My preferred design philosophy when making an army is simple. Get close to the enemy, pause for a second to shoot em up, and then charge in to mop up whats left. I also prefer to design general take on all comers list as I personally find it to be a lot more satisfying =P Space Marine's of course, are perfect for this type of play.
Now so that everyone can have an out frame understanding of what I will be talking about, I'll just share what my current list is, and then go into a little bit more detail later.
Captain Laertes (Vulkan He'stan)
1st Tactical Squad -1 Sergeant 9 Marines
Sergeant with Powerfist and Combi-Melta, Flamer, Lascannon
With Rhino as dedicated transport
2nd Tactical Squad - 1 Sergeant 9 Marines
Sergeant with Powerfist, Flamer, Lascannon
With Rhino as dedicated transport
Terminator Assault Squad - 5 Terminators
3x Thunder Hammer with Storm Shield
2X Paired Lightning Claws
With Imperial (Because CSM's dont have it!haha! =P) Land Raider Redeemer (with Multi-Melta) as a dedicated transport
Sternguard Veteran Squad - 5 Veterans
1 Veteran with Combi-Melta, Sergeant with melta bombs
With Razorback armed with Twin linked Lascannons as dedicated transport
Landspeeder Alpha with 2 Multi-Melta's
Landspeeder Beta with 2 Multi-Melta's
Scoring units 2-4(occasionally 5 if I swap a Landspeeder for Scouts)
Kill points 11-13
Captain Laertes (Vulkan He'stan)
The capabilities of Laertes (or Vulkan as he would be known to the Codex world) are fundamental to my tactics and are simply beautiful for they will last beyond whatever untimely demises might befall him. The fact that he allows you to treat all flamer,heavy flamer,melta and multi melta weapons (including his own heavy flamer) as twin linked exponentially improves both your close range anti-vehicle and anti-horde capabilities.
On top of that he's a pretty mean force to be reckoned with in close combat and is the ideal partner to thunder hammer/storm shield equipped terminators as his WS6, I5, S6 attacks (with a mastercraft re-roll to boot) stands a good chance of inflicting wounds on monstrous creatures (which the Termie's can then polish off) or whittle down the number of models in an enemy unit, ork boyz come to mind, which also reduces the number of retaliatory attacks that will be delivered onto your terminators. (and then the Termie's can polish them off too =P)
The Venerable...10 Marine Tactical Squad...in a Rhino.
Unarguably the most flexible unit in the hobby. A full Tactical Space Marine squad is survivable, can dish out a respectable amount of damage, is particularly effective at crowd
control when facing a horde list, and can be split into combat squads depending on how you wish to take on a mission.
As great as they are though, if unsupported by the rest of your army you will often find yourself in a situation where your Tactical squad(s) are either A) Outnumbered Troop for Troop.. especially by horde list such as Orks,IG and Tyranids or B) Outclassed by the somewhat more specialized Troop choices of the other armies...CSM's (Eat plasma fire!!), Genestealers (omfg aaargh!),Grey Knights (holy omfg aaargh) and even Tau Fire Warrior's (Plasma fire buffet!!) are but a few that come to mind.
Ultimately you may be facing 40 guardsmen with inferior capabilities to your 10 Marines...but it has to be remembered that each and every one of those guardsmen DOES have the potential to kill a Marine...So dont be in a rush to go charging out in the open with your 3+ save power armor or you'll end up with as many dead marines as in a Soul Drinker novel!
Careful deployment and maneuver of your Tactical squads is crucial, hence the amount of tender love that Marine players often give to the ubiquitous Rhino. Essentially the Rhino gives the Marine player the ability to get his rapid fire shots or bolt pistol/flamer and charge combo in before the opponent does. In that sense Rhino=Initiative.
I personally also feel that the Power Fist is an essential bit of kit in the 10 marine squad, particularly when playing Leagues and tournaments, as the last thing you want to see is a 10 Marine squad being locked in close combat by a dreadnaught or Monstrous Creature for the duration of a game. (Ideally of course, one should not allow one's precious Tactical squad to BE charged by such a menace in the first place. Unless you have something to finish off what your power fisted Sergeant started whaling on)
Redemption is at hand!
Aaaah...the Land Raider Redeemer. Now, this is a tank that all players should at the very least respect... if not fear.
Simply said the pro's of the Redeemer are ,
- the S6 AP3 Flamestorm cannons that will create vast holes in anything but the most elite units of any army.
- the durability to be expected of any Land Raider
- the assault ramp that gives you an 18" threat radius for some seriously heavy hitters
Some have even begun to argue that the Redeemer is the best Land Raider chassis around, and vis a vis the Crusader...I shall agree =P
The Redeemer does face problems against mobile armies however (Beware the Eldar and Tau), and a poor deployment of it against such foes will often result in the inability to use the Flamestorm cannons to its intended devastating effect. While yes, it does come with an assault cannon and a multi-melta, the inability to bring those flamers to bear, for this list, could mean the inability to take down sufficient numbers of the enemy to assure a victory.
Thunder Hammer Time
Now, many veteran marine players will look at the 3 Thunder Hammer/Storm Shield and 2 Paired Lightning Claws setup and go "What the deuce?Why not just take em all as TH/SS'ers?!"
Again, this is a personal preference based on League necessity. Like Captain Laertes, the paired lightning claw termies are there to reduce the number of retaliatory hits that will inevitably be brought to bear on my TH/SS terminators by the massed number of Gaunts or Ork boyz that are out there. It also assures me a chance of causing wounds against other I4 units particularly in the off chance that the opponent is packing something like a Chaplain, Librarian or something similar(yes, unfortunately the killing of Brother Space Marines is quite a common occurrence in the 40k universe) and perhaps more importantly gives me the option of NOT attaching Laertes to the Terminators without having to worry about them being bullied by models with quicker motor skills, just in case there is more than one really badass enemy HQ or units that I need to be engaging in close combat with.
More on this in a moment.
Veterans of the First
If it were only because of the Hellfire Rounds, I would always recommend the Sternguard...and they have three other types of kickass ammunition to boot! Almost as flexible as the Tactical squad (and I say almost only because they cant claim objectives unless under the command of Pedro Kantor, but thats another list altogether) Sternguard veterans are useful for everything from crowd control to taking down Monstrous Creatures such as Carnifexes,Wraithlords and Necron Stargods... which they might even accomplish in a single rapid fire volley if your lucky.
Like the Rhino's of their less experienced Tactical brothers, the Razorback is there to give them the initiative, and is a respectable anti-vehicle unit in its own right. When faced with armies that have multiple MC's that need to be taken down quickly I sometimes will attach Captain Laertes to the Sternguard rather than the terminators. I would then deploy Laertes from the Razorback to move into position for a charge while the Sternguard deploy separately to provide a rapid fire volley. This is a somewhat tricky maneuver to pull of as it often relies on your opponent doing what you want him to do in one of his turns (whilst simultaneously not taking out your Razorback) but has proven effective for me in the past as it allowed me to take out two very nasty units in a single turn at an early stage of the game. (One with the terminators and redeemer, and the other with a massed hellfire volley from the sternguard followed by a coup d'grace by Laertes)
Melta Delivery Service
Landspeeders. Two of em. With two twin linked multi melta's each. As a fast vehicle you have an effective 2D6 melta range of 18" with an effective S8 AP1 threat range of 30"!... And you can even deep strike them.
Furthermore at 80 points a pop, I don't mind all that much about deep striking one next to say...an enemy land raider for that one hit wonder opportunity.(One twin linked Multi-Melta will still make most opponents cringe when its in the magic melta range) However I generally avoid using them in such all or nothing methods(unless my opponents deployment gave me no other choice) as I find that the Double Twin Linked Land Speeder is equally as good at catching an unwary opponent totally off guard with its 30" threat area (Potentially murder 2 terminators a turn each) as it is at cooking tanks...80 points...marvelous.
My only regret is that half the time I have been forced to swap out a speeder for a sniper scout squad as my second landspeeder was lost in the warp while in transit from the UK, and its presence in a game depends on whether I can borrow one off someone else! (A permanent replacement will soon be appropriated hopefully)
LineBreakers - an overview
This list has served me very well over the past 2 or 3 months that I have been running it, with only one significant loss to a thrice accursed Eldar army. (Fast tanks, Farseer's and Phoenix Lords verdamnt!!)
It has to be aggressively played though, as with a maximum of 4 scoring units (five if I'm playing the scout squad) this is not the army list that will forgive you if you don't get your heavy hitter's out and dealing damage early in the game. Armies with numerous elite close combat units (Blood Angels, Black Templar) can also prove very challenging, and represent one of those situations where the effective maneuvering of the Tactical squads and use of the Redeemer will prove decisive.
Annihilation missions can also prove to be pretty tough, as Rhino's, Razorbacks and Landspeeders aren't the most survivable vehicles around. Still if one can use them effectively early in the game (killing enemy tanks and getting closer/into good positions) the surviving units often do stand a reasonable chance of making sure things stay in your favor.
All in all, I find this to be a fun list that really makes you work for the win. Fall for the myth of Marine invincibility and you will suffer dearly, but strike swiftly and hard (control the flow of the game by forcing the opponent to react to your plans rather than vice versa) as a true Astartes should and you will appreciate just how high on crack the Marines can be. Hard work for the win, but victory becomes all the more satisfying because of it.