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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Marine codex 'review' (#10): jumpers




Assault marines: bad.

One of the cheapest 'assault units' in the game, but this is for a very good reason.
Much like tactical squads, assault squads are bound and chained by laws and rules older than time itself, forcing them to carry a big name, yet never be able to deliver, for they have a dark and terrible secret.

For 100 points, you get a sergeant and four dudes. In addition to all the standard equipment, everybody has a jump pack. Is this good or bad? It's actually very good. Cheap, fast marines are useful marines. Let's see what else they get.

Every fifth guy in the unit can buy a useless, now insanely overpriced plasmapistol, or a fairly costed flamer. Not impressed, really, an- wait.

Something's missing.
Where are all the lightningclaws, hammers, powerfists, rending chainswords, or even increased strength? Hah, no - they don't get any of that. No, no power weapons either.
Meltaguns? No way! The blood angels took all of them.

So as jumpers, what can they actually do? Well, they crush dire avengers, rangers, gretchin, small units of guardsmen, and that's it. You know, like every other unit you can field.
They get there fast, too, and bring flamers. So you can pay 200~ points for 10 assault marines, or the same for 5 terminators of either kind? Yeah, that's pretty much how it goes.

Horribly misnamed, the assault squad is not equipped for actual assault, but fear not. After two editions of being utterly useless, Mat Ward finally gave them something to do.
For the cost of nothing, you can exchange the squad's jump packs for a rhino. Because sternguard are a bit suicidal, tactical squads are always ten men or stuck in plasmabacks, command squads are right in the thick of it, and devastators aren't a realistic option, this is the best, safest, and absolutely smartest place to put any librarians and forgelords you bring.

For each of these two characters you field, take an assault squad with a single flamer.
What this gives you is a personal ride for your character, which he can flame out of, and the squad can do it, too.

Despite being horrible at combat, you're still a space marine, and if the librarian/forgelord joins in, you can clean up weakened infantry just fine. You know, in case your ride gets destroyed, and you have to kill an enemy unit standing between the squad and another empty transport.

Cleaning crew, and keeping librarians warm. Well, at least they're better and cheaper than ever before.
Give your army's five assault marines cool names, too, and pretend they're bouncers for the big shot they're protecting.

No, you don't want to take dual plasmapistols, plasmapistol on the sarge, attach two forgelords with combi-plasmas, and disembark from a land raider.
For the last time, jumper assault marines with a jumper chaplain is 300+ points of fail. Stop taking this. It can't even beat up a unit of boyz.

What makes it good: without jump packs, very cheap bodyguards for utility characters. With jump packs, fast disruption. Marine statlines allow you to lay the smackdown on other armies' troops - occasionally.

What makes it bad: not actually a combat unit, and most certainly not an 'assault squad.' Can't beat face on any serious combat units in the game. No, not even sisters' repentia. Disruption is of limited use, since opponents quickly figure out how bad assault squads are at killing things in general.

-

Vanguard: bad.

Rather than finally make assault marines good at assault, we got this mess of a squad.

Supposedly an upgrade over the lesser assault marines, and the last word in jump infantry warfare, vanguard squads are extremely bad value for the points, and don't even start out as jumpers.

At 10 extra points each, jump packs seem cheap, but they're not. You're paying 125 base points for the squad, and an additional 50 points minimum to even unlock their special abilities.
This is a very, very bad, dumb, and silly thing - criminally so.

With a 'pack, individual models cost 30 points each. That's as much as the legion of fail, and 10 more points get you terminator armor, a hammer and a shield, powerfist and stormbolter, or a pair of lightningclaws.
No, you don't want to pay almost the same for much less. No, no one has ever actually bought the vanguard box, and no one ever should. Hyperbole, but that's what happens when new units are this bad.

When the 5th edition book hit, a lot of us were left with tons of blinged sergeants, old command squad-dudes, characters, and similiar. That's why this unit exists - because marineplayers are not allowed to have spent money on models they cannot use.
And really, that's all there is to it.

You can go into great detail and depth, weighing the options versus each other, analyzing the fail, and saying 'but these guys get to assault after a deep strike, and are therefore better than hammernators!' Get out of here.
They're not.

Vanguard are an overpriced, unnecessary unit, thrown into the codex so people would have a use for all their old powerfist- and claw-sergeants. No more, no less.
Okay, so options. You have lots of weapons. You can take two per guy. They're all overpriced, and make the squad more costly than assault terminators, yet nowhere near as killy or durable.

In fact, this unit's more costly than the legion, but they're much, much better for one very important reason.
Like the legion, adding vanguard ups comp, but unlike the legion, taking large squads of vanguard make you WIN comp. Just straight up win.

And that, dear readers, is why vanguard are merely 'bad,' and not 'useless.'

What makes it good: makes you win comp. Are sometimes available from reserve on the right turn, at the right time, and score a hit on a vulnerable unit, without dying from deep strike mishaps.

What makes it bad: everything else.

16 pinkments:

Snugger said...

Maybe I should just wait for when you review the Heavy Support, but when you say that Devastators are not a realistic option, is it because they are too expensive in the current codex, or are Predators (and Dreads with a master) just plain better?

Messanger of Death said...

Devastators can work in some builds. Not as good as the non-vanilla berries. But they still have their place.

Messanger

VT2 said...

They work in zero builds, and it's because of cost, competition, and static nature.
That's why long fangs and angel devastators were made cheaper and better.

Chumbalaya said...

What they said.

My SM Jumper Review:
Why aren't you playing BA?

Ian said...

I used to use assault marines as counter-assault if my tacs got into trouble. Am I given to understand that I should basically be trying to get out of combat via combat tactics instead?

Also I'm curious about why you think jumpers+chaplain don't beat up boyz when they kill ~12 on the charge.

Marshal Wilhelm said...

What's a Pinkit?

VT2 said...

Because there are 18 boyz left, and their 30 man unit costs less than your 10 man unit, plus chaplain,

They can add a warboss to their 30 men for the points you blow on your jumpers.

Yeah, avoid combat.
Unless you're a terminator, what are you doing in combat? Get out and shoot more.

'Counter-assault' is not a valid concept.

Kris said...

Anything in the vanilla codex that can make Assault squads more viable? Pedro's bubble, Shrike's Fleet, joining Khan to the squad for furious charge and hit'n'run?

VT2 said...

Nothing.
No furious charge, no rending, no strength 5, no 4 attacks base, no multiple combat weapons, and a full squad costs almost as much as 5 assault terminators.

If you put a chaplain and Khan with them, ask yourself why you're not putting Khan with assault terminators instead, and replacing the chaplain with two additional terminators.

fluger said...

Pedro makes 'em better, but they're still not that exciting. FA in regular SM is all about the bikes and the speeders IMO.

VT2 said...

Pedro also costs 175 points, removes one chaplain slot, is open to assault, needs an escorting unit, doesn't move 12, and if you ever take him, you really don't want him exposed to assault, since he's a walking target.

Why were you taking mister Kantor again?

So 175+190+190+125 = a lot more than 10 assault terminators.

AbusePuppy said...

Devs in vanilla SM _do_ have uses. Rarely so, and even then they're mediocre, but it occasionally happens. (Just don't ever take Lascannons with them, no matter what.)

ASM are crap because A2 just isn't that special. Real assault units have special abilities and weapons that help them win fights.

fluger said...

Oh Vt2, did you even read what I wrote? I said that Pedro makes them better, but they're still not that exciting...

VT2 said...

And I countered by pointing out that Pedro doesn't really make them better.

It's just a sad state of affairs. Pray for rending attacks or something in 6th edition.

Mal said...

I actually use a small unit of 6 of these in my Imperial Fists army... and in all games bar 1 I have played they have more then earnt their points back...

Point of fact I even too them to a tournament, they arrived using heroic intervention on turn 2 and proceeded to pop both a landraider and a vindicator (gotta love mech armies in tight terrain), and then they proceeded to eat the command squad from the raider... granted they died in the combat.. but add the points... they did their job.

And thats the key...

Their job is very specific, and very risky considering the extreme price of the unit, but essentially they are one trick ponies, they come down remove a threat and die.

If you ask no more of them then you'll get your points back.

But like all things, this is just my opinon, I like them, others don't... who is right? neither and both.

Duke of Earl said...

Would Vanguard have a use, as recommended for assault marines, as a bodyguard for a melee bound independent character in a Rhino? Or does their inflated cost ruin them even if you leave the jump packs behind.

Equipping them with a Rhino is cheaper than buying jump packs, and 20 points/model though pricey does give you the option of storm shields and the occasional lightning claw/power fist.

Though then you have to ask, why are you in assault with something that isn't a terminator?

Okay I guess they do suck.

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