Friday, March 29, 2013

Space Marines in 6th Edition: Fast Attack Part 1

Assault Squad

The Assault squad is the Codex: Space Marine budget choice for close-combat. They have the standard Space Marine statline and are armed with bolt pistols, chainswords, and jump packs. The sergeant can take the standard upgrades, and the squad can take one flamer or plasma pistol per 5 marines, both at premium prices. The squad can swap their jump packs for a free Rhino or Drop Pod.

As a Blood Angels player, I love Assault squads. That said,  Blood Angel Assault squads have easy access to meltaguns, Furious Charge, and Feel No Pain, and are Troops choices. Even then, Assault squads are often not the best choice. Codex: Space Marine Assault squads are much more limited, and consequently don’t often make it to the table.

In general, Assault squads are quite capable of dealing with standard infantry. Given a pair of flamers and a sergeant with a power sword, they’ll chew through light infantry and will slog through a squad of basic marines eventually. However, they’ll lose to anything better at assault than a Tactical marine, including Grey Hunters. They’re a mobile squad but they have to be very careful to pick their fights. Adding a Chaplain will allow the squad to re-roll their attacks on the charge, making them a more significant threat, and a Captain with a Relic Blade will add quite a lot of hitting power to the squad. In both cases, be careful as you’re adding lots of points to make a mediocre squad a bit better in assault, but they won’t ever take on serious assault units.

In addition, they make a decent counter-charge unit. However, this doesn’t really make good use of their mobility and I would rather use the points for either more shooting or a better but slower assault unit (Assault Terminators).

Vanguard Veteran Squads

Vanguard Veterans are elite Assault Marines, able to take specialized assault weapons on every model. They can be equipped with jump packs, and are able to assault on the turn they deep strike. This can make them an immediate threat, but is difficult to pull off. It got a bit better with 6th Edition, since units can assault farther and deep strike mishaps are less dangerous. However, the squad is still very expensive for a very uncertain return. If the squad doesn’t make it into assault, it will almost certainly be rapid fired into oblivion.

In all honesty, I wouldn’t take Vanguard Veterans. Terminators and Honor Guard are better assault units without jump packs, and Vanguard Veterans are too expensive and fragile when given jump packs. I commonly take Vanguard Veterans with Blood Angels (where they deep strike much more reliably), and they are still more of a fun choice than a competitive one.  

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