Sea Guard Current State and Hopeful Changes

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  • Sea Guard Current State and Hopeful Changes

    Sea Guard are in an awkward state of too expensive for what they do with an overload of special rules. The point of this thread is to generate 2-3 suggestions for RT/BLT of what we would like to see out of the Elf Marines. I'll start with a short list for discussion, feel free to add your own.

    The Sea Guard are essentially the "elite" Citizen Spears. For the cost of ~9 points/model, Sea Guard lose fight in extra rank, +1 Def, Bows, Steady Aim, and Cover Volley.
    The +1 Def only comes into play against elite units (Off of 5), making their to hit against the Sea Guard a 4+ (opposed to the 3+ vs Citizen Spears).
    Bows have a 24" range (compared to the Longbow's 30" range), but with a 3+ to hit Sea Guard can still fire effectively out to 24". The shorter range is not a huge downgrade from longbows.
    Steady Aim is handy, making it so that a minimum sized unit of Sea Guard can all fire without having to change formation or stand still, making Sea Guard some the most offensive shooting units, despite their mediocre shooting compared to other shooting units in the Queen's Bows category.
    Cover Volley has to be played around to make full use of it. It can be devastating when it does come into play, but requires clustering units.

    Remove Steady Aim and/or Cover Volley and/or +1 Def.
    The hefty price of Sea Guard is attributed to their special rules, which can have devastating effects in the right situation, but again, situational. Removing one (or both) special rules could drop the price enough to be playable. The +1 Def doesn't contribute much and could be an easy price drop.

    Remove Sea Guard, give Citizen Spears an upgrade option: Must Take, fight in extra rank, free; or take bows (3+), 2(?)/model (max 30ish models).
    Point values and model limits are an educated guess on my part. This suggestion would make "Sea Guard" easier to field by lowering the price and removing the Queen's Bows restriction while still keeping the shootyness of the list in check.

    Reduce the minimum unit size of Sea Guard to 10.
    Half of the Steady Aim special rule (the fire from an extra rank part) only comes into effect if there are more than 10 models in the unit. By reducing the base unit size the pricing could be dropped to 20 per model (200 for the minimum size unit of 10) and then increased to 24 for additional models (making a unit of 15 cost 320, what it currently costs to field Sea Guard) and a max sized unit of 30 would cost 680 (without command), up from 650. Lowering the cost of entry could make running a few small units of Sea Guard more palatable.

    Buff them
    Give Sea Guard an elite statline (Def/Off 5, Str 4, AP 1, Agi 6) and heavy armor, then move them to Special or Queen's Bows and add a model and/or unit limit. Wouldn't fix the issue of them being overpriced, but I would feel more justified taking them as an elite infantry unit as opposed to the Citizen Spears that shoot too.

    I'm not married to any of these ideas. Feel free to modify or add to the list. After some discussion I'll create a poll and narrow down to the top few suggestions.

    The post was edited 2 times, last by KittenHugz ().

  • I kinda feel there's a role for sea guard which moves us away from stand back and shoot. I feel they can (should) be played aggressively: their short range means you might march them up to 10" T1; their spears, more compact formation and extra pip of armour and DWS all mean you can be more confident pushing them up to support an advancing infantry line; and steady aim mitigates their shooting weakness (-1 turn, shorter range/short range). All this feels like they can occupy a niche which archers do not do so well, and this can and should be promoted.

    Their bows aren't going to set the world on fire, but it offers more utility than plain spears - they can shoot at chaff while they zone (or rather hold space), or whittle down threats, or plink at things like manglers etc. I'm still not 100% on whether they're worth it *over* spears, which are cheaper, denser and have extra attachs from FIER, but they feel very mixed arms and for me have everything I want from an elf.

    The only thing I feel they don't really need is cover fire. I think this potentially promotes double units (expensive, can't both have navigators), as well as less aggressive play (as they don't want to be the ones to be charged, whereas actually 3 ranks of S&S without penalty followed by 3 ranks of spears takes a charge relatively well, and I'd want to encourage this). So while the rule sounds fun my suggestion would simply be to remove this one rule and drop the points further. IMO they are *still* overpriced, but I've been playing around with lists and the 2ppm drop (rather than just 1ppm) as well as drop in starting cost makes it *bearable* to consider them. IMO they still need another 1ppm drop (minimum, but lets not kid ourselves they'll get more) and then maybe a further 1ppm drop for losing cover fire. At this price I'd consider taking them instead of archers and/or alongside spears, but I don't think they replace them as archers still remain better dedicated shooters (and it's saying something when 18ppm aim 3 S3 volley shots are considered the best option!) and spears remain the better combat troops - but at this point the hybrid becomes interesting IMO.
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  • Interesting ideas :) .

    First of all, we need to define their role before we think about the actual design.

    My view on this unit is:

    - Defensive combat unit (spears)
    - more elite than citizen spears
    - not a primary shooting unit, more like a specialised shooting option
    - reducing the amount of special rules (max 1)

    So how can we implement this into the game?

    My suggestion (after seeing other ones and drawing ideas from them),

    Sea Guard 300 Points:
    15 models, may add up to 15 additional models for 20 pts/model
    - remove Steady Aim
    - remove Bow(3+)

    - add Heavy Armour
    - add Fight in Extra Rank
    - change Cover Volley,

    Cover Volley
    ONCE during the game, all models in a unit with this special rule can perform a special shooting attack, which hits on an unmodified (3+) with the following profile,

    Range 24", Str4, AP 1, Move or Fire

    I think with DS5+Spears+Heavy Armour, we would create a defensive unit which can last longer in combat and which is still classified as a core unit (only S3 AP1).

    The shooting aspect of this unit is limited to a one-time shooting effect, which is powerful enough to be interesting and worth their points.

    At the same time it creates a counterplay option for your opponent, because Move or Fire allows you to either move out of sight/range or to attack the unit and prevent them from shooting.

    It would create an interesting game situations/decisions, "do I move them?", "should I attack the unit to keep them from shooting?", "should I risk the shooting dmg?" ect.

    So that would be my suggestion ;) .
    Furion about our SeaGuard (V.0.202.0): "I don't expect much of them, and indeed not much have they delivered"
  • how does make it seaguard better to turn them into 10 man armored archers with better stats? it doesnt.

    all the units need to be used aggressively or as hybrid unit is a one time movement without preventing them from shooting. this can be simply done by vanguard, light troops or just change their special rule to something that allows them to shoot after marching without penalties once.

    ferny wrote:

    I feel they can (should) be played aggressively

    ferny wrote:

    The only thing I feel they don't really need is cover fire. I think this potentially promotes double units
    agree they dont need cover fire, shitty and situational rule which you have no control over. (but it does not promoted double units as you can have only one stand and shoot reaction at all times with it)

    KittenHugz wrote:

    Queen's Bows
    they already count towards queens bows... and they need to stay core, they have even less chance in special because they would compete against a very saturated selection of units which already cover EVERYTHING.
  • As ferny said.
    Seaguard has a nice basic package. Shoot in 3 ranks adds up fine to the extra rank delivered by spears for CC. So "best" formation for seaguard is 3 deep. So a starting size of 15 makes sense.
    Volley fire, and even the no stand and shoot penalty rule could be dished to reduce the units costs. There are not many things that will charge head on into spears, and if...the additional st3 stand and shoot will not have impact. Volley fire is very situational from useless to high threat.
    And it is propably priced as if it was dangerous to oponents.

    I think these changes would bring the points down somewhat, and make the seaguard finally a viable option. But one that needs to have a fitting list around it, and not beeing an autotake over archers or spears.
  • I would like to offer a change, too.
    First I don´t think it will help to just strip them off their special rules, but rather twist them to better fit the promoted (agressive) playstyle.
    For this we don´t need steady aim any more, so just get rid of it.
    change Cover Volley to:
    Whenever the Sea guard or any unit within x" (6, 8 or 12) would charge succsesfully, you can _choose_ to perform a free shooting attack on the charged unit once per charge phase. SG gain fae miasma during this attack. If the SG would complete the charge, every model in the unit can shoot instead.
    Now you gain a real offensive option. fae miasma keeps it significant agains high armored targets. alternatively chancel fae miasma, but let every wound count towards combat score.
    the added bonus that every model can shoot is to help the GS getting into melee and not just sit behind and act like archers for the whole game.

    there it is. an agressive version for HbE. to get the bonus you want to get the charges, you need to stay agressive and can´t just sit in your castle. Just what this unit should be
  • So far, I'm picking up that Sea Guard should be more aggressive in their design and most of these suggestions float around removing or significantly altering Cover Volley.

    Suggestions for Cover Volley
    Remove it, potentially replace with more aggressive special rule like Vanguard, Light Troops, Quick to Fire, or some similar special rule.

    Remove Bows, alter Cover Volley to a single fire weapon as per Aegon:

    Aegon wrote:

    Cover Volley
    ONCE during the game, all models in a unit with this special rule can perform a special shooting attack, which hits on an unmodified (3+) with the following profile,

    Range 24", Str4, AP 1, Move or Fire

    As for other suggestions, they mostly look at reducing price for Sea Guard so they aren't Flame Warden price.

    @Calron, I am curious about your suggestion and I had a few questions;

    Calron wrote:

    Whenever the Sea guard or any unit within x" (6, 8 or 12) would charge succsesfully, you can _choose_ to perform a free shooting attack on the charged unit once per charge phase. SG gain fae miasma during this attack. If the SG would complete the charge, every model in the unit can shoot instead.
    First, I'm assuming when you say "any unit" you meant any allied unit.
    Second, so your suggestion kind of gives Sea Guard the Fire on Impact! rule that EoS Reiters have, but with Fae Miasma instead of a stronger attack. So Sea Guard would be trading their str 3 ap 1 spears on the charge for str3 ap0 Fae Miasma.
    I think being able to do this to any unit that is charged by allies within a small range could be extremely strong, but I do like being able to do it on the charge target of the Sea Guard. Maybe something like this:
    Cover Volley
    When a Sea Guard unit successfully completes a charge, all Sea Guard models in the unit able to may fire their bows at initiative step 10. Only the charged unit may be targeted by cover volley.
    Would add a bow attack for each model in a Sea Guard unit when they charge. Much less situational then the current version, would make them more aggressive by rewarding them for charging, and could be a reason to take Sea Guard instead of Spears and/or Archers.
  • @KittenHugz :
    yes ofc allied unit XD
    First i thought about an aditional Bow attack, similar to 40k charging, but on second thought this would be to strong.
    But giving them a fire on impact seems to be a nice alternative, if you make every model attack on charge.
    Adding fae miasma seemed to be a natural fit, as it is already implemented into the Hbe Book and, as I read it, at potend effect
  • Newcomer to HE here with a question:

    I am putting together my first HE army and was intending to put 2 medium (7x3) blocks of Sea Guard in it. It strikes me that this is a unit that is just begging to BE charged, rather than be aggressive and initiate the charge itself. It has 3 ranks of 3+ shooting from a Stand and Shoot reaction (in addition to what a second unit might do with Cover Volley), and their spears have important bonuses they only receive when charged. Because they are compentent shooters, the enemy can't afford to just wait for the SG to charge, so unlike the Citizen Spears you can force the enemy to charge you. I guess my question here is why do all the HE players want a spear-equipped unit to be played aggressively? Is that not what the Highborn Lancers are for?

    Not criticizing the thread, because I am not familiar with this army, but I was genuinely confused/curious.
  • @Vipralisk - I was playing around with sea guard following the recent points drop and the fact that you can fit in 2 blocks of 7x3 FC sea guard with Navigators x1 and Rending x1 for just over core points makes them intriguing. I don't think it's better than the equivalent points spent on archers, spears and/or lancers, but at least you're not being taxed over core very much.

    I agree that they are a unit which begs to be charged, and much more so than spears, which with 21 attacks from a small frontage make quite a nice vehicle for the rhyma banner too if you want to play them 'aggressively' with the charge.

    For me though I wouldn't necessarily define aggressive as playing for the charge but pushing up hard. So I think these two blocks, with only 24", would march up 10" turn one. They might or might not then continue to push - at this point they've lost out on a turn of shooting relative to archers, but they are in a commanding point on the battlefield. They might push forward as spear elves, with 22A LR AP1/2, or they might sit tight and shoot/stand and shoot in tandem. This is much more aggressive than archers, which would sit tight (maybe advance 5 with a queen's commander), but want to stay well away from the field of combat.

    You can sit back with sea guard as you would archers, and play them as a more resilient shooty unit, but you get less utility from them because their shooting will have less impact, both through range, short range and lost first turn shooting, so I think if you plan to play like this archers would suit the style better.
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  • @ferny Thanks for the explanation, it does make sense I think to push forward with them early and use the middle of the board as a firing platform and force the enemy to charge them. For me, though, it seems that the Sea Guard are still quite well-suited to defensive play, provided that the enemy isn't using 30" weapons against you. The SG are only 4ppm more than the Archers after all, and for that you get a unit which is far more dangerous once close combat is inevitably joined. And actually, considering that the SG get an additional rank of shooting and no stand and shoot penalties, there is not much difference in their ability to put shooting wounds on a target.

    It might be one of those things where I would have to play them to get a better feel for why there is so much hate for this unit, but they seem pretty useful to me, especially at the new price. If I played Archers instead I could get 5 models for every 4 SG, meaning 20% more arrows, but they will get slaughtered the second the enemy reaches them. If I played spears, I could get almost 6 models for every 4 SG, but they have no shooting at all, meaning they will probably have to charge and lose all the nice spear bonuses. Sea guard just seem like the perfect elf infantry to me, but I suppose I can still use the models for Archers if I find that they really are as worthless as you guys claim!
  • TBF I don't think they're worthless, just that other equivalents would do their role better/cheaper/more efficient. I'm also *considering* them now, I just feel they're not quite there yet.

    I don't think it's so much the 20% fewer arrows, but rather the 20% fewer wounds and shorter range, which means you miss out more on the remaining 80% you have.

    I totally get what you're saying, there feels like an efficiency to them, a shooter and a combater, and it feels right that a creature with BS and WS4 base would use both attributes on the battlefield, and that an elf would take shield and armour. They feel very cool...they're just...difficult to get right, and probably still a little too expensive.
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  • The issue isn't that the unit is worthless. Quite the contrary. Sea Guard have an impressive amount of utility, can walk forward shooting each round and still be useful in CC. The issue is that they are overpriced for what they bring to the table. I started playing during 8th edition, at that point spear elves were 9 points, archers 10 points, sea guard 12 points (with shield). So for every 4 spears you could get 3 sg. in t9a 204.1, sea guard are almost double the price of spears (1 sg for every 2 spears, roughly).

    This shows the two issues of Sea Guard pricing at its core: the point cost for what they do is too high and the model count hit your taking is too dramatic for their staying power. The hybrid unit loses its utility when it is more cost effective to take a combination of citizen spears and citizen archers, taking 20 seaguard (320+22*5, 430 points) is more expensive than 20 spearelves and 10 archers (240+170, 410 points).

    Spear elves are still very powerful on the charge, all they lose on their spear bonuses is the +1 AP and +1 Agility (still +1 agility for charging, on high agility elves) and spear elves still have the fight in extra rank over sea guard. I came from 8th ed, when SG really were just spearelves+bows. I do like that t9a is better defining a niche for each choice, but it does make balancing around them harder to do and requires balancing around the entire section. One suggestion I got from a friend earlier was, give citizen spears heavy armor, give archers an improved longbow with better range (32-36" up from 30"), take away cover volley. Then spears are the CC powerhouse, archers are the go to pew pew, and sg have the middle ground; not as survivable, not as shooty, but proficient at both.
  • The Citizen Spears do seem to get a very substantial discount for using them in blocks of 20, at only 12ppm instead of 16ppm. Since 20 is exactly the number you would want for maximizing attacks from bus formation anyway, it would seem that the book heavily encourages multiple blocks of 20 Spears if you are looking for close combat infantry. Losing that AP on a charge does seem like a big deal to me though (not having at least 2 AP is a big loss of wounds against nearly anything in the game).

    I think the SG actually does a better job of replacing the Archers than the Spears, as the archers are only 4ppm cheaper and 6" more range. In return, the SG block gets firing in an extra rank (which can make up for the loss of models at long range), better stand/shoot reaction (which can make up for the loss of models at short range), and greatly improved close combat (which keeps them from being a waste of points after turn 3). I'll go further and say that it would seem that the Archers are the ones which appear obsolete, given the outright superiority of Queens Guard. Taking blocks of 20 Spears and some Lances in Core and filling the Queen's Bows category with QG seems like the best way to optimize shooting to me. But in a list where all you want is to be able to force the enemy to charge your spears using shooting, SG look like they are a great option...

    Well, this is all just theoretical for me until I can try it myself and find out why you guys are right, haha! The SGs look great on paper, (especially from the perspective of infernal dwarves who are used to much closer range shooting), but I'll have to get in there and play them a few times I think!

    Edit: NVM, I see the QG are limited to 20 models per army, so the rest would be Archers/SG.

    The post was edited 2 times, last by Vipralisk ().

  • We do not need another shooting unit in core with just bows that is being made playable (attempts) by adding bunch of complicated, and unfortunately, pretty useless rules. We also do not have time and work power to come up with other more specified shooting option (like mentioned, shorter ranger, higher strength shooting etc). Also, constantly improving shooting parts of our army is consistently pushing us towards gunlines with counter charge / avoidance. It is my firm believe this is not a play style HbE players would want. Although it has been, and always will be, very powerful (to the point of utterly boring to the enemy) approach.

    3 ways how to deal with the guard

    1) REMOVE IT: it has caused enough trouble and ate up enough of everybody´s time already! There are many other issues in our book we should look into. Model-wise whatever. They still are usable as speareleves. I think almost everyone has them as spears with bows on their backs anyway.

    2) SPEAR + BOW: give spear elves possibility to buy bows, name changes into Sea Guard, 0-2 units per army, max.unit size 30, counts towards Queens Bows as well as Core of course.
    That´s it. Incredibly easy, also very easy to balance.
    + 2 points more expensive, than regular spears (18 pts per model), min unit size 15 for 300 pts. will get 20 archers for 350, 20 Spears for 240 and 20 Sea Guard for 390
    Shifting base cost, or per model cost, would then be peace of cake for Balancing or RT board and can happen during the smallest of updates based on overall situation.

    3) ELITE DEFENSIVE CORE: pretty much where we are now. The problem here is, that there is only so many points you can ever pay for S3, R3, 5+ core idiot. And we are consistently over this line 2-3 points. Have been ever since the creation of the sea guard by GW.
    Giving them heavy armour is illogical (try to cross the Omaha in Heavy plate).
    Giving them stronger shooting will result in a) massive overpricing b) gunline
    Giving them funky junky special rules, like the ones they have, prevents them from dropping in price whilst not giving more value to fielding them.
    Vanguard / scout (and 0-1) are unfortunately out of the question. A great shame.
    So...regarding this approach...and given the problems I outlined...I simply do not see or have solution. And once again...coming up with one, play testing it, pricing it correctly etc.simply requires too much time. Time I firmly believe could be much more reasonably invested somewhere else!!!

    So...IMO it is either variant 1 or 2. The alternative currently used variant 3 has repeatedly led to dead ends, incredible amount of pages on the forum and quiet a lot of poison. Useless. Absolutely. Waste of time and effort.
  • this is the rule seaguard needs *insert fancy rule name* => "The model can shoot from the third rank and may shoot even after March Moving or Reforming earlier that Player Turn."

    you dont outshoot archers but you can get into melee realistically. 20ppm. done.

    shooting cap :rolleyes:

    Evaenarion wrote:

    We also do not have time
    it takes only 5 seconds to come up with a better solution :rolleyes:

    The post was edited 4 times, last by cptcosmic ().