Welcome to part 2 of my first thoughts series covering Elites (warning, this one is quite lengthy):
I don’t see these being a particularly good pick for the points let alone a crowded elite slot. The chapter trait of +1 strength is ok but the difference between str8 and 9 is marginal against most units, and the +1 int from the baal strike force (BSF) is wasted on all models apart from the sergeant.
The telling issue is that GW dropped the points in the later space marine codex to 35 ppm from 40. 200 points for the squad is just too much for what they bring in my opinion.
If I were to use them, I think they would do ok being dropped onto an out of the way objective where they may be reasonably hard to shift but they aren’t particularly potent as a dedicated assault or shooting unit.
Again these guys suffer slightly from the cheaper in codex SM problem (only on the lightning claw side so if you were planning an all THSS unit you are no worse off than before).
THSS terminators are an old fan favourite, although I think this is partly due to them being an intimidating unit for your opponent. They still drop to large volumes of high ap fire but at least there is no shortcut to wipe the unit (plasma etc).
The lightning claw option becomes decent with str5 shred and I5 if using BSF. Paying the extra 25 points over SM sticks in the craw a bit but they aren’t a terrible choice.
Overall I think these guys are slightly better than the tactical terminators but I don’t know how often you will actually see them. There are other options in the same slot that I think can do a similar job better.
In some ways this unit is better than the CSM equivalent, in some ways it’s worse. On the upside you get a free apothecary, the downside is they can’t take bikes (ie no grav spam).
I think 100 points for the unit including apothecary, ws5 champion with power weapon is a fair price, the problem is the unit size is restricted to 5. If you could buy extra models this unit would be a nice competitor for the vanguard.
As it is, I don’t think I’ll use them very option as I don’t think a 5 man unit is going to be particularly combat effective, but they could be a nice delivery system for a hitty captain (as I guess they are meant to be).
Dreadnoughts have had problems for a while now, which were fixed to a certain extent in codex SM by giving them an additional 2 attacks and allowing them to be taken in units of 3. Sadly no such changes for BA, I’m praying for an FAQ which I don’t think will ever come.
I think I will find it hard to include one in a list in its current state. There are some decent dreads in the BA codex, but sadly not this one.
I look at this as the BA equivalent of the iron clad Dreadnought in C:SM. So for kick off the Furioso is 2 attacks worse off. However, WS5 is nice, plus the +1 int bonus from BSF does apply to dreads which is a huge advantage is you manage to get into a dreadnought off.
It does have another trick up its sleeve. The frag cannon build. 2 str6 rending templates is great, give it a melta on the power fist and for tank mashing or a heavy flamer for even more template goodness. At that point the drop pod becomes almost compulsory as a delivery system. The whole bundle is about 175 points which isn’t too bad as an alpha strike and a unit your opponent has to make a priority the following turn.
I think if I were to take one, the frag build is how I would do it.
Death company dreadnought
So the blender dreadnought is gone, and probably rightly so but3 attacks base plus 2 ccw plus rage gives 6 attacks on the charge, unfortunately only at ws4. But he’s only armour 12 and doesn’t have fleet so he’s slow.
Therefore the question is how you get him into combat to justify the 125 points cost. Drop pod is a cheap option but leaves you vulnerable for a turn. Storm Raven is safer but you won’t be getting a charge until turn 3 (funky formations excepted) and it’s much much more expensive, plus it leaves the storm Raven very exposed on the drop off turn.
Overall I don’t think its a bad option but offers less as a stand alone option than the Furioso.
So these guys are no longer troops, down to ws4 and don’t get rerolls to wound with a chaplain. But, and this is a big but, jump packs are down from 15 ppm to 3.
This essentially means that they are now a valid stand alone unit (ie don’t need landraider or storm Raven transportation) which means the whole shabang is a whole lot cheaper.
23 points for a jump model with up to 5 attacks on the charge and fnp is a bit of a bargain. I would always take the ccw over the bolter as you don’t want to do yourself out of a charge. Add in a few power fists and you’re good to go.
This is probably one the stand out units in the codex, which admittedly is not up there with eldar, but I think this unit would be good in most codices out there.
I actually think these guys are pretty decent. Compared with your bog standard assault marines, they each gain an attack and leadership for plus 5 points (if you take the optional jump pack). In addition to this they gain the ability to each take storm shields, melta bombs and specialist CCWs (although they do lose access to the 2 flamers and melta guns). What is really nice is that they can take power weapons/fists on models which can’t be singled out in challenges (ala assault marines), so you can give your champion (and potentially a couple of other guys) storm shields to soak up nasty incoming attacks while a couple of the others lay about with thunder hammers.
Where this unit does fall down a bit is in comparison to death company who for 1 point extra get relentless, rage, FNP and fearless for the loss of heroic intervention (which actually is a pretty decent rule if you want to tie multiple units up in combat or take 2 turns to win a combat so you don’t take shooting in your opponents turn).
So when push comes to shove, the only reason you might choose to take vanguard over death company is to get access to storm shields which shifts the focus of the unit from all out butchery in the case of death company to a slightly more balanced assault unit in vanguard vets (although you do still have to pay the points for storm shields which means that vanguard vets start to get more expensive than death company).
Overall, I think this unit is pretty good. Just not as good as another very similar unit in the same slot at a similar points value. Losing the ability to charge from deep strike was a blow to these guys (albeit predictable) . Had these guys been WS5 base then I think they would be closer to rivalling death company but as it is they fall slightly short.
A 33 point jump pack terminator or a vanguard veteran with a 2+ save and a power weapon. Both are good ways to look at this unit. The points decrease from the previous edition plus the increase in the unit size to 10 were really good news. They also have access to the chapter banner which gives them plus 1 attack (for 4 each on the charge, with a master crafter weapon) and lets friendly BA units within 12 reroll failed morale and pinning checks (a nice little side bonus).
The really nice thing about this squad is that they can upgrade any model to have a power fist for 10 points (compared to 25 for death company or vanguard which probably reflects that each already has a power weapon). This is big because it means a 45 point saving compared to taking 3 in a vanguard or DC squad which reduces the overall price differential of the unit. For example, 8 death company with 3 PFs is 259 points compared to 284 for the same number of SG with 3 PFs, despite SG being 10ppm more expensive.
I also think this unit will combo really well with a sanguinary priest for WS5 and FNP. It’s hardly the death star to end all death stars, but what in the BA codex is? And it should do you pretty well in friendly games.