This is the Primaris troop squad for the Space Marines. What do they have? As per standard, they have one more wound than our "normal" initiate brethren and an additional attack. The basic equipment are bolt rifles and can be taken in squads of 5-10. For minimal up-charge, you can change up the manner you are shooting your opponent: either fewer, albeit more powerful, shots at longer range (stalker bolt rifle) or more shots at shorter range (auto bolt rifle). Overall, there is situational use for these guys. They only cost 20 points and are pretty good objective holders. Are they better than Crusader squads though? Highly unlikely. Crusader squads are just far more versatile in most lists. However, with that being said, Intercessor squads are fairly cheap for what you get. If you want a quick and easy troop unit that basically gives you double wounds for free, intercessors are it. I have found that these guys fill out the body count in your list extremely well.
The second unit we're going to take a look at is in the Fast Attack slot. Coming in at 30 points each, these guys also have the additional attack/wound, but also an additional toughness. However, the weapons these guys are armed with are expensive. We have the option for the "basic" assault bolter which is basically a short range heavy bolter. Alternatively, you can take plasma exterminators which are variable attack plasma weapons. That is good, but they are prohibitively expensive at 28 points each. In addition to these weapons, the Inceptor squad is a jump pack unit that has a 10" move, giving it some good mobility. They can also deep strike, which gives us some alpha strike abilities...something I am a huge fan of in this edition. Lastly, if they charge, on D6 roll of a 6, they cause D3 mortal wounds. These guys can put out some serious dakka, admittedly. If only their weapons were not so expensive. They are not cheap enough to warrant using when their squad sizes start at 3. Which is a shame, because there isn't very many good choices in the Fast Attack slot and these guys would be a great addition to our lists.
Here we have the first regularly usable primaris squad. They are 20 points each, each packing several versions of plasma weapon. The basic plasma incinerator is the most versatile, in my opinion. The others are similar in practice to the bolt rifle variations. However, the plasma incinerator packs plenty of kick and at great range of 30". Best of all, these guys are not super expensive. Coming in at 165 points per squad, that is definitely feasible in our lists. Something that will be critical in this edition is putting out quality armor piercing shorts for a reasonable price. We need to be able to evaporate units in the shooting phase and these guys fill that role. The only problem is that they will draw a lot of attention, so you almost certainly need to field at least another squad. The Hellblasters are an unit that every Black Templars player needs to take a look at; they are very competitive in this Heavy Attack slot. We just need to watch all of our opponent's anti-infantry weaponry, but with that range, we will be able to potentially neutralize those threats right away.
So, I get what Games Workshop was trying to do with these guys. Primaris Marines need "terminators" right? Except that they didn't go all the way with it. Let's give our "new" marines some extra toughness, some "powerfist" gauntlets, and a fat 43 base point cost. Did I mention that we aren't getting 2+ saves with that terminator priceline? Nope! Did I tell you that the ranged weaponry leaves much to be desired? This unit is so confused. It wants to shoot with its "Fire Storm" special ability, but the poor guys only have short-range junk weaponry to use it with. But if you use that ability, you cannot move...which prevents the unit from getting closer to the enemy to use their gauntlets. Which isn't even looking at the fact that aggressors only have a 5" movement stat to go with their lack of a deep strike ability. Fail. Sure, I'll walk across the board with my ridiculously expensive unit so I can try to make it to 18" to shoot you because I don't want to charge. Or wait...was it the other way around? Who knows. Sarcasm aside, its my opinion that you need keep these guys on the Games Workshop shelf.
Finally...my favorite primaris unit. These guys will find themselves in almost EVERY list I will make. In multiples. They are everything that we want in a close combat list, with next to no need for upkeep. At 18 points each, we get a deep striking terror unit (if armed with grav-chuts or grapnel launchers) armed with close combat knives for huge numbers of attacks. Special grenades allow us to prevent our opponents from overwatching and gives a negative 1 to their to hit rolls...if they survive. Best of all, these guys reduce the opponent's (within 3") leadership by one. Your opponent will take assault casualties, so taking a precious leadership just helps ensure your enemy kicks the bucket. Talk about an effective alpha strike, especially if you have multiple squads. Highly economical unit that is able to change the face of the battle from the start of the game. The only downside is that you have to deep strike 9" away from your opponent and its only a 27% chance to make that charge. Upside? You are a Black Templar, which gets to reroll failed charges...which brings us up to a 48% chance to pass. Not bad. These guys are definitely in my top three favorite units in the new codex.
So to summarize: Reiver and Hellblaster squads are definitely competitive and you can expect to see quite a few of them in the coming years. Taking one or two squads of these guys won't be a bad investment for you. The intercessor squads will find themselves in some lists, due to their durability and reasonable prices. They are good for mid-field and backline objective holding. However, the Inceptor squad is hamstrung by excessive weapon prices and make them completely unusable in competitive games. And we're not going to revisit the mess that the Aggressors are. I am so disappointed in those two units...a lot of potential and nothing to show for it.
Thanks for reading and see you soon!