Games Workshop Announces New Space Marine Units, and Doctrines. How is this going to change the Space Marine Meta?
First it was the announcement of a main codex, and mini codex Supplements. Then came the re-introduction of DYI Chapters, and flexible chapter tactics.
Now we see some game changing mechanics introduced with ‘lighter’ Primaris units. And on top of it, we now see the re-introduction of “Doctrines”! What edition is this? Third? Fourth?
Quick Peek at New Units:
Most of the units shown got a shoe shine. My Winners include:
Eliminators: We’re used to the pattern by now. First they release the very bare, basic loadout in a box set. Then come back and show us what the unit is most likely going to be fielded with. In this case:
Las fusil makes Primaris a smidge flexible against high toughness armies. Not great, but a start. I expect these will be very popular and I think they are underrated right now. I expect to see this squad to come in around ~100 Pts or it will still push people towards other options.
Another ‘new’ unit is the alternate to the Infiltrators: Incursors. This unit looks fairly lethargic until you notice the single “Haywire Mine” (3″ Detonation Range, D3 Mortal wounds. (+1 against vehicles)). This unit is a little redundant, we’ll have to see the point costs.
Next is my second favorite choice: Invictor Tactical Warsuit. Note this isn’t referred to as a dreadnought… it’s a “Warsuit” and the relevance of that factoid is it is lighter, and…. Infiltrates. How is this going to make an impact? I think it’s probably going to be like the Chaos Lord Discordant in the way it needs to be a bit ‘fragile’ to appeal to players in the points cost. IE: I think it’s going to need to come in at about 130-140 Pts. Does that sound tempting enough to buy 3? I think the fact you infiltrate this guy is a huge selling point, but again I’m guessing T6, and the loadout of mostly medium Strength Heavy Weapons will keep it cheap, BUT it will coincide with Devastator Doctrines making it more potent for a turn or two.
Queue a drum roll for what I think is the big winner and takes us right back to Third Edition! The new “assault vehicle” The Impulsor!
Sure there was always the Repulsor but far too expensive to spam with a large Infantry footprint, but most important is the Assault Rule:
This is my personal favorite because those of us that played back in old editions remember what it was like to put significant pressure on superior gunlines. My personal experience has shown me that Marines have typically never been ‘the best’ gunline, and never really were designed for it. But in 8th edition with the severe “re-tooling” of Drop Pods and their Guidance Systems, Marines in essence lost the ability to pressure superior gunlines!
This is huge. So assuming the points are low enough, you can expect 2-3+ of these to host 5-6 man units of Intercessors, and/or Helblasters. You may even make a real honey pot of characters/Helblasters and then throw a 4++ Invuln on the vehicle! OR call Orbital Strike from it OR perhaps a heavy weapon mount.
The key here is the vehicle allows you to use an “illegal” disembarkation: Step 1. Move the vehicle. Step 2. Disembark. (This means your 32 mm bases have to remain partially within 3″ of the vehicle. This means your total move is the vehicle (10-12″?) + (nearly) 3″. You can’t assault but it means your typically unharmed marines are in full range of most weapons, and in some cases you can dump Helbasters, etc in cover for full effect.
I could go on about the flexibility this unit adds alone but in summary the new units have one common goal: The ability to put early, heavy pressure on your opponent, but be survivable enough to withstand the hard hitting assault army. It’s a juggling act like always. BUT almost every unit in this release gives the marine player the ability to apply early pressure. This is the ‘Phobos’ release it appears, and it really reminds me of 3rd edition.
Moving on to another blast from the past: Doctrines
I apologize for the length of this but I’ve thought of many combo’s I’d like to test, and there’s still a lot we don’t know. Such as… Chaplain Litanies, etc. But for right now I think the Doctrines give us hope for a lot the units we just couldn’t find enough “threat” with in 8th edition marine builds. Again, those of you who’ve been around will remember these Doctrines from past editions:
The mechanics of these are simple enough: You START with Devastator Doctrines (+1 to AP of all weapons). Then, starting in turn 2, you have the option to switch to Tactical Doctrines (but you can’t change back).
Finally, in as early as Turn 3, you can switch to the final Assault Doctrine. All of these Doctrines are adding 1 to the AP of the appropriate weapon type. This makes some very lethargic weapons, significantly more dangerous. It means your ‘first born’ marines don’t allow cultists and/or Ork Boyz to take T-shirt saves anymore. It means your plethora of Heavy Onslaught Cannon shots are hitting at -2 AP! The Intercessor will essentially have the hitting power of a Thousand Sons Warp Bolter. Assault Cannon equipped vehicles will be that much punchier. Flamers/heavy flamers are going to sting a lot more.
What we don’t know is if or how this will be altered. I look to other codexes and the past Marine Codexes for some examples of: A piece of Wargear, or Relic that allows you to manipulate one squad, or a radius of squads, that can use a different Doctrine. Or perhaps a character that has this ability built in.
Conclusion: Some things I’m looking at.
This feels like the end of “beta testing” Primaris, and the beginning of a new era, but ironically it feels a lot like it will play out like the old era…
The more things change, they more they stay the same. Instead of landing Drop Pods on your opponent’s head, you will be taking Impulsors, and a host of “Phobos” options and infiltrating a footprint of power armour.
These changes make me excited to revisit some ideas I tried in the past:
Indomitus Crusaders: This is the first thing that came to my mind. This is the Vigilus Specialist Detachment that I assume will be part of the new codex. It allows you to make your elite Intercessors, more… elite. Veterans in fact. Now with Shock Assault, combined with Veteran status, and Rapid Fire + Tactical Doctrine will give me new life on this Detachment. In the past it didn’t hit hard enough, still died relatively easy, and was a Command Point hog. I will be revisiting this with AP-2 Bolt Rifles, and a Fist toting Sarge rocking 4 fist attacks.
Aggressors (w/Flamers): I don’t like rolling to hit. I miss too often! But you may prefer the boltstorm variant! I’m looking at putting 3 in an Impulsor (assuming this is legal), moving the vehicle, disembarking within 3″ in T2, and flaming 6D6 auto hits, at -1 AP. Shock Assault helps them get an extra fist swing in there.
Reivers: I really have a love/hate with these guys. I don’t find them that valuable in competitive play. They were utilitarian and then fell into obscurity for me with the arrival of Infiltrators. But now with new Doctrines and Shock Assault things could work for these guys. 10 Reivers: Deep strike T2, Tactical Doctrine; shoot everything… at -1 AP, T3, Assault Doctrine, hit hard, at -1 AP. In the past this unit was strictly a tie up unit for me, now it will have more support with the new units, and pack a little more punch.
Most importantly I think the overall feel I keep saying is the ability to apply early pressure…. but with more significance. The Shock Assault, new units, and Doctrines combine to give us this. It’s time to slap those Tau gunlines around, tie up those Leman Russ Tank Commanders, and rip apart the hordes of Chaos!
Thanks for checking in. -Prot