Ladies and Gents… Scuba Steve here – today I want to quickly talk about a unit that is seldom seen on the table top… but really should be. The little brother of the mighty Centurion Devastator, the Centurion Assault Squad packs a serious punch when it is combined with some savvy tactics and bold play styles. I am going to outline what it takes to put these bad boys on the table and have them start working for you, immediately – stay tuned.
Nobody Ever Uses These Things… Why Should I?
It’s incredibly true, I don’t think I have ever seen a Centurion Assault Squad on the table before… I think it is because the same kit from GW makes both Centurion Devastators AND Assault Centurions, people see all those Grav-cannons and lose their shit – totally understandable, we’ve all been there. I think that it is important to point out that Centurion Devastators with Grav-cannons is definitely a more powerful option when the two units are compared side to side, I’m not trying to say that the Assault Centurions are somehow better – pretty sure the internet would get a hefty case of rabies if I did. However, I can comfortably say that the Assault Centurions are better in particular lists and situations, they fill a hole in your army that Centurion Devastators simply cannot fill and they have more of a dual purpose than a squad of Centurion Devastators, I’ll get into all the details as our discussion moves forward. First, let’s break down the Centurion Assault Squad and analyze their load out and equipment options:
- Twin-linked Flamer (Good): All-in-all, a Flamer that re-rolls to wound is pretty good, not amazing due to a lackluster AP value and lower strength score… but depending on what you come up against, hitting a big unit of dudes with a storm of templates is never a bad thing – unfortunately, being Slow and Purposeful means you cannot overwatch…
- Ironclad Assault Launcher (Good): This is a great piece of Wargear, not only does it stop you from being penalized in initiative for charging through terrain, but it also makes it so that your opponent doesn’t get an additional attack for charging you in combat. In my opinion, it slightly makes up for not being able to overwatch incoming foes.
- Two Siege Drills (Good): Many people equate Siege Drills with Chainfists… but here’s the problem with that… they are WAY BETTER! They are essentially Chainfists with one, very important distinction… they DON’T have Unwieldy!! This is nuts! This means that you can charge into a powerful melee unit, and strike BEFORE all of their more powerful weapons… you get Str 10, AP 2 attacks… that’s awesome – not only is that enough to Instant Death Bikes and Cavalry, but you have the chance to hit and wound them before they get to swing back – this is a nice counter to the popularity of Force Axes.
- And They Shall Know No Fear (Good): We all know what this does and we all know how bonkers it is. If you don’t know, look it up in the rule book and don’t be drinking something hot when you read it.
- Chapter Tactics (Good): Free extra rules to stack onto your units… couldn’t be better. I would suggest going with Ultramarines or White Scars Chapter Tactics for these guys.
- Move Through Cover (Good): Seems pretty awesome… Keeps the suits moving quickly through difficult terrain and takes away that pesky -2 modifier for charging through it too.
- Slow and Purposeful (Just Okay): I understand why they gave the suits this special rule, but it isn’t the greatest… they can’t run and cannot fire overwatch… it is unfortunate that the Centurion Assault Squad can’t take advantage of the Relentless portion of the rule (they can’t take Heavy Weapons)… but oh well… that’s the way it goes.
- Very Bulky (Just Okay): Again, I understand why they have this rule… they are pretty huge and if I were that big I wouldn’t want to squeeze my fat ass into a transport vehicle with 9 other dudes either.
- Decimator Protocols (Good/Just Okay): This lets the unit fire two weapons in the shooting phase… it really is only useful if you trade out the Ironclad Assault Launcher for Hurricane Bolters… it is a personal preference, but not the best option in my opinion. The ability is really good, just a little bit out of place on this particular unit – more so designed, I think, for the Centurion Devastator Squad.
- Additional Centurions (Just Okay): They are really expensive… and in my opinion, simply not worth the extra points… Additionally, once you increase the unit size, they become really difficult to stuff into transport vehicles.
- Hurricane Bolters (Just Okay): So, here is the deal with this… yes, the Ironclad Assault Launchers don’t do any damage, but they help your Assault Centurions succeed in the Assault Phase, which is what they are designed to do. Let the rest of your marines worry about firing Bolt weapons… and let these guys worry about assaulting.
- Twin-Linked Meltagun (Good): Now we’re cooking with gas… This is the best upgrade that you could give to an Assault Centurion Squad – not only are they on a really tough platform, but this makes them incredibly dangerous… for a measly 5 points per model, you can deck out the unit with TL Meltaguns… you’ll be popping open vehicles for days and making your opponent turn all of their attention to this lovely set Assault Centurions.
- Veteran Sergeant (Good): Usually, I am not very keen on upgrading to Veteran Sergeants… however, I believe that paying 10 points for the higher Leadership value and (more importantly) another attack, isn’t an awful idea; it is by no means mandatory though, I’d say it is a personal choice but not a wrong one.
- Omniscope (Good): On the Centurion Devastators, this is a no-brainer… however, on this unit, much more difficult. I would say that “yes”… you should equip it… for 10 points you get the ability to Split Fire (with TL Meltaguns that might be pretty cool) and it gives the unit Night Vision, for all those pesky aliens hiding in the shadows.
- Land Raider (Just Okay): Alright… you probably don’t want one of these… they are ruthlessly expensive and don’t have the greatest track record vs. anti-vehicle weapons (Grav/Gauss/Melta)… you could find yourself in possession of a 250 point paperweight if you aren’t careful… but… if you feel the need, have at it, it is an assault vehicle after all.
I’ve Been Playing Centurion Devastators For a Long Time… What Do I Do With These?
Good question… The Centurion Assault Squad plays a great deal different than you standard Centurion Dev. Squad. Having tested the theory and come up with a few lists, I can say that there is one, really strong, way to run Assault Centurions so that they are rather effective… it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that Drop Pods are one of the most busted transports in the game and they compliment pretty much anything that can be put inside them – Centurion Assault Squads are no different.
- Shock and Awe: Here is Scuba Steve’s Shock and Awe strategy! The great thing about this particular way of playing the Centurions is simplicity, just put them in a pod, point them at a vehicle and BAM… no more vehicle. I keep them pretty close to their stock load-out of equipment, except I switch out the flamers for TL Meltaguns, upgrade the Sergeant to a Veteran Sergeant and arm him with an Omniscope. Additionally, I include a Chaplain armed with an Auspex – not only does the Chaplain confer Zealot (letting them re-roll To Hit rolls on the first round of combat) but he also is rather useful lowering the cover saves of enemy units with his Auspex. This particular tactic also works surprisingly well with the Centurion Siegebreaker Cohort, allowing you to drop two units of Assault Centurions down to really mess up your opponent’s day. The great thing about this unit, in comparison to the Centurion Dev. Squad, is that it incredibly cheaper. Here is an example list that has proven to be really interesting and effective! Make it rain!
Shock and Awe Space Marines – Example List (Ultramarines or White Scars)
Combined Arms Detachment
Chaplain w/ Auspex, Combi-Melta
Chaplain w/ Auspex, Combi-Melta
4x Units of Scouts (three have Combi-Melta)
2x Units of Tactical Marines w/ Rhino and Grav-cannon
2x Fast Attack Drop Pods
2x Devastator Squad w/ Rhino and 2x Grav-cannon
Formation: Centurion Siegebreaker Cohort
Centurion Assault Squad w/ 3x TL Meltagun, Vet. Sergeant, Omniscope
Centurion Assault Squad w/ 3x TL Meltagun, Vet. Sergeant, Omniscope
Ironclad Dreadnought w/ Drop Pod, 2x Heavy Flamer
The great thing about a list like this is the combination of utility, power, and speed. The reason that the Assault Centurions have a really prime spot in a list like this is that your opponent needs to deal with them ASAP, there is no ignoring them the turn they come down because if they wait, even for a turn… they can get assaulted by them and feel the power of Str 10 AP 2 weapons (that strike at initiative) resonate all the way from nasal to rectum – it won’t be pleasant. The great thing about this is that it gives your entire army a full turn to get into position to hit them on the second turn with Grav-cannons and Scout Bolters. This list works effectively as a “one-two” punch.
Why Ultramarines and White Scars?
White Scars are incredible almost entirely because of their Hit and Run ability, which is invaluable for a unit that needs to be in assault… or needs to be out of an assault. It gives you the control over when your units are in combat, giving you additional mobility and choice (especially if you get caught up in an assault you don’t want to be in). White Scars are the better of the two choices I’ve presented here. However, there is a really good argument to be made for Ultramarines, the Tactical Doctrine and Assault Doctrine allow re-rolls To Hit in close combat and (if used properly) can swing combat in your favor – this is where you could easily include a unit of Assault Centurions in a Battle Demi-Company, not only does it gain Obective Secured, but getting additional re-rolls are never a bad thing. It is also worth mentioning that both of these Chapters can be selected in a Gladius Strike Force (as can the Siegebreaker Cohort).
But…. I Like Grav-cannons…
Yes… everyone does… At the end of the day, Centurion Devastators with three Grav-cannons and an Omniscope are probably the better choice. It isn’t that the unit of Assault Centurions aren’t good… it’s that very little compares to the raw power of spamming Grav weaponry – due to the re-roll mechanics in the game, Grav is one of the most reliable ways of killing… well… anything. So, why would you ever choose not to include as much of it as you possibly could? Unfortunately, from a power-gaming perspective, there isn’t an answer to that question – Grav will do pretty much anything you need it to and more… That fact will keep the Assault Centurions on the shelf (or probably never even built) until something fundamental in the Space Marine Codex changes.
I think there is a place for Assault Centurions, but you have to willing to accept the fact that they aren’t Grav-Devastators and the don’t have the same pants-crapping power that they do in the shooting phase… however, TL Meltaguns and Str 10 AP 2 Attacks are incredibly scary, you just have to be bold with them, shove them up your opponents nose and make them deal with that unit immediately – Assault Centurions are a hyper-aggressive unit that need can really put a damper on your opponent’s day. Give them a try! You might be surprised!
Scuba Steve – Signing Out
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