First off, the new Space Marine Codex is excellent. Despite much of the concern and outcry, I think it is one of the best books I have seen (I have been playing since 4th edition) at reigning in over-powered units, making under-powered units more useful/playable, and all the while moving Space Marines to play on the tabletop more like they are in the fluff.
Of course, making a perfectly balanced codex, where every unit is equally viable and point-costed just right and everything plays in the game in a way that you would imagine it would be used based on the fluff, is almost an impossible task, especially when working with a faction that has so much lore and such a great variety of units.
With all that said, I do think there are a few units/items within the new codex that could use some "tweaks" to bring the entire faction even closer to this goal of making every unit viable/useable, but not over-powered, and also have all the units play similar to their fluff.
If I were King for a day and GW let me propose refinements to the book, here are a few units that I would tweak --
1 - Heavy Intercessors -- Reduce Squad size to 3-6 (can take one Heavy Bolter variant for every 3 models)
**Rationale -- Like almost all of the other Gravis options, these guys are quite tough (and even have a new stratagem that allows them go up to a 2+ save against Dmg1 weapons). Combined with the ability to be Objective Secured as a Troops choice, this caps the squad at 18 wounds, which I think it pretty reasonable and keeps them in-line with Aggressors, Inceptors, etc.
2 - Scouts/Scout Bikes -- Grant them a special rule called "Target Spotted," which enables them, in the Command Phase, to select a single enemy unit in LOS and within 18" and then grant a single <Chapter> Core unit within 18" of them the ability to re-roll 1s to Hit against that unit until the start of the next friendly Command Phase. Additionally, move Scouts from an Elites choice to a Fast Attack choice.
**Rationale -- While many don't like it, I totally agree with the premise of keeping Scouts at 1W and moving them out of the Troops slots. Too many people (myself included) have defaulted to them as the cheap, detachment-filling Troop choice, which is neither fluffy or a good way to balance the all-ready crowded SM Troops slots. However, I don't think they should be Elites (both fluff-wise and because there are so many other SM elites to choose from already) so, since mobility seems to be there thing, Fast Attack makes a decent alternative option. Also, beyond just being cheap, 1W (or 2W, for Scout Bikes) objective holders, they need some kind of role that makes them actually useful... hence, the "Target Spotted" rule, which enables them to force-multiply a single Core unit with re-rolls of 1s to Hit, something that is a bit more valuable now that Captains are limited to one per detachment. This would give them a niche, but not make them auto-take either, I think.
3 - Primaris Apothecary/Apothecary -- Change their Stratagem for reviving a dead Infantry/Biker model to only work on models with 4W or less.
**Rationale -- This is the obvious one, but it prevents them from resurrecting 8W Invader ATVs
4 - Sternguard -- Improve their BS up to 2+ if they fire all their weapons at the same unit.
**Rationale -- With the loss of their unique Stratagem, plus the fact that basic Intercessors do almost everything they do (except Intercessors have AP-1 instead of AP-2 on their bolters) while filling a Troops slot, I think Sternguard need something to give them a little "oomph" besides just being Veterans who can take a lot of Combo-Weapons. Giving them conditional BS2+ fits their fluff (they are chosen for their marksmanship/have the best ranged weapons in the chapter), lines up with how Eliminators got BS2+, and gives them just enough of a boost to their damage out-put to make them worth considering compared to an Intercessor (or even Veteran Intercessor, if you want more close combat potential).
5 - Servitors -- Give them a special rule that prohibits them from holding Objectives/doing Actions unless a friendly Techmarine is within 6" of them, but also allows has them make nearby Techmarines able to heal vehicles within a 6" aura, instead of just a 3" aura.
**Rationale -- Space Marines are an elite force, and so should not have access to cheap "Action monkeys" just by taking Servitors with no Techmarine to direct them, hence the requirement for a nearby Techmarine supervisor. On the other hand, it has always bothered me that they do not provide any boost to a Techmarine's repair abilities, so allowing a Techmarine to have greater "reach" with his repairs seems a reasonable way to represent this and give you a reason to actually buy them for your army (i.e. a Techmarine with Servitors could help maintain a whole line of vehicles, instead of just one he is right next to)
6 - Bladeguard Veterans -- Increase their points cost by +10 points/model
**Rationale -- I love BG Vets, both how they look and how they function on the table-top (i.e. durable, dangerous close combat elites for the Primaris line). That said, I think they are just too points-efficient right now, especially with their base 2+/4++ and 3W. Making them +10 points a model feels about right to not over-price them, but still make it an actual decision if you include them or not, as right now they feel like an auto-include.
7 - Relic Terminators -- Drop them to Legends (or just use their models to represent "normal" Terminators)
**Rationale -- With their stats being "normalized" and the only thing distinguishing them from Tactical Terminators is a few niche weapons options, I don't see any reason to keep them as a separate unit entry. Just like GW did with the Captain in Cataphractii Armor, just drop them as an option in the codex.
8 - Reivers/Reiver Lieutenant -- Give them a special rule that grants them +1 to Wound for all their attacks (shooting and close combat) against Infantry Models within 12" of them. Additionally, add to their "Terror Troops" rule the ability to cause enemy units to lose models during Attrition Tests on a 1-2, instead of just a 1. Finally, give Reivers and the Reiver Lieutenant Deep Strike for free (i.e. Grav-chutes as part of their built-in War gear)
**Rationale -- Despite their useful new Strat allowing them to turn off enemy ObSec and disrupt enemy Actions, they are still so anemic in their combat potential that it is hard to justify taking them in a list. The +1 to Wound against Infantry would make them much more effective as "deployment zone disruptors/bullies" (i.e. matching their fluff) and help them take out light infantry squads much more effectively. As for the aura for more damaging Attrition Tests on nearby enemies this, along with the -2Ld the give to enemy units, would start to make them a real threat against larger units with low morale, like guardsman and Tai Fire Warriors, again matching their fluff.
9 - Eradicators -- Add restrictions to their special rule enabling them to shoot twice so that it only works if the did not Advance, arrive from Reserves, or disembark from a Transport that turn.
**Rationale -- Eradicators are the "boogeymen" of so many armies right now, especially with the potential to drop up to 14 Melta Shots at 24" either arriving from Strategic Reserves or even jumping out of a Repulsor. By limiting their "shoot twice" rule in this way, this at least gives other armies a turn to try and deal with them after they appear on the board, or stay outside their range rings, without being subject to double-meta shooting right out the gate. This tweak to their rules would hopefully tone them down so they are not over-powered, but also not completely nerf them to the point that no one takes them anymore either (something I fear might happen in the near future, given how GW tends to react to overly powerful units).
10 - Inceptors -- Decrease the range of their Plasma Exterminators to 15", increase the range of Assault Bolters to 21"
**Rationale -- I see a rising trend right now where Plasma Inceptors (and only Plasma Inceptors; the Assault Bolter variants are too weak in comparison) are being taken VERY frequently in competitive lists. The combination of high mobility, access to buffs through being a "Core" unit, and massive potential Damage output (6 Inceptors could potentially inflict up to 72 Damage!!!) makes them on the edge of auto-include, as well as making the option for Assault Bolters almost obsolete. Reducing the range of Plasma Exterminators to 15" (they are basically pistol sized Plasma Cannons, after all) while increasing Assault Bolters to 21" range balances out the "risk to reward" ratio a bit with these guys, since you can still inflict tons of damage if you go the Plasma route, but you also are within 15" now and risk being charged and losing your expensive unit. This also makes the choice between the two weapon options for Inceptors more balanced, with reasons to take both instead of just auto-defaulting to Plasma Exterminators.
11 - Eliminators -- Change the Executioner Round to S5 AP-1 Dmg 1, Ignore Cover (both Light and Dense), and re-roll 1s to Hit and to Wound
**Rationale - While Mortis Rounds and Hyperfrag Rounds are fine, the nerf to Executioner Rounds (i.e. it used to be able to ignore LOS) was very significant and, along with Eliminators being BS2+ natively now, gives players almost no reason to every use it vis-a-vis the other options. I am glad GW took away the Ignore LOS, which was a bit too powerful and also a bit unrealistic as well, but I think Executioner Rounds now need something to make them a viable option to use... hence, allowing them to re-roll 1s to Hit and to Wound. This gives them the "niche" of being hyper accurate and generally reliable, while not having the raw power/damage potential of Mortis rounds or the anti-horde ability of Hyper-frag rounds.
12 - Land Raiders (All Types) -- Give them a rule called "Nigh Indestructible" which causes all attacks (shooting and melee) agains them to suffer -1 to their To Wound rolls
**Rationale -- Land Raiders still struggle to have role, especially since there is so much potent firepower in the game right now that they can easily be killed on Turn 1. In their lore they truly are nearly indestructible and they fit their role of basically unstoppable transports that can safely ferry Astartes into the heart of even the most deadly battles. Adding this rule improves their survivability significantly, gives you are a reason to consider taking them in competitive lists, and matches their fluff quite accurately, I think.
13 - Gladiator Lancer and Repulsor Executioner -- Add a special rule to their Heavy Laser Destroyers that reduces the Invul save taken by any target wounded by them by -1 (this only applies to Wounds inflicted by the Heavy Laser Destroyer weapon, not any other weapons)
**Rationale -- While I agree with GW in taking away the shoot twice ability and replacing it with +1 to Hit (a significant down-grade overall), both of these vehicles are built around their main gun and that main gun, when only shooting twice at BS2+, does not currently do enough to justify the overall points cost and/or role of the vehicle in the army. By giving them the ability to reduce a target's Invul save by -1 against their shooting, this gives both the Gladiator Lancer and the Repulsor Executioner a distinct and viable role (i.e. countering the enemy hyper-elite units, which often depend on their solid Invul saves).
14 - Hammerfall Bunker -- Give it the "Drop Pod Assault" rule (i.e. identical to Drop Pods)
**Rationale -- Its fluff says it does this and, currently, it costs way to much to just be a long-range, immobile shooting platform that fires at BS4+. Allowing it to be "deployed" in starting Turn 1 of the game gives you flexibility in how to place it and also how to support your army with it, making it a much more viable choice in an Astartes army.
15 - Invader ATV -- Decrease it to 6W per model
**Rationale -- Right now it is just to efficient for its points cost, so reducing its wounds by 25% seems like a decent to balance this a bit, as well as bringing it more in line with the SM Bike/Attack Bike ratio (i.e. SM Bikes now have 3W, Attack Bikes have 4W; Outriders have 4W, so it kind of makes sense to have Invaders be at somewhere between 5-6 wounds).
Edited by L30n1d4s, 17 October 2020 - 12:09 PM.