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LO's Shadow Captain
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First of all, apologies for the delay. I've had a rough week so I completely forgot to get this thread posted. Anyway! Without further adieu...

This week's topic is about the trustworthy battle brothers that accompany our commanders into battle, those stalwart warriors who will do anything to protect their masters. Taking a chapter master allows you to include a squad of Honour Guard, close combat beasts that, albeit expensive, make their presence on the field known. Taking a Captain allows you to take a Command Squad, arguably one of the most versatile and effective units in the codex.

Do you like to take either, and why? How do you use the squads that you take? Are there squad setups that you haven't tried, but would like to?

Discuss!



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My bike command squad led by the white scars character.

Command squad

2xflamers, 2x power weapons, company champion, bikes- 250pts A bit expensive but very deadly.
 

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Occasionally I run a command squad, when I do i take 2 vets with power fists plasma pistols, 2 vets with meltaguns, and the apothecary with a bolt pistol ccw. It's expensive for what they do and they rarely if ever make back their points. But they are as fun as hell. Against terminators and such they make a fair dent before dyng too.
 

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I haven't used it yet, but a command squad with three meltaguns and a flamer (or a fourth melta if you want to be extra sure and aren't the equip for multiple missions type) stuck into a drop pod seems to be a nice (and relatively cheap) way to ensure that you can take out that one absolutely nasty tank your opponent has. At 155 points nor including the pod (210, give or take, with) it's not a huge point sink either.

It may not earn it's points back, but that's really not so important, and it should give you a nice edge as long as: a) Your opponent is fielding heavy armor and b) They aren't fielding a ton of it. Against no armor, you can still hopefully knock a wound or two off a MC or take out some elite troops, but it probably wouldn't be enough to change the dynamics of the game much. Against hordes it's just going to be a waste, although with a Deathwind launcher on the drop pod you may be able to cause some carnage. Against a list with a lot of heavy armor (IG with 6 Leman Russ BTs or something crazy like that) sure you can take one tank out, but all you do is take out some redundancy... it's not going to shift the game.

(Not so on topic)
Sternguard give you more versatility, against just about any army they'll find a good target, but they'll run you another 160 points or so, which is almost enough to field another tactical squad. They do have slightly better survivability though (with 10 models) but it seems to me that the real advantage they have over the command squad is versatility.

(Back on topic)
Just to make sure I'm clear I'll repeat that I haven't tried either of these squads yet, I'm just looking at them on paper. I just thought I'd toss it into the topic of the week. It is largely a suicide squad, if they get a second round of shooting that's wonderful, and you should certainly have some way of benefiting from their sacrifice (or back them up with more drop pods,) but simply removing one major threat and soaking up a the fire from one or two enemy squads should help a lot towards getting the rest of your army into position.
 

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Lord of Shadows
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Was wondering when you'd chose these guys as your topic Nem =)

The limited size of the Command Squad is what has generally put me off using them, though the power of 5 men on bikes with FnP is nothing to be laughed at.

Command squads really have the potential as a long-lasting anti-vehicle unit, able to take melta guns, combi-weapons and power fists. Heck they even make an epic Anti-MC unit when on bikes too!

On foot though, they lack mobility and get caught in the open far too easily, needing a Pod and plenty of CC-power to make a real effect.

Both Command Squad uses require a fair amount of points (200+) for them to be useful, while having stats and armour almost identical to normal marines. Their saving grace is FnP, their failure is their size.

Honor Guard are my personal favourite unit here. Considering the costs for Power Weapons and Artificer Armour, they effectively cost 5 points per man - not bad eh?

Yes they cost a fortune for just 3 men, and a 10man squad without upgrades costs more than two 10man tactical squads, leaving enough points for upgrades on both! What they can do is kill lots and lots and lots in close combat.

A 10man HG squad with only the Chapter Banner upgrade can dish out an awe-inspiring 51 power weapon hits on the charge - I dont know of any other unit capable of doing this in the game! With Relic Blade and Aux-Grenade launcher upgrades, these guys can really pack a punch, and tear through anything they come across. For giggles, add a stock Chaplain to re-roll all 51 hits if they miss. 10 Honor Guard marines with a Chaplain may come in at a price close to 1/3rd of a 1500point force - for what is ultimately 11 models, but as a close-combat force, there is no other that beats them. Even a tooled up BA-HG squad with Dante and Meph (costing around 60points less than 10HG + Chaplain) gets laughed into the floor by the sheer power of this unit.

It cannot be said that either unit doesnt have a use on the battlefield, however HG work better with my IN YOUR FACE style of play, and make a mockery of almost anything in close-combat =)


Enjoy the rant!

CR
 

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My favorite setup is Brother Corbulo with an Honor Guard sporting another Sanguinary Priest plus a melta rifle plus a plasma rifle. They stay out of close combat and use their Exsanguinators to ignore failed safes.

Most of the time, the Death Company is sticking around somewhere and it's quite frustrating for my opponents when they fail the armor save, the Feel No Pain save, but still keep on fighting because the Sanguinary Priest saves them. :sinister:
 

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Torn ACL FTL
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Honor Guard look nice, but they're too expensive and have no protection beyond artificer armor. Command Squads are cheaper, have FNP and the option for Storm Shields.

A Biker Command Squad is just brutal. 3 LC/melta/storm shield guys and a Company Champion with a THammer is nasty.
 

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UnderWater Ninja-Tiger ..
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I purchased the command squad set awhile back, and have another command squad sprue from a force box. I'm curious to see the outcome of this topic, as I think I'd like to use the second ( still on sprue ) command squad as an honor squad.

I have used a pretty slimmed down command squad with a banner, apothecary and champion. It didn't get to do much, but it drew lots of fire.
 

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Honor Guards - I keep looking at Assault Terminators and think about how resilient they are compared to the honor guard. Sure those 10 guys hit hard but I'd hate to see a well placed vindicator shot take out 500 points of dudes in one shot. That storm shield invulnerable save just seems to good to pass up.

Command Squads - I love these guys on bikes. High toughness with FnP has its moments of awesome. At least the cover from turbo-boosting helps keep them alive longer too. I'll never forget the time I put a couple storm shields on the bikes. My Eldar opponent fired just about everything into them and only 1 died. I find them dependable.
 

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The 4+ invuln save with Command Squads is a big +, seeing as even Terminators have much to fear from AP2 weapons, and Honor Guard are no exception. While they are close combat beasts, they can be felled fairly easily by a well prepared opponent.

That being said, it depends on how you deploy them. A Command Squad on Bikes is nothing to laugh at under any circumstances, and an Honor Guard in a Dedicated Transport (Rhino, Drop Pod, Razerback, or Landraider) can get across the field into CC quickly. In the end, I don't really use either much, overall I feel they are very expensive for what you get, though I wouldn't mind running a group of Honor Guards w/ Thunder Hammers + dual Lightning Claws into CC via a transport. Especially if I can somehow get them fleet (maybe a Chapter Master + Shrike). Then they can hop from combat to combat as nearly invincible CC murderers.
 

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I agree with Cleanrabbit, the 5 man limit on command squads bothers me, and is the sole reason I would really never consider taking one. On the other hand, Honour gurad are godly, but the limited choice of weapons(only 1 hammer, no fists or claws), no access to an invul save(except through a libby) and the fact that I have the take a chapter master to use them also bothers me.
 

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The 4+ invuln save with Command Squads is a big +, seeing as even Terminators have much to fear from AP2 weapons, and Honor Guard are no exception. While they are close combat beasts, they can be felled fairly easily by a well prepared opponent.
Are you referring to FnP as a 4+ Inv save? Cause it most certainly isn't as AP2 weapons bypass FnP. It's more for protection against small arms fire.
 

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Ghost of LO
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So in summary:

Command squads make an excellent unit for assassination missions against hard targets, tanks/elites/MCs, using their superior selection of special weapons. But their limited numbers make them an unreliable power assault unit, except in a bike army. FNP is a nice bonus, working best against ranged small arms fire, but it's often negated in close combat, and by anti elite weapons. This unit needs a speed bonus - drop pod, rhino, or bikes, to be effective.

Honour Guards are two expensive for normal play, and are over shadowed by assault terminators, who hold more powerful weapons, and are a lot more durable, for similiar point costs.
 

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1 overlooked advantage of Honour Guard over Assault Termies is that they still have ranged weapons so are more difficult to kite around. Plus having bolt pistols and grenade launchers going off before a charge will certainly weaken most infantry units.
 

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Forged, as usual your analysis is spot on.

To use an honor guard or command squad (if not on bikes) effectively they need to avoid the enemy's best CC units. They can die too easily to power weapons (and shooting), so use your strength where the enemy is weak.

Not only that, but a landraider is an invaluable delivery tool because it protects well and they can assault out of it. It sucks to fail a charge and get shot to bits or counter-charged, so keep them safe until you unleash hell with them.
 

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I am currently preparing a command squad to roll with my (counts as Sicarius) Captain.
SB, CC, & 2 plasma pistols in a razorback. I have yet to field it but i have confidence that they will pay off.
I have yet to feild or let alone see anyone using honor guard.
Good topic!
 

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NCIS fan
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At first glance, I'd go with the command squad.

Though you cannot add more members, the sheer amount of options make the squad versatile. Knitted out for close combat ( including a company champion ), joined by an IC equipped the same, and inside a Razorback ( I prefer TL heavy bolters ), you can zip the squad to where you need them most. Likewise, you can knit them out for a "ranged" role. Plasma guns, a company standard, and a similar equiped IC, have them bolster the firing line with your tactical marines.

Honor guard, point for point, are far too expensive to be useful in my opinion. You could make a killer close combat unit, but the sheer amount of points would be insane. The point cost for additional members, plus few wargear options, are further "cons".
Though, it is "fluffy" for Ultramarnie plyers, to have Marneus Calgar/Honor Guard/personal bad arse LR. I would rather, put a bolter round in my temple, than spend that amount of points!

Just my two bolter casings.

:beer:
 

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I've been known to run the following as a shock unit to flush out enemy holding objectives;

Khan; 160
Commander Squad; Champion, 2xFlamer, Apothcary, Power Weapon - 155
- Razorback; TL Heavy Flamer, Storm Bolter - 75

Lots of flamer templates to remove cover saves, s5 I5 power weapons to mop up any survivors. The only problems; can't assault from the razorback, so need decent placement and cover for the massive amount of firepower that will be poured into this unit the turn before they charge. Also you'll need support from a troop choice (tact squad in rhino coming in the next couple of turns) to hold the objective. However, with a decent fast army, say bike heavy White Scars, you can use this set up as a game winner.
 

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I haven't used the unit outside of Apocalypse but I've got mine set up to fit in the most storm bolters. Used mainly to keep the line in order and repel assaults. :)

Captain: Lightning claw, storm bolter = 118
Command squad: apothecary, standard bearer, 4 storm bolters, 1 powerfist = 167

Only runs into trouble if it has to engage something unsupported since it has no special weapons like plasma or melta. Cheap though and lots of shots.
 
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