Sunday, 21 January 2018

The Space Marine Lieutenant returns! My take on how to best use them in 8th.

Hi folks. Hot on the heels of my tactical squad reviews I thought I would delve into one of the new units for the codex – the Lieutenant. I was really excited to see primaris Lieutenants in the Index and even more so when their non-primaris counterparts showed up in the actual codex. This article will aim to give an overview of how the unit works in 8th and explore my meagre insight as to how they can be used. 

Background-wise, the Lieutenant harkens back to the days of Rogue Trader but disappeared in 2nd edition era. Guilleman’s codex (and fluff) retcon sees them reintroduced as a new rank in the Astartes organisational hierarchy. Demi-companies were introduced last edition and now the unit background/entry suggests that basically every company has a Captain and a pair of Lieutenants to each lead a demi-company into battle. 

Now onto the rules. There are two ways to run Lieutenants in-line with other entries in the codex – as Primaris or as regular Astartes. The pros and cons to each are pretty much in-line with the Primaris vs regular comparisons across the board and we’ll come to that later. For now suffice to say that they have a few things in common. Firstly, they are both HQ choices. Secondly, they have chapter tactics (or DA/BA equivalent) and ATSKNF like other marines units. Thirdly, company heroes allows Lieutenants to be taken as 2 models per entry which are deployed at the same time but otherwise act independently (more on that later). Last but not least, the tactical precision rule gives them a 6” reroll 1s to wound bubble. 

The role they fill is therefore as both a hero character who is slightly less adept than a Captain, but whom synergises perfectly with a Captain to bolster the effectiveness of the units in the vicinity. He is also a cheap HQ choice if you are on a tight budget. As for the Company heroes rule, there are pros and cons. I often find when list-building that I want more HQ slots filled to enable me to take more detachments and therefore gain more command points. In this case, taking two per slot would be counterproductive. If, however, you are tight on slots and would benefit from two in the army, being able to deploy simultaneously (but act independently from then on outside normal coherency) may aid you to get first turn by finishing deploying first.

Let’s look at points and stats now. The regular guys are 4 power / 60 points and the primaris 5 (70). Stat wise they are a level below their respective Captains (lacking a point of BS/W/A/Ld by comparison) and obviously with a different aura ability and no invulnerable save. A Primaris Lieutenant is only just below a regular Captain in terms of stats, which on a like for like basis generally involve an extra attack and wound over the regular Lieutenants. However, there is an associated points increase by making the jump from regular to Primaris and differing wargear options, which we will address now.

Options For a regular Lieutenant are not quite as lavish as for Captains despite them having the same bare-bones equipment, consisting of frag/krak grenades, bolt pistol, master crafted boltgun and chainsword. Notably missing are the options for a storm shield, relic blade, space marine bike and of course an iron halo. However, and this is where regular marines still shine over their larger cousins, the regular Lieutenant still has access to jump packs, melee, pistol and combi-weapons galore. Also, don’t’ forget the model can be your Warlord should you wish and, as a character, can take a relic. The Primaris is far more restricted in its weapon options, having just a bolt pistol, frag and krak grenades, plus a master-crafted auto bolt rifle which can be swapped out for a master-crafted stalked bolt rifle or power sword.

Before delving into builds, we should talk a bit about the battlefield role of the Lieutenant. He is a 4/5-wound character with no invulnerable save and thus is unlikely to be a game-changer no matter what you load him out with. What he does do very well is lend extra support to areas of the battlefield that may need it as well as bolstering the offensive capability of the units nearby. Speaking of which, this fits perfectly with his status as a character, as you can surround him with other units making him protected from all but sniper fire while granting rerolls to 1 for all units in 6”.

Lieutenants will fit nicely into most builds and should be there to complement an army rather than have the army built around it. For example, if you have a backfield gunline with devastators and predators, placing a lieutenant nearby will allow you crucial rerolls to to hit rolls of 1. Considering most heavy weapons will be wounding on rolls of 2-4+, this can greatly increase your chances of a successful to wound roll and hopefully leave you a command reroll free for the dreaded 1 on the damage roll. This can be further stacked with abilities such as the salamander Chapter tactic, armorium cherub and signum abilities to maximise the killing potential of the big guns. 

You may decide that you want to get the Lt up close and personal with the enemy, using either a jump-pack or transport for mobility. (note the Repulsor is the only transport option for the Primaris Lt) Whether or not you want him to support a drop pod full of sternguard or a squad of assault terminators, he will likely give you several extra wounds per turn as well as bolstering his own wargear, which we will discuss shortly. Last couple of points. I rarely deploy Lieutenants without a captain also – it makes it easier to build a bubble around both characters and then you are increasing the amount of hits and wounds from all units within 6” of both as well as having a couple of decent characters nearby. There’s also no reason you can’t use 2 of each for around the same cost as Guilleman and take a pair in the backfield and a pair in the vanguard should you so wish. 

Now for loadouts. I’ll start with the Primaris as it’s easier being you only have the option for A B or C. The MC rifles are a decent shout at any time due to their damage output of 2 plus the rerolls to wound he grants himself. For a backfield role, the stalker may be a good shout at s4, Ap-2 and damage 2 if you plan on staying put. The auto-bolt rifle is a good all-rounder allowing him to advance and still shoot if you need to change positions. Power sword would only leave you a pistol or grenades but takes advantage of his WS2+ and the extra attack primaris have over the regular chaps. Really depends what you want to use him for, but as their all s4 his auto-reroll of 1 to wound may help a bit. 

For the grand finale let’s look at the regular Lieutenant loadouts. He benefits from being able to swap out his master-crafted boltgun and / or chainsword while retaining his bolt-pistol allowing him more utility than his Primaris counterpart. I’m a fan of his basic MCBG which for 3 points can potentially deal out 4 damage a turn (especially given his rerolls) but you can swap this out for a combi-weapons, pistol or melee weapon while also being able to swap out his chainsword for a melee weapon. 

I prefer to stick to one of each melee and shooting and also prefer combi-weapons to pistols. If you are going to swap out the MCBG then don’t bother with the stormbolter (same maximum damage potential at both ranges) and go for a combi-weapon. For melee, he benefits from WS2+ and rerolls
to wound so any weapon you fancy will be as good as it gets on him, from a cheap power sword to a thunder hammer. The bare bones Lt will cost you 63 points, my preferred all-rounder loadout adds a power sword or power fist for 67/75 points and, if you want to go all-in, swap out for a combi-melta and thunder hammer for maximum damage. (plasma too risky on an expensive aura model)

I hope this guide has been useful. Happy gaming.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Tactical squads overview and tactica - part 2

Hi folks, this is the second part of my guide to tactical squads in 8th edition. First part found HERE. Enjoy. 


There are 6 ways to get around in the new codex, and they are pretty much the same as in the old one. Drop pod, rhino, razorback, Land-raider, Stormraven or on foot. Note you can't use the Repulsor as apparently new and old marines don't share any of their toys. 

The good news about 8th edition for transports is as follows:
·         You can assault out of them now.
·         Mixed units are allowed in a transport.
·         They got a whole lot more survivable.
·         You can fire heavy weapons on the go a whole lot easier.

Now for the bad:
·         They pretty much doubled in price for basic transports.
·         You have a 1/6 chance of a mortal wound if it dies while you're in it.
·         No more shooting out of hatches.
·         You have to disembark before it moves but can then act normally.

Now, I'm going to discount the non-dedicated transports for now as you shouldn't be using land raiders or stormravens to ferry tactical marines around really - they're much more suited to carrying Elite and harder-hitting units. This leaves us with the trusty drop pod, rhino and razorback. Drop pods are coming down in price a lot since the Index but still aren't viable to use en-masse. Two 5-man units in a pod held in reserve and dropped into the right place at the right time could be lethal for grabbing objectives or bolstering a line where needed. Rhinos are tough and for only 8 points can be given an HK missile and extra storm bolter making them pretty well-armed. Don't forget to combat squad the marines in advance (or simply load with 2 5-man units) for maximum utility. 

Finally, a smaller unit in a Razorback can also be lethal, especially if it's a 70:30 split or accompanied by a character. The changes to twin weapons made the Razorbacks armament lethal. Let's not forget that both tanks are now useful to charge into combat and soak up overwatch fire if you are trying to charge, plus the rhino can drop off one squad while ferrying the other to another location. To sum it up, drop pods if you want 10 men in the right place at the right time, Rhinos to protect and move 10 men where you want them and Razorbacks to provide fire support and ferry around smaller squads.  


All tactical squads have the same two rules which are 'and they shall know no fear' (reroll failed morale checks and 'champions of humanity' (ability to hold objectives even if non-troop enemies also within 3") However, each chapter has their own tactics which will also benefit tactical squads and we will take a look at them in turn now:

Black Templars - righteous zeal allows you to reroll charge rolls. While useful for many other units (including Crusaders) there it not much benefit to tactical squads, who get one attack each in combat and at best pack one model with a decent melee weapon.

Blood Angels - red thirst can turn even the humblest marine unit into a combat monster by adding +1 to its wound rolls in the fight phase. This applies only if charging or charged that turn, so beware prolonged combats. This will mostly mean that against GEQs you wound on a 2+, 3+ against MEQs and even the T8+ nasties can be wounded on a 5+. Tactical marines are pretty much the most basic marines you can get and so this makes them that little bit better if you do charge or get charged, especially if your Sergeant is packing a decent melee weapon. 

Dark Angels - grim resolve has two effects. The first limits casualties due to failed morale checks to a maximum of 1 - not all that useful if you are using 5-man squads anyway. The second and more useful part allows you to reroll all shooting to hit rolls of 1 (including overwatch) if you remain stationary - excellent for gunlines and objective camping but again pretty useless if you intend to be on the move.

Imperial Fists - Siege masters. On the rare occasion your opponent has a building then you can reroll failed to wound rolls, which could be useful for weapons such as lascannons, multi-meltas and Thunder hammers. The main appeal of the tactic is to remove the benefit of +1 to enemies saving throw for being in cover. This is excellent for tactical squads as the flexibility of weaponry you possess means that infantry, Monsters and vehicles alike will be equally vulnerable regardless of whether or not they are hunkered down. It doesn't add any advantage to you, but it removes a big one for them which will add up over the course of a game. 

Iron Hands - the flesh is weak provides a 6+++ 'feel no pain' for every tactical marine to be that extra bit more survivable. It might not add much over the course of a game but if you fielded 30 tactical marines you'd expect to save 6 of them that would have died otherwise and also gives you at least a chance of surviving mortal wounds.

Raven Guard - shadow masters means that your opponent must subtract 1 from shooting to hit rolls at over 12". This has pros and cons for Raven Guard Tacticals. It's great for improving the survivability of ranged squads that camp on objectives or hold the backfield, at least that is until the enemy closes with them. For tacticals wanting to take the fight to the enemy, to be in effective range of much of their weaponry (24" rapid fire, meltas, flamers) you must forego your advantage.

Salamanders - Master artisans (who don't own as many heavy flamers as the Blood Angels apparently) grants a reroll to hit and to wound each time you shoot or fight. This is an awesome little tactic that will benefit small, 5-man tactical squads the most. Each time you shoot your special ranged weapon or roll the dreaded 1 to wound with a meltagun you get to reroll it for free. This is also handy if the Sergeant has a decent melee weapon. firing heavy weapons on the move, assault weapons while advancing and using 'unwieldy' melee weapons suddenly doesn't look so bad. With regard to the 'shooting' part of the rule, I would read that to mean that if you shoot overwatch when charged you can also use it to try and get that melta hit.

Ultramarines - Codex discipline grants +1 to leadership (again pretty useless in small squads) but, importantly, allows you to shoot at -1 on a turn in which you fell back. This is extremely useful for tactical squads, especially smaller ones that have been charged and only have decent models remaining or larger ones that have been tied up in combat. Not many non-fly units have this ability and so it prevents your falling back units from being useless.

Whitescars - Lightning assault allows you to add 2" to your advance rolls as well as enabling you to charge in a turn in which you fell back. The extra advance helps to add a bit of pace to models that would otherwise be quite slow, for example if you needed to grab an objective. The charge after falling back, like the Ultramarine tactic, is great for allowing you to not be useless on a turn you duck out of combat. For example if your small squad had been reduced to only 3 models after being charged last turn, you can then remove yourself from combat, allow something else to shoot your former combatants, then charge something more palatable. Situational but useful. 

Let us now compare to the other troop choices in the codex. Scouts are 2 points each cheaper but with a differing selection of weaponry and a 4+ save as opposed to 3+. Crusader squads are the same price and stats but have slightly different ways of accessing weapons, higher maximum number per squad and have to be Black Templars. Lastly, Intercessors are 5 points per model more, better stats/guns with the same squad sizes but have less options/transports available.

Scouts - 2 points per model cheaper and following the same unit size, basic equipment and Sergeant model as tactical marines. Scouts do however gain several wargear options and the concealed positions rule, sacrificing 1 point of armour and access to special weapons/most heavy weapons in return. The Sergeant doesn't get access to melta-bombs but is otherwise identically equip-able to his power armour equivalent. You can add camo-cloaks for 3 points to make them as durable as tactical marines while in cover, though at this stage you are paying 1 point more per model. 

Access to sniper rifles makes them the only marine unit able to target characters, although the chances of doing significant damage to a character with sniper rifles is slim. Like crusaders, they can take a bolt-pistol and combat blade for an extra attack and there's also the option of a shotgun should you so wish. Concealed positions allows you to deploy in 9" of the enemy deployment zone/enemy models - this can be good for objective grabbing or speedbumping units such as genestealers. Scouts fill a very different role to tactical marines and are usually the bare-bones squad of choice.

Crusaders - no combat squads ability and have to take black Templar tactics but other than that crusaders are the ultimate jack of all trades. Containing anywhere from 5-20 models, the unit can be tooled as either a minimum squad of 5, which can possess a Sergeant equivalent (with all the options a Sergeant gets save for melta-bombs), a special weapon and either a melee or heavy weapon. Perfect. On the other hand you can turn them into a blob squad of 10 tacticals and 10 scouts (neophytes, note they have Ld 6 compared to scouts ld 7), all of which can replace their boltguns with chainswords/combat blades for the extra attack. Just beware morale checks with a unit this size. The go-to troops choice for black Templars allowing ultimate flexibility of builds.

Intercessors - the new kids on the block have a few tricks up their sleeves, but rather nicely fill a different role to tactical marines. At 18 points a go you have an almost 2:3 ratio with tactical marines, and for this you get 5-10 models with an extra wound and attack each, plus a longer-ranged boltgun with -1 AP. The Codex marine and Dark Angel Sergeants (again a free upgrade with 1ld and attack over a regular Sergeant) can take power swords instead of a rifle, and the Blood Angel squad can take a chainsword instead. Instead of access to heavy and special weapons, Intercessors can all exchange their rifles for either a longer ranged/better AP heavy 1 version (stalker) or a shorter ranged/worse AP assault 2 version. 

For every 5 models you can take an auxillary grenade launcher granting 30" range to your grenades. These chaps are designed to be the badass workhorses of the marine lists, destined to footslog unless you pay for a Repulsor tank. Not as easily tailored as tactical marines and more vulnerable to multi-damage weapons, they are nonetheless more formidable in an assault and more durable on an objective, but with wargear restrictions limiting their effectiveness in specific roles.


I'm only going to discuss characters common to all 3 books and am not going to go into special characters, warlord traits or relics as things will get too complicated. Aside from Black Templars, Librarians are common to all 3 armies and have a variety of offensive and defensive ways to bolster squads, though arguably these are better used on more elite squads. Chaplains can bolster nearby Ld by 1 point more than a Sergeant not that it will benefit small squads that much. He can also bolster your to hit rolls in the fight phase - only really of some use to the Sergeant if melee equipped but better used on dedicated assault units. 

Captains and lieutenants are the real go-to combo to cluster your firebase around, not only boasting a fearsome armoury and stat-line themselves but also granting rerolls of 1 to hit and wound respectively for units in 6". Apothecaries/Novitiates can revive a single model from a unit on a 4+ but chances are your decent models will be the last ones to die so he is probably better off regaining D3 wounds to characters automatically and without a penalty for failure. Lastly, Ancients allow a model to make a last shooting/melee attack on a 4+ when it dies - again a good option for a firebase of tactical models and devastators.


As above, I'm only going to discuss the stratagems common to all of the 3 books being covered and not go into specific ones for fear that this article will go on forever. Auspex scan can be deadly if used by a devastator or suitably equipped tactical squad to decimate units hoping to drop in and surprise you with a round of shooting or melee. Wisdom of the ancients can benefit nearby tactical squads, effectively making the Dreadnought a Captain for a turn. Tactical flexibility is pretty moot as you most likely won't be taking 10-man squads anyway - if you do though it allows you to split them mid game so long as they are still full strength. Honour the chapter is expensive and allows a second round of fighting - not worth it on even Blood Angel tactical marines. The last 2 are particularly relevant (although better on devastators as you can also use the signum) - hellfire shells and flakk missiles. Both allow a chance at D3 mortal wounds on a target for a single shot as an alternative to regular shooting.


Phew, well that was a lot longer than intended but hopefully was comprehensive. I love tactical squads and even in armies such as Whitescar bikers and Raven Guard scout lists I always include at least a couple. In fact, aside from Whitescars, Sons of Orar (Pure Primaris) Templars and Crimson fists every Codex marine army I own contains 3 tactical squads. They remain the most flexible workhorse of a marine army and IMO should form the core of one every time. The one thing I am changing in my list building (which you may have picked up) is having 5-man squads to increase the amount of command points available to me and maximising the free Sergeants and their wargear options. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Tactical squad - overview and tactica part 1.

Hi folks. To kick off the new year I thought I would put up an article about everyone's favourite unit, the humble tactical squad. Well, they aren't everyone's favourite unit now are they? In fact I see many lists that don't include them at all in favour of other troops choices or just other detachments. This article will attempt to pick apart the role for tactical squads in the current game by looking at options, builds, chapter tactics and synergy with HQs, stratagems etc. I will include dark angels and blood angels in the article for completeness, and while I will draw some comparisons with other troop units from those books (intercessors, scouts, crusaders) I won't be branching out further to compare with grey hunters, chaos marines or other troops choices, nor will I be talking about Forgeworld units/rules.   

Let's start at the beginning. Tactical squads are one of 4 troops choices available to Space Marines and, as per the original codex astartes should make up 6/10 of the 4 battle companies, and 2/3 of the remaining 6 companies. That's 440/1000 marines per full strength Chapter or roughly half, although it would be incredibly rare for an Astartes Strike Force to be made up of that proportion of Tactical Marines. Guillemans tweaks to the codex has buggered things about somewhat with battleline squads and 20x5 Marines per Company rather than 10x10, but things are still pretty much the same. 

In terms of gameplay, the troops will cost you 13 points a Marine and come in unit sizes of 5-10. I won't really talk about power levels as I don't use them but these chaps are 5 power basic and 4 power extra for the full 10-man squad. All marines come with frag/krak grenades as standard as well as a bolter and bolt pistol. As always, 5 marines allows you to take a Sergeant for free, who can swap either of his guns for Sergeant equipment. In the previous few editions, the Sergeant the same stats as a battle brother and could be upgraded to a veteran Sergeant for 10 points. Now, however, he is a free upgrade to a squad, as with most squad leaders, with one extra attack and point of leadership. As a side note, veteran Sergeants still exist but they are 1st Company only and boast a further extra attack and point of leadership. Lastly, a 5-9 man squad allows you to take either a heavy or special weapon and the full 10-man squad allows both. Note that all codexes grant the ability to reroll failed morale check.


Now, I always bring tactical squads as I stick to the codex layout and in the past have been known to favour 10-man squads, occasionally breaking them down into combat squads. However, I will confess that Robbie-G has a good point with this whole 5-man squad thing and so I will go through a few ways to build squads with pros and cons. As a general rule Brigades will grant you 9+3=12 CPs but are difficult (though not impossible) to build at 1500-2000 points due to the amount of requirements there are. Battalions + specific detachments are easier to build and still give you some command points. Always try to build your list around as many detachments as possible for maximum CPs. (i.e don't put 3 elites, and 3 heavies into a Battalion if you can give them an HQ and form a separate detachment) 

The bare-bones - will cost you 65 points and give you 5 basic bolter-toting marines. The Sarge can swap out to bolt pistol and chainsword for free. The benefit of building squads this way is that it is dirt cheap to get yourself either a brigade or double-battalion detachment for those juicy command points. Don't expect miracles from it as you will only have 6 attacks (7 with the chainsword) and 9-10 bolter shots at <12". Having said that, victory points win games - if you're short on points a cheap tactical squad in cover for a 2+ save may just hold you that valuable objective. Then again it may be a relatively easy target for your opponent to simply pick them off and gain a victory point of their own.
The bare bones XL - same as above but with 10-men rather than 5. I can't think of many reasons to take this squad - if you were wanting to sink 130 points into a squad then you should at least be tooling it up with some weapons for your investment to increase its damage output. If you plan on combat-squadding it from the start then you should take 2x5 man squads to fill an extra troop slot and get a second sergeant upgrade. 

1x10 vs 2x5 - not a build as such but I thought I would address this here. The question is, should you take one or the other, and I would argue it is almost always better to take the 2x5 option. Reasons are as follows:

1.       Unless you're playing power levels, there is no points difference.
2.       If you planned on combat-squadding anyway, you've now gained yourself a free sergeant (and the upgrades he permits), taken up an extra troops slot and have access to 2 special weapons or 2 heavy weapons rather than having to take 1 of each.
3.       Effectively immune from morale, whereas a larger squad suffering heavy casualties may lose further models. 

We should also consider benefits to taking the 10-man squad in the argument, and those are as follows:

1.       More staying power with 10-man squad.
2.       More models will benefit from powers/stratagems etc that benefit the unit.
3.       Can spread models out further and still benefit from 6" reroll bubbles that affect units rather than models.
4.       Can combat squad at the beginning of the game or partway through if still at full strength and using a stratagem. 

I still think the 2x5 is the winner here on balance. 

The in-betweener - however you equip the squad, taking a model count somewhere between 6-9 models is possible especially if you have leftover points to spend. Of course you will benefit from more bodies, attacks, shooting etc but it does nothing to improve your access to an additional special/heavy weapon and does not give you combat squads. Taking greater than 6 models will restrict you option of a Razorback also. 

The 50:50 split - the old way of running a 10-man squad was to split them with a backfield squad containing the heavy weapon for an objective sitting ranged unit and to put the special weapon and Sergeant in a mid-field position. This is still viable if not that efficient (see above) and made even better by the changes to combi-weapons and being able to target separate units for different weapons now. 

The 70:30 split - another take on combat-squadding is to leave your 5 bare bones marines sitting in the backfield while putting the Sergeant, special and heavy weapons in a Razorback and taking the fight to the enemy. Particularly devastating with triple melta/flamer weapons.

The babysitters - a 5-man squad with a heavy weapon sitting in the backfield with a cheaply tooled Sergeant for counter-charge potential. Good for objective camping and cheap heavy weapon inclusion at less than 100 points.

The hunters - a 5-man squad with a special and combi-weapon - less scary than the 70:30 split squad but you don't pay the 65 point tax this way. Not as lethal as Company veterans or Sternguard in the same role but cheaper for sure. 


To start I should say that the errata added combi-gravs to the Sergeant weapons list and melta-bombs as an entry to the datasheet. The Dark Angel and Codex marine options are therefore identical, with the Blood Angels having additional access to inferno pistols and hand flamers for the Sergeant and heavy flamers as a heavy weapon option. Let's go through the weapons categories one at a time.

Basic equipment - as mentioned everyone has a boltgun, bolt pistol, frag and krak grenades - it's worth me mentioning a few things now that I frequently forget in-game:

1.       If you are within 12" don't forget one member of the squad can throw a grenade. This is especially useful on a Sergeant only packing a bolt pistol or dual melee weapons. Both grenades are better than a pistol and arguably better/equivalent to a rapid firing boltgun.
2.       Speaking of which, don't forget that rapid fire weapons now no longer prohibit you from charging after firing, for maximum damage output from a squad you should be aiming for rapid firing followed by a charge. There is now no reason to fire a pistol over a rifle when charging into combat. Speaking of which....
3.       ..... should you be locked in melee during your turn, don't forget that you can fire your pistols at the enemy now. I always forget.  

Melee - cheaper than in the previous edition, melee weapons are available in their entirety for the Sergeants and they can technically take 2 of them should they so wish. The line up is power sword/ maul/axe/fist, lightning claws(s), chainsword and thunder hammer. In the case of lightning claws it is worth taking them as a pair for the extra attack, but no other weapons benefit from a second identical weapon. Should you wish to forego ranged weaponry you can take a chainsword for an additional basic attack in addition to another melee weapon. 

Pistols - Bolt pistol comes as standard to all members of the squad, but the sergeant can take one or two pistol weapons in any combination. Grav pistols and plasma pistols are available to all with Blood Angels also gaining access to inferno pistols and hand flamers. All pistols are fairly cheap now and worth considering if you can't stretch to the arguably better combi-weapons. Summaries are below under special weapons. 

Melta bombs - Sergeant only and not usable in melee any longer, melta bombs are devastating at S8, -4AP and D6 damage rerolling to wound against vehicles. Consider them if the sergeant has no decent ranged options and is expecting to get up close and personal. 

Combi-weapons - This list also includes a bolter if you wanted to go dual bolter for free. For 3 points though you could take a storm bolter and still have room for another weapon. All the other combi-weapons are pricey now as they are no longer one-shot only and can be fired at the same time as the boltgun component with a -1 penalty. As you don't get a bonus to your attacks for a melee and pistol weapon anymore there are no disadvantages to combi-weapons save for the price. Options are flamer, melta, grav and plasma as below. 

Special weapons - The now standard fare of flamer, melta, plasma and grav. Flamers are short ranged but don't need to roll to hit, instead relying on a D6 roll for the number of attacks. Useful for hordes and overwatch. Plasma is limited by only being damage 1 unless you overcharge and risk killing yourself, though its range works well in concert with bolters. Melta is, as always, your go-to character/monster/vehicle killer and, being an assault weapon, allows you to get in range and shoot when you advance at a -1 to hit penalty. Lastly, grav is S5 AP-3 damage 1 with 18" range (so worse than plasma) but against anything with 3+ or better armour can inflict D3 damage - decent against MEQs, TEQs and tanks/walkers/monsters.

Heavy weapons - pretty much the same as the above with better range and profiles (though only Blood Angels get access to heavy flamers) except for the additional heavy weapons in the form of lascannons, heavy bolters and missile launchers. The former is the go-to ranged anti-tank weapon, until you roll the dreaded 1 for damage that is. Heavy bolters are pretty decent and the cheapest heavy weapon, whereas missile launchers cost the same as a lascannon but with AP-2 rather than -3. This is compensated by the additional anti-horde profile and the option to use a flakk missile as discussed below under stratagems. 

Phew. That's all for part 1. I will post part 2 next week. Thanks for reading. 

Sunday, 31 December 2017

End of 2017 look back plus 2018 hobby targets

Hi everyone. 

A belated merry christmas. As per usual I thought I would post a rundown of my hobby throughout 2017 and hobby aims for next year. My aim for this year was to finally get all the marine armies finalised, make headway on the non-marine/non chaos armies I have and then start the turn to chaos in 2018. Despite a promising start I didn't quite get there. In no small part this was due to the release of Dark Imperium which threw yet another marine collection into the mix. If that wasn't enough, the new marine codex shook up the organisation of my armies and made me go back to the drawing board with some things. I have also been spending more time playing 40k with the advent of 8th. Here's a rundown of my hobby targets I hit. 

Whitescars were deemed complete fairly early in the year having been rebased onto both 32mm and oval bases for the bikes. I added a Jump lieutenant towards the end of the year and now consider them complete. Blood Ravens too were deemed complete earlier in the year but will need a brief revisits since the codex dropped, as will space wolves. We're only talking about adding a couple of infantry models so no big deal. A small aside was assembling, spraying and basing the Legion of the damned as a nice little side project. 

I finally finished my Luna Wolves army, which for me was a tremendous milestone as I never quite believed I would get there. Grey Knights also got some refinement and were brought up to standard. The Crimson fists are also now deemed complete having been slightly restructured and had time spent on basecoating the infantry to tabletop standard to go with the half of the army that is fully painted. A last minute hobby session (literally today!) also brought my Raven guard up to spec with a few characters and bases being added. 

Sons of Orar were a wishlist army based on a fanfic I wrote. When Primaris Marines dropped, I decided to keep them totally seperate from my other collections and draw a line under them. This left me with a Chapter to make fully Primaris and the Sons fit the bill. They are now complete save for a few characters I still haven't assembled which will be addressed in the new year. Sticking with red, Blood Angels were another milestone for me as they too have sat in their boxes for quite some time and desperately needed the last few models organising, building and magnetising to call them done. Now this is complete, I just want to add a land speeder storm and stormhawk to them which Claire kindly bought me for Christmas. 

So all in all a productive year. I'll be sailing into the new year by finishing up the last few models for my blood angels and then continuing to fight the good fight updating all the other armies as I go. Dark Angels will be the first on that list followed by the other in turn. Some, like the blood Ravens, require only minor attention, swapping out some scouts and adding an ancient models. Most require some form of updating to their command squads / now individual characters and having a lieutenant adding. One other thing I am trying to do starting with my marine armies is to change models that are on clear flying bases to sit on oval bases with a clear stem in the middle. Some xenos armies such as nids and eldar will be a lot of effort, but marines usually only need land speeders addressing. 

Three armies will give me a bit more of a headache and these are Salamanders, Ultramarines and Imperial fists. The Salamanders really only need the above updates but in addition still need about half their bases to be done - as these are scratchbuilt and need painting before the models are added they will take a bit of time. The Ultramarines are missing a dozen models, which were used to fill gaps in other armies, the idea being to replace them with the amazing looking Japanese exclusive models. If I ever get my hands on them that's the plan. Lastly, the Imperial Fists need a few models (command and Lt) adding as well as their land raider being refurbished to an achilles pattern and 5 centurions being put together. 

Well, that's about it for now. Undoubtedly there will be more Marine releases to come as time moves on, perhaps more Primaris and special character focussed going forward. This has been a real labour of love for me and a grand ambition that, with a lot of time, dedication, ££ and paint I have against the odds nearly brought to a conclusion. There's plenty of detail painting to be done on them in the years to come but it's extremely satisfying to know that I have the armies all converted, themed and basecoated sitting in boxes ready to game with or paint further whenever I choose.  2017 is almost over and 2018 looks set to be the year I finish all the marines armies off by halfway and branch out towards chaos marines. 

Here's wishing everyone a happy new year.