The armies of Space Marines are less numerous, but they are tougher and capable of dealing higher damage. When playing with this faction you should focus on concentrated attacks and prolonged battles, as their units are most effective during those. However, they are less effective at hit & run tactics and harassment. Also, because of their low unit sizes, using even a single one of them can be devastating. While playing as Space Marines, you must make use of three different faction mechanics - the ability to call your troops to any place on the battlefield, to call in a standard and to use an orbital bombardment.
Orbital Relays are used by Space Marines to drop, with the help of Drop Pods, their units to any place on the battlefield. This is extremely useful to quickly move your units around the map, or to support your allies with a small group of your units when sending your army is out of the question.
This is also a perfect way to surprise your enemy. Sending Drop Pods containing Assault Marines into several ranged units of the enemy is the worst that can happen to your foe. What is more, upon landing the pods will deal minor damage to enemies in the landing zone, knocking them away in the process, making it a good crowd control option. Drop Pods can also be used offensively - you only need a little bit of vision near an unprotected enemy resource point to drop a capsule right next to it and start your attack from there. It will either give you access to a new resource point, or force the enemy to defend it, allowing you to attack a different place. Normally, your enemies won't see that you're planning to drop a Drop Pod with units, but if they have a detector located nearby it will be visible to them as well.
What is more, thanks to Orbital Relays, the Space Marines can produce units outside of the production buildings and their production queues. Units are created in the Drop Pods and the rest of the buildings can be used for different purposes. However, in order to recruit more advanced units than the Tactical Marines, you still need to construct the required buildings. You should also remember about the Deathstorm Drop Pods. Those are special types of Drop Pods that, upon landing, open up and start shooting at nearby enemies. Those Drop Pods have one of the highest DPS ratings in the entire game and can decimate an entire enemy army in seconds.
Plant the Standard ability
One of the special abilities of Space Marines, Plant the Standard, allows the player to drop a special standard onto the designated position. The standard will then provide nearby units with various buffs. The bonuses of the standard increase with each tech level and are as follows:
- Tech level I - the standard will give a shield to all nearby allied units;
- Tech level II - the standard will also inflict damage to nearby enemies with a mini Orbital Bombardment;
- Tech level III - the standard will also heal nearby allied units.
What is more, enemies located in the drop zone will be knocked away. You should be extra careful when calling the standard, as enemy units can easily capture it - once that happens, you will lose all the benefits of it.
Orbital Bombardment is the super ability of the Space Marines. Once activated, the player selects two locations - the first one sets up a special beacon, whereas the second indicates the starting position of the bombardment. After a short while, the beacon falls to the ground, bringing down a powerful orbital bombardment beam with it. The beam can then be controlled, allowing the player to attack other units.
This ability is capable of causing devastating damage, increasing further as the ability goes on. What is more, the enemies you hit with the beam are suspended in air and won't be able to run away from the damage. However, similarly to the standard, the beacon can be captured by an enemy unit. Once that happens, the bombardment will continue, but you will lose the ability to move the beam and enemy units won't be suspended anymore. Another drawback of the ability is the cost - it requires 2 elite points. Using the Orbital Bombardment can save your skin, but it will also severely delay the moment at which you will be capable of calling more powerful elite units to the battlefield.