Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Review: Tyrannic War Veterans

Whilst I'm in the mindset of new codices and how to use new units, it turned out the rumour of Ultramarines getting a new dataslate wasn't hogwash. As an avid Ultramarine fan I absolutely bounced off the walls when I found out the iconic Tyrannic War Veterans were getting new rules.

Don't get me wrong, using the Sternguard rules did the trick as they are essentially the Tyrannic War Veteran rules from 4th edition minus Preferred Enemy (Tyranids) and more ammo type options. It worked well, but I always felt they lacked a depth that just didn't make them feel like Tyrannic War Veterans.

To be honest when I downloaded the dataslate (as a side note, be prepared to download apps on your PC to read the files if you lack an eReader) I expected them to be more or less the same as Sternguard with a few differences. Whilst I wasn't completely wrong, the Tyrannic War Veterans are far more different than I originally thought. Of course this is no bad thing, to be honest it's an additional unit I can use that's not in my codex so I'm not complaining in the slightest, it's actually a bonus in my eyes. I will try and point out the main highlights of the unit whilst trying to dodge any Games Workshop lawsuits as best I can.

  • Despite internet hear'say, Tyrannic War Vets are actually very slightly more expensive than Sternguard.
  • They also can only use normal bolter rounds or hellfire rounds and they have no combi-weapon or special/heavy weapon options, which is a bummer.
  • The unit has an unusual minimum squad size of 4 and a maximum squad size of 10.
  • Tyrannic War Vets also has 2 distinct special rules that Sternguard don't have. The first is, predictably Preferred Enemy (Tyranids). The second is a unique special rule called "Avenge the fallen 1st" which grants the Zealot special rule to the unit if the opponent fields any units taken from the Tyranid Codex.
  • There's also a formation that allows you to take Cassius, 1+ squads of Tyrannic War Veterans and 0-6 Stormtalons which is very nasty, allowing Stormtalons to begin the game on the board and even infiltrate. Also, any hits scored by the Stormtalons cause all Tyrannic War Veteran squads to gain the Ignore Cover special rule against that unit for the turn, but only in this formation.

I think I will have to play with the unit properly before I make my mind up here. The immediate draw for me is that I can take essentially basic Sternguard with Preferred Enemy (Tyranids) without attaching Cassius to them (although to be honest I can attach Cassius to Sternguard, gain the same perks and still have the weapon/ammo options, plus the squad would be cheaper). In addition they gain Zealot too, although I am not fussed about the Zealot rule as I doubt I would ever want the squad in combat with Tyranids and I've always found And They Shall Know No Fear to be more useful than Fearless.

The bonus for Ultramarine players have however is that Tyrannic War Vets specifically state they have the Chapter Tactics (Ultramarines) special rule, which means they can only be fielded by detachments of Space Marines with the Ultramarines chapter tactics. As much as I feel a little guilty at the fact I personally think Ultramarines already have one of the best chapter tactics and now a unique unit (much akin to the Templars Crusader Squads) I am excited for the other chapters. What new dataslates could be in store for Salamanders, Imperial Fists, Raven Guard, Iron Hands and White Scars? It's all dead exciting.

In conclusion, I love the unit. They lose out majorly to Sternguard against almost every army other than Tyranids (and even then, it's only worth it if you don't take Cassius or you take a unit on top of a Sternguard unit) but they're full of flavour and give you that little extra option against the great devourer. I look forward to testing them out!

6 comments:

  1. Iv brough several of the data slates and I'm finding the content to be very very minimal for the cost, I believe it's £6.50 for the war veterans and for a single unit that's a fifth of the cost of your codex. What are your thoughts on the content to cost ratio?

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    1. Very interesting question. As it stands now I've bought it, it's done and I'm happy to have the extra unit now I can't get the money back. However, for what is broadly speaking a less useful Sternguard squad against anything other than nids, the price is a bit much. But I love the background and the fluffyfeel they give to my army both rules and modelwise, so really it all depends on what you want out of the dataslate. Purely for rules, the price ain't worth it, but for the fluff it can be.

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  2. The reason people report it as cheaper is a unit of 5 is 115 points, but a unit of 5 Sternguard is 120, the reason for this is the Sgt is free in the Tyrannic War Vets squad, vs 10 points for the Sternguard squad. The end result is that 10 sternguard and 10 Tyrannic War Vets are the same price, 230 points.

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    1. An astute observation. The problem with it though is that the Veteran Sarg is the same statline, has no unique weapon options and can be challenged which isn't a great help. Still I suppose it's a cheaper alternative if you just wanna field 4 of the guys as opposed to 5...

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  3. Another minor advantage is that Tyrannic War Veterans may take a Land Raider of any variant as a dedicated transport. The formation is already a pricey proposition points-wise. However, if you were planning to field a Land Raider it could open up those Heavy Support slots for some cheaper big guns such as multiple Dakka Preds or Thunderfire.

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    1. Ah yes, I was meant to mention that in the post but completely forgot. They can take Drop Pods or Land Raiders as dedicated transport which does open up for more dakka if you have the points spare. Having said that I think the Rhino, Razorback and Drop Pod choice for Sternguard is, broadly speaking slightly more useful, if only 'coz they're cheaper.

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