So if you find yourself in a radioactive fallout shelter and don’t know what unit I’m referring to, it’s the Company Veterans. These are the main players in the Vigilus Sword Brethren Detachment that is specific to the Black Templars. You can see the rules on my previous post, so I am not going to relist them verbatim. In essence, this unit choice, among others, are subject to a big upgrade in close combat and durability. Couple those strategems with a 2 point reduction and a point reduction in some key wargear choices (I am looking at you Storm Shields), you have a near must-take for all of our lists.
Why, you may ask? Because of their versatility, especially when “led” by High Marshal Helbrecht and his aura abilities. The two units feed off of each other immeasurably well and turn what was a middling unit into a close combat powerhouse. Helbrecht gives the Vets +1 Str and rerolls in to hit. The Vets "eat" wounds for Helbrecht (or any other character). Add your strategems and you turn the unit into a durable meat grinder. Likewise, you can equip them with longer range weaponry like storm bolters to put out stupid amounts of firepower for next to nothing. Give them storm shields and they also act as great bubblewrap units for you. Or even chump assault units against opponent's heavier units. Those units will grind to a halt for at least a turn while they are trying to push through our 90-point unit with 3++ and FNP.
So the Company Veterans are good. How do I arm them? I am of the opinion that there is two really competitive options, but others might come up over time. The first one, and I would guess will be the most popular, is the 5-man Power Sword and Storm Shield setup. This wargear alignment depends on you having Helbrecht within aura range, as it brings our power swords to strength 5, which gives us a 3+ to wound against most models. In addition, it has superior AP than its counter-parts, allowing us to take down more elite units. The storm shields should be obvious here...for 2 points, you don't have to worry about not getting our armor saves. Out of the box, this gives you 11 power sword attacks at str 5, with rerolls to hit. That means, against MEQ, you'll generate 5.4 unsaved wounds a turn. Not too shabby, especially when you add in Helbrecht's wounds. If you pop our new 2CP strategem, you'll do 10.5 unsaved wounds against MEQ. That is some ridiculous efficiency for a 100 point unit. These guys need a good delivery option and only two come to mind as being reliable. Drop Pod (preference) and Stormraven. The pod will drop in when you want it to and get your units to that sweet spot of 9" from your enemy. The Stormraven is dramatically more expensive and will see more incoming fire prior to dropping its precious cargo. But you get more weaponry to go with that. I prefer the reliability of the drop pod, especially since its only 65 points now after CA 2018 dropped.
The other wargear option? Storm Bolters and Storm Shields. For 90 points, you get a durable unit that is putting out 20 Str 4 shots at 12". Hell yeah I'll take that all day. Another benefit is that you still have reasonable close combat ability and with your storm shield, and as mentioned earlier in the article you can hold up enemy units there for at least a turn. This allows you to utilize these squads on foot to protect valuable units in your list or in the middle of the board to create a "speed-bump" of sorts. Obviously, there are only 5 wounds in the unit, but those wounds come with a package cost of 90 points. That makes the unit a perfect throwaway unit for your opponent's rock units. These guys are perfectly okay walking, but you can also combine them with Laser-back transportation for duality.
For additional funsies, add in Company Ancients to your close combat oriented Vets. Since you will likely take wounds in some fashion to the Vets, whether by your opponent or eating wounds from your characters, he will allow that model to make an additional attack. He is no slouch in close combat either.
Its been a long time, but we finally have units that are extremely competitive and fulfill our every desire in close combat. Let me tell you, it has been entirely overdue. So let's see some Vets hit the table and let me know how they are working for you!