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Bladeguard Ancient analysis


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#1
Karhedron

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Most people regard the BG Ancient as a pretty poor choice. He carries negligible weaponry of his own and uses a valuable elite slot. His main aura also only buffs BGVs.

Having listed his shortcomings, I want to have a look at what he CAN do so as to work out where he might have mileage. The Ancient costs roughly as much as 2 BGVs and has minimal damage output of his own. 2 BGVS get 6 attacks (8 on the charge) hitting on 3s before buffs and Chapter bonuses. So the question then becomes, how many BGVs would the Ancient need to buff before it becomes better value than just buying 2 more BGVs?

6 attacks will generate 4 hits with most Chapters. A +1 to-Hit bonus will generate 1 extra hit for every 6 attacks on average so you will need to be buffing 24 attacks for the Ancient to break even. This means an Ancient would need to have 8 BGVs in their aura for the buffs to equal 2 extra models in the squad. So the ancient will only be superior if you are running 2 5-man squads or more.

So it looks like the wisdom of the Internet is spot on. It is hard to get enough BGVs into the Ancient's aura to be worthwhile and once you start taking casualties, you would quickly end up being better off with more bodies. The Ancient's value falls even further in Chapters like Space Wolves and Dark Angels as the bonus does not stack with their Chapter Traits. Sadly it looks like the best thing for this guy is conversion fodder.

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Can anyone think of any possible use cases I have failed to consider? Do any Chapters have Relic banners that make this guy competitive (moreso than other Ancients)?

Edited by Karhedron, 21 November 2021 - 10:24 PM.

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Sanguinius stood up, stretching his wings to their full extent. He flexed his hands. "I need no blade".
It was as though Sanguinius gleamed with pale light, his face white, eyes becoming blood-red, surrounded by the golden crown of flowing hair. Guilliman had witnessed glimpses of of his brother's wrath before, but had never seen the true Blood Angel unleashed. Sanguinius surged forward on alabaster wings, half a meter from the floor, whiteness streaming from him like flames.

#2
XeonDragon

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Great analysis. I think what is overlooked is the fight or shoot on death ability. Basically, on a 4+ a BGV can fight again before it dies. Now, BGV shooting isn't great, so popping a pistol shot isn't much. However, if we take your example of 2 x 5 units of BGV that are in melee range, then it is something. 

 

As you noted, BGV is most chapters get 4 attacks on the charge or when charged. In a case where they are charged, then if a model is killed it gets to fight 'as if it were the Fight phase. After resolving these attacks' on that 4+. So, if 2 BGV were killed, chances are at least one 4+ will be rolled meaning one model can swing 4 times at the 2+ WS thanks to the BG Ancient. 

 

So, in a short-hand type of way, basically a unit will get 50% of its usual (improved) melee attacks upon death. So, in a worst case scenario, if a unit was charged and wiped out entirely, that 5 man unit will probably get around 8 attacks back where as without the BG Ancient they would have gotten nothing. 

 

So I think whilst yes, you need 8 BGVs to make the offensive buff equal to the output of two extra BGV, he also improve the defensive output of BGV, and, at least in my view, way make opponents even more wary of charging them (because even if you wipe most or all of the out, you are likely to get hit back a least a little bit). So that might mean a savvy opponent devotes more firepower to them than otherwise, allowing other units to live longer.

 

Not sure how to quantify that defensive effect, but something to consider for sure. 



#3
Oxydo

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Great analysis. I think what is overlooked is the fight or shoot on death ability. Basically, on a 4+ a BGV can fight again before it dies. Now, BGV shooting isn't great, so popping a pistol shot isn't much. However, if we take your example of 2 x 5 units of BGV that are in melee range, then it is something. 
 
As you noted, BGV is most chapters get 4 attacks on the charge or when charged. In a case where they are charged, then if a model is killed it gets to fight 'as if it were the Fight phase. After resolving these attacks' on that 4+. So, if 2 BGV were killed, chances are at least one 4+ will be rolled meaning one model can swing 4 times at the 2+ WS thanks to the BG Ancient. 
 
So, in a short-hand type of way, basically a unit will get 50% of its usual (improved) melee attacks upon death. So, in a worst case scenario, if a unit was charged and wiped out entirely, that 5 man unit will probably get around 8 attacks back where as without the BG Ancient they would have gotten nothing. 
 
So I think whilst yes, you need 8 BGVs to make the offensive buff equal to the output of two extra BGV, he also improve the defensive output of BGV, and, at least in my view, way make opponents even more wary of charging them (because even if you wipe most or all of the out, you are likely to get hit back a least a little bit). So that might mean a savvy opponent devotes more firepower to them than otherwise, allowing other units to live longer.
 
Not sure how to quantify that defensive effect, but something to consider for sure.


Unfortunately the Banner only allows the model to make one attack with one of its weapons, not all of their attacks, so you're basically getting 0.5 attacks per dead BG.
I could potentially see a use for the BG Ancient if you're already planning on taking an Ancient and are running BG because he's not that much more expensive(5-10 pts) than the Primaris and Company Ancient.

Edited by Oxydo, 21 November 2021 - 11:31 PM.

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#4
XeonDragon

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Huh... interesting. Dr google appears to suggest you are correct, one melee attack only with one weapon (and some confusion about if the weapon gives an extra attack, does that mean 2 swings with a chainsword?). I've seen some TOs rule that they (in essence) get to fight again. Good to know, and yes, an extra 2 or 3 attacks from the death of an entire squad doesn't really seem to make it worthwhile! 

 

Now, on assault hellblasters on the other hand.... 



#5
Lord_Ikka

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For me, since I play Ultras and can take the Standard of Macragge Inviolate, the Bladeguard Ancient works pretty well. Getting the +1 to hit and +1 Attack for my Bladeguard make them nastier in combat and more effective than just two extra Bladeguard models.


Edited by Lord_Ikka, 22 November 2021 - 01:24 AM.

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#6
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#7
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I run Born Heroes + Hungry for Battle, so he's not great for me.


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#8
Rik Lightstar

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The White Scars Relic "The Banner of the Eagle" for +1 Strength is also a pretty good shout especially if you're in Assault Doctrine WS 2+ S 6 AP -4 D3 attacks are gonna lay the hurt on most things.

 

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#9
dice4thedicegod

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I can see him being usable in dark angels… giving a blade guard or deathwing unit a -1 damage buff for a turn is pretty nice. (By using a relic slot) (but might be better just using a deathwing ancient)

Edited by dice4thedicegod, 26 November 2021 - 05:40 PM.

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#10
Karhedron

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Agreed, the Deathwing ancient comes with decent weaponry and an Invulnerable save.

That highlights my real problem with the BG Ancient. For every use I can think of for him, there is usually a better option.
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Sanguinius stood up, stretching his wings to their full extent. He flexed his hands. "I need no blade".
It was as though Sanguinius gleamed with pale light, his face white, eyes becoming blood-red, surrounded by the golden crown of flowing hair. Guilliman had witnessed glimpses of of his brother's wrath before, but had never seen the true Blood Angel unleashed. Sanguinius surged forward on alabaster wings, half a meter from the floor, whiteness streaming from him like flames.

#11
phandaal

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Bladeguard Ancient is better than Deathwing Ancient for one thing - it is 15 points cheaper.

If you want to include that Pennant of Remembrance but you can't spare the extra points for a Terminator, Bladeguard Ancient is your huckleberry.

He also has an extra inch of movement over the standard Deathwing Ancient.
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#12
CCE1981

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Though the Terminator Ancient can Teleport and has a better armor save, melee, and ranged weapon. Plus has weapon options depending on Chapter.
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#13
Black Blow Fly

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The terminator ancient is the best.


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#14
phandaal

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The terminator ancient is the best.

 

Pretty much, aside from the edge case where you want a Pennant of Remembrance for the absolute cheapest price and do not care what else comes with it.


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#15
Angel of Solitude

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The terminator ancient is the best.

 

Pretty much, aside from the edge case where you want a Pennant of Remembrance for the absolute cheapest price and do not care what else comes with it.

 

 

For Dark Angels, this is pretty much it. 

 

15 points is the difference between having 3 Terminators with lighting claws, and 3 Terminators having a Storm Bolter and Power Fist - or even 1 Storm Bolter/Power First and 1 Thunder hammer and Storm Shield. 

 

Yes, the Bladeguard has no effective melee, no Invuln and no teleport ability, but playing as Deathwing I usually start them on the board so don't need teleport, and when you're a CHARACTER surrounded by durable Deathwing termies supported by an Apothecary, I'm not concerned by the lack of invuln. 


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#16
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Does upgrading him to a chapter ancient change the equation much? ObSec aura WL trait and +1 to hit targeted at a core unit.

#17
Xenith

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The cost of a model to boost other models is generally not worth it, and we see this in a lot of other armies - tyranids in particular. The Warrior Prime's +1 to hit also needs something like 6 models, or 6 units worth for it to break even. In these examples, edge cases it might be worth it: where a unit has reached it's max size and you feasably cannot field more of them. An Infernal Master is also something like this, where the +1 Strength to a scarab occults weapons is the equivalent of 1.3 unboosted terminators. If you have a 5 man unit, adding 1 more model is more efficient than the master, but if you have a 10 man unit, you cannot add more models so the master might be worth it.

 

In the case of the ancient though, he suffers more as he's not the only source of to hit bonuses in the SM army. A chaplain, for example, costs less and outclasses the ancient in almost every way. Bettter melee, reroll to hit vs +1 to hit, Ld boost, can have another litany etc. Similarly, a chapter master or captain can give great to hit boosts for not much more. For terminators, just use fury of the first. 


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#18
Xenith

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As an addendum, I think this is truly an area in which 40K should have followed AOS and had these special models be a unit upgrade. As a solo character, the BGA will see zero use, but the +1 to hit and ancient banner ability as a 15pt upgrade to a unit would be nearly an auto take, and much more representative of the actual value of the ability. GW maybe has gotten better with that recently - the Tyranid Warrior Bioweapon bond is basically a +1 to hit upgrade to the unit (that can be passed to any other unit) and costs 15pts. 


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#19
Plague _Lord

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The cost of a model to boost other models is generally not worth it, and we see this in a lot of other armies - tyranids in particular. The Warrior Prime's +1 to hit also needs something like 6 models, or 6 units worth for it to break even. In these examples, edge cases it might be worth it: where a unit has reached it's max size and you feasably cannot field more of them. An Infernal Master is also something like this, where the +1 Strength to a scarab occults weapons is the equivalent of 1.3 unboosted terminators. If you have a 5 man unit, adding 1 more model is more efficient than the master, but if you have a 10 man unit, you cannot add more models so the master might be worth it.

 

In the case of the ancient though, he suffers more as he's not the only source of to hit bonuses in the SM army. A chaplain, for example, costs less and outclasses the ancient in almost every way. Bettter melee, reroll to hit vs +1 to hit, Ld boost, can have another litany etc. Similarly, a chapter master or captain can give great to hit boosts for not much more. For terminators, just use fury of the first. 

 

I think that the infernal master is a bad example as he is actually a good relic caddy and can be better in both combat and additional buffing via psychic powers. But yeah, you have the gist of it. There are moment's though when adding that extra model is counter productive - i.e. going from unit size 5 to 6 on an elite unit and giving enemy heavy fire (most artillery, battlecannons and so on) the lower level blast shot guaratee. 

 

As for the bladeguard ancient -  he has an amazing model and I want to use him, but he just A) costs way too much, B) is useless in combat, c) has a lucklustre ability. I mean you probably want to use him with bladeguard, but he only really gives them 1 pistol and 1 melee attack back, which just isn't worth it. So you stick him near something shooty that actually can do something usefull on death - eradicators, hellblasters...

 

Now all GW has to do is:

A) Let the regular ancients have the rule as is and give the bladeguard ancient a rule that procs full melee attacks on death - this make him usefull.

B) More Relic banners - I don't get why the BT didn't get a relic banner.

C) Lower the points cost - if he stays as is, then I would pay 60points max. If he let's melee units use full attacks after death then he should be around 70-80points

 

For the time being I'm cutting him from my list and going for either another chaplain or and extra unit of intercessors to hold objectives.


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#20
TheUnlikelygamer

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I like using him in my space wolf successors with whirlwind of rage. I take two 5 man squads BGV at a minimum and they really capitalize on his +2 to hit with their double exploding 6s. I’ve given him steadfast example and made the BGV obsec. I’ve had success with them and he prevents me fr needing to take born heroes and allows me to explore other options for a second tactic.
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#21
Schlitzaf

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Here whag should have been done quite simply:
He Needed A CoolWeapon. If he had a MasterSword (and maybe even a Shield). Him + Full Squad of BGV almost points efficiench kn terms of raw output at 85. Make him 60. Then we are talking. He still eats an elite slot. So its mot like he is costless here. My 2 cents.
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#22
Jorin Helm-splitter

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Bladeguard Ancients are really awkward. I think giving them the regular Astartes banner rules was a mistake, because it's a big enough buff that the unit should cost more but at the same time maximizing it means that the unit is probably sticking around your shooting units rather than hanging out with your blade guard. I think if they had some other buff, you could give BGV in addition to the extra attack it would make more sense. Maybe letting you pick one option at the start of the game, between re-roll charges (or a flat charge boost), fnp, or even in making BGV Obsec would justify the cost. Otherwise, I think your better off going with either an Apothecary or Judicar you can still give both of those units warlord traits and they have a pretty big impact.


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#23
Dracos

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Why they didn’t give the Bladeguard Ancient , a blade , I’ll never understand. At least give the old boy a storm shield and make the top of the banner pole into a Glaive for Emperor sake.
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#24
chapter master 454

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I think if you made him cheaper and for every BGV squad you have with 6 models in it, he doesn't take an elites slot. Bit of a push but to be honest he has been made so niche he ether becomes just another Primaris Ancient with a different model (not a bad thing, nice to have variety) or he is something you get for committing to building your army a certain way and might actually get people to include the 6th BGV in a squad.

 

Also, it does need changed to being a full fight instead of just 1 melee attack. These guys are supposed to be melee chompers and this banner is meant to be the "you can't hide behind the best armour of never getting hit by killing us before we attack", I mean they already take a bit of a beating from range as it is ether with storm shields and to my knowledge are the only reason impulsors are good transports! (otherwise they have little of value to transport since phobos units tend to have their own means of getting into position).


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#25
tychobi

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I kinda like how primaris vets get their guns taken away. Then their leader gets his sword taken away. Cawl must not like veterans. I would have stolen an inceptor jump pack and a hellblaster carbine and been useful ancient rather than beg for a ride in a non hovering hover tank. . . . The few the proud the i have to hike into a gunfight with a big flag? Missed opportunity pales to my total immersion break. Even Ultramarines arnt that dumb

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