Anatomy of a Centurionstar

SAM_4759For the past six months I have been pretty much playing one army to prepare for the LVO 2015, 40k’s largest competitive tournament. A lot of people have been talking about the Centurionstar, and I thought it would be good to talk about what makes it tick and what I fear as a Centurionstar player. Let’s dig into this controversial unit and pick this puppy apart.

The Components


This is the core unit in the Centurionstar. 3-6 Centurions with Grav Cannons, Grav Amps, and an Omniscope. The Grav Cannons have a 24” range and are AP2. They also wound on the target unit’s majority armor value which is a blessing and a curse. It is great for targets like Terminators, Space Marines, Wraithknights, Daemon Princes, and other heavy armor wearers, but struggle against plain Daemons, Orks, or other light armor wearers. The bonus to this is that Grav Amps allow them to reroll this wound so even if you need 6’s, the weight of dice you throw has a good shot of doing some quality wounds.

The Omniscope allows them to Split Fire, which is key to how this unit needs to operate. For those that don’t know, Split Fire allows one model (not just the model with the split fire rule) to shoot first at another target, and the rest of the unit to fire at another. This allows you to potentially kill two units a turn in various ways. One Centurions shoots at a small squad while the rest shoots at a large target, or another model fires a stormbolter or pistol at a unit they want to charge later in the turn while the Centurions take out a key unit like an Imperial Knight or Barbed Hierodule. It’s only a few points so don’t leave without it.

Some people also like to add on Missile Launchers for extra anti tank, but I prefer the twin-linked Hurricane Bolters as it gives me an anti-horde option to still be able to impact those low armor targets. There’s nothing like 24 twin-linked shots to deal with pesky Daemonettes, Gaunts, or Guardsmen. Combine that with Perfect Timing (Ignores Cover) and even those units have a lot to fear from the Star.

Gate of Infinity/Draigo

SAM_4763This power allows you to be removed from the table and deepstrike elsewhere. This is a blessing and can be cast while in combat so you can get out of a close combat if need be. Most people get this power through the Grey Knights Character Draigo, a formidable close combat opponent and powerful psyker in his own right. Draigo comes stock with Gate of Infinity, so you can count on him being in most Centurionstars.

Draigo is also used as a “tank”,  a model that soaks up wounds and protects the units. With four wounds, eternal warrior, and a 2+/3++ save, he fits the bill perfectly for this task. He usually sits at the front and takes those strength 10 hits to protect the more vulnerable elements in the Centurionstar. This Lord of War is also a fantastic close combat character and can fend off many undesirable units that hope to take down your gun toting Centurions in melee.

Prescience/Perfect Timing/Grey Knight Librarian

The next piece of the puzzle is guaranteed Prescience, which is the ability to reroll hits in shooting and assault. This comes with the Grey Knight Librarian who is necessary for the unit as well. The Libby gives you more warp charges and fulfills the HQ role in whatever Grey Knight detachment you bring, be it an Allied Detachment, Nemesis Strike Detachment, or Combined Arms Detachment. I personally take a ML3 Librarian and roll everything on Divination, guaranteeing me Prescience and always hoping for Perfect Timing, which ignores cover. Just imagine 20 ap2 shots coming your way that ignore your armor and your cover save! Barbed Hierodules, Malanthropes, Wraithknights, and just about anything save Knights hate this combo to death.


SAM_4762The final piece to the Centurionstar is Invisibility. This helps ensure that your enemy will not be able to focus fire and peel off this very expensive unit in one volley. Needing 6’s to hit sways most generals from even firing at it at all, which is fine for us.

One of the ways to get Invisibility is Tigurius, who gets to roll on one of his psychic tables, then reroll the result if he doesn’t like it. (Just be sure to roll each power one at a time when you do this. I’ve seen way to many people roll them all at once and reroll to their choosing, which is not how Tiggy works!) The MathHammers tell me you have a 75% chance of getting the power you want with Tigurius. Never seems to work that way, but that’s dice for you.

The other way to get Invisibility is through the FW character Sevrin Loth of the Red Scorpions Chapter Tactics. Loth CHOOSES three powers from Biomancy, Telekinesis, or Telepathy. You are guaranteed Invisibility with this character. He also has some other great features like being able to change his 2+ save into an invulnerable save by using a warp charge.

With these things combined, you have the Centurionstar. This unit, when things go right, has the chance to remove two units a turn from the table.  This is very potent, but not unstoppable by any means. Others may have different versions of it, but most have Centurions, Draigo, and other Librarian Support.

Warp Charges – The Engine of the Beast

The thing that feeds this beast are your Warp Charges. Most armies will have between 11-16 base warp charge dice and sometimes that isn’t enough. The key powers I was going for in many of my games were:

Invisibility – Warp Charge 2

Prescience – Warp Charge 2

Perfect Timing – Warp Charge 1

Gate of Infinity – Warp Charge 1

There are lots of guides out there to tell you how many dice to use to ensure getting off powers. I would typically put 5-9 dice into Invisibility, especially against another psychic heavy army. This doesn’t leave you with much left and to be honest, the chances of getting all four powers off was rather unlikely. I typically had to choose 2 to focus on in any given turn. Typically that was Invisibility and Gate, but other times Perfect Timing was the most important one to get. The important thing is to read each situation and prioritize the casting order.

SAM_4761This leads to another part of running the Centurionstar, WHEN to cast your powers. There can be a bit of a battle of wills between you and your opponent when it comes to casting powers. You may start out with that go to power, or save it until the end. Typically, I would go for buff powers first, then movement powers next. This was to insure that my star was not in the wrong place without any protections.

Getting enough dice to cast these powers is also a game within itself. Grey Knights generate warp charges with other units, and you may even want a second Librarian for more power. There are lots of ways to go about it, just make sure that the rest of your army can contribute in some way to meeting the mission requirements and are not just there to power the star.

Things to Watch Out For (Or Things that Kill the Centurionstar)

There are many things that can and will kill your Centurionstar if you are not careful. This list is taking into account that the Star is invisible.

  1. Blasts/Templates – with the ITC change to Invisibility, blasts and templates can now impact invisible units. Ion Riptides, Errant Knights, Leman Russes and other large blast or template wielding  units can certainly put a dent in the Star. They may scatter more with Blasts, but a well placed high AP blast marker can really do some damage to us. Spread out!
  2. Twin Linked/Weight of Fire – Just plain ol Buckets of Dice can really impact this unit. I played a practice game against Abuse Puppies torrent of doom, 105 mostly twin linked shots coming at me. He easily whittled down the star in no time.
  3. Positioning – A canny general will get his shots coming to your most valuable character, and they will often try not to make it Draigo. If they can take out the Sergeant (Split Fire), or Loth (2 Wounds), or the HQ Librarian (2 Wounds as well), they can drastically impact how effective the unit functions. I always try to put Draigo in a position to take the brunt and allow me to determine whom I Look Out Sir! wounds to.
  4. Vector Strikes/Sweep Attacks – Vector strikes from flyers and Sweeping Attacks from Chariots ignore the invisible nature of this unit as a whole. They can really do a number on the Star as most of these attacks will be AP2 and high strength. Then there are the other movement based attacks coming from units like Screamers, Reavers, and Mawlocs. All of these bypass our defenses and can really do a number on the Star. Isolate these threats and position yourself to minimize damage.
  5. Stomps – Super Heavy Walkers like Imperial Knights, Hierodules, and Stompas can really put a dent in the Star. If the Stomp rolls a 6 for its Stomp result than anything under the blast template will be removed from play with no save allowed! Watch out!
  6. Melee – Even though we are hard to hit, volumes of hits and rerolls can still put a lot of wounds on the Star. Any body we lose can dampen our power.
  7. Cullexus – This model can not only shut down the Star, but just about the entire army! Read over its rules and have a plan for when this thing shows up. Do NOT let it get within 12” of the Star of you will be sorry. It will prevent you from generating warp charges, casting powers, and will instakill psykers in close combat.
  8. Tesla (For now) – Necron Tesla Destructors get 2 extra hits on a 6 to hit, and often these players want to snap shoot or just try to get sixes. It’s not uncommon to be taking 8-11 wounds from an Annihilation Barge or Night Scythe that gets lucky. The math seems to work out that the number of hits from Tesla will be the same whether or not the unit is invisible or not! This may change when the new Necron Codex drops, but is something to keep in mind. You may want a different power facing an AV13 wall of Tesla Destructors. Endurance might be a better bet.


SAM_4764So that is the basics of what a Centurionstar really is. We’ve talked about the key models that make up the Star, the powers it needs to function and stay alive, as well as what to look out for when running the star (or alternatively, what you can put in your list to hurt the Star.)

In my opinion, the Centurionstar is not the OP end all be all unit in 40k. The nerfs in place and the other ways an opponent can impact this unit means it is not unstoppable or unkillable. Having been to a recent tournament and seen the types of lists out there, don’t worry about being “that guy” when taking this beast. It takes a lot of finesse to play correctly as you have a ton of points wrapped up and when they warp bites, it can bite hard. Have fun and enjoy the roller coaster that is the Centurionstar. Practice with it against a number of lists and learn when to cast what to fully maximize its potential.

About CaptainA

Aaron is a longtime gamer of many systems. He is an avid community builder of 40k and after running many 40k events in Portland, Oregon, has recently moved to Boise, Idaho and continues to host and run leagues and events. He has also recently expanded his repertoire and entered the second hand Warhammer business. Check out his website at to see how he can help you get rid off your old and unused models.

44 Responses to “Anatomy of a Centurionstar”

  1. Mantic Fan January 20, 2015 6:34 am #

    I don’t fault Captain A for taking the army, and I don’t want my comment to sound like I am. I have been out of 40k for 7th edition, but have recently started working on my Tau army again. It now occurs to me that this is playing a lot like Warmahordes. Compounding, stacking boosts to one unit to kill stuff.

    • CaptainA January 20, 2015 9:09 am #

      I think the cool thing is that this is just one way to play 40k. I played Paul McKelvey at TSHFT against his Tau and his list was super intricate with lots of mobility and relied on synergy from the list as a whole. There are a few other boosting units, Screamerstar/Seer Council, but also many more ways to play and win.

    • AbusePuppy January 20, 2015 9:12 am #

      It’s really an exception to the rule, though; Screamerstar, Seerstar, and Centstar are basically the only armies that do that sort of thing, and even for them it’s a plan with limited reliability and viability- you’re not guaranteed to get the powers you want in many cases, etc.

      • Reecius January 20, 2015 11:00 am #

        Yeah, the pysker-stars have certainly been toned down.

        • BBF January 20, 2015 4:46 pm #


  2. Betonkocka January 20, 2015 7:24 am #

    I recently also added a Blood Angels Sanguinary Priest with the Angel’s Wings relic to the Centurionstar. It gives Feel No Pain to the unit, and allows to re-roll the scatter on Deep Strikes. It is relatively cheap (60+25 points) and adds durability and reliability to the Star.

    • AbusePuppy January 20, 2015 9:15 am #

      It’s an idea, but given the additional cost (85 for the Libby, 55 for a minimum unit of Scouts) in an already-tight list I’m not sure it’s needed. Just Deep Strike at 13″ from the enemy and you can’t mishap and almost can’t be out of range. If you’re really desperate for something like that, run an Inquisitor with Servo-Skulls instead.

    • CaptainA January 20, 2015 9:35 am #

      The big problem for me is that most ITC events are doing the 2 Detachment thing. Blood Angels can’t get Centurions, or Gate, or even invisibility reliably. I’d love to be able to just shove a Priest in there though!

  3. Klr January 20, 2015 8:20 am #

    The centurionstar takes heavy points on support HQ. I dont think its worth it with only 3 cents. Four is the smallest number of cents IMO. And six is too many. I usually prefere 5.

    It would be nice if you said something about the rest of your list. There’s several ways to go; chapter master on bike for more tanking and he can leave the star. Two dreadknights etc.

    • CaptainA January 20, 2015 8:24 am #

      Thanks for the response. For me, 4 seems to be a sweet spot. That gives you 15 shots one way and 5 another.

      I left the rest of the list out as it has changed a lot and there are tons of ways to do the rest of your army to taste. Also, it was getting pretty long as is. 🙂

  4. Reecius January 20, 2015 9:20 am #

    Great article, CaptainA. It was very informative and gives readers way to play with and against the star.

    • CaptainA January 20, 2015 9:36 am #


      • Grimphister January 21, 2015 12:53 am #

        Excellent article. Question about using Loth’s 2++ for a warp charge. When do you declare the use of the warp charge? Is it after your first psychic phase or do you take away one charge from your warp charge pool?

        • CaptainA January 22, 2015 9:42 am #

          It seems to be written for 6th ed so FG guys said to do it at teh beginning of the psychic phase. Only way to seem you COULD do it in 7th ed now.

  5. Junior January 20, 2015 11:53 am #

    Centstar is pretty rad!!!

  6. Deuce11 January 20, 2015 12:13 pm #

    I guess i will keep inviting my Knight to the party… it has become a ‘must have’, safety net type unit for less than perfectly optimized lists like mine.

  7. iNcontroL January 20, 2015 12:42 pm #

    nice article! Centurionstar is still one of the scariest lists out there

    • BBF January 20, 2015 4:50 pm #

      You really think so Geoff – why do you think so ?

    • bigpig January 20, 2015 5:14 pm #

      Cents have forced me to start taking bubble wrap units. No other way to keep a dule alive

      • Reecius January 20, 2015 5:29 pm #

        Yeah, if this unit gets Perfect Timing, they can kill the Heirodule and a Flyrant on the first turn, it’s nuts.

        • bugsculptor January 20, 2015 6:02 pm #

          Yeah, best bet seems to be throwing all your blocking dice at one key power… blocking Gate is priceless.

          • AbusePuppy January 20, 2015 6:57 pm

            With as many dice as Tyranids typically have, they can fairly reliably shut down one power (either Gate or Perfect Timing), which generally means that the Centstar won’t get to maul them particularly badly on the first turn.

  8. jy2 January 20, 2015 12:50 pm #

    Thanks for sharing, CaptainA.

    Omigosh this deathstar would be bonkers if more than 2 detachments were allowed.

    BTW, another counter to this army would be another centurionstar. In a centstar-vs-centstar matchup, the one going first would have a humongous advantage.

    • CaptainA January 20, 2015 1:33 pm #

      Oh yeah, Alphastrikes are certainly one to look out for.

  9. Rob January 20, 2015 1:37 pm #

    How does the Star deal with a list like Green Tide where it seems we just play the misssion to win and all your high ap shots are wasted.

    • AbusePuppy January 20, 2015 2:54 pm #

      Green Tide hurts it a lot, but the inability to lock the Centstar in combat (due to Gate) and decent firepower from other sources (Dreadknights, Hurricane Bolters) mean that it’s not an automatic loss.

      • Joshua Taylor August 31, 2016 12:56 pm #

        it may not be as difficult to lock the cent star in combat as you may think. with an army like green tide that can have a massive board presence. The cent star its self has a pretty large footprint. I would not be surprised if a savvy ork player could make your gate very dangerous. were something like a 3-4 in scatter in any direction leads to a mishap, followed by possibly completely blocking the deep-strike from ongoing.

  10. Hotsauceman1 January 20, 2015 3:29 pm #

    What about common support units?
    what do you take to support them

    • CaptainA January 20, 2015 7:14 pm #

      Basically for the Space Marine side you can take it as a cad and do scouts, tacs, and even throw in a thunderfire.

      For the Grey Knights, whatever can get more warp charges and can kill things, typically at least two dreadknights with hammer/hvy psycannon and incinerators if you can afford them. Basic Strikes have seemed to work the best as they can deep strike onto maelstrom objectives and generate more warp charges. I love my terminators but they always seem to die in droves to even the smallest of arms.

      • Hotsauceman1 January 20, 2015 7:25 pm #

        Wait, how do you do a cad for sm? Drago is a lord of war and that slot is only in g knight cad. How in itc format can you do that. I thought you can only have one detachment

        • CaptainA January 20, 2015 9:01 pm #

          Nemesis Strike Force

          • Hotsauceman1 January 20, 2015 10:02 pm

            Awesome, now I need to convert some tactical marines into strike squads. Maybe just some swords

  11. CaptainBadtouch January 20, 2015 4:17 pm #

    Lots of sweet info here. I’ve been podding 3 Cents and Tiggy with my Wolfy Allies list. It’s done well so far, but I don’t live in a competitive area (no matter what they tell you.) Adding Draigo would give me a reason to do my “Fine Ass Warp Dust” Grey Knights that I always wanted to do. Terminators with unicorn heads, anyone?

  12. Hotsauceman1 January 20, 2015 4:26 pm #

    ScScrew it , I can convert some from termies and get the codex offline

  13. bigpig January 20, 2015 5:17 pm #

    Good write up. Nicely done

  14. Marius Xerxes January 20, 2015 6:34 pm #

    Not a comment on the army, but I’ve been out of the big event scene for a few years. Did LVO overtake Adepticon and NOVA to be the largest 40k tournament now?

    • Reecius January 20, 2015 6:58 pm #

      In terms of attendance for a championships singles event? Yes. For overall 40k player attendance, Adepticon is still the biggest. I think they pull like 400-500 total 40 players, LVO this year will have just under 400.

      • Marius Xerxes January 20, 2015 8:06 pm #

        Wow congrats guys! Says a lot your able to pull that many in for 1 singles event. I didn’t think there were that many 40k players left for that style event.

      • Marius Xerxes January 20, 2015 8:08 pm #

        To clarify.. That many left with the ability to travel etc.

        • AbusePuppy January 21, 2015 3:59 am #

          Despite what many people think, 40K is not dying.

  15. Dash2021 January 20, 2015 8:27 pm #

    Eldar/DE have pretty good cent star counters. Reavers and pinpoint Dragons/Wraiths do a number on these bad boys. HoW ignores invis, and with the changes to invis D-sythes dropping beside them is pretty well a hard counter. I don’t see D-sythes used that often, but reavers and DS’ng Fire Dragons are pretty standard.

  16. Hotsauceman1 January 21, 2015 12:02 pm #

    Anyway to do this W/O DreadKnights?
    I dont want to run those

    • CaptainA January 21, 2015 1:23 pm #

      Really whatever you want, you just need to make sure you have enough warp charges. I’d probably either go Nemesis Strike for GK and keep it slim, but maybe add a second Librarian for more charges and go heavy SM, or try to find the nuggets in GK. Storm Ravens, Terminators, Dreadknights, maybe purifiers would be my guess.

  17. fluger January 27, 2015 4:16 pm #

    I’m sorry I didn’t comment before. You are the wind beneath my online gaming wings, Aaron.

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