Monday, July 21, 2014

Sly Marbo: Missing In Action

Marbo: Missing In Action (Still)

by Uktena
South Mississippi Gamers

Where in the galaxy is Sly Marbo?

Where, oh where, has Marbo gone? Sly Marbo is an Imperial rockstar and he has been Missing In Action since the Astra Militarum codex hit. Is he protesting the name change? Is he on some super secret mission? Did he retire and start collecting a pension? Get married and move back to Catachan to start a family? Did he finally meet that bullet that had his name on it? Or is he on an extended R&R from the front lines? The most likely scenario for his absence is that Games Workshop is waiting to release him in a dataslate in a brazen attempt to pocket more money from us. As much as I hate dropping money for dataslates/codex supplements I think GW knows all too well that we Guard players love our boy Marbo and we will be willing to pay to get our man back into our ranks.

When SMGWargaming did our podcast for the Astra Militarum codex I had predicted that Marbo would soon return to us in a dataslate. Well, that dataslate is still not here and I am wondering why? It is much too early to pronounce Sly as a K.I.A and I've read exactly zero rumors about him getting a dataslate soon but GW has thrown us some surprises from out of the blue before. What I have seen is some speculation that a Catachan codex supplement might be produced and that Marbo would be included. But this too is just speculation.

Let's do some speculating and crystal ball'n.
OK, since speculation is all that we have lets give it some thought. What are the most popular Guard armies? Cadian is number one, after that the field is a bit wide open. GW has released new Guard armies for just about every edition - Mordian Iron Guard, Armageddon Steel Legion, Catachan Jungle Fighters, Death Korps of Kreig, Praetorian Guard, Tallarn Desert Raiders, Valhallan Ice Warriors and Vostroyan First Born. In the past some supplements for these armies had been produced, I know of and personally own the Catachan and Steel Legion (Armaggedon) supplements. Other supplements may be out there that I don't know about and I am sure that they are.

What does this mean? It means we have a precedence of Guard supplements for at least two armies, one being Catachan (which Marbo made an appearance in). This would bolster the idea that we might get a Catachan supplement some time in the future. And if we did, and no Marbo dataslate has appeared, I think we can safety make the assumption that Marbo will be in it.

Marbo's epic career through the editions.
Although I am not 100 percent certain, I do believe that the 3rd Edition Supplement: Codex Catachans was Marbo's debut into the 40K Universe. I started my 40K career at the beginning of 4th and so I was able to find a copy of this codex still available on the shelf at the FLGS.

The codex itself is great, even by today's standards, with a sweet color showcase in the middle of the book along with tips on how to make your own jungle terrain. There is even extra rule sections on jungle terrain, jungle fighting, ambushes and b(.)(.)by traps - all of which is still relevant for narrative games of 40K

On the third to last page, under Colonel Straken, is Sly Marbo. Besides this first incarnation of Marbo has also appeared in the 5th Edition of the Imperial Guard Codex. So let take a look at how he changed through the years.

Catachan Codex (3rd Ed.)

135 points. Is a Sniper choice for a Catachan army.

WS 5 BS 4 S 3 T 3 W 3 I 4 A 3 Ld 10 Sv 5+

Wargear: Ripper pistol, envenomed blade, demolition charge, frag & krak grenades.

Special Rules: Sniper, Ripper Pistol, Envenomed Blade, Always Operates Alone.
May Move: Used the Sniper rules where he can disappear after moving and then secretly move only to reappear later using the new Ambush rules in the Catachan Codex.

Bottom Line: Marbo was a sneaky ninja that disappeared and reappeared to ambush as long as nobody could draw a line of sight to him (or was in thick jungle). So yeah, he was Rambo as long as he had line of sight blocking terrain or jungle to fight in. His points cost was too much to bear if not fighting in such Catachan perfect conditions.

Imperial Guard Codex (5th Ed.)

65 points. Is an Elite choice.

WS 5 BS 5 S 3 T 3 W 2 I 5 A 4 Ld 7 Sv 5+

Wargear: Flak armor, ripper pistol, envenomed blade, frag grenades, melta bombs, demolition charge.

Special Rules: Fearless, Stealth, Move Through Cover, Hit and Run, Fleet, Loner, He's Behind You.

Bottom Line: Got a little more buff and a lot more maneuverable than his first incarnation. His point drop made all the difference, making him a cheap S8 AP2 large blast suicide bomber that would make your opponent sweat while he second guessed himself knowing that Marbo was waiting on the sidelines.

Predictions of a future Sly Marbo.
About the only thing I am willing to predict about Sly's future is this: we will see him again and before the year is out or early next year. Stats wise Marbo's 5th edition persona still shines as a strong template for even the current edition. Yes, he is too weak to survive for long once he hits the table but he has the potential to punk opponents stronger than himself which is always fun.

What would I like to see with a new Marbo? Well if he comes with a Catachan supplement he may have ambush rules again or at the very least some new jungle rules like having Shrouded in jungle or tree terrain. What Marbo really needs is an Invulnerable save, I mean he one of the most valuable assets to the Imperium so give him a damn refractor field!

Some other changes that Guard players would like to see are Leadership 10, 3 Wounds (don't count on it) and I bet his Initiative goes up to 6. If you look in the Astra Militarum codex you will see that the named HQs got better. So I expect to see improvements to Marbo's stat line/rules as well.

I leave you with this: a prediction wish from left field. Marbo is a super stealthy, Imperial ninja that excels at ambush tactics so lets give him a new special rule to represent this.

Marbo: First Blood
On the turn that Marbo enters from reserves he may Assault and any wounds that Marbo inflicts during this assault have the special rule Instant Death.

Boo-yah! Gonna punk some big baddies when they fail their armor roll. Haha, yeah I know, ain't gonna happen. But we can dream can't we?

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