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40K: Winners & Losers: Marine HQs, Flyers, & Heavy Support

6 Minute Read
Jul 28

With the Space Marine Codex in hand, we sat down to talk about the biggest Winners & Losers in Codex Space Marines.

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, obviously, when we are talking HQ slots, we have to take into account those character auras, but in other cases (like Flyers) we’re trying to leave those out of the equations. One last thing, we’ve broken the categories up so we can talk about them in a bit more detail and explain our choices a bit better. And for this article, we are not Counting Special Characters in the HQ slot (we’re lumping them together in a future article).┬áThat said, let’s dive in!


The Space Marines have a TON of good HQ options in their Codex. We liked Captains and Chaplains for their auras. We liked Librarians for their ability to pump out Mortal Wounds with Psychic Powers. But in our book, there were two options that became a clear winner and loser.

Winner – Lieutenants

Primaris LTs or regular LTs – it doesn’t really matter to us, but you’re not going to see us leaving home without one. They are cheap in points, have access to most of the good wargear (making them helpful in assault or shooting) and they have an amazingly helpful ability with Tactical Precision. Re-rolling to wound rolls of 1 is super deadly. In 8th, we’ve found that mass shots and tossing out tons of wounds is the way to go. The LTs help to make those hits stick – with Marines who generally have a relatively solid chance to hit, it’s really those to-wound rolls that can bite you. Converting missed wounds to actual wounds is pretty important. That’s why we think the biggest HQ Winner is the Lieutenant!

Loser – Techmarine


Sorry Forgefathers of the Omnissiah, but Techmarines are just sort of “meh” in the codex. They are cheap, but that’s really all they have going for them in our book. They lack attacks in close combat – Servo-arms are not extra attacks and are basically power fists that only swing once per round. They can get a plasma cutter which can still kill them with a miss fire. And their ability only repairs D3 wounds on a single vehicle with 1″. And a vehicle can only be repaired once per turn! So basically, they have to stay near a vehicle to be effective but they don’t have any additional buffs for the vehicle besides a D3 repair once per turn. They don’t boost any other units and they lost attacks from last edition. So yes, we think Techmarines are the biggest losers in the HQ slot.


The Space Marines only have 3 flyer options in the core book – we’re not looking at Forge World or other sources. That said, I think we all know the clear winner already. So that really just leaves the other two options to go over…

Winner – Stormraven Gunship

It really comes down to two things for the Stormraven: 1) It was so good it caused an FAQ Nerf and 2) It STILL puts out a TON of shots. Anything that was so good it forced an FAQ to tone it down seems like a no brainer. And just because you can’t win by spamming them any more doesn’t mean that a couple of them in your list is a bad thing!

Loser – Stormtalon

If this was a competion based on the model, the Stormhawk might have pulled ahead. Unfortunately for the Stormtalon, the Stormhawk does everything it can do, only slightly better in terms of points. The Stormtalon is probably a little over priced (not by much) and the Stormhawk is around the same points and has another gun and an extra toughness. Sorry Stormtalon, maybe next time…


Heavy Support

The Heavy Support slot for Space Marines is pretty well stocked. We like the heavy tank/transport combo units like the Land Raider and Repulsor. We also thought the support tanks like the Whirlwind, Hunter and Stalker were still useful for their different roles. But when we took into account how those things worked in last edition, we saw a few things stand out from amongst the pack.

Winner – Predators

I guess I can retire the Sad Predator picture because Predators are back in a big way in 8th! They benefit from all the buffs that vehicles got in 8th, plus they benefit from the different load outs for weapons that a Predator can take. On top of all that, they can split fire now! If you need a solid backfield fire support tank then look no farther than the Predator. Of all the Heavy Support slots, the Predator had the biggest journey from zero to hero when you compare them from 7th to 8th. That’s why Predators are our choice for the biggest winner in the Heavy Support Slot.

Loser – Thunderfire Cannon

The Thunderfire Cannon is just… not the best in 8th. The loss of templates hurts the damage output, they got weaker with a drop in toughness (but gained 2 wounds) and due to how you can target units now, they really aren’t that tough to kill now. The biggest downside now for the Thunderfire is that if at any point the Techmarine is farther away than 6″ the Thunderfire Cannon is just removed from play. So to recap – No more templates, easier to kill, and has a pretty big weakness. There was a time not so long ago that Thunderfire Cannons were pretty mean and they have taken a pretty big dip in 8th. That’s why they are the biggest heavy support slot loser in 8th.


That’s part one of the biggest winners and losers for the Space Marine Codex. Codex: Space Marines is out this weekend so you’ll be able to take a look for yourself. Tell us what you think of our list in the comments below!


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