We're now on to the meat and bones of the codex and over the next few days I'll be looking at each FOC slot in turn and discussing each entry. This process is always useful as it means that every single unit gets a look in and you can really start to see the combinations come to the surface. This introduction piece will stay the same every time so feel free to save yourself some time and skip it.
Today I'm going to look at the Elites slot. As with the rest of the codex there are a lot of options here but there are some stand-out choices, depending on your play-style of course.
The problem is that with the sheer volume of fire some armies can put out, deep striking units struggle to get into combat with many (if any) models left. Let's not forget how many Riptides we see at the moment too! Do you really want to risk what will work out as a pretty expensive unit? Granted they're not that expensive when you compare them to regular assault marines with Ld9 and a extra attack for 5pts each. Alternatively you could pack out a land raider with them and charge something juicy. That's a pricey option though.
They're still die as easily as any other marines so they'll struggle to get many charges off. Perhaps I'm missing something but they just seem like a waste of points. Stunning models mind you.
They'll do their job pretty reliably and will probably make an appearance in many tournament lists. Pedro Kantor allows them to be scoring too which is an interesting prospect. It's a shame that the Imperial Fists chapter tactics don't apply to their special ammo but perhaps they'd be too good then. If they're only firing their boltguns with normal ammo then you should save some points and buy a tactical squad! The tactical doctrine of the Ultramarines will also help them and can be used with their special ammo, if only for one turn. This could make a devastating turn one drop podding sternguard assault pretty potent.
The ironclad dreadnought is a decent option for 135pts. AV13 got a lot stronger recently thanks to the shift towards infantry spam. A lot of armies traded their S8+ weaponry for anti-infantry firepower. This means the ironclad has a better chance of making it to its target. Factor in the included extra armour and they could be pretty durable. They're far from a bad option but there are probably better ways to spend the points.
As I've said earlier, an Iron Hands army with a MotF and a pile of dreadnoughts might be a lot of fun but will still come unstuck against some armies. I love dreadnoughts though so I'd be keen to give it a go at least once.
Legion of the Damned
With their 3++ save and the aforementioned Fearless special rule they'll be great for holding up particularly smashy units. They'll also be pretty tricky to shift with shooting. No more so than normal marines perhaps but Fearless helps. I don't really expect we'll see them all that much as they're not especially good. They're a lot of points to stick in reserve really especially in an army with flyers etc.
At the advent of 6th edition there was a lot of hype about terminators. This was largely due to the fact that power weapons had become AP3 meaning their 2+ saves were more effective. This joy was short lived though as each successive codex release has brought more firepower. The success of any terminator unit effectively comes down to how well you can roll those saves. In this current age of Riptides a-go-go the terminators suffer when arriving by deep strike. Land Raiders are seen as a pretty pricey option these days too.
They're the same price they ever were but TH/SS variants now cost a little more. This is a shame as they're still probably the most viable version of terminators, if only for their survivability against those dreaded Riptide pie-plates. Sadly, despite still being excellent models, they'll be overlooked in favour of other units in their price range.
Centurion Assault Squad
The siege drills may be great against vehicles but I'm not convinced you'll catch them. You could give the sergeant an omniscope and a meltagun but 15pts seems a waste on an already pricey unit. Perhaps I'm being to negative about them but if you did shell out for the Centurion kit you'd be better building the Devastators in my opinion. Maybe my opinion will change but right now I'm not convinced by them at all.
To me the Elites section is probably the most disappointing in the book. You may have got that feeling from my negativity in this post! The clear stand-out unit are the Sternguard. This was probably true in the old book too. I can't see people taking the other options unless they're going for a themed army. What remains to be seen are the possible combinations of some of these units with the Chapter Tactics. Maybe there are some permutations that I've missed that save these units from extinction.
Terminators are a big let-down for me. I really want them to be awesome but they always seem to die too quickly and I'm left thinking about what else I could've had for the points. The vanilla variant has always been the poor cousin to all of the other terminators around and this version of the book doesn't change that. Deathwing are fearless, get split fire and twin-linked on deep strike. Wolf Guard are more flexible and have Counter-attack. Grey Knights terminators are Troops and have a disgusting array of special rules. Blood Angels may be the same points but can be given FNP fairly easily. Again, chapter tactics will have to be the saving grace for vanilla terminators.