Flesh Tearers Vanguard Strike Force
The Flesh Tearers Strike Force is a more assault oriented demi-Company, consisting of three Tactical squads, an Assault squad, a Vanguard Veteran squad, and a Furioso Dreadnought. There are no restrictions on the composition of any of the units, which is quite nice.
The perks are The Red Thirst, a personal favorite, as well as Leading by Example. This means that as long as the Vanguard Veterans are on the table, all units in the Formation ignore the penalty for disordered charges and gain Stubborn. I don’t make disordered charges that often, but it’s still a nice perk when it comes up. Multi-charges are a good way to tie up multiple enemy shooting units, and Stubborn will keep your squads in combat even against multiple enemy units.
I like the Flesh Tearer Vanguard Strike Force above the other demi-company Formations. It’s more targeted for one role (assault) and has rules that actually help in that role. The big drawback is the requirement to take three Tactical squads, who have no good way to get into combat. I would probably put them into Drop Pods, along with the Furioso, and deploy the Vanguard and Assault squads normally with jump packs.
Lysos Relief Force
The Lysos Relief Force contains Gabrial Seth, a Tactical squad, a Vanguard Veteran squad, a Baal Predator and Predator, and a Stormraven Gunship. The whole Formation has to start in reserve (which may be deep strike), and any units that don’t have jump packs have to be on board a transport (but not a Drop Pod). In general, this will mean that Seth and the Tactical squad will be on the Stormraven. The entire Formation arrives on a single reserve roll.
As a benefit, the Formation receives Crusader. As I’ve mentioned before, Crusader is a nice benefit for assault units, especially jump assault units. However, only a few units in this vehicle heavy Formation benefit from Crusader. Nothing in this formation is particularly bad, but it’s not particularly great either. Unfortunately, keeping the Predators and the Vanguard Veterans in reserve is really not the best way to deploy them. This Formation is a very fitting rescue force for campaign missions designed with that in mind, but I don’t think it will do much in competitive play.
Defenders of the Cathedrum
This is another assault oriented Formation, as befits the Flesh Tearers. It includes a Terminator squad, Death Company squad, two Tactical squads, an Assault squad, and a Furioso. There are no further restrictions on the units within the Formation.
The benefits for this Formation are very simple. All units receive Counter-attack and Stubborn. Both are strong rules, particularly on defense. Even on offense, Counter-attack is nice because you will most likely have to endure a counter-assault from nearby enemy units after launching your own assault.
These bonuses seem pretty equivalent to The Red Thirst to me, and the units included are pretty useful (competitive players will scoff at the Terminators, but a small squad isn’t too much of a commitment). It’s not a bad choice for an infantry heavy force.
Strike Force Razorwind
This is a large Formation, consisting of both the Lysos Relief Force and the Defenders of the Cathedrum. In addition to their normal rules, all units within 12” of Gabriel Seth are Fearless and you can make reserve rolls starting on Turn 1. This is particularly useful since the Lysos Relief Force has to start in reserve.
Being able to bring in reserves first turn, especially a Stormraven, is pretty awesome, but the size and inherent expense of this Formation limits its usefulness.