Now, I will couch this post by admitting that I have never actually played a space marine force. I've wanted to in the past, but something about power armor just keeps me from ever collecting too many. Anyway, with all the excitement over the new Space Marine Codex, I thought I would try my hand at throwing together a completely theoretical 1k list.
I've recently told myself that I'd like to make a Space Marine Chapter of my own design (which allows for trading Chapter Tactics from time to time). If this ever happens, it would be an intermittent army, where each model will be painted like a character model, with conversions throughout. I'm in no hurry, but I would never get through it without customized models.
While I plan on making my own chapter, in reading through the Codex fluff, the Raven Guard fluff appealed to me the most (followed by Salamanders). Now, I know their Chapter Tactic might not be the strongest of the bunch, I like the flavor it can give to a themed force.
The Raven Guard fluff indicates they use a lot of scouts and a lot of fast transports lighting strike units. So in coming up with a 1k force, I want to keep the fluff in mind, while also keeping it something I think could be viable on the field (while repeating the caveat that I've never fielded a power armored army).
Starting with the compulsory selections, I immediately go for two scout squads with camo cloaks and sniper rifles. It just seems right. Also, with the rewritten rules for camo cloaks giving +1 cover and not stealth, they become better in night fighting and the Chapter Tactic which ensures they get stealth turn 1. Sniper Rifles are nice with the increased sightings of MCs on the table, being able to bypass the toughness of Wraithknights and Riptides (though I've yet to see one at the local tourney, I will be bringing one next month).
Next I need to choose an HQ. While a Librarian appeals to me for the cost and potential boosts from psychic powers (a hold-over reliance from building Tyranid and Eldar lists), I feel like I want a Captain. He's not particularly spectacular at anything, but I can see him leading the charge either with an assault squad or an infantry squad. For his specific load out I think I'll wait until I round out the rest of the force and see what sort of points I have to play with.
With the compulsory choices taken, I feel a need to come back to Troops. In 6th edition, you need plenty of troops, and while I'm not going to be able to field a horde of them, being space marines, I would still like at least a third unit that will be a little more resilient than my small scout squads. Obviously here, I'll go with a Tac Squad. They benefit from the Chapter Tactic giving them scout, which pushes me toward fielding small "elite" squads that will push forward. The obvious answer for them is to do 5 man squads with meltaguns since the short range becomes a little less of a concern and will give me an answer to roving tanks.
Next up is an assault squad. Sure, assault squads aren't incredibly strong, and a bit expensive for what they do, but with the boosts from the Raven Guard chapter tactic as well as just the theme, I feel like they're a must have. For fun, I'll give the veteran sergeant dual lightning claws and bump the numbers of the squad up a bit. I'd like 10, but that might be too pricey. I'll also go back and give my Captain a jump pack, making this unit my main combat squad. They're not going to go toe-to-toe with assault terminators or a really hard combat unit, but they'll do well against backfield units, which is going to be their role. The assault squad will be the unit assigned with striking a precision blow to the heart of the enemy.
Next, I want a flyer. At this low points level, I'm probably best off going with a Storm Talon, but come on, I can't turn down a Stormraven. It has "Raven" in the name, my Raven Guard must take it. Not to mention between the missiles and the guns, this thing can be my main fire support unit, where a static Devastator squad just doesn't fit.
With that, I have a little under 200 points left to play with. I could probably go with another Tac Squad and then pass out the points a few places, or, I could do something more exciting and run with some Veterans. Part of me wants to run with Vanguard Veterans and really go all out with the jump packs, but the other part of me wants a bit more fire power, and not much can stand up to a nasty volley from close range Sternguard with their special ammo. To keep them fast and with the theme of precision striking, I have to give them a drop pod. While they get plenty of weapon options, considering the limited points, I'd rather take an extra body or two and take advantage of their special ammo to fit the situation rather than choose a special weapon that might not always fit the situation.
With a few options, that should just about take up my points, leaving me with this list:
Captain: Artificer Armor, Jump Pack, Power Weapon (140 pts)
7 Sternguard Veterans: Drop Pod (199 pts)
2 x 5 Scouts: Sniper Rifles, Camo Cloaks (70 pts x 2)
2 x 5 Tactical Marines: Meltagun (80 pts x 2)
7 Assault Marines: Veteran Sergeant with 2 Lightning Claws (159 pts)
Stormraven: TL Plasma Cannon, TL Multi-Melta (200 pts)
That totals out to 998 points. I think the list is pretty mobile for a predominantly infantry army (and playing on 4x4 tables). The Scouts can infiltrate or use scout moves to redeploy as desired, while the two Tac Squads close in and hold the front line. The assault squad will generally hang off to a flank and look for a turn 2 charge on a backfield unit. The Sternguard will drop in turn 1 and rapid fire into a high value target, chosing the ammo based on the situation (2+ poison shots could be fun against big tough MCs). Finally, the Stormraven will hopefully come in turn 2 and use it's flexible weaponry to target the biggest threat at the time.