27 Sept 2013

Tactica Space Marines - Unique Characters Part One

Hey guys, I am Learn2Eel and this is my Codex: Space Marines Tactica! Today, I will be looking at a handful of the greatest heroes amongst the Adeptus Astartes; warriors and leaders that have scribed their names into legend through valour and skill. I hope you enjoy this article!

Space Marine players have access to the most extensive roster of unique characters in the game, providing so many diverse play-styles and inherent advantages that encourage players to experiment with a wealth of differing army lists. Unlike some other codices, few of these characters are solely based around damage potential; instead, they provide ground-breaking support abilities and potential for thematic army creation that you simply can't find anywhere else. Though they are restricted to their own Chapter Tactics now, the advice given in the previous Space Marines codex very much rings true to this day; these are templates for mighty heroes to lead your forces, built to give you something you simply cannot find from a kitted out regular character. Where Marneus Calgar allows you to control the morale aspect of Warhammer 40000, Kor'sarro Khan provides free early movement to an entire force, allowing them to dominate positioning and deployment. As Helbrecht is the lynchpin for an army-wide massed and devastating assault, Vulkan He'stan gives you the means to make a Salamanders army the true masters of anti-vehicular warfare. It is such that you cannot judge these characters on the merits of combat or martial prowess alone, but on how they allow for incredible strategic flexibility in the army list creation phase, and in tactical adaptability through their considerable, palpable aura on the field of battle. These Space Marines count themselves amongst the finest heroes in all of the Imperium, and each has their own mark to leave on your army.

Due to the extensive array of unique characters in the codex, Part One of the Unique Characters section solely covers Marneus Calgar, Cato Sicarius and Varro Tigurius. Part Two, Part Three and Part Four will cover the remaining Unique Characters. A note here that as Unique Characters have pre-defined wargear selections, I have instead included 'Maximising their Abilities' as it also relates to the army list creation phase; to rid the article of arbitrary information, I also combined 'Where to Put Them' and 'Best Uses' with 'Maximising their Abilities'. That these characters also have preset Chapter Tactics means that I eliminated the section to save space and time. Let me know if you like or dislike the changes - remembering that these are only for Unique Characters. 

Marneus Calgar, Chapter Master of the Ultramarines

Overview - When hobbyists are asked who the most iconic character amongst the Astartes is, there will be dozens of unique responses; such is the rich tapestry of history that Games Workshop has woven about its flagship creation. But few Space Marines have been given more voice than the Lord of Macragge himself, Marneus Calgar; and not without good reason, either! Calgar is the almost obligatory "super hero" character in the codex, with insane combat prowess, some truly ridiculous support abilities, and all the while being one of the toughest nuts that can be found in the game. He is the most expensive unique character available in the codex by the length of the straight, but it is not without justification. First of all, as a Chapter Master with Eternal Warrior and either Artificer Armour or Terminator Armour, he has four wounds, a Toughness of four, a 2+ armour save and a 4+ invulnerable save, and the cherry on top is his immunity to instant death. Wow! To add to this, he hits like a steamroller in combat, with five power fist attacks base due to his Gauntlets of Ultramar; he can even swing with four attacks base with a power sword, and all at Weapon Skill six! His Initiative of five is great for sweeping advances and for striking before enemies with the power sword, giving him a lot of flexibility in dealing with different kinds of enemies. To add to the ridiculousness, he is still able to sweep up enemy units even when equipped with his Armour of Antilochus, unlike every other Terminator-armoured character in the game. There aren't too many characters to be found that hit as hard as Marneus Calgar, nor soak up damage quite like he does. He can't match someone like Abaddon or Skarbrand for pure damage potential, but he makes up for it by providing your army with some incredible advantages that extend beyond his personal contribution.

Provided you include Marneus - and be aware that he has to be your Warlord if you take him - all of your Space Marines with the Ultramarines Chapter Tactics can choose to automatically pass or fail and morale check they have to make. Before I dig into this, I'll just say here that his ability to roll up three times on the Space Marine Warlord Traits table and then pick one is awesome, giving you a 50% chance to get something like Storm of Fire or, unfortunately for your opponent, Champion of Humanity. Marneus Calgar with six power fist attacks on the charge who gets D3 victory points plus Slay the Warlord when he kills the enemy leader? Ain't nobody got time for that! Now, some might say that an army brimming with And They Shall Know No Fear and above average Leadership values doesn't really get much benefit from this ability, but I can personally guarantee that they can't be further from the truth. Think of the potential this ability brings in an edition with random charge lengths and a focus on objectives. Say your opponent softens up a squad of Space Marines before launching an assault with a nasty unit, such as Daemonettes or Tyranid Shrikes, forcing them to take a Leadership test. They expect that due to your high Leadership, the squad won't fall back and you will be forced to sit there and accept the probably successful charge, proceeding to lose the entire unit in a fusillade of blows and bloodshed.

With Marneus leading your force, the squad can automatically fall back out of assault range and, with And They Shall Know No Fear, rally without requiring a test. You can then move them up to nine inches in any given direction, and launch a devastating counter attack - whether through bolt or through blade - against the enemy unit that is now stranded in no mans' land. When faced with heavy fire on the last turn, you are forced to make a clutch play with your Tactical Marines so as to stay on an objective and secure it to either achieve victory or tie up the game. The Sergeant is dead, and thus there is a pretty high chance the squad will fail and fall back, losing you the clash. Inspired by Marneus Calgar, the squad holds firm against the onslaught, and keeps you in the battle. In an edition where the advent of Terrify, Fear, Leadership-bombs (Fiends of Slaanesh and their ilk) and the like are becoming increasingly popular, being able to effectively ignore an entire, and major, aspect of the game is simply astonishing when put through its paces. Though it isn't necessarily the easiest ability to make full use of, a skilled player can easily adapt their army and force through otherwise risky tactics to secure a victory against detrimental odds. I think this ability alone justifies Marneus' cost, but there is even more to this god amongst super-humans to speak of.

The Ultramarines Chapter Tactics have seen some backlash from the community, with many players displeased that the three Doctrines are each only available once per game. While I personally feel that such criticisms are unjustified due to the sheer tactical flexibility and incredible boosts to effectiveness the Doctrines provide, it is irrelevant to the fact that Calgar provides you with an extra use of one of them. In a standard six-turn game, this means that your army can benefit from a Doctrine four out of the six turns; that doesn't seem like too much of a downside to me, does it? Given that the Ultramarines Chapter Tactics really encourage a mixed army list that favours the Space Marines themselves, it is no surprise that Marneus benefits this kind of force better than others. In a drop pod assault army, how will your opponents feel about facing two turns of the Tactical Doctrine, or even the initial alpha strike including Relentless Devastators - one of the more daring and brilliant uses of the Ultramarines Chapter Tactics, if I do say so myself - ? Massed Sternguard with re-rolls of ones to hit on special ammunition and combi-weapons, or even the standard Tactical Marine effectively having Prescience cast on themselves with special, heavy and bolt weapons? I can guarantee those opponents won't be happy, not for one turn, and certainly not for two turns. Regardless of how you use the Combat Doctrines, the extra use of one provides your force with a lot more potential to really devastate the enemy and get into your favoured positions, particularly with Fleet and the like as you need it.

Adding to his extensive array of abilities, Marneus even throws in an Orbital Bombardment, like other Chapter Masters, that no longer prevents him from launching an assault in the same turn. Add to that his Gauntlets fire a nifty AP two storm bolter and you have yourself a character with a lot of pluses and very few minuses. To add to the carnage with his fists, he can re-roll failed armour penetration rolls against vehicles, allowing him to effectively annihilate almost any vehicle in the game in a single round, short only of Land Raiders and their ilk. Heck, he even allows you to take three squads of the now vastly improved Honour Guard as opposed to just one, which is awesome especially for thematic and modelling purposes. Though I probably don't see much value in this in smaller games due to the sheer cost of such a force, anything that allows you to take arguably the best assault unit in the codex in greater numbers is undoubtedly a bonus.

And on that note, the only real downside to Calgar is his exorbitant cost; though I feel he is definitely appropriately costed for what he brings to the table - remembering that no generic character you make can replicate his God of War special rule - there is no doubt that he should be reserved for larger games. In games of 1500 points or less, he is simply too much of a points sink to really make back his points or maximise his potent abilities, as you will have too few models comparatively to truly capitalize on them. Once you throw in an escort unit, whether it be Honour Guard or even Tactical Marines, and a transport - he pays to be a hammer in the assault phase as well, so you don't want to waste that by leaving him in the backfield - you are talking a huge amount of points for those kinds of games. For that reason, I would reserve him up until you get to the 1850 point mark or thereabouts - the tournament standard - as that is when I would feel comfortable with his investment due to the number of units you can field alongside him. He isn't solely a unit crusher, but a unit buffer, and to really maximise his abilities, you want as many units benefiting from them as you can.

Maximising their Abilities - I will preface this by saying that between a choice of stock Artificer Armour and the Armour of Antilochus, I would honestly keep Calgar with his basic armour. The reason for this is that the Terminator armour really doesn't give Calgar too many benefits aside from a Teleport Homer, given that he also loses frag grenades for his power sword, so I would just save the points - unless of course you bought his amazing Terminator-armoured model! Moving on, getting the most out of Calgar invariably involves giving him a melee-oriented bodyguard to get him into combat and crush things, such as Honour Guard or Assault Terminators, or a shooting-oriented bodyguard for him to babysit, such as Sternguard or Devastators.

Ideally though, you want him to get into melee combat as often as possible, so I would preferably go with assault units in a transport of your choice - or restriction, in the case of Terminators - so that he can get there safely and quickly. Honour Guard with Calgar in a Land Raider Crusader is incredibly expensive, but also near unstoppable - Land Raiders can be quite hard to crack in 6th Edition with the general shift to Strength seven weaponry, so even though it is a big points investment, it does provide you with the best guarantee that he will survive to get into combat. Of course, this chunk of points should only really be used up in bigger games of 1850 or more, so you need to always consider that Calgar should be reserved for those larger forces. This basic principle applies to all of the unique characters in the codex, as they are primarily unit buffers and force multipliers more than anything else; that is the genius behind them, and why they justify their inclusion over regular characters. So, to get the most out of Calgar's particular abilities, given his cost, you want to reserve him for those larger games where he can benefit more units than he would otherwise. Where God of War is concerned particularly, those clutch morale checks become more pronounced in larger games where the devastation is so much more involved.

Given that the Ultramarines Chapter Tactics favour mixed infantry-centric army lists, with great buffs to Tactical Marines, Sternguard Veterans, Assault Marines, Devastators and the like to name but a few, this is also understandably, and thematically, the kind of army Calgar excels in. His God of War ability obviously doesn't affect vehicles, and the Combat Doctrines provide massive boosts to your infantry. With that in mind, that being him providing control over the Leadership-based portion of the game, as well as an additional Combat Doctrine use, it is best to take a mostly infantry heavy army, with a mix and balance between Tactical Marines, Assault Marines and Devastator Marines primarily, and supporting elements of Sternguard and Vanguard Veterans to taste. For Calgar himself, you can employ him in a Rhino-rush or Drop Pod assault list, either in a Rhino, a Land Raider, or Drop Pod to match the list and get him to combat while preserving the mostly ranged advantages Ultramarines have. Realistically, he can turn the tide of combat involving almost any unit, so your choice of where to put him isn't as much of an issue as I may have previously made out - the key is that he is better suited in an assault unit so that he can have a cushion against other armies' melee specialists, such as Flesh Hounds and Assault Terminators. He is best used as part of the spearhead in an assault unit, though baby-sitting expensive Sternguard Veterans certainly isn't a bad use of him either.

Cato Sicarius, Captain of the 2nd Company

Overview - Heroes amongst the Ultramarines seem to be countless, but Captain Sicarius truly stands head and shoulders above most others; a skilled tactician and great warrior both, he is a very strong all-rounder to lead any Space Marine army. Clocking in at just under the two hundred point mark, Sicarius is a well equipped Captain with some very handy unique special rules that boost his forces. As a Captain, he has three wounds and a 4+ invulnerable save, but also the distinction of Artificer Armour. This makes him decently hard to kill in most cases and, importantly, allows him to be used as a "wound tank" against Heldrakes, Hammerheads with Ion Cannons and their ilk. Additionally, his mantle provides him with the Feel No Pain special rule, which boosts his durability well above pretty much any other Captain of a similar cost. In that sense, he is a Warlord that is quite tough to kill, but what use is that if he can't slay those nasty opponents first?

Handily, Sicarius has a power-sword that functions as normal for the most part, though in any round of combat, Cato can forfeit his attacks to make just one at Strength six with the instant death special rule. This coup de' grace attack is hilariously effective at slaughtering hapless enemy commanders with a 3+ armour save or worse, and can also be used as a situational last resort against monstrous creatures like Trygons or Tervigons. Be wary of monsters that either strike before you or have a Toughness of six though, as missing or failing to wound with a single Weapon Skill and Strength 6 attack at Initiative five, while usually unlikely, is still very possible. In general, any character lacking Eternal Warrior should try to avoid those simply brutal character monsters like Daemon Princes and Greater Daemons wherever possible, though it is handy to know that you do have a means of slaying them outright if the need is dire.

Maximising his damage output in melee can come from the help of a friendly psyker such as Tigurius or a Dark Angel Librarian providing his unit with Prescience; re-rolls to hit with five power sword attacks on the charge is quite nasty. To really spice things up, you can use Sicarius' Warlord Trait, granting Furious Charge for a single assault phase, to turn him into a meat-grinder, or to really threaten those pesky monsters and characters. Like a Berzerker Champion of old, Sicarius can strike with five Strength 5 AP 3 attacks at Initiative 5 and Weapon Skill 6 on the charge, guaranteed to weave like a blender through anything without a 2+ armour save. Besides, that coup de grace attack with his Tempest Blade becomes a lot tastier at Strength 7, though I would only ever save this for such opponents where you really need it; always remember to ask yourself if it is worth risking a character like Sicarius in such a fight. Generally speaking though, Sicarius is pretty strong in combat for his points, giving you both a good character killer and unit hunter. To add to the carnage, he has a Ballistic Skill 5 plasma pistol that gives him that all-important bonus attack for two combat weapons. And besides, a plasma pistol is always nice for taking wounds off of monsters, or slaying Terminators before they can get too close to you.

However, like Marneus Calgar, the real value of Sicarius comes through from his support abilities and special rules. First up, he provides a free upgrade to any single Ultramarine Tactical Squad; you can give them one of Counter Attack, Infiltrate, Scout or Tank Hunters. Ultramarines already have some of the best Tactical Marines owing purely to the Tactical Doctrine and their synergy with characters such as Tigurius and Calgar, and any one of these additional boosts can be quite useful indeed. Infiltrate and Scout give you some added tactical flexibility, allowing the unit and their dedicated transport either to Outflank, get a free movement, or start very close to the opponent and leave them guessing as to where you will put them. Though Tactical Marines are by no means game-winners by themselves, they are still power-armoured bodies that will likely be carrying a special weapon and a combi-weapon. Being able to get that close early on, or pop up in the flanks in later turns to put pressure on the enemy backfield, adds some important strategic depth to the game that, much like the Ultramarines Chapter Tactics themselves, rewards a skilled player. Sicarius also provides your army with a bonus of +1 to reserve rolls, and this manages to be distinct from a similar rule that Tigurius possesses. Unlike the Chief Librarian, Sicarius doesn't allow you to re-roll successful rolls to try and keep your reserves off the table, but his bonus extends to your entire force, not just an Ultramarine detachment. This means he synergizes particularly well with a reserve-heavy allied or primary detachment, favouring lots of drop pods - such as Salamanders or Crimson Fist Sternguard - or deep-striking units, like a Farsight and Shadowsun "bomb". Keep in mind though that Sicarius needs to be on the battlefield for you to benefit from this ability, meaning you should probably keep him either on the field or as part of a turn one drop pod assault.

Perhaps the most important advantage Sicarius provides is not in his overall combat prowess, buff to a Tactical Squad or the reserves bonus, but in the Leadership aura he provides for all of your Ultramarines. While he is alive and on the field of battle, all Ultramarines share his Leadership of 10 for morale and pinning tests. In a word; wow! This effectively invalidates any and all need for taking Veteran Sergeants; though it can be argued that you should plan for Sicarius' loss, any plan that involves giving up Slay the Warlord probably isn't a good one. This saves you a lot of points and dramatically reduces the odds of failing those key checks to stay on an objective or not be forced into immobility and snap-firing. The difference between Leadership 8 and Leadership 10 may not seem too significant, especially for Space Marines with And They Shall Know No Fear, but passing these checks at critical moments relieves so much pressure on you.

Late-game objective holding with a few Marines left after surviving a salvo from a Riptide? Needing to fire your Devastators' lascannons at full Ballistic Skill to be rid of that annoying Wave Serpent? Trying to keep a Daemon Prince of Nurgle in combat for another turn so that he slays the unit and is then shot down in the subsequent shooting phase? These are but a handful of situations where Sicarius' ability becomes absolutely invaluable; rarely will it prove to be a downside, though there are situations, such as with Daemon Princes referenced earlier, where you want to get out of combat on a particular turn and the high Leadership may prevent that. Still, it effectively solidifies Sicarius as the spiritual successor to Marneus Calgar; he is pretty hard to kill, he is pretty nasty in combat, he provides your army with a very important buff in regards to Leadership, and he has some cool extras to taste. He is much cheaper than the big man, but justifiably less effective as well; as such, I feel that Sicarius is our 'Marneus Calgar' in games of 1500 points and lower where the Chapter Master is likely to be points-inefficient. Sicarius is a great choice for an army that wants an all-rounder, as he is arguably one of the best the codex provides, making him a perfect choice as the Warlord to a beginners' army.

Maximising their Abilities - Sicarius benefits most from being a character that benefits your force so much even outside of combat, and unlike Marneus, he doesn't cost so many points that you really want to make the most of his considerable melee capabilities. However, that is still a very good temptation; putting him with a Command Squad or Assault Terminators isn't a bad idea in the least. He is quite a nasty melee character and should best most generic commanders he faces in a duel, while also mulching through infantry. However, realistically, you probably want to avoid spending too many points on a dedicated assault unit, particularly as Sicarius isn't quite the combat character Marneus Calgar and Darnath Lysander are. Instead, he is probably best served with a forward moving Tactical Squad or Sternguard Veteran squad in a Rhino, or as part of such a unit in a Drop Pod list. This allows him to protect that unit from pesky AP3 template weapons and even enemy Sternguard with Vengeance rounds, and even dissuade a lot of units that would otherwise salivate at the thought of charging Space Marines lacking power weapons. Putting him with a Tactical Squad that he confers Tank Hunters or Counter Attack on certainly isn't a bad idea either!

Sicarius' reserves ability is an extra that you won't always need, though it is quite helpful even when taking three or so drop pods or outflanking Scouts in Land Speeder Storms. That both it and his Leadership aura only affect units while he is on the battlefield means that you should plan on him starting on the board or arriving from reserves on turn one if at all possible, ideally in a strong firebase unit or transport. As far a his Battle-forged Heroes are concerned, one of the best uses I can see is to give Tank Hunters to a five-strong (or more, if you wish) Tactical Squad with a meltagun and combi-melta in a drop pod. Paired up with other drop-podding units and perhaps even the Tactical Doctrine if you are feeling you need to maximise an alpha strike consisting of multiple units, you can deliver a pair of tank-hunting meltas for quite the low cost into the enemy backfield. Guaranteed to cause some pain, this can be a cheap throwaway unit designed to destroy a Land Raider or other valuable vehicle in one go, or a larger unit that actually serves a role beyond making its points back in one volley. Taking a larger squad with an added multi-melta or lascannon, while not really providing much to the alpha strike, can give your squad a lot of punch in subsequent turns - provided they survive the inevitable counter-attack - when their combi-melta runs out of uses.

Other viable uses involve Scouting a Tactical Squad in a Rhino with a combi-plasma and plasma gun right to the enemy doorstep, and unloading a salvo of Strength 7 AP 2 fire into a key target. Make sure to support this unit by moving your forces flat out or combining them with a drop pod assault, as you never want to leave a unit isolated in a game as vicious as Warhammer 40000. There are many more uses to be had, some fun, others nasty, and all of which are a free extra boost to help you adapt your tactics. This really is the beauty of the Ultramarines special characters, Tigurius included; they provide your army with so many additional options that you otherwise wouldn't have. I feel they reenforce the theme that Ultramarines truly are the army for a skilled player, unlike the simpler Imperial Fists or Iron Hands.

Varro Tigurius, Chief Librarian of the Ultramarines

Overview - Few have survived the grip of the psychic entity known as the Hive Mind, and fewer still have kept their sanity after such an encounter. But there is one amongst humanity who has seen into the great maw, and knows more deeply than any other the horror that lies beyond the galactic rim. Varro Tigurius is a master psyker of the Ultramarines, and considered by many to be the most powerful of his kind amongst the Adeptus Astartes - at least, of those still loyal to the Emperor anyway. Though the previous codex didn't represent these rules that well, the new book has done so tremendously and catapulted him to the top of the tree in terms of competitive HQ choices. He is arguably the premier psyker in the game right now and should always be in contention to be either your Warlord, or the commander of an Allied Detachment of Space Marines; like a Dark Angels Librarian, the ubiquity of Tigurius is simply invaluable.

So first up, remember that Tigurius is not a combat psyker, unlike Ahriman or Mephiston. With only three Strength 6 AP 4 melee attacks base at Weapon Skill 5, he isn't going to harm too many serious melee opponents. Of course, that his staff is a force weapon, has master-crafting, is concussive and even causes soul blaze makes it quite useful against certain medium armoured monsters and squads of light infantry; those extra burning wounds are quite nice to thin down hordes! This makes him quite a bit better than regular Librarians, but again, he can be quite easy to kill unless he rolls well for his psychic powers; don't try and take on Abaddon or someone of such status! Despite having three wounds, Tigurius only has a 3+ armour save and lacks any invulnerable save whatsoever, meaning that unless he rolls up Forewarning or Endurance from Divination and Biomancy, respectively, AP3 weapons will tear right through him very quickly. Being a character means you also take a massive risk any time you accept a challenge with someone that can inflict instant-death on him; keeping him out of harm's reach is the key to success. Decline any challenge that you think may bear even a slight chance of failure for Tigurius, as the main reason you take him anyway is for his psychic powers, which work regardless of where he is in combat.

Unlike any other Space Marine psyker, Tigurius not only has access to the four regular psychic disciplines, but Divination as well. Probably the most powerful psychic discipline, due in no small part to its amazing primaris power that gives free twin-linking to nasty units such as Sternguard Veterans, this is often reason enough to take Varro. That he is also the only Mastery Level three psyker you can get makes him both unique and very valuable. Amazingly, Tigurius has more control over what psychic powers he gets as he can re-roll the dice to determine what powers he has access to. Combined with knowing all five psychic disciplines, and having three unique powers to roll up, and you have Warhammer 40000's most consistent psyker, and only just behind Fateweaver in terms of sheer versatility. You can plan on getting any single power, such as Invisibility or Hallucination, with far greater reliability than any other psyker in the game; though you still shouldn't bank on innately random rolls, it is nonetheless a great boon.

As to what psychic powers to choose, that is the beauty of Tigurius; knowing every discipline, having three powers and being able to re-roll his powers means you can adapt him to almost any situation. Plan on drop-podding him with Sternguard? Take Prescience to capitalize on his Warlord Trait one turn and then psychically buff them on the next turn, giving them re-rolls to hit from minute one to maximise their alpha strike. Want to make the most of Calgar and his Honour Guard in a Land Raider? Try for both Invisibility and Endurance to turn that death-star into an immortal flurry of doom. This is the sheer beauty of Tigurius and why I think he really is the best psyker in the game, and probably the best special character Space Marines have access to. Ridiculously, I haven't even mentioned the fact that Tigurius can re-roll failed psychic tests, giving him an incredibly low failure rate. Though he will still take wounds from Perils on a double one, as it isn't technically a failed psychic test, the chances of this are so low, and the Perils from double sixes almost completely avoidable, that it shouldn't be a worry at all.

His potential as an Allied commander is just insane for those reasons as well. While Eldar already get easily accessed Divination and Telepathy, they don't really get access to Biomancy. Taking Tigurius to give a Wraithknight Endurance for Feel No Pain and It Will Not Die is downright cheesy, as is Enfeebling Terminators and their ilk so that Bladestorm and Monofilament guns can shred them almost twice as fast. Allying him to other Space Marines as part of a cheap detachment involving a squad of Scouts or Tactical Marines, plus perhaps Sternguard in a Drop Pod or even Devastators as a fire-base, is an invaluable method to provide your force with unparalleled psychic support. Giving tank-hunting Imperial Fist Devastators, or entire Crusader squads (sorry for the fluff destruction!) re-rolls to hit alone should justify his inclusion.

But where Tigurius really shows his value as an allied commander is for a Tau force. Between a Support Commander providing re-rolls to hit and ignores cover to their unit, and Tigurius giving re-rolls to hit and stuff like 4+ invulnerable saves to another, you can take two Riptide or Broadside 'stars' and just annihilate everything you see. Anyone who has seen Broadsides with high yield and smart missiles combined with a Support Commander in action can attest to their sheer brutality; imagine now that same unit, minus guaranteed ignores cover, but potentially plus a 4+ invulnerable save - saving them from enemy Riptides and melta weapons - ignores cover, or even overwatch at full Ballistic Skill. Remember Supporting Fire for Tau? Yeah, watch the tears flow when twelve Fire Warriors, or three Crisis Suits, or six missile drones plus their Broadside controllers all Overwatch at Ballistic Skill three (or higher with Markerlight support) rather than Ballistic Skill one. Ouch!

Adding to his already considerable abilities, Tigurius also allows reserves in his own detachment - meaning he won't benefit Allies, importantly - to re-roll the dice to see if they arrive. Like the Autarch, this even stretches to successful rolls, allowing you to control when your reserves come down to fit your battle plan. Against armies that you know will move to counter your flyers or outflanking units with quad guns or intercepting Riptides, ensuring they don't arrive until turn three or four will allow your starting forces to better deal with those pesky units so that your reserves don't suffer. Particularly, it will allow your Stormtalons and the like to ply their trade without fear of losing their meagre two hull points to interceptor weaponry with skyfire.

On top of this, Tigurius has arguably the best Warlord Trait Space Marines have, Storm of Fire. Like Prescience, it targets a friendly unit within twelve inches and gives them re-rolls to hit for a single shooting phase; though it isn't as good overall, as it doesn't affect Overwatch fire and close combat attacks, it is effectively a free extra Prescience on a turn that you really need it. Advantageously, it also works on the turn Tigurius arrives from reserves, allowing you to give a squad of Sternguard with combi-weapons re-rolls to hit, followed up by Prescience on the next turn. Can I say, cheese? Nasty, nasty! Reasonably, you would expect a character of Tigurius more than considerable support abilities to be in the 200 points range, but amazingly, he comes out much closer to the 150 mark. Though he is still relatively easy to kill outside of some key psychic powers, what he provides for any army, primary or allied, is simply too much to pass on in any sense competitively. As well, for those budding Blood Ravens players out there, he makes a more than acceptable Azariah Kyras!

Maximising their Abilities - Tigurius is best placed in a unit where he can benefit multiple units, not just one. Ideally, that means either placing him in a defensible position as part of a larger squad in a gunline, or in a Rhino or Drop Pod as part of a concerted strike force. If you want him to boost a turn one alpha strike from the skies, you should have other units in a Drop Pod Assault as well so that Tigurius' unit isn't isolated and destroyed with ease. You want to make the most of his psychic powers - usually blessings with a medium range from Divination or Biomancy - and his Warlord Trait. I feel that you should save the Storm of Fire for when you aren't using the Tactical Doctrine in game, as it effectively wastes the use of it. I would also see if you can cast Prescience on a unit that isn't a Tactical Squad in the turn you use that particular Doctrine. As far as which psychic discipline to choose, while Ultramarines do have the Tactical Doctrine to give them re-rolls for a single player turn, I would always take at least Prescience from Divination. This gives you an extra twin-linking to any unit that needs it for a turn; prioritize heavy hitters first before your Troops squads, ideally Devastators and Sternguard Veterans, as either unit is simply brutal with re-rolls.

After eating up a power from Prescience, taking the last two rolls on Divination, particularly with the re-rolls, is always a safe bet; literally one or perhaps two of the powers aren't helpful for Tigurius. Otherwise, Biomancy is helpful to try and get Endurance or Enfeeble, while Telepathy and Telekinesis offer great powers in the form of Telekine Dome, Objuration Mechanicum, Invisibility and Hallucination. With the re-rolls and three powers, you do have room to spread out your powers over disciplines, but be warned; the chances of rolling all three powers you need are still slim unless each is taken from the same discipline. Try to reduce dependency on particular powers, like Invisibility, when writing up an army list; relying on random mechanics that will usually not bear the fruit you seek is tomfoolery. I must also emphasize the importance of his reserves manipulation for a lot of army list variants, such as drop-pod lists or those involving an allied Farsight and Shadowsun bomb. These lists really need to have their reserves come down at the right moment, so never forget to take full advantage of this great ability Tigurius provides.

Did you find this an entertaining and insightful read? Cheers! If you have any feedback for me, feel free to post a comment here or speak to me over on +Bell of Lost Souls. Happy hunting! 

"They will be of iron will and steely muscle. In great armour shall I clad them and with the mightiest guns shall they be armed."
- The Emperor  

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