Reecius’ NOVA Open Tournament Report Part 1: The List and How it Works

Hey everyone, Reecius here to recount the fun I had playing pure Ultramarine Space Marines and ending up in the top bracket and 15th place at the NOVA Open 40k Championships event.

I have been getting a LOT of emails asking for my list and how it works. I totally get it as Space Marines are an army nearly everyone has and seeing them do well in a competitive setting is enticing. IIRC, my army was one of two armies that was purely a single faction in the top bracket, too. So, it can be done!

Why the switch to Ultramarines? I prefer to play my Raptors with Lias Issodon but at NOVA they required you to have the actual Forge World model to use a Forge World unit (which is totally reasonable). Lias doesn’t have a model though so that makes it tough to do, haha. Also, with the changes to the way reserves work my old list just doesn’t really function as I have too much Power Level off of the table and not being able to drop outside of my deployment zone on turn 1 was a bit too restrictive. Switching to Ultramarines means I don’t get Lias’ amazing ability to deep-strike himself and 3 other units but does give me the awesome ability to leave combat and still shoot (at -1) and of course, the incredible Ultramarines support Characters including the inimitable Bobby G. People get caught off guard by the leave combat and still shoot rule all the dang time. In so many games it has been instrumental.

Here’s the list:

Ultramarines Brigade

  • Tigurius
  • Telion
  • Captain with Jump Pack, Storm Shield and Thunder Hammer
  • Scouts x 5: Bolters
  • Scouts x 5: Bolters
  • Scouts x 5: Bolters
  • Scouts x 5: Sniper Rifles
  • Scouts x 5: Sniper Rifles
  • Scouts x 5: Sniper Rifles
  • Apothecary
  • Primaris Ancient with Relic Banner (Warlord)
  • Company Champion
  • Sternguard x 10: Special Issue Bolters
  • Scout Bikers x 3: Storm Bolter on Sarge
  • Scout Bikers x 3: Storm Bolter on Sarge
  • Scout Bikers x 3: Storm Bolter on Sarge
  • Devastator Squad x 5: Cherub, Heavy Bolter x 2
  • Devastator Squad x 5: Cherub, Heavy Bolter x 2
  • Devastator Squad x 5: Cherub, Heavy Bolter, Missile Launcher
  • Bobby G


So how does it work? It’s fairly straightforward, actually. It relies on dealing a high number of mortal wounds at long range through the Snipers who force your opponent to keep their characters hidden, and utilizing Hellfire Shells and Flakk Missiles + Cherubs from the Dev squads. With Bobby G, they are very deadly. That potent offense plus the banner to keep you shooting even in death plus the Apothecary to heal characters and bring back key models provides a nice little combo. I also have a lot of redundancy in multiples of each critical unit, a LOT of shots at mid to close range which again, with Bobby G are just deadly to light units, and decent melee punch with all of the characters and weight of bodies with re-rolls available to me.

Many folks have assumed that this is a static gunline army and that isn’t entirely true. Typically the way the army plays is to create a fire base with Bobby G and the shooty elements of the list but I find by turn 3-4–sometimes as early as turn 2–I am playing very aggressively with a portion of my list. With the full re-roll aura from Bobby G you can move and shoot reliably, particularly with Telion giving a unit of Scouts +1 to hit and and Devs having the Signum. You don’t have to get stuck in the mindset that this is a set-piece army as you end up playing with half a deck of cards.

The key to making the list work is to think ahead as to where you want the units not only to be for the opening salvos of the game but also where you want them to be mid-game and endgame. You have to keep an eye on the mission objectives and not just think about shooting your opponent to bits or you may end up losing the game while winning the fight.

Anyone who has read any of my Space Marines articles also knows how highly I value Scouts and I am going to reiterate that point: Scouts are one of the most useful units in the game. They’re just fantastic and critical to this lists’ functionality. In testing I was using 30 Sniper Scouts and while the increased damage output was nice, I often found that it was difficult to actually get that many units + the Devs in Bobby G’s aura and to also see the enemy. It was a bit of a cluster F. 15 still gives you seriously deadly Mortal Wound output. With Bobby G they love shooting things that are T7 or T8+ as it gives them even more opportunities to fish for 6’s on the wound roll. They are very effective against any target in the game from light infantry to Characters to the heaviest tanks (which is a bit silly, but hey).

I also found myself being left open to deep-strikers and infiltrators coming in and swarming me. So, I swapped out to 15 Sniper Scouts for 15 Bolter Scouts and in every single game felt it was the better choice. The Bolter Scouts allow you to zone out a huge chunk of the table to keep things like Smash Captains using On Wings of Fire, Tzaangors, Death Company, Cult Ambush Cultists, etc. from getting the drop on you. They also often end up being your best objective grabbing units which is critical to actually winning games.

The Dev Squads provide a lot of the heavy hitting power. The key is the combination of Hellfire Shells/Flakk Missile strats + the Cherub and Signum. These form a very potent offensive punch that can overcome nearly any defenses. In my previous games with this army I found I could really struggle with very durable units like Magnus, etc. that don’t worry too much about normal weapons like Las Cannon, etc. The ability to use your Cherub and fire 2d3 Mortal Wounds at a unit hitting on 2’s with a re-roll means you have a 97% chance of inflicting the damage on them at 36″ or 48″ range. It’s very deadly. If the unit has the Fly keyword, you are hitting them with 4d3 Mortal Wounds on the first turn. That takes a big chunk out of anything and will outright kill things like Custodes Jet Bike Captains, particularly when combined with the Snipers who between them can whittle down even a Knight or Primarch in short order. The reason I take only 2 heavy weapons in the units is because I am not super concerned with the damage output of the regular heavy weapons so much (although it is considerable) as I am with spitting Mortal Wounds out. So, I leave two of the Marines in the unit to be bullet catchers and give them some ablative wounds.

The other part of this combo is the interplay between the Apothecary and Primaris Ancient (I took the Primaris version for the extra wound to help make him more resilient to Shieldbreaker Missiles, Snipers, Psychic Powers, etc.) with the shooting units, particularly the Devs. The Ancient with the relic banner allows units to shoot or punch before dying on a 3+. The Apotehcary can heal a unit (which is great for mitigating the stupid Shieldbreaker Missile) but also to bring models in a unit back to life. So, as your units get shot (and the Dev squads are often the first to get targeted) you can take a chance on pulling one of the Heavy Bolters (as this is why you take an extra per unit) in the hopes that he fires before dying with the banner. Then, you pop a Hellfire Shell to do more mortal wounds and if you get a little luck, bring him back to life in your turn with the Apothecary to do it all over again. When it works it is really strong and increases your damage output significantly. Beyond that, the Apothecary is just amazing. In games where he wasn’t babysitting Devs and Sniper Scouts, he’d go up with the melee characters and heal them. My Smash Captain was like, best bros with the Apothecary as because of him I’d often get another turn or two out of my Captain before he bit it. I would honestly consider taking 2 of them, they’re that useful. Lastly, I also opted to make the Ancient my Warlord to give me flexibility on Warlord Traits. Losing 3 CP by not having Bobby G as the Warlord was a tough choice, but getting to take some of the other, very useful Warlord Traits and not having to worry about Bobby G getting killed and giving up points was worth the exchange for me.

Tigurius is worth his weight in gold. Absolutely fantastic. His ability to re-roll failed psychic checks makes him very reliable even with powers like Null Zone which can be very unreliable otherwise. While Null Zone can be a game winning power (which I will explain as we go) the bread and butter abilities I found were Might of Heroes, Veil of Time and if I found myself facing a Smite Spam army: Psychic Fortress. Might of Heroes on Smash Captain turns him into a super saiyan. We’ll go over that a bit more in his section but suffice it to say, it’s very strong. Veil of Time was surprisingly good in test games. Re-roll charges is awesome of course but the always strikes first ability was fantastic in ongoing fights. I found that once a scrum developed and you found yourself in multi-turn combats it was awesome. I basically got a free interrupt every turn and if I actually used an interrupt was able to really disrupt my opponent’s fight phase and not only increase the damage I did to them but also reduce the damage I took as I killed enemy models before they got to swing even on turns where they charged me. The ability to take 3 powers and cast two was so good, as it gave you loads of flexibility. On top of this, you also get to give a unit -1 to be hit in your opponent’s turn which is very strong. Tiggy is just an all-star and gets 5 out of 5 stars from me.

Telion is a great 3rd HQ to fill out that Brigade for not too many points. I often used him to shoot last after the Devs and Snipers to finish things off and he was great in that roll. The +1 to hit for a unit of Snipers was obviously excellent, too.

Smash Captain needs little explanation and I have written extensively about him in the past so I will go with the cliff notes version, here. The Space Marines version lacks some of the offensive punch of the ever popular Blood Angels version but he’s no slouch. The real key is the Shield Eternal, which means he takes half damage from attacks. That’s huge. When fighting 2 damage melee characters like a Daemon Prince with Malefic Claws, they have to successfully wound him 5 times to kill him. The odds of that hapenning before he pulverizes them with his hammer are very low. When fighting another Smash Captain, they have to successfully wound him 3 times to take him out vs. the two he has to get through on them. Also, it means he cannot be one-shotted by a Shieldbreaker missile. As noted above, he also greatly benefits from psychic support and the Apothecary. Might of Heroes jacks him up to strength 10 with 5 attacks and toughness 5. That gives him offensive output not far behind the Blood Angels version but it means his defense is much higher, giving him more longevity. Psychic Fortress gives him defense against Smite spam style armies too, which is huge as that is his biggest weakness. I could go on but I will leave it at this: in the support network of the rest of the army, this guy is an absolute stud and I wouldn’t play without him. The only thing I am considering doing is experimenting with a Bike Captain with the Iron Resolve Warlord Trait as that means he would have 7 wounds at T5 with a 3++ taking half damage, a 6+++ FnP and an Apothecary buddy to heal him. That is a beast of a model!

Bobby G doesn’t require a lot of preamble. He’s monstrously powerful and the best force multiplier in the game. He’s also worth every single point to those who think he’s too expensive, lol. I never played him in competitive games prior to this and I was blown away by his power when actually using him and not just playing against him. So incredibly good. I found him put to best use by hanging out for a few turns to make my shooting tremendously more effective and then to go up the field and chop anything in front of him to bits. He’s a force of nature and often I would find that even if I was in a tough spot simply sending him into the jaws of my opponent’s army would see me through. Last point to mention: he loves Tiggy like a fat kid loves cake, lol. All of the psychic buffs listed above are just as awesome for Bobby G.

The Company Champion was an add to the list as I (mistakenly) planned on using him as the Engineer. Engineers are a mission specific unit in the NOVA format that get extra points by sitting on objectives. Somehow, I had gotten my hands on an old version of the missions where you could make a Character the Engineer (they loose Character protection when actually engineering). The idea had been to give him the Shield Eternal if he needed it and be very hard to kill while he earns the extra points. Turns out in the version of the missions we played at NOVA that wasn’t possible so oops on my part. He ended up being fairly useful despite not being able to do what I wanted him to do, though. I wouldn’t take him again but would replace him with another Apothecary, or more Heavy Weapons in the Dev Squads, Honour Guard to protect Characters or pumping up a unit of Sniper Scouts to a larger size to better leverage Telion’s buff.

Scout Bikers are one of the best units in the Space Marine book, without question. They pack in an absurd amount of firepower on a mobile, cheap unit. At 12″ the unit (with the extra Storm Bolter on Sarge) pumps out 22 shots! With Bobby G backing their play, that is savage vs. light infantry. Plus, they have 7 attacks in melee, too. They also serves excellently as a late game screen for Bobby G as they can shoot up the table in front of him for that critical turn where he’s exposed to save him from getting shot, allowing him to get stuck in to the enemy lines. With a 16″ move, decent toughness and tremendous damage output, and a fun strat to dela Mortal Wounds to a unit when they leave combat you’re really missing out if you don’t take them. Plus, the models are rad!

The Sternguard drew the most questions regarding how they function, why I took them, etc. For one, I just love them both from a lore perspective and how mine came out from a painting perspective. However, they’re also quite valuable on the tabletop. The reason being that with their Special Issue Bolters and the Masterful Marksmanship stratagem (+1 to wound with their Special Bolters) they are very potent in shooting. With 22 attacks in melee, they’re no slouches there, either. With all of the various buffs available to them, they pack a punch and the fact that their weapons are 30″ range (15″ double tap) makes them quite scary. They absolutely obliterate light infantry and especially things like Guardsmen, they can just rip through them. If you pop the strat, and shoot two units while in Bobby G’s aura, you will nearly wipe out both units (killing an average of 18 models with their 20 shots). And, if in range to assault, too, will beat the snot out of a 3rd unit of Guardsmen quite easily. They also do significant damage to big targets. Your average T7 vehicle or Monster will be getting wounded on 4’s and at AP-2 will not be getting much of a save. I find that they can go in and take a big chunk out of a unit like an Armiger or something similar, and then finish it off with a salvo from a Dev squad.

Typically I play these guys very aggressively, going up-field to directly engage my opponent. While they tend to get ignored early game as there are other more threatening units on the table, they usually die to the man by turn 4 or so but I find that they have a huge board presence and impact on the game while they last. They are often Bobby G’s vanguard when he inevitably goes up the table. They were admittedly better in my Lias Issodon list as being able to deep-strike was so good but the ability to also leave combat and still shoot as Ultramarines is nothing to sneeze at. I also often found the Apothecary would be resurrecting them as they frequently took casualties first.


Playing the army requires a little forethought to get the most out of it without being outmaneuvered. Deployment is very important. You want to keep your forces as close together initially as possible without severely limiting your board control capabilities. Your specific deployment will vary from game to game based upon whom you are facing but typically you will get the hard hitting shooting units close to the buffing characters in a position with good fields of fire. Just be sure to not to box in the characters that may need to advance like Bobby G, Tiggy, etc. You will often deploy your Bolter Scouts in a picket line and your Scout Bikers in a safe spot but close enough to strike when you need them. The Sternguard will typically be deployed very aggressively.

This is a good example of a typical deployment when facing an army that is going to be coming only to mid-table to engage you. Bobby G is in range of at least 1 model from every shooty unit, the buff characters are safe and close to as many units as possible. The Bolter Scouts are forward to create space and threaten objectives but largely out of LoS as are the Sternguard. Scout Bikers are out of LoS but in a position to jet forward and unleash bolter hell where needed.

Here’s an example of a deployment when facing an army that you know is coming at you. Scouts and Sternguard in forward positions to zone out deep-strike landing zones, and to engage and slow down assault units. Shooty units in a defended position with support Characters, Bobby G in a central location to buff as many units as possible but with a straight shot to hit any enemy units that start to break through the picket. Scout Bikers hanging back in a safe spot to counter where and when needed. I find they’re often most effective when you just do nothing with them for a few turns and then pounce to plug a hole in your lines or to capitalize on a weakness your opponent has left exposed. When they can go in full strength they just obliterate things, often leaving little to nothing to hit them back.

These deployments allow you to get maximum impact out of your multitude of buffs while also looking to win the objective game. It’s a bit of a balancing act but with repetitions it all comes together quite nicely and you get a feel for when to play aggressively and when to play defensively based on mission, your opponent and terrain.

Next up we’ll go over the actual games and look at what the list did well and what it was weak at as well as the plays I made that were solid and where I made mistakes. Thanks for reading!


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About Reecius

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

62 Responses to “Reecius’ NOVA Open Tournament Report Part 1: The List and How it Works”

  1. rivercity_gaming September 20, 2018 2:31 pm #

    Didn’t think I’d expand my vocab while reading list analysis, but thank you!

    Really descriptive article that should start some discussion.

    • Reecius September 20, 2018 3:17 pm #

      Haha, well, glad you learned something and enjoyed the article =)

      • HighlandPhoenix September 27, 2018 8:04 am #

        Hi Reecius,

        Great article! For the less experienced can you clarify how you can do so many mortal wounds in a turn with the Devs? I thought you could only pop the Hellfire and Flakk strats once per phase, for 2d3 mortal wounds max, rather than the 3d4 mortal wounds if the enemy unit has fly. Are you saying the Cherub removal shots carry over the strat abilities for the 4d3 per that turn, and that is the way its played and accepted by top level judges?

        Many thanks! This article and list alone have almost made this Blood Angels fanboy want to play Smurfs!…almost…

        • Reecius September 27, 2018 12:35 pm #

          Hey, glad you liked it!

          The FAQ answers that one for you, friend. If you use the strat and pop the cherub you get to use the strat twice, essentially, for that turn. So you could potentially do 4d3 Mortal Wounds in 1 turn if you use Flakk Missile and Hellfire Shells. However, you only do it once per unit per turn per game. So it isn’t something you can count on for the entire game but IME the Devs often don’t last the game anyway so it’s all good. What it does is give you the ability to do a LOT of damage to a high value target early game, allowing you to take it out with normal units vastly easier.

  2. Ghostvalley September 20, 2018 3:53 pm #

    Thanks Reece. I was rooting for you at Nova. I have had a ton of fun and success with my Salamanders ( not pure as I use 3 culexus) and the devs with the cherub and the strats always raise some eyebrows.

    Keep fighting the good fight.

    • Reecius September 20, 2018 5:30 pm #

      Thank you my good man! I have strongly considered Sallies, too. Their character Apothecary (Shen) is awesome and I think a min/maxed army of them with lots of heavy weapons would be really solid.

      • GhostValley September 20, 2018 5:45 pm #

        I had used Shen along side Vulkan and some flamer veterans in a razorback and while the unit never really worked Shen being only 70 odd points really irked opponents – especially with his overcharged plasma that doesent kill him on a 1

        I used Nick N’s list doctor service and he suggested the triple captains, though I changed the one captain to be on bike instead of jump pack and I give him the shield eternal.

        An element of the list (also at his suggestion) that gets a lot of scorn but I find fun and effective is my three 5 man tacs in rhinos. Melta and combi melta and power sword in each and I often put 2 units in one rhino. Double stormbolters and some free reroll hits and wounds for the tacs. They move around quick and often end up being fairly pesky to deal with. But I know…why would anyone ever dream of using tac Marines unless they were just a hopeless fluff bunny?😉

        • Reecius September 21, 2018 5:14 am #

          That’s interesting as I was considering something similar. Lots of 5 strong Tactical Squads with a heavy weapon, special weapon to take advantage of their CTs. Small Dev squads would be really good, too.

          Glad to hear it works for you.

          • Ghostvalley September 21, 2018 7:22 am

            I win more than I lose, which is all I care about.

  3. KingCro September 20, 2018 6:57 pm #

    Awesome write-up!

    I always love your articles Reece. You really show there is a different and viable way to play 40k and not have to bring the same net-lists if you really try!

    I have still been struggling trying to get my pure primaris army to work but articles like this give me hope that I can figure it out one day! Speaking of which, any word on the primaris project series? I was so excited when that series began as it started roughly when I began building my primaris army. I know you guys are very busy but I would love to see some updates with some lists and tactics that you think might work if possible.

    Thanks again, cant wait for part 2!

    • Reecius September 21, 2018 5:11 am #

      Glad you enjoyed it! Yeah, finally we’re finishing that project. We had two artists in a row unable to finish it due to personal stuff so it fell to the back burner and now it’s finally almost done. From there I’ll be running it through the paces.

  4. Mike September 20, 2018 7:42 pm #

    I just won with ultramarines in my first ITC tourney (1750). Tactics from your guys podcast def help me. Main core was lev dread supprted by g man, tigerius and a techmarine, then having 2x stormtalon clean backline units.

    • Reecius September 21, 2018 5:07 am #

      Nice one! Yeah, I’ve seen a number of folks do well with the same elements. The buckeye battle gt was won by a similar list but with repulsors instead.

      Congratz on your victory.

  5. Dakkath September 20, 2018 8:08 pm #

    I look at your list and explanation of how it works, then look at my lists and I think “Yeah, I have no good answer to half of that.”

    • Reecius September 21, 2018 5:08 am #

      It packs quite a punch! It’s deceptively strongwe than the list by itself would indicate.

      • Dakkath September 21, 2018 12:15 pm #

        I play Tau with a focus on battlesuits, so I have to deal with power armor through weight of dice and have no good answer to tough buffing characters or melee threats :/

  6. Kevin Lantz September 20, 2018 9:35 pm #

    Apothecaries are just that good. Unless you have an answer for characters, you will find apothecaries just do a ton of work.

    • Reecius September 21, 2018 8:12 am #

      Yup. They’re such a great tool.

  7. AJShadowhawk September 20, 2018 9:47 pm #

    Awesome write-up, Reece. Your Imperial Soup article from a while back got me started on an AM army of my own, and if I wasn’t already playing Blood Angels and Deathwatch, I’d definitely start an Ultramarines army now. Learned a few things here. Thanks for the explanations.

    As a side-bar, what do you think of using Bobby G in armies other than Codex:SM, like with Blood Angels or Deathwatch? The buffs aren’t as good obviously, but he still provides enough of a punch do you think?

    • Reecius September 21, 2018 5:06 am #

      Glad you liked it! Bobby G is good in any Imperial list, honestly. However, you get maximum mileage out of him with his Ultramarines.

  8. Onzoku September 20, 2018 10:49 pm #

    Hey ,
    Thanks for the great article.

    One question, making your ancient your warlord only cost you 1cp, right?

    With Bobby G you’d have to pay the full 3cp for two relics as they are not from your warlord detachment. But with the ancient you only pay 1cp for the second relic as the first one is free.

    Or am I misunderstanding the Relic rules? (At work and don’t have a codex nearby)

    • Reecius September 21, 2018 5:03 am #

      The first one is free (banner), then I pat 1cp for the shield.

      Making the ancient the warlord is free.

      Glad you liked it!

  9. Schmuvness September 21, 2018 7:01 am #

    I’m so glad you finally finishde your write-up about the list. Was totally looking forward to it.

    I was basically expecting these statements but what really threw me off was that you make the ancient your warlord instead of RG. The 3 Command Points is so damn good but it’s basically even more because of the UM Trait. In an 18 CP list you have mathematically 24 cp to spend as long as your warlord is alive and on the battlefield while you spend them. Of course any uM Character can have that trait but Rg is so tough and hard to kill that i think its very straight forward to make him your WL.
    One plus side of making the ancient the warlord is, that f.e. in round one, when you do not move him you can use the orbital bombardement for some extra MoWos. And because his Banner is so ghigh, you can see many points on the battlefield. Whereas Guilliman probably never wants to stay stationary.

    So what Traits are so good for the ancient? Storm of Fire? I don’t think that in this list its makes so much of a difference to be honest because your shooting comes mostly from MoWos and Sniper Rifles, so Sniper have -1 AP when roling sixes. Is that really better than that many more CP? On the other hand, the Sternguard get up to -3 Ap when roling 5+ with that gem, which is cool but not necessary is it?
    Are there other good traits for the Ancient?

    Concerning Tigurius: He definitely is super good but i like to give him Nullzone, Might of Heroes and Psychic Scourge.
    Especially in this list, when you dont need to cast Nullzone or MoH you want your Libby to spit even more MoWos. So he’s gonna Smite and then Psychic Scourge from 18″ away. Tiggy has the nice little tech of him being Ld9 +1 for being an Ultramarines +1 for the Banner so you roll 11+d6 vs. X+d6, whcih makes it very likey you gonna score an additional d3 MoWos.

    I actually think, that the Honour Guard could be a nice Elites choice for their bodyguard special rule. But only because of the ubiquitous shieldbreaker missile. And i think company vets will do the same for less points. But how is this ruled? they dont tank away d6 dmg do they? they can each just tank one Dmg on a 2+ right? Unlike Tau Drones f.e.

    For the gained points from the Champion i would probably buy one TFC instead of on unit of Devs. That gem is king and its also pretty crucial to be able to shoot units you cannot see off of objectives or just be able to put more wounds on those damned Dark Reapers on the other side of the table. It’s one less Cherubim (unless you finde the points for another Dev Squad) but i think it could be worthwhile.

    And as always, thanks alot for your articles and the healthy discussion.

    • Reecius September 21, 2018 9:19 am #

      Hey, some great ideas! I’ll certainly try some of those. I also was thinking honor guard were a good choice to mitigate the missiles. And, they’re quite good anyway and have 2 wounds so can take a beating.

      The TFC is amazing I agree wholeheartedly. I would have loved to have had one. The strat for it is amazing.

      I will try psychic scourge.

      For the other warlord traits I like storm of fire and iron resolve to make the banner bearer very hard to kill. If not, I can go with the Ultramarines version. I find I don’t really need a ton more CP but making Bobby g the warlord is certainly not a bad choice.

  10. Purple Prose September 21, 2018 7:35 am #

    I’m not a space marine guy at all and don’t own a single model, but your article makes me love them. If there were 50 more players like you showing up regularly at big tournaments, with the creativity to devise an novel, effective list of models they love and the skill to make it work, imagine how fluid the meta would be.

    It sometimes seems the tournament scene is 60% based on fear and expectation, so its great to see a list that can effectively stand against the status quo. It does take a high level of skill, though, and clearly your years of play have given you a very broad insight into the game. Can’t wait to see the rest of the write-up.

    • Reecius September 21, 2018 9:24 am #

      Thanks for the kind words! Yeah, you’re correct. So many players just follow group think. I understand why but I always strive to help people see they can play the game the way they want to and he successful, too.

  11. Mike D. September 21, 2018 8:26 am #

    Where’s the thunder fire cannon?? I thought for sure you would have one of those!

    • Reecius September 21, 2018 9:20 am #

      I couldn’t fit it because I took the stupid champion on mistake, lol. I would habe for sure though, so good.

  12. Matthew M Bennett September 21, 2018 12:45 pm #

    Yeah….but it’s still a space marine army with literally no tac squads.

    Something’s a little broken at the heart of 8th ed, there.

    • WestRider September 21, 2018 6:21 pm #

      It’s not just 8th. Scouts have been almost entirely better than Tacs fo quite some time now.

      • abusepuppy September 24, 2018 10:49 am #

        I mean, all through 5E, 6E, and 7E Tacticals were the preferred choice, since they could hide inside Rhinos and shoot out the top hatch…

  13. Chandler September 21, 2018 5:13 pm #

    I love this list concept. I have been working on a Blood Angels list which is very similar and FAQ proof (hopefully).

    FT Brigade:
    Primaris LT
    2x smash captains

    Bolter scouts
    2x sniper scouts
    3x tacticals

    2x scout bikes

    3x Devs w/ Heavy bolter and ML

    Company ancient
    Sanguinary Novitiate w jump pack (apothecary)
    Company Vets

    Super Heavy Auxiliary
    Knight Gallant house Taranis

    So far its performed very well. Seth for full to hit rerolls. Company vets camp with him to soak the stupid castellan missiles. Apothecary camps to bring back cherubs and Devs and can also use Upon Wings to hop out and heal smash captains.

    The Gallant is to apply forward pressure and he always does work before going out. Usually has Sanctuary and Landstrider. Occasionally will use Ion Bulwark instead if facing off a shoot heavy army with little melee answers.

    I love the list concept you are running here and look forward to reading about how your games broke down.

  14. wusscrusher September 22, 2018 4:36 pm #

    that’s awesome. I’ve been playing a fairly similar list for a while now, albeit not nearly as successfully as you, and everyone has been telling me not to use ultramarines, or suggesting other chapters that are better and ive been sticking with ultras. i knew i was close to finding the right combination to make them competitive and now that you made it so far in the nova open all my buddies have been sending me your list and praising ultramarines again haha. congrats on getting so far in nova open, man!

    • Reecius September 24, 2018 12:18 pm #

      Thanks for the kind words =) Glad you’ve been going well with it, too!

  15. Tapiokas September 25, 2018 3:09 am #

    Admittedly, the list looks great. However, I am examining possible alternatives to the Sternguard.

    I feel that for 180 points, they are a bit too fragile.

    So far, I have been thinking of Eversors and maybe Celestine (?)?

    What else could work, if we weren’t limited to Ultramarines, but only have around 200 points to spend?

  16. Obiss September 26, 2018 8:52 am #

    I’m so glad you posted this! Such a dirth of good tactics content for Space Marines right now, as many of the top players have written them off until recently. I like that you’re going through your game strategy in addition to describing units and roles. Thanks!

  17. Don Tomaso September 26, 2018 11:45 am #


    FANTASTIC reece!!
    I´m so glad. Scouts really work and I almost gave up hope on them. Good job.
    Now on to the fun part that nobody dares touch, and you know I´m going to be mean and realistic again 🙂

    Finally a vanilla..I mean Roboute-army (the other chapters are back at the fluff garage collecting dust) making it into the top 10..I mean15 at a big tournament showcasing the two actually useful units in the entire codex. Scouts and scouts 😛

    “Why the switch to Ultramarines?”

    Just be honest and say what everyone already knows but it too polite to point out, Roboute!
    Rowboat or else you end up in the “top” 200.
    The guy really needs to be nerfed 10 points up “again” and scouts too. Scouts are to good, they actually work.

    “Switching to Ultramarines means I don’t get Lias’ amazing ability to deep-strike himself and 3 other units but does give me the awesome ability to leave combat and still shoot (at -1) and of course, the incredible Ultramarines support Characters including the inimitable Bobby G. People get caught off guard by the leave combat and still shoot rule all the dang time. In so many games it has been instrumental.”

    Yes yes, you get the amazing roboute but wait, there is more..
    Did you know that you really CAN cram in even more adjectives in TWO entire sentences:

    Why leave it at that, where is “breathtaking”, “unreal”, “marvelous”, “stunning aaand “unbelievable”?
    It really does sell more models you know and really reeeally helps whitewash the sad fail that is the SM codex now (bar scouts and rowbote I mean, lets not be dishonest here, lol).

    After all vanill..Rowboute SM lists CAN actually make it into top 15 once in a shockingly rare blue moon, however I dont understand how they are doing it without all the sooo strooong(tm) tacticals and assault squads..with not one but two entire “amazing” and “incredible” flamers each.

    Oh well, all the fun poking you fanboys aside, I wonder if the FAQ or CA will make the remaining 95% of the codex useful. I still wait to actually be able to use my terminators, vindies and cents for something else then paper weights.

    And what codexes were the usual suspects in the NOVA top 10?
    I havent bothered to check, dont want to get depressed again but dont tell me dark eldar, knights, IG, eldar again with a sprinkle of death guard?
    Give me some better news.

    • Ghostvalley September 26, 2018 12:38 pm #

      1/10 trolling. Edgelord 0/10. Use of quotations 3/5

    • Reecius September 26, 2018 1:31 pm #

      Don Tomaso: Regular Marines can’t win, I am da sad! This game is broken!!!!!

      Reecius: I did pretty dang well with regular marines at a Major competitive event.

      Don Tomaso: Doesn’t count because reasons. I am da sad! This game is broken!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Reecius: Stops paying attention to Don Tomaso’s never ending complaining and negativity.

      Morale of the story: some people play 40k and paint models having fun as their hobby, some people whine about it loudly on the internet as their hobby.

      • HighMarshalMorgan September 26, 2018 4:07 pm #

        As much as I love 40k, it is probably the only hobby I have encountered where people are determined to not enjoy their hobby lol.

    • abusepuppy September 26, 2018 3:42 pm #

      I’ve never actually watched someone develop schizophrenia in real time before. It’s… fascinating.

  18. Purple Prose September 26, 2018 7:52 pm #

    How good was this article? Nick Nanavati was inspired after reading it to make his own ultramarines list for the next tournament he’s attending. Not identical, but shares the same critical elements. Nicely done!

    • Reecius September 27, 2018 12:04 pm #

      Hey, that’s pretty cool! Nick’s obviously an outstanding player.

  19. Macragge13 September 27, 2018 7:13 am #

    I’m still not a fan of scout snipers or scout bikers as i got rid of mine as they werent performing and would be targeted right away. I have ran similar list in the past as they do not hold up to knights or fast moving horde armies. Also against very durable armies like nurgle, I’ve noticed this type of list is out classed. I know also it depends on your area metta. I’ve had better luck recently with tactical marines, aggressors and assault marine’s overall.

    • Reecius September 27, 2018 12:32 pm #

      Do what works for you.

      For me though, in a wide range of metas and against a wide range of opponents, Scouts and Scout bikers have been some of the heavy lifters. They’re excellent. However, if they didn’t work for you then they didn’t. I find with the Bikers especially though, if you hang them out there early, they get smoked. Playing them conservatively I get massively more mileage out of them.

      As for Knights, I have really little issue with them with my list. If they come at me, I smash them in melee, if they stay away I can usually shoot them down. I find if you present multiple threats they struggle.

      Nurgle though is no issue at all. I don’t see where you would struggle with them? The Mortal Wound output and just volume of fire plus melee ability for me has made those match-ups not very difficult. Why do you struggle with it? Not an accusation or anything, just genuinely curious.

  20. Macragge13 September 27, 2018 1:40 pm #

    Most people in my area use the drones that provide cover along with other character buffs on nurgle marines and takes a full complement of blight haulers that they keep out of range to take out snipers and devastor units. They also run multiple deamon princes for close combat along with blight luanchers.

    • Reecius September 27, 2018 2:06 pm #

      Huh. I honestly don’t think I would have any issues with a list like that at all. Blight Haulers, huh? If they stay out of range they have a single missile launcher shot each, that isn’t going to do much of anything to an infantry list. Daemon Princes get obliterated by Smash Captain with the Shield (as their Talons do a single wound to him at a time) or Snipers or G Man, etc. This list seriously just crushes Princes. Most of the time my opponents end up hiding them as they die so quickly.

      Well, hey, if that list zinged you then it did. I would seriously bet good money that I could take a list like that 4 out of 5 games though. Not bragging at all, just I play against Death Guard a lot and I don’t have an issue with them with my Marines at all. It’s typically a pretty hefty defeat for them as they struggle to do any damage to me. If they castle up I just win with board control. if they come at me I outshoot them massively.

      • Macragge13 September 27, 2018 3:00 pm #

        I was talking about the mortar tank from a distance. The guy that mainly plays it, has a extremely good grasp of the game and knows what to target and how to move very tactfully. I’m not trying to bash your list, but all list have a weakness and in our area we have a very large range of armies that are played at itc tournaments in the area, so its hard to try and compensate for everything. You do write great articles and enjoy reading them, but one thing I did notice about the list is the heavy reliance on mortal wounds and the possibility of getting first turn and Guilliman can only do so much v6 himself when his meat shields are gone.

  21. Macragge13 September 27, 2018 3:00 pm #

    I was talking about the mortar tank from a distance. The guy that mainly plays it, has a extremely good grasp of the game and knows what to target and how to move very tactfully. I’m not trying to bash your list, but all list have a weakness and in our area we have a very large range of armies that are played at itc tournaments in the area, so its hard to try and compensate for everything. You do write great articles and enjoy reading them, but one thing I did notice about the list is the heavy reliance on mortal wounds and the possibility of getting first turn and Guilliman can only do so much v6 himself when his meat shields are gone.

    • Reecius September 27, 2018 6:38 pm #

      Fair enough, I wasn’t trying to shoot you down or anything. The only point I was driving at is that I don’t think the army is outclassed. And not mine specifically, but Marines in general. They have great tools to leverage if you have a mind to. A lot of units that struggle, too, but I don’t see it as a mismatch they way you may. But, that is fine. We each have our own experiences to draw on to form our opinions.

  22. Keith Gatchalian October 3, 2018 4:18 am #

    Is this list implying that if you pop the hellfire strat that the heavy bolter guy gets to use it twice because of the cherub?

    • Reecius October 3, 2018 7:15 am #

      No implication, stating it directly =)

      It was in the last Space Marine FAQ.

  23. Dave October 12, 2018 1:20 am #

    Hey Reece,

    When is part two coming out mate? Keen to read it.


    • Reecius October 12, 2018 7:38 am #

      I am on vacation at present and will get it written upon returning. SOrry for the delays just been one thing after another.

  24. Lemondish October 29, 2018 9:39 am #

    Was there ever a part 2 of this article series?

    • Reecius October 29, 2018 7:10 pm #

      Not yet. It’s been one thing after another, I just haven’t had the chance to sit down and write it, yet. I will though. Sorry for the delay.

  25. Dashofpepper November 20, 2018 7:32 pm #

    Hey Reece!

    Getting back into 40k; setting aside Xenos for a bit since Space Marines seem to be the anti-bandwagon right now!

    If you’re willing to share, I’d like to know your thoughts on devastators vs. aggressors.

  26. Christopher Gates January 14, 2019 5:06 pm #

    Can ask what you would change or take away to make this into a 1750 list?

    • Reecius January 14, 2019 5:48 pm #

      Hmm, tough question. Not much fat in the list at all, to go down to 1750 you’d probably have to move away from a Brigade and go to two Bats or something similar. It would be a different list, honestly.

      • Christopher Gates January 14, 2019 9:14 pm #

        Thanks for the response. I love the list your explanation makes everything work well. Will be dropping the last cannon devs from my list to make way for a thrid squad. I’m only really interested in the strategems anyways and I’d rather a bolter die then a last cannon.

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