The Marshal is the newest addition to the forces of the Adeptus Mechanicus, and he is the total package when it comes to value on the tabletop. Coming it at just 45 points the Marshal is the cheapest Admech character (and probably the best character in the Codex), is able to take some of the strongest Relics and Warlord Traits, and provides buffs to some of the strongest units available to the Adeptus Mechanicus.
As a buffing character the Marshal comes stock with two abilities on his datasheet that benefit Skitarii units. First, all Skitarii Core units within 6 inches can re-roll 1s to wound. This is a solid buff from a 45 point character and it makes the Dominus’ Core re-roll one aura look like highway robbery for almost double the points cost (since there is an easy way to give the Marshal a re-roll 1s to hit aura discussed a little later). Second, the Marshal allows one Skitarii unit within 9 inches, or ANYWHERE on the battlefield with a Data Tether, to ignore the negative effect of your chosen Doctrina. This second buff is huge since it is not Core locked, and can be used across the entire table!
The utility of the Marshal does not just end at his data sheet. With the help of some Warlord Traits and Relics this Skitarii commander can give out even more powerful buffing effects to an Admech force. For an excellent Warlord Trait look no further then Firepoint Telemetry Cache. This Trait allows the Marshal to select one Skitarii Core unit within 9 inches, or ANYWHERE on the table for a unit with the Data Tether keyword, and give them the effects of Light Cover if they are out on open ground. If the unit is already in Light Cover they gain an additional +1 to their save.
This bonus to a Skitarii unit’s armor save can be combined with things like Mars’ ability to give the Shroudpsalm ability to Skitarii units for a 2+ armor save, or with the Lucius ability that grants +1 save against damage 1 weapons.
With a great data sheet, excellent Warlord Traits, and a 45 point price tag we could be happy with the Marshal if that was all he got, but the leader of your Skitarii forces isn’t done impressing us yet. Exemplar’s Eternity gives a Marshal the additional aura of re-rolling 1s to hit for Core Skitarii units within 6 inches. I am guessing I don’t need to explain why giving re-roll 1s to hit AND wound on Ironstriders with 3 plus d3 damage Lascannons is good? Also, have I mentioned you get this for 45 points?
Combining this Relic’s re-rolls with some of the buffs from the Mars Forgeworld can propel the Ironstriders shooting back up to the level of 8th Edition Admech. While in the correct Canticle a unit of Ironstriders can re-roll 2 missed hits, re-roll 1s to hit, re-roll a wound roll, re-roll 1s to wound, and re-roll a damage roll. While you will be able to do all of these buffs once per game the thing you are trying to kill is probably dead anyway.
Just like everything in this complex Codex, the Marshal’s buffs need to be properly planned in order to get them onto the correct units. While the re-rolling 1s to wound aura is easy enough to give out to Core Skitarii units, the ignoring of the Degradation side of a Doctrina happens in the Command Phase. Meaning that getting out these amazing buffs to blocks of Rangers or Vanguard coming down from Reserves is not possible. It also means if you are going second you will not be able to rely on the defensive buffs of the Marshal for surviving your opponent’s first turn of shooting.
An additional thing to think about for the very reasonable downside of the Marshal is his lack of survivability or close combat ability. This guy is a leader not a fighter with his few damage 1 attacks. Keep him safe inside you back lines, or if you want those Marshal buffs to move up the table with your Skitarii units just take 2! Also, with the fragile nature of the Marshal things like Eliminators may become popular in the meta again. A slightly higher then average shooting phase from almost any sniper unit in the game can remove your most important force multiplier, so keep your Marshal well hidden. Remember, some of his buffs work across the entire table with that Data Tether keyword!
Next week’s article will take a look at one of my favorite additions to the new Admech Codex in the ability to give unit leaders Warlord Traits and Relics. These new options open up so many tactical doors that most armies would beg the Omnissiah for. From a targeted fights last ability to a mortal wound bomb there are many new tricks the Adeptus Mechanicus Alphas can bring to the table.