Saturday, September 07, 2013

The Marines have Landed!

The Marines have finally landed! GW's flagship line of miniatures and IP, and unlike previous editions of 40k, they've arrived pretty much in the middle of things rather than the start.

Im not going to get into the value of the fluff and if it makes the book worth the hefty price tag, as thats entirely subjective. Im going to look at the game side of things, crunch the numbers and point out what is likely to be very popular and what isn't.

So- a quick overview in no particular order:
  • Solid, seems well balanced and with thoughtful army design most Chapter Tactics will be able to field competitive armies in most metas.
  • Chapter Tactics are decent-(Except the templars)
  • Key units had prices reduced to reasonable levels- slight increases on other units(hardly noticable though)
  • Flat cost for heavy weapons-Its about damn time!
  • Iron Hand Borg Marines Will be assimilating the tournament scene. Resistance is fewtil.
  • Grav Weapons Are Broken
  • Scouts+Storm Speeders=come back of unloved unit.
  • Centurions-despite a lot of guns and derpy punchy things don't have what it takes.
  • Combat Squad-pretty much every unit has this rule now-only a handful do not. 
Chapter Tactics. Finally, the basic Marine Codex doesnt expect all the Marines to act like the Blue guys- but just with different colored armor and use some different wargear to satisfy fluff. The Chapter Tactics rules are all quite simple, and amusingly enough Ultramarines are the ones with the most complicated.

  1. Tactical Doctrine: Reroll 1's in the shooting phase, Tactical marines reroll all misses.
  1. Assault Doctrine: Re-roll their charge range. Bikes and assault squads get Fleet.
  1. Devastator Doctrine: Re-roll To Hit with Snap Shot~ (including Overwatch shots). Also Devastators have the Relentless special rule unless they disembark from a Transport in their Movement phase.
The trick with these is they are ONE shot abilities that only work for a single turn. However if you build an army with them in mind and use them at a crucial time- they can obviously be game changing. If you have doubts you obviously have not played Warmachine and seen what Feats/Mini-feats can do to turn the tide of a game ;) For Ultras Tactical and Devastator Doctrines seem the most brutal- rerolling to hit rolls on 3 or 4 squads of rapid firing tactical marines-especially the plasma guys- seems highly effective, then followed up with Devastator Doctrine if the opponent tries to charge you- getting to re-roll the snap shots is huge as it double the effectiveness of overwatch. Getting the chance to reposition your Devastators and still shoot with relentless is situational- but could still be a game changer. Bear in mind that theres like 10+ years of habit ingrained that Space marines with heavy weapons cannot move and shoot. People will move their units accordingly. Using the Doctrine then having your Devs step around the corner so they have clear line of sight to squishy troops or vehicles that were previously hidden will be a frequent opportunity until people get used to this rule!

White Scars-
  1. Born in the Saddle- Bikes get +1 to jink saves, auto pass dangerous terrain tests, and get +1s to Hammer of wrath. Damn O.o
  2. Fight on the Move- Hit and Run for everyone- except termies and centurions.

Simple. Yet the real effects of all that take some time to process. Commanders/Chapter Masters both allow Bike squads as troops if they are on a bike. So you can really load up and get a lot of unit benefitting from Born in the Saddle. And bikes as is are very effective for their points cost-with all those bonuses AND Hit & Run for no extra cost- they become very solid troop choices. Fast, tough can get out of Assaults if they get tarpitted, turbo boost to grab objectives. For 7 pts over a Standard marine the benefits seem well worth it. For non bike units-I expect some FAQ work on Fight on the move. Otherwise White Scar Hit & Run Ironclads seem like they will be a lot of fun...

Imperial Fists-
  1. Bolter Drill:re-mll rolls of l made with bolt weapons(except hurricane, and special ammo)
  1. Siege Masters: Devastators(including Centurion) get Tank Hunter, this includes adding 1 to the result when rolling for Building Damage.
Honestly-seems like the Fists got a pretty basic deal- no frills, easy to use. Tank hunter on all heavy weapons would have been just a bit better, rather than Devs only- I mean the same dudes are in the tac squads...

Black Templars
  1. Accept Any Challenge, No Matter the Odds: re-roll misses and get Rending during a Challenge(characters only)
  2. Crusaders: Templars get Crusader and Adamantium Will. And access to the Crusader Squad(Neophytes/Initiates blah blah)

I've always thought the Black Templars were stupid. If this is all they get in 6th edition, they just got handed a Turd Sandwich with a side of Feces Pieces from the Papa Nurgle Taco Truck. Seriously, if they dont get a mini dex with something more than this and the couple of special characters, its the lamest Power armor costume in the line up.

Iron Hands- AKA the Pimp slappin Hand of the Emporer
  1. The Flesh is Weak: Feel No Pain (6+) if theres a better FnP available they can use it.
  2. Machine Empathy: Sit down for this one- ALL character AND vehicles have IT WILL NOT DIE! (WHAT THE BATSHIT!?!?) Oh and Techmarine type dudes get a +1 on blessing of the Omnisiah Rolls.

Break out your tanks, Paint it Black, slap the silver high five of the Iron Hands on that shit. You're looking at the new favorite marine chapter of power gamers everywhere. Self repairing tanks? +1 for tech marines to fix them? And the characters get that shit too? Fuck you Necrons, My space marines get back up bitchez!

Resistance is futile. These borg bastards will assimilate your local LGS tournament scene.

  1. Flamecraft: Reroll your flamery burny stuff. Wounds and pen rolls.
  2. Master Artisans: Each character gets a free Master-crafted upgrade(even if its a wargear item)

Not as OMFGWTFBBQ as the Iron Hands, its just BBQ!! They lost the Melta and thunder hammer reroll from last edition, so a lot of peoples will cry. But I believe the gained a reroll on the Flamestorm if they take a Redeemer....

  1. Strike from the Shadows:Everyone is a Scout except the bulky dudes.
  2. Winged Deliverance:Jump units can hop in the assault AND movement phases.

Simple- and effective in a lot of missions. The Winged Deliverance is cleverly written also- a lot of the rules for Chapter tactics only apply to assault marines. But this one applies to 'Jump Infantry' so Vanguard, Honor guard and characters with jump packs are included in the fun- which is nice since the new Shrike only joins squads that are Jump infantry!

Thats my quick over view of the Chapter Tactics. Its worth noting that Space Marines can Ally with Space Marines! They just have to have different Tactics for each detachment(and ones detachments tactics will NOT apply to the other obviously).

Wargear and Units:

This is going to be a brief sort of review. I dont want to get too deep into exact points costs and all that as this soon after a codex release it's likely to anger the mighty GW ;)

New stuff:
Centurions. Theyre not OMG awesome. No invulnerable save that I could find for them. So, t5 2w dudes that cost 50% more than a termie. Oh- and no teleporter. So they're on foot. They do come with 2 weapons though, combinations of hurricane bolters, TL flamers. TL HB's, and a variety of upgrades depending on if theyre the Assault or Devastator variety. My opinion- useless without a transport. Unless stuffed in Land Raider they're a fire magnet. They can theoretically come in on a 'raven I believe. But thats a lot of points in one basket(and they're very bulky). But- 4 of them and a dradnaught getting dropped off could make a huge distraction(albeit a pricy one!). They do have a wargear upgrade that allows the Sgt to split fire. Marginally useful. I wont be getting any, these arent nearly as awesome as obliterators or broadsides. The lack of an Inv save is a huge hindrance.

Hunter/Stalker tanks-Huge surprise- they roll in with a low points cost! Just a smidge over a Whirlwind. Im predicting the Stalker will be much me prevalent as it puts out a lot more shots. The Hunter have 12” more range, and AP2 but only ROF1. So, its just not going to see as much table time. Oh, and the derp side- theyre AV12 front and side. Frikkin preds and Vindis- the marines front line tanks still get 11 side armor. These AA tanks get 12? Dumb. The Whirlwind should have just gotten a AA missle option...

Grav weapons. They defy the laws of physics, and ergo, are broken. How Broken you ask? More broken than a Tau XV-8's ankle joints or that little tip on a flying base..... Lets just start with the worst- they're AP2. They don't wound off toughness. The roll to wound is the SAME as the targets armor save. So Terminators get wounded on a 2+, Orks on a 6+, IG on a 5+ etc etc. Hello MC's with armor. Hello Characters that were bad mofos. Your armor is now going to kill you and it doesnt matter how tough you are. The only thing that is going to save you is these things are going to cost 5$ a piece on ebay for the forseeable future.

Oh and the Gravgun and cannon- salvo weapons- so they get multiple shots- and whatever they dont kill is likely to be Concussed as well. I think the only unit that can carry the grav cannon are the Centurion Devs-but they get really pricey. So the Grav gun is likely to start replacing Plasma guns as the workhorse for killing AP2 type targets- since there is NO downside to using it other than its slightly less against vehicles than a plasma gun is.

Oh-no discount for Lightning Claws as a pair. If you want 2 of them, you're paying for each one separately now. (except assault termies which have them as default gear)

For some reason, despite every regular missle launcher now getting access to Flakk- Cyclone and Typhoon launchers do not. Stupid.

Theres some relics- theyre alright- getting into the discussion details on those is just academic right now since their value revolves around army build.

So- on to whats changes with Units!

Special Characters-They'll surely be covered to the point of exhaustion in various forums. And I rarely/never use them. So- I'll skip them for now.

Chapter Master-pretty much the same as before. Orbital Bombardment. The wargear list though, like the other 6th ed codexes is much more open. So it feels like you have more options. Not like the crazy options for some of the Eldar combos- but more than the previous SM cookie cutter commanders. They also get an Honor Guard.

Captains are just Jr Chapter masters without the Bombardment. No Honor guard option, but can get a command squad.

Librarians- No divination- I can hear the wailing and lamentations already. Bio, Pyro, Telekinesis, telepathy. Lvl 1 to start, can upgrade to lvl 2.

Chaplians, Master of the Forge- pretty much stay the same.

Techamarines- no longer have a force org slot- you can take one per HQ choice. And a pack of servitors per Techmarine. Without them taking elite slots they might start popping up in armies again.

Tac marines-biggest change to the basic marines, is that tacticals and Devastators now pay the same price and choose their weapons off the same list!! FINALLY! Changes to the squad cost form last edition- is weapons cost more, but there are no more freebie weapons built into the base cost of the squad.

Scouts. Scouts are still unskilled clowns. Fat guardsmen. WS/BS 3. They did get a 2 pt cut in cost. Sadly they still did not get access to special weapons. Still the old HB/ML options. Wolf scouts got clued in- small portable firepower seems very scout like... But one welcome change is that a Scout Squad can now take a Storm Speeder as a dedicated Transport(its actually the only way to get a Storm I think). So, you can take a 10 man squad. Sniper up 5 of them, Combat squad- put the other 5 on a dedicated storm- and even with a full load of upgrades(cloaks-heavy weapon, etc) you're well under 200 pts for a backfield objective camper- and a fast objective grabber. Thats not bad even considering their lack of skill ;) Its also worth noting that the Storm has the Cerberus Launcher- which is now THE bad mofo of 40k flash bangs. It blinds shit off a large blast template has decent range- and on rare occasion might even kill soft targets. Scouts+storms are looking better and better.

Vanguard- Hell yes. They aren't tarded expensive any more. Likely because GW wants to sell piles of those new sprues... But whatever the reason, this is now the most likely Jump unit you will see on the table. The weapon selection isnt as crazy as is was- no relic blades for the whole unit- but you can still T-hammer them all up and with storm shield if you want a point sink ;)

Sternguard-still a solid choice. Probly still see bunches of them running around with shiny new grav combi weapons. As with Tac and Dev squads their heavy weapons choices are the same cost as everyone elses. But-but!!! They can take heavy flamers. Considering that most Sternguard units are pushed out of a drop pod to use combi weapon evil- heavy flamers could be a wicked addition to that load out. Even against 3+ saves, heavy flamers will tally up the wounds if you're clever with your template placement...

Legion of the Damned- Got cheaper by 5 pts, and their ghostie bullets ignore cover. If you want a wall of invulnerable saves to hide behind, theyre still very solid. Not as overpriced as before...

Fast attack options are all pretty much the same- except they added the Storm Talon- which is still and under gunned over-costed joke.

Devastators-as mentioned in the Tac Squad they now get heavy weapons that cost the same as the other guys. This elevates them from just a pack of dudes with bargain basement missle launchers- to highly effective heavy tactical squads. You're also not limited to having to put weapons of the same role in the squad anymore since you have the option to combat squad. You could stick 2 HB's and 2 Lcs in and separate them to keep their fire effective.

The tanks- other than the new guys the tanks are pretty much the same old clankers with the exception of the new additions.  As mentioned previously we'll see lots of the gun variant to deal with fliers, otherwise I doubt too man people get the new tanks.   If the Iron Hand trend catches like I think- SM tanks will get popular and hard to get ahold of.  Much like Missle Launchers were for 5th edition marines ;)

Keep in mind- this review was formed after a very quick read of the codex.  I didn't get it when it hit the shelf at 5 pm yesterday.  I got mine this morning.   So, this got written pretty much as I went through the book and its possible I misread or missed something.  If you see anything like that let me know, I'd rather have a laugh over it and converse than find some stupid troll post or flame attempt ;)

With the potential combinations of new rules, and unit abilities its still going to take a while for all the potential to trickle down.  But some things are obvious already,  others,  like how useful combat squadding for almost everyone will really be with various missions and with differing Chapters.  But time and battles will sort it all out!