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After making a review of the Land Raider, I decided to tackle the rest of the heavy support section as well. Again, if anyone feels that I made a misassumption or forgot to mention something, just post it in the thread.
Coming at a fair price in regards to its effectiveness, it is plain to see why the Vindicator has earned its place in marine armies nowadays. They bring you the strongest weapon one can find in the codex protected by a decent amount of (front) armour.
The powerful Demolisher Cannon the Vindicator carries is fairly short ranged (24”), but this is somewhat remedied because the Vindicator can move 6” and then fire the Demolisher Cannon, thus extending its useful range to 30”. The large blast template it fires, is subject to scatter but thanks to the BS of the Vindicator in concert with the size of the template, you will in general hit some models. Even so, you have 2/6 chances that the template will not scatter and then the opponents models are in a world of plastic hurt.
The high Strength of the Demolisher Cannon is likely to cause instant death on the majority of the models that find themselves beneath the large blast template while the low AP value will negate practically all armour saves. The cannon can only cause one wound per hit though, so high toughness, multiple wound models will only lose 1 wound from each unsaved hit. The high Strength characteristic makes it tempting to use the Vindicator as a weapon against heavy armour. Though it has the ability to do this, it is not the intended use of the Demolisher Cannon.
A small disadvantage the Demolisher Cannon has, is the fact that you can’t fire any defensive weapons when firing it. Since you want the Vindicator to shoot the Demolisher Cannon every time it can, it is no setback not getting two shots from a storm bolter on top of that pie plate.
The Vindicator often acts as a firemagnet because your opponent knows what that large blast template can do with their units. To mitigate this, the Vindicator has a strong forward facing armour value. A lot of units will struggle to penetrate this front armour, but you must protect its sides. The side armour is squishy and the rear armour is measely so here the opponent can take advantage if you’re careless.
The Vindicator is tank that I very rarely field with any upgrades. For the sake of clarity, I’ll go over them anyway. A Storm Bolter is not worth it in my opinion. Should the Demolisher Cannon be shot away, the tank still has a gun, but a measly one at that. The weapon destroyed result is but one result on the vehicle damage table though and even then the Vindicator could be used for contesting, blocking LOS or moveable cover. Some take a Hunter Killer missile on the Vindicator to fire that while they are getting in range to fire the Demolisher Cannon. Personally, I wouldn’t bother with this upgrade since you have smoke launchers that come standard on your tank for that purpose. The Dozer Blade and the Siege Shield are two of those upgrades that some people like to have with them since they are less likely (or not at all with the Siege Shield) to fail a terrain test. This depends on your playstyle off course. If you intend to send your units into terrain features, these upgrades might be just the thing for you, if not, it’s best to spend the points elsewhere. Lastly, you can take Extra Armour on the Vindicator. This can keep your tank alive a little longer, but personally I’ve found extra armour to be but marginally effective, so again I wouldn’t bother.
The Vindicator is one of my favoured units for vanilla marines. They have an undeniable presence in any list and they attract all the unwanted attention that goes with that position. I’ve fielded them in all pointlevels from 500pts to 2500pts and their psychological aspect is always there. For higher pointgames I would really recommend to field at least 2 Vindicators to ensure that you can at least land a couple of shots with that scary Demolisher Cannon. Likewise, if you have plenty of other threats on the table, you can take some of the heat of those Vindicators. Then again, if your opponent reserves most of his attention for the Vindicator’s the rest of your list has more time to do its job and even in that, the Vindicator fulfils its role.
The Predator Tank is the cheapest tank Marines have at their disposal and it can be kitted out for a variety of roles. It offers a large amount of firepower coupled with decent protection.
The basic Predator comes equipped with a turret mounted Autocannon, a weapon with good range, two shots (always better than one) and above average strength. The Autocannon is mostly apt at dealing with low AV vehicles like transports and the likes or inflicting wounds on Monstrous Creatures. This turret mounted Autocannon can be upgraded to a Twin Linked Lascannon for a rather expensive price tag, but the reroll and potency of the lascannon somewhat justify this. With this weapon, the Predator is clearly geared towards hunting enemy armour in the higher AV range.
Apart from the turret weaponry, the Predator can take side sponsons with either Heavy Bolters or Lascannons. Both have their uses, and greatly increase the damage output of your Predator tank. You do have to keep in mind though that when taking side sponsons, your Predator won’t be moving much lest he won’t be able to fire all of its weaponry.
And now, on to some assorted builds. First, the Predator Destructor, armed with the turret mounted Autocannon and Heavy Bolter sponsons. This is the Predator tank whose aim it is to hunt enemy infantry and to crush them under its unrelenting barrage. This thanks to the fact that it can achieve a high rate of shots (8 per turn if not moving) over relatively long range (36”-48”)
Second is the Predator Annihilator, with a turret mounted Twin Linked Lascannon and Lascannon sponsons, The aim of this pattern Predator is to pop enemy armour as soon as possible. The three Lascannons, one of which is Twin Linked, can make short work of any heavily armoured target it engages. It will only struggle against units with AV 14, but anything lower than that will be taken out quite reliably.
A third build is the hybrid version between the two of the aforementioned versions, armed with the turret mounted Autocannon and the Lascannons sponsons. This Predator is cheaper than the Predator Annihilator But can still handle enemy armour quite well. Having one shot extra (though it is a less powerful shot than that of a lascannon) from the Autocannon over the TL lascannon, this hybrid version of the predator can be seen sniping transports or heavy tanks in one engagement while peppering Monstrous Creatures in the next.
The other upgrades a Predator can take deserve some attention too. First is the Storm Bolter.
For once I actually take this upgrade on my Predator Destructor from time to time. By adding this to the mix, you create a Predator who has a large amount of dakka. If enemy infantry gets to within 24” of your tank, you can unleash a storm of ten shots at them. (2 S7, 6 S5 and 2 S4) and even when relocation your Predator, it can be fired as a defensive weapon, so you still get to fire 2 weapons instead of just one. This can be useful against infantry with poor armour saves and helps a tad with crowd control. If you could use the points somewhere else though, I would gladly drop the Storm Bolter off the Predator.
The same thing goes for the Hunter Killer missile. This upgrade can be put on the Predator Annihilator to give it some moderate Anti Tank power. But, as always, you need to be careful with upgrades and choose them wisely.
As said with the Vindicator, if you plan on moving your tank in terrain features, you could consider using a Dozer Blade.
The Extra Armour upgrade can potentially get your tank out of a risky situation, but most of the time it just gives you a feeling of protection until your tank is hit and then you see how little use it really has.
The Predator is a very versatile tank that can be kitted out to perform virtually any task while being cheaper in general than its counterparts. If you choose to run a predator or multiple, you have to choose their builds carefully to ensure they do their job in the synergy of your list.
Devastator marines bring heavy firepower on the table. Ranging from Heavy Bolters to Lascannons and everything in between
If you want to have access to a large number of heavy weapons, you can turn to Devastator marines. These guys can have up to four of them in a five man unit. This comes at a price as could be expected. A basic Devastator marine squad needs to take all four of the heavy weapons to be effective and since their heavy weapons have a rather large pricetag on them, this unit quickly loses its attractiveness.
Being only five men, makes that every loss they suffer is keenly felt. To prevent this, you could enlarge the squad to 10 men, but the limit stays 4 heavy weapons. The five extra marines can be used to allocate wounds to, but that’s far from optimal use of a Marine. Perhaps buy a razorback for them, stick the extra five men in there and charge forward? Possible, but they aren’t scoring units and thus of little value. Besides these elements, the price tag on the unit will soar even higher when you enlarge the squad, a development you might come to dread later on.
Another issue you face with Devastators marines is their lack of mobility. You take them because or their firepower, but they can only shoot if they haven’t moved. Relocation thus poses an issue for them since they lose the possibility to shoot. If you buy a transport for them, it will typically be a razorback, which does little to enlarge their mobility while still losing valuable shooting rounds. The only real reason why you’d take an extra razorback with these guys is for added fire support.
The Devastators can take multiple weapon load outs and mix and match in these as the controlling player sees fit. Personally, I prefer to deck them out with 4 of the same.
A versatile set up is using Missile Launcher. These have fairly good anti armour capacity with their krak missiles but can easily switch to anti infantry by the virtue of the frag missiles with a range of 48”. Due to scatter the anti infantry is somewhat less effective, but versatility makes up for this. If you prefer to have true anti infantry firepower, you can turn to the heavy bolters. Great for crowd control and with a range of 36” they can be brutal, but they offer you very little in terms of flexibility. If you want your Devastators to be the bane of armoured units, you can equip them with lascannons. With a range of 48” and the high strength of the lascannon, AV targets will fear them, but their cost becomes so high at that point that you easily look to other means. Another versatile weapon is the Plasma Cannon. It can be the bane of heavy infantry and can even counter light AV targets over 36” range. These weapons are somewhat risky to use though because of the gets hot rule and again the cost you have to pay to use them. And last is the weapon you least see in Devastator squads, the Multi Melta. A Melta weapon with a range of 24” that is only good for countering armoured targets. I’ve never seen these on a devastator unit before since the Devastators lack the mobility to get it into range and the unit itself is far too vulnerable.
Devastator marines don’t pop up in list that often anymore. They are humble marines toting a bunch of heavy weapons but are hampered in their ways because of their point cost and their truly static nature. I do not believe them to be a truly viable unit anymore for vanilla marines because their cost goes up so very fast if you want them kitted out to do their tasks and those points could be spent on units and upgrades that have more potential.
Ah, this weapon looks so very promising if you look at it on paper. A relatively cheap weapon that can drop a load of templates on your opponent’s units at a very good range and has different types of ammo for every situation. On top of that, it comes with a techmarine for free.
The Thunderfire cannon has got major survivability issues that prevent this otherwise wonderful weapon from performing as it should. Since it is an artillery piece, if the operating techmarine is hit, your artillery piece is lost too, on top of that, it only has to take glancing or penetrating hit to see it destroyed. Since it has the lowest AV value possible, virtually any long range weapon has a very good chance of taking it out. Ideally you would have to set it up in a ruin which you first bolster with the techmarine’s ability to give it some sort of protection, but these aren’t that often available in the location you want it to be.
The real potential one can see in the Thunderfire cannon is in the special ammunition it can fire. It can fire Surface detonation rounds, which are arguably the most effective at taking down targets. 4 blast templates with decent strength not to bad AP will cause damage against units with poor armour saves.
The second type of ammo that can be fired is Airburst detonation. These rounds ignore cover but have hence less strength and even less AP negating only 6+ armour saves.
The last of the ammunition types it can fire is the Subterranean blast. This is the worst in terms of strength and AP, but creates a tremor effect that slows enemy units down by making them move as if in difficult terrain. Even skimmers must make a terrain test if the unit gets hit by this round.
The Thunderfire cannon has potential against some sorts of units, but coupled with the fragility of the unit they rarely find a place in a list. Running them in pairs or even with three makes that you can drop a lot more templates on your opponent from afar while making sure that one or more survives longer, but against MEQ’s their damage output is so limited that they lose most of their appeal.
The Whirlwind is only very rarely seen in Space Marine lists nowadays. The main reason for this being the fact that the Whirlwind lacks the punch to be a serious threat. The Ordnance Barrage character makes that the Whirlwind does not require LOS to fire at an opponent, but it’s severely inaccurate. This almost requires that your opponent bunches his units together for it to really hit something.
You get to chose from two different types of missiles each time you fire. The first is the Vengeance missile with only moderate strength and AP characteristics. It can pose a threat against armies with poor armour saves, but it lacks the ability to instant death enemy units. The second type of missile that can be selected is the Castellan Incendiary missile. This missile has even less power than the Vengeance missile, but has the benefit that it ignores cover.
The Whirlwind is a cheap unit, that has its benefits since it can pin the enemy and doesn’t require LOS. The scatter and small strength of its weaponry make that it has lost most of its usefulness though.
i agree with most of what you are saying, but i would not consider taking devistator marines, i feel that they are too expensive for what they do, though you can just take one heavy weapon, i still love long fangs even though every wound caused can remove a heavy weapon.
The Stormraven gunship is my new favorite model. It looks pretty awesome, packs a ton of fire power, can deep strike, can take a locator beacon, can carry a 12 man squad plus a dreadnought, and is an assault vehicle. Oh, it can also take jump pack equipped marines.
I own three and have each kitted out slightly different.
1. The first has twin-linked assault cannons, a twin-linked multimelta, two hurricane bolters, and four bloodstrike missles. It's versatile and coupled with its troop and dreadnought carrying capacity is a must take in my army.
2. The second is an anti-armor ship with twin-linked lascannons, typhoon missile launcher, and 4 bloodstrike missiles. With its movement rate, this allows for hiding at max range and popping tanks.
3. The third is very similar to number 1, but has magnetized hurricane bolters and magnetized heavy bolter/multi-melta/typhoon missile choice, and the assault cannons are hard mounted. Number 3 is also painted as my death company transport, all black with red trim.
My choice of fire support is the vindie and the (not so) humable landspeeder(are we talking about FOC slots only?If yes excuse me).I am not going into detail here we all know why.
Jaileint though it still is not in etheir of the codices i play with(DA/SM)i wouldnt buy the darn thing even if it was the best of them.Too much ugliness for me.
Praise be to the Emperor!!
Very good work on this - I have to agree with most of it although i don't fully agree on the devastators section.
I myself use devastators a lot - typically 2 full squads of them and in larger games 3. This lends itself to my army style which is putting marine bodys on the table. if your only vehicles are heavy support choices they won't last long regardless of their armour. I find that 4 tactical squads backed up by 2 dev squads gives the enemy to many marines to focus on..
As with most players i agree that dev squads should carry 4 of the same weapon if for efficiency if nothing else.
Given that you have covered heavy bolters and missile launchers theirs no real need to go into them. The 4 man lascannon squad can be useful in LARGE games or apoc battles where you need the long range punch but in smaller games of 1500 -2000 they are just to expensive.
I am a particular fan of the 4 plasma cannon combo and the 4 multi melta combo.
4 PLASMA CANNONS
With the 4 plasma cannon squad you are capable or reducing a full squad of anything really into nothing or just a few models. the gets hot rule is a minor issue given the armour save of marines. To get your points back you need to pick smart, avoid taking pot shots at vehicles and focus on large units or small grouped together expensive units. Deepstriking termis, deamons and Grey knights make wonderful targets and will quickly return your investment. They will draw return fire so while it's not the best use of a marine you do need a full squad or the ablative wounds. Focus your fire, don't combat squad them and you'll get the best out of this unit.
if nothing else is available then firing into light vehicle/walker squadrons can be useful but is rarely worth it - such units would be lots of packed together ork trucks, sentinal squadrons and land speeder squads. Firing at MC is also a waste of the plasma cannon, save the MC for plasma guns
4 Multi Melta
This squad I sue more often than I expected to but I have now developed a love for the humble but potent MM. a rhino to pick this squad up and drag it to where you need it is a good idea, this should ideally be in cover or central to the board with good fire lanes. This squad can easily hold an objective against anything that comes towards it and very little wants to go near 4 multi melta shots, least of all ANYTHING with an AV. Even IC and MC will be hesitant to go near meaning they will be likely to deal with a swarm of lesser troops but you have something in your army elsewhere to deal with that probably.
While Devs can't claim an objective they can hold it till a troop choice turns up to take over or them or even share it with them, tactical squads dealing with swarms and lesser troops while the MM focus on big targets. If you can get them to a central location you can seriously harm your opponents plans by forcing him to risk his vehicles/high value troops or hold them back thus protecting the rest of your army. while getting into the best position may cost you one, maybe even two tuns of shooting you can then control the pace a lot better with the squad and neutrilise the biggest threats to your army. these guys are especially good against terminator squads.
another option is to take a 5 or 6 man dev squad with 6 MM and a razor back with heavy bolters. Rush the squad to a firing position and pop smoke. then use the RB to screen your meltas from one side and provide anti infantry support while the MM devs take shelter behind it and fire at high value targets.
Don't forget about the signum on your dev squads Sargent. it can help a lot with blast weapons and can mean the difference between a missed shot and a kill
I may be alone in this but the storm raven is the worst choice around in my opinion. its big, can't hide and costs a lot of points and has a lot of weapons. Ad that to it's low AV and it SCREAMS to be hit first. in ALL the games i've fought that had me facing a storm raven destroying it first (usually on my first shooting turn) resulted in my opponent losing his entire plan, a large chunk of points and jsut as many guns while also hurting a few of the troops inside. for it's points cost it jsut doesn't have the armour required to survive long enough. If your facing an army with poor anti armour options then yes it's going to be great but ALWAYS assume your opponent has at LEAST one solid anti Armour choice in his list. I know i always assume that and i always have in my army, typically TWO things to deal with armour quickly and effectively.
Railguns, Lascannons, Bright lances, autocannons and even the humble free missile launcher tear storm ravens apart with alarming ease. with the advent of the Grey Knight Psy ammo dual TL autocannon dreadnought it's in even more danger from a unit costing about half it's own cost and putting out 4 shots with 50/50 odds on getting a glancing or penatrating hit
Last edited by kakashi; April 15th, 2011 at 23:14.
I got lost on the road of life
the strom raven is harder to take down than you say, yes its av12 but it is also chepaer than a raider with more options and it really does hurt like hell when it can fire
Last edited by pilot00; April 16th, 2011 at 11:23.
Praise be to the Emperor!!
The Stormraven definitely needs to be used with finesse. It's not a land raider that can just role right up the front and weather a thousand shots. However, it's very high mobility, ability to carry dreadnoughts and jump troops, and the very flexible firepower packages make it a very attractive heavy choice. Sure, it can and will get popped first turn if you are stupid enough to put a fast skimmer that can deepstrike on the table first turn, but so will most vehicles. Where the Stormraven really is an advantage is in large games on large tables, where the 24" movement can be a game changer. Also, in Apocalypse games, stormravens count as flyers, so become even better. Not many, if any, flyers have 12ac all around and as many guns.
I think you misjudge the thunderfire cannon.
First, free techmarine. Even if the cannon dies you still have something useful. And you get to bulwork something.
Second. It's cheap. Ultra cheap.
Third, it has forever range. So yes while dark lances and lascannons kill it with ease, they have to get to it first. Not always as easy as it sounds. The range also means you can always put it in cover and not worry if you can reach targets. Meaning it can always go in your bulworked ruin for 3+ cover saves.
It's always useful. Against hoards (in the open or in cover it is completely punishing. Against marines it still hurts, or you can just slow them down with it.