20 Things to Fix in the Space Marine Codex part VI by Digital Unicorn

8 Dec

Hello, for those of you who didn’t notice, I missed last weeks post. My excuse ws being on deaths door and being thoroughly riddled with disease. The good news is that thanks to an undisclosed apparently benevolent warp entities COMPLETELY OBLIGATION FREE help, I now have perfect health.

On a completely unrelated side note id like to welcome you all back to 20 things to fix the Chaos Space Marine Codex. Since I started writing these articles back in October we’ve covered the troop choices thoroughly. Chaos Marines are now Fearless so, no more running away. Plague marines now have T6 and have been reduced in cost from 23pts to 20. Noise Marines now cost 18pts and have an upgraded 3++ Invulnerable save. Khorne beserkers now cost 20pts and all come equipped with a +2S power weapon that wounds Grey Knights on a 1+. And Thousand sons now know all Psychic powers from every other codex and can cast them all in a single turn.

Last week we charged headlong into the HQ section, starting with Abaddon the despoiler. After first losing that ridiculous points cost and dropping him down to a much more reasonable 175pts we gave him WS13 and BS10. We chucked in a few extra wounds, 5 to be precise, upped his initiative to 11 to deal with those pesky Quicksilver Grey Knights and improved his Invul save to a 2 plus. I…is that enough? Is that enough Nurgle? IS THIS WHAT YOU WANTED? I did everything you asked! Please, please, don’t give me anotherr chest infection, I can afford the time off work, ill write whatever you ask me too! Pleaase!


Next on the list is Librarians.

The only psykers in the Marine book, their benifits speak all for themselves. They are the only way to get any kind of Psychic defense into a Codex Marine army and grant access to some quite powerful and army changing abilities. No cheaper or more expensive than the other HQ’s they are one of the few to not come with an Invulnerable save in their basic profile. So let’s jump right into it…

I had an Epiphony…

This is going to be another marathon post, so I won’t mince words. The Epistolary upgrade for Librarians is very very expensive. A normal Librarian can be equipped with 2 Psychic powers and may cast one power per player turn, activating his force weapon counts towards this limit. You have the option to upgrade him to an Epistolary for 50pts, this allows him to use 2 powers per turn. Yes that’s actually how they word it.

Here we come across our first hurdle, Games Workshop’s love of brain numbingly confusing and inconsistent terminology. A player turn is defined by GW as 1 of 2 players turns, so player 1’s Movement, Shooting and Assault phases. Basically for us gamers, YOUR turn, where you make the moves and choices. A Turn is then defined as the turn system we already know, so 2 full player turns starting witht the person who won first turn and ending with the player who went second. Simple right?

So let’s break that wording down then, on the surface it looks like a significant boost but, if we dig a little deeper it becomes a little suspect. A normal Librarian can use a power per player turn, so let’s for example say that in his player turn he casts Nullzone and then charges into combat which continues into his opponents turn. Then in his opponents player turn he is then allowed to activate his force weapon in that combat. Total number of powers used in that game Turn? 2. But, wait isn’t that what Epistolary grants, 2 powers a turn? Awesome, right? An Upgraded Librarian would have accomplished exactly the same as a base one for an extra 50% of the cost. So we’ve spent 50pts for the priveledge to use 2 psychic powers in our player turn rather than over 2 player turns.

This particular oversite is very easy to fix, one extra word in that entry, it should read as follows :

‘He can only use one power each player turn unless he has been upgraded to an Epistolary, in which case he can use up to two psychic powers each PLAYER turn.’

It really doesn’t change it massively. Every single Librarian power, other than the force weapon, is used or activated in your own player turn. The Librarian has not suddenly become able to cast 4 powers per turn, just 2 powers in his turn and the ability to force weapon things in his opponents turn. Which is really still not very much for 50pts.

I hate to fall back onto the price comparison crutch but, ill only do so briefly. The Grey Knight Librarian comes with Mastery Level 2, essentially Epistolary, as standard, so it makes sense then that he costs 150pts instead of the Space Marine Librarians 100. Until you factor in that the Grey Knight HQ’s all come in Terminator Armour with a force sword and a stormbolter, all other considerations aside this means he gets the extra power for 20pts. So I think its more than a little fair that we should get a bit more of an edge for our points.

Much like Chaplains and Reclusiarchs, which I discussed in the last post, i’d like to see the Epistolary become more of an Upgraded class of HQ with a slightly stronger statline. I propose that the Epistolary upgrade gives the Librarian the following additions to his statline, +1W, + 1I, +1BS. Nothing too overpowering he is now a higher class of HQ but, still retains his role as a support character rather than combat beast.

I’ve put a spell on you……

The next couple of changes are going to be slight tweaks to the Powers the Librarian actually wields. I’m going to go at them in the order their layed out in the book so, first up is Force Dome. This power grants all units in the librarians squad a 5+ invul save for a full turn. Quite a useful power but, the name, Force Dome, just suggest something slightly different to my imaginative mind. I think it should play in a similar way to the Ork Kustom Forcefield, instead of it just applying to the Librarians Squad it should be a 6 inch bubble eminating from the Librarian. The precedent has already been set by the KFF and I think it would create some very interesting combos.

Next is Machine Curse. Now, come on, be honest, has anyone ever used this power? Has anyone seen someone else use this power? Does anyone even know what it does? Fluff wise were told that, The Librarian calls down a powerful curse upon the machine spirit of an enemy war engine. Sounds pretty badass right? What does it do on the table top? If it hits its target vehicle, that vehicle suffers an automatic glancing hit.

OH NO!! What ever will we do? Not a WHOLE glancing hit, its unheard of. How could any one being be so powerful? Who’s will could be so strong as to bend the warp to act in such a way?

Come on man! Be serious, the best you can do is immobilise something and I think then it would only be the curious Machine Spirit stopping to watch this strange little man flail its arms and shout at it.

It doesn’t make it much more attractive but, I think we should change that Glancing to a Penetrating hit. Not the greatest power in the world but, eternally more useful.

And lastly Quickening, this power is cast in the shooting phase and gives the Libby Fleet, it also boosts the Librarian to Initiative 10 for his Assault phase. This is very similar to thhe Grey Knight power, Quicksilver, the difference being that quicksilver can be cast on other squads and on the Librarians own squad. It doesn’t however grant fleet. So all in the balance, I think it should be changed so that the Librarian casts it on himself and on any squad he’s attached too. He shouldn’t be able to cast it on other squads.

Flip mode! Another marathon guys, hope you enjoyed it, so let’s round up. We’ve added the Epistolary upgrade to Librarians to give them +1W, +1BS and +1I. It also allows them to cast 2 powers per player turn. Force Dome is now a 6 inch bubble. Machine Curse causes a penetrating hit. And Quicksilver now affects the squad the Librarian is attached too.

My Question to you readers this week is, should Marine Librarians have a Power purchasing system like the Grey Knight ones do?

Thank you for joining me again and remember, hold fast, hold the line and don’t stop reading until…

Digital Unicorn is GO!!!!


12 Responses to “20 Things to Fix in the Space Marine Codex part VI by Digital Unicorn”

  1. Shem Lucas December 8, 2011 at 01:51 #

    Some cool ideas here! I agree with the Stat Upgrade idea, it always annoyed me not having the option to take a heroic level Librarian without plumping for a Tigurius counts as.

    You missed out Null Zone, but i have a sneaking suspicion that is because it is awesome and needs no changing what so ever, in fact, i kind of have a problem with it, as i can’t write a generic marine list without taking a Null-Librarian, i like the units that have been sneaking into the newer codices that allow you some level of Psi-defense without taking a dedicated Psyker, like the new Tomb Spiders, and the improved Aegis of the Grey Knight Dreadnought, some kind of Field unit that negatively effects Psychic powers would be a neat way to un-Hamstring marine lists into having to take Librarians ALL the time.

    • Shem Lucas December 8, 2011 at 01:52 #

      oops, you didn’t miss Nullzone, i just have wandering eyes.

      • Digital Unicorn December 8, 2011 at 12:04 #

        Yup, I never leave home without one nowadays, that power is crazy good. I really didn’t feel it needed to change, like you said.

        Thanks for the kind words.

  2. Martin December 8, 2011 at 08:33 #

    I agree about the confusing use of the word turn in the description of Epistolary, but GW have answered this in an FAQ.

    From the rulebook FAQ (http://www.games-workshop.com/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m1830600a_40k_Rulebook_version_1_4.pdf):
    The Turn
    Q: What is meant when the term ‘turn’ is used? (p9)
    A: Whenever the word turn is used it means player
    turn. Otherwise it will clearly state game turn. In a
    complete game turn both players get a player turn.
    Hence one game turn will comprise two player turns.

    • Digital Unicorn December 8, 2011 at 12:06 #

      Ah damn it, my bad, I only checked the SM FAQ to see if there was any clarification on that, never mind lol, at least its already fixed. Man alive tho, that is confusing.

      • Martin December 9, 2011 at 08:09 #

        Definately far more confusing than it needs to be. Great work on the articles so far and I agree with a comment below – I hope you get to write the new Marine dex!

  3. Andy Ovel December 8, 2011 at 10:40 #

    Good stuff Digital,

    As usual I agree with everything 🙂

    As I said when you wrote on Chaplains I feel I have to take a Librarian to get the Psychic Hood, but found the Libby himself a little lack lustre on the stats; I always felt he should be I5 so at least he swings before standard Marines.

    When compared against each other the powers are a bit erratic on their effectiveness in game. How can those games designers compare Machine Curse with Null Zone, even against a mechanised list it’s of pretty limited use!

    I may be the only person who has ever actually played someone that took Machine Curse (just the once). He got to use the power one time in the whole game, to stun a Razorback (NOW that’s some powerful game changing stuff right there!), I can’t say for certain, but I think I can safely assume he would rather have had Null Zone a turn later when my THSS Terminators deep struck behind him. Still it was a fun game, and we had a good laugh when he stunned my Razorback.

    “NO not my Razorback, it’s full of Tactical Marines with Boltguns; what will I do? Run everyone all is lost, the Razorback is stunned!”

    I hope you get to write the new Marine Codex

    • Digital Unicorn December 8, 2011 at 12:14 #

      Thanks man, I unrealisticly hope so too 😀

      Yer, there really did seem to be a weird imbalance between all the power. Which is mostly true for Librarians across the dex’s, there always seems to be 1 or 2 powers that stand out and the rest are just filler.

  4. Andy Ovel December 8, 2011 at 13:34 #

    It’s sad when something is over powerd, because it becomes an auto-take.

    Which means less variation in the game, and so less fun in the long run 😦

  5. Shem Lucas December 8, 2011 at 19:12 #

    I always thought it would have been cool to have Chaplains get small “Prayer” type abilities like the Empire Warrior Priests used to get (i don’t know how they work now, it’s been a while…) and some kind of minor Psyker defence along the lines of their being so “Pure of Heart” in background terms.

    Or maybe even stronger Psychic defense than a Librarian so you had the choice of consciously going down the road of psychic offense or defense depending on your choices, that would be neat.

    • Digital Unicorn December 8, 2011 at 19:43 #

      Maybe something like a Rune priest, with a 5+ negation but, only for the squad he’s with rather than a 24′ range?

      • Shem Lucas December 9, 2011 at 01:45 #

        that would be cool! I much prefer the “Duelling” aspect of the Psychic hood than the negation roll though, it feels more dramatic.

        Or it could just be that i am genetically pre-disposed to hating Space Wolves, one of the two!

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