Anyone who knows me know I love making my own divergent fluff for my armies. My new Raptor Nth Company is no exception. They were borne about 6 years ago from an idea to have a subset marine chapter working clandestinely with a subset Tau faction (Kind of like a more extreme Farsight enclave). I always loved the raptors basic Olive Drab color scheme. As their background became more pronounced as an elite mobile raiding force relying on tactical firepower and surprise…they became a lock for me. When My Tau gained their Time Travelling component in their background, it only seemed fitting to push my semi-heretical marines into the fold as well receiving this shared technology from their secret Tau Allies.
I started the Nth company as my first “Tru Scale” marine army wanting my marines to actually dwarf other army units as they are supposed to. When Primaris Marines were announced and they looked so similar in design to what I had already been building for myself…I knew I would be making heavy use of the Primaris in my army of further technologically enhance super marines.
Since then I’ve been making healthy use integrating the Primaris marines into my Raptors army and wanted to discuss some of my general findings to date.
Primaris in Summary
I think the Primaris perform well as their own army. They play somewhat like many xenos designs, focused less on traditional dispersed weapon upgrades and tactical flexibility. Rather each unit has a defined role in the army and they are specialized to perform that role.
As part of a mixed Marine force, they also perform well, but it’s important to make sure the army as a whole has enough diversity that too heavy a focus on only particular Primaris units may give the army certain vulnerabilities. I tend to take lots of tactical Intecessors for my core troops (taking 20-30 in a standard game). This makes my armies become very reliant on other key units (like my flyers) to accomplish their tasks and then continue to support the intecessors.
I really like that GW has drawn a hard line on transport options being mostly separated between primary and regular marines. It creates a push to have them as their own army rather than being a new supplemental unit to existing marine armies.
In general, Primaris design components seem to be:
· lack of customization
· Increase durability of typically marine units, but less so than more durable elite marine units like terminators and land raiders.
· Above average capabilities on a model basis.
· Reliance on utliziing the different types of Primaris units to support each other making them a “Value exceed a sum of their parts” army.
· In many cases wield more firepower than their point cost might suggest.
I think as a “new army” in their current state, their lack of options makes them a tad drab in design. I expect hat as their product line develops, they will develop more into the role of traditional marine units, only being fewer in number(point cost).
Primaris Units(in order of potency)
The listing below are my current appraisal of Primaris units in order of value(best to worst) as I currently see them and may be subject to change the more I use them.
Inceptor squads (Fast Attack)
They are at the top of my list despite having not yet seen them on the table. They are flying heavy armor troops toting a brace of short ranged powerfull heavy weapons. They make use of the potent Gravis Armor, which provides a +1 Toughness bonus.
Their Mobility and Keyword fly in tow thier their potent close range firepower makes them very useful at taking the fight to the enemy. Either brace of guns (Essentially assault 6 heavy bolters or 2d3 Plasma guns) give them incredible firepower that can even be used after fallback moves. Their Crushing charge rule, which lets them inflict 1 mortal wound on a 6+ (up to the number of models in this unit), sis just icing.
They are very costly (10 PL for 3 models) is their greatest deficit, as they will always be few.
Aggressor squads (Elite)
These are the ground troop variant of Gravis armor. They may be my favorite unit in the army and can’t wait to field some. They are also armed with impressive short ranged firepower, either being equipped each with 2 flamers or a potent boltstorm array augmented by fragmentation grenade launchers. The unit does not suffer penalties for shooting while advancing and should they have the luxury of being in range WITHOUT having to move, they fire twice in the shooting phase which seems nearly terrifying. (the bolt gun/grenade variant would get 12 +2d6 18” range str attacks PER MODEL!). they are also equipped with powerfist, making it no simple task to just count this unit by charging them.
As a Primaris player, though, it is easy to mistake these as a Primaris version of terminator. This should be obvious from their relatively cheap point cost (2 PL per model, purchased in 3 man chunks) This mistake can be costly, as despite their numerous advantages, they lack of 2+ save, lack of invulnerable, and small unit count prevents them from absorbing the punishment terminators are known for.
Still, I see them being quite valuable as “in your face” units that you force an opponent to deal with. In my raptors army, I can see utilizing my “Strike from the shadows” stratagems to infiltrate 1-2 units of these into an opponent’s back field to disrupt their plans.
Repulsor Grav-Tank (Dedicated transport)
I fell in love with this model the instant I saw it(only a tad bothered by it having too many guns on it) It is the only Transport option for Primaris short of thunderhawk and Stormbird Drop ships. It is Very expensive for this role (at 16PL), but I think it is a high value unit regardless of it’s monopoly on Primaris transporting. It’s is a very durable model, though not quite up to speed with it’s brother Land Raiders. It’s weapons systems are also very strong, but are misleadingly underpower from what it’s 9-11 weapons might imply (most of these are small storm bolter/Frag grenade-esque weapons systems). Either way, it deploys an impressive array of firepower.
It is a grav-tank with Keyword FLY, so it can fire it’s guns after falling back so you know it will be shooting until it dies. It also has Power of the machine spirit which negate the moving penalty for heavy weapons and a repulsor field which shortens charging units charge move by 2”, which might save it from some sneaky opponent assaults.
Despite its above PL value the vehicle implies, it’s main weakness is still it primary deficit, as including 1+ of these severely impacts the total composition of a Primaris armies. It is also the only Long ranged Anti-Tank Primaris unit, which also makes it a near “must have” unit to include in a Primaris army.
This is a beautiful beast of a model and were it not for other Forgeworld Dreadnoughts, might feel like a king among other walkers in the game. It’s 10PL cost reveals that it is NOT A contendor for tru super-dreadnoughts like the leviathan and even most contemptors, lacking the armor and durability to stick it out. It is better to think of it as a king among regular dreadnoughts. It prices similarly to regular dreadnoughts. It has 13 wounds which gives it some additionaly staying power, but it its mass of low caliber fire power that distinguishes the units value. It boasts a power main weapon (either a gatling gun or big plasma gun), it retains a healthy powerfist attack and still boasts 4 supplimentatary guns (though only 1 of them is much more than a stormbolter-esque weapon. Like the Aggressor Squads, this is a good price efficient “in your face “unit that performs best as a loss leader unit that an enemy has to deal with. Don’t expect it to survive beyond turn 3 however, as it just doesn’t have that kind of durability.
HellBlaster Squads(Heavy Support)
Part of me REALLY LOVEs these guys. Another part finds them very hard to field. They are essentially marine squads equipped entirely with plasmaguns of 1 of 3 types (assault, rapid fire, or long range heavy). They are potent in the shooting phase as you might expect, and seldomly does a target squad survive a volley from 10 of these models at short range. But their high cost (8PL per 5) makes these units have a hard time surviving multiple volleys from enemy units and susceptible to being mired in assault (having no weapon option upgrades to dislodge them from a melee quickly.)
My favorite unit in the whole marine army, it is on the near bottom oy my unit potency list. They have the usual Primaris bonuses in statline and a very similar PL value to Tactical squads. Additioanly, their primary rifle (in 1 of 3 forms) are all modestly, but still significantly, superior to a traditional boltgun. It has limited upgrades of taking grenade launchers (extends the range of their Grande throwing attacks) and a power sword option on the sergeant. The end results is a very durable cheap unit that can combats by grinding in protracted combats with enemy units. They are good as attrition fighters but succumb quickly to enemy units with massed or potent upgrade options. It only takes a meltagun or pair of lightning claws to see the combat flip backwards on the primaris squad. They are still a highly capable unit and once I can deploy them as mechanized infantry, I expect them to continue as a mainstay in my army.
This includes the Captain/Librarian/Apothacary/Chaplain/Leitenant/Standard bearer. They each have the Extra wound and attack making them a bit cooler than their regular marine counterparts. In all cases though, they suffer from extreme option upgrades, often only having a SINGLE way to deploy the unit. Only the Captain has any options and they are modest by any standard in other codices. (Even with the expended rules from the “Store Birthday”, the captain is limited to 4 total options.(Gravis armor, take a powersword, swap his storm botler-y boltgun with a Stalker boltgun, the Powerfist/Plasma Pistol Birthday captain)
They are all nice models and mean in their own respect. In a army lacking options though, I almost nearly find myself taking their Non-Primaris counterparts just to squeeze SOME Meltaguns/powerfists’etc… into the army. In a competitive sense, I feel the characters lack of options make them poor choices, but I’ll still be fielding them a bunch.
their even fairly limited in the relics they can take (I think they have access to 3 and only the Armor Indomintus has any significant value for them)
One of the coolest looking new squads (minus the skull helmet IMO), I find this unit very hard to field. They kind of fall into a shout-like infiltrator role. They can be kitted with a storm-bolter-esque carbine for shooting or with pistol/Chainsword for assaulting. Even 10 strong, this unit has a hard time punishing enemy units of any real caliber and lack the ability to ever shift an enemy from their position. Lack of Sergeant upgrades really makes this unit suffer in melee. It does have a few modest rules making them slightly faster or inflicting morale penalties on the enemy, but not enough to make them a really viable unit. This is probably the only truly poor unit in the Primaris Army. I have 10 of them and will occasionally play them because they look and feel like the kind of troops I’d have in the Raptor’s Nth Company, but it’s never a choice based on merit.