Guide to Space Marines
Angels of Death
Part 1 of 2.
Up to date as of Chapter Approved (2018).
Spoiler: Special RulesAnd They Shall Know No Fear: Re-roll Morale Tests. Nearly all units you own are Ld8 or 9, which means that by the time you're taking Morale tests on 5-model units, they're all dead. This rule is basically irrelevant ~90% of the time for most armies you're going to make. Useful when you need it... But you wont.
Combat Squads: This rule, found on most of your units, does nothing except double your number of Deployments and halves your number of Sergeants, potential access to Special/Heavy weapons, and reduces your ability to form cheap(er) Battalions.
Sons of the Primarchs
Defenders of Humanity: If all of your units in a single Detachment are drawn from Codex: Space Marines, you gain this rule, you gain Objective Secured. Since Space Marines is a book with multiple Sub-Factions in it, it's important to remember that you do not need to have the same <Chapter> Keyword in order to have Objective Secured. However...
Chapter Tactics: If all models in your Space Marines Detachment, do have the same <Chapter> Keyword, all <Infantry>, <Biker> and <Dreadnought> models gain a Chapter Tactic;
Ultramarines; +1 Ld which is irrelavent almost always. But, your units can Fall Back and Shoot (-1) in the same turn. Which is incredibly handy.
White Scars; +2" to Advance rolls, and White Scars can Fall Back and Charge in the same turn.
Imperial Fists; All your attacks ignore Cover, which is good to counter Prepared Positions...If that matters. Unfortunately, if your entire army is Imperial Fists...Your opponent just wont use it, saving themselves 2 CPs. So, you still actually do want your opponent using the Stratagem...You just need a few units that can pick up the slack. Any non-Battalion/Brigade Detachment will do the job.
Black Templars; Re-roll to Charge.
Salamanders; Each unit gets one re-roll To Hit, and one re-roll To Wound per Phase. This is really strong for units who carry one, single-shot weapon (e.g; Missile Launcher [Krak]), where you have a weapon that needs to Hit/Wound, or why do you even have the unit? Unfortunately, units that carry one, single-shot Heavy or Special weapon, are among some of the worst units in the Codex.
Raven Guard; Your opponent has -1 To Hit, if their firing unit is 12+" away. Very good.
Iron Hands; Ignore Wounds on a 6+. It's not as useful as it sounds.
1. Nobody cares.
4. Storm of Fire is by far the best Warlord Trait in the book, so much so that it's worth not having named Characters as your Warlord - including Guilliman, himself!
5. No-one cares.
6. +1 to hit and to wound against <Characters> is very good. Remember that certain Imperial/Renegade Knights can pick up the <Character> Keyword, which lets you punish them.
Ultramarines; Not worth it. Just pick up an extra Battalion or two.
White Scars; 50% of the time it fails anyway. No.
Imperial Fists; Nah.
Crimson Fists; Nah.
Black Templars; Heroic Intervention (6") can be useful if you actually remember how big your Warlord's base is. Still, for Black Templars, this isn't as good as Champion of Humanity.
Salamanders; S10 Thunder Hammers is pretty good. That's all, though.
Raven Guard; Your Warlord can't be Overwatch'd against, and that's pretty good.
Iron Hands; No.
The Armour Indomitus; Useful if your Warlord is a Character that can't take a Storm Shield.
The Shield Eternal; Taking half Damage is pretty good... Most of the time.
Standard of the Emperor Ascendant; The Space Marines' Codex is almost non-competitive without this Relic, which means you must have an <Ancient> in your army.
Teeth of Terra; It's good because it's free...And it's good.
The Primarch's Wrath; It's...Okay. Unfortunately there are other, better Relics to take, even if you use Relics of the Chapter, you still wont be taking this.
The Burning Blade; No.
Tome of Malcador; There's just no point.
The Salamander's Mantle; Pass.
The Axe of Medusa; It's actually quite good! Unfortunately, you have to be Iron Hands to get it, and it's worse than a Power Fist anyway, not to mention Thunder Hammers.
Raven's Fury; This is quite strong. Your Character uses the 9" Move from Strike From the Shadows, 12" Move plus the Advance roll, leads to a basically guaranteed Charge on Turn 1. This can be combined with the Raven Guard's Warlord Trait, so your opponent can't Overwatch you, or you can throw on Champion of Humanity and see what happens.
Mantle of the Stormseer; You'd like to be spamming Smite, would you? With ~100 Point Librarians? ...No.
The Fist of Vengeance; The best weapon in the book. Unfortunately, you need to be <Crimson Fists> to get it, which comes with its own drawbacks.
The Sanctic Halo; Never a bad 'second Relic'. Frees up your Captain's other hand for a second weapon, which is nice.
The Crusader's Helm; It's a bit of a waste.
The Spartean; Worst Relic in the book.
1. Target <Adeptus Astartes> unit can re-roll their Advances, and their Charges. In addition, they Always Fight First, until your next Psychic Phase.
2. Target <Adeptus Astartes> model gains +1S, T and Attacks, until next Psychic Phase. Very good.
3. A targetable not!Smite with Damage based on Leadership conditions.
4. A Power with a random range, that deals one Mortal Wound to each unit it hits. Garbage.
5. Target <Adeptus Astartes> unit auto-passes Morale tests, and ignores Mortal Wounds in the Psychic Phase on a 4+. This is immensely useful.
6. Warp Charge 8 and 6" range makes it almost unusable. Even if it does halve your opponents' Psychic tests...Within 6".
Veil of Time and Might of Heroes are fantastic Powers, that work even better when combined with other <Adeptus Astartes> Detachments. Psychic Scourge is fairly situational, whilst Psychic Fortress easily defends your key units from Psychic Mortal Wound spam.
11. Destroy a unit using a unit with <Fly>. Easy. Units with <Fly> rank among some of your best units. Allied units even more so.
12. Have your <Characters> deal Damage to your opponent's <Characters>. Sure.
13. Destroy enemy units and/or make them fail Morale tests. So far, so good.
14. Make a Charge with an <Infantry> or <Biker> unit. Fine.
15. Destroy an enemy unit in their Deployment Zone. Easy... Unless it's not.
16. Control Objective Markers that were controlled by your opponent. You're doing this anyway.
Easy. Don't discard any of these before any game. Instead, go for the usual suspects; Psychological Warfare, Domination, Priority Orders..., etc.
Spoiler: StratagemsRemember, you just need a Space Marines Detachment, not a <Chapter> Detachment.
Relics of the Chapter (1/3); This is occasionally useful.
Linebreaker Bombardment; Horrid.
Killshot: This is really good...If you go first and have 3 Predators. Just...No.
Chapter Master (3): This can be extremely useful if you play a Chapter that sucks. Why are you playing a Chapter that sucks?
Orbital Bombardment (3); Why would you even bother?
Cluster Mines: Unlike Orbital Bombardment, it costs 1CP, and happens on a 2+. Seriously. Whose idea was Orbital Bombardment? Anyway, Scout Bikers are a fairly decent part of your Codex, especially if you're White Scars. Any source of Mortal Wounds, is a unit worth having.
Masterful Marksmanship; +1 to wound is an exceptionally strong and useful ability, especially coming off the back of S4, and especially if the AP is high to match...Well, it's AP-2. So it's well worth it to have Sternguard in your army.
Empyric Channelling; If you want to have an army that throws out a lot of Psychic Powers...You should be playing an army where your Psykers come ~100 Points a pop.
Datalink Telemetry; This is really useful if you want to take two bad units to have a couple of mediocre turns of shooting.
Hellfire Shells; One of the best Stratagems in the entire book. As it is explicitly a 'to hit' roll...You're Space Marines. There are a number of re-rolls and adds to hit found throughout the book.
Auspex Scan (2);
Yes please. Use Auspex Scan as often as you can.Space Marines FAQ
Q: Can the Auspex Scan Stratagem be used to shoot an enemy unit that is removed from the battlefield and then set up again, for example, when using a teleport homer?
Tactical Flexibility; Combat Squads is garbage.
Flakk Missile; One of the best Stratagems in the entire book. As it is explicitly a 'to hit' roll...You're Space Marines. There are a number of re-rolls and adds to hit found throughout the book, and that's on top of the +1 to hit that it already gives you.
Armour of Contempt; A <Vehicle> Ignores Mortal Wounds (5+) for an entire phase. Doesn't even need to be in the Psychic phase. Nice.
Only in Death Does Duty End (2); If one of your <Astartes Characters> dies...Shoot or Fight immediately. So good.
Honour the Chapter (3); At the end of the Fight phase, one of your <Infantry> or <Biker> units can fight again. This is always pretty strong.
Wisdom of the Ancients; For a phase, your <Dreadnought> gains the Rites of Battle buff. You have to build around though, and burn a CP every turn. But it is legit.
Death to the Traitors!; Target <Adeptus Astartes> unit gets extra Melee attacks on a 6+ To Hit against <Heretic Astartes>. The only reason you'd ever even think of playing this Stratagem is if you're playing as <Black Templars>, where you have the number of attacks to make it count.
Tremor Shells; A Thunderfire Cannon gets -1 to wound (ew). Fortunately, if you're using this Stratagem, all's you really want to do, is hit. The target halves its Move, Advance and Charge rolls during the next turn, which can actually buy you a lot of time. Unfortunately, the Stratagem doesn't work on <Titanic> units, or units with <Fly>. Which, unfortunately consists of the majority of units you'd want to use it against. Still, it's not nothing.
Scions of Guilliman; An <Ultramarines Infantry> or <Biker> unit can pick up re-roll 1s to hit, or straight re-rolls if you do it on Tacticals and Intercessors...Which you wont.
Born in the Saddle; A <White Scars Biker> unit can Advance, Shoot (with no negs on Assault weapons) and Charge in the same turn. This will get you a Turn 1 Charge with the <Biker> unit of your choice... Unfortunately, the only choices you have, are a Captain on Bike, or a Scout Bike Squad. They have a mess-ton of Assault weapons, with Combat Blades/Chainswords. Unfortunately, Scout Bikers are going to have the larger base size, and they can't climb stairs 'cause they're Bikes. Your viable targets for such a strategy have the potential to be limited. However, since this Strategy relies on a Stratagem, you do not have to have a full White Scars Detachment. That would be dumb.
Abhor the Witch; This can be extremely clutch against the right opponent. A <Black Templars> unit negates any Psychic Power in 24" on a 4+. All's you need to do it, is a 20 Point unit of Servitors - they don't get Chapter Tactics, but they do get Keywords.
Bolter Drill; When <Imperial Fists Infantry> fire 'Bolt' weapons and roll a '6+' To Hit, make another to hit roll using the same weapon. Not bad. Unfortunately, not really worth making a whole Detachment for, either.
Machine Empathy; An <Iron Hands Vehicle> gains Power of the Machine Spirit for a turn. Very useful on Fliers.
Flamecraft; A <Salamanders> unit with 'Flame' weapons gain +1 To Wound. Unfortunately, Salamanders' strengths do not lie in short-ranged Flame weapons. Nobody's do.
Strike From the Shadows; A <Raven Guard Infantry> unit gets a 9" Move at the start of the first round. Since this happens during Deployment, you can do it as many times as you want - or rather, can afford:
- Your Jump Infantry units have a 12" move (except for Inceptors), for a total of 21" - before Charges.
- A 9" move allows Aggressors to fire twice on Turn 1.
- A 9" move plus 4<6" move will put you into Rapid Fire range on almost any unit you have.
This move is done after you know whether or not your opponent has rolled a '6' to go first. So, you don't have to move all your models forwards if you don't want to. However, the CPs will have already been spent.