White Scars Codex Review: Stratagems

Hi everyone, Michael here to take a look at the new Stratagems available to the White Scars in their new codex supplement. For more reviews and analyses, check out the Tactics Corner.

White Scars are one of my favourite Space Marine armies. I’ve been a big fan, ever since I saw Paul Sawyer’s amazing White Scars army in the pages of White Dwarf as a teenager. For me, they are a great representation of a Space Marine army, hitting hard and hitting fast. They have suffered a bit in 8th edition, but the new Space Marine codex and supplement has hopefully given them a new lease of life (I hope so, as I have around 5000 pts of White Scars sitting in the cupboard). Today, I will take a look at the new stratagems available for the sons of the Khan.


Here is the rating systems I will be using in the review:

  • Competitive: This is a codex entry (unit, stratagem, item, etc.) that has a place in essentially any competitive list built with this faction regardless of unit choices or is the source of a significant force multiplication effect for other units.
  • EfficientThis is a codex entry that can stand on its own merit in a matched play list but works best when combined up with other units or in specific situations to become very powerful but may not always be seen.
  • SituationalThis is a codex entry that may not pass as competitive on its own merits but can be made effective in a creative list, as a meta-buster, or in a specific combo or scenario where it ratchets up in power to potentially very high strength but otherwise will not be seen very often.

Obviously, most stratagems are Situational as you need specific things to happen to be able to use them. However, this rating does not refer to that, but rather that you will rarely be using the stratagem, even when the right conditions come up to allow you to use it.

Born in the Saddle (1CP)– A Biker unit that advances can still shoot.

Competitive. A solid stratagem for the army that was present in the last codex. There are a number of great stratagems that give bonuses to the unit if they advance, so this is great to keep their shooting power up. Given that White Scars can now advance and still charge, this is a great boost for the Biker units in the army. Works well when combined with Bolter Discipline, to give your Biker units a great deal of mobility and firepower in a single turn.


Butchered Quarry (1CP)– When an enemy unit falls back from a White Scars Infantry or Biker unit, each model can make one attack with a melee weapon if there are no other enemy units within 1″. If the enemy unit is not destroyed, they can fall back. The White Scars unit can then move 3″ as long as they move closer to the enemy unit and not within 1″.

Situational. Not one that I’ll probably use a lot. Only a single attack each limits the utility of the stratagem, so it is pretty useless on characters unless there is a single model left in the enemy unit. Could be useful for weak enemy units such as Guard or Genestealer Cults, to cause more casualties as they flee. Also may be useful for changing the position of your unit in certain circumstances, such as moving in front of a Character to protect them from enemy firepower.


Wind-Swift (2CP)– Use after a White Scars unit moves. The unit can move again. They can only advance if they did not advance as part of the first move. They may not shoot, charge or manifest psychic powers.

Efficient. Very useful for a Biker unit, or other fast moving unit. This gives bikes a move of 34″ in a single turn. Great for grabbing or denying an objective, holding more objectives or getting linebreaker on the last turn. Also useful on turn 1 for move blocking your opponent into their deployment zone. A bit pricey at 2CP, especially as you can’t do anything after it, but could be useful once in a while. Not sure if this would stack with Born in the Saddle to allow you to shoot.


Ride Hard, Ride Fast (1CP)– Use when a White Scars unit advances. Until the start of your next movement phase, the unit is -1 to hit against ranged weapons.

Competitive. A strong stratagem to help keep a unit safer from enemy fire. I can see this being very useful for the army, and will work very well against firepower-heavy armies with low higher BS. Works very well in combination with Swift Rider from the Space Marine book, which gives you a 3+ invulnerable save on Bikes if you advance. So you will be -1 to hit and a 3+ invulnerable on your Biker units for 2CP, making them very durable to enemy firepower. You could combo this with Wind-swift to have a very durable unit that blocks the enemy into their deployment zone and will be hard to shift with firepower, though this tactic is very CP heavy.

Lightning Debarkation (1CP)– Use after a White Scars Transport moves (can’t have Fly keyword). A White Scars unit inside can immediately disembark, but cannot make a charge move.


Competitive. This gives one of your vehicles the assault transport rule, allowing you to get out. This could be useful on a Rhino, getting out in rapid fire range of your opponent on turn 1, or for getting the extra range to grab an objective with an objective secured unit. As per the FAQ, the unit is allowed to move after disembarking, giving it a much greater threat range on the tabletop. Might be a useful alternative to the Drop Pod, as you can deploy much closer to enemy screening units and potentially target the units behind.


Khan’s Champion (1CP)– One Sergeant can take an item of one of the following Special-issue wargear relics; Master-crafted weapons, Digital weapons, Headtaker Trophies, Stormwrath Bolts.


Situational. Some of these relics are decent to put on a sergeant, giving you some extra bonuses for the unit. I’m not sure this is worth the CP in most cases though. Master-crafted weapons could be useful for +1 damage on a range of Sergeant weapons.

Hunters’ Fusilade (1CP)
– Use when a White Scars unit advances. Until the end of the turn, all Heavy Weapons and Rapid Fire weapons are treated as Assault weapons.


Efficient. This is a great stratagem for keeping mobile Devastators, allowing you to get an additional -1 AP when you are on the Tactical Doctrine, while also not suffering the penalty to hit. You can use on a second unit of Bikers to allow you to fire their Bolters without penalty with fewer shots, assuming you are using Born in the Saddle on another unit. Could also be useful on Land Speeders, allowing you to fire their weapons at full effect on the move. Unfortunately, you cannot use this on Drop Pod Devastators, as they are unable to advance after deploying from the Drop Pod.


Chogorian Thunderbolts (1CP)– Use when a White Scars Biker finishes a charge move. For each model in the unit that is within 1″ of an enemy unit, roll a D6, on a 6, the unit suffers a mortal wound.


Situational. Not a great one, in my opinion. Unless you are running large units of Bikers, the odds of doing a mortal wound are not great. Probably not one I would bother using, as there is a better stratagem for Jump Troops in the Marine codex.

Quarry of the Khan (1CP)– Use when you first generate a tactical objective and your warlord is on the table. The first card you draw is Kingslayer.


Situational. A terrible one for me. Kingslayer is one of the hardest cards to score against most armies, so purposefully drawing it seems very strange, if quite thematic for the White Scars. Might be useful against big warlords, such as Mortarion or Magnus, but even then, probably not a stratagem I would bother with.


A Mighty Trophy (1CP)– Use when an enemy warlord is destroyed as a result of a melee weapon with a White Scars model. For the rest of the game, your White Scars units automatically pass morale tests.


Situational. Again, very situational and probably not that effective in most cases. Most Marine players do not run units large enough for morale to be much of an issue, so auto-passing them is a nice bonus, but a moot point in most games. Plus, you need to kill the warlord in the Fight phase to pass it. Probably worth using if you happen to kill the enemy warlord in melee, but probably not one you are going to seek out in most games.


Fierce Rivalries (1CP)– Use at the start of the charge phase. For your first charge roll, roll 3D6 and choose which two results to keep.


Competitive. A very powerful stratagem for helping you to get a successful charge off. Along with a CP re-roll, this gives you 4D6 to try and make a charge. Great for a long-bomb charge or from coming in from reserves. Along with White Scars psychic powers and abilities that add to your charge range, this makes charging from reserves a lot more reliable.


Strike For the Heart (2CP)– Use before a unit consolidates. The may consolidate D3+3″, or D6+6″ if the unit has a move value of 10 or more.


Competitive. This is an incredible stratagem for tying up enemy units and for getting past screens. If you are able to wipe out an enemy unit with a Bike Squad, you can consolidate between 7-12″. This opens up a lot of opportunity for destroying enemy screening units and being able to “tag” the units behind them with your consolidation to stop them from firing in their own turn. I can see this being a very powerful stratagem for most games, as you can generally get a first turn charge with White Scars Bikers.


Feinting Withdrawl (1CP)– A unit can fall back and shoot.


Competitive. A very powerful stratagem for 1CP. This applies to all units in the army, so if you run vehicles, you can stop them from being tied up in combat and not being able to fire. This is great for falling back and being able to shoot and still charge with your White Scars unit.

Tempered by Wisdom (1CP)– Your warlord can take one additional warlord trait (which must be a White Scars trait and cannot be a duplicate).


Efficient. A nice bonus for your warlord. The White Scars have some solid options for warlord traits, so taking two of them is great for the warlrod. Not sure I would use this too often, but useful every once in a while.


The Eternal Hunt (2CP)– Once per game. Use at the start of your movement phase when the Assault Doctrine is active. Until the start of the next battle round, an unmodified wound roll of a 6 on a pistol or melee weapon improves its AP characteristic by 1.


Situational. As it is, a decent bonus for the combat units. Not sure it is worth the 2CP for the chance to get it on a 6 though. Also cannot be used until turn 3 at the earliest, so you may not have the CP left to use it by then.


Encirclement (1CP)– Use during deployment, before setting up a White Scars unit. You can set the unit up in outflank. If you do, at the end of one of your movement phases, you can set the unit up wholly within 6″ of any battlefield edge and 9″ from any enemy models.


Competitve. A nice outflank stratagem that you can use on multiple units. This could be useful for getting up the board with slower moving units in the army, or for going after Recon or Behind Enemy Lines points.


Gift of the Khans (1CP)- Allows your successor chapter to take a White Scars Relic or Special Issue wargear relic.


Efficient. A decent choice as the White Scars have a couple of nice relics. This allows you to use some of the Relics for your Chapter, as well as getting access to the stratagems in the army that you would get anyway.


The supplement gives the White Scars some really nice stratagems to work with. I can see most of these being of use in the army.

In fact, I think it would be easy to spend too many CP on a single Bike unit to gain a number of useful benefits. It’s a shame that many of the useful index units are now gone, as I have a number of White Scars Biker units that can no longer be used with the codex.

I look forward to trying a lot of them out in the future.


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.

8 Responses to “White Scars Codex Review: Stratagems”

  1. Reecius
    Reecius September 11, 2019 7:01 am #

    Great review, Mike! White Scars have amazing strats, psychic powers and Warlord Traits. That’s the real strength of the army.

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr September 11, 2019 7:11 am #

      Agreed. As I look over them, there are a lot of combos that are opening up.
      The ability to give your warlord two warlord traits is pretty strong when you start looking at the combos this can give you.

      • Reecius
        Reecius September 11, 2019 7:21 am #

        Yeah, Master of Snares alone is stupid good. Combine that with some of the other awesome abilities they get like the Ghost Rider bike, etc. and you have some real depth to what they can do.

        • Michael Corr
          Michael Corr September 11, 2019 7:26 am #

          Yeah, a Captain with Teeth of Terra and Chogorian Storm has between 9-11 attacks on the charge. Plus, with Master of Snares, he can lock a unit in combat (if anything is left alive!).

          • Reecius
            Reecius September 11, 2019 9:00 am

            Yeah, they hit so dang hard, it’s crazy.

  2. Avatar
    Khar'Los Khan September 11, 2019 9:54 am #

    Im looking to return to the 40k scene but not with my lovely wolfs but with my lovely Wolf Khan Force!!!! SO my force will be only White Scars. You mentioned a list of White Scars you all be using for an upcoming tourney. Curious as to what it is? Also will be ordering my stuff on your site slowly but surely. I

    • Reecius
      Reecius September 11, 2019 1:25 pm #

      It’s on the last Signals episode, #652

  3. Avatar
    Charlie A. September 12, 2019 8:21 am #

    Can we expect some top tier thoughts on combatting all of these awesome strategems and tactics? 🙂

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