Switch Theme:

Add a New Article

Recent Changes
Your Watchlist
All Articles

View a Random Article
Upload a File

Images Tutorial
Editing Tutorial
Articles Tutorial

Tactica Astartes 5E - HQ

Captain/Chapter Master

Novamarines Captain by Cvife


Captains have changed a bit since their last incarnation in the previous marine codex. They no longer give leadership bonuses to the rest of the army, which is a bummer, but a stat bump and extensive list of deadly wargear upgrades means they are even more fearsome in close combat than before, making them ideal speartips. Captains mounted on bikes can make bike squads troops, and trait not shared by Chapter Masters.


A standard Captain comes with a chainsword, bolt pistol and both types of grenades. You’ve got a long list of excellent choices to trade these weapons out for, if you wish to do so.

Exchange Bolt Pistol and/or Chainsword with:

Boltgun: The advantage a bolter has over a bolt pistol is the extra shot up close and the single long range shot if you’ve stayed still that turn. It’s vital to remember that you can’t assault after shooting a rapid fire weapon, so one really has to question whether or not the extra shot is worth it. Considering that your Captain will likely be facing off against other cc-specialists in which getting the charge off can mean life or death against, and you’ll realize that the tactical flexibility simply isn’t worth it. This is a bad choice.

Storm Bolter: An excellent weapon that costs next to nothing. With the same range as a regular bolter, the ability to fire twice at any distance and movement, and the option to assault even after firing it, there really isn’t a reason to not take this weapon.

Combi-Weapon: Ignore the bolter half of this weapon, you’re taking this to get access to all the good assault weapons that are frustratingly denied to your captain. You only get one shot, but at BS5 you’ve got good odds of landing a hit.

-Flamer: Negates your rare BS5 completely, but can mean the difference between surviving that ‘gaunt swarm headed your way. As brilliant as your captain is in close combat, he’s only one model and will be dragged down by massed numbers.

-Plasma: As a rapid fire weapon, you get one pair of shots over the normal one, which alleviates some of the pressure of making that hit. With S7 it can melt a light vehicle/flank or burn a wound off an MC, but there is some risk involved with Gets Hot!

-Melta: I consider the melta gun a weapon of opportunity first and foremost, as one melta shot isn’t going to be enough to take down a tank when it counts. This weapon will burn straight through transports however, and you can ID your opponent’s characters for giggles when the opportunity presents itself.

Storm Shield: Storm shields got crazy good with this codex. While they won’t save your Captain from Instant Death, a 3+ invulnerable save will add a lot of survivability to him, as well as adding a cool knight theme to your model.

Power Sword: Ignores amour saves. This weapon is almost a compulsory choice, given that half the opponents your captain will face are going to be other marines or heavily armored cc-specialists. When paired with a pistol or other close combat weapon you get another attack, which is always nice.

Lightning Claw: These are power weapons that-roll all your failed wound rolls. Combined with the Captain’s impressive WS of 6, you’ll be getting a lot of kills in assault. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to get the bonus attack for having an additional cc weapon/pistol unless you take two of these. Still, the loss of the bonus attack isn’t really so much an issue if you already traded your pistol out for a real gun anyways.

Plasma Pistol: I like plasma weapons. They look cool and fill a niche between anti-tank and anti-infantry in a tight spot. It counts as an extra cc weapon too. The pistol has good points going for it, but can lead to some humiliating deaths for those that push their luck too much with Gets Hot!. This combined with the rather high cost means you’re generally better off picking something else.

Power Fist: These weapons double your Strength to 8 at the cost of a heavy penalty to Initiative. If you’re scared of vehicles, love ID-ing enemy characters or play Crimson Fists, then this is the choice for you. Still, the thunder hammer does all this and more for only a slight increase in cost.

Relic Blade: My favorite option in this entire list. Though it costs as much as a thunder hammer, the Relic Blade bumps you up to S6 without any penalty to Initiative and ignores amour saves. This makes your Captain a formidable opponent in cc, and even makes him a threat to light vehicles if he can hit their flanks.

Thunder Hammer: These things absolutely ruin vehicles. For a measly five more points than a power fist you get a fist that can also shake vehicles and bring infantry down to your own heavily handicapped level of Initiative.

Replace Power Armor with:

Artificer Armor: Upgrades your armour save. It won’t protect you from ID, but the cost is very reasonable and amount of survivability it adds makes this a near mandatory upgrade.

Replace Power Armor, Bolt Pistol, Chainsword, Frag and Krak Grenades with:

Terminator armor with Storm Bolter and Power Sword: Leave this in the Chapter Vault. Artificer armor gets you the same save for half the cost, you come standard with an identical invulnerable save, a jump pack is cheaper for deepstrking, and “Relentless” does nothing for a model that can’t take heavy weapons. To top it all off, you’ve lost your grenades too!

Replace Terminator armor’s Storm Bolter with:

Combi-weapon: Same rules apply for the power-armored version, save that “Relentless” lets you fire your boltgun as though you were stationary.

Lightning Claw: Same rules apply for the power-armored version. The benefits of paired claws are covered a bit ahead, but pairing this with a storm shield can put your captain at the head of a squad of hammer-and-shield terminators riding in a land raider, helping balance out the squad’s low initiative without losing survivability.

Thunder Hammer: Same rules apply for the power-armored version. Pairing a hammer with the power sword gives you the choice of attacking at S4 I5 or S8 I1 with the hammer’s rules, which can add some flexibility for a high cost.

Replace Terminator armor’s Power Sword with:

Lightning Claw: Same rules apply for the power armored version. Slightly better than trading the storm bolter in as its cheaper and you at least get to keep a ranged attack for when you need it (though if you’ve gone through the trouble of buying terminator armor, your not going to be doing much shooting where this captain is going). Pairing this with another lightning claw is the only way to get an extra attack with the weapon, allowing you to make the most of that ability to re-roll wounds.

Power Fist: If you’re trying to get your captain to blend in with a squad of tactical terminators then this is the choice for you, but for only five more points you get all the benefits that come with taking a thunder hammer.

Storm Shield: A storm shield allows you to put your terminator captain in harms way without having to worry so much about you investments going to waste. It still doesn’t protect against Instant Death, but the survivability it adds is usually worth it.

Thunder Hammer: Like with the lightning claw, you can actually pair these for an extra attack. It only takes one wound to shake a squad and vehicles aren’t that hard to tackle with one hammer, so the worth of that extra attack is up to you.

Chainfist: The chainfist is sort the spiritual rival of the thunder hammer, but it loses out in that while it can rip through vehicles, it doesn’t have the thunder hammer’s ability to “shake” enemy models (note that “models” includes MCs!). While a power fist with a chainsword attached to it looks pretty cool, rules-wise it doesn’t compete well enough with the hammer to warrant costing the same.

If Terminator Armor is not taken:

Jump Pack: With everyone getting the ability to run in 5ed, the jump pack has lost some of the appeal it once had. It still does give you an ability to deepstrike that’s cheaper than terminator armor, but remember that this isn’t true deepstriking; teleport homers won’t work with it.

Bike: Expensive, but actually very good. Taking this increases your Captain’s survivability, adds more flexibility, and allows access to one of the more feared army lists in 40K: Biker SM.


Melta Bombs: Essential if you haven’t taken fists, hammers or a combi-melta given the amount of mech going on in the metagame right now. A character without this upgrade is guaranteed dead if he gets tied up with a walker.

Digital Weapons: Returned from the godawful Rouge Trader days, or so I’m told. Digi Weapons allow you to re-roll a single failed to-wound in cc. This upgrade is pointless if you took a claw, and if you’re worried enough about failing wounds to shell out the points for this wargear, you might as well just take a claw.

Hellfire Rounds: This upgrade seems like it’d be a no-brainer given how absolutely deadly it becomes when paired with a storm bolter…except when you look at it’s entry in the wargear section you realize it can only be fired with the rapid fire weapon type. Hellfire rounds bump the boltgun up from bad to ok, but the cost is a bit on the high end considering the limited capabilities the bolter has in the hands of a cc-specialist.

Auxiliary Grenade Launcher: Another Rouge Trader item. An interesting weapon, and not all that terrible. Though the attack itself isn’t really impressive, you can actually fire it in addition to another shooting weapon, giving it good synergy with pistols and flamers.

Orbital Bombardment: Since Chapter Masters are identical to Captains save for this ability, this might as well be counted as an upgrade. Once per game, you can fire a S10 AP1 barrage anywhere on map. If you’ve got really good dice this can have its moments (I once destroyed a Land Raider on turn one; it was so cash).

Honor Guard

Red Hunters Honor Guard by Fireball


Honor Guard weren’t as fortunate as the command squad to be both good for modeling and for gaming. That’s not to say they don’t have their moments, but don’t expect to see many of these outside of an apocalypse game. As cool as these guys are, I can’t call them a competitive choice.


For the exact same cost as a regular command squad, you get three guys each armed with a power weapon, artificer amour, frag and krak grenades, a boltgun and a bolt pistol. Coming standard with artificer amour isn’t so great when you realize that without some sort of an invulnerable save, these guys are still going to have to watch out for those plasma guns, Howling Banshees and such; MEQ-hunters that typically ignore 3+ armor saves anyways.

Looking at the entry, we see that almost all the options are for the Champion alone. The Chapter Champion, the best duelist in the entire Chapter, gets a bump in WS and an additional base attack over his fellow Honor Guardians. The crux of this entry is his “Honor or Death” special rule, which allows him to direct all of his attacks against an enemy IC with re-rolls on failed hits and wounds against them. This is pretty significant, as it means your Champion and his retinue (let’s face it, the Champion is the star of this entry) has a reasonable chance on taking down an enemy commander (bar a Hive Tyrant or similar beast, of course) on their own.

Replace the Chapter Champion’s Boltgun with:

Combat Blade: Don’t do this. Sure, it’s free, but the champion already has a pistol on hand for an extra attack. Trading out your bolter just takes away your option for ranged combat, as average as it is.

Replace Champion’s power weapon with:

Thunder Hammer: The thunder hammer’s ability to “shake” enemy infantry makes this an attractive choice, as it lowers the risk of retaliatory strikes against your expensive Honor Guard and increases your chance for a successful sweeping advance. It’s also the only way to give this unit some defense against armored units in a pinch.

The Chapter Champion may take:

Digital Weapons: If you didn’t give your Champion a thunder hammer or relic blade then this option is worth considering. Otherwise, it’s too expensive a choice for an already expensive unit.


Relic Blade: Relic blades cost as much as the Champion’s thunder hammer. On one hand, they are a way to make the most of the squad’s good amount of attacks. On the other though, for almost the cost of two relic blades you could buy a whole another Honor Guard. If you have the points available, then a few relic blades with a banner can add a lot of punch to this unit.

Auxiliary Grenade Launcher: While an option to consider on maybe a couple of Honor Guard in case you somehow come across a light infantry horde, against the Honor Guard’s intended target (other marines), this option is pretty useless.

One Honor Guard may carry the:

Chapter Banner: A choice that gets better the larger the Honor Guard squad, having a banner makes this unit an actually ok choice. The additional attack, coupled with a charge, can make this unit a terrifying force on the battlefield.

Command Squad

Ultramarines Command Squad by lipsdapips


One of my favorite units in the codex. Command squads have for the most part achieved a balance between excellent modeling and gaming potential. The different combinations of wargear this unit allows is mind bottling.


Everyone in the squad gets grenades, either a boltgun or bolt pistol, and a chainsword. The fifth guy in the squad is an Apothecary who gives the squad “Feel No Pain”. Its important to know that the Command Squad entry only specifies Veterans as being able to take wargear upgrades until we reach the bike option, where it makes a point to include the Apothecary. This means that save for the bike, the Apothecary cannot receive any changes to his wargear.

One Veteran may:

Carry the Company Standard: No doubt intended for a close-combat spearhead unit. The banner has a morale-boosting aura and adds an additional wound to the assault result. While Marine leadership is usually quite reliable, an additional scored wound can help this small unit keep from being overwhelmed by superior numbers.

Become the Company Champion: Trades a Veteran out for the Company Champion. Don’t mind the low ++ save on the combat shield, the stat bump you get is worth it. Ideal for a close-combat oriented squad, but also useful in a ranged command squad, albeit at the cost of a gun.

The entire squad may:

Ride bikes: The Space Marine deathstar unit. The added speed and durability from the bike plus “Feel No Pain” from the Apothecary makes this the toughest infantry unit in the codex. Combine further with a storm shield and enjoy being as close to unkillable as a Space Marine can get. Beware of escalating points costs, though.

Any Veteran may trade his chainsword and/or bolt pistol for:

Storm Bolter: Command squads are expensive, but these aren’t. A squad with four of these can run around the board putting out a volume of fire rivaling squads twice their size.

Flamer: A single flamer is a useful tool. Two flamers is a force multiplier. Four flamers turn your five men into a squad that can decimate hordes and put the scare into enemy marines. A four-flamer squad takes a lot of daring to play due to template range putting you in range for counter-assaults.

Meltagun: A unit of four is walking death to vehicles, but as long as you’re just walking those vehicles can easily avoid you. With short range and only one shot each per turn, this weapon isn’t a good choice for a command squad that will be mostly shooting. Take a pair to round your squad out against vehicles and MCs if you have the points.

Combi-weapon: They’re alright, but I’d rather take a real assault weapon now that I have the chance.

Plasma Gun: “Feel No Pain” greatly minimizes the risk of death by exploding gun, making this an attractive option. Melts even artificer/terminator armour and can damage vehicles if you’re lucky enough. If you can afford it, a squad of four rapid firing means eight plasma shots, scary to be on the receiving end of regardless of what army you play.

Power Sword: Outfitting the whole squad will cost sixty points, but combined with a pistol gives you three attacks base from four guys. That’s pretty impressive damage output potential for such a small unit.

Lightning Claw: Trades to power sword’s quantity for quality. The ability to re-roll failed wounds means you can feel somewhat safer taking on large squads with this unit

Powerfist: If you’re willing to spend the points for one or more of these, spend five more for a thunder hammer instead. Better yet, save points and buy the squad melta bombs instead if your worried about tanks.

Thunder Hammer: Expensive. I’d never take more than two. Good for hunting tanks and MCs, but other units can do that for cheaper.

Any Veteran may trade his bolt pistol for:

Plasma Pistol: Intended as an opportunity to add firepower to a cc squad, this is still just too expensive for me to recommend. Even without the risk of Gets Hot!, this barely qualifies as an ok choice.


Melta Bombs: A command squad is too much a heavy investment to risk getting annihilated by a walker. Take these.

Storm Shield: Adds a lot of survivability to the model equipped with one, but rather expensive.


Storm Eagles Librarian by GrimTeef

Very Competitive

Librarians went from risky points sinks to the most point-efficient and versatile HQ unit in the codex.


Librarians come with a boltgun, bolt pistol, a force weapon, psychic hood and grenades, as well as two psychic powers. Already you’ve got a pretty formidable model, and it only gets better from there.


Storm Bolter: Cost next to nothing, but if you’re shooting this, you aren’t shooting psychic powers. Pass.

Combi-Weapon: If you haven’t taken a anti-vehicle power then the -melta is sort of an ok choice. Still, I’d rather save the points and take a power I can try and fire off every turn than a gun I can shoot once.

Plasma Pistol: See storm bolter, add points cost and chance to wound self.

Epsitolary: Expensive, but the ability to use two powers per turn is well worth it if you can afford it.

Replace Power Armour, Bolter, Frag and Krak Grenades for:

Terminator Armour and nothing: A good choice, as the ++ save works for Perils of the Warp attacks as well as improving your survivability.

Terminator Armour and Storm Bolter: Again, if you’re shooting this, you aren’t firing off your psychic powers. Why spend the points?

Terminator Armour and Storm Shield: An excellent choice, as the 3++ save protects you against Perils as well as enemy attentions. Despite the cost, if you’re taking terminator armour you should get this as well.

If Terminator armour is not chosen:

Bike: That it doesn’t improve your invulnerable save at all already makes it worse than terminator armour. On the other hand, “relentless” gives it some interesting synergy with the vortex of doom psychic power.

Jump Pack: With powers like the quickening and the ability to run, there really isn’t a whole lot going for the jump pack.

Psychic Powers:

Here’s where things get really fun. Librarian powers are all free and almost all are good, but you can only take a maximum of two, so you’ll have to choose carefully.

Smite: Short ranged and fired with an average BS skill, but with a good amount of shots and an AP of 2. An ok choice if you’re going for an all-rounder Librarian.

Force Dome: A situational a power. It’s not going to save you from a battle cannon better than 5thEd’s extremely plentiful cover saves will, and it competes with much more versatile options.

Machine Curse: Inflicts an automatic glance hit on a vehicle. However, vehicles got pretty tough in this addition, so there’s a good chance this won’t manage to do anything major.

The Avenger: Who doesn’t love AP3 templates? You need to get close and have some skill/luck to make the most of the flamer template, but at S5 this is an attractive choice.

The Quickening: Gives you “fleet” and I10 for the turn. You’d have to be mad to try and use your Librarian as a cc sledgehammer like a Chaplain or Captain, but when combined with MotA you can count on an Epistolary to win a few assaults.

Null Zone: I personally find this power too situational to be worth it, but almost everyone else recommends it. Daemon players will hate you for taking this, and even Assault Terminators will tread a little more carefully around a Librarian with this power.

Might of the Ancients: Gives you S6 and lets you roll two dice for AP in close combat against vehicles. Librarians aren’t the best HQs for cc but with this power they can cause a surprising amount of damage when played carefully.

Gate of Infinity: This power gives you impressive mobility, and becomes even more valuable with a squad attached, though there is some risk involved for them. A Librarian with this power will get along famously with a squad of drop-podded Sternguard.

Vortex of Doom: There are two things I like about this power: the name and the S10 AP1 blast. Of course, the blast can still scatter, and failing your psychic test to use this power places the vortex right under your Librarian. A storm shield can mitigate the danger, but if that fails you’ve dun gone ID’d your own character!


Emperor's Wings Chaplain by Reaper Man 2020


Chaplains were made to lead assaults, and his strength lies in his abilities as opposed to his wargear.


A bare bones Chaplain comes with a bolter, bolt pistol, power weapon and grenades. He also gets a special rule that allows him and the squad he’s accompanying to re-roll failed hits on the charge.

Replace Bolter with:

Storm Bolter: Very cheap and also an assault weapon. There’s no reason to not take this weapon, but with the Chaplain’s penchant for close combat there really isn’t a reason to take it either.

Combi-Weapon: Allows one shot with an assault weapon. The flamer is a good choice for softening up units before the assault but none of the other options really cater to the chaplain’s talents.

Power Fist: Surprisingly cheap on the Chaplain. This upgrade doesn’t get rid of the Power Weapon, and this makes it probably the best upgrade for the Chaplain as it gives you the option to fight at S8 I1 or at S4 I4, both with re-rolls to hit on the charge.

Plasma Pistol: Costs as much as the power fist, risks overheating and Chaplains aren’t meant to be doing much shooting anyways.


Melta Bombs: Walkers mean murder for this model unless you have these or fist.

Digital Weapons: “Liturgies of Battle” does this already for free on the charge. The only reason you’d ever take these is if you plan on having the Chaplain get stuck in a prolonged combat (which you should try to avoid) or are really worried about walkers. In the case of the latter, take melta bombs instead.

Replace Power armour, Bolter, Frag and Krak grenades for:

Terminator Armour and Storm Bolter: Terminator Armour: Puts the Chaplain at home with a squad of Terminators. The model is cool, and the better armour save is helpful, but consider that you’ve got a better ++ save already and that the upgrade is a bit pricy.

Terminator Armour and Combi-flamer: As with its earlier entry, only the combi flamer is really worth it. With a whole squad of terminators backing him, most likely packing thunder hammers, there’s no need for the melta or plasma options.

If terminator armour is not chosen:

Jump Pack: If you’re taking this, then chances are you’re planning on attaching him to a squad of Assault Marines or Vanguard Veterans. The prior isn’t really ideal to lead and the latter just plain isn’t good. If you want to deepstrike him, spend five points more on terminator armour for better armour save as well.

Bike: Close combat is usually an awkward place for bikes because of their high cost, and the Chaplain is no exception to this rule.

Master of the Forge

Sons of Medusa Master of the Forge by grey_death


The marine’s new HQ unit. His stats are underwhelming but he gets some interesting wargear choices. Most people take him to unlock the “Dreadnoughts Everywhere” army list, and keep this guy cheap and far in the back of the force.


The MotF comes with bolt weapons, grenades, and a servo-harness, which is actually a twin-linked plasma pistol, flamer and two-hit power fist combo. Like the Techmarine, he can also improve the value of a cover save, fix vehicles and take a retinue of servitors.

Replace Servo-harness and Bolter with:

Conversion Beamer: This weapon requires some positioning, line of sight and possibly a bike to use to its fullest. However, the beamer lets you attack from extreme distance, which suits this model just fine.

Replace Bolter with:

Storm Bolter: Cheap and decent as ever. This unit is meant to sit back and shoot, but there are better choices than this to pick.

Combi-weapon: Shares the same problems as the storm bolter in that the beamer is better for shooting. Coupled with the fact that two out of three of the attachments are short ranged, this really isn’t a good choice.

Plasma Pistol: Way too short ranged to ever be good on this guy. Your harness comes with a twin-linked variant of this anyways! Sure, they can’t be used in cc, but you don’t even want to be there in the first place.


Digital Weapons: The power to re-roll a failed wound helps you get the most out of those measly two attacks. If you're smart, you'll be trying to keep this guy out of cc though. Leave this in the armoury.

Power Weapon:Although the MotF is terrible in cc for an Independent Character, a power weapon can help dissuade attacks from opportunistic enemy units.

Thunder Hammer: While a Techmarine with a thunder hammer might look cool, that’s all he’ll ever be good for. The hammer is an expensive waste on a unit that should be hiding behind a wall taking pot-shots.

Bike: Usually taken along with the beamer to make the MotF a weapons platform. Getting “Relentless” means you can move your crazy gun wherever it needs to go quickly and still fire it, but if you can get a commanding view of the battlefield, you’re better off sitting put behind Bolstered cover and blasting tanks with a full-powered beamer. Your mileage may vary, but this can be a good choice.

Master of the Forge Servitors

Servitors by Granesh


Thematically, you could look at the Servitor squad as the Master of the Forge’s equivalent to a command squad or honor guard. The similarities end there, though. What makes these guys as poor as they are is that the Master of the Forge is usually hiding out in a ruin somewhere taking pot shots with a conversion beamer, or riding a bike around taking pot shots with a conversion beamer. In either case, the MotF isn’t in a position to be utilizing the servitors to fix vehicles, defeating the purpose of taking them. Not to mention that if your MotF gets killed and you don’t have a spare MotF or Techmarine in hand to take over for him, your Servitors have a chance to shut down and do nothing every turn!


For ten points, your Master of the Forge can be accompanied by one guardsman armed with his bare hands and a single-swing powerfist. For almost the same cost as a marine each you can add up to four more servitors, and each additional servitor with his servo arm significantly increases the MotF’s chance of fixing a vehicle.

Replace up to two Servitor’s servo arms for:

Heavy Bolter: A group accompanying a camping MotF with a beamer might actually get to use this, but they’ll never make their points back; at BS3, half of those shots will plain miss. This option is simply way too expensive.

Multi-melta: MotFs aren’t really the kind of guys who move around enough to make anything of this weapon. Add the massive points cost on and only a 50% chance of getting a hit, and leave this choice alone.

Plasma Cannon: There are simply no good reasons to take this weapon. Seriously. The price tag is absolutely huge, you’ve still got a low chance of hitting anything, and to top it all off, your forty point meatbag has a chance to kill himself thanks to Gets Hot!.

Other Articles

Tactica Astartes 5E -Troops - Tactica Astartes 5E - Transports - Tactica Astartes 5E - Elites - Tactica Astartes 5E - Fast Attack - Tactica Astartes 5E - Heavy Support

Article written by Ironsight. All images belong to their respective owners.


Got Comments? Discuss This Page in the Forums. Click Here.


Share on Facebook