Saturday, August 31, 2013

What's New in Power Armour?

I ended up with a PDF of the new Space Marine Codex. However, I had to promise not to disseminate any information about it until the official preorder date (8/31). Since it's now...a bit after midnight on the requisite date, I thought I'd solidify some rumors.

-Points costs for common units match Codex: Dark Angels in all ways. For the sake of argument, that's Tactical, Assault, Devastator, and Scout Squads, as well as the Vindicator, Whirlwind, and Land Raider (and its variants.)

-Upgrade costs on the Rhino, Razorback, and Predator have been tweaked for the Space Marine Codex-- they're in the same general neighborhood as the Dark Angels book-- Predator Annihilators come out to 140, while Destructors come out to 125-- essentially, a fully loaded anti-infantry tank is more expensive than in Codex: Dark Angels, while the anti-armor version is a fair bit cheaper. Extra armor is also priced at a point where it might get played (10 pts) on critical transports, but won't be a staple like it was at 5 in days long since past.

-Despite a lot of speculation and rumors that said otherwise, Codex Librarians do not have access to Divination. I was as disappointed as the rest of you on that one.

-Grav Weapons. All are S- AP 2; grav cannons are only on the Centurions, while the rifle and pistol are both 15 points in the places they can be bought. They wound against the target's armor save (so you wound terminators on a 2+, but guardsmen on 5+)... considering the cost is identical to a plasma gun, which is better in pretty much every way apart from Gets Hot! I don't really see the point in grav weapons from a games mechanic standpoint. About the only thing they do better than a plasma gun is wound a Riptide better. And they're borderline useless against vehicles-- it takes a 6 to do anything to a vehicle and it's fixed as Immobilized and strips a hull point. I don't see myself bothering with the things... why upset the trinity of flamer, melta, and plasma, anyway?

-Terminator Captains are inexplicably a separate entry. Their profile isn't any different from a regular Captain's, but have access to different wargear lists (i.e., Terminator weapons.) I guess they just had some extra space in the layout for the army list.

-Sternguard were already silly good. They have broader access to special ranged weapons, and combi-weapons are priced to move at 5 points a model. They're also one of like three units that can take combi-gravs, if that happens to do anything for you. Sternguard and Vanguard both have general access to the armoury, using the unit's altered points costs in their entries where they're better (so Sternguard receive cheaper combi-weapons, but you can pass out power weapons to them if you're so inclined), while Vanguard Veterans get a 12-point break on jump packs from the armoury. Not bad, right?

-A lot of folks have wondered if the Relic Blade is still an option considering how actual Relics are included in the Codecies these days. And fear not, they're in the armoury in addition to the very short list of Relics. There are two swords, two guns, a storm shield, a banner, and a suit of artificer armour in the Relics list. Kind of underwhelming but all seem playable circumstantially-- which is more than can be said for most of the Relic lists that have appeared in this edition's books. Usually there's just one that people play with. Maybe two tops.

-So, Centurions. Love 'em or hate 'em as models, they seem good. Even the assault ones are perfectly capable of posing an obnoxious threat at range. Rumors seem to have neglected to mention that they can trade in their ironclad assault launchers for regular missile launchers... which, in conjunction with flamer and melta options and built-in siege drills (which work as the Ironclad's does currently) seems good. They're expensive per model-- you can easily drop close to 500 points on a full unit of them-- but it seems like you get what you pay for. Only thing that'll stop them from seeing a lot of competitive play may be the lack of an invulnerable save, but we'll see. You can cram 'em into Land Raiders, so... that may be less of an issue than people think. As for the Devastator ones... I personally think Obliterators may be the most overrated unit in the game. But if you like 'em, you'll like the Devastator Centurions, since they're more consistent with comparable weapons options, at a very similar points cost. The lack of an invulnerable save is really irrelevant on them since they shouldn't be in close combat anyway-- they're likely just going to be standing in a ruin shooting lascannons at things. Lascannons, plural. In both cases, the sergeant can buy the option for the squad to have the Split Fire rule. I expect both squads to be fairly popular overall, though.

-If air defense is your thing, the Space Marines have it in spades. The Hunter is the final word in telling Vendetta or Heldrake spam to get bent, while the Stalker is a good answer to flying monstrous creatures. And if that somehow isn't enough, flakk missiles are generally available to anyone who can have a missile launcher, although they're still priced at a point where you may or may not actually want to buy them. Certainly, if you're worried about air defense, the Hunter is king. I can say with absolute certainty that it'll replace aegis lines with quad guns in any Space Marine army that was bringing those, and for armies that weren't... the Hunter is still good. For the sake of argument, what's been said online lines up nicely with what's actually in the book... it's 60'' S7 AP 2 Armourbane Heavy 1, and if it misses, you put a marker on its target and roll again in your next shooting phase-- even if the Hunter has been destroyed in the subsequent enemy turn. I know I'll be picking one up for the rare occasion I get to play in a tournament.

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