rolls on SIA without a captain; assuming BS3+ shooters, this does outperform Master Artisans as soon as you make more than 4 shots, on average.
  • Born Heroes: Add +1 to hit on the charge, a major step up from 8E's Heroic Intervention boost. Strictly worse than Whirlwind of Rage, below: doesn't work on WS2+ models, and is harder to trigger.
    • Deathwatch: Hard pass on this and take Whirlwind of Rage, which does everything this does, only better.
  • Duellists: When making melee attacks against enemy infantry or bikers, unmodified hit rolls of 6 auto-hit and auto-wound.
    • Duellists works better the tougher your target is, although it's somewhat limited in that Infantry and Bikers don't tend to exceed T5. The bonus is better than Whirlwind of Rage when you need a 5+ to wound (DG/Custodes), equal at 4+ (CSM/Orks) and worse when you wound on a 3+ (IG/Eldar/Tau). This also means anything better than a chainsword would be better with Whirlwind of Rage, so, unless you want something specific, like a melee Primaris chapter that fights T5 enemies, pick Whirlwind.
    • Duellists also has no synergy at all with abilities you need to roll to wound to trigger - for example, a Judiciar's sword deals an extra mortal on 6 to wound, but if he uses Duellists, he can't roll to wound and hence can't try to proc the mortal.
  • Fearsome Aspect: -1 Leadership to enemy units while they're within 3" of any of your units.
    • Situational, but can be combined with other debuffing abilities, such as Reivers' aura, to provide an effect like Night Lords PLUS another chapter tactic, because this is only half of your trait. Night Lords, eat your hearts out.
  • Hungry for Battle: +1" to advance and charge rolls. Amazing for melee units and also pretty good if you want to spam Assault weapons. Has no synergy with bikes or anything else that doesn't roll to Advance (like anything with Supersonic), but at its most noticeable on slow things trying to advance or deep striking things that want to charge right now - you'll definitely notice this tactic's impact on cataphractii terminators, for example.
    • Gets really crazy with the Master of the Vanguard warlord trait for +2" move and advance. Gets even crazier, borderline illegal, with Lias Issodon for +3" to move and advance.
  • Indomitable: Your units auto-pass combat attrition. Half of the Dark Angels CT. It can be okay for big units if you want to maximize the effectiveness of stratagems, but it's not likely you'll fail many morale tests to begin with, and you already ignore attrition modifiers.
  • Knowledge is Power: Psykers with this tactic can re-roll "any or all" rolls of 1 when casting or denying. Half of the Blood Ravens tactic. Don't take this unless you're going all Librarians for your HQ.
  • Long-range Marksmen: +3" range to all Rapid Fire and Heavy (except Flamer) ranged weapons. 27" Multimeltas! Your marines get to engage enemies from their own deployment zone, taking better advantage of Bolter Discipline.
    • Deathwatch: Can be extremely valuable by increasing the range of Eradicators, Eliminators, and Centurion Devastators to delete key targets.
  • Master Artisans: A unit with this tactic can re-roll a single failed to hit roll each time it shoots or fights (including overwatch). Units with a few strong weapons in small units benefit the most. Good for pretty much any unit (unless it's extremely focused on flamers as its only combat output), with the standard caveat that it's a lot better the fewer attacks per unit you have - always go MSU with this.
  • Preferred Enemy: Pick one of the following factions: Aeldari, Tau, Heretic Astartes, Chaos Knights, Tyranids, Orks, or Necrons. Re-roll hit rolls of 1 with melee weapons against that faction. Absurdly bad; would still be worse than Whirlwind of Rage if it was always on, let alone forcing you to pick only one faction to work against before you have any idea what you'll be facing.
    • Deathwatch: Under no circumstances take this - stick to Whirlwind of Rage.
  • Rapid Assault: Advancing no longer incurs a -1 penalty on firing Assault weapons. It's okay if you spam Assault weapons (especially meltaguns on bikes), but this tactic needs to be combined with something like Hungry for Battle to make it work.
    • Deathwatch: No penalty to advancing and firing Frag Cannons or Deathwatch Shotguns
  • Scions of the Forge: Units with damage tables count their wounds as doubled when calculating the effects of damage. 1/2 of the Iron Hands CT. Good for heavily mechanised lists, assuming you take high-wound stuff.
    • Deathwatch: Useful for reducing the effect of damage to key vehicles for a turn so they can fire and fight with little to few or no penalties.
  • Stalwart: When rolling for wounds against your models, natural rolls of 1 or 2 always fail, regardless of any modifiers or abilities the attacking unit might have. Makes your units somewhat better against plasma and other S8+ weapons. The other half of the Blood Ravens tactic. Never take this in a highly mechanized list - it'll do almost nothing for your T5 stuff, like bikes, and actually nothing for your T6+ stuff.
    • Deathwatch: Increases our infantry's durability. Most effective on large, expensive kill teams being targeted by s8+ weapons.
    • Your dudes are generally T4, and S8 high-AP weapons like Plasma or Melta wound on a 2+. If your opponent can reroll 1s, they'll be wounding you 97.22% of the time - Stalwart brings that down to 77.78%, which is still high but can make the difference between holding an objective with a single model or losing it.
  • Stealthy: Count as being in light cover when at least 18" away from enemies. Half of the Raven Guard's tactic. By the time the enemy gets close enough to ignore this bonus you'll be within range for an easy charge. Good for gunlines, especially Vehicles and Flyers that can't usually get it any other way; meh for other types of units.
  • Stoic: +1 Leadership. Half of the Ultramarines CT. Skip it unless you need it for a very specific plan - it's usually fundamentally garbage compared to Indomitable.
    • Stoic is better than Indomitable in the instances where the unit fails by EXACTLY ONE. However, Space Marine normal leadership and unit size mean that this happens... a bit more frequently than in other armies.
  • Tactical Withdrawal: Units with this tactic can charge after falling back. Roughly 1/3 of the White Scars' tactic. Amazing for melee oriented armies, allowing you to trigger Shock Assault whenever you want. Useful when you're using another unit to shoot their target between withdrawal and charge, and you can fall "back" from some unit in order to better position yourself for a multi-charge, tying up more units now. Nice if combined with the Hammer of Wrath stratagem for jump troops.
  • Warded: 5+++ FnP versus mortal wounds only. Half of the Black Templars' tactic. Situational, but useful if your meta is full of armies who spam mortal wounds.
    • All mortal wounds, not just those from psychic powers; this is basically Armour of Contempt but always active, all the time and not restricted to vehicles. A vehicle that fails a plasma roll has a chance to not lose a wound.
    • What tries to counter TH/SS? Mortal wounds SPAM. Well, now your TH/SS are 1+/4++/5+++, simple as.
    • CONGRATULATIONS. Your Sicaran Omega can now overcharge its main gun to shoot 6 S9 -3 D3 shots without fear of mortal wounds on 1s.
  • Whirlwind of Rage: When making melee attacks for a unit that charged, was charged, or made a Heroic Intervention, unmodified hit rolls of 6 score an additional hit. Explicitly incompatible with the Duelists tactic, above.
    • Unlike Duellists, mathematically the Whirlwind of Rage bonus constantly behaves as +1WS (one that also affects WS2+ models, making it strictly better than Born Heroes), irrespective of chances to wound and not limited by keywords. Its bonus is better than Duellists against targets you wound on a 3+ or better, meaning all of your power weapons benefit. Do note that, unlike Duellists, Whirlwind only works in the first round of combat, not that anything you were fielding was planning on staying in melee for longer than that. Importantly, Whirlwind doesn't require your target to have a specific keyword.
    • Deatchwatch: Effectively nullify the to-hit penalty for Veterans and Terminators armed with Power Fists, Heavy Thunder Hammers, and Thunder Hammers on the turn they charge.

For gunlines, Master Artisans, Long-range Marksmen, and Stealthy are generally the best ways to play to your strengths: take Master Artisans, then auto-take Stealthy if you've leaned into Assault weapons. If you're heavily into Rapid Fire and Heavy, Stealthy is still usually better, but Long-range Marksmen has some specific use-cases (like deep striking grav-guns) where you may prefer it.

For melee, Whirlwind of Rage is just better than Born Heroes or Preferred Enemy, and usually better than Duellists. It should be your first choice if your army wants to be better at melee. Your second choice should generally be Tactical Withdrawal or Hungry for Battle, depending on your plan. In particular, melee focused first founding chapters - White Scars, Blood Angels, Space Wolves, and to an extent, Dark Angels - automatically have to consider whether or not they'd be better off as Successors with two of these three tactics.

For bravery, Indomitable is better than Stoic. Take it for spamming large, cowardly units, like Blood Claws, but you're better off going MSU and avoiding the whole issue.

Specialist Detachments[edit]

Indomitus Crusaders: Primaris Captains, Primaris Lieutenants, Primaris Ancients, Intercessors squads & Inceptor squads in that detachment gain the Indomitus crusader keyword. Formerly an Intercessor-focused detachment, it is now reduced to a boost for Intercessors and Inceptors, the very first Primaris models released.

  • Stratagem - Field Commander (1CP): This stratagem bears special mention. For one command point, you can designate a character with a Specialist Detachment keyword and they gain the warlord trait associated with that detachment. Can't be used on named characters or to give your warlord a second warlord trait. Usefulness may vary.
  • Stratagem - Liberators (1 CP): Use this Stratagem at the start of the Fight phase. Pick an INDOMITUS CRUSADERS unit from your army. Until the start of your next turn, each time you roll an unmodified hit roll of 6 for an attack made by a model in this unit, that attack inflicts 2 hits on the target instead of 1. Note that this bonus applies to any and all shooting and fighting attacks that this unit makes in the enemy turn, assuming you used it in your own Fight phase. 'Stacks with the Whirlwind of Rage Successor Tactic.
  • Warlord Trait - Grey Shield: Once per battle, at the start of your Movement phase, if your Warlord is on the battlefield you can choose for INDOMITUS CRUSADERS units in the same Detachment as your Warlord to gain an additional Chapter Tactic until the start of your next turn. Until the start of your next turn, friendly INDOMITUS CRUSADERS units gain the benefit of that Chapter Tactic in addition to any others they already have. They are considered to have the keyword of the appropriate Chapter for purposes of resolving that Chapter Tactic.
    • Having two Chapter Tactics can do a lot of things depending on what your second tactic is. Want Marines with Fluff levels of durability? Raven Guard + Iron Hands. Salamanders + Black Templars help ensure that your punchy characters and sergeants with powerfists and the like make it to combat and actually kill what they're attacking. And if the thought of Ultramarines + White Scars allowing you to Fallback, Shoot, Charge and Fight again all in one round doesn't make you wet, maybe you should find a different game to play.
    • It also means you can combine your Successor tactics with a Founding Chapter ones. Hungry for Battle + Whirlwind of Rage + Black Templars = +1 to re-rollable charges with exploding hits! Crimson Fists + Imperial Fists to utterly destroy hordes with +1 to hit Ignores Cover and 3 hits on 6s with bolters!
  • Relic - Standard of the Ultima Founding: Primaris Ancient only. Once per battle, at the start of your Movement phase, the bearer can choose to plant this banner. If they do so, until the bearer next makes a move, friendly INDOMITUS CRUSADERS INFANTRY models can re-roll hit rolls of 1 and wound rolls of 1 whilst they are within 6" of the bearer.

Armies of Renown[edit]

Vanguard Spearhead[edit]

This army might be better recognized if you recall the Shadowspear Boxset or the entire 8.5E Codex, which introduced a bunch of Phobos units as part of your army and proved authorial favoritism. This new army introduced in the Warzone Nachmund just lets you make a variant army entirely of sneaky jumbo-marines.

  • Restrictions: Your entire army must either have the PHOBOS keyword or be either Suppressors (who are technically wearing Omnis armor) or Impulsors. Invictors are also valid. You also can't include any Deathwatch units, which is a damn shame.
  • Benefits: Alongside the Vanguard Spearhead keyword given to all units, your Incursors, Infiltrators, and Reivers all become Obsec, being your frontline infantry units. Also, instead of your Chapter Tactic, you gain Light cover if you are furhter than 18" (essentialy Stealthy Successor Tactic), 6" Consolidations and +1 to hit when shooting for your Infantry units if they moved more than 4".
  • Relics:
    • The Armour Umbral: The bearer can never be hit on a 1-3 and can charge after advancing. This is an insane set of benefits, making you an absolute hassle to kill, though any hits will still hurt just as bad.
      • You have five Phobos HQs: Librarians, two kinds of Lieutenant, Captains, and Kayvaan Shrike, who can't take a relic. Ironically,your Librarian has the hardest hitting weapon (Dd3 Force Sword), as you're stuck with D1 combat knives on everyone else. Do you really want to risk getting into combat with a chainsword that doesn't even give you +1 attacks? You probably won't be afraid fighting chaff, but most will probably be hitting on 4s anyway.
    • Morbidus Bolts: More special bolter ammo. These bolts fire once and deal a flat 2 mortal wounds. The target also unit suffers -1 to any combat attrition tests they make. This will require another unit to also shoot the enemy in order to force that attrition check.
    • The Night's Blade: Replaces combat knife or paired combat blades and makes them S:user AP-3 D2, that wounds anything except Vehicle on 2s. An interesting option for your Reiver Lieutenant, if you want to give him some bite, but not your front-runner because next relic exists...
    • Shadow's Touch: A nifty little toy for your sneaky Librarian, which makes his Force Sword +3 -4 2, but on successful cast of Obscuration psychic power makes him IGNORE INVULS until the next psychic phase. While your Librarians are by no means a great candidat for dedicated beatstick build, this and inability to take Chaplains and Captains makes it your best shot to outright kill most things that he touches with his blade.
  • Upgrades
    • Infiltrator Squad can be given Saboteur Explosive Pack and/or Voxbreaker Auspex, giving them their keyword for Stratagem use.
    • Incursor Squad can take Marksman's Target-Tracker, also for Stratagem use.
  • Stratagems:
  • A Storm of Death (1CP): Allows Vanguard Spearhead Reiver Squad deal MW on unmodified 6s to wound in close combat VS Infantry or Biker to a maximum of 6 MW.
  • Ocular Networking (1CP): Extra -2 AP for Vanguard Spearhead unit on unmodified 6s to wound in close combat or shooting VS vehicle or Monster unit, which stacks with Combat Doctrines bonus.
  • Pivotal Moment (2CP): A possible "Delete Warlord" button here, makes Vanguard Spearhead Core unit in Shooting Phase deal MW equal to Damage characteristic of their weapon per successful wound roll against enemy Warlord.
  • Dispersal Protocols (2CP): Allows Vanguard Spearhead unit to Fall Back at the end of the Fight Phase as if it were your Movement phase.
  • Saboteur Explosive Pack (1 CP): When a Saboteur Explosive Pack unit (apparently given to Infiltrators) falls back, they can make one parting shot against an enemy vehicle or monster they were engaged with. Roll 1d6. On a 2+, the enemy unit suffers d3 MWs, d6 MWs on a 6. Could be used after Dispersal Protocols for a hit and run attack.
  • Voxbreaker Auspex (1CP): In your Command Phase select one enemy unit within 18" of your Voxbreaker Auspex unit. Until your next turn, selected unit takes -1 to hit penalty for shooting and if it declares a charge its target can either Hold Steady or Set to Defend.
  • Marksman Target-Tracker (1 CP): When a Marksman Target-Tracker unit (apparently given to Incursors) shoots, they can ignore Look Out Sir, letting them snipe out characters. It's still just bolters, mind you.
  • Tactical Augury (1CP): Give Vanguard Spearhead unit ability to ignore all cover, Dense included.

Crusade Additions[edit]

  • Angels of Death - +3 Exp for all Adeptus Astartes units in your army if you tabled your opponent;
  • Know no Fear - Keep a tally of Morale checks increasing it by 1 for each test passed and reseting it to 0 if it failed. At the end of the battle each unit gains 2 Exp for each point in the tally;
  • Quest of Atonement - When selected, pick a unit that has one of these Battle Scars: Loss of Reputation, Disgraced, or Mark of Shame. At the end of the battle, if that unit's melee attacks destroyed a Character with a Power Level of at least 5, the Warlord, a Monster, or a Vehicle, the unit loses the Battle Scar and gains 5 experience points;
  • Honour the Standard - When selected, keep a tally for each Adeptus Astartes unit in your army. At the end of each of your turns, if a CORE unit is wholly within 6" of a model from the same Chapter whose standard has been planted, add 1 to that unit's Honour the Standard tally. If you selected this agenda, then Adeptus Astartes Ancient units in your army can attempt the Plant the Standard action. At the end of your Movement phase, one ADEPTUS ASTARTES ANCIENT unit from your army that is within 6" of the center of the battlefield can start to perform this action. The action is completed at the end of your turn. Once completed the Ancient's Standard has been planted, and remains so until that model makes a Normal Move, Advances, Falls Back or makes a charge move. Each unit gains a number of experience points equal to their Honour the Standard tally.
  • Recover the Gene-seed - When selected, your opponent must set up one objective marker anywhere on the battlefield that is not within their own deployment zone. This objective marker represents the fallen Space Marine hero, but does not count as an objective marker for any rules purposes other than for this Agenda. Any Adeptus Astartes Apothecary units in your can attempt the Recover Progenoids action. At the end of the movement phase, if any of your Apothecary units are within 3" of the fallen Space Marine hero marker, and there are no nearby enemy units within 3" (excluding aircraft). The action is completed at the end of your turn, and when the action is completed, remove the fallen hero objective. If your Apothecary successfully performs this objective, it gains 5 experience points and your Crusade force gains 1 bonus Requisition point.
  • Even In Death I Still Serve (1RP) - Purchase when a character from your army has acquired at least two Battle Scars. As long as your Supply Limit allows it, you may remove that character and replace it with a Dreadnought that possesses the same punt of experience points as the character. A Psyker Dreadnought can only be added in this manner if the character it is replacing was also a Psyker;
  • Rubicon Primaris (1RP) - If your Supply Limit allows it, select a non-Primaris character that has a Primaris equivalent (i.e. Captain, Lieutenant, Chaplain, Librarian, Apothecary, Ancient, or Techmarine) and roll a d6. On a 1, the character is removed removed from the order of battle. On a 2+, the character is replaced with the Primaris equivalent, carrying over any experience points, Battle Honours, and Battle Scars that its predecessor had. If one of those Battle Honours would be invalid (e.g. a Weapon Enhancement for a weapon the character can no longer take), it is replaced with a new one;
  • Indomitus Crusade Veterans (1 RP) - Purchase this when adding Adeptus Astartes Primaris Core unit (except for Character) with Elites Battlefield Role - it gains 6 Exp, thus becoming Bloodied rank. Select Battle Honour for them as normal;
  • Chapter Command (1 RP) - Purchase this when one of your Captain, Librarian, Chaplain, Techmarine, Apothecary, Ancient or Company Champion unit gains Heroic or Legendary rank. This model is upgraded to Chapter Command.
  • Machine Spirit units only:
    • Belicose Machine Spirit - Improve model's WS by 3.
    • Focused Machine Spirit - Model doesn't suffer penalty to shoot enemy units in the Engagement Range of it;
    • Resillient Machine Spirit - Model gains +2W.
  • Techmarine only:
    • Expert Mechanic - If Techmarine was a part of your Crusade Army and wasn't destroyed you can ignore one failed Out of Action test for Vehicle unit - it autopasses;
    • Bionic Extremis - 5++ for Techmarine.
  • Apothecary only:
    • Master of Physiology - If Apothecary was a part of your Crusade Army and wasn't destroyed you can ignore one failed Out of Action test for Chapter unit (except Vehicle and Monster units) - it autopasses;
    • Custodian of the Future - +3A each time Apothecary fights until the end of the fight if any friendly Chapter Infantry or Biker models have been destroyed this turn.
  • Adeptus Astartes units (except Vehicle units):
    • Marksman's Honours - All models in the unit gain +1 BS;
    • Aquila Imperialis - Unit autopasses Morale tests and can Reroll Out of Action test;
    • Purity Seals - Allows unit to Deny the Witch as if it were a Psyker or Deny one more time if it is;
    • Bladesman's Honours - All models in the unit gain +1 WS.
    • Terminator Honours - Pick a model in the unit, with priority given to Sergeants or other "champion" models in units with multiple models. It gains +1A, +1Ld, and if it is not a Character it also gains +1W;
    • Centurios Servise Studs - Pick an Active Doctrine for the unit each Command phase instead of army-wide Active.

A way to add extra spiciness to your Captains. Note, that you can't have 2 Captains with the same Honorific from the same Chapter in your Order of Battle and if Captain gets promoted to Chapter Master using Chapter Command Requisition it loses Honorific.

  • Master of the Keep (1st Company) - Once per battle if Captain is on the battlefield can use an Adeptus Astartes Battle Tactic Stratagem for 0 CP;
  • Master of the Watch (2nd Company) - +2 CP if this Captain is part of your Crusade army and you are Defender;
  • Master of the Arsenal (3rd Company) - Once per battle if Captain is on the battlefield can use an Adeptus Astartes Wargear Stratagem for 0 CP
  • Master of the Fleet (4th Company) - If Captain with this Honorific on the Battlefield Orbital Bombardment Stratagem can be used twice instead of once and costs 1 CP instead of 3 CP;
  • Master of the Marches (5th Company) - If Captain with this Honorific is part of your Crusade Army and you use Strategic Reserves you can halve CP needed to put units in reserves (rounding up);
  • Master of the Rites (6th Company) - If Captain with this Honorific is a part of your Crusade Force than Warlord Trait Requisition costs 0 RP to use on the same Chapter unit as this Captain.
  • Chief Victualler (7th Company) - If Captain with this Honorific is a part of your Crusade Force than Resuply Requisition costs 0 RP to use on the same Chapter unit as this Captain.
  • Lord Executioner (8th Company) - +2 CP if this Captain is part of your Crusade army and you are Attacker;
  • Master of Relics (9th Company) - If Captain with this Honorific is a part of your Crusade Force than Relic Requisition costs 0 RP to use on the same Chapter unit as this Captain.
  • Master of Recruits and Master of Reconnaissance (10th Company) - If Captain with this Honorific is a part of your Crusade Force than Fresh Recruits Requisition costs 0 RP to use on the same Chapter unit as this Captain.
  • Artificer Relics - Can be taken by any Adeptus Astartes Character.
    • Halo Indomitus - Grants the bearer a 4+ invuln and 4+++ against mortal wounds.
    • Adamantine Cuirass - Adds 1 to the bearer's Wounds and Toughness characteristics.
    • Astartes Teleportation Transponder - Grants the Teleport Strike ability.
  • Antiquity Relics - Can be taken by Heroic or higher ranked Characters and adds an additional +1 to the Character's Crusade Points.
    • Paragon Blade - Replaces a power sword (master-crafted or otherwise), xenophase blade, or executioner relic blade. S+2 AP-4 D3.
    • Standard of Righteous Hatred - Ancient only. Units that fire as a result of the Astartes Banner ability hit on 2's, regardless of modifiers.
  • Legendary Relics - Can be taken by Legendary-ranked Characters. These add an additional +2 to the Character's Crusade Points and cost 1RP to purchase.
    • Vortex Bolts - Pick a bolt weapon the model is equipped with. Once per battle, they can choose to fire vortex bolts from that weapon. When they do, make only one attack that deals D3+3 mortal wounds instead of normal damage. Psyker units hit by this have a -1 to cast for the rest of the battle.
    • Relic of the Primarch - Once per battle, the bearer can unveil the relic in your Command phase. If they do, all Chapter models within 6" when the relic was unveiled gain an additional Attack and +1 to hit in melee until your next turn. If the bearer is slain, place an objective marker on the site of their death and immediately gain an Agenda to recover the relic. Failing to do so costs you 10 VP, but succeeding grants one unit that held the objective 3 XP.

Secondary Objectives[edit]

Being lorded as having a jack-of-all-trades roster, with each chapter being practically its own army in terms of additional tools, what secondaries you take is dependent on the list.

  • Codex Warfare (End Game): Score VP as follows;
    • +1VP at the end of the battle (+5VP max) for each enemy unit killed by a Space Marine unit in the Devastator Doctrine with heavy or grenade weapons.
    • +1VP at the end of the battle (+5VP max) for each enemy unit killed by a Space Marine unit in the Tactical Doctrine with rapid fire or assault weapons.
    • +1VP at the end of the battle (+5VP max) for each enemy unit killed by a Space Marine unit in the Assault Doctrine with pistol or melee weapons.
  • Oaths of Moment (Progressive): Score VP at the end of each battle round as follows;
    • +1VP if you kill an enemy Character, Monster, or Vehicle unit with a Space Marine unit.
    • +1VP if no Space Marine units fail a Morale Test or fall back.
    • +2VP if a Space Marine unit is wholly within 6" of the centre of the battlefield.
  • Shock Tactics (Progressive): +3VP at the end of the battle round if you control one or more objectives that were controlled by your opponent at the start of the battle round.


Lots of ways to inflict Mortal Wounds here. Many are Primaris specific, to encourage you to buy them.

  • Death to the Traitors! (1 CP): When one unit is attacking a Heretic Astartes unit in the fight phase, it can re-roll hit rolls.
  • Fury of the First (1 CP): Select a Terminator unit during either the shooting or fight phase. This unit adds +1 to their hit rolls. Now your termies won't need a chaplain to babysit them.
  • Gene-Wrought Might (1 CP): Select a Primaris unit from your army when selecting it to fight; until the end of the phase, when resolving an attack made with a melee weapon, an unmodified hit roll of 6 automatically hits and wounds.
  • Honour the Chapter (2 CP): An Assault intercessor squad can fight again at the end of the fight phase. Both of the first codices produced for 9E have limited these 'Fights again' stratagems to a specific unit, so expect that to be the norm in the future.
  • Rapid Fire (2 CP): At the start of the shooting phase, pick an Intercessor Squad or Veteran Intercessor Squad. They can shoot again. While a bit of a shame that it won't work for heavies, now it's a guarantee that their guns will fire again.
    • While the RAI seems clear - Veterans are explicitly listed, implying the strat won't work on Assault or Heavy Intercessors - the core rulebook doesn't support this. While keywords are consistently given as a comma-delimited list, implying each item between commas should be considered a keyword, there's no rule stating this, and the word "keyword" actually means one word - so a Veteran Intercessor Squad, RAW, has the Veteran, Intercessor, and Squad keywords. What this means is that RAW, Intercessor Squad covers the Assault, Veteran, and Heavy flavors (in fact, also any other flavors you might find, such as Death Company Intercessors). In particular, you have a stratagem in the Wargear Strats section, Shock and Awe, clearly intended to work on Reivers, but it only works on them if keywords work this way - there's currently no rule in any book letting both strats work as apparently intended at the same time.
    • Deathwatch: Combine with the Devastator Doctrine, and the Special Issue Loadout Stratagem, to make Intercessor Stalker bolt rifles shoot S4 -3 D2/3 twice at 36" to destroy elite infantry and exposed characters.
  • Transhuman Physiology (1/2 CP): Costs 1 CP for a unit with fewer than 6 models, 2 for units above 5 models. Select something with the Primaris keyword; until the end of the phase, when resolving an attack made against that unit, an unmodified wound roll below a 4+ always fails, irrespective of the abilities the weapon or model may have. S10 attack? Effective T10 chadmarines aw yeah. Sucks that firstborn no longer benefit from it.
  • Unyielding in the Face of Death (1 CP): Whenever an Mk X Gravis unit is hit by a weapon with Damage 1, then they can add 1 to their saves. This won't totally blunt the high AP stuff, but it can diminish massed bolter fire.
    • Does not include Dd3 or Dd6 that roll a 1.
  • 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 you can use it on the one you just took. Doesn't work on regular wounds.
  • Combat Revival (1 CP): Your apothecary can automatically resurrect a single model in a <Chapter> Infantry or <Chapter> Biker unit (except for Invader ATVs) at full wounds. Expect to use this a lot more with a chief apothecary, for whom it costs 0CP.
  • Commanding Oratory (2 CP): Use at the start of any phase. Your chaplain who hasn't already prayed can automatically inspire with one litany, though you can't double-dip with a litany that's already been used. Notably this lets a chaplain use a litany after deep striking or disembarking. It also seems to allow him to recite a litany he doesn't know.
  • Only in Death Does Duty End (2 CP): When one of your Characters who hasn't fought yet dies in the Fight phase, it can fight before being destroyed. 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.
  • Power of the Machine Spirit (2 CP): Select a Machine Spirit unit during command phase. Until the start of your next command phase, that unit acts as if it has full wounds. Worried that your tank's about to go up in smoke? Now you can extend the middle finger to them and blast them to bits.
  • Wisdom of the Ancients (1 CP): At the start of any phase, pick a Dreadnought to turn into a 1-phase Captain or Lieutenant. Any <Chapter> Core units within 6" can re-roll either hits or wounds of 1 until your next turn (you choose one aura when you spend the CP).
  • Hero of the Chapter (1 CP): One use only for Incursion sized games, two use only for Strike Force games, three use only for Onslaught sized games. Select a Character from your army that doesn't have a Warlord trait and give them one, all warlord traits must be different.
    • Every chapter has a chapter-specific one-use stratagem for giving your actual Warlord a second Warlord Trait, which must be from that chapter's chapter-specific warlord trait table. This means the usual hard limit for Warlord Traits is 3 to 5.
  • Relics of the Chapter (1 CP): Use before the start of the battle. One use only for Incursion sized games, two use only for Strike Force games, three use only for Onslaught sized games. You can have an extra Chapter Relic for 1 CP. You can't take two of the same relic, and all the Relics have to go to different Characters.
    • Every first founding chapter has a chapter-specific one-use stratagem for giving a successor chapter a first founding chapter relic instead of another relic.
    • Every chapter has a chapter-specific one-use stratagem for giving a Sergeant a relic chosen from Master-Crafted Weapon, Digital Weapons, that chapter's Special-Issue Wargear relic bolt, and one other Special-Issue Wargear; the only exception is the Deathwatch, for whom the stratagem also allows you to issue Artificer Armor. This means the usual hard limit for Relics is 3 to 5, although exceptions exist - Blood Angels and Deathwatch have identical Warlord Traits that can issue one more, chosen from Adamantine Mantle, Artificer Armour, Master-Crafted Weapon, and Digital Weapons.
  • Adaptive Strategy (2 CP): Use if your warlord is alive, a <chapter> core unit counts as having all doctrines active until your next turn.
  • Guerilla Tactics (1 CP): During the movement phase, a Phobos unit that's more than 6" away from any enemies can jump right back into strategic reserves instead of moving. Particularly useful on Troops.
  • Hammer of Wrath (1CP): Jump pack models within a unit that successfully end a charge move within 1" of an enemy unit cause mortal wounds on a d6 roll that meets or beats enemy Toughness. Makes your big units of assault marines/VV act like they have higher attack values against weaker units: against T4, for example, a 10-man unit that all got into melee inflicts 5 mortal wounds, on average. Since this is is more and more useless against tougher targets (it does nothing against T7+), this is far better on Fist/Hammer VVs who find themselves charging GEQ hordes than on Assault Marines, who have a bunch of chainswords anyway.
  • Hit-and-Run Warfare (1 CP): During the movement phase, you can have one Biker, Storm Speeder, or Land Speeder unit shoot even though they fell back. Useless for Ultramarines, as they are already eligible to shoot after falling back, and it doesn't negate the -1 to hit they suffer if they do.
  • Orbital Bombardment (3 CP, Single Use): Use in your command phase if your ADEPTUS ASTARTES WARLORD is on the battlefield. Pick a spot on a battlefield. In your next Command phase, units within 6" of that spot get hit with D3 mortal wounds on a roll of 2-5, D6 mortal wounds on a roll of 6+. For units within 3" add 1 to the roll, for characters subtract 1 from the roll. For when you really want your opponent off an objective.
    • Note: This damage occurs in the Command phase. With Thraka and the new C'Tan having per phase damage limits, this could be way to get extra wounds on them per turn. Tremor shells can slow some units down to the point where they cannot escape the blast.
  • Skilled Riders (1 CP): The return of 7th edition jink rules. Use on a Biker, Storm Speeder, or Land Speeder unit that Advanced. Enemies targeting them take a -1 to hit them for this turn.
  • Steady Advance (2 CP): An Infantry unit can make a normal move while acting as if they don't move. Absolutely necessary if you have a heavy gunline or want to max out bolter spam.
  • Suppression Fire (2 CP): Use in your shooting phase on a Whirlwind model; when it hits with a blast weapon, the target unit can't fire overwatch or set to defend and always fights last until your next turn.
  • Terror Troops (2 CP): Use in command phase; until your next turn one Reiver unit has an aura that cancels enemy Objective Secured abilities. In addition, if the Reivers move normally, advance, or charge to within 3" of the enemy unit performing an action this turn, the Reivers roll 2d6; if the roll is below their Leadership score, then the enemy immediately fails any action it was attempting, often denying them VP during a mission.
  • Uncompromising Fire (2 CP): An infantry unit can shoot while also accomplishing another action - really only useful with a specific objective.
  • Assault Launchers (1 CP): When a unit with assault launchers charges, an enemy within 9" either suffers d3 MWs or takes -1 attacks for the turn, as well as being unable to fire Overwatch or Set to Defend (opponent's choice). Although the stratagem doesn't specify it, remember that the core rules state Attacks cannot be modified below 1.
  • Auspex Scan (2 CP): At the end of the enemy's reinforcement phase, select one of your Infantry units within 12" of enemy units that were set up this phase. Your unit can shoot at it. 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.
  • Flakk Missile (1 CP): When a Space Marine Infantry model shoots a missile launcher at a unit with Aircraft keyword, make a single hit roll with +1 to hit. If you hit, do 2d3 mortal wounds instead of rolling to wound. No longer seems to have a use against tau battlesuits or jump packs.
    • Missile launcher is not well-defined, so it's a fine question if weapons that have missile launcher as part of their name, like Cyclone Missile Launcher, also count. Hellfire Shells seems to imply that they do not.
  • Grav Pulse (1 CP): Only usable by units with a Repulsor Field, with one of two options: if your unit fell back, they can still shoot. If the unit is charged by an enemy, they suffer a -2 to their charge roll.
  • Hellfire Shells (1 CP): Instead of shooting normally, a Space Marine Infantry model with a heavy bolter, including hellstorm or executor, rolls only once to hit. If it hits, it does 1d3 mortal wounds, maxing out against a monster. Try to get +BS or re-rolls and stand still so that you don't miss the shot.
  • Melta Bomb (1 CP): During the fight phase against a Vehicle, one model in a Melta Bomb unit can sacrifice their attacks to make one hit roll. If it hits, that vehicle takes 2d3 MWs. Nice little bonus for some of your Firstborn units. The Melta Bomb squads are:
    • Assault Squad (and SW Skyclaws)
    • Tactical Squad
    • Vanguard Veterans
    • DA Ravenwing Black Knights
  • Shock and Awe (1 CP): When a Land Speeder Storm or adeptus astartes shock grenades unit shoots, you can force an enemy within 6" to take a -1 to hit to any attacks until your next turn, and be unable to shoot overwatch or Set to Defend.
    • adeptus astartes shock grenades units don't exist; you have units with adeptus astartes and shock grenades, namely Reivers and Lieutenants in Reiver Armour. This shouldn't be a problem unless your opponent is a massive tool, but note that in order to be allowed to interpret keywords this way, your Rapid Fire stratagem has to be allowed to work on Assault and Heavy Intercessors, which is clearly not intended, so just don't be that guy and don't play against that guy.
  • Smokescreen (1 CP): If a unit with a smokescreen keyword is shot, they can pop their smoke and force the enemy targeting them to take a -1 to hit them. Useful to protect your Phobos objective holders, tanks, and dreadnoughts, although of course only one.
  • Tremor Shells (1 CP): At the start of your shooting phase, when a Thunderfire cannon shoots, subtract 1 from the wound rolls, but as long as it hits, the target unit gets half M and subtracts 2" from advance and charge rolls on their next turn. Doesn't affect Fly or Titanic units.

Warlord Traits[edit]

Named Characters MUST use their designated Chapter-Specific trait, thus increasing the appeal of taking an unnamed character. Warlord Traits are numbered in case you're stupid enough to roll for them to assign them to your Warlord, instead of picking the one(s) you want to play. For no apparent reason, you have a set of warlord traits for tenth (vanguard) company leadership that only applies to tenth company members.

  1. Fear Made Manifest (Aura): Enemy units within 6" suffer -1Ld and -1 to Combat Attrition Tests.
    • Can be combined with other Ld debuffs to make a leadership bomb, but even on its own losing people on a 2- Combat Attrition roll already means losing 1/3rd of the unit, or half of it when understrength.
  2. The Imperium's Sword: What Smash Captains are made of. Warlord gains +1S and +1A when he charges or Heroically Intervenes, and re-rolls failed charge rolls.
  3. Iron Resolve: What Smashfuckers are made of. Warlord gains +1W and a 6+++ FNP. Not dying is nice, and it's better the fewer wounds your character has. Significantly less useful while near an Apothecary.
  4. Champion of Humanity: Warlord gains +1A if an enemy Character is within 1", and gains +1 to hit and wound rolls against Characters within 1".
    • Remember, you don't have to attack the Character to gain +1A, you just need to be within 1".
  5. Storm of Fire (Aura): Ranged wound rolls of unmodified 6 made by a <Chapter> Core unit within 6" gains an additional point of AP. This does not stack with Combat Doctrines.
    • The lower the weapon's AP and S, and the better the target's Sv and T, the more you'll notice this. At its most extreme, a bolter shooting a Land Raider simply becomes AP-1, doubling its output. At the other extreme, if you shoot a MEQ or GEQ with a meltagun, once you hit the save step, the shot has a 1/5 chance of being -5 instead of -4, which won't improve your output at all.
    • Since light weapons with high rates of fire are often cheaper than stronger, single-shot ones, this Warlord Trait can allow a detachment to pull its weight even at low point limits.
  6. Rites of War (Aura): Friendly <CHAPTER> Core and <CHAPTER> Character units within 6" gain Objective Secured. Notable: Dreadnoughts have Core, so you can give objective to a small army of angry stompy grandpa's in robot's now.

Available only to Phobos characters, aka the tacticool Captain, Lieutenants (i.e. the phobos one and the reiver one), and Librarian found in the Shadowspear box. Chaplains can suck it because yelling catechisms isn't stealthy and Techmarines (*and Aporhecaries*) haven't yet learned whatever trick the Helix Adepts are using to fix broken things quietly, so they can suck it, too. There also aren't any Phobos Champions or Ancients.

  1. Shoot and Fade: After one <chapter> phobos unit within 6" of the warlord shoots, they can move or advance but can't charge.
    • Imperial stealthy Jump-Shoot-Jump baby! Break LoS and avoid retaliation. That way your Infiltrator/Incursor squads can keep up with your Eliminators, the first dashing in and out of LoS while the later shoot without visual contact with complete impunity.
  2. Lord of Deceit: After both sides deploy, you can remove and redeploy up to 3 <Chapter> Phobos units present on the battlefield or put them into reserve for no CP.
    • Results depend on the mental games you can play on your enemy - it's not going to be a surprise to your opponent, but being able to make corrections after your enemy's cemented his choice instead of being part of the simultaneous deployment process can be an amazing benefit, and one that Eldar pay 2CP for.
    • Bear in mind, this trait now goes off after deployment, which means you haven't yet rolled off for first turn.
  3. Master of the Vanguard (Aura): Friendly <chapter> phobos units within 6" of the Warlord gain +1" to their move, advance, fall back, and charge distances. Useful to Reivers or charging out of Deep Strike, pairs well with the Chapter Tactic Hungry for Battle as well as several characters.
  4. Stealth Adept: Can't be targeted by ranged attacks unless he is the closest target. Protects from snipers or if you find yourself with just one of two guys from your accompanying squad left. Often gets more mileage on your Phobos Librarian trying to get off their close range power.
  5. Target Priority: Select a friendly <chapter> phobos unit within 6" in the Command phase. Until the start of your next Command phase, that unit gets +1 to hit. And he doesn't have to give up his shooting, either. Now all those pointy finger models have found their worth!
    • Less helpful for Eliminators now that they have BS2+, but could be used to negate cover penalties. Doesn't affect Infiltrators' automatic wounds, as they only happen on an unmodified 6.
  6. Marksman Honours: +1D to all of the Warlord's guns, but not grenades or relics. Completely wasted on a Librarian or Lieutenant, but bumps the Phobos Captain's Instigator Bolt Carbine to an eye-watering D4.
  • Chapter Ancient: Steadfast Example (Aura): While a friendly <CHAPTER> CORE unit is within 6" of this WARLORD, that unit has the Objective Secured ability. If a model in such a unit already has this ability, that model counts as one additional model when determining control of an objective marker.
    • This is Rites of War from the Space Marine list, only better.
  • Chapter Champion: Martial Exemplar (Aura): While a friendly <CHAPTER> CORE or <CHAPTER> CHARACTER unit is within 6" of this WARLORD, you can re-roll charge rolls made for that unit.
    • This is worse than The Imperium's Sword from the Space Marines list in terms of how it buffs the champion, since you don't get the bonus S or A, but better in terms of buffing your army, ironically meaning that this trait is better for relying on your champion less and the rest of your army more.
  • Chapter Master: Master of the Codex: At the start of your Command phase, if this unit is on the battlefield, roll one D6: on a 4+, you gain 1 command point.
  • Chief Apothecary: Selfless Healer: Each time this unit uses its Combat Restoratives ability, the model being healed regains up to 3 lost wounds instead of D3. Each time this unit is selected to return a destroyed model to a unit by using the Combat Revival Stratagem, that Stratagem costs 0 Command points.
  • Chief Librarian: Psychic Mastery: +1 to Psychic tests.
  • Master of Santity: Wise Orator: +1 to litany rolls, -1CP to the cost of the the Commanding Oratory strat on your warlord (that's the one that lets you recite one litany without needing to roll during any of your phases, letting you deep strike the Chaplain without him being entirely useless).
  • Master of the Forge: Warden of the Ancients (Aura): While a friendly <CHAPTER> DREADNOUGHT is within 6" of this unit, add 1 to its Strength and Attacks.

Psychic Powers[edit]

In addition to Smite, you have access to a faction-specific table of powers. The Librarius Discipline has power for pretty much every situation, but they're mostly niche enough that it's difficult deciding upfront which powers to take. The Phobos Librarian-exclusive Obscuration Discipline focusses on messing with movement and dice rolls at the cost of mortal wound output. Each chapter also has access to a second, Chapter-specific psychic discipline for extra flavour, detailed in their section at the bottom.

General-use powers for Marines. Depending on your <Chapter> they may not have the greatest synergy but still fairly useful with many melee and close range blessing.

  1. Veil of Time (WC6, Blessing): Select one <CHAPTER> unit within 18". Until the start of the next Psychic Phase, that unit re-rolls charge and advance rolls, and always fights first.
    • 9" charges are still below a 50% chance at 47.84%, although you can combine it with a CP re-roll. If you can find a source for +1" to charge distances, your odds rise to 65.97%. Your odds are only 42.27% after accounting for the odds of failing the cast.
  2. Might Of Heroes (WC6, Blessing): Select one <CHAPTER> CORE or CHARACTER model within 12". That model gains +1S, +1T, and +1A.
    • An awesome power for your beatstick models. Dreadnought CHARACTERs will love this, as well as Chaplains buffed by Mantra of Strength. Sergeants kitted for melee are also viable models to buff.
  3. Null Zone (WC7, Blessing): Until the start of your next Psychic Phase, all units within 6" can't take invulnerable saves, and enemies cut the results of their Psychic Tests in half.
    • Obviously most powerful against enemies that depend on their invulnerable saves or psychic powers (Harlequins, Hive Tyrants, Daemons, for example). Less effective against heavily armoured units (Terminators, Wraith Guard, Mega-Nobz). Don't be afraid to advance into position and let other things do the murder work for you.
    • IMPORTANT REMINDER: This affects ALL invulnerable saves on ALL units in range, even yours. Don't use with your own storm shield units in range.
  4. Psychic Scourge (WC6, Witchfire): Select one visible enemy unit within 18" of the caster. The caster and the target unit roll off and add their unit's Ld to the result. The target suffers d3 mortal wounds if your score is higher, one mortal wound if the score is equal, or nothing if your score is lower.
    • Usually, this will end up being worse than Fury of the Ancients, just because you have to roll a second time and risk doing 0 mortals.
    • Less powerful than smite, but it's better for sniping Characters since it isn't restricted to the closest enemy unit. Best used in combination with something that inflicts an Ld penalty on the target or a Leadership bonus on the caster, if you brought any.
  5. Fury of the Ancients (WC6, Witchfire): Select one visible enemy model within 18" and draw a line from any part of the caster's base to any part of the target's base. The target unit and each enemy unit this line passes through suffers one mortal wound.
    • Once this hits 3 units, it's surpassing Smite for total mortal wounds dealt, but of course it's spread out, not piled onto a target you want dead.
  6. Psychic Fortress (WC6, Blessing): <CHAPTER> units within 6" gain a 5++ invulnerable save. Just awesome due to the lack of restrictions, allowing even your Land Raiders to gain this buff.

These powers can only be used by Phobos Librarians. They don't do much damage, but god damn can they fuck with your enemy. They'll only buff Phobos units, so no combo-ing with Aggressors.

  1. Shrouding (WC6, Blessing): Pick a friendly <CHAPTER> Phobos unit within 18". Until the start of the next Psychic Phase, enemies can only shoot that unit if they're the closest eligible target. Protects from snipers, but not enemy psychic powers.
    • Best on Eliminators, since this is the Phobos unit most comfortable being far away, and hence least likely to be the closest unit.
  2. Soul Sight (WC6, Blessing): Pick a friendly <CHAPTER> Phobos unit within 18". Until the start of your next psychic phase, that unit re-rolls all failed hits when using their ranged weapons and their ranged attacks ignore enemy cover save bonuses.
    • Best on Infiltrators, since 6s to hit auto-wound. Against T8+, the Infiltrators will benefit from re-rolling successful non-6s to hit to "fish" for 6s to wound, and this becomes true in more situations if they gain other effects on 6+ to hit, like if they're Imperial or Crimson Fists. Overlaps with the Captain aura a bit, so if this is your plan, consider not bothering with a comms array.
  3. Mind Raid (WC6, Witchfire):: Select a visible enemy unit within 18". It takes a mortal wound and if the power targeted a character, roll 3d6. If the result is greater than or equal to the target's Ld, you get a free Command Point! Remember the limit on 1CP gained per battle round though, not a power to use if you have a Relic or Warlord Trait that also refunds CP.
  4. Hallucination (WC6, Malediction): Select a visible enemy unit within 18". They suffer -1Ld and -1 to all hit rolls until your next turn.
    • -1 to hit is an excellent debuff to put on anything, but -1Ld is often less than useful. Can situationally be usefully combined with Mind Raid. Combine with Tenebrous Curse to make something trying to charge you really unhappy.
  5. Tenebrous Curse (WC7, Malediction): Select a visible enemy unit within 18" that does not have the Fly keyword. It takes a mortal wound, its move distance is halved, and it suffers -2 to advance and charge distances (meaning on a 1 to advance, it loses an inch). Effectively pin one Death Guard unit in their half of the board.
    • Combine this with Hallucination to ruin something's day.
  6. Temporal Corridor (WC5, Blessing): Pick a friendly <CHAPTER> Phobos unit within 6". It can make a normal move or advance as if it was the Movement Phase, and if it advances it adds 6" to its move rather than rolling. However, the unit cannot shoot or fight (it can charge, if you're willing to get punched in the face in exchange for just the charge movement) this turn. Fantastic for shoving a Phobos aura where you want it, like a Captain or Lieutenant, but you can also use it on the Librarian himself for enough extra movement to get Smite where it needs to be (including casting it after Smite to escape).

Litanies of Battle[edit]

Litanies happen in your Command Phase, going off on a 3+. Like psychic powers, each litany can only be cast once per turn, no matter how many Chaplains know it. Deep Striking and passenger Chaplains are a touch less useful on their first turn, as they arrive after their casting window. There is the 2CP Commanding Oratory stratagem that can be used to cast a litany in any phase if the Chaplain has not already cast one this turn (so a master of sanctity who's already on the table but wants to put a non-aura litany onto a unit that's going to deep strike has to give up his second litany). If you don't want to deal with these issues, a biker chaplain is probably your best bet.

Litany of Hate (Aura): Default prayer, 6" aura of re-rolling all melee hit rolls (not just misses) for your <chapter> core or <chapter> Character units. Stronger now that the Chapter Master's Aura has been reined in.

  1. Litany of Faith (Aura): 6" Aura of ignoring mortal wounds on a 5+++ for friendly <chapter> core or <chapter> Character units. Not cumulative with other rules, as per usual.
    • Because Apothecaries do this mostly better (their aura is up from the start of the game without rolling), the primary use for this is protecting your librarians and plasma dreads from hurting themselves. Honestly, you're usually better off sticking to apothecaries and venerable dreads and giving this a miss.
  2. Catechism of Fire: Select a friendly <chapter> core or <chapter> Character unit within 6" to gain +1 to the wound rolls when "resolving a shooting attack" against the closest enemy unit, meaning it affects Overwatch, too.
    • You're already accurate, so you'll get the most out of +1 to wound rolls from units that hit often but not hard, and do it up close anyway; Intercessors with auto bolt rifles, flamer/storm bolter Veterans, and Aggressors. Since it doesn't help you penetrate saves, it can be particularly useful on grav-cannons, which have excellent ap base and will notice the +1 to wound against almost all targets.
  3. Exhortation of Rage: Select a friendly <chapter> core or <chapter> Character unit within 6". They get +1 to their melee wound rolls.
    • Swap to this if the Chaplain has to worry about not being within 6" of the attacking unit when the Fight phase arrives - Litany requires him to stay close, but Exhortation stays on the target. Exhortation of Rage + Canticle of Hate, in particular, lets you buff a nearby unit's charge move and melee output while only worrying about keeping up in the movement phase, so the Master of Sanctity/second Chaplain doesn't also have to keep up in the charge phase, unlike with Litany of Hate.
    • Swap to this over Litany of Hate against hard to wound targets when wielding accurate but weak weapons - e.g. you'll use this more on chainswords and power swords than on power fists and thunder hammers. The following comparison of Litany of Hate vs Exhortation of Rage is true with or without a Lieutenant, but full re-rolls to wound, like from a Lightning Claw, and another source of re-rolls of 1s to hit, like from a Captain, change the math radically. Obviously, never bother putting Litany of Hate on anything that already has full re-rolls to hit, like from a Chapter Master.
    1. Wound on 2: Litany of Hate is always better.
    2. Wound on 3: Litany of Hate is better for hitting on 3 or worse, worse for hitting on 2.
    3. Wound on 4: Litany of Hate is better for hitting on 4 or worse, equal for hitting on 3, and worse for hitting on 2.
    4. Wound on 5: Litany of Hate is better for hitting on 5 or worse, equal for hitting on 4, and worse for hitting on 3 or better.
    5. Wound on 6: Litany of Hate is always worse.
  4. Mantra of Strength: The casting Chaplain gains +1S and +1A, and one melee weapon gains +1D.
    • Smash Chaplain is a viable build. Combine it with the Benediction of Fury (WS2+ S7 AP-2 D4) or a power fist (WS3+ S9 AP-3 D3). Add Warlord Traits, stratagems, doctrines, and psychic powers as you can afford and be bothered with.
  5. Recitation of Focus: Select a friendly <chapter> core or <chapter> Character unit within 6" to gain +1 to their hit rolls when shooting.
    • While +1 to hit is better on BS3+ or worse than a Captain's re-roll, this alone isn't a replacement for it (since it has a 1/3 chance to fail, affects only a single unit, and doesn't work in melee or when the chaplain doesn't start on the field). It's also worse than a Chapter Master's re-roll on anything other than BS6+ - other than that, you can think of this prayer as being a Chapter Master's ability, only worse. Note that they won't stack the way you want, due to diminishing returns - in particular, if you pray this onto a BS3+ unit, then the Chapter Master ability will only grant re-rolling 1s to hit, which the CM's Captain aura already provides. If you want to buff Dreads, switch to a Techmarine, who will do this better.
      • If this is a Master of Sanctity, this will usually be your second choice if your first was Catechism of Fire, assuming you're not focusing on flamers.
  6. Canticle of Hate: Non-cumulative 6" aura of +2" to charge distances and +3" to pile in and consolidation moves. In all cases, the friendly <chapter> core or <chapter> Character unit in question has to be within the aura by the time the move is made - the consolidate move especially will often not happen unless the Chaplain also made his charge.
    • This increases your odds of a 9" charge to 58.33% (48.15% net if you have to pray on 3+ and 53.24% on a 2+, but if you care that much about a 9" charge, you're using the Commanding Oratory strat to let your Deep Striking Chaplain pray, which means the prayer auto-succeeds). This is more effective, even on a 3+, than any of your psychic powers for granting a re-roll to charge, but of course psychic powers work natively with deep striking.
      • Combined with re-rolling charges, that's 71.04% on a 3+, 76.84% on a 2+, and 82.64% if you autosucceed (assuming the re-roll is always available).

Space Marine Armoury[edit]

Melee Weapons[edit]

  • Astartes Chainsword: SU, AP-1, D1, +1A. As of 9E, all Space Marine chainswords get AP-1 on top of the extra attack, making them even better against lightly armoured hordes while also giving them a little utility against tougher foes.
  • Lightning Claws: SU AP-2 D1, re-roll wound rolls and +1A per claw. This will outperform all other D1 melee weapons against any target (except T8-9 with a 2+ or 3+, where the power sword wins, but why are you picking D1 weapons for those?). Your best bet for mulching single-wound hordes.
    • +1A for one claw, +2A for two claws, so two claws usually cost twice as much as one for a tiny fraction of the benefit; anything forced to take two claws is often easily overshadowed by something with the choice to take only one.
  • Power Weapons: Each type of power weapon has its own profile now, so pick the right one for the situation. Unless you have the option for a lightning claw, then you should always take that instead. All of these come in Force flavours as well for Librarians, which changes from D1 to Dd3, making it marginally worse than the reliable D2 available on Master-Crafted versions.
    • Power Axe: S+2, AP-2, D1. Outperforms the sword against T3 and T5 models, since you wound them on a 2+ and 3+ respectively, compare to the swords 3+ and 4+.
    • Power Maul/Power Lance: S+3 AP-1 D1. This is the one you want least; boosting you to S7 isn't that much more useful than the axe's S6 and you lose a point of AP in the process. If you want to bash units with T6+, just pay the 5pts and grab the powerfist.
    • Power Sword: S+1, AP-3, D1. Best against targets that rely on armour saves over toughness to shrug off hits, and particularly good if you have access to re-rolling wounds.
  • Powerfist: Sx2, AP-3, D2, -1 to hit rolls. Good against everything, cost-effective, and very common to find.
  • Chainfist: Sx2, AP-4, Dd3, -1 to hit rolls and becomes D3 against Vehicles. A Terminator-only weapon. Marginally better than a powerfist against other highly-armoured models that lack an invulnerable save, strictly better against Vehicles, and has a 1/3 chance of offing a Plague Marine in one go by shredding through their -1 D Disgustingly Resilient. Costs the same as a powerfist, so trading the fist's reliable damage for better AP could be worth it.
  • Thunder Hammer: Sx2, AP-2, D3, -1 to hit rolls. A powerfist that trades one point of AP for an extra point of damage. The extra damage could mean the difference between one-shotting a Custodian Guard/Aggressor/Terminator or getting a guardian spear/powerfist in the face. When you have a thunder hammer/storm shield-Captain with Jump Pack, every enemy model begins to look like a nail. BUT, at typically twice the cost of a powerfist, it's not worth ditching up to three extra special or heavy weapons just to squeeze out a few extra points of damage. Still quite viable on everything that isn't a Character at least, so feel free to spam with Terminators or Vanguards.
  • Relic Blade: S+3, AP-3, D2. Available to Vanguard Veteran Sergeants and Captains. It has a good comparison to the power fist, but the two models that can take a relic blade can also take a thunder hammer.
    • Ignoring S bonuses or wound-roll buffs, the powerfists bumps you to S8, whereas this takes you to S7. This only matters against T4, T7, and T8 targets, as you go from wounding on a 2+/3+/4+ respectively to a 3+/4+/5+.
    • With hit roll modifiers capped at +/-1, attack units with inbuilt "enemy attacks suffer -1 to hit rolls" isn't so debilitating, again making the fist/hammer the better choice.


  • Boltgun: You know what a bolter is, but if you somehow forgot it's 24" rapid fire 1 S4 AP0 D1.
    • Combi-Weapon: A bolter taped to a special weapon (plasma, flamer, melta, grav). Check below for the special weapon profiles. You can fire one of the weapons at full BS, or both with a -1 to hit rolls. Note that the flamer portion of combi-flamers don't care about your BS.
    • Storm Bolter/Combi-Bolter: A boltgun taped to another boltgun. Cheap as chips (if chips cost 5 points) rapid fire 2 boltgun, typically seen on Bikers and Terminators, also available as upgrades on most of your Vehicles and Sergeants. Their abundance, the majority of bearers' ability to go fast (Bikers) or Deep Strike (Terminators), and Bolter Discipline means you should usually be getting four shots per turn with this weapon.
      • Worth the 5pt upgrade on Sergeants of Tactical and Devastator Squads at least, since it effectively adds another Marine's firepower for much less than the cost of another body.
  • Auto-flamer: Found only on Black Templar Primaris Captains because fuck other chapters, that's why. This is just an Auto Bolt Rifle (24" Assault 3 S4 AP0 D1) combi-weaponed with a flamer so you can advance and shoot both profiles, unlike with a combi-flamer.
  • Auto-plasma: Found only on Black Templar Primaris Lieutenants again because fuck other chapters, that's why. Again, this is just an Auto Bolt Rifle (24" Assault 3 S4 AP0 D1) combi-weaponed with a plasma gun because Cawl forgot he already invented assault plasma and that unsafe plasma should only be in the hands of a core unit near a captain.

Special Weapons[edit]

  • Flamer: 12" assault 1d6 S4 AP0 D1, automatically hits. 9th edition has been good to all flame weapons, boosting their range from 8" to 12". A classic anti-horde option, at least it's cheap.
    • Pyreblaster: Black Templar only, found only on Primaris Crusaders: 15" is nearly meaningless, but AP-1 is a big deal for murdering armoured targets. Other than that, a flamer.
  • Meltagun: 12", assault 1, S8, AP-4, Dd6, +2D if you're within half range of the target for a potential of 8D (5.5D average). Good against anything with lots of wounds, be they Vehicles, Monsters, or even heavy Infantry. **At 12" range, supercharged plasma is better (but riskier), so you really should try and get into melta range. While you can advance to close the gap, it is convenient if the unit's other weapons are assault weapons as well.
  • Grav-Gun: 18", rapid fire 1, S5, AP-3, D1, becomes D2 against targets with Sv3+ or better. Against most Vehicles, MEQ's, and TEQ's, this is a safer plasma weapon at the cost of less S and the same amount of pts.
  • Plasma Gun: 24", rapid fire 1, S7, AP-3, D1. Their gimmick is having a safe profile and supercharged profile, which gives them +1S and +1D at the risk of killing the bearer on a hit roll of unmodified 1. Sticking close to a Captain can mitigate this risk.

Pistol Weapons[edit]

Pistol weapons are equivalent to their bigger brethren, with different ranges and weapon types. Other than that, S, AP, D, and unique rules are the same.

  • Bolt Pistol: 12" and pistol 1. One of the most common weapons in the Space Marine armoury and available on most things as either an option or as part of their wargear. Just don't forget it exists and that you can fire it in melee.
    • Heavy Bolt Pistol: 18" pistol 1 S4 AP-1 D1. Primaris-only, as the Firstborn don't have the wrist strength to hold them.
  • Grav-Pistol: 12" pistol 1 S5 AP-3 D1, becomes D2 against Sv3+ or better.
    • Probably your best special pistol. Can take care of MEQ's without killing the user, unlike the plasma pistol.
  • Plasma Pistol: 12" pistol 1 S7 AP-3 D1, can become S8 and D2 but kills the user on a hit roll of UM1.
    • Supercharged, it'll one-shot MEQs... which the grav-pistol nearly does (it's worse at successfully wounding) without the possibility of killing the user. Its only boon is the higher S for hurting things that are T3+ (almost everything).
  • Inferno Pistol: Deathwatch and Blood Angels only. This is a meltagun with a 6" range and pistol 1 typing. The range puts you in close enough to spit on your target if you're trying to use it for melta, but you should be maximising the pistol aspect to pull a General Kenobi or Indiana Jones on your opponent and finish the swordfight with a pistol shot.
    • Just to be clear, you are spending 5pts for a weapon that you may not even get to fire in melee. Your pistols are fired in your shooting phase. If you charged on your turn, the unit with this will fight and be hit back two times before this comes up. In casual games this might come up, but most units that can take it will lack invulns so it's of dubious use.
  • Hand Flamer: Deathwatch and Blood Angels only. This is a flamer with S3 and pistol d6 typing. Very remarkably, suffers no range impediment, firing at the full 12" of a flamer.
    • If you can field it, twin hand flamers is a surprising amount of dakka when you deep strike. Vanguard Veterans can be outfitted as such for 29 points per dude/32 with jump packs, which is 160 points for 10 deep striking hand flamers (16 points per gun). An Assault Squad with jump packs, two flamers, and a hand flamer equipped Sergeant is 115 points for 2 flamers, 1 hand flamer, and 2 bolt pistols, which is substantially worse dakka: the former will land 35 S3 hits when it deep strikes, while the latter will land 3.5 S3 hits and 8.33 S4 hits, for 11.83 hits total.
    • Pyre Pistol: Black Templar only, found only on Primaris Crusaders and Primaris Sword Brethren; is an AP-1 Hand Flamer, which is a big deal for murdering armoured targets.

Heavy Weapons[edit]

  • Heavy Bolter: 36", heavy 3, S5, AP-1, D2. A solid choice for taking down light-medium Infantry, if one that tends to be overshadowed at times by the assault cannon and heavy flamer.
    • They can quickly raise the cost of your army due to their huge availability, so be a bit cautious about spamming against armies that are not mainly 2W.
    • Hellfire Shell is a unique stratagem that can be used on Infantry-carried heavy bolters; instead of shooting normally, make a single hit roll that deals d3 mortal wounds. Make the most of this with re-roll auras or Devastator Sergeant Signums.
  • Heavy Flamer: 12", heavy d6, S5, AP-1, D1, auto-hits. More effective against armoured targets than its smaller brother, but cannot be fired after advancing. Can be found on Dreadnoughts, Terminators, and Sternguard Veterans, and is added to the Heavy Weapons list for Deathwatch and Blood Angels (including successors).
  • Multi-Melta: A 24" and heavy 2 meltagun, meaning you can't run with it, but can shoot in melta range out of a deep strike, now fulfilling the role of Drop Pod threat-removal. With the rise to heavy 2, they've become 20pts for Infantry, more expensive than the lascannon.
  • Plasma Cannon: 36", heavy d3, and blast effectively means the same shots as a plasma gun, but from 36" away instead of 12" and better against Infantry. You need to be careful when you supercharge, due to the sheer cost of this weapon.
  • Grav-Cannon: A 30" range and heavy 4 grav-gun. Akin to a heavier heavy bolter to deal with bigger targets.
    • A unit with grav-cannons will become a serious target for your opponent, so consider sticking them in a Transport of any flavour so they can't be Basilisk'ed off the table turn 1.
  • Lascannon: 48", heavy 1, S9, AP-3, Dd6. Your primary long-range anti-vehicle weapon, and is as common as the heavy bolter.
  • Missile Launcher: Can fire either frag missiles (48" and heavy d6 bolter shots with blast), or a krak missile with (48", heavy 1, S8, AP-2, Dd6). Not quite as good as an assault cannon, heavy bolter, or lascannon in regards to dealing with Infantry and Monsters/Vehicles (respectively), but still pretty good at both of those roles.
    • Similar to heavy bolters, this weapon has a unique stratagem. Flakk Missile deals d3 MW's as well, but only against Aircraft targets.
    • Hunter-Killer Missile: A single-use 48", heavy 1, S10, AP-2, Dd6 missile for 5pts, just in case you didn't have enough anti-tank. The vast majority of your ground-based non-Dreadnought Vehicles can have one. Ironclad Dreadnoughts can take two, and Leviathans can have three.

Other Common Weapons[edit]

  • Assault Cannon: 24", heavy 6, S6, AP-1, D1. Haha minigun go brrrt. Not hard to find, available as a Terminator heavy weapon and Dreadnought option. Twin-linked variety is on Razorbacks, Land Speeders, Land Raiders, and most Aircraft.
    • Onslaught Gatling Cannon: 24", heavy 8, S5, AP-1, D1. Found on multiple Primaris armoured platforms as a secondary weapon, and puts the hurt on infantry.
    • Heavy Onslaught Gatling Cannon: 30", heavy 12, S6, AP-1, D1. Mounted on Redemptor Dreadnoughts, Repulsors, and Gladiators, the bigger brother of the onslaught cannon that does everything better.
  • Ironhail Heavy Stubber: 36", heavy 4, S4, AP-1, D1. A weird GW trend of putting stubbers on the hover tanks, but better than a storm bolter or the Imperial Guard heavy stubber.
    • Icarus Ironhail Heavy Stubber: As above with +1 to hit Aircraft. Realistically too weak to actually deal damage to Aircraft however.
  • Fragstorm Grenade Launcher: 18" assault d6 S4 AP0 D1, blast. Boltstorm Aggressors come with one, the Redemptor Dreadnought can swap their two storm bolters for two of these, and they can also be found on most of the Primaris tanks (the repulsor can have a whopping five).


If your Warlord is a Space Marine Character, you can give one Character a 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 (e.g. a Terminator Captain does not have access to a chainsword and thus cannot take the Teeth of Terra). The Relic of the Chapter Stratagem can be used for extra relics, number depending on the size of the game.

Named Characters and vehicles cannot be given a Relic. But only That Guy would try to force a Chaplain Dreadnought into the Armour Indomitus or something like that. But, hey, if you're playing Marines, odds are you're at least halfway to That Guy status.

  • Bellicos Bolt Rifle: Replaces a master-crafted auto bolt rifle. 24", assault 4, S5, AP-1, D2.
    • The Primarch's Wrath, but for Primaris, that doesn't need Bolter Discipline for four shots. Chuck it on a Captain or Lieutenant in your gunline.
  • Benediction of Fury: Replaces a Crozius Arcanum. S+2, AP-2, D3, unmodified wound rolls of 6 do a mortal wound in addition to other damage.
    • With Mantra of Strength and the right Warlord Trait, your Chaplain will become as deadly as he is in the fluff. REPENT, HERETIC! *B O N K*.
  • Lament: Replaces a master-crafted stalker bolt rifle. 36", heavy 1, S5, AP-2, D3, successful wounds inflict a mortal wound on top of that.
  • Purgatorus: Replaces a bolt pistol or heavy bolt pistol, so it's better when it replaces a bolt pistol. 18", pistol 3, S5, AP-3, D2.
    • Generally the most useful on something without a real gun, like an Apothecary, or even a Smash Captain, if you really want to improve his dakka.
  • Teeth of Terra: Replaces a chainsword. S+1, AP-2, D2, and bearer gains +3A with this weapon.
    • Good against hordes, better against multi-wound Infantry like Marines and Characters. Fun fact, this weapon is exactly the same as the Alpha Legion Relic, Blade of the Hydra.
  • The Burning Blade: Replaces a power or master-crafted power sword. S+3, AP-5, D2.
    • Where the Teeth of Terra hits more often, the Burning Blade hits harder and nullifies all armour saves. This is really a relic blade with better AP (AP-3 vs AP-5), which means it's usually a waste of a relic slot, although some chapters have weapon relics which are even worse. For most wielders and most targets, the Teeth of Terra is better', and most of your army that can take a relic can take at least one of the Teeth of Terra, a Master-crafted Thunder Hammer, or a specific relic from their <Chapter> or Chapter Command that's better.
  • The Primarch's Wrath: Replaces a boltgun, master-crafted boltgun, or special-issue bolt carbine. 24", rapid fire 2, S5, AP-2, D2.
    • Can be useful for those officers buffing your ranged units. One of the few relics that benefits from Bolter Discipline. The gold standard by which bolter relics are judged, since all specific chapters can take this instead of a chapter specific one they might have.

There are two relic weapons not listed in the codex, but instead every chapter has them as chapter-specific relics (for first founding chapters, these are special-issue wargear all successors can take, and Deathwatch simply includes them in the relic list).

  • Digital Weapons: Make an additional attack when the model fights. If it hits, the target suffers a mortal wound. Never take this; anything good enough in melee to warrant a melee relic is better off with something else, like a Master-Crafted Weapon.
  • Master-Crafted Weapon: +1D with one of the bearer's weapons, which is then considered a relic. A Master-Crafted Thunder Hammer is the gold standard by which melee relics are judged, and most of them can't compare.
  • Ghostweave Cloak: phobos model with a Camo-Cloak only. Passes though models when moving, advancing, or falling back, and enemy units suffer -1 to their hit rolls against the bearer.
    • Give it to a Stealth Adept Captain to make him as difficult to kill as Remo Williams.
  • Reliquary of Gathalamor: Primaris only, because fuck you. Enemy Psykers must subtract 1 from Psychic Tests made within 18" of the bearer. In addition, if the psychic power is not successfully manifested, roll a D6. On a 4+ the Psyker that attempted to manifest that psychic power suffers d3 mortal wounds.
    • Niche, but useful to protect your units if your meta is Psyker-heavy, especially if you didn't bring Psykers of your own (like Black Templar).
  • The Armour Indomitus: Bearer gains +1W, Sv2+, and once per game before taking a save, you can also activate a 3++ invulnerable save until the end of the turn.
    • One of the few ways to get a 3++ invulnerable save and of more use to those in power armour. A good panic button for those Characters you put into high-risk situations.
  • The Honour Vehement: Friendly <chapter> Core units with the Shock Assault ability (which is all of them) within 6" always get the +1A instead of having to meet the criteria. Useful for ongoing combats.
  • The Shield Eternal: Replaces a storm shield, relic shield, or combat shield, so available only to Captains, Terminator Librarians (Legends), and Company Champions (and Space Wolf Lieutenants on Thunderwolves or in Terminator Armor). It's a Storm Shield that also offers the same 5+++ as an Adamantium Mantle, which has no pre-requisites, so it's best used on something with a combat shield that can't take a storm shield, namely your Company Champion.
  • Standard of the Emperor Ascendant: Ancients only. Boosts the range of the Standard Banner ability to 9" and friendly <chapter> Core units within 9" re-roll Morale Tests.
    • This certainly changes its uses quite drastically from the auto-take it was in 8th edition to something more niche. Example uses include keeping Crusader Squads from suffering under Morale Tests.
  • The Vox Espiritum: Primaris only. +3" to their Aura abilities (max of 9"), excluding psychic powers.
  • Tome of Malcador: Librarian only. He knows one additional power from any discipline he has access to.
    • Non-named librarians always have access to two disciplines - their datasheet lists Librarius, and their supplement says they also have access to the chapter's discipline. That means the Tome can be used to take a Librarian with powers across two different disciplines, which is often useful, as many disciplines, including Librarius, often suffer from failing to have two powers useful in the same context.
      • As per 02/06/21, FAQ'ed into oblivion, as now it "just" gives one extra power from the discipline you chose your Librarian to know and not allowing to pick one from other discipline they had access to.
    • Utility depends heavily on your specific chapter's relics and discipline - for example, Salamanders functionally have this but better.

There are two pieces of relic wargear not listed in the codex, but instead every chapter has them as chapter-specific relics (for first founding chapters, these are special-issue wargear all successors can take, and Deathwatch simply includes them in the relic list).

  • Adamantium Mantle: 5+++ Feel No Pain. Works on mortal wounds, so can be useful for making a Librarian perils-resistant, or for making anyone extra sniper-proof beyond what even an Apothecary can offer; completely overlaps with the Chaplain litany and Successor Tactic for 5+++ vs mortals, so don't bother mixing them.
  • Artificer Armor: 2+/5++. Excellent on Lieutenants and Librarians who don't get invulnerable saves to start. Or, throw it on a Sergeant with your chapter-specific strat for doing so.
    • On any Sv3+ dude, this is literally a combat shield only because it's not named that it will stack with both combat and storm shields for a net Sv1+. This is a genuine waste of a relic if you use it to save points on something that could just take a combat shield.

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 Warhammer Legends datasheets and the latest point costs. White Scars players can thank the God-Emperor (Absolutely! Interestingly GW does some good things nowadays!)


Variants: The average SM HQ is a heroic model that can do fairly well in melee and, being the poster faction, we have a lot of choices when building our guys. Listed here are some common builds so that you don't have to read "Captain, Captain with Jump Pack, Librarian, Librarian with Jump Pack" and so on.

  • Jump Pack: Mobility is the name of the game. The model becomes M12", Fly, and can Deep Strike, so he can appear anywhere and ignore terrain, jump over the enemy's bubblewrap alongside your Vanguard Vets, and even punch a damn airplane to death. None of your Primaris, including Phobos or Gravis, can take this, and neither can your Techmarine.
  • Bike: High speed, high drag, the Character becomes a battering ram. Becomes M14", T5, and +1W, as well as a twin boltgun and Turbo-Boost, to advance 6" instead of 6". Sadly, all but the Captain and Primaris Chaplain on bike were relegated to Warhammer Legends.
  • Terminator: The heavy armour. +1W, Sv2+/5++, and Deep Strike, but only M5" and a slightly reduced wargear selection. Not meant to move around much, positioning is often determined by deep strike or the Land Raider that is carrying him around. Provides a lot of protection for your Character. A Captain's Iron Halo or Chaplain's Rosarius has a better invulnerable save, so the 5++ is mostly for your Librarian.
  • Primaris: Extra beef for a relatively low cost. +1W, +1A, but much more restrictive wargear options. The Primaris keyword also restricts their transport options; the Impulsor is underwhelming and only carries six models, and the Repulsor is expensive and a huge target.
  • Phobos: Primaris operator with stealth training; "Concealed Positions" lets most of them keep up with infiltrators (Lieutenants get Deep Strike instead), and they get their own selection of Warlord Traits and Psychic powers. Neither Chaplains nor Techmarines have access to this.
  • Gravis: Bigger and better beef, offering +1T and +1W on top of a Primaris statline, with a 5" move as opposed to the Terminator Armor's Deep Strike and 2+/5++ save. Very limited wargear, further transport restrictions, and thus far only Captains can use it.

  • Captain: The standard all Characters compare to, and can be customized to do almost any job. Captains are simultaneously destructive and survivable, with their 4++ Iron Halo and Character status. Additionally, his Rites of Battle Aura grants <Chapter> Core units within 6" the power to re-roll hit rolls of 1, helping your plasma not blow up and improving the hit rate of your already fairly accurate army-wide 3+. New to 9th edition are Detachment Limits, with the Marine flavour being Company Command; each detachment may include no more than one Captain and two Lieutenants, named or otherwise.

+2PL and +40pts. Upgrading a Captain to a Chapter Master excludes them from the 0-1-Captain-per-Detachment limit, so you can have one Captain and one Chapter Master. Not available to Deathwatch, you have the Watch Master.

  • Ability - Chapter Master: During the Command Phase, pick <Chapter> Core or <Chapter> Character within 6" to re-roll all failed hit rolls until your next Command Phase.
  • Trait - Master of the Codex: Gain +1CP in your Command Phase on a 4+. Simple and generally adds 2-3 CP over the course of the game.
  • Relic - Angel Artifice: Gain +1T, +1W, and Sv2+. A must-have for any Smashfucker build. Sees the most benefit on Gravis or Biker Captains, and Terminators benefitting from it the least due to them already having a 2+ armour save.

The base Firstborn Captain are the most versatile of the lot. Starting off with WS2+, BS2+, W5, A4, and Ld9, and armed with a master-crafted boltgun (24", rapid fire 1, S4, AP-2, D2), a chainsword, and a bolt pistol, this is the option that allows you to take a Jump Pack. They have access to the full suite of combi-weapons, melee weapons, and pistols, as well as a storm shield and relic blade (S+3, AP-3, D2).

  • The storm shield is still 10pts and of questionable use in 9th edition; you already have a 4++ invulnerable save from your Iron Halo, so you need to ask if spending 10pts to ditch your master-crafted boltgun for +1 to armour saves is worth it.
    • Armour of Contempt makes the shield even more of a hard sell; only worth it if you plan on seeing a lot of AP-0 attacks, which isn't where your captain wants to be.
  • Look to this guy for your Smashtain. Jump Pack, master-crafted thunder hammer, and one free arm means you can deal a mean amount of damage to a single target.

Putting him on a Bike keeps him incredibly flexible while boosting his survivability and manoeuvrability. Compared to above, he becomes M14", T5, and W6. He also only starts with a twin boltgun, chainsword, and bolt pistol, and has lost relic blade access and can swap the bolt pistol for a master-crafted boltgun (24", rapid fire 1, S4, AP-2, D2).

  • With the additional ranged output and T, this is one of your best bets for sitting in a gunline. The only issue is the cost, as he's a bit expensive for that role and wastes his high movement and melee capacity.

Unfortunately, the Cataphractii version got the axe, so no 3++ invulnerable anymore. The Terminator is a very durable wall of pain, boasting W6 and Sv2+, though they drop to M5" which is barely an issue. Starting with a storm bolter and power sword, they've lost pistol and chainsword access. In place of those, they gain the mighty anti-armour chainfist (Sx2, AP-4, Dd3, becomes D3 against Vehicles) and the unique option for a wrist-mounted grenade launcher if they take a powerfist (12", assault d3, S4, AP-1, D1, blast).

  • Weirdly (and inefficiently) enough, they can have two powerfists and two wrist rockets.

The Primaris Captain has to commit to stabby or shooty, but his options for either are limited. Below are the available set-ups for you in a format that's a damn-sight easier to read than the Codex.

  • Master-crafted auto bolt rifle (24", assault 3, S4, AP0, D2). Can be swapped for a master-crafted stalker bolt rifle (36", heavy 1, S4, AP-2, D3) and take an optional master-crafted power sword (S+1, AP-3, D2). This set-up is one of your gunline babysitters, but doesn't benefit from Bolter Discipline since nothing is rapid fire.
  • Powerfist and plasma pistol... that's it, nothing special. Overcharge the plasma pistol at your own peril, since a hit roll of unmodified 1 will vaporise you even with W6 and his Aura no longer grants himself a re-roll.
  • Master-crafted power sword, heavy bolt pistol, and relic shield (+1 to armour saves and a 4+ save against mortal wounds). The Bladeguard option that does not grant the Bladeguard keyword. This is your new ideal melee Primaris Captain build.

The Gravis Captain has T5 and W7, but Gravis suits cannot Deep Strike and are limited to the expensive Repulsor transport (or Thunderhawk or Stormbird if you have one laying about). However, he is perfectly suited for accompanying Aggressors and can weather high-volume, low-AP attacks better than other Captains. 9th edition has granted him a second load-out;

  • Boltstorm gauntlet and power sword (no longer master-crafted, but he gets more attacks with it). The gauntlet functions as three 18" AP-1 bolt pistols welded to a powerfist. Exceptional damage output but needs a way to get into your enemies face quickly.
    • Warzone Nachmund gave this version of the captain a touch of versatility. Not only can they take a power sword, but they can replace that with either a chainsword or power fist. On top of that, you also get extra attacks on ALL of your weapons, with an extra attack for your second fist or two extra attacks on your swords - and yes, this stacks with the extra attack native to the chainsword. The only drawback is that these extra attacks don't work with any relics that replace your weapon.
  • Master-crafted heavy bolt rifle (36", rapid fire 1, S5, AP-1, D2) and master-crafted power sword (S+1, AP-3, D2). A new addition to your line-up and a rapid fire weapon that can thus fire twice when stationary due to Bolter Discipline.
  • You can build this beef cake up to W9, T6, with a 2+, 4++, 6+++ using the Angel Artifice Chapter Master Relic and Iron Resolve Warlord Trait. Imperial Fists can make an W8 version without the 6+++ that can halve all damage taken, which is tougher than Abaddon, Calgar, and basically most other armies main battle tanks. Crimson Fists can let him stand up again. Salamanders can get him up to T8 instead, if you want to cosplay as a battle tank.

The Phobos Captain is even more dedicated to the gunline. His master-crafted instigator bolt carbine is a 30", assault 1, S4, AP-2, D3 weapon that can target Characters, and his combat knife simply grants him +1A. Like some other Phobos Marines, he has a Camo-Cloak (an additional +1 to armour saves when in cover) and Omni-Scrambler (enemy units cannot Deep Strike within 12" of him).

  • A good candidate for any bolt relics (Blood Angel Quake Bolts for example), and a great choice if you go heavy on Comms Array-equipped Infiltrator Squads so they can benefit from Rites of Battle at any distance.
  • Lieutenant: Remaining a strong addition at the advent of 9E, with a statline similar to a Captains but -1W, -1A, and -1Ld. He retains his WS2+ and BS2+ though, so he hits just as accurately but not as often. His two special rules are Tactical Precision (<Chapter> Core units within 6" re-roll wound rolls of 1) and Company Heroes (take two Lieutenants of any type in one HQ slot). Since a Lieutenant's Tactical Precision aura (re-roll 1's to wound) is mathematically equivalent to a Captain's Rites of Battle (re-roll 1's to hit), they can be used as a budget sub-commander to fill your HQ tax and boost your back field. You have a lot of Named Captains with a range of amazing extra rules but fixed Warlord Traits, so the wide variety of Lieutenants should be taken along to support them and their retinue with your own choice of Warlord Trait. New to 9th edition are Detachment Limits, with the Marine flavour being Company Command; each detachment may include no more than one Captain and two Lieutenants. BS2+ now makes these guys excellent support HQs and fine candidates for Relic Bolt Weapons or Bolt Shells. Let the Captains and Chaplains smash everyone while you sit back, observe, let them die and get a promotion!

Like the Captain, this is your most versatile. He has the full-range of melee weapons, combi-weapons, and pistols available to him, but no storm shield or relic blades. This is the Lieutenant with the Jump Pack option, in case you want a Diet Smash Captain.

While this guy is considerably more limited in loadout, 9th edition has given a couple new options. If you're going to give a model a relic bolter or bolts, this is an excellent contender as they also have B2+ while also being cheaper than a Captain.

  • Master-crafted auto bolt rifle (24", assault 3, S4, AP0, D2). Can be swapped for a master-crafted stalker bolt rifle (36", heavy 1, S4, AP-2, D3). Unlike the Captain, no option for a melee weapon.
  • Master-crafted power sword (S+1, AP-3, D2) and bolt pistol. Definitely out-specialised by the sword and board option below.
  • Master-crafted power sword (S+1, AP-3, D2) , neo volkite pistol (15", pistol 2, S5, AP0, D2, wound rolls of unmodified 6 inflict an additional mortal wound), and storm shield. Only 15pts extra compared to above, it's a good thing Techmarines found some volkite pistols laying out back.

He sounds like he should be able to be deployed with other Reivers, but instead, he is actually a supporting character for other melee units. With only a combat knife (+1A) for stabbin', with very few relics that can actually replace it. The master-crafted special issue bolt pistol (12", pistol 1, S4, AP-2, D2) isn't bad... But it's still only a one-shot pistol. He does grant you a 3" -2Ld Aura and the Shock Grenade keyword though, giving you the functionality of a Reiver Squad in a smaller package, albeit one that cannot Deep Strike.

The Incursor-like lieutenant, still hobbled by using a grav-chute to Deep Strike instead of Infiltrating with the rest of the Phobos Troops. His paired combat knives are SU, AP-1, D1 now and his master-crafted occulus bolt carbine is 24", rapid fire 1, S4, AP0, D2, ignores cover.

  • Librarian: Your good old source of mortal wounds and psychic protection. Librarians are a solid buffer and potential damage dealer depending on what spell he takes, of which this model knows two (plus Smite) and can cast two powers per turn. Psychic Hood is now stock wargear instead of an option, and grants +1 to Deny the Witch tests if the enemy caster is within 12". Oh, and you can deny two psychic powers. They're your most fragile and least accurate Marine HQ choice, being sickly NERDS; WS3+, BS3+, W4, A3, Sv3+, and no invulnerable save (apart from the Terminator version) puts you on par with the Marine Characters in the Elite section. Their force weapons are Dd3 power swords, axes, or mauls. With the wide array of Chapter specific Disciplines, the number of combinations you can field as an army is both terrifying and a little overwhelming.
    • Like your Chaplain, has to roll to see if his powers work, but unlike your Chaplain, how good he is at this varies by power. As you might imagine, utility varies widely by power, so check the info the disciplines your Librarian can choose from to decide - all of them can choose their Chapter-specific Discipline instead of whatever their datasheet says.

+1PL and +25pts. Going all-in gives you a great Deny the Witch model that is more likely to get the best Smite results.

  • Ability - Chief Librarian: Gain one additional power from your chosen discipline and deny one extra time.
  • Trait - Psychic Mastery: +1 to Psychic Tests. Another simple trait that is very effective.
  • Relic - Neural Shroud: 24" Psychic Hood. Works well with your extra denial.

The cheapest baseline Librarian. Like the Primaris chumps, they have their pick of force weapons and a bolt pistol that can be swapped for a different pistol or combi-weapon. If you're keener on getting him into casting range as quickly as possible, this is the profile that has access to a Jump Pack. Has access to the Librarius discipline.

Definitely the way to go if you plan on having your Libby swing that force weapon. Legends allows you to replace the storm bolter with a storm shield, you still get a 5++ invuln and a combi-weapon without it. Has access to the Librarius discipline.

A not insignificant +29pts to give your Librarian M14", +1T, +1W, and Biker so they always benefit from Bolter Discipline. This is good, since they have twin boltguns as standard and can swap their bolt pistol for a storm bolter, giving you eight 24", S4, AP0, D1 attacks in the shooting phase. Has access to the Librarius discipline.

The most static loadout of the lot. You're going with this option if you really want to use all the benefits being a Primaris has, since you're stuck with a force sword and bolt pistol. Has access to the Librarius discipline.

Same as the other Primaris, but has a Camo-Cloak to give him +2 to his save when in cover instead of +1. Has access to the Obscuration discipline.

  • Chaplain: The guy for not-magic support magic, effectively an angry, super-human Bard. Chaplains have WS2+ and a 4++ invulnerable save courtesy of his Rosarius, on top of a 6" Aura giving their Ld9 to <Chapter> Core units. Their unique Crozius is a S+2, AP-1, D2 melee weapon.
    • Litanies make this team player work somewhat different from other Characters, especially his interaction with Transports and Deep Strikes; your newfound Litanies require a 3+ to go off in your Command Phase, so before Deep Striking or disembarking. Each Chaplain knows the melee-focused Litany of Hate and one Litany of Battle, though one of them can be upgraded to Master of Sanctity to know and chant one extra litany.
      • Pointing it out here as a relevant reminder, there's the 2CP Commanding Oratory Stratagem that allows one Chaplain who hasn't cast a Litany to successfully cast one Litany in any phase, as long as that Litany wasn't cast earlier in the turn. This is for those Priests who've disembarked or Deep Struck this turn.
    • If you want the Chaplain for melee like you're used to, consider putting him in a Drop Pod or Impulsor. He won't have litanies when disembarking without the above stratagem, but those specific transports operate under similar restrictions; they are both fast, Drop Pods will arrive one turn earlier than Jump Pack and Terminators, and troops disembarking from an Impulsor have to wait one turn to charge. A one-two punch requires patience and the ability to take a beating before dealing damage, but can be rewarding.
    • For maximum melee damage, the Imperium's Sword Warlord Trait + Benediction of Fury Relic + Mantra of Strength Litany + Might of Heroes Psychic Power + Assault Doctrine + Shock Assault on a Primaris Chaplain will make you WS2+ and A9, with a S9, AP-3, D4 club, but obviously that's an all-your-eggs-in-one-basket situation.
    • Unlike earlier editions, Chaplains can also have a place back in your own lines, with a couple litanies boosting a single unit's firepower. They aren't Auras, but +1 to either hit or wound (or both if you have two Chaplains or Master of Sanctity) to a unit is an important boost by itself if your Warlord is far away, and complements Aura HQs if you are fielding a Battalion or bigger.

+1PL and +25pts. Chaplains are rarely pivotal to an army, but if your main death star or plan revolves around one, the buffs below are going to be very handy to you.

  • Ability - Master of Sanctity: Knows one additional Litany and can chant one additional Litany per turn.
  • Trait - Wise Orator: +1 to see if a Litany is inspiring and the Commanding Oratory stratagem only costs 1CP when it's used on this model.
  • Relic - Emperor's Judgement: Your opponent cannot re-roll hit, wound, or damage rolls against the bearer, and enemy units within 6" roll an additional d6 and discard the lowest when taking a Morale Test.

The cheapest base model and can swap their bolt pistol for a combi-weapon, other pistol, boltgun, or powerfist. Also has the Jump Pack option for mobility and Deep Strikes.

As the Chaplain already has a 4++ from the rosarius, the only reason you're going to buy this is if you want that +1W, Sv2+ and Deep Strike (also Deathwing if you're Dark Angels). Weaponry is limited to a crozius and combi-weapon.

+15pts to give your Chaplain M14", +1T, +1W, and Biker so they always benefit from Bolter Discipline. Their bolt pistol can be swapped for a boltgun, combi-weapon, other pistol, or powerfist. Turbo-Boost always advances them 6" instead of d6". RAW, their Crozius is only +1S instead of the +2S 9th edition.

The foot slogging Chaplain upgraded to Primaris and stuck with an absolvor bolt pistol (18", pistol 1, S5, AP-1, D2). Paying +5pts to gain +1W is okay if they're squatting in a gunline, but you do kneecap yourself for Transport and wargear options.

9E is bringing you a Primaris Chaplain on a Bike, with the bigger and better bike the Outriders have. 115pts nets you an M14", T5, W7 Chaplain with twin bolt rifles (30", rapid fire 2, S4, AP-1, D1) and an absolvor bolt pistol (18", pistol 1, S5, AP-1, D2).

  • Overall, there's no real reason to take the Biker Chaplain in Legends now this guy exists. An argument could be made for a combi-melta and powerfist Chaplain, but you're Marines with Eradicator access.

The Chaplain Dreadnought is the go-to answer for players wishing to run an all-Dreadnought army. WS2+, BS2+, S6, and A5 means they hit hard, often, and accurately at all times. T7, W8, Sv3+/5++ already makes them hard to kill, but Character Keyword, Duty Eternal (-1D to all attacks to a minimum of D1) and Unyielding Ancient (ignores lost wounds on a 6) buffs that even further. 9th has given them Litanies that are in-line with a regular Chaplain. As far as weapons go, you can take any two of the following in any combination; Dreadnought powerfist with storm bolter or heavy flamer (take two fists and you gain +1A), assault cannon, multi-melta, twin lascannon, heavy plasma cannon (a plasma cannon that only deals one MW to the user on a hit roll of 1 instead of killing them entirely), and Dreadnought inferno cannon (12", heavy d6, S6, AP-1, D2, automatically hits).

  • All-in-all, if the game lets you take these, you should take one. Being a Legends unit, some opponents and tournaments may not let you use them in your lists. The model is OOP, but a Venerable Dreadnought with extra purity seals will do the trick. If you were thinking of taking a Mortis Dreadnought for your gunline, paying 40 extra points for this model should be a serious consideration for BS2+, Litanies, Spiritual Leader, 5++ invulnerable, and Unyielding Ancient. Admittedly you do lose out on twin autocannons and twin heavy bolters (two very efficient MEQ killers), BUT you can mix the guns you take on this guy.
  • Dec 2020 release of FW Legends specifically bars this unit from take the Master of Sanctity Chapter Command upgrade.
  • Techmarine: Vehicles may be tougher this edition, but their performance diminishes with wounds. Thankfully, this guy repairs them for d3 wounds a turn with their Blessing of the Omnissiah. The 2020 Codex and the Omnissiah have granted them Awaken the Machine Spirits, giving a <Chapter> Vehicle within 3" in the Command Phase +1 to their hit rolls with ranged weapons.

+1PL and +20pts. Go all in with the Trait and Relic for the guy you want plodding up the board and babysitting your Dreadnoughts. Space Wolf and Blood Angel Dreadnought detachments love him.

  • Ability - Master of the Forge: Blessing of the Omnissiah automatically heals three wounds instead of d3.
  • Trait - Warden of the Ancients: +1S and +1A to Dreadnoughts within 6".
  • Relic - Mortis Machina: Replaces your Omnissian Axe with one that's S+3 AP-2 D3, and Vehicles that fail a save suffer an additional mortal wound. Universally a worse choice than giving him the Primarch's Wrath, although Space Wolves can give him a Master-Crafted Tempest Hammer for serious hurt.

Holds the distinction of being one of your cheapest HQ options at 70pts, 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. His standard weapons are a servo-arm (a thunder hammer without an accuracy penalty, but you can only make one attack with each servo-arm per fight phase), Omnissian power axe (a master-crafted power axe for free), and a bolt pistol, which you can and should swap to a bolter for free. His pistol (i.e. bolter) can be swapped for any other pistol or combi-weapon, and his axe can be replaced by any melee weapon, but almost all of them are terrible choices, because of how good his axe and servo-arm already are. He's WS3+ and BS2+, so you should be focusing on his guns anyway in most chapters (if you're Space Wolves, it's different). He has one of three builds;

  • Servo-arm: Keeping him stock with just a single servo-arm.
  • Servo-harness: +15pts grants you a second servo-arm, a flamer, and a plasma cutter (an assault 1 plasma pistol). While you'll never overcharge the cutter, it being assault means you can shoot it, the flamer, and the bolter-or-better you're carrying, meaning your BS2+ Techmarine is now a very credible threat within 12". An excellent choice.
  • Conversion beamer (Legends): Banished to Legends to be forgotten, this option replaces the stock servo-arm and is not compatible with a servo-harness. +20pts, and you get a 48", heavy d6, S6, AP0, D1 weapon that becomes S8, AP-1, D2 if the target is between 24" and 48".

70pts (the exact same as the footslogging Techmarine) for a M14", T5, W5, Turbo-Boosting Techmarine to get your repairs where you need them quicker. This model does not have the 9th edition Omnissian power axe their newer counterparts have, but can still replace their bolt pistol and power axe for the usual options. Like the walking Techmarine, you have a servo-arm, servo-harness, and conversion beamer as options.

  • Excellent conversions include using the Kataphron tracks instead of legs.

Fixed loadout, but better than your Firstborn on foot for shooting (but not as good as the Biker in Legends). The forge bolter is 24", assault 3, S5, AP-1, D2 (Iron Father Ferrios should've copy-righted his) that can be fired in addition to his grav-pistol or grenades, and his mechadendrites give him an additional two S+1, AP0, D1 attacks in melee.

  • Damocles Command Rhino (FW): Your command support Vehicle. Stats are the same as a regular Rhino, with weapons being a storm bolter and optional hunter-killer missile, but with the worst transport capacity in the game of one non-Terminator/Jump Pack/Primaris <Chapter> Infantry Character. The Tactical Resource rule dictates that you can only take one of these per detachment in a Battle-Forged Army and Command Authority grants you +1CP on a 5+ in your Command Phase if this model is on the field. The amazing part of this model is the Command Uplink aura; if you have a Captain or Lieutenant on the field, <Chapter> units within 6" of this model also count as being within range of their re-roll aura. Not a bad model by any means at 90pts.
    • Your stats may be tougher, but you're not a Character; you're vulnerable to being sniped by a lascannon if this model is out in the open. Positioning is the most important thing for this model, so hide it behind cover and use the larger model footprint to project a bigger aura in your gunline while you have a smash Captain and Lieutenant Deep Strike for melee combat elsewhere in the field.
  • Rhino Primaris (Legends): One half of the extraordinarily-limited edition Command Tank duo. The Rhino Primaris distinguishes itself from the basic Rhino in several ways. That statline is exactly the same and it's restricted to transporting six models. It's retained the 8th edition Smoke Launcher rule so it's not limited to a stratagem; once per game it can fire it's smoke launchers instead of shooting, and enemy shooting attacks against this model suffer -1 to their hit rolls. Another 8th edition holdover is the Rhino Self-Repair rule that also got lost from the basic Rhino on the way to 9th, so it heals one lost wound on a d6 roll of 1 at the start of your turn. Weaponry is a twin plasma gun (don't overcharge unless you want a chance to kill yourself) and an optional hunter-killer missile. Now, the good shit. Its Orbital Comms Array can be used once per game. Pick a spot on the battlefield, roll a d6 for each unit within d6" of that point, and subtract 1 from the result if a unit is a Character; each 4+ inflicts d3 mortal wounds. Finally, the Servo-Skull Hub is activated in your shooting phase and you can pick one of three options to happen to a target within 12"; one <Chapter> unit within 12" gains +1 to their hit rolls when shooting, one <Chapter> Vehicle regains one lost wound, or one <Chapter> unit within 12" subtracts 1 from a Morale Test.
    • The plasma guns still have the "hit rolls of 1 to explode" qualifier, not "hit rolls of unmodified 1". It goes against the interpretation of Imperial plasma weaponry, but it could use the Servo-Skull Hub on itself to gain +1 to their hit rolls and be immune to exploding if you overcharge the twin plasma guns. Quite frankly though, this is better off being used on a dedicated shooting unit like Eradicators, Hellblasters, or Devastators though.
    • Positioning is important, but it's even more important with the Rhino Primaris. 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 Stormraven flying in, getting tagged by the Rhino Primaris, and then vomiting its weapons onto an enemy. Hitting enemy targets with BS2+ anti-tank weaponry from nowhere? That's the value of positioning.
    • The orbital bombardment is potentially rather disappointing, so it may be worth it to keep a CP for a re-roll when determining the blast radius.
    • At 74pts, this model is cheaper than the Damocles and +1 to hit rolls on one unit is arguably better than a re-roll-hit-rolls-of-1 Aura in smaller games. If you're looking for a good base for a conversion, the Damocles Rhino from Forge World is a good start anyway, so get yourself one of those and pick-and-choose which command Rhino you want between games.
  • Land Raider Excelsior (Legends): The Rhino Primaris' bigger half. A Land Raider with a 5++ invulnerable save, the 8th edition Smoke Launcher rules (see Rhino Primaris entry), and the now-useless Power of the Machine spirit rule but NOT keyword. Anywho, this model has the 8th edition Captains Rites of Battle Aura built-in to allow all <Chapter> units within 6" re-rolls to hit rolls of 1, and not just Core units. Its own Data Augurs rule grants it +1 to hit rolls if it's within 24" of a Rhino Primaris too, which is pretty neat. Transport capacity is ten models with the standard limits. Weaponry is two twin lascannons and a grav-cannon with grav-amp (24", heavy 4, S5, AP-3, D1, becomes Dd3 against targets with Sv3+ or better). Optionally, you can bolt a storm bolter AND multi-melta AND hunter-killer missile AND Excelsior combi-plasma (a combi-plasma that only inflicts one mortal wound against the user on a hit roll of 1 instead of outright killing them).
    • Comparisons to a Land Raider Phobos; the Phobos is 285pts and the Excelsior is 295pts (200pts in Legends + 2x40pts for the lascannons in CA20 + 15pts for the grav cannon/amp in CA20). Those 10pts get you a 5++, Captain Aura, and BS2+ if a Rhino Primaris is within 24". Even without the Primaris, this model is a goddamn bargain, but unfortunately in the crowded HQ slot.

Forge World Characters[edit]

Special Characters are noted with their corresponding <CHAPTER> keyword, and are arranged by their Founding (when applicable). Characters from known successor chapters are in their relevant sections because supplements make that kind of matter now. The points cost for all special characters already includes their wargear, as stated in the points section, under the points heading in the codex (or index/Legends if not in the codex). All other units say "does not include wargear" except special characters where it says "including wargear".

The Astral Claws are either Ultramarines or Dark Angels successors, with no great way to decide between the two; your fluffiest bet is Ultramarines since they make the better bikers anyhow. Although if we look at their Chapter Tactics before 8th, White Scars is the best substitute for a melee-focused rush. Successor Tactics: Hungry for Battle, Master Artisans, Rapid Assault

  • Lugft Huron: Chapter Master, with terminator armour, a master-crafted assault heavy flamer (so it's twice as good as Vulkan He'stan's flamer - don't tell him), and THE ONE PIMP HAND TO RULE THEM ALL, a master-crafted lightning claw with 1 better S and AP (S+1 AP-3 D2, re-rolls wounds)! "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). He can come back from the dead... as often as you can roll a 5+. But he is decently priced at 170 points. Still better in combat than Draigo (who's more expensive), and could even take on Abbadon/Swarmlord (not really he is A4). 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 Cullen 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 hellfire shells, all the other command stratagems, AND a Damocles Command Rhino which doesn't even need Lufgt to ride in for another Orbital Bombardment!!! (you're 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. Give Valthex the Storm of Fire warlord trait and 1 in 6 bolter shots become heavy bolter shots.
    • Note that hurricane bolters are not specifically storm bolters or boltguns.
    • As his rule reads The Strength characteristic of all boltguns and storm bolters fired by [...] an argument could be made that this also includes special issue boltguns. The word "all" wouldn't make any sense otherwise.
    • Pairing him with a Lieutenant still has the exact same effect as pairing him with a Captain, with or without Storm of Fire.
    • This guy screams for running Astral Claws as Ultramarine successors as his special rule and Scions of Guilliman gives great synergy with a high number of Tacticals/Sternguards/Company Veterans under Tactical Doctrine and Bolter Discipline. While long-range focused footsloggers might not be true to their fluff, it doesn't stop them from being quite good at it. Pair with Long-range Marksman and Stealthy.
  • Captain Corien Sumatris:(legends) 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 +1 to wound roll when attacking enemy CHARACTERS, this makes him a mini-me Helbrecht, although he might be tougher with his 3++. His gun is a lame Pistol 2 Ap-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:(legends) 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" for Core units to reroll one hit and wound roll when they fight makes him another good melee beatstick/buffer for Astral Claws. He also gets a 5++ invul because that's what Void Hardened Armour does now.
    • See above Lugft Huron. Astral Claws love mortal wounds Bitchez!!

The Red Scorpions are probably loyalist Emperor's Children successors; Forgeworld suggests using Ultramarines Successors with Inheritors of the Primarch.

  • Lord High Commander Carab Culln (FW Legends): Chapter Master. Stats-wise, of the level of other CMs here and in the main book, 9th edition has made him more consistent. An AP-2 D2 storm bolter, and a S+2, AP-3, D2 power sword that becomes Sx2 against Monsters and Vehicles. His personal aura gives every Red Scorpion within 6" a 6+ ignore lost wounds roll.
    • Interestingly, his aura just flat-out states Red Scorpions, and not the usual Infantry/Core/Character stipulation.
    • 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. Seems to excel against other Marines given all his D2 weapons. 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. Twin assault cannon, three hunter-killer missiles, and two heavy flamers make up most of his weaponry. His Tarsus Scorpi is a siege-claw style weapon, being Sx2, AP-3, D4, and also has a built-in heavy bolter that can fire at targets within 1" without the usual penalty (a bit of a step-down from the previous Death Hold rule). He has the Character and Smokecreen Keywords, a 5+ invulnerable, the Captain aura (Red Scorpion Core units within 6" re-roll hit rolls of 1), and the 9th edition Dreadnought rule Duty Eternal (incoming damage is reduced by 1 to a minimum of 1).
    • He's lost his old 6+++ FNP aura, but that's still available in his Legends Terminator form.
    • Like most Dreadnoughts, Culln the Risen seems a little... Schizophrenic. His flamers and assault cannons want to target hordes, while his hunter-killers and claw want to beat up bigger things.
    • 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.
    • His number of wounds also prohibits him from jumping in a Dreadnought Drop Pod or a Storm Raven, so he's pretty limited to an 8" waddle.
    • Compared to a storm cannon + siege-claw + triple missile Leviathan (245pts), for an extra 20pts, you gain +1WS, +1BS, +1A, the Captain aura, and no Relic keyword, meaning you won't pay one CP just for having him in your detachment.
  • Magister Sevrin Loth: Chief Librarian. As a Chief Librarian, he can cast two Librarius powers and deny three. He has an innate 4++ invulnerable save, and one Red Scorpion Core unit within 6" in the command phase re-rolls failed wounds against Psykers. He has a master-crafted axe (improved from Dd3 regular force axes) where Psykers that fail a save against it suffer an additional Mortal Wound.
    • No longer the god that he was in seventh edition, he's been toned down to reasonable. He sees best use when escorting a headhunter squad of your own choice going after enemy wizards.
  • Casan Sabius: New Chapter Master who has inherited the Blade of the Scorpion that's somehow different from Culln's Terminator form; S+1 (Sx2 vs monsters/vehicles) AP-3 Dd3. He has a 2+/4++, Captain aura, and Chapter Master ability. FW has changed his unique rule, where now you just pick a Red Scorpion Core or Character unit within 6" and they gain +1A.
    • Unlike OG Culln, this dude wants to smack Monsters and Vehicles. He's not in Terminator armour so you'll need to transport him to get there, but you also have more transport options available to you.

The Minotaurs are 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. Whirlwind of Rage should be considered while FW chose Duelists + Stalwart.

  • 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 1+/4+++ 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. The spear's lasbeam is no longer single-use, meaning he can fire that sexy, sexy S8 -3 AP D3 weapon all he likes. he gives the usual Chapter Master buff 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.
    • Pairing his re-roll failed charges special rule with the Hungry for Battle Successor Tactic (+1" to charge and advance) gives you a ~66% chance on a successful charge after deep striking.
  • Chaplain Ivanus Enkomi: The Minotaur chaplain character. A foot slogging Chaplin with a Grenade launcher, power fist, and Crozius that ignores invuln saves. 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 Elites 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 is 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.

Note that being a Character he can get a trait while not being Warlord, though it would cost you CP to do so and there might be other candidates, but hey, Sword of the Imperium sounds glorious on him

    • 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.

The Star Phantoms 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: (Legends) 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 with +1AP, and a combi-melta. has 95pts.

The Blood Ravens are successors to whom, nobody knows, so you can do whatever you want.

  • Gabriel Angelos: That's right, Gabe's finally made his official debut on the tabletop, sporting his Dawn of War III look. THE TERMIE FLIP IS BACK BABY, in the form of an ability: Leap into the Fray - upon successful charge a roll of 4+ deals d3 MWs. He's a Chapter Master in 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.
    • As for goodies, he comes with his signature Daemon Hammer, Godsplitter, allowing him to choose one of the following 2 profiles in combat: Mighty Strikes is a standard Thunder Hammer statline, with the addition of dealing an additional Mortal Wound whenever you roll a 6+ on the wound roll. The second profile, Sweeping Blows, grants Gabe +3 attacks on top of his 5 base, at str+2 ap-1 d1 without the -1 penalty to hit, for your GEQ killing needs. Compared to his previous Forge World rules, he, unfortunately, lost his access to grenades.
    • Naturally, he's best off rolling with Relic Terminators. While utterly genericized from what once was, it at least gives you a squad that actually keeps up with Gabe and can provide some much-needed firepower.
    • At 150 points, he can be a bit hard to fit into smaller lists.


With the new FOCs, it is possible to make a Battle-Forged list without any Troops at all... but you do need them for CP. Troops are usually where one turns for numbers, as in 9E the player with the most models within 3" of an objective can claim it. You have a lot of options for Troops but they're actually decent this edition. Your basic defensive statline is MEQ with T4, W2, Sv3+, making them quite durable against most enemy small-arms; However, there are no shortage of weapons with S5+ and D2, like autocannons, plasma, and 9th edition has made the ever-common heavy bolter D2.

  • Tactical Squad: CORE, 18pts per model. No longer your default choice for Troops tax, Tacs are still viable, but require more forethought compared with Intercessors. Heavy weapons are easier to use now as they get fewer penalties for moving and unlimited split fire exists. This edition encourages you to take them as MSU; less morale vulnerability and multiple units can fit in the same transport. Two five-man units fit inside a Rhino, giving two Serges with Combi-weapons plus two special/heavy weapon guys as opposed to the three a regular ten-man squad have.
    • When deciding between Tacticals and Intercessors, you must consider their intended role, as barebones they're your worst Troops choice. The main advantage over Intercessors are the ability to take special/heavy weapons, so use them. They're basically the same price as Intercessors now, so if you just want cheap Troops, ALWAYS take Intercessors; Tacticals are so much worse in shooting and melee that downgrading isn't remotely worth saving a measly 10pts.
    • Tacs can ride in Rhinos, Razorbacks, Drop Pods, and Termites, for Dedicated Transports; Land Raiders, for Heavies; and Stormravens, Stormfangs, Stormwolves, Storm Eagles, and Corvus Blackstars, for Flyers. Firstborn transports tend to be more affordable than their Primaris equivalents (when they exist - there are only Primaris equivalents of the Razorback and Land Raider), which look much more like tanks and mount more guns without really being that much more durable. This means they're far more likely to draw heavy fire, and while this can be an advantage depending on your game plan, it does make Tacs notably better if all you want a cheap, speedy box. Combined with the point above: bring tactical marines if you want to tactically drive tactical heavy weapons in tactical transports to shoot (tactically) your enemies in the face with a tactical melta. For around 1.5 intercessor squads.
    • Tacticals generally lose out on stratagems, as many only work with Primaris, and while dropping defensive strats on Troops is usually a waste of points, the lack of Transhuman Physiology might make the difference between holding and losing an objective. One area where Tacticals do have the advantage is mortal wound stratagems; Melta Bomb and Flakk Missile are functionally Tactical only, while Hellfire Shells are Tac or Heavy Intercessor only, and can kick out a surprising amount of damage.
    • As a rule of thumb, point rebalances make heavy weapons better choices than special weapons, as even when at a penalty from moving they kick out more damage. The only exception is Assault-type weapons which can shoot after advancing, but since this means your bolters can't fire, it often isn't worth it anyway.

Whenever a combi-weapon has the same cost as a special weapon, it's strictly better; except for a combi-flamer, when the combi-weapon costs more, it's almost always strictly worse.

  • Combi-Flamer: 3.38x the S4 dakka of a bolter hitting your target at 12" (1.69x the dakka of a storm bolter) for less than twice the cost of the base model, but no ability to hit things farther away. No benefit over a flamer if you advance, but if you don't, 1.29x as good as a flamer; current point costs have a combiflamer dude costing 1.22x a flamer dude. For Overwatch, the output is only 1.1x as good as a flamer, meaning combiflamers are less efficient at Overwatch than flamers. If you're taking a flamer anyway, or in general have a good plan for ensuring your plan is to engage the enemy at 12" or less, this is a good choice.
    • If you have +1 to hit and your 6s to hit explode into 2 hits and you can re-roll 1s to hit (but you don't have +2 to hit and you can't re-roll all misses), a storm bolter will outperform a combi-flamer (the combi-flamer will only have 1.17 the dakka while costing 1.2x), but that's difficult to arrange - one way to do it is park Crimson Fists next to a Captain and shoot a large unit.
  • Combi-Grav: Just no - sure, it costs the same as a grav-gun, but that doesn't fix the crippling range problem the grav half has. If and only if you took the Long-Range Marksmen successor tactic, the grav half can double at 10.5", which means this can be like an overcharged combi-plasma where you downgrade from S8 to S5 in exchange for firing safely. If you also made the poor choice to issue the Sergeant an expensive melee weapon, this can be a good move, because the combi-grav is generally better than non-overcharged plasma, and you may not want to risk your expensive melee weapon. But why would you do that?
  • Combi-Melta: This can be justified if your other guy has a multi-melta or grav-cannon and you want to help murder something heavy. Once you're within 12" anyway to make your multi-melta better, the combi-melta is good against the same targets you want the multi-melta for.
  • Combi-Plasma: You can fire this on dual mode without making the plasma less safe now, but it's still a lot of points for what you get, even though it's literally a plasma gun but better. You probably don't want this.
  • Storm Bolter: Now you're cooking with charcoal: literally twice as good as a bolter at everything. Not as points efficient as a combi-flamer within 12", but makes your sergeant shoot as hard as two marines, while only costing a fourth more than one. This should be your default choice if you want to make your tacs more expensive, since the primary job of tacticals is sitting on an objective taking potshots.
  • Flamer: 12" of cheap horde-killing and decent for deterring charges. Unless the rest of your squad is dead, you'll usually get better results sitting in cover with another gun and firing your bolters than advancing and firing this, even if you double up with a combi. Since there's no heavy version for most <Chapters>, this is often all you get if you want flamers. Generally worthless outside of advancing or Overwatch, because the targets against which this will outperform a Grav-Cannon are very uncommon, but is legitimately useful paired with a combi-flamer in the same squad against GEQ.
  • Grav-Gun: 18" of MEQ-killing. Same price as the heavy version, but half the shots at best and lacks the range of bolters, so if you're abusing your rapid fire range advantage you might not even be able to fire it anyway. Plus, as Rapid Fire and not Assault you can't even justify it by Advancing to turn a corner and get line of sight on a target. Never, ever take this.
  • Meltagun: 12" sucker-punch for Vehicles and Monsters. The only reason to take this is if you're doubling up with a combi-melta on the Sergeant, and even then you'll only get better results if you have to move to get line-of-sight on a target. Just take a multi-melta instead - never take this.
    • Within a five-man squad, let's compare the advancing combi-melta + meltagun vs moving multi-melta. Both combinations fire two shots, and suffer -1 to their hit rolls for advancing and firing an assault weapon and moving and firing a heavy weapon respectively. The advancing assault meltas gives you a 19-24" threat range (6" move + d6" advance + 12" range) with a 13-18" potential +2D range, while the moving heavy melta gives a 30" threat range (6" move + 24" range) and the same 18" melta range.
  • Plasma Gun: 24" of MEQ-killing. Just 5pts cheaper than the heavy version, but loses blast so it's a worse horde-killer and on average will only break even (for output, meaning it's more points-efficient) against single targets at half range. Changes to Gets Hot mean it's usually a waste of points: safe plasma is outclassed by grav weaponry, and overcharging is a bad idea because without re-rolls you'll blow yourself up in short order and tactical squads just don't put out enough damage to justify a re-roll babysitter. That said, there are some targets where the plasma gun's one shot, even on safe mode, is more efficient than a bolter's two shots... the problem is that it can't compete with your Heavy choices. Skip this.
  • Grav-Cannon: 30" of premiere MEQ-killing, now just 10pts! It's better than the heavy bolter or a safe plasma cannon at mulching MEQs due to its stats, and far safer than an overcharged plasma cannon without a re-roll babysitter. If you want to kill heavy infantry, this should be your go-to choice.
  • Heavy Bolter: A 36" sidegrade to the grav-cannon. Lower AP and flat D2 instead of only versus models with a 3+ save make it better for dealing with poor-save multi-wound models like Daemons or Monsters, but one fewer shot makes it weaker versus MEQs and the extra 6" range often makes no difference as it's beyond your bolter range anyway. The Hellfire Shell strat can chuck out D3 MWs if you hit, and Imperial Fists shooting a Heavy Bolter gives you additional hits on 6s.
  • Lascannon: 48" of premiere tank-hunting power, now just 15pts! Forces opponents to spread fire across multiple units to get rid of your tank-busting and gives you a backup if your heavy support gets ganked early on. A great choice if your chapter tactics give you one re-roll to hit (or wound) per time the unit shoots, although still not as good as a multi-melta within 24".
  • Missile launcher: 48" of versatility. Worse than lascannons against Monsters and Vehicles, worse than heavy bolters and grav-cannons against everything (but with more range), but a reliable choice against both. A versatile weapons which gives you options as your unit count dwindles, and so always worth your consideration.
    • The Flakk Missile stratagem gives you a surprisingly potent AA punch, if you need it.
  • Multi-Melta: 24" of devastation. Lacks the range of the lascannon but makes up for it in sheer damage. The 9th edition heavy 2 upgrade and Dd6+2 melta re-write means this is absolutely worth it on your mid-field units in comparison to the lascannon, but necessitates a transport and will attract massive amounts of fire (making for a great potential DISTRACTION unit!). A great choice for Salamanders (or the successor tactic for re-rolling 1 hit per time the unit shoots), whose free re-roll is more efficient on single high-power rolls than those that rely on volume of fire.
  • Plasma cannon: 36" of completely wasted points. Multi-meltas and lascannons will do better against vehicles and grav-cannons will more reliably chew through MEQs if you don't overcharge. Overcharged it's still worse versus Vehicles and without a babysitter you've got an almost 50/50 chance of blowing yourself up if you fire all three shots. Even with babysitters, it's still around an 8% chance and honestly? A babysitter isn't well-spent on a single heavy weapon when they could be buffing four times that in a unit of Devastators or whatever. Avoid.

Your Sergeant can swap out his pistol for one of these.

  • Astartes Chainsword: Auto-include, because it's free and in any context where you'd want to shoot your bolt pistol, you can swing the chainsword first. Without a very, very good reason, this should be what your Sergeant carries.
  • Bolt Pistol: In any of the rare circumstances where you'd want to shoot this, you're better off with a chainsword. Hard pass.
  • Grav Pistol: If you insist on taking a pistol and you aren't Deathwatch or Blood Angels, this is the best one: a full 12" range means it outperforms half a grav-gun for half the cost of one. But it's less efficient than a combi-melta, so why bother?
  • Hand Flamer: If you're Deathwatch or Blood Angels, this is deceptively useful: terrible for the things you want a pistol for compared to just taking a Lighting Claw, but you can take it on top of a real gun and fire it during Overwatch and/or instead of your main gun when within 12" against very soft targets. If you have a tac squad with a grav-cannon you're planning on dropping in a Drop Pod and you want maximum versatility so the squad doesn't mind shooting whatever, having one of these on hand will let you swap to it for murdering GEQ.
  • Inferno Pistol: If you're Deathwatch or Blood Angels, this is legit useful on the rare occasion you live long enough to fire it, because it performs as well as a meltagun for half the cost, but in practice you're better off with a Power Fist.
  • Lightning Claw: Great at shredding GEQ, but why are you worried about getting better at that? Inferior to a Power Fist against any heavy target for the same cost, and that's what the squad might need help punching, so generally not worth it.
  • Plasma Pistol: Inexcusable - a grav pistol but worse in practice. Hard pass.
  • Power Axe/Maul/Sword: The Sword is the best of these, but they're all worse than a Lightning Claw and have the same cost, so hard pass.
  • Power Fist: If you insist on taking a melee weapon, this should be your go-to: helps your squad against the targets they most need help against while only costing 5 points, rather than paying even more for a Thunder Hammer on a squad that prefers shooting anyway.
  • Thunder Hammer: Slightly more efficient than a Fist provided you're hitting a target with the wounds to take the damage and the save is 3+ or worse.
  • Intercessor Squad: CORE, 20pts per model. The bigger boys. Have become the go-to for a high damage output Troop choice with their buffs and Stratagems. Comparing the Rapid Fire version to Tacticals, you get an extra point of AP and 6" of range on their guns and +1A in melee for just 2pts more per model, but critically, if you switch to their assault weapons, you get 3 shots out to 24", not 2, and it doesn't matter if you stand still or not. With A2, plus Shock Assault, plus an A3 Sergeant who can be equipped with a power sword, chainsword, power fist, or thunder hammer, they aren't hopeless in a melee. Even basic Intercessors come with a bolt pistol sidearm, so they actually get three S4 AP0 D1 attacks each if they're locked in melee. In addition, one bolt rifle can slap on an auxiliary grenade launcher, buffed to let you fire a grenade up to 30" as an assault weapon instead of a grenade weapon, meaning you can fire a grenade at the same time as using the bolt rifle.
    • Specifically, what Intercessors are best at is 5 Assault style rifles on the squad plus a grenade launcher, meaning the whole thing spits out 15 S4 shots and 3.5 S3 ones, and you either leave a chainsword on the sergeant, or kit him out for better melee, depending on your chapter/build/plan. The whole thing is 105 points; in terms of comparing to Tacticals, their most comparable build is also 105 points, with 3 bolters, a storm bolter, and a grav-cannon, netting you, at 24" (assuming the unit stands still), 10 S4 shots and 4 S5 AP-3 D1-2 shots, making the Tacticals better against harder infantry (like MEQ) if they stand still or are in close range, while Intercessors don't care about moving and are pretty dedicated to murdering chaff. Neither unit is great at melee, but the Intercessors are better.
      • If you're wondering, against GEQs (T3/5+Sv) the tacticals average a total of 4.74 wounds per turn. The Primaris deal 3.70 wounds with bolt rifles or 4.44 wounds with auto bolt rifles, plus an additional 0.78 from launching a frag grenade, for a total of 4.48 and 5.22 respectively. While this reaffirms that if you want to clear chaff you should go Primaris (especially given their drastically improved melee effectiveness), it's a surprise to see that the auto bolters still need the grenade launcher to outcompete the firstborn, and that the bolt rifles lose outright.
      • Against enemy MEQs (T4/3+Sv) the shooting mathhammer lands decisively in the Tacs' favour. For the Primaris, both regular and auto bolt rifles average 1.67 wounds/turn while the stalkers land 2.22, with an additional 0.26 from the frag grenade launcher, meaning your most efficient loadout deals an average of ~2.48 wounds/turn. For the tacs, three regular bolters plus the storm bolter dish out just 1.11 per turn, but the grav-cannon is simply monstrous, dropping a massive 2.96 wounds/turn for a total of 4.07 wounds - and unlike the Primaris, who lose damage output linearly with casualties, the tacs can suffer 80% casualties while losing less than 30% of their damage output. The grav-cannon is so powerful, in fact, that even if shooting at single-wound MEQs, the mathhammer still favours the tacs over the primaris.

The bolt rifle is the basic small arm, with 30" Rapid Fire 1 S4 AP-1 D1, and is the only one that benefits from Bolter Discipline. The bolt rifle is a surprisingly niche choice this edition; against GEQs it's comfortably outcompeted by the auto bolter, and against multi-wound MEQ and up it's comfortably beaten by the stalker. The only time you'd really pick it is against single-wound MEQs, as the stalker's damage is overkill and so deals lower damage overall. The auto bolt rifle does break even with the bolt rifle on damage but costs more, so is less efficient.

The stalker bolt rifle has harder hitting rounds, being 36" heavy 1 S4 AP-2 D2. This makes it the pick of choice against other marines and bruisers like Tyranid Warriors, but you're sacrificing both Bolter Discipline and the fact that you'll only benefit from Devastator Doctrine, which only works on Turn 1 unless you're Dark Angels or Deathwatch. Of note is that it's only your best pick against MEQs if they're multi-wound; otherwise, its reduced fire rate means that your DPS is actually lower than either of your other options.

The auto bolt rifle is 24", Assault 3 S4 AP0 D1, giving it increased rate of fire and mobility in exchange for reduced range and armour piercing. Surprisingly, the reduced armour piercing doesn't make a huge difference; its rate of fire gives it the best performance against GEQs, and against MEQs it breaks even with the regular bolt rifle, though both are beaten comfortably by the stalker.

  • Assault Intercessor Squad: CORE, 19pts per model. Similar to the guys above, but built for melee rather than ranged combat - naturally, this means they're much worse when actually assaulting, since they can't even carry assault weapons. AP-1 chainswords mean they butcher light Infantry with four attacks on the charge, and an 18" AP-1 bolt pistol can threaten Infantry at medium range as well. The Sergeant can swap his pistol for a plasma pistol or hand flamer, while being able to replace his chainsword with a power sword, thunder hammer, or power fist. Note that unlike their Firstborn cousins they can't take jump packs, so you'll have to make sure they can get into melee first.
    • Black Templars love these guys, but White Scars prefer regular Intercessors with auto bolt rifles and a Sergeant kitted for melee.
  • Heavy Intercessor Squad: CORE, 28pts per model. The biggest boys in Gravis armour. Gravis makes them very durable, giving them T5 and W3, on top of a higher damage output.
    • Quick comparisons: The standard five-man Heavy Intercessor Squad is 140pts, giving you fifteen T5 wounds and five S5 guns. With those points, you can have seven Intercessors (fourteen T4 wounds and seven S4 guns) or eight Tacticals (sixteen T4 wounds and inferior guns, but you can swap bodies for special/heavy weapons to keep the the same pts cost). Per-point, they're less efficient than tacs with a stormbolter/grav-cannon against absolutely everything, and less efficient than light intercessors against everything provided they choose between auto/stalker and frag/krak correctly; however, against T4 and T5 they do have the highest average damage. Given the extra wound and point of toughness, this makes them more viable as damage-dealers as they're likely to stay on the table longer and so get more shots off.
    • At T5 and Sv3+, they're extremely durable and likely one of the best objective holders for their points cost (Custodes with storm shields will obviously hold better, but cost staggeringly more). Most armies' S4 anti-chaff will bounce off, while weapons purpose-built for gibbing Tacticals/Primaris tend to be D2 or Dd3, meaning twice the shots to bring them down and plenty of wasted wounds; three D2 wounds will kill three normal Intercessors, but only one Heavy Intercessor.
      • Iron Hands, Raven Guard, and Salamanders Heavy Intercessors will be extremely efficient regarding durability as opposed to the other Gravis units.
    • S5 weapons and the ability to add one flavour of Primaris heavy bolter means they're well-suited to camping objectives, particularly as per-point they're shitty melee fighters likely to get bogged down in assault. However, don't be afraid to throw them into melee! If your opponent knows they're shitty brawlers they might not be expecting it, and their stats mean they're great for bogging down enemy units, giving your other units time and space to move.

36" rapid fire 1 S5 AP-1 D1 is a decent balance of all stats, while also affected by Bolter Discipline. If the squad is equipped with heavy bolt rifles, one Heavy Intercessor per five can swap their heavy bolt rifle for a heavy bolter, which is heavy 3 and D2 in comparison.

30" assault 3 S5 AP0 D1. The range and Assault classification makes moving irrelevant unless you're trying to move and advance 5" + d6" towards an objective, thus meaning that the -1 to hit could be worth it. Hellstorm heavy bolters are 30" heavy 4 S5 AP0 D2, and thus can't be fired if you advance to make full use of the hellstorm bolt rifle, but you can always walk or even stand still - 3 shots at AP 0 is better than 2 shots at AP-1 against save 4+ or worse and breaks even against 3+, and while walking the rapid fire competition doesn't get bolter discipline, so all told, the Hellstorm rifle is usually better than the Heavy rifle. Similar logic applies to the heavy weapon choice: going from 3 shots to 4 and AP-1 to AP0 is better against saves 5+ or worse and breaks even against 4+. All of these numbers proceed by 1 under an AP buff, like from the current doctrine: the assault rifle is better than rapid, even while standing still, against 3+ or better, breaking even at 2+, while the heavy hellstorm becomes better at 4+, breaking even at 3+. However, it bears noting that no doctrine applies to both rapid fire and heavy or assault and heavy at the same time.

42" heavy 1 S5 AP-2 D2 is the Fuck Marines option, but you lose accuracy on the move, Bolter Discipline, and fire rate at short ranges (making you more vulnerable to Deep Strikes and units getting close to engage in melee). The executor heavy bolter is a 42" heavy 2 S5 AP-2 D3 monster, with a decent chance at dealing the finishing blow to bigger targets as well as outright killing Terminators. Significantly, this is the only option that lets the entire unit be buffed by a doctrine at once - the whole unit will get better AP on your first turn.

  • Infiltrator Squad: CORE, 24pts per model. The in-between of Scouts and Intercessors, filling the role of Vanguard troops that are excellent at area denial. They're armed with marksman bolt carbines, which are essentially boltguns that auto-wound on unmodified hit rolls of 6. They have Concealed Positions and their Omni-scramblers prevent Deep Strikes within 12" (thus nullifying Deep Strike charges and flamers). One model can be either an Apothecary-Cadet to reduce the damage of the first failed saving throw each turn to 0 (remember, your opponent is free to shoot you with low-damage weapons first to pop this, then switch to high-damage ones) or a Comms Specialist to count as always being in range of a Phobos Captain and/or Lieutenant aura if those models are on the field (still waiting to deep strike, in a transport, etc will still not work). With MEQ resilience, they're better speedbumps than Scouts, and now that Scouts are Elites for some reason, you have no alternatives. Like Intercessors, they can struggle to be more than keep-away units and pregame objective holders, using the Smokescreen stratagem for protection.
    • The ability to guarantee rerolls on to-hit and to-wound rolls of 1 from anywhere on the board sounds powerful. Unfortunately, the maths simply doesn't bear up; there is absolutely no scenario where Infiltrators will outdamage properly-equipped tactical squads or intercessors, even assuming those squads have no reroll support and are forced to suffer movement penalties to their Heavy weapons. Against 3+ or 4+ GEQ and single-wound MEQ, auto bolters plus frag grenades dish out more damage than marksman carbines; against MEQ, TEQ and Gravis-EQ stalkers plus kraks do more damage. Tacs with a storm bolter and grav-cannon come out on top in every circumstance except versus GEQs; but if the tacs don't move, they're better than the Infiltrators against those GEQs too. This isn't even damage-per-point, by the way, this is just raw damage - per-point is even worse, even assuming the captain and lieutenant are free (it's not like you wouldn't take them anyway). Unless you're very explicitly taking them for the omni-scramblers or have a way to get exploding 6s (see below), you'll get better results for cheaper from tacs or intercessors.
      • Effects that trigger on 6 to hit stack, e.g. with the Imperial or Crimson Fists chapter tactic a 6 to hit means an auto wound plus a rolled wound. With access to full re-rolls, such as a nearby chapter master (the comms array won't work) or phobos librarian, you can re-roll successes in the hope of more sixes. Ordinarily this is only worth it if you only wound on a 6+ (regardless of re-rolling 1s or all to wound), but if you increase to BS2+ (such as from a Chaplain shouting at the unit, or Crimson Fists shooting at something outnumbering them), it's also worth it on a 5+ to wound unless you can fully re-roll the wounds as well. Stacking +1 to hit, 6s to hit auto-wound, and 6s to hit to generate a hit that rolls to wound is so powerful that it's always worth re-rolling successes, regardless of the target's to-wound roll.
    • Their omni-scramblers' deep-strike denial stacks with the default 9" minimum for deep-strikes, meaning you can deploy them up to 21" away from other friendly units and still deny all the space in between. Combined with concealed positions and the reduced map size of 9th edition, this can allow you to deny an astonishingly large portion of the board to your opponent.
      • Leaving them this far from your main force will get your dudes killed, so bear in mind you're paying 24pts/model for a sacrificial unit. However, doing this can give you a huge advantage; holding up a Genestealer charge or whatever for even a single turn can allow them to more than earn their points back by proxy. Your standard Bolt Rifle's range is 30", but most armies' troop guns are 24". For the cost of a single sacrificial squad and with careful deployment, there's a very real chance that your opponent won't be able to shoot the meat of your army on the first couple of turns at all - which can be invaluable if going second.
  • Incursor Squad: CORE, 21pts per model. The jack-of-all-trades of Vanguard Space Marines, able to infiltrate, provide support at range, and hold their own in melee. Occulus bolt carbines ignore cover and all ranged attacks these guys make (which means the carbines or a grenade) ignore hit/BS modifiers, making them the bane of enemy units that rely on cover saves or hit penalties for durability. Their paired combat knives give them AP-1 in melee this edition, and they can also buy a single Haywire Mine to dissuade enemy charges with d3 mortal wounds (three mortal wounds if it was a Vehicle) 1/game.
    • Worse than Assault Intercessors for stabbin' (you don't get +1A from chainswords or the heavy bolt pistol to fire in melee), worse than Intercessors for shootin' (unless you're targeting cover/hit modifying units), and worse than Infiltrators for denyin' (no omni-scramblers). But they are the only one that can do all three jobs at once.


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. Vastly improved with new codex, very powerful units await!

Infantry Characters[edit]

  • Ancient: A support Aura Character that's important to big blobs. The banner has a 6" aura that adds +1Ld to all <Chapter> Core units (which means squads where the Sergeant matters least, like Devastators, mind losing him first even less), and if models in such a unit within 6" die to an enemy attack, you get a 4+ chance for them to get off one more round of shooting or one melee attack before removing that model from the battlefield. Out of phase shooting is great, and Marine Infantry dies quite a bit in practice. Remember, this is a ranged support unit - it'll do a lot better supporting a gunline than a melee deathball.
    • Combining with an Apothecary has been killed off somewhat, with the revival aspect of his Narthecium being moved to a 1CP stratagem unless you take the Chief Apothecary upgrade.
    • Combining with plasma spam has been killed off completely, as he can't generate attacks for models who kill themselves (likewise, he can't be used to generate attacks from a Librarian who dies to his own Perils, for example).

+1PL and +20pts. Any Infantry blob, be they Deep Striking or waddling, will enjoy having this guy nearby. Not available to Blood Angels, you have the Sanguinary Ancient.

  • Ability - Chapter Banner: During the Command Phase, one <Chapter> Core unit within 6" gains +1 to hit rolls with melee weapons until the start of your next Command Phase.
    • Unfortunately, this is barely an improvement over a regular Ancient, who you want surrounded by many ranged units, not one melee unit.
  • Trait - Steadfast Example: Any <Chapter> Core units within 6" count as having Objective Secured; if they already have it, their models count twice.
    • This is the Rites of Battle WT only better, and is the primary reason to take a Chapter Ancient.
  • Relic - Pennant of the Fallen: Friendly models that make a melee attack as part of the Astartes Banner ability make two attacks instead of one.
    • Almost no chapters want this, although there are niche cases, notably Space Wolves, who love getting charged.

Cheapest base model. As an Elite-choice Marine Character, he has W4 and A3. Comes with a bolt pistol that you can and should swap for a bolter for free, or a different pistol, combi-weapon, or melee weapon. Like other Firstborn Elite Characters, he does not take up an Elite slot if you include a Company Veteran Squad.

Same as a Company Ancient, but with +1W and +1A. Comes with a bolt rifle in addition to the pistol, but his wargear is fixed. 5 points is nice and cheap for making him more resistant to snipers, but his ranged output is worse than a regular ancient with a storm bolter for the same points. The best reason to take him is if you just want a Company Ancient, but need him to be able to ride a Primaris transport.

  • Warzone Nachmund has given the Primaris Ancient an extra tool...a power sword they can buy in place of their bolt rifle. At the very least, this can let an ancient fighting alongside assault intercessors or their Death Company equivalents pull their weight in close quarters.

See that Primaris Ancient? He now trades his bolt rifle and bolt pistol for a heavy bolt pistol and a second aura giving +1 to hit to all Bladeguard units (including himself) within 6". This guy is the primary reason Bladeguard are so dangerous.

If you want your banner to arrive anywhere on the board, you turn to this guy. As one might expect, the armour gives him +1W and a 2+/5++ save over his power-armoured counterpart, and he is locked into having a power fist and storm bolter. An excellent choice for accompanying Terminators of all sorts out of Deep Strike.

88pts nets you M14", +1T, and +1W over your Firstborn Company Ancient (75pts). You also get a twin boltgun, bolt pistol, and chainsword as standard, but you can swap the bolt pistol for a boltgun, combi-weapon, melee weapon, or other pistol. You lose the Command Squad Ability (does not use an Elite slot if a company Veteran Squad is in the same detachment). Like other Bikers, he advances 6" instead of d6". Finally, his Company Banner affects all <Chapter> Infantry and Biker models (not units, just models) within 6", rather than <Chapter> Core units. Still has the Ancient keyword, so Chapter Ancient upgrade is still a possibility and you don't lose out on abilities like the Biker Apothecary does.

  • Costing him at 95pts and swapping his 8th edition Company Banner for the 9th edition version that reaches more models seems reasonable to me, but you start veering into homebrew tweaks then.
  • Apothecary: Much different from his 8th edition version. The Narthecium now lets <Chapter> Infantry or Biker units within 3" ignore lost wounds on a 6 and Combat Restoratives heals one <Chapter> Infantry or Biker model within 3" up to d3 lost wounds. There is also a Combat Revival stratagem that lets him resurrect one slain <Chapter> Infantry/Biker with full wounds, except that he can't bring back Invader ATVs. Combines great with high-end Infantry - bringing a Centurion Devastator back from the dead or healing the linchpin of your army's buff aura can be invaluable.

+1PL and +35pts as of the 2021 Munitorum Field Manual Mk II.

  • Ability - Chief Apothecary: Can use his healing ability twice per turn.
  • Trait - Selfless Healer: Heals three wounds instead of d3, and the Combat Revival stratagem costs 0CP when used on this model.
  • Relic - Acquittal: Replaces bearer's bolt pistol or absolvor bolt pistol. 18" pistol 1 S5 AP-3 D2, wounds Infantry on a 2+ and becomes D4 against Infantry.

As an Elite-choice Marine Character, he has W4 and A3. Can't swap out his weapons, so he's stuck with a bolt pistol and chainsword. Like other Firstborn Elite Characters, he does not take up an Elite slot if you include a Company Veteran Squad.

+5pts for +1W, +1A, no chainsword (so the same A in practice, at 1 worse AP) and improved pistols: the reductor pistol, which is 3" pistol 1 S4 AP-4 D2, and the absolvor pistol, which is 18" pistol 1 S5 AP-1 D2. He's a great choice if you want to go for an all-Primaris army, so you need an Apothecary who can ride with your other boys, and the 5 points makes him more resistant to snipers and lets him contribute a bit more to ranged output - if you need to fire the 3" pistol something has gone badly wrong, but the 18" one will do a lot more than the baseline version's bolt pistol.

+5pts for M14", +1T, and +1W, with a twin boltgun, chainsword, and bolt pistol. Very outdated and undercosted for what you get, especially as they retain the old Narthecium rules (heal one Infantry/Biker model within 3" for d3 wounds or revive one Infantry/Biker model on a 4+ with one wound left). Still has the Apothecary keyword, so can be made into a Chief Apothecary. HOWEVER, he does not have the Combat Restoratives ability to use twice, thus negating the Chief Apothecary ability and one-half of the Selfless Healer Warlord Trait.

  • Recommend bumping to 100pts to keep up with 9th edition inflation and swapping the 8th edition Narthecium for the 9th edition Narthecium and Combat Restorative abilities.
  • Company Champion: He can't bodyguard, but he's WS2+ and A4 compared to his Command Squad friends. Honour or Death grants him a 6" Heroic Intervention range and he can choose any enemy character unit if he'd rather that than the nearest enemy model. Martial Superiority allows him to fight first while engaged with enemy Characters, meaning he can use a nearby Character to fight a non-Character faster. A bolt pistol and grenades, master-crafted power sword (S+1, AP-3, D2), and combat shield (+1 to armour saves and a 5++ invulnerable save) make up his wargear; it's unclear why Command Squads and Vanguard Veteran Sergeants have access to better wargear.
    • The extended Heroic Intervention range makes him a decent deterrent in a gunline and his innate melee skills and damage output make him ok as part of a death star.
    • Neither Company Champions nor any of the Chapter Champion variants can keep up with thunder hammer Company/Vanguard Veterans (in terms of damage output), so their main benefit is a defensive role due to being Characters.
    • You have so many Warlord Trait and Relic options that this guy will benefit from. Imperium's Sword and Champion of Humanity traits help him be a beatstick, and the Chapter Champion Martial Exemplar helps him as a supporting unit for melee wrecking balls. As for Relics, where do we begin? Burning Blade and Chapter Champion Blade of Triumph help his damage output, and Armour Indomitus and Shield Eternal help his staying power.

+1PL and +15pts. Company Champions are meh, but the Chapter Champion is ruthlessly efficient at his job. Not available to Black Templars, you have the Emperor's Champion.

  • Ability - Chapter Champion: Becomes A5 and Ld9, re-rolls failed melee wound rolls against Characters, and enemy melee attacks against him suffer -1 to their hit rolls.
    • The additional Ld is worthless and the additional A isn't worth 15 points (it's worth about 11-13), so to earn his additional cost back, he has to hit enemy characters in melee or tank some melee hits for you.
  • Trait - Martial Exemplar: Any <Chapter> Core or Character units within 6" get to re-roll their charge distances.
  • Relic - Blade of Triumph: Replaces bearer's master-crafted power sword with a master-crafted relic blade: S+3, AP-3, D3.

As an Elite-choice Marine Character, he has four wounds. Like other Firstborn Elite Characters, he does not take up an Elite slot if you include a Company Veteran Squad. 55pts is a bargain and cheap enough that the Chapter Champion upgrade is almost always possible.

80pts (the biggest gap between Infantry vs Biker Command Squad characters) grants you M14", +1T, +1W, and turbo-boost, alongside a twin boltgun. Retained an 8th edition ability; Superlative Duellist allows you to re-roll hit and wound rolls against Characters in melee. However, he's also retained his 8th edition combat shield (5++ invulnerable only) and master-crafted power sword (SU instead of S+1).

  • Keep the points the same, but copy-paste his wargear and abilities to the 9th edition version if you want to keep-up. It's a Legends unit anyway, they're more for casual games.
  • Judiciar: The big scary beatstick introduced in Indomitus, they're functionally Primaris Champions but Chaplains-in-training in the fluff. WS2+ W5 A4 and Sv3+(4++ in melee) are respectable Character stats. The executioner relic blade is a relic blade (S+3 AP-3 D2), plus unmodified wound rolls of 6 inflict an additional mortal wound, like a volkite or sniper weapon; make no mistake, despite this he's less efficient than a Chapter or Company Champion at actual murder. His Tempormortis lets you pick one enemy unit within 3" to always fight last, which is why you take him: park him near your gunline, and even if they're charged, they'll punch the charging unit first, which is particularly scary with an up-meleed sergeant.
    • A very strong defensive Character, the infamous Tempormortis gives a serious debuff to enemy units that get too close. It's a shame the model looks derpy, with the cowboy handkerchief, chunky hourglass, and slutty off-the-shoulder robe Oh come on guys, it's not wise to slut shame the little Chaplain.
    • Sadly and completely without explanation, there's no way to field a Firstborn one of these. In fact, the 9E codex strongly implies they ought to exist.
  • Imperial Space Marine (Legends): Now a Character rather than just something you can substitute any Space Marine model for, which has its pros and cons. He's armed with a combi-disintegrator (a combi weapon with a second 18", rapid fire 1, S5, AP-3, Dd6 profile) and a disintegrator pistol (9", pistol 1, S5, AP-3, Dd6), as well as the usual grenades. He's built like an Ancient or Apothecary in terms of statline. Since he's 60pts to boot, there's no really good reason to take him even if you can - he's worse at support than an 90pts Ancient with combi-grav, and he's worse at murdering than Veteran Squads.

Infantry Squads[edit]

  • Scout Squad: CORE. Cheaper than Tactical Marines, with the same damage output but a 4+ save and 1 wound. In an effort to curb the Scout spam meta for Marines, they are no longer Troops. Concealed Positions allow them to cut off huge swathes of the board from enemy Deep Strikes early in the game and Outflank allows them to Deep Strike near a board edge. Boltguns, bolt pistols, and grenades make up their standard weaponry. The boltgun can be swapped for an Astartes shotgun (an 18" assault 2 boltgun), sniper rifle (36" heavy 1 S4 AP-1 D1, hit rolls of unmodified 6 inflict an additional mortal wound and they can target Characters), or a combat knife (SU AP0 D1, bearer gains +1A). The Sergeant can swap his boltgun/bolt pistol for the typical Sergeant things of melee, pistol, and combi-weapons. One Scout can swap his boltgun for a heavy bolter or missile launcher. Finally, any number of models can have a camo-cloak to give them +2 to their saves in cover instead of +1. They have access to a special dedicated transport, which is actually the best in the codex - the reason you don't normally use it is you're banned from putting anything but Scouts in it, but a Land Speeder Storm is not only 55 points for a heavy bolter and a cerberus launcher (an 18" heavy 1d6 blast bolter), it also lets the Scouts shoot while embarked and they can disembark after it moves. The problem is the Scouts' lack of compelling guns to make this worthwhile - hands down their best gun is their shotgun, but the Storm hates Advancing.
    • Since their banishment to the rather-crowded Elites section, don't expect them to be used for speed bumps as much in this edition. They're still cheap, but they don't contribute to Troops taxes. They're not as good at area denial as Infiltrators as they're much less durable, they're not as good at sniping as Eliminators, and their weapons aren't as good as Intercessors.
    • Scouts with Sniper Rifles are your army's cheapest 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 Painboy that supports him. Has good range, a chance for mortal wounds, AP-1 now, and the ability to target Characters freely.
      • Well, sort of. A scout sniper who doesn't buy a camo cloak is 16 points, while an Eliminator is 30 - just under twice the cost. The Eliminator's actually-for-sniping round, the Mortis round, has 1 better S, AP, and D than the Scout's sniper rifle, none of which help the Eliminator deal more mortal wounds, but they do mean he tends to hit harder, and critically, the Eliminator is natively BS2+, meaning his sniper rounds land 25% more often than the Scout's. The Painboy is a reasonable test case - his Sv is so bad the Eliminator's better AP won't even help him, in fact. An Eliminator will still deal, on average, 5/4 wounds per shot fired - more than double the Scout's 4/9 of a wound, and again, for less than twice the cost. Scouts can be more numerous - you're not putting more than 9 Eliminator Snipers on the table - but they're really less efficient at sniping most targets.
    • They can still use the flakk missile or hellfire shell stratagems, so they might have a good chance to spring a surprise d3 MWs on an enemy unit.
  • Reiver Squad: CORE. With new and old units taking up the role of Guardsman-munchers, Reivers got revamped with Stratagems to be the loyalist Night Lords they are described as. They have a -2Ld aura which pairs with the Terror Troops Stratagem to stop the enemy from scoring VP. Reivers come with an AP-2 bolt pistol for MEQ and a basic combat knife to blend GEQ with four attacks or they may swap to a 24" assault 2 bolter for some ranged support. Either way, You're likely to grind away most unaugment humanoids. For additional mobility, you can take Grav-Chutes for Deep Striking or Grapnel Launchers for Outflank and ignore vertical movement. Both of these synergise with the Stratagem to return them to reserves during the Movement Phase so they can ambush another unit trying to score points your next turn.
  • Veteran Intercessor Squad: CORE. Intercessors with +1A and +1Ld as the Veterans trademark. Like Troop Intercessors, the entire unit has bolt rifles, auto bolt rifles, stalker bolt rifles, or heavy bolt pistol and chainsword. This contrasts with the Bladeguard, who are all-in with melee and are the cheaper choice if you just want more Primaris that can benefit from Veteran Stratagems.
    • Kitting them for melee is a waste. For the same cost per model, you can take Vanguard Veterans with a lightning claw each that will outperform them in melee against anything. If you're going to take them, bring them as a shooting squad that has a bit of extra melee punch, not as a melee squad that's easily outclassed by better options.
    • If you're taking a Primaris-only force, then there are worse options for anti-horde melee. With five attacks each on the charge at AP-1, they will happily blend light infantry but may need a Transport to get there. Reivers have enough mobility to move without the Transport, have different options, -1A each and no AP.
  • Aggressor Squad: CORE. Got nerfed by losing their "shoot-twice-if-stationary" rules, but that was absurd from the start. Like all Mk. X Gravis models, Aggressors are T5 and W3 models built for heavy defence and advancing, with powerful short-range dakka as they would need when protecting an objective or your lines. Unlike other Gravis, they also have great close combat power with powerfists. They come stock with two flamers (which Salamanders love) or two boltstorms (18" assault 3 bolters, making them ideal for Crimson Fists, due to their large amount of bolter dakka coming from a unit of few models) and a frag grenade launcher (18", assault D6, blast bolters). Despite the removal of their rules, the 40 point flame version is still damn good and a better choice with the new 12" range. The Mk. X Gravis-exclusive stratagem gives them +1 to their saves against D1 attacks in one phase, as well as the Primaris-exclusive Gene-Wrought Might (auto-wound on hit rolls of UM6 in melee) and Transhuman Physiology (cannot be wounded on 2+ or 3+).
    • Shooty and choppy, they're balanced by their inability to get around easily. All other units in your army can either Deep Strike, Infiltrate, fly 12", bike 14", or ride Dedicated Transports like Rhinos, Drop Pods, and Impulsors. Aggressors may only ride ~300 pts Repulsors, so you'll have to either rely on Chapter-specific gimmicks or plant them somewhere and be on the defensive.
    • Assault Centurions comparison: Aggressors are cheaper and take up less transport space, that's pretty much it. Assault Centurions can pump out more S4 shooting (two flamers + hurricane bolter, provided they don't advance), ignore cover when shooting, hit harder and more often (Centurions hit on a 3+ with A3 S10 AP-4 D3 and Aggressors hit on a 4+ with A3 S8 AP-3 D2), and are more durable (Centurions W4 and Sv2+ vs Aggressors W3 and Sv3+). Regarding Transports, both units can only embark in the chunky Heavy Support tanks (Land Raiders and Repulsors). On the other hand, Aggressors are Core, making them easier to buff.
    • Terminator comparison: Aggressors pump out more S4 attacks (18" 6+d6 attacks with boltstorm or 12" 2d6 attacks with flamestorm vs four 24" attacks with storm bolters) and have +1T and +1A. Terminators are cheaper, have Deep Strike, are Sv2+/5++, and access to the Fury of the First Stratagem (models gain +1 to their hit rolls for one phase). Like Centurions, both can only be transported in Heavy Support tanks.
  • Bladeguard Veteran Squad: CORE. The 1st Company are properly inducting Primaris now. W3 and A3, toting storm shields for +1 to their armour saves and a 4++ invulnerable and master-crafted power swords (S+1 AP-3 D2). They also have heavy bolter pistols (18" pistol 1 S4 AP-1 D1), and the Sergeant can swap that for a plasma pistol or neo-volkite pistol (15" pistol 2 S5 AP0 D1, wound rolls of unmodified 6 inflict an additional mortal wound) - the neo-volkite is basically an autoinclude if you're taking the unit, as it significantly more than doubles the sergeant's limited dakka. Unless you're White Scars, in which case you'll never stop moving long enough to pull the trigger.
    • Unlike Terminators or Vanguard Veterans, these guys can't Deep Strike on their own, and unlike Company Veterans, can't come in in a Drop Pod or bodyguard your Characters. Treat them as Assault Terminators without Deep Strike and you can't go wrong.
  • Centurion Assault Squad: Power armour inside power armour. With S5, T5, and W4, these choppy Space Marines are hard to shift. Coming stock with two flamers, siege drills (Sx2 AP-4 D3, no hit roll penalty), and the Assault Launcher keyword. Any model can swap their flamer for meltaguns and swap their Assault Launchers for a hurricane bolter (a rapid fire 6 boltgun). The Sergeant's Omniscope grants the entire squad ignores cover, so they're quite noticeably better under Crimson Fists than Imperial Fists.
    • Getting them up the field practically requires a Land Raider, although they're relatively durable, so if they hug cover, they might be able to hoof it somewhere. For long-range shooting focused marine armies though, Assault Centurions make a strong counter-charge unit. Because of having two flamers each, the minimum a squad can put out is 6d6 of auto-hitting overwatch surprise or tearing apart big blobs of Infantry.
    • Bolter Discipline doesn't affect them, as they are specifically excluded from firing twice when stationary.
  • Honour Guard (Legends): Two bodyguards for your Characters, they're best suited to guarding Characters who want to get stuck-in with melee. With a unit size of only two, they don't take up a lot of room in a Transport. Ld9 and Sv2+, but still only WS3+, W2, and A2 means their unit size is the main reason to take them. Their Honour Guard rule means that on a 2+, any wounds lost by your Characters within 3" turn into mortal wounds against an Honour Guard model. They can take boltguns AND power weapons of your choice, including relic blades if you're willing to shell out the points.
  • Company Veterans: CORE. One of three Firstborn Veteran Squads, these are your Character babysitters. They don't use an Elite slot if your detachment has a <Chapter> Captain, and <Chapter> Characters with nine-or-less wounds within 3" cannot be targeted by enemy ranged attacks. A unit size of 2-5 models and the most flexible unit available to your Marines; they can swap any of their weapons for melee weapons or storm shields, their bolt pistol for a special pistol, and their boltgun for a combi-weapon. Veterans (but not the Sergeant) also have the option of swapping their boltgun for a special weapon. Special and combi-weapons are all 10pts, except the 5pt flamer, so you might as well get the combi-weapon for the boltgun option. If the unit has five models, one can swap their boltgun for a heavy weapon, which might be the only way in the game to carry a heavy weapon and a storm shield at the same time.
    • They deliberately pay more for their special/combiweapons than Sternguard do, in order to ensure Sternguard have a place, but they pay Vanguard Veteran prices for melee weapons, pistols, and storm shields, probably under the assumption their lack of jump packs and intrinsic cost of 1 more point per dude will prevent them from taking over the Vanguard spot. They also pay the standard price all your infantry does for the heavy weapons. The net effect is that their best use is their intended one, guaranteeing your characters immunity to snipers until they die, and thankfully they can take storm shields for super cheap, and their small size really helps them fit on transports.
    • A great unit to have, and only made better by not using an Elite slot if you have a Captain. Storm shields and special weapons turn you into tougher Sternguard if you were taking those for special weapons anyway.
    • For the points, you should not take flamers or plasma, as the combi versions cost the same.
  • Company Veterans on Bikes (Legends): Similar to their footslogging counterparts, but with M14" and +1T. These models are only W2, so they've not benefitted from the +1W 9th edition has granted everyone else. Turbo-Boost gives them a 6" advance instead of d6", and their Command Squad Bodyguard is different as well; on a 2+, any wounds lost by your <Chapter> Characters within 3" turn into mortal wounds against a Biker Veteran model.
    • A Biker is 30pts, an Outrider is 45pts, and these guys are 34pts. An additional 14pts gets you a storm shield and combi-weapon though, so it's best to think of these guys as a tough (T5, Sv2+/4++) and mobile special weapon shooting unit.
    • Five Company Veterans on Bikes with a storm bolter is 185pts and puts out 40 bolter shots at 24" range. A five-man Tactical Squad at 12" (or 24" if they remained stationary) is 10 shots for 65pts.
  • Sternguard Veteran Squad: CORE. With the special ammunition gone, the Sternguard now walk up the field with their beefy special issue boltgun (30" rapid fire 1 S4 AP-2 D1). They also get the standard Veteran +1A and +1Ld over a normal Marine, so they can deal some decent retaliatory damage when they're inevitably charged. Any model can swap their SIB for a combi-weapon, the Sergeant can swap any of his weapons for a pistol or melee weapon (excluding thunder hammer), and 0-2 models can swap their SIB for a special weapon for literally no reason, heavy weapon, or heavy flamer.
    • In an effort to deal with the fact that outside of the 0-2 heavy flamers/weapons most of their choices make them Company Vets only worse, but heavy weapons make them Devastator Squads only worse, GW's done some bizarre fiddling with the points values each unit pays for their respective weapons. As a result, a Company Vet with a Flamer is 25 points and a Combiflamer 30, while a Sternguard with Combiflamer is 25.
    • When comparing SIBs and storm bolters, the storm bolter is better against Sv4+ or worse, while the SIB is better against 3+ or better or against anything more than 24" but no more than 30" away.
    • Even after the movement penalty, multi-meltas and grav-cannons are so good they completely sideline SIBs, but remember, if you're trying to field those, you're a Devastator Squad but worse. Against very weak chaff, you can do better, but you don't want SIBs against that. That means the primary reason to field Sternguard Vets is combiflamer spam: 25 points per combiflamer is just about the best you can field for mowing down chaff within 12" (in fact, you don't even really want two guys with heavy flamers - the extra S and AP is offset by both the combiflamer's better rate of fire and cheaper cost). As a corollary, the sergeant should usually have a chainsword, but if you really want to spring for a better melee weapon on him, grab a lightning claw, as it's best against the units you'll usually deploy these guys against.
  • Vanguard Veteran Squad: CORE. Better Assault Marines. When properly loaded out and taken in numbers, they can get enemy models engaged in CC and kill them first turn (the easiest way to accomplish a turn one Deep Strike charge is by making many attempts at it, after all). They can take almost any melee weapon or pistol available (see the Wargear section for a breakdown), and their Sergeant also has the option of taking a relic blade (S+3 AP-3 D2).
    • The most cost-effective chaff blender for them, in general, is a lightning claw paired with a chainsword, for 3A base, 4 with Shock Assault, one more on the sergeant, plus an extra S4 AP-1 hit - the reason to take the chainsword over the bolt pistol isn't so much the AP-1 as that you want to avoid killing the closest chaff members before you charge, as that may make the charge harder.
    • While there are targets for which power fists on the base squad are best - e.g. TEQs or Land Raiders - targets for which Thunder Hammers are best are very common, due to how often you'll be hitting something with 2+/4++ or simply a 3+ or worse save.
    • Though expensive, a Vanguard Squad can be a superior alternative to taking Assault Terminators with the same weapons; same amount of A, S, and D, Deep Strike and 4++ invulnerable (with storm shields), and you can mix-and-match weapons, usually letting you outperform for efficiency. Vanguards get M12", Fly, and are 37pts with hammers and shields, 28 with claws and shields, or 24 with claws and chainswords (or 27 with two claws, but this is worse against everything); Assault Terminators are 43 with hammers and shields (M5, but W3), 33 with claws (M5/W3/Sv2+/4++). In fact, Vanguard Veterans are the best reason in general not to take Assault Terminators. Relic Terminators have a niche build at 39 points for a chainfist and claw which can situationally outperform Vanguard Vets, but their preferred targets are on the rarer side.
      • The above cost assumes jump packs - if you're using a Drop Pod to get them into melee turn 1, they cost 2 less each but the Pod costs 70, making a set of 10 dudes end up costing 50 points more (5 more per dude). Notably, terminators can't ride a Drop Pod, so the option is simply off the table.
  • Legion of the Damned (Legends): A Deep-Striking, ranged Infantry unit. 9th edition has left them behind somewhat, as they are still W1. They're durable in other ways though, with Sv3+/3++ and Ld10. They did get updated with Bolter Discipline, ATSKNF, and Shock Assault, as well as keeping Deep Strike. The all come with boltguns, bolt pistols, and grenades. One Legionnaire can swap their boltgun for a flamer, meltagun, or plasma gun, and one other Legionnaire can swap their boltgun for a heavy flamer or multi-melta. The Sergeant also has a limited selection of optional wargear, being able to swap their bolt pistol for a plasma pistol or storm bolter and their boltgun for a chainsword, power weapon, or powerfist.
    • Unfortunately the LotD are one of the most point inefficient units in 9th edition, at 25pts each. This is a shame considering their bitchin' models. Only ever use these guys in a fun environment, as competitive ones will laugh at these guys.
  • Terminator Squad: CORE. 9th edition has been kind, giving them an extra wound and no points increase. Coming stock with a storm bolter and power sword (Sergeant) or powerfist (Terminator), these guys can spit out a lot of bolts and then punch whatever's left. One-in-five can replace their storm bolter with an assault cannon or heavy flamer, or take a cyclone missile launcher (read; twin missile launcher) in addition to their storm bolter (the sergeant can't do this, but counts as one for letting someone else do this). Powerfists can also be swapped for chainfists, giving you more anti-Vehicle power and just better AP against W3+ targets (Sx2 AP-4 Dd3, becomes D3 against Vehicles), so since the swap is free, you should usually do it. They can also take a teleport homer, which lets the unit (if you combat squad them, pick one of the two to keep the homer), once per game, spend its movement phase deep striking either into your deployment zone or within 3" of a friendly chapter model.
    • Unfortunately, the Sergeant functionally costs more than his squad members, because he has to buy his power sword for the same cost the others pay for their power fists. As a result, the squad is less cost effective than if you build it from Relic Terminators, simply because the cost works out to be identical if you make a 5-man one, but you can swap the sergeant's weapon for a superior lightning claw for free, even with no other changes. As a result, you should only field this unit if you want at least one of an assault cannon, missile launcher, or teleport homer - with just a heavy flamer or storm bolters and no homer, relics will do the same job better.
    • They have their best use arriving on the board via Deep Strike or Transport as close to a target as possible. A five-man squad with the basic loadout should be able to spit 20 bolter shots at a target while being tough enough to weather most return fire.
    • 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 their 5++ invulnerable instead. At the same time, the addition of W3 to their profile outright triples their survivability against massed small arms fire and doubles against the now abundant D2 weapons designed to kill Marines.
    • The heavy flamer punishes counter-charges if you spend a CP on Overwatch, has the benefit of auto-hitting, and can now be fired out of Deep Strike thanks to its new 12" range. The assault cannon is good for shredding lightly armoured infantry and can even possibly chip away at light vehicles if you have nothing better to shoot at. The Cyclone Missile Launcher now arrives at a decent 25 points and vastly supplements all-rounder firepower. In fact, because the CML dude shoots, on average, 11 S4 shots in light fire mode, he'll often outperform the assault cannon against its preferred targets.
  • Terminator Assault Squad: CORE. Can take a homer like their non-assault cousins for 1/game spending their movement phase deep striking into their own deployment or within 3" of a friendly, and comes in two flavors, both of which have to be compared directly to Vanguard Veterans with Jump Packs, who can't take a homer but have superior mobility in general and superior weapon choices.
    • Dual lightning claws makes them immediately better than the same loadout on relic terminators, who cost more and can't take a homer. Compared to Vanguard Vets, it's 33 points for 2+/5++ W3 Mv5 for these guys or 27 points for 3+ W2 Mv12 (Fly), so you can pay more for superior durability and inferior mobility, or not, depending on your plan. Vanguard Vets can also take a Storm Shield instead of their second claw, raising their cost to 28 points each in exchange for losing 1 attack and becoming 2+/4++. It's +5 points for the squad to have a homer, which is +1 point per dude MSU but also gets you a higher average A for the unit thanks to the sergeant, or +0.5 points per dude for 10-man. Remember, the Vets also have grenades, giving them negligibly more ranged dakka.
    • TH/SS is 43 points for 1+/4++ W3 Mv5, while Vanguard Vets are 37 for 2+/4++ W2 Mv12 (Fly), meaning their durabilities are much closer than with the TLC loadout. Remember, the Vets also have grenades, giving them negligibly more ranged dakka.
  • Relic Terminator Squad: CORE. Replaces the Tartaros and Cataphractii. Boiled down the uniqueness of two vastly different variants of terminator armour into merely a Terminator Squad with different wargear options. Relic Terminators are a mix of Terminators and Assault Terminators in terms of weapons. All models (including the sergeant, who starts with one rather than a power sword) can individually replace their powerfist with a lightning claw or chainfist, which is why despite costing a point more base than Assault Termis, they're baseline better than normal Termis, as they're not forced to buy power fists. They can also all individually swap their storm bolters for lightning claws, letting you field them with two lightning claws on everyone (which is stupid - assault termis do this better) or a lightning claw and a fist of either type, which has weird efficiencies against various targets compared to tlc assault termis, so you might want to experiment with it. Their 1/5 heavy weapons dude can take a heavy flamer or reaper autocannon (36" Heavy 4 S7 AP-2 D1, which doesn't look very good, but it's cheap, costing only as much as the heavy flamer), but also any 1 in 5, even the sergeant, can take a grenade hardness for 12" Assault d6 S4 AP-1 D1 Blast, which is fairly expensive at the same cost as a heavy flamer, but can be strapped to your sergeant or heavy weapons dude as you like, ensuring you lose it last, and can be included in an all-melee unit to give them more than no guns. The serge can replace his storm bolter with a plasma blaster (18" assault 2 S7 AP-3 D1, may gain +1S and +1D but hit rolls of unmodified 1 kill the user) or a volkite charger (20" heavy 2 S5 AP0 D2, wound rolls of unmodified 6 inflict an additional mortal wound). As both of these cost 5 points and a storm bolter, the charger is generally the better option of the two, as you won't usually be advancing with this unit anyway, and you don't want to risk overcharging and killing your sergeant off.
    • If you go Space Wolves, Deathwatch, or Dark Angels, then Relic Terminators are by and large outmatched in terms of Chapter-exclusive units that do the same or similar weapon-mixing thing for a cheaper price tag. Those Chapters need to consider this unit much more carefully.
  • Servitors: Now they can be taken independently of a Techmarine, but they don't take up an Elite slot if your army includes one. You could use them as a cheap way of adding more plasma cannons to your force, but when not near a Techmarine, they have WS5+, BS5+, Ld6, and Sv4+. They'll have trouble actually hitting things, die from anything more dangerous than a mean look, are likely to be lost to morale checks, and they don't even get the benefits of Chapter Tactics. Having a Techmarine nearby mitigates their flaws a little by boosting them to WS4+, BS4+, and Ld9.
    • If you have a Techmarine anyway, it could be worth taking them as cheap fire support that also helps fill out detachments. Four Servitors with two heavy bolters is 40pts (50pts with plasma). Servitors are essentially worse, cheap Devs that use no slots. For them to be able to make back their points, though, they need that boost to BS.
    • 9th edition opinion; because these guys have the Infantry keyword, they can perform Actions. 30pts is a low, low price for some extra VP while your actual units are hurting stuff instead of typing on a keyboard.

Dreadnoughts and Invictor Warsuit[edit]

The Dreadnought is one of the best non-HQ single model unit in the Space Marine line-up. It's a Core Vehicle so can take all the buffs in addition to Techmarine Babysitting. 9th also made Duty Eternal into a passive ability, so always taking -1 damage makes them tanky for the firepower they bring. Most Dreadnaughts are 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 or Lieutenant's re-rolling aura for a turn. Also, per the new "Big Guns Never Tire" as a Vehicle you now get to fire your weapons in melee. Sure it's at a -1, but your flamer weapons don't care about that.

  • Dreadnought: Core. The default Dreadnought. Standard loadout is assault cannon and Dreadnought fist (Sx2 (12) AP-3 D3) + storm bolter. Also has the Smokescreen keyword. You can replace the storm bolter with a heavy flamer if you plan on getting close, which is more favourable now that Dreadnoughts have lost Bolter Discipline. The assault cannon is replaceable with a twin lascannon, multi-melta, or heavy plasma cannon (a plasma cannon that only deals 1 MW upon an unmodified hit roll of 1 instead of killing the user, and is D2 base, D3 when overcharging). The fist + bolter can be replaced with a missile launcher.
    • Legend options include replacing the assault cannon for twin heavy flamer, twin heavy bolter, or twin autocannon (48", heavy 4, S7, AP-1, D2). The fist + bolter can also be replaced with twin autocannon.
      • The Riflenought setup with two dual autocannons spews out eight S7, AP-1, D2 shots per turn. Great for tearing up 2W models in particular or throwing some decent hurt at most targets from long range.
  • Venerable Dreadnought: Core. A Venerable Dreadnought is the same as a regular one, but is WS2+, BS2+, and has a 6+++ FNP. For 15pts more, just get this one.
    • the Twin Lascannon and Missile allows for the best anti-tank making sure the hits counts.
  • Contemptor Dreadnought: Core. Compared to the regular Dreadnought, you sacrifice the flexible weapon options and Smokescreen for +2M, +1S, +1W, and a 5++ invulnerable save. This is for 30pts extra. Generally speaking, the Contemptor is a goddamn steal for what he costs now. Only has a fixed loadout of Kheres assault cannon (an S7 assault cannon) or multi-melta, and fist + storm bolter.
  • Ironclad Dreadnought: Core. Ironclad Dreadnoughts are much more melee-oriented than the other Dreadnought types as they re-roll hit rolls of 1 if they have two melee weapons, and T8 helps them stick around to get there. It switches out its gun arm for a Seismic hammer (Sx2 AP-4 D5, -1 to hit rolls) and melta gun. The hammer can and should be replaced with a Dreadnought chainfist (same stats, but D2d3 or D6 against Vehicles, but no penalty to hit rolls, which means it's just plain better - it hits at 4/3 the accuracy and 4/5 the damage of the hammer, which comes out to 16/15 total, which is more than 1, and they cost 0 points apiece). The bolter and/or meltagun can be replaced with heavy flamers (always replace the storm bolter with a heavy flamer, but you should usually keep the meltagun), and the fist + bolter arm can be replaced with a hurricane bolter (doing this loses their re-roll of hit rolls of 1 in melee, however). They can also take two hunter-killer missiles and the Assault Launcher keyword.
    • If course, if you plan on keeping close to a Captain or Chaplain (such as riding a Stormraven with them and another squad), the second CCW becomes redundant, and the heavy flamer you're losing is also usually worse than a hurricane bolter.
    • 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.
    • Unbelievably good with the Iron Hands stratagem for Dreadnought characters, leave this chad in your gunlines nearly un-targetable and have him heroically intervene into any big nasties that try and rush your lines.
  • Redemptor Dreadnought: Core. 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 armour-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-armour potential might be better handled by specialized units like Devastators, Hellblasters, 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 3+d3 damage compared to the normal Dreadnought CCW's 3D. 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 stratagem, and a big unit of Hellblasters, and you can re-roll all those overcharges that might blow you to high heaven.
  • Deredeo Dreadnought (FW, -1CP): The end-all solution to your dakka-Dread needs, for when even the Contemptor Mortis won't cut it. Its armour save is slightly worse than the Contemptor's at only a 3+, but to compensate it has 3 more wounds and smoke launchers. For guns, you have the Anvilus Autocannons (8 36" autocannon shots with +1 S) for mulching infantry, the Hellfire Plasma Carronade (6 overcharged plasma cannon but cause mortal wounds on a 1) as the generalist option, and the Arachnus Lascannon Battery (2 Lascannon with Reliable D3+d3 damage) for taking out vehicles, and also chest-mounted heavy bolters/heavy flamers. 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.
    • Raven Guard, Salamanders and Dark Angels Chapter Tactics make Deredeos substantially better - RG increases its survivability, Salamanders provides a source of rerolls to make sure those giant fuck off lascannons deal damage or that the plasma carronade doesn't damage the Deredeo and Dark Angels +1 to hit makes more of your shots land and the Plasma Carronade coupled with Weapons of the Dark Age is terrifying.
  • Relic Contemptor Dreadnoughts (FW, -1CP): Core. Take a normal Contemptor Give it a slew of Heresy era tools courtesy of forge world and a CP. 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.
    • Never take it with just a base combat weapon and kheres/multi-melta. Its statline and abilities are identical to the regular Contemptor, except it costs 1 CP to bring. If you're going to pay a CP for access to more options, then use those options - generally, that means you want two of the same gun.
  • Heavy Plasma Cannon (0pts): The cheap Anti-TEQ option.
  • Conversion Beam Cannon (5pts): The new Heavy Conversion Beamer is a single-shot weapon that starts at heavy D3, S6, AP-1, D2, Blast. It also gains +1S, +1AP, and +1D each 24" between the target and the firer, maxing out at S8, AP-3, D4 between 48" and 72". At the full range, this will hit like a reliable lascannon.
    • Against the infantry targets you have a serious chance at one-shotting, it's tied with the new twin volkite culverin the second cheapest gun behind the heavy plasma cannon. 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 the 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.
    • Think of this as the Swiss Army Knife of Dreadnought weapons. While there are dedicated weapons that handle their specialty better than the C-Cannon does, the fact that this can be used against almost any target and still be relatively effective is worth a mention. The movement restriction is an issue, though.
  • Twin Volkite Culverin (5pts): 45" heavy 8 S6 AP0 D2, unmodified wound rolls of 6 inflict an additional MW. Has direct competition with the twin heavy bolter and twin autocannon for being flat D2, with this gun having the advantages of weight of fire, lowest cost, and potential mortal wounds; this is often the best gun this dread can take.
  • Kheres-Pattern Assault Cannon (10pts): At S7 compared to a regular assault cannons S6, this weapon only shines more against T6 targets. That being said, any other S7+ weapon available to this model will be more suited against those kind of multi-wound Sv3+/2+ targets. However, this is still an assault cannon, so go shred those infantry models.
  • Multi-Melta (10pts): Take a pair of these to fuck up heavies, or for 5pts more and no CP, 3 Multi-Melta Attack bikes.
  • Twin Heavy Bolter (15pts): Plus 5 points than a Kheres, in exchange for S5 instead of S7, Damage 2, and 12" more range. The kicker is D2, which widens the gap between the two weapons, allowing you to mow down MEQs as easily as the KAC mows down GEQs.
  • Twin Autocannon (15pts): Only better than the twin heavy bolter against T6 targets. Only take if you're taking two with the cyclone missile launcher to turn this unit into a stable fire-support unit.
  • Twin Lascannon (25pts): Pop vehicles open without having to get into melta range. Has fantastic range, but is crippled by its staggering cost; usually underperforms compared to multimeltas.
  • Dreadnought Combat Weapon (0pts): Sx2 AP-3 D3. A fine and reliable smasher.
  • Dreadnought Chainfist (5pts): Sx2 AP-4 D2d3, becomes D6 against Vehicles. A straight upgrade over the DCW, with two successful attacks wiping out most Vehicles.
  • Storm Bolter (0pts): Take if you have a fist and don't want to spend more points.
  • Contemptor Plasma Blaster (5pts): An 18" assault 2 plasma gun that only does one MW instead of destroying you on a um hit roll of 1.
  • Graviton Blaster (5pts): An 18" assault 2 grav-gun. Functionally the plasma blaster but worse, since they're the same price.
  • Heavy Flamer (5pts): Really solid choice since you're allowed to fire ranged weapons in melee.
  • Cyclone Missile Launcher (25pts): A twin missile launcher, sort of (due to the blast rules, worse than 2 missile launchers against units of size 6-10). Basically mandatory, since you paid a CP to field this thing anyway, and it makes it better at murdering everything.
  • Leviathan Dreadnoughts (FW): 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 2+/5++ save profile and a whopping 14 wounds.
    • Received a slight downgrade by dropping to WS3+ and BS3+.
  • Cyclonic Melta Lance: 18" heavy d6 S9 AP-4 Dd6, blast, melta means it works a bit worse than a twin multi-melta in general, but can cope with shooting hordes better if you need to.
  • Grav-Flux Bombard: 24" heavy 2d3 S8 AP-3 D2, blast and +1D against targets with Sv3+ or better. Most likely the best weapon you have against Marines; the D2 will one-shot any of the basic ones, with the D3 also letting you massacre Gravis and Terminator models, thus giving you more utility than the storm cannon.
  • Storm Cannon: 36" heavy 8 S7 AP-1 D2. A shorter-range quad autocannon, but you also have the reliability not available from the other two. Both the other options have variable shots and are modified depending upon range or target Sv, but the storm cannon is always consistent. Reliable. Safe. You don't have to worry about where the storm cannon has been with its friends on the weekends. You can trust the storm cannon.
  • Siege Claw and Meltagun: Sx2 (14) AP-3 D3, +1A with this weapon (5 + Shock Assault for one). Can be remembered as a Dreadnought Combat Weapon with +1A, but no longer re-rolls wound rolls against Infantry.
    • One of these punches for A*D=15, 18 with Shock Assault.
  • Siege Drill and Meltagun: Sx2 (14) AP-4 D2d3, becomes D6 against Vehicles. Not as much of an upgrade due to losing the +1A, but still rips Vehicles a new one and synergises better with the unswappable meltagun.
    • One of these punches for A*D roughly 16, 20 with Shock Assault, so it's just usually a better choice between the two fist options, due to the superior AP and D.
  • Two Heavy Flamers: Your classic overwatch option. 2d6 automatically hitting shots will deter a lot of charging infantry.
  • Two Volkite Calivers: Together, 30" heavy 8 S5 AP0 D2, inflict an additional MW on a um wound roll of 6. Much more range than the flamers, and a volley from this will hurt MEQs more - in fact, the D2 alone would make that true, even before the mortal wound output.
  • 0-3 Hunter-Killer Missiles: 5pts each and never a bad choice.
  • Invictor Tactical Warsuit: The Scout Dreadnought. Dreadnought lite; all the bulk, half the calories points. T6 and W13 help keep it on the board, and it doesn’t degrade until it’s down to six wounds. For firepower, it can take either an incendium cannon that’s basically a twin heavy flamer or a twin ironhail autocannon (48” heavy 6 S7 AP-1 D2) for shooting up heavy infantry. Backup weapons are a standard fragstorm grenade launcher (18" assault d6 S4 AP0 D1, blast), twin ironhail heavy stubbers (36" heavy 8 S4 AP-1 D1), and a heavy bolter. The only real way to take on Vehicles (or, say, the occasional Bloodthirster) is with its invictor fist, which does four attacks at Sx2 (14) AP-3 D3. Finally, to get in position, it has the same Concealed Positions ability as Infiltrators and Incursors.
    • Note that against any target capable of taking two damage at once - e.g. MEQs - the autocannon will deal more net damage, landing 4 D2 hits on average, for a total of 8, while the incendium cannon will only land 7. That's before accounting for the fact that the autocannon hits at S7, not S5. In melee, of course, the autocannon drops to landing 6 net damage, while the incendium stays at 7, although if you plan to stay in melee that long, remember you can't shoot your fragstorm while engaged.
    • Best use of this is probably to give it the flamer option and use Concealed Positions to start it within 12” of some enemy Infantry. Further, this unit packs a mean punch on the charge or when charged, and careful positioning will hamper Monsters and Vehicles running towards your Infantry, which is just another reason to get it as close to the enemy as possible. For this reason, assume it will get destroyed by turn 3.
    • You could also give it the autocannons and use Concealed Positions to put it where it can pop shots off at targets who tried to hide and block line of sight. Autocannon synergises nicely with rest of the Invictor's weapons, with the heavy stubbers and heavy bolter having 36" range.

Dedicated Transports[edit]

  • Rhino: The old METAL BOXES, you know it, you love it. T7 W10 Sv3+ and Smokescreen makes them fairly survivable, not that you can spam Smokescreen. Transports ten firstborn. 1-2 storm bolters mean that you can output a lot of anti-infantry dakka (up to eight shots at 12 inches), and an optional hunter-killer can deal the finishing blow to an enemy heavy. The loss of the self-repair rule is hurting somewhat.
    • As a modelling note, NEVER buy the Rhino kit. Buying the Razorback kit gives you the same parts and an additional sprue for turrets and it costs the same. You can switch out the top hatch as you please if you don't glue it down.
  • Razorback: As above, but only transports six Marines, switching the transport capacity for the ability to carry usually two heavy weapons (it can add on a storm bolter and/or hunter-killer, just like a Rhino). Heavily weaponised transports proved strong in 8th, being cheap and not taking up a real force organisation slot. Costs a lot more than a Rhino, be aware.

110 points, the default option. With the advent of D2 heavy bolters and W2 Marines, this is the clear option you want against Marines.

125 points, trading 12" of range and 15 points of price compared to the THB for +1S and, more importantly, the same A*D but with all of it in A, making it better against more targets (such as W1 anything, or Dreadnoughts): 24" heavy 12 S6 AP-1 D1 shots is a substantial threat.

120 points. The infamous Laserback. This is one of the Marines' more cost-effective anti-tank options, able to deposit its cargo, then dig in and start picking at heavies.

110 points. If you can convince your opponent to let you field this, far and away the best choice - basically the same murder capability of the tlc option at a 10 point discount.

  • Land Speeder Storm: Dedicated transport for five Scout models, for 5 points less than a normal Land Speeder and with an additional gun. Open-topped so embarked Scouts can shoot out of it, although they count as having moved/advanced/fallen back if their ride did, and can only shoot pistols while the Vehicle is engaged, even if they have an ability stating otherwise (suck it, Dark Angels). Doesn't get Concealed Positions but does get Outflank, and has an 18" move, so it can easily re-locate. Starts with a cerberus launcher (heavy d6 bolter shots at 18") and a heavy bolter. Insanely cheap at only 55 points, comparable to a heavy bolter attack bike in cost but broadly superior in performance, if you want to field one on its own.
  • Drop Pod: Grants a power armour unit Deep Strike at the cost of 70pts. More importantly, the pod and contents can arrive on turns 1-3 regardless of mission rules, and neither pod nor contents count against how many units you can have in reserve (however, there's no rule making them immune to rules about points in reserve, so you still can't null deploy). Tactical Marines can use it to capture objectives and hamper enemy movement. Both this model and models disembarking must be at least 9" away from enemy models on the turn it arrives. It comes with a storm bolter that you can swap for a deathwind launcher (12", heavy d6, S5, AP0, D1, blast).
    • Because the pods ignore unit limits in reserve, you're encouraged to go MSU with their contents.
    • It has been FAQed that the opened doors count as part of the model, so it can also be used to make a sizable anti-deepstrike zone, before it’s shot off the board (if your opponent put enough thought into it).
    • Keep the storm bolter; it'll actually be useful after the first turn it arrives and guarantees you four shots instead of the d6 that the deathwind gets you.
    • Some ideas of what players often pack these with. Remember they have space for ten dudes, so you can mix and match two squads of five.
      • Assault Marines or Vanguard Vets - you are actually retarded if you choose this option instead of their jump packs.
      • Sternguard or Company Vets - The classic kamikaze melta units. Company vets with storm shields and special weapons are generally better for this role due to their survivability, but Sternguard have special issue bolters and heavy flamer access.
      • Tactical Squad - A potential late-game objective capper that you can plop anywhere.
      • Devastator Squad - Want to kill that enemy super-heavy? Four multi-meltas that arrive within melta range.
      • Characters - Any additional Characters would just be icing on the cake. Ancients let your guys shoot again before they're inevitably wiped from the board next turn, Apothecary's keep them fighting for longer. Champions provide some deterrent with a 6" Heroic Intervention. Captain and Lieutenant auras, Librarian powers, Chaplain prayers, you get it now.
  • Dreadnought Drop Pod (FW): It's a Drop Pod for Dreadnoughts, specifically those with W9 or less (everything that's not a Deredeo, Leviathan, or Redemptor). A good, relatively cheap option for delivering Dreads right into multi-melta range.
    • Similar to above, this unit can still block enemy movement, line of sight, and Deep Strike. If you can get your hands on the Forgeworld model, its footprint is slightly bigger.
    • It can turn an Ironclad from a risky, high-damage-low-speed bullet magnet to an unstoppable rape machine if used against tightly packed armies and tanks, especially with charge re-rolls.
  • Termite Assault Drill (FW): A Drop Pod-Land Raider hybrid, it has a respectable transport capacity of 12 (not terminator, jump pack, or primaris), the ability to Deep Strike, and several effective weapon systems. A heavy 5 melta gun, two storm bolters (which can be replaced with two heavy flamers or two twin volkite chargers (20" heavy 4 S5 AP0 D2, UM wound rolls of 6 inflict an additional mortal wound)), and a melee weapon. Said weapon is an anti-Vehicle drill, at Sx2 AP-4 Dd3+3, rising to d3+6 against Vehicles. Don't think of using it as a battering ram like you would with a Dreadnought though, it has 3-d3-1 attacks (plus Shock Attack) as it degrades. At 180pts, this thing is CHEAP this edition.
    • On the subject of weapons, volkites are the way to go most of the time due to the range and fire output. Heavy flamers are shorter range but hit hard. Storm bolters let you have a few S4 shots at 24" for free, but why bother?
    • The termite's melee capabilities are decent, though this is more for protection than anything. That being said, the drill makes for a nasty anti-tank melee weapon.
  • Impulsor: The inbred spawn of a Razorback and a Repulsor. This is your only Primaris-capable Dedicated Transport. Has +1W over a Rhino and can be upgraded with a 5++, but swaps Smokescreen for Repulsor Field. Comes stock with two storm bolters with the option of taking an ironhail heavy stubber and swapping the storm bolters for fragstorm grenade launchers. M14" combined with the ability to disembark a unit after moving that itself can't charge makes the Impulsor one of the quicker transports. It has a transport capacity of 6 and can't carry JUMP PACK or GRAVIS models, so it's only good for moving MSU squads + characters. This can be a cheap transport to get Intercessors with Assault weapons (not Assault Intercessors, due to the ban on charging after you use its special rule) to wipe an objective, move Assault Hellblasters into position, or zipping Bladeguards at your enemy (they'll be sad they can't charge, but they're durable enough to wait outside their transport in the name of mobility). Often times your list can't afford to buy a heavy tank as a transport and you will have to make do with what you get. It can take the following upgrades:

A 5++ invulnerable save. Generally, this is the one you want, as it makes this bizarre vehicle unusually tough (smart opponents will simply shoot its cargo, so hurl it into melee ASAP).

The cheapest add-on. Two more heavy stubbers that get +1 to hit aircraft. Combined with the pintle-mounted stubber, you now have 12 shots at 36" range.

Yep, it's a missile launcher with the addition of anti-air. Could technically work as an adaptable weapon, but taking other weapon teams and tanks would be better.

The orbital bombardment you know and love from the Damocles Rhino. Now completely different from the stratagem. One use only, but being able to crap out mortal wounds wherever you like is still nice. As long as you can keep it alive to use it, of course. This bombardment does not involve ballistic skill, which means your opponent will have to go through 11 wounds to stop you from using the mortal wounds. This demands that your opponent potentially waste firepower on your otherwise expendable transport while your Hellblasters take far less damage.


  • Stormhawk Interceptor: The anti-Aircraft Aircraft. Comes stock with two assault cannons, a las-talon (twin lascannon with half the range), and a skyhammer missile launcher (60" heavy 3 S7 AP-1 Dd3, +1 to hit rolls against Aircraft). The las-talon can be swapped with an Icarus storm cannon (heavy 3 autocannons that functionally become heavy 6 and gain +1 to hit rolls against Aircraft) for more anti-flying. The skyhammer can be swapped for two heavy bolters (anti-infantry) or a typhoon launcher (flexible, nearly as good as two missile launchers). Cannot hover, but does get +1 to saves when shot at by other Aircraft.
    • The skyhammer-Icarus combo makes this a fairly respectable Aircraft hunter, with the assault cannons throwing out enough lead to dink one or two wounds off the target.
  • Xiphon-Pattern Interceptor (FW): 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. While it will generally act like a Stormhawk, it loses the bonus save against Aircraft in exchange for +2W, and its weapons loadout is entirely static: it sports 4 lascannons and a Xiphon Missile Launcher, which is like the Stormhawk's Skyhammer but better: 60" heavy 3 S7 AP-2 D3, +1 to hit rolls against Aircraft makes it have 1 better AP and what works out to very slightly better than 1 better D. It's 235 points, while the least dissimilar Stormhawk is 230 for 2 assault cannons, nearly 2 missile launchers, and nearly 2 lascannons, meaning the Xiphon is usually better at murdering a heavy target, but the Stormhawk is wildly better at murdering hordes.
    • 235 points is steep for a flyer, but you're getting the functional equivalent of a flying lascannon Predator with an extra Xiphon battery, and it puts colleagues like the IG Vendetta to shame. Has no options for anti horde, but it's a specialized anti-air/anti-armour killer.
  • Stormtalon Gunship: Became the cheapest Aircraft and is a general-use hover jet. As standard, it has a skyhammer missile launcher (see above) and a twin assault cannon, meaning baseline you pay 20 points less than a Stormhawk to trade the bonus to saves vs Aircraft for Hover Jet but also you're lacking a gun (at a 20 point difference the missing gun is the Icarus Stormcannon). The skyhammer can be replaced with two heavy bolters or nearly two missile launchers (which will keep up the comparison, since a Stormhawk can do the same), or two lascannons, which is where the comparison gets weirder. A tlc Stormtalon is 185 points for two lascannons and two assault cannons, while the closest Stormhawk is 210 for a snubnosed pair of lascannons, two assault cannons, and its skyhammer (which can itself be swapped out for more points, of course).
  • Stormraven Gunship: A flying Land Raider with all the utility, offense, and cost that comes along with it. 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 or switch to hover mode for controlled movement. It's also more expensive than a Land Raider, depending on what you arm it with. Comes stock with a twin assault cannon, twin missile launcher, and two stormstrike launchers (72", heavy 1, S8, AP-3, D3). Can swap the assault cannons for a twin lascannon or twin heavy plasma cannon (marine mulchers). Can swap the typhoon missile launcher for a twin multi-melta (reminder that this is FOUR shots in this edition) or twin heavy bolter. It can also strap on a couple of hurricane bolters (+30pts). It has the same Power of the Machine Spirit as a Land Raider. Can carry 12 Infantry (and can carry Jump, Terminator, and Centurions, but they take extra space) and 1 Dreadnought that has 12 or less wounds; simply put, it cannot carry Redemptor or Leviathan Dreadnoughts.
    • 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 are no restrictions on disembarking from it, so you don't even have to drop to hover if you don't want to.
    • While all vehicles are more expensive this edition, the big bird can eat up a massive amount of points. 310 points base can be a large chunk of your army, and is over 20% of a 1,500 point game.
    • Be aware that some armies have dangerous AA fire or even AA melee (Fly Monsters, Jetbikes, Battlesuits, etc). Your Stormraven carries a huge "shoot me!" sign right above its cockpit, so most players will try to get it down as early as possible. This will most likely also kill some of the passengers.
  • Storm Eagle Gunship (FW, -1CP): Same airframe as the Fire Raptor but same purpose as the Stormraven (i.e. its statline is a Stormraven with +4W, and due to the Fire Raptor's broken stat math, three of the extra stat points happen before degrading, and the fourth wound shows up in the most-degraded section of its statline), this model focuses on transport capacity: instead of carrying 12 infantry and a dread, it carries 20 infantry. It comes stock with a vengeance launcher (a 48" heavy 2d6 assault cannon with blast). Its wings can carry 4 hellstrikes, which have the same profile as the Stormraven's 2 stormstrikes and are 72" Eliminator las-fusils except that they can +1 to hit and +1d3D against aircraft, or 4 lascannons for an up-charge. Its nose can carry a twin heavy bolter or typhoon missile launcher (both free, so the typhoon is generally better), or a twin multi-melta for an up-charge. Since it can't take a hurricane bolter at all, the net result is that it's better at carrying anti-heavy weapons than a Stormraven, but the Stormraven can be kitted out better for murdering hordes.
    • In comparison, the Storm Raven is 15 points cheaper, carries a Dreadnought, and has more diverse weapon options. The Storm Eagle is tougher (+4W) and carries more Infantry. It also has a much better model.
  • Fire Raptor Gunship (FW, -1CP): If the Storm Raven is a flying Land Raider, this is your flying Dakka Pred. T7 W18 Sv3+, with a twin avenger bolt cannon (60" heavy 10 S6 AP-2 D2), two twin autocannons (together 48" heavy 8 S7 AP-1 D2), and two twin hellstrike launchers (together 72" heavy 4 S8 AP-3 D3, +1 to hit rolls and +d3 damage against Aircraft). The autocannons can be replaced with eight heavy bolters (together 36" heavy 24 S5 AP-1 D2) and the hellstrikes can be replaced with four lascannons. This thing is the flying middle finger against MEQs, spitting out 18-34 D2 shots on top of 4 D3 or D1d6 shots. Has the Machine Spirit and Relic keywords, and all the abilities and limits those keywords entail.
    • Arguably the best Aircraft (point for point) Marines have access to, and undoubtedly the best anti-horde unit, but expensive as fuck. Seriously, at 340pts with twin autocannons, this thing is as expensive as a Storm Raven. The quad heavy bolter option will cost you another 60pts on top of that.
  • Caestus Assault Ram (FW Legends): A flyer designed to ram starships/buildings and disgorge Space Marines into the breach, the Caestus Assault Ram is armed with a number of thematically powerful weapons and abilities. The Caestus is quite survivable with T7 W14 Sv2+ and -1 to hit, this is your true flying Land Raider. Armed with two firefury missile batteries (36" heavy 2d3 S6 AP-2 D1, blast) and a twin magna-melta (24" heavy 2d3 S8 AP-4 Dd6, blast, melta).
    • Coming into 9th, it's lost its melee weapon, the ability to charge enemy units, and the ability to take Terminators for only one transport slot. It's pretty garbage now, has nothing special that can't be fulfilled by a model that is still in production, and at 320pts it costs the exact same as a Stormraven.

Fast Attack[edit]

Rocket jumpers, deadly riders, and all kinds of zoomers, here you find units boasting great mobility but also lots of dakka and not just fast blades. The changes to Combat Doctrines make these units more relevant as game progression draws you to close range. Plenty of points reductions here, notably on bikes of all shapes and sizes, making them very useful fast and tough units.

  • Assault Squad: CORE. Pistol and chainsword Space Marines. Jump Packs are optional, but to not take them is silly. For +1pt per model, you could take Vanguard Veterans who are A2 and can bring power weapons to a fight. The reason you'd ever take them is numbers and to not suck up an Elite slot. They can be made into a pseudo-special weapon squad, with up to two Assault Marines able to swap their bolt pistol for a plasma pistol or both weapons for a flamer. The Sergeant can swap their bolt pistol for another pistol or melee weapon or their chainsword for a melee weapon, and also has access to a combat shield to grant them +1 to armour saves and a 5++ invulnerable save. One in five models can also take the eviscerator, a whopping great big S+3, AP-4, D2, suffer -1-to hit rolls chainsword, which should be given to the Sergeant if you buy it since he's A2 and it's an expensive item, but since it's a power fist that trades S8 for AP-4 for the same price, it's not a choice you'll often make.
    • While Assault marines can't die in your Vanguards' stead like a Devastator squad's boltgun marines can, they can be used to screen the Vanguards from overwatch and be a unit the enemy has to deal with or get their forces tied up. Arguments can be made about how Warhammer is now a shooty game, but since when did space knights with jump packs and chainswords stop being cool?
    • Since you won't miss either their shooting or their melee, consider using them to perform actions.
  • Inceptor Squad: CORE. What you get when an Assault Gravis marine wields a Devastator marine in each hand. With Deep Strike, M10", T5, W3, and two assault bolters (18", assault 3, S5, AP-1, D1) or two plasma exterminators (18", assault d3, S7, AP-3, D1, blast and +1S and +1D but hit rolls of 1 kill the bearer). You no longer have the mortal-wounds-after-charging gimmick, which has been relegated to a Stratagem.
    • Three plasma Inceptors shoot even more plasma than Hellblasters. Remember though, that because each is dual wielding, you have to resolve their shots one weapon at a time; if the first weapon kills the wielder, the second weapon doesn't fire.
  • Suppressor Squad: CORE. Lighter Inceptors with heavier autocannons. You are NOT Gravis, so you're only T4 and W2, but you have Deep Strike, M12", and the Smokescreen keyword. Accelerator autocannons are a monstrous 48", heavy 3, S7, AP-1, D2 and their Suppressing Fire rule means that enemy Infantry units that are hit by this weapon cannot fire Overwatch, making them good support for your melee units now that many factions overwatch on a 5+.
    • You'll love having these guys against a Tau gunline as they can fire overwatch with every unit nearby otherwise.
  • Scout Bike Squad: CORE. Scout bikes initially seem disappointing compared to normal Bikers due to the loss of durability (Sv4+ and only W2), but the sheer number of weapons they carry can make quite an impact at close range. Every rider comes loaded for bear, with a twin bolter, combat knife (SU AP0 D1, +1A), shotgun (18" Assault 2 S4 AP0 D1), and bolt pistol, plus the usual grenades. For each model this means four S4 shots at 24", and six at 18". Any of them can swap the twin bolter for a grenade launcher (30" and assault-type grenades) for free. The Sergeant can drop his bolt pistol for a boltgun, other pistol, combi-weapon, or melee weapon.
    • This loadout means Scout Bikes are much better offensively and much worse defensively than Bike Squads: a unit of 3 bikes will usually be rocking 3 grenade launchers and 3 shotguns (so it can always advance into position), 3 combat knives, and a combi-flamer, chainsword, or lightning claw. Bike Squads are simply incapable of carrying that many S3-4 attacks in a 3-man squad if you combine shooting with melee.
  • Bike Squad: CORE. The White Scar trademark unit. A large benefit from Bolter Discipline, and M14" T5 W3 Sv3+. As stock, each model has a twin boltgun and a bolt pistol. Bikers can swap the bolt pistol for a chainsword (which means all of them will if they're not one of the two guys allowed to carry real guns) and the Sergeant can swap his bolt pistol for a combi-weapon, melee weapon, or other pistol. Two Bikers can swap their pistols for special weapons, which is the primary reason to field bike squads, so always so this. The Squad can also have an Attack Bike with a heavy bolter or multi-melta.
    • Building around MSU, the melee build has been outclassed since Primaris Outriders got created. Combi-weapon Sergeant and complementing special weapon Bikers are the best use of this unit, with the triple-flamer or triple-melta and multi-melta Attack Bike being excellent at killing what they want to kill.
  • Attack Bike Squad: CORE. 50 points for a heavy bolter + twin boltgun or 60 points for a multi-melta + twin boltgun is a pretty good deal. Downside is you can't advance and shoot any of your guns (unless you're Scars). T5 and W4, with a long move distance of 14". Frankly, anybody can use these guys well.
    • 60 points for a storm bolter and multimelta is intrinsically competing with a Land Speeder Tornado (90 points for an assault cannon and multimelta makes it an Invader ATV but better), but being core makes this one a lot easier to buff.
    • For 45pts for an Eradicator and 60pts for a melta-armed Attack Bike, you get +9"M and 1W (and half the rate of fire for the mm eradicator, but the same rate of fire for the other 2/3 of the unit). Fast Attack is also a less competitive slot for most armies, so you can take them and three Heavy Supports without taking another detachment.
    • Scars can spend a CP on two different strats for advance and shoot, but the generic one, "Hunter Fusilade" works better since it turns MMs Assault, and WS dont suffer penalty to Assault. 180 points and you have a potent deterrent with a massive threat range, though having multiple strats that do the same thing does let you get around 'can't use a strat more then once a phase' so multiple bikes can advance and shoot. *throat singing intensifies*
    • Invader ATVs have double the wounds and chops at just 1.4x(255) the price, but Attack bikes are CORE and not Gay.
  • Outrider Squad: CORE. The chadmarines now have bikes. These bikes are incredibly durable and have plenty of firepower, with T5, W4, and twin bolt rifles (30" rapid fire 2 S4 AP-1 D1), heavy bolt pistols (18" pistol 1 S4 AP-1 D1), and a chainsword. Bolter Discipline and Biker means these guys have the firepower of four Intercessors on the move. However, these guys are made to capitalize on melee by gaining +2A per model on the charge thanks for their Devastating Charge rule. A2 base, +1A from Shock Assault, +1A from chainswords, +2A from Devastating Charge. At 45pts per model, they certainly act as a durable light infantry muncher.
    • These guy will do well with shooting, but you'll get the most out of them with melee. Blood Angels and Black Templars love them; White Scars and Dark Angels think they're pretty ok.
  • Invader ATV Squad: A Primaris Attack Bike Squad, but not CORE because fuck the new guys. T5 and whopping W8, with twin auto bolt rifles (24", assault 6, S4, AP0, D1) and is 80pts for the onslaught gatling cannon (24", heavy 8, S5, AP-1, D1) or 85pts for the multi-melta (but 90 points gets you an asscannon/mm land speeder tornado, which is better, so stick to the onslaught; 80 gets you a heavy bolter/asscannon land speeder, which is at least situationally worse than the ATV). One of the few non-Vehicle models in the game with explodes.
    • For a single multi-melta, the Attack Bike does a similar job but for 25pts less. Three melta Attack Bikes will set you back 180pts, which is similar to two melta Invader ATVs for 170pts. You'll get more melta firepower from the Bikes but the ATV has a total 16W, however dead bikes can be brought back by your Chief Apothecary unlike the ATV.
  • Land Speeders: Land Speeders are tougher and more manoeuvrable Attack Bikes. An 18" move lets you place them where you want, with T6, W6, and Sv3+ giving them pretty good survivability against small-arms fire. All models have a pintle heavy bolter or multi-melta as their basic weaponry. Their speed and cheapness makes them good objective grabbers, but they have a high model profile with their flying base so they're very visible. Unlike other Marine Fly Vehicles, enemy ranged attacks against them don't have -1 to their hit rolls.

The bare-bone boat. They're the only ones that have the Data-Link Telemetry rule to make up for their lack of weapons; friendly <Chapter> Whirlwind models that attack one enemy unit within 18" of this Land Speeder with Blast weapons gain +1 to their hit rolls.

Swaps the Data-Link for an assault cannon or heavy flamer. Very anti-infantry, they have the speed and weaponry to seriously put the pain on something in the Devastator Doctrine turn one with lots of AP-2 shots.

Most expensive variant with a twin missile launcher for a flexible anti-GEQ and anti-tank weapons platform. Best kept at distance and used to complement the firepower of more dedicated AT units.

A Land Speeder with +1W. Each comes with an assault cannon and a tempest launcher; 36" heavy 2d6, S4, AP-1, D1, blast or 36", heavy 2, S8, AP-3, Dd6).

One of the two OG Speeders from the Heresy and the only one with rules. 16", T6, W9, Sv3+ makes them pretty strong, as well as the standard WS3+. Martial Legacy and Relic limits how many you can take, though. The most heavily-armed Speeder you have, with a heavy bolter and javelin missile launcher (functionally a triple-linked missile launcher). You can swap the heavy bolter for a multi-melta and the javelin missile launcher for a twin lascannon, as well as having the option for two hunter-killer missiles.

  • Storm Speeder: What happens when you turn a Land Speeder into a flying light tank. Defensively they're T6, W10, Sv3+, but they suffer from a degrading statline, with loses in M and BS. They have no Keywords for stratagems and no special rules.

Heavily armed with anti-Infantry weaponry, likely to eliminate a platoon of Guardsmen or Tyranids that think they're safe behind obscuring terrain. Two fragstorm launchers (18", assault d6, S4, AP0, D1, blast), an onslaught gatling cannon (24", heavy 8, S5, AP-1, D1), and twin ironhail stubber (36", heavy 8, S4, AP-1, D1). The cheapest of the bunch, and competes with the Invader ATV. This vehicle has an edge in durability and firepower.

The anti-aircraft variant but also does very well against terrestrial Infantry and Vehicles. Has a base BS of 2+ thanks to the targeting computers, unlike the other Storm Speeders. Stormfury missiles (48", heavy 1, S10, AP-3, Dd6), thunderstrike las-talon (36", heavy 2, S9, AP-3, Dd6), and a turreted twin icarus rocket pod (24", heavy 2d3, S7, AP-1, D2, blast and gains +1 to hit Aircraft units). Can multi-task at attacking mobs and tanks or focus down flyers.

The short-range tank-hunter. A melta destroyer (a heavy 3 multi-melta), hammerstrike missile launcher (36", heavy 2, S8, AP-3, D3), and two krakstrom grenade launchers (18", assault 1, S6, AP-1, Dd3). Costs as much as a Predator, but being in Fast Attack gives you a bit of freedom. Before you start saying "the Predator can take 48" lascannons and this only has multi-meltas", this Vehicle moves more than half-again the distance and has almost more firepower than a Predator Annihilator. If you happen to want a Predator for that purpose but have filled your heavy slots already, you will certainly be well served taking this unit in its place. In a pinch it might even serve as a TEQ hunter.

  • Deathstorm Drop Pod (FW): A Drop Pod full of automated guns; it can choose either missiles (18", heavy 2, S8, AP-2, Dd6) or cannons (18" heavy 6, S6, AP-1, D1). In either case, it must make one full shooting attack against every eligible unit (those in range, with line of sight, and no Characters unless they're the closest unit). One of the few Marine units that is BS4+ though. When it fires overwatch, it makes two attacks (so four missile attacks or twelve cannon attacks) against the charging unit.
    • 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. Combine this with iron hands and you have an interesting little distraction for the enemy that's the same price as an Aggressor Squad. Something to think about. Having the Drop Pod assault rule have fun plonking one down onto an objective and keep blasting away until destroyed.

Heavy Support[edit]

  • Devastator Squad: CORE. 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. The Sergeant's signum will let one of them hit on a 2+. Finally, an Armourium Cherub can be taken to, once per game, give one model in the squad a second shooting phase. Needless to say, you should always take the cherub. These cover-camping queens should enjoy the extra wound more than other Firstborn.
    • Combine the Cherub and Signum. On turn one, in the Devastator Doctrine, use the Signum on a key gun (e.g. lascannon), and then use the Cherub to get the extra shot. The Signum will apply for the whole phase, meaning two powerful shots at BS2+ and with an additional -1AP.
    • Drop pods are a particularly interesting choice for devastators, ensuring your expensive dudes can't be shot off the field immediately if you go second. This also reduces the threat from return deep-strikes, as open doors count toward denial range.

The venerable Heavy Bolter is in an odd spot this edition. Against light or heavy infantry you'll generally get better results from the Grav-Cannon due to better fire rate and AP, and mortal wounds from Hellfire Shells are nice but you can do that from ANY (infantry) Heavy Bolter in your army so they're a bit wasted here. Their niche is poorly-armoured multiwound units like daemons or monsters, but it's often better to deal with these via plasma anyway.

An interesting pick for Blood Angels. Deployed regularly the 12" range means wasted points, but from a drop-pod they'll cook entire units of infantry and there isn't much your opponent can do to stop it but deploy cautiously. Plus, they don't care about moving due to automatically hitting targets, so they're a bit more mobile once deployed. But for the same points you could take Grav-Cannons, which have greater range, AP, and improved damage versus heavies, though fewer hits on average. Hence, these are ideal as the second half of the Drop Pod carrying your multimelta devs (or the occupants of the second pod), allowing the heavy flamers to clear away bubble wrap first or transport contents second.

The classic Meltapod is as effective as ever. Though tempting to drop turn one for doctrine benefits, consider delaying; sensible opponents will respect the meltapod and adopt a cautious formation with plenty of bubble-wrap for their heavies, and a cautious advance improves your map control. It's not like you need the AP boost. Always take the pod if you go melta; 12/24" range makes them unsuitable for gunlines and at 38 points a dude, they're far too expensive to risk losing before they can attack.

A strong pick this edition, with a steep points discount. Unlike tactical squads, they're not an automatic pick over Plasma Cannons as devastators have enough firepower to justify re-roll babysitters, but having twice the rate of fire for fewer points still means gravy is usually the tastier choice. If you want to deploy beyond auras, they're safer than overcharged Plasma and crack infantry better than safe Plasma. Grav Cannons are a much better choice for offensive drop pods, as safe plasma isn't efficient and so they need to bring re-roll auras with them. This means a max of 4 Plasma Cannons in one pod compared to 8 Grav Cannons, and a loss of aura characters from your main force.

Despite being second-best against everything, Launchers are a great option. As the game goes on gaps will emerge in your offensive options as anti-infantry and anti-tank units are killed off, and Launchers can plug either of these roles admirably. Launchers also have surprising survivability; as 'second-rate' weapons they're often overlooked as your opponent seeks to remove more obvious hard counters like the various cannons, and their range makes them well-suited to a backline.

Lascannons are a double-edged sword. While extremely effective against vehicles, they're one of the pricier options and single shots make them inefficient against blobs. As 9th edition's smaller boards reduce the chance of outranging enemies and they'll inevitably draw heavy fire, they need ablative wounds more than most, further driving up their cost. A solid choice against heavy enemies - but not likely to contribute beyond turn 3 either due to death, or having exhausted efficient targets.

Unlike tactical squads, Plasma Cannons are a viable choice for devastators as they can carry enough guns to justify a dedicated re-roll babysitter. When supported, overcharged plasma cannons are a lot like multimeltas with better range for cheaper, but slightly worse AP and much worse damage; S8 lets them bully vehicles and near-guarantees wounds on T3-4 if re-rolling 1s, which combined with d3 Blast shots means they aren't wasted shooting infantry. Plasma Cannons cost more than Plasma Guns for better range without losing rate of fire, Blast, and less accuracy on the move, so don't Drop Pod these guys if you ship them - plasma sternguard is how Space Marines do drop plasma. The other downside is that there's a much higher base investment to get results than other weapons; a Captain is mandatory, while the improvement from 2+ to re-rollable 2+ against T3-4 infantry is so significant that it *begs* for a Lieutenant. Ancients have no synergy - plasma overcharging won't trigger them - but overcharging means you should consider grabbing a Chief Apothecary for the warlord trait to avoid spending cps bringing them back. Since this many points invested will draw an absurd amount of firepower, you'll then need ablative wounds to avoid it being wasted, and since the auras are there anyway you might as well make them more efficient with multiple squads, and a few Infiltrators to give a deepstrike-denial bubble wouldn't go amiss either... basically, you do get increasing returns the more you commit, but the buy-in price is very high, so think it over carefully.

  • Hellblaster Squad: CORE. Plasma incinerators are 30", rapid fire 1, S7, AP-4, D1, with the same boost and risk as other plasma weapons if supercharged. The assault version is -6" of range and -1S, but shoots three times, meaning it's got a better rate of fire from just over 15" to 24", and critically, even when both weapons are in range to shoot at max rate, the assault weapon does half again as much damage (3 rather than 2 or 6 rather than 4), meaning that even against a t8 target, the assault variant murders better than the rapid fire. The heavy version's base damage is 2, supercharging to 3, and fires once.
    • Due to the changes to how modifiers interact with Gets Hot and reduced access to reroll auras, Hellblasters have gone from a potent but somewhat overcosted fire magnet in 8th to a very overcosted one in 9th. This efficiency is harmed even further by the extra wound the firstborn have gained as Hellblasters now NEED to make the riskier overcharge to have a chance of killing their targets with any given shot unless using the Heavy incinerator. The unfortunate truth is that they just aren't in a good place this edition; if you want to kill vehicles you should be fielding the guys below, and if you want to crack heavy infantry you're better served by grav-cannon Devastators, which are not only cheaper but actually outperform the Hellblasters against marines.
    • A squad of five in an Impulsor with a Captain for safer overcharging or a Librarian with supporting powers makes for a powerful and mobile shooting squad. 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.
    • Don't get too excited about Combat Doctrines. You're already AP-4, so going to AP-5 only affects Sv2+ models which almost always have an invulnerable save. (Along with Sv3+ models with Armour of Contempt, which is... most armies you'll face.)
  • Eradicator Squad: CORE. A blatant rip-off of Eldar Fire dragons, but Primaris-ified. You now have a Primaris squad with melta weapons and Gravis armour. M5", T5, W3, Sv3+ means they're slow and strong. Gravis prevents them from hopping into a cheap Impulsor as well, so they're either hoofing it or getting into an expensive Repulsor. No matter what weapons they have, their Total Obliteration rule allows them to pick a unit each turn and fire twice if every model in that unit targets it and the unit hasn't advanced. Their melta rifles are effectively 24" meltaguns, but the entire squad can swap them for heavy melta rifles (24", heavy 1, S8, AP-4, Dd6+2, becomes Dd6+4 against a target within half range). One in three models can swap their gun with a multi-melta for +10pts that can still double-tap, meaning it quadruple taps when it fires twice.
    • Received an ever-so-slight price increase to 45pts per model in the 2021 FAQ. Still under-costed for what they can spit out. Expect copious anger from your opponent when you eat a significant chunk of their Stompa in one turn with six infantry models.
    • 290 points gets you 6 models carrying two multimeltas, of which you will get you 16 S8 AP-4 d6+2 damage shots within 12". However, its probably smarter to settle with "only" melta rifles and get 12 shots though all assault type. That's on par with Titan grade weaponry.
    • White Scars love these things, especially in their default assault loadout. Being able to naruto run around the battlefield and fire their melta rifles without penalty makes up for their lackluster range and movement; being T5 and 3w also means they share a similar statline to the bikes WS players should already bringing, making them less of an obvious target.
  • Devastator Centurion Squad: Ridiculously ultra-heavy Marines with the firepower of a tank; people either hate or love them. They are slower and easier to kill individually than a tank, but have all the advantages of being Infantry; smaller size, gaining cover in certain terrain (like forests), can go to the second floor of buildings, etc. This unit can be the cornerstone of an army, but they don't have Core Keyword which somewhat reduces their appeal. Stock weaponry is a grav-cannon and a hurricane bolter, with the single cannon able to swap for two heavy bolters or two lascannons, and the bolters able to swap for a Centurion missile launcher (36", assault d3, S8, AP-2, Dd3, blast). Decimator Protocols allow them to move and fire heavy weapons without penalty and the Sergeant's Omniscope gives the entire team ignores cover if he's still alive. You can mix-and-match weapons within the team and combat-squad them to let you have one anti-tank and one anti-infantry squad in one Heavy Support slot.
    • Try to keep them out of close combat, though. Although they're strong and tough and have a fair number of attacks, (especially with Shock Assault), they don’t have any melee weapon. Contrary to appearances, those big hands are not power fists. Any specialized melee unit will tarpit you. You can always retreat, but you lose a turn of shooting then unless you're Ultramarines. Mind your positioning!
  • Eliminator Squad: CORE. The Primaris scalpel compared to the Primaris sledgehammer that is the Hellblasters or Gravis models. They have BS2+ and Camo-Cloaks that give them +2 to their saves for being in cover instead of +1. Their bolt sniper rifle gets three different ammo options; Executioners (36", heavy 1, S5, AP-1, D1, +1 to hit rolls and ignores cover), Hyperfrag (36", heavy d3, S5, AP0, D1, blast), and Mortis (36", heavy 1, S5, AP-2, D2, wound rolls of unmodified 6 inflicts an additional mortal wound). Eliminators can swap their bolt sniper rifles for a las-fusil for anti-light vehicle and anti-TEQ duties (36", heavy 1, S8, AP-3, D3) and the Sergeant can swap for an instigator bolt carbine (24", assault 1, S4, AP-1, D2, can target Characters). If the squad includes a Sergeant with instigator bolt carbine, the unit can move after shooting if they are not within engagement range of an enemy unit, allowing for move-shoot-move shenanigans which isn't a huge issue as you're only going down to BS3+.
    • Regarding bolt sniper rifles, you can pretty much ignore hyperfrags if you're not firing overwatch. Executioner rounds will be for the pesky units the rely on cover, like Scouts, Eliminators, Eldar Rangers, and Ratlings. Mortis will be your go-to for taking the heads off Characters though.
  • Thunderfire Cannon: Buy one Cannon, get a Techmarine free... ish, at 120pts for the pair. If the Techmarine moves further than 3" away from the Cannon, the Cannon is destroyed in a fit of extreme separation anxiety. If the Techmarine remains within 3" however, he cannot be targeted. The Thunderfire Cannon is a BS2+, T6, W4, Sv2+ model firing with a 60", heavy 4d3, S4, AP0, D1, blast weapon that does not require line-of-sight and will make quick work of GEQ units. You have the Thunderfire-unique Tremor Shells stratagem (1CP, -1 to wound rolls, enemy non-fly and non-Titanic units hit halve their move distance and suffer -2" to advance and charge distances). The Techmarine does not have the Techmarine keyword so cannot be a Master of the Forge, but can still heal nearby Vehicles like a regular Techmarine. He can't grant a nearby vehicle +1 to ranged hits, though, unlike a real Techmarine.
    • He's a good support unit to have, being a pseudo-Techmarine that doesn't eat a HQ slot that comes with a decent support gun and a good support stratagem. Set him up with some Firestrike Turrets or Rapiers, and he'll be happy.
    • Remember the Techmarine has guns too, so don't forget to shoot them.
  • Firestrike Servo-Turret: An interesting new model which may be encroaching upon the Tarantula Turret. It looks like a static turret, but still has M3" due to its grav-plates. T5 and W5 makes it reasonably tough against small arms fire, but incredibly weak against actual anti-tank. Crewed by a novitiate Techmarine, granting the model BS2+ and Sv2+, but nothing else that a Techmarine has (repair, weapons, keywords). Weaponry includes a twin las-talon (24", heavy 4, S9, AP-3, Dd6) or a twin accelerator autocannon (48", heavy 6, S7, AP-1, D2).
    • The las-talon is rather short-ranged and its main targets (tanks) will almost always have longer-ranged weaponry. The autocannons fix the range issue, but they're also on Suppressors who are more manoeuvrable and also shut down enemy overwatch.
  • Predator Tank: The classic Marine battle tank, to the point where it's an absolute crime that they don't benefit from the CORE tag. Not as up-armoured as they used to be back in the days of armour value, at T7 and W11 (only +1W over a Rhino). Comes in two flavours, Annihilator (twin lascannon) and Destructor (48" heavy 2d3 S7 AP-1 D3) for 10 points more. Either way, additional optional weaponry includes two sponson heavy bolters or two sponson lascannons, with a pintle storm bolter and hunter-killer missile.
    • Always take sponsons if you're going to take either Predator - otherwise, it'll be a Razorback but worse.
    • Let's look at units that can have four lascannons. An Annihilator with sponson lascannons is 170pts and a six-man quad-lascannon Devastator Squad is 168pts. Both platforms have their strengths and weaknesses, with the Predator being a single large unit with near-immunity against small-arms and the Devastators being able to use cover and terrain to their benefit. Alternatives include a couple of lascannon Razorbacks (240pts) or going all the way to a Land Raider (285pts), but the painful truth is that even after a points bump, Eradicators are your go-to choice for tank-hunting due to their sheer effectiveness and point-efficiency.
    • It can be hard to find good targets for the Destructor. Against MEQs, the Destructor's gun acts like an overpriced twin heavy bolter with a random (and lower on average) number of shots, dealing 4*3 instead of 6*2, which is really 33% less damage because the extra wounds don't spill over. Heavy bolters are already a little obsolete this edition thanks to Grav-Cannon buffs, and when you're paying main gun prices for what's basically two even worse heavy bolters, it's probably worth looking elsewhere if you want to hunt MEQs. If you want to hunt tanks, see the Annihilator entry.
      • However, the Destructor does have a surprising niche this edition, as weapons that guarantee 3 damage have a solid role hunting super-heavy infantry. A random number of shots doesn't help, and a measly -1 AP value is disappointing, but remember - your opponent only needs to fail a single save to lose a model. If your local meta features a lot of bikers, Terminators and/or Gravis specialists, the Destructor can be a deceptively potent addition to your army.
  • Vindicator: Actually up-armoured, that huge dozer blade isn't just for show! T8 and W11 is a respectable battle tank statline, on par with the Leman Russ. The Vindicator Siege Shield is a +10pt upgrade that grants the model +1 to armour saves against ranged attacks. Finally, the demolisher cannon is a 24" heavy d6 S10 AP-3 Dd6 blast weapon. Short-ranged, but it hits hard once it gets there; S10 means that it will wound everything on a 3+ or better.
    • The Vindicator has one less wound and better BS than an Imperial Guard Leman Russ Demolisher Cannon at 15 fewer points, but the IG Demolisher gets Grinding Advance, making it a lot more dangerous if it can get into range. The 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 demolisher on the field.
  • Vindicator Laser Destroyer (FW): This thing has the same stats as a Vindicator, but brings to the battlefield the unique laser volley cannon. Both profiles have 36" and heavy 3, but the similarities end there. The volley fire is S9 AP-3 Dd3+3, and the overcharge profile becomes S10 AP-4 and a whopping D6. Similar to overcharged plasma, this model suffers one mortal wound on a hit roll of unmodified one unless it remained stationary; then it can safely overcharge without fear. That means its two profiles deal 15 and 18 damage, respectively, on average, while a real Vindicator deals 12.25 base (at the better S but worse AP of this thing's profiles), up to 14 or 21 with Blast, and its rate of fire is always, on average, better, at 3.5 - all for substantially fewer points, so you should probably just skip this one.
  • Whirlwind: The classic Marine artillery has two gun options, both of which are 72" range, blast, and does not need line-of-sight. Castellan is you anti-swarm, with heavy 2d6, S6, AP0, D1, and Vengeance being your anti-MEQ, with heavy 2d3, S7, AP-1, D2, and a cost of +10pts. Don't forget to combine with a Land Speeders Data-Link Telemetry to gain +1 to your hit rolls.
    • You have to choose which gun to take when you build the list. Which is better is strictly a question of wounds; Castellan is better against 1-wound models, while Vengeance is better against 2+. If you were taking a Vengeance, look at the Scorpius below.
  • Whirlwind Scorpius (FW): Costs 1CP to take, but is worth it if you're going to take a Whirlwind Vengeance. No longer has the fire-twice rule from 7th edition, but the Scorpius multi-launcher is 48" heavy 3d3 S6 AP-2 D2, blast and does not need line-of-sight. Outclasses the Vengeance in most regards against Marines, but in general, just a worst choice against anything than a Sicaran Arcus, if you're paying the CP anyway.
  • Whirlwind Hyperios (FW Legends): The OG Marine anti-air artillery. The Stalker and Hunter rendered it obsolete, by being a cheaper GW model and being better at anti-air. 9th edition has given the hyperios launcher a new lease of life, with 48", heavy 2d3, S7, AP-2, D1. Like other Whirlwinds, it comes with blast and ignores line-of-sight. It gains +2 to hit rolls and becomes D2 against Aircraft. 2d3, BS2+ autocannon shots will do reasonable damage against enemy aircraft.
  • Hunter: Fires a surface-to-air missile instead of the flak attacks of the Stalker and Hyperios. 60", heavy 1, S9, AP-3, Dd6, gains +2 to hit rolls and becomes Dd6+6 against Aircraft. Two of these ought to be taking out an Aircraft each turn.
  • Stalker: The volume-of-fire AA option. Two icarus storm cannons, each firing at 48", heavy 3, S7, AP-1, D2. Against Aircraft, you make two hit rolls instead of one and gain +1 to hit rolls. That's twelve BS2+ (i.e. 10 will hit) autocannon attacks if both guns target one Aircraft, so better against the lighter Flyers.
    • Of course, much of the previous is very rosy sounding. If everything goes right - twelve hits, twelve wounds, twelve failed saves - you do 24 damage. However, that's only if you're extremely lucky and firing at Aircraft, but many Flyers are T7, meaning you only wound half the time. The AP means you will only get through their armour save roughly half the time. You will do 4-6 damage the majority of the time. Still, as cheap as chips for a vehicle this tough.
  • Land Raider: The mass transport and massive tank of the Firstborn. With the Vehicle changes, in addition to ignoring the heavy weapon penalty, it now also a horrible idea to try to tarpit them as they can still shoot. All Land Raiders can carry Terminators (two transport slots), Jump Pack models (two transport slots), and Centurions (three transport slots). They can all be equipped with a storm bolter and hunter-killer missile, and all but the Helios can take an additional multi-melta.
    • Gentle reminder of the Land Raider Excelsior (Legends) in the HQ slot. Ten transport capacity, Sv2+/5++, Captains Rite of Battle Aura, two twin lascannons, and a grav-cannon. Has 8th edition Smoke Launcher and Machine Spirit rules, but I don't think anyone will begrudge you using them as Keywords in 9th edition style.

Carries ten models. An effective all-rounder with anti-vehicle capability, 8th edition introducing unlimited splitfire benefited this Land Raider the most. Capable of using its lascannons to pop a vehicle and then following up with the heavy bolters to wipe out a MEQ squad. 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 and a Character or a 5-man squad of Assault Terminators. With T8, 16 wounds, and a 2+ armour save it'll be a tough nut to crack even with anti-armour weaponry.

Carries sixteen models. 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 Assault Launchers also help in regards to transporting and supporting its cargo, as it gives access to the stratagem. Its transport capacity makes it your best choice for transporting Terminators, Crusader squads, and other larger units.

  • Also, all those guns can fire without penalty, even if you're moving at maximum speed. Somewhere, a Black Templar wipes a manly tear away as he remembers the words "defensive weapons."
  • Now that Chapter Tactics apply to every Space Marine unit, Imperial and Crimson Fists could have a double hurricane bolters with an additional hit on a 6. Enjoy your 20 bolter HITS on rapid fire range!

Carries twelve models. 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. Can easily cockblock a charging unit with 2d6 automatic flamestorm shots, and no-one is going to risk charging it to tie it up in melee. Enjoying another price drop and 12" Flamestorm cannons!

  • The flamestorm cannon can, because of flamer autohits, crisp some flyers if you are close enough. Consider if it is worth putting your Land Raider in the open.

The Proteus has two sponson 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 option (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 Armour instead to give it a 5+ invulnerable save.

  • A Proteus with twin heavy bolters is 285pts, the exact same as the vanilla LR. However, the Proteus costs 1CP to take due to Martial Legacy, so get the most out of it and grab one of the two unique wargear items.

The rage-inducing and expensive Achilles is back in a big way in 9th ed. A low cost of 320pts with volkite and 360pts with melta, T8, W16, Sv2+/5++ for good measure makes this model insanely tough. The Achilles is armed with a hull-mounted quad launcher with two ammo types; shatter shells (24", heavy 4, S8, AP-2, D3) and thunderfire shells (60", heavy 4d3, S4, AP0, D1, blast and does not require line of sight). Sponson options are two twin volkite culverins (45", heavy 8, S6, AP0, D2, wound rolls of unmodified 6 inflict an additional MW) or two twin multi-meltas. Both sponsons are frankly solid options and do quite well against their desired targets. You have the option for a storm bolter and a hunter-killer missile but NOT the single multi-melta like most other LR's get access to. The only area it lacks is its transport capacity of 6, with Jump Pack and Terminator models taking up two spaces. Centurion and Wulfen models are mentioned, but no unit with those keywords is small enough to fit in, and Primaris aren't allowed as per usual. Good for a Character and a MSU Infantry unit, but don't expect much more.

Carries ten models with the usual Jump Pack, Terminator, Wulfen models taking up two and Centurions taking up three spaces. Its only stock weapons are two QUAD heavy bolters, so 24 D2 attacks will delete Marines on a hitherto-undreamt of scale. Optional storm bolter, hunter-killer, and multi-melta available. FW still somewhat took it out back and kneecapped it, as it no longer gives CP support and doesn't grant ignores cover, making it functionally a differently-armed vanilla Land Raider as it also doesn't cost a CP to take due to the lack of Martial Legacy.

Carries six models, so effectively no Centurions or Wulfen. Like the regular version, this model also has twin lascannons, but it brings along a Helios Launcher instead of twin heavy bolters. 48", heavy d3, S7, AP-2, D2, blast with +1 to hit rolls against Aircraft make this a rather crap AA-weapon, especially at 260pts. You have to ask yourself if you wouldn't be served better by a quad las Predator and Stalker or Hunter (280-285pts for both).

  • Repulsor Tank: The Primaris flying Land Raider, drop kicked into the Heavy Support slot with the new codex and trading a little armour for absurd more firepower. Holds 10 Primaris Marines (models with Gravis armour count as two) and carries a fair number of anti-tank or anti-horde weapons to protect its passengers. Has a dizzying array of weaponry. Main guns are a heavy onslaught gatling cannon (30", heavy 12, S6, AP-1, D1) which can be swapped for a twin las-talon (24" twin lascannon) and a twin heavy bolter that can be swapped for a twin lascannon. Secondary weapons are... Well, fucking confusing to keep track of, so see below. 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 access to the Repulsor Field stratagem for some shenanigans.
      • Ironhail heavy stubber (36", heavy 4, S4, AP-1, D1), swappable for onslaught gatling cannon (24", heavy 8, S5, AP-1, D1). Also an option for an additional ironhail heavy stubber.
      • Icarus ironhail heavy stubber (36", heavy 4, S4, AP-1, D1, +1 to hit rolls against Aircraft), swappable for a fragstorm grenade launcher (18", assault d6, S4, AP0, D1, blast), icarus rocket pod (24", heavy d3, S7, AP-1, D2), or krakstorm grenade launcher (18", assault 1, S6, AP-1, Dd3).
      • Two storm bolters, swappable for two fragstorm grenade launchers.
      • Auto launchers (grants the Smokescreen keyword), swappable for two fragstorm grenade launchers.
    • If you're just looking for lots of lascannons or horde-clearing weaponry, there are definitely cheaper (if somewhat slower) means of getting them on the table, like a Devastator Squad or Redemptor Dreadnought. Anti-armour 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-armour 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 armour 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 strat (-2 from any charge rolls). The optional Auto Launchers will grant access to the Smokescreen stratagem, giving an extra -1 to hit on opponent shooting rolls.
    • 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.
  • Repulsor Executioner: Jury's out on this one. Capacity of six with some big guns, thankfully less complicated to list here than the Repulsor. Fixed guns are a heavy onslaught gatling cannon (30", heavy 12, S6, AP-1, D1), twin heavy bolter, twin icarus ironhail heavy stubber (36", heavy 8, S4, AP-1, D1, +1 to hit rolls against Aircraft), two storm bolters, and two fragstorm grenade launchers (18", assault d6, S4, AP0, D1, blast). You have an option of two main guns; the macro plasma incinerator is the largest Marine plasma weapon, at 36", heavy d6, S8, AP-2, D2, blast, may gain +1S and +1D but hit rolls of one inflict one mortal wound against this model) and the heavy laser destroyer is one of the larger Marine las weapons (72", heavy 2, S12, AP-4, Dd3+3). Both main weapons gain +1 to hit rolls, thanks to this models Aquilon Optics rule.
    • Whenever you make such an investment on big units, you must consider everything you are paying for. While the heavy laser destroyer is a very potent weapon that will serve you well, this particular weapon loadout will require a play style that ignores most of the other benefits of the unit by hanging back and remaining fairly static. However, taking the Plasma loadout saves points and requires closer positioning of the tank, thus placing it in more danger. That may seem foolhardy, but this vehicle is loaded with close/mid-range weaponry that complements the plasma very well, while still being able to deliver a six-man Primaris Infantry unit on top of Repulsor Fields. This writer regards the Executioner as a very gun-laden Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV), not a true Main Battle Tank (MBT). You can take an MBT's weapons loadout, and that may certainly be necessary at times, but this tank's true calling is in direct support of infantry.
    • Counter opinion: You're paying a massive number of points for a large unit without an invulnerable save. W16 can be stripped off by a lucky volley from some Hellblasters, or anything that will kill eight Marines. Combined with the medium range and transport duties this thing should be doing, there is just too much risk. The model is cool and there are definitely some niche uses for it, but you can get an Impulsor and a Gladiator Valiant for the same points for mostly the same job.
    • Counter counter opinion: If you're playing Iron Hands and don't mind sparing the CP, stick a Master of the Forge with the Ironstone Relic and the Adept of the Omnissiah Warlord Trait near one of these and have your best trollface ready for when the other player realises he's now going to have to treat this like a Knight.
  • Gladiator Tank: The Primaris Predator. Up-guns the Predator with +1T and +1W, making it slightly more durable, but its price comes at the cost of having more guns. Two loadouts are in the mid - short-range arena, which should reward aggressive playstyles under the new vehicle rules, however, durability may still be a concern. All have the same options, of picking an Auto Launcher (Smokescreen keyword), ironhail heavy stubber (36", heavy 4, S4, AP-1, D1), and icarus rocket pod (24", heavy d3, S7, AP-1, D2).

Close-range tank-hunting. Twin las-talon (24" quad lascannon) and two multi-meltas give it a lot of firepower with the same range. It is expensive, but it has eight shots at Dd6 or more. Well worth taking the auto-launchers to scoot forward 10", use the stratagem for the -1 to hit rolls, then scoot forward again and start blasting. However, 250pts is only 35pts less than standard Land Raider, which is far tougher and delivers its four Dd6 shots at twice the range (so what you are saying is "for more points you can have half the shots but from further away").

Mid-range anti-infantry. Twin heavy onslaught gatling cannon (30", heavy 24, S6, AP-1, D1) and two tempest bolters (30", rapid fire 4, S4, AP-1, D1). That's roughly enough to kill an MSU MEQ squad and will easily mulch larger GEQ blobs. Effectiveness peaks when you get to within 15" of a target to double the number of attacks with its tempest bolters. 230pts and like the Valiant, a Land Raider Crusader does a similar job except it trades quality of shots for toughness and transport capacity.

The cheapest, with long-range precision anti-tank fire. Heavy laser destroyer (72", heavy 2, S10, AP-3, Dd3+3) with Aquilon Optics for +1 to hit rolls and two storm bolters or two fragstorm grenade launchers. The pointless 200pts option, get the Valiant for 400% more firepower for 25% more points (albeit at 33% of the range).

  • KratosHH: The first new tank from the HH reboot, this is an absolute beast with 18W and 2+ save. As with the old FW tanks, this also has Martial Legacy and thus requires CP to even be fielded. This thing is quire literally armed to the teeth, as aside from its main cannon and coaxial autocannon it has a set of 2 sponson-mounted Heavy Bolters, Lascannons, Heavy Flamers, or Volkite Calivers as well as the option for a pintle-mounted combi-weapon, Twin Boltgun (likely to differentiate from the misleading name of combi-bolter), Heavy Bolter, Heavy Flamer, Multi-Melta, or Havoc Launcher.

The most flexible weapon also just happens to be the one you start off with. The cannon comes with two profiles: The Armor Penetrating round (36" Heavy 1 S14 AP-5 D6+d3) to obliterate monsters and punch holes in tanks and the High Explosive rounds (36" Heavy 3+d6 S7 AP-2 D3 Blast) to wipe out any mobs in the way. While it won't absolutely demolish other heavy battletanks nor wipe whole mobs of nids, this gives you plenty to work with.

Oddly, the melta cannon is actually a lot weaker than the Kratos cannon. However, at Heavy 4 S8 AP-4 Dd6 with the typical damage boost at half-range, this does have more potential to take down tanks in one turn.

Longer range at 45". The volkite cannon is the closest you get to a rapid-fire cannon, with S7 AP-1 D2 and +2 MWs per natural 6 to wound. This puts at a decent position to wipe out GEQs and holds a decent chance against MEQs, though actual marines and Sisters will be the least affected due to Armour of Contempt.

  • Sicaran Battle TankFW: A series of Relic tanks, having an improved rhino chassis with W14 and Sv2+. The downside is they have a Martial Legacy, so they cost 1CP to even bring. In addition to its main gun and a single Heavy Bolter, you can grab 2 sponson-mounted Heavy Bolters or 2 Lascannons, a hunter-killer missile, and a pintle-mounted Storm Bolter, if you crave more dakka.

The Sicaran has transitioned smoothly into 8th and 9th ed. It's armed with a nasty accelerator autocannon (48", Heavy 6, S7, AP-2, D3) but unfortunately lost its ability to ignore hit modifiers.

The Venator trades the regular Sicaran's quantity of consistent shots for vehicle annihilation; 48", heavy 3, S12, AP-3, Dd6, rising to D6 if the tank remained stationary. finish off whatever survives with the hunter-killer or the sponson lascannons.

The Punisher says "fuck GEQ's"; 36", heavy 18, S6, AP-1, D1. Enjoy making Orks and Tyranids and Tau and Guard and Eldar cry.

Another Sicaran variant, acting like a bigger Whirlwind Scorpius, this one is armed with a multi-launcher; 48", heavy 2d6, S6, AP-1, D2, blast and ignores LOS. If you're taking an Arcus over a Scorpius, you're already ahead in terms of points efficiency for what you're buying, but since you've paid a CP for this thing, make sure to kit out the sponsons, too.

Its Omega Plasma Array has two modes; in its normal mode (36", heavy 6, S8, AP-3, D2) it can easily wipe MEQs. It has the standard Imperial plasma overcharge (+1S, +1D, suffer one mortal wound on hit rolls of UM1) which allows it to melta light armour and TEQ's as well as support against the heavier Vehicles. If you are taking the HB sponsons consider the Deredeo with plasma arms and Aiolos as they are the same points for very similar firepower but with the Deredeo being more survivable.

  • Rapier CarrierFW: A heavy weapon platform that comes with one bolter Marine babysitting it who doesn't actually exist for almost all rules purposes - except that he genuinely occupies table space, meaning you can position him to make the Carrier more awkward to charge, as other models can't actually stand on top of him. T5, W5, and Sv3+ make it somewhat like a Centurion. Give it one of the weapon options below.

It's four heavy bolters welded together. 85pts for this vs 130pts for a heavy bolter Devastator Squad, or 90 for a t.a.c Firestrike makes this the most efficient choice for that loadout. The Devastator Squad has twice the W and the ability to use Fortifications and Transports, while this model with its higher T can ignore small arms fire more easily. The Firestrike has a better BS and Sv, but firing half the shots at 2 more S is inferior, even with the higher BS.

Comes with two firing modes. Shatter shells (a.k.a. fuck TEQ's) are 24" heavy 4 S8 AP-2 D3. Thunderfire shells are 60" heavy 4d3 S4 AP0 D1, blast and ignores LoS. At 120pts, it costs the exact same as a Thunderfire Cannon and its Thunderfire shells even have the exact same profile, making it worse, since its BS is worse. The differences are that this unit gains a second weapon profile and the Thunderfire cannon is tougher (+1W, +1T, Sv2+) and comes with a Techmarine baked into the cost instead of an extra bolter. The other obvious comparison is to a Devastator Squad carrying missile launchers - a full squad runs 150 points to the 120 you're paying here. Against a hard target, Shatter mode is slightly more efficient than the Devastator Squad's krak missiles, while against a soft one, it depends on target unit size just how much worse this is, but suffice to stay the Devastator Squad's frag missiles will outperform you, by a lot. In other words, stick to the Devastator Squad.

The other expensive option clocking in at also 120pts. 36" heavy 3 S10 AP-4 Dd3+3 makes this the anti-Monster/Vehicle Rapier, easily outperforming a quadruple lascannon Devastator Squad for points efficiency. On the other hand, it can't compete with a quadruple multimelta Devastator Squad, even when it takes a movement penalty and fails to get into melta range.

The big daddy of the man-portable grav-cannon, and the other cheap option. 36" heavy d6 S6 AP-3 D2, blast and becomes D3 against targets with Sv3+ or better. This deals 7 damage base, up to 8 and 12 with blast, or 10.5, 12, and 18 against targets with good saves, all for 85 points. By contrast, grav-cannon devastators (which are at S5, don't forget), deal 17 base (after accounting for the one BS2+ dude), up to 34 against good saves, for 130 points, which means the Carrier absolutely has to shoot a unit of size 11+ to pull ahead, so you should probably skip this.

  • Mortis DreadnoughtFW Legends: 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.
  • Deimos Pattern Relic Predator (FW Legends): Take a Predator, give it an extra wound, and slap the Relic keywords and Martial Legacy rules on it. The huge difference is the access to turret weapons and the ability to also take sponson heavy flamers.

Plasma Destroyers fill in the usual plasma niche, but it's garbage. 36", heavy d3, S7, AP-4, D1, blast, it's the same as the plasma cannon on a Dreadnought. It can opt to gain +1S and +1D for the usual suffer-MW-on-hit-roll-of-UM1, but that's not going to happen because frankly you're not going to take this weapon.

Have you ever looked jealously at the Blood Angel Baal Predator? No, me either. 18", heavy 2d6, S6, AP-1, D1, auto hits means you can do shots of Tyranid and Ork players tears during the game. Don't forget, Deimos Predators can also take sponson heavy flamers.

  • Could see potential use with Salamanders, depending on upcoming stratagems that survived from 8th and if it can benefit from Vulkans aura or maximum-attacks-with-flame-weapons Warlord Trait.

The mac-daddy of melta weaponry. 36", heavy 2d3, S8, AP-4, Dd6, blast, +2D if within 18". This is most likely better anti-tank than the Annihilators twin lascannons.

The weapon that gets better with distance. Starting at 0-24", it is heavy d3, S6, AP-1, D2, blast. It gains +1S, +1AP, and +1D for every 24" further up to 72" (0-24", 25-48", and 49-72"). A good anti-tank addition to a gunline, but possibly not as solid as the las Predator.


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.

  • Hammerfall Bunker: Its appearance and functionality suggests it's a turret, not a bunker. Armed with a hammerfall missile launcher that fires superkrak (72", heavy 2, S10, AP-2, Dd6) or superfrag (72", heavy 2d6, S6, AP0, D1, blast) missiles. It's equipped with either a hammerfall heavy bolter array or hammerfall heavy flamer array. This means each turn, it makes one heavy bolter or heavy flamer attack against ALL enemy units within range. When firing overwatch, it effectively shoots within two heavy bolters or two heavy flamers.
  • Tarantula Sentry Guns (FW): 40pts for the twin heavy bolter and 50pts for the twin lascannon. There has been a change in the targeting rules, so you can choose the nearest infantry or nearest vehicle regardless of your gun (more useful for the HB variant that may want to hit a light vehicle occasionally).
  • Tarantula Air Defence Battery (FW Legends): Now 40pts each, their weapon has had a slight change. 48", heavy d6, S7, AP-1, D1, becomes D2 against Aircraft. Similar to other Tarantulas, they must target the nearest Fly unit, then the nearest unit if one is not available. Due to retards writing rules, this unit must target Assault Marines before an Aircraft, as it specifies Fly units and not Aircraft in its Target Priority.
  • Castellum Stronghold (FW Legends): In case you want to play an army comprised of buildings instead of tanks and soldiers. Starting at 600pts, this model consists of one Bunker (T8, W20, Sv3+) and three Annexes (T8, W12, Sv3+). This fortification grants Light Cover, Heavy Cover, Obscuring, and Defensible. 30 models can embark in the Bunker and 15 can shoot out of it, and 12 models can embark in each Annex while 10 can shoot out of it. After a fortification model is destroyed, roll a d6 before models disembark. On a 6, each unit suffers d3 mortal wounds, and the now-destroyed fortification model counts as Difficult Terrain, Exposed Position, and Unstable Position.
    • The Bunker has two weapon slots and each Annex has one slot. You don't have to take them, but weapon options are twin lascannon (+40pts), twin heavy bolter (+30pts), twin heavy flamer (+30pts), twin assault cannon (+40pts), multi-melta (+25pts), and castellum air defence missiles (+45pts, 48", heavy 2d3, S8, AP-2, D3, +2 to hit rolls against Aircraft).
    • The Bunker also has three unique options; castellum battle cannon (+40pts, 72", heavy d6, S9, AP-3, D3, blast), castellum Icarus quad lascannon (+85pts, 96", heavy 4, S9, AP-3, Dd6, +2 to hit rolls against Aircraft), and communication relay (+10pts, +1CP if your Warlord is embarked, so make them a cheap one with a long-range gun instead of a punchy-orientated one).
    • If there are no units embarked in the buildings, each weapon must target the nearest enemy unit or the nearest enemy Aircraft unit.

Lords of War[edit]

Well, well, well... The superheavies have seen some changes. For the most part they are all now T8, but their prices have been reduced by half in some cases. Further, fielding these units will heavy tax your command points as they are relics and require super heavy detachments.

As a reminder, every model in this list will greatly benefit from being Iron Hands with a babysitting Master of the Forge; Chapter Tactics 6+++ FNP and Vehicles double their wounds for the purposes of choosing which stats they have, and the Warlord will heal them 3W per turn.

  • Land Raider Variants (Chapter Approved 2017, open play only): What happens when Games Workshop meets Build-A-Bear Workshop. It has the typical Land Raider stats and keywords that are common to all official variants. (TC) refers to transport capacity and is modified depending on sponson and hull weaponry. Example; (TC -5) means subtract five from the current capacity.
    • Primary Sponsons and Initial TC: Pick one from the following list. It also determines the starting transport capacity, with all other options being modifiers. Two twin lascannons (TC 10), two flamestorm cannons (TC 12), or two hurricane bolters (TC 16).
    • Secondary Sponsons: Two lascannons (TC -5), two heavy bolters (TC -5), two heavy flamers (TC -5), nothing (TC no effect).
    • Hull Weapons: Twin lascannon (TC -5), twin heavy bolter (TC no effect), twin assault cannon (TC no effect).
    • Pintle Weapons: None of the following affect your Land Raiders TC and you can have any of them you like in any combination. Storm bolter, hunter-killer missile, or multi-melta.
    • Abilities: If you don't have any lascannons, you have the Frag Launcher keyword. If you have three or more single or twin lascannons, you gain the power overload rule (three or more hit rolls of 1 with lascannons in the same phase inflicts six mortal wounds on the Land Raider).
  • Land Raider Terminus Ultra (Legends): Now that the Smurfs have stopped being selfish pricks, this unit is available to all Chapters. Inexplicably in the Lords of War section, its statline is no different from other Land Raiders, but it will do a spectacular job of wrecking vehicles thanks to its eight lascannon shots per turn. Three 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 armour 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.
  • Spartan (FW): The Spartan has always been a bigger and 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, and Sv2+. It comes stock with hull-mounted twin heavy bolters (which can be replaced with twin heavy flamers), two sponson-mounted quad lascannons, and anything trying to attack it in melee will have to deal with its crushing tracks, which "swing" at SU, AP-2, Dd3, but it's best not to rely on that since it's only WS5+ and A6/d6/d3. If the eight lascannons don't tickle your pickle, they can be swapped for laser destroyers that strike at 36", heavy 3, S10, AP-4, Dd3+3. The shorter range doesn't hurt it a whole bunch, since it's a transport and should be heading towards the enemy anyway. 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 d6+6" before any embarked models disembark.
  • Typhon (FW): The Vindicator's big brother on steroids is a fierce siege engine, taking the Spartan chassis but dropping the transport capacity and weaponry. As stock, the dreadhammer siege cannon is its only gun, but it drops a 24" heavy 2d6 S10 AP-4 D3 blast attack, making it worse offensively than a pair of Vindicators, while costing more. The dreadhammer can put a serious hurt on just about anything it's pointed at. In addition to the main gun, it can grab two 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. Avoid this.
  • Cerberus (FW): An insane Titan-class laser weapon mounted also based on the Spartan chassis. It's exactly the same as the Typhon above, but swaps the dreadhammer siege cannon for a neutron pulse array kicks out 48" heavy 4 S14 AP-4 D2d3, that become D6 if it remains stationary. The longer range and special rule of this gun means it doesn't mind sitting well back from the front line.
  • Fellblade (FW): The Baneblade's exponentially meaner cousin and the king of the battlefield. If you get first turn with a Fellblade in your army and your positioning is good, you WILL win. Absolutely bristling with guns, it has a massively impressive statline of BS3+, S8, T8, W26, and Sv2+. Its enormous and versatile Fellblade accelerator cannon sports two shell types: HE shells slap heavy infantry with 72", heavy 2d6, S8, AP-3, D2 (FAQ on 7th Jan 2021 reduced the damage), blast shots and AE shells are 72", heavy 2, S14, AP-4, D6 to cripple tanks. As for secondary weapons, it has a hull-mounted demolisher cannon (24", heavy d6, S10, AP-3, and Dd6) and sponson-mounted quad lascannons that can be swapped for laser destroyers (36", heavy 3, S10, AP-4, Dd3+3). It also has the usual Marine Lord of War pintle options with a storm bolter, heavy bolter, heavy flamer, or multi-melta. Finally, it's crushing tracks attack in melee with SU, AP-2, Dd3, but they only hit on a 5+ and you get less attacks as you get crippled.
    • It's debateable if the AE shells or HE shells are better against Vehicles and Monsters. The AE shells are high S and D, but you only make two hit rolls and Captain Aura's no longer allow them to re-roll hit rolls of 1 since they lack the core keyword. AE shells will be better off against T7 or below models (Carnifex's, Eldar and Tau Vehicles, Imperium Transports, etc) since the S14 wounds them on a 2+, but against T8 models (Leman Russ, Wraithknights, Wraithlords, etc) the sheer amount of attacks from the HE shells that wound on a 4+ will be better than two attacks that wound on a 3+.
  • Falchion (FW): A Fellblade variant which shares the same statline, keywords, and sponson/pintle weapons, but swaps the demolisher cannon and Fellblade accelerator cannon for the twin Falchion volcano cannon; 120", heavy 2d3, S14, AP-5, D6, re-roll failed wound rolls against Titanic units.
    • The Imperial Guard Shadowsword has a much better volcano cannon (heavy 3d3, S16, and D2d6), so you do rely on your sponsons to take up the anti-tank slack. The stock Shadowsword is 470pts vs the Falchions 600pts, and the Catachan <Regiment> Doctrine (re-roll one die used when determining the number of attacks made with a Vehicle weapon) is one of the best Vehicle rules in the game, although it's pretty challenging putting a Doctrine bonus on a Lord of War now.
  • Mastodon (FW): If the Spartan is a Land Raider with the dial turned up to 11, the Mastodon has broken the dial off and eaten it. One of the few T9 models in the game, with W30 and Sv2+, as well as two Void Shields that grant it a 5++ while they're still active. Each Void Shield has three "shield points" and each failed saving throw knocks off one shield point for each point of damage, in a similar way to wounding normally. Any excess damage is not carried over to the other Void Shield or the model itself (e.g, a lascannon that rolls a five for damage against a full Void Shield knocks off all three shield points, but the remaining two damage is not carried over to the other shield or the model itself). Once a Void Shield is gone, it does not return, but any remaining Void Shields with less than three shield points at the start of your Command Phase is returned to having three shield points. As for weapons, it has two heavy flamers, two lascannons, and crushing tracks. It also has two unique weapons: a skyreaper battery (48" heavy 8 S7 AP-2 D2, gains +1 to hit rolls and becomes D4 if the target is an Aircraft) and the siege melta array (24" heavy 6 S8 AP-4 Dd6, becomes Dd6+2 against a target within 12"). It also carries a whopping forty models, with Terminators, Jump Pack, and Wulfen models counting as two, Centurions counting as three, and can also carry up to two Dreadnoughts which count as ten models each. It still cannot take Primaris, and cannot take Deredeo or Leviathan Dreadnoughts, but any other Dread is fair game, regardless of Wounds, unlike a Dread Drop Pod.
  • Thunderhawk Gunship (FW): The standard air support and transportation workhouse of the Space Marines, in the fluff anyway, since this monstrous flyer will cost you an arm and a leg (in both points and real $). It has a big M20-50" stat, and the Airborne, Hard To Hit, Hover Jet, and Supersonic rule from the Codex Flyers. T8, W30, and Sv2+ also makes it one of the toughest Aircraft in the Imperium, if not the game. Weaponry is two lascannons and four twin heavy bolters, on top of the Thunderhawk heavy cannon (48", heavy 2d6, S8, AP-2, Dd3+2, blast) and Thunderhawk cluster bombs (pick a unit this model moved over, roll 6d6 if you picked a Monster or Vehicle or 1d6 for each model in a unit up to 18d6, and each 4+ causes one mortal wound). The cannon can be swapped for a turbo-laser destructor to wreck tougher Vehicles with 96", heavy 3, S16, AP-5, D6, and the bombs can be swapped for a hellstrike missile battery so you don't have to move over your target to hit them with 72", heavy 4, S8, AP-3, D3, and against Aircraft it becomes Dd3+3 and gains +1 to hit rolls. As for Transport, it can carry thirty FIRSTBORN AND PRIMARIS models! Wulfen, Terminator, Mk X Gravis, and Firstborn Jump Pack models count as two, Centurion, Firstborn Bikers, and Primaris Jump Pack count as three, and Primaris Bikers take up a whopping four. For a Small Price of 800 Points!.
  • Thunderhawk Transporter (FW Legends): A Thunderhawk variant designed for airlifting tanks. This unusual vehicle shares the statline of the Thunderhawk, but only carriers the hellstrike missile battery and four twin heavy bolters. In addition to fifteen models with the same restrictions as the Thunderhawk above, it can carry two Rhino-based Vehicles (Rhino, Razorback, Predator, Hunter, Stalker, Whirlwind, Whirlwind Scorpius, Vindicator, Vindicator Laser Destroyer) or one Land Raider (any flavour), Sicarius (any flavour), Spartan, Typhon, or Cerberus. Any embarked models do not count towards the fifteen-model transport capacity. 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. It's much cheaper than the Thunderhawk Gunship, but its usefulness is somewhat questionable, cool as it may be.
  • Sokar Pattern Stormbird (FW): The largest Flyer Forge World offers to the Marines, but still dwarfed next to the Tau Manta. T8, W40, and Sv2+, with two Void Shields (see the Mastodon unit entry). It can carry half a Marine company, with a fifty-model capacity. Like the Thunderhawk, it can split those between Firstborn and Primaris models with the same restrictions according to armour type. Unlike the Thunderhawk, it can carry one Rhino which counts as twenty-five models (models embarked in the Rhino do not count towards the fifty-model capacity). Carries a hellstrike missile battery (72", heavy 4, S8, AP-3, D3, and against Aircraft it becomes Dd3+3 and gains +1 to hit rolls), three twin heavy bolters, and four twin lascannons.
  • Astraeus (FW): Your Titanic grav-tank and a common sight on the competitive scene. T8, W30, and Sv2+ with two Void Shields (see the Mastodon unit entry) are your main defensive stats. Fly gives you vulnerability against certain weapons but the Repulsor Field gives you the stratagem for defence against charges. The main gun is the twin macro-accelerator cannon, with a mean 72", heavy 12, S8, AP-2, D3 statline. Secondary weapons are two Astraeus las-rippers (36", heavy 2, S9, AP-3, Dd6) that can be swapped for two plasma eradicators (36", heavy d6, S7, AP-4, D2, blast and can gain +1S and +1D but hit rolls of unmodified 1 inflict a mortal wound against the Astraeus). Tertiary/defensive guns include a twin heavy bolter (swappable for a twin lascannon), storm bolter, and one ironhail heavy stubber (with the option to take a second).
    • Compared to the Fellblade, its main gun is almost strictly better under mathhammer due to the high number of S8 and D3 shots. Against a Knight the Fellblade's AE mode barely does 6 damage, with a fair chance of doing 0, vs the Astraeus' more consistent 6-9 damage. The TMAC is also a better version of the Fellblade's HE mode; guaranteed 12 shots vs 2d6 with one less AP and blast. Very effective against light/medium Vehicles (especially the usually flimsier Aircraft), as well as W3 Infantry such as Gravis and Terminator Marines, Tyranid Warriors, and Custodes. The secondary armament is only inferior with the eight Lascannons and Demolisher Cannon of the Fellblade outgunning the Accelerator Cannon itself when combined. It's a mixed picture in melee, with the Repulsor Field stratagem making the Astraeus harder to engage and hit but it lacks the option to mount any flamer for point defence; the Fellblade can mount up to three heavy flamers which will inflict significant overwatch casualties on attacking Infantry as well as crushing tracks to deal some damage back. The Void Shield gives it an important defensive tool that the Fellblade and most superheavy tanks lack so it ends up out-living the Fellblade in the long run by effectively having ~29 wounds. Most importantly, it's much cheaper than the Fellblade since it's not a Relic you don't have to pay the CP tax.


For ease of navigation, if all you care about is which Doctrine a Chapter's specific Combat Doctrines ability is relevant in, here's the list sorted that way; read all first founding chapters as also including successors, except for Black Templars, who use their own, not the Imperial Fists.

  • All
    • Black Templars
    • Dark Angels
    • Deathwatch
  • Devastator Only
    • Imperial Fists
    • Iron Hands
  • Tactical Only
    • Raven Guard
    • Salamanders
    • Ultramarines
  • Assault Only
    • Blood Angels
    • Space Wolves
    • White Scars

Dark Angels[edit]

Dark Angels Chapter Livery.jpg
In the grim darkness of the far future, there is no forgiveness.

Thematically, the Dark Angels are a stoic and reclusive chapter, with specialist knightly orders furthering their hidden agendas. Resolute almost to the point of stubborness, they will stand their ground against all odds. Constantly on the hunt for their hated enemies though, they are known to abandon anything (even their own allies) in their relentless pursuit.

On the tabletop, these guys are like three armies as one, being able to call on the pursuit specialists of the Ravenwing, or the intractable killers of the Deathwing to complement your stoic core of green marines, but they also have rules to focus on their specialist orders if you want to center on them instead. Finally, they always have something going on in every doctrine, and they also have ways of modifying the doctrine progression.

If you want your SM army to be a powerful combined arms force made of elite specialists, and you want to master all weapons and tactics, then play with lions of The First and make your enemies repent.

Special Rules[edit]

  • Chapter Tactics - Grim Resolve: All units auto-pass their combat attrition checks, which is pretty cool. The bigger deal is that if they do not move at all during a turn (excluding any pile-ins and consolidation moves) they get +1 to the hit roll, and it doesn't differentiate between melee or shooting. This buff consolidates them as a defensive chapter, or at least one that stands their ground, boosting their shooting when defending an objective, and even boosting their melee when charged, as you don't usually move in the enemy's turn. It also affects a second round of melee; basically as long as you aren't the one charging.
    • Generally of no benefit on a BS2+ model, though it does help them counter any -1s to hit that affects them, including the ones from power fists and combi-weapons in dual fire mode.
    • It also boosts the utility of your captains (and Wisdom of the Ancients Dreadnoughts), as re-rolls of 1 at BS/WS2+ are akin to full rerolls.
    • Inner Circle units only benefit from the Inner Circle rule if they have this chapter tactic (or Inheritors)
  • Combat Doctrine - Sons of the Lion: Unlike last edition, the Dark Angels are no longer restricted to any single doctrine, having a specialist doctrine for each of them, though for different sections of your army. Note that this rule will stay in effect even if you pack some Agents of the Imperium units in there:

Fire Discipline: When the Tactical Doctrine is active, non-deathwing Infantry can fire their Rapid Fire and Assault weapons at an enemy they are engaged with, at BS5+ (i.e.: 4+ after your Chapter Tactic adds 1 to the hit roll). Nothing with Jink or Inner Circle has this, by definition.

  • It's akin to letting your greenfantry use their guns as a pistol, which is a defensive measure if your enemy charges a unit and fails to destroy it that turn; now that unit can shoot before fighting next turn, and pistols can't be interrupted by Counter Attack.
  • Noticeable on units with flamers, such as Aggressors. Once again, this would only apply when you are in an ongoing melee in your own turn; that's an enemy charge, not your own charge.
  • Intractable: While the Assault Doctrine is active, your Deathwing Infantry and Deathwing Dreadnought units can re-roll the wound roll when punching a character unit, or a unit containing at least one model with W8+. Read: kill valuable enemy models
    • Deathwing with lightning claws won't benefit; keep those away from the big things. Deathwing Knight Flails won't trigger their special ability, but the rest of the unit is wielding better thunder hammers, so that's ok.
  • Inner Circle: Given to all Deathwing and Inner Circle units if you use the Grim Resolve Chapter Tactic. Units with this rule:
    • Automatically pass morale tests.
    • Are unable to Fall Back if engaged with a unit with the FALLEN keyword (unless your unit is a Vehicle). Fluffy, doesn't really come up.
    • Must roll its Ld or less on 2D6 in order to Fall Back from a non-FALLEN unit (unless your unit has the VEHICLE, RAVENWING, or CHAPTER MASTER keyword). Again, not realy a problem.
    • If this unit has the INFANTRY keyword, an unmodified wound roll of 1-3 always fails against them. This is pure gold, making Terminators and Bladeguard extremely resistant.
  • 1st Company: When using a Vanguard Detachment comprised entirely of Deathwing and/or Inner Circle units, Termies of the classic, assault, Deathwing, and Relic kind all count as having ObSec and you get +3 CP if your warlord's in the detachment. All you'll need to make them a worthwhile force.
    • Because it's "And/Or", units that have Inner Circle but lack Deathwing still don't break the restriction. That means you can bring Sammael, Talonmasters and pretty much any of the Elite Ravenwing.
  • Rites of Initiation lets you add Deathwing (and thus gives them the Inner Circle ability) to the following units for a points cost:
    • CAPTAIN, meaning any Captain can gain Inner Circle, including the phobos one. Biker captains can have both Deathwing and Ravenwing, which matters for 1st Company unit restrictions...but he can be wounded on a 3+, because that bit of the Inner Circle rule doesn't affect non-infantry.
    • PRIMARIS LIEUTENANT equipped with storm shield. Because Bladeguard. Weird how he can get deathwing & Inner Circle, but not actually bladeguard.
    • LAND RAIDER. The Inner Circle rule doesn't really benefit non-Dreadnought vehicles but does affect 1st Company unit restrictions, which you can't do for 2nd Company detachments.
    • Any TRANSPORT unit that can transport TERMINATOR models. That means no "deathwing impulsors" for Bladeguard, only Repulsors (or Repulsor Executioner).
    • Base and primaris chaplains can't get Inner Circle, meaning that you'll need Terminator/Interrogator-Chaplains if you want to make the most of it.
    • Likewise, there's no way to induct Techmarines into the first company and thereby grant them Inner Circle.
  • Speed of the Raven: When the Devastator Doctrine is active, your RAVENWING models add +3" to their movement and can shoot in any turn they advanced, though they are making these attacks at penalty as if they're firing assault weapons. Powerful mobility boost for your Bikers, and especially your Speeders which can now combine Jink with their rapid fire and heavy weapons. Ironically it doesn't affect the shooting of any biker that actually does have "Ravenwing" in the name, all of whom are packing assault weapons on their bikes anyway. Still makes them faster, though.
    • This will absolutely be useful in getting your bikes up close and laying on the hurt right off the bat. You can use the Brilliant Strategist WT or Tactical Appraisal/Adaptive strategy Strat to extend the time your units are affected by the Devastator Doctrine and thus keep a pack of Ravenwing at full speed (and at 4++).
  • Jink: If you use the Grim Resolve Chapter Tactic, units that have this ability all gain a 4++ against ranged, as long as they advance in the movement phase. If they make any other move they get a 5++, but if they Remain Stationary, they get nothing (so there's no way to get both the invuln and the +1 to hit from the chapter tactic). Remember, you can still fire assault weapons after advancing at a -1 BS penalty. Good for meltaguns, flamers, and all bikes with plasma talons.
  • Inner Circle: Given to all Deathwing and Inner Circle units if you use the Grim Resolve Chapter Tactic. Ravenwing gets a simplified version, once you remove the rules that never apply to it:
    • This unit automatically passes morale tests.
    • This unit is unable to Fall Back if in melee with a unit with the FALLEN keyword unless this unit is a Vehicle (fluffy, this will rarely bug you).
  • Second Company: The return of specialized army lists! In an Outrider Detachment that's wholly composed of RAVENWING units, your Bike and Outrider squads all gain ObSec and you get +3 CP if your warlord's in this detachment. Oh hell to the yes.

Crusade Additions[edit]

Secondary Objectives[edit]


  • Deathwing Assault (1CP): Used in the Shooting Phase on a Deathwing unit that was set up on the Battlefield on the same turn, add 1 to wound rolls with its attacks made with ranged weapons.
  • Full Throttle (1/2CP): Used in the Movement phase after a Ravenwing unit advances. It makes a Normal Move of up to 12" but cannot shoot or declare a charge that turn. Costs 1CP with a unit of 5 models or fewer, 2CP with 6+ models.
  • Intractable (2CP): Use this Stratagem in the Movement Phase when a Dark Angels unit is selected to fall back. Until the end of the turn, that unit is eligible to shoot. In addition, if they're Inner Circle they automatically pass the Ld test to fall back.
  • Line Unbreakable (1CP): Use this Stratagem at the start of the Fight Phase. Select one Dark Angels Infantry unit from your army. Until the end of that phase, that unit can only be selected as a target for melee attacks if the attacking model is within Engagement Range of the unit. This one's interesting. It forces only models in base contact to attack, you can't receive attacks from the second line of an assault. Use this to stymie hordes of Tyranids, Daemons, and Orks.
  • Wrath of the Lion (2CP): Used in the Command Phase if a combat doctrine's active in your army. Until your next Command Phase, each time a Dark Angels unit in your army makes an attack with a weapon specified by the active doctrine, unmodified wound rolls of 6 improve the AP characteristic of that weapon by 1 (for example, a 6 to wound makes a Bolt Rifle AP-3 in the Tactical Doctrine).
  • High-Speed Focus (1CP): Use this Stratagem in your opponent's Shooting phase when you allocate a ranged attack to a Ravenwing Vehicle model in your army. Until the start of your next turn, that model has a 4++ against ranged attacks.
  • No Foe Too Great to Subdue (2CP): Use this Stratagem in the Fight phase, when a Deathwing Knights unit is chosen to fight. Add 1 to the attack's wound roll and improve the AP by 1 when targeting enemy vehicles or Monsters.
  • Honoured by the Rock (1CP): Obligatory "give a Successor Chapter access to a Dark Angels relic" stratagem. Can only be used once.
  • Marked for Command (1CP): Use this Stratagem before the Battle. Select one Ravenwing Huntmaster or Knight Master model or a Dark Angels model in your army that has the word Sergeant in their profile. That model can have the Master-crafted Weapon, Digital Weapons, Atonement, or Bolts of Judgement relic. Each relic must be unique, and you cannot use this stratagem to give a model two relics. You can only use this Stratagem once. Give a Sergeant with a Power Fist Master-crafted Weapon for a "budget" Thunderhammer. Or, give a Knight Master's Flail of the Unforgiven flat 3 damage that can overspill.
  • Paragon of the chapter (1CP): Obligatory extra Warlord Trait stratagem for a single non-named character in your army, exclusively from the chapter's own WT table. This stratagem can only be used once.
  • The Hunt (2/3CP): Use this Stratagem at the start of the first battle round, but before the first turn begins. Select one Ravenwing unit from your army. That unit can make a Normal move as if it were your Movement phase, but cannot end that move within 9" of an enemy unit. 2CP if the unit contains 5 or fewer models, 3CP for a unit of 6+ models. Aka turn one charge.
  • Secret Agenda (1CP): Use this Stratagem after selecting Secondary Objectives or Agendas. Do not reveal one of your selections to your opponent. The first time you score VP or experience points for it, reveal it to your opponent. Note that you must still have a record of your objectives.
  • Swift Strike (2/3CP): Use this Stratagem in the Fight Phase after a Ravenwing unit from your army has fought. If that unit is within Engagement range of an enemy unit, it may immediately make a Fall Back move as if they were in the movement phase. Otherwise they make make a normal move as if it were the Movement phase. 2CP for a unit of 5 or fewer models, 3CP for a unit of 6+ models.
    • With this a unit can fight and escape retribution, especially if they manage to reach cover or a line of sight blocker.
    • You can use an enemy unit as a springboard. Charge them, do whatever, then "fall back" towards where you really want your unit to go.
  • Tactical Appraisal (1CP): Used in the Command Phase. Pick a single Dark Angels unit within 6" of your warlord. Change that unit's combat doctrine to any one of your choice for that turn. Cheaper than Adaptive Strategy and better than the similar effect of the Brilliant Strategist WT.
  • Targeting Guidance (2CP): Used in the shooting phase. Select a single enemy unit within 18" of a Ravenwing Land Speeder or Ravenwing Storm Speeder unit in your army. Until the end of the phase, friendly Dark Angels units in your army get +1 to hit rolls when targeting that unit. Similar to the Datalink Telemetry rule Land Speeders have, but benefitting all your army instead of just Whirlwinds. Strictly weaker than its past incarnation which let you re-roll hit rolls against it.
  • Stasis Shell (2CP): Use this stratagem in the Shooting Phase when a Ravenwing model in your army shoots with its Ravenwing Grenade Launcher. You can only make 1 attack with that weapon. If it hits, the target is caught in stasis and until the start of your next turn. While a unit (excluding vehicle and Monster units) is caught in stasis, it cannot fall back. This is critical for locking units in with your Deathwing.
    • It's best used by your Ravenwing characters, whom can all be armed with a Ravenwing grenade launcher instead of a plasma talon you would never supercharge in fear of accidentaly losing the character.
  • Weapons From The Dark Age (2CP): Use this stratagem in the shooting phase. Add 1 to the damage characteristic of a unit's plasma weapons.

Warlord Traits[edit]

Stick to the central list if you're looking for supporting traits, the wing-specific ones tend to only buff your Warlord.

  1. Brilliant Strategist: During your command phase, select one DARK ANGELS unit within 6" of the warlord. Until your next command phase, this unit now acts as if it's in the Devastator Doctrine (if you're in Tactical Doctrine) or the Tactical Doctrine (if you're in the Assault Doctrine) when making attacks.
    • Noticeable on Ravenwing, though it can also make a unit of Greenwing be able to fire in melee basically all game long.
    • Azrael and Lazarus must take this one.
  2. Fury of the Lion (Aura): When a friendly DARK ANGELS unit within 6" of the Warlord makes a charge move, is charged, or heroically intervenes, add 1 to the S characteristic of models in that unit.
    • Asmodai must take this one.
  3. Calibanite Knight: Each time the Warlord makes a melee attack against an INFANTRY or BIKER unit, an unmodified wound roll of 2+ is always successful. Move over Blood Angels, we got a new Smash Captain here.
  4. Stubborn Tenacity: Once per battle, if the warlord loses their final wound, they are not removed from play until the start of the next turn or the end of the battle, whichever comes first, at which point they are removed from play. During this time they can't lose wounds (and are at 0 wounds, just still in play).
    • Ezekiel must take this one. Good for librarians, actually, since they can die in the psychic phase. Now they get to shoot, charge and fight. And THEN, since Perils MW happen "just before removing them", that's when they explode: locked in combat with the enemy.
  5. Decisive Tactician (Aura): While a friendly DARK ANGELS CORE unit is within 6" of the warlord, add 1 to advance and charge rolls made for that unit.
    • Remember, as always, when a unit turbo-boosts, it doesn't make an advance roll, so +1 to advance rolls won't affect it.
  6. Honour of the First Legion: The Warlord may Heroically Intervene if it's within 6" horizontally and 5" vertically of an enemy unit, and may move 6" when it does so.
  1. Watched: Once per battle in the psychic phase, the warlord can automatically deny a single enemy power regardless of whether or not he's in 24" denial range. Pretty good overall WT when facing psychic heavy armies like Chaos, Grey Knights and Tyranids. The unlimited range allows you to deny crucial powers like miasma of pestilence on Mortarion.
  2. Inexorable: Each time an attack is allocated to the Warlord, subtract 1 from the Damage characteristic (to a minimum of 1) for that attack.
    • Belial must take this one.
  1. Lightning-Fast Reactions: Each time an attack is made against this Warlord, subtract 1 from that attack's hit roll.
  2. Master of Manoeuvre: This Warlord is eligible to either shoot or charge the turn it falls back.
    • Sammael must take this one.

Psychic Discipline: Interromancy[edit]

Your Dark Angel and Successor specific psychic discipline.

  1. Mind Worm (WC6): An enemy unit within 12" of the Psyker takes a mortal wound and is forced to fight last in the following Fight Phase and must wait until all other units have taken their turn. Not bad.
  2. Aversion (WC6): An enemy unit within 24" must subtract 1 from all their To-Hit rolls until the next psychic phase. In addition, if that unit is within 6" of the psyker who cast this power, models in that unit also suffer -1 to their attacks characteristic.
    • Arguably their best power before and it got buffed in the edition transition. Unfortunately, gone are the days of pairing this with the Darkshroud for a net -2 (they'll still stack, but the final modifier is capped at -1, so stacking is only useful to counter a +1 to be hit) but a -1 to hit on the opponent is never a bad thing.
  3. Engulfing Fear (WC7): Be careful who you call ugly in middle school. Select one enemy unit within 24" of the Psyker. Until your next psychic phase, it takes -1 to its Leadership characteristic, loses any ObSec abilities it has, and if the result of the psychic test was equal to or above the unit's Leadership characteristic, it cannot perform actions and auto-fails any current actions it's performing. Way better than the total joke it was before and now actually has really good use for shutting down units in objective games
  4. Mind Wipe (WC7): If manifested, select one enemy unit within 18" of the Psyker and select one aura ability that unit has. Until the start of your next psychic phase, that unit loses that ability. Great against units that heavily rely on their aura, especially defensive ones, giving you an easier time to deal with them later in your turn.
  5. Trephination (WC5): The closest enemy unit within 18" and line of sight of the Psyker suffers D3 mortal wounds. If the result of the psychic test was greater than the leadership of the enemy unit, that unit suffers 3 mortal wounds instead. Better Smite essentially. When you already get smite as a standard power, it does raise the question as to whether it's worth taking this over other really great powers although if you need a way to rack up mortal wounds, then this gets the job done.
  6. Righteous Repugnance (WC7): Select a DARK ANGELS unit within 12" of the psyker; they now re-roll all failed hits and wounds in melee. WOW. Deathwing Knights will love you for putting this on them. Anybody carrying simple power swords becomes far more deadly; especially in squads, say like veterans of some sort? Works wonderfully with the +1S warlord trait, and it lasts until your next psychic phase.

Relics & Special-Issue Wargear[edit]

  • Cup of Retribution: A new relic for 9th. Chaplain model only. Once per battle, the Chaplain can recite the Feast of Malediction Litany instead of reciting a Litany that it knows. Do not roll to see if it's inspiring, it is automatically inspiring.
    • Feast of Malediction: While a friendly DARK ANGELS CORE unit is within 6" of this PRIEST, add 1 to the Attacks characteristic of that unit.
  • Eye of the Unseen: Gives the unit the Fear (Aura) ability. Enemy units within 6" suffer -1 to their leadership characteristic. If an Enemy Character is within Engagement Range of the bearer, they always fight last. Talonmasters are eligible to take this relic.
  • Foe-Smiter: Replaces a Storm Bolter. 24" Assault 4 S5 AP-1 D2. While there are fewer units that can take Foe-Smiter, it's superior to the Primarch's Wrath because it doesn't need Bolter Discipline to do full damage at range. However, like all weapon relics it does benefit from Grim Resolve. Best used on Ravenwing or non-Inner Circle characters (for example, a Techmarine with Servo-Harness), as the former loves advancing and shooting while the latter can unload in melee during the Tactical Doctrine. Worst on Deathwing characters.
  • Mace of Redemption: Replaces a Power Maul or Crozius Arcanum. Sx2 AP-3 D2. Each time an attack is made against HERETICUS ASTARTES or FALLEN units, unmodified wound rolls of 4+ inflict 2 Mortal Wounds and the attack sequence ends.
    • Now it can be taken on all Chaplains thanks to it being eligible to replace a Crozius.
    • S9 with Fury of the Lion WLT or Mantra of Strength, S10 with both, due to multiplication coming before addition.
  • Pennant of Remembrance: Deathwing Ancient only. Subtract 1 from the Damage Characteristic of attacks allocated to friendly Deathwing Infantry within 6".
    • The loss of FNP is painful, but enemies will have to throw attacks that do 4 points of damage to reliably kill Deathwing Terminators. Throw in a Deathwing Chief Apothecary if you want some of the FNP shenanigans.
  • Reliquary of the Repentant: Ravenwing Biker only. An Aura ability that makes enemy units within 3" suffer -1 to their invulnerable saves (to a minimum of 6++).
  • Shroud of Heroes: All attacks against the bearer suffer -1 to hit rolls. Talonmasters are not eligible to take this relic. However, Biker Captains are legal in Ravenwing lists now. Go ahead, take this relic on him with a Power Sword and the Calibanite Knight warlord trait to make Captain MurderRavenwing.
    • This doesn't usually stack with Ravenwing Darkshrouds. If you can afford a Darkshroud and are a Ravenwing main, use that instead.

If you have a Dark Angel Successor Chapter, these are the only Dark Angel "Relics" you have access to without the stratagem Honoured By The Rock that can't be accessed with the stratagem Marked For Command.

  • Adamantine Mantle: When this model loses a wound, roll a D6; on a 5+++, the wound isn’t lost. Not that great in an army with access to so many rolls to negate wounds.
  • Arbiter's Gaze: Bearer's attacks always hit on a 2+ and ignore cover, including overwatch (and melee - it's all attacks). Can be given to a Ravenwing Talonmaster, even though they're a Vehicle. Toss-up between this and the Heavenfall Blade above for the TM's best relic.
  • Artificer Armour: Gives a model a 2+ armour save and a 5++ invulnerable save. This can allow your Characters to survive much more, especially Librarians which need to sacrifice a cast and a power slot to get a 5+ invulnerable. Best put on a model with a decent amount of wounds but no invulnerable (Librarians, Lieutenants, and Ancients).
  • Heavenfall Blade: Replaces a Power Sword, Master-Crafted Power Sword, Relic Blade, or Executioner Relic Blade with a +1A -1AP MC Power Sword - S+2 AP-4 D2, and models armed with the Heavenfall Blade can make an additional attack with the weapon Chainsword style. Talonmasters are eligible to take this relic, and honestly? They should probably take it.

These relics are available to Successors without needing the stratagem Honoured By The Rock and can be handed out with the Marked For Command stratagem.

  • Atonement: Replaces a Plasma Pistol. 18" S9 AP-4 D3. Doesn't overheat. You have better relic options.
  • Bolts of Judgement: The Dark Angel special bolt ammo. Make a single hit roll with a bolt weapon at AP-2 and D3, that wounds on a 2+ (6s required for vehicles and monsters). Can be given to a Ravenwing Talonmaster, even though they're a Vehicle.
  • Digital Weapons: When you fight, you make one extra attack that scores a mortal wound if it hits. Absolutely terrible. Can be given to a Ravenwing Talonmaster, even though they're a Vehicle.
  • Master-Crafted Weapon: Give a weapon +1D. Good on a thunder hammer for D4 or on weapons with variable damage (force weapons and chainfists) to guarantee at least D2.

Special Units[edit]

  • Unit Restrictions: Dark Angels and their successors cannot take Sternguard or Vanguard vets for any reason, mostly because they solve things with terminators rather than veterans.
  • You can take only one DEATHWING captain and RAVENWING captain each in an army. This adding on to the universal Company Command restriction of "max. 1 Captain & 2 Lieutenants" per detachment.
  • Options:
    • Primaris Captains have the option to get a special issue bolt carbine instead of the base bolt rifles. Why, you ask? Because this has the punch of the stalker carbine's AP-2 while still having the dakka of an auto bolt rifle. If you're looking for a shooty captain that can leave a mark on their enemy, then you can't do better. If you're just trying to stack all the bullshit, you can also buy a power fist for melee power.
    • Primaris Lieutenants can grab plasma pistols (but can no longer have both a bolt pistol and a plasma pistol as in 8E, sad as no more mini Cypher/Moritat for you).
    • Terminator Ancients can grab claws or hammer+shield so they can have some power in a fistfight. Remember, a Terminator Ancient doesn't take up an elites slot if you have a Deathwing command squad.
    • Company Veterans can grab combat shields instead of storm shields.
  • Keywords: Librarians, Bladeguard, and all units in terminator armor are Deathwing, though you can give this to more units via Rites of Initiation. All units on land/storm speeders (except Land speeder storms because those are SCOUT), bikes (excluding scout bikes), and Invader ATVs are Ravenwing.
    • Only non-Legends HQ on Bikes have Ravenwing: this is how a Primaris Chaplain on a bike has it, but not a Librarian on a bike.
    • The Inner Circle keyword cannot be handed out - the only way to have it is to have it on your character sheet (which only Dark Angels-exclusive units have). That said, anything with the deathwing keyword does gain the Inner Circle ability, which is how the Terminator Ancient gets the "can only be wounded on 4+" ability despite not actually having Inner Circle.
      • This would be noticeable for Ravenwing instead, where the DA exclusive units (RW Ancient, RW Apothecary, etc.) do have the Inner Circle ability and Inner circle keyword but the "generic" Ravenwing units (RW Outriders) do not get that ability, and cannot be given that ability...but all non-infantry inner circle get is passing morale tests and not being able to fall back from a faction nobody ever uses, so you don't really care.
  • Keyword Changes: Several Dark Angel units gain additional Keywords.
    • Deathwing: Captain in Terminator Armour, Chaplain in Terminator Armour, all Librarians.
      • You can apply Rites of Initiation to add, for points, this keyword to any other Captain, including the Ravenwing Captains, and to Primaris Lieutenants with Storm Shields.
    • Ravenwing: Captain on Bike, Primaris Chaplain on Bike.
  • Primaris Captain: Unique to the Dark Angels, your Primaris Captain has the option to swap their master-crafted auto bolt rifle for a special issue carbine (24", assault 2, S4, AP-2, D2), which is a great in-between of the MC auto bolter and the MC stalker bolter. You lose the optional master-crafted power sword (no you don’t, GWs retarded wording), but you can take a regular powerfist instead if you like.
  • Primaris Lieutenant: Another Dark Angel specific weapon option, you can replace his stock bolt pistol for a plasma pistol. Gives you a bit more oomph if you're going for the sword and sidearm gear, but why haven't you taken the MC power sword, storm shield, and volkite pistol?
  • Interrogator-Chaplain: Has all the usual Chaplain things; Rosarius, Crozius, Spiritual Leader, and Litanies. Costs 5pts more, but that gets you the Inner Circle and Deathwing Keywords and rules, A4, W5, and Aura of Dread (enemy units within 6" count as being below half strength).

Wargear-wise, you can swap your bolt pistol for a weapon on the pistol, combi-weapon, or melee weapon lists, AND take an additional powerfist. This really only sees merit if you're taking a relic (Teeth or Terra + Mantra of Strength). He can still take a Jump Pack, to give him a chance of keeping up with Ravenwing if you're in a game that doesn't allow Legends units for the Biker.

As above, but with Deep Strike, M5", W6, and Sv2+. Some of the rules-writers dribble got past their bib and their datasheet lists them as an Elites choice instead of a HQ like their points has them. This will be FAQ'd, so the rules are here to save them being copy-pasted from the Elite section at a later date.

  • Legends does allow this model to swap their storm bolter for a powerfist, lightning claw, thunder hammer, or storm shield. With storm shields now being +1 to armour saves and a 4++ invulnerable, this option is of dubious use considering you already have a 4++. Consider if the points cost are worth losing four bolter shots per turn for +1 to armour saves only.
  • Debatably the worst of all the chaplains, as with the new Litanies not working out of Deep Strike (for whatever stupid reason, why he can't just chant to the guys in the teleportarium next to him is anyone's guess) means that he can't do anything until round 3 by which point the guys you dropped him with have either charged or taken casualties making him much less effective than a power-armoured Jump Pack/Bike/Drop Pod version who can get into position turn 1 (or 2 at the latest) and still chant.

A beefy Biker Chaplain, and most useful if you want a Biker Deathwing Character. Standard fare is a twin boltgun, crozius, and bolt pistol. the bolt pistol can be swapped for a boltgun, combi-weapon, pistol, or melee weapon. They can also grab an additional powerfist; additional, it does not replace one of their stock weapons. He doesn't have the 8.5 edition Litanies, and instead has the old Litany of Hate Aura, allowing Dark Angels within 6" to re-roll failed hit rolls with melee weapons. His Aura of Dread also makes enemy units within 6" suffer -1Ld.

  • Deathwing Strikemaster: Deathwing Lieutenants, equipped with Terminator armour. Inner Circle, Tactical Precision (6" re-roll wound rolls of 1 aura), and Company Heroes as per the usual Lieutenant fare. Crux Terminatus gives them a 5++, making them one of the few Lieutenants with a built-in invulnerable. Weapons are a plain storm bolter and power sword (neither are master-crafted). Both are swappable for twin lightning claws, the bolter can be swapped for a master-crafted power sword, thunder hammer, or mace of absolution (Sx2 (8) AP-2 D3, pretty much renders the thunder hammer pointless), and the sword can be swapped for a storm shield (4++ and +1 to armour saves), chainfist, or storm bolter (one per model)... it's such a retarded way of wording the options.
    • Translated, skipping the stupid options you won't consider, like thunder hammer + chainfist, the legal options are a Storm Bolter + Any Melee, Storm Shield + Any Melee except for Chainfist, Storm Bolter + Storm Shield, and 2x Lightning Claws, where "Melee" is Master-Crafted Power Sword, Power Fist, Chainfist, Mace of Absolution, and Thunder Hammer.
      • The Thunder Hammer is just a poor choice, as it's the Mace But Worse and costs the same. Likewise, the MC Power Sword is a bad idea - the Power Fist is the same cost, and the accuracy loss of *4/5 is generally less than you gain from going from S5 to S8. For example, against even GEQ, the Fist compared to the Sword is *4/5*5/4=*1, so the same output, and this improves against harder targets. The Twin Lightning Claws are cheap, but pointless - Storm Bolter + Power Fist is the same cost but better, and Mace + anything is more efficient melee if you want a melee beatstick. Likewise, the Chainfist has no actual point - you can either save points to keep things cheap with a Power Fist or invest in a Mace, and either way you've made a better decision. That means the only options you should consider are Storm Bolter + Storm Shield, Mace + Storm Shield, Storm Bolter + Mace, and Storm Bolter + Power Fist.
      • The storm shield is not a bad choice for this model , effectively negating AP-1 and boosting the 5++ to a 4++.
  • Ravenwing Talonmaster: Ravenwing Lieutenants, equipped with a Land Speeder. Heavily-armed with a power sword, twin assault cannon, and twin heavy bolter. T6 W8 Sv3+ and Jink gives them good staying power. As for special rules, they have the Inner Circle keyword and rules, and have the typical Lieutenant friendly-<Chapter>-Core-units-within-6"-re-oll-wound-rolls-of-1 aura and Company Heroes to allow any two Lieutenants in one HQ slot. They also have the No Escape Aura, allowing you to pick one visible enemy unit and friendly Ravenwing units within 6" ignore light and heavy cover (but not dense cover) against that unit.
    • Eighteen shots with BS2+ and AP-1 will put down most GEQ and MEQ squads in one turn. Heavy bolters being bumped to D2 makes them far more effective against Marines and Bikers, as well as light Vehicles and Monsters.
    • Warlord Traits: A lot of good candidates. From the 9th edition Index, Impeccable Mobility lets your Ravenwing units within 6" advance and shoot assault weapons, Tactically Flexible lets your Ravenwing units within 6" choose which Doctrine to be in, and Outrider even has use in smaller games to let this model and one Ravenwing unit move 12" after deployment and before the first turn.
    • Relics: As a Vehicle, you've only got a limited selection of Relics available to you. Heavenfall Blade and Eye of the Unseen are your best two bets.
Special Characters[edit]
  • Azrael: Azzy is no slouch in melee and with Sv2+/4++ can slug it out with all but the best of the enemy combatants. WS2+ and A5 base with his Sword of Secrets (S+2 AP-4 D2, unmodified wound rolls of 6 inflict an additional MW) will put down a lot of Characters. Lion's Wrath is a master-crafted boltgun (24", rapid fire 1, S4, AP-1, D2) welded to a master-crafted plasma gun (24", rapid fire 1, S8, AP-3, D2, no overcharge). For support, he has the Captain's Rites of Battle aura (Dark Angel Core units within 6" re-roll hit rolls of 1) and the Chapter Masters rule (one Dark Angel Core or Character unit can re-roll all failed hit rolls). Supreme Tactician gives you +2CP if he's your Warlord and Watcher in the Dark means you can attempt to deny one enemy psychic power per game and you can re-roll the dice if it was a Chaos model. His most useful rule is the Lion Helm, which gives Dark Angel Infantry and Biker units within 6" a 4++ invulnerable save against ranged attacks.
    • He can't Deep Strike with Deathwing or keep up with Ravenwing. He either pulls babysitting duty with Infantry gunlines (Eradicators and Hellblasters with their heavy versions of their guns are excellent ranged choices, otherwise their assault versions make for a good mobile death star), or pile him into a Drop Pod or Land Raider with an appropriate retinue.
  • Belial: The Captain of the Deathwing still an excellent duellist; enemy melee attacks suffer -1 to their hit rolls against him and the Sword of Silence is S+2, AP-4, D3, and always wounds non-Vehicles on a 2+ (the non-Vehicle part is not a huge deal, as you wound T7 Vehicles on a 5+ anyway). He also comes with a master-crafted storm bolter (24", rapid fire 2, S4, AP-1, D2) which fires four shots at all ranges due to the Terminator and Bolter Discipline combination and a more specific Chapter Master ability that only affects Deathwing. To top him off, he also has Rites of Battle and an Iron Halo.
    • His diet Chapter Master ability isn't limited to Dark Angel Deathwing units, only Deathwing. RAW, it also affects Dark Angel Successors as long as they're Deathwing. This is awesome and very fluffy.
    • Legends gives Belial the option to swap his Sword of Silence and storm bolter for two lightning claws or a thunder hammer and storm shield. You should really only choose the lightning claws if he has no intention of fighting Characters and needs to focus on large groups, while the thunder hammer should be taken if you really need the +1Sv from the storm shield, since it even the sword beats the hammer for damage output.
  • Sammael: Worryingly only has one profile in the 9th ed. Index. One of the fastest and shootiest Characters in the Imperium, and a very comfortable melee combatant too. A plasma cannon and twin storm bolters (which always fire eight shots due to Biker + Bolter Discipline) means he can throw out the same firepower as a five man tactical squad all by himself. In melee, he gets A5 with the Raven Sword; S+2 (Sx2 if he charged), AP-4, D2. He gets an Iron Halo, Rites of Battle, and Turbo-Boost, on top of a Ravenwing-specific Chapter Master ability. T5, W8, Sv3+/4++ makes him very hardy as a cherry on top.
    • Similar to Belial, his diet Chapter Master ability isn't limited to Dark Angel Ravenwing units, only Ravenwing. RAW, it also affects Dark Angel Successors as long as they're Ravenwing. Again, this is awesome and very fluffy.
  • Sammael on Sableclaw: 8th ed. Codex only. A bit more expensive than the Jetbike, but comes with a lot more dakka: a twin heavy bolter and twin assault cannon for 6/12 shots respectively. He also still fights just as well with the Raven Sword if he gets engaged. Enemies can no longer shoot at him even if he is not the closest target, as he has 7 wounds now, and still has the 4++ invulnerable save to protect himself with. The primary issue he has is that the weapons he fires are all Heavy, so if he moves he drops down to hitting on a re-rollable 3+ (and with the FAQ to re-rolls, he can't re-roll 2's to hit when moving), and he cannot advance and shoot (unless you use the Strategem), so he doesn't have the same reach as Corvex.
    • Sammael in either form grants a re-roll failed to-hit aura to any RAVENWING unit within 6", and grants the ability to re-roll 1s to regular DARK ANGELS within 6", too. Even if you don't take much Ravenwing, he puts out so much hurt by himself and is so comparatively resilient that it might be worth taking him in any army.
    • When compared to Kor'sarro Khan, Sammael is now slightly inferior in a straight up fight, due to Khan's double strength modifier allowing him to wound Sammael on a 3+, but Sammy's extra attack pulls him back up, so the difference between them adds up to a 0.16 wound/turn difference, assuming Khan rolls average damage. This is not a true test though, since Sammael has more than twice the shooting potential of Khan (and pretty much any other character in the game too), does better against the "average" mook, and can FLY.
    • Often overlooked but stated above, Sammael has the FLY keyword, meaning he can cruise over enemy units and to get to weaker units and fuck up enemy flyers as nearly almost all of them are T7 and below. Not to mention to fall back and unload his range arsenal on some heretics. Thanks to him flying he has some great utility that is nearly always forgotten.
  • Asmodai: As an individual, the Master of Repentance still has problems finding his place. The Blades of Reason are still meh, making only one additional hit roll at SU, SP-1, D2d3. Rosarius, Crozius, and Spiritual Leader are his leftovers as a Chaplain, and he retains Aura of Dread, Inner Circle, and Deathwing from being an Interrogator-Chaplain. Exemplar of Hate turbo-boosts his Litany of Hate, being able to cast it on a 2+ and with a 9" range.
  • Ezekiel: The Dark Angels Chief Librarian now gains the Chief Librarian Keyword, with the ability to cast and deny two powers per turn and knows smite and three Librarius powers. He also comes with the Deathwing and Inner Circle Keywords, a Psychic Hood (+1 to Deny the Witch tests against powers cast within 12"), and +1 when casting an Interromancy power. His best ability is the Book of Salvation Aura, which grants Dark Angel Characters and Core units within 6" +1A; note that this explicitly does NOT stack with Shock Assault. Unlike other Librarians, he's more than happy to get stuck in with WS2+, BS2+, A5, and Sv2+/4++. For weapons, he has the bolt pistol The Deliverer (12", pistol 1, S4, AP-1, D2) and the force sword Traitors Bane (S+2, AP-2, Dd3, becomes D3 against Fallen or Heretic Astartes).
  • Master Lazarus: While his fluff is complete dog shite, his model is good and his rules are great against Psyker-heavy armies. Inner Circle, Iron Halo, and Rites of Battle are the standard affair. The Spiritshield Helm gives Dark Angel units within 6" a 5+ save against mortal wounds (it gives him a 4+ save) and Intractable Will lets him fight after he's been killed (does not stack with the Astartes Banner ability or Only In Death Stratagem). For weapons, he has a bolt pistol and Enmity's Edge (S+2, AP-4, D2, becomes D4 against Psykers).

Your Deathwing Characters have the Command Squad rule as well, meaning they don't take up a Battlefield Role (Force Organisation) Slot if you have at least one unit of Deathwing Command Squad. As usual, anything that gains the Deathwing keyword gains the Inner Circle rule but not the Template:Inner Circle keyword.

  • Bladeguard Ancient: Gains the Deathwing keyword.
  • Bladeguard Veteran Squad: Gains the Deathwing Keyword.
  • Terminator Squad: Gains the Deathwing Keyword.
    • Never field this - it's a Deathwing Terminator Squad with fewer options.
  • Terminator Assault Squad: Gains the Deathwing Keyword.
    • Never field this - it's a Deathwing Terminator Squad with fewer options.
  • Relic Terminator Squad: Gains the Deathwing Keyword.
    • This has legitimately distinct options from a Deathwing Terminator Squad, but costs too much for what it does relative to a DTS trying to solve the same problems. Skip.
  • Terminator Ancient: Gains the Deathwing keyword. He has unique wargear options; comes standard with a storm bolter and powerfist, but the powerfist can be swapped for a chainfist or both weapons can be swapped for two lightning claws or a thunder hammer and storm shield so he can pull his weight in a fight.
  • Deathwing Champion: The 1st Company Champion is still here, but a wee bit schizophrenic. The typical Martial Superiority (fights first against Characters) and Honour or Death (6" heroic intervention towards Characters) is well and good, but their unique Halberd of Caliban wants to fight blobs; S+3, AP-3, D2, +3A against target units of 10+ models. Still, as a Company Champion, he has WS2+, A4, a 0-1 per-army limit, and he can still have the Chapter Champion upgrade but cannot have the Blade of Triumph.
  • Deathwing Apothecary: It's an Apothecary in Terminator armour, need more be said? Yes? Fine. Combat Restoratives heals one friendly Dark Angel Infantry or Biker unit up to d3 lost wounds and the Narthecium gives you a 6" ignores-lost-wounds-on-a-6 aura. Reviving one fallen model has been shunted to a stratagem, but he's still an Apothecary model and the Chief Apothecary upgrade is rather excellent. He comes with a storm bolter for four bolter shots at 24" range, but has no melee weapon meaning he really doesn't want to be there.
    • The challenge to viability is that he doesn't heal anymore than a regular Apothecary, yet costs more, and since the cost of the Apothecary limits your inclusion of other models (because you could buy them instead), he has to heal a lot more to justify himself. That cost does buy him more durability though since the 2+/5++ is way better than what a standard Apothecary has, in addition to more wounds.
  • Deathwing Terminators: Elite Terminators with Inner Circle and the ability to customize their loadout to suit your needs, all while being as expensive as assaults. Starts off with the standard Terminator wargear (storm bolter and sword for the Sergeant, fists for the Terminators). Any powerfist can be replaced with a chainfist (Sx2 (8) AP-4 Dd3, becomes D3 against Vehicles) for free (so you always should - the improved AP is more often a benefit than the D1d3 is a detriment) and 1 in 5 Terminators can swap their storm bolter for an assault cannon, heavy flamer, or plasma cannon, or take a cyclone missile launcher. Where they differ from the regular Terminator Squad is the ability for any number of models to swap their bolter and melee weapon for two lightning claws or a thunder hammer and storm shield (meaning you can have a TH/SS Sgt lead 3 Chainfist/SBs and a CML/SB/Chainfist). Finally, they can take a Watcher in the Dark to gain a once-per-battle Deny the Witch chance as if they were a Psyker. They do not have the Teleporter Homer available to vanilla Terminators, but their cost makes them an ideal competitor for troops.
    • Never take normal or assault termis without a truly remarkable excuse. If you want ObSec termis, this unit is the end all be all.
      • Assault Cannon vs Plasma Cannon vs Cyclone Missile Launcher: Both cannons now cost the same for Deathwing Termies. While cyclones are the most expensive option, they are better than either. Assault cannons will always have the same damage output regardless of how many targets they're shooting at, while plasma cannons only get their full three shots if they're used against squads of six-or-more. Frankly, plasma cannons are better used elsewhere in the army when you needn't spend CP to make them hit at full BS. Cyclones with their two profiles get the best of both; krak missiles are close enough to overcharged plasma cannons that you will hardly miss them, nor do you miss out on Bolter Discipline as they get to keep their storm bolters.
  • Deathwing Command Squad: Those same dudes written above, but with three main differences; unit size of one Sergeant and 1-4 Terminators, one squad can be taken without using an Elite slot if the detachment also has a Dark Angel Captain, and Dark Angel Characters with nine or less wounds (i.e. all of them) within 3" cannot be targeted by ranged attacks. They also cost 2 more points per dude.
    • This is a quite interesting unit, that with the new way of how Look Out, Sir! and Bodyguard work, they can help your Characters to survive longer, even just one single model of this squad can protect them in any possible case. And if you do not use Characters near them, it is still a possibility to add a small number of Terminators (they cost a little more, but obviously even a 4 man squad is cheaper than a 5 man squad, with a difference of just 2ppm).
  • Deathwing Knights: The premiere Terminator Assault Squad. One Master and 4-9 Knights all with storm shields and WS2+. The Master has the unique flail of the unforgiven (S+2 (6) AP-3 D2, any excess damage is carried over between models in the target unit). So rather than killing three W1 models at most, you can now go up to six. The Knight's mace of absolution is also brilliant (Sx2 (8) AP-2 D3). That's it. It's a thunder hammer sacrificing cost (Knights cost 5 points more than other termis with a TH/SS) in order to avoid the hit roll penalty, meaning Knights hit at their full 2+, not the 4+ of a normal Termi. The unit can also take a Watcher in the Dark, allowing you to attempt to deny a psychic power once per battle, and re-roll the Deny The Witch test if the caster is a Chaos model.
    • These guys are great but do need some support from Characters. An Interrogator-Chaplain will make them even more deadly with his re-rolls (although this starts to hurt efficiency - DKs are TH/SS who pay points for accuracy, but with full re-rolls to hit, they go from being 5/3 (about 1.67x) as accurate to being 35/27 (about 1.30x) as accurate) and if you don't mind the investment, you could get a Deathwing Ancient to follow them too. All of the above can teleport in together, or you could fit them in a Land Raider Crusader/Redeemer or a Storm Raven for more mobility and firepower support. Once they're in combat, they're almost certain to kill anything in front of them, but getting there first can be a tad difficult by themselves.
    • Consider running a Librarian with the Knights; Righteous Repugnance gives you re-roll to hit AND to wound. Just remember, casting isn't guaranteed to succeed (unlike the aura, which is always on) and even if you pass, your opponent can attempt to deny the power with a psyker of their own.

For main guns, plasma talons will be the standard, with a profile of 18", assault 2, S7, AP-3, D1, may gain +1S and +1D but hit rolls of unmodified 1 kill the user. All of the Characters and 1 in 3 Black Knights can swap for a Ravenwing grenade launcher. Frag profile is 30", assault d6, S3, AP0, D1, blast, and krak profile is 30", assault 1, S6, AP-1, Dd3. It may be worth taking one model with a grenade launcher for the Stasis Shell stratagem, but otherwise the plasma talon will be your best weapon as the mid-range is offset by the long move and advance distance afforded to the Ravenwing.

Your Ravenwing Characters have the Command Squad rule as well, meaning they don't take up a Battlefield Role (Force Organisation) Slot if you have at least one unit of Ravenwing Black Knights.

  • Ravenwing Apothecary: Hands down the best Apothecary available to any Space Marine army. M14" and an advance of 6" ensures he's always where he needs to be, and not being limited to one-per-army like the Champion means you can have plenty of these guys zipping around the field. T5, W5, Sv3+/5++ (4++ if he advanced), gives him plenty of staying power as well. New Narthecium rules provide an ignore-lost-wounds-on-a-6 aura and Combat Restoratives heals d3 lost wounds to one model (very useful to your W3 Ravenwing and Deathwing). Reviving a model has been moved to stratagem though. Being an Apothecary, they can still be upgraded to the awesome Chief Apothecary rules. He has no melee weapon though, so don't get fooled into getting him stuck in.
  • Ravenwing Champion: The do-it-all Champion. No longer gets a Blade of Caliban, instead having a master-crafted power sword (S+1, AP-3, D2) like all regular Champions get. No combat shield for a 2+/5++ though, so enjoy your 5++/4++ from moving/advancing while you can. Unlike your other Ravenwing Characters, he has WS2+ and A4. Like other Champions, he has Martial Superiority (always fights first against Characters) and Honour or Death (Heroically Intervene up to 6" towards Characters). The Chapter Champion upgrade has very good abilities, Warlord Trait, and Relic available to them.
  • Ravenwing Ancient: The Ravenwing version of the Deathwing Ancient. Astartes Banner gives Dark Angel Core models within 6" gain +1Ld and can make one shooting attack or one melee attack on a 4+ when they die. He has no melee weapon though, so don't get fooled into getting him stuck in.
  • Ravenwing Black Knights: Competes with Hellblasters for best Imperial plasma spammer. Moved to the Elites slot as of the 9th ed. Dark Angel Index. A maximum of ten T5, W3, Sv3+/5++ (or 4++ but suffer -1 to hit rolls) models with two plasma shots each are going to ruin someone's day. They have no special rules of their own, aside from Inner Circle, Jink, and Turbo-Boost. For 5pts each, they can all be equipped with corvus hammers (S+1, AP-1, D2) for beating in the now-W2 Fallen. The Huntmaster (Sergeant) also has the option for a power sword or power maul for the same points. Each of them also comes with a bolt pistol that can be fired in melee. They also have the Melta Bomb Keyword for some surprise mortal wounds.
    • While Inceptors might seem better than these guys due to their 2D3 blast plasma, the 4++ invuln you get from advancing and an actual melee weapon make these guy more likely to survive in the short ranges that their guns have.
Fast Attack[edit]
  • Bike Squad: Gains the Ravenwing keyword. Gains Objective Secured with an all-Ravenwing Outrider Detachment.
  • Attack Bike Squad: Gains the Ravenwing keyword.
  • Land Speeders (all flavours): Gains the Ravenwing keyword.
  • Primaris Outrider Squad: Gains the Ravenwing keyword. Gains objective secured in an all-Ravenwing Outrider Detachment.
  • Invader ATV Squad: Gains the Ravenwing keyword.
  • Storm Speeders (all flavours): Gains the Ravenwing keyword.
  • Ravenwing Darkshroud: A souped-up Land Speeder, having +1T and +3W over the regular ones. Its main shlick is the Icon of old Caliban rule, that provides a -1 to-hit aura for Dark Angel units within 6" against shooting - including the Darkshroud itself. You'll pay minimum 138pts to get almost the same defensive bonus that several sub-factions get by default, but hey, it's still better than nothing. Plus it's damn fluffy. Not much in the way of offensive potential though; it comes with a stock heavy bolter, which is almost never worth to upgrade to an assault cannon. Most of the time you'll want to advance for the 4++ save anyway, and since its 12" speed makes it a tad bit slower than the RW bikers, Knights and Land Speeders it supposed to protect. Stacks nicely with other penalties of all kind (Shroud of Heroes, Aversion, Hard to Hit, advancing, moving with heavy weapons, etc), as well as other bubble-characters like Ezekiel and Asmodai for old-fashioned prefix-star shenanigans. The 'Icon of old Caliban' rule does not stack, so no -4 to-hit if you take 4 of these babies. Watch out for long range guns that hit on fix numbers (Dark Reapers), or those who get bonus against models with the FLY keyword (Onager Dunecrawlers with the Icarus array)- your Darkshroud will be a primary target for them.
  • Ravenwing Land Speeder Vengeance:This is Fast Attack now. At T6 and 9 wounds this is more survivable than the basic land speeder, as anti-infantry weapons only wound it on a 5+/6+. The plasma storm battery is a Heavy D6 Plasma cannon with 2 damage -3 with supercharge, and now only 1 mortal wound per overheat. So, now you only take a small penalty for a failed overcharge as opposed to having a near useless flying rock with only 2/3 of its base wounds. This is probably the one plasma weapon you want to overcharge regularly so getting some re-rolls nearby might be a good idea. Very good for hurting big multi-wound models. The Land Speeder Vengeance also lasts longer with the 8th edition vehicle changes, as its own weapon no longer has a good chance to kill itself (unless you move and supercharge it). But the Ravenwing Support Squadron shall be missed and mourned.
  • Nephilim Jetfighter: The Nephilim is still flying high after its much-needed buffs last edition, keeping most of its damage output against ground targets while gaining even more against enemy aircraft. Blacksword Missile Launchers fire a pair of S7 AP-3 D2 shots each turn, and count as D4 against enemy Aircraft. It swapped Strafing Run for Air Superiority, giving it +1 against aircraft. Of course as a member of the Ravenwing it has the ability to Jink, giving it a 5+ invuln every time it moves (it must always move) or 4+ if it advances. The Avenger Mega Bolter still chews up things with Heavy10 S5 AP-1 D2, or you could swap that for a Twin Lascannon for some vehicle hunting. All of this wrapped in a solid flyer statline with T6 and 11W with a 3+ save and Hard to Hit, which forces enemies to shoot with -1 to hit, means that the Nephilim is still a fine support unit with plenty of reach on the battlefield.
    • Additional note: The Darkshroud can add a further -1 to be hit, too bad those don't usually stack in 9th edition unless you're counting a +1 to be hit.
  • Dark Talon: The Dark Talon has been tweaked once again, and is still a great source of mortal wounds. Rift Cannon is now a Heavy D3 Blast S12 weapon. It has no AP or Damage, because the target instantly takes 3 mortal wounds per successful to-wound roll. Stasis Bomb has its damage nerfed to d3 mortal wounds, but prevents anything (except Vehicles or Monsters) from falling back during its next turn. Great for screwing up T'au plans. The Dark Talon also has two Hurricane Bolters which means 24 SHOTS at close range!!! While just the standard Bolter profile they are still excellent for clearing out light infantry units, and are no longer useless against the vehicles the Dark Talon often hunts. The Hover Jet special rule will prevent the Dark Talon from flying off the board and entering reserves, allowing you to bring it back into the fight after flying off away from the fight. Now a total 210 points.


Of your three doctrine bonuses, your best one is the melee one; while +1 to hit when you don't move is a ranged tactic, you can instead regard it as mitigating the problem if you fail to Fall Back, in return for Inner Circle making you incredibly hard to wound. Your second best one is the devastator doctrine one, but ravenguard black knights suck for their cost even before you realize they don't benefit from it - instead, it's far better on everything else Ravenwing. Your chapter tactic for being immune to combat attrition or morale entirely just means you have even less reason than usual to field Chaplains, Ancients, or anything else that offers morale support; as a general rule, you still want to go MSU (for blast resistance, if nothing else).

Here's an example list to get you started, which is 2000 points right now; you can also drop 9 of the Bladeguard Veterans and drop the Captain from a Hammer down to a Chainfist to afford a Deathwing Repulsor, which will have enough room in it for the remaining 9 BG vets and the Ancient, but bear in mind your Repulsor's only upgrade from your abilities is +1 to hit if it stands still, which it's unlikely to do, and you give up half of your Vets in order to make the other half faster (if you could field a Deathwing Impulsor, this list would be re-written to field them). The Terminators all Deep Strike in, and the Terminator units all have Objective Secured, while the BG also have ObSec from their Ancient.

  • Vanguard Detachment (+3 CP, down to +2 after relics)
    • HQ:
      • Captain in Terminator Armor, Thunder Hammer, Storm Bolter
        • Relic: The Honour Vehement
      • Lieutenants: 2x Ravenwing Talonmaster (Talonmasters are brutally cost-efficient, even on their own.)
        • Pick one to be a Warlord with Rites of War.
    • Elites:
      • Deathwing Terminator Squad x2
        • Sergeant with Storm Bolter and Power Sword
        • Dude with Storm Bolter and Chainfist x7
        • Dude with Missile Launcher, Storm Bolter, and Chainfist x2
      • Bladeguard Ancient
        • Warlord Trait: Decisive Tactician
        • Relic: Pennant of Remembrance
      • Bladeguard Veteran Squad x3
        • Sergeant with Heavy Bolt Pistol
        • Veteran x5

White Scars and Mantis Warriors[edit]

White Scars Livery.png
In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only the hunt unending.

Thematically, they're the archetypical steppe nomads but turned into a post-human military force. These guys are the ones if you want your warrior-monks asian instead of western.

On the tabletop these guys are the fast, melee marines, with the speed to keep up the pace, strong bikes to keep up the pressure, and the rules for relentless punishing assault. Your units will be as fast as genestealers without being as frail as them. Furthermore, their charge is devastating and their rules turn ongoing combats into repeated charges.
If you want your army to hit as fast and hard as a lightning bolt, then ride with the White Scars and unleash the storm.

Special Rules[edit]

  • Chapter Tactics - Lightning Assault: Units with this tactic can charge even if they advanced or fell back. Furthermore, they don't suffer the penalty for advancing and firing assault weapons.
    • Bear in mind what this means: you're good at melee and assault weapons, not anything else. This means you're pretty bad with most ways to kit out a bike/attack bike, with all of your bike synergy locked behind stratagems. You're legitimately good with Scout Bikes, but also with, say, Assault Centurions. One of the best examples of a unit you're good at is simply Intercessors (not the Assault kind!), armed with auto bolt rifles and a grenade launcher, and with the sergeant kitted out for good melee.
    • Advance + Charge is huuuuge. Not talking about infantry's effective 3d6" charge range, no. This is for 12" Rhinos that end up with a 22.5" average charge threat range, whose cargo can then disembark, shoot after the rhino falls back, then charge overwatch-free when the rhino charges back in (and you have a stratagem that lets Firstborn pop out after a rhino moves anyway, simplifying this a lot). This is for turbo-boosting bikers of 27.5" threat range.
    • Charging after falling back is especially useful to units that proc Mortal Wounds on a charge, your own Deadly Hunter Warlord (and Ironclad Dreadnoughts and Assault Centurions), on top of triggering Shock Assault and guaranteeing your units hit first. It also allows ranged support to help a unit from afar before it charges back into the fray. Even better when you have a Rhino to absorb overwatch.
  • Combat Doctrine - Devastating Charge: While the Assault Doctrine is active, melee attacks performed by a unit that charged or performed a Heroic Intervention deal 1 more damage. If this triggers, you'll have already activated Shock Assault, so even a simple chainsword will be able to shred most two-wound infantry.
    • White Scars is tricky, because this ability kicks in only later in the game and only benefits the advance/fall-back-charge half of your tactics, which isnt as flashy as Blood Angels' constant +1 to Wound, or Whirlwind of Rage's exploding 6s. You're counterintuitively needing to hang back for a bit so that you have enough guys left to abuse your Doctrine. With Armor of Contempt, it's not that hard keeping T5 3+ 3W models like Bikes or Gravis alive if you pick your battles and avoid being shot/charged by the entire enemy army in the counterattack.
    • Since you need the ability to wound and penetrate armor to come from elsewhere, but you'll notice this more the lower the weapon's base damage, one of the melee weapons you'll find the most useful is lightning claws, which functionally buff A, S, and AP, but are only D1. Usually, these will be the most points efficient choice you can make, barring power fists or full-on thunder hammers
    • Bear in mind only half of your Chapter Tactics synergize well with this Doctrine bonus, so you may want to switch to being a Successor. Your existing tactic is Rapid Assault plus Tactical Withdrawal plus charging after advancing, where Rapid Assault is of no synergy with your Doctrine bonus. If you switch to any two of Whirlwind of Rage, Hungry for Battle, and Tactical Withdrawal, you may notice your army performs better

Crusade Additions

Secondary Objectives

  • Lightning Strike: 3VP for killing an Enemy Monster or Character in melee, provided you charged them in this turn; 1 VP for each other unit killed in melee by a unit that charged; another 1 VP for every ranged kill made after advancing. Max 5 per round
    • Exploitable secondary that can stack with other secondaries, just keep in mind that you gotta kill those characters in the turn you charge them, which can be annoying when they shrug wounds or do an Abaddon and cap their wound loss that phase. Assassination only cares about killing Characters/Warlord, not how or when they died, but Lightning Strike lets you eke out points for lesser kills.
    • If youre focusing on Grind them Down (3VP for more kills than the opponent) Lightning Strike just straight up gives you additional points for thematic kills; Shock Tactics is also great, if you target objective holders and seize it from the enemy.


  • Wind-swift (2 CP): Select one non-Artillery White Scars unit that made a normal move or fallback, it can make an additional Advance move, but can't shoot, charge or use psychic powers either. Can be useful if you need an aura ability like an Ancient's or Chaplain's right fucking now. Allows bikers to move 34" onto objectives or whatnot, though they will be functionally useless afterward.
  • Fierce rivalries (1 CP): Your first charge for a White Scars that phase rolls the best 2 of 3d6. Game on, Blood Angels.
  • Strike for the heart (2 CP): One of your White Scars can consolidate D3+3", or D6+6" if every model in that unit has a move characteristic of at least 10". Not only can you hit hard and fast, but you can also drag nearby squads into the melee.
  • The Eternal Hunt (2CP, Single Use): Use this strat at the start of the movement phase if the Assault doctrine is active. Until the start of the next battle round, White Scars Pistols and melee weapons gain additional -1AP on unmodified wound rolls of 6. Getting AP-2 and 2 Damage in melee.
  • A mighty trophy (1 CP): Use it when a White Scars kills the enemy warlord with a melee weapon. Your White Scars now autopass morale tests.
  • Born in the saddle (1 CP): A White Scars Biker can advance and shoot. A large number of Bolter fire and Cover a massive amount of ground, why not.
  • Butchered Quarry (1 CP): When an enemy falls back from a White Scars Infantry or Biker unit (that isn't within 1" of yet another enemy unit), your squad makes one attack with a melee weapon at the falling back unit. If they yet live, your squad can follow them 3", as long as that move doesn't take them within 1" of another enemy unit.
  • Ride Hard, Ride Fast (1 CP): Use it on a White Scars unit that just advanced. Enemies shooting at it get -1 to hit until the start of your next movement phase. Unstoppable -2 to hit Smoke Launcher'd transport.
    • Under 9th negatives to hit are capped at -1, so unless your opponent is getting bonuses to hit that you also want to counter, you're better off with just the smoke launchers. Still useful on its own.
  • Hunter's Fusillade (1 CP): When a White Scars unit advances, their Heavy and Rapid Fire weapons can be fired as if they were Assault (keep in mind Rapid Fire 1 becomes Assault 1)
    • Extra effective on Heavy weapon squads as you don't lose anything in the shift to Assault, they will also benefit from the Tactical Doctrine in turn 2.
  • Feinting withdrawal (1CP): A White Scars unit that falls back can still shoot.
  • Chogorian thunderbolts (1 CP): White Scars Biker When one of your squads finishes a charge move, for each model in your squad select one enemy unit within 1" of that model. Roll a d6 and inflict 1MW on that unit on a 6. Doesn't say you can't select the same squad many times - true, but obviously, in matched play, it can only be used once per phase.
  • Lightning debarkation (1 CP): A White Scars transport that doesn't have the Flyer Battle Role can disembark its cargo after it has already moved, though they cannot charge that turn. Aka pay 1CP to give a transport the Impulsor's rule.
  • Quarry of the Khan (1 CP): If your WS warlord is on the field when you first generate a Tactical Objective, this strat guarantees your it is Kingslayer, which your warlord is good at. Unsure how this works in 9th?
  • Encirclement (1CP): During deployment, set up a non-artillary or Building White Scars unit in outflank instead of on the battlefield. At the end of one of your movement phases, that unit can arrive within 6" of a battlefield's edge and more than 9" away from enemy models.
  • Khan's Champion (1 CP): Give one of your "sergeant"s a Master-crafted weapon/Digital weapon/Headtaker's trophies/Stormwrath bolts. Remember all relics in your army must be different and handed to different characters.
    • Stormwrath bolts restrict the weapon to "make a single shot with this stats", but it DOESN'T changes a profile's rules: an Eliminator Sergeant can snipe characters with Stormwrath bolts with +2 to hit that ignore cover/inflict a MW on a 6+ to wound. Unsure an Armorium Cherub could reload a Devastator sergeant's boltgun, but his Signum would give him BS2+.
    • The other three SI wargear are melee-oriented; a Master-crafted power weapon or Digital weapon for Vanguard Vet/Primaris sarges. A Reiver with Headtaker's trophies, however, can inflict -2Ld on his own.
  • Tempered by wisdom (1CP, Single Use): You can generate a second warlord trait for one of your WS characters that aren't a named character, from the White Scars Warlord Trait table. All warlord traits must be different.
  • Gift of the Khans (1CP, Single Use): After nominating a WS Successor character as your warlord, you can give one Relic of Chogoris to one of your WS Successor characters instead of giving them a relic from the regular SM codex or a Special Issue wargear.

Warlord Traits[edit]

  1. Deadly Hunter: Each time he successfully charges, roll a D6. On a 4+, one 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.
    • Competes with Chogorian Storm, assuming you can't afford a thunder hammer for your melee hero/need to take down things that a thunder hammer can't solve but MWs can.
  2. Chogorian Storm: +1d3A when he makes a charge or heroic intervention, aka WS' Smash Captain.
  3. Trophy Taker: Whenever this warlord successfully kills a character, he gains +1A until the end of the battle. Kor'sarro Khan comes with this. Skulls for the Golden Throne!
    • Weak compared to other traits as you have the difficult task of your melee character killing a character before gaining benefits, not to mention having to kill two to beat out other traits that give additional attack. Skip.
  4. Master Rider: Biker warlord only. Re-roll charges, -1 to be hit if he advanced.
    • Improves the durability of an already durable choice, especially against the pervasive snipers.
  5. Hunter's Instincts: +1 to wound and hit vs vehicles and monsters.
    • Improves your smash captain's tank and Primarch hunting capabilities. As of 9th, you do have to kill the turn you charge them, or else they will kill your warlord back.
  6. Master of Snares: On a 4+ enemies stuck in can't fall back unless they contain a model with a minimum move characteristic.
    • A lot of shooting infantry don't want to stay in melee with a space marine for any amount of time. This also prevents other enemies from shooting your warlord once he gets stuck in.

Psychic Discipline: Stormspeaking[edit]

Stormspeaking contains several standout powers that can combo together to spectacular effect. The discipline relies on lashing your opponent with blasts of wind and lightning, shielding your units from enemy fire, and speeding your units into the enemy's lines while hampering the ability of their units to advance and charge.

  1. Blasting Gale (WC7 Malediction): Targets an enemy unit with 18". The target cannot advance and rolls one fewer die for charges. Stacks with Tenebrous Curse, too!
    • This can be a bit tricky to use and requires a good understanding of your opponent's move values. Very good for handicapping units that rely on the ability to charge after advancing.
  2. Lightning Call (WC7 Witchfire): The closest enemy unit within 18" takes d3 mortal wounds. Then roll a die. On a 4+, deal one additional mortal wound. Rinse and repeat until you fail, with the target going up by one each time (5+ on the second roll, 6+ on the third).
    • This deals, on average, 2.69 mortal wounds upon casting, but its absurd WC makes it worse than Smite - starting at WC6, this outperforms Smite (1.95 at WC6, compared to 1.79 for Smite), so if you have a Mantle of the Stormseer, this becomes more interesting.
  3. Ride the Wind (WC6 Blessing): Target friendly unit within 12" gets +2" to advance and charge rolls (it won't make bikes advance farther, as they don't roll). Due to the psychic phase happening after the movement phase, it will be rare to get use out of this power in both phases. If your opponent tries to fall back, you can hopefully catch them thanks to the bonus from the advance rolls (provided the unit isn't shot off the table first).
    • This is a very solid power that works well with a wide array of White Scar units thanks to the Chapter Tactic. Great for helping deep striking units make that 9" charge, where +2 raises your odds from 27.78% to 58.33%; re-rolling charges only gets you to 47.84%. You can think of this power as almost always being Veil of Time, but better.
  4. Storm-Wreathed (WC6 Blessing): Select a friendly unit within 12", enemy units cannot fire overwatch at it. In addition, roll a die for each model that charged and got within 1" of an enemy. On a 6, it causes a mortal wound.
    • The Mortal Wounds are a nice bonus if they happen, but the real benefit is the ability to turn off overwatch, especially if you're facing auto-hitting weapons, like flamers, or other bullshit-grade Overwatch (looking at you, Tau).
  5. Spirit of Chogoris (WC6 Malediction): Enemy unit has -1 leadership and -1 on hit rolls. This is yet another solid power. Combine with Ride Hard, Ride Fast for an additional -1 to hit penalty if you're facing +1 to be hit, as modifiers stack prior to facing the +/-1 cap. This is Hallucination from Obscuration, although the powers have different names, so they'll stack. Some chapters have functionally better variants on this power, such as Dark Angels (Aversion).
  6. Eye of the Storm (WC6 Witchfire): Roll a d6 for each enemy unit within 12". Add 1 if the enemy has fly. On a 4+, cause a mortal wound.
    • Deals more mortal wounds than Smite starting at 3 flyers and 1 non-flyer, or 5 non-flyers.
    • On paper, this looks worse than Fury of the Ancients, but remember that it's every unit within a 24" + base width diameter circle, not just an 18" line, so in practice, it's a lot easier to pull off dropping a Librarian somewhere onto the table where this power will do something useful. Since the only scaling is per target unit, this is best against many small units with as few wounds as possible each, which is rare to find simultaneously, but it can be used to put work into taking down a deathstar made of a bunch of supporting characters.

Relics & Special-Issue Wargear[edit]

  • Banner of the Eagle: Ancient only. +1S to friendly White Scars Core units within 6".
    • Hard for on-foot Ancients to keep up with bikes unless you use Wind-swift or an at-the-right-time terminator Ancient, so don't use this with bikes - it can be used with Bladeguard to good effect, but it's even better on something with Sx2 weapons, like Aggressors. Assault Centurions derive no benefit as they lack CORE.
  • Glaive of Vengeance: Khan's spear that is always Sx2 AP-3 D1d3, even if it didn't charge. No good reason to ever take this - it's not even as good as a master-crafted khan's spear.
  • Hunter's Eye: One white scars unit within 6" of the bearer at the beginning of shooting (so it works when deep striking or disembarking just fine) gains Ignore Cover.
    • Stock, remember, you're not an all-melee chapter - fully 1/3 to 1/2 of your Chapter Tactics is ranged only. Since your chapter tactics don't benefit flamers, this is great on Assault style bolters - e.g. boltstorm aggressors love getting this buff.
  • Mantle of the Stormseer: Psykers only. The bearer adds +1 when attempting to manifest the Stormspeaker discipline. Not as good as the Imperial Fists relic which lets them re-roll casts, but still a pretty ok relic, particularly on a Chief Librarian with the Warlord Trait for the same, as suddenly your powers are all WC4 or 5 (WC4 powers go off 11/12 of the time!).
    • This gets strong competition from the Tome of Malcador, as the Tome will let you combine Veil of Time with Ride the Wind onto one Librarian.(no longer relevant as Tome wont let you mix disciplines)
  • Plume of the Plainsrunner: 6" aura of +1 to White Scars Infantry advance and charge rolls.
    • Easily one of your best relics - that +1 stacks with every other bonus except for a Chaplain's litany, so you can combine this with your Ride the Wind psyker power for +3, and of course re-rolling charges (from the Chapter Champion Warlord Trait, for example, or the Veil of Time Librarius power) also stacks, albeit with diminishing returns.
  • Scimitar of the Great Khan: Replaces a power sword/master-crafted power sword/relic blade with a master-crafted power sword: S+1 AP-3 D2. Unmodified wound rolls of 6s do D4 (D5 during the Assault doctrine wtf!). That means its damage functionally scales with target toughness, but it's also pretty much always strictly worse than a master-crafted relic blade (or thunder hammer). Assuming an S4 base atacker (so S5 with this sword), here's the functional damage:
    • T2-: D2.4
    • T3-4: D2.5
    • T5: D2.67
    • T6-9: D3
    • T10+: D4
  • Wrath of the Heavens: Biker model gets a Jump Bike. Movement characteristic becomes 16" and he can move (during the movement phase) over models and terrain.
  • Adamantine Mantle: Fnp5+++. "Not dying" is good for everyone, but (smash) captains/Primaris are the ones with the most wounds to proc it with.
  • Artificer Armour: 2+/5++. Most useful for Lieutenants and Librarians, who lack invulns.
  • Cyber-Eagle Helm: White Scares Core units within 6" hit Overwatch on 5 and 6.
  • Digital weapons: Do an additional attack when the model fights. If it hits, the target suffers a mortal wound. Usually worse than choosing a better melee relic, like a master-crafted thunder hammer.
  • Equis-Pattern Bolt Pistol: Upgrades a bolt or, interestingly, a Heavy Bolt pistol to full brrrt Pistol 5 S4 AP-1 D1. Your infantry can advance and charge, but pistols can't advance and shoot. They can, however, shoot into melee provided the shooter is in the melee, and supplement your already potent assaults, provided you don't fall back, which you usually will.
  • Headtaker's Trophies: -1Ld to enemies within 6" of the bearer. Very spooky with just a mere couple Reivers.
  • Master-Crafted weapon: +1D to a weapon, and it's now considered a relic (so now some WTs no longer affect it and such).
  • Stormwrath Bolts: Pocket autocannon. You can choose the bolt weapon it's being used on to make only one attack at S7 AP-1. If the target is a monster, it also gains D1d6.

Special Units[edit]

  • Khan on Bike: Cannot be customized, but comes with a unique Khan's Spear, which is a force sword - S+1 AP-3 Dd3 - that becomes Sx2 after charging or Heroically Intervening, and a Buckler (+1 to melee armour saves).
    • Costs the same as a Captain on Bike with a Power Fist for a melee weapon that's about on par with one, but then you get the buckler for free. Why would you field this, though? You're much more encouraged by your tactics to take a lightning claw or thunder hammer, and most likely a combi-melta.8
  • Kor'sarro Khan: A Primaris Captain. For shooting he has grenades, a bolt pistol, and an eagle that plucks out 1 MW on a 4+ from a non-vehicle within 12" (since that's the entire roll - no need to hit, wound, or penetrate saves - that makes it better than a D1 meltagun/inferno pistol; in fact, his eagle works on a unit that's engaged in melee!) and his melee weapon, Moonfang (S+2 AP-3 Dd3, re-roll damage and wounds against characters). His best ability is granting +1 to wound rolls to his chapter's core and character units within 6" that charged that turn, making them like Blood Angels - has the most impact on chainswords, lightning claws, and power swords (especially if master-crafted; he makes an excellent escort for Bladeguard). Just remember, he has to be near the melee swings when they happen, so if he fails a charge his escort makes, his bubble may not be in range.
    • 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.
    • And the catch? Figuring out a way to get him into melee. No bike, can't use a drop pod. A Repulsor is expensive and prone to being a fire magnet. Your best bet, even though Assault Vehicle precludes charging, is generally an Impulsor. An example of what can keep him company in one productively is a min-size unit of Bladeguard and a Bladeguard Ancient, while a second Impulsor carries 2 more min-size units.
      • Alternate opinion: Vet intercessors have 4 attacks a piece with 5 attacks on a thunder hammer sergeant that can be master-crafted up to damage 5 in assault doctrine that can swing twice. The real downside is that he only provides a re-roll 1s bubble that can't be upgraded to a chapter master re-roll all bubble because he is named. With the new Bladeguard and Assault Intercessors, he gets absolutely brutal.
    • You can use the encirclement strat to put him in reserve and deepstrike him along the edges of the map.
  • Kor'sarro Khan on Moondrakkan (Legends): On his discontinued bike, 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. Do note, he can only have a bike if taken from the Legends.
  • Successor Tactics: Guerrilla tactics are much benefited by Inheritors of the Primarch here, and the White Scar's Tactic is generally superior in every aspect than any combination of Successor tactics when coming to that end. That being said, if you are trying to squeeze every bit out of Ahazra you can, Knowledge is Power can help preserve his "ignore first Perils" bit around for as long as possible.
  • Ahazra Redth (Legends): Chief Librarian; can ignore his first Perils of the game, has a 5++.


There's a lot of Skub about playing White Scars in 9th, mostly revolving around the fact that their Chapter Tactics and Doctrine don't synergize very well, with most of your abilities only really coming into play turn 3. Most players prefer to play as Successors, so that they can pick Hungry for Battle (+1 Advance and Charge) and Whirlwind of Rage (exploding 6s to hit), two very decent tactics that pair extremely well with your Doctrine of +1 D, but lacks the super sexy advance+charging that makes White Scars the White Scars. There is also the Elephant in the room that if you want to go very heavy on bikes: Dark Angel Raven Wing arguably do a better job of it with a unique bike unit with Assault Plasma, a 5/4++ Jink, and Objective Secured on bikes in Ravenwing Outrider detachments.

Don't discount playing White Scars as they're intended, however. Ravenwing may have tricks but so do you. Don't overcomplicate them and play them with their intended role on Bikes, with as many assault (e.g. Meltas and Heavy/Intercessors with Assault Weapons) as you can. A good White Scars list can flood the field with T5 3W and 3+ saves, such as Gravis and Bikes. 3x3 Attack Bikes with Multi-Meltas, which gives you 36 wounds and 18 Melta shots for only 540 points (and using stratagems to get past the Heavy weapon weakness), and for 405 pts more, you can stack 3 more squads of Eradicators with Assault Melta on top of them, and this is by no means the most competitive combination. While your Turn 1 isn't going to do much, alpha-strikes aren't that competitive in the meta anymore, and you can make up for a subpar Turn 1 with your mobility, making full advantage of the fact that you can advance, shoot, and charge.

TL;DR: Get on a bike and use the abundance of Primaris Assault weapons in Turn 2, and charge survivors Turn 3.

  • Jumppack: Not as fast as bikes but still fairly fast when advancing and charging and ignoring terrain when moving. Your inceptors are relatively quite good at running around shooting, but in melee they're relatively shabby. Your vanguard vets are better in melee, but can't shoot while advancing at all, so consider giving them a Thunder Hammer or Lightning Claw and Storm Shield and giving up on ranged altogether with them.
    • Jump Pack Support: Jump Librarians and Jump Lieutenants are very reasonable choices for you, and you might want to consider Jump Captains and Jump Chaplains if you opt out of their Bike versions. Sadly, unlike Blood and Dark Angels, you have no access to Ancients or Apothecaries with Jump Packs or Bikes.
  • Primaris Devastating Charge and Lightning Assault make Primaris close combat viable.
    • Intercessors: A unit of 5 ABR Intercessors with a grenade launcher and a Power Fist/Thunder hammer on the sergeant is just about the best Troops choice available to you.
    • Assault Intercessors: Good at clearing chaff, somewhat inferior to ABR intercessors if not in combat as they gain +1A and -1AP in exchange for losing 3 S4 AP0 shots at 24".
    • Aggressors: These are worse than their weight in Assault Centurions when armed with flamers. The bolt flavor is more what you want, with inferior mobility and dakka compared to Inceptors, but radically better melee, and can start engaging the target 6" earlier than your Assault Centurions... and critically, they're Core, unlike Assault Centurions, so they're easier to buff.
    • Eradicators: Yes, although you can't double tap after advancing, you can still doubletap after coming out of encirclement, and 24" assault melta (without penalty) is still nothing to scoff at. Everyone hates Eradicators, so let them shoot at a 135 point unit while your more dangerous attack bikes and ATV zip around.
    • Bladeguard Veterans: Absurdly good, one of the best things you can take in terms of melee that can't shoot on the advance.
  • Bikes: T5 and 12-20" move, with their multiwounds and good saves, Bikes are Fast Gravis, and should be played as such. Don't throw them at the enemy first turn, and instead make use of cover and seize objectives until your Doctrine becomes active and you can really put in work. Since most Bikes only carry boltguns, you're not really going to be advancing if you plan on shooting, but 12" move is enough that you're not going to need to advance every single turn.
    • Scout Bikes 16" move and covered in assault and melee weapons, they are tailor-built for WS advance and charge. You can give the Sergeant a melee weapon on top of his combat knife. The AP0 combat knives themselves mean your Scouts punch as much as generic vets or primaris, but they're only 2W and 4+, so you're buying them to advance and charge once and dying in return. They can innately outflank, however.
    • Outriders will drown the enemy in S4 AP1 chainsword attacks and have an extra W, but are capped at 3 models and have no attacks outside of S4.
    • Actual Bike Squads, like Tacticals, are an in between, since they have a wound over scout bikes and a better save, can serve as ablative wounds for an Attack Bike that carries heavy weapons, while still kitting out their Sergeant with a melee weapon. You could also give them chainswords for AP1. Hampered by the lack of assault weapons, but good for tanking hits in cover.
    • Attack Bikes: Seriously consider them. Since they're Core, they're very easy to buff compared to the Invader ATV. Heavy Bolters arent worth it, so you may as well go all in with Multimeltas. The 24" of range is only extended with its native 14" move, meaning anything within 26" is within the danger zone of D6+2. Can Assault and shoot with two different 1cp strats, and can turn their Heavy weapons into Assault to get AP5 in turn 2. Again, you don't need to spend every turn advancing.
    • Invader ATV: A more expensive attack bike with double the wounds and A, but not Core. A distraction carnifex with Multimeltas, but quite expensive to take 3.
    • Primaris Chaplain on Bike Returns a legends unit to legal play. Has a bigger base and keeps up with advancing bikes to spread his litanies. Dreadnought-seeking missile in close combat with the Benediction of Fury relic, Sword of the Imperium WL trait, and Mantra of Strength litany. You can also run the Chogorian Storm WL trait for a crushing 7+D3 S8 AP3 D5 attacks on a turn 3 charge. You should strongly consider fielding one with Canticle of Hate for charge buffing, although a Jump Pack Chaplain can also do quite well (if he also has a power fist, both models cost exactly the same).
    • Captain on Bike: Over a Captain on Jump Pack, he lacks fly and a built-in deepstrike, but has +1 W and T. If you're going to pick him over a Jump Pack guy, consider making him a Chapter Master since he'll be starting on the board anyway.
      • You can make a Smashfucker with Chogorian Storm and Imperium's sword, for 6+D3 attacks on the charge, rerolling charges and +1 S. If you're okay with a Smashfucker that puts all his eggs in offense, you can also give him Teeth of Terra as a relic for an additional 3 S+1 AP2 D2 (3 in the Assault Phase) attacks.
  • Speed of foot: On foot your ground troops can cover 6" + d6" + 2d6". Impulsors can jet troops 20" easily while providing some defense (good for moving in your melee heavy hitters). With Impulsors, a unit can't charge, but it can advance and shoot.
    • Assault Centurions: *Ludicrously* good, with the caveat they're not core and hence hard to buff - on their own, especially with meltaguns (despite the steep points cost compared to anything else that can take melta) and assault launchers, they're incredibly useful.
    • Assault Terminators: Do not take - they'll be Vanguard Vets or Bladeguard Veterans but worse, in actual practice. If you insist on taking them, double lightning claw is the way to go.
  • Dreadnoughts: Your Ironclads are very good, even though they have to carry at least one non-Assault gun.
  • Encirclement: Using a big threat, you can put your opponent in a difficult position by forcing them to decide between holding the rear, thus losing their chance to hold midfield objectives, or risking a deathstar appearing behind their lines and causing havoc.
  • Lightning Claws Rip and tear. One A2 model with 2 lightning claws puts out 5 S4 AP-3 D2 attacks in the assault phase on the charge, re-rolling wounds. Kills slightly more than 2 marines on average in one round. One lightning claw is usually better, especially when your other hand can carry a meltagun, combimelta, or storm shield, which isn't everyone, of course - depending on the unit, any or all of those those can cost the same as a claw, and the melee attack you give up is worse than the melta shot you could have taken or the protection the shield would have granted you.

Space Wolves and Wolfspear[edit]

Space Wolves Chapter Livery.jpg
In the grim darkness of the far future, the wolves are the fiercest predators.

Thematically, these guys are fucking furries a bunch of football hooligans angry space Vikings who can't read have no respect for anything other than their own strength and culture rather than any book. Their way of organisation is rather unorthodox but no less effective.

On the tabletop, these guys focus on the assault. Though they aren't White Scars swift or Templar strong, they have a means of tying the enemy up in combat by any means necessary and an emphasis on using melee characters. It also helps that they're good in combat.

For the All-Father and Leman Russ!

In the grim darkness of the far future, the pack hunts from the shadows.

Thematically, they are the first successful Space Wolves successor chapter with the return of Roboute Guilliman and the Ultima Founding, they feared being rejected by the Sons of Russ for not being born of Fenris, but an influx of volunteers from the Space Wolves by Logan Grimnar ensured that their traditions would be carried over, strengthening their bonds.

On the tabletop, the Wolfspears are a kind of mix between Raven Guard and their parent chapter, in that they are hard to hit from a distance but when they get close they pack a punch.

Stalk the prey from afar, then when they expose their weakness, go for their throats!

Special Rules[edit]

As a general rule, you're Blood Angels but worse in terms of your rules. Look to your special units and unit options to find a way to shine, or be a successor.

  • Hunters Unleashed (Chapter Tactics): If a unit with this ability charged, was charged, or made a Heroic Intervention this turn, it gains +1 to hit rolls in the Fight Phase. In addition, all units can perform Heroic Interventions like a Character.
    • Much worse than the Blood Angels chapter tactic, particularly in light of how much better their Doctrine bonus works than yours does: baseline, a Blood Angel with most melee weapons that don't have an accuracy penalty will just outperform you against most targets. You'll often pull ahead with the penalty ones - a thunder hammer or power fist in your hands is usually better than in theirs - but your secondary benefit doesn't help characters at all, and you'll struggle to fill units with those weapons cost effectively, unlike Blood Angels, whose secondary benefit makes them much better at getting into melee intentionally than you are. Your benefit instead makes you better at getting charged, since if you have a bunch of units close together, charging any one of them will force the enemy into melee with all of them.
  • Dark Terror (Wolfspears Chapter Tactic): Units gain light cover 18" away from any enemy unit and they get +1 to advance and charge rolls. They have the Hungry for Battle and Stealthy successor traits.
  • Savage Fury (Specialist Doctrine): While the Assault Doctrine is active, an unmodified roll of 6 to hit in melee will grant an additional hit, i.e. you temporarily get the Whirlwind of Rage chapter tactic.
    • The big problem here relative to Blood Angels is that this benefit acts like +1 to hit only better (as it stacks with +1 to hit and plays even more nicely with chapter master re-rolls), which means diminishing returns - a WS2+ model with a Thunder Hammer is now going to act like it's WS1+, which is only 20% better - whereas Blood Angels get +1A, which is usually more than 20% better, since most of the army is A4 or less. Your bonus doesn't require charging or anything, but your plan was already to wait for the Assault Doctrine and charge, not charge in before that and hope to stay in melee.
    • If you want to fix your weirdly mixed buffs, switch to being a Successor. Whirlwind of Rage is your doctrine bonus, but they'll stack, and Whirlwind of Rage is strictly better than your actual +1, since your WS2+ models will be able to use it properly. For your second tactic, Hungry for Battle will typically work best with your other rules.
  • Berserk Charge: One of your two Blood Claw rules, including Skyclaws and Swiftclaws (pg. 45 of the Space Wolf Expansion). If the unit benefits from the Hunters Unleashed Chapter Tactic as a Space Wolf or a Successor, the unit gains +1A if they charge (excluding Wolf Guard).
  • Headstrong: Second part of your Blood Claw rules. If the unit doesn't include a Wolf Guard, it must charge the closest eligible enemy unit.
  • Swift Hunters: On your Fenrisian, Cyber, and Thunder Wolves. Can advance and charge, and adds +1" to pile-in and consolidation moves.
  • Options:
    • Primaris Lieutenants can replace their auto bolt rifle with a carbine, which trades A3 AP0 for A2 AP-2, and a master-crafted power axe.
    • Techmarines can replace their bolt pistol and axe with a helfrost pistol and tempest hammer - the tempest hammer is just a thunder hamer with one better AP at AP-3, while the helfrost pistol is either Pistol d3 (Blast) S4 AP-2 D1 or Pistol 1 S6 AP-4 D3, both at 12", and you can't both perform this swap and take a servo-harness. Right now the whole thing is badly overcosted, mostly because you have to buy both at once, and the pistol is like a combi-melta but worse - meaning for fewer points, you can take a combi-melta and power fist, and generally get better performance overall.
    • The heavy weapons guy in a Scout squad can take a Special weapon instead, and an extra scout can swap his bolter for a power sword, power axe, or plasma pistol, but Scouts are worthless now.
    • Dreadnoughts (basic and venerable) can swap their melee weapon for a Great Wolf Claw, which is a no-brainer - you lose a point of AP and 2 of Strength for re-rolling wounds, which is easily worth it - or venerables can swap both the melee arm and the gun arm for a Fenrisian Great Axe and Blizzard Shield (4++). The axe can behave like a normal CCW, at 2 less S but 1d3 more D, with a melee penalty you'll ignore, or double attacks at SU AP-3 D1, functionally turning your venerable into an ironclad with extra durability and versatility in melee, but less dakka.
    • Helfrost Cannons are added to the Dreadnought Weapons list, which before Forge World means just basic and venerable dreads again, for the gun arm. It has two profiles, both 36": in Focused mode it's a multimelta but worse, hitting at d3+3 damage but only shooting once, while in Dispersed mode it's a plasma cannon but worse by 1 S, AP, and D. Since it costs the same as a multimelta, take that instead.
    • Your bike squads special weapons dudes can take plasma pistols instead of special weapons, if you want to be a moron.
  • Unit Restrictions: The Space Wolves cannot take the following:
    • Apothecaries (replaced with almost nothing; your chaplains have a stratagem for healing, and just can't heal multiple times (even with multiple chaplains), provide an FNP, or bring back the dead).
    • Tactical Squads (replaced with Blood Claws and Grey Hunters).
    • Assault Squads (replaced with Skyclaws).
    • Devastator Squads (replaced with Long Fangs).
    • Sternguard Veterans and Vanguard Veterans (replaced with Wolf Guard, who aren't really either - they're closer to company vets with jump packs than anything else).

Crusade Additions[edit]

Secondary Objectives[edit]

  • Purge the Enemy
    • Glory Kills: Score 2 VP if you slay an enemy Character or 3 VP if you kill a Monster (or 1 VP if you deal 3+ wounds to either without killing). Note that these can't overlap, so Hive Tyrants and Daemon Princes won't give you 5 VP on a kill.
    • Heroic Challenge: At the start of the game, you and your enemy must select one Character or their warlord to become sworn enemies. You score 5 points if the enemy character is killed, 5 more if it's in melee, and the last 5 if it was caused by your character. In short it's a Slay the Warlord type deal with more restrictions, but you'll be game for it.
  • No Mercy, No Respite
    • A Mighty Saga: Score 2 VP each turn (max 5 per turn) for the following: Your warlord wounds an enemy Vehicle/monster, your warlord slays a Vehicle/Monster, your warlord slays an enemy character, your warlord kills 5+ models in a turn, or your warlord is within range of an objective in the enemy DZ. Why yes, it makes your warlord super-important, but they were pretty selfish bastards anyways.
    • Warrior Pride: 3 VP if two or more of your units are either engaged with an enemy or made a charge. Pretty much a no-brainer here.


  • Cunning of the Wolf (1 CP):You select one INFANTRY unit to gain the outflank rule. Congratulations, you got outflanking back. Enjoy watching your opponent's backline melt. For only a single command point to spend on each unit you do that for. Hell yeah! Shenanigans will ensue for armies with similar abilities (aka. Eldar, Blood Angels, Raven Guard etc.), prepare for hilarity.
  • The Emperor's Executioners (1 CP): In the Fight phase, a Space Wolves unit can reroll hit and wound rolls against Thousand Sons unit in melee.
  • Savage Strike (1/2 CP): When a Space Wolf unit is selected to fight the turn it changes, add +1 to wound for each time it fights this phase. 1cp of a unit of 5 models or less and 2 for more than 5.
  • Healing Balms: Instead of just being a full-on ability to heal like an apothecary, this gives the Wolf Priests their means to restore d3 wounds to the appropriate Space Wolf Infantry, Bikers or cavalry within 3". A serious nerf since Space Wolves still can't use apothecaries for actual healing.
  • Vicious Executioners (1 CP): One Wolf Guard unit during the fight phase gets to deal a MW on top of any normal damage when they roll a natural 6 to hit.
  • Pack Hunters (1 CP): During the Charge phase, pick an enemy currently engaged with a Space Wolf unit, Space Wolf Calvary and Space Wolf Beasts roll 3d6 drop one when charging that enemy, and they reroll their teeth and claw attacks against them.
  • Relentless Assault (1 CP): Lets a Space Wolf unit consolidate an extra 3". Not cumulative with other rules.
  • Cloaked by the Storm (2 CP): In the Psychic phase, when Space Wolf psyker manifests a power from the Tempestas discipline, he imposes a -1 penalty for all ranged attacks made against Space Wolves units within 6" of it until the next Psychic phase. Expensive, but now you can buff your army without ever using a buffing power.
  • Deed Worthy of a Saga (1 CP): When a character without a Warlord trait fulfills a requirement listed for a saga, they gain that saga's aura for the rest of game.
  • A Trophy Bestowed (1 CP): Lets a Space Wolf successor chapter take a chapter relic instead of being stuck with just the special-issue wargear list.
  • Thane of the Retinue (1 CP): If you have a Space Wolf Warlord, a sergeant or pack leader can take a special-issue wargear.
  • Warrior of Legend (1 CP): Put a second WT on your Warlord. This second WT must be from the Space Wolves codex and they gain the associated deed. Worth noting that the first trait could be from the Space Marine codex.
  • Bestial Nature (1 CP): In the Command phase, a Space Wolf Space Wolf INFANTRY, Cavalry, or Bike unit is treated as being in the Assault phase.
  • Counter-Charge (1 CP): This allows one unit to perform a Heroic Intervention against an enemy charge, letting them move 6" to do so. This little gem is useful in protecting more vulnerable forces by throwing more durable (or disposable) forces against the enemy.
  • Keen Senses (1 CP): Use this stratagem in the Shooting phase. Choose a SW unit from your army; they suffer NO penalties to hit until the END OF TURN. Those Alaitoc Shadow Specters will hate your guts. Time to break out the BIG guns. Use this broke-ass stratagem on leviathans, fellblades, and tank destroyers. The more guns the better.
    • This stratagem lets you turn your Long Fangs into Dark Reapers, meaning you can have move without suffering any minuses to hit. This makes any unit you wish had Power of the Machine Spirits that much faster.
      • RAW, you could use this in your shooting phase, and negate all melee negative modifiers (Hammers, Fists etc.) in preceding fight phase. Super sweet on Wulfens and TWC hammering foes on 2+ to hit.
        • Dope combo: use this on Aggressors, find some Hunter saga near by, advance and shoot with gauntlets without penalty, then charge and pulverize survivors with fists on 2+.
  • Runic Wards (1 CP): Lets any of your units Deny the Witch like a Psyker, but only within 12".
  • Track and Hunt (1 CP): at the end of the Movement Phase to pick an enemy unit within 24” of one of your Wolfspear Core units; that unit doesn’t get cover for the rest of the turn.
  • Killing Blow (1 CP): in the Shooting or Fight phases, give a unit +1 to wound against a unit that’s either below Half Strength or consists of 1 model and has lost more than half its wounds.
  • On the Scent (1 Cp): in the Charge phase, pick an enemy unit that lost models or wounds this turn – you get to re-roll charges for Wolfspear Core units that charge them.

Warlord Traits[edit]

Most of These Warlord traits are selfish by nature, boosting up the ability of the badass, but also supportive later in game. Completing the Deed of Legend (DoL) unlocks an Aura that is slightly weaker than the Warlord Trait.

  • Beastslayer: Add 1 to hit and wound rolls made against monsters and vehicles and +1 attack when within engagement range with one.
    • DoL: Very straightforward, just use the Warlord to slay a Monster or Vehicle. This can be done with the character's ranged weapons.
    • Aura: Space Wolf Core units gain +1 to wound rolls when attacking Monsters and Vehicles in melee.
  • Wolfkin: Warlord always counts as having charged for Shock Assault and gains +d3A from it instead of +1. This is Canis Wolfborn's designated trait.
    • DoL: Kill any enemy model in melee with your Warlord. Ridiculously easy to complete.
    • Aura: Space Wolf Core units within 6" always count as having charged for Shock Assault.
  • Warrior Born: Warlord always fights first in the Fight Phase when in engagement range of enemies. This is Ragnar Blackmane's and Krom Dragongaze's designated trait.
    • DoL: Kill an enemy Character in melee with your Warlord.
    • Aura: Space Wolf Core units within 6" of this model and within engagement range of enemy units also fight first.
  • Hunter: +1 to advancing and charge distances, and the Warlord can charge after advancing or falling back. This is Harald Deathwolf's designated trait.
    • DoL: Successfully charge an enemy unit.
    • Aura: Space Wolf Core units within 6" can charge after advancing or falling back.
  • Majesty: Gain an extra 3" to all Captain, Lieutenant, Chapter Master, and Chaplain abilities and auras, to a maximum of 9". This is Logan Grimnar's, Bjorn the Fell-Handed's, and Ulrik the Slayer's designated trait.
    • DoL: Be within range of an objective that is more than 6" away from your deployment zone.
    • Aura: Space Wolf Core units within 6" automatically pass morale tests.
  • Bear: Gain a FnP on a 6+ and enemy attacks can't re-roll wound or damage rolls against this warlord. This is Arjac Rockfist's and Njall Stormcaller's designated trait.
    • DoL: Lose a wound.
    • Aura: Space Wolf Core units gain a 6+++ FnP.
      • Particularly useful since you can't take an Apothecary and this 100% works on Dreadnoughts; best on librarians (including Njal), since this both makes your librarian resistant to Perils, and means you can use Perils to help the aura trigger faster.
  • Wolfspear Warlord Traits:
    • Strike for the Throat: Your warlord re-rolls hits and has extra AP on melee attacks.
    • Hunt from Afar: Your warlord automatically hits and wounds on 2+ against Non-Vehicle/Monster units, good for a Phobos Captain.
    • Howling Beasts: Your Warlord gets +2 attacks when in engagement range of an enemy unit with 7 or less leadership.

Psychic Discipline: Tempestas[edit]

Your Space Wolf and Successor specific psychic discipline.

  1. Living Lightning (WC6, Witchfire): Deals d3 mortal wounds to the nearest visible enemy unit within 18", then on another roll of 2+ the closest (to the caster) other enemy unit within 6" of the target also takes a mortal wound, increasing to 1d3 on a 5+.
    • Note that due to the wording, if the first unit dies, there's no way to select the second unit. See the wording on the Iron Hands spell Machine Flense for the necessary wording on a spell to avoid this problem.
    • This power beats Smite (1.79 mortal wounds dealt), provided it has : 1.44 to the primary target, 0.84 to the secondary, 2.29 total (due to rounding). It does very slightly less than the Iron Hands spell Machine Flense (2.41), but hits the nearest instead of any vehicle the caster wants.
  2. Murderous Hurricane (WC6, Malediction): Target a visible enemy within 18"; until your next Psychic phase, it can't overwatch unless in terrain and nearly always fights last (actually always fights after Space Wolves, which is only a relevant nerf if you brought soup). The second ability is strictly worse than the Dark Angels spell Mind Worm, which has no such anti-soup wording, while the two spells have a radically different second ability (Mind Worm also deals a single mortal wound).
    • This is radically worse than Veil of Time (from Librarius) to support a single melee unit of your own, so it's instead better when you're helping a bunch of melee units murder a single target, ideally when they also don't need help succeeding on the charge.
    • In most situations, worse than Tempest's Wrath, but particularly useful on something charging you you don't want to be in melee with.
  3. Tempest's Wrath (WC6, Malediction): Until the start of your next Psychic phase, an enemy unit within 24" has -1 to hit. Strictly worse than the Dark Angels spell Aversion, which is identical except that the target unit also suffers -1A while within 6" of the caster, but the difference doesn't matter for protecting a gunline.
  4. Instincts Awoken (WC6, Blessing): Until the next psychic phase, a Space Wolf unit within 18" is treated as being in the Assault Doctrine instead until your next Psychic phase, or get a stackable -1 AP on UM wound rolls of 6 if already in Assault.
    • Significantly better in rounds 1 and 2 than in round 3; definitely consider putting this on a librarian in a drop pod with a squad of angry boys (you'll want your other power to be Tempest's Wrath, most likely).
  5. Storm Caller (WC6, Blessing): Until the start of your next Psychic phase all friendly Space Wolves within 6" gain the benefit of being in light cover. Worse than Psychic Fortress from Librarius for melee protection, but in many many cases better for protecting a gunline. Don't forget to add the Cloaked by the Storm stratagem to buff them further - the units in cover will also be at -1 to be hit with ranged attacks!
  6. Jaws of the Wolf World (WC7, Witchfire): Pick an enemy unit within 18". Roll a D6 for each model, with +1 to rolls if the test passed on a 9+. On a 6+, inflict a mortal wound.
    • Deals slightly more than 1/7 of a mortal wound per model in the unit, which means at 13 models or more, this power outperforms Smite (at 13, it's 1.87 to Smite's 1.79).

That means there are basically 3 collections of spells:

Living Lightning and Jaws of the World Wolf are situationally Smite but better, for mortal wounds sources. Storm Caller and Tempest's Wrath are good protection for a gunline. Instincts Awoken buffs you in melee, primarily on the first two rounds - by round three it gets nearly useless. Murderous Hurricane can be used as a charge deterrent or if you need to charge something with dangerous Overwatch.

Relics & Special-Issue Wargear[edit]

  • Armor of Russ: Bearer gains a 2+ armour save, 4++ invulnerable save, and one enemy unit within engagement range of the wearer always fights last.
    • No restrictions on who can take it, so give it to a non-wolf non-terminator Lieutenant or Librarian for best results.
  • The Wulfen Stone: Friendly Space Wolves Core units within 6" of the bearer re-roll charges and once per battle, as a Space Wolves unit triggers Savage Fury on a 5+ (it neither grants SF nor applies the Assault Doctrine, so you want the target to have both in place from other sources).
    • Far and away the best relic you can take, and better than most relics of any SM chapter, in general,
  • Fireheart: Replaces a plasma pistol. 18" S9 AP-4 D3, no overheating.
  • Black Death: Replaces a power axe or master-crafted power axe with a power axe (S+2 AP-2 D1) that also grants +d6A that must be made with it.
    • Makes your character a decent GEQ blender. If you're giving this to anyone, make sure they're on a Thunderwolf; the pup's additional teeth and claw attacks mean they'll want to have similar targets.
  • Mountain-Breaker Helm: After the bearer finishes attacking but before consolidating, you can roll a d6 on an enemy within 1" (so if you killed off all your melee targets, this does nothing). You deal d3 MWs on a 2+, or on average 5/3 of a mortal wound.
  • The Storm's Eye: Librarian only. After using your first Tempest power in a Psychic Phase, roll a d6 for every enemy unit within 12". Each unit takes a mortal wound on a 4+.
    • A lovely way of dishing out the MW, this also smacks Characters without the usual -1 modifier most similar powers have. Like any time you use a Librarian to dish out mortal wounds, Deep Strike is the way to go here, and then after that, you'll want mobility to be near enemy units, so a Jump Pack can be clutch.
  • The Pelt of Balewolf: -1 to melee hit and wound rolls against the bearer.
  • Adamantine Mantle: When this model loses a wound, roll a D6; on a 5+, the wound isn’t lost. Not that great in an army with access to so many rolls to negate wounds.
  • Artificer Armour: Gives a model a 2+ armour save and a 5++ invulnerable save.
  • Master-Crafted Weapon: Give a weapon +1D. Good on a thunder hammer for D4 or on weapons with variable damage (force weapons and chainfists) to guarantuee at least 2D.
  • Digital Weapons: When you fight, you make one extra attack that scores a mortal wound if it hits. Not terrible, but your Characters are pretty much renown for how hard they punch stuff. It's better to invest relics in durability or supporting other troops.
  • Morkai's Teeth Bolts: Markerlight, Space Wolf edition. One of the bearer's bolt weapons can make one hit roll and if it hits, any unit attacking that target re-rolls wound rolls of 1 (but the bolt weapon doesn't wound, penetrate, deal damage, or anything else).
    • In melee, this is radically worse than the Blood Angels Quake Bolts, which a) provides +1 to hit, which is better than re-rolling 1s to wound in all cases except for WS2+ and is harder to provide in bulk because Lieutenants exist, and b) lets the bolt weapon resolve its damage and any other rules. As ranged support, it can be ok for bringing down a target with attackers not near a Lieutenant.
  • Wolf Tail Talisman: Bearer ignores MW on a 4+ during the Psychic Phase.
  • Frost Weapon: Replaces all the Frost weapon options. Can give a lighting claw (single or pair), power axe, master-crafted power axe, power sword, or master-crafted power sword +1S and +1D and treat it as a Chapter Relic.
    • Lightning claws: Sticking it on these bumps you up to the ever useful S5, meaning you now wound T6-9 targets with odds 5/9. The benefit against MEQs is much slighter, since you were already re-rolling wounds (you from odds 27/36 to 32/36, i.e. 3/4 to 8/9), but D2 is awesome against MEQs, and this gets both claws, unlike Master-Crafted.
    • Power sword: Now this bumps you to S6, thus wounding T3 models on a 2+. More importantly, you can stick this on a master-crafted sword, bringing it to D3, i.e. as much as an unbuffed Thunder Hammer, with better AP and no accuracy penalty.
    • Power axe: Eh, take a something else. S+3 resulting in S7 is an awkward value. Against T5 and below (i.e. most models), you wound on a 2+/3+ but the frost sword gets AP-3. Against T7 and T8 models, you wound on a 4+/5+ but the powerfist wounds on 3+/4+ and doesn't eat a relic slot.
  • Runic Weapon: Librarian only. Gives +1 to Deny the Witch rolls and a force weapon gains +1S and is considered a Chapter Relic.
    • Similar to the frost weapon explanations above with regards to strength values, you'll get a lot of use on force swords getting bumped to S6, but force staves do go to S8 for a diet thunder hammer.
    • Unless you have a hard-on for denying the witch, this is far less useful than master-crafting the force weapon in question for D1d3+1.
  • Elemental Shroud: Gives incoming attacks -1 to hit and makes you ineligible as a target for ranged attacks if you’re more than 18” away from the firing model, but you lose this benefit until your next Movement phase if you make any kind of move.
  • Totem of Storms: Once-per-battle-round re-roll on a psychic test or deny attempt.
  • Blacktooth: Replacement for a knife or pair of knives and gives you +2 attacks plus all of your wounds turn into mortal wounds.

Special Units[edit]

  • Wolf Guard: Many of your firstborn infantry can take a Wolf Guard Leader in addition to the normal pack leader. Often they are the models to give the unit the +1Ld. Comes in power armour or (usually - not for Skyclaws) Terminator flavour. Either option gives you effectively two Sergeants: the one that comes with the unit typically has limited access to melee weapons (usually only a power axe, fist, or sword) and buys from the special weapons list for guns, while the WGL typically buys from the full melee and combi-weapons lists, as well as being allowed to buy a plasma pistol or storm shield. The termiWGL usually loses access to chainswords but gains access to chainfists, and is otherwise what you'd expect, except that the WGL normally costs the same as a unit member, but the termiWGL normally costs as much as a normal termi, despite not being able to deep strike.
  • Wolf Lord on Thunderwolf: The melee version of a Biker Captain. While slower at M10", they can advance and charge in the same turn. The doggy adds 3A at S+1 AP-2 D1.
    • Note that if your primary desire is combining mobility with number of attacks, Harald Deathwolf does this better, not least due to having Outflank.
    • As this model has the Captain keyword, they can become a Chapter Master and take the Angel Artifice relic (Sv2+, +1T, +1W). Your statline becomes WS2+ BS2+ S4 T6 W8 A4 Ld9 Sv2+/4++ (and you can buy a storm shield to get down to 1+, if you want). Adding the Imperium's Sword (+1A and +1S on the charge), Bear (6+++ FNP, and as soon as you lose your first wound, it turns into an aura), or Iron Resolve (another +1W for W9, and a 6+++ FNP to boot) Warlord Traits truly turns you into the Space Wolf Smash Fucker.
  • Wolf Guard Battle Leader in Terminator Armour: Finally, a Lieutenant in Terminator Armour, which only Space Wolves and Dark Angels have any access to. 85pts compared to the power armoured 70pts. Gains a 5++ invuln, a storm bolter, and a power sword as default wargear.
  • Wolf Guard Battle Leader on Thunderwolf: Lieutenant riding a Wolf. Has all the benefits as the Wolf Lord on a Thunderwolf above, but attached to a Lieutenant instead.
Named Characters[edit]
  • Logan Grimnar: Everybody's favourite Santa returns once more to the HQ slot but he's no less a killing machine than before. He comes equipped with Terminator armour, a 4++ invulnerable, a storm bolter and a big ol' axe, and is a venerable mountain of wounds, attacks and MANLINESS. He gained the Chapter Master keyword and ability (one Space Wolf Core unit within 6" re-rolls all failed hit rolls). He always counts as having completed his Warlord Trait, so his Chapter Master and Captain abilities are extended to 9", and Space Wolf units within 6" automatically pass morale tests. The Axe of Morkai now functions as either a thunder hammer without the hit penalty (not that your WS2+ models take the penalty to begin with) or an S+2 AP-3 D1 make-two-hit-rolls-for-each-attack GEQ blender. All for a neat 155pts.
    • Logan Grimnar on Stormrider: For a mere 25pts extra, he can take his sled. Bumping his stats to T6, W14 (making him lose Look Out, Sir, and he can't benefit from Company Vets anymore), and M10"/7"/4" (that's right, in his weakest state it would be faster if he could legally get out and walk). He also gains 6 of the Thunderwolves' teeth and claws (S+1 AP-2 D1), because fuck GEQs. He can also advance and charge like other Thunderwolves, but he can't Deep Strike. Beware, though; he swaps Infantry for Chariot, so some rules, abilities, or stratagems may not apply to him.
      • Don't be dumb - this is exactly as bad an idea as it looks. If you need a mobile Chapter Master, field one on a bike, thunderwolf or just shell out cash for a Storm Eagle, StormRaven or Land Raider. Logan's Sled is just too fragile, plain and simple.
  • Arjac Rockfist: "Mjolnir Foehammer to me!"*cough* The Anvil of Fenris is your Wolf Guard Battle Leader in Terminator Armour. His standard Lt. aura is mostly a secondary role; his primary one is flattening enemy Characters and Monsters. S5 and A4 puts him above other WGBLs, in conjunction with his buffed thunder hammer which he can YEET at an enemy unit. 12" Assault 1 S10 AP-3 D3, gains +1D against Character or Monsters, with the melee profile being that same S, AP, D, and rules. His Champion of the Kingsguard rule lets him re-roll failed hit rolls in melee against Characters as well, meaning it's the same as re-rolling 1s to hit since he's WS2+. He's also one of the only Marines to have kept an 8th edition storm shield, meaning he has a 3++ invulnerable save (and a 2+ save, not a 1+).
    • He's 120pts compared to a Battle Leader Hammernator's 105pts. For those 15pts, you gain what amounts to a meltagun, +1S (which is +2 after you account for the hammer), +1A, trading 1+/4++ for 2+/3++ (which is usually better), and an excellent character smasher. The only reason you'd take a generic Battle Leader in Terminator Armour is for relics or a Warlord Trait of your choice instead of Arjac's fixed Warlord Trait (the Bear, which is the 6+++ FNP that turns into an aura when the warlord loses his first wound), or if you really wanted to trade his melee prowess for long-range prowess, i.e. a storm bolter.
  • Njal Stormcaller: Sticking the Tempest that Walks inside a suit of Runic Terminator Armour is a no brainer. At 140 pts he's got an extra wound, 5++ and the ability to deep strike. Along with his improved stat line Njal knows 3 Tempestas powers along with Smite so he can pick and choose which 2 he wants to cast with +1 on he psychic tests. He can also deny 2 enemy powers per turn with a re-roll on all of the attempts, combined with his psychic hood this gives you a damn good chance of denying an opponents powers which really matters with all the Smite spam out there this edition. Nightwing is still underwhelming but Assault 3 strength 3 shots are better than nothing. Play aggressively and drop him with another deep striking unit so he can support them, throw out Powers and shut down enemy casters.
  • Bjorn the Fell Handed: Now that Bray'arth got taken out back and shot in the kneecaps by FW, Bjorn is roughly tied for toughest non-Leviathan Dreadnought now. T8 W8 Sv3+/5+++ fnp and Character makes him very hard to kill. He's kept his Captain re-roll 1s to hit aura but hasn't got the Captain keyword, meaning you can take him and a captain and a chapter master if you really want, and gained Duty Eternal from the Codex, meaning any damage he does suffer is reduced by 1. In melee, he packs five S12 AP-4 Dd6 re-rolling failed wound rolls punches, before you calculate shock assault. For shooting, he comes standard with a heavy flamer and assault cannon, the latter of which can be switched for a heavy plasma cannon, multi-melta, twin lascannon, or helfrost cannon. At M6", he has a fairly nippy power-waddle as well, and he's only 175pts with the assault cannon.
    • He's an excellent addition to gunline armies compared to a regular Captain. The same aura, better shooting, tougher, and a better deterrent against enemies who get too close.
  • Harald Deathwolf: This guy, right here. Exceedingly tough at T5 W7 2+/4++, and his Mantle of the Troll King lowers any damage received by 1 (suck it, Dreadnoughts). He's a thunderwolf captain that can outflank, and has the same leadership-sharing aura chaplains have, but with a different name. His former frost axe is now a masterwork power axe with a buff on it, coming out at S+2 AP-2 D2 and unmodified wound rolls of 6 inflict an additional MW.
  • Canis Wolfborn: Dog Dogborn has returned as a Thunderwolf "Company Champion" with Frost lightning claws (S+1 AP-2 D2 re-roll failed wound rolls) instead of the master-crafted power sword and combat shield on a real company champion. His unique aura boosts him to a borderline auto-take if you have a Thunderwolf Deathstar, as he grants +1A with Thunderwolf and +2A with Fenrisian Wolf teeth and claws (he works on Ragnar's chariot, but only adds +1A, not the +2A you'd expect from it having two wolves); he won't buff them as much as a captain or lieutenant on a thunderwolf will, but he's a reasonably solid third buff to them. That being said, he's a glass cannon at T5, W6, Sv3+, and no invulnerable save - his only nod to durability is that he has outflank, letting him keep up with Harald. He has a bolt pistol and frag and krak grenades, but his BS is a laughable 5+, so that's a marginal downside compared to a real company champion.
    • It's a fine question how anyone with BS5+ - he's less accurate than an Ork - managed to rise through the ranks of a Space Marine Chapter, even given how non-compliant the Space Wolves are.
  • Krom Dragongaze: A fairly inexpensive but fluffy alternative to a regular footslogging Wolf Lord/Captain. At 90 pts he boasts an extra attack, his Wyrmclaw is a +3 strength, AP-2 D2, and he reduces enemy units' combat attrition tests within 3" by 1. Awesome model, and offers something different from the usual Wolf theme. Cheaper than similarly equipped Wolf Lord, making him the budget choice.
  • Ragnar Blackmane: Got Primarised in the last edition. As expected he gets the extra wound and attacks (he is A7) that all Primaris have, but more conspicuously he replaces Shock Assault with his old Berserker Rage, giving him 3 attacks when Shock Assault would trigger instead of one. Additionally, he lets nearby Space Wolves within 6" make a consolidation move of 6" instead of the usual 3". And he has a re-roll charge aura for friendly SW non-vehicles within 6”. Get this guy in an Impulsor with either Incursors, Reivers, Bladeguard Veterans, or Assault Intercessors (Give the Sarge something tasty) and then RIP AND TEAR, UNTIL IT IS DONE! Put short, this guy is a beast, but he won't carry you to victory on his own and requires a little support and strategy to truly shine.
    • Ragnar Blackmane (Legends): His non-Primaris form comes in at 100 points, which is starting to hit the pricey side for a footslogging Lord. He's got an extra attack but has lost his Furious/Berserk charge bonuses of previous editions so isn't quite the whirlwind of charging death he used to be. His War Howl now grants all units within 6" re-rolls to failed charge rolls, Insane Bravado doubles his heroic intervention range and his Frost Sword hits at S5 AP-4 D2, chewing through anything without a decent Invulnerable save. If you're using a number of deep striking units Ragnar's a decent bet to support them in a pod, allowing anyone around him a better chance of hitting that first turn charge with his re-rolls. More expensive than a Smash Lord, and re-rolling charges is something Wulfen give.
  • Ulrik the Slayer: Ulrik's a named Master of Sanctity with +1 to BS, W, and A, 9" to his Leadership-boosting ability, and the Slayer's Oath, which greatly improves his support ability provided he's managed to kill a Character or Monster (which isn't terribly likely, especially with his low mobility). Slayers oath now allows all Litanies cast to auto-cast instead of wounding bonuses, so he is more a buffer instead of a beater. Also has an AP-2 Crozius, for an almost relic blade.
    • Even though he is footslogging, he has options to get where he is needed, and can seriously buff other units when he gets there. He is currently 30pts above a regular wolf priest.
  • Grey Hunters: CORE. Tactical Marines, Space Wolf flavour. However, these guys are geared mostly towards melee. Each and every one can take a chainsword for 1pt each, and 5pts gets them a Wolf Banner, which lets them re-roll any and all 1s when advancing and charging. They lack the ability to take heavy weapons, instead being able to take one special weapon per five Grey Hunters. Unlike regular Tacticals, your Sergeant is Ld7, and you have to pay extra for the Wolf Guard Pack Leader in either power armour or terminator armour to get Ld8. The Grey Hunter Pack Leader can replace his chainsword with a power axe, sword, or fist, and the WGPL can replace his weapons with any melee weapon, combi-weapon, or plasma pistols or storm shields (limit one storm shield, no 0++ for you) For some reason, one Hunter can swap his bolt pistol for a plasma pistol.
    • One of the more popular and effective ways of running these guys is a 6-man unit that includes a Wolf Guard Pack Leader with a Combi-Plasma, a marine with a Plasma Pistol, and a marine with a Plasma Gun. That's 5 Plasma shots and 6 Bolter shots on a 133 pt troops choice. Stick them in a Razorback (Assault Cannons are fun). This setup allows Grey Hunters to reliably hunt MEQs, TEQs, charge weak models with Chainswords, and sit on objectives, making them one of the most versatile troop choices in the game.
    • Due to the changes to Blood Claws and the introduction of Assault Intercessors along with Phobos units, the above strategy may be the most reasonable. Like other Tactical Marines, the only pressing use of Grey Hunters is access to assault weapons (they don't even get heavy weapons). Everybody else is either tougher, faster/sneakier, or more deadly on the charge.
    • Until it's FAQed, the terminator Wolf Guard doesn't have his 5+++ invuln, as it's missing from the Grey Hunters datasheet.
  • Blood Claws: CORE. Instead of starting as scouts, Space Wolves start you off as Diet Assault marines, with bolt pistols and chainswords all around. 1A base + 1A from Shock Assault + 1A from Berserk Charge (the babysitter doesn't get this) + 1A from chainswords makes them brutal on the charge. They also have a rule where if they charge, the closest enemy unit must be one of the charge targets - a problem shared with Skyclaws, Bike Squads, and Attack Bikes. This isn't an issue most of the time, as that's where they want to be, but if you give them a Wolf Guard babysitter, this problem goes away entirely.
    • Remember, the whole unit is a Blood Claws unit, so buffs like Lukas or Wulfen resolve against the Wolf Guard model, too.
    • You can stuff three 5 man squads with a power-armoured Character into a Land Raider Crusader. Solves troops requirements for battalions, takes up 1 model for deployment rather than 5, and altogether serves as a top-notch horde/chaff removal tool allowing other units to move about more freely. Excellent place to make use of a stalker pack if you have the CP.
    • Functionally, these guys are very similar to Assault Intercessors, being 1 point cheaper per model but without heavy bolt pistols and with lower Ld at size 5, yet they can access a much more diverse selection of transports and can take better Wolf Guard options/buffing opportunities. Both units dish out 4 attacks on the charge with Astartes Chainswords, at WS 3+ (i.e. 2+), with 2 wounds.
    • Until it's FAQed, the terminator Wolf Guard doesn't have his 5+++ invuln, as it's missing from the Blood Claws datasheet.
  • Many units from Codex Space Marines gain Wolf Guard. This is important for certain rules and stratagems that only affect Wolf Guard. They're listed below.
    • Company Champion.
    • Ancients of all flavours.
    • Company Veterans.
    • Veteran Intercessors.
    • Bladeguard Veterans.
    • Terminators.
    • Assault Terminators.
    • Relic Terminators.
  • Dreadnoughts: Your dreadnoughts can take Helfrost Cannons, which suck for their cost, and can upgrade their melee weapons to Great Wolf Claws, which is an autoinclude, since it's free and better, but none of that changes the fact that like for all chapters, Venerables are better.
  • Venerable Dreadnoughts: Your venerable dreadnoughts can take Helfrost Cannons, which suck for their cost, and can upgrade their melee weapons to Great Wolf Claws, which is an autoinclude, since it's free and better. In fact, a Venerable Dreadnought with a Claw, Heavy Flamer, and Assault Cannon or Multimelta (depending on what you're planning on shooting) is not only incredibly effective, it's the primary reason not to bother taking a Wulfen Dread. You can also swap both weapon arms for a Fenrisian Greataxe and Blizzard Shield. While 3+/4++/6+++ is awesome defensively, that radically cuts your offensive output so much you have to seriously consider if it's worth it - when a Wulfen Dread does melee and shield, it has an option for two heavy flamers.
  • Wolf Guard: The Space Wolf equivalent of the various types of Veterans, Wolf Guard lack any sort of bodyguard ability or special weapons, and have crippled pistol access - plasma pistols only. They cost as much as Vanguard Vets base and can buy Jump Packs, Storm Shields, and Melee Weapons at Vanguard/Company prices, but buy their combi-weapons at Company Vet prices, not Sternguard. While you can field them as melee and/or shield only and pretend they're Vanguard Vets just fine, what they do that no other Chapter can is drop down with their Jump Pack wielding a combimelta and melee weapon (i.e. thunder hammer on the sergeant and either hammers or fists on the rest), shoot something nearby surprisingly well, and then either charge it, or if it was a transport and it died, its erstwhile occupants. Their Termi cousins can do this as well, but as usual for termis, trade cost and mobility for durability.
  • Wolf Guard Terminators: Similar to their power-armoured little brothers, Wolf Guard Terminators can mix-and-match close combat and ranged loadouts in ways no other terminators can, not even Dark Angels or Deathwatch, even able to equip each Terminator with combi-weapons (much like Chaos Terminators) and assign storm shields individually, without requiring hammers. That means a unit can basically start out as a 5-man squad of 5 storm shields, 1 heavy weapon, and any 4-5 combi-weapons you want (4 if you took an assault cannon or heavy flamer, 5 if cyclone). This also lets you issue only the sergeant, with his +1A, a melee weapon (i.e. a thunder hammer, chainfist, or lightning claw, depending on your plan).
    • The only downside of this otherwise best or second best (Deathwatch has a particularly compelling terminator unit) termi unit in the SM codex is that it's built for doing dakka particularly well and is attached to a very melee-focused faction.
    • If you don't take some combination of chainfists or heavy weapons, this'll often be just worse than fielding non-termi Wolf Guard with combis or melees and storm shields (or, if you extra committed to melee weapons, assault or relic termis).
  • Wolf Guard on Bikes (Legends): One option that fills a similar role to Thunderwolves in a fast moving shock unit, but a bit more geared towards shooting than stabbing. Each model can take a combi weapon and any combination of melee weapons, shield, or bolt/plasma pistol.
    • Like the Wolf Guard Terminators, this can become yet another tough dakka squad. Two storm bolters and a couple storm shields mixed with melee weapons makes for a lot of shots with each model pumping out eight bolter shots at 24". A couple storm shields bump the squad to 2+/4++ and melee weapons help in case they get caught in an enemy charge.
  • Hounds of Morkai: For whatever reason, the furries now get a special Reiver squad made to kill Psykers (hardly surprising given the beef against the Thousand Sons and Grey Knights). These guys have a fixed load-out of grapnels, pistols, and combat knives, so no Deep Striking. Either cram them in a Transport or Outflank them with grapnels. They can always target Psykers with shooting, even if they're Characters, and they gain +1 to hit rolls and +1D against them too, both with their guns and knives. In terms of defense, this unit has a 4+++ fnp against MWs caused in the Psychic Phase, and casters within 18" suffer -1 to Psychic Tests, rising to -2 if they're within 6". With that said, they've lost Terror Troops and Shock Grenades.
    • There's no good way to use these, so don't - their offensive buffs against psykers aren't enough to make them actually better than just fielding a better unit for the same job (Eliminators or Jump Pack Wolf Guard), and their mobility is just overall lacking for ensuring they can be near the psyker you need harassed right now.
  • Lukas the Trickster: WS2+, W5, A5, and a Frost Lightning Claw (S+1 AP-2 D2, re-roll failed wound rolls - no +1A, but it's presumably in his statline), he's no slouch in combat. He also has a plasma pistol, so don't overcharge it unless you want to risk becoming a cartoonish pair of smoking boots on the ground. He can also never be hit on a roll of unmodified 1-3, so weapons taking penalties to hit will often just him at the usual rate, but weapons expecting to be accurate will suddenly not be; note that he has no special protection at all against flamers and the like. He also has a nerfed version of the old Chaplain aura, in that Blood, Sky, and Swift Claw units within 6" can re-roll melee hit rolls (i.e. he has to be near the melee when it happens - he provides always-on Litany of Hate). If he's killed in melee, both players roll off (remember, per the rules, this means you both re-roll on ties until there's a winner); if you win, the enemy unit that killed him suffers d6 MWs. Finally, the bad stuff, he can never have a Warlord Trait and all friendly Space Wolf units within 3" suffer -1Ld.
    • Don't forget that you can re-roll successful hits to fish for high numbers, which is usually worthless, even with your Doctrine bonus up, but as an example of how this can be useful, if Lukas's re-roll applies to a unit that's also being hit with the Wulfenstone's one-off ability during the Assault Doctrine and it's WS2+ (which it almost always will be - most of the members of the units he buffs can't carry melee penalty weapons, so it's usually a fuckton of WS2+ chainswords), it is 100% worth re-rolling hit rolls of 1-4 to fish for the 5+ you need for the additional hit.
    • You may think cramming Lukas and three five-man Blood Claw Packs into a Crusader is a good way to go. You wouldn't be wrong per se, but they will easily be one of the most cowardly Marine units at Ld6.
  • Lone Wolf (Legends): He's now more expensive than a Primaris Lieutenant, with a worse statline and zero buffing ability. He DOES have better wargear, and rerolls 1s against monsters and characters, but is awkward to transport, expensive when geared up, and he takes up one of the most crowded parts of your FoC. In the past, his utility was found in being cheap enough to be disposable while still being a credible threat to lone characters and monsters, and now with 3 attacks at 75+ points, he's neither. Hard skip. His one redeeming factor could be his one chucklesome ability to ignore the loss of his last wound, rolled per hit, which makes him acceptably good at tying up high damage, low attack volume models.
  • Lone Wolf in Terminator Armour (Legends): He's less terrible than his PA equivalent, but now costs more than a Wolf Lord. Teleport this bad boy next to the enemy and hope he gets his charge off. If not, your opponent will have to dump a fair bit of firepower into bringing him down, and as a character, that's only if he's the closest unit to them.
  • Wulfen: One of the best melee units from 8th, the Pack Leader can now swap out his weapons to match his companions. They cannot perform actions, so don't expect them to help with VP in that way. S5 T5 W2 4+ makes them a little survivable, but not much, which doesn't matter much since the whole unit can take Storm Shields to be 3+/4++. Plus, if they die in melee before they can swing, they can swing anyway on the way out. This unit always counts as being in the Assault Doctrine (thus always benefiting from the extra AP on melee weapons as well as the exploding 6s with melee attacks if you have an all-Space Wolf army) and as always having charged for Shock Assault. Finally, Space Wolf Infantry, Biker, and Cavalry units within 6" and Blood Claw units within 12" always re-roll failed charge rolls. So, 3A base + 1A from always having counted as charged. How are you using those attacks? Wulfen claws only give them AP-1, but frost claws are S+1, AP-2, D1, give +1A and re-roll failed wound rolls, and they only cost 5pts each. So unless you're lobotomised, the frost claws are effectively the basic weapon. They can be swapped for the MEQ-mulching great frost axe (S+3, AP-3, D2), but we both know you're here for the thunder hammer and storm shield combo. It does get expensive quickly however, pushing them to 41pts per model. That being said, it is always worth having at least two in your squad, as you're only sv4+ but become Sv3+/4++ with the inclusion of the shields.
  • Wulfen Dreadnought: Melee specialist dreads, but be warned, Wulfen Dreadnoughts kinda.. suck. Only has a single storm bolter (on BS5+, so not usually helpful) or heavy flamer as standard, along with a Fenrisian Greataze and Great Wolf Claw, which is as redundant as you'd expect - unlike an Ironclad, it gets no benefit from dual wielding melee weapons, so you'll almost certainly choose to drop one. Its Wulfen nature means it re-rolls charge rolls but cannot perform actions, and isn't CORE, making it harder to buff. For options, you can pay 5 points to swap the axe or claw+bolter for a shield+bolter, granting a 4++ invuln, and you can pay 5 points per storm bolter to upgrade to a heavy flamer. That means the most broadly useful build is Claw, Shield, and two Heavy Flamers, but it'll still really struggle to keep up with a Venerable Dread with the same Claw (but hitting on 2+), one Heavy Flamer, and a real gun, especially a multimelta or assault cannon.
  • MURDERFANG: What Bjorn is to Venerable Dreadnoughts, this guy is to Wulfen Dreadnoughts. As a Character with fewer than 10 wounds, Murderfang can only be targeted with ranged weapons if he's the closest enemy. With a decent screen of infantry and good use of his Murderlust ability, getting him into close combat unharmed is almost too easy. His weapons are the Murderclaws (Sx2 (16) AP-3 D3, re-roll failed wound rolls) hitting on WS2+ with A5 base (but A8 in reality with Shock Assault, as he gains +3 from it instead of +1), a storm bolter on BS5+, and a heavy flamer. As a Wulfen, he cannot be your Warlord, have a Warlord Trait, or perform an action, but he re-rolls charges. Unlike his un-named cousins, Murderfang is bona fide better a melee murder, per point, than any other dread you can field, and against heavy targets especially, he borders on being your best melee, full stop.
Fast Attack[edit]
  • Fenrisian Wolves: Fast and do some damage now that they fight at AP-1, but still die to a stiff breeze (T4 W1 Sv6+). Very cheap FA chaff, they gain more leadership the more wolves you have in a unit, and you can add a couple more Ld with a Cyberwolf sergeant, but it's still pretty crappy. If you want them to get into combat and do some damage you'll need a Wolf Priest to shepherd them; otherwise, leave them as fodder.
    • These guys are basically our only good screening option if you don't want to ally with another Imperium faction. A unit of 10 or 15 dogs is cheap and makes for a fairly decent screen to help us against smiting and mortal wound spam. Consider taking them if you have a hole to fill in your list. These guys have AWFUL leadership though, and you are very likely to lose just as many models to moral as you are to shooting, which is not what you want from a screen. Don't expect these to be as effective as a Conscript conga.
  • Cyberwolves: This lets you field just the Fenrisian Wolves sergeant, in units of 1-3; the big seller here is that this is the cheapest thing any SM faction can field, period, at 15 points for an entire unit. If you literally just need a cheap body to throw at a problem, this unit has you covered.
  • Bike Squad/Attack Bike (CORE): Your Bike and Attack Bike Squads have the swiftclaw keyword, which means they also get, in a Space Wolves detachment, Berserk Charge and Headstrong, just like Blood Claws and Skyclaws do, only you have no way to attach a Wolf Guard model to fix headstrong. This doesn't really change anything about how they play, since your bikes are still fundamentally built for ranged combat.
  • Skyclaws: CORE. Skyclaws are essentially Blood Claws with jump packs, but their extra attack when charging gives them an edge over other versions of Assault Marines. You can fit three special weapons in the base squad, with a combi if you give them a babysitter (and the babysitter costs less than he does in a Wolf Guard squad, base).
    • At least right now, there's no good excuse for fielding them: the minimum two Skyclaws who are stuck with their base loadouts mean that anything this squad can do, Wolf Guard with Jump Packs can do better. The closest the competition gets is flamers - Skyclaws are 145 points for 3 flamers and a combi-flamer (plus two assholes with bolt pistols), while Wolf Guard are 155 points for 5 combi-flamers, and the latter is so much more points efficient it should be immediately obvious to you.
  • Thunderwolf Cavalry: CORE. Remained somewhat the same from 8th, but losing wolf claws is a smidge of a kick in the teeth. The teeth and claws give three extra S5, AP-2, D1 attacks per model, a slight increase from AP-1 last edition. Shove storm shields on them to bump them up to an amazing standard of survivability. Their Swift Hunters rule allows them to charge after advancing, giving them a 13" - 28" threat range, and the Wolf Guard Keyword gives you access to some WG-only stratagems and Character Auras.
    • Field this unit for durability, not melee output - due to their sheer cost, they don't actually hit as hard as Wolf Guard with Jump Packs, per point. But part of what you're paying for is higher T and W on a unit with very good mobility, since it can charge after advancing, so use what you're paying for.
    • By themselves, these guys are pretty good, but they do need to be combo'd to becomes the murder machines of 7th. Harald Deathwolf grants them Ld9, Canis Wolfborn grants them an extra attack with teeth and claws, Wulfen let them re-roll failed charge distances. Wolf Priests and Rune Priests on Bikes give them the usual benefits of those to Characters.
    • You could give the Pack Leader a Frost Weapon upgrade for 1CP on two lightning claws; That would give him A6 on the charge with S5, AP-2, D2, hitting on 2s and full re-rolls to wound.
Heavy Support[edit]
  • Long Fangs: The Space Wolves version of Devastators, only older and wiser. 9th has boiled away their unique hunter rule, and you're now just a Devastators all with Ld8 through the whole team and can take a Wolf Guard with or without Terminator armour as an extra weapons platform. The armourium cherub lets one model shoot twice once per game, and the signum lets one model shoot at BS2+ once per turn. The Long Fang Pack Leader can still take a special weapon in place of a boltgun though, so that's something, but he loses access to combi-weapons, meaning he's functionally nerfed relative to a normal Dev Sgt.
    • Combine the cherub and signum. On turn 1, use the signum on a key gun (e.g. lascannon) and then use the cherub to get the extra shot. The signum will apply for the whole phase, meaning 2 powerful shots at BS2+.
    • The terminator Wolf Guard does give extra firepower and mass, being able to raise to the pinnacle of Terminator-mounted dakka; storm shield, any combi-weapon you want, including a storm bolter, and cyclone missile launcher. It's a good model to use the signum and cherub on, netting you 4 BS2+ Storm Bolter shots and "4" BS2+ frag or krak missiles in one turn (due to how Blast works, against a unit of size 6-10, a cyclone frag is worth about 1.76 frags rather than 2; fired twice, it comes to 3.52). This is somewhat expensive though, with this model raising to 58 points (an actual pair of missile launcher long fangs will cost you 66 points and only one of them can be signumed/cherubed). Also, until it's FAQed, he doesn't have his 5+++ invuln, as it's missing from the Long Fangs datasheet.
  • Stormwolf: The Stormwolf is the Space Wolves equivalent of a Stormraven or Storm Eagle, only it's a bit more expensive, holds 16 models and no dreadnoughts, and has very different guns. The flying refrigerator (wolf snout?) looks a bit doofy, but don't be fooled: this thing rocks. From a gun perspective, if you sink the extra 50 points for two melta arrays (multimeltas, with rate of fire 2 changed to 1d3 with Blast), for 350 you get what amounts to 2 lascannons, 2 multimeltas, and 2 hybrids between the two (the twin helfrost destructor has a nearly useless blast mode that's bad at murdering hordes, but in its main mode of 36" Heavy 2 S8 AP-4 D4, it acts like a compromise between 2 lascannons and 1 multimelta). A Stormraven costs 340 for 2 lascannons, 2 multimeltas, and 2 stormstrikes, which fire like the Helfrost but sacrifice AP and D for R: 72" Heavy 1 S8 AP-3 D3 each. Don't try to compete with a Stormraven kitted for anti-horde murder; you don't have the options. That said, you can cut costs and field a Stormwolf for only 300 points by leaving the multi-meltas off and sticking with the default Skyhammer Missile Launcher, a nearly useless, slightly upgraded autocannon. The main purpose of this flying boat is carrying a litter of puppies, after all, not murdering things itself. 16 is enough room for 3 truly MSU Blood Claws with a babysitter (e.g. Lukas), 2 that each have a Wolf Guard and four more dudes (or 2 termis or jump pack dudes), 2 with a terminator WGL each and 2 more dudes or 1 termi/jump pack babysitter, and so on and so forth. This is also a credible way to deliver Wulfen: you can fit an MSU unit of Wulfen, 1 MSU unit of Firstborn (e.g. Blod Claws), and 1 more dude, who can be a babysitter or a WGL on the Firstborn as you like. You can fit up to 8 Wulfen inside maximum, which can be helpful because the Wulfen sergeant is typically the only fucker in the unit not carrying a thunder hammer, so their output goes up as the unit gets bigger.
  • Stormfang Gunship: The Stormfang is extremely similar to the Stormwolf, but sacrifices most of its transport capacity for a bigger version of the Helfrost Cannon. Focused mode gains more S and D but loses reliable rate of fire: 36" Heavy d3 S10 AP-4 D6, Blast, making it slightly better, on average, than a multimelta in melta range. Dispersed mode also finally becomes credible: 36" Heavy 3d3 S6 AP-2 D1, Blast. The Blast mode is a joke against most targets since you can't roll less than 3 regardless, but on average that mode fires 6 shots, making it an assault cannon with slightly better AP, making this the only version of the Helfrost gun where Dispersed mode is genuinely sometimes worth the price of admission. It also carries the same skyhammer/multimelta/thb sponsons as the Stormwolf, and its wing weapons are stormstrike missiles by default, but for 20 points you can upgrade to the Stormwolf's lascannons. This is 300 base, but with all upgrades it's 370 for the big Helfrost, 2 multimeltas, and 2 lascannons. That's a genuinely pathetic amount of dakka for the points, mind - 220 points will buy you 4 multimelta attack bikes with nearly identical output - and the transport capacity is only as much as a Razorback, so you really need to think carefully about fielding this. Counting the contents, a Stormwolf's efficiency is far better (the easiest comparison to draw is a Stormfang with 1 Long Fangs unit in it and a Stormwolf with 3).


  • White Scars but Different: This works best if you're a successor, so you can swap your tactics out for Whirlwind of Rage and Hungry for Battle. Whirlwind of Rage combines with your Doctrine bonus to make it worth re-rolling even successful hits to fish for 6s, so the name of the game is bringing full re-rolls to hit in melee: that means your HQ choices should start off with a Primaris Chaplain on Bike who knows Canticle of Hate (he'll have +2 to Advance and Charge personally, so this is for ensuring those around him can succeed on a charge as well if absolutely necessary - usually no one will need help and you'll use Litany of Hate), and you should strongly consider a Captain on Bike or Wolf Lord on Thunderwolf Chapter Master. The Warlord Trait you want most is Hunter on the Chaplain, but Majesty and Rites of War are also very helpful, so you should consider bringing all three traits across the two Characters, if possible. Neither Hunter nor Majesty should give you any significant problems popping the Saga for, and Majesty doesn't need you to pop the Saga to be helpful. Pay the CP to give one of the two the Wulfenstone, mostly because its 1/game ability is incredibly good mixed with Whirlwind of Rage + Your Doctrine Bonus + Full Re-rolls to Hit (the unit with all three should fish for 5s, not 6s). Then build the rest of your army around Thunderwolf Cavalry, Scout Bikes, and Bike Squads; if you need Troops, put Blood Claws in Rhinos. The whole mess will act like a White Scars army is supposed to be: you'll advance it shockingly quickly (remember, Hungry for Battle gives everything except the Bikes +1 to Advance distances) into the enemy, have basically no problem charging it after advancing, and then the Chaplain, the Wolf Lord if that's what you went with, and the Thunderwolf Cav will be able to Fall Back and Charge as it pleases to boot.

Imperial Fists, Crimson Fists, Exorcists, and Executioners[edit]

Imperial Fists Livery.png

In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only defiance eternal.
Stubborn to a fault, the Imperial Fists are paragons of bolt marksmanship and peerless urban fighters and siege specialists.
On the tabletop, this is represented by their bonuses to shooting and mastery of cover use. Where their enemies find no respite, the Imperial Fists dig in whilst letting loose precise bolter fusillades and crippling heavy weapons barrages. Success not out of tricks or outlandish tactics, just shooting like a supersoldier ought to.
If you want marines with fearsome firepower and wish to reduce your enemy's army to mauled infantry turn one, then play as the Sentinels of Terra and fight until the bitter end.

Crimson Fists Livery.jpg

In the grim darkness of the far future, the sons of Rynn will always rise from the ashes against the enemy of mankind.
Thematically, these guys are Red And Blue - as the very first Space Marines and the poster boys of Rogue Trader, the primary colours - red and blue (with yellow for gunfire and explosions) - were cheap and striking to print in colour (in 1987 anyway). They’re generally cool guys and renowned for their stubbornness and tenacity, and knack at surviving pretty much anything.
On the tabletop, these guys are good at blending hordes with their shot multipliers and sustained fire output - very important in 8th, aka the Horde Edition. They perform better when outnumbered and in small squads, and their Intercessors and Tacticals aren’t as useless as other Chapters - nice and fluffy.
Stand firm against the numberless hordes of evil and survive anything the galaxy throws at you.

Exorcist Pauldron.jpg

In the grim darkness of the far future, only strength of will and knowledge of the foe will prevail.
Serving an an experiment by the Ordo Malleus in how to create space marines who can better stand against the forces of Chaos, each Exorcist willingly becomes possessed and exorcises the Daemon through sheer force of will before becoming a member of the chapter. They were long thought to have been a successor chapter of the Grey Knights before GW finally stated that they were Imperial Fist successors in a White Dwarf. On the table the Exorcists are expert Daemon hunters, with an emphasis on protection against mortal wounds and defense against high strength weapons.
Never rest while a single renegade draws breath. Let them fear our names.

Special Rules[edit]

Unlike other supplements, the Imperial Fists share theirs with their Crimson Fists successors. Crimson Fists thus have a full list of relics and stratagems (and Imperial Fists don't), but have their own chapter tactic and half a warlord trait table. They're still Fists, just with some "heroic last stand" tones.

  • Imperial Fists and Successor Chapter Tactics - Siege Masters: Enemy units do not receive "the benefit of light cover" against attacks made by models with this tactic. If the attack was with a bolt weapon, an unmodified 6 to hit scores an additional hit. Yellow IS shootier.
    • Exploding 6s is mathematically the same as an additional point of BS but better, since it both stacks with actual +1s to hit and doubles your Overwatch. Works particularly well with a Chapter Master's re-roll (remember, you can re-roll a 5 if you really want that 6) and other mechanics that also trigger on 6 to hit (re-rolling for 6s is even better when that 6 also grants an autowound or -1AP or what have you).
  • Crimson Fists Chapter Tactic - No Matter the Odds: Add 1 to hit rolls for a unit shooting at an enemy that has at least 5 more models than the attacking unit has (e.g. a unit of 3 models gets +1 against any unit of 8 models or more). Vehicles count as 5, in both directions. Additionally, for attacks with a bolt weapon, an unmodified 6 to hit scores an additional hit.
    • Exploding 6s is mathematically the same as an additional point of BS but better, since it both stacks with actual +1s to hit and doubles your Overwatch. Plus, scoring more shots than the weapon is actually capable of is always neat. This also means you suffer less from -1s to hit, including Auspex Scanners.
    • As if you needed an incentive to run Multiple Small Units. It works on your damaged units too, as well as low count units (Company Vet pairs).
    • Aggressors, Inceptors, and Centurions are perfect for the CF: they are three-man squads with a fuckton of bolt shots.
  • Exorcists Chapter Tactic- By My Will I Deny Thee: Unmodified wound rolls of 1 or 2 against a unit with this tactic always fail, even if the attacker's weapons or abilities would make it succeed. Additionally, units with this tactic get a 5+++ against mortal wounds.
  • Combat Doctrine - Legacy of Dorn: Heavy Weapons with a strength characteristic of 7 or more gain +1 damage when targeting Vehicles or Buildings (although good luck finding a non-vehicle building to shoot at) in the Devastator Doctrine. No nonsense, strike some of the important targets turn one at range. But only turn one, due to the changes to Combat Doctrines.
    • Does nothing against monsters.
    • Without S7+ bolt weapons, it's hard to find synergy with your chapter tactics, so you might want to swap out to a Successor - Master Artisans and Stealthy, for example (Multi-Meltas are good for everyone, but you may want to commit to lascannons, as the additional range can be helpful in guaranteeing it's a vehicle you're shooting). If you're going with stock, Crimson Fists do this better than actual Imperial Fists do, simply because it's easier to find yourself fighting a unit of 2 or more vehicles than it is to find yourself fighting a vehicle in light cover.

Specialist Detachments[edit]

These aren't really a thing anymore.

It benefits Captains, Centurions, Dreadnoughts, and Vindicators. Note that only IMPERIAL FISTS can take this, and not any of their Successors. Easily worth paying 1CP to get access to it if you need to kill Knights or Forgeworld vehicles, despite not providing access to a relic or even warlord trait (GW FAQed it away, rip).


  • Seismic Devastation (1CP): Pick one SIEGEBREAKER COHORT unit at the start of any Shooting or Fight phase. When it makes an unmodified wound roll of 6 against a VEHICLE, you deal an additional mortal wound to the enemy model.
    • Enables your anti-infantry Centurions to also kill a Leman Russ KILL KNIGHTS AND LEVIATHANS. Assault Centurions with flamers deal a bit more wounds, but they have to be within 8" of the enemy instead of 24", so, pass. Bolter Discipline, baby! Redemptor Dreads with Onslaught cannons aren't as killy as Centurions, but they're noticeably cheaper.
      • Three HB Centurions (210 pts) inflict an average of 14.7 unsaved wounds to a 14W 303 pts Leviathan (2+/4++) protected by Duty Eternal(halves damage - denies your Doctrine). That example uses the most basic of boosts: rerolls of 1s to hit and wound, provided by a nameless captain with Eye of Hypnoth (or a Lt). You could combine it with Tank Hunters and Bolter Drill stratagems on Heavy Bolter/Hurricane Bolter Centurions, for +1 to wound, 2D Heavy Bolters, 6s to hit result in 3 hits rather than 1, if you want those three Centurions to kill something like a boosted Knight.
  • Structural Demolition (1CP): When your SIEGEBREAKER COHORT units destroy a building, enemy models embarked on it roll 2d6 when exciting instead of d6.
    • Kinda lame to be honest, considering that very few players actually take Fortifications in their lists. In fact, this kinda gives them more of a reason to not use them, and some things like Altars of Khorne don't even have a wounds stat. Don't expect to use it very often.

Primaris Characters (Ancient, Apothecary, Captain, Chaplain, Librarian, and Lieutenant), Intercessor squads, Reiver squads, and Hellblaster squads in that detachment gain the liberator strike force keyword. The other side of the coin where it comes to Primaris detachments. It mentions all those squads, but the real stars here are the Hellblasters, as it is a ranged detachment.


  • Heroes of Rynn's World (1CP): Use at the start of the shooting phase and pick a LIBERATOR STRIKE FORCE unit. All unmodified hit rolls of 6 count as 2 hits instead of 1.
    • A few extra shots isn't much, so use it on Hellblasters to make it count. It's +1 to +3 dead guys on a 5-man squad firing two shots, depending on the enemy and buff auras nearby.
  • Paragons of Dorn (1 CP): At the end of your opponent's shooting phase pick a LIBERATOR STRIKE FORCE unit that was targeted this phase, they can then fire as if it were their shooting phase. Annoying because you have to get shot first.
    • Again your Hellblasters will destroy anything that doesn't kill them. Add an Ancient and an Apothecary so that actual casualties don't go to waste.

Warlord Trait

  • Expert Instructor: Re-roll hit rolls of 1 for friendly LIBERATOR STRIKE FORCE units within 9" of your warlord.
    • Useful for a Lieutenant Field Commander for the double aura. Give the Eye of Hypnoth to the Captain, and now you have two double auras. Alternatively you can pick a Librarian or Chaplain (there's no Primaris Techmarines yet), and give them the double aura to boost a Hellblaster unit with Recitation of Focus / Tectonic Purge and Fortify.


  • The Vengeful Arbiter: 12" Pistol 2 S5 AP-1 D2, and successful hit rolls cause more shots at the same target (additional shots can't generate further hit rolls). Boo, relic pistol.
    • It goes with the ranged theme, functionally giving your character a 12" D2 Heavy Bolter as a pistol. Then again, 12" is but the prelude to melee, and your other relic is basically a Thunder Hammer without unwieldy - one of the best relics in the codex in fact, and one of the few a Primaris Captain can use.

Crusade Additions[edit]

Secondary Objectives[edit]

  • Bolster Barricades - Shadow Operations: - Perform an action to dig yourselves in within range of an Objective Marker, the action finishes at the start of your next Command Phase. You gain a VP for each Barricaded objective within your deployment zone, and 4 VP for each objective marker barricaded in No Man's Land.
    • But that's not all, if the objective was barricaded, Imperial Fists Infantry gain both Light and Heavy Cover while being wholly within 6" of the objective. RAW, that cover aura extends way beyond the 3" needed to secure an objective, and continues to act as cover even if your opponent holds it.


  • Bitter Enemy (1 CP): In the Fight Phase, re-roll any Hit and Wound rolls against Iron Warriors. The fluffy stratagem everyone seems to get. If it comes up, have fun with it.
  • Bolster Defenses (1 CP, Single Use): At the start of the movement phase, select an Imperial Fists Infantry unit entirely on or within a terrain feature. As long as they remain stationary, when resolving an attack against them, add 1 to their non-invulnerable saving throw.
    • That's the wording. Notice it doesn't say "in the shooting phase", just says attack; if the enemy charges them, they get +1 to their armour save in melee - they're on YOUR turf. By using a Drop Pod, Impulsor or infiltration (Phobos) your unit can begin earlier on the enemy's ground and it becomes PROTECT THE BEACH-HEAD!
  • Sappers (1 CP): In the Shooting or Fight Phase, a unit adds +1 to Hit and Wound against a Building. No one uses buildings, and you already have Combat Doctrine if they do. But if someone brings a Noctilith Crown or a Landing Pad, and you were too busy turn one to get it, go break it.
  • Bolter Drill (2 CP): In the Shooting Phase, one Imperial Fists core unit counts hit rolls of 6 with a Bolt weapon as two hits. That's three with the chapter tactic. A tad expensive, so throw it high dakka units like Aggressors and Inceptors.
  • Tank Hunters (2 CP): Pick one enemy Vehicle. Until the end of the phase, a (1) Imperial Fists unit gets +1 to wound against it. Pop this when the enemy has a piece or armor that absolutely must die, and the combat doctrine just isn't enough for you (or you're trying to destroy it in melee).
    • Anti-infantry guns will wound almost any vehicle on a 4+, and Lascannons, Vindicators and Heavy/Macro Plasma Incinerators will wound almost any vehicle on a 2+.
  • Praetorian's Wrath (2 CP, Single Use): At the start of the movement phase, when the Devastator Doctrine is active, 6s to wound with heavy weapons and grenades gain an additional -1 to their AP until the next movement phase. Note that the wording here means that it applies in Overwatch.
  • The Shield Unwavering (2 CP): At the end of your turn, give an Imperial Fists Infantry unit within 3" of an objective +1 attack and +1 to (non-invulnerable)19/11/2019 FAQ saving throws until the start of your next turn. Combine with Bolster Defenses or Pain Is A Lesson when the point must be held at all costs.
  • Pain Is A Lesson (1 CP): Give a 6+++ Feel No Pain to a non-vehicle or servitor unit for a phase.
  • Close-Range Bolter Fire (2 CP): Turn an Imperial Fists core unit's Bolt weapons into Pistols for a Shooting phase. They actually gain the Pistol type, so Rapid Fire weapons miss out on their double shooting, but all squads can use their guns alongside their actual pistols, and they get a boost in the Assault Doctrine. Everyone benefits, but who benefits more?:
    • Units who would like to fall back, so that's Heavy Bolter Devastators and Bolter Inceptors (and Bikes).
    • Units who want to be in melee but don't want to miss out on their dakka, like Auto Bolt Rifle Intercessors and Autobolt Aggressors.
  • Stubborn Defence (2 CP): Use at the start of the battle if your Warlord is on the battlefield. You can’t discard Storm or Defend tactical objectives, but scoring them gains you an additional victory point.
  • Clearance Protocols (2 CP): During the Shooting Phase, ten models in a unit can hurl grenades instead of one. Most noticeable on Assault marines and Vanguard Vets, who have an easier time closing the distance and aren't missing out on their guns. Still niche.
  • Champion of Blades (1 CP): Give a successor chapter a Fists relic, the standard stuff.
  • Gift of the Phalanx (1 CP): Give a Sergeant a Master-crafted Weapon, Digital Weapons, the Fist of Terra, or Gatebreaker Bolts.
    • An Eliminator Sergeant's Bolt Sniper Rifle delivers Gatebreaker Bolts at BS2+ S5 and each of those wound rolls will inflict a mortal wound on a 6 to wound. The Infiltrator Sergeant's Marksman Bolt Carbine makes those three wound rolls auto pass if the hit was a 6, on top of generating another hit roll, like the Fists they do. Meanwhile a master-crafted weapon / Fist of Terra can be good on the Assault Intercessor sergeant, who can fight twice (10 A w/Fist of Terra).
    • Master-crafting a sergeant's blade is okay, but what about a Centurion Sergeant's D2 Hurricane Bolter? It's a Fist strategy because 6s to hit generate extra hits - 12 shots from a BS3+ model normally result in 8 shots landing, on average, but for you it's 10. The only downside to picking a Centurion Sergeant for this is that you can't lend him a Chapter Master re-roll to boot.
  • Sentinel of Terra (1 CP): Give a non-special character Warlord an additional Warlord Trait. Combine Indomitable and Stubborn Heroism for an incredible wall.

They get two extra Stratagems, in addition to the previous ones:

  • A Hated Foe (1 CP): For one phase, a unit re-rolls all wounds against Orks in either the fight or shooting phases, meaning it's not locked to melee.
  • Slay The Tyrant (1 CP): For one phase, a unit gets +1 to hit against Characters. Boosting a single sniper unit could be a bit lackluster but could be useful for units who get to target a character, especially in melee. Especially when using unwieldy weapons, or to offset enemy -1 to hit tricks.
  • Cast Out Thy Blackened Soul (2 CP): For one shooting or fight phase, a Core or Character unit re-rolls all wounds against one selected Chaos Daemons unit with 12".
  • Orison Cult (1 CP/2 CP): Select one Core or Character unit and one combat doctrine. The selected combat doctrine is active for the selected unit at all times instead of any other doctrine. Costs 1 CP for units of 5 or fewer models, and 2 CP for units of 6+ models.
    • Put this on a unit with heavy weapons to keep them in the Devastator doctrine all game - and therefore all ways getting the imperial fists bonuses to damage.
  • Spiritual Resolve (2 CP): Use this when an Exorcists unit is targeted by a power manifested by an enemy Psyker. The effects of that power are not resolved.
    • The targeting restriction significantly reduces this stratagems usefulness; but it'll come in handy occasionally.

Warlord Traits[edit]

  1. Siege Master: Add 1 to wound rolls against Building and Vehicle units. Great on a slam captain or anyone else that’s going to be in melee against Knights or tanks. This is Tor Garadon’s required trait.
    • The Imperial Fists can have one of the mightiest Smash Captains of them all: Combine Siege Master with The Imperium's Sword (re-rolls charges, +1S, +1A). Then give him a relic Thunder Hammer or the cheaper Fist of Terra and now he's wounding Knights on a 2+.
    • Fist Warlords aren't restricted to melee. Siege Masters can wound most vehicles on a 4+ with mere bolters. MC Auto Bolt Rifle > MC Stalker Bolt Rifle.
  2. Indomitable: This warlord can only be wounded on a 4+. Essentially the opposite of the above, rather than being good at killing Knights this trait makes you good at not being killed by Knights (or other Smash Captains). This is Captain Lysander’s required trait.
    • Better for T4 characters than for Gravis Captains; Gravis gives up the option of a 3++ for a T5 that would prevent them being wounded by S8 on a 2+, but this trait does away with silly maths. Only S5 Power Axes and Bolt Sniper Rifles would make a difference here.
  3. Fleetmaster: Once per battle, at the end of the Fight phase and if this warlord both remained stationary and didn't do any attacks, select a point on the battlefield and roll 1d6 for each unit within d6". On a 4+ (subtracting 1 for characters), deal d3 MW to that unit. So, give up a Warlord's trait and turn to do what an Orbital Comms Impulsor does.
    • Then again, it can be combined with an Orbital Comms Impulsor and Orbital Bombardment for 3d3 MW on the enemy's formation / spam 1d3 MW across the board. Rather punishing for MSU armies.
  4. Stubborn Heroism: The warlord halves incoming damage (rounding up), but cannot fall back. Combine this with Indomitable, and take the Adamantine Mantle on a Gravis Captain for a character who isn’t going anywhere.
    • He won't die to the big stuff, but keep anti-horde measures at hand should you need them - a Terminator / Aggressor retinue can use Close-Range Bolter Fire.
  5. Architect of War: When resolving AP-1 attacks against friendly Fists within 6" of this warlord, add an additional 1 to the (armour) save roll if that unit is "receiving the benefit of cover" (meaning IW and other IF do not nullify this trait - not only does it apply to both Dense and Heavy cover, even for Light cover, the unit still gets the bonus and then the trait bypasses it, so this still triggers - same reason it works in melee, even though all melee attacks ignore Light cover). While situational, enemy Bolt Rifles and astartes chainswords start at AP-1, so it can be a common situation indeed.
  6. Hand of Dorn: If your army is battle-forged, gain D3 command points before the battle. Simple, powerful, always worth taking, even if it requires spending a command point for Sentinel of Terra.
  1. Tenacious Opponent: If there are at least 5 enemy models within 6" of your warlord in the fight phase, he gains D3 extra attacks.
    • Have him fight before killing models with other units; Eight attacks on a good roll place him among the most damaging captains. Combine it with The Imperium's Sword or Champion of Humanity to make him even deadlier.
  2. Refuse to Die: Unlike Robutte Girlyman you don’t need magical armour given to you by Cawl and some filthy heretical Eldar. Once your warlord loses his last wound, roll a d6, and on a 4+ he comes back with 1d3 wounds remaining as close as possible to your original position and at least 1” away from enemy models.
  3. Stoic Defender: All Crimson Fists Core units gain Objective Secured within 6” of your warlord, and any unit that already had that rule (your Troops) count as double their model count (5 tacticals count as 10) when determining models securing an objective, so you can steal objectives even if you're outnumbered by guardsmen. Especially hilarious when it's a sudden deepstriking ObSec captain stealing it away from non-troop enemies. Better than the vanilla codex version.
    • This is the same Warlord Trait Chapter Ancients get, and is strictly better than Rites of War.
  1. Enochian Guard: Once per battle you can modify the result of a hit roll, wound roll, or saving throw made for the Warlord to a 6. Once per battle you can use an Adeptus Astartes Epic Deed Stratagem without spending any CP's if this Warlord is specified by that Stratagem's keyword.
  2. Know Thy Enemy: Before the battle, select one unit in your opponent's army. Until the end of the battle, this Warlord gains the following ability:
    • Know Thy Enemy (Aura): While a friendly Exorcists Core or Exorcists Character unit is within 6" of this Warlord, each time a model in that unit makes an attack against the enemy you selected, add 1 to that attack's hit roll.
  3. Erudite in the Verses: This Warlord can attempt to Deny the Witch as if it were a Psyker. If this Warlord is a Psyker, in each of your opponent's psychic phases, this Warlord can attempt to Deny the Witch an additional time. In each of your Shooting Phases, instead of shooting with this Warlord, if it is not within Engagement Range of any enemy units, you can attempt a banishment. If you do so, roll one D6. On a 3+ the closest enemy unit 12" of and visible to this Warlord suffers D3 mortal wounds.
    • This is a great trait to put on a support character like an apothecary or an ancient. Both of those units tend to lack shooting or melee options, but may end up close to the enemy lines. You'll never regret throwing out a few mortal wounds over the course of the game, and the psychic defense is just a nice bonus.
    • This also means that by taking this Trait, your non-Psyker Warlord can just point at people and say things that make them DIE.

Psychic Discipline: Geokinesis[edit]

  1. Tectonic Purge – WC6: Any enemy units that start their charge within 12″ of the psyker must subtract 2 from the result.
    • A strong defensive buff, this trait can combine withGrav Pulse strat to make even a Blood Angel unit think twice about charging out of deep strike, or work alone to help keep a unit of Centurions safe. The only major downside is the enemy needing to start within 12″, meaning the Librarian needs to be near the front lines. Combine with Tremor Shells to make charges basically impossible for an enemy unit.
  2. Wrack and Ruin - WC6: One visible enemy <building or unit that's wholly in or within a terrain feature> within 18" has to roll 9d6, and for each 5+ (4+ if it's a building) they suffer a mortal wound.
    • Will outperform Smite, with the caveat that its targeting is heavily restricted. Deals 2.17 mortals to a non-building, 3.25 to a building.
    • An opponent that knows you have this can simply have one unit member hang out outside the terrain to stop you from casting this - remember, light, heavy, and dense cover are all model-specific rules, not unit-specific. The only terrain benefit that requires a unit to be entirely within area terrain is Defensible, which allows Infantry, and only Infantry, to choose +1 to melee hit rolls or 5+ if they Overwatch when they're charged, so you generally have to be fighting Infantry and presenting a melee threat for your opponent to bother letting you cast this.
  3. Iron Inferno – WC6: Select a point on battlefield within 18″ and visible to psyker. Roll one D6 for each enemy unit within 6″ of that point, deal one mortal wound on a 4+.
    • This will deal slightly more than a third of a mortal wound, on average, to each target unit, so you need at least 5 units within range to exceed Smite. Since it's actually no more than 1 wound per target unit, this will generally fuck up enemy character support better than it will a parking lot.
  4. Fortify – WC4: Restore D3 lost wounds to one Imperial Fists Infantry or Biker model within 12″.
    • Has a very low WC, making it easy to cast (33/36 means it's slightly easier than a 3+ attack with full re-rolls), and turning your librarian into an Apothecary with a low chance to fail in exchange for more range. The healing won't actually stack with an Apothecary's, note.
  5. Aspect of Stone – WC5: Add 2 to the psyker’s strength and toughness until your next psychic phase.
    • Counters the positioning vulnerability in the use of Tectonic Purge, and turns a psyker into something of a melee threat; an assault can only be delayed so much. Offensively, this is much worse than casting Might of Heroes on yourself from Librarius, while defensively, T4->T6 is -1 to be wounded against Strengths 3,4,6, and 8-11, and -2 to be wounded against S5, which is a reasonable spread. Won't protect you at all against Poison weapons, of course. Naturally, if you're bringing this, the Librarian should be carrying a Force Axe, so he can be S8 AP-2 D1d3 - S7 and S9 are both much less useful breakpoints.
  6. Chasm – WC6: Select a visible enemy unit that cannot Fly within 18″ of the psyker. Roll 2D6; if the result is less than the lowest Move characteristic in the unit, it takes one mortal wound; if it’s equal it takes 1d3; if it’s greater then it’s a flat three mortal wounds.
    • Starts outperforming Smite against M5 or less. Fuck Orks, Space Wolves who brought a Terminator along in their unit, and many severely crippled Vehicles/Monsters. Against M1/M0 (i.e. a Building) it has the same expected output as Wrack and Ruin against a non-building - otherwise, it does less, while having a less onerous targeting restriction.
    • Another power that can be used to snipe out a character, this power has a 58.33% chance to do a full three mortal wounds against something with the standard six-inch movement (42.13% after accounting for failing the cast), and of course that only increases against slower units – things like Terminators or Death Guard spring to mind.

Relics and Special-Issue Wargear[edit]

Imperial Fists get fewer Relics to choose from than any other first founding chapter.

  • The Banner of Staganda: Imperial Fists Ancient only. Melee attacks made by CORE units within 6" get +1 to hit. Excellent utility for a Termie ancient deepstriking near other termies, nullifying their fists' and hammers' -1 to hit. Give them Fury of the First and you get hammers that hit on a 2+! And it's not like you don't have a named Termie captain to tag along.
  • The Bones of Osrak: Imperial Fists Librarian only. When manifesting a Geokinesis power, you can re-roll the Psychic test.
    • With this, Chasm now outperforms Smite at M7 or less, as all of your WC6 powers go from 72.22% to 92.28%. Iron Inferno will outperform Smite at 4 units or more - all three of your WC6 powers will deal 27.78% more mortal wounds with this. Stacks with and works better than Psychic Mastery - the Chief Librarian Warlord Trait for +1 to casts - but since Psychic Mastery works on Smite and combining the two has diminishing returns, Chasm will only outperform against M6, and Iron Inferno will need 5 targets again.
  • The Eye of Hypnoth: Imperial Fists core ranged attacks within 6" of the bearer re-roll 1s to wound. So, a limited Lieutenant re-roll...but that still frees up 60-70 pts and an HQ slot for a Chaplain or Librarian, so long as you're willing to give up on also buffing melee. Great for a ranged Captain baby-sitting a gunline, especially since Phobos Lieutenants cannot infiltrate.
  • The Spartean: Vastly improved from SM1, it upgrades a bolt or heavy bolt pistol, making it 18" Pistol 2 S4 AP-3 D2, ignores Look Out, Sir.
    • Not as good as a Master-Crafted Combi-Plasma (fired on safe mode, of course, don't be daft), but can be useful on anything stuck with a (heavy) bolt pistol anyway, like a Bladeguard Ancient or an Apothecary, if you really can't find another relic you'd rather have. Usually worse than The Vengeful Arbiter, if you're replacing a regular bolt pistol, but with better range and the ability to target Characters.
  • Duty's Burden: Replaces a master-crafted stalker bolt rifle or master-crafted auto bolt rifle (so Primaris Captains or Primaris Lieutenants only), 30" Rapid Fire 2 S5 AP-2 D2, so if you hold still, it'll be like a grav-cannon, only with one worse AP and able to benefit from your exploding hits Chapter Tactic.
  • Fist of Vengeance: Replaces a powerfist, makes it into a tempest hammer (the Space Wolf thunder hammer that has AP-3, instead of AP-2 like a normal thunder hammer) without the to-hit penalty.
    • Technically, this is strictly better than the Blood Angels relic The Hammer of Baal, which is identical, except it replaces a thunder hammer, so this relic costs fewer points. But they're better at melee than you are, so...
  • Cessation: Replaces a bolt pistol, heavy bolt pistol, master-crafted special issue bolt pistol, or absolver bolt pistol. Cessation is an 18" Pistol 1 S5 AP-3 D3 with a special ability that each time you make an attack with it you can re-roll the hit and re-roll the wound rolls.
  • Exile Plate: The bearers has a save characteristic of 2+. While within Engagement Range of an enemy unit, each time a model in that unit makes an invulnerable save they always fail on a roll of 1-4 (1-5 for Chaos Daemon models).
    • This is a real punch in the gut for armies like Daemons, Covens, Custodes, and Harlequins that rely on their invulnerable saves for durability. Outside of those factions you'll only get a a benefit against Storm Shields - which are common - but it's a pretty niche relic over all.
  • Expulsiaris: Replaces a power sword or master-crafted power sword. Expulsiaris is a power sword with +2 Strength AP-4 D2 and a special rule that on unmodified wound rolls of 6 (or 4+ for Chaos Daemon targets) the target suffers a mortal wound in addition to any other damage.
    • As with many of the rules the exorcists have this thing wrecks daemons, but is pretty lack luster compared to other power sword relics when you are fighting anything other than daemons.
  • Adamantine Mantle: 5+++ Feel No Pain.
  • Artificer Armor: 2+/5++. As always, better on support characters that lack invulnerable saves like Lieutenants or Librarians.
  • Master-Crafted Weapon: Increase a weapon's damage by one and it counts as a relic, so it may no longer be affected by some WTs and such. Naturally, it cannot be used on weapons already named "master-crafted".
  • Digital Weapons: Gain an extra attack that deals a mortal wound if it hits. Almost always a poor choice, because it only scales with WS - any of your melee powerhouses not only have a decent A already (which this won't scale with), they also have a decent melee weapon they could master-craft instead, and of course this won't be aided by other buffs, like a Chaplain's +1 to wound in melee.
  • Auric Aquila: 4++ invulnerable save, and 5+++ against mortal wounds in the Psychic phase. A better invuln, and especially good for the Librarian, as it works on perils of the warp.
  • Fist of Terra: Replaces a power fist, removing the penalty to hit and granting +1 attack.
    • Compared to the Crimson Fists Fist of Vengeance, this is -1D and +1A, which is usually worse: an A3 wielder will swing for 8 A*D with this, but 9 with the Vengeance. In fact, this relic struggles to compete with the Teeth of Terra, which swings for 2 less S and one worse AP, but 2 more A than it does.
  • Gatebreaker Bolts: Gives a bolt weapon an alt-fire mode: make one hit roll that makes D3 wound rolls (allocated separately) at AP-5 D1. Since they are allocated separately, this is like making it fire D3 shots, except that if you can only re-roll one hit (e.g. cos you're burning CP to do it), it works on all 1-3 shots. Reasonably ok on an Eliminator Sergeant, since it lets his Hyperfrag rounds be AP-5 in exchange for losting Blast, but honestly, you're usually better off Master-Crafting something.
  • Warden's Cuirass: +1 Wound. Strictly inferior to the Armour Indomitus, though the only other source of +1W is the Angel Artifice exclusive to the Chapter Master.

Special Units[edit]

Neither of your named characters are carrying a bolt weapon and only one of them can even make ranged attacks, because fuck your Chapter Tactics and Combat Doctrine, right?

  • Captain Lysander: Lysander is a better TH/SS Terminator Captain; the Fist of Dorn is the Crimson Fists' Fist of Vengeance only better, an S10 (U+6, so it won't get double scaling from other S buffs) AP-3 Thunder Hammer without the -1 to hit penalty. If you have T5 enemies, Lysander's the guy you schedule them a play date with. Makes nearby Fists immune to combat attrition tests, which aren't much of a concern for small units that already ignore attrition modifiers, but it's there. Do you know how to use a TH/SS Termie Captain? Then you know all there is to know about Lysander strategy.
  • Captain Tor Garadon: The original owner of the Spartean Bolt Pistol, now a named Primaris Captain in Gravis armor with +1 wound. He comes with a Grav-gun, making him pack just a bit more punch at range than the usual Gravis captain. He also has a Signum Array that gives a friendly Imperial Fists unit within 3" +1 to hit with ranged attacks, handed out during the Command Phase, which stacks nicely with his Captain's Rites of Battle aura, making him like a Chapter Master, but worse (the buff will have less impact, and it won't work on melee). His Hand of Defiance isn't just an aesthetically bulky Power Fist, it's Sx3 (so 12) AP-3 D3 (but still -1 to hit). Last but not least, his Siege Captain ability gives all his attacks +1 to their damage characteristic when he attacks a Vehicle or Building, so he can punch a Land Raider to death with attacks to spare or help whittle down a tank from afar. But he needs a Repulsor transport for that.
  • 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 9E. His Oath of Rynn special rule is now a buff to give +1A to all friendly Crimson Fists CORE units within 6", on top of his Chapter Master rule. 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 melee escorts, like TH/SS Termies/Vets or Aggressors. Add a Lieutenant and you'll be re-rolling everything. Being a footslogger, however, you'll need to find him a way to the front line, but being firstborn he's got access to Rhinos, Razorbacks, Drop Pods, and Land Raiders just fine, and at the very least he's got an Assault 4 AP-1 D2 Bolter to jog across the board.
    • 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.
  • High Chaplain Thulsa Kane (FW Legends): Master of Sanctity with the most awesome name, +1A, and rather dodgy with -1 to be hit in melee like a Champion, and refunds CP on a 6 each time you spend them! Furthermore, instead of the Crozius, he uses Lifetaker, a S+2 power sword with D2, which becomes D3 against characters, not unlike a Champion. And he's also got a plasma pistol with an extra shot. Though he's an impressive beatstick that buffs the melee capabilities of everyone around him, he's a footslogging firstborn, so you need to put him in a good transport, like a Drop Pod or a Land Raider.
    • Successor Tactics: Imperial Fists tactics are trash for Executioners; their endgame is assault and Thulsa Kane helps them do that well. This guy is an awesome force multiplier when combined with the "Whirlwind of Rage" successor trait and some high attack volume units (like Vanguards with double Chainswords). Every 6 to hit generates an extra attack AND scores an additional hit. And while those extra attacks cannot generate any more attacks, they DO generate additional hits on consecutive 6s! Add his natural Chaplain ability to reroll failed hits and you literally drown your enemy in wound rolls. Put him in a Drop Pod and take "Hungry for Battle" as your second trait so he and his company actually arrive in melee after deep striking (though you wouldn't be able to use litanies that turn).
      • Even better with Incursor squads, whose Paired Combat blades score an additional hit on a 6. Combine it with Gene Wrought Might (1CP) to Auto Wound on a hit roll of 6. Exhortation of Rage means 6s generate an additional attack and Litany of Hate re-rolls any hit roll that isn't a 6. If you're fighting heretic Astartes, pop Death to the Traitors (1CP) while your at it. All up, each six we roll then explodes into 1 auto-wounds, two additional hits, and 3 additional attacks that can also roll 6s to get a further 3 auto-wounds (but no more additional attacks).
  • Captain Silas Alberec (Legends): Captain who can Deny the Witch. Also comes with S5, a named power fist (for that sweet S10), in the form of a sigil-etched, barbed power mace, (Sx2 Ap-3 Dd3 that does flat D3 to a Psyker or Daemon) and a S6 Ap-1 D2 bolt pistol. Best for pounding enemies into beefsteak at melee.


So you love bolters, hate vehicles, and forts trigger you despite never having seen one. What to do with all this?

  • Positioning: Shock Assault urges you to melee, your doctrine pulls you to range. But whatever you choose, you have to commit: unlike WS and UM, the stubborn Imperial Fists don't take falling back too well - Stubborn Heroism warlords wouldn't even think of it. Where other armies have stratagems to do complex feints, you simply gain true grit. You deny cover, but you're also geared to garisonning terrain features and objectives. Understand you're not fighting merely on a battlefield, but with it.
  • Attrition: Imperial Fists are balanced: they shoot well, can give the enemy a hard time closing in, and being space marines they don't suffer in melee like other armies do.
    • When the enemy is far away you can outshoot them: blow up their gunships and bastions, ignore their cover, dig in yours.
    • When the enemy comes to you, delay them: blow up their transports, omniscramble their deepstrikes, pin them with Tremor Shells, punish their charges with Fortress of Resolve overwatch, and turn them back with Repulsor fields and Tectonic purge.
    • When the enemy reaches your objectives, you can use Shield Unwavering and Bolster Defense to protect them, and Close-Range Bolter Fire when falling back isn't an option. Plus, your Banner of Staganda gives you more hitsm so you can use hard-hitting units better.

Black Templars[edit]

Black Templars Livery.png
In the grim darkness of the far future, there will be only war. Actual quote by Sigismund, he called it first.

The Great Crusade never ended for these guys. Not confined to a sector like other chapters, the Black Templars fight the enemies of mankind wherever they are.

On the tabletop, these guys are the massed assault marines, with rules that encourage advancing on the enemy and annihilating them in melee with daring charges and skilled swordplay. They have lots of unique rules that enable their trademark 20-man strong Crusader Squads to defy enemy fire and land their charges. Playing on religious themes and imagery, they're known for using lots of relics, crusading, and anti-psyker abilities. Chaplains play a major role in their lists, making up for their lack of Librarians.

Are all orks dead? Has chaos been defeated? Then chain your weapons to your gauntlets and take the fight to them. No pity, no remorse, no fear!

Special Rules[edit]

  • Chapter Tactics - Righteous Zeal: Units with this tactic can re-roll charge and advance rolls. They also get a 5+++ FNP vs mortal wounds.
    • Simple yet effective, this and Shock Attack are your incentives for melee. With an individual 47.8% chance of making a 9" charge, a massed deepstrike is less of a coinflip ― the probability of at least one of two units making a 9" charge is 72.8%. And you have a ton such units: Anything Jump Pack, Reivers, Terminators. Even melee Dreadnoughts will improve, as it makes charges vastly more reliable. But MSU 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.
  • Templar Vows: Huzzah, huzzah! The sacred vows of the Black Templars make their glorious return from 4th Edition! You pick one of the vows at the beginning of the game (after seeing what you're up against) and all of your units gain the listed benefits and penalties (Passion) of that vow. These replace the Super Doctrines other Chapters get, and while they do have a penalty associated with them, they are active all game long instead of being restricted to a few specific turns.
    • Accept Any Challenge, No Matter the Odds: Any models in melee will always gain the Assault Doctrine, which is a major convenience for early-game offense, allowing you to double dip doctrines: you can shoot with the tactical doctrine, and fight using the assault one. In addition, all units in melee gain +1 attack until the end of their fight - while this won't stack with Shock Assault, this will provide a bit of an edge in prolonged fights. In exchange, your units can't fall back so they don't want to get charged by a vehicle or monster they can't really wound or they'll be stuck there all game.
      • Since the first points of AP are the most important ones, this benefits your Crusaders and Assault Intercessors the most.
    • Abhor the Witch, Destroy the Witch: On your first turn, your army gets +3" to their movement if there are any psykers in the enemy army. Any at all, which makes this incredibly handy. In addition, your units re-roll 1s to wound against enemy psykers. However, your units can't carry out any actions while within 18" of an enemy psyker.
    • Uphold the Honour of the Emperor: Your units gain a 5++ save and will never be wounded on an unmodified 2 to wound. However, they cannot receive the benefit of cover, though their saves offer quite a bit of protection. Armies that usually have an easy time wounding T4 Space Marines on a 2+ won't like this at all.
      • Very good for both vehicles and big Crusader squads, which are usually too spread out to be affected by cover anyway, forcing AP-2 to be wasted on Neophytes and AP-3 to be wasted on vehicles, and you get 5++ Dreadnoughts!
      • Not quite the auto-take vow now thanks to Armor of Contempt, but still very useful depending on what you're up against.
    • Suffer Not the Unclean to Live: Natural 6s to hit a non-Vehicle model in melee auto-wound, but whenever the unit charges, the unit has to charge the closest unengaged non-Aircraft enemy within 12". You're usually only in range to charge one unit anyway, but a smart opponent can put a chaff unit or a tough unit like a vehicle nearer to your unit, forcing you to either charge that or do nothing for a turn.
  • Unit Restrictions: Adeptus Astartes Psykers cannot be from the Black Templars Chapter and you can't take a Chapter Champion as you already have the Emperor's Champion.
  • Wargear Options: Their Primaris Marshals (Captains) and Primaris Castellans (Lieutenants) get extra options. The firstborn ones don't:
    • Basic Primaris Captains can swap their loadouts to the manlier choice between master-crafted power sword or master-crafted power axe and plasma pistol or auto-flamer. The auto-flamer introduces the first instance of a Primaris combi-weapon, slapping a flamer on an auto bolt rifle for max-purging at full advance speed.
    • Primaris Lieutenants can swap their bolt rifle for a combi-flamer (yeah, a combi-flamer on a primaris model) and master-crafted power axe. Or they can replace their entire loadout for a choice between a heavy bolt pistol or auto-plasma and a choice between a chainsword or master-crafted power sword. While the option of a combi-flamer is odd when the auto-flamer exists in the same supplement, this is so that you can use the special classic mini as a primaris instead of a firstborn. Also, only they can take the auto-plasma, not the Captain..
    • Primaris tanks (Repulsors, Impulsors, Gladiators) can get a multi-melta instead of an ironhail heavy stubber (and increases the tank's PL by 1, if you ever use PL). The Repulsor in particular can go ahead and buy two of them in case you really want to kill tanks, and since it replaces the pintle mounted stubber, it can further be combined with the "main" gun. Melta Razorback with 5++!
      • Only the multi-melta that replaces the iron hail heavy stubber costs 20 points, the book even says to refer back to page 68 for clarification on this.

Crusade Additions[edit]

  • Fulfil Your Vows: Depending on which Vow you select for the battle, the following Agenda applies:
    • Abhor the Witch, Destroy the Witch: Unit gains +1XP for each Pysker unit it destroys or +2XP for Pysker Characters, to a max of 3XP per eligible unit.
    • Accept Any Challenge, No Matter the Odds: Unit gains +1XP for each enemy unit it destroys that had 11 or more models, or +2XP for each unit that had 21 or more models, to a max of 3XP per eligible unit.
    • Suffer Not the Unclean to Live: Unit gains +1XP for each enemy Character or Monster it destroyed, or +2XP for each Character Monster, up to a max of 3XP per eligible unit.
    • Uphold the Honour of the Emperor: +1XP if your unit finishes the game in the enemy deployment zone, or +2XP if the unit has at least 2 models and is not below Half-strength.
  • First-Hand Experience: Affects any units with Black Templar Scout, Scout Biker, Neophyte or Primaris Neophyte models within them, i.e. including Crusader Squads. Keep a tally for each time that unit is within a friendly-controlled objective or destroys an enemy unit. If you score at least 2 on the tally, that unit gains 2XP.
  • Reconsecration: AKA the fun one. After Deployment, let your opponent place down a Holy Relic marker anywhere outside their deployment zone. Any BT Character unit in your army can attempt to recapture it via an Action. If it does so that guy gains 3XP and you can add a Relic to your army via the Relic Requisition for 0RP. Brother Albrecht, where did I leave the holy fingernail of Mordred?
  • Relic Bearers (1RP): Select one of your units that has at least Battle Hardened rank. One model in the unit can become a Relic Bearer. Cannot be used twice on the same unit sad holy hand grenade squad.
  • Visions from the Emperor (1RP): One of your existing BT Characters sees the light and is anointed Emperor's Champion. Loses any relics but can pick new traits and keeps its battle honours and experience. Nice, but realistically are you going to swap an arguably more powerful HQ for this? Might work on a Castellan or a compensating Judiciar. Might be more fun to just skip the Requisition and add a new EC. You could homebrew and say one of your Primaris Crusaders rises up?
  • The Marshall's Chosen (1RP): Neophyte, your training is complete. Firstborn or Primaris Crusader Squad completes it's training and gets a promotion. The unit is essentially removed and replaced with two units; one representing the Initiates becoming Sword Brethren and one representing the Neophytes becoming Initiates. Replace the unit respectively with a Sword Brethren/Vanguard Vet squad and a Intercessor/Assault Intercessor/Tactical/Assault Squad. Both units retain their experience points, battle honours and scars. Actually a very useful and fluffy way to rank up multiple units if you're starting with Crusader Squads.
  • Holy Intervention (XRP): So cowardly, it barely deserves a mention. Trade RP to complete Oaths if you were too pussy to win some battles. Deed/Foe/Condition/Situation costs 1/2/3/4 RP respectively. No. Don't you dare.
  • Crusader Squad Traits (Firstborn & Primaris)
    • Exceptional Mentors: Whilst any Initiates are still alive, Neophytes re-roll melee wounds of 1.
    • Faithful Squires: Whilst any Neophytes are alive, Initiates re-roll melee hit rolls of 1.
    • Unbreakable Faith: Start of each Command Phase, restore 1 wound to 1 model. In addition, whilst below Half-strength, add 1 to Leadership of all models. Potentially useful if you're running big blobs of 20.
  • Priest Traits (All flavours of Chaplain)
    • Voice of the Emperor: Add 6" to the range of any Litanies of the Devout. Very situational, especially as Devout Litanies don't include any Auras. Meh.
    • Exceptional Recital: Who said we can't read?! +1 to casting Litanies, all the time. Cool.
  • Sword Brethren, Bladeguard, Vanguard Veterans, & Terminator units
    • Strength from Conviction: Any affecting Litanies of the Devout also give the unit +1 Strength for the duration. Scary with Chainswords.
    • Selfless Martyrs: If unit has taken any casualties, add 1 to Attacks and Leadership.
    • Blades of the Emperor: Any affecting Litanies of the Devout also give the unit exploding 6s in melee.
    • Illustrious Tutors: Stay in school, kids. In your Command Phase, select one unit with Scout/Neophyte models and those models re-roll 1s to hit in melee.
    • Peerless Duellists: +1 WS. Simple, effective.
    • Zealous Intervention: Can perform Heroic Interventions.
  • Artificer Relic
    • Shackles of the Faithful: The bearer can ignore any or all modifiers to the hit and wound roll
  • Antiquity Relic
    • Thronelight Lantern: Aura. Enemy psykers within 12" of the bearer substract 1 from psychic tests. Once per battle, the bearer can select a psyker unit within 18", and until the end of the phase, that unit's melee attacks suffer -1 to their hit rolls.
  • Legendary Relic
    • The Black Sword of Sigismund: The very same. Replaces your power sword / master-crafted power sword / relic blade for a S+3 AP-5 D3 sword, meaning it's better than The Burning Blade, which is rumoured to be the Emperor's Own sword.
Oaths of Crusade[edit]

The unique Templar Crusade mechanic, and it rocks. At any time outside of a battle, declare an Oath of Crusade. Oaths are made of up to four parts: a Deed, a Foe, a Condition and a Situation. You must take at least a Deed, and if you can do so then take a Foe, and if you have a Foe take a Condition, and if you have a Condition you can take a Situation. In other words, make it as easy or challenging as you like.

Each Oath part has a corresponding reward. You don't get the reward however until the whole Oath has been completed.

Be warned, however. Once you make your Oath, you cannot change it or select a new one until the Oath is completed. So if you're facing reversals or not facing the required enemies, RAW the only way out is to spend RP via the Holy Intervention Requisition. Tricky if you have a very limited opponent pool, so choose carefully.

  • Bring Glory to His Name: Win at least 4 Battles where you fielded Black Templar units. Reward: Casket of the Pious.
  • Bring Victory to the Chapter: Score a total of 200 Victory Points in battles that you fielded Black Templar units. Reward: Blade of the Lost Crusader.
  • Reclaim His Domain: In 4 Battles, have your Black Templar units capture at least two objective markers. Reward: ObSec units gain 1 XP.
  • Prosecute the Eternal Crusade: Gain XP for 1 unit using the unique Black Templar Agendas in at least 4 Battles. Reward: Use Relic Bearers Requisition for free once.
  • Bring Down the Enemy's Outposts: Win 6 Combat Patrol or Incursion Battles. Reward: Handle of the Sceptre.
  • Shatter the Holdings of the Enemy: Win 4 Strike Force or Onslaught Battles. Reward: Shackles of the Penitent's Roar.
  • Lay Low the Foe's Mightiest Heroes: Kill a Character from 4 different factions, or kill 8 Characters from the same faction. Reward: Seal of the Pious.
  • Slay the Enemy's Leaders: Kill 4 enemy Warlords. Reward: Grip of the Lost Crusader.
  • Destroy the Machineries of Subjugation: Destroy 12 enemy Vehicles. Reward: Receiver of the Penitent's Roar.
  • Decimate the Foe's Mainstay Forces: Destroy 12 enemy Troops units. Reward: Each BT Troops units in your Order of Battle gains 2XP.
  • Cut Off the Enemy's Support Forces: Destroy 8 enemy Heavy Support units. Reward: Stasis Casket of the Sceptre.
  • Strike Down the Greatest of Beasts: Kill at least 8 enemy Monster units. Reward: BT Elites units in your Order of Battle gain 2XP.
  • Without Taking a Backwards Step: Finish 4 Battles in which no BT units fled (i.e. lost to morale or combat attrition tests). Reward: Select up to 3 BT Core units (excluding Characters, Monsters and Vehicles), they gain the Battle-Tested Battle Trait from the CRB (gain ObSec, can shoot whilst performing Actions and auto-pass Combat Attrition if in range of an objective. Very powerful for Crusader Squads or Bladeguard etc.
  • Without Hesitation: At the end of 3 Battles, have all BT units in the enemy's deployment zone. Reward: Every BT unit on your Order of Battle gains 2XP.
  • Without Allowing Our Holy Relics to Fall: In 4 Battles, have a least one unit with a Relic or Relic Bearer survive. Reward: Bones of the Pious.
  • Without Allowing Our Heroes to Fall: Have your BT Warlord survive in 5 Battles. Reward: Cross Guard of the Lost Crusader.
  • Without Suffering Overwhelming Casualties: Play 4 Battles where you lost less than 50% of your army's Power Level. Reward: Select one eligible Character unit and give it an Artificer Relic.
  • Without Allowing the Machinations of the Enemy: In 5 Battles, have no objective markers in your deployment zone be controlled by the enemy. Reward: Barrel of the Penitent's Roar.
  • Across this Forsaken Sector: Play 10 Crusade missions with BT units. Reward: Increase Crusade Supply Limit by 10.
  • Across the Imperium: Win at least 5 Crusade Battles against 5 different Factions. Reward: Remove one Battle Scar from up to 3 BT units.
  • Whilst Displaying our Colours Proudly: Select the Uphold the Honour of the Emperor Vow in at least 5 battles. Reward: Head of the Sceptre.
  • Regardless of What Assails Us: Play in at least 4 different Theatres of War (i.e. 9e Expansions, Charadon, Octarius etc). Reward: BT Fast Attack units gain 2XP.
  • Whilst Holding the Line Against the Encroaching Foe: Play 4 Battles as the Defender. Reward: BT Heavy Support units gain 2XP.
  • At the Very Heart of the Enemy's Domains: Play 4 battles as the Attacker. Reward: Grip of the Penitent's Roar.
Reclaimed Relics[edit]

Each Reclaimed Relic requires you to have obtained the four parts of each relic through Oaths. Note you don't need to acquire the four parts in a single Oath...but that'd mean like several crusades to complete a single one. In the name of the Immortal Emperor, I hereby vow to...

  • Hands of the Pious - ...Bring Glory to His Name and Lay Low the Foe's Mightiest Heroes, Without Allowing Our Holy Relics to Fall (Win at least 4 Battles + Kill a character of 4 different factions/Kill 8 characters of the same faction + In 4 battles have at least 1 Relic/Relic Bearer unit survive): A Chaplain model knows ALL the Litanies of the Devout. Can also be given to a Non-Chaplain model instead, who then knows 1 Litany of the Devout and can cast it as if he was a Priest. Fucking sick.
  • Sceptre of Fallen Empires - ...Bring Down the Enemy's Outposts and Cut Off the Enemy's Support Forces, Whilst Displaying our Colours Proudly (Win 6 Combat Patrol/Incursion Battles + Destroy 8 enemy Heavy Support units + Select the "Uphold the Honour of the Emperor" Vow in at least 5 battles): Once per Battle, in your Command phase, reveal magic sceptre and enemy units within 6" suffer -1 to hit until your next turn.
  • Sword of the Lost Crusader - ...Bring Victory to the Chapter and Slay the Enemy's Leaders, Without Allowing Our Heroes to Fall (Score a total of 200 Victory Points + Kill 4 enemy Warlords + Have your BT Warlord survive in 5 Battles): S+2 AP-3 D2 sword that makes enemies suffer -1 to hit when targeting the bearer in melee.
  • The Penitent's Roar - ...Shatter the Holdings of the Enemy and Destroy the Machineries of Subjugation, Without Allowing the Machinations of the Enemy At the Very Heart of the Enemy's Domains (Win 4 Strike Force/Onslaught battles + Destroy 12 enemy Vehicles + In 5 Battles, have no objective markers in your deployment zone be controlled by the enemy + Play 4 battles as the Attacker): Pistol 2 S5 AP-3 D2 pistol that ignores LoS! and dishes MWs on a wound roll of a 6.

Awesome Unofficial Homebrew Ideas

In this scribe's opinion, the new BT Crusade mechanics are awesome, but do remember it is your game, so long as your opponent agrees. If you want to create custom Oaths, i.e. for Helbrecht to finally catch up and kill Ghazkull, fucking DO IT, and create a custom reward too for finally slaying that SOB. Same for the reclaimed relics, which apart from Hands of the Pious are arguably a bit meh considering you need to win like 10 battles to achieve it, so go ahead and create your own fancy versions.

Secondary Objectives[edit]


  • Crusader's Wrath (2 CP): Use during a Command Phase where the assault doctrine is active. Whenever one of your models rolls a natural 6 to wound with a pistol or melee weapon, that hit improves its AP by 1. This stacks with the assault doctrine's buffs, but this is used only once, so you should save it for either felling a high-save foe or when most of your army gets stuck in.
    • You can read "6's to wound" as "1 in 9 attacks at WS3+".
  • Devout Push (1 CP): Use at the start of the fight phase, a core or character unit can either, if it is unengaged, do a 3" Normal move towards the closest enemy unit or objective, or if he already is within engagement range of an enemy, do a Pile-in move.
    • You cannot devoutly push yourself into melee because "Normal move"s cannot get you within engagement range. You can use it to creep onto an objective or basically move at M9", especially if the unit doesn't have assault weapons...but what are you going to use it on? Devastators who are walking out in the open who just so happen to be some 3" away from cover? And Terminators have 2 speeds anyways: deepstrike and charge.
  • Vicious Riposte (1 CP): Use at the begining of the fight phase (aka before attacks are declared) on a Black Templars Core unit. Until the end of that phase, whenever a model of that unit is killed in melee without exploding, roll a D6; on a 5+, after the attacker's done their attacks, they receive 1 mortal wound, up to a maximum of 6 mortal wounds (you'd need 18 dead primaris crusaders for the full 6MW). Good for dead scouts, who only take 1 wound to kill. And even then you still need to lose 9 of them. It manages to be even less useful than an Ancient.
  • For the Emperor's Honour! (2 CP): During the Fight Phase, pick out one Black Templars Character and an enemy Character. For this entire phase, the enemy character has to direct any attacks to your chosen character if they're in combat. This begs to be combined with Tanhauser's Bones for 1D.
  • Bombastic Delivery (2 CP): In your Command phase (aka when footslogging), one of your Chaplain's litanies will automatically inspire, and they can roll to use another litany. So, it guarantees that litany you want, plus allowing to roll for Litany of Hate as well
  • Revered Repositories (1 CP): You can hand a sergeant or Sword Brother one of the following: Witchseeker bolts (better when fired by a Primaris character's Master-crafted gun), Sword of Judgement (better wielded by someone with more WS and Attacks), the Skull of the Cacodominus (which merely needs to be held), Master-Crafted Weapon, or Digital Weapons. Your choice.
  • Heir of Sigismund (1 CP): Typical "warlord gets another WT" stratagem. Must be a BT trait.
  • Champion of the Feast (1 CP): One sergeant or Sword Brother gets +1 to their Attacks and Wounds and improves their WS by +1.
    • This changes things: normally a sergeant's WS3+ 2W 3+1A stats would only be okay for holding a low level relic. But WS2+ 3W 4+1A is comparable to a Lieutenant, and is especially useful for a relic bearer (or/with revered repositories teammates). A unit equipped that way is basically a character + retinue, worthy of being supported by a chaplain or transport. Sergeants of note are:
      • Assault Centurion (5W 5+1A), can master-craft either the drill or the hurricane bolter. They aren't CORE, though.
      • Aggressor (4W 5+1A)
      • Assault Intercessor (3W 4+1A) Can fight twice with the Fist of Balthus or master-crafted hammer, both unavailable to primaris characters.
      • Bladeguard (4W 5+1A) with the Sword of Judgement if someone else isn't wielding it.
  • Abhor the Witch (1 CP): When an enemy psyker manifests a power within 24" of your units, they can deny it on a 4+. This has no stipulations on only infantry or anything, so you can even have your land raiders shut down those psykers like nobody's business.
  • The Emperor's Will (1 CP): Use when a Black Templars Infantry Unit advances. They can still shoot pistols, rapid-fire, and assault weapons without any penalties. While charging remains off the table, you now have a way to bring a firing line much closer and fire as soon as they get there.
  • Exemplars of the Crusade (1 CP): A unit of Sword Brethren (Only Primaris since we have no way to bring back the original unit) that roll a natural 6 to hit score an additional hit.
  • Deadly Cargo (1 CP): After a Land Raider Crusader made its Normal move, units (plural) embarked inside it can disembark (3"). They cannot move any further...but they can charge. Assault vehicle is back!.
    • The stratagem targets the Land Raider itself, meaning you can disembark three units & a character in different directions and have them all charge. M10" + 3" disembark + 9" makes Assault Centurions inescapable.
  • Strength of Conviction (1 CP): One Black Templars Core unit will count as as having ObSec for this turn. A reminder that Dreadnoughts are CORE.
  • Tenacious Assault (1 CP): Roll a d6 when an enemy infantry or beasts unit tries to fall back from your units. On a 4+, they can't fall back. While it can now lock up things like Flesh Hounds and spawns, the effect itself took a major blow to effectiveness.
  • Heretic's Pyre (1/2 CP): Pick one Black Templars Core unit during the Shooting Phase. Any flame weapons in the unit (including those spiffy new pyroblasters and pyre pistols) essentially gain Blast: a target unit of 6-10 models scores 3 hits while a unit of 10+ models scores all of the hits. They don't gain the actual rule, which matters to Dreads with flamers. Costs 2CP if the unit is Mark x Gravis aka Aggressors; still 1CP for the other sources of flame: Assault Centurions and Sternguard & Company Vets with combi-flamers. What better way to spread the faith and show off to those sisters than by cooking the enemy alive?
  • Incendiary Shells (1 CP): Any unit that fires their shotgun (aka Crusader Squads of both varieties, and Scouts & Scout bikers) improve their damage to D2.

Warlord Traits[edit]

  1. Epitome of Piety: The Warlord can deny one power in the Psychic Phase, and gains a +1 on his roll to do so. Grimaldus takes this one, meaning he gets 2 enhanced denies.
  2. Paragon of Fury: Whenever the warlord finishes a charge move, add +1 to their Strength stat until the end of the turn, and roll 1d6 for each enemy model within engagement range of the warlord; on a 5+ that unit takes a mortal wound.
    • Give this guy a +3S D3 sword, like a master-crafted Relic Blade or the Sword of Judgement. Now he wounds T4 on a 2+ without a hit penalty. The Emperor's Champion's sword is S+3 already, so he'll reach S8 on the charge.
  3. Master of Arms: The Warlord Always Fights First and adds +1 to their Attacks stat.
    • Black Templars don't do fall back feints, and fighting first means the enemy cannot kill you because you killed them first. Plus, it means the melee progression becomes "you fight, they fight, you fight", as opposed to "you fight, then the enemy fights twice". It remains super powerful in 9th. You can heroically intervene and strike first in the opponent's turn, saving your brothers.
    • You can combine it with the Champion of Humanity WT for a character with +2A, who always fights first, and has +1 to hit and +1 to wound against characters. Maybe give the Sword of Judgement to this guy instead.
  4. Inspirational Fighter: When friendly Black Templars Core units within 6” of this warlord roll an unmodified 6 to wound for melee weapon attacks, improve the weapon’s AP by 1. Unlike last edition, this stacks with Assault Doctrine, which means it's an easier time cutting down traitors.
    • 6s to wound on a 3+ to hit means "1 of 9 attacks gains -1AP". So, 3.44 attacks out of a 10-man Crusader squad charging with chainswords on everyone. Is that a lot?
  5. Front-Line Commander: Add 1 to the Advance and Charge distances of the warlord. If the Warlord is in engagement range of an enemy unit, add 1 to the result of any Black Templars Core charging the same unit. High Marshal Helbrecht's trait.
    • Remember it doesn't stack with Canticle of Hate, which has problems when the Chaplain Deep Strikes or rides up in a transport. Up to you to use a Front-Line Commander to do a turn 1 drop pod assault or be patient and wait for turn 2 with Chaplain support.
    • Strictly worse than the Master of the Vanguard WLT other than working on non-Phobos.
  6. Oathkeeper: Warlord can do 6" Horizontal, 5" Vertical Heroic Interventions. The Emperor's Champion has this as an innate rule, but unlike Grimaldus he actually cannot get this trait. Not that he'd want to anyway. A 9" inescapable intervention, now that would have been something. Maybe useful for characters leading Crusader squads, which are huge and may get to fight without him despite him behing within 1" of them.
    • BAD. When was the last time your enemy charged the captain's retinue but it was far away from him and he didn't get to fight? Never. When was the last time you said "I wish my character was eligible to be struck before he gets the chance to fight"? Never! Taking this is not taking Paragon of Fury or Master of Arms; you cannot defend that. Could be combined with Master of Arms to have a character that both intercedes and fights first though. Also has a niche use in getting a Judicar where he needs to be.

Relics and Special-Issue Wargear[edit]

  • Adamantine Mantle: 5+++. Not that great in an army with access to so many rolls to negate wounds.
  • Ancient Breviary: Chaplain only. When you roll for a litany for the bearer, you can roll 2D6 and discard either result.
    • Equivalent to being able to re-roll. Can give 97.55% reliability to Litany combos for a Master of Sanctity.
  • Aquila Immortalis: +1 to the bearer's Toughness and Attacks. Can either make a character feel like they're wearing Gravis without the bulk of it, or double-down on a character already wearing Gravis (or a bike) for T6 W8. The Iron Resolve WT gets them to T6 W9 Fnp6.
  • Artificer Armour: Gives a model a 2+ armour save and a 5++ invulnerable save. Best put on a model with a decent amount of wounds but no invulnerable (Lieutenants and Ancients).
  • Aurillian Shroud: Once per battle at the start of your command phase (aka when footslogging), the bearer of this relic can activate it. When they do, until the end of the battle round, models in friendly Black Templars Core Infantry units have a 4++ invulnerable save while within 3” of the relic bearer. Make 4+/4++ neophytes ignore AP for a turn.
  • Breath of the Throne: Replaces the flamer part of a combi-flamer or auto-flamer. 12" Assault 3+D3 S5 AP-1 D2. This is a pretty sizeable buff for the combi-flamer by not only guaranteeing a minimum of 4 hits but by strapping a master-crafted heavy flamer onto your bolter.
  • Crusader's Helm: Increase the range of the model's aura abilities by 3", to a maximum of 9". Also, during your Command phase (so it doesn't work in deepstrike/transports), pick a friendly Black Templars Core unit with the Combat Doctrines ability within 6" of this model. Until your next Movement phase, the Assault Doctrine is active for that unit, replacing the current doctrine.
  • Perdition's Edge: Replaces a power axe or MC power axe. S+3 AP-2 D2 but deals 2 mortal wounds on a natural 6 to wound (some once each six attacks at WS2+ Rr 1s to wound). Honestly not much when compared to the Sword of Judgment, but this can punch past invulns.
  • Tännhauser's Bones: The damage of ANY attacks are reduced to 1, effectively telling all plasma, melta and hammers to eat shit and die. Combine it with the Iron Resolve WT for +1W and FnP6 and teach newbies what Eternal Warrior means.

These are assignable like normal relics, but also assignable via the Revered Repositories strat to a Sergeant or Sword Brother:

  • Digital Weapons: When you fight, you make one extra attack that scores a mortal wound if it hits. Usually worse than a Master-Crafted Weapon on anything you can be bothered putting a melee relic on.
  • Master-Crafted Weapon: Give a weapon +1D. Good on a thunder hammer for D4.
  • Skull of the Cacodominus: Enemy psykers within 12" of the bearer suffer a -1 to channeling rolls and will suffer perils on any doubles instead of double 1s or 6s. Once per game, the bearer can activate it and make an 18" bubble that adds an additional -1 to casting checks. Though your guys can still be targeted by psykery, this will make it a difficult affair.
  • Sword of Judgment: Replaces a power sword, master-crafted power sword, or relic blade with a master-crafted relic blade: S+3 AP-3 D3. Compared to a Thunder Hammer, hitting on a 2+ but wounding on 3+ is the same as hitting on a 3+ but wounding on a 2+, unless you have access to a buff that's only on one of them - in particular, it's a lot easier for you to re-roll hits than wounds, making the Thunder Hammer better in practice if you brought that to the party.
    • Despite this using a relic slot (1CP) to do what a regular Thunder Hammer does, this relic sword costs one tenth the points and can be wielded by Primaris characters, who can't use hammers.
  • Witchseeker Bolts: Goes with a bolt weapon and you can shoot this instead of its normal ammo. You only get one attack, but the attack can ignore Look Out, Sir against a PSYKER CHARACTER. Also, a hit on a Psyker causes an extra 1d3 mortal wounds. Put it on a Master-crafted Stalker bolt rifle for D3+1d3 to witches. So does a Master-crafted Instigator bolt carbine, but the RG FAQ confirms a Marksman's Honours warlord does get +1D when shooting relic ammo.

A bit of a weird addition, but you can also add a relic from this list to one model (doesn't need to be the sergeant) in a black templars Core or biker unit, raising the PL of that unit as well as the point cost for buying that upgrade - you can only upgrade a unit once and you can only hand out each of these relics once. This also gives the model the Relic Bearers keyword for use in any stratagems or objectives. Can be used with Revered Repositories to have two relics in the same unit.

  • Beastpyre: Replaces a flamer or pyreblaster. 15" Assault d6 S6 AP-2 D1.
  • Bones of Mordred: Any melee attacks the bearer makes that roll a nat 6 to wound deal a mortal wound as well.
  • The Crux Obsidian: Any damage the bearer suffers is reduced by 1 to a minimum of 1. Use it on Centurions, Aggressors, Bladeguard, or Outriders, your units with the most wounds.
    • Keep in mind that once you begin allocating wounds onto a model, any further wounds must be allocated onto it until it either dies or heals to full; if you tank a multi-D wound, the enemy can then waste the crux by next attacking with D1 weapons until the bearer dies.
  • Fist of Balthus: Replaces a power fist with a +1 to hit, +1D Power Fist (or equivalently, +1 to hit, -1AP Thunder Hammer): Sx2 AP-3 D3 without any penalty to hit, making it a pretty easy grab.
    • Compared to a MC Thunder Hammer (which is 33.33% better than a normal one), the accuracy buff alone is worth the same (+33.33%) on a WS3+ model but is only worth +25% on a WS2+ model, and the improved AP is often useless a roughly 25% increase in damage against 3+ Sv targets with no invuln. 20% in Assault Doctrine, either way more than a 33% increase. The MC Thunder Hammer wins out against things with exactly 4 wounds, or 7-8 or 10+ wounds and an invuln. So Ltns, Gravis Captains, ect. The fist beats vehicles and regular gravis infantry better. Also the MC Thunder Hammer takes a command point.
  • Holy Orb: The Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch returns yet again. Once per game on the shooting phase, the bearer can chuck this on an enemy within 6" and hit on a 2+. The target suffers d3 MWs and won't be able to fight until after all of your army does, making it a handy tool for supporting a charge.
  • Icon of Heinmann: All attacks allocated to the bearer with AP-1 or AP-2 are reduced to AP0, which is useful for shutting off power axes and bolters.
    • A Bladeguard, Terminator, or squad in cover can use the Icon to save up to AP-2 on a 2+.
    • A unit can combine it with Uphold the Honor of the Emperor to save up to AP-2 on a 3+, while AP-3 hits can be tanked by 5++. Especially good for Crusader squads who can use Neophytes for that.
  • Light of the Emperor's Grace: Grants +1 to the unit's Leadership and the psyker debuff aura from the Skull of the Cacodominus without the perils part.
  • Sigismund's Seal: Mark one enemy unit during the first turn of the game. The bearer's unit gets to re-roll to hit and to wound against that unit. Mark it for a key unit in your enemy's army, maybe mark it for a hero that your characters won't be able to handle because they have better priorities.

Litanies of the Devout[edit]

To compensate for their lack of a Psychic Discipline, the Black Templars gain six unique Litanies for their Chaplains to use instead of the usual ones. They all only affect one friendly black templars Core or Character unit within 6". They are all useful, awesome, and extremely flavorful despite not being auras.

  1. Litany of Divine Protection: The target gains a 5+++ FNP, as in, no longer restricted to mortal wounds only.
  2. Psalm of Remorseless Persecution: Target unit deals a MW on an unmodified 6 to wound in melee, in addition to any normal damage. You can only score up to 6 mortal wounds in this way. Unlike the others, this one doesn't affect characters.
    • You need some 13 crusaders on the charge to get the 6 MW. However it's actually a good effect: basically a +1D that does spill onto the next target on a 6 to wound.
    • Strictly better than Exhortation of Rage (+1 to wound) on D1 weapons, and is generally best on weapons with poor AP and D (so the +1 MW matters more), and is more noticeable on weapons with lower S (so more of your successful wounds trigger the mortal wound).
  3. Plea of Deliverance: Fuck psykers! Target is immediately cleared of any effects from an enemy psychic power and can ignore the effects of any powers cast upon them until your next command phase. This is the closest you'll get to actually being immune to psykers, so consider saving this for moments where your preferred unit needs to be free of any witchcraft in order to make their charge.
  4. Fires of Devotion: Target gains +1A if it charges, gets charged, or makes a Heroic Intervention until the end of the turn.
    • Now that it works when the target unit is charged, it can also make for a useful bunker strategy. Can stack with Psalm of Remorseless Persecution and reach the target 6 MW for a unit of 10 Crusaders when they get 5A on the charge. Add the Honor Vehement and Accept Any Challenge to eviscerate everything in existence.
  5. Fervent Acclamation: The target gains the effect of one Templar Vow that isn't already in effect. Considering that all the vows are quite awesome and none of them overlap in any way, you can find some nice combos.
    • RAW your unit will take all of the effects of the Vow, including the Passion that vow has. While this won't matter too much, it is something to consider for something like Suffer Not the Unclean to Live.
  6. Oath of Glory: The chaplain always fights first that turn at +1S, and any unmodified 6s to hit scores two extra hits.

Special Units[edit]

  • Chaplain Grimaldus: THE guy for Black Templar's Black Tide lists, now a Master of Sanctity with two litanies (but only Ld9) and sporting the spiffy new Primaris look. He comes with a standard plasma pistol (which you'll never supercharge) and an Artificer Crozius (S+2 AP-2 D2).
    • Unlike prior editions, his servitor retinue is now permanently attached to him and each providing a different relic. The first one lets friendly Black Templars Core or Character units within 6" add 3+d3" to advance rolls instead of d6", the second provides them a 6+++ FNP against any wounds rather than just mortal wounds, and the third gives the man +1 to his litany rolls, meaning his place is leading huge blobs on foot. Bear in mind that as written, if Grimaldus dies and then rises back up on a 4+, the servitors still die. Get all the juice out of them that you can before they become meatshields for Grimaldus.
  • High Marshal Helbrecht: The big boss of the Black Templars. In addition to being a 9th edition Chapter Master with the Captain and Chapter Master Aura/Ability, all Black Templar Core units within 6" gain +1S, and S5 is a sweet spot in this edition. So when this guy rolls up in an Impulsor like a good Primaris, disembarks, waits an entire battle round to be polite (since you can't charge out of an Impulsor), and then charges you with his S5 re-rolling-hit-rolls-of-1 homeboys with chainswords... you're dead. End of discussion. He himself is no slouch in combat, packing an improved Sword of the High Marshals (S+2 AP-3 D1 with double the attacks or Sx2 AP-3 D3). Even his servitor retinue that's with his new model can make some token swings.
    • His combi-melta from the olden days has been replaced with what's effectively a heavy bolt rifle (though with a shorter 30" range) that's also a combi-melta. Not only can Helbrecht now decimate whatever he sees with his sword, but now his gun can punch holes in whatever opposition he finds.
    • Like any Chapter Master, he can't grant his full re-roll ability while also disembarking from a transport.
  • The Emperor's Champion: This guy will brutally murder any enemy Character, taking the Chapter Champion's role and cracking the dial to 11, being technically the only Primaris Champion anyone has (yeah he's Primaris now). He takes a crowded HQ slot instead of being in the very forgiving Elites one. As for stats, he's a Primaris Chapter Champion with +1W and an improved Invuln: WS2+ S4 A5 W4 Sv2+/4++. Sigismund's Heir lets him re-roll to hit and wound enemy Characters, not just wounds like a normal Chapter Champion. He has the Chapter Champion standard abilities of ASF and 6" interventions against Characters and -1 to be hit in melee. He strikes with the Black Blade, a super-sword that can swap between a relic blade (WS2+ S+3 AP-3 D2) or a thunder hammer (WS3+ Sx2 (8) AP-4 D3), because he didn't get the memo Chapter Champions aren't allowed nice weaponry.
    • Monsters are the closest the Champion has to a weak spot, as his offensive boosts pretty much evaporate the moment he runs into a Carnifex or Maulerfiend. Fortunately, his Black Blade's been buffed to be able to at least put up more of a fight against these foes and a supporting Chaplain might even push that a little further.
    • Entirely dedicated to being a beatstick, he needs support, most notably a Transport. Furthermore, his retinue will need support because he lacks an aura himself, and you both lack Librarians and cannot use Litanies out of a transport without spending a CP. Unless you take Sigismund's Seal for them to target the retinue of the enemy character your Champion will be fighting.
  • Crusader Squad: You have a unit of tactical marines that can also take up Scouts as cheap meat shields and now also let the unit use the Smokescreen stratagem. Going melee any Initiates can swap their bolter for a chainsword for free, and the Sword Brother leading them can take a power weapon/fist/special/combi-weapon while another initiate can take a special weapon, and another can take a heavy/melee weapon that isn't a Chainsword or Thunderhammer. Basically, they can take weapons much like a normal tactical squad but with extra melee. Neophytes (scouts) can replace their bolter for either a shotgun or knife.
    • Crusader squads only make sense (barely) when taken at 11-20 size and boosted with stratagems or litanies that target a single unit. Changes to morale don't affect large units as much as smaller ones but blast weapons are now a thing. 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 makes them immune to morale, so 20-man Crusader squads love them, as they can't fit inside most transports and you can't Combat Squad them.
    • Also hurting things is the loss of the re-rolls given to neophytes for having more initiates with them.
    • While they are now priced the same as Tactical Squads, they are still the objectively better choice over Assault Intercessors due to the plethora of different weapons the squad has access to. LOOKS LIKE MELEE IS STILL ON THE MENU BOYS
  • Primaris Crusader Squad: The mainstay of your army lists, this unit is purpose-built to capitalize on the Black Templars' chapter tactics and play style. They can be taken in units of 10-20 and it's highly recommended to max them out in order to get the most out of our buffs. The initiates all get auto bolt rifles while the neophytes are basically "Carapace Intercessors" (2W 2A), with bolt pistols and Chainswords.
    • As has been the case with other Primaris units, all of your weapons choices for the rank and file tend to be all-or-nothing; any number of initiates can trade their bolt rifles for heavy bolt pistols and chainswords while neophytes have to all swap their chainswords and pistols for either shotguns or bolt carbines. In a minimum 10-man unit, two initiates can equip either pyreblasters (new flamers with improved range and AP-1) or power fists and heavy pistols. Double that if you take a full 20-man squad.
    • Your Sword Brother already comes stock with a power sword, and can swap that only for an axe while the bolt pistol can be swapped for a pyre pistol, giving a hand flamer with AP-1.
  • Primaris Sword Brethren: Base 3A like Primaris Vets, theyre all armed with Heavy Bolt Pistols and Chainswords, which any of them can swap for a power weapon for +3 points each. The unit is a minimum of 4 models rather than 5 as each one is the lore equivalent of a Sergeant already.
    • If the unit is 4-9, one marine can take a thunder hammer, then another one can take paired lightning claws. Another one can take an axe and another one can take a maul (like you'd ever want to). In addition, one marine can swap their pistol for a plasma pistol, and up to 2 can swap it for a pyre pistol. Double those numbers if there're 10 models in the unit, aka, if you want them to be forced to walk.
    • These guys are the only unit that can ignore the Templar Vow Passions.
    • While they are often compared to Bladeguard in both appearance and battlefield role, Sword Brethren are less resilient but more aggressive. They have a variety of gear options; they can be kept relatively cheap with just Heavy Bolt Pistols and Chainswords for clearing chaff, or they can be upgraded with Power Weapons to go elite hunting. The addition of thunder hammers, power claws, and relic bearers allows them to be equipped for basically any melee purpose. (Ex: Sword Brother with Suffer Not the Unclean to Live, Lightning Claws, Champion of the Feast, Bones of Mordred, Fires of Devotion, and Exemplars of the Crusade = 1 model with 7 attacks, 6s to hit doing extra hits and also auto wounding, 6s to wound doing mortal wounds, re-rolling all failed wound rolls and that's just one model in the unit)


  • Crusader Spam: Black Templars aren't necessarily the best melee chapter but they can reliably get lots of models stuck in, (all the melee buffs in the world don't matter if your units fail their charge rolls). What BT have over other assault-focused chapters is a series of interlocking buffs that makes massed foot-slogging surprisingly viable. You can't advance and charge, but thanks to Uphold the Honor of the Emperor and Righteous Zeal, your army has a 5++ and an additional 5+++ against Mortal Wounds on every model. Sprinkle in our unique Litanies of the Devout and HQ auras and you've got scary large units that can annihilate anything they charge.
    • Termie deepstrike charge: The one thing BT can do that other chapters struggle with is getting terminators into melee quickly and reliably without paying for Land Raiders; others can get +1 or +2 to charge, but not a re-roll. And you can get +1 or +2 with a Front-Line Commander or Commanding Oratory Canticle of Hate, from a Captain or Chaplain you have to bring anyway, to alleviate the -1 to hit from the termies' weapons.
    • This applies to anything melee you want to deep strike, including Vanguard Veterans, Company Veterans in a Drop Pod, etc etc.
  • Vehicle Spam: Uphold the Honour of the Emperor works just fine on your vehicles, although immunity to being wounded on 2s is less useful the tougher the model; you still get the 5++, and you won't ever notice not having access to cover. An example unit you should consider fielding is a Redemptor Dread with Macro Plasma - you're more willing than other chapters to fire overcharged plasma, and the Redemptor loves getting the same invuln a Contemptor has. Bear in mind most things that can carry heavy plasma cannons can also carry a multimelta, which is better against just about everything - don't take plasma just because it's an option. Since you're also good at charging, vehicles that are good in melee - like the Redemptor - are also better choices for you.

Blood Angels, Flesh Tearers, and Lamenters[edit]

Blood Angels Pauldron.jpeg
In the grim darkness of the far future, there is always a risk of becoming blinded by rage.

Thematically, these guys are a bunch of poncy space vampires who constantly battle their own genetic curses. These curses turn out to be their greatest strengths, as they become genuine monsters made to Rip and Tear.
On the tabletop, these guys go pretty deep for both melee and speed. While they aren't bike-crazed like the White Scars, they have a stratagem that can make all their tanks faster on top of their bonus to charge distance. In melee, their chapter tactics make them hurt harder - especially if you decide to grab the Death Company. This is hands down the best stock chapter for brutal melee.

If you plan on getting the first blow before the enemy, the Blood Angels are the best choice.

Flesh Tearers Livery2.jpg
In the grim darkness of the far future, blind anger can be a powerful tool.

Thematically, these guys are the edgier and far more violent version of the Blood Angels. While their founders sought to uphold their nobility in the field of battle, these guys aren't as inclined to keep to the stylishness.
On the tabletop, these guys go pretty deep for both melee and speed. While they aren't bike-crazed like the White Scars, they have a stratagem that can make all their tanks faster. In melee, their chapter tactics make them hurt much harder - especially if you decide to grab the Death Company.
If you hunger for ripping and tearing huge guts, pick the Flesh Tearers

Special Rules[edit]

  • Chapter Tactics - The Red Thirst: Add +1 to all charge and advance rolls. When a unit charges, gets charged, or make a heroic intervention, they can add +1 to their wound roll for the turn.
    • This makes your lot a bit zippier and choppier than most marines. This stacked with shock assault means that your guys will absolutely be able to lay on the hurt without hesitation.
    • This makes you insanely good at wounding things - so much so that in your hands, a lightning claw is actually better at wounding than a power fist or thunder hammer, meaning you take them just for the higher D when you do.
  • Unit Restrictions: Blood Angels Ancients can't be upgraded to Chapter Ancients, which is a rule that doesn't seem to apply to their successors. Sanguinary Ancients carry chapter banners, but aren't chapter ancients themselves, so Blood Angels just don't have access to chapter ancients.
  • Chapter Tactics - Fury Within: When a unit rolls a 6 to wound in melee, the AP of their hit improves by 1. When a unit charges, gets charged, or makes a heroic intervention, they can add +1 to their wound roll for the turn.
    • Compared to the BA, this makes you far more vicious in a fight, But slightly harder to get there. One inch may not be much but it can add up espeically with the few 'charge and advance' ability so it's nothing to be discounted. On the other blood stained hand, Now that even chainswords can mulch light infantry, you can bet your ass that you'll find more uses with basic weapons as you reduce power armor into shreds, especially since it now stacks with Assault Doctrine.
  • Combat Doctrine - Savage Echoes: While the Assault Doctrine is active, add 1 to the Attacks of models in units that charged, were charged, or Heroically Intervened (i.e. double the normal benefit of Shock Assault).
    • Yes, this does stack with Black Rage, so your Death Companies will be able to spit out a disproportionately high number of attacks for their unit size. Don't forget the regular marines: scouts, assault troopers, and intercessors are rocking 4 attacks, 3 on tacticals. Makes for some added punch in the later stages of games when you're scrapping over objectives with smaller squads and/or a single sergeant.
    • Turn 3 (or earlier, with a Sanguinary Priest on hand) charges are absurd this time around. Hang back in LR crusaders or use Jump Packs and let loose turn three; frankly, it's like 7th when trying to add up and account for all the modifiers and +1s your marines will be under, but when you get it right, you will crush everything. If you're not tabled by turn 3, your deep strikers will utterly change the game if you combo everything perfectly.
  • Black Rage: Your death company rules. These guys can never fall back, gain another attack when charging or heroically intervening, and have a 6+++ FNP. However, they are incapable of doing any other actions, meaning they're less useful in a more objective-focused game.
  • Options:
    • Adds inferno pistols and hand flamers to the pistols list, which comes up all over, but is probably most noticeable on your Assault Squad sergeant.
    • Adds heavy flamers to the heavy weapons list, so you can field Devastator Squads of 4 heavy flamers and a combiflamer (or hand flamer, but that'd be silly).
    • Assault squads can replace up to two flamers with plasma guns or meltaguns.
  • Death Company: In addition to the exclusive units, you can also consign a captain and two lieutenants to the black rage by spending a few points/1 PL. Doing so will give them all the benefits of doing so but now every buff aura must be exclusive to Death Company units. These HQs are also no longer able to accept the Masters of the Chapter upgrades but do not count against Company Command restrictions.
    • Death Visions: Each Death Company Character can opt to trigger a certain vision of Sanguinius's final moments, granting them a particular boost once per game.
      • On the Bridge of the Vengeful Spirit: Triggered if your "hero" sees an enemy Infantry Character or Monster Character. They gain an extra attack for every 5 enemy models within 6" of them and they can re-roll any bad hit rolls, turning them into a blender.
      • Grace of the Angel: Triggered if your "hero" is engaged with an enemy Infantry Character or Monster Character. This model gains a 3++ invuln save, making their survival much closer to guaranteed in any case, but especially if they're bogged down by hordes.
      • To Slay the Warmaster: Triggered if your "hero" sees an enemy Infantry Character or Monster Character. Instead of the standard combat phase, both you and your enemy must roll 1d6. If you win, one model of your choice suffers 3+d3 mortal wounds, likely enough to fell any Marine HQ and seriously wound hive tyrants and skorpekh lords.

Crusade Additions[edit]

Secondary Objectives[edit]


  • Descent of Angels (1 CP): Trigger after setting up a Blood Angels Core Jump Pack unit in the Reinforcements phase. This unit doesn't suffer any penalties to charge for this turn and adds +1 to hit this turn. Note this includes shooting, so inceptors like this just as much as acc units.
  • Vengeance for Sanguinius (1 CP): Your version of Death to Traitors. Whenever a Blood Angels unit is in combat with a Black Legion unit, you can re-roll all hit and wound rolls.
  • Refusal to Die (1/2 CP): Use in any phase after the Death Company are targeted with an attack. Until the end of the phase, when they take a wound, roll a D6; on a 5+, that wound isn’t lost. You can only use this once per turn. Return to previous levels of refusing to feel pain. Costs 2 CP for a unit with 5+ models.
  • Flesh Tearers only - Aggressive Onslaught (1 CP): Select one Flesh Tearers Infantry during the fight phase and give them an extra 3" pile-in distance. Quite helpful as this will guarantee that all your troops are in the heat of battle rather than standing around gormlessly and getting shot.
  • Angel's Sacrifice (1 CP): Nominate one Blood Angels character (barring any Dreads) during the fight phase. Anyone within engagement range with this character now must attack your designated martyr. This can prove to be particularly useful if you grabbed a Termie or Gravis captain to tank the blows.
  • Spiritual Might (1 CP): Your Blood Angels Psyker can cast an additional power this Psychic phase.
  • Visions of Sanguinius (1 CP): Use when a Death Company character is chosen to fight. They can now trigger a second Death Vision if they already used one before or trigger two simultaneous death visions at the same time. Normal restrictions of not re-using Death Visions still apply.
  • Angel Ascendant (1 CP): One use. Generic "Give Sergeant Special-Issue Wargear" stratagem.
  • Angel Exemplar (1 CP): One use. Unlike stratagems that give another character a Warlord trait (which all marines get anyway), this allows your Warlord to have a second Warlord trait, which has to be a Blood Angels/Flesh Tearers trait depending on which chapter your Warlord is from. This could propel your Warlord into truly terrifying levels of smashy-dom - consider traits like Imperium's Sword combined with Gift of Foresight, for example.
  • Lucifer-Pattern Engines (1 CP): Use this stratagem before the battle to give a non-Dreadnought vehicle overcharged engines, meaning their Advance moves always add 6" rather than rolling..
    • Why hello Relic Sicaran...did you know red ones go faster? *primes red spray paint*
  • Honoured by the Arx Angelicum (1 CP): One use. Lets you give a Blood Angels relic to a successor. A copypaste in form, if not in name.
  • Red Rampage (1 CP): One use. When the Assault Doctrine is active, ALL Blood Angels units who roll a 6 to wound get an additional -1 AP to their pistol and melee attacks until the next Command Phase, which stacks with the Doctrine itself. With luck, that means your power swords can be AP-5.
  • Unbridled Ardour (1 CP): Use in the enemy's Charge phase to let a Sanginary Guard unit Heroically Intervene 6" by 5" as though it were a character.
  • Forlorn Fury (1/2 CP): Use before the first turn begins to give a Death Company a move of 12", as long as it doesn't take them within 9" of an enemy. For Dreadnoughts or units of 6+ models this costs 2CP.
  • Upon Wings of Fire (1 CP): Select a Blood Angels Core Jump Pack unit in your army. It immediately leaves the field and be set up again in the next Reinforcements phase so long as it's at least 9" away from an enemy model.
  • Flesh Tearers only - Savage Destruction (1 CP): Use when a morale test is failed for an enemy unit within Engagement Range of a Flesh Tearers unit. Until the end of the turn, subtract 1 from combat attrition tests for the unit. This could cause some serious losses to a large unit.
  • Chalice Overflowing (1 CP): Your sanguinary priest can trigger their blood chalice ability a second time. Awesome.

Warlord Traits[edit]

  • Speed of the Primarch: Always Strike First.
    • This is a bad idea, because you only need ASF when you're staying in melee, which you'll never choose to do (and your dudes who have no choice can't have a Warlord Trait). Far better to bring a Librarius Librarian along with Veil of Time, so you can get ASF if you find out you need it.
    • Mephiston has this trait.
  • Artisan of War: Your warlord gains one of the following special-issue items without blocking access to another relic: Adamantine Mantle, Artificer Armour, Master-Crafted Weapon, Digital Weapons. The fact that this stacks with any other relic is quite helpful, like combining the pinions with an MC weapon.
    • This is particularly nice because you can use a strat to generate this as a Warlord Trait instead of generating it as an actual relic, so it's genuinely hard to find yourself unable to take this. Angel Exemplar will let you take this on your Warlord without displacing his real Warlord Trait, while Hero of the Chapter will let you take this on any other character.
    • There isn't much point to doing this, but due to how this trait works and the wording on the relic, you can use this trait to fire a Quake Bolt from a master-crafted weapon.
  • Soulwarden: Gives every BLOOD ANGELS unit within 6" an FNP of 5+++ vs mortal wounds. Incredible against some armies, abysmal against others. Note that it will keep your librarians and plasma vehicles safer, as it works on all units.
    • Astorath and Lemartes have this trait.
  • Heroic Bearing: Rites of Battle, Tactical Precision, Chapter Master, and Spiritual Leader abilities used by this character gain +3" range, up to 9". Also gains a 9" aura giving +1 Ld to BLOOD ANGELS CORE units.
    • Dante and the Sanguinor have this trait.
  • Gift of Foresight: Gives the Warlord a hit, wound, and save re-roll each turn. Particularly nice for a Librarian Dreadnought to get the most out of their force halberd.
    • Corbulo has this trait.
  • Selfless Valour: Your Warlord can heroically intervene at 6″ instead of 3″. Not great, but not worthless, as you can set up for a quick one-two punch from your bodyguard and then your Warlord.
    • Both versions of Tycho have this trait.
    • Honestly if you're really looking to do this go play space wolves, you're more likely slamming your warlord into charges than being on the receiving end.
  • Merciless Butcher: Gabriel Seth has this. Gain +1 attack (max 3) for every 5 enemy models within 3". Pretty much a necessity if you decide to go knee-deep in guardsmen or gaunts. Don't expect to get much from this one unless you face mob armies. Makes a damn good secondary warlord - hurl this guy at a horde with 5 stock DC and the fancy relic chainsword and you will see blood spilled. Let your main warlord perform his standard duties and survive the game.
  • Of Wrath and Rage: Every unmodified 6 to hit in melee grants you a bonus hit with the weapon you used. The fact that it needs a die roll of 6 to trigger it makes it harder to pull off, but when you do it's gonna be worth it.
    • Stacks with Unleash Rage (the Sanguinary power) -if you do stack them, make sure you slap a full re-roll to hit on the guy (e.g. via a Chapter Master), and then re-roll even successful hits to fish for 6s.
  • Cretacian Born: No Overwatch or Set to Defend against units the Warlord declares as charge targets (so don't try this against the Tau), and may re-roll charge rolls.

Psychic Discipline: Sanguinary[edit]

  1. Quickening: WC 6. Re-roll advance and charge rolls made by the Psyker, and make d3 additional attacks in the fight phase, until your next psychic phase.
    • Remember, psychic is after movement, so this won't make you advance faster until the following turn; accordingly, a lot more useful for buffing a charge you're about to make, but still of somewhat limited use, since it's self only. Combine this with Wings of Sanguinius to get into the melee you want to get into, right now.
  2. Unleash Rage: WC 6. Select a Blood Angels Core unit within 12", and if they roll an unmodified 6 to hit in melee, they gain a bonus hit. With the high amount of attacks certain units can kick out, this can be anything from awesome to unneeded overkill. Has a more noticeable effect the lower the target's WS, since it's mathematically identical to +1 to hit (although it works on WS2+ models, bringing them to an expected accuracy of 100%).
    • This is the Space Wolves Combat Doctrine, on a Librarian stick.
    • If you can put a Chapter Master or Chaplain full re-roll on the target, they can fish for sixes by re-rolling successes, which has no purpose by itself (Unleash Rage isn't good enough to justify it), but combined with anything else (e.g. if you're a successor chapter and you swapped out +1 to wound for Whirlwind of Rage, which does the same thing this spell does, so now on an unmodified 6 you land three hits) it can be totally worth it.
    • Remember, you can't take any Core Librarians, so you can't ever cast this on yourself.
  3. Shield of Sanguinius: WC 6. Select a Blood Angels unit within 18" and gift them a 5++ until the next Psychic Phase. Ideal for slapping on a unit that's about to charge off into melee.
    • Note the benefit of this over Psychic Fortress, from Librarius: since this isn't a bubble on the caster, you can throw this onto a unit and let it charge into melee without worrying about needing the caster to keep up to maintain the effect. That and the 18" range are the only upsides - obviously, Psychic Fortress offers better protection otherwise, since it gives the same invuln to as many units as you can pack in around the caster.
    • This one can be cast on the Librarian in a pinch, but of course it's more useful the more it protects, so that's a very niche case.
  4. Blood Boil: WC 6. Select an enemy unit within 18" and roll 2d6, comparing against the highest toughness value in the unit. If the roll exceeds that value, the unit suffers 1d3 mortal wounds. If the total is more than double, the mortal wounds become an automatic 3. Like most non-Smite powers, worse than Smite in the majority of cases, but as it has been improved from a 6" to 18" range it does allow for some mid-range character sniping now. After accounting for its worse chance to be cast, this only beats Smite against T2 or T1 targets, although it's only slightly worse against T3.
  5. Blood Lance: WC 6. Select a visible enemy model within 18". Draw the shortest possible line between the psyker and the model. Roll a d6 for each model (friend or foe) the line crosses; on a 5+, the model's unit suffers a mortal wound. This can potentially hit a unit multiple times, so it's best used on hordes with lots of models in them.
    • Because it is harder to cast than Smite, you need to draw the line over at least 8 models to probably do at least as well as Smite should have done, although 7 models isn't drastically worse than Smite.
    • Very similar to Fury of the Ancients from the Librarius discipline you also have access to, so here's the difference: Fury automatically deals 1 mw per unit, while this one is 1/3 per model. That means as soon as this power crosses over at least four models from the same unit, that unit will take more mortal wounds, on average, than it would from Fury. It also means that if all you care about is mortal wounds total, Blood Lance needs to touch 3 times as many models as Fury would hit units to break even, plus one to do better. This means Blood Lance is much better against one unit of many models (i.e. a horde) than Fury, while Fury is much better against many units of one (or very few) models each (i.e. character spam where all the characters are in a conga line for some reason). The other difference is how you draw the line: Fury lets the caster draw any line you like, while Blood Lance requires the line to be shortest possible, making it potentially harder to get the line you want unless you were very careful back in the movement phase.
  6. Wings of Sanguinius: WC 6. Praise the Angel, it's back! The psyker can immediately move or fall back as if it were your movement phase, but his Move characteristic is 12" and he gains the fly keyword for this phase.
    • Combining this with a jump pack or terminator (or drop pod - looking at you, librarian dreadnought) librarian will allow you to deep strike in, then move within 3" of the opponent for an inferno pistol shot, then charge with no chance to fail. Pay attention to which is actually better: Quickening will, on average, add 2 attacks if you succeed, which amounts to 1 4/9 attacks, while Smite will deal a scooch more than 1.79 mortal wounds, which is pretty much always better, even on a librarian dread. Hence, on the deep strike turn, your best bet will be Wings, then Smite if Wings succeeds, and Quickening if it does not.
    • If you want a frankly amazing combo, take two Librarians: the first will take the Tome of Malcador, letting him know Wings of Sanguinius and Null Zone, while the second will know Veil of Time and Might of Heroes. The second casts those two on the first, which ends up being slightly better than Quickening's effect, then the first casts his two and rips through whatever displeased you at +1 S, +1T, +1A, Always Strikes First, and Ignores Invuln Saves. Since Null Zone also turns off your own invuln saves, don't be the dumbass who does this with a Terminator Librarian.

Relics and Special-Issue Wargear[edit]

  • Gallian's Staff: Force staff with an extra AP that gives its bearer +1 to cast Sanguinary discipline powers; functionally worse than the equivalent relics from Salamanders (+1 to casting and +1 power known) or Imperial Fists (re-roll casts), but it's what you've got. If you're giving a relic to a Librarian, you should strongly consider the Tome of Malcador, as the Sanguinary Discipline has a lot of synergy with Veil of Time and Null Zone from Librarius.
  • Hammer of Baal: Thunder Hammer with an extra AP and without the penalty to hit.
    • Only better than a Master-Crafted Thunder Hammer when both bonuses apply (assuming the target has enough wounds for D4 to matter, of course), and if the wielder can re-roll hit rolls, the Master-Crafted hammer is still better against Sv4+. Technically, the Crimson Fists have a strictly better relic than this - they have the exact same relic, only theirs replaces a Power Fist, so it costs fewer points.
  • Icon of the Angel: Gives all Blood Angels units within 6" re-rolls to their charges. Seriously?! Fuck YES!! And note that unlike most auras, this one isn't limited to affecting Core units, so use your imagination with that. Do your best to always take this Relic.
  • Visage of Death: Melee attacks against the wearer are at -1 to hit, and enemy units within 3" lose their Objective Secured type rules. A character with this and the Rites of War Warlord Trait can wreak some serious havoc.
  • Wrath of Baal: Sanguinary Ancient only. Add +2" to the Move of friendly Blood Angels Jump Pack units within 6” when they make Normal, Advance, or Fall Back moves.
  • Adamantine Mantle: 5+++ FNP. Not that great in an army with widespread access to FnP already, but hey, at least you're not Iron Hands.
  • Artificer Armour: Gives a model a 2+ save and a 5++ invulnerable save. This can allow your characters to survive much more, especially librarians who need to sacrifice a cast to get an invuln. Best put on a model with a decent amount of wounds but no invuln, such as Primaris Librarians and Lieutenants of all stripes.
  • Digital Weapons: When you fight, you make 1 extra attack using the “close combat weapon profile” and if you hit, you score a mortal wound. Completely worthless on everything in your army, skip this.
  • Master-Crafted Weapon: Give a weapon +1D, and it’s considered to be a Chapter Relic. The gold standard by which all melee relics are judged, because a master-crafted thunder hammer is fucking awesome.
  • Quake Bolts: The Blood Angels special bolter ammo. Give this to someone and you can choose to shoot one of these bolts instead when firing a bolt weapon. When you shoot with these, make only one attack, but if you hit, the target is “felled” until the end of the turn and the attack continues. When you attack a felled unit in melee, add 1 to the hit roll.
    • Good to amplify the damage dealt by your melee units, especially if said units bring hammers or fists. The higher your chances to hit the better, so slapping it on a character with nice BS or access to re-rolls makes it do more work. Notice you can only make 1 attack per shooting phase with these, so you won't get better result by slapping them on a character with a storm bolter.
    • Did you know that bolt pistols are the greatest pistols? These unique rounds are proof. On a captain these will help you get another 1 or 2 hits with a power fist.
      • Alternatively, if you like Intercessors with Stalker bolt rifles, the range of those weapons lets a sergeant with these bolts support whichever combat looks like it will need it the most.
        • If you really want the Quake Bolt to probably land, the best person to make it happen is a Devastator Sergeant Drop Podding in with 4 Heavy Flamers, since he'll be BS2+ and can Cherub to shoot the Quake Bolt twice (and if you give him the ability to re-roll 1s to hit, odds are crazy good both shots will land). Or, if you're enamored with the above idea of a long range sergeant putting the bolt where it's needed without moving, an Eliminator Sergeant is not only BS2+, he can ignore Look Out, Sir if you need this applied to a Character, and if necessary he can cancel out a -1 to hit penalty.
  • Archangel's Shard: Replaces a standard or master-crafted power sword with S+2 AP-4 D2, which is 1 better S and AP than the MC sword (which itself is 1 better D than the normal sword). Against Chaos units D goes up to 3, and against Chaos Monster units the damage is a mighty 4! D4 with no accuracy penalty is tasty for you, but it doesn't come up often enough to warrant this choice over something better, namely The Burning Blade all Space Marines can take.
  • Fleshrender Grenades: Replaces frag grenades with some that are type Grenade d3 S5 AP-3 D2 Blast, Ignores Light Cover. These are reliably better than krak grenades against anything you'd throw krak grenades at, but there are plenty of targets where you'd rather you still had your frag grenades. You probably don't want this relic.
  • Gleaming Pinions: Replaces a jump pack. The bearer can charge in a turn in which he fell back, and gets to re-roll charge rolls. This allows you to reactivate all of your charge bonuses, allowing Smash Captains to keep swinging at full potential each turn, and makes sure you don't end up tarpitted. This is great because such a Captain can receive 3 or possibly more attacks on the charge depending on how you build them. Not as useful as the Icon of the Angel in general, but can be good for making a smashfucker.
  • The Crimson Plate: Terminator model only. The wearer gets +1" M, can charge after advancing, and can make pile in and consolidation moves up to 4" away.
    • If you were going to take a Terminator Chaplain anyway, this will help them keep up with what they're praying for, but why were you going to do that? Anything else in terminator armor wants to deep strike, not footslog, so you'd probably prefer a jump pack and gleaming pinions.
  • Severer: Replaces an Astartes chainsword with a master-crafted/omnissian power axe (S+2 AP-2 D2, no extra attacks). Any unmodified wound roll of 5+ also inflicts an extra mortal wound.
    • This is deceptively bad because of how your chapter tactics work - with an S6 weapon, you'll never wound on worse than 4+ (so the ability to hurt anything on a 5+ won't come up), and on a 6+ to wound, you already have improved AP, so the extra wound being mortal isn't quite as useful. It's generally better than the chainsword it replaces, of course - the extra mortal wound on 5+ to wound means as soon as you have A4 or better, you're doing better than the base chainsword against anything in the game - but it can't compare to a master-crafted thunder hammer.

Special Units[edit]

  • Librarian Dreadnought: Our super special dreadnoughts have definitely seen an improvement. He was mostly spared from the 9th edition point increases and is at 150 points for storm bolter, or 155 with meltagun or heavy flamer. His stats are the same as every other Furioso dreadnought, barring the character keyword (and the lack of core), making him hard to shoot, since he has W8 like your other basic dreads. His force halberd has had a change, giving you an extra S8 attack with d3+3 damage on top of his Furioso fist. Has the same psyker stats as your other unnamed librarians, even the psychic hood, except that he's locked into Sanguinary powers, and can't take Librarius ones. Sadly, can't drop his smoke launchers for a magna grapple, no matter how entertaining it would be. This model can be your warlord (and a Chief Librarian, if you want), and Gift of Foresight will help make the most of his force halberd, although the Chief Librarian Warlord Trait for +1 to all casting will probably serve you even better. Regardless, though, much like Slamguinius, Smashnought will pulverize literally anything without an invuln save; it all depends on whether you want to dish out 6-8 wounds or 12 or more. Finally, remember returning fire - once the dread hacks apart its first victim, it's a safe bet to assume some big guns are going to wind up pointing in his direction, and he will likely be out of his character bubble. When equipped with a meltagun, this guy becomes a brutally effective monster hunter. Consider: smite and wings in the psychic phase, melta in the shooting phase in melta range, then charge and finish off what's left with punchy/stabby attacks. This guy is one of your prime candidates for Quickening + Wings of Sanguinius, giving you a net movement speed of 18", then a re-rollable charge with the Blood Angel +1" boost, then getting into melee with great combat weapons for typically 6 attacks; the only other Librarian you can field with a melee weapon on par with that Force Halberd is Mephiston. However, with no invulnerable save and T7, he probably can't take too much of a beating if he doesn't finish his target, although Duty Eternal is of some help with that.
  • Sanguinary Priest: An Apothecary in the HQ spot, rather than Elite. Rather reworked in 9th edition, and will perform differently with certain units. Compared to a normal Apothecary, he has 1 better WS and Ld, at 2+ and 9, respectively. Has the same wargear, except he has the option to take a Jump Pack. In terms of abilities, he trades Command Squad (the ability Apothecaries have to avoid taking up a slot if you have a Command Squad in the detachment) for Blood Chalice, a Command Phase ability targeting a single friendly non-Vehicle Core or Character Blood Angels unit within 6" that forces them to be in the Assault Doctrine whenever they attack, regardless of the actual Doctrine present. It's close to impossible to make this useful turn 1, since you can't use it after deep striking or disembarking, so you should consider it as primarily a way to start kicking serious ass turn 2 instead of waiting until turn 3. Because he does have the Apothecary keyword, he can be a Chief Apothecary to boot (useful if he's near two units that each have an injured model). He currently runs you 15 more points than a real Apothecary, at 90 rather than 75.
    • Jump Pack: 12" movement, JUMP PACK, and FLY, and Death from Above, for 30 more points, sadly. Pairs well with Sanguinary Guard, Vanguard Vets, Death Company, etc - he can't deep strike and chalice, but he does have a pressing need to keep up with your melee dudes, and he doesn't dare ride a transport, as that will also shut down his Chalice, so you basically have to consider the pack mandatory, and him as a 120 point model.
    • Sanguinary Priest on Bike (Legends): 14" movement, +1 T and W, and ability to Turbo-boost (and a compulsory Storm Bolter) compared to normal priest - as well as becoming a BIKER - for 25 more points. Sanguinary Priests, both regular and biker varieties, work amazingly with units armed with Power Swords. S5 AP-3 is a nasty profile that can put wounds on most things reliably, particularly since you will reliably have the Red Thirst up - you'll wound T4 or less on 2s!
Special Characters[edit]
  • Master of Sanctity Astorath: Master of Sanctity with Jump pack, with 1 better Sv (2+), A (4), W (5), and hilariously BS (2+) for shooting his bolt pistol and grenades. His axe is now S+2 AP-3 D3. He has the basic Chaplain aura and an additional one that makes death company auto-pass morale tests. He knows Litany of Hate plus any two Litanies, and can cast any two, like any other Master of Sanctity, but he also knows the Mass of Doom Litany, which is radically different from previous editions. If it's inspiring, select a Blood Angel Core or Blood Angel Character (excluding vehicles) within 6" of him. No matter what happens, it gets +1 to melee hit rolls. Roll 1D6. On a 1, a model in that unit is destroyed (which is why you should never actually use this on a character). On a 2-5, nothing else happens. On a 6, the unit also gains a 4++ invuln until your next command phase. The reason to choose this over Litany of Hate (which would otherwise be much better) is that you sling it onto the unit and let it charge off, rather than needing to keep up to maintain the bubble, so Astorath's other two Litanies should always be Canticle of Hate (if the +1 to charge rolls, since the +2 overlaps with your Chapter Tactic, is critical, which it probably is, since your target is going to run away where Litany of Hate can't reach it... and since your target will likely die, that +3 to consolidate can be clutch) and Exhortation of Rage. Odds are basically 0 you'll want the Mass of Doom and Exhortation of Rage on the same unit, but you can't pray the same Litany twice. Note that Mass of Doom is functionally the same ability as your Sanguinary Ancients have, only worse, since it can fail and it can kill (although the chance for a 4++ isn't awful), although they do stack.
    • Unfortunately, Mass of Doom's risk is better on larger, cheaper units, but its benefit is best if you're BS4+, which means your models are expensive. There's no perfect solution, but you can hedge your bets by keeping a Sanguinary Priest (with Jump Pack) nearby - Mass of Doom happens before Movement, so he'll need to keep up with target unit, but with him on tap, you can Combat Revival strat the poor sucker Astorath killed at the end of Movement. If you don't care about his blood chalice, you can even deep strike him in for the revival.
    • Astorath can be overshadowed by Lemartes' ability to re-roll charges, but at least there are several ways to get charge re-rolls - that Sanguinary Priest you were just told to have on hand can be carrying the Icon of the Angel, for example.
    • Unfortunately, Litanies need to be used in your command phase, but the deep strike happens at the end of the movement phase, so you can't use it on a unit that is deep striking this turn, nor can you use it while deep striking Astorath himself. However, there is a stratagem which can get around this restriction in Codex: Space Marines called Commanding Oratory; its only flaw is that you can't use it unless Astoratch hasn't already prayed, so if he's already on the table, you can't prep Canticle of Hate, then let the Mass of Doom target Deep Strike in, then Mass of Doom them with the strat.
  • Chief Apothecary Brother Corbulo: Corbulo is a Chief Apothecary/Sanguinary Priest. 25 points buys you +1A (4), +1W (5), hilariously +1BS (2+) for shooting his bolt pistol and grenades, and a weirdly nerfed sword - he goes from a standard SP's SU AP-1 D1 A+1 chainsword to S+1 AP-2 D1, but since he has +1A baked into his statline, his melee sees an overall buff. He really is a Chief Apothecary, able to heal twice, which is theoretically where 15 of those 25 points went. His chalice is both better and worse than a normal one, as his is a bubble - meaning he can deep strike/disembark and it'll work just fine, but he has to be within 6" of the unit at combat time instead of being able to slap the unit and send it packing. The reason this is a problem is that he has no jump pack or option to take one, and his mandatory Warlord Trait is absurdly shitty on him (re-roll one hit, wound, and save per turn on a pure support dude is quite awful), and as a Character you can't give him a relic, so it can be mighty challenging making him work. Also, his aura is mandatory, so if you leave him next to something that's actually enjoying the Devastator or Tactical Doctrines, he'll tell you to go fuck yourself.
  • Captain Tycho: Tycho changed a bit with the codex. Like usual, he is a captain with a master-crafted boltgun like other captains, but it has a meltagun strapped to it, and he has a 2+ save and doesn't like orks, gaining +1S and +1D against them. He also has an incredibly terrible melee weapon, Dead Man's Hand: S User AP-3 D1, which is a -1S power sword.
    • Actually building him from a stock Captain can't be done, but he's functionally a foot-slogging Captain who got to keep his master-crafted bolter when he bought a combimelta, with a storm shield and an... ok melee weapon, all for less than an actual SS/Combi-Melta Captain would cost. But why would you ever do that and not give the model a jump pack? Don't field Tycho.
    • Tycho the Lost: Edgy Tycho now doesn't help his friends. His re-roll aura no longer works for any non-DC units, but gains the Black Rage for a 6+++ and +1A on the charge, and he also gains Death Visions like all DC Captains, and he drops another 25 points in cost - but why would you do that? If your goal is paying HQ taxes cheaply, you can take a Sanguinary Priest for 1 point less, a Techmarine for 8 points less, or a Lieutenant for 10 points less, all of whom provide actual utility - and the Black Rage doesn't really impress on a model carrying a weapon that shabby. Don't field Tycho.
  • Chief Librarian Mephiston: The only named Primaris character for BAs, Mephiston is similar to last edition, with a bullshit statline of M7" WS2+ BS2+ S5 T5 W6 A5 Ld9 Sv2+/5+++. On top of that, his melee weapon is a Dd3 Power Fist with no to-hit penalty, meaning, since he hits at S10 and has +1 to wound from your Chapter Tactic, he hits and wounds just about everything in the game on a 2+; that BS2+ is for his Plasma Pistol, which you'll never overcharge, and his grenades. He has the standard Chief Librarian ability set of Cast 2 Deny 2 Know 3+Smite and +1 to Deny within 12", but he's locked to the Sanguinary discipline and can't be given any relics, so he's actually a worse Psyker than if you build a Chief Librarian yourself from a generic librarian - plus, he's locked into the WL trait for Always Strike First, so he can't take the Chief Librarian +1 to cast. Knowing 3 Sanguinary powers is awkward, since they're in three sets of 2 (2 worse-than-Smites, 2 self-only buffs, and 2 buffs you want on something else), so what makes the most sense is either all three buffs he can legally cast on himself (Quickening, Wings, and Shield) if you just want a melee beatstick or the two he can cast on others paired with the better of the two self buffs for getting himself into position to cast (Wings, Shield, and Unleash Rage). In either case he's in direct competition with simply making yourself a Chief Librarian Dreadnought, and he'll generally come up lacking.
  • Chapter Master Commander Dante: Despite being the "I'm too old for this shit" character, Dante is still a beatstick. Coming in with the classic wargear of The Axe Mortalis (a relic blade), an Inferno Pistol, a Storm Shield, and a jump pack, Dante hasn't really changed much, but does have W6 and A6. A lucky lascannon can still kill him, but he is a whole bunch tougher against small or even medium arms fire. Dante loses out on his cool tactical and jump pack warlord rules and now has the standard Chapter Master re-roll command option, which is... alright, and retains Rites of Battle, both of which gain range due to his Warlord trait. Since he's the fucking big cheese #1 space marine of all the Imperium, he can perform a single Epic Deed stratagem free of charge per battle, and gains an additional CP if he is your warlord. Further, his Death Mask of Sanguinius is so terrifying, every attack roll against this model is reduced by 1, not just melee swings.
    • He'll pay you a CP to be your Warlord, but he's locked into the WL trait that makes his Captain and Chapter Master abilities 3" longer, and you can't give him a second Warlord Trait, so consider carefully.
  • Chaplain Lemartes: A jump chaplain with +1A (4) and -1AP on his Crozius (-2). He has the Black Rage, but curiously not Death Visions. He has a 6" aura letting DC BA Core and Characters re-roll charges, and his standard chaplain aura works on BA DC instead of BA Core (meaning he can give his Ld9 to your DC Lieutenant, if that's helpful somehow). His litanies are nerfed to only work on DC in addition to any other restrictions they have. Like a Master of Sanctity, he knows and can recite two litanies in addition to Litany of Hate, but he has the DC keyword, not Master of Sanctity. Mostly, he's not as useful as making your own Jump Master of Sanctity with the Icon of the Angel, but he can be taken in addition to the relic (and, in fact, in addition to a Master of Sanctity!), and having the black rage on him makes him entertaining in melee. Since his re-roll charges aura works on himself, his biggest flaw is not carrying a power fist, as he's a poster boy for the three litanies that rely on him charging into melee to be useful (Litany of Hate for re-rolling misses, but he's WS2+; Litany of Faith for 5+++ vs Mortals, but he has Black Rage for 6+++ already, and so do his charges; and Mantra of Strength for +1 S, A, and D, but as mentioned, he's not carrying a Power Fist to double the S benefit and give him a hit penalty for Hate to fix). Still, Litany of Hate is great for Thunder Hammer Death Company, and neither of the other two are useless on him. Since when you DS you need to use the Commanding Oratory strat to get a Litany out, usually your best choice will be Litany of Hate for buffing BS4+ DC. That's his best trick, since a DC Captain with Icon of the Angel only provides re-rolling of 1s to hit, and a non-DC Chapter Master has no strat for getting his ability out when he DSes.
  • The Sanguinor: Our special snowflake is now a very pointy snowflake. Similar to Dante for 25 points less, with -1 wound and attack, but his weapon is AP-4 vs Dante's AP-3 in exchange for only S+2 D2 compared to Dante's S+3 D2 (the extra point of AP is better, of course, since we're talking about S6 vs S7 on someone who already has +1 to wound), and causes an extra mortal wound on an unmodified 6 to wound. He retains his aura of fervour, granting +1 attack to Blood Angels Core and Character units within 6" that doesn't stack with Shock Assault (which is like making Shock Assault always on, only worse if you have an ability that makes Shock Assault grant more than 1 attack, which Blood Angels don't currently have but Space Wolves do, so it might come up in the future), making him a natural fit with Sanguinary Guard/Vanguard Veterans as warlord. He may also fall back from combat and still charge that turn, has a 6" Heroic Intervention range, and is wearing a Death Mask for -1 to be hit in melee. Perhaps his most noticeable ability is that after the enemy successfully charges you he can deep strike directly into melee with them and counts as having heroically intervened when he does so, which is a great way to ruin your opponent's day. Don't forget, he's BS2+ with those grenades he's totally carrying in those pockets he totally has... somewhere.
  • Chapter Master Gabriel Seth: Gabriel is a Captain with +1W and +1A and the new Chapter Master ability of selecting one Flesh Tearers Core unit or CHARACTER and allowing them to re-roll all failed hits (which doesn't matter for 2+ models, but is twice as good for 3+ models); his melee weapon is a Thunder Hammer with no inaccuracy penalty, and he carries a Bolt Pistol. His aura also lets Flesh Tearers CORE units within 6” to re-roll 1s. Whirlwind of Gore has been reworked and now states that at the end of the fight phase, if Seth is within engagement range of any enemy units, he may fight again. This pushes his output up to a potential 12 attacks (14 if in assault doctrine, Sup Kharn think your fucking badass??????). Lord of Slaughter has also been reworked. It is now a 6” aura that says CORE Flesh Tearers units who roll 6’s to wound with a melee attack do an additional point of damage. He also received a point increase up to 160. Rip and Tear! No seriously, this guy is very good now. Take him alongside Chainsword armed Vets or Death Company and maximize their D1 attacks like the White Scars. Functionally, Flesh Tearers with Seth now gain more A, better AP, better S, and more D. Every component of an assault weapon is increased.
  • Chapter Master Malakim Phoros (FW Legends): Holy fuck, how did THIS character become the most overwritten entry on this page? Yeeted into Forgeworld Legends, this guy is a 145 point Chapter Master with the usual 4++ Iron Halo, Captain Rites of Battle Aura, and updated Chapter Master ability. His statline is that of a Captains with +1A and +1W. Lord of Ruin rules lets him re-roll any wound roll of 1 and Rage Unto Death lets him fall back and charge. He has a 12" range inferno pistol, and the Glaive of Lamentation: S+3, AP-4, D3, -1 to hit rolls.
    • The Dec 2020 FAQ saw the removal of his Stealth-Armour rule, so he's no longer an angry Raven Guard wannabe. All his rules are for you to Rip and Tear, so cram him into a transport that allows him to do that.
  • Sanguinary Ancient: A single Sanguinary Guard character holding a perfectly standard Chapter Banner (but he isn't a Chapter Ancient, in terms of keywords). Costs 125 points compared to a Chapter Ancient's 95, not that you can take a Blood Angels Chapter Ancient. The extra points buy you a lot; the most important is the jump pack, spiking him to M12 with fly, but you also get +1Ld to 9, which is useless, +1Sv (making him 2+), which is pretty great, and the standard issue Sanguinary Guard abilities of -1 to be hit in melee and +1 to hit while within 6" of a Blood Angels Warlord, both of which are quite nice due to his wargear: he loses access to most of a Chapter Ancient's guns, only able to choose between an inferno pistol, a plasma pistol, and an 18" Assault 2 AP-1 bolter, but the bolter's very points efficient for his primary role of supporting your army, and critically, his melee weapons access, while sharply curtailed as well, happens in addition to his gun, unlike with a normal Ancient: you can take a master-crafted power sword or power axe, or a power fist, as normal for Sanguinary Guard dudes. While he can't apply his banner to himself, his power fist is currently the same cost as his other weapons choices, so especially if you can count on his +1 to hit happening (e.g. if he's your warlord), it can be a very good choice.
  • Sanguinary Guard (CORE): The latest iteration of Sanguinary Guard are 32 points in their cheapest form, which amounts to 128 points stock. They possess W2, A3, Sv2+, and -1 to be hit in melee, and jump packs along with free Angelus Boltguns (18" Assault 2 AP-1 bolters that can be swapped for inferno or plasma pistols for the usual cost, so the bolters are usually better) and access to power fists (which cost 5 points) and master-crafted power swords and axes (which means the fist amounts to paying points to take the sword from WS3+ S5 to WS4+ S8, although their +1 to hit reverse aura can help make the fist a better choice, even though your chapter tactics mean S5 and S8 are closer than they seem). That reverse aura lets them get +1 to hit while within 6" of a Blood Angels Warlord. Thanks to +1A relative to DC, they have the same practical melee output in isolation, with different durability (Sang Guard are Sv2+ -1 to be hit in melee, not Sv3+/6+++); due to the costs involved, they're better than Jump DC if you wanted any of a power sword, a power axe, or a power fist, in any legal combination DC can take with a bolt pistol, inferno pistol, or plasma pistol. Since there's no reason to field bolter DC in the first place, and power mauls are laughably bad on them, the only DC builds with the potential to outperform Sang Guard are Chainsword and Bolt Pistol or Hand Flamer, which can generate more raw attacks per point than Sang Guard can muster, or Thunder Hammer DC, since Sang Guard don't have access to D3 weaponry. Sang Guard can also be fielded in units of size 4 (max 10), which is smaller than most units can be fielded, including DC.
    • Heirs of Azkaellon is the real the game-changer for these guys - +1 to hit while near your Warlord makes them very accurate - combining with Captains and Lieutenants will mean they'll have a near-enough perfect hit and wound rating in melee.
      • If you have the patience to buff them after the drop, because they're core, both a Sanguinary Ancient's +1 to hit in melee and a Chapter Master's full re-roll to hit will work on them (they won't usefully stack, though - 2+ to hit responds to a Captain and a Chapter Master identically).
    • The bolters are often their best ranged choice, because they're free and have better range and rate of fire than the pistol options - as always, Inferno Pistols suffer from needing to be within 6" to shoot (and you can't advance and shoot them), while these models are too expensive for overcharged Plasma, and the safe single shot at S7 AP-3 D1 isn't often much better than two shots at S4 AP-1 D1. Obviously, if you're going to let yourself be stuck in melee, inferno pistols are the way to go, every time.
  • Death Company (CORE): Now blessed with W2, Death Companies function as your high output melee assaulters. 22 (25 w/jump pack) points gets you 4 attacks on the charge and a 6+++ FNP along with the Black Rage keyword, though with LD 7 and now only squads of 5-10. Of their loadout choices, bolter DCs aren't using their Black Rage, Power Sword/Axe/Fist DCs are basically Sang Guard but worse (assuming they take Jump Packs, which they always should - otherwise we have to start comparing them to Company Vets, and that's not a comparison they can win), and Power Mauls are hilariously inefficient with your chapter tactics. That leaves chainsword and bolt pistol or chainsword and hand flamer for spamming more attacks period than Sang Guard can, per point, or Thunder Hammer spam (Sang Guard can't take D3 weapons). The Thunder Hammer and Chainsword builds are in competition with Vanguard Vets; the tl;dr on the Chainsword is that you'll never be as points efficient as Vanguard Vets with Lightning Claws (you'll have better durability, since you have a free Apothecary, but if that's an issue the VV can both pick up a Storm Shield and stand next to a Sanguinary Priest). That leaves the Thunder Hammer, where for 40 points you simply out-swing any VV except for the Sergeant. Because Company Vets can't take Jump Packs, this is your niche: jumping into melee with a hammer and rage. Skip all the other builds; they're traps for the unwary.
  • Death Company Intercessors: Apparently, Primaris Marines can fall to the Black Rage. Thanks a lot, Cawl. This is a squad of Veteran Intercessors with no sergeant and at -1 Ld (i.e. 7). The rules for your equipment are basically an awkward re-wording of that for Veteran Intercessors, since you have no actual sergeant, so instead you can pick one schmuck for sergeant equipment, but several things got lost in translation; your options are listed below. The short version is that you can either take chainswords on everyone or a power fist or thunder hammer on one guy, but not both, so weirdly, DC Intercessors are still pretty committed to their guns.
    • The most obvious choice is heavy bolt pistols and chainswords for everyone, and then up to 2 dudes can swap their heavy bolt pistol for a hand flamer or plasma pistol. However, that's as far as this build goes.
    • You can leave everyone carrying any of the three Intercessor guns (same for the whole unit), with the standard ability to take 1 grenade launcher every 5 dudes (so 2 max). This opens up other possibilities, all on one model.
      • One model can now simply take a chainsword, power sword, power fist, or thunder hammer.
        • Or, it can still take the chainsword or power sword, but give up its rifle for literally no reason, as the rifles are free.
      • It can swap its rifle for a hand flamer or plasma pistol, which is the only way to combine those two pistols with a rifle unit. This can be combined with the melee options as you like, by choosing what order to take the wargear bullet points in carefully.
  • Furioso Dreadnought: This is a completely stock Dreadnought chassis, the basic kind, but with new loadout choices, and for some reason, not core, making it incredibly hard to buff. For starters, you can drop the Smokescreen keyword for a magna-grapple, which means when a Vehicle tries to Fall Back from you, you can roll 2d6, and if you meet or beat its S, it can't Fall Back and must Remain Stationary. Highly entertaining, and recommended. Also, your base loadout is still a DCW with storm bolter or heavy flamer, but your other default arm is a frag cannon, which is a very nerfed Predator Autocannon: 18" Heavy 2d3 S7 AP-1 D2, Blast. Instead of being able to swap it for another gun, all you can do initially is swap it for a second DCW and a meltagun, which gives you +1A, up to A5. The meltagun can turn into a storm bolter or heavy flamer, to match the other arm, but you can't have two meltaguns. If you want to keep committing, you can now swap both DCWs for Blood Talons, which means you drop from AP-3 to AP-2 and from S12 to S10 on your punches, but now you re-roll wounds. Since you generally wound everything on 2+ in melee to begin with, this amounts to losing a point of AP for being 7/6 again as good at wounding (i.e. re-rolling 1s to wound), so the decision is target specific, as you might imagine. This means you're now in direct competition with an Ironclad, who has 1 more T than you do, and if he's committing to melee, re-rolls 1s to hit, which is just as good as re-rolling 1s to wound. That's where the comparison stops working out for you; A5, 6 with SA, 7 during your Doctrine, at worse AP than the Ironclad's, times your damage is 15-18-21, while the Ironclad's worse A4-5-6 with better AP and Damage comes out to 16-20-24, even more against Vehicles. Give this one a miss.
  • Death Company Dreadnought: Your normal Furioso but angry. Already dropped his frag cannon, so 2 fists/talons and black rage on a very durable frame. The 6+++ from Black Rage immediately means you're actually more durable than an Ironclad, and the bonus A means your new A*D is 18-21-24, so thanks to your inferior AP, you're better in melee than the Ironclad except during the Assault Doctrine. However, this isn't Core either, so it's harder to buff than it needs to be, and you may well find it easier to just field an Ironclad so you can buff it properly.
Heavy Support[edit]
  • Baal Predator: You thought Twin-Linked Assault Cannons were good before, now get ready for 12 shots! The dakka loadout of AC and heavy bolters now spits out 18 shots a turn, 12 at S6 AP-1 D1, 6 at S5 AP-1 D2. The flame cannon got buffed and now has a range of 18" on top of S6 AP-2 D2, and now that heavy flamers have a 12" range an all-burny loadout may even be useful, but it has to compete with a Devastator Squad rocking 4 Heavy Flamers and a Combiflamer, not to mention Vanguard Vets with 2 Hand Flamers each and jump packs. Overcharged engines are now turboboost like a biker, but you want to be shooting, so meh.


  • Legendary Suicide Meltas: While it's only legal via Legends, Company Veterans can take Jump Packs. They can also take Combi-Meltas. Deep Strike 2-5 of them and possibly a similarly equipped Lieutenant near an unguarded enemy character or warlord and watch it evaporate instantly. Assuming you took five plus the Lieutenant, you'll deal an average of 8 damage to and thus likely killed your target at the cost of only 260 points, plus you can give them Storm Shields for another 20 points if you want them to survive the opponents return fire.
    • Do note your friends probably won't play Legends with you anymore after you use this tactic.

Iron Hands and Sons of Medusa[edit]

Iron Hands Livery.jpg
In the grim darkness of the far future, the Flesh is Weak.

Thematically, these guys are more machine than man Astartes, having a strong affinity with machines. With calculated Rage, they are unyielding, precise, and show no mercy.
On the tabletop, these guys are one of the most durable chapters for infantry and vehicles and have a strong affinity with heavy weapons and tanks. Makes you feel like Death Guard with everything having Feel no pain, Damage reduction, and vehicle stats take more wounds to degrade, experts at wielding heavy weapons of all types, and as an added bonus Optimizes gunfire and sword swing for both Cyborgs and tanks.
If you like big guns and bigger tanks, the Iron Hands is the Chapter for you.

Special Rules[edit]

  • Chapter Tactics - The Flesh is Weak: 6+++ Feel No Pain: roll a die when a model with this tactic loses a wound; on a 6+ that wound is ignored. This doesn't work with supercharged plasma since that slays models without wounding them(except the ones mounted on vehicles - spam those plasma redemptors). Also, models with a damage table are considered to have double the number of wounds. So not only is Steel Strong, but it's also reliable.
    • Being more difficult to kill is an obvious bonus to your Warlord, but unlike Guilliman, who is classified as a Monster, your <chapter> infantry Captain can be healed by an Apothecary. And then you add the Shield Eternal...yes, it's Smashfucker all over again.
    • Stronger than it first appears, because there is an interaction with units of multiple multi-wound models and weapons that deal more than 1 damage. After failing your save, you are allowed to roll for each lost wound individually. For example, a unit of 2 wound models being attacked by a D2 weapon is approximately 35% more durable. This is because if you save either one of the lost wounds (27.78% chance to resist exactly 1; 30.56% chance to resist at least 1) it takes a whole second shot to even try to kill that model, thanks to damage not spilling over.
      • This improvement is still best on 1-wound model units - the interaction above means it's not as worse on multi-wound as it first appears, and Iron Hands have some kick-ass Primaris units, but the ability is generally more noticeable the fewer wounds the model with it has remaining.
      • While your boost to survivability is around 20% to the RG's 25%, yours isn't situational, and even works in the melee Shock Assault urges you to be.
    • Vehicles also get a noticeable boost from this. Even before you account for the FnP effect, the slower rate of stat loss from damage will keep your tanks and dreads at full effectiveness for much longer than vehicles of other Chapters.
      • The boost's benefit also varies with Wounds, as GW tends to use the same algorithm to build all of your degradation tables. By and large, this reduces the tendency of wounds to be useless - for example, ordinarily going from W13 to W14 is not useful, because the extra wound happens in the middle band of the degradation table, compared to going from W10 to W11, where the extra wound happens in the top band. Under Iron Hands, both wounds show up on top. The effect is particularly noticeable on W11 and W15, and at its absolute worst when Wounds is a power of 2 - your W16 Land Raiders will get the least benefit from this compared to most other things you can field.
  • Combat Doctrine - Calculated Fury: Whilst the Devastator Doctrine is active (First round only), models with this ability do not suffer the penalty for moving and firing Heavy weapons. In addition, when resolving an attack made with a Heavy weapon by a model with this ability, re-roll hit rolls of 1.
    • not the so good as was in early 8th, but still useful start to your game. Your still going to need Captains for after the First turn. The first turn is when everyone is hidden from everyone else, so ignoring the heavy weapon -1 for infantry to move into position is good. With changes of Core, Getting back rerolling 1s to hit on vehicles is strong even though it's during the battle round with the least amount of visible target(benefits most units with Fly or don't care about line of sight).

Crusade Additions[edit]

  • Not an actual Crusade addition, but worth mentioning: One of the Battle Honors a Space Marine infantry unit may receive when it ranks up is the Centurios Service Studs, which allow the unit to disregard whichever Doctrine is active for the rest of the army and just pick one in the Command Phase. This is absolutely nuts on Iron Hands: If you're willing to go hardcore on a Crusade campaign, give this to Eliminators (Who will never miss with BS2+ and rerolling 1s and will murder 2-3 terminators every shooting phase while still being able to move) or Eradicators (Who will be moving and double tapping with their intact BS, giving a world of hurt to whatever you point them at). Hellblasters with heavy plasma incinerators are suddenly a good idea as well, as they basically become 5-men Eliminator squads. Basically any Heavy Support infantry unit you give this to will become something that your enemy cannot afford to ignore.

Secondary Objectives[edit]

  • Cold Fury: - NO MERCY, NO RESPITE: One Victory point for each of the following conditions you meet:
  1. One or more Iron Hands Vehicle (not Aircraft) wholly within the opponent's deployment zone
  2. One or more Iron Hands Vehicle wholly within 6" of the center of the battlefield
  3. One or more enemy units destroyed by a Vehicle's ranged attacks
  4. Same as above, but by Melee
    • A fluffy secondary, with a bit of both killing and board control, but as a result tends to be all over the place. Don't take this as a secondary all on its own, but to give you an additional VP as you score other secondaries. E.G. if you're also taking Behind Enemy Lines, you can at least gain an extra point from this, or gain an extra point when using vehicles to score Bring it Down.


  • Mercy is Weakness (1 CP): Choose after a unit decides to shoot or fight. Select an enemy unit, and until the end of that phase, every Iron Hands model that attacks this unit wounds twice on unmodified wound rolls of 6. Since this is like +1 to wound rolls (only better), this is functionally better than the strats some others have to hit twice on hit rolls of 6, as wounding hard is more difficult than hitting hard.
  • Vengeance for Istvaan V (1 CP): Use in the Fight phase, when choosing an Iron Hands unit to fight. Re-roll hit rolls vs Alpha Legion, Iron Warriors, Night Lords, and Word Bearers.
  • Wrathful Machine Spirit (2 CP): Used in the shooting or fight phase when a vehicle is chosen to shoot or fight; it can re-roll hit rolls for that phase. Went from a no to a yes with the 9th codex, let Iron Hands remember the fun of re-rolling dice on a gun platform.
  • Reject the Flesh, Return to Monke Embrace the Machine (1 CP): Use in any phase when an Iron Hands infantry unit in your army is chosen as a target for an attack. FNP on 5+++. If it's a Warlord with All Flesh is Weakness, he gets a 4+++.
    • Radically better on Successors, as this overlaps with the stock Iron Hands tactic (and with Apothecaries) and can't be used on anything with W10+, meaning it has no synergy with the other half of the stock tactic.
  • Engine Purge (2 CP): Use at the start of your movement phase if the devastator doctrine is active (so, your first movement phase). Until the start of the next battle round, when resolving an attack made with heavy or grenade weapon by an Iron Hands model in your army, an unmodified 6+ to wound increases the AP of that attack by an additional 1 (presumably, this means it stacks with the Doctrine bonus to AP).
  • The Gorgon's Rage (1 CP): Use in the Fight phase, when choosing an Iron Hands unit to fight. Until the end of the phase, that unit adds +1 to melee hit rolls. If the target is emperor's children, enjoy an additional +1 to wound.
  • Optimal Repulsion Doctrines (2 CP): A unit during your opponent's charge phase that's already firing overwatch now enjoys 5+ overwatch. If you're Iron Hands and not a successor, enjoy 4+. If you use this on a unit next to a chapter master then you'll have 3/4 shots hitting in overwatch, brutal - albeit expensive, at 1 CP to fire Overwatch and then 2 to bump up the accuracy.
  • Machine Empathy (1 CP): After a Techmarine heals a vehicle, that model can use that ability again. Remember, our vehicles' wounds count as double for the purposes of their bracket, so even a single repaired wound can bump up a damaged vehicle to a better bracket. While it's inconvenient that it only allows you to repair two different vehicles rather than double heal one, it'd definitely help if you're seeing these tanks/dreads taking a beating.
  • Methodical Firepower (1 CP): If the devastator doctrine isn't active at the start of your movement phase, pick a unit. Now it is for this unit. No need to say how good this is on units with heavy weapons.
  • Souls of Iron (2 CP): Deny on 4+ within 24" of an Iron Hands unit.
  • Mnemonic Auto-Savant (2 CP): If your WL is on the battlefield upon completing a tactical objective, do not discard it. You can use it again in the subsequent round. Nice.
  • March of the Ancients (1 CP): Once per battle, after nominating a warlord, select a single Dreadnought in your army. That Dreadnought gains the Character keyword and adds 1 to its attack and Leadership characteristics. Beware that Dreadnoughts with 10 or more wounds can still be targeted, and Cogitated Martyrdom now doesn't protect vehicles. Still enjoy having a Venerable Dreadnought Rifleman who has the protection of being a character! Or, finally be able to screen that Ironclad Dreadnought as it runs up with the Chainfist, appreciating the extra attack!
    • 9th has also added contemptor dreadnoughts to the list, with the Relic version included.
  • Scions of the Forge (1 CP): Your sergeant gets toys! Yay! Special issue wargear to sergeants (chosen from m-c weapon, digital weapons, Teeth of Mars, and Haywire Bolts).
  • Bequeathed by the Iron Council (1 CP): Iron Hands relics for successors. Yay!!!
  • Paragon of Iron (1 CP): Bonus warlord trait for your non-named character. Must be from the chapter's list. The usual supplement special, but ideal for you, because it lets you put a warlord trait on the character dread you made with March of the Ancients.
  • Cogitated Martyrdom (1 CP): Use at the start of an enemy shooting phase. An Iron Hands infantry unit can intercept attacks before rolling FNP for non-vehicle Iron Hands characters within 3". On a 2+, take a MW on the infantry unit.
    • Enjoy treating Intercessors as drones, especially the heavy ones. Particularly useful as your characters will be high priority targets for your opponent like the new iron father or anyone with the ironstone. Maybe use it for servitors. This lets you shove some poor sod in front of the Sniper-lascannon aiming for your characters.

Warlord Traits[edit]

  1. All Flesh Is Weakness: 5+++ FNP.
    • This is just better than Iron Resolve in general, if that's what you wanted.
  2. The Will of Iron: Can deny a psychic power. If they can already deny, they can deny one more.
  3. Adept of the Omnissiah: Can repair vehicles like a techmarine, but only repair 1 wound. If you can already do this, you repair d3+1 wounds instead.
    • Barring an FAQ entry we don't have yet, you have to choose this or your Master of the Forge ability if you're a Master of the Forge with this Trait, since both replace healing 1d3 with a new rule (i.e. neither one can legally replace the other, only the original), so just don't take this, since it's Master of the Forge but worse (same average result, more variance).
  4. Merciless Logic: The Warlord's unmodified 6 (not 6+) to hit with any attack procs an extra attack with the same weapon, which can't proc this again.
    • Essentially multiplies his attacks by 7/6; a good choice for that Character Dreadnought you brought along.
  5. Student of History: When consolidating, the Warlord can move up to 6", and doesn't need to move towards the nearest enemy. Malkaan Feirros has this as his warlord trait, not that he wants to be in melee.
    • Great on smash captains if you want more mobility rather than hitting things, lets him run from enemy swings, or engage a bubble-wrapped character. Remember, you can Heroically Intervene in, hit some things, then Consolidate back out with this. Also good on Character Dreadnoughts.
  6. Target Protocols: In the shooting phase, pick a friendly Iron Hands unit within 6" of the Warlord. They can re-roll one hit, one wound, and one damage roll that phase.
    • Good for ensuring that forgeworld death titan cannon destroys something while the techmarine babysits it.

Psychic Discipline: Technomancy[edit]

The best spells here are Blessing of the Machine God and Psysteel Armor, in general.

  1. Blessing of the Machine God (WC5) Blessing: Grants +1 to hit for a friendly Iron Hands vehicle unit within 12", like a Techmarine but with more range and working on melee hit rolls in exchange for only having a 5/6 chance to succeed. You need to get at least an 8 on the psychic test to use this on Titanic units, so better take the repairman if you want to buff that Fellblade or Astraeus.
    • Note that this +1 will stack with both a Techmarine's +1 and a Chaplain's, should the need arise (the cap of +1 to hit happens after all additions, so e.g. if you're shooting a target with a -2 to be hit, you can stack all three modifiers to reach +1 to hit), although both of them only buff range and the Chaplain only works on Core/Character.
    • This works on entire units, unlike a Techmarine, and ignores both Core and Character restrictions, unlike a Chaplain. That means you can hit an entire unit of Land Speeders with it, or, if you prefer, an Invictor Warsuit (putting this on something that's about to charge will let you take advantage of getting +1 to hit on both range and melee).
  2. Objuration Mechanicum (WC7) Malediction: If manifested, select one visible enemy unit within 18". When that unit rolls unmodified 1s to shoot, it takes a mortal wound after it finishes the gun in question. Enjoy self-immolating bolter aggressors, Tau fire warriors, and Chaos havocs with miniguns.
    • While the actual output of this weapon depends on the number of shots the target unit makes, and penalties to hit won't affect it (although re-rolling will), one of the big values is forcing your opponent to decide if shooting with the unit is worth the mortal wounds it will suffer. It also has better scaling the more guns the unit uses to make those shots, since a given gun gets all of its shots before any mortal wounds happen, but mortal wounds will happen between guns.
      • Without any relevant buffs, the number of shots the target has to make to suffer at least as much as Smite would have - bearing in mind that this happens after it shoots, not before, as it would with Smite - is 19, so anything with at least that many shots - such as a Leman Russ Punisher, or 5 models within 12" with Storm Bolters, or what have you - will die to this power faster, with, again, the caveat that the mortal wounds won't happen until after each gun fires.
    • Point at plasma wielding squads for double the fun; now a roll of 1 on an overcharge will both kill the gunner and drop a mortal wound on one of its buddies. If you really want to cheese it, get something to force -1 to hit modifiers on your unfortunate victims and your opponent will just plain give up on shooting with them (it won't help this power hurt them, of course).
    • Naturally, this power won't have any impact on shooting weapons that don't roll to hit, like flamers.
  3. Fury of Medusa (WC6) Witchfire: Select an enemy model within 18". Draw a line 1mm wide between the psyker and target. For every enemy unit the line crosses, including the target model's, roll 1d6, adding 2 for vehicles; the unit takes a mortal wound on a 4 or 5, and 1d3 mortal wounds on a 6.
    • This needs to cross 4 non-vehicle units, 2 vehicle units, or 1 vehicle and 2 non-vehicle, in order to outperform Smite.
    • This is basically Fury of the Ancients, only instead of 6/6 mortal wounds per target, it's 4/6 per non-vehicle and 8/6 per vehicle, with the added major downside of having more variance (i.e. being more swingy). You're better off, if you can, taking a Librarius librarian with that instead.
  4. Psysteel Armour (WC6) Blessing: Select an Iron Hands unit within 12" of the psyker. Add 1 to non-invulnerable saving throws for it.
    • Because this stacks with all other armor save bonuses, this is particularly powerful in combination with the Stealthy successor tactic. To give you an idea of what it looks like at an extreme, this plus light/heavy cover plus a combat/storm shield on a base 2+ unit (such as terminators) takes you from 0+ to -1+, meaning even melta only reduces you to a 3+ save.
  5. Reforge (WC5) Blessing: Heal D3 lost wounds on a vehicle within 3".
    • This turns your Librarian into a much more expensive and much less reliable Techmarine, and you don't even get a range benefit.
  6. Machine Flense (WC6) Witchfire: Select a visible enemy vehicle unit within 18". It takes 1d3 mortal wounds. Then select an enemy unit that was within 6" of that vehicle and visible to it when the power was manifested (meaning the original target need not still be on the table). Roll 1d6 for each mortal wound the original target suffered. On a 3+, the secondary target takes a mortal wound.
    • After the cast, this will on average deal 2 mortal wounds to the target and 4/3 mortal wounds to the secondary target, meaning that this power actually does do more mortal wounds than Smite (1.79 for Smite, 1.44 to the target, 0.96 to the secondary target, 2.41 total mortal wounds dealt by this power, taking cast odds into account), assuming no bonuses to the cast are available. Of course, the power isn't even castable without a vehicle to target - you can't cast this against Tyranids, for example.

Relics & Special-Issue Wargear[edit]

  • Aegis Ferrum: Primaris Model only. +1 Toughness, and the model takes 1 less damage (to a minimum of 1).
  • Axe of Medusa: Replaces a power axe. Gives it +3S, AP-3, and D3. Used to be a weak ass relic blade. Now it's actually an interesting alternative to the Burning Blade. For non-primaris only, primaris haven't earned the right to swing axes yet.
  • Betrayer's Bane: Replaces a Combi-Melta. The Melta part becomes Assault 2. Yay. You will probably never take this.
  • Gorgon's Chain: 4++ Invulnerable Save, and equipped model has -1 to be wounded against ranged attacks.
    • Can't be wounded on anything worse than a 3+. Sadly nerfed from its 7th edition incarnation, but now Smashfucker has a few new toys to play with above such as the Aegis Ferrum or the Iron Stone.
  • Ironstone: At the start of the battle round, select one friendly Iron Hands vehicle unit within 3" of the bearer of this relic. Until the start of the next battle round, when resolving attacks made against that unit, if the bearer is within 3" of that unit, you can reduce any damage suffered by 1 (minimum of 1 and not accumulative).
    • Another method of keeping the damage tables from getting to you never hurts. Give it to a techmarine and the vehicles he sticks near will never die. Sadly this no longer stacks with Duty Eternal.
  • Mindforge: Force Sword, Axe, or Stave. Your force powerfist of choice! Sx2 AP-3 D1d3, essentially a force powerfist. You get the hint that they want you to take non-captain characters?
  • Tempered Helm: Roll 1d6 for every command point spent whenever you use a stratagem. On a 5+, the command point is refunded. Only 1 command point can be refunded in this way per battle round (no limit on stratagems used outside of a battle round, i.e. before the battle begins).
    • Per the September 2019 FAQ, you can't use this to refund command points before the battle begins

The first four relics in the Special Issue Wargear section are copy-pastes for each Supplement, then there's a selection of unique mini-relics.

  • Adamantium Mantle: 5+++ Feel No Pain. You have a Warlord trait that does the same thing. Even with Paragon of Iron to give a different character a 5+++, should the Warlord really be taking relics from the Special Issue wargear section instead of diving for the actual Chapter relics?
  • Artificer Armor: 2+/5++. Excellent on Lieutenants and Librarians who don't get invulnerable saves to start. Or, throw it on a Sergeant with Scion of the Forge.
  • Digital Weapons: Do an additional attack when the model fights. If it hits, the target suffers a mortal wound.
  • Master-crafted Weapon: +1 to the damage characteristic of one of the bearer's weapons, which is then considered a relic. D4 Thunderhammer baby!
  • Automedicae Bionics: Heal 1d3 wounds at the start of the turn. Actually a decent pick!
  • Dataspike: Roll 2 dice and drop the lowest result when healing vehicles. Generally speaking, this will turn 1d3 healing from average 2 to average 2.44, changes the odds of rolling at least 2 from 2/3 to 8/9, and changes the odds of rolling 3 from 3/9 to 5/9, in terms of your ability to repair a target enough to change wound brackets.
  • Haywire Bolts: Affects a bolt weapon. It can only do 1 shot, but when targeting a vehicle, an unmodified wound roll of 4 or 5 does d3 mortal wounds, and a 6 results in a flat 3 mortal wounds, in addition to normal damage. Can be useful for chipping off the last few wounds from a vehicle. You know, in case your Heavy Weapons under the Devastator Doctrine somehow didn't finish the job.
    • The additional damage is both mortal and additive, so the effect is more noticeable on a weapon with poor AP and D to begin with, and it happens on a 4 or 5 even if the shot failed to wound, so also more noticeable on low S, and for obvious reasons, you want to take it on a 1-shot weapon to begin with. Nothing else matters per se, so e.g. it'll have the same impact on a weapon of any range. More noticeable maybe, but no more effective. It's actually most efficient on a single shot weapon as you don't lose any of your initial firepower.
    • Could be interesting on a Primaris Lieutenant with a stalker bolt rifle. Or a sergeant armed with the same if you want to use the stratagem.
  • Teeth of Mars: Replaces a chainsword, SU AP-2 D2 A+1; becomes Sx2 AP-2 D2 A+1 when resolving attacks against vehicles.

Special Units[edit]

  • HQ
    • Malkaan Feirros: The Iron Hands' first named character and is a Primaris Techmarine Master of the Forge. Stat-wise he's like a Gravis Captain with 7 wounds, 5 attacks, a 2+ save, and a 5+ FNP instead of the Chapter's 6+ FNP, and offense-wise his Gorgon's Wrath is an AP-2 D2 Heavy Bolter, and his Harrowhand is a S+3 AP-2 D2 axe. Naturally, you want him for his buffing abilities, as awesome as his punch and durability may be. He gives all Iron Hands INFANTRY units (FAQ) within 6" a 5+ Invulnerable save. He's also a superior techmarine (which should be obvious being the Master of the Forge and whatnot) and repairs a flat 3 wounds to vehicles instead of d3 wounds (or 6W with Machine Empathy strat). He also has a Signum Array that gives a friendly unit within 3" +1 to hit with Ranged weapon at the start of the shooting phase, Practaly BS2+ on marines.
  • HQ
    • Vaylund Cal(Legends): 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. Also makes an excellent anchor for a Dreadnoughts, because he gives both a re-roll bubble, +1 to hit, and can repair vehicles. His price was dropped to 165, making him a clear pick over a tech marine with an upgraded captain. While slightly less flexible, it will save you a few points.
    • if you want to go Dreadnought Crazy, also brings a Cheif Techmarine with March of the ancients Warlord trait, and may also include a lieutenant and Chaplain for cheesy time with friends.


In the month following the release of their codex supplement but before the October FAQ nerf, the Iron Hands enjoyed an unprecedented level of popularity and brokenness. An article on Warhammer site Goonhammer reported a winrate of 71% overall in 234 qualifying games, far higher than any other faction had enjoyed since the launch of 8th edition. This helps to explain why, on October 17 of 2019, an initial, rather anemic FAQ was amended within hours to include a number of changes to try and get ahead of the situation. As a result of these nerfs, the tactical situational for the Iron Hands is in something of a transitional state. It remains to be seen if the changes will have their intended effect. In the mean time, here is a brief list of several of the most popular units from before the nerfs.

  • Iron Rain - Turn 1 drop pods + Devastator Doctrine means no move penalties and re-roll 1s on your within-12" Multimeltas. It is only the most logical course of action. Go on, remind them about the Drop-site Massacre.
  • Stormhawk interceptors, Stormtalon Gunships, and Stormraven Gunships: A popular choice on several competitive lists. All three flyers pair well with the Iron Hands Chapter tactics, and units like the Stormhawk and stormtalon, which have heavy weapons but not power of the machine spirit, benefit greatly from both the Devastator doctrine and the chapter doctrine.
  • Thunderfire Cannons: Another popular competitive choice and almost an auto-take in an Iron Hands army thanks to the interaction between Devastator doctrine and the Chapter doctrine.
  • Repulsor Executioners: Initially broken as fuck due to the interaction between Feirros and the Ironstone. Now far less so thanks to the nerfs to both units, but still solid for all the expected reasons.

Ultramarines, Emperor's Spears, Silver Templars, Tome Keepers, and others[edit]

This includes the following successor chapters which were left out of the subsection title for brevity:

And some non-successor chapters which Forge World recommends treating as Ultramarines successors for rules purposes:


In the grim darkness of the far future, courage and honor will yet win the day.

First among equals, the Ultramarines set the standard for everyone else, and are paragons of strategy. Appropriate, since their Primarch wrote the Codex Astartes.

On the tabletop, their tactical flexibility is represented by them having a special named character for everything and abilities to change the current Combat Doctrine. From being able to form a moving gunline that isn't hard countered by melee, or fighting like a collection of champions, the Ultramarines have an answer for every situation. Where the first casualty of any battle is the plan of attack, Ultramarine tactics are shielded by their inability to be tied up or tarpitted, and they can get extra CP to circumvent Space Marine's trademark thirst for CP.

If you want your marines to always fight on your terms, then march for Macragge and you shall know no fear.

Silver Templars Armorial.png

In the grim darkness of the far future, focus and fury shall bring down all foes.

Thematically, they are the poster boys of Primaris-only chapters, the Silver Templars value martial prowess, fighting through the enemy so their champions can engage the enemy leaders. Naturally they are an UM successor despite being, you know, Templars.

On the tabletop, by doubling down on the knightly themes, the Silver Templars show how a successor chapter isn't required to be the same thing as their primogenitor just with another color (just like other, darker templars). They accomplish this with rules that promote comitting to a direct fight instead of using feints to fall back from it, bringing down infantry and fighting with increased tactical precision.

If you want marines that battle their way to the enemy's leadership with covering firepower, then fight with focus and fury, and show the galaxy why Primaris marines are humanity's greatest hope.

Emperor's Spears Livery.jpg

In the grim darkness of the far future, you must redden the earth to achieve victory.

Thematically, they were brought to the forefront in ADB's novel Spear of the Emperor, these chaps are the Celts to the Ultramarine's Romans, placing value in druidic and tribal traditions with runic heraldry and pelts to match.

On the tabletop, they reflect the "barbarism" that was portrayed onto the Celts by the Romans, having rules that emphasize bonuses in the fight phase and ways to get stuck in faster, likewise they have some rules that also show their more nature entuned beliefs.

If you want marines that can get to the fight soon and support their brothers in the thick of it, then its time to skovakarah uhl zarûn!

In the grim darkness of the far future, there is one last line to protect the gate.

Introduced in Warzone Nachmund, the Castellans of the Rift are an Ultima Founding chapter tasked with defending the Nachmund Gauntlet against the forces of Chaos, establishing outposts across the sector. While their mettle was tasted during the War of Beasts, Abaddon's return trip proves that they will require everything on hand in order to protect their territory.

On the tabletop, the Castellans are a little tankier and a little more aggressive compared to most marines.

If you want to field Marines that won't crack under pressure while remaining tactically flexible, then the Castellans of the shall hold.

Special Rules[edit]

  • Ultramarines Chapter Tactics - Codex Discipline: +1 to their Leadership characteristic (making 4-man units immune to morale, as well as 5-man if they were made of veterans (anything with a base Ld9 sergeant) or receiving Ld9 from something like an Ancient or Chaplain). They can also fall back and still shoot, with a -1 modifier to hit.
    • Falling back's main purpose is to give the rest of your army a clear shot. Now, nobody can tarpit you. Plus, close-range weapons get easier to use: anything with a flamer will be able to use it with impunity, since it isn't affected by the -1 to hit anyway - get close, fire, charge/be charged and trigger Shock Assault, fall back, and flame again. It also gives your vehicles more flexibility, as they are no longer required to shoot only at the squad they're in melee with; better to shoot your Blast guns at -1BS than not at all.
      • Infantry with Heavy Weapons take a -1 to hit penalty if they move anyway, and the penalties won't stack, so this is also a relatively straight upgrade for them. After considering how your Combat Doctrine works, you should be strongly contemplating infantry with multi-meltas, since you won't care much about not getting the on-doctrine AP bonus - during the Tactical Doctrine, you can move and shoot without penalty, and before and after that, moving and shooting has a penalty, but falling back has no additional penalty.
    • The bonus to Leadership is just bad, and not even the best Successor tactic for making your units braver - don't interpret it like the Dark Angels do (they have the better Successor Tactic for morale) and take it as permission to stop fielding your units MSU. Do take it as a slight disincentive against Chaplains, Ancients, and other support that offers Ld buffs, as you'll benefit from them less than other chapters.
  • Silver Templars Chapter Tactics - The Bond Martial: Your models' melee attacks auto-Wound Infantry and Biker units on unmodified To-Hit rolls of 6, and each of your units can re-roll a single To-Hit roll in each Shooting and Fight Phase.
    • These are the standard-issue Duellists and Master Artisans Successor Tactics, so you can check the tactics section on those for advice.
  • Tome Keepers Chapter Tactics: Re-roll hit rolls of 1 with bolt weapons and automatically pass Combat Attrition Tests.
    • These are the standard-issue Bolter Fusillades and Indomitable Successor Tactics, so you can check the tactics section on those for advice.
  • Emperor's Spears Chapter Tactics - Redden The Earth: +1" to advance and charge distances, and unmodified hit rolls of 6 with melee weapons while Shock Assault is active counts as two hits.
    • These are the standard-issue Hungry for Battle and Whirlwind of Rage Successor Tactics, so you can check the tactics section on those for advice. Note that these are the best two Successor Tactics for melee.

This Chapter is a Primaris-only chapter and this must take Primaris units as well as their vehicles.

  • Castellans of the Rift Chapter Tactics - Unyielding Resistance: +1 to hit after charging and your marines cannot be wounded on anything better than 3+, giving you a bit of a buffer against heavy weaponry.
  • Combat Doctrine - Scions of Gulliman: During the Tactical Doctrine, models can move and count as stationary as long as they didn't also fall back or advance during that movement phase. Not only does this mean Relentless infantry (in this respect, you basically have the Iron Hands doctrine but worse), but it also means you always get bolter discipline during turns 2-3, until you reach the Assault Doctrine, where you'll be in close range anyway.
    • Since you can't Advance and use this, the only general benefits are on Heavy weapons and Rapid Fire Bolt weapons.
    • This has no synergy at all with Ultramarines tactics (since it can't be combined with falling back), so ignoring other concerns, like relics, you're better off making a successor chapter. The most directly synergistic choices are Bolter Fusillades and Long-range Marksmen. If you stick with stock, Devastator Squads with 4 Multi-meltas and a Storm Bolter are strongly encouraged by this, as they gain so much from being allowed to move and shoot as if stationary.

Specialist Detachment - Victrix Guard[edit]

  • Captains of all flavours, ancients (all flavours), Honour guards, victrix honour guards, vanguard vets & sternguard vets (including Tyrannic War Veterans) gain the VICTRIX GUARD keyword.
    • This is a melee formation; Sternguard were included only because their serge looks cool next to Calgar. Note that only ULTRAMARINES can take this, and not any of their Successors.
    • Consider a basic Vanguard Detachment of Captain w/ lightning claws and the Imperium's Sword Warlord Trait, Ancient, and two basic Vanguard Veteran Squads w/ lightning claw Sergeants. This will give you 12 bolt pistol attacks, 12 lightning claw attacks, and 27 chainsword attacks, with the melee attacks upped to 15 and 36 respectively if the Ancient is given the Relic Banner. All for just over 300 points. If you need a transport, a Land Raider Redeemer works, though it almost doubles the cost.
  • Fight Like Demigods (1CP): At the start of the Fight phase, pick a VICTRIX GUARD unit within 6" of a VICTRIX GUARD CAPTAIN. That unit's attacks get +1 to hit until the end of the phase.
    • Great with unwieldy Thunder Hammers and Power Fists, as they will remain WS3+ whilst enjoying the Captain's rerolls (instead of becoming coin-flip WS4+ and needing a Chaplain). Even with regular power weapons, becoming WS2+ for a single CP (that you can regain) is a good deal.
  • Strike First, for Ultramar! (3CP): At the end of the opponent's Charge phase, pick a VICTRIX GUARD unit that was charged or made a Heroic Intervention. They get to pile in and fight right away as if it was the Fight phase AND can fight normally in the actual Fight phase as well.
    • The BEST melee stratagem of them all. Now nothing at all can prevent the chosen unit from fighting, as it attacks even before those units with the "fights first" ability, and even before the enemy can use 'Counter-Offensive'. It's a Counter Offensive Counter Offensive that lets you fight twice, and that'd usually cost 2+3 CP, but the poster boys just have to be better than you.

Warlord Trait

  • Warden of Ultramar: Once per battle, in the Fight phase, you can re-roll wound rolls for attacks made by friendly VICTRIX GUARD units within 6" of this Warlord. Useful if you didn't bring or, more commonly, couldn't AFFORD to bring a Lieutenant along. Useless on Twin Claw Vanguards, however, power sword vets become very dangerous.

Crusade Additions[edit]

Secondary Objectives[edit]


Bland but reliable, Ultramarine stratagems are Tau-like in that they're focused towards shooting, teamwork, and avoiding melee. Guess it's an Eastern Fringe thing.

  • Martial Precision (1 CP): Use this stratagem before resolving an attack made by an Ultramarines model from your army in your shooting phase, do not make a hit roll, it automatically scores a hit. Note that it only applies to a single attack made by any weapon, so don't go thinking that you can have a Captain automatically hit with all of his Thunder Hammer strikes. Use this against Eldar and other opponents who stack ridiculous amounts of -1 to hit. Can be good with a Las Fusil eliminator to make sure that one 3D shot really lands.
  • Vengeance for Calth (1 CP): Use when an Ultramarines unit from your army is chosen to fight in the Fight phase. Until the end of the phase, when resolving an attack made with a melee weapon in that unit against a Word Bearers unit, you can reroll the hit and wound roll. Potent, if you can find one of the three people playing Word Bearers that is.
  • Sons of Guilliman (1 CP): Use this stratagem when an Ultramarines Infantry or Ultramarines Biker from your army is chosen for the Shooting or Fighting phase. If that unit has a Troops Battlefield Role, until the end of the phase, when resolving an attack made by that unit, you can reroll a hit roll. Otherwise, until the end of that phase, when resolving an attack made by that unit, you can reroll a hit roll of 1.
  • Avenge the Fallen (1 CP): Use this stratagem when an Ultramarines unit from your army is destroyed by an attack made by an enemy unit. Until the end of the battle, when resolving an attack made by an Ultramarines unit from your army against that enemy unit, re-roll hit rolls of 1.
  • Courage and Honour! (1 CP): At the start of the Morale phase, add 1 to the Leadership characteristic of Ultramarines models from your army until the end of the phase.
    • May mean the difference between losing an expensive model and keeping it around. More efficient when used on Chaplain.
  • Tactical Expertise (2 CP, Single Use): Can be used at the start of any movement phase when the Tactical Doctrine is active; all Ultramarines whose Rapid Fire or Assault weapon makes an unmodified wound roll of 6 before the next battle round has the attack's AP improved by an additional 1 (e.g. AP0 becomes AP-1 from the doctrine bonus becomes AP-2 if it rolls a 6, due to the stratagem stacking with the doctrine bonus, per the word "additional"). Usually an extreme waste of CP.
  • Inspiring Command (1 CP): Use at the start of the Shooting or Fight phase. Select one Ultramarines Chapter Master, Ultramarines Captain, or Ultramarines Lieutenant model from your army. Until the end of that phase, the range of that model's aura abilities is increased by 3" (max 9").
  • Cycle of War (1 CP): Use this stratagem at the start of the battle round if an Ultramarines Warlord from your army is on the battlefield and the Assault Doctrine was active during the previous battle round. The current active doctrine is changed so that the Devastator Doctrine is now active. When there's nobody left in assault range, pop this, move up your heavy weapons and perhaps pop a grenade or two - and more importantly, get a second chance to switch to the Tactical Doctrine. If the game is going to last at least six turns, that is. Essentially single-use, probably not worth it now that games are five turns exactly (though it may still find use if you want to hit Assault in turn three, then pop back to Devastator the turn afterwards).
  • Rapid Deployment (2 CP): Used at the start of the battle round before the first turn begins, select up to three Ultramarines from your army on the battlefield. Remove them from the battlefield and set them up again as described in the Deployment section of the mission (if both players can do this, roll-off to see who redeploys first).
    • Can be combined with the Lord of Deceit Vanguard Warlord Trait and redeploy your entire army. No need to go that far, but having a second chance at deployment after your enemy already committed to it can disrupt their plans even before the game begins.
  • Fall Back and Re-Engage (1/2 CP): Use this stratagem when an Ultramarines unit from your army falls back. That unit can shoot and charge this turn. If that unit actually has the Codex Discipline Chapter Tactic (it could be a successor), the hit roll penalty for falling back and shooting does not apply for that unit this turn, and this strat only costs 1CP instead of 2.
  • Defensive Focus (2 CP): Use this stratagem if an Ultramarines unit from your army is chosen as a target of a charge. Select up to three Ultramarines units that are more than 1" away from any enemy units and within 6" of the targeted unit. The selected units fire Overwatch at the charging unit as if they were targets of the charge. For the Greater Macragge!
    • Something something Eliminator sergeants with Instigator carbines moving after shooting Overwatch. The complete opposite would be to use this near a 'Nobility Made Manifest' Warlord to further reinforce the immune response effect. In which case, something something Aggressor double Overwatch. Notice how deadly it is to charge an Ultramarines gunline?
  • Squad Doctrine (1 CP): Use this stratagem at the start of your Movement Phase; select an Ultramarines Infantry or Ultramarines Biker unit from your army, and then select the Devastator, Tactical, or Assault Doctrine. Until the start of your next Movement phase, that unit gains the bonus of that combat doctrine instead.
  • Tactical Insight (2 CP, Single Use): Use this stratagem after generating your Tactical Objectives. If your Ultramarines Warlord from your army is on the battlefield. Immediately discard your Tactical Objectives and generate new ones.
  • Exemplar of the Chapter (1 CP, Single use): Use this stratagem after you nominate an Ultramarines model that is not a named character to be your Warlord. You can generate one additional Warlord Trait for them from the Ultramarines Warlord Traits table. Each Warlord Trait in your army must be unique. Give him Adept of the Codex if they didn't have it already; that'll make this Stratagem more than pay for itself. Finally, a reason to have a warlord other than Calgar or a named character.
  • Honoured by Macragge (1 CP, Single Use): After nominating a Warlord from an UM successor chapter, you may give one of their characters a Relic of Macragge instead of one from the main SM codex or a Special-Issue wargear.
  • Honoured Sergeant (1 CP): Before the battle, select one Ultramarines model that has the word "Sergeant" in their profile. They may take a Master-crafted weapon/Digital weapon/Hellfury Bolts/Sunwrath pistol, even though they are not a Character. All relics must be different.
    • While a Devastator sergeant can shoot Hellfury at BS2+, an Incursor one ignores all modifiers to hit, and an Eliminator/Scout Sniper one can shoot it at characters. The other 3 special issues are close combat-oriented. Also, while it looks cool, don't give a Sunwrath to the Hellblaster sarge, he'd be wasting his squad's range on a just-in-case relic. Nobody stops you from giving this to an Assault Centurion Sergeant, four strength 10 siege drills in the face for 4 damage.

They get two extra Stratagems, in addition to the previous ones:

  • The Swordsman's Strike (1 CP/ 2 CP): If a Silver Templars Primaris Core unit's making an attack against a Character unit during the Shooting or Fight Phase, they all get +1 to hit. The cost of this Stratagem varies depending on the number of models in the selected unit, 5 or less cost 1 CP, 6 or more cost 2 CP.
    • This basically turns a squad of your choice into Snipers-lite, except it also works in melee. Space Marines hitting on 2+'s bad news in everyones' books.
  • Claim Runes (1 CP): If a Silver Templars Primaris unit starts within Engagement Range of an enemy unit that outnumbers it during the Fight Phase, they all get +1S and -1AP with whatever weapons they're swinging!
    • Space Marines are pretty much always outnumbered, so this's a reliable one. It can be used to buff a regular squad, or make Powerfists, Thunderhammers, and Chainfists even nastier. Perfect for Lightning Claw units ('Nators/Veterans) who are knee deep in hordes, or, melee tank hunters attempting some T8 or T9.

They get two extra Stratagems, in addition to the previous ones:

  • Skovakarah Uhl Zaurn (1/2CP, Battle Tactic): An Emperor's Spears Core or Character unit that charged, was charged, or Heroically Intervened gains +1 to their wound rolls. If the unit contains six-or-more models, this stratagem costs 2CP.
  • Fight As Brothers (1CP, Battle Tactic): An Emperor's Spears Infantry unit that is within 1" of an enemy unit and one-or-more other Emperor's Spears Infantry unit can re-roll hit rolls in the fight phase.
    • Characters are also Infantry units, so a Character can count as the other unit to trigger this for their retinue.
  • Unfailing Nerve (1CP, Battle Tactic): When one Core unit shoots at an opponent within half range with their bolt weapons, those guns improve their AP by 1.
  • Let Them Come (1CP, Battle Tactic): When a Core unit gets charged, they get +1 to hit in order to score an edge over the enemy.
  • Unbowed and Unbroken (2/3CP, Battle Tactic): When a Core Infantry unit is shot while within range of an objective, they gain a 5+++ FNP. Costs 2 CP for a unit with 5 models or less.
  • Push Them Back (1CP, Battle Tactic): One unit can re-roll to hit when shooting an enemy within your DZ.
  • Regroup and Strike (1CP, Battle Tactic): When a unit fights or shoot, they improve their AP by 1 if the unit's below its starting strength and can re-roll to wound when below half strength. Makes your kamikaze units more dangerous at any range.
  • This is Our Ground! (2CP, Epic Deed): At the end of the charge phase, pick one unit within range of an objective. This unit gains ObSec or counts as having one more model if they already have it.
  • Take the Fight to Them (2CP, Strategic Ploy): One unit can heroically intervene despite not being a character with a range of 6".
  • Defense in Depth (2CP, Strategic Ploy): At the game start, three units can make scout moves, letting them get in position to shoot or alpha-strike immediately.

Warlord Traits[edit]

  1. Adept of the Codex: When you spend a Command Point to use a Stratagem, roll a 5+ to get it refunded. Versatile, always active (as long as he's on the field and not inside a transport), and gives you more freedom when using Stratagems; it's one of the best traits you can get. Calgar starts with this one.
    • The rules limit CP regain to 1 per battle round, but "WT: 5+CP" is still damn useful, even more so with the bonus CP handed out by Calgar.
  2. Master of Strategy: Once per battle round, select an Ultramarines unit within 6" of the warlord. Until the end of the battle round, whenever models of that unit attack the Tactical Doctrine is considered to be active (this does not stop either of the other two Doctrines being active, so you can have two active at once this way). Librarian Tigurius and Telion have this as their trait.
    • Their best doctrine one turn ahead of schedule. Also when your army (but not your warlord) is committed to the Assault.
  3. Calm Under Fire: Friendly Ultramarines models within 6" of the warlord ignore the -1 to hit penalty to shooting when they fall back. More like Calm Under Melee. Sergeant Chronus come with this.
    • This makes Ultramarines Successors function at a slight disadvantage, as this warlord trait simply doesn't work on them, as shooting after falling back isn't available as a successor tactic, so they don't have as many traits to choose from as with other chapters.
  4. Paragon of War: This warlord's unmodified wound rolls of 6s (ranged and melee) inflict mortal wounds in addition to all other damage. Balanced, offensive champion-type warlord. Captain Sicarius and Uriel Ventris start with this one.
  5. Nobility Made Manifest: 6" Aura of Heroic Interventions for friendly Ultramarine Infantry and Bikers. For The Greater Imperium. Guilliman starts with this one. The loss of Adept of the Codex hurts a bit, but you can always just pay 1cp to give another character Adept of the Codex, and that one out of Guilliman's 3 bonus ones will pay for itself.
    • If you mess with one, you mess with all. It achieves an immune effect by preventing your opponents from eliminating units one by one in melee, and stops them from surrounding a single friendly unit and taking hostages.
  6. Warden of Maccrage: This warlord's heroic interventions are 6" long. Why? Chaplain Cassius has this one.
  1. Accomplished Duellist: Your Warlord may fight first if they start within Engagement Range of any enemy units during the Fight Phase, and they can re-roll To-Wound in melee if they performed a Charge or a Heroic Intervention.
    • Striking first's always nice, re-rolling To-Wound's just the icing on the cake.
  2. Precision Commander: One Silver Templars Primaris Core unit, within 6" of your Warlord during your Command Phase, can re-roll a single To-Hit and To-Wound roll in each Shooting and Fight Phase until your next Command Phase.
    • Gives a chosen squad even more re-rolls, for when you absolutely positively need something taken down. Ideal on a Eradicator or Eliminator squad but also works on a melee squad with a Thunder Hammer or Power Fist.
  3. Spiritual Synergy: A single non-Relic weapon your warlord carries inflicts 1 Mortal Wound on an unmodified To-Wound roll of 6 as well as regular Damage.
    • No limitations, so this can go on anything. It's got a bigger impact on weapons with worse S, AP, and D, and scales with accuracy and rate of fire, so slap this on a storm bolter, combi-flamer, chainsword, or lightning claw to murder your way through things. Note that in very rare situations - T2 with good saves and/or an invuln, like ratlings getting a 5++ from an inquisitor - the claw can re-roll successful wounds to fish for extra mortals and come out ahead.
  1. Bloodied But Unbroken: Warlord gains +1A and an additional +1A after they lose their first wound.
  2. Tribal Heritage: Once per battle, this Warlord can re-roll one failed hit, wound, OR saving throw, and if your army is Battle-Forged, one Epic Deed stratagem can be used on your Warlord for free.
  3. Sentinel of The Veil: Warlord always fights first and can make a 6" Heroic Intervention.
  1. Hit-and-Run Master: Each command phase, pick one unit within 9" of the warlord. They can shoot after falling back.
  2. Exemplar of the Chapter: Warlord gets +1 attack and cannot be wounded on anything better than a 4+, making him even tankier against enemy weapons.
  3. Tip of the Sword: At the end of your movement phase, mark one enemy unit within 12" of your warlord. Core units can re-roll charges against this enemy and gain +1 Strength against them when fighting in melee.
    • This offers quite a sizeable boost for your troops, but it also forces you to focus on key units in melee.

Psychic Discipline: Indomitus[edit]

  1. Precognition (WC5): Blessing Until the start of your next Psychic phase, this psyker has a 5++ invuln, and when resolving an attack made against this psyker, subtract 1 from the hit roll.
  2. Scryer's Gaze (WC7): Blessing If your army is Battle Forged you can immediately gain 1 CP. If you choose not to, once this turn, when resolving an attack made by a model from a friendly Ultramarines unit within 18" of this psyker, you can re-roll the hit, wound, or damage roll.
  3. Telepathic Assault (WC7): Witchfire Select one visible enemy unit within 24" of the psyker. Roll 2D6 and add 2 to the result; that unit suffers 1 mortal wound for each point by which the total exceeds the highest Leadership characteristic of models in that unit.
    • Thanks to the cripplingly high WC, starts outperforming Smite at Ld6 and gets better as Ld degrades from there. Don't even try this power on an Ork horde.
  4. Storm of the Emperor's Wrath (WC6): Witchfire Select the nearest visible enemy unit within 18" of the psyker. Roll a D6 for each model in the unit; for each 6, that unit suffers 1 mortal wound.
    • Starts outperforming Smite at unit size 15.
  5. Psychic Shackles (WC6): Malediction Select one visible enemy unit within 18" of this psyker. Until the start of your next Psychic phase, halve the move characteristic (rounding up) of models in that unit, and when a charge or advance roll is made for that unit, subtract 1 from that roll. A unit cannot be affected by both this and the Tenebrous Curse psychic power at the same time, but nothing is stopping you from locking down two different units. Also doesn't seem to say you can't use this and tremor shells, something to bear in mind.
  6. Empyric Channelling (WC5): Blessing Select one other (can't cast this on yourself, sorry) friendly Ultramarines Librarian within 12" of this psyker. Until the end of this Psychic phase, when a Psychic test is taken by the target, add 2 to the total, and the target does not suffer Perils of the Warp on a roll of double 1 or double 6.
    • This is generally a bad idea - HQ slots are a bit precious - but if Tigurious is somehow still not reliable enough for you, a second librarian with this strapped to him means you can just assume all of his powers will go off, even WC7 ones, whenever you want. In fact, with this on him, he can't fail WC5 powers, so his Smite gets even more ridiculous, as he's only rolling the cast to fish for an 8+ to guarantee him the full 1d6 mortal wounds. If that's your plan, your other power should probably be Scryer's Gaze, so you can fish for CPs, rather than taking a power that might encourage you to separate from Tiggy. For mortal wound output, it's also hard to beat double smite: this librarian goes first, casting smite and channeling, and then Tiggy goes, and his Smite can only fail on double 1s.

Relics & Special-Issue Wargear[edit]

Relics are now split into three categories. Relics of Macragge may only be taken by Ultramarines (unless you use a stratagem). Special-Issue Wargear can be taken by Ultramarines and their successor chapters. and the Silver Templars get their own relics.

  • Armour of John Konor: Terminator model only. 4++, halve damage rounding up. Calgar's clothes, for when you want yet another beatstick or cannot afford papa smurf himself.
  • Helm of Censure: Aeonid Thiel's helmet that started the tradition of serges wearing red hats. The bearer can re-roll 1 hit roll of 1 and 1 wound roll of 1 per attack (which usually means all hit and wound rolls get it - it's like having a captain and a lieutenant nearby). When attacking Heretic astartes or Adeptus Astartes, add 1 to both hit rolls and wound rolls in addition (damn).
    • While a librarian benefits lots (WS3+, Power Axe), the boost also affecting ranged combat and not replacing any weapon means a Captain's Combi-plasma/melta wounds a CSM Predator on a 2+, and can even shoot both profiles at BS2+ (although this will have worse performance than safely overcharging just the plasma profile).
  • The Sanctic Halo: Captain or Chapter Master only (in all his forms, including Primaris). Gives him a 3++ and can deny one power per turn like a Psyker. Fantastic for the warlord himself, 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.
  • Soldier's Blade: S+1 AP-4 D2 sword. Available to characters with either a power sword, master-crafted power sword, or, most importantly, a combat blade, making it one of the few melee relics for Phobos Characters. Otherwise, don't bother - the Burning Blade is better.
  • The Standard of Macragge Inviolate: Ancient only, +1A to friendly Ultramarine Core and Character units within 6" of the bearer. Friendly UM units within 12" also autopass morale tests. That's fine, but your nearby UM units are already Ld9 and Ld10, and Ancients are much better at ranged support, due to how their base banner works, so consider carefully if you really want this over the Space Marine relic banner for a 9" death frenzy bubble. This is strictly better than the relic banner Chapter Ancients can take, though, since theirs does the same thing, but for death frenzy attacks instead of on the active turn, and doesn't improve morale at all.
  • Tarentian Cloak: The bearer has 5++, and regains d3 wounds at the start of the movement phase.
  • Vengeance of Ultramar: Twin Storm Bolter (rapid fire 4) that re-rolls wound rolls against non-vehicles. Best when used by a Termie captain, this is better than the Primarch's Wrath against most targets, although it's worse against vehicles or anything with a 2+ and a 4++ or worse.
    • This can be vicious with the Paragon of War Warlord Trait. Almost guarantees at least ONE mortal wound. Also consider this build on a bike captain with the extra bolter shots... 12 dice at 24"
  • Armour of Zanaris: Silver Templars exclusive, Primaris only. AP-1 and AP-2 Attacks against the wearer are reduced to AP0, and Mortal Wounds are ignored on a 6+++!
  • Banner of Echos: Silver Templars exclusive, Primaris Ancient only. Usable once per battle during your Command Phase, gives all friendly Silver Templars Primaris Core units within 6" of the bearer +1A until your next Command Phase.
    • Goes well with assault-oriented units obviously, and gels with both their Stratagems for some potent combos.
  • Druidic Talisman: Librarian or Chaplain only. Once per turn, you can re-roll a Psychic Test or Inspiring Litany Test. Not bad at all, gets more mileage out of the Chief Librarian or Master of Sanctity.
  • Beast-Hide Cloak: Attacks against the bearer suffer -1D (D1 minimum). Death Guard Disgustingly Resilient?
  • Horizon Blade: Replaces bearer's power sword or master-crafted power sword. S+2 AP-4 D2, becomes AP-5 and D3 if the bearer charged or made a Heroic Intervention.
  • Maruk's Wrath: Replaces a heavy bolt rifle, but for some reason doesn't say RAW if a master-crafted heavy bolt rifle can take it. A super-powered heavy bolt rifle with Rapid Fire 2 S6 AP-4 D1. If this did, then your primaris captain would have an absolutely murderous gun that can rip through heretics with ease.
  • Primarch's Codex: Chaplains only. You can now re-roll litanies and boost their range by 3". Good thing that your chapter tactics prefer being on the aggressive side.
  • Gauntlet of the Imperium: Replaces a boltstorm gauntlet. The gun's now S5 AP-2 D1 and the fist's now Sx2 AP-3 D3 without any hit penalties, making it a really strong take. Even if you just grab one fist, you can make it ram through enemies with ease.
  • Armour of Phourion: The bearer always fights first and has a 6" heroic intervention range.
  • Adamantine Mantle: Fnp5+++. "Not dying" is good for everyone, but (smash) captains/Primaris are the ones with the most wounds to proc it with.
  • Artificer Armour: 2+/5++. Most useful for Lieutenants and Librarians, who lack invulns.
  • Digital Weapons: Do an additional attack when the model fights. If it hits, the target suffers a mortal wound.
  • Hellfury bolts: You can choose the bolt weapon it's used on to make only one attack, but it inflicts 1MW if it hits (and the shooting sequence ends).
  • Master-crafted Weapon: +1D to a weapon, and it now considered a relic (so now some WTs no longer affect it and such). 4D Thunder Hammer!
  • Reliquary of Vengeance: Once per battle (at the start of the fight phase), friendly chapter units within 6" of the bearer gain +1A.
  • Seal of Oath: Designate an enemy before the first turn begins. The bearer has a 6" aura for Ultramarine Core and Characters of re-rolling all hits and wounds against That Guy, failed or not.
  • Sunwrath Pistol: Cawl's plasma pistol of safe supercharge. But it's Pistol 2, so that's a double improvement.

Special Units[edit]

  • Chapter Master Calgar: Papa Smurf, nuff said. He now gets +1T thanks to his Gravis armour without the -1 to movement like the majority of Gravis units, as well as +1W and +1A from being Primaris, and he even gets to keep his 2+/4++ along with the halved damage. This makes him even more powerful than he ever was, although being in a Gravis suit does mean that if he wants to actually get into combat he'll either need to footslog or pay for a Repulsor.
    • Something for consideration: Calgar, with the right supports, is actually a deadlier fighter in melee than Guilliman is. For starters, while Guilliman can feel the pain from larger foes and their absurd damage, Marneus can, for the most part, walk out less damaged and more annoying thanks to the halved damage. Assuming all damage is multi-wound rather than 1 damage, Calgar technically has 16 wounds, versus Guilliman's 9. In addition, while Guilliman can resurrect with D6 wounds, Calgar can receive near-constant healing through an Apothecary as he is an <INFANTRY> rather than a <MONSTER> (what, you thought Apothecaries can understand the anatomy of pseudo-demigods?). Excluding the cost of a Librarian and Victrix Guard (since Guilliman can benefit from those too) and you can have a better beatstick than Guilliman (though you do lose his super-aura). The only main weakness of Calgar in this regard is that he has slightly less toughness and strength (you ARE using Might of Heroes through Calgar's Librarian, aren't you?) than Guilliman, and he's stuck with D3 damage for his fists. TL,DR: Calgar is far cheaper for a super tough HQ and can benefit from other buffs where Guilliman can not. Calgar can certainly buff your army, but Guilliman does it better. However, Guilliman delivers more melee offense overall and functions better in situations devoid of support.
    • Somebody is really overestimating Calgar here. Against incoming attacks that are 2 damage, D3 damage, 3 damage, and D6 damage respectively, Calgar essentially has 16, 12, 12 and 14 wounds respectively (the results of D3 damage halved rounding up are 1, 1 and 2 and so D3 damage weapons average 1.333 damage against him). Now this is impressive, but the kinds of things you’re talking about fighting will usually force him to use his invulnerable save, which is a 4+, and so his effective hp is actually 32, 24, 24 and 28. Guilliman has 9 wounds on a 3++, so his effective hp is 27 in all scenarios, so the differences are actually minor against the bigger damage weapons without accounting for his revive ability, but between rerolling wounds and D3 mortal wounds on 6+ his melee output is potent enough to deal 7.778 wounds to Calgar in a single fight phase, ie basically killing him on average. How much damage can Calgar accomplish against Guilliman, or Calgar himself (Abaddon)? 2.6 wounds in both cases, 3.02 and 3.78 with the might of heroes. You may notice by this point that you’re paying half the points for less than half the melee power even with psyker support (at least in this case, but I think this is a decent benchmark). Add in that Calgar’s halve-damage durability is completely negated by things like the mortal wounds from snipers, and well...
  • Marneus Calgar (Legends): Probably the most impressive Firstborn statline in the game, but holy FUCK do you pay for it with power level 13 and 250pts. Compared to a Terminator Captain, he's W7 and A5. His Armour of Antilochus grants him a 2+ armour, 4++ invulnerable save, Deep Strike, and halves any damage he suffers. He has the 8th edition Chapter Master rule (all Ultramarine units within 6" re-roll failed hit and wound rolls), but you'll change it to the 9th edition Rites of Battle and Chapter Master rules if you're not That Guy. Master Tactician grants you +2CP if he's your Warlord. Finally, he's armed with a relic blade and the Gauntlets of Ultramar (24", rapid fire 2, S4, AP-1, D2 or melee, Sx2, AP-3, Dd3).
    • He's behind the times with regards to his rules, even FW updated their Legend units to a 9th edition standard. His relic blade and Captain/Chapter Master rules specifically.
  • Marneus Calgar in Artificer Armour (Legends): Papa Smurf, before Swarmlord ate his arms, his legs, and half of his face. Same as above, but 235pts with no Deep Strike or halving damage. Pay the 15pts.
  • Captain Sicarius: For 115 points, you get a 2+ save without giving up melee or ranged, combined with relatively inferior melee and ranged. He has a plasma pistol that's on permanent overcharge safely and a force sword that deals d3 mortal wounds instead on um6 to wound; by comparison, a thunder hammer/combi-melta captain is 110 points and has better melee and better dakka, but is only Sv3+, and you have to give a weapon up to carry a storm shield; if he gives the gun up, he's down to just a bolt pistol. The real reason you take Sicarius and his major downsides of not being allowed to wear a jump pack or take relics or choose his own warlord trait is that at the beginning of each battle round, he can pick a character or core unit within 6" to be objective secured for the round. That means you generally want him in a transport initially, to help ensure you can get him to the objective and use his ability. He's great for riding a Drop Pod in turn 1 so he can start handing out his buff on turn 2, or you can start him on the table so he can hand out his buff at the start of 1 before embarking.
  • Captain Ventris: Another Black Library Character given tabletop life. 110pts gets you a Primaris Captain with Invictus (30", rapid fire 1, S4, AP-2, D2) and the Sword of Idaeus (melee, S+1, AP-3, D3) makes him deadly at all ranges. His special rule is Unorthodox Strategist, allowing you to use the Adaptive Strategy Stratagem (one <Chapter> unit from your army counts as having all doctrines active for one turn) for 1CP instead of 2CP if you use it on an Ultramarine Core unit within 6". His fixed Warlord Trait is Paragon of War (unmodified wound rolls of 6 inflict an additional mortal wound) and he gains the Master of the Fleet Honorific if he's included in a Crusade Force (Orbital bombardment Stratagem can be used twice per game and only costs 1CP).
    • His rules are unique and fluffy, but CP intensive, so find a way of gathering CP from another source if you want to make full use of him. Papa Smurf can be an option; and simultaneously fluffy and unfluffy at the same time depending on the situation.
    • His model is pretty baller, with a lot of detail included from his background (Inquisition icon from his Deathwatch Service and Rose of Pavonis from his first assignment as a Captain).
    • Even if you don't use Unorthodox Strategist, he is still a 5 point upgrade from a basic captain to have a true Intercessor master-crafted bolt rifle and a better power sword for the price of a bad warlord trait (pro tip: he doesn't have to be your Warlord to get his rules going). If you have to use a standard Primaris Captain as an Ultramarine and not the Indomitus version, this is probably the best option for the points. Unorthodox Strategist is just icing on the cake.
  • 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. But with marines all getting 2 wounds, this ability will see a little less use.
    • Cassius provides two Litanies for your marines. Using the +1 to hit and +1 to wound litanies can give squads that can generally hit on 2s, and a minimum wounding of 5s.
  • Chief Librarian Tigurius: The primary reason to take this guy is that he's the best Psyker in the Imperium right now - he gets +1 to all Denies and Casts, and re-rolls casts, making his smite *ludicrous* - he can and should re-roll anything below a 10 on the first cast (remember, his Smite gets better on a 10+, not 11+), giving him a total expected Smite value of 2.32 Mortal Wounds. Unlike most named Librarians, he's not locked to the Ultramarines discipline, so he can stick to Librarius if he wants. At the start of the battle round, he can pick a core or character unit within 6" to be at -1 to be hit, which is baller as hell. He's armed with a Force Relic Blade, i.e. a Relic Blade only worse at Dd3, and a bolt pistol and grenades. Compared to the famously powerful Mephiston of the Blood Angels, almost his entire statline is worse and so is his weapon, but he's unquestionably better at casting spells.
  • Sergeant Chronus: Stick him in a Rhino, Razorback, Predator, Stalker, Hunter, Whirlwind, Vindicator, or Land Raider. That Vehicle heals one lost wound per turn, gains Character, and is always BS2+ no matter the damage. If the Vehicle is destroyed, he pops out as... Well, as someone pretty useless. BS2+, W4, A2, and a servo-arm, but no Techmarine fixing ability.
  • Sergeant Telion: Telion makes Scouts, Scout Bikes, and Land Speeder Storms better. He is armed with a better Sniper Rifle, and at the start of the Shooting phase he can pick a Scouts unit within 3" to be BS2+ for the phase. Unfortunately, Scouts suck, and he can't use his ability while embarked, but he can embark on a Land Speeder Storm, so if he does, this can be helpful if you want to pop him out and have both models shoot.
  • Chapter Ancient: <Ultramarine>-exclusive Chapter Ancient. Costs the same as making your own Chapter Ancient, provided you bought him a power sword (which you never would), and the benefit in exchange for locking to a power sword is 1 better Ld (which is useless) and 1 better Sv (which is not). This version also can't be made slotless via company vets.
  • Chapter Champion: <Ultramarine>-exclusive Chapter Champion. Costs the same as making your own, plus 5 points and you give up the stock model's 5++ and bolt pistol. Instead, you get re-rolling melee hit rolls against characters (which is the same as re-rolling 1s since he's WS2+, and is a 7/6 multiplier on his melee output when it comes up) and an additional attack he can always make in melee at SU AP-2 D1, making him overall better offensively but worse defensively than a stock Chapter Champion, for his points. This version also can't be made slotless via company vets.
  • Honour Guard: The non-legends version has more restrictive wargear, so you can think of this unit as Company Vets only worse; compared to Company Vets with the same Bolter and Power Axe, it's 50 points for 4 attacks (6 on the charge) and 2+ save, as opposed to 46 points for 5 attacks (7 on the charge) and a 3+ save, but also Company Vets can take a Lightning Claw instead for the same cost and perform much better, and the bolter arm can carry a storm bolter or storm shield, making them either more efficient at ranged murder or durability. There's really no comparison - plus, company vets play much nicer with your precious elites slots.
  • Tyrannic War Veterans: Sternguard Veterans, with a unit size of 4-10 and no weapon options, BUT re-rolls failed hit and wound rolls against Tyranid targets, and is cheaper than actual Sternguard - you should always pick these guys over Sternguard if all you wanted was the stock weaponry.
  • Victrix Honour Guard: Prototype Bladeguard Veterans. No pistols, and maximum unit size 2 (but both members are A4). Compared to Bladeguard, these guys are WS2+ (so it's like not having to buy a Bladeguard Ancient at all) and Sv3+++, with the crippling downside of only having regular power swords; where they'll hit for 2*4*5/6 = 6 2/3 damage for 70 points (base, not including Shock Assault), unsupported MSU Bladeguard Vets who don't get to shoot their pistols still hit for 10*4/6*2 = 13 1/3 damage for 105 points, i.e. 2x as hard for 1.5x the cost, and that's before you consider their pistols or an ancient. However, unlike Bladeguard, these guys are bodyguards (like company vets) and can heroically intervene, so thanks to their 2+/3+++, they're better viewed as being better-than-company vets for the intended job of company vets, albeit with suboptimal melee weapons and a crippling inability to ride most transports; also, unlike company vets, these guys only don't take up a slot with Calgar, and they don't enable a slotless ancient, apothecary, or champion.
Lords of War[edit]
  • Roboute Guilliman: The most effective unit in the Astartes Codex, even better now with a 80 points decrease, "only" clocking at 300 points. 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. His 9 wounds mean enemies have to observe the Look Out, Sir! rule and also takes cover behind a constant 2+, 3++. 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 Girlyman. In close combat he can either use the Hand of Dominion as Sx2 AP-3 Dmg 4 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 9th, on top of that lucky rolls can lead to him dishing out a lot of extra damage through mortal wounds. With the new monster and vehicle rules, he can now also fire his bolter while in the engagement range at -1 to hit. 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 all Ultramarines Core and Ultramarines Character units within 6" re-rolls of any hit roll, with the aforementioned Ultramarines Core getting re-rolls of 1 to wound. Guilliman himself is affected by his own aura, allowing him to add 1 to charges and advances as well as re-roll hits. If all that wasn't enough if your army is battleforged you get 3 extra CP. He does everything you'd want a warlord to do, basically. The main reasons not to take him are points cost, wanting a different LOW, 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.
    • With 9th if you bring Guilliman he has to be your warlord with his new Avenging Son rule, which is fine because you get those three extra command points on top of him refunding one of your detachments by being a Supreme Command Detachment, for a max of a whopping 15 command points in a 2k point game.
  • Captain Tarnus Vale (FW Legends): Provides a 6+ invuln to nearby Fire Angels vehicles, but isn't riding a bike or using a jump pack, so he'll never keep up with his charges unless he’s in a transport or said charges are artillery tanks, such as a Fellblade or Whirlwind. Works better with Dreadnoughts for the rerolls. He does have a power sword that has D2, and an 8" pistol 3 plasma pistol. Not to mention lots of vehicles sit in a parking lot. Like are you really gonna be zipping that predator up the field?

Successor Tactics: The Fire Angels are notable for their strict adherence to the Codex, so Inheritors of the Primarch is a perfect fit for them. Alternatively, if you want to build around Vale's Vehicle buffs and build a parking lot type army, tank boosting Tactics like Master Artisans and Scions of the Forge are good options.

  • Knight-Captain Elam Courbray (FW Legends): The only Forge World character in this list who showed up with a Jump Pack and a special power Sword D2 that reroll wound rolls. 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.
    • You're better off taking a regular captain with a jump pack bolt pistol and a relic blade. You're paying 18 points more to get to reroll wounds on your S:+1 AP-2 D2 sword (worse than the relic blade at S+3 AP-3 D2, which is more likely to wound on the first roll given it makes the captain S6). That's all he has over the normal jump pack captain.

Successor Tactics: While Courbray is nothing you'd build an army around and not a whole lot is known about the Fire Hawk's specialization, they present a fluffy option for creating a more fleshed out Legion of the Damned. No options for universal FNP or Deep Striking, but general durability boosters like Indomitable, Stalwart, Stealthy (fluff it like the smoke rising off them giving them cover!) Or Warded is fine choices, and Fearsome Aspect is quite appropriate.

  • Chaplain Dreadnought Titus (FW Legends): Exactly the same as a normal Chaplain Dreadnought, 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.

Successor Tactics: Griffons are known for their tactical flexibility and good sense, so most any blend of Tactics could be made to work. Titus himself, similarly, is just a solid all-rounder, though Chaplain Dreads inherently encourages a more melee-focused playstyle. A good pick for remaining fast and loose with what sort of army you want to bring.

  • Lieutenant Commander Anton Narvaez (FW Legends): Has interesting (if weird) wargear. He comes with a power sword that on a 6s to wound does a addtional mortal wound, an assault d3 S7 Ap-2 D1, and the Actinic Halo which gives him a 3++ save UNTIL you take an unsaved wound at which points it stops working and only gives a 4++. 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.

Successor Tactics: Close range board actions are not well represented on the tabletop outside of Killteam, but we can make it work. Assault is the name of the game here, so Hungry for Battle and Rapid Assault are no brainers.

  • Captain Mordaci Blaylock (FW Legends): Terminator captain, with a D3 chainfist, a relic storm bolter S5 AP-2, and grants a 6+ FNP to all Novamarines Infantry within 6".

Successor Tactics: Another Codex hardliner, so Inheritors of the Primarch is probably your go-to here. Just as well, Braylock is brutal in close range where he can support similarly built units.

  • Captain Nasiem: A Primaris Captain with the Sunwrath Pistol Ultramarine Relic (12", pistol 2, S8, AP-3, D2) and a master-crafted power axe (S+2, AP-2, D2). His fixed Warlord Trait is the Master of Strategy from the Ultramarines supplement. In a Crusade Army, this models Captain of the Third company rule grants him the Master of the Arsenal Honorific without increasing his Crusade Points cost.
  • Epistolary Lykandos: A Primaris Librarian with a force stave (S+3, AP-1, Dd3). He comes with the Reliquary of Gathalmor Codex Relic (enemy Psykers within 18" suffer -1 to Psychic Tests and if they fail a Psychic Test they suffer d3 mortal wounds on a 4+) and Calm Under Fire Warlord Trait from the Ultramarines supplement.
  • Orator Sephax: A Primaris Chaplain with the Benediction of Fury Codex Relic (S+2, AP-2, D3). He has the Iron Resolve Codex Warlord Trait.
  • Ancient Kae: A Primaris Ancient with the Seal of Oath Ultramarine Relic (select one enemy unit after deployment, Tome Keepers within 6" re-roll hit and wound rolls against that unit) and Nobility Made Manifest Ultramarine Warlord Trait.


  • Ultra-build: Lends itself as a Jack-of-trades army, being decent both shooting and fighting. Pure Ultramarines does lend itself more to a moving gunline list, ignoring penalties for moving and falling back, and some improved shooting stratagems, along with some Heroic Intervention, mass Overwatch, and QCC characters and abilities. kind of lend itself likes a T'au/Kroot list that would not fall apart if they do get into melee as we are dealing with marines bodies instead of the more-pansy smurfs. They slightly better control over the combat doctrines has a preference for having units in the Tactical doctrine, with heavy weapons also benefiting, along with Eradicators, and several Forgeworld tanks gaining extra shots despite moving. A single detachment of Ultramarines or their successors can support many builds with a mix of man desperately different units.


Salamanders Chapter Livery.jpg
In the grim darkness of the far future, the flame of hope burns still.

Where other astartes shun their humanity, the Salamanders are the marines closest to mankind, and all the stronger because of it. To them war is not just fire, but the anvil where they are tested and reforged; power not for glory's sake, but to protect the Imperium.

On the tabletop, these guys are sheer strength. Their artificer gear makes them deadlier and hardier both, enabling them to survive closing the distance, where they can use their rules to inflict monstrous damage. Since their rules buff both melta and flame, they can make more use of Aggressors and Eradicators, which could give them a sort of "Gravis Chapter" feel (though it also helps the forgotten Firstborn for those same reasons).

If you want to bring utter devastation at close range, then join the Salamanders into the fires of battle, unto the anvil of war.

Special Rules[edit]

  • Chapter Tactics - Forged in Battle: A unit with this tactic can re-roll a single wound roll each time it is selected to shoot or fight (including overwatch). Any attacks against your units cannot re-roll to wound.
    • The offensive buff is still useful on all units, but less so with the loss of the to-hit re-roll. As before, keep squads MSU, as it disproportionately benefits single hits spread out across your army; Eliminators would notice it more than Auto Bolt Inceptors. It overlaps a bit with Lieutenants; whether you want to do without them or stack and make as if they were pseudo chapter masters is up to you.
      • Rules lawyer-wise, akshually, it would technically not work with Ancient banners, as it's not the unit that is selected to fight, it is the model. Normally it'd be lame to bring it up, but it amounts to "full re-rolls to wound on any dying model", which isn't nothing.
    • The defensive buff has been replaced with the Q2 2022 Balance Dataslate giving your AP reduction to anything without a shield. What you get instead isn't too bad though, as it pretty much foils the use of any Lieutenant-tier heroes and any other stratagems that would provide re-rolls to wound. Just beware that you are still vulnerable to anything with AP-2 or higher.
  • Combat Doctrine - Promethean Cult: While the Tactical Doctrine is active, all flame and melta weapons gain +1 to wound. Honestly, did you expect anything else? Remember when GW said their rules wouldn't be summarized as "spam X"? Yeah, spam Eradicators, Flame Aggressors and Sternguard Vets. Ain't there no other chapter that can wound T7 vehicles on a 2+!


  • Flamecraft (2 CP): In the shooting phase, a unit's flame weapons will always fire its maximum number of shots.
    • Good for a Land Raider Redeemer, flamer Aggressors, combi-flamer Sternguard, and Assault Centurions. Still great if less efficient on Invictors and Land Speeders with dual Heavy Flamers and on Bray'arth Ashmantle.
    • Excellent when combined with your Fires of Battle stratagem so a maxed-out flame weapon can try to deal more mortal wounds.
  • The Crucible of Battle (1 CP): In the shooting or fight phase, a Salamander Core or Salamander Character unit gets +1 to wound for that phase.
    • Veterans of the Long War for the pyro-marines. Absolutely no synergy with your doctrine bonus, but if you want to sink more CP into it, you can toss in Flamecraft for max shot flamers that wound marines on 3+. Instead, you should either use this to get your doctrine bonus during the Devastator or Assault doctrines, or use it to get the bonus on non-flamer, non-melta weapons.
  • Strength of the Primarch (1CP): Pick a unit at the start of the fight phase. They get +1S and any unmodified wound rolls of 6 do double damage. Almost custom made for bearers of lightning claws, which you otherwise don't want due to lack of synergy with your chapter tactics.
    • More niche than Crucible most of the time, but better whenever the +1S provides +1 to wound, and they do stack. Slapping both on a Thunder Hammer will, when smacking a T8 target, bring you from 4+ to wound to 2+ to wound, and since 1/5 of your wounds dealt will be D4, you'll functionally go from D3 to D3.2, which is a total benefit of +78% (*1.78) before your chapter tactic reduces the benefit slightly.
  • Rites of Vulkan (2 CP): At the start of the movement phase while in the Tactical doctrine, for the rest of that battle round, all Rapid Fire or Assault weapons in your army get an additional -1AP on natural 6s to wound. Only once per battle.
  • Vengeance for Isstvan V (1 CP): When facing Word Bearers, Iron Warriors, Night Lords, or Alpha Legion in the fight phase, one unit can re-roll all hit rolls.
    • Very situational, but fluffy and still strong.
  • Stand Your Ground (1 CP): When a Salamanders non-Servitor Infantry unit that didn't advance in your last Movement phase is picked as the target of an attack, they get +1 to their armour saves against D1 weapons for the rest of the phase.
    • Like "Unyielding in the face of death", but not restricted to Gravis, and can be stacked or spammed alongside it. With that and marines becoming 2W, guess small arms can eat dirt this edition.
  • Rise From the Ashes (2 CP): When a Salamanders Character dies, roll a 4+ and they pop back up with 1 wound remaining. Only once per character per game.
    • Opponent manages to take down your Warlord? Snipe the Techmarine playing Self Sacrifice meatshield? Get a lucky shot on your Smash Captain? Hit the undo button on that shit.
  • Born Protectors (2 CP): When a Salamanders unit is declared as a charge target, pick another Salamanders unit within 12". It can fire overwatch at the charging unit, and if the charge is successful, they can Heroically Intervene 2D6", but only towards that charging unit.
    • Tau Overwatch plus a Heroic Intervention? Fantastic, if situational. Can deter certain charges and anything that can change how your opponent plays has a place. This and Self Sacrifice makes it tempting to take Salamanders as an ally detachment in any imperial army to protect your stuff.
  • Despite the Odds (1 CP): At the end of a turn where you didn't score any Tactical Objectives, if your Warlord is still on the table, generate a new Tactical Objective.
  • The Fires of Battle (1 CP): In the shooting phase or when firing overwatch, when target model is firing a flame or melta weapon, any unmodified 4+ to wound does a mortal wound in addition to normal damage (to a max of three mortals). Only works for 1 weapon shot by 1 model, so no Aggressor MW spam for you, but does work if the model shoots twice, such as an Eradicator.
    • Since you don't really care about the firing weapon's S, AP, or D, but you care a lot about its rate of fire and accuracy, one of the best targets for this strat is an invictor warsuit's incendium cannon, which will generally get you about 7 dice rolling to wound, which will generally mean you'll get all 3 mortal wounds out of this strat. You can combine this with Flamecraft if you don't mind the incredible CP expenditure to guarantee that the weapon in question gets plenty of changes to try to wound - 12 for an incendium cannon, 6 for most flame weapons - and/or with the Lord of Fire warlord trait.
  • Immolation Protocols (1 CP): Turn all of one unit's flame weapons into Pistols for one shooting phase. Not a bad way of saving a shooty flame unit from melee. Obviously, don't bother putting this on a vehicle.
  • Self Sacrifice (2 CP): Use at the start of the opponent's shooting phase and pick a Salamanders Infantry unit in your army that has more than five models and then one other unit that is wholly within 6". For the rest of the phase, your opponent cannot shoot the unit that is being shielded as long as they are wholly within 6" of the unit that is protecting them unless they are the closest unit. The unit that is doing the body blocking can't be hidden from shooting by psychic powers or other trickery. Best way to protect your assets like tanks or heavy weapon teams by putting a cheap troop unit in front of it.
    • It can outright steal target priority from your enemy - you take fire on your terms: let the bodyguard unit be in cover for a 2+ (or 1+!) save. Furthermore, while the unit must be eligible to be fired at, it doesn't say it cannot be under a -1 to be hit, such as Smokescreen Infiltrators, who are also keeping deepstrikers 12" away, or a unit blessed with Fire Shield or even Psychic fortress.
  • Relentless Determination (1 CP): At the end of the Movement phase, pick one unit that did not advance or Fall back. It counts as stationary, and if it has a damage table, it counts as having double wounds to see which row of the table you use.
  • Exemplar of the Promethean Creed (1 CP): Your Warlord gets a second Warlord trait that has to be from the Salamanders list. Doesn't work on named characters or someone you gave a trait to with Hero of the Chapter (since they're not your Warlord).
  • Master Artisans (1 CP): Give a Sergeant a Master-Crafted weapon, Digital Weapons, the Drakeblade, or Dragonrage Bolts.
  • Trust of Prometheus (1 CP): Give a successor a Salamanders relic.

Warlord Traits[edit]

  1. Anvil of Strength: The Warlord gets +2 to his Strength characteristic (which happens AFTER 2x in 9th). A bit niche at allowing a Relic Blade or Crozius Arcanum to wound on a 2+, its vaule if at all is that you can use this and save the Imperium's Sword WT and Strength of the Primarch Strat for someone else. Vulkan He'stan takes this on his +2S blade. See?
  2. Miraculous Constitution: The Warlord gets a 6+++ FNP and regains 1 wound at the start of your movement phase. Vulkan lives! Compared to Iron Resolve, Miraculous Constitution yields more than one wound over time, assuming the enemy isn't murdering him in a single turn (Abbadon, Swarmlord, Thunder Hammers, etc..).
  3. Never Give Up: In the Command Phase, pick a core or character unit within 6" of the Warlord to gain Objective Secured for that round. Worse than Rites of War (Aura), which itself is strictly worse than the Chapter Ancient Steadfast Example (Aura) Warlord Trait. The one difference, however, is that those auras only affect units next to the character (they're auras after all), but Never Give Up selects one unit before their movement phase, and the effect stays with them for a turn so you can send them off to do their stuff.
  4. Forge Master: The Warlord gets +2 Toughness, meaning S8 no longer wounds him on 2+. With T6 (or 7 on Gravis/Bike characters), power swords wound only on 5+, and with relics like the Salamander's Mantle or the Angel Artifice (effective T8!) it'll now take anti-tank weapons to bring down this Warlord. While this is better than Anvil of Strength, that's a low bar to clear; Iron Resolve and Miraculous Constitution will generally provide a lot more durability than this will.
  5. Lord of Fire: Friendly units within 6" of the Warlord re-roll the number of attacks they make with flame weapons. Adrax takes this one, but it's ideal on a Lieutenant, as that guy'd provide re-rolls of 1s to wound to flamers, which don't roll to hit.
    • Not limited to CORE, so you can give put this warlord in a Land Raider Redeemer carrying Assault Centurions if you want to. But flame Aggressors and flame Sternguard are still there.
  6. Patient and Determined: Once per shooting and/or fight phase, one of the Warlord's attacks automatically hit. Very good for someone wielding a Combi-melta and a power fist or similar -1 to hit weapon.

Psychic Discipline: Promethean[edit]

  1. Flaming Blast (WC6): Witchfire Pick a spot within 24" that the psyker can see. Each unit within 3" of that spot takes a mortal wound on a 4+.
    • This is the Imperial Fists Iron Inferno spell, only with 6" more range on picking the spot, and 3" less on catching units in it, making it much worse, since it needs to catch at least 5 units to beat Smite.
  2. Fire Shield (WC6): Blessing A friendly unit within 18" is at -1 to being hit when shot and -1 to the distance when charged.
    • Easily your best buff, in general, protecting against both ranged and melee attackers. Put this on anything you want to keep safe.
    • The penalties stack with Obscuration's Hallucination and Tenebrous Curse (which are put on the attacking unit, not the defending one), and Veil of Time lets the target unit swing first if they're charged despite the -1 penalty, as well as letting them Advance faster if the charge is failed and they want to run away from or towards the enemy.
  3. Burning Hands (WC6): Blessing Until your next Psychic phase, when the psyker is attacking with the base CCW, any hits cause a mortal wound instead of rolling to wound.
    • Assuming a WS3+ attacker, the Psyker needs to throw at least 4 punches to beat Smite, but even worse, this spell is in competition with Smite and the Psyker's Force Sword (or whatever), so this is just usually a terrible power.
    • There are some situations where this shines. Models with 3++ saves may not be as common, but removing the need to wound or saves does mean you have a much better chance of doing something. Against a small group of weaker things it can serve well, and those exceptionally rare models with 2++ will feel mighty silly. Enough to justify over the other psychic powers? Likely not. But it has a few specific uses.
  4. Drakeskin (WC6): Blessing Pick a unit within 12" to get +1T until the next Psychic phase.
    • Between this and Fire Shield, a Salamanders Librarian can make one target significantly more durable turn after turn. Fire Shield is much better, and so is Psychic Fortress, but a purely Promethean Librarian interested in protective buffing already has the first and you need the Tome of Velcona to mix disciplines. Taking these two spells on your first librarian and Psychic Fortress and, most likely, Veil of Time on your second can be a good choice.
  5. Fury of Nocturne (WC6): Witchfire Pick a visible enemy unit within 18" and roll 2D6. If you roll higher than their highest toughness, they take D3 mortal wounds.
    • Literally strictly worse than the Blood Angels spell Blood Boil, which is the same spell, only if it rolls more than twice the target's T on the 2d6, it automatically rolls 3 mortal wounds. Don't take this insult of a spell.
  6. Draconic Aspect (WC6): Blessing Until your next Psychic phase, all enemy units within 12" get -2LD.
    • Potentially makes for a decent leadership bomb if combo'd with the Helm of Drakos and the Fearsome Aspect tactic and/or Fear made manifest trait, but even with truly abysmal leadership, you won't make more than 1 model plus 1/6 (or 1/3, if at half strength) of a fleeing unit flee. Can be combined with an Obscuration Librarian's Mind Raid, but that's a lot of hoops for a Command Point. Can be combined with Psychic Scourge, but that's a garbage spell to begin with.


These relics can be granted to a Sergeant via the Master Artisans stratagem, and can be granted to a successor chapter character freely.

  • Digital Weapons: Make an additional attack when the model fights. If it hits, the target suffers a mortal wound. Absolutely terrible, especially with your chapter tactic, since you don't make a wound roll.
    • Most of your sergeants would prefer a master-crafted weapon.
  • Drakeblade: Replaces a power sword, master-crafted power sword, or combat knife. It's a master-crafted power sword with 1 better AP at S+1 AP-4 D2, and it deals 1 mortal wound on an unmodified 6 to wound. Something for the Phobos characters to replace their crappy combat knife with, but, while no model can actually take both, strictly worse than the Benediction of Fury Chaplains can take.
    • Most of your sergeants would prefer a master-crafted weapon.
  • Dragonrage Bolts: When firing a bolt weapon this model has, only make one attack, but if it hits you get 1d6 wound rolls, ignore light cover, -1AP, and D1, making it just better in general than the Imperial Fists bolt. Turns a bolt weapon into a long-range almost-flamer. Notably does not count as a flame weapon, so you don't get the +1 to wound from Promethean Cult. Because it forces the weapon's D to 1, though, it's not particularly helpful on an Eliminator Sergeant or any of your other 1-shot bolt weapons, which uniformly have D above 1.
    • Most of your sergeants would prefer a master-crafted weapon.
  • Master-crafted Weapon: +1D to a weapon, and it's now considered a relic (so now some WTs no longer affect it and such). This is why D4 Thunder Hammers are the standard by which melee relics are judged, and it's pretty damn boss on any weapon with a high rate of fire but low D, like a hurricane bolter.
Special Issue Wargear[edit]

These relics can be freely issued to a successor chapter character.

  • Adamantine Mantle: Fnp5+++. "Not dying" is good for everyone, but (smash) captains/Primaris are the ones with the most wounds to proc it with.
  • Artificer Armour: 2+/5++. Most useful for Lieutenants and Librarians, who lack invulns.
  • Obsidian Aquila: Friendly Salamander Core models within 6" get a 6+++ FNP, like an Apothecary but better, since you work on non-Venerable Dreads.
  • Promethean Plate: Wound rolls of 1, 2, or 3 always fail against this model. For when you've already got a model with the Salamander's Mantle and want a second durable character to hang around. Can really neuter a lot of the deadlier melee attacks in the game.
    • This gets worse the higher your T, so if you take this, put it on a T4 Warlord. It's worse than the Adamantine Mantle in the absence of other buffs, but if you have other access to an FnP, e.g. from an Apothecary, then it'll always be at least as good, and sometimes better.
Relics of Nocturne[edit]

These relics can only be given to Salamanders characters unless you use the Trust of Prometheus stratagem to give one to a successor character.

  • Drake-Smiter: Replaces a Thunder Hammer. Doesn't lose the -1 to hit, but does get AP-4 and becomes D6 on a 6 to wound. Your chapter tactics can help you fish for that 6, but you don't want to do that, since it's only twice as good. This is usually worse than a Master-Crafted Thunder Hammer, as against T7 or less, it just does less damage on average, and against T8, it does the same, with more variance.
  • Helm of Draklos: Primaris only. Gives +1W and enemy units within 6" get -1LD. Thoroughly meh. The Mantle is a better defensive relic, and unless you're going all-in on Leadership debuffs, it's not worth it. That said, a Primaris Librarian with Draconic Aspect and the Fear Made Manifest trait can have an aura of -4LD in 6". If you're playing a Fearsome Aspect successor, you can bump that to -5LD in 3". Some Reivers nearby can bump that to a potential -6LD, then -7LD with Standard of the Emperor Ascendant, and make anything run in terror if your opponent forgets how to solve the problem with CP.
  • Nocturne's Vengeance: Replaces a combi-flamer. Both parts get -1AP and 2D, making it a master-crafted combi-flamer with 1 better AP. Take it if you were seriously considering a master-crafted combi-flamer; it's not as good at range as the Primarch's Wrath, but it'll certainly outperform a master-crafted combi-melta against many targets.
  • Salamander's Mantle: Now re-worked to be even better. It gives a straight -1 to wound the bearer. Combo with the Forge Master trait, and now anything up to S11 (S13 for Gravis/Bikes) wounds on no better than a 4+.
    • Compared to the Promethean Plate, the other relic means wounding you on 3 gets a -1 (just like this relic) and wounding you on 2 gets -2, while this one means 2-5 all get -1 to wound you. On a T4 Warlord, the Plate is only better against S8+, while for T5 or more, you should really just be taking this.
  • Tome of Velcona: A Librarian knows an additional power from the Promethean discipline (even if he took Librarius or Obscuration powers). Plus, he gets +1 to Psychic tests for Promethean powers. If you want a Librarius or Obscuration librarian who also knows Fire Shield, this is the way to do it.
  • Vulkan's Sigil: The character gets +1A, and once per game during the Fight phase, the bearer and all Salamanders Core units within 6" get +1A for that phase (bringing the bearer to +2A).
  • Wrath of Prometheus: Replaces a boltgun or master-crafted boltgun. No additional shots, but compared to a standard bolter it gets +6" range, +1S, -2AP, and +2D. Generally speaking, this is the Primarch's Wrath but worse, so skip it.

Special Units[edit]

  • Vulkan He'Stan: Has a Captain's statline with a 2+/3++, which is really hard to get in 9E. Comes with an Assault Heavy Flamer, a Force Axe, a bolt pistol, and frag and krak grenades. He has the Captain Rites of Battle ability to let you re-roll hits of 1 for Salamanders CORE units within 6", and his Forgefather ability works like Chapter Master, only it works on hits and wounds, and only on flame and melta weapons. Like a Chapter Master, Chapter Ancient, or Chaplain, you only get his passive aura if he deep strikes or disembarks. His compulsory warlord trait is +2S, which is garbage on him, since his melee weapon isn't even as good as a masterwork power axe.
    • He has a bit of a fluff clusterfuck in his rules: his gauntlet and spear are supposed to be artifacts made by Vulkan himself, but the spear is just a force axe - worse than a relic blade, much less a master-crafted melee weapon - and the gauntlet isn't even the best gauntlet like it in the Space Marines, as Huron fielded as a loyalist has the same gauntlet, only with twice the damage at D2. Just do your best not to think about it.
    • Remember, Vulkan can't buff non-core non-character weapons - Centurions, Invictors, any of the forge world dreads except for relic contemptors, Invader ATVs, and any and all vehicles except for dreads are unbuffable by him. If you're fielding Vulkan as the nucleus of a deathstar, remember not to rely too much on these units (especially the vehicle part - it's tempting to give him a transport tricked out with melta and flame, and that's not terrible, but he can't buff it).
    • Vulkan turns your Chapter Tactic on its head - in fact, a unit of just flame and melta weapons might as well not have the tactic at all, since he's supplying an infinite number of re-rolls anyway. Infinite re-rolls to hit and wound means the unit he's babysitting wants as many flamers and multimeltas as it can carry. That means a 6-man Eradicator or Flamestorm Aggressor unit is suddenly a very credible choice, whereas normally you'd stick to Devastator Squads and Company Vets to shoot your melta and flame spam. As always with them, their biggest problem will be finding a way to be in position when and where Vulkan needs them to be, especially since they can't share a ride with him outside of a Sokar Stormbird or Thunderhawk, which cost too much to be taken seriously in both points and CP (a Stormbird will cost you 4!).
      • 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. Have them get out of a Drop Pod on Turn 1, and assuming they aren't shot off the table before Turn 2, they'll be murdering everything nearby with a vengeance.
  • Adrax Agatone: A Primaris Captain with an AP-1 Flamer and an AP-3 Master-Crafted Thunder Hammer (or, from a Space Wolf or Grey Knight perspective, a master-crafted tempest hammer or nemesis daemon hammer; from a Deathwatch perspective, a one-handed heavy thunder hammer). His cloak reduces all incoming damage by 1 to a minimum of 1, as if he were a Dread (there's an Iron Hands relic that does this and grants +1T, for reference), and his 6" Unto the Anvil aura adds 1 to all wound rolls for Salamanders CORE melee weapons when you charge or intervene (but not when you get charged, and the aura has to apply at the time the roll is made, so he usually has to have charged or intervened himself, even though he doesn't buff himself). His compulsory warlord trait is the flamer hits re-rolling aura, which is good, but has no synergy with his unique aura or his captain aura, making it relatively shabby on him - especially since he only fits in Primaris Transports, and there are no non-Gravis Flamer-heavy Primaris, so there's just no good way to build a strike force around this trait on him.
    • His auras mean he's like an exhortation of rage Chaplain but more reliable, but his Captain aura is still his better one - in other words, that trio of 2-man combi-melta Combat Vet squads we both know you were taking anyway, hanging out with Adrax and carrying your favorite of chainswords, lightning claws, or thunder hammers (depending on whether you want the melee as backup, as your solution for chaff, or as followup for the melta, respectively) will suddenly pose a shockingly credible charge threat when they need to.
      • Or, if you want an incredibly serious melee threat, pair him with Bladeguard Veterans, since they'll all fit in the same transports. As noted in his description, Agatone's main problem will be usually needing to have charged or intervened himself to be close enough to provide his buff to a bunch of MSU like you want.
  • Bray'arth Ashmantle (FW): Pretty solidly nerfed from the ridiculousness of 8th edition, his stats are much closer to that of a Venerable. T7 W8 2+/5++/5+++ and Duty Eternal (enemy attacks suffer -1D, minimum 1) still places him amongst the toughest Dreadnoughts. His weapons didn't emerge un-nerfed either; he has two dreadfire heavy flamers (12" heavy d6 S6 AP-2 D2, auto hits), Burning Wrath (3" Assault 2d6 S4 AP0 D1, auto hits, No longer A Pistol so usable), and dreadfire claws (melee Sx2 (16) AP-4 D4). With WS2+ and A6 (+ Shock Assault), aggressive play will be rewarded. Curiously enough, the rule that used to prevent him from being your Warlord is now gone, although that comes alongside FW's questionable decision to make every FW Character have the same Warlord trait (Inspiring Leader Aura, +1Ld to <Chapter> units within 6"), which doesn't help him at all. This is all for a 220pts price tag, which is pretty reasonable.
    • Other than occupying an HQ slot, it's best to think of him as an Ironclad Dread but better; offensively, he's so close to a dual melee Ironclad as makes no difference, in terms of points efficiency, but defensively, since he's a character with W below 9, there's simply no contest - Bray'Arth is, in every way, easier to deliver to your enemy's face intact than an actual Ironclad.
    • Bray'Arth is an excellent' recipient of the Lord of Fire Warlord Trait - he can't have it himself, but someone else near him can certainly apply it to him.
    • MOVEMENT - He's tough, but not invincible. A Drop Pod or Storm Raven will put him where you want him to be, and should be seen as an investment rather than a tax. Odds are if you waddle him, he won't be doing anything until turn three while taking damage the entire time.
    • TOUGHNESS - It takes about sixteen BS3+ melta shots to kill him. Prime screening units include Company Veterans or some cheap Rhinos. The Salamander Chapter Tactic (AP-1 counts as AP0) and updated Duty Eternal ability have helped ablate losing -2T, but the Fire Shield and Might of Heroes Psychic Powers really help if he's forced to walk.
      • Only in Death Does Duty End will let him fight even if your opponent manages to take him down while Rise from the Ashes will let him potentially get back up and keep fighting. Just have a Techmarine nearby to patch him up.
    • Obviously, Ashmantle is a prime target for Flamecraft if you can get him close enough to use his Dreadfire Heavy Flamers, but that’s not all. Born Protectors will discourage counter-charges, and there's The Crucible of Battle...
  • Pellas Mir'san (FW Legends): The boomer Firstborn Captain of the Salamanders, he's been commanding the 2nd Company for over 150 years. He's identical to a regular Captain, but comes with a combi-flamer, Cinder Edge (melee, S+1, AP-3, D3), Steelsilver (melee, SU, AP0, D1, makes a number of additional attacks equal to the number of enemy models within 1"), and the Master Duellist ability (+2A if an enemy Character is within 1"). Like all FW Characters, his only available Warlord Trait is Inspiring Leader (<Chapter> units within 6" gain +1Ld).
    • For 100pts, he's quite a bargain if you were building an anti-character melee Captain without eating a Chapter Relic or Warlord Trait. If you were willing to spend a Relic, Trait, and extra points though, you can obviously build a better melee Captain.
  • Harath Shen (FW Legends): A Chief Apothecary who's an HQ rather than an Elite. A vanilla chief Apothecary is 90pts, Harath will cost you 120pts for a master-crafted power sword (melee, S+1, AP-3, D2) and Bloodfire (12", pistol 2, S7, AP-3, D2, may gain +1S and +1D but hit rolls of unmodified 1 kill the bearer). Otherwise completely identical to a 9th edition Chief Apothecary.
    • Badly over-costed, especially since his stats aren't any better and he's locked out of the excellent Chief Apothecary Warlord Trait.


  • Melta and Flame: right now, in 9E, multimeltas are the new hotness, undercosted for what they do, while heavy flamers are the opposite, routinely costing the same amount as a heavy bolter while doing less (a heavy flamer delivers 3.5 damage, while a heavy bolter in BS3+ hands delivers 4 damage at the same S and AP) in an environment where no more than one of your units can fire Overwatch a turn. Multimeltas will routinely outperform meltaguns, even while walking and firing. Where it comes up - namely Sternguard - combiflamers will routinely outperform heavy flamers. Unless and until the Blood Angels let you in on their sweet, sweet hand flamers, you should ordinarily focus on melta spam over flamer spam right now.
  • Real Deal MSU: Salamanders are remarkably capable of filling out a large detachment. Your troops should be MSU tac squads with a multimelta in each, while your heavies are MSU devastator with 4 multimeltas or MSU Eradicators with 2 heavy melta rifles and a multimelta (Eradicators carry melta more efficiently, but your Tactic re-roll only applies once across all 8 shots they generally take), and your fast attack (if present) should be multimelta attack bikes. Elites are where it gets interesting, but if you want to keep up the theme, MSU Combat Vets with combimeltas and storm shields. You can easily fill a Battalion with points left over, although a Brigade might be tough at practical points limits.
  • In keeping with the small unit size benefit, look at squads of Eliminators and/or Eradicators. Your re-roll ability allows units that rely on a few powerful shots to do their job. Eliminators hit 83.33% of the time, and their Mortis Rounds hit like a ton of bricks with that full re-roll to wound you offer; Eradicators are your most efficient melta source.
  • The invulnerable smash cap: take your standard issue smash cap, pay a cp to give him both forge master and miraculous constitution, then give him salamander's mantle. Your cap is now being wounded by anything S5 or lower on 6s. Take a librarian with the tome of vel'cona, cast might of heros and drakeskin on him. Now s7 wounds on 6s and s8 wounds on 5s. Laugh as your opponent spends all their shooting trying to take him down. Then have him get back up on a 4+ to keep the crazy train rolling.

Raven Guard, Raptors, and Carcharodons[edit]

Raven Guards Livery.jpg
In the grim darkness of the far future, death comes from the shadows.

Thematically, these guys are THE specialist of covert operations and rapid deployment, striking their enemies before they can react.
On the tabletop, these guys are well-suited to picking off characters, either from long range sniping, mass Jump Pack assaults, or smash captains flipping entire units by themselves, and either way they're tricky to actually land a hit on. Thanks to a wealth of deployment and redeployment options, they will constantly be moving in to attack from multiple directions, and they are one of the few chapters that can reliably deliver Primaris units into close quarters without relying on transports.
If you want your marines to get the jump on the enemy then keep quiet, and stalk the shadows with the Ravens.

Special Rules[edit]

  • Chapter Tactics - Shadow Masters: Your units get the benefit of light cover if they're being shot beyond 18" (i.e. the Stealthy Successor Tactic). If they're INFANTRY and entirely on or within a terrain feature, and they're being shot from more than 12" away, they benefit from dense cover.
    • Of help to long-range attackers of all types, from Scout Snipers to ranged Dreads. One of the best chapter tactics available, as it 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. Note that the less you rely on terrain-hugging infantry, the more you'd be better off as a successor with Stealthy.
    • While it's a nerf from the old -1 to hit (it being restricted to far-away cover), a 2+ save still helps, and your vehicles get cover in the open. It's also worth noting that Vanguard Primaris means that there are now more units with Camo Cloaks, as opposed to just Scouts, and they'll all enjoy that +2 to saves at 18". Turns out that Salamanders don't have a monopoly on infantry that can ignore AP-1.
  • Combat Doctrine - Surgical Strikes: While the Tactical Doctrine is active, all your models add +1 to hit and wound rolls when targeting a character. Unlike most doctrines, this isn't restricting you to any particular method of fighting... though you can typically snipe a character earlier than you can reach it in melee. Of nearly no benefit to your snipers, since their ability to inflict mortal wounds on an unmodified 6+ isn't helped at all by being better at wounding, and especially bad on Eliminators, who are already BS2+.
    • Surely you've noticed the severe lack of synergy between RG tactics and their doctrine, right? Raven Guard are particularly compelling as successors - you lose access to Shrike and need to spend CP to get your hands on the RG relics, but you get to choose any two Successor Tactics, while keeping the RG Doctrine, WL Traits, Psychic Discipline, etc, all of which are much more disposed towards melee murder than the RG tactics are. You can get a lot of work done with Hungry for Battle + Whirlwind of Rage RG successors, in particular - it's just that your doctrine bonus will make you great at murdering characters earlier, rather than waiting until your melee weapons have better AP on them.
    • This rule is an absolute nightmare for opponents running large, monstrous characters. Knights with relics, Greater Daemons, Hive Tyrants, Mortarion, and Magnus were already fire magnets, and this makes the situation far worse for them.
    • Melee you say? A librarian in Phobos armor, Lias Issodon, any model/unit with jump packs or terminator armor can get within 9" of a character by turn 2. If you went first (which you should be with low model count army and RG) Surgical Strikes can be activated turn two, right when your models jump into melee. When using Lias Issodon, the Hungry for Battle successor tactic, or Master of the Vanguard WL trait you can net up to +3" to charges. This is a complex and risky combo, but you can soften up any characters with turn 1 snipers and then decapitate them with turn 2 deep strike charges. The best part is that you don't have to build around this combo, as you can opt out of melee or simply sit back and rely on shooting for a few rounds depending on terrain or any screens you cant clear, such is the versatility of RG. Keep your opponent guessing!!!

Crusade Additions

Secondary Objectives


If White Scars are the masters of speed, Raven Guard are the masters of deployment.

  • False Flight (2 CP): One Raven Guard unit can now shoot and charge after they fall back. There's plenty of utility here, from making a fighting retreat to double-dipping on any charge bonuses you get.
  • Infiltrators (1 CP): At the start of the first battle round, but before the first turn begins, choose an infantry unit and move them. As long as you finish more than 9" from enemy models. Each unit can only be selected for this once per battle. As your turn hasn't begun you can use this multiple times on different units.
    • Best utilized on Jump Infantry, though as Concealed Positions also happens before the first turn, it can also be used to reposition an infiltrating unit.
  • The Raven's Blade (1 CP): Allows you to re-roll all charge rolls against one enemy unit. Useful for removing an important enemy unit by charging several of your melee units into it simultaneously.
  • Strike from the Shadows (1 CP): Lets you place a Raven Guard Infantry unit in ambush, allowing them to deep strike.
    • This is infinitely spammable, which only you have access to of any chapter - White Scars can spam outflank on anything, Space Wolves can spam outflank on their infantry, and Deathwatch can deep strike 1-3 (2 in 2k points games) infantry/biker/dread units, but all of those are inferior to your version. You're the only chapter that can just keep paying CP to deep strike infantry that shouldn't be able to deep strike, like dropping 3 units of Eradicators in your enemy's lap to watch them squirm.
  • Strike from the Skies (1 CP): Start of the Charge phase. One Raven Guard Jump Pack unit can charge even if they advanced and adds 1 to the charge rolls.

Compared to other chapters, the Raven Guard have only a few Stratagems that enhance their damage output, and they are either limited to once per turn or very narrow in scope.

  • Lay Low the Tyrants (1 CP): Use during the melee phase. Pick a Raven Guard Infantry or Biker unit. When they resolve a melee attack against a character that is not a vehicle or a non-vehicle unit with a model that has 4 or more wounds, add 1 to the wound roll. Stacks with Surgical Strikes, giving you +2 to wound against enemy Characters.
  • Vengeance of Istvaan V (1 CP): A Raven Guard unit can reroll all attac