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I see a lot of army lists with only a single IC as the HQ, usually reclusiarch with JP, BP, TH etc... I LOVE that set up!
WHen I first started, I was always spending LOTS of points for a big beefy HQ, maybe 2 HQ units even, with a Master, Co Champ, Apoth, Sgt w/ PF, an honor guard, a chappy, and a lib, to the tune of about 500-600 pts! Man they kick booty, but the rest of my force was pretty lean.
Now I find myself with some really cool HQ models, which I hate to not use, but I want to win more battles. At what point do you make the decision as to a light HQ or a Beefy HQ?
It really depends on the number of points you are playing with. At 2000+ you can afford to use a beefed up IC. In smaller games it tends to be a waste of resources. High point cost models also become targets in missions where victory points come into play. It has also been my experience that beefed up ICs rarely do enough damage to justify their cost.
Another way to look at it is this: would the Chapter Master go off on a minor mission (750 pts let's say) decked out in every piece of wargear he owns? I would leave the big boys on the sidelines unless it was a huge battle that would justify their presence. Owning such models are not a waste if you enjoy the modelling aspect of 40k.
Lower costed HQs are generally better, but you have to strike a balance. An expensive HQ can rip an entire army apart if it gets lucky, but more often they get an entire army's compliment of heavy weapons to the face. For example, I tried making the Wolf Guard Retinue Of DOOM!-a Wolf Lord and 9 Wolf Guard in Terminator armour, with Power Weapons and Fists all around, a bunch of wargear, could rape anybody they got close to...and then watched the whole squad get wiped out in one turn by the buiness end of about a dozen Guard heavy weapons.
On the other hand, HQ characters can bring some devestating power to your army, especially when used with lesser squads that don't attract as much attention. If your HQ is just a cheap Wolf Guard Battle Leader (About the equal of a regular Marine Captain), you're missing out on a deadly unit.
I find that a good guideline is to spend a maximum of 150 points on your HQ unit in an army of 1500 points or less. You've got the points to get him well-equipped, but you're not shorting out the rest of your army.
When making them, you have to look at persepective with wargear. For example, my massive Wolf unit had 100 points worth of Wolf Tooth necklaces-that's almost enough to fit in another small squad of Grey Hunters with Power Fists, or a cheap Dreadnought. Yes, hitting on a 3+ is good, but with units like this, you're generally hitting on 4+ anyways, and you'll be overkilling with sheer numbers of attacks-this unit had 41 Power Weapon attacks on the charge-that's enough to charge a Demon Prince to death, without the Wolf Tooth Necklaces.
The Chaplain you mentioned as your HQ is about as good as it gets for Marine HQ units. Fast, deadly, and can run with an Assault Squad that will generally, point-for-point, be more worth then a Command Squad that does the same thing.
Burn the land and boil the sea. You can't take the sky from me.
Member of the Canadian Clan, eh.
Mech Tau Cadre: 2000 points, needs paint and magnets.
Paladins of Avalon (SW):-1500 points, needs paint.
Ive seen a little of both used to great effect.
One guy at one of my venues uses a droppod SM army with a buffed out librarian and chaplain in a command squad as his main "punch" if you will, with a bunch of clense and purify troops and a dread coming out of the other pods.
Its messed up IG and tau armies pretty badly (and my BT as well, but thats no big deal), but I've yet to see it go up against something it would have a problem with, like Orks or 'Nids.
Otherwise I've just seen fairly small HQs in good armies (alough I also know another guy who loves tooling up his Khornate champion in fantasy, but thats another story...)
As mentioned I would hold off on the heavy HQ until you get into the 1500-2000+pt range and go with a light/medium HQ in anything lower than 1500pt. A light to medium HQ is usually more point efficient, but it is always fun to use that super HQ ever now and again.
I like to use a master with LCs, TH and JP then stick him with an assault squad. With six attacks on the charge and re-rolls to wound he can dish out some good damage for around 140pt (medium HQ).
"I am a soldier, I fight where I am told, and win where I fight."
~General George S. Patton
"To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means for preserving peace."
"In war there is no substitute for victory."
~General Dougles MacAuther
The best HQ point wise if have found is the 3 wound chaplin (I forget the name) simply with a bolt pistol, 101 points- so he's fairly cheap, gets a decent number of attacks and is still pretty resilient.
Masters and librarians are better when you go for uber HQ, they easily get very expensive and draw serious points from your army, but they dish it out like nobody's business.
I have a smalll bloood angels army (my main army is eldar) and I find when i play 750pt or less you have to think "is it worth taking this HQ with loads of war gear over another 3 or 4 marines?". With SM being so good, in a small batttle you will usually get more bennifit from having the extra troops, but then again it is fun to take a mentallly expensive HQ in large batles!
It usually depends on your opponet for example an all infantry IG army will get ripped to shredds by some HQs tooled up with bike or assault squads however dont expect to have your HQs duel tooled up deamon princes or chaos lords and come out on top al least half the time as it us unlikely unless you take the character killer librarian. So think what will be most effective against your opponet a lot of ap 2 or 3 weapons to destroy that power armour or a lot of attacks to slash the enemy infantry to pieces. It is really more important how u use your character than which one you choose for example put that force weapon to use and kill the carnifex outright not to be confused with instant death or that fearless rule or for the ld take more squads of lower moral troops or smaller squads to claim objectives.
The general rule is 1000 point battles require one and to have more is using up valuable points 2000 and up you should have 2 so that you may counter your enemies or lead your own attacks because you will have more points to spend.
The cursor moved while I was typing (rapidly) so there may be some letters somewhere that may seem out of place.
i play a 1500 pt DarkAngels army. my HQ is a master of sanctity with: terminator honours, bolt pistol, frags, and artificer armour (137pts).. this gives you a 3 wound character with 5 attacks and a 2+ save. a 4+ invulnerable save. re-roll failed rolls to hit in charging..ignores enemy armous saves in CC, and fearless/stubborn etc etc...not bad for 137..
i give him a cheap but effective command squad so that he cant be specifically targetted by enemy fire.. 3 marines with CCW & BP. 1 metlagun. 1 company champ with power weapon, BP, combat shield (only 35 points total).. if the 3 CCW & BP marines die b4 they get into close combat it doesnt matter, theyr only 15 points each and it keeps your chaplain & company champion alive. giving them a drop pod is the best way to go.
the chappy w/ jump pack and assult squad combo works well.. but its so common *boring!!*.. i find my combo to be more original, and still alot of fun to play without spending too many points.
Dark Elves - Game #28 vs High Elves: Draw
W L D
21 5 5
I like the character killer for when I play chaos.
But for anything else I like a commander will a good gun plasma and a powerweapon for front line support and i almost never give him a squad unless im just putting together a fun list.
Yay my 301 post hurray