40K: Winners & Losers: Marine Units Character, Transports & Troops

Codex Space Marines is out so lets take look at more of the biggest Winners & Losers!

You can read part one which covered HQ (Generic) Flyers and Heavy Support HERE.

The Space Marines got a TON of units to choose from in there latest codex. With over 80 units to build an army from, we thought it would be helpful to filter through some of those options. Because there were so many we decided to break the down by Battlefield Role (Force Org Slot for you old vets out there) and go over them. Instead of ranking them, we thought we would just pick one “winner” and “loser” for each category. Some of the slots had pretty clear options. Others were a little tougher. Also we had a couple of criteria we used when judging them:

  • We’re taking a look at these from a tournament mindset – That means we’re tossing lore out the background and judging them based on things like points efficiency and effectiveness. But…
  • We’re also NOT adding in Chapter Tactics, Stratagems or taking into account “Buff” auras from Characters – we’re trying to take a look at these units from a general standpoint and not based on all the “crazy combos lists” you can come-up with.
  • We are also taking into account how much the unit change from 7th to 8th edition – this one is kind of a big deal for some categories and was used as a tie-breaker in others.

Now, Special Characters are techincally in the HQ slot, but we decided to split them out so we could talk about them individually as well. Let’s get started!

Battlefield Role HQ (Special Characters)

There are LOTS of powerful character options for the Space Marines. Lysander, Calgar, Tigurius, Sicarius – really the list goes on and on. All of them do bring something “special” to the table. This was a tough one to narrow down, but we did the deed and picked two that we thought were the biggest winner and loser in the codex. We really had to factor in their change from the last edition to this one to break a lot of the ties.

Winner: Pedro Kantor

Pedro Kantor got a big boost this edition – probably the biggest from the previous edition and that’s what pushed him over the top. He’s a Chapter Master now which means he now gives one of the best Aura buffs in the game out. He no longer just applies to Sternguard which is a bonus. His plus 1 attack ability is also back with a smaller radius, but a wider range of units (all friendly Crimson Fists models, not just the ones in his detachment – this is great for armies that run multiple detachments.) Pedro is a great option for the Marines and I’m glad to toss my vote behind him.

Loser: Sergeant Telion

Sorry Telion…You’re just not that impressive, ESPECIALLY compared with everyone else. The Voice of Experience ability only applies to ONE Ultramarine Scout unit within 3″ – and it’s only for shooting. If this ability was just a cool aura for all scout units, or 6″ or…something, then maybe it would be better. I guess if you’re just looking to sit back and snipe he’s okay with scouts – but you can’t just be “okay” when your competition in the HQ/Special Characters slot is that strong.


Battlefield Role: Troops

This slot only had *three options. That means it was tough to choose for a different reason – each unit was slightly better than the others for different reasons. But that also left means that each troop had to be able to perform a wide array of roles. This one really just came down to personal preference. (*Note: We’re skipping over Crusaders Squads because while they can be used by any Adeptus Astartes list, they are clearly designed for use with Black Templars. While they are in the codex we didn’t feel like they fit within the structure of this article.)

Winner: Tactical Marines

Tactical Marines are cheap, tough and have access to a much larger tool box than the other two choices in the troops section. Couple that with their “Objective Secured” Space Marine ability Defenders of Humanity and they are a really good choice. When your troops have to do a little bit of everything, you need a good generalist unit and the Tactical Marines are just that – they are the swiss army knife a Space Marine Troop needs to be. They do suffer from the “jack of all trades, master of none” syndrome but they are still Space Marines. 10 of these guys will always do what they do, no matter the edition.

Loser: Scouts Squad

I’ve been biased against scouts for a long time. Not for any reason in particular. I just find scouts to be terrible boring. And sense I got picked to write this article, guess what – I’m calling scouts the biggest losers in the Troops section. Go park them on an objective in your backfield with their camo cloaks and sniper rifles. Give them a missile launcher. Let the “yawn-fest” that is scouts continue ad nausem. Maybe add in Telion so they can chat about how exciting it is to go camping all game. If these guys were in Overwatch, they would be called out for being Hanzo mains – No one likes you! Go play with someone else!


Battlefield Role: Transports

This was a really important category for Space Marines. They are the Kings of the Drop Pod and they have some of the most tactically useful transports in the game. We all know how good vehicles are now and Rhinos and Razorbacks – heck even the Land Speeder Storm – are all good options to bring. This one really came down to who changed the most in 8th.

Winner: Razorbacks

I bet you were thinking we’d go with Rhinos – well, guess again! Razorbacks are our pick because, while they don’t have the same troop capacity, they bring the fire power. Now that units can split fire and you can fire all your guns on the move, Razorbacks are going to be back in a BIG way. Get ready to see Assault Cannon Razorbacks plowing forward unleashing lead-death. Or perhaps the Twin Lascannon option for that extra vehicle punch. Razorbacks can also help you block off your troops from getting shot at or you can use them to charge to take the overwatch hits first! The Razorbacks are…back!

Loser: Drop Pod

Wait, what? Drop Pods are the biggest loser? Yes. How can that be? Well, they are not longer Objective Secured – suck it Drop Pods. They also can’t move besides deployment and mobility is HUGE is 8th. They are somewhat tough and will still require some dedication to deal with – but you can take your sweet time as long as you can deal with a storm bolter taking pop-shots at you all game. Do they still get to deploy a unit where you need them, with pin-point accuracy? Absolutely. As long as the unit is more than 9″ away from any enemy models – you know, outside of Flamer range… You can’t even get into “fun range” with your Meltaguns now! All the things you used to be able to do with Drop Pods, you can still do…only worse. That’s why Drop Pods are our biggest loser in the Transport category.


Well that’s our second list of the Space Marine Biggest Winners & Losers! Agree or Disagree? Let us know in the **comments below!

**Editor’s note:Unless it’s about Scouts. AdamHarry doesn’t care about why you think Scouts are amazing. He just doesn’t like them or care. He agrees to disagree.
  • Drpx

    Funny how every time I hear someone bash on scouts, it’s someone who only uses them as snipers/objective campers.

    • euansmith

      I always used to like giving them pistols, knives and a meta bomb and trying to sneak them up on a target that was large, expensive and vehicular. I guess that won’t work under 8th Edition; but Suicide Scouts are a fun idea.

      • JamesD

        Are those bombs that transcend the plane of existence they are own, and come to the conclusion that they are just little pieces of plastic being played with by grown men; which leads to an explosion of realities?

        • euansmith

          😀 😀 😀

        • YorkshireNinja

          Nah, they summon six stormravens from the warp

      • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

        You still have combi-meltas and Krak Grenades.

    • Jacob Hickenbottom

      Agree, for 110 pts you can setup 10 scouts 9 away from their deployment zone with boltguns. I just wish they did something with the hellfire rounds they got in the previous editions.

      • Kami

        you mean like making it a stratagem that does mortal wounds?

        • Jacob Hickenbottom

          But that cost 1 cp and is limited to one model trying to hit. So it’s still a lost to the scouts.

      • Tigirus

        I prefer 10 scouts with shotguns since they can walk up and get into that sweet S5 range and pump out 20 shots. They’re also pretty decent as a speedbump unit since they’re only 55pts for 5.

    • IronGryphon

      And snipers are really good this edition. 2+ in cover and able to inflict mortal wounds and pick out characters is amazing. Of course, concealing a ton of bolter gun scouts behind enemy lines at 9″ away and then unloading on turn 1 is pretty nifty too.

  • euansmith

    “He’s Crimson!
    He’s Fisty!
    He’ll feature in your listie!
    Pedro Kantor!
    Pedro Kantor!”


    • AircoolUK

      The first, and only chapter that matters. Now we just need GW to release a Cortez mini… with detachable arm.

    • Rafał Pytlak

      He attack
      He protec
      But he also Fist

      • Josh Felstead

        This wins

  • Dan Karaban

    i have to disagree, Sergeant Chronus is the best HQ choice. he only costs like 35 points, which in essence 1) is the cheapest way to add an HQ for a detachment, 2) negates the downside of your tank getting weaker, in relation to BS, and 3)heals the tank a wound a turn. why not add 35 points to a land raider to ensure it always hits on 2+ and heals each turn

    • Ronin

      I think you meant Tellion. He doesn’t mention Chronus at all in the article and I agree it’s the best way to get an HQ tank option for mech lists.

      • Stealthbadger

        Reread his first sentence and change the comma to a full stop. Took me a second go to get his meaning. 🙂

        • Ronin

          I think I need a refill on coffee haha.

    • lemt

      I keep defending him riding a Quad-Lascannon Predator as a very strong choice. Alas, I play Xenos scum only. But I’d want him in my armies.

    • Spacefrisian

      He is more points, you need a tank with that.

  • marlowc

    Gotta agree on the Razorbacks – I love ’em 🙂

  • Ronin

    Compared to Chronus only giving the Voice of Experience to one model previously, I think he’s gotten better. He’s not supposed to be your badass beatstick model, but he’s totally appropriate for small skirmishes and narrative missions and he can help snipe those pesky commissars giving morale boosts to conscripts.

  • Jacob Hickenbottom

    I felt that the intetcessor where still losers. Their base is 20, why not 18 like the hellblasters and reivers. The grenade launcher is cool but they don’t get options to any better grenades. All in all I don’t know if I could spend the 7 pts different to tactical marines and feel I’m getting my points worth.

  • Son_of_Corax_XIX

    Poor article when its all personal preference on the scouts and not a truly objective view

  • AEZ

    Loser: Scouts Squad

    I’ve been biased against scouts for a long time. Not for any reason in particular. I just find scouts to be terrible boring. And sense I got picked to write this article, guess what – I’m calling scouts the biggest losers in the Troops section. Go park them on an objective in your backfield with their camo cloaks and sniper rifles. Give them a missile launcher. Let the “yawn-fest” that is scouts continue ad nausem. Maybe add in Telion so they can chat about how exciting it is to go camping all game. If these guys were in Overwatch, they would be called out for being Hanzo mains – No one likes you! Go play with someone else!

    Ok… but WHAT ARE THE REASONS THEY ARE THE LOSERS in this article?

    • Mattias Ciavarella

      10 snipers – able to single out characters? Don’t seem like losers to me.

      • AEZ

        Hey it’s not my text.. I was just wondering where his actual reasons where for calling them losers.

    • Josh Felstead

      What did you expect from a BolS article..?

    • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

      The only real issues with Scouts are their lower durability, lack of high strength/AP weapons, outside of Melee, Pistol and Combi-weapon choices on the Sergeant, and that yeah, backline fire support and surgical threat removal is really what they’re best at, although there are other units in the codex are better at doing those jobs. However, they are ideal for filling out a Brigade’s Troop requirements on a budget.

  • Sweetcurse

    Scouts are great for area denial vs deep strike

    • Kayreios

      Not sure if serious… haha.

      • Foxdonut

        He is serious, deploy scouts 18 inches infront of your force and thats a 28 inch anti deepstrike bubble including their base. Cant deep strike 9in infront of army, 9in behind scouts, on the scouts base, or 9inch in front of scouts

        • Kayreios

          Expensive servoskulls… my sarcasm was at the ineffectiveness against imperial soup BAO winning lists. In fact, using them rather to snipe characters makes sense but then you can’t screen with them. Just get some conscripts instead if you need a screen. How hard is it to kill a few overcosted scouts turn 1 and then deep strike?

  • Matthew Elwert

    No Dreads in Drop Pods!!!

    • orionburn

      But you can still put them in the Forge World drop pod! That they no longer make! Seriously…it sucks. I’m holdnig out hope that we will see a new plastic drop pod in the future that will be able to deep strike Primaris marines and a second build option to use as a dread pod.

      • Matthew Elwert

        Don’t worry, they are just redoing the molds. Lucius drop pods are coming back to forge world.

        • orionburn

          Any confirmation on that rumor from actual FW sources? For starters, with how long that model has been out of stock there is no way it takes that long to redo a mold. Especially for a model that had what…4 different pieces?

          • Matthew Elwert

            Yes, FW confirmed it on Facebook. Eta not available.

          • orionburn

            Really don’t understand the reason for the delay. Seriously poor planning given that it is the only way to get a Dread into the backfield now. The time people need it most with the launch of 8th and you don’t have models for it? I can’t help but think there is more to it than a “mold” issue.

          • Matthew Elwert

            Yep, kinda sad especially since all my old drop pod are useless. I play mainly terminators and dreads and while now both became buffed a lot my store and tournament scene doesn’t allow for drop pod proxies so I have to buy a huge amount of Lucius drop pods which aren’t even available now. Really sad panda here ><

  • biome3

    Pedro Kantor was always a chapter master.

  • Jeremy Larson

    Tell me about it. I had a 9-dreadnought BA army I used to run for fun in 7th. completely worthless now.

    • Tushan

      Yeah, I too have a 8 pod dreadnought army, very fun, took me around 1000 hours to convert and paint up.

      Utter trash now.

      So much for you-can-use-everything.

    • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

      Nah, you just have 945ish points that can be filled with more useful support models, like Techmarines and Land Raiders.

      • Jeremy Larson

        9 drop pods in 7th was 315 points. Plus all the dreadnoughts are about 30% more expensive for some reason.

        • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

          Because neither can really be 1-shot off of the board any more.

          • Tushan

            Because I care about the one use drop pods no longer being able to be one shotted and will happily pay 95-ish points per pod.


          • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

            I didn’t say it was sound logic, but that’s the justification that makes the most sense.

          • Tushan

            Well duh. When the playtesters desperately try to polish their drop pod turd I guess that´s what goes for justification these days:P

            Lets wait 1-2 yeas till someone over at gw playtesting manages to graduate from their aaa course and maybe we can start killing of these idiotic misses so that hobbyists doesnt actually need to mothball miniature ranges in between editions.

          • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

            Or, you know, drink the Kool-Aid and put some infantry in those pods and use the Dreads for your opening ground-game. Just because TEQs in pods aren’t viable anymore doesn’t mean that pods are useless; disappointing in how limited their cargo options have become, maybe, but not useless.

  • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

    Crusaders are strictly better for an assault-centric Marine list because, in contrast to Assault squads, they give you a versatile mix of weapon options, can handle attrition if you do decide to go with a larger squad, and get CoH. Used in concert with or in addition to null deployment units, Crusaders can play both Hammer and Anvil, giving either a massed mid-ranged shooting unit, with access to shotguns and Tactical squad weapon options or a credible assault unit, easily doubling the unit’s attack output for no additional cost, before adding on extra Power Weapon/Fist access.

  • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

    Both of those units are still in the Index, so they aren’t gone per se.

    • Tushan

      Cant drop in pods no more, fun over.
      Entire reason was to drop them not giving the enemy time to shoot the cap out of everything for 4-5 footslogging turns.

      • Tshiva keln

        You just need to use the FW rules.

  • Josh Felstead

    Someone give that lazy Crimson Fist Terminator a slap, he should be shooting something.

  • Josh Felstead

    Wait, Intercessors weren’t voted top? Have BolS finally stopped sucking Primaris d*ck? Just wait till the new kits come out.

    • GravesDisease

      Christ, what’s wrong with you?

      Do you really think that’s an appropriate way to speak?

      • Josh Felstead

        You sound like you live a very sheltered life. Lighting up a little broseph.

  • TheMCP Angel

    GW stated in an article that you should use the index for model rules not in the codex, as the codex only covers the actual model kits.

    There are a few options that are missing in the codex that appear in the index: why is that? Does that mean I can’t use these models in my army anymore?
    While the indexes are designed to cover a long history of miniatures, the codexes are designed to give you rules for the current Warhammer 40,000 range. There are a few options in the indexes for some Characters and vehicles that are no longer represented in the Citadel range – certain Dreadnought weapons that don’t come in the box, or some characters on bikes, for example.
    Don’t worry though, you can still use all of these in your games if you have these older models. In these instances, use the datasheet from the index, and the most recent points published for that model and its weapons (currently, also in the index).
    They still gain all the army wide-bonuses for things like Chapter Tactics and can use Space Marines Stratagems and the like, so such venerable heroes still fit right in with the rest of your army.

    • Tushan

      Nice, good news. I was wondering about that suspecting I just wasted a lot of money.

  • orionburn

    Glad I focused on Razorbacks rather than pods when I was building up my Lion’s Blade for my Dark Angels in 7th. A guy I play with has like 12 pods so that’s gotta suck. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a points/power level change at some point.

    • Tushan

      But they have gotten a point reduction, they now cost 93-something points..tadaa!

      I dont know weather to laugh or cry really.

      90-100 points to give your sternguard or tactical deepstrike..and people actually defend this. Wow!

      • orionburn

        I know. While it isn’t a fair compairson my Mawloc which has/had (depending on the time of day with FAQs…lol) the same power level as a pod. But for that same power level I can dish out mortal wounds, get like 8 attacks in close combat, and go back off the table and come back in to do mortal wounds again. Even a Trygon at PL 7 gets you shooting, close combat, and the ability to bring in a unit of guys. Loved my pods in 7th but they’ll collect a lot of dust in 8th outside of using them as a “counts as a dreadnought drop pod.”

  • Spacefrisian

    I played FW pods before GW pods became a thing, now i need to get separate rules from FW to be able to use my Dreadnought pod again…Iam not amused.

  • wong40k

    Scouts are no joke, as a veteran AM player who got my line over ran by CC scouts numerous times I can safely say they can usually be a real thorn to your plans when played right. With the new infiltration rule they get even better at closing in to their target and not affected by the Drop pod pts hike.

    The real loser in troop choice in the whole codex is the Primaris INTERCESSOR who still refuse to entry drop pods and Land Raiders despite being clearly smaller than Centurion on the later transport option.

    Having only 1 option for transport that is Land Raiders grade but only handle small arms fire fight, costing about twice as much VS “classic marines” but maintaining about the same fire power output losing versatility put these noobs at the bottom of barrel for any veteran commander.

    And all these issue persisted after they had the chance to improve after moving from Index to Codex. Failing to see what is so obvious totally kills off any credibility of the article.

  • Anthony Combs

    I love playing my scout army against guys who have this much disdain against them.

    • Calarax

      I love scouts. Especially running several of the 5 man missile squads.

  • Shaun

    “We’re taking a look at these from a tournament mindset – That means we’re tossing lore out the background and judging them based on things like points efficiency and effectiveness”

    “I’ve been biased against scouts for a long time. Not for any reason in particular.”


  • Calarax

    I want an option for a generic chapter master. And why does marneus calgar have more wounds than any other dude (except roboat)? I should be able to build a model with any armor or weapons that are remotely feasible for one guy to have/use and count points as chapter master, and have equal stat line to the other named chapter master. Or even better pick the stats for different point costs. Its the least they could do for generic chapters, especially since they seem to promote the idea of custom chapters (new founding with new primaris marine chapters etc). Artificer armor with iron halo and eternal warrior with a master crafted power sword and master crafted melta gun. Or master crafted plasma gun like the guy on the cover of the old epic 40k box art. Everything else about 8th marines I like and have no further concerns.

  • Da Gargoyle

    Adam, get yourself a proof reader or editor mate. It may be my former profession but I kept picking up syntax and grammatical errors in your article. Some of it could be computer auto correct but I ended up abandoning the article because there were so many. Just saying and not trying to be offensive.