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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Vulkan Guilt

I had such big plans... Marneus Calgar. Darnath Lysander. TWO LIBRARIANS! Now look at me. Happily chugging along with a Vulkan He'stan "counts as" Dark Angel's army. The primarch must be rolling in his secret crypt.

Here's the thing, Vulkan is the best HQ. Definitely the best for the Codex Marines, but maybe even for EVERYONE. Don't get me wrong, he can easily be killed by many of the brutally overpowered HQs: Draigo, Calgar, anyone with a thunderhammer... actually just about any HQ worth their salt. So why the hell is he so good?

Twin-linked and master-crafted, baby. He makes the best stuff that marines can take even better. For anyone familiar with 40k, this is old news. I always suspected that it was the case, but had yet to summon the courage to ask Vulkan out. Now that I've done the deed, I feel a little guilty for loving him so much.

After almost a year of Deathwing, I needed a change. I wanted the flexibility that marines ffer. I remembered all the times I've used combat tactics, and how awesome it was when it actually worked. Who makes that better? Calgar of course, but Calgar is always insanely expensive. Sure you can put him in power armor, and stick him with an Honor Guard in a rhino or razorback. They'll tear shit up and it will be awesome. Despite their 2+ armor, however, his coterie has no invulnerable save, and Calgar in power armor is only a 3+/4++. Four wounds, yes, but entirely killable. With my luck a squad of Long Fangs would take him out in one round of shooting. Ok then, we'll upgrade him to terminator armor, and put him in a Land Raider Crusader (my favorite of Dr. Land's raiders) with some terminators. Now we're reaching toward 600 points. I really like librarians especially when they're in terminator armor, so that puts us closer to 700...what's that you say, I have to take an ENTIRE ARMY? Well, 1300 points can buy me a fair amount: 3x10-man tac squads with rhinos or razorbacks (and powerfists on the sergeants--I love me some powerfists), a pair of melta attack bikes, a pair of landspeeder typhoons, and a thunderfire cannon. Not a bad list, but even at 2000 points its a bit top heavy (here's what it looks like in army builder).

So what can I do with Vulkan?

Vulkan, libby (in power armor this time), th/ss termies, Land Raider Crusader. We're already 100 points cheaper. So we'll take the same tac squads, Land Speeders, attack bikes, thunderfire cannon, and throw in a a melta/flamer dreadnought for good measure (here's the .pdf). We've lost the close combat monster that is Marneus Calgar,  as well as the ability to pass and fail all morale checks at will, and not take fearless wounds, what have we gained? Better shooting (and slightly more of it), and better thunderhammers. Is it worth it? It sure seems like it.

I'm not going to try and mathhammer it out, that's been done to death, besides I went to a public school--I can barely tie my own shoes--it would be lost on me. I've played both of these lists though, and have witnessed first hand the way that Vulkan makes everything that matters work better. I'm missing the kind of flexibility that Calgar provides less and less, because in the place of army-wide tactical flexibility I have the flexibility that comes from reliable shooting and assaults.

I know the Dark Angels purists are probably like "No way dude, Azrael rocks." They're right, Azrael does rock. It doesn't matter that he has WS 5 instead of 6, he's totally bad ass. Eternal warrior, 4 wounds, a butt load of strength 6 attacks, and an 4++ save for any squad he joins? Yes please. The difference, however, is that you don't take your HQ in a vacuum. An army with Vulkan is better than an army with Azrael (or just about any other Codex Marine HQ), and in the end, the game is about armies, not HQs.


  1. It was bound to happen. Next you'll be snorting rifleman dreadnoughts.

  2. I guess the strength of Vulcan is that he doesn't have to be on the table to use what he brings to the army. It means that unlike Calgar, and most of the other HQs, you can send him to smash something without worrying about loosing the awesome extra abilities you paid so many points for.

    I need to make my counts-as Vulcan...

  3. I'm building my Rifleman dread arms from Aegis Defense leavin's now.

    I'll post something about my Librarian/Chaplain Cassius list that uses them once I try it out.