Mechanizing Your Marines

by Ken "The Fabulous Orcboy" Lacy


I wish I could take credit for this particular rather hard-core army list, but I didn't come up with it. I first saw it in use by a fellow named Paul "FireberdGnome" Hill, and he actually learned the tactics and principles from a truly hardcore player and tactician named Mike "Angel of Blood" Somerville. They're tactics that can be used effectively by practically any Marine army, loyalist or chaos (exceptions: Death Guard and Space Wolves), to greater or lesser effect. The following assumes that you're using plain-vanilla, basic ol' regular Space Marines, however.

The idea behind this particular army is mobility. In the army, everything is mechanized. But it's not strictly a Rhino-Rush army. It's an army that can be both shooty and rhino-rush, as the situation dictates. Think of it as a shooty variant of your Rhino Rush army - it's actually shootier than most people first think.

The heart of this army is the standard 9pt vehicle kit that should go on every vehicle. They are: extra armor, smoke launchers, searchlights. It's relatively cheap to upgrade all those vehicles, and it gives you lots of flexibility when maneuvering, shooting, and the like. Even if your vehicles are shaken up, you can still maneuver away. And if you need to advance, all your vehicles carry their own cover.

Next is the fire support. Two Predator Destructors (that's the Autocannon turret), with lascannon sponsons. Why? Because first of all, Destructors are cheaper than Annihilators. Second, Destructors work slightly better against hull-down enemy light transports (AV10 and AV11 vehicles) than Annihilators, particularly if you do a point-for-point comparison. 2 BS4 shots at S7 work better at killing light transports than 1 twin-linked BS4 shot at S9. Honestly, the math works out. Third, it's psychological. If your opponent shoots an Annihilator, it's obvious which weapon to knock out (the twin-linked one). It's not nearly so obvious when shooting at the Destructor.

  • Destructor with Lascannon sponsons + 9pt kit = 134
  • Destructor with Lascannon sponsons + 9pt kit = 134

Next is the troop choices. Here's the fourth reason why you don't need the (more expensive) firepower of an Annihilator: because your troops choices carry Lascannons. Three 9-man tactical squads with Lascannons. Each of them includes either a Flamer or Melta, and a Veteran Sergeant with either a Powerfist or Power Weapon. These guys are your 'flexible' units. If you're facing something soft that can outshoot you (= IG), you simply start in the Rhinos and rush. If you're facing something hard (= starcannon Eldar) that you can outshoot, you can use the Rhinos as additional armor and shoot from inside. Plus, Rhinos have many other uses - block LOS from enemy guns to your units, or to other Rhinos. Grab objectives on its own. Etc. 9-man tactical squads are suggested because numbers help if/when you assault. And the empty space allows you to add independent characters to units.

  • 9 Marines, + Lascannon, Flamer, Vet Sgt w/Pfist (193) + Rhino w/9pt kit (59) = 252
  • 9 Marines, + Lascannon, Flamer, Vet Sgt w/Pfist (193) + Rhino w/9pt kit (59) = 252
  • 9 Marines, + Lascannon, Flamer, VetSgt w/Pweap (183) + Rhino w/9pt kit (59) = 242

(If you use the New Assault Rules, I'd suggest Flamer/Powerfist, because the Melta is less useful than it used to be (prevents the unit from assaulting if it kills the target vehicle), and the way casualties can be removed the Powerfist is almost guaranteed to strike back.)

Then two 5-man tactical squads, here with Heavy Bolters, and either a Flamer or Melta (the flexible option is to pick the opposite of what you picked above). Here the veteran sergeant is completely optional. They ride in Razorbacks with twin-linked Heavy Bolters. Heavy Bolters are fun-and-friendly weapons that do well against troops, but mostly are here to give you a light tank that can move 6" and shoot at something trying to hide, like a Landspeeder or Ork Trukk. The guys inside can't shoot, but if you're being shooty you can simply set up outside the Razorback and treat them as independent for the rest of the battle. If you're rushing, of course, that's also straightforward enough. 5-man units leaves you room enough to put characters in the Razorbacks if you choose. That way all five of your vehicles can have some nasty close-combat punch.

  • 5 Marines, + Heavy Bolter, Melta (88) + Razorback w/twinHB + 9pt kit (74) = 182
  • 5 Marines, + Heavy Bolter, Melta (88) + Razorback w/twinHB + 9pt kit (74) = 182

Finally come the HQ choices. There are two suggestions: the basic Chaplain, who is cheap and comes with a power weapon and invulnerable save. The other is the Librarian, equipped with Lightning Claws. That gives him a moderately effective ranged weapon (his psychic power) that his Claws don't take away from him. And the Claws make him nasty. You load these two bad boys into your Rhinos, and sic them on your opponents if you need to. The idea here is to go cost-efficient, because these two guys won't be pulling much of their weight if you're being Shooty.

  • Chaplain + Boltpistol = 71
  • Librarian + twin Lightning Claws = 90

All told, your HQ choices, Troop choices, and Heavies should fill up about 1500 points. When playing larger games, of course, you can add some extra points by adding a few marines, adding some Veteran Sergeants, or even adding another Tactical squad. One nifty variant is to turn the "Rhino" squads into Veterans for 30 pts each (taking them as Elites choices), thus giving the 'regular' marines a boost to basic Leadership and the option to use BP/CCW.

This gives you a solid, flexible core of troops, characters, and weapons that can handle basically every mission in the 40K game. They can be mobile against slower armies (and they have the firepower to cripple the mobility of other armies!), they can be shooty against non-shooty armies, they can be rhino rush against armies shootier than they are. Don't forget that the Predators also have smoke launchers on them - this is so they can LEAD a Rhino Rush if you know you're facing weapons that have little or no chance of hurting a Predator. Leading a Rhino Rush against Tau with twin Predators, for example, is one trick that works fairly well.

The variations on the vanilla list are fairly basic.

Black Templars: On the face of it, the Black Templars can do this list quite well. Although they will have to make a choice between heavy weapon and powerfist/powerweapon -- which means that each Initiates unit can only upgrade *two* Marines, unlike regular marines who can essentially upgrade three -- they can make up for it by using the points they save to bring THREE characters. Plus, they have more close combat punch than other loyalists because regular marines can have BP/CCW as an option. Quite obviously, take that option.

Blood Angels: This army works quite well for Blood Angels (the original design actually came from a Blood Angels list). They can Rhino Rush and assault more effectively than regular marines, and the the marginal loss in firepower from occasionally suffering Black Rage is worth it. Blood Angels will have to field just one character (obvious choice is a cheaper Librarian) in order to afford their slightly more expensive vehicles. The trick with Death Company is to not field a Chaplain at all, give your Death Company jumppacks, and NOT take out the Veteran Sergeants from the regular tactical squads. Field just plain Death Company (give them jumppacks, easier to deal with than having another Rhino on the field blocking up LOS), let them run loose and force your opponent to deal with them, and otherwise ignore them.

Chaos: Can do everything slightly cheaper with regular CSM only 14 points. It's usually worth getting the Mark of Chaos Undivided, of course. Plus, Chaos doesn't get Razorbacks. That's a loss in firepower that can partly be made up by the fact that CSM can take autocannons. The option for those two 'Razorback' squads is thus to take 9-man Rhino units wielding Autocannons.

Dark Angels: Depending on your personal tastes, you can make your veteran sergeants stubborn, but points may be scarce. One thing to keep in mind is that DA characters are pricier than regular Marine equivalents, but the DA librarian psychic power is very much worth it if and when you need to Rhino Rush.

Death Guard/Space Wolves: Cannot take heavy weapons at all in the 'tactical' squads. This is not really an army list that either "True Grit" army can emulate. They're much better simply Rhino Rushing.

Salamanders: Salamanders can't take Lascannons in their tactical squads, and aren't quite as effective as other chapters in the Rhino Rush, but on balance their Veteran Sergeants can take cheaper Thunder Hammers. No, it doesn't balance out, but if you're a die-hard Sallie's player, the option is still open.

Created by: system. Last Modification: Sunday 25 of January, 2009 12:50:58 PM EST by ZiggyQubert.

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