20 Things to Fix in the Space Marine Codex – Number 2 by Digital Unicorn.

4 Nov

So, our little odyseey resumes. Today we continue to plum the depths of the Tactical marines Codex sado-masochism, we see just how low they can sink. We watch them run Guillimans work against the reef, see them submerge with the hatch open, fail to alert command about the torpedos speeding towards the hull. Is that enough maritime analogies? How did I even get on to them? One more? Ok, this blog ill explain why Tactical squad suck more than 3D……because they sunk my battle ship!!

I should have quit while I was ahead shouldn’t I.


Let’s press on regardless! So, after last wednesdays article our favourite core troop choice has received his shipment of combat blades and an effective unit is starting to take shape. But, there’s a long way to go yet, these guys have a lot to answer for. So the next thing on my list, get rid of those stupid heavy and special weapon restrictions.


Cannot withdraw Meltagun

Insufficient funds in Tactical account


This has always infuriated me. From day 1 when I read through the codex for the first time it just boggled my mind. To explain fully, a Tactical squad cannot take a Heavy OR Special weapon until it is 10 men strong. It starts as a 5 man squad and there is a minimum 80 point spend before any of the squad can be armed with anything more threatening than a bolter.  Once the squad reaches its full size 1 marine can be equipped with a range of Special weapons and one other marine can choose from a selection of heavy weapons. Make note that 2 marines can be upgraded, not just one. The squad MUST be 10 men strong or it can’t make a choice from any of these options. Clearly, their versatility knows no bounds.


“My Lord, we would gladly bathe those foul xenos in holy flame but, steve is on his annual leave so the armoury wouldn’t give the squad a flamer”.


Does this not feel abritrary to anyone else? Why can they not take one as a 5 man squad? Then take the second at 10 men. It doesn’t break the unit to allow them to do this. With the combat squadding ability most tactical squads end up like this anyway. It just makes them instantly more useful, especially at lower points levels. Have you ever tried to make a 500 point list for Space Marines? Good luck squeezing in much anti-tank.


I do however appreciate that this rule encourages the taking of larger squads and avoidance of MSU. Being forced to take 10 marines means, they can’t all be shoved in a Razorback. They only have one Sergeant between them, so if you combat squad one half will have a lower Leadership. But is this really something we should be made to do? It doesn’t strike me as particularly Tactical.


So what’s to be done? Allow them to take one of the Weapons at 5 men? No, because then every marine troops choice from now on will be a 100pt BS4 scoring Lascannon. What? I would do if I could so why wouldn’t you?


So, allow them to take just the special weapon at 5 men, right? But then we have the same problem, now anyone will take is a man melta squad that just happens to be a troop choice. Things like this are just far too easy to abuse, just look at Long Fangs and Devastators. How many 10 man squads of those do you see? Thought so.


So how can we make this work? Make the Tactical squad more useful at 5 men without making it pointless to take it to 10? I have one idea, tiered point systems. Basically allow them to take a weapon at 5 men but make it cost more than it would at 10. There are a few other squads that do similar things and while you often see them with a single weapon, you still see them larger and with 2. I’m thinking about a 15 point price increase for the heavies and a 10 point increase for the specials. That way, the Heavies cost the same as devastator weapons and a meltagun is now 15 points.


Its not perfect and it needs a little fine tuning but, I think the ground work is there. What do you guys think?


On Wednesday I’m going to stay focused on the troops section but, move away from our beloved Tactical squad. Hold tight, hold the line and remember, don’t stop reading until…


Digital Unicorn is GO!!


9 Responses to “20 Things to Fix in the Space Marine Codex – Number 2 by Digital Unicorn.”

  1. Mark Perry November 4, 2011 at 11:26 #

    I’d like it if I could take 2 specials or 2 heavies or 1 of each. Even that would be better. For instance, 2 missile launchers or 2 flamers can at least give the squad an actual purpose, espcialyl when linked with combat squadding and a razorback.

    • Mike November 4, 2011 at 12:01 #

      Again something that the traitors can manager that the loyalists cant (2x special weapons in a 10 man squad). Have you considered turning renegade? It really is quite nice in the eye of terror at this time of year…

      I’ve always found it ludicrous that 9 blokes stand around wasting their shots so that the 1 lascannon in a tactical squad can try to punk a rhino which it only stands a 2/3 chance of hitting in the first place!

    • Digital Unicorn November 4, 2011 at 14:03 #

      Although that sounds tempting and I did consider it for a while, iit just seems all at once to be too easy to break, a little too heamogenous and a little redundant.

      Why take a 10 man 2 missle Tact squad when u can take a 5 man Dev with 4?
      Why ever take a heavy weapon when u can have 2 meltaguns for 5pts?
      And if they can take 2 specials there just more expensive Grey Hunters.

      I totally see where ur coming from and my cheesy heart wants it but, I think it would take away from the essense of the Tact Squad idea. Do you agree?

      • Mark Perry November 4, 2011 at 15:47 #

        Devs aren’t troops! 2 missiles sat on a back objective can be handy, with 5 vanilla troops driving off in a razorback.

      • Digital Unicorn November 4, 2011 at 16:41 #

        That’s very true! Lol, forgot about that.

        I like that idea but, as Kipper has said, it might start to crowd out scouts as a choice. What kind of points do you think would be fair to spend on the 2 heavies?

  2. Kipper November 4, 2011 at 14:47 #

    I’m sort of against this for fluff reasons – I’ve still got space marines floating around from the Rogue Trader days, and the Codex Astartes clearly has a default tactical load out as 10 marines, with one sergeant, one missile launcher and one flamer. 🙂 I quite like that the codex encourages that!

    With Combat Squads, you can break the unit down anyways, and if you improve the possible loadout for 5 marines, you knock out one of the few advantages in taking scouts – the missile launcher or heavy bolter in the five man squad.

    Although I’d rather keep heavy flamers for the Sister’s of Battle, perhaps a better option would be to broaden out the range of weapons you can take. A ten man squad with a flamer and heavy flamer would be brutal on the assault. Hellfire rounds on the heavy bolter (heck, scouts get that!) and special ammo as the special choice for one marine would still let the sternguard be special, but give more flexibility.

    • Digital Unicorn November 4, 2011 at 16:37 #

      I thought abou the heavy flamer too, I couldn’t belive they didn’t get one.

      For the sake of this being a series I’m not going to comment on some of the other things 😉

      Uv got the sentiment I was trying to go for, even if we diagress slightly on application. I don’t want to lose that 10 man squad. But, at the same time, I don’t want the 5 man to be useless. Its a hard balance to strike.

      • Franco November 4, 2011 at 18:54 #

        I reckon they should just get the option of a special weapon at 5 and a heavy at 10, not adjustments in points needed. I don’t think they should be getting 2 heavies, it doesn’t feel tact squad like to me. I don’t think it would be unbalanced at all to allow them a meltagun or flamer at 5-man. I reckon they should be paying for their heavy at 10-man regardless.

      • Digital Unicorn November 4, 2011 at 20:43 #

        Yer the Heavy+Special mix seems synonimus with the Tactical squad.

        Its that whole thing of the unit not being in a vacuum. When I was writing I thought it’d be a bit OP to just give them the 5pt meltagun but, if u look at other dex’s a 5 man marine stat squad with a meltagun for <100 isn't that hard to come by. I mean even Black Templars can do it.

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