Space Marine Review: Elites: Terminator Assault Squad

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Hi everyone, Michael here to bring you a review on the Terminator Assault Squad. For more reviews, analyses and battle reports, check out the Tactics Corner.

The Terminator Assault Squad is the second Terminator unit in Codex: Space Marines, and a slightly more popular choice than the standard Terminator Squad due to the wargear options they can take. The squad consists of 5 Terminators, with the option to add an additional 5 Terminators to the unit.

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Wargear:

  • Terminator Armour
  • Two Lightning Claws
  • Options for any model to replace their Lightning Claws with a Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield
  • Option to take a Land Raider as a Dedicated Transport (all three variants available)

Special Rules:

  • ATSKNF
  • Chapter Tactics
  • Combat Squads

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Tactics:

Much of what I said in my review of the Terminator Squad is applicable to the Terminator Assault Squad as well. The Terminator has Space Marine stats with an additional attack, Ld 9 and a 2+ armour save.

Since the introduction of AP values for close combat weapons, the 2+ armour save has gotten even stronger in combat, as power weapons no longer ignore all armour saves. Your Terminator Assault Squad will only have to worry about AP2 combat weapons or attacks in combat, and combat is where they want to be. The basic load out of the Terminator Assault Squad means that they will have 3 attacks in combat (4 on the charge) with AP3 and Shred. This makes them great for taking out units with 3+ armour save who cannot negate their 2+ armour save or muster sufficient attacks back to bring down the Terminators through forcing enough failed saves. Ironically, this makes the Terminators with Lightning Claws ideal at taking out other marine units such as Tactical Squads, Devastator Squads, etc. A unit of 5 Assault Terminators will put out 20 Lightning Claw attacks on the charge, enough to put a serious dent in a unit of 10 Marines (lacking any bonus saves such as Feel No Pain or Invulnerable Saves) with average rolling.

Upgrading the unit to carry Thunder Hammers and Storm Shields means that they will be able to take on the toughest of opponents thanks to a boost to the strength and AP of their attacks and the added durability that a 3+ invulnerable save provides.

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The problem with the Assault Terminators (and all assault units in general) is getting them to their target in one piece. The prevalence of Grav weaponry in the current meta means the Terminators will not survive long on the board should they become a priority target. In fact, any weapon has the ability to take out the squad if the volume of fire is high enough, as eventually you will roll those 1’s and start losing the unit.

For the Terminator Assault Squad, it might be worth investing in a Land Raider as a Dedicated Transport. This will help your unit to get to their target in one piece (though Grav still poses a threat as you risk your transport being Immobilised). However, this greatly increases the cost of your unit, taking up a substantial amount of your points in an 1850 game.

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Chapter Tactics

Some of the Chapter Tactics in the Space Marine Codex add some additional utility to the Terminator Squad.

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The Ultramarines Chapter Tactics give some additional re-rolls to the unit, depending on which doctrine is used.

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The White Scars Chapter Tactics now provide your Terminators with Hit and Run, great for preventing you from being bogged down in a protracted combat. It also allows you to re-roll run moves, giving the Terminators a bit more mobility in the game.

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The Iron Hands Chapter Tactics will help increase the durability of your Terminator Squad, providing a 6+ Feel No Pain roll.

Formations

The Terminator Squad can be taken as part of the 1st Company Task Force or Strike Force Ultra.

The 1st Company Task Forces consists of 3-5 units of Terminator Squads, Terminator Assault Squads, Sternguard Veteran Squads or Vanguard Veteran Squads. The formation gains Fear, Fearless, Preferred Enemy against one selected enemy unit and gives Leadership penalties to the enemy army under certain circumstances. Fear is not the best of rules, but can be useful when it comes off. Fearless on all the units is great, making them much more reliable. A decent formation, but at a high buy in for the army depending on which units you take.

Strike Force Ultra consists of a Terminator Captain, 2 Terminator Squads, 2 Terminator Assault Squads, a Venerable Dreadnought, A Stormraven and a Land Raider Crusader or Redeemer. The formation gives bonus shots and attacks to the Terminator units the first time they arrive from Deep Strike or disembark from a vehicle. At a minimum cost of 1395 pts, this formation is essentially an army. Not the strongest of choices given the limitations of Terminator Squads in the game.

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Overall:

Terminator Assault Squads have a lot of bonuses going for them over regular Terminator Squads, but it still does not make them a cost-effective choice. They will make a mess of many units in the game in combat, but the real problem is getting them there in one piece. Am I wrong? Are Assault Terminators a mainstay of your army? When was the last time you saw them on the table?

And as always, Frontline Gaming sells Games Workshop product at up to 25% off of retail, every day!

You can also pick up some cheap models in our Second Hand Shop. Some of these gems are quite rare, sometimes they’re fully painted!

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About Michael Corr

An avid 40k player and blogger from Scotland. I started in 3rd edition and have been playing ever since. I detail my adventures in my own blog "St Andrews Wargaming", highlighting my mediocre painting skills, regular battle reports and my occasional random ramblings.

16 Responses to “Space Marine Review: Elites: Terminator Assault Squad”

  1. Embrace Your Inner Geek August 15, 2016 7:28 am
    #

    “When was the last time you saw them on the table”

    Sadly, I cant remember, it was such a long time ago! Probably in 5th edition, and they were grey knight terminators. Regular terminators are just too many points and/or not survivable enough in the current edition. Combine that with how slow they are (unless you invest even more points on a delivery system, i.e a Land Raider, which is even more over pointed and “rubbish”) and they are just terrible. Which is sad because they look so cool.

    Perhaps adding one or 2 to a deathwatch kill team might bring more to the table.

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr August 15, 2016 7:44 am
      #

      Yeah, its a real shame. Even as far back as 3rd edition, they were never a popular choice. Back then, every squad seemed to be running around with at least one power sword in them, so the Terminators died even easier as the power weapons ignored all armour.
      I recently played a game with Strike Force Ultra just to see how bad it was. I was not disappointed!

  2. Anvil
    Anvil August 15, 2016 9:21 am
    #

    I use them because “Salamanders”. It’s more of a fluff choice for me. Sometimes, they’re my spearhead, but at other times, I deep strike them behind a drop pod and have them clean up enemies on objective markers in the last turns of the game.

  3. AngryPanda August 15, 2016 12:14 pm
    #

    I remember back then I got into the game at the start of 6th thinking “So 2+/3++ S/AP2 close combat isn’t cutting it anymore. What the heck did I get into?”

    • Alex r August 15, 2016 1:57 pm
      #

      Just to slow lol. 40k is now all about speed amd durability and if you combine them both well then gg

    • westrider August 15, 2016 2:05 pm
      #

      It’s not that the profile doesn’t cut it, it’s that they pay too much for that profile. They’re far from the only Unit with that problem. The Points Cost Deflation in 40K is a big part of what’s gotten out of hand, leaving Units that haven’t really changed much in cost in the dust.

      • AngryPanda August 17, 2016 1:42 pm
        #

        Don’t get me wrong. I don’t doubt that they aren’t all that anymore. It’s just a bit of a shocker how you can be left in the dust with a profile like that. It realy says something about the things ruling the battlefields right now.

        • westrider August 17, 2016 2:54 pm
          #

          Pretty much anything can be left in the dust if it’s too badly overpriced. WraithKnights would suck if they were priced like Hierodules.

      • punchymango August 17, 2016 3:13 pm
        #

        I don’t think they’d be competitive even if they were cheap. They’re just too slow, and this is bikehammer 40k.

        If you costed them aggressively that might make room for them as a deterrent for wraithknights and the like, but they’ll still never, ever catch scatterbikes or spiders.

  4. Alex r August 15, 2016 1:58 pm
    #

    Though you could stick them in drop pods but thats a lot of pts for a sucide squad

  5. Bryan August 15, 2016 3:18 pm
    #

    In non ITC, electrodisplacement will do the trick, if you feel like shelling out on a Libby conclave, in addition to your terminators :p

    • firewaspuk August 15, 2016 3:26 pm
      #

      Might as well go for assault centurions then though.

      • Michael Corr
        Michael Corr August 15, 2016 11:45 pm
        #

        My friend plays an Assault Centurions deathstar with Librarius conclave. It is incredibly nasty and not an army I enjoy facing.

  6. TheMostGood August 17, 2016 1:06 pm
    #

    The biggest issue with terminators, and really 2+ saves on 1W models, is the fact that the 2+ armor profile is not being accurately applied with the dice range we have and doesn’t account for “bad luck”.

    Being T4 also ensures that multi-wound 2+ models are a risky choice like the GK Paladins.

    This gives us a unit that is good on paper, but comes up short when you factor all of these things. Especially now that AP2 is pretty common across all kinds of armies, TEQ units have seemingly been left in the dust.

    • AngryPanda August 17, 2016 1:40 pm
      #

      They had been in the dust for a while but Grav realy put the nail into a whole lot of unit’s coffins.

      • punchymango August 17, 2016 3:10 pm
        #

        Grav has seriously fucked up the game. It’s just frustrating how much list design space is inaccessible because so many units just auto-die to it.