Friday, 7 December 2012

TAC Marines 1850: Ven's Views

Tactical Marines. Quintessentially Warhammer 40k right? The base line model for everything. The yardstick.. yadda yadda.
The Voice came 2nd at Blog Wars with his TAC Marine army, perhaps modelled around principals laid out/discussed over at Frontline Gaming by Reecius.
Gary's cracking performance - down to the player and the founding principals of list building for a particular environment, has inspired me to get cracking with my Marines.
Originally, I was planning 2 marine armies:
1) My current Blood Hunters - Red marines with White features..
2) My Dark Angels; made up of all my bits and pieces of marines plus a dedicated Deathwing army, Ravenwing bike force and about 20 DA Marines..

However, the recent FW Betrayal Heresy book has thrown a spanner in the works.. I want a Heresy Marine  force too now. So I could keep the DA theme and do a Heresy DA army as well.. this keeps me doing relatively simple work ,, or I could do anything else.. thinking bout White Scars for Heresy.

Back to business though.. the Dark Angels can be used as either Space Marines, Dark Angels or even Chaos to accurately represent the Fallen. So these are the first priority..

Now, I have about 3000 points of marines to put into this project, but they still need a list to play to.. until the DA book comes out, it's going to be Marines..

NOTE: this does not mean the Nids are out the window, simply being finished to a higher standard in the meantime.

So, the Marine list? First, let's consider the pro's and con's of running TAC Marines..

Fliers. Not much to counter heavy flier builds. With a limit of 0-1 on FW "interceptor" units, 1 decent fortification.. Maybe run a Storm Talon?  that is all we can do really.. just hope 2 planes at a time is ok.. What about Demon or Nid flying MCs? Tough to counter with very limited anti flier threat vectors.

CC. Marines CAN fight in CC, but they are not actually very good at it.. Grey Hunters on the otherhand..

Mobility: Limited except for Pods, otherwise it's rhino's and trust me as a Necron player, knowing there are dozens of Necron players likely at Caledonian Uprising..rhino's die fast. Pods get you where you want to be, but from there on add little to the game except perhaps for area denial on the board through blocking of physical space. Gate of Infinity can help this to an extent, but is not as far ranged as Veil of Darkness for Necrons, nor as simple to use requiring a psychic test.

Deathstars: Hmm.. I tend to laugh at deathstars and just shoot them til they die. This works for me. But typically I have a lot of medium to high strength weaponry which forces a lot of armour or invulnerable saves. Relying on the humble bolt gun means it is tougher to wound these models and requires a greater number of shots. Thinking about the more typical deathstars.. they are not "true" deathstars, because most often good players do not run them, instead they run distraction units that soak up a decent amount of fire and have the potential to deliver death to the enemy if left unchecked. Wraiths & TWC spring to mind.. With the new boys back on the block - Demons, it is their constant ability to have a save that frustrates most efforts to slay them. Null Zone and wounding on 2+ ammo from Sternguard helps tremendously with these types of distraction units.

Anti Infantry: It's not all bad for marines.. they can put out a horrible number of anti infantry shots per turn, Thunderfire Cannon, Vindicators, bolters etc.

Flexibility: The biggest strength of the TAC army. Multiple tools for multiple problems. Veil Immortals giving you grief? Snipers/Telion kill the Veil Crytpek. Wraiths being pain? Null Zone and Drop Podding into Rapid Fire range. Terminators running rampant? Combat sqaud, focus fire, speed bump etc. Land Raider lol...Drop Pod Melta. Infantry horde? Thunderfire and Ignore Cover Rapid Fire Sternies
Combat Tactics.. not even mentioned the strength of this.

Anti tank - melta is in easy reach for most marine units, krak grenades abound, fists are also available widely.

The weaknesses seem a lot more prominent, however this might be because I've thought about tackling them a little more and left the strengths unexplained.  I think that in the right hands, I really can see the benefits of running a TAC style this current environment anyway.
I am seeing so many more foot style armies out there at the minute, people really have moved away from mechanised forces.. which means of course that you need more boys to survive the added anti infantry, but you also need anti infantry yourself.. these things are not mutually exclusive, in fact they are utterly the opposite! The more bodies, the more they bring small arms. Demons need to go down to Null Zone and Bolters, we need to ignore cover for those key units hiding behind ADL's and anti air is utterly essential.. FOR NOW. Give it a couple of months and we see where the Dark Angels codex takes us, combine this with how the balance of tournament armies will shift once again in response to the massed anti infantry. I would suggest that that balance may shift after Caledonian.. I could have judged it wrong, but just because I see this as our current tournament situation, that is not to say others do, nor to say that I am the only one and plans may already be in place to shift to a heavily mechanised environment again. That said, a balanced army has the ability to deal with that - partially. The extreme builds will always prove to be the hardest for the balanced army as they are furthest away from that balance point..

So my current thoughts on 1850 TAC Marines:

List 1: Pure Vanilla 
Librarian - Null Zone, Gate 
10 Sternguard, 3 CombiPlas - Pod 
10 Sternguard 2 CombiMelta - Pod
10 TACs - Plasmagun, MM, CombiPlas - Pod
10 TACs - Meltagun, ML, CombiMelta 
10 TACs - Plasmagun, MM, CombiPlas
10 Sniper Scouts 
Aegis Defence Line - Quad Gun 
3 Hyperios Missile Launchers 

Here, the 2 foot TACs serve different purposes depending on the enemy. I can deploy the LIbrarian with one of them and we can Gate them in an extra 24" to put serious pressure on the enemy combined with 20 Sternguard. Otherwise, they leg it up field to take midfield whilst the Veterans keep the enemy pinned for a turn or so. Snipers operate Quad Gun, combat squadded if needed so one can lend support fire, the other operates Gun. I am also seeing a huge number of ADLs across tournament armies.. if so, the Podding forces can take over the emplacements..

List 2: GK Allies

Librarian - Null Zone, Gate 
10 Sternguard, 1 CombiMelta- Pod
10 TACs - Plasmagun, MM, CombiPlas - Pod
10 TACs - Meltagun, MM, CombiMelta - Pod
10 GK Strike Marines, 2 Psycannons, Psybolts
10 Sniper Scouts 
Aegis Defence Line - Quad Gun 
2 Hyperios Missile Launchers 
Storm Talon - TLAssCannon, CML

Here, Coteaz protects my first turn and increases seizing. He also adds to my home objective holding with "we've been expecting you" to dakka at deep striking or drop podding units. He also brings Prescience to aid in the anti flier stakes, with a large number of S5/S7 shots. The added mid range volume of fire means they can push up the field and still lend high volume fire. Also depending on the situation, they can DS if necessary, although not with Cotes. Podding pressure is still decent, with the 3rd unit able to stay on board and just throw down an empty pod.. the Gate Libbie can bring in the 3rd unit, supporting the pod units. The Storm Talon combined with the Quad and Hyperios will aid anti flier, as will Prescience to some will the aggressive Vets if they take over the enemy ADL!

List 3: IG Allies

Librarian - Null Zone, Gate 
10 Sternguard, 1 CombiMelta- Pod
10 TACs - Plasmagun, MM, CombiPlas - Pod
10 TACs - Meltagun, MM, CombiMelta 
5 Sniper Scouts 
Aegis Defence Line - Quad Gun 
3 Hyperios Missile Launchers 
Ironclad Dread - Chainfist, Heavy Flamer, Meltagun - Pod
Lord Commissar 
PCS - plain jane
50 Guardsmen, 30 Krak Grenades

Quite a different idea here. Similar operation for the Space Marines, except this time we can pod in the Ironclad first if needed, I did consider a Lucius Pattern Pod, put points weren't there. Blob slogs it's way up field with FRF,SRF! or other Orders being issued by the little PCS. Commissar keeps them on the board.. they just tie up or kill stuff slowly. The Blob also provide some board coverage to piss off massed fliers.. but albeit this is very minimal in fact and just .. well, it's not even that big a foot print actually.
I like this, but this has the smallest quantity of marines of all of them..

These are just some ideas.. I am not totally happy with any of them, but what they ARE is a very different type of marine army for me and a very different style of army to what I have predominantly been playing all year in Crons. Between these Marines and my Nids, I feel I have pretty damn sufficient choice for Caledonian.. each needs a few purchases for example a Storm Talon and I need to kitbash a Thunderfire..unless anyone wants to donate one ;) 


  1. The resurgence of Vanilla Marines on the tournament scene is quite pleasant - well, for a longtime marine player like myself at least! I love the concept you guys are tossing around ATM and I think it definitely got some potentiel, if only because lots of people will not see it coming!
    My favourite list has to be the first one, purely because of the large number of troops and Sternguards! I wish there was a way to squeeze a Storm Talon in there - I understand the Hyperios are there purely for AA, but I think they are a little bit too fragile and unreliable (BS2).
    Oh and by the way, you still have 15 points to play with :)


    1. Hey man, I think that it is definitely not something people will see coming. On the otherhand, as it is not particularly hardcore in any one aspect, I think it is also something that people will underestimate, fully believing they have the tools to deal with it all.
      Because let's face it, even with list 1, killing 50 marines is not that hard..
      The Hyperios are BS3 in the latest IA:Aero and due to a special rule are Twin Linked against Fliers or Fast Skimmers, so they will hit OK, with 3 shots I should be doing something...a Vendetta always seems accurate enough at TL BS3.. lol!
      Regarding their fragility, you are totally right, T7 and W2, 3+ is not amazing, but with 3 of them, behind the aegis at least they will always have a save of some sort.

      I would like to get in a mini Storm-thing. If only to have a flier of my own! Or in List 3 with the IG, I could redirect points into an Allied Vendetta and a Storm Talon.. I think switching the Dread out and the Hyperios would change them to a Talon & Detta...

      Thanks for the feedback dude!

  2. Nice lists, I am going to try out 2 land raiders and an assaulting drop pod with dread or 2 if they can fit

    1. I still can't decide (from what I am seeing on the UK tournament scene) if Land Raiders have a place in a competitive army. I am not sure they do, but I could be wrong lol!
      A huge shift to plasma/infantry has *reduced* the presence of Melta or equivalent, but in balanced and tough lists, there is still a strong presence.. Crons for example totally laugh at them, as do Demons with hull-stripping flamers and Flying MCs..Space Wolves still have Chainfist Lone Wolves, suicide Pods of Melta.. tbh, all Marine armies have access to that if they wanted.. Tau as allies can smash them with Broadsides..
      So yeah, just not sure if Raiders have a place.

  3. i'm currently coming back to Vanilla SM too, after a brief stint using them as BA. I find that melta bombs are very good on the sergeants these days. Well worth the 5pts

  4. Melta bombs are pure win nowadays seem’s as you hit on 3+ vs vehicles or normal WS vs Walkers. I’ve gotten rid of the majority of my power fists (only my bike Captain has one now) and replaced them with Melta Bombs and the odd power weapon.) Playing a bike army, it’s relatively easy for me to avoid 2+ save models in combat where I want to, thus I was finding my power fists redundant. Having Meltabombs in all my squads allows any unit in my army to deal with light infantry (twin linked Dakka) to the heaviest armoured vehicles. Pure brilliance, and cheap as chips.

    I like the first list best, and I wouldn’t underestimate the survivability of 50+ MEQ bodies. I’d say your main weakness presently is vulnerability to combat units. MEQ can hold their own in combat, but any dedicated units are going to cause some pain. Its ok taking the assumption that you’ll Dakka the crap out of any combat orientated units, but when the vast majority of your army is going to be trying to get within the holy 12” death range, this leaves you very vulnerable to counter attack. Things like Beastmasters, Thunderwolves and even Sisters of Battle conclaves (death cults) are going to ruin your day in seconds. How do you propose to deal with such threats and still maintain a good mid-range pressure on your opponent?