The Primaris Marine project continues! If you missed the overall goal of this project, jump to this post to get the big picture. And as always, check out the Tactics Corner for more great reviews and articles.
So this generated a lot of interest as I thought it probably would. Lots of people want to use the cool new models but are struggling with how to make them work. So, we roll on to the next phase of this project: getting started. So, let’s do it to it and find out what the best “chapter tactics” are for Primaris Marines! Or at the least, which work well and which we enjoy the most.
To begin, I chose pretty much one of every unit to give them a whirl and try them out. Now let me be clear: this is not the final list, this is the starting point. We can’t figure out what we like or don’t like, what works or doesn’t work, if we don’t try them out. To that end, I put together an army that I think represents what a lot of Primaris players out there probably already have. It’s built on a core of what comes in the Dark Imperium starter set, and a few extra kits. Now, as we go through this experiment, we need to consider a few important factors:
Primaris Marines lack some important tools in the 8th ed meta.
- They do not have cheap/effective screens and board control units which are very important to success in 8th.
- No cheap troops for easy access to more Command Points. I actually really like Intercessors but even with their lower price point thanks to Chapter Approved, they’re still pricey.
- They do not have access to cheap transportation. Their only means of quickly getting around the table are via stratagems or an expensive transport in the Repulsor.
- Their support characters are slow and lack a lot of the options that make the normal Space Marine character so dang good.
- Many of the very strong Space Marine/Blood Angels/Dark Angels stratagems do not work on Primaris Marines.
Those are some serious obstacles to overcome, no doubt about it. However, are they insurmountable? No. Where there’s a will, there’s a way! Let’s look at Primaris Marines strengths.
- Multi-functional units. With their pumped up stats, even a basic Intercessor is threatening at range and in melee. They aren’t amazing at either, but they’re good at both and that is really useful in a dynamic game where your plans often do not unfold the way you want them to.
- They have really good weight of fire attacks. In the current 8th ed meta, that is useful as you need to plow through loads of chaff in most instances. Primaris Marines are actually really good at that. With AP-1, 30″ basic weapons, and the crazy Dakka the Aggressors, Repulsor and Redemptor put out, plus the quintessential Space Marine re-roll auras, they can lay down withering small arms fire.
- They’re a mobile army, generally speaking. This contrasts somewhat with the above negative point but to clarify: Primaris Marines want to be on the move, shooting and assaulting and while they do have a few static units the army doesn’t necessarily want to be holding still. That is an important distinction because in dynamic, progressive 8th ed missions, you really don’t want to be static. They’ve also got access to some solid deep-strikers/out flankers in Reivers and Inceptors. These gents are very good for slipping in the back and taking out objective holding units/artillery/etc. I find that attacking from multiple angles is very important to success in 8th ed.
|Captain in Gravis Armor||HQ||102||1||102||M.C. Power Sword||4||1||4|
|Primaris Librarian||HQ||93||1||93||Force Sword||8||1||8|
|Redemptor Dread||Elites||140||1||140||H. Onslaught Cannon||36||1||36|
|0||Icarus Rocket Pod||6||1||6|
|0||Aux. Grenade Launcher||1||1||1|
|0||Aux. Grenade Launcher||1||1||1|
|Repulsor||Transport||210||1||210||H. Onslaught Cannon||36||1||36|
|0||Twin Heavy Bolter||17||1||17|
|Primaris Lieutenant||HQ||70||1||70||Power Sword||4||1||4|
|Primaris Ancient||Elites||69||1||69||0||Standard of the Emperor|
Again, this is a starting point. We’re going to run the basic units through the paces and see what works and what doesn’t. It’s a very low model count army which will present challenges as some bad luck and the wheels will come off of this bus in a hurry. However, played well you can concentrate a lot of force in a relatively small portion of the battlefield.
I went with pretty much all of the available support characters. While I think that perhaps there are too many points invested here, I look forward to seeing the results. The Primaris Apothecary I think will actually be very useful. In an army of multi-wound models he will pretty much always have a task available to help restore units which will be quite valuable I think. I have actually found them to be most useful in healing Characters that get stuck in to melee. But, we’ll see.
The Primaris Chaplain particularly I am curious to see in action. I absolutely love the model and want him to be good! In the context of an all Primaris army I think he’s going to be better than he would normally as they don’t typically have access to a full re-roll aura outside of stratagems or non Primaris HQs, he may be quite effective. Plus, he’s not bad in melee. Time will tell but fingers crossed on this one.
The Primaris Ancient is going to be critical in this army. Giving my nearby units the ability to shoot or attack again before dying is absolutely vital to getting the most out of these expensive models. I will upgrade him with the relic banner wherever possible with him. And, hopefully when teamed up with the Apothecary, will get more mileage out of each model.
The Captain in Gravis Armor is actually my least favorite support character. He’s not bad at all, he just has some weird weapon choices and I am not particularly fond of the model. However, he’s got that awesome re-roll 1’s aura which is so dang useful. I may eventually swap him out for the cheaper standard Primaris Captain. That said, due to his increased durability and the fact that he’s going to be advancing up field with the boys, he’s a good choice for Warlord.
The Primaris Lieutenant is solid. His re-roll 1’s to wound aura is outstanding and while I wish he–like all the other HQ’s–had an option for anything other than hoofing it, he’s still excellent and worth taking. He’s also decent in combat as well.
The Primaris Librarian will be pretty hit or miss depending on which army I am playing. Some flavors of Space Marines have great psychic powers while others are a little less spectacular. Regardless, he’s a decent melee combatant and can fire some Mortal Wounds downrange when I need them.
The Repulsor wasn’t super attractive to me off of the cuff and to be honest, I have not used it in a game in a long time so I had forgotten really what it could do. But, the vehicle packs a seriously impressive amount of dakka if you kit it out for maximum firepower. It puts out an average of 46.5 shots in the configuration I’ve kitted it out with! That said, it’s certainly not cheap at 313 points, but it can just flatten light infantry, possibly multiple units a turn. As it’s also got the Fly keyword, it doesn’t fear being tagged in combat so much, and losing a turn of shooting. It can transport a unit or two, some characters as well to increase the odds of getting first turn and moving units up-field. Primarily though, it’s a gunboat and I look forward to seeing how it performs. I just need to be careful I don’t leave it in a position to get smoked before it can do anything.
Likewise, the Redemptor packs a lot of Dakka, too. Kitted out with high volume shooting, he packs in an average of 27 shots a turn. Between he and the Repulsor, you can plow through light targets. His Redemptor Fist is no joke in combat as well, so I look forward to seeing how he plays out on the table top during this test.
Hellblasters actually see a lot of table time, now. They’re a solid unit, hit hard and are reasonably durable. I am confident they will be a consistent top performer for me.
I am a big fan of Intercessors. The first time I faced them in a tournament and watched them steam roll my own infantry they really took me by surprise. With their new, lower price point I feel they are a very good unit for taking objectives while the rest of the army does the heavy fighting. I feel I will eventually have 6 units of 5 for more CP, but as the goal here is to show lots of units off, 3 was all I had room for.
Aggressors are another unit that currently gets a decent amount of table-time. They can pump out a ton of firepower but the trick is getting them in to position to do so. Typically this takes the form of a stratagem which allows them to infiltrate/outflank/etc. For the beefy models they are, they can be very fragile. I feel that if I play these guys right, they’ll be very powerful but with the possibility of getting smoked in a hot hurry.
Likewise, Inceptors are a unit that packs quite a wallop but can also drop like a fly to heavy, high powered shooting. The game plan with these gents is to go after objective holding units where their high volume shooting should be enough to clear an objective quite easily.
And the best for last! I absolutely love Reivers. I love the way they look, their backstory, the way they play, everything. I would play an army of them! However, my enthusiasm aside, I took a single unit of 5 as points dried up real quick in this list, lol. But, the plan is for them to play like the Inceptors: they will hunt weaker units in the backfield. The painters in the FLG Paint Studio already have some of them in the assembly stage as I type this!
Well there you have it! We’ve got a starting point for this little journey of ours. The nice thing is that this is a reasonably affordable army, too. If you go with as many of the easy-build options as you can and start with the Dark Imperium box plus order from Frontline Gaming, you can put an army on the table for a reasonable cost. Which units do you think will perform the best? Which will be the worst? And, which flavor of Space Marines should we try out, first?
And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!