This week is one of those weeks where my inner fluffbunny gets to hop around on the tabletop for a while. Today I show you how to play a fluffy Crimson Fists list on the tabletop that's Not Just Another Stupid Marine Army. For those unfamiliar with the background, the Crimson Fists are a second-founding Space Marine chapter descended from the Imperial Fists. Unlike the Black Templars, who took the whole "Beat face for the Emperor" motto and turned it into a way of life, the Crimson Fists stick much closer to the Codex Astartes. Though they're a chapter with a lot of prestige and a lot of history behind them, the Fists suffered some very hard luck over the last few centuries.
The Arch-Arsonist of Charadon, an Ork warlord with more gubbins than good sense, started making trouble in Pedro Kantor's neighborhood. They got in one little fight with the Fists on Badlanding, but instead of getting scared and moving in with his auntie and uncle in Bel-Air, the Arch-Arsonist decided to run riot on the Fists' home planet, Rynn's World. In most cases, attacking a Space Marine fortress world is synonymous with "gruesome, unpleasant suicide." It was looking like pretty much the same thing for the Arch-Arsonist, but then disaster struck.
The Chapter's defenses were absolutely top-notch, and were kept in fighting shape by the vigilant ministrations of the Chapter's techmarines. The same could not be said for the capital city. One of New Rynn City's venerable plasma batteries misfired and the missile, designed to demolish spacecraft in orbit, instead toppled down and crashed into the Fists' fortress-monastery, where it ignited the chapter's generous store of munitions, explosives, and other things that go boom. In one fell swoop, hundreds of Crimson Fists were reduced to grease stains on the ground.
Pedro Kantor and friends did eventually defeat the Arch-Arsonist, but the road to recovery for a Space Marine chapter is a long one. The loss of so many of the Chapter's fighting personnel has created something of an age gap in the chapter - most of the surviving battle-brothers are hardened veterans or green initiates, with very few bog-standard battle-brothers. This army list (2000 points, for your convenience) aims to reflect that.
Crimson Fists 2000
Pedro Kantor - 175
This is an obvious buy for a Crimson Fists theme list. He makes Sternguard scoring, which represents the fact that even veteran marines in the Fists have to sometimes handle the nitty gritty gruntwork. Put him in a Pod with a Sternguard Squad and then realize that rhymes.
Master of the Forge, Power Axe - 115
With 2 power fists, 3 power weapons (+1 on the charge), a flamer, and a plasma pistol, there's pretty much nothing this guy can't somehow threaten. Stick him with a Sternguard squad and watch him go. In addition, he bolsters a ruin that you can stick some sniper scouts in for 2+ cover goodness.
Running total: 290
2 of these: 10 Sternguard, 6 combi-meltas, Drop Pod - 315
With the ability to combat squad out of a drop pod, this unit can either come in early in the game and suicide-melta, or it can be pulled from reserves to crack that annoying "assault squad in land raider holding objective" that can really screw up your game.
Dreadnought, Multimelta, Heavy Flamer, Drop Pod - 150 each
The standard loadout for a Dreadnought, this guy is an all-purpose troubleshooter. You got trouble, he shoots it.
10 Scouts, snipers, Telion, Missile - 190
If you're gonna spring for the [ahem] points for camo cloaks, you might as well spend the extra [ahem] and get Telion. He's able to directly assign the wounds he deals, which is great, or lend his mighty-impressive BS of 6 to a missile launcher. Since the Fists need the best scouts they can get, and Telion's famous for training scouts, it makes sense that they might borrow him from Papa Smurf for a while.
2 of these: 5 Scouts, Sgt Power Fist/Combi-Melta, BP/CCWs - 110
The classic melee scout configuration, these guys will go in your Land Speeder Storms. They have a couple potential uses, which I will explain when the Storm entry comes up.
Running total: 1480
Fast Attack: 430
10 Scout Bikers, 3 Grenade Launchers, Locator Beacon, Power Fist, cluster mines - 300
These guys do a few things for you:
1) Bring a Locator Beacon that, combined with Scout move and Turbo-Boost, can give you precision deep striking even for your Drop Pod Assault. Suddenly, two Dreadnoughts, a bike squad, and two five-man Tank Destroyer scout squads in the middle of the foe on turn 1. Can combat squad, putting grenades in one squad and sergeant in another for more flexibility.
2) Outflank for side armour hits with 6 astartes grenades. Take that, chimeras!
3) Against infantry-heavy units, like footguard and Kroot bubble-wrap, get two or three squads into an assault and bog them down with t5/4+ which, while hardly the greatest stats in the game, are certainly nothing to sneeze at - especially against the kinds of bubble wrap you'll be wanting to pop.
2 of these: Land Speeder Storm, Multimelta - 65 each
Stick a CC scout squad in each of these. Alpha Strike with them (scout move 24 + move 12 + disembark 2 + assault 6 = 44" threat range with multimelta, combi-melta, 3 power fists = some dead tonks, and if there are juicy guardvets inside, some dead guardvets) or deepstrike them around a locator beacon for heat-seeking fury!
Running total: 1910
Predator Destructor, Heavy Bolters, Dozer Blade
Bog-standard dakkapred, plus a Dozer Blade because: 1) looks freakin cool and 2) where else are you gonna spend those 5 points?
Ditch the pred and the sniper scouts (you've already got lots of objective-holders, after all).
Replace with two Autocannon Mortis Dreadnoughts (rifleman for those of you who don't like calling things what they are). Blow 30 points on, I dunno, ale and whores or something. Upgrade the MotF to thunder hammer/combi-melta. Buy a lightning claw for each Sternguard sarge. Or get a Servitor with heavy bolter (snerk).
Is this list competitive? Probably not very. It lacks reliable anti-mech, and even with a bunch of Hellfire rounds your Sternguard/sniper scouts will struggle to put wounds on MCs with good saves. It uses scouts, scout bikers, and gorram land speeder storms. But is it flexible, interesting, and fun? Absolutely. You can do a blistering Alpha Strike, hoping to cripple the enemy counterattack. Or you can play null-deployment, defensively utilizing the Storms to keep incoming jumpers off your back. And, most importantly (and this is where I let my fluffbunny flag fly free) it fits with the lore of the universe and lets you feel like you're actually dealing with a chapter that is struggling to rebuild after losing it all.