The Legion of the Damned is a unique unit to the Space Marine codex, and it is almost never used by players because of both its high point and financial cost. I think this is a shame because they offer a marine player more options than otherwise. They come with a bucket of handy special rules: relentless, reroll the deep strike, invulnerable saves, fearless. They even have an extra pip of Attack each without needing a second close combat weapon. Lastly, their sculpts are all AMAZING. They are such beautiful marines to drop onto the table (not literally! eek!).
Slow and Purposeful, have to arrive via Deep Strike.
They are all metal models? High point cost.
To many, they are simply a glorified Tactical squad that are prohibitively costed. Well sure when you look at the end result, but sometimes you have to think outside the box. For instance, take into account some of their special rules. Being able to deepstrike, for a Tactical Squad, means to buy a drop pod. This also means another KP to give to your enemy. That 3+ inv save? That's the equivalent of a storm shield on each dude.
Take my squad of dudes:
10 Legion - plasma pistol, power axe, flamer, multi-melta (385 points)
This is the second most expensive way to equip them; the most expensive is to swap a power weapon for a power fist, bringing it up to 395. Still, when you start to factor in bonuses it doesn't seem half bad. Take the standard costs listed in units and subtract them from the total (drop pods and storm shields are easily found):
385 - 35 (drop pod) - 150 (storm shields) = 200
This is then the equivalent of a basic Tactical Squad with sergeant upgrades. How about that, the flamer and multi-melta (despite looking crazy points) are actually free! Not only that, but you still get Fearless, Relentless, reroll the scatter, and an extra attack for free too (oh, and the sergeant is WS 5 too)! The happy is off-set by two things though (three, if you count Fearless as a negative): Slow and Purposeful and the fact they don't have Combat Tactics to be swapped out or used. These can be a downer, but if you find you rarely use Combat Tactics (and as an Ultramarines player you shouldn't have any alternative Chapter Tactics to lose anyway ) then it's not a big loss. All in all, the points are truly not as high when think of it this way; you've just taken all the pimp upgrades (that a Tactical squad can't take) as part of their base cost.
Their closest equivalent, the oft used hammernators, cost more and have no ranged weapons while getting a better armor save and more smashface in close combat. I think I prefer to be able to meltface at 25-30" every turn instead.
Putting them to Use
So far I've played against the following armies with them: Imperial Guard x2, Chaos Space Marines, Space Marines, Space Wolves, and Dark Eldar. The game they have been least effective in was against the Chaos Marines (see the battle report vs them and the DE and SW here), and most effective against Imperial Guard. Arriving on the second turn they proceeded to, in the following order: meltakill a Banewolf, a Leman Russ, assault and wipe Ratlings holding an objective building (it was Cities of Death), then meltakill a speeding Vendetta and wipe out the carried squad in close combat. 5 unit kills, 5 turns. Then, with still 5 members left they held the building to win the game.
I use them as a hard-to-remove mass of bodies and bolters that will always do their job. They will never abandon their objective and hold it til the end. In objective games they're always landing on or near the enemy's, with support if necessary (it usually isn't). The Legion can land in terrain with little to no fear, for if you fail the 2+ (statistically low) then you still get a 3+ to avoid a messy end. They can also stomp through it without penalty, as they are already Slow and Purposeful, though as a side affect you'll usually always want to land near their endgame target because they are sometimes so slow.
They can be used to contest and tarpit and stand happily in the open in the face of battle cannons, due to their 3+ inv save. Rampaging carnifexes and daemon princes are often brought low or stopped in their tracks. Being able to shoot to full effectiveness all the time gives them so many more options; rapid fire and assault, ping lightly armored targets farther away, simply assault with the effectiveness of an assault squad, etc. They are what a Tactical Squad should be, in my opinion; the true Swiss Army bolter that can take on any opponent (well, not walkers or Wraithlords in combat). Just remember, you can't make them fall back on a whim and weight of fire will kill them as easily as Tactical Marines.
For my squad, the Flamer has come in handy all of twice...as in I've shot it only twice haha. Preferably, I'd like to have a Plasma Gun. I think a Plasma Gun would have been more helpful in all my games against MEQ armies than the flamer, as well as against the Dark Eldar. It has a nice range that matches the rest of the unit's weapons, allowing them to potentially wreck any vehicle while on the move. The flamer is quite useful against horde-like units of course. It's really up to the user's preferences, and of course there is no plasma gun model yet for the Legion...I really hope they make the rest of the special weapons but we'll see.
The Multi-melta is a true winner. Slagging tanks on the move is so awesome, and extremely useful in any situation. It also cuts through any infantry too, though only one at a time.
Giving the sergeant special weapons is important too, allowing them to do assault most lighter fair and coming out on top.
The Legion of the Damned takes a little getting used to and usually works independently of the rest of your forces, but then the abilities they have allow them to do so without much trouble. In almost every single game they've given me the victory where a different unit would not have been able. They do have their drawbacks, but to me they are nothing compared to what they have to give in return.
Edited by Seahawk, 02 June 2011 - 05:31 AM.