Codex Supplement: White Scars – The Goonhammer Review

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We hope you’re not tired of Space Marines yet, because Games Workshop certainly aren’t! Alongside the release of the main Codex: Space Marines, the first two Codex Supplements have dropped. Each of these six planned books is going to provide additional rules that can be used by one of the First Founding Chapters and (importantly) any of their successors – both custom ones using the rules from the main book and (we assume) more storied ones such as the Crimson Fists when we get to the Imperial Fist book.

If you missed our review of Codex: Space Marines, you can find Part 1 here.

White Scars - Richyp - Step 4

Credit: Richyp, see the tutorial here

What that effectively means is that on top of the wealth of cool new toys in the main Codex, every Space Marine army is going to get to dip into one of these supplements for another helping of stratagems, relics, psychic powers and warlord traits and a tune up to one of the most powerful rules Space Marines now get – Combat Doctrines.

In this article, I’ll be taking a look at the White Scars, one of the two books that dropped in the first wave. Our writing team contains a number of skilled Ultramarine players who are busily working on the review of that book, which will be coming along tomorrow. In the meantime, let’s see if anything in the White Scars book might draw people to their lightning strike style of warfare as we bring you the rundown on all of their coolest tricks.

Core Rules

Accessing These Rules

For most of 8th edition, you’ve only technically gotten access to the full suite of subfaction (i.e. “White Scars”) specific rules if your army has literally used the White Scars keyword. Homebrew chapters could choose a trait, but wouldn’t get stratagem, trait or relic access (meaning that in tournaments people just used the main keywords).

That’s changed, and you can now get access to 95% of what’s in this book if you are a White Scars successor chapter. We broke those rules down in part 1 of our main book review, and importantly “successor chapters” in this case includes those using the “build your own” traits.

The White Scars chapter tactic is, if we’re honest, a 7/10 at best – being able to charge after falling back or advancing is very nice for a melee-focused army but the BIKER half of the ability is very weak, as there just aren’t that many Assault or Heavy Weapons on anything that isn’t Attack Bikes to make it worthwhile. You can’t get “advance and charge” as an ability from the mix and match list, but as we’ll discuss later on which other things you might want.

For now, we just need to establish that successor chapters can get most (or in fact with CP expenditure, all) of what’s here, and keep that in mind till we cover them in detail. The breakdown of how to get these abilities is as follows:

  1. If every model in your army is WHITE SCARS or are from the same White Scars successor chapter, models with the Combat Doctrine ability gain the “Devastating Charge” ability. This is an improvement to the Assault doctrine and we’ll talk about that in a moment.
  2. WHITE SCARS detachments and White Scar successor detachments can make use of the stratagems and psychic powers in this book.
  3. If your warlord is WHITE SCARS you can freely choose from normal Codex: Space Marines relics, and/or use either the Relics of Chogoris or the Special Issue Wargear pages in this book.
  4. If your warlord is from a White Scars successor, you can normally only use the Codex: Space Marines relics or the Special Issue Wargear page in this book to pick relics, and can access one of the relics on the Relics of Chogoris page via a stratagem.
  5. If your warlord is WHITE SCARS or a White Scars successor, you can pick his trait from the list in here.

This might seem to be needlessly complicating things, but there are actually some subtleties of who gets what in various soup scenarios. Basically:

  • You are pure White Scars – you get everything. Hooray!
  • You are a pure White Scars successor – you get almost everything. Hooray?
  • You have a soup list with at least one full White Scars/successor detachment – you unlock the stratagems. White Scars/successor Librarians in that detachment can use the powers, but if for some reason you have a White Scars Librarian in another detachment they can’t.
  • You have a soup list with some White Scars/successor characters in it:
    • If one of those characters is your warlord, you can use the special trait table for him, and can use relics from this book.
    • If none of those characters is your warlord, you can’t use the relics from this book, even if you buy an extra relic and add it to a White Scars character. However, if you add a warlord trait to a White Scars character via the “Hero of the Chapter” stratagem they can use the traits table – or at least you can as currently worded.

I’ve added a little caveat on the last one, because the preface to the whole section says “you’ll find rules for White Scars detachments in this section”. Nothing in the way the Warlord Traits bit is then worded actually creates a dependency on having a detachment, but it could be that’s intended and it’ll receive errata soon.

The takeaway is that you have to have a decent commitment to White Scars to get much out of this – you can add a Knight alongside your otherwise Scars army and get everything except the Doctrine, but you can’t make a Supreme Command of Librarians from three different chapters and stick the best relic from each book on each. This is almost certainly what the rather more restrictive wording is intended to prevent, so good job on that GW!

Note: For the rest of this article other than when specifically discussion successor chapters, I’m going to use “White Scars” or “Scars” as shorthand for “White Scars or a Scars successor” because a.) I’m already bored of typing that and b.) It’s what the book does, having defined its terms in the same way!

Doctrine – Devastating Charge

A Heroic White Scars Charge

A heroic White Scars charge against the perfidious Crows. Credit: Ghazk

If your army is 100% Scars, you get the following additional ability on all models with the Combat Doctrines ability:

Whilst the Assault Doctrine is active, when resolving an attack made with a melee weapon by a model with this ability in a unit that made a charge move or performed a Heroic Intervention this turn, add 1 to the Damage characteristic of that weapon for that attack.

This is the kind of ability that really nails the wow factor on first read. +1 damage across the entire army (as long as you’ve charged or intervened) is an absurdly powerful ability, especially when applied to “volume” attacks. Given that you’re also getting an additional -1AP from the baseline Assault Doctrine, that turns the basic knives all your models have in their pockets into D2 AP-1 close combat weapons. Given, as we’ll see, there are also a couple of good ways to boost your strength or wound rolls, when Assault Doctrine becomes active suddenly your basic units, especially all the Primaris stuff with 2A base, can just start punching out pretty much anything. That’s definitely a huge flavour win here: Once the time for a heroic charge rolls around, the entire White Scars army just slams into the enemy and starts tearing them apart.

The main challenge with this ability is the timing though. Because of the way Doctrines cycle, the earliest you can have this active is on the third turn, and unlike the Ultramarines, Scars don’t have any way to shortcut this. So the problem is that if you’ve invested heavily into dedicated melee builds, you probably can’t afford not to deploy them until turn 3. The humble Assault Marine starts to look pretty good once this switches on, but what’s he doing until then?

Where I think this is going to end up being best is just a heavy infantry pressure build that pivots to assaulting in the mid game, perhaps backed up by a small number of dedicated shock troops waiting around in Deep Strike until turn 3. Scars get some very good tools for helping units to make combat out of Deep Strike, meaning that I find the idea of having one big squad of something (probably Reivers or Vanguard Veterans) waiting in the wings quite appealing. The core of what I would want to do with this, however, is pressure my opponent with lots of Intercessors, Incursors and Scout Bikes, then when the time is right pull the trigger on a big unit of Reivers coming in from deep strike alongside some strength- and wound-boosting auras and run buck wild on whatever was in my way.

As with a lot of abilities like this, you get the biggest benefit when using high volume low quality attacks rather than things that are already good, but this is also very nice on characters – it turns d3 damage things like power fists or the Khan’s lance (unique to this book) into pseudo-thunder hammers, and makes choices that are normally deeply questionable like lightning claws look pretty good. Characters also have the advantage that they can get this when they aren’t initiating combat – as long as a model isn’t actually in base contact, it can still heroic if an enemy ends within an inch, and you should always declare this when you can with your Scars characters so they get this buff.

That’s actually worth flagging just before we wrap up this section: Unlike a lot of similar effects we’re used to (looking at you Blood Angels) this doesn’t take effect if you have been charged, only when you charge, so make sure you’re on the offensive.

This is a great ability and as we’ll explore when we look at some units that work well as Scars, there are definitely ways to get a lot out of it, whether you want to be Scars or a successor. My only real concern with it is that compared to the Ultramarine’s doctrine it’s a lot harder to use, simply because of the minimum 2-turn delay on it. We don’t yet know what the remaining four special Doctrines will look like, but when we’re evaluating them we’ll need to remember that the further down the chain they are the harder they are to use.

This is definitely presenting much more raw power than the Ultramarine one, but turn 3 is a long time to wait for your army to “switch on” to a degree I find concerning. Cards on the table – I read the Ultramarine book first, so having seen that they got some additional stratagems to manipulate Doctrine I assumed Scars would have something similar, perhaps the ability to bypass a turn by either starting the game in Tactical or skipping straight from Devastator to Assault. They don’t, and while we’re going to spend the rest of this review looking at all the cool things you can do with this book, if Scars don’t make it onto the top tables I think being forced to wait for turn 3 to really start going will be why.

Psychic Discipline – Stormspeaking

Now we get to go onto the good stuff, because the Stormspeaking discipline is great – it has that perfect mixture of well-designed “standalone” abilities and stuff that aligns extremely well with the army’s plan. The powers are:

  • Blasting Gale – WC7: pick an enemy unit within 18″. They cannot advance and roll one fewer dice to charge until your next turn. A teeny bit of a miss here, as the Tenebrous Curse power from the main book usually does it better. However, that can’t affect units with FLY, and this can be an option against such armies. It’s definitely one of the weaker ones here, however, as this discipline is extremely potent. C
  • Lightning Call – WC7: Does D3 mortal wounds to the closest unit within 18″ (note that, unlike Smite, it is not restricted to visible units). If the unit isn’t destroyed, you do an additional mortal on a D6 roll of 4+, then a 5+, then a 6+. An extra Smite equivalent is useful to have around, especially as it lets you dedicate a Librarian to double tapping on mortals if you need them to, and this is at least a decent one. You average about 2.7 wounds each time you successfully cast this, which is just fine by me. B
  • Ride the Winds – WC6: A friendly unit within 12″ gets +2 to Advance and Charge rolls till your next psychic phase. This is fantastic – assuming you’re on the main Scars tactic it lets one of your units properly hoof it across the board to get into combat, and even if you’re a successor being able to add +2 to charges on something coming out of Deep Strike is absolutely instrumental, especially as it stacks with the Hungry for Battle successor trait for a total +3. This is exactly the kind of thing this army needs to make what it wants to do work (+2 to charge attempts via psychic powers was, in fact, exactly what I said Ynnari were critically missing in my review of them). A+++
    TheChirurgeon’s Note: 
    This power is straight fire. Note that, unlike the Canticle of Hate, this one actually happens after your Deep Strikers hit the board, so it takes less setup work. It’s going to be particularly great for jump pack Librarians, who can deep strike in with some friends and drop this. It also would have been great on bike Librarians, if Games Workshop hadn’t just functionally removed them from the army. At Warp Charge 6, it’s a steal.
  • Storm Wreathed – WC6: A friendly unit within 12″ cannot be shot at in Overwatch this turn, and they get a chance to deal mortal wounds on a successful charge. While less “definitively good” than the previous power, the upside is that you don’t have to choose! Do I want the +2 charge wrecking ball I am yeeting at my opponent to be immune to overwatch as well? Sure! Don’t pick this if there’s nothing that’s really going to threaten your chargers, but against anything like Tau, Astra Militarum/Imperial Guard with Defensive Gunners, or any kind of auto-hit weapon, this is gold. B
  • Spirits of Chogoris – WC6: Pick an enemy unit within 18″ and give it -1LD and (vastly more importantly) -1 to hit until your next psychic phase. This is a “good” version of this effect (compare it to Harlequins, where the penalty only affects attacks against Harlequins infantry) and nice and easy to deploy, and will be fantastic in any matchup involving big centrepiece units like Knights. B
    TheChirurgeon’s Note:
    Normally I’m down on Ld modifiers but if you’re up against Chaos Knights, dropping the Ld on a Dreadblade by 1 can be pretty strong since it can cause them to fail their Damnation Rolls, so keep an eye out for opportunities to do that.
  • Eye of the Storm – WC6: Roll a dice for each enemy unit within 12″ of the caster, and do a mortal wound for each 4+ (or 3+ against units with FLY). Once more Ynnari weep in the corner somewhere – the huge radius on this and bonus against fly make this an actual serious contender and a lot better than the death-elf version. Were it not for the fact that this discipline is deep, I’d expect to see this used quite a bit – as it is it’s merely an extra “nice to have” if you double dip on Librarians. B-
    TheChirurgeon’s Note: 
    I didn’t think much of this power at first, but it’s got real legs if you put it on a jump pack Librarian who can drop down near the enemy’s front. Which you are going to take like 100% of the time with White Scars.

This is an exceptional discipline – every power has uses, and while there are ones that won’t see much play, that’s mostly because of the depth of the selection. Ride the Winds is the absolute lynchpin here – I struggle to conceive of why I would ever bring this army out without access to it, but there’s an extremely strong second tier, to the point where I expect to see the Tome of Malcador relic (from Codex: Space Marines) out on White Scars Librarians quite often just to be able to pick three from this list!

Note that White Scars Librarians cannot mix and match their powers from different lists – If you take Stormspeaking, you’re all-in on it. But that’s going to be just fine.

Units

White Scars feel like they get a teensy bit short-changed on units, receiving only two choices. Now, it’s a little bit unclear here whether a successor chapter can take a Khan on Bike – nothing in the rules says they can, but equally the Ultramarines book spends a lot of time talking about how lots of successor chapters have Tyrranic War Veterans and then doesn’t give them a way to take them. My current suspicion is that a quick FAQ will grant the non-named options to successors, but for now both of these are theoretically for pure Scars only (and Kor’Sarro will be staying thus either way). As it is, Kor’sarro is the really interesting one anyway.

TheChirurgeon’s Note: The big loss is Librarians on bikes and Company Veteran Bike Squads, who were Index: Imperium units and, having not received the Angels of Death rule, have been functionally removed from the Space Marines’ list. While I understand Games Workshop’s reasons for doing this, it’s a pretty big flavor fail and leaves the Codex feeling pretty bare.

Kor’sarro Khan

Following Marneus Calgar across the Rubicon Primaris, we have Kor’sarro Khan, and he’s a beast. Weighing in at a very reasonable 105 pts, he’s basically a Primaris Captain with a special (and pretty good) melee weapon in Moonfang: A S6 AP-3 D3 Damage sword which can re-roll wounds and damage against characters. Given he’ll be on 6 attacks most of the time, that’s extremely tasty, likely allowing him to butcher pretty much any T5 or less character in a single round of combat, and to actually put some hurt in against bigger characters like Knights.

This ability, and the power of everyone around him, is only enhanced by his incredibly powerful Aura ability “For the Khan!“. Friendly Scars models within 6” that have charged or Heroically Intervened  get +1 to their wounds rolls that turn, making them pseudo-Blood Angels for a turn. That’s exceptional: It means that Kor’sarro himself is hitting and wounding on 2s against anything T5 or less, and he can actually narrowly one-round a Daemon Prince on mean dice, but it comes into its own when the army makes that turn 3 pivot from close-in shooting to just all starting punching. If you’ve brought the White Scars’ Banner of The Eagle for its +1 S bonus along as well (and you probably should), you can line up so that even your basic Intercessors are wounding Knights on 4+. And when they’re at AP-1 D2 on their melee attacks, that’s suddenly quite a big deal.

Finally, as well as all the standard Captain stuff (iron halo, Rites of Battle) he gets a bird. The bird can be fired at someone to do a MW on a 4+. Go bird. Ca-caw.

Kor’sarro requires some setup, but the payoff is extremely good, and he’s a very strong draw to being actual White Scars rather than a successor – the fact that you can stack his +1 to wound with a +1S aura isn’t really replicable in any other way. You want to be getting him up in the face of your opponents, so having him ride around in an Impulsor with a 5-squad of Intercessors makes a lot of sense. You can even use its “Assault Transport” ability to pop him out after moving to provide a re-roll bubble up front.
TheChirurgeon’s Note: I might also look at dumping a more traditional Command Squad into the Impulsor with Kor’sarro Khan – team him up with a Lieutenant, Primaris Ancient with the Banner, Chaplain, Apothecary, and Librarian, so you can dump all of your boosts into one mobile platform. It’s a lot of eggs in one basket though, and you may regret it if the Impuslor blows up and it costs you a character.

The only real strike against him is that for fluff reasons he isn’t a Chapter Master and cannot be made one via that stratagem (because he’s a Named Character). There’s no nice way to put it – that sucks, and forces you to decide between spending points on somewhat redundant buff coverage or losing out on the best possible auras. He also gets a bad warlord trait if you make him the boss – don’t.

Ultimately that shouldn’t sour you on him though – he’s both an unusually powerful murder machine in his own right, and an absolutely incredible force multiplier. “Kor’sarro and some buddies in an Impulsor” is how I expect most serious attempts at competitive Scars to begin.

Khan on Bike

Somewhat less excitingly, you can also pick a Khan on Bike. For 100pts he’s fine – he’s basically a Captain with a locked-in set of wargear to represent a specific kit that GW surprisingly still produces. He gets a Khan’s lance and a buckler. The Khan’s lance is pretty cool – it’s either a D3 damage power sword or, when you charge or heroically intervene, a power fist without the hit modifier. As we’ve already covered, you can often heroic even when you’ve been charged, so this is a powerful weapon a lot of the time. The buckler gives your non-invulnerable saves +1 in melee, making this guy a very tough cookie against chaff. You have the option of making him a Chapter Master via the stratagem as well, as he does have the right keywords.

As I said, he’s basically fine, but I’m not super high on this guy, and the overwhelming reason is “because the Teeth of Terra exist”. A regular bike captain with the Teeth is 10 points less than this, and the +3A the Teeth give you are exceptional when comboed with the Scars Doctrine – the more attacks the merrier. You can also then make up the points with a storm shield, giving you a big endurance boost against the kind of targets that can seriously threaten a Space Marine Biker.

I expect that to be a more common default build, so is there any use case for this guy? I think there might be – the main thing he has going for him is that, while it isn’t as good as the Teeth, he doesn’t need a relic pick to have a decent weapon, freeing him up to take something else. There’s a potentially very powerful combo available between relics and warlord traits that this guy is plausibly the best delivery mechanism for (his buckler actually contributes!), so when we get to those we’ll take a look. For now, in “default” cases, the Captain with Teeth and Shield is probably better, but this guy’s fine.

TheChirurgeon’s Note: I’m higher on these guys than Wings, but I also think there’s more utility for bikes than he does.

Notable Core Units

Every supplement gets its unique tricks, so they’re all going to make some of the core tools in the main Space Marine book look a bit more attractive. These are the units that I think look more attractive in a Scars force:

Captain on Bike

Mentioned above. Sadly there’s not actually a massive depth of reasons to want to be on a bike for a character, but if you want to go fluffy with Scars a Bike Captain with the Teeth of Terra and a storm shield is a nasty, nasty thing. You can even add more attacks via the Chogorian Storm trait. More usefully, either this guy or the Khan on Bike can be set up as a potent “gotcha” unit via the Master of Snares warlord trait and the Wrath of the Heavens relic. More on that later on.

Terminator Ancient

Let’s get this out of the way as a lot of the good stuff depends on this – the White Scars have a really, really good relic banner (Banner of the Eagle, +1S) and you want to get it in the right place for a powerful charge in turn 3. With that in mind, a Terminator Ancient is very likely the best delivery mechanism and probably belongs in lots of Scars lists.

Assault Terminators with Claws

As I went through the rules here I found myself thinking, perhaps for the first time this edition, “I wonder how much lightning claw Assault Terminators cost?”. Weird. Perhaps writing about Marines for a week has driven me quite mad?

But perhaps it’s genius, because I actually think this might be legit. A full 10 of these weighs in at 330pts – not cheap, but not “this is your whole army” expensive. Scars have the tools to land a very reliable delivery of a squad coming from Reserves – Ride the Winds gives them +2″ to their charge distances, and the Fierce Rivalries stratagem gives them the ability to roll 3D6 and discard the lowest when making their roll for charge distance. Add in the option of a CP re-roll and that’s an extremely reliable charge out of Deep Strike, and if these guys hit while Assault Doctrine is active they will body pretty much anything in the game. If you can get them into either Kor’sarro’s aura or the relic banner, they’ll take down a Knight in a single round of combat, and if they aren’t they can still land the kill via “Honour the Chapter”, or get most of the way in a single swing with Fury of the First.

Unlike some fancy combos that will one-round a Knight, this is also pretty universal – the output is spread over 41 attacks that re-roll their To Wound rolls with high AP, meaning that you can basically point them at whatever unit you don’t like and flatten them. Against Orks you don’t even need to wait for T3 – get Kor’sarro next to them and pop “Fury of the First” and they’ll clinically butcher 30 Boyz in a swing.

Ride the Wind and their Chapter Tactic then also keeps them “live” after that initial impact, helping them to get to whatever you want to kill next on the double. Even against a Tau gunline you can use Storm Wreathed to get them past the Overwatch fire, and leave your opponent with a real headache trying to clear them.

I’ve said Assault Terminators here, but you can also do it with Tartaros and it might be better – they gain a point of movement in exchange for losing a teleport homer. Most of the time I think that’s a good trade, so if you have the models go wild.

Lightning claws being bad has practically been a watchword of 8th, and in the main Marine book even the fact that they got a small discount doesn’t really make them worth taking. Here though, every tool the Scars have is basically a perfect complement to this squad – DS charge boosters, +S/wound and increased damage per swing. It all adds up to something that looks genuinely compelling, and I’d be keen to try this out.

Let’s be honest, too – if you have a squad of lightning claw Assault Terminators hanging around you may as well try this out, because they aren’t doing anything else. If I’m right, thank me later.

Reivers

Blood Angels Reivers

Blood Angels Reivers. There’s white on them, ok? Not many people have White Scars armies that they’ve sent us pictures of. Credit: Jack Hunter

My basic take on this army is that you probably want one big unit with high volume attacks that deep strikes in on turn 3 and trashes stuff. Grav-chute knife Reivers can’t quite flatten anything like the clawminators can, but they’ll put a hurting on plenty of stuff, once again especially if you get either/both of Kor’sarro and the banner near them. At 180pts for the full unit, it’s a much more modest investment that the Terminators are, so if you weigh it up and believe that having more access to other stuff will compensate for a less brutal big hit then go for it. Against anything smaller than a Knight they’ll still put in plenty of work, but be duly warned that they’re a lot less good against anything that’s actually got T8.

You could theoretically also ride Reivers around in Impulsors, or bring squads in on the back lines, but I mostly wouldn’t bother – Intercessors still hit plenty hard once the Doctrine goes up, and do much more before that. You might find space for a small squad of these to sneak into the backline on turns 2 or 3, but mostly I see them as your “restrained” choice for the big bomb drop.

Vanguard Veterans

White Scars Veterans

White Scars Veterans. Credit: Ghazk

Note: There is currently some, shall we say, “enthusiastic” debate online as to whether taking two chainswords on VanVets is possible due to the odd way their entry is worded. My current stance is that it probably is supposed to be possible, simply because otherwise taking a pair of Lightning Claws is impossible under the same wording. However, we encourage you to not start converting up dual chainsword VanVets until the 2-week FAQ clarifies this.

You might be starting to sense a pattern here, as we tour through every nasty melee deep striker in the army. Vanguard Veterans are your option if you want the output of Terminators at a cheaper price, and don’t mind having an extreme glass jaw. You can have a squad of 10 Jump Pack VanVets with claws for 270 points, and they’ll hit just as hard as the Terminators. What they’ll lack is the ability to take even slightly as much of a punch, so I would strongly recommend that you dial back the lightning claws on a few models in exchange for just taking chainswords and storm shields (which at least brings your costs down a bit). You’ll very much want to try and get them into cover, and might need to lean on Transhuman Physiology as well, but I’d say scattering 3 sword/shield models among the rest keeps your damage at a very decent level while giving you some durability. A unit outfitted thus comes to 246pts – a nice medium between the Reiver and Terminator options.

In general I think I prefer just going with the Terminators, but these guys do have one more thing going for them – they can move. Anything buffed by Ride the Winds isn’t slow, but with fly and a base 12″ these guys cover a tonne of ground, so if your opponent can’t shift them they’ve got a real problem on their hands. It’s also much easier for these guys to trade close to rate or trade up – if these smash 30 Orks then you’re only 36pts out from making back this unit’s points, which sounds pretty tempting.

The main reason I’m less sold than with the Terminators is that if your opponent manages to properly screen you out with these, killing them just isn’t hard. 10Ws in power armour, even with a few storm shields, will melt to many armies, certainly much more quickly than 20Ws of Terminators do, and my gut feeling is that the vastly higher resilience of the clawminators gives them the nod here.

The other option here is to go vastly more bare bones, taking a pair of chainswords on most models and again 2-3 with storm shields. That’ll give you a squad on par with the Reivers in cost but with more attacks, and more mobility once they’re down on the board. These aren’t going to kill as much as the clawminators, but will still do respectable work if you get them into either buff aura. I’d probably add Master Crafted lightning claws to the Sergeant to give them that extra level of oomph against harder targets. 10 Vets with a couple of shields and a pair of lightning claws comes in at a 184pts. I think that’s probably the most compelling option – it’s priced on-par with the Reivers and hits quite a bit harder in that first turn of Assault.

Assault Marines

Note: If dual chainsword VanVets turns out to be a no, these look a little more appealing.

You could, but should you?

Proooobably not. Because you get to double up on chainswords for free in the Vanguard Veteran squad, and they get the base additional attack, they get +2A model for only +2 points. Given we’re mostly interested in one spectacular shock unit, that’s far too good a trade to pass up.There might occasionally be some value to filling a Fast Attack slot over an Elites if you’re filling out an Outrider, but it’s so marginal that I don’t think it will come up much.

The final possible use for these would be a very cheap foot squad to take with the Encirclement stratagem and go after some back-line units, but I’d rather just pay 10pts more and have a minimum squad of Scout Bikes, as they unload a tonne of shooting straight away.

Poor Assault Marines.

Bikes/Scout Bikes

Credit: OhDearGodNo

White Scars are the bike army. Are bikers good in it?

Yes!

The main Marine book already has a great stratagem for bikes in the form of Skilled Riders, which gives a squad that moved a 4++ or one that advances a 3++. Most armies have to choose between most of their shooting and the 3++, but not Scars – the Born in the Saddle stratagem lets a unit that Advanced shoot as normal. Because their trait also lets them ignore penalties for moving and shooting, that puts us, much like with the Terminators, into the unfamiliar territory of trying to math out if there are any worthwhile Attack Bike builds. Honestly, the abilities here lean so much towards having one huge squad that you probably do want one, along with maxing out the special weapon allocation across them, because as if Skilled Rider wasn’t enough you can also make these even tougher with the Ride Fast, Ride Hard stratagem, giving shooting -1 to hit against them till your next turn. Obviously spending 4CP buffing up a unit is a lot, but it’s the kind of thing that can be worth it when it creates such a nightmarishly hard to shift unit that goes straight down your enemy’s throat.

A full squad of bikers with Attack Bike (w/ heavy bolter), two plasma guns and a combi-plasma (plus chainswords on the rest) weighs in at a meaty but not insurmountable 252pts. Given you can also set these up in Encirclement (which lets them deep strike within 6″ of a board edge) and they’re pretty potent coming out of that (thanks to Bolter Discipline) that’s pretty compelling. You obviously hope to have terrain you can set them up behind to zoom out on turn 1, but if you don’t deep striking is a good alternative that also gives your opponent a really hard to shift blob to worry about. You could also aim at the other end of the squad size spectrum and run a small unit with two meltas and a combi melta – that’s a nasty little threat to pop out and bully a backline artillery piece, and a lot harder to just immediately kill in response than something similar done with Assault Marines. I think running a tricked out squad is probably the default because of how much it rewards using the stratagems, but this could be good too.

The other bike option, and actually the vastly more used in current armies, is to take Scout Bikes. These only have a 4+ save rather than 3+, but are 2″ faster and all carry a shotgun as well as their mounted guns. The formidable anti-infantry firepower a squad represents has thus made them at least somewhat popular, and they’re obviously good in Scars as well. My belief is that, counter to what we’ve seen thus far, normal bikers will get the nod for full-sized squads. Scouts are less customisable than regular bikes, only being able to pick a shotgun or the (quite pricy) Astartes grenade launcher on non-sergeant models, and if I’m investing massive amounts of points into a unit I want it to be able to present at least some threat to most things, which I think a trio of plasma guns does quite well. I also want the option of bringing these on from deep strike to be attractive, and Scouts look less attractive there – they’re possibly going to be outside 12″, and thus not get to use their shotguns, and you can’t activate any of the defensive stratagems the turn they arrive, so the lack of a 3+ save gives your opponent a window to try and wipe them.

I do really like a minimum squad of these for back-line harassment via deep strike through. Turning up in tactical doctrine gives them 18 anti-infantry shots at S4 AP-1, allowing them to seriously dent an objective-holding unit (that’s 6 and a bit dead Guardsmen right off the bat).

If you like bikes, Scars are definitely the best place to play them (unless there’s some extreme twist waiting for us in like, the Iron Hands book or something).

Impulsors

We love the Impulsor anyway, but it’s near its peak here. You want some way to deliver Kor’sarro and some Intercessor buddies into the fray, and the Impulsor is right here tossing its flowing locks at you and winking suggestively.

Look, I’m an Eldar player, flying transports trigger something primal.

Aaaanyway, aside from “you want to deliver Primaris punchmen”, Scars give the Impulsor a couple of extra tricks that make them even better than normal. Ride Fast, Ride Hard isn’t restricted to bikers, so if you have some high value targets in one of these you can give it -1 to hit. The other neat trick is Wind Swift. This isn’t cheap, but for 2CP let a unit move twice in the movement phase, and doesn’t have any wording that precludes you triggering the Impulsor’s “Assault Transport” ability to disembark the contents after the second move. Sure they can’t charge, but I hope I don’t need to draw you a diagram to demonstrate why being able to move 28″ then drop out a squad of Intercessors (or even Hellblasters) out is an absurdly great proposition.

The Impulsor is a huge pickup for all Primaris armies, but here it’s phenomenal – the extra tricks push it to the next level.

Land Raider Crusaders with Centurions Inside

Ultramarines Land Raider Crusader

Ultramarines Land Raider Crusader. Credit: JD Reynolds

Other Scars transports are jealous of the handsome, sophisticated Impulsor’s Assault Transport ability, so they received the ability to do the same thing for 1CP via Lightning Debarkation. That’s pretty cool, and the wording still allows you to trigger this after double moving. The “no charge” rider is still there though, and sadly the writers were prescient enough to forbid the use of this on a Stormraven.

I’m most keen on Primaris infantry, and the Impulsor thus has my heart (don’t tell either my wife or my Wave Serpents), but there’s one very funny thing you can do with it. Loading up a Land Raider Crusader with five Assault Centurions and a Librarian and chuck them into cover in the mid-board straight away actually seems kind of wild. Assault Centurions got a point cut and a buff in the main book, but they still have terminal problems with your opponent just being able to run the hell away from them. That’s still somewhat true here, but in any sort of game where you want to fight for the board centre (such as checks notes most ITC games), being able to respond to whatever your opponent has put there by dumping 10d6 flamer shots and 60 bolter shots onto it seems pretty good. Sure you can’t charge, but what are they going to do, charge you? As it happens, even if they do and survive the strike back Scars have a fall back and shoot stratagem. Their friendly librarian chucks Ride the Wind on them to buff their advance the next turn (meaning they can actually strike a decent distance with their advance and charge), and sticks -1 to hit on your opponent’s best thing, and then you just demand that they come right at you. At 260pts for the unit it’s also not the priciest option.

The more I write about this the more it actually sounds great.

Hmm. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Someone with Assault Centurions and a LR Crusader please try this and report back. Please remember to load up “Ace of Spades” on your phone when you do.

Stratagems, Traits and Relics

We’ve already talked about quite a few of the Scars stratagems as we’ve gone through the units, and that’s likely to be the pattern for most of these reviews – the unique strats are probably the “deepest” part of the books (at least, the two we’ve seen) in terms of what they enable. We’ll quickly go through the list, and then dig into the Warlord Traits and Relics unique to the Scars.

Stratagems

  • Born in the Saddle – 1CP: A BIKER unit that advanced can still shoot. Already discussed (see “Bikes/Scout Bikes” in the Units section), very nice with a big Bike Squad. B
  • Butchered Quary – 1CP: When an enemy falls back, one of your INFANTRY/BIKER units can make one melee attack each against them, then consolidate after the fall back move is done (though you can’t end within 1″ of an enemy unit, and have to go closer to the unit that fell back). Pretty cool – you’re mostly loading up on volume infantry attacks rather than quality ones, but taking a swing at a few surviving infantry trying to move onto an objective is cool – as is potentially re-arranging your guys onto one. It’s also worth noting that there’s no positional check on who gets to attack, so even if you only tagged one model in your whole squad gets to punch once each. That’s pretty cool with the lightning claw bomb. Finally, you can use this sneakily with a character to set up a heroic intervention. A nice thing to have for one CP. Note – although the final move is like a consolidate, it isn’t actually one, so you can’t combo it with Strike for the Heart (which we’ll see later). B
  • Wind Swift – 2CP: Double move a unit. You can only advance on one of the two moves, and cannot shoot, charge or do any psychic after. Good for early positioning and pushing a unit to an out-of-reach objective on the game’s last turn. A
  • Ride Hard, Ride Fast – 1CP: Your opponent gets -1 to hit (with ranged weapons) against a unit that advanced. Very well priced at 1CP, and very nice that it has no keyword restrictions. A
  • Lightning Debarkation – 1CP: Disembark after moving. Has some hilarious implications as discussed above. Unlike the Impulsor, doesn’t stop you doing it if you advanced either. A
  • Khan’s Champion – 1CP: This has a matching strat in the Ultras book, so we assume it’s probably going to be largely generic. You can give one of a sub-set of the “lower tier” relics – the Special-Issue Wargear – to a sergeant. The most relevant of these is definitely going to be the “Master Crafted” relic – this gives a weapon of your choice a flat +1D. The vast majority of the cool alpha unit combos we’ve seen above can only be enhanced by this – MC lightning claws are fantastic, the basic Reiver knife is pretty good and giving a Centurion sergeant a MC hurricane bolter is pretty funny. The other choices…honestly don’t get much of a look in (they’re Digital Weapons, Headtaker’s Trophies and Stormwrath bolts). B
  • Hunter’s Fusillade – 1CP: After a unit advances, Rapid Fire and Heavy Weapons become Assault. Inferior to Born in the Saddle on bikes, but lets everything else get in on the advance and shoot action, albeit at a -1 to hit. Fine when you want it. B
  • Chogorian Thunderbolts – 1CP: Essentialy Hammer of Wrath (dealing a mortal wound to a charged enemy unit on a D6 roll of 6 for each model in a charging unit) but for BIKER units. Pretty weak – at best this is 1.5MWs average on a hugely expensive unit – could easily have been a bit more generous, I think. D
  • Quarry of the Khan – 1CP: I know the idea gives Americans the vapours, but some tournaments use Maelstrom cards. This allows you to guarantee that the first card you draw is “Kingslayer”. Take it from a Euro player that this is normally horrible – Kingslayer is usually the last card you want to see turn 1! The only time this might be OK is against an army with a Knight or a Lord Discordant as their warlord, in which case go wild, but generally, avoid like the plague, despite it being a flavour win. F
  • A Mighty Trophy – 1CP: Another flavour win that’s horrible to actually use. if you kill the enemy warlord with a melee attack, your army is fearless for the rest of the game. Once you’re at the point of killing their warlord in melee, you are unlikely to have a spare point to blow on an incredibly marginal buff. F
  • Fierce Rivalries – 1CP: Use at the start of your charge phase, and roll 3D6 and discard the lowest on your first charge. Yes please – combining this with Ride the Wind gives you a charge that you’re pretty unlikely to fail, exactly what you want when bringing in powerful Deep Strikers. A
  • Strike for the Heart – 2CP: Increase your consolidation move to 3+D3″, or 6+D6″ if the unit’s Move characteristic is more than 10″. This can do some crazy stuff, although having to get closer to the nearest enemy will always hold it back a bit. It’s potentially best on a bike character that’s just killed something, allowing them to thoroughly redeploy into the thick of it, but it’s honestly difficult to predict exactly when this is good. I strongly suspect, however, that every Scars player will have at least one game where this does something crazy – keep your eyes open for big opportunities. B
  • Feinting Withdrawl – 1CP: Fall back and shoot. Sure – good, clean fun, priced to move. This is just a good effect to have access to and being able to Fall Back with a squad of bikers, unload its shots, then charge back in (thanks to the Scars tactic) is nuts. A
  • Tempered by Wisdom – 1CP: If your warlord is not a named character, you can give them an additional trait from the list in this book. There’s at least one great combo with this, and it’s a cool trick to have. This is another one that seems to be generic to this series of books. B
  • The Eternal Hunt – 2CP: Once per battle, while in Assault Doctrine, give your army an additional point of AP on 6s to wound. This army is CP hungry and can build bombs that will flatten stuff without this, but if you do manage to get a lot of charges lined up on Turn 3 and have the points, consider popping it. C
  • Encirclement – 1CP: Set up a unit “outflanking” and able to come in at the end of a movement phase within 6″ of the board edge. It’s kind of wild that this doesn’t have any keyword restrictions (wrap it up Space Wolves), meaning that using this to keep gunline elements safe and bring them in turn 2 is possible – especially as the trigger timing on the main book Big Guns Never Tire stratagem doesn’t prevent it from working with this. This is the kind of thing, especially in concert with having a fall back and shoot strat, that might look tempting for a successor detachment in a soup list. In pure Scars though, I think this is most likely to be seen bringing in massive tooled-up bike squads, as it lets them ensure they get in safely against armies with elements that threaten to kill a lot of them turn 1. A
  • Gift of the Khans – 1CP: If your warlord is from a successor, you can take one “top tier” relic instead of a “low tier” or main book one. There’s some extremely good choices on this list for both a successor build trying to optimise melee in a different way, and a putative one trying to make use of some of the good support for shooty vehicles the stratagems offer, so I expect most heavy successor builds to use this. B

Warlord Traits

White Scars - Richyp - Step 4.1

Credit: Richyp

White Scars get their own suite of Warlord Traits to play with, and they’re pretty good. They all revolve around melee combat and turning your warlord into a melee monster.

  1. Deadly Hunter. After your warlord finishes a charge move, pick an enemy unit within 1″ and roll a D6. On a 2+ that unit suffers a mortal wound. This is OK by itself, given how likely the mortal wound is, but it’s way outclassed by most other trait options. C
  2. Chogorian Storm. If the Warlord performs a charge move or a Heroic Intervention, they get +D3 Attacks until the end of the turn. This is a big boost if you’ve built a melee monster with the intent to fight twice. B
  3. Trophy Taker. Every time this Warlord kills a character, add 1 to its Attacks characteristic for the rest of the battle. The only dud of the bunch, really. Sadly, this is also the Warlord Trait that Kor’sarro gets stuck with, and it’s a good reason to not make him your Warlord. D
  4. Master Rider. Biker Only. Your Warlord can re-roll charges. Also, when resolving an attack against this Warlord, subtract 1 from the To Hit roll if it advanced in the previous Movement phase. This is a great way to make sure your Warlord makes it into combat, and when paired with your ability to Advance and charge on the same turn, gives your Warlord some insane threat range. It’s also worth noting that the penalty to hit does not specify ranged attacks, so if you advance and charge, you’ll reap the benefits in the Fight phase as well. Always be Advancing. A
  5. Hunter’s Instincts. When resolving an attack made by this warlord against an enemy MONSTER or VEHICLE unit, add 1 to its To Hit and To Wound rolls. A great way to turn your Khan/Captain into a monster-killing machine and mitigate the downside of a Thunder Hammer. B
  6. Master of Snares. When an enemy unit within 1″ of your Warlord tries to fall back, roll a D6. On a 4+, they can’t fall back this turn. This is a really great ability and makes whatever unit your Warlord is paired with very, very nasty and difficult to escape. Note that you roll the D6, so with a CP re-roll your odds of preventing a Fall Back are 75%. A

Given you can potentially stack two of these, the really nasty combo that stands out is “Master Rider” with “Master of Snares”. Combining this with either a Khan on Bike or Bike Captain with a storm shield, and maybe adding the “Wrath of the Heavens” relic bike gives you a very dangerous missile – you can advance 22″ (effectively with FLY) and slam into your opponent’s most powerful shooting unit. With -1 to hit and good defensive stats, you’re very likely to make it through the ensuing combat, and potentially leave your opponent down one of their best models. If you’ve got a Librarian nearby you can also add in Overwatch immunity, meaning that even against Tau you can zip in and lock down some of their castle (and bikes have a nice big base to tag multiple things).

Master of Snares in general really is fantastic – we have seen this effect recently on the Contorted Epitome, and it’s the main strength of Drukhari Wyches, but no-Fall Back abilities are exceptionally rare and this one is pretty easy to deploy to your advantage. While relics and double stacking traits makes the best use of it, just sticking it on any bike captain is potent enough that this is one of the tricks from this book we might see in soup (especially as the warlord traits are actually slightly easier to get access to than the relics).

Relics

As we’ll see in other supplements, the White Scars have two sets of Relics: Relics of Chogoris, which can only be taken by White Scars, and Special-Issue Wargear, which can be taken by either White Scars or White Scars successor chapters. Half of the Special-Issue Wargear (the Adamantine Mantle, Artificer Armour, Master-Crafted Weapon, and Digital Weapons) are also in the Ultramarines supplement, and I’d wager we can expect those to pop up in more Codex Supplements.

Relics of Chogoris

  • Mantle of the Stormseer. Psykers only. When a model with this relic takes a Psychic test to manifest a Stormspeaking power, add 1 to the total. Not super-exciting, but because the Stormspeaking Discipline is so good, a powerful relic to take. B
  • The Hunter’s Eye. At the start of your Shooting phase, pick a White Scars unit within 6″ of a model from your army with this relic. Until the end of the phase, ranged attacks made by that unit ignore cover. This is OK, but it just doesn’t line up well with what your core army’s focus is likely to be. C
  • Banner of the Eagle. Ancients only. Friendly White Scars units within 6″ of a model with this relic get +1 Strength. This is a huge benefit, especially for combat units coming in with S4 or S5 attacks, like the aforementioned Assault Terminators. It combos extremely well with Kor’sarro Khan’s ability to give nearby chargers +1 to their To Wound rolls, giving you the ability to wound pretty much anything in the game on at least a 4+. This is the kind of relic you build around. A
  • Wrath of the Heavens. Biker only. Soups up a model’s bike to have 16″ movement and be able to travel over other models and terrain features in the movement phase as if they weren’t there. A great way for a bike Khan or Bike Captain to do a sick wheelie right over a screening unit and murder a character someone your opponent thought was safe. The 16″ Movement is also a nice range boost, but you’ll need to be careful you don’t out-run your supporting units and leave your Bike Khan/Captain exposed. B
  • Scimitar of the Great Khan. Replaces a power sword or relic blade. It’s a S+1, D2 Power Sword that does 4 damage when you roll an unmodified 6 to wound with it. It’s OK, but you’re likely going to want to run Teeth of Terra instead. C
  • Plume of the Plainsrunner. Add 1 to the Advance and Charge rolls for units within 6″ of the model holding this relic. This is a fantastic boost and the way it combos with other abilities and stratagems like Fierce Rivalries and Ride the Winds helps ensure that if you want to get a charge in, you can make that shit happen. I’m already picturing a Terminator Librarian Warlord sporting this relic dropping in with a squad of 10 Assault Terminators who can rip off 6″ charges. A
  • Glaive of Vengeance. Replaces a Khan’s lance (so essentially for a Khan on Bike only). Always has a Strength characteristic of x2. It’s a significant improvement, but the point of taking the Khan is likely to be to not have to spend a relic on his weapon, and the ability to fall back and charge, or heroic unless they actually lock you, means that most of the time you’ll be able to get the x2 strength profile on the Khan’s lance anyways. D

Special-Issue Wargear

  • Adamantine Mantle. Lets a model ignore wounds on a 5+. A solid boost in durability for a character, and best on characters who don’t benefit from taking artificer armour. B
  • Artificer Armour. Gives the model a 2+ save and a 5+ invulnerable save. Fantastic for models with power armour saves who need the durability boost, i.e. bike and jump pack characters, especially those that don’t already have an Iron Halo. Gives the Khan on bike a 1+ save in melee, which is kind of fun but probably a waste. Librarians in particular love this. B
  • Master-Crafted Weapon. Increases the damage characteristic of a non-relic weapon by 1. There are very few cases where this isn’t useful and it’s going to be most useful on the characters you want to take down bigger targets. A
  • Digital Weapons. The model gets to make an extra attack every time it fights using the generic close combat weapon profile and if that attack hits, the enemy takes a mortal wound on top of the other damage. Very similar to what you get from the Deadly Hunter warlord trait and probably not the best use of a relic. C
  • Equis-Pattern Bolt Pistol. A 5-shot AP-1 bolt pistol. Fun, but not where you’ll want to spend your relic. C
  • Headtaker’s Trophies. Gives enemy units within 6″ -1 to their Leadership. These effects just don’t matter 95% of the time and when they do, taking out one more Ork Boy isn’t worth spending a relic on. D
  • Stormwrath Bolts. Pick a bolt weapon the model has. When you shoot that weapon, you can fire a Stormwrath bolt. You only get one shot, but that shot is S7 AP-1 and if you’re shooting a MONSTER, it does D6 damage. Cute trick, but also not where you’re likely to want to spend your relic. C
  • Cyber-Eagle Helm. Friendly models within 6″ firing Overwatch hit on a 5 or 6. This is useful in many other armies. As White Scars, you want to be the one doing the charging. Then falling back and charging again. This doesn’t really fit with that plan. Wings Note: As we’ll see in a sec, I think a plausible use of successor Scars is as a way to run vehicles with some good defensive tricks, so this plausibly could see use there. Probably still not worth it though. D

Master Crafted is going to be absolutely everywhere across the Marine range – there are so many weapons that get a tonne more realistic at D2, and it can also go onto squad sergeants (where it has some nasty capabilities). A lot of relic slots have historically been used up on “weapon but with +1D”, so we also think this is a smart piece of game design. Artificer armour will also be a very common add on to otherwise squishy characters.

Other than that, most of the real winners relic-wise are on the “Relics of Chogoris” list, and there are some big winners there. I basically can’t imagine constructing a list build around the Scars “thing” that doesn’t want either or both of the Banner and the Plume, and the bike and mantle are also great. This is a big draw to being “proper” Scars if you want to run an army of them. Speaking of which… In general, I expect most Scars list to stick to being “actual” Scars.

Using Them

Before we get on to some Scars army lists, we should touch on ways people might try and make use of the highly customisable Successor Chapter rules to create an optimised build, and the somewhat related question of whether there are any good soup tricks you can pull with them.

Successor Traits

As I see it, there are basically two key routes you can go with successor chapters:

  • Try and build a chapter tactic that does the founding chapter’s gimmick “better” than their standard one.
  • Lean in to some other aspect of the supplement to build a strategy that’s very different to the norm.

What if Stabbing, but Better?

Swords of Davion Assault Marines

Swords of Davion Assault Marines. Credit: Coda

Scars want to hit things hard in melee. Between Kor’sarro, the concentration of good relics for this strategy in the high-end list (which successors can have at-most one of) and “Advance and Charge” being pretty much best in breed for getting into combat (especially with “Ride the Winds”), I think finding a better combo for a melee-focused build is a tough sell. Your choices if you did try and do this would basically be:

  • Hungry for Battle: +1 to advance/charge rolls, which makes coming in off Deep Strike easier, but is way less potent for covering ground than “advance and charge” once you’re on the board. However, you can also imitate this in key places with the Plume of the Plainsrunner.
  • Whirlwind of Rage: An extra hit on unmodified 6s in melee. Nice – not denying that – but in terms of force multiplication, having Kor’sarro or the banner around is just way better.

I think attempting this is basically a bust – you are losing out on some exceptional things to get some marginal ones that can be easily replicated within pure Scars.

Other Uses

The most plausible other option I can see, largely based on the stratagems, is using a smaller force of Scars (probably as part of a soup list with other Marines or Imperium things) if you wanted a Spearhead or Vanguard of vehicles/Dreadnoughts. There’s some great stratagem support in here for this – fall back and shoot is very powerful on gunline vehicles, and the ability to wander in off the board edge can also be very powerful on accurate things in a high-threat metagame. Things like Relic Contemptor and Deredeo Dreads don’t care that much about -1 to hit from moving, and can always make use of “Big Guns Never Tire” to mitigate it the turn they show up.

The most compelling combo in the book for running anything like this is:

  • Stealthy: Always in cover outside 12″.
  • Master Artisans: Salamander re-rolls.

As it stands, if for some reason you wanted just a Spearhead to do this there are some attractive things about Scars.

HOWEVER.

  1. Ultramarines do it better – they don’t get the defence of a full deep strike, but on relatively small (for gunline units) models like Dreads their Phantasm equivalent will often be better. The “Seal of Oath” relic is also great for this kind of detachment.
  2. I would be astounded if one of Iron Hands, Fists or actual Salamanders didn’t have better tools for this.
Imperial Fists Leviathan Dreadnought

Imperial Fists Leviathan Dreadnought. Credit: Jack Hunter

The last possible use is that if you wanted to do something with a heavily mechanised force Scars provide pretty good support. There are draws to other factions, but a fast moving force with Rapid Assault (ignore advance penalty to shooting) and Bolter Fusillades (reroll 1s for bolter shooting) could be pretty cute. Rapid Assault is also a good combo with Hunter’s Fusillade. in the end, though, I’m not sure this build really needs anything that core Scars can’t provide – and the Ultramarine’s special Doctrine is also great on a bunch of transports with heavy guns.

I’m sure successors will see lots of use with some of the other supplements, starting with the Ultramarines, but the White Scars themselevs seem to come out of their book looking like the best at what they do.

Soup Options

The one real soup thing I can see coming from this is a supreme command of a Bike Captain with a storm shield and Master of Snares added (via the core Marine strat for an extra trait) and a couple of jump Librarians. Master of Snares really is absurdly good, giving Imperium lists access to a real finesse trick, and the Scars psychic discipline is so great that Librarians are going to be welcome – probably one ready to slap “Storm Wreathed” or “Ride the Winds” onto the Captain, and the other either on Null Zone/Might or Heroes or Lightning Call/Spirits of Chogoris dependent on the matchup.

This setup doesn’t need Doctrine to do its thing, and provides (at a reasonable price) a capability that simply isn’t available to Imperium currently (indeed is extremely rare in the game as a whole). That pretty much makes this by definition worth considering/testing in some soup builds.

Honestly, that’s about it. If I want to bring in some Marine gunline elements I’m currently looking at Ultras (but realistically looking expectantly at the upcoming books), and mech infantry (the other thing Scars do moderately well) really does want Doctrine, so isn’t great as soup.

Army Lists

So with our grand tour through the Scars done, it’s time to wrap up with a couple of lists.

The things I really want to lean into with the Scars are:

  • Exceptional mobility tricks and support for transports.
  • The opportunity to set up a mid game hammerblow that takes your opponent out of the game.

Scars also have extremely powerful stratagems and very desirable relics, meaning if at all possible I want to be running a Dual Battalion of them.

That constrains things somewhat, but I’ve got two variations on the same list that I think show it off.

List 1 – Clawminators

Army List - click to expand

Battalion – White Scars – 490

Kor’sarro – 105
Khan on Bike – buys “Master of Snares” and “Wrath of the Heavens”  – 100

3×5 Incursors – 285

Battalion – White Scars  – 1509

Phobos Librarian – Warlord – Master of Deceit – 101
Primaris Lieutenant w/Power Sword – 69

3×5 Intercessors  – 255

Terminator Ancient – Banner of the Eagle – 98
10 Terminators w/Lightning Claws – Sgt. buys “Master Crafted” – 330
Relic Contemptor w/ 2 Twin Las, Cyclone Launcher – 222

Stalker – 95
Thunderfire Cannon – 92

2x Impulsor w/Skytalon Array – 168
Impulsor – 79

Total CP after spend – 10

This leans in nicely to the Scars strengths. You have a good solid core of Primaris infantry with high mobility – Lord of Deceit lets you redeploy the Incursors if needed, and the Intercessors and most of the characters are riding extremely speedy buses.

On turn 3, you have the absurd “goes through pretty much anything” blow of the Terminators coming down – and thanks to the five Master Crafted attacks on the sergeant, you actually can bring them in on 2 and expect them to trash something if you need them early. Once on the board, Ride the Winds can keep them up on a good hustle, allowing them to smash into their next target double time.

Finally, you have a spread of some of the generically great gunline options that I expect to see in most Marine armies. Relic Contemptors were one of the best damage dealers in Imperium before Doctrine came along, and now look frankly absurd. Duty Eternal is also so very powerful on the FW Dreads that basically every Marine list should have one – a near-indestructible, highly accurate gun platform is always nice to have.

It’s a somewhat similar story for the Stalker and TFC – their new stratagems make them extremely aggressively priced, and a neat complement to pretty much any list that doesn’t blow the budget. You always want something to sit back on objective, and these are great for filling that role.

This list does beg an important question though – where are the bikes? Well..

List 2 – …But with Bikes

Army List - click to expand

Battalion – White Scars – 490

Kor’sarro – 105
Khan on Bike – buys “Master of Snares”, “Wrath of the Heavens”, “Chapter Master”  – 100

3×5 Incursors – 285

Battalion – White Scars  – 1507

Phobos Librarian – Warlord – Master of Deceit – 101
Primaris Lieutenant w/Power Sword – 69

3×5 Intercessors (1 w/Power Sword) – 259

Terminator Ancient – Banner of the Eagle – 98
9 Reivers w/grav chutes, knives – 162
Relic Contemptor w/ 2 Twin Las, Cyclone Launcher – 222

8 Bikers w/combi-plasma, 2x plasma gun, chainswords, 1 Attack Bike w/ heavy bolter – 252

Thunderfire Cannon – 92

5x Impulsor w/Skytalon Array – 252

Total CP after spend – 9

This trades down the Terminators for Reivers in exchange for being able to run the fully tricked out biker blob we discussed in their entry. This shifts the emphasis towards some mobile firepower, so here I like sticking “Chapter Master” on the Khan, especially as you’re spending one fewer point on relics etc. The bikers will often want to deploy outflanking – if there’s anything like heavy burst cannons across the board you don’t want them getting blown away before they do anything!

The Reivers can still throw a pretty substantial punch, especially in buff auras, as they have a huge number of attacks on the charge. If you find yourself needing to engage a T8 target without a buff nearby, make sure to use “Gene Forged Might” – this translates to about 7 automatic wounds, which at AP-1 and D2 once Doctrine goes up will still put at least a dent in something. Really though, you do need to be much more careful about lining up your big hit with these – I marginally prefer the other list simply because the Terminators and Ancient can basically drop in and body anything all by themselves as long as the Librarian can get in cast range.

Wrap Up

So that’s the White Scars and honestly? They’re incredibly cool. Ultimately, their special Doctrine not coming online till T3 might keep them out of the big leagues, but they have some absurdly powerful tricks that make them very appealing, as I hope we’ve shown off.

Even as I finish this another team is completing the Ultramarines review, and we still have TheChirurgeon bringing a rundown of how to get the most out of Forge World with the new books. Between that and four more supplements on the horizon, I’d say we’re firmly in the middle of Goonhammer’s coverage of all thing’s Marine, so stay tuned, and as always hit us up at contact@goonhammer.com or via our Facebook Page if you have any feedback or cool suggestions (or field testing results from the Centurion yeet wagon. This would be the best kind of feedback).

 

 

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