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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Space Marines Master of the Forge: Tactics, Analysis and Review

The Master of the Forge (Forgelord) is perhaps one of the most underappreciated units in the Space Marine codex; specifically in terms of HQs. VT2’s review identifies the Forgelord as an excellent utility HQ with some pretty decent combat prowess and some excellent shooting options. Add in the ability to fix mech, improve a section of cover and importantly, give the SM general the option to take six Dreads and you’ve got a good option on your hands. In fact, it seems great so why don’t we see him more often and is he a viable HQ?

In comparison to a Biker Captain, Vulkan and Libby the MotF is a pretty good HQ. He’s certainly better than a generic captain or chaplain and a lot better than most of the special characters (why wasn’t there a special Forgelord!? We could of called him Lord Forgey or Alchy). The Forgelord brings both offense and utility to the table but unfortunately, he’s worse in performance (except for shooting) than the aforementioned HQs. A Biker Captain opens up a whole new Troops selection and multiple armies whilst still being good in combat, Vulkan makes a short-ranged army just plain deadly whilst also whacking away in combat whilst a Libby is some of the best utility in the game with Null Zone + other powers and psy defense. Whilst the Forgelord’s abilities are good, the aforementioned HQs are just as good if not better. Furthermore, the Forgelord can be particularly hard to place in an army (one of the issues Vulkan also has if there are no Terminators). To truly take advantage of his unique offerings (shooting and six Dreads) one generally has to put him on a bike or in a specifically designed squad (i.e. Scouts), both of which chew into your points total and therefore becomes problematic.

In the end you have to weigh up if a bare bones MotF without Conversion Beamer or Bike is worth the 100pt price tag to get six Dreads? The answer is a resounding yes. He certainly doesn’t have the combat power of Vulkan or even a Captain on a Bike (with relic blade) but he’s no slouch either. And whilst his other utility of improved cover and fixing vehicles isn’t fantastic, every little bit counts. From there if you want to add a BeamerBike or whatever, you can but on the basis of his original statline and options the Forgelord is a good HQ option. Why then isn’t he used? One major reason: psychic defense, which is only provided by a Libby. Whilst both can certainly be taken, when buying six Dreads points are at a premium (each Dread is a minimum 20 points more than a Pred) and quite often the opportunity cost comes down to using a MotF or having psychic defense (now that’s another article...). However, quite often lists run without Libbys and run other HQs such as Vulkan or double Captain on Bikes and although losing psychic defense (and Null Zone...) is a bummer, it’s still a solid possibility.

In the end, yes a MotF is a good buy but only in specific lists (read; 4+ Dreads). Whilst he doesn’t have as wide an applicability as the other good HQs for SM and he does have associated opportunity costs, he’s still a damn good HQ. So over the course of the next few days I’m going to drop some lists using the Forgelord relating along the lines of Mech, Drop Dread, Fast’N’Slow and Thunderbubble though if anyone has any other requests, please let me know. Whilst these lists may or may not be better than their counterparts, they offer an alternative and competitive list using the MotF which I think people need to see. And before I trundle off, let’s take a peek at the ‘original’ competitive SM list by Stelek which has inspired so much.

Oh and as a bonus, the Forgelord is awesome for fluff purposes for chapters like Iron Hands. +1

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