The Primaris Intercessor Bolters have been updated and with all the changes it is now time to re-evaluate our Bolter options.
Games Workshop has updated all the Bolters options for the Primaris Intercessors and all three of them – Bolt Rifle, Auto Bolt Rifle, and Stalker Bolt Rifle – are viable options now. Today, we want to take a closer look at each of the updates and see if we can’t figure out what is what! There are quite a few other factors to consider; between Chapter Tactics, Stratagems, Combat Doctrines, and other unit abilities, it can be overwhelming, to say the least. That said, we’re going to dive into the individual weapons and some of the more relative rules. So let’s get started.
But first, we need to mention the Combat Doctrines that are relevant to this discussion.
The Devastator Doctrine will apply to the Stalker Bolt Rifle while the Tactical Doctrine will apply to the Bolt Rifle and the Auto Bolt Rifle.
The Bolt Rifle
This is the basic Bolt Rifle – it was the best option for Primaris before this last codex by a wide margin. Why? Because of the Bolter Discipline Rule:
Bolter Discipline is still in effect and makes Bolt Rifles pretty darn great as far as options go. And don’t forget about the Rapid Fire Stratagem either:
So at 15″, you can fire 40 shots at AP -2. That’s no joke. And the Bolt Rifle has ONE MORE trick up its sleeve too thanks to Steady Advance:
So you could move up 6″ and fire 30″ away and still pump out 40 shots at AP -2. Again, OUCH! But that’s quite an investment in CPs. Moving on…
Auto Bolt Rifle
The Auto Bolt Rifle drop down to 24″ range but still has Strength 4, AP 0 and 1 Damage. However, it’s now Assault 3. That’s a really nice boost in firepower. Essentially, a 10-man Intercessors squad will be able to move up and fire 30 shots all the time – even if they advance! That means, with smart movement, you can almost ensure that this squad is going to get the first shot off. With the Tactical Doctrine up, those shots become -1 AP, too. And if things get too close you can drop the hammer thanks to the Boltstorm Stratagem:
Suddenly that’s 30 auto hitting shots at 12″ away. Again, you can move 6″ and advance D6″ too – that’s a great way to stretch out that 12″. Oh and if you toss in a vehicle…well, you get the idea. The downside is that it’s still 2 CP. But if you want to make a dent in a horde and stay on the move, the Auto Bolt Rifles seem like a really strong option.
And let’s not discount the follow-up Shock Assault bonus either. If you close the gap on a unit and get within charge distance you can open fire with 30 auto hitting shots and then charge. In a vacuum the Auto Bolt Rifle ain’t bad…once you start considering things outside the box, well, now you’re cooking with gas.
Stalker Bolt Rifle
If you want to really reach out and touch someone, the Stalker Bolt Rifle is a great way to do that. Sure, you’ve got to sit still because it IS heavy 1, but on the first turn of the game, it’s also AP -3. That’s enough to give terminators pause. And it’s 2 Damage now. Each failed save is a DEAD Terminator. Or other Primaris Marine for that matter…
And if you need to kill characters, well, they got that covered too:
A 10 man squad can split fire. If the target units don’t have a bodyguard around, you could really do a number on enemy characters. With AP -3 and 2 Damage a pop, 5 shots from Marines (BS 3+) is accurate enough to really do some damage. And if your targets are T4 or less, you’re odds are pretty good you’re going to more than just hit.
That extra point of damage makes the Stalker Bolt Rifle a really strong choice now. Target Sighted is a bit expensive at 3 CP, but if you use it early you could metaphorically cut the head off the enemy snake. Pop a linch-pin character or two and suddenly that’s going to be a really bad time for them.
The basic Intercessor is 17 points. Auto Bolt Rifles cost 1 more point whereas the other two options are 0. Now, depending on how you kit out the rest of the squads and how many Primaris Marines you take, you could end up with a really versatile option in the 200 point ball-park. If you park some characters nearby for bonuses to hit/wound/re-roll, you’ve got a pretty amazing firebase to work from. That’s really the strength of the Bolter now.
So Internet, which option are you leaning toward and why? Drop us a line in the comments and let us know who you think wins the Battle of the Primaris Intercessor Bolters!