Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Some Marines Thoughts and List Theory

 Howdy folks! Yesterday I played with a Marine army against a friend's Daemon army he's preparing to take to Feast and figured I'd share a few thoughts I've had about the new Marines.

I won't lie - I've struggled with trying to find a list that will do well in a tournament setting, with a ton of Deathstars out there that the Marines struggle to deal with. Further, Marines struggle to actually be mobile when it matters - Tau going first will kill most/all of their Rhinos, while armies who Marines don't care about being super mobile against (i.e. Daemons) won't care much about the Rhinos.

Trying to plan a list that will be able to contend with Tau's shootiness, Eldar's ridiculous mobility, and the newly-relevant Helldrake is a difficult endeavor.

So first, here's the list I used - note that it's about 50 points over, as I had to come up with it on the fly.

**Please note that this list isn't what I consider to be the "final product" - just a list I've been kicking around in my head. Lots of revision is needed in order to play it competitively.

1850 (or, 1900 haha) Points of Marines:

Primary: Ultramarines

Tigurius The Pimp

5x Tactical Marines w/ Plasma, Combi-Plasma
5x Tactical Marines w/ Plasma, Combi-Plasma
5x Tactical Marines w/ Plasma, Combi-Plasma
5x Tactical Marines w/ Plasma, Combi-Plasma

10x Sternguard

Thunderfire Cannon
Thunderfire Cannon
Stalker (from Allies)

Allies: White Scars

Chaptermaster w/ Bike, Artificer Armor, Power Fist, Shield Eternal, Auspex
8x Honor Guard w/ 4x Power Axes, 4x Power Mauls, Banner // Drop Pod

8x Marine Bikes w/ Multi-Melta Attack Bike, 2x Grav Guns, Combi-Grav Gun

How it performed:

I ended up getting Misfortune, along with the 4++ Invulnerable Save power and Prescience. My friend came at me with 4 Flying Monstrous Creatures (FMCs) including Fateweaver, a deepstriking Soul Grinder, and a small squad of Khorne Hounds.

He killed one Tactical Marine squad right off the bat, and then I proceeded to use the Ultramarine Chapter Tactics to kill all them over the course of 3 turns. Really, not a very close game, despite my friend's excellent grounding check rolls.

The tools I had:

First, look at the re-rolls I had against my friend:

  • Ultramarines can reroll snapshots one turn - great vs. Flyers and FMCs, and let me go to ground.
  • Ultramarines let Tac Squads reroll to hit for one turn - great if I have Tac Marines.
  • Tigurius has access to Prescience.
  • Tigurius' Warlord trait lets him grant rerolls to one squad
  • Bikes are all twin-linked (aside from the special weapons of course)

Second, look at the movement/deployment flexibility I had:

  • Honor Guard can deepstrike in the backfield with 2+ save, or start on the board, as they decide.
  • Sternguard normally start with the Bike Lord in front, tanking most hits from them.
  • Honor Guard and Bikes (and Sternguard if Lord is attached!) have Hit and Run.
  • Thunderfire Cannons fortify two buildings, giving the Bikes somewhere to hide if going 2nd.
  • Fortifications let Marines go to ground for a 2+ if they want, and Ultra Chapter Tactics let them re-roll to hit for one turn.

Third, look at the tactical options I had:

  • Honor Guard can force an opponent to deal with them no matter where they are on the field - they're ridiculously underpriced for their wargear (2+ save, power weapon, 4/5 attacks on the charge, bolt gun too for fun?)
  • Bike Lord can help protect what squad will be more vital - will the Bikes be more important, or the Sternguard?
  • Tiggy can give Bikes either Prescience (awesome in close combat and for Grav Guns if needed) or use his Warlord Trait to let them reroll to hit
  • Bike Lord can blitz the lines if he wants. Lord + Bikes + Honor Guard is a lot to deal with for even a great gunline.
  • Against deathstars, Tiggy has a great chance to get Misfortune, negating the ridiculous rerolls people are getting.
  • Also against deathstars, the Bike Lord can hold up a Screamer Star indefinitely - 3++ on T5 is going to be tough to kill off with even 9 Screamers. And really, his Fist can insta-kill the Grimoire Herald if he gets a lucky Precision Strike.
  • Thunderfires are just awesome - kill those troops in the backfield, or even snipe an Ethereal if you get lucky! Pin stuff, ignore cover on stuff, fortify stuff. Just awesome.

Chapter Tactics Thoughts:

I'll be honest, when the book first came out, I was very disappointed with the Ultramarine Chapter
Tactics. Really didn't think they'd amount to much.

However, I've had a change of heart. Holy balls, they do some work! Shooting Tac Marines at FMCs is normally just an attempt to get them to fail a grounding check with no real hope of doing damage. Having two turns to reroll snapshots was ridiculous! Then when the FMCs fell, they just get to reroll to hit on regular BS!

Ultramarine Chapter Tactics let a discerning general decide when to get some really powerful buffs. I was honestly blown away at how effective they were!

In addition, letting me take some White Scars Bikes that would not really benefit from the Ultra-Chapter Tactics is also awesome! Even without having scout (honestly - other than giving bikes scout, Khan kinda blows) the Bikes will do a lot of damage, and then Hit and Run wherever they want to go.

Being able to mix-and-match Chapter Tactics is really good if you can find synergistic units!

Thoughts about the list in general:

First, I realize that killing off the 20 Tac Marines won't be hard for some armies - Tau can remove
Tacs pretty damn quick, in fact. For that matter, the Honor Guard die pretty quick to most Tau stuff as well.

However, getting rid of the Honor Guard gives me the option to fill out two of the Tac Marines squads to 10 (getting a Multi-Melta!) and even getting a couple Rhinos.

I also have the option to lose a couple Bikes and a Sternguard model (wish it could be the Sergeant, lol) and take a couple more Rhinos. The Bikes would normally *like* to stay together anyways, so the extra 2 ablative wounds wouldn't be a huge loss for the added protection/mobility the Tacs would get.

Moving forward, I'm thinking of doing something like this:

Primary: Ultramarines

Tigurius The Pimp

10x Tactical Marines w/ Plasma, Combi-Plasma, Multi-Melta // Rhino
10x Tactical Marines w/ Plasma, Combi-Plasma, Multi-Melta // Rhino
5x Tactical Marines w/ Plasma, Combi-Plasma // Rhino
5x Tactical Marines w/ Plasma, Combi-Plasma

9x Sternguard // Rhino

Thunderfire Cannon
Thunderfire Cannon
Stalker (from Allies)

Allies: White Scars

Chaptermaster w/ Bike, Artificer Armor, Power Fist, Shield Eternal, Auspex

6x Marine Bikes w/ Multi-Melta Attack Bike, 2x Grav Guns, Combi-Grav

Potentially just combine the two 5-man tac units into a single one to look like the other two big ones.


What do you think? Thoughts on my list? Thoughts on Marines in general? I can't wait to start working on a Marines list. Once Feast is over, I can actually concentrate on that.

As a sidenote, I've realized my Feast list may not do too well - they suck at First Blood. And the Feast is nothing if not a tournament that over-rewards First Blood :) We'll see what happens!

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