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HQ Units (Revised
With their superior Weapons Skill, Initiative, and number of Attacks, HQ units excel in close combat, so, for the most part, I've equipped my HQ appropriately, foregoing longer-range weapons (like bolters or combi-weapons). I’ve also tried to give each one some way of quickly getting into the fight, either by jump pack, Deep Striking via Terminator armor, or riding a Command Squad’s transport.
With all the neat toys that Codex: Space Marines allows HQ units, it’s easy to go overboard and equip them with enough gizmos to make James Bond jealous. Resisting this temptation, I've attempted to minimize the amount of points I spend on each. Space Marine characters aren't cheap to begin with, so if you “Monty Haul” your characters, add on a heavily-equipped Command Squad, and give them a pimped-out ride, you can spend a heap of points on unit. Admittedly, it will be one GAMF (God Almighty Mother Fornicating) unit, but it will still only be one. No thank you. I prefer to spend no more than 10% of my army total on all my HQ units.
At the same time, however, it seems out of character for Space Marine leaders to walk around with nothing deadlier (or more flashy) than bolt pistols. In equipping my characters, I try to balance point-cost vis-a-vis combat effectiveness vis-a-vis "coolness." In the sections below, I'll describe each of my HQ units and explain why I chose what I took.
Raja Khandar Madu is a Chapter Master as per pages 52 and 131 of Codex: Space Marines. Khandar plays an important part in the Blood Deserts of Auros IX Campaign and appears in many Fighting Tigers battle reports and short stories.
I have two ways to equip Khandar. The first is with two lightning claws and artificer armor, for a total of 170 points. The second way is with two lightning claws and Terminator armor, for 180 points. Why lightning claws? Because they're excellent weapons and because they seem very "tiger-ish," more so than any other weapon. The improved armor (artificer or Termie) is to keep her alive, as I have a lot of points invested in her. In keeping with my practice of not spending more than 10% of my total points on HQ, I usually only bring Khandar Madu in armies of 2000 points or more.
Zaghnal Maratha is the seniormost Librarian, or Tiger of Brihaspati, in the Chapter, and he is Raja Khandar Madu's closest advisor. He is an intellectual, and despises the forces of Chaos not so much for their brutality and perfidy so much as for what he sees as their gross stupidity. Zaghnal Maratha is also an important character in the story Tigers Eternal.
In keeping with Zaghnal being the most powerful Librarian, I’ve made him an Epistolary. I've designed him to help out my Assault Marines, the Tigers of Kali, so in addition to his mandatory force weapon and psychic hood, he uses a jump pack to keep up and a bolt pistol for extra attacks. Zaghnal costs 175 points. As for psychic powers, they’re all good, but given his role and the mobility his jump pack already gives him, I prefer Force Dome (to protect himself and his Assault Marines) and The Avenger (to hit targets really hard before assaulting them—range isn’t much of an issue when you can jump).
Chandramatie Bahl is armed and equipped similarly to Zaghnal Maratha, but as she is not an Epistolary, she’s only 125 points. She uses Force Dome or Might of the Ancients.
I don't take--and why:
I could certainly spend more—a bike for Khandar, or some Honor Guard for her; combi-weapons, plasma pistols, or storm shields for the Librarians—but this isn’t Dungeons & Dragons: characters can certainly help in a battle but they almost never carry the whole fight themselves. Remember, don't sweat the big guns....
Jirbu Ghosh is the heir-apparent to Raja Khandar Madu. She's a Captain as per pages 54 and 132 of Codex: Space Marines. Because the model carries them, I've given a plasma pistol and a power weapon to her. Jirbu Ghosh costs 130 points.
Sudra Patel is a former Grey Tiger (or harijan) whose redemption began many years ago, as documented in this story. Sudra Patel served bravely in the Blood Deserts of Auros IX Campaign and several other engagements, and has been promoted to a Kshatriya, or Captain. Because the model carries, them, I’ve given a storm bolter and a relic blade to him. Sudra Patel costs 133 points.
If points allow, I can give Jirbu Ghosh or Sudra Patel Command Squads. Both squads have an Apothecary, of course, as well as a Veteran with a Company Standard and two Veterans with flamers and chainswords. Jirbu’s squad (155 points total) features a Company Champion with a power weapon and a combat shield; Sudra’s squad (165 points total) has a Veteran with a power fist.
Daksha Ram is a Chaplain with a crozius arcanum, rosarius, and a plasma pistol (115 points). Anhurada Chawla has succeeded Talwar Chakram (killed at the end of Traveller of Both Time and Space) and inherited Talwar’s Terminator armor, crozius arcanum, rosarius, and storm bolter (130 points total).
I don't take--and why:
Final note on
I don’t have any problem with someone using Lysander in their Imperial Fists army, or Tigurius in their Ultramarines, or Shrike in their Raven Guard. I don’t even have a problem with someone using a version of Lysander in their Do-It-Yourself army: you paid your money, so you can do what you want. But it’s not going to happen in my army.
Would using special characters give my Tigers substantial advantages? Yes, it would, but it would also be nothing more than gimmicky powergaming. I’d rather lose using my own characters, developed using the “generic” stats and equipment for Captains, Librarians, etc., than win using ersatz, “wanna-be” rip-offs of GW’s golden boys.
notice that I don’t have a Master of the Forge, but that’s only because
I don’t yet have a model for one. I’ve always liked conversion beamers
(which first appeared in the original, Rogue Trader version of 40K) and
I really like the idea of a SM HQ who stands back and shoots with a really
big gun. As soon as I can purchase or convert a MOF, I’ll include him in
my army list.
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Last updated April 2009
Codex<> Tactics <> Gallery <> Allies and Enemies <> Tales of the Tigers