Switch Theme:

Add a New Article

Recent Changes
Your Watchlist
All Articles

View a Random Article
Upload a File

Images Tutorial
Editing Tutorial
Articles Tutorial

Tactics for a Space Marine Gunline by Grey Templar

To those of you who have read my article on what units to put in a Space marine gunline you may keep reading. If you haven't read it, its called Unit Choices for a Space Marine gunline.

So, you know what to put in your gunline and how to select wargear for them. so now you are ready to play a game,

not so fast bucky.

there's more then just equipping your units correctly. there are tactics to go along with it.

First off you need to pick your units. the complete list of good choices is in my previous article.

Picking your units

there are many units that can be chosen for a Gunline, but they all fall into 1 of 4 different Catagories depending on how you use it. the Catagories are Anchor, Lineholder, Interceptor, and Support.


Anchors are those units tasked with holding a vital position, like your flank or a vulnerable spot in your center. they must be durable and capable of defending themselves without much support.

you should always have at least 1 anchor unit to protect one side of your gunline. if there is a vital objective you can place the Anchor on top of it to deny it to the enemy or hold it at all costs.

Anchor units: Landraiders, Tactical terminators.

one way you might use a Anchor unit: you have 10 tactical terminators and place them on your right flank near the board edge because there is a forest near the center of that table edge that provides cover to a large mob of orks that are marching up that flank and only the Terminators can shoot at the orks without giving a cover save.


Lineholders form the bulk of your Gunline and most of your units will fall into this catagory. their goal is to shoot the enemy as long as possable.

Lineholder units: Heavy weapon combat squads, Dreadnoughts with 2 weapons that have at least a 36" range, Predator tanks, Landspeeder typhoons, Landraiders, Tactical terminators, Sternguard with a Heavy weapon, and Vindicators.


the Interceptor's goal is to prevent your opponent from engaging your gunline in Melee by either destroying them or tieing them up long enough for your other units to escape. Interceptors should hang back and only expose themselves once the enemy gets close.

Interceptor units: Assault terminators, Assault marines, Captains, Librarians, Chaplains, Ironclad Dreadnoughts, Dreadnoughts with DCCWs and a weapon with a range of no more then 24", Landraider Crusaders and Redeemers, Sternguard with Special weapons, Combat squads with Special weapons.

an exampkle of an interceptor units use: your opponent has a Battlewagon full of Burnas heading for your Gunline. you quickly zip a Combat squad in a rhino out there, the Sergeant and a marine inside fire their Meltagun and Combi-Melta at the Wagon turning it into a pile of slag. now the burnas will have to walk exposing themselves to fire from your other units.


Support units don't really fit in the gunline, but they increase the Gunlines ability to function, weather by providing a service to your other units or providing additional firepower where needed.

Support units: MOTF with or without a Conversion beamer, Techmarine, TFC, Whirlwind, Librarians.

Support example: a Techmarine or MOTF can repair your dreadnoughts allowing them to keep firing OR a TFC firing its subterrainian shells to slow a mob of orks or make an enemy vehicle take a Dangerous terrain test.


Placement of your units is Key to having your gunline run properly. you need to be able to drop fire where and when you need it.

When Deploying your units you should deploy all units of the same type at the same time. also place your longest ranged weapons first. (this is of course barring any special deployment in the mission)

a typical deployment order would be: MOTF with conversion beamer, 3 Riflemen dreds, Landraider, 3 Combat squads with Lascannons, 3 Tactical squads with Meltaguns, combi-meltas in rhinos, MOTF with 5 Servitors.

Deploying your units in this order allows you to set up firing lanes for your big guns without the distraction of the rest of your army being in the way, the small guns are there to protect your big guns and should be placed afterwards in aposition relative to the long ranged units.


this has to do with how your units are placed relative to each other. idealy you will set up fire lanes, lanes that are covered with a varity of weapons. idealy each of your units will be able to cover 2 fire lanes allowing you to put fire where its needed.

say you have 2 riflemen dreds, 2 missile launcher combat squads(each with a Razorback with Lascannon/Tl-plasma gun), and a Command squad with 4 plasma guns in a rhino. in the middle of the board are 3 area terrain features, each is around 6x6 and is 6"-8" away from the next terrain feature and 6"-8" away from your deployment zone. those terrain features create 4 unobstructed fire lanes that you can cover.

where do you deploy your units and why?

you should place your Dreadnoughts directly opposite each of the terrain features. this will allow them to fire into the the 2 lanes to either side of the feature. the missile launcher squads should be on either side of the center Dred and facing the 2 center fire lanes, this allows them to cover each others lane and the 2 side lanes if needed. the Razorbacks should be providing cover to the 2 squads(place the missile wielder in front and have the rest of the squad at max choherency leading in a conga line toward the rear of the Razorback.

the command squad is your wildcard. place them in the rhino and have them behind the line of Marines and Dreds. they will sit tight until a fat juciy target gets close to the edge of the terrain features and then they will zoom up, get out and rapid fire whatever it was with 8 plasma shots.

Target priority

this is prehaps where new players(and many old) fail the most. what do i shoot at and with what and how do i determine threat level?

the key here is, don't be afraid to put a unit in danger if it will save the rest of your army.

say you have a large mob of Ard boyz that somehow survived your fire and are almost in charge range of several of your Heavy weapon tactical squads, but you have a unit of Sternguard with 5 combi-flamers nearby. you should immedeatly have your sternguard move up, fire the flamers, assault them,and move your heavy weapons as far away as possable(run if you have to) even though the Sternguard will likely get slaughtered they will kill a few orks and allow your, more important, heavy weapons to escape. meanwile the rest of your army was getting ready to pound those orks as soon as they finish munching on your sternguard.

If you have several units coming at you. say there is a Deffdred 20" away, a Trukk with 12 slugga boyz 24" away, and a 20 strong mob of Ard Boyz 12" away, but they are in a forest so will take a while to get here. who do you shoot?

you will shoot the Ard boyz first. Why?

Because they are a bigger threat in the long run, the trukk boyz and Deffdread won't be in Close combat for at least 2 turns, the Ard boyz could be here next turn if they roll well(always assume your opponent will roll above average) and/or a Waaagh is called.

I hope this helps you use your gunline effectivly.

"I have traveled far and seen much. yet nothing warms my heart so much as the sight of a gun so massive that its fury makes the very world tremble"-Darnath Lysander


Got Comments? Discuss This Page in the Forums. Click Here.


Share on Facebook