Wednesday, 29 June 2016

For the Emperor! Space marines in Epic Armageddon

For the Emperor! Space marines in Epic Armageddon

A big thanks to a fellow Epic enthusiast Mick for the awesome pics of his Ultras



Possibly the most iconic force in the 40k and 30k worlds and the most common force you will n counter on a Warhammer 40k tabletop. Sadly though in Epic 40k they are not an ideal learning army and can be quite tricky to learn. Basically marines are a strike force, all of your troops are great but you won't get heaps of them and if you use them poorly you'll lose the attrition game every time. So for those thinking about building a marine chapter it's all about building a force that hits hard enough that the enemy can't hit back, timing is everything.

The other thing to consider is that in my mine there is no real balance between the armies of the Epic universe. Some races just have access to far stronger choices than others, without going into great detail the top of this power pyramid would include Eldar with Gaurd not far behind while the bottom of the pyramid would be filled with Ghazghull Thrakas Orks and Tyranids in general. This is not a reason to avoid them just something to be aware of, you will need patience, you should expect to lose a few games etc. certainly the more recently approved imperial fists and space wolf armies would appear to be more powerful on paper than the standard codex marines but that is a result of them being more specialised so it is a double edged blade in many respects.

Essential units

Tactical marines - most builds won't include more than 1 of these (though that's very different in some to the alternate lists like imperial fists) but they are super flexible. An ideal place to park your hunter and usually a brilliant blitz Gaurd which can move out in their rhinos if needed. The important thing to remember is that marines can't outshoot anything so it's all about getting these guys into a support position of an enemy unit then something else engages it. Trying for an engage with these guys can be risky as they are slow outside of rhinos and at risk inside them, you could draw upon the hig strat rating of marines to move them up at the end of a turn and then engage from out of the rhinos.



Scouts - as a cheap activation they would be good by themselves but combined with their transport and extra control zone scouts are brilliant. Use them to mess up enemy movement or even just hold them back so that they can grab objectives while the more important troops in your army can focus on killing stuff.

Land speeders - similar to scouts, fast, flexible and with their macro toting multi melta they are super flexible. Yes they are light vehicles but with a solid armour save its not so bad. Spread them out to avoid copping too many hits on them and use their scout and speed to grab objectives. I also think they are interesting as an engagement unit both as support fire and as the ones who trigger engagement.

Terminators - easily the best unit in the space marine army and the one whose correct use will determine your best outcomes. The most common tactic would be to either load them into a Thunderhawk for deployment or just teleport them in drawing on your high strategy rating to hopefully go first. If you can find a spot where your opponent s vulnerable and then hit hard it will be critical. The risk though is that you need to keep them safe after the engage move, ATSKNF does go a long way in that respect. Some players will take 2 units and throw in a commander so that they can both be drawn into a single engage move, others will invest in a chaplain for the inspiring, it's really personal choice. The ideal usage will see them dropping in during turn 1-2, being collected by a Thunderhawk and then dropped again in turn 2-3. The only big drawback here is that you will need to wait/find the ideal place to attack and a good opponent won't make this easy. Every turn they are I reserve robs you of an activation so timing is a big issue.

Thunderhawks - marines are all about hitting hard in the right places. If you aren't running thunder Hawks don't expect to win a game because these are one of your best advantages. The real challenge is like terminators, dropping the engage move in the right spot at the right time to do maximum damage and not end up losing the hawk or the cargo. Also don't underestimate the effectiveness of the guns. Being able to drop a long range cannon shot to snipe of a single hydra or artillery piece in a Gaurd armies unit of 3 can be great. Dropping those heavy boaters on a broken infantry/Light vehicle unit can be huge etc.
Warhounds - almost the perfect support option for marines. It carries a nice Macro gun which can be great for shooting down the reinforced armour options that normally marines can struggle with and its a great unit to launch an engagement with supported by another unit like land speeders or tactical marines.

Thunderbolts - Marines really lack for decent long range firepower at all and their own artillery options are pretty expensive and average in general. Thunderbolts are a cheap and flexible unit that will allow you to have good air defence and strike out at targets of opportunity across the board.

Optional Units

Assault marines - in the novels these guys carve up everything in sight. In Epic their small unit size, limited attacks and upgrade options leave them pretty average IMO. I've seen some players run them along with a devastator squad in a thunderhawk as an alternative to terminators and they are a cheapish activation.

Devastators - Much like assault marines they just aren't elite enough to do much good in my mind. Yeah they shoot more than a tactical marine but you will never win the shooting game anyway. Yes they have better FF than tacticals but they die as fast and there aren't many of them. Etc.

Land raiders - you already get rhinos for free everywhere so with these guys it feels like you pay for guns and transport and armour and frankly none of it is amazing. If you have the option to take the more assault oriented variants than the standard you may consider them.

Bikes - another unit that is potentially interesting but very difficult to use effectively and I'm my mind pales in contrast with other options like speeders. Solid armour, speed and engagement speed make them a great ingredient for a FF engagement but then again so is a Warhound, so are land speeders etc. BC engage is always a tricky beast too, it can be good against units like Gaurd who suffer from being in BC but armies like Orks love it by contrast and of course the closer you need to get the more you open yourself up to support fire shots. Attack bikes are an interesting option too but don't change the equation in my mind.



Whirlwinds - yeah long range artillery! Sadly it's not that long range by the standards of many artillery options still requires you to pay the marine points premium and doesn't have the special rules to help it hit that hard. Overall it's just kinda nyah.
Predators/vindicators - certainly not a bad unit but you need to wonder what their purpose is. You can't outshoot a leman russ, can't put manoeuvre a grav tank and the unit can be wiped pretty quickly by something as small as a Warhound. Good for some medium range shots if you feel desperate.

Bigger Titans - I've seen a couple of lists running around wth reaver Titans, the logic being that you can get a hard to kill BTS and some decent ranged firepower which marines generally lack. The catch is that you will lose activations which can be so important when you are trying to do a big engage style.

Strike cruiser/battle barge - They can be very annoying for the unprepared opponent and with your high strategy rating you can easily force your opponent into a corner deployment and do big damage with a double pie plate. Followed up by a powerful drop pod assault. Or you're opponent might guess where the pie plate is going, dodge it completely and both it and your drop pods end up going nowhere useful... Worth experimenting with certainly and I've included a space wolf build below which centred around this amazing first strike capacity. It can be extremely effective if you are very good, and a bit lucky.

Marine landers - like thunder Hawks but bigger! More importantly fearless... Including these will cut down your activation count but gives you the capacity to put huge amounts of men into massive engagements, potentially planet falling for space. A Cancon this year one of the best players in the country used the wolf build below centred around landers and 3 games sum it up well. In one game he decimated an Eldar force so badly with his alpha strike the game was basically over in turn 1, in another game his lander took a crit on the way in to ground based AA and he lost so much that the game was basically over in turn 1, in the game against me he did huge damage in turn 1 but found himself then out of position for objectives so I grimly held on and won on objectives despite losing massively on points killed. Such is the dilemma of the landers. They are certainly an interesting options and I encourage you to have a go, games will be dramatic and fun, though not always successful.

Thoughts on objectives:

Objective placement - you will be placing objectives first which means your opponent gets to react to you. I would try and group them so that I can concentrate on the emery blitz and on additional point whilst trying to ensure I could deny the objectives on my side but not worry too much about holding them. Again your small numbers means you don't want to be spread too far but if you can make your opponent spread out that will be good because it will make it harder for them to layer defence against your large engagements. You also gets to use speed to you're advantage and that can't be underestimated. The other advantage to spreading your objectives in this way is it makes it harder for slow armies like Gaurd/Knights/AMTL etc and they will have to deploy to cover all but you will know that the plan is just to hit critical spots and ignore other areas completely.

BTS - Yours should be tactical marines and should be just about untouchable thanks to a combination of armour, speed and ATSKNF. Theirs will often be kill able because your force is so much about critical engagements, go for it.

Blitz - Hold yours with scouts and/or tacticals depending on how much threat is heading it's way. Absolutely go for theirs with teleport troops or a timely thunderhawk.

Hold the line - trying to hold all 3 in your half generally won't be as significant as taking the enemy objectives unless you are running Imperial Fists.

Take and hold - absolutely focus on taking 1 key enemy position and the enemy blitz to get yourself 2 objectives.

They shall not pass - again unless you are Imperial Fists expect to fight the battle in the enemy half so this really shouldn't be an issue to achieve. Catching every sneaky enemy in your half can be tricky though, don't let yourself spread out too much.


Sample builds


Sample 1 generic marines - Designed for speed, hitting power and above all flexibility: 


Codex Astartes / Codex Astartes 3000
Tactical Detachment 450 6xTactical Hunter Supreme Commander
Terminator Detachment 350 4xTerminator
Terminator Detachment 350 4xTerminator
Scout Detachment 150 4xScout
Scout Detachment 150 4xScout
Land Speeder Detachment 200 5xLand Speeder
Land Speeder Detachment 200 5xLand Speeder
Land Speeder Detachment 200 5xLand Speeder
Thunderhawk 200 Thunderhawk Gunship
Thunderhawk 200 Thunderhawk Gunship
Warhound Titan 275 Warhound Titan
Warhound Titan 275 Warhound Titan


Sample 2 Space Wolves - this time the list is far more one dimensional. All around a huge alpha strike in turn 1 followed up by another lander worth of death to hopefully knock out so much enemy that they can't recover. High risk/high reward.


GREAT COMPANY [625]
6 Grey Hunters - Rhinos,
Wolf Lord,
2 Wolf Guard Terminators,
2 Blood Claws,
Land Raider Crusader

GREAT COMPANY [575]
6 Grey Hunters,
Wolf Priest,
2 Wolf Guard Terminators,
2 Blood Claws,
Rhinos,
Hunter 

FENRISIAN WOLVES [150]
6 Fenrisian Wolves

WOLF GUARD TERMINATORS [375]
4 Wolf Guard Terminators,
Wolf Priest,
Drop Pods

LAND SPEEDERS [200]
5 Land Speeder

STRIKE CRUISER [200]
Space Wolves Strike Cruiser

LANDING CRAFT [350]
Space Wolves Landing Craft

LANDING CRAFT [350]
Space Wolves Landing Craft

THUNDERBOLT SQUADRON [175]
2 Thunderbolt Fighter-Bombers



Sample 3 - Imperial Fists - by far the most defensive of the the marine chapters but so damn good at it. Trading transport for some amazing bunkers allows me to put solid defence onto key objective points which the enemy will struggle to shift allowing the mobile elements to focus on killing key enemy positions to secure objectives.


CENTURION [550] 4 Assault Centurion, 4 Land Raiders
SCOUTS [150] 4 Scout units
SCOUTS [150] 4 Scout units
LAND SPEEDERS [200] 5 Land speeder
LAND SPEEDERS [200] 5 Land speeder
TACTICAL [275] 6 Tactical units
TACTICAL [375] 6 Tactical units, Supreme Commander
FELLBLADE [325] 1 Fellblade
FELLBLADE [325] 1 Fellblade
HYPERIOS PLATFORMS [125] 3 Hyperios Platforms
HYPERIOS PLATFORMS [125] 3 Hyperios Platforms
2 STORM TALONS [200]

10 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Great post! I agree with you. I think SM can be a very competitive army in the right hands. Their greatest strength is their flexibility combined with high strategy rating. Below is my favorite army at the moment. It hits hard and is not that easy to shoot out. The stormravens are also bordering OP and very reliable anti-AT

    BLOOD ANGELS 3000 POINTS

    DEATH COMPANY [275]
    Chaplain, 4 Tactical Death Company units

    THUNDERHAWK [200]

    TERMINATOR DETACHMENT [400]
    4 Terminators, Chaplain

    THUNDERHAWK [200]

    SCOUT DETACHMENT [150]
    4 Scouts, Rhinos

    TACTICAL DETACHMENT [450]
    6 Tacticals, Rhinos, Supreme Commander, Land Raider

    THUNDERBOLT FIGHTERS [175]
    2 Thunderbolts

    DEVASTATOR DETACHMENT [250]
    4 Devastators, Rhinos

    STORMRAVEN [250]
    4 Stormraven Gunships

    STORMRAVEN [250]
    4 Stormraven Gunships

    LAND SPEEDERS [200]
    4 Land Speeder, Land Speeder Tornado

    LAND SPEEDERS [200]
    4 Land Speeder Tornado, Land Speeder

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    Replies
    1. Il admit to never having used or faced blood angels but you have piqued my curiosity. I'll have to check them out soon!

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    2. The big thing i can see with blood angels is the ability of the stormravens to carry dreadnoughts attached to squads

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    3. You know that may just be the single best use for dreadnaughts that exists...

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  3. Really interesting posts!
    I'm looking forward for the tyranid one! hahaha

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    Replies
    1. You know I have some thoughts on Tyranids but no army worth of them so getting pics is an issue! The general consensus is that the epic U.K. Nids are far superior to the net EA and that the goal is just to swarm with many smal bugs rather than any of the WE ones. Good luck though!

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  4. Nice article! Like, I suspect, many people, I used Marines as my first epic army and tried to play a mechanised infantry, kill the enemy style.

    I learned, through loss after loss, some of the lessons you share here. You can't out-shoot anyone. If you pick fair fights, you will lose the battle of attrition.

    Using scouts in what I call "arsehole mode", hiding, being annoying, holding ground and handing out blast markers, and reserving offensive actions only to achieve a victory goal (often BTS) or pick a fight so very one-sided it is like tackling a toddler made a really big difference to my games.

    A healthy mixture of cowardice, aggressiveness and brutality seems to suit the army well.

    I have just started using a Strike Cruiser - if you plan the drop well, you can do a lot of damage with the orbital strike and the drop pods. If you don't, well, your little infantry units are hung out to dry :)

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    Replies
    1. Totally true. Every engage focussed list tends to be very high risk high reward and marines are definitely assaul oriented.

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  5. I'm a bit late to the party on this one, but for what it's worth I've always liked the way Marines play in Epic. They're supposed to be superhuman, not invulnerable. So they're perfect as shock assault troops or commandoes, but completely wasted in a war of attrition. And that's how they play in Epic - clipping assault arguments aside :).

    For fluff/thematic reasons, I've always wanted to run a battle company air assault list:

    LANDING CRAFT [350]
    1 Landing Craft

    TACTICAL [375]
    6 Tacticals, Supreme Commander, Rhinos

    TACTICAL [275]
    6 Tacticals, Rhinos

    LANDING CRAFT [350]
    1 Landing Craft

    ASSAULT [225]
    4 Assault Units, Chaplain

    DEVASTATOR [350]
    4 Devastators, 2 Dreadnought

    LAND RAIDER [325]
    4 Land Raiders

    TERMINATOR [400]
    4 Terminators, Chaplain

    TERMINATOR [350]
    4 Terminators
    (OR STRIKE CRUISER and SCOUTS if you want to round out the Battle Company)
    (OR 2x THUNDERBOLT FIGHTERS for more air support and an extra activation)

    It models a Space Marine Battle Company with 1st Company support pretty well perfectly and (with two of the three builds) you can begin play without deploying anything. In theory, you could content yourself with strafing runs, or do nothing at all, until Turn 3. Sure, it's a one trick pony but it's a good trick and totally appropriate for Marines. (I may be biased here, I have previously used a Blood Axe themed 4 Landa Ork army).

    Unfortunately, the Space Marines I have are old school: Tactical Marines without heavy weapons, Rhinos, Land Raiders and a Warlord Titan, so it's likely to remain a dream :\

    ReplyDelete