Hey guys, I am Learn2Eel and this is my Codex: Space Marines Tactica! Today, I will be looking at the Watchful Old Man, Torias Telion! I hope you enjoy this article!
Space Marine players have access to the most extensive roster of unique characters in the game, providing so many diverse play-styles and inherent advantages that encourage players to experiment with a wealth of differing army lists. Unlike some other codices, few of these characters are solely based around damage potential; instead, they provide ground-breaking support abilities and potential for thematic army creation that you simply can’t find anywhere else. Though they are restricted to their own Chapter Tactics now, the advice given in the previous Space Marines codex very much rings true to this day; these are templates for mighty heroes to lead your forces, built to give you something you simply cannot find from a kitted out regular character. Where Marneus Calgar allows you to control the morale aspect of Warhammer 40000, Kor’sarro Khan provides free early movement to an entire force, allowing them to dominate positioning and deployment. As Helbrecht is the lynchpin for an army-wide massed and devastating assault, Vulkan He’stan gives you the means to make a Salamanders army the true masters of anti-vehicular warfare. It is such that you cannot judge these characters on the merits of combat or martial prowess alone, but on how they allow for incredible strategic flexibility in the army list creation phase, and in tactical adaptability through their considerable, palpable aura on the field of battle. These Space Marines count themselves amongst the finest heroes in all of the Imperium, and each has their own mark to leave on your army.
Torias Telion, Veteran of the 10th Company
Overview – With characters such as Karanak becoming fully-fledged HQ choices, unique upgrade characters to units such as Telion are becoming increasingly rare. In a 6th Edition context, you don’t see such models often because you are usually better served with just the regular sergeant so as to invest more points into upgrades such as heavy weapons for the unit, or other units instead. This is, unfortunately, largely the case with Telion, but he does have his uses that make him quite a bit more valuable than at first glance. The way he is purchased means that you don’t have to pay for a Veteran Sergeant first which is quite handy; when you look at his gear and profile, you take away the Veteran Sergeant and Camo Cloak costs from him to see just what you are getting. He has an extra point of Weapon Skill – not that it will really matter, of course, as he lacks any real close combat weapon – and a nasty Ballistic Skill of six. He holds a stalker boltgun that is a two-shot sniper rifle at 36″, he gives Stealth to his unit, he has the equivalent of a Signum from Devastator Sergeants, and his shooting attacks are always Precision Shots. That is a lot of extra taste, but how much of it is worth your time over simply keeping a regular Sergeant? First up, that he provides Stealth to his unit means that you don’t need to bother paying for Camo Cloaks on them, though if you do, it gives them 5+ cover saves in the open and 3+ cover saves in area terrain. This is a great buff to the durability of Scouts and pays off more for larger units, where his boosted Leadership really comes in handy to keep them fighting.
The Ultramarines Chapter Tactics don’t really benefit Scouts more so than most others, though the re-rolls of ones to hit for a turn as well as the re-roll assault ranges if you use them in a Land Speeder Storm are really quite helpful. In that sense, taking Telion doesn’t really restrict them anyway, as the Ultramarines Chapter Tactics are arguably one of the strongest overall when taking a mixed force. Now, as for Telion’s shooting capabilities, they actually aren’t all that impressive; but there is a big catch that you will really want to look at. A two-shot sniper rifle with a good range is not at all a bad thing, though you get the sense that – as with Illic Nightspear – such a character might have a better gun to really make the most out of Precision Shots all the time. With Look Out Sir! rolls able to be taken against those shots, it does mean that he is better off trying to get rid of plasma gunners and so on in squads, neutering them so that they can’t harm your vehicles or Terminators as handily.
However, the catch I mentioned earlier rears its head when you see that his Eye of Vengeance does not specify he has to use Quietus to get the Precision Shots. See that Aegis Defence Line with a quad gun or Icarus lascannon? Grab it as an Aegis Line is always useful, put your Scouts and some other valuable units behind it, and make sure Telion mans the gun. A lascannon or four-shot autocannon that always allocates their wounds to models you pick? Though it usually won’t work, how does sniping an Ethereal out of a Fire Warrior squad and thus leading to massive reduction in efficiency for so many enemy units sound – just use a quad gun and force those bodies to get in the way! Or killing a Chaos Lord in a single shot with a lascannon when they roll that inevitable one? Hilariously, if Telion’s squad paid for Camo Cloaks, they will have a permanent +2 cover save behind the Aegis Line – no need to go to ground! This gives you a tough scoring unit, and a pretty damaging and reliable shooting array as well that provides you with some handy Skyfire goodness. Make sure to give this squad sniper rifles so that they can all fire at long range.
Telion’s Voice of Experience is generally best used to boost the Ballistic Skill of an Initiate wielding either a heavy bolter or a missile launcher, though given what Scouts usually are armed with, I would probably go with the former as Scouts lack Split Fire. A Ballistic Skill 6 heavy bolter either bare or armed with hellfire shells is nothing to sneeze at whatsoever. However, are these uses worth that pretty hefty tax you pay over a regular Veteran Sergeant? Generally speaking, the answer is no as Scouts really aren’t the kind of unit to put extra points into; you want to keep them cheap as they are not designed as your main front-line scoring bodies. However, if you want to integrate Telion into your list through one of the above strategies – preferably the one involving an aegis line – then I definitely think he is a worthwhile purchase. The key with any upgrade character is to give them the means to use their tools most effectively, and those two afore-mentioned areas are where Telion truly makes his mark.
Maximising their Abilities – Telion is best used in long-ranged Scout units that want to sit in cover, either from a fortification or in regular terrain. This is due to his two key special rules that give him permanent Precision Shots and the ability to boost the Ballistic Skill of an Initiate by sacrificing his own shooting attack. These are best served with gun emplacements found on aegis defence lines and bastions, or with missile launchers and heavy bolters that want to keep the enemy at a safe distance. Even with his boosted Weapon Skill, Telion is no melee expert and so you should still keep the squad safe out of combat; if you want them there, save the points on Telion to instead get a Land Speeder Storm. I think Telion will find best use in a sizeable Scout squad with sniper rifles behind an aegis line with a quad gun, giving you an all-round solid firing unit that is very difficult to shift without AP4 or AP3 ignores cover weaponry. Give them camo cloaks and pray you don’t face those pesky Tau!
Thanks for reading everybody and by all means chime in down in the comments. How have you been running Telion?