7 flavours of Vanilla Marines, can I do a list for each Chapter Tactic without becoming repetitive?

As a little mental challenge, I have decided to write up a 2.000 points list for each variant Chapter Tactic in the Space Marine Codex. As an additional bonus difficulty, they must all be notably different, so I can’t just slap in a Bike Chapter Master with Shield Eternal into each list. This might be challenging as some stuff in the Codex is just so much better than other stuff and almost screams auto-include. So, over the next couple of days, I shall endeavour to make 7 different Marine lists.

The initial line-up is:

Iron Hands: Clan Raukaan Dreadnought Drop

Imperial Fists: Sentinels of Terra Gunline

Black Templars: ‘You brought how many guys?’ Marine horde

Salamanders: Need a light?

Raven Guard: Jump Packs and Rhinos

White Scars: Bikers

Ultramarines: A Battle Company

As usual, feel free to mercilessly pick apart the lists and mock my lack of knowledge regarding the Vanilla Space Marines.

List 1: It’s raining men (and Dreadnoughts)!

Starting off, we have the-oft ignored Iron Hands, the chapter that has to live with the ignomy of not having a single Special Character in the book, while Black Templars and Ultramarines have 3 or 5. Using the Clan Raukaan variant, we can include Dreadnoughts of all sorts as Heavy Support and Elites, even without a Master of the Forge. We are therefore going all-in Drop Pod and hope that raining Pods from the skies will overwhelm the Opponent. Wave 1 will drop 5 Dreadnoughts and an Honour Guard led by a Chapter Master, wave 2 include some tactical guys, Assault Marines with Flamers and more Dreadnoughts.

Wave 1: 6 Drop Pods

Chapter Master: Thunderhammer, Traitor’s Bane (master-crafted Combi-Melta without the One Shot USR on the Melta part), Chains of the Gorgon (item that grants bonuses depending on bearer’s wounds. Starts at 3++ invulnerable, FNP 5+ and Eternal Warrior and drops al the way to 4++, but gets better again if the bearer regains wounds with It Will Not Die).

8 Honour Guards plus Chapter Champion: 3 Power Axes, 3 Power Mauls, 2 Powerswords, Drop Pod

With a 2+ armour save and a Master that can soak up hits, these guys will be in the opponent’s face from turn 1 and should either get stuck in from turn 2 or herd the enemy towards the other units.

Dreadnought: Multi-Melta, Drop Pod: 135

Ironclad Dreadnought: 2 Hunter-Killer Missiles, Drop Pod

Ironclad Dreadnought: 2 Hunter-Killer Missiles, Drop Pod

Ironclad Dreadnought: 2 Hunter-Killer Missiles, Drop Pod

5 Tactical Marines: Meltagun, Combi-Melta, Drop Pod

Enough Meltaguns to open enemy transports or gun tanks, before Wave 2 brings its flamers to bear.

 

Wave 2: 5 Drop Pods

5 Tactical Marines: Meltagun,  Drop Pod

5 Assault Marines: 2 Flamers, Drop Pod

5 Assault Marines:  2 Flamers, Drop Pod

Ironclad Dreadnought: 2 Heavy Flamers, Drop Pod

Ironclad Dreadnought: 2 Heavy Flamers, Drop Pod

List 2: ‘How many guys did you bring?´

This is where subtlety takes a brick to the face. The basic idea is that having to deal with a 102 Marines with swords might just be too much for some armies to deal with. The Chaplains give Zeal to two units to be the speartip of your assault. Turn one, everyone but the Devastators and Dreadnought moves 6 inches then runs the better one of two d6 due to Crusader. Turn two, you open up with your meltaguns and then get stuck in. The Devastators split into two combat squads to give at least an Impression of long range fire. The Dreadnought is your one attempt to down Flyers and just happened to cost exactly as many points as I had left.  You should try to put your objectives as far forward as possible and just go for it.

Chaplain

10 Initiates and 10 Neophytes: Close combat weapons for all, 1 Power Axe, 1 Meltagun, Sword Brother with Combi-Melta and Power Axe,

Chaplain

10 Initiates and 10 Neophytes: Close combat weapons for all, 1 Power Axe, 1 Meltagun, Sword Brother with Combi-Melta and Power Axe,

10 Initiates and 10 Neophytes: Close combat weapons for all, 1 Power Axe, 1 Meltagun, Sword Brother with Combi-Melta and Power Axe,

10 Initiates and 10 Neophytes: Close combat weapons for all, 1 Power Axe, 1 Meltagun, Sword Brother with Combi-Melta and Power Axe,

10 Initiates and 10 Neophytes: Close combat weapons for all, 1 Power Axe, 1 Meltagun, Sword Brother with Combi-Melta and Power Axe,

10 Devastators: 4 Missile Launchers

1 Dreadnought: 2 Twin-Linked Autocannons

List 3: The Guns of the Navaronne

This Imperial Fist army uses the Sentinels of Terra variant. This most prominently allows me to use Devastator Centurions as Elites in addition to Heavy Support. The Chaplain and the Assault Marines are the only counter-charge unit, the Inquisitor gives the Centurions or a Thunderfire Cannon a re-roll to hit. The Scouts help take on Monsters, the Tactical Marines bring some plasma and meltaguns to the party and the Thunderfires are just amazing at cleaning out hordes. The Stormtalons are there to keep flyers and transports down. In essence, you sit somewhere, shoot, shoot and then shoot some more.

Chaplain: Jump Pack, The Angel of Sacrifice (Crozius Arcanum that lets the Chaplain live until the end of the Assault Phase if he is slain during it, thus giving you Hatred even if he is killed before Initiative 4)

10 Assault Marines: 2 Flamers, Veteran Sergeant with Power Axe

Ordo Xenos Inquisitor: Mastery Level 1, 3 Servo-Skulls

3 Centurion Devastators: Missile Launchers, Grav-Cannons and Grav-Amps, Omniscopes

10 Scouts: Camo Cloaks, Sniper Rifles

10 Tactical Marines: Plasmagun, Combi-Plasma, Plasma cannon

10 Tactical Marines: Plasmagun, Combi-Plasma, Plasma cannon

10 Tactical Marines: Meltagun, Combi-Melta, Multi-Melta, Rhino

Stormtalon Gunship: Skyhammer Missile Launcher

Stormtalon Gunship

Thunderfire Cannon

Thunderfire Cannon

9 Devastator Marines: 4 Missile Launchers

List 4: On a steel horse I ride

Number 4 is a White Scars list, going for a mass of bikers to ride down the opponent. It will be led by the tag team of Kor’Sarro Khan and a Chapter Master wielding the beardiest of combos, a thunderhammer and the Shield Eternal. The Khan gives the army Scout, but is a bit weak in combat, so the Chapter Master will be the one doing the heavy lifting in combat.

Chapter Master: Bike, Thunderhammer, Shield Eternal, Artificer Armour

Kor’Sarro Khan: Moondrakkan

Command Squad: Bikes, Apothecary, 4 Plasmaguns

5 Bikers: 2 Grav Guns, Combi-Grav

5 Bikers: 2 Grav Guns, Combi-Grav

5 Bikers: 2 Grav Guns, Combi-Grav

5 Bikers: 2 Grav Guns, Combi-Grav

5 Bikers: 2 Meltaguns, Combi-Melta

5 Bikers: 2 Meltaguns, Combi-Melta

Stormtalon Gunship: Skyhammer Missile Launcher

2 Attack Bikes: Multi-Meltas

2 Attack Bikes: Multi-Meltas

Hunter

Vindicator

List 5: Almost an entire Battle Company of Smurfs (just without Captain)

The idea here is to use the Ultramarines Chapter Tactics in sequence to gain a maximum benefit, while at the same time bringing a metric fuckton of 3+ saves to the table. Turn 1, the Devastators And Tacticals in Combat Squads move forward to bring their Multi-Meltas to bear whilst the ones in the Plasma units start dropping some AP2 death and the rest of the army makes pewpew noises with their bolters. Then you absorb the counterstrike with a torrent of boltgun fire in turn 2 before charging in to wipe out survivors in turn 3, going Devastator, Tactical and then Assault doctrine. Granted, you will be out of fancy special rules at this stage, but you still have the better part of a Battle Company left at this stage and removing 101 bodies in power armour is not that easy.  Technically, this is the second horde army in this post, but it is a different animal from the Black Templar one, going for overwhelming firepower and counterassault instead of just running towards the enemy screaming like a banshee on her period.  Tigurius is there because as avid readers of the blog know, this is Divination’s world and we are just living in it.

Tigurius

10 Tactical Marines: Plasma Cannon, Plasmagun, Combi-Plasma

10 Tactical Marines: Plasma Cannon, Plasmagun, Combi-Plasma

10 Tactical Marines: Multi-Melta, Meltagun, Combi-Melta

10 Tactical Marines: Multi-Melta, Meltagun

10 Tactical Marines: Missile Launcher, Meltagun

10 Tactical Marines: Missile Launcher, Plasmagun

10 Assault Marines: 2 Flamers, Power Fist

10 Assault Marines: 2 Flamers, Power Fist

10 Devastators: 4 Multi-Meltas

10 Devastators: 4 Lascannons

List 6: Sneaking up in a Rhino or jumping at you from the shadows?

As I am nearing the end of the entry, I get to the two I wanted to avoid as I have no I idea what to do with them. Raven Guard then. Something I have faced quite a few times under the new rules, but still am not sure about how to run. The fact that their two special Tactics are mutually exclusive seems quite vexing, as no other Chapter has such a limitation. I guess it was something they were afraid could lead to too many turn 1 charges if playing second, but if you consider the shenenigans some other armies can do in the first turn, it seems tame enough. Be as it may, for the time being we are stuck with it and thus faced with an army that doesn’t know what it was to be, as it is half Scouting, which suggests Rhinos to get up close fast to double-tap the opponent before the Stealth mode wears off and the other half which just wants to jump you, erm, jump at you and stab you. I have also noticed that I have been criminally neglecting the Veteran units or the Elites section in general apart from Dreadnoughts, so I might get some Veterans in here now. As seen in the Battle Reports on the blog, I regularly face Raven Guard vets, so this might be the reason why, So far, they also didn’t really fit any concept I have explored, but maybe now? Somehow, this is as good as first version as I can think of, but for some reason it doesn’t really strike my fancy. Maybe this would be another army to go hordey? In fact, is Codex Space Marine really good for any build that is not either gunline, horde or Bikers? Nae idea.

Chapter Master: Jump Pack, Relic Blade, Storm Shield, Artificer Armour,

10 Assault Marines: Power Fist, 2 Flamers

Chaplain: Jump Pack

10 Vanguard Veterans: 2 Power Axes, 2 Thunderhammers, Jump Packs

10 Tactical Marines: Plasma Cannon, Combi-Plasma, Plasmagun

10 Tactical Marines: Meltagun, Combi-Melta, Multi-Melta, Rhino

10 Tactical Marines: Meltagun, Combi-Melta, Multi-Melta, Rhino

10 Scouts: Sniper Rifles

10 Devastators (combi-squading): 4 Lascannons

1 Vindicator

1 Vindicator

 

List 7: Drive-by flaming

Just what it says on the tin, guys in Rhinos rushing towards you and dropping templates or melta shots. Vulkan Hestan is there to give your Legion of the Damned and others a re-roll on their Meltaguns. It looks ok, but not very inspiring.

Vulkan Hestan

Command Squad: 5 Flamers, Razorback with Heavy Flamer

5 Legion of the Damned: Multi-Melta, Meltagun, Combi-Melta

5 Legion of the Damned: Multi-Melta, Meltagun, Combi-Melta

10 Tactical Marines: Meltagun, Combi-Melta, Multi-Melta, Rhino

10 Tactical Marines: Meltagun, Combi-Melta, Multi-Melta, Drop Pod

10 Tactical Marines: Flamer, Combi-Flamer, Rhino

10 Tactical Marines: Flamer, Combi-Flamer, Rhino

5 Tactical Marines: 2 Flamers, Combi-Flamer, Drop Pod

2 Attack Bikes: Multi-Melta

2 Attack Bikes: Multi-Melta

Thunderfire Cannon 100

Thunderfire Cannon 100

 

So, after doing this entirely theoretical exercise which might or might not entertain you, my esteemed Reader, I have come to some conclusions or rather confirmations of conclusions.

1. Space Marine characters are rather dire on the whole. The Chapter Master on Bike with Shield Eternal is obviously good and so are some of the named ones, but beyond that it looks rather lacklustre. The Librarian suffers from only having Telepathy as a good discipline, as he is too fragile for Biomancy (Eternal Warrior and +d3 Strength and Toughness is not that great with you only have  2 wounds and 2 attacks, nor is Warp Speed that great under these circumstances) and Pyromancy is just bad as it is, so he fails as a support character and doesn’t do enough on his own. The Chaplain is equally a tad frail for a close combat character and apart from the Imperial Fist one that can at least stay alive for one round of combat thanks to the Angel of Sacrifice, I find him a risky prospect as either a support or combat character. The Captain might be ok, but the Master is just so much better for not that much more, though it is not as terrible as the Grey Knights Brother-Captain compared to the Grand Master. The Master of Forge could be ok in a shooting army but he doesn’t bring anything to the army beyond a big gun.

2. Some units just seem to crop up in all my lists. Maybe I am biased as a Blood Angels Player, but the 5-man Drop Assault unit with 3 Flamers seems to float my boat. Likewise, I had to stop myself from starting each list with 2 Thunderfire Cannons and a unit of Grav Centurions because they are just plain better than other Heavy Support choices, at least in my mind. Maybe this is a flaw of not playing Vanilla Marines and some people might sit at home shaking their heads reading this.

3. There is no number 3.

4. Either I don’t get Space Marine Elites or is it really just Dreads in Pods and Legion of the Damned with Meltas? The rest all seem to be expensive or difficult to use properly. This might be a general problem of Elites in 6th Edition because they never score, despite all their medals and shiny weapons. Sternguard seem like the bee’s knees, but the cost just adds up with 10 points a combi-weapon.

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