At the time of this writing there are nine Space Marine Codex Supplements with a tenth (supposedly final) one on the way. And while these cover the vast majority of Space Marine chapters and options, there are several additional chapters that have their own rules, stratagems, and special characters. Some of these are outlined in the Imperial Armour Compendium, while others have been introduced and fleshed out in issues of White Dwarf. While there aren’t enough rules for each of these chapters to warrant a full article of their own, there is enough going on with them to warrant giving them some additional thought. So in this Start Competing, we’re taking a look at the remaining codex-compliant successor chapters and offering thoughts and tips on how to play them.
The named Successor chapters are kind of a weird bunch. Some have specific rules, some only have characters, and some are just suggestions of which traits to take. For the purposes of this article we’re going to treat the named successors in the Imperial Armour Compendium as having the traits suggested in that book, which is in line with the option that you get for those chapters in the 40k app’s roster builder. We will also assuming you’re using the “suggested” parent Chapter – this bit is deeply weird, as the writers of the Forge World book don’t seem to want to commit to making you pick a specific parent, even though RAW per the codex supplements this kind of info should lock you in to one. Nobody seems much interested in resolving this, so it’s between you, your friends, and where relevant your TO what you do – but we’re going to work on the basis that you do what the index says.
Additionally, while we don’t normally comment on fluff in these, because of the nature of these chapters and the notion that they’re more likely to be played by people who are invested in their chapter’s fluff, we’ll be pointing out where you can find some cool opportunities to marry both the chapter’s fluff with strong competitive choices.
- Special Characters. Something the named/rules having Successor have in common is that they all have at least one special character, who usually brings some interesting unique rules to the table.
- Uniqueness. We haven’t yet reached the point where there are stratagems that give re-rolls against say, BLOOD RAVENS, so you don’t have to worry about being caught with one of those ever.
- You’re still Space Marines. Even the worst Space Marines army is still pretty decent, and many of the successors listed here are Ultramarines Successors, which makes them pretty damn good and tactically flexible.
- Successor Chapter. Successor Chapters get most of the things their founding chapters do, but suffer a bit in the relics department, where they have to spend 1 CP to take a relic from their founding chapter’s list. Not the end of the world, though.
- Chapter Tactics. The majority of the “suggested” traits are cool but merely ok, so if you stick to those you’re playing at kind of a disadvantage – but you knew that coming in, hopefully.
- Warlord Traits. Something in here that honestly sucks is that all the Forge World named characters are tied in to the default “Inspiring Leader” Warlord trait from the core rulebook. Between the base codex, the supplements, and the various Chapter Command traits there are a lot of good Marine traits that these guys would normally have access to, so it’s a shame they’re just completely locked out from them, and it reduces their utility compared to a generic version.
Badab War Chapters
First introduced back in White Dwarf 101 as the Tiger Claws, these guys got a real lift from the Imperial Armour series that Forge World did in the early 2000s. Now rechristened Astral Claws, they kicked off a bloody rebellion in the Badab system which drew in a number of Space Marine chapters on both sides, not only adding an interesting narrative to the setting but one which foregrounded a whole bunch of lesser-known Chapters. Having shed the Tiger Claws moniker out of universe, they also had an in-universe name change after losing the Badab War, becoming the Red Corsairs under their Chapter Master who also changed his name to become Huron Blackheart.
Imperial Armour Compendium suggests that the Astral Claws are considered to be an Ultramarines Successor Chapter rules-wise, and use the Rapid Assault (No hit penalty for Advancing and firing Assault weapons) and Hungry for Battle (Add 1 to Advance and Charge rolls) Successor Chapter Tactics. This is an unfortunate pairing because while the Astral Claws are a historic chapter that shouldn’t include Primaris Marines, the Rapid Assault + Hungry for Battle combo really wants you to use Intercessors with auto bolt rifles. If you’re sticking strictly to the fluff, the main thing here is probably Vanguard Veterans utilising the +1 to advance and charge part, which makes their lives just that bit easier.
The Astral Claws get two special characters – the Imperial version of Huron Blackheart, here still called Lufgt Huron, and Armenneus Valthex, the Chapter’s Master of the Forge.
This version of Huron is a Terminator Chapter Master (he apparently forgot to take his Terminator armour with him when he rebelled), with a mighty 7 wounds and 6 attacks. He’s packing an artificer flamer, basically a heavy flamer with damage 2, as well as the excellently named Ghost Razors, a lightning claw that is also +1 Str, AP-3, D2 – though doesn’t give him +1 attack. On top of that, he gets a 0CP use of the Orbital Bombardment stratagem, and the Shadowed Fate rule which he can use when he dies; on a 4+ he gets back up with d3 wounds remaining – though he can’t use any other rules that he would use on death, such as Only in Death Does Duty End. As we mentioned before, he’s also a Chapter Master, so just an all-around great package, and reasonably cheap at 160pts.
Valthex is a Techmarine with a couple of unique bits of gear. Gun-wise he carries a phased conversion beamer which is Assault 2 S6 AP-1 D1 at half range (up to 21″) or S7 AP-2 D2 at long range (up to 42″). Up close he wields the Indynabula Array, which gives him 2 bonus attacks and makes him S+1 AP-1 D1 – he’s not great in melee but with this he’s not bad, either. He has all the same Techmarine rules you would expect plus is a Master of the Forge, as well as having the unique Battle Alchemistry rule which lets him pick one CORE, non-PRIMARIS unit within 3″ and gives their bolt weapons +1 Strength for a turn. As a package he’s more “cute” than “good,” but you could have some fun with the conversion beamer and his BS2+. Much like the Chapter Tactic, it’s a shame that his unique buff isn’t Primaris-compatible (explicitly so in this case) because Intercessors would make a great platform for it – instead his likely best target is something like a unit of Sternguard Veterans or Company Veterans with storm bolters.
Playing Astral Claws
Astral Claws want to run Veterans – both Vanguard Veterans to take advantage of Hungry for Battle and Sternguard/Company Veterans with storm bolters to pair with Valthex for a nasty S5 round of bolter fire. Huron himself pairs well with a unit of Assault Terminators and you can use the time-tested trick of a Jump Pack Chaplain with Canticle of Hate to set up a charge out of Deep Strike for your Terminators. This works out well because you’ll need a character to be your Warlord, and said Chaplain is a great choice, either as a vector for Rites of War (which you’ll want to give to another character if not your Chaplain so you can make up for your veteran-heavy approach), or as a Master of Sanctity taking Wise Orator.
The Space Sharks were first introduced in White Dwarf 101, as one of the many chapters involved in the Badab War conflict written up by Rick Priestley in the first version of the Index Astartes series. They merited just two mentions in the article, along with a pair of schemes (regular and camo) in the delightfully RT-era line-up of chapters involved. They remained a bit of a nothing for decades until Forge World re-imagined the Badab War for their Imperial Armour series on the conflict, where they were reinvented as the Carcharodons, keeping the shark theming without literally being Space Sharks with a big cartoon shark for a symbol. That book redefined them as a spacefaring chapter, always on the move, and setting them up with a reputation as a brutal, bloody fighting force.
The Imperial Armour Compendium suggests that the Carcharodons are considered to be a Raven Guard Successor Chapter rules-wise, and use the Stealthy (light cover against ranged attacks made more than 18″ away) and Whirlwind of Rage (6s to hit are 1 additional hit for a unit which charged/was charged/made a heroic intervention this turn) Successor Chapter Tactics. As Chapter Tactics go it’s a bit mixed, as “stay 18″ away” and “dive into melee” sort of conflict with each other, but it does make fluff sense and it has at least a reasonable use case in allowing your units a bit of added protection until they can close the gap and get into the fight.
There’s just one of these in the book for Carcharodons – Tyberos, the Red Wake.
Tyberos the Red Wake
Tyberos is a Terminator Chapter Master (Forge World seem to have a bit of an obsession with these, correctly believing that Terminators are the coolest thing in the Space Marines line-up). He’s equipped with two named lightning claws, Hunger and Slake, which share a profile making him S+2, AP-4, D2, and allow him to re-roll wounds. That’s not bad at all, making him pretty dangerous in melee when paired with his 6 base attacks at WS2+. He has all the normal Terminator rules and is a Chapter Master, plus brings the Savagery Beyond Reason aura – which gives friendly CARCHARODONS CORE or CHARACTER units within 6″ +1 Strength in melee. This handily means that he buffs himself to a truly fearsome S7. As a supporting character to something like lightning-claw equipped Assault Terminators or the currently popular lightning claw/storm shield Vanguard Veterans, this is a great buff – thanks to Teleport Strike he can arrive with them and make them even deadlier in combat.
Raven Guard successors have already seen a bit of success in competitive play, including a win at the Vasteras Autumn Bash GT and a solid placing at the Australian Masters event at the end of 2020. Unlike the Astral Claws, the shark-lads remain a loyalist Chapter and are much freer to include the Primaris units they’ve no doubt been reinforced with somewhere in the current Indomitus timeline – so if you’re going for a full balls to the wall competitive army, something like Steven Wade’s list from the Masters could be a great model to work from, though if you want to include Tyberos (and you should!) you’ll need to work around the Warlord traits thing. That list includes two huge blocks of Vanguard Veterans, perfectly suited to utilising both the Chapter Tactic and Tyberos’ aura, as well as Bladeguard Veterans and some shooting support in the form of Attack Bikes, Plasma Inceptors, and the flexibilities offered by the unit of flamestorm Aggressors.
If you’re feeling a little stricter on the fluff and want to represent a Badab War-era version of the Sharks, then the Primaris units are obviously a no-go – but that isn’t ultimately too big of a deal. With our eyes on Steven’s list, there’s some obvious changes you can make, including swapping in a jump pack Chaplain for the biker, and replacing the Bladeguard Veterans with a unit of lightning claw Assault Terminators, or lightning claw/storm shield Company Veterans who can do a very creditable impression of their Primaris equivalents at a lower cost. Your Troops are a bit more restricted, since you’re really just looking at Tactical Marines, but you can utilise some of those to fill out slots and hold backfield positions and perhaps use the points saved for Scouts to provide zone defence and outflanking capabilities.
Whatever you decide, the main thing is to try and make the most of what you have to play with – keeping your melee in range of that spicy +1 Strength aura, taking advantage of Whirlwind of Rage to really pile on the destruction with your melee units, and keeping yourself at Stealthy range until you’re ready to strike.
The Minotaurs are secretive even for a Space Marine Chapter, with most records of their activities locked away or otherwise suppressed. They are claimed to have some kind of link with the High Lords of Terra, though what the exact nature of this is is uncertain; they have disappeared from Imperial history for large periods of time before suddenly re-emerging in M41, first fighting in the battles of the Macharian Heresy before taking part in the Badab War on the loyalist side. Their most recent and significant action is being on the wrong side of the Hexarchy rebellion against Roboute Guilliman’s reforms upon his resurrection – fighting against their own supposed parent Chapter, the Imperial Fists, as well as forces of the Adeptus Custodes. They were apparently able to withdraw from Terra without suffering significant consequences because of this, and their current activities are unknown.
Imperial Armour Compendium suggests that the Minotaurs are considered to be an Imperial Fists Successor Chapter rules-wise, and use the Stalwart (Wound rolls of a 1 and 2 always fail) and Duellists (melee attacks against INFANTRY or BIKER units automatically wound on a 6 to hit) Successor Chapter Tactics. Of all the various combinations on offer here this is one of the most confused – the Imperial Fists supplement doesn’t exactly offer a lot to a melee-focused chapter, and while Stalwart isn’t terrible for making T4 infantry a bit tougher, it’s not great as tactics go.
Aided by the infantry ones being a two-pack from Forge World, the Minotaurs have managed to retain all three of their characters – their Chapter Master Asterion Moloc, the Chaplain Ivanus Enkomi, and the Contemptor Dreadnought Hecaton Aiakos.
Moloc is – you guessed it – a Terminator Chapter Master. He carries The Black Spear, which has a ranged profile (12″ Assault 1, S8, AP-3, damage 3) and a melee profile (S+2, AP-3, damage 3). He also has the same relic shield that the Indomitus Captain has, giving him +1 to saves and the ability to ignore mortal wounds on a 4+. That makes him a very tough cookie, especially with 7 wounds. His unique aura is Fury of the Minotaurs, giving MINOTAURS CORE and CHARACTER units within 6″ the ability to re-roll charges. Other than that he’s pretty much what you would expect from the description “Terminator Chapter Master.”
Enkomi isn’t a ton different to a regular Chaplain in terms of his abilities, though he does gain a wound over the generic small Marine version, which is nice. His main benefits are carrying an Astartes grenade launcher (sure why not) and The Crozius Arkarnos, which is a regular crozius that also ignores invulnerable saves. This would be much more exciting if it wasn’t a mere AP-1, which means that against many things you won’t be any better off than you were – though it’s nice against Daemons, I guess. He’s not a Master of Sanctity or anything either, so overall he’s just kind of there – probably the least exciting of all the characters on offer here.
If there’s one thing that Forge World loves more than Terminator Chapter Masters it’s Contemptor Dreadnoughts, and so here’s Hecaton Aiakos, an HQ Contemptor Dreadnought who nevertheless cannot be your Warlord thanks to Battle-sworn Warrior. He has a regular Contemptor profile but with WS/BS2+ and a bonus attack, and totes a heavy plasma cannon, a storm bolter, and a Dreadnought combat weapon. As an added bonus he has Augmented Atomantic Shielding – a 4+ invulnerable save – and Stampeding Fury, which gives him the ability to do mortal wounds against enemies when charging. As a character with less than 10 wounds he can benefit from Look Out Sir!, throwing out heavy plasma cannon shots while closing in to melee, and he’s reasonably costed – not bad at all.
With their somewhat confused combination of traits and Chapter rules, the Minotaurs are in a weird place. The strengths of the Chapter supplement they’re likely to draw on mostly lie in bolter-based shooting and blowing up vehicles at range in the early game, which doesn’t really do much with their Chapter tactic. Between Moloc and a generic character utilising the Indomitable and Stubborn Heroism Warlord traits it’s possible to put two really tough shitkickers on the table, which isn’t a bad thing by any means, and you benefit from Stalwart making Moloc a little bit tougher to wound as well. Other than that, you’re in much the same position as the Sharks and Scorpions – you don’t have to skip on Primaris, because these are basically still loyal Chapters kicking around in the current timeline, but if you’re fluffily-inclined you may want to, either to represent a Badab War force or, in the Minotaurs’ case, to represent their role as the Dickhead Chapter which got on the wrong side of Roboute and maybe didn’t end up getting any of the cool new toys.
Hecaton Aiakos offers some unique punch as a character Dreadnought outside of Iron Hands who shoots and fights better than a regular one thanks to his extra attack and improved WS/BS, so is definitely worth a look for including. Other than that, a bit like the Blood Ravens you potentially want to be looking at T4 infantry to maximise how much you get out of Stalwart, and melee units to take advantage of Duellists – the commonly-suggested lightning claw Vanguard Veterans might be a bit less valuable here since you will get to auto-wound sometimes, but they do still offer a lot, and are a good non-Primaris beatstick unit. You could also lean into the Chapter’s tough melee identity with some thunder hammer Assault Terminators to pal around with Moloc. Bolter-wise, you could look into Sternguard or Company Veterans with storm bolters to take what you can from the Imperial Fists’ stratagems, while a Whirlwind or two wouldn’t go amiss as a Firstborn vehicle to get the most out of Legacy of Dorn.
Rounding out the surviving Badab War Chapters we have the Red Scorpions, an obsessively puritanical Chapter which was heavily involved in the fight against the Astral Claws, including their Chapter Master Verant Ortys taking overall command of the loyalist side.
Imperial Armour Compendium suggests that the Red Scorpions are considered to be an Ultramarines Successor Chapter rules-wise, and use the Inheritors of the Primarch Successor Chapter Tactic. As things go this is a pretty boring decision – they’re just Ultramarines, which fits their fluff of being super Codex adherent, but doesn’t really mark them out as anything special, whereas you might have thought something around Master Artisans would have reflected their particularly high standards for their wargear.
The Red Scorpions have three named characters to chose from. They’ve been done a bit dirty here – Casan Sabius is sold alongside the Ancient Sirae Karagon, who seems to be relegated to being a regular dude now, and Sevrin Loth comes with an Honour Guard which I guess you can use with the Ultramarines versions of same? It seems a shame not to have done a bit more with these, and slightly odd that the Scorpions have two unique Ancient models and neither of them is more than Just Some Guy.
Carab Culln the Risen
Never mind about the flag-wavers, anyway, because here’s Carab Culln the Risen, automatically the coolest of all possible characters by virtue of being a Leviathan Dreadnought. He retains the old WS2+/BS2+ that the regular version has lost, and is completely loaded down with guns – a twin assault cannon, a heavy bolter, two heavy flamers, and three hunter-killer missiles. He also packs the Tarsus Scorpii, aka a big fist which makes him Sx2, AP-3, D4 – a very tasty combat profile. As well as the regular Dreadnought stuff he also counts as a Captain and brings Rites of Battle (and note that that means you can give him Tactical Precision with Wisdom of the Ancients too so he can run around providing both auras at once), and the Death-hold rule so he ignores the -1 to hit when shooting his heavy bolter in melee. Culln’s definitely lost a step in 9th edition – being stuck as an Ultramarine who can’t take good Warlord traits is a dip in potential compared to say, the Shadowstepping Raven Guard version that our own Shane Watts took to LVO last year – but he’s still a tough melee combatant with reasonable shooting punch on his way in.
Breaking the mold in this book is Casan Sabius, a Chapter Master who unaccountably isn’t lumbering around in Terminator armour. He presumably is wearing artificer armour, since he gets a 2+ save as standard. He carries the Blade of the Scorpion, which has a sting in its tail for VEHICLE and MONSTER units – it’s a power sword which gives x2 Strength instead of +1 when targeting those. Unaccountably it’s still d3 damage rather than a flat 2, which is either meant to be a point of differentiation or is because someone missed a memo. He also has a very cool Command phase ability, called Purity of Aspect, Action and Intent – pick one RED SCORPIONS CORE or CHARACTER unit within 6″ during the Command phase and that unit gets +1 attack until your next Command phase. His main difficulty in getting the most out of this is being a regular guy on foot, but if you can line it up on the right target it’s very powerful.
Hidden away 2 pages after his compatriots, Sevrin Loth is the Chief Librarian of the Red Scorpions. Profile-wise he gains a bonus wound over a regular foot Librarian, and he carries The Magister’s Axe – S+2, AP-2, damage 3, which also does a bonus mortal wound against PSYKER units when they fail a save against it. Why exactly it’s done this way instead of just being damage 4 against PSYKERS is a mystery to me, but there you go. Even with this great weapon, with only 3 attacks he’s not exactly a combat monster. He does benefit from the Armour of Selket giving him a 4+ invulnerable save, rare for a Librarian, and the Bane of the Damned ability which lets him pick a CORE unit within 6″ in the Command Phase and give it re-rolls to wound against PSYKER units. Basically if you really want to fuck some Thousand Sons or Grey Knights up, Loth is your man. He does get the bonus power from being a Chief Librarian thanks to his datasheet referencing that entry, but misses out on Psychic Mastery because that part is a Warlord trait.
Playing Red Scorpions
Once upon a time Red Scorpions had some interesting rules around taking Apothecaries, reflecting their particular obsessions around geneseed. Those are long gone, but luckily for them 9th edition has pushed Apothecaries hard, and so there’s a nice convergence here of things you already wanted to take matching your Chapter’s fluff.
Much like the other loyalists, there’s nothing particularly stopping you from utilising Primaris units, and Bladeguard Veterans (with their master-crafted power swords) backed up by a Chief Apothecary certainly fit the feel of what the Chapter is about. They’re also an excellent target for Casan Sabius’ ability. As discussed above, you might also utilise the Honour Guard in the Ultramarines supplement to represent Sevrin Loth’s band of weirdos, and the banner-bearer in there (or Sirae Karagon) can be a Company or Chapter Ancient carrying the The Standard of Macragge Inviolate which pairs really well with Sabius to make one unit truly frightening in combat.
Besides that, if you’re sticking strictly to the suggested parent and tactic, the advice for playing Red Scorpions is much the same as playing mainline Ultramarines, replacing their plethora of special characters with your own. Nothing here quite compares to what Guilliman brings to a force, but you can do a very creditable impression of a non-Guilliman Ultramarines army, with the benefit of a little extra melee punch from Sabius or the heavyweight potential of Culln.
Blood Ravens and the White Dwarf Chapters
First introduced in the Dawn of War series of real time strategy games back in 2004, the Blood Ravens quickly became a fan favorite and have had rules of their own in an on-and-off fashion for the last 15 years. Currently they have a single special character – Gabriel Angelos, the Blood Ravens Chapter Master.
The Imperial Armour Compendium suggests that the Blood Ravens are considered to be an Ultramarines Successor Chapter rules-wise, and use the Stalwart (Wound rolls of a 1 and 2 always fail) and Knowledge is Power (re-roll any or all 1s when making Psychic Tests) Successor Chapter Tactics. There isn’t a lot of S10+ shooting in the game so if you want to make the most of having the Stalwart Chapter Tactic your best bet is to go heavy on multiwound infantry with T4, since they’ll be using the ability to shrug off the worst impacts of Power Fists, melta weapons, and supercharged plasma. Making use of the Knowledge is Power rule is pretty straightforward – take psykers. Ideally 1-2, since that’ll get you the buffs you need without opening yourself up to give up full points for Abhor the Witch.
Gabriel Angelos is the Blood Ravens’ named character, though historically they’ve also been a chapter that deferred to a master librarian when Azariah Vidya became Chapter Master, so if you’re looking for more fluff angles, you can build around Blood Ravens having more librarians (which you will likely want to do to make use of their chapter tactic anyways).
The current Chapter Master of the Blood Ravens, Gabriel comes in Terminator armour and armed with Godsplitter, a two-handed Thunder Hammer that can either do big strikes (Sx2 AP-3, 3 damage with -1 to hit but the chance to do mortals on a wound roll of 6) or sweeps (make 3 extra attacks and you’re at S+2, AP-1, 1 damage). His other big rule is Leap Into the Fray, which gives him a chance (4+) to do D3 mortal wounds to a single enemy unit within Engagement Range after he charges.
Like all of the Imperial Armour: Compendium named characters, Gabriel’s biggest downside is that he has to have the Inspiring Leader Warlord Trait if he’s your warlord, which is ironically the least inspiring trait you can give him. So you will want to avoid making Gabriel Angelos your warlord at all costs.
Playing Blood Ravens
Playing around Stalwart is going to push you toward taking more T4 Infantry, making Intercessors, Infiltrators, and Terminators great choices. Angelos is a good fighter to have and can drop in with a unit of Terminators but otherwise isn’t as much of a force multiplier as you’d hope. He and any terminators that join him will want the help of a Chaplain chanting the Canticle of Hate to make a charge on the turn they arrive. A Blood Ravens Chief Librarian can be pretty nasty, able to cast nearly anything with a good degree of reliability with both a +1 to casts with the Psychic Mastery Warlord Trait and the re-roll 1s ability of the Knowledge is Power tactic. Worth strong consideration given you’ll be getting an extra power to throw out each turn. Depending on how you’ve built your army, either a Librarius or Obscuration discipline psyker will work for this – a Librarius psyker with a near-guaranteed cast of Psychic Fortress seems like an obvious build-around to power an army’s defences.
One of two White Dwarf Chapters, the Silver Templars were first introduced through lore in 8th edition but made their way into getting rules of their own with the release of White Dwarf 456 released at the start of 9th edition. They’re an Ultramarines successor chapter created during the Ultima founding, one of the younger chapters tasked with reclaiming the galaxy for the Imperium. While many Ultramarines successors inherited their primarch’s discipline and tactical acumen, the Silver Templars inherited his fury and martial prowess. They come across as cold and detached on the battlefield, and have a bit of an Iron Hands twist to them. They’re also notable in that, while they have relics, warlord traits, and stratagems, they don’t have any named characters yet.
Chapter Tactic: The Bond Martial
The Silver Templars are an Ultramarines Successor and they’re a bit unique among successors in that they have their own Chapter Tactic, distinct from any in Codex: Space Marines. Each time a model with this tactic makes a melee attack against an INFANTRY or BIKER unit, an unmodified hit roll of 6 automatically wounds the target. Additionally, whenever a unit with this trait is chosen to shoot or fight, you can re-roll one hit roll when resolving that unit’s attacks. For those of you keeping score at home, despite being uniquely named, these effects are just the Duellists and Master Artisans Successor chapter tactics. The combination is fine. Master Artisans is a solid ability that encourages you to build smaller squads that will make the re-rolls more meaningful while Duellists helps buff melee weapons with a lower strength and works best on units like Assault Intercessors who’ll generate a large number of S4 AP-2 attacks with the Assault Doctrine active. The ideal intersection of these two rules is Outriders, who combine being a 3-model unit with having a ton of chainsword attacks. Bladeguard Veterans are also a good fit here. Additionally it’s recommended that a Silver Templars army not include any non-PRIMARIS units, since they’re a Primaris-only chapter fluffwise. This is a pretty easy restriction to abide by, but does mean you’ll miss out on Vanguard Veterans and Terminators. The rules for Silver Templars reinforce this by only applying to Primaris models so if you’re building a Silver Templars army there isn’t a ton of value to trying to mix in non-Primaris models anyways. Note that the big downside to these rules only affecting PRIMARIS units is that they won’t affect Primaris-related vehicles like Repulsors.
The Silver Templars have access to two relics:
- The Armour of Zanaris: Primaris model only. Each time an attack with an AP of -1 of -2 is allocated to the bearer, that attack has an AP of 0 instead. Additionally, each time the bearer would lose a wound as a result of a mortal wound, roll a D6; on a 6+, that wound isn’t lost. This is a decent defensive buff for a character, and will protect them from a number of nasty attacks, such as astartes chainswords, bolt rifles, and lightning claws and thunder hammers while they aren’t receiving the AP boost from the Assault Doctrine being active. The big question is whether this is better or worse than the Armour Indomitus or the Shield Eternal. Mostly it seems like a sidegrade at best and is probably more of a flavor pick than something you’d take over either of those options. C
- Banner of Echoes: Primaris Ancient model only. Once per battle your character can use this in your Command phase. If it does, it gains the following aura ability until your next Command phase: Banner of Necthis (Aura): While a friendly Silver Templars Primaris CORE unit is within 6″ of this model, add 1 to the Attacks characteristic of models in that unit. This is a very strong boost that can really help you get the most out of smaller units of melee-focused models and works well with Assault Intercessors, Bladeguard Veterans, and Outriders. A
The Silver Templars have access to three Warlord Traits, and they’re pretty good:
- Accomplished Duellist: If this Warlord is within Engagement Range of enemy units at the start of the Fight phase, it can fight first this phase. Additionally, each time the Warlord makes a melee attack, if that model charged, was charged, or Heroically Intervened this turn, you can re-roll the wound roll. This is a really good ability that helps mitigate the biggest downside to Heroic Interventions in 9th: Namely, that you can be attacked even if you weren’t the target of a charge. The Fight First ability is generally just much more useful in 9th edition now that the order of melee activations has changed to favor the off-turn player and re-rolling all wound rolls the turn you get into combat is great. This is worth strong consideration as a second Warlord Trait in your army. A-
- Precision Commander: In your Command Phase, you can select one friendly Silver Templars Primaris CORE unit within 6″ of the Warlord. Until your next Command phase, each time that unit is selected to shoot or fight with, you can re-roll a hit roll and a wound roll. This stacks with the Master Artisans chapter tactic and is a real boost to a smaller unit running high-variance weapons such as Eradicators, Eliminators, or Inceptors. This also rewards you for leaning into building around smaller units to take advantage of the Chapter Tactic’s re-roll ability. A
- Spiritual Synergy: Select one non-Relic weapon this warlord is equipped with. Each time the Warlord makes an attack with that weapon, an unmodified wound roll of 6 inflicts a mortal wound in addition to the normal damage. This is just OK, and probably best on a character with a pair of lightning claws, which Silver Templars don’t get if they’re going full Primaris. There’s no compelling reason to take it over the other two traits, plus you have plenty of better options to consider in the Ultramarines Supplement and Codex: Space Marines. C-
The Silver Templars have two stratagems in addition to what they have access to as an Ultramarines successor.
- The Swordsman’s Strike (1 CP/2 CP): Use when a Silver Templars Primaris CORE unit in your army is selected to shoot or fight with. Until the end of the phase, each time a model in that unit makes an attack against a CHARACTER unit, add 1 to the hit roll. This costs 1 CP if the target unit has 5 or fewer models; 2 CP otherwise. This is a handy boost for taking down key characters and is particularly great on Bladeguard Veterans who love combining the +1 to hit with a captain’s re-roll 1s aura. A
- Claim Runes (1 CP): Use in the fight phase when a Silver Templars Primaris unit in your army is selected to fight. If, when it is selected to fight, it was within Engagement range of a unit with more models than its own unit, then until the end of the phase, Silver Templars models in that unit get +1 Strength and +1 to their weapon AP. This is very solid, though note that the AP bonuses won’t stack with Chapter Doctrines, so from turn 3 onwards you’ll want to be mindful of when and how you use it – though it’s a great way to have your cake and eat it too if you’re using something like Adaptive Strategy to roll back to Tactical Doctrine but still want to charge in and fight at full force with a unit of Intercessors. Otherwise, the +1 Strength buff is, on its own, pretty decent for 1 CP and worth considering even if you’re already in Assault Doctrine. It’s very solid for helping Assault Intercessors and Outriders jump to S5 on their attacks. B+
Playing Silver Templars
Silver Templars armies are going to be living their best life when they’re composed of a series of small squads that can get the most out of the Master Artisans Trait and the Precision Commander Warlord Trait, with 1-2 larger melee units that can benefit from things like Claim Runes and the Banner of Echoes. It’s likely worth taking Precision Commander in every Silver Templars army, and Accomplished Duellist is really more of an optional include since you’ll likely want Rites of War to be your other Warlord Trait most of the time so your Bladeguard Veterans and Outriders can get ObSec.
The Tome Keepers are a 9th edition chapter introduced in White Dwarf and fleshed out over several issues detailing their interactions with the Argovon System and the Indomitus Crusade. They received rules for the first time in White Dwarf 458, which gave them a quartet of named characters to work with and outlined their Chapter’s primogenitor and successor chapter tactics.
White Dwarf 458 lay out that the Tome Keepers are an Ultramarines Successor Chapter rules-wise, and suggests that when playing them you use the Bolter Fusillades (each time a model makes a ranged attack with a bolt weapon, re-roll a hit roll of 1) and Indomitable (units with this automatically pass Combat Attrition tests) Successor Chapter Tactics. These aren’t really major build-arounds; the former is going to reward you most for taking Heavy Intercessors, where you can take advantage of the ability to pump out obscene numbers of shots, but will be just fine on regular Intercessors and independently-operating bolt sniper rifle Eliminators.
Although they don’t get any relics, stratagems, or Warlord Traits, the Tome Keepers get four special named characters of their own. The gimmick here is that each of them brings a free relic with them from Codex: Space Marines/Ultramarines (free in the sense that it doesn’t take up any of your relic slots or cost you any CP if you take multiples – though they still count as being that relic so you can’t e.g. take two copies of Benediction of Fury). You’re really weighing the value of these options against more generic options who give you access to Chapter Command upgrades, but you can always double up if you want one of these and a Chapter Command unit. All four options are competitively priced compared to their generic counterparts, though they also all have fixed Warlord traits.
A Primaris Captain who comes pre-equipped with a master-crafted power axe and the Sunwrath Pistol relic. He also has to have the Master of Strategy Warlord Trait if he’s your Warlord – the one where you can turn on the Tactical Doctrine for a unit within 6″ each turn. At 100 points he’s basically costed like a Primaris Captain should be and the value he brings is in getting the free Sunwrath Pistol (a decent value) and a master-crafted power axe, which is just kinda neat, even if it’s mostly a wash compared to the master-crafted power sword option a regular Captain can come with. He must take the Master of Strategy Warlord trait, which is decent enough for taking advantage of the Ultramarines’ doctrine.
Lykandos is a Librarian who comes equipped with the Reliquary of Gathalamor relic from the base Codex, which gives enemy psykers within 18″ -1 to their tests and can cause them to take mortal wounds each time they fail a test. That’s pretty much your lot – other than that he’s a regular Primaris Librarian. His required warlord trait is Calm Under Fire, which basically means he’s never, ever going to be your Warlord.
Sephax’s major perk is that he comes pre-equipped with the Benediction of Fury, a replacement crozius that’s S+2, AP-2, 3 damage and can proc additional mortal wounds on 6s to wound. His required Warlord trait is Iron Resolve, which isn’t bad, giving him +1 wound and a 6+ FNP.
Ancient Kae, like Captain Nasiem, comes with two perks – the first is his that he comes with the Seal of Oath relic for free, and the second is that he comes with a power fist, which is not an option that Primaris Ancients can normally take. Utility-wise, he’s easily the best of the four special characters the Tome Keepers have, as the Seal of Oath is something of an auto-include in an Ultramarines/Successors army and the power fist is a very nice addition to a model that normally kind of lacks for good melee options – the Primaris Ancient is a model with 4 attacks and 5 wounds and yet it’s stuck holding a bolt pistol and bolt rifle most of the time. This is probably the guy you’re most interested in if you’re playing a Tome Keepers army. His required Warlord trait is Nobility Made Manifest, the same as Guilliman, giving units within 6″ the ability to heroically intervene. It’s probably not your first pick for a trait, but the kind of playstyle that an Ancient with the Seal of Oath encourages can benefit pretty well from it so if you feel like picking a named Warlord he’s a good one to go for.
Playing Tome Keepers
Playing Tome Keepers you’ll absolutely want to include Ancient Kae but after that it’s up to you – Sephax is probably the best of the remaining options, and a solid pick if you’re taking him as a second Chaplain. Ironically, Nasiem is interesting but the Tome Keepers’ Chapter Tactic limits his utility – you won’t need him to babysit bolter-equipped Intercessor squads who plan to spend most of the game shooting, so if you take him consider running him with some Assault Intercessors or Bladeguard Veterans instead. Tome Keepers will do their best work when you’re taking larger units of bolter-equipped Marines, so consider having a 10-man squads of either Intercessors or Heavy Intercessors who can take advantage of Bolter Fusillades to generate more reliable damage output – these can also benefit from utilising Rapid Fire and the Seal of Oath provided for free by Kae to really ruin something’s day, and Indomitable helps ensure you’re less likely to pay the price for having larger units who are more susceptible to morale losses.
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