image from GW
Why is this very expensive, very fragile, very shooty unit of death my must have?
- Making big, scary armoured threats disappear on turn one before they can hurt me. Three close range melta gun shots to the rear or side armour makes any tank go boom.
- I can combat squad these guys into a melta squad and heavy flamer squad, meaning I can pop a transport with the melta and then hose down the squishy soldiers inside or assault them with a power fist.
- After the initial strike (ideally on something expensive and / or valuable to my opponent) he has the option to ignore the 10 marines with special issue ammo, a power fist, and heavy flamer hanging out on his back line or he can waste a turn of shooting trying to get rid of them. If he goes for option A, I get another round of shooting or assault with the Sternguard for free. If he takes option B, I get another round of movement and shooting with the rest of my army for free. Sounds good to me.
- Psychology. My first strike hits something important before it ever gets to do anything and then my opponent has to deal with a very dangerous unit in his back line. Those are big changes to his plans very early on that will hopefully throw him off his game.
- How awesome are the Sternguard models!
- They die like normal marines and are unsupported. A single squad of marines will very rarely last a round of shooting from an entire army. Their job is sort of suicide attack squad, but it would be nice to get to use them in the late game too.
- They're expensive. When it's all said and done, the squad costs about 33 points per marine. Those are a lot of point to lose on the first turn. Hopefully they're making them back between the first strike and their worth as a distraction.
- They're suddenly less useful if your opponent reserves everything. Being the only Drop Pod in my army this squad is guaranteed to come down first turn. If there isn't anything worth striking at they're suddenly a very expensive, short ranged unit that is walking across the board.