So this is where I am at so far and am really liking the Ultramarines as my go to Space Marine force.
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.
|Tactical Marines||Melta, M.Melta||10||160|
|Tactical Marines||Melta, M.Melta||10||160|
|Devastator Squad||Missile Launchers x 4||7||158|
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?