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So a friend sold me some cheap marines, and I'm looking forward to playing with them. I've heard that SM is not the competitive army in fifth edition, but I'm not willing to fall to chaos and orks. So I started by looking at the army lists section, but got to thinking "Man, I wish there was a basic guide to SM army lists." So let's make one!
Of course, I wouldn't want a guide if I knew how to do it. But I do know one thing:
-Always give your Tac Squad Sergeant a Power Fist.
That's about it on my knowledge (and as a tyranid player without sergeants and non-squad level upgrades, I'm lucky I know that!). Some starter questions though: What's the best way to use a captain? What is the best anti-tank option SM have? Do vanguad suck hard enough to ignore them in the army list? Should every tactical squad have a rhino?
tl;dr I'm all for building my own list, just trying to find some basic do's and do not's for a competitive space marine list.
Although I plan to convert and buy new things (firstly 3 razorbacks to make magnetic rhinos) based on advice here, this is what I rolled into:
2xCaptains (AoBR, though I am willing to convert. I've thought about making L.Claws for one of them and a jump pack.)
11 Terminators, with 2 separate Cyclone Missile Launchers (again, I've thoguht about converting 5 into assault termies with L. Claws)
1 AoBR dred (I've already converted his s. bolter to a h. flamer)
3 Space Marine Bikes
1 Land Raider
2 Predators (unbuilt; I plan to magnetize but generally field them as the H. Bolter/Autocannon variant)
Competitive space marines armies are mostly centered around drop pods these days. I can't really think of a space marine army that does better than pods. They've got plenty of fire power and normally a fair bit of close combat ability as well.
That said, there is a drop pod tactica which should explain just about everything you need to know about using drop pods.
Basically, space marine armies have lots and lots of horrible unit selections, it's best to simply ignore most of the codex. Here are these units:
Land Raiders (Expect in games of 2250 or more, all varients)
Vindicators (Expect in Armored company space marine list, which rarely works)
Thunder fire Cannon
Land Speeder Squadron
Land Speeder Storm
Assault Terminator Squad (Same issue as Landraiders)
The chapter master is for shooty armies, the captain is for assaulty armies. The unique characters are generally over priced, some of them have very good abailities that an army can be build around.
Drop Pods can work, but a lot of armies can counter it. Mech performs more consistently.
Assault Termies in a Land Raider, Tacs in Rhinos, 2 Preds, Vindicator, Land Speeders and Dreads.
Check out ==My== blog: www.bnhblog.blogspot.com
I don't think it's necessary to put a power fist on every sergeant; they're pretty expensive and depending on how you play, you're not necessarily going to get all your tactical squads into close combat regularly anyway.
Moderation in all things.
I disagree that there are throwaway units in the SM codex. Every unit has a reason for being, something that makes it stand apart...otherwise, it would not really be a separate unit. Though some folks may not like what those units specialize in, or prefer other options, none of the units are inherently bad. But of course, more specialized units require more skill to maximize their potential, and few players are really all that skilled outside of their "Modus Operandi" which they feel comfortable in. I doubt that any player that loved assaulty armies would be so quick to dismiss Vanguard Vets or the Landspeeder Storm, for instance, though a player who prefers to field a gunline would not find much use for those units. So you really just need to determine ahead of time what it was that attracted you to SM's, how you would like to play them, and build up your army based on that theme.
My own MO is to build a flexible army that may not have any uber units but one in which the whole exceeds the sum of the parts because all my units have multiple capabilities and is therefore unpredictable. I also try to focus on mobility so I can be sure to mass my units at the critical points at the right time to take objectives or annhilate units for kill points.
Because of my MO, I'm probably less interested in the one-trick-ponies like Deepstriking Vangaurd vets, but I have no question about their lethality when it all comes together!
So my advice is to start with your Troops choices--Tacs and Scouts both--and ensure you have transports for at least some of those tac squads. Then fill in around them with whatever tickles your fancy. It's hard to go wrong with SM's after all--they're resilient and forgiving and do everything pretty well.
Cheers back atcha.
VTS; although many on here will argue that certain units are crap while others are the dogs danglies, the ultimate choice comes down to your preference.
I've played assault armies as a firing line and won, while played a shooty army in CC and won, and each time it came down to the type of army i was fighting.
No single unit is utterly worthless. Remember that it is the way in which they are used that marks their value, not the cost in points.
As for tips on making a decent list, well again it depends on what you want in your army and what you are fighting.
Fists are great against vehicles, but a power weapon and bolt pistol grants an extra hit, so an increased potential in CC against hordes.
Rhinos are great for mobile cover but dont think you must take them - terrain helps just as much
Las-Preds may be expensive, but there is no better way to take down vehicles and MC's at range than with lascannons!
Once you've drawn something up, drop it into the Army List section and let the guys over there pick over it =)
here's what i've found both fighting and playing marines:
the assault units are potent at what they do, but you have to support them with some gunning at the very least to kill things like plasma armed units and the ever infuriating eldar dark reaper squad, things that will rough up your assault units in a hurry and will be targeting them first. also, specializing the shooting squads can be really nice. if a squad is going to be shooting up infantry, give them the guns to do it, right down to the sergeant. 2 bolter shots are better than the 1-2 punches that your tactical marines can throw in melee most of the time.
also, its tempting to load up the leader with piles of wargear but remember that he can only be one place and tends not to do a lot until he piles into melee. (librarians and techmarines aside) as such, consider saving some points on wargear for the bossman and spreading it out to the tactical squads for heavy weapons. for the price of a thunderhammer you can give 6 tactical squads a plasma cannon! heavy guns got very cheap for tactical squads, so make the most of it.
personally i like to field a gun heavy stand and shoot list, but i know full well what marines can do in melee, so if you're going to go that route, well hey, you already have a raider to deliver them in, so consider lightning claw terminators. they hit hard, they hit at initiative, and there are very few units that can kill them in melee. nothing you can't shoot dead either.
dreads are a great way of adding some melee punch to a shooting list. scary melee options like dark eldar incubi and witches and eldar banshees can't do anythign at all to a dreadnaught and it can stomp them flat. plus while its waiting to get there, the dread can plug away with another heavy gun.
biggest mistake i see in marines players is dumping points into one place. keep your upgrades spread out and get more bang for your buck. if a power sword will do, use it instead of a powerfist!
the only other advice i have is protect your marines! you are few and your enemies usually aren't, so play to your strengths and don't put marines in places where they will get shot up by ap3 guns or meleed by monstrous creatures.
best of luck out there!
I usually run a full mech list. I like to avoid having boots on the ground as much as possible. Last tourney I went to had plenty of lash / defiler combo lists so the mech way of doing things keeps your troops protected as long as possible.
I find is works well vs deep strike lists as well. Your transports may get popped but at least your troops have a higher chance to counter. Basically the mega drop pod list can fail. When it does its pretty much downhill from there.