Hey guys, I am Learn2Eel and I am one happy (war)gamer! Today, in continuation from my first Badab War Character Impressions article, I would like to discuss the other recently updated Badab War characters. There have been so many characters updated in the FAQ, which is why there was a delay on this article - not to mention some lingering issues! Suffice it to say, as a gamer that loves all things Warhammer 40000 and adores testing out combos from every army, this really is an awesome - and free! - update that will surely lead to an influx of these characters used in both competitive and non-competitive games. With that said, I hope you enjoy this article!
Badab War Space Marine Character Impressions
To keep it simple and quick, I will go over the basic profile and unique
traits of each character, and mention what Chapter they hail from in
their title. I will also use a rating system, highlighted in bold at the
end of each review, for ease of viewing if you don't want to sift
through a lot of text. I will alternate between "great", "good",
"mediocre", "sub par" and "weak". It is important to note that I do not
have access to any of the Imperial Armour books, and as such I am only
providing my impressions of these characters in the context of the main
Space Marine codex.
Ahazra Redth of the Mantis Warriors - A Librarian with an important extra wound and point of Initiative, Ahazra is more of a defensive psyker that provides a strong Warlord trait. Priced identically to Tigurius, Ahazra gives a unit he joins Interceptor and Night Vision, which are always pretty darn useful; four intercepting lascannons with night vision, or or a whole heap of Sternguard with Interceptor? Nice, and though not spectacular, it is a better Warlord trait than most others. The extra wound, as well as a 5+ invulnerable save, make for a decently durable Librarian even despite the power armour. He is also a mastery level two psyker that can re-roll his first failed psychic test, which when using his Leadership 10 means he is unlikely to ever fail a test in any turn. His three attacks base with a power sword at Weapon Skill 5 are decent, but mostly for getting a Tactical Squad or equivalent mediocre unit in melee out of a combat more quickly. His key trait is his unique psychic power "Mirage" that effectively gives his unit defensive grenades minus the benefit of Stealth at 8", but instead gives the far better Shrouded. At Warp Charge 1, this is an awesome psychic power that with his re-roll for failed psychic tests, and being able to take an extra power from one of four disciplines - including Divination - makes him a really good character to give strong defensive buffs to a key unit. Whether it be Devastators or Sternguard Veterans - who both benefit hugely from the easily accessed Prescience and Mirage - Ahazra makes for a great unit buffer, even if he isn't necessarily as good value as Tigurius. Hell, he even allows you to take an Honour Guard squad which also get some awesome benefits from his powers - Honour Guard with a Chapter Banner get a ludicrous five attacks on the charge with potential re-rolls to hit with power weapons! A great choice.
Thulsa Kane of the Executioners - A Chaplain with the stat-line of a Captain, Thulsa brings a lot of extras over a regular Chaplain that really justify his significant cost increase. He has Weapon Skill 6, three wounds and three attacks; all the good stuff of being a Captain, though he is only Initiative 4. He has 2+ armour, a 4+ invulnerable save and Eternal Warrior, making him a pretty darn survivable character. He provides similar buffs to a regular Chaplain, with Zealot granting Fearless and Hatred to his unit, though unlike regular Chaplains Thulsa is both far better in combat and unlocks an Honour Guard unit to make far better use of his abilities. He also lets friendly Space Marines re-rolls 1s to wound on the first turn of a combat they charged into, which is a pretty hefty boost for any of the dedicated melee units Marines bring, and is a welcome addition for other units to help them sway a combat. He also has a plasma pistol on the side, but his main bit of wargear is his special two-handed weapon that strikes at Strength 6 AP2, though it does go last. In a sense, it is an inferior power fist, though it is still a pretty neat weapon that with his potential re-rolls of 1s to wound, strong saves and Eternal Warrior can actually see him take on other nasty melee characters pretty well. His Chapter Tactics also help here, as his to wound rolls of a 6 inflict instant death; with a Strength 6 AP2 melee weapon, this is quite valuable indeed, even if being forced to challenge certainly isn't. He even has a nice Warlord trait that gives all friendly Executioner units +1 to combat resolution while he is fighting in a challenge, which can be handy and is better than the regular codex equivalent. He is expensive, and he isn't as out and out devastating as Lysander or as good in a supporting role as Tigurius, but he mixes the best of both types of character and does so at a pretty reasonable price, on top of being quite hardy. A good choice.
Zhrukhal Androcles of the Star Phantoms - A Captain that has a mediocre selection of wargear, with a power fist and combi-melta all that stands out for him. Striking last with a Captain that can expect to be challenged out by enemies looking to get Slay the Warlord - particularly one that has only power armour, no storm shield and no Eternal Warrior - really isn't that great, though it will help his unit out against walkers. His combi-melta is decent though, particularly when combined with the Star Phantoms' heavy drop pod focus and the twin-linking on the drop. He has the Tenacity Warlord Trait, giving his unit Feel No Pain when within 3" of an objective, which is definitely pretty useful for a character and unit that will likely be in a drop pod. Still, is it really enough to justify his twenty point increase over an identically equipped Captain? That is where being the Master of the Devastator Company comes in, as he allows Devastators (not Centurions) to be taken as both Elites and Heavy Support. This is pretty handy for freeing up those Heavy Support slots, but it could be argued that in a Drop Pod list - which Star Phantoms do well above all else - Devastators really aren't that useful. As well, I find the Elites slot to be far more competitive, particularly for reserve heavy Space Marine lists. In that sense, Zhrukhal should be reserved for lists that mass Devastators above all else on the ground, with reserve elements provided by your scoring units and such. I don't think it is that great of an ability as without proper support, Devastators aren't that awesome of a unit, and they aren't as good as the Imperial Fists Devastators either. A mediocre choice.
Vaylund Cal of the Sons of Medusa - A Master of the Forge with Weapon Skill 5, Strength 5, a crazy Toughness 6, an extra wound and an iron halo on top of artificer armour. Ouch. This guy has a pretty awesome stat-line and really good saves, making him one of the toughest cookies in any Space Marine army, at least outside of force weapons and instant death weapons. He is Fearless, Bulky, repairs stuff pretty darn well due to his Iron Hands Chapter Tactics, and even has a servo harness. As he has a thunder hammer, the main benefit of the servo harness is the ranged weapons, as the servo arm it provides will only ever be more useful against vehicles due to AP1. This brings me to my first issue with Vaylund; he has a Strength 10 thunder hammer, which is awesome, but only two attacks base, which is mediocre at best. Whatever he hits is likely to die instantly, but his lack of attacks and striking last means he won't be able to beat a Black Mace-equipped Daemon Prince or anything of the sort without dying in the process, at least outside of some strong luck. Mostly, he relies on his Toughness 6 and good saves in a fight rather than his decent damage output, though the value of a Strength 10 thunder hammer even with only two attacks still can't be under-estimated.
He doesn't let you include Chapter Masters or Masters of the Forge, which can be a bit of a let-down if, say, you wanted to go for the kitted out Chapter Master build with the Shield Eternal on a Bike - who I would argue offers greater overall value than Vaylund, personally. He lets you take all manner of Dreadnoughts as both Elites and Heavy Support, but outside of Ironclad Dreadnought spam, I think Iron Hands are better served making the most of It Will Not Die on vehicles with battle tanks and heavy transports like Land Raiders. Interestingly, he allows Devastator squads to take Toughness 5 for +50 points per unit, which works out to be 5 points per model in a ten-man squad. I only recommend doing this if you are taking a 10-man squad, as any less just makes it too expensive an upgrade, particularly compared with the Mark of Nurgle for Chaos Space Marines. And even then, Iron Hands are, again, likely better suited to a mechanized list anyway, which Devastators don't really mesh well with. Vaylund suffers from having a pretty terrible Warlord trait, giving Fear to himself and his unit. Overall, while expensive, he is pretty good value and one of the toughest Warlord choices you can take, and for that alone, as well as his boosted repair rolls in an Iron Hands army, I would say he is definitely worth it. His versatility and ability to take on monsters and vehicles reliably, as well as crushing Toughness 5 characters, does go part way to justifying his high cost. He also makes the perfect commander for an Honour Guard unit - which he handily unlocks - in a Land Raider of some kind! Unfortunately, I am still of a mixed opinion on Vaylund Cal, as he isn't as awesome a combat character as a Chapter Master, and his special abilities generally aren't that useful in the context of an Iron Hands army. His ability to repair vehicles is nice, obviously, but aside from this, I think I prefer an Iron Hands Chapter Master who performs the same tough, combat monster role of Vaylund much better and doesn't pay for situational at best abilities. A mediocre choice.
Elam Courbray of the Fire Hawks - A Captain with a mostly standard profile, save that he has -1 Ballistic Skill, +1 Initiative and -1 Leadership. He has power armour and a jump pack, which even with an iron halo makes him rather easy to kill as far as the more useful Space Marine characters are concerned. He is mobile, but outside of the slight boost he gets for having a jump pack, it really isn't as awesome as a bike would have been; however, having him with scoring Vanguard Veterans could prove to be an interesting comparison to a Command Squad. What really makes his unit so good is having both Hit and Run and Counter Attack, with the former being an amazing ability for a mobile assault unit. His Initiative 6 might lead some to think he is awesome in a combat, and for the most part this is the case. He has a power sword with Rending and Soul Blaze, which is ok, but the main benefit of it seems to be that it has a form of Smash but, unlike Carab Culln, without providing AP2 for either regular attacks or the 'Smash' attacks. It is pretty decent, as he would have three 'Smash' attacks at Strength 8 AP3 on the charge, allowing him to thrash non-2+ armoured characters and monsters very well. This makes him a lot nastier in a fight than he first seems, and pretty much eliminates any reason to strike normally - all he loses out on by 'Smashing' is a single attack! With Initiative 6 and Strength 8 AP3 attacks, he will slaughter characters left and right, as well as taking on monsters and vehicles with alarming effectiveness.
You need to be careful where you put him though, as he always has to issue or accept challenges, leading to some pretty horrendous results against some characters. Handily, he can kill a Toughness 4 terminator character outright before they strike if he gets a bit lucky. His Warlord Trait is cool, forcing him and his unit to stay in reserve, but when they arrive, they first drop a Strength 5 AP- Barrage Large Blast, and then drop without scatter within 6" of the final template position. This is pretty handy against light infantry and medium infantry blobs, and is actually a decent - if unreliable - Warlord trait to have. Overall, despite not being too survivable, he does give a deep striking melee unit - including Assault Terminators, if you so choose - a really massive boost to their damage output, as well as being a crazy character killer. And hey, he can just Hit and Run out of combats where he can't really hurt his quarry! The only thing that holds him back from being an auto-include is his rather high cost, as it can be really demoralizing to see such an awesome and expensive character killed rather easily. A very interesting change with the recent FAQ allows his Command Squad to take Jump Packs which, between his buffs and those provided by the Chapter Tactics, makes for an awesome unit. A good choice.
Silas Alberec of the Exorcists - A Captain with Strength 5 that only has power armour and an iron halo to keep him safe, leaving him quite vulnerable to the nastier melee combatants out there. This is compounded by his choice of melee weapon, that while giving him four Strength 10 attacks on the charge, is also unwieldy. Still, let us stop here for a second; the guy has four Strength 10 AP2 attacks on the charge. In other words, he is a wrecking ball against anything that doesn't have massed AP3 or AP2 attacks in combat, or against nasty Smashing monstrous creatures that strike before him. He makes up for his survivability deficiency somewhat by giving both he and his unit Feel No Pain, but only against blows and witchfires from psykers, daemons, marked Chaos Marines or Chaos characters. So basically he is a glass hammer that has some unique rules for taking on Chaotic influences and psykers, but given that the really nasty combat characters from the Chaos armies tend to be monstrous creatures, this special rule is of debatable use as they can easily single Silas out and kill him. Silas' melee weapon also have the Slayer special rule, meaning they always wound on a 2+ against daemons and psykers, but with Strength 10 attacks already this is a bit of an odd ability to have and will only ever come into play through mass Enfeebles on Silas or if he faces a monstrous creature with Iron Arm that gets up to Toughness 9. He gets a cool 4+ Deny the Witch save against the effects of a force weapon, and any unit in the same detachment as Silas gets to re-roll failed Deny the Witch rolls. Not bad at all. His Warlord Trait lets friendly Space Marine units within 12" of him to roll 3D6 for Morale tests, discarding the highest, which is useful but sadly doesn't affect Pinning tests. Overall, I see an expensive character that hits like a truck, has some decent army-wide and short-ranged buffs, but pays for mediocre durability and arguably situational abilities. Not bad, but not great either. A sub par choice.
Lugft Huron of the Astral Claws - The architect behind one of the most brutal rebellions against the Imperium since the Horus Heresy, Lugft Huron has thankfully maintained his stance of providing strong rules both in the Chaos Space Marine codex and in his Badab War incarnation. Here he has the full Chapter Master stat-line that, with terminator armour, an iron halo and some nasty extra gear make him one of the strongest characters available to Space Marines. The boosts to his stat-line to bring him in tow with Marneus Calgar, Pedro Kantor and many others on top of buffs to his wargear help to preserve his fearsome aura in 6th Edition. So what makes him tick? First up, he has a unique Orbital Bombardment that fires two shots - resolved as for multiple barrages - that unfortunately prevents him from moving despite being Relentless, though it does still let him launch an assault against a unit even if they weren't the target of it. I've found Orbital Bombardments rarely do too much to sway a game due to being inaccurate, but the extra shot is very worthwhile and gives it a much bigger chance to hit something. And hey, if it does hit something initially, it might hit something else as well with the flip! He even lets all friendly Space Marines and unique forces in the Badab War list use his Leadership of 10, which is downright awesome, though he does have to be on the board for it to work. To really amp up his craziness, when he dies for the first time, he can get back up on a 2+ - making up for his lack of Eternal Warrior somewhat - and when you pair this with four wounds, 2+ armour and a 4+ invulnerable save, this is a downright brutal ability that can swing the game in a heartbeat. Your opponent might think they snatched the game-winning victory point for Slay the Warlord on the final turn, but they won't be smiling when Huron stands tall instead! Even without Eternal Warrior or a 3+ invulnerable save, Huron is a very hardy character for this reason alone and is sure to give any enemy that isn't a combat monster a run for their money.
It really helps that Huron also has some pretty strong melee capabilities as well. His lightning claws have entirely different rules to those found with the Tyrant's Claw in the Chaos Space Marine codex, as they function like regular claws do, save that they are AP2 and force enemies to re-roll their successful invulnerable saves against it. Basically, it tears apart enemies that think they can hide behind their storm shields and the like, and with re-rolls to wound and AP2, there is very little that Huron cannot take on both in a challenge or in regular combat. His five attacks on the charge let him slice through units, have a decent chance against monsters and slaughter enemy characters alike. Though he won't be causing Instant Death outside of the use of Enfeeble on his opponent from a friendly psyker, he still puts out more than enough damage to hold his own against most characters. He likely won't beat down on a Greater Daemon or certain named characters, but he can hold his own pretty well against most other foes. He even has a pretty decent Warlord Trait, as he provides counter-attack to units arriving from reserve. Though obviously situational, pairing this up with drop-podding Sternguard Veterans or Infiltrating Scout Bikers and so on is very handy indeed. Overall, Huron brings you a Warlord that is hard to kill, provides some major buffs to his army, and is a pretty darn nasty melee character, and all at a very fair cost. A great choice.
Corien Sumatris of the Astral Claws - Another Captain billed as a 'duelist', Corien has Weapon Skill 7 and a unique power weapon granting him Rage, affording him five AP3 attacks on the charge at Strength 5 due to having Furious Charge. This makes him quite a nasty combat character actually, as he will be hitting most enemies on 3s and wounding on 2s or 3s, meaning he can slice through Space Marines and lighter infantry like a knife through butter. He even has a storm shield to give that necessary bit of extra durability, though he is lacking 2+ armour to really seal the deal. He has a unique half-range storm bolter and, to make the most of his above average combat prowess, his warlord trait grants him a victory point for each character he kills. With a Captain profile plus Weapon Skill 7 and a bunch of Strength 5 AP3 attacks, this guy is quite nasty on the charge and should be decimating squad sergeants and lesser characters in droves. He is also decently cheap with slightly better survivability than other duelist characters I have reviewed. He still needs to be kept away from true combat monsters though, what with so many sporting 2+ armour or Strength 8 attacks en masse. He also suffers from his damage potential dropping significantly after the first round of combat, and his effects only really work on the charge too. What is really cool though is how he gives friendly units (but not Independent Characters) within 12" of him +1 Weapon Skill, usually leading to a lot of Weapon Skill 5 Space Marines. This is actually a really neat ability that can boost the damage output of those squads in combat by quite a bit, particularly already devastating units like Assault Terminators or Honour Guard. However, the nice boost it gives to a unit such as a Tactical Squad also works well on the defence, giving them a slight edge against other Weapon Skill 4 opponents to make up for how mediocre they are in combat. Even despite his relatively middling survivability and damage output after the charge, Sumatris is pretty good value, particularly with his +1 Weapon Skill bubble. A good choice.
Armenneus Valthex of the Astral Claws - A pretty typical Master of the Forge with an extra attack, Valthex has a conversion beamer and the usual repair goodness and bolster defences, minus the servo harness. He allows all Dreadnought variants in the codex to be taken as both Elites and Heavy Support, which may actually work better for Astral Claws than it would for Iron Hands (in regards to Vaylund Cal), and he even treats such Dreadnoughts within 6" of him as denial units. This sounds really good at first, but remembering that the guy has a conversion beamer and thus should be at the back of the board, this can only really be used to deny.....a home objective, unless you want to waste the weapon Valthex brings. Yeah, not ideal really. He has Counter Attack and a 5+ invulnerable save that make him a bit more survivable than a regular Master of the Forge, and his extra attack is also provided by his two unique melee weapons, essentially functioning as power swords. Unlike a regular Master of the Forge with a conversion beamer, this does mean he actually can hurt opponents in melee, though his fighting prowess is identical to a Veteran Sergeant with a power sword and thus isn't anything special. His main draw is that he also gives a single Astral Claws unit with Chapter Tactics in the army Poisoned (2+) ammunition on their bolt weapons, which is actually pretty darn handy for a number of units. Despite all this, I don't think this justifies Valthex over a regular Master of the Forge, even one equipped similarly. A conversion beamer on a standard 6x4 gaming table is unlikely to get the ranges it wants to fire at, and that comes at the cost of any real mobility, and of making full use of his objective-denying Dreadnoughts. He then pays for decent but uninspiring melee weaponry that at best let him ward off some light melee attackers, and an admittedly useful bolt weapon upgrade for a single squad. I just don't see the value in a regular Master of the Forge with a conversion beamer as it is, and Valthex doesn't do enough to change my mind there. A mediocre choice.
Carnac Commodus of the Tyrant's Legion - An odd little mini-Captain with a Librarian stat-line, save that he has Initiative 5, 3 Attacks and Leadership 9. He has an iron halo and power armour on top of two wounds, making him a below-par Space Marine character in terms of durability. He has a nifty AP5 melee weapon that makes him Strength 5 and has Rending to boot, giving him five attacks on the charge which actually isn't too shabby. He has Crusader which combines with his Warlord Trait, allowing him to re-roll failed Sweeping Advance rolls while adding D3 to the result. He is very cheap, coming at only a bit more over the cost of a base Captain, but he doesn't really justify his cost for a regular Space Marine army. He has a few special rules that only affect campaign missions or the Tyrant's Legion army list, and as such he may be a bit more valuable there. However, as a regular Space Marine codex character, he really isn't worthwhile despite how cheap he is due to his rather mediocre abilities and lack of a support orientation. With that in mind, please remember that my rating of him does not account for how he may work for the Tyrant's Legion army list, as I do not have the Badab War Imperial Armour books and thus cannot comment there. A sub-par choice.
Asterion Moloc of the Minotaurs - A Chapter Master with all the usual goodness, now with four attacks due to the most recent FAQ. First up, he has 2+ armour, a storm shield for a 3+ invulnerable save, four wounds and Eternal Warrior, combining to make him one of the toughest Warlords you can find. Really, this guy is going to soak up almost anything that is thrown at him. It gets even better; his Black Spear gives him Strength 6 AP2 attacks at Initiative that when combined with his crazy durability actually land him near the middle tier of 'combat monsters' in the game. He can take on anything rather easily outside of AV12 and higher walkers, as well as other highly armoured vehicles, and he has the survivability to make up for having only three attacks. He even gives both he and his unit Fearless and lets them ignore Initiative penalties when charging into terrain, and though the latter is certainly useful for Moloc, it will only really affect lightning claw-equipped Assault Terminators as most Space Marines have frag grenades anyway. When you add Crusader to both he and his unit from the Minotaurs Chapter Tactics, you get a very well rounded unit no matter who you attach him to. Still, I prefer Honour Guard simply because they are the best point-for-point melee unit Space Marines have! But to really add to Moloc's ridiculousness, he gets victory points for killing enemy characters in challenges; as you can no doubt tell, this puts him very firmly into the same bracket as crazy characters like Lysander and Kharn. To help combat his own kind, Moloc gives his entire primary detachment of Minotaurs Preferred Enemy against Loyalist Space Marines of all types, which is likely to become a lot more useful as the Space Marine books are updated and regain their popularity in 6th Edition. He does penalize alliances with those armies, but that doesn't hold Moloc back from being a top, top quality character that brings crazily high value. A great choice.
Ivanus Enkomi of the Minotaurs - A Chaplain with an extra point of Initiative and an additional Attack, Ivanus is a surprisingly cheap alternative to a regular Chaplain and has a lot of unique rules to boot. He has both a power fist and a power maul for thrashing different kinds of enemies, and he can even upgrade his power maul to an AP3 variant - but without the Strength boost - that also has the Specialist Weapon type and thus grants an extra attack alongside his power fist. I actually recommend doing this as having four power fist swings base more than makes up for losing the Strength bonuses on the power maul, and having four AP3 attacks at Initiative with a free re-roll is quite decent. That is before even mentioning his Chaplain abilities, such as the useful Zealot that gives both he and his unit Hatred and Fearless. What distinguishes Ivanus further from other Chaplains is that he also grants Rage to both his unit and himself, which is mightily impressive indeed. It gives him a crazy six attacks on the charge with one of two nasty weapons, and when stacked with Hatred, it severely boosts the first turn damage output of any unit he joins; even Tactical Marines with these buffs can hope to take a decent melee unit down! Where this ability really starts to get ridiculous is in a unit of Assault Terminators or Honour Guard. Assault Terminators with four thunder hammer attacks each on the charge, re-rolling to hit on the first round? Honour Guard with six power weapon attacks each on the charge with a Chapter Banner, re-rolling to hit on the first round? The bloodshed, aye, it is too much! Ivanus also has the set Warlord Trait Intimidating Presence, forcing enemy units to use their lowest Leadership value within 12" and not the highest, which helps out a lot against armies such as Tau and Eldar who often rely on their Shas'ui's and Exarchs to stick around. Ivanus' only real downside is that he has the same survivability as a stock Chaplain without upgrades, meaning he can be quite easy to kill. However, when you compare his cost and abilities to a regular Chaplain, there really is little reason to take a stock standard one when Ivanus hits much harder and provides an amazing boost to a melee unit through Rage. A good choice.
Did you find this an insightful read? Did you agree or disagree with my
thoughts on these characters? Whatever your opinion, let us know in the
comments below - we appreciate any and all feedback! Cheers guys! Eel