This month we have fabulous Lemon/Lime flavored Marines. Let’s talk Salamanders.
Both books are different enough from each other that you should expect to see some of them over the normal dominance that is starting to creep up in the event meta. Do you think it will uncrown the current darlings of the new meta? Can those lizard loving guys slap the pizza slices out of those dastardly robot hands? Will the Bro fists of the universe take it all the way?
Well – maybe? I will go over each book a bit with my highlights, low lights, and why oh why lights. I think one of the books is better then the other – with the caveat that you could make the weaker on into a very mean spoiler style army when facing the Iron Hands due to some rules interactions.
Welcome to Nocturne
Let’s start with the Salamanders. I know you’ve all been waiting for these guys? Wait – I mean my friend Ben “Bad Touch” Mohile has been waiting for these guys. I think he is just excited to use a Land Raider Redeemer again as they have a lovely little Strat that lets a flamer become a pistol type weapon – for you know those times you get stuck into combat and all that jazz. Overall I think these guys are pretty dang nutty – with the small issue of having problems getting there. Their short range damage output is crazy good. So good that most other armies just need to kill them at distance and hope a unit doesn’t sacrifice itself so those aggressors can’t get close.
I think this is the army is the reason why the Impulsor can’t carry Aggressors. It didn’t make much sense to me when I saw the vehicle as I felt its as built to carry 3 of those Grav armor guys around. But obviously this was tested as they said a big fat no and our friendly Aggressors have to foot it across the table if they want to stay green.
You want to know why these guys might become an issue? Well Salamanders have a plethora of Stratagems and Auras that make flamers beyond crazy. Let’s go down the list of things they can do just to give you an idea. Relentless Determination is a 1CP strat that you can use on a Salamander unit that didn’t advance this turn. The until the start of their next Movement phase they count as not moving. Oh and for vehicles it makes them count as double the wounds they have for those pesky weakening charts. After that you could throw in Flamecraft for 2CP to make the unit have the maximum number of shots with their flame weapons. Yup – I said the entire unit – each model shooting 24 shots. From there you could also throw in the Fires of Battle for 1CP that lets a single model cause a mortal wound on a wound of an unmodified 4+. If Vulkan happens to be nearby the unit can now Reroll all their wound rolls too. Meaning you could fish for more 4+ or just wounds in general. Heck if you want they also can throw in their own Veterans of the Long war for 1CP that works on all their units. Not just their bikers and infantry.
So let’s see a full 6 man aggressor squad – 144 auto hitting flamers – wounding on a Knight on 4’s (if tactical doctrine is up they get plus one to wound with flamers/meltas – forgot to say that) and then the sarge causing mortal wounds on 4+’s as well. That is a crap ton of wounds to a Knight – more then enough to make it go away and leave a smoldering pile of ruin. Of course – all of that is awesome but they need a lot of CP to work, the ability to get there safely, and an opponent not killing their delivery systems.
Now Salamanders do have some weird protection abilities. The oddest one is Self Sacrifice that leaked out already. It reads odd and I expect some updates coming from an FAQ at some point. The rule states at the Start of an Opponents shooting phase you select a Salamanders Infantry unit from your army. Until the end of the phase, enemy units cannot target any other Infantry units from your army that are within 6″ of the selected unit, unless that unit is the closet enemy unit to the firing unit and visible to it. The issue I see is if you select say an IC and you start to have some hidden units in front. Now you cannot shoot the IC as someone is in front of it and you still cannot shoot the models behind him. I also expect them to add you cannot shoot any other Salamander’s Infantry to the phrase as well.
The other crazy batch of things is you can combo up some Spells and Warlord traits to make a model immune to Str 4 or less weapons. There are multiple ways to get a characters toughness up and when mixed with a warlord trait that gives a flat -1 to wound it becomes pretty easy to make a death model. Heck throw him on a bike and watch him ignore Strength 5 as well. Might of Heroes plus the new Drakeskin power (+1 to Toughness to a unit) is how you get it done.
Warlords & Relics
Speaking of Warlord traits – it seems you get a lot of options to boost up a character. There are things to give you a +2 to strength, another that is +2 to toughness, and even a 6+ FNP with regen of a wound per turn. They are not all bad and seem to work on making the IC pretty dang beefy. They double down on the Flamer goodness again by letting the Warlord and anyone within 6″ the ability to reroll the amount of hits you get. It isn’t too bad and if you got room in your tank/vehicle surrounded by flamers this might be good. Heck throw this in with some Sternguard Vets with combi boaters coming out of a Drop pod and using the Successor Chapter +3 to flamer weapons and you got something pretty mean.
The Relics are not too bad with one of the better psychic ones. This Tome gives the caster the ability to get an extra spell from Promethean Discipline. This is pretty interesting in that you can take the other powers from the regular Space Marine book and then pick the one power you could need during a game. From there we have the Salamander Mantle that causes the -1 to wound on the character. They have a 3 Damage bolter as well plus of course – a sweet hammer. Annoyingly enough it still is -1 to hit with it but it does have the ability to go up to 6 damage if you roll an unmodified roll of a 6 to wound. On the successor side there are a few armor things that grant a 6+ FNP as well as a plate that always has rolls of 1-3 failing to wound the bearer. It isn’t too bad.
The two characters are good and if you are playing as Pure Salamanders they will show up for sure. They have good Auras and damage potential in both of them – but a lot of their tricks means they need to get closer. I don’t know what will end up being the default best set up as the extra Range will be helpful to successor chapters. This army also is one of the few to have true FW characters that are listed as Salamander options. The one is very cheap at 80 points so it could be a viable choice.
All in all the book is very strong and good at dealing damage. It will just be hard to get there – which is why I think it is powerful but overall ok to play against. The biggest issues with IH is that their auras break math and their rule helps things not need to be within their Auras. In fact I expect a lot of armies to eventually turn towards flyer based lists as they always do well with in ITC.
~How HOT do you think Salamanders will be?