Review: Space Marines Strike Force Ultra Dataslate

I bought the Space Marines Strike Force Ultra dataslate for my Kindle on Saturday afternoon. Now that formations are an ironclad "official" part of the game, I figured it would be good to own the Marine ones.

The dataslate contains two fluff sections. One is a general description of what a Strike Force Ultra is and does, and the other is a series of descriptions of historical formations in action. Standard fare for a dataslate.

It also contains three formations and all the unit entries you need to make them work. Of course, all the entries are straight out of the Space Marine codex.

The first formation is the Hammerfall Strike Force. To use it, you MUST take a Terminator Captain (or Captain Lysander), one Terminator Squad of 5 Marines, one Assault Terminator Squad of 5 Marines, and either a Land Raider Crusader or Redeemer. You can take upgrades for any of the units as you normally would for a unit from the Marine codex.
The Terminator Captain must begin the game embarked in the formation's Land Raider (it specifically notes this, so you can't get away with taking a second land Raider and putting him in that one) and it an either be deployed normally or in Reserves. The Assault Terminators have no restrictions on deployment (but logic would dictate you'd want to put them in the Land Raider), but the standard Terminators must start in Reserve and arrive by Deep Strike.
The benefits of the formation are that models from the formation get Hammer of Wrath on a turn in which they disembark from the formation's Land Raider. The standard Terminators receive the ability to shoot and run on a turn they arrive by Deep Strike.
Nice, simple benefits for a simple formation. Also, no extra points costs!

The second formation is the Skyspear Strike Force. This one requires you to take a 5-man Assault Terminator Squad, a 5-man Terminator Squad, a Venerable Dreadnought, and a Storm Raven Gunship.
The Assault Terminators and the Venerable must begin embarked on the Storm Raven, and the standard Terminators must arrive by Deep Strike.
You get the exact same benefits as the first formation: standard Terminators can shoot and run when they arrive, and anything disembarking out of the Storm Raven gets Hammer of Wrath (which is a non-factor for the Venerable, as walkers get HoW standard in 7th).
Again. No extra points cost.

The third formation is the Strike Force Ultra, which is basically just taking both of the formations together, and retaining all the benefits of both. In addition, so long as your Terminator Captain is still alive, you can begin rolling for the units from the combined formations to arrive from reserve starting at Turn One. You still have to abide by the other restrictions though, so no shuffling the shooting terminators into or out of the transports, etc.

It's important to note that this is not an Ultramarines specific formation. You can take it using any chapter tactics you like, though if you lead the Hammerfall or Ultra formations with Captain Lysander, you have to use Imperial Fists.

Overall, I think it's a couple of nice, simple formations that a lot of people can find a use for, as Terminators are pretty common in Marine collections, as are Land Raiders and Storm Ravens. In the age of Chapter Masters on a bike with Shields Eternal, regardless of Chapter, rewarding use of a Terminator Captain and some of his associates is nice. All without an added points cost, and without over the top rewards.

Now, if only they'd make that Captain Agemman model available outside of the strike force bundle...


  1. I heard that the 3rd formation (both put together) gets to come in from reserves on turn one. Any truth in this?

    1. Yes, that is correct. I'd forgotten that part. As long as the Terminator Captain is still alive, you can begin rolling for units from the formations to arrive from Reserve on Turn One. I've updated the post to include that info.
      Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Sounds like a pretty solid addition. You planning on trying it out any time soon?

    1. I thought about running it this Saturday, but am not sure how folks would react to "this half of my army is Salamanders, the other half is Ultramarines."
      Oh, wait. I could just run it all as Salamanders. Durrrrr.
      Salamanders don't really mesh with the options I have available though. No heavy flamers on my Terminators. Hmmm. Maybe I could just skip the Salamanders experiment and play Ultramarines.

    2. I hear you. That's why I don't mix Crimson Slaughter with standard CSM. It's all painted the same and expecting someone to remember which was which is douchey.

      Considering your collection I would probably skip Salamanders. Plus, let's be honest, do Salamanders really need testing? It's a pretty straight forward chapter tactic.

    3. Very true. I drew up a list for them, and just wasn't feeling it. it was neat, but didn't seem like it'd be fun to play. I'm not attached to the Salamanders identity, as it's never really captured my imagination.
      I also drew up a list that uses the Hammerfall Strike Force, and it's neat but very thin. My main concern fielding it is how it will work against superheavies. I'm not sure how you protect Terminators from a 10" template.