Codex: Space Marines Review Part 8 – Calgar, Tigurius, Cassius & Sicarius

Greetings, fellow male catalogue underwear models! Today, we finally start digging into the core of the Marine codex with a look at Chapter Master Marneus Calgar, Chief Librarian Tigurius, Chaplain Cassius and Captain Sicarius, all of whom are Ultramarine special Characters. In the past, only Tigurius has been worth a damn, competitively, and I’m afraid this state of affair continues in 8th edition. Unfortunately, the shadow of the 13th Legion’s progenitor looms large over his children; it is impossible not to take him into consideration when analysing units that fulfill a similar-ish role in the army, and he’s so ridiculously good that he casts a damn long shadow that is nigh impossible to get out of. Let’s take a closer, Ultramarine-hued look, shall we?

Marneus Calgar

Clocking in at 200 points, Papa Smurf is one spicy meatball. He does have a rather long list of perks, however: an impressive statline, a Ap -1 2D Storm Bolter, a Power Fist without the -1 WS, a suit of Terminator Armour that halves (rounding up) all damage, 2 bonus Command Points if he is your Warlord and the all-important Chapter Master “reroll all failed Hit rolls” ability. With that said, I find it reeeally hard to justify taking him when Roboute Guilliman – Lord Commander of the Imperium, Primarch of the Ultramarines, the Avenging Son, the Uniter, the True Master of Ultramar, the Breaker of Chains, the Unburnt, the… woops, bit of a character titles mix-up, there – just does nearly everything better: a better statline, a better gun, a better special Power Fist (and let’s not forget the Emperor’s own freaking Sword), better survivability, more Command Points when Warlord, a much better reroll aura on top of giving all IMPERIUM units a bonus to their charge and Advance rolls (and reroll failed Morale test and to-hit rolls of 1… always nice when you have some Conscript bubblewrap). All that for a frankly insulting 360 pts. Really, the only advantages Calgar has over his sire is 1) the fact that he’s an HQ, allowing him to fill those mandatory slots in almost all Detachment types and 2) can teleport to nearly anywhere on the board whereas Bobby G is limited to an 8 inch move plus Advancing. That is… pretty shallow grounds for picking him over Guilliman. To paraphrase our very own AbusPpuppy: Calgar is good, Guilliman is meta-defining. Oh and let’s not forget that if you’re aiming for a cheap(er) to-hit reroll bubble, a Captain with the Chapter Master Stratagem upgrade brings the same one but for 126 fewer points (albeit at a rather dramatic difference in Command Points, admittedly). Bottom line: don’t take Calgar unless your list has that niche need for a Chapter Master that can teleport and can bring the hurt while soaking it up in return.

Chief Librarian Tigurius

Coming in at 130 pts (23 more than a normal Librarian with Force Staff), the Head Libby of the Ultramarines does bring quite a bit for his increased cost. For starters, he can deny an extra enemy psychic power and knows an extra psychic power from the Librarius discipline. That is already not bad – not great, but not bad. Now, add an improved Force Staff (+3 St instead of +2), the ability to reroll failed Psychic Tests (crucial for those tougher-to-get-off ones), the Master of Prescience ability ( which allows you to select a friendly ULTRAMARINES unit within 6 inches at the start of the enemy shooting phase; enemy units shooting at the selected unit suffer a -1 to hit rolls) and you can start to see where those extra 23 pts are coming from. While the significance of rerolling failed Psychic Tests is lost to no one, I’m sure, Master of Prescience requires a bit more explanation. While you could just throw this unto any old juicy target in the hope that your opponent is a moron and will waste his firepower on your chosen unit, with a bit of forethought, you can make your opponent really pay for neglecting to direct his fire where you want it to go. Example: take Tiggy in a Drop Pod (I know… ugh, Drops Pods…) and drop him along with a 10-strong unit of Assault Termies or tooled-up Vanguard Vets (on whom you’ve cast Veil of Time, obviously) to go smash the enemy’s line. When the opponent’s turn comes around, your adversary is going to be hard-pressed to ignore the bad muthas tearing up his dudes, but if he tries to shoot them down, he will be doing so at reduced efficiency. Either way, it’s win-win for you: if he shoots at your designated unit, he’s giving up potentially quite a few hits on another target, and if he ignores your assault unit, they will be free to bring the pain come your next assault phase. Now, I brought up Drop Pods, and this is where Tigurius really trips up: no innate mobility, and no ability to purchase a jump pack or bike. As discussed in the review of the Librarius powers, most of the spells are short-ranged and/or necessitate careful positioning to get the most out of them. Therefore, being stuck on foot is a real annoyance for good ol’ Tigs. Is it enough to say Tiggy is a bad choice? No, but it is enough to give standard Librarians (who CAN purchase a jump pack/bike) some consideration instead of going straight to Tigurius.

Chaplain Cassius

Oh boy… Cassius has always been kinda underwhelming, and it seems this trend is perduring in 8th edition. He does have a few perks over a regular Chaplain: increased Toughness, a master-crafted Combi-Flamer and the Inspired Retribution special rule that states that ULTRAMARINES models (versus units) that die within 6 inches of Cassius during the Fight phase cause a Mortal Wound to the unit that slayed them on a roll of 6. He also comes with the standard Chaplain panoply: a Crozius Arcanum (a S+1 AP-1 2D Melee weapon), a 4+ Invulnerable Save, a Ld-improving Aura ability and another Aura that allows units within 6 inches of him to reroll all failed hit rolls in the Fight phase. The thing is, Inspired Retribution is a pretty lackluster rule given that it triggers so rarely and only affect the MODELS within 6 inches of Cassius, meaning that you have to limit how much your assault elements spread out to even get a chance at getting a couple of triggers. Combine that with the lack of innate mobility and you’re left with sub-par performance. The improved Toughness and special combi are nice, but not enough to save him. For the points, I would much rather have a Jump Pack Chaplain (assuming I wanted a Chaplain at all).

Captain Sicarius

Some people are getting their knickers in a twist over this guy and his ability to boost the effectiveness of Tactical Squads… and I have to say I don’t get it. The rule in question, Battle-forged Heroes, allows ULTRAMARINES Tactical Squads within 6 inches of Sicarius to always fight first in close combat… unless the enemy charged you/has a similar “always fights first” ability, in which case you alternate which unit(s) fight. Given that Tactical Marines are in no way, shape or form competent close combat troops to begin with, Battle-forged Heroes leaves me with an overwhelming feeling of meh-ness. Now, Sicarius himself is not too bad in combat, what with hitting on 2s with what is essentially a Force Sword with the added bonus of causing D3 Mortal Wounds instead of the normal damage whenever Sicarius rolls a 6 to wound. He is also sporting 5 wounds shielded by a 2+ save supplemented by a 4+ Invulnerable save. He also has the Rites of Battle special rule common to all Captains; said rules allows all friendly units of the same Chapter as the Captain to reroll failed hit rolls of 1 (both shooting and assault). For 132 pts, that is not bad at all, but as with Marneus, the fact remains that Guilliman just brings soooo much more to the table than Siccy does. Even Tacticals get comparatively more from Guilliman, since his to hit and to wound rerolls makes their bolters that much more effective. I would be a bit more forgiving if Sicarius could be upgraded to a Chapter Master (and indeed, his past fluff seemed to indicate that he was Marneus’ heir apparent), but alas! he cannot. Oh well!


So in summary, Tigurius is still pretty good though probably nowhere near as much as he used to be (regular Libbies give him a run for his money), Calgar and Sicarius are both vastly outdone by Guilliman, and Cassius is just plain bad. Not a great start for the Marine special Chars, but we’re not done yet! Join us next time as we continue to delve into the deep, dark recesses of the Space Marines codex. Cheers!

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18 Responses to “Codex: Space Marines Review Part 8 – Calgar, Tigurius, Cassius & Sicarius”

  1. Prometheus says:

    Could have just titled the article "All ultramarine HQs are crap because you could be taking Rebuttal Guillotine"

    Seriously, though, Calgar is basically Draigo, and he's considered one of best characters. And ole Rebuttal isn't an HQ so you have to take something. Usually several somethings.

  2. Dawnlord Ed says:

    Poor Cato. I was so stoked when the index dropped. But his problem isn’t Guilliman (you still need HQs), or Battle-Forged Heroes being bad (it’s not), it’s the Sanctic Halo. A captain with a plasma pistol and a relic blade is 102 points. Add the free Halo and you’re really only losing 2+ armor and mortal wounds on 6s. You gain 3++ and your own Deny dice. Add the fact that Intercessors make such points efficient troop choices and Cato quickly looks like a lesser choice.

    It’s too bad, really. He’s my favorite Ultramarine character.

    • Desc440 says:

      If I may:
      -You do need HQs even with Guilliman, but you may as well select those that don't have half of their significant abilities rendered redundant by him.
      -Battle-Forged Heroes really is pretty underwhelming. Beyond the fact that Tacticals just suck at combat, the way the rule itself functions is problematic: got charged by a single enemy unit? Rule has no effect. Charging in your turn? Rule has no effect. Enemy falls back during his turn? Rule has no effect. You got charged and managed to survive? You're falling back so you can shoot, so rule has no effect.
      -What makes Intercessors good, in your view?

      • Andy_Fisher says:

        If I may, i thought Intercessors hugely sucked when I first saw them. Was totally not impressed. Then I realised I was paying 1 pt for a nearly missile launcher that could move and fire without penalty and I had another look.

        The attack I consider nearly worthless, but the range and wounds are incredibly appealing, especially when I consider, that I am super aggressive. I don't like sitting in my deployment zone with any army, but, the stupid game rules (and the asshats I play with) constantly ensure there are objectives in my deployment zone I am obliged to have people close enough to take (such a chore). As such I need to always have 2 units in the army that are going to sit on their asses deny deepstrike and generally not do much.

        I have tried out Tac Squads, Scouts, Dev Squads Hellblasters Whirlwinds and intercessors in this role (the actual best at it I found are DW kill teams with stalkers or GK with Gate/Shunt). Full Dev squads, hellblasters and Whirlwinds bring the most firepower, but generally make it cost efficient for my opponent to kill them and take the objective and don't contest the objective well if stuck in melee. Cut price Dev squads bring substantial firepower (2 las salamanders is the way to go for these, disgustingly points efficient way to buy stupidly good dmg ) make it awkward to commit to cleaning them up but suffer badly at holding objectives. They are my choice if I am taking my salamanders, if I am ultras only, I have found the intercessors perform the job better than anything.

        It is the blend of long range, resilience, objective secured and cheapness that makes them so good. I found spreading them out in a biggest unit I can with the grenade launcher and as many marines as I can forward, and then a line back to 9" away from the objective so I can always advance back, or vs deepstrike more defensive around the objective to deny any chance of dropping on it in range.

        in fact I am less and less concerned with getting good terrain for my main army and much more concerned with getting good Objectives on my side of the map (forests with their +1 cover svs and +2" on charge distance are what it is all about)

        • Andy_Fisher says:

          Intercessors with grenade are 101pts
          Tactical squad with Stormbolters and Melta bombs is 74pts
          Tactical squad 65pts

          Its not a direct comparison as you can see, the tactical squad is just that, very versatile, can threaten vehicles but I think its 24" range pushes it into a more aggressive roll.

          The main thing that gets me, is am I willing to pay 36pts for 5 more wounds and 6" range. Yup I am.

          Note I do not think Intercessors are better than Tactical Marines, 2 squads of double plas in a rhino is I think a fantastic investment for a marine army. But suited much more to aggressively going to take objectives up the field. I just think for backfield protection, I like intercessors.

        • Desc440 says:

          I generally just use my dreads and pred to hold the rear objectives and try to deploy most of the objectives near the center of the board so the bulk of my Tactical force can mutually support each other in taking/holding them. If it's obvious my opponent has some means of contesting/capturing the backfield objective(s), I will just leave one or more Tacs behind to babysit.

  3. Andy_Fisher says:

    K so I think you underrated Tiggy a lot. He should be the first thing in any army list that is going to contain any other ultramarine unit. look at the powers available to a librarian

    1. Veil of Time – hugely useful if you want to charge, or are stuck in melee for a few turns, or need a 5+ adv to get in 3 of an objective. Otherwise garbage.

    2. Might of Heroes – Your stand out auto cast Psychic Power. T9 Landraider, T8 Gunship/interceptor early game, +1S, T, A on Guilleman (Draigo) once things get going.

    3. Psychic Scourge, hugely situational low LD murderiser

    4. Fury of Ancients, situational sprinkler of MW.

    5. Psychic Fortress, amazing early game smite protection using a flyer to soak up MW, nigh on useless late game.

    6. Null Zone, a must have power that is incredibly situational, a successful cast almost certainly spells doom for your opponents warlord.

    So we have two powers for sure that you want to take, Might of Heroes and Null zone, but you rarely get to cast Null zone. This is where your standard Librarian falls down you just paid 107 points to cast Might only or you can take Psychic Fortress, but you lose your I win the game button. Tiggy allows you to take all 3 good powers at once, in one model, he is so good, I have been taking him over Greyfax in the Imperium Supreme Command of Death detachment.

    So, that's reason 1 he is worth 23pts.

    Reason 2. He can Deny twice, vs 1 from a librarian. This is huge, especially in pure ultras, the top armies at the moment run between 2 and 15 psykers. You can't hope to deny everything, but you can guarantee you have a good deny (+1 on rolls) vs the critical spells, again worth 23 by himself.

    Reason 3. He gets to reroll -all- his Pyschic Powers. This here is the mental one, because of the interaction with CP rerolls and the fact you cannot reroll dice that have already been rerolled, he has a ludicrously high chance to cast Null zone compared to a librarian. The maths on this is bloody annoying to do, because of the increased chance to cast makes deny worse but he manages to cast Null Zone over 70% more often than a Libby, with the added bonuses of less perils, and better casting throughout the game it is insane not to pay 23pts for this.

    Reason 4. -1 to my flyer. Get. Wrecked. It becomes a T7/8 -2 to hit saving MW from psychic powers on a 4++ Sgt Chronus parks his landraider front and centre of the formation, its T8/9 -1 to hit saving vs Psychic on a 4++ Depending on who has the first turn. 23 pts? 23 pts for I decide what you shoot not you sir.

    I leave you with this to ponder. A supereme command detachment of Chronus in a landraider, Captain, Tiggy a techmarine and apothecary is a little under 1k pts. Add in a GK detachment in deepstrike and you have yourself a very viable army, all built off the back that the landraider, is bloody hard to kill, flanking it is going to get you killed by the GK, so you are stuck pouring fire into it as it lumbers slowly forward.

    Or can go full thematic!!! Drop Roboute For a brigade of Ultramarines, and advance slowly towards the enemy lines, watching 30 tactical marines get mown down because no one can shoot at the landraider~ Prolly worth getting a few more apothecaries!

    Tiggy is probably the best 130pts you can ever spend, he is better point for point than roboute, with I think only Celestine rivalling him. So whatever your play style, win at all costs, or just want to have fun with a PROPER landraider. Don't ever think Tiggy is not worth it. You made him sad. Omg, his LD just dropped to 6 on my army list because of this crisis of confidence :/

    • Desc440 says:

      I think it’s you that is overestimating him. He is by no means auto-include. A good choice in a lot of circumstances, sure – and I said as much. But auto-include? No.

      • Andy_Fisher says:

        Hmmm, what's better for 130pts? Or more I should say, you have to have 2 HQ's what are you possibly going to take over Tiggy? Chronus+Techmarine is proveably worse by miles than Chronus+Tiggy. Tiggy is better in Melee than a cheapo Captain (self buff for +1str +1A +1T + deny invul, he murders the cpt in melee).

        • Desc440 says:

          It depends on the rest of the list… that was my point :/

          • Andy_Fisher says:

            K, my argument would be, no matter what is in the rest of the list Tiggy is worth 130pts. He is worth 130pts if the only other ultramarine in the army is Roboute Guilleman. Obviously he is exponentially stronger if he has a few tanks and flyers to mess with, but I simply can't figure out how you go about building an Ultra marines list without selecting Tiggy as the first HQ option.

            Captain I am totally down with, I love the guy, he takes the halo, Chain sword or Bolter depending on what I need in the army. This is my go to Duo for any ultra's Detachment. I am maybe biased, because if I am adding fast tack to an army I take Dark Angels, if I am adding Heavy stuff always the 'manders. (I don't play many if any pure chapter armies, they bore me and are ineffective).

            But like, if I was building up to a bigger army, I know I need 3 HQ's I still want my captain, I can go a LT if I got no Guilleman, or Tech marine otherwise, likely as not though the captains going to come from the other chapter, i take Chronus 9/10 who is ungodly good even if I only give him a shitty pred.

            I agree with you about every other bloody charchter though, you can make any argument you like for their inclusion and how they fulfil a specific purpose etc. But they have to perform perfectly in their niche position for me to even start to consider them over the greatest char in the game, Lt with a relic. he gets to tailor his set up vs whatever he is fighting, he brings pewpew, fightfight or extra psychic protection (I would be a liar if I didn't say mine goes fight fight 90% of the time~)

            I think we view things roughly the same, but I am more of an opinion, I insta take Chronus and Tiggy and LT. After that I decide what I am going to do with the rest of the HQ points, and you can pretty much guarantee I will not be taking any other chars (telion is an outside chance, I do very much love his ability to kill that *&^*£&£*^$%£ changeling)

            I got to confess I have never even thought of taking papa smurf, looking at him, he just seems bad, I realise that all his bonuses add up to a lot of good stuff…but. I need more of a reason than that to not be another chapter cos Ultramarines chapter tactic sucks vs Salamanders or the errrrr Alpha Legion but imperium one. (forgot their name, don't play them)

            • Desc440 says:

              I agree that we see things along similar lines. I think that perhaps your views are coloured by how you've built your lists in the past and the specific games you've played. There ARE so lists that really won't gain much from his inclusion and/or would gain more from other Chars.