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I have read a lot of posts trying to "prove" that spearmen or archers are a better value than sea guard because of the point differential.
They miss the KEY POINT.
You often don't know (generally) what your opponent will field even if you know what race he will play. This is especially true in tournaments. Thus, I am often not sure whether I would do better with a unit of spearmen or a unit of archers.
Sea Guard can play the role of archers or spearmen and I get to pick which role late during deployment when I know what additional boost I may need.
That is enough reason for me!
A counterargument would be that even if you aren't sure if you need archers or not, RBT's and Shadow Warriors can still fill the role of shooting better than archers or LSG.
Sea guard can play the role of spearmen just as well as spearmen thats true. However if you want them to play the role of archers they either arent as good as archers, or you hamper their ability to play the role of spearmen.
And even if you really need that strength 3 shooting, with all the extra points you spend on sea guard and their shields, its just not worth it for the small number of shots you would get (assuming you keep the sea guard in any sort of decently ranked formation.)
I still think that specialised troops are better, and if you need ranged RBT's and shadow warriors do the job better, and are effective against almost any enemy.
"I am the architect of fate!"
Yeah I can't really think of a battle where I might need archers. I've been boycoting them for a while in 6th ed, and so far in my battles I haven't used them at all for 7th. They are overpriced for the support they give, it is better to use shadow warriors or bolt throwers for long range stuff.
So they are really overpriced spearmen who can give a few shots. They do seem very good on the defence if allowed to stand and shoot though.
One of the things I think that people forget about archers is that they move and fire. Even when moving, their BS skill is such that they still hit a good 50% of time because short range remains 15". St4 shots don't move typically.
High Elves should consider placing their archers in the front of their battlelines in a nice long line and moving behind them against armies that will not necessarily decimate the low armor opponents via shooting. Several armies allow this tactic to work quite effectively. Remember, much of your elite infantry is also suffering from mediocre saves and T3.
Why do tthis?
Simply put, I want to encourage you to pursue into my "always strike first" infantry. If you chose not to pursue, I want to charge you after the archers have fled behind their more close combat comrades. Don't want to charge the archers knowing they will flee and expose you next round to being charged? Ok, they continue shooting.
If you bring small elite units, I want the opportunity to whittle them down.
So why Sea Guard? 1. They have a bit better armor save available.
2. Once they flee, they will likely rally and can reform into an effective close combat block and then add support to any battle that lasts for over a round.
Is this effective against all armies and all situations? No, but against armies with roughly equal toughness and armor or against armies lacking effective shooting (or even an army that chooses not to take much archery or gunpowder), this can be a very effective tactic.
Your technique you described only works against some armies, and with my luck the enemy would overrun my seaguard, take my banner and then I would fail all my panic tests and run off the board. I'd rather have my cheaper spearmen performing the task I've given them (being a cheap combat res unit) and allow me to purchase other units that do what i want them to do.
And while strewart has brought up a good point (they can be used to take out fast cav) there are other ways to do this and the fast cav can move out of the way or deploy elswhere and make that tactic less effective so str3 shooting still remains ridiculous in my opinion.