Hey everyone, Reecius from Frontline Gaming here to discuss the new Space Marine Chapter Tactics.

So, the new book is here and I absolutely love it! I think it is a great mix of the old book (which I thought was great) with some fine tuning to bring it back in line with 6th, and some fun new units and rules thrown in to make what is the most customizable book in the game right now.

So, my last article on BoLS and Frontline went over my broad impressions, this time I am going to look a little deeper at the Chapter Tactics themselves as for one, that will inform the rest of your list building decisions and two, where most of us will start. With previous books I would write a pretty comprehensive single review, but this sucker is big and the amount of choices and variables is so high I feel it would be a disservice to just skim so instead I will give it the attention it deserves and hit it in sections.

So, Chapter Tactics. I absolutely love the concept! With the success of the Horus Heresy novels and games, I think GW saw the popularity of giving attention to ALL of the Legions, not just a few. The last book gave us the ability to customize our force by taking special characters which was awesome, but it limited builds to revolving around certain models that you would subsequently see all the time. And, furthermore, we would see combinations of characters from different chapters frequently which was a bit odd from a fluff perspective. Like hey, let me borrow your best dude but leave the rest of the chapter at home. I like the idea of chapters working together, as they do in the books frequently, but not just a single (and often highest ranking) member of the chapter. So, with Chapter Tactics and allies within the book, yes you can have Tigerius teaming up with Vulkan, but they both have members of their respective force with them.

So, what this means is that you can have a cool army with units from two chapters for a fun, themed force AND from a gaming perspective you can cherry pick those units and Chapter Tactics you feel will best be able to build you the exact force you want. I am of the opinion that Space Marines are going to be able to put an incredibly flexible force on the table and really set the bar for a TAC list.


As for the Chapter Tactics rules themselves, I think they are all great. Truly, I like them all. The only slightly disappointing Chapter Tactics are for the Raven Guard, whom can not give Scouts to anything with the Bulky or Very Bulky rule (which means Jumpers, Bikes, Termies, Centurions, etc.) which I feel was an oversight as infiltrating Assault Marines is kind of their shtick, and the summary in the back of the book directly contradicts the ruling on pg.78, but it is what it is. The other half of their Chapter Tactic is Stealth on the first turn but with the amount of Ignore Cover units in the game, that is really nothing to get excited about. Now, in theory it is pretty cool, you infiltrate Scouts, Sternguard, Devastators, Tacticals, Honor Guard, etc. forward turn 1, and then they have Stealth for that turn to mitigate damage, but in reality with Tau, Eldar, Taudar, Chaos, Divination, etc. so popular at the moment, it really doesn't count for much. When it does help, it helps a lot, though. And, the ability to outflank any of those units is nothing to discount. That said, I feel that Raven Guard do suffer a bit in comparison to the others and simply allowing Bikes and Jumpers to also Scout would be both characterful, fun and level the playing field, IMO.

Raven Guard also get to use their Jump Packs in both the movement and assault phases of the game. Nice one! Assault Marines really struggle to earn their keep in the current meta (and have for a long time, honestly) as a Marine stat line and point cost just doesn't hold up to the true assault units of the game such as Daemons and Nids, who will thrash them in combat for less points. Assault Marines have been relegated to the bullies of the playground, picking on weak backfield units and blowing up vehicles (which, admittedly, they are really good at). The point being, if you build a list around Assault Marines, you are not going to have a fun game if you play armies that swing first, ignore your armor, and cost less points which, unfortunately, there are a lot of. That said, this little buff the Raven Guard get really helps a LOT. Rerolling the charge distance is critical in 6th ed to consistently making your charges. The Hammer of Wrath hit is actually super useful as it auto-hits, and you reroll the wound roll if you fail. That is deceptively good as it is really like getting 4 extra attacks at In 10 for models that get the attack. If you were charging a tough 4, WS 4 unit with Assault marines, attacking normally, you would average 1 wound per 4 attacks (1/2 hit, 1/2 wound) but Hammer of Wrath gives you an auto-hit (equivalent to 2 attacks on average), and a 3/4 chance to wound. These averages obviously get better if the target is weaker or has lower WS. So, with the above comments that these guys should be attacking relatively soft targets in the first place such as backfield shooting or scoring units, that extra attack is actually really good. My opinion is that Assault Marines should be run cheap, 2 flamers and melta bombs, and sent into the backfield either via Deep Strike or hopping up the field, and then to attack weak units and vehicles where they will do great, Wave Serpents particularly, fear them.


White Scars! These are the fellas everyone's got their eye on right now, and for good reason. This often neglected legion (and a shame too, I love the Mongolians in space imagery) is going to be VERY popular. Why? They got some ace Chapter Tactics.

Born in the Saddle, the first half of their rules, allows their bikes to auto-pass Dangerous Terrain roles, add 1 to their Jink Saves, and to hit with Hammer of Wrath at strength 5! Nice! They essentially have skilled rider and those deceptively useful Hammer of Wrath attacks are even better. The cover save bonus is again, only situationally useful, but really good when it comes in handy. Obviously, passing dangerous terrain is huge for these types of units as in 6th, you take the test EVERY TIME you go through terrain, including pile in in combat, etc. it can really grind a unit down and when you have small units of bikes, every casualty hurts.

The second half of their Chapter Tactics is the real kicker, though. Hit and Run. Wowzers! Almost ever infantry model in the army has Hit and Run, that is crazy. We've never seen anything like this, typically it's a USR only 1 or 2 elite units get. Now, you have an entire army (almost) that can leave combat at will (assuming you pass the I check, of course). That is so good. Hit and Run is game winning and combined with ATSKNF, you can keep your army fluid and mobile the entire game. Combo this with the great scoring unit that Marine Bikes have always been, add in the new Grav Weapons which work best on relentless models, and the ability to build a totall bad ass character on a bike and you have a winning combo. The White Scars really did get some awesome rules and I think the boys in White are going to be popping up all over the place in the near future.


Imperial Fists. I really like these Chapter Tactics. These are the most obviously potent offensive rules and you can make a list that consistently pumps out damage. Bolter Drill allows you to reroll 1's with Bolter Weapons (but not with Special Ammunition) which means a huge chunk of your army has Poor Man's Prescience, which really increases the average output of damage of the army.

Siege Masters gives Devastators and Centurion Devastators Tank Hunters and get +1 to damage rolls against buildings. Boom! That is really, really slick. It means your devs are just punishing against vehicles (including with Heavy Bolters which also reroll 1's to hit). Also, this confers onto weapons the unit fires, such as Quad Guns and Icraus Las Cannons which is very helpful in clearing the skies of enemy flyers. The Imperial Fists are really straight forward in their rules: they shoot very well! haha


Iron Hands! Wow, they actually get some attention at all which is awesome. I always liked their fluff and after reading Wrath of Iron, I liked them even more. So, it is great to see them get some love and I feel that their Chapter Tactics are exceptional! The Flesh is Weak is the first half of their rules, and it is REALLY good. FnP 6+ army wide is great! It increases the durability of your army by 16.6% which is awesome. Not only do you die slower than other marines, you get a save against things like Plasma, Grav, Rending, etc. whereas other marines would just get slaughtered. This is one of those rules that is deceptively good.

Machine Empathy is another gem. All Characters and Vehicles get It Will Not Die. Wow! That makes your army even harder to take down. If you take a Chapter Master kitted out (or any character) they will prove to be so hard to kill as they regenerate wounds and deflect them with their 6+ FnP. And, Iron Hands just cry out for a mechanized army as your vehicles regenerate. Combine this with the +1 to repair vehicles with Masters of the Forge and Techmarines that they also get and you can have some seriously resilient armor and walkers! I just love these Chapter Tactics as they are both characterful and EXTREMELY good. I predict a lot of iron Hands in our future and the new paint scheme with some white thrown in is pretty sweet, too.


The Salamanders are only slightly changed from what we had before. That is by no means a bad thing, though. They are still very good. The primary difference is that they now lose some offense (Meltas and Multi-Meltas are not twin linked unless you take Vulkan, and T.Hammers aren't master crafted but flame weapons still are) but gain some defense (reroll failed saves vs. flame weapons) and gain the ability to master Craft any weapon, even a purchased weapon, on all of your characters for free. That is a fair trade, in my opinion as you don't HAVE to take Vulkan (although he is still really good) and the Master Crafted weapon for all characters is deceptively good. I feel that every Sallamander sarge should now have a Combi Plas! And it means your beat stick characters get even better with their powerful weapons, at no additional cost. Nice!


The Black Templars got some good Chapter Tactics, too. Accept any challenge lets them reroll all failed to hit rolls in a challenge and they get rending. That is pretty solid as with the rules in mind, you can kit up your characters for challenges. Perhaps not the greatest ability as Space Marines are not the best stat line, but, your beat stick characters will strongly benefit form this.

The second half of their Tactics is Adamantium Will and Crusader. Those are really good. Adamantium Will gives you +1 to your Deny the Witch rolls which, with all the Eldar, Daemons, Nids, etc. running around debuffing you, is very helpful as it doubles the odds that you stop the power. And, while BTs can't take Libbys, it seems that they can ally with them and join to units with them, which would further increase their DtW rolls. Crusader lets them roll 2D6 for run moves and take the highest, as well as add D3 to their Sweep rolls. That is really nice if you are running the big Crusader squads as it really increases their average speed up the table and lets them run down high In units like Eldar and Nids after combat. it is also great for those last turn objective grabs by increasing their speed.


And finally, the boys in blue: Ultramarines. I at first read was iffy on the Ultramarines Chapter Tactics but after a conversation with my buddy Tastey taste, and a deeper reading of their Chapter Tactics I now feel that they may actually have the BEST Chapter Tactics for the right player. Why? Flexibility.

The Ultramarines have 3 different once per game abilities that are really good. Tactical lets you reroll 1's to hit and Tactical Squads are totally twin linked. Assault lets you reroll charge distance and Assault and Bike units get Fleet. Devastator lets you reroll Snap Shots and Devastator squads get relentless.

Each of those is VERY powerful, however, you have to declare which you are using at the beginning of your turn and you can only use one per turn. That means you have to be a player that can see what is coming in advance. If you are good enough to use each of these abilities at the right time, you can force multiply your army a great deal. You can make your offensive punch very powerful, dramatically increase the odds of getting a critical charge(s) or make assaulting your army a much scarier proposition and/or increase the odds of dropping flyers with ground units. However, if used poorly, these are the worst Chapter Tactics as they are one use only. Calgar allows you to use one of them again, though, which is nice.

Ultramarines I think can be fantastic when used by an expert player that sees a turn or two ahead and plans when to use each ability to best effect. For example, a Drop Pod army comes in, you use your Tactical ability to twin link and gut punch your opponent. You then use your Devastator ability to reroll overwatch the turn you get attacked. Later in the game, you use your Assault ability to get those critical assaults off, or to use Fleet on your Assault and/or Bikes to get out and grab or contest objectives. Nice! Plus, Ultramarines have really good characters.

So, there you go, a break down of the Chapter Tactics. Don't forget you can combine them with allies to get those certain abilities you need to really fine tune your army!

58 Comments:

  1. I have a feeling that everyone is underestimating the Raven Guard chapter tactics by fixating on what it doesn't do and less on what it *can* do. I have a feeling that both abilities in conjunction can be devastating when the right units are taken.

    But I could be wrong and we'll find out soon enough.

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    1. People are really underestimating the Raven Guard and fixate too much on what they cannot do instead of trying to build a list around the stuff they CAN do.

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    2. Pfft sternguard in a rhino that can fire on the edge of your enemy's deployment line turn 1 is one of the best units in the entire Codex. Put them in area terrain and whore 2+ cover saves against shooty army retaliation.

      (Deploy, scout, move, disembark, shoot. 36".)

      Also, while you don't get the best parts of the White Scars CT, you can still scout Grav Gun bikers without having to use Khan and you can also pull the trick with Grav centurions in a land raider, migitating range issues.

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    3. Wait, how can you scout up and get 2+ cover from a rhino? Maybe I'm doing vehicle cover wrong but my understanding was they got a 5+ if 25% obscured, and a 4+ if at least 25% obscured by ruins, so wouldn't a 3+ be the max, short of gaining shrouded from night fight, which would of course not happen if you were scouting into the middle of the board, right?

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    4. Iron Hands, BT, Salamanders, their CT's are naff, mediocre, maybe decent in a friendly game. Looks great on paper, in practice IH get one saved marine per 10 dead and at best a slightly harder to kill tank HQ which was never great to begin with.

      CC armies are crap in this edition, and a CC army based around marines and CCW weight of wounds is laughable. Challenges are rarely decisive anyway. The EC is pants, Helbrecht and Grimaldus aren't anything that jump out of the page.

      Salamanders are in an edition where horde armies and tanks are going down the toilet. The other CT's give better ways of delivering melt as and flamers anyway.

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    5. @Ian the cover comes from disembarking into area terrain and going to ground on turn 1 with infantry. Rhinos get a 4+ cover.

      (5+ base, 3+ GTG, 2+ stealth)

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    6. Rhino cover comes from popping smoke.

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    7. A friend of mine put together a scary sounding list with raven guard with a non-drop pod null deployment list. It benefits greatly from CT(RG) and wouldn't work as well without them. While i do believe they are the least flexible, I can't call them bad.

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    8. Agreed. I am not disappointed by their CT at all. Though the more people who think theyre bad only benefits me mwuahaha.

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    9. Mr. Omega says:
      "Also, while you don't get the best parts of the White Scars CT, you can still scout Grav Gun bikers without having to use Khan and you can also pull the trick with Grav centurions in a land raider, migitating range issues."


      Except you don't get scout or stealth on models with Bulky or Very Bulky rules which both bikes and centurions are. So, there is no scouting of bikes, jump infantry, terminators, or centurions for Raven Guard.

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  2. 'ALL of the Legions' he says...lol. Pay no attention to the half that turned traitor...

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    1. I think he's referring to the rumored Legion supplements.

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    2. And 3 of the remaining loyalist half that have their own books... Granted SW and BA will get updates, DA on the other hand...

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. I really enjoy reading Reece's reviews. He has an honest enthusiasm and excitement which is refreshing in an often cynical Internet environment. It helps remind you why you play the game in the first place.

    @ Prodigal- I hope you're right about the Raven Guard; they're my boys!

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    1. Agreed! Very enjoyable bat reps also. They seem a great team at that place.

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    2. Agreed! Very enjoyable bat reps also. They seem a great team at that place.

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    3. Agreed, Reece puts out the most enjoyable 40k articles, gotta admit I was excited to see some completely non related ridiculous pictures in this one. TWURK OUT!

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  4. RG are nasty but the buld is very not RG fluff. Think 100+ marines in 10+ rhinos.

    It's like a deep strike army that auto comes in turn one.

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    1. Yeah, its slightly ironic the chapter best known for a large number of scouts gets CT's that don't generally benefit scouts (since they have scout already, dont have jetbikes, and are generally going to pay for camo cloaks unless they are rocking a LS storm.

      Although, the storm would definitely benefit from the T1 jink bonus.

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    2. I already have a really awesome list.
      It's Shrike and Korvydae
      They both have their own (troop) ASM-squad, one will infiltrate of course.
      Scouts will infiltrate and scout into a building with their teleport beacon so they can direct a group of Assault Terminators to the right place.

      I will also take Tactical Marines in Rhino's to quickly scout forward into ruins. Probably 2 squads!

      And to finish the "shock attack"-group I have a 5-guy CCS-bikers with Grav-guns.

      I hardly face more than one flyer in games and nobody plays Tau, so I can rely on cover and play it really fluffy.

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    3. Their CT are very fluffy. They use detachments just like that. Jump packs and stealth squads can win battles, but not wars. Scouts dont need buffs, theyre already great with the rest of a RG army.

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    4. @Ian

      That's what I thought at first too, but the more I think about if you want to make the whole army feel more like a recon force you don't buff the scouts that already scout (or jump, or bike fast), you give the units that don't normally an extra little edge. So now RG have the normal recon forces, but their regular line-infantry are also somewhat tricksy. I actually love that about the tactics the way they have been done. That being said, I can see it the other way too :P

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  5. Salamanders Land Speeders and Dreadnoughts lost their buff to flame weapons since vehicles don't have chapter tactics. (Except Iron Hands)

    This isn't too bad since Land Speeders aren't fluffy and Dreads aren't too effective anyways, but it's still a bit of a bummer.

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    1. Actually, the description for Salamanders Chapter Tactics say any flame weapons used by models in this detachment may re-roll failed To Wound rolls and Armour Penetration.

      It doesn't say the model needs to have Chapter Tactics.

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    2. Chapter Tactics doesn't work for models without the Chapter Tactic rule, it says so on the same page :)

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    3. There is an explainer saying "any model" for the flame weapons, just like IH and vehicles for IWND. It does work.

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    4. No, it says "models in this detachment" for flame weapons. It says that for RG scout, IH FNP, IF bolters and WS born in the saddle. Just like the rest of those, it doesn't affect vehicles!

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    5. So vehicles suddenly aren't models? Alright..?

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    6. That's not what I said, I simply said that all CTs say that models in the detachment have it, so you can't say that salamanders have it because it says " "models": it only applies to those units with CT, unless otherwise stated (iron hands)

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    7. Read the first paragraph of CT: it states, explicitly, that it only applies to models with the CT special rule!

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    8. Looks like you are right. It's pretty vague until you re-read the first paragraph. It's a shame though... you'd figure some vehicles (ie those who don't use the machine spirit for weapon targeting and firing) would have Chapter Tactics because of the Pilots/Gunners.

      It doesn't really bother me in the end, I'm planning on doing a Crimson Fists list anyway.

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    9. "Furthermore flamer weapons used..." It explicitly extends CT to the flame weapons themselves not just the models. Flame weapons don't have CT but Salamander CTs extends this to them.

      Salamander flame weapons get the buff too.

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    10. @SYeti: again, it says flamer weapons "used by models in this detachment", which as my point above says, only includes models with CT, due to the clear wording of the first paragraph! The weapons only get the buff, because of the models wielding them.

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  6. I am happy with the Imperial Fists tactics. They fall right in line with how I wanted to rebuilt my marine force for this book.

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    1. tatical and devestator heavy, bolters en masse?

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    2. They're cool but really not true to the fluff entirely. Tank hunters? They're not siege breakers so much as fort builders. Their legion command is a star fortress and they defended earth against horus...there's nothing in the books about them being especially good at laying down sieges....if anything they should have been able to take 2 fortifications and have some kind of buff for building armor

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    3. They chased the traitors all the way form Terra to the Eye of Terror.

      You dont think they had experience laying siege to Iron Warrior held planets? The other legion known for its siege tactics?

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    4. I think you'll find the Imperial Fists were broken in the Iron Cage incident. The trap set by the Iron Warriors.

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    5. any space marine is good at breaking sieges when you get down to it...the point is what set Imperial Fists apart from all the others was their ability to build fortifications...hence why the Emperor chose Dorn to come back to earth & build....they are not known for being siege breakers...the book basically implies that if you know how to build a fort then you know how to break it, this is not true necessarily

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  7. Loving my Ultramarine Chapter Tactics. I always try new tactics and second guessing my opponent, I suppose I'm an Ultramarine through and through! But their Chapter Tactics actually gives me the chance to flex my tactical muscles, and for that I love the boys in blue even more than I already did.

    Well, that and the fact I've been reading Know No Fear.

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  8. I was going to steer clear of Marines, but having read over the Codex and the chapter tactics I really want to do a Crimson Fists list.

    Although it's funny that most people I've seen are jumping on Iron Hands. The Chapter got so little love (rule AND player wise), and now suddenly everyone wants to be them.

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    1. lemme guess, your local meta still runs heavily towards mech?

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    2. Amongst the Marine players? Not really, from what I saw. At most I've seen some rhinos and the odd vindicator or whirlwind.

      Everyone seems to run a Stormtalon though.

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  9. thought all the tactics were awesome except Black Templar. They really got screwed...think first of all they lose a codex, so the change better be good. Old codex was preferred enemy against all armies, I thought for sure they'd get something at least as good, but no. You cannot tell me crusader army rule, a better deny the witch roll and a buff in challenges is as good for a holistic army strategy as PE or hate, not even close. Basically your forced to take helbrecht to have anything good....sure you can take all the normal SM units, but the whole point of the chapters is they are supposed to be in character. Very dissapointed, and I was hoping to expand my BT usage

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    1. And also Imperial fists getting tank hunters is out of character, per my post above

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    2. yup the more i look at the the worse the BT got, not only losing our own codex but getting absolutely screwed in this new one, I cant even list all the things we lost, how many of them actually really good and all we got in return were the worst chapter tactics, and more weapons/vehicles which is something we could have gotten in an update. and what do you mean taking helbrect to do anything good? out of all the army he got nerfed the hardest AND got a point increase, talk about insult to injury. seriously, why do they hate the BT so much?

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  10. Guys, centurions rock. They can take down fliers on their own, if twin linked, or if can reroll snap shots. They can destroy EVERY unit in the game, blobs included, thanks to their obscene amount of shots. They just need a bit ov movement- allied RG characters maybe joining them , or some infiltrating IC. Then your're ready to lay waste. I think they are on par with broadsides. They have some trouble with low- armour guys on cover, ok , but aparto from those, they can take down everything, and they don't cost too much for the mahiem they do

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    1. oh well if you have Tigurius you will likely take the ignoring cover power... brutal !
      So you can have 6 4++ Divinated centurions at the centre of the table. A lot of points? Maybe, but they can split fire, they can have a 4++ save, and can destroy every target in the game. Without a true deathstar price; only 655 points in total. The only rpoblme is you need to keep them out of an assault.

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    2. You will also need a unit of Hammerators for countercharge.
      Here's the list.
      Tig 165

      hammerators 225
      Tac ML serg 95
      Tac ML serg 95
      Tac ML serg 95
      6 Centurion, grav 490
      raven guard
      Lib 65
      Tac flamer grav rhino sarge 135
      Tac flamer grav rhino sarge 135

      1500
      .
      RG could outflank to reach objectives, off course. Or at least scout ahead Centurions
      whould do all the work. Hammerators for counter charge. The main problem whould came if the enemy has some long range guns very far apart. Well i have to think about it.

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  11. Also the Ultramarine one becomes better with Pappa Smurf Calgar, as you get to use one of the rules twice in a game. Which I had used to great effect against me in a game at my local GW.

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    1. Well 275 points is a huge point sink. At 15oo it's not worth it for sure; he doesn't kick ass as Abaddon, lacks a 3++, doesn't make any FOC slots into troops....
      Tigurius is the man for me.

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  12. IMHO this is the rating from best to worst. Some are always gold, others depend strongly on your list, but whatever.
    1) White Scars
    2)Iron Hands
    3) Ultramarines
    4)Salamanders
    5)Imperial Fists
    6)Raven guard
    7) Black templars
    If also you count special characters, swap Ultramarines and Iron Hands. IMHO

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  13. Azreal sits in the corner quietly weeping at his shame. It is clear from this codex slight that someone must have leaked the Dark Angels dirty secret to the emporer. Despite being the first imperium chapter to get a codex, the best shiny toys were reserved for the others. The rumors continue to swirl and Inner Circles resolve deepens to root out and destroy the heresy. Maybe then after attoning for their past sins they can return to the emporers favor in time for the 7th edition of the emperium.

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    1. Not sure what the problem is. We (DAs) kept basically all our own fun toys. Sure we don't have centurions but vanilla SMs don't have deathwing knights, ravenwing knights, libby's with prescience, the power field generator, etc...

      Personally if I had to choose (which thanks to allies I don't) I would exchange the grav weapons and new unit for the prescience libby alone.

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    2. Agreed. I was a bit sad at all the new shinies the Marines got but really DA did get some nice new units. At the very least this wasn't like the last book whereas C:SM felt like a straight up upgrade in most departments.

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  14. White Scars have hard counters. At the end of the day you are still just a 1W model with a 3+ armour save. There is enough stuff out there that ignores cover that they will ultimately prove about as effective as Ravenwing.

    Iron Hands seem the best to me. Army wide FNP, plus regen on characters and vehicles will be tougher to deal with than White Scars IMO.

    Of the remaining chapter tactics, I think they are all about equal, except Raven Guard. I think Raven Guard got the shaft in this Codex. The other chapter tactics will all favor/reward a certain style of play. Ultramarines if you want a balanced list, Imperial Fists for devestator/bolster heavy builds, Salamanders for melta/flame, and Black Templars as your close combat chapter.

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