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Apothecary Strategy Guide

By Kibbles - 24th March 2009 - 17:09 PM

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Step aside, Commander. The Doctor is in.


It's hard out there for a Space Marine. There is so much to hate and purge, but one can be so restricted in their ability to do so. The Iron Halo can only shield us from so many things, and the Thunder Hammer may only reach so far. It is time that we shed ourselves of this dead-end road of command and elect a new leader. There is no other man more fit for duty than our old friend and doctor, the Apothecary.

Table of Contents:
  1. (APO1): Apothecary Basics
  2. (APO2): Orks
  3. (APO3): Tyranids
  4. (APO4): Eldar
  5. (APO5): Space Marines
  6. (APO6): Conclusion/Final Notes
I
What does the Apothecary do?


The Apothecary has the ability to keep the play alive. What this means, is that in a normal situation where things might appear to be over, all it takes is a smart heal to literally put the life back into your men. Having the ability to last is an invaluable asset against the Marines' most vicious enemy... the Tyranids. However, just the basics for now, and more on those buggers later.

The Apothecary is the absolute definition of support; he-.. wait, no he's not! He also does a killer job in the mix of battle, cutting enemies down left and right with chainsword (or more likely, trusty Power Axe). He brings the melee separation that the Force Commander has to the table along with his mighty buffing and healing ability. This is a rare dual purpose quality that must be treasured and honored in a commander.. use it well!

So tell me about this heal.


This is what the Apothecary is all about. His heal ability is probably one of the strongest starting Commander abilities in the entire game. Honestly, it's a heal for the entire squad, or a single commander if you would choose. First an instant increase, with an additional heal-over-time effect following immediately after. Not only does he have the active heal, but just being in the presence of the Apothecary will increase the regeneration rates of your Marines. This is another incredible tool for outlasting your opponent, allowing more time for remaining on the field, even after vicious confrontation. Oh... did I mention it also annihilates those fiendish greenskins? More on this later.

Alright, enough. He can't win it on his own.

Unfortunately, no, the Apothecary can not purge the heretic, xenos, and mutant alone. He needs back up! Thankfully, your stout-hearted Space Marines are diverse enough to offer tremendous support for your Apothecary's time of need. It's time to get into some build orders.

II
The Green Tide


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Orks.. where there's one there's a hundred of them. Mean, green, killin' machines. These opponents should not be underestimated in any state of the game, for their ability for a surprise comeback is devastating. Keeping track of an Ork's tech can be tricky.. don't feel like you're safe, only to have a looted tank land a big shot on your noggin'. Their strength lies in numbers, mobility, and close combat. These are three advantages that will leave even the best of Space Marines sprawling to keep up. Thankfully, there is hope! The build order is as follows:

T1:
  • Extra Scout
  • Power Node
  • Power Generator
  • Assault Space Marines (ASM)
  • Purification Rites


This is your T1. What... you're worried? Sure it looks naked, but one must never forget the power of an Apothecary and one squad of ASM. It's also quite possible that many of you have never even heard of Purification Rites, and that's just fine as well.

Well, then, what are Purification Rites? It is a 125 requisition 25 power accessory upgrade for the Apothecary. Its effect adds +50 AOE (area of effect) range to the Apothecary's heal ability (only the Heal, not his regeneration or Advanced Heal). What possible purpose could this serve? It is good news that resilience is not listed in one of the Ork advantages. Sluggas, Ork per Ork, simply do not carry the HP (hit points) to last for all too long (ex: Sluggas - 600 health in the squad, 6 Orks in a squad. 100 health per Ork). This is largely the same for all Ork squads, in fact. This AOE radius will extend to anyone around the target, and the more members in the target squad, the further reaching the AOE. This is important to remember! If you are stuck between healing your Apothecary and ASM, throw it on them! The surrounding Orks will suffer far superior casualties this way. This will be your ticket to winning the T1 engagements and turning the tables to give you the offensive advantage.

T2:
  • Sergeant Upgrade for ASM
  • Extra Generator
  • Combat Stimulants
  • Tactical Marine squad
  • Tactical Marine squad
  • Final Generator


It doesn't look like much, but boy does this T2 pack a punch. The Sergeant upgrade will give your ASM a significant HP boost, an extra squad member (with power sword), and now two knockdowns that can be used in battle. First, you can jump in and then follow up with the shockwave attack can devastate enemy melee. Or, if you choose, save the jump for a quick escape or hop on a distant unit, while using the shockwave as an adequate replacement for the jump. Now, aiming this wave attack does take a bit of practice, so be sure to keep patience as you learn its targeting because it is absolutely worth the effort.

The Combat Stimulants upgrade is unbelievably underrated. First of all, it gives an unlisted +100 HP bonus to the Apothecary himself, which is so lovely for his low HP pool. Secondly, it gives a 15 second long, restriction free +75% damage boost on any infantry unit. This, in combination with Purification Rites, will turn that single ASM into an army fighting war machine. They will simply be unstoppable by even the mightiest Waaagh! cry.

Finally, the classic Tactical Marine squads. These two should be purchased after in order to provide necessary anti-tank support with the missile launcher, and just overall balance to your arsenal. It helps to create other targets in the back lines, and you'll definitely need more than melta bombs to stop any sort of armor that is fielded. These are also very high damage units with Combat Stimulants activated, so do not be shy to buff them if necessary.

Commander specifics do not change much. If you're having trouble with any commander abilities, it might be wise to integrate the power axe to sap energy and avoid any further trouble. However, it will most likely come down to the big battle, and outplaying them in the heat of action. Should a Mekboy invest in the deffgun upgrade, though, use the ASM jump wisely. It might be needed to break up his gun position.

As for Orks, this is largely the end of the strategy. From here, it will be the player's decision on what he or she wishes to do. A jump to T3 would be my favorite choice in order to field a Predator for heavy armor support and a more static defense against Looted Tanks. This also opens up the possibility for a Terminator call-in. Once either of these are on the field, the match is typically won anyway.

III
The Hive Mind


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Tyranids... the bane of all things. These alien monsters will have no mercy for your precious Marines, and thus you should return none to the xenos. Their advantages largely resemble that of the Orks, but instead bringing superior heavy infantry to the field in the form of Warrior Broods to help push their advances. For Tyranids, it is time to take a step back and rethink the faction a little bit.

There is no rush to advance tiers against this army. There is no immense pressure for anti-vehicle weaponry. This army is an immediate threat rather than a prolonged one, and when fighting them, they should absolutely be treated as such. For this reason, the strategy will include a very large Tier 1.

T1:
  • Extra Scout
  • Power Node
  • Extra Generator
  • Assault Marine
  • Shotgun
  • Assault Marine
  • Shotgun


First and foremost you must realize that you cannot keep up with a Tyranid's capping power without shotguns. Either Hormagaunts or Ripper Swarms (or both) will have a field day with shrugging off your bolter fire and just continue on with their business. Shotguns, however, will absolutely squash the buggers in their tracks. This will put more pressure on the battles for the Tyranid player, and that is exactly what you want to do.

Warrior Broods are going to be your main threat here. Their talons rip and rend with extreme force, but your resilient ASM are ready. It will take an extra squad of them to hang tight in T1, and one can afford to do so for the lack of an armored threat in T2. These two squads should stay together when at all possible and should also keep the Apothecary near in tow. This is especially true against a Ravener. All it takes is one tunnel to catch a separated ASM squad off guard and that could be all she wrote. It's that sensitive. However, should you stay together, these Warriors will not be able to handle the double knockdown jump and heal support in a straight fight. Should the little 'Gaunts join the fight and you're lacking a nearby shotgun, keep focusing the larger Warriors. Their synapse shockwave will stun and damage any nearby lesser Tyranids.

T2:
  • Sergeant Upgrade
  • Extra Generator
  • Combat Stimulants
  • Sergeant Upgrade
  • Final Generator
  • Razorback/Dreadnought (if needed)


Once again the sergeants and stimulants are brought in to assure the fate of your opponent. These are the powerful melee upgrades that will put the final nail in the coffin. Smart use of the shockwave to keep the Tyranids on their backs as much as possible and dealing with them will become just another Tuesday. If things become pressured, though, or you took too many ASM casualties in the beginning, a Razorback may be needed to provide another primary target and heavy damage support. The Dreadnought.. well.. it's good for squishing bugs. If you've got the resources and you need to squish some bugs, then get one! It is also important to note that, if doing well, the Anointed Power Axe may be included to fuel the Apothecary's energy supply. Warriors do have energy to steal from, so it's a good idea!

IV
Psyker, Witch


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Remember your training, the Eldar are deadly! These words couldn't be any more true. If given an inch, the Eldar will turn it into a mile. They are powerful in their mobility and ranged damage, while their commanders may create excellent disruptive melee to mix up your forces. Bringing the pressure on these squishy but slippery xenos has never been more important.

T1:
  • Extra Scout
  • Power Node
  • Extra Generator
  • Assault Marine Squad

Look familiar? It's the same order used against Orks simply subtracting the Purification Rites. The Scouts should be used to contend with the capping strength of the Guardians, and requisition points should be targeted specifically. Eldar have a terrible upkeep ratio, and if you can hurt their requisition income even more, they will struggle to field their more expensive units.

Once again, the Assault Marines will be your bread and butter unit for destruction. Keep them with the Apothecary near for maximum destruction and simply use the regeneration aura when possible to heal off the chip damage from Guardians to avoid having to waste precious energy and cooldowns on your main Heal. A serious common threat that comes up when facing this army is the Warlock. His psychic shield and merciless witchblade combo can be devastating. The Apothecary has an answer! Should you encounter this threat, toss on the Anointed Power Axe. This will make quick work of that most annoying energy shield, and you will be free to cut away at the fleshy weakling that hides within.

T2:
  • Sergeant Upgrade
  • Extra Generator
  • Tactical Marine squad
  • Tactical Marine squad
  • Final Generator


This is a situation where the Combat Stimulants may not prove as worthy. Unless you're facing a Banshee problem or Warlock problem, I would suggest avoiding this upgrade due to the already high fragility of Eldar infantry. The Tactical Marine squad will be pivotal in defeating the likely close behind, or perhaps already fielded Falcon Grav-Tank or Wraithlord. Use the missile launcher upgrade in combination with the melta bomb to deliver early punishment to these vehicles, but do not neglect the enemy's infantry force! It is still just as deadly, and should be adequately taken care of. Use the Apothecary to tie up enemies until your ASM can drop the payload melta bomb and join the fray. The second Tactical squad is often equipped with a missile launcher as well. Should the Eldar reach T3, the energy shield on a Falcon will be an absolute pain with only one rocket launcher and a melta bomb. With all this anti-tank weaponry, though, things will be a lot smoother until you can field a Predator or Terminators for the final straw.

V
Heretic


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Finally, last but certainly not least, comes enemy Space Marine brothers. A vast majority of your opponents will either be with the Force Commander or an enemy Apothecary. These commander battles can often come down to two simple things: straight micro superiority or who has the Anointed Power Axe. Against the Iron Halo Force Commander, it is unwise to ever skip the Power Axe, for tearing that shield down and keeping it down will be vital for removing a key strength of his army. The Power Axe is also key for draining an enemy Apothecary's energy, as well as farming energy off of potential enemy Assault Marines. Whenever any of these situations arise, it is recommended to get the Power Axe as soon as possible.

T1:
  • Extra Scout
  • Power Node
  • Extra Generator
  • Assault Marine Squad


Starting to see a pattern here! Keep the same build order that has worked against the Eldar and Orks, again without the Purification Rites. The damage is simply not significant enough against the tougher Space Marines. Focus enemy Tactical Marines with your Apothecary and ASM to keep their ranged damage out of the equation, and if possible, always save the jump for potential heavy bolter threats. You don't want to get caught in the fire of one of those, not even for a second! Their suppression can also end the Apothecary's advantage of extending the play very quickly, so keeping them in mind is vital. It is also likely that your opponent will start single-Scout, and so a heavy Tactical Marine presence is probable. Hit his requisition points hard with your bonus Scout and create smart separation with the ASM and you should survive just fine.

T2:
  • Sergeant Upgrade
  • Extra Generator
  • Combat Stimulants
  • Tactical Marine Squad
  • Tactical Marine Squad


Back to the Combat Stimulants! The +75% damage increase on your ASM will do wonders to win over the skirmishes and big battles alike, even against the powerful Tactical Marines. It is also important to field both Tactical Marines of your own in this match, because the possibility of an armored threat is very real and very deadly. Thankfully, it is possible that you may only need to invest in one missile launcher, giving you the access to the plasma gun for thick ranged damage to support your hearty ASM. Stick to your guns and don't over extend with your main fighting force and victory will be yours.

T3:

TERMINATORS!
These are a deciding factor in a late game Marines-versus-Marines match. If you can wait for them, then do it! Missile launchers are more than enough anti-tank for a Space Marine opponent, so do not wrongly invest in the Predator unless you must.

VI
Conclusion


The Apothecary will solve so many problems for your Space Marine play. This is a guide, not a rulebook. Adapt it to your own style if you must, but following the fundamentals will assure victory many times over. Do not forget to take great care of your ASM and support them with Stimulants when available and you will have your army in a single unit. Just as a final note, I am often asked if I believe sniper rifles are worth it. The short answer is yes, I do. They are a long range weapon that can be very useful in sniping out weapon teams, Tankbustas, enemy sniper units, or whatever. My favorite opportunity to purchase this upgrade is in the stagnant point after the second Tactical Marine. If I know I don't have enough for Terminators, I'll save T3 and invest in sniper rifles instead, then make my way to T3. Hopefully these notes will prove advantageous in your wars against the xenos and heretic. Good luck and stay vigilant.

Discuss this topic in the Apothecary Strategy Guide discussion thread.