The Primaris Project Update #1

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.
Unit Force Org Cost # Total Weapons Cost # Total Total
Battalion Faction       Command Points 3
Captain in Gravis Armor HQ 102 1 102 M.C. Power Sword 4 1 4
0 Boltstorm Gauntlet 22 1 22
Primaris Chaplain HQ 85 1 85 0
Primaris Librarian HQ 93 1 93 Force Sword 8 1 8
Redemptor Dread Elites 140 1 140 H. Onslaught Cannon 36 1 36
0 Onslaught Cannon 16 1 16
0 Fragstorm Grenades 4 2 8
0 Icarus Rocket Pod 6 1 6
Aggressors Elites 21 3 63 Auto Boltstorm 12 3 36
0 Fragstorm Grenades 4 3 12
Intercessors Troops 18 5 90 Power Sword 4 1 4
0 Aux. Grenade Launcher 1 1 1
Intercessors Troops 18 5 90 Power Sword 4 1 4
0 Aux. Grenade Launcher 1 1 1
Intercessors Troops 18 5 90 0
Repulsor Transport 210 1 210 H. Onslaught Cannon 36 1 36
0 Twin Heavy Bolter 17 1 17
0 Onslaught Cannon 16 1 16
0 Fragstorm Grenades 4 5 20
0 Krakstorm Grenades 4 2 8
0 Ironhail Stubber 6 1 6
Inceptors Fast 25 3 75 Assault Bolter 10 6 60
Hellblasters Heavy 18 5 90 Plasma Incinerator 15 5 75
Hellblasters Heavy 18 5 90 Plasma Incinerator 15 5 75
Vanguard Faction       Command Points 1
Primaris Lieutenant HQ 70 1 70 Power Sword 4 1 4
Primaris Ancient Elites 69 1 69 0  Standard of the Emperor
Primaris Apothecary Elites 68 1 68
Reivers Elites 18 5 90 Grapnel Launchers 2 5 10
Totals     44 1515       485 2000
Command Points: 7       Detachments: 2

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?

Read part 2 of this series, here.

Which Chapter should we test first?

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



About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

35 Responses to “The Primaris Project Update #1”

  1. Sossen December 19, 2017 3:33 am #

    I voted for Blood Angels. It’s a shame that Reivers don’t work with Descent of Angels. But the Standard of Sacrifice should be fairly useful for a blob of Hellblasters and Intercessors, and the BA melee buff should make a sizeable difference as well.

    • Reecius December 19, 2017 9:24 am #

      I think BA may make the best Primaris army as well. Looks like BA will be first on deck.

  2. abusepuppy December 19, 2017 3:39 am #

    What sort of weapons do you prefer for Intercessors? The Heavy Bolt Rifle seems like it could do some work, but I don’t have a ton of experience with them in different configurations, so I’m curious what you prefer.

    • Shas’O December 19, 2017 7:07 am #

      On a similar note, what do you like to give hellblasters?

      • Reecius December 19, 2017 9:46 am #

        Typically, I prefer the basic plasma weapon but having one with the heavy weapon to hold the backfield isn’t a bad idea, either.

    • Calgar December 19, 2017 9:21 am #

      I have used the heavy bolt rifles, and I really like them. That -2 ap is great, but since they are heavy it makes the unit very static. They are great for holding back field objectives since they have a really good range.

      • Reecius December 19, 2017 9:29 am #

        Yeah, that is where they excel. Same with Hellblasters with Heavy Plasma Incinerators in that roll.

    • Reecius December 19, 2017 9:45 am #

      I prefer the basic issue weapon, personally. I think it is the best mix of range and power.

    • Adam Vollrath December 19, 2017 10:08 am #

      I think the other options for Intercessors and Hellblasters are all over-priced compared to the Rapid Fire cost of 0. If all of the other options were also 0, then you might see them used, but they just can’t compete with free and Rapid Fire.

  3. GhostValley December 19, 2017 5:40 am #

    If you guys have the model, there is the birthday captain with plasma pistol and power fist – not too many points.

    It would be nice if you waited to do the Blood Angels as I think they need wait until you have more Reivers in the list – I’ve also found the heavy incinerators to work well parked in cover with the captain, lieutenant, and ancient as dedicated tank busting

    • Yakhunter December 19, 2017 6:50 am #

      I agree, I think you need to at least have a full squad or multiple 5s of Reivers to get return on investment with BA. I like Raven Guard as a first option, good all around army with a chapter tactic and stratagem that make up a bit for the early list’s mobility issues.

      • Reecius December 19, 2017 9:49 am #

        Yeah, I have no doubt the army will expand pretty quickly as we find what works best with various chapters.

        Reivers are just too cool for me, so with BA I am sure I will jump up the numbers on those guys!

    • Reecius December 19, 2017 9:50 am #

      I will see if I can get my hands on one, as I agree, that will be super good. Plus, you could give him the Crimson Fists relic power fist, too!

      • GhostValley December 19, 2017 10:33 am #

        Happy to donate mine if he gets a free paint job out of the deal 😉

  4. Draaen December 19, 2017 6:45 am #

    Really looking forward to see how this progresses and your write ups on how to best use these guys. It would be the most in depth look into the primaris units that I’ve seen so far which is pretty cool. I am a big fan of my intercessors and I think the aggressors will be quite good in tandem with the intercessors. The inceptors I think will find a nice place in this list as they are the only deep striking primaris unit and I think have had their points adjusted down to the point where they are worth taking.

    Just avoid grav spam like the plague lol.

    • Reecius December 19, 2017 9:52 am #

      Yeah, lol, no kidding. Grav wrecks Primaris Marines, I didn’t even think about that. Luckily though, you don’t see it as often these days.

      And yeah, agree. I think it will be very fun and informative to really dig in to the army and see what it does well and what it does poorly based on real experience and not just theoryhammer.

      • Dakkath December 19, 2017 10:10 pm #

        Grav and Plasma both wreck primaris, and we all know which one is more plentiful these pays.

  5. Ytook December 19, 2017 7:22 am #

    I’ve been playing with a lascannon Repulsor transporting 5 flamer aggressors in my Salamanders army and I love it. It’s a more shooty land raider that can hide and jump over blocking scenery/screens, is very difficult to stop from shooting and delivers 10 +1 wound flamers that can then charge with a bunch of power fist attacks.

    My group is relatively casual, we use pretty dense scenery and it’s a biiiiiig chunk of points so I doubt it’ll make it in a competitive setting but I think the Repulsor could be great if it was a bit cheaper.

    • Reecius December 19, 2017 9:53 am #

      I think if you use proper terrain coverage it could totally work. The game is just so much more fun when you play with dense terrain, IMO.

      • Dakkath December 19, 2017 10:13 pm #

        Reece, would you say that 8th ed games would be best set up as if you were going to play City Fight, even if you’re not using that game type?

  6. Tfla803 December 19, 2017 7:59 am #

    I think this a great idea, and also can’t wait to see how this progresses.

    Are you guys willing to expand on this idea in the future with other armies? I think this type of article would be very popular.

    • Reecius December 19, 2017 9:53 am #

      yeah, totally. If this turns out to be a hit (which it already feels like it will be) then we can apply the same template to other armies. It would be fun and informative.

  7. AlphaDevilinAK December 19, 2017 10:00 am #

    Morning Reese,

    So as I tweeted at you on Sunday I have been playing Primaris only since 8th dropped. I am sitting at about 4100 of primaris only SMs for a specifically fluffy reason. I fell in love with them Immediately for their appearance. I am currently sitting at a record of 9w/4L/1T, including placing top half of the Battle Zone Ursa Tournament. Your assessment of the units are pretty much straight on. Hell blasters are the second best unit available to them. Agressors are a highly underrated unit, if they were an objective secured choice, they would be the best, a group of 3-5 with gatling staying still puts out 60 shots in to over watch, with a T5 makes them great back line defense. Reivers have always under performed for me. The Redempor really needs an Invuln save to actually be worth the points for what it is.(however the fist is amazing in CC).

    The Repulsor fully kitted to 350 pts is hands down the best unit they have available to them IMHO. They have massive fire power capabilities. Can carry your valuable units safely across the field and shrug off most shots. (if someone charges you with multiple units however and fails all their charges, the sheer amount of dice you roll for OW may put you in the running for being a Slow Player)

    My preferred style of tournament play is to run intercessors, Captain in Gravis, LTS and Ancients. Sprinkle in 2-4 repulsors, and fill remaining gaps with Redemptors.

  8. Ryan December 19, 2017 10:08 am #

    I am excited to see this as I run an all primaris army myself!

  9. Adam Vollrath December 19, 2017 10:11 am #

    I agree the Fly keyword is the best thing about the Repulsor. In general the Fly keyword is under-priced across 8th edition.

  10. Banglesprout December 19, 2017 11:09 am #

    This is such a cool series, really looking fowards to seeing or hearing about some battle reports!

    Looks like the list has *tons* of dakka for mowing down hordes – I would love to see it face some of the Tyranid lists you’ve played recently.

    Are you worried that it’ll struggle against high toughness / save stuff? For example I’m not sure how it would deal the the Sons of Horus dreadnought army that played recently…

  11. Kingsley December 19, 2017 1:53 pm #

    I think the Iron Hands may be an underrated gem here. Their 6+ FNP gives you significantly increased resilience against two-damage weapons, which are probably Primaris Marines’ biggest weakness. Further, the unique stratagem works great with the Redemptor Dreadnought.

    • Reecius December 19, 2017 2:28 pm #

      Yeah, good point on that. The odds of rolling a single 6 on 2D6 is 11/36 or 31%. So, yeah, it would be quite helpful in that context.

  12. Finklelord December 19, 2017 3:16 pm #

    I voted for Iron hands for two simple reasons:

    1. I am a horrible person

    2. Of all the units available I think the Iron Hands CT benefits models with multiple wounds. Plus they can soak up more damage from multi damage weapons.

    • Reecius December 19, 2017 4:31 pm #

      I think it is a good choice, honestly.

      • Finklelord December 19, 2017 5:19 pm #

        The only testing I have done with Primaris Marines have been two 5 man Hellblaster squads, an Ancient, Captain, and Lieutenant all trundling forward. That is a hard mob to chew through.

  13. GT December 19, 2017 6:16 pm #

    I voted for Black Templars, because I love that Chapter, and I feel like they get no love. That said, I don’t see how they would well with Primaris. None of these units aside from Reivers want to be in close combat.

    • Beau December 20, 2017 1:45 pm #

      Precisely why I chose black Templar. I want to make a reiver army supported by 3 gmndk, draigo, voldus, and a tough elite choice.

      • Reecius December 20, 2017 2:11 pm #

        That sounds like a super fun army.

  14. Dr Zaius December 21, 2017 2:51 pm #

    Deathwatch can also use primaris, but they don’t make the cut

Leave a Reply