Intercessors are bringing the pain in the new Space Marine Codex… finally. Let’s see why.
Intercessors are the core unit of the new Primaris Marine line up. It would, I think, be pretty fair to say that they are the replacement for the old Tactical Marine, and have stepped up in 8th Edition to become the poster boys of the 40K. They’ve become the quintessential Primaris unit (aside from the ubiquitous LT.). However, when they were first introduced, they didn’t quite shine on the tabletop. They were panned as a bland and underpowered unit. Well, two years can make a lot of difference, they’ve slowly gotten upgrades, and now with the new Space Marine Codex is seems Intercessors may have finally come into their own. Let’s talk about why.
When first introduced in Index Imperial 1 Intercessors were a very bland unit, they came with bolt rifles and had no options at all. Now, this was quickly changed in the first 8th Edition Space Marine Codex. Intercessors got the option to take one of three weapons. The sergeant could take a power sword, and the unit could take a grenade launcher. This was the basic unit for around a year and a half. It was also a bit of a letdown. While intercessors had an extra attack and wound over Tactical Marines, they were also around twice the cost. Their guns were slightly better, but only slightly, and they lacked the ability to take heavy or special weapons, or good weapons on the sergeant. In ranged situations, Intercessors generally had less damage output than a Tactical Squad, while in combat the two basic attacks they each got just weren’t enough. Taking into account the high number of multi damage weapons in the game and they aren’t all that much harder to kill.
Over the past two years, Intercessors have slowly gotten better. They dropped from 20 to 17 points. They got the option to take a powerfist or chain sword on the sergeant. They got bolter discipline (though that created its own issues) and with Vigilus they got the Veteran Intercessor stratagem allowing them to get +1 attack and leadership, as well as access to some other stratagems that upped their damage output. All of this combined to make Intercessors a decent unit at last. Still, they weren’t great.
This new codex changes that.
Reason 1 Why Intercessors Rock: Better Weapons
Intercessors got better weapons in the this Codex. While the Bolt Rifle remains unchanged, their other options got upgrades, much needed after the introduction of bolter discipline. Their auto-bolt rifles gained a shot, making them assault three. While the stalker got an extra point of damage, making them D2 (both of these match Adam’s suggestions from the start of the year). On top of that, the new combat doctrine rules mean that they have a chance of making all their weapons gain an extra -1 AP, which is pretty powerful. Lastly, sergeants got a few sneaky new options, adding the ability to take a hand flamer or thunderhammer, giving them some real options. The supplement books also add the ability to give sergeants some limited relics. All of these things start stacking up for some serious power.
Intercessors got a real upgrade in how many close combat attacks they can make this time around. They’ve got their two base, which is OK. You can then add another attack through the Veteran Intercessor stratagem, plus the new Shock Assault gives them an extra on the charge. That’s four attacks base for a troop unit. On top of all of that, both White Scars and Ultramarines have access to a relic that gives friendly units plus one attack, with Ultramarines having two such relics that stack. With this you can get a basic troop unit with 5-6 attacks a person. While these will only be s4, they can get to be -1AP with the right combat doctrine, and White Scars can even get to be D2. That’s enough attacks to actually matter.
Intercessors get a nice bonus in the free sergeant in each squad. They’ve always been a highlight of the unit, with their three attacks. Blood Angels, in particular, liked them back when they could only take a cheap power sword. Now with the extra options and attacks, they get they can be little nasty shocks for the enemy. Tricked out an Ultramarine or White Scars sergeant can throw out 6-7 attacks (that’s Captain level), and I bet most other chapters will be on par. But aside from sheer volume is the weapons they can now take, in particular, thunderhammers. While it makes them hit worse, it does give them a pretty good damage output, with even a lone sergeant being able to wipe out a five man squad or take out a tank. You’ve also got the ability to give some relics to the sergeant now. In particular, you could give them a mastercrafted thunderhammer, upping it to D4, make him White Scars and he could be throwing out six attacks each doing five damage. That could take down a Knight. Even without tricks simply having 4-5 attacks with a thunderhammer is solid.
Overall the improvements to the Space Marine book rub off on the Intercessors. The squad now has a lot more support from the book. This includes litanies from Chaplains, cheaper transport options, more special rules, and better psychic support. A host of improved chapter tactics and more access to relics and warlord traits all come together to buff the nuMarines.
Putting this all together, you can see that the damage output of Intercessors has radically gone up. For a relatively cheap unit, they can put out a respectable amount of damage in both shooting and combat. In particular, they’ve become some of the best horde killers in the game. While they are mainly still throwing out s4 attacks, their accuracy, and increased AP means they can chew through cheap troops with ease.
Guardswomen, Cultists, Daemons, Guardians, Orks and the like, all should be on the lookout. Even Custodian Guard, hyped as horde killers can’t do it as well. Sure the Custodians have much better attacks, but you can get three Intercessors for the price of one Custodian. They’ll outshoot him, and get between 9-15 attacks in combat, vs. his 3-4. With a pocket thunderhammer, the horde killer can also threaten big boys, putting the Intercessors in a great spot moving forward.
For the first time Intercessors really feel like Space Marines.
Let us know how you feel about the new, improved Intercessors down in the comments!