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Monday, January 21, 2013

Space Marines in 6th Edition: Generic HQs Part 1



Combat Tactics

Before I go into any of the individual HQ choices, I wanted to say a bit about Combat Tactics. This one of the base special rules for Space Marines, and it is replaced by any character with specific Chapter Tactics. Previously, Chapter Tactics were by far preferred because of the varied ways they allow you to customize your army. However, Combat Tactics are not only a competitive option in 6th Edition; they may be superior.


Combat Tactics allow the player to choose to automatically fail any morale checks their squads are called upon to take. This doesn’t sound too great at first but it makes Space Marines very hard to pin down in assault. With the exception of a very few units, Space Marines do much more damage shooting than they do in assault. In general anything that wants to assault a squad of Marines will either tear through them in assault or tie them up to prevent them shooting. Obviously, the Marine player wants to avoid both of these outcomes. If you lose any assault (which is very likely), you’ve got a good chance to escape from combat. In addition, any units that plan to assault your units have to be careful about shooting first. If they cause enough casualties to force a morale check, your squad can fall back to escape being shot. Once the squad falls back, And They Shall Know No Fear means that the squad will automatically rally, can move 3” and still shoot as if stationary.

Overall, this makes assaulting marines a dangerous prospect. An assaulting unit must suffer through the Marines’ shooting as it advances, then endure overwatch fire as it assaults. After a single round of combat, there is a decent chance (42%) that the Marines will escape from combat and shoot them all over again. Playing my Blood Angels has taught me that this wears down assault units very rapidly and is extremely frustrating for the assaulting player.

Chapter Master and Captain

The Chapter Master and Captain share a strong statline and tons of wargear options. While they can be geared out for a variety of roles, their statline predisposes them to be hard hitting assault characters. As far as options go, I prefer artificer armor to protect them against most weapons in assault and a relic blade to allow them to deal high amounts of damage (killing 2.22 MEQs on the charge compared to 1.33 from a power sword). The relic blade also allows them to take on most monstrous creatures as well as vehicles with a decent chance of success.

That’s a base loadout; if you’re concerned with durability, the storm shield will make the Captain better at shrugging off hits from power fists and monstrous creatures. If you plan on using the Captain to take on harder targets, a power fist is definitely worthwhile. If yo-
 want a bit of extra firepower, combi-weapons are the standard option, but a Captain can augment them with hellfire rounds and an auxiliary grenade launcher. The Captain/Chapter Master is the most flexible HQ option, and you can kit them out as you need to.

When deciding between the Chapter Master and Captain, you need to consider their special rules. A Chapter Master brings Orbital Bombardment, allowing him to drop a single S10 AP1 large blast. It’s not very accurate, but it demolishes anything it hits. It’s particularly useful against tightly packed, high model count armies, especially vehicle parking lots. That said, my experience is that it misses way more often than it hits anything. When it does hit, it often wins me the game right away. Beyond that, the Chapter Master allows you to take a squad of Honor Guard.

Wearing artificer armor and carrying power weapons, bolt pistols, and bolters, Honor Guard are a good assault squad and produce reasonable firepower. When carrying a Chapter Banner, the squad packs 5 attacks each on the charge, meaning that they will chew through most targets with ease. Their main competition comes from Terminators, who are a bit more expensive but are more durable and bring significantly more firepower but fewer attacks, and Assault Terminators, who can be way more durable and hit harder. Terminators are a more common choice, but the increased durability of artificer armor in 6th Edition makes Honor Guard a viable choice. For a bit cheaper than Terminators, Honor Guard are better in combat than Terminators and bring more firepower than Assault Terminators.

Captains, on the other hand, allow access to Command Squads. For a pretty reasonable price, Command Squads consist of 5 Veterans including an Apothecary. They have access to many options, but kitting them out for assault makes them prohibitively expensive. Honor Guard or Assault Terminators are better at it for fewer points. Command squads shine in a shooty role as they can carry 4 special weapons. Loading them out with plasma guns makes them a strong addition to a gunline (and the Apothecary reduces the danger of Gets Hot!). A squad with 4 flamers is extremely dangerous when deployed by Drop Pod or Rhino. The other options, such as a Company Standard or Champion, are generally unnecessary.

The other main reason to take a Captain is if you want to take a Biker army. If the Captain rides a bike, then Bike squads 5 models or larger count as Troops. This allows a very mobile build, if that’s what you’re after.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm...I'd not considered using combat Tactics in HTH before, only vs. shooting. ATSKNF eliminates any risk of getting run down should you do that.

    May need to give that a shot next time round with my many tac. squads.

    ReplyDelete

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