Thursday, 6 January 2011

Lamenting some choices... educate the Mind War Readership!

Sergeant TKE of the Lamenters... note how he is slightly looking up? He is scared of swooping hawks since a terrible accident back in 998.41 saw him develop a phobia of eldar. :) Yes these are some of my figures and yes the Sergeant is known as TKE..on my list. (Just for fun)

I had a few emails after my last post about asking questions of people and saying hey great idea... so I therefore decided to make this post one to throw open to the readership here and also ask TKE for his input as it should educate as well as define some different opinions.

I had my own side project kind of this year... a SM chapter, that has always made me smile since I first saw them in the Compendium many moons ago... Lamenters.( I am well aware of Aventine and his awesome looking 6.5k of Lamenters over at BOLS and Zen 40k.) In fact I get some great modeling ideas from him from time to time and then curse him when he paints more than I do weekly.

At the moment I am in fix... so let me explain what I need and the questions I need answered.

I am doing an honor guard...(I am a stickler for completeness and to have one of each unit type for an army even if its never ever used... that includes a whirlwind eventually yes gasp horror shake your head in disgust)

So whats in an honor guard?

5 men, from the Blood Angels Codex. A sanguinary initiate and 4 honor guard members. I have at my disposal 2 DA veteran boxes, 1 DC box set, 1 assault marine box set, 1 command squad box set. Plenty of options are here for me to use and i have 4 melta and plenty of combi weapons around too...

I have scoured the net... even jaw's site and have met nothing but silence on the issue of an honor guards equipment. I have seen plenty of lists with Honor guard x4 melta. But is this the best option? The squad has such a variety of choices before it, and has a priest.

So over to you.... Mind War's gallery of experts. Answer me these....

1). What would you equip an Honor Guard unit with?
2). Why would you equip it this way?
3). What is the greatest strength this unit has over ...a similair unit? If any...
4). When would you use it?
5). How would you deliver it?

Now for some boundaries....

It does not need to be a ranged unit or CC unit... in fact it could be both or neither. I am very open as I collect so many figures that I can compensate for whatever its used for in another area that then becomes weak. I also have 3 Libby's, 2 Captaino's, 3 Chaplains so it can go with any extra character you can think of.

I don't need to know why never take this unit because of... cost, blah blah... this is a process of maximizing what you can do with this unit so that I and perhaps little jimmy who reads your response might glue something up then cover it in humbrol red enamel and then chrome the weapons... and then put it on Warseer for glowing reviews before he goes and kicks ass at his FLGS...

I will make my own comments in the comments section on what people respond with and what I thought as well... when sitting down to build a BA honor guard. After i build and paint it... I will put it up here for you guys to see as well.


I have added this part in blue to show what I will probably actually do and the thought process behind it... caution wall of text. TKE your welcome to comment inside the post..

1). Honor Guards for BA are an interesting unit as they don't take up a FOC slot. Is this attractive? It depends on how they will be used. Let's assume as most BA armies, they are going to be a CC unit and let's measure them up against some other choices.

Vetran Vanguard Squad. (FA). 225 Points will get you Vanguard Vets with Heroic Intervention all armed power weapons, jump packs and a glaive for the sgt. 

Sanguinary Guard (Elite) 255 Points will get you a Chapter Banner, Deathmasks and a 2+ save. All armed with glaive and Angelus bolt gun.

Honor Guard (No FOC) 295 Points will get you a Chapter Banner, Jump Packs, Combi Melta's and Power Weapons on 4 Honor Guard with a basic SP with a bolt pistol or bolter.

This is where I begin... looking at what else is there for approximately the same points and the uses of each. In any Space Marine Army, their are two basic premises I have learnt for winning a game and challenging an opponent. 1). You will have to ensure every point is maximized, you cannot afford fat. You cannot afford to make basic errors below 2k points. Errors like choosing a Captain as your HQ, Techmarines, Whirlwinds. etc (That's a topic for another post) and 2). You have to have your forces sharpened to an edge. The edge I refer to, is getting a squad to do one thing incredibly well so that it can be used to its maximum affect. For example a sternguard veteran squad armed all with combi melta's. They are effective at anti-armor as the prime choice of what they could be used against. In this case we are looking at maximizing our CC potential.

So what are they likely to face? Jump Packing in? where are they heading? Behind enemy lines! So what's likely to be there? I now go and say ok Leman Russ, a Devastator Squad, a Pred, or a MC like a Tervigon that is pooping out Gaunts. They may as I mentioned above might have to face a CC combat monster too, like a Libby juiced up, anything SW have that is just nasty..., or perhaps something nasty in CC from a Nid list or Ork PClaw butt secs suprize. (Not my favorite but it hurts... I learnt early to avoid PClaws in my 40k life)

Now the hard part... lets look closely at what happens in turns. Meltas on Honor guard are great... wooo hoo  I land I aim my x4 melta's at the Leman Russ or Pred or Dread, and FIRE.... and yeah awesome its dead! That was always going to happen. But wait... those 30 guard are turning around... that stealer brood is now turning to face me... that damn 5 man dev squad over to the left is about to fire on me... You have invested in a game of chance... like chequers. You land and fire.... your opponent turns to deal with the threat that has taken a bite out of him and nobody is going to allow 4 melta guns free range behind him. But it has not killed him dead clearing everything that could be a threat to your honor guard. So lets think again.

Lets say we put power weapons on them and combi weapons. Can they get into CC quickly yes if they time it right or perhaps don't go behind enemy lines. Will 5 Power Weapons with a Chapter Banner and a Priest give them an edge to survive but also dish out stuff? Yes. What if we used them to wipe out stuff that had been easter egged? (My own term). Easter Egging for me is breaking open expensive transports like Land Raiders and even Razorbacks to get at what's inside before it can get to you. Will 4 Meltagun combi weapons and powerswords open a LR.. and allow you give whatever comes out probably terminators... a good showing? Especially if we have set it up so other units have shot at the transport and can get into CC as well right after. Would x4 meltagun honor guard be able to do that? No. Will the Power Weapons be able to deal with say MC that turn and come at you after opening something up or wiping it out? yes its striking in Initiative order... better than a PF any day for that. And you have the priest too... and that Chapter Banner is adding to your combat result.

So an honor guard with combi weapons and power weapons all of a sudden is maxed toward 
1). it can crack open armor.
2). it can probably survive an attack back due to the priest.
3). it can deal with anything in CC thanks to power weapons.
4). it can add an IC if it wanted to really be nasty or geared toward a specific objective.
5). Can it also be used with bolters to help hose down other things like orks, gaunts, guard after it has accomplished this mission? And then assault them as well? Yes

That was my thought process going through how I would arm them. 

Now the last part, can the other selections that I looked at do the same thing? VV? Sorry Bolt Pistols only here... even with Heroic Intervention... its still not doing much after the first strike and for 200 + points it has to count!

Sanguinary guard? This is the interesting one... People often say but you get a priest with Honor guard. But look at it... you get death masks, a 2+ save and the angelus bolt gun. Admittedly they will struggle with armor but they ALL have glaives. So its all strength 6, that means rhino's are not immune... neither is the rear armor of some other stuff... mostly guard and Eldar. But would a Sanguinary guard even with JP... be able to take on a much larger troop number after firing their bolt guns to help level the score? Yes. But no priest... but its 45 points cheaper, a SP is 50 points anyway... why not put a basic one on the table for the same cost? You can move him up in another squad, a rhino a razorback etc and use him in support of other forces.

I hope this gives some insight into ideas and the thought process of how to look at units, and how I look at units specifically when building an army. What I have not included however is redundancy... this is key to any SM force... the more of something you have the more your opponent has to deal with it. 3 Baals are better than a single Baal always... 4 Razorbacks are better than 1, 3 Land Speeders are a better choice than 1. In the case of Honor guards however... they can be used in conjunction with assault squads. Which for BA are a troop choice.... 2 Assault Squads and an Honor guard descending... I like the idea of that. I also like the idea of 2 assault squads in razorbacks and an Honor Guard in a razorback too... but that's for another post.


I'm replying more to your comment below than above, but this was so long I felt it better in here, anyway.  

Not a bit of it Zenos.  A single Lightning Claw is FAR better than a single PW, because the only advantage a single PW ever has is when you can claim the extra Attack, otherwise it is the same thing without re-rolling failed Wounds.

As for the bolter part, I think you overestimate 3 things:
1) the relative strength of Bolters (low) against Infantry
2) The usefulness of Rapid Fire weapons on Jump Infantry without Relentless.
3) The importance of range when moving 12" a turn and likely Deep Striking within Melta range on arrival.

You also underestimate:
1) The opponent's valid determination to remove a PW-equipped, Melta-toting, FnP, FC, 3+ save T4 bunch of Jump Infantry in their face, and amongst their lines.
2) The T of MCs, who will shrug off even S5 attacks without re-rolls. (ie, PW vs LC)

Finally - Chapter Banners are crap. Too expensive. They might limit other choices, too, I forget.

I recommend a Flamer or two in the unit, because these are MUCH more effective anti-infantry than a smattering of Bolt rounds, and Bolters are no more effective than Bolt pistols, because you lose the advantage of charging (vital against Orks, brilliant every other time, because you have S5 on the way in) and the extra PW attack (vital against mid-higher T enemies with saves eg Space Marines of any flavour, Plague Marines, Wraithlords (can only be hurt on the charge, but better poked with LCs as well)

What that paragraph is trying to say is : Boltguns are ALWAYS worse for Honour Guard than Bolt Pistols.  Either you have a Bolt pistol.PW, Meltagun/PW, a Flamer/PW or a SS/PW combo going on - and if you aren't gaining an attack, ie the last three, then you should be toting a Claw instead.  If losing an attack, you need an Assault weapon, or a 3++ - nothing else is ever worth it.  If you could put Multi-Meltas on Honour Guard, then I would punch players in the face (metaphorically) for doing so in a Drop Pod, Razorback or Jumping, instead of a Rhino...the principle here is no different.  Taking a weapon/wargear combination that clashes with itself/method of insertion is bad list deign.  Synergy happens not only BETWEEN units, but WITHIN units - everything in the unit has to pull the same way, or at least not counteract the others.

With a Tactical Squad, the Flamer does not detract because: 
a) Combat Squads
b) The unit is, by nature, a midfield unit decent at close range, not a close range one decent in midfield.  A Flamer ADDS to this, because it is too weak by itself to become the focus of the unit - except in circumstances where a Flamer is sufficiently strengthened to MAKE it vital - eg, vs large Kroot bunches, Eldar Pathfinder-based armies, etc.

Yours Instructively, TKE.  :p 

As always appreciate your input TKE. :) 
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