Yes, this is another one of those threads, where I look at a unit that is often overlooked in the DA codex, and think: why not?
- It takes up no FOC slots, so it is merely an addition to your army, not getting in the way of Elites or Heavy Support. However, they should only be taken if you feel they have a designed role in your army, as they are quite a specialist unit.
- It has better stats overall than the Vanilla equivalent. It has higher WS, W, and A, meaning not only is it more survivable, but also better equipped to fight its designated role, able to hold its own in combat unlike the weaker vanilla version.
- It has access to better and cheaper servitors, meaning it can have a cheap retinue with power fist equivalent attacks, providing a meaty counter assault or support unit against armies with a higher initiative than the standard !4 e.g. tyranids or eldar.
- The servitors have access to cheaper heavy weapons, and can shoot and fight better anyway, making them more useful as a stand in devvie or termie unit.
- There is not threat of mindlock on the servitors, although the techmarine cannot leave the unit anyway, it prevents them from suffering too badly if he is killed.
- The unit can take a transport, meaning another rhino, drop pod or razorback for the army, even if the techmarine squad itself does not need it. Alternatively, the rhino can be used for drive-by shootings with a couple of multimelta servitors with a techmarine.
- The techmarine is not an IC, and so cannot bolster other units, or leave his servitors, limiting the roles he can play when opposed to the vanilla version
- The more expensive price tag as a basic unit and for servitors means that it suffers when compared to other units in the codex, though this can be made up for by correct use and armament.
- Requires a HS or E vehicle to be unlocked, meaning that often your list will have to have a significant mech element to it, as single vehicles are easily isolated and destroyed.
Loadouts & tactics:
1. Vehicle support unit: Equip the techmarine with a servo-harness, and depending on points, some servo-armed servitors. Camp it behind your dedicated vehicle (e.g. a pred or whirlie) and use them to repair whatever damage comes its way. The servitors can also be used as a meat shield, though a relatively expensive one. Furthermore, they can be used as a counter unit to deal with any CC threats coming the way of the vehicle, to tie down of even destroy the pesky tank hunters
2. Devvie substitute unit: Grab some servitors with your desired heavy weapon (heavy bolters and plasma cannons work better here) and camp them, maybe with a razor to give some fire support, with the servitors' excellent BS4.
3. Power fist equivalent spam: Max out on servitors and a servo-harness, then jump in a rhino and go kill some shit! Works best as a support assault unit, e.g. for targeting wraithlords etc. or helping out a DW CC assault. Watch out for dedicated CC units or hordes though, as they'll make a mess of them.
4. Melta-death unit: Grab some multimelta armed servitors and stick them in a rhino or drop pod. Then go hunt some high value vehicles like land raiders or fire prisms, for a relatively cheap cost.
5. Multi-purpose unit: Take a mix of CC and ranged servitors, maybe with a transport, and simply use them to fill the desired role in a take all comers army. However, this is not as effective as other roles as it has not distinct purpose, meaning maybe the points are better spent elsewhere.
Situations to avoid:
- At ALL COSTS avoid combat with CC dedicated units such as termies, bezerkers, monstrous creatures, etc. They will just get mown down, and are too expensive to be used as a tarpit (and a poor one at that).
- Avoid using them against ranged spam lists such as Leafblower Guard or Long Fang spam as they aren't that durable with the lower toughness and armour save, meaning they'll just get outgunned.
My last point is only take them if you know exactly how you can use them and if they make their points up. They are a very tactical unit, and require a great deal of thought in their deployment or turn to turn use.
Hope this helps