technically, if you put it this way, almost all special characters are just beefed up normal commanders with special rules.
Sure there are some exceptions such as Avatar and Daemon Prince.
But arent all Space Marines are the same? Some are just more excellent and become commanders/captains and if they continue they become leaders of the chapter.
Yes I agree Belial is a bit bland, lacks in fluff, doesnt have much taste to him and bit more expensive than he should be.
No. Coteaz gives re-rolls to Seize, a tank for the front of the unit, charge defense through Sanctuary, a Mastery 2 Divination psyker if you prefer, and a decent shooting attack. None of his abilities can be gained through a normal Inquisitor. Then his main ability, Lord of Formosa, makes Henchmen Troops. This is an extension of a normal Inquisitor, who still lets you take Henchmen, but not as well as Coteaz. Mephiston plays like no other character in the Codex. Draigo makes Paladins Troops, and his statline is far beefier than a regular Grand Master while bringing the only Storm Shield the Grey Knights own and a special sword that helps him punch Psykers and Daemons even harder. Fateweaver brings something unique that essentially opens up a whole new build. Belial gives you Deathwing as Troops (and he's not even the only character who can do that), and... well, that's about it. He has nothing special about him to seperate him from a normal dude.
Lets dissect him.
Belial comes with TDA, AP3 fleshbane sword and can be switched to TH/SS or 2 Lightning Claws for free, also a free Teleport Homer.
7 Special rules out of them 3 rules are unique to him;
- Tactical Precision (No Scatter for DS),
- Grand Master of Deathwing (Deathwing Terminators are troops),
- Marked for Retribution(precision shots on 5+), and also has The Hunt as a Warlord Trait.
Total 190 PTs
Teleport Homer may as well not even be there for all the times it's used. If it could be used on arrival, then maybe, but as it is, no way. Tactical Precision is nice. Deathwing as Troops is cool, but Azrael does it as well, usually better (in mono-Dark Angels, Belial. Most allies will want Azrael). Marked for Retribution, again - usually doesn't bring a gun, and if he does it's a pretty irrelevant one. Precision Shots are something all characters do, even at the squad level, Belial just does it a bit better.
Now a DA Company Master in Terminator Armor with SB/PS costs 130 points. Cant have Lightning Claws, or TH/SS, but can take Special Issue Wargear and Chapter Relics which compensates for that. Has an identical stat line. With Relic of Unforgiven and Mace of Redemption he costs 175 points and the mace is much better than the Sword of Silence Belial comes with.
Agreed. Honestly, I forgot the weird restriction on the Master not being able to bring Hammer/Shield, but I think you can bring Mace/Displacer for still less than Belial and be strictly better in combat. However, Belial's cost is mostly in his FOC swap, because as a dude he's pretty bad, as is the Company Master (linear warriors, quadratic wizards - buffs are better than punches. If the Company Master still had Rites of Battle, I'd be all over it, but as it stands? Nah)
Now that leaves me questioning how would you actually make him unique and useful?
Give him some Special Rules that are actually special, and cut his cost a bit.
In DA book the most unique HQ would be Azrael due to assortment of Special rules and Wargear, however he is expensive and I never actually found him useful.
I think Azrael's pretty good - not massively expensive, unique bonuses from the Lion Helm and Rites of Battle, FOC swaps, and some fancy wargear (not really new, but kind of fun). He's reasonable if you're pushing a 40-man Guard squad into midfield, but in a mono-Dark Angel list you'll usually end up wasting the Helm (which you really need to be using).
Sammael and Ezekiel are nice as well - Sammael's particularly nice, being pretty unique as a character. AP2 Power Sword, Jetbike, Eternal Warrior, good shooting capability (rare for any character, let alone a Space Marine character), and some really good buffs to the squad he joins (Scout and Skilled Rider are awesome). Ezekiel's Book of Salvation gives him a pass too, but Asmodai and Belial are pretty lame.
So what are you saying? That you shouldn't view Belial as a person, but as a normal commander with termi armour?
I don't care what his special combat skills are, I just fail to see the reasoning behind having this guy being the only way of playing Death Wing.
Yes, and because it makes sense that the leader of the Deathwing is a leader in Terminator Armour.
I don't hate special characters, not at all. I just hate the fact, that they are the only way of using henchmen, purifiers and so on, as troops.
If they weren't, they wouldn't really be special at all, would they?
They are unique characters, meaning that only one exists in the universe. However when playing a tournament, you are likely to have a Huron vs Huron showdown, because people depend on him to infiltrate their troops.
I see your point, but again - Huron's not the only Chaos Lord in the galaxy, and I'm sure there are others who are Lorgar-like latent psykers (hence the statline and Hamadrya), or bionically rebuilt in the same way (Iron Hands successor traitors, Iron Warrior splinter faction). Huron's rules fit Huron, but they're not exclusive.
Am I understanding this correctly, that you are defending the notion of using "counts as" characters? I totally agree that the rules shouldn't work for just one Inquisitor in the entire galaxy, but sadly those are the rules.
Yeah - Games Workshop has done the same in every Codex since 3rd edition.
So I guess that in principle, I'd wish more people would just model their own Chapter Master in terminator armour, and having him use the rules of Belial, just to rid us of the ridiculousness that is opposing armies fielding the same guy, of which only one exists.
Well being as there isn't a model for Belial with Hammer/Shield, 100% of them are converted or kitbashed. Other times, yeah, not good for the immersion when both players use the same model, but you get that all the time when you get two people using the same army and fighting each other. I had a 3-game event where I fought two other Dark Angels players, which doesn't make any sense in the fluff at all. Game =/= Fluff.