Guest Tactica on Honor Guard by Face Puncher


Face Puncher on Honorguard.

Greetings everyone. Today I want to talk about and explore a unit that I really like and that I think has often been overlooked: Honor Guard. I do not have a specific goal in mind for this article such as convincing you that they are good or competitive, I am simply hoping to start a dialogue and see what you think as well as figure out my own opinion as I write. Ironically perhaps, I tend to learn more about a unit or idea through writing these articles! Funny how that works.


Lets take a look at the Honorguard kit with an eye towards pros and cons:


PROS: They have Artificer armor(2+ save), a Power Weapon, a Bolt Pistol, AND a Bolter. All veteran profile so 2A base. They cost 25 points a model, a 10 point reduction from the last edition. They can take a drop pod arriving in force, in face, in first turn! I should also mention that the models look BADASS! This does not help you win games, but you can lord your beautiful models over your opponent.


CONS: They require a CM to unlock(maybe this is a con. I do not really think so, but IDK). No stock invulnerable save, no way to purchase an invulnerable save. No powerfists with only the Chapter Champion allowed to get a TH. They still cost 25 points a model(Is this worth it?). They are still Marine WS and I 4. They are a highly visible scary looking unit that looks BADASS and will attract a lot of attention.


So do I think they are competitive? My initial thought is “YES” they are super competitive given the right build and right use. The core reasoning behind this is that I think they are super undercosted for both their threat level and dmg output. Opponents simply cannot ignore this unit. I also think that their major disadvantage of not having an invulnerable is easily compensated. So I want to look at what I think is/are the right build(s) and use for Honor Guard.


First and foremost, I think they belong in a droppod in a drop heavy army. Ideally with 5 DPs so that they will come down with at least 2 other high threat units. The way that I think DPs should be used is en-masse. They allow you to hopefully overload your opponents backfield with too many threats for him to deal with in one turn. The Honorguard DO have Bolters, but they really want to be stuck in ASAP. The DPs gel nicely with their gear. Turn one they drop down, all double-tap a choice unit and gear up for a juicy charge turn two.


The Chapter Master unlocks them and is an essential part of their build. I would always include him with them(or TWO CMs). There are 3 versions I like to use with the CM. The first is just adding Pedro Kantor. He is a CM and unlocks them, he adds a free attack giving them a 4 attacks base, he uses IF CTs which give a small bump to their double tapping first turn bolter drop, and he gels nicely with including a big fat Sternguard unit in another first turn droppod. They make an excellent threat and can troubleshoot many of the problem units the HG might encounter. The second CM that I like with the Honorguard is a custom CM with either The Armour Indomitus or The Shield Eternal. As mentioned before, the big disadvantage of HG is the lack of an invulnerable. They need to survive a turn of shooting before they can get stuck in and wreck havoc. With careful model positioning, an overcharged Armour Indomitus or a Shield Eternal on a 4 wound CM model should allow you to shrug off most of the ap2 damage an opponent can throw at you in one turn. Some armies use volume. This is also ok too since they all have a 2+. The amount of firepower needed to drop 10 models with a 2+ is substantial. If they do focus your unit, they are not focusing anything else and remember, you are not paying too many points for each Honorguard model. They only cost 25. It is not worth it and your other first turn units will be full strength and ready to wreck havoc come turn 2. The last build that I like is to just include BOTH Pedro and the custom CM. Pedro is great, but not a dmg soaker. In fact, his chapter could not even see fit to give him better armour than his HG. What is up with that? It is not like you don’t want the CM up close and personal anyway. It really fits with the build and Pedro gives the other CM 5 attacks base too!


So how should the Honorguard be equipped given the three power weapon choices? I am not totally sure what the most competitive build is, but as a player I tend to build units with uniform tools. Thus I am actually thinking the best build is all power mauls! WHAT????POWER MAULS???? ARE YOU F-ING CRAZY. I know, I know, yes, power mauls. Hear me out. I think the PM gives HG the most flexibility and ability to devastate many different types of targets. The PM is more consistent with putting out wound volume due to its high strength. The HG have an unusually high number of attacks for Marines. Given Pedro accompanies, on the charge the unit will throw out 51 attacks at strength 6. That will kill approximately 7 Marines, 3.5 Terminators, 21 Dire Avengers, 28 Fire Warriors, 4 unsaved wounds on a T6 MC, and 11 penetrating hits on a rear armour “10” vehicle. I am not big on “Head-hammer” because things rarely play out perfectly. ie sometimes you get charged, sometimes you lose a dude or two, etc, BUT the dmg potential is there, it is consistent with the high strength and attack count, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY!!!!! THEY ONLY COST 25 POINTS. That is value and I am all about value. Even if they totally “shit the bed,” you have not invested that much into them and will have a ton of other units that can carry the day and punish your opponent for focusing too much on the HG.


So the final thing I should mention is how to use them, or better yet, how NOT to use them. I am not sure that there is a specific rule of thumb, but ideally they are still a fragile unit and would be absolutely devastated by SUPER ELITE CC units. They cannot take on units like a Draigo-star, 10 T-hammer Terminators(although I would charge just 5), Typhus, or Pappa Abaddon. Units like this will eat ALL of them for very little return. I DO think they can take on stuff like Hive Tyrants and Daemon Princes in situations where you can trade 3-4 models for the kill. Ideally, they spread wide and multi charge an entire backfield of stuff or kill choice units like Warwalkers or devastators.


The key to why Honorguard are valuable to me is this: they are powerful enough that an opponent cannot ignore them, yet are cheap and resilient enough that an opponent will be punished for wasting time on removing them.


So that is my take, I am sure there is a lot that I missed too. What do you think about Honorguard and how would you use them? Do you think they are worth it?


About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

9 Responses to “Guest Tactica on Honor Guard by Face Puncher”

  1. skari September 26, 2013 3:20 am #

    I like your overview of the HG. I has missed the fact they have a bolter! and the bp and the pw… I like that as a PW you can pick, and yes, mauls are a good choice, the odd axe in there tho will be great when facing off against 2+ saves tho.

  2. Bigpig September 26, 2013 7:16 am #

    Good comments. I’ve been including them in every list since the new book. For only 25 pts to get artificer armour and power weapon they are just too cheap to pass on. I toyed with the chapter banner but found that the points are better spent on an extra dude. I’ve mostly been running a unit of six with Marneus calgar in LR. It’s a less aggressive approach then dropping them in and has worked well. They usually spill out and start wiping units up by turn three. Will be trying dropping them in soon.

    As far as load out, I’ve been running a mix of axes and swords and thunder hammer on the champ, but then I’ve mostly been facing meqs and 3+ xenos in my practice games.

    Their only drawback is that they feel like tac marines and tend to fill the slot of a meaner tac unit but can never score

  3. Mr E September 26, 2013 10:44 am #

    Ya but they can get onto an objective to contest it ans with old man calgar himself leading the way its going to be an ugly day for whatever is trying to dislodge them. good write up, I think 2 ax 2 swords 1 TH and the rest mauls leaves you with a diverse 9 model `275 ish` death star of better than termis for the points and flexibility.

  4. Alex Yuen September 26, 2013 11:44 am #

    When i build an army i ask myself this question. What is he doing in my army? So any review in a vacuum and not part of a whole is review and not a tactica. 2 examples unit came to mind. In a vacuum review, banshee and warp talon will be terrible but part of a whole army that need them. they are great.

    with that said here is my point.

    1) a unit should never be rated in “good or competitive” but “are they useful in my army and are they fit my play-style, personality”

    2) starting from “So do I think they are competitive?…” makes good points on what and why you want them. however, no way near enough to cover HG as a unit. In 4th ed this will be very good but we are in 6th ed now and just by damage output, survivability and how you deploy is only 1/4 of the cake and you left 3/4 on the table. First, you have to go into the role HG need to play in all 6 type of the general mission. I sure play them differently between KP and Objective mission. Relic also play them differently. Mobility before and after deployment. positioning, relativity, list goes on.

    3) 40k is no longer a killing game (checker) but move toward more a positional game (go). I always find it bad when someone still stuck in the checker thinking that this unit killing/dying to this unit. Or like a chess game where trading takes place. Is this how really win you the game in 40k? or having that one lonely troop that stand in an obj?

    4) my real point on why i post this comment. I read this article as a “checker” article where he is expressing his way of 40k playing like a checker game. Most people do play 40k like checker game and in a tournament i met a lot of “checker” players. But in 6th ed is not a checker game anymore is more a “GO” game, 4th ed was a pure checker game. Not a total “GO’ game but closer to “GO” then “Chess” there position of you stones is more important then capturing any. So why this is bad? more checker article feeds into the public on how this game is suppose to be play. Then they wonder why they getting beat up in a tournament with book mission on them. Misleading/incomplete is the word for this article.

    • David Key September 26, 2013 12:23 pm #

      Thank you for your feedback. I know there is a lot more that I could have gone into but I try to keep it brief and digestible. I know I for one will stop reading after about 5 paragraphs. I would be happy to discuss my thoughts on what was not included in this article if you would like.

      You make an interesting point in “4.” I do not remember if I have ever played “GO” so I am not sure I understand you fully but I think you are saying that 6th ed 40K is more about unit placement and movement. Is that right? If so, I totally agree. Movement and placement are essential. What I would disagree with is that competitive play requires no discretion as to what units curtail the most value in a list. There simply are units that you will not win a tournament with based on their cost or lack of ability.

      • alex yuen September 26, 2013 1:09 pm #

        is hard to explain “GO’ to people that never play it. on the surface is about placement but the game is not about placement. In a lack of a better term is about limiting your enemy options. That a very simple and incomplete explaining on what GO really is but it is good enough for 40k explaining. the game is complex yet you only see players putting stones down.

      • alex yuen September 26, 2013 2:36 pm #

        I am going to use your Draigo-star and the comment on how not to use them, as an example on my “GO”. This is a overly simple example to just to show a point.

        I drop the HG in enemy backyard behind the Draigo-star line. By placing them over there I just force him to make a choice; go after the HG with his Draigo-star, or keep forward to my line and leave them alone or stay up to make a “threat zone”. Now is this is not really about placement. placement did trigger it so in a border term you can say it fail under placement but my goal is to limit his options from this point on. If he goes back then he is not coming forward and that limited his options on how to deal with my backyard. if he move forward then he limited his option on his backyard. regardless on the faith of the HG I force him to make a choice.

        In KP, this might not work so then i have to use them differently. Draigo-star punch HG and i am up a KP so i don’t care what you do over at your backyard.

  5. Hippesthippo September 26, 2013 8:16 pm #

    What has me convinced is comparing them to a Terminator. You lose the 5++, a Bolter shot at range, and downgrade from a Fist to an Axe. You gain an extra attack (BP/CCW), the ability to sweep, and access to a wider selection of transports.

    ..for what, like 15 pts less PER MODEL. That’s HUGE. Unless I’m missing something? I dont own the SM Codex..

    Shoot, comparing them to Chaos Chosen makes me want to cry.. Hahaha.

    • Reecius September 27, 2013 8:57 am #

      Yeah, they’re boss. It’s simply the lack of an invul that holds them back at all, and that is pretty minor.

      And yes, hahaha, they shit on Chosen…as does everything in the SM dex.

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