Primaris Reivers have gotten the short end of the stick – maybe we can help make them better. Let’s chat.
When Reivers were first introduced everyone figured they would be the Primaris version of “Scouts” and it made sense. At first glance, they have lighter armor than Intercessors (at least visually), they have more compact weapons, and they had that weird grapnel launcher and grav-chute options that help them infiltrate…like a Scouting unit would. But as time has moved on, it’s become clear that Reivers were never Scout replacements – they were supposed to be Assault Specialists. Unfortunately, they lacked the punch they needed to really be effective.
One of the main problems of Reivers is that Intercessors and Infiltrators are now “safe bets” – this means that after their current rules update, there are so many cool combos you can do with those units you don’t really need Reivers. Reivers guns don’t shoot much better and their close combat abilities are marginally better than their fellow Primaris Marines (ie: lots of Str 4 no AP attacks). And those “I” units are also Troops vs Elites which means they are useful for filling up those mandatory battalion slots.
The question for Reivers is “Why would I take this?” On the tabletop, they are difficult to use well and even with the improvements to assault for marines in general, they just don’t DO enough. Ideally, Reivers would have one thing that they do better than everyone else in the army – and they just don’t have it.
That said, we’re going to take a closer look at Reivers and figure out what tweaks we can make that would turn this dud into a STUD!
We’re mostly going to focus on the close combat effectiveness of Reivers because if you want to shoot things the obvious choice IS Intercessors. However, Reivers do have a few things going for them – the problem is that those “things” aren’t particularly more impressive compared to Intercessors or Infiltrators. For example, they have 2 attacks base, plus an additional attack with their Combat Knife giving them 3 attacks. Plus another attack with Shock Assault on the first turn which brings them up to 4 – that’s actually pretty respectable. But that’s not much more than Intercessors and you’re really losing out on the ranged shooting.
Speaking of shooting, Reivers have Heavy Bolt Pistols which are basically an additional attack in close combat (although this happens in the shooting phase). It’s at least AP -1, too, so it can punch through some lighter armor. That’s not all, either – once turn three hits, you also get to drop in that Assault Doctrine and things really get interesting.
Their Combat Knife attacks become -1 and their Heavy Bolt Pistols go to AP -2. And that’s when it hit us; that’s the answer right there! It’s all about the AP.
Imagine if the Reiver Combat Knife was just better. By simply boosting the AP by 1 base. Going back to the top, that’s basically 4 attacks per guy with Strength 4 AP -1. Now a full squad of 10 is pumping out 41 attacks (Sergeant has +1 attack), 42 if your Sergeant has double Combat Knives. That’s starting to get kind of scary, right? When turn 3 rolls around, those Reivers are now all AP -2 in close combat. Things just got down right horrifying. Oh and if they are White Scars, each of those attacks now does 2 Damage thanks to their own Devastating Charge. On paper, that sounds very, very promising!
Too bad that Infiltrator Comms Relay doesn’t apply to Reivers, huh? Then again, you could always infiltrate a Phobos Captain and/or Phobos LT with the squad to make them even deadlier…
At the end of the day, Reiver Squads are still in a funky spot. Again, on paper or in a vacuum they don’t seem like a bad unit. Unfortunately, we aren’t playing this game in a vacuum and the Space Marines book is packed full of options these days – and that’s not counting the Space Marine Supplemental books. There are better options for infiltrating or for spending points/elites slots on than Reivers. Maybe one of the other Supplemental Books will have something for them to make them stand-out. But right now Reivers are riding the shelf in my lists.
What do you think? Do Reivers need a “Power Shiv” to their Close Combat attacks? How about at least a power weapon option for the Sergeant?!