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Firstborn or Primaris?


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When you make a list do you pick one or the other?  Is it for Transports, or some other reason?

Do you mix and match?  If so which one makes up more of your list?


I've been playing around with different lists and themes, and keep running into a couple of issues. 


Not having Scouts as a TROOPS unit is a pretty big hit now that we want Infiltrate, and Primaris have two choices (that get ObSec and Sticky Capping) for that.  You almost have to take some incursors/infiltrators instead


Aggressors and BGV synergize better than Terminators/Centurions for a Retinue. Aggressors/BGV have:

decent shooting from Boltstorm, Frag launchers, and the Heavy Bolt Pistols,

they can ginsu power armor with the power swords

they can whomp the big targets with the power fist part of their boltstorms

And they have Storm Shields to make Look Out Sir last even longer.


Terminator/Cent or Terminator/Terminator usually have to give up at least one

Terminator/Cent gives up CORE in a Retinue AND either the Ginsu or the Storm Shield but double up on the Whomp.

SB/PF and THSS give up the Ginsu, while doubling up on the whomp.

THSS and 2LC Terminators give up the shooting. 


The reduced/Free Upgrades for Tactical and Assault Marines made them look fairly good though.  I think Assault Marines are a sleeper unit - 10 Marines, Jump Packs, 2 Eviscerators, 3 Plasma Pistols, a Thunder hammer and a Combat shield for less than 5 Inceptors feels like a steal of a deal.

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I take whatever feels thematic.  Phobos looks silly except eliminator so my troops are tacticals with a lascannon when I bring troops because intercessors exist to disappoint to me.  Even as Imperial Fists a mass of terminators, BGV, and aggressors is at least something.

Edited by DesuVult
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I think it depends on a few factors what people bring, creating several categories. Obviously people may straddle the line or not fit but I think this is broadly everyone:


• New hobbyists - these guys have no nostalgia for the "old guard" as they haven't been brought up on anything prior to 8th edition. And yes if you joined in 8th then welcome but you're new! :teehee:


• People who prefer the aesthetic of Primaris/Firstborn stick with them.


• People who like new models and consider the older line (Firstborn) for the chopping block, therefore they go whole into Primaris because of the Aesthetic between Primaris and Firstborn not matching (in their eyes).


• Those who don't want their older models replaced therefore are refusing to buy into the new ones for whatever reasons.


• Miscellaneous - some people are GW fans and love what they do. Some people get angry with changes to their line etc.  These people often clash the most and I think struggle to find a common accord.



Have I missed any that are substantial enough to go into their own category outside "miscellaneous?"




For me anyway, I enjoy my theme. I bought into Heresy era Ultramarines that I could use in 40K with only a few extra miniatures for flavour. I did this immediately before Primaris came out and wasn't prepare to scrap my army so all ahead full and damn the torpedoes!


I don't like the scale increase visually, and I don't like the tacticool aesthetic of Phobos, the theme of Grav vehicles and progressive technology that to me at least isn't 40K Imperium. 


My choices. Doesn't mean if you like those things then you're wrong. In fact one of my best mates has both Firstborn and Primaris in his Space Wolves, they look good and he enjoys it. Not an issue. (Though as a Space Wolves player he's not so keen on the Phobos miniatures mixed in and generally sticks with Intercessors and Eradicators etc)

Edited by Captain Idaho
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I've got a mental block. I tend to go almost all or all-all one way or the other depending on what I'm doing.  Even though I don't really use transports - and would need to rewrite the list to find points for them if I did, the hard stop of Primaris vs First Born on the Transports gives me a block so I go one or the other "just in case I want to use transports" or something.   I was just wondering what others did on this one, as I was playing with list building and realized both lines had issues in different ways.  Its much harder to synergize Primaris HQ's for example as so many of the Primaris Lieutenants are just reiterations of the same guy.   There's basically only 3 - the rifle and pistol one everyone probably forgot about, the pistol and sword one everyone used until they came out with the pistol sword and shield one.   Meanwhile I think the loss of Troop Scouts hurts Firstborn the most.  Maybe a tie with Transporting being so bad.  Sticky capping infiltrators feels pretty big.


I'm looking forward to the Desolators, hoping they're a middle ground between Eradicators and Hellblasters. 

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When primaris first came out the current classic equivalents were the 2012-13 tactical kit and betrayal of calth marines. They were so short in comparison they looked like children or teenagers next to the new guys.


A lot has happened since, (size not nearly as big a problem with the beakies for instance) but perhaps most notably for me is the fact that the primaris side for my chapter was really well catered too recently. Thus I fall exclusively on the new side of the block and dont see myself going back. I do enjoy sneaking in older bits here and there (most notably mk7 helmets and what not.)


Hoping the rumors that the keyword dissappearing is true mostly because im not as enthused mainly by the current transport options.

Edited by Marshal Reinhard
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It depends on the army. My Space Wolves army is entirely Firstborn, with no intention to be expanded to Primaris. My Dark Angels, however, I have both in. The Lamenters I'm slowly working on (trying to get back on that) are only Primaris.


As for me, DA are the only ones with any crossover, I like to mix and match, although sometimes I'll go all Firstborn with them just to have some fun with it. It's not an army you can easily go all Primaris with, as you still really can't have functional Ravenwing/Deathwing.

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I just play Primaris now. I started them in 8th edition because I was in a rut with my space wolves. I like that they were designed to mirror the HH units, and I liked that focus. It does feel like they have a more defined play style. If HH had received the same push back in 7th edition that is receiving now, I'm pretty sure that would've been the direction I went.


I do want to add that, I don't think Primaris are stronger than Firstborn and doubt they will be. I think the customization options that firstborn units have will keep them relevant because they can take advantage of the best wargear. Primaris with their fixed loadouts tend to be either good enough, bad, or great with a nerf on the way. I think mixing them is the best choice if you're competitive. 



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I prefer the primaris models due to proportions and scale, I also prefer their generally cleaner look (I used to mix veteran or chapter specific bits with unadorned models with firstborn as too much bling looks dumb).


that said, I’m absolutely envious of some units that haven’t made the jump, particularly as a blood angel player

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I'm not sussed.


I like the look of basic primaris models better, there's few misses. I particularly like Heavy Intercessors as Gravis and Assault Intercessors for posing dynamism. The limited pose availability is a sore spot.


do not like Primaris armor (tanks and speeders). Too...Custodes? 


I have an unhealthy love of Terminators. 


So, if I want mobile, it's rhino/Pod Tacs. If I want models I'm looking at the backs of all game, it's Primaris.


I heart me some Chaos boxnaught, but the Redemptors having legs are growing on me, though the Contemptor is even better IMO

Edited by BrainFireBob
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I have a small force of Primaris BT foot troupes that I play on their own, and a larger force of Firstborne BT that pulls from all of the old range. Mixing them bothers me, and the Primaris tanks are a miss.


I'd be content to play firstborn only, but the Emperor's Champion is now Primaris only, and Chaplains and Lieutenants all get +1 wound and attack for being Primaris. At the moment the standard Lieutenant and Chaplain are on 4 wounds and 3 attacks, IE the level of some guard and smaller SoB characters, and it really gets on my nerves. As a result when I do small foot warband stuff it's usually my Primaris warband off doing something, and larger scale tactical engagements are lead by Terminator Characters.

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I run a mix with decisions being based on a mix of aesthetics and unit effectiveness. By and large I like the looks of Primaris Marines but I miss the customisation options of Firstborn and there are a few misses in the design department. Fortunately a rummage through the bits box is often enough to add some character to squads that look a bit too plain. :wink:



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My Greenwing are almost all Primaris now. Most of them are kitbashed or converted somehow to give them more of the OG aesthetic. My Intercessors all have Mk 7/8 helmets and have some of the extra armor plating cut off, for example.


Vast majority of my Deathwing are a mix of various Terminator models, with a dozen Bladeguard thrown in there for good measure. My non-Terminator Inner Circle characters are mostly newer models kitbashed/converted with some 3rd party bits.


Ravenwing are OG Marines with a single Primaris Chaplain on Bike.


Dreadnoughts are just as they come in the box, whatever kind they are.


For me it has always been about which aesthetic I like and which units I feel like taking. "Primaris" is just a keyword on the datasheet. Now even that keyword is going away, which means even less reason to focus on one specific type of Marine over the other.

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For me it is a simple decision.


-Visual appearance and size.

-Hobby support.


The Primaris scale and appearance is significantly differently from the old, Squat Marines. The proportions are more realistic and attractive, and the weapon and armour design shares an aesthetic that is common across Primaris but distinctive enough from the old range. 


To me the two are not compatible from the point of view of aesthetics.


The second point to consider is hobby support and your own engagement. All the stories/novels, models releases, excitement, new things etc in the range are Primaris. The way to remain positive and engaged in the here and now of 40k Astartes, and the conversation around them, is to be collecting Primaris. Simple as that.


GW were brave in doing what they did. The safe option is to keep on regurgitating the same things over and over.


The range is not yet complete, mind. The place where Primaris fall down is in some instances linked to competitive play. There are gaps in the range that lead to a gap in capability, eg: Flying assault infantry.

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11 hours ago, Orange Knight said:

The second point to consider is hobby support and your own engagement. All the stories/novels, models releases, excitement, new things etc in the range are Primaris. The way to remain positive and engaged in the here and now of 40k Astartes, and the conversation around them, is to be collecting Primaris. Simple as that.


That is a way, not the way. Personally, I enjoy participating in the hobby more when I focus less on the meta-plot and more on the kinds of stories my armies might be a part of elsewhere in the galaxy. To me, 40k has always been a lot bigger than whatever has the spotlight at a given time. Your mileage may vary.


That being said - Squat Marines? Can we not get into name-calling, especially the extra sad kind directed at inanimate objects? No one looks cool when they do that.


Practice enjoying one aesthetic over another without disparaging other people's preferences.

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1 hour ago, BLACK BLΠFLY said:

He’s entitled to his opinion.

. . . And it's rude to express that opinion as a disparagement of other opinions, which is what was pointed out. Phandaal acknowledged he had a right to his opinion, he objected to the disparagement. Phandaal has an extensive Primaris Greenwing himself, if you've been paying attention. 


Personally, I too find changing the enormous scale of the 40K setting to a narrative a diminuation- give me too epic struggles that mean everything to the participants but little to the wider galaxy, which has its own problems.

Edited by BrainFireBob
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I mean, it's certainly being petty, whether you think that's fine or not is on you. I rather find it distasteful.


I get liking some of the new models better, as well as the dislike for them if you're established in, but I never quite got the obsession with them. I personally like models I like, and I think there's failures in both and I'm going to call them out as bad design. Examples in my opinion, yours may differ, being Desolators, Suppressors and Centurions for example.

Edited by WrathOfTheLion
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I think a lot of y'all are assuming what he meant, when there are a lot of different ways to interpret it.


It could have been a suble dig to get the firstborn "squatted".

It could have been a descriptive of all Firstborn, or the earliest firstborn who are three (or more) design phases old- there's no shortage of evolutionary slideshows for 1992 - 2003 (or whatever) - 2020 First Born marine sizes - and if the rumors are true, they're about to be updated with newer taller Terminators. 

It could have been something else entirely. 

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17 hours ago, BrainFireBob said:

Phandaal has an extensive Primaris Greenwing himself, if you've been paying attention. 


Funny thing is, I even share pictures of them from time to time. Not that I am a pro painter or photographer, but it is out there for anyone to see.


Also forgot to mention that my Ravenwing are mostly the older units, but for many of them I have used spare Outriders kitbashed with various bits to bring them up to a modern scale.

Edited by phandaal
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