Reecius here with some fun ideas for making the most of the new Assault Marines! Check out the Tactics Corner for more great articles.
So first things, first. Frontline Gaming is running strong with our Pre-Order Special for the new Marine goodies which you can see over at Games Workshop! Just send your order to: Orders@FrontlineGaming.org and save an extra 5% off of MSRP on your order (which is 25% off for most items!), so long as you order at least one of the pre-order products. Sweet! There are a few exceptions to this sale, we’ll let you know if you order includes anything that does not get the extra discount. The sale ends Saturday, June 6th.
Business aside, the new Assault Marines are so cool looking, and I LOVE Assault Marines in general and have just about 70 of them in my Marine army, lol! They look awesome, they have cool fluff, and the idea of a giant super soldier flying through the air on a jump pack to deliver the Emperor’s fury is awesome. Unfortunately, in the game, Assault Marines can really struggle on the table top. So many things out there are quite simply better in melee for less points, it can be a bit disheartening. But, if you are like me and want to make them work, there are some options! No, will an army built around Assault marines be top tier? No, not even close. But can it be fun and have a reasonable chance of victory? Yes! I’ve been trying to make assault Space marine armies work sense 4th edition, and they just don’t. You won’t win that many games if you need to win combat with MEQs. Baring some awesome formation or a change to the core stats, Assault Marines will remain strictly inferior to dedicated Xenos assault units which are better at it and cheaper to boot. Or, things like assault MCs, which just walk through units of Marines. However, with some clever tactics and good support units you can get it done!
Space Wolves have a lot of fun options for Assault Marines. Sky Claws are very reasonably priced and you can put a Power Weapon or Fist into the unit that is not on a Character and as such is safe from being challenged making it much more likely to actually get to swing. Plus, Sky Claws have Rage which will often come into play due to their speed. WS and BS3 is a bummer, but, worth it for the bargain basement price point. Also, a fun idea is to run a Champions of Fenris idea with loads of Wolf Guard with Jump Packs! I wrote an article about that idea, which you can read here, if so inclined. Much pricier, but hit a lot harder, too.
Blood Angels, obviously, offer up some solid Assault Marine options. With Furious Charge and the ability to gain +1 initiative on the charge through their detachment and formations, plus really solid support units with FnP and psychic buffs, there are a ton of fun options there as well. Dante is a beast now (as he should be!) and packs a wallop, plus makes old style Descent of Angels lists viable and quite good. The ability to take tons of cheap melta weapons in MSU Assault Marine squads in Drop Pods is also a great way to make use of Assault marines, too! Blood Angels also offer up the Veteran Formation that calls for two units of ten Vanguard, all of whom get a free Power Weapon! Not bad.
However, I wanted to focus on a special character that can really bring a lot of tactical depth to an army that features Assault Marines: Shadow Captain Korvydae of the Raven Guard! We all know a new Space marine codex is imminent, so some of this may change, but I think it is safe to say that we will still have Chapter Tactics similar to what we have now with the Raven Guard, and rumors are indicating that one of the Detachments in the new codex will be a Raven Guard detachment, which will be cool if true! Also, I have to give credit to my friend Garrett, who reminded me of this character.
So first of all, Korvydae is a Raven Guard character who can be found in the Raid on Kastrel-Novem Imperial Armor book. Besides being one of the all time great Space marine sculpts (IMO), he has some really solid rules, too. He weighs in at a very reasonable 155pts, and has Captain Stats. He is equipped with Melta Bombs, a Thunder Hammer, a 2+/4++ save, and your standard Bolt Pistol and Grenades. Nothing special there, really, but a good value for decent gear. However, the secret sauce is in his special rules. He makes Assault Marines troops, which is where you can really look to make these guys work as having them gain ObSec makes all the difference. MSU ObSec Assault Marine units will be VERY good at winning missions. Korvydae himself also gains Hit and Run so long as he is with a Jump Pack equipped unit.
You do have to take a single unit of Scouts as a troop if you use him, but that is fine as Scouts rock in 7th ed. Raven Guard Chapter Tactics at present allow jump units to use their jump pack in the movement and assault phases, and lets them reroll failed to wound rolls with their Hammer of Wrath hits. This makes them very reliable at making those critical charges and the I10 HoW hits are surprisingly good against the right targets.
Much like Tactical Marine spam, Assault marine spam relies on mobility, ATSKNF, and numbers to win games by winning missions. You almost always Combat Squad, and fly around the table picking up Maelstrom points and saving your ObSec assets for end of mission objectives, too. As everything is so fast and can Deep Strike too, or come in a Drop Pod if needs be, you have a ton of deployment and movement power which is important to winning missions. Assault Marines are very sub-par in melee in general terms, but can beat up on non-dedicated assault units and vehicles reliably (particularly with that new Eviscerator!). Their real worth to you is in staying alive though, to grab mission points, so use them with that in mind. Hunt weak units, vehicles and grab objectives: that is your game plan with a list like this. You can beat up on some tough units with Assault Marines if you throw enough bodies at them, but that should only be a tactic of last resort. You will find that you just feed the meat grinder if you pick a fight you can’t win.
Now, you also need the ability to actually take a bite our of your opponent’s army, too. So, selecting solid support units is important. Things like Grav Cents, Hammernators with support characters, and shooting units will help you to apply pressure to your opponent and not just play keep-away. By hitting the right mix of mission winning ObSec Assault Marines and offensively powerful support units, you can find yourself with a tactically flexible army that scratches that Assault Marine itch, and still has a good chance at winning a game.
How do you all like using your Assault Marines?