Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Space Marines 6th Edition Codex Wishlist

As rumors leak out and new codices are released, I think some of us Codex Marines players are beginning to wonder a) when we'll get our codex (yes, I know we're luckier than Xenos players who often don't get a codex for each edition) and b) what goodies we'll be getting for this edition. Here's a wishlist of what I'd like to see for the faithful followers of the Codex Astartes:

Agemman and the Ultramarines 1st Company
A couple months ago a list of supposed models that were to be released in 2013 ended up online. On this list was Agemman, the captain of the Ultramarines 1st Company. I'm really hoping that this rumor is true given the cool things that GW could do with Captain Agemman.

With any other captain (e.g., Captain Sicarius of the 2nd Company), it makes sense to field a core of Tactical Marines belonging to his company along with various Dreadnoughts and vehicles attached to the company. Support would be provided by units from specialized companies such as the 10th Company's Scouts and/or squads from the 1st Company such as Sternguard, Terminators with their Land Raider transports, and Vanguard.

Sternguard could count as
troops for the 1st Company
I wouldn't expect such a mix with Agemman's company, though. While I can see Veterans providing support for other companies, I can't really imagine the Veteran Company relying on units from non-Veteran squads. Thus, it only makes sense that an army led by Agemman would be able to fill its troops requirement with veterans. Presumably the 1st Company Captain would allow Sternguard to fill this role. Terminators could remain in the Elite slot (Terminator armor is still a rarity, after all), and Vanguard (which desperately need a cost reduction to make them competitive) could fill the Fast Attack role. If I were to make a 1st Company army, I would probably give Venerable Dreadnoughts preference (maybe Agemman could give them some sort of advantage like allowing them to form squadrons). All the vehicles available to the other companies could also be used by the Veteran Company.

The High Cost of Relic Blades
30 Points for AP3?
Despite their high points cost, I love relic blades. It only makes sense for your high cost, high initiative Captain or Chapter Master to carry an S6 power weapon that allows him to strike at initiative. Unfortunately, the Space Marine FAQ has since given the relic blade an AP value of 3. While the relic blade is still a good weapon choice, I have to question its cost now that it can't deny armor saves to Terminators and the like.

The relic blade and the thunder hammer both cost 30 points and both deny the +1 bonus attack for having two close combat weapons. Under 5th Edition, when the armor penetration value of a power weapon was a de facto AP2, it was reasonable to trade the thunder hammer's slightly higher strength and Concussive rule for the ability to strike at initiative. However, now that the relic blade is only AP3 while the thunder hammer is AP2, it makes little sense for the relic blade to cost so much.

I think there are three options: give the relic blade AP2 in the 6th Edition codex, retain its current stats and reduce its cost, or give it the Rending special rule. While it could make sense, fluffwise, to make relic blades AP2, I would actually prefer to see a cost reduction. (Personally, I agree with GW's decision to disadvantage most AP2 melee weapons by making them unwieldy.) Given that the abilities of the FAQ'd relic blade falls somewhere between that of the 25 point power fist (S8, AP2 with the disadvantages of being unwieldy and denying the bonus attack for two close combat weapon) and the 15 point power maul (S6, AP4 with the advantage of striking at initiative, allowing the bonus attack for two close combat weapons, and having the Concussive rule), the relic blade would be better priced at 20 points. However, I would gladly continue to pay 30 points for a relic blade if it could rend. Not only would the weapon occasionally be able to penetrate Terminator armor, but it could also effectively terrorize vehicles.

More Tanks, Please
Also on the list of rumored models is something called a "Land Avenger". If true, I really hope that this is a medium tank.

How about a middle-sized tank?

Since I started playing 40K, I've felt like the Astartes lacked an intermediate tank. Given how new most of us are to the game, our Cabal tends to play small to medium sized games (500 to 1000 point games with the occasional 1250 point game). As much as I love my Destructor-Pattern Predator, the AV11 side armor is an enormous liability. Unfortunately, the alternative is a Land Raider, but its high points cost is prohibitive and its AV14 is sometimes unnecessarily high, especially in smaller games.

A middle-sized tank, perhaps something with armor 13 on the front, 12 on the sides, and 11 on the rear (a tank of decent size should not be glanced to death by Ork Boyz) would be appreciated. A base cost somewhere between that of a fully equipped Destructor-Pattern Predator and a Land Raider (maybe 150 to 175 points) would seem fair. A transport capacity would also be nice, perhaps with the option of trading capacity for weaponry like the Rhino versus the Razorback or the Land Raider Crusader versus the Land Raider.

The biggest question is what kind of weaponry could you put on such a tank? Marine vehicles tend to have a wide selection, although with only a couple exceptions they don't usually get ordnance or barrage weapons (that should probably remain the specialty of the Imperial Guard). I would like to be able to customize such a vehicle for horde killing or for anti-tank duties. Perhaps we could have two hurricane bolters and a twin-linked heavy bolter (essentially a Land Raider Crusader-Lite) for the anti-horde option. A variant with a longer range template weapon like the Hellhound's Inferno Cannon would be pretty cool. An anti-tank version could have a twin-linked lascannon and twin-linked multi-melta sponsons.

Give Me a Reason to Take a Whirlwind
Whirlwinds could have a lot more potential
Marines aren't meant to be a barrage-heavy army, so I understand why all we get is the Whirlwind to fill that role. Unfortunately a single S5 AP4 large blast per turn just isn't that effective. A large blast with a relatively low strength suggests that it's supposed to be a horde killer, but you're not very likely to earn back the cost of the tank if all you get is effectively a heavy bolter with wide area effects, especially if your opponent is savvy enough to spread out his horde. And with so many better Heavy Support options available (e.g., a Destructor-Pattern Predator with heavy bolter sponsons) why would you take up a Heavy slot with a Whirlwind?

I really do like the Whirlwind model, but I simply can't justify taking one. I think the following changes would make the Whirlwind a must-have (or at least a tempting option) for many Astartes players:

1) For the current points cost, allow an un-upgraded Whirlwind Multiple Missile Launcher to land two large blasts per turn.
2) For an added cost, allow the Whirlwind to trade in its Vengeance and Incendiary Castellan missiles for Krakstorm missiles, which are currently available only on the Fortress of Redemption. Such an upgraded Whirlwind could land an S8 AP3 large blast up to 96" away per turn. This would effectively give the Marines a longer range version of the Leman Russ's Battle cannon. I understand that inexpensive barrage weapons and tanks are supposed to be the Guard's hallmark, so pricing a Krakstorm Whirlwind at about 150 points (i.e., the cost of the heavily armored Leman Russ Battle Tank) while only having AV11 on the front and sides seems fair.
3) For a few more points (15 to 20 points?), allow the Whirlwind to carry Helios missiles in addition to its other missile(s) and to fire two per turn (or maybe one twin-linked shot) with the Skyfire and Interceptor special rules. A 165 to 170 point Krakstorm/Helios Whirlwind would cost about as much as an Annihilator-Pattern Predator, which is probably a pretty fair price for what it could do.

Earlier this year, GW jacked up the price for the Whirlwind model to a mind-boggling $57.75, which is the same as a Predator. Unfortunately, the Whirlwind's current rules can't possibly justify that price. However, I might be willing to pay that much for a Krakstorm/Helios Whirlwind.

I'd Like to take a Thunderfire Cannon, But...
The glass cannon
When I first started playing 40K, I would often use Bryce's Thunderfire Cannon model. The gun proved to be relatively effective when on the offensive, but was often a glass cannon (and if GW thinks I'm going to pay $56 for one, they're crazy). In addition to making a plastic model for the Thunderfire, GW should give it a durable chassis as Forge World did when they mounted it on the Land Raider Achilles. A variant of the Vindicator seems like the most logical vehicle to carry it.

Too bad this one's Photoshopped
With a little help from Photoshop, I found that the width of the Thunderfire Cannon that comes with Forge World's Land Raider Achilles is similar to that of the Vindicator's Demolisher Cannon. The Vindicator's forward bulkhead could potentially be used without modification. It seems like GW could simply add a sprue to the existing Vindicator model that would include the Thunderfire Cannon (and a new bulkhead, if necessary). Heck, they could retire the current Vindicator model altogether and release a Demolisher-Pattern Vindicator/Thunderfire-Pattern Vindicator set with an extra sprue. I think I could guarantee that it would sell (well, I'd buy it, at least).


  1. I'm not sure if this falls wide of the mark, but in Forge World's Horus heresy book the legion equivalent to captains can take a paragon blade for 25 points. It's a specialist weapon that gives +1 strength, AP2 and inflicts instant death on a 6. Maybe in the new codex they could change the relic blades abilities to something along these lines.

    1. Those rules would be great for relic blades. In fact, saying that relic blades are actually surviving paragon blades would be a great way to more closely tie together Horus Heresy and 40K.

      Forge World has introduced a lot of great weapons with their Horus Heresy line; so many, in fact, that I wonder if they risk making HH a bit too different from 40K. I'd love to see a bit of crossover (e.g., allow weapons like the Volkite Charger in Veterans squads), but it may be too late now that GW has started to release 6th Edition codexes for Space Marine chapters.


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