Space Marines and the Big FAQ

April 24, 2018

Yes yes, I know I was supposed to put out the Dark Eldar review but have been going through lists my old lists and got distracted by my first love, Space Marines. Specifically how pure Marine armies have been improved by the new FAQ and beta rules.



The 2 major ways that pure Marines have been "buffed" by the FAQ and beta rules are:


Improved CP count for Battalions & Brigades

Less so for Brigades (still as challenging for Marines to bring) and more for Battalions where 2 HQs and 3 units of Scouts now nets you 5 CP instead of 3. This means elite armies with more expensive troop choices will have more CPs to spend without resorting to allies simply for the access to cheaper units. While all armies technically get more CPs from the change, some might have been struggling to spend all their CPs within 5-6 turns (like the AM one that starts off with 10+ and has a chance to gain more every time you or they themselves use a Stratagem). The more elite armies have generally had trouble getting enough CP to spend without resorting to allies so this will give purists more room in planning a list.


Deepstrike changes

While this affects Marines armies negatively (Grey Knights and Blood Angels more specifically) to a certain extent, having a lack of Turn 1 deepstrike out of the player's deployment zone means that Marine armies once again do not have to resort to cheaper allies to cover their deployment zone to keep out enemy deepstrikers from getting the drop on them on Turn 1. This gives you more points to allocate to an offensive role. 


While BA and GK can no longer drop in front of the enemy on Turn 1 and blast (or charge) away, they still have some tools that allow a select unit or two to do that in the form of Stratagems and Psychic powers. BA's "Forlorn Fury" and "Upon Wings of Fire" lets a unit of Death Company to get 13-18" closer to the enemy before the first turn begins and lets a unit with Jump Packs that start on the table to deep strike anywhere on the board (circumventing the T1 deepstrike limitation) respectively. This still allows them to get into range for first turn charges with 2 units. GK has Gate of Infinity which like UWoF, lets you bring a Strike Squad that starts on the table, into rapid fire range of their Storm bolters from the get go.


White Scars and the Ravenwing (from Dark Angels) each have a stratagem that allows their 14"-moving Biker units to advance and charge in the same turn, giving them a 15-20"+2d6" charge threat range. You can even use Scout Bikes to do the same with another 2" of movement for White Scars (sorry DA players, your Scout Bikes are not Ravenwing). 


Let's be honest though, savvy players would never leave crucial units to be openly shot/charged by deepstriking units on Turn 1 following the previous rules anyway. These changes just mean that Marine players now have to pay less of a tax than before in preventing alpha deepstrikes from happening to their forces.


That said, I'm keen to trying out the above-mentioned strategies to try and get the jump on list that might be shifting away from the deepstrike-protection build that was previously so important. 




Things that could still use improving:

All in all, the FAQ is a slight buff to pure Marine armies though I highly doubt Marines will suddenly jump to the top of the meta (especially with Guilliman's increase in points up to 400).


I feel that the basic Marine (and maybe Scout) is still too costly at 13 and 11 points respectively. A Craftworld Ranger with a sniper rifles comes up to 12 points whereas a Scout with the same loadout costs 15 points. Granted the Scout has a better base armour save (both are 3+ in cover unless the Scout has Camo cloak which costs another 3 points) but the Ranger has an in-built -1 to hit (not counting Alaitoc). That means the Scout is paying an extra 3 points for +1 toughness (+1 Strength really doesn't matter in their main harassment role) and the slightly better board-control infiltration style. At the moment, I think Scouts should be about a base cost of 10 points, and at the most 13 points with their Sniper Rifles. 


The main reason why your basic tactical marine hardly sees play (much less Competitive play) is due to the prohibitive 13 points they cost for their role. That's to sit on an objective and have the option to support the battle with a heavy weapon of choice in a unit of 5 Marines. In the era of a 4 point Guardsman, a 6 point Kabalite Warrior, and a 12 point metal warrior with the exact same stats sans 1" of movement and a 4+ amour save (but that can come back from the dead) that has a weapon that has a better AP, you can see why the basic Space Marine is somewhat overpriced. A +1 to their armour save means 90 Boltgun shots fired at BS3+ will kill 10 Marines and 15 Necron Warriors but out of those 15 warriors, 5 will get back up (5+ Reanimation Protocols) at the start of the Necron player's turn making it somewhat equivalent for that turn. However, the Necron warrior will have every turn thereafter to get back up again on a 5+. This is before we even factor in weapons with any AP value (where Reanimation protocols becomes better as the AP value of a weapon increases compared to the +1 armour save that a Marine gets). So a 13 point Marine is not only not as tough as a Necron Warrior for an additional point cost, their weapons have an AP of 0 compared to the Necron Warrior's Gauss flayer as well. The access to a special and heavy weapon hardly counts when a basic Marine pays full price for the special/heavy weapon. That's why you will notice that Devastators are the basic Marine body of choice when a basic Marine is taken at all. 


I'll be looking forward to giving a few Marine lists I have in mind a try as we all attempt to find our footing on this new ground that's been presented before us.

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