Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Reviewing the SM Codex, Part One: Unique HQs


Come on guys, we all knew this was coming. A new Book, a suave, sophisticated mind like mine? Of course I had to give up my nearly useless opinions on the Space Marine Codex to the Peasants. Well. I'm no Learn2eel, but I'll give it a shot. Maybe my opinions will cause controversy and I won't be posting for my own vanity anymore!

So, here it is, The think tank of the Space Marines. The HQ part of this 5-part series. I won't go into as much details as some other tactica might, because I feel it's a bad idea to give a holistic opinion. It's important to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of these units, but telling you how to run them is not my goal. 

Unique Characters 

Marneus Calgar (Papasmurf's descendent)

Excellent Rules and equipment for both damage output (Assault) and for damage absorption. 
Nice added ranged damage. Unlocks 3 units of slightly survivable shock assault infantry.
Most Expensive Warlord, Rivalling the likes of the Swarmlord and the Sanguinor. Best in Assault with no fast way of getting there.
Things to Watch:
1. He's Relentless, so Orbital Bombardment will more than certainly drop. 
2. God of war can mean you have to destroy marine squads outright. God of War can also allow marines out of combats they can't win. (of course, if your initiative is good enough, it won't.)
3. Titanic Might means Calgar will put 3 wounds on most T6 Monsters, 2.5 wounds on T8  monsters, without the charge.
4. Calgar has a good chance of being the warlord trait you want.

Price: 1/10 Reasonable for his Price, but very expensive nonetheless.
Survivability: 9/10 Eternal Warrior, 4 wounds and 2+4++ make him a tough cookie to crack. Swarmlord still knocks him out in one round of combat.
Damage output 9/10 Excellent damage output Vs. Monsters. Reliable Anti-infantry. Reliably able to bring his attacks to bear, despite unwieldly
Rules: 8/10 Excellent Rules, truly. IF they were spread over two characters, it would make taking both viable. 
Army Bonuses: 9/10 Can form the backbone of an army.
Overall: 7.2/10

Sicarius (Captain Minor Buff)

Small Boon to one tactical squad. Reserves Bonus, Cool Sword and Armour. Leadership ten for Ultramarines. Has 2+4++ with FNP. 

Very rarely justifiable for his price, except in reserves-heavy armies. In Reserves heavy armies, the Reserves bonus is non-optional.

Things to Watch
1. Sicarius doesn't have to be warlord for an army to gain his reserves bonus. 
2. Sicarius Can make one attack at S6 with the instant death rule. Be wary when assaulting.
3. He can give a squad infiltrate, and hide them on an ADL or Bastion with a Comms Relay in no mans land, while the other squad outflanks in a rhino late game 
4. The reserves bonus is not optional (unless Sicarius steps on his sword or is off-table.)
5. Leadership bonus only affects Ultramarines

Price: 2/10 Not Awfully expensive, but not good enough for his price, either.
Survivability: 6/10 Not Eternal with a 2+4++ FNP. Decent, but hurts against things with instant death all the more. 
Damage Output 2/10 Negligible. 
Rules: 6/10 His only saving Grace is lackluster. 
Army Bonuses: 6/10 The +1 to reserves is nice, as is the leadership bonus
Overall: 4.4/10 

Tigurius (Maccrage's best Book Keeper) 

Tigurius' Reserves rule gives you a 5% better chance of a reserve coming in than that of Sicarius, while also giving you the option to hold back reserves.
Excellent ML3 Psyker who has a 75% chance of getting any one power. 
Re-rolls failed psychic tests
I suppose he's a bit pricey.
No Invulnerable save.
Psychic defence is meh. 
Things To Watch
1. I do awful, awful things with tigurius in a farsight bomb. Simply unspeakable.
2. Other people do awful, awful things with tigurius.
3. Tigurius only pays a 55 point tax nowadays, also scouts are kinda cool when you can hold them in reserve longer.
4. tigurius is very likely to get the powers he wants. 

Price: 10/10 He's Cheap for how much he does.
Survivability: 5/10 Not exceptional, brought down by dint of no invulnerable save.
Damage Output: 7/10 Given that he's the buff man, he does a pretty decent bit of close combat damage against the right targets. 
Rules: 10/10 By Far the most Flexible Unique character with excellent rules making him very competitive.
Army Bonuses: 10/10 You can't go far wrong with his form of re-rolls. Also, he can make certains armies godly. (Read: Farsight Bomb.)
Overall: 8.4/10 

Chaplain Cassius (Cassandra, AKA the only Smurf it's okay to like) 

T6, FNP. 
A Chaplain. 
Neat Combi-flamer. 
2 Wounds
Limited output
He's Still just a chaplain.
Things To Watch
1. Put him in a challenge against a S4 attacker and watch them knock hands around.
2. Put him just behind a unit of assault centurions. Watch the chaos.
3. Guardsmen can't scratch him. 
4. Monsters can struggle.
5. Ties up a riptide in a pinch.
6. Fear never comes up, but when it does, you'll love it.

Price 9/10 Great price.
Survivability 8/10 Two wounds is kind-of a bummer. 
Damage Output 6/10 It was never his strong point.
Rules 7/10 He's a Chaplain.
Army Bonuses 7/10 He's a Chaplain.
Overall 7.4/10

Kor'Sarro Khan (The Tartar)

Greant Bonus to Bikes and Transports like Land Raiders are almost valuable. 
Can Cause Instant Death
Has a Great Warlord trait that can swing a game in your favour. 
Cheap Biker Captain with good rules to support. 
Sv2+ Bounces off his instant death rounds. 
Things to Watch
1. This was the premier deathstar leader of fifth edition
2. He basically gets a power sword for, say, 16 points, then costs nine points to get Scout on your transports and furious charge. 
3. Extra Hammer of Wrath doesn't always do something, but when it does, it hurts. 
4. 1's can still mean a dead iron-hands biker-chapter master in artificer armour with thunder hammer and storm shield. 

Price 10/10 Easily one of the cheapest characters for what he gets.
Survivability 5/10 Nothing Special. 
Damage Output 5/10 Nothing Special, Save for Instant Death
Rules 8/10 Good Rules that almost make him okay in assault. 
Army Bonuses 8/10 Can be game-winning against the right opponents. Rush tau with this gem.
Overall 7.2/10

Vulkan He'stan (Vulcan's estranged nephew.) 

His Wargear, bought individually, would cost 75 points. This means he master-crafts melta-guns for 15 points.
Strong Warlord Trait
Not eternal.
No AP2. 
Things to Watch
1. He'stan carries a Master Crafted Relic Blade. He may make one of his weapons master-crafted, which he will do to his bolt pistol. This will give him two re-rolls to hit in combat, plus digital weapons.
2. He strikes at S6 and so can flatten T3 warlords, and threaten 3+ save monsters.
3. He can shrug off an annoying amount of shooting, with a 2+ look-out sir, if no eternal warrior.

Price 9/10 Pricey, but you get what you paid for. 
Survivability 8/10 Eternal is the only thing stopping him from being 9/10.
Damage Output 8/10 Ap3 hurts, but he still can impress. Also Heavy Flamer. 
Rules 6/10 He hasn't changed much, but in the ways he has he hurts.
Army Bonuses 9/10 He makes anti-monster possible without grav-guns. Would definitely run with biker army. 
Overall 8/10

Shadow Captain Shrike (Shrike a fierce pose) 

Can Infiltrate successfully.
Expensive for his wargear
Pays too much for rules on could get on a generic HQ.
Things to Watch
1. Assuming you don't kill them first, a vanguard veteran squad to the balls might hurt. 

Price 1/10 Easily the most overpriced character in the codex. 
Survivability 5/10 Nothing Special
Damage Output 4/10 AP3 with nothing special.
rules 5/10 Nothing Special
Army Bonuses 0/10 He literally provides nothing to his army that a generic character couldn't. 
Overall 3/10 

Captain Lysander (Dorn.) 

Great Damage absorption and output
Great Warlord trait with the right wargear to make hte most of it
Nice Bonus to nearby units
Slow, terminator armoured
Assault isn't the place to be anymore, and he pays too much to not be in it. 
Things to Watch
1. Dor- I mean, Lysander can reliably take on most opponents and come out on top. He can't best the swarmlord, but nobody expects him to. A non-monster warlord is D3 VP in the bank if he gets into a challenge with it.

Price 6/10 Hard to Justify a 15% point increase, given how much of a hit assault took. 
Survivability 10/10 Surpassed only by the much coveted Iron Hands Chapter Master
Damage Output 10/10 While Surpassed by said Iron Hands Chapter master, that doesn't stop him killing it.
Rules 8/10 IoO and CoH are both nice rules. IoO lets him form the backbone of a gunline, while CoH can swing a battle in your favour.
Army Bonuses 5/10 Nothing Special.
Overall 7.8/10

Master Kantor (Juan)

Decent Chapter master with nice wargear.
Excellent Army Bonuses, Oath of Rynn is awesome.
Along with Oath of Rynn, Iron Resolve can almost ensure you win combats.
Not Eternal, 3+4++.
Things to Watch
1. How hard he wrecks when put with a unit of honour guard. Seriously, you haven't seen marines roll dice until you've put a kantor Honour guard up against a death company unit.
2. Good in gunlines, too. He makes supporting fire for sternguard good in assault.  

Price 8/10 Pricey, but worth it. 
Survivability 6/10 nothing special, still, he's a chapter master.
Damage Output 8/10 Not only does he add his weight, but he amplifies his brother's attacks.
Rules 8/10 Some Nice Rules.
Army Bonuses 10/10 Flawless.
Overall 8/10

Helbrecht (Helboii) 

First charge of the game can garner up to 8 S5AP3 attacks with full re-rolls to hit.
Can give some bonuses to the entire assaulting army once per game.
Put him in an honour guard squad and watch him wreck face.
Said honour guard doesn't need to pay for relic blades. 
Black Templar Chapter Tactics are mediocre at best.
No Pistol is very strange for an assault character.
Things to Watch
1. Ally Him and an honour guard squad with chapter banner into kantor honour guard army and you have two very viable assault units
2. If timed well, Helbrecht can garner the number of attacks necessary to wreck your army.
3. He can ensure you don't need to pay for a chaplain.

Price 6/10 His Bonuses, while army wide, don't justify his price.
Survivability 6/10 Nothing Special - he's a Chapter Master. 
Damage Output 8/10 S5AP3 attacks are great, but bounce off of 2+ saves. 
Rules 7/10 Not really anything special, still, that sword's pretty cool.
Army Bonuses 7/10 Nothing great hear, but better than nothing 
Overall 6.8/10

Grimaldus (A different iteration of Cassie.) 

Captain with -1 BS and WS.
IWND, 6" Zealot Bubble. 
Not Eternal, Not Chaplain Cassius.
He's basically Helbrecht Light.
Things to Watch
1. uh...

Price 3/10 Completely unjustifiable given his rules.
Survivability 7/10 Because nobody has the three missile launchers it takes to bring him down.
Damage Output 5/10 Move along.
Rules 6/10 IWND is nice, but weird when there's no eternal warrior or at least T5 to back it up
Army Bonuses 5/10 Helbrecht light.
Overall 5.4/10

Emperor's Champion (Uniquely Generic) 

Uh... I guess AP2 Instant Death on 6's is kinda cool against monsters... 
Somehow has less attacks than a chapter champion
Not eternal, 2 wounds, must challenge.
Things to Watch
1. uh...

Price 1/10 Clearly the most overpriced character in the book. if he was 60 points, he might be worthwhile. 
Survivability 1/10 He must challenge the swarmlord. 
Damage Output 6/10 If he survives the swarmlord's attacks, and let's face it, he won't, he has a 12.5% chance of killing him outright. 
Rules: 1/10 His Rules force him to be awful.
Army Bonuses 1/10 I guess he can make a squad fearless. But a chaplain's better. and cheaper. 
Overall 2/10 

Our Winner

The lone psyker offers so much to his army, yet requires so little in return. Truly only bested by the Eldar Farseer and possibly the Support Suit Commander of Tau. Although, in both cases his bonuses are more widespread. 

Our Wooden Spoon

The 'Emperors' Champion'
His Lackluster attack stat, lack of a warlord trait, (I mean for god sake, OF COURSE he should have champion of humanity!) lack of survivability and insane rules which force him into assaults he can't win mean that the emperor's champion suffers incredibly under the strain of being a sixth edition character. He's more than double the price he should be; yet if he were only 50 or 60 points, would he really be that much more usable when an honour guard squad, and an honour guard's champion, exists?