Equipping Vanguard Veterans?

Though I pride myself in mixing up my army during each game, there are a few units that have just never seen the battlefield under my command.  One of those is a thunderfire cannon, and another is a squad of Vanguard Veterans.  The first has obvious reasons (I don’t own the model and frankly I don’t think it’s very good), the second though, is entirely unlike me.  I’m a huge fan of assault marines, and these are assault marines on steroids.

So, my mission now is to convert up a squad of these guys to use in my next game, but I’m wondering what the ideal configuration to run them with is.  I suspect some of that has to do with how many points are available and how I intend to the use the unit—which will change from game to game; however, there must be a base logic that can be applied to it’s equipment in a more general sense, and that’s what I’m looking for.

It seems that wound allocation could play big into this squad, as each member can be equipped differently.  Now, I’m by no means looking to exploit this, I would like to take it into consideration when equipping my models. 

My overall strategy for this unit will be to bring it down in a drop pod, and use it to charge nearby targets.  This will often include tanks, but may simply be nearby troops.  If possible, I’ll try to split them up and multi-assault things.  I do suspect that the unit will be too pricey at 10 models, so I’ll probably look at about a 6 man squad (joined by a character) to keep the price down.

That said, I’m looking at:

  • Thunder hammer(s) to destroy vehicles
  • Maybe melta-bombs on the general models (or at least some of them) to give me added chances against mech
  • Storm Shield(s) for sucking up stray lascannon shots
  • Power Weapons?  These really might have to be skipped entirely, since hammers perform similarly and I’m trying to keep costs down.

So, what does a min-maxed squad of 6-7 vanguard look like?  Does one try to make every unit different to keep things mixed up?

  1. Thunder Hammer, Bolt Pistol
  2. Thunder Hammer, Storm Shield
  3. Bolt pistol, Chainsword, Melta Bombs
  4. Bolt Pistol, Storm Shield, Melta Bombs
  5. Bolt Pistol Chainsword
  6. Chainsword, Storm Shield
  7. Chainsword, Storm Shield, Melta Bombs

That would give four storm shields (seems excessive) 3 melta bombs (seems about right) and two thunder hammers (Again, about right, though a third would be nice).  And it comes to 285 points (without a transport)… ACK! 

So how about something like:

  1. Thunder Hammer, Bolt Pistol
  2. Thunder Hammer, Chainsword
  3. Bolt pistol, Chainsword, Melta Bombs
  4. Bolt Pistol, Storm Shield, Melta Bombs
  5. Bolt Pistol Chainsword
  6. Chainsword, Storm Shield

Lost two storm shields, one side of meltas, and one model, for savings of 65 points.  Still, at 230, it’s only a 6 man squad and won’t take much abuse before caving.  Also, four of the six models won’t get bonus attacks for having an extra hand weapon (due to Hammers and/or Shields).  I could combine the Hammer and shields, but that means that each failed lascannon shot I lose a Hammer completely, and that’s less than ideal to me.

So, how would you suggest arming this squad?  I suspect most people will just come out and say “DON’T USE THEM!” or “THEY’RE OVERPRICED!” but neither of those is going to be helpful to me.  I want to use them to the best of their ability—I just need some input as to best equip them. 

Any help you can provide would be appreciated.  🙂

Space Marine image used without permission from Games Workshop.


9 comments on “Equipping Vanguard Veterans?

  1. This was a unit that seemed so cool when the codex came out but I've never found a good way to use them. I run into the same problem you're having – they're so expensive, even in small numbers.

  2. I actually play regularly against a man who uses these guys all the time.He runs:Shrike4x Twin Lightning Claw Vets2x Thunder Hammer/Storm Shield VetsIt is an amazingly potent combination when you realize that you don't have to deploy them via deep strike and can infiltrate/fleet/charge ANY squad with Shrike joining them.It gives them a whole lot of power and makes them a terrible hammer to deal with on the first turn.

  3. Yeah, Shrike was how I was thinking about using them (specifically with adrop pod). That way, they could drop down, and fairly reliably chargewhatever I want them to–likely being able to charge multiple tanks.I suspect that leveraging their ability to get different weapons (andthereby allocate wounds as I want) is the way to run them mosteffectively–so I guess that's what I'm hoping to get out of this. Glad tohear that they're effective for someone though. 🙂

  4. for me Heroic Intervention is their best feature and the strength you really want to play too. Sure equipping them with all kinds of shiny bits is neat, but as you mention shiny bits cost shiny points and these guys are already expensive and no harder to kill then any other marine.Personally i think they make an excellent unit for a heavy deep strike army, one the incorporates multiple drop pods or one that uses scout bikers. The idea is to get multiple locator beacons into the enemy formation asap, the easiest way to do this is to bring enough drop poding units to put two pods equipped with beacons down turn 1. depending on what was in those pods your opponent isnt likely to care about them at first, so when your Vets arrive later you have a 6 inch bubble of no scatter around each large drop pod to work with.Putting them in a drop pod of their own to get them on table turn 1 is risky, their shooting sucks unless you pay through the nose for plasma pistols, they're just as easy to kill as any other marine, and worse your super assault squad is then forced to move an awesome 6 inches a turn to try and earn its keep.When armed with Jump packs, you charge that first turn after DS, then thanks to your huge movement and general proximity to the enemy army you should be able to get into CC again each turn if you destroy the enemy.So…. i would recommend equipping them lightly, a storm shield is a good choice to give some protection against a bad hit, a thunder hammer or power fist can help against walkers but i wouldn't call them required, some melta bombs and at least one power weapon or relic blade for sure though.some keys to remember when using them though:1. If you put an IC with them before battle they can not Heroic Intervention2. you can not Heroic Intervention if you shoot after DSing2. you can not Heroic Intervention if you dont buy Jump packs

  5. All good points. I didn't see that jump packs were required for HeriocIntervention–which does throw a wrench in the works, considering they can'tget a drop pod (and thereby can't use a teleport homer) with packs.What're your thoughts about wound allocation? Too pricey to make it worthwhile?

  6. wound allocation only really shines on units of multi wound creatures, like Orc Nobs. Sure sometimes you can stack a few power weapon or plasma hits on a single guy if the squad takes enough hits to do it, but you dont get to extend the lives of models by giving everyone one before you lose a model.Space marines are resilient enough, and all the models in a Vanguard squad are so expensive your probably not gonna wanna take the unit on wound allocation potential alone. Units like my IG command squad with Straken like allocation because theres plenty of cheap fodder to allocate the nasty hits on, but even then its something i wouldn't cite as a major strong point of the unit.

  7. Though none of my friends have ever used the Vanguard against me, I would say that if you're going to drop them right in to your opponents army, then Hammers and Storm shields are the way to go.Yeah, yeah, pricey I know, but you really want them to survive for as long as possible and be a huge nuisance to your opponent. Thereby thwarting his plans and forcing him to react to your plan.BTW Rob, you should give the Thunderfire Cannon a try because you're missing out on an awesome unit that can put the hurt down on just about any infantry unit in the game.My buddy plays that against me all the time and it rocks my world. It essentially forces me to target it with as much shooting as necessary until it's destroyed otherwise it wreaks havoc on my armies. Especially my nids.The trick with the cannon vs a mech army is to have supporting units with heavy wpns to crack open your opponents vehicles, then use the Cannon to blast the guys into dust. Even against a unit of marines, you're going to put a horrendous number of wounds on them because they'll be bunched up from their vehicle exploding so inevitably going to fail a large number of those saves.Something to think about.

  8. It's a large blast, so it's gotta be worth something. I just don't playmany techmarines.I am planning on trying some thunderfires though. I recently picked up afew of the old Rapier Laser Destroyers to use as “counts as” (for classicfeel), so I just need to get some techmarines painted up and I'm good to go.

  9. That'll look so awesome especially painted up.Call me a sucker. But I love so many of GW's old minis because they had a lot of character.

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