The review train keeps chugging along, and here we have Chaplain Cassius! As always, check out the Tactics Corner for more tactics articles and battle reports!
Chaplain Cassius is the grizzled old bad-ass of the Ultramarines chapter, and a tough geezer in a fight. The only thing he hates more than heretics and traitors, are Tyranids!
Cassius is really, really straight forward: he’s a Chaplain only tougher. In the previous edition if you took a Chaplain on foot he was the no-brainer choice, this edition though, it is a slightly closer competition between he and the generic Chappy. Generally speaking though, Cassius buffs the specific unit he is with making them hit harder in combat and rendering them fearless.
- Bolt Pistol
- Power Maul
- Infernus: Master-crafted Bolter with Helfire rounds and a combi Flamer.
- Zealot: Fearless and Hatred to he and the unit he joins.
- Feel no Pain
- Warlord Trait: The Angel of Death: He and his unit cause fear.
Cassius is not much of a mystery, really. He is a Chaplain but tougher, rocking T6 with FnP and a nifty gun. Chaplains are used primarily to buff an assault unit, giving them Hatred (rerolls in the first round of a combat) and Fearless. He himself hits not that hard. A Power Maul is great against certain targets (light infantry and most tanks), but against a lot of the common targets you will be fighting (MEQ and TEQs) it isn’t so hot. Going up to strength 6 and Concussive are good, but with base 2 attacks at initiative 4, it’s nothing to get too excited about. Hatred can be great for an assault unit, obviously, but you can get the same effect from Tigurius casting Prescience. And Tigurius is better in almost every other way, too. Cassius’ Bolter is cool but as he is almost always going to be in an assault unit, it is a bummer as you can’t double tap and then assault, which is what the Combi-Flamer is for.
Fearless is nice, don’t get me wrong, but hardly worth Cassius’ price tag. Honestly I can see no reason to use him over Tigurius in an Ultramarine list…at all. The only real benefit is if you play Nids all the time as granting Preferred Enemy Tyranids in a unit of say, Sternguard or Centurions, would be brutal. However, that’s about it. On foot, he is slow, and Space Marine assault units, baring Hammernators, just can’t hang with the cheaper, better dedicated assault units that the Xenos bring to the table. Therefore, investing points into buffing them is not the best use of points, particularly not when you can take a Librarian that does all or most of the same things but also adds so much more to your army. He also doesn’t mesh well with Hammernators or Centurions as they are high strength and AP2, where as he is lower strength and higher AP. On the plus side though, his higher toughness will prevent him from being insta-gibbed so easily.
Being toughness 6 in general though is also not that great when the majority toughness of almost every unit you will join will be 4. Only in a challenge will it consistently be useful but unfortunately, most things that you get into a challenge with will kick Cassius’ ass. Only against armies like the poor CSMs who are mindless retards and always accept or take a challenge, will Cassius’ increased stats shine. His Warlord Trait is also really dicey. It’s good when it works, but the units that it typically works against are already weak and you will probably run though them with or without the debuff Fear causes. Against most dedicated assault units, it won’t even work.
In short, it’s not really Cassius himself that is sub-par, but Chaplains in general. They just don’t pull their weight anymore. Unless you consistently play against weak assault armies, such as other Marines, IG, Tau, etc. where assault oriented Marine units are actually useful, a Chaplain will in turn typically not be useful. Daemons, Eldar of both types, Nids, Orks, etc. all just run through Marines like a hot knife through butter. Don’t bother trying to make them better at fighting, it’s just exacerbating the inevitable loss. As I have said many time, Hammernators are really the only Marine assault unit that consistently performs against almost every army and Cassius doesn’t really mix that well with them, particularly not when you can buff them with superior units such as Librarians. However, if you really want to use a Chaplain, and you are playing Ultramarines, Cassius may interest you but at 40 points over a generic Chappy, you will often find that his bonus stats and abilities are only situationally useful.