Codex: Space Marines Review Part 3 – Stratagems

Good day, honoured guest! Today, we continue our review of the new Space Marine Codex with a look at their brand-spanking new Stratagems!

As I’ll detail below, these vary in quality from extremely useful to good-but-situational to meh to lolbad. In many cases, just a bit of tweaking would have avoided this all-over-the-placeness.

Generic Adeptus Astartes Stratagems

  • Relics of the Chapter (1 or 3 CP) – Spending a single CP to get an additional Relic isn’t the worst idea out there, but 3 to get 2 is too much, imo.
  • Linebreaker Bombardment (1 CP) – Big potential damage here, but unconvinced it’s worth jumping through all the hoops you need to jump through to make it happen. And unless you bring more than 3 Vindis, your opponent only has to knock one out to prevent you from using this Stratagem.
  • Killshot (1 CP) – This is a pretty good Stratagem if you are already using 3+ Predators, but I wouldn’t build a list around it.
  • Chapter Masters (3 CP) – If you’re not using Guilliman, Calgar, Shrike, Kantor or Helbrecht, you are using this Stratagem, period. It’s just too good to pass up.
  • Orbital Bombardment (3 CP) – Too random and too costly to justify using. If it had a set range and/or hit automatically, it might have been a different story.
  • Cluster Mines (1 CP) – Cheap way to cause some Mortal Wounds reliably. Good if you are already using Scout Bikes. That said, Hellfire Shells can do pretty much the same thing but from a distance, so it’s a fair bit easier to use.
  • Masterful Marksmanship (1 CP) – Not bad. I’m not crazy about Sternguards but if you are using them already, why not?
  • Empyric Channelling (1 CP) – A good Strategem hindered by the fact that libbies just aren’t as hot they once were, especially when compared to Captains, Lieutenants and Techmarines.
  • Datalink Telemetry (1 CP) – Junk. Waste of a CP.
  • Hellfire Shells (1 CP) – Pretty solid. I wouldn’t plan on using all my CPs on it but a very useful tool to have when a tough target is down to its last few wounds.
  • Auspex Scan (2 CP) – Money! Stratagems like this have the potential to really influence when and where your opponent deep-strikes his units, and the threat alone is a useful tool.
  • Tactical Flexibility (1 CP) – Extremely situation (at best).
  • Flakk Missile (1 CP) – Much like Hellfire Shells, this is a good thing to have in your back pocket when an enemy Flyer is stubbornly refusing to die.
  • Armour of Contempt (1 CP) – This is a joke, right? Wasting 1 CP for a 33% chance of ignoring a Mortal Wound? Yeah, ok…
  • Only in Death Does Duty End (2 CP) – Situational. Guilliman killed in a duel with a Knight? Ok. Random Captain fighting a bunch of Ork Boyz? Not so much.
  • Honour the Chapter (3 CP) – Very, very good when paired with a competent assault unit. Can potentially turn the tide of a game. Expensive, though, so not to be used with meh assault units.
  • Widsom of the Ancients (1 CP) – A solid Stratagem in and of itself, but most list should be getting rerolls either through Bobby G or the CM/Lt combo, so perhaps not as hot within context.
  • Death to the Traitors! (1 CP) – Another situational one. A big unit of Assault Terminators fighting some Chaos Termies? Yeah, maybe. Some Tactical Marines punching some Cultists? Hells no.
  • Tremor Shells (1 CP) – Situationaly McSituationalface. Big bunch of ‘Zerkers 10 inches from your line? Go nuts and make them lose a turn of assault (which equals 2 for them). A half-strength unit of Trukk Boyz in the same situation? Probably best to save the CP for something else.

Chapter-Specific Stratagems

  • UltramarinesScions of Guilliman (1 CP) – This is a good Stratagem but again… Guilly/CM/LT.
  • Imperial Fists – Bolter Drill (1 CP) – LOL this is a joke, right?
  • Black Templars – Abhor the Witch (1 CP) – I don’t hate this, though a bit more reliability would have been nice since you are using rare and precious CPs for it, after all.
  • Raven Guard – Strike from the Shadows (1 CP) – Like I said in my review of the Chapter Tactics, you can’t look at RG without factoring in this Stratagem. I think pretty much every understands how incredibly good this is. My only question is: is there a limit to how many times you can use it in Matched Play, since technically, Stratagems are limited to being used once per phase each?
  • Salamanders – Flamecraft (1 CP) – If Flamers/Heavy Flamers weren’t so stupid expensive (for what they do), this would be a good one, but they are and so this ain’t.
  • White Scars – Born In the Saddle (1 CP) – Is an extra 8 inch of movement worth a CP? Sometime it may be but good planning should lessen the need for this.
  • Iron Hands – Machine Empathy (1 CP) – Not worth it. The vehicles that put out a lot of firepower who could make good use of this already have PotMS.

In my view, the standaouts are Relics of the Chapter, Chapter Master, Auspex Scan and Honour of the Chapter with honourable mentions going to Hellfire Shells. Of course, Raven Guard players have Strike from the Shadows which is just bananas. The rest I feel are either situational or just plain bad.

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MindwarpAU
Guest

You're saying the stratagems are situational. Which is true, but that's really the point of them. You have access to all of the ones for your army, plus the rulebook/mission ones and they're not costing you any points. They're a little bonus, that when used in the right situation might save your butt. If they were anything else, they'd be far to overpowered and we'd already be talking about how to remove them from tournament play.

Desc440
Guest

Well, it's true that all Stratagems are situational to a certain extent, but the point I was trying to make is that some take this extent to silly levels. I mean, compare Chapter Master that is only slightly situational to Tremor Shells which is highly so.

Cato
Guest

Desc440…would you please expound on your Sternguard thoughts? I've always found them to be pretty solid; not must-have but not an embarrassment for sure. 18pts per with their gun and fairly killy (-2AP and 30" range is good, especially if you burn a CP to get the extra +1 to wound). The extra attack is a nice bonus too. A bit soft of course with 3+/1W but…? Thanks.

Peter de Florio
Guest

Sternguard are VERY good. Why? Because of the wound table.

You are wounding t7 on a 5+. But with a strategem, you are now wounding on a 4+ at -2.

It’s as if you are shooting with a S7 weapon.

It also guts t3 units as if they were s6 -2.

Desc440
Guest

Meh. "Very good" is overselling them, imo. They're ok. Command Points are not an infinite resource, so you can't really look at them from the perspective that they will be benefitting from their Stratagem – it's going to be something you do when you need it but much like Hellfire Shells, not something you do every turn.

Peter de Florio
Guest

You don’t have to fire every turn… You just have to come in hard at the beginning of the game.

Strike fast and then face into the shadows… The Raven guard way 😎

What makes them good is the points though. I mean would you pay 180 for 20 S7 -2 shots?

admin
Admin

Probably not, as most people wouldn't pay 120 for 20 S8 AP -2 D6 shots
(i.e. 20 Hunter Killers at 6pts each)

Petehappens
Guest

Ummmm… Everyone would pay 120 points for 20 s8 ap -2 d6 shots is you could actually buy that.

Everyone

Cato
Guest
The gun is surprisingly good, but the more I look at them the more they are irritating me. I'm a Crimson Fist player by the way so I'm invested in the models and concept. You can't drop them in really close anymore for a flamer/melta bomb. You can't troll through in a flamer Rhino anymore. Lost Hellfire for the high T monsters. The Intercessor is only 2 pts more, as the same range and one less AP but gets an Auxiliary Grenade Launcher (can't find a cost) and has an extra wound (more survivable). The only thing the Intercessor doesn't… Read more »
Desc440
Guest

At a minimum, Primaris really should have been able to ride in a Land Raider…

Ish
Guest

I think they should have added a few “blank panels” to the sprues of the Repulsor kit and allowed us to make a version that didn’t have twenty-seven different weapon systems, just a few “light” guns. This would have given the Primaris Marines a hover Rhino to go with the hover Razorback that is the Repulsor.

(And let them move a few more model kits.)

Desc440
Guest

Yep. Strange decisions…

Kirby
Admin

A new kit will be released in the future…

Ish
Guest
No doubts about that, new and/or revised products every few years – especially of the most popular product line —are a necessary part of any manufacturer’s business strategy. I mean, does anyone really think the 2015 Ford F-150, 2016 Ford F-150, 2017 Ford F-150, and the new 2018 Ford F-150 have any significant differences? The Primaris Marines seem to be lacking in three main areas compared to other Astartes: they lack an APC, they lack mêlée specialists, and they lack a cavalry unit. APC vs. IFV The Repulsor is a very heavily armed vehicle that can fight quite well by… Read more »
MindwarpAU
Guest
I've just got my Repulsor, and seriously, you can build it without the bajillion guns. The coax stubber on the turret is the optional one and can be replaced with a discrete light/sensor thingy. All the stowage on the sides can be left off since there's nice flat armour plates there. The mini sponsons above the doors look so much better with stormbolters (and stormbolters are the better option anyway). The missile pods on the turret can be built closed and look way better that way and the twin heavy bolters look far less ridiculous than the lascannons. It's never… Read more »
Desc440
Guest

Sternguards are not awful by any stretch, it's just that what they are best at is perhaps not necessarily the most useful thing to bring to a list. They are essentially Tacticals ++, but they give up DoH and their increased cost per model is not offset by any increase in survivability (as you pointed out). I wouldn't go so far to say that a list featuring Sternguards is hamstringing itself or anything, but it is perhaps not reaching peak efficiency either. I'm open to listening to counter-arguments, though.

Pacmuu
Guest

Is there any mileage in giving sternguard all combi bolters do you think? A lot of Dakka with either character reroll support or SfS alpha strike.

Desc440
Guest

Might as well go with Company Veterans at that point and save a few points.

Cato
Guest

As a surgical strike unit, I agree with Desc440 that Company Veterans would usually be better as you can get <5 of them. Sternguard are useful if you want the Heavy Flamers or something bigger than 5 veterans. Note that because they are killy, you will likely receive incoming and given their lack of durability they will die quickly (i.e., most useful if you go first). Suicide Sternguard can be immensely fun though.

Cato
Guest

I have no counter-argument 🙂 You summed it up. Tac Marine is a middling performer and you are spending 5 per model for a nice gun and stuff you don't necessarily want (extra attack and leadership). The gun is basically a storm bolter (equivalent vs marine, better vs terminators and worse against horde) with better range. I wish they would have increased the cost of the gun and reduced the cost of the base model to give more incentive to mix and match. Adding in a lot of bling makes for a really expensive glass cannon.

No One
Guest

"My only question is: is there a limit to how many times you can use it in Matched Play, since technically, Stratagems are limited to being used once per phase each?"
I think maybe? I found something that made sense to me at the time as to why not, but I can't remember exactly now.

Related: If you can spam SftS, you can spam the single CP version of the relic stratagem.

Peter de Florio
Guest

Reread those rules. It specifically says you can use strategm pre game unlimited times.

No One
Guest

No it doesn't. The Matched Play restriction on once per phase is only applicable to phases and not pre game. That is not the same as saying that you can use pre-game stuff unlimited times.

Found the bit: "You can use the same Stratagem multiple times _during the course of a Battle_"
Since this Stratagem is _before_ and not _during_…
As I said, something (bear in mind I was originally looking for some reason for multiple 1 CP relics to not be a thing).

highwind
Guest

Read the rules for matched play…
on page 215 it says:
"The same Stratagem cannot be used by the same player more than once during any single phase. This does NOT affect Stratagems that are not used during a phase, such as those used ’before the battle begins’ or ‘at the end of a battle round’."

The Ravenguard-specific Stratagem says that it can be used "during deployment" and deployment obviously takes place "before the battle begins" so, according to the matched play rules, it is only limited by the amount of CP your army has!

Prometheus
Guest

DUde, in case it wasn't clear, Machine Empathy is for Dreadnoughts.

Desc440
Guest

Even with a rifledread, I don't think it's worth it. 1 CP to get 1.33 extra autocannon hits? Not a very high return on investment…

Peter de Florio
Guest

Not thinking of it right…

Think Leviathan being dropped off by a storm Raven with 2 grav flux bombards…

Prometheus
Guest
Well, that's the thing, you wouldn't be using it on a rifledread, those things will barely be ever moving. It's much more useful on the Heavy weapon/ DCCW dreads, the one's that want to be shooting while they move up the field to eventually smash something. Especially on the Heavy Plasma cannon variant. Or a Multi-Melta. Or hell, they could let you run into melta range. Gotta expand your thinking man. Not saying it's the best thing ever, but I could easily see using it with those hybrid dreads. Particularly in combo with Wisdom of the ancients. Anyway, it's pretty… Read more »
Desc440
Guest

I just don't I'd even bother with "hybrid" dreads to begin with, tbh. 40 pts for a Dread CCW? That's highway robbery.

Maybe a Leviathan with 2 stormcannon arrays (or whatever they're called)… And even then… 1 CP for an extra 3.33 hits is a bit much.

Just really seems like they are almost always going to be better uses for those CPs, imo. I'd be singing a different tune if it was, say, all vehicles on the board get it for a turn, but as it stands, I wouldn't see myself using this.

Prometheus
Guest

IF you're not using a DCCW, then you're just doing a gunline, and gunlines are boring (and usually, easy to disrupt).

You're probably also under appreciating just how killy an assault dread is. They are like….SOOOOO fucking killy, man. It's great fun.

Anyway, particularly if you're doing an all dread army, you're going to have some of them geared in such a way this stratagem would be good for them.

akorndr2
Guest

I’ve used the redemptor dreadnought and that if you’re not using gulliman is fantastic 207 pts on average for a very killie model

Ish
Guest

I’m actually strongly considering making my next WH40k a tank-heavy Space Marine army specifically because Killshot and Linebreaker look like so much fun. (Plus, I like tanks.) I don’t know if it’s an optimal list*, but I don’t think it’s pants on head useless either.

* In a nutshell: Sgt. Chronus in Predator, two Predators, three Vindicators; Techmarine, Techmarine on Bike, three five-man Tac Squads, three Razorbacks… Plus whatever else I need to fill out 2,000 Pts.

TrexPushups
Guest

Some scouts to keep back deepstrikesrs would be a good way to fill out the rest of the list.

Ish
Guest
I’m still tossing around the particulars, but I’ve got two main ideas. Both feature three Predators and three Vindicators as the core. Option One adds two six-man Tactical Squads, six-man Sniper-Scouts, and a small group of Servitors, with an Ægis Defence Line and Quad-Gun; Option Two uses two five-man Tacticals, a ten-man Tactical, five Snipers, but picks up Sgt. Telion as one of the HQs. OPTION ONE [Spearhead Detachment] HQ: Sergeant Chronus in Predator (lascannon turret, lascannon sponsons, pintle storm bolter) Heavy: Predator (lascannon turret, lascannon sponsons, pintle storm bolter) Heavy: Predator (lascannon turret, lascannon sponsons, pintle storm bolter) Heavy:… Read more »
TrexPushups
Guest

Maybe convert the tacticals into cheap scout units.

If you have at least 3 you can shut down deep strike antics.

Ish
Guest

Tactical Squads are better at taking and holding objectives, however. There’s going to be eight Rhino-chassis vehicles in my deployment zone, that alone shouldn’t leave much space to land Deep Strikers.

No One
Guest

…Except in a position to charge/rapid fire said rhino chassis vehicles?

TrexPushups
Guest

I like the storm of fire warlord trait for this list as it tastes great with the predators and would let you use a dakka predator and still get execellent results with Killshot.

Desc440
Guest

Storm of Fire is pretty much the best WT, in my view (as we shall see in my next article).

Scuzgob
Guest

whats this nonsense about Trukk Boyz

Kadeton
Admin

RIP Trukk Boyz 2017 neva fugget

Ish
Guest

They will ride eternal, shiny and chrome!

Dakkath
Guest

Well das why deys muckin about. Bein' all shiny when dey knows that da red ones go fasta.

Ish
Guest

Oi, ain’t chu gits never seen no red chrome before!?

TrexPushups
Guest

I think you are really underestimating the utility of having a 5+ save vs smite spam since it isn’t for 1 mortal wound.

It is for the rest of the phase too.

This could be the thing that keeps you in the game vs Grey Knights or Tzeentch.

When Magnus hits your land raider with 2d6 mortal wounds I am not turning my nose up at a 5+ for each one.

Desc440
Guest

Fair point. That's at least 1 use for this Stratagem, thanks!

Toast
Guest

Armor of Contempt becomes potentially worthwhile towards the end of tight games – if you have CP left and your warlord's about to lose his last wound (or ditto for a unit holding an objective), it might well be worth the gamble.

TrexPushups
Guest

Sadly it only works for vehicles.

Toast
Guest

Oh. Well. That's unhelpful. TFTI.

dietrich43
Guest

Based on the tactic, warlord trait, and strategem for Fists; I think it's now clear why they are routinely beat down in the fluff.

Ish
Guest
I think the Imperial Fists’ Chapter Tactic is 180° opposite of what they should have been given: Imperial Fists should have a bonus to their cover saves and any Fortifications they include in a list should be harder to injure. They are the masters of defensive siege warfare, battlefield fortifications, and stubbornly holding the line. Then you give their rivals, the Iron Warriors, a Legion Tactic that would reduce their opponent’s cover saves and make it easier for them to injure enemy fortifications. They are the masters of offensive siege warfare, battlefield demolitions, and stubbornly grinding down anyone who tries… Read more »
Desc440
Guest

Yep, exactly. Fists should be nigh immovable in defense – right now nothing in their CT helps with that. Their WT does but that shouldn't be all.

antique_nova
Guest

Hey Kirby,

My name is antique_nova and I've only returned (briefly) after 4-5 years out. I have no intention of joining the forum as I don't want to commit to the hobby, I just wanted to build a list, generate buzz and see if it the list becomes immortalised like the leaf blower etc.

Here is the link to it.
http://www.bolterandchainsword.com/topic/337775-a

admin
Admin

…and with the list critiques out of the way:
Welcome back, antique_nova.
😀

antique_nova
Guest
Haha. I know and I want the best critiques, because the better your critique, the stronger my list will become once it emerges from the revamp! But before I begin I never mentioned that my list is the shit or that it would dominate tournaments. I said it can do all of this and that, but never once did I imply that it was the shit or that it would dominate tournaments with it would wipe out enemy armies in 2-3 turns etc. I said a few units could smack people silly like Guilliman in the turn he charges. The… Read more »
Auretious Taak
Guest
Yeah you already got snapped in half for undercosting everything, its like you didnt read the basic rules at all, like a handful of pages on how to make a list. Now, ignoring that, your entire thread is a Taak-Ramble. You wrote a novel and missed the big point: Good players focus fire till a unit is wiped out, especially in an army like this. You have a Rowboat Girlyman list that lacks true survivability and cant deal with a proper horde which is common place. How does your army deal with 200 immovable conscripts that aint running cause their… Read more »
antique_nova
Guest
Done. Take another look and no one in their right mind, competitive or not is going to spend £180 on 100 conscripts. (Using GWS standard prices here and not retailers or discounted prices). Let alone 200 freaking conscripts. It'll take forever to play a paint, pack, deploy, repack, play and move from table to table. No matter how competitive you think it is, it's not, because by the time you finish game 1 and move tables to game two, game two would have ended by the time you finish deploying! XD On a more serious note. I think the commissar's… Read more »
Kirby
Admin

Lots of people have already played games with 150+ Conscripts – look at ETC.

You cannot use CP to pick missions in tournaments or change the going first / game turn (if playing ITC), etc.

No One
Guest
Even if you can, your opponent can to, and it's still a random dice roll (that you may not even get to make) for whatever. At a high cost in CP, which you'd have less of than your opponent. And yeah, ignoring conscripts is stupid. Even if people weren't willing to go out and spend however much to play an army (looks at scat bikes spam etc pointedly – hint, they are), plenty of IG players would have enough guardsmen to field a respectable number of conscripts. Renegade artillery was a thing last ed, and that was…100+ bodies to? Easily… Read more »
antique_nova
Guest

HKM are grossly underrated I know, but not reliable enough for me. I.e only use them once with D6 damage. I would only use them as filler.

antique_nova
Guest

Oops. Forgot to mention that this is a 1850pts tourney list.

admin
Admin
Hi Antique Just FYI your lists are going to be subject to some criticism, especially as they've been advertised as forces that will dominate tournaments. I took the time to actually work out the points of the 1,850 Marine army for you, and assuming I have it correct it's powerful because it costs 2,937pts. SPACE MARINES 2937pts ++ Super-Heavy Detachment +3CP (Imperium – Space Marines) [18 PL, 360pts] ++ + Lord of War + Roboute Guilliman [18 PL, 360pts] + HQ + Techmarine [4 PL, 65pts]: Conversion beamer Techmarine [4 PL, 65pts]: Conversion beamer Techmarine [4 PL, 65pts]: Conversion beamer… Read more »
Andy
Guest
I think your lists are too vulnerable to alpha striking hard hitting assault type units like harlequins which will be a thing because of their ludicrous maneuverability and ability to get insanely good assault troops into shooting range on the first turn. A harlequin is effectively a 50pt model (assuming you put them in a transport) which is 3+ to hit, Strength 8, D6 damage, rolling twice taking the highest result it only has 3" range, but it doesn't matter because its riding in an open topped 22" move vehicle. This is very comparable to a las devastator, but comes… Read more »
Auretious Taak
Guest

Dear gods, 8th bought EVERYONE back.

Antique, a good chunk of us haven’t touched the game since 5th…instead things like Kingdom Death Monster have prevailed. But back for 8th. Writing lists is still part of playing and enjoying the hobby so stop lying man.😃

antique_nova
Guest

Haha. Well you can't exactly jump back into 40k without playing against god. Which is me of course ;).

And you know what I mean by playing! XD

List has been updated. Take a look and let me know what you think .:)

Aquila
Guest

Would it have killed them to put the stratagems in any kind of order at all in the book? Gotta hunt through 3 pages of items just to find the specific one I want. They don't even put the chapter specific ones together. Ridiculous.

Prometheus
Guest

That's a good point.

Ish
Guest

I’m still waiting for GW to figure out how to write a proper Table of Contents and a useful Index.

MindwarpAU
Guest

One thing I'm not sure on – using Flakk Missiles on a devastator squad with 4 missile launchers. Does it affect all the missile launchers in the squad? Or just one?

Cato
Guest

The rule specifies 'model' so it's only a single guy…and a single shot in the phase if you were planning to use the Cherub 🙂