Codex Space Marines: A Chaos Marine Perspective
With the new Codex Space Marines out and flying around, I've noticed that my fellow Chaos Marine players are up in arms, shaking in their spiky boots, and complaining even more than usual! Well, doing what I always do, I decided to actually take a look, and put some thinking into the book, before I jump on the QQ bandwagon. I'm not going to cover every single choice, just the ones I found interesting.
Lets start from the top, Space Marine Headquarters.
There is now something to be said about the Space Marine Chapter Master, who before was an expensive captain with limited use. His statline is higher than a Chaos Lord with +1A/W over what they had before, Orbital Bombardment doesn't screw up their entire turn, and with some nasty Relics they can get a 2+/3++ with Eternal Warrior, throw that on a bike and use the Iron Hands chapter tactics, and you have an extremely resilient character. Ultimately though, this character is going to end up being quite expensive, and require that your Space Marine opponent use a specific chapter (Iron Hands). Other than that, a Chapter Master can be geared to be quite a fighty character, better than our Chaos Lords in many situations, though still falls a bit short of Abaddon.
Space Marine Librarians now are cheaper than before, but are restricted to being a level 2. They don't have access to divination without using a Tigurius (who requires Ultramarines Chapter Tactics), and really don't have many wargear options to boost their effectiveness, like Spell Familiars and the Last Memory of Yuranthos. Ultimately, this is just a bargain HQ choice that people will take when trying to save points.
Marneus Calgar is still a beefy bad ass, as he's always been, though now he's more expensive than Abaddon! Just like always, don't get your characters in combat with him, or they'll end up as a thick red paste stuck to his knuckles.
Tactical Squads are about the same as before and Scout Squads can now take Land Speeder Storms as dedicated transports. Not a whole lot to say here. Tactical Marines did get cheaper, but now they have to pay for weapon upgrades and Veteran Sergeants, so it's pretty much a wash.
If your opponent is running a Company Captain or Chapter Master on a bike, they may then take squads of 5+ bikes as troops. Generally I don't consider this much of an issue, since I am all for helping my opponent get closer to me, plus bikes get roasted by Heldrakes with ease. They may go around toting a few Grav weapons, which yes, will kill a few marines or terminators, but the downside is that Marine bikes don't have a pistol and CCW like our bikes do, so they're just a T5 Marine in combat, nothing to really be terrified of. Often times the opponent will take Hit and Run (White Scars) if they're taking bikes as troops, which is probably the only time I'd be concerned with them.
Vanguard Veterans got moved to Elites and smacked in the junk with the nerf bat! No longer able to assault after deepstriking, now these are just expensive assault marines who can't even score in The Scouring. If your opponent is taking these, they're either extremely cunning, or, well, quite the opposite.
Sternguard Veterans also took a hit this edition, now having to pay 10 points per combi weapon like the rest of the world! Don't let that fool you though, a squad of these in a drop pod will still ruin your day with their special ammunition, it's just now that if you're facing a squad with 10 combi-plasmas, you know they paid out the ears for it (365+ points to be exact).
Legion of the Damned are now something to be concerned about. Ultimately, they're much like Thousand Sons, but they have an accurate deepstrike and ignore cover (though don't have AP3 bolters). Really, the only weapons to be concerned with are any special/heavy weapons the squad may have, which could be up to 1 special, 1 heavy, and 1 combi. In the end, I think they're still far too expensive, and honestly, I think Thousand Sons AP3 bolters are more of a threat.
Assault Centurions... HAHAHAHAHA! Wow, these are awful. They had the potential to really be something to fear, but instead, they're more like Obliterators who cannot deepstrike. Literally, the only way to get them across the board is in a Land Raider or Storm Raven. Poor guys, they actually made me consider Mutilators for a minute there.
Nothing new here, and nothing that really concerns me. Storm Talons are still the cheap and effective choice that they've always been, and they'll still get demolished by drakes vector striking, or just about anything else that shoot at them.
Okay, lets get right to it, Centurions are a thing now, and they've got lots of guns. Currently everyone is getting tight in the pants over Grav-cannons, and for good reason, each one will dish out 5 shots at 24" that wound based on your armor save. Before you go crazy and insist that this must be some sort of cruel prank, lets think about a couple things. Unlike Obliterators, Centurions don't have an Invulnerable save and cannot deepstrike. The only way those 24" cannons are going to hit you is if you move into range of them, and even then, you'll still get a cover save. Lacking an Invulnerable save means that you can kill a few at range with our own Obliterators, Havocs, or anything else with an AP2 gun. On top of not being as survivable as an Obliterator, they're also extremely expensive! One with a Grav-cannon and missile launcher is 90 points! If you're going to be worried about any build, be worried about them with Twin-linked Lascannons and Missile Launchers in an Imperial Fists army, because then they get Tank Hunters and can really ruin the day of a Maulerfiend.
Thunderfire Cannons are still brutal as before, but now they've gained barrage, so they are slightly better at pasting our Chaos Cultists.
The new anti-air tanks, the Hunter and Stalker aren't too much to get worried about. Really, the Stalker is an AV12 Quadgun without Interceptor and the Hunter will fire a missile that even if it misses, might hit you in the butt later. Since neither have interceptor, if you're really concerned you can probably kill it before it has a chance to shoot down your drake, but generally i'd ignore it. Oh, also lacking interceptor means that they'll need a 6 to hit anything else in your army, which makes it even less of a priority.
The cool thing about the new book is that you can look at your opponents army now and know right away what it does, provided they've painted it the appropriate colors.
Ultramarines have a very balanced set of Combat Doctrines that they can use once per game (twice with Marneus), that let them do things like have Relentless Devastators for a turn, or twin-link their tactical squads for a turn.
White Scars may be one of the best, giving most of their troops Hit and Run, as well as what is effectively skilled rider for their bikes.
Imperial Fists will re-rill 1's to hit with any weapon that has "bolt" in the name, and their Devastators and Centurion Devastators have Tank Hunters, which can be a pain if you have a lot of vehicles.
Black Templars have access to a cool unit called Crusader Squads, which are much like our Chaos Marine squads, except that they can take more weapons at smaller numbers. Additionally, they all have the Crusader rule, which basically means if they win combat against us, they will most likely sweep us (even with Mark of Slaanesh). Oh, and in a challenge they re-roll to hit and gain rending, so that can be slightly troubling.
Iron Hands have the most universally useful chapter tactic, giving their models a 6+ FNP as well as IWND on their vehicles. Note that this is the ONLY chapter tactic that applies to vehicles, do don't get that pulled over on you by your opponent. Generally Iron Hands are just going to be slightly harder to kill, ultimately nothing super exciting... we all know how often we fail IWND rolls on our daemon vehicles.
Salamanders are similar to before, twin-linking their flamers, though now they can re-roll saves against flamer weapons, as defined by the BRB, which is important, because that DOES NOT include Baleflamers. Also, it's worth noting that their Meltaguns are not twin-linked anymore unless they take Vulkan (which they probably all will do anyhow). Their vehicle flamers and heavy flamers will not be twin-linked, but Vulkan will twin-link their vehicle mounted Meltaguns.
Raven Guard all get scout, unless they're bulky or very bulky, which pretty much just restricts that to tactical marines, devastators, scouts (who already scout), and characters with command/honor guard squads. Similarly, these models will also gain Stealth the first turn of the game, which will not stack with Stealth granted from Night Fight, but will with Shrouded, so keep that in mind. Oh, lastly, their assault marines will charge a little bit further, being allowed to use their jump packs for movement and assault.
Overall the new marine book is fine, some players might try some dirty tricks, like bike squads with 3 grav weapons, but really, nothing in that book is going to give us any more of a hard time than we had before. I think the new Space Marine book is fine the way it is and I have absolutely no plans to have my Chaos Marines count as loyalist scum any time soon.