Salamanders Tactics and List Ideas

Hey everyone, Reecius here to talk about some Salamander Space Marines Tactics.

As always, check the Tactics Corner for more informative articles.

Salamanders are one of the coolest chapters in the 40k universe in my opinion. They’re steadfast, loyal, brave, fierce warriors and master artisans. They’ve also got some very cool rules in 8th ed and I think are an underrepresented Chapter in competitive play. Let’s take a look at what makes them special.

The Master Artisans chapter tactics are very strong. They allow you to get a Guilliman style force multiplier on 1-2 models in a unit. This is great as it gets a lot of mileage out of high value, single shot weapons. It also makes melee characters and Dreadnoughts even more reliable in combat. The key to remember is that this is a full re-roll so it is extremely effective, better than the popular Captain+Lieutenant combo so often seen in Marine armies, but applied to a smaller number of units.

To get maximum effect out of this Chapter Tactic, you want as many individual units with single shot, high powered weapons as possible. 5 strong Tactical Marine or Scout Squads with a single heavy weapon/special weapon, or one of the previous and a combi-weapon for example works well. As you are unlikely to miss and/or fail to wound with both weapons at the same time, but are likely to fail some of those roles, having two weapons lean into Master Artisans is a safe bet and will increase the efficiency of the unit significantly. Other units that this compliments well are Dreadnoughts, Multi-Melta Attack Bikes, Devastator Squads (although with Salamanders I often found running 5 strong units with 2-3 weapons worked great and gave me some ablative wounds in the unit as well), etc.

However, in 8th ed you need to be able to clear chaff which Multi Meltas and Las Cannons most assuredly are not good at. To that end you have a very effective stratagem in Flamecraft which gives a unit’s flame weapons +1 to wound (and note, this can be used on any Salamanders unit, not just Infantry or Dreadnoughts). This can be devastating if used on the right weapons and unit.

Obviously, a unit with lots of flamers makes sense and what I have found works quite well is a unit of 3 Land Speeders with double Heavy Flamers (which you can still do thanks to the GW FAQ). In a unit of 3, you’re packing 6 Heavy Flamers and with their special rule are able to move 20″ as opposed to 16″. This means you are highly likely to get in to range to attack on turn 1, hit your opponent with 6d6 auto-hitting attacks that are strength 5 with +1 to wound and AP-1. What combos with this really well is the Storm of Fire Warlord Trait which gives you an additional -1 to your AP on a wound roll of a 6+, which becomes a 5+ with the strat. That gives you a lot of wounds that become AP-2, which is brutal. Against toughness 3 light infantry (which is what most screens are) you will smoke an average of 18 models, 20 if a re-roll wound aura is nearby. Then, you can charge a unit with them as they’re tough enough to usually survive overwatch and then stop an enemy unit from shooting in their turn. In your turn, you bounce out and thanks to the Fly keyword, you can shoot again. Profit. Now, this unit is not cheap though, so bear that in mind. However, if you can get a few rounds of shooting out of them before they pop, they can do a lot of damage.

Aggressors and Assault Centurions are also good choices, as can be Command Squads with all flamers, or Sternguard with Combi-flamers/Heavy Flamers. However, all of those units require some type of delivery mechanism to really function effectively unless you go max units sizes and support them with things like Apothecaries or Shen. So you need to consider how you will get them into range to do their thing. However, that moves well into another of the Slamanders key strengths: Vulkan and Herath Shen.

Vulkan is a stud. His only downfall is that he is on foot, but that aside, he’s got a lot to love. With solid defense at a 2+/3++, and offense with an assault Heavy Flamer, and the Spear of Vulkan at strength 6, AP-1, D3 damage, plus a great buffing aura giving re-rolls of 1 to hit per a normal Captain but also a full to hit and wound re-roll aura for Melta and Flamer weapons within 6″, he’s a tremendous HQ choice. All that at only 154 points and you’re kicking ass. There’s a lot of ways to implement him in your list, and it really just comes down to how you want to play. I have had fun playing him with a unit of Assault Centurions in a Land Raider Redeemer or Crusader with Shen and another support character such as a Company Ancient, Libby or Lieutenant. The only issue with that is it is a lot of eggs in one basket and you are practically begging your opponent to make that their number 1 target priority. It’s a big risk/big reward combo but when it works it hits like a truck.

The fun part is that Herath Shen, the named Salamanders Apothecary HQ choice found in the Forge World space marines index, is solid as can be. For one, he’s only 75pts. For an HQ that is already awesome. For two, he heals a unit D3+1 wounds or resurrects a dead model on a 3+. So as you can see, running him near high value units like Centurions or Aggressors gives you a really safe investment in them. Nearby melee characters also love this as that big heal means unless they died, they are likely to go back up to nearly full wounds which keeps them alive and swinging for a lot longer. He’s also decent in melee with 3 attacks and a strength 4, AP-3, 2 damage Power Sabre. While walking up the table with short ranged units is challenging no matter how you slice it, if you can shoot when you die on a 3+ thanks to the relic banner, and then can be brought back to life on a 3+, you are certainly increasing your odds of success! This works quite well with Centurion Devastators, too despite them not having the Salamanders theme of flame and melta weapons.

While the Salamanders Warlord Trait and Relic are certainly not bad, granting +1 strength and +1 toughness respectively, they’re just not as good as the other options available. As stated, Storm of Fire works very well for them and the Standard of the Emperor Ascendant and/or Shield Eternal are just so dang good.

Also worth noting is the mighty Bray’Arth Ashmantle who, while very expensive, is tough as an old pair of boots! With a combination of toughness 9, a 2+/5++/4+++ save, 8 wounds and the Character keyword, he’s a durable S.o.B. He also packs some solid offense with 4 melee attacks at strength 16, AP-4, D6 damage a pop (and remember, benefiting from the Salamanders’ CTs), as well as Dreadfire Heavy Flamer which is a strength 6, AP-2, 3 Damage heavy flamer and lastly his Burning Wrath 2d6 auto-hitting strength 4, AP 0, 1 damage pistol weapon. At 400pts, that is a hefty price tag but if played well, he can be a lot of fun to use and can pack a punch. And, did we mention he’s tough? If playing him, I’d additionally spring for a Techmarine who with Salamanders CTs and a Servo-Harness is actually pretty decent.

Speaking of Dreadnoughts, Salamanders get a lot of mileage out of them. As they also benefit from Master Artisans I find them to be very efficient. Even just the basic load-out of a Multi-Melta, fist and Storm Bolter can work out great for a low cost. Likewise, a twin Las Cannon is also a good buy due to the increased efficiency Salamanders grant you. Ironclad Dreads are also a solid buy. While the Heavy Flamer/Melta Gun option fits the Salamanders theme best, I have actually found the Hurricane Bolter option to be most effective on the table as it gives you some much needed small arms fire. The toughness 8 of the Ironclad is its real strength though, making it significantly harder to take out (although to be fair, Dreadnoughts are generally pretty squishy if focused on). Salamanders make for a solid Dreadnought army if you are so inclined to go that direction as they don’t need much support from other characters.

Lastly, Captain Pellas Mir’San is another named Salamanders character found in the Forge World index and while not outstanding, certainly isn’t bad. He’s got the standard Captain stats including the re-roll 1’s to hit aura, and a 2+. He additionally gains 2 bonus attacks if within 1″ of an enemy Character. He comes equipped with Cinder Edge, a D3 damage power sword, and Steelsilver, which grants him a bonus attack after making his normal attacks but hits like a Chainsword. That means if near an enemy Character, he rocks 7 attacks which is solid. For firepower, he packs a Combi-flamer. For 130pts, not bad at all, but again, not my first choice.

Bringing it All Together

So how do you bring these elements together in a functional list? Again, you have to ask yourself how you will solve the essential questions to a competitive 8th ed list:

  1. How will you deal with common unit archetypes you are likely to face?
  2. How will you score mission objectives?
  3. How will you prevent your opponent from achieving their objectives?

In this current meta you must plan for screen units. This can take the form of cheap infantry, very tough units or in some cases, transport vehicles. Luckily, Salamanders are extremely well equipped to deal with tough screens (like Bullgryn, Plague Toads, etc.) or vehicles with their efficient firepower. Even the common -1 to his isn’t as bad for them due to the full re-roll their CTs provide them. However, dealing with cheap chaff units like Cultists, Conscripts, etc. can be a bit more challenging for Salamanders if that screen unit is not coming at them. To that effect, I like the Flamer Speeders listed above although as stated, they are certainly not cheap. Ironclad Dreads with Hurricane Bolters are also decent in this roll and get better as you get closer, too. You can also use old trusty units like Scout Bikers or Sternguard with Special Issue Bolters or Stormbolters.

Scoring objectives in a Space Marines army is pretty standard across most Chapters for me. As you all have heard me say a million times: Scouts, Scouts, Scouts. They’re easily top 3 most important units available to you as a pure Space Marine player (if not #1) and if you are not using them you are playing with one arm tied behind your back. They are your screen unit and your primary objective takers as well as opening up CP rich detachments. They’re just an outstanding unit, tactically speaking. For me, every Space Marine list I write, regardless of Chapter, begins with 3 units of Scouts. What you equip them with is up to you, but Bolters/Shotguns/melee all work very well. Sniper Scouts are good fun, but not for a screening roll.

Tactical Marines are my go to for defensively holding objectives and screening out your backfield. Three units of 5 I find to be enough to deny your opponent nearly anywhere to deep-strike/outflank behind you. Plus, being Salamanders, they put out highly accurate long ranged firepower. A las cannon is a solid choice as is a Missile Launcher especially to take advantage of the Flakk Missile strat, as well as what I consider to be a mandatory Heavy Bolter for the Hellfire strat. However, for fun try a unit of 5 with a Multi-Melta and Combi-weapon of your choice (I prefer Combi-plasma). With their re-roll ability they can move up the table and still shoot pretty accurately as a unit that goes for objectives and then holds them. It’s actually quite effective.

For preventing your opponent from achieving their mission objectives you should always take what is for me the essential Thunderfire Cannon. As I’ve stated many times before, this is one of the Space Marine player’s biggest assets. The Tremor Shell strat is simply exceptional. Halving the move, advance and charge distance of an enemy unit (so long as they don’t have the Fly or Titanic keyword) is stupid good. You have to try it in practice to really see how powerful it is. This, like Scouts, should just be in every Space Marines list, IMO. It stalls a key enemy unit preventing them from taking an objective, making a critical charge, getting in the way of other units taking them out of play for a critical turn, etc. while you do what you need to do.

Beyond those basics though, it is really down to you to consider how you will deal with some of these key enemy units and how you will deal damage to your opponent. While Space Marines tend to favor infantry armies generally, Salamanders can make an interesting mechanized list if you want to go that direction. With the index option of a twin Heavy Flamer on the Razorback, and Vulkan’s mega buff, you can play your Salamanders in a Sisters of Battle style army with MSU units packed into transports. Razorbacks are quite good, and if you have some solid units inside to really punish your opponent they can work in tandem with them, clearing infantry and charging into shooty units to take away a shooting phase from them while the Infantry inside hit harder targets with re-roll to hit and wound melta guns (again, thanks to Vulkan). When backed by an Ancient and Shen as described above, you get a lot of mileage out of these types of units as they fire in death and then come back.

List Ideas

Here are a few list ideas to hopefully fire your imagination. As always, I make no claims that these lists are the best or only way to play Salamanders, but present them as ways to get you going with your own Salamanders army and hopefully provide some inspiration! I always try to strike a balance between units I find fun to play, theme and efficiency.

Salamanders Brigade

  • Vulkan He’Stan: 154
  • Shen: 75
  • Captain on Bike: Thunder Hammer, Storm Shield, Twin Bolter: 136 Warlord
  • Lieutenant: Possibly replaced with Culexus or Chaplain.
  • Scouts x 5: 55
  • Scouts x 5: 55
  • Scouts x 5: 55
  • Tactical Squad x 5: L.Cannon: 90
  • Tactical Squad x 5: M.Launcher: 90
  • Tactical Squad x 5: H.Bolter: 75
  • Company Ancient: 63 Relic Banner
  • Aggressors x 6: Flamestorm Gauntlets: 258
  • Aggressors x 6: Flamestorm Gauntlets: 258
  • Attack Bike: M.Melta: 64
  • Attack Bike: M.Melta: 64
  • Attack Bike: M.Melta: 64
  • Thunderfire Cannon: 121
  • Devastator Squad x 5: L.Cannon x 2, Cherub: 120
  • Devastator Squad x 5: L.Cannon x 2, Cherub: 120

That Lieutenant slot gives you some points to play with which for me if I don’t take him, usually means some useful upgrades such as Storm Bolters where appropriate and a Culexus Assassin to help counter some of the nasty psychic powers out there and Smite which even with the recent nerf is still a big threat to Space Marines. For clarity, the Culexus would be in an Auxiliary detachment, lowering your CP by 1. Or, a Chaplain to help get more mileage out of the Aggressors in melee. This is sort of my normal Space Marines play style. It gives you a lot of units, a lot of Command Points, tons of the cool tools you need as a Marine player to leverage your stratagems, loads of ways to take objectives, a good mix of anti-infantry and anti-monster/tank firepower and lots of spaced out weapons to help get the most out of your Salamanders Chapter Tactics. The core to it though is the 12 Aggressors. Now, I went all flamers to make the most of being Salamanders, however, you could easily swap one unit out for Auto Boltstom Gaunlets as they’re very good and cheaper. They’d only be re-rolling 1’s to hit and a single other to hit and wound roll but still, solid. In this configuration I would consider a Lieutenant for more efficiency from them.

However, with 12 of them who can be resurrected, and can also advance and still shoot normally, they are more mobile than they may at first appear. Once in position to double shoot (if that comes about) they can devastate their target. This is a lot more probable to occur on defense where a single unit can put out potentially 24d6 flamer shots on overwatch, lol. That also means they are great for holding objectives if needs be. With Vulkan giving them re-rolls to wound and potentially the Biker Captain giving them the Storm of Fire bonus plus the Flamecraft strat, that can be staggering damage output. Having two units makes it much more likely you will actually get across the table to use them, too. Plus, the little cluster of Aggressors and Characters means you pack a vicious punch in melee, too. The Captain especially can be a beast. You can read this article for a detailed breakdown on his use.

All that said, this is by no means going to be an easy army to play. If you find yourself facing a hardcore shooty army with not much terrain (or one that ignores LoS), you may be in for a rough game. But, with proper terrain and some skilled play, you can do some work with this army and it is both fun and fairly unique, too.

Salamanders Mechanized Army

  • Battalion
  • Vulkan He’Stan: 154
  • Shen: 75
  • Scouts x 5: 55
  • Scouts x 5: 55
  • Scouts x 5: 55
  • Company Ancient: 63 Relic Banner
  • Devastators x 5: Multi-Meltas x  4, Cherub: 178
  • Razorback: Twin Heavy Flamer: 104
  • Battalion
  • Captain on Bike:
  • Thunder Hammer, Storm Shield, Twin Bolter: 136 Warlord
  • Lieutenant
  • Tactical Marines x 5: M.Gun, Combi-melta: 101
  • Razorback: Twin Heavy Flamer: 104
  • Tactical Marines x 5: M-Melta, Combi-melta: 111
  • Razorback: Twin Heavy Flamer: 104
  • Tactical Marines x 5: M-Melta, Combi-melta: 111
  • Razorback: Twin Heavy Flamer: 104
  • Devastators x 5: Multi-Meltas x 4: Cherub: 178
  • Razorback: Twin Heavy Flamer: 104
  • Thunderfire Cannon: 121

So a bit more unique and thematic army, here. You’ve got the Scout screen/objective grabbers and the Thunderfire Cannon to do their normal thing, plus the Biker Captain who cruises around with the Razorbacks to play free safety. The difference though is that you’ve got a lot of flame and melta weapons which is very thematic for Salamanders, and at close range, also very powerful. Multi-meltas don’t typically want to be on the move but with the combination of Vulkan and their CTs, they don’t mind nearly so much and if you can get in close they do a ton of damage, even against the prevalent -1 to hit armies out there right now as you slip in close enough to bypass that protection or your flamers simply auto-hit them. I have found that the extra range they have is incredibly useful for shooting past screen units to hit the things you want to take out. Shen heals the Biker Captain and resurrects models with special and/or heavy weapons that have died who are hopefully shooting again before dying thanks to the Ancient. The army is fairly mobile and hits hard. You’re a bit starved for CP so you will have to use them intelligently to get the most out of the tools at your disposal. What we’ve found though, is that many armies struggle to deal with this many vehicles in the current meta. Not all, but many. And if you play aggressively you can throw many armies off of their game.

Now, again, this is not going to be an army to expect to win a GT with, but it has tons of re-roll auras and some potentially devastating firepower at close range. It leaves some points to customize a bit. With the volume of accurate Melta though, you’d be surprised how effective your shooting phase is once you get close. You just have to focus on clearing screens which hopefully your Razorbacks can do for you.

Hopefully this gives you some inspiration to come up with even better Salamanders lists! What has been working for you Salamanders players out there? Did I miss anything you have found to be effective?

 

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About Reecius

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

36 Responses to “Salamanders Tactics and List Ideas”

  1. Funblade December 28, 2017 10:00 pm #

    Great review!

    I have a request: Although the Ultramarines play style is pretty much discovered by now, an in depth look at them (similar to this guide) would be great. In particular, a guide that doesn’t absolutely require Guilliman would be nice.

    Thanks and keep up the good work!

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 29, 2017 10:52 am #

      Yeah, we’ll take a look at non Bobby G Ultramarines, for sure.

  2. Jmac December 28, 2017 11:06 pm #

    Salamanders are definitely underrated. I’ve been playing them since 8th dropped, but I’ve enjoyed it. So far, I see them being played in two ways, just as your two lists suggest. One that wants to play mid to close range, and the other that plays gunline (which I think is the more efficient way to run them).

    The mid range army (represented in your mechanized list) hits hard and is very deadly. The army stalls quickly though as marines take heavy casualties at that distance. Furthermore, you generally spend quite a bit of points in the delivery system to ensure that super punch hits. I never used the razorbacks, but I could see them working out. I feel going second would cripple you most the time as the razorbacks are high target priority and relatively squishy. My delivery method was split between a stormraven and a drop pod (yes they’re expensive, but it is a guaranteed way to get in range). I had mixed results with the stormraven and was barely justifying it’s inclusion. After CA point hike, it’s been cut from the list.

    Leaving option two, gun line, a much more attractive build. I like dreadnoughts. I run them with a Twin Las and a missile launcher. Between the three shots, I find the CT to be a reliable way to get all three hits. They are generally a target priority, so I make sure to include a lot of dev squads to force hard decisions of what to shoot first. Bonus: if you run the thunderfire cannon, like Reece suggests (and I second the suggestion), the tech marine gunner is great at repairing your dreadnoughts. Usually, the gunner wastes his blessing of omnisah ability because the cannon is out of sight and doesn’t take a lot of damage. I’ve found you can put two dreads about 8″ apart with the cannon in the middle. The gunner can maneuver to either dread to heal, while remaining within 3″ of the cannon.

    I also enjoy running scout bikes, in units of 3, each with a combimelta. They are usually at the front line and in good position to use the melta. The CT increases it’s efficiency and helps justify spending the extra 19 points on it. Plus in a pinch you have a reliable 28″ melta threat range (when you advance), even at -1 to hit.

    The double h. flamer landspeeders something I’ve been tooling around with too. I don’t have the models, so haven’t been able to play test them. I like the idea of incorporating the relic whirlwind in to take advantage of the datalink telemetry stratagem. The land speeders then play a second role that could justify their point cost.

    I like the idea of dev squads with one heavy weapon and a cherub. In turn 1, you will likely get off 12 Las/ML shots with rerolls to hit/wound without any character buffs, for 570 pts. Not sure it’s worth it, but it plays into the salamanders strength.

    Also, I tend to use primaris lieutenants. Their MC stalker bolt rifle is gold with master artisans CT.

    My list is constantly evolving, but for competitive play here’s my two cents. Vulkan is great on paper, but his support role puts him in too close for comfort. Plus, he needs a delivery system. Those two things always deter me from tabling him. The flame stratagem is good, but gimmicky. You need to build your army around it, and it comes with a huge price tag. In my experience, it’s hard to make your points back. MSU is the way to play. However, I’ve been struggling with the ITC missions though. 5 man squads are too easy to wipe. Which has raised an important question for me…

    How does combat squads interact with the ITC secondaries? Say I have three 10 man tac squads, and my opponent chooses reaper. Can I combat squad down to 6 squads of 5 and take away his secondary? I feel like that should be legal, because it comes at a huge disadvantage of less CP for my list.

    • Jmac December 28, 2017 11:08 pm #

      Wow, that was long winded. I apologize 😶

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 29, 2017 12:54 pm #

      Some great points, thanks!

      I agree with a lot of your assessments. MSU is just generally better for Marines and most armies. The ITC missions help mitigate this.

      As for the Reaper, it’s when the game starts that you count the unit size. So if you combat squad, it is two units of 5. Same if you join squads up later in the game. You count the starting unit size. Keeps things simple.

      Vulkan and the Flamecraft strat are difficult to use, you are right. You have to have a way to get in to range which isn’t always easy to do, or even possible in some instances.

      • Jmac December 29, 2017 1:06 pm #

        Right, but aren’t the secondaries are picked before the game starts?

        So say my opponent chooses reaper before the game starts. I now have the tactic of utilizing the combat squad to break my 10 man squads into 5 man squads and mitigate the efficiency of the reaper secondary. Is this allowed?

        • Reecius
          Reecius December 29, 2017 1:15 pm #

          That’s a good point. It just so rarely comes up that you have a 10 strong unit of Marines. I can look at clarifying.

  3. Adam Vollrath December 29, 2017 12:25 am #

    I’d love to see one of these for White Scars outlining which units best leverage their Chapter Tactics: ABC Always Be Charging.

    • Dakkath December 29, 2017 12:46 am #

      Reece did one already, I think. But the short version was: jump packs everywhere. Bikes might be more iconic and a bit faster, but jump packs can ignore terrain and with white scars still shoot and assault after falling out of combat.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 29, 2017 12:56 pm #

      https://www.frontlinegaming.org/2017/10/12/space-marines-white-scars-space-marines-tactics-and-list/

      Although, I was planning on updating it based on more testing. As Dakkath said though, it’s all about Jump Packs with White Scars. They ability to leave combat and still shoot and charge with that combo is just awesome.

      Your Characters do most of the heavy lifting, but you need swarms of Jump Packs to help them get there and to cause disruption.

  4. Rob Butcher December 29, 2017 4:27 am #

    That was a very detailed and informative review. I loved the breakdown and the two lists. I bought my Imperial Fists over fifteen years ago to be a mechanized army but have rarely used them. Yes, they nullify cover but I still can’t get to work when over SM CTs and characters seem so much more powerful.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 29, 2017 12:58 pm #

      Imperial/Crimson Fists certainly do have a hard road but they can get it done. You have to play to their strengths and personally, I like Crimson Fists a lot. They have some cool stuff going on for them, IMO. We will get to a review of them before too long =)

  5. Schmvuness December 29, 2017 4:42 am #

    Thanks so much for the input Reecius. My pleas have been heard!

    I’ve been playing Salamanders here in good old Germany as well since the codex dropped (since 5th edition, lol), and of course i have also found that Devastators this the Standard of the E. A. are a really good choice for them. They also reroll everything when they die separately. I can also vouch for the TH Captain w/ JP and the Librarian with Psychic Fortress and Nullzone. Marines just die to smite so that Libby plus at least one Culexus is mandatory imo.
    Also pretty dang good as Salamanders: Sniper Scouts. That reroll to wound so often results in another 6, helping you kill those pesky support Chars easily. I often play 14 Sniper Scouts (one Heavy Bolter), and they reliably kill the Changeling or a commissar in round one, when postioned well.

    That idea with Heavy Flamer Razorbacks though is new, havent thought of those yet. Very nice! We play without that flowchart here in G. though (because lets face it, it is just absolutely silly) so Double Heavy Flamer Speeders are not possible.
    I think the best method to deliver Vulkan + Falmer Heavy Squads are actually Company Vets with 5 Flamers. they are cheap and they do what they are intended to to, when in a razorback/rhino. Aggressors are just too slow with flamers, imo (as WS with Bolters, they are great though!), so they’d need that Repulsor, which makes it more difficult again to get Vulkan near them, when they disembark, but not impossible. And Assault Cents are just so expensive when in a Raider or Stormraven.
    I would also encourage people to just take normal flamers for clearing screens as opposed to Heavyflamers. You play against chaos with their annoying brimstones so often, where that HF doesnt make any difference.

    Again, lots of thanks for that article Sir Reecius. I will read all these comments as well and i hope we can get a healthy discussion started 🙂

    • Jmac December 29, 2017 7:40 am #

      On the subject of the banner + CT, I’ve reluctantly interpreted it this way:

      The CT states when the unit shoots, it gets reroll. The banner specifically states that the model shoots. Therefore, no reroll when banner gives last dying shot.

      I’m hoping on wrong here, as that is ridiculously good

      • Schmuvness December 29, 2017 9:21 am #

        You are indeed wrong my friend 😉

        Check out the FAQ to Noisemarines. It states that Noisemarines may individually throw a grenade when dying. “Each time a unit shoots one model may throw a grenade.”
        It’s the same thing with Salamanders CT when dying.
        Playing Salamanders Hellblasters or Devastators with the SotEA and constantly supercharging is actually a very effective thing to do 😀

        • Reecius
          Reecius December 29, 2017 12:57 pm #

          Yeah, and then you have Shen bring them back to life =)

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 29, 2017 1:00 pm #

      Glad it was helpful for you and thanks for sharing your insights. it sounds like you have a lot of experience with them, yourself!

  6. GhostValley December 29, 2017 10:30 am #

    Thanks Reece. Great read.

    I may explore some Salamanders builds as I need to find an answer for DG. My Marines are struggling mightily against Mortarion and the Typhus poxwalker/cultists mosh pit. If I take enough shooting to deal with mortarion, the growing untargetable pox-horde gets too close and I lose on objectives (Becuase I’ve castled to target morty) but I find if I try to thin the horde because I get first turn and try to bust it up before the stratagems and psychic powers kick in, then my elite army gets pasted by Morty.

    I may try some of these options here like the multi flamer speeders or the assault out of the raider. But I am feeling like I just don’t have what it takes to comepete with straight Marines right now

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 29, 2017 1:10 pm #

      Morty and Maggie are particularly tough for Marines to deal with, no doubt about it. They have the tools to run through them.

      What I have found works very well to counter them is to hit them with small arms fire as they come in, like bolters and such where you can to put some wounds on them.

      You take the Thunder Hammer Captain (preferably on bike in this instance) with a Culexus to counter the big guys, keeping them in your lines looking for where they will approach. The two of them engage together, the Culexus basing the big guy, the Captain not basing him so that Smites auto target the Culexus and fail to do anything. As the Culexus is hit on a 6+, he’s got good odds of living for a while and helps shut down the other powers. He does what damage he can. Meanwhile, the Captain is hammering them, using Honour the Chapter to swing twice.

      Ideally if you have an Apothecary close, he can heal the captain, too. So long as you can avoid or mitigate mortal wounds, the captain can beat them down baring bad dice. If the big dudes swing on the Captain, you have good odds of tanking the damage and shrugging it off.

      This has worked for me in multiple instances. Typically speaking, so long as you can put some wounds on them before they get to you, your melee characters should finish him off. Sternguard with the Masterful Marksmen strat do work, too, and of course, the Hellfire Round and Flakk Missile are great for taking a bite out of those two as they come in.

      • GhostValley December 29, 2017 2:40 pm #

        That is a nice trick with the culexus – I’m going to use that for sure. Now do you have any advice on how to not miss with the hellfire and flakk missile? Lol. If I’m ever going to reroll a one with a one it is when I use those.

  7. Ytook December 29, 2017 12:11 pm #

    Nice to see my current Salamanders army isn’t too different from your lists. Flamer aggressors with He’stan and Shen are so good, use a Repulsor to ferry mine around with rhinos behind carrying characters and tacticals.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 29, 2017 1:11 pm #

      Yeah, you can totally use the Repulsor, too. The Repuslor is actually a really solid tank, just expensive.

      Glad it is working for you!

      • Ytook December 29, 2017 4:38 pm #

        It is a big investment in one ‘trick’ but the Repulsor is usually tough enough and manoeuvrable enough thanks to Fly to make it work enough that I’m ok when it doesn’t (I’m certainly not aiming to storm the top tables as it were 😛 )

        Something that I’ve found very useful too is using the tremor shells on units close to my Agressors, most foot infantry can’t then move out of range of them even with them not moving next turn, if they charge you (which at halved distance is tricky) then you’re overwatch is devastating and if they pour fire into them to take them out then they’re ignoring other stuff (and those aggressors can be surprisingly tough, particularly as at this point in the game a lot of support has been taken away from their units and the aggressors can be self sustaining).

        Doubt it’s better than stopping objective scoring all in all but when the opportunity arises it’s glorious.

  8. dantejrl December 29, 2017 12:38 pm #

    from now, i call you “master Reecius” because, as salamanders player, you saved my life lol :

    from the 8th, i tested ton of things with slamanders (because i play ONLY salamanders from long time) and i began to loose faith:

    vulkan + devastators multi melta + shen + relic banner + drop pod
    vulkan + 3 x company veterans (each with 3 meltas) + drop pod
    vulkan + assault centurions
    Guilliman with salamanders (my god… -_-)

    i had no funny idea with no “half on the table” problem or resilient units problem.

    Today i tested 3 razorbacks flamers and it worked! (I read your article few hours after).

    I will adapt your first list on my local meta (1500pts) but i have an important question:

    How can you not cancel your chapter tactic if you include an assassin???

    on my codex, i read p194 : all units from a detachment must came from the same chapter to use a chapter tactic.

    One last thing, i will add some deep strike units to threat my opponent (captain + vanguard^^).
    imao, it’s very important to have this things to counter opponents deep strike units and threat deployment ( i hate when my opponent have a “free style deployment lol)

    thank you a lot for your articles 😉

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 29, 2017 1:18 pm #

      Very happy they have helped you, friend =)

      You take the Assassin in an Auxiliary detachment. Sorry, I should have made that clear.

      Yeah, I agree, you have to counter their deep strikers, etc. That is what I use Scouts/Tacticals/Devastators for.

      Good luck!

  9. Vybert December 30, 2017 8:12 pm #

    I enjoyed this article Reece. I haven’t put my salamanders out for 8th yet, playing mostly nids, but have thought a lot about them. I’d love to make flame aggressors work, but all the delivery issues lol. Glad to see shen in your lists too. I love that character

    • Reecius
      Reecius January 2, 2018 3:14 pm #

      Glad you liked it, buddy!

  10. Don Tomaso December 31, 2017 5:45 pm #

    This is strange. I am “THE” salamanders player and I rarely need to spend any points on melee what so ever when making a proper salamanders army.

    In 7th it was a different game when hammernators were so good but in 8th you dont really need them and they are nerfed into an more fragile and extremely situational unit.

    Its fun to change and experiment with alternative lists but there really only is a few versions of one competitive salamander list with the benefit that you dont even need to spend all those points on melee characters and so on.

    • Schmuvness December 31, 2017 7:09 pm #

      Well,tell us about your list.

      • Don Tomaso December 31, 2017 9:14 pm #

        Strange, previous attempt was lost, luckily I copied the post. Here goes again:

        I´we been playing mostly sallies some 15 years now.
        The list above is variable, depending on the points and how fun vs competitive you want it to be.

        The main thing is an effective approach. What are the main things your list needs to be able to handle very well. Hordes and armour. The remaining threats are only variations of this.

        Hordes can be elite infantry, alpha striking chargers, oceans of poxxies etc and armour can be MCs from hell like morty, all-eggs-in-a-spartan-basket or serpent spam.

        So your army needs to be able to handle these well. I divide the list in two parts, taking as much benefit from the salamanders chapter strenghts and trait as possible and make a stationary part and a mobile part.

        The stationary has two-and-a-half jobs, killing armour/transport, providing a screen when needed and holding objectives.

        The mobile part has the job of killing anything on foot, no matter if it is 60 orks or 20 plague marines plus countering deepstrike chargers at the expense of the screen.

        For the stationary part I use:
        Scout squad – only if points allow.
        5 man Las Tac, cher
        5 man Las tac, cher
        5 man Las tac, cher
        5 man dev (2 LC)
        5 man dev (2LC)

        If points allow the devs are made into 7 man (if understrenght squad rules allow) with 3 LC as 3 allows for maximized sal chapter trait. Statistically you hit with 2 and the one that miss gets to reroll – same applies for wounding. 3 LCs per squad is more effective in a sal army then 2 LCs or 1 LC and the more effective army wins half the battle.

        Never, ever take anything other then lascannons, you need to kill enemy transports or armour as efficiently as possible to make your mobile half do its job, thus taking crap like missiles that pay through the roof for a night useless 8ed blast options while granting enemy rhinos a 5+ armour save is not effective.

        HQs:

        Vulkan
        Techmarine with combi flamer (for 2 flamers in total and the ability to make the razors move faster by delaying degration)

        IF points allow, a libby with combi flamer simply for that psy denial ability and smite, nothing else! Remember, your SM powers suck, everyone else including your opponents grandmother has better powers then you and paying points simply to get watered down joke versions of chaos psy powers is not effective. You dont want to play around with psy combos needing placement, timing etc, keep your list as effective as possible and above all else KISS!
        If using a libby in bigger point games in this list take your powers simply as things maybe used IF the flow of the game allows, this list is about only two things, lascannons and mobile flamer hoses.

        Mobile part:

        5 Sternguard, 2 heavy flamers, 3 cf
        5 sternguard, 2 heavy flamers, 3 cf

        Razorback TLHF, sb
        Razorback TLHF, sb
        Razorback TLHF, sb

        Tecchie rides with one squad, vulkan with the other, third razor is empty because you need to unass and hop in to the spare one as your razors get degraded or blown up or use the spare(s) as screens or tiers.

        As points allow, 2000 or more, add another razor-TLHF and another flamer sternguard squad OR a razor with a MM dev inside and another empty flame razor for screen purposes or extra transportation.

        The mobile MM dev is however not effective, I use it when games are more fun then competitive as for those points you can get more lascannon objective holders. Same goes for combimeltas, not as effective as another added lascannon.

        I play against various chaos marines and death guard the most, orks and SM (with blood angels being frequent) second most and a little of all other under that.
        Only thing I refuse to play vs is GKs because they are unplayable atm and thus its as much a waste of time facing GKs as it was facing orks with eldar in 7ed. There is simply no challenge in this when you win while being half asleep.

        Never, ever have I needed any form of melee, even when facing lists that are built around 20-ish terminators or lots of death guard terminator and/or plague marine blobs, not even against fast moving world eater armies. As long as the lascannons can put opponents out of their transports the game is over or I loose due to bad objective draw luck.

        Using mobile, massed heavy flamers/flamers with vulkan in the middle along with the sal strategem melts E V E R Y T H I N G that is on foot. As for the rest of infantry based armies like massed orks/gaunts its not even a challenge.

        Flamers vs anything on foot is easy to math out, as long as flamers are massed they are great, single flamers are a complete waste of points so mass them and use vulkan in the middle.
        Vulkan is not that good unless there are LOTS of flamers surrounding him.

        Do the math yourself. One flamer do 3.5 hits. 6 flamers thus do:
        1 2 3 4 5 6 hits with only 1 2 and 3 being rerolled by vulkan giving a total of 2.5 + 1.5 + 0.5 more hits for every 6 flamer hits.

        Thus 6 flamer uses do:
        Without vulkan: 1+2+3+4+5+6 = 21 hits
        With vulkan: 21 + 2.5 + 1.5 + 0.5 = 25.5 hits.
        Or in other words 25.5 by 6 = 4.25 hits per flamer.
        Vulkan grants you only a measly +0.75 flamer hits per flamer.

        Not that good at all. Ergo LOTS of flamers around vulkan needed for those insane rolls that melt 10 terminators in one go etc.

        The secret is in the wound rerolls, especially heavy flamer rerolls..thus the HF razor and HF sternguard spam.
        The sternguards are there for the sal strategem, this is the one unit that is the most effective in the list (in the whole codex actually) that gives you most bangs for the strategem buck.

        The trick with this setup is to learn how not to get “too many” of your razors tied with deepstrike chargers, learn how to screen against alpha strike and or fast chargers like death company by sacraficing acceptable units. Remember, putting an empty razorback to soak up an inevitable charge for the benefit of deleting whatever the enemy sent the next turn is half the battle won.

        Light flyers die pretty easy to as long as they get into flamer range due to the weird flamer rules.

        Depending on point limit all you need to think about is adding HF-sb razors, flamers inside and spare minmaxed lascannons at the back and if facing alpha strikers use crater terrain and razor screens effectively.

        If facing superior long ranged shooting armies like tau, use as few razors to screen as many of the ones behind and simply go full throttle forward.

        I dont play tournaments where every drop of soup cheese is squeezed out of every list and everyone uses bluberry man and celestine but I do play in a competitive settings where people rarely take “fun” useless units like centurions or whirlwinds etc but pretty much concentrate on the best their codexes offer.

        The most I face are DG lists with lots of drones and heavy infantry and DSing terminators or poxwalker hordes.

        The most challenging games are actually vs strong ork lists for one reason only..massed lootas.
        The second uphill battle is vs mechanized necrons that build lists around quantum shielding but the rarity of those armies still make lascannon spam well worth it. Neither of these opponents strenghts would be offset by a tfc.

        I might try and incorporate a thunderfire but I dont know what is more point efficient, shelling out the insane cost for a TFC AND wasting elsewhere-needed command points every turn simply to make it work (it kills practically nothing, its just a gimmick screwing with the opponents mobility), or sacraficing the odd tac squad or empty razor by just taking that powerful charge.
        I am however still open to be convinced about the tfc, maybe its worth taking for last turn obj grab rushes alone.

        Last game was a fun 2000p one 3 days ago against night lords.
        He used an all eggs in one basked alpha strike army, as I recall it looked something like 3×10 melta raptors, 2×10 terminators, all with combi weapons, some havoks and the rest was cultists. HQs I dont remember. Its was charge and melee oriented.

        My misstake was that I didnt use a “fun” army myself to face that but this setup above. I felt bad for the opponent who got tabled turn 5 (a malestrom mission), I lost less then 1/3 of my army.
        Was a bad one sided game, not fun at all thanks to me wanting to try out some slight variation of the flame list rather then let my opponent have a fun time.
        Pancakes were on me however so all is well and next time I´m afraid I´ll have to wade through massed lootas and teleported boys:P

        Not saying how to play or what is right, you all have your tastes, preferences opinions etc. Just giving my 5 on how I play, what really works for me and w h y and what I face and struggle against or usually walk over.

        The fun part of this hobby is to hear and learn about what other players use that work well and that might be fun to try so if you have some suggestions and the logic behind them then go ahead and shoot!

        Oh, just finished my fw conversion project, was expensive but quite fun, plus I got to use my hobby saw and greenstuff a lot.
        Searchlights are redone into fuel tanks and the rest is mm turret + dread inferno cannon sawn in half + a lot of swearing and chopping my fingers with a knife.

        https://i.imgur.com/hc0vJdQ.jpg

        https://i.imgur.com/iE3vChc.jpg

    • dantejrl January 1, 2018 4:19 pm #

      i respect your “opinion” but what is say without proof can be deny without proof!

      Reece did this article on his experience and results.

      i don’t know read behind your flat affirmations Don and it’s a fact 😉

      • Don Tomaso January 2, 2018 7:22 pm #

        Kinda hard when I dont have my own youtube channel or 40k online store with videos every day huh?
        But as for “proof” that I know my game, well, everything I talked about since the very start of 8th was in fact point cost altered according to what I said in chapter approved despite going against the popular grain. Even “outrageous” things like to expensive terminators or tournament horde problems from the get go along what squads and weapons were wrongly priced.

        😛

        You are perfectly fine believing anything you wish though, as I said, part of what makes this hobby so fun is to listen to others and experiment and find cool things and combos.

  11. Don Tomaso December 31, 2017 9:11 pm #

    I´we been playing mostly sallies some 15 years now.
    The list above is variable, depending on the points and how fun vs competitive you want it to be.

    The main thing is an effective approach. What are the main things your list needs to be able to handle very well. Hordes and armour. The remaining threats are only variations of this.

    Hordes can be elite infantry, alpha striking chargers, oceans of poxxies etc and armour can be MCs from hell like morty, all-eggs-in-a-spartan-basket or serpent spam.

    So your army needs to be able to handle these well. I divide the list in two parts, taking as much benefit from the salamanders chapter strenghts and trait as possible and make a stationary part and a mobile part.

    The stationary has two-and-a-half jobs, killing armour/transport, providing a screen when needed and holding objectives.

    The mobile part has the job of killing anything on foot, no matter if it is 60 orks or 20 plague marines plus countering deepstrike chargers at the expense of the screen.

    For the stationary part I use:
    Scout squad – only if points allow.
    5 man Las Tac, cher
    5 man Las tac, cher
    5 man Las tac, cher
    5 man dev (2 LC)
    5 man dev (2LC)

    If points allow the devs are made into 7 man (if understrenght squad rules allow) with 3 LC as 3 allows for maximized sal chapter trait. Statistically you hit with 2 and the one that miss gets to reroll – same applies for wounding. 3 LCs per squad is more effective in a sal army then 2 LCs or 1 LC and the more effective army wins half the battle.

    Never, ever take anything other then lascannons, you need to kill enemy transports or armour as efficiently as possible to make your mobile half do its job, thus taking crap like missiles that pay through the roof for a night useless 8ed blast options while granting enemy rhinos a 5+ armour save is not effective.

    HQs:

    Vulkan
    Techmarine with combi flamer (for 2 flamers in total and the ability to make the razors move faster by delaying degration)

    IF points allow, a libby with combi flamer simply for that psy denial ability and smite, nothing else! Remember, your SM powers suck, everyone else including your opponents grandmother has better powers then you and paying points simply to get watered down joke versions of chaos psy powers is not effective. You dont want to play around with psy combos needing placement, timing etc, keep your list as effective as possible and above all else KISS!
    If using a libby in bigger point games in this list take your powers simply as things maybe used IF the flow of the game allows, this list is about only two things, lascannons and mobile flamer hoses.

    Mobile part:

    5 Sternguard, 2 heavy flamers, 3 cf
    5 sternguard, 2 heavy flamers, 3 cf

    Razorback TLHF, sb
    Razorback TLHF, sb
    Razorback TLHF, sb

    Tecchie rides with one squad, vulkan with the other, third razor is empty because you need to unass and hop in to the spare one as your razors get degraded or blown up or use the spare(s) as screens or tiers.

    As points allow, 2000 or more, add another razor-TLHF and another flamer sternguard squad OR a razor with a MM dev inside and another empty flame razor for screen purposes or extra transportation.

    The mobile MM dev is however not effective, I use it when games are more fun then competitive as for those points you can get more lascannon objective holders. Same goes for combimeltas, not as effective as another added lascannon.

    I play against various chaos marines and death guard the most, orks and SM (with blood angels being frequent) second most and a little of all other under that.
    Only thing I refuse to play vs is GKs because they are unplayable atm and thus its as much a waste of time facing GKs as it was facing orks with eldar in 7ed. There is simply no challenge in this when you win while being half asleep.

    Never, ever have I needed any form of melee, even when facing lists that are built around 20-ish terminators or lots of death guard terminator and/or plague marine blobs, not even against fast moving world eater armies. As long as the lascannons can put opponents out of their transports the game is over or I loose due to bad objective draw luck.

    Using mobile, massed heavy flamers/flamers with vulkan in the middle along with the sal strategem melts E V E R Y T H I N G that is on foot. As for the rest of infantry based armies like massed orks/gaunts its not even a challenge.

    Flamers vs anything on foot is easy to math out, as long as flamers are massed they are great, single flamers are a complete waste of points so mass them and use vulkan in the middle.
    Vulkan is not that good unless there are LOTS of flamers surrounding him.

    Do the math yourself. One flamer do 3.5 hits. 6 flamers thus do:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 hits with only 1 2 and 3 being rerolled by vulkan giving a total of 2.5 + 1.5 + 0.5 more hits for every 6 flamer hits.

    Thus 6 flamer uses do:
    Without vulkan: 1+2+3+4+5+6 = 21 hits
    With vulkan: 21 + 2.5 + 1.5 + 0.5 = 25.5 hits.
    Or in other words 25.5 by 6 = 4.25 hits per flamer.
    Vulkan grants you only a measly +0.75 flamer hits per flamer.

    Not that good at all. Ergo LOTS of flamers around vulkan needed for those insane rolls that melt 10 terminators in one go etc.

    The secret is in the wound rerolls, especially heavy flamer rerolls..thus the HF razor and HF sternguard spam.
    The sternguards are there for the sal strategem, this is the one unit that is the most effective in the list (in the whole codex actually) that gives you most bangs for the strategem buck.

    The trick with this setup is to learn how not to get “too many” of your razors tied with deepstrike chargers, learn how to screen against alpha strike and or fast chargers like death company by sacraficing acceptable units. Remember, putting an empty razorback to soak up an inevitable charge for the benefit of deleting whatever the enemy sent the next turn is half the battle won.

    Light flyers die pretty easy to as long as they get into flamer range due to the weird flamer rules.

    Depending on point limit all you need to think about is adding HF-sb razors, flamers inside and spare minmaxed lascannons at the back and if facing alpha strikers use crater terrain and razor screens effectively.

    If facing superior long ranged shooting armies like tau, use as few razors to screen as many of the ones behind and simply go full throttle forward.

    I dont play tournaments where every drop of soup cheese is squeezed out of every list and everyone uses bluberry man and celestine but I do play in a competitive settings where people rarely take “fun” useless units like centurions or whirlwinds etc but pretty much concentrate on the best their codexes offer.

    The most I face are DG lists with lots of drones and heavy infantry and DSing terminators or poxwalker hordes.

    The most challenging games are actually vs strong ork lists for one reason only..massed lootas.
    The second uphill battle is vs mechanized necrons that build lists around quantum shielding but the rarity of those armies still make lascannon spam well worth it. Neither of these opponents strenghts would be offset by a tfc.

    I might try and incorporate a thunderfire but I dont know what is more point efficient, shelling out the insane cost for a TFC AND wasting elsewhere-needed command points every turn simply to make it work (it kills practically nothing, its just a gimmick screwing with the opponents mobility), or sacraficing the odd tac squad or empty razor by just taking that powerful charge.
    I am however still open to be convinced about the tfc, maybe its worth taking for last turn obj grab rushes alone.

    Last game was a fun 2000p one 3 days ago against night lords.
    He used an all eggs in one basked alpha strike army, as I recall it looked something like 3×10 melta raptors, 2×10 terminators, all with combi weapons, some havoks and the rest was cultists. HQs I dont remember. Its was charge and melee oriented.

    My misstake was that I didnt use a “fun” army myself to face that but this setup above. I felt bad for the opponent who got tabled turn 5 (a malestrom mission), I lost less then 1/3 of my army.
    Was a bad one sided game, not fun at all thanks to me wanting to try out some slight variation of the flame list rather then let my opponent have a fun time.
    Pancakes were on me however so all is well and next time I´m afraid I´ll have to wade through massed lootas and teleported boys:P

    Not saying how to play or what is right, you all have your tastes, preferences opinions etc. Just giving my 5 on how I play, what really works for me and w h y and what I face and struggle against or usually walk over.

    The fun part of this hobby is to hear and learn about what other players use that work well and that might be fun to try so if you have some suggestions and the logic behind them then go ahead and shoot!

    Oh, just finished my fw conversion project, was expensive but quite fun, plus I got to use my hobby saw and greenstuff a lot.
    Searchlights are redone into fuel tanks and the rest is mm turret + dread inferno cannon sawn in half + a lot of swearing and chopping my fingers with a knife.

    https://i.imgur.com/hc0vJdQ.jpg

    https://i.imgur.com/iE3vChc.jpg

  12. Billinator January 1, 2018 10:07 pm #

    Hi Reese.

    You probably don’t remember me, as I stopped playing 40k back in late-5th edition. (You helped me put together my Mechdar list back then).

    Anyway, while I myself is a heretical Xenos player by heart, I do happen to know a dude that lives and breathes for the BBQ Marines.

    A lot have changed since 5th, so articles like this one is a great help at getting back into the scene of 40k. Interestingly enough to find out that the author is a “known face”.

    My only concern, now, is actually facing one of those lists with my old 5th edition optimized Tyranids.

    Regards,
    Bill’

    • Reecius
      Reecius January 2, 2018 3:16 pm #

      Hey Bill, welcome back!

      And I think you will be fine, Nids are awesomely good, particularly in the ITC Champion’s missions. Salamanders are good but certainly require a bit more skill to use will in a competitive setting.

    • Jural January 2, 2018 7:41 pm #

      You will be OK with the units popular in 5th. As I recall, that was the heyday of Hive Tyrants, Genestealers, Carnifexes, Broodlords, and gaunts?

      You may want to add a bit, but those are all solid in 8th again. But the good news is you can probably pull out your collection, make a build, and play immediately having fun and being pretty competitive.

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