Sunday, April 18, 2010

Space Marine HQs - Kor'sarro Khan

Just a little food for thought based on my first experiences with Kor'sarro Khan and why I think he is an excellent addition to a mechanised Space Marine army.

Chapter Tactics
No doubt the most obvious reason to take Khan, your army exchanges Combat Tactics for Outflank. Most people take advantage of this by outflanking their Bike Squads or Assault Squads to get to grips with the enemy faster and without having to slog across the table. Outflank in general is seen mostly as a means to get your assault units in close range more reliably. However, if your opponent castles up in the centre, or deploys in a refused flank, you risk your units arriving piece meal with no further benefit, or on the wrong side of the table, respectively.   

Where the ability to Outflank really shines, in my opinion, is with Razorbacks and Land Raiders, who can use their long ranged firepower from whichever flank they arrive, while having the speed to redeploy if necessary. A central advance with several tough units, such as Dreadnoughts or heavy tanks, will expose the side armour of your enemy's vehicles to either your "anvil" or your Outflanking Razorspam-hammer.

With the increase of firepower on the table, mainly courtesy of the Imperial Guard (though Space Marine armies can also form impressive gunlines), having a way to get your Rhinos, Razorbacks and Land Raiders on the table without getting destroyed on the first turn is a considerable advantage. Reserve tactics are in my experience vital to mechanised Space Marine armies, and the additional deployment options available to you when your transports can Outflank, will enable you to deal with virtually any army in any mission.

Khan would come in handy here!
(Picture taken from Spikey Bits:

Hit & Run
In my view an often overlooked special rule, I have found this to be an amazing asset to a close combat unit. My unit of choice is my Assault Terminator squad, embarked in a Land Raider (dedicated of course, to also take advantage of the Outflank ability!). This is probably one of the most popular units in the Space Marine codex and for good reason. Personally I would never leave home without them at the 1700+ points level. The firepower and attention they draw from your opponent is in itself enough to warrant their inclusion in my list; anything they kill is bonus. That said, Hit & Run is a fantastic addition to this already excellent unit.

First of all a disclaimer, Hit & Run is never something you should rely on. At Initiative 4 you have a 2 in 3 chance to disengage from combat, which is good but not reliable. However, in your opponent's turn, there is never a reason not to try it unless you want to deny your enemy a consolidation move. You basically get a free charge bonus, or a free 3D6" move if you don't intend to continue the combat you were in.

3D6" averages 10.5", granting you a surprising speed bonus to your Terminators (most of the time). You can use this to threaten enemy units or objectives your opponent thought safe, after all your Terminators had been locked in combat just moments before! You can also try to Hit & Run in your own turn, for instance if you're locked in combat close to an unengaged close combat unit your opponent can charge you with in his turn. If you successfully disengage, and roll well enough on your 3D6" move, you can escape out of charge range, or move into cover (remember your Hit & Run move ignores difficult terrain) and force him to move through the difficult ground to get to you. This does open you up to shooting in your opponent's turn, however, as well as freeing up the unit you were locked in combat with, so this is a situational tactic.

 You can attempt Hit & Run to flee from enemy counter-charges

Furious Charge
The other special rule Khan grants his squad is Furious Charge. The boost this gives any assault unit is quite obvious, though much of its benefits are lost when coupled with Assault Terminators with Thunderhammers. The Initiative bonus is negated, and the Strength bonus seems unnecessary. Strength 9 does come in handy against the ever-increasing number of Walkers with AV13, doubling your chances of a penetrating hit. Also, there is something to be said about the ability to penetrate Land Raiders, though that is generally a last resort tactic.

Where Furious Charge really comes into its own, in my experience, is with Khan himself. At first sight Khan is nothing special in close combat. Just a regular Captain with a Power sword. With Furious Charge, however, he becomes S5 and, more importantly, Initiative 6! This means he will strike first against most other characters. Now combine this with his ability to instantly kill enemy models on any To Wound roll of a 6, and you'll notice why Khan is the White Scars' official headhunter. While again not a reliable tactic, using Khan to eliminate enemy characters can work surprisingly well, especially when combined with a Librarian's Null Zone to negate those pesky Invulnerable Saves that stand between the Khan and his next trophy.

Sword sniping!

So, while his advantages may not be useful in every game, Khan makes your list a lot more flexible, as well as giving some interesting combat bonuses to your unit of choice. You will notice I've left out Khan's option to take a bike, as well as his uses in a bike centred list, as my experience lies only with mechanised builds. I'd say, if you (or your regular opponents!) grow tired of playing Vulkan, Kantor, or your character of choice each time, try giving Khan a spin, if you haven't already!


  1. Brilliant article about a much neglected character. I suppose there's no denying Vulkan's utility but I think it's good to shake things uo a bit every now and then...

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