Monday, 1 November 2010

Come with me if you want to win

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?


  1. I agree that the models are fantastic - I still love my first edition Wolf Guard Terminators and I think that the current plastic WG box is possibly the best box that GW has ever released. However, on the table, I think that Assault Terminators are always a better bet for the same points. 5 Stormbolters is pretty average shooting (especially in the mech heavy world of 5th edition) so you really have to upgrade to a Cyclone Missile Launcher. 235 points for 5 guys? Ouch! In combat, they'll get cut down by a dedicated assault unit before they even get a chance to swing back. I think that's the nub of the problem, as a "tactical" unit, they're a jack of all trades and a master of none. TH/SS Termies on the other hand can fulfil a range of different rolls but they're good at them all. Yes, you can take a Raider and jam them down someone's throat. You can hold them back and use them in a counter-assault role. You can teleport them into midfield or even just keep them on foot and run them forward every turn. However you use them the enemy has to deal with them.

    Having said that, I can think of one use for Tac Terminators - 33 points gets you Terminator Armour, a Stormbolter and a Power Weapon. Now, you have a unit that's useful in combat since it's hitting at I4.

  2. On Friday in our 3250 points game I charged Grahams Chaos terminators with my Thunderlord and thunderwolves expecting to kill them before they could come at me, how wrong I was. 5 Dead dogs later I realise that I underestimated them

  3. Hmm, that feels like a bit of a statistical anomaly to me. Tac Termies can do well in combat if only because you've got 4 Power Fists but you need some luck for them to be effective.

  4. In combat, you have to pick your target wisely. The Tactical Terminators can do well against small squads (especially if there's no Power Weapons in there) For example I'd be worried about them charging one of my 5-man Grey Hunter squads. However, I'd be more worried that I'd let them get into my lines unharmed.

  5. I hear what you're saying about s4 i4 power weapons and I'd want my termies as far as possible from a squad full of them. However if we're talking about a single sergeant then I'm really not worried, at most he's going to cause 1 wound unless he's lucky and I still get a 5++ against it.

    The other thing to note is the ability of terminators to deep strike. By doing this you can deploy the unit right in your enemies lines, unscathed through no fault of your opponent. The absolute worst result for the terminator player would be for your opponent to have to focus his entire anti-tank compliment to deal with them for a turn. If any survive chances are that sometime is going to die!

  6. As I said, any dedicated assault unit will tear them a new one (Wyches in T-5 days)

    I agree that Deep Striking can be incredibly useful but you need to ensure that you have sufficient target saturation.

  7. I'm a big fan of Tactical Termies also. As you said, they're versatile and that's a worthwhile characteristic. I use mine in a support role, be it adding storm bolter shots, getting some extra shots on armor via-cyclone missile launcher, or aiding an assault.

  8. I think I know why I don't really like them. In my competitive, points efficient brain, I see 235 points and think, "ooh for another 15 points I could get 2 Rifleman Dreads"

  9. I hardly ever field them. Even when I do it's only because I painted them.... They're just too expensive for what they offer and will be taken apart by units before they've swung a power fist in anger, usually by a unit half their cost.

    I prefer to take mixed assault termies but, like you already mentioned, the delivery method is a pain. Maybe it's worth the extra points?


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