The Battle Company
The formation that everyone’s talking about. Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably seen the ideas being thrown around for getting 550pts of free Razorbacks and gunlining up. This is certainly an option – 90pts buys you 5 Tactical Marines with a Lascannon (Twin-Linked for a turn) and a Razorback with Twin-Linked Heavy Bolters with Objective Secured. That’s pretty crazy cheap for a long-range duo that can threaten tanks as well as infantry. 540pts will fill out your Company’s mandatory Tacticals with 6 5-man squads with Lascannons and 6 Razorbacks with TL Heavy Bolters. For the firepower and scoring presence that gives you, it’s good, but I think you’re wasting points in the regular berks with Bolters. I’d want to use those guys. To do that, the Razorbacks are probably going to need a weapon upgrade as they’re going to be up close and taking a more active role. While you do pay for any upgrades to the free transports, the Razorback upgrades are fairly cheap after they increased the base cost of the Razorback in 6th edition.
A 5-man Tactical Squad, Plasma Gun and Combi-Weapon in a Razorback with Twin-Linked Assault Cannon costs 115pts, which for the firepower you put out is actually a really solid deal considering the whole package is Objective Secured (and that Tactical Doctrine!). You could swap out the special weapons as you see fit, but I think the Assault Cannon is the way to go on the Razorback if you’re putting a short-ranged combat squad in it. A Razorback-based Company, for me, would look something like 3x 5 Tacticals with Plasma Gun/Combi-Weapon in a Razorback with TL Assault Cannon, 3x the same but with Meltas, 2 full Biker squads with the Captain attached to one and the Chaplain attached to the other, and then a pair of Devastator Squads with your weapon of choice in Razorbacks with Assault Cannons (these go ranging ahead of the Devastators, in the front line of Razorbacks). The best Chapter Tactic for this would have to be White Scars with Khan as the Captain – getting a Scout move with that many Razorbacks allows you to move 6” on the first turn, disembark and deliver a punishing alpha strike with your Tactical Doctrine supported by the blizzard of Str6 AP4 shots from the Razorbacks. Ultramarines can sustain an offensive with this build, given their two turns of Tactical Doctrine plus a turn of Devastator doctrine (as can, to a lesser extent, Imperial Fists with Bolter Drill), while other Chapters can make tailor it to suit their rules (Salamanders with Master-Crafted Combi-Weapons and Shredding Flamers in the Tactical squads, Iron Hands giving you some backup if the alpha strike doesn’t work, Raven Guard can… oh, Raven Guard, I am genuinely sorry).
So what about the 10-man squad? That’s fluffy, right? Indeed it is, and it has potential, but it really starts to cut into your points. Running all the Tacticals at 10-man, even with a fairly small amount of gear and frugal options in the other Demi-Company slots, is only leaving you only about 300pts or 400pts left for the other mandatory formation to make up a Gladius. 60 Tacticals with Plasma/Combis in Rhinos will set you back 990pts, which is significant, but that’s a lot of MEQ bodies and transport vehicles. You’ll Combat Squad them up unless it’s KP, because why would you not; that’s 18 Objective Secured units, plus all the OS you’ll get from the rest of the Battle Company (one of my favourite parts of the Battle Company is that your entire army has Objective Secured and Combat Squads – you can have OS Bikers, Tacticals, Biker Chapter Masters, Attack Bikes or Dreadnoughts, all in the same detachment!). Target saturation is a very real strategy, and this army has the benefit of being able to play the mission or kill the enemy as required; that much rapid OS MSU can cover a lot of table with Scoring, but they can unleash an awful lot of Twin-Linked Bolters and Special Weapons when required.
The final option is to mount the Tacticals in Drop Pods. Everyone knows what Drop Pods do, and I don’t think I need to explain the strengths of dropping down 50 Twin-Linked Tactical Marines on Turn 1 (since you can get free Drop Pods for your Assault Squads and Devastators even if they don’t use them, you bring all the Tacticals down turn 1, pop Tactical Doctrine, and bring everyone else in gradually). This is one situation where Captain Sicarius is actually a pretty good pick – you need a Captain anyway and if you’re committing to a Drop Pod Assault you’re probably not bringing Bikers, so one who lets your Drop Pods enter on a 2+ is about as good as you’re going to get. There's an army weakness that some people don't realise with Drop Pods, and while it's minor it's still present; you telegraph your plan. You can dp a really nasty alpha strike with Drop Pods, but you can't do anything other than a nasty alpha strike even if you might want to play less aggressively against a certain opponent.
A note that all of the configurations for the Battle Company leave you in a bit of a quandary as to what to do with the Captain and Chaplain. Foot Captains have no good units to join, and the Battle Company is expensive enough already without adding Biker Command Squads. However, I think that the latter is one of the better places to put the characters – a Captain and Chaplain offer some valuable melee defence for an otherwise melee-vulnerable shooting-based Command Squad such as the Apothecary/4 Grav Guns loadout. Alternatively, you can stick the characters into regular Biker squads, which fill your mandatory ‘Assault Marine’ slot, and again offer melee defence. One amusing alternative is a Captain with Artificer Armour, Storm Shield and the Primarch’s Wrath relic, which apart from being an odd model would gain Relentless from a squad of Centurion Devastators (which you can take as your ‘Devastator slot’), and in return give them 3 Storm Shield wounds to stand out front and take low-AP fire coming in. Bring White Scars for Hit and Run for added points.