A) Straight codex chapter. Use the space marine codex, no traits. It's all just down to the background you write, your paintjob and your decisions in making the list.
B) Traits. Use the traits system in the back of the SM codex to give your chapter its own special rules. Must follow all the guidelines laid out. Careful, the traits system lends itself to abuse.
C) Successor Chapter. Essentially, your chapter is related to an established chapter. Use the same codex/rules/traits for that chapter, but you give them a variation on the paint job and fluff explaining how they're different and how they're related.
D) "Counts As" Chapter. Similar to a successor chapter, you use some other chapter's rules (say, Dark Angels Deathwing) but make up your own fluff and paint and background, so they're not necessarily related. A lot of people use "Counts As Deathwing" for example, to simulate running a First Company army for other established chapters
Just be sure to explain any traits or special rules to your opponent. People know what rules to expect when encountering Templars or Blood Angels, but you owe it to them to let them know what yous can do.
Galahad's pretty much nailed it there - but there is an option between B & C, which is using traits to get a successor chapter.
For instance, Salamanders have 2 traits, 'Cleanse and Purify' and... the other one, I can't remember. So a Salamanders Successsor Chapter might have one of those traits (let's say Cleanse and Purify as I can remember that one) to represent the fact that they're descended from the original and have some of the same background, philosophy, fighting style etc; and another trait, say 'Scions of Mars', representing some new development or aspect of training etc that this chapter has focussed on to meet a specific threat or developed because of its situation. So now you have a new Chapter, which is related to the original, but has some different features - still has the double flamer/plasma option, but also a new set of rules to do with Techmarines instead of... whatever else the Salamanders have.
Really, this is Galahad's option B, but for the reasons given in C.
for example, my Hand of Dorn are an imperial fists successor chapter, but i use the dark angel codex to represent them, rules wise. They have nothing to do with the DA at all. i just like the codex and its layout.
Just teasing a bit. From the initial fervor amongst DA players, you're probably in a lonely minority. Though since the Blood Angels got a similar nerf/change and Chaos got hit, DA players have come to realize they didn't come out so bad.
I think once *all* the SM chapters get tooled down (and maybe if they fix Tau and Eldar to be in line with the new power grade) then yeah. Just within the context of the 'new wave' updates, they're pretty good. I actually really like the Chaos dex, the DA dex had some exciting possibilities, and the BA dex wasn't that bad if you want to build a small elite hit and run army.
But as it stands now, I can understand why they're smarting over the changes. Compared to traits players, they got a beating with the nerf bat
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