Who Shall Lead? Part Five: Space Marine Captains

The Fifth Edition Codex: Space Marines changes the way a 40K player chooses the heroic characters who will lead his army. The previous editions' multi-level Independent Character options and near-limitless choices of Wargear from the Armoury are no more; instead, the new Codex presents an unprecedented number and variety of pre-constructed Special Characters—then encourages players to pick the one whose gear or abilities most suits that player's preferences, and use him as a 'template,' over which the player can lay his own Chapter's names, colours, history and background. And amongst the Special Characters available as HQ choices, nowhere are the options more varied than amongst the HQ type the new Codex *clearly* intends as the leader-of-choice for most V5 armies -- Space Marine Captains. Where other HQ choices have had their statistic lines bumped down a bit, Captains are actually stouter than in previous editions; and the Codex presents a total of five Captain Special Character types, plus the generic-build entry--more than the other four HQ options combined.

Which Captain suits what army-build/playing-style best?

SICARIUS: The Ultramarines representative feels the most like a traditional Space Marine Captain, from previous editions--only jumped-up on steroids. He brings army-wide Leadership, confers to another squad the ability to retain one of the Veteran Skills which might have characterized them in previous editions, and is awesome in assault against the foe. Sicarius weighs in with the Mantle of the Suzerain, a suit of Artificer Armour reducing his Save statistic to 2+ *and* adding the Feel No Pain special rule to his Iron Halo 4+ Invulnerable Save--making Captain Sicarius one of the most survivable characters in the game (though he remains vulnerable to the Instant Kill *if* an opponent can fight through all those saves with a Strength 8 or higher attack, just once).

His armament of plasma pistol and Talassarian Tempest Blade complement his survivability by making him one of the most fearsome close combatants in the ranks of the Adeptus Astartes; the Blade's ability to forego all Sicarius' attacks in favour of a single strike which will Instant Kill anything it wounds is an awesome odds-evener in these days of daemonic and monstrous creatures immune to such a fate, even from Force weapons, and grabs one's attention for considering Sicarius as a monster-killer--but wielded simply as a power blade with Sicarius' Weapon Skill of 6 and four attacks (five on the charge, plus the inbound plasma shot) makes Sicarius most formidable as a rank-and-file opponent slayer...doubly so, since his own vulnerability to being Insta-Killed is lessened against most such opposition.

Sicarius adds the Surprise Attack special rule allowing his side to reroll their attempt to seize initiative, the Rites of Battle special rule conferring his Leadership to the entire army for Morale or Pinning tests, and--most significantly--Battle-forged Heroes, which allows a player fielding Sicarius to give one Tactical squad a Veteran Skill upgrade. Those missing the previous edition's Traits system should give Captain Sicarius a long look as the template choice for their army commander based on this special rule alone: granted, it affects only a single Tac squad, but being able to carry over some ability which characterized your previous era army could be a big deal, toward retaining your sense of that force's identity in this new age. Against such positives, the only downside to choosing Sicarius is his cost: at 200 points, only the Terminator-armoured Imperial Fist Lysander is as expensive as Sicarius, among the five template characters presented in the new codex. For those points, however, Captain Sicarius will provide players one of the most familiar, most potent, most threatening and most survivable leaders available to a Space Marine army--and grant them a measure of their former identity, in the doing.

LYSANDER: the Captain of the Imperial Fists is as expensive as Sicarius--and even more survivable. The only issue with choosing Darnath Lysander as a template for your own force leader is that his special rules conflict with each other, in dictating his best battlefield role--making it difficult to get maximum effect from everything he can do.

Lysander is equipped to lead from the front, in hand-to-hand combat: he has Terminator Armour and a Storm Shield for a 2+/3+ set of Saves, and the mighty Thunder Hammer Fist of Dorn--mastercrafted, striking at Strength 10, with a +1 to the result roll on the Vehicle Damage Table. Add his ability to make units in his army Stubborn and the enormously impactful Eternal Warrior, and Lysander has the special rules to increase his assault effectiveness. Much moreso than Sicarius, Darnath Lysander is a serious vehicle- and monster-killing character template.

However, perhaps his most interesting rules are best used if Lysander is held back from close combat. He can Bolster Defences like a Techmarine (an artifact of his Legion's legendary seige expertise, doubtless)--and if he joins a squad any included model may reroll 'to hit' rolls with bolt weapons, courtesy of his Bolter Drill special rule. Imagine a Heavy Bolter Devastator squad fighting from an entrenched position with Lysander amongst them: horde armies beware!

But a player choosing to field him this way is foregoing Lysander's essential assaultiness (because he wields Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield, the master of bolter discipline hasn't even a gun of his own to fire); and a player who wades into the enemy with Lysander surrenders the shooting benefit he could bring to a ranged-combat-oriented squad.

The closest thing to a happy medium, of course, would be to place Lysander in the company of his fellow Terminators, who with Storm Bolter and Power Fist as standard weapons suffer some of the same cost penalty for being good at everything that Lysander does. His Bolter Drill will make their Storm Bolters even more effective, and he will certainly increase their impact come the assault. Sadly, none of the heavies available to Terminators are Bolter weapons...leaving such a unit likely to be either shooting ineffectively with small arms fire at vehicles or monsters worthy of their Hammers and Fists, or using the latter in massive overkill assaults on hordes as follow-up to their fire volley.

One tactical use for Lysander which should see some play is as a counter-assault unit for shooting-oriented Space Marine players bedeviled by infiltrating, outflanking or other 'sneak up from behind' opposing army builds. Lysander directing fire from that aforementioned entrenched Heavy Bolter squad--then detaching to deal with Space Wolf scouts intent on ruining a gun line's day, should prove more than reasonably entertaining for the player leading with the Terminator Captain of the Imperial Fists.

And at the end of the day, Lysander is the only option, other than a generic build, for a Space Marine Captain in Tactical Dreadnought Armour. For Terminator afficionados, that alone will be reason enough to field him.

Lysander is good, make no mistake; his rules just make him so expensive it will be difficult to consistently maximize that effectiveness, for such cost.

SHRIKE: The Captain of the Raven Guard suffers no 'mission diffusion' contradictions in his equipment or special rules; Shrike is the template for the player looking to have his commander lead the proverbial mobile infantry assault--and lead from the front.

With jump pack and master-crafted, Rending twin lightning claws, Shrike is equipped to get to the fight with immediacy and to make an impact once there, with an Iron Halo Invulnerable Save to provide him staying power. His special rules confer Infiltration to himself and any unit in his squad (now doubly-useful in V5 with the outflank option), and his Chapter Tactics rule exchanges the standard Space Marine Combat Tactics for Fleet--a huge bonus for assault-oriented armies.

Shrike is expensive at 195 points--but the closest similarly equipped Captain built from the generic Codex entry is only going to be 40 points less without master-crafting, Rending or Shrike's Infiltrating and Fleet special bonuses. Using those latter two rules effectively can be tricky for some players, who might find merit in building the less-expensive version...but for most players looking for their HQ choice to be a swift and deadly combat machine, leading an elite, highly-mobile group of similarly motivated units, Kayvaan Shrike is the strongest Captain template candidate. He will not be an answer against opposing vehicles or monsters, as a choice like Lysander would be--but let Shrike get in amongst opposing infantry, with a Fleeting assault-oriented army at his heels, and he will undo many a foe.

Shrike's only real disadvantage is a codex limitation, rather than any flaw in his character entry: he cannot be backed up by the best close-combat Space Marines available. Neither the Command Squad entry nor the Honour Guard (should a player really wish to make a powerhouse unit and join Shrike to a jump-packing Chapter Master) allow for upgrading to jump packs at this time, and Vanguard Veterans give up their Heroic Intervention special rule if joined by an independent character. That leaves Shrike leading a standard Space Marine Assault squad, and said unit's lack of access to additional power weaponry has always made them an inferior choice to most opposing armies' assault specialists. They therefore will simply not provide Shrike the maximum backup effect possible (though a sergeant with a power weapon, power fist, thunder hammer or combat shield--or a pair of lightning claws of his own!--leading them will go a long way, as an equalizer...and having Shrike amongst them, granting them outflank to hit what they want and Fleet to get the charge, will still make them an effective choice).

VULKAN: There has been much renewed interest in the Salamanders, with the release of the new Space Marine Codex. Forgefather Vulkan He'stan is why.

If there is a reason the other outstanding Captain templates are not being universally embraced by players, it is probably because Vulkan is even better--and for several points less. Vulkan is as or even more survivable than the other Special Characters (possible save the ultimate tank Lysander), his relic weapon provides increased effectiveness against vehicles and monsters (the kind of things a Space Marine Captain *should* be destroying, in many players' minds)...and Vulkan's Chapter Tactic special rule is an absolute deal-closer: master-crafting *every* Thunder Hammer in his army, and twinlinking every flamer and melta weapon type, is just enormously combat effective.

It is difficult to find fault with Vulkan: a 2+ artificer armour Save, which he will rarely have to take because he also has a *3+* Invulnerable Save from his dragon-scaled Kesare's Mantle; a Strength 6 master-crafted power halberd as his melée weapon (with digital weapons to make *sure* when it hits, it hurts) and the equivalent of a squad heavy weapon in his Gauntlet for a sidearm; and a Chapter Tactic which is both obvious in the benefits it confers yet does not ram a specific play style down a choosing player's throat. The only real issue a player will have to address (if not playing Salamanders and using Vulkan *as* Vulkan) will be working out a background for his templated version which explains all the character's 'wonderful toys' without being boringly derivative...and frankly, that kind of challenge is part of the fun of a DIY chapter.

Vulkan being so iremediably Salamanderish *will* deter some players from choosing him, nonetheless; and the specific virtues of the various other HQ character template options will have their adherents; but barring either, Vulkan is going to find his way tocommand of many new fifth edition Space Marine armies--painted green and breathing fire or not.

He is that good.

KHAN: Kor'sarro Khan may prove to be one of the least-used Captain templates in the new Codex; that is understandable given the other options available, and given that what he specializes in is a difficult army construct for Space Marines to excel--but also unfortunate, because he does what he does with a maximum of 'cool' and a very reasonable minimum of points.

Khan can be fielded in two versions: with or without his special relic bike Moondrakkan. The bike option is the construct which seems to be what causes most players to consider Khan, and that makes sense: it is characterful (he is a White Scars special character) and at only 10 points more than the cost of an ordinary Space Marine Bike for a generically-built Captain, Moondrakkan confers to Khan extra movement (he can Run instead of Shooting) and the ability to Assault at the end of that extra movement (via Fleet). These are outstanding benefits for the cost, and anyone considering a bike-themed Space Marine army would be well-advised to lead it with Khan on Moondrakkan--but it does increase his total cost to 205 points (translating him from the most economical Special Character Space Marine Captain to the most expensive), and perhaps most importantly, it does not at present confer the ability to Run or Fleet to any squad Khan might be attached to/leading...which means, to benefit from Moondrakkan's special rule to maximum effect, Khan is going to have to ride alone. While his movement will likely be so flexible he should still be able to combine charges with other supporting units most of the time, this *is* still an extra complication for a fielding player; and more importantly, not belonging to a unit leaves Khan vulnerable to the character-assassinating machinations of one's opponent.

A more appealing option, though less obvious, is Khan on foot, without Moondrakkan. In this configuration, Khan is only 160 points, but retains all of his equipment and special rules except Fleet. That means he and any unit he joins may still Hit and Run and Furious Charge, and Khan still wields the mighty power sword Moonfang, which causes Instant Death on any To Wound roll of 6, regardless of an opponent's Toughness. All this, and under Khan's leadership all squads in his army which possessed Combat Tactics exchange them for the ability to outflank--including squads in dedicated transports! Those are exceptional, completely army-changing special rules, for 45 points more than an similarly-equipped generic-build Captain. They won't be for every player--in which case, 45 points saved is a not-inconsiderable sum--but for a mobility-based Space Marine army, Kor'sarro Khan is the Captain of choice...astride his bike, or not.

SPACE MARINE CAPTAIN: As with the other HQ options in the new Codex, there is still a place for a custom-built Captain. A player can build a Terminator-armoured or bike-riding Captain with different weapons fit-out and at a significantly-reduced cost from either Lysander or Khan, or one with a jump pack for less than Shrike; a Captain on foot with no more addition than an exchange of his chainsword for a power weapon is still frightfully effective, and only 115 points--130, if upgraded to artificer armour--and of course a player wishing to field a particularly-equipped model (twin lightning claws, as in Sicarius' previous incarnation, spring to mind) fortunately still has this route to go to. At the end of the day, a Captain built from the generic listing is going to be the choice for the player of predominantly shooty armies, both because the template characters all have a close-combat focus and because it is simply more cost-effective, as the points-saved translate to more firepower. Any player considering a 'lead from the front' kind of Space Marine Captain would do well to look at the five Special Characters, and see if any of the bonuses they bring to the table mesh with what the player intends; the bang-for-the-buck difference is considerable.


Who Shall Lead? Part Four: Masters of the Forge

Techmarines have filled the most bewildering variety of character roles in Space Marine armies throughout the game's editions—from independent single-Wound gadabouts to Command Squad-upgrade only unit components to Elite choices improvable to HQs under certain conditions—but in 40K V5, they are more diverse than ever, available as Elite options, leading units of mechano-organic servitors, as Heavy Support choices, manning awesome Thunderfire Cannons...and as an alternate army-commanding HQ choice, in the form of the new codex's Master of the Forge (in fact, it would be possible under this codex to field *eight* Techmarines in one Force Org, an escalation of the type's versatility never before achievable...and one I expect to face on a tabletop very soon *if* I don't get there first!).

The Master of the Forge is envisioned as a Chapter's most senior representative of the Cult of the Omnissiah and the Adeptus Mechanicus of Mars. As such, he has access to gear available to no other Space Marine. A Master is similar to the other support HQ options—the Chaplain and Librarian—in points cost and limited stat line, but his options arguably make him more viable than either as a single or lead HQ character...and the conversion and design ideas which occur around the concept of a Techmarine-led army certainly inspire!

There are disadvantages to the choice, of course, and the most obvious in the context of this article series is that there is *no* Master of the Forge special character template in the codex, to give players an alternative to building one from the generic listing. It would have been interesting to have seen an Iron Hands Iron Father or Mentor Legion Forge Master special character, or to have seen Forgefather Vulkan He'Stan built from the Master of the Forge template instead of the Space Marine Captain...but absent such missed opportunities, a hobbyist seeking a Master to lead his tabletop force must turn to the generic listing.

Here there are build disadvantages, as well, some of them glaring. The Master of the Forge has no basic close combat weapon. He has no access to any kind of Invulnerable Save; he cannot even take Terminator Armour or a Storm Shield as wargear. He can be equipped with a bike, but a jump pack is not an option for him. And while his stat line is improved from the Librarian and Chaplain in two areas—a superior Ballistic Skill and an Artificer Armour Save of 2+—his Weapon Skill is reduced to Space Marine standard, in trade.

Those concerns addressed, however, the positives a Master of the Forge offers are many. His excellent base save has already been noted, courtesy of his Artificer Armour; add to that the wondrous bag of kit which is the Servo-harness (two additional power fist attacks, a flamer and the twin-linked plasma-pistol plasma-cutter, both of which he can fire in each shooting phase) and the Master of the Forge is extremely well-armed for his 100 point cost. It gets better when his special rules are considered: the Master is still a Techmarine, and so may repair damaged vehicles due to his Blessing of the Omnissiah, and is likewise able to Bolster Defenses, reinforcing the Cover Save of a single specified piece of ruin terrain by +1. Often lost because it is not mentioned in his narrative page in the front of the codex, but rather only in a small-text box in his later Army List entry, is a third Master of the Forge special ability: as Lord of the Armoury, any Master included in a Space Marine army gives the player the option of taking Dreadnoughts of *any* variant as Heavy Support choices, as well as Elite choices (intrigued by the earlier mention of an eight-Techmarine army? How about a six Dreadnought force, instead...). That is a tremendous amount of value for 100 points; investing in a power weapon (it says 'power sword' in the entry, but given how long Techmarines have been carrying power axes as their traditional weapon in the 40K universe, I don't think that needs be literal) is almost mandatory—and a good value for the 15 extra points—and adding digital weapons for another 10 will offset the reduced Weapon Skill somewhat, but a player is still getting a very versatile HQ choice for a comparative points bargain.

The only question becomes how best to use the Master, in this configuration. He is extremely potent at shooting, with that high Ballistic Skill and the ability to fire two weapons a turn, one of them twin-linked...but all of those weapons are comparatively short ranged, meaning involvement in an assault is almost inevitable, if he closes to use them most effectively. With a bolt pistol, a power weapon (or even a Thunder Hammer) and digital weapons purchased, he is not ineffective at close combat—in fact, with those two Servo-harness power fist attacks added, he is downright scary on the offensive—but should he come up against power weapon, or fist-wielding opponents (or the equivalent, like Monstrous Creatures, against which his own fists would be most effective), his lack of an Invulnerable Save will make him terribly fragile. V5 makes managing close-range firefights more possible than in previous editions, in the hands of a skilled player...but it is still a truism that once models get close enough to do the kind of shooting the Master excels at, a determined opponent will almost always be able to get to grips with them.

Fortunately, the Master's economic points price means that losing one in such a fist fight needn't be an army back breaker. It might even allow a player to afford a second HQ choice...such as Librarian, joined to a unit with the Master, and providing a measure of invulnerable protection to them all on the advance, via the Force Dome psychic discipline....

There is an alternative kit-out option for the Master of the Forge, however, which alters his focus completely, and which makes him an especially attractive HQ option for a player building a ranged-combat-intensive Space Marine army. That is the Master equipped with a Conversion Beamer.

Old disciples of the hobby, who have seen bits of marginal lore and arguably goofball equipment come and go throughout the game's five (plus) iterations, love it when something ancient and seemingly long-forgotten reappears in a new edition. So it is with the Rogue Trader era Conversion Beamer, an 'arcane mechanical relic' which certain Masters of the Forge will draw from their army to unleash hell upon the foe, if the circumstances ever become sufficiently dire. The addition of the Conversion Beamer option to the Master's list allows a player to drop all of his other shooting weapons in favor of manning one of these pre-Heresy artifacts—and very nicely streamlines the Master of the Forge's tabletop play focus, in the doing. A Master with a Conversion Beamer is most effective at distance; he will therefore be deployed well back from the assault front, ideally in cover (where his Bolster Defenses special rule will become doubly important) but with good fields of fire. And his mission will be to shoot; if he is doing anything else through the 5-7 turns of the game, things are probably not going well for his army. That means that, other than the extra 20 points it costs to switch out his Servo-harness and side- or shoulder-arm for the Beamer, a player need consider investing no more points in his Master of the Forge, not even for a close combat implement—as noted, if he is fighting, things have gone pear-shaped for the plan. The place such a 120 point HQ character would have in a shooting-oriented army is obvious, and especially as it leaves that many more points to devote to more guns, should become a very common choice to lead such a design. It bears consideration for other army builds, as well, however: such a Master could provide the core of a very effective fire base for a hammer-and-anvil style movement-themed army, especially as a secondary HQ behind a combat-monster dropping the hammer, and might prove economical enough to lead a small cover-fire/counter-fire element in a mostly assault-oriented force. In terms of efficiency and effectiveness, it is one of the most narrowly-focused Independent Character options in the game.

(I should address the one mini-controversy about this Master of the Forge build which has [as of this writing] not been officially errata'd by the Studio, and that is whether or not a Master which switches his Servo-harness for a Conversion Beamer is left with nothing, or is—as the Techmarine on which he is based would be—reduced to the default Servo-arm, which would leave him with one power fist equivalent close combat attack while he manned the Beamer: from a background standpoint, I cannot imagine any Techmarine, especially the highest-ranking, leaving for the field without some version of his tools of office; and he does retain the Blessing of the Omnissiah special rule even if he kits with the Beamer. So for friendly games, and in fact any game in which an opponent asks me, I allow him to default to the Servo-arm...but for competitive or tournament games, including any I neutrally adjudicate, I would have to rule in favor of any opponent who objects presently, as nowhere in the relevant listings does it specify subtracting the Servo-harness from the Master defaults to a Servo-arm. I suspect we will know for sure when the Conversion Beamer-armed miniature is released :)

Who Shall Lead? Part Three: Librarians

Of all the Hero choices available to a Space Marine player to lead his Chapter into tabletop combat, none have changed so much, through five editions of the game, as their dedicated psykers, the Space Marine Librarians. In V2, the avowed era of the 'super character,' arguably no Hero rivaled the Librarian, whose statistics at the ultimate level of Chief Librarian were the equal of any in the game, whose choices of Wargear cards included some of the best of all possible options, and who had an entire game play phase—the long-gone Psychic phase&mdashentirely to themselves; V3 shattered that, reducing Librarians to under-statted, over-costed HQ lightweights with almost-nonexistent Psychic powers whose wargear was even more overpriced than they were—you never saw Librarians in V3 Space Marine armies unless the player was simply an inveterate aficionado from a background standpoint, and even then their most characterful gear stayed in the Armoury. V4 attempted to remedy this vivisection with some success, returning some psychic disciplines, making essential gear like Psychic Hoods and Force Weapons standard equipment (at a more reasonable price break) and generally restoring the Librarian's battlefield puissance sufficiently to see their occasional return as an HQ choice in some armies.

Librarians in V5 represent both a further advance in such improvements *and* a step back toward previous diminishments.

On the positive front, Librarians continue to have both essential, characterful bits of wargear standard—the Psychic Hood and the Force Weapon—and even more positively, now have the best selection of psychic powers available since the halcyon days of Second Edition.

Unfortunately, both the Psychic Hood and Force Weapon are less worthwhile in V5 than they have ever been, and Librarians are more vulnerable to self-inflicted damage from using those multiple power options than they have been since V2's days of the dreaded Daemonic Attack card draw. *And* they suffer the same reduced stat line which afflicts Chaplains (see part two).

One wonders why the evident pervasive distaste for psykers in the Design Studio: Psychic Hoods now only defend out to 24" away from the possessing Librarian—a real problem against back-of-the-table-behind-terrain lurking Eldar, especially given the Librarian's increased vulnerability should he choose to lead from the front (about which more below)—and Librarians who suffer a Perils of the Warp wound are now the *only* instance in the game I can think of where a protective Invulnerable Save must be rolled *twice* to be effective (when a Librarian has access to an Invulnerable Save at all, which is more limited than it used to be). Worst of all is the fate of the Force Weapon: this once-great equalizer, which could throw fear into any opponent with its ability to summon the ferocity of the Warp into a Librarian's hands and potentially defeat even the mightiest multi-Wound enemy, was chiefly and specifically designed to battle the monstrous manifestations of that same Warp: Chaos Daemons. Now, any model which is immune to Instant Death from high strength weapons is also immune to Force Weapons...and of course that includes *all* Daemons, courtesy of their new Codex.

Without digressing into a rant about any or all of this, which given my passion for Librarians I could pretty obviously do :), a player considering taking a Librarian as an HQ choice needs to recognize these inherent limitations to one's effectiveness. They mean that, for all their increased psychic options, in V5 as the two editions previous to it Librarians will appear on tabletops far less often than the other choices available, except in three circumstances: as a secondary supporting HQ for a dominant army commander (like a Chapter Master, see part one), as a multitasking HQ option for a very experienced player who likes to win by making other aspects of his army perform to maximum effectiveness...and, as always, because some players simply like them, and the aspects of the 40K background they represent, too much not to use them.


As with Chaplains, the new Codex: Space Marines provides only one Special Character template for Librarians. Tigurius is a character with a long history in the game; he is a good choice for inclusion not just because of that nod to his long history, and not just because of the Codex's intentional Ultramarine emphasis, but because the Librarians' downrated statistics do not measurably impact him as he has never been an over-the-top combat machine. In fact Tigurius has stats identical to those of a generic Librarian, offering no variety there—but he has always had two of the potentially coolest pieces of wargear in the game, and both are well-represented by this new incarnation: the Hood of Hellfire is a Psychic Hood allowing Tigurius to use an extra third power each turn, and the Rod of Tigurius is a mastercrafted Force Rod. Tigurius adds two special rules: Master Psyker means he knows *all* the V5 psychic powers (uprating the Hellfire Hood's special rule significantly, as knowing them all means there will be a high likelihood of getting three good opportunities to do something psychically each turn) and Gift of Prescience allows a player fielding Tigurius to re-roll any Reserve rolls each turn—including, if he chooses, successful ones.

All of which means for 80 points more than the closest similarly equipped generic Epistolary, you get access to all powers, the use of one extra each turn, re-rolls on your Reserves, and a single rerolled missed 'to hit' roll.

Is templating your Librarian from Tigurius worth that? Although it is less a no-brainer than choosing virtually any of the other Special Character templates for their obvious advantages, I think it *could* be worth doing—depending on the kind of player you are, and how you intend to use him.

Tigurius will appeal to the player of 'jack of all trades' type Space Marine armies. His Reserve re-rolls will allow such a player to always have the unit he needs available when and where he wants it, and his multiple-times-a-turn access to every kind of psychic power will give such a player the most possible movement, shooting and close combat options. Tigurius will improve the on-table efficiency of highly mobile, Terminator-heavy, or Tactical Squad dominated Space Marine armies...and will confound opponents confident of beating Space Marines because they've seen every trick in the Codex Astartes.

The problem with using Tigurius effectively in this manner is threefold:

  1. Most simply, a player intending this approach has to know his rules, and be able to both think multiple turns ahead and stay focused on the given mission's objectives
  2. Tigurius' 230 point cost is a chunk, and will take some of the assets the player intends to use with the Chief Librarian's abilities away—the classic catch-22
  3. Tigurius' limited statline, lack of Invulnerable Save and 2—and only 2—Wounds means he cannot wade into the opponent's costliest unit and swing his way to earning his points back, as most Space Marine characters (certainly those costing over 200 points!) are generally expected to do

Especially in an era where many secondary missions award extra victory points for assassinating an opposing army commander, Tigurius is a precarious HQ choice, his cost not even considered.

Tigurius' optimal role is probably as a second HQ choice, acting as an adviser to a more 'lead from the front' sort of character who could take on the role of army commander; that would allow his fielding player to avoid exposing him to the hazards of the front line, and use his supporting abilities to maximum effectiveness. Unfortunately, Tigurius' cost is so prohibitive he is only likely to see such use in Apocalypse-scale battles...but a player of Space Marines emphasizing shooting or movement would do well to weigh how he might fit into their scheme, even at lower points totals.


Even moreso than in the case of the Chaplain, building an HQ choice from the basic Librarian option is attractive. The current codex clearly envisions Librarians as support options for another, primary HQ choice, and in such case economy of points matters; choosing the generic Librarian without any upgrades provides everything a hobbyist might seek in such a role, as the Psychic Hood and Force Weapon come standard, including access to one psyker power, for 100 points. The only 'essential' missing is any kind of Invulnerable Save...but the only way any Librarian *can* add that is to switch to Terminator armour (not an unreasonable investment at 25 points, or 40 with a Storm Shield, but with all the limitations inherent in opting for Tactical Dreadnought Armour, and still a significant points upgrade) or use the psychic power slot on Force Dome. That *isn't* a bad power...but for a basic Codicier-level Librarian, it becomes his only one—and upgrading to an Epistolary to get a second is 50 more points. I don't anticipate seeing a lot of Epistolaries on tables, unless a player opts to make a Librarian their primary HQ choice...and in such case, even if they tool him up with Terminator Armour and Storm Shield and devote his two psychic power slots to other purposes, they will be facing some of the same limitations using Tigurius presents—a lot of points wrapped up in a limited stat line—at nearly the same cost but without Tigurius' myriad special effects (though at least you could afford him the Invulnerable Save through wargear which Tigurius lacks).

Fortunately, for those of us with longstanding respect for aspects of the 40Kverse Librarians replicate on the tabletop battlefield better than any other, some will still try...