Space Marines – Thunderfire Cannons

In Featured Unit, Space Marines by ImperialKnight3 Comments

Space Marines - Thunderfire Cannons

Space Marines – Thunderfire Cannons

Thunderfire Cannon WSBSST7 W2 IALDSV3+

Techmarine Gunner WS4 BS5 S4 T4 W2 I4 A2 LD9 SV2+

 Thunderfire Cannon Profiles

Space Marines Thunderfire Canon

Space Marines Thunderfire Canon

  • Surface Detonation – R60″ S6 AP5 Heavy 4, Barrage, Blast
  • Airburst – R60″ S5 AP6 Heavy 4, Barrage, Blast, Ignores Cover
  • Subterranean Blast – R60″ S4 APHeavy 4, Barrage, Blast, Strikedown

Techmarine Gunner Key Wargear & Special Rules

  • Servo-harness
    • Servo-arm Sx2 AP1 melee, specialist weapon, Unwieldy
    • Plasma Cutter R12″ S7 AP2 assault 1, Gets Hot, twin-linked
    • Flamer S4 AP5  assault 1
  • Blessing of the Omnissiah – instead of shooting can choose to repair a vehicle on a 4+
  • Bolster Defenses – improve a piece of terrain’s cover save in your deployment zone by 1
  • Convergent Targeting – if there are 3 Thunderfire Cannons in the unit add 1 to all Techmarine Ballistic Skills

Thunderfire Cannons are a great way to provide your army with long range anti-horde fire power. The Airburst and Surface Detonations are my preferred ammunition choices. The Subterranean Blast in theory would be great; however, so many assault units ignore difficult terrain due to unit type or special rules. The Thunderfire Cannons are Toughness 7 and have two wounds which makes them reasonably resilient to shooting. Their weapon range allows you to place them far enough away to minimize assaults as well as shooting from most weapons.

Thunderfire Canon Techmarine Gunner

Thunderfire Canon Techmarine Gunner

With the recent Codex, the Techmarine Gunners had their Ballistic Skill improved to 5 and had an extra wound added to their Characteristics while maintaining the same point cost, welcome improvements. The Techmarine Gunners function the same as Techmarines except the Gunners have a Thunderfire Cannon for only 35 points more. In my mind this is a bargain. Each Techmarine Gunner can improve the Cover Save of single piece of terrain in your Deployment Zone by one, albeit only once. The inclusion of a single unit of one can be a welcome addition to any army. Incorporating three Thunderfire Cannons in a single unit does grant the unit a +1 Ballistic Skill as well as two extra pieces of terrain being bolstered. However, dedicating 300 points to this unit seems to diminish its value.

A couple of key points to keep in mind:

  • The Techmarine Gunner cannot Look Out Sir to the Cannon
  • Both the Cannon and the Gunner need to have Line of Site in order to benefit from the Gunners Ballistic Skill
  • If a Thunderfire Cannon unit is forced to Fall Back from Close Combat and the enemy unit is able to perform a Sweeping Advance, the Thunderfire Cannon unit automatically fails the Initiaive test and remains locked in Close Combat. The unit is not caught and destroyed due to the “And They Shall Know No Fear” special rule.

Thunderfire Cannons are one of my favorite units from the Space Marine Codex and seldom have they disappointed. As always, let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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  • Ragnulf

    To make a full unit of three shine, a warlord with the Storm of Fire warlord trait (Tigurius or Telion for UM players), can put rending on the unit. At that point, you’re looking at 12 blast markers at BS6 (for having 3), with either str 6 rending or str 5 ignores cover rending. The latter is really a help against bike armies.

    • For The Emporer

      I’m going to have to try it out. Do you think it’s worth the point investment?

      • Ragnulf

        I don’t personally run it, but a space marine player in town has had an extremely good tournament record with this as part of his list.