Mike’s Primaris Project Part 6- Strengths and Weaknesses

Hi everyone, Michael here with the next part of my Primaris Project. This time, I’m taking a look at the perceived strengths and weaknesses of an all Primaris army. For more reviews and analyses, check out the Tactics Corner.

Since the release of the Primaris Space Marines, many players have been adding these new forces to their army to varying degrees of success. Ever late to jump on the bandwagon, I’m putting together an all Primaris army to add to my Dark Angels force.

Before I play my first game with the all Primaris army, I wanted to take a look at the force and see what I think are the strengths and weaknesses of the force. Once I start getting a few games played and expand the force, I can see if these initial thoughts are adjusted based on my experiences, or if there are still issues to be overcome with the army.

At the moment, my current forces that are painted up consist of:

  • Master (Captain) in Gravis armour
  • 2 Primaris Lieutenants
  • Primaris Ancient
  • 3 Squads of Intercessors
  • 1 squad of Reivers
  • 1 squad of Inceptors (Assault Bolters)
  • 1 squad of Hellblasters
  • Repulsor
  • Redemptor Dreadnought (Onslaught Gatling Cannon)

This is a basic starter force, mostly the contents of the Dark Imperium boxed set and a few of the “easy to build” Primaris units. I figure this will be a basic starting point for many players who are setting out to start a Primaris army. I will mostly focus my thoughts on the above units, as these are the ones I will be using initially. I am planning to add some Shadowspear units to the army in time, as these may help alleviate some of the issues with the force.

I’m going to go through some key aspects of an army and where I think the Primaris Marines will factor into these sections.


An effective army needs to have some degree of mobility on the tabletop, either for going after objectives or getting into range of the enemy army to cause more effective damage.

My initial impression is that an all Primaris army will have limited mobility in games. As of writing, Primaris Marines only have access to a single transport vehicle; the Repulsor. This is not exactly a cost effective transport option. Indeed, many of the successful tournament armies using the Repulsor don’t appear to use it in this fashion at all, preferring to act as a gunboat for the army when backed up by Guilliman.

As a result of this, most Primaris units are limited in how far they will be able to move around the board to grab objectives and secure board control. In my initial games, I will probably need to rely on the Reavers and Inceptors for having mobility on the board to go after objective and enemy units.

In time, some of the new Vanguard units may help with this, either by allowing them to Infiltrate to get closer to the enemy army, or using their jump ability to get around the board faster.


An effective army also needs a good measure of durability, either through tough units that the enemy finds difficult to destroy, or simply having so many bodies as to soak up the firepower of your opponent.

I think an all Primaris army will lie somewhere inbetween. The basic Intercessor has 2 wounds each, making him twice as hard to kill as a regular Space Marine (at least, in theory). Coupled with a 3+ save, a unit of Intercessors in cover can be quite hard to shift with small arms fire or by basic combat units.

One area where the army may suffer is a lack of invulnerable saves. With the exception of a few characters, most Primaris units do not have access to any sort of invulnerable save. This makes them very susceptible to high AP, multi-damage weapons. There is an abundance of 2 damage weaponry in the game with sufficient rates of fire that the extra wound of the Primaris Marines means little.

It’ll be interesting to see how the force performs against a variety of opponents and weapon types.



One of the benefits of the Primaris Marines is the increased range and AP of their basic weaponry, compared to standard Space Marines.

Thanks to the Bolter Discipline rules and Dark Angels Chapter Tactics, if a unit remains stationary, they will get to fire two shots with their Bolt Rifles and re-rolling 1’s to hit. This should give the backfield units in the army some decent firepower with increased accuracy.

One area where the army may suffer is lack of anti-tank options. In the basic Primaris force, only the Hellblasters and Repulsor can take on this role with any real damage output. These are expensive units that need to get close to the enemy army to fire at full effect.

The army excels at S4 and S5, AP-1 firepower, with the Intercessors, Inceptors and the Redemptor Dreadnought. Weakly armoured infantry and even power armour will probably have to fear from the firepower of most Primaris units.


Morale can be a big factor in deciding victory in battles.

The Dark Angels get the benefits of Grim Resolve, meaning that they cannot lose more than one model due to a failed morale test. This allows you to field larger units of Primaris Marines than normal, with less chance of losing many models to morale. This has the benefit of maximising the effect of stratagems and abilities played on the unit.

Added to ATSKNF, the Dark Angels have little to fear from morale issues on the tabletop.


An all-Primaris army has a number of strengths and key weaknesses that will need to be overcome to in order to get the most out of the army. I am looking forward to seeing how they will perform on the tabletop in my games.

Any tips out there for making the most of the army?

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




About Michael Corr

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

2 Responses to “Mike’s Primaris Project Part 6- Strengths and Weaknesses”

  1. Cavalier July 11, 2019 4:16 pm #

    Great intro to strengths and weaknesses of the Primaris. I just got my first lot of Primaris from Wake the Dead and intended on starting a Dark Angels arms so I really look forward to following along. I love the anti-infantry the army packs which is a great foundation but anti-tank is a major concern… so hopefully some work arounds can be found. Anyway great stuff looking forward to more!

    • Michael Corr July 12, 2019 7:57 am #

      Cheers Cavalier! I’ve had a couple of games with the army so far. They are a lot of fun to play, but are a tough challenge at the moment. I think I’ll be adding some of the Shadowspear units very soon, as these should alleviate some of the problems that I’ve been having.

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