My Ultramarines List so Far

Reece's Space Marines!

Reece’s Space Marines!

So this is where I am at so far and am really liking the Ultramarines as my go to Space Marine force.


My Marneus Calgar conversion so far!

I have really been enjoying playing the Ultramarines so far. I have a feeling that since Eldar and Tau have become this edition’s Grey Knights–at least in this stage of 6th’s evolution–I need to do something different. So, being the hipster “I don’t want to do what the cool kids are doing” type of player that I am, I am in all likelihood going to be playing Space Marines competitively. Funny, playing MEQs as the unpopular  list. Never thought I’d see that happen! That’s not to say I am shelving my Eldar at all, I just made a solemn vow to myself to not use Wave Serpents and that made me feel satisfactorily anti-net-list to still play them =)

At any rate, here’s my list so far and then I will talk about why I am using it.

Ultramarines 1750 Pts
Unit Description Size Cost
Calgar Terminator Armor 1 285
Tactical Marines Flamer 8 117
D.Pod 1 35
Tactical Marines Plasma 10 155
Rhino 1 35
Tactical Marines Plasma 10 155
Rhino 1 35
Tactical Marines Melta, M.Melta 10 160
Rhino 1 35
Tactical Marines Melta, M.Melta 10 160
Rhino 1 35
Terminators Assault Cannon 5 220
Fast Attack
Heavy Support
Thunderfire Cannon 1 100
Devastator Squad Missile Launchers x 4 7 158
Whirlwind 1 65
Totals 68 1750

The Ultramarines are all about flexibility and I love that. I prefer armies that are extremely adaptable as in a tournament that is a huge advantage if you know how to use it. As 6th edition has become so crazy complex and the game has so many insane combos and supplements and Forge World, etc., etc., etc. you need a Swiss Army Knife to stay competitive and avoid the truly bad list match-ups. Ultramarines epitomize that. With their Combat Doctrines they are able to really bend and adjust to changing conditions and then give themselves a nice boost right when it matters most.

Calgar is the perfect compliment to this as he increases the efficacy of their Chapter Tactics by allowing them to use one of their Doctrines twice. Further, he allows all Ultramarines on the table to choose to pass or fail any morale test. That is so incredibly good. It is better than fearless, it is better than ATSKNF. It is amazing. Combined with ATSKNF it is a tournament winning ability. Being able to run away when you want, auto-rally and recover or to pass any morale check is fantastic. You can split if you need to or hold to the last man as needed. AWESOME. The only downside is that you can’t auto-pass pinning checks, but hey, you can’t have everything.

Calgar is also a pretty legit beat-stick. He can’t hang with the absolutely top tier fighters in the game such as Abbadon or Swarmlord, etc. but he is only a step behind them. Most importantly, he has a 2+/4++/4 Wounds and EW. That is a great mix of durability that allows him to hang in there against almost any target and to truly pummel the vast majority of them. I was using he and Tigurius but it was too many points in HQ and with Daemons all over the place, you really have to think about about anti-psyker units that can cripple your linchpin HQ. With Calgar you really want to maximize his abilities by taking as many infantry units as you can. Tigurius is boss, but I feel that I gain greater benefit out of having more units on the table. Plus, I prefer infantry armies both aesthetically and tactically. Vehicles are great fun, but it is far more difficult to one-shot an infantry unit than a vehicle.

Calgar for me is a peerless commander and the clear choice to lead my boys into battle. However, he is pricey, too! So just him on the table in HQ. Also, I took him in terminator armor for very specific reasons. Normally, I would say skip it as I feel that generally Artificer Armor is far better. For one, I plan on drop podding him in most games. The Terminator Armor allows him to fire the Orbital Bombardment on the turn he arrives (normally you can’t move and shoot it without Relentless or Slow and Purposeful). Also, it allows me to bring in my Terminators via deep strike turn 2 (assuming I don’t flub the reserve roll). That provides him with a unit to join to run around smashing face with if needs be as well as general fire support. It also means they don’t scatter as he has a Teleport Homer which is very important as a bad scatter and mishap can be game losing. It also means he and they can deep strike in together if I feel that is the better choice and lastly, it provides a durable unit for him to start in if I want to walk them up the table or if facing a high pressure army that gets in your face immediately such as Khorn Dogs. Options are good.

Assault Terminators and Grey Hunters

Assault Terminators and Marines

Speaking of the Terminators, normally I am of the opinion that tactical Termies are crappy, but, in this context where I can surgically insert them right off of Calgar, who himself is in the ultra-reliable Drop Pod coming in with certainty turn 1, and being backed up by lots of other bodies, they can be extremely good. Using Doctrines I can give them rerolls of ones to hit with all of their weapons, twin link snap fire for shooting flyers or overwatch, give them rerolls on the charge for assaults, etc. It really buffs them up considerably. As I typically plan on running them with Calgar, the 5++ isn’t such a liability as it is when they are on their own due to him tanking wounds. I may swap them for Hammernators which cost the same, but we’ll see. I like the shooting they add. The other option is the Cyclone as it is more effective than the Assault Cannon in almost every context.

I was playing around with a unit of Assault Marines in this role. They are fast, can deep strike, have more wounds and attacks and are great for tank and light infantry hunting hunting but the Termies are just so much harder hitting. More play testing will tell the better choice but I am leaning towards Termies.

Scouts on Horseback and Assault Marines

Scouts on Horseback and Assault Marines

The Tactical Marines are there to win me the game. Lots and lots of them! I think if you are going to take Calgar, you should bring a minimum of 40. That really gives you the most mileage out of his abilities. I prefer 50-60 as that gives you more and more punch for the doctrines (they get great boosts from all 3) and they benefit form his God of War abilities. I prefer them in Rhinos as it is only really good for shooting units, and it makes them mobile, protects them from small arms fire and from at least 1 powerful shooting attack. The Rhino also protects them from the Emperor-Damned, Hell Turkies! Plus, the Rhino is great for Tank Shocking and for providing mobile cover and LoS blocking.

I really still do love the Rhino for these purposes. I was taking more Drop Pods and that is solid, however, I found I preferred having the Rhinos as they were better over the course of the game, keeping me mobile and giving me options as the game developed. Drop Pods are awesome but once a unit is down, it’s down and exposed. As the Tactical Squads are the real backbone of this list, I want them to stay alive as their greatest strength is in their numbers and consistently winning me objectives. As for weapons I keep experimenting with mixes of Special/Heavy and Combi-Weapons. Combi-Weapons are nice as they can be Twin Linked with the Tactical Doctrine but they are expensive. The Heavy Weapons are good some times, but as these guys are on the move a lot, they will often be snap firing. As 2 of the 3 Doctrines twin link that, it isn’t horrible, but it certainly isn’t going to be ultra efficient. The one sure thing is the Special Weapon, always take one even if only a Flamer. Plus, as always, you can Combat Squad for potentially 10 scoring units!

Dreadnought (1of 8!) and Long Fangs

Dreadnought (1of 8!) and Devstators!

In Heavy Support I took a mix of units. Devstators are solid and with Calgar and the Ultramarines Doctrines, even better! Calagr says they never run away if you don’t want them too, and the Devastator Doctrine allows them to become Relentless and reroll snap shots while the Tactical Doctrine allows them to reroll 1’s to hit. That is solid. Missile Launchers are still the most flexible heavy weapon and a unit of 7 gives me some ablative wounds. So far in test games these guys have been extremely good.

The Thunderfire Cannon is the Bee’s Knees. I think everyone knows that by now. Just incredible for the points. Buff a piece of terrain to increase your defense, punishing firepower, excellent range, decent assault and short range shooting in the Techmarine, can fix tanks, BARRAGE…wow, this thing is incredible. I don’t see myself playing a Marine list and not taking one this edition. They’re that good.

The Whirlwind is a cheap, solid unit that fills the gap that the Thunderfire leaves: AP4. Plus, it can move and shoot, tank shock, and did I mention it’s cheap? With all of the wimpy backfield scoring units we see running around these days, the Whirlwind is absolutely deadly. However, unlike the T-Fire Cannon, you will have games where he is sometimes a bit of a wet noodle.

So, I hear you asking, where is your AA? I rely on heavy and special weapons being twin linked for 3 turns to get the job done. Not the best, but it does work. I may look at fitting a Stormtalon in there by dropping the Whirlwind and some weapons here and there, maybe pairing down the Devs, but we’ll see. My weakness to Turkies is a serious liability and the Stormtalon should win that fight almost every time when played correctly, and is very good against ground targets, but we’ll see. More play testing is needed.

Bjorn and a Typhoon

Bjorn and a Typhoon

At any rate, there you have it! It is a super fun army to play that has a massive advantage in objective missions…which is 5 of 6 of them =) And in Kill Points, they are still solid as you have big units of relatively resilient Marines with only the transports as really easy kills and you can always reserve those if you need to. I think this is an army that doesn’t scream power but that is ultra-flexible (hur!) and very good at winning missions, requiring a lot of thought to play well. That is exactly the way I enjoy playing the game!

What do you all think? Am I crazy or does this list really have legs?


About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

33 Responses to “My Ultramarines List so Far”

  1. KingCro September 27, 2013 2:02 am #

    How are you hanging with all out assault armies like Nids, Demons, and Orks? Even with the torrent of fire all the tacticals bring, it will usually put them in convenient stabbing range of all the other units and then my units get over run. Do i need better target prioritizing and picking when and where to unload my tacticals?

    • Reecius September 27, 2013 10:50 am #

      I think I can take most assault units through sheer volume of fire and then being able to run away from combats I lose with Calgar for a poor man’s hit and run. Also, assault armies aren’t super popular which helps. The big threat is a FMC flying circus that has super high Iniative and makes it difficult for me to run away from combats or that can buff up with crazy powers.

  2. skari September 27, 2013 3:38 am #

    I think the terminators are a better choice to use in the list that you are developing, the 2+ saves, powerfists, invuls and the ability to make the most of Calgars Gung_ho deepstrike and arrive in the thick of it with no fear of mishap, while having all the tac marines applying additional pressure on the enemy force.

    • Reecius September 27, 2013 10:48 am #

      Yeah, that is my thought, too. I Can’t decide which setup I want to run with. I think the Termies really add, it’s just the fear of bad reserves rolls but, you don’t have to deep strike, either.

      • Clover362 September 27, 2013 12:22 pm #

        Do you think there might be a case for Honor guard over the terminators? They are cheaper, and with Power mauls and the number of attacks they can bring, they can put hurt on all but the most kill assault units even though they are only AP4 (and that’s why you have Calgar).

        • Reecius September 27, 2013 12:59 pm #

          Absolutely in a general sense, however, they can’t deep strike which is the part of the list strategy that makes Terminators appealing.

      • KingCro September 27, 2013 9:00 pm #

        Can terminators come down on a teleport homer if the character with the homer is in combat? It says you just need to place the 1st model within 6 inches so I assume that means yes as long as you have the room to place the models.

        I’m just wondering because Calgar could have a high probability of being charged that turn he lands.

        • Reecius September 28, 2013 10:20 am #

          True, but 6″ is a lot, staying 1″ away from the enemy it would have to be roughly 5 models deep. That is a large mod of bodies.

  3. David September 27, 2013 4:03 am #

    How would you trim the list at 1500p?

    I feel that you would benefit from taking a storm talon, just in case you end up against two or three helldrakes (a unit I predict will make a strong “comeback” with SM out). Also, I would find the points to upgrade the whirlwind to a thunder fire cannon. Otherwise, your list is very interesting.

    • Reecius September 27, 2013 10:46 am #

      I have been contemplating exactly that, I think it just adds too much to not take and is almost always good.

      At 1500 I pair down a Tac squad and trim points, drop the whirlwind. That gets it down to that points limit.

  4. Invok93 September 27, 2013 5:20 am #

    Wouldn’t 8 naked sternguard be a better alpha strike with the big boss? Thinking on raw damage output, seeing as you have the rhino’s to cover capturing objectives

    • KingCro September 27, 2013 5:56 am #

      I agree, but i think one of the reasons might be points. 8 tacticals with a flamer is 117pts 8 sternguard is 186. He would have to find 70 points somewhere which is not always easy.

      • Reecius September 27, 2013 8:01 am #

        Exactly, and it’s one more scoring unit. You can’t have too many and the Tacs gain the most benefit from the Doctrines.

    • Reecius September 27, 2013 7:58 am #

      It totally is, and I have tried it, it works really well. It is also a lot more points! haha

  5. Invok93 September 27, 2013 8:19 am #

    Have you put much thought into min/max stern guard in pods with gratuitous combi weapons? expensive but I think the alpha strike would be insane to deal with tau and eldar

  6. Invok93 September 27, 2013 8:23 am #

    It dosent fit this lists theme I just wondered your opinion

    • Reecius September 27, 2013 8:58 am #

      Sternguard rock, for sure. I think it would be a great choice.

  7. jadedknight September 27, 2013 8:39 am #

    I’m curious if you feel this list is optimized for the BAO mission format. Seems like in the book missions this level of troops is overkill/suboptimal for that format plus first blood is all the more important there.

    • Reecius September 27, 2013 8:59 am #

      Yes for sure, this is a tournament list that plays to win tournament missions. Almost all of the big tournaments use layered missions though, ours obviously the LVO and BAO, etc. Adepticon, NOVA, Wargamescon, etc. So, as that is what I gear up for, that is how we build our lists. In straight book missions it wouldn’t be as good for the reasons you listed. I really don’t care for Book Missions in competitive play though as a lot of them just imbalance the game so much.

  8. David Key September 27, 2013 10:54 am #

    Does Calgar’s “auto pass/fail” still work if he bites it? It seems that it does, but IDK. Might make it tough if it is the other way around.

    • Reecius September 27, 2013 11:34 am #

      It is counter intuitive but by RAW it does, as does Vulkan’s ability to twin link meltas. It doesn’t say he either has to be alive or on the table whereas the others do.

  9. Migsula September 27, 2013 4:52 pm #

    Looks very solid – and brings back memories from some very solid 3rd ed Marine lists. I’m going to check out your video bat-reps this wknd.I’ve just finished my count as Grey Knight army to 2000+pts and am now looking at marines as allies/where to grow to.

    The only suggestion I would have is to further add variety given you can – swaps a squad of tacticals to scouts and the Storm Talon perhaps? You’d keep a scoring unit with new qualities and add some air force.


    PS. hoping to get a game against you guys some day.

    • Reecius September 27, 2013 6:01 pm #

      Hey Migs! Yeah man, come to the shop some time. And I am considering a Stormtalon, but I really enjoy having the legions of Tacticals as it takes maximum advantage of the Doctrines.

  10. michael September 29, 2013 5:14 pm #

    My first thought was drop the thunderfire and take two whirlwinds. I’ve found that my dual whirlwinds end up causing a ton of destruction because they easily get over looked. I think this would be especially true in your case because of those nasty deepstirkers you’ve got. I love tactical terminators, I think they have needlessly been overlooked in this edition. Also, I think the assault cannon is pretty good, but like you said the missile launcher is good in every instance.

    • Reecius September 30, 2013 4:29 pm #

      I agree the WW is still solid, I like the mix as the T-Fire has higher potential damage output and the WW has AP4 and mobility.

      Tactical Termies are a flexible unit but lack the consistent punch of Hammernators. I want to make them work, though.

  11. Hippesthippo September 29, 2013 6:08 pm #

    Have your tried that 75pt 4/8shot AA tank yet? You could swap it in for the WW rather easily and kill Dragons.

    The single shot tank is garbage, but the other one could be good..

    • Reecius September 30, 2013 4:30 pm #

      Not yet, I tried the single shot tank so far and was pretty underwhelmed. I will try the 4 shot tank, next.

  12. Fulcrum September 29, 2013 9:45 pm #

    You’re crazy

  13. Steve December 27, 2013 12:31 pm #

    Pardon my ignorance, how do you have 5 Troop choices? I thought you could only have 4 in a single Force org chart.

    • Reecius December 27, 2013 1:34 pm #

      Hey Steve, you can have up to 6 troops in a single FOC. I think what confuses you is that you HAVE to take 2, and then you have 4 optional.

      • Steve December 30, 2013 11:24 am #

        Thanks Reecius. Still learning the game.

        • Reecius December 30, 2013 12:01 pm #

          No worries, happy to help!

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