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    BADAB WAR SPACE MARINE CHARACTERS

    Hey guys, I am Learn2Eel and I am one happy (war)gamer! Today, in continuation from my Forge World Chapter Tactics article, I would like to discuss the 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 and not the Chapter Tactics article. 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!

    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.


    Carab Culln of the Red Scorpions - This guy rocks a chapter master profile - so four attacks and four wounds, importantly - with some great special rules and gear. He has Eternal Warrior, Terminator Armour and an Iron Halo to make for an abusively difficult to kill commander. He even comes with a teleport homer to help with friendly deep striking Terminators, and his storm bolter gets master-crafting. He has an Orbital Bomdardment as you would expect, though his real value - aside from his crazy durability - comes from his blade and Warlord Trait. In combat, he has a master-crafted power sword that can allow him to Smash much like a monstrous creature, but without conferring AP2 on to the base number of attacks; he only gets AP2 when he 'Smashes'. Still, being able to Smash as an Infantry model gives Culln some really impressive versatility, as Strength 8 AP2 attacks - three on the charge - can rip apart walkers, monsters and most other characters; inflicting instant death on other Space Marine characters is huge! All Red Scorpions handily get to use his Leadership 10 while he lives, and he acts as a lesser Chapter Banner, providing bonuses to combat resolution to his unit while in a challenge and to other units within 12". His only downside comes from not being able to take Look Out Sir rolls, but smart positioning and making the most of his durability should see this quickly forgotten. This guy is a fantastic overall commander that is equipped really well and provides nice boosts to his army; that his cost is so close to the two century mark is nothing short of astounding. A great choice.

    Sevrin Loth of the Red Scorpions - A Mastery Level 3 psyker with the usual stat-line - save that he has an extra attack and Ballistic Skill 5 - Loth fits into an army almost as well, if not better, than Tigurius does for a sheer competitive option. His Fearless is a bit of a downside as you generally prefer to run from certain combats as Marines to get shooting again, but in a unit of Honour Guard - which he allows you to take (and this is awesome) - this isn't such an issue. He has a force axe for slicing through 2+ armour, Counter Attack for five attacks on the first round of combat, and a 2+ armour save of his own. His Warlord Trait, giving him a victory point if he kills a model with the psyker and character rules, is only likely to really come into effect against Grey Knights and Eldar; it is very situational against anyone else. But where Loth starts to get truly ridiculous is in the way he chooses powers, and the innate defensive power he has. Loth can expend a warp charge point on his turn to gain a 2+ invulnerable save until the start of his next turn, which isn't all that amazing on a two wound character initially, but becomes absolutely ridiculous when the guy can choose his spells from Biomancy, Telepathy and Telekinesis. Yes, he can choose three powers from one of those disciplines - his restriction being he can't mix and match the disciplines - to get some ludicrous combinations going. Combine a 2+ invulnerable save with Iron Arm for Eternal Warrior and potentially Strength and Toughness 7, plus Endurance for Feel No Pain and It Will Not Die. Drink your opponents tears as Loth becomes an unstoppable monster in combat. Alternatively, take Telepathy and cast Invisibility on whoever the hell you want, giving them the equivalent of invulnerability against both shooting and melee. This is why Loth is such a fantastic character, as he allows you to take any psychic power you want from three great disciplines, and being able to select your powers before a game starts and not during the army list building phase - like in Fantasy - gives Loths' controlling player a massive tactical advantage. A great choice.

    Tyberos of the Carcharodons - Another Chapter Master, a guy with five attacks base due to his special paired melee weapons, and some nasty traits to boot. He lacks an iron halo like other Space Marine commanders, but has Terminator Armour to compensate; 2+ armour and 5+ invulnerable save are good saving throws, if not optimal against crazy combat characters like Khorne Heralds or monstrous creatures. What mostly makes him unique are his paired weapons that can freely alternate between chainfists and lightning weapons, and he can divide his attacks between them as he wishes. This gives Tyberos some awesome versatility and hitting power against pretty much any target, though under most circumstances you will want to adopt one type or another, not mix the attacks. A nice buff he gets is that if he gains Rage from his Chapter Tactics, he and his unit get +1 Strength for the rest of the game; combine this with paired chainfists and you will have a wrecking ball with Strength 10 AP2 and six attacks on the charge. He lets you take one Lightning Claw-armed Assault Terminator squad as Troops, which can be decent if you can afford to pay for a decent delivery system with them. Remember that while Tyberos may have a Teleport Homer, it won't affect his own unit. I'm not generally a fan of Terminators, particularly lightning claw Terminators, but the extra options for scoring units are always nice, as is freeing up a hotly contested Elites slot. Tyberos has a unique Warlord Trait that gives both he and his unit Preferred Enemy against Infantry, which in an edition based heavily on objectives and infantry, is always an awesome trait to have. He is cost effective as a combat character, and giving Preferred Enemy of Infantry to any given unit is pretty great. However, his durability is a bit of an issue; no Eternal Warrior and no 4+ or better invulnerable save leaves him quite dry against any of the truly nasty melee beatsticks - or even a standard monstrous creature - out there, stopping me from labeling him as a top unit. A good choice.

    Dreadnought Titus of the Howling Griffons - A venerable dreadnought that functions as both a Warlord and a Chaplain, Titus has a pretty iffy Dreadnought load out with an under-slung heavy flamer (I wouldn't bother with the storm bolter as its Overwatch and horde clearing utility are just too good to pass up for a walker) and a lascannon or assault cannon. Giving you the choice of weaponry to a degree is nice, but the problem with his build options is that he ends up in a similar boat to a Helbrute; he lacks focus by trying to be both a gun platform and a melee walker, which could have been solved by letting him take either two fists or two heavy weapons. He handily comes with Extra Armour, but unfortunately, even with the venerable rule he is still an expensive armour 12 walker with no other defensive boosts to speak of. He is simply too easy to kill, particularly if he is your Warlord. He does give your friendly Space Marine units within 12" Fearless, while he himself has Hatred, but as I've discussed many times before, giving Fearless to Space Marines often isn't as big of a buff as many would like to believe. Having three attacks with Hatred as a Venerable Dreadnought is ok, but he still isn't going to stand up to something like a Dreadknight or a Wraithknight in combat. Titus' only real saving grace is that he is a scoring unit if he is the Warlord, which is admittedly pretty good for a walker. Still, his low durability - AV12 with three hull points - means he will simply be eaten up by Tau and Eldar or any other army with massed high Strength firepower, leaving him as mostly a fluffy choice more than anything. His high cost just completely ruins any chance of him being even a decent choice. A sub par choice.

    Anton Narvaez of the Marines Errant - A nifty little Captain with Weapon Skill 5, friendly units within 12" get to use his Leadership of 10 for morale tests, and a 3+ invulnerable save that, if failed, can't be used for the rest of the game on a subsequent D6 roll of a 4+. Kind of a mixed bag on the first and last of those three traits, as a lower point of Weapon Skill does give him a disadvantage against other 'typical' commanders like Chaos Lords and Autarchs. Overall, he really isn't cut out for melee with only a power sword to help him; he can slice through regular infantry but that is about it really. Where things get interesting are in his master-crafted plasma gun - a very odd choice for a Captain, but a good one given his Ballistic Skill of 5 - and he can give D3 units the deep strike special rule that scatter 3D6, discarding the highest. This is limited to himself (as well as an attached Command Squad), Tacticals, Sternguard and Devastators. This really is the main reason to take Narvaez, as it allows you to deliver a potentially more random deep strike to a number of units; giving scoring Tacticals a free run at an objective, or allowing Sternguard to melt tanks or infantry with combi weapons without the need for a drop pod. Another cool use of this is to make use of the Devastator Doctrine - Marines Errant are an Ultarmarines successor - and deep strike in some Devastators with heavy weapons, though I think this isn't the best use of it as those heavy weapons likely want to be firing on turn one and have the range to do so. The value of this is to save yourself points on drop pods for Sternguard Veterans, and maybe a Command Squad armed to the teeth if the points allow. Still, for his cost, Narvaez isn't really that great of a choice on his own, and as such, I would only take him to save some points on a Sternguard drop and use a Tactical Doctrine; just be very aware that the special deep strike will not save any of those units from a mishap! A mediocre choice.

    Tarnus Vale of the Fire Angels - Another Captain with more of a focus on shooting to some degree, Tarnus has better Weapon Skill than Narvaez but lacks a power weapon, having only a master-crafted chainsword. In that sense, keeping him out of a combat is a good idea, as he isn't too much better than a Veteran Sergeant equipped similarly. He does handily have melta bombs, but aside from that, his melee and shooting capabilities are that of a bare-bones Captain. What Vale pays for are guaranteed Storm of Fire as a Warlord Trait - which rocks - having Stubborn and conferring to his unit - which is good for the most part, unless you want to get out of combat quickly - and some extra rules for tanks. Though the wording isn't clear, as long as Vale is the Warlord - it says "commanded by" - all Rhinos, Razorbacks and Land Raiders in the primary detachment get a 5+ invulnerable save against glancing hits. The low armour of the first two doesn't really help here as massed Strength 7 has a 1 in 3 chance of penetrating AV11 per hit, though it is nonetheless a very decent and helpful defensive boost.

    For Land Raiders, however, it is a bit of a mixed bag as most enemies won't try to destroy AV14 vehicles with four hull points through massed glancing hits; they will usually go for penetrating hits at AP1 or 2 with melta weaponry and the like. In that sense, it is very good against gauss-heavy Necrons, but only decent against other armies. Still, just getting those buffs by taking Vale does add a lot to his value. Additionally, he confers both his Ballistic Skill of 5 and the Tank Hunters special rule on a tank that is transporting him. Backed by the defensive boosts to the transports above, as well as his general lack of equipment, and you can see where Vale is supposed to go. He won't help out a mostly weaponless Rhino, of course, but a Razorback or one of the Land Raider variants? I think that given he isn't that expensive of a commander - at least for a Space Marine - I might try putting him in a Razorback, even if it is quite fragile, as having a tank hunting lascannon at Ballistic Skill 5, for example, is pretty decent. Of course, where you will easily get the best value out of him is in a Land Raider, even if they are still supposed to be dedicated assault units. The Crusader and Redeemer won't really benefit from his abilities, but the standard pattern with those two twin-linked lascannons? Yes please. Move up 6" a turn and use Power of the Machine Spirit to fire those two on the move, or just sit back and add him to a strong mechanized firebase. While perhaps not the best use of the points - Tigurius is identical in cost to Vale - he is a pretty decent character. As much as he benefits those vehicles, particularly a 'Godhammer' Land Raider, I do have to point out that using an expensive Land Raider as a gun platform still isn't as good an investment as two or three Predators in terms of damage potential, particularly when throwing in a character that is hardly cheap. Really, aside from his tank buffs which may not even be that viable of an army list - these aren't Iron Hands after all - I just don't see that much value here, particularly as his equipment is pretty much non-existent. A mediocre choice.

    Lias Issodon of the Raptors - Here we go, a Chapter Master with an altered profile; -1 Weapon Skill, +1 Ballistic Skill, +1 Initiative, -1 Attack. Like the previous two characters, Lias is very much a ranged support character that you just don't often see with Chapter Masters or Captains, however he combos very well with the buffs his Chapter Tactics provides to the army. He is equipped pretty decently, with a power sword and artificer armour to make him a pretty survivable character. Given that he should be staying out of combat, you won't have to worry as much about getting into combat with nasty melee monsters, whereas combat-oriented builds likely won't have a choice if they want to prove their value. Having a 2+ armoured four-wound tank in a Sternguard Veteran unit, for example, already provides some pretty good value; this is before mentioning that he gives Shrouded to his unit, allowing Devastators or any other ranged unit in cover to have a really strong cover save. 3+ and 2+ cover save bonuses on top of the wound tank thing means this guy gives some serious defensive benefits to a unit of your choice, preferably a valuable ranged infantry squad. He has a valuable locator beacon to allow friendly units from allied Tau Crisis Teams to Terminator Squads a no scatter deep strike, which really helps if he is in a transport used as a mobile gunline unit. His Warlord Trait handily grants Acute Senses to all of your Outflanking units. To really benefit his locator beacon and warlord trait, while he is alive, reserve rolls of your own can be re-rolled, while the opponents' suffer a -1 penalty; this helps a lot for dictating the flow of battle and allowing you to gain a bit more leverage over those important reserves, particularly when trying to focus down part of an enemy battle-line.

    Lias brings back reverent memories of Slugtongue in Warhammer Fantasy, dishing out some free hits on a single enemy unit before the game even begins - the only restriction being that it can't target lone independent characters. A non-vehicle unit suffers D6 Strength 4 AP- hits, while a vehicle suffers D3 haywire hits. This likely won't amount to much at all when targeting a non vehicle unit due to the mediocre Strength and lack of AP, but D3 automatic haywire hits against a vehicle is pretty crazy. Think of it like this; you can potentially wreck a vehicle before the game even starts just by rolling a 5 or 6 on that one D6 roll, or take one to three hull points off of something like a Land Raider or Ghost Ark. In that sense, this can effectively be game changing as it can lead to something like a Vindicator or an expensive Leman Russ tank simply being reduced to wreckage before a game even starts. To add to the mischief, Lias has a pretty nasty Salvo 2/4 bolter with a 30" range that has Rending when he doesn't move due to the Raptors' Chapter Tactics. Four shots at Ballistic Skill 6 when unmoving with a bolter isn't that great, but the potential for Rending hits does add to its value quite a bit, as does the helpful bit of extra range. Additionally, the bolter can even be used with special issue ammunition, though it loses its regular profile and thus all those extra shots and range. Overall, Lias is a surprisingly high value choice as his abilities are probably a lot more likely to be useful, and he doesn't skimp out on the equipment either as he can reasonably defend his unit in a fight, on top of strong saves and four wounds. But what makes him a lot more valuable - in my opinion - than the two characters just above him are his price; he is almost the same points cost as both of those characters and this just goes to show how under-valued the extra wound for a Chapter Master is. A good choice.

    Malakim Phoros of the Lamenters - This guy shares the depressing moniker of being a Chapter Master with only three wounds with Logan Grimnar. Not a great start, but he is equipped pretty well; he has 2+ armour on top of his iron halo, and a glaive encarmine that, with an updated profile, is actually a pretty darn decent weapon, especially as Malakim thankfully keeps four attacks base. He also has a meltagun that has the pistol sub-type, but as far as I can tell, being a pistol rather than an assault weapon doesn't serve much purpose as a glaive encarmine is two-handed anyway. Like other Blood Angels, Malakim can potentially benefit from the Red Thirst, though he does already have the Zealot special rule and thus both has and confers Fearless and Hatred. This makes for a pretty nasty melee support character for a unit, as Malakim functions both as a decent beat-stick and a melee-centric buffer, something a Chaplain just wishes they could do well. To add to this, his warlord trait gives friendly Blood Angels units within 6" Hatred as well, though as the 6" bubble is small, it is more something to keep in mind rather than focus on. His last defining trait is that, once he suffers an unsaved wound, he gets a bonus +1 attack and +1 Strength for the rest of the game, and gains the Rage special rule while giving it to his unit. Now, provided he isn't facing a monstrous creature that will likely have just Smashed him to bits in the first place, this is obviously a good thing as it means he becomes more damaging as the game goes on, and it can make a difference to an opponents' battle plan. A Tervigon with a few wounds remaining isn't going to enjoy the sight of a Strength 6 AP3 blade at Weapon Skill 6 that strikes seven times on the charge with re-rolls to hit! As much as lacking Eternal Warrior and a fourth wound does hurt his cause, I have to say that Malakim is a surprisingly good value character. He is a pretty nasty melee combatant despite the lack of AP2, and he still has good saves and some decent support abilities for melee units - making him a golden choice for Blood Angels armies. Considering the current costs of commanders in the 5th Edition Blood Angels book, Malakim seems like a no brainer competitive choice to lead a force of Lamenters, as he is a decent way below the two century mark. A good choice.

    Mordaci Blaylock of the Novamarines - A Terminator Captain that is quite a bit cheaper than Lysander, Blaylock is armed with a chainfist that is both master crafted and has the Shred special rule. This is a very potent melee weapon obviously, and one that allows him to rip apart enemy characters and monsters with delightful efficiency. On top of this is his Warlord Trait, Champion of Humanity, that gives him D3 victory points for killing the enemy Warlord in a challenge. Though somewhat limited in its use, it goes without saying that Mordaci is very likely to kill a lot of Warlords that come his way; notifying your opponent of this can be important, as it may lead to them being more cautious with their commander. Crucially, he gives his unit the ability to automatically pass or fail any morale check they take, and they can never be Pinned - but can voluntarily Go to Ground as normal. This is a pretty awesome ability that lets his squad get out of an unfavourable combat, refuse to get off an objective and ignore the pinning effects of those annoying Serpent Shields and barrage weapons. Additionally, Novamarine Terminators of both varieties are scoring and denial units when Mordaci is around, though they aren't Troops choices; aside from the Troops 'tax', Mordaci allows for a much more effective Terminator army that can capture any objectives they clear, as should be their primary purpose.

    Of course, the comparisons will come thick and thin to Lysander, and the truth is, they both have their roles - and, obviously, their separate Chapter Tactics. Lysander is the far better combat monster, with an extra wound and Eternal Warrior, as well as a storm shield and a Strength 10 AP1 thunder hammer. Mordaci still hits hard and is quite survivable, but no more so than other Terminator Captains. Mordaci makes a Terminator-heavy army much more viable with the added benefit of scoring, and he does give a very good boost to Leadership play for his unit. However, it has to be pointed out that in the 6th Edition context, Terminators of all kinds just aren't that great anymore, at least not in Codex: Space Marines, even if they are scoring. As well, his Leadership buff is great and all, but Lysander provides a similar benefit as he lets friendly Imperial Fists within 12" re-roll their failed Morale and Pinning tests, and I would argue Lysanders' is definitely the better of the two given the good Leadership of Space Marine units. There is a price disparity, thankfully, but you may ask yourself whether it is significant enough to justify taking Mordaci over Lysander competitively. That they do have separate Chapter Tactics of course makes most of the comparisons between them irrelevant, but yes, if you were wondering who is the more valuable character overall in Terminator Armour, my pick is still Lysander quite easily. Not that it really matters, again, due to the Chapter Tactics; as it is, Mordaci is an ok choice for his cost, but he isn't the best in the role that you could get from the codex as a whole, and as it is, I'm not sure I am a massive fan of a character that encourages you to load out on Terminators when Honour Guard and Sternguard are sitting pretty in the same book. However, it is a bit unfair to use this against him as it does mean you don't have to take as many Troops as you would otherwise require. A good choice.

    Pellas Mir'san of the Salamanders - Finally, a Loyalist Space Marine billed as a master duelist! He has Weapon Skill 7 on top of a Captain profile, and an AP2 master-crafted power sword. I think Lucius wants a word! Anyway, his titular ability lets him strip an attack off of an enemy in a challenge, or gain an attack; against nasty combat characters, you always want to take an attack off of them, particularly if they have Strength 8 or higher attacks. Otherwise, gaining an attack for six total on the charge - he now has an extra close combat weapon - is great. What makes Pellas an above average character killer is that his Warlord Trait is Legendary Fighter, giving him a victory point for every character he kills in a challenge. This is far better than the Champion of Humanity trait, as it is far more likely you will kill a few lesser characters in the game than the enemy Warlord. Exarchs, Aspiring Champions who are forced to challenge, Space Marine Sergeants, members of a Royal Court; all will more than likely fall before Mir'san, which can decide the game if you can kill enough of them. This is Pellas' true calling; not hunting out the enemy Warlord, as despite being an above average melee fighter, he lacks the Strength, Attacks and raw durability to take on those nasty Warlords like Daemon Princes, Hive Tyrants and kitted out Chaos Lords. What works in his favour though is how cheap he is, particularly when you factor in his other abilities. He has a combi-flamer that gets re-rolls to wound from his Chapter Tactics, and he and his unit can choose to automatically pass or fail morale and pinning checks which, as I've talked about with Marneus Calgar, is a simply awesome ability. That he is cheap is what keeps him a valuable choice, and his Warlord Trait and melee-centric abilities actually do give him a role next to a kitted out Chapter Master or someone like Vulkan. If he can get into combat, Chaos Space Marine players in particular will likely despise him. A good choice.

    Bray'arth Ashmantle of the Salamanders - Another Venerable Dreadnought HQ choice with a crazy high points cost, Bray'arth is one you may want to look at, if just to see what Bjorn the Fell Handed may look like in his next incarnation. He has Weapon Skill 6 like a Captain, front AV13, four attacks and four hull points, as well as two dreadnought close combat weapons that already have the extra attack counted. Basically, he hits like a tonne of bricks, not to mention he can fire either two master-crafted heavy flamers - yes, he has Chapter Tactics! - or one twin-linked meltagun. One of his crazier rules that absolutely messes up any unit trying to tarpit him is that he can sacrifice just one attack to auto-hit any enemy model in base contact at Strength 5 AP4; death to all xenos! This is pretty insane and will absolutely ward off any medium or light infantry, and all at the cost of just one attack out of a potential five on the charge. With front armour 13, he can't even be hurt by krak grenades, making him an absolute stand out melee walker - if he makes it there, which I will touch on soon. His Warlord rules are decent; gaining a victory point for destroying an AV12 vehicle or independent character alone in a melee is nice, but nothing special.

    Where Bray'arth really gets people talking in his durability, and this is quite a controversial topic. Front AV13, extra armour and four hull points are obviously quite good on a walker, but where Bray'arth stands apart is that he is immune to anything that either reduces his armour value - such as Entropic Strike - or anything that rolls an extra dice for armour penetration - such as Armourbane and even Rending - which all combine to make him a seemingly impenetrable engine of destruction. But here is the rub; not only can he not take a drop pod, but his side armour of 12 means that it is simply too easy for massed Strength 7 from Crisis Teams equipped with missile pods, Wave Serpents and so on to get to his side arc and glance him to death in a round or two of shooting. Against typical anti-vehicle defences, yes, he is incredibly hard to destroy, but his lack of mobility, short ranged focus, incredibly high cost and vulnerability to massed anti-tank fire sadly relegate what is undoubtedly an amazingly powerful walker to being mostly a decent unit for themed armies. To make him work really well, you need to mount him in a Stormraven Gunship, as running him up on foot is likely to just see him destroyed before he can do anything. A mediocre choice.

    Harath Shen of the Salamanders - A Master Apothecary for your Salamanders, that is if you aren't secretly a Red Scorpion. Anyway, he has the stat-line you would expect of a Company Champion - Weapon Skill five over a regular Space Marine profile - with an extra wound, Leadership 9 and Artificer Armour. He's equipped pretty well on top of his 2+ armour, with a power sword, plasma pistol and digital weapons giving some pretty nifty punch at four attacks on the charge. For an Apothecary, that isn't too bad at all. He can re-roll failed Look Out Sir rolls, which is imperative to keeping him safe from barrage sniping and the like, and he returns the favour to his squad by giving them Feel No Pain on a 4+ rather than the usual 5+. Add him to any ten-strong or so unit, whether it be Sternguard Veterans or Honour Guard, and enjoy laughing off enemy firepower of all kinds - until a Riptide comes along and spoils the day, of course. His Warlord Trait lets you gain a victory point on a 5+ if a friendly Salamanders non-vehicle unit is destroyed when it would also give a victory point to your opponent, such as in Purge the Alien or if the unit was a Fast Attack choice in The Scouring. He even handily unlocks a Command Squad for use, much like a Captain. I think overall, Harath Shen has a decent if situational Warlord Trait, he provides some nice defensive buffs to his unit, and he is decently kill in a pinch too. The best part is how cheap he is, costing only marginally more than a bare-bones Chapter Master. Though he doesn't provide the amazing support abilities of Tigurius or Sevrin Loth, he is cheaper by quite a bit than either and holds up pretty well in terms of durability. 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 out.


    ARTICLE 2

    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!

    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. However, being a specialist weapon, it also gives Vaylund an extra attack for an impressive three base that, with Strength 10 AP2-1, is quite crazy. Whatever he hits is likely to die instantly, but he doesn't have the sheer number of attacks to get through swarms of models - not that they can hurt him! 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 good damage output, though the value of a Strength 10 thunder hammer 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 while he is a pretty darn good combat character, 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 almost as well and doesn't pay for situational at best abilities. That isn't to say he's mediocre though, as he hits harder than anyone has a right to and is insanely durable. A good 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 out.
    Last edited by Learn2Eel; 11-21-2013 at 04:55 AM.
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