So, again, I'm testing some 1000pt and 1500pt lists for Berks Spring Assault this April and an Escalation League starting in January at Brave New Worlds. And in my jump pack based lists I had what I would call an "Elite Jump Troop" unit.
At first I just blindly plugged in some Sanguinary Guard with Power Fist, Infernus Pistols and a Chapter Banner because its what I've used in the past (especially with Dante). But then I thought, maybe I should look through the codex and see if similarly constructed units would be just as good, cheaper or maybe even better.
So my criteria to fit this unit niche was A) It had to be jump troops. I don't want my elite unit slowing down the rest of my units. And secondly, B) I wanted them to have a lot of power weapons to be able to take down heavily armoured troops (oh, who am I kidding, Grey Knight terminators and paladins heheh). That's pretty much it. So looking through the codex, other than Sanguinary Guard, both Vanguard Vets and Honour Guard seem to fit these criteria as well.
By the way, I didn't include Death Company because giving them Jump Packs is REALLY expensive and they have the Rage rule. I generally only run death company in vehicles so I can at least steer them in the right direction before they disembark. Death Company for me are generally a fun, fluffy unit I run when I want to play something different and add a bit of chaos to a game.
So I made up a few equal strength units and compared them:
4 marines and 1 sarge
Power weapons for 4 marines
Jump Packs for all
Power fist for sarge
1x Infernus pistol
5x Sanguinary Guard
1x Power Fist
1x Infernus Pistol
4 Honour Guard and 1 Sanguinary Novitiate
Jump Packs for all
Power weapons for 4 Guard
Power Fist for Sanguinary Novitiate
1x Infernus Pistol
So in making these units, I wanted them all to have a Powerfist and Infernus Pistol so they could take on armor as well. Also, I gave the Sanguinary Guard a Chapter Banner just so they have the same amount of attacks as the other two units. The Sanguinary Guards' Glaive Encarmine weapons are two-handed weapons, meaning they don't get an extra attack for having a pistol like the other two units.
Now that we have these units as equivalent as we can make them, lets compare how they match up...
- 2+ Armor save. I roll pretty horribly so this is kind of a big factor for me...
- Chapter Banner gives plus +1 attack to unit and friendly units within 12" can reroll Morale and Pinning Checks
- Leadership 10
- If taken with Dante, they can claim objectives
Sanguinary Guard cons:
- No invul saves for a unit that costs as much as Terminators (hmm seems to be case with the Vanguard Vets and Honour Guard units too though... hmmm)
- Fearless, not the biggest fan of Fearless, these troops are already Ld10 and I'd much rather have "And they shall know no fear..."
- Glaive Encarmine are two handed power weapons thus you don't get an extra attack for carrying a pistol. This makes a Chapter Banner almost mandatory... more points to spend :(
- Sanguinary Guard start at 200pts - Expensive!
- Cannot have more than 5 per squad
Vanguard Veteran Squad pros:
- You can get extra attack for pistol taken (Sang. Guard Glaive Encarmine are two handed power weapons) for a total of 3 attacks or 4 on a charge.
- Its the least expensive of the 3 units. Base cost is only 115pts. With Power weapons the cost goes up by 60pts still cheaper than base Sanguinary Guard
- Heroic Intervention - may assault after deep striking. This is pretty cool, but I think i need to see if it actually works well in a game. Even with the reduced 6" scatter that Blood Angels get, I could see these troops scattering out of assault range making them sitting ducks. But for now I'm putting this in the Pros section because you dont have to assault after deep striking if you don't want to.
- You can add up to 5 more marines, which is nice if you wanna scale for larger games
Vanguard Veteran Squad cons:
- Only 3+ armor
- Leadership 9
- Can't claim objectives
Honour Guard pros:
- Has built in "Sanguinary Novitiate" which gives Furious Charge and Feel No Pain, so you dont have to buy a Sanguinary Preist for this unit and nearby units
- Doesn't take up a force slot. It's attached to whatever HQ you take.
- Can take a Chapter Banner to get +1 attack, making it the unit with the most attacks at 5 attacks EACH on a charge!
WOW! 2 base attacks + Pistol attack + Chapter Banner attack + Charge attack = A LOT OF ATTACKS FOR 5 DUDES!
Keep in mind though, this will bump the unit cost up to 295pts for a 5 man squad that only has 3+ armour saves and no invul saves! Yikes! Watch out for Plasma shots or even a single lucky Vindicator Devastator cannon blast!
But, imagine taking this 25 attack unit and having a Librarian with Unleash Rage tagging along! Reroll hits galore!!! I'm drooling at the thought of this...
Honour Guard cons:
- Can't claim objectives
- Can only have 5 models in a unit, no more.
- Most expensive unit
- Only Leadership 9, but if you have your HQ tag along this isn't that big a deal...
- Only 3+ armour and no invul saves for a Terminator equivalent cost unit
This fight is nowhere near as cut and dry as my earlier Librarian versus Reclusiarch fight. First off, the Honour Guard with a Chapter Banner AND a Librarian with Unleash Rage has me REALLY intrigued with all those attacks, even though its rather expensive for such a frail unit. Overall, the Sanguinary Guard seem the most resilient of the bunch with its 2+ save but all of the compared units have no invulnerability save options. Also, the ability to be Troops if Commander Dante is in the army is pretty clutch. At lower point cost games, the Vanguard Vets seem the way to go and are the most cost effective way to get a lot of power weapon attacks on the field. I think GW actually did a good job of balancing these units against each other. Honestly I think further play testing is required for me to make a decision.... and even then I doubt one will be hands down winner against the others.
So far I'd say the verdict is:
One other option though, (and this is what I'm currently running in a few of my lists) is a unit of 5 Assault Terminators with 4 Lightening Claws and 1 Thunderhammer/ Stormshield Termies with a Terminator Librarian with Unleash Rage flying around in a Stormraven so they can keep up with my Assault Squads. Now, I didn't include this unit in this comparison because it is heavily dependent on the Stormraven to get around quickly and the Librarian's Unleash Rage ability (reroll to hit as well as Lightening Claws' reroll to wounds!) to be the most effective it can be. It's also about 550pts for this single deathstar unit! But then again, they are far more resilient than the jump troops I compared above...
What do you guys think? Did I miss any key options/factors? Am I completely off base? Put your comments/questions down below!