Thursday, June 2, 2011

Codex Review: Blood Angel Sanguinary Guard

I will be the first to admit that my knowledge of the BA codex is fairly limited.  That is mainly because my scope is very narrow for the army I am building.  Thus, for the next week or two, I am going to go through the units that I know how to use and talk about them.  The first up on the chopping block are Sanguinary Guard.  My BA army is centered around having them, so I figured that I will start with them and tell you why I use them and their pros and cons.

Sanguinary Guard are essentially flying terminators with no invul. save.  They come in a mandatory group of 5.  You can't add to that. For 5 models you pay a premium of 200 points!  They are a touch expensive, I will admit that.  You can get far better units for that points cost as well, but let's look at what they have.  Their stand out features are a 2+ save, fearless, LD 10 (which doesn't matter due to fearless), jump packs, angelus bolters (12" assault 2, AP4), and glaives incarmine (which are MC power weapons).  They have the option of taking deathmasks for 25pt for the unit, plasma or infernus pistols for +10pt. a model, powerfists for +10pt a model, and a chapter banner for 30pt.  

This army is just too cool to not show. This was done by Tim Davis from The Vanus Temple.  Excellent painting and modeling.

As you can see there are some things that make them interesting and some things that don't. 

*Jump packs- These guys can deepstrike in via descent of angels or just move 12" and then assault 6" (i.e. they are fast).
*MC power weapons- On the charge, you are getting 15 power weapon attacks rerolling 1 missed attack per model.  If you take a chapter banner, you get 20 attacks!  This makes most things cry.  Add in a priest for S5 I5.
*Fearless- These guys won't run when shot up.  That makes them pretty dependable troop choices when you take Dante
*Angelus bolters- AP4 and 2 shots apiece mean these guys are going to hurt many things (especially non-MEQ) before assaulting in. 
*Artificer armor- a 2+ save can soak a lot of firepower.  Combine it with FNP from a priest and they are very resilient against small arms fire.

*Model count- Only being able to take 5 models really sucks.  I wish you could make a deathstar of 10 models.  That would be awesome!
*No invul- This is the kicker in my opinion.  Having no invul and small numbers means that these guys die quickly to low AP weaponry and power weapons.  If they don't smash you in the face on the assault, they will have casualties. 
*Fearless- This can really hurt if you lose combats and have to roll fearless save.  With such a small squad, each death matters.
*Range- 12" is the longest range these guys have.  They are meant to charge in and beat things down, but it still hurts having an army made up of nothing greater than 12".

So as you can see, these guys aren't the most competitive models.  As a matter of fact, if I were to create a competitive BA army, SG wouldn't make an appearance at all.  I am currently running a purely fun list and that is why I am using them.  They are super theme-y and the models are amazing!  That is why I run SG.  Not to mention that when they are on, they smash face.  There is nothing like charging into a unit of models and sweeping them aside like they were nothing.  Simply amazing! 

That said, SG are a glass hammer.  They can dish out pain, but can't handle it well.  The best thing to do to help them is get a priest in range to give them FNP and FC.  If you can swing that, they do pretty well.  I personally run my units as such:

5 models (duh!)- 1 power fist/bolter, 2 glaive/bolter, 2 glaive/infernus pistol

This runs me 230pt. which again would almost get you 6 assault terminators (Which are far better), but it gives them a balanced approach to play.  They can pop armor and still retain good assault capabilities. 

Oddly enough, I don't like to deepstrike these guys.  Since they don't have an invul and their infernus pistols have such a short range, I tend to deploy them regularly and throw them forward, hugging terrain, until they get to grips with the enemy.  I occasionally put Dante with a squad to deepstrike since he will land them where I want them via precision strike.  They then have 3 melta shots to handle armor.  Again, this usually leaves them out in the open for low AP shots if you aren't careful. 

Ultimately, I would give Sanguinary Guard a solid B-. They excel at combat and have the tools to get into combat quickly, but they can't handle the punishment if they don't do enough damage.  They are fun to play and super cool to model and paint and they have great fluff.  So depending on how you play, SG could be a fun unit to play.

Other useful articles:
Blood Angel Characters: Dante
Codex Review: BA Sangnuinary Priests


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AbusePuppy said...

I think your squad and style, if not assessment, fit quite well with what I've gathered from them as well- Infernus Pistols allow you to bring some dangerous shooting and open up transports and the Bolters can do quite a bit of damage to light infantry, since their Jump movement often lets them bypass cover. Deep Striking them is almost always a mistake- they can't assault the turn they arrive, so you rarely speed up their ability to get to the enemy- turn 3 (when you could assault from DS) gets you 36+3d6", which should be enough to reach practically anywhere on the board.

Unlike Termies, Guard are not intended to be a "melee hammer" unit- yes, they hit hard, but your big advantages are mobility and flexibility. You can shoot; most other melee units can't. You are fast and survivable- few other units pack that same combination. I find they work best in a Dante army as your troops, but undoubtedly there are other ways to run them.

Dave said...

Thanks for the input. I agree with you. Lately, I have run a single squad with Dante as a DS melta squad, but since my latest army list also has an assault squad with double meltas, I am thinking about combat squadding that unit and letting him DS the meltas into place. There is also the thought about running a 4x melta/storm shield HG with him to really put the hurt on opponents. It just seems a real shame to waste his precision strike rule by not using it at all, but I may have to think about whether it is useful or not.

I like your thoughts on how they aren't "melee hammers". Great term there. I hearby copyright that as an AbusePuppy term. You really do have to be selective with who they attack and use their mobility to keep them alive.

Asmodai said...

That army belongs to a guy over at a blog called The Vanus Temple. Here's a link to his posts about the army:

Dave said...

Thanks for the heads-up. I have linked Tim in the blog.

AbusePuppy said...

Dante needs to be taking advantage of Precision Strike, that and having Guard as troops are his two advantages- and in terms of them dropping in, if you want to do it on the cheap, remember you can also give the Sarge an Infernus pistol so your combat squad ends up with four meltas (Dante, two Meltaguns, Infernus).

I'm firmly of the opinion that you should only be running Dante if all your troops are going to be Sanguinary Guard (with _maybe_ one ASM squad). It's his main advantage, so if you're not using it to its fullest, there's not really a good reason to pay out the nose for him (because you do) and you give up the main advantage of Sanguinary Guard, which is their immunity to anything without AP2. (Mixing in other units just gives the enemy an alternate target.)

Dave said...

I agree in majority with your thoughts on Dante and SG. I am interested to see what your idea of a good Dante/SG list looks like, AP. Care to post one up in the comments?

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