After playing a handful of games with a Sanguinary Guard list, I have determined that it just doesn’t have the tools for me to play it well. Notice this clarifying statement. I have seen some exceptional players do fairly well in competitive environments, but I am apparently not one of them. So, what’s wrong with it?
1) Low model count. At 2,000pt without Mephiston, I can get 35 models into the army. A unit of 5 Sanguinary Guard with 1 infernus pistol and 1 fist rings in at 220pt….for 5 models. My list crowbarred in 4 units. The Vanguard Vets which I think are a necessity to a DoA list are also expensive, though I suppose they could be tooled just to tie up units, but then I feel like they would be wasted points. In the end, I was able to get a librarian, Dante, 4 Sanguinary Guard units and 2 Vanguard units. Not much. When you only have 35 models, every wound hurts.
2) Low amounts of scoring units. More often than not, I am outclassed in this department with only 4 units consisting of 20 models. Trying to scale this army down to 1,500pt, 1750pt, or 1,850pt is murder.
3) Low to no invul. saves. This army excels at hitting hard in combat, but it can’t be hit back by anything remotely hard. The only units capable of invul. saves are the vanguard vets and you are paying out 20pt. per 1 wound model to attain the storm shield. If I can’t wipe out a unit or at least seriously deplete it’s numbers to the point of total ineffectiveness, it will cause me trouble. Bad dice can really hurt here.
4) Range. While I can usually run down most infantry, I don’t have hardly anything that can shoot any distance of consequence. What I need are more meltaguns, but sanguinary guard and vanguard vets only have access to infernus pistols.
5) Character dependency. Unfortunately, you need Dante. Then it behooves you to have psychic support to help protect your precious jump troops, so we are looking at a base of around 350pt. invested in characters before you even start on the your troops. Of course, you could try the army with only Dante, but I think the absence of a librarian would pretty apparent.
For all of the negatives, there are some positives to the army as well.
1) Psychological advantage. When you have an army of power weapon and melta toting models with majority 2+ saves, you tend to alter normal plans to try to handle it. This gives the player of this army a significant psychological advantage. Especially since you can surgically insert yourself into weak points of your opponents line via DoA.
2) Power weapons. This army has tons of power weapons. Overlap that with FNP and FC from the priests and you can chop through most units including terminators. My latest incarnation of the list actually had a power weapon on every model except 4 vanguard vets. That is out of 35 models! Perhaps I could have reallocated the points to make the army more efficient in the body count department, but with such a small army, you have to strike hard, strike fast, no mercy, sir!
3) Dante. Being able to insert a unit with melta weapons with no scatter means that a tank is going to die when Dante and his unit lands. I have had several opponents be taken aback when their land raider is dead on turn 2 because of this.
4)Fearless. The army is largely fearless due to the amount of Sanguinary Guard. That means you won’t have models running away, though they may die to fearless wounds.
5) Hardcore units on FNP and FC. Using sanguinary priests to project bubbles of FNP and FC makes this army sick in combat. It really does hit like a ton of bricks….glass bricks in a cobweb bag.
Ultimately, the army is fun when it works, but I don’t think I possess the tactical acumen to run it the way it needs to be run. So, look for upcoming posts that show the direction that I may take this army next. Thanks for reading.