Since this was discussed recently over on onthestep.net I thought I’d post up a few thoughts I had lying around in the old noggin regarding some of the least used and most expensive units in Codices Space Marines and Blood Angels.

Well first of all what do Vanguard Vets have that makes them different from assault marines, they both occupy the fast attack slot (except in Codex Blood Angels where they occupy the troops slot). Well here are some important differences:

  • +1A
  • +1Ld
  • Jump Packs are not included
  • The Sergeant comes with a power sword
  • Heroic Intervention

“But Joe, what the fudge is Heroic Intervention?!”

Gather round beleaguered wargamer and I shall give unto thee this information:

Heroic Intervention
If the squad has jump packs and arrives by deep strike the player can elect to perform a Heroic Intervention before the scatter dice are rolled.

If it is declared the squad cannot run or shoot but may assault that turn.

This ability cannot be used if an Independent Character joins the squad.

So there you have it, risky stuff eh?!

Well not as risky as you might think. Let’s look at what Codex Blood Angels can do to rectify this riskiness…

Codex Blood Angels

Well first off Corbulo has the “Far Seeing Eye” which he either uses to pick up hot Sisters of Battle at Imperial Bars/Clubs and also allows you to reroll one dice per game including the all important scatter dice…

And as per the rule book rerolling the scatter dice also includes rerolling the distance dice along with it.

Suddenly your risky deep strike isn’t too bad at all and combined with Descent of Angels allows for a pretty well timed critical assault to hit bang on time.

Put on top of this Commander Dante and we’ve got a nice little mixture in here. And it goes a little something like this

Dante

Corbulo

Assault Squad (10)
2xMeltaguns
Infernus Pistol
Power Fist

Vanguard Veteran Squad (10)
10 Jump Packs
3 Power Fists
5 Meltabombs

Yes this is an absurdly points heavy combination and we begin to see immediately why many competitive players don’t use Vanguard Veterans much, redundancy is important in competitive lists and points heavy combos leave little room for redundancy.

Here’s how it works:

So it’s turn two, your opponent is advancing towards you and isn’t far off doing what they will likely do to shift the balance of the game.

Your turn two, you roll your reserve rolls, Dante and his assault squad come on, the vanguard veterans don’t, you want them both in so you reroll the reserve roll (Blood Angels) and they arrive (lucky you).

Place the Vanguard Veterans first, placing one bolt pistol guy (who can afford to DS within 4″ of the enemy due to the 10 man squad size) and watch him scatter.

He scatters onto the enemy, “Mishap!” Your ridiculously uninformed opponent says.

Au contraire!” You exclaim, using Corbulo’s timely reroll to now roll a hit,

“That was so wise!” You say.

“That’s fuckin bullshit” your Blood Angel opponent responds.

So now you’re all set up for the sweetest multi charge of all time, 5 meltabombs and 9 power fist attacks going wherever you want them to.

Here comes phase two.

Dante’s squad and their turn.

Dante has Tactical Precision which means him and his doods don’t scatter when they deepstrike using jump packs. Now that you know where your Vanguard squad has ended up you can plop down Dante and his infernus pistol, your sergeant’s infernus pistol and the two meltaguns in the squad all within double penetration range (safely too) of the most expensive mechanised unit your opponent has.

Then the sneaky tricksiness begins.

Dante’s Death Mask reduces the Weapon Skill, Wound, Initiative and Attacks characteristics of an enemy independent character for the whole game.

If the enemy has a character in the open (Kustom Force Field Big Mek, Farseer on a jetbike) i.e. the type of characters who can swing the game, you get to reduce their characteristics and very quickly make mince meat of them with the impending Vanguard unit.

Something like this happening could throw even an experienced player off quite easily.

By now your opponent has seen a wild display of special abilities but knows that he/she can weather the storm.

Their next turn comes, they’ve lost 3 tanks, no big deal, pull back with some units, shoot the Vanguard and Dante’s squad (just normal old assault marines) now get assaulted by something fairly mean (a mob of boyz etc.). The opponent has them locked down, this squad has a lot of anti tank and can move fast no one wants them roaming freely. And besides there are only 2 Vanguard vets left now. It won’t be long until the opponent will move onto killing those razorbacks that have just come on from reserve.

Here’s where your special rules continue to dazzle. Dante gives his squad Hit and Run so at the end of your opponent’s counter assault suddenly you’re (if you don’t roll a 5+) 3D6″ away.

Then it’s your turn and you get to move 12″ on top of that to reach whatever your opponent has on the table.

Well that’s a nice trick, at least I think so.

Codex Space Marines

Let’s look at some differences between Codex Blood Angels Vanguard Veterans and Codex Space Marines Vanguard Veterans:

  • Blood Angels Vanguard Veterans are 10 points cheaper!
  • Blood Angels Vanguard Veterans have access to more equipment in the form of Infernus Pistols and Hand Flamers
  • Space Marine Vanguard Veterans have Combat Tactics
  • Blood Angels Vanguard Squads have the Red Thirst
  • Space Marines Vanguard Squads have access to cheaper Storm Shields (5 points less)

Some notable differences in there but nothing game breakingly different for sure.

Now let’s see what Codex Space Marines can muster. Well with cheaper storm shields you’d be as well to throw some in there.

Here are some units you could take to find some nice little combinations:

Tigurius

Scout Squad
Telion

Legion of the Damned
Multi Melta
Meltagun
Combi Melta

Vanguard Squad
3 power fists
4 meltabombs
3 storm shields

Here’s how it works:

Use Tigurius’ Gift of Prescience to ensure the Legion of the Damned and Vanguard come in together.

Again since only the Legion of the Damned (LotD) will be rerolling their scatter dice deep strike the Vanguard Squad first, placing the risky squad first and the safer squad based on where the first one ends up.

Having ten in that LotD squad will make sure you get to place them in such a way that they’ll always (almost) end up in double penetration range with all three melta weapons (remembering of course that they’re relentless so that Multi Melta can pop one off when it lands).

These guys crack open an expensive tank while the Vanguard can either assault what’s inside (after Telion has made sure to allocate a tasty wound on it and perhaps Tigurius has cast Null Zone <—another character maiming combo) or set up a sweet ass multi assault.

This also results in quite a few 3+ invulnerable saves staring your opponent in the face on turn 2.

I should also point out that both codices have access to infiltrating, scout moving, locator beacon carrying scout bikers, but that would just be too easy.

It’s probably a good time to point out that you can deep strike Lysander with the LotD….

And on that bomb shell,

I’ll see you soon for another Lesser Spotted, this time hopefully on the much more commonly spotted Sternguard Veterans.

Hope you’ve enjoyed!

Joe