Hi everyone, Michael here with a review of the spiritual leader of the Space Marine Chapter, the Chaplain. For more reviews and analyses, check out the Tactics Corner.
The Chaplain is a Space Marine character whose primary role is to buff combat units, thanks to his re-roll bubble in the Fight phase. He also provides some nice morale buffs to nearby units and can actually be useful in combat thanks to his re-rolls. While he may not have the generic utility of the Captain, he is still a reasonable addition to add to a Space Marine army, especially if you are going to focus on a combat-heavy force. The Chaplain costs 72 points base.
- Crozius Arcanum- strength +1, AP-1, damage 2.
- Bolt Pistol
- Frag and Krak Grenades
- May replace his Bolt pistol with a Boltgun, Power Fist or an item from the Pistols or Combi-weapons list.
- May take a Jump Pack
- The Chaplain in Terminator Armour comes with a Crozius Arcanum and Storm Bolter. He may replace the Storm Bolter with an item from the Terminator Combi-weapons list.
- And They Shall Know No Fear
- Litanies of Hate- You can re-roll failed To Hit rolls in the Fight phase for friendly <Chapter> units within 6″.
- Spiritual Leaders- All friendly <Chapter> units within 6″ may use the Chaplain’s Leadership instead of their own.
- Rosarius- Chaplain has a 4+ invulnerable save.
- Jump Pack Assault- If equipped with a Jump Pack, may be set up in reserve. At the end of any of your movement phases, he can be set up anywhere on the battlefield at least 9″ from enemy models.
- Teleport Strike- If equipped with Terminator Armour, may be set up in reserve. At the end of any of your movement phases, he can be set up anywhere on the battlefield at least 9″ from enemy models.
The Chaplain has the standard statline for a Space Marine character. This means he has a Marine profile, but with WS 2+, four wounds, three attacks and Ld 9. This gives him a reasonable level of durability and combat potential.
His durability is greatly boosted by the Rosarius save, giving him a chance of surviving attacks from the most powerful weapons on the battlefield. Being a character also gives him a nice boost, as you want to keep some form of screening unit between him and the enemy to ensure that he cannot be targeted too easily.
He has some decent combat potential as well thanks to his wargear and buffs. He has 3 attacks base, hitting on a 2+ re-rollable, so will be getting three hits most of the time in combat. With the Crozius Arcanum, you will be wounding most infantry on a 3+, getting -1AP and 2 damage each. This is great for weakly armoured, multi-wound models. He can also be quite useful for taking out Bike models. He will be wounding them on a 4+ and killing most outright thanks to 2 damage with each wound. The only issue is the -1AP, so they may still be getting a decent save in many cases. I would be inclined to arm him with a Power Fist as well. This allows him to take on bigger threats or wound infantry more easily. Even though it is -1 to hit, you are still hitting on a 3+ and re-rolling 1’s to hit, giving you a good chance of scoring three hits each turn. Arming the Chaplain with the Power Fist allows you to go after vehicles, monsters or other characters, as well as allowing him to wound most standard Infantry on a 3+.
The real strength of the Chaplain and why you will want to take him when you do, is the buffs that he provides to nearby units. Obviously, he will greatly benefit any close combat-centred unit thanks to the Litanies of Hate special rule. This allows you to re-roll failed To Hit rolls in the Fight Phase. As such, the Chaplain should be used to support a close combat unit or units, greatly increasing their damage output in the fight phase.
I find the Chaplain to be a great support for a unit of Vanguard Veterans. He can be equipped with a Jump Pack in order to deploy with them or keep up with them on the tabletop. My favourite load outs for the Vanguard Veterans are either dual Chainswords or Dual Lightning Claws.
The dual Chainsword option gives a unit of Vanguard Veterans up to 40 attacks. With the re-rolls granted by the Chaplain, this will give them roughly 6 unsaved wounds against Marine equivalents, and roughly 16 wounds against Guardsmen equivalents. This makes the unit very useful for making a dent in a screening unit or clearing a small squad off of an objective.
The dual Lightning Claws option, though expensive, really boosts the damage output of the Vanguard Veterans, as they will be getting re-rolls to Hit and to Wound from the Chaplain and the Claws. This means a unit of 10 (assuming all can attack) will be doing roughly 14 unsaved wounds against Marine equivalents and around 24 unsaved wounds against Guardsmen equivalents in a single round of combat. Add in the attacks from the Chaplain, as well as your previous shooting phase, as this unit will make a mess of almost any screening unit in combat.
The Chaplain can also be a great buffing unit for other close combat units such as Centurion Assault Squads or Ironclad Dreadnoughts. These are quite expensive units to field, so boosting their combat potential every turn is key to getting the most out of your investment.
The one drawback that I have found with the Chaplain and Vanguard Veteran combo is the risk that you fail an assault. There have been several games where I had deployed a Vanguard unit and Chaplain next to the unit I wish to assault and failed both charges. This generally leaves both units open to severe retribution and they can be quickly wiped out in your opponent’s turn without having achieved much. You always want to have a spare command point on hand in order to re-roll one of your charge dice and hopefully get a successful charge off.
When using this combination, always charge with the combat unit first. This means if they fail the charge, you can decide not to go in with the Chaplain and leave him in combat unsupported, where mass of attacks can be enough to kill him. Equally, when moving the combat unit in to charge, make sure you leave at least one model within the 6″ re-roll bubble of the Chaplain to ensure that you benefit from the Fight phase re-rolls if the Chaplain fails the charge.
The Chaplain can also be equipped with Terminator armour if you wish. This takes his cost up to 117 points, an extra 45 points on top of the bare bones Chaplain and 25 points more than a Chaplain with a Jump Pack (EDIT- As has been pointed out below, the Chaplain in Terminator Armour now costs 102 pts, thanks to the reduction in Chapter Approved 2017). He does gain the benefit of an extra wound and a 2+ armour save, but that seems like a pretty expensive cost just for these bonuses. The Chaplain with a Power Fist and Jump Pack will set you back 102 pts, which can be expensive for what he brings to the table. If you plan to use him in this way, he is most efficient when supporting multiple combat units and launching a co-ordinated assault on the enemy army, maximising the number of units that can utilise his re-rolls in a turn.
Don’t forget, the Chaplain also offers a nice morale boost to nearby units. Leadership 9 with ATSKNF means that a 5-man squad of Marines needs to lose 4 models before they take a morale test, and even then you have a 1 in 36 chance of losing the last member to a failed morale test.
Given his role in the army, the Chaplain is a great addition to a Black Templars force. The re-rolls to charge rolls granted by the Chapter Tactic is great for ensuring that the Chaplain and unit he is supporting can make it into combat. In addition, the Relic The Crusader’s Helm is a great one to give the Chaplain. This boost the range of his abilities to 9″. This means you can potentially get a number of units in his re-roll to hit bubble in combat, which can be a huge boost to many of your units, especially if they are armed for combat.
The Chaplain can be a great support character if you are planning to go with a combat-orientated Space Marine army, or wish to have a couple of mobile and hard hitting units in your force to go neutralise enemy threats. He is reasonably cheap and offers some really nice buffs for the right units if you build a small section of your force around him.
The only issue is that he will compete with the Captain for a similar role in the army, and doesn’t quite match up to the utility of the Captain. The Captain offers re-rolls of 1’s to hit in shooting and assault, as well as having additional attacks and wounds. He can equally support an assault unit, allowing them to re-roll roughly half their misses in the fight phase, as well as dealing some potent damage on his own in combat.
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