Saturday, April 25, 2009

Power Unit: Vanguard Assault Squad Hammer & Anvil Load-Out

So this is a new series dedicated to highlighting particularly potent squads. They may be really expensive, but they are entirely brutal. I am going to (for now) avoid the cliché things like Nob Bikers and TH&SS Terminators.

First squad: Vanguard Assault Squad using what I like to think of as the Hammer and Anvil load out.

You take the Vanguard Squad and equip them as follows:
Jump Packs
8 x Thunder Hammers
2 x Lightning Claws
10 x Storm Shields

I cost the squad out to be 730 points. Now I know that is a lot, so let us look at the typical unit people take: Terminator Assault Squad TH & SS

Terminator Assault Squad (10): 400
Terminator Assault Squad (8) with Land Raider Crusader: 570
Terminator Assault Squad (6) with Land Raider: 490
Terminator Assault Squad (6) with Land Raider Redeemer: 480

So there are the different load outs for the Terminator Assault Squads. Their Advantage over the Vanguards a 2+ armour save. The other benefits of Terminator Armour are negated by the Storm Shields (3+ inv save better than a 5+ inv) and the fact that this is an assault squad, so moving and shooting heavy weapons is not available. As well, the Vanguards taking Jump Packs means they can deep strike too. Although, teleport homers on the ground can help the Terminators.

Can take Lightning Claw and Storm shield. Sure you don’t get the +1 A, but you can re-roll to wound and get a 3+ invulnerable save. Terminators it is either this or that. So the Vanguard have weapon flexibility over Termies.
Jump Packs: This means that they can use their heroic intervention rule, which means they can assault when they deep strike, rather than sit and shoot. They also have a 12” move at all times and can bypass difficult, and even impassible, terrain. More often then not, jump infantry get the assault as well. This is part of what makes it the Hammer and Anvil. You drop them in and they are a hammer beating down your opponent onto the anvil of the rest of your army.
No Transport: Terminator sacrifice guys to have one. So while cheaper, they are a smaller squad which means less wounds. No transport also means a character can be added, though they lose heroic intervention to do so.
Frag grenades: While most of the squad has thunder hammers, keep in mind that two of them do not, so when you assault into cover, they will be going in I order. And if you assault thunderhammer/powerfist wielding squads, the TH vanguards strike I order too.

Now you see the differences, you can see why the Vanguards are appealing. To me they have more advantages for sure. Maybe not for most games, but for larger, and definitely Apocalypse games, they may very well be worth it.

So now to explain a little bit about the tactics of the Squad.
You can choose to heroic intervention them or start them on the table. Either way their goal is the same thing. Hunt big stuff. Monstrous creatures, vehicles, HQ units, nob bikerz. Anything with high saves and high toughness. You have 10 power weapons, 8 of which are S8, and you have 3+ invulnerable saves, so you will dominate in a combat. The idea of the lightning claws is this. On the assault, you will get 6 (2+1 per marine) power weapon attacks that re-roll to wound at the same time or before your opponent strikes. This should leave him with less attacks before he hits your squad back, or at least ensure that you get all your attacks. How does it ensure you get all of them? This is another reason why it is called the Hammer and Anvil. Well, when your opponent strikes back I imagine he should do no more than 6 wounds. It is rare for a squad to get more on SM unless they have excessive attacks. Maybe they will, but this is still a good tactic. Seeing as he got so few wounds, you should only fail 1/3 of your saves, which means 2 guys die. You of course remove the lightning claws. So you get all your Thunder Hammer attacks (all 24 of them). See, the Lightning Claws (ironically) were the hammer, and the Thunder Hammers were the anvil. You just crushed your opponent between them. As an added bonus, multi-wound models that somehow survive the assault (though S8 is usually instant death) are I 1 next round as long as they took 1 wound. This means that they and the Thunder Hammers will strike simultaneously.
Key to the squad: Take Vulkan He'stan as your HQ choice. Now you have 8 master crafted thunderhammers. On the charge, that is 24 S8 attacks that re-roll to hit and ignore armour saves, + 6 S4 I4 attacks that re-roll to wound and ignore armour saves.
There you have it, the first of my so called “Power Units.” Sure they are expensive, but they are crazy good.
Original Image Here.