This time I’m going to review the Techmarine. I first started looking at him when I was staring at the page with our wonderful troop choice, the Crusader Squad. I happened to look aver at the opposite page and saw a drawing of what could possibly be the most awesome model in existence. Of course, the model itself does not quite match the drawing so when I am building mine I will need to make sure to do a couple of conversions.
Unfortunately, I’ve never seen a Black Templar list that utilizes them. A large reason is because they use the same slot as Dreadnoughts, Terminators, and Assault Terminators; another is that they aren’t an amazing unit. This is going to be a long one so let’s get started:
Options, weapons, and upgrades.
A naked Techmarine comes with Power Armor, a Bolter, a Power Weapon, a Signum, an Auspex, Crusader Seals, and a Servo-Arm. To put in other terms, he has a Bolter to shoot with, 2 Power Weapon attacks, and a Powerfist attack, coming in at a pricey 70 points.
Of note, this is the only way for Black Templars to get Signums. It is a little thing but worth mentioning. The Power Weapon is nice, but the extra attack from the Servo-Arm makes him even better. Remember that this is an extra attack, so if you are charging you do not have the option to get the extra attack with the arm. Also, just because you now have 3 guns doesn’t mean you can fire all of them, but you can fire two of them.
Now, he only has one option: a Servo-Harness. You’re paying a lot for the Techmarine, in comparison to an Initiate, but you are getting a bargain for the Harness. You get a Flamer, another Powerfist attack, a Twin-Linked Plasma Pistol, and Artificer Armor. The second Servo-arm allows him to reroll his Blessings of the Omnissiah attempt (coming up next) which has its advantages, but a more important thing is the Plasma Pistol, because it’s Twin-Linked. Twin-Linked is a better upgrade for Plasma than it is for any other weapon, because Plasma ‘Gets Hot’. You roll a 1 on your attack? Reroll. He’s got BS 4 so in theory you could roll a 2, reroll, and get a 1; but your chances go from 1/6 to 1/18 of taking a wound from it per shot. So, with the Artificer Armor you take a wound once every 108 shots, for an Initiate in Power Armor it is once every 18 shots. So open fire with impunity.
Blessing of the Omnissiah. This rule has a long paragraph to describe it, but I will summarize it for you. If you begin your Movement phase in base-to-base contact with a vehicle or embarked upon it (changed in the FAQ) and are free to do what you want then on a roll of 6+ you can repair an Immobilized or Weapon Destroyed result. The repair completes before the Shooting phase so neither the Techmarine nor the Vehicle can move but both can shoot during the round and the Techmarine can assault.
Now, this is hidden but nevertheless valid. In the Character section, right after it says that the Techmarine is an Independent Character, it says that he can select equipment from the Armory. It also says that he can take up to 4 Servitors.
No, Cenobite Servitors aren’t available; you can take arguably better kinds. You can have up to 4, and if you have any then you cannot leave or join another unit. There are three kinds, Gun, Combat, and Technical (or ‘Tech).
Gun Servitors cost 10 points flat and must be equipped with either a Multi-Melta at +25 or a Heavy Bolter at +15 or a Plasma Cannon at +35. Unfortunately, you can only take one Servitor with a Plasma Cannon per Techmarine.
Combat Servitors cost 25 points but are equipped with a Close Combat Weapon and a Power Fist. Pretty simple.
Tech Servitors cost only 10 points and don’t do what the other kinds do. Instead, each one gives the Techmarine a +1 when repairing vehicles. This can be advantageous but we will come to that later.
Finally, the Techmarine and retinue can take a Razorback, Rhino, or Land Raider Crusader as a dedicated transport.
One that I’ve heard of is taking a Naked Techmarine with 4 Gun Servitors and using them sort of like a Devastator Squad. A Plasma Cannon, 2 Multi-Meltas, and a Heavy Bolter (which, I think, is the best way to equip 4 Gun Servitors) come to a price of 210 points. Quite a lot but as this is so different from any other unit it is hard to compare. Personally, this unit lacks defense without putting it in a Rhino where it loses ability to shoot all of its weapons. There may be a place in a list for this but they are few and far between.
Another possibility is taking 4 Combat Servitors and a Servo-Harness. Now you have a 5-man unit that has 2 Power Weapon attacks and 6 Power Fist attacks for 205 points. Again, this is extremely expensive, fairly immobile (though better than the Gun build) and poor defenses. But now you can compare it to another unit. Assault Terminators, 5 of them, in a squad with 1 pair of Lightning Claws and 4 Thunder Hammers with Storm Shields, bring 3 Power Weapon attacks (which reroll wounds) and 8 Power Fist attacks (which are Thunder Hammers) all while coming to 200 points and having Tactical Dreadnought Armor and 4 Storm Shields. So there is no place in any list for this build.
The third possibility is taking 4 Tech Servitors and a Servo-Harness. You essentially fix a vehicle on a 2+ and get to reroll. This practically guarantees success for a mere 145 points. But, once again, they are not mobile, have poor defenses, and that is a lot to spend when all they aren’t going to fix more than about 3 bad results. Sure, they can survive the entire game, but they have to move over to the vehicle you want to fix, which could easily be destroyed instead of merely damaged. If you have, for example, 2 Riflemen Dreadnoughts and 3 Predators which are going to spend their time in the backfield then this unit could do some good, but not 145 points worth of good. Simply put, the Techmarine’s Blessing of the Omnissiah rule is not a reason to take one.
The final build does not contain Servitors. Instead you take a Techmarine with Servo-Harness, Bolt Pistol, and Storm Shield. You do not field him all by himself but join him to another squad. He brings combat prowess which few can match, a Signum for when you fire that Lascannon, Plasma Gun, or even Meltagun, and can separate to go and fight some big, scary monster such as a Monstrous Creature or Special Character; all for 121 points.
In order of best to worst I would rate fourth, first, third, and then second; but the first and fourth are quite close.
Once again, the Techmarine isn’t a great unit. But it can be a good unit. He can make a small Crusader Squad into a Close Combat threat, and a big squad into a sub-par dedicated Close Combat unit. He can work in a list, but doesn’t just fit right in if you have the points; you need to intend to include him and probably have two. For the Devastator version a similar thing goes, it brings something to the list but is neither optimal nor needed but still workable. I will dream about them and hope that GW might design one that actually looks like the picture.