Veteran Tactics - To Veteran or Not To Veteran
Astra Militarum Tactics

Veteran Tactics – To Veteran or Not To Veteran

Veterans, are they worth it?!

Approximate Reading Time: 6 minutes

After my Buffing Astra Militarum Infantry article, a discussion regarding Veterans started on the Bolter and Chainsword forum. Are Veterans and Veteran Tactics viable?

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The whole question of whether to take Veterans or not can simply come down to how you want to run your Astra Militarum army. Do you want to take some elites that are better than regular Guardsmen? Maybe they are modelled differently from your regular troops? Maybe it’s an elite force and your only infantry are Veterans? If so, great! Take Veterans!

If you’re playing to beat an arch rival or in a tournament then your thought process might be slightly different. That’s what this article is about.

Veteran Points Cost

This seems to be the main bone of contention. They’re 20 points more for a basic squad than regular Guardsmen. Which is a 50% increase.

What this means before we even get into Ballistic Skill differences and weapon options. Is that if you take two Veteran Squad you’re forfeiting three regular Guardsmen Squads.

If we are talking about objective holding units or board control. Then three units of ten models which have the troops role are always going to be better than two units of ten models that are not troops. So at their basic configuration and based solely on points Veterans are not a good choice.

Do regular Infantry beat Veterans?

Do regular Infantry beat Veterans?

Veteran Ballistic Skill

At BS3+ a Veteran is hitting 16% more often than a regular Guardsmen. Not a huge difference but it’s certainly an improvement. They still benefit from Regimental Doctrines so Cadians are re-rolling ones. If you couple that with Overlapping Fields of Fire then you’re hitting 97% of your shots. Regular Guardsmen are hitting at around 77%.

Layers of Dice

This is where the benefits of having Veterans over Guardsmen end. They still need to get through the other layers of dice in order to kill something. The Ballistic Skill increase only helps with the first layer – the to hit roll.

The other layers still remain:

  • Wound roll
  • Save
  • Extra Save

The Veterans get no buff to these other rolls. You could use the re-rolls ones to wound order to make your Veterans into Monster Hunters – sort of.

Using MathHammer, 9 Lasguns with 2 shots each hitting on 2+ with Overlapping Fields of Fire and re-rolling ones. With re-rolling ones to wound you’re doing about 0.9 wounds to a Toughness 7 enemy with a 3+ save. It’s not great and not worth the points for such a poor outcome.

Special Weapons

The same issues play out here too. Decent to hit roll but a Veteran still need to wade through the other layers of dice. Plasma and Melta can, of course, help immensely with that. Thanks to a higher Strength and higher AP value.

So this is perhaps where the real value of Veterans exists.

  • Chimera
  • Platoon Commander
  • Veterans with 3 Meltaguns

It certainly sounds promising but how does this stack up against regular Guardsmen?

Again using MathHammer, Versus a Toughness 7 target with a 3+ Save, using Overlapping Fields of Fire and re-rolling ones to wound from the Platoon Commander you’ll do 8.11 wounds. Which definitely a dead target.

Unfortunately, that’s 224 points. And with Toughness 3 and a 5+ save those Veterans will not last a single turn once out of their Chimera. Without the Chimera, it’s 131 points which is more reasonable but they can still be killed so easily. Which just isn’t good for something so expensive and that has a specific role within your force.

The same with Overcharged Plasma deals nearly 7 Wounds.

Melta Veterans would be ideal here!

Melta Veterans would be ideal here!

Veteran Heavy Weapons

You can only bring one Heavy Weapon in a Veteran Squad so the Damage output of these weapons will be limited. Also, Heavy Weapons are, er, Heavy – so moving them and using them means -1 to hit. Which if you’re coupling them with Meltaguns or Plasmaguns isn’t really great. Plasma and Melta are ideally short-range weapons.

Maybe with Sniper Rifles and a Lascannon, it becomes more viable. Sit them back and shoot high-value vehicles and Characters. But that can be easily avoided with cover for at least a turn. And that’s a turn your Veterans are wasted.

Not Troops

Veterans are not troops anymore. They are now elites which means no objective secured. It’s a minor point but it also means you can’t use them for the bigger detachments to rank up those CPs.

Their battlefield role is limited to OK shooting. Certainly not worth the points increase over Infantry Squads.

Surround objectives like this with Veterans is nearly impossible given their points cost!

Surround objectives like this with Veterans is nearly impossible given their points cost!

Tallarn Veterans

I’ve thought about this for a while now. Tallarn Veterans that Deep Strike (after turn one) with Plasma within 9″. It’s a nice fluffy addition to a Cadian force. Tallarn Veteran Raiders arriving on the flank to sure up the Cadian lines.

Using their Regiment specific Stratagem they can Deep Strike 9″ away from an enemy and within 7″ of a battlefield edge. It’s pretty specific and your enemy can do things to avoid these Raiders for sure.

Steel Legion Veterans

Thanks to Cadian Sergeant Steel for this. Another possibility is to use Steel Legion Veterans with the Dagger of Tu’Sakh. This allows the bearer, an infantry officer, and one other infantry unit to be set up within 3″ of each other, within 6″ of the battlefield edge and 9″ away from the enemy. Again, after turn one.

With Steel Legion, you can Rapid Fire from 18″ away. So your Plasma and Lasguns are doubling their shots from 18″ away. Not 12″. This puts an extra 6″ between the Veterans and the enemy.

Bring these guys on with a Platoon Commander. Use Take Aim to re-roll ones and Overcharge that Plasma. Withdraw 6″ on your next turn and repeat the shooting. The extra 6″ range gives you a little more time to shoot and not get charged.

Also, it’s pretty fluffy and tactical!

Veterans Summary

For me, and many others, it seems Veterans are just not worth it. 50% increase in points for a 16.66% increase in chance to hit? The tradeoff fails every time.

There are also no extra benefits. Shame on you Games Workshop. There are no doctrines like in 7th Edition. If those were added back in then maybe they would be worthwhile. Even allowing you to take two Regimental Doctrines could be enough to make Veterans playable.

But I fear that without specific models what’s the point in Games Workshop pushing them rules wise?