Space Marines are pretty much the Warhammer 40,000 army, and for fair reason. They are generally portrayed as noble and honourable warriors (despite the Imperium’s corruption as a whole, but we’re not here to talk about how badly fluff is misinterpreted…), their design is iconic and their rules are pretty forgiving. Being the poster boys they also have a few less savoury connotations, namely that they get all the new models and all the best rules of a release cycle. Though there is a grain of truth there, it is not always the case.
Space Marines | Warhammer 40,000 Tactical Guide
- They have one of the largest model ranges among all the armies of 40k so there’s plenty of variety for building an army, and with an all but guarantee there’s more to come.
- Their rules are decently strong and more forgiving of errors compared to other armies, so they are a good army to use when starting out or looking to dabble in a competitive setting.
- Above average statlines, to the point where they have basically become the average and most other units are compared to them.
- Huge customization via various Supplements and selection of army traits.
- Great buffing characters that are simultaneously decent in combat and strong force multipliers that vastly enhance the output of your units.
- Despite all of their benefits, some units are quite cheap- you won’t be outnumbering a Guard army, but you can definitely have a strong board presence.
- Despite a large model range and options, some are just vastly better than others on paper and in practice, leading to a lot of similar looking armies competitively.
- Even with their good statline there are many, many methods and weapons which are designed to kill Marines. And as they kill Marines well, they’ll kill other units well, meaning they’ll be a common occurrence.
- Using those supplements and rules means books, a single Space Marine army will use at minimum of two books- Codex and Chapter Supplement, with more depending on your army (if you have multiple Chapters or other Allies), and who knows what else that might be released.
- Most units can hold their own without support but many strategies rely on Characters as a lynchpin, so losing them due to poor positioning or certain abilities can make the army feel a lot less effective.
- From a tournament or event perspective, Marines are everywhere, and whilst they may not be the “auto-win” they once were, many gear to face them so you could be up against specifically designed anti-Marine lists quite often in those scenarios.
Here are some key points to remember when reading this Primer, mainly to save it being typed out every time. Don’t forget that this presumes you have the Codex, so things like Bolt/Plasma/Flame/Melta weapons, which are explained in there, won’t be repeated here.
Any of the rules discussed below apply only to ADEPTUS ASTARTES models with the same <CHAPTER> Keyword, so no overlapping or crossing of Auras (no ULTRAMARINES Auras or powers affecting IRON HANDS units, or an IMPERIAL KNIGHT, for example)
Some common shorthand terms found throughout-
- X++ means an invulnerable save
- X+++, or ‘shrug’, ‘Feel No Pain’ or ‘Ignore Damage roll’ depending on how you’re feeling, means it is a dice roll to ignore each point of damage, which is taken after any failed saves.
- Exploding 6s, or ‘6s explode’ essentially translates to ‘An unmodified 6 to Hit does an additional Hit’, so read that as ‘Does 2 Hits instead of 1’. Per the Core Rules, anything that might also happen on a 6 to hit (such as auto-wounding) does not apply to the additional hit, only the original.
- ‘First round of combat’ means any rules that trigger when you Charge, are Charged, or Heroically Intervene.
- ‘Deep Strike’ essentially means the unit can be placed into Reinforcements and arrive more than 9” away from enemy units.
There is a HUGE amount of rules that only affect CORE units now, but likewise there are a HUGE amount of models that have the Keyword, to the point where it’s easier to list what doesn’t –
All your CHARACTERS
All your non-DREADNOUGHT VEHICLES, as well as LEVIATHAN and DEREDEO DREADNOUGHTS (the cost of being super rare in the 41st Millenium)
Certain Chapter Specific units also don’t have them, which will be noted where applicable
As Missions involving Tactical Objectives are currently not part of 9th Edition, those Objectives and any rules related to them are not included below (Goodnight sweet Maelstrom, as flights of Servo-skulls sing thee to thy rest).
Per the latest FAQ, anything from Psychic Awakening is no longer valid, so anything found within those books are not included below.
If your Detachment is Battle-Forged (which will be most armies), you get the following rules-
- Your TROOPS get Objective Secured. You have a lot of durable and flexible Troops so this is a good advantage for Marines over other potential Objective holders.
- Company Command- You can have a max of one Captain and two Lieutenants per Detachment. A fluffy rule that also acts as a balancer of essentially adding CP costs to having multiple Auras or sacrificial Smash Captains
Chapter Tactics- Your “sub-faction” rules that all your models get, barring BEASTS and SERVITORS. You’ve a vast selection here, from the main ones to the custom Successor Traits. One thing to note here is that, technically, it specifically states that if your Chapter does not have a Chapter Tactic (ie from the main list), you must use the Successor Traits. Don’t expect anyone to actually enforce this however, as all it really prohibits is Special Characters and certain Relics.
- Dark Angels: Grim Resolve- Yes you’re a main Codex Chapter now! And with a tasty boost to boot. Ignoring Combat Attrition outright is useful to have, but the kicker is the +1 to hit so long as you’ve not moved this turn, pile ins and consolidations being the exception. Turn, not Round. This means on your opponent’s turn you’ll get a +1 to hit in melee, or with any out of sequence stuff that may occur (except when Overwatching of course), which is a fantastic offensive boost, as well as the inherent advantages of getting a +1 in your turn as well. Whilst there will be times where you’ll need to sacrifice that bonus to move, it’s always handy to have
- White Scars: Lightning Assault- Fall Back and Charge can affect your entire army in some capacity, and can be used in many tricksy ways especially with FLY (to move over units and get at juicier targets), as well as simply just doing it to free up the enemy to be shot by a friendly unit, only to charge back in and finish them off or keep them tied up. Advance and Charge is great for many melee units if they have little or no Shooting as the increased threat range is often worth the loss of a few Pistols or a Grenade. The final benefit of ignoring the -1 to hit with Advancing Assault weapons is a bit more niche but if built around makes a frighteningly fast and effective army.
- Space Wolves: Hunters Unleashed- Another Chapter welcomed to the Main Codex fold! +1 to Hit in the first round of combat is a decent combat boost, making The Rout very reliable on both offense and defense for melee. It works even nicer with your second benefit of everyone getting to Heroically Intervene, making the Wolves a very effective army at the Objective game, as with good positioning noone should be able to move to contest or deny Objectives without fear of heavy reprisal, as well as making charging a single unit that has support nearby a dangerous prospect.
- Imperial Fists: Siege Masters- Your entire army ignoring Light Cover combos nicely with Doctrines, meaning armour saves are pretty dire against them, and all your Bolt weapons getting exploding 6s makes the already vast amount of shots a Marine army can pump out even higher. Don’t forget it works in Overwatch too. Weirdly, if you’re rerolling all hits (ie via a Chapter Master), it’s better to reroll your hits as well in order to “fish” for more 6s and thus more hits. Yup. That’s mathematics.
- Crimson Fists: No Matter the Odds- Similar to their progenitors and getting exploding 6s for their Bolt weapons, but instead of ignoring cover they get a +1 to Hit when shooting any enemy unit that has 5+ more models than your unit (with VEHICLES count as being 5 models for this). This helps your small units become much more accurate against larger units, and this kicks in as the unit gets smaller from casualties too. Using smaller units from the get go will ensure your shots will generally hit the mark against many foes.
- Black Templars: Righteous Zeal- Rerolling Advance rolls is useful to have to get into position or help deny objectives, and rerolling Charge rolls (remember you must reroll both now) makes getting to combat a bit more reliable, be it on foot or from reinforcements. A 5+++ save vs Mortal Wounds is niche but can be quite powerful, as there are many abilities, Stratagems and Powers that revolve around inflicting Mortal Wounds. It’s certainly not the strongest of Chapter Tactics but when you get multiple charges in place or save against an exploding Knight you’ll be happy indeed.
- Blood Angels: Red Thirst- One of us, one of us! Whilst a +1 to Advance and Charge is a solid and consistent bonus, it’s the +1 to Wound in the first round of combat that makes this a doozy of a trait. Most of your Marines will be wounding tanks on 4s, let alone if they have a decent melee weapon, to say nothing of the fine red mist you’ll make of lesser infantry units. You don’t need combat specialists with BA (though they are of course very good), as this has uses even for your basic Marine.
- Flesh Tearers: Fury Within- For when Blood Angels just aren’t angry enough for you. Keeping the +1 to wound portion of the trait is the winner, but they exchange the boosts to Advancing and Charging for an extra point of AP on 6s to wound in Melee. Though a Blood Angel gets there faster, a Flesh Tearer has more chances of punching through armour when they do. And it stacks with Assault Doctrine now!
- Iron Hands: The Flesh is Weak- A 6+++ across your whole army translates to a chunky boost to survivability in game, as even a single damage saved in this way often means an extra wound your opponent needs to do to do to kill a model, or to bringing down a tank (roughly an extra 20% Wounds, as you have to account for the fact that the Damage saved has to be inflicted again and could be saved again). That’s before you account for those VEHICLES counting their remaining Wounds as double for the damage chart meaning they’ll operate at top effectiveness for a very long time.
- Ultramarines: Codex Discipline- +1 Leadership is handy but niche, however being able to Fall Back and Shoot, even with a -1 penalty is fantastic, preventing your heavy firepower units from being shut down by an errant Grot. Even an extra unit of Boltguns can help with cleaning your lines from foes. In the case of your tanks, letting them decide their targets more freely is a great boon- you’d likely be taking the -1 to Hit from Big Guns anyways, so why not decide who you want to shoot? Whilst this won’t help units survive the combat, if they do the enemy will get punished far more than by other Marines.
- Salamanders: Forged in Battle- Ignoring AP -1 Weapons is a great boost in survivability for many units due to the large number of weapons that only have the single pip of AP. Offensively a single reroll to Wound for every unit is solid reliability over the course of the game. To maximise, use your low-shot weapons like Lascannons first where possible so you have the reroll available for that important weapon first, rather than feeling tempted to use it on a weaker weapon, or “saving” it for those weapons later only to not need it.
- Raven Guard: Shadow Masters- Everyone getting Light Cover against shots past 18” is a handy bonus to many units in the first turn or two of the game, letting them stick around longer or cover the distance a bit safer even when dashing between terrain. This is further boosted for your INFANTRY that are entirely on or within terrain (remember Hills and Buildings are not classed as Terrain) and 12” away, imposing Dense Cover as well. Whilst the components are a little limited due to the ranges involved, and offer no offensive power, it’s still a powerful trait that can mess up an opponent’s shooting plans.
- Deathwatch: Xenos Hunters- The last of the “special” Chapters to join the main book. In addition to their previous ability of rerolling 1s to Wound getting a slight improvement as the Battlefield Role is no longer restricted to a list (so Dedicated Transports are now fair game), they also got a fun combat boost, rerolling 1s to hit all the Xenos races in melee. The bit is of course niche, but a handy bonus to have when it crops up
You can create your own Chapter Tactics by choosing any two of the below Tactics, unless you pick Inheritors of the Primarch, which is then the only one you’re allowed to have. Some of these are basically “half” of the main Tactics above, so always compare if you’re looking at those particular Tactics to see if the main traits have another part that may be useful to you.
- Bolter Fusillades- Reroll 1s to hit with Bolt weapons. Allows some units to operate a bit more independently, though not so hot for anything else without a Bolt weapon (obviously). Also you’ll likely be in range of a Captain anyway
- Born Heroes- You become like, 20% Space Wolf, getting their +1 to Hit in melee but only if you Charged. If you want this, just use Space Wolves to get more options for the +1 to Hit, as well as the Heroic Intervention, unless there’s a second trait or different Parent Chapter you really really want.
- Duellists- Melee attacks vs INFANTRY or BIKERS automatically wound on an unmodified 6 to Hit. Helps reduce the number of rolls you need to make, and can help out vs higher Toughness, though the unit types limit it slightly and generally these units are rarely higher than T5, so it won’t have as much benefit as it might appear. Mutually exclusive with Whirlwind of Rage.
- Fearsome Aspect- -1 Ld to enemy units within 3”. If it stacked could be pretty potent, but there’s more universally useful abilities, and with a such a tiny range will rarely be impactful
- Hungry for Battle- Be a Blood Angel without the problems of needing to drink blood! +1” to Advance and Charge is nice and reliable, and will generally have a helpful effect across the army, whether it’s to make combat or to grab an Objective.
- Indomitable- As stubborn as a Dark Angel, though perhaps not as secretive. Auto passing Combat Attrition might not seem all that great, but not needing to worry about it at all is helpful.
- Inheritors of the Primarch- Use one of the First Founding Chapter Tactics described earlier (except the named Successors and Deathwatch). Now this is what you should use if you have your own colour scheme but want to use the main Chapter Tactics, as you’re really a Successor. But as that has a few downsides when it comes to the Chapter Rules discussed later, no one actually does it in a competitive setting.
- Knowledge is Power- Reroll any or all rolls of 1 when Manifesting or Denying Psychic Powers. You’re likely not running enough Librarians to make this worth taking over a buff to the rest of your army.
- Long-range Marksmen- + 3” to all Rapid Fire and Heavy Weapons (but not Flame weapons). It’s not a huge amount for the longer range weaponry, but it’s pretty significant for your plentiful Rapid Fire weapons, as Bolter Discipline kicking in from slightly further away means less moving, or just a slightly better chance of double tapping when you hit half range.
- Master Artisans- Bizarro Salamanders. Reroll a Hit every time these units shoot or fight is a nice reliable bonus.
- Preferred Enemy- Pick a single Xenos Faction, Heretic Astartes, or Chaos Knights, and reroll 1s to hit in melee with them. Fluffy but pass, you have to choose this and write it on your list, so as an all-comers choice you can’t change it based on match up, so in a fair few match ups you’re wasting a Tactic.
- Rapid Assault- Diet White Scars. Ignore the -1 to Hit when Advancing with Assault weapons. This can be powerful if built around (Auto Bolt Rifles for example), just remember you won’t be able charge afterwards so don’t overextend yourself. Useful for closing the gap in the first few turns to go in for the non-advance and charge on turn 3+. Or just take White Scars and do that anyways.
- Scions of the Forge- Your tanks are baby Iron Hands. Double your current wounds for Damage Table purposes, but if you’re looking at running a mechanised army just use Iron Hands for even tougher tanks- unless there’s a Successor Tactic that you really want (and think is better) than army wide 6+++ on top.
- Stalwart- Unmodified 1s and 2s to Wound always fail. It helps your Infantry against Str 8+ weapons… and that’s about it. There’s better ones for survivability.
- Stealthy- Almost as sneaky as the Raven Guard. And this is the one that’s better for surviving. Light Cover when 18”+ away generally keeps your army alive for longer and lets them close the gap in the early part of the game.
- Stoic- The discipline of the Ultramarines, but without the offensive side. +1 Ld is ok but generally not something Marines need, so you can probably skip this.
- Tactical Withdrawal- Less the storm of the White Scars, maybe a bit of a light drizzle. Fall Back and Charge is still a strong ability if built around, and will generally be useful for most of your army, being able to pick and choose combats easier as well is a nice bonus.
- Warded- The witch-hate of the Black Templars without the zeal. The 5+++ vs Mortal Wounds as previously mentioned is quite niche albeit handy when it comes up, and most armies are able to inflict them in some way, although you’re hedging your bets by taking it.
Whirlwind of Rage- In the first round of combat you get exploding 6s. Very interesting if you build around it, and still useful even for your basic units as they’ll be getting Shock Assault as well so you can rip and tear even more in combat. Combos very nicely with Tactical Withdrawal to constantly charge and activate this. Mutually exclusive with Duellists. Can get hilarious if used with a Blood Angel Successor and a Librarian to get triple exploding 6s if the stars align.
Now costing Points rather than CP, this will reduce the size of your army ever so slightly. They also have a reduced range of a single Warlord Trait and Relic now, though the rules themselves are often enough. You can’t double up on the same upgrade, and certain armies can’t have some of them at all, though weirdly you can still make Chapter Masters or such like for armies that have named Characters with those Keywords. Shrug.
Oh how the mighty have (rightfully) fallen, now a hefty points upgrade and only affects a single CORE or CHARACTER unit. Rerolling hits is still very powerful if used on the right unit, and the plethora of CORE units Marines have means you’ll always have uses for this, it’s just not the be all and end all of an entire meta now. DEATHWATCH can’t use them though, as that’s what Watch Masters are for.
Master of the Codex- Get a CP on a 4+ in each of your Command Phases. Decent, though far from the most reliable source of CP. Certainly not a terrible choice if no other traits fit your Character’s playstyle
Angel Artifice- A pretty tasty survivability booster, increase their Sv to 2+, as well as T and W by +1. Can make for exceptionally beefy Characters, if that’s your thing.
Getting an extra Litany and being able to use two of them in a turn provides a nice range of options for the Chaplain to become a solid buffing unit.
Wise Orator- Litanies on a 2+ makes the Chaplain super reliable, and the cheaper Commanding Orator Stratagem is icing on the cake for when you don’t want to take the chance at all.
The Emperor’s Judgement- An odd item with a slew of benefits, preventing rerolls of any Hit, Wound or Damage rolls against the bearer, as well as forcing enemies in 6” to roll two and use the highest for Morale. Quirky bonuses, though it does nothing against modifiers. Might be a fun pick, perhaps not a go to choice however.
Healing a flat 3 Wounds to a damaged vehicle is good, and can cause your opponents to decide if leaving a crippled vehicle alive to focus on other targets is really worth it if you can reliably heal it up, most likely a bracket to boot.
Warden of the Ancients- +1 Strength and Attack for all Dreads in 6” is very cool, though obviously only if you have a bunch of Dreadnoughts that want to be fighting in combat.
Mortis Machina- A super power axe that does additional Mortal Wounds against Vehicles when you wound them. Cool, but you don’t want your Master in combat if you can help it.
Knowing and Denying an additional power is nice, though sadly still being limited to casting two means while you have options, you won’t have access to all of them at the same time.
Psychic Mastery- +1 to manifest Psychic Powers. A decent buff, and as many Marine powers are already reasonably low to cast this helps ensure they go through.
Neural Shroud- 24” range on your Psychic Hood, which translates to +1 to Deny at all times. It’s ok, and you’re denying two powers remember, but there’s better Relics that aren’t as niche.
Healing 2 different units a turn is pretty nice if your opponent is spreading the damage around your army.
Selfless Healer- This combined with the above is why you’re taking him however, flat 3 on healing is solid as it brings virtually anything back from the brink to full health (or near enough), but being able to use Combat Revival every turn for free tips it over the edge. The nonsense of reviving exploded ATVs is gone, but it was generally more viable for its use on your specialist Infantry that will likely be nearer him anyway. One revive pays for the cost of the upgrade and then some. 2 revives is basically paying for the Apothecary as well. Read this as a CP upgrade to make him an extra Warlord, that will save you around 4 CP over the course of the game, as well as give yourself anywhere between 100-300 extra points per game, depending on what you revive.
Acquittal- A super Bolt Pistol that is almost a pocket Lascannon against non-VEHICLE/MONSTER models. Fun, but you won’t be taking it outside of the novelty factor.
Now gets a nifty ability to pick a CORE unit and give them +1 to hit in melee. Nice if you build around it, and always handy for even normal Marines thanks to Shock Assault and Doctrines. BLOOD ANGELS have the Sanguinary Ancient instead, so can’t use this.
Steadfast Example- CORE units within 6” get Objective Secured, or count as two models if they already have it. Great for the spearhead to force the opponents off objectives, or to ensure then when you hold an Objective, it’s even harder to steal. Combine with the Rites of Battle Warlord Trait for ultimate objective holding – who needs Troops!
Pennant of the Fallen- Models can attack twice not just once in melee with this banner. Actually pretty neat for a melee focused army, though remember it’s only improving models that are now dead, and only 50% of the time.
Makes the Champion even more capable in melee with an extra Attack, a -1 to Hit him in melee, rerolling wounds vs enemy CHARACTERS, and a Leadership boost as well…because why not. BLACK TEMPLARS don’t get these as they have the Emperor’s Champion instead.
Martial Exemplar- A 6” Aura of reroll charges. Fantastic if you’re going melee marines
Blade of Triumph- A super power sword with 3s in all it’s stats. A mighty fine melee booster, though remember he’s rerolling wounds against Characters and likely doing that at 3s, and already AP -3 base. The Dmg boost is why you’d take this though. Makes him all but certain to kill other Characters outside of the “Big Boys” – Primarchs, Ghaz, C’tan etc-. Just remember he was already decent at doing that anyways, so it’s questionable if it’s worth the Relic slot.
In 9th there are now sub-categories of Stratagems, essentially giving them a Keyword that has interactions with certain rules. It won’t come up all that often, just something to look out for.
The Marines have a nice spread of useful Stratagems, some better than others and others restricted to certain units but handy nonetheless.
- Death to the Traitors!- Reroll the hit roll against HERETIC ASTARTES in Melee. Niche, but brutal when it comes up on certain units.
- Honour the Chapter- An ASSAULT INTERCESSOR unit fights again at the end of the Phase. Obviously useful if you need to chew through the last remnants of a squad, or use the additional Pile In and Consolidate to tie up stuff, but always remember you must be within Engagement Range already to be able to use this, even if you Charged this turn, so no cheeky extra Pile Ins to other units if you’ve wiped the first unit.
- Fury of the First- +1 to Hit for a TERMINATOR unit for a Shooting or Fight Phase. Great to ensure maximised destruction, or offset minuses that might apply like with a Thunder Hammer.
- Transhuman Physiology- A PRIMARIS unit can only be wounded on an unmodified 4, 5 or 6. Very powerful when there are strong weapons that would normally be wounding on 2s or 3s, or to counteract any bonuses to wound via special rules or Stratagems. If there’s a key unit that needs to live, this goes a long way to ensuring that. Costs 2 CP if there are more than 5 models in the unit.
- Rapid Fire- An INTERCESSOR SQUAD or VETERAN INTERCESSOR SQUAD shoot again at the end of the Shooting Phase. With rerolls nearby you can almost guarantee a crippled if not outright destroyed enemy Infantry unit, and even a hefty dent in their more elite stuff. Note this isn’t INTERCESSORS, so no double tapping with Assault or Heavy Intercessor variants
- Gene-wrought Might- A PRIMARIS unit auto wounds in Melee on an unmodified 6 to Hit. Can be handy against high toughness units, and in general to just remove chances of wound failures against other units. Goes without saying it’s even better if you’ve got Shock Assault or other bonuses active to maximise the number of attacks.
- Unyielding in the Face of the Foe- A MK X GRAVIS unit gets +1 to Armour Saves vs Damage 1 Weapons for a Phase. These units were already beefy, and this makes them all but immune to small arms fire.
- Only In Death Does Duty End- Fight back with a CHARACTER when they are slain, provided they’ve not already attacked this turn. Can tilt a battle back in your favour if they take a pound of flesh before they’re removed.
- Armour of Contempt- Granting a 5+++ vs Mortal Wounds for a VEHICLE when they suffer them and for the rest of the phase is niche but handy to ensure a key tank doesn’t get Smited off the board, or keep one alive from an errant explosion.
- Power of the Machine Spirit- A MACHINE SPIRIT unit acts on their top profile until your next turn. Done in the Command Phase so before Movement, helpful to get them into position as well as hit better. Pricy but these are usually units with lots of guns so can be worth it if your opponent has neglected to finish them off.
- Wisdom of the Ancients- Make a DREADNOUGHT a Captain or a Lieutenant for a phase, letting CORE units in 6” reroll 1s to Hit or 1s to Wound respectively . Useful when needed, and can let you spread out your forces if there’s a Dread nearby to support units out of a character’s Aura.
- Commanding Oratory- A CHAPLAIN auto passes a Litany at the start of any Phase (except the Command Phase), provided they haven’t recited a Litany already, and the Litany in question has not been recited elsewhere. Expensive, but if your battle plan hinges on a Litany the cost outweighs the risk. Also can be used to make Chaplains able to use Litanies from Reinforcements, not something they’d normally be able to do, and can be heavily crucial in some stratagems. 2CP is a small price to pay for a 6” bubble of +2” to Charges from Reinforcements.
- Combat Revival- An APOTHECARY brings back an INFANTRY or non-ATV BIKER model back to life from a unit below Starting Strength within 3” at the end of the Movement Phase. Obviously he needs to be nearby, which can limit your maneuverability for a bit, but bringing someone back can tip the scales in battle, especially if it is model from a powerful unit like Eradicators or Bladeguard.
- Relic of the Chapter- Marines have a lot of nice Relics so being able to get multiples is a good thing. Limited by your game size, but generally taking more than 3 Relics was unnecessary anyways.
- Hero of the Chapter- A non-Warlord CHARACTER in your army gets a Warlord Trait. Much like the Relics, Marines have a number of good Warlord traits across all their books, so this will pretty much be used at least once. As with Relics, you can take this more than once depending on game size, and there is potential for a lot of powerful combos and synergies by spreading Warlord Traits around.
- Hit-and-Run Warfare- A BIKER, LAND SPEEDER or STORM SPEEDER unit gets to Fall Back and Shoot normally this turn. A powerful Stratagem to have as these units often can unload a lot of shooting and don’t like being tied up.
- Hammer of Wrath- For each model in a JUMP PACK unit that finishes within Engagement Range of a single enemy unit, roll D6 and inflict a Mortal Wound for each result that equals or exceeds that enemy unit’s Toughness. Obviously not so helpful against high Toughness units, but great at softening up lighter units, or even Characters
- Skilled Riders- Grant a -1 to Hit for a Shooting Phase on a BIKER, LAND SPEEDER or STORM SPEEDER unit that Advanced last turn. A solid defensive buff to make sure these units that got into position stay there.
- Uncompromising Fire- An INFANTRY unit can Shoot without causing any Action they are doing to fail. A niche Stratagem but very helpful if you have taken Action based Secondaries and want or need to add more firepower on an enemy unit.
- Steady Advance- An INFANTRY unit that made a Normal Move counts as Remaining Stationary. Being able to move and still double tap for Bolter Discipline at long range is a great tool to have to maximise shots, or allowing Heavy weapon equipped units to move into position without sacrificing accuracy.
- Adaptive Strategy- A CORE unit counts all three Combat Doctrines as active for this Battle Round. Whilst this needs your WARLORD to be on the Battlefield, this is an incredibly strong ability that can allow units to make use of mixed weaponry more effectively, shift into a more beneficial Doctrine, or activate a Super Doctrine. Whilst the requirements are reasonably high, the usefulness is just as great.
- Suppression Fire- The Blast weapons on a WHIRLWIND prevent Overwatch and Set to Defend being activated by a unit hit by it, and they must strike after all units from your army to boot. A strong stratagem when used correctly, able to deny potent Overwatch or dug in units, as well as dictating combat order.
- Terror Troops- A REIVER unit turns off Objective Secured of any unit within 3” of it for a Battle Round, and also causes Actions to fail if they finish a Normal, Advance or Charge Move within 3” of an enemy, provided you roll over their Leadership on 2D6. Certainly an interesting Stratagem, and definitely has its uses, though they might be few and far between, and neither of these abilities help Reivers with their other issues.
- Guerilla Tactics- A PHOBOS unit goes into Strategic Reserves if they are more than 6” away from enemy models before they move. Tricksy, this can be useful for late game objective grabs via charging from the board edges, useful for Secondaries like Engage on All Fronts or Deploy Scramblers, or for pulling a unit out of potential danger. Don’t do it turn 5 though, or they’re dead.
- Orbital Bombardment- A once per game, expensive Stratagem that requires your WARLORD to be on the Battlefield. Place a marker anywhere on the battlefield, and in your next Command Phase it essentially explodes doing D3 Mortal Wounds to all units within 6” on a 4+ (with a -1 for CHARACTERS) or D6 Mortal Wounds if you roll a 6+ (so not vs those CHARACTERS). That’s a fair few bits of requirements and randomness involved, however what it is great at doing is dictating your opponents movement, forcing them to abandon an area with smaller units or risk taking a bunch of damage, especially if you’ve softened them up prior to the bomb being dropped. There will be times when it does nothing, and times when it nukes an entire portion of the battlefield. Certainly fun, certainly has uses, but perhaps not every game.
- Auspex Scan- Shooting at Reinforcements when they arrive within 12” with one of your INFANTRY units can be a strong deterrent for combat oriented or short ranged enemy reinforcements, and can heavily cripple the enemy’s battleplans, be it in their own abilities or curbing any ideas of using Strategic Reserve to outflank you. Note this is specifically done in the Reinforcement Step, so anything that happens outside of that such as Da Jump or Veil of Darkness, circumnavigates this.
- Tremor Shells- A THUNDERFIRE CANNON suffers a -1 to Wound, but provided you Hit a unit without FLY or TITANIC, they half their Movement, and take a -2 to any Advance and Charge rolls. This can utterly cripple key enemy units, not just melee units, by restricting their board presence or ability to move onto Objectives.
- Shock and Awe- A SHOCK GRENADE or LAND SPEEDER STORM unit selects a unit within 6”. Until the start of your next turn that unit cannot Overwatch, Set to Defend and also incurs a -1 to hit. Whilst the range is short and the users limited the range of debuffs here are pretty significant and definitely worth keeping in mind if you have any eligible units to use this.
- Assault Launchers- An ASSAULT LAUNCHERS unit picks a non-VEHICLE/MONSTER unit within 9”, and that unit chooses to either take D3 Mortal Wounds, or be unable to Overwatch, Set to Defend and suffer -1 to their Attacks until the end of the turn. Flexible, though with the choice being your opponents and the users of the Stratagem limited, this might not be as useful as it could be.
- Melta Bomb- A MELTA BOMB unit (seeing a theme here with some of these Wargear type Stratagems?) makes a single melee Attack with one of their models vs a VEHICLE unit, but if it hits they take 2D3 Mortal Wounds. Useful to degrade or even finish off a tough Vehicle these units might not otherwise be capable of dealing with. Not something you might build around, but something useful to remember.
- Grav Pulse- A REPULSOR FIELD unit can Fall Back and Shoot normally, or subtract 2 from Charge Rolls against them. Flexible and cheap, this will generally see a lot of use for these units.
- Hellfire Shells- An INFANTRY model with a Heavy Bolter (or one of its Heavy Intercessor variants) can make a single shot that inflicts D3 Mortal Wounds if it hits, or flat 3 against MONSTERS. Another somewhat limited Wargear Stratagem though a little more accessible than others as Heavy Bolters are cheap and generally able to be taken on a fair few units.
- Flakk Missile- An INFANTRY model with a Missile Launcher can inflict 2D3 Mortal Wounds on a AIRCRAFT unit instead of shooting normally, with a +1 to Hit to boot. Quite limited in scope, but handy if you’re running Missiles on your infantry and come up against a plane or two.
- Smokescreen- A SMOKESCREEN unit imposes a -1 to Hit against enemy units that target it for a Shooting Phase. A nice defense buff for a wide variety of units.
The Space Marine Codex contains 6 General Warlord Traits, for any CHARACTER, and 6 Vanguard Warlord Traits for PHOBOS CHARACTERS. There are also Chapter Specific ones, which will be found in their respective Chapter sections.
- Fear Made Manifest- A 6” Aura of -1 Ld and -1 to Combat Attrition tests for enemy units is ok, as Attrition can cause havoc and another minus can really punish those failures. Could be built around with other minuses to really ensure the failure.
- The Imperium’s Sword- Rerolling the charge is nice, the +1 Strength and Attack on the Charge or Intervene is even nicer. Great melee boost if you want a general combat character, and works nicely against any unit type with only minor restrictions.
- Iron Resolve- An extra wound and a 6+++ is handy for survivability, as it roughly translates to 2 extra wounds over the course of the game. Won’t help them against high power units or character killers though, don’t expect to survive one on one with a Knight for example.
- Champion of Humanity- When within Engagement Range of an enemy CHARACTER you get +1 Attack, and +1 To Hit and Wound when fighting a CHARACTER means you’re built for destroying enemy heroes. Combined with a Fist, Hammer or a melee Relic, you’ll generally be hitting and wounding most Characters on 2s often with around 6 attacks, usually enough to reduce most enemy leaders to a fine red mist.
- Storm of Fire- Ranged Weapons within 6” get an extra AP on a 6 to Wound. Useful for weapons that are outside of their particular Doctrine as it doesn’t stack, and one of the more all round useful generalist traits.
- Rites of War- All CORE and CHARACTER units within 6” gain Objective Secured. Obviously useful for your non-Troops (who receive no benefit), and making your Warlord able to stand and steal Objectives from other Characters or elite units is great in a variety of situations.
- Shoot and Fade- A single PHOBOS per Shooting Phase within 6” can Move or Advance after Shooting, at the expense of Charging that turn. Great for repositioning and getting units out of danger. Must have been able to actually Shoot though, so no point using it on a unit that Advanced earlier or otherwise isn’t able to shoot
- Lord of Deceit- Redeploy up to three PHOBOS units before the first turn begins, and can put them into Strategic Reserves for free to boot. Incredibly useful as you can do this after you know who has the first turn, you can deploy aggressively regardless and should you not get the first turn pull the Phobos units back. Contentious whether you can use Concealed Positions alongside this redeploy, as there is no wording saying you can’t, but the Trait states redeploy, whilst Concealed Positions says during Deployment (which is a clearly defined Mission Step). Still pending an FAQ, as whilst there is precedent with other abilities, it hasn’t been confirmed for Marines. If you are able to do this it becomes a phenomenal trait, to the point of auto-taking if you’re using Phobos, though still great if you can’t.
- Master of the Vanguard- 6” Aura of +1” to Movement, Advancing, Fall Back and Charge for PHOBOS units. A great trait if you have plenty of Phobos units to benefit from the even bigger board presence they can give you.
- Stealth Adept- The Warlord cannot be shot at all unless they are the closest unit. Handy if you find yourself out of position, though you shouldn’t really, and there are better traits.
- Target Priority- Give a PHOBOS unit within 3” +1 to Hit with Shooting. A nice buff to a big unit of Phobos marines, though due to their slightly higher cost you’re more likely to be running smaller units so this might not always be an efficient choice.
- Marksmen’s Honours- +1 Damage to any non-Relic, non-Grenade ranged weapons used by the Warlord. On a Phobos Captain makes for a nice D4 Sniper Boltgun, kind of wasted on anyone else.
The general rules for Relics boil down to you need be led by the appropriate WARLORD to get access to them, and you can’t give them to VEHICLES. All Chapters have access to the following Relics.
- The Armour Indomitus- Get +1W, a 2+ Save, and a once per game 3+ Invulnerable for a phase. Nice defensive boost, especially for a Librarian or Lieutenant who could do with the improved save at times.
- The Shield Eternal- An improved Storm/Combat/Relic Shield that grants a 5+++ against all wounds (so a side grade for the Relic Shield). A strong defensive relic which will find use on lots of models.
- Standard of the Emperor Ascendant- A bigger range for the “attack on death” ability of the ANCIENT, as well as letting friendly units reroll Morale checks. Decent enough, but not a go to pick.
- Teeth of Terra- A mighty Chainsword upgrade with a whole plethora of stat boosts and extra attacks. A great melee upgrade on the cheap given Captains come with Chainswords as standard, unless they’re Primaris Captains, because they’re too cool for Chainswords or something.
- The Primarch’s Wrath- An upgraded Boltgun with more shots, and boosted Strength, AP and Damage. Much like the other gun relics, a nice upgrade if there’s nothing else relevant.
- The Burning Blade- A super Power Sword that grants a huge +3 Strength and AP -5. Sadly only 2 Damage, however it’s wounding pretty much any unit barring heavy vehicles on a 3+, and only Invulnerables will really work against it, so despite the low Damage whatever it hits will almost certainly be taking some hurt. A good choice if you’re looking for a melee boost.
- Purgatorus- A souped-up Bolt Pistol with +1 Strength and Damage, and a whopping 3 Shots and -3 AP. Even the range is solid at 18”. A solid pick as it gives some decent shooting punch as well as a pseudo combat boost, what with being a Pistol.
- Reliquary of Gathalamor- A PRIMARIS model causes an 18” bubble of -1 to enemies manifesting Psychic Powers, as well as the chances to cause Mortal Wounds if they fail. Situational but can be quite potent if there’s a lot of Psykers. An interesting second or third pick depending on how the meta changes however, as Chaos of many flavours and Harlequins are often common opponents with plenty of Psykers.
- Bellicos Bolt Rifle- A strong improvement to an Auto Bolt Rifle, with increased shots, Strength and AP. Maybe not a go to relic, but a decent upgrade if none of the other Relics take your fancy.
- Lament- A beefier Stalker Bolt Rifle that with improved Strength, AP, and Damage, and does an automatic Mortal Wound if it successfully wounds. Unfortunately can’t target Characters naturally, limiting its use as an actual sniper weapon.
- Ghostweave Cloak- A PHOBOS CAPTAIN or PHOBOS LIBRARIAN gets an improved Camo Cloak, granting -1 to Hit and the ability to pass through all models when it Moves, Advances or Falls Back. A decent defensive relic, though limited by who can carry it.
- Tome of Malcador- A LIBRARIAN gets an extra power from any Discipline they get access to. Given these all have to be from the same Discipline, and you can still only cast two, you’ll have some greater flexibility, but won’t be able to use them all. Nice if there is a third power you really want in your back pocket though.
- Benediction of Fury- A beatstick upgrade for a Chaplain’s Crozius, with improved Strength AP and Damage, as well as chances to do an additional Mortal Wound. Again a nice upgrade if there’s nothing else taking your interest, or if you’re using the Chaplain as your main beatstick character (looking at you Primaris version on Bike).
- The Honour Vehement- Friendly CORE units in range gain +1 A, but doesn’t stack with Shock Assault. It’s ok, but relies on you being in prolonged combats, which you can likely not worry about. Not a bad choice by any means, but there are better ones.
- The Vox Espirtum- PRIMARIS model gets +3” to their Auras. Great on a Captain of course, but don’t sleep on any other units like Chaplains or Apothecarys. Doesn’t affect Librarian Powers but does apply to Warlord Traits so these can really spread out across your army.
Non-PHOBOS LIBRARIANS only. Powers marked with a * last until the start of your next Psychic Phase.
- Veil of Time* (WC 6)- A friendly unit within 18” can reroll their Advance and Charge rolls, and fight first in combat. A weird blend of buffs as you need to wait a turn to benefit from the Advance buff, though the charge reroll and striking first is good but will only help you if you fail the charge or are still in combat next turn. There are better powers, though it has it’s uses if you just focus on one of the abilities (mainly rerolling Charges)
- Might of Heroes* (WC 6)- A single model gets +1 Strength, Toughness and Attacks. On paper looks amazing for Characters in combat, and you’d be right, but don’t neglect the Toughness bonus on a Vehicle to help them survive heavier firepower.
- Null Zone* (WC 7)- A 6” bubble of removing ALL Invulnerable Saves (so watch out for your own!) and halving enemy Psychic Tests. Immensely strong power offset by the short range, but if the Librarian gets into the right position to use this it can destroy the enemies plan. A great defensive power as well as a lot of melee units rely on a good Invulnerable to survive- turning it off can make them sitting ducks.
- Psychic Scourge (WC 6)- Roll off with an enemy unit within 18” and add your respective Leaderships. Losing does nothing, drawing they take a Mortal Wound, winning makes it D3. Not a guarantee but the generally high Ld of Marines helps tilt the odds. The fact this can also target Characters makes it a nice power to whittle down support elements of the opponents forces.
- Fury of the Ancients (WC 6)- A 18” long, 1mm wide line between the Psyker and a selected enemy model causes a mortal wound to that model’s unit and any other enemy units under the line. Tricky to line up, but a nice spread of mortal wounds when you do. Try to target units further back to use them to “slingshot” the line over anyone in front of them.
- Psychic Fortress* (WC 6)- A 6” Aura of 5++ for all your friendly units. A fantastic defensive buff for an absurdly low cost, whilst the generally decent Armour of Marines means most weapons would bring you down to 5+ anyways, this is great on Vehicles for the plethora of AP -3 and below anti-tank weaponry out there.
PHOBOS LIBRARIANS only. Powers marked with a * last until the start of your next Psychic Phase.
- Shrouding* (WC 6)- A PHOBOS unit in 18” can only be shot at if they are the closest unit or it is from Overwatch. A strong ability to protect key units from retaliation (such as Eliminators) or units that are holding an Objective and have intervening units between them and the enemy.
- Soul Sight* (WC 6)- A PHOBOS unit in 18” can reroll hits when Shooting and ignores cover save boosts. An all round good power, though loses strength on smaller units that Phobos units are usually used in, or if you already have one of these rules (like via Chapter Master or Imperial Fist). Certainly useful on a unit of Eliminators despite their small size making it not “seem” efficient.
- Mind Raid* (WC 6)- An enemy unit in 18” takes a Mortal Wound. If it was a Character roll equal or greater than their Leadership on 3D6 and you gain a CP. Great combination power to weaken enemy leaders and fuel your Stratagems. Of course if there is a key unit that a single Mortal Wound would be significant against (eg degrading a Monster) don’t be afraid to sacrifice the chance for a CP and just do the targeted wound.
- Hallucination* (WC 6)- An enemy unit within 18” suffers -1 to their Ld and -1 to Hit. A solid debuff power.
- Tenebrous Curse* (WC 7)- A non-FLY enemy within 18” takes a Mortal Wound and must then half their Movement and take a -2” on any Advance or Charge rolls. A great tool to shut down a multitude of powerful combat units as well as any unit that might be in a position to grab an Objective in the coming turn.
- Temporal Corridor* (WC 5)- A PHOBOS unit within 6” cannot shoot or fight, and if they aren’t in Engagement Range they can Move or Advance with an automatic 6”. Obviously useful for movement, but don’t overlook the cannot fight aspect- there may be times you want to Charge but not kill something, and this enables this. Also nothing prevents you from Charging with this power, so can be used to tie stuff up or slingshot insanely fast across the battlefield with White Scars especially.
Make sure your Chaplain is in a position to use the Litanies you want to use as they are done at in your Command Phase, so it’s not possible to do on a unit arriving from Reinforcements (outside of Aura-style Litanies and moving into range, or using the Commanding Oratory Stratagem), nor can you move into the range to select them after the fact. All Litanies only affect CORE and CHARACTER units, last until the start of your next Command Phase, and everyone knows Litany of Hate
Litany of Hate- 6” Aura of reroll hits in Melee. Reliable and useful, as you always have this, don’t neglect to use it if combat is imminent.
- Litany of Faith- A 6” Aura of 5+++ vs Mortal Wounds. As with similar abilities discussed above it’s niche, but certainly has its place against a variety of match ups. Useful as a backup Litany, though perhaps not a go to choice.
- Catechism of Fire- A unit in 6” gets +1 to Wound when a model Shoots the closest enemy eligible target to them. Very powerful, though a canny opponent can screen out their own units to protect them. Either use this to help clear those screens easier for the rest of your army, or clear them first and position well to maximise this. Note that this does state model, so you will need to check the closest enemy unit for each individual model in the unit, something to be aware of for your target priority.
- Exhortation of Rage- A unit within 6” gets +1 to Wound in Melee. A great combat booster, though you need to ensure the target is going to be hitting melee soon.
- Mantra of Strength- The Chaplain themselves gets +1 Attack, Strength and Damage in Melee. Makes the basic Chaplain a bit punchier, and can make them pretty terrifying when combined with Relics or Warlord Traits. As it’s a Prayer there’s no guarantee, so something you’ll need to weigh up vs more general unit buffs.
- Recitation of Focus- A unit in 6” gets +1 to Hit when Shooting. A straight accuracy boost with no restrictions, so simply pick a unit with a lot of guns and make the most of your 97% accuracy near a Captain.
- Canticle of Hate- A 6” Aura that gives +2” to Charges and +3” to Pile in and Consolidations (they don’t stack with any other movement enhancing rules). A powerful Aura to help ensure the charge is made and combat movement is maximised. Remember however the unit must be in the Aura range when the move is made, so make sure you always have some of the unit behind to benefit from the boosted Pile In and Consolidation.
The following are available if you have a Space Marine Warlord when playing Matched Play or Grand Tournament Mission, with the usual restrictions (namely no using two from the same category), and you can only take one Space Marine Secondary per game regardless of its category. All of the Objectives below can only be achieved by an ADEPTUS ASTARTES unit, so no Assassins or Inquisitors can score these. Note that, RAW, Chapters with their own unique Secondaries can take a Space Marine one and a Chapter Specific one as well (from different categories of course). Whilst intent is dubious, it’s perfectly within the rules, but it’s worth checking with your gaming group or TO just in case.
Purge the Enemy - Codex Warfare
At the end of the battle, score 1 VP for each enemy unit destroyed by a weapon whilst your army is in its corresponding Doctrine (eg a unit destroyed by a Heavy Weapon whilst in Devastator Doctrine would grant 1 VP, but if destroyed by a Pistol whilst in Tactical would not). Each Doctrine can cap at 5 VP each. As this is whilst your army is in the corresponding Doctrine, not the unit, any Stratagems or other rules that put you in different Doctrines won’t apply, making this an overall tricky Secondary to achieve. If you have a strong combined arms style army and are confident, it’s certainly not a bad choice if other Purge Secondaries aren’t too attractive, but bear in mind that maxing this will be quite difficult, if not outright impossible if your army build doesn’t lend itself well to certain Doctrine types.
Battlefield Supremacy - Shock Tactics
3 VP at the end of the Battle Round if you are controlling 1 or more Objectives that were controlled by an enemy unit at the start of the Battle Round. A decent Objective if your plan is to bully units off Objectives, though there are better and more consistent Secondaries, especially in this category. As this is reliant on your opponent holding an Objective at the start of a Round, and you take control and stay controlling it at the end, there’s a lot of scope for the enemy to remove or deny you in return.
No Mercy, No Respite - Oaths of Moment
At the end of each Battle Round, score VP as follows:
1 VP if any enemy CHARACTERS, VEHICLES or MONSTERS were destroyed this Round,
1 VP if no unit Fell Back or failed Morale this Round,
2 VP if a unit is wholly within 6” of the centre of the battlefield at the end of the Round.
All of these are pretty easy to achieve, and this can regularly score at least 10+ VP a game. Obviously be aware that some armies may not lend themselves well to this (White Scars and Ultramarines giving up parts of their Chapter Tactics should they not Fall Back), but given the ease of scoring the various segments its easy to recoup that 1 VP loss at a later turn if the Fall Back is more important.
Chapter Rules work as follows-
- If your Detachment is one of the First Founding Chapters, you MUST use their below rules.
- If you are a Successor using the Inheritors of the Primarch Trait, you MUST use that specific Chapter’s rules below.
- If you are a Successor that isn’t using Inheritors of the Primarch, you can pick one for the below Chapter’s rules below to use UNLESS you are a known Successor (see that specific Chapter Supplement for lists of these), in which case you MUST use your Founding Chapters rules
When using any of the below Chapter Rules, you get the “Super Doctrine” provided your entire army is the same Chapter, as well as access to their Warlord Traits, Relics and Stratagems if you have any Detachments of them. In addition Chapter Detachments containing Librarians can use the Chapter Discipline instead of any others they have access to (remember you can still normally only use one Discipline).
A slight difference applies to the Black Templars and Deathwatch, as they do not have Successors so only they can get their special rules.
If you are a Successor, you basically count as whatever the below Chapter for rules and keyword purposes, though remember that technically you should be following Successor restrictions ie you only get Special-Issue Wargear Relic unless you use a Stratagem, and you don’t get the Special Characters etc etc. But then you won’t get certain stuff for free so…
Successors that have their own rules in a Supplement (so Crimson Fists and Flesh Tearers) can only use their own Warlord Traits, but can still get access to everything else as normal Successors.
Annnnd finally, it should go without saying that all the rules in the sections below only apply to units from that same Chapter, so for example no, WHITE SCARS powers don’t apply to a SALAMANDER unit- just because I’ve not said it doesn’t mean you can, I’m just trying to write a little less than I already have.
The four standard Special-issue Wargear options are here to save them being repeated half a dozen times.
- Adamantine Mantle- A 5+++. Handy for a Warlord to keep them around a little longer.
- Artificer Armour- A 2+/5++. Good survivability boost for Librarians, Lieutenants or anyone else without an Invulnerable built in.
- Digital Weapons- An extra melee attack that does a Mortal Wound if it hits. There’s better relics if you’re looking at going melee.
- Master-Crafted Weapon- Give a non-Master-Crafted, non-Relic weapon +1 Dmg. Solid offensive boost, though remember most Relic weapons already have higher damage outputs than most normal weapons in addition to other stat boosts, so try to use them first.
If Tactical Doctrine is active, any unit that doesn’t Fall Back or Advance counts as Remaining Stationary this turn. This applies for all rules, like Heavy Weapons or Bolter Discipline. A powerful tool that allows you combine mobility and maximum damage potential, so remember to capitalise on this from turn 2 onwards, be it to get in range, maintain distance, get line of sight, or consolidate board control. An all round great Super Doctrine.
- Adept of the Codex- Every time you spend a CP, roll a D6 to refund it on a 5+. Capped at 1 per Round of course, but more CP is always a good thing. Will always be useful. Calgar has this, further boosting his CP generating rules.
- Master of Strategy- Once per Battle Round, a unit in 6” counts as being in the Tactical Doctrine. There is no timer on this, so this can be done whenever it is most beneficial in a Battle Round, and remember this will of course activate Scions of Guilliman, so it’s always good to do it on a unit that will benefit the most from counting as standing still. Tigurius and Telion have this as your Warlord, reinforcing their “pick a unit” buffing abilities.
- Calm Under Fire- 6” Aura of “Ignore the -1 to Shoot when you Fall Back”. Situational, and obviously useless if you don’t have the Ultramarines Chapter Tactic, but can have its use as a secondary Warlord Trait to maximise your inability to be pinned down. Chronus has this if your Warlord, so any tanks under his control are never going to worry about being tagged.
- Paragon of War- Any unmodified 6s to Wound do a Mortal Wound in addition. Works at range and in melee, so don’t forget any guns or Grenades they might have! Sicarius has this, bumping up his Mortal Wound potential even higher
- Nobility Made Manifest- Infantry and Bikes within 6” can Heroically Intervene. Makes your battleline pretty scary for anyone as that’ll be a lot of attacks coming at them, as well potentially blocking any Pile In/Consolidation tricks they may want to do. And then you fall back and shoot them anyways! Situational, but powerful against some armies. Combos very nicely with Calm Under Fire. Bobby G runs this as your Warlord, making charging near him even scarier as all his warriors effectively countercharge you.
- Warden of Macragge- 6” Heroic Intervene for the Character. It’s ok, but there’s better ones. Cassius has this, cos he just wants to smash face.
Anything marked with an * is Special-issue Wargear, meaning a Successor can take these Relics without needing to use the Honoured by Macragge Stratagem. You know, if you play by the rules.
- Armour of Konor- Terminator upgrade, giving a 4++, which is handy for a Librarian and that’s it, but more importantly halves all Damage (rounding up), which is a pretty potent defensive buff.
- Helm of Censure- The bearer rerolls 1s to Hit and Wound, and adds +1 to Hit and Wound against HERETIC ASTARTES. Rerolls are solid given the changes to Auras, though the bonuses against Chaos Marines are quite niche,
- Soldier’s Blade- A buffed up power sword that also can be taken in place of a Combat Knife (handy for the Phobos Lieutenant). Decent, though the Burning Blade is better if you really want a Sword upgrade.
- Tarentian Cloak- A 5++ and healing D3 wounds in your Movement Phase makes this pretty good for a Librarian to give them an Invulnerable and offset any potential Perils damage.
- The Sanctic Halo- Captain or Chapter Master only. A 3++ that also lets you deny a power? Great.
- The Standard of Macragge Inviolate- Super banner that gives you +1 Attack for CORE units in 6”, and auto pass Morale in 12”. Actually pretty good as not only are you already not too concerned about being tagged, you can punish the enemy with more attacks should they try.
- Vengeance of Ultramar- A Storm Bolter with double shots and reroll Wounds vs non-Vehicles. That’s a lot of reliable dakka in Tactical Doctrine (remember Bolter Discipline!)
- Hellfury Bolts*- A bolt weapon can use these to do a single shot that does a Mortal Wound if it hits. Handy to plink off a wound, but won’t be a go to choice.
- Reliquary of Vengeance*- A once per game 6” Aura that gives +1 Attack to CORE and CHARACTERS for a Fight phase. It’s ok, though if you want melee Ultramarines take the Standard Inviolate to have the +1 Attack all the time.
- Seal of Oath*- First Battle Round, pick an enemy unit, and the bearer gets a 6” Aura of reroll Hits and Wounds for CORE and CHARACTERS vs that unit. Amazing if your opponent has a key unit that just needs to die, be it a melee mob, a Knight, a Primarch, Terminator blob, whatever. Less useful if there isn’t a priority target, but still a great flexible choice.
- Sunwrath Pistol*– An always overcharged Plasma Pistol that doesn’t kill you and makes an extra shot. Quite tasty actually, especially if you’re expecting to get stuck in and use it often.
- Martial Precision- One attack in the Shooting Phase automatically hits. Handy when you just want that Lascannon to hit.
- Vengeance for Calth- Reroll hits and wounds vs Word Bearers in melee. Fluffy but stupidly niche, and it’s not like Word Bearers needed even more help in being rubbish.
- Inspiring Leader- Increase the range of CAPTAIN, CHAPTER MASTER or LIEUTENANT Auras by 3” for a phase to a maximum of 9” (so no stacking with The Vox Espiritum). Great if you’ve spread out your forces, needs to forward plan it but effective to maximise board control.
- Cycle of War- Provided your Warlord is alive, and the Assault Doctrine was active in the previous Battle Round, you revert back to Devastator. Basically this allows you to go back to Devastator Doctrine in Turn 4 at the earliest, thus letting you get another turn of Tactical Doctrine (and so Scions of Guilliman) in the final turn of the game. Niche, but handy if you can plan ahead for it.
- Rapid Redeployment- Before First Turn begins, redeploy up to three Ultramarines units. Anything to allow redeploys is a powerful tactical ability, allowing you to correct a mistake in deployment, bait an enemies deployment, to get better line of sight, or just to play mind games.
- Sons of Guilliman- An INFANTRY or BIKER unit can reroll 1s when Shooting or Fighting for that Phase. If they’re Troops they get to reroll all hits instead. Handy tool if you have a unit out of reroll range.
- Avenge the Fallen- If an Ultramarine unit is destroyed, your entire army can reroll 1s to hit against the unit that killed it. Pretty powerful, though you’ve already got access to a bunch of rerolls, but can help out if your forces are spread and your opponent gets the killing blow with a powerful unit of theirs.
- Courage and Honour!- Your army gets +1 Leadership for a Morale Phase. If you’ve got multiple morale checks to make this can be useful, but it’s pretty niche.
- Fall Back and Re-engage- Lets a unit Fall Back, Shoot and Charge without penalty. Cheaper CP cost if you’ve got the Ultramarine Tactic, and removes the inbuilt penalty. Powerful ability, as means a key unit will always be able to do something and is difficult to pin down.
- Defensive Focus- When an Ultramarines unit is charged, three other units within 6” can Overwatch the charger (though not the target, you’ll need to use Fire Overwatch for them). For when you just can’t be bothered to deal with a horde of Boyz in melee. Makes assaulting an Ultramarine battleline even more tricky than it already was.
- Squad Doctrines- An Infantry or Biker unit can choose any of the Doctrines to be active at the start of their Movement Phase instead of the current one. Great tool if you know a charge is about to happen, you want to have Scions active on a unit, or need the extra AP on a Devastator unit.
- Tactical Expertise- Tactical Doctrine gets an extra AP on an unmodified 6 to Wound. As it’s army wide, if you’ve built around Rapid Fire and Assault weapons this can stack the AP up to ludicrous levels, though it’s matchup dependent as you won’t even need it against some armies.
- Exemplar of the Chapter- Non-named Warlord gets a second Warlord Trait that must be an Ultramarines Trait. Pretty good actually as the Ultramarines have a good spread of army buffing Warlord traits, meaning you can double down on the support element, have a nicely balanced one of personal buffing and army buffing, or make a melee powerhouse with something like Paragon of War and Champion of Humanity.
- Honoured Sergeant- Lets a unit ‘Sergeant’ have a Master-crafted Weapon, Digital Weapons, Hellfury Bolts or a Sunwrath Pistol. None of these are amazing choices for a Sergeant that won’t better benefit a Character, so you can probably not worry about this one.
- Honoured by Macragge- A Successor Chapter can take a single non-Special-issue Relic. Remember all this does is give you the option to take it, it doesn’t give you another Relic included in its CP cost.
A good spread of utility powers and some potentially devastating offensive powers, if you roll lucky.
Powers marked with a * last until the start of your next Psychic Phase.
- Precognition*(WC 5)- The Librarian gets a 5++ and is -1 to Hit him. A good defensive power, though really you want the Librarian to be doing other effects.
- Scryer’s (WC 7)- Straight up gain a CP. Fantastic. Alternatively, one Ultramarines unit within 18” can reroll a single Hit, wound or Damage roll this turn. Also pretty good, as it’s basically a second Command Reroll this turn for a unit.
- Telepathic Assault (WC7)- A visible enemy unit within 24” takes Mortal Wounds equal to 2D6+2 minus their Ld. If you roll real high this has the potential to oneshot a lot of supporting Characters. If you roll average you might do a Mortal Wound to a unit. Generally you’re looking at doing about 2 Mortal Wounds to a unit, on average. It’s ok, though pricey to cast and it’s already pretty unreliable.
- Storm of the Emperor’s Wrath (WC 6)- Roll a D6 for each model in the nearest visible enemy unit within 18”, and they take a Mortal Wound for each 6. Powerful if a horde is the closest, next to useless if its a small unit or something like a Monster.
- Psychic Shackles (WC 6)*- A visible enemy unit within 18” halves their Move and is -1 to their Advance and Charge Rolls. Doesn’t stack with Tenebrous Curse but does affect FLY units, and can hamper a melee unit pretty significantly. An all round useful utility spell.
- Empyric Channelling (WC 5)- Another Ultramarines Librarian within 12” gets +2 to their manifesting Powers and can’t peril on a double 1 or 6 (though can via other means like enemy abilities). If you’re running two Librarians there could be some use in this, though you’ll have to weigh up if sacrificing another power might be worth to maybe cast this and then maybe cast another power (and no you can’t cast it on yourself).
During the Assault Doctrine, units that charge or Heroically Intervened get +1 Damage to their melee attacks for that combat. A great all-round melee buff as it makes even your basic Marines have a couple of AP-1 Damage 2 attacks, let alone what it does to heavier melee weapons. Obviously even better if you can continue charging in subsequent rounds (Fall Back and Charge via Chapter Tactics comes to mind…)
- Deadly Hunter- A single enemy unit takes a single Mortal Wound on a 2+ when you finish a charge within 1”. It’s ok if you can ensure it’s continuously activated, though might not be a go to choice.
- Chogorian Storm- +D3 Attacks when you Charge or Heroically Intervene. Get even more choppy when combined with Devastating Charge, obviously you’re gonna want a combat load out with this but can build up to a ludicrous amount of attacks with other Attack bonuses. Compare with Imperium’s Sword, where you’re sacrificing the reroll charges and +1 Strength for the chance of extra attacks, so it’s up to you if you like consistency or to gamble.
- Trophy Taker- A permanent +1 Attack for every CHARACTER the Warlord slays. It’s cool, but most armies tend to have around 2-3 Characters, of which your Warlord might get to 1, maybe 2. At that point that Chogarian Storm does the same at minimum, or if you’re set on character hunting go for Champion of Humanity. Unless you’re Kor’sarro Khan, who has to have this.
- Master Rider- BIKER only, they get reroll charges as well as -1 to Hit them provided they Advanced in the preceding Movement Phase. The reroll charge is always nice, and the -1 applies to both Shooting and Combat and lasts until your next Movement Phase so provides a solid defensive buff. A weird blend, but a good one.
- Hunter’s Instincts- +1 to Hit and +1 to Wound vs MONSTERS and VEHICLES. Works with shooting too which is kind of nifty, though as Marine Characters generally have access to stronger melee than shooting that’s where you’ll be better off utilising it. Does make a Scars Captain with a decent melee weapon a proper can-opener once the Assault Doctrine is active and you can get charges off
- Master of Snares- Units without a minimum move (ie pretty much any AIRCRAFT) cannot Fall Back on a 4+ if in Engagement Range of the Warlord. An amazing trait, despite it being 50/50, as if he’s in the thick of fighting it means he and any of his buddies can potentially be safe from shooting this turn, only to Fall Back and Charge in again on your next turn. Has the potential to utterly cripple an opponent’s gameplan.
Anything marked with an * is Special-issue Wargear, meaning a Successor can take these Relics without needing to use the Gift of the Khans Stratagem. You know, if you’re following the rules.
- Banner of the Eagle- Your ANCIENT now gives +1 Strength to CORE units in 6”. Solid combat buff, means you’ll be wounding most other infantry on 3s if you weren’t already, and helps your Characters edge out in combat if they aren’t already rocking high Strength weapons.
- Glaive of Vengeance- Only for a Kahn on Bike, a mighty x2 Str with Ap -3 and Dmg D3. A decent offensive buff, though sadly limited to one unit (that can’t be taken by Successors either). There’s generally better and easier to obtain weapons, and D3 Damage can be swingy at the worst times.
- Mantle of the Stormseer- +1 to cast Stormspeaking powers. Given those powers are really good and some strategies can utterly hinge on them going off, a +1 is great.
- Plume of the Plainsrunner- +1 to Advance and Charge rolls for INFANTRY 6” near you. Fantastic speed buff, the Charge bonus is key here but the Advance is nice too for positioning. Also if running pure White Scars read this as +3” to your Charge rolls (minimum +2” on due to Advancing and +1” on the Charge itself).
- Scimitar of the Great Khan- Replacing a Power Sword (normal or Master-crafted) or a Relic Blade, you essentially get a Master-crafted Power Sword that becomes Dmg 4 on an unmodified 6 to Wound. So yes Dmg 5 with Devastating Charge. A great offensive boost for a bog standard character (just replace a Power Sword as its the cheapest option)
- The Hunter’s Eye- In the Shooting Phase pick a unit within 6”, they ignore cover save bonuses this turn. It’s ok, obviously use this on a unit with lots of dakka, can be useful if your opponent has dug in units, but the limit of one friendly unit a turn is a downside.
- Wrath of the Heavens- Super Bike with a 16” move and the ability to jump over units and terrain in the Movement Phase only (so no sick jumps when Charging). Good to get into position or hopping over screens, though being able to do that by himself will of course leave him by his lonesome so don’t throw him away just because you can.
- Equis-Pattern Bolt Pistol*- A revolver Bolt Pistol with 5 shots and an extra AP. Decent enough.
- Cyber-Eagle Helm*- A 6” Aura that lets CORE units hit on 5+ to Hit when Overwatching. Obviously only one of those units can do it, so it’s pretty niche.
- Headtaker’s Trophies*- Enemies within 6” are -1 Ld. Fine, if you’re going for that but as with Leadership debuffs mentioned previously if you’re within 6” chances are you’re about to inflict a bunch of casualties anyways that a -1 probably won’t make much difference.
- Stormwrath Bolts*-A bolt weapon you choose becomes 1 shot but also Str 7 -1 AP. Also becomes Damage D6 against MONSTERS. Can be hilarious if you come up against Tyranids or Daemon Princes a lot, but generally this can be passed.
- Born in the Saddle- A BIKER unit can shoot normally after Advancing, letting you not only close the gap or get round Line of Sight blocking to get the shot. Even better for pure Scars as then you can Charge afterwards as well.
- Butchered Quarry- When someone Falls Back from one of your INFANTRY or BIKER units, provided your unit isn’t within 1” of another enemy unit, each model within 1” they can make a single melee attack before the Fall Back is completed. If they get away your unit then gets to move 3” closer to them (but not into 1” of any enemy units). A pretty solid ability to make a damaged unit think twice about falling back, especially with one of your melee units. Fun to combine with Cut Them Down for two ‘attacks’ on Fall Back (just do that one first due to order of operations in the wording of the Stratagems)
- Wind-swift- One of your units can make an Advance Move after making a Normal Move or Falls Back, and you cannot Shoot, Charge or cast powers. Expensive but can be useful to get into position, onto Objectives, or get a Transport in super close to unleash it’s cargo next turn
- Ride Hard, Ride Fast- After Advancing, one of your units gets -1 to Hit vs ranged attacks. Cheap and great survivability buff, useful on any of your units when you need to use it.
- Lightning Debarkation- A Non-Flyer Battlefield Role TRANSPORT can let units inside it disembark after it has moved, though those units cannot charge that turn. Can still move, cast and shoot though, so great to get into position, round terrain, threaten screened units or set up other such combos such as Null Zone.
- Hunter’s Fusillade- After a unit Advances, any Heavy and Rapid Fire Weapons count as Assault instead. If running White Scars or Rapid Assault Successors to ignore the -1 Penalty on Advance, this makes any of your units able to get in range, ignore LoS blockers, or bypass Look Out Sir restrictions, but even without shooting with a minus can be better than not shooting at all.
- Chogarian Thunderbolts- After a BIKER unit finishes a charge, roll a D6 for each model within 1” of an enemy unit, and that enemy unit takes a Mortal Wound on a 6. Weirdly the giant ceramite war machine is less likely to do a Mortal Wound on impact compared to a Jump Pack. It’s ok, and there’s usually better uses of a CP.
- A Mighty Trophy- If the enemy Warlord is slain in melee, all your units auto pass morale for the rest of the game. Pretty niche, though if you get it off early enough can be helpful to just not worry about morale all game. Overall meh though.
- Fierce Rivalries- At the start of your Charge Phase, the first unit that declares a Charge rolls 3D6 and discards one. Great for ensuring a unit makes the Charge, be it normally or from Reinforcements
- Strike for the Heart- Consolidate 3+D3” or 6+D6” if your Mv is 10”+. Amazing utility with this, letting you encircle a foe to stop them from fleeing (or force them to use Desperate Breakout), use it to tie up more units, or just in general to increase the pressure on the opponent’s battlelines. Remember the core Consolidation rules still apply so you’ll still have to end closer to the nearest enemy models.
- Feinting Withdrawal- Fall Back and Shoot. Speaks for itself in how useful it can be. If you aren’t a pure White Scar you won’t be able to charge afterwards as well, but even without that this is a great thing to have in your toolkit.
- Encirclement- A unit can outflank instead of deploying normal, arriving from Reinforcements wholly within 6” of any battlefield edge. Better than normal Strategic Reserves by nature of its CP cost per unit rather than combined Power Level, and no restrictions on which board edge you arrive from.
- The Eternal Hunt- Assault Doctrine gets an extra AP on an unmodified 6 to Wound. Army wide so always useful as everyone can fight in melee to some degree, though as always it’s matchup dependent (you likely won’t need it vs Orks, but it’s great against other Marines for example)
- Tempered by Wisdom- Non-named Warlord gets a second Warlord Trait that must be a White Scar Trait. Allows you to make some frightening combat Characters. Why choose between Champion of Humanity and Chogarian Storm when you can just have both? Or give Master of Snares to someone leading the charge on top of whatever else they have.
- Khan’s Champion- Lets a unit ‘Sergeant’ have a Master-crafted Weapon, Digital Weapons, Headtaker’s Trophies or Stormwrath Bolts. Generally these are better on a Character, though any Sergeant with a Master-crafted Thunder Hammer and Assault Doctrine can be a terrible surprise on the charge.
- Gift of the Khan- A Successor Chapter can take a single non-Special-issue Relic. Remember all this does is give you the option to take it, it doesn’t give you another Relic included in its CP cost.
Whilst the offensive powers are fun, if a little unreliable, the rest of the powers are fantastic, with a great selection of both buffing and debuffing powers that helps dictate the flow of charges and combat, vital for a White Scars army.
Powers marked with a * last until the start of your next Psychic Phase.
- Blasting Gale (WC 7)*- A visible enemy unit within 18” cannot Advance and rolls a D6 less when they charge. A powerful ability that all but guarantees you, not your foe, gets the charge when it comes to their melee units.
- Lightning Call (WC 7)- The closest enemy unit in 18” takes D3 Mortal Wounds, then if not destroyed you roll a D6, doing another Mortal Wound on a 4+, then if still not killed roll again and do another on a 5+, then once more if not killed they take a final one on a 6. A potentially devastating power, but quite limited. It’s a high casting value, quite random, and as it’s closest enemy unit, not closest visible, a canny opponent can have a sacrificial unit out of line of sight to absorb the lightning (though vice versa you can use it to “Smite” over terrain).
- Ride the Winds* (WC 6)- A White Scars unit within 12” gets +2 to Advance and Charge Rolls. More useful for the Charging as you effectively need to wait a turn to get the bonus to the Advance, but useful if you want to plan ahead. The Charge bonus alone is well worth it though.
- Storm-wreathed* (WC 6)- A friendly unit within 12” can’t be Overwatched, and when they finish a Charge roll a D6 for each model that is within 1” of the enemy unit, doing a Mortal Wound to the enemy on a 6. The Overwatch prevention alone is good to ensure they make the lines unscathed against certain units, the Mortal Wound chance is just a neat bonus on top. Not as much of a go to power as it was, but useful to have as a spare if running multiple Librarians.
- Spirits of Chogoris* (WC 6)- A visible enemy unit within 18” is at -1 Ld and -1 to Hit. Great power for a cheap casting cost. Almost a must take due to the general strength of negative modifiers.
- Eye of the Storm (WC 6)- All enemy units within 12” take a Mortal Wound on a 4+ (3+ if they FLY). Fun, but overall not nearly as good as the buffing powers.
Whilst Tactical Doctrine is up, units get +1 to Hit and +1 to Wound vs CHARACTERS. Obviously great with Snipers, but given this works in melee too it can make for a nasty surprise when combined with units arriving from Reinforcements. Goes without saying that Knights, Tyranids and Daemons should be very afraid of Raven Guard given many of their Characters are targettable.
- Shadowmaster- Although not as amazing as it once was, not being Overwatched is handy to ensure he survives units that have particularly nasty overwatch, or if the character is leading the charge of his friends, though best hope he makes it in. Shrike is the sneakiest boy, and so this is his Trait.
- Master of Ambush- An INFANTRY Warlord and another INFANTRY unit (not CENTURIONS) can redeploy more than 9” away from the enemy deployment zone and enemy models. This is done before the first turn begins so this is great for getting into an alpha strike position, baiting out the enemy, refusing a flank and other such strategies. This will generally always be useful regardless of match up.
- Swift and Deadly- A 6” Aura of Advance and Charge for CORE and CHARACTERS, great for getting into position or catching a unit by surprise. If you build around combat Raven Guard this just makes them all the better at it.
- Master of Vigilance- Unmodified rolls of 6 to Hit in melee do a Mortal Wound in addition to normal damage. Worse than the Ultramarines version as you don’t get to shoot and do it. Still decent, but there’s better combat buffs (such as the three above that help you get there quicker or unharmed).
- Feigned Flight- The Warlord can Fall Back, Shoot and Charge, and move over all models and terrain when they do so. Pretty decent for an assassin type Character to dictate who they go after.
- Echo of the Ravenspire- Once per game, provided they are more than 6” away from enemy models at the end of your Movement Phase, the Warlord can disappear from the board, reappearing more than 9” at the end of your following Movement Phase. Could be useful, but as it is the following turn your opponent can counter fairly easily to save characters or key units, or screen out any objectives you might want to nab. There’s generally more useful traits.
Anything marked with an * is Special-issue Wargear, meaning a Successor can take these Relics without needing to use the Token of Brotherhood Stratagem. Because who needs rules.
- Ex Tenebris- A super sniper bolt gun that replaces the various sniper boltguns (Instigator, Stalker or Occulus). Lots of shots, decent AP and Damage, ignoring Look Out Sir!, cover save bonuses, +1 to Hit – an all round amazing shooting Relic. Put on any Character you can and go to town on any enemy Characters that show their heads.
- Oppressor’s End- Do you like +1 Strength? +1 Attack? -2 AP and Dmg 3 vs CHARACTERS?! Then you’ll love this! Unless you are literally any Character other than a Phobos Captain or Reiver Lieutenant, in which case you can’t take this because apparently everyone else forgot how to bring a knife with them to battle. Having said that, this is pretty great on a Phobos Captain as it offsets their main weakness of having no combat punch.
- Raven’s Fury- Super Jump Pack that lets you Advance and Charge, reroll Charges and give a 50/50 chance of doing a Mortal Wound on the way in. Great
- The Armour of Shadows- Ignore -1 AP weapons, and never be hit on better than a 4+. Solid defensive relic.
- The Ebonclaws- A super Pair of Lightning Claws with -3 AP and D3 Damage. Nice.
- The Raven Skull of Korvaad- Once per turn (so that’s yours and your opponents remember) the bearer can reroll a single hit, wound or damage roll. On top of that, if they’re destroyed your entire army gets +1 to Hit against the unit that did the deed for the rest of the game. Whilst not the most flashy of relics, this is essentially a free CP reroll every turn for the Character, so provided you put it on someone that can make the most of it, this can stack up nicely. The death thing is obviously not something you want to have to utilise, but it’s a fun little “how dare you” if it happens.
- Korvidari Bolts*- A bolt weapon can use these to do a single shot with +6” Range and ignoring line of sight. Good on a Phobos Captain who only has one shot anyways, and now no one can hide from him!
- Shadowmaster Cloak*- A 3++ if you’re wholly on/in a terrain feature (remember not Hills or Buildings). Nice, provided you stick to the shadows. Like a Raven Guard would!
- Shard of Isstvan*- A flat +1 Attack to the wielder is good. Auto passing Morale in 6” is a nice bonus on top.
- Silentus Pistol*- One of the better Special-issue Pistols, with 2 shots at Strength 5 -2 AP and Dmg 2. Targeting Characters and +1 to Hit just make it even nicer.
- Infiltrators- At the start of the first Battle Round, but before the first turn, an INFANTRY unit can Move as if it were your Movement Phase (so feel free to Advance), you just have to end the move more than 9” away from enemy units. Useful for pressing the attack if you have the first turn, or pulling out of an exposed position if you don’t. Always useful, though not CP efficient to redeploy many units so don’t overextend.
- The Raven’s Blade- At the start of your Charge phase, pick an enemy unit. If a unit declares a charge on that selected unit only, you can reroll the dice. Great for a key target and many of your own, especially if arriving from Reinforcements, though be wary of staggered battlelines- if it’s impossible to make a charge on a unit without having to declare on one of their friends next to them, this will be wasted.
- Stranglehold- Before turn 1 begins, provided you have any SCOUTS or PHOBOS units, you can use this to force any Stratagems your opponent uses in the first Battle Round to cost +1 CP or not be used at all on a D6 of 5+ (roll each time a Stratagem is used). Might not come up at all, might be utterly crippling. The threat of it alone can be a potent tool, potentially making opponents think twice about using Stratagems, especially if they are lower due to pregame expenses.
- False Flight- Fall Back Shoot and Charge. Expensive but powerful, especially on a unit that can do both equally well like Terminators or Dreadnoughts.
- Lay Low the Tyrants- In the Fight Phase an INFANTRY or BIKER unit gets +1 to Wound vs non-VEHICLE CHARACTERS or units with any models with 4+ Wounds. A strong option to have, though limited to the elitist of units, characters and monsters.
- See, But Remain Unseen- At the end of your turn, a unit that didn’t make any attacks this turn are -1 to Hit by Ranged weapons. Helpful if you aren’t already getting one, or want to counter any of your opponents +1s, though the restriction makes it a bit limited to use.
- Strike From the Shadows- An INFANTRY unit can arrive from Reinforcements more than 9” away from enemy units. Better than Strategic Reserves as it’s on a per unit basis rather than combined Power Levels, and aren’t bound by board edges as well.
- Vengeance for Isstvan V- Select a unit in the Fight phase, you can reroll hits against Word Bearers, Iron Warriors, Night Lords or Alpha Legion units. Niche already, and you likely won’t need it when it does come up. Poor Chaos.
- Decapitating Blow- When the enemy Warlord is slain you can force a -1 Ld to the entire enemy army for the rest of the game. Pricey and may not always be useful, but could be handy if you have other things to capitalize on this (other stacking modifiers for example).
- A Deadly Prize- An INFANTRY unit can booby trap an Objective Marker within 3” (provided no enemies are within 3” of the marker). The next time an enemy moves within 3”, they take D3 Mortal Wounds on a 2-4, or a flat 3 on a 5+. Can be used to dissuade units from moving into certain areas of the battlefield, soften units that might be close to going to them, or outright killing the final members of a unit making a last-gasp objective nab. May not always be useful, and needs careful planning, but a useful tool nonetheless.
- Strike from the Skies- A JUMP PACK unit can Advance and Charge, and gets +1 to their Charge roll as well. A solid CP investment, especially if you’re using a beefed up Vanguard Squad, or for a Smash Captain who you’re enemy thought they were safe from.
- Ambushing Fire- Beef up your Tactical Doctrine, letting your Rapid Fire and Assault weapons do an extra AP on an unmodified Wound roll of 6. As before, useful in some instances, not in others.
- Master of the Trifold Path- Non-named Warlord gets a second Warlord Trait that must be a Raven Guard Trait. There’s some interesting combinations possible here, be it a melee focused warlord with Master of Vigilance and another buffing power, a Phobos Warlord with multiple redeploy type abilities, or other such possibilities.
- Favour of the Ravenspire- Lets a unit ‘Sergeant’ have a Master-crafted Weapon, Digital Weapons, Silentus Pistol or Korvidari Bolts. Generally these are better on a Character, though the Silentus Pistol could prove a nasty surprise for unsuspecting Characters.
- Token of Brotherhood- A Successor Chapter can take a single non-Special-issue Relic. Remember all this does is give you the option to take it, it doesn’t give you another Relic included in its CP cost.
One great power and a useful utility power sit alongside two Librarian buffing powers and some ok-ish offensive powers. But that one good power is worth its weight in gold.
Powers marked with a * last until the start of your next Psychic Phase.
- Umbral Form* (WC 5)- The Librarian gets a 4++ Invulnerable. Decent, though as with all of the Librarian buffing powers there are generally better powers that benefit your army more widely.
- Enveloping Darkness* (WC 7)- A visible enemy unit within 18” cannot Overwatch and is -1 to Hit. A great power with two fantastic benefits, offset slightly by being one of the more difficult powers to cast but almost a must take due to the advantages and safety this can bring.
- Spectral Blade* (WC 5)- The Librarians Strength becomes equal to their Leadership (so 9 generally) and if their Leadership is higher than the unit they’re fighting their melee goes up to -4 AP. It’s ok, remember Leadership modifiers will affect your Strength (so both minuses and pluses), but there’s better powers.
- Shadowstep (WC 7)- A CHARACTER within 18” redeploys anywhere on the battlefield more than 9” away from enemies. High cast to move a single Character, though can be useful to get out of combat without Falling Back, nabbing objectives, threatening lone Characters or units, or repositioning Auras (especially for Reinforcements). A solid utility power to have.
- The Abyss (WC 6)- A visible enemy unit within 18” takes a Mortal Wound for each 4+ on a 3D6 roll, and a -1 to Leadership if anyone is killed. Reasonable, useful to snipe characters or finish off a wounded model. Handy to have if you want an alternative to Smite.
- The Darkness Within (WC 6)- Up to three visible units within 18” take a Mortal Wound on a 4+ (roll a separate D6 for each), or a 3+ if you cast this on a 10+. Spreading Mortal Wounds can work, but generally you want to focus your efforts. You’re unlikely to use this over just casting a Smite.
Heavy weapons with a Strength of 7+ get +1 Damage in the Devastator Doctrine when used against VEHICLES. Not as great as it once was due to the Strength limitations and reduced length of Devastator Doctrine, but still a potent force for alpha striking or crippling enemy armour in Turn 1, provided you have the right tools to use it. Also don’t neglect that the mere threat of the higher Damage can be leveraged to your favour- enemy tanks hiding on Turn 1 means they’ll need to move into range/Line of Sight themselves, letting you dictate some elements of the opponents deployment and counter deploy accordingly.
- Siege Master- The Warlord gets +1 to Wound vs BUILDINGS and VEHICLES, for both melee and shooting so that’s cool. Could make for a dedicated tank hunting smash captain, and whilst the shooting aspect is nice generally the guns you’ll have access to won’t be all that threatening. Tor Garadon has this, meaning he’ll be wounding even Knights on 2s in Melee.
- Indomitable- Can’t be wounded on better than a 4+, so permanent Transhuman. A nice defensive buff. Lysander has this, what with basically being made of ceramite.
- Fleetmaster- Once per game you can call the thunder at the end of the Fight phase, provided you didn’t move for any reason, and didn’t Shoot or Fight. However a random area, rolling to affect a unit, and only doing D3 Mortal Wounds) makes it quite restrictive.
- Stubborn Heroism- You halve all Damage taken by the Warlord, but they cannot Fall Back. Whilst not the worst of drawbacks provided you want to be in melee, there will be times when you’ll want the option, and a canny opponent can use this to their advantage to lock down a portion of the battlefield by tagging your Warlord.
- Architect of War- CORE units within 6” treat AP -1 as AP 0 provided they are receiving the benefits of cover. Whilst its a few hoops to jump through, this is pretty solid for defense, and applies regardless of the cover you are benefiting from, be it Light, Dense or Heavy.
- Hand of Dorn- Before the battle you get D3 CP. Not bad, but with the new +1 CP every turn now you might not need these extra CP as much as before. Worst case scenario you could give your Warlord this as an extra Trait if none of the others take your fancy, as it will either pay for itself or grant more CP.
- Refuse to Die- The first time this Warlord is destroyed, they stand back up on a 4+ with D3 Wounds. Cool, though 50/50, and there could be games where it doesn’t come up at all. Ideally just don’t die.
- Tenacious Opponent- +D3 Attacks if there are at least 5+ models within 6” when they are chosen to fight. A decent combat buff for a Warlord that wants to get stuck in.
- Stoic Defender- Gives Objective Secured to CORE and CHARACTERS in 6”, and making any units that already had it count as two models each. A pretty solid trait for playing the objective game, as it gives you flexibility when Troops aren’t around, or double down on holding it if they are. Combines nicely with Rites of War to give Objective Secured to a unit and this to have them count as double, though that might be a bit unnecessary. Kantor has this, further lending himself to being stubborn and holding that line.
Relics marked with a ^ is for Imperial Fists only, and Relics marked with† is for Crimson Fists only. Anything marked with an * is Special-issue Wargear, meaning a Successor can take these Relics without needing to use the Champion of Blades Stratagem. Because the Imperial Fists and their kin are known for lacking honour.
- The Banner of Staganda^– ANCIENTS get a 6” Aura of +1 to Hit for CORE and CHARACTERS in Melee weapons. Pretty decent, making your Fists potent in both melee and shooting.
- The Bones of Osrak^– You can reroll Psychic Tests for Geokinesis powers. Most of them are pretty low casting anyways, or just not too vital to your gameplan if they don’t go off. Safely pass.
- The Eye of Hypnoth^– 6” Aura of reroll 1s to Wound with ranged weapons for CORE units. Great if you want to skip on a Lieutenant and aren’t too worried about losing the buff for melee.
- The Spartean^– A longer range, character targeting Bolt Pistol with an extra shot as well as Ap-3 and Dmg 2. Decent if you’re adamant on having a Pistol relic for someone.
- Duty’s Burden†– Replaces Stalker or Auto Rifles only, giving them a tasty relic Bolt Rifle instead, with +1 Shot, Strength, AP and Damage. A solid upgrade for a shooty Captain.
- Fist of Vengeance†– A relic Power Fist with extra damage and without the -1 to Hit. Fantastic Melee upgrade.
- Auric Aquila*- A 4++ as well as a 5+++ vs Mortal Wounds caused in the Psychic Phase. Amazing on a Librarian not just for the 4++, but note it’s not Mortal Wounds inflicted by Psychic Powers, just wounds suffered in that phase. So Perils? Yup you can ignore them. A Vehicle explodes in the Psychic Phase? Right that one might be pushing it, but RAW…
- Fist of Terra*- A Power Fist that loses its -1 to Hit is already good. That same Power Fist also getting +1 Attack? Amazing.
- Gatebreaker Bolts*- A bolt weapon you choose makes a single shot, but if it hits you roll to Wound D3 times instead of once, and at AP -5 Damage 1. Certainly funny, though you’re still limited by the Strength of the bolt weapon you fire (so likely 4).
- Warden’s Cuirass*– +1 to Wound. It’s nice, and can make for hilariously tough Characters when combined with certain Warlord Traits (A 9 Wound Gravis Captain with permanent Transhuman and a 3+/4++/6+++ comes to mind).
Stratagems marked with a * are for Crimson Fists only.
- Bitter Enmity- In the Fight phase one of your units can reroll hits against Iron Warriors. As with many of these, fluffy but niche, and likely unnecessary. Just…just leave Chaos alone.
- Bolster Defences- At the start of your Movement phase, select one of your INFANTRY units that is entirely on or within a terrain feature. They get +1 to their saving throw on top of anything else the terrain gives them until they move. Powerful for a dug in unit, though you have to make sure they’re in a good position from the start.
- Sappers- A unit gets +1 to Hit and +1 Wound vs a BUILDING. Would be amazing were it not for that pesky BUILDING keyword.
- Pain is a Lesson- A non-VEHICLE, non-SERVITOR unit gets a 6+++ for a phase after they’ve been selected as the target for an attack. Not bad as it’s pretty flexible and any chance to shrug damage is useful. Can’t be used in the Psychic Phase however as powers are not technically attacks.
- Close-range Bolter Fire- Change a CORE or CHARACTERS units Bolt weapons into Pistols. Thought those Aggressors were only punching you in their next turn? Think again. Also surprisingly handy in the Assault phase for the extra AP if your happy to lose shots on Rapid Fire Weapons (less of a concern for Assault or Heavy bolt weapons)
- Bolter Drill- A CORE or CHARACTER unit’s Bolt weapons score an extra hit on an unmodified hit roll of 6. Nice if you’re a Successor, even better if you’re Imperial or Crimson as it stacks, causing a tasty 3 hits! Intercessors or Aggressors are prime targets for this.
- Tank Hunters- Strangely limited when compared to other Wound-boosting stratagems, giving one of your units +1 to Wound vs one specific enemy VEHICLE, so no splitting fire or such like. Having said that, on the right unit and against the right target it is very good, especially if you have Legacy of Dorn up.
- Clearance Protocols- Up to 10 models in a unit can chuck a Grenade. A decent option to have, though limited by their range.
- The Shield Unwavering- An INFANTRY unit within 3” of an Objective at the end of your Morale phase gets +1 Attack and +1 to Armour Saves until the start of your next turn. Note you don’t have to be controlling said Objective so this can be useful on the defense and the attack.
- Praetorian’s Wrath- Your Heavy and Grenade weapons get an extra AP on unmodified 6s to Wound when in Devastator Doctrine. A bit more limited than other Stratagems of its type, given the first turn limit, but still useful to have in those games where it might come up.
- Sentinel of Terra – Non-named Warlord gets a second Warlord Trait that must be a Imperial Fist Trait. Strangely this is also the case for Crimson Fists too. Can be used to make some nice defensible Characters, or grant some utility to one.
- Gift of The Phalanx- Lets a unit ‘Sergeant’ have a Master-crafted Weapon, Digital Weapons, Fist of Terra or Gatebreaker Bolts. Generally better on a Character, though the Fist of Terra is certainly a decent choice on an Intercessor Sergeant should you not want your Characters near the fighting.
- Champion of Blades- A Successor Chapter can take a single non-Special-issue Relic. Remember all this does is give you the option to take it, it doesn’t give you another Relic included in its CP cost.
- Slay the Tyrant*- A unit gets +1 to Hit for a phase vs CHARACTERS. Useful if you can target enemy Characters such as Knights or Daemons, or if you have a unit that wants to tear them down in combat.
- A Hated Foe*- One of your units gets to reroll Wounds vs Orks for the phase. Obviously situational, but a powerful one given it works on Shooting and Melee, giving you flexibility.
A strange mix of powers, with a surprising amount of offensive powers for a defensive minded army. A few of the powers are decent enough though, and might see more use than you’d think.
Powers marked with a * last until the start of your next Psychic Phase.
- Tectonic Purge* (WC 6)- Enemy units within 12” when they Charge are at -2 to the roll. A good defensive power, though remember the Librarian is likely not going to be quite as close to the enemy unit as the targeted unit, so careful positioning is required.
- Wrack and Ruin (WC 6)- A visible BUILDING, or a visible enemy unit that is wholly on/within an Area Terrain feature, within 18” takes a Mortal Wound for each 5+ (4+ for a BUILDING) rolled out of 9 D6 . Could be quite potent, but a lot of hoops to jump through, and easy to counter by simply having a single model out of the terrain. Or by not being a BUILDING, which is 100% 99.99% of models used in the game. Meh.
- Iron Inferno (WC 6)- Roll a dice for each enemy unit within 6” of a visible point of the battlefield that is within 18” of the Librarian, taking a Mortal Wound on a 4+. Ok, can do a decent spread of Mortal Wounds as well as “snipe” units out of Line of Sight, though its low chance of damage per unit.
- Fortify (WC 4)- A INFANTRY or BIKER unit within 12” heals D3 Wounds. Handy to keep Characters or high wound models (see Centurions) alive a little longer.
- Aspect of Stone* (WC 5)- The Librarian gets +2 Strength and Toughness. Good if you know combat is coming up or your Librarian is in danger of being shot, though other powers might be more useful to the army overall.
- Chasm (WC 6)- A visible enemy unit within 18” that cannot FLY takes Mortal Wounds depending on the lowest Movement value in the unit, and a 2D6 roll you make. They take 1 Mortal Wound if you roll less than the lowest Movement in the unit, D3 if you roll equal, or 3 if you roll higher. Not shabby, especially as you can target specific units or Characters, and a 7 on average, which is higher than most units Movements, means a solid 3 Mortal Wounds.
All of your Melta and Flamer Weapons get +1 to Wound during the Tactical Doctrine. One of the least applicable bonuses due to the inherent limitations of these weapons (be it range or unit availability), however if you build around it the much more reliable wounding adds up nicely, and makes Flamer weapons extremely strong at both anti-infantry and anti-tank duties.
- Anvil of Strength- +2 Strength. Nice and simple melee buff, can generally mean the warlord doesn’t need a Power Fist (they can use a Relic Blade instead for example), though doesn’t help with unreliable damage, and only really useful on a Fist/Hammer to wound T8/9 on a 3+. Vulkan gets this, cos he’s gotta fix things at the forge.
- Miraculous Constitution- A 6+++ and you heal a wound at the start of your Movement Phase. A decent survivability trait, comparable to Iron resolve.
- Never Give Up- In your Command Phases, select a unit a CORE or CHARACTER unit within 6” to get Objective Secured. Handy to have, though need to plan ahead with it, and can always use it on a unit that’s heading towards an Objective anyways.
- Forge Master- +2 Toughness. Great defensive buff, generally means most comparable units will be wounding him on 4s or 5s even after weapons. Can be stacked with various powers and wargear (Bike or Gravis) for supreme tankiness.
- Lord of Fire- Units in 6” can reroll the number of shots made with flamer weapons. If you build around it, awesome. Otherwise it can be virtually worthless. Agatone uses this, appropriate given his company is all about BURNING.
- Patient and Determined- Once per Shooting and Fight Phase, one of your attacks auto hits. Pretty useful all told, though there are better traits for offense.
Anything marked with an * is Special-issue Wargear, meaning a Successor can take these Relics without needing to use the Trust of Prometheus Stratagem. Because the Salamanders share all their forging secrets easily when it comes to their ancient relics.
- Drakesmiter- An even heavier Thunder Hammer with an extra pip of AP, and +3 Damage on Unmodified 6s to wound. Being able to one shot most characters is super satisfying, though chances are you were killing them anyways with a Hammer. A decent upgrade regardless.
- Helm of Draklos- A PRIMARIS gets +1 Wound and a 6” Aura of -1 Leadership to enemies. Decent though there are better relics in general.
- Nocturne’s Vengeance- A buffed up combi-flamer with -1 AP and 2 Damage, as well as a 12” range on the Flamer. A tasty shooting relic for a standard Marine
- The Salamander’s Mantle- -1 to Wound the bearer. Great defensive relic, can get hilarious with the high Toughness Salamander Characters can get up to.
- The Tome of Vel’Cona- A LIBRARIAN now knows an extra Promethean Power, and gets +1 to cast Promethean Powers as well. A solid buff for the Librarian, especially if you want to mix and match powers.
- Vulkan’s Sigil- The bearer has +1 Attack, and once per game at the start of the Fight Phase gets an extra +1 and gives an +1 Attack to friendly CORE units within 6”. Great combat buff that can certainly tilt the odds further in your favour for melee when used at the right time.
- Wrath of Prometheus- A beefed up Boltgun with +6” Range, Strength 5 -2 AP and Damage 3! Shame it’s still only Rapid Fire 1 but a potent gun nonetheless.
- Dragon Rage Bolts*- A bolt weapon can use these to do a single shot that if it hits, explodes into D6 separate wound rolls at -1 AP Damage 1 that ignores cover. Not shabby, one of the better bolt shell relics, though a basic relic gun is still probably better.
- Drakeblade*- A Power Sword (normal or master-crafted) or a Combat Knife upgrades to AP -4 and Damage 2, as well as doing an additional Mortal Wound on unmodified 6s to Wound. Nice little melee boost, though if you’re just eyeing up the AP and Damage just use the Burning Blade instead.
- Obsidian Aquila*- CORE units within 6” get a 6+++. Become a pseudo Apothecary that also works on Dreads, a great defensive boost for your army.
- Promethean Plate*– Unmodified wounds of 1-3 always fail, so constant Transhuman. Great ability to have, so even better when permanent.
- Flamecraft- A unit gets the maximum number of hits with their flame weapons. Great on units that have lots of flamers, obviously, but useful on heavier variants too like Invictors or Redeemers.
- The Crucible of Battle- A CORE or CHARACTER unit gets +1 to Wound for a phase. Cheap and powerful, you’ll likely be using it every turn.
- Strength of the Primarch- A unit gets +1 Strength and does double Damage on unmodified 6s to Wound. Would be good just with +1 Strength, the double Damage makes it even nicer. Fantastic on your heavy combat units, but even on a unit of Marines it can add up nicely.
- The Fires of Battle – A unit’s flame and melta weapons cause an additional Mortal Wound (to a maximum of 3 per phase regardless of source of the weapon) on unmodified Wound rolls of 4+. A decent offensive boost even with the cap, be it on enemy armour or infantry.
- Immolation Protocols- A unit’s flame weapons become Pistols for a turn. Powerful on units with plenty of them, though remember that making them Pistols whilst in the Tactical Doctrine will remove their AP boost. Still, better than not shooting at all.
- Self Sacrifice- An INFANTRY unit of 5+ models not within 1” of enemies can absorb the shooting for another INFANTRY unit that’s wholly within 6” of it, preventing the second unit from being shot at whilst the first unit is alive, unless they are the closest visible unit. Decent if you have a key unit you want to protect, though the cost and limitations make it a bit restrictive to use too often so careful planning is required.
- Rise from the Ashes- Bring one of your CHARACTERS back to life on a 4+ with 1 Wound remaining after they’ve been destroyed. Done at the end of the phase so they’ll be safe from further attacks or possible piles in that phase, and you have to be as close as possible to your previous position and more than an 1” from the enemy. Great if you stand up at the end of an opponent’s turn and can fall back to safety, not so good if it happens and they charge you or shoot you the following turn anyways.
- Vengeance for Isstvan V- Select a unit in the Fight phase, you can reroll hits against Word Bearers, Iron Warriors, Night Lords or Alpha Legion units. Niche as it is, and you likely won’t need it when it does come up. Poor Chaos.
- Stand Your Ground- An INFANTRY unit that hasn’t Advanced in this or it’s previous Movement Phase gets +1 Armour Save vs Damage 1 attacks. Handy to keep a unit alive against small arms fire.
- Born Protectors- A unit assists another unit that gets charged with both Overwatch and a 2D6” Heroic Intervention. Makes charging your units pretty dangerous if you’ve pairs of units working in conjunction.
- Relentless Determination- A unit that didn’t Advance or Fall Back counts as Remaining Stationary, and counts as double its wounds for any Vehicle damage tables. Whilst the first part is useless for Vehicles, and the second part is useless for anyone that isn’t a VEHICLE, both are nice benefits so it’s useful to have in your toolkit.
- Rites of Vulkan- Tactical Doctrine booster, as with others granting you extra AP on unmodified 6s to Wound for your Rapid Fire and Assault weapons. As always, might be useful, might not, handy to have regardless.
- Exemplar of the Promethean Creed- Non-named Warlord gets a second Warlord Trait that must be a Salamanders Trait. Can result in some ridiculously tough or smashy Characters thanks to either of the stat boosting Traits.
- Masterful Artisans- Lets a unit ‘Sergeant’ have a Master-crafted Weapon, Digital Weapons, Drakeblade or Dragon Rage Bolts. As with most of these a Character would probably benefit better if you’re looking at any of these.
- Trust of Prometheus- A Successor Chapter can take a single non-Special-issue Relic. Remember all this does is give you the option to take it, it doesn’t give you another Relic included in its CP cost.
A few average offensive and utility powers, but the defensive ones are very good, and will generally go to choices if you only have the one Librarian.
Powers marked with a * last until the start of your next Psychic Phase.
- Flaming Blast (WC 6)- Roll a D6 for each enemy unit within 3” of a point on the battlefield that is visible and within 24” of the Librarian. On a 4+ they take a Mortal Wound. Low range on the impact on top of the 50/50 chance of actually doing any damage makes this a low priority choice.
- Fire Shield* (WC 6)- A Salamander within 18” are -1 to Hit when shot at, and charging them is at -1 to the charge roll. A great spread of defensive buffs for a cheap cast. The -1 to hit alone is useful to keep a Vehicle or key unit alive a little longer.
- Burning Hands* (WC 6)- The Librarian does a single Mortal Wound in melee for each hit instead of their normal damage. Kinda cool, though limited by Attacks and their WS 3+.
- Drakeskin* (WC 6)- A Salamander unit within 12” gets +1 Toughness. A great survivability tool to make a unit tougher to shift, or make a Vehicle more resistant to anti-tank firepower.
- Fury of Nocturne (WC 6)- A visible enemy unit within 18” takes D3 Mortal Wounds if you roll higher than the highest Toughness in the unit on a 2D6. Decent enough due to you selecting the target (ie Characters) and against all but the toughest of units you’ll be doing those Mortal Wounds.
- Draconic Aspect* (WC 6)- Enemy units within 12” are at -2 Leadership. A decent debuff, if you want to spread some danger and force a bunch of Morale checks, though given the close proximity this could be risky.
Devastator Doctrine now also gives your Heavy Weapons a built-in reroll 1 to Hit as well as ignoring the -1 to Hit penalty for moving with them. A huge boon in the first turn to get into position/range/line of sight as well as let certain units operate more independently of character support, and lets your non-CORE Vehicles get some rerolls. Having said that, as it no longer works past Turn 1 you’ll need to ensure the Heavy weapon users are supported for when it wears off lest they get stuck out of position.
- Adept of the Omnissiah- Heal 1 Wound to a friendly VEHICLE within 1” at the end of your Movement Phase, or heal d3+1 instead of D3 if you’re a Techpriest. Decent enough, especially as your Vehicles are plenty tough already, but weirdly useless on a Master of the Forge (cos the wording is contradictory).
- Will of Iron- You get to Deny the Witch once per turn, or an additional time if a Librarian. Obviously useful against Psykers, but could likewise be worthless in certain matchups.
- All Flesh is Weakness- Get a 5+++ instead of a 6+++. Helps make a pretty beefy Warlord.
- Student of History- The Warlord can Consolidate 6” and doesn’t have to end closer to enemy units. Tactically powerful and useful ability, use it to get out of combat, move towards objectives, get into more favourable positions for Auras or just reposition in combat to attack better targets next turn. Feirros has this, further exemplifying his ultimate support bot role.
- Merciless Logic- Unmodified 6s to Hit generate an extra attack. Useful in both Shooting and Melee, though you’ll still need to hit with those extra attacks.
- Target Protocols- At the start of your Shooting Phase a friendly unit in 6” can reroll a Hit roll, a Wound roll and a Damage roll. Solid offensive buff, obviously great on units that will make the most of all three rerolls.
Anything marked with an * is Special-issue Wargear, meaning a Successor can take these Relics without needing to use the Bequeathed by the Iron Council Stratagem. I mean, I guess you’re using the most logically efficient thing by not using the Successors rules.
- Betrayer’s Bane- A Combi-melta that fires two melta shots. It’s ok, though you’ve access to better longer range anti tank.
- The Aegis Ferrum- A PRIMARIS model gets +1 Toughness and reduces all Damage taken by 1 (to minimum of 1). Amazing defensive relic, the only limit being Primaris.
- The Axe of Medusa- Power Axe with +3 Strength, -3 AP and Damage 3. Great melee weapon, on par with a Hammer and cheaper, though “only” Strength 7 is a downside.
- The Gorgon’s Chain- A 4++ and -1 to wound vs Ranged weapons. Decent, though if you’re being shot at you’re likely already in danger. Handy vs snipers though.
- The Ironstone- At the start of each Battle Round a single friendly VEHICLE within 3” can reduce damage by 1 (to minimum of 1, and doesn’t stack with other rules like Duty Eternal) so long as they remain within 3”. Not as potent broken as it was, but still great for your key tanks.
- The Mindforge- Upgrades a Force weapon (so Sword, Axe or Staff) to be x2 Strength. Decent, though as your Librarians ideally won’t be in combat in the first place, this can probably be passed.
- The Tempered Helm- 5+ CP regen for each CP you’ve spent. Decent enough, though how much you need CP regen in 9th is down to your personal preference and Stratagem use.
- Auto-medicae Bionics*- Heal D3 wounds at the start of each of your turns. Handy, though there are better defensive relics to stop you from getting wounded in the first place.
- Fortis-pattern Data Spike*- A Techmarine gets to roll 2 dice and pick one for healing with their Blessing of the Omnissiah. Decent, though you’re probably better just spending a few extra points to make them a Master of the Forge and heal a flat 3 anyways.
- Haywire Bolts*- A bolt weapon fires off a single shot that when used on VEHICLES also does D3 additional Mortal wounds on a 4-5 to Wound, or 3 Mortal Wounds on an unmodified 6. One of the better bolt weapons, pretty good on a Phobos Captain due to their single, high damage shot anyway.
- Teeth of Mars*– A Chainsword becomes -2 AP and Damage 2, which is nice in itself, but against VEHICLES it becomes Strength x2. Not a bad choice, though you’ll need to weigh up if the double strength in niche circumstances is worth the lower all round strength and attacks of the Teeth of Terra.
- Mercy is Weakness- Pick an enemy unit and one of your units. You must make every attack against that enemy, but unmodified 6s do two wounds instead of one. Pretty decent if you were going to be focus firing with a unit anyway. Remember its two separate wounds, so that’s two separate saves to be made.
- Methodical Firepower- At the start of your Movement Phase a unit goes into Devastator Doctrine in addition to whatever Doctrine is active currently. Great on units with mixed weapon loadouts, or for that unit that just needs to get reroll 1s to hit or ignore the moving with Heavy penalty. A solid ability to have in your pocket.
- March of the Ancients- Make a Dreadnought a CHARACTER, and give them +1 Attack and Ld. The attack is nice, the Ld is meh, but being a CHARACTER now means being eligible for Look Out sir for a bunch of Dreads, as well as being eligible for Warlord Traits, some of which are pretty great on Dreads (like Merciless Logic to fish for more shots)
- Vengeance for Isstvan V- Select a unit in the Fight phase, you can reroll hits against Word Bearers, Iron Warriors, Night Lords or Alpha Legion units. Niche already, and you likely won’t need it when it does come up. Poor Chaos.
- Wrathful Machine Spirit- Reroll hit rolls with a VEHICLE. Good, though pricey, but some Vehicles will love the reliability.
- Souls of Iron- Deny a Psychic power within 24” on a 4+. Always handy, especially when a high cast happens or it would be a power that would cause significant issues.
- Reject the Flesh, Embrace the Machine- An INFANTRY unit gets a 5+++ for a phase, or 4+++ if you have the All Flesh is Weakness Warlord Trait. Great survivability booster for a key unit.
- The Gorgon’s Rage- +1 to hit in melee is a decent buff, and +1 to wound if it’s against Emperor’s Children is niche but potent when it comes up. They’re still bitter about something.
- Cogitated Martyrdom- An INFANTRY unit dives in front of shooting attacks for a non-VEHICLE CHARACTER within 3” for the phase, transferring any wounds lost (before any +++ to ignore them), taking a Mortal Wound on a 2+ in their place. Though you can still use your own 6+++ on that. Not the pure cheddar it once was (thankfully), but still a decent ability if you have a vital character out of position or against snipers.
- Machine Empathy- A TECHMARINE can use their Blessing of the Omnissiah ability again. Remember you can’t heal the same Vehicle twice, but this is great if you have wounds spread across your tanks.
- Optimal Repulsion Doctrines- Overwatch on a 5+, or 4+ if you are a pure Iron Hand (or Inheritor). Given you have to pay for Overwatch on top of the 2CP here, makes for an extraordinarily expensive ability. Probably won’t see the light of day right now, but when you desperately need to ensure something doesn’t charge you, at least you have it to blunt them.
- Engine Purge- Make your Heavy and Grenades do an extra AP on unmodified 6s to Wound in the Devastator Doctrine. Bit more limited than before but still useful to have if you are able to make the most of it turn 1.
- Paragon of Iron- Non-named Warlord gets a second Warlord Trait that must be a Iron Hand Trait. Their traits have a good mix in them with something for everyone, be it defensive, offensive or supporting so this is an all round solid pick to further enhance your lines.
- Scion of the Forge- Lets a unit ‘Sergeant’ have a Master-crafted Weapon, Digital Weapons, Teeth of Mars or Haywire Bolts. Haywire Bolts aren’t a bad choice for an Eliminator to give him a dual role, but as with the others there’s probably better uses of the CP or the Wargear themselves.
- Bequeathed by the Iron Council- A Successor Chapter can take a single non-Special-issue Relic. Remember all this does is give you the option to take it, it doesn’t give you another Relic included in its CP cost.
A good mix of offensive and buffing powers, though you’re most likely to see the buffing powers to make your Vehicles even more obnoxious.
Powers marked with a * last until the start of your next Psychic Phase.
- Blessing of the Machine God (WC 5)*- A Iron Hands VEHICLE within 12” gets +1 to Hit. Your Iron Hands, you have Vehicles. And this just makes them super reliable. Anything with lots of guns is a great target. You can only target TITANIC (ie Forge World) models if you cast this on an 8+
- Objuration Mechanicum (WC 7)*- A visible enemy unit within 18” takes a Mortal Wound for each unmodified Hit roll of 1 they make when they Shoot. Not so helpful if there are plentiful rerolls in your opponents armies, but fantastic when there’s none available, or on units with large amounts of dakka and you want to try your luck.
- Fury of Medusa (WC 6)- A visible enemy model within 18” becomes the end point for a straight 1mm wide line between you and them. Roll a D6 for that model’s unit and any enemy other unit under the line(with +2 if they’re a VEHICLE), and they take a Mortal Wound on a 4-5, or D3 on a 6+. A less guaranteed but potentially more damaging Fury of the Ancients, and decent if you get a couple of Vehicles under the line.
- Psysteel Armour (WC 6)*- A unit within 12” gets +1 to their Armour Saves. Great on a big unit of Marines, or on units with a 2+, or a Vehicle. All round solid buffing power.
- Reforge (WC 5)- A visible VEHICLE within 3” heals D3 wounds. Can’t heal a Vehicle already healed this turn (ie by a Techpriest) but handy to spread the healing, or as a backup in case your priest is dead.
- Machine Flense (WC 6)- A visible enemy VEHICLE within 18” takes D3 Mortal Wounds, then picks another enemy unit with 6” of it. For each Mortal Wound the Vehicle took, roll a D6, the newly selected unit takes a Mortal Wound for each 3+. Unlike other “spread the damage” powers this one is actually pretty good. Straight up damage to a Vehicle is always helpful, and the better than average chance to do more Mortal Wounds to another unit within 6” (soooo that Character giving them a buff) is a useful side-effect.
Provided you’re in the Assault Doctrine, get +1 Attack on the Charge, when you’re Charged or when you Heroically Intervene, stacking with Shock Assault. Even your basic Marine becomes an absolute blender with this, combined with the +1 to Wound you’re getting meaning you can rip and tear through almost anything in the game. Obviously melee focused so those units benefit more but never neglect the quantity that can be pumped out by even a 5 man squad with this.
Whilst similar to before (with the +1A on the Charge or Heroic Intervention and the 6+++), being a mindless murder machine now has some drawbacks. You can’t Fall Back, which can occasionally be an issue if you want to open up a unit to shooting, or move onto an Objective, and you also cannot perform Actions, which is slightly less of a problem but just something to remember. On the flipside these units can still tear through most other units, so you don’t really want them doing Actions and so long as you point them at the right targets not Falling Back isn’t too bad.
A similar principle to Chapter Command, letting you upgrade (downgrade?) a CAPTAIN or LIEUTENANT to the Death Company for a minimal points increase. Doing so gives them Black Rage, changes their Datasheet Auras to only affect DEATH COMPANY CORE units, and access to the Death Visions. They also cannot be given other Company Command Abilities (so no Chapter Master basically), and cannot be your WARLORD. They can still be given a Warlord Trait via the Hero of the Chapter Stratagem. Whilst it makes these Characters less useful for their buffs outside of other Death Company, it does grant them a bit more killiness and resilience.
Three, once per game abilities (regardless of who uses them), chosen when The Lost are chosen to fight, provided you can see or are in Engagement Range of Horus an enemy INFANTRY or MONSTER CHARACTER. All of them last for that turn, and regardless of which one you choose, you cannot use the other two on that same Character, outside of the Stratagem detailed below.
- On the Bridge of the Vengeful Spirit: Re-roll Hit rolls, and get +1 A for every 5 enemy models within 6”. Can pump your melee output to crazy levels, letting one of your Characters carve through an entire unit of most things. The only one that doesn’t need you to be in Engagement Range of a CHARACTER, though you still need to be able to see them, so be aware of that when positioning.
- The Grace of the Angel: Gain a 3++ for the turn. Good if you aren’t confident of landing the killing blow in your combat, as remember you have to activate the Vision when you are chosen to Fight, so this can’t be used defensively, ie if you are charged.
- To Slay the Warmaster: Sacrifice all of your attacks to roll off with your opponent. If you win, a INFANTRY/MONSTER CHARACTER model takes 3+D3 Mortal Wounds. A gamble, as a draw or loss on the roll off does nothing and costs you all of your attacks, and often a Blood Angels Character will be more than capable of doing enough wounds to punch through most Invulnerable saves on an enemy Character, but can be useful if they have annoying things like minuses to hit, Damage reduction or those rare Invulnerables that are better than a 4++.
- Speed of the Primarch- The Warlord always fights first. Ideally you want to be charging anyways but this can be useful on the defence, though frankly there are better Traits to make the Warlord more choppy. Mephiston has this, cos vampires are fast.
- Artisan of War- Get a free Relic of a Master-crafted Weapon, Adamantine Mantle, Artificer Armour or Digital Weapon. This can be in combination with another Relic they may already be carrying, letting you create a very tooled up beatstick, or spread more Relics around the Characters in your army.
- Soulwarden- A 6” Aura of a 5+++ vs Mortal Wounds, and not exclusive to CORE either. Whilst only useful against Mortal Wounds, it can be useful to offset the weaknesses of units that would otherwise struggle against them. Astorath and Lemartes have this, for it is common knowledge that Chaplains are the natural predator of Psychic powers and explosions.
- Heroic Bearing- Increase Captain, Lieutenant and Chaplain Datasheet Auras by 3”, and gain a new 9” Aura of +1 Ld for CORE units. The first part is the main benefit, though the Ld boost makes MSU style armies all but immune to Morale outside of external modifiers so can be useful against unlucky 5s or 6s. Dante has this, which is nice, and the Sanguinour has this, which is hilariously dumb as all he gets is the +1 Ld.
- Gift of Foresight- Can reroll a Hit, Wound and Save each turn. Actually quite powerful, making them both offensively and defensively more reliable, and working in both player turns makes this a useful and consistent boost. Corbulo has this for he is gifted.
- Selfless Valour- A 6” Heroic Intervention. Nice for BA due to the boosts they gain from Heroic Interventions, though by no means a go to trait. Tycho in both forms has this, though it’s likely less due to heroism and more anger in his Lost version.
- Merciless Butcher- The Warlord gets +1 Attack for every 5 enemy models within 3″, up to 3 max. Whilst tricky to get that many within range to cap it, it helps them become a real horde blender, and combined with the Teeth of Terra or On the Bridge of the Vengeful Spirit leads to maximum hilarity. Seth has this because of course he has, he’s Seth.
- Of Wrath and Rage- Exploding 6s in melee. More limited than Merciless Butcher but more applicable against small or single units. Get more attacks for more chances to explode, and this can occasionally become ridiculous.
- Cretacian Born- Enemy units cannot Set to Defend or Overwatch against the Character, and they get to reroll the charge to boot. Great on a Death Company Hero of the Chapter who wants to fly off and murder some stuff that might cause them headaches otherwise, whilst ensuring they get there to boot.
Relics marked with† are for Flesh Tearers only. Anything marked with an * is Special-issue Wargear, meaning a Successor can take these Relics without needing to use the Honoured by The Arx Angelicum Stratagem. Which despite the comradery of the Blood Angels, technically you should be.
- Wrath of Baal- A SANGUINARY ANCIENT grants +2” Movement to JUMP PACKS when you make a Normal, Advance or Fall Back Move (which is weird wording, but it means their Mv is still 12”, in case there are things that come later that target the Mv Characteristic I guess?). It’s ok, though chances are you were deep striking them anyways, or using the Icon of the Angel for more reliable charges.
- Icon of the Angel- Units (not just CORE) within 6” can reroll Charge rolls. A brilliant all round Relic to help you get into what you want to blend.
- Visage of Death- The Character is -1 to Hit (both Ranged and Shooting), and they get a 3” Aura of no ObSec for enemy units in range. This is a powerful ability, and whilst it may not always come up, it can be clutch when used in conjunction with one of your Elite units that wants to drive an enemy away from an Objective. Combine with the Rite of War Warlord Trait to all but guarantee that any Objective your Character is on belongs to them
- Hammer of Baal- Thunder Hammer without the -1 to Hit and AP-3. A good alternative to the standard Master-crafted Hammer, especially given the changes to rerolls and AP.
- Gallian’s Staff- A Force Stave with extra AP, and a +1 to cast Sanguinary Powers. It’s decent if you’re running a Firstborn Librarian and no other Relics are wanted, but the Sanguinary Powers are easy enough to cast without the +1 so this is unlikely to be used often.
- Quake Bolts*- A Bolt Weapon makes a single shot that if it hits grants a +1 to Hit with your Melee weapons until the end of the turn. Actually pretty useful as its army wide, be it from range to support your speartip, or on a Pistol for a Character that’s among the frontlines.
- Archangel’s Shard*- A buffed up Power Sword (be it normal or Master-crafted), granting extra Strength, AP and Damage, as well as further Damage boosts vs CHAOS and CHAOS MONSTERS. Good by itself, but really horrific when going to eat Daemon Princes.
- Fleshrender Grenades*- Relic Frag Grenades was a thing that was warranted I guess? D3 shots but higher Strength, AP and Damage, with ignoring Light Cover to boot. They’re fun, but they’re also Grenades, you’ll likely use them once a game. Pass
- Gleaming Pinions*- A super Jump Pack that grants you Fall Back and Charge and reroll charges. A solid upgrade for a Smash Captain for both reliable charges and flexibility on his targets in case he bounces or gets tied up.
- The Crimson Plate†– A TERMINATOR gains +1” Mv, +1” to Pile In and Consolidation, as well as Advance and Charge. A fun pick, but there are better ones to help you get there, or pile on the damage when you do.
- Severer of Threads†– A +2 Strength, AP -2 Damage 2 Chainsword that trades the extra attack for doing an additional Mortal Wound on unmodified 5+ to Wound. It’s pretty decent, and you can pile on a decent amount of damage before saves are even made if you roll decently.
Stratagems marked with a * are for Flesh Tearers only.
- Descent of Angels- A CORE JUMP PACK is selected at the end of the Movement Phase, after arriving from Reinforcements. That unit can ignore any Charge roll modifiers that turn, as well as getting +1 to Hit. The +1 to Hit works for both Shooting and Melee, so it’s useful for all manner of units (Plasma Inceptors, Sanguinary Guard, Death Company etc). Can be combined with Upon Wings of Fire below to use it on a unit effectively twice per game if necessary.
- Vengeance for Sanguinius- Reroll Hits and Wounds vs BLACK LEGION. One of those fluffy Stratagems that is literally worthless in most match ups, but potentially game winning in the one where it can be done. You don’t exactly need the help against them at the moment either.
- Refusal to Die- A DEATH COMPANY unit gets a 5+++ for a Phase. Cheap, but can only be done once per turn so no double dipping across multiple phases. Choose when to do it wisely. Also this is triggered by being targeted by an Attack, so specifically Shooting and Melee- this won’t help you against Smites etc. Costs 2CP if there are 6+ models in the unit.
- Aggressive Onslaught*- An INFANTRY unit can Pile In and Consolidate 6” this Fight Phase. A powerful tool to engage more models, and tag more units. Use liberally when you can.
- Angel’s Sacrifice- A CHARACTER performs a video game Taunt on enemy models, forcing those models in Engagement Range to have to attack them. Whilst a bit limited, this can hamper your opponent’s plans by protecting your other units. Just be sure to way up the potential cost of losing a Character, especially if against a powerful combat unit. Also the enemy model must be Engagement Range, so within 1” Horizontally/5” Vertically of the Character (thus fighting “in ranks” can bypass this and attack normally).
- Spiritual Might- A PSYKER can attempt to manifest an extra power at the end of the Psychic Phase. Useful if you need to get off an extra Smite, or have decided that another Discipline Power could tip the scales. Won’t always come up, but nice to have in the back pocket.
- Visions of Sanguinius- One of your DEATH COMPANY CHARACTERS can either use a second Death Vision, or use two in one phase provided they have not used any this game. Whilst you can’t use a Vision already used (so no double use of On the Bridge of the Vengeful Spirit for example), it does allow them a bit more flexibility such as getting the 3++ and going for the Mortal Wounds in the same phase. Note that On the Bridge of the Vengeful Spirit and To Slay the Warmaster won’t stack in the same phase, so don’t waste it on trying.
- Angel Exemplar- Standard “give your Warlord another Supplement Trait”. There’s some nice combinations that can be done both internally and with the core SM Dex, most of which revolve around being a weapon in combat. Foresight is a great pick due to the reliability it can grant.
- Angel Ascendant- Give a Sergeant a Master-crafted Weapon, Digital Weapon, Fleshrender Grenades or Quake Bolts. Pretty standard, the MC Weapon is probably a good choice if you are going for this, though there could be use of Quake Bolts on a Bladeguard for example.
- Lucifer-Pattern Engines- Pick a non-DREADNOUGHT, non-FLY VEHICLE pregame, they can auto advance 6” for the battle. It’s ok, but unlikely to be done often, and as it’s pregame you need to anticipate who might need it. It’ll probably be a Transport as they’re the ones most likely to be Advancing to nab Objectives.
- Honoured by the Arx Angelicum- A Successor Chapter can take a single non-Special-issue Relic. Remember all this does is give you the option to take it, it doesn’t give you another Relic included in its CP cost.
- Red Rampage- The usual army wide 6s to Wound boost the AP of your associated Combat Doctrine, with the oddity of only being 1CP here compared to everyone else’s 2CP. Given how cheap it is it can be worth using to really pile on the wounds that go through armour. Means Flesh Tearers get AP-3 punches on 6’s to Wound when using this, cos they’re just that angry.
- Unbridled Ardour- Let a unit of SANGUINARY GUARD Heroically Intervene 6”. Makes going too close to them a dangerous prospect, and it’s cheap enough that it’s something you can generally have ready to go.
- Forlorn Fury- A pre-game Stratagem that lets you make a Normal Move up to 12” (note if you only have a 6” Mv you can still only move 6”) DEATH COMPANY. As it’s done after determining the first turn you get great flexibility. Get turn 1, Forlorn Fury then move again for those turn 1 charges. Get turn 2, Forlorn them bravely back into hiding. All for the paltry sum of 1CP, or 2CP if you have 6+ models in a unit. If you’re using DC, you’re probably using this as well.
- Upon Wings of Fire- A JUMP PACK CORE unit is removed from the battlefield, and comes back down in the following turn. More limited than it was, but great to redeploy a unit for Objectives or Secondaries in later turns, or you are needing to put pressure on another section of the board in a later stage of the battle. Just don’t do it on turn 5, as they count as destroyed.
- Savage Destruction*- An enemy unit that fails Morale in Engagement Range takes a further -1 to their Combat Attrition checks. Niche, but can be potent when it comes up, especially if the unit is below Half Strength.
- Chalice Overflowing- A SANGUINARY PRIEST can use their Blood Chalice ability twice this Command Phase. If you’re looking to have the Priest support multiple melee units in turns 1 and 2 this is obviously useful to have.
A good mix of buffing powers with a smattering of offensive ones, though ways to boost your offense via the buffs will be far more likely to be used over the occasional Mortal Wounds that can be done.
Powers marked with a * last until the start of your next Psychic Phase.
- Quickening (WC 6)*- The Psyker gets +D3 Attacks, and can reroll Advance and Charge rolls. Useful for a beatstick like Mephiston or a Librarian Dreadnought.
- Unleash Rage (WC 6)*- A CORE unit within 12” gets an extra hit on unmodified 6s to Hit. Can combine with the Whirlwind of Rage Successor Chapter, so 6s do 3 Hits, which is as ridiculous as it is powerful on units like Death Company or Sanguinary Guard.
- Shield of Sanguinius(WC 6)*- A friendly unit in 18” gets a 5++, which is nice. If you’re running a murder ball type army that bundles around a Librarian, just use Psychic Fortress to give it to those multiple units, but this at least allows a unit to go off by themselves.
- Blood Boil (WC 6)- Pick an enemy within 18” and roll 2D6. They take D3 Mortal Wounds if you roll over the highest Toughness in the unit, or a flat 3 if you roll more than double. Good for chipping away at units, but don’t rely on the flat 3 Mortal Wounds as you need more than double, so a 7 for T3 or 9 for T4.
- Blood Lance (WC 6)- Draw a line between the Psyker and a visible enemy unit within 18”. Every model the centre of the line goes over takes a mortal wound on a 5+. A decent power if your opponent is kind enough to line up lots of models.
- Wings of Sanguinius (WC 6)- The Psyker can make a Normal or Fall Back move as if they had a 12” Mv and FLY. Useful to get out of dodge, move onto an objective, or threaten a unit that thought themselves safe.
Provided every model in your Army is a BLOOD ANGEL (sans AGENTS OF THE IMPERIUM and UNALIGNED) and your Warlord is a BLOOD ANGEL, you can use one of these Secondaries, following all the normal rules for choosing Secondaries, so no duplicate categories etc. As mentioned in the main Space Marine Secondaries section, you can technically select one Space Marine one and one Blood Angel one, but check with your opponents/TO beforehand.
Purge the Enemy - Blade of Sanguinius
Nominate a CHARACTER from your army, and your opponent does the same. Score 5 VP if that enemy Character is destroyed, and additional 5 if destroyed in melee, and a final 5 if destroyed by the Character you chose. Obviously your opponent can pick their biggest beefiest Character, or one that you just might not be able to catch. If you are confident you’re going to be able to get to all of your enemies Characters by games end, or none of them are particularly tough, this could be a good pick, especially if you have a Smash Captain type unit to nominate. Don’t neglect the power this could have over some armies as well, if they have only 2 or 3 but important characters that need to be in the thick of things, this could alter your opponents game plan. Finally don’t worry about maxing this, if the difference is a guaranteed 10VP from a unit killing the Character, or a chance that your challenger can do it but might not succeed, don’t take the risk unless you’d lose without those extra 5 VP anyways.
Battlefield Supremacy - Relentless Assault
4 VP at the end of your turn if there are more Blood Angels units in your opponents Deployment Zone than enemy units are in yours. Against some armies this is a very easy scoring Objective, especially if you can hem them in. Conversely against armies with built in speed, or teleporting shenanigans, this could be worthless. Also note that units don’t need to be wholly within the deployment zones, so a single model skirting the edge of either zone could either score or deny points. A solid pick in the right circumstances against the right foes that don’t have the tools or desire to reach your edge.
No Mercy, No Respite - Fury of the Lost
Score 3 VP at the end of your turn if 1+ units have been destroyed by DEATH COMPANY units in this turn. Seems easy enough to score, but they must be killing something every turn to max, you likely only have 1 or 2 units at most with the keyword, excess kills are wasted, and it only counts if destroyed in your turn – killing that straggler in your opponents turn means nothing. A tricky one to justify, as realistically you can expect maybe 6 VP from this.
A trifecta of mini Super Doctrines that benefit each of the three “Wings” of the Dark Angels depending on the Doctrine active.
All told these are a great spread of abilities, but far more niche than the other Chapters, relying on you either having a spread of units that can benefit from them each turn, or if only using more specific units, expecting to get the most of this for the turn or two it is relevant.
Speed of the Raven
In Devastator Doctrine you gain Speed of the Raven, granting all your RAVENWING models +3” to their Mv, as well as being able to shoot after Advancing, at the cost of taking a -1 to Hit penalty as if they were Assault weapons (so if they were already Assault weapons they don’t take a double modifier, for whatever that’s worth). A great benefit to ensure your Speeders get into position, your Bikes can get within range or even make some cheeky turn 1 charges, and everything can get the 4++ from Jink without losing all their shooting. As they specifically count as Assault weapons when they fire as well, anything that could remove that penalty would apply, so something to bear in mind (mainly for Successors, but then you’re losing Jink which is a big ask).
During the Tactical Doctrine, Fire Discipline becomes active, allowing your non-DEATHWING INFANTRY to shoot their Rapid Fire and Assault weapons at units they are in in Engagement Range with, albeit at BS 5+. Note that you can fire at units even if other friendly units are Engagement Range of that same enemy unit, Blast weapons still can’t be used (so no Plasma Inceptors), and modifiers would still apply, so any minuses means 6s to hit, but vice versa Grim Resolve means hitting on 4+. A great defensive benefit for Greenwing, allowing them to punish those that charged them. Likewise don’t be afraid to use this offensively, knowing you won’t lose as much firepower from these units in turn 3 should you make some necessary turn 2 charges.
Finally the Assault Doctrine brings Implacable, letting your DEATHWING INFANTRY and DEATHWING DREADNOUGHTS reroll Wounds in melee against CHARACTERS, or anything with a Wounds Characteristic of 8+. This makes your Terminators, Dreads and Infantry Characters reliable hunters of tanks, big gribblies and characters, though remember this is melee only, and not applicable against a lot of units.
1st and 2nd Companies
If all the models in your army are DARK ANGELS (except UNALIGNED – we’ll have no Inquisitors on our hunt for the Fallen thank you), then Vanguard and Outrider detachments get some different Command Benefits provided they are only filled with DEATHWING/INNER CIRCLE, or RAVENWING units, respectively. Essentially, your ‘basic’ units of that type get Objective Secured, and you get the CP cost of the Detachment refunded if your Warlord is here like a Battalion-
- 1st Company is for Vanguard Detachments, giving all your Terminator Squads, Deathwing Terminator Squads, Terminator Assault Squads and Relic Terminator Squads Objective Secured.
- 2nd Company is for Outrider Detachments, granting Bike Squads and Outrider Squads Objective Secure.
This enables the fluffy mono-wing armies without sacrifice ObSec or CP, but also allows you to add more ObSec units to your army should you combine with other Detachments with Troops. Either one is a great boon to have, at the downside of not being able to have like an Assassin or something. Oh well.
Whilst not a Super Doctrine, it deserves speaking about in this section. You must be a pure Dark Angel or Inheritors of the Primarch Successor to use this, so no mixing with custom traits, but if you are all your DEATHWING and INNER CIRCLE units get this, even if they don’t have the rule in their Datasheet (so yes things like normal Terminators and Bladeguard now get it). For the minor downsides of making Falling Back impossible vs FALLEN (who?), or needing to roll equal or under your Ld on 2D6 for your non-RAVENWING, non-VEHICLE, non-CHAPTER MASTER units (so almost all INFANTRY), you get to auto pass Morale (nice), and if you are INFANTRY enjoy not being wounded on better than a 4+. This is a phenomenal survivability boost and applies to a large number of units, essentially all your Terminators, many Characters on foot, any you might upgrade with Inner Circle, as well as the aforementioned Bladeguard. Yeah, it’s strong stuff.
Again worth talking about in this section, this is vastly improved for RAVENWING units as they now get a 5++ so long as they don’t Remain Stationary in their previous Movement Phase, bumping to a 4++ if they Advanced. The key thing here is now your units can get the Invun even if you’ve not had the chance to go first, which is a great boost to their survivability. As with Inner Circle, anything that doesn’t have the Jink rule but has the RAVENWING Keyword in a Dark Angels Detachment now knows how to Jink, making for much improved Speeders, Bikers, ATVS, etc. Again you must be a pure Dark Angel or Inheritors of the Primarch Successor to use this, custom traits are right out.
Rites of Initiation
Essentially points upgrades to make certain Characters and Vehicles part of the DEATHWING. Whilst this ostensibly allows these units to be taken in 1st Company Detachments and benefit from certain rules like the Implacable part of Sons of the Lion, the primary benefit for many will be to allow many of your foot characters to get permanent Transhuman, which at 20pts for a CAPTAIN is a paltry sum to pay.
- Brilliant Strategist- Pick a unit in the Command Phase, and essentially your Doctrine goes back a step for them until your next Command Phase. Useful if you’re in Assault but want that unit of Intercessors shooting instead, and would prefer the Devastator boost instead of Tactical for a unit of Devastators. Azrael has this cos he’s the Chapter Master, and Lazarus also has this cos that’s how his fluff was written.
- Fury of the Lion- Provided this model has charged, been charged, or Heroically Intervened this turn, they gain a 6” aura of +1 Str to all Dark Angels (not just CORE, interestingly). A decent aura to have both offensively or defensively. Asmodai has this, something about repenting.
- Calibanite Knight- The Warlord always wounds INFANTRY and BIKES on a 2+ in melee. Decent, but there are better traits.
- Stubborn Tenacity- Provided the Warlord doesn’t explode (eg Talonmasters), they aren’t removed until the start of the next turn or the end of the battle (whichever is first), essentially becoming invulnerable until then before being removed. Useful to allow them to stick around with an aura for a turn, denying or keeping hold of an Objective, or striking down their assailant. However, it’s also dependent on them dying in the first place, which is less preferable. Has some niche uses, and certainly fun, but there’s likely better choices. Could work as a second trait on the Warlord as a backup. Ezekiel has this, for his curmudgeonous knows no bounds.
- Decisive Tactician- +1” to Advance and Charge rolls. A great buffing trait, though annoyingly only for CORE so the Warlord themselves won’t benefit, nor would any other support characters.
- Honour of the First Legion- A 6” Heroic Intervention. It’s fine, but there are overall better traits.
- Watched- A once per game automatic Deny the Witch with unlimited range. Incredibly niche, but can absolutely pay off if you’re expecting to face heavy Psyker opposition, denying a key super Smite, Doom, Death Hex or other potent powers.
- Inexorable- The Warlord reduces all Damage by 1, to a minimum of 1. Simple but effective defensive buff for the Character, especially one that will want to go fighting in the thick of it or against other Characters or elites with high damage weapons. Fitting that Belial has this then.
- Lighting-fast Reactions- A straight up -1 to Hit the Warlord. Sounds eerily familiar, but a good defensive buff nonetheless.
- Master of Manoeuvre- The Warlord can Fall Back and still Shoot and Charge that turn. A great ability to ensure the Character is always active and on the hunt for their preferred targets. Which is appropriate for Sammael, who has this.
Relics with a ˣ can be equipped by a TALONMASTER, who normally would not be eligible to take a Relic (they can also take Digital Weapons). Anything marked with an * is Special-issue Wargear, meaning a Successor can take these Relics unless you use Honoured by the Rock, which if they’re not green, black or beige, should be the rules…
- Mace of Redemption- Turns a Power Maul or Crozius into a Power Fist without the -1 to Hit, that also does 2 Mortal Wounds instead of normal damage when wounding FALLEN or HERETIC ASTARTES on a 4+. The stat boosts alone are great, the mortal wounds are decent when fighting Chaos. You’ll never fight Fallen though let’s be fair.
- Pennant of Remembrance- A DEATHWING ANCIENT model gets to pick a DEATHWING INFANTRY CORE unit within 6” in your Command Phase, to give them -1 Damage for the round. A very powerful defensive buff on top of their existing abilities, makes a unit incredibly tough to shift.
- Shroud of Heroes- Attacks against the bearer are -1 to Hit. A simple but effective defensive relic.
- Reliquary of the Repentant- A RAVENWING BIKER gets a 3” Aura (effectively, it doesn’t have the Aura keyword so can’t ever be increased, decreased or turned off) that makes 4+ or better Invulnerable Saves only work on a 5+. A potent ability, albeit one that puts the bearer in the danger zone. Good on a character hunter who is likely to go after these sorts of heroes, or a support character to zip around and shut down tough units.
- Foe-smiter- A mega Storm Bolter with Assault 4, Str 5, Ap -1 and Dmg 2. A great shooting relic for a backline commander
- Eye of the Unseenˣ– The bearer gets a 6” Aura of -1 Ld (meh), and also forces enemy CHARACTERS to strike last. Both benefits are fairly niche, and there are more widely useful and applicable relics.
- Cup of Retribution– A CHAPLAIN gets a once per game Litany that auto inspires, granting +1A to all CORE units within 6”. A decent pick if you’re running melee Dark Angels and a Chaplain already
- Heavenfall Blade*ˣ- Replacing pretty much any sword type weapon, getting +2 Str, -4AP 2Dmg and +1A to boot. A great all-round combat booster.
- Arbiter’s Gaze*ˣ- Always hit on a 2+ with Shooting, including Overwatch, and ignore all cover to boot. Pretty scary on the Talonmaster, especially when combined with Devastator Doctrine to make them hit harder and also trigger Speed of the Raven.
- Atonement*- A Plasma Pistol that is always overcharged, never overheats, and gets +6” Range, and +1 Str, AP and Dmg. A decent pistol relic, but it’s still just a Pistol.
- Bolts of Judgement*ˣ- A Bolt Weapon makes a single shot at AP -2 and Damage 3, that also wounds on a 2+ against anything non-MONSTER and non-VEHICLE (which are wounded on 6s). A decent upgrade for a Pistol or an Eliminator Sergeant, though probably not at the top of your list of choices.
- Wrath of the Lion- Your standard army wide ‘6s to Wound do extra AP’ Stratagem, with the unique ability to be used in any Doctrine, boosting those associated weapons. Still once per game, but the flexibility is pretty strong to have.
- Intractable- Fall back and Shoot, as well as ignoring the Inner Circle restrictions. It’s a solid Stratagem, especially since it’s not locked behind any Keywords other than DARK ANGELS, just remember no Charging afterwards.
- Deathwing Assault- If a DEATHWING unit teleported onto the battlefield, or used their Teleport Homer, they get +1 to Wound with Shooting. A powerful stratagem, though the limits make it a bit trickier to use than others of its kind. Still one that should be considered every game if you’re using Terminators though.
- Full Throttle- A RAVENWING unit makes another 12” Normal Move after Advancing, at the expense of Shooting and Charging that turn. Not something you may need to do every turn given your inherent speed already, however for setting up for the following turn, or last minute Objectives grabbing this is useful to have in the tool kit. Costs 2CP if used on a 6+ man squad.
- Line Unbreakable- An INFANTRY unit can only be targeted in melee by models that are in Engagement Range. This sounds weird, but effectively means that there’s no ‘fighting in ranks’ – if a model wants to attack, they must physically be in Engagement Range. This can play havoc with big units, as well as throw a spanner in the works of any Pile IN/Consolidation shenanigans that the opponent may have had in mind, as it can limit their options and attacks, should they wanted to do damage prior to the movement.
- High-speed Focus- A RAVENWING VEHICLE unit gets a 4++ vs Shooting for a phase. Whilst not as necessary as before due to the changes of Jink, a 4++ is still amazing on a lynchpin unit, and this can be used on a unit that Remained Stationary (and thus wouldn’t be getting Jink).
- No Foe Too Great to Subdue- DEATHWING KNIGHTS get +1 AP and +1 to Wound with their Maces of Absolution when fighting a MONSTER or VEHICLE. A potent offensive buff to an already strong melee unit, gives them a great edge over these targets.
- Marked for Command- Your usual ‘give a Sergeant some Special Issue Wargear’ Stratagem, letting them take a Master-crafted Weapon, Digital Weapon, Atonement or Bolts of Judgement. As with all the other Chapters, this is likely at the bottom of your priority list, but you’ve got it if you want it.
- Paragon of the Chapter- Give your Warlord a second Dark Angel Trait. There’s some nice combinations you can do with this, either for a line buffer with things like Fury of the Lion or Brilliant Strategist, or a beatstick Character hunter with Master of Manoeuvre and Champion of Humanity.
- Honoured by the Rock- Give a Successor a non-Special Issue Relic, should you be running a Successor and following those rules.
- Tactical Appraisal- A friendly unit within 6” of your Warlord changes to a Doctrine of your choice. Whilst limited to being in range of your Warlord, it’s cheap, not limited to the unit that can benefit, and another way to chop and change Doctrines around to what’s most useful for you.
- The Hunt- A pricy Stratagem at 2CP, or a whopping 3CP if used on a unit of 6+, but a mighty one, letting a unit of RAVENWING make a Normal Move at the start of the first Battle Round. As with all these types of redeploys, this can be used in a number of offensive and defensive ways. Note it is specifically a Normal Move so no 4++ Jinking if you go second. Also this can be done multiple times so you could burn a lot of CP early on, but consider that Forlorn Fury got FAQd to being once per game, so don’t expect it to stick around.
- Targeting Guidance- An enemy unit within 18” of a RAVENWING LAND SPEEDER or RAVENWING STORM SPEEDER becomes targeted, granting your whole army +1 to Hit with shooting against them. Great to offset a multitude of minuses, be it Dense Cover or built in rules, or offset moving with Grim Resolve. A useful and potent buff, despite it’s slightly limited range and 2 CP cost.
- Swift Strike- Another costly RAVENWING Stratagem, again at 2CP or 3CP for a unit of 6+, but once again another powerful benefit. Once the selected unit has finished fighting, you immediately can Fall Back if in Engagement Range, or make a Normal Move otherwise. Don’t want to get hit back if you bounce off an enemy? Get out of there. Caught flatfooted by a charger, but interrupted, now use this and make them waste their charge. Wiped the enemy unit but now exposed or unable to tag anyone? Use this to get across the board or into safer areas. Pricey, but a powerful tool for the units that can use it.
- Secret Agenda- Use this after choosing your Secondaries (or Agendas in Crusade), and you can keep one of them a secret from your Opponent, until you score VP on it the first time in the game. Fun, and could have uses if there’s end game Objectives you want to keep hidden (as remember you wont technically score them until the end game even if the prerequisites are done in game), though comparatively poor for a lot of Objectives that are Progressive, or any that require Actions as you have to declare them.
- Stasis Shell- 2CP lets a RAVENWING model use this in place of a normal shot with an Astartes Grenade Launcher, which should it hit does no wounds but prevents any non-MONSTER or non-VEHICLE unit from Falling Back until the start of your next turn. Useful for setting up a big or tough unit that you won’t kill in your turn to act as a shield for your chargers, or just prevent them from escaping to safety in their turn.
- Weapons from the Dark Age- +1 Damage to Plasma Weapons in a unit. Simple but brutally effective, helping offset overcharging without sacrificing much in the way of damage output, or for when you want to ensure a tank or big gribbly goes away.
A great set of powers, with a good selection of debuffs, a smattering of damage dealers, and an incredible melee booster, though with above average casting costs for half of them.
Powers marked with a * last until the start of your next Psychic Phase.
- Mind Worm* (WC 6)- An enemy unit within 18” takes a Mortal Wound, but more importantly must fight last. The debuff is much more useful than the single wound, and combos nicely with some of the Stratagems you have available. Use this, then some Ravenwing with Swift Strike without needing to worry about being interrupted for example.
- Aversion* (WC 6)- An enemy unit within 24” is at -1 Attack and -1 to Hit. A ludicrously good debuff which is cheaper than it should be for what it does- compare to similar powers that inflict -1 to Hit are often shorter range, or higher cost, and all without the -1 Attack. A solid go to power.
- Righteous Repugnance* (WC 7)- A friendly unit within 12” gets reroll Hits and Wounds in melee. A fantastic boost for a wide range of units, only offset by the reasonably high Warp Charge.
- Trephination (WC 5)- Essentially a Smite that does a flat 3 Mortal Wounds if you cast it on greater than the target’s Leadership. It’s decent and a great alternative to Smites as you have a great chance of doing the flat 3 vs many units (9+ to cast for the most part. For the most part though, the other powers are far more interesting or potent despite not being about raw mortal wounds.
- Engulfing Fear* (WC 7)- Another high cast power, but with some great debuffs. -1 Ld is fine but not the meat of the power, instead turning off Objective Secured is a potential game changer. Should you cast it on equal or greater than their Ld (note this is before the -1 Ld applied above), then they can’t do Actions and any Actions immediately fail. With a 24” range, this can turn a game on its head if you have units nearby to capitalize on the Objective, or on a juicy roll can utterly ruin an opponent’s Secondary plans. Remember you manifest then select the targets, so you always have the freedom to turn off an Action somewhere if you would roll high enough, or choose something else if you don’t.
- Mind Wipe* (WC 7)- A unit within 18” loses one of its Auras. A hugely potent ability that can cripple a battleline, or wreck the support needed. Note the unit in question must have the Aura at the time, so no pre-empting turning things off like a Psychic Power, a Litany or certain once per game abilities.
Provided every model in your Army is a DARK ANGEL (barring AGENTS OF THE IMPERIUM and UNALIGNED) and you have a DARK ANGEL Warlord, you can use one of these Secondaries, following all the normal rules for choosing Secondaries, so no duplicate categories etc. As mentioned in the main Space Marine Secondaries section, you can technically select one Space Marine one and a Dark Angel one, but check with your opponents/TO beforehand.
Purge the Enemy - Martial Interdiction
Your opponent nominates a CHARACTER from their army. Score 6 VP if that enemy Character is destroyed in melee, an additional 3 if destroyed by a DEATHWING or INNER CIRCLE model in melee, and a final 6 VP if the unit that destroyed the Character is not destroyed at the end of the battle. Obviously your opponent can pick their biggest beefiest Character, or one that you just might not be able to catch. However given teleport shenanigans, or the speed of Black Knights (remember they are INNER CIRCLE), you could still hunt them down, though keeping them alive until the end game could be tough as they would then represent a potential big swing in points. You could bide your time, as you don’t need to nominate any units to do the deed, and you’d still get points for slaying the Character even if they weren’t an INNER CIRCLE model, though being as this must be melee there will be times you could end up killing the unit at range and costing yourself a lot of points.
No Mercy, No Respite - Death on the Wind
Score 2 VP each time a RAVENWING unit destroys an enemy unit, provided that RAVENWING unit either moved 12”+ or charged this turn. Less useful on the defensive as this requires you to be constantly on the move or putting pressure on, and obviously if you have few or no RAVENWING units this could prove pretty rubbish, but for a full or majority Ravenwing army this should easily net a good chunk of VP.
Battlefield Supremacy - Stubborn Defiance
In your first Command Phase, choose one Objective, and from Turn 2 onwards you score a number of VP for each consecutive Command Phase you control that objective with a unit with Objective Secured- 2 VP for 2 turns, 3 VP for 3 turns, and 5 VP for both 4 and 5 turns. An interesting one, especially if you have multiple Objective secured units that are able to hold it, though that can stymie your board control somewhat. If you are confident you can hold the objective until turn 4 at the least, then this is a decent secondary to choose if there are others that might be less possible or difficult to achieve, depending on yours and your opponents armies.
Unmodified Melee Hit rolls of 6s do an additional hit in the Assault Doctrine. A powerful ability that doesn’t rely on charges etc like Blood Angels, and has the potential to be vastly more devastating. Wolves like combat anyway so this just helps tilt the scales further in their favour, and never neglect this rule even on your non-combat troops.
Berserk Charge and Headstrong
A pure Space Wolves or Inheritors of the Primarch Successor model with this rule (so no custom traits) gets an additional +1A on the Charge, but also must always include the closest enemy unit on any Charges they may declare, unless there is a WOLF GUARD model in the unit to reign them in (this downside applies even if you are using custom traits). Makes your Blood Claw type units even more choppy on the charge, combined with Shock Assault, Chainswords and likely Savage Fury they’re throwing out a big chunk of attacks. Make sure you bring a Wolf Guard or position them correctly however lest they go off to fight a Rhino.
Advance and Charge is a great rule for units with this, as they were likely not shooting anyways. The +1” to Pile In and Consolidates should definitely not be overlooked however, as this lets them maximise their attacks a little bit easier, or tie up units that thought they might have been safe.
- Beastslayer- When within Engagement Range of an enemy MONSTER or VEHICLE you get +1 Attack, and +1 To Hit and Wound when fighting them. You’re now built for obliterating big things. Combined with a good melee weapon, you’ll generally be hitting and wounding most of these units on 2s even with minuses (if you have Hunter’s Unleashed), enough to smash most tanks or monsters to a pulp.
- Wolfkin- The Warlord’s Shock Assault always counts as having made a Charge, and they get +D3 Attacks instead of +1. So read as they get +D3 Attacks each turn, which is great for a beatstick character. Just be wary of any rules that might say you never count as charging. Canis has this, what with being Romulus Remus raised by mutated Space Marines Wolves.
- Warrior Born- Always strike first, which is good if you’re expecting protracted combats, or playing more defensively, but less useful if you’re constantly on the offense. Krom and Ragnar have this, cos they love combat.
- Hunter– +1 Advance and Charge, and able to Charge after Advancing or Falling Back. Great on a Jump Pack Lord to go wherever he wants, but also useful on most Characters to stop them getting locked down. Harald has this, always on the prowl that one.
- Aura of Majesty- +3” to Datasheet Auras and Litanies (up to 9”). Simple but effective. Grimnar Bjorn and Ulrik have this, cos you should listen to your elders.
- Resolve of the Bear- A 6+++, and your opponent can’t reroll Wound or Damage rolls against the Warlord. A nice trait to make them beefier, and denying rerolls can be pretty useful when a bad roll comes up. Arjac has this given he’s a stubbornness made manifest.
If a Space Wolves Character with a Warlord Trait completes a corresponding Deed, at the end of the phase when that happens they get a new Aura, essentially granting a mini version of their trait in a 6” bubble for CORE units. Can make for some very potent combos, but timing is tricky due to only coming online at the end of the phase, so some of the use of the Auras may have already been missed. Still, a nice rule in place, though certainly not one to build around or expect.
- Beastslayer- Destroy a VEHICLE or MONSTER unit (can be from range incidentally, but also killing 1 War Walker won’t do it unless it’s the last, cos units), and everyone gets +1 to Wound in melee vs VEHICLES and MONSTERS. Nice if it comes up, but unlikely to, and certainly not an essential ability if you’ve got anti-tank already covered.
- Wolfkin- Destroy an enemy model with a melee attack, and then everyone always counts as charging for Shock Assault. Easy to achieve, and can help if you’re going to be in an elongated combat the turn after.
- Warrior Born- Destroy a CHARACTER in melee and let everyone fight first. Trickier to achieve, though if you can it makes charging a bundle of Wolves, or being Heroically Intervened by them, a dangerous prospect after the Character is felled.
- Hunter– Charge a unit. That’s all. Grants Advance and Charge, or Fall Back and Charge for units with Swift Hunters (so Thunderwolves). Very easy to achieve, with great benefits for the turn after when you want to go after more stuff, as well as granting the ability to free up one of your more dangerous units.
- Aura of Majesty- Be in range of an Objective that is more than 6” from your deployment zone, then everyone auto passes morale. Easy enough to achieve, though your own Trait doesn’t make this 9”, and Morale is rarely an issue outside of larger units. Grimnar comes with this already active, as he has nothing to prove.
- Resolve of the Bear- Lose a wound, then give everyone a 6+++. A great buff for the battleline, though realistically tough to get active as being shot at means you’re alone, and losing wounds in melee is fine but you could be dead by then if against the wrong unit. Still, a great ability when it kicks in, especially as you can’t have normal Apothecarys.
Anything marked with an * is Special-issue Wargear, meaning a Successor can take these Relics without needing to use the A Trophy Bestowed Stratagem. Well known for their Successor Chapters as well as sharing are the Space Wolves…
- The Armour of Russ– Grants a 2+/4++, as well as the ability to select one enemy unit at the start of the Fight Phase and force them to attack after everyone else. A decent stat boost alongside a potent ability that can dictate the flow of combat makes this a solid pick.
- The Wulfen Stone– Grants a 6” Aura of reroll Charge rolls to CORE (so annoyingly not the Character themselves…), as well as once per game ability to let a friendly unit within 6” activate Savage Fury on a 5+. When used on a full sized unit, or one with high quality attacks, this can result in utter destruction.
- Fireheart- A relic Plasma Pistol with 18” Range Str 9 AP -4 Dmg 3. Never gets hot, but it’s just a Pistol.
- Black Death- A Power Axe (or Master-crafted one) gets +D6 Attacks, but only Dmg 1. Can make a nice light infantry blender, but D6 is unreliable and with no ways to increase the damage makes it poor against most other targets.
- Mountain-breaker Helm- An INFANTRY model does D3 Mortal Wounds on a 2+ before they Consolidate. Useful to finish someone off, though often a SW Character is doing that anyways. Still handy in a pinch, and as its done before Consolidates can remove the last models from a unit allowing them to Consolidate into fresh prey
- The Storm’s Eye- Once per turn, after resolving a Tempestas Psychic Power a LIBRARIAN casts does some splash damage, with enemy units within 12” taking a Mortal Wound on a 4+. Note this happens after the power is resolved, so it still needs to be successfully cast and not denied, but likewise if you whiff the first power you still have the chance to activate this on your second power.
- The Pelt of Balewolf- Melee attacks vs the bearer are -1 to Hit and Wound. A tasty defensive buff, which whilst melee only is likely where a Space Wolves Character is going to be.
- Morkai’s Teeth Bolts*- A Bolt Weapons fires a single round that doesn’t do any damage if it hits, but causes your entire army to reroll 1s to wound that unit. Actually pretty good, as you can use this on a Character at the rear to mark up units for destruction from your VEHICLES as well as units not in Lieutenant range.
- Wolf Tail Talisman*- The bearer gets a 4+++ against Mortal Wounds in the Psychic Phase. Hyper niche, and would be better if it could be given to a Sergeant (say on Thunderwolves), so this can likely be passed unless you’re expecting a lot of Psykers.
- Frost Weapon*- A better Master-crafted Weapon giving +1 Str as well as +1 Dmg, albeit only on Lightning Claws, Power Swords and Power Axes. Incidentally can be used on an already master-crafted Sword or Axe, making them Damage 3. A worthwhile upgrade, likely over other normal melee Relics to boot.
- Runic Weapon*- An upgrade for a LIBRARIAN, granting their Force weapon +1 Strength, as well as a +1 to Deny. It’s ok, but there’s better relics to be looking at.
- Go for the Throat- You’re standard “6s to Wound do extra AP” in your chosen Doctrine, so Assault Doctrine. As with the other ones, it’s fine, but probably won’t be used all that often.
- Cunning of the Wolf- Grant a Space Wolves INFANTRY Outflank. Better than Strategic Reserves for any Infantry you might be thinking about reserving due to the less restrictive board edge deployment.
- The Emperor’s Executioners- Reroll Hits and Wounds vs THOUSAND SONS in melee. Another super niche but borderline broken in that niche. Haven’t you done enough to them?!
- Savage Strike- +1 to Wound for a unit that charged this turn. A more limited wound booster Stratagem, requiring both melee and the charge, but brutal when used on the right unit. Costs 2 CP if there’s 6+ models in a unit.
- Healing Balms- An INFANTRY, BIKER or CAVALRY unit heals D3 wounds at the end of the Movement phase if within 3” of a WOLF PRIEST model (so Chaplains essentially). Fine, you can’t take Apothecarys so this is the best you’re allowed. The downsides of being special apparently.
- Pack Hunters- Gives BEASTS and CAVALRY a 3D6 picking the highest charge move, as well as reroll wounds with their bites and claws, though with the caveat of it is on a unit already in Engagement Range of a friendly Space Wolves unit, and with a hefty 2CP price tag. However given this will affect all of those units charging and attacking that enemy, it can be useful to ensure longer charges with Thunderwolves, or use them as the second wave and help pile on the hurt.
- Relentless Assault- Consolidate +3” for a unit. A great cheap Stratagem that is useful for both wrapping as well as tagging. Use liberally when you can.
- Cloaked by the Storm- Burn 2 CP after casting a Tempestas power, but gain a 6” aura of -1 to Hit for Shooting attacks. A great defensive power that isn’t restricted to Core or Characters, so can be used to assist your Transports as you trundle up the field, as well as generally being a strong ability to have in your pocket.
- Deed Worthy of a Saga- When a non-VEHICLE CHARACTER without a Warlord Trait fulfils a Saga, they get that Saga at the end of the Phase. Whilst this won’t give them the Trait itself, it helps them buff other units around them. Has some uses especially with things like Hunter or Wolfkin, but not something to anticipate, and at 2CP could stretch your CP thin when/if it happens.
- A Trophy Bestowed- A Successor Chapter can take a single non-Special-issue Relic. Remember all this does is give you the option to take it, it doesn’t give you another Relic included in its CP cost.
- Thane of the Retinue- Lets a unit ‘Sergeant’ have a Master-crafted Weapon, Digital Weapons, Frost Weapon, or Morkai’s Teeth Bolts. Generally these are better on a Character, though the Morkai’s Teeth could be useful on a longer ranged support Sergeant to set up rerolls elsewhere.
- Warrior of Legend- Standard ‘get a second Chapter Warlord Trait’ Stratagem. Nice for making a particularly nasty combat beast, especially as they get the ability to activate each Saga if they have two Wolves traits, making them an effective force multiplier as well. Wolfkin and Hunter are two particularly nice traits to have together due to their potent buffs and easy Sagas.
- Bestial Nature- In the Command Phase, turn on the Assault Doctrine for the round instead of the active Doctrine, for a INFANTRY, BIKE or CAVALRY unit. Thanks to the FAQ this now does activate Savage Fury (finally), making this a go to choice in the first few turns for things like Bladeguard, Terminators and Thunderwolves.
- Counter Charge- Grants a 6” Heroic Intervention to a unit, costing 0CPif used on a Character! A handy little tool, especially as some opponents will cannily be avoiding your army wide Intervention and this can ensure they daren’t come too close.
- Keen Senses- In your Shooting Phase, an INFANTRY, BIKE or CAVALRY unit can ignore any and all modifiers and to their WS, BS and hit rolls, as well as any Charge modifiers, for the rest of the turn. Obvious uses include Long Fangs and Thunder Hammer equipped units after your first round of combat bonus has gone. Don’t neglect the charge modifier ignoring though, especially if a unit needs to make it over a crater into a key target. Just remember the timing is in the Shooting Phase, so make sure to plan ahead, even on a unit that may not be shooting that turn.
- Runic Wards- A unit gets a 12” Deny chance. Useful in a pinch to deny a key Smite or debuff power, though obviously limited by range it’s always handy to have especially if you’re in the thick of fighting.
A few offensive powers surrounded by some excellent buffing and debuffing powers. An all round good discipline with a power for most occasions.
Powers marked with a * last until the start of your next Psychic Phase.
- Living Lightning (WC 6)- A Smite that then bounces to the closest enemy unit within 6”, doing a Mortal Wound on a 2-4, or D3 on a 5+. Whilst won’t stack the damage on the primary target, good for spreading hurt around, especially if elite or character units are bunched up.
- Murderous Hurricane* (WC 6)- An enemy unit within 18” (doesn’t need line of sight) has to fight last, and can’t Overwatch unless they were wholly on or within a terrain feature. A decent debuff that can be useful if you’re expecting a unit to charge you next turn, or has an ability that would let them strike before you. Also gives you breathing room from any combat interrupts your opponent may have been planning. Shutting down Overwatch is just a nice bonus.
- Tempest’s Wrath* (WC 6)- An enemy unit within 24”(again doesn’t need line of sight) gets -1 to hit. Cheap, good range and applicable to most units be they combat or shooting. A solid go to power.
- Instincts Awoken* (WC 6)- A friendly unit within 18” goes into the Assault Doctrine instead of the current one. If it’s already the Assault Doctrine, 6s to Wound grant a bonus -1 AP. Great to shift into Savage Fury early, and still has use in the later phases of the game, though much more useful in the early stages during any Turn 1 or 2 charges.
- Storm Caller* (WC 6)- Friendly units within 6” gain Light Cover. A great defensive power for a cheap casting cost, the short range the only real downside here. Enjoy your 2+ Sv Marines, or even 0+ Sv Storm Shield Terminators. Combos very nicely with the Cloaked by the Storm Stratagem for even greater defense.
- Jaws of the World Wolf (WC 7)- Roll a D6 for each model in a visible enemy unit within 18”, taking a Mortal Wound for each 6. If you cast this on an unmodified 9+ however, it takes Mortal Wounds for each 5+ instead. A very strong power against hordes, and whilst it may not be applicable against smaller units, getting the 9+ casting off can mean a dead Marine or two if you roll well.
Provided every model in your Army is a SPACE WOLF (barring AGENTS OF THE IMPERIUM and UNALIGNED) and you have a SPACE WOLF Warlord, you can use one of these Secondaries, following all the normal rules for choosing Secondaries, so no duplicate categories etc. As mentioned in the main Space Marine Secondaries section, you can technically select one Space Marine one and a Space Wolves one, but check with your opponents/TO beforehand.
Purge the Enemy - Glory Kills
At the end of the Battle Round, score 1 VP if an enemy CHARACTER took 3+ Wounds from Space Wolves units, or 2VP if they were slain instead. In addition, score 1 VP if an enemy MONSTER took 3+ Wounds from Space Wolves units, or 3 VP if they were slain instead. CHARACTER MONSTERS only count as one of these, so generally it will be under the MONSTER category unless you’ve already destroyed one this turn. Can be achieved from range as well as melee. Against some armies will be a good choice, but realistically you need to be doing 3+ wounds to a CHARACTER and a MONSTER every turn. Inferior to Assassinate if the enemy has more than 4+ CHARACTERS really.
Purge the Enemy - Heroic Challenge
Nominate a CHARACTER from your army, and your opponent does the same. Score 5 VP if that enemy Character is destroyed, and additional 5 if destroyed in melee, and a final 5 if destroyed by the Character you chose. Obviously your opponent can pick their biggest beefiest Character, or one that you just might not be able to catch. If you are confident you’re going to be able to get to all of your enemies Characters by game’s end, or none of them are particularly tough, this could be a good pick, especially if you have a Smash Captain type unit to nominate. Don’t neglect the power this could have over some armies as well, if they have only 2 or 3 but important characters that need to be in the thick of things, this could alter your opponents game plan. Finally don’t worry about maxing this, if the difference is a guaranteed 10VP from a unit killing the Character, or a chance that your challenger can do it but might not succeed, don’t take the risk unless you’d lose without those extra 5 VP anyways.
No Mercy, No Respite - A Mighty Saga
At the end of each battle round, score 2 VP (up to 5 per Round) for each of the following your Warlord (and only your Warlord) completes- inflicting wounds in melee to a MONSTER or VEHICLE; Destroying a MONSTER or VEHICLE in melee, Destroying a CHARACTER in melee; Destroying 5+ models; being in range of an Objective wholly in your opponent’s deployment zone. Note this means you get 4 VP for killing a MONSTER or VEHICLE (2 for wounding it, 2 for destroying it), any CHARACTERS that are MONSTERS or VEHICLES will therefore give you the full 5, you can destroy models from range as well for the 4th option, and you don’t need to be controlling the Objective, simply be in range of it. The downsides of these are of course this is your Warlord only that can do these, but they are all somewhat easy to do, and can stack quite easily. Certainly one to consider if you have some key targets and a Warlord built to do the job.
No Mercy, No Respite - Warrior Pride
Score 3 VP at the end of your turn if 2+ Space Wolves units completed a charge this turn, or are within Engagement Range. Very easy to do all things considered, and quite doable to get 9-12 VP each game if not maxed. Doesn’t have any restrictions on who needs to do it, so charge in those VEHICLES if it will net you the VP.
A sort of Super Doctrine but not really, in that you get to choose which Doctrine is active at the start of each Battle Round rather than following the rigid Codex structure. Whilst you’re still limited to Devastator once per game, Tactical twice per game, and Assault thrice per game, the flexibility to choose what is most beneficial at the start of each Battle Round is great. Going into Turn 2 after getting charged at the end of Turn 1? Assault time. Got good firing lanes for your heavy weapons in turn 4? Pop Devastator. Bear in mind you must still choose a Doctrine each round, so if there is one you really want to save until later turns remember you’ll have to sacrifice one of the others, no saving them for a rainy day.
Right this is pretty complicated, and I’m not going to write it all down here, but essentially it boils down to 4 different types of Kill Teams-
- Proteus: Firstborn Marines, being Veterans, Terminators, Vanguard and Bikes.
- Fortis: Tacticus Armoured Marines, being Intercessors, Assault Intercessors, Hellblasters and Outriders.
- Indomitor: Gravis Armoured Marines, being Heavy Intercessors, Aggressors, Inceptors and Eradicators.
- Spectrus: Phobos Armoured Marines, being Infiltrators, Incursors, Reivers and Eliminators.
All Kill Teams are Troops regardless of what makes them up (so ObSec is granted to them), and they all follow Mixed Unit rules, meaning you wound against the majority Toughness, and BIKES count as INFANTRY for the purposes of terrain, provided there are other INFANTRY in the unit still, which is weird but makes it easier for those mixed units. Models have their own Keywords but it depends on what else is in the unit (so having a Vanguard Veteran doesn’t give everyone else FLY and JUMP PACK for the purposes of Stratagems etc). Wargear is again done by individual basis and needs to be based off those specific models (so a unit with 3 Aggressors does not mean you can take an additional Multi-melta on your 3 Eradicators), and finally any special rules only apply to the models in question, so no having an Outrider in a Fortis Squad doesn’t give auto advancing 6” or bonus attacks on the charge to everyone else, only themselves, and likewise if a rule needs every model in the unit to have the rule, they can only use it when that criteria is met (eg Teleport Strike on Terminators for example).
Special Issue Ammunition
Now a specific Weapon Ability rather than on all Bolt Weapons, so it’s much more limited, and no longer on things like Storm Bolters or Bolt Rifles. Basically it’s your Veterans with Boltguns and a Watch Master, that’s about it. Secondly you can mix and match Ammunition if you so wish, so you can use the right rounds on the right targets if you’re splitting fire.
Finally the rounds themselves have pretty much all changed, and all have different jobs and roles-
- Dragonfire Bolts ignore all benefits of cover, so this means Light and Dense, which is pretty useful if an enemy is bunkered down.
- Hellfire Rounds are now +1 to Wound vs non-VEHICLE and non-TITANIC models, which makes them still pretty powerful against lighter Infantry, just not the obnoxious auto pick they once were, and still a solid choice all round
- Kraken Bolts give you +6” Range and -1 AP making it an efficient choice against a lot of targets or if you want to reach for the extra Rapid Fire range. Note this is the better choice over Dragonfire if only Light Cover is applicable to an enemy unit, as the AP negates the bonus cover anyway, and the extra range could trigger Rapid Fire.
- Vengeance Rounds give you +1 Damage, which makes it useful anti-tank in a pinch as well as good at shifting heavier Infantry like Marines or Lychguard.
They all stack with Combat Doctrines and Bolter Discipline now so you’ll still be getting a good amount of AP and shots from these weapons, though as mentioned they are much less ubiquitous so just bear that in mind when list building.
Kill Team Specialisms
For a relatively cheap points increase (between 15 and 30), you can upgrade any of your KILL TEAMS (so a Proteus, Fortis, Indomitor or Spectrus). Becoming a Specialist grants them a built in reroll 1s to Wound vs a particular Battlefield Role, or full reroll wounds if its the same Role you chose with your Chapter Tactics. The only exception is Aquila, who essentially lets that unit choose two Roles for the Chapter Tactics, giving them better flexibility. As these are cheap enough, if you have a unit built to deal with those types of Roles specifically (so they’re specialised, if you will), this can offer some nice redundancy or ensure some devastating results.
- Aquila- Get a second Battlefield Role to reroll 1s against. Great for those units that you just want to reliably deal with multiple enemies without over committing to a set role. Also the cheapest one, so never a bad choice on one of your generalist units.
- Venator- Fast Attack or Flyers. Whilst Flyers are less of concern in 9th, Fast Attack often contains lots of units that are important to 9th editions playstyle of board control, so this is a decent choice on a generalist unit.
- Malleus- Heavy Support, Lord of War or Dedicated Transports. Transports are fairly common nowadays so this is not a bad choice for a more heavy weapon leaning unit. The LoW and Heavy Support on top helps out as well, but 3 Roles does make this the most expensive one.
- Dominatus- Elites. Much like Fast Attack, Elites are often used in 9th edition be it as a source of firepower or as tough units that can bully parts of the battlefield, so wounding them easier is a nice bonus.
- Furor- Troops. Whilst the most expensive one due to Troops being the most common Role…they are the most common Role, so this will almost never be wasted, and almost always be useful.
- Purgatus- HQs. The most niche one, as your Kill Teams likely aren’t dealing with HQs all that often in the early game at least, though it’s a nice bonus for Spectrus Squads with Eliminators.
- Vigilance Incarnate- In the Command Phase, select a CORE unit within 6” and a Battlefield Role. The unit gets to reroll 1s to Wound against that chosen Role. Note this stacks with the Chapter Tactic, giving you flexibility on your targets. A decent trait, but nothing special. Artemis has this.
- Paragon of their Chapter- You may select one of the Chapter Warlord Traits from the main Space Marine Codex, replacing any CHAPTER Keywords with DEATHWATCH. Note this must be from the main book, no Supplements, and you have to take the Warlord Trait of the Chapter of the model if it has one (so don’t paint them with a White Scars Shoulderpad for example). There’s some nice combos, particularly with ways to get nice defensive buffs or CP regen.
- Nowhere to Hide- In your Command Phase, select an enemy unit. You get a 6” aura for CORE units to ignore save bonuses from cover on that unit. Works for both Light and Heavy cover, so has uses for a variety of units to ensure a key target’s destruction. Doesn’t ignore Dense though, so bear that in mind. Natorian gets this.
- Optimised Priority– CORE and CHARACTERS in 6” can still shoot whilst performing Actions. Niche, but can be handy if you are anticipating any Action based Secondaries every turn and don’t want to sacrifice firepower. Note that this just allows you to shoot, not do anything else, so if this Warlord does an Action he turns off his own aura, meaning he couldn’t shoot anyways. Cassius gets this.
- Castellan of the Black Vault- Get a free Master-crafted Weapon, Adamantine Mantle, Artificer Armour or Digital Weapon on this Warlord, in addition to any other Relic they carry. Good for making beefier characters, or spreading some relics around the army.
- The Ties That Bind- All CORE units within 6” reroll failed Morale, and you grant Objective Secured to a single CORE unit each Command Phase for the Round. If they already have ObSec, they count as an extra model. A good all round trait, especially if you are running large squads of Veterans, and want to ensure you hold any Objectives you come across.
- The Beacon Angelis- Provided the bearer didn’t arrive from Reinforcements this turn, the bearer can teleport an INFANTRY or BIKER unit that is on the battlefield (and also didn’t arrive from Reinforcements), is in a teleportarium (so Terminators), or in Strategic Reserves, to arrive wholly within 6” of them and more than 9” away from enemy models. Has its uses, particularly on a Bike Captain who might have hooned up the field to bring a unit of tooled up Veterans with him, but being once per game means you need to make its impact felt.
- Dominus Aegis- Replacing a Shield of some type (Storm, Relic or Combat), the bearer keeps the +1 to Armour Saving Throws, and trades out the other rules for a 6” Aura of a 5++ for all CORE and CHARACTERS. A potent defensive upgrade, especially on Captains who won’t miss the loss of the 4++ thanks to their Iron Halo, and well worth the swap out if you have plentiful units to protect and aren’t running Shields on those units.
- Osseus Key- A WATCH MASTER gets a 12” aura of -1 Attack and -1 to Hit for enemy VEHICLES. A nasty surprise for any melee VEHICLES, and even against other tanks the -1 to Hit can be crippling if the Watch Master gets too close.
- The Thief of Secrets- A Power Sword (normal or Master-crafted) or Xenophase Blade is swapped out for a Xenophase Blade that does Dmg 2 vs Xenos. Cute sidegrade, but there are better and more widely applicable melee relics.
- The Tome of Ectoclades- In your Command Phase you can select a Datasheet in your opponents army (so “Necron Warriors” or “Blightlord Terminators”, for example), and CORE units within 6” can reroll Wound rolls against that chosen Datasheet for the battle round. A powerful effect, albeit once per game, this can turn the tide against particularly powerful units, or units of which there are multiple of and you can get a large swathe of rerolls.
- The Blackweave Shroud- The bearer gets +1T and a 4+++ vs Mortal Wounds. A decent defensive buff, especially if combined with other survivability boosting wargear or rules.
- Spear of the First Vigil- A WATCH MASTER gets a melee weapon worth talking about, gaining an extra shot, +1Str and the always tasty flat 3 Dmg. A worthwhile melee upgrade if the Watch Master is expected to be in the thick of the fighting.
- The Soul Fortress- A LIBRARIAN gets a 24” range Psychic Hood (so read as +1 to Deny all the time), and ignores any and all modifiers to Psychic Tests. It’s fine, but there’s better relics.
- Banebolts of Eryxia- A single bolt shot with Str 6, AP -2 and Dmg 3. Can’t be used with Special Issue Ammo, and is otherwise a bolt relic (ie its ok, but there’s better uses of the relic slot).
- Vhorkan-pattern Auspicator- CORE units in 6” get +1 to Hit when shooting units with FLY. A niche ability, but there’s a lot of units out there with FLY, so this can come up a lot more than you’d expect, and is a potent force multiplier if you have no other Relics that you’d prefer.
- Artificer Bolt Cache- The bearer gets to use Special-issue Ammunition on their Bolt Weapons. Why a Veteran of the Watch doesn’t already carry them is beyond me, but this can be used to grant the useful buffs they bring to a shooty captain. Probably not the first pick of a relic though.
- Eye of Abiding- The bearer ignores all WS, BS, Hit and Wound modifiers when they attack, and 6s to Wound ignore Invulnerable saves. Can be quite potent for reliability as well as surprising tough opponents that rely on invulnerables. Combine with a powerful weapon like a Thunder Hammer for best effect.
- Death to the Alien!- +1 Attack for models fighting Xenos. Simple but effective combat booster for any unit.
- Prognosticating Volley- A unit ignores any BS and Hit modifiers when Shooting an AELDARI unit. Great to avoid things like Lightning Fast Reactions, Night Shields or even Dense Cover.
- Synaptic Severance- 6s to Hit vs TYRANID SYNAPSE units automatically Wound. Can be used in both the Shooting and Fight Phase, handy to bypass the usually high Toughness of these models.
- Adaptive Tactics- A once per game Stratagem that needs a WATCH MASTER on the Battlefield, that lets you change your chosen Battlefield Role for the Xenos Hunters Tactic. Pricey at 2CP and needs the Watch Master alive, but useful to swap out to another role for those reroll 1s to Wound when needed.
- Atonement Through Honour- A unit with a Black Shield can Heroically Intervene. Useful to have in our pocket, though of course you need a Black Shield to be in a unit, so this restricts it to Veterans and Proteus Kill Teams only.
- Sanction of the Black Vault- Standard ‘Give a Sergeant some Special-issue Wargear’ Stratagem, giving them Artificer Armour, Master-crafted Weapon, Digital Weapons, Banebolts of Eryxia or Artificer Bolt Cache. The Artificer Bolt Cache could be quite interesting on a Sergeant with high rate of fire bolt weapons (Outrider or Aggressor Sergeants), or high quality Bolt Weapons (Eliminators), but the CP use might not be necessarily worth it.
- A Vigil Unmatched- Your usual 2nd Warlord Trait Stratagem, can offer some nice secondary auras and abilities, though you won’t be making some of the horrific beatsticks the other Chapters are capable of doing.
- Stem the Green Tide- Lets you overwatch against an ORK unit, with the added benefit of reducing their Charge by -2” if you destroy any models when doing so. Gives you the now rare ability to Overwatch with multiple units a turn now, though it will cost a chunk of CP to do so.
- Priority Doctrine Adoption- In your Command Phase, select a unit and put them into a different Combat Doctrine. You can only use this if your whole army is DEATHWATCH (outside of AGENTS OF THE IMPERIUM and UNALIGNED), but this gives you yet another way to mix Doctrines away, giving you great flexibility on your various units.
- Targeting Scramblers- After a T’AU EMPIRE unit resolves it’s attacks in their Shooting Phase, remove all Markerlights from one of the units they resolved attacks against. Great to use this on a unit that has just finished putting Markerlights on a unit, forcing them to overinvest in more Markerlights or change targets completely.
- Overkill- After attacking a NECRONS unit, be it Shooting or Fight, that NECRONS unit must -1 from any Reanimation Protocols they do from those attacks. Given this makes this generally a 6+, this is great against the elite units, all but guaranteeing none stand back up, and can be useful in punching through the 1 Wound hordes you can come up across.
- Brotherhood of Veterans- 2CP is a high price, but swapping out the niche Xeno Hunter Chapter Tactic for any of the other Chapter Tactics for your turn can be incredibly powerful. Tagged in combat with a shooting unit, go Ultramarines. Want your rapid firing special issue boltguns to get exploding hits at that unit cowering in ruins, switch to Imperial Fists. Combat unit just slightly out of charge range if you moved normally, now you’re a White Scar advancing and charging. There’s lots of options, just remember you’ll give up your reroll 1s for the turn so make sure you’ve got character support nearby if you want to keep those.
- Disruptive Launch- A unit with JUMP PACKS, including Kill Teams with Inceptors or Vanguard, can Fall Back and Shoot. Cheap and always useful Stratagem, though it does require the specific models in there to make use of it.
- Teleportarium- Give an INFANTRY, BIKE or DREADNOUGHT the Teleport Strike rule. You can use it once per game, twice in a Strike Force or three times if an Onslaught game. Useful if you’ve a unit that wants to get in close but you don’t want to risk them starting on the board, or just want the hilarious image of a teleporting Redemptor or Leviathan.
- Relentless Assault- A unit with BIKERS, including Kill Teams with Veteran Bikes or Outriders, can Fall Back and Charge. As with the above this is a useful toolkit Stratagem to have, provide you have the units able to use it.
- Shroud Field- At the start of the first Battle Round, a CORVUS BLACKSTAR cannot be shot unless it is the closest. Hilarious if you go second, meaning you can safely load up expensive squads into the plane without fear of it being a paperweight.
- Clavis- An enemy VEHICLE within 1” of a WATCH MASTER at the start of the Fight Phase, takes D3 Mortal Wounds, and that VEHICLE attacks after everyone else. Very niche, and the fight last is only really relevant if they’re a tank that can actually fight, but the Mortal Wounds could be useful to help finish off or outright kill a damaged tank that is trying to tie you up. Probably won’t come up in every game, but something in the kit nonetheless.
- Special-issue Loadout- An INFANTRY unit gets to use Special-issue Ammunition (except for Bolt Sniper Rifles), with the trade off of becoming Heavy 1. A steep ask at 2CP, with a big trade off for most units, though could see some uses on Intercessors with Stalker Rifles.
A good mix of powers, with a mix of debuffs, offensive and defensive powers. None are really bad choices, though some will lend themselves to certain playstyles better than others.
Powers marked with a * last until the start of your next Psychic Phase.
- Premorphic Resonance* (WC 6)- A cheap combat buffer, granting a friendly unit within 18” +1 to Hit in melee, always striking first, as well as Overwatching on 5s. The first two benefits are great for a melee oriented unit, or even a unit likely to get charged as it could cause issues with your opponent’s activation priority. The third benefit is handy, though you’ll still need to spend CP to actually use Overwatch.
- Fortified with Contempt* (WC 6)- An INFANTRY or BIKER unit within 18” gets a 5+++. A great defensive buff that will always be useful to have in your arsenal.
- Neural Void* (WC 7)- A great debuffing power on an enemy unit within 18”, inflict a -1 Attack as well as forcing them to only charge the closest unit, which can cause mayhem with a melee unit that wants to go past a Rhino and now can’t.
- Psychic Cleanse (WC 6)- Roll a D6 for every enemy model within 9” of the Psyker, inflicting a Mortal Wound on that model’s unit on a 6. If you can get the Librarian right in the thick of it this can cause utter devastation on multiple units, but the odds of that perfect storm happening aren’t great, and honestly other powers are better due to the effectiveness of buffs or debuffs.
- Mantle of Shadow* (WC 6)- An INFANTRY unit within 12”cannot be shot unless that unit is within 12” of the enemy, or are the closest eligible target. The downside is they themselves cannot shoot or charge should they want the benefit. The defence against shooting is generally good, but you’ll have to weigh up if losing that unit’s offense is worth it. If they’re sat on a vital objective or a pure melee squad that you know won’t be charging that turn, sure.
- Severance* (WC 7)- An enemy CHARACTER within 18” takes a Mortal Wound, but more importantly their Aura’s are reduced by 3”, or outright turned off if the Psychic Test was higher than the enemy Character’s Leadership. Whilst some abilities won’t be affected, and sometimes you’re banking on turning them off entirely, even reducing the range can be useful as it will force your opponent to bunch up giving you slightly better freedom and board control, or will continue with their plan but without auras giving you an advantage on defence.
If all the models in your Army are DEATHWATCH (barring AGENTS OF THE IMPERIUM and UNALIGNED) and you have a DEATHWATCH Warlord, you can use one of these Secondaries, following all the normal rules for choosing Secondaries, so no duplicate categories etc. As mentioned in the main Space Marine Secondaries section, you are currently eligible to select one Space Marine one and a Deathwatch one, but check with your opponents/TO beforehand.
Battlefield Supremacy - The Long Vigil
At the start of your Command Phase (but not the first battle round), score 5 VP if there are no non-AIRCRAFT units within 6” of your deployment zone, and at least one DEATHWATCH unit wholly within your deployment zone. Against some armies this is an easy 10-15 VP, as they will be unable or unwilling to get to your backlines. Whilst this does require you leave a unit or two behind, chances are you were doing this anyways due to home Objectives. However consider the army you are playing against before wanting to run this. Eldar that can cheaply fling a fast flying transport towards your lines, or a melee based army, will probably deny this to you quite easily.
Purge the Enemy - Cull Order
After deploying, you and your opponent alternate (starting with them) picking Battlefield Roles from their army, until 3 (or as many as they have) have been chosen. Score 5 VP at the end of the battle if all the units with that role in the enemy army have been chosen. Against armies that have multiple units in each slot this could be tricky, but you at least get one pick to aim at, ideally a single unit you can focus down, or easy to kill units. Very match-up dependant, and remember that any units that split after deployment or mid game will need to be hunted down completely.
Shadow Operations - Cripple Stronghold
After deployment you opponent selects an Objective wholly within their deployment zone (or any Objective if there isn’t one in their deployment zone) to be a Stronghold Objective. Your INFANTRY units can then perform an Action on that Objective provided no enemies are within range, starting at the end of your Movement phase and completing at the start of your next Command phase. You score 6 VP each time you complete the action. A high scoring Secondary, especially if you are intending to push into the enemy deployment zone, but some armies will be able to either screen this out easily, or are more than happy for you to come to them, so be wary of picking this against armies you may not be confident in engaging in their zone, or outnumber you drastically to point of being unable to get to the Objective by turn 3 or 4 – remember you will be unable to score this in Turn 5 as you won’t have a Command Phase afterwards!
No Mercy, No Respite - Suffer Not the Alien
1 VP for each enemy Xenos (so AELDARI, NECRONS, ORK, T’AU EMPIRE or TYRANIDS) unit that is destroyed. Obviously useless against Chaos or Imperium armies, but hilarious against any of the Xenos. T’au especially suffer with this one as any Drones bought as part of a unit, or the Drones attached to their Vehicles, count as separate units, giving you an incredibly easy Secondary to score. Will depend on the type of army you’re facing, though as a rule of thumb this should net you close to 6-8 points against most Xenos armies. It’s worth doing a count of units you think you can reliably kill during deployment and comparing to other No Mercy Objectives to see if you could take any alternatives that may score more, especially against tougher Xenos armies, or those you may not be equipped to deal with efficiently.
Effectively your Super Doctrine, but rather than only being active in a certain Doctrine, it’s active all the time, albeit with some downsides. Chosen at the end of the Read Mission Briefing step (ie after you’ve seen the opponent’s list and know the mission, but before anything else like choosing Secondaries and Deployment), you pick a single Vow to apply to all your units with Combat Doctrines, granting them the Vow and Passion of it. If another Vow comes into effect, the Passion does as well. Given these are picked after knowing what is in your opponent’s army you can pick one most suitable in order to mitigate the Passion or maximise the benefits.
Suffer Not the Unclean to Live
Melee attacks auto wound non-VEHICLES on a Hit of a 6. Makes your melee more reliable against the majority of targets, letting you more attacks go straight through to saves.
You have to charge the nearest non-AIRCRAFT not in Engagement Range of other Templar units within 12” when you do declare charges. Note this doesn’t mean you can’t charge other units, but of course if you don’t make it to that other one you’ll fail the charge…Does make positioning important, and with your innate reroll on charges you have a bit of back up, but it can be a pretty big drawback if you’re looking to make multiple charges in the same area of the battlefield.
Uphold the Honour of the Emperor
Everyone gets a 5++, and 1s and 2s to Wound always fail regardless of abilities etc. The 5++ is very nice, and whilst not so useful for those with native Invulnerables it helps a big swathe of high value units that wouldn’t have it normally, and the baby Transhuman helps out against high strength weapons or units with ways to improve wound rolls like Drazhar.
You never gain the benefits of cover, so no Light or Heavy for sure, however Dense is a bit murkier. The main section makes no clear distinction, whilst Reference section at the back specifically states you don’t get the benefit of Light or Heavy, with no mention of Dense at all- presumably that is the intent. All in all it can be a fairly significant downside, however the 5++ often offsets or at least equals the AP of significant weapons. If the quantity of AP in the opponent’s army is generally low, Cover may provide better saves so weigh up their output before deciding.
Abhor the Witch, Destroy the Witch
If any enemy PSYKERS are in your opponent’s army, all your units get +3” Mv in the first turn, and you also reroll 1s to Wound in melee vs PSYKERS. Obviously the nichest one, as no Psykers means no benefits, but this can really put the pressure on and establish board presence, even if the Psyker is in reserves or in a Transport.
You can’t perform Actions if you’re within 18” of a PSYKER. Only really a downside if you’re taking Action based Secondaries (which as you pick them after choosing this Vow, you’d only have yourself to blame), and whilst it says you can’t perform Actions whilst in range, there is nothing to say you can’t complete Actions should a Psyker move into the range, so if you’ve started an Action you can still continue it.
Accept Any Challenge, No Matter the Odds
When in Engagement Range, Assault Doctrine is considered to be active instead, and you get +1A though it doesn’t stack with Shock Assault. Useful for ongoing combats, as well as enabling you to stay in Tactical Doctrine for another turn (as the Assault Doctrine aspect only kicks in when in melee itself). A simple and easy to use Vow, though it realistically only benefits you on Turns 1 and 2, and in trying to plow through ongoing combats, so it might dip off in effectiveness depending on how the game goes.
You can’t Fall Back. This can be a big downside, though it will be quite match up dependent. Sometimes you will be in a position where falling back onto an Objective could win you the game, but an errant unit prevents you from doing so. As such be wary picking this one if killing units is going to prove difficult or at least not reliable, lest you find yourself bogged down in combats when you could be going to get Objectives.
- Epitome of Piety- Once per turn Deny the Witch, with a +1 to boot. Decent or worthless, it depends entirely on if you’re facing Psykers, and so there’s likely more reliable choices. Grimaldus has this as he really dislikes the witch.
- Paragon of Fury- Each time the Warlord charges, they get +1 Str (this seems to be permanent as nothing says “until the end of the turn”, so multiple charges means MORE ANGRY), and in addition each model in Engagement Range takes a Mortal Wound on a 5+. Great on units that want to reach good numbers on their strength and are expecting to make multiple charges, as well as those with large bases, making this particularly nasty on a Bike Chaplain, letting him handbrake turn and donut through a unit as he arrives.
- Master of Arms- The Warlord always fights first, and gets +1 Attack As a Black Templar you’ll want to be the charger anyways so kind of moot, though helpful if you get caught flat footed, or are in subsequent combat rounds. The +1A is a solid boon however, and given the number of rules that cause Strike Last this helps offer a layer of defense against them as well.
- Inspirational Fighter- A 6” Aura for CORE, granting Melee Wound rolls of 6 an additional -1 AP. Stacks with the Assault Doctrine, letting you rack up impressive numbers from even basic Infantry.
- Front-line Commander- The Warlord gets +1 Advance and Charge, as well as letting CORE units get a +1 to their Charges on any unit he is in Engagement Range with. A good choice, helping you get to the enemy even quicker and more reliably than before, and whilst the second benefit is a bit more situational, it’s still a solid bonus for multi-charging. Helbrecht has this, as if anyone is going to have the honour of first contact with the enemy it’ll be him.
- Oathkeeper- A 6” Heroic Intervention. It’s ok, though if it’s something you’re looking to utilise, just keep them closer to your battlelines.
- The Crusader’s Helm- +3” to Auras (up to 9”) and in your Command Phase you can pick a single unit in 9” to count as having Assault Doctrine active instead of the current Doctrine. A good all-purpose Relic, just remember unlike other Melee focused Chapters you don’t have a Super Doctrine associated with the Assault Doctrine, so this is effectively “just” an extra point of melee AP. Still a good pick, especially if you have a key melee unit that doesn’t care about Tactical Doctrine.
- Witchseeker Bolts- A bolt weapon fires a single shot, but they can ignore Look Out Sir on PSYKER CHARACTER, and provided you Hit, they take D3 Mortal Wounds in addition to other damage. Whilst you might not always come up against Psykers, this can be great on Phobos Captain or character with a Stalker Bolt Rifle that already has good AP and Damage to begin with, letting you one shot those pesky Psykers with a bit of luck.
- The Aurelian Shroud- Once per game at the start of either player’s Command Phase, the bearer gains a 3” Aura of a 4++ for CORE INFANTRY until the the start of your next Command Phase. Pretty potent to keep footsloggers on the board for longer, making big blobs particularly tough to shift. The small range however means your character needs to be fairly central.
- Ancient Breviary – A CHAPLAIN rolls two D6 and picks one for their Litanies. Not a bad pick, especially if you have multiple and only one can be the Master of Sanctity for Wise Orator.
- Skull of the Cacodominus- All enemy PSYKERS within 12” suffer -1 to Psychic Tests, and also Perils on any double, not just 1s or 6s. In addition, once a game you can get an additional 18” Aura of another -1 to Psychic tests (which stacks) to really put the pressure on Psykers as you close in. Niche, but a good pick if expecting lots of Psykers. Be wary the increased Perils means more chances of Psykers blowing up, especially if you’re close enough to the explosion, but your 5+++ helps a bit with that.
- Sword of Judgement- A souped up Power Sword (normal or master-crafted) gets Str+3 and Damage 3. A slightly better Master-crafted Sword, simple but effective.
- Aquila Immortalis- Grants the bearer +1A and +1T. Stat boosts are always good, especially for characters that will likely be in the thick of it, and going to T5 helps against a number of weapons. On paper a pretty basic Relic, but a good one given the increases are to two solid stats.
- Perdition’s Edge- A Power Axe or Master-Crafted Power Axe gets +1 Str and Dmg 2, and unmodified 6s to Wound do 2 Mortals instead of normal damage. It’s fine, and helps bypass Invulnerables or get a 2-for-1 kill on 1W models, but generally unreliable and there are better weapons.
- Breath of the Throne- The Flamer part of a Combi or Auto-Flamer becomes 3+D3 Shots at Str 5 -1 Dmg 2. Actually pretty potent, though given the short range you’ll realistically get to use this once or twice, and obviously not so useful on a Character who wants to get stuck into melee. Can be a good secondary Relic on a Lieutenant who is looking to provide support rather than get stuck in.
- Tännhauser’s Bones- The bearer reduces all Damage to 1, making them exceptionally hard to shift, especially on those with a 4++. Mortals can of course bypass this, but you’re a Templar so have that partially covered via your Chapter Tactic. Whilst by no means making you invincible, as sheer weight of attacks can still drag you down, this can lead to obnoxiously tanky models that can throwdown with high damage units and soak up far more than they should.
- Devout Push- At the start of the Fight Phase, a CORE or CHARACTER unit can immediately make a Normal Move of 3”, so long as it ends the move closer to the nearest enemy unit or Objective Marker. If they are in Engagement Range they immediately Pile In instead. A powerful utility tool for only 1CP, useful to close the gap in either players turn, setting you up for charges in your turn or move to a more advantageous position in yours, steal Objectives or even embark out of sequence if positioned well. On the combat side of things, increasing models in fighting range is useful, as it is for aiming to tag more units, and is particularly useful with Canticle of Hate – a 6” Pile In at the start, then another 6” Pile In when selected to Fight, then a 6” Consolidation is a huuuuuge chunk of extra movement.
- Vicious Riposte- Used in the Fight Phase on a CORE unit, letting destroyed models in that unit that don’t explode make a final “attack” on a 5+, doing a Mortal Wound after the attacker has finished, up to a maximum of 6 Mortal Wounds. Can be nice to try and punish a unit that is likely to carve through one of your units, and isn’t breaking the bank at 1 CP, but it’s not the most reliable of abilities, and anything that relies on a model dying is probably not the best thing to be using.
- Crusader’s Wrath- Your standard “Bonus AP on 6s to Wound for weapons associated with your favourite Combat Doctrine”. As with the others, it’s pricey at 2 CP, and niche for some small chances of extra AP, even if army wide. Can be useful, but you’ll likely forget it even exists frankly.
- For The Emperor’s Honour- Costly at 2 CP, but forces an enemy CHARACTER you nominate to only be able to attack a friendly CHARACTER you nominate, provided they’re in Engagement Range. As all attacks must be allocated to your chosen champion, this can provide breathing room for an important unit in the same combat, especially if the character in question is loaded with defensive wargear.
- Bombastic Delivery- Lets a CHAPLAIN automatically recite one of their Litanies, as well as letting them recite an additional one this turn, effectively meaning they can always use Litany of Hate for those tasty rerolls. At 2CP it’s expensive, but when you need to get a Litany off and want a chance at doing some more, it’s a great choice for the guarantee.
- Revered Repositories- A Sergeant (or Sword Brother) can take Witchseeker Bolts, Sword of Judgement, The Skull of the Cacodominus, a Master-crafted Weapon or Digital Weapons. As with other Relic-on-Sergeant stratagems often these are just better on a Character, though can be useful to give the Sword of Judgement and pack a nasty surprise on Sword Brother.
- Heir of Sigismund- The usual “Give your WARLORD an additional Chapter Specific Trait”. Most of the Templars Traits are pretty good but are predominately melee based, letting you get some powerful benefits on a beatstick, making a real powerhouse with stuff like Imperium’s Sword and Master of Arms for example.
- Champion of the Feast- Makes a Sergeant or Sword Brother a pseudo-character, giving them +1 WS, A and W. Fantastic on a Bladeguard or Terminator Sergeant, hilarious on an Assault Centurion, and still pretty good on a general unit soldier, though you’ll of course want to use this on the ones with the best wargear like previously mentioned.
- Abhor the Witch- Deny a Psychic Power on a 4+ if within 24”. Useful given your lack of Psykers, just remember you have a 5+++ so don’t be too concerned with a normal Smite vs say a potential Doom.
- Tenacious Assault- A non-FLY INFANTRY or BEAST unit trying to Fall Back from any of your units fails on a 4+. Whilst only a 50/50, this can utterly scupper an opponent’s game plan, preventing a unit from moving onto Objectives, or opening fire on your units. It’s a single roll for a single unit, so use it on the most appropriate if there are multiple units you’d like to keep in combat.
- Strength of Conviction- A CORE unit in your Command Phase gets Objective Secured until your next Command Phase. Making a unit ObSec on tap is very powerful and can swing an engagement by countering your opponent’s ObSec, or letting a unit steal an Objective. Note that Primary Missions are scored at the end of your Command Phase, letting you use this before then to turn Objectives back under your command. A potent ability that can turn games on their head with careful use, and a bargain at 1 CP.
- The Emperor’s Will- An INFANTRY unit can Advance and shoot with Pistol and Rapid Fire weapons normally, as well as ignoring the penalty for Assault weapons. Fairly niche as it will only help certain units and often those are units with lighter firepower. Can be useful if you know a charge isn’t going to happen with a unit this turn, you need them to get further up the field, and don’t want to lose their firepower, but it won’t come up all that often, and the CP is usually better spent elsewhere or saved for more potent Stratagems.
- Shock and Awe- A LAND RAIDER CRUSADER that made a Normal Move can have it’s units inside Disembark even though it moved, though those units cannot move further that phase. You can shoot and charge as normal however. This really breathes a new lease of life into the iconic CRUSADERS, giving an effective +5” move to units inside (8” Mv over 6”, then a 3” Disembark), though of course you need to make sure your positioning on the disembark is done well to ensure multiple units inside (if applicable) can make their charges. For 1 CP this can be quite impactful on the game, especially as you threaten larger parts of the board by sheer virtue of the Land Raiders chonk.
- Exemplars of the Crusade- SWORD BRETHREN get exploding 6s in Melee. It’s fine, Sword Brethren aren’t the most killy of units compared to others, but this can give them a slight edge if you need to clear or significantly damage a unit they’re engaged with. Not to be relied on, but handy to have in a pinch.
- Heretic’s Pyre- Gives a CORE unit’s flame weapons Blast, essentially. Costs 2CP on a unit of GRAVIS (cos Aggressors), and 1 CP elsewhere, as their access to flame weapons is a bit more limited. Can be nice on a CRUSADER Squad loaded with Pyreblasters, but generally this is pretty niche.
- Incendiary Shells- Makes a unit’s Astartes Shotguns Dmg 2, which is…fine, I guess. Can be useful, but Neophytes (the main user of Shotguns) are usually better served with melee weapons, though this can have some uses for a more midfield support unit. Not a go to by any means however.
Instead of a Psychic Discipline, CHAPLAINS can choose from these different selections of Litanies. Like Psychic Disciplines, you can only take Litanies from one table, either the normal Litanies of Battle or from the one below. Unfortunately the general Litanies of Battle are all round better, providing generally better combat buffs (+1 Wounds, boosted charges and Pile Ins/Consolidate) or help your ranged support (+1 Hit/Wound). You still keep Litany of Hate regardless, and as with the main Litanies, these only affect CORE and CHARACTER units, unless otherwise noted.
- Litany of Divine Protection- A single unit within 6” gets their 5+++ against all wounds not just Mortal Wounds. A handy protection upgrade on a big squad or powerhouse unit, and probably the go to choice of
- Psalm of Remorseless Persecution- A CORE unit (no Characters with this one) does an additional Mortal Wound on 6s to Wound in melee, to a max of 6. It’s fine, and can help units kill more of a larger horde or punch through Invulnerables a bit more efficiently.
- Plea of Deliverance- One unit becomes immune to Psychic powers and any Powers currently on them immediately end. Obviously great if you’re facing Psyker heavy armies, utterly useless if not.
- Fires of Devotion- A unit within 6” gets +1 Attack in the first round of combat. A strong buff to your already choppy units, though less useful in protracted fights. Great for when you need to ensure your foes slaughter.
- Fervent Acclamation- Puts a unit into another Vow, alongside its associated Passion. Can be useful given the flexibility of some of the Vows, be it to grant a unit a 5+++, or +1A for a second round of combat after Shock Assault has worn off, but be wary of the second downside kicking in.
- Oath of Glory- The Chaplain gets to Fight First, gets exploding 6s for 2 extra Hits in melee and finally +1 Strength. Not quite as “simple” as Mantra of Strength, but serves a similar purpose as making a super choppy Chaplain.
Provided you have a CHAPLAIN in your army, you can spend points to give a pseudo-Relic to a non-CHARACTER INFANTRY or BIKER, letting your units pack a little bonus. Some are pretty situational, or not worth the upgrade cost, but others are very good and well worth trying to get into a list. Obviously goes without saying that these are only in effect for the bearer, and whilst he is alive, and you’ll get more mileage out of putting them on an already tougher Sergeant like a Terminator or Bladeguard Veteran. Also worth noting that yes, you can revive them with an Apothecary…
- Light of the Emperor’s Grace- The bearer grants +1 Ld to the unit, and also has a 12” Aura of -1 to Psychic Tests for enemy PSYKERS. Stacks with The Skull of the Cacodominus if you’re looking for maximum anti psychic trolling, but otherwise fairly niche. At 10pts its not breaking the bank however.
- Sigismund’s Seal- The most expensive Relic at 20pts, but it does grant the unit reroll Hits and Wounds in melee vs a nominated enemy, chosen at the start of Battle Round 1. Melee only and only one unit, so choose accordingly, but this is a huge boost to already strong melee units that are looking to obliterate a key enemy.
- Holy Orb- For 15pts the bearer can take out the Holy Pin, then count to three throw the Orb at an enemy unit within 6” in the Shooting Phase once per game. The enemy unit must Fight Last, and on a 2+ they take D3 Mortal Wounds as well. The Mortals are a nice bonus, though pretty reliable, but it’s the Fight Last which is key here as it happens regardless, and as it is not a Shooting Attack it can be thrown in combat, making it great for ongoing combats, giving you the edge to fight first. Great on any unit, and verges on auto take for the swing it can provide
- The Crux Obsidian- The bearer has -1 Damage (to a min of 1 of course), making them a solid tank, though bear in mind once attacks are allocated to them they must take all the subsequent, so choose wisely if there are heavier weapons still to fire that would negate it, or tons of D1 Weapons which it wouldn’t matter to anyways. At 15pts its not a bad buy, but needs careful usage to ensure it’s not circumnavigated too easily.
- Fist of Balthus- Another 10pts on top of your Power Fist makes it +1 Dmg and removes the Hit penalty. A great upgrade on pretty much anything that can take a Fist, effectively making it a better Thunder Hammer for around the same cost.
- Beastpyre- A Flamer or Pyreblaster is upgraded to be even more burny, getting Str 6 AP -2 and Blast. At 10pts on top of your existing weapon, it is by no means a bad upgrade, and will make a mess of a good chunk of things, just consider you will generally get to use this once, maybe twice in a game.
- Icon of Heinmann- 15pts makes the bearer outright ignore AP 1 and 2 Weapons. As with the Crux Obsidian, careful allocation is important here, and the tougher the existing chassis the better to maximum use, but this a solid defensive upgrade, especially on a sacrificial member of a squad with Storm Shields who can protect the squad more efficiently.
- Bones of Modred- The wielder does an additional Mortal Wound on 6s to Wound in Melee, making this a nice boost for helping to chew through hordes or punch through heavier armour and invulnerables. Realistically this will net you an extra Mortal Wound maybe ever other combat, which for 10pts is pretty low returns, but the potential is nice, and there will be times the bearer turns the tide of a fight by getting a few cheeky extra wounds through.
Provided every model in your Army is a BLACK TEMPLARS (barring AGENTS OF THE IMPERIUM and UNALIGNED) and you have a BLACK TEMPLARS WARLORD, you can use one of these Secondaries, following all the normal rules for choosing Secondaries, so no duplicate categories etc. As mentioned in the main Space Marine Secondaries section, you can technically select one Space Marine one and a Templar one, but check with your opponents/TO beforehand.
Purge the Enemy - Bathe You Blade in the Blood of your Foe
The expected “Challenge” Secondary the melee Marines seem to get – Pick a CHARACTER from your army, your opponent does the same, and you score 5 VP for killing them, 10 for killing them with a melee attack, and 15 for killing them in melee with the Challenger. Interestingly this is declared in the first Command Phase, so you have a modicum of control on deployment, as you can pick a Character that is central or at least in striking distance of multiple Characters, though vice versa your foe can pick one far away from the battle. A fun one, as your opponent can just pick something you’ll never reach, or at least have a tough time killing with your Challenger. However Templar Characters are quite choppy, and depending on match up this could be a semi decent pick if you can safely predict getting to all your enemy’s Characters by games end. The mind games of this can also be useful, potentially keeping important characters away from the main bulk of the fighting. Finally, don’t worry about trying to max this if you can kill the target with a ranged attack or other melee unit, and your challenger has no chance to reach them in time.
Battlefield Supremacy - Allow Not the Worship of Unclean Idols
If you are controlling one or more Objectives at the end of a Battle Round that an enemy unit was controlling at the start of the same Round, and you have a CHAPLAIN is in range of that Objective as well, you score 4 VP. There’s a lot of hoops to jump through here, and if you go first this can be quite a tricky one to actually achieve as you’ll need to hold it during the counter attack as well. And Chaplains can only be in so many places at once. You might get 4 VP on this, maybe even 8, but the general Supremacy Secondaries will net you the same if not more, and much more reliably.
No Mercy, No Respite - Uphold Your Vows
A two-parter, scoring points throughout the game and at the end based on your Vow. You score 4 VP (up to 12 max) at the end of each round that you destroyed more enemy units in melee, than TEMPLARS units were destroyed by anything. Obviously you have a slightly tougher time of this than the foe, as they can shoot you to deny this, and of course you need to be able to actually wipe enough units in melee to make it worthwhile in the first place. Then at the end of the battle you score 3 VP depending on a task that you achieved, based on the Vow you swore-
- Suffer Not the Unclean to Live requires the enemy WARLORD to have been slain by a melee attack made by a CHARACTER, making this very difficult in some circumstances, and potentially impossible if you “accidentally” kill them with something else.
- Uphold the Honour of the Emperor needs you to have a non-CHARACTER INFANTRY unit that is above Half-Strength within the enemy deployment zone. Whilst it doesn’t need to be wholly within, allowing for last turn mad dashes, the limits on the squad itself as well as their size makes this tricky. Sure you could use stuff like Guerilla Tactics, but where’s the honour in that.
- For Abhor the Witch, Destroy the Witch an enemy PSYKER CHARACTER must be destroyed. The easiest one of the four, but of course totally situational.
- Finally Accept Any Challenge, No Matter the Odds needs you to have destroyed a model with a Wounds Characteristic of 20+, or a unit with a Starting Strength of 20+. Again a bit of an easier one to achieve, though as with Abhor it’s situational, depending on the match up.
All told this is a difficult Secondary to score well on, relying on an overwhelming melee presence for at least 2 turns, as well as ways to survive return fire, and then a situational end of game objective depending on a Vow which may not even sync with your game plan. You might max this easily, you might score 0 just as easily, as it’s very match up dependent and not really reliable. Stick to Oaths of Moment instead.
The following rules are found across many if not all Space Marine units.
Technically four rules in one, and basically every Space Marine model barring SERVITORS has this rule, which gives the following-
And They Shall Know No Fear
Ignore Combat Attrition modifiers. Certainly not a game changing rule, but handy to have and has no downside, and there are a number of rules that affect Attrition so not needing to worry about them at all is useful.
Better Rapid Fire for Bolt Weapons. As well as being able to shoot double shots at half range as normal, you can also double the shots if you are INFANTRY (but not CENTURION) that Remainder Stationary, or all the time if you’re a TERMINATOR or BIKER. These don’t stack, so your Terminators standing still in half range don’t magically get 12 shots each, but the flexibility or straight up firepower boost to many units lets you drown your foe in shots. Capitalize by getting your Infantry in strong firing lines so once they plant their feet they can fire away with no downsides.
+1 Attack when you Charge, get Charged or Heroically Intervene. A strong boost that makes most Marines equal to if not outright better than other army’s dedicated melee units, let alone what it does for the heavier melee hitters you can use. Poor Howling Banshees…
Of all the Angels of Death rules, this is the “pure one” – that is every model in the army must have this otherwise you can’t use the Doctrines at all (AGENTS OF THE IMPERIUM and UNALIGNED being the exception). So if you bring a Knight for example, you don’t get to use these at all (this becomes important if you want to use the “Super Doctrines” of each Chapter). Each Doctrine improves the AP of particular weapon types by a further -1, so AP – becomes AP-1, AP -1 becomes AP -2 etc. As the game goes on, you enter the various Doctrines in order-
- At the beginning of Battle Round 1, you are in Devastator Doctrine for your Heavy and Grenade weapons. Whilst your Grenade weapons will almost never benefit from this now, the huge range of Heavy weapons the Marines have access to means this is often a powerful buff. Make sure your Heavy guns can get as much line of sight as possible to maximise the use, as you’ve only got one turn to benefit from this. You can thank the Iron Hands and Imperial Fists for that.
- In Battle Round 2, you must change to the Tactical Doctrine, benefitting your Rapid Fire and Assault weapons. This now makes even the humble Boltgun equal in AP to other factions specialist guns, let alone what it does to the specialist Bolters the Primaris carry. It’s of course not just the Bolter type weapons that benefit, with most special weapons being Rapid Fire or Assault too, but given Boltguns and their ilk make up a large chunk of firepower in a Marine army, it becomes a massive force multiplier.
- In Battle Round 3 you may shift to Assault Doctrine, and in Battle Round 4 you must be in Assault Doctrine. Once you’re here you stay here for the rest of the game, improving your Melee and Pistol weapons. Pretty much every infantry unit carries a Bolt Pistol, and now even the armoured fist of a Tactical Marine gets the same AP as a DNA-stealing alien that is bioengineered to murder. Much like with Bolter Discipline, this bonus stacks with other rules (Shock Assault, the plethora of rerolls and so on), to become a powerful melee boost that can overwhelm even superior foes through sheer weight of attacks.
Before deploying, a max size unit can be split into two half sized units. Has its uses to cover more ground, though this usually comes at the cost of efficiency, as Powers, Stratagems etc will be affecting a smaller unit, so it’s a neat rule but certainly won’t be used in every game.
Death From Above
Your standard ‘Deep Strike’, arriving anywhere on the battlefield more than 9” away from enemy models. Useful to get into position be it for charges, shooting or objectives.
This unit can set up anywhere on the battlefield over 9” away from enemy models and the enemy deployment zone. Great to put the pressure on the opponents battleline early or get into objective scoring positions sooner, though be careful not to deploy too recklessly if the unit would be in danger should you not win the roll off for turn 1.
Units arrive from Reinforcements, needing to be wholly within 6” of any battlefield edge and more than 9” from enemy models. A bit more limited than other ways of arriving from reserves, but useful to have the option, especially if it can cause your opponent to wall off off the board edges at the risk of these units arriving.
As with Death from Above, but with teleporters rather than jump packs or grav-chutes.
A lot of Marine stuff has multiple datasheet entries for what generally amounts to the same unit with some different wargear options (cos reasons). However as a lot of what applies to one variant or chassis applies to all of them, some have been collated together. If you see a * next to a unit’s name, it means that each of the variants within are actually different units (for the purposes of Rule of 3 etc).
Chapter Restricted Units
Some Marines are
difficult Non-Codex Compliant and so can’t take certain units. The following Chapters (and their Successors, where applicable) are special-
- BLACK TEMPLARS have a thing about witches, so no LIBRARIANS for them.
- DARK ANGELS use their unique 1st and 2nd Company structures and so can’t use STERNGUARD or VANGUARD.
- DEATHWATCH are basically all Veterans, so no ASSAULT SQUADS, ATTACK BIKES, BIKE SQUADS, DEVASTATORS, STERNGUARD, TACTICAL SQUADS or SCOUTS.
- SPACE WOLVES can’t use APOTHECARYS, ASSAULT SQUADS, DEVASTATOR SQUADS, STERNGUARD, TACTICAL SQUADS or VANGUARD, as these names aren’t wolfy enough so they have their own versions of them.
A note on Firstborn vs Primaris
Many Characters have Primaris and Firstborn (ie OG Marines) versions. In virtually all cases their special rules will be the same, and the main differences come down to wargear and stats. All Primaris have +1 W and A over their Firstborn counterparts, making them slightly more survivable and a bit more choppy. On the other hand, they will have more expensive Transport options, and less of them. And whilst the Firstborn have lesser stats, they are cheaper and usually have flexibility in wargear, including more transport options be it via Jump Pack or Terminator Armour (for arriving from Reinforcements). Choosing which one you go for will often be dependant on the rest of your army- Running a Firstborn in an all Primaris Army is not a problem, but he will be a little less survivable, and won’t be joining them in any of their Transports so could get left out of position. Likewise an all Razorback Firstborn army could quickly outpace a Primaris Captain who may not keep up with them. This is something for you to decide on what will work best for you and the rest of your army.
All Primaris Captains are pretty beefy with plenty of wounds and a 4++, as well as that all important Rites of Battle Aura. They will usually form the lynchpin of your line unless you have a real wacky list in mind. Often they add some damage output as well, but their main strength is as a force multiplier so don’t throw them away and potentially lose their buffs.
- Power Armour– The most versatile of the Captains, and as far as Primaris units go in general, though some wargear is locked together as a “pair”. Think about what you want this guy to do and equip accordingly- supporting your line troops, a gun and sword is a good bet. Charging forward with close range troops, maybe bring out the shield instead.
- Phobos- A more backfield support Captain, who trades combat punch for a sniper boltgun, a camo cloak should they get shot at, as well as the 12” Aura of stopping Reinforcements from arriving. This last bit is actually pretty significant, especially with the smaller board sizes of 9th- this guy alone can defend your entire backfield from enemy reserves if positioned well.
- Gravis– Trading weapon flexibility, transport options and a smidge of Mv for +1 T and W, the Gravis Captain is great for helping your units hold the line defensively, or pushing up the mid field with other units, especially as he’s tricky to get around without one of the pricey Repulsor variants. With a Boltstorm Gauntlet and a Master-crafted Power Sword, he can deal with a variety of things in combat, and has a smattering of light shooting to add as well.
- Gravis with Heavy Bolt Rifle- As above but with a big gun instead of the BolterFist. A better line holder than the closer range version above.
The Firstborn Captain trades out some of the Primaris stat boosts for much greater versatility and options. He’s also slightly cheaper too, so if you’re strapped for points he’s not a bad choice if you’re just gunning for the rerolls. The same principles with the Primaris version applies- keep him safe and position him well, his Aura is (usually) more vital than the potential damage he can throw out
- Power Armour- The original Marine HQ, and still holds his own today. Anything the standard Primaris Captain does, the Firstborn can do pretty much as well. Same principles apply, consider what his role will be and equip appropriately.
- Jump Pack- Kind of deserving his own sub-section, giving your Captain a Jump Pack changes his use and playstyle pretty significantly. Being faster and able to circumnavigate most terrain easily is handy in and of itself, allowing him to be where he needs to be a bit easier. The option to deep strike and take out a key target (ie the Smash Captain) is another tool in his kit to consider, however with the smaller board sizes and screening still very doable it may often be better to have him start on the board and give rerolls, before flinging him into the fray to take out a vital unit.
- Bike- Similar to the Jump Pack, the extra speed is great for getting your Auras and some combat punch into position, though without FLY getting around terrain can be trickier, and being a BIKER rather than INFANTRY can make engaging some foes a lot tougher due to terrain, so you need to weigh up if the extra survivability gained is worth the loss of flexibility being INFANTRY grants.
- Terminator Armour- Again versatility in wargear and delivery is the boon here, though that increased protection comes at the cost of being harder to transport as only Land Raiders can take them, so if using them consider that once/if they reach their target that may be them done for the day, so make sure they hit hard.
Much like the Captain, the Lieutenant is a great support piece for his rerolls, as well as providing your choice of a bit more shooty or a bit more choppy. Flimsier than the Captain due to slightly lower stats and lack of a built in Invulnerable save, so it goes without saying to keep a protective eye on them.
- Power Armour- Similar to the Captain, this guy can go with a gun, or with a sword. If you’re leaning towards the sword, consider paying out the extra points for the Storm Shield to keep that vital Aura around longer.
- Reiver Armour– The guy who must have been at the back of the line when it came to giving out Wargear, being semi-geared for combat (and even then not very well) but without a Grav Chute to come in with similarly equipped Reivers. With no Concealed Positions either, he doesn’t really do anything a normal Lieutenant can’t do more effectively for either cheaper or similar points.
- Phobos Armour- A bizarrely equipped Lieutenant, who wants to be a little bit shooty and choppy at the same time, whilst doing neither very well and having weirdly mixed up wargear. Can Grav-chute in but can’t infiltrate forward like pretty much every other PHOBOS unit. Whilst they aren’t too much more expensive than their normal versions, their uses are particularly niche, especially if you are looking to skim points.
Continuing the trend of the Primaris vs Firstborn, the “standard” Lieutenant trades the increased stats of his Primaris counterpart for slightly more versatile equipment, as well as the option to run a Jump Pack, with all the advantages that brings. Having said that, they are even more flimsy due to the lower stats so don’t be careless with them lest they be taken out easily costing you those rerolls.
Psychic powers are useful, some more than others, but getting access to them can open up a wide variety of combos and utility, so never a really bad choice, and having access to a deny can be pretty crucial. However they aren’t as flatly reliable as a Captain or Lieutenant’s rerolls, and vulnerable to being shut down themselves, so as ever positioning them is key.
- Power Armour- Gets the Librarius powers (see that section for tips on these), and that’s kind of it.
- Phobos Armour- Gets the Obscuration powers (again, see above), as well as Concealed Positions and a camo cloak. Both of these are pretty handy upgrades for what amounts to be minimal points, though being locked into Obscuration may or may not be a good thing, depending on what you need in the army.
Funnily enough, the same principles of Primaris vs Firstborn apply here as well- better stats or a little cheaper with some equipment options. Remember Obscuration is not available to Firstborn so take that into consideration.
- Power Armour- Has the option for a Jump Pack, helping them bring their powers where they’ll be the most useful. The differing Force weapons are neither here nor there, as Librarians should be in combat as a last resort.
- Terminator Armour- More survivable for slower and less Transport options, this depends on the rest of your army as to whether it’s a suitable choice.
What do you know, a Primaris vs Firstborn choice. Can you guess what the choices come down to? If you said raw stats vs options and cost, you’d be right! Not bad in a fight, but while a bunch of the prayers are useful for combat, you’ll predominantly be taking them for the shooting buff he can give. Remember that a CP reroll can no longer be used on their Litanies so you’ll have to get reliability via other methods (like Master of Sanctity or Commanding Oratory)- alternatively don’t hedge your entire battle plan on a single dice roll.
- Power Armour– You footslog, that’s about it.
- Bike– A hefty points increase, but for that you get the extra T and +2W, the extra movement and the twin bolt rifles. Certainly worthy stat boosts, and the speed is useful to get into position for Litanies.
Here to chant prayers and inspire the troops around you, granting them his Ld, as well as a little bit of combat punch. You can build Smash Chaplains, though predominantly the auras and buffs they provide to those around you are likely to be more useful if approaching from a generalist point of view.
- Power Armour– Again the option of Jump Packs is pretty useful here, especially for a Character that might be wanting to accompany combat units, letting them get across the field more easily. Just be wary that the Litanies are done prior to them arriving by deep strike, so you’ll be banking on the CP for Commanding Oratory.
- Terminator Armour- Similar to the Librarian, being a Terminator will be dependent on what else is in your army. As with Jump Packs, remember no Litanies after you deep strike in.
Fixes up your toys, makes them more accurate, and has a bit of shooting and combat to boot. Obviously only really has a place in a vehicle heavy army, though remember he can’t be everywhere at once, nor can he heal everyone at once. Best to leave him babysitting a key vehicle, if you’re looking to run one.
As above but the usual lesser stats. His base wargear is also pretty inferior, and giving him upgrades makes him more expensive (and arguably still not as efficient as the Primaris version). If you’re desperately strapped for points but want a Techmarine he’s fine, otherwise go for the Primaris version.
Pri-Marneus Calgar rocks up as a Gravis Captain upgraded to Chapter Master, with +1” Mv, W, A, Sv, what amounts to a Master-crafted Storm bolter and Power Fists that trade the -1 to Hit for D3 Dmg, as well as halving all Damage and granting +2CP if he’s your Warlord. He’s a pricey upgrade running at nigh on double, but given the Chapter Master upgrade essentially being incorporated already, you’re paying just over 50pts for all the stat boosts and extras. Whether that’s worth it is dependent on what you were running anyway.
Chief Librarian Tigurius
Chief Librarian with it’s associated deny buffs, alongside knowing an extra power, rerolling Psychic tests, adding 1 to them and granting a friendly CORE or CHARACTER unit -1 to be Hit, which is done at the start of the Battle Round, so it’s useful if you end up going second. For 15pts more than a Primaris Librarian upgraded to Chief, he’s well worth the upgrade for his reliability and extra defensive buff. The extra power he knows is just a cherry on the top.
A Firstborn Captain slightly buffed, gaining a 2+ Sv, a safely overcharged Plasma Pistol, a Power Sword with D3 Dmg and the chance to do Mortal Wounds, as well as the ability to give a CORE or CHARACTER unit Objective Secured each turn. For around 25pts more than a standard Captain, it’s not a bad upgrade, but by no means necessary.
Master of Sanctity that’s 10pts cheaper than a custom one, with slightly better weapons, +1T and an aura that can cause mortal wounds when nearby CORE or CHARACTERS die. The downside is as a named Character he doesn’t get access to things like Wise Orator, but if you were taking a Master of Sanctity without that, just use Cassius instead as you are literally gaining.
A strange Character, acting as a pseudo Techmarine but predominately a Tank Commander, giving a Firstborn tank from the Codex (no Fellblades!) a 2+ BS that doesn’t degrade, healing a wound a turn, and the CHARACTER Keyword, opening up some occasionally funky rules interactions (such as Litanies), which for a 35pt upgrade and a HQ slot (as well as the slot the Tank uses) is not shabby. He also jumps out afterwards though he doesn’t do anything really at that stage, and he can’t commandeer another tank. Also of note is as the Vehicle gains the CHARACTER Keyword, he would technically give up 6 VP for Assassinate if both his tank and himself are destroyed, so just be wary.
A grizzled old Scout master with a massive bolt sniper rifle, who can also give a Scout unit BS 2+ for a turn. He’s cheap enough at 70pts, but literally only snipes and buffs Scouts, which of course means without them he offers very little.
Poor Kor’sarro, they Primaris-ifed him before Cawl had built Bikes. So alas he can’t ride around anymore but the buffs he brings are solid, being a Primaris Captain with a small targetable Mortal Wound attack, what amounts to a Power Sword with +1 Str and D3 Dmg that also rerolls wounds and damage vs Characters, but most importantly an aura for CORE and CHARACTERS to become mini Blood Angels, gaining +1 to Wound on the turn they Charge or Heroically Intervene. When combined with their Super Doctrine, ways to boost Strength via wargear or Relics, a ball of White Scars with Kahn can tear through most things with consummate ease. For only 20pts more than a normal Captain, Khan is well worth the look.
Khan on Bike
An oddity as a White Scars only non-special Character, so no Successors here. He’s a Captain on Bike that gets a baby Storm Shield, granting him +1 to his Sv vs melee, as well as a unique weapon that is effectively a Power Sword that gains D3 Dmg, but also x2 Str when they Charge or Heroically Intervene. A normal Captain on Bike with a Storm Shield would get the 2+ Sv at range as well, but without the weapon so would need to spend more points or use Relics to get to a similar level. All told if you were looking at a Bike Captain he’s a solid sidegrade, as the loss of the Storm Shield at range is fairly minor.
The only Primaris Character trained in Jump Packs apparently. For the same points as a Primaris Chapter Master with an MC Sword, you gain a 14” Mv, FLY, PHOBOS, +1 A, an Aura of Advance and Charge for JUMP PACKS and PHOBOS units, the chance to do a Mortal Wound on the charge, a sniper Pistol, and trades the +1 Str of the Sword for reroll Wounds (about a wash). The only downsides is being a Special Character so less customizable when it comes to Warlord Traits, but if you were taking a Primaris Chapter Master in RG, he’s a bargain.
A Terminator Captain with a 3++, Str 10, AP-3 Dmg 3, as well as causing Combat Attrition to be auto passed around him. He’s a tough, melee beatstick, for 20pts more than the normal equivalent. However smashing face is kind of all he does, and quite costly too, so weigh up if that’s worth the trade of flexibility on your normal Captains.
A Gravis Captain that gets a super Power Fist with a hilarious x3 Str, as well as Dmg 3, plus a Grav Gun (cos someone needs to use them). He also gets a Signum Array to give a friendly unit in 3” +1 to hit with shooting, and he personally gets +1 Dmg vs VEHICLES and BUILDINGS (ha). But at a whopping 30pts more than a standard Gravis Captain, he’s a big ask, especially for the weird position he finds himself in of wanting to support shooting elements whilst also punching out big things. He could have a place as a counter charge element for your gunline, but he’s expensive to do only that.
At a chunky 155pts, he’s 25pts more than a similarly equipped Chapter Master but hooooo boy you get a lot for those extra points. +1 W, +1A, a 2+ Sv, your Master Crafted Boltgun goes to Assault 4, and most importantly a +1A aura for CORE units in 6”. If you’re looking at a Firstborn Chapter Master, he’s well worth the upgrade, especially if looking at a combat element.
Another expensive character upgrade, though again with a good chunk of rules to come with it. A pseudo-Chapter Master that only gives his rerolls to Flamer or Melta weapons, but gives them Reroll Wounds to boot (Eradicators, HOOOOOO!). He’s also packing a 2+/3++, an Assault Heavy Flamer, and a spear that gives +2 -2 Dmg D3. Compared to a Firstborn Captain with Relic Blade and Storm Shield, you get the ranged weapon, a sidegraded melee weapon, and the reroll ability, for +30pts. It’s a big upgrade, but if built around him the reroll ability will pay for itself in reliability.
A Primaris Captain that gets some beefy rules, albeit for a big cost bump (+55pts!). But for that he gets a 2+ Sv, reduces all dmg by -1, a fantastic Aura for CORE units letting them basically get Red Thirst (Even when charged, so better than Kahn’s one), as well as an AP -1 Flamer and a Dmg 4 Thunder Hammer. So whilst expensive, he brings hefty damage and defence in combat as well as being a good buffer for your Battleline, making charging them a painful prospect. However 55pts is a large increase, so perhaps not an automatic choice, but a potent one nonetheless.
Iron Father Feirros
Contestant for “Most FAQ’d Character” of the last 2 years, Feirros is a whopping 60pts over a Primaris Master of the Forge, making his Gravis (with the associated +1T and +2W), as well as +1A, a 5++ Aura for all INFANTRY in 6” (so him as well), a 5+++, a Forge Bolter with +12” Range and extra -1 AP, and +1 Str on his Axe. So the man brings a lot, but it’s a big cost increase, predominantly in his 5++ aura and stat buffs. The stat buffs depends on how often he finds himself in combat, though realistically he should avoid it where possible, and the 5++ is dependant on your Infantry being hit by AP -3 or higher weapons, so that will depend on how prevalent Plasma and Power Swords etc are expected (so currently, quite high). Your mileage may vary due to his cost, but he can pay for himself via the Aura alone if built around, but conversely might be wasted depending on the match up.
A Firstborn Chapter Master with a Relic Blade and Jump Pack, but for an extra 15pts he gets +1W, +2A, a 2+, an Inferno Pistol, +1CP if your Warlord, -1 to be Hit, and can use an Epic Deed Stratagem for free once per game (which basically means ‘Angel’s Sacrifice’ and “Only In Death Does Duty End’ – I guess Dante is very old and craves the sweet release of death), which is a great set of stat boosts and extra rules, but he is still very expensive for a bit of a jack of all trades character.
An interesting Character, predominately a beatstick that essentially always turns Shock Assault for CORE and CHARACTERS within 6”, a 6” Heroic Intervention and -1 to be Hit in melee, as well as being able to Fall Back and Charge. He’s main quirk is being able to Intervene from Reserves, which is a lot of fun and can catch opponents off guard, though he can’t do it Turn 1. He’s a decent combat Character, though his aura only helps ongoing combats, which is ideally not where Blood Angels want to be, and at 150pts there are other characters that can be a beatstick for cheaper.
Firstborn Chief Apothecary that forces non-VEHICLE CORE and CHARACTERS within 6” into the Assault Doctrine. As you must do this, position him very carefully, lest you force your Rapid Fire or Heavy weapons out of their Doctrines early. Whilst this can be useful if you’re expecting a lot of combat Turns 1 or 2, it can backfire, and you’ll likely have shifted into Assault Doctrine Turn 3 anyway meaning he’s wasted at that point. He could be useful if you’re going for a pure melee build, but then he has the issues of no Jump Pack to keep up, compared to a normal Sanguinary Priest, thus needing a Transport. Probably leave him at home.
Chief Librarian Mephiston
A Primaris Chief Librarian, getting +1 to all his stats across the board, including a 2+ Sv, a 5+++, a Plasma Pistol and a x2 Str Sword. Is this worth 35pts more? Well, the stat boosts are solid, and he is a weapon in combat, but that’s about it. He’s also not quite as tough as his profile would indicate, so don’t throw him away into combats that might risk him being attacked back.
Astorath the Grim
An extra 20pts over a Firstborn Master of Sanctity with a Jump Pack nets you Astorath instead. With +1 W and A, and a 2+ Sv, as well as +2 AP and +1 Dmg, he makes a worthy upgrade if you were leaning that way to begin with. Making Death Company auto pass Morale within 6” is handy in a pinch, and his Mass of Doom is an interesting Litany, granting +1 to Hit for a unit in Melee (great), with equal chances to either kill a model in the unit (boo) or giving them a 4++ as well (fantastic). Whilst Mass is risky, and uses a Litany, he’s a fair upgrade to a normal Chaplain, if you weren’t looking at using Wise Orator.
A sort of but not really Master of Sanctity, getting the know 2 use 2 Litanies, but they can only work on Death Company. 15pts more than a Jump Pack Chaplain, he gets +1 A, Black Rage and +1 AP on his Crozius, More importantly he grants reroll Charges to Death Company within 6”, making him incredibly useful for their reliability. If you were looking at running a Chaplain with Death Company, consider just using Lemartes for the few extra points.
A Captain from a bygone era (like, 2nd Edition era) that has a Master crafted Boltgun part of his Combi Bolter, +1 Str and Dmg vs ORKS in melee, but essentially a worse Power Sword in combat. He does pack a 2+ Sv which is nice, and is only 5pts over a normal Captain with a Combi-melta, he doesn’t really offer much in the way of combat prowess, but a cheap enough sidegrade of slight offensive power for a bit better defence.
Tycho the Lost
Tycho but after he got hangry. Identical stats and equipment, gaining Black Rage and swapping his normal Rites of Battle for a 9” (cos reasons) Death Company exclusive version. For 5pts more, he’s ok to support some Death Company, but won’t keep up unless you’re running them in a Transport.
For about 60pts more than a normal Librarian, you get put into a Dreadnought. Awesome. Ok so that boils down to +2 Str, +3T, +4W, +1A, getting various ranged weapons, better melee weapons, and the -1 Dmg. You lose nothing other than being a VEHICLE rather than INFANTRY which comes with both up and downsides depending on the situation you find yourself in, and lack of transport options (barring a Stormraven, but that’s not exactly viable). But did I mention it’s awesome? If you’re looking at a Librarian, whilst it’s a big increase in points it can absolutely be worth it.
A Firstborn Apothecary that is moved to the HQ slots and increased by 15pts, getting +1 WS and a new rule for the trouble. A single target version of Corbulos ability to force a unit into the Assault Doctrine, it has its own strengths and weakness, namely by your positioning not needing to worry about putting things that want to shoot first into Assault Doctrine, but needing to be done in the Command Phase so worthless from Reinforcements or Disembarking. However he can be given a Jump Pack (for a big increase of 30pts), letting him keep up and support the units you want to be up the field and carving up stuff, namely Sanguinary Guard or Death Company. Whilst pricey, he is certainly a good support piece, particularly if gunning for some of the fast melee options the Blood Angels have.
At 160pts, Seth weighs in at 15pts more than a Firstborn Chapter Master with a Thunder Hammer, but he loses the -1 to Hit of the Hammer, gets +1 W and A, gets to fight again at the end of each Fight Phase, and grants CORE units +1 Dmg on 6s to Wound in melee, stacking nicely with their Chapter Tactic. If you’re running a Firstborn Chapter Master on foot with Flesh Tearers, just take Seth.
The Deathwing Lieutenant, though like the Talonmaster he does affect every CORE unit so don’t feel like you have to limit him. At 25pts more than a normal Lieutenant, he’s a fair bit of a price bump but the benefits the Terminator Armour gives, as well as Inner Circle, are well worth it. Can be given a few melee upgrades, though you’d never bother with the Thunder Hammer when you have the superior Mace of Absolution costing the same points. The Storm Shield is also worthy of consideration if you want him to be extra tough.
A Lieutenant who’s part of the Ravenwing, and brings his mate along for the ride. A Character Land Speeder, the Talonmaster is packing anti infantry firepower for days, with a Twin Heavy Bolter and a Twin Assault Cannon. His reroll 1s to wound aura isn’t limited to Ravenwing, so use him like an extra fast Lieutenant in that regard. He also brings a RAVENWING exclusive aura, letting CORE units within 6” ignore cover save bonuses (so Light and Heavy) against a visible enemy unit each Command Phase. Whilst expensive at 160pts, they bring great firepower and a useful aura for RAVENWING units, as well as a larger than average radius on the reroll 1s aura by virtue of the bigger base.
Firstborn Chaplains that get +1A and +1W (so sort of Primaris, but without their Keywords), are Inner Circle, and also make enemy units within 6” count as being at below Half Strength (note this is not just for Morale, so this could have consequences should any future rules come out based off Half Strength). For only 5pts more than the normal counterpart this is a good deal.
- Power Armour- With options for a Jump Pack as well as some varied weapons, do as you would with a normal foot Chaplain, but with the extra stats.
- Terminator Armour- As above, just with no melee weapon options.
The new(ish) kid on the block for the range of DA Characters, being a Primaris Captain that carries a MC Power Sword with +1 to Str and AP (that also does 4Dmg to PSYKERS), as well as giving out an aura of 5+++ vs Mortal Wounds, a 4+++ on himself. This isn’t CORE restricted so can be handy to protect tanks as well, but predominantly you’ll want this on a unit of Terminators to make up for their main weakness. For 15pts over a normal Sword wielding Captain, it’s not a shabby upgrade, and if Mortal Wounds are a concern this is a reliable enough defence against them.
Not a Master of Sanctity, though he does know two Litanies (still only can recite one though), and he does set LItany of Hate off on a 2+ with a 9” range, so he’s reliable and wide ranged if you’re looking for a melee booster. He’s otherwise an Interrogator-Chaplain that makes an extra low AP attack that does 2D3 Dmg, but he’s not really worth the extra 45pts over a normal Interrogator-Chaplain.
For a mere 10pts more than a normal Chief Librarian, Ezekiel packs +1 WS, +1 BS, +1W, a 2+/4++, a master crafted Bolt Pistol, a +1Str Force Sword (that’s Dmg3 vs Chaos Marines and Fallen, cos they need to die quicker apparently), plus an aura of ‘Shock Assault is basically always on’ AND +1 to Cast Interomancy powers. Just take him, he’s basically an auto-include at his points cost.
The second pseudo Chapter Master, this time for RAVENWING. With a healthy T5 and 8W he can take a fair beating, however he’s not as beefy as the other Inner Circle due to not being on foot, and so he’s reliant on those stats. As such he’s best off picking his battles, supporting the Ravenwing elements with some shooting, which is by no means bad, and then going after appropriate targets when the time is right in melee. With Str 6 -4 and Dmg 2, bumping to Str 8 on the charge, he can deal with most mid-level type Characters, but will be hard pressed to one shot most combat Characters, so don’t throw him away.
One of the pseudo-Chapter Masters of the Dark Angels, who can grant his rerolls to DEATHWING CORE/CHARACTERS. Belial himself is a good combat character, striking at Str 6 -4 and Dmg 3, but always wounding on2+ unless they’re a VEHICLE. Coupled with his -1 to be hit in melee and the inherent advantage of Inner Circle, he can go toe to toe with many powerful Characters and come out on top. At 40pts over a standard Terminator Captain, he’s a solid upgrade.
Chapter Master sorry, “Supreme Grand Master” of the Dark Angels comes in at a whopping 170pts, but he brings some nice army buffs with him, chief among them being The Lion Helm, granting a tasty 4++ vs Shooting for INFANTRY and BIKERS within 6”. He also gives an extra 2CP if your Warlord, a once per game Deny with his Watcher, as well as decent statline with +1A, +1W, a 2+ Sv, an always overcharged combi-plasma that never gets hot and a Relic blade that trades 1pt of Str for extra AP and the chance to do Mortal Wounds on 6s to Wound. He’s an all rounder, capable at melee and range, as well as giving some nice buffs to the men around him. Whether he’s worth 170pts is a tough sell however, as you’re effectively paying 35pts for the Invulnerable aura and CP (which is not a bad deal at all, but up to you if it’s worth it).
The Papa Wolf himself, Santa Claws, Father Grimnar, Old Saint Logan. A Chapter Master that comes in two variants, but the general crux stays the same, rocking 5A that can hit like a Thunder Hammer or turn into double attacks with a +1 Str Power Sword, his Warlord Trait’s Saga is always active….and that’s kind of it. He’s not that buffy (beyond being a Chapter Master) and he’s decent enough in combat, but he doesn’t really bring or do anything interesting.
- On Foot- Wearing Terminator Armour, Grimnar gets a chunky 7W and a Storm Bolter. He’s not much more expensive than a Terminator Chapter Master with a Thunder Hammer, with the added benefits of his better profile and weapon, so not a bad shout if that’s what you were looking at doing anyway
- On Stormrider- For when you need to show how special your Chapter Master is by putting him on a
sleighchariot. Ok it goes a little deeper than that, as for an extra 25pts you get T6, a 10” Move with Swift Hunters, 2 Thunderwolves with their associated Attacks, but also 14W. Which is a lot given he’s riding around in a glorified sled mighty war chariot! But it does make him targettable, which is not a good thing, especially as that 14W is only backed up by T6 and a 2+/4++. Which whilst not insignificant makes him a few unlucky saves away from dead. But given he’s only really a beatstick anyway does make him an interesting distraction, and a few juicy saves could cause serious headaches for your opponent. Is he worth it? Debatable. Could it be fun as he rides at breakneck speed to deliver presentsswift justice to the enemy? Maaaaaybe.
A Terminator Chief Librarian who gets +1 To cast, can reroll Denys, an extra AP on his staff, WS and BS 2, plus an extra Wound, and a pet bird. AND for only 10pts more? Take the upgrade every time.
Bjorn the Fell-Handed
The guy who calls Dante “whippersnapper”, the oldest lad around, this surly Dreadnought is a Captain that packs a whopping T8 alongside a 5++, can take a variety of heavy ranged weapons, and packs 5A at Str 12 -4 D6 Dmg rerolling Wounds. He’s expensive mind you, starting at 175pts, and goes up slightly depending on your wargear (though why you’d take the Twin Lascannon for 15pts more over a Multi-melta is beyond me), but he’s a solid anchor for your battlelines who can go and deal with pretty much anything heavy duty that threatens you. Just be wary of dedicated melee specialists, as without an Invulnerable he could go down to concentrated attacks, though Duty Eternal and the 5+++ should see him through the worst scrapes.
A Lieutenant in Terminator Armour who packs a rare 3++, +1A, reroll hits vs CHARACTERS, and finally he’s packing Mjölnir Foehammer, a Thunder Hammer that loses the -1 to hit and instead gains +1 AP and +1 Dmg vs CHARACTERS and MONSTERS, that hits at Str 10 thanks to his native Str 5, and that he can throw and it flys back to him…Look Arjac is cool, and a well worthwhile upgrade over a regular Lieutenant, especially if you’re looking at making them a melee oriented one.
Ulrik the Slayer
A Master of Sanctity that costs an extra 5pts, but for that grants you +1A, +1W, +1 AP on his Crozius, +3” on his Ld bubble, and he auto passes Litanies for the rest of the game if he ever kills a CHARACTER or MONSTER. For 5pts extra over a Master of Sanctity he’s not a bad deal, but not being able to take Wise Orator is the main issue. If you can get over that however, he’s worth the upgrade.
A Primaris Captain that decided “You know what? I want all the rules”. Whilst a not insignificant 130pts, Ragnar rocks around with an extra 2A, grants reroll charges and +3” to Consolidation moves in a 6” aura to CORE units, gets 3A instead of 1 for Shock Assault, and carries a +2 Str -4(!) Dmg 2 Chainsword. Whilst on the costly side, he can murder his way through squads and characters alike, and provides your CORE units with some serious melee reliability, letting them make that charge and tag everything around them after doing so. Team him up with some Bladeguard and watch the carnage unfold.
A Firstborn Captain with +1A, +1 Str on his MC Power Axe, and a 3” Aura of -1 to Attrition checks, for 10pts more. The stat boosts are decent enough, though the Attrition debuff won’t come up all that often, it just boils down to what you were running and if the extra points can be found, or even if necessary.
A Wolf Lord on Thunderwolf (below) with a Storm Shield and essentially a MC Power Axe with the chance to do Mortal Wounds on 6s. He also gets +1A, Outflank, grants his Ld 9 to CAVALRY and BEASTS around him, and takes -1 Dmg to boot. A decent sidegrade to a Wolf Lord on Thunderwolf, for around 20pts more, getting a bit more defence over some potential offense, though the heavier melee weapons closes the gap further making him roughly the same cost.
A Company Champion on Thunderwolf, with a ton of Attacks with his super Lightning Claws, an Attack boosting aura for the wolves in the army (as in the actual wolves-but-not-really-wolves, not the Wolves as in Space Wolves. Sigh.), and the standard Champion fare of 6” Intervention and always fight first vs Characters. He’s decent and cheap enough, but with no Invulnerable you need to ensure he kills what he touches if going after strong melee units, and only buffs the wolves in the army, so use accordingly.
Wolf Lord on Thunderwolf
Read a Firstborn Captain with a bunch of stat boosts for +25pts (or +10pts over a Bike Captain). If you were looking at a Jump Pack, consider this instead. Whilst the loss of FLY will mean you aren’t quite as adept at bypassing terrain and screens, the stat boosts are more than a match for that slight loss of manoeuvrability.
Wolf Guard Battle Leader
A Firstborn Lieutenant, but with two extra wargear options
- Terminator Armour– A solid defensive boost to the Lieutenant for +15pts, with predominantly Assault Terminator type wargear. If you’re looking at a Hammer and Shield though, just take Arjac for 15pts more.
- On Thunderwolf- 25pts nets you +4” Mv, +1T, +2W, the Thunderwolf’s attacks, and Swift Hunters. Worth the upgrade if you have the points and are looking at making your Lieutenant join the spearhead.
Basically a Chapter Master with the points cost built in, he’s also necessary for a few of the Deathwatch Stratagems, and comes with a Custodes Guardian Spear Jr, essentially operating as a Master Crafted Boltgun with SIA, and what amounts to a Force Sword in combat. He’s also packing an extra W and a 2+ Sv, so he’s fairly comparable to a Storm Shield and MC Power Sword equipped Firstborn Chapter Master, but about 15pts cheaper with some shooting and an extra wound in exchange for D3 Dmg rather than flat 2 in melee. Certainly not a bad choice, and well worth looking at taking if you were already running a Captain.
Watch Captain Artemis
A named Firstborn Captain with a special Combi-flamer (SIA on the Boltgun and Poisoned 2+ on the Flamer), a once per game Grenade that does D6 Mortal Wounds if it hits, and also comes with a 6+++. He’s only 10pts more than a similarly equipped Captain, but the Grenade alone is probably worth it, as it can cause absolute havoc to elite units and characters alike if he gets into the danger zone.
The same Cassius in Ultramarines, but younger with slightly different rules. A Firstborn Chaplain with +1A, a +1 to recite Litanies and an AP -2 Crozius, for 15pts he’s ok, though you’d be better off finding a few more and just running a Master of Sanctity with Wise Orator if it’s the Litany reliability you’re looking for.
A Firstborn Librarian with WS 2, an AP -4 Sword and +1 to manifest Smite and Witchfires. Realistically you’re wanting Xenopurge for the buffs, so the bonus to casting is pretty much wasted, and Librarians in combat is always a risky prospect. You’re best off just saving the 10pts, though if you’ve got it spare it’s not a bad option, especially to have a slightly easier Smite in your backpocket.
High Marshall Helbrecht
A now Primaris Chapter Master with a more powerful Combi-melta, the fantastic Sword of the High Marshals for both anti horde and anti big thing duty (double attacks with a Str 6 Power Sword, or an AP -3 Thunder Hammer with no minus to hit), +2W, +1A, a 2+, his +1Str Aura for CORE units in 6”, oh and 2 attendant attacks cos why not I guess. All for only about 10pts more than a similarly equipped basic one. Whilst Chapter Master is a costly upgrade, his rules and stats are pretty potent, and he offers a lot to the army in terms of support and personal output, making him a solid buy most of the time.
A proper Primaris Master of Sanctity now, he rocks up with his Cenobytes in tow (with the downside of making them CHARACTERS for Assassination purposes, FAQ pending…). Packing an AP -2 Crozius, a Plasma Pistol, a Deny, the ability to stand back up from death with 3W on a 4+, he’s a decent enough upgrade. His Cenobytes tank all hits for him whilst alive, but when they are they offer some nice bonuses, giving him +1 to recite his Litanies, as well as 2 separate 6” Auras for CORE and CHARACTERS, one for a 6+++, and the other to turn Advance rolls into D3+3” instead of D6. He’s decent enough in melee, though he’s strengths are really more for buffing, and he can only take Litanies of the Devout so take that into consideration as well. At 140pts he is quite steep giving his foot slogging nature, as well as the potential VP he can bleed, but he’s decent enough to be comparable to a normal Master of Sanctity if you were looking at Litanies of the Devout anyways.
The Emperor’s Champion
Only those that have crossed the Rubicon can have visions of the Emperor before battle now I suppose. A Chapter Champion with all that associated stuff who finds himself in the HQ slot for an extra 30pts, but does get +1A, +1W, a 2+/4++, a +3 Str Master-crafted Power Sword, which can also be used as an Ap-4 Thunder Hammer, and rerolls Hits vs CHARACTERS. It is a big bump in cost, as well as a more precious Detachment Slot, but he is a premium beatstick able to go toe to toe with most enemy Characters and Elite units and do severe damage, if not outright kill them. That’s all he does however, so treat him as the tactical missile he is- don’t throw him away into impossible battles, but use him to cripple or threaten a key part of the enemy army, and support him with other units to cover his weakness (being shot, and hordes).
A great unit of line troops, they can shoot and they can fight decently as well. 2W gives them solid survivability against small arms fire, and there’s plenty of further buffs that can be given to them. Whilst they lack anti tank firepower on paper, rerolls can help offset that a bit, as well as just making them even better in their anti infantry role. The choice of gun depends on what you want to do with the unit and your Chapter, all are pretty viable but some do lean more into other armies due to their Chapter Tactics or Super Doctrines, such as Auto Rifles for White Scars, or normal Rifles for Ultramarines.
Assault Intercessor Squad
Combat Marines rejoice! These guys have a place in most armies, with plenty of decent attacks. They only slightly outperform normal Intercessors in combat however, and trade the better shooting to do so, though of course they also don’t care about losing that good shooting when they do. Using these guys offensively to tie stuff up and carve through hordes is a solid way to go.
Heavy Intercessor Squad
As the name implies more heavily armed and armoured Intercessors, that also come with an equally heavier price tag- at 40% more and sacrificing a single point of Movement for an extra T, extra W and a vastly improved gun with extra range and Strength. These guys are your ideal backfield Objective holders, able to still contribute thanks to their ludicrous guns, whilst also being tough as nails to shift.
A more expensive Intercessor unit that sacrifices range and AP on their Bolters for auto wounding on a 6 to hit. However their real strength lies in Concealed Positions letting them establish board control and close range threat early, as well as their Scramblers preventing reinforcements arriving within 12″, which as mentioned with the Phobos Captain is a powerful tool given the smaller board sizes and all armies having the ability to utilise Strategic Reserve. Both upgrades are interesting if you have the points spare, giving you the ability to ignore the first failed save per turn, or always count as being in range of any PHOBOS CAPTAIN or PHOBOS LIEUTENANT on the the battlefield for their main auras, though you can only pick one of them per squad.
Similar to the Infiltrators, but they ignore cover and hit modifiers when shooting rather than using auto wounding and using Scramblers. They’re also a bit more choppy in combat thanks to their dual knives, and have the option to lob a bomb at chargers once a game. The bombs are a cute upgrade, though by no means essential, instead consider these guys as cheaper Infiltrators that are more useful for putting offensive pressure on the opponents lines rather than using them to control sections of the battlefield.
The Firstborn are in a strange spot right now, for whilst having some flexible weapon options is nice, their worse base weapons and slightly lower Attacks doesn’t feel like it makes up for them being only 2pts cheaper than an Intercessor. This is only worsened by their weapon options being available elsewhere, either in greater numbers or on more efficient or tougher platforms. Having said that, they have more transport options so having a few squads riding around to capture objectives is never a bad thing.
Tactical Marines with Chainswords and Pistols/Assault Marines on foot that are actually Troops. Oh and they can be taken in squads of up to 15, plus the Wolf Guard Leader as well, cos Space Wolves. They’re solid unit if you’re looking at being on the offensive, thanks to Berserk making them as effective as as Assault Intercessors on the charge for 1pt less, though at the cost of losing the Heavy Pistol and being less effective any other time (at which point take the Primaris). Sure the horde feel is fun, but then you’re foot slogging (or using a Crusader). Overall they work in tandem with the Grey Hunters below as the more pressuring/offense based Marine that pushes units off and contests Objectives rather than holding them.
Tactical Marines that can buy Chainswords for a point, and sacrifice a Heavy Weapon for being able to take 2 Special Weapons. That’s about it. They also do the Space Wolf thing of being able to take a highly customizable Wolf Guard letting you effectively have 2 Sergeants in a squad, be it to add some tankiness in the way of a Storm Shield Terminator, or some extra melee punch with another guy with power weapons.
One of the most customisable units in the game, able to be kitted for melee, shooting or both, and capable of going toe to toe with many other units in the game. With a large amount of wargear upgrades as well, able to pack 4 Heavy Weapons, special weapons or combi weapons on everyone, kit them out with a mix of melee weapons, or keep them cheap and cheerful with their base Boltguns to hold objectives. Note that with a Boltgun and Chainsword, they’re only 20pts, with the flexibility of their SIA Boltguns whilst still able to fight pretty well with 3 AP -1 Attacks, all before Shock Assault and Doctrines, making them one of the more effective Troop units in the game for their overall punch. Be wary though, as they are still ‘just’ Marines with T4 2W and 3+ (unless you’re taking Storm Shields), and the points can very easily rack up if you load out every squad with wargear. Just because you can do it on every squad doesn’t mean you should.
Kill Team Cassius
A named Proteus Kill Team with the most varied assortment of wargear possible, with literally every model packing different weapons…I’m not going through it all, but they’re mostly geared towards dealing with Infantry at both range and melee. They automatically come with the Aquila Specialism, have some unique weapons that should frankly be available to other units (looking at you Deathwatch Heavy Flamers) as well as auto passing morale. They’re not a bad choice, and work out about 35pts cheaper than an identical squad, but they’re so haphazardly equipped that the savings just aren’t really worth it.
Primaris Crusader Squad
20 man units of Primaris Marines, hooooooo! Yes, half of them will only have a 4+, but otherwise their stats are identical, and that’s a pretty scary prospect both to shift and in terms of damage output. Can be choppy with Chainswords and a mix of Heavy and standard Bolt Pistols, or shooty with Auto Bolt Rifles on the Initiates and either Carbines (2 Shot Auto Rifles) or Shotguns on the Neophytes. You can mix and match between the two types, though each batch of Initiates or Neophytes must be identically equipped. On the special weapon front the Initiates can take either Pyreblasters (AP-1 Flamers with +3” Range) or Power Fists, and they are are 2 per 10 letting you load up some decent wargear, though points will creep up quickly. The same cost as an Assault Intercessor, with a 3pt discount for the Neophytes, but unlike the Firstborn Crusader Squad however, you must take at least 4 Neophytes, so consider that in your squad builds.
Essentially a mix of Tacticals and Scouts in one squad that can be loaded out with Boltguns or Chainswords, as well as the ability to take some special Melee weapons. The Neophytes aren’t worth really looking at, being only 1W though they are cheaper at 13pts, so taking 1 might be worth it to give them the SMOKESCREEN Keyword for the defensive option. With the points being in line with Tactical Marines, they basically just act like a Tactical Squad that can take a few special melee weapons, and some ablative wounds if they wish. Sadly not quite what they once were.
A cheap beatstick, but that’s essentially all he can do. A fun deterrent to have in your battlelines if you have some points spare. Alternatively you can use them as a more offensively minded combat character, keeping your force multipliers back. If you are really gunning for a melee army, he could be quite crucial when upgraded to a Chapter Champion for his reroll charge Aura.
No longer Troops so lots of armies will have to change up their uses of these guys. They can still be useful however, be it for holding backline objectives, being cheap (ish) screens, or being Action caddies, allowing your other units to pull weight in the damage stakes. However they will generally find themselves outclassed in most areas due to the loss of ObSec, only 1W and low Sv. For comparison, an extra 35pts on a 5 man squad gets you 5 Incursors, with the extra W, A, better combat ability, shooting ability, keeping Concealed Positions and gaining ObSec, which is a vastly more efficient deal.
Pretty big change arounds for this guy, for whilst the healing stays the same and reviving is now a Stratagem, he now also brings the Aura of 6+++ base now, which is great given that’s what he was being used for a lot previously. Having said that, no longer stacking with The Flesh Is Weak does make him slightly less appealing for Iron Hands. The real meat of this guy comes from upgrading him via Chapter Command, so see that section for more info on why everyone is bringing a Chief Apothecary right now.
See above but with lower stats for slightly cheaper cost.
Grants a +1 Ld for CORE units within 6”, but also lets models that die from those units to shoot with one of it’s weapons or make a single combat attack back on a 4+. Somewhat useful, though most of their power comes from giving them Relics or Warlord Traits.
- Power Armour- It’s Power Armour.
- Terminator Armour- Making them more survivable is handy, especially if you’ve built your army around using it and it’s mostly footsloggers. Alternatively this can be useful to make him arrive where he’ll be most useful, though with the limits on arriving from Reinforcements he might not be able to maximise his uses.
A bigger banner for a bigger Marine. Standard Primaris vs Firstborn choices, otherwise it’s a banner.
A combat specialist banner bearer…without a combat weapon. Fine, and if you’re running a whole bunch of Bladeguard his +1 to Hit Aura for them is tasty. Otherwise normal banner rules apply.
Veteran Intercessor Squad
Intercessors that get an extra Ld and A for a few points more. The boosted stats might be worth it, but Objective Secured is a pretty big deal in 9th Edition, and you have better choices for the Elite Slots. Even accounting for things like Rites of War to give them ObSec, the cost difference is probably better spent elsewhere.
Bladeguard Veteran Squad
A very efficient and potent beatstick unit, with good survivability and damage output, as well as being non-Gravis and so able to be ferried around in Impulsors making them a fast threat as well. These are great bully unit to go and contest and clear units off Objectives, or put pressure on weaker parts of the opponent’s battleline.
A strange unit that is pretty customisable and can do a bunch of different roles from combat to melee, but with such a small squad size there are more specialised units that can do either of these roles better for cheaper or more efficiently. They could be interesting to protect Characters from snipers with their Bodyguard rule, but unless that becomes a real issue or fear it doesn’t really feel worth it, though it does work whilst they’re doing other things, so there could be uses for them as Action caddies or cheap, easy to hide units for Objective capping or Secondary scoring.
A prime example of a unit that can do one of the Company Veteran roles (in this instance combat) cheaper and more effectively. A wide variety of options means they can be built with a specific task in mind, or as a jack of all trades, be it on foot or with Jump Packs. The in-vogue loadout is a Claw, Shield and Jump Pack, making these boys tough to shift, maneuverable, and reliable with a hefty number of attacks at good AP and rerolling to Wound. A White Scars unit loaded out this way is a terror on the battlefield.
Sternguard Veteran Squad
Basically Firstborn with an Intercessor profile and loadout that trade their Ob Sec for an additional AP on their boltgun. Their real strength lies in being able to take combi-weapons on every model as well as a large array of special weapons (don’t, the combi-weapons are all the same cost or cheaper), making for a relatively cheap special weapons caddy squad that can be tailored to what you want. Special shout out to a squad of all combi-flamers in a Drop Pod for when you just don’t want to see a horde anymore.
A Chaplain-in-training that carries a magic stopwatch and a bit of melee punch. Problem is other characters bring the melee punch, the stopwatch can be achieved by a Whirlwind with the strat (whilst also being easy to apply and having other uses), and he doesn’t provide any other buffs or other utility outside of his hourglass. He’s ok, and somewhat cheap, but it’s unlikely you’re building around him or doing your best to get him in the list.
Sigh. Poor Reivers. Their combat ability is done better by other units, their shooting ability is done better by other units and their disruption abilities are limited by the fact that they are extremely short ranged yet you have to pay points to deliver them. At least they’re the cheapest Primaris, unless you pay for said insertion abilities, in which case just bring Incursors for 1pt more who get the vastly better Concealed Positions as well as ObSec.
Hybrid close range unit that is both decent at melee and good at shooting. Ideal for clearly hordes then punching elite units or big stuff in combat, they are however quite expensive and depending on the army (for Stratagems or movement abilities) are relatively lacking in Transport options being Gravis. However Strategic Reserves is not a bad shout for them to act as a second wave or incoming threat that your opponent must deal with, and despite their cost they are capable of easily making their points back if you choose your targets correctly.
Terminator Assault Squad
Heavy melee specialists that can either blend hordes with claws or be even tankier and bust up other heavy units with their hammers and shields. The claws are +2A now for the pair, and with rerolls to wound and AP-2 will carve through most infantry and even some heavier units. The shields make you effectively immune to AP-1, and still requires at least AP-3 to put you in a worse position than 8th, but with the extra W any Dmg2 Weapons will feel a bit wasted. Don’t sleep on the Teleport Homer either, as this can be used defensively to get them out of combat if they’ve bitten off more than they can chew, or aren’t able to plow through what they’re fighting, offensively to get them further up the field with support, or more esoterically to use them as a means to grab objectives or secondaries.
Much the same as above but more of a hybrid unit, with a fist and a storm bolter, as well as access to some heavy weapons. Compared to Aggressors they are ever so slightly cheaper for less melee output (less attacks), lesser shooting when in range (4 shots vs 6+d6 or 2d6), and comparable survivability (2+/5++ vs T5), however they’ve got utility from their wargear options as well as flexibility in deployment via Teleport Strike, as well as the homer mentioned above. A lot of it will come down to personal preferences, but remember you’re technically paying points for those fists so staying long range all game can occasionally be a viable option, but also don’t be afraid to get stuck in at the right time.
Relic Terminator Squad
These guys are weird. Whilst allowing you to have essentially a mix of the two squads above for the cost of no Homer and some lesser/side grade wargear options, they also have a weird quirk in that if you run them as Fists and Bolters, or just dual Claws, they’re just slightly more expensive than their normal Terminator variants…because? Otherwise they’re still tough to shift and a lot of what’s mentioned above applies here too.
Centurion Assault Squad
Similar to Aggressors with flamestorm gauntlets, though you get an extra wound, Sv and much better melee. Whilst you lose some of the inherent access to the bonuses of being a Primaris (such as Transhuman etc), a squad of 3 can be a particularly nasty flanking surprise via Strategic Reserves, and if left alone or neglected they can cause mayhem on arrival. Whilst they do not have CORE, this can be leveraged to some semblance of advantage in that you know these guys can be left totally unsupported with rerolls, yet still able to cause damage on contact.
Invictor Tactical Warsuit
Stealth Dreadnoughts! Ok not quite, but still, the harassment these guys cause can be nothing short of game winning. Good shooting and combat output, reasonably tough to kill as well as being ludicrously fast by virtue of their high base speed and Concealed Positions, the opponent literally HAS to deal with them turn 1, or backline accordingly to prevent turn 1 charges. Whilst a bit on the expensive side, the sheer havoc that they do both in game and in deployment due to their threat is strong.
Flexible lads that can be given a variety of loadouts, though it generally boils down to being shooty or being a mix. Quite slow, but surprisingly tough despite their low Wounds due to Duty Eternal, they’re quite cheap to add a bit of extra shooting or combat punch, and being CORE they benefit nicely from various buffs. Despite their advantages however, there are better options for minimal points increases as described below.
The first of the normal Dreads bigger brothers, being stronger, slightly tougher and faster, though much more limited on wargear. If you’re running an Assault Cannon or Melta Dread, consider if there are 25-30pts that can be spared to make them a Contemptor. The extra stats and invulnerable are very much worth it, unless you are really trying to keep costs down for other stuff in the army.
Alternatively, for a mere 15pts over the normal Dread you can upgrade to a mighty WS/BS 2 which makes them super reliable, especially combined with CORE, as well as getting a 6+++ which can make a huge difference at clutch moments. Whilst not to be relied upon, the WS/BS boost alone is fantastic, and well worth the price of admission. Otherwise, all their weapons are the same, and what goes for the normal Dread goes for their older bros.
If however you don’t care about shooting, consider the Ironclad. A mighty T8 makes this a particularly beefy boy, but he is predominantly combat based and still quite slow so bear that in mind. You can leave the Hammer at home however, the Chainfist is better vs Vehicles and virtually the same vs everything else (avg 4 dmg vs 5 dmg) without needing to worry about a -1 to Hit.
And finally the biggest chunkiest of the Dreads in the Dex, the Primaris version. Which much like most comparisons here results in a more expensive but better stated version. Slightly faster and MUCH punchier in combat, the Redemptor is a great unit to support the middle field, as well as laying down huge amounts of firepower. The Plasma Incinerator is finally a viable option now given its boosted statline, but both options are pretty points efficient. Just be aware he does degrade and so his effectiveness obviously decreases, though conversely by the time he’s down to his middle profile other Dreads would be practically, if not already, dead, so it’s not all doom and gloom.
A weird little unit that basically has to be near a Techmarine to do anything useful, though at least they don’t take up any slots if he’s in the army. They can add some cheap but incredibly flimsy Servo-arm attacks, or a couple of heavy weapons but given their stats that’s a trap. They are useful as an Action caddy for Secondaries, however that is obviously game dependent, and Marines can get by with Uncompromising Firepower when necessary so it’s not as vital as you might think. Can be safely skipped unless you’re banking on Actions being a part of your Secondary plans in most games.
Victrix Honour Guard
A souped up Company Veterans unit of 2 boys, packing a tasty 3W and a 2+/3++, a rarity as we go further into 9th. They can Heroically Intervene, and don’t take up a slot if you run them alongside Calgar, but most importantly they prevent nearby Characters with <9W from being shot at at all, even if there’s only one of them. At 70pts for the pair, they’re a decent accompaniment to any Character, but especially Guilliman himself, and with an Apothecary nearby you can bring a dead one back to life and heal the other quite easily. Hide them and cause headaches for your opponent, but remember even a 3++ can fail, and with only 6 T4 wounds even a modicum of fire can shift them, so be cautious. They aren’t there to do damage, carrying only Power Swords, they’re there to keep Characters alive and do some Actions or hold Objectives.
A Firstborn Company Ancient, upgraded to Chapter Ancient, with a Power Sword and a 2+ Sv. Same points as an identically equipped version, but with the 2+ Sv, so take this guy instead if you were going the Firstborn Chapter Ancient route.
A Firstborn Chapter Champion that trades his 5++ from the Combat Shield for an extra -2 AP Attack, as well as rerolling Hits vs Characters. For 5pts more, he’s definitely a sidegrade, being slightly more offensive, at the cost of being worse vs AP 4 weapons, which are rare enough it may be worth it to make him slightly better at taking down Characters, but mostly your decision.
Victrix Guard with -1 WS, -2 A, Power Axes instead of Power Swords, and no 3++. For 10pts less each. Unless you’re going all Firstborn, or looking at putting them in Firstborn Transports, they’re just worse Victrix.
Tyrannic War Veterans
Sternguard that can’t take special Weapons but get reroll hits and wounds vs TYRANIDS for 3pts less. If you’re looking at running Sternguard and aren’t fussed about using Special Weapons, just use these guys instead and save points. The Tyranid bonus is neither here nor there at that stage, but unfair fun when it does come up.
A powerful Jump melee unit, with 3A and 2+ Sv, essentially Master Crafting on their melee weapons and their unique Angelus Boltguns for some extra horde clearing. They can sprinkle Power Fists throughout , as well as swap out their Boltguns for Inferno or Plasma Pistols. They’re also -1 to Hit in melee, and get +1 to hit when within 6” of the Warlord. Swords are generally the best option, thanks to Red Thirst, only really losing out vs T6 (vs Axes) and T8 (vs Fists), but the Extra AP over Axes and not having a -1 to Hit as well as being cheaper compared to Fists evens them out. Pistols are up to you. Overall you can’t really go wrong with these guys, though be wary as they have no Invulnerable without character support (like Librarians or risking it with Astorath), but they hit like a truck, and will still need some dedicated firepower or melee to shift them. Giving them character support does make the murder ball an even bigger target, but they will murder.
A Character version of one of the above, with all the associated stats and rules (though 4W as befitting a Character), as well as acting like a Chapter Ancient (and your only option for one in a BA army). Note as they don’t have the CHAPTER ANCIENT Keyword, so they aren’t eligible to take the associated Warlord Trait or Relic. At a costly 125pts, it wouldn’t have hurt to let them.
Death Company Dreadnought
A Dreadnought that swaps out a Ranged Arm for another melee arm, which essentially grants them +1A. They can opt for Talons over the normal Fists, which makes them Str 10 rather than Str 12, and only AP -2, but getting reroll wounds, an interesting sidegrade making them a bit better against T7+ units, though it’s debatable if it’s worth the 10pt increase. At roughly the same points as a normal Dread, you get the Black Rage and slightly better melee over losing a Heavy weapon, so it really comes down to personal preference, and depends what you were planning with your Dreads anyway. Can have Smoke Launchers or Magna Grapples to try and lock down VEHICLES, which is fun, but worthy to note its not CORE, so gets no benefits from any rerolls etc that are keyed off that, this includes things like Lemartes and The Lost, so treat him as the solo missile he is.
Death Company Marines
An iconic unit for the Blood Angels, read them as Tactical Marines with +1A and the Black Rage for +4pts. Can be given Boltguns or Chainswords (you give them Chainswords), upgraded with Jump Packs (if you aren’t packing them into a Transport, do it), and can be loaded out with a variety of special Melee and Pistol weapons, though that ramps the cost per model up significantly to the point where doing it across the whole squad is not really worth it. Where they excel is being a Distraction Carnifex, absorbing a big chunk of firepower lest they reach the enemy lines. At 250pts for a squad of 10 with Jump Packs, you have a fast moving squad that gets a minimum of 5A each on the charge, even without Assault Doctrine, and with Red Thirst the low-ish Str and AP are less pertinent as you just drown the enemy in attacks. They are CORE, and so can be buffed up with all kinds of Character support. Take them fairly bare bones, maybe with a smattering of heavy melee weapons to deal with larger targets, and unleash them towards the enemy lines, you can’t really go wrong- they’ll mulch what they touch, or absorb a lot of firepower that allows the rest of your army to advance unimpeded.
Death Company Intercessors
As above, but for Primaris. And Cawl said they were more stable! Pretty much the same above applies to them, albeit with far less special weapons, and less maneuverability options, what with being Primaris. Honestly just not as good as the Firstborn version due to these exact reasons.
A Dreadnought with a special ranged weapon in the Frag Cannon, which is essentially an 18” 2D3 Shot Blast Autocannon, which is…fine, but nothing special. Can be given two melee weapons instead for +1A, but at that point you can pay +5pts to make a Death Company Furioso instead. Given that this Furioso is also not CORE, if you want it in melee just use that version instead. Overall pass on this guy sadly.
Deathwing Terminator Squad
Take a Terminator Squad, and an Assault Terminator Squad, and BY THEIR POWERS COMBINED! Ok not quite, but essentially a Terminator Squad that you can use a mix of wargear from both these squads, so you could have a few Hammer and Shield Terminators there to tank shots for your regular Terminators, or add some heavy weapons to a more melee oriented squad. Can also buy a Watcher in the Dark, giving them a once per game Deny, which is nifty, rerolling vs CHAOS PSYKERS, cos the little dudes really dislike the Warp it seems.
A Company Champion in Terminator Armour, again paying another 25pts to wear said Armour. Whilst the benefit isn’t quite as notable as other Deathwing style Characters (due to the Champion already having a 2+/5++), but he does get a nifty Halberd that acts as an MC Power Sword with a bonus +2 Str, as well as +3A vs units with 10+ models (though he must use at least those Attacks against said unit), making him adept at killing a variety of targets in combat. Sadly like most Champions he doesn’t bring much else to the table outside of being a beatstick.
Take what you love about the Apothecary, and put them inside a suit of Terminator Armour. 25pts is a big upgrade, but the enhanced survivability is well worth it to keep this often key Character alive.
For 4pts more than a Hammer and Shield Terminator, you get WS 2, don’t get the -1 on your Weapon, and your Sergeant gets a big gnarly Flail that is +2Str, Ap-3 Dmg 2 but any damage spills over, giving them some anti horde punch as well. These guys can throw down with pretty much any combat unit in the game and come out on top, able to deal with pretty much anything your opponent might throw at them. Can also buy a Watcher, which you should consider given how cheap it is.
Deathwing Command Squad
Same as the Deathwing Terminator Squad above, but 2pts more to get the Bodyguard rule to ensure your Characters will be protected whilst at least one stands.
An Apothecary on Bike, making moving their buffs and abilities around a bit easier, as well as getting the inherent buffs being on a Bike grants. 25pts is a large increase, but worth it for the speed alone.
Ravenwing Black Knights
Veteran Bikers that pack a punch at both range and melee. Plasma you know and love, just be wary of 1s, and whilst the Corvus Hammer is a 5pt upgrade now, it’s almost certainly worth it so they can make the most of their decent combat stats, giving them +1 Str -1 AP and 2 Dmg. With a variety of stratagems and support for them (they are CORE afterall, also a prime candidate for Adaptive Strategy, letting them benefit from Speed of the Raven, AP -4 Plasma and AP -2 in Melee), they can form a real powerhouse unit. At 45pts a model with the Hammer however, they are an expensive unit and T5 3W will only go so far even with Jink, so don’t throw them away.
An Ancient on a Bike. For 25pts more you do get a faster tougher and shooting Ancient, but how important the attack on death ability is a tough one. Whilst there may be uses with a big blob of Black Knights, an Apothecary for the same points will keep them around longer as well as reviving/healing the injured, increasing longevity and potency of the unit beyond the occasional shot or attack from a dead model.
A Company Champion on a Bike. Whilst they gain the benefits of the bike in the speed and survivability stakes, as well as the punchier guns, you do lose the Combat Shield and so are a bit flimsier than you might at first appear. Whilst they could be useful as a beatstick, there are other characters who could do it better and be tougher as well, though they’ll also be using a HQ slot. 70pts isn’t terrible, and he can take down low level Characters, but anything too beefy will likely smack him around, and there’s usually better places to spend the points on.
A combi unit of Vanguard and Sternguard, able to take a mix of weaponry be it melee or ranged, or both, alongside things like Jump Packs and Storm Shields. Whilst the price can creep up depending on what you load them up with, their main strength lies in being able to mix the wargear up to a degree other armies don’t get. Want a fast and tough unit that unleashes a lot of anti infantry firepower, go for Jump Packs Shields and Storm Bolters. Want a generalist unit that can lay down a lot of anti marine fire then move in to carve them up, look at Combi Plasmas with Power Sword. Treat these guys like Deathwatch Veterans and you can’t go wrong.
Lukas the Trickster
A Blood Claw Character who grants reroll hits in an Aura to Blood Claw units within 6”, whilst simultaneously lowering Ld for all Wolves within 3”, potentially doing D6 Mortal Wounds to the unit that kills him in melee, and packs a powered up Lightning Claw as well as having Transhuman but for Hits (so never hit better on a 4+). He’s a fun support choice if you’re running a bunch of Blood Claws, and cheap at 80pts, he’s worth the price alone for the times when you run him into your opponents big nasty Character, die, then do a bunch of Mortal Wounds just to annoy them.
Wolf Guard Terminators
For when you want Terminators, but want to customise them with mix and match wargear. Essentially these start out as basic Terminators, but you can give them a variety of melee weapons, as well as have both melee and shooty variants in the same squad. Want Lightning Claws on one guy as another lugs around an Assault Cannon and Thunder Hammer, and the rest pack Axes and Combi-flamers? These are your boys.
Hounds of Morkai
Anti Psyker Reivers (oh no). Whilst the inherent issues of Reivers are still here, for 2pts more than Grapnel equipped Reivers, you at least get a unit which is somewhat interesting, if overly specialised. Trading your Terror Troops aura for being untargettable by Psychic Powers unless they are the closest, a 4+++ vs wounds lost in the Psychic Phase (so amusingly yes that’s things like exploding Psykers and Vehicles – hey it happened in the Phase), an 18” aura of -1 to Psychic Tests which goes to -2 at 6”, as well as +1 to Hit and to Dmg vs PSYKERS, on top of ignoring Look Out Sire vs PSYKERS, you can tell they really don’t like Psykers. However they are still just Reivers with a Knife and Pistol, so the minute they come up against anything not a PSYKER, they’re just expensive Reivers. Are they worth it? Maybe a 5 man squad that you can use to do Actions and such should they not have PSYKERS, and then you can put some pressure on if they do, but overall they’re not a great pick unless you’re expecting heavy psychic forces.
Angry Wolf Berserkers and definitely not mutant werewolves, no siree. A potent melee unit with fast Mv, good Str and T, a large amount of Attacks, always on Assault Doctrine and Shock Assault as well as granting an aura of reroll charges to INFANTRY, BIKES and CAVALRY, AND can attack when they die if they’ve not attack that round? What’s not to love? Well, despite the T5 they are only 2W and a 4+ Sv and so die pretty quickly. You can offset this by giving them Storm Shields but then they MUST have Hammers, ramping their points up not insignificantly, and despite their good base move and reroll charges they are very limited on Transport options (basically just Land Raiders and the Flyers, and even then they take up 2 slots each), making delivering them quite difficult. They also aren’t CORE so can’t be supported effectively either, via Litanies or rerolls, etc. However they can be useful as a flanking unit of sorts, being cheap enough to arrive via Outflank and attempt to disrupt the opponents lines, and are cheap enough that failing the charge and dying won’t be a huge loss, as they do have to be dealt with. They’re not what they were, but they can definitely be used as a potent distraction force, but definitely worth keeping in mind they’re nowhere near what they were, and change your opinions accordingly.
A purely combat Dreadnought who trades a ranged arm for two types of melee weapons, +2” Mv and reroll charges. The claw isn’t the best weapon, and so can be safely traded out for the Blizzard Shield, granting them a tasty 4++ for a paltry 5pt increase, vastly increasing the Dread’s survivability. Not CORE mind you, so no need to keep him around Characters, instead let him go off by his lonesome.
Does he have a silly name? Yes. Would you tell him? No. A 30pt upgrade on a Dreadnought nets you +2” Mv, +1 WS, +1A, reroll charges, reroll wounds in melee, and his Shock Assault grants +3A instead of +1. He blends heavy infantry and tanks, though a waste against hordes, even with his Heavy Flamer as he’ll take too long to chew through them. However being a CHARACTER means, despite little support from rerolls, can benefit from Look Out Sir, Litanies and certain Stratagems. If supported well, he will make combat and mince your opponents heavier units, so deploy him where he can cause the most headaches and get him stuck in as soon as possible.
Deathwatch Terminator Squad
Terminators that can take 3 Heavy Weapons instead of 1 per 5. They can also swap out their Power Fists for other melee weapons to shave points, or even go full Assault Terminator loadouts, letting you have a mixed squad if you so desire. Otherwise they’re still Terminators with everything that applies to them. Same cost as normal Terminators so reason to not use them.
Primaris Sword Brethren
Take a Vanguard Veteran, and rather than a Jump Pack push him through the Rubicon instead. Come as standard with a Chainsword, all of them can take Power Swords instead, or basically 1 of each type of each melee weapon per 5 (twin Claws, Axe, Maul, Fist or Hammer). You can also run some Plasma or Pyre Pistols in there, but meh. They ignore the Passion, making them reliable, but that’s about it really. The standard loadout of Claw and Shield Vanguard Vets will be just as killy but tougher and faster, and Bladeguard will be more killy and tougher. Both those units are a fair bit more expensive however, so the Sword Brethren could still find uses. 3pts more than an Assault Intercessor gives you an extra Attack and removes the negatives of the Vows, which isn’t awful especially given how easy it can be to give ObSec back to them, so a unit to act as a harder hitting unit with a sprinkle of bigger melee weapons can have some play, though maybe not competitively.
Combat marines! Predominantly geared for fighting light infantry, that’s not why you want them as you can do that in spades elsewhere and from range to boot, where these guys are great for cheap tagging opportunities, be it tanks or support elements. Keep them cheap and you can generally avoid the special weapons. Take the Jump Packs, or a Transport (though the cost for those is a lot higher so consider the trade off that protecting a decent-but-not-amazing combat unit brings). Never bother with them footslogging though, at that stage find the roughly 10pts you’ll need to make them Intercessors with better stats and ObSec.
The extra Wound on these guys helps them a fair bit, and their points are still at a relatively affordable level. Whilst they are not quite as potent in offense as the Outriders, they still throw down a good amount of anti-infantry firepower, are fast enough to engage in combat quickly, and have a slightly smaller profile, affording them a tad more maneuverability. The added benefit of being able to take special weapons, and heavy weapons in the case of the Attack Bike, makes them a bit more flexible (so like all Firstborn vs Primaris comparisons).
Invader ATV Squad
Primaris attack go-kart with a crazy amount of firepower and great survivability. Whilst not a CORE model, they do have the BIKER Keyword enabling them to benefit from a fair few other buffs and auras. The ATV is quite efficient for its cost when used for anti-infantry, though Marines already have that in spades, and the Multi-melta variant loses out somewhat to things like Attack Bikes or Eradicators, who can do the same job for either cheaper or with more output. The ATV is still a solid choice for just how tough they are, whilst having the speed to avoid units that might want to tie them down.
Big beastly bikes that would make an Ork shed a tear in awe. Good in combat even though they’re only Damage 1 AP-1 (though White Scars obviously love them even more) due their frankly ridiculous 19 Attacks for a unit of 3 on the charge. Add to that the 6 man Intercessor squad level of dakka they bring, great speed and decent survivability, it’s a good thing they’re capped at 3. Cheap enough that a unit won’t break the bank whilst still contributing a good portion of threat. Just be wary of their base sizes, they are particularly large and so fitting through or over terrain could be tricky at times, so deploy and move with care.
Scout Bike Squad
Bikes that trade a W and Sv for +2” Mv and Outflank for the same cost. 14” vs 16” is not significant enough to offset the loss of survivability, Outflank is mostly unnecessary given their speed and output, and whilst they pack more weapons by actually remembering they can affix holsters to their bikes, overall being the same cost makes them prohibitive to use.
Attack Bike Squad
A sleeper unit compared to previous editions, the Attack Bike packs a good amount of firepower on a fast, tough platform and is pretty efficient for its cost. Compared to the ATV it is roughly as efficient in Points per Wound (roughly 13 vs 10 for the Multi-melta version), whilst having the advantage of being CORE for some cheeky rerolls and buffs. A unit of 3 with Multi-meltas is 180pts and offers a hefty anti-tank punch, with the speed to get in range to use them effectively.
Another Primaris unit that is limited to 3, though again for good reason. Throwing down a good amount of strong firepower, whilst they aren’t the toughest things, having FLY enables them to hide and use the terrain more effectively to their advantage when compared to other units. Sure you’ll take the penalty to hit, but with 3 shots a model you’ll still get some hits through, which is all you need with their special rule to shut down Overwatch on an INFANTRY unit, and whilst not the boogieman it once was, not needing to deal with Overwatch at all is a boon in the right circumstances (T’au, Flamer units, Necron Warriors with Reapers in Eternal Guardian Protocol, Inceptors etc).
9th Edition has turned this once laughing stock unit on its head. Whilst your Pocket Heavy Bolters don’t do anything fancy (anti-infantry can be obtained elsewhere more effectively), the Plasma Exterminators are all kinds of juicy. They’re the traditional Plasma statline but with D3 Shots and Blast. So that’s an average of 4 shots per guy, or just 6 against units with 6+ models. All with better Strength and AP over the Bolters. And the option to overcharge. They do pretty much everything very well, be it anti-horde, anti-MEQ or even anti-tank in a pinch, but you are paying a pretty high premium for it, so don’t throw them away, and whilst they can do the job without support, if you need stuff to die rerolls etc will always be useful.
These jumbo speeders all have the same statline barring the improved BS on the Thunderstrike (the targeter on the side actually does something I guess), but they are all pretty much glass cannons and expensive ones at that. Sadly they don’t bring anything too interesting to the table that can’t be done elsewhere more efficiently or effectively.
- Hailstrike– Your anti-infantry option, has plenty of dakka…but roughly equivalent to 2 ATVs for only 10pts cheaper, whilst gaining a pt of T in exchange for 6W. The other thing to consider is whilst the Speeder degrades, the ATVs will simply lose half their shots, so it’s sort of a wash. The FLY of the Speeder can be useful, but overall it doesn’t bring effective firepower for its points- anti infantry is very easy to come by in a Space Marine army after all.
- Thunderstrike– The first of the anti-tank variants, going for longer range and higher strength, as well as better BS over the other options. It’s also the most expensive option, and it’s main armaments are D6 damage, making it reliable on the hitting and wounding, but a risky prospect on actually doing damage. The Twin Icarus Rockets are one of the better secondary weapons however, with decent stats and damage output.
- Hammerstrike- The second anti tank option trades a modicum of range (not as much of an issue given their speed) and reliability on getting the shots through for higher rate of fire and reliable damage, with flat 3 Dmg and Melta weaponry vs D6. May have some uses, but the inherent issues of the Stormspeeders still plague this variant, mainly they aren’t all that survivable and don’t do their job as efficiently compared to other units in the Codex.
Conversely, the OG Speeders are a bit more viable. Whilst they have less overall Wounds (and thus occasionally susceptible to being oneshot by D6 damage weapons), they don’t degrade, still pack a fair punch, and you can get twice as many for roughly the same cost. Essentially what applied to the Hailstrike vs ATV comparison applies here as well, though more if you are looking at anti-tank options. However as with most Vehicles in the Marine Dex, your Infantry or Bikes are often more effective and efficient from a pure points perspective.
- Standard- Can only have one weapon, be it a Heavy Bolter or Multi-melta, but are the fastest variant, and have a neat rule allowing a Whirlwind to get +1 to Hit vs an enemy unit within 18” of the Speeder. Obviously only useful if you have a Whirlwind. It’s an expensive platform for a Heavy Bolter, but a Multi-melta is a minimal upgrade and makes it a small but potent tank hunter, able to threaten Vehicles and Monsters way beyond its size. Compare as an alternative to a Melta Attack Bike – its 15 pts more but faster, has FLY, +1T and +2W, in exchange for CORE and some Bolters.
- Tornado- A tiny bit slower in the grand scheme of things (16” vs 18”), and loses the Whirlwind synergy but gains an extra Heavy Weapon, namely an Assault Cannon or a Heavy Flamer for more points. May not be a worthwhile upgrade to take the Melta and Assault Cannon on this platform, bumping it to a fairly hefty 90pts, but the output is still pretty decent. Compared to a Melta ATV, it’s 5pts more for a bit more Mv, FLY, +1T, -2W and Str 6 AP -1 vs the Str 4 AP 0 on it’s second weapon. Make of that what you will.
- Typhoon- The priciest option, starting at a chunky 110pts, or 120 with the Melta. For this you get a Typhoon Missile Launcher (read 2 Missile Launchers). A pretty big price hike over the other variants, and whilst it does bring more anti tank firepower via it’s Krak Missiles, the Frag missiles are roughly a wash with the Assault cannon (more potential shots for lower Str and AP). They can certainly unleash a lot of firepower, but remember these are still a T6 W6 platform and so can be dealt with somewhat easily.
A chunkier Land Speeder that trades a few inches of movement for 9W, but more importantly a 6” aura of -1 to hit vs Shooting attacks for DARK ANGELS units. Yes all of them, so this can be used to babysit Tanks for example. Perhaps not as useful as it once was due to the changes to terrain and modifiers, but still a worthwhile defensive buff to a portion of your army if hiding units is proving to be difficult. Comes with a Heavy Bolter or can be upgraded to an Assault Cannon, probably best leaving it as is though, realistically you’ll Advance it every turn to give it the 4++.
Ravenwing Land Speeder Vengeance
Take the chassis above (so a larger, little bit slower 9W Land Speeder), but instead of a church that gives off a pall of darkness, you have a pair of massive Plasma Cannons. With 2D3 shots and Blast, and essentially both profiles being +1 Str and Dmg over normal plasma, the Vengeance is great at deleting heavy infantry, and at 120pts is pretty efficiently costed for the job as well.
Tougher versions of the Fenrisans version found below by virtue of having a 4+ Sv and 2W, but is this worth double the points? Not really – anything Dmg 1 that would kill a Cyberwolf will kill 2 Fenrisians, but Dmg2+ weapons are wasted, a 4+ is likely going to be brought down anyways, and as they’re capped at 5 models they’re easier to kill. You want your chaff units cheaper. A single Cyberwolf could be useful to hang back out of line of sight to hold an objective, but it certainly wouldn’t be a go to. Lacking CORE they won’t be benefiting from much Character support either.
Wolves riding Wol There are no wolves on Fenris. A very heavy duty melee unit, that pack a tough statline of T5 and 4W, as well as being fast with a good base Mv and Swift Hunters. With extra attacks thanks to the Thunderwolves themselves they can chew (literally) through all kinds of units, though you’ll need to load them up with special weapons to tackle tougher and bigger targets. Storm Shields are basically an auto include for the 2+/4++, and only for a minimal points increase, the major question comes down to the weapon. Either keep them cheaper with Chainswords, sacrificing high damage output, or go for Power Fists for the high strength and Dmg 2. Hammers lend themselves well to really dealing with heavier targets, but being the most expensive option makes a whole squad of them potentially too much. A few dotted throughout is probably the best way.
Cheap, fast chaff that are great for tying up tanks or shooting units, or screening your harder hitting units from psychic powers like Smite, or being caught flat footed and charged. Whilst far from tough, thanks to Swift Hunters they can usually get to where they need to be, and can still put a little hurt onto lighter units. Not CORE, in case you wanted to do Litanies on them or something silly like that.
Blood Claw version of the Assault Squad, though they must take Jump Packs (why would you not), and can go in squads of up to 16 if you account for the Wolf Guard as well. Otherwise basically the same as an Assault Squad, just better on the charge due to Berserk.
Veteran Biker Squad
Firstborn Bikes that get +1A and the option for Power Weapons. Whilst they can only come in 6 man squads (plus an Attack Bike), the extra attack helps them out in combat, and they’re the same cost as normal Bikers which works out a win if you weren’t looking at squads larger than that. Also you can’t take normal Bikes anyways, so not like you have a choice. Otherwise what applies to Bikes applies here, bring a decent amount of anti infantry firepower with speed and decent durability.
Pricey Plasma boys with 3 different flavours – Assault for lower Strength and more shots, Rapid Fire for fairly standard Primaris improvements (+6” Range and -1 AP), and Heavy for My First Lascannon. Whilst an interesting unit they aren’t the most effective given their high cost for their output, though certain Chapters can benefit them more than others. However in a world of Plasma Inceptors, they just fall by the wayside, and the extra AP the Hellblaster Plasmas have is pretty superfluous given Combat Doctrines.
The third unit of “3 is plenty thank you!” Primaris, these guys may not be what they once were but are still capable of taking down most Characters in a single round of shooting, making them a cheap and useful asset in dictating your opponents plans. No they can’t shoot through walls anymore, but that was dumb, so the Executioner Round can be mostly ignored (the extra AP on the Mortis offsets the Ignore Cover, and the +1 to Hit rarely comes up). The Hyperfrag lets them pull double duty as some anti-horde, but their main purpose is to threaten characters or 2W units. The Las Fusil is generally a bit of a waste as you can get anti-tank much better and more effective elsewhere, and the Instigator Carbine on the Sergeant is a niche upgrade if you’re looking at making the Eliminators more mobile and protected from attacks back against them.
Centurion Devastator Squad
Not what they were, Centurions have lost a lot in the transition to 9th, mainly no rerolls and no Bolter Discipline. They’re also very expensive now, to the point where each model is almost as much as a small tank, with similar firepower. They can still form a pretty nasty firebase, with plenty of good shooting, but they don’t bring much that cannot be done elsewhere.
Contender for the “What Were They Thinking” Award 2020 (alongside its sister category of “Why Are These Guys In Units Bigger Than 3”), the Eradicators are one of the most incredibly efficient units in the game right now, packing a beefy Gravis profile and what essentially amounts to a Multi-melta thanks to their Total Obliteration rule. Why these Gravis guys get double shooting in the same book as the Aggressors lose theirs is a mystery. But, suffice it to say these guys are one of the simplest units to use – point at tank, then ask your opponent to remove said tank. With CORE to back them up they can be made supremely reliable, and cheap enough that a unit of 3 can be slotted into any SM army to deal with enemy armour with barely a dent on the bank. There’s a reason why 3×3 is popular, and also essentially shifted the competitive meta away from Vehicles and Monsters for a good amount of time, even now the effects are felt for those without invulnerable saves or being ludicrously cheap. Look there’s no tactics or strategy here, just take some and laugh at enemy vehicles. And if they don’t have any, laugh at their heavy infantry instead.
Look Devastators are still here, but you’ve got Eradicators now.
Ok fine. Heavy Weapon Firstborn, they sadly have little to offer now. A Multi-melta Devastator is 2pts less than an Eradicator for -1W, -1T, and a Heavy vs Assault weapon. Just don’t. Lascannon and Missile Launcher Devastators are potentially more useful being a little cheaper and longer range. Grav Cannons and Heavy Bolters are certainly an interesting option if you want to go heavy infantry hunting, though a Plasma Cannon squad is vastly outclassed by Inceptors. So whilst they may not be the most efficient in certain circumstances, they can be useful to guard your home objectives alongside a Troop unit or two, but be aware their loadout may not be all that great compared to other units.
Another ubiquitous unit in 8th that has fallen slightly out of favour due to their stat and reroll changes, the TFC is still pretty decent, providing decent anti-infantry firepower that ignores Line of Sight which is important in 9th, as well as access to a decent stratagem. The Gunner can still fix things up if need be, though is unable to grant the +1 to Hit to another VEHICLE.
For those Techmarines who don’t want to hide behind ruins with their Artillery. Somewhat costly, though with an accurate statline and decent defensive profile, their main downside is speed. With a paltry 3” (which admittedly is faster than most Artillery emplacements), the minute they find themselves without line of sight these guys are useless and are unlikely to be able to move and draw sight to fire in the same turn. As such deployment of these guys is pretty vital (though remember they can’t deploy in the second level of ruins and such). The Autocannon is the cheaper option of course, and a bit more lenient due to the longer range letting them have potentially better firing lanes. The Las-talon can be pretty devastating…but for 5pts more take 3 Eradicators which are generally more effective. Which is sadly a running theme of the Heavy Support section…
The first of two anti-air Tanks, which is not nearly as necessary anymore due to the various changes to Flyers in general, this fires off one great big missile that is pretty likely to hit and wound (generally 2s then 3s), and does a whopping 6+D6 damage, which is pretty hilarious. Against anything else it’s just a Lascannon. You can probably pass on this due to A) Flyers being a lot less of a problem than they were, and B) You could take 3 Eradicators for 10pts more, being more effective against more units and far more likely to kill the target due to more shots. Sigh.
Anti-aircraft tank 2: Electric Boogaloo. This one goes for a more traditional flak style anti air that does 6 Autocannon shots, or 12 against AIRCRAFT. In theory does a similar amount of damage to the Hunter on average (roughly 6-8 damage, but with higher potential), whilst also being a bit more useful vs ground targets, it still has the issue of being a niche unit that is outclassed by other more widely applicable generalists.
A decent artillery platform which can be geared for anti infantry or anti heavy infantry depending on the missile loadout. Whilst either of these are fairly easy to obtain elsewhere, none of them will ignore Line of Sight, making the Whirlwind a useful option given how important Obscuring Terrain is in 9th. Whilst it is a little costly and not as reliable as it once was, it can still throw out some firepower to help soften units, and don’t neglect the Suppression Fire Stratagem to support your combat troops.
Both variants of Predator can take the same sponsons, be it two Heavy Bolters or 2 Lascannons (or nothing, but that’s rare), it’s the main armament that’s different. A relatively standard Vehicle profile (T7, 11W, 3+), they won’t hold up to truly potent anti tank, but can still withstand lighter damage weapons to a degree.
- Destructor- The anti-infantry version…sort of. Packing a more powerful Autocannon with 2D3 Shots and Damage 3, the Destructor actually pulls pretty good double duty in both anti-tank and anti-heavy infantry stakes. It won’t be clearing hordes very well, but the decent Strength and Damage make it an ideal counter to many units, able to one shot 3W models as well as inflict some pretty nasty damage to other Tanks and Monsters. The AP -1 is a downside, but is often sufficient enough with it’s good rate of fire to force a few saves through, and can be offset somewhat with Devastator Doctrine.
- Annihilator- The anti-tank version that suffers like most anti-tank things in that its low shot and D6 Damage which is unreliable, and is also not an Eradicator unit. The Annihilator is still a decent source of anti tank in some lists however, just not the most efficient.
Grav Predators! Basically. All sport a beefy T8 and 12W, making them resistant to a lot of common anti-tank firepower (mainly high rate of fire Str 6/7, or Str 8, as well as being a bit less susceptible to the lucky 5s and 6s on Damage). Similar to the Storm Speeders these essentially come in anti-horde flavour, or two types of anti-tank.
- Lancer– Anti-tank number 1, coming pretty much with a bigger meaner lascannon. Str 10 is virtually meaningless (except vs T5 Vehicles, so Venoms and Starweavers pretty much), but D3+3 Damage makes them much more reliable in the damage stakes. The +1 to Hit with the Laser Destroyer is handy to have, however due to the high cost of the Lancer and its one-note role (the secondary weapons are just Bolters basically, so nothing to write home about), it needs to make its mark felt every turn otherwise it’s dead weight.
- Reaper– The anti-horde version that spews out 32 shots at 30” (40 at 15”!) all with AP -1 minimum and Str 4 and 6. This thing will absolutely rip through most hordes in the game but at 210pts it will need to wipe out at least 40 Gaunts, 30ish Boyz, about 18 Necron Warriors, or around 30 Daemons (of varying types) to make its points back. And as ever, your line troops are packing pretty solid anti-infantry firepower already, so how necessary this amount of dakka is depends on the rest of your force.
- Valiant– The second anti-tank option, trading a reliable main weapon for a hilarious 8 Str 8 and 9 D6 Damage shots, albeit with a chunky 50pts increase. This thing should look at most Vehicles and remove them, which again given the high cost it kind of needs to. With a short 24” range on all its guns however, it can be easy to mitigate in deployment, meaning it may not be doing anything turn 1. And for roughly half the cost you can get 6 Melta shots from Eradicators…so…yeah…shame that.
A big ol’ bunker buster that’s actually pretty cost-effective for it’s output, albeit that output is short ranged and swingy. Certainly useful to park in a firing lane and threaten anything heavy that might show it’s face, though it’s very susceptible to being tied up due to that short range, and the Demolisher being Blast means it will be shut down pretty much for the rest of the game, so be sure to accept that loss or screen him.
Ahh the iconic Land Raider, with three different variants but all filling a similar role – a very expensive battle tank/transport hybrid that doesn’t quite survive as long as it should, degrades horribly and costs a good chunk of points, just a hair above 250pts before upgrades. All the Land Raiders need to be transporting something given you’re paying a large amount of points for the privilege, but then you get an “all your eggs in one basket” issue. It’s a scary basket admittedly, and some armies may struggle to remove it, but the Raider family is just a little underwhelming given its price tag.
- Godhammer- So officially this is just the normal Land Raider, but the Godhammer is the pattern name in various forms of fluff. Twin Heavy Bolter, 2 Twin Lascannons and an average 10/5/3 Capacity (Infantry/Terminators/Centurions respectively), this is the Land Raider for those weird times when you want a generalist 265pt tank with long range weapons that also wants to be transporting units across the battlefield. Basically the reason for the Raider family’s perceived quirkiness – it wants to do a bit of everything, whilst doing none of them amazingly well.
- Crusader- The Templar special before it was
copied bygifted to other Chapters, this is your anti-infantry and proper transport Land Raider, getting a vast amount of dakka in the form of Assault Cannons and Hurricane Bolters, and an increased capacity of 16/8/5 models, this one is far more obvious in design – drive forward and unleash a lot of combat lunatics in the enemy lines. Now you could argue depending on the contents this could be achieved cheaper elsewhere, and you may be right,
- Redeemer- The one with the big flamers. The shortest range Land Raider in terms of weapons, but also with probably the most useful, Str 6 AP- 2 Dmg 2 Flamers are pretty great, and also highly useful on a Tank that wants to go forward with it’s cargo only to get tied up in following turns. Has a middling capacity of 12/6/4, but that’s enough for a full squad of something and Character support. Advance it turn 1 and hope for the best.
Much like the normal Repulsor, the Executioner feels a bit all over the place in terms of role, though exchanges a more potent main gun and lower Transport (6/3 respectively) whilst costing even more in points. Much of what applies above is here as well, but the incredibly high cost means you’re probably losing more than it would provide if compared to other units.
Basically the Primaris Land Raider, costing a few more points and trading a 2+ for more guns than sense. With a nonsensical 9 guns, and the option for 3 more, the Repulsor can deal with most targets in some capacity though it is more geared towards anti infantry. Despite all these guns, it can still carry 10 Primaris Infantry, or 5 Gravis, but like the Raiders it’s just a bit too much of a mishmash of units – to Transport it’s cargo it’ll want to get close, but it also wants to stay back to fire its guns unimpeded. All whilst costing over 315pts before additional wargear. Despite their high T and W, dedicated Anti tank can chew through them quite quickly, and they can quickly rack up CP costs to keep them effective (such as Power of the Machine Spirit or Grav Pulse). The investment is high, so think carefully if it’s worth it for your army as a whole.
A anti infantry focused Predator that auto Advances 6” (might be handy to nab Objectives) and has either a Twin Assault Cannon, or a Flamestorm Cannon (read Heavy Flamer with +1 Stats and 18” range). Can take the usual Heavy Bolter Sponons, or Heavy Flamer Sponsons instead of the Lascannons on normal Predators. Fills a different role to the Destructor in it’s mainly focused on lighter infantry with the Assault Cannons, or Marine-type infantry with the AP -2 Dmg2 Flamestorm. Unfortunately both of these roles can be done more efficiently elsewhere, though there is something hilarious about a full flamer Baal using Strategic Reserves to burn anything that strays near a board edge.
A variant on the Devastator Squad, unable to take
ablative wounds Boltgun equipped squad members, but can have 5 Heavy Weapon equipped Long Fangs, a Special Weapon on the Pack Leader, as well as the usual Wolf Guard/Terminator, so you could in theory have a Heavy weapon on the Terminator as well, or use them to tank shots at them. Whilst the price can creep up quickly, they can chuck out a great amount of heavy weapon firepower.
Cheap and effective, the Rhino (and to an extent Dedicated Transports as a whole in 9th) provides ablative protection for your Infantry, ways to get them up the board, as well as something you don’t mind keeping back or moving around to hold Objectives. It doesn’t add much firepower to the army so don’t be afraid to Advance to hold or contest those objectives, or charge it into units to tie them up.
Lower capacity but better guns, the Razorback is more expensive for the privilege of carrying said guns, and so is more useful as a pseudo-battle tank. Almost like the opposite of a Rhino really – where the Rhino is there to hold and contest whilst the contents deal with units, here you want to protect a small unit by putting them inside, then have them disembark whilst the Razorback deals with other threats.
A Primaris Razorback (they don’t really have a Rhino equivalent yet), with a small transport capacity and what amounts to turret options. What they are outfitted with will often be dependent on what’s inside, but all the options will make them roughly equivalent in cost to a battle tank of some type, albeit with less firepower and some occupants. Similar principles to the Rhino apply here, they are for both ferrying units around, contesting and holding objectives, and tying up units. The Assault Vehicle rule is exceptionally good, enabling a unit to disembark and move after the Impulsor is a very powerful maneuvering tool in an edition when maneuvering can win games. No charging but shooting is a go. Use it liberally.
For when you just don’t want to footslog anymore. Effectively paying 70pts to let a Firstborn Infantry unit arrive from Reinforcements turn 1, this can be built around with various Chapters like Templars with their reroll charges to enable some pretty strong alpha strikes. Alternatively use them to park down on midboard objectives ready for turn 2 scoring. Be wary however as a Drop Pod can effectively be turned against you by being charged or tagged, thus giving the opponent immunity from shooting in your following turn if the Pod lives, and a clever opponent will position their units to stack the odds it will only be destroyed in your turn, freeing them up going into their turn.
Land Speeder Storm
Super cheap but flimsy transport, can only ferry Scouts around (which you may not be taking), but interestingly still offers a good amount of firepower, and comes with Outflank so could actually be useful in scoring Secondaries and such. Fast and with FLY can also be used similar to Rhinos to tie units up and contest or hold Objectives. Weirdly also has 7W to a normal Speeders 6W, so despite the 4+ Sv can’t be oneshot by an errant Missile. So don’t think of this as a Transport for Scouts, rather an objective denial tool.
Flyers in general are in an odd spot right now, being quite flimsy and often expensive. At nearly 200pts the Interceptor packs a good amount of firepower and a respectable T7 and 10W, but with no Hover option means it needs to position itself carefully, or fly off the board losing a turn of shooting. Also any half decent anti tank weaponry that could deal with ground tanks can deal with the Stormhawk (that Hard to Hit only goes so far), but being more expensive than most ground targets makes the loss of it a bit more painful. It has its uses, but it’s expensive for what it does.
Similar in profile to the Stormhawk, but comparable in role to the Storm Speeders. As with the Speeders, there are more efficient units, and the points can quickly reach the near 200 mark if loaded out in certain ways. Whether this is an effective use of points is debatable for such a flimsy chassis.
Basically a flying Land Raider, with the associated issues. It has a pretty tough profile, a good amount of heavy weaponry and a decent Transport Capacity (12/6/4, the same as the Redeemer), with the added bonus of being able to air lift smaller variants of DREADNOUGHT. But it also comes with a high points cost, which only gets bigger depending on what you kit it out with. It needs to be transporting something to warrant its cost, which leads itself to becoming target priority one, and keeping it safe warrants spending CP to put into Strategic Reserves effectively delaying its cargo’s use until turn 3 and losing the Gunship’s firepower for turn 1. If you get turn 1 with it and it’s loaded up with goodies it can be hilarious to park it in the middle of your opponent’s battleline and the threat of whatever is inside to jump out next turn. But if you don’t they’ll probably end up footslogging, and you’ll be 300+ points worse off to boot.
An air to ground fighter that has a mix of roles, with Hurricane Bolters for Hordes, the Rift Cannon to dish out Mortal Wounds, as well as a once a game Stasis Bomb to inflict more Mortal Wounds as well as prevent enemy units from Falling Back the turn after they’ve been bombed. Whilst the Bomb needs some forethought as you essentially have to preempt the unit that might want to Fall Back, it can cripple an enemy’s game plan, especially if you plan to kill the unit in the opponent’s turn. The inherent issues of Flyers still surround the Dark Talon however, being expensive and relatively fragile, though Jink helps a bit.
A more air to air fighter, though weirdly comes standard with a bunch of weapons better suited to heavy infantry hunting. Flyers aren’t as common anymore so the Air Superiority rule and extra damage on its missiles will probably be wasted, but it can be useful if you find yourself struggling against 2W models, as it can drown them in shots. As always however, Flyers tend to suffer in 9th, though at 190pts it’s one of the cheaper around.
A flying cannon that carries a small unit on the side. Expensive for what the cannon really does, as realistically there is better anti infantry and cheaper anti tank available elsewhere. The transport capacity is cute but won’t be carrying much more than a small unit, which could be useful to drop a unit of Troops onto an Objective elsewhere. Like most Flyers it’s highly costed, and this can ramp up more depending on the weapon options. The Melta Arrays can throw out a great amount of anti tank firepower, Twin Heavy Bolters are good as always, and Lascannons are a sidegrade to the existing Missiles. Overall it’s a costly addition that can absorb a decent chunk of firepower, but won’t often make its points costs back unless it can kill at least 3 tanks, and even then you’re probably only just breaking even on points.
What you get when you want a Longboat IN SPACCCEEE!! Comparable to a Land Raider Crusader in terms of Capacity as well as cost, but generally geared more to anti tank. As above, the side weapons can crank the cost up higher. But as with all Flyers, they’re not quite what they were, and the Stormwolf is an expensive prospect. Should it get shot down before it leaves your deployment zone, it’s not only a big chunk of points down the drain, but now leaves your likely powerful combat squad way out of position and without transport, so be wary for some unfortunate games if you put all your pups in one boat.
One of the cheaper Marine Flyers (before Wargear at least) and probably one of the most effective. Essentially a Stormraven that trades out its Dreadnought capacity and some guns for being a few inches faster, able to drop miniature bombs, and hilariously carry Bikes. It can only take one Hurricane Bolter, and does lose out on some heavier weapon options, but the key thing is it’s affordable, coming in at just shy of 200pts with the Hurricane Bolters, regardless of what primary armament and missile load out you choose, making it a pretty efficient and effective transport and gunship, especially in conjunction with Shroud Field to make it all but untargetable turn 1. Whilst it may not be doing quite as much damage as other units, it can still contribute well enough once it’s dropped off it’s payload. The most important thing here is that it’s not exorbitantly overcosted, which is a rarity for Flyers in 9th.
An incredibly expensive area denial turret type thing that fires off its Array weapons (read a Heavy Bolter or a Heavy Flamer) into everything in range and line of sight, as well as some heavy duty Frag or Krak missiles at a single target. It’s tough to shift but doesn’t really do much as it’s BS leaves much to be desired, and being a Fortification doesn’t help with holding Objectives and such. Also I mentioned it’s incredibly expensive.
The High Lord of the Imperium himself, he’s a buffing machine, even more so if you’re running Ultramarines. Granting +1 to Advance and Charge, reroll Morale and reroll 1s to Hit within 12” for all IMPERIUM units is already a good start (as this applies to all your VEHICLES as well). Ultramarine CHARACTERS also get Chapter Master rerolls but in a 6” aura, as well as Lieutenant rerolls for your CORE, making a murderball of Bobby G and pals horrifyingly potent. He must be the Warlord, but grants you +3CP which is nice. Defensively he’s tough with T6, a 2+/3++, and benefits from Look Out Sir with his 9W, plus the whole coming back to life thing on a 4+ once a game. Offensively he packs what amounts to a Rapid Fire Heavy Bolter (which being a MONSTER he can fire into combat), as well as a megaton Power Fist and the Emperor’s Flaming Sword, giving him options to chew through most things in combat. Overall he’s a powerful character able to shoot, fight and buff very well, as well as being tough to shift (especially if you use a bunch of hiding Victrix), but at nearly 20% of your army, he needs to be all these things. Don’t be afraid to throw him into a scrap as he can generally come out on top of most things, but likewise don’t throw him away against big elite units that can reach the lofty heights of Dmg 3+ unless you have support for him, have softened them up for him to finish them, or have no other choice.
🚨APP USERS: If you’re reading this for the first time in App, you will notice a bunch of code and links that don’t work. For now, you can view the Tactical Guides on the website. We will be pushing an update for the app in the future, which will also allow you to view the guides there 🙂
Is the update coming for the app?
A quick note on Black Templars for “top combos” purposes:
while the Accept Any Challenge Vow doesn’t seem like much when considering the passion of no-falling-back associated with it, it has the benefit of stacking with a niche codex relic: the Honour Vehement. So with relatively easy positioning of a buffing character (ideally a chaplain), one can easily boost a single unit to +3 attacks (vow, relic, and Fires of Devotion litany) and multiple units to +2 attacks (vow and relic).
Useful info making the jump from 7th to 9th. Starting Black Templar from start (played since 3rd ed) but full rebuild required. POI still get chapter trait righteous zeal and vows?
Hi, I’m a brand new subscriber, just wanted to say thank you for these guides, incredibly useful. Love the work you’re doing!
This is really great! Keep it up!
Just have to say fantastic work, not a small task authoring that lot. Well done to all concerned
This looks awesome! A great guide for someone looking for a high level overview of the whole faction!
Hi, great idea – loving it!
On the BA specific units:
– Librarian Dread can be transported – via Stormraven
– Baal have Heavy Flamers or Heavy Bolters – not Lascannons
Fantastic guide gents as expected! Just as an addition to the Imperial Fists stratagems section. Bolter Drill is highly effective when used on a squad of Assault Bolter Inceptors. I run them as a squad as 5 which means I get 30 shots at S5, -1AP (-2 in Tactical Doctrine) and 1 Damage. You can also give them a chapter master reroll buff too if you want even more reliability. This means every roll of a 6 is 2 extra hits!! I reguarly end up with near 40 shots hitting! (Also use Tank Busters for +1 to wound on vehicles.… Read more »
Very, very good job on this guide. I still did not have the time to read all the entries, I focused on the things I usually play, and I found most of it really on point. Huge props for the awesome job, it is a monumental effort! I am looking forward to read all the guides. In what I read till now I just disagree with your take on the Eradicators: good, yes! as powerful as you made them? no. They are limited in their scope by the cost, the range, the mobility and the fact that they have to… Read more »
This is really really good work Chef, super useful breakdown of everything in the book and really easy to consume so a big thank you to you! Will be keeping this open when building future White Scars lists, and I really like that you’ve given some opinion on if units are really worth taking. I know this is all subjective but it’s good to hear from someone who plays/sees the game played a lot more often than I, so can offer a more informed opinion on such things and make me consider what models are worth putting limited money into… Read more »
This guide is top-notch! Keep up the good work!
P.S. I would also add some figures, iilustrations, art, tables – some graphic material – in order to support already great text with visual interpretation and description.
Awesome write up. Just one thing, you missed Uriel Ventris? He’s legal to play as far as I know, right?
Hey guys, great write up. Only one point I disagree with: Cyberwolves. Its true that they are twice the price of Fenrisian wolves, but they can be taken in units of 1. And that gives Marines a 15-point unit that can go for Engage, Oaths, Primary, and screen you out.
Very nice – I like this a lot! Great reference point for various pros/cons of all the army rules and units. I think some of the points mentioned are a bit out e.g. plasma Inceptors will be an extra 20pts, as it’s 10 per gun, the Lastalon Firestrike works out cheaper than 3 Eradicators (but the point made is still valid!) and Land Raiders are only 265 now, I think? Really minor quibbles, anyway – great job, whoever did this (though it sounds like Chef when reading it) – really looking forward to similar for other armies!
One thing I would say is maybe we should consider Drop Pod Devastators as an alpha strike unit? They can come down in melta range without being shot at, roast a priority target, and threaten a repeat if not taken care of. This seems especially potent in Ultramarines where you can choose to come down in devastator doctrine or wait until their Super Doctrine is active to mitigate hit issues.
Also the Phobos Lieutenant is my favorite RG character caddy for Master of Ambush and Ex Tenebris. Especially if you are rocking in with Shrike as well.
Hey guys – really nice guide, looking forward to getting stuck into it. It’d be nice to see an grading system A+, A, B etc. to allow an easier comparison between wargear, stratagems etc.
Looks so neat atm. Alas, I do not play SM
Awesome stuff. Just a quick note.
The Tome of Malcador doesn’t let you mix powers from different disciplines. The Core Rulebook FAQ has shut that one down.
Loving this! Admech please😁
This is exciting! Looking forward to give this and the future ones a read!
I’m so, so confused.
Hey, when I open this there is a heap of the code hmtl style stuff written. Can send a pic via insta if you would like. The links are there though but don’t appear to work