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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I think few would dispute that the game revolves currently a great deal around getting close and personal and duking things out in a hail of gore (admittedly, after cracking the enemy out of their ubiquitous transports).

So I thought an overview of each faction's assault units could be fun as well as informative. I readily invite you to join me in this little project!

Starting with...


Chaos Marines

-Khorne Berserkers: Extra WS, more attacks, frag grenades, handy Skull Champion with many PF or strong and fast PW attacks, these guys have a very neat thing going. Furious Charge and the mark of Khorne round things out nicely. The only real downsides are the lack of a jump pack option or means of more dynamic insertion.
Grade: 9/10

-Marked Chaos Marines: Not specialists, but can do in a pinch. Mark of slaanesh is cheap and can help make a difference against non-specialists. Same goes for Khorne, but then things become pricier. They improve if you get Fabius Bile and roll decently, effectively letting you get conterfeit Khorne Berserkers a bit cheaper (except not really, given the cost of the HQ).
Grade: 5/10

-Raptors: Astoundingly cool models, and not too shabby, though what they really excel at, ironically, is vehicle hunting with melta weaponry. The question is: are they killy enough to engage other melee troops and win? The answer is: not consistently. Even with a mark of Khorne or Slaanesh, they will be chopped by nobs and Banshees and run away with shameful frequency.
Grade: 6/10

-Possessed Marines: So much potential, such lame results. S5 is nice, but the utter lack of ranged weaponry or a PF means they have to rely on others to pop transports, deal with walkers or tough MCs. They also lack grenades, so they will get mushed if you use them to try and knock a decent unit out of cover. The random ability really doesn't help, since there's a decent odd it won't fit with your army's overall strategy. They should cost some 6-7 points less, given all of the above.
Grade: 4/10

Tau Empire

-Kroot Carnivores: Not a lot of options here, hmm? Kroot are passable. They have decent power, can be durable if you have forests on the board, and with the help of hounds can achieve a decent volume of fast attacks. The complete lack of power weapons and the low toughness, along with negligible armor, however, means that they will lose any fight that isn't stacked massively in their favor. Then again, they are cheap, and their main purpose is to buy the shooters a bit more time. The Shaper and its options are one the least funny jokes ever put in a codex, though.
Grade: 6/10
 

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Berzerkers fail hard against dedicated assault units, particularly those with power weapons and FNP. They murder basic infantry, but so do a lot of things.

It's difficult to make accurate comparisons across armies because different units function in unique ways based on how the army and particular build players.

For SM, TH/SS Termies are hands down the best assault unit out there. They can take pretty much anything on the chin and dish out ridiculous amounts of pain for relatively cheap. However, they can't be thrown into any army. Biker command squads are also ludicrously killy, tough and expensive, but really function best in a Biker army.

For Orks, Nobs are your go to CC unit. Boyz kill infantry and not much else considering how fragile they are individually and how easy it is to send them packing with dedicated assault units and no retreat.
 

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True, it's rather difficult to compare these things, especially on armywide scale, but it's pretty handy having an overview of the different things. If for nothing else, just so people know what they can expect.

Sephyr did forget to mention a vey good CSM assault unit:
Noisemarines: Due to their initiative of 5 and fearless status these dudes can reliably give other marines a good whack on the side of the head. The thing that makes them tick as an awesome assault unit, however, is the Doom Siren. Fire a strength 5 ap3 flamer into the unit your about to assault will far too often make it a fight you'll win hands down. Just don't assault 2+ save dudes.

Now, on to an army I know a little better.
Dark Eldar

Whyches: Like it or not, most DE armies will field a unit or 2 of these and it's with good cause they are considered one of the better CC unit's in 40k.
Looking at their stats they seem rather meek. WS 4, S and T of 3, only 1 attack and with a 6+ save. Statwise they are pathetic, even with their 2 CC weapons. But the truth is you'd be hard pressed to find something your killy assault units would find more annoying to face.
Their strength lies in the bucketload of special rules they utilize. Such as combat drugs. The boon is pretty random, but seldom useless. Wether they have 12" assault, ASF, +1 WS, +1 S, rerolls to hit or +1 attack it's always welcomed.
The big deal about them however is their whych weapons (and their Initiative 6!).
Negating your bonus for having 2 CC weapons and making you strike with only half your WS is really annoying. And their 4++ save in H2H makes your fancy powerweapons pretty weak and overcosted.
Furthermore you can expect the Succubus to wield an Agoniser, meaning that even Trygons can lose to these mean bitches as she will always wound on 4's.
Fast and virtually immune to fancy assault specialists they are very good for their cost.
They are however kinda average against most other units as a 4++ save isn't very impressive against foes only sporting normal CC weapons.
And due to their lack of killiness and overall specialisation they aren't really prime for taking on large squads 1vs1. They rely on their special abilities so if you can mitigate that they aren't going to last very long.

Edit- Continuing from where I left off with the Dark Eldar.

Reaver Jetbikes The RJB's are another very useful DE assault unit although for a very different reason than the Whyches.
And lets be honest. RJB are even less killy than Whyches and they are also slower! Whyches can move 12" in a raider, disembark 2", fleet 1-6" and then assault either 6 or 12 depending on drugs. RJB can move 12 and assault 6. That's it. Sure, they are considerably tougher with increased toughness and a 3+ cover when the turboboost but for twice the cost you really expect more. The only flashy special rule they keep from the Whyches are the drugs, which can't give them the 12 inch charge, only the fearless status instead. Basically it's only the succubus who packs a punch as he'll always wield a Tormenter helm and a Punisher when going to H2H.

But the cost is just too much for these guys so why are they such an attractive choice?
Because of this guy:
Archon
-RJB
-Shadowfield
-Combat Drugs
-Punisher
-Tormenter Helm
-Animus Vitae

This guy is primarily the reason why you'd ever choose a squad of RJB's for assault. Because this dude can on the charge deliver 6, Strength 7, WS 7, rerollable power weapon attacks! And with a 2++ save to boot there's not alot of things capable of standing in his way. Hell, Hive Tyrants look at him with envious eyes because for just under 200 points he'll lacerate pretty much anything that gets within 18 inches of him.
That's right. RJBs are only really cool because they provide a meatshield for the doped up 40k version of Chuck Norris. And well, the succubus' 4, strength 5 PW attacks aren't too shabby either ;)
 

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If points cost is not a worry then I say a 5-8 man squad of chaos terminator champions with dual lightning claws and the mark of khorne pack a massive CC punch. Load them in a land raider (squad size permitting) or deep strike them and have some fun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Berzerkers fail hard against dedicated assault units, particularly those with power weapons and FNP. They murder basic infantry, but so do a lot of things.
I have seen Zerkers maul Nobs, Banshees, Scorpions SS/TH termies far more often than the opposite. It might boil down to who gets the charge, but the extra S, I and the high volume of attacks does make a difference. Agreed, FNP lessens their efficiency a lot, but that holds true for most things, and a skull champion will have more and better power attacks to counter it than most other unit 'sargeants'.

And indeed, I forgot to add Noise Marines and LC termies! entirely my bad.
 

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I have seen Zerkers maul Nobs, Banshees, Scorpions SS/TH termies far more often than the opposite. It might boil down to who gets the charge, but the extra S, I and the high volume of attacks does make a difference. Agreed, FNP lessens their efficiency a lot, but that holds true for most things, and a skull champion will have more and better power attacks to counter it than most other unit 'sargeants'.

And indeed, I forgot to add Noise Marines and LC termies! entirely my bad.

I gotta say my Berserker's usually hit damn hard and will chew up most units, I have even wiped out a unit of 5 Termies with a 8 man unit of Berserker's charging out of a landraider on more then a few occasions.

The last codex made the best assault troops ever, Khorne terminators but the new version are cheaper and not that much worse off so you can always use more of them.

You can be annoyed and face problems from other troops but in the end the good old Berserker's just seem to stay alive and keep on killing.
 

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I really like my 7 man khorne terminator squad with 4 PF's champions, and two basic PW termies backed up by a lightning claw termie. For extra fun I slap 2 combi melta's in the squad so they can bust transports or heavy tanks when they come down. Seriously these guys have killed everything from C'tan to nob squads, I just have to remember to block fire lanes with expendable rhino's when they come down, then lash the night away.
 

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Archon:
-Punisher
-Combat Drugs
-Reaver Jetbike
-Plasma Grenades
-Shadow Field
-Tormentor Helm

172pt assault monster, throw him in a reaver Jetbike squad and you have a 400pt mega death unit.
 

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Guess I'll add my tuppence....

Tyranids:
Hormagaunts Cheap, fast, fragile, and the toxin sac upgrade is practically mandatory. Comparitively low WS but they can reroll 1s to hit, I5 means they will strike before most MEQs, which is good because they will die when the return slaps come, best used in large broods to maximise damage on a charge and reduce the wounds taken due to fearlessness. Ideal for attacking CC elites none of the other nids fancy, also the toxin sacs mean they can take down MCs with ease. Sadly no grenades and very little antitank abilities aside from against AV10 when equiped with adreal glands, which isnt really worth it.

Genestealers Outflank and fleet make them very good at getting close to the enemy and scaring him shitless. Toxin sacs bring the cost to 17 per model, meaning they will reroll to wound against most things, which helps rending no end. Sadly, only a 5+ save so bolter fire will cause casualties en route. Ridiculously high WS and I (6!!). Taking a broodlord will add some extra whuppass and may freeze an enemy character or champion. They aren't bad against light-medium tanks thanks to rending, and the extra strength on the broodlord helps too. Once again no grenades, so :( .

Warriors The cool dudes, expensive, very vunerable to large S8 templates but can lay it down in CC. As usuall, toxin sacs are a no-brainer if you want them fighting hand-to-hand. May take rending claws...but don't, with semi-force weapons only an extra 10 points per model, boneswords are awesome. WS5 and 3 attacks is cool, you may opt to drop your gun for talons to make you slightly better in CC, personally I'd keep it, 3 S4 shots can make a fair difference over a couple of turns leading up to a scrap. If you're feeling crazy, 5 more points will buy you a lash whip, you lose the insta-death on a 3d6 Ld test effect, but drop the enemies' I to 1, useless aganst TH/SS termies, but those guys should be tackled by the hormagaunts I covered earlier. No good against tanks with AV>10 and again no grenades.
 

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Don't forget the Chaos 10K sons. One of the best tarpit units in the game vs some very good CC units. Fearless with a 4++ inv save and the sorcerer with a power weapon. Sure, they don't kill much, but they can keep terminators stuck for a turn or two while you set up a kill zone or counter charge. Very situational.

I second the notion of noise marines being one of the best as long as they all have sonic blasters and a doom siren.
 

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Assault is the last place you want your 1000 sons to be. 1 base attack, no CC weapon, always strike last, high pts cost, low model count and a single PW, even with warptime, is not designed for assault, unless your assaulting a cross-eyed, leprosy riddled hobbit. Even with the 4++ save I loath to let my 1k sons get into CC unless I absolutely have to hold up that unit of megadeath, and even then it's better to just move in their way and rapid fire them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the tyranid piece, KarlFranz.

Let's chip in, people! Anyone feel like adding Eldar or some SM chapters?
 

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people seem to forget that the 1k sorceror has a force weapon not a power weapon, which can make a difference, combine that with warp time can be quite gd, yes there rubbish in close combat but if you can get them to engage a troublesome close combat unit such as th/ss termies you can tie them up for a good 2-3 turns depending on the rolls and trust me they can stand there ground in combat especially with a 4+ invunerable save, i managed to tie up a 5 man squad of marines w/power weapon and 2 dreads for 3 turns

but zerkers are perhaps one of the best dedicated cc units in the game specially if you get the charge,
 

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Eldar

Harlequins: It wasn't until I did some theorycrafting that I discovered how stupid these guys actually are. A squad of 10 with Harlequin's Kisses will kill any unit in the game that isn't a vehicle, provided they charge. With 4 WS5 S4 I7 Rending hits per model, these guys seriously bring the pain to anything, be it 30 Boyz or a Trygon. With Farseer support they become literally unstoppable against anything that isn't 10 TH/SS termies. The downside is that they are fragile as hell, with T3 and a 5++ save only, can't take a dedicated transport, and are generally left standing around like muppets after they assault, because they annihilated whatever they attacked in one round of combat. At 270pts for a full unit, you definitely pay through the nose for them, but if your opponent has never seen them in action before then they can easily make that back.

Banshees:
The cheap and cheerful go-to assault unit for Eldar. 16 points per model and they all have power weapons? If you insist... The best game I had recently was charging a BA player's Death Company worth ~300pts with these and leaving only the Chaplain alive. Good times against Vanilla Terminators (in case anyone uses them) and anything with FNP, but struggles badly against anything above T4, even with Doom. And you do want Doom, because 5s to wound vs Marines doesn't look so bad when you realise that a rerolled 5+ is slightly better than needing a 4+.

Striking Scorpions:
The Eldar Assault Marine. Does exactly the same job for cheaper, but is slower (they don't even have Fleet). Just like the Assault marine, good against basic infantry like Orks, but suffer against any kind of Specialist. Generally outperformed by Banshees in most situations.

Storm Guardians:
An overlooked and under-rated unit, I would take these over Defenders any day. 120 odd points buys you 2 Flamers, a Heavy Flamer, and 30+ Attacks on the charge including a Warlock who can happily spank Dreadnaughts all day long with his S9 Witch Blade. Don't expect them to beat anyone in a fair fight, but they excel at clearing lightly held objectives (think Gaunts, or a couple of Guard squads) and swinging a close assault in your favour. Also a scoring unit (if they survive...).

Shining Spears:
In the next codex, they will get shuriken pistols. We hope. Until then, don't bother.

Hope that helps!
 

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Space Wolves:
Thunderwolf Cavalry can dish out ridiculous punishment, but it doesnt come cheap. with the possibility of a 24" total movement per game turn, they will outrun a tank and give 1 a storm shield and you have a very survivable unit. they have boosted toughness, strength and wounds as well as the rending ability in close combat, they will destroy almost all other enemy infantry and will not suffer too much from attacks back.

Wolf Guard: with 2 base attacks and counter attack, you will pretty much be guaranteed 3 attacks in combat, and if you tool them out with power weapons or wolf claws, they will have an abundance of armour ignoring attacks. they can get dirt cheap terminator armour and with some power weapons or wolf claws, not only will they deal out big punishment, usually striking simultaneously with other regular infantry, they will also be hard as nails. put 7 of them in a crusader with a termie wolf lord with wolf claws and saga of the warrior born and watch them devour almost anything in combat
 

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Blood Angels Have some very good units overall but basically any unit in that army can be made pretty effective in CC either with the red thirst roll or by having a sangunary priest nearby.

Mainly though falls under
Assault terminators - either have all TH/SS for reasons above or a mix to make the most out of the almost always present priest's furious charge boost on claws.


Honour Guard - Better being made as an all melta unit but can still be set up oretty well in CC and with a "free" Sanguinary priest they're pretty good. Ability to carry a banner and giving themselves an extra attack is good too.

Special Characters - Kinda feel they need their own entry here as the Sanguinor, Mephiston, Astorath, Seth and Dante can all pretty much wipe entire units out on their own and all have serious power boosts that either weaken the enemy or buff their own units.

Sanguinary guard - basically fast moving slightly weaker terminators but still very good. The death masks and banners added with a sanguinary priest can make them almost unstoppable.

DC - Very very powerful if you invest a lot of points for them, the ability to take over 10 men and all special weapons is very tempting but the main problem then is that they're one giant blast target the entire game then. Used in small squads( >7 IMO) with a sprinling of upgrades they are savage though.

Furiouso Dreads - WS6 AV13 what's not to like? blood talons that can continue to bring the hurt to hordes well over their normal amount of attacks. Plus str6/7 is great aginst transports too.

DC Dread - Same level as Furiouso just in different ways. insteadof the higher AV and WS it has more attacks and ignore shaken and stunned. FC built in is always good too :)

RAS - Good strong unit nowadays especialy as they can take Meltas and flamers now, as well as the discount on transports. can have a nice small unit with a cheap mini baal pred pretty easily too. IF you're making them assault though have them near a priest. they become so much better with FC and FNP, able to challenge Elite CC units in other armies even.

Vanguard veterans - Very good if you have a need for as many special CC weapons in a squad as possible. Main reason I'd take them would be for heroic intervention but costs for a unit like that would noly be good in games 2k and above. Can find much more cost efficient things IMO.

Bikes - I have used bikes as an assault unit recently, with 2 meltaguns and a powerfist, FC and FNP from a nearby priest they can dish out a fair amount of hurt and then take a hell of a lot back with T5 and FNP.
 

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CHAOS DAEMONS

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Chaos Daemons are the best close combat army in 40k. Period.

Admittedly, the Blood Angels and Space Wolves both have better troops, but the non-troops of the Daemons eat everyone else for breakfast (the trick is surviving the shooting phases until you get there)


Keeper of Secrets

Dirt cheap for what he does, and 'what he does' is unleash 7 MC attacks with WS 8, I 10, S6, assault grenades, and optional hit and run. He also fleets and has a 12in charge range. He can't shoot, but why would he need to? His only weakness is he isn't really strong enough to inflict instant death on most opponents.


Bloodthirster

A 'pimped out' more expensive version of a Daemon Prince, the Bloodthirster is incredibly strong, and thanks to furious charge, can inflict instant death against MEQ during the turn he charges. He can also fly and has a 3+ armor save, but with no 'hit and run' and less attacks than the Keeper of Secrets, he's a little easier to trap in close combat tarpits.


Great Unclean one

Not very good at all. Yeah he's very tough, with T6, 5 wounds, and feel no pain, but he'll fall to high strength shooting, and he's incredibly slow to boot.


Skarbrand, Skulltaker, Herald of Khorne, Ku'gath, Herald of Slaanesh, Screamers of Tzeentch, and Furies

Thought I'd do all these together, as they all have the same problem: they're too expensive for what they do. The herald of Slaanesh is possibly useful in a small game, and the Screamers might do well in Apocalypse, but I wouldn't touch any of the other units.


Plague Bearers and Nurglings

Useful objective grabbers (in the PB case) and tarpits to trap your opponent's units with, but don't expect them to get many kills unless you're playing an Epidemus list.


Bloodletters and Daemonettes

They can occasionally be useful, but in most cases they'll get shot to death before they reach close combat. Unless you've maxed everything else out in your army, there are probably better units to take then these.


Fiends of Slaanesh

One of the best close combat units in all of 40k. For only 30 points each you get S5 T4 I5 speed daemons that have beast/cavalry movement, assault grenades, hit and run, rending, and 6 attacks EACH on the charge. They're amazing, and their only weaknesses are their mediocre 5+ invulnerable save, their difficulty with I6+ close combat units (like genestealers), and the fact that their models are expensive and hideous (not in a good way). Just keep them in cover, and use Chaos Spawn models, and you should be fine.


Bloodcrushers

These mini-MCs rival fiends for close combat power. Bloodcrushers are S6 on the charge, T5, ignore armor saves, have a 3+ armor save/5+ invulnerable save, and only cost 40 points each. Their only weaknesses are their large size (making deep striking large squads difficult), their mediocre 6in movement, and their expensive (albeit awesome) pewter models. I hear that plastic ones are to come though.


Fleshhounds of Khorne and Seekers of Slaanesh

Surprisingly efficient killers, capable of dealing with both infantry and vehicles that have a back armor of 10. The fleshhound's only weakness is a lack of assault grenades, and the seeker's only weakness is their relatively low strength and toughness (rending helps them kill vehicles though). With both units, be sure to watch out for enemy walkers.


Daemon Princes

Daemon Princes are very effective, especially if they have ironhide, wings, mark of nurgle, and cloud of flies. They'll trash just about anything, considering that they'll be hitting on 3's, wounding on 2's, ignoring all armor saves, and getting a bonus damage die against vehicles. All the Daemon Princes are effective, but Nurgle Princes are easily the most devastating in close combat.


Soul Grinder

Some people like using them for close combat, but I feel Daemon Princes are better suited for this, considering that you'd have to get the soul grinder within melta range in order to assault.
 

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To add a bit of info regarding Space Marines, I've had success with using SM tactical squads to whittle down enemy units and then pouncing on survivors with regular old assault marines, often coupled with a Chaplain where possible. Of course this isn't the most efficient means of taking care of your enemy when objectives are at steak, but as a poor man it works wonders in friendly annihilation games.
 

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tacticals are only decent in an assault when faced against completely non CC based units, such as devastator squads or tau. They are good however to add a few extra attacks in CC to bump up your dedicated assault units.
 

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To add a bit of info regarding Space Marines, I've had success with using SM tactical squads to whittle down enemy units and then pouncing on survivors with regular old assault marines, often coupled with a Chaplain where possible. Of course this isn't the most efficient means of taking care of your enemy when objectives are at steak, but as a poor man it works wonders in friendly annihilation games.
I was hoping there would be some more SM input, because I tried a similar thing and am pretty disappointed with my assault squads. With a chaplain it's 300 points and change, and with that.... I might as well be getting the TH/SS megadeath units everyone loves.

Any suggestions as to how best to use assault squads, or possible vanilla alternatives? Sick of mine just bouncing off...
 
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