Underplayed & Overlooked: Codex Space Marines


So these series is looking to give a little attention to those characters that I don't see often either do to misconception of ability or difficulty in seeing their value. This first article is going to address a few characters out of the current Space Marine codex. My rating system is going to be divided into four categories and using a five point system. One point being terrible to five being amazing.  Each of the categories is explained below. It goes without saying these are just my opinion of course.

  • Cost: This is what I think you are getting for your points. A higher cost character is going to have to bring a lot to the table to score highly here.
  • Offense: This is how offensive the character is. Just how stabby or shooty are they and how much can you expect them to do significant offensive damage.
  • Defense: This is how defensive the character is. Some characters seem to be built to take punishment and this lets you know how well they perform in that role.
  • Support: This is how much support they are bringing to the the rest of your forces and perhaps even other friendly forces in team games.

So without further ado lets get to the reviews.

Marneus Calgar

  • Cost: 1
  • Offense: 3
  • Defense: 4
  • Support: 4

So lets start with this guys cost. Ouch. He takes up over twelve percent of a two thousand point army which is the points level I feel he would most be considered. He is also the most expensive character in the entire Codex. Hence the low score.

Offensively he is about average. For ranged he has a couple of AP2 bolter shots at BS5. Combined with his ability to reroll to wound (from shooting or close combat attacks) this means he is pretty much guaranteed to kill a marine or two or threaten a Terminator at least. But it's unlikely to change a game. He also has the one use Orbital Bombardment as well. In close combat he fares better. With WS6 and 4 attacks he is above the average for other Space Marine characters. However his real advantage comes from having two close combat modes. In Mode 1 he has a power sword so he can strike at Initiative 5 is helping him strike at the same time as most other characters and before most troops. Or you can go into Mode 2 and break out his pair of powerfists. Not only does this yield a bonus attack (6 on the charge!) but you can go buckwild on vehicles or just instant kill T4 multi-wound models.

Defensively he is quite good with 4 Wounds and Eternal warrior meaning he can stay in a fight for quite a while and absorb some powerfist attacks. In addition you can choose Power Armor or Terminator Armor but seeing as how he has no grenades there is no reason to go with the Power Armor as far as I can see unless you really want him in a Rhino for some reason. Additionally he has a 4+ Invulnerable Save which is par for the course. Only thing that could make him more survivable is a Storm Shield but you'd lose those important attacks.

Lastly as a support character he provides the ability to have all your units choose to pass or fail leadership tests. This is a very powerful ability and should not be overlooked. It lets you better control close combat giving all your bikes what amounts to Hit & Run light. It can also help free up a unit tied in close combat to be shot the next turn. Overall tremendous ability. Also lets you load up on Honor Guard if you want that type of army and in Terminator Armor has a Teleport Homer. (Not to mention the great tactic of regrouping 9" with this guy! -ed)

Captain Darnath Lysander

  • Cost: 3
  • Offense: 3
  • Defense: 5
  • Support: 4

Cost wise there isn't much to say. He only a bit above average over a majority of the other special characters. I feel that you start to get good milage from him starting at the 1500 pts level.

Offensively he is pretty average. He lacks a shooting attack so we can skip that entirely. His WS6 is normal for Space Marine Special Characters and his I5 is pretty useless as he cant perform a sweeping advanced or be swept in combat and he is swinging a Thunderhammer around (though against the Jaws psychic power you'd be glad it was there). But up close is where he longs to be and he has 3 attacks with amazing S10. So instant killing T5 multi-wound models (I'm looking at you Grotesques). In addition against vehicles he gets an additional +1 to the damage table on top of the Thunderhammer's own abilities so needless to say if you hit a vehicle it isn't going to be much of a threat the next turn regardless of the result.

Defensively he is great sporting 4 wounds and Eternal Warrior. But what makes him excellent is the Terminator Armor and Storm Shield meaning he is literally the most difficult Space Marine character to kill. Period.

Support is a where Lysander really shines. Not only does he makes your army Stubborn but he has a couple other tricks up his sleeve at well. Like a Techmarine he provides Bolster Defenses meaning reinforced cover on a piece of terrain of your choosing. This can be a tremendous help for keeping a squad alive thanks to the increased cover save. Just imagine a squad of scouts with camo cloaks in bolstered cover to get an idea. Pretty tough to remove. Also he has Bolter Drill. While he lacks a shooting attack of his own put him with a unit of Sternguard in a Drop Pod and you can watch his special ability come into play. Twin linked bolter fire isn't likely to make your opponent happy and then hes in the squad to soak the low AP fire and provide a dedicated close combat element to the unit.

That concludes this round of reviews. See you all next time when I will take a look at the Chaos Space Marines Codex.