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40K: Red Corsairs Hold The Secret To Fixing Marines

6 Minute Read
Mar 28

Vigilus Ablaze has some great new rules for Chaos forces – Let’s talk about how one holds the key to fixing Space Marines.

It’s not really a secret to say that Space Marines, and other MEQ units, aren’t doing too hot this edition. Space Marines – the unit not the army – get very little play especially in competitive circles. The basic Marine and its Chaos equivalents simply don’t cut it. I’ve gone into some depth about why this is the case, so I won’t repeat it here. The main issue is that their battlefield effectiveness has fallen while at the same time cheaper options have been added to filly compulsory spots.

It’s something of a joke these days that CSM list don’t have any Chaos Space Marines and Death Guard lists don’t have Plague Marines. Similarly Tactical Marines, and even Intercessors, are pretty rare these days. However a new CSM rule in Vigilus Ablaze holds the key to fixing this issue.

Seeing Red

Vigilus 2: Back In The Habit (of Running Away) has some great rules for Chaos Renegades. In particular is a Chapter trait for the Red Corsairs called Raiders From the Maelstrom. This trait gives you an extra command point for each detachment that contain 3 or more Red Corsair units. Alternatively if your detachment contains 3 or more units of Chaos Space Marines you get a whopping 3 extra commands points. 

This is a pretty great rule and it gives players real incentive to take Chaos Space Marines over cheaper troop units like Cultists. With the points jump to 5, a minimum size squad of Cultists is 50 points, while a minimum size squad of CSM is 65 points. For a battalion with three units that’s an extra 45 points for the CSM units but also an extra 3 CPs. 15 points per CP is actually pretty reasonable and something a lot of players will be tempted to run.

With a battalion of Red Corsairs, and if you take old Huron and make him your warlord, you can start with 12 CPs, just from the one battalion. Red Corsairs are even better at taking advantage of this as they get a unique 3 CP stratagem that lets them pull a CSM unit off the table and bring it back on a bored edge at full size. Since CSM can be taken in 20 mans squads this has the potential to net 19 extra CSM, (247 pts before upgrades – which you basically get free for the 45 points you spent).

Because of these changes I’ve not only seen people talking about taking 3 x 5 man squads of CSM, but taking battalions with 2 x 5 man squads and large 20 man. This lets them get the free CPs and take advantage of the ability to bring back a large squad. Its still too early to see how the meta will really shake out. The fact that players are considering taking between 15-30 CSM in lists, when before they wouldn’t even consider the unit, is a pretty big win for the basic troops. This is also with out any direct change to the unit (aside from one new gun option) but rather a special rule incentivizing taking a specific unit. It’s got me thinking that similar rule could help fix MEQs in general.

Fixing Space Marines


It seems like a similar rule could be used to help “fix” Space Marines and get people to use them again. Just think about it: what if for each unit of Tactical Marines you took you got a command point? Suddenly I bet you’d see them popping up instead of Scouts in a lot of lists. It even makes sense as Tactical Marines are supposed to be flexible. They give up specialization to be able to react to a larger number of situations better – a trait which would be well represented by extra command points. I think if you rewarded the tactical prowess of Tactical Marines like this you’d go a long ways towards fixing them.

What about Intercessors? Keep reading.

Now I doubt Tactical Marines will ever get a rule like this. If they are in fact going to be slowly phased out, as seems likely, then GW won’t want to make them better or have people use them. However a similar rule for Intercessors (another unit that is constantly on the verge of being good) could help see them played more. They also fit that tactically flexible role and could rationalize the extra CP. If you wanted to switch things up a bit you could make it so only fully 10 man squads generate the extra CP. This would give players incentives to take larger units and make sure the extra CP’s don’t get out of hand.

Moar Chaos?

While I love the Red Corsairs rule I really wish it was a rule that applied to ALL Chaos Marines – not just Red Corsairs. By making the rule they way they did they may have made it more likely that we will see CSM on the table, but they’ve also pretty much guaranteed that any CSM you see on the table top are going to be Red Corsairs. If you want to play a different faction, you are back to having no reason to take CSM. However, even if we don’t want to apply the exact rule to all Chaos sub-factions, I do think it could be applied in a few other cases.

For instance I’d love to see Death Guard get a rule that for each 7 man squad of Plague Marines you’d get an extra CP. Call it a blessing from their God. This would be a great way of getting players to take Plague Marines in their DG armies and a cool rule that acknowledged their lore. In fact older editions did reward you for taking Cult Troops in the number of their god. This would be a cool throw back to that and would make sure people weren’t just taking minimum sized squads. You could do the same thing for Thousand Sons with 9 man squads of Rubric Marines giving you the extra CP.


Final Thoughts

The Red Corsairs have gotten a great new rule that not only makes the sub-faction unique but will get lesser used unit on the table top. I think that applying a similar rule, with tweaks, to other armies/units could help get less popular units played. I’d use this type of rule to give players incentives to take “core” units that aren’t getting played over cheaper options. While it seems best used on units like CSM, Tactical Marines, Intercessors, and other MEQs you could make an argument for other units. It’s not something every army needs but I think if it was applied judiciously it could revitalize “core” units and lead to more fluffy armies.

Let us know what units you think could use a rule like this, down in the comments! 

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