The new Space Marine Codex is on its way and the chapter tactics have been leaked online. If you’ve been anywhere hobby-related on the net recently, you’ll have seen them as gleeful Astartes players post them with joy, while everyone who plays the other factions post them to complain that they’re going to have to wait ages for theirs. Well, I thought I’d review the news today and break down what I think of each chapter tactic. Mainly because I’m a little bit bored, but also because I have some thoughts on each of these as they’re a really nice set of rules for the game. Let’s dive in.
The Smurfs (and Sons of Smurfs – their successor chapters) get a leadership boost which is nice. This, coupled with ATSKNF should mean that losing any of your troops to morale will be a lot less likely. That certainly has a nice thematic feeling to it as the Ultramarines are indeed supposed to be the embodiment of the brave and noble warrior who gives no quarter. But the one that I really like is the fact that they can fire with just a -1 penalty to their ballistic skill after falling back. Anyone looking to tie-up the boys in blue in combat is in for a tough time as they can just pull away and still have around a 50% chance of hitting you with their ranged weapons.
KHHAAANNNN!! These guys are all about speed and they certainly get a killer speed boost thanks to Lightning Assault. An added 2” to your advance may not seem like much, but it’s pretty solid, and given that you can boost your bikes to gain an added 8” this becomes a far greater boon, especially as White Scars armies are likely to be made up of a lot of bike squads. This is how you get Space Marines into combat on turn 1! But what I really like here, is the fact that they essentially retain hit and run (? – they had this before, right? Am I getting confused?). The can fall back from combat and then charge right back in to ensure first strike. Keeps them very much in line with the fluff.
See, now I wanted Salamanders flamers to get a D6+2 wounds or something like that, but instead they have one of the more underwhelming new special rules (in my opinion of course). You can re-roll a single failed to hit AND a single failed to wound roll each time a Salamanders unit shoots or fights. It’s not bad (and as I proof this it’s starting to sound stronger), and I know they talk about the master-crafted weapons of Nocturne but it just doesn’t feel thematic to me. It’s a nice rule to have – that’s a lot of re-rolls in a game, but it doesn’t exactly capture the imagination. Could have done a bit better with this one, I feel.
An interesting one this. On the one hand, I think it’s pretty awesome. No cover bonuses for any of your enemies mean that these guys will terrify the slower units of squishier armies. If you can’t get out of their line of sight, or in their face straight away, these guys will hammer you with their guns. On the other hand, the fact that they can re-roll to wound against buildings is, while certainly thematic, not something that I’d imagine being hugely useful. It feels like it was tacked on to the rule as an afterthought. I don’t know, maybe IF players will make it work but I doubt anyone saw that and thought ‘Ooh! Game changer!’.
A nice defensive tactic this, and simple with it. If your enemy is more than 12” from their Raven Guard target, they’re -1 to their ballistic skill. It’s thematic, in that the Raven Guard take after Corax in being hard to see and harder still to hit, and it will make them more survivable. And, as most RG armies will be thematically filled with jump packs, flyers and even bikes, you can strike from real distance with them and enjoy this rule. It will draw the enemy towards you and then you can leap in and strike them with great speed. Again, this is not a huge game changer, but it’s a nice nod to the fluff and can certainly be very useful.
Re-rolling failed charge rolls. Not exactly a mind blowing change, but I dare say it will have its uses. Thematic. I dunno – there’s really not a huge amount to get excited about, but it fits. Maybe I need to spend a bit more time watching BT armies play to appreciate how this will work for them.
The Flesh Is Week is essentially a 6-up Feel No Pain roll for any Iron Hands unit that suffers a wound. If they lose a wound, there’s a 1-in-6 chance of that being ignored. The mechanical parts of the Iron Warriors Space Marine absorbed the hit and kept the weak fleshy part alive. Thematic and a nice little boon, but I don’t know if perhaps they deserved something more as well. Some sort of little bonus like a +1 to hit when targeting armour or something like that. Anyway, it’s an ok bonus here that fits with the Medusan fluff.
So, those are my thoughts on all of the new chapter tactics. Some big winners, some nicely thematic ones, and a couple of underwhelming though potentially useful options too. But I have to say that what I love about these are that they are simple and easy to use, and they do definitely give each army a personality and a way to play. That’s a great combination and will certainly help to give the armies flavour. So for me, this is a good step in the right direction, and I’m interested to see what the rest of the rules look like when they get leaked/released.
What do you think of the new chapter tactics? Are you looking forward to trying them out? Do any of them give you the fear of facing one of these armies? Leave a comment below and let me know. Onwards!
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