Greetings, fellow Peters, Pauls and Marys! Glad to have you visit us! Today we continue our look at the special characters from Codex: Space Marines. We shall set our sights on Sergeant Antaro Chronus (A.K.A. the Spear of Macragge) and Sergeant Toras Telion of the Ultramarines, Captain Darnath “my hammer is shaped like a fist so I can fist you while I hammer you” Lysander of the Imperial Fists and Crimson Fist Chapter Master Pedro Kantor. Are these great heroes of the Space Marines rendered justice on the tabletop? Or do they fall short? Maybe a bit of both? Let’s see, shall we?
Sergeant Chronus has improved quite a bit since his 7th edition days (and indeed, even from his Index Imperium version), and has the interesting distinction of being the second cheapest IMPERIUM HQ (after the Imperial Guard’s Company Commander). Given that he doesn’t benefit from Chapter Tactics nor Defenders of Humanity, he’s not a bad choice to lead an “Imperial Soup” detachment to go along with any ULTRAMARINES detachments you may have. He will still be able to benefit from any reroll auras your Ultra det’s Characters may be able to provide him while opening up your options to add some non-Marine units (like Assassins, for example). Otherwise, he’s still a fine HQ in a Guilliman list. Having an all-Las Predator hitting on 2s AND not have its BS degrade with damage is quite nice indeed. His ability to heal a single Wound per turn is nice but a savvy opponent will just ensure to fully destroy his vehicle in a turn to avoid giving you the ability to get much (if any) mileage out that rule; having a 6+ Feel No Pain rule like the Venerable Dreadnought would have been preferable. His ability to survive the destruction of his tank can be quite annoying for your opponent: after having his steel chariot blow up, Chronus will (usualy) casually dust himself off and be ready to go sit on a nearby objective – being a character, your opponent will then have to figure out a way to get him off of it that won’t involve shooting him to shreds. As for his choice of rides, the aforementioned Predator is highly likely your best bet as its multiple guns will gain the most from his increased BS; the Land Raider has more but continues to be one of the most consistently overcosted vehicles in the game. In summary, Chronus is a nice, cheap HQ that will fit well in a variety of lists.
Sergeant Telion, scout sniper extraordinaire, is a very niche Character. He is armed with a 2-shot R 36” AP -1 D3D sniper Boltgun (hitting on 2s) and comes with a camo cloak. More importantly, an ULTRAMARINES Scout unit within 3 inches of him can add 1 to their hit rolls in the shooting phase. Like all Scouts, he can infiltrate. For 75 pts, that’s not awful, but it’s nothing to write home about either. The thing is, in a Guilliman list, his presence will only result in a little over 6% extra hits (given how modifiers are only added after rerolls) while they’re in Bobby G’s aura. They gain a lot more when not in the Lord Commander’s presence (well, relatively speaking, of course), but that also means you are giving up on his to-wound rerolls which help a lot to generate Mortal Wounds with sniper rifles. Outside of a Guilliman list, you would help your Scouts more with a Chapter Master, which costs about the same but can help multiple squads instead of a single one. All in all, Telion is not a total write-off, but I believe in most instances, you will be better served by going with another HQ in your lists.
At first glance, Lysander seems like just a straight up, no-brainer upgrade over a regular Terminator Captain with Thunder Armour and Storm Shield. First of all, his hammer makes him S10 (versus S8 for a normal TH) and more importantly, doesn’t suffer the -1 to hit of a regular hammer (so that’s 25% extra hits, before rerolls). He also has the Icon of Obstinacy rule providing all IMPERIAL FISTS within 6 inches of him +1 to their Leadership – not a fantastic ability to be sure, but given that Lysander is only 9 more points than a regular TH/SS Captain anyways, we really shouldn’t be looking the gift horse in the mouth. Once we start digging a bit, though, we see that the generic Captain does have the advantage of being upgradeable to Chapter Master status and is also able to select the Shield Eternal as a Relic, which makes him rather beastly to take down. He can also select a more suitable Warlord Trait than the one Lysander is saddled with (apparently, ol’ Darnath is so good at siege warfare that he can build forts while on the offensive in the enemy’s backyard). Those factors taken into consideration, I think the upgraded Captain is probably a bit more useful overall to your force, if less individually powerful.
Pedro has changed a bit from his previous iteration. He sadly no longer makes Sternguard squads Objective Secured; that is quite unfortunate because that would have been badass. On the flipside, he did gain the Chapter Master rule, allowing all CRIMSON FIST units within 6 inches of him to reroll all failed to-hit rolls. He also gives all CF models (not units) within 6 an additional attack in close combat. Strangely enough, he and his Chapter seem to have gotten over their grudge against the Orks because they no longer have any bonuses when fighting them. Dorn’s Arrow is now AP -1, making it better against everything except 5+ Armour Save models. His power fist is also less of a liability than it was in the past thanks to Initiative going the way of the dodo. Oh and he finally got some Artificer Armour, as befitting someone of his rank. I don’t think I would just throw him in any ol’ list, as his extra attack bonus will generally be more useful when boosting scary CC units, but being Chapter Master without needing to spend 3 Command Points definitely increases his appeal. If only he still improved Sternguards, he would be a no-brainer. Still a pretty good character, though – I mean, if you really insist on playing Crimson Fists and are willing to tailor your list a bit to squeeze every last drop of efficiency out of The Singer, you should do alright.
To sum up, we have one very good HQ (Chronus), one that’s also pretty good though perhaps not as straightforward to use (Kantor) and two kinda ok but not fantastic ones (Telion and Lysander). Just to be 100% perfectly clear, that is NOT the same as saying that they are bad. They’re not, it’s just that often you can get more mileage out of your points by going a different route with your list.
And on this, I bid you a good day, and hope that you will visit us again soon, when we look at more of the Marine special characters!