Sunday, July 23, 2017

Thinking Out Loud: Space Marine Codex

Space Marine Codex is interesting.  I was hoping for something in the Strategem/Relic/Warlord trait section would make my Templars more competitive, but alas, while the toys Templars got are very fluffy you don't win competitive games by having the best fluff.  Simply put, the Templars in 8th are an assault army and assault armies don't generally win tournaments.  

Actually, its not that Templars are bad at shooting, its just that there are better options for a gunline/firebase army in the book that picking Templars to play a shooty army is just squandering an advantage.  Ravenguard got an incredibly powerful ability that will allow them to outshoot opposing shooty armies.  Salamanders got an incredibly powerful ability that will allow them to dismantle enemy mechanized armies with high strength low weight of fire weapons.  

As my longtime readers may remember my preferance is MSU gunlines with strong counter charge assault units to defend them or to silence enemy shooting as the situation merits.  Salamanders lends more to that playstyle than RG.  The RG ability is so strong that it definitely lends itself to a more mobile shooty playstyle where you can ensure you'll always be more than 12 away.  

Salamanders were my initial choice, simply because with melta and las weapons (my preference) you are so disruptive.  The benefits to flame weapons allows you to deal with hordes that would otherwise trouble a las-heavy force.  What I didn't like about Salamanders was that Vulkan doesn't actually do much.  Yes, with warlord traits and relics etc you can turn him into an assault monster but he serves no actual purpose in the army as he isn't terribly good as force multiplier.  What this means is, Salamanders are generally best off with vanilla HQ choices instead of Vulkan.  Some might argue that their chapter tactic is enough of a force multiplier, they can take fighty HQ choices my response is: you can't multiply your forces enough.  

So I was kinda at a loss.  The initial Salamanders lists I put together all felt decent but they were missing a bit of punch.  There just wasn't much finishing power.  The more assaulty units I added to get some of that counter-charge punch I wanted just came at the expense of watering down my firepower.  I had a bit of an epiphany at this point.

A good marine list needs:

1.  Firepower.
2.  Counter charge capabilities
3.  Significant force multipliers

"Tell us something we don't know."

OK.

You'll never have enough points to do all three unless their roles overlap.  Unless your force-multiplier also is a countercharge unit, or is a pillar of your shooting capabilities you'll never be able to have enough points to beat a more focuses enemy shooting army or defeat a well played assault army.  So you need role compression.  Look at it like a basketball team.  You need good 3 point shooters and you need guys who can really play defense well against opposing 3 point shooters.  You can only have 5 guys on the court at once.  You cannot have 3 really good 3 point shooters and 3 really good defenders.  On the best teams, most of your best defenders are also your best shooters etc.  You get it.

So how to do all that?  Easy: play Ultramarines.  Guilleman is the best force multiplier in the Imperium AND the best assault character.  When I came back to 40k with 8E I really did not want to use Guilleman because I felt using a character like that was no different than being the guy who shows up to a 1,000 point game with broken forgeworld units.  

The more I tinkered with lists and the more I experienced 8th, the more I realized that its silly and noncompetitive to put those kinds of restrictions on my lists.  I want to have fun and I want to win and I'll do it by bringing the best lists I can.  

"So why don't you bring fliers?"

Good question.  The most honest answer is that I don't own any since I quit the game before they came out.  The secondary answer is that fliers being in the game, as opposed to reserved for Apocalypse games, are one of the reasons I quit the game in the first place.  Simply put, call me a hypocrite for going against what I just wrote about not limiting my list building, but the bottom line is I don't need the game.  It's not my only creative or competitive outlet.  I'd just assume walk away from the game again than to play a Stormtalon spam list.

In the days to come I'll post my thoughts on 8th Edition Marine list building and how my evolution is going.

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