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How to Play Salamanders in Warhammer 40K

5 Minute Read
Jan 19 2024

Today let’s take a look at some basics of how to play and get started with Warhammer 40k Salamanders Space Marines.

The Salamanders are a taciturn Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes,  known for their strong constitutions, willpower and devotion to humanity. As one of the First Founding Chapters, the Salamanders have a distinct flavor shaped by their Primarch, Vulkan. On the tabletop, their hardiness and fine craftsmanship make them stand out.

Below, we offer some tips on how to play the army and get started with the army.

Who Are The Salamanders?

The Salamanders were the XVIII Legion of the Space Marine Legions created by the Emperor of Mankind. Their Primarch was Vulkan. The legion remained loyal during the Horus Heresy but was severely mauled in the first great opening battle, which limited their role in the remainder of the war. Their Primarch is never recorded as perishing but is believed simply to be missing. The search for him and his presumed great purpose is a defining trait of the Salamanders.

The chapter is often considered the smallest Legion due to the casualties of the Horus Heresy. Their own highly stringent recruitment and indoctrination processes not only made their rebuilding seemingly glacial but also resulted in them coming in under Codex-approved strength for a single Codex Chapter.

In accordance with Vulkan’s original reorganization of the Legion, the Salamanders Chapter is formed of only 7 permanent companies. Each one is nominally staffed at a little over the Codex-approved 100 Astartes. Nevertheless, the sons of Vulkan were able to forge themselves anew. Since the Horus Heresy, their steel has ever since been drawn in the defence of the Imperium of Man.

Why Play Salamanders

The Salamanders bring everything we should expect from a Space Marine chapter, including a cool character in Adrax Agatone and a very cool lizard theme.

Strengths of the Army

  • Space Marine flexibility and wide unit selection.
  • Solid rules emphasizing melta and flamers.

Weakness of the Army

  • Long-range shooting. All their benefits are for short-ranged weapons.

Salamanders Space Marine Army Rules

  • Oath of Moment: This powerful rule allows you to target an enemy unit in the Command Phase and give your entire army re-rolls against it.

Firestorm Assault Force

  • RulesClose-Range Eradication is tailor-built to buff a horde of melta and flamers (think Eradicators, Aggressors, etc.) with extra strength at close range.
  • Enhancements: Here we get the classic Adamantine Mantle, which is no less defensively built than its predecessors.
  • Stratagems: These are all very strong- mostly straightforward buff at the short ranges the detachment is geared towards.

What to Buy

The Salamanders are no longer a Supplemental Codex. The army consists of a few unique units and a particularly suitable Detachment. To play the army, you only need Codex: Space Marines.

Key Salamander Units To Know

The army has a very small supplemental unit roster in addition to the immense Space Marine one. Knowing what units to take can be tricky. Here are some suggestions to help you get started.

Adrax Agatone

A unique Salamanders Primaris Captain. Adrax Agatone has an ability buffing his units chances to wound in close combat. He also has nice utility lowering the OC of opposing units.


Vulkan He’stan

A venerable, unique Salamander special character, Vulkan is another Captain. His Forgefather ability pairs really well with the other Salamanders’ rules, singling out an enemy unit for eradication (maybe even with Eradicators!).

Aggressor Squad

These Gravis-armoured Primaris dudes have the perfect equipment to get the most out of the “Salamanders detachment” rules. Throw on the flamestorm gauntlets and flame on!

Tactical Squad

Salamanders actually benefit from having some Firstborn. This is because classic Tactical Marines have more weapon options, giving them more opportunities to field flamers and meltas!

Eradicator Squad

Eradicator Squads, like Aggressors, are a great way to field a unit that gets full benefit from being a Salamander. Their melta rifles are hard-hitting but short-ranged.

Sample Starter Army

  • Vulkan He’stan. 1 Model. He is equipped with:  bolt pistol; Gauntlet of the Forge; Spear of Vulkan.
  • Tactical Squad. Ten Models. The Sergeant has a combi-melta. One model has a meltagun. Every other model is equipped with: bolt pistol; boltgun.
Other Units:
  • Primaris Aggressors. Six Models. Every model is equipped with: 2 flamestorm gauntlets.
  • Primaris Eradicators. Three Models. Every model is equipped with: bolt pistol; melta rifle.

How to Play Salamanders

Salamanders are looking to get close, but not too close, to the enemy. While they have no real reason to want to be in close combat, they do want to be in short-range firefight range, where they can bring melta-weapons and flamers to bear. This put them on a precarious knife edge, where they needed to close with the enemy just to the point of the engagement and then not engage- unfortunately, the enemy has some in that. This means picking off isolated units that don’t leave you open to a vicious counter-charge is key.


Into the fires of battle, unto the anvil of war!

Author: Allen Campbell
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