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Fighting Tiger Tactics (pg 4)
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Elite Units (Revised 04/2009)
When I'm putting together an army for a game, I usually pick Elite units last. It's not that I don't like them, it's just that I follow the axiom of don't sweat the big guns, sweat the little guys. Many players put all their eggs in one basket and depend on their Elite units to accomplish their mission: they are often mortified to find their small, expensive Elite units drawing all kinds of unwanted attention from the enemy. I depend on one or more of my larger, less expensive units to carry out the mission while my Elites draw attention away from them. When a Terminator Squad teleports down near their main force, most gamers can't help but ignore a Tactical Squad (which is moving to secure the objective) and go after the Termies.

Tigers of Indra: Tactical Terminators
I call my regular Terminators, "Tactical Terminators" because, to me, they seem like smaller, more heavily-armed and -armored Tactical Squads. After all, Tactical Squads have bolters: Terminator Squads have storm bolters. A 10-man Tactical Squad can have a special weapon and a heavy weapon: a 10-man Terminator Squad can have two heavy weapons. Can a Tactical Squad ever match the firepower of a Devastator Squad or the hand-to-hand ability of an Assault Squad? No--and neither can a Terminator Squad. That's an important thing to remember.

Here's what I take--and why:
In my army, I have two “Tactical Terminator” squads. The first is 240 points and is equipped as follows:

  • Terminator Sergeant w/ storm bolter and power sword;
  • Two Terminators w/ storm bolters and chainfists;
  • One Terminator w/ storm bolter and power fist;
  • One Terminator w/ assault cannon and power fist.
The second squad is 295 points: 
  • Terminator Sergeant w/ storm bolter and power sword;
  • Two Terminators w/ storm bolters and chainfists;
  • Three Terminators w/ storm bolters and power fists;
  • One Terminator w/ w/ heavy flamer and power fist.
I took a very casual attitude when equipping these squads. Under the current rules, infantry attempting to assault vehicles do so against the vehicle’s Rear armor (usually AV 10), so there really that much incentive to upgrade power fists to chainfists. But because some of my models have them, I took the chainfists anyway rather than go to the trouble of stripping them off and replacing them. I still like assault cannons, despite the “nerf” they’ve received from the 4th Edition rules, so I kept a cannon in one squad. Because I like flame weapons, I put a heavy flamer in the other squad.

The first squad is what I consider a “basic” Terminator squad, nothing too flashy, and relatively inexpensive. If I need to get them somewhere in a hurry, I’ll teleport them in. The second squad is a bit larger and, with its heavy flamer, clearly designed for close-in fighting. If I want to, I can assign my Land Raider Crusader as this squad’s dedicated transport and attach Chaplain Anhurada Chawla to them. I’m betting that none of my opponents wants to see eight Fearless Terminators, all of them re-rolling failed “to hit” rolls on the charge, come rushing out the front of an LRC. But that’s what they may very well get.

Here's what I don't take--and why:
I could take up to 10 Terminators in each unit, but the astronomical point cost keeps me from doing so. I just can’t imagine saying to myself, “I have NO idea how I’m going to spend these last 400 some-odd points.” Yeah, it would be nice to have two heavy weapons in each squad, like I used to under the previous versions of the SM codex. No, it’s not worth the hassle of buying, building, and painting more miniatures—and then trying to figure out when I’d ever use them.

Tigers of Indra: Assault Terminators
Man, you just have not lived until you tear into some hapless enemy unit with a Terminator Assault Squad. It is truly a beautiful thing, but doing it is not easy or cheap. Unless the enemy is foolish enough to come to you, it is a big hassle to get your Assault Terminators into close combat without being shot apart by heavy weaponry or jumped by power weapon-wielding freaks. Aside from marching up the field (which will take forever and expose you to enemy fire), there are two ways of getting your Assault Terminators into the melee: Deep Strike and Land Raider.

First the hard way. I'm not a big fan of Deep Strike, which allows you to shoot but not assault on the same turn as you arrive. So, unless my Terminators have deviated badly, there they are standing around for a turn, doing nothing, well within shooting/assault range of the enemy. Remember, no Space Marine is expendable: I'm not going to teleport my Assault Terminators into certain death. If I am going to Deep Strike them, I teleport them near (but not TOO near) the enemy, behind some cover. Then the Terminators can move and assault the next turn.

Now the expensive way (which is the way I prefer). I load the Terminators in a Land Raider and move 12" toward the enemy, not stopping to shoot, move behind cover, whatever. I'm relying on the Land Raider's Armor Value of 14 all around to get my Terminators into action. Once the Tigers hop out and begin carving through the enemy, the Land Raider can hang around, firing at counterattacking units. If the Terminators need to, they can consolidate back into the Land Raider and drive off in search of new victims.

Emerging from the front of a Land Raider, Fighting Tiger Assault Terminators face off against Eldar Guardians and Wraithguard

Here's what I take--and why:
I take a five-strong squad of a Terminator Sergeant and four Terminators with lightning claws (200 points). Why only lightning claws—wouldn’t it be prudent to have a thunder hammer or two so this unit could do more than scratch the paint off a tank? It definitely would, but can you think of a more appropriate weapon than 'claws for Tigers? I can’t, either: friends, this unit is all about style. As I alluded to before, if I want to, I can assign a Land Raider to this squad as a dedicated transport; I can also have Raja Khandar Madu, in her Terminator armor, join them. If I really want to be ill and spend a LOT of points, I can load the Redhead and the Assault Termies in a LR, put Chaplain Anhurada and the 7-strong Termie Squad in a LRC, and drive all of them into the enemy. Ouch!

Here's what I don't take--and why:
As with the “Tactical Terminators,” I could take more dudes (up to 10) in this unit, but when would I have the spare points? The bigger concern with larger-sized squads is not points but transportation: Land Raiders and LR Crusaders are the only vehicles that can carry Termies, and they only hold six and eight, respectively, meaning I'd have to rely on Deep Strike to get my 10 Assault Terminators into the enemy. No thanks.

Tigers of Indra: Sternguard Veterans
The 4th Edition version of Codex: Space Marines had a trait system that allowed one to pick particular attributes for one’s army. One of those attributes was called “Cleanse and Purify,” and it let you swap out heavy weapons in Tactical Squads for special weapons like plasma guns, flamers, and melta guns. That is, you could have Tac Squads with two special weapons. Cool, huh?

I liked and used “Cleanse and Purify,” but the latest version of the SM codex did away with that option. Furthermore, it stated that only 10-man squads could take special weapons: not 6-man squads, not 8-man squads—10-man squads only. As a result, I was left with a lot of extra special weapon troopers.

Fortunately, Sternguard Veteran units can have two special weapons in each, so I built quite a few squads using special weapon guys as well as leftover Sergeants and bolter-dudes from my re-organized Tactical Squads.

Here’s what I take—and why:
Most of the squads consist of the minimum five guys so that I could use all my special weapon dudes (I told you I had a lot). These squads are:

  • Sergeant w/ power weapon, combi-flamer; two Vets w/ bolters; two Vets w/ flamers (155 points)
  • Sergeant w/ lightning claw, combi-flamer; two Vets w/ storm bolters; two Vets w/ flamers (165 points)
  • Sergeant w/ lightning claw, combi-flamer; two Vets w/ storm bolters; two Vets w/ flamers (165 points)* 
  • Sergeant w/ combi-melta; two Vets w/ bolters; two Vets w/ flamers (140 points)
  • Sergeant w/ power weapon, plasma pistol; five Vets w/ bolters; two Vets w/ melta guns (240 points)
*That’s not a “cut-and-paste” error: I really do have two of these squads.

Can you tell I really like flamers? Well, I do. The flamer has a very short range—but you don’t need to roll “to hit” with it; it can hit a LOT of targets (especially if they’re all fusterclucked together); it DESTROYS low Toughness, lightly-armored foes like Eldar, Tau, and Guardsmen; and it does better than you might think against hardier foes like Chaos Marines and Necrons. If you’re not taking flamers against Nids and Orks, you are asking for a beatdown.

What I don’t take—and why:
As I mentioned, each of these squads is made from odds and ends of Tactical Squads that I had to reorganize when the new book came out, so they’re not very large. With their special issue ammunition, Sternguard with just plain old bolters are awesome, but if I were to go out and buy more boltgun-guys, I might as well just build more Tac Squads rather than beef up Sternguard. 

Yes, you in the back, with your hand held way up in the air. Yeah, you: the one trying to get my attention by doing his best Arnold Horshack impression. What’s that you say? Yes, I know I could take a Fighting-Tiger version of Pedro Kantor and then all my little Sternguard Squads could be scoring units. Weren’t you listening when I said earlier that taking special characters in armies they don’t belong in isn’t cool? You weren’t? Well that wasn’t the first time I said it. See me after class.

Gray Tigers: Harijan
Gray Tigers (or harijan) are disgraced Fighting Tigers who try to redeem themselves through battlefield heroics. You can find out more about them in the Codex: Fighting Tigers of Veda and in the Fighting Tiger Gallery. There's also a story about one of them. 

Gray Tiger Sudra PatelGray Tiger
Left: Gray Tiger with plasma gun. Right: Gray Tiger with storm bolter

I treat Harijan as Sternguard because they're determined to make up for what they've done (hence, Leadership 9). They fight together in small squads and are rarely seen on the battlefield (hence, they are an Elite unit).

Here's what I take--and why:
For "fluff" reasons, I usually limit my Fighting Tiger squads to either 5 or 10 members each. Because each Gray Tiger has broken at least one of the Chapter's many rules, I let them break this "5 or 10" rule too: my squad has 7 members:

  • Five Gray Tigers w/ storm bolters
  • One Gray Tiger w/ plasma gun;
  • One Gray Tiger w/ multi-melta.
As I mention in the Gallery entry for Gray Tigers, I received some free miniatures from what was then i-Kore Games and used the Tactical Androsynth models they gave me for Gray Tigers. As the figures had what looked like storm bolters and a plasma gun, I equipped my squad accordingly. As time went on and I found myself with a spare multi-melta, I added another figure and give this squad some serious firepower.

Gray Tigers

Here's what I don't take--and why:
My other Sternguard Squads eschew heavy weapons and usually, their Sergeant has some kind of power weapon or such to deal with close combat. Not these guys: they’re designed to set up in one spot and let loose with a hail of gunfire.

Tigers Eternal: Dreadnoughts
I admit to being a sick puppy: I have three Dreadnoughts, or Tigers Eternal. Two of them are the smaller, "Rogue Trader" size and the other, Shiva, (below) is the hulking monster we've all come to know and love.

Tigers Eternal: Shiva the Destroyer
Above: Tiger Eternal Shiva the Destroyer

Dreadnoughts are really at their best in assaults, not so much for the damage they do (although that's nothing to complain about) so much as for their resilience and their ability to tie up huge squads in hand-to-hand fighting. Let me explain if you've never watched a squad get slowly dismembered by a Dreadnought.

Tiger Eternal: Surya AshokaTigers Eternal: Shrendi Vashtar
Left: Tiger Eternal Surya Ashoka   Right: Tiger Eternal Shrendi Vashtar

Like a fat, sweaty Baltimore Orioles fan waddling to the table to enjoy a dozen Chesapeake Bay  blue crabs, the Dreadnought trundles into the enemy and begins to pull them apart. Dreads don't have a lot of attacks, but they're usually Strength 10, ignore armor saves, and strike with Initiative 4. The enemy usually doesn't have anything that can hurt the Dreadnought unless they've had the foresight to purchase grenades or power fists. 

Best of all, the enemy unit can't leave combat with the Dread unless they fail a morale check. If the enemy squad does fail a morale check, the Dreadnought can sprint after them and wipe them out like regular troops. Close your eyes and imagine a sprinting Dreadnought; that must be like the T. Rex chasing the jeep in Jurassic Park. Nasty. Wall-to-wall nasty.

See why I have three of them?

Here's what I take--and why:
These are my three Tigers Eternal:

No big surprises here. Each Dread is the reincarnation of a mighty Fighting Tiger Commander, not some grunt who bought the farm because an Ork got in a lucky shot with a slugga. Shiva and Vashtar are definitely infantry killers. Heavy flamers work great against Orks and Bugs and even against tough troops like Chaos Marines, softening up the bad guys right before the Dread plows into them like a linebacker. 

I use Surya to gun down tanks and heavily armored troops, but I don't just let him stand in the back and shoot. He's not as tough as a Predator or Land Raider and can't take sustained heavy weapons fire. Besides, standing still negates one of the Dread's big strengths: being able to move 6" and fire more than one weapon. I advance Surya toward the enemy, guns blazing, then let him assault a nearby enemy squad. Even though he doesn't have Strength 10 or a close combat weapon, he can still smack the enemy around and tie up lots of opponents.

Here's what I don't take--and why:
I've never been a fan of storm bolters on Dreads: you'd think a walking mountain of metal would have a bigger gun that that. I made Shiva a Venerable Dreadnought just because it seemed "fluffy" and because it made him tough to kill. I could have made Surya and Vashtar Venerable Dreads as well, but that would have jacked up their point-costs too high for my tastes.

Tigers of Tvashtri: Techmarines
When I first got my hands on the latest Codex: Space Marines, I was rather, shall we say, underwhelmed by the Techmarine. Fifty points for a guy with regular Marine stats and a funny backpack? But then I looked closer and began to appreciate the Techmarine more. True, the Techie’s stats are nothing impressive, but for your 50 points, you get a fellow with an extra power fist attack each round (thanks to the servo arm), artificer armor (2+ Save), the ability to fix immobilized vehicles or destroyed weapons, and an upgrade to the cover save of one ruin. On his own, the Techmarine isn’t all that cool: where he shines is in support of other units.             

Here's what I take--and why:
I have two Techmarines in my collection. The first is a basic dude with a power weapon: he weighs in at 65 points. I keep him with my army's fire support, accompanying the heavy-weapon half of a split Tactical Squad and their Razorback. This guy’s servo-arm and power weapon should make attackers think twice about rushing the squad he's attached to, and his Blessing of the Omnissiah will benefit the Razorback. What's not to like? 

When I revamped a Fighting Tiger character (Shamshir Talatra) to give him Terminator armor, I was left with a perfectly-fine bike model, which I gave to my other Techmarine. He, too, is armed with a power weapon, and accompanies my Attack Bike Squadrons to give them a smidge more oomph in close combat. He can also use his bike’s mobility to reach disabled vehicles. At 100 points, he’s a little on the expensive side, but not as bad as my HQ units (a pity, though, that he can’t actually lead anyone). 

Here's what I don't take--and why:
Taking a Techmarine for your army is like buying a new automobile in real life: you can get it with some standard features at a reasonable price, or you can order some sweet options and pay through the nose. In fact, you can pay more for a Techmarine and some flunkies as you would for a whole squad of Tactical Marines.

The full servo-harness slices, dices, and makes julienne fries, but slap one on your Techmarine and you’ve really jacked up his points. Servitors? I already have plenty of firepower in my army, so I don't need fragile Gun Servitors (T 3, 4+ Sv). I already have plenty of  close-combat ability in my army, so I don't need dead-slow Combat Servitors. And I think I have enough vehicles that I don't need the benefits of Technical Servitors. Besides, if your Techmarine has Servitors, you can't attach him to another squad and use him to support them, as I intend to. Maybe if my collection of Marines was a lot smaller, I'd use a Tech with Servitors to flesh it out, but as it is, I don't need a "Cadillac" Techmarine.
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Related Pages
Fighting Tiger Elites
Gallery: Fighting Tiger Elites
Gallery: Gray Tigers

Last updated April 2009


Fighting Tigers:
Codex <> Tactics <> Gallery <> Allies and Enemies <> Tales of the Tigers

Other Pages:
Main <> What's New <> Site Index <> The Tiger Roars <> Themed Army Ideas
Events and Battle Reports <> Campaigns <> Terrain <> FAQ <> Beyond the Jungle