Jwolf here. We recently received a request for comparative analysis of Space Marine Infantry Heavy Weapons options. I’ll compare the choices for the 3 major flavors of Space Marines – Codex, Space Wolves, and Blood Angels below.
Codex Marines can take a Master of the Forge with Conversion Beamer as an HQ choice. If you take this option, put him on a bike, which makes him about 3x as good. That said, we’ll ignore this potential choice, as it is a red herring (bikes are not infantry).
Space Wolves can take a Rune Priest with Living Lightning, which is definitely an acceptable choice.
The Blood Lance power isn’t long enough range to be considered a Heavy Weapon, so Blood Angels have no real HQ Heavy Weapon options.
Both Codex Marines and Blood Angels have the option of taking 2 Heavy Weapons in Sternguard, and, depending on your force, this may not be a terrible option. Two Sternguard Lascannons in a 5-man unit are actually cheaper than 2 Lascannons in a 5-man Devastator Squad unit, and the rest of the unit has more deadly weapons as well. Since Blood Angels have some really amazing choices in their Elites section, 2 of which are nearly mandatory (Sang Priests and either a Furioso or Chaplain, depending the rest of your choices), I would consider the 5-man dual Lascannon Sternguard a viable choice for Codex Marines, but not very good for Blood Angels.
All three codices have options for Terminators with Cyclone Missile Launchers. These units are fairly antithetical to the Blood Angels’ army design, and again, compete for very valuable slots in the army. Wolf Guard Terminators are excellent choices to add a little power to a Long Fang Squad, but having them en mass for anything but a Logan Wing is relatively impossible. Codex Marines can find the points and the space for them, but, unless you have some thematic element that demands it, Assault Terminators are a better use of the points.
In Elite Choices, I’d consider Sternguard in Codex Marines as a possible good location for Heavy Weapons, but otherwise not generally a good choice for any of the codices.
Codex Marines and Blood Angels can take Heavy Weapons in their Tactical Squads and Scouts. Sniper Scouts are decent but not good choices – sometimes the Scouts have an extraordinary day, but mostly they are ineffectual. 10-man Tactical Squads in Blood Angels and Codex Marines get a free Missile Launcher (the best general choice from the free options) and should always do so. You might consider the Multi-Melta if Land Raider spam is still fashionable in your area. Lascannons are a reasonably cheap upgrade as well; if you plan to Combat Squad and leave a section back as shooters, the Lascannon upgrade is worth consideration.
Long Fangs are probably the best possible Heavy Weapons infantry choice, having the ability to split fire and almost all take Heavy Weapons. Two or three Missile Launchers and a few ultra cheap Heavy Bolters make for an ideal Long Fang configuration, when you are expecting mostly Marine Equivalent enemies.
Devastators have interesting choices for Blood Angels and Codex Marines. For whatever reason, Blood Angels Devastators are significantly cheaper than Codex Marines Devastators, and fill a vital vehicle-busting role as well. For Codex Marines, Lascannon Devastators are simply too expensive to consider. Occasionally, you might decide that 2 or 3 Plasma Cannons are worth taking, but generally I would equip Codex Marine Devastators with Missile Launchers and/or Multimeltas only. Blood Angels are much more cost effective, and their Lascannon Devastators are cheap enough to consider taking a full 4 of them. This is especially good if you Combat Squad and place two in a Rhino and 2 in deep cover – very good chances to penetrate a couple of enemy Rhinos every turn. Blood Angels Plasma Cannon Devastators are also a lot cheaper than their Codex counterparts, and Blood Angels do tend to force their enemies to cluster away from assault elements, making Plasma Cannons very desirable weapons for them.
-Long Fangs are the best Heavy Weapons location for Space Wolves.
-Bloods Angels love their Devastators.
-Codex Marines are best using Troops choices for Infantry mounted Heavy Weapons, but can get a lot of good service from Sternguard with 2 Lascannons.
I’m sure some of your have your own opinions on the matter. Cya on the tabletop.