Some gains and losses here. Seth and Dante (more on them later) have become Lords of war, the Sanguinary priests / Corbulo have been moved to HQ (as have techmarines and Librarian Dreads) and The Honour Guard (now rechristened Command Squad) have, in a bizarre move, ended up as elites. The Reclusiarch is sadly, but predictably gone, with the standard Chaplain reclaiming its place in HQ. I'll cover the individual entries here:
A 10% points drop in line with codex Marines and finally being granted access to artificer armour has seen the Captain become a viable choice again. He would be good tooled up with some mobility and some CC potential. He also gained access to relic blades (as did Vanguard Sergeants) striking a good balance between them being codex adherent and the Sanguinary Guard retaining some unique wargear. Sadly, despite this, the Captain will almost always lose out to other more favourable HQ choices.
Not in the Codex but very much usable given how datasheets work now. Captain Karl is actually pretty darn good. Regular Captain stats with terminator armour and a master-crafted Thunder hammer, Captain Karl comes in as a power fist more expensive than a DIY build. Aside from the master-crafted, he also brings counter attack and his Warlord trait to the mix. Strategic genius is, in my opinion, a huge boost to the army and, depending on your build, a great asset to have. The ability to reroll reserve rolls can make all the difference between your flyer being able to shoot down enemy flyers or getting your army where and when you want it to be. (drop pod list will likely be popular, but more on that later) As an extra perk you add +1 to seize the initiative rolls. Overall I think Karlaen is a fairly rounded character who strikes a good balance between being a beatstick and bolstering the army as a whole. His counter attack also makes him a good squad bolstering unit.
A new model and a hefty points drop have made Librarians one of the stand-out HQ choices in the Codex, not least because of the Sanguinary discipline. at 35 points cheaper for a level 1 and 60 points cheaper for a level 2, it would be rude not to bring one along for the ride. They retain pretty much the same options as before and gain access to one of the relics, Gallian's staff, covered earlier. Overall a very solid choice for reasons stated in my review of the psychic powers and still relatively cheap even when tooled up.
There are always winners and losers in codex updates, and sadly Tycho was the biggest loser. He may be 45 points cheaper, but went from being a viable choice in certain lists to an almost certain leave at home. He has artificer armour and normal Captain stats and his Warlord trait grants him rampage. Bloodsong is a master-crafted combi-melta with 50% greater melta range now, but in turn Tycho lost access to special issue ammunition. So far so good, except that in place of the dead man's hand he got digital weapons. Preferred-enemy Orks is the same. Now, Tycho reeks of a character who is well rounded but ill-thought out - he has no close combat weapon to make the digital weapons, rampage and preferred enemy actually count for anything. Although he is generously costed compared to an equivalent Captain, the problem lies in that you would never arm a captain in that manner as he's not fit for purpose. A real sad oversight considering I actually used to take Tycho. Even rending might have made him a usable choice, but in his current format he's pretty useless.
Tycho the lost:
Has identical issues to Captain Tycho and costs 15 points more. However, he can now join Death Company units (only) which is a vast improvement. in addition he gains rage, relentless, feel no pain and fearless. A good 15 point improvement, but still hindered by the lack of close-combat weapon. Even in a death company heavy army you would want Chaplains/Astorath/Priests at the fore so sorry Tycho, get used to shelf warming til next time.
Now an HQ rather than an upgrade to the elite Furiosos, Librarian Dreadnoughts may well be a popular choice for a couple of reasons. Firstly, It now costs 25 points less but you can pay that same amount to upgrade to mastery level 2. Secondly, A number of wargear tweaks make him much more viable. He can now upgrade his storm bolter to a heavy flamer / meltagun and also the force halberd got pimped to a strength 10 AP2 force weapon! With all the initiative bolstering available in the book monstrous creature beware!! A pretty good HQ option suffering from the same problems that dreadnoughts have in general, though it is still AV13 on the front.
Controvery inbound. The Lord of death is no longer so much of a Lord of death. A lot has changed with Mephiston so this may take some time. First, the good news. He is 75 points cheaper and is now an independent character, meaning he can hide in squads once more. He retains all his wargear, fleet, furious charge and mastery level 3. Transfixing gaze now means you can hit on a 2+ if you roll equal to or greater than your opponents leadership in a challenge. His unique power, sanguine sword, remains the same and grants you s10 - a s10 force sword is nothing to be sniffed at. His warlord trait grants admantine will.
Now for the bad. His force sword is still AP3, hindering him greatly against hammer units. He has to roll for all of his powers except sanguine sword. The biggest change is of course to his stat line, which has seen him go from a mini-monstrous creature to a pimped Chief Librarian. He lost a point of strength, toughness and weapons skill, two wounds and two points of initiative. Plus he still has no invulnerable save, though this is less of an issue given hi new IC status and the bolstering abilities granted in the army.
In conclusion, I think the changes are a good thing. Mephiston was ridiculous before, yet now is exactly what he should be - a souped up combat Librarian. Psychic power and army rule bolstering can still grant him a decent amount of immortality and he will still butcher his way through any characters and squads in power armour or less. He has changed and will likely no longer be an auto-include, but I welcome any changes that encourage diversity in lists.
The Sanguinor has also changed somewhat. He lost an attack and dropped a whopping 75 points. Avenging Angel got better in that he can now reroll to hit and wound in all challenges not just against a nominated HQ. His blessing is now gone though, so no pimped Sergeants anymore. His 3++ got knocked down to a 4++ Iron halo. Aura of fervour remained the same granting +1 attacks to Blood Angel units in 6". Eternal warrior, fearless and furious charge remain, and courtesy of his death mask he causes fear. His warlord trait grants all Imperial units in 12" fearless which is nice. It's hard to judge this one to be honest. He seems to have been rebalanced accordingly and despite being much cheaper still doesn't seem to be the best choice. One on one he is a pretty solid HQ slayer against anything that isn't 2+ save, and he certainly has more speed than Mephiston. His bolstering abilities are also good for units around him, but a Librarian (or Mephy) can still do pretty much the same and stay hidden within a squad. Tough call really. I'd still use him but he wouldn't be top choice.
This chap is now top dog with the loss of the Reclusiarch. The question remains, how does he measure up. The only times I've ever used him he has underperformed. As with the others he took a points drop down by 65 points while largely remaining unchanged. He is now unique in that he is the only unit to offer rerolls to wound on Death Company. Zealot now covers the other parts of his rules. Shadow of the Primarch, while fluffy, is now no longer valid due to the loss of the red thirst rule. The executioners axe in now effectively a 2-handed power axe which auto-wounds and causes instant death rather than forcing invulnerable rerolls as it used to. His warlord trait grants admantine will. I think Astorath is pretty solid and a must-have in death company lists. The 2+ and 4++ makes him pretty survivable in a challenge and his axe (still s6 on the charge) is brutal enough to humble most opponents. The points drop also adds to making him a solid choice, although as mentioned he needs to be with jump death company to get the most out of him.
OK, I'm going to have a bit of a moan about this one. I welcome the move to HQ, and as with Haemunculi they are now no longer a 1-3 choice. I also welcome upping their status to Chaplain/Librarian stats given their standing in the Chapter. What I'm unhappy about is that they lack the option for terminator armour limiting their use with deep-striking terminators and, more importantly, invalidating the two conversions I spent a chunk of time making. They can't even be passed up as artificer armoured as they don't have that option either.
Right, rant over. Beautiful new model (I'll use him as Corbulo) and changes abound. As mentioned he now has better stats for the extra 10 points. The Narthicium is now a standard one as with Codex Marines, granting feel no pain to the squad. The Priests (unlike the Novitiates in the command squad) carry the Blood Chalice, which now don't give the Feel no pain and furious charge 6"bubble (all squads have furious charge anyway) but instead grant +1 weapon skill to that unit. This is pretty darn huge to be honest as they'll allow units to strike against equivalent marines on a 3+. Just one of the army perks available to the Angels which will give them the edge in combat against their peers, this is a decent change which allows you to get the WS5 death company of old back should you wish. It also makes more sense from a fluff perspective. Adding in a jump priest to a unit of sanguinary guard or death company will allow a brutal full on assault at S5, WS5 and feel no pain. A solid HQ choice for bolstering if not combat itself, though the wargear lists are there if you choose to tool him up.
A power weapon more expensive than before and no longer an Elite slot choice, Corbulo is also now pretty badass like his priest Bretheren. Corbs gained a wound and a point of Leadership, as well as having a warlord trait which adds an extra one to his initiative. His all seeing eye allows one reroll per battle but is restricted as to what it can be used for - still very handy to have at game-changing points (unless you forget you have it like I do). Heavens teeth remains pretty much the same being +1 strength and rending, except that you can now stack the furious charge with it for s6 potentially on the charge. What's more, the red grail is pretty much the same as a normal chalice except you add +1 to initiative also. This is huge, as it allows you to strike better, faster and harder in combat than any other marine army. It isn't cumulative with the Blood chalice of course, but with his own perks will grant Corbulo alone 5 S6, I7 WS6 rending attacks on the charge. Obviously he carries a narthcium too and thus has FnP. His biggest drawbacks are a lack of mobility, low AP weaponry and survivability as he has power armour and no ++ save. Still, pretty solid in a squad and grants some excellent perks to those around him. Double the price of a basic priest but worth considering as an alternative if mobility isn't an issue.
Not much to say here. They remain pretty much the same with things brought in line with codex Marines. Useful if you run a Dreadnought heavy list or want to keep land raiders ticking over. The double edged sword depends on what list you want to run. They're a cheap HQ if that's all you want (though I'd probably take a priest) but hard to squeeze in with all the HQ competition unless they're vital to your list, such as in the aforementioned dreadnought list.
Again, not much to say here as points and options have been brought in line with the Space Marine codex. They have moved from elites to HQ and Reclusiarchs have disappeared. Liturgies of blood have now been replaced with zealot, meaning they no longer double bolster rerolls on death company. May still be useful if you want the rerolls on the charge with a particular unit though.