Monday, March 16, 2015

Blood Angels in 7th: Elites: Vanguard and Sternguard Veterans

Vanguard Veteran Squads

My Vanguard Veterans still have yellow helmets.

Vanguard Veterans received a slight points drop in the new codex, while their jump packs dropped in cost precipitously. They moved from Fast Attack to Elites, which further crowds this already very full slot. Their Heroic Intervention no longer allows them to assault after deep striking. They now ignore the penalties for disordered charges and the Veteran Sergeant automatically passes Glorious Intervention tests. Not a great trade, but assaulting from deep strike was very hard to pull off, even with Descent of Angels.

Only Honor Guard get gold helmets.

Vanguard Veterans have excellent options. Every member can take special melee weapons, as well as special pistols, meltabombs, and storm shields. The Veteran Sergeant no longer comes with a free power sword, but he can still take a relic blade. Overall, this makes Vanguard Veterans our second most customizable squad, only losing out to Command squads because they can take special weapons (I suppose it could be argued that the Command squad is less flexible because of its fixed squad size and mandatory Sanguinary Novititate and Company Champion).

Gold helmeted Veterans are a crime against Sanguinius

I want to state that Vanguard Veterans are a good assault unit. You can take them, kit them out however you like, and you won’t be disappointed. However, they just don’t measure up to Death Company and Sanguinary Guard. They’re only a point cheaper than Death Company, and Rage and Feel No Pain are far superior to Heroic Intervention. A Vanguard Veteran with power weapon is a point more expensive than a Sanguinary Guardsmen, but doesn’t get artificer armor. Vanguard Veterans are simply not the best choice for the points in most circumstances.

You know who else denotes veteran status with helmet color? Ultramarines

However, Vanguard Veterans do have some interesting options. They can take storm shields, making them the most durable option against low AP weapons, and they can dual wield pistols, making them expensive but dangerous shooting units. Very niche roles, but they can be useful ones.

Our helmet colors denote battlefield role, as Sanguinius intended

Vanguard Veterans are not a bad unit. They just suffer from being in the same codex (and even the same FOC slot) as Death Company and Sanguinary Guard. I’ve got three full squads of them, and I will still field them, if only because they look cool and I like the idea of multiple types of elite assault units. It makes the army more visually appealing. Also, they are the only elite assault unit that can Combat Squad, which appeals to my MSU approach.

I hope you enjoyed my caption rant.
Sternguard Veterans

Sternguard Veterans are identical to their Codex: Space Marine counterparts, though they have Furious Charge rather than a Chapter Tactic. However, Blood Angels Sternguard have lost some of their standard niches. Their access to heavy flamers is not nearly as exciting since our Tactical squads have them, and their ability to take lots of combi-weapons doesn’t mean as much due to our proliferation of special pistols. Their standard role as a drop podding special weapon delivery system can be done much more cheaply by our Assault squads.

If you take Sternguard squads, take them for their special ammunition. They still are excellent anti-infantry firepower, and fulfill that niche quite well.

That said, the picture of them on pg 77 of our new codex shows some of the laziest model painting I’ve ever seen from GW. They didn’t pick out any of the gems or skulls (except one that just looks sad), most of the detailed areas are just painted with a flat gold, and none of the scrolls have writing on them. Seriously, did they realize they didn’t have any of the newer models painted the day before the codex went to the printers?


  1. These units were my standard 1-2 punch with the Sternguard Drop Podding in to hit something really hard, and the Vanguard Vets following the Beacon on the Pod in for the no deviation drop in to assault anything threatening the SG, or to finish off something particularly difficult to kill... Expensive, and if it failed I lost, but when it worked, it was pretty amazing... And exactly how I would see an Assault based force like the Space Marines used...

    1. Yeah, can't edit, meant to continue and say: Now however, that is simply NOT an option, so my poor Vanguard get shelved...

  2. Yeah, I used to just deep strike Vanguard Veterans normally, relying on descent of angels to get them close enough. It worked okay, but I eventually came to the conclusion that I would have been better off just deploying them on the table. Now, that's more of an option because their jump packs are so much cheaper.


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