Now that I'm finished reviewing the Eldar codex, I'm going to go over the various Chapter Tactics available for Space Marines. Of course, I'll be going over the ones in the codex, but Forgeworld recently updated the rules for all of the Space Marine Chapters and characters that they have produced. Even better, the rules are all available for free. You can consider it an expansion for Codex: Space Marines. It’s available here:
Of course, I have to start with my own Chapter, the Executioners. While they are Imperial Fist successors (and I’ve been playing them as such), they are divergent enough to warrant their own Chapter Tactics. First up, they have Bitter Mettle, which means they ignore all negative LD modifiers. This is essentially a better Stubborn, which never was that great before. That said, it’s not so bad anymore because it’s not an alternative to the old Combat Tactics. It makes your marines just a little more dependable, which is never a bad thing.
The Executioners’ second rule is Headhunters. All of their characters inflict Instant Death on a 6 to wound in a challenge. However, Executioner with the highest weapon skill in a combat must issue a challenge. Ask Chaos Space Marine players how much fun this rule is. While inflicting Instant Death could be really handy in some circumstances, it won’t make a difference in most challenges. Even more problematic, your characters now have to be armed with weapons suitable for challenges. The Black Templars have similar tactics, but they get re-rolls to hit and Rending in challenges, meaning that even a sergeant with a chainsword is dangerous. Without an armor ignoring weapon, an Executioner’s Instant Death attacks are likely to just bounce off the enemy armor.
Overall, the Executioners Chapter Tactics just seem like a weaker version of the Black Templars. Templars will perform better in challenges across most circumstances, and I’d rather have Crusader and Adamantium Will than super Stubborn. That said, Headhunters will be really useful on really aggressive characters, such as the Chapter Master. He’ll be armed to take on most enemies in a challenge, and the ability inflict Instant Death will give him an edge over other Chapter Masters. If you are taking Chapter Tactics (Executioners), you should definitely take this style character.
High Chaplain Thulsa Kane
‘Old Night’ survived his update pretty well. His axe, Lifetaker, is still S6 but was upgraded to AP2. It did pick up Unwieldy, though. This doesn’t matter too much since he’s very durable with artificer armor, a rosarius, and Eternal Warrior. He has the standard Chaplain rules, but also allows every model within 12” to re-roll 1s to wound when charging (which is a bit worse than before, when it worked all the time).
Thulsa Kane also has to be your Warlord, and has a unique Warlord trait. As long as he’s fighting in a challenge, all Executioners units on the table get +1 to their combat resolution in assault and +1 to their Sweeping Advance. With these changes, Thulsa Kane increased in cost 15 points.
Thulsa Kane’s rules don’t seem massively impressive, but he does fill a really unique niche. He allows you to take a second Eternal Warrior melee character (along with the one with the Shield Eternal), and is a nasty combat character for his points. In general, Chaplains are more of a buff unit and don’t do much damage themselves. Thulsa Kane is an exception to this, as he provides Chaplain buffs (plus a bit extra) and can more than handle himself in assault. His only real downside is his lack of speed, so he’ll do his best work in a Land Raider leading Assault Terminators.
In all honesty, the Executioners’ Chapter Tactics are probably one of the weaker versions, certainly moreso than the core options from Codex: Space Marines. You can generally think of them as a weaker version of the Black Templar Chapter Tactics. However, the Chapter Tactics are very fitting for the Executioners’ background, and they allow you to take two Eternal Warrior beat-stick characters in one list. I believe only Imperial Fists can do this is the standard codex, and their Chapter Tactics do nothing to make their characters more dangerous.
I plan on using Chapter Tactics (Executioners) when running a very aggressive list based around assaulting characters. It should be a lot of fun, though I’m not sure how competitive it will be. However, I won’t be shy about running the Executioners using Chapter Tactics (Imperial Fists). Bolter Drill fits their propensity for short ranged firefights. Even though Tank Hunter Devastator squads aren’t so fluffy, they sure are useful to have. Our advancing squads need cover fire after all.