Return of the vanguard

Every on loves sternguard. Well, every Space marine player. Their enemies, not so much. The special ammunition is very flexible, 2 special or heavy weapons per squad and all the combi weapons go a long way to win games. The old ‘sternguard in a droppod ‘ caper is the opening move of many gamers. (Me included!)

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But what about the poor assault cousin, the vanguard? These are about as rare on current lists as the assault squad? Only a few diehards take them in competitive lists. Kids love em because you take a whole squad of thunder hammers or lightning claws. They never work as well as they think they will, but I’d like to make the case for them. Let’s look and the negatives first.

1- assault armies don’t work. In current 40k shooting is king. Not a lot to say about this, it is. The old khorne player in me is sad at this, but, then I do have 2 full sternguard squads so the ultramarine player is ok with it.
2-assaults take planning and a lot players get it too easy to develop descent plans with assault troops. They just stick with tried and tested shooting units. I am looking at you tau players here.
3-young players are easily swayed. They build big deathstars that get blown away on turn 1. The loss of a thunder hammer vanguard will put you 50+ points down, not a good move.
4-assault terminators are a cheaper, more durable solution. At 225 you get the same stats, 2+ save and a squad of thunderhammers.
5-has anyone ever used heroic intervention? Really?
6- tables at the moment tend to light on Los blocking terrain. This really hurts assault troops. It’s all trees and low walls.

As you can see it’s easy to pull these veterans apart, but I think people over look a few key points.

1- you don’t have to take jump packs. 10 vanguard on foot charging out of a stormraven will get 40 attacks. That would make a dent in most units!
2-you can tailor your vanguard. The options available allow you to make the right squad for the right task. Basic vanguard with just chainswords are great vs guard, Orks, nids, eldar or tau. Facing chaos? Drop the whole 2 claws on every trooper thing, and just take power weapons (saves you 75pts)
3-deep strike is the new black. I have said it befor, but deep striking is on the rise. Being able to counter this is very useful. Your own deepstriking vetrans can take tactical objectives, score vp or contest strategic points.
4-vanguard can be a great shooting unit if your brave. 10 plasma pistols anyone? Or 10 Grav pistols deepstriking into a tank squad! The brutally possible is very under estimated, but cost less than thunderhammers all round.
5-they are better than assault marine for only 5pts more. For those few points you get ld+1 and A+1, plus more options. Not bad for so little points.
6-why take thunder hammers at all? Ok, this is contentious. What is the value of a thunderhammer over a power Fist. The concussive rule is great, but you normally kill your target at s8 ap2 anyway. A power fist is the same stats (without concussive) for 5 pts less? Over a 5 man squad, that’s a saving of 25 pts? And vs tanks, your better with melta bombs. (Saving a further whooping 100pts!)

So they have options, but you don’t have to take them. Low cost vanguard units can play a vital role in your plans. I run a 5 man squad with jump packs costing 190. Not really Cheap and cheerful yes, but with enough of a bite to really hurt. I am planning on adding 5 more, again keeping the cost down and using my stormeagle as a delivery system. Around 40 attacks plus upto 10 hammer of wraith attacks! That will make a hole! Around 10 of these attacks will be power weapons.

On foot I have just started assembling 5 more. Armed with a mix of weapons, again, keeping the cost down, I think these will be good unit. Possibly in a pod.

20150101_113959_LLS 20150101_114012_LLS 20150101_114024_LLS 20150101_114049_LLS 20150101_114031_LLS

Here are the units.

5 Vanguard Veterans (190)

WS4·BS4·S4·T4·W1·I4·A2·Ld9·Sv3+
3× bolt pistol; storm shield; lightning claw; 3× chainsword; lightning claw; power fist; jump packs; power armour; frag grenades; krak grenades
And They Shall Know No Fear; Combat Squads; Chapter Tactics (ultramarines) Heroic Intervention

• Space Marine Sergeant

WS4·BS4·S4·T4·W1·I4·A2·Ld9·Sv3+
bolt pistol; power weapon; power armour; frag grenades; krak grenades
And They Shall Know No Fear; Combat Squads; Chapter Tactics-ultramarines

5 Vanguard Veterans (170)

WS4·BS4·S4·T4·W1·I4·A2·Ld9·Sv3+
3× bolt pistol; plasma pistol; lightning claw; 4× chainsword; lightning claw; on foot ; power armour; frag grenades; krak grenades
And They Shall Know No Fear; Combat Squads; Chapter Tactics (ultramarines) Heroic Intervention

• Space Marine Sergeant

WS4·BS4·S4·T4·W1·I4·A2·Ld9·Sv3+
storm shield; power Axe; power armour; frag grenades; krak grenades
And They Shall Know No Fear; Combat Squads; Chapter Tactics-ultramarines

So, that’s my case for vanguard. My key points are these-don’t over equip, always have a few basic guys at the front to bubble wrap. Plan your use, don’t just hope the best, know you enemy and hit’em were it hurts. And consider the not with jump packs options!

Till then, look to the sky’s and while your doing that, I’ll sneak my scouts into you deployment zone. See you across the battlefield.

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