Saturday, July 7, 2012

Second Company in 6th Edition....

Papa Smurf is BACK!

When I started 40K about two three years ago, I chose Ultramarines Second Company as my first army, so it is only fitting that I start with them for 6th Edition.  While my Battleforce Marines are a good starting point, I think I am going to start from scratch to see how I can best take advantage of the new 6th edition rules.  For the first iteration, I am focusing solely on "pure" Space Marines without allies until I get a better handle on how things are going to shake out.  At first I was making this a 1999 list, but decided to put on my big-boy pants and just go to 2K.  I doubt the second FOC is going to really make any armies really OP.  A few older books might get a boost, but I figure a well-built list will be able to handle any shenanigans.  (Warning... this is a long post, so feel free to skip ahead)


When I build a Space Marine Army, I generally start with the HQ because of the FOC and Chapter Tactics shenanigans.  In my opinion, there are four main HQs that fit my playstyle and are worth considering for the list:

1. Vanilla Librarian--In 5th Edition, he was THE competitive HQ choice (tied with Vulkan) because of Null Zone and his Hood.  However, the nerf to Hoods means that he lost a lot of utility in my mind.  Also, my Libby models all have staves, so going from AP2 to AP4 is pretty huge.  Null Zone/Avenger are still pretty nice, but I would seriously consider either Telepathy or Biomancy.  Both have some good buffs/debuffs and can be pretty flexible.  However, unless he is in Termy Armor with a Stormshield (or buff to heck with Biomancy), he is probably challenge-bait.  Still a solid contender as a primary or secondary HQ.

2. Vulkan--Another solid staple from 5th Edition that might have lost a step or two in 6th.  He still has a 2+/3++ and a S6 AP3 weapon, so he is a beast in most challenges.  His army-wide buffs are also still pretty strong.  I love the idea of snap-firing twin-linked MMs and Overwatch with twin-linked flamers.  I'd say his only downside is he is expensive and he causes everyone to lose Combat Tactics.  I think Combat Tactics became significantly more useful because of random charge distances and not having to get outside of 6" to regroup. 

3.  Lysander--Another challenge master... He also brings S10 to the fight, which can be helpful against things such as TWC and now Nob Bikers.  I would seriously consider him to escort a group of shooty Terminators to absorb shots and twin-link their stormbolters.  Once again, he causes everyone to lose Combat Tactics for Stubborn.  If I am losing big in CC, I want to run--not stay stuck in to get slaughtered.

4.  Papa Smurf--Anyone who has read my blog or talked to me about 40k at all knows I love the big man in blue.  Like Lysander, he is a beatstick in CC and can smush 2+ armor saves with his fists or slice up 3+ saves at I5.  Unlike Lysander, though, he makes the rest of the army better with God of War.  He also has some non-trivial shooting with Orbital Bombardment and his AP2 stormbolter.  I think the Orbital Bombardment could be pretty devestating if he decides to hang out on his own for a turn.  S10 is at a premium and can really help with some nasty units.  However, he does cost 265 points and doesn't come with a 3++, so he isn't as good of a soak as Lysander. 

My initial thought is to go with Calgar to begin with, simply because he rules at challenges and makes a great Warlord.  He also brings enough utility to make him worthwhile in a shooty list.  However, if I feel point-strapped, I might switch to a TDA/SS Librarian with Null Zone/Vortex or Telepathy/Biomancy.  The next step is to figure out his retinue.

Calgar with TDA: 265 Points


I see no reason to break from my normal train troop selection of three basic Tactical Squads in Rhinos.  With cover being so scarce, a 3+ armor save is still nice, and Rapid Fire weapons got significantly better.  MLs took a bit of a hit in the anti-vehicle department, but can still strip hull points or take wounds off MCs just fine.  I still try to keep my Tacticals focused on anti-infantry by using a Flamer, as Krak grenades are probably good enough against anything that isn't a LR or walker.  I never was a fan of 4/5 guys standing around while the one guy with the meltagun took a pot shot at a vehicle at close range.  I would much rather use a mobile MM to pop the vehicle while the Tactical Squad kills anyone who falls out.  Some might say it's not much different than taking pot shots with a ML combat squad, but at least then they are not right next to the enemy (and are usually on an objective).  Finally, Combat Squads can share a ride now, so I am sticking with Rhinos over Razorbacks.  Hull points also makes expensive Razorbacks less of a bargain as they tend to fall over in stiff breeze.  If I find points left-over, then I plan on upgrading MLs to Lascannons or buying some combi-flamers/meltas.

Tactical Squad with Flamer, ML, and Rhino: 205 points
Tactical Squad with Flamer, ML, and Rhino: 205 points
Tactical Squad with Flamer, ML, and Rhino: 205 points

Retinue/Centerpiece/CC Deathstar:

As I mentioned before, I like flexibility in my lists.  I do not like to depend solely on the shooting phase to get things done, so I try to mix in at least one solid CC unit.  This also fills my "requirement" for a centerpiece unit for the army, especially as they will more than likely be comig out of a LR.  Like the HQ selection, Vanilla Marines have several different options for a CC/Deathstar unit:

1.  TH/SS Terminators--THE CC unit of the codex, the one that all the others are measured against.  Not going to spend any time discussing why they are awesome, and they are my default unit unless another one catchs my eye.

2.  Tactical Terminators--Who would of thought this unit would make the list?  However, with almost all PWs being AP3, they can actually take a punch in CC.  They still die to ranged AP2, though without a bullet catcher.  I expect the meta to make a shift to more quality of fire because of the reduced cover saves.  They also run into issues dealing with MCs, which is generally what I use my CC units to handle.  Generally anything else I can handle with shooting.  Tactical Terminators just don't bring enough shooting to offset that weakness.  However, because they can shoot, they really don't require a LR.  They can camp out in the middle of a shooty list and bring their firepower to bear waiting for the nasties to come to them.  The downside is that it makes them significantly slower, which I believe is a pretty big liability in this edition.

3. Honor Guard--Because I am taking Calgar, I have the option for Honor Guard.  Like Tactical Terminators, they get a buff from the PW nerf.  But unlike Tactical Termies, they don't have PFs or Invulnerable Saves to fall back on.  A Libby with Force Dome can help in that regard, but that is on top of the cost of Calgar.  They do come with Power Axes on all but the Banner/Champion and the Champion is a beast in most challenges.  Before 6th, they were very good at shredding other MEQs at I4 and sweeping other units, but having Power Axes (Unless I build new models) really hurts them as they don't want to be going toe-to-toe with Terminators of any kind.  Overall, I just don't see them as being useful in this edition.

4.  Honorable Mentions--Some others I considered were CC Scouts (cheap) and a Bike Command Squad (fast and beastly).  However, I don't have Bike models to run a Command Squad, and I am not sure how they would fair in the new meta.  That and I I have never been a fan of CC Scouts.  WS3 and 4+ armor just kills them for me.  VGVs still compete for Fast Attack slots, so they are also a nogo. 

TH/SS Termies riding in a Phobos LR are still my go-to centerpiece unit.  The only thing they can't handle is hordes, and even then they can hold up for a while.  Putting Calgar with them is a bit of overkill, but absolutely nothing wants to be in charge-range of that "Magic Bus".  Hopefully with proper positioning he can extend their life by eating small-arms fire and they help him by LOS!ing a few AP2 wounds.  However, both units are strong enough to operate independantly.  I actually can foresee using Calgar and his Orbital Barrage as a backfield goalie in some games while the TH/SS and LR act as a guided missile.  Not exactly points efficient, but big, splashy, and able to take on anything.  If points get super tight, then Calgar can get downgraded to a TDA/SS Libby without breaking the unit.

TH/SS x5: 200 points
Heavy Support Vanilla LR with MM: 260 points (Extra Armor isn't worth it anymore IMO)


Now that CC is handled, the next "must have" I need to add is a way of dealing with Flyers.  There are three main ways to deal with Flyers: Weight of fire (preferably twin-linked), Skyfire, or other Flyers.  Luckily Vanilla SM isn't hurting on any of these accounts.  The Stormtalon makes a great anti-flyer Flyer with it's twin-linked assault cannon and TML.  Going into hovermode also allows it still affect units on the ground with solid anti-infantry/MC/transport shooting.  The only way to get actual Skyfire in the list is with a Fortification with a Quad gun.  I am tempted to run a Bastion because it basically costs as much as a Rifleman, is more durable, and comes with the bonus Skyfire/Interceptor rules.  However, I don't really see that much bonus over the cheaper defense line, at least for Marines.

Stormtalon with TML: 155 points
Aegis Defense Line with Quad Gun: 100 points


I fully expect LRs and other AV 14 to be a popular way to counter Hull Points.  A lot of people have argued that the new rules favor Plamsa over Melta for killing light transports, but when you need something heavy dead, I think MMs are still the way to go.  I mixed Attack Bikes and MM/HF Landspeeders in 5th, but I think the new rules heavily favor Attack Bikes.  Attack Bikes can deny objectives, fire Overwatch, get a 3+ armor save, can't be stunned, are harder to hit in CC, and have the same number of "wounds" as Landspeeders.  I found that an AV10 vehicle with two Hull Points is just too squishy given the changes to Rapid Fire.  Attack Bikes are also much harder to instakill with their updated T5.  Anything that has a chance to Instakill them would also autopen a Landspeeder.  I am going to miss the Heavy Flamers, but I can't justify the extra points given how easy they are to neurtalize. 

MM Attack Bike x2: 100 points
MM Attack Bike x2: 100 points

More Dakka

A quick count shows that I have approximately 205 points left to spend on more shooty goodness.  That's not a whole lot to work with, as it can basically get 1-2 units from either the Heavy or Elites slots:

1.  Rifleman Dread--Solid dakka at 125 points.  Great for stripping hull points and not too terrible at hitting Flyers.
2.  Dakka Pred--Hull points makes AV13 actually worth something now.  Glances still allow it to keep shooting and it can lay down serious anti-infantry firepower for a measly 85 points. 
3.  Combi Pred--Personal favorite of mine.  Great all-around firepower at a relatively cheap price.  I would love to ally in the BA version later, though.
4.  TFC--Actually back to being a decent choice given the new artillery rules.  However, Vanilla Techmarines didn't get the same buffs as everyone else, so they are dependant on ruins to survive.  It does mesh well with the defense line, however. 
5.  Vindicator--Glances not shaking/stunning and blasts not doing half-damage anymore really help the Vindy.  However, I am still not sold on a single-shot gun that cannot snap-fire or go after Flyers.

For the sake of simplicity, I will use a Dakka and Combi Pred, as those come out to 205 points exactly.  I really don't have a lot of wiggle room, short of switching out Calgar for a cheaper HQ. 

Final Result

My new 6th Edition Battleforce Marines now are:

Calgar in TDA
Tactical Squad with Flamer/ML and Rhino
Tactical Squad with Flamer/ML and Rhino
Tactical Squad with Flamer/ML and Rhino
TH/SS Terminators x5
MM Attack Bike x2
MM Attack Bike x2
Landraider with MM
Autocannon/Lascannon Predator
Autocannon/Heavy Bolter Predator
Aegis Line with Quad Gun
Stormtalon with Typhoon ML

This gives me a solid, well-rounded force with a variety of weapons and ways to approach any game.  It has enough shooting elements to keep enemy transports and light vehicles honest and more than enough CC to handle anything but the biggest Deathstars.  The Stormtalon can harass enemy Flyers or straff ground units, and the Quad gun should hopefully keep other Flyers off of its back with the Interceptor rule.  It has a few weakspots such as pure horde armies or LR spam, but even then it can hopefully rely on mobility/range to whittle the opposing army down before counter-charging.  Calgar might be overkill, so I may eventually drop him for a TDA/SS Biomancy Libby and Rifleman, but for now I plan on letting him get some challenges in first...


  1. I kinda get the comparison you're making between Assault and Shooty terminators, but I don't think you worked out the 'true' difference very accurately.

    1st off, against vehicles, Thunderhammers offer no advantage over Powerfists. No more autostuns. Vs infantry, you reduce them to I1, but aside from mega-deff characters, you hit them with a thunderhammer, they should be dead. So this rule comes into play maybe 25% of the time. Therefore, for comparitive purposes, pretty much the sole difference between Assault and Shooty Termies is having either a Stormbolter, and thus a shooting attack, or a Storm Shied, and thus an invunerable save.

    Quite clearly, on a points vs usability scale, the Storm Shield wins every time, Those 3++ saves being invaluble. However, now power weapons are nerfed, the need for an invunerable save on Terminators has reduced considerably.

    For me, the main difference between Assault and Shooty Termies is that Shooty Termies can operate on there own and still be 100% effective. Assault termies need a land raider minimum, and generally they need an IC in there too. If we exclude the IC requiremnt, just the Raider more than Doubles the cost of the unit. Ok, you're not JUST getting a transport with a raider, but to use your termies effectively, that raider has to throw caution to the wind and get up nice and close, which means melta time.

    Those points spent on the raider would get you, well, another unit of Terminators! Plus HQ upgrades for both. Lets not forget 'normal' terminators are still putting out 3 S8 AP2 attacks each on the charge. With an assault cannon, they’re also putting in 12 shots before the assault to boot. If you’re doubling your numbers by loosing the Land Raider, well the numbers just get silly.

    I think the changes to Power Weapons and vehicles put Shooty Termies out front in 6th, for me anyway.

    1. Very good points! I do think that Tactical Terminators got significantly stronger, and it is no longer a cut and dry decision between them and TH/SS Terminators. I am going to expand more on my rationale with a post tomorrow night (just couldn't get it done tonight).

  2. I posted some additional thoughts on the subject at

    The TLDR version is that I think it is a playstyle difference rather than a competitive difference.

  3. Presumably Lysander would allow you to re-roll snapshots as well?

  4. Yeah... Lysander is a lot nastier with snapshots. The good-old Lysander bomb of Lysander and Sternguard in a Drop Pod is just crazy. After the discussion about the Tactical/THSS Terminators, I now think that Lysander with a block of Shooty Terminators is probably more competitive than my current setup.