Space Marine "Tactical" Terminators. Iconic, feared, and unfairly under-rated. I've had a real thing for Terminators ever since 1st edition Space Hulk, aesthetically they've changed only a little over the years and as far as I'm concerned a suit of Tactical Dreadnought Armour is a real stand out in the portfolio of miniature design classics GW has produced over the years. The miniatures themselves are probably my favourite things to paint, the grills at the back, the almost insectoid helmets and the piping on the legs give the model a really unique feel and look. The big plates are easy to paint, shade and highlight, it's hard to go wrong with them really but a good painter can really make a Terminator look outstanding.
So far so good but how are they on the tabletop? Well here's where opinions become mixed, basically the vocal majority say that there's better things to spend your points on in the Elites section of the Codex. They would argue that Sternguard are a more versatile and "killy" shooting unit and that if you want a tough assault unit then Assault Terminators are the way to go, and they're not wrong. To that I would say "You're absolutely right.", however Sternguard are pretty fragile in assault and to get the best out of their shooting you have to operate within counter assault range. Conversely, Assault Terminators cannot shoot at all and while on the surface they seem like a bargain points-wise, you really have to buy a Land Raider to get them into combat which more than doubles their point cost.
The other side of the arguement, which is the side I sit on, would say that in terms of bang for your buck, Tactical Terminators are a great choice for your army. In the shooting phase they have an assault 2 weapon which can fire 24" so it has an effective range of 30" because it can be fired after moving. They also carry a heavy weapon which can be fired on the move to further increase their potency in the shooting phase. They stack up pretty well in the assault phase too, a unit full of Power Fists is not going to be the top of anyone's list to charge but add to this the fact that they have a 2+/5++ and you've got a very durable and deadly hand to hand unit. I think there are very few equivalently armed and armoured units in the game that are so competitvely priced!
The humble Tactical Terminator fits in with my preferred play-style because I rely on their tactical flexibilty. I don't like to devise concrete battle-plans in advance of a game, I prefer to have a theme and then to be able to react to what my opponent is doing. In trying to do this I like to think that my lists do not appear to be typical of the Codex so that an opponent cannot quickly analyse what I'm planning to do ... because I don't know exactly what I'm going to do until I see how the first turn goes. I do plan for the mission in hand but in terms of planning for my opponent, I like to remain flexible!
Anyway, Tactical Terminators, what's your take?