painting my Sanguinary Guard army to working on commission pieces, from rants about competitive armies to modeling tutorials. It has been a bit of an interesting June and July so far.
Hoping not to disappoint, I thought I would throw out a tactical article I have been thinking on, namely on what I've learned about deploying Sanguinary Guard.
If you know anything about Sanguinary Guard, you probably know that they are a textbook example of a glass hammer. The unit comes with multiple power weapons and multiple attacks per model and can be given furious charge and feel no pain if within 6 inches of a Sanguinary Priest. They lay down 15 attacks on the assault which can contain powerfists, but mainly consist of master crafted power weapon attacks. Suffice it to say that they mince all but the most elite of infantry (again, yay hammernators....).
The downside to them is that they have a max of 5 models in a unit and only a 2+ save with no hope of an invul save, though they can get FNP if within the priest's bubble.
So, why is this relevant to deploying Sanguinary Guard? For multiple reasons, really. Mainly, that they shouldn't deepstrike*.
Sanguinary Guard's unit size really prohibits them from being behind enemy lines operators like Vanguard Vets or Double Melta Assault Squads. Vanguard Vets have the heroic intervention ability which allows them to deepstrike then assault all in the same turn. This makes them very viable deepstrikers, especially if they can get into a unit that they can tie up until your next turn. Assault marines can pack up to two meltaguns and an infernus pistol which basic statistics say will kill a tank. On top of this when they deepstrike in, they can fire 2-3 melta weapons and then have 10 bodies and possible FNP to soak incoming fire enough to be a real threat in the next turn.
Sanguinary Guard have neither. Though they can take infernus pistols, their true purpose is to get into combat. Deepstriking deprives them of this ability until turn 3 at the earliest and makes that a risky prospect. In order to deepstrike, they need to remain in reserve until turn 2 at the earliest. Then, when they come in, they have to sit on the table until turn 3 before they can move and assault something. That is if they survive your opponents' guns. All of this supposing your dice work out for you and they come in on turn 2.
That leads me to believe that the best deployment method for Sanguinary Guard is the standard deployment. Place them on the board like normal. They can even be deployed in dawn of war deployment if you take Dante to make them troops. This allows them the opportunity to get into combat by turn 2, a whole turn earlier than if they arrive by deepstrike. I generally, deploy my Sanguinary Guard separated enough to have multiple lanes of advance, but close enough to benefit from a Sanguinary Priest's FNP bubble. Take a look at the picture below:
This brings me to my next point about deploying Sanguinary Guard. They aren't a unit that can afford to be held back. They don't handle attrition very well, so they need to get into your opponents' lines quickly. To do this, deploy them forward with good lanes of advance to your opponent. In the picture above, I had the option of going north or south of the central piece of impassable terrain to get to my opponent. In this particular game, my deployment allowed me to send my Sanguinary Guard straight into main advance of his army and they did some pretty nasty damage. Sanguinary Guard's best protection is getting them into combat. If they are in combat, they generally will outclass most opponents (especially with FC and FNP). They can't get shot in combat and they stand a good chance of weathering a handful of attacks rather than lots of enemy fire focused on one unit at a time.
*With a few exceptions. There are always exceptions. In this case, if you are ever forced to deepstrike or reserve an entire force, Sanguinary Guard stand a better chance of not getting singled out, but otherwise, I would seriously dissuade anyone from trying to deepstrike individual units of Sanguinary Guard as it really does cut down on their efficiency on the battlefield.
There you have it. Deploy Sanguinary Guard normally and forward with good lanes of advance so that they can get into combat quickly and cripple your opponents.
Other articles you might find interesting:
Sanguinary v. Grey Knights
Codex Review: Blood Angel Sanguinary Guard
Did you find this article useful? Subscribe to Gone to Ground for more great updates.