Support Squads

(Special Weapons Squads require Doctrine Point)

Excellent (Heavy Bolter Teams)
Good (Autocannon, Missile Launcher, and Lascannon Teams)
Marginal (Mortars Teams and any mixed-weapon team)
Poor (Special Weapons Squads)


With their reduced costs (compared to the previous codex), these squads have all become good buys. Well, mostly, anyway. Two of the four support squads aren't worth it -- and three of them REQUIRE you to take a full three heavy weapons. There's no option for taking fewer, even if you might have wished to, in order to save points or something.

Also notice that most support squads allow you to mix different weapons. There's really no reason to do that unless you're short on actual models. Mixing heavy weapons or special weapons in a single squad simply reduces the effectiveness of all of them collectively.

Fire Support Squads come in two varieties. Three heavy bolters are a relatively cost-effective 80 points, and not only bust hordes, but also can smack up light vehicles. Two Heavy Bolter Fire Support teams put out just a bit more dakka than a four-Heavy Bolter Marine Devastator (or Havoc) team, for about 35 more points, which isn't a bad deal for IG. And an IG screen is bigger than a Marine screen.

The three Autocannon team isn't bad points-wise, and a perfectly decent choice, but you'll occasionally notice that it ends up being overkill against lighter transports. On average, each three-AC team will immobilize or destroy an average of 1 AV10 open-topped vehicle (like a Raider or Trukk), or just under 1 full AV11 transport (like a Rhino) per turn; but there is also a good chance that you'll end up destroying or immobilizing the vehicle twice over. And for 5 points more than normal per Autocannon, that's not always a good trade-off. Still, Autocannons are fabulous transport-killers, and one of my favorite IG weapons; so instead of putting them into Fire-Support squads, I give them to all my line infantry. That spreads them out among my units, and allows me to better take advantage of a lucky shot.

Anti-Tank Squads also come in two varieties. With three lascannons, you're getting three powerful anti-vehicular weapons for the same cost as anywhere else in the Codex! This is clearly not a bad choice -- but still, I prefer to spread my lascannons out among my Command Squads. This way, I can take advantage of the occasional lucky shot (instead of having to fire all three lascannons at one target), as well as spread my precious heavy weapons around to minimize the impact of losses. If you have a lot of lascannons, however, this is a good place to put them. Just remember to screen them at the back of your lines!

Three Missile Launchers are a slightly cheaper alternative, though they still cost 5 points more heavy weapon than in other units. At first glance they seem a marginal choice, but for a number of reasons that aren't immediately obvious, they can be a good investment. First, if you know that your opponents rarely field 2+ armor saves or AV13+ vehicles, the missile launcher is much more versatile than the lascannon. Second (and this may be mostly my selection of models, but holds true fairly generally), missile launchers take up less room on the tabletop than any of the other heavy weapons, expecially lascannons! All my missile launchers are shoulder-mounted, meaning that a six-man squad occupies only as much space as six 1" bases, very compact (and easy to screen!). Lascannons, on the other hand, are like another model-and-a-half, especially if they are mounted on a separate chassis, so a 6-man squad becomes very bulky. And accordingly, harder to screen...

Excellent Doctrine Combo:
Both Fire-Support and Anti-Tank teams can take advantage of the Sharpshooter discipline. On Fire-support teams, the high rate-of-fire greatly increases the odds of rolling a "1" (and thus, you'll get the most mileage for your 10 points). The Official GW Q&A states that 'single roll' simply means that you re-roll dice only once. Even if all nine dice come up "1" on the initial roll (meaning that each model has rolled a "1" three times), you get to re-roll all of them. This is what is technically known as a Good Thing.

On Anti-Tank teams, the Sharpshooter skill gives you an average of 1.5 more hits over the course of a six turn game, for just 10 points. Considering that Anti-Tank weapons are 20/25 pts each, and each heavy weapon will average 3 hits over the same period, it's like you have another half weapon for basically half the cost, which isn't bad. BUT, the doctrine also improves the odds of your hitting a target on that one turn when it really, really, REALLY need to. And that added benefit definitely makes the Sharpshooter doctrine worthwhile. Not essential, no, but worth the extra investment.


Mortar Squads now cost 15 points less than they previously did, and they still blow. Mortars might be 16% more cost-effective than they once were, but they're not very cost-effective unless you're doing a themed army and bringing LOTS of mortars. Most things work better in huge quantities, even mortars. But in general, there are too many opponents out there with 4+ or better saves, T4 or better toughness, with Fearlessness or other immunities to pinning, or all of the above, to make this weapon work well.


Special Weapons Squads -- what a waste of points! For fewer points, you can get better leadership and more special weapons in a Command Squad. For about the same cost, you can get Hardened Veterans with better BS! For much much cheaper you can get more Sniper Rifles just taking Ratlings! You can't buy a transport for this unit (despite the fact that many of its weapons upgrades require that you get close to use them), and you can't give these fools a Vox-caster or Veteran Sergeant, so when they get close to the enemy, they'll be unpredictable and easily broken because they'll have a whopping Ld7. Finally, to take Special Weapons Squads you need to spend a Doctrine Point in order to get... up to two of these ghastly point sinks.

In fact, there are only a very few reasons to take this pathetic unit:

(a) Fluff. Maybe you loooove sniper rifles and took as many as you could, or maybe you don't want to field Ratlings (although both Ratlings and Special Weapons Squads require spending a doctrine point!), or maybe you have some other purpose in mind that makes sense aesthetically.

(b) Demo charges. Too bad you can only take one per squad (and thus a maximum of two per detachment), but if you also take two meltaguns or something in the squad, it's a marginally workable unit. Maybe. If you like demo charges. A lot.

(c) Melta bombs. But with only a 6" move, you're not likely to use them. Take Command Squads with Advisors and/or Veterans instead -- that's a unit that can take multiple melta-bombs AND a transport.

(d) They don't take up a slot in the force organization chart -- the 0-2 you can take are part of your Command Platoon.

Also,Kyoto Sensei writes: There are 3 doctrines that turn the Special Weapons team into a monster. The first is mech infantry (demo charge in a chimera!). The next is jungle fighters or light infantry (Jungle fighters more I think, just run freely through the woods and hit the enemy). The last is drop troops (bomb throwing fun!).

Methinks Kyoto overexaggerates just a bit the utility of this unit -- but if you love the Demo charges, you can definitely find ways to make them more effective than they usually are.

Created by: system. Last Modification: Sunday 25 of January, 2009 11:50:12 AM EST by ZiggyQubert.

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