The Space Marine’s Command Tanks rules have been leaked. Check out the two images below to see the rules. These are something Space Marine players have been asking for for a very long time, and it’s finally going to happen. Forge World released the Damocles-pattern Rhino, which is similar to the Rhino Primaris in concept, almost five years ago.
The tanks are interesting in that they come as a unit, and the Excelsior is a Character. Obviously, this is so it can engage in close combat challenges with it’s tank adversaries. The whole unit clocks in at 400 points, which is 130 more than they would be without the bonus rules. Let’s see if the new rules justify the price.
First let’s look at the Excelsior. My first problem with it is that I will always see Al Gore from the South Park episode “ManBearPig”. He always yells “Excelsior!” right before going off on some misadventure.
On to the rules. Right off the top of the bat it gets an Aquila Aegis Field, which grants it a 6++ invulnerable and ignores Shaken and Stunned. This is crazy good for a tank with AV 14 all the way around. The stayability of this guy is monstrous.
Also in the same vein of stat bumping, if the Excelsior is within 24″ of a Rhino Primaris, it gets +1BS. That’s not terribly useful for the Twin-Linked Lascannons, as the only go from an 11% miss chance to about 3%. Both of those are incredibly low, so it helps, but isn’t a big deal. It is a big deal for the Grav-cannon though. With the Grav-amp the gun never misses. This tank is an absolute murderhouse, and I’m in love with it. I just wish it had more Lascannons since my Terminus Ultra is gathering dust.
Finally, it emits a friendly boost to a single unit once per turn. You can get Counter Attack, Fearless, Hit and Run, Interceptor, Preferred Enemy, Skyfire, Split Fire, or Tank Hunters. This is also awesome, since it really helps the army be reactive to threats. Having a versatile tool like this really helps the Space Marine “Ready for anything” feel. You can increase the range for 10 points to 18″, too, which is handy but a bit underwhelming.
Let’s take a point tally to see where we’re at in our 130 points worth of upgrades. I’d pay 25 points for the Grav-cannon, 20 for the Aquila Field, 5 for the BS boost, and 20 for the ability to juice a friendly unit. That’s 75 points, so let’s see if the Rhino has 55 points worth of upgrades.
The Primaris has two things it does every turn. The first is that it’s Servo Skulls pick a unit within 12″ and grant them Fearless, full Ballistic Skill snap shots, or repair a hull point on a 2+. This is outrageously good, keeping your big Land Raider friend alive. As you can still move at full speed and flat out, and still use this ability, it’s even better. It can get somewhere fast to repair something that’s in a bad spot.
For some reason it has a Twin-Linked Plasma Gun instead of a Storm Bolter. I actually dislike this, as it still will deal you a Hull Point per game in Gets Hot rolls. Sure, sometimes you’ll drop a Terminator with it, but it seems like a liability.
Lastly, it can choose once per turn to shoot an Orbital Barrage, just like a Chapter Master, except it is now a Massive Blast. It still scatters the full 2d6″ though. Alternatively, you can pick one unit in reserve and just bring it out of reserve. This really smooths out the variability in the reserve system. I’m a big fan of this tank. Other than being on a squishy Rhino body, it’s pretty good. Keep it behind and near the Excelsior and you’ll be fine.
On to determining points. The Servo Skulls are pretty useful in context. I’d give them 15 points. The Orbital Bombardment has a known price of 25 points, we’ll make it 30 for the big blast. Bringing reserves in is also quite good, so we’ll call it 20 points. That makes this 90 points worth of upgrades! I’m going to subtract 20, though, because it still dies to most guns in the game quite easily. Putting all those eggs in one basket is precarious. That still means 70 points worth of bumps.
So, we ended up with about 25 points in “free” upgrades! These tanks look pretty awesome for what you get, and other than the high point cost per model, there’s not a lot I can see to complain about here. As this is a cool “formation” you can get away with without buying whole new models, it’s awesome, too. Way to knock it out of the park, Games Workshop!