Ultramarines Review: The Lord of War Marneus Calgar


I have heard enough about “Blue Scars” and have decided to show the world what the boys in blue can do with all the tools available to them! For more great articles visit the Tactics Corner.

First up today we have the big daddy himself, the Lord of Macragge, Marneus Calgar. In the fluff he is the noble and wise leader of the Ultramarines, and has lead the people of Ultramar through one disaster after another and is in part, the reason why Ultramar is the prime tourist destination in the 41st millenium. Guilliman would be proud.


Using Marneus Calgar in your army is not cheap. Standing at a whopping 275 points big ol’ papa smurf is someone you MUST build your army around. Due to his large ego, and insatiable desire for Tactical Squads to buff he also does not work well with other expensive independant characters (sorry deathstars). If you love force multiplication and lots of marines in Rhinos, Calgar is the man for you.


  • Power Sword (I swear there is a use for this!)
  • Frag/Krak Grenades
  • Iron Halo
  • Orbital Strike
  • The Armor Antilochus: For 10 points you can grab him a suit of terminator armor that replaces your grenades, does not prevent sweeping advances, and comes with a teleport homer for terminator deep strike shenanigans!
  • The Gauntlets of Ultramar: Two power fists that swing at initiative, are NOT specialist weapons, and can be combined to fire an assault 2 strength 4 ap 2 storm bolter round!


Special Rules

  • And They Shall Know No Fear
  • Chapter Tactics (Ultramarines)
  • Eternal Warrior
  • Independant Character
  • God of War: Instead of rolling for 3 space marine warlord traits and picking one, it just now lets you pick the one you want.
  • Master Tactician: If Calgar is your warlord you may choose to enact a single combat doctrine of any type once per game. This affects all Ultramarines models in your army (Note it does not actually specify that the models have to have the chapter tactics special rule)


Tactics: There are two very important things to note about Calgar’s kit before you decide to use him in an army. The first, is that he is actually not as durable as you would expect. He is still only toughness 4 with a 4++ and only eternal warrior to protect him from being instant killed. The second, is that he is very good at getting into close combat and winning in a pinch. He can not truly stand up to any other beatstick close combat monsters in the game and with his durability, and price tag you really don’t want him dying in a challenge to Abaddon, or just about any other roided out Khorne model.

Calgar’s main strengths are in his ability to make the units around you better. You need to capitalize on his ability to get you any warlord trait in the space marine book, and build your army around that. I prefer personally Storm of Fire for the ability to give a unit rending every turn, Imperium’s sword for 6 strength 10 initiative 5 power fist attacks on the charge, and Rites of War, because giving every marine in your Gladius Strike Force leadership 10 is under rated and Calgar is the best model with access to guarunteed Rites of War (sorry Cato, and Grimaldus).


Since Calgar already provides an extra doctrine, and Ultramarines come with a single one of each you essentially always have the buffs of a Gladius Strike Force, without the auxiliary taxes and useless free transports (A true Ultramarine only needs courage and honor to defeat his enemies!). I also think that taking Ultramarines in a Gladius is redundant since that gives you 7 full turns of doctrines and realistically you only need them on 3-4 turns.

Everything about Calgar screams threat overload and that is exactly the kind of army you need to put him in. Something along the lines of a CAD containing obsec tactical squads in drop pods with various special weapons, some devastator centurions in an empty fast attack pod, a 1st company task force to take advantage of all those rerolls and possibly the storm of fire warlord trait, (Sternguard with rending ignores cover eh John?), and maybe a skyhammer annihilation force to lock down key shooting units. What these three detachments give you is a versatility that is unmatched by any other space marine chapter. You have access to grav, mobility, alpha strikes, melta, null-deploying, obsec, MSU, and so much more. Calgar ties the entire army together with a consistent 3 turns of rerollable shooting as well as a warlord trait tailored to help you kill certain threats or achieve a goal. It certainly isn’t easy finding the perfect combination of wargear and model count to fit your playstyle but remember, you are working with a futuristic god of war, the least you could do is crack open a book and pretend to read some rules while you look at pretty pictures.


Quick Tips

  • His terminator armor allows him to fire his orbital bombardment and move, however he loses frag grenades, so will only be able to swing at initiative one with his sword
  • You can actually use his power sword instead of his fists if you don’t want to win combat that turn. This is an option many khorne players wish they had because sometimes getting yourself tied up in combat can prevent you from getting shot
  • Though I don’t think it is intended that way, RAW you could use his single chapter tactic on a pivotal turn to give drop pods, forgeworld vehicles, and other random space marine goodies a reroll of 1 to hit.
  • Without terminator armor you can fit him into a devastator centurion squad in a drop pod and still be able to shoot with his orbital bombardment due to slow and purposeful and “twin-link” it if you use the devastator doctrine! Value!
  • If you roll on the strategic warlord trait table and get Calgar infilitrate you can infiltrate him and then run a Nemesis Strike Force grey knights detachment to have a squad of grey knights terminators, paladins, or even Draigo potentially come on the board turn 1 deep strike within 6′ of Calgar (provided he bought his armor with the teleport homer in it) without scattering, and you now have a potent deathstar that you infiltrated onto the board.


Are you looking to start an Ultramarines army of your own? I purchased a lot of my Ultramarine models secondhand for dirt cheap and have usually found that everyone knows how to paint a basic, quality level Ultramarine scheme. Check out our store! I think there is still some Ultramarine themed Skyhammer units left.



About Petey Pab

Aspiring 40k analyst, tournament reporter and Ultramarines enthusiast, Petey Pab only seeks to gather more knowledge about the game of 40k and share it with as many people as he can in order to unite both hobbyists and gamers. We are, after all, two sides of the same coin.

13 Responses to “Ultramarines Review: The Lord of War Marneus Calgar”

  1. Akorndr2 June 26, 2016 5:34 am

    How would this list look like, would honour guard be a interesting choice

    • Petey Pab
      Petey Pab June 26, 2016 8:26 pm

      I personally love honor guard! But I think Pedro Cantor does them better because his banner plus the banner they can buy gives them an extra two attacks! Also they all have two close combat weapons and come with 2 bases by default…. Which means on the charge you have 6 power weapon attacks mixed in whatever fashion you want. If you really do want to use them with Calgar I always run 7 in a pod, with Calgar in termie armor, and Tigurius fishing for invis for some defense.

  2. Adam June 26, 2016 8:27 am

    What are “Blue Scars?”

    • Mythic June 26, 2016 10:18 am

      Blue Scars are the result of a player building a beautiful army of Ultramarines with filled with love and pride then finding out that the bikes he collected and painted are all but unable to use the chapter tactics of his beloved army. This player will then glance next door at his friends the White Scars and see that their bikes are freaking amazing and so he slips out one night before a tournament and steals their chapter tactics and plays as White Scars only painted blue. Hence Blue Scars.

      TLDR: White Scars painted in ultramarine colors. /cry

    • Dakkath June 26, 2016 1:47 pm

      When the guy who has an Ultrasmurf army is sad that now White Scars are the best so he uses them as counts-as instead of repainting them all. Which would be annoying and tedious, admittedly.

      • AngryPanda June 26, 2016 5:29 pm

        For a good while we lived in the age of the “All-Scars” anyway didn’t we? Or should we just call them Rainbow Scars since they come in all colors?

        • Dakkath June 26, 2016 8:06 pm

          Well back in 5th I believe if marines weren’t gray or hairy they were all counts-as ultrasmurfs. That was only what, 3 years ago?

          • punchymango June 28, 2016 3:48 pm

            Nah, 5th was the Era of Salamanders of many, many colors. Everyone was counts-as salamanders.

  3. Mythic June 26, 2016 10:14 am

    Now we are talking about a character near and dear to my heart! Calgar has been my favorite model since 3ed edition and he has had some sever ups and downs. So cool to see your reviewing him thanks Petey!

    The power sword has been dropping in usefulness quickly for 3 generations and is now little more than a hold over. In 5th it was a power weapon so no one was getting a save and you could either choose speed with the sword or strength with the fists. Then in 6th it was handy if you really needed to swing before I4 and everyone else forgot he could do that. Now like you said only use it if you want to me less effective in combat.

    Also I find that I generally prefer to have him in his termie armor as you are not all ways in a cent squad when you want to bring the bomb down and this is the marine dex SOMEONE in your squad will have grenades 🙂 even if its only Tiggy

    • Petey Pab
      Petey Pab June 26, 2016 8:22 pm

      Sadly, frag grenades are on a model by model basis, which means that he will do his best genestealer impression when charging through terrain.

      • Mythic June 27, 2016 2:02 pm

        Err whoops o.O maybe played that wrong once or twice

  4. Kartr_Kana June 28, 2016 1:32 am

    Don’t the Doctrines themselves say who can/cannot use them? Making the fact that Calgars extra doctrine not specifying moot? Plus if his rule says “all Ultramarines models” then that specifically restricts it to models with Chapter Tactics Ultramarines as per the Codex when a role refers “‘Chapter X’ models” it is specifically referring to only models with the Chapter Tactics special rule, which vehicles do not have.

    • Petey Pab
      PeteyPab June 28, 2016 12:39 pm

      Yeah, maybe you’re right. However GW is giving us less and less reasons to run him with each edition! I had to grasp at straws a little to defend my home boy. That’s what a good wingman does right?