Space Marines: Thinking Out Loud

Space Marines: Thinking Out LoudI think I’ve come to the conclusion that what I need for my Space Marines to make them more interesting for me to play and, hopefully, do better with them is a special character. I thoroughly enjoy the Space Marine fluff, the mindset, everything about them really, but I continually fail with them or find myself bored. Pure mech bores me and very shooty lists bore me. So, I’m thinking out loud here and am all for feedback. Also, anything I toss out here isn’t necessarily geared for competitive play. First I need to find something that excites me and once I find that then I can work out the competitive side of things and list optimization. That’s just how I work.

In looking at the special characters, Vanilla Marines, there are a few that are interesting to me and I don’t feel are way too expensive. I’m looking for an SC (special character), that’s priced reasonably so the point value of the game doesn’t impact whether I take him or not. Here’s the ones I’ve been looking over:

Cato Sicarius – He’s low on the list in all honesty but not completely ruled out. His combat ability isn’t bad but not any reason I’d take him. Re-rolling steal the initiative, eh. Using his leadership for morale is pinning is useful but not a reason to take him. Giving a Tact Squad counter-attack, infiltrate, scout or tank hunters could have its uses.The question is when do you decide what Tact Squad has what ability? That’s a deciding factor for me on taking him. The fact he doesn’t replace combat tactics is nice since it’s something I really like about Vanilla Marines.

Darnath Lysander – Having twin-linked heavy bolters, storm bolters, bolter and bolt pistols is useful but the downside is it’s only for the squad he’s joined. Considering Lysander is in termie armor, and how his twin-linking works, he seems best suited for a full Terminator Squad. Being that I’m a fan of Termies, well that works out. Gaining stubborn can be useful and almost pushes you to a more assault oriented army where stubborn is most useful. Lysander himself seems a bit of a beast in combat. He’s not Ghazghkull or anything but could help turn the tide of a bad combat.

Vulkan He’Stan – We all know what Vulkan does by now. I don’t tend to overload on the weapons Vulkan makes better but I’m not short on them either. I could definitely make use of master-crafted thunder hammers and twin-linking flamers and meltas. He’s also set up well for close combat.

Kayvaan Shrike – One of the units I often neglect is my Assault Squad. Taking Shrike and being able to infiltrate them close to the enemy to most likely get a first turn charge is enticing. Gaining fleet is also a nice boon for me. I do like Termies but they’re slow and can easily get stranded and spend most of a game slogging around. Fleet would help remedy that, giving a potential assault range of 18″. I also like Command Squads that are assault oriented and I can still take them with Shrike and they become fleet.

Of those listed I’m mostly leaning towards Shrike since based on the units I really enjoy he seems to offer the most for me. I think Vulkan is my second choice where like Shrike I can gain from him across the army. Lysander might be one I toy around with from time to time if I’m after a more shooty list, or at least making a unit more effective at it, but probably not my go-to choice. As I said above, Sicarius ranks least on my list but there is potential there. He also seems a bit overpriced for what he offers.

I have tried a few other SCs I have not listed. Mostly I’ve used Khan and had pretty good success with him by tossing him in a Command Squad and eating things. Gaining outflank is handy but situational. I’ve also used Cassius a few times earlier on when I started Marines and I do like him, I even converted my own Cassius. I’m waiting to get a Landraider though so I can toss him in it with Assault Termies.

So there you have it, my brain puking over my blog. If you have a favorite SC that you swear by then I’d love to hear who and why.


I began playing Warhammer 40K in 2006, and have been an avid player and hobbyist since then. I have also been blogging about 40K for almost as long as I've been playing it, having started Creative Twilight in 2009.

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  • Anonymous

    Lysander is also great with Sternguard, as they benefit even more than terminators from the re-rolls.

    • Good point. He’d also give Sternguard more of a kick in assault. I’m thinking more for when you get assaulted.

  • TheRhino

    Sicarius’s Battleforged Heroes ability is selected as part of list-building, like Librarian powers.

    • That’s what I figured though I was hoping differently. It would be a bit cheesy to pick it during deployment but it would be far more useful.

  • ming

    I have recently been using my own standard Captain the past few games, just gotta have something I5 S6, etc. And like Rhino taking a command squad.

    My favorite in the past was Kantor, but I used him most in pod lists and he died quick. In a mech list he needs to just stay in his ride. His overall bonus is awesome.

    • I mostly run a generic HQ and it’s just not doing it for me. It’s not to say that HQ isn’t effective, my Librarian has saved my ass more than once, but it’s dull for me. I guess I’m playing my Vanilla Marines too Vanilla.

      Making Sternguard scoring is alright, especially since I take them a lot. The +1A is nice but only a 12″ range and without fail he won’t be where I need that +1A the most.

      He’s alright but I think I’m more after someone like Shrike or Vulkan who alters the way the army plays.

  • I used to run Lysander, he is a beast to kill but unless he is busting open tanks he isn’t that great, he lacks in the number of attacks he gets. The points I think would be better spent on more TH/SS termies, not as good against AV14 and the odd special char but on the whole more use.

    • He does seem well suited for smashing down ICs and MCs, and of course cracking tanks open. That really seems the best reason to take him, you want to put an HQ on the table that’s a threat to anything.

      • Yeah I just found against other IC’s or MC’s you would only get a couple of hits at best and a lot of the worst IC’s have eternal warrior making the STH 10 a bit of a waste. then again he could be fun against Thunder wolves :)

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  • I’m not sure why people don’t use Shrike more often, as I feel he’s about the best option available for marine special characters. Infiltration for a specific squad can be deadly (infiltrating terminators anyone)? But I particularly love that he gives the entire army fleet. How can you not love that?

    • I agree. Been using him since this post and have been very happy with him and the army wide benefit.

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