This weekend the Space Marine Codex came out and with it Games Workshop decided to release a web exclusive limited release formation that is out of this world.
The Skyhammer Annihilation Force is an awesome tool for any Space Marine player. In essence it is two drop pods, two squads of Assault marines and two squads of devastators. Nothing overpowered there. Where the fun come in is with the four special rules: Shock Deployment, First the fire, then the Blade, Suppressing Fusillade and Leave no Survivors. Let's talk about that.
All units in a Skyhammer Annihilation Force start the game in Deep Strike Reserve. Instead of using the normal deployment and reserve rules for these units, you can, during deployment, choose whether this Formation will arrive during your first or second turn. The entire Skyhammer Annihilation Force automatically arrives on the turn you choose—no Reserve Rolls are required. Ignore this Formation's Drop Pods for the purposes of the Drop Pod Assault special rule.
This gives you four deep striking units on turn one that can decimate the other side. Deep striking devastators to a good angle on your opponents army is a big deal. Also bringing in Assault marines to tie up anything that is left is also nice. Having the assault marine there would not be bad since they would normally just sit there for a turn and you can react to them until you get to the next rule.
First the Fire, then the Blade
On the turn they arrive from Deep Strike Reserve, the Devastator Squads in a Skyhammer Annihilation Force have the Relentless special rule and the Assault Squads can charge even though they arrived from Reserves that turn.
Now the devastators are not snap firing those nice weapons they are shooting at full Ballistic Skill.If that wasn't bad enough the Assault marines get to assault. In a game where they have been removing this ability from every codex they bring it back in style.
A unit targeted by a Skyhammer Annihilation Force's Devastator Squad in the Shooting phase must take a Morale test at the end of the phase on 3D6, regardless of how many casualties were inflicted. If the test is failed, the enemy unit does not Fall Back, but must immediately Go to Ground. If the test is passed, the enemy unit is unable to fire Overwatch for the rest of the turn.
This next rule Helps to keep those units that survive the onslaught pinned down so they are ineffective on their turn. It also provides the assault marines protection from overwatch if this is the target they plan to assault. This is very nice synergy.
Leave No Survivors
Assault Squads in a Skyhammer Annihilation Force can use their Jump Packs in both the Movement phase and the Assault phase. If an Assault Squad from a Skyhammer Annihilation Force charges a unit that has Gone to Ground as a result of the Suppressing Fusillade special rule, that Assault Squad can reroll failed To Hit and To Wound rolls in the ensuring Assault phase.
The last nail in the coffin will allow rerolls of assault moves and hammer of wrath hits. It also makes sure you do the maximum amount of hits and wounds. While they are not the greatest of close combat units these special rules are a considerable boost in the arm.
While I am jealous of these special rules and if I was a Space Marine player (heck blood angels and Dark angels as well) I would take two of these formations. They seem like an awesome combo.
the Fire/Blade rule is what I am the most jealous about. That rule would help Genestealers and Raveners so much. My ork Kommandoes and Stormboys miss this ability as well. I just hope they will not be forgotten when it is time for them to get an update. I can just see it now... Genestealers coming out of spore pods ready to much face.... man, how I miss those guys.
Questions? Comments? For the Emperors!?