So, I want to try something new. I want to begin taking units in game, and discussing their uses and functions on the table top. I haven’t done unit reviews in quite literally, years, and I used to really enjoy it over at my old blog. Let me know if you like it, your opinions on my suggestions, and any other uses you may have found for these guys.
Today, I want to look at the Primaris Hellblasters. These are part of the new Primaris line of models that are really, I think, trying to find a good home in every Space Marine army. Besides having a hilariously angsty name, they do fill a role as the Primaris version of Devastators.
Let’s take a look at their stat line. They have the basic Primaris statline of a Space Marine with two wounds. Where their real strengths come in at is what you equip them with.
Hellblasters can be equipped with three different incinerator class rifles: the assault plasma incinerator, the heavy plasma incinerator, and the plasma incinerator. Let’s take a look at all three of these. It should be noted that all three of these variations come with a whopping -4 AP, which is wonderful. They melt just about everything.
The Assault Plasma Incinerator This is, in my opinion, the best option for Hellblasters. Simply for the amount of shots you can get at 24 inches. A squad of five will be able to volley 10 shots at Strength 6 (versus 10 Strength 7/8 shots at 15 inches with the standard incinerator). If you have re-rolls through Robert the Gorillaman or Chapter Tactics, you could always overcharge and get a Strength 7 if need be. However, the strength 7 will not double anything that 6 can’t, so, the real need to do so is negligible in my opinion.
Heavy Plasma Incinerator These, while fun, and powerful, aren’t really practical in my opinion. You’re paying more points for less shots at a little better strength. These would be great for melting vehicles and monsters, but, overall, I don’t find these all that useful.
Plasma Incinerators These are the cheapest option, but, will only save you five points over their Assault variation counterparts. As stated earlier, while you will be able to lob 10 shots from a 5 man squad at 15 inches, you’re getting to the point where a melee army is closing the gap. While overcharged shots will allow you to 2+ other marines and a large variety of other units, the risk/reward really isn’t there.
So, in regards to how best to equip, I feel that the best option to run these guys is with Assault Plasma Incinerators in 5-man squads.
In regards to what Chapter Tactics best fit the Hellblasters. I feel that the Ultramarines, Imperial Fists, Raven Guard, Iron Hands, and Salamanders have the best place for these guys. Let’s go into a little bit of detail with these.
Hellblasters fit in the Salamanders because of their one re-roll per turn. This is one of the cases that I feel that the Heavy Incinerators would benefit as you can overcharge relatively safely. If you would volley a full 10 shots using the assault, overcharged. Chances are, you will end up with one or two ones that will not be able to be re-rolled.
Iron Hands and their chapter tactic will increase their longevity. While it doesn’t really protect against over charge, as the model is outright slain, it will help them stay on the field when exchanging fire with a target.
Raven Guard have another tactic that really helps Hellblasters stay on the table. The ability to give a -1 to your opponents BS will lessen the amount of overall saves you need to take. When I ran Deathguard, I saw how powerful this could be when weathering shots.
Imperial Fists have, probably, one of the best chapter tactics, in the Space Marine codex (this could just be because I’m a Rogal Dorn fanboy). Ignoring cover entirely, while it doesn’t negate everything, it takes away many other armies special tactics, negating them entirely.
I feel that the Space Marine codex really should have been called Codex: Ultramarines as they have, hands down, the best chapter tactics and stratagems in the codex. Quite simply put, the ability to fall back and shoot is wonderful for preventing your shooty bois from being tied up, and having a stratagem that allows for the re-rolling of ones on a unit that can overcharge, is immense.
What about Dark Angel and Blood Angel Hellblasters? For Dark Angels, Grim Resolve proves to be effective as it allows for re-rolls of 1. This also syncs very well with the ‘Weapons from the Dark Age’ Stratagem, which increases wounds caused for Plasma weapons by one. An incinerator is a plasma weapon, so, I don’t really see a downside to this. Pairing these up with Azrael will also help as they will receive an additional command point, as well as a 4++ save.
As for Blood Angels, still a lot of powerful shooting, but you will need to pair them with a unit that can grant re-rolls, i.e. Captains.
It should also be noted that, if you can overcharge safely, overcharge. But, always keep in mind the risk reward. There’s no reason to overcharge an assault incinerator when shooting at T3 guardsmen, but, if you’re shooting at a multi-wound carnifex or other high toughness creature, you’ll almost always want to.
All that being said, I feel the most powerful combination of units is Guilliman paired with 2 units of 10 Ultramarine Hellblasters armed with assault incinerators. That’s 40 strength 7 overcharged shots, that you can re-roll all misses and all wounds. You’re going to be killing a lot of things with that. Some other powerful pairings are Guilliman paired with Imperial Fist Hellblasters, as they will still benefit from the re-roll 1’s, as well as gain ignore cover.
Overall, Hellblasters are a great addition to a Space Marine army (of any chapter, really), but, they sync best with a few specifically. I recommend taking these, and I know that I will be taking these in my Space Marine force for a long time.
So, what are your thoughts on the Hellblasters, did I miss something, do you think I was off point? Feel free to comment and we can open up a discussion on what else these could be used for.
Until next time, Happy Painting!