Shadowspear Focus: Vanguard Rules

Yesterday, we took a look at some of the Daemonkin rules from Warhammer 40,000: Shadowspear, and today it’s the turn of the elite covert specialists known as Vanguard Space Marines…

This article was originally published on the Warhammer-community site.


First up, let’s deal with the obvious point – as you would expect for a unit named for the art of infiltration, these guys aren’t limited to their deployment zone when it comes to setting up.

As Troops choices, Infiltrators in Battle-forged armies are great for contesting objectives in neutral or enemy territory early in the game due to their ability to trump non-Troops units for control. From their forward positions, they’ll make excellent use of the beta Bolter Discipline rules to unleash intense firepower with their marksman bolt carbines.

Once in place, Infiltrators will be hard to shift (especially if you set them up them in cover), as they can be healed or revived by the squad’s Helix Adept. They can also confound the aim of enemy units once per battle with smoke grenades.


These guys are your dedicated Primaris snipers but with their firepower dialled up to 11 thanks to the genius of Belisarius Cawl. Of of the greatest strength of Eliminators lies in the flexibility offered by the specialist ammunition they can fire from their bolt sniper rifles, though they also share the Concealed Position ability of the Infiltrators and wear camo cloaks to help make the most of cover.


If you crossed Inceptors with Devastators, you’d probably end up with something like Suppressors. They can use their jump packs to leap forward and claim the best firing positions or, even better, use grav chutes to drop right on top of them! Once in position, they can rain heavy firepower onto their targets with their accelerator autocannons. In addition to an extra point of AP over standard autocannons, they enable the Suppressors to lay down withering suppressive fire (it’s kinda their thing – hence the name!) that leaves their victims wide open to a follow-up assault from Reivers or other melee specialists – here’s looking at you, Wulfen!

Lieutenant in Phobos Armour

In addition to the Tactical Precision ability shared by all Space Marine Lieutenants, Phobos-armoured Vanguard Lieutenants can deploy via grav-chute and gun down their foes with a master-crafted occulus bolt carbine. They’re the perfect addition to any army looking to make use of stealth or massed drop assaults.

Captain in Phobos Armour

As a Vanguard commander, a Captain in Phobos armour exemplifies the qualities of his warriors. Not only can he be set up in a concealed position, but he wears a camo cloak and is also equipped with an omni-scrambler on his backpack – a handy piece of wargear that is also shared by the Infiltrators. If you’re looking to create a forward firebase of these stealthy troopers, never leave home without one of these guys to lead them.

Librarian in Phobos Armour

Vanguard Librarians are clad in camo cloaks for a hefty boost to their saving throws while in cover. In addition to their psychic hoods and ability to deploy in concealed positions, Librarians in Phobos Armour are highly trained in the psychic art of Obscuration. These powers unlock a whole new range of tactical opportunities, such as Scryer’s Gaze, which has devastating potential when combined with the marksman bolt carbines of the Infiltrators.

Shrouding has the ability to throw your opponent’s battleplans right out the window by denying them the freedom to shoot at their target of choice.

The clandestine skills of Vanguard Warlords can be further enhanced with the addition of a bespoke set of Warlord Traits. One nasty combination is to give your Vanguard Captain or Lieutenant the Target Priority trait, stacking the bonus to a friendly unit’s hit rolls with your Warlord’s aura ability to re-roll 1s to hit or wound.

If you thought that confounding opponents during set-up was exclusively the domain of the Genestealer Cults, think again – check out the Princeps of Deceit Warlord Trait.

If you’re as excited as we are to get your hands on some Vanguard goodies, you won’t have long to wait – Warhammer 40,000: Shadowspear is up for pre-order this Saturday! What’s more, all of these new units can join armies hailing from any of the First Founding or successor Chapters, so you’ll soon be able to add these powerful new weapons to your arsenal.

Tomorrow, we’ll be discussing how you can expand the contents of your Shadowspear battlebox into full-on matched play armies, so be sure to check back then. In the meantime, now that you’ve had a glimpse of the rules for all the units in the set, let us know which units you’re most looking forward to adding to your army on the Warhammer 40,000 Facebook page.


And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!



About Reecius

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

7 Responses to “Shadowspear Focus: Vanguard Rules”

  1. Dakkath March 7, 2019 7:24 pm #

    These are some awesome models and rules, but don’t marines have ENOUGH stuff already?

    • WestRider March 8, 2019 3:33 am #

      I must admit, it’s a bit annoying that they errata’ed away almost all of the “Infiltrate” type abilities in the game, and then hand out an arguably stronger version to a whole pile of Units from just one Faction.

      • abusepuppy March 8, 2019 5:48 am #

        They errata’d it away because it was a problem when 40 Cultists, or 15 Electropriests, or 6 Kastellans did it; it is not a problem when 5 Scouts or a single Librarian does it.

        (Also, there are multiple other factions that have units with that ability- it is in no way unique to Space Marines, even if you count BA/DA as being part of them.)

        • CWDub March 8, 2019 7:10 am #

          Very good point Sean. We also saw the Stygies strategem changed to a pre-game movement be wildly successful at the LVO.

          I’m a little cranky at the Primaris Infiltrators getting a 12″ deny bubble as I play GSC. Not so much that Primaris get something good (god Mono SM need it bad), but I know I’ll be facing them in my buddy’s IG/imperial soup list to deny all the deep strikes.

          • Reecius March 8, 2019 7:59 am

            The thing with Vanguard too, is that they’re not cheap and don’t hit that hard so they’re more of a utility force, IMO. They’re not ultra resilient either, so it’s not overly hard to clear them out but, they can be mega useful.

        • WestRider March 8, 2019 1:17 pm #

          I guess in part it bugs me because I’ve been really into GSC, and this looks like it could give SM the ability to pretty much shut down the Reserves shenanigans that the Army runs on.

          The only other Faction I can think of that can get out in midfield during Deployment is Nurgle Daemons. Who am I forgetting?

  2. red3_standingby March 8, 2019 9:31 am #

    Please, let me use these with Deathwatch. I already want to replace my intercessors with the infiltrator models.

    The concealed positions ability is a real game changer for anyone who lacks access to regular scouts (looking at you, Space Wolves).

    Eliminators and the Librarian look like wins so far. Assuming the eliminators have cammo cloaks, and that they function as normal, then they’ll have 1+ saves in cover. The librarian is good for anyone who appreciates forward operating characters, e.g. some guy playing Deathwatch looking to (ab)use the Beacon Angelis.

Leave a Reply