The Space Marine Elite Tactics section is where you will find the Space Marine specialist. As the Space Marine Elite units are specialists you need to bare things a few things in mind. The first is that you do not want too many of them, and the second is that you need to be sure of the role you want them to fulfil, and keep to that plan!
There are a great number of Space Marine Elite choices that you can pick from. This is not a major problem for an unbound army, but if you want to keep to a battle forged army list you will only have 3 Elite slots available to you. This means that in a battle forged army you will need to be decisive about your plans and which units will best fulfil those objectives.
Having your hero out on his own presents a great target for your opponent. A better option is to buy a Command Squad for him. These are veteran space marines that have been detailed to be a bodyguard for your expensive HQ characters.
Previously you could only get a Command Squad as an upgrade for an independent character, and once you did this the character ceased to be independent and had to stick with the command squad for the rest of the game. With the 2015 Space Marine Codex the Command Squad has become an Elite unit, which makes way for many more interesting options ( 3 Command Squads in a battle forged army?).
Command squads Space Marines have a number of weapon and special upgrade options, like apothecaries and standard bearers. Have a think about the role you have in mind for your Command Squads, like close combat experts, or as close support for your troops. When you have decided on a role tool up your Command Squad with that role in mind. The advantage of a command squad is that they have access to a number of special weapons. This means that you can configure them for specific roles.
Command Squads can take a Drop Pod, Rhino or Razor back as an additional transport too. Having a troop carrier will make your command squad much more flexible. You could also consider using a Land Raider as a troop transporter too.
Space Marine Honour Guards use to be the preserve of the The Chapter Master. Now they can be found in the Space Marine Elite section.
The Space Marines of the Honour Guard have similar stats as the regular Command Squad and veteran marines. The difference is that they have better weapons, 1 point better leadership and Artificer armour. This makes the veterans tough nuts to crack.
Even though the Honour Guard superficially look like a Command Squad in fancy dress, the Honour Guard does have a different role in the Space Marine army. The difference can best be seen in what the Honour Guard lack that the Command Squads have. These include special character ‘Apothecary’ and the Honour Guards do not have access to special weapons like meltas and flamers. Also the Honour Guard has to have a Chapter Champion where a Champion is optional in the Command Squads.
If you are looking to take a Honour Guard then you will be advised to take some transport. This will allow us to get your mega-expensive unit to the optimum place on the table quicker. Unlike the Command Squads, the Honour Guards have access to Land Raiders as dedicated transport. This will allow then to use the Assault Vehicle special rules of the Land Raider. The can charge up to your target in the Land Raider and then jump out and assault in the same turn.
One of the Honour Guard will be the Chapter Champion. The Chapter Champion has a special rule where they have to attack a character during close combat. However if there are two characters you can pick the which character you wish to assault. My advice would be to pick on the weakest as this should reduce the number of return attacks.
One of the Honour Guard can also have the Chapter Banner. This is recommended for the benefits that it bestows on the Honour Guard unit and other friendly units in the area. This does mean that will benefit you if you have your Honour Guard in the centre of any units that have a lower leadership. With the new 6th & 7th Edition rules and aligned forces, this could be low leadership Imperial Guard units.
Space Marine Terminator are designed for close proximity fighting. They first appeared in the Space Hulk games where their thicker armour and assault weapons where a great advantage in the space ship corridors. The Space Marine Terminators still excel in these conditions. They are not fast, you need to load them it to Space Marine Land Raiders if you want to ferry them about. Smaller troop transporters will just not be big enough for the job.
The Space Marine Terminators armour is some of the toughest armour in the game. You should be careful of those rare AP1 and AP2 weapons. These will cause you to fall back on the fairly weak invulnerable saves.
Space Marine Terminators are armed with general purpose close quarter fighting weapons, the Storm Bolter and Power fist. Upgrades to heavy weapons is available.
The Stormbolter is a medium ranged assault weapon. This means that you can close in on your opponents and be shooting along the way. You can not run and shoot at the same time, but you can shoot and assault in the same turn. You will need to decide between shooting and running each turn.
The Power Fist is the default Terminator close combat weapon. It (almost) always strikes last at initiative 1, but when it wounds you will instant kill most creatures. This is because the Power Fist doubles the Space Marines strength to S8, enough to instant kill most mortals.
The Sergeant gets a Power Sword instead of a Power Fist. This means that he will strike in the usual initiative order. The Power Sword is AP3 ( 6th edition rules ), so the tougher Power Armour and bigger creatures are good targets. Place him toe to toe with and power weapon character. Terminator is a bit vulnerable to power weapons, and you may have a change to kill the character before they do damage to the squad.
One Space Marine Terminator heavy weapon upgrades is the Heavy Flamer. A Heavy Flamer is a good weapon to choose if you are fighting in close cover like jungle fighting, or City Fight rules.
Heavy Flamers are S5. This means that you will wound other Space Marines on a 3+ and Imperial Guard and Eldar are wounded on a 2+.
The Assault Cannon is a great weapon for the Space Marine Terminators. It can fire four rounds per turn which is good against horde armies, specially with the Space Marines Ballistic skill, and it’s a rendering weapon so it has a chance to crack open tanks and hard targets too. Assault Cannons only have a 24″ range, but considering that Space Marine Terminators work better in built up areas, this is not a problem.
Cyclone Missile Launchers add a bit of long range fire power to the Space Marine Terminators. It’s stats are the same as a regular Marine missile launcher. The Cyclone Missile launcher fires the same Frag and Krak missiles too, so you should be familiar with them. The one difference is that the Cyclone missile launcher can be fired in the same turn as the Space Marine Terminator’s Storm Bolter. This is a bonus against lighter targets.
Space Marine Terminator Assault Squads are more specialised variant of the usual Space Marine Terminator Squad. They give up their shooting ability for more specialised close combat weapons.
Terminator Assault Squads are armed with either Thunder Hammers and Storm Shields, or a pair of Lightning Claws. As the squads description suggests, these are close assault weapons so you will want to get in to combat as soon as possible.
Lightning Claws are great at chopping through hordes of smaller creatures. Because you get a pair of Lightning Claws you still get the 2nd weapon attack bonus, and the Terminators strike at their normal initiative order.
Thunder Hammers and Storm Shields are the tools of choice against larger foe. The shields will protect your Terminators from high AP attacks while the Thunder Hammers stun the enemy so they do not strike back next turn.
The Space Marine Sternguard Veteran Squad is a new addition to the 2008. The Space Marine Sternguard by their name show that they are designed to be rear guard troops. The classic use of rearguards is to protect the army from sneaky attacks from the rear, and to hold strategic ground to allow the rest of the army escape if they need to run. The Space Marine Sternguard are designed to bolster the regular Space Marines.
The Space Marine Sternguard make an excellent addition to a shooty Space Marine army or an assault army that want some support at the rear. Up to two Space Marine Sternguard can upgrade to heavy weapons. This is an expensive alternative to the regular Devastator squads, but provides option if all your heavy support slots have been filled.
All the Space Marine Sternguard are veterans. This means that they have the extra leadership and attack that veterans get. These veteran skills added to the special ammunition available to them means that you can have 5 to 10 Space Marine Sternguard that can pack a surprising punch in the shooting phase and then can follow it up with a decent close combat attack.
The Space Marine Dreadnoughts are part man and part vehicle. The are classed as ‘Walkers’ in the Warhammer 40k rules.Being a hybrid of man and machine the Space Marine Dreadnought brings the best of both. It has an armour value so anti-tank weapons are needed to damage it, but it has a weapon skill value so it can fight in close combat. The Dreadnought can have carry heavy weapons too, and like a vehicle in can move and shoot in the same turn. The Dreadnought can also assault in the same turn it moved and fired.
The Space Marine Dreadnought moves in the same way foot troops do so it will move 6″ in the movement phase, and needs to take difficult terrain tests. The Dreadnought is too big to fit into any transport vehicle, this makes it a lot slower at moving around the table. Plan where you are going to need the Dreadnought when you set up. If you are playing on a large table, think about having a drop pod to deep strike the Dreadnought to a strategic location.
Space Marine Venerable Dreadnoughts are the oldest of the Space Marine Dreadnoughts. In game terms they are very similar. The difference is that the Space Marine Venerable Dreadnought gets an extra point of BS & WS, and the ‘venerable’ special rule. These upgrades cost an extra 60points. Worth it? I’ll let you decide.
The extra BS skill will allow the Space Marine Venerable Dreadnought to hit on 2’s (or 5 times out of 6). This means that all the ranged weapons are better value for the points. The extra WS point will aide any close combat fights against WS4 & WS5 opponents. If you normally fight other Space Marines or Chaos Space Marines you could find this useful. If you normally fight WS3 opponents (Guard & etc), then this upgrade will have no effect. The “Venerable” special rule gives the Space Marine Venerable Dreadnought some extra survivability. The ability to re-roll 5’s & 6’s on the damage table will frustrate your opponent!
A new addition to the Space Marine Dreadnought ‘family’ is the Space Marine Ironclad Dreadnought.
The Space Marine Ironclad Dreadnought has been designed to fight in built up areas. It comes with two close combat weapons by default, with attached special weapons. This is a formidable combination that gives you an extra close combat attack. The down side is if you don’t get in to combat then the Space Marine Ironclad Dreadnought could end up a waste of points.
You can replace the Seismic Hammer with a Chain Sword. The Chain Sword will cut through tank armour much easier with an extra D6 penetration, but causes less damage when you do glance or penetrate. Because of this I recommend the Chain Sword when facing tougher tanks.
If you want some shooty weapons on your Space Marine Ironclad Dreadnought then you can replace the standard close combat arm with hurricane bolters. Hurricane bolters are mid range weapons (same range as a bolter), but can lay down a lot of twin linked bolter fire per turn. This is great against swarm armies (Orks, Tyranids, Guard & etc).
The Legion of the Damned are not like other Space Marines, they are not part of a known chapter, and can be added to any chapter’s army list. You do not have to attach them as using the attachment rules.
The 2nd difference with the Legion of the Damned is that they always Deep Strike in to the game. What is more is that they get to re-roll the scatter dice if yo wish. This means that yo have a 4 in 6 chance of rolling a ‘ hit ‘ on the scatter dice. What is not clear is if you get to re-roll the scatter distance dice too. If you can, this can be used to improve the Deep Strike accuracy too.
Ok now we know who they are, and how they arrive, the question is ‘ what are they good for? ‘. The answer to this can be found in their spacial rules. The first clue is that their bolters fire cover ignoring bolter shots, the next is that they are slow and purposeful, and the last clue is the 3+ invulnerable saves they get.
So what can you use the Legion of the Damned squads for? Well my suggestion would be as a squad to route out dug in tough to shift units, or as a hit squad armed with melta weapons to take out tanks or monstrous creatures placed behind the front line. The Flaming projectiles are great for camo cloaked snipers that have gone to ground behind Ageas lines. The slow and purposeful rule lets them advance and fire heavy weapons, and the 3+ invulnerable save will keep them alive a bit longer against returned incoming fire and counter assaults.
It you do use the Damned Legionnaires deep behind the enemy lines then you will be best taking a full squad of 10. This will give you an effective force even if you do not have other units to provide support. Just don’t bite off more that you can chew. Aim for smaller targets. This will give you more return from your squads points cost.
The Legion of the Damned have the ‘ Slow and Purposeful ‘ rule, however in the 6th edition this does not mean that your units are slow, it just means that they cannot run or shoot using Over-watch. What you can do though is move up to 6” during the movement phase and still shoot heavy weapons in the shooting phase, and still assault in the assault phase. Used correctly this means that your Legionnaires are quite fast moving heavy weapons teams. Option Weapon Upgrades
So what is the best spacial weapon to take? Again this will depend on your opponent. The usual choice will be either the Flamer, for Larger numbers of smaller troops tucked in to cover, or the Meltagun, for taking out tanks and monstrous creatures.
In a similar way to the the heavy weapon choices are usually the Heavy flamer or the Mult-melta. Sometimes the Missile launcher is an option if you are expecting a lot or enemy air support, however you will probably find that Devastator Squads or other heavy support options are a better bet for this.
The last weapon upgrade option is the Veteran Sargent. For these a Combi-weapon and melee weapon combination is popular.
Ok, now we know that you can move with some pace around the battle field, you may want to review the Flaming Projectiles special rule again. To summarise all ranged attacks ignore cover. This is usually seen as bolter shots, it covers all shooting weapons ( so not flamers, which get this rule any way, or close combat weapons that do not need this rule). Use this rule correctly and it will really rattle your enemy!
The Legion of the Damned causes fear. This is a special rule that can be useful in close combat by reducing the the opponent initiative to 1 if they loose a leadership test. However I find that this is not as useful as it sounds. This is because in Warhammer 40k the leadership of most units tends to be quite high, and those that have a lower leadership score usually have a way of avoiding leadership tests, for example Tyranid Gaunts that are fearless within Hive Mind influence, or Orks that can mob up to improve their leadership, and any units that are left to the mercies of fear usually have a lower initiative score than the Legionnaires anyway, so this rule has little or no effect.