Monday, November 19, 2012

Ultramarines live longer with Calgar

I wonder if Mat Ward sees this when
he looks in the mirror?
You know the jingle used at the end of Calgon ads? They have it here in German but not in English for some reason. Anyway, if you use the words in the title of this post in place of the ones actually used you'll have that jingle stuck in your head all day. Now that its in there, you can hum along while you're reading the rest of this post.

The reason for it being here is because of a thread on w-ired that reminded me to go back to something I'd been looking at for a while in 5th but abandoned because it wasn't very good - the Calgar wave. Basically the idea is to have a ton of Marines sprinting across the board and getting Hit-and-Run lite in order to hop in and out of combat and pump out as many shots as they can get like waves hitting a beach, or bogging units down in combat when they need to pin something in place like that annoying floater that sometimes decides not to go down the toilet when you flush. What does that floater want anyway?

It didn't work in 5th because the worst things in the Marine army were Marines but with 6th vehicles have taken a hit and infantry is better and you can now run a horde of guys and stand a decent chance against most armies. But there's something that really gives it a big boost: Guard Allies.

I have to say that I haven't seen a Vanilla Marine horde of T4 3+ save guys yet in 6th. It tends to be Blood Angels or Wolves as their grunts are usually better (BA Tacs get Fearless and can combo up to get Feel No Pain while Grey Hunters are arguably the best Troops in the game) and they get access to Prescience and other less-used Divination powers while Marines don't. So while there are a few things stacked against them they do have something in their favour: Marneus Augustus Calgar.

Calgar. With dinosaurs. Old school.
What does he bring that others don't? His God of War rule. It is what allows you to have greater flexibility with your Marines beyond Combat Tactics, as that simply allows you to fail automatically while God of War means that you can choose to pass or fail as long as Calgar is overseeing things.

The rule has been FAQ'ed to say that all friendly Marine units with Chapter Tactics (as well as Calgar himself) get to choose to pass or fail so it doesn't extend to non-vanilla Marines. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it will still apply when Calgar is in a unit of Guardsmen because when a Morale check is made he will be one of the affected models and they use his Leadership (as the highest in the unit) and he can simply choose to pass or fail, tarpitting the enemy or taking his buddies along with him when he wants to get away.

So how does this work in practice?

Calgar with Armour of Antilochus
265 pts

10 Sternguard with 4 Combi-Melta
270 pts

10-man Terminator Assault Squad
400 pts

10 Tac Marines with Missile Launcher, Plasma gun, Combi-Plasma
190 pts

10 Tac Marines with Missile Launcher, Plasma gun, Combi-Plasma
190 pts

10 Tac Marines with Multi-Melta, Meltagun, Combi-Meltagun
185 pts

Primaris Psyker with Force Axe (Biomancy)
70 pts

Platoon Command Squad with Autocannon
4 x Infantry Squad with Autocannon
280 pts

Calgar and the Psyker go with the blob and can sit at the back or push forward if they want. I went for Autocannons in this army instead of Axes on the Sergeants as I want them to be a predominantly shooting support unit as this army doesn't have a whole lot of other long-ranged guns, and they've got Calgar with 4 expendable Sergeants for taking challenges in combat. Calgar himself has an AP 2 Storm Bolter (with re-rolls to wound) and can swap between his Power Sword and Gauntlets of Ultramar (at least I think he can anyway) if you are looking to get stuck in. One thing I'm wondering about is whether he gets to re-roll to wound with his Orbital Bombardment? I'm assuming he does as it is a shooting attack. It does also mean that he has to hit the same unit that the Guardsmen do but having a S10 AP1 Large Blast landing at the same time can only be a good thing. Unless it scatters and hits your own Marines. God of War doesn't stop you from being pinned...

Bear in mind that you if the Primaris Psyker rolls up Endurance you'll be able to move the entire blob forward and still fire the Heavy weapons (but not the Orbital Bombs) as normal. He also combos up nicely with Calgar and the Autocannons if he gets Enfeeble as it will allow you to drop the enemy's Instant Death threshold by lowering their Toughness and make it more likely you'll take them out with one shot. He's got a Force Axe for combat as he's I 3 which is already lower than most half-decent combat characters and again, with Biomancy he becomes a threat to most things with Iron Arm and Warp Speed. He will miss out on Prescience from another source but can still deal damage. Funnily enough, I reckon Smite and Leech Life are almost as bad as Haemorrhage for him in this kind of list.

It's very hard to get rid of this list as it has 40 shooty Marines and 10 Terminators to get rid of, and as long as Calgar is on the board they will all have to be killed in order to remove them from the game. You can always choose to go to ground when you get shot at and if enough models are killed you simply fall back, auto-rally thanks to And They Shall Know No Fear and move up to the enemy unit and shoot them in the face. Or rush them with Terminators.

The Terminators are a horrible tarpit and will take a horrendous amount of damage before they're wiped out and will do a sterling job of tackling the more dangerous enemy combat units while the Sternguard are able to do some lifting to support them with 2 attacks base each. Or just sit back and gun stuff down with their funky Bolter ammo.

The Tac Marines move up the board to grab objectives and can do a decent job defending themselves now their Bolters shoot 24" even if they move, and they can shoot heavy weapons while walking. And on overwatch too. They also back up the Guard with some low AP weapons and they too can race for objectives to try to trigger Skyfire and get regular shots on Flyers. You might think Flyers will be a problem for this list and you'd be right but they can't simply shoot your units and watch them run away, and you can always fling a decent amount of firepower their way from all of your units. There's also the ability to stay stuck in combat while they're flying about so they can't shoot you before they're forced to move away a turn later.

Women want them, Marines want to be them.
Wishing upon a Star

We all know that the non-Ultras wish they were Ultramarines but this tactic carries over quite well to those that wish they were.

Lysander gives all of your Marine units Stubborn so this requires a different kind of build to Calgar as you'll want combat units rather than shooty units in order to make the most of his buff.

200 pts

10-man Terminator Assault Squad
400 pts

6-man Terminator Assault Squad
240 pts

10 Tac Marines with Lascannon, Plasma gun
190 pts

10 Tac Marines with Lascannon, Plasma gun
190 pts

10 Scouts with Sniper Rifles & Camo Cloaks
170 pts

Primaris Psyker with Force Axe (Biomancy)
70 pts

Platoon Command Squad
5 x Infantry Squad with Axe, Meltabomb
355 pts

130 pts

The list doesn't have as many guns as the previous one but it has more hitting power in combat. The 16 Terminators and the Lysander blob all rush forward into the teeth of the enemy guns (68 models, 17 of them with 2+/3++) while the Scouts pick a unit and Precision Strike special guys out of existence with a hail of shots. They've also got 2+ cover saves in a ruin that is bolstered by Lysander so they're hard to get rid of. The Tacs can sit back or move forward as needed and pour AP 2 firepower and Bolters into the enemy.

The Vendetta is where the Platoon Command Squad like to hide out and come on the board, shoot something from their ride and if its still alive go off the board the next turn to return and try to grab Linebreaker in the final turn by bailing out while the Vendetta shoots something. You have fewer guns to tackle Flyers with here but you spend two turns moving forward and should be in range very quickly, which will save you from the worst of the enemy's firepower, and the Marines and Scouts can pack into terrain to give them decent cover saves.

Having the 2nd Terminator Assault squad also gives you a combat unit that can hang around at the back and protect those squishy units, although another option to take would a 5-man unit of Terminators with a Cyclone and a Chainfist to add a bit more firepower while still retaining a decent defensive combat unit.

Codex Astartes Flexibility
As you can see, Vanilla Marines are now able to run hordes of infantry and have enough options to allow you to take a variety of units and still remain effective.

The Guard are a very valuable tool for doing this as they give you lots of cheap bodies that can draw attention away from the Marines that are dealing the damage and also fulfil a variety of roles in supporting your Marines - basically they give you great flexibility. Which apparently the Codex Astartes recommends.

So the Ultramarine on the right can suck it.


  1. Replies
    1. Is that rhetorical; asking me where I and my group are located; or is it the fact that it's been quiet around here the last while due to illness? :P

      I'm in Cork, in Ireland. Where are you?

  2. Sorry, I meant why the lack of posts. I am in Alaska.

    1. Ooh, do you get 30 days of night up there by any chance? :P

      I was dying sick for much of last week and the start of this week so I've been much delayed in posting/responding to people even though I've got 2 articles pretty much typed-up and ready to go. I'm hoping to have one of them up by tonight, tomorrow at the latest so hang on in there. :)

  3. I'll be sure to check back. We don't get that in anchorage, but some of the villages are basically night all year. We are the "big" city of Alaska.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...