8th edition is now REALLY here with the drop of the first Codex! This gives players a taste of what the game will be like as it matures, and when combined with the fact that Games Workshop isn’t afraid to use FAQs to correct course, this is shaping up to be a great edition. This article is meant to give you an overview and preview of the new Space Marines codex!
What we’ve got with the Space Marines Codex is a complete faction package as opposed to the “get you by” rules we got in the indexes. I hope that now the bigger picture of the game’s complexity and cool combos are going to become apparent to players. While spam will always be appealing for simple mathematical reasons (points efficiency and redundancy) the introduction of very cool Stratagems (which each codex will be getting, as GW has already said!) add a lot of flavor and cool combos that incentivize you to take larger units in order to maximize these buffs. As you can only use them once per phase, it makes sense to optimize for a larger unit to get the most impact.
An example of this is one of my favorite units in the dex, Sternguard (who now are 18pts all in with Special Issue Boltguns!) who have access to the Masterful Marksmanship stratagem which for 1 Command Point adds +1 to their wound rolls when shooting Special Issue Boltguns. That means you are typically wounding infantry on a 3+ or 2+, and most vehicles on a 4+! With a -2 Ap, and buffs from support characters, this will do some real work on almost any target. Combined with their base 2 attacks and cheaper sarge weapons such as Power Fists (now only 12 points!) and base 3 attacks on them, you have a solid all around unit that comes in at a reasonable price point. Combo in a character like Pedro Kantor and a Lieutenant for a cool, themed detachment that also performs quite well. There are lots of opportunities for these types of fun, characterful and powerful combos in the book!
And the Chapter Tactics are very cool! Folks are focusing on them but they’re only part of the picture. You gain these benefits in a Space Marines Detachment only if every unit in it has the same <Chapter> keyword.
- Ultramarines: +1 Ld and can Fall Back from combat and still shoot with a -1 penalty.
- This is REALLY good! Especially with all of the aura buffs to reroll hits. Not being tied down in melee is crazy useful for units like Devastators, etc.
- White Scars: +2″ to advance moves and can still Charge after a Fall Back move.
- Not many people are talking about this one but it is SUPER good! The bonus to advancing is fantastic for winning games and being able to Charge after falling back makes them slippery devils, especially when combined with units that have the Fly keyword, who can leave combat and still shoot and charge.
- Imperial/Crimson Fists: Ignores cover and reroll failed wound rolls when targeting buildings.
- A lot of folks are poo pooing these Chapter Tactics but Ignores Cover basically grants all of your shooting a bonus AP when targeting enemy units in cover…that’s pretty dang good! However, they are less flashy than some of the other Chapter Tactics and I think players will look to the other benefits these Chapters get to compensate.
- Iron Hands: 6+ “Feel no Pain” save.
- Black Templars: Reroll failed charge rolls.
- These are also getting some negative press but a melee oriented army that gets dramatically improved odds to get in to melee? Yes please!
- Salamanders: Reroll one failed hit and wound roll each time a Salamanders unit shoots or fights.
- This is obviously sooooo good!
- Raven Guard: -1 to hit units with these Chapter Tactics if being fired on from over 12″ away.
- These are extremely good Chapter Tactics and will certainly be seeing a lot of play.
Defenders of Humanity
This rule is a game changer and will shake up list building quite a bit. It is basically what we knew as Objective Secured, previously. Troops in a Space Marines Detachment control an objective even if they are outnumbered unless the enemy in range of the same objective has a similar rule (HINT, HINT!) in which case it goes back to number of models. You also only gain these benefit if you have a Space Marines Detachment, which is defined as one wherein all units have the same <Chapter> keyword. This is why we kept hammering the new ITC WYSIWYG rules! Your opponent has to be able to clearly tell what detachments are what Chapter.
While this certainly doesn’t make you have to choose troops units it certainly incentivizes you to do so as you also gain easier access to more Command Points through the Battalion and Brigade detachments. In testing, we had some great results with Tactical Marine heavy armies using the Ultramarines Chapter Tactics and some of their amazing characters like Sicarius and Guilliman. Tons of Command Points, tons of Objective control, tons of bodies and the ability to leave combat and still shoot! Not bad at all.
Twenty Six unique stratagems for the Space Marines….nice! These add so much to an army in regards to not only power but flavor. As stated above, there are Stratagems unique to certain units like Sternguard, but also for other units as well such as Thunderfire Cannons such as the Tremor Cannon stratagem which makes them -1 to wound but targets hit halve their move, advance and charge distances. WOW! That can seriously screw up your opponent’s plans for only 1 CP.
Many of these Stratagems give you awesome utility or hearken back to things that used to be in the game such as the Killshot Stratagem that grants 3 Predators within 6″ of one another +1 to wound and damage vs. Vehicles and Monsters. Some are generic in application but incredibly powerful such as Honour the Chapter, allowing a unit to fight a second time in the fight phase for 3 CP. This is crazy good when you are in position to really hammer your opponent with a powerful melee unit, or to blow through a screen unit then tear into a juicy unit behind it! Anyone that has used or faced Berzerkers can attest to how good this can be.
Many of them benefit not only units but specific Chapters of Space Marines! These bring a lot of flavor to the game.
- Ultramarines: 1 CP, reroll rolls of 1 for a unit of Infantry or Bikers in the shoot or fight phase. Reroll all misses for Tactical or Intercessor Squads.
- White Scars: 1 CP, a Bikers unit can Advance and still shoot and charge.
- Pretty cool when combined with their automatic 8″ Advance! An almost assured first turn charge or ability to race across the table to take an objective.
- Black Templars: 1 CP, use to gain a 4+ to Deny the Witch within 24″.
- Imperial Fists: 1 CP, “Bolt” weapons can fire another shot on a hit roll of a 6+.
- Iron Hands: 1 CP, a vehicle ignores the penalty for moving and shooting a heavy weapon or for advancing and shooting assault weapons.
- Salamanders: 1 CP, +1 to wound for Flame weapons.
- This ability is BRUTAL! You will melt entire units with it.
- Raven Guard: 1 CP, “infiltrate” a Raven Guard Infantry unit during deployment but before the game begins, 9″ away from enemy units.
- This is particularly powerful and my favorite Chapter specific Stratagem.
There are a host of new Warlord Traits which grant a wide variety of benefits from ignoring Leadership to bonus AP on to hit rolls of 6 in the shooting phase. There are also Chapter Specific Warlord Traits which further add flavor to them.
- Ultramarines: Any CP spent to use a Stratagem is refunded on a 5+.
- Ultramarines win big again with this one!
- White Scars: A 4+ to inflict a Mortal Wound when your warlord finishes a charge move within 1″ of an enemy unit.
- Black Templars: 6″ range for heroic Intervention.
- Imperial Fists: +1 to cover saves vs. AP -1 weapons for units within 6″ of your Warlord.
- Crimson Fists: +D3 attacks for your Warlord if there are 10+ models within 6″ of him.
- Iron Hands: Walord generates another attack for each 6+ to hit.
- Salamanders: +1 Strength to your Warlord.
- Raven Guard: Enemy units cannot fire Overwatch against your Warlord.
- Wow, Raven Guard hitting a home run, again! This is a great ability especially in the context of their other abilities.
In addition to all of the above, there are also awesome Artefacts, too! The way these work in 8th ed, is they are “free” upgrades (very similar to AoS) but the model often has to already have a similar piece of kit in order to take it. So, you sometimes end up paying points for the Artefact in a roundabout way. There are many that you already know and love such as the Shield Eternal (replaces a Storm Shield, halves damage suffered by the bearer), the Teeth of Terra, The Burning Blade, etc.
The absolute best, IMO, is the Standard of the Emperor Ascendant. It packs more benefits that any artifact should! It grants you a 3+ for models dying to attack one more time before kicking the bucket, a 6″ fearless aura and a -1 enemy Ld debuff, too! In practice I stick this bad boy in with some shooting units and they are just brutally good. Again, there are Chapter specific artefacts, too.
- Ultramarines: 3++ save and Deny the Witch.
- White Scars: +1 to cast Smite for White Scars psyker.
- Black Templars: Helm granting +3″ range to Aura abilities.
- This is a great Artefact for Black Templars.
- Imperial Fists: Bolt Pistol that has 2 shots, is Strength 4, AP -1 and 2 Damage.
- Crimson Fists: Power Fist that does a flat 3 damage with no to hit penalty.
- This is a solid choice on the now cheaper Power Fist.
- Iron Hands: +2 Strength Axe, -3 AP, 2 Damage.
- Salamanders: +1 toughness to the bearer.
- Raven Guard: Jump Pack granting Advance and Charge and rerolls for failed charges.
- WOW! Great artefact especially when combined with the Raven Guard Warlord Trait stopping Overwatch.
New Psychic Powers
There are also some very cool new psychic powers available to Space Marine Librarians as well! Some of these are very situational but as you choose them pre-game knowing their uses is very vanulable to the canny Space Marine player.
- Psychic Scourge: Mastery Level 6, opposed leadership roll within 18″, if the Librarian ties the enemy takes a Mortal Wound, if they fail they take D3.
- Fury of the Ancients: Mastery Level 7, 3d6″ line, enemy units under it take a Mortal Wound.
- Psychic Fortress: Mastery Level 5, friendly Space Marine unit auto passes morale and has a 4+ to stop Mortal Wounds caused by Psychic Powers.
And that is just the beginning. There are new units, points adjustments, and much, much more to discuss in the Space Marines codex which we will dig in to with time! Also, many players have been asking about units that are changed, missing or have different wargear in the Codex and the answer is yes, some units are straight up gone (Librarian on a Bike) and some have different wargear options.
What are you most excited about with the new Codex? Which Chapter Tactics do you like best?
Also, be sure to grab your LVO Tickets if you have not! Registration broke records this year and many events are already filling up!