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I originally asked this question with the 4th edition rules, but with new wound allocation rules in 5th, I'd like to get your opinions again.
Who do you have carry your icon in the squad? The aspiring champion (hoping to keep the icon on what will most commonly the last guy alive in the squad) or a normal trooper?
In 4th, folks put it on a normal trooper so that the single wound assigned with torrent of fire had to choose between the AC and the icon. In my limited 5th edition experience, folks seem to like to have as many differently geared members in a squad as possible for the "wound allocation abuse" that this allows. Is there any reason to put the icon on the AC?
I still put the icon on a normal trooper in largish squads. If it's on the champ, and he winds up failing a save, that's a whole lot of lost effectiveness for the unit. Sort of an "all eggs in one basket" deal.
Plus, having that extra model type allows wound allocation shenanigans can be really handy in a nasty situation and make the difference between a pasted squad and still hanging on.
Most of the time, my marines are either in rhinos or in close combat. Those few rounds during a game when they're left in the open, I usually have rhinos blocking LoS to the more heinous threats. Come to think of it, only once in the past dozen games have I had to roll for individual models in a unit. I'm far more likely to have my troops in situations where it's better to have one more red shirt that can be sacrificed instead of a melta or icon bearer or champ. In these cases, it really is an advantage to have multiple eggs in a single basket.
Of course, it depends on your opponents. If you're going up against a high number of psykers, who target individual models, then obviously, spreading the loot around in a squad is the best options.
Spambot kill tally. . .337
In short, it's extremely common around here that even a single enemy unit can inflict enough wounds for everyone to make 1 or more saves at a time. So, eggs in one basket can either get you lucky, or very hosed. Splitting up more gives a more consistent middle-ground that's a bit easier to plan around.