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Tactica Astartes 5E - Heavy Support


Devastators of the Patior Angelic by littleboyblues


Devastators are a much maligned unit in this codex, as in the last one. The reason behind this is that despite being a unit dedicated to committing heavy weaponry to the field, every weapon option available to them comes at a premium. Thusly, you’ve got to set aside a fair amount of points for this squad to be able to do much of anything, at which point people start considering the rest of the Heavy Support section for cheaper/cooler alternatives. There are a few common ways of equipping Devastators. Taking four of something is a logical way to go, since you can’t split the squad’s fire, making diversifying your weaponry self-defeating (though this doesn’t prevent two heavy bolters, a lascannon and a plasma cannon from being a fairly common choice). Following off of this idea though, one can increase the squad’s size to the maximum, and then split them into two squads with two heavy weapons per squad. The latter option allows for you to diversify a bit more, dedicating two weapons towards anti-infantry, and the other two to anti-tank.


Devastators don’t even get the benefit of starting with any heavy weapons to speak of, unfortunately. They are pretty much a bog standard Combat Squad, coming with Bolters, Bolt Pistols, and grenades. The Sergeant has a special item called a Signum, which can bump up the BS of a single model in the squad at the cost of the sergeant’s own shooting. This doesn’t actually make a huge difference, but your sergeant isn’t going to be doing much else at the Devastators’ preferred range, so why not take advantage of it?

Up to 4 Devastators can exchange their Boltguns for:

Heavy Bolter: Perhaps the most visually appealing choice, but only around the middle field in term of effectiveness.

Multi-melta: A squad of four of these in a drop pod are a sure way to get rid of a tough enemy tank, but they will not last very long into the game with that kind of power.

Missile Launcher: The safest and most boring option available to the squad, the missile launcher provides everything a unit of Devastators need to be relevant to the game for a low price.

Plasma Cannon: It’s difficult to discount the weapon completely when imaging the kind of damage four S7 AP2 blast templates are capable of. Plasma weapons being plasma weapons, however, you’ll be putting yourself at risk to Gets Hot! after paying so much for them.

Lascannon: If there is a tank on the field that absolutely, positively has to die, there are few substitutes for the Lascannon Quartet. Such a squad will, however, be so expensive that they’ll likely be staying on the shelf until you’re ready to start playing apocalypse, where their firepower will really be needed. Still, two Lascannons in a combat squad can be counted on to cut through light vehicles and give some trouble to the heavier stuff, without having to worry about retaliatory fire for the most part.

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

Chainsword: If you want to make use of the cool arm bit that comes with the kit, then trade out the pistol for free. Any close combat weapon on the devastators’s sergeant is a waste, since they’re meant to keep away from the enemy as far as they’re able to.

Combi-weapon: There’s no real way for the devastator sergeant to make use of the -weapons, so don’t bother with this.

Storm Bolter: An extra bolter shot isn’t worth points better saved for the squad’s heavy weapons.

Plasma Pistol: This option is too expensive and far too short-ranged to ever be worth it for this squad.

Power Weapon: Even purely as a defensive weapon, this isn’t worth taking. Save the points for your heavy weapons.

Power Fist: A bad choice. You will never get to use this weapon in a way that will redeem its cost.


Meltabombs: Even though they’re cheap, you’ll not typically be getting close enough to tanks to be using these, making them a rather pointless upgrade.

Thunderfire Cannon

Thunderfire Cannon from an unnamed Chapter by Ninjabiscuit


A true darkstar unit of the codex, the thunderfire may have fragile-looking stats and be a pain in the progeniods to put together, but it can be a real game-changer on the battlefield. The Thunderfire Cannon unit consists of two models; the cannon itself and the Techmarine operator, who counts as a regular Techmarine for rules purposes, and can move around on his own should his cannon be destroyed (for obvious reasons, the cannon can’t move or fire if the Techmarine is killed, though, so keep an eye out for Telion, Vindicares and the like). The Thunderfire boasts three different firing modes, each one spewing out four blast templates, with their own powerful abilities and range beaten only by the Lascannon and possibly the Conversion Beamer in the Space Marine Armory. The Thunderfire cannon is a very easy weapon to use. Simply find a corner of the map with a good view of the battlefield, climb atop some ruins and use the Techmarine’s special ability to reinforce the cover save. From then on, enjoy raining hell on your opponent from across the board, whipping out entire exposed squads in a volley or two, and slowing down any vengeance-seeking enemies to a crawl turn after turn. All this for an extremely reasonable price and a cool model, and it’s a wonder we don’t see these on the field more often.


The Thunderfire Cannon is an artillery piece with its own three special firing modes. Techmarine Gunner is a standard Techmarine, without access to any upgrades. He comes with a Bolt Pistol, his Harness and grenades and wears a suit of Artifice Armor.

Land Raider

Ultramarines Land Raider Godhammer by Element206


Though once as iconic of the Space Marines as its cousin the Rhino, the Land Raider Godhammer is seen less and less on the battlefield these days. There are two reasons for this, and their names are Land Raider Crusader and Land Raider Redeemer. What makes these two options so much more common is that unlike the progenitor, they’ve taken steps to make the most of the Land Raider chassis’ formidable all around AV14 and large transport capacity by adding frag assault launchers and powerful close-range heavy weapons. The Land Raider Godhammer has none of these, making it an inferior choice in the eyes of many players. But we need to look at what the Land Raider Godhammer can do. What it can do is rush into the thick of the fighting, disgorge a unit of five terminators/ten marines and their accompanying independent character, then back off a bit and take shots at enemy vehicles and monstrous creatures at pretty much any range it likes. This gives it a bit more utility than its younger variants, but how much that’s worth is up to you.


The Land Raider Godhammer comes with a twin-linked Heavy Bolter and its two eponymous Godhammer pattern Lascannons, which are actually just twin-linked Lascannons. It also comes with Smoke Launchers and a Searchlight.


Storm Bolter: Why bother? The points are better spent elsewhere.

Hunter-killer Missile: Works well with the LRG’s anti-tank/MC weaponry, but the points can always be put toward something more useful elsewhere in your list.

Multi-melta: Only decent if you plan on keeping the LRG at mid to close range and need the extra firepower.

Extra Armor: AV14 and “Power of the Machine Spirit” are good enough. Save the points for something you actually need.

Land Raider Crusader

Lamenters Land Raider Crusader by RAFF


The Land Raider Crusader is a creation of our brother Black Templars that really refines the Land Raider’s purpose as a mobile assault bunker with its new weapons, Frag Assault Launchers and a grand sixteen total transport capacity, which allows you to squeeze in a couple more terminators or independent characters. The Land Raider Crusader’s Hurricane Bolter sponsors are especially great, because being nothing more bolters is a hidden blessing. With such average strength, Hurricane Bolters count as defensive weapons, allowing you to charge your Crusader ahead at full speed, firing your Hurricane Bolters and the twin-linked Assault Cannon. It’s a fast, aggressive and tough tank that fits the Templars well. While we don’t have the curb-stomping close-combat abilities of the Black Templars, we can still put this tank to good use with our own close-combat specialists.


The Land Raider Crusader is armed with two Hurricane Bolters (read: six twin-linked Bolters fired as two weapons), a twin-linked Assault Cannon, Frag Assault Launchers (important if you’ve put Terminators inside), Smoke Launchers and a Searchlight.


Storm Bolter: More bolter fire can’t ever hurt with this tank, but neither is it necessary.

Hunter-killer Missile: Could be useful, could be useless. I’d save my points for something else, personally.

Multi-melta: This tank is meant to be in the thick of it. You’re likely to come across other enemy tanks, or else something that your bolters alone won’t be able to overcome, making this a choice up for some strong consideration.

Extra Armor: AV14 and “Power of the Machine Spirit” are good enough. Save the points for something you actually need.

Land Raider Redeemer

Spears of Ares Land Raider Redeemer by BrassScorpion


A newcomer to the fields of war, introduced in this very codex! There are many threads across the internet comparing the Redeemer variant to the Crusader, making them rival vehicles thanks to their similar roles and capabilities. The Land Raider Redeemer is built off of the Crusader variant, meaning it keeps its Frag Assault Launchers and twin-linked Assault Cannon. The differences begin and end with the Redeemer’s sponson weapons, the fearsome Flamestorm Cannons. The Flamestorm Cannon is an even bigger and more powerful flamer, now capable of melting through power armor and even some light vehicles. As with all flamer weapons, it takes a bit of skill/luck to make the most of the template, but this weapon puts the Redeemer right at home in the thickest of the fighting, “Power of the Machine Spirit” allowing you to use both sponsons on separate targets at the same time, and it’s strong enough to give trouble to anything caught under it. Like the Crusader, the Redeemer has a bigger troop compartment than the Godhmamer. Sadly, its not that much bigger than the Godhammer, but its still enough to include a squad and a independent character. The Redeemer is a bit slower than the Crusader, however. With its sponson weapons now boasting S6, it has to shuffle forward if it wants to be able to move and still fire both sponsons. You can still move at full speed and fire the twin-linked Assault Cannon instead, but this is the dividing feature that keeps the Crusader up top as the (arguably) most common Land Raider variant fielded by Space Marine players.


The Redeemer has two Flamestorm Cannon sponsons, which use the standard flamer template, but can be fired in separate directions thanks to “Power of the Machine Spirit”. In addition to this, it retains the Crusader’s twin-linked Assault Cannon and Frag Assault Launchers.


Storm Bolter: You’re at this weapon’s ideal range, but its not a necessary upgrade.

Hunter-killer Missile: Could be useful, could be useless. I’d save my points for something else, personally.

Multi-melta: Identically to the Crusader, this tank is meant to be in the thick of it. You’re likely to come across other enemy tanks, or else something that your bolters alone won’t be able to overcome, making this a choice up for some strong consideration. Interestingly, the Redeemer costs this option’s number of points less than the other variant. With this in mind, we can take this option assuming it as free! This gives it a slight edge over the other variants.

Extra Armor: AV14 and “Power of the Machine Spirit” are good enough. Save the points for something you actually need.


Salamanders Predator Destructor by Akaelus
Crimson Fists Predator Annihilator by Praxiss


The Predator is the Space Marine tank in the most traditional sense of the word. With a respectable front AV13 and a very agreeable price, the Predator is more popular now than its been in recent years.

There are technically two variants of the Predator available to you in this codex. The one with the Autocannon turret is the Predator Destructor, and the one with the dual Lascannon turret is called the Predator Annihilator. One is designed to go for light tanks and heavy infantry, and the other hunts other tanks and monstrous creatures. The Predator Destructor is the common man’s choice for cheap fire support, however, one Autcannon is not a very impressive weapon for a tank, regardless of how cheap it is. For this reason, most players opt for the “Dakka Predator”, paying a few points more to take an additional two Heavy Bolter sponsons. This significantly increases the amount of firepower the Predator is capable of letting loose without breaking the bank, however, it more or less pigeonholes the tank into gunning for infantry exclusively. The Predator Annihilator is the tank-hunting alternative to this, but with only a single twin-linked Lascannon, it’s not very reliable about it. To make up for this, you can spend more points to buy the tank two sponson-mounted Lascannons. This has a pretty hefty price tag, but with two Lascannons and a single twin-linked Lascannon, you’ve got the almost got basic equivalent to a four-Lascannon Devastator squad for a grand 65 points less. If you can’t decide between the two, you can buy Lascannon sponsons for your Predator Destructor, giving you a decently performing tank that lives somewhere between the two main variants.


The Predator comes only with a turret-mounted Autocannon in terms of weaponry. It also comes with the Smoke Launchers and Searchlight common to all Space Marine vehicles.

Exchange Autocannon for:

Twin-linked Lascannon: Expensive, but this option is the first step towards an anti-tank tank, meaning its worth thinking about.


Heavy Bolter sponsons: Creates the “Dakka Predator” when combined with the Autocannon, this option allows the tank to put out a lot of anti-infantry fire, and is very well priced.

Lascannon Sponsons: Very expensive, but two Lascannons make for some decent anti-tank capabilities. Can go well with either turret option.

Storm Bolter: Looks cool, but is a bit too short-ranged to well work with the Dakka Predator and far too short ranged to work with the Annihilator.

Hunter-killer Missile: Works decently with the Annihilator, but you’ve already spent a lot of points on the tank a that point.

Dozer Blade: Cheap enough to take anyways in case of those worst-case scenarios, but not necessary.

Extra Armor: Doesn’t do enough to warrant its high cost.


Templars of Dorn Whirlwind by prpetros


The majority of players see the low cost of the Predator and put this tank out of mind immediately, leading to this being a rare sight on the battlefield in 5thEd. However, I feel the Whirlwind lives in the shadow of its brother tank unfairly; as it has plenty of strengths of its own that it doesn’t share with the Predator, such as its ability to fire indirectly. This makes up for its light armor value and means that the tank can go for the entire game without having to move from behind its cover. The Whirlwind’s second feature is its dual firing modes. You’ve the option between two warheads: the fairly mundane Vengeance missile, and the more impressive Incendiary Castellan missile, which ignores cover. Both missile types work excellently against horde-armies, but as one would expect, don’t work very well against tanks.


The Whirlwind is a simple vehicle, with only its Whirlwind Multiple Missile Launcher, Smoke Launchers and Searchlight.


Storm Bolter: Pointless if its going to be staring at a brick wall all game.

Hunter-killer Missile: Again, this weapon needs Line of Sight to work. I wouldn’t bother.

Dozer Blade: Pointless, since you won’t be doing much moving once you get into some ruins anyways.

Extra Armor: Trust your cover to take the fire for you and save the points for elsewhere.


Salamanders Vindicator by Pyriel-


The Vindicator is a simple tank with a simple goal: get as close to the enemy as it can and blast them into oblivion. Sharing the Predator’s respectable front AV13 and boasting the fearsome Demolisher Cannon, it’s pretty good at achieving that goal. As direct as the tank is, determining whether or not it’s “good” isn’t so simple. The beastly Demolisher Cannon can mist-ify infantry, crack open Terminators, bust through tanks and flatten structures. On the other hand, as the tank’s only weapon, a single weapon destroyed result can reduce the tank to a battering ram. Less severely, even glancing hits can prevent the gun from firing for a turn, and the weapon’s short range makes it an easy target for enemy melta weapons. Additionally, the Vindicator is an impressively angry-looking tank with a big gun, both features singling it out as an important target. The Vindicator is going to draw -a lot of- enemy fire no matter what, and its armor isn’t as thick on its flanks. You can try and use this to your advantage, using the tank as a way to draw fire away from your more important units. This is a rather ignoble function for the tank, and there are plenty of opponents smart enough to recognize that one Vindicator isn’t that huge a threat (two on the other hand…), but lots of people swear by it, so it’s worth a try.


The Vindicator’s main attraction is its Demolisher Cannon. It also has a Storm Bolter mounted on top, as well as Smoke Launchers and a Searchlight.


Storm Bolter: While this weapon does have the same range as the Cannon, its main purpose is to act as a sacrifice for any weapon destroyed results you’ll be getting. If you can afford it, it’s worth considering.

Hunter-killer Missile: Not a bad choice if you’ve got the points. It adds some bite to the tank beyond 24”, even if it’s only one shot.

Dozer Blade: Not bad, but why not spend five points more and grab a siege shield?

Siege Shield: Essential to the Vindicator’s look, the siege shield also keeps the tank moving through rubble and ruin, environments the Vindicator wants to be in if it wants to stay alive.

Extra Armor: Unfortunately, it won’t keep your gun firing. Might as well pass and save the points.

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


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