Greetings to you, Warlords of the Heresy!
I hope you enjoyed your holiday break, because Primarch School is back in session! Hopefully your holiday was full of prosecuting justice and other warlike shenanigans.
For today’s class, we will discuss the most important part of commanding an army: the commander. In this particular case, we will be diving into the almost-primarch-ish paragon of a Legion’s ideals: The Legion Praetor
What is a Praetor?
Essentially, the Praetors of a legion are those warriors who are the most accomplished and fit to command. For any legion whose Primarch is MIA or lost in the warp, these guys are going to be the guys in charge until he gets back and are an excellent choice for your compulsory HQ slot on the table until then.
Functionally, they act as the most versatile and customize-able characters you can put on the table, and they can add some wonderful new tools to your strategic toolbox. Let’s start with a summary of what he can do.
Praetors have one of the most versatile and expansive selections of wargear that I have seen in the game. There’s too much there to go over in a great amount of detail, but as you can expect, there are some of the general staples of Astartes-dom in the list. The normal offensive bread and butter, such as power weapons, lightning claws, thunder hammers, etc. are there, but on top of that there are several unique-to-30k things in there. Some of the flashier items, such as volkite pistols and the AP3 archeotech pistol, are nice and flavorful but as such they can add up to a significant point price if purchased indiscriminately. My personal favorite is the Paragon blade, which increases the user’s strength by 1, causes instant death on a 6 to wound, and strikes at AP2 at initiative.
Defensively, the classic 30k Cataphractii terminator armor (and the other variant) are available as well, though that will change which pieces of wargear your Praetor can take. You can also purchase an invulnerable save for him via the refractor field (5+) or iron halo (4+) at a reasonable price if you are looking to keep him in artificer armor. You can also kit him out with a bike or scimitar jetbike if you are so inclined.
In short, a Praetor is the swiss-army knife of your legion. You want him to murder things face to face? He can do that. You want him to hang back and support? He can do that too. Your leader built your way. There’s even supplemental relics and gear that he can take from other books. Wargear aside, there’s a lot more that he can do for you than just kick butt on the table.
Rites of War
To use a newfangled vernacular, a Rite of War is 30k’s version of a 40k formation (we’ll ignore the space-time conundrums for now. I’ve got the Ordo Chronus working on it…). As with formations, there are certain requirements and restrictions that are associated with various command benefits, but the trick to it in 30k is that the key to unlocking those tools is more often than not the Praetor himself. So what does that mean?
Ignoring the Legion-specific benefits and characters (a lesson for another day), the Praetor is the character from the Crusade Army List that allows you to use the various Rites of War, and while using a rite of war is not mandatory if you take a Praetor it does facilitate the commander’s ability to play the game their way. The difference is that it is used in combination with the Age of Darkness force organization chart, not as a substitute for it.
Do you want to play a drop pod army? There is a Rite of War for that. Do you want to have an armored company with Land Raider dedicated transports for your tactical marines? There is a Rite of War for that. Do you want an elite terminator deep striking force? There’s a rite of war for that (in fact, that’s one of the only ways to make your ‘nators deep strike in 30k).
The Praetor comes with access to four Rites of War, and if your Legion has rules represented already then you’ll have access to those as well. Forge World is also continually coming out with new Rites for both new and existing Legions to continue to expand on a commander’s ability to prosecute war their way. When putting your army together, it will serve you well to consider which ones you would like to use, or if not then which ones you can expect from your enemies…
That being said, it’s time to wrap up today’s lesson. Your homework for next class is to post up your favorite Praetor loadout and/or rite of war in the comments below, or to create one if you haven’t already. Be ready to talk about his support staff the next time around (you could CONSULt your text, if you get my meaning…). Also, bring me space cookies. Captain Morgan signing off!