|We could be big damn heroes if just for one day.|
Holding out for a Hero
The days of 2nd Edition 40k was sometimes known as Herohammer because of the habit it had of being full of super-powered leaders that could slay whole armies on their own. The supporting troops became an pitiful footnote in the epic saga of the hero. This style of play was diminished with the reset/restart of 3rd Edition. Flash forward to 2005-2008 and starting with the Eldar Codex and 5th Edition, you started to see these monsters stalk the battlefield once more.
These days, it is the hero that makes your army. some (like almost all the character in the Space Marine Codex) have special abilities that dramatically change the makeup of your army. Many characters relax restrictions on the types of units you can take or allow Elite, Fast Attack or Heavy choices to count as (or be taken as) Troops. Heroes can have abilities that enhance their abilities or enhance the abilities of the unit they are with. In this article, we'll examine two of the leader characters and with contrasting styles.
MephistonNo character exemplifies that word "monster" like Mephiston. his stat line is more than impressive. He is the equal of any other character and damn near impossible to kill. At T6, most Space Marines only wound him on a 6+. Entire units disappear into him. With psychic powers that allow him to move like he has a jump pack, reroll hits in close combat, strike with S10 and and instantly kill a model he wounds, he becomes truly monstrous. The only thing he lacks is an invulnerable save. He strikes first, hits hardest and can take lots of punishment. He is the closest thing to fielding a Primarch that a player will ever know.
Mephiston is the epitome of the Herohammer character so much so that he is not even an Independent character. He is a army of one in the most true sense of the phrase. Most players will try and bury a powerful but expensive and fragile character in a squad of 5 or more Marines to soak up wounds on the way to the enemy. M will not hear of it and runs around by himself. Though, I can't blame his brother Marines. Mephiston is such a bad man that I would want to want to put as much space between him and me as I could even if he was on my side.
M is kind of a selfish prick in that way. He has no abilities that help his brothers. He does not unlock any special abilities or change any stat lines. He has one power that would let a unit he joins reroll hits, but since he can't join a group, that's useless. When you take Mephiston, he is there for one thing that that is to take heads.
ChaplainContrasting with the Mighty Mephiston is the lowly Chaplain. the Chappy weighs in at roughly half the points cost of M even with terminator armor or a jump pack. His state line is barely better than a regular Marine. Depending on your MEQ army, he has 2-3 wounds, I5 and WS5. With a 4+ invulnerability save and a power weapon standard, he is a tough customer for any enemy. He is going to hit you on 3+ like Mephiston, hit you first like Mephiston and be able to dodge some power weapon wounds.
In a contest, Mephiston would win hands down. M would hit first, easily wound and then, if a single wounds makes it though the Chaplain's save, M would blow him up with his force weapon. Mephiston is easily worth two Chaplains any day.
Where the Chaplain shine is what they give to the unit that joins them. In most armies, Chaplain turn any unit they join fearless meaning that the unit is immune to moral and pinning tests and they will stay in combat until someone is wiped out. Chaplains also allow any unit they join to reroll to hit in the turn they charge and in blood Angel armies, they allow Death company to reroll to hit and to wound.
This is massive. It basically increases the amount of wounds that the unit will inflict by 50% or more and in the case of Death company, makes them lethal. there have been many times when I've rolled to hit and have several miss only to have the "super chaplain power" cause the misses to convert to hits. This lets the power weapons or power fist on Sargent to really count when you need them.
|My Mephistion and Chaplain|
ConclusionWhen you take a hero (special character or not), start by asking yourself, "Why?" where do you want this character to go and where can you put him so he does the most good for you (and bad for your opponent). What is the character doing for the army as a whole? Is he helping out his brothers or is he just out for himself.
P.S. - Don't tell Mephiston what I said about him. I'm scared of that guy.