Here's the link to my last article, about Death Company. They're somewhat similar to the VV, as far as options go, but play quite a bit different. Feel free to take a look :)
Vanguard are expensive. Let's just get that one over with right now. They have good potential for a Blood Angels army, and have lots and lots of options, but you pay out the bum for those options. The base unit expense isn't a whole lot, but at the same time, if you were to take that unit without upgrades, it wouldn't be cost-efficient by anyone's definition.
Alright, so let's take a look at the options that are actually good. Power weapons of all types are available, as well as storm shields, melta bombs, and... jump packs. In other words, enough to make this unit far too expensive to actually be viable. But also enough to give the unit the tools needed to be able to do the job and make them actually worth taking.
First, I'd like to point to the idea that taking mostly power weapons is the incorrect approach. Mixing power weapons with regular weapons only results in one thing: wound allocation shenanigans from your opponent. Even if you cause enough power wounds at a single Initiative to kill off an entire squad, a single wound caused that allows a save ensures that the sergeant with power fist is going to get a save. I keep linking this article I've written to help explain it... I don't want to write the same article over and over, but it's something that people get wrong way more often than not. It certainly applies to the VV. If you've already read it, cool, let's move on.
We should ask ourselves: what are the goals for this unit? They're good at assault for sure, and have the ability to accurately deepstrike and assault right after that with power weapons. Though sometimes it should be obvious that this unit is going to be used to penetrate deep into enemy lines, I think that it's fair to say that the unit can be used otherwise with a fair amount of success. One thing for sure though: they certainly want to be used in combat.
Contrary to popular belief however, there are multiple shooty/support units out there that are a little tough for 5 lone unequipped VV to tackle on their own. 15 lootas still get a boatload of attacks, as do 6 longfangs, and even Broadside teams can do some damage if we're not careful. The key is to get rid of the squad in a single round of combat, and not allowing the opponent to react and save their squad/vehicle, etc.
In order to do this and make the unit viable in a take-all-comers list, we must make sure to include things in the squad that will ensure maximum combat efficiency. Let's do a bullet list. Yaaaay! Bullets are fun!
- Fist/Hammer is going to be a must-take. They don't require Furious Charge to make them hit hard, and strike at a different initiative, helping to play 'cleanup'. In addition, they double their role, aiding in the destruction of vehicles when needed.
- Melta bombs for the other members of the squad will help to take out multiple vehicles if you want to try for it.
- A few extra bodies will help ensure enough attacks to kill off horde-type squads (like Lootas) and force them to run away. It also helps to ensure that your fist/hammer won't have to take a save.
- Power weapons are somewhat useless for this squad, due to wound allocation shenanigans. Remember that the target squad is usually going to be pretty small, and you'll generally just kill the sergeant really dead with a single power weapon. Also, for another 10 points, you can kill vehicles better. Usually the squad will benefit more from another fist than 2 power weapons.
Something I see many people doing, which I see as a mistake, is overloading the squad with storm shields, trying to form a mini-deathstar. The thing people need to realize, is that used in the way described above, it doesn't really matter if their squad has SS or not- the squad is pretty likely to die anyways. After all, storm shields only protect against power weapons and AP3 or less. They don't do anything to help against 80 lasguns, or the like. Maybe a single shield can be justified, to help against lone melta guns, but anything more is sort of excessive for a squad that will die next turn anyways.
6x Vanguard Veterans
6x Jump Packs
2x Power Fists
4x Melta Bombs
Total points: 250
OR, if you insist on 2 Vanguard Squads:
10x Vanguard Veterans
10x Jump Pakcs
4x Power Fists
(combat squad them)
Total points: 400
They don't hit as hard, and can't do quite as much, but still have roughly the same ability to kill tanks. Add melta bombs and such as you want- they get expensive in a hurry though. 400 points for a couple disruption units is already steep. Remember that these guys can also be used to simply start on the table with the rest of your forces- they're an expensive unit, but if there isn't a good target, they can at least benefit from FNP and provide a hard-hitting counter-charge. Versatility is good.
Otherwise, they can still take a tranport and be a good counter-charge unit. I'd recommend taking bodies over power weapons, for the same reasons as before. Something like this:
10x Vanguard Veterans
2x Power Fists
Rhino w/ EA, Dozer Blade
I think I'm going to leave it there. Vanguard certainly have different roles than a RAS, in that they can disrupt enemy forces, Alpha Strike when they need to, etc. They're a throw-away squad, and sort of like chess, they trade one unit for another, hoping to get the better end of the bargain. You can tool them up to be good at combat, but beware the expense involved in such an endeavor.
Let me know what you think :)