Monday, October 14, 2013

Honor the Codex: Pt. 2 Warlord Traits, Relics & Wargear

Hello and welcome to our second part of our review of the 6th Edition Space Marine codex. As a primer to the series, we laid out some ground rules for a basic understanding of Space marines, and our first part took a look at the various special rules associated with the Big Blue Book. Before we can dive into the army list proper though, we've got just one last piece of prep work, and that is looking at our warlord traits and armory. If you need to catch up on the first part of the series, do that, and then we'll dig in after the break!

Ah the warlord table. We've seen different flavors of table across the last 5 books. Tau was pretty incredible, Daemons was pretty good too, and Eldar was alright. Dark Angels and Chaos Marines might have been a little disappointing, but there were characters in each book who were at least worth looking at for their dedicated traits. Let's see how this book stacks up, shall we? Obviously you'll have to wait until our next segment to see who has what and how much it helps them, but in the meantime, we can at least look at and evaluate the traits standalone.

Oh it's a war- Yes...

Angel of Death - Bad
Fear isn't good. Over half the armies in the game ignore it, and those who don't are going to die to you in CC anyway. Move along.

The Imperium's Sword - Worse than okay, but not quite bad
A feat that gives a single turn of your warlord's unit gaining furious charge. This isn't good most of the time. You're a shooting army, so charging won't often be your thing. Not only that, but if you flub your charge distance, you've burned your trait for nothing. Generally speaking, characters which want to assault have this trait, so it makes it easier to get if you want to use it, but past that, rolling this won't be fun for most lists.

Storm of Fire - Great
A free cast of guide for a unit within 12" of your warlord. Cool and almost always useful. This one is what you're really shooting for, and only one character has it built in.

Rites of War - Okay
A 12" bubble that makes you use your warlord's leadership for morale (but not pinning, ugh). This isn't amazing if you're hoping to break and avoid the charge, but if you're trying to keep a gunline on the table, it's alright. Pity it won't save you from pinning.

Iron Resolve - Bad
Adds +1 to your side's combat results for any combat involving your warlord. This really won't tip the scales. If you won combat, you won big. Or you lost and got rolled. If you lost, you want to break and leave. If you won, you charged and don't want them to break, so that you beat them on their turn and charge something else.

Champion of Humanity - Bad
So. I get d3 victory points if I do something. Victory points are great! They help me win the game! What do I have to do? Slay the other guy's warlord. In a challenge. But it doesn't count if I sweeping advance them. So, what do I get if my opponent brought a warlord that will murder me? Or what do I do if they just refuse my challenge because they know I'll waste them? You mean I get nothing? That's cool.

So. There's those. One worth getting all the time. Two worth at least considering, but enough trash rolls to possibly kick you onto the BRB tables. Disappointing. Let's see if there's any big relics to help cheer us up.

Brace yourselves, controversy is coming.

The Primarch's Wrath - Okay
Sure, it's just a salvo 3/5, AP 4 bolter with shred and master crafted, but that's not necessarily bad. Especially if your character is going to sit still, or has relentless. Not just that, but it's not too pricey. You can do worse for the points, but given something in the special issue wargear section, you won't really see this.

Teeth of Terra - Okay
For a meager tax over a relic blade, you get a host of special rules: Specialist, Strikedown, Rampage. Specilist means you can be dual armed with this and another specialist weapon, such as a thunder hammer. This feature alone makes it potentially interesting for "hunter" HQs: those who are not your warlord, but set out to kill the other guy's warlord. The thunder hammer lets your instant death T4 multi-wounders, or crack a 2+ save, while the Teeth let you keep your initiative and strike at S6 AP3 when that's all you'll need to come out on top. Past that, strikedown is a less good version of concussive, and rampage gives you d3 attacks every round if you are outnumbered, which given that you're marines, isn't unlikely. All in all, worth looking at if you're willing to upgrade over a relic blade. But then you have to wonder why you wanted a relic blade.

The Shield Eternal - Great
Pay the price of a terminator to upgrade your storm shield into one of these. What does it give you? Eternal warrior and adamantine will. EW is worth about the price of a powerfist, and even if you might be overpaying for the AW, it's still good durability. The points might be a little hard to stomach, but keeping your warlord alive will often prove worth it. This is for your captain or chapter master more than your librarian, but that's for another article.

The Burning Blade - Bad
That's right. I said it. This weapon is bad. It's more expensive than a thunder hammer. And it isn't a thunder hammer. Your middiling initiative of 5 is not going to save you from CC MCs, and you'd rather wound them on 2s, knock them down to I1, and have the ability to instant death things like nobz. Sure, that ignores the chance to blind your foe, but it also discounts the chance to blind or wound yourself. No, you won't claim dual armed with this, because you'll have TSE. Likewise, buying it at all means you're gearing yourself out for CC. And we already know that that isn't always the best thing for this codex to try to do. No, buying TSE does not mean that you want to be in CC. Claiming a better save is always applicable. Spending this many points to stab someone is not.

The Armor Indomitus - Bad
Why am I paying a terminator as tax on artificer armor? Because it gives me a 6++ (ask sisters how good it is), never mind it being worse than your iron halo. Or terminator armor. What else does it give? Relentless. Just like terminator armor. Or a bike. And one turn of 2++. Which doesn't actually make me more durable to small arms fire, which was more likely to shred me anyway. Just don't buy this. There's almost always a better solution for durability. Not even your jump pack chapter master really wants this.

The Standard of the Emperor Ascendant - Okay
This isn't nearly as impressive as any of the Dark Angel banners and costs as much as the bolter one. Why is it okay then? Because Black Templar and White scars love this thing. It's got 3 auras. First, it's a standard, so it gives a 12" bubble of reroll morale and pinning. It costs 4 times as much as a company standard though because of the next two auras. The second is a 6" bubble of +1 to assault results (which is whatever) but in that bubble, it also grants Hatred. That's huge for the two armies mentioned (and maybe even for drop pods) because they want to send in multiple units into assaults in a highly coordinated fashion, which is going to result in you buying a banner of chaplain, which is totally worth the points. The third aura applies to the bearer's unit and gives it fear. Trash but whatever. You took this to have Grimauldus in any army you want.

So, all in all, not a bad selection of relics. Not the Tau signature systems. And I don't like TSE quite as much as I like the Burning Brand or GoTN from either chaos book, largely due to their points costs being so cheap, but its not as big a loser as the Eldar or Dark Angel relics (sacred standards not withstanding). A nice middle of the road. And I like that a lot.

Other armory changes are unfortunately limited to a few minor things. First: Grav weapons. Godfrey just did a showdown between these and Plasma. Long story short, take them on bikes, and maybe centurions, otherwise, ignore the entry. Past that, there's only two small tweaks to the armory in terms of the "Special Issue Wargear." They are digital weapons, and the auspex. Digital weapons are available to the whole HQ slot, but are fairly expensive for what little they offer, which hasn't changed. Past that, the auspex is amazing. Pity you can only have two(ish) in an army. For foregoing his shooting phase, the equipped character can apply a -1 modifier to the cover save of an enemy squad within 12". Remember how I said marines need to ignore cover? Yep. Oh, it only costs as much as a meltabomb. Don't fight to force them into your list, and make sure that the shooting you're giving up isn't, say, psychic shriek or the heavy flamer from a librarian.

There we have it! The last general breakdowns before we get to the army list proper. Yes, I do expect to get barraged with why I'm wrong about the Burning Blade, but I am prepared to defend my position. So, shout about it in the comments below and we'll catch you here next week for our discussion on special characters.


  1. The biggest thing working against the armor is its points cost. It costs more than TSE and you can gain similar function from Terminator armor.

    What in 'nids is my I5 going to swing before? A tervigon? I'd still rather wound her on 2's instead of 3's, and blinding her is going to be negligible, other than having her hit me on 5's & 6's. If I bought TSE, I don't need to worry about her smashing me into instant death, even if I'm on a bike.

    Teeth doesn't rate higher because it has a similar problem to the Blade. It's more expensive than a thunder hammer, and it isn't a thunder hammer. It can generate more attacks if you choose to use it (you'll almost always be outnumbered), but strikedown is going to force tests on... Crisis suits and Nobz, both of which you swing before anyway. I mean, I guess if the other guy is a marine who /didn't/ bring a 2+ you can knock him over, but you'd rather ID him with the hammer. Short of hunters which /love/ the Teeth+Hammer combo, I don't see much of a use for it.

  2. How did you guys get a picture of my closet???