I’m going to assume that the newer changes agreed by Hena e.g. Tactical Marines going to 275, Tornado free upgrade, etc are still in place. Below is a list of changes I think we should adopt to improve the SM list:Allow Tactical Marines the Land Raider upgrade.
The current list fails by not really allowing the sorts of mixed armour and mech-inf formations the background says Marines generally use. Mechanised use of Tactical Marines in Epic tends to be the poorer/rarer option as the fragile armour 6+ Rhinos are very vulnerable to being shot up by enemy fire. Space Marine’s tacticians are well aware of the vulnerability of their Rhinos and normally use them in mixed formations, with a tougher Land Raider, Predators and/or Vindicator at the front to take the fire instead.
To appreciate this properly you should really look at the ‘Space Marines Formations’ section in Forge World’s Imperial Armour II: Space Marines and the Inquisition
. There are 7 larger than A4 pages full of diagrams and commentary on SM formations and the tactics they use. All 9 formations including Rhinos also have one or more heavier vehicle too, leading the way to protect the Rhinos. The diagram on page 180, for example, shows a Land Raider, Predator and Vindicator advancing spread out side by side down a street, with a column of 3 Rhinos close behind the middle vehicle, using it to hide from enemy sight/fire. The text next to this says “Space Marines commonly use combined arms and ad-hoc formations. The heaviest armour leads the way...Rhinos are protected behind the lead units.” Mixed armour is something really basic that should be included in the core list, not just left to the Scions of Iron list (which is very different and non-Codex in lots of respects).
Tacticals (just called a different name) with Land Raiders has been around for ages in the Black Templars list and has proved fine there. I really think the option needs to be in the main list, rather than having to forgo titans and ‘counts as’ other coloured marines as Templars, just to have a Land Raiders spear-heading Tactical formations (as I did last tournament I went to). Another reason Tacticals should have them is that though sadly SM Veterans have been left out of the Epic list, those of us wanting to include some in our armies would probably count them as Tacticals and Veterans would be even more likely to ride Land Raiders into combat. Lastly, I don’t think a single Land Raider should cost below 75 points, but a multiples points break could be a possibility. Something like 2 for 125 or 3 for 200 perhaps.Adopt the newly revised Epic-UK Predator pricing and stats instead.
(225 base cost for 4 Predator Destructors with +25 points per pair upgraded to Predator Annihilators. Predator Destructors stay at FF4+). I believe it is a much better way to fix the Predator Destructor than the FF3+ we have currently tried. FF3+ is excessively/inappropriately high for its armament. A Leman Russ has 4 guns and as many shots in W40k as a Predator Destructor (with one of them being the very powerful large template from the battlecannon) yet it only has FF4+. FF3+ also encourages people to possibly add Librarians to Predators, which is a dubious idea background-wise. Going any cheaper than 225 would be unnecessary and potentially a bad idea I feel.
The change also makes mixed Predator formations a better prospect, rather than a poor idea as now. Given that the Epic-UK Predator pack as sold by GW contains two of each type it would be better to have this combination be better, rather than most people ending up actually having to buy two packs.Give Tactical and Devestators (perhaps others too) the option to upgrade with up to 2 Predators for 50 points per Destructor and 75 points per Annihilator.
“The Predator is the main battle tank of the Space Marines...a well-armed and mobile tank, equally capable of holding ground or spearheading armoured assaults...the Predator’s chief function is to provide fire support for the Chapter’s infantry.” (Codex Space Marines, current 5th edition). The aforementioned ‘Space Marines Formations’ section in Forge World’s Imperial Armour II: Space Marines and the Inquisition
clearly shows Predators mixed in to Rhino formations to shield/protect them (this isn’t a one off – this happen in 6 formations in the diagrams). We have Vindicator upgrades all over the place, yet Vindicators are specialised tanks normally only deployed for sieges, or areas with dense cover. Predators are also a lot more common that Vindicators - the Ultramarine Chapter has a total of 25 Predators (including both types) for example, but only 8 Vindicators. For some reason the Marines MBT isn’t being given the option to fulfil the role it is meant for properly (and the Rhino suffers more kills due to it too).
It may be best to combine both the Vindicator and Predator upgrades into a single ‘Armour’ upgrade to save space in the army list and to limit it to a max of 2 of either.Give the Space Marine Captain a second EA, probably also MW.
Of the four character options the SM Captain is clearly the poorest of the and very rarely seen. Which is a shame, as background-wise you should see a Captain leading every 100 or so men, meaning at least one would normally be expected in a 3k sized battle. I went through the Codex Marine lists on the Epic-UK (91 army lists in total) and found they included 63 Supreme Commanders and a whopping 123 Chaplains, but a grand total of 5 Captains (and 4 out of those 5 players lost more games than they won). The Captain clearly needs a boost.
In W40k a SM Captain is much more of a combat character than either a Chaplain or Librarian, having higher WS, BS, W, I and A than a Chaplain or Librarian. Unlike these two he is also standardly accompanied by a Command Squad
of veteran marines (who have 2 attacks each basic and the ability to take power weapons or special weapons) including a Company Champion (the one in the middle of the linked photo) with power sword and combat shield, who’s role it is to challenge/fight enemy leaders to leave his Captain more free to dictate the battle. I think a combination of the Captain’s extra combat ability, his command squad and his Company Champion he justifies having a second +1 EA MW from the Company Champion. This seems a far better option to me than making the Captain cheaper – he becomes a true combat character, leading the fight from the front, exactly as should be. I realise the Captain is a character in Epic, not a unit and I’m not suggesting the Command Squad be represented ruleswise as a unit at all, but that we could assume the marines of the stand with him to be veterans marines and abstract the various better stats/weapons to justification an increased combat ability for the Captain upgrade.
Note; though I think the new extra attack for the Captain should also be a MW, if the community feels (or playtesting shows) this to be too powerful it could just be a normal extra attack instead.Make the Typhoon upgrade cheaper.
Epic-UK recently made Tornadoes free and dropped the points for a Typhoon upgrade down to 10 points, which seems more reasonable than 25 points. A single 25 points to add to the formation may be ok but if you take multiple the points got very expensive quickly. 5 Typhoons would cost 325 points and really wouldn’t be worth that.
Make the Vindicator 225 points.
I don’t think the formation is a good choice at the moment and I view the Vindicator as roughly equivalent in power to a Predator Destructor and think it should cost the same. Lascannon Razorbacks should drop to FF6+.
(I actually thought we’d already done this? It’s not in the Net-EA Marine draft document though). It’s a more appropriate value for its armament and it makes the Lascannon ones less of a no-brainer choice of the two as the Heavy Bolter ones would have better FF (though overall the Las option would still be the better option). Dreadnoughts
really shouldn’t have a 3+ save – that’s inappropriately high for the unit. They are armour 12 front and sides in W40k, the rough equivalent of the Predator and Vindicator (which have 13 front, 11 side). I think you should return the unit to its 4+ save and instead have the upgrade be “Add 1 Dreadnought for 50 points or 2 for 75 points”.
Remove the Razorback option from Scouts. Add option for 4 Land Speeder Storms for +100 points instead.
In W40k rules and background Scouts have never had access to Rhinos or Razorbacks – they’re not vehicles they use. While they could still operate fine on a W40k battlefield on foot, they would have been very poor in Epic without any transport vehicles, so for the lack of any other good option they were allowed access to Rhinos and Razorbacks. A few years ago GW finally released a dedicated transport specifically for transporting SM Scouts the– the Land Speeder Storm
(which carries 1 stand and is armed only with 1 heavy bolter) and I believe we should adopt the proper Scout transport in the Epic list. The Land Speeder Storm has been in the Raven Guard list here for a while now, but it is not specially associated with the Raven Guard – Storms are used by all chapters.
In an ideal world I’d much prefer getting rid of both Rhinos and Razorbacks for Scouts, but that might be a step too far for people to go with. A lot of people take a single Razorback with Scouts, as the extra 25 points provides a good weapon and an extra transport capacity, which can help as they take casualties. This good option would be removed and they would either have to run them the 150 points basic or pay 100 points for the 4 Storms. Scouts are too good/cheap at the moment. Removing the Razorback option might just be enough to balance them, but I could well see them going up to 175 also.
Thunderbolts should be increased to 175.
At the moment they are too good and useful for SMs as they’re a cheap activation booster and particularly useful to be able to target anywhere on the table, since SM lack truly long range artillery. They’ve also been boosted from how they originally were by the changed intercept rules that give +1 to hit to interceptors. Dave Thomas (widely believed to be the best/most experienced epic player on the planet) previously suggested he thought they should cost 175 points. At least myself, E&C and the Real Chris agreed and Steve54 commented he wouldn’t mind paying 200 for them. Of 91 Space Marine players 48 took a squadron, 27 took two squadrons and only 18 players took none. The average player took 1.29 squadrons.Possible Battlebarge points drop by 50ish points?
They’re extremely rarely taken from what I’ve seen (out of the 91 Epic-UK lists none took a Battlebarge), due to Slow and Steady. I don’t think they should ever be a good choice and larger points games need to be considered too, but I do think a bit of a points drop is in order. 350 points is a lot for a unit that comes in once on your 3-4th turn.Thunderhawk cost should probably be discussed.
I actually think the increase for Thunderbolts and Scouts (if they come to pass) would be enough to balance most lists and the improvements to less taken units and that increasing the Thunderhawk as well could be a step too far. Increasing the Thunderhawk to 225 could perhaps be an option though and if the other two changes don’t happen I would be more behind it.Warhounds
have now got the worse critical causing an extra point of damage as well as a stagger I believe? Were it not for this I would suggest perhaps bumping the cost to 300, but the critical hopefully nerfs it enough (or at least deserves more testing).