Thursday, September 6, 2012

Unit of the Week: Sternguard Veterans

One of my personal all-time favorite units in Warhammer 40k, the Sternguard Veterans combine overwhelming offensive capability with unmatched versatility. Although somewhat costly, the veterans can be kitted out to effortlessly engage literally any target battlefield.

Sternguard come equipped with specialized bolters which can fire their choice of ignores cover rounds, extended range AP 4 rounds, shortened range AP 3 rounds, or my favorite, poisoned 2+ rounds. Without extra wargear, the Veterans are already equipped to engage units hiding in cover, MEQs, and even monstrous creatures! For only five points more, any or all of the unit may upgrade to a combi-flamer, combi-melta, or combi-plasma, allowing them to fulfill the roles of crowd control, tank hunters, or terminator killers. 

My favorite method of fielding the Sternguard is embarking them in drop pods. Combined with the Drop Pod’s mishap-safe, turn one deepstrike capabilities, Sternguard Veterans are arguably the best unit in the game at maximizing alpha strike destruction. Equip them with combi- meltas to all but guarantee the critical first blood  victory against your opponent's heaviest armor. A couple combi-plasmas can easily make short work of terminators on turn one. Even mixing and matching combi-weapons can be especially effective when a ten-man squad splits into two five-man squads upon disembarkation, able to engage two targets instead of one! 

Veterans can also significantly benefit from some of the Codex: Space Marine special characters. Aside from added survivability, and much needed close combat support, most of the uniqe HQ choices offer very useful buffs, for example: Lysander makes their deadly bolters twin-linked.; Vulkan He’stan counts every melta/combi-melta in the army twin-linked, ensuring effortless destruction of heavy armor and even multi-wound TEQs; Pedro Kantor even makes the veterans scoring units!  

At twenty-five points a model, Sternguard are indeed a somewhat pricey, yet highly effective elite choice. If  fielded correctly a unit or two of Veterans can easily eliminate heavy-hitting priority targets on turn one,  plastering a mischievous grin across your face and leaving your opponent shaking with rage. 

What are your thoughts on Sternguard Veterans? How do you use them? How do you deal with them? Let us know in the comments below!


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