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Special thanks to kevin vanrooyen for this week's topic!
For the second Topic of the Week thread, the discussion is centered around a topic that frequently comes up on these forums, and that is the topic of special or named characters. Remember, if you missed a previous topic or want to check out the topics prior to this one, check out the index thread stickied at the top of this forum.
There are a wide variety of special/named characters available to the various Space Marine armies. Each character has his own fluff, his own statline, his own special rules. All of these can drastically effect the makeup of your very army.
From Vulkan, Telion, Calgar, Shrike and the others from the 5th edition codex to characters such as Belial of the Dark Angels, Mephiston of the Blood Angels and Helbrecht from the Black Templars, there are more than enough options for any Space Marine commander to consider taking a special/named character.
What character or characters do you choose to put in your lists, and how do they change your gameplay?
I like to use Lysander in my lists when I can find the points. He helps my guys hold my deployment zone with his bolster defences rule, is the hardest marine character to kill, has a master crafter thunder hammer with nice extra's built in. Then there's bolter drill. Weather leading sternguard, termies, devies, or just a normal tactical squad this almost always has a very satisfying effect.
I usually run him with either 5 normal termies as he can help their fists out against land raider size vehicles, and they can use bolter drill to make up for his lack of a ranged weapon.
Or he'll go with a terminator assault squad armed with thunder hammers and storm shields. These guys are just so hard to kill your opponent is almost guarinteed to cry- unless he has warsythes, then you might cry.
At 1000 or less games i'd drop the terminators and just deep strike him alone into enemy lines. Chances are with that profile he's going to survive, and if he doesn't how much firepower did your opponent just waste on one guy? Besides the whole 1 man charging an entire army, does it get any more heroic?
Making everyone stubborn is IMO better than being fearless, either way you cant combat tactic and this way you wont suffer from the no retreat rule.
I haven't really tried out any other characters recently, but i can share my opinions about them.
-Vulkan and Calgar can be cheese in anything over 2000 points
-Logan Grimmnir needs a points drop
-Cassius and Lematres are bargains for what they do
-Mephistion neds an invul save
-don't have dark angels codex.
IG Best Gen 1st overall of 10 DE 4th overall of 6
Eldar 3rd Overall/Best General of 26--2nd Overall/Best General of 7--1st Overall/Best General of 11
When taking a chaplain always on foot always ask your self why not take Cassius? Point for point this guy will kick the stuffing out of another support style character and will give most fighty characters a hard time. I use him in most games in conjunction with a captain and while the captai seeks out and destroys the enmy HQ and elite units Cassius leads the attack against the enemy rank and file.
Also for Lysander never forget his strengthen fortification rule, this is often overlooked due to the fact that he has so many special rules but it is a nice quirk. Same tactics as Kevin put.
The only other special character I've used is Shrike and I've found him to be quite effective at the head of a Raven Guard style army, duh otherwise he doesn't work as well.
Last edited by sir stompalot; April 7th, 2009 at 00:09.
Lets go massacre something
I am a sexy shoeless god of war!
Telion and Chronus, in my opinion, don't really count as special characters who can carry a ton of weight on their own. Instead they're just upgrades.
The main points of some special characters is that it allows you to build lists around them or the rules they grant.
Pedro with Sternguard? Awesome. Vulkan with as many THammers/Flames/Meltas as you can get? Fun. I've played around with most of these army-changing characters and I love it. It adds alot of variety to otherwise vanilla space marines.
My next project is to see how awesome Marneus Calgar is in an Apocalypse game....
My favorite HQ is Ragnar Blackmane at the moment. He generally provides what I look for in an HQ: brutal close combat efficiency, and a squad or army bonus that is tangible, by tangible I mean something that directly makes a unit more effective at killing or moving. In Ragnar's case, he doubles the bonus attacks for charging, or counter charging in any squad he joins, except blood claws.
Ragnar boasts more strength and attacks than most space marine HQs, and strikes on 3s regardless of the weapon skill of the opponent. Finally he has a solid invunerable save and no obvious weakness when compared to other space marine HQs.
Fluff wise Ragnar is hard to beat, with at least 4 books dedicated to him, much of it detailing his background and origins. He is a head strong youth by space wolf standards. Ragnar seems to hold within him a great beast, that in the heat of battle can sometimes come to the fore. His feats of combat are legend. Perhaps alone in living space wolves, he has held the spear of Russ. He has defied a Primarch, and much much more.
Army wise, Ragnar is an effective HQ for a drop podding space wolf list. I use him with a squad of grey hunters, he makes them very effective in close combat. The rest of the army is normally blood claws, the army is tooled to the max with powerfists and a fair number of flamers. This normally makes a leathal combination of close range fire power and horrific assault abilities. Often i toss in a venerable dreadnought for anti tank and to use up another HQ slot, plus the reroll for turn is sorta nice. 5th edition has been kind to space wolves so far.
Personally I don't really run many special characters. Unless an Emperor's Champion counts.
One characters I've been meaning to try is Grimaldus, chaplain for BT. If anyone has any experience with him, that'd be wikkid.
What I've seen so far from other people using special characters against me is that they are generally 'ineffective' since people are terrified of them. I know I try and kill a named character as fast as I can.
There is the counter argument that they absorb a lot of fire power, or can be shielded... but I find that usually takes away from any over all strategy.
Now my winning record is no where near stellar, just those are my thoughts on named characters. Not worth the risk.
ps. This was a generalization, I'm sure there are characters whose skills far out-weigh their drawbacks in attention and points. So don't lynch me for that.
I'm currently painting a Salamander army so I will deal with Vulkan.
His special abilities mean all thunder hammers in the army become master crafted and all flamer/melta weapons become twin linked. You pay a reasonable chunk of points for this upgrade and it replaces your combat tactics so it is important to make the most use of these advantages. You should design your army around Vulkan rather than adding him to an existing list.
Tac squads should have meltas, flamers or multimeltas, Terminators should be armed with thunderhammers and use attack bikes or landspeders with MMs to take on your anti tank roles rather than preds or las cannon devastators. Try to avoid too many scouts, predators or vindicators in your army as these do not benefit from vulkan's chapter tactics.
There are 2 tiny things to bear in mind when designing a Vulkan list. Firstly monoliths are tricky to deal with using meltaweapons. They need a 6 to get a roll on the damage table at -1. Secondly the Eldar Avatar just happens to be immune to most of our chosen weapons. Make sure you send a squad of TH/SS terminators towards the avatar to destroy him or at least tie him up in combat for a few turns.
Unusually for a special marine character Vulkans abilities also count for any allied inquisition troops. The best use for this is to bring in some sisters with flamers and heavy flamers. Dominion squads are also good but basic sisters are scoring units. Faith assisted twin linked flamers can be extreemly powerful and the sister squad with their rhino comes in at about the same points as a good tactical squad.
Ignoring his chapter tactics Vulkan himself is a good killing machine. 3 or 4 S6 power weapon attacks with a single reroll to hit and wound are nothing to be laughed at and he has an excelent invulnerable save to make up for the fact that he is still vulnerable to being instant killed. His final benefit is a heavy flamer mounted on the back of his hand.
Quorn! - Protein for the Protein God.
For me, characters are points sinks in most games I play (between 1'000 and 2'000 points), so I normally just take one with the best value in return.
For Blood Angels, this is clearly Brother Chaplain Lemartes. He costs 5 points more than an ordinary Chaplain, but has the better equipment and stats. Those are the best 5 extra points invested ever. Lemartes and my Death Company are famous (other word for "feared") in my local gaming places.
"Fear not and look up to the sky for salvation, for we have entered orbit."
Blood Angels 2nd Grail Guard Company
Well im hitting up a Dark Anglels army so il give some niggets of info on the DA Charecters,
Belial: Rediculously Bland, the only reason you would consider usening him is if you want a deathwing force, appart from that a simple Master in Terminator Armour with a master Crafted Power wep is the same!
Sammael: A unique charecter, the jetbike can be quite good for busting up Infantry formations and his ability to zoom about and contest objectives is great, especialy in a armour 14 land speeder!
Ezikiel: Again, quite boring to be honest, the mind worm power is a nice little quirk but, still, boring.
Azrael: Not to bad, a fairly decent stat line, the main advantage is the 4+ inv save any squad gains when he joins them.
i run Telion in my SM army the angels of glory, he is my own scout master, i like his rules and think he is very charecterful!
PROUD TO BE IN THE BRITISH ARMY.
~~ Surrender and serve me in life, or die and slave for me in death~~
I like Pedro the best simply because of his scoring sterngaurd ability (and his storm bolter rocks!!!)
I agree that cassius is well worth the points over a normal chaplain. What I would like to do is try out sicarius, his abilities look amazing! pity about the 200 point price tag...
For get your Mr T, John Mayer leaks pure awesomeness with every note he plays.