Lets talk about how to get the most out of the new Salamanders and set the world on fire.
Marines, long relegated to bottom tier army status, are making a big come back. They’ve got a new Codex, new units, and new power Codex Supplements. After Iron Hands blew the meta away, and quickly got nerfed, we’ve finally got the complete set with the arrival of Salmanders and Imperial Fists. All the Codex Supplements promise to bring something cool to the table. Today let’s take a look at the Salamander supplement. Despite being in the last batch of supplements to arrive, the Sons of Vulkan can still bring the pain. So let’s take a look at what makes them so good.
Two Amazing Heroes
The Salamanders start off strong with a pair of great heroes, one old and one new. Vulkan He’stan (not to be confused with the Primarch) remains in the book. He is pretty much the same as he was in the older, book, and has not gotten the Primaris treatment. His signature ability Forgefather, got a slight upgrade (inline with modern wording) it that it rerolls hits and wounds for melta and flamers, rather than just failed hits and wounds. Other than that he remains the same. He’s a really solid choice, with decent combat potential and a great aura.
Adrax Agatone the new Primaris Captain, is also an amazing choice. He’s got the normal stats of a Primaris Captain with a minor upgrade to a 2+ save. Weapon wise he has a 12″ range ap -1 falmer, which is nice, and Mallus Nocturne, a D4 Thunderhammer, meaning he can bring the pain. In adtion to his 4++ save he reduces received damaged by 1, to a minimum of 1, so he’s not easy to get rid of. His big ability is Unto the Anvil, which gives friendly units within 6″ +1 to wound in combat, on the turn they charged, were charged or heroically intervened. This is again a great force multiplier, and in the right list can be the key to victory. Since Adrax is not in Gravis armor, he can ride in an Impuslor for rapid aura deployment. Both of the heroes are solid in combat and great support for the right unit.
Promethean Cult is the Salamanders’ unique extra ability and used properly its pretty great. While in the Tactical Doctrine your flame and melta weapons get +1 to wound. This is a pretty straightforward and powerful ability. Now don’t get me wrong, this ability isn’t as generically useful as, say the Iron Hands’, and you will have to build an army to take advantage of it. It’s actually totally possible you have an army that this does nothing for, if you take no flame or melta weapons (of course one might ask at that point why you are playing Salamanders). So to get a lot out of it, you’ll have to focus the army towards units that can deploy those weapons. This isn’t all bad as the the book, which we will see, has a ton of synergy that helps that type of play. The biggest downside is that those are short ranged weapons and can be hard to use and deploy properly. Salamanders thus will favor rapid assault and deployment. Overall, if used right this ability is not only super powerful, but encourages you to build a very true to the fluff list.
Like all the books Salamanders get six warlord traits. Unlike some other books however I think all six traits are pretty amazing, and may be the best overall set of warlord traits among the Space Marines, with a mix of powerful self upgrades and buffs for friendly units. Anvil of Strength and Forge Master add +2 to the warlords S and T respectively. These are pretty straightforward buffs, and can be used in some combos to really make crazy builds. Miraculous Constitution, gives you a 6+ FNP, and you heal a wound in each of your movement phases, again great for making a tanky captain. Never Give Up lets you pick a friendly unit each turn to get objective secured for the turn, this is great for stealing objectives without needing troops and generally useful.Patient and Determined lets you auto hit with one attack each shooting and assault phase, combing this with your basic ability to re-roll a hit and wound is pretty great and makes you super reliable. My personal favorite is Lord of Fire, which lets you re-roll the dice to determine the number of flamer shots you get for models within 6″. Used correctly this can be a pretty big force multiplier, however note it affects models not units, so placement is key here.
Salamander’s get 6 unique relics and they are all pretty amazing. Vulkan’s Sigil gives you an extra attack, and a once a game +1A attack aura, great for that clutch turn. Wrath of Prometheus is a pretty great upgraded Boltgun, while the Promethean Plate lets you ignore wound rolls of 1,2 or 3. My favorite is the Salamander’s Mantle, which gives enemies a -1 to wound you. Combo this with the Forge Master trait and a couple powers and you can get a Gravis or Bike captain up to T9, with a minus -1 to wound, effectively making him immune to S4 or less attacks. In short its an amazing collection of relics and almost anyone is worth taking.
The mean Green Marines have a pretty standard 16 unique stratagems and (are you tired of hear this yet?) they might just have the best set of stratagems out of all the Chapters. In addition to the expected stratagems for giving out extra relics and warlord traits, they’ve got some real gems. Here are a few to lookout for:
- The Crucible of Battle: This is likely the best stratagem on the book, and one of top stratagems in the whole game. 1CP, give any unit +1 to wound in the shooting or fight phase. This is Veterans of the Long War, but not limited to use on infantry and bikes. VotLW was, and is, a strat that CSM armies are built around, and Salamanders just get a better version of it. You can combo this with a lot of things, such as Promethem Cult or Adrax’s Unto the Anvil to give a lot of units a +2 to wound, turning basic units like Intercessors into absolute murder machines.
- Strength of the Primarch: 1CP to give a unit +1S and each unmodified wound roll of a 6 does double damage. A great combat boost. Combo with some of the unit abilities to have Intercessors wound knights on a 3+. The double damage can be pretty big also.
- Flamecraft: A returning classic. 2CP to have a whole unit do max hits with flamer weapons. This lasts for the phase, so you can benefit twice with it if you’ve got Aggressors who can shoot twice. While its not going to be easy to pull off, using this an Crucible of Battle, you can get units to throw out 60+ shots with a +2 to wound.
- Relentless Determination: Speaking of double shooting Aggressors, for 1CP you get to count a unit that didn’t fall back or advance as not having moved at all. In addition you count as having double wounds on a damage table. This is great for buffing a hurt tank, letting your Executor move and fire twice, or rushing forward with Aggressors.
- Self Sacrifice: This one is also a bit crazy. For 2CP you can pick an infantry unit and in effect all Salamander infantry units within 6″ get the character targeting rules, in that they can’t be shot unless they are the closest target and visible. Now this seems intended to be thrown on, say, a unit of Intercessors so that they can tank shots for Hellbalsters and Dev Squads. Currently however you can throw it down on a character model, and then if you hide some scouts out front, you can basically make your army unable to be targetted. There are a lot of tricks you can pull with this, and it is one way of getting Aggressors or Centurions into place, however I would expect a nerf to come down for this before too long, so maybe hold off till the FAQ before you build a list around this.
The Power of Flame
The Promethian Discipline gives Salamanders their own six spells, and overall they are also pretty good. Flaming Blast and Fury of Nocturne are decent if not amazing direct damage spells, letting you through out some mortal wounds. Burning Hands buffs the Librarian so that their attacks do mortal wounds, instead of normal damage, which could be OK, but isn’t worth it to me. Draconic Aspect gives enemies with in 12″ of the caster a -2 to LD, but LD has so little effect on the game that I’d skip this. Drakeskin gives a whole unit +1T, which is pretty solid and can make a real difference. Fire Shield gives a unit a -1 to be hit, which is just always good.
Overall, while not the best set of spells, they do a few great ones, that combined with their other amazing abilities make Salamanders a real force to fear.
Let us know what you think about the new Salamanders, down in the comments!