While everyone is waiting for the new Astra Militarum codex, which already looks one of the best on 8th edition, let’s discuss the tactics of the units, which were released a few months earlier and we’ve got some playtests – Primaris Marines.
Are they so powerful as we expected and can you make a roster using only them? Let’s find out.
Primaris marines have a lot of obvious benefits. They are tougher than regular marines, and their weapons are more effective. Also, some units suggest unique battle methods.
For example – agressors. The unit capable of dealing the intolerable bolterdrill. And the cost of 6 models is only 258 pts. This guarantees us 36+6D6 Str4 shots and twice as many if they remained stationary. The transportation problem is easy to solve if you use Raven Guard stratagem and deploy them close to the enemy. 18 inches range is enough to feel comfortable. However, you might reach maximum effectiveness if they’d have re-rolls. Unfortunately, primaris characters can’t deepstrike, so the best solution is to use regular lieutenant (re-rolling to wound is more necessary since they have only Str4) on jump pack. And this already destroys the concept of the mono-primaris army.
Another great unit – reivers. They have a decent number of attacks in close combat (don’t forget about pistols), effectively decrease enemy’s leadership and don’t require transport. However, they also might need a character’s support and again we have to use space marines in TDA or with jump packs. Also, don’t forget that their close combat capability is not the best – professional fighters will likely destroy them.
So, you can see that the main problem of Primaris is not the high price. It’s compensated with an extra wound and the firepower. The main problem is lack of mobility. None of the characters can deepstrike. The only transport, repulsor is cool. It carries a lot of guns and is quite durable. But it’s also very expensive. So, you won’t take more than 2 of them. And, according to our experience, the enemy always tries to destroy it first, being afraid of its firepower. So, there’s a big chance that the vehicle which costs so much will be destroyed at the 1st turn.
And also, there are not so many units to transport. Hellblasters, another great unit, may require transportation if you give them rifles. Only heavy plasma squad can stay at its position and threaten the enemy. However, 36 inches range is not so much, and the enemy can easily avoid their fire. So, again, you need to think twice before placing them.
So, this makes characters completely doubtful. The chaplain, one of the best miniatures in the entire game, is totally useless since he can’t move fast and the only primaris close combat unit arrives via deepstrike. The same with the librarian – most space marines’ spells are either attack, or they affect close combat skills. Captain and lieutenants are useful for the gunline, but the problem is primaris don’t actually have a gunline.
And in fact, it’s great. In our space marines’ codex review we were disappointed with gunline as the only effective army concept. Almost all primaris units are attack-oriented and require thoughtful deployment and tactics. So, that’s why regular space marines are monotonous without primaris and primaris are illogical and lack synergy without regular space marines. So, the best way of using them is a wise combination of both. This should answer the fears of those who think that primaris have substituted our old space marines.