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!)


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)

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

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)

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

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.


The best possible defence


My playing style is fairly aggressive when it comes to Warhammer 40,000. I play an assertive game and the sternguard units fit my playing style. And that’s what this post is about. Currently I have the 5 sternguard from the old metal box set. Armed with 5 bolters, one of which is a combi-melta. The sgt has a power fist, that is less than useful.

Now, the emperors finest should never be considered as disposable, that’s how I currently use my 5 sternguard. I drop them behind the enemy lines in a drop pod turn 1 and kill any AA unit. They usually die by turn 3, but in that time my opponents will have turned his lines. In the meantime, my main event, the flyers, arrive to kill the opposition. By the time the sternguard fall, it’s to late and the game is mine. Now, that’s how I use a combat squad, but now I have 10 of new plastic SG, I have to find a new use. I think I will start off with using them the same way and see how it goes.

This leads me to the armaments. Now, you have so many options and the new kits have most of them included. Now I have a simple plan . The ‘main event’ of the stern guard is the special ammo. Anything that takes them away is a waste of points. I don’t use any special or heavy weapons, but I do like my combi weapons. I keep them to a minimum as, like I said earlier, are disposable, so I have to keep the points low. I am going to build them with 4 combi options. 2 with flamers, 2 with melta. This adds 20 pts to the total. The sgt for the same reason only get a power weapon.

So here is my list.

SternGuard List (Ultramarines) 285 points

10 Sternguard Veterans (250)
2× combi-flamer; 2× combi-melta; power armour; boltgun; bolt pistol; special issue ammunition; frag grenades; krak grenades. And They Shall Know No Fear; Combat Squads; Chapter Tactics (ultramarines).

Space Marine Sergeant
power armour; special issue ammunition; frag grenades; krak grenades; power weapon; boltgun. And They Shall Know No Fear; Combat Squads; Combat Tactics.

• Drop Pod (35) BS4·FA12·SA12·RA12·HP3
storm bolter. Vehicle (open-topped); Transport Capacity: 10 models or 1 Dreadnought or 1 Thunderfire Cannon; Inertial Guidance System; Immobile; Drop Pod Assault.

So thats the Plan, I like to keep it simple and cheap. there are other places to sink the Points, usaly, from Forgeworld!


I let you know how they get on.

till later, see yo across the battle table.

Ex terminate!

Ok, so I am a little late for poor Dr who puns, but what the hell, why not!

Today’s post is all about the big armour boys of the first company, the terminators. Currently in my force I only have 6 regular terminators, a sgt, assault cannon and 4 regular terminators all armed with power fists. They are the snap together models from the assault on black ridge box set. As I have a touch of OCD, these needed to be brought up a 10 man squad. I needed a second heavy weapon and a couple of the chainfists. Added to this I have a chaplain and a captain in terminator armour as well as Marenus Calgar in his terminator armour. As the force already has a stormeagle painted and ready to go, I have a great delivery system ready for some big squads on terminators. And yes, the idea of a flying big blue box is not lost on me.

Terminator 1

I also lacked any assault terminators. I wanted to add the a 10man squad, 5 of each weapon options. So a plan was hatched. I have bought 3 boxes of terminators. 1 box of assault marines and 2 boxes of deathwing knights. My plan was to build the 10 knights but use the arms from the assault terms. This will make a gothic looking 1st company squad, the original idea was to keep the hooded head, but using the terminator heads instead, the look more regal than dark. By adding the ultramarine shoulder pads to the mix, I hope the squad would look awesome.

The 4 terminators will be made from the bodies and legs from the assault squads, with the arms left over from the deathwing squads. This meant more trimming off of details!


The mathematicians amongst you will know that that accounts for 14 of the 15 heavily armed and armoured vetrans. The final set of bits will be assembled as a librarian hooded and cowled, he will be a darker addition to force. Armed with a staff and covered in the regal splendour you’d expect of a terminator of the 13th legion. I hope he will be both dark and brooding, whilst still being an ultramarine.


As a quick aside, my journey into painting ultramarines started with a free terminator from the white dwarf magazine. I was bored on of painting imperial guard and randomly decided to try to paint the free piece as an ultramarine, something that I, like many gamers, thought was an abhorrent act. Ultra smurfs were what newbies with now knowledge of 40k painted right? Shows what I knew back then. Turns out it can be great fun to play using the ‘boring’ marines. They have a hidden depth and people don’t expect them. It fair to say its fun when people stop to look at a nicely painted ultramarine force. Anyway, that’s the plans for my terminators.

Till next time.