Monday, January 28, 2013

Space Marines in 6th Edition: Special Character HQs with Combat Tactics

Marneus Augustus Calgar, Chapter Master of the Ultramarines

Calgar is the superhero character of Codex: Space Marines. He has an extra wound and attack compared to a standard Chapter Master, and wields a pair of power fists along with an AP2 storm bolter. To make him nastier, he can re-roll all his failed to wound rolls in shooting and assault. To top it off, he’s Eternal Warrior. He comes with power armor, but it’s absolutely worth upgrading him to Terminator armor. As an individual, Calgar can both take it and dish it out.

Calgar also benefits your entire army. Due to his God of War rule, every unit in his army with Combat Tactics can choose whether to pass or fail any morale check. This means your units will never fall back when you don’t want them to, which is a pretty massive ability.

Finally, Calgar allows you to take up to three Honour Guard squads in your army rather than the single squad a generic Chapter Master allows. Since Honour Guard squads are pretty one-dimensional and expensive in points, I don’t see much reason to take more than a single squad. However, if you have a reason to take multiple squads of Honour Guard, Calgar lets you do it.

For all the damage that he can personally inflict and what he brings to the army, Calgar costs more points than a Land Raider when taken with his obligatory Terminator Armor. For this expense, you’ll have to carefully consider if Calgar is worth it.

Cato Sicarius, Captain of the Ultramarines 2nd Company

Sicarius has the stats of a standard Captain, but he wears a suit of artificer armor that grants him Feel No Pain and carries a power sword that allows him to sacrifice his normal attacks to take a single S6 attack that inflicts Instant Death. This is all kind of cool, but Sicarius is most useful for what he brings to the rest of the army.

Sicarius allows you to re-roll the dice to Seize the Initiative; this can be a big deal as it essentially doubles your chances to steal first turn. Sicarius allows all models in his army to use his LD 10 for any Morale or Pinning Tests. This is almost as good as Calgar’s God of War, as your units are unlikely to break if you choose to take the test. Finally, Sicarius can give a single Tactical squad Counter-attack, Infiltrate, Scout, or Tank Hunters. Though this is a bit limited because it can only be given to a Tactical squad, it can make that squad harder to shift in assault, allow them to outflank, or give them an extremely dangerous lascannon (it’s worth noting that I can’t find any ruling on when you have to choose what rule you give to a Tactical squad. It could need to be put on the army list, or chosen at the beginning of every battle).

Sicarius is a bit expensive for what he brings, but he allows you to play a Space Marine army that feels a bit more elite than normal (which is saying something for Space Marines).

Varro Tigurius, Ultramarine’s Chief Librarian

Tigurius is the strongest psyker available in Codex: Space Marines, at Level 3. He can either know all powers in the Space Marine Codex or trade them out for 3 powers from one of the rulebook disciplines available to Space Marines. In addition, he allows you to re-roll any reserve rolls you’d like, including successful ones.

Tigurius is a fairly strong psyker, but is outdone by most other psyker special characters. In addition, he just has the normal Librarian stat line, so he is really easy to kill. Finally, he costs almost as many points as Calgar. I can’t think of any situations in which Tigurius is really worth taking.

Ortan Cassius, Ultramarines Chaplain, Master of Sanctity

Cassius is a tremendous deal. For 25 more points than a standard Chaplain, he comes with a combi-flamer with hellfire rounds (which is hypothetically worth 25 points). Beyond that, Cassius is T6 with Feel No Pain, which makes him absurdly hard to kill. If you are taking a Chaplain on foot, take Cassius. His only real downside compared to a standard Chaplain is that he can’t take a jump pack (which is the most common way to take a Chaplain).

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