Who Wears the Gladius Best?

Howdy fellow gamers, Mr.MoreTanks here with a thought that has been nagging at me ever since the Battle Company formation was released, how to best run it? Be sure to check out the Tactics Corner for more great articles!

The way I see, there are three major decisions that come with selecting your battle company, obviously, the formation itself is far more customizable than that, but these three major ones will dictate the direction of your formation.

  1. Which Chapter Tactic will you use?
  2. Which free transports will you use?
  3. Which auxiliary detachment will you use?

When answering these questions, the answers to other questions like; which fast attack option to use, maximum size units, or minimum sized, what weapons to run them with, etc. should be answered for you.

In my humble opinion, there are viable reasons to take just about any Chapter Tactic, bar the Raven Guard or Black Templars.  The Imperial Fists could be nice thanks to Bolter Drill and Tank Hunting Devs or Cents, but they aren’t quite as appealing.  Salamanders are nice, and if you bring Vulkan, the flamer and melta weapons get all juiced up.  All of the combi-weapons that your sergeants will be rolling with get to be master crafted too, so those marines in drop pods who pop off their meltas won’t be left high and dry if they miss, because odds are that they won’t.  If you plan on running lots of flamers and melta weapons, these guys might work, but to really get the most out of them, I feel that you’re restricted to drop pods, which in my mind, limits the flexibility of the Gladius. My third place choice goes to the Iron Hands: the survivability is quite useful.  Losing It Will Not Die on the majority of vehicles is frustrating, but the chance of one Marine surviving an attack from a Helldrake will more than make up for it.  Iron Hands will make the staying power of the Gladius insanely frustrating for your opponent, it’s a tempting option to keep in mind.  The Ultramarines help out your forces even further with their buffs to tactical marines and other doctrines.  This is among the most tempting of tactics, as it really adds to the killing power of your army, they easily make my second choice.  My first choice though, is no surprise to anyone who’s seen me play Astartes in the past couple of years, White Scars.  Khan on the bike as Warlord gives you amazing deployment flexibility.  The power of razorbacks outflanking or scouting depending on your opponent while scores of Marines come pilling out with meltas and flamers blazing is legit.  The Marines that drop pod in are able to Hit and Run out so the guns from the other bodies can light up the targets.  The minimum bike squads rolling around become Troops too, and no longer give up Fast Attack points.  That’s pretty nice.  White Scars remove one of the largest weaknesses of the Gladius, the inability to win close combat.  When you can Hit and Run out, who cares?

This leads us to our next question, what’s the best way to cash in on the free transports?  If you’re a White Scars player, the worst choice by far is the Rhino.  You will almost certainly never be taking ten man units, and so you do not need or care about the extra room.  The Razorback gives you the guns you need to back up the somewhat lower firepower that the bodies of the Gladius brings to the table.  I think that the load out to go with is the lascannon, twin-linked plasma gun on the Razorback, it adds some serious firepower to the mix.  It also keeps the Razorbacks as very appealing targets, even after the Marines inside disembark.  This is crucial, as it will help to keep your bodies on the ground alive, which helps to prolong the greatest strength of the Gladius, Ob Sec MSU.  When everything is a threat, your opponent has to try and deal with everything.  Drop Pods are worth considering too, think of combining them with the Razorbacks to achieve a hammer and anvil like effect.  Adding in some minimum bike units that pump out insane firepower from their grav guns and your opponent is stuck dealing with a noose that is tightening fast.  Add in any number of outflanking Razorbacks that may be up to the task, and you’re getting the most bang for your buck.  Part of the importance of this is making sure the Khan is your Warlord, as this gives you the deployment tools to get the absolute most out of your transports.

Finally we come to the auxiliary detachment; now at first glance, it seems like the most obvious choice is the 10th Company one.  The Scouts are cheap, and the boost back up to BS and WS 4 makes them far more appealing in terms of damage output.  Plus, being able to infiltrate them up into no man’s land adds even more weight and pressure in your opponent’s face, something that your Chapter Tactic of White Scars needs you to be doing.  The Scouts bring a lot to help with the synergy of the list already, and for that reason, they should be heavily considered.  Though there is perhaps a stronger option that helps to close the other scathing weakness of the Gladius Strike Force, lack of anti-air power.  For that reason, you should turn to the Anti-Air Auxiliary choice over the Scouts.  It’s fairly straightforward and obvious what the Hunter and Stalkers are for, and their role is extremely important, especially with number of Helldrakes that will be springing up in the meta.  Believe me, they are going to make a comeback.  While you really can’t go wrong with either of these choices, I think that the Hunter and Stalkers are the way to go.

So with those thoughts in mind, I present to you Mr.MoreTanks’ take on the Gladius Strike Force.  Now to just dig out and dust off some Razorbacks.

1,849pts.  – Space Marines & Inquisition

1,815pts. – Gladius Strike Force

950pts. – Battle Demi Company

150pts. – HQ.

            150pts. – Khan, moondrakken, WARLORD

220pts. – Elites

            200pts. – Command Squad, bikes, Apothecary, 4 gravguns

            20pts. – Razorback, lascannon, twin-linked plasma gun

430pts. – Troops

            145pts. – Bike Squad, Sgt. w/ grav-combi, 2 gravguns

            75pts. – Tactical Squad, flamer

            20pts. – Razorback, lascannon, twin-linked plasma gun

             75pts. – Tactical Squad, flamer

             20pts. – Razorback, lascannon, twin-linked plasma gun

             75pts. – Tactical Squad, flamer

             20pts. – Razorback, lascannon, twin-linked plasma gun

150pts. – Heavy Support

            130pts. – Devastator Squad, 3 lascannons

            20pts. – Razorback, lascannon, twin-linked plasma gun


645pts. – Battle Demi Company

90pts. – HQ.

            90pts. – Chaplain

395pts. – Troops

            135pts. – Bike Squad, Sgt. w/ melta-combi, 2 meltaguns

            80pts. – Tactical Squad, meltagun

            0pts. – Drop Pod

            90pts. – Tactical Squad, Sgt. w/ melta-combi, meltagun

            0pts. – Drop Pod

            90pts. – Tactical Squad, Sgt. w/ melta-combi, meltagun

            0pts. – Drop Pod

160pts. – Heavy Support

            140pts. – Devastator Squad, 2 grav-cannons and grav amps

            20pts. – Razorback, lascannon, twin-linked plasma guns


220pts. – Auxiliary Detachment

220pts. – Anti-Air Defense Force

220pts. – Heavy Support

            70pts. – Hunter

            75pts. – Stalker

            75pts. – Stalker

34pts. – Inquisitorial Detachment

34pts. – HQ.

            34pts. – Ordo Xenos Inquisitor, bolt pistol, chainsword, psykout gernades, 3 servo skulls

Sorry about the weird formatting, it doesn’t translate super well from Word.  You’re all smart folks though, you can figure it out.

Now that you’re through that massive block of text, you’ll notice perhaps the most important part of this entire list, just one little 34 point entry, the Inquisitor with servo skulls.  This model, or rather, the 3 servo skulls give this list total and absolute board control.  Not only do they prevent enemy infiltrators and scouting units from blocking off my Razorbacks and bikes from Scouting and getting my forces where I want them before the game even begins.  They let me null deploy in the extreme, by scouting away from aggressive enemy forces and again, stopping the enemy from getting in my face.  Furthermore, they help to guide in my Drop Pods, making sure those Ob Sec pods land within 3 inches of those Objectives, meaning that my opponent HAS to kill them.  That means they won’t be killing a Razorback, which is another ObSec unit that can just move up onto it later while still using its guns to kill enemy units.

I really think this is among one of the best ways to run the Gladius, it brings speed, guns, MSU, and Objective Secured.  The anti-air really shores up the damage that enemy air forces will be able to deal out to the Gladius.  While Flying Circus lists will still be a serious problem, the amount of bodies on the ground should help out.  Against other Gladius formations, the board control and weapons on all of the other transports should be able to knock out other vehicles in the enemy formation.  War Conclaves will be beaten through attrition, while they dish out a mean punch, they don’t really have the staying power to get into a battle of attrition with an aggressive MSU force.

The basic plan of attack with this list is to either go for the throat with an aggressive alpha strike that can reach nearly anywhere on the board, or use outflank and null deployment to prevent your own forces from being destroyed by an alpha strike, especially from Drop Pods.

The Gladius is amazing, it is the best formation by a wide margin.  The new Space Marine codex had subtle changes from the last one, but they’ve only strengthened the book as a whole.  What’s your take on the Gladius?  A close friend of mine runs one filled with Drop Pods that flood every corner of the board with Marines.  He did very well at the BAO, but found that his army was lacking in killing power.  This army, while more vulnerable to alpha strikes, brings the killing power that I think most Drop Pod Gladius forces are lacking.

What’s been your experiences using the Gladius?  Is it overrated?  Too strong? Lack of speed?  Let us know in the comments.  Soon I’ll be writing an article about how to best combat the Gladius, so stay tuned for that.  May the dice be ever in your favor until then fellow gamers.


About Mr.MoreTanks

Lover of gaming, whiskey, steak, poker, and politics. T.O. of the http://tshftopen.com/ and http://cruisehammer.org/ events.

22 Responses to “Who Wears the Gladius Best?”

  1. Nightman July 27, 2015 12:20 pm #

    I have played one game against WS Battle Company, very similar to the list you posted, except some of the razorbacks were running heavy bolters.

    I think you are pretty spot on, due to scout las/plas dont really need fast razorbacks. RAW i think the bike command squad can actually take a drop pod as a transport, atleast i was told that.

    From my experience, they are good at maelstrom, but not amazing so focusing everything on beating them there is key in the missions where primary is already close to impossible (kinda obvious). In kill points first blood and playing very defensive should have some decent chanses.

    Multi assaulting my heavy CC unit worked out well as the tacticals have a 4+ hit and run, so decent chanse of still staying locked, same thing if your popping veichles. They can wrap the bike units from assault quite well, but making holes in the wrap can lead to some unexpected charges as space marine wraps are usually thin compared to blobs.

    I really think white scars is really far above any second place, not sure i agree on UM CT being good, it feels kinda redundant. But heck a -1 bs chapter tactic on tacticals would still make this detachment viable.

    While i usually like Scouts they are not really needed with that many obsec, the anti-air formation really fits well overall with the list. Great writeup.

    • Mr.MoreTanks July 27, 2015 12:31 pm #

      The Command Squad has a Razorback, the Drop Pod would kinda be useful to hold back field objectives, but I think you’ll get more from the Razorback overall.

  2. anvilward88 July 27, 2015 12:33 pm #

    I have been winning games with it, but they have been very boring. We usually stick with Objective-based games, and I play Salamanders. It comes down to “Drop Pod on objectives. Once most are captured, place rest in front of other army as speed bump. Wait 6 turns for the game to be done.” Most games, I will kill maybe 2 units (I usually play against Tau and Eldar) and I just Object Secure the rest. I don’t even make use of the Tactical Doctrine because of me having enough master-crafted and twin-linked stuff. If it were kill points, I would be slaughtered, most likely.

    • Mr.MoreTanks July 27, 2015 12:37 pm #

      Yeah, Kill Points can be rough, especially if you’re fighting something really tough like Wraithstars or the like.

  3. Joshua Taylor July 27, 2015 12:51 pm #

    My take is similar to what anvilward has stated. If the missions are heavy maelstrom then the battle company is very strong, If its a mix of eternal war and maelstrom then the battle company starts to lose its luster. Eternal war only or very limited ability to score maelstrom then the battle company can quickly find it’s self out gunned.
    The battle company is an army that takes advantage of the lack of assault deathstars in the meta. When you get 6 or 7 units multi-assaulted on turn 2 with near invincible assault star, then that star splits apart and assaults another 5 or 6 on turn 3, the battle company may well be looking at getting tabled on turn 6.

    • Mr.MoreTanks July 27, 2015 12:57 pm #

      Yeah, that’s a great point. There is basically no assault power coming from the Gladius, but in the ITC meta, it doesn’t really need it. This list too really makes life difficult for assault deathstars. The skulls and ability to use scout to redeploy away from any major threats can help. Then its all about letting those guns free.

  4. fluger July 27, 2015 2:16 pm #

    I *really* like this army. A lot.

    • Mr.MoreTanks July 28, 2015 10:08 am #

      What is the ** about Flugges? lol

      • fluger July 28, 2015 12:01 pm #

        It’s to show emphasis, like bolding. I don’t have an option to change fonts here. 😛

        • Mr.MoreTanks July 28, 2015 6:28 pm #

          I gotcha. 😉 Thanks buddy.

  5. Jax July 27, 2015 10:13 pm #

    I´ve not been interested in these formation playing WS bike army, but this list looks strangely fun.

    • Mr.MoreTanks July 28, 2015 10:07 am #

      WS are for me the most fun Chapter Tactic. Combining this formation with Khan allows for so much board control, and being able to Hit and Run lets your MSU survive longer and lets you shoot your opponent which is really the only way you’re going to kill them.

  6. Iago July 27, 2015 11:13 pm #

    Why would you stick your Grav Cannon Devastators in a Razorback rather than a Rhino? oO
    also would have liked to see a comparison to the Lions Blade Formation of DA since its idea is pretty similar.

    • Mr.MoreTanks July 28, 2015 10:05 am #

      They just chill in the back, they don’t even ride up. I may change them to a Rhino, but I think the list needs to flood the board with guns.

      • Iago July 28, 2015 12:52 pm #

        But Scouting Rhinos with 10 twin-linked Grav Shots out of a Rhino is way better then chilling in the back in a Razorback 😉 (board flooding with guns included).
        Put the Devastators in Rhinos and give them all Grav. Tacs in the Razorbacks and all is good…I know it, I lost a couple of games versus a similar list 😀

        • Mr.MoreTanks July 29, 2015 10:05 am #

          I’ll experiment a bit. I think having some none grav options is good. Especially if you run into Orks.

  7. Truesight July 28, 2015 12:58 am #

    How do you respond to fliers?

    • SacTownBri July 28, 2015 6:22 am #

      Stalker x2 and Hunter in the anti air formation.

    • Mr.MoreTanks July 28, 2015 10:05 am #

      The Anti Air formation. I go into it pretty well in the analysis.

  8. Xaereth July 28, 2015 11:31 am #

    Nice, I’m thinking of coming back to 40k sometime soon, and would prefer to use my Marines.

    I was wondering – where does the Chaplain go? Can Chaplains still ride bikes? It seems like maybe you could make a mini-star out of the Chaplain + Khan + Command Squad. Not sure what you could change to make it happen (I clearly don’t have the new dex, or even a 7th edition rule book, lol), but it seems like that would be more beneficial than just throwing him in a razorback with some random unit.

    Thanks for the thoughtful article though, it was helpful for a guy who hasn’t played for a year to understand some of the new edition thought processes from a competitive point of view 🙂

    • Mr.MoreTanks July 28, 2015 6:34 pm #

      The Chaplain could buy a bike. I’ve already tweaked and altered the list a little bit. I imagined him chilling with some Devastators, mostly to keep them Fearless.

      Another thought I had was to give him an Auspex and have him drop pod in with some guys and help reduce the cover against something. Then the Devastators let the target have it.

  9. highwind September 9, 2015 12:04 pm #

    Some points that came to my mind while reading:

    – twin linked assault cannons on the Razorbacks are a very viable option aswell… with scouting/outflanking their short range is less of a problem

    – Rhinos shouldn’t be discounted completely because they offer a fire hatch which Razorbacks are lacking… 6 tacticals with 1 grav cannon and 2 devs with 1-2 grav cannons sitting in Rhinos and firing from midfield/scouting/objective positions is quite nice fire power while being relativly safe

    – Suppression Force with 3 Whirlwinds (pinning & shred) and dual multimeter landspeeder(s) seems to be another competitive aux detachment

    Overall a very good read, especially the part with the Inq / Servo Skulls

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