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How to Play Ultramarines in Warhammer 40K

4 Minute Read
Feb 8 2024

Today let’s take a look at some basics of how to play and get started with Warhammer 40k Ultramarines. The blue chip standard!

The Ultramarines are a proud and traditional Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes. As one of the First Founding Chapters, the Ultramarines have a lack of distinct character from their Primarch, Roboute Guilliman. On the tabletop, the chapter fights with coordinated tactics and combined arms.

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

Who Are The Ultramarines?


The Ultramarines, originally known as the War-Born, were the XIII Legion of the original twenty Space Marine Legions. This loyalist Legion was later re-organized and divided into Chapters according to the Codex Astartes. Their Primarch is Roboute Guilliman, whose leadership, not to mention his authorship of the Codex Astartes, were instrumental in humanity’s survival following the Horus Heresy. Because their Primarch wrote the text that defines a Space Marine Chapter, the Ultramarines follow this Codex strictly. Their only deviation being the recent formation of the Tyrannic War Veterans, comprised entirely of veterans of battles with the Tyranids. The Ultramarines are possibly the most important Imperial organization on the Eastern Fringe.

After the Horus Heresy, Roboute Guilliman set himself to create the Codex Astartes. It would define the tactics and organization of all Space Marines, from battlefield strategies to squad markings. Most important of these changes was the division of the Legions into 1,000-strong Chapters. One of the Chapters would retain the heraldry of the original Legion, but the others would be given a new name and symbol. In doing so, Guilliman hoped to divide the power of the Space Marines. To ensure that a civil war on the scale of the Heresy could never occur again.

Why Play Ultramarines

Ultramarines Intercessors

The Ultramarines bring everything we should expect from a Space Marine chapter, that’s it. They also have some great characters and units, unique to their chapter.

Strengths of the Army

  • Versatility.
  • Special characters.
  • Ubiquitousness.

Weakness of the Army

  • Like most marines, an elite army with relatively few bodies.
  • Ultramarines get grief for being better than everyone (they are pretty sure that’s the reason!)

Ultramarines Chapter Master Marneus Calgar

Ultramarines Rules

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.

Gladius Strike Force

  • Rules: The Combat Doctrine rules are a set of three powerful abilities that can be activated in the Command Phase. Be careful of when you use them, as each one can only be used for a single turn.
  • Enhancements: Here we see some classics such as Artificier Armour, which even gives a Feel No Pain save!
  • Stratagems: Space Marine stratagems are brutal and to the point- most impacting armour penetration in some way. That’s besides the great Adaptive Strategy, which gives you flexibility in utilizing those great Combat Doctrine rules.

Ultramarines entire chapterThe Ultramarines Firstborn Chapter from a long lost era.


What to Buy

The Ultramarines 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 Faction Units To Know

The army has the immense Space Marine unit roster of well over a hundred units. Knowing what units to take makes use of the Chapter’s rules can be tricky. Here are some suggestions to get you off on the right track.

Marneus Calgar

The Chapter Master of the Ultramarines Chapter. He brings all the great abilities any other Chapter Master does, while also packing a wallop.

Heavy Intercessors

Heavy Intercessors are a great solid Battleline for an Ultramarines force.

Suppressor Squad

A quick and mobile firebase- they are normally unused by other chapters, but can do solid work for the Ultramarines.

Roboute Guilliman

This Loyalist Primarch is available to the Ultramarines, so that is noteworthy. He’s a beast in melee and offers a potent bonus for the army.



Sample Ultramarines Starter Army

Captain with Master-crafted Heavy Bolt Rifle. 1 Model. He is equipped with:  master-crafted heavy bolt rifle; master-crafted power sword

Primaris Heavy Intercessors. Five Models. Every model is equipped with: bolt pistol; executor bolt rifle

Primaris Heavy Intercessors. Five Models. Every model is equipped with: bolt pistol; executor bolt rifle

Other Units
Firestrike Servo-turret. One Model. Every model is equipped with: twin accelerator autocannon

For Ultramar!

Author: Allen Campbell
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