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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Marine codex 'review' (#9): the useless stuff.


Techmarine
: bad.

Anything that consumes your elite choices has to be very good, preferably at combat, while sticking to the marine fundamentals.
That's really the rule.

"So what about the techmarine?" people ask. If I were to say 'he's a horrible waste of time, points, and an elites slot,' not many would disagree.

But really, is he? Yes, he really is, but for completeness sake, we'll look at what he brings, and why he's so bad.

So, 50 points base. Default marine kit, only artificer armor instead of power armor. He gets all the expected skills and abilities, and like the master of the forge, he can repair things. Still a bad power, but it's there.
You also get 'bolster defence,' so in case you tool up for a table with a million terrain pieces in your deployment zone, you can build a 'badass' gunline with 3+ cover save for all.

Something is obviously wrong here, however. Look that profile.
One wound? Tactical marine statline? What happened, Ward? Old techmarine was too powerful, with his two wounds, and extra attack?
5o points for a tactical marine in artificer armor. Any invulnerable save? Nope. Any big guns included as default? No. Combat implements of doom? A single servo-arm.

Alright, so without extra stuff, techmarines are obviously horrible. Let's see what's available to bling him with. Pick one of stormbolter, combi-bolter, and plasmapistol. How nice. One useful gun (combi-melta.) What else? Pick a thunderhammer or a power weapon. On a guy with one attack, at 50 points base? No, thanks.

As you'd expect, you can upgrade the single servo-arm into a servo-harness. If you do this, you've added 50% to his cost, and not gained a whole lot.
If you're feeling like it, you can put him on a bike, too. Good? Not really. Expensive for a one wound dude with no dakka or punch? Yes.

And that, boys and girls, is all there is to the techmarine.

Space wolves can put theirs on a giant wolf, making him into an actual combat unit, and load him up with a small squad of combat-equipped wolves. It's a really fast, not that expensive, highly mobile assault unit, which beats face on lots of enemies.
Blood angels have the option of outfitting their techmarines with jump packs. Combining this with a combi-melta gives you a cheap, accurate melta-shot, that deepstrikes where you want it to.
Dark angels and templars both get improved statline for their techies, but the nerf angels are allowed to field one for each and every tank or walker they include.

You get none of that.
Your techmarines are truly atrocious, being one wound independent characters highly suspectible to death by wound allocation, hidden powerfists, hidden chainswords, and even gretchin attacks.
One wound!? Oh, come on.

As if his extremely limited durability and killyness weren't bad enough, techmarines unlock the seventh layer of hell.
Servitors are his ultimate move. These are carapace armor guardsmen, blessed with the joys of warhammer fantasy stupid if the techmarine's not with them.
You can take a max of 4, and for some weird reason (chaos magic), the first servitor costs 10, but additional servitors cost 15 points each.
Servitors have servo-arms, obviously enough, and their presence makes it easier to repair vehicles (useless). For the low, low price of 20 points, you can replace two servitors' arms with heavy bolters. So if you don't want a bolterback, you can buy two ballisticskill 3 heavy bolters for your servitors. Wow, what a great deal! Don't cream your panties just yet, though, because there's more.

Yes, if you think 20 point heavy bolters are child's play, you can instead take a multi-melta or a plasmacannon for 30 points! Truly, there is no greater bargain than this. Call now, at 1-800-MARNEUS, to collect your gun servitor retinue right this moment. Offer's only good while stock lasts!

In all honesty, this unit's funny to look at, since it's all sorts of overcosted, hilarious, and bad. Hilariously bad overcosting? Okay - let's run with that.
215 points buy you a servo-harness techie, with a power weapon and a combi-melta, two arm servitors, and two multi-melta or plasmacannon servitors. Coincidentally, did you know that 215 points buy you BBQ sternguard in a rhino, 5 terminators of either type, a librarian and his assault squad buddies in a rhino, or two and a half predators?

Techmarines and their servitors exist only to remind you of how bad and overcosted marines were at one point.

A nasty side-effect of this unit's horrendously high level of badness is that including multiples up your comp scores immensely.
Techmarines and servitors increase your total score so much, they can easily be used to game the system - fitting in armor where taking it is normally frowned upon, adding large squads of terminators, extra HQ's, and so on without tanking.

What makes it good: it's an equalizer. Techmarines and servitors let you include normally disallowed units in comped environments. Suicidal meltabiker is cheaper than suicidal scout-storm melta torpedo, and accomplishes the same thing.

What makes it bad: everything else. Not suited for games of real 40k.

-


Legion of the damned: useless.

The fabled legion.

This unit's so bad, so overcosted, and so gimmicky, not even warseer will tell you to use it.

Not only is it overcosted points-wise, but the models are some of the most expensive ever.
For 155 points, you can put 5 legionnaires on the table. They always arrive by deep strike, are fearless, and suffer from slow and purposeful - rather than relentless, as it should be.

"But, VT2, if you give them a combi-melta, a multi-melta, and a meltagun, they're awesome!" This is 215 points - a grotesque amount of points for five marines on foot. At the earliest, this touches down in the second turn. We've already established that deep strike is bad, and should not be relied upon, but if you absolutely must have something like this, you can take 5 combi-melta sternguard in a drop pod for 185 points. The pod drops down automatically in the first turn, the unit gets 5 shots, and if they're assaulted and not killed, they can attempt to leave combat with combat tactics.

Since the legion is fearless, it's forever gonna be stuck in combat against inferior foes. All that melta, locked in battle against guardsmen for the rest of eternity.
3+ invulnerable save, you say? It's good on terminators, so it should be good here, too? That's not quite how it works. Terminators are made for combat, where things ignore their armor. Against pretty much all ranged attacks, their 2+ keeps them safe. Legion only gets 3+ - whether it be invulnerable or not doesn't matter. Unlike the legion, terminators can fight, and aren't mainly a platform for melta.

Obviously, with 5 guys on foot, death by massed small-arms become a serious issue, so you start thinking of adding more dudes. Fine.
30 points apiece.

Around here is where people rightfully declare the legion too bad for words, and start pretending it doesn't exist.

Like the techmarine and his servitors above, legion is so bad and horrible, fielding it boosts comp ratings by several orders of magnitude.

While the basic idea (ultimate space marine heroes, lost to time and space) is great, the execution is terrible, and the unit is hardly even usable on 'fun and fluffy' grounds.

What makes it good: massive comp boost. Can sorta move and fire their overpriced multi-melta.

What makes it bad: worst unit in the codex. Does absolutely nothing that other elites won't do better for less.

10 pinkments:

AbusePuppy said...

SM Techmarine has one claim to fame and one only- if, for some reason, you MUST keep a single vehicle running, he is an independent character, whereas the other two (BA and SW) are not. This is usually only relevant in gimmicky scenarios or Apocalypse, but it's worth mentioning.

fluger said...

Its too bad that these units are so awful as the models are so brilliant (yes they are pricey, but still...).

One guy here tried to make a list to use Legion and could only come up with putting a librarian with them with Gate. That made them marginally effective everyonce in a while and against a few opponents.

Terrible.

lyracian said...

I can see your love for the Techmarine flowing with every sentence! Very well written and fun to read.

Thor said...

It's a sad fact that the useless units are usually cool units. You know, the stuff you'd love to field if they just weren't so blah on the field. Often they're cool models as well and as a result sucker people into giving them a go. I for one would love to field LoD, and I don't think they're terrible, but other units can do what they do and are more effectively. They are kick ass models with nice fluff though.

Captain Kellen said...

I rate these units... on a scale of 0 - 10...

Techmarine
Fluff = 8
Exection = 2

Legion of the Damned
Fluff = 10
Exection = 0

Captain Kellen said...

*Execution

(damn fat fingers)

Gx1080 said...

Legion suck, no question. And I don't like the models or the fluff much.

Regular Techmarine? Pass, I rather take a MoTF. He's awesome.

VT2 said...

Love the legion's look.
Not gonna pay the money for such horrible rules, though.

Stillfrosty said...

I love the models... so I am making them tactical marines. At least they will do something than.

Mal said...

The best use for tech marines that I have seen is used as squad seargeants in a 'count as' mechanicum army using the marine dex as a base.

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