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Warhammer 40,000 NEW Codex Space Marines Review – 40k 9th Edition


It only seems like yesterday that I was flicking through the new 40k 8th edition Codex Space Marines and Codex Supplement Ultramarines but really a lot has happened since August 2019.  For starters we got a brand new edition of the game, Warhammer 40,000 9th edition back in July and now the first of the new 9th edition Codexes are about to launch.  We’ve got a copy of the new Codex Space Marines in front of us and we’ll be taking a deep dive into it’s contents in this post.

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If you would like to watch then you can see our video review from YouTube below!

Clocking in at 208 pages, the new Codex Space Marines is slightly bigger than the previous edition in terms of page count and indeed in actual size itself (about 0.5-1cm in both height and width).  There was mixed feelings about the change of style for the Warhammer 40,000 branding when it was first revealed back in July but I have to say I’m a big fan.  This has to be one of the best looking Codex covers in recent times. 

The new style and font choice really gives the impression of a high quality publication, an impression that continues to hold true when you start flicking through it’s pages.  We’ve come to expect fantastic artwork and stories in our Codexes (and I’m not disappointed by this iteration) but I was often left feeling a bit frustrated when I tried to ‘use’ the book to write lists and play games, finding myself flicking between pages trying to cross reference a piece of wargear with its points cost.  I’m extremely impressed with the new layout employed in this version though, specifically the rules related sections. 

Each section of the rules (Army Rules, Wargear etc.) is colour coded and can be quickly located via the handy index at the start of the section. There is a useful weapons reference section which includes the profiles for every weapon in the Codex and a Glossary at the back which provides additional easy to reference information on specific terms and keywords used in the book. 

By far the best improvement though is the Points Values section.  Here every unit is listed in turn, grouped by Force Organisation alongside a page reference to its datasheet, its points cost and the points cost of every applicable upgrade.  List writing is now a doddle as you’re able to remain on one page and quickly total up the points you’ve spent on each unit.

Overall this is one of the best quality Codexes Games Workshop has produced in terms of presentation and usability, hopefully a good sign for those Codexes that will follow over the coming months. 


I wont go into too much detail about the new lore and background in this book as I don’t want to spoil anything for those who enjoy spending a few hours reading from cover to cover devouring as much Warhammer as they can. A lot of the content we’ve seen before in previous versions of the Codex but there are some interesting new short stories and descriptions of warzones the Space Marines have found themselves battling in.

Gaming Content

The rules section starts at page 90 with the aforementioned Contents page, allowing you to quickly navigate to each section (aided by a handy colour coded system). 

First up is the Battle-Forged section which is split into three sub sections – Detachment Abilities, Chapter Command and Stratagems.

The Detachment Abilities section clearly defines what an ADEPTUS ASTARTES Detachment is and what abilites such a Detachment gains. An ADEPTUS ASTARTES Detachment is one that contains only models with the ADEPTUS ASTARTES keyword (excluding models with the AGENT OF THE IMPERIUM or UNALIGNED keywords).  Such a Detachment gains two abilities, the familiar Chapter Tactics ability and a new Company Command ability. 

The Chapter Tactics ability is pretty much the same as it was back in 8th edition and grants different rules to models in the Detatchment based on the chosen Chapter (so long as every unit has the same CHAPTER Keyword).  What’s different this time is that this Codex contains Chapter Tactics for Black Templars, Blood Angels, Dark Angels, Death Watch, Flesh Tearers and the Space Wolves

There are some differences amongst the different Chapter TacticsWhite Scars for example no longer ignore the penalty for moving and firing Heavy weapons.  If your chosen Chapter is not listed then you are instructed to create your own Chapter Tactic from a combination of 2 Successor Tactics chosen from a list of 19. 

These are very similar to those from 8th however there are a few changes to the wording of some of them.

The Company Command ability simply limits you to one unit with the CAPTAIN Keyword and two units with the LIEUTENANT Keyword per Detachment. In addition, TROOPS units in the Detachment gain the Objective Secured ability from the Core Rulebook.

The Chapter Command section is a is a new set of rules for Space Marine armies and allows you to upgrade certain non-named units with the CHARACTER Keyword from your army that have one of the following Keywords : CAPTAIN, CHAPLAIN, TECHMARINE, LIBRARIAN, APOTHECARY, ANCIENT and COMPANY CHAMPION

The rules presented in this section are basically a revised version of similar rules found across the different Codexes and Psychic Awakening rulebooks from 8th edition and allow you to upgrade specific models in your army with new rules and keywords.  You spend points to upgrade the model rather than Command Points, it costs 25 points (or 1 Power Level) to upgrade a Chaplain for example.  Once upgraded the unit gains an additional Keyword (MASTER OF SANCTITY for the Chaplain as an example) and new some new abilities. You also unlock unique Warlord Traits and Relics options for that particular unit.  An army can only contain one of each of the upgraded units per Chapter (you can’t have 2 Ultramarine Chapter Masters for example). 

There are some really interesting abilities, Warlord Traits and Relics to choose from…

A Captain that has been upgraded to a Chapter Master can select the following Warlord Trait :

An Apothecary upgraded to a Chief Apothecacy gains the following ability :

It’s an interesting set of rules and I really like the added customisation opportunities it gives the player.  Depending on the size of battle you are playing it is possible (with the use of some Stratagems I’ll cover below) to give multiple units in your army a Warlord Trait and Relic (up to 3 of each in an Onslaught sized battle) so it’s easier than it first seems to take advantage of the expanded selection of Warlord Traits and Relics

Consider upgrading your Terminator Ancient to a Chapter Ancient and then giving it the Steadfast Example Warlord Trait. That unit of Terminators accompanying the Terminator Ancient now has the Objective Secured ability…quite a cool bonus that might catch a few opponents of guard.


As expected, Codex Space Marines contains a load of Stratagems (34 in total).  One big difference that you’ll notice straight away is that each Stratagem is now categorised and colour coded into one of the following categories :-


You’ll find references to specific types of Stratagems elsewhere in the Codex, an ability may allow you to use a certain type of Stratagem at a reduced cost for example (see the Honorifics section later in the post).  We think Games Workshop may have a plan when it comes to the way they have now categorised Stratagems and we may see some cool mechanics or rule interactions in future publications.

There are mixture of old, revised and brand new Stratagems in the Codex, pulled from across the different Codexes and Psychic Awakening rulebooks all into one place.  The usual restrictions on using them apply, ie. they can be accessed if you include an ADEPTUS ASTARTES Detachment in your army (excluding Auxiliary Support, Super-heavy Auxiliary or Fortification Detachments) and where the CHAPTER Keyword is shown you must replace it with your chosen Chapter.

So which are my favourites?

With the addition of some great new combat oriented units in the Codex I think the Gene-Wrought Might is a great Stratagem for taking advantage of the large number of dice you’ll often be rolling in combat.  Each 6+ to hit scores an automatic wound. A unit of 10 Assault Intercessors gets about 50 attacks on the charge so thats about 8 automatic wounds on average regardless of the toughness of the opponent.

Chaplains have access to some very strong abilities in the form of their Litanies (which we’ll cover later) but the requirement to roll a 3+ in order to inspire it can sometimes prove problematic. The Commanding Oratory Stratagem allows you to guarantee a particular bonus just when you need it.

One of the big changes in 9th edition is the way in which Command Points are generated and in games of 2000 points a Space Marine army will generally find itself with a good supply.  With a lot of the stuff that you would ordinarily have spent Command Points on now being baked into a unit’s rules (see Duty Eternal on the Dreadnought Datasheet for example) or costing points instead I think players may get a lot of use out of Stratagems like these that let you sprinkle additional Warlord Traits and Relics throughout your force. Coupled with the expanded selection of Warlord Traits and Relics offered by the Chapter Command rules above I can see players adding lots of cool Relics and Warlord Traits to their armies.

Combat Revival is just Reanimation Protocols for the Marines :D…well not quite but still a very useful Stratagem all the same.  A Space Marine army that consists of lots of multi wound infantry and bikers will love the ability to return models to units with their full wounds restored, and remember, a Chief Apothecary can use this Stratagem for free! 

A lot of the juicy primary and secondary objectives in 9th edition require a unit to perform an action which often means you have to sacrifice that particular unit’s turn – a tough pill to swallow for an elite army such as the Space Marines that might not have that many units on the field anyway.  The Uncompromising Fire Stratagem lets such a unit contribute during the Shooting phase which could prove invaluable when used on some of the new ranged units in the book (looking at you Heavy Intercessors).

With the changes to the way victory points are secured in 9th edition, the ability to position a unit in the right place at the right time can often prove decisive.  With that in mind I think clever use of the Guerilla Tactics Stratagem will often catch an opponent off guard, allowing you to place a PHOBOS unit back into Strategic Reserves – redeploying them later to potential deny the opponent objectives at critical points in the battle or reinforce vulnerable flanks.

Overwatch remains a formidable tool in 9th edition, despite the changes.  The ability to outright prevent Overwatch is powerful indeed (just ask a Harlequin player). There are 2 Stratagems that can be used to deny Overwatch, but the best one is the Suppression Fire Stratagem that can be used by a Whirlwind to prevent a target from firing Overwatch. In addition, this Stratagem forces the target to fight after all other eligible units have fought – very useful especially when combined with a Judiciar to really frustrate the opponent in the Fight phase.

An interesting new Stratagem which replaces the previous Smoke Launcher vehicle equipment rules from previous Codexes.  You’ll find many of the vehicles that used to be able to ‘pop smoke’ now have a new Keyword, SMOKESCREEN, which allows them to make use of a new Smokescreen Stratagem to confer a -1 to hit penalty on enemy units targeting them in the Shooting phase.

There are few changes that Space Marine players should take note of though, for example the “Honour the Chapter” Stratagem has changed, now cheaper at 2CP but locked to only Assault Intercessors.

So that’s the Battle-Forged Rules section, next up is the Army Rules section where you’ll find all the different Warlord Traits, Relics, Psychic Powers and Litanies.

Army Rules

There are 3 tables of Warlord Traits to choose from, grouped into Space Marine Warlord Traits, Vanguard Warlord Traits (restricted to units with the PHOBOS CHARACTER Keywords) and Chapter Warlord Traits, a list of Warlord Traits for each of the Chapters (1 per Chapter) covered in the book (including Blood Angels, Dark Angels etc.).

The list of Space Marine Warlord Traits remains the same as that in the previous Codex with only a few changes to the wording of some.

“Fear Made Manifest” has been revised to bring it in line with the new Morale rules in 9th and it now combos quite well alongside the new And They Shall Know No Fear rules which I’ll cover later.

“Rites Of War” has also changed, now one of several ways to bestow the Objective Secured ability on a unit which could be used to catch an opponent off guard.

There are also a few small changes to the Vanguard Warlord Traits…

And lastly we have Chapter Warlord Traits. The first noticeable change is the addition of Warlord Traits for the non-codex compliant Chapters like Dark Angels and Space Wolves.  I’m assuming these are just to get those players by until the relevant Codex Supplement is released.

In addition to new Warlord Traits for the Non-Codex Compliant Chapters there are also a few changes to the original Chapters as well.

There are 15 Relics in this section (but remember there are more in the Chapter Command section too) to choose from.  I think all of the previous Relics return but some have updated rules.  The Armour Indomitus for example now grants +1W to the bearer in addition to it’s previous benefits whereas the Purgatorus Relic received a nice little boost, now a Pistol 3 weapon with an 18″ range.

As with the Relics we see a return of all the existing Psychic Powers for both disciplines. 

There are a few small changes, the Psychic Fortress psychic power no longer provides morale check immunity.  The Tenebrous Curse power now reduces the Advance and Charge roll by 2 rather than half and Temporal Corridor has been boosted a little bit, with a bigger range and a guaranteed 6″ advance.

The last page of this section details the 7 Litanites of Battle available to Chaplains from your army.  Again all the familiar Litanies return with only a few changes.

Exhortation of Rage” has been changed and now grants a +1 to wound with melee attacks for a CORE or CHARACTER Keyword unit within 6″ (more on the CORE Keyword later)

One other thing to note is the addition of a new Keyword that Chaplains get in this Codex related to the Litanies of BattlePRIEST

Following the Army Rules section is the Chapter Approved Rules and Crusade Rules section.  I’ll cover these towards the end of the deep dive and skip ahead now to the Datasheets, Wargear and Points sections.

Right before the Datasheets section there is a two page spread which contains all the information on the different selectable Keywords and abilities that appear on the Datasheets themselves.  It’s in this section that we’re given instructions on how to replace the Chapter Keyword with the appropriate Chapter name (ie. Ultramarines).   You cannot select Grey Knights or Legion of Damned and there are also restrictions that apply to some of the Non-Codex Compliant Chapters :

The Angels of Death ability which can be found on the majority of Space Marine Datasheets is also detailed here.  This rule is very similar to the previous iteration and bestows the following rules :

  • And They Shall Know No Fear
  • Bolter Discipline
  • Shock Assault
  • Combat Doctrines

Most of it will be familiar to Space Marine players however there are a few differences to be aware of. And They Shall Know No Fear has been revised in line with the new Morale mechanics in 9th edidtion, rather than re-rolling Morale checks Space Marines now ignore modifiers when taking Combat Attrition tests. Note Bolter Discipline now no longer affects Centurians in the same way.

At the side of the page there is a section which details the different Deployment Abilities which are common to several Space Marine units.  These are :

  • Combat Squads
  • Death From Above
  • Concealed Positions
  • Outflank
  • Teleport Strike

It’s handy having these rules grouped in one place rather than on each individual Datasheet.


So on to the Datasheets themselves, and there a lot of them.  I’m not going to cover every single Datasheet here but I’ll try to touch on all the changes and some of the new units themselves.  Before I get started though I want to briefly mention the slightly different layout employed for Datasheets

You can see that the old Damage Table is now baked into the Datasheet itself, with colour coded stats to easily identity the degrading values.  A small change but a good one I think as you no longer have to scan different parts of the page to identify which stat degrades and to what value.

We all knew that non-vehicle ‘Firstborn’ Astartes were getting an extra wound and I can happily confirm this is indeed the case with the exception of Scouts, Scout Bike Squads, Characters and individual Squad Sergeants

Terminators, Tactical Marines, Vanguard Veterans…all of the ‘Firstborn’ units now have that extra wound.  As a bonus, Bike Squad models gain an extra 2 wounds!

The next big change across the board is the use of a new Keyword CORE.  A lot of abilities that used to affect nearby units have been updated to apply to only units with the CORE keyword.  This includes a Captain unit’s “Rites of Battle”, a Lieutenant unit’s “Tactical Precision”, a Chaplain unit’s “Spiritual Leaders” and an Ancient unit’s “Astartes Banner” rule.

The CORE Keyword appears on the following Datasheets :-

  • Intercessor Squad
  • Assault Intercessor Squad
  • Heavy Intercessor Squad
  • Infiltrator Squad
  • Incursor Squad
  • Tactical Squad
  • Scout Squad
  • Veteran Intercessor Squad
  • Blade Guard Veteran Squad
  • Company Veterans
  • Vanguard Verteran Squad
  • Sternguard Veteran Squad
  • Reiver Squad
  • Aggressor Squad
  • Terminator Assault Squad
  • Terminator Squad
  • Relic Termination Squad
  • Dreadnought
  • Contemptor Dreadnought
  • Venerable Dreadnought
  • Ironclad Dreadnought
  • Redemptor Dreadnought
  • Assault Squad
  • Outrider Squad
  • Bike Squad
  • Scout Bike Squad
  • Attack Bike Squad
  • Suppressor Squad
  • Inceptor Squad
  • Hellblaster Squad
  • Eliminator Squad
  • Eradicator Squad
  • Devastator Squad

So that’s quite a big selection of affected units however I think the ability to benefit from their own aura effect will be sorely missed on our Characters.  Remember though that there are ways to mitigate this a litte bit though (the Chapter Master upgrade for Captain units for example).

One other thing you’ll notice is the lack of Tanks in that list.  No longer will your Tanks be able to gain the ability to re-roll hits and wounds whilst duking it out with their opposite number on the other side of the battlefield.  This does free your vehicles to be a bit more mobile though (especially as they can now move and fire Heavy weapons without penalty in 9th edition). It will be interesting to see how army lists change in light of these new rules.  There are new ways to buff the effectiveness of vehicles (Techmarine units gain a new ability to grant +1 to hit for example).

There are a few changes to existing Datasheets as well (in addition to the Techmarine update above). Intercessor Squads and Assault Intercessors get a few more melee weapon options for their Sergeant models (Thunder Hammers!)

Apothecary units get a cool Combat Restoritives ability to help keep nearby units at full strength.

Company Champion units lose their Superlative Duelist ability however all flavours of Dreadnought unit get a cool Duty Eternal ability now to replace the old Stratagem, reducing incoming damage by 1.

Eradicator units have the same Total Obliteration ability we all know and love but it now only applies if the unit did not Advance.

Aggressor units lose both the Firestorm and Relentless Advance abilities, which will affect quite a few army lists I suspect due to how strong a ruleset this unit used to have. On the plus side they do get an improved Melee profile (damage 2 on their gauntlets now).

All the Tank Datasheets lose the Smoke Launcher ability and instead gain the Smokescreen Keyword which allows them to make use of the Smokescreen Stratagem.  A bit of a doubled edged blade really as only one Tank can benefit from it at a time.

There are changes to quite a few pieces of Wargear which I’ll detail later but I think it’s worth pointing out the changes in particular to the Repulsor Executioner.  It’s main armament, the Heavy Laser Destroyer is now S12 but the unit itself loses the ability to fire it twice if it moved less than half it’s movement allowance…ouch!  Instead the Aquillon Optics ability grants a +1 to hit with either of the main armaments.

The Impulsor is another unit that has been changed slightly, its Shield Dome now only grants a 5++ save. and even the lowly Rhino has lost an ability and can no longer self repair.

There are other changes to other units but let’s move on and have a look at the new units now (and there are quite a few of these too!).

Captain with Master-Crafted Heavy Bolt Rifle

A straight forward enough unit equipped with a new Master-Crafted Heavy Bolt Rifle and Master-Crafted Power Swird.  He’s quite a versatile unit that can be used to lay down some punishing firepower and not too shabby in combat either. 

Primaris Chaplain on Bike

I really like this unit, Chaplains are tough anyway but this one has a 14″ move, T5, 7 wounds and a 3+/4++.  I’m really looking forward to adding one to my Blood Angels army in the near future.

Primaris Techmarine

Mostly the same as the ‘Firstborn’ varient but he has a cool Forge Bolter which he can fire in addition to his Pistol or Grenades.  It has a nice profile too, at 24″ Assault 3 S5 AP-1 D2.

Heavy Intercessor Squad

This unit is very flexible and can be equipped as either a tough frontline mobile fire support unit with Hellstorm Bolt Rifles or as a backfield objective holder able to defend a point and lay down some long range firepower.  They can be taken in squads of 10 and coupled with an Apothecary in support should be able to defend a point from even the most determined of opponents.

Veteran Intercessor Squad

These now get their own Datasheet which replaces the old Stratagem. They get an extra attack and pip of leadership as usual but they compete with a lot of other Elite units for a space in your army.  I’m not sure whether you’d be best off just including Heavy Intercessors rather than these guys myself.

Invader ATV Squad

Can be taken in units of 3 and quite cheap at 80 points each with their standard loadout.  I think I’d be tempted to pay an extra 5 points and replace the Onslaught Gatling Cannon with a Multi-Melta.  There is no degrading damage profile on these units and with T5 8W and 3+ save can be quite resilient.  Even better, they have the BIKER Keyword so if you keep an Apothecary nearby you’ll be able to return one to the unit with full wounds each turn using the Combat Revival Stratagem!

Storm Speeder (Hailstrike, Thunderstrike and Hammerstrike)

So the brand new Primaris Land Speeder comes in three flavours, anti-air, anti-infantry and anti-tank.  They are glass cannons really, able to put out a lot of damage but don’t expect them to last long when the enemy levels their own guns in your direction.  Out of the three I think the Hammerstrike is my favourite.  For 170 points you have the potential to put 36 damage (with low AP) on a target.  In my opinion I think two of these will get more done than the equivalent points that could be spent on a Repulsor Executionor.

Firestrike Servo-Turrets

I’m not sure what to make of this unit really.  It wont stand up long against even modest anti-tank weaponary and can’t really move fast enough to avoid being hit.  They are also quite expensive when upgraded with the anti-tank loadout (130 points a model). They lack the CORE Keyword so cannot benefit from any of the re-roll auras although they do have a BS of 2+.  I think the best loadout is the standard Accelerator Autocannon and a unit of 3 equipped as such will be firing 18 S7 AP-1 D2 shots at 48″.  I think I’d prefer to spend the points on a unit of Heavy Intercessors myself, especially as they can be buffed, restored and make better use of the Stratagems on offer.

Gladiator (Lancer, Reaper, Valiant)

The new Primaris Predator equivalent, with a move of 10″, T8, 12W and 3+ save they are tougher than I expected them to be.  Each variant serves a specific purpose (anti-super heavy, anti-infantry and anti-tank).  My favourites are the Reaper and Valiant – both can put out a high number of shots.  The Reaper can put out 40 shots to mow down infantry and the Valient itself can fire 8 high strength, low AP D6 damage shots itself (albeit at short range).  Between 200 and 250 points each I think these might be replacing Repulsor Executioners in a few peoples lists!

Hammerfall Bunker

Finally we have the new ‘scenery’ piece for the Astartes and I’m not quite sure what to make of it.  It can’t move, it has a poor BS of 4+ (which degrades) and although it has a few gimmicks (it can fire at all targets in range with it’s Heavy Bolter Array or Heavy Flamer Array) I just don’t think it brings enough to the army.  It’s fairly tough, 16W at T8 and 3+, but in today’s edition that wont protect it for long. In a game all about moving into the best positions and claiming objectives I’m just not sure why you would want to spend 175 points on such a model.

Following the Datasheet section is 7 pages of Wargear Profiles for every weapon in the Codex.  There is also a handy “Weapon Definitions” section which tells you which weapons and Relics count as Bolt Weapons, Flame Weapons, Melta Weapons and Plasma Weapons

There are a few changes here, some of which I’ll list below.

  • Melta weapons now universally add +2 damage at half range. 
  • The Heavy Onslaught Gatling Cannon now has a strength of 6.
  • The Redemptor Fist now has a damage value of 3+D3.
  • The Thunder Hammer is now Sx2 AP-2 3 damage (subtract 1 from hit rolls).

It’s great that all the weapon profiles are in one place, very handy during a game if you need to quickly look somthing up.

Points Values & References

The aforementioned Points Values section is a great quality of life improvement in this version of the Codex.  A really well laid out set of lists which allow you to quickly total up points costs for individual units and wargear options.  There is not a lot else to say except that this makes me very happy 🙂

Last but certainly not least are the Glossary and Reference pages.  Here you’ll find a brief description of the many specific terms or abilities used throughout the book which you can quickly refer to in a game.  Each item has a page reference accompanying it so you can navigate to the right section of the book quickly if you need to.  Another example of the great quality of life improvements that Games Workshop have introduced in these new 9th edition Codexes.

Matched Play

Before I round up the post I’ll just go back and talk about the Matched Play and Crusade Rules sections of the book.  For Matched Play there are 3 new Secondary Objectives that you may use in your games.  If your army constists only of units with the ADEPTUS ASTARTES Keyword (excluding units with the AGENT OF THE IMPERIUM and UNALIGNED Keywords) you may choose to take a single Secondary Objective from this selection.  The objectives on offer are great and really lend themselves to the way a Space Marine army plays on the battlefield and allow you to score between 12 and 15 victory points each turn. 

Purge the Enemy is my favourite and rewards you for killing units with certain weapons whilst each Combat Doctrine is active – something you’ll most likely be doing anyway 🙂

The other 2 are also very appealing, rewarding you for playing aggressivly and capturing opponents objectives or requiring you to stay focussed on specific actions each turn in order to fulfil up to 3 different oaths ranging from killing Monsters to holding the centre of the board.


For Crusade fans there is some amazing new content including new Agendas, Requisitions, Battle Traits, Crusade Relics and a new Honorifics system to work alongside the Battle Honours rules.

There are 5 new Agendas presented in the book and you’re able to choose one of them in a Crusade game.  Games Workshop have done a great job of really capturing the theme of a Space Marines force with Agendas like Angels of Death which reward the entire army with experience for destroying every unit in the opposing army or Quest of Attonement which allows a unit with a Battle Scar to redeem themselves and gain experience in the process. 

There are 4 Requisitions and for the most part they sound really fun (and that’s really what Crusade is all about).  Even in Death I Still Serve allows you to intere one of your Character units into a Dreadnought whereas Rubicon Primaris allows you to attempt to ‘Primarisise’ one of your ‘Firstborn’ Character units (with a chance that the character will die in the process haha).

These are just fun and thematic rules for you to use in your Crusade games and just add extra depth to the already excelent Crusade system.

There are 4 new tables of Battle Traits for you to use to upgrade your units, vehicles, Techmarines and Apothecaries. There are a mixture of stat upgrades and abilities that just add a bit of character to you units.  Focussed Machine Spirit enables a vehicles to fire in combat without incurring a penalty to its hit roll whereas the Centurios Service Studs trait can be bestowed upon a unit to record 100 years service, allowing them to choose a Combat Doctrine to apply to that unit each turn.

Honorifics a new type of Battle Honour that can be given to a unit with the CAPTAIN Keyword.  There are 10 Honorifics to choose from and each Captain unit can only have 1.  They all offer some kind of discount related to use of specific types of Strategems or Requisition costs.

There are 7 new Crusade Relics to choose from and again these all feel very thematic.  We’ve got Heresy era Paragon Blades, Banners and even Vortex Bolts

My favourite though is the Relic of the Primarch, a relic that is so precious to the Chapter that if the bearer is destroyed you immediatly gain a new Agenda during that battle in which you must attempt to recover the treasured item – how cool is that!


So there we have it, our first 9th edition Codex. I’ll quickly summarise my thoughts below.

What I really liked…

1. The presentation, layout and usability of the Codex – very much improved from earlier editions.

My favourite Datasheet…

1. The Gladiator variants…oh and the Heavy Assault Intercessors….oh and the Apothecary….

My favourite new rule…

1. The Chapter Command system

What I didn’t like…

1. I would have liked to have seen new Psychic Powers and Litanies.  A lot of the old stuff never got used anyway and I imagine the same will hold true again.  I feel like this could have been a good opportunity to mix things up a bit and give Space Marine players something different to think about when they put together their lists.

Overall I am very happy with the Codex, both from a hobbyist and gamer’s point of view.  I think it’s fair to say Space Marine armies will look and play a bit differently with this codex, more aggressive and mobile and less ‘turtling’ around characters.  It will take some getting used to but I think Space Marines are in just as strong a position at the beginning of 9th as they were throughout 8th! 

Now then, time to paint up an Apothecary for my Ultramarines 🙂

Codex Space Marines is available to pre order now

Make sure to check out our Codex Necrons review too!

Games Workshop provided a copy of Codex Space Marines to Sprues and Brews for review purposes.


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