I think the IF as gun line needs to explored from two different angles. The first is Codex: Space Marines.
Unlike our Iron brethren, we can't move and still fire to full effect, and due to the nature of the exploding sixes it's best to stay put, surrounding a chapter master, and fire away.
You're right; the IF can't move and fire heavy weapons to full effect. Neither can Raven Guard, White Scars, and any non-IH or non-UM Space Marine army. Yet, moving is required to get to objectives, and to keep line of sight and/or range against a canny opponent. The codex itself matches what has been a design point of Space Marines for at least twenty years; one must engage in all the phases to get the most out of the army (except maybe psychic). If one is paying for Str 4 then it's a waste not to use it when facing chaff. The Bolter Discipline rules and Shock Assault help with this, autobolt rifles help with this, Assault Doctrine helps with this. A generic C:SMarine army cannot afford to ever be just a gun line.
Second: what about the supplements that do get mobility?
We have the Iron Hands and the Ultramarines. They're special doctrine rules don't make for a better gun line, but increase mobility.
Who benefits the most from ignoring heavy weapon penalties to movement out of Codex: Space Marines? Vehicles, Devastator squads, sniper units, and Suppressor squads. Which chapter should get the benefit and why? For the most part, it seems from interviews that concept informs models which informs the rules and the army-wide rules (which are not married to model design) also come from concept. From my perspective it makes a lot of sense that the Chapter which supposedly does the most with armored spearheads (i.e. moving tank columns) gets this. The Ultramarines, with their rule, maintain overwhelming tactical flexibility with movement and shooting as befits them exemplifying a mobile shock force. I think this is enough to explain why I don't think the Imperial Fists should get move-and-shoot heavy weapons (and I don't think this is the appropriate thread to go into more detail whether this matches how Iron Hands and Ultramarines have been used by casual and competition players).
Warlord traits that incur saving throw bonuses to your gunline elements in cover and the best units that synergize with all these pieces are slow moving, stable firing platforms with little to no assault capability. All our power comes from shooting things, and doing it while maintaining cover for our troops and denying cover to our opponent's.
Sure, the special characters, one stratagem, and one relic encourage moving forward, but every single one of those options are weaker than staying back and shooting. Just because one could play a more assault focused, mobility driven IF army doesn't mean one should.
Personally, I don't think it's about focusing on mobility and assault anymore than focusing on a static gunline; there should be an awareness that all three primary phases of the game require attention. The stratagems Steady Advance, Adaptive Strategy, Big Guns Never Tire, Rapid Fire from C:SM along with Close-Range Bolter Fire and Bolter Drill from S:IF all provide tools to do so. The reliance on cover to make certain aspects of the army work is lateral to movement and neither exclusive nor inclusive. The special characters feel appropriately like Imperial Fists to me; I'd have been disappointed if the majority weren't about beating down things with power fists. Tor's a great counter-attack unit who also helps with shooting. Lysander, to me, fits the simmering Dornian rage that Imperial Fists are capable of when pushed too far. Neither is a perfect unit and there are other options which may be better depending on what one wants; I think that's good for a special character. They have a niche, they feel good to play with, but they're not required to make a functioning list.
Edited by jaxom, 20 October 2019 - 06:53 PM.