20 Things To Fix in the Space Marine Codex by Digital Unicorn

26 Oct

I’m a Space Marine player through and through. No not the red ones, the blue ones. No, not those blue ones, the ones that aren’t Marneus Failgars progeny. Yep, thats them. So as you can imagine, it infuriates me to no end when all I see plastered across the internet are flashy tabloid headlines. Blog articles called “Blood Angels Dex spells end to Codex Marines” and “Space Vampires suck the life out of Space Romans” or “Space Vikings raid Sicarius’ codex wishlist and GW publishes it” . Each “educated” gamer telling me that my beloved smurfs are a pointless waste and that Blood angels and Space wolves do everything they can do better. That if I had any sense i’d buy a spray gun and a tub of Blood Red or Space Wolves grey and call it a day for my chosen chapter.

My response? Screw that! If I wanted to collect a load of narsistic blood sucking nancy boys i’d have just bought the Twilight boxset and saved myself a bundle. I don’t want to be forced to choose a much less characterful book to make an army that’s halfway decent. Even the fluff maths behind it infuriates me, both newer codex’s have tons of options, despite the fact that, if anything, they should be narrower than the SM book which is supposed to cover ALL OTHER CHAPTERS. In fact the sheer amount of BA successor chapters that sanguinious managed to spew out, as evidenced by their constant appearence across the table from me, is the most evidence iv been shown that he wasn’t Caligula reborn.

Its not that I don’t understand the appeal of Blood Angels or Space Wolves. Nor do I wish to attack anyone who plays them, I’m not after a flame war or some crazy Nerd battle. That was mostly me just having a little fun. I don’t want to follow the old addage “if you can’t beat them, join them”. I want to examine where we’ve gone wrong and come back stronger.  I want to make some suggestions that I think might give ol’ Vanilla Marines a fighting chance in what is becoming a harder and harder field of battle. While I’m not a fan of the so-called “codex creep”, I’m trying to make this more of a balancing or bringing up to standard. Its a littel bit of wishlisting but, I’m hoping you guys will enjoy the ride and take all my comments in the (almost exclusively sarcastic) tone that their written. If anyone has any ideas or think I’m wrong about something, feel free to comment and we can perhaps we can get closer to what some of the problems.

Now, enough babbling, down to business! I have made a list of 20 things that I think would go a long way to fixing the Space Marine codex and over next few weeks I’m going to pick one from the list and explain and discuss my reasons for choosing it. This week I’m gonna start with the first thing on my list (which is in no way diffinitive) and is part of the first block of things which are mostly to do with the troops choices. So without further ado…

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(Will not post to UK or Space Marine Chapters)

Yep, you guessed it, in the eternal struggle to stay relevant, the humble Tactical squad holds the Gold medal for stabbing ones codex in the back as it desperately gasps for breath. Now I’m sure detractors will argue that the Tac Squad was perfectly great until other marine troop choices came along. My answer would be yes, that is probably true, the problem is, the Tactical squad doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Those other troops choices DO exist. Now while the BA assault squad is a perfectly reasonable addition to the codex and is very much in line with the fluff of the army, it handily allows them to sidestep the redheaded step child of the force org. What? My brothers ginger, I’m allowed to say that.

This, however, is where the Space Wolves really make sure they get a good back swing before they kick us in the nads. Grey Hunters are everything Tactical marines want to be. An extra CCW to take that measly 1A to a more respectable 2. The arbritary restrictions are dropped and a 5 man squad is able to take a special weapon for, get this, the SAME price as it cost a 10 man Tact squad. Along the way they also pick up Acute Senses and Counter Attack, add to that the option to equip a wolf banner, which allows them to reroll all dice rolls of 1 for an assault phase. They can also throw in Mark of the wolfen to really beef up their combat abilty even further. And as we’re all depressingly aware, all these benifits come at the devastating price of -1pt per model and -15 for the squad. They might as well sleep with every Tacical marines wife just to confirm how much better they are at that too.

Now to be fair to the puppies, it does cost them a point of Leadership as the Grey Hunters don’t have a sergeant equivilent but, most players use the wolf guard provision to counter act this problem.

So how can codex SM compete? It’d be easy to say, just give them everything they’ve got but, that is the literal definition of keeping up with the jones. Some of the wolves additions are very much in line with their background and playstyle and serve to differentiate them from other marines. Things like the Wolf Banner and Mark of the Wulfen are clearly provisions that only make sense in the Wolf book and as such should stay unique. But can someone, ANYONE, explain to me where along the imperiums illustriious timeline some bean counting halfwitted beurocrat decided that having to supply marines with combat blades was just more than the imperial treasury could bear? Who are you blackmailing Logan? Sorry guys, we just think that giving you all a little knife is showing favouritism, but the wolves know about the affair I had so…

How can we live in a world where scouts have access to better equipment than fully forged marines?

So the answer is simple right? Just give Tac Mariness a Combat blade and be done with it. But, I get the sense, looking at other non power armour codex’s that this might be a swing to far in the other direction. Marines are already pretty strong, seems only fair that this upgrade should come at a price right? So a 1pt combat blade option should fix that. But now the squad cost 5pts extra and an identical equipped Grey Hunter is now 2pts cheaper!

I personally can’t see any other way around it, give the marines a free combat blade. Its only fair, detractors may argue that it makes marines too strong but, its clear to me that the line in the sand has already been moved by the newer Dex’s and Codex SM needs to get with the times or face falling into irrelevancy.

So, item 1, checked off the list, stay tuned for the next article where ill be continuing my discussion of the Tactical Squad and remember, don’t stop reading until Digital Unicorn is go!!

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13 Responses to “20 Things To Fix in the Space Marine Codex by Digital Unicorn”

  1. Franco October 26, 2011 at 13:23 #

    Yep, free combat blade, seems fair enough to me as well 🙂

  2. Fat_Bloke October 26, 2011 at 13:45 #

    Would you like some cheese with that?

    The answer is not to homogenise but to look for something different and interesting. Also it is worth pointing out that Codex Space Marines states that it is representative of the Ultramarines but may be used to represent other chapters. Finally, why would the chapters constricted by the Codex Astartes be less constricted than those that are not bound by its tenets and restrictions?

  3. Shem Lucas October 26, 2011 at 14:14 #

    Haha i’ve been screaming for this for a while too, it seemed silly to me that the Chaos Renegades had figured it out, but at the time i took it that their codex was (generally) bad enough they needed a little boost in that department, with the way the game is headed i think it would be nice to just move forward to the generally accepted stance “Marines have two close combat weapons” that doesn’t unbalance across the board to me, but then i’ve never felt particularly cheated playing against either of those new books with my codex marines so i’d just be happy with some shiny new toys to paint!

    i liked the abilities that the special characters granted in the marine codex, but disliked that it was impossible to do say a unique “Salamanders” style army without Vulkan.

  4. Sgt Brisbane October 26, 2011 at 17:58 #

    Nice read!

    I agree with the heart of the article, though it does sound like you do want to play Wolves and Angels, so long as Gw calls it Vanilla.

    If you want Tactical to play like grey hunters, crack open the Wolves dex and go to town.

    Ultras are unique because they’re unique. If we make them the same, what’s the point?

  5. Digital Unicorn October 26, 2011 at 21:06 #

    Thanks for all the constructive comments guys, I really hoped to stir up a bit of discussion.

    Ill answer you all in order but, also bear in minds its just my opinion and I’m not trying to shut you up.

    Fat_bloke, I can see what you mean but, heamogonising is not what I want either and later on in the series I’m really gonna try and find some interesting ways to change things up that aren’t just ripped from the other books. The difficulty with this one, is that the only solution I could find wasn’t too origional.
    I would however argue the case that despite appearences the Marine book is not just Ultramarines plus others, there may be 4 UM special characters but, there are 5 from other chapters. There’s even Legion of the Damned included which are definately not UM. Its built to be a versatile book to represent lots of unsung chapters, if you can point to the page where it says its the Ultramarine book, ill gladly eat my words but, iv never seen it as that.

    Shem, glad you agree, i’d completely forgotten chaos had it all figure out too! Lol.
    I too sometimes feel the special characters seem compulsory when u wanna make their chapter. And further down the line I might explore the old chapter traits system Codex marines used to have and discuss the pros and cons.

    Sgt – Hahaha, good point mate, ill just say I started as a fluff player, now I’m trying to be a bit more of an allrounder. I love the uniqueness of both SW and BA and I don’t want to intrude on that. In fact, I would gladly “apply” the conclusions I made in this article to the BA tac marines. Most of the points I’m going to highlight from both books are very real injustices. Identical units priced differently and the like. I still want all the books to stand alone, but i’d also like them to stand side by side.

  6. Richard October 26, 2011 at 21:51 #

    back in the day of rogue trader, a tactical squad had bolt pistols and and a combat blade in addition to a bolt gun. games workshop however don’t know anything about game balance.

  7. Fat_Bloke October 27, 2011 at 01:20 #

    Page 127 in the box at the bottom right of the page.

    • Digital Unicorn October 31, 2011 at 11:56 #

      Sorry, been super busy.

      That’s fair, I see it, so its basically saying its the Codex Astartes codex. Chapters that follow the Codex astartes can be represented by this book.
      I see your point about it being more restricted but, in the interest of game balance, why are the others not as restricted? I’m fine with SM covering say units 3-8 and BA covering 5-10. What I object too is BA covering 3-10. Do u get what I mean? They seem to just ignore all the worst bits and get some new stuff as well.

      I sound super whiney, lol. Anyway, I would quite happily keep my codex and take away one or two things from the newer marine books but, that’s never gonna happen so instead I’m writing this.

      • Fat_Bloke October 31, 2011 at 15:48 #

        I definitely see what you mean. BA are the bigger problem in my opinion. Wolves have better basic units but realisticly fewer real choices (Grey Hunters and Long Fangs great but the only real choice from Troops and Elites), so you actually have a trade off. Blood angels do not have this issue. Also where a lot of the best stuff in the SW book is concentrated in Elites (and you only have two slots if you want sergeants), the BA goodies are very nicely spread through the Force Org chart.

        I hope that when we see the new Marine Codex there will be new stuff, not necessarily in terms of new units but rather making more current units viable, that will see new and diverse builds hitting the table. It is also worth noting that Codex Marines looks to be one of the last books before GW started pumping out a new wave of really diverse army lists.

  8. Mark Perry October 27, 2011 at 09:33 #

    I only use vanilla in 3 situations now – bike list, MOTF 4-6 dreads, all scout list. Otherwise, BA or SW does most everything else better.

    Shame, but tacs have become little more than deckchairs in 3+ armour with a missile launcher.

  9. Lujke November 2, 2011 at 23:56 #

    How about defensive grenades ? its sets them apart from the BA and SW, stop them from being a cheap assault squad and I would be happy at no additional cost. I like the image of tactical squads moving across the battlefield, securing vital positions and setting up a defensive screen to help hold off counter attacks. I think it would work a treat.

    • Digital Unicorn November 25, 2011 at 17:40 #

      Interesting thought, there aren’t enough defensive grenades is this game at the moment.

      • 40KUK November 29, 2011 at 17:14 #

        Test

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