Pure Primaris? How To Actually Play Them In 40k!

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Whilst Primaris are good, there are some significant gaps in capability. Come see the good, the bad of how one dedicated hobbyist has played them.

My Primaris Army is taking shape and, whilst incomplete, it has been tested in two tournaments – GW’s Heat 2 and the Derby based Blood and Glory back in 2017.
Like I said, whilst Primaris are good, there are some significant gaps in capability.  I am really enjoying the new models, the building, and the painting.  I am pleased to say certain elements perform really well.
I hope to showcase here some progress made in part-one, and some of the sneaking ahead I had to do to make competitive lists function.

The Basic Battalion

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In keeping with the good-bases/good-faces standard to start with, I am pleased to have got the three troop choices and HQs finished.  The easy build kits do not come with an Auxiliary Grenade launcher (1pt upgrade well worth including).  I used bits from combi-weapons to make a little bolt on for two of the 5-man groups to represent the launcher upgrade.  It has worked well and gives me options to fill out the last few points to hit the 2000 mark on the nose.

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I took the Captain and Lieutenant up to the finished standard. Sadly, these options aren’t the greatest. I think the Captain with the Powerfist and Plasma pistol is a much better option at 106pts – the Powersword just doesn’t get the job done when bigger, nastier things get into the Ultramarine lines. The re-roll ones to wound on the Lieutenant is also a bit limited. A full complement of re-rolls from the Chapter Master (3CP upgrade) has been far more effective. This is, of course, only relevant if you are trying to move away from the main driver of most competitive Ultramarine lists – Guilliman. With the release of new models and rules (Blood Angels, character requirements in specific missions and Custodes) the auto-inclusion of Guilliman is no longer the case.

Tournament Play

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Up until this point the models completed above haven’t actually been employed in a tournament setting – which is a little disappointing.  I can, however, see Blood Angels having some more success with Intercessors thanks to their USR – but that is another story.

I have, however, leaned on 15-20 Assault Hellblasters which are arguably the shining star in the Primaris portfolio.  35pts per model is expensive but you get a lot with it; 2 wounds, Ld9, 6-10in move on average, 2 shots per man despite advance, 2dmg on the overcharge, -4 AP…  these are a great, powerful, maneuverable option. Tied to Guilliman and the re-rolling of missed hit and wounds, the extra advance, the relic banner allowing another 2 shots on a 3+ on death – the efficiencies start to stack overwhelmingly in their favor.

Primaris Shortfalls

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Primaris have little or no access to affordable fly, character, high-speed, long-range, indirect fire, artillery keywords or capabilities.  This is a problem and, in my ‘January 2018’ opinion, means Primaris can’t do it on their own as it stands.

The Repulsor is really good but takes away board control and flexibility in the list. I don’t like having that much of the list tied up in one unit. The lack of jump packs is probably quite deliberate as it gives the normal marine body a lifeline before GW goes fully true scale (I can’t see them going backward).

To cover off the long-range issue I have turned to Manticores (even with the points increase), which are incredibly efficient and always get a return on their points. An AM Psyker is never a bad smite option and at 46 points, who can say no to an extra command point from the Spearhead Detachment?  I would love it if they opened up artillery pieces in the same style seen in 30k (e.g. almost any Iron Warriors 30k has a few Griffons, Basilisks etc with Space Marine crews that look awesome).

Where next?

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I have been strict with purchases in 2018 and I continue to try and finish what is currently sat on the projects shelf (keeping Mrs. HTB happy!).  I have however been buying codices to read the direction of travel in terms of rules (AM, Grey Knights, Index 2, Daemons, Custodes), which has been interesting, to say the least. I think Primarchs will still play a big role, but I can see MSU making a resurgence.

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Part 2 will see the 20 Hellblasters finished to pair with my Librarian HQ leaving 2 Repulsor’s (Part 3) to finish for a Pure Primaris, more casual army.  This fits with my New Year’s resolution I am so far hanging onto (by my fingernails…).

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The Custodes biker-Captains are too good not to do some further thinking and tinkering with.  They are a ‘golden Storm-shield Biker Captain’ from 7th – and who didn’t rate those. I think they have well and truly snuck in on the Grey Knights territory, and are now the ‘sprinkle-in’ option for a fully flavored, hard-hitting Imperium list.

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