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Author Topic: Space Marines: Power Through the Years  (Read 2224 times)

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Offline Wyddr

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Space Marines: Power Through the Years
« on: September 24, 2015, 06:54:11 PM »
Since this generated a pretty interesting discussion over on the Elder board, I thought it might be fun to have the same conversation over here.

How powerful do you think the Codex Space Marines have been over the years? Have they been overpowered at any time? Underpowered?

Rate each edition/codex on a scale of 1-10, 1 being unplayably bad and a 10 being completely invincible cheese. Go!

Offline Grand Master Lomandalis

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Re: Space Marines: Power Through the Years
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2015, 10:46:53 PM »
I guess it depends on how you look at the Marines.  Are we talking just the plain old Vanilla marines, or taking into account Marines of all varieties?

My experience begins back in 3rd edition, and I'll base this off including all chapters that follow the codex to some degree (so excluding Grey Knights).

3rd Edition
The age of the Rhino Rush!  The vanilla codex would rate, at best, a 6.  It could make well balanced lists but had nothing special at all beyond ATSKNF.  However, if you look at the other chapters that were available, they were better in almost every way.

- Blood Angels would rate a solid 9.  Free Death Company which would be drawn from the squads in your list, and it was always the sergeants that were taken first so they would get free power weapons or power fists; Blood Rage giving D6" extra movement in the movement phase; Rhinos having over charged engines for an additional 6" move; Furious Charge for free when it still granted an initiative bonus; no restrictions on disembarking and charging.  For those that didn't experience, this was the true definition of a Rhino Rush.  Move 12" + D6" Rage + Overcharge Engine 6" + 2" disembark + 6" charge = 27" - 32" charge range.  If you were playing against Blood Angels and you didn't go first, you were guaranteed to be charged first turn unless you backlined everything.


4th Edition
The Assault Cannon edition.  Assault Cannons everywhere!  If it could take an assault cannon, it took an assault cannon!  When the math was better at an assault cannon causing a Land Raider to explode than a Lascannon by a wide margin, you know there is a problem.  Add in Chapter Traits and Lysander allowing all terminators to deep strike on a single reserve roll when they were still packing 2 heavy weapons on 5 models...

The vanilla codex landed at an easy 8 with that edition.

5th Edition
Space Wolves, if I am not mistaken, is what defined this edition.  Grey Hunters and Thunderwolf Cav.  I'm starting to run out of steam here, but the wolves were definitely an 8.

6th Edition
Maybe my memory of this edition is a bit fuzzy, I was playing less than I had the others due to work and such.  But I felt that things had been toned down a little, bring all of the marine variants in line around 7, even Dark Angels got a boost from being the red-headed step child of the Marine world.

7th Edition
When compared to other 7th edition codices, the marines that have been updated are all fairly well balanced I have found.  I would put them at a 7 against any other 7th edition codex.
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Offline Wyddr

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Re: Space Marines: Power Through the Years
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2015, 09:00:15 AM »
I guess it depends on how you look at the Marines.  Are we talking just the plain old Vanilla marines, or taking into account Marines of all varieties?

Reasonable distinction. I'll leave it up to the poster's discretion. I have only limited experience with the "boutique" marine chapters (all them fancy-pants folks who get their own book), so I'll mostly only discuss my experience with Marines of the standard variety.

Second Edition
I didn't play against a lot of marine players in 2nd Ed, but I remember them being quite nasty (if not quite Eldar nasty). Back then they were the only crowd that could double-tap bolters, Terminators took a 3+ save on 2d6, and Master Librarians were basically teleporting unkillable badasses. In an era of wildly overpowered codexes, they were solid competitors. I'd give them a 7.

Third Edition
I mostly missed 3rd Ed, but I do remember the rhino rush being unpleasant. For that alone they probably deserve a 7 or 8, but I didn't play against them enough to get a good sense.

Fourth Edition
Oh God, yeah--I remember those assault cannons everywhere. I still did pretty well against them this edition, so I wouldn't call them overwhelming (I rocked them with Tau on a regular basis). I think a 7 does it, again.

Fifth Edition
This is when I started playing marines myself. The 5th Ed Vanilla Codex was perfectly useable and fair. Assault Terminators were very strong, but I don't think we can accuse this codex of being overpowering by any means. I'd give it a 6.

The Space Wolves, though, deserve a mention here. Due to wound allocation shenanigans and the new Storm Shield, Thunderwolf Cavalry was an absolute be-atch. When you add in the fact that all the basic Wolf marines were far better than vanilla marines and cheaper, too, it started to get ridiculous. Then when you factored in cheap Razorbacks and Longclaws that could shoot all those missiles wherever you pleased, it started to get really bad. I'd give 5th Ed Wolves an 8.

Sixth Edition
Marines took a hit in this edition, I feel. Grav Centurions were awesome, yeah, but there was no way to deliver them. Chapter Tactics was a really cool idea, but none of the abilities were really that good. Librarians were nice and cheap, but their powers were so-so unless you were lucky with your rolls. Rhinos stopped working very well. Speed or long range firepower became really important, and the Marines struggled with either unless you went White Scars. Still, they were okay; I'd say a 5.

Seventh Edition
The addition of formations made marines much easier to use and more dangerous, too. Chapter Tactics got upgraded, the Gladius Strike Force gave them all kinds of free models, and now Grav Centurions are dropping out of drop pods. Bikes are very good, too. Much better book overall, quite flexible and pretty powerful. I'd give them a 7. 

Offline haunt

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Re: Space Marines: Power Through the Years
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2015, 08:20:13 PM »
IMHO, anything before 3rd was all power armies. Imagine the Assault Cannon back then, so long at it rolls a hit and not jam you keep rolling, lol.
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Offline The GrimSqueaker

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Re: Space Marines: Power Through the Years
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2015, 08:25:40 PM »
That was the thing, back In The Day, the Assault Cannon jammed nearly as much as it hit. Following fire die and the ilk. Then, then things changed...

I only played Marines in 2nd so I can't comment much otherwise.
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Offline haunt

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Re: Space Marines: Power Through the Years
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2015, 06:49:04 PM »
Don't forget the edition that you're allowed to have chapter traits allowing you to modify your units like devastator squads can have infiltrate this is just an example. Anyways... there are a few more there.
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Offline Wyddr

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Re: Space Marines: Power Through the Years
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2015, 09:55:15 PM »
Don't forget the edition that you're allowed to have chapter traits allowing you to modify your units like devastator squads can have infiltrate this is just an example. Anyways... there are a few more there.

That was 5th Edition with Sicarius. Also 4th Edition Veteran Squads. I never found those particular units to be that big of a deal, myself. Infiltrate is really mostly useful for the advantage of deploying last which, while useful, is hardly overwhelming.

Offline Grand Master Lomandalis

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Re: Space Marines: Power Through the Years
« Reply #7 on: October 1, 2015, 08:02:15 PM »
Don't forget the edition that you're allowed to have chapter traits allowing you to modify your units like devastator squads can have infiltrate this is just an example. Anyways... there are a few more there.

That was 5th Edition with Sicarius. Also 4th Edition Veteran Squads. I never found those particular units to be that big of a deal, myself. Infiltrate is really mostly useful for the advantage of deploying last which, while useful, is hardly overwhelming.
Actually, with 4th edition, your Chapter traits were like the Guard Doctrines in that you could "design your own custom chapter."  So you could take Infiltrate or Tank Hunter as a bonus with the negative trait of No Allies, at a time when the only allies were the Inquisitorial books.
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