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Fighting Tiger Tactics (pg 6)
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Fast Attack Units (Revised 04/2009)
This is where a Space Marine army gets expensive. It's also where you have to remember a number of axioms:

1. Emphasize quality over quantity. There is NO WAY you will make Fast Attack units cheap, so you might as well make them good. Take ten-strong Assault Squads and fill out those squadrons.
2. No Space Marine is expendable. And that is even more true with Fast Attack units. Lose half a Tactical Squad? That's bad. Lose half an Assault Squad? Sucks to be you. Make sure you take advantage of every scrap of cover you can on your way to enemy and keep those Speeders moving over 6", if you can.
3. Mobility, mobility, mobility. They're Fast Attack units: "Fast" is how you should move, "ATTACK!" should be your battlecry. If you don't have the nerve to take a bunch of these units and smash the enemy right in the mouth, then you should play Imperial Guard. While you don't want to do anything foolhardy (like heading up the middle of the board right into the biggest, meanest part of the enemy), aggressiveness is your ally: "the best defense is a good offense." Amen.

Fighting Tiger Fast Attack Units attack rebel Guardsmen and their perfidious Tau allies

Tigers of Kali: Assault Squads
Everyone knows how to use Assault Squads, right? You hop toward the enemy, using cover to block enemy fire, and pounce on an isolated enemy unit or weak flank, right? Well, yeah, but there's more to it than that.

1. Don't be overconfident. Much as I wish it wasn't true, standard Space Marine Assault Squads are not the premiere close combat units in 40K. Fact is, they aren't even close. Tyranids, Blood Angels, Space Wolves, Khorne Berzerkers, and Orks are either more skilled, more numerous, or both. So don't think you're going to go bounding into close combat against whomever you choose and tear them a new orifice to defecate through. 
Pick your fights carefully. Remember that old adage to "fight fire with fire?" Forget it. Don't use assault troops to fight other assault troops: at best your unit will win but will have its nose bloodied by the enemy--and Assault Squads, being so expensive, can't afford many casualties. Instead, use your Assault Squads to go after non-assault units, especially those rebel Guardsmen, Eldar Guardians, and Tau Fire Warriors. Attacking Heavy Support units like Chaos Havocs and Dark Reapers is even more fun because they (usually) aren't very numerous, don’t fight in close combat as well as your Assault Marines, and—most importantly—can’t shoot their Great Big Guns o’ Death while you’re cutting them up with your chainswords.
2. Don't attack without some backup. Unless it's a small game, don't be content to sit back and shoot as a single unit of Assault Marines attacks the enemy: while they might enjoy some success at first, eventually they will be overwhelmed. Send more than one Fast Attack unit against the enemy, concentrating your force at one point to nail them.
3. Be careful when you Deep Strike. If you're going to use Deep Strike, remember that you can't assault in the same turn you drop in on the enemy, so land in some cover nearby and lay low for a round before attacking. Don't just plummet down into the middle of the enemy or you'll lose your squad real quick.
Lately I've found another good use for Assault Marines: escorting transports into battle. That sick, SICK degenerate chimp Pat, whom I regularly play, has learned that the way to really slap me around is to have his Orks with power klawz or tankbusta bombz blow up my transports, then finish off the passengers. Tigers of Kali bounding ahead of the transports works well to discourage him. 

Tigers of Kali attacking a proxied Warhound Titan

Here's what I take--and why:
In my army, I have two units of Assault Marines, each a ten-strong squad (235 points) as follows:

  • Sergeant w/ bolt pistol and power fist;
  • Seven  Marines w/ bolt pistols and chainswords; and
  • Two Marines w/ flamers.
  • All have  jump packs.
No big surprises here. I bulk up the squads so they can take casualties, give their leader a power fist, and take flamers because the Assault Marines'  primary target is usually other infantry. Because the Sarge is an "upgraded" character, she cannot be singled out in close combat; she and her power fist will typically be the last of the squad to fall (in White Dwarf or on Internet forums, this is often referred to as having a "hidden" power fist). 

Here's what I don't take--and why:
I used to take plasma pistols for some dead-zappy shooting that could punch holes through Chaos Terminators and most vehicles. In fact, I used to regularly give the Sergeants plasma pistols and a power weapon: three plaz pistols in each squad! Woohoo!

While that may sound good on paper (or on the screen, as the case may be), in reality, however, I usually wound up getting off one shot per game with each plasma pistol, and I often had the pistols "get hot" and cook a user. Sure, knocking down a Chaos Space Marine with a shot from a plaz pistol is nice, but you don't get quite the same benefit for your points spent when you use plaz pistols against Ork Boyz or Hormagaunts. Big squads of cheap, choppy troops just don't sweat plasma pistols that much.

If you're going to only get in one shot during the game, why not make it a really big one? Instead of using a plasma pistol to zap one Ork, you can use a flamer and kill about six or seven. Remember, my Assault Squads' primary target is enemy infantry.

As I mentioned, I used to give the Sarge a power weapon, because they were cheaper and faster than power fists. After many outings, though, I realized I needed some “oomph,” and I added the fists, despite the higher point cost.

Some folks like to strip off the jump packs on their Assault Marines; doing so is almost always a bad idea: all you've really accomplished is making a Fast Attack unit slow. And because Assault Marines have such short-range weaponry, a slow Assault Squad is usually an ineffective Assault Squad. When might a slow Assault Squad be useful? If you absolutely, positively know that the enemy is going to come towards them. 

Tigers of Indra: Vanguard Veteran Space Marines
Like my Sternguard units, my Vanguard are made up of leftover figures, most of them from Veteran squads or Command Squads I had configured using the previous codex. 

Here’s what I take—and why:
I have three such units, as follows:

  • Sergeant w/ power fist; four Vets w/ bolt pistols and chainswords; all w/ jump packs (185 points)
  • Sergeant w/ relic blade; five Vets w/ bolt pistols and chainswords; all w/ jump packs (220 points)
  • Fighting Tiger Black Ops: Sergeant w/ power fist and storm shield; one Vet w/ twin lightning claws; three Vets w/ bolt pistols and chainswords (180 points)
In keeping with the spirit of WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get), I armed each squad with what the figures seemed to be holding, meaning most of them got ordinary weapons, and only one or two of them got something Really Frickin’ Cool. 

At first, I resisted giving them jump packs, because I’m not in awe of the Heroic Intervention rule and I didn’t want to make these already-expensive squads rack up even more points. But plastic SM jump packs don’t cost a lot of money ($8 for 5 as I write this) and I couldn’t resist the thought of Vanguard + jump packs accompanying Assault Marines into combat. 

Here’s what I don’t take—and why:
In forming these squads, I had to, as always, balance points costs vis-à-vis effectiveness. It would be very easy to build uber-expensive units, armed with all kinds of power toys, that could tear through anything—provided they didn’t first get hit by a battle cannon or some serious plasma firepower.

For “fluff” reasons, I purposely didn’t provide the last squad, the Fighting Tiger Black Ops, with jump packs. The Black Ops (as you can read in this story) are elite fighters who paint their armor green and specialize in jungle missions. Jump packs can be downright deadly to the user in difficult terrain, so the Black Ops will do no bounding around, lest they wind up like poor George of the Jungle (“Watch out for that treeeee!”).

Janhavi, leader of the Fighting Tiger Black Ops, Vanguard Veterans

Tigers of Rudra: Land Speeder Tornadoes
I have always liked the assault cannon, ever since it first appeared as a Terminator-only weapon during the Rogue Trader era. When the 4th-edition version of Codex: Space Marines allowed one to field squadrons of Tornadoes, I built and painted a bunch of them. I’ve kept them despite the “nerfing” that Speeders and assault cannons have suffered under the current rules.

Here's what I take--and why:
In my army, I have ten Tornadoes, each with a heavy bolter and an assault cannon (90 points each). In smaller games, I field them individually. In larger games, I group them into squadrons of two or three, and if I take two detachments, I can bring all ten models.

The heavy bolter is an excellent anti-infantry weapon--just ask any Eldar player how they feel about them--and is one of my favorities. The assault cannon, while not having the range of the heavy bolter, has a higher rate of fire, greater Strength, and rends; when you slap it on a Speeder, the range issue goes away. True, the Tornado is expensive, but each one kicks out seven shots a round and can take out troops and tanks (provided you get lucky with the Rending rolls). 

Ten--yes--ten Land Speeder Tornadoes. The Fighting Tigers have themselves an air force 

Here's what I don't take--and why:
For many years, I had six Speeders and I used to run them with just heavy bolters. Three Strength 5 shots a round didn't suck, but even grouped in squadrons of three, the Speeders sometimes had problems killing big enemy units (such as Orks and Nids). Alternately, I could field my six Speeders with multi-meltas and hunt tanks. Because I'd need to get in close (within 12" for maximum effectiveness), I'd take a lot of casualties, and the survivors would often miss or fail to kill the enemy tanks. 

So while the six Speeders were inexpensive, they were not the most reliable units in my army. Once I had built up a solid collection of Attack Bikes (see below), I decided to invest the time, money, and points into beefing up my Land Speeder squadrons. 

Why not take a Speeder with a multi-melta and a heavy flamer? The answer is range: to use either weapon, you need to get in VERY close: within 12" for the multi-melta to take its best shot against tanks, and even closer for the heavy flamer against infantry. While your Speeder might vaporize its target, it is sure to be pounced on by the unit standing next to the target.

Why not take a Typhoon? They're better than they used to be, but I'm still not overwhelmed with their awesomeness. If you're going to hunt tanks, you could do better two krak missiles a turn. The Typhoon's strength is supposedly killing infantry, but to me, two blasts a turn, each at Strength 4, AP 6 sounds, even paired with a heavy bolter, better on paper than it probably works on the battlefield. Unless you're bringing a lot of Typhoons, or the other guy has loaded up on Gretchin or Termagants, I imagine horde armies sneering at this. 

Why not take some Land Speeder Storms? I’m ambivalent about them. They sound cool, but having played Dark Eldar for a long time, I know quite well, from painful personal experience, that open-topped skimmers + AV 10 + passengers with mediocre armor = Recipe For Disaster.

In this battle, Fighting Tiger Attack Bikes and Land Speeder Tornadoes attacked Tau and rebel Guard from the rear, 
destroying three Leman Russ tanks, two Demolishers, and two Hammerheads--all in one turn of firing

Tigers of Kali: Bike Squads
For many years, I used to have a regular Bike Squad in my army. Back then, Bikes, especially Space Marine Bikes—sucked, and eventually I converted mine into Attack Bikes. 

Here's what I take--and why:
I have three Attack Bike Squads:

  • Three Attack Bikes w/ heavy bolters (120 points);
  • Three Attack Bikes w/ heavy bolters (120 points); and,
  • Three Attack Bikes w/ multi-meltas (150 pts).
Obviously, two squads are dedicated to anti-infantry duty and one squad hunts tanks. Note that these squads do their work at a significantly cheaper points cost than my Tornado squadrons do (120 for three Attack Bikes visas 270 for three Tornadoes): that's good for smaller games.

Here's what I don't take--and why:
As I mentioned, I used to have a regular Bike Squad (Sergeant, two bikes w/ bolters, one biker w/ flamer, one biker w/ meltagun, one Attack Bike). Over the years, I found that the Bike Squad could not take many casualties, was easy to trap in hand-to-hand combat, and did not kick out enough firepower to justify its points cost. The current codex alleviates those problems, but Ill stick with my Attack Bike units, which, while being smaller and more expensive than regular Bikes, have greater range and firepower. 

Scout Bikes used to be just 100% [poop], but again, the current codex made them well worth the points and local currency spent to field them. Despite this, I have no plans on adding any to my army, as 1) I would prefer that the models had more of a “diatribe” appearance; and 2) I’ve painted enough tiger stripes for three or four lifetimes, thank you. 
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Related Pages
Fighting Tiger Fast Attack
Gallery: Fighting Tiger Fast Attack

Last updated November 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