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Space Marine Assault Squad, Jump into Battle

Drop from on high with the Space Marine Assault Squad. Despite their age, Assault Marines continue to be form a strong unit in Warhammer 40,000. Equipped with jump packs and a large assortment of murderous melee weapons, Assault Marines quickly close the distance before launching devastating charges. Let’s take a closer look.

Squad Size and Options

Space Marine Assault Squads follow the same organization as many other marine squads. Begin with 4 assault marines and a sergeant. Then, you may add assault marines until the squad reaches maximum size, 10 marines total. Standard wargear includes a bolt pistol, Astartes chainsword, frag, and krak grenades. The marines do not start with jump packs, but very member of the squad may equip one.

As expected, the sergeant has access to the optional pistol and melee weapon lists. He may also carry a combat shield.

Regardless of squad size, up to 2 squad members may replace their pistol and chainsword with either a flamer or a paired plasma pistol and Astartes chainsword.

For every full 5 men in the squad, one may replace their chainsword with an even bigger chainsword, the evicerator.

Finally, the Space Marine Assault Squad occupies a Fast Attack slot in your force.

Jump Packs Required

Jump packs are a mandatory upgrade for Space Marine Assault squads. While it adds to their points, and even Power Level, jump packs grant a 12″ move, Death from Above, and the keywords Fly and Jump Pack.

The utility of a 12″ move should go without saying. With a good Advance roll, you might cover 18″ in a single turn. Alternately, a successful charge could occur from 14 to 24 inches away. This gives your Assault squad an incredible threat range. You opponent doesn’t dare ignore them.

Fly improves that move by letting you ignore intervening models and pass right over terrain. You’ll also get to ignore models during the charge as well, but still have to cope with terrain. Regardless of whether you’re in the Movement Phase or Fight Phase, Fly greatly improves your mobility and lets you stick charges consistently.

The Jump Pack keyword unlocks the Hammer of Wrath Stratagem. For 1 Command Point, each Jump Pack model in Engagement range of a charged unit rolls a D6. Each roll equal to or greater than that unit’s Toughness scores a mortal wound. Imagine a full 10 marine squad softening up their target this way!

Finally, Death From Above is a situationally useful deployment ability. Yes, your Space Marine Assault Squad may set up anywhere on the battlefield more than 9″ from an enemy model. Unfortunately, you don’t get to move them that turn. Placing the unit in line of sight to an enemy unit will let you fire during the shooting phase, but 9″ is hard to get during the Charge Phase.

On the other hand, you could place them behind solid terrain to prevent shooting at them. Next turn exploit Fly to pop over the terrain and set up a charge. Such a threat will cause your opponent to change their plans for the turn.

There is a small argument for not equipping the Assault Squad with jump packs. You might, for example, want them to defend a fixed point. Fair enough, but for your first squad or two, stick with the jump packs. You could always scoop up a unit of Assault Intercessors for that defensive role instead. Alternately, they might be stationed in a fortification or vehicle that doesn’t allow Jump Pack units aboard. Again, take the Primaris, if they fit, or a Tactical squad for shooting while embarked.

Assault Marine Weapon Options

Assault squads have less weapon options than other marine squads. However, the limited selection is focused on what they do best. Get close to wipe out the foe.

One in 5 of your marines may carry an evicerator. While clumsy, at -1 to hit, it packs Strength 7 and AP -4 when it hits. In addition, the damage increases to 2. Choose evicerators when facing tougher creatures and good Save foes.

Two squad members may hand in their bolt pistol and Astartes chainsword for upgraded kit. In exchange you may either take a flamer or plasma pistol and Astartes chainsword. Both selections have their place.

Flamers lose you the bonus attack from the chainsword, but they give you an Assault D6 shooting weapon . Combine two flamers and a thrown grenade to soften up a unit for the charge. On the other hand, you might want to soften up the unit next to your charge target, so it down’t overwhelm you when they countercharge. Flamers work better on lower Toughness and bad Save targets. However, the shear volume of attacks will get through to many other enemies.

Choose a plasma pistol and Astartes chainsword when facing high Toughness and good Save targets. Say like marines! When you don’t know what opponent your facing, they make a good generalist choice. Plasma pistols on standard profile possess high Strength and AP which works on everyone. Your assault marine’s pistol may fire while engaged, so you’re still getting work out of it. Finally, you don’t lose an attack because you have your chainsword.

Your Sergeant’s Wargear

An Assault Marine sergeant’s one unique piece of wargear is the combat shield. This device provides him with a rare invulnerable save, 5+, but more importantly adds 1 to his armor saves. The point cost isn’t very high, but you’re haven’t picked out other wargear and your squad’s adds up too. As I’ve written before, use Power Level, play Crusade!

So, only pistols and melee weapons are available to your sergeant. I present the options in my earlier Marine Sergeant post. You can reference all your choices there. In the meantime, I’m going to talk about my preferences.

For my first selection, I would go with twin lightning claws. You’re adding 2 attacks and they all give you -2 AP and rerolling Wounds. A very nasty combination. Sadly, the Assault Squad box only comes with one. You can find the offhand claw in the Vanguard Veteran Squad box or trade for one.

Second option, equip with plasma pistol and power weapon. I prefer the power sword for the AP. Strength 5 still means I wound on 3+ against Toughness 4 or less. Now, if you’re building Space Wolves, go with the axe. Rule of Cool plus you’re wounding Toughness 5 or less on 3+.

Final option, plasma pistol and thunder hammer. The plasma is just good. The hammer brings high Strength, good AP, and 3 Damage. The downside, this combination is pricy and the hammer might miss with the -1 to hit modifier. Take a risk, gain an advantage.

Other Space Marine Articles

Thank you for joining us for our look at Space Marine Assault Squads

We have other posts dealing with the original Space Marines
Space Marine Tactical Squads Loadout
Space Marine Sergeant Options and Wargear

and here’s the start of a linked series of posts for Space Marine Primaris
Space Marine Primaris Core Choices, Troops

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