Sunday, 24 March 2019

Primaris Gravis Captain review

Hi all,

Welcome to the first of my detailed unit reviews for the Primaris Marines, the Gravis Captain!

Available in the Dark Imperium Boxed Set, but interestingly, not separately as a clampack, the Gravis Captain is the heaviest class of HQ currently available to the Primaris Marines.

Basic movement of 5” will see this guy trudging round the battlefield, struggling to really keep up with the rest of your army, let’s be honest, movement 5 is below average for a marine and for many of the other factions out there too. He has no wargear options that can allow him to move any faster than this, nor does he have any alternative deployment methods that let him enter the battlefield in a more advanced position. He only has the one movement upgrade available to him therefore, and that’s the Repulsor. Probably a bit pricey to take it as his personal transport, however it does have room for other units in there so there’s plenty of scope for taking a bodyguard to accompany him.

Should you decide against going does the Repulsor route, don’t forget that you have the option to advance him, and with only a 12” range 3-shot bolt pistol available to him there’s not much point to shooting, so you can, and probably should, advance with him until he gets close to the enemy. On average you’ll therefore be shifting this guy about 8-9” per turn, which is not too shabby at all, and lets him keep up with things like Redemptor Dreadnoughts, which I’ll come on to later.

One final thing, which I’ll explore in more detail later, don’t forget the potential use of stratagems - Raven Guard is the one that works here, allowing your Captain to move 9” up before the game starts. It’s not necessarily one that you’ll want to use all the time, because you don’t want him stranded out on his own if your opponent seizes the initiative, but it can most certainly give you a head start in crossing no man’s land or just getting out of line of sight if deployment hasn’t quite gone right.

Quick conclusion: He’s not the most mobile unit in your armoury, but equally he’s faster than he looks at first glance.


Just the one aura ability for the Gravis Captain, and it’s the standard Marines Captain aura, Rites of Battle. This lets you re-roll hit rolls of 1 made for friendly chapter units within 6” of this model.

Ok so forgive me if I’m going from first principles here but I want this review to be useful to both experienced players and those new to the game.

The 6” aura applies to units (not individual models), and only part of a single model from the unit needs to be within 6” for the whole unit to benefit from the aura (other auras will specify that a model or units needs to be ‘wholly within’ range for the aura to trigger, such as a Mek’s Kustom Force Field). Also, it’s important to note that the aura can be measured in three dimensions, but that measurements are taken from the base of the model, and to the base of any other model (unless it doesn’t have a base as some models don’t). Equally, provided the model with the aura ability meets its conditions, it also benefits from the ability (so in the case of the Captain here, he is always within 6” of himself, and is always going to be a friendly chapter unit, so can re-roll 1’s to hit for his own rolls).

The aura isn’t specific to a particular type of hit roll, so will apply equally to rolls to hit for shooting, melee and overwatch (and any other types of hit roll if there are any) and those re-rolls are made before any modifiers are applied to the result (such as a -1 penalty to hit for moving a shooting a heavy weapon). It’s a nice buff, and for normal marines rolling to hit with no modifiers will increase your number of hits by 11%. It’s important for the next part however to understand how that affects the overall performance, because that percentage benefit changes depending on the number you need to score a hit. If you shoot with the aforementioned heavy weapons after moving, then your percentage improvement drops to 8%, whilst if you apply it to the Captain himself who hits on 2’s, the percentage increase is almost 14%.

(Maths lesson interlude). This is because the number that triggers a re-roll doesn’t change, so you have a 1 in 6 chance of triggering that re-roll. That chance is then multiplied by the odds of hitting with the re-roll, so as your odds of hitting go down, so does the percentage increase of your total number of hits.

What that means in real terms, is that the Captain has a 97% chance of hitting with the re-rolls, whereas a normal marine with no modifiers has a 77% chance, and a marine with a -1 modifier hits just 58% of the time.

And here’s where it gets more complex. When deciding where to use that aura, it’s not just the overall hit percentage that matters. You also need to factor in the number of shots (so using our example above a normal marine squad improves by 11%, which if there are 10 of them and they’re in rapid fire range means roughly 2 additional hits, whereas the Captain only gets 2 shots (assuming the same weapon) and is likely to hit more in the first place. Looking at the -1 to hit squad, we saw that their percentage improvement was the least of the three units, but if that’s on a squad of Boltstorm Aggressors (for example) that stood still then you’re getting almost 3 additional hits even without factoring in the fragstorm grenade launchers and so whilst you see the least overall increase, they’re the best choice (of those three options) to give the aura re-rolls to. Unless you’re going to overkill your target with the basic number of shots of course, in which case the aura is best applied elsewhere. Complicated innit.

There’s another thing you need to factor in as well, something that AdMech players figured out when they looked at the text of Belisarius Cawl’s hit roll aura. Cawl lets you re-roll any hit rolls in the shooting phase. Not specifically misses, not fixed results, before or after modifiers - so Cawl (and I think this is the only example of this in the game so far) can actually let you re-roll dice that will become misses once modifiers are applied, even if they would be hits before those modifiers are applied. Marine players don’t quite have that level of utility, but they do have a trick up their sleeve, read on down to the buffs section to see what that is!


This is a nice and simple analysis for me, because the Gravis Captain only get the one ranged weapon, and it’s pretty lacklustre. He basically has a belt-fed bolt pistol attached to the back of his power fist, which means 3 shots at 12” range using normal bolt pistol strength and damage, with no AP rating. Not exactly inspiring, even if he does have a 97% hit rate with each shot (incidentally the odds of missing with at least one of those shots is simply the failure rate multiplied by the number of shots, so 9%, whilst the odds of missing with all three is just 0.003%). So, it’s pretty obvious that you don’t take a Gravis Captain for his shooting.

In melee however, he has two weapon options and the choices of what to use and when can be quite bewildering for the newcomer. As a general rule of thumb, stick to the following rule and you’ll do ok.

If your target has T value 3 or less, use the Sword. Against everything else, use the gauntlet.


The Primaris Characters tend to have pretty restrictive loadouts, so weapon changes are tricky, and that’s not helped by them also frequently carrying specific named items of wargear. For example, the Gravis Captain’s Boltstorm Gauntlet operates in the same fashion as a power fist in melee, but it isn’t a power fist and therefore can’t be swapped out for the Fist of Vengeance, a relic power fist for the Crimson Fists that replaces specifically a power fist.

That being said, there are a few (ok, lots of) things that you can do to directly buff the Gravis Captain’s performance. Bear with me because it’s quite a long list, and some of them stack nicely with others. I did say at the start this was a detailed review!


The Armour Indomitus - Kind of my default relic for when I can’t decide which other relic to take, this gives the wearer a 2+ save and the chance to boost their invun to a 3++ for a single phase. If you’re looking to push your warlord forward into the fray then a better armour save is always a good thing, particularly if you’re planning on throwing them into a tide of enemies. Of course, that’s not really where the Captain is best employed, and quite frankly against more significant combat opponents where you can make the most of his weapons, the 2+ will almost certainly not be relevant and you’ll be down to his 4++ Iron Halo. That’s where the 3++ comes in handy, allowing you to weather a rain of hits in order to strike down a tougher opponent, giving you a reasonable chance of surviving an extra turn if you can’t take that opponent down in one go. Like I said, it’s the kind of relic that’s worth taking if you can’t find something that synergises better with your list and your strategy.

The Burning Blade - Oh seriously, this thing is garbage. +2S is nice and can combo nicely with the Salamanders Warlord Trait for a S7 Captain, but at that point you’re trading your AP-3 D2 sword for a better chance to wound (but still not as good as his boltstorm gauntlet) but only a single point of damage. The -5AP is nice, but really there aren’t many targets that benefit from 2+ armour that don’t have some form of invun save to go with it, at which point you’re probably better off with the Master Crafted Power Sword. I’ve never used it, and probably never will until the rules are changed, which is a shame because if it were D2 then I’d say take it every time! Given that “Master Crafted” usually means D2 in the marine codex I’m really struggling to see how a relic weapon apparently isn’t master crafted.

Salamander’s Mantle - Increases his toughness. This is pretty tasty, especially when compared with the buff from Might of Heroes for a T7 Captain. Salamanders isn’t the worst of tactics out there either, though it works better with minimarine tactical squads carrying a single heavy or special weapon than Primaris units that tend to be equipped the same (that being said, re-rolls are always welcome). T6 is absolutely nothing to sniff at though, S3 weapons will now only wound him half as much as before, and there’s also a distinct benefit against S5 and S6 weaponry (and yes, also S10 but they’re far less common).

Crusader’s helm - Interesting one this. The Black Templars tactics aren’t exactly stellar, and really don’t synergise well with Primaris’ lack of real assault units, but buffing the Captain’s Aura out to 9” instead of 6” makes a surprising difference. For all the reasons the aura buff is great, this relic makes it more than twice as good (the area covered by a 9” buff is more than twice the area of a 6” buff). That being said, you’re deliberately hampering the performance of the rest of the army through Chapter Tactics you probably won’t use in order to gain an increase in aura coverage you can get from taking another Captain. To be honest, the benefit you get from the increased aura can be mitigated by more careful placement of units in most cases.

Sanctic Halo - Ultramarines players love this one. For all the reasons that the armour indomitus is good, this is better. A permanent 3++ combined with the ability to deny the witch is fantastic (honestly why this isn’t the Black Templars relic I don’t understand) and makes the Captain far more resilient. Combined with the Ultramarines Chapter Tactics I think it’s probably the strongest pairing out there competitively speaking. That being said, personally I’d never play an Ultramarines successor cos I’m an awkward cuss and I like to pretend to be a bit rebellious.

Psychic Powers

Veil of Time - Hmm, re-rolling charges is handy, and re-rolling advance rolls means you will be able to close to charge range more quickly, more reliably. That being said, if you’re relying on the Gravis Captain to go footslogging across the board to try and reach combat you probably need to re-think your strategy. The figures on charge ranges don’t have too much relevance in this instance since the numbers on 9” charges only really mean much when you’re deep striking, which the Gravis Captain can’t do. That being said, the Gravis Captain has the biggest personal effect on the game in combat (cos his shooting is practically useless) so any opportunity to get into combat sooner gives him more chance to affect the outcome. In short, it’s not a bad choice, but there are probably better targets for this power, and better powers to target him.

Might of Heroes - Like this. An extra point of S and T, and an extra attack are always good for a unit that belongs in combat. Let’s go back to the Salamanders version of the Captain again, and you’ve got a Warlord Trait that gives him +1S, a relic for +1T, so if you combine those with this power you’ve got 6 power fist attacks striking at S12 and T7 to use in your defence. Already it’s looking like the Salamanders Captain is a serious combat proposition for any opponent.

Psychic Fortress - As above, if you’re looking to push your warlord forward into a melee position, then there’s always the chance that your enemy can manoeuvre into position to smite at you. Whilst it’s not an essential buff, having the chance to ignore those wounds on a 4+ is pretty solid.

Warlord Traits

Angel of Death - -1 Leadership to enemy units within 6”. Not game changing on its own, but if you can stack it with other similar debuffs then it can be worthwhile. If you’re playing pure Primaris though (which is what these reviews are about after all) then you’re essentially limited to working with an Ancient with the Standard of the Emperor Ascendant, and Reivers for a maximum of -3Ld. Don’t get me wrong, that’s pretty decent, but there are more effective ways for marines to do what they need to do, and Reivers really aren’t a good option at the moment. Still, free kills are free kills!

The Imperium’s Sword - Definitely a trait worth considering, particularly if you put Might of Heroes on him too, you can push him up to 7 Attacks on the charge, with a reliable re-roll to that charge without having to manifest two psychic powers on the one model. With the potential for an additional 3 damage, and the tendency for the dice to betray you on those clutch rolls, an extra attack and a potential 21 damage is always welcome! In particular, as the Gravis Captain belongs in combat, a combat buff is particularly relevant.

Storm of Fire - Ostensibly, this is a trait that you want to be using from a distance (though I believe it still affects pistols shooting in close combat). That’s a problem, since that’s not where you want the Gravis Captain to be (he’s absolutely fine taking this trait and granting the buff, but if you’re hanging him back why not just take a normal Captain and save yourself a few points). Equally, this trait doesn’t really work best around stuff like Hellblasters, since they’re already at AP-4. So, what you really want from this trait is for it to be buffing the mid-ranged high volume firepower from units like Aggressors. Yes, the Gravis Captain will be in that part of the battlefield for a while, but equally if you’re transporting him in a Repulsor (and you should be) then the trait won’t kick in until you’ve left the shooty guys behind. The Storm of Fire trait is also best taken in range of a Lieutenant so that they can grant you re-rolls to wound (more chances to roll the 6 you want). It’s not the worst trait around, in fact it’s probably the best all-round trait of the non-vanguard options, but it doesn’t directly synergise with what you want the Gravis Captain for.

Iron Resolve - This trait can really contribute towards making your Captain so very tough to kill. Combining the Salamanders Mantle and Might of Heroes with this trait means you have a T7 guy with 7 wounds, a 4+ invulnerable save and ignoring wounds on 6’s, who can only be targeted by snipers or if he’s the closest target. That’s serious levels of survivability for a guy with 5 power fist attacks in combat.

Rites of War - Automatically passing morale tests is fine, but unless you’re running Black Templars and taking a big unit of Crusaders it’s not that helpful, since you shouldn’t really be failing morale tests anyway.

Champion of Humanity - Here’s another decent option for a combat warlord, +1 to hit and to wound when you target Characters in the fight phase. That’s really nice for the Gravis Captain, it neutralises the hit modifier from his power fist and guarantees you’ll wound everything weaker than a knight on 2’s. As the Gravis Captain wants to be in combat this really leverages his performance up a notch, there’s only 1 downside. Once you announce what this trait does, watch your opponent avoid getting his characters near you. You don’t have the option to manoeuvre round the table much with him, and therefore if you can’t charge an enemy character this trait is worthless. I’m sorry to say, but against a canny opponent, this is a ‘steer clear’ for me. Update (thanks to WestRider for pointing this one out) - there is one instance where I'd consider this, and that's if you're using Salamanders and going for the killy Captain to take on the nasty Character knights you're likely to face. In that instance, with Might of Heroes and the Boltstorm Gauntlet in melee this trait would let you wound those knights on a 2+!

Chapter Specific Warlord Traits

All of these warlord traits require you to play the primogenitor chapter (rather than any successors) and so need to be considered in combination with their Chapter Tactics.

Adept of the Codex - who doesn’t like getting command point re-rolls back? Yeah, someone who doesn’t play the game much probably. If marines had better stratagems I’d say this was a ‘must have’, but given most of their options relate to old formation combinations of units that don’t see the tabletop these days, you don’t actually need a lot of command points to play them effectively at the moment. For me, it’s not sufficiently game changing to be a must take, though if you’re playing Ultras for other reasons then it’s the best trait available to you. Doesn’t really synergise with the Chapter Tactics at all.

Architect of War - Hmm, on the face of it it’s a nice trait, allowing you to negate the AP modifier of weapons like heavy bolters whilst you’re in cover. And that’s the problem, because it only applies to units in cover, which probably means further back in your deployment zone, and that means not where the Gravis Captain does his best work. Imperial Fists tactics are stellar anyway, but this trait doesn’t really scream ‘effective’ to me. It also has the effect of making shooting at those units buffed by it pointless, and so your opponent will simply shoot other units with those weapons, and level their (probably) high quantity of AP0 guns at these guys, meaning you’re actually forcing your opponent into being more points efficient with their shooting. Don’t bother. Works nicely with their Chapter Tactics from a narrative sense, but its effectiveness isn’t improved by them on the tabletop.

Black Templars - 6” heroic interventions. Not bad per se, and I still see players missing that heroic interventions can be done regardless of whether the unit they’re near to charged or not. That being said, most games I see players have figured out that if there’s a character nearby then they might as well declare a charge against that as well as their original target as the overwatch is unlikely to be dangerous and it means they can fight that target if they need to. Whilst the Gravis Captain should be taking every opportunity to get into combat with all but the most horrible of combat opponents, I really don’t see this trait as making a big improvement to their performance. No synergy at all with the Chapter Tactics.

Silent Stalker - No overwatch against your warlord. Now we’re talking, and oh boy if I played actual Raven Guard (instead of a successor) then I’d be taking this trait plenty and charging my Gravis Captain into the biggest clutch of flamers I could find! Against any defensive army (like T’au) that likes to use overwatch as a free shooting phase, the ability to block those shots is massive. Whilst the Gravis Captain may not be the most mobile platform to do it from, this is a really good warlord trait to use if you’re going with Raven Guard anyway (and there are plenty of reasons to do just that). Ironically, this actually runs counter to the Chapter Tactics, which encourage you to stay away from the enemy (I really don’t understand Raven Guard tactics, for an army that essentially excels at close quarters battle due to their stealthy nature, the tactics encourage you to stay at range and shoot lots)

Anvil of Strength. Yep, we’ve talked about the Salamanders combinations already, and here’s another tool in their box to create the best beatstick marines can access (bar Guilliman). +1S to his profile means his power fist goes up to S10, so he’ll even wound knights on 3’s. Sadly it doesn’t have any effect on the amount of damage he can kick out, but it’s still a very good buff indeed. Works nicely in concert with the other Salamanders stuff, and in some ways synergises nicely with their tactics, as you’re getting more value from that S10 if you can re-roll a single fail to hit and to wound each turn.

Deadly Hunter - a mortal wound on a 4+ when you charge, this one combines nicely with anything that lets you re-roll failed charges, and of course it works very well with the White Scars Chapter Tactics that allow you to charge after falling back, because once you make contact you can keep falling back and charging in again. For the Gravis Captain, I think it’s a really good option, you should be wanting him to charge and so any chance to do extra melee damage is a bonus, the only downside is a 50% chance of a mortal wound on the charge probably won’t actually trigger very much, realistically you’re looking at most at 4 attempts in a 5 turn game, assuming your opponent doesn’t try and stymie it, either by retreating to make a charge impossible, or by charging you instead. It’s also important to bear in mind that the result isn’t exactly significant. 1 mortal wound might very well finish off a character or unit, but in most cases it won’t achieve much.

Merciless Logic - Allowing additional rolls whenever you make a 6 to hit, this trait in relation to the Gravis Captain works best if you can also manifest Might of Heroes on him. It works better with other weapon loadouts, but no other marine unit has more attacks than the Gravis Captain, and so it can be pretty effective in that regard. Sadly it has no synergy with the Iron Hands Chapter Tactic, but if you’re playing Iron Hands then you can use it to make a pretty nasty combatant, especially if you’re good at rolling 6’s!

Crimson fists - All of their traits are effective and synergise pretty well with the Gravis Captain, either increasing his damage output, making him less susceptible to death or giving you more chance to claim objectives. Of the available three, I’d say that Refuse to Die is probably the best choice. Tenacious Opponent is good, but stacks much better on a model with the Teeth of Terra - when they both trigger and combined with Might of Heroes then you can be looking at a horde killing combat monster with 12 attacks at S5 and -2AP, hitting on 2’s, re-rolling 1’s and wounding on 3’s. If you need to clear your way through a horde of enemy models that’s the way to go, the Gravis Captain is better suited to being difficult to get rid of.


Chapter Master - Let’s get the elephant out of the room first, yes it’s 3 command points, which is extremely expensive for what it does in most situations. What the headline doesn’t tell you however, is what it can achieve in atypical circumstances. I’ve playtested this a few times, and whilst re-rolling those 2’s to hit doesn’t make a huge difference in many cases (though it does prevent the dice from betraying you in quite the same way, last night I rolled 18 dice to hit from my redemptor with re-rolls of 1 in place, and rolled 6 twos) where it really starts to shine is when vehicles start to degrade, or are charged. In particular, I’ve found this hugely helpful with my Repulsor, though it’s equally as effective with Redemptors. This is because of the way the degrading profiles work. As a vehicle loses wounds, the degrading profile changes the hit rolls you require, rather than applying a series of -1 modifiers. Taking the Repulsor as an example, once it drops below half wounds, it hits on 4’s, and then 5’s when it’s below 25% of its starting health. All of a sudden you’re getting much more value out of the Chapter Master re-rolls, because you’re able to re-roll 3’s and then 4’s in addition to the 1’s and 2’s you’d get to start with. I’ve had a Chapter Master sat next to a dakka Redemptor Dread who’s taken out 7 Grey Knights on overwatch because of the ability to re-roll all failed hits.

Orbital Bombardment - just don’t. If you want to know why (ok fair enough, I did say this review was for everybody) there are several reasons. 1 - it’s 3 command points and 1 use only. Marines don’t come with an abundance of CP due to their points cost, so every stratagem needs to count. 2 - it forces your warlord to stand still and be on the table, and that’s not what the Gravis Captain wants to be doing. 3 - it’s a random radius for its damage - so you could pick a point between 3 units, and then roll a radius that doesn’t actually hit any of those units (you’re better off hitting a single unit and making sure, than risking it for hitting multiples and not getting any of them). 4 - it’s not guaranteed to damage them at all, after all realistically you’re talking about a maximum of 3 units being hit, and only a 50% chance to do any damage at all, less if it’s a character, Most of us are more than capable of failing to roll a 4+ on three dice. 5 - even if it does hit the damage isn’t crippling, sure you might kill three guys, or you might (might!) take the last few wounds off a character you otherwise can’t target, but for the cost of 3CP, the benefits don’t stack up - you could easily gain more benefit across a game by spending those CP on the Chapter Master Stratagem.

Auspex Scan - Yes, the Gravis Captain can use it, but don’t waste your time, you’ll get 3 bolt pistol shots, which just won’t damage your target enough to be worth the 2 CP.

Only in Death Does Duty End - Now here’s a good one - the Gravis Captain is probably the best target for this Stratagem (especially if you’re using the Refuse to Die Warlord Trait as you can immediately play this stratagem then potentially bring him back). He’s your best combat damage character so striking back when your opponent kills him is a last little spit in the eye for them, and who knows, could be worthwhile, I’ve actually used this before to ensure my dying Gravis Warlord killed the enemy Warlord in a very cinematic last stand.

Honour the Chapter - Similar to ‘Only in Death’ except more expensive because your Captain hasn’t died. Definitely worth a punt if you happen to have wiffed your fight phase, the only downside is it only happens at the end of the fight phase so gives your opponent the chance to hit back first.

Bolter Drill - Similar to Auspex Scan, it’s just not worth it given your Captain only has a 3-shot bolt pistol. Sure, if you happen to be playing as Imperial Fists (or Crimson Fists) and your Captain is in range of an enemy model that needs to die and doesn’t have many wounds remaining and you have spare commend points, then it might just help, but remember the odds of getting a 6 on at least one of your dice aren’t much better than 50%.

Strike from the Shadows - Actually this isn’t a bad option - the Gravis Captain’s biggest drawback is his lack of mobility so a free 9” move before the game starts is certainly welcome. If only there were some way of allowing him to charge after advancing he might even be able to pull off the first turn charge. Seriously though this is best used to allow a unit of aggressors to move into range of their boltstorm gauntlets before the game starts so they can double tap the enemy on turn 1. If you’re doing that then you will probably also want to move a Captain up with them for the re-rolls and the Gravis Captain is the one you want furthest forward.

Update - Liberators - only available through the Indomitus Crusaders Specialist Detachment, this stratagem is played at the start of the fight phase, so before you roll for attacks, and means that any unmodified rolls of 6 to hit automatically result in 2 hits. As you can imagine, with a potential doubling of the damage this can be a really potent stratagem and method of buffing the Gravis Captain, however on average you shouldn't expect it to result in much more than a single 6 in any phase, which will probably cancel out a failed hit. It absolutely will make the Gravis Captain more reliable, but unless you roll that epic event (and remember it's unmodified rolls of 6's, so no modifiers will result in it triggering more or less often) it's not likely to be game changing. Worth considering though if you have the CP and you really need to kill that model, and you've paid for the Indomitus Crusaders detachment of course!


Well, I think I’ve probably given you enough to ponder in the rest of the review, but let’s have a bit of a reflective moment on all of that shall we? I’ll also suggest a few builds and playstyles that suit the Gravis Captain here, drawing on the information above.

The Gravis Captain is your most survivable character (at present) and his toughness of 5 makes him less susceptible to small arms fire than others. That doesn’t apply to lasguns however, and he’s just as likely to fall to them as any other Captain, so watch out for blobs of such guns. On the other hand, his toughness can throw off a less experienced player’s calculations, meaning that they don’t anticipate his resilience to S4 or S5 guns, and don’t allocate enough shooting against him.

Notwithstanding that, you should be protecting him until he can get into combat where he’s most likely to have a significant impact on the game. Using the Chapter Master upgrade can be worthwhile, but bear in mind he’s not going to come off well against the game’s nastiest characters (but he is significantly cheaper than they are).
Here’s some of the best builds I can come up with for him.

Defensive Tank.
Chapter Tactics: Salamanders
Relic: Salamanders (+1T)
Warlord Trait: Iron Resolve
Psychic Buffs: Might of Heroes, Psychic Fortress

This guy tops out at T7, W7 with a 3+/4++/6+++ - it’s going to take some serious punch to put him down, and when they do, you can play ‘Only in Death’ to try and bring them down with you.

Honourable mention has to go to a Crimson Fists version with the Refuse to Die Warlord Trait, though he’s only T6.

Buff Daddy
Stratagem: Chapter Master
Warlord Trait: Storm of Fire

Keep this guy near your high rate of fire weapons, you’ll maximise the benefit of his re-roll for all failed hits and the extra AP on those wound rolls also is more significant on those weapon types - particular units of note for this are the Repulsor with both onslaught gatlings, the heavy bolters and the storm bolters, and the Redemptor with storm bolters and the gatling cannons.

Psychic Buffs: Might of Heroes, Null Zone
Warlord Trait: The Imperium’s Sword (+1A on the charge)
Chapter Tactics: Salamanders
Stratagems: Honour the Chapter, Only in Death does Duty End

This guy puts out 7 attacks with his gauntlet (power fist) on the charge and can naturally re-roll one 2 to hit and all 1’s, plus a single failed roll to wound, and then do it all again (minus the Salamander rerolls if you’ve already used them in that phase) with honour the Chapter or Only in Death. Null Zone isn’t a necessity but if you can get it into range of his target he can take down even the biggest of enemies in combat in a single turn.

Honourable mention must also go to the Salamanders Warlord Trait if you’re facing knights in particular, as the extra attack is probably less useful than your other attacks wounding on 3’s.

Wow, what a marathon! Well done if you managed to read all of that - please do post up your thoughts or let me know by emailing and I’ll edit anything that needs tweaking. Next up I’ll look at the standard Primaris Captain I think, which has a different role to the Gravis option.

Till next time, for Corax, for the Emperor, and the Red Dawn!


  1. There are a few other abilities that allow re-rolling all to-hit Rolls, but I'm not sure if any other than Cawl's are Auras. The most notable is probably the Pauper Princes' Cult Creed, letting them do that when Charging, Charged, or Heroically Intervening.

    Storm of Fire: I think the best use of this one on a Gravis Captain is with a load of Flamestorm Aggressors in a Repulsor or with Strike from the Shadows* or something similar. Still probably a sub-optimal choice.

    Champion of Humanity plus Might of Heroes makes him pretty scary to an Imperial Knight, since most of them tend to be Characters so they can take advantage of Relics and/or Warlord Traits.

    *The thing with Raven Guard is just that they really, really don't like the 1"-12" range band. They're fine hanging back and shooting, and they like being in combat, but they leave the short-ranged firefights to Chapters like the Imperial Fists ;)

    1. Ah fair enough, I've not had much contact with the Genestealer Cult just yet.

      Agreed, aggressors are one of the primary units to benefit from Storm of Fire, though in my experience the scariness of the flamestorm option tends to result in them getting targeted very early, which reduces the effectiveness of SoF.

      I'll add in the Anti-Knight comment, I think you're right, I'd discounted that slightly but it makes a lot of sense, especially with how common they are these days!

    2. Updated - I've also added in an update regarding the Specialist Detachment that grants extra melee hits via a stratagem.

  2. Nice review and a rather in-depth breakdown of the choices. Cheers for sharing.