Space Marine HQ Tactics

Warhammer 40k Dark Angel Chaplain Asmodai

If you are creating a standard ‘Battle Forged’ army you will need a HQ squad. Even if you a creating an unordered army list then you will find that adding a HQ choice or two will add extra skills to your army that you will find very useful.

In this section we will look at the Head Quarter choices available to the Space Marine army.

It is highly recommended to have at least one Space Marine HQ unit for each game you play. There are very occasional times where you may come across low point scenarios where you do not need a HQ, but for the most part you can guarantee that you need one. As you will be needing a HQ unit for virtually every, it is highly recommended that you get to know the few HQ choices that you have available in detail.

As usual you will need the Space marine Codex and a copy of the core rules.

Where are the command squads?

Command Squads are now in the Elite units section. This does mean that your HQ  characters are not shackled to the command squads any more and can ‘squad hop’ just as independent characters should.

Special Characters

The Space Marine Codex includes a selection of named characters. These are usually associated with specific chapters. If a Character has a ‘Chapter Tactics’ special rule then he really can only be included in a force with units from that chapter, or successor chapters. For really large games you can field forces from different armies. This does give you the chance to field forces from different Space Marine Chapters at the same time too.

Special Characters can be quite dominating in a game. It is polite to agree to use named characters before including one in your army list. This is usually done when you are discussing how many points to play. It could be a good idea to have two army rosters to hand, one with Special Characters, and one without. This will give you the flexibility of which army list to use at short notice.

Marneus Calgar Tactics

Marneus Calgar is the chapter master of the Ultramarine Space Marines. He is also the most expensive character in the Space Marine Codex. This is because he has a lot of extra special rules. Make sure you know all his extra rules so you get the full value from him. Because the points cost of Marneus Calgar is so high you will want to be careful about using him in smaller games. Remember to make sure that you have enough points to create a rounded army.

Marneus Calgar is a good ‘well rounded’ character. He has a good shooting weapon and a high ballistic skill to make use of it, and can call an orbital strike once in the game. Marneus Calgar also is useful in close combat. he has an extra attack over the normal chapter master and his two power fists give him an extra attack. Remember that the power fists will not make use of his high initiative.

Strength and Weapons

Marneus Calgar is the chapter master of the Ultramarines. This means that he gets the pick of the Ultramarine’s wargear. What he chose was the “Gauntlets of Ultramar”. These are a pair of Power Fists that use to strike at I5 but do not have the ‘Unwieldy’ special rule so they strike at Marneus’ I5 and not I1. The Gauntlets also have storm bolter like ranged weapons built in. These have the same stats as a storm bolter except that they are AP2.

Assault vs Space Marine:

4 attacks * (3/6 to hit) (5/6 to wound) No saves *14/275 = 4×0.5×5÷6×14÷275 = 0.0848484848485

So After 12 rounds of assault ( say 6 in your turn and 6 in your opponents turn ), Marneus breaks even points wise. However if he takes on larger targets then his score works out better.

Shooting vs Marine:

2*shots, 5/6 hit, 3/6 wound, no saves *14 point per marine /275 points per Marneus = 2×5÷6×0.5×14÷275 =0.04242

This means that it would take 20+ rounds of shooting basic Space Marines for you to get your point value back. Which again just shows that Marneus is designed to take on bigger targets!

Armour and Special Rules

By default Marneus Calgar comes with Artificer Armour Power Armour. This is because the older models of Marneus came this way, and as I have a model like this I am glad that Games Workshop still write rules for older models even when they don’t have to. It means that collectors are more confident that they can purchase models with the confidence that they will be useful for years to come.

Newer versions of Marneus Calgar come with Terminator Armour, this Venerable armour gives all the Terminator Armour benefits plus Marneus can make Sweeping Advances and includes a teleport homer so in further rounds Terminators can drop in on Calgar’s position without fear of scattering.

As I mentioned above Marneus has a number of special rules that you would be advised get to know ( or write on a small card ) when you use him.

God of War and Warlord Traits

Marneus Calgar has to select his Warlord traits from the Space Marine Warlord traits. However you can just pick the trait you want. There’s no need to roll. This is great because you can decide which trait you want when you are building your army list, and adapt your strategy to match.

Chapter Tactics – Ultramarines

Marneus Calgar can evoke one extra Combat Doctrine (Warrgh!)  per game if he is your Warlord (and who would take him and not have him as your Warlord?). This is great as it gives your Ultramarines an extra bonus just as you need it!  The trick is remembering you have this to call on in the thick of the battle.

Eternal Warrior

This is the universal special rule that makes a character immune to instant death. This means that if Marneus is hit by S8, S9, or S10 weapon, then he only takes one wound, instead of dieing instantly like other characters would. Some weapons have a ‘ Cause instant death ‘ clause too. This special rule means that he only takes one wound at a time from these weapons too.

Orbital Bombardment

When the big guns are not big enough, drop some death for space!

Captain Cato Sicarius

Captain Sicarius is the Ultramarine character in charge of the Ultramarine 2nd company, but please remember that you can include him in other Ultramarine succession army lists by just saying that this model is like Captain Sicarius ( & pay the points ).

Captain Sicarius is a good 2nd choice as a leader for your Ultramarine army. He is notably cheaper in points than Marneus Calgar, and this is because he does not have as many special rules or equipment that Marneus does.

Strength and Weapons

Captain Sicarius gets a basic plasma pistol and a Chapter Relic sword. From this you can see that Sicarius is meant to be in the thick of the close assaults. The sword ‘Talassarian Tempest Blade’ allows Sicarius to swap all his usual attacks for a single Coup de Grace attack. You may want to do this if you are in a challenge against a tougher, multi-wound opponent. Using this attack is a risk as you may miss. However it is attacks like this that are the memorable part of the larger game!

Toughness and Special Rules

Captain Sicarius has a suit of armour that is a chapter relic. Also even though is does not mention it specifically, we can see from the stats line that the armour is 2+ save artificer armour. The ‘ Mantle of the Suzerian’ also gives him a Feel No Pain extra save if the 2+ armour does not save him. Like most named characters Captain Sicarius also gets an Iron Halo. This gives him a 4+ invulnerable save against anti-tank and power weapons. Remember that this save is backed up with the Feel No Pain (5+) save too.

Warlord Trait

If you take Captain Sicarius for your Warlord then he automatically gets the ‘Rites of War’ trait. If Captain Sicarius is your Warlord then this trait gives all your Space Marines in the same Ld10 as long as Captain Sicarius is alive. This is a massive advantage because it also means that if you have Space Marines from other chapters they are covered too! Also as you do not need to roll for this trait you know what you will be getting as soon as you put your army roster together.

Chief Librarian Tigurius

Chief Librarian Tigurius is the highest ranking Librarian of the Ultramarine’s army. He is L3 psyker so with the improvements to the 6th & 7th edition of the Warhammer 40k Rulebook this is a very useful ability.

You can use Tigurius as your general, but remember that as he is a Librarian Tigurius is not as skilled at close combat as other name captains. As you will want Tigurius to throw as many psychic bolts at your enemy as possible, the best location for him will be 12″ to 24″ from the enemy, but not in close combat. This means that you may want to team him up with a close support fire squad. You may want this squad armed with mental or flamer weapons.

Strength and Weapons

Tigurius stats line is ok, but not amazing. I would suggest that you will want to make sure that Tigurius has some backup, like a command squad if he is likely to get into close combat.

As for weapons Librarian Tigurius gets a useful, Master Crafted force weapon. This weapon also has the concussive and Soul Blaze special rule making it a big threat to multi-wound opponents.  Remember that this weapon is a force weapon, so it will take a psychic point, and a psychic test to get it to work.

Tigurius does get a bolt pistol too. This is useful as a 2nd weapon to give you an extra attack in close combat, or as a backup weapon as you can fire off some psychic force in the psychic phase and still shoot in the shooting phase.

Armour and Special Rules

Chief Librarian Tigurius only gets basic 3+ Power Armour with no Invulnerable saves, and no options to upgrade to better armour. This means that you will need to attach him to a squad, either a Command Squad, or a basic tactical squad, to soak up some incoming fire that is sure to come his way.

As Tigurius is a Librarian, he is automatically a Psyker. I have add notes about this a the start of this article. Tigurius also gets a special psychic hood. This allows Tigurius to attempt to nullify and psychic attacks in his area. Also his hood is a chapter relic that allows him to re-roll psychic tests, and this means that you are virtually guaranteed to pass all the psychic tests he will take.

Tigurius also gets a ‘ Master of Prescience’ special rule. This allows your units in this detachment to re-roll Reserve rolls. This in turn means that you have much more control over when your reserves arrive. So if you have a number of reserve units, you will want Tigurius in play from the first turn. This special rule also allows Tigurius to re-roll when generating psychic powers. This means that you are much more likely to get powers that you want.

How do I get a Tigurius Model?

Games Workshop does not make a specific Tigurius model at this time. The best option is to get the  Space Marine Heroes box and do a little modelling on the Librarian model.

Chaplain Cassius Tactics

Chaplain Cassius is the chief Chaplain of the Ultramarines. He has a deep hatred of Tyranids. Because of this hatred Chaplain Cassius has the Preferred Enemy (Tyranids) special rule. This makes Cassius a natural choice for a HQ unit if you know that you will be facing a Tyranid Army Apart from the couple of additional special rules and Chaplain Cassius’s unique weapon, the main difference between Cassius and a regular Chaplain is that Cassius is T6. Add this to his 4+ invulnerable save (sometimes written as 4++), then you see that Cassius is a very tough cookie. For example lasguns and bolters will need 6’s to wound and nothing can cause instant death. Even a melta gun at close range only has a 50% chance of wounding, and that is a weapon that is designed to take out the toughest of tanks.

Chaplain Cassius’s weapons and toughness

Chaplain Cassius has the standard Crozius Arcanum as his close combat weapon. This is a standard power maul. This means that close combat attacks work out at S6 AP4. This is great for close combat with many of the Tyranid Monstrous creatures as they tend to be T6 and the smaller creatures tend to be AP5 so they will not get a save from this weapon.

Chaplain Cassius has a master crafted combi-bolter too. The Master Crafted rule means that he gets to re-roll one miss each turn. As Cassius has a BS4 score this means that the first shot hits 28 in 36 times, or 7 in 9 times (77.78%). This is great as this bolter shoots poison (2+) rounds, so you can expect to take a wound off a Monstrous Tyranid from 24″ each round.

Ultramarine’s Chapter Tactics

Chaplain Cassius gets the Ultramarine’s Chapter Tactics. This means that his shooting skills improve further as he can re-roll 1’s to hit, and re-roll snap shots, including those at flying creatures. If If you are going after a flying creature then you will want to fire at it from Cassius’s squad first as you have a good chance of grounding the creature making it an easier target for other units.

While we are on Chapter Tactics remember that all Ultramarine’s can re-roll assault charge range. This means that you can be a bit more bold when you are picking a fight.

Chaplain Cassius and Close Combat

Space Marine Chaplains are at their best in close combat. Chaplain Cassius is no exception. He does not have a 2nd close combat weapon like other Space Marine Chaplains so he does not get the extra attack, but this is not a major loss.

You are advised to team him up with a close combat squad. Either a tactical squad, Veteran Squad with close combat weapons or a Command Squad, depending on how many points you have to spend.

Captain Darnath Lysander

Imperial Fist 1st Company Captain is a natural HQ choice if you are creating an Imperial Fist army list.

Strength and Weapons

Captain Lysander comes armed with a Chapter Relic Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield.

Toughness and Special Rules

Captain Lysander comes with Terminator Armour, a Storm Shield and an Iron Halo. With all this you wander if he needs the Eternal Warrior special rule, but it’s there if you need it!

Where can I get a Captain Lysander Model?

At the moment you can only get the Captain Lysander model from the Games Workshop website here. However you can create your own Captain Lysander by modelling a Terminator Captain with a Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield. The best option  is to get the terminator command squad box and use your modelling skills on the Terminator Captain included. You get 5 other Terminators in the box to make a Terminator Command Squad too!

Shadow Captain Kayvaan Shrike

Captain Shrike is the Company Captain of the Raven Guard 3rd Company. His main difference from the other named characters is that he comes with a Jump Pack and a pair of Chapter Relic Power Claws.

Forgefather Vulkan He’stan


Kor’sarro Khan

The White Scare chapter is based on the Mongle tribes that dominated the Russian plains. Space Marine bikes have replaced horses, but speed over the open plain still holds the key to the key to this chapters use.

Space Marine Captain & Chapter Master Tactics

If you do not want a named character ( or the mission rules exclude named characters), then including a Space Marine Captain or chapter Master to lead your army is a good idea. When creating a battle forged army list a Captain or Chapter Master is the first thing I add to the roster.

Warhammer 40k Dark Angel Company MasterThe Chapter Master is the most senior and most skilful Space Marine of the whole  chapter. Note that even though the Space Marine Codex does not limit you to one Space Marine Chapter Master, if you want to keep faithful to the story line then you should not have more than one Chapter Master one the table per Chapter. This could be bent with a bit of creative storytelling ( a chapter master thrown back in time due to a ripple in warp travel or similar, like how often does Dr Who meet himself?).

A Captain is usually the head of a Space Marine Company. Captains now have very similar stats and special rules to the Chapter Masters, but cost 40 points less.

Strength and Weapons

As the Captains / Chapter Master are the most senior of the Space Marine Chapter, they have access to all the armoury weapons. This is with the exception of any heavy weapons. This means that you can configure the Captain / Chapter Master for a number of close combat or medium ranged fire support roles.

The most popular configuration is to have a close combat weapon and a medium ranged shooting weapon. This will give you the most flexibility during the game. One one weapon to avoid is the Power fist. The Power fist always hits at Initiative 1. This means that you can not use the Captain’s / Chapter Master’s high Initiative score.

As mentioned already the Captains / Chapter Master do not have a heavy weapon option, however a Chapter Master (and not a Captain)  does get a special rule ‘ Orbital Bombardment’. This is a one shot weapon can hit any target in line of sight with a S10 small template. As this can only called if the Chapter Master does not move during the movement phase, it may be best to use this option near the start of the game when the Chapter Master has a good view of the table.

Toughness and Special Rules

The Captains and Chapter Masters come with an iron halo as standard. This means that he get a 4+ invulnerable save as well as any armour save his armour may provide. This is usually 3+ that the Power Armour provides, but upgrading to Artificer armour or Terminator armour is usual and recommend. Remember that the Space Marine Chapter Master can also be given a Space Marine bike too. This will give the Chapter Master extra toughness too.

Space Marine Librarian Tactics

Warhammer 40k Space Marine Terminator Librarian

Space Marine Librarian Psyker in Terminator Armour.

The Space Marine Librarian is the psychic of the Space Marine army. This is helps the Space Marines in two ways. First the Librarian can use his power to strike at the enemy. The second way is that the Librarian can use his skills to nullify the enemies powers.

The psychic powers section of the Warhammer 40k game have been extended in the 6th & 7th Editions of the rules. This means that the Librarian has a big a bigger role these days than he has since the 2nd edition of the Warhammer 40k rules.

Librarians are Level 1 Psykers by default. It is often worth upgrading them to a L2 Psyker. The Space Marine Librarian can choose from the 6 main disciplines. My suggestion would be to get to know one discipline well before exploring the other ones. It is far better to be an expert on a few skills than to be unsure of a larger number of skills!

Space Marine Chaplain Tactics

Warhammer 40k Space Marine Chaplain on Space Marine Bike

Warhammer 40k Chaplin on Bike.

The Space Marine Chaplain is the defender of the faith. They often are chosen as a second HQ choice, but they can lead the army.

Chaplains are good close combat characters. This does not mean that they can take on a whole army on their own, but it does mean that they can add extra punch to and assault unit.

If you are going to add your Chaplain to an assault unit it does make sense to give him similar transport to the unit he is joining. You will see that the picture insert here shows a Chaplain on a bike. This is because my Chaplain supports my bike unit. This confirmation would be not use if I wanted support to my jump pack troops. This in turn means that planning ahead is very important. So if you have a game plan before you turn up to a battle, this is one area where that forward planning will pay dividends!

Also buy: Discount Space Marine Heroes including Chaplin on Foot from Element Games


40k-Space-Marine-Tech-Marine-150Techmarines can be useful if you have a tank heavy army. They are not bad in a close combat fight either.

During the shooting phase the Techmarine can attempt to do some repairs on a tank that they are touching. This means that the best place for your Techmarine in the middle of your tanks and APC’s ( Armoured Personnel Carriers ).


Servitors come in two flavours, ones with close combat weapons that can help the Techmarine fix tanks, and those that have heavy weapons attached that give the Techmarine  squad some long ranges punch.