Thursday, March 28, 2013

Heresy! Ultramarines Captain Lysander Agemman

I've been using my Black Reach Captain since I started bringing my own painted figures to the table. I usually play him with artificer armor and a relic blade for 145 points. I often use him as a human shield for a Tactical Squad and, more recently, for a stand-in Sternguard Squad. However, once my opponent breaks out the AP2 S8+ weapons, my Captain doesn't have much confidence in his 4+ Iron Halo save and is content to let his loyal subordinates throw themselves in the line of fire. The same goes for when he's down to a single wound. This is fine when the subordinate is a Tactical Marine, but less so when the Marine is a member of the Sterngaurd. In a recent game against Bryce's Tau, I let 50 points of Sternguard die before I finally declared that the Captain was a coward and should be taking his own saves.

Thinking that a Captain with a 3+ invulnerable save would make a better human shield, I recently gathered the parts to build a relic blade-wielding, storm shield-carrying Captain. With artificer armor, the model would cost 160 points. Before I could start building him, though, it occurred to me that 160 points was a lot for a model that can still be instantly killed by melta weapons, railguns, lascannons, etc. if he doesn't make his 3++ save. Even more disappointing is the fact that a plain Captain doesn't do much more than shield the other members of his squad: no nifty abilities, no modification of rules, nothing. A Librarian has various powers while a Chaplain is cheaper and gives his squad Liturgies of Battle. So what does a plain Captain do for you?

In that moment of doubt, the seeds of heresy were sown.

Shielding a Tactical Squad is all well and good, I thought, but I'm starting to field Sternguard. Not only do I want to protect them, but I want to buff them too. Isn't there a character that can do that? At first I thought that the one I wanted was Pedro Kantor, but all he does for Sternguard is to make them scoring. Our group tends to play annihilation games, so making units scoring doesn't matter too much. As I looked through the codex, I found who I was looking for: Captain Lysander of the Imperial Fists 1st Company.

Does he come in blue?
For a mere 40 points more than my proposed relic blade/storm shield Captain I could get a four wound Captain with Terminator armor, a storm shield, and a master-crafted thunder hammer that hits at Strength 10 and adds +1 to rolls on the vehicle damage table. He brings his Bolter Drill rule to any unit he's with, meaning that the squad re-rolls failed to hit rolls for any bolter-type weapon. Sternguard special ammunition looks even better when their bolters are effectively twin-linked. Lysander's Bolster Defenses rule could help out just about any squad, especially Sergeant Telion's snipers. Finally, Lysander has the Eternal Warrior rule; weapons that inflict instant death mean little to him.

My problem was that Lysander is the Captain of the Imperial Fists 1st Company. Although the codex specifically allows you to rename a character and use his rules for any Marine Chapter, I had previously vowed only to use known Ultramarines characters. (I have all the named Ultramarines in pewter, although only Telion has been finished). Early on I intended to quickly finish Sicarius, Captain of the Ultramarines 2nd Company, and to field him as my HQ. But with a Captain already done and my army desperately needing reinforcements elsewhere, Sicarius got pushed back. Now I'm not in any hurry to finish his model; although he has some interesting abilities and rules that can affect the entire army, I don't feel that any of them would significantly improve my game right now. Although artificer armor and feel no pain make him more resilient to small arms fire than almost anyone, he only has a 4++ Iron Halo save and can still be instantly killed. I don't think I'll be investing 200 points in Sicarius until I have a Command Squad with a couple storm shields to protect him.

Lysander, on the other hand, doesn't really need protection and has some amazing wargear and abilities that I envy. Out of curiosity I googled "Ultramarines Lysander" and found that a lot of players were using the model's rules to depict Agemman, Captain of the Ultramarines 1st Company. Other than his name, the fact that he was promoted from 2nd Company Captain to 1st Company Captain after the Battle of Macragge, and a few other snippets from a handful of novels, we know little about Agemman.

I love the idea of fielding the Captain of the Ultramarines' Veteran Company, even if I have to borrow another model's rules to do it. Since GW hasn't given us a description of Agemman's wargear and abilities (although some rumors suggest they might), here's my homegrown backstory to justify using Captain Agemman as a Lysander stand-in:

Armor and Resilience: At the time of his death defending Macragge's Northern Fortress, 1st Company Captain Invictus was wearing a suit of armor known simply as the Regent's Armor. This suit of Terminator armor had been passed down within the Ultramarines Chapter from 1st Captain to 1st Captain for millennia. Like Captain Sicarius' Mantle of the Suzerain, the Veteran Company Captain's armor had been known to enhance the resilience of the wearer. Upon recovery of the armor, Chapter Master Calgar requested that it be restored by the Ultramarines' Master of the Forge himself.

While Captain Agemman has been known to wear a suit of artificer armor when mobility or agility is essential, he typically wears the Regent's Armor both for the honor associated with it as well as for its enhanced protection. The Regent's Armor, combined with Agemman's natural resilience, grants him four wounds and the Eternal Warrior rule.

Weaponry: While Agemman wears the armor of his predecessor, he has chosen not to wield a power fist as Invictus did. Shortly after receiving the Regent's Armor, the Captain chose a set of wargear from the Ultramarines' armory that befit the commander of a Veteran Company. While the storm shield he chose was an ordinary one, the thunder hammer was found to be different.

While many heroes of the Astartes wield legendary weapons with portentous names, Agemman merely refers to his weapon as Malleus (i.e., "hammer" in High Gothic). Originally believed to be a standard (although somewhat ornate) thunder hammer whose origin has been lost, Malleus was found to strike with unusual strength and effectiveness. Whether this is due to some long lost technology incorporated into its design or because the weapon has found a worthy owner is unknown. Malleus is a master-crafted thunder hammer that strikes at S10 and adds +1 to rolls on the vehicle damage table.

Bolter Drill: Agemman expects more from his Veterans than he did from his rank and file Marines in the 2nd Company. Bolter-type weapons are some of the most basic and characteristic weapons of the Space Marines; Agemman expects his men to show more than simple proficiency with them. This is particularly the case with the Sternguard Squads since special ammunition is too precious to throw away with missed shots. Agemman therefore requires all his squads to perform regular bolter drills while personally running similar drills on those occasions where he finds himself leading members of other companies. He has found that very few Marines are willing to disappoint the 1st Company Captain. Any unit Agemman joins can re-roll fails to hit with any bolter-type weapon.

Bolster Defenses: The Ultramarines and the Auxilia spent the bulk of the Battle of Macragge trying to hold their ground against the Tyranid swarms, suffering heavy losses. Although the 1st Company inflicted irrecoverable losses on the Tyranids during the battle for the Northern Fortress, the Veteran Company was annihilated in the process. Agemman has vowed that his Veterans will never meet the same fate as their predecessors. With the help of the Chapter's Techmarines, the 1st Company Captain has learned the art of reinforcing defensive positions. Thus, Agemman has the Bolster Defenses rule.


  1. I am 100% on board with this. I've been an Ultrasmurf since the days of yore and an Agemman fan just as long (my blogsite has the name in the address!), but I've always been sad about him not getting any rules for many editions now. Lysander is possibly the most 'broken' character in the codex, but he doesn't wear blue, so I've often entertained the idea of 'counts as' with Lysander as well. It's great to see the idea isn't terribly uncommon. Great minds... :-)

    Also, if you're looking for a captain with relic blade, artificer armour, and a storm shield, check out the Master of the Watch model from the 'Masters of the Chapter' box. That's exactly the gear he's rockin', and I characterize it as Sicarius sporting his 'ceremonial gear' for his position.

  2. Although the rumors suggest a Captain Agemman model will be released this year, I don't have my hopes up. Ultramarines got a glut of special characters in 5th Edition and it doesn't seem likely that we'll get any more. Either way, I doubt that Agemman's rules could be a whole lot better than Lysander (now if he made Sternguard troops...).

    Another reason why Lysander-as-Agemman appealed to me was because Lysander is relatively generic. Only the Bolster Defenses rule suggests that he's a member of the Imperial Fists; i.e., the siege-masters of the loyalist Marines. Others like Shrike, Kor'sarro Khan, or Vulkan He'Stan have so many traits that are distinctive of their Chapters that they don't translate well to Ultramarines.


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