Codex: Space Marines: Your first look!

We did tell you that you wouldn’t have to wait long for your first codex! Codex: Space Marines will be the first of the new edition, and it’s our best Space Marines codex yet, filled with all the stuff you’ve loved from previous editions, like special characters and Chapter Tactics, as well as exciting new additions like advanced stratagems and new units. You’ll be able to pre-order your codex next weekend, and we’ve got a week of previews to tide you over until then, starting with an overview of what’s inside the book.

This is the complete guide to your army, with 104 pages of background, covering the long and storied history of the Adeptus Astartes and the distinct traditions of the First Founding Chapters and their Successors. There’s also new background focused on the Primaris Marines and the Ultima Founding, from Chapters brought back from the brink of destruction like the Crimson Fists to new heroes like the Rift Stalkers. There’s detailed livery to inspire your own paint schemes, as well as a breakdown of squad and company markings, from those of the more Codex compliant Chapters like the Ultramarines to the unique battle-iconography of the Black Templars.

The codex is packed with new units, too. We can’t tell you about all of these yet, but we can guarantee you’ll see everything from Dark Imperium, our new Primaris Space Marine heroes, the Reivers, the Repulsor and the colossal Redemptor Dreadnought. There are also all the characters and units you know and love, including Chapter-specific special characters that will unlock yet more avenues for army building and themed forces. Again, Space Marine players will have a very powerful and complex force at their disposal, with some truly terrifying combinations available to those who make the maximum use of Primaris and non-Primaris units; one of our favourites is combining Reivers with High Marshal Helbrecht and Chaplain Grimaldus to create a savage assault army capable of striking the fear of the Emperor into the heart of the most obstinate heretic. All in all, there are 85 datasheets in the book – the codex is almost the size of the Warhammer 40,000 book.

Of course, a Space Marine army wouldn’t be a Space Marine army without the legacy of its Primarch; these are represented in Codex: Space Marines with Chapter Tactics for (deep breath now) the Ultramarines, the White Scars, the Imperial Fists, the Black Templars, the Salamanders, the Raven Guard and the Iron Hands. These have been changed a little from what you may be used to, and for the better – we’ve been able to make the Chapter Tactics very powerful and very flexible, but your army will need to be battle-forged to use them. Previous Chapter Tactics generally focused around specific units and weapons like Salamanders with flamers or Imperial Fists with bolter-armed Tactical Squads, but this time around, they’ll be benefitting every unit and every army build; the strength of the Space Marines is diversity, after all. We’ll be taking a look at these over the next week, and what you can do with them, so keep your eyes peeled.

These Chapter Tactics are backed up with a range of relics, warlord traits, psychic powers and Stratagems. The Stratagems are especially exciting; the Space Marines codex has 26 new Stratagems for you to play with. These allow you to customise your army even more – as well as general Stratagems, there’s also one for each Chapter, as well as Stratagems focused around specific units. Try combining Vindicators to fire a brutal Linebreaker Bombardment, or unleashing Tremor Shells from a Thunderfire Cannon. Again, these are going to reward disciplined and careful list building with a lot of powerful choices and allow you to spotlight units and tactics that you like to use.

With Stratagems, you’ll be able to build armoured columns, focus on your heroes or master the Fight phase. These are paired with 14 Warlord Traits – 6 for any Space Marine army and 8 for the different Chapters. Particularly shrewd readers will notice that’s one more than there should be – that’s because the Crimson Fists, while using the Chapter Tactics of the Imperial Fists, have their own Warlord Trait and Relic. We haven’t even got into psychic powers yet, or Tactical Objectives…

Whether you want to build an army from the background or create your own custom Chapter and heroes, Codex: Space Marines is going to be very rewarding for you.


You’ll be able to pre-order your own codex and build an army truly worthy of the Adeptus Astartes next weekend.

In the meantime, we’ll be focusing on a different Chapter every day until then to tide you over. Make sure to come back tomorrow for your first look, and in the meantime, you can kick off your army with Start Collecting! Space Marines or get your hands on some of the new units and heroes.

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