Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Dark Angels Analysis - Company Veterans


Another day another blog post, today moving on to the Elites choices in the Dark Angels Codex. I've managed to get a little done in the last day. The Flesh Hounds are now assembled after having them about a year, although 1 is still missing a head. I've also painted one of my Thunderwolf Cavalry, and am half way through the final one. Pictures will be up once they're done.

So that's me updated, now onto the Company Veterans.

The Company Veterans are, in short, the Dark Angels equivalent of Chosen, which as I recall, were pretty bad. However, this is not necessarily the case with the Company Veterans. In comparison to a Marine, yes, it doesn't look like you're getting much for your points, base. And you're not, you lose the ability to score and go up to almost 20pts per model and only gain +1 attack and leadership.

The main difference between the 2 though is that the Veterans (like Chosen) can take a crap load of options. I wouldn't bother with any of the close combat weapons, as they all involve swapping your Bolter, including getting an additional close combat weapon. To give you can example, you could almost get 2 more Veterans for the cost of giving a single Vet a pair of Lightning Claws.

There's not really much chance that these guys will get into combat, they only get a 3+ save and when tooled out for combat they are extremely expensive, meaning that whenever you lose one it's costing you, plus with all of that weaponry it's going to attract attention, even if coming out of a Drop Pod your opponent still has a turn to shoot at them.

I also wouldn't bother with the other, more defensive upgrades. The Combat Shield is crap, I'm not increasing my points cost by 25% just to get a 6+ invulnerable. The Storm Shield is only double this so in comparison it looks like a bargain, but then you don't want to increase your points by 50% to make your save invulnerable, especially when you're so susceptible to small arms fire anyway due to your T4.

You also probably aren't going to want to equip them with any heavy weapons. If you want a unit that just stands there shooting a single heavy weapon each turn you can do just as good a job with tactical marines, who are cheaper and score.

So what can Veterans do? The best option here appears to be 'Drop Pod squad of Death'. For just over 160pts you can get 3 combi-meltas and a Meltagun dropping out of the sky. The only problem with this is the short range, and the fact that you're unlikely to get into melta range, Flamers also suffer from this range problem.

But for 5pts more you can get 3 combi-plasmas and a Plasma gun. That's not too bad, the only problem that I then see is whether that is really going to eliminate a target. It will need to because otherwise you'll have a one hit wonder squad that hasn't done much.

Let's say that you do get within rapid-fire range, and that there is a 5 man tactical squad stood on an objective. On average you'll cause 4.4 wounds from your Plasma weapons, and 0.2 wounds from your Sergeant's Boltgun. So on average you should just about kill that squad, before you consider whether they're in cover, whether they've gone to ground, etc. That's not fantastic for 170pts.

Due to the newly released FAQ, which sort of screwed this post over a little, this problem can now be solved by increasing squad size, as now every member of the squad has the option to take a combi-weapon. The problem that I see with this is that by giving the Veterans enough combi-plasmas to make them effective, you're also increasing their points cost quite significantly. You have to remember that they are still marines, and they'll drop in, cause lots of damage to a single squad, and then will just be marines with Boltguns.

So it's a case of balancing it. You don't want to make the squad too expensive so that they're overkill in the initial drop and so there's lots of redundant points in there that could have been used elsewhere, but then you don't want to scrimp so much that they don't cause enough damage on impact.

How many to stick in your squad depends entirely on which armies are in your local area. Lots of TEQ (terminator equivilants), more would be nice, not so much, I'm not sure that you even need this squad.

So in short, the best way to run Company Veterans is probably kitted out with Plasma, in a Drop Pod.

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