Friday, 6 January 2012

A look at: Codex marines - Heavy Support

Moving on to another codex marine post as I'm still working on my next few guard ones, this time I'm covering the Heavy support options in the codex.

The Marine's artillery sadly lacks punch, and while the whirlwind has cover ignoring missiles which can ruin some xenos outright with no armour save due to AP5 its not got the hitting power I want. The S5 is foun lacking unless its hitting T3 hordes, and in a mech heavy edition you won't find those unless their orks or nids, and even then taking whirlwinds to cover just that if playing in a tourney is asking for disappointment... They compete with the other more useful all rounder heavy support choices, and are found very wanting...

Still worth fielding in themed games or if fighting a one off game vs nids, but not a top unit contender for the heavy support by a long shot.


The siege breaker... which is actually not as deadly as you'd think. With 24 inch range S10 AP2 you can ruin anything hit by the Vindicator's shots; even vehicles will quiver at the thought of a shell landing on them. But this is also its greatest flaw... the one big gun it carries.

Most armies will open fire on the vindicator just until it gets a shaken result even... once that gun can't fire its useless for the turn and they can focus on other targets, and god help you if it gets a weapon destroyed result against it.

Though in groups of 2-3 they can work as area denying guards, making the enemy not want to rush forward into their firing zones.

When I’ve taken these I usually slap on a siege shield, the extra 5 points over dozer blades are well worth it to allow you to keep driving through terrain to give its AV13 front a cover save and also to keep it in range of any targets.

Still a decent unit but found lacking by big gun syndrome and opponents who know how tender its AV 11 sides can be.

Thunder fire Cannon,

The much underused artillery cannon of the marines... while the model is god awful to put together their results can actually surprise you. Av10 with a tech marine gunner, the randomised hits sucks as a single lascannnon can kill the gunner and make the gun useless, but if the gun dies the tech marine can join a squad of marines to make his kill point more secure (You have to kill both the gun and tech marine for the KP I believe).

The different firing modes can be very useful, especially the sub round which causes difficult terrain tests which can really screw over an enemy advance of thunder wolves or even bikers or skimmers. Remember this affect the unit even if it doesn’t do wounds I believe.
I’ve seen a few armies run with them, but unless you have a forward moving force to make the enemy shoot them over the cannons they won’t last long, even with the bolster defences which is again limited in use if you have no ruins in deployment zone.

Worth a try, but prepare for a model that I consider one of the worst I ever attempted to build.


The Heavy support option of majority choice, the humble predator battle tank to give it the full title, is another workhorse of the armies.

The Dakka pred version as its slang name is known is the autocannon turret with sponson heavy bolters, and for the 85 points it’s a bargain for anti infantry and even anti light tank. I mean seriously, Av13 front, 2 S7, 6 S5 BS4 shots all for 85 points, that can really upset a hordes day if you get a few turns of firing, and imagine 3 of them doing that role. Heck even Vs rhinos you’ll glance it a few times.

The next version is the Autolas pred, which again used the autocannon turret but takes lascannon sponsons making it much more deadly anti tank for the price. I think it’s 120 points and can pop any vehicle in the game now. Well worth it if you want ranged anti tank in your army.

The final version is the Annihilator, a twin linked Lascannon turret and Lascannon sponsons, supposedly the cream of anti tank on paper, until you see the god awful price you pay just to get that 3rd Lascannon and make it twin linked... 60 points for the turret Lascannon is horrible and the points can be spent elsewhere. You can get a twin linked Lascannon razorback which if hidden behind the preds will do the just as effectively and also give you a scoring unit as well.

To sum up if you need anti infantry and want something to support your tactical marines in this role get the dakka preds, 3 of them will prove to be useful in an all comers list, and if you want anti tank get 3 autolas preds, they’ll remove a couple of vehicles a turn for you (I include stunned/shaken removing unless sits a land raider or transport vehicle wanting to get close to your lines). Again well worth their points.

A final not though is don’t rely on 1 of them, and if taking 3 keep them the same or you’ll find the more useful type either on its own, or the group of 3 gets singled out and destroyed, with 3 the same you have the backup to keep them alive and kicking.

Land Raider Redeemer,

The shortest range Land raider, it boasts two huge marine killing flamers and with AV14 and if given extra armour will get your guys to the desired target without sweat. You’ll find it draws a lot of fire as enemies fear the damage it can do driving in among their lines, flaming one unit, POTMS flaming another unit, or if you gave it the essential multimelta hopefully slagging a tank while the termies or unit inside pop out and assault another.

Sadly though its greatest strength is its biggest weakness... short range weapons means it has to close to do anything unless it just used as cover, thus its one effective role is to get forward and burn stuff unlike its god hammer brother who can sit back if needed and fire lascannons waiting as a counter attack unit.

If taking one, then why not take 2 works well barrelling two flame happy land raiders into enemies not in vehicles and unloading some thunder hammer termies , and if game rules allow it Khan with some lightning claw termies in the other one getting furious charge, a lot of things are going to die to that, but it’s a costly hammer element for your army.

Land Raider Crusader,

The king of the land raiders, its increased capacity allows bigger death star units to hitch a ride and the fact that its bolters are S4 means you can move and fire all weapons using POTMS and defensive weapons rule. It’s almost essential purchases to add on extra armour and multi melta increasing the effectiveness of the tank 100%, now it can take on enemy armour, and keep moving and shooting as it needs.

The downside is cost though and the fact its weapons aren't hard hitting, but treat it like a transport with options and you'll get good service from it...

Land Raider,

Another popular variant of the land raider, but this one has flaws attached to its benefits. While having 2 twin-linked lascannons is a nice thing this means people will either not move it forward or drive slow which dilutes its effectiveness. Land raiders are assault transoprts, their not meant to be bunkers IMO... 250 points demands you get the best from the unit, and an AV 14 assault boat is where it needs to be.

Don't get me wrong, Vs nids or such sit back and counter attack with it, but don't get it into your mind that that’s its role in general. You can get cheaper lascannons on razorbacks (In fact you can get 2 5 man squads in twin linked las razorbacks for the same cost roughly!).

Another great aspect of the land raider is turning it sideways after moving forward and hiding units behind it such as MM/HF speeders who on the next turn can pop out and cause some damage.

Finally don't ever be afraid of ramming with the land raider if you've lost a lascannon or 2... Its mass and tank rule means right off the bat you'll be getting a S5 hit.

Devastator Squad,

While some people see the Dev squad as a bad investment in this metagame I’d disagree. They can be effective if used as a single 5 man squad with 4 Missile launchers, set up in cover, similar to long fangs but without the 5th heavy weapon and split fire option, they can still see use, a bit more expensive and less versatile, but still a worthwhile choice if you don’t want to rely on preds to do your long range shooting. It come down to do you want an AV13 front tank which could stopped shooting or killed within 1 shot, or a 5 man squad which is more susceptible to fire, but can get a cover save and always fire if they live. Both options have merit.

Another option is taking just two lascannons and putting them in a rhino and making it a bunker, like the Sternguard version of this it makes the enemy have to pick if it’s worth it as a target, but again this can be shaken and left for the turn so placement and army choice comes into play if deciding to take this option.

As for heavy weapon choices I’ve found either all Missile launchers or missile launchers and a Lascannon works, and by giving the Lascannon gunner the Sigium to increase his BS by 1 you get a super effective heavy shot.

Sadly Heavy bolters while cool looking and plasma cannons aren’t worth it when you compare points and scatters to the role your devs should be fulfilling. Remember you have tactical marines or the other units mentioned previously in this guide to cover anti horde.

Multimeltas while good are too short range and thus wasted points unless you are prepared to drive those forward 12 and deploy them midfield... but this is a waste of up to two turns shooting.


  1. I agree that the Thunderfire is a great bargain and gives you lots of options. Every game I've played against one and haven't been able to just take it out early I've been cursing it.

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