Monday, February 28, 2011

Vanguard Veterans

Our Vanguard Veterans are very similar to their Codex Marine equivalents. They’re a tiny bit cheaper, and they have the option to give the sergeant a glaive encarmine rather than a relic blade. While standard Vanguard Veterans are widely considered to be one of the most over-priced units in the Marine Codex, ours are amazing and worth every point because of one army-wide special rule: Descent of Angels.

Descent of Angels suddenly makes Heroic intervention likely to work. It allows them to deep strike and almost immediately enter combat with any enemy squad you want them to attack. This ability is tremendous, as it almost automatically gives you the initiative and forces your opponent to play reactively or leave important squads exposed. Vanguard Veterans can be used to destroy enemy heavy firepower, infantry that are being used to bubble-wrap tanks that you’d like to shoot with deep striking meltaguns, and to engage enemy elite assault units.

There are several ways to arm your Vanguard Veterans. Firstly, they generally should have jump packs unless you really need to transport them in a Rhino for some reason. While they can be used as an assault unit on foot, Terminators will do a better job for fewer points. Vanguard Veterans really shine when using Heroic Intervention.

The cheapest use of Vanguard is to tie up enemy shooty units. In this case, 5 Veterans with jump packs and the sergeant’s free power weapon are enough to engage an enemy squad and hold their own for several turns, preventing the enemy from shooting. This is a cheap and efficient tactic, but I generally prefer units that can kill their targets relatively quickly (hopefully in two turns of combat), and move on to engage a new target.  This generally results in a larger squad with at least one power fist and several power weapons or lightning claws. The power fist allows them to assault any tanks that may be giving you trouble, while the powered weapons allow them to cut down tough infantry fairly quickly. You can take this to the extreme by taking a squad of 10 Veterans with six or more powered weapons. This produces an extremely flexible squad that can be deployed whole to sweep away tough enemy units or split into combat squads to engage two softer targets. Be careful here, because Vanguard squads rapidly become expensive as they grow and receive more upgrades. I prefer a power fist and two power weapons per 5 Veterans.

The final use of Vanguard Veterans is to tie up elite assault units. By taking multiple storm shields, the squad will be able to engage and hold any enemy unit that relies on relatively few attacks that ignore armor. Thanks to Heroic Intervention, they can engage enemy assault squads almost anywhere, and are very difficult to hide from. However, they won’t be doing much killing of their own unless you give them powered weapons was well, which makes them prohibitively expensive. These squads are a tarpit, designed to tie up enemy Death Star units while the rest of your army works around them. They work very well against units like Assault Terminators. However, be careful not to engage any units that produce a large number of basic attacks. Ork Boyz, Grey Hunters, and Hormagaunts  will kill them just as quickly as standard marines.

Vanguard Veterans provide incredible flexibility and hitting power to any Blood Angels army. While they can be useful in mechanized forces, they do compete for Fast Attack slots with Baal Predators. However, they are almost indispensible for jump pack heavy armies. 


  1. this is a very useful post, do you think something has changed for VV with the advent of 6th edition?

  2. I actually think they've gotten better in 6th. Deep Strike mishaps are less dangerous to the unit, so you can be more daring with their deep strikes. Additionally, random charge length actually makes them more likely to reach the enemy. The only downside I see for them is Overwatch, which you can mitigate by choosing your targets well.


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