Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sanguinary Guard

Sanguinary Guard are an elite assault squad, essentially the jump pack equivalent of Terminators. They cost the same and have the same 2+ save, but sacrifice their invulnerable save in exchange for a jump pack. Every Sanguinary Guard is armed with a glaive encarmine, which is a master-crafted two-handed power weapon, and an angelus boltgun, which is essentially a short-range but higher AP storm bolter.

While some people would prefer to have a bolt pistol and power weapon for an extra attack, the Sanguinary Guard’s armament actually is more dangerous against any target. The glaive encarmine is only slightly inferior to a power weapon with an extra attack (the re-roll it confers is equivalent to an extra attack as long the model misses at least one of its attacks) and the angelus boltgun is far superior to a bolt pistol.

Every Sanguinary Guard model can take a plasma pistol, infernus pistol, or a power fist. The infernus pistol is the best option here, as it gives the squad the ability to deal with tanks and is also excellent at killing heavy infantry. The plasma pistol has slightly more range (though with their speed and the fact that they should always being trying to assault, you won’t need the range much) but sacrifices hitting power. The power fist is attractive because it gives the squad some chance of dealing with walkers in close combat. However, I usually skip it because the Sanguinary Guard needs to cause as many casualties as possible before the enemy hits back. Even with a 2+ save (and feel no pain, if there’s a Priest around), they’re vulnerable because of their small squad size. Taking a power fist greatly reduces the number of attacks the squad can make before the enemy.

Death masks have the chance to lower enemy weapon skill, but the effect isn’t very likely to happen against elite enemy units. The death masks aren’t really worth the points. The units last option is a Chapter Banner, which boosts the morale of surrounding squads and, more importantly, grants every model in the squad an extra attack. This greatly boosts the killing power of a Sanguinary Guard squad and is a highly recommended upgrade.

Sanguinary Guard provide an excellent squad for dealing with heavy infantry and sweeping away enemy squads. With a large number of armor ignoring attacks, Sanguinary Guard can cripple enemy squads that would tie up and attrition down Assault squads. They work particularly well with jump pack heavy armies, providing hitting power that Assault squads generally lack while maintaining mobility and the ability to deep strike. However, their small squad size leaves them vulnerable. They really need to be paired with Sanguinary Priests, so they can strike first when they charge and shrug off any failed armor saves.

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