Capabilities - I feel the key to understanding where and when to apply a unit in any given situation is informed by knowing their full capabilities off by heart; here is a look at what this unit is capable of.
Despite an incredibly low price for a unique character, Telion brings a wealth of different abilities to the table-top with the most notable of these undoubtedly being his guaranteed Warlord Trait. The first and best thing to note about Telion is that he has Storm of Fire guaranteed on a super-cheap HQ choice which, if you've read my earlier reviews, is an awesome Warlord Trait that by itself more than justifies Telion's asking price. Being able to confer the Rending special rule to any friendly Space Marine unit within 12" each Shooting Phase is fantastic and can really keep opponents on their toes. Elsewhere, Telion is about what you would expect of a Veteran Scout Sergeant; his melee capabilities are lacking compared to all other HQ choices, meaning he has two Strength 4 attacks base with Weapon Skill 5 and Initiative 4 - just barely an improvement over an Assault Marine - though he does have the standard frag and krak grenades to keep him in line with the rest of the Astartes. He's also the most easily killed HQ choice in the codex overall with two wounds, a 4+ armor save and no other defences to speak of; however, it bears mentioning that his combination of a Camo Cloak and the handy Stealth special rule means he can easily get a 2+ cover save if he is standing inside of a ruin which makes him very resistant to shooting attacks. On that note, that he has the Stealth special rule serves to make Scout units even more valuable overall as a result given that with Camo Cloaks they too can easily get extremely good cover saves and become an incredible nuisance to remove from objectives; if you want an objective-camping sniper unit, Telion is your best bet to make that trick work. It also bears mentioning that giving Rending to a squad of sniper Scouts serves to make them a potentially nasty take-all-comers unit capable of damaging AV13 vehicles and monstrous creatures alike, further emphasizing Telion's value for such a unit.
I think it goes without saying that Telion is suited to long-ranged warfare in contrast to the usual short-ranged nature of most Scout builds nowadays, as he bears a two-shot sniper rifle that is amusingly titled "Quietus"; providing himself and his unit with Rending makes it a decently nasty weapon for such a cheap HQ choice, but otherwise it is nothing special. What is noteworthy about Quietus for Telion specifically is that all of his shots are treated as Precision Shots regardless of the natural to-hit roll which, combined with his well above-average Ballistic Skill 6, makes him ideal for sniping out special weapon carries and mini-characters such as Sergeants from enemy infantry units. Outside of damage capabilities Telion has the usual special rules associated with Scouts, namely the Infiltrate, Move Through Cover and titular Scout universal special rules. These allow Telion to be deployed virtually anywhere on the battlefield wherever you need him to be, making early objective grabs incredibly easy as well as being able to set up good firing positions from the get-go. Telion additionally has a special rule that reflects his incredible experience and role as a teacher, allowing him to sacrifice his own shooting attack to instead provide a member of his unit with his own Ballistic Skill value when they fire. Unless you have a heavy weapon in the same unit as Telion and you are convinced the extra Ballistic Skill for that model is worth giving up Telion's own decent firepower, I generally wouldn't bother with this as the value of the rule dropped significantly with the stat improvement Space Marine Scouts received in the latest codex. If you ever need to move Telion and a model in his unit doesn't have a Heavy weapon, this then retains its usefulness. Finally, if you wish to use Telion you must keep in mind that he can only ever join Scout squads which means you should only ever field him if you have at least one Scout unit in your army. Given that Scouts are so often used to fulfill the mandatory Troops choice of either a Combined Arms detachment or Allied detachment, or as part of the common 10th Company Strike Force Auxiliary choice for a Gladius Strike Force detachment, this generally won't be a problem as Scouts are admittedly a pretty great unit overall meaning this isn't too much of a downside. As a final note, Telion does gain minor benefits from the various Combat Doctrines implicit with the Ultramarines Chapter Tactics, but they aren't really much to hedge your strategies on.
Where to Place Them - Positioning is a crucial element of any match, something that is especially true in the adaptive gameplay of 7th Edition; this is my recommendation on placement for this unit.
Given that I just specified the decorated Veteran Sergeant is restricted to joining Scout squads, it should be fairly obvious what unit I recommend you join him to. In any case, if you want to make the most of Telion's Warlord Trait for your army and feel it is wasted to give sniper weapons back their full-on Rending, it is a good idea to have him camping an objective in the backfield or midfield nearby a unit that can make full use of the benefit. Providing Rending to something like a Land Raider Crusader or a squad arriving by Drop Pod would mandate deploying him and his accompanying squad around the middle of the board in a spot where the 12" range of Storm of Fire should be relevant for a few turns on those kinds of squads. Honestly though I feel one of the most hilarious combinations with Storm of Fire is a squad of Thunderfire Cannons; that many highly accurate blast shots with added Rending is utterly ridiculous in my experience, and further justifies Telion's place in a backfield camping sniper unit. Given that Telion will be the most valuable model in any Scout squad he joins - especially if you take him as the Warlord for Storm of Fire - he should generally be deployed either centrally or at the back of the squad away from the enemy deployment zone to minimize the potential for him to take any wounds, while you should always be mindful to move him around in accordance with nearby enemies and potential threats.
Best Uses - It is true that each unit in the game ultimately has one or a handful of tasks they are best suited for in a general sense; these are the most efficient uses of this unit based on their capabilities.
Telion is purpose-built with sniper Scouts in mind and provides great boosts to the unit via Stealth and Storm of Fire, stacking well with their weapon of choice and near mandatory Camo Cloaks. His low price and incredible guaranteed Warlord Trait make him a versatile choice in much the same vein as the Scouts he leads, though again I feel you probably want him to be in a more static and safe position to utilize his long weapon range and make the most out of Storm of Fire before he dies. Make sure to pick any high value models out of units with his automatic Precision Shots, especially if they lack the Look Out Sir rule as this ensures they are easy prey for Telion. It also bears mentioning that you need not worry about purchasing a Veteran Sergeant upgrade for a Scout squad Telion joins, and I would also not recommend deploying Telion with no attendant unit as even with a 2+ cover save it won't take much to remove him when he is playing solo. Make sure to combo Storm of Fire up with something that benefits immensely from it such as a squad of Thunderfire Cannons, a Predator Destructor squadron or a Stalker squadron; all of these units can utterly obliterate most targets with some decent luck due to their extreme rate of fire. This also greatly improves Whirlwind squadrons given that they have Shred which has obvious natural synergy with Rending and can quickly tear apart entire units at a time, especially when using the Ignores Cover shells. A quick note, I am aware that there is an ongoing rules debate as to whether Storm of Fire affects vehicles as well. Make sure to check this with your local tournament organizer or community before scaring your opponent to death!
Thanks for taking the time to read this latest entry in my Space Marine Tactica series, I hope you enjoyed it! I'm a huge fan of Telion in the new codex given that he no longer pays a huge tax by replacing a Veteran Scout Sergeant model, while also gaining some incredible abilities such as the insanely good Storm of Fire Warlord Trait which he has by default. Giving your army a cheap Warlord that dramatically increases the potential damage output of a wide range of units while filling up the mandatory HQ choice of a detachment screams value, and Telion makes a mark in a codex that has traditionally been dominated by Tigurius as far as unique characters are concerned. If you agree or disagree, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below and have a nice day!
Master these duties and I will have nothing more to teach, and you will truly be a Space Marine.
- Torias Telion, Veteran Sergeant of the Ultramarines