Warhammer 40k Space Marine Chapters Faction Focus shows the 5 non-Codex compliant Chapters after much anticipation, so let’s take a closer look at the 3 most popular of them!
While we already took at the Space Marine rules in the 10th Edition of Warhammer 40k, and even saw some new stuff for a non-Codex Astartes compliant band of Marines, the Grey Knights, there have been some Angels of Death that are not regular Chapters, but not quite their own thing like the Ordo Malleus – namely the Dark Angels, the Space Wolves, the Blood Angels, the Deathwatch and the Black Templars. Luckily, Games Workshop didn’t forget about them, and didn’t demote them back to “just Space Marines”, but the five “Chapters” had to receive some special treatment, so we received a Faction Focus compiling a selection of new rules from all of them. While all 5 of the showcased Space Marine bands use the Oath of Moment Faction Ability, which let’s them re-roll Hit rolls and Wound rolls against a selected enemy unit for a turn, they received unique Detachment Rules, which look great – so let’s get right into it!
Warhammer 40k Space Marine Chapters Faction Focus – Dark Angels
With their Primarch, Lion El’Jonson returned, the Dark Angels are looking better than ever, so it’s no surprise that GW started the combined Faction Focus with the First Legion. They will get the Unforgiven Task Force Detachment Rule called Grim Resolve, which basically let’s them ignore the new Battle-shocks negative effects, as units with this Rule won’t have their Objective Control characteristic reduced to 0, but to 1, meaning that Dark Angels won’t give up an Objective even in the face of death.
We also got the Datasheets for the Deathwing Command Squad, one of the most elite infantry units of the First Legion of the Emperor of Mankind. They will still have their Wargear options, and will be able to have Characters in their ranks that can be attached to regular Terminator squads. They got increased Toughness, as well as an improved Crux Terminatus Invulnerable Save at a 4+ instead of a 5+. Their guns got the 10th Edition treatment, which means decreased AP for some increased Strength, and both their melee and ranged options got some great keywords, such as the Devastating Wounds on the Assault cannin and the Precision keyword on the Halberd of Caliban.
The Deathwing Command Squad also received some new abilities, such as the Narthecium, which let’s you resurrect Terminators if an Apothecary is part of the unit, the Astartes Banner, which gives +1 to the OC of the models as long as the unit contains an Ancient, and the Honour in Death, which gives +1 to Advance and Charge rolls, while also making the Heroic Intervention Stratagem (yes, it is a Stratagem now) free until the Command Squad has a Company Champion among it’s ranks.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a reveal about the Dark Angels without their Primarch, Lion El’Jonson, who finally woke up from his beauty sleep to help his brother, Roboute Guilliman in fighting the horrors of Chaos and Tyranids. The Lion received +3 to his Toughness and an extra Wound, and finally found the “on” switch on the Emperor’s Shield, as he has a constant 3+ Invulnerable Save – which is crazy. His weapons are very strong as well, so the Lion of Caliban will be an ultimate threat in melee, and a fearsome opponent at range as well.
But the strongest part of his new datasheet is his Abilities column: he received the Deep Strike and the Fights First ability, alongside a buffed version of The Emperor’s Shield, which lets him bash back with his shield to deal Mortal Wounds on Saving Throws of 6 when he gets attacked in melee, while also making himself -1 to Wound against every attack. He also gets the Lone Operative when among his soldiers, so you can’t just snipe him off the board with say, a Vindicare Assassin.
He also received the Primarch of the First Legion ability, which is similar to the “choose 1 out of 3” skills of Belisarius Cawl of Abaddon the Despoiler. Primarch of the First Legion lets him basically counter Stratagems used by enemies if the enemy unit using the Strat fails the Battle-shock test the Lion forces them to take with the All Secrets Revealed ability; Martial Exemplas gives all Adeptus Astartes units around the Primarch +1 to Hit in melee, buffing the already strong Dark Angels even more; while No Hiding From the Watchers gives a 4+ Feel No Pain against Mortal Wounds to all Space Marines 6” around him. These skills make the Lion a very capable leader, and his own stats make it almost impossible to take him down without Titan-killing weapons – he is a Primarch after all, so do your best to slow him down, or face the wrath of the Son of the Forest.
Warhammer 40k Space Marine Chapters Faction Focus – Space Wolves
While awaiting the return of their Primarch, Leman Russ, the Space Wolves do everything to protect Fenris and to take the heads of the enemies of the Imperium of Man. These berserkers will receive a Detachment Rule worthy of Vikings, as the Champions of Russ Detachments Deeds of Worthy Saga tells tales of their exploits and victories. Space Wolves Astartes can choose one out of four Sagas at the end of each Battle round, and if they completed the deed of the chosen Saga, all Adeptus Astartes models will receive the Benefits of the epic stories of the Space Wolves. While you can only choose each Saga once, the buffs they give stack, so if you’re a true legend, you can have all active for the last Battle round. The Sagas are the following:
- Saga of the Warrior Born requires one of your Adeptus Astartes Characters to kill an enemy Character, after which each melee weapon of the Space Wolves gain the Sustained Hits 1 keyword, getting exploding 6’s in close quarters combat,
- Saga of Majesty is tied to Objectives, as you need to take an Objective in your opponents deployment zone with a unit containing a Character, but in return every Adeptus Astartes unit of your army will get +1 to their OC Characteristic,
- Saga of the Bear seems like one that can be passively achieved, as it just requires that one of your Characters loses half it’s Wounds, but survives the ordeal with the enemy – if they do, the inspired Space Wolves will gain the Feel No Pain 6+ ability for the rest of the battle.
- Saga of the Beastslayer is great against armies with Monstrosities or armoured Vehicles, as it grants your whole army the Lethal Hits ability in melee if one of your Characters destroyed a Vehicle or a Monster.
While the Sagas are not easy to complete, if you’re able to get two out of the four, you will have a much easier time against your opponent’s units, which makes this Detachment Rule very strong.
We also got the Datasheet for the Hounds of Morkai, the Phobos Marines of the Space Wolves legion. These anti-psyker units will find a home in most Space Marines lists which will face servants of the Warp, as they have the Anti-Psyker 4+ ability on both their weapons, alongside the Precision keyword to catch enemy Characters off guard. The Hounds can also force Battle-shock tests on nearby enemies, while being durable against Psychic Attacks thanks to their 4+ Invulnerable Save. While they weren’t really used in 9th Edition, in 10th, they could join the ranks of their fanged brethren.
Warhammer 40k Space Marine Chapters Faction Focus – Blood Angels
The Sons of Sanguinius will also return to the fray in 10th, especially that the first Big Bad of this edition are the Tyranids. Their genetic flaw, the Red Thirst can serve as a powerful tool in the battlefield, as the Detachment Rule of the same name gives them an extra Strength and Attack with melee weapons if they Charged this turn, meaning that the Blood Angels will remain a fast and hard-hitting close-range army in the 10th Edition of Warhammer 40k as well.
We also received some Datasheets for the Sons of Sanguinius, like the Death Company Intercessors, who are plagued by the Black Rage as well as the Red Thirst. While they have received some keywords for their melee weapons, they also received some new abilities, such as the universal Feel No Pain 6+, and the new Black Rage skill, which lets them re-roll the Hit Rolls, but makes them unable to Fall Back or take Objectives as their OC falls to 0 while they are outside of 12” of a watchful Chaplain, who can help them return to their senses. While they might not be the strongest storming unit without a leader, they can hold chokepoints very well with their various guns, while also being able to use the Fire Overwatch and the Heroic Intervention Stratagems for 0 CP once per turn – so basically all game.
This Faction Focus focuses on the non-Codex compliant Space Marine Legions, but even though they don’t follow the holy scriptures of the Codex Astartes, they have successor Chapters, and if you think about a Blood Angels successor, the Flesh Tearers come to mind first. Their Chapter Master, Gabriel Seth is the Epic Hero that shows us how these kinds of Characters will work in the next Edition of Warhammer 40k: you can use the Blood Angels rules, and your Flesh Tearers units will be treated as Blood Angels for rules purposes, but you can’t take another Blood Angels Epic Hero alongside Gabriel Seth, meaning that he can lead his own army, but can’t fight alongside the Sanguinor or Commander Dante, for instance.
Nevertheless, Gabriel Seth received some great new rules for the next Edition, such as the Lord of Slaughter, which lets him and the unit led by him Charge after they’ve Advanced, and the Whirlwind of Gore, which gives his melee weapon, the Blood Reaver an extra attack against hordes of enemies. This makes him great at clearing out enemy infantry, but also an invaluable asset to any Flesh Tearers variant of the Blood Angels.
The Big Three of the non-Codex Chapters look very strong and fairly distinct from the regular Marines, which is a great thing for Blood Angels, Dark Angels and Space Wolves players. Games Workshop have also released the Detachment Rules and some Datasheets for the Deathwatch and the Black Templars, but one article can’t really do justice to all five of the showcased Chapter – by clicking here, you can find the Faction Focus segments of the Black Templars and the Deathwatch!