40K: The Answer is Always More Bullets

So about those new weapon options for some Primaris squads… There are some clear winners and losers.

The Space Marine codex introduces a bunch of new weapon options for your Primaris squads, but they are all not built equally.


We have 3 choices here for your standard infantry:

Bolt rifle 30″ Rapid fire:1 S:4 AP:-1 D1

Auto bolt rifle 24″ Assault:2 S:4 AP:0 D1

Stalker bolt rifle 36″ Heavy:1 S:4 AP:-2 D1

Here I think the choice is clear – the Auto bolt rifle is the winner.  I think in 8th, the real weapon values you are looking for are volume of fire, a strong AP to bypass cover and armor, and a high enough strength. There is big band of 3+ to wound rolls before you hit the rarified air of the 2+ double toughness weapons.  The autobolt rifle keeps your Intercessors on the move, able to advance and fire if needed, and S4 is standard across the weapon options. I’ll take the double shots out to 24″ over the other weapons any day. 8th Edition is all about maneuver and range isn’t as critical as it was.

While the bolt rifle is serviceable and more a matter of personal choice I think the Stalker is junk; a very situational weapon that can get your squad caught out of position if you aren’t careful. If you do everything just right it can be a killer, but a smart opponent wont stumble into its sights.


We have 3 choices here for your heavies:

Plasma Incinerator

(Standard) 30″ Rapid fire:1 S:7 AP:-4 D1

(Supercharge) 30″ Rapid fire:1 S:8 AP:-4 D2 (kills the bearer on a 1)

Assault Plasma Incinerator

(Standard) 24″ Assault:2 S:6 AP:-4 D1

(Supercharge) 24″ Assault:2 S:6 AP:-4 D2 (kills the bearer on a 1)

Heavy Plasma Incinerator

(Standard) 36″ Heavy:1 S:8 AP:-4 D1

(Supercharge) 36″ Heavy:1 S:9 AP:-4 D2 (kills the bearer on a 1)

Again, the clear winner here is the Assault Plasma Incinerator. The Assault Plasma Incinerator keeps your Hellblasters on the move, able to advance and fire if needed, and S6 is plenty high to get the 3+ to wound against many targets. It still gets the 2+ against T3 races. That AP:-4 just burns heavily armored targets out of cover en masse. It’s a killer that meshes perfectly with the flus high speed battles so common in 8th. It maybe the Eldar and IG/Scion’s worst nightmare.


We have 2 choices here for your Primaris flyboys:

Assault Bolter  18″ Assault:3 S:5 AP:-1 D1

Assault Exterminator

(Standard) 18″ Assault:D3 S:7 AP:-3 D1

(Supercharge) 18″ Assault:D3 S:8 AP:-3 D2 (kills the bearer on a 1)

This one’s a tougher choice but I still say go with the Assault Bolters.  The average result of a D3 is 2, meaning you are weighing 50% more shots from the bolter versus the increased strength and the 2 higher AP value of the plasma. This one is more user choice but again, if your primary target is T4, you’re still wounding on a 3+ in both cases (discounting the risky supercharge shots).  The Assault bolter becomes an easy desision if you have any way to improve the odds of getting wounds through – such as a cheap Lieutenant or other dice modifying HQs hanging around.  God forbid you have Roboute on the table – then it’s Assault bolters all the way.

But I will say that if you know in advance you will be hunting vehicles, or very high armor targets far from any support HQs the plasma option increases in appeal.


~ How would you equip your Primaris squads?



  • CloakingDonkey

    Completely disagree on the Stalker. It lets you have 5 man Intercessor Squads that sit on out-of-the-way objectives while still being in range and they’re great for whacking units in cover.

    The Assault Plasma’s S6 actually makes them a lot worse against vehicles cause there’s a ton of vehicles with T7… Somehow I think you’re playing in a meta that’s all swarm armies with no vehicles if you’re worried about Hellblaster’s ability to kill chaff 😛

    • Strype

      Agreed! I was planning to incorporate both Auto and Stalker teams, Autos for rapid advancing, with Stalkers covering them and acting as area denial.

      For the Hellblasters, i’ve gotta say, the Heavy is probably the way to go. Primaris marines are lacking in high-strength, long range guns, and Heavies fill that niche for when you need to knock vehicles off the table. We’re days away from having Redemptor dreads rampaging around the tables, a week or so from Repulsors. Someone’s gotta shoot those guys down, and Heavy Hellblasters are currently your best bet.

      I agree with Larry about the Assault Bolters, though.

      • CloakingDonkey

        yeah the Assault Bolters are probably better but I find Inceptors to be incredibly overcosted anyway… For 3 of them you can almost get a fully kitted out Redemptor… who also brings 18 shots but with higher S and longer range, can also bring 3D6 Fragstorm shots on top of being a giant 13W melee killing machine… The only niche I see for Inceptors is to Deep Strike right next to characters your opponent foolishly left unguarded in the back line… =/

      • GravesDisease

        Sounds like you are wanting lascannons in your army but only wanting to use primaris.

        • Lemondish

          I mean, that’s not unreasonable if you like to stick with the new models. Gotta make sacrifices and build accordingly.

        • Strype

          That is, in fact, the case. When DI dropped I made the decision that I’d create an -all Primaris ultima-founding chapter. Keep the cheese to an absolute minimum and work within the confines of what the Primaris marines can offer, gaps and all.

    • GravesDisease

      Hellblasters are such an expensive way to kill infantry, i dont know what sort of armies the author is going against.

  • NagaBaboon

    The auto bolt rifle loses the ap though, you seem to have ignored that, I think I lean towards the auto bolt rifle too personally but I don’t think it’s as clear cut as you say. I agree on the stalker though, if it had the sniper rule it’d be worth it for sure but without that I’m doubtful

    • Chris Eyler

      I think his point was that 2x the shots, in most situations, will mitigate the slightly higher save. AP -1 is definitely nice, but it’s a minor enough modifier that volume of fire wins out 99% of the time.

      • NagaBaboon

        I’m not saying it’s necessarily worse, I just don’t think it’s as clear a cut as the author does, the auto only gets more shots than the standard between 15″ and 24″, at any other range upto 30″ it gets the same shots or fewer. The ability to advance and fire probably compensates for the loss of AP but i’m not convinced there isn’t a place for both guns.

    • AircoolUK

      And Reivers with the Bolt Carbine are better value for points and equipment as the weapon has exactly the same stats as the Auto Bolt Rifle, plus they have the Heavy Bolt Pistol which is superior to the Intercessors Bolt Pistol.

  • Koen Cambré

    I think the choice of weapon depends on chapter tactics too. Personally, I find the 30″ bolt rifle quite a bit better when using the ravenguard tactics. I imagine the same can be said for the stalker pattern (I do love my scouts with sniper rifles if you find a good spot for them).

  • AircoolUK

    A lot depends on your Chapter, army build and preferred tactics. My Crimson Fists wouldn’t touch the Auto Bolt Rifle or the Assault Plasma Incinerator. The Stalker Bolt Rifle will be used, as will a Captain with the Stalker Bolt Rifle. A smart opponent won’t stumble into its sights, but a smart defender will have overlapping fields of fire. Oh, and don’t think you can make it easier on yourself by hiding in cover… that dog won’t hunt.

    There’s a whole host of options for mobile firepower available.

    • Luca Lacchini

      Agree 110%

  • AircoolUK

    I’d take Reivers with the Bolt Carbine over Intercessors with the Auto Bolt Rifle. They’re cheaper and reasonably effective in close combat.

  • defensive

    I would take the Assault Exterminator over the bolter any day of the week.
    Even if you’re only averaging 2 shots, it will still more than make up for it with the damage.
    Against a basic marine, it’s an expected damage of 0.67 wounds, compared to 0.74 damage from the Exterminator.

    And against bigger targets like dreadnoughts and landraiders, you can expect 4 times higher damage with the supercharging.
    It’s not even a competition between the two.

    • orionburn

      I wish they would have opted for 2 sure shots rather than the D3 randomness. Math wise it probably works out to be about the same, but tell that to my dice…lol

      • Blinghop

        The only reason they did the d3 was so it would be the plasma cannon equivalent to match the heavy bolter equivalant in the Assault bolters.

        As another player who needs a counseling between me and my dice, that randomness puts a damper on those exterminators.

  • threeorangewhips

    Do we know if these weapons look different or if they are basically the same weapon with different profiles? (looking nervously at the 4 Intercessor squads and 2 hellblasters on the shelf)

    • orionburn

      They will all look different. I can’t find the photo but I think it’s the heavy version of the plasma that has a connecting cable like a plasma cannon has.

    • AircoolUK

      The Auto Bolt Rifle has a box magazine. I’m presuming the Stalker Bolt Rifle is the one with the targeting scope attached.

      • Luca Lacchini

        I think the Bolt Rifle and Stalker Bolt Rifle are pretty much the same model, scope aside. Also, the regular Plasma Incinerator and the assault one should look quite the same.
        Auto Bolt Rifle and Heavy Plasma Incinerator have their own sculpts, as seen in the latest sneak peeks (where there’s also a mean looking double-barreled Bolt Rifle with a box magazine and shotgun shells on the strap).

  • petrow84

    The answer is always BULLETS!


  • Lord Chopper

    dakka always wins. just think what 9 scatter bikes affected by guide and doom will do to a 10 man tac squad.

  • Stormwolf

    All Primaris are useless without their Repulsor transport to get them into effective range of their weapons.

    • Sybarite

      So I’ve been playing with useless miniatures all this time since their launch? Woah :O

  • Matthew Hird

    Just be careful when advancing with those Plasma Incinerators if you overcharge. Rerolling ones won’t help much because of the wonky way that rerolls are done before modifiers. (Roll a 2, can’t re-roll it, and then it’s modified to a 1 from advancing and you die)

    • SacTownBrian

      The answer to this is always Guilliman… and not to overcharge heavy weapons when advancing 😉.

  • Heinz Fiction

    If ranged is factored in, I think the weapons are somewhat balanced, but without knowing their point costs i can’t say for sure

  • SacTownBrian

    I thin you need to modify a few sentences. “Clear winner…’ for my play style…

  • GravesDisease

    I wish there more of an explanation for the hellblasters. More shots and being able to advance and firing your hell blasters will be fine against inf but str makes it useless against vehicles, which seems to be glossed over.

  • SilentPony

    I’ve never seen Hellblasters do anything, let alone justify their points. Without a transport, and needing to be relatively close(read: in range of enemy shooting) and the high number of D2+ wounds they go down turn 1.
    Best I’ve seen is after killing 4 of them turn 1, the remaining guy took a few wounds off a Trukk. And sure, I’ll make that trade any day.

  • Jeremy Larson

    I feel like the author has forgotten that Heavy weapons can move and fire too now with only a -1 penalty. You know, the same penalty that you’re taking if you advance and fire with assault weapons? Also I’ve found S6 to be the new red-headed step-child of 8th. S7 kicks you up to wound a lot of vehicles on 4+.

    • AircoolUK

      Yep, S6 is for dealing with tough T5 infantry.

  • Rayna M. McCowan

    Been thinking about this in regards to my IG as well. Mainly my Armored Sentinels. While in 7th I was running Lascannons now I feel I should switch to Autocannons or Plasma Cannons as that single shot coupled with guardsmen having a BS of 4+ on vehicles

    makes Lascannons a lot less effective than desired.