Where have all the assault squads gone?

With the release of codex:blood Angels I thought I’d take time to discuss the humble assault squad. As many of you know I am collection the 2nd company of the ultramarines and this means 2 10 man squads of the assault marines. As a son of mcragge, I have dutifully obliged, but they rarely make the cut into my 1500pts list.

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Let’s start with the rules. They come in 2 versions, with and without jump pack. It’s even rarer to see them without and that’s saying something! I will focus on those with jump.

As you’d expect, they come in 5 man squads, with the option to go up to 10 man squads. Up 2 can take either a flamer or a plasma pistol. This really bugs me, but I’ll pick that up later. The sgt can be upgraded to a veteran and has access to the full weapons (melee) list. He also get to change his pistol, take melta bombs and the rather useful combat sheild. If using jump packs, you don’t get any transport options, but can deepstrike.

Ok so let’s looks at the pros.

1-deepstrikers rock in 7th ed. deepstiking units are the new black at the mo. Especially in maelstrom of war missions. Dropping straight onto a scoring objective or into the opponents deployment zone is great for the quick vp’s. Many games can be won this way.
2-fast is good. The sheer speed of jump troops are great on crowded tables. You can bring the hurt from behind builds with ease.
3-sgt multitool. You can build the sgt up to fit many roles. We all love using power fist on them tanks and twin claws are great vs power armoured troops.
4-hammer of wraith. Who can complain about upto 10 st4 auto hits BEFORE even the eldar can strike?

For all the pros however, the cons are still whooping.

1-cost. For a few points more you can get a whole heap more. Consider this. A vanguard with a jump pack is only 5 points more and for that you get +1A and +1ld. That’s not including the options available for the vangurd. Again at an additional 5 points you can take a bike squad that gets +1T, 4+ jink save, twin linked bolters, and the choice of any 2 special weapons. Oh, and you can add a heavy weapon as well. It’s a bit of a no brainer.
2-why only flamers or plasma pistols? No one can answer this question. I know that they say, that’s what comes in the kits. But the tactical kit only comes with missile launcher? The ability to DS a melta would make these a competive choice. How about the Option to add a power fist? The blood Angels can take these and while I am not saying that they should be same, some common scene wouldn’t hurt. Leaves io them as fast attack, they fit here well, just give them better options.
3-The marine codex has a lot of great units. Anything not pulling its weight will get replaced. Sternguard in a drop pod will hold the objective just as well, bikes have the same speed, vanguard are better all round and if points are at a premium, why not take scouts and infiltrate?

Scout 2

As you can see, it’s hard to choose these. So many better units push them out. It’s rare to see them in marine armies, particularly those that have chapter tactics that don’t support them.

You can use them, and you can win battles with these fast moving troops, but not as assault troops. They are objective takers and area deniers, which is a tragedy. These should be leading from the front with vanguard squads and captains with jump packs tearing a whole for the tactical squads. Sadly, they are a poor mans support option.

I’d love to see a new kit of these. The current on is showing its age and the new tactical squad box set shows what could be done. Change the rules to match the options available to include all special weapons. Then these will return to their true role.

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For my army I have gone for 2 well rounded squads. Squad 1 has twin lighting claws and 2 flamers. Squad 2 has a power weapon power weapon and 2 plasma pistols. They look great and sit well in the battle company, sadly they rarely get to be used.

Anyway, that my opinion. I’d love to here your perspective and am I missing something! Leave a comment if you have a different view. Till then, see you all across the battle table.

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