View Full Version : Are Special/ Named Characters Overpowered and would you use them?

11-04-2009, 23:57
Well warseerers, i find myself making my first warseer general discussion thread. Normally i am a reader and not a poster however this is one topic that has peeked my interested and had me and a close mate in a heated debate for quite some time.

The debate is over, as the title suggests, special/ named characters in 40k games. I am of the house that thinks all named characters are under-priced, and therefore overpowered, and massively unbalance the game in the favour of the army weidling said character. My mate however sees this as silly and wishes to use his beloved special characters in games with both me and our circle of gamers.

The way i see it is that the special characters get unique rules, weapons and abilities that are not normally available and can be combined to horrific effect with some units abilities from the rest of the army, that can make the list totaly unbeatable, unless one also devolves into using a special/ named character to combat them. This would inevitably lead to armies only consisting of named characters and would decent into a cheese-fest IMO.

What are you opinions? Do you think that special/ named characters are overpowered? Would you use one? Do you see a problem using one? Would you play against one?

Any response is appreciated.

Best Regards,



I have searched the forums, and a similar thread was posted, but quite a few people have written about WHFB rather than 40K.... So 40K please.

12-04-2009, 00:03
I field Pedro Kantor in all my SM games and he's useful. I don't thinks he's overpowered because him and his 9 man sternguard squad was taken out in two turns by a 5 man plague marine squad with two plasma guns and a generic khorne terminator lord with deamon weapon

12-04-2009, 00:12
It depends on the character really. Some can be seen as overpowered because they affect the entire army (like Calgar or Ghazghkull), while others are simply more powerful versions of existing units (like Yriel or Grotsnik). Of course, some characters are not so good (anyone who says Aun'va is overpowered, or indeed has any real use in a Tau army, is a damned liar!)

12-04-2009, 00:23
Yah it depends on the character. Affecting the whole army does not make it OP'd, Calgar is far from OP'd if anything nothing special for his points.

12-04-2009, 00:34
I like special characters, but I do think they should only show up in about 10% of the games one plays. They add a unique element to gamepaly, but it does get boring to face them all the time.

12-04-2009, 00:51
Special Characters are there to be used.

Whether they're overpowered is a pointless question. They're mighty heroes. They're supposed to be extremely efficient on the battlefield.

12-04-2009, 01:04
There's going to be one of these every bloody week until the world ends, isn't there :(

12-04-2009, 01:04
The lack of balance between characters is why I have no use for them. Some (Eldrad, Ragnar, et al) are way over powered for their cost, others are pretty lame (Kharn the Betrayer, Aunva etc). I also have a beef with one model smashing a squad of elite fighters, like Ragnar Black mane stomping a squad of Berserkers. it hurts the game, in my opinion, especially for those armies that don't have "uber" characters.

12-04-2009, 01:12
special/named characters aren't overpowered. yeah some are pretty ridiculous but every thing can still be taken out. AND Kharn IS THE SINGLE GREATEST CHARACTER EVER!!!!!!!:D no but seriously he is pretty good.

Creeping Dementia
12-04-2009, 01:13
The characters in the armies I play just plain suck (Tau, Sisters), so no they aren't overpowered, and no I won't use them.

12-04-2009, 01:14
Named character vary enormously in their power level.

Just like every other single unit in the game.

Is Abaddon a tank? undoubtably.

Is a unit of Nob Bikers more powerful? Of course.

People who are prejudice against named or "special" characters need to realise that some are balanced and some are not.
And thats the kind of game 40k is. Everything special or otherwise has a different power level to something of the same price.

12-04-2009, 01:36
Im generally not a fan of named characters. Some are vital (Wazzdakka for Kult of Speed lists, of Belial for DW) though. I prefer tweaking Vanilla choices usually. I like Skarbrand, the first SC in ages where I can see building a cool army for (Khorne + Tseentch with a LOC as the one who misled him). So: In general Im not a user, but I dont mind it when other use them. I think that they become a nuisance when they become a no brainer and everybody uses them. This applies to a far lesser extend to those "change the army composition" ones, which to me are basically "the terminator foce captain" or "the suit loving Shaso". As well as to the Squad upgrade Characters (in all Dexes using them). And the "were actually genetic" ones in C:SM.

12-04-2009, 02:13
Some are, some arn't and for some goddamn reason there becomming compulsary for none standard armies.

12-04-2009, 02:16
I think you are missing the choice:
Some are and some are not, I don't particularly like using them, but don't mind it should I feel like I want to.

My 7 Cents.

12-04-2009, 02:16
Special Characters are fine, they're not over powered and I do use them seeing how my DW and RW forces require them. I also field a few others now and then, but I tend to use them sparingly in 1500 games or reserve them for 2000+ points. At that level it doesn;t matter so much.

Some characters may be tough, but a well aimed couple of shots or unlucky dice rolls can see thm biting the dust as easily as anything else on the table. They cost more points and sometimes do't have that much in the way of effects on the game.

If people think they're over powered now, go back and look at how they were in 2nd Edition, or betetr yet, go look at GT in Rogue Trader, those things were an army and I frequently wiped out entire daemon hosts and other armies with just 6 models. Calgar was a beast also, purely CC character and pretty much invincible (yet I seemed to kill him alot with lone gaunts, lol).

12-04-2009, 03:20
I play DA..I use 'Special Characters' in order to play Deathwing or Ravenwing... thems the breaks and requirements of my Codex...

12-04-2009, 03:44
I enjoy playing a lot of Characters. I play Eldrad a lot, Yriel and Maugan Ra.. But I also play Ahriman and Kharandras.

For the most part, they're good. Eldrad got nerfed slightly in 5th (his redeploy isn't so gamebreaking 1/2 the time, regular farseers aren't instakilled anymore). Yriel got megabuffed (all units have counterassault = yummy blast template, doesn't give auto-VPs away with Doom). Maugan Ra is still sexy, although Rending was nerfed a bit. Ahriman and Kharandras are both still overpriced.

If you compare all these guys to squads of similar strength in pts, they're totally fine. Eldrad is a special case.. 3 powers / turn that can buff an entire army to be amazing is what makes him really good. Especially since a normal Seer with all the Runes/Powers would cost approximately 250 pts to his much less price.

I voted not overpowered (with the exception of Eldrad) and use them. The "with permission" characters were pointless, as no one would say yes.. this way we get fun units and unique experiences with different armies.

12-04-2009, 03:52
Well thank you all for having your say. Some have been more forthcomming than others, however I must say i am surprised at the way the votes have gone.

With it being only day 1, I shall leave them up for a little while longer just to see what others have to say, if they have anything to say at all, then i will give the results to my circle of gamers.

Thanks again one and all.

12-04-2009, 04:16
To me there are "Special Special Characters" and "Special Characters".

The former exists in old codexes where they had limits either making you request your opponent's permission or depending on how many points you were playing.

Creed & Kell for 125 points was ridiculously under priced, so was Gaunt for 75. Some of the other, older, special characters are equally horrible/cheap.

However in the later codexes SM, Orks and IG specifically, the "Special Characters" are not overpowered. Chenkov in the new IG codex is a 50 point upgrade to your platoon commander. He basically makes the platoon commander a company commander with a bolt pistol and carapace armour, with the addition of all units within 12" of him are stubborn. That's not exactly overpowered as Guardsmen are generally LD 8 at the most anyway.

Special characters like Chenkov for Guard and Zagstruk for Orks are usually worth the points you pay for them, though frequently other special characters aren't really worth it (who HONESTLY takes Calgar? Not many people).

12-04-2009, 04:38
While I don't necessarily think that Special Characters are overpowered, I personally don't like them, and would prefer to not have to use one in order to represent certain army styles.

12-04-2009, 05:07
i chose Yes overpowered & Would use them. I don't think they should be used for every game you play, but it's fun to use them with friends especially if you set up a game before hand like a Special Mission.

12-04-2009, 06:20
OP no there special but im sorry i used to play 3.5 chaos space marines and my daemon prince with retinue would smash them all into the ground no problem. Name a character and he would eat it for breakfast so in light of that guy I dont find any of the special characters OP just strong.

12-04-2009, 06:34
I think some of them have the potential to be really powerful, but not neccesarily overpowered.

In a game I played against an SM players, he had a librarian(cant remember if it was a named char or not) but a 10 man beserker squad didnt manage to get on would past his terminator armor, and he slowly smited them all to pieces in cc. Next game, I thought, I'll just tangle him up with some csms to keep him from causing too much trouble, and he died on the charge XD. My point is really, any of them can be killed, so i dont see them as a problem

12-04-2009, 06:56
Lemartes cost as a chaplain with jump pack + 5 points

12-04-2009, 08:49
I think abaddon is overpowered no doubt but u do pay the points for him so its normally balanced. as an example i saw him quite happily kill a 10 man unit of knob bikers and its warboss and he only took 1 wound lol he was killing 5 per combat then ran them down hehe.

12-04-2009, 09:05
Lemartes cost as a chaplain with jump pack + 5 points


Seriously, the only good thing Blood Angels have going for them is the Special Characters, the Baal Predator and the overcharged Rhinos.

Saying that their marines and vehciles are all overpriced, they don't get "free" heavy/special weapons, they have none of the special characters that give army wide bonuses and none of the new units and wargear from the new codex. Oh and the BEST bit is none of their transports have entry points (check it out) meaning even their Drop Pods land and they can't get out (I'm sure no-one actually plays it like this, but RAW...).

One good Chaplain? I can live with that :p

12-04-2009, 09:52
Odd thing with the new edition special characters.
Where in the 3rd edition they were overpriced and underpowered with terrible wargear options. Now in 5th we have some characters with decent wargear that are better value than anything that can be made using the commander options. Vulkan, Lemartes, Lysander probably the best examples of these. Kharn is somewhat unique in the Chaos army book but still good value.

I think the only excessively overpowered character is Eldrad though. He's as powerful as two Farseers for the same price, then has all his extra special wargear thrown in, which is why he's posthumously leading almost every Eldar force you care to come accross these days.

12-04-2009, 11:42
I'll agree with the general feeling that some are more powerful than others, though I tend to avoid using them, as to me it makes the army seem less personal.

12-04-2009, 12:16
there are only a couple of dodgy ones (to my mind anyway).
Eldrad (as he costs about the same as a similarly equipped farseer but can do so much more)
Vulkan (but only when spammed with loads of SoB, That loophole needs closing IMHO)
The others I can happily live with.
The predjudice against SC is largely a holdover from 2nd and 3rd ed when they were insane (Ragnar, as mentioned is a 3rd ed character) and permission only.
Now they are simply another choice from the army list.
rather than "special characters", think of them as "unique units"
With the current design philosophy they are required to create some armies so should not be denied. So essential are they that you might as well deny genestealers to a 'nid player or Devastators to a Marine. They are no better or worse than anything else available.

12-04-2009, 12:38
Some SC are overpowered and some are not.
I don't have a rule/system to how often I use SC.
For example I only field Inq Lord Coteaz in rare ocations and really enjoy those games.
But I allways use the Changeling in every game I play with my growing Tzeentch demon army (the best cost/efective ratio SC in the whole game); and Captain Badrukk in my slowly growing bad moon ork army.

12-04-2009, 12:53
I think that the cheese:cheese: level of a character depends on which one they are but I mainly use them because they are cool they have a background and I play BA where the main strategies are based around special characters but I do like kharn and Arhiman effective or not I mainly use them for the rule of cool

Cain The Good
12-04-2009, 22:53
I personally this it is ridiculous that people can assume that Ork named characters are overpowered. If you are being beaten by Orks there is a very simple reason - you are not collecting a cool enough army.