Tuesday, 23 January 2018

First 2k list for the Swords of Dawn Primaris Marines

Greetings all! Continuing on with my current trend of posting up army lists and theorising on effective combinations. Today we have a look at my Primaris collection and how I'm thinking I'd like to take it forward.

So, once again let's have a look at the background behind the army before we move onto specific unit selections, as that will inform how much of the marine codex we're looking to access.

The Swords of Dawn are a newly founded chapter of Primaris Marines, created during the Ultima Founding to reinforce the defences around the world of St Olav’s Fall near the Hadex Anomaly, on the coreward side of the Cicatrix Maledictum.

Claiming the noble Lord Corax of the Raven Guard as their genetic primogenitor, the Swords of Dawn nonetheless follow proud martial traditions, venerating the blade as a symbol of the power of humanity and its right to dominate the galaxy.

Consequently, the chapter organisation is closely linked to the blade in its various forms, with each company favouring a particular fighting style derived from ancient sword-forms. Some companies therefore favour a fluid fighting style, slipping around the enemy guard to strike a piercing blow to its heart, whilst others favour a more brutal approach, cleaving all before them in a single devastating strike.
So, we're looking to create an army that is built up solely of Primaris units and accompanying vehicles, utilising feints and mobile threats to confuse and then beat the enemy. So there's our first issue, because Primaris marines are not the most mobile of forces overall. That means I'm going to have to include a Repulsor and look to be fairly aggressive.

I'm a firm believer however that every successful balanced army hinges around a combination of a solid firebase added to its mobile elements, and this certainly epitomises the fighting stance of the 5th, wielding its mobile elements around a core of firepower.

So, given the limited number of units available to the primaris, let's have a look at categorising which might fall into which categories!

Intercessors - Definitely a firebase unit, though one that can certainly advance and provide assistance in later turns, but you certainly don't want to be pushing them forward too early.
Inceptors - A very clear job for these guys, they're without a doubt a mobile unit, probably in fact the most mobile the Primaris can access.
Hellblasters - Static firepower, no worries about that!
Aggressors - Can be either in my view. The bolt/frag version benefits the most from being static, however the flame gauntlet version is great for going forward into the teeth of an enemy army and just daring them to charge you!
Reivers - Definitely a mobile unit, and whilst I do doubt the efficacy of combat units with no ap value to their weapons, that's something the Primaris as a whole are scarily lacking.
Redemptor - An interesting one, as clearly it has options at both range and up close. I think it has to therefore go in a category of its own.
Repulsor - Probably the best all-round tank in the game I'd say looking at its profiles, it has great ranged potential and the inclusion of 3 lascannons is bettered only by the land raider, but the wealth of other guns it has equipped gives it a horde control ability the raider just can't match without taking a different variant.
HQ options - There's a reason I've left these till last! Clearly each has a specific role, with the Gravis Captain, power sword Lieutenant, Chaplain and Librarian seemingly more short ranged than the basic captain, lieutenant (bolt rifle variant) whilst the apothecary and ancient are also safer at range (though obviously the apothecary goes where he's most useful)

So a plan starts to form, with a solid platforms of hellblasters and intercessors forming its backbone, and then utilising the variety of other more mobile units to hunt around the board for objectives, targets etc. Of course, predators would be the obvious order of the day for heavy long range anti tank firepower, but I'd like to keep to a minimum the number of non-primaris units, even when it comes to vehicles.

So, I took a look at the Intercessor entry into the codex, and spotted the option for taking stalker bolters. Now for a while I've thought that -2AP is sort of the sweet spot for anti-infantry fire, often being present in sufficiently high volumes to deal with hordes (and often negating their armour save) whilst giving a nice reduction to more heavily armoured troops without wasting damage potential.

The range also stood out as a clear bonus, the option of reaching out to 36" with that lovely -2AP would mean the not so impressive 1 shot each was less significant as they'd be shooting from much earlier than most opponents, often able to trade fire with heavier weapons.

I supplemented that with a pair of minimal Intercessor squads with bolt rifles (I was less impressed with the profile for the auto bolt rifle, which is distinctly inferior to the storm bolter in my view) to fill out the troops requirement of a battalion.

The next 'basic' requirement of the battalion is 2 HQ units. Now I've got a Gravis Captain from the Dark Imperium box, so in he went with his default equipment (frustratingly I can't give him the teeth of terra relic for horde control as he doesn't have the option for a chainsword) and I'll probably look at making his armour the Armour Indomitus. Next, I also have the Primaris Librarian as it's just a stunningly cool model, I couldn't face using Primaris without their best miniature so in he went and my basic requirements are done.

Next job therefore was to give the firebase a little more punch. Only really a choice of three potential units here, Hellblasters, a Repulsor or Redemptor. In the end, (given it's secondary use) I plumped for two of the three, taking a full unit of Hellblasters and a Repulsor, which would be kitted out with las for hunting tanks supplemented by its multitude of minor weapons systems to support the intercessors in horde control. One thing that I did decide to do however, was to bump up the hellblasters to take the heavy plasma incinerator. not something you see too often but given the need for them to be a significant anti tank presence in the list themselves, I figured that the extra pip of strength would be an important advantage on the field, meaning I'd wound most vehicles on that crucial 3+ instead of 4+, and if I do need to overcharge them then even the heavier vehicles around would still be getting wounded on 3's. Essentially, my reason for ruling out the redemptor was because I remain unconvinced that its guns are particularly effective. The gatling in particular looks incredible but I really wouldn't want to use the model for mowing down hordes.

With a decent firebase therefore, part of which has the awesome ability to remain mobile while firing at full effectiveness, I needed a few more elements. First, some anti air capability. Sadly the Primaris units don't really have that in spades, but I know a model that does - the Stormhawk Interceptor. Thankfully, with a fully enclosed cockpit there's no conflict between this model and the scale of the rest of the army, so in it went, and given I was planning to use it in a primarily anti-air role, I had not hesitation giving it the stormcannon array and the skyhammer missiles (despite the effectiveness of the alternate loadout on my Dusk Knight Stormhawk).

Next I needed some units that would e able to deploy around the table in a highly mobile fashion. Given how cool the models are, I wanted to include a squad of Reivers. I've already got three of the easy to build versions, so I plumped for a squad of 8 and kitted them out with the combat knives, grav chutes and grapnel launchers to make sure I wouldn't regret skimping on their equipment in some games! Next up, another unit already in my collection was a squad of 3 Inceptors with assault bolters. Now I've struggled to keep these guys alive in most of my Primaris games so far, but I figure with all the potential threats elsewhere in this army, they should stand more of a chance. Whilst I'd like to include the plasma weapon option, it just wasn't practical to take two of these units and buy another squad :( .

One final thing then, with a Repulsor in which are a Librarian and Gravis Captain, I needed a unit capable of supporting them in melee (other than the reivers). Only one option here, so a squad of flamestorm gauntlet aggressors took to the field. I've played against the boltstorm version a few times now and their firepower is disconcerting, but for sheer potential I think the flamestorm version has them beaten, added to which it's a much more aggressive option suited to supporting a Captain's charge.

I even had a few points left over, so with a little jiggling I included a second captain. Now from a narrative perspective of course that's a little silly, but in game terms a second captain is far more useful to me than a lieutenant, which would have been the alternative. As a result, I'll be using one of the lieutenant models from Dark Imperium and in narrative terms he will be a lieutenant, just with a predisposition towards effective fire discipline and marksmanship. He'll also take a stalker bolt rifle to match the Intercessors he'll be standing with (though obviously he'll still be close enough to the hellblasters to grant re-rolls of 1's!)

So, here's the final list, which comes to 1994pts

++ Battalion, Raven Guard Chapter Tactics ++

+ HQ +
Captain in Gravis Armour, Boltstorm Gauntlet, Master Crafted Power Sword, The Armour Indomitus
Primaris Captain, Master Crafted Stalker Bolt Rifle, Power Sword
Primaris Librarian, Bolt Pistol, Force Sword

5-man Intercessor squad, Bolt Rifles, Auxiliary Grenade Launcher
5-man Intercessor squad, Bolt Rifles, Auxiliary Grenade Launcher
10-man Intercessor squad, Stalker Bolt Rifles, Auxiliary Grenade Launcher

3-man Aggressor squad, Flamestorm Gauntlets
8-man Reiver squad, Heavy Bolt Pistols, Combat Knives, Grapnel Launchers, Grav Chutes

3-man Inceptor squad, Assault Bolters

10-man Hellblaster squad, Heavy Plasma Incinerators

Repulsor, Twin Lascannon, Las Talon, 2 Krakstorm Grenade Launchers, 4 Fragstorm Grenade Launchers, Icarus Rocket Pod, Ironhail Heavy Stubber

Stormhawk Interceptor, 2 Assault Cannons, Icarus Stormcannon, Skyhammer Missile Launcher

Let me know what you think, and if you've got any experience with the Primaris I'd appreciate the input!
Till next time,