With the arrival of N4 we see another significant change to Vanguard. So far, the consensus seems to be that even with this change (and the previous point reduction in N3) Vanguard still aren't worth fielding, except as link fillers and Paramedics. Can Vanguard ever find a place in MAF and Combined Army? I wondered this in both N2 and N3, and now more than ever I think the answer is (mostly) no. At least in their present state. I think Vanguard suffer from a few problems: - At 14 points they just aren't cheap enough to be attractive as order generators in the same way Fusiliers, Moderators or other line infantry are. - Their added benefits over Line Infantry from other factions (bonus CC, PH, BTS, Veteran and Heavy Pistols) don't actually add up to anything very useful for the additional cost. A 14 point Vanguard is certainly better than a 10 point Aguacile, but you're not going to really do more with it. - In N4's Tactical Window we're likely always better off investing in more expensive troops than "cheap" cheerleaders. - In Combined Army the Vanguard competes with the Nox and Unidron (who also both share these problems). In both CA and MAF the Vanguard competes with the excellent Daturazi (and too a lesser extent, the Krakot), who brings so much more to the table for the same cost. Of course, the Vanguard does have strengths. In MAF they are our cheapest Combi Rifle, and our cheapest Paramedic. They can fill space in a link with a Suryat, Kornak, Anyat or a Raktorak (or all 4). They can take a K1 Sniper Rifle and a Grenade Launcher, two weapons otherwise unavailable in our sectorial. But thats pretty much it. Something I've noticed in my own games is that Line Infantry is playing less and less of a role than ever before. At least in some armies. In N1 Line Infantry was important for generating orders, setting up ARO, discovering and bringing useful or cheap skills and weapons to the field. As the game has grown most of those capabilities have found their way to other units. In N2 and early in N3 I saw a lot of Line Infantry Fireteams, but by mid N3 these had mostly disappeared, and in late N3 Line Infantry were mostly showing up as filler in mixed Fireteams or as one off specialists. This trend seems to be continuing in N4, at least for most armies. Certainly for MAF. What to do with Vanguard has been a constant question for MAF and Combined Army players for over 10 years. Now more than ever it seems like Vanguard really just don't have a place. With the N3 point reduction (lowering them from 16 points to a manageable 14) and the N4 addition of CC, BTS and Heavy Pistols I don't think Vanguard can ever get any cheaper. At the same time, I don't think anything else can be crammed into their profile if they're to remain at 14 points. But... I think it may be time to end the idea that Vanguard need to be cheap Line Infantry. They've never been cheap, and that goal has only held them back from being useful. (Before I go on, let me say that I'm not expecting any change to vanguard any time soon. perhaps not even for the rest of this addition. I just thought this would be a fun topic to discuss). Looking at MAF right now, there's a distinct lack of Morat profiles in the 15-19 point range. In that range we only have our "warbands": Oznats, 2 Krakot profiles and the more expensive Daturazi (This price range used to include the cheapest Kurgat). What if Vanguard returned to their original 16 point price? Or even 17? - At 16-17 points base a Vanguard would still be a good cheap option for a link filler (compared to the 22 point Raktorak). - At 16-17 points a Vanguard wouldn't be very attractive as a cheap cheerleader, but we're already not using them in that role anyway. And if we want a 14 point cheerleader, Daturazi are so much better. - At 16-17 points base a solo Vanguard is still a viable solo Specialist. 2-3 points more for a Paramedic or Hacker isn't a huge deal (if they're also bringing 2-3 points worth of extra benefits). So here's the question I'm interested in discussing with you: If Vanguard increased by +2 or +3 points, what could they be given that would make them attractive? What role could they fill in MAF, both as solo units and a Fireteam? What role could they fill in CA? What would you give Vanguard for the cost of 2-3 points? More ARM? Better BS? BS (+1 Damage)? BS (Shock)? Move 6-2? Grenades? Dogged? Light Flamethrowers? Haris? Some combination of that? Something else? Would any of those additions help the Vanguard to stand out and be worthwhile as both solo pieces and a Fireteam? Or are Vanguard fine how they are? Or are they a lost cause? Here's some random ideas (I have no idea about appropriate point costs): 17 points: +1 ARM, Dogged. This would allow Vanguard to become very tough and durable. An opponent would have to put extra effort into killing a Vanguard. Let the vanguard be as tough and stubborn as he looks. 16 points: Grenades and Light Flamethrowers. Give the Vanguard a good weapon option for any engagement. Morats are traditionally over armed anyway. 16 points: Move 6-2, Haris. Let Vanguard be mobile infantry, living up to their name. let them take small independent fireteams loaded with specialists or special weapons for ARO, sniper or strike duty. 16 points: BS (+1 Damage). Let Vanguard hit hard with their classic weapons. Morats are known for their brutal and indiscriminate firepower. Let the Vanguard have an Ammo Holiday!