Siege Assault Vanguard

Ever since I have read IA Badab War series (that is volumes nine and ten) I have wanted to assemble a Space Marine Siege Assault Vanguard force. Finally with recent Forgeworld Update to said Army List (taking account of the new Codex) I have decided to give it a try (especially as I have few models that are appropriate for this kind of army list).

While detailed fluff regarding such detachments is contained in Badab War series, essentials are easy. SM-SAV is not a type of chapter but rather a sanctioned rite of war detailed in sacred scriptures of Codex Astartes. When strategic situation calls to take an enemy stronghold, Space Marine Chapter Master will select assets which – as dictated by tradition and experience of generations of Astartes – are most suitable. Most suitable to lay siege, and than to breach and assault fortified enemy position.

Siege Assault Vanguards are typically led by Siege Master – captain who is most proficient in siege warfare, and virtually always include lot of heavy artillery and most armoured assault units (terminator and centurion squads). As such SAVs are formed by all codex-adherent Space Marine chapters, but some of them (such as Imperial Fists and Iron Hands) are much more willing to take this rite of war (just like White Scars prefer rapid encirclement and Raven Guard are masters of ambushes).


In IA vol. 10 there is a separate army list recently updated by FW and freely distributed in PDF format (so you can field your SAV even without purchasing IA vol. 10). Consider it to be a codex supplement, as it frequently references Codex itself, but it is significantly altered. You can field SAV using any chapter tactics you like (including Codex ones and FW ones) or even combine SAV armylist with one of digital clan/company supplements (although I would suggest avoiding it as it brings too much complexity to deal with for you and your opponent). Main alterations of Codex army list are:

  • Additional HQ choice: Siege Master, at 115pts he has captain statline but wears Artficer Armour, has Signum and provides one of nifty buffs to one of your non-flyer units (furious charge/Interceptor/Tank Hunters or some other special rule)
  • All generic HQ choices are available, but none of them can take Space Marine Bike
  • No droppods, landspeeders or bikes/attack bikes for you. Elimination of one of most broken units (that is bike squadron) may seem painful, but it is price we pay for hard-hitting heavily-armoured marines.
  • Additional and harder troops choices, such as assault centurions or Dreadnoughts (although they are _not_ scoring), and your averge tactical marines become much tougher to kill with AP4 or worse weaponry if you purchase Siege Mantlets upgrade (large shields that give you rerollable armour save).
  • Your primary detachment has only 2 Fast Attack slots, but has 4 heavy support slots (and one HS choice is compulsory), so that you can field even moar tanks.
  • Devastator-centurions and mortis-contemptors are moved to Elites slot, while Stormravens and Stormeagles are now Fast Attacks, so that you can field even moar tanks.
  • Most tanks and self-propelled artillery pieces (Predators, Vindicators, Whirlwinds, Hunters) come in squadrons of 1-3, so that you can field even moar tanks.
  • Siege Objective is the most evil (against you) but fluffy rule. It is basically an objective placed by enemy in his deployment zone. Regardless of victory points, you CAN’T win without controlling it.

It is 40k played on hard mode but very interesting due to different choice of units and completely different playstyle compared to one dictated by recent Codex. Please let me know if you are interested in more posts about Siege Assault Vanguard. If you are, I am about to write detailed analysis of armylist and some tactical/gameplay tips about this army.

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