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Assault Marines, builds and encounters

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I have a couple of questions because it seems that my player who plays an Assault Marine feels as if he's left behind in combat. The Kill Team all low level Marine in ranks 1-3 and while for example the Devastator and Librarian can unleash powers like there are no stopping to them, he can at best cut up a few mooks and either get overwhelmed by Hordes and die or see his attacks bounce off the TB and armor of most powerful enemies, and then die.


So what kind of builds can be recommended to make a Assault Marine that can put out some hurt in lower ranks?


One problem with this is that I think there might be that I have made to much use of hordes, so for that reason I would ask for ideas about how to balanace between hordes and single targets so that melee characters won't feel as if they are trailing behind the range-focused Specialities, as these latter can cut down hordes like the Grim Reaper himself.

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 First- are you using Errata? This helps, since it lower the damage and RF outpout of things like Heavy Bolters. 
 Second - I tend to limit characteristic tests to 100 (with an exception od Opposed Tests). Since it's much easier to get hilariously high bonuses to BS and hard to get bonuses for WS, it helps to balance things out. If players are going to oppose, you should put them against some Tau with markerlights getting 160 BS to show them why it is a bad idea, or some Tzeentchian Sorcerer who can push and achieve 12 DoS (and than add some with Infamy) easily. This will also help to mitigate the fact that Librarian can Compel enough enemies to actually make fight meaningless and no one can oppose him with his extremely high WP.

Third - Assault Marines are shining in every situation when CC is necessary. Considering the amount of things that can actually survive and get to CC, it should happen, especially on Rank 3. Remember to never put Elites enemies in Hordes - this is a bad idea, since they immediately lose their advantages and become basically glass cannons, and if they land a hit, they usually kill outright. No fun, and makes shooting players (who can pop more Hordes than Assault) even better.

 Let's consider what can cause problems for shooting players and make Assualts better:
- Everything with high Dodge. Genestealer can easily dodge his Heavy Bolter, and with Unnatural Agility he's going to dodge most of them, or even all, especially if we limit them to 100 BS. Lictors, the same. Eldar, Dark Eldar. Necron Wraiths. Slaaneshi CSM, Slaaneshi Daemons, Psykers with some boosts. Elite Chaos cultists with some Drugs boosting Agility. 
- Everything with high Speed and Hard Target. Genestealers, Ravaners, Eldars again. Sprint with Hard Target, of even Run with Hard Target, gives, if I'm not wrong, -40 to BS. Bikes, the same. And they can still dodge.
- If Heavy Bolter is a problem, use vehicles. 8 Chimeras full of Khornites with 2-handed Chainaxes will ruin the day of everyone short of Assault Marine, who can attack the vulnerable point of vehicles and fight in Melee with no problem.
- Cover. Enemies using even moderate Cover gain a lot - since per rulebook, even hastily make fortifications with scrap metal and burning vehicles give 12-16 Cover. And enemies can also lay down, giving them -20 to being hit with ranged attacks and +20 to being hit in melee. Also, Smoke. This will make it really hard to shoot things.
- Heavy weapon emplacements. If you have 3 such emplacements, put deep in trenches, giving them 16 Cover, they will not die easily - and they can return fire. LOTS of fire. Also, I rarely use Heavy Weapon emplacements as Hordes - this is not a Horde of 100 Cultists, it's 6 guys operating 2 Twin-Linked Heavy Weapons.
- Stealth. Basic Camo Cloak gives +20 (+30 in other 40k RPG) to Silent Move. Lictors actually give themselves bonuses and enemies penalties; group of Slaaneshi Cultists with Mark of Slaanesh (Unnatutal Agility), with 40 Agility, Silent Move +10 and Camo Cloaks, even without Mark of Slaanesh they can get close to your players and give them a beating of their life. My players ended up taking Auspexes with them for every mission after that, but when it happens for the first time, Assault can be the only person to save them.

 - All the above: Combat Master. I moved Combat Master to Rank 2 Assault for this reason, since it's the necessary Talent for Assault. Why? Simple. When those Genestelaers or Chaos Cultists of Khorne, or Bikers, get to you, they all have WS100 now (since they have numerical advantage and use Ganging Up rules). If your players still do not want to limit Characteristics to 100, than also have them surrounded by 6+ enemies and then have those enemies Disarm them. Try to beat those DoS when they all have such absurd bonuses. Assault is going to be the only one capable of winning.
- Shooty enemies. Try to outshoot Tau. 6 Crisis Suits, Commander+2 Bodyguards (also XV8), use some Stealth Suits (who can also get close in the meantime), and you have problems with your shooty army. Big problems, actually.

- Enemies in a middle of a Horde. 600 strong Horde of Cultist of Slaanesh, where their leader has Into the Jaws of Hell (and therefore Horde never breaks) is going to mow down your players pretty quickly, and you have no way of kill them fast enough. In Melee, they will crush them, and in ranged combat, hell, even with autopistols they deal so many attacks with high damage, they are screwed. However, killing their leader is going to break the Horde; and while it's impossible to shoot him inside such Horde (I would easily give -600 modifier to BS for that...), CC works fine. And while Assault is going to be attacked in return, there is limit to how many Melee attacks can be executed in a Turn... unlike BS attacks, so while he gets hit like 3 times, his friends will receive full force of around 50 Autopistol attacks. This way, they can actually break a Horde.

- Small passages. Buildings, underground bases, caves, starships. They also happen from time to time.

If you use 1 of above for each mission, you can easily show Assault player and the rest of the team why he is so amazing.

Librarians... they are another story. To put it simple, there is nothing you can do to balance the fact that he can instantly Compel 3 Genestealers to attack 3 other Genestealers, likely killing them in a process (or at least slow them down), which basically means that he can ignore their Dodge, Step Aside, Hard Target and Sprint altogether. And even the most basic Smite is better than average shooting or CC weapon on  this Rank, and this only get better. I'll link you to the post (there is whole discussion there; some people find no problem with Librarians written as they are, so, your mileage may vary. I personally find them unbalanced to the max, but if you do not or your players do not abuse it, then good for you :) ).


I'll also link some outside-forum discussion about it, if you want:


"Balancing Power" paragraph.

Edited by Alank2

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