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Tactica Astartes 5E -Troops

Tactical Squad

Sun Crusher Tactical Sergeant by Gridge


What is there to be said of the Tactical Squad? They are the bread to the Scout’s butter, and the default choice for most marine players. Tactical Marines have a reputation for toughness and reliability. Despite this, Tactical Marines are seen largely as an underperforming unit. This stems from the idea that Tactical Marines are difficult to focus with their limited and varying wargear choices. This idea is obviously not unfounded, but it doesn't mean Tactical Marines are bad. Sure, you only get three guys with anything other than bolters, but Marines always make up for this with impressive stats.


You’ve got your regular bolters for starters. Tacticals also have both types of grenades and everyone gets a bolt pistol, allowing the Tactical Marines some minor assault abilities.

A squad of ten Marines may replace one Boltgun with:

Flamer: I personally never leave the Strike Cruiser without theses in my squads. The Template profile will help even the odds against opponents with superior numbers far more than a rapid firing bolter will at close range. They’re free, so if you don’t have anything specific in mind for your Tacticals, then this is definitely a choice to consider taking along.

Meltagun: An extremely common choice currently because of the frequency of vehicles. The price is nothing less than a bargain, but its close range means it doesn’t synch well with most of the special weapon choices available to Tactical Squads. Goes hand in hand with a flamer though.

Plasma Gun: Though not terrible choice in the hands of a Marine, the “Gets Hot!” rule can still be dangerous. While the Plasma Gun can be as flexible as you need it to be, there are better choices you can pick to get the most out of your points.

Another Marine in a squad of ten can replace his Boltgun with:

Heavy Bolter: A heavy weapon that has been sadly absent from the fields of war for quite some time now. Heavy Bolters have long suffered from not having enough punch to justify their cost. They’re free now, but so are Multi-Meltas and Missile Launchers. With only a single Heavy platform for the squad, the other two options are much more attractive. On its own though, it’s not that bad, and can provide some surprising results on occasion.

Multi-melta: The Meltagun’s big brother in every conceivable way; including popularity. This heavy weapon is priced just right at free-ninety-nine points. With maximum range matching up with stationary boltguns, you can’t go wrong with this choice.

Missile Launcher: Occupying the middle of the heavy spectrum between anti-infantry and anti-tank and excelling at neither, the Missile Launcher’s main boon is the outstanding flexibility it gives your Tactical squad. It comes without a price tag and with the standard Tactical Marines box kit, making it the perfect choice for those seeking to create a balanced list whilst keeping costs down and/or those who don’t have a spare box of Devastators lying around.

Replace the Sergeant's Boltgun and/or Bolt Pistol with:

Chainsword: After all this time I never noticed this was actually listed as an upgrade option until writing this. If you want a chainsword, trade out the bolter for it and get an additional attack. He can add a tiny bit to close combat, but without a power weapon it won’t be enough to make a difference.

Combi-weapon: I personally see combi-weapons as usually unnecessary choice for Tactical Marines since you get one proper assault weapon for the squad already. All the qualities of the -weapons apply as normal, but you only get one shot! The -melta might be worth it if you aren't confident your grunt can take that tank down when it counts.

Storm Bolter: Sadly not so cheap on the Sergeant as for his superiors, the storm bolter nonetheless remains a fair choice, especially if your want nothing more than a squad to camp over an objective and take pot shots at approaching enemies. The storm bolter's Assault profile is wasted in almost all other cases though, since you'll have to decide between sitting still and firing off a full bolter volley or moving in an getting only your Sergeant and whatever assault weapon you have in the squad to fire.

Plasma Pistol: You can trade out your bolter to get that dual pistol conversion you've always wanted, as well as some shrewd looks from Dark Angels players, but that’s the only good point to taking this weapon. Limited range, "Gets Hot!" and costing as much as a power weapon mean there's no reason to take this.

Power Weapon: There's an eternal debate going on as to what’s better for a Tactical Sergeant: A sword or a fist? Personally, I recommend the sword every time. Tacticals won't beat a dedicated assault unit from pretty much any other codex, but the power weapon can help even the odds a great deal with an average Initiative value and four attacks on the charge.

Power Fist: This option is extremely expensive and largely wasted on a model with only one wound and two base attacks (three on the charge). So why does the fist compare at all with the sword? Because you can hide that fist behind a wall of 3+ T4 models until needed. This takes familiarity with the wound allocation rules and is regarded as a cheap trick, but it can be effective. Keep in mind that this option makes the model a prime target for Tellion, Vindicares and Mind-Warring Farseers, who don't have to play the wounding game on your terms.

The Sergeant may take:

Melta Bombs: Only worth taking if you didn't take advantage of those very cheap melta weapons. Even if you did though, this option can potentially save you from getting stuck in combat and slowly worn down by an enemy walker for the entire game. At only five points, it’s always worth the consideration.

Teleport Homer: A rather curious option no one seems to take advantage of. Its not that expensive, but the reason hardly anyone takes it is because there are more reliable ways of getting a squad of Terminators onto the field; namely, Land Raiders. It won't work with jump packs, so its utility ends there. A clever player can surprise his opponent with this, but most people don't bother and save their points for more immediate benefits.

Scout Squad

Eagle Warriors Scout by Doggles


Continuing off my bread and butter analogy, if the Tactical squad is the bread taken for sustenance, then the Scout squad is the butter taken for flavor. Scouts are the only other troop choice for Space Marines, and the choice that everyone seems to forget about. Though they may live in the shadow of their more established brethren, the Scout squad brings plenty of its own specialties to the tabletop with their special rules and wargear options.


Save for the lack of power armor, Scouts come equipped exactly like a tactical squad, with bolters, bolt pistols and both types of grenade for everybody. People playing a Scout Company for their first time tend to stick to their boltguns and treat them like Tactical Marines. This is a mistake, as the Scouts' strength lie in their wargear options; use them!

May replace any number of boltguns for:

Shotguns: With limited range and no AP value to speak of, the shotgun's saving grace lies in S4 Assault 2. It competes heavily with the combat blade because of this. Deciding between to two is a simple matter of whether you want your Scouts to be slightly better than normal in assault or slightly better than normal in shooting. Some believe that Scouts are at a disadvantage in close combat and want to maximize their shooting ability as much as possible to make up for this.

Comat Blade: By itself it isn't much, but when paired with the bolt pistol this option competes heavily with shotguns. A squad of Scouts with these can reliably overwhelm weak enemy units and tarpit stronger ones for a while. Some believe that Scouts can be surprisingly effective in assault with a few more attacks, and will equip their Scouts with blades and pistols to maximize their close combat ability. A mix between Shotguns and Pistols are a common choice as well.

Sniper Rifle: Completely incompatible with the above two options, a dedicated squad of Scout Snipers can be a fearful unit on the field. They have excellent range, and with camo cloaks, can be very difficult to dislodge. This makes them excellent for holding objectives, and they can still take down Carnifexes with some luck while they do this.

One Scout can replace his Bolter with:

Heavy Bolter w/ Hellfire Shells: Lends itself beautifully to a squad of snipers. The glorious hellfire shell makes up for the snipers single shot with an blast template. Though it does limit the squad's anit-tank abilities, this squad can take down Monstrous Creatures at range with surprising reliability.

Missile Launcher: As a weapon with the Heavy profile, it too works best with a squad of snipers. The Missile Launcher's flexibility lends itself very well to the Scouts, its blast template making up for the low number of shots and the krak round giving it some ability against light vehicles.

The Sergeant can exchange his Bolter and/or Bolt Pistol for:

Combi-weapon: A viable weapon in the hands of the Sergeant, who has a WS and BS of 4. This weapon works very well for the scouts despite its single shot, allowing for more specialization or making up for weaknesses. Though it has no place in a sniper squad, the combi-weapon comes recommended for every other situation.

Plasma Pistol: The portable power this weapon adds makes this an actually ok choice for once since any squad without sniper rifles is going to be operating within pistol range anyways, though “Gets Hot!” remains an obstacle.

Power Weapon: Seeing as the Sergeant is the only member of the Squad with an above average WS, a Scout squad looking to get stuck in will rely on him heavily. If you feel confident in your ability to keep your Sergeant alive, then this is an option that could be worth considering. This weapon can make or break an assault, but your Sergeant is only one model…

Power Fist: Considered by most to be a terrible investment because of its high cost and the Scout squad’s fragility, the power fist is still a decent choice to consider because the Scouts can attack a vehicle’s flanks fairly easily thanks to tricks like Infiltrate, Scout movement and Land Speeder Storms.

The Sergeant may take:

Melta bombs: If a power fist is too much a weighty investment for you and you don’t have enough faith in a combi-melta, then these are a good choice.

Teleport Homer: Like with the Tactical squad, I’ve never seen anyone take this option for their Scouts. However, my Theoryhammer senses tell me this could be an excellent way to get a squad of Terminators onto the field, with the bonuses of the Scouts excellent maneuverability and the deepstrike accuracy the homer provides. I recommend giving it a try if you have the points left over.

Any model in the squad may have:

Camo Cloaks: An excellent investment for a squad of snipers, but its worth is debatable on anything else.

Other Articles

Tactica Astartes 5E - HQ - Tactica Astartes 5E - Transports - Tactica Astartes 5E - Elites - Tactica Astartes 5E - Fast Attack - Tactica Astartes 5E - Heavy Support

Article written by Ironsight. All images belong to their respective owners.


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