Space Marines Review: Elites: Apothecary

Hi everyone, Michael here with a review of another of the Space Marine Command Squad that now has his own slot, the Apothecary. He is the Marine responsible for keeping your troops alive on the table, how does he fare in this task? For more reviews and analyses, check out the Tactics Corner.


The Apothecary is a mid-level Space Marine character with a decent statline, but his real strengths come from the buffs he can provide to nearby units. While in theory, the Apothecary should help protect your troops and heal them in battle, in practice I have not found him to be that effect on the tabletop. The Apothecary is an Elites choice and costs 55 points.


  • Bolt Pistol
  • Chainsword
  • Frag and Krak Grenades


  • And They Shall Know No Fear
  • Narthecium- At the end of your movement phase the Apothecary can attempt to heal or revive a single model. A single <Chapter> Infantry or Biker model within 3″ heals D3 wounds. Alternatively, if the chosen unit has no wounded models but one or more slain models, roll a D6. On a 4+, a single slain model is returned to the battlefield on one wound. If the Apothecary fails to revive a model, he can do nothing else for the remainder of the turn.
  • Keywords- Imperium, <Chapter>, Adeptus Astartes, Character, Infantry, Apothecary


The Apothecary has a mid-level statline for a Space Marine character, meaning he has a Space Marine profile, but with 4 wounds and 3 attacks. He comes with a Bolt Pistol and Chainsword (for an additional attack in combat), and has no options to change these weapons. This means he has limited utility on the battlefield in an offensive or defensive roll. He should be able to cause some damage to standard infantry in combat, but will equally be not that difficult to take down in combat or if he can be targeted by shooting.

The main reason you take the Apothecary is to use the Narthecium. He can be used to heal characters or multi-wound models that take damage, but I think that his most common role is to revive members of squads that are slain. This means that you want to stick him next to more valuable or offensive units such as Devastator Squads, Command Squads with Special Weapons, Aggressors, Centurion Devastators (if you bother to take them), etc. The one benefit of healing a unit/model is that it occurs automatically, but the revival roll requires a 4+. This requires some luck to be able to use the ability often. If you are simply using him to revive a Tactical Marine, it could be a waste of his abilities. However, bringing back a Devastator with a Missile Launcher or Lascannon in a turn can be a big bonus to your unit. The one flaw with this is that your opponent has to leave at least one member of the squad alive for you to make use of this. If they are wiped out by enemy attacks, you cannot attempt to revive a member of a completely slain squad.

I think the best use for the Apothecary is to sit with a backline unit such as Devastators and revive the Heavy Weapons members if they are slain. Again, it will only come off around 50% of the time, but you can always use a command point re-roll if you really need to revive a slain member of the squad.

He could work well when bolstering a front line combat unit. However, he has limited mobility on the field (no Jump Pack, though you could take the Index version riding a Bike) and will not survive long in combat if charged by any sort of combat character or even a unit with a lot of attacks. There is also the downside that if he fails to revive a squad member, he can do nothing for the rest of the turn, including fighting in combat. If you are planning to use him in a more aggressive role, I would suggest using him to heal an important combat character each turn (as long as they are both alive) to keep them in the fight for longer. Alternatively, you could use him to support a more expensive unit and keep them healed or revive members.

In all honesty, I haven’t been that impressed with the Apothecary on the table. His random ability to revive squad members never really goes off when you need it to. Even though he only costs 55 points, I have not found it to be a good investment in the game. Rather than try to revive squad members, just spend the 55 points to add more models to the unit in question. I’m sure he is great when keeping a powerful character going or when he brings back an expensive model such as Terminators, Centurions, Aggressors or Bikers, but these units are not seen on the table that much in 8th edition at the moment.

I think that the Chapter Ancient is a better choice. His Astartes Banner at least give you the ability to strike back at the enemy army as you start to take casualties. One benefit of the Apothecary is that he is a cheap Elites choice that does have some benefit on the tabletop. You can always use him as a cheap way to fill a slot in a Detachment.


I don’t find much use for the Apothecary in any of my Space Marine lists. His ability seems good on paper, but I find that it never seems to do that well in practice on the tabletop. I’m sure he has his use in certain army builds and in some games will do wonders for you, but I don’t find him to be a safe choice in a competitive list.

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!



About Michael Corr

An avid 40k player and blogger from Scotland. I started in 3rd edition and have been playing ever since. I detail my adventures in my own blog "St Andrews Wargaming", highlighting my mediocre painting skills, regular battle reports and my occasional random ramblings.

12 Responses to “Space Marines Review: Elites: Apothecary”

  1. Avatar
    Maeglin December 17, 2017 9:09 am #

    Been thinking of using the Primaris Apothecary as part of a firebase with Hellblasters and an Ancient in my pure Primaris army. Since Hellblasters don’t have “spare” bodies like Devestators I think he might be worth the points. Plus it’s funny when the enemy kills a guy who shoots back and then gets back up.

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr December 17, 2017 10:42 am #

      I think he is a good choice for units such as Hellblasters. Makes it easier to overcharge them, when you can always try to bring casualties back. Plus, now that Primaris Marines are getting cheaper, you can take more of them!

  2. Avatar
    Maeglin December 17, 2017 10:39 am #

    I find him useful babysitting terminators not that that is super competitive but take it for what it’s worth. He isn’t expensive and I have had them heal 3 terminators in a game which is easily worth 55 points.

    • Avatar
      Maeglin December 17, 2017 12:50 pm #

      Ahh I see the name glitch is still a problem 🙂

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr December 17, 2017 1:57 pm #

      Yeah, I think the Apothecary is only worth it if you use it on expensive models like Terminators or Heavy Weapon-armed Devastators. If you are just bringing back Tactical Marines, etc, he doesn’t really pay for himself.

      • Reecius
        Reecius December 17, 2017 2:02 pm #

        Yeah, or with Centurions, etc.

        I have actually found the best use for him is to heal bad ass characters that get into melee a lot as it is super consistent. He then attempts to heal if no one needs heals.

        • Avatar
          abusepuppy December 17, 2017 7:38 pm #

          Yeah, the heal being so much more consistent than the rez means that you really should be looking to take advantage of it first, with the rez being your “backup” option. Melee characters, Attack Bikes, etc, seem like solid possibilities for making good use of the heal- and in fact, bikes in general seem like one of the better ways to use the Apothecary, since they are all multiwound and and fit with some of the other good strategies for SM in general.

  3. Avatar
    dantejr December 18, 2017 2:46 am #

    i’m totally agree with your analyse.

    However, as salamanders player i think harath shen is totally playable.

    for +20pts, we have a doctor who revives on 3+, a power sabre (D2) and a plasma pistol.

    i played this character some time (in drop pod with company veterans full melta, vulkan and company ancient) : it’s funny and efficient if use properly.

  4. Avatar
    Shas’O December 18, 2017 6:28 am #

    I love the blood angels version with sanguinary guard!

  5. Avatar
    Draaen December 18, 2017 6:32 am #

    I’ve also found I leave the apothecary at home a lot. I was using him to revive some of the models I had equipped with storm shields in vanguard veterans or company veterans on bikes. On a bike with Teeth of Terra he’s able to put out some respectable shooting and melee damage too. Although as I said before he’s left home a lot and when I run him it’s more for fun.

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr December 19, 2017 12:54 am #

      The main issue that I have with the Apothecary is that when a key unit is targeted by the enemy army, they rarely leave any models in the unit alive. This makes healing or bringing back models with the Apothecary redundant.

  6. Avatar
    Schmuvness December 19, 2017 7:20 am #

    Harath Shen actually is a very viable option. He is an HQ Choice which makes things way easier when filling up a battlion or a brigade. Salamanders seldom take Lieutenants as the second HQ Choice and because they are very good at laying down heavy firepower in the form of lascannons, missile launchers and plasmacannon, he is actually very good staying behind and reviving models on a 3+ (or healing himself or the banner dude für d3+1 wounds). with his weaponry he even has some threat potential for stuff that is challenging your gunline.

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