Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tactics... Maybe: Sternguard Veterans

Salamanders Sternguard... picture shamelessly culled from the 'Net.

I was inspired to write this article after reading this.

I'm seeing a sweeping trend towards infantry and shootyness in 6th, and, with it, a decline in vehicles (when not spammed... too many hulls is still too many hulls... *cough*Acolyte Spam*cough*.) and assaulty-ness...

I've been running lots-o-terminators (and their good friend Dready the Dreadnought) since 6th hit (mostly because I ended up stripping my Sternguard for re-allocation to my now-cancelled Crimson Fists project) and I have to say... paying the premium for 2+(and at times 3++) is truly a wasted investment when my dice hate my freaking guts the way they do. I really am only half joking when I say I roll more ones than binary. All that aside, I want to move away from Terminators (and their 40 pts/model price tag) and go for something that is somewhat less expensive and (likely) significantly more killy.

Enter Sternguard. I was running them at the end of 5th with good success, but, insanity struck, and so they ended up in the Grey Limbo. Classically, due to playing a Salamanders-based homebrew chapter, I tended to run them as Burn-Guard (ala 2 heavy flamers, rest with combi-meltas) which made them more effective than they are normally due to Vulkanization. This configuration makes them impressively effective vs. all targets between their twin-linked str5 ap4 template death (for Hordes and Guard behind Aegis lines) and the twin-linked melta shots (for AV targets) and the 4 special ammo profiles (for just about any other situation...) these bad boys are the veritable swiss-army-knife of the codex.

Normally I run two squads of between 5 and 8 guys (points level allowing) in Rhinos, but I'm starting to lean more and more toward putting at least one of the squads in a drop pod and watch them wreck some IG Aegis line's day. Won't know until I play it, but it looks good on paper.

I'd like to take a moment to advise against going full (or even mostly) combi-flamers (I realize there is the possibility of a LULZ moment if your opponent is dumb enough to charge them at full strength... but don't count on that ever happening) because the Dragonfire rounds ignore cover already, and you also lose out on having melta shots to deal with armored targets (though they are getting fewer recently). You have heavy flamers, use them.

As for Non-Vulkanized Sternguard: combi-plasmas might actually be worthwhile. I wouldn't take a bunch, because Get's Hot! sucks, but at the same time they can be useful. One thing I'd like to note: Don't take combi-plasmas just because of Terminators. Seems like a strange thing to say, right? Not really, when you consider the possibility of Get's Hot!, the tradeoff for less melta (and thus less effectiveness vs Vehicles) and the probability that the Termi's in question are either A.) TH/SS or B.) in decent cover, makes the choice less than desirable. But I have a solution. Hellfire Rounds. They work on more than just monstrous creatures, (assuming you roll exactly average) ~9 wounds in rapid fire range (not including anything from the Heavy Flamers) makes terminators fall over just as well as (if not better than) a handful of plasma shots, especially when dealing with Hammernators.

Another consideration worth mentioning; Pedro Kantor: King of the Sternguard. His Chapter Tactics makes Sternguard Scoring (including Allied Sternguard from Blood Angels... still waiting to see if they FAQ that away... they haven't yet.) and Stubborn. While I'm not thrilled at the loss of Combat Tactics, ScoringGuard more than make up for it... and makes them... Glorious.

Now onto Blood Angels Sternguard... In 5th, back in the Golden Age of Blood Angels when FnP (and therefore Sanguinary Priests) were awesome, and Furious Charge was even better, you almost never saw Sternguard in a Blood Angels list. That has changed... due to their Death to All mentality, they are much more likely to be included in an Angels Lists and to great effect. I'd suggest taking at least one squad, just because they really are THAT awesome. If you were to run multiple squads, Pedro does, in fact, make your Sternguard scoring as well (though only his are stubborn...), so allying him in with a scout squad (for back field objective holding.) is actually a reasonable investment of... 175+ whatever you want to spend on scouts... Profit.

Vaya con Dios,

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