Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Space Marines - My top 5 and bottom 5 units in the codex. And why!

Greetings all! Well having had plenty of games with the space marine codex now I thought I'd have myself a little list-making exercise, and what better or more time honoured hobby blogger method for doing that than by the classic 'top 5' type post!

Without further ado, here are my top 5 favourite units in the space marine codex, with a little bit of info on each and why they made my list. I do realise there may be some omissions here that are proving very popular in the meta, but these will be either because I don't have them in my collection, or I haven't used them enough to be convinced yet. Also, the list solely focuses on classic marines, no primaris entries were considered. I'm also conscious that this list will be posted shortly before Chapter Approved goes up for pre-order and could very well throw things up in the air once more!

Best Units

5. Devastator Squad

The humble devastator marines! In at 5 because they weren't that bad in 8th edition, but the changes to moving and firing definitely put these guys up a notch, meaning they're no longer forced to be a static unit, though that's still clearly their best use. I'm not honestly sure what I'd do these days with my marines if I didn't have a bunch of devastators to call on to get things done! Massively adaptable, all the heavy weapon options available to the unit are useful and have a place in your army, from the tankbusting power of lascannons and multi meltas, to the all-round performance of plasma cannons and grav cannons, to the horde killing capabilities of the heavy bolter. Special mention however must go to the missile launcher - a squad of 4 of these can take on anything the game can throw at you. Yes, they may be costly weapons if you're firing frag missiles at infantry, but no other weapon in the devastators arsenal is as flexible or suited to a take all comers style list.

4. Scout Sniper

Snipers were one of my huge bugbears from previous editions, back when they were only BS3 they were, sadly, a complete waste of points. Now though, they might be a relatively costly option, but the sheer threat they have on the board forces your opponent to deal with them - the potential for mortal wounds is too dangerous to ignore (I myself have put 5 wounds on a Knight with my 3 squads of 5 on more than 1 occasion in a single turn).

3. Razorback

Wow, these boys just got very popular! Lawrence from Tabletop tactics has of course done them a huge favour by using them to win heat 1 of the GT, but I think by then most marine players had figured out just how good a lasback or assback could be. My personal favourite is the assback, 12 shots at S6 and -1ap is punishing in the extreme to any infantry coming towards them, and with the ability to throw in re-rolls from a chapter master and lieutenant they can really chew through the hordes.

2. Stormhawk Interceptor

This is probably a slightly more contentious choice, but one I would absolutely back 100% in my experience. I've rarely lost my stormhawk early, and when I have it's usually because my opponent dedicates a lot of fire to it (I'm not counting the luck wraithlord that blasted it from the sky in a single turn with its two bright lances, flukey shots or what!). Every game I play my stormhawk puts in a good shift. Two lascannon type shots (don't think I've ever been out of range with them either) and two assault cannons supported by a typhoon missile launcher to boost either my anti tank or anti horde, whichever is more important at the time, means that the Stormhawk extracts a heavy toll from my enemy.

1. Contemptor Dreadnought

That's probably all I need to say to be honest, but I will go on! My Contemptors have been the solid core of almost every list I've written in 8th. Combining really good movement speed with a tough chassis, invun save and great BS/WS they also pack a crazy punch in combat, wounding just about everything on 2's and hitting on 2's as well to start with. You can even use the wisdom of the ancients stratagem to support them when they get up close and away from the support of your captains to give you the ability to re-roll 1's to hit for the duration of a phase. Forget the multimelta option though, take the Kheres assault cannon. It's everything the normal assault cannon is, just turned up to 11 (well, S7!). This means that the Contemptors can't be dismissed as a ranged threat, but closing to deal with them isn't all that sensible either, and I've had plenty of lucky invun rolls that see the nastiest shooting/close combat attacks just bounce off.

Honourary mentions:
Storm Raven - plenty of these popping up in battle reports everywhere. I'd certainly be including one in my list if I had the model, though the points would mean it probably wouldn't get a game every time!
Land Raider - similar to the storm raven, if I had one then I'd be using it (and I do have plans to get one and start doing so) it's just at the moment my funding levels are a bit tight.

Worst Units

5. Terminators

Well, they definitely got a boost in 8th edition, and they're not completely hopeless anymore, but I still just find them very underwhelming for the points investment required to take them. They definitely work best in an all-terminator force, but that's very much at odds with the narrative background for them, which would suggest small squads to support power armoured forces. It could just be my rolling for them I guess, but so far I've not been impressed with either their resilience, or their firepower output in this new edition of the game.

4. Land speeders

So, there's a vehicle you call a 'speeder' and yet if it moves at all then it gets a -1 to hit with its weapons? Hmm, perhaps a re-think here is needed mr GW? With a points increase for this edition, these guys are just not very effective anymore I've found, and their most practical use also runs at odds with their narrative - sitting dead still and blasting away at as much range as they can muster!

3. Tactical squads

Supposed to form the backbone of any marine army, I just don't find bolters and the odd special/heavy weapon effective in this edition. Not particularly expensive as far as they go, but needing a transport option to get them where they need to be to maximise their effectiveness, and the problem is that those transport options are, with the aforementioned exception of the excellent razorback, overpriced and underwhelming. Rhinos are decent now in terms of resilience, but they just don't justify their high price tag when compared to the razorback. And as for drop pods...

2. Drop pods

Yep, from a position of power as absolute undisputed king of the transports in 6th and 7th, I don't think I've seen drop pods used in 8th. Considering how expensive they are (and remain even in Chapter Approved according to the leaks) it's fairly clear that drop pods will not be high on many people's purchasing plans. Sure, I'll still take them in narrative games, but quite honestly I think a Rhino is a better option under the current rules, and it's also slightly cheaper. The only benefit from drop pods that I can see is they allow you to grab unheld objectives the turn you draw them (assuming you still have a pod in reserve of course). This would probably be the biggest fall from grace of a unit in the 7th/8th transition if it weren't for my next choice.

1. Devastator centurions

Specifically, lascannon/missile launcher devastator centurions. Four. Hundred. And. Sixty. Five. Points.

Sorry, I fainted. Right, where was I? Oh yeah. Just for comparison's sake, you can pick up three devastator squads for just a smidgen more than that that brings notably greater firepower to the table, and also extra wounds. Heck, You can get 4 razorbacks with twin lascannons (so an extra 2 lascannon shots) for 5pts less than 3 of these guys, and those razorbacks get 2 extra points of toughness, and 7 extra wounds each!

Yeah, if you see these facing you on the tabletop you need to think 2 things. First, shoot them, because regardless of their cost, those lascannons will still hurt you, but second, and more importantly, you can be sure your opponent has got a poorly optimised list if they're in there, because there will be a lot of stuff they can't fit into the army if the centurions are there.

Sorry I didn't get a hobby update done yesterday, issues with photos. Normal service will hopefully resume next week!

Till next time,