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Warhammer 40K: Will The New Space Marine Units Be Any Good?

5 Minute Read
Feb 23 2023

Take a look at what we’ve seen of the Strike Force Agastus new Space Marines rules so far.

Space Marines are getting some major reinforcements. The new Strike Force Agastus box is coming soon, and brings with it some… interesting units. In particular, the box brings two brand new units to the tabletop. These are the Space Marines Desolation Squad and the new Brutalis Dreadnought. While the full rules aren’t out yet, GW has previewed a lot about the units and their weapons. Let’s take a look at if they are going to be any good.

The Brutalis Dreadnought Looks Good


The larger of the two new units, the Brutalis Dreadnought, actually looks pretty decent. Thanks to changes over the years, Dreadnoughts in general, are pretty decent, especially in the right list. The Brutalis looks to be no different. Now we don’t know the full rules for the unit, but just the weapon loadout we’ve been shown is pretty crazy. At first glance, the Brutalis looks to be a close combat oriented unit, and it’s good there. However, to categorize it as only good in melee is a massive mistake. The thing comes with a decent amount of shooting. Depending on how you build it, the Brutalis comes with anywhere from 12 to 22 shots. All of these are at least AP -1. In particular, the option to carry a pair of Multi-Meltas gives it some real ranged punch and makes it a better anti-tank ranged unit than the Redemptor. In fact, it has a higher ranged damage maximum than the Redemptor!

It’s also pretty… err, brutal in close combat. Its new talons have two modes. The strike mode is a slightly better version of the Redemptor fist, with an extra AP and re-rolling wounds (which means pretty much all its hits will wound). Its sweep mode is a lot less powerful, but lets it just plow through infantry in a way no other Dreadnought can. Assuming its stats are similar to a Redemptor, otherwise it’s a real beast. In effect, this dreadnought is both the best at melee and shooting. Not too shabby. This one gets a THUMBS UP!

The Underwhelming Part of New Marines

This brings us to the second new unit. The Space Marines Desolation Squad. Their models are…. not good. These nerf gun wielding Marines needed to be pretty good to not only get played but replace classic Devastators. And GW certainly has been talking them up. However, looking at their guns just doesn’t really do it for me. Unlike other rocket launchers, they don’t have any flexibility, instead picking one type of gun and rocket to use. This gets rid of basically the classic 30 year old reason to take missile  launchers at all. So what are their stats?


Well, first up, you’ve got the Superfrag. I guess in this case super means “gets AP -1”. Cool. Oh it also gets a higher minimum amount of shots, but at the targets you tend to shoot these at blast is more important. Honestly, this just isn’t a very good weapon. Marines have a ton of S4 shooting. Maybe they are dirt cheap, but I just can’t see them getting used.

Next up is the Superkrak, and this is a little more deserving of the name. Not only does it get an extra point of AP over a normal krak launcher, but it gets better minimum damage. This makes it a stronger anti-tank weapon than the regular missile launcher. However, you still run into the issue – of Space Marines having much better anti-vehicle weapons. Overall you lose the flexibility of classic missile launchers, and still end up with second-best weapons. Why take these guys?

A Few Good Marines

The unit does have two other weapons that are worth talking about. The Vengor Launcher is a weapon the Sergeant can take instead of one of the super options. It’s actually pretty good. It has good range, doesn’t need LOS and is D2. The odd thing here is that it just doesn’t fit with the unit’s other weapons. Superfrag is anti-horde. Superkrak is anti-tank. The Vengor is anti-medium infantry. It’s perfect for killing MEQs. What is it doing in this unit all by itself?


Every model also carries a Castellan Launcher. This gives each model an extra d3 S4 shots that don’t need LOS. It’s some extra punch, but still a very light extra punch. It will likely come down to point cost and any extra rules, but right now unit is a little bit of a mess

A Final Note On Names

Has GW just run out of names? The Desolation Squad weapons have some really odd names. Not odd as in bad, but odd as in reused. For instance they have Superfrag and Superkrak rocket launchers. These should not be confused with the Superfrag and Superkrak missiles the Hammerfall missile launcher shoots. Likewise, each model has a Castellan launcher, which should not be confused with the Whirlwind Castellan launcher, again a very different weapon. Could we really not have gotten more distinct names here? It’s kind of confusing to have these new units with weapons that have such similar and specific names to existing ones. Unless some old units are going away? But that can’t be…

Let us know what you think about these new units, down in the comments! 

Author: Abe Apfel
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