Monday, March 14, 2011

It isn't easy being vannilla

Another divergent marine chapter codex is about to be released, and poor Codex Space Marines are left wondering why they are still following the teachings of that hack Guiliman.  It seams that when you break the rules you get some pretty cool toys.

 I don't think that the other marine codecies are more than marginally better than stock Astartes,  but their specialization lends to more competitive 5th edition armies.  Each chapter codex has a focus, and if your marine army shares that same focus, you loose nothing by switching codecies.  Running divergent chapters should be a trade-off, not a boon.  As it is, there is no appreciable loss from changing your light-mech Codex Marine army to Blood Angels.  You get essentially the same stats and available units, and also gain the benefits of being a Blood Angel.  The points are different, but not substantially so.   The options are not vanilla vs chocolate vs strawberry; its vannilla vs choclate-vannilla swirl vs strawberry-vannilla swirl.

Compare troop options between Wolves, Blood Angels, and Ultras.  For my Ultras I have to take ten men to get a special and heavy weapon.  Most of the time those two weapons are mutually exclusive in their use.  The other two chapters can take ten men and get two specials that can be used together.  Essentially trading duality for redundancy.   That seems like a fair trade, but it's not.

There's a lot of talk about duality in 40k and its benefits.  I'd rather take a redundant single purpose unit than a unreliable dual purpose unit.  The limited role of the single purpose unit can always be covered by another redundant single purpose unit that fills the opposite role.  Those types of units are not lacking in the divergent chapter codex's.

On top of taking the unfair trade, the Wolves and Blood Angels also get their army wide rules.  They only have to give up Combat Tactics( a situationally useful rule) in return.  You've lost some codex marine traits in the process, but never anything that makes the choice remotely hard.

I think that the divergent chapters should not get the basic marine stat line by default.  They should have one stat take a penalty with the according adjustment in cost.  This makes being a codex marine mean something as they would have the best overall stats but the least specialized rules and equipment.

I think Wolves should get -1 to BS to all units except Long Fangs and the units that already have BS3.  Wolves are primarily a melee army, and having them less capable at ranged combat balances all their CC abilities and units

For Blood Angels I'd like to see -2 to leadership across the whole list.  This way they are little less dependable than marines, and their ability to occasionally become fearless mean a little more.

Maybe I'm being jealous of the Stormraven, Dread Knight, and Thunderwolves, but vanilla is a flavor!  To be vanilla doesn't mean to be completely void of flavor.  Codex Marines needs something to set it apart from all the other Marine chapters, and that is currently lacking in 5th edition.


  1. Even if the Thunderfire was a good unit, it's still not a core unit. If the Codex Marines exclusive units where as good as the other chapters' exclusive units, that would be a start. The essential marine list is marine squads in rhinos with a few support units, and the other chapters do it better in this edition.

  2. I agree some what but also I think you have it backwards. Wolves already have -1LD if I recall. They are the undisciplined savages and should have the LD reduction.

    Blood angels I can honestly see having the -1 BS as they are more likely to rage than to take Aim.

    As a Blood angel player, some days I envy vanilla. Like days when I fight deamons, I'd give my left vector engine for Null Zone.

  3. Lets not forget either, that they do have Ironclad dreads, Landspeeder storms, and chapter masters and Honor Guards.

    I recently switched from my beloved Ultramarines to try a different marine army (Wolves) and I find my self wishing on many occasions I never stripped the army and repainted them. Many times I say, if I was Codex Marines I could do ....

    I think standard marines are awesome to use and can be competitive.

    Standard marines rely on good solid tactics, and dont have a one trick ponies to get them through things.

    And lastly, now that I play with space wolves, I think Calgar can whoop any bodies ass.

    And I find myself on the brink of repainting everything again back to the good old Blue, White and Gold shortly. Thats how I feel about it anyways.

  4. I agree with what you are saying. Vanguard and sternguard should have been codex only. Or even razorbacks. And FNP seems to be too rampant with few ways to fix it. At least I have Kantor....

  5. @Gravemind

    Wolves don't have -1 LD; they have no sergeants and the difference between a 9 and an 8 is very minor on 2d6. I just don't see wolves standing around all day running bolter drills.

    They where just examples. I just think there should be a trade off in the stat line for the perks the other chapters get.


    Ironclads are OK, but I prefer my dreads equipped for long range. The LSS would be better if scout squads could take it as a dedicated transport. And don't get me started on Honor Guard.

    There are still a few unique things that codex marines can take, but they are not essential core items in space marine armory.

  6. Good Post! The TH/SS unit from the C:SM is priceless. Add Vulkan, Pedro, Shrike, Khan etc and you have great builds that are competitive and fun. But unless you like these particular type of armies such as Scott, then I agree with you.

    And my space wolves do suffer from basic leadership 8. I have to build my lists very different compared to other codexes. There is a huge difference in ld 8 vs 9 in my opinion. (Units w/o wolf guard such on pinning and morale tests)

  7. The wolf guard are a unit of "sargeants" that you can split up into your squads or leave together or both. Seems like an advantage to me and less like a setback for list building.

    And I'm not complaining about C:SM. Yes I play Vulkan, but anyone who does or has knows that it has just as many cons as pros. No long range firepower means I need to be within 12" to be effective. Take on that for your list building.

    With each new marine codex since C:SM they are taking stuff and making it more effective for less points. But I understand why... GW has got to make their money.

  8. "With each new marine codex since C:SM they are taking stuff and making it more effective for less points. But I understand why... GW has got to make their money."

    C:SM is a good codex. It provides a solid foundation for all the other marine codex's. I don't think that they are intentionally trying to make a better codex. It's just that when you start from a good position, you're probably going to end up with something better in the end.

  9. it's the basics of what happens when you take an all-around 'good' codex, and make specialist builds based off the 'good' base. Each specialist codex drops the stuff they don't care a lot about, and adds in stuff that suits the playstyle better.

    although I think point for point GK's are a BARGAIN for what they bring to the table. Even with some upgrades like Psybolt, and halberds. They're a steal.