Black Tide and Blue Primarch: Black Templar and Roboute Guilliman

As I have previously mentioned, there are so many different methods for integrating Roboute Guilliman, especially given that he can be taken as a LOW by any Imperium faction, that I find myself continually exploring more possibilities with him.

As I have thought about it, one army that I think he would pair particularly well with is the Black Templars. Just reviewing, Black Templar arguably have some of the weaker Chapter Tactics for competitive play, with Crusader/Adamantium Will on all infantry, the ability to gain Rage and Counterattack for a turn if they suffer any casualties, and a restriction that prevents them from taking any Librarians.

To compensate somewhat for these “so-so” Chapter Tactics, Black Templar do get access to the unique Crusader squad as a Troops choice, which is basically a more flexible, more capable Tactical Squad in almost every respect (the only thing Tactical Squads get over Crusader squads is the Combat Squads special rule).

In place of this, Crusader squads can take an additional PW, PF, or Heavy Weapon in the squad, no matter the size, can have its squad members trade out Bolters for CCW for free, and can take 10 point Neophtyes (basically Scouts, but without Infiltrate/Scout/Move through Cover) equal in number to how many Initiates (i.e. “normal” Marines) are in the squad. Finally, the squad can take the normal Special Weapon option, can upgrade one member to a Sword Brother (i.e. Veteran Sergeant, with all the normal options), and can take either a Rhino, Razorback, Drop Pod, or Land Raider Crusader as a DT. Taking all this together, you have quite a versatile Troops choice that can be customized multiple different ways, including for close combat, MSU shooting, mechanized assault, or even giant “blob squad” foot squads of 20 men each (i.e. 10 Initiates, 10 Neophytes).

Now that we have gotten an overview of Crusader squads, I think Guilliman can integrate with them in two major ways:

[1] Close Combat Infantry Horde — If you choose to go for large Crusader squads on foot, the Guilliman can be in the center of the line and buff them in multiple ways, including giving them Ld10 (with re-rolls for Pinning/Fear/Morale checks), Move through Cover, +1″ to their Run and Charge moves, and re-rolls of 1s to Hit for both shooting and assault. With good positioning and Guilliman’s 12″ buffing radius, you can have multiple 20 man Crusader squads benefitting from all these buffs, which in turn makes them more mobile and more deadly in both shooting and close combat. In particular, the combination of Move through Cover, +1″ to Run distances, and Crusader means that even footslogging infantry can get across the board quickly. Combined with the cheap Neophytes and Black Templar forces can potentially replicate Orky “horde” tactics with masses of Zealous Astartes (i.e. the infamous “Black Tide” tactics of 4th edition). As an added benefit, Guilliman can serve as a “fire magnet” for enemy heavy weapons to draw attention away from Crusader squads, further enhancing their ability to get across the tabletop and safely into close combat (or, if they shoot at the Crusader squads, then Guilliman is left unharmed and can wreck havoc in close combat himself, so either way it is a losing proposition for your opponent).

[2] Mechanized MSU Force — With the ability to take a Special Weapon and a Heavy Weapon in a minimum 5 man unit, Crusader squads are an excellent choice for loading up in Rhinos and using them as mobile bunkers, with their two firing points, to put down lots of protected firepower each turn. Guilliman can serve as the “anchor” for just such a mechanized force, both buffing the shooting of all friendly squads/vehicles within 12″ and providing a devastating counter-assault element if enemy forces come too close themselves. This can make for a very strong “mid-field presence” force that can shoot, assault, and (importantly) take lots of Objective while still keeping pressure on the opponent’s army. This also works quite well with lots of Dreadnought support, since Guilliman can buff them in the same way he would enhance the “black tide” style army mentioned above and also provide highly effective close combat capabilities alongside them (i.e. massed S10 AP2 attacks at full initiative from both the Dreadnoughts and the Primarch). Finally, if you decide to go with massed Land Raider Crusaders for your Crusader squads, then you can force your opponent to choose between engaging them (and thus ignoring Guilliman as he footslogs across the battlefield) or ignoring the Land Raiders and trying to deal with Guilliman (and thus leaving himself open to massed assault by the Crusader squads riding inside)… either way, it poses a significant dilemma that can be used to your tactical advantage as a Black Templar player.

Besides making different styles of Crusader squad based armies more effective, Guilliman can also enhance the “supporting elements” in a Black Templar army, especially fire support elements like Predators, Devastators, TFCs, etc. One unit in particular that I think benefits from Guilliman being in the army is the Stormhawk Interceptor, especially when taken in mass (you can take three of these in a CAD and up to six of them if you run the Castellans of the Imperium special detachment). With BS4, re-rolls to Hit of 1s (when within 12″ of the Primarch), and the ability to put out 2 Lascannon shots, 4 Assault Cannon shots, and 2 Krak or Frag missiles a turn (with the option to shoot at enemy flyers/FMCs at full BS) from a single airframe, these Astartes flyers can be exceptional fire support platforms for a Crusader squad heavy Black Templar force, further reinforcing the value that Guilliman brings to such an army.

Based on all this, I think Guilliman really can be a tremendous asset in a Black Templar army and maximize their value of their unique units, while also mitigating their somewhat mediocre Chapter Tactics.

Roboute Guilliman: Building a Bodyguard for the Primarch (Part II)

One of the big topics among 40K players right now seems to be how to use the newly returned Primarch, Roboute Guilliman, effectively on the tabletop. More specifically, most of these discussions seem to center around how to keep him alive efficiently, since he is a Monstrous Creature and thus cannot join units, ride in transports, or even embark inside fortifications.

While the Victrix Guard formation exists and has special rules that allows Guilliman to use Look out Sir! with its members, it is an inherently expensive formation and perhaps not the most efficient way to keep him alive against powerful enemy shooting, especially the ever-prevalent Graviton weapons in the current meta.

As I have thought about, I think one of the best body guard “battle groups” for Guilliman might look something like this:

-Roboute Guilliman

-3-5 Bullgryns (with Carapace Armor and Slabshields)

-Sevrin Loth (selecting the Telepathy, Invisibility, Terrify, and Psychic Shriek powers)

The way this works is pretty simple: the Bullgryn squad (with Loth attached) “bubble wrap” Guilliman to obscure him from enemy shooting from all different directions. Because of their special Slabshields, they provide him with 4+ cover save, instead of the normal 5+ cover save provided by intervening models. Loth then casts The Shrouding, granting the Bullgryns a 3+ armor save/5+ cover save in the open and giving Guilliman a 2+ cover save (i.e. Bullgryn cover + Shrouded), which is a significant step up from his normal 3++ save against AP2/1 shooting attacks (like Grav and Plasma Weapons).

By itself, this would be a solid improvement in the Primarch’ survivability, but Loth has one more trick up his sleeve… Invisibility. If he can successfully cast this on Guilliman as well, then all enemy shooting is hitting on 6+, which drastically improves his durability, especially if successfully combined with a 2+ cover save from The Shrouding, as described above. With both of these powers successfully cast and the Bullgryns screening, it takes an average of 54 x BS4 Grav Cannon/Amp shots to cause a SINGLE unsaved wound on Guilliman (so 324 Grav Cannon/Amp shots to kill him outright).

An added benefit of this battle group is that the Bullgryns/Loth are a solid “anvil” unit in their own right and, aside from combining to give Guilliman enhanced protection, they can easily tie up (or even defeat) enemy “chaff” units, thus freeing the UM Primarch to use his assault abilities against the more important enemy forces, where his mass S10 AP2/S: D attacks can really make the biggest impact (Note: Loth can use his 2++ to tank low AP attacks for the Bullgryns and the Bullgryns can use their 3W per model and T5 to absorb high volume attacks away from Loth).

Now, there are some drawbacks to this battle group: first, while not as crazy as the Victrix Guard, it is still pretty points intensive for a normal 1750-2000 point game and also requires at least two CADs/Allied Detachments (i.e. one Astra Militarum for the Bullgryns, one Red Scorpion one for Sevrin Loth, with Guilliman taking up a LOW slot for either one of them). Additionally, it does require successfully casting two WC2 powers a turn to work at maximum efficiency, which is pretty hard to do reliably (even with a PML(3) caster like Loth). Finally, everyone (including Guilliman) is still on foot and so can only move up 6″ + D6″ run each turn, which means agile opponents can still avoid getting charged by these units (even if they have a very difficult time hurting them, especially Guilliman).

On the other hand, if these units do get into combat, they will wreck house, especially with the close combat prowess and buffs that the UM Primarch brings to the table, Perhaps equally important, this battle group has the capacity to absorb TONS of firepower away from the rest of your army, which in turn can allow them to maneuver, shoot, charge, seize objectives, cast powers, etc. etc. with relative impunity… I think a mechanized Astra Militarum force or an elite infantry heavy Red Scorpion army in particular could do really well with this kind of support, especially since the types of weapons they are vulnerable to are exactly the weapons your opponent will have to divert to trying to kill Guilliman.

Overall, this is battle group is definitely not an “auto-win” choice, but if you are planning to field Guilliman anyway and have a strategy built around keeping him alive and getting him into close combat, then I think it can be an effective addition to your Imperium of Man task force.

 

Triumvirate of the Primarch: New Ultramarine Relics

I have been hoping for Ultramarine Relics for a long time and now we have them, which is great! Looking at them, they all seem solid, not ridiculously good (like Hunter’s Eye or Grimoire of True Names) or really bad either:

[1] Tarentian Cloak (7 MBs) — Gives Bearer Eternal Warrior and IWND — A very solid Relic, especially when combined with a heavy hitting character that can already take a Stormshield…. an UM Biker Chapter Master with this Relic attached to a Biker Command Squad (with Apothecary, of course) is approaching Iron Hands Chapter Master levels of survivability. I think this also a great upgrade for a character that has an Iron Halo or Rosarious already, since it allows them to be immune to Instant Death while still keeping both hands free for close combat weapons (and so the extra +1A in combat).

[2] Helm of Censure (6 MBs) — Gives Bearer Preferred Enemy, plus re-rolls for ALL to Hits and to Wounds when he attacks Chaos Space Marine models — I have seen that people are “poo-pooing” this Relic a bit, mainly because Ultramarines already gets lots of access to re-rolls to Hit via their Chapter Tactics. I have to disagree with them here, for a couple of reasons: first, as long as the Bearer is alive, the re-rolls from this Relic never run out (even if your game goes 7 turns); second, this also gives re-rolls to Wound of 1, which can make quite a difference. especially when applied to high volume of firepower/attacks units; and third, unlike the Chapter Tactics, this Relic can be a tremendous boon to allied units that the Bearer attaches to. For all these reasons, and its very reasonable points cost, I think the Helm of Censure is one of the better Relics in this list.

[3] Sanctic Halo (3 MBs; Captain only) — Gives Bearer FNP and Adamantium Will — This is probably the best “value” Relic of the entire Ultramarine list, since it allows the Bearer to significantly improve his survivability at a very cheap cost (and, since it does not replace a weapon, no loss of shooting or close combat ability options either). Great on Biker Captains, Terminator Captains, JP Captains, you name it, since they all benefit from extra levels of durability.

[4] Soldier’s Blade (4 MBs) — S: User AP2 — A very simple, but useful, Relic, this sword is great to add a little extra “punch” to an Ultramarine IC without paying much more than he would for taking a normal power weapon. Give this to a Chaplain and then he can choose between using AP2 at full Initiative or his S:+2 AP4 Maul, also at full Initiative, all while not losing any attacks in the Assault phase (since he is still rocking two CCWs).

[5] Vengeance of Ultramar (4 MBs) — 24″ S: 1 AP5 Assault 4, Poison(2+) — Continuing the theme of cheap but useful items, I think this is another solid “value” Relic that is worth taking on a character that has a few extra points left over with… imagine taking this on, say, a Librarian attached to a Drop Pod squad of Sternguard… this gives you even more Poisoned shots into the mix to support that squad, while the Librarian also buffs it with Prescience and/or uses Psychic Shriek on the enemy target.

[6] Standard of Macragge Inviolate (12 MBs; Honor Guard or Command Squad only) — Friendly UM units within 12″ add +1 to their Ld and all models in the Bearer’s unit (including the Bearer) gain +1A. Additionally, any UM infantry models slain within 6″ get to roll a D6 and, on a roll of 5+, get to make an out of sequence shooting attack (if in the Movement, Shooting, or Psychic phases) or an out of sequence pile in/attack at normal initiative (if in the Assault phase) before being removed as a casualty — A bit of a complex item here, and an expensive one, but the bonus to attacks (for the squad) and to Ld (for units around the banner) are quite solid. The ability to shoot or attack before dying is a bit unusual, and since it only occurs on a 5+, a bit unreliable as well, so I am not sure it is worth the high points cost. I feel it can be useful in certain circumstances and effective with an infantry “gun-line” style army, since you can maximize the shooting even “after death,” but overall I think this is one of the lower value Relics available in this supplement.

Triumvirate of the Primarch: Tactical Analysis of the Victrix Guard Formation

It appears that we now have the details for the “Victrix Guard” formation, which is an Ultramarine only choice that can be chosen as an Auxiliary for the new Victrix Strike Force (UM Decurion equivalent) or taken as a “stand-alone” formation.

The Victrix Guard consists of:

-Captain Cato Sicarius

-1 x Honor Guard

4 x Sternguard/Vanguard Veterans (any combination)

***Important Note: None of these units can take Dedicated Transports or start the game in a transport, which has important implications that I will discuss below.

 

In terms of special rules, they get two quite good ones:

[1] All units in this formation gain +1WS/BS for free

[2] Guilliman can use Look Out Sir! with any units from this formation, despite being a Monstrous Creature, as long as they are within 3″ of him.

 

So, how does all this stack up, and how can it be applied to competitive play? Well, just out the gate, WS5/BS5 on Honor Guard, Sternguard, and Vanguard take them all up a notch (Sicarius gets WS7 and BS6 as well, but this is not really that big a buff for him over what he already has), from “very good” to the “outstanding,” in my opinion, especially when combined with the different Doctrines Ultramarines get access to. Weighed against this, of course, is the very big negative that they cannot take Dedicated Transports (so they have to hitchhike on Fast Attack Rhinos or Heavy Support Land Raiders from an allied UM CAD) and they cannot start the game in a transport (so no Drop Pod riding at all, and basically no chance of riding in a Stormraven, unless it starts on a Skyshield Landing Pad and they hop in after the game begins). Finally, on initial impressions it appears that Captain Sicarius is a 37 MB “tax” to use this formation, since while he has good abilities, he is not widely considered a competitive choice for an Ultramarine army like Tigurius or Calgar is.

After digesting these pros and cons of the Victrix Guard, my first take was this it was probably not worth taking, despite the great buffs to WS/BS, because of what a disadvantage it is to not be able to take transports (i.e. Sternguard especially depend on Drop Pods or Rhinos to be used competitively). However, as I have thought more about it, I began to see some ways that you might be able to use this formation and still field a half-way competitive army.

Here are some ideas I came up with, in that vein:


[1] Footslogging Guilliman Bodyguard — This may be the most obvious option, and the one GW intended us to use given the very specific special rules for LoS! they included in the formation. Take 4 squads of Vanguard Vets (3 with Jump Packs and a mixture of close combat weapons to taste, one foot-slogging with maxed out Storm Shields), plus the mandatory Honor Guard and Sicarius. The three Jump Pack Vanguard squads operate independently, either coming in from DS Reserve (Sicarius’ +1 to Reserve Rolls helps here) or advancing up the board rapidly on turn 1 to get into assault as soon as possible with their WS5 attacks (with re-rolls to Hit of 1, thanks to Assault and Tactical doctrines which, with Guilliman on the board, you should be able to activate a total of four turns a game). Meanwhile, Guilliman footslogs up the middle with the Stormshield Vanguard, Honor Guard, and Sicarius nearby…. if you gets lots of enemy attacks the Guilliman can tank easily (thanks to his T6, EW, 2+/3++, FNP, and 6W), then he just shrugs them off and the whole battle group advances as fast as they can come to grips with the enemy.

If, on the other hand, he gets hit with lots of firepower that can kill him efficiently (Grav, D-Weapons, massed poison, etc.), then use the Look out Sir! to pass those wounds off on a 4+ to either the Stormshield Vanguard (for the AP2/1 attacks, like Centurion Grav Cannons) or to the Honor Guard/Sicarius (for the massed AP3 and worse attacks like Scatter Laser Jetbikes, DE Splinter Weapons, massed Tau Missile Pods or Smart Missile Systems, etc.)…. remember, the way Look Out Sir! works is that the to Hit and to Wound rolls go against Guilliman FIRST, then he can decide to try and Look Out Sir! before saving throws are made… this is important because it means that all the attacks must successfully wound against his T6 FIRST, and then the nearby Vanguard/Honor Guard can still attempt to absorb the attack with their 3++ and 2+ saves, respectively (i.e. put another way, you get the advantages of Guilliman’s high T6, but still get to use their saves and wounds, so kind of the best of both worlds). The entire point of this strategy is to keep Guilliman alive as long as possible so that he can keep buffing the rest of your army and also get into combat himself, where he will pretty much wreck havoc on anything opposing him. In doing this, the Jump Pack Vanguard can serve as a type of “holding force” to tie up key enemy units in combat long enough for Guilliman (and his bodyguards, who are solid in close combat themselves) to run up and charge the unit himself.

With this strategy, with whatever points you have left over, I think it would be wise to build as much of a backfield gun-line as you can (i.e. Sicaran Predators, TFC and Quad Mortar batteries, Devastators, Land Speeders with TMLs, Whirlwinds, allied artillery, etc.), both to support you advancing melee elements and to take full advantage of the attention that your opponent will likely pay to the melee units vice the shooting units. If you do manage to get Guilliman safely into enemy lines, especially against a shooty army like Tau or Astra Militarum, then his exceptional melee abilities might very well turn the tide of the game in your favor.

 

[2] Gun-line Sternguard — Another way to run this formation does not depend on Guilliman (or the Look Out Sir!) abilities at all. Instead, you take:

-A fortification like an Aegis Line, Bastion, Firestorm Redoubt, etc.

-Four minimum sized Sternguard squads

-Mandatory Sicarius/Honor Guard.

The Sternguard each take two Heavy Weapons like Lascannons, Missile Launchers, or Grav Cannons, and operate basically like expensive, elite Devastators. Place them in the fortifications for improved survivability and then use their BS5 (with re-rolls to Hit of 1 from Tactical and Devastator doctrines) to have a 97% chance to hit with their Heavy Weapons and Special Issue Ammunition bolters (Note: Even if you use up the Doctrines, if you take the Ammunition Dump upgrade to the building, then they can re-roll 1s to Hit all game long).

As for the Vanguard and Sicarius, they form the “counter-assault” element for this Gun-line, waiting behind protection until enemy units try and get close to dislodge the Sternguard and/or seize objectives, then storm forward and tear them up with their 2+ saves and massed PW attacks. Sicarius also uses his various buffs (i.e. +1 to Reserve rolls, Ld10 to the entire army if he is the Warlord, Infilitrate/Scout/ Tank Hunters/Counterattack to a single Tactical squad, etc.) to assist your army while perhaps manning a Quad Gun (with BS6) for anti-flyer/skimmer firepower for insurance on that front as well. Combine all this with some additional shooting, say from Astra Militarum or Cult Mechanicus allies, and I think you have the making of a solid army.

 

[3] Issodon Infiltration/Mechanized Force — This may be my favorite, and the one most likely to be competitive in a tournament scenario. First, take the following:

-Lias Issodon (Warlord) along with a Raptors CAD (including at least one Spartan Assault Tank and one Grav Centurion squad, plus a pair of melee Scouts in Land Speeder Storms for the mandatory Troops slot)

-2 x Sternguard squads with good mixture of Combi/Heavy weapons

-2 x Vanguard squads with Jump Packs and good mix of Special Melee Weapons/Storm Shields

-Sicarius and Honor Guard (with Banner of the Emperor Ascendant)

Now, use Issodon’s Warlord trait to infiltrate the two Sternguard Squads, the Grav Centurions, and himself into position before the game begins (Lias goes with the Centurions to give them Shrouded and at least a modicum of close combat ability). Turn 1, the Honor Guard/Sicarius load into the Spartan and then Move/Flat Out 18″ forward while the Jump Pack Vanguard move up behind the Spartan, using it for cover/LOS blocking.

Provided you don’t get Seized on and have first turn, you can unleash two Sternguard squads worth of BS5 (again re-rolling 1s to Hit, thanks to Doctrines) firepower, plus a full squad of Centurion Grav Cannon shooting, on your opponent for a devastating “alpha strike” (without having to depend on Drop Pods, which is a big deal against Interceptor heavy Tau forces, for example). Additionally, you have multiple elite melee units in position for a Turn 2-3 charge, where they can put their superior weaponry and WS5 to excellent use, all the while being supported by the firepower from Spartan and the Raptor Scouts/LS Storms using their mobility to grab key Objectives. If you do not have First Turn, or for some reason do not think it makes tactical send to Infilitrate, then you can have the Sternguard, Grav Centurions, and Issodon Outflank instead (remember, as long as Sicarius is alive/on the battlefield and Issodon is simply alive, you get a re-rollable 2+ for any Reserve rolls, plus your opponent gets -1 to his Reserve rolls). Finally, if you want to start the Vanguard Vets in Deep Strike Reserve, not only can you get them in on Turn 2 with 97% reliability, thanks to the Reserve modifiers mentioned above, but they can use Issodon’s Locator Beacon to DS in with no scatter, making their arrival that much more reliable and accurate.


 

Overall, while I think the Victrix Guard has some very real (and constraining) limitations, it also has some very great possibilities, as mentioned above. and I think it should be an exciting formation to experiment with and, hopefully, play with at a competitive level.

 

 

 

Triumvirate of the Primarch: Guilliman as a Force Multiplier

So, after sleeping on it a bit and thinking about it, here are some ideas I have on how to best employ Guilliman with other Imperium forces (especially regarding how his 6 Command Trait WLs can buff units within 12″):

[1] Mass Contemptor Dreads — Since Guilliman provides re-rolls of 1s to Hit for BOTH shooting and close combat, I figured the most efficient units to buff with him are ones that can do well in both of these phases. Thinking of this, Contemptor Dreadnoughts jumped out at me as a unit that might do very well in conjunction with the UM Primarch, since they really are a balanced unit that has about the same mobility as him (6″ movement and Fleet) and solid abilities in both Shooting and Assault. Not only doe they come with WS5/BS5 stock, but they have 5 x S10 AP2 attacks on the charge, all at full I4, and they can be upgraded to have 6 x S6 AP4 Rending shots a turn each. Combined with re-rolls of 1s to Hit and they become hyper accurate (97% chance of hitting) for shooting and, against most opponents, very likely to hit in close combat (3+s to hit, re-rolling 1s). Add to all this their Av13/12/10 armor and 5++ Invul save and they make for a tough target which will force your opponent to choose between engaging them or concentrating on Guilliman (this becomes even better with target saturation, if you have say 4 or more Contemptors running alongside the Primarch). Finally, with Guilliman providing them Move Through Cover and +1″ to Run/Charge distances, they become even more agile and should be able to get across the battlefield quicker than your opponent might expect. The one downside to Contemptors is their high points cost (37 MBs a piece, with the Kheres Assault Cannon), but if want to take a cheaper version of this, just run Venerable Dreads with Assault Cannons instead… not quite as durable or capable, but only costing 27 MBs per model to mass alongside Guilliman.

 

[2] Dark Angel Ravenwing Support Squadron — I have already talked about this in previous posts, but this is basically a squadron of RW Landspeeders and either a Darkshroud or a Landspeeder Vengeance combined into a single unit. The squadron then gets some very good special rules, including Interceptor and Strafing Run (so BS5 against basically any non Flyer/FMC targets). Combined this with re-rolls to Hit of 1s from a nearby Guilliman and either lots of Bolters, MMs, Assault Cannons, and/or CMLs and the squadron has a 97% chance of hitting with its shooting at ground targets that can be deployed against either enemy units arriving from Reserve or just normally as fire support for your main army.

 

[3] Skitarii and Secutarii Infantry — Whether it is Vanguard, Rangers, Infiltrators, or even the Forgeworld Peltasts, all of these units can use Doctrina Imperatives to boost their Ballistic Skill to BS5 or higher for at least turns a game. Combined with Guilliman and they, just like the units above, become hyper-accurate and can do even more damage than usual with their already strong shooting (this is especially great with Plasma Cavaliers, since they can re-roll Gets Hot! rolls of 1 and with Arc Rifles, making them almost auto-strip HPs from any vehicle in range, be it tanks, walkers, skimmers, Super-Heavies, or Imperial Knights. Secutarii Peltasts in particular, with their multiple ammunition types, can be very deadly when bumped up to BS5 and re-rolling 1s to hit, whether shooting at Hordes with their Flechette Burster rounds or tougher infantry/vehicles with their Kinetic Hammershot ammo. Finally, if any of these Skitarii/Secutarii troops do end up charging after shooting (thinking of Infiltrators here, especially), then Guilliman’s buffs to Hit, to Charge range, and for Move Through Cover all help them significantly.

I am sure there are many other types of units/battle groups that will synergize well with Roboute Guilliman, but these are just a few that jump out to me right away… overall, I am quite excited to see how he will play out on the competitive tabletop (and we haven’t even looked at how he buffs Ultramarines yet!).

Triumvirate of the Primarch: Roboute Guilliman… Initial Thoughts

So, as the rumors are pouring in about Roboute Guilliman (the first member of the latest Triumvirate that we have solid rules on), it looks like he has the following profile:

 

——————————————–

WS9 BS6 S6 T6 W6 I6 A6 Ld10 Sv 2+/3++ (Monstrous Creature, Character) — (70 MBs cost)

 

SPECIAL RULES:

-Adamantium Will

-Eternal Warrior

-Fearless

-FNP(5+)

-Fleet

-Preferred Enemy (Forces of Chaos)

-Precision Strikes/Shots

-Chapter Tactics (Ultramarines)

-Unyielding Will — His Leadership can never be impacted by negative modifiers

-Lord Commander of the Imperium — All friendly Imperium units in his army re-roll all failed Morale/Fear/Pinning checks.

-Primarch of the XIII Legion — Gives all Ultramarines in his army access to an additional use of Tactical, Assault, AND Devastator Doctrines

 

WARLORD TRAIT:

-Absolute Mastery — Has all six Command Traits (i.e. all friendly units within 12″ use his Ld, have Move Through Cover, gain +1″ to Run and Charge moves, re-roll 1s to Hit in both Shooting and Assault, and all enemy units within 12″ use their lowest Ld).

 

WARGEAR:

-Armor of Fate — Gives him 2+/3++ and each time he dies, on a roll of 4+, he comes back to life next turn with D3 wounds.

-Emperor’s Sword and Hand of Dominion — As a shooting weapon, gives, 24″ S6 AP2 Assault 3 Rending weapon and in close combat gives him a S10 AP1 Armourbane, Concussive, Soul Blaze weapon that strikes at full I6. Additionally, any rolls to Hit of 6 become Destroyer attacks (so great for killing ICs, vehicles, and other LOWs) and he can choose to swap all his normal attacks for a single “sweep” attack which automatically hits all enemy models within 1″ of him (so great for single-handedly clearing out hordes).


 

Looking at all this and considering that he only costs 70 MBs and a LOW slot, in many ways Guilliman is an exceptional bargain, especially considering all the buffs he gives out and how ridiculously hard he hits in close combat. He really can take all comers in the Assault Phase, with the ability to deal with everything from Greater Daemons and GMCs like Wraithknights to tar-pitting masses of Gaunts, Cultists, Ork Boyz, Hybrid Acolytes etc.

In terms of being a force multiplier to his army, with any Imperium faction (which is pretty much any army that you would play him with, since everyone else is Allies of Convenience, i.e. Eldar/Harlequins,  or worse, i.e all the other factions), then you can easily make hims the “flagship” of either a shooty gunline or the anchor of an advancing foot-slogging assault force (i.e. Black Templars, Skitarii, foot Sisters of Battle, etc.). Then your opponent is forced to make a decision.. try and kill Guilliman to “de-force multiple” (which will take a significant portion of his combat power to do), or try and kill the rest of the allied forces while Guilliman continues to buff them and move himself closer to getting into melee with your forces… either way, it is a tough choice and, given that the Ultramarine Primarch is such a bargain points cost for all his abilities, you can still have a substantial army around him.

Weighed against this are two major negatives: first, as a Monstrous Creature, there is not way for him to join squads, be joined, or use Look Out Sir! (we will see if future formations or 8th edition changes this, but for now this it how it stands), meaning that he is basically as tough as a Riptide with an extra wound, Stimulant Injectors, and Nova Reactor shielding activated… on other words, tough, but very kill-able, especially to massed Grav, Eldar D-Weapons, and/or Poison, which are all quite common in competitive games (especially Grav). While he does have EW and so cannot be “one-shotted” by Instant Death weapons like other MCs can be, if you opponent can concentrated fire it only takes an average of 40 x BS4 Grav Cannon/Amp shots to bring him down. That, or lucky D weapon shots, will be a difficult threat to deal with for any armies fielding Guilliman, especially if these weapons can Alpha Strike via Drop Pod, Deep Strike, etc.

The second major issue is that, as a non-Flying/Jump MC, he cannot get in vehicles and must foot-slog forward at 6″ a turn, which greatly limits his mobility (also durability, since he can’t use transports to protect him from enemy shooting) and makes it difficult to catch enemy forces in close combat and use his amazing abilities in that arena. If your plan is to just use him as an assault “smasher,” then I think you will have significant trouble getting the most out of him, since a savvy opponent will simply kite away, use sacrificial screening units, and/or shoot him down before he can actually come to grips with his target(s) in assault. Additionally, this creates a problem for trying to keep in “buffing range” for any fast moving armies (i.e. Bikers, Mechanized units, Deep Striking forces, etc.), since Guilliman can only move 6″ and run a maximum of 7″ additional each turn (having Fleet does help a little here, but of course he has to sacrifice shooting to use it and still hope his Run rolls are good).

So, considering all that, is Roboute Guilliman worth investing in for a competitive army? I think the answer is “Yes,” but you can’t just throw him blindly out there and expect to excel. First, you have to craft an army that maximizes his strengths and force-multiplying skills… obviously, Ultramarines automatically get the most of any faction in having him on the board, since they are guaranteed two Devastator, two Assault, and two Tactical doctrines usages per game. While I think many different builds can actually make good use of him, probably one of the strongest is an advancing “gunline” style army that puts out tons of firepower and slowly, relentlessly moves toward your opponent (kind of like an Imperium version of Necrons 😉 ). In this way, Guilliman can maximize the buffs he puts out, keep up with the army, and serve as a ridiculously powerful “counter-assault” element if your opponent tries to get in close to your forces (remember, with Fleet and +1″ to his Charge ranges, he has something like a 10″ average charge distance).

Secondly, I think you have to actively work to mitigate his weaknesses in mobility and his vulnerability to certain kinds of enemy shooting… here are some ideas that might help in this area:

[1] Void Shield Generator — If you are planning to have him sit back and buff/protect your fire base, then a Void Shield Generator can give him in essence 3 x AV12 “layers” that your enemy has to deal with before targeting Guilliman… this is especially key against Grav weapons and can really make the difference between him surviving as Alpha Strike by units with them or not.

[2] Heavy Cover and “The Shrouding” psychic power — While he naturally has a 2+/3++, even that 3++ fails a 33% of the time against AP2/1 weaponry (again, Grav is one of the biggest culprits here). By combining Heavy Cover (4++ cover save) and Shrouding you give him a 2++ cover save, which reduces wounds inflicted by AP2/1 weapons by 16% compared to his normal wargear… not enough to make him invincible, but enough to help him survive long enough so that you can eliminate the key threats to him before your opponent gets another Shooting Phase.

[3] “Earth Blood” and “Endurance” psychic powers — Earth Blood restores D3 wounds and gives him IWND, so if you are lucky you can bring back a maximum of 4 lost wounds in a single turn, which would go a long way to helping him survive the entire game. Endurance improves his FNP from a 5+ to a 4+, which isn’t major, but like the discussion with Shrouding above, it reduces overall damage to him by an average of 16%, which in a game of small margins, can be the difference between victory and disaster for Guilliman specifically and your army as a whole.

[4] “Electrodisplacement” psychic power —  Considered one of the most OP/imbalanced powers in the game right, nevertheless it can make a big difference for getting Guilliman into combat. Drop Pod a Librarian with this power next to a enemy target unit Turn 1, then cast the power to “switch” places between Guilliman and the Librarian, then charge that target enemy unit with Roboute in the Assault Phase of that same turn… if successful, you can have him tearing up enemy forces in close combat from right out the gate, not to mention the massive Psychological blow to your opponent when he finds his Stormsurge or Wraithknight or Hive Tyrant or Grav Centurions locked in combat with a Primarch before it ever even gets to move/shoot.

[5] “Magnetokinesis” psychic power — While Guilliman cannot charge after using this ability, if cast successfully it does allow him to move another 18″ without needing to run (so a net of 24″ in one turn), which makes him more than able to keep up with fast-moving allied units and also immediately puts the pressure on your opponent as you threaten a Turn 2 charge with a potent MC in his phase (NOTE: This tactic can work especially well, I think, if used in conjunction with multiple Shunting Dreadknights, putting a “threat overload” of deadly Imperial Monstrous Creatures in his face right away, making it difficult to choose what to deal with and really putting him on the horns of a dilemma).

[6] “Invisibility” psychic power — This is the gold standard of powers to enhance Guilliman, I think. If you can get it off successfully on him, then he is completely immune to any Blasts or Templates, which is what most D weapons are (unless they have a lucky scatter onto him) and even against massed Grav he becomes SO much more survivable. With Invisibility successfully cast, it takes an average of 27 Grav Cannon/Amp shots to cause a single Unsaved Wound to Guilliman (without Invisibility, it takes an average of 7 Grav Cannon/Amp shots to cause a single Unsaved Wound), so about 160 Grav shots to actually kill him. If you can get this off, then Guilliman is basically invulnerable and all you have to worry about is his mobility issues and maximizing his positioning to buff the rest of your army.

[7] Lias Issodon and Infiltration — If you are willing to give up the tremendous benefits of his powerful Warlord Traits (and they are pretty major), you can take Lias Issodon as your Warlord and use his Master of Ambush WL Trait to Infiltrate Guilliman 18″ away from enemy forces, which gives him a greatly enhanced chance of moving in and, by Turn 2, catching enemy units in close combat (i.e. move 6″ and then run an average of another 5″, putting him 7″ away from your opponent by the end of the turn). While there is a big trade-off with this tactic, it can be quite effective for maximizing his potent close combat skills.

Besides all that I have mentioned already, one additional thing to note is, given how powerful Guilliman is and what a threat he can be, another role he can play is that of “fire magnet” for the rest of your army by drawing away firepower that would otherwise be a real threat to the units around him. Outside of Grav, D Weapons, and exceptionally massed poison, he can really “tank” quite a lot of damage, as it takes the following to inflict a SINGLE unsaved wound on him:

[a] BS4 Bolter — 81 shots

[b] BS4 Scatter Laser — 27 shots

[c] BS3 TLed High Yield Missile Pod — 18 shots

[d] BS4 Plasma Gun — 10 shots

[e] BS4 Lascannon/Bright Lance/Dark Lance/Railgun– 8 shots

[f] BS4 Splinter Rifle/Cannon — 27 shots

All of this is for a single wound, so it takes 6 times this to kill him on average (and then he has a 50% chance of coming back to life), so played right you can really use him to effectively absorb combat power away from the rest of your army list.

Overall, I am pretty excited to see Guilliman get rules for 40K and will very interested to see how his performance holds up in competitive play… as I said at the beginning here, with savvy employment, I think he can be a great addition to any Imperium army, ESPECIALLY an Ultramarine one (I myself currently run a partial Ultramarine Army right now)!

Shield of Guilliman Strike Force

I have greatly appreciated the effort GW has put into providing Gladius equivalents for White Scars, Raven Guard, Salamanders, Iron Hands, and Imperial Fists.

I realize that the Gladius Strike Force, and pretty much everything in C: SM, is supposed to be the Ultramarine’s version of things, since they are the most “Codex-adherent” chapter out there, but I still think it would be neat for the Sons of Guilliman to have their own unique Detachment, Relics, etc.

Here is my stab at that concept:

—————————

SHIELD OF GULLIMAN STRIKE FORCE

*1-2 CORE

*0-3 HQ

*1+ AUX

RULES:

1 – Rites of Command — If WL from this detachment is alive, all units from this detachment may use his Leadership value instead of their own for any Morale or Pinning tests.

2 – Veteran Skill — Once per game, Veteran Sergeants in Tactical squads from this detachment may give their squad and any attached characters Relentless. Once per game, Veteran Sergeants in Assault squads from this detachment may give their squad and any attached characters Shred for their close combat attacks. Once per game, Veteran Sergeants in Devastator squads from this detachment may give their squad and any attached characters Interceptor for their shooting attacks.

3 – Battle-Tested Leaders — If this detachment includes 2 CORE choices, one with a Captain and one with a Chaplain, then any Tactical, Assault, Devastator, Scout, Scout Biker, Assault Centurion, or Devastator Centurion squads may upgrade their Sergeants to Veteran Sergeants for free.

—————————

CORE

1 – Battle Demi-Company (See C:SM)

2 – Assault Demi-Company (1 Captain or Chaplain, 0-1 Command Squad, 0-1 Dread/Ironclad/Venerable Dread Squadron, 3 Assault/Bike/Attack Bike squads, 0-2 Assault Centurion squads)

**RULES — Assault Doctrine (can choose to use once per game for models in this formation), free Eviscerators in Assault squads

3 – Devastator Demi-Company (1 Captain or Chaplain, 0-1 Command Squad, 0-1 Dread/Ironclad/Venerable Dread Squadron, 3 Devastator squads, 0-2 Devastator Centurion squads)

**RULES — Devastator Doctrine (can choose to use  once per game for models in this formation), free MMs and HBs in Devastator squads

—————————

HQ

1 – Strike Force Command (see C: SM)

2 – Librarius Conclave (see C: SM)

3 – Command Tanks (see Angels of Death Supplement)

4 – Guardians of Ultramar (Marneus Calgar, 1-3 Honor Guard squads, one of which must take a Chapter Banner or Relic Banner)

**RULES — All units in this formation have Preferred Enemy and Fearless as long as Marneus Calgar is alive

—————————

AUX

1 – 1st Company Task Force (See C: SM)

2 – 10th Company Task Force (See C: SM)

3 – Stormbringer Squadron (See Angels of Death Supplement)

4 – Skyhammer Annihilation Force (See Angels of Death Supplement)

5 – Ravenhawk Assault Group (See Angels of Death Supplement)

6 – Raptor Wing (See Angels of Death Supplement)

7 – Armoured Task Force (See C: SM)

8 – Centurion Battle Group (1-2 Devastator Centurion squads, 1-2 Assault Centurion squads)

**RULES — Monster Hunter, Tank Hunter, Overwhelming Fusillade (any unit hit by shooting from Devastator Centurions from this formation may not fire Overwatch if charged by Assault Centurions from this formation)

9 – Armorium Support (2 Land Raiders/Land Raider Crusaders/Land Raider Redeemers, 0-1 Chronus)

**RULES — Blessed Hulls (Lance Weapons only reduce armor to AV13, Melta Weapons only gain +D3 to their penetration rolls, and Haywire weapons suffer -2 on the Haywire Table against vehicles from this formation)

10 – Talon of Ancients (3 Contemptor Dreadnoughts, 1 Techmarine)

**RULES — Battle Doctrines of the Great Crusade (all Contemptors from this formation within 12″ of the Techmarine from this formation may enact EACH of the doctrines once per game at the start of each friendly game turn: i) Advance Upon the Foe! — May move 9″ this turn [or] ii) Smite the Foe — Gains Rampage this turn [or] iii) Decimate the Foe — May shoot twice in the shooting phase this turn, but must shoot the same target)

————————————————

ULTRAMARINE RELICS

1 – Victorum Laurels  — Bearer may choose his WL trait, instead of rolling for it, as long as it is from the Ultramarine WL Trait Table

2 – Helm of Varthion — (Veteran Sergeant from a Tactical squad only). Gives Bearer and his squad one free use of Tactical Doctrine

3 – Mantle of Ultramar — TDA that gives bearer +1W

4 – Marian Blade — S: User AP2 Swiftstrike (gives bearer +1WS/+1I)

5 – Orbital Command-Link — Bearer may bring in one friendly unit from Reserves automatically each turn

6 – Banner of Macragge — (Command Squad/Honor Guard only) All friendly Ultramarine units within 12″ gain Preferred Enemy

————————————————

ULTRAMARINE WARLORD TRAITS

1 – Champion of the Blade —  Warlord and his unit gain +1 WS

2 – Eye of Precision — Warlord and his unit gain +1 BS

3 – Master of the Vanguard — Three friendly units chosen before deployment gain Scout

4 – Master of the Keep — Three friendly units chosen before deployment gain Objective Secured

5 – Indomitable — Enemy units must re-roll successful To Wound rolls made against the Warlord

6 – Unequalled Warrior — Enemy units must re-roll successful Armor and Invul saves of 6+ made against the WL’s close combat attacks