Codex: Space Marines Review Part 7 – Chapter, The Lost Librarius and And They Shall Know No Fear

Good day, fellow <Chapter> Battle Brothers! I’m back from 2 weeks of leave and a business trip, ready and eager to resume my blog writing. Today, we continue our review of the Space Marines codex with a look at the <Chapter>, Lost Librarius and And They Shall Know No Fear special rules. This segment will conclude our analysis of the “generic” portion of the Marine rules; in the next instalment, we will start digging into the meat of the Codex with unit reviews (starting with the special Characters). That’s when things will start to get REALLY interesting! I can’t wait to get started!

The <Chapter> rule is not really that special as all armies have an equivalent now, whether it be <Sept> for Tau or <Regiment> for Imperial Guard. In a nutshell, every Marine unit needs to be assigned a specific Chapter (one of the pre-existing ones from the extensive 40k background material or a “homebrew” Chapter) during list-writing. Some units already have a Chapter assigned (notably, the special Characters such as Marneus Calgar). The main effect of the <Chapter> rule is that the majority of special “aura” abilities such as the Captain’s “Rites of Battle” or the Chaplain’s “Litanies of Hate” are only conferred to models sharing the same <Chapter> keyword. This will usually dictate that you avoid mixing different Chapters in the same army as doing so means you are getting less bang for your buck out of each Character in your list. That said, there are times when this is not going to be the best course of action. For example, if your army features a distinct forward assault element (Vanguard Vets, Scouts, etc.) and a backfield firesupport element (Dreadnoughts & Devastators), you may gain more from splitting your army into different Detachments (because mixing Chapters in the same Detachment will mean you lose both the “Defenders of Humanity” and “Chapter Tactics” special rules) since the aura abilities of the army’s Characters are unlikely to be in range of both elements anyways. In the above-described army, you would gain more from making your assault Detachment into Black Templars (for those sweet charge range rerolls) and your backfield element into Raven Guard (to make the Dreads and Devs harder to neutralise by enemy long range firepower) than keeping everything in the same Detachment with the same Chapter Tactic. Sometimes, you can fudge this a bit thanks to some of the special Characters – Shrike has a “reroll charge range for jump infantry” ability, meaning that the advantage of splitting the army into different Detachments is mitigated somewhat in this instance: your Vanguard Vets would gain both the awesome charge length reroll ability AND would have the increased durability against ranged damage conferred by Raven Guard Chapter Tactic.

The Lost Librarius is a special rule exclusive to the Black Templars, stipulating that they may not select Psykers. This is really only a minor inconvenience as a) Librarians can cast their powers on any model with the ADEPTUS ASTARTES keyword anyways (and not just those sharing the same <Chapter> keyword, like most other special Character abilities)  and b) Black Templars can already reroll their charge range, making Veil of Time – probably the best power in the Librarius discipline – partially redundant. Having a Librarian of a different Chapter opens up the opportunity to have 2 different Detachments with distinct functions, as described above. Indeed, going back to our aforementioned example, the Librarian could serve as our Raven Guard’s mandatory HQ for a Vanguard Detachment (to add some Autocannon Dreadnoughts to our force). Give him the RG Relic Jump Pack and he can keep pace with the Black Templar Vanguard Veterans! Worst case scenario, you could always expend a Command Point to add a Librarian to your force via an Auxiliary Support Detachment.

Finally, And They Shall Know No Fear (or ATSKNF for short). This version of this timeless rule is much weaker than past iterations, merely allowing Marine units to reroll failed Morale tests rather than avoiding Morale-related casualties altogether. Given that Marines usually gain more from using a MSU (Multiple Small Units) approach to list-building, the impact of ATSKNF is not really that considerable (moreso when Ultramarines are concerned, what with their free +1 Ld boost). Nevertheless, in those instances where your 5-man squad loses 4 members in a single turn, knocking the chance your last surviving member (which is usually the most important dude, carrying the squad’s special or heavy weapon) dies from battleshock from 50% to 25% is pretty nice. It’s not bound to occur all that often, but when it does, it can swing the course of a game completely. For example, the last Tactical Marine on a crucial objective survives the Morale phase thanks to the ATSKNF reroll, winning you the game because it happens to end on Turn 5. ATSKNF also allows you to field big, expensive units with less concern that Morale is going to come and bite you in the ass. For example, if your strategy includes using a 10-strong unit of tooled-out Vanguard Vets to drop on Turn 1 and use the Honour of the Chapter Stratagem to really make a big dent in the enemy army if you successfully make the charge, you will be happy that ATSKNF is there to mitigate the chance your expensive models will straight-up disappear without an armour save once the Morale phase rolls around.

That’s it for now, folks! Join us again next time when we take a look at the special Characters! Cheers!
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26 Responses to “Codex: Space Marines Review Part 7 – Chapter, The Lost Librarius and And They Shall Know No Fear”

  1. Koz says:

    I am afraid that autocanon dread are…dead now 🙁

    • Desc440 says:

      Source? Last I heard, GW said you can still use the Index for those units and wargear options that are not in the Codex.

      • Kirby says:

        Tournaments appear to be ignoring this. you can of course take Mortis dreads for +5 points and a heavy support slot.

        • Alastores says:

          So tournaments are saying that you cannot use Space Marine/CSM bikers characters, or CSM characters on Daemon steeds?

          • Kirby says:

            AFAIK without seeing anything in writing from any "ruling body" it's codex only. If it's not in the codex, you cannot use it.

            Index options which reference the codex (i.e. Predator for Dark Angels) uses the codex entry.

            • Desc440 says:

              I find nothing in the ITC FAQ that states you cannot use the Index entries anymore, so that's at least that.

            • Lemondish says:

              Doesn’t GW itself count as a “ruling body”?

              • Ish says:

                That would be far to logical for tourney players. 😉

              • Craig says:

                Since that whole business where GW got out of the tournament scene and started going into denial that competitive play existed the tournaments seem to have gotten used to doing their own thing, putting their own additional limitation on GW’s rules has bcome so common people just accept it. At this point I’m not sure GW could even convince them to stop doing this no matter how hard they try to balance the game and support tourneys.

                • Desc440 says:

                  I could see TOs being more attentive to GW if the company provided prize support for tournaments only on the condition that said tourneys follow GW's rules to the letter.

                • Andy says:

                  I don't think the game can be balanced, the entire method of release means they'd have to release every codex at once. Like right now, you need to have your codex to have decent strategies, the only other option is to say, not strategies at all. That takes away all the coolness from the codexes, i mean check out the chaos space marine codex.
                  What is there in it that isn't in the index? Strategems, relics, psychic powers, warlord traits and legion traits. No new models or units. Space Marine Codex? you can now have 10 man squads with slightly different weapons.

                  Not bad to be honest 8 pages of new stuff in a 150 page book. Would it not be more sensible for a tournament to say indexes only. No new stuff til everyone has it.

                  • Desc440 says:

                    Well, teeeechnically, once every army has its codex and they start releasing points update in Chapter Approuved, things could be relatively balanced. It's probably impossible to have perfect balance, but it's not unbelievable that we could get to a point where every army at least has a shot at winning, even they start with somewhat of a disadvantage.

          • Andy says:

            Pretty sure there's no point in playing tournaments at the moment. To have a chance you need to either be running Magnus, or, have some way of dealing with him. Given that totally using the codex only entries, he can go 2++ rerolling 1's on turn 1, it is pretty much a stupid situation until they fix it. Theres only Grey Knights, Imperium Menagerie and Chaos that are viable, Harlie/ynarri just can't deal with Magnus, as soon as Mortarions released that will be that, your chances of beating Magnus alone are pretty low, beating both of them is almost nothing.

            Whoever thought a 32" movement range 8 atk killing machine with 19 wnds and a 3++ was sensible needs their head looking at, whoever thought it should cost 420 pts needs to be fired. The only possible way to deal with him is with forgeworld stuff, and all the tournies ban them, so he is in every army. I wouldn't mind, but he is actually good vs grey knights too, i mean he doesn't seem brokenly powerful, but like, even knowing its a full GK army you face you still think he prolly good value.

            • Ish says:

              >> Pretty sure there’s no point in playing tournaments[.] <<

              Fixed that for you. 😉

              Okay, okay, I'm kidding. But, really, I think that the way that the tournament crowd focuses so strongly on tournaments as the be all, end all of the hobby does more harm to the tournament crowd than anything else. They are their own worst enemy.

            • Alastores says:

              How is Magnus getting to 2++?

              And I thought Ynnari, Conscript Spam, and Stormraven Spam were the big bugbears at the moment?

              Magnus isn't really that tough – remember he cannot be hidden.

              • Andy says:

                Code Chaos Space Marines, Chaos Boon Strategem, on a roll of 2d6 if he gets 7 or i think 8 (might be 9) he gets +1 to all svs for the rest of the battle. he already has 4++ with tzeetch dark hereticus power he goes to 3++ and now ta da 2++ with a reroll. Only way to kill him is have your psyker, run up cast null zone to stop him getting svs, or smite him to death, issue is, he is an insanely good psyker and it is somewhat hard to do this. he command rerolls if he fails to get the boon he wants. si roughly 1:3 chance he gets what he is after (maths on it too complex cba)

                • Desc440 says:

                  1 in 3 chance is hardly something to be up in arms about. Besides, he needs to kill a Character, Monster or Vehicle before he can even TRY to roll on the table.

                • Desc440 says:

                  Actually, Magnus can't even roll on the Boon table at all, thanks to the CSM FAQ. He's a DAEMON CHARACTER.

                  • Andy says:

                    Oh, that's awesome, nerfs mortarion too he just gonna have to live with all the deamon buffs.

                    • Alastores says:

                      Also, I think the Invun save power is limited to 3++, like the Grey KNight one.

                    • Andy_Fisher says:

                      That makes a lot of sense, I still think it's better to just write in Bold somewhere in the rules that nothing can ever improve an Invul save past 3++ when it's pretty clear that's what they intend. I spend 2cp on Draigo every turn and never feel it was a bad choice.

                    • highwind says:

                      The psychic power is indeed limited to 3++
                      The boon in the other hand doenst (further) improve the save characteristic like the power does… The boon adds +1 to the roll

                      Before the FAQ a boon and power affected Magnus indeed had a 3++ with the worst roll being (1+1=)2, which he could reroll due to its own special rule

        • Prometheus says:

          AFAIK riflemen were legal at NOVA. I'd ask Mike directly but I wanna give him a breather after the whole thing.

  2. Prometheus says:

    Just confirmed that riflemen dreads, et al were legal for NOVA.

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