Monday, August 22, 2011

Experimenting with Honor Guard

I've been playing quite a few 1,000 point games lately, both solo and team games. My standard list includes a unit of Assault Terminators, who act as the anchor to my force and take on any enemy units that I don't want to assault. I've previously discussed using Assault Terminators in a Descent of Angels armies, but they have some issues at 1,000 points. Mainly, it's that I don't have the points to include Corbulo, so the Terminators aren't very reliable. If they scatter poorly or don't show up until turn 4 or 5, it can easily cost me the game.

I've been experimenting with different Honor Guard load-outs as a replacement. The first reason is because I wanted a second Sanguinary Priest in the army. One Priest is enough to cover all of my squads, but he is easy to take out and my opponents always gun for them. The second reason is that Honor Guard can pack enough weapons to take on hard enemy units while still maintaining the reliability and mobility of jump packs. However, it would cost a lot more points to make them as deadly and survivable as Assault Terminators, and I couldn't afford that. Some sacrifices would have to be made.

My first idea was to use an Honor Guard with four plasma guns and jump packs just as a mobile firepower unit. This has a few benefits. First, they can take on dangerous units without having to assault them. Second, they still have some anti-vehicle abilities; at 12", the squad has the equivalent of four autocannons. Descent of Angels allows them to hit the rear armor of tanks reliably, where they're quite dangerous. Finally, keeping them out of assault means that they remain mobile and can move wherever the Priest's aura is most needed.

However, it didn't work out so well in practice. The main problem is lack of hitting power. Four plasma guns kills an average of 4-5 enemy models when firing, unless the model has an invulnerable save. Most death star units have a good invulnerable save or multiple wounds, so they take a round of plasma gun fire without a problem. Units of marines can normally weather 4 wounds without losing any special weapon, so they're not too effective in that case either. About the only unit they seem to really shine against is standard Terminators, who are expensive enough to be good targets but lack a good invulnerable save.

I've settled on a squad with two meltaguns, power fist, and two power weapons. It's not too expensive, it can take out tanks with shooting, the power fist can take out hard targets, and the power weapons can at least weaken enemy squads before they get to swing. It's not an uber squad, but it is tremendously flexible, reliable, and provides a second durable Priest aura to my army.


  1. I used to run an Honor Guard with a couple of storm shields, I converted the Dark Angels storm shields by sculpting a haloed face on the hooded angel design. It really helped their survivability but it did cost some points.

  2. I've got a few of those shields, and I've made several Vanguard marines with them. I was lazy, though, and just painted the hooded angel with Blood Angel colors.

    I'll probably make a few Honor Guard with the shields as well, but I can't afford to put them in at this points level.

    Do you have any links to pictures of your converted storm shields? I'd be really interested in seeing them.


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