Perhaps the most numerous of the Morat regiments, the Vanguard are the very core of what it means to be a Morat. Each one has a high physique, helping them to avoid enemy attacks, while the Morat skill keeps them where you put them (for better or worse).
Stats and Special Rules
There isn’t a whole lot to be said about the base profile of the Morats. The only things that really shine are their high PH12, making them effective at dodging attacks, and the ubiquitous Morat skill, making them both Religious, and Veteran L1.
Combi Rifle (and EI Hacking Device, Forward Observer, Paramedic). The basic troop with the basic gun, you’ll probably be taking these profiles more than any other. While the gun is nothing to write home about, the Paramedic is especially worth mentioning. Since Morats have a significant PH boost over most other armies, the Paramedic can actually be quite useful, bringing back Vanguard on 9’s (compared to 7’s for many other factions). Forward Observers are also decent choices, giving the Vanguard a better ARO option with the Flash Pulse. The Hacker, while lackluster, does provide the cheapest supportware in the army, so that’s something.
HMG. It’s the big gun of the unit. As a solo-option it’s not awful, as Burst can go a long way making up for poor BS, but that said, you’re almost always going to be better off spending your SWC elsewhere (like on a Q-Drone). In a fireteam it gets significantly better thanks to the link bonuses making up for the Vanguard’s poor BS.
Combi Rifle + Light Grenade Launcher. While I’ve never actually used this profile, it is becoming more appealing as of late. Speculative fire is a tool which is actually becoming much more valuable, in particular, for dealing with things like Dazers. Morats have plenty of other troops capable of spec firing grenades, but not a whole lot of grenade launchers able to do it from outside of Dazer range.
K1 Sniper Rifle. Sigh, I really want to like the idea of a K1 sniper, the only problem is that K1 is always damage 12, meaning this is worse than a regular sniper against troops with ARM0-2, equal to a regular sniper against ARM3, but lacks shock. Compared to an AP Sniper, it’s only actually better against things with ARM > 6. That said, it is still a long-range weapon, capable of out-ranging most others, but I would probably go for a missile launcher instead. If they made the K1 sniper DAM14-15 instead of 12, I’d have an entirely different opinion.
Missile Launcher. What’s not to love about a dirt cheap weapon capable of blasting open TAGs? Inexpensive and efficient, I love missile launchers. If you’re running your Vanguard as a cheap order battery then this is the way to go.
Anyat is a special Morat Vanguard, with heaps of extra training and equipment. Looking at her profile, she has +2 CC, +1 BS, +3 BTS, though really it’s that extra BS that we care about. She’s far more maneuverable thanks to climbing plus, and is a Specialist Operative. When it comes down to firepower, she has it all, her K1 combi rifle is a fantastic weapon for dealing with tougher targets, chain-colt gives her a direct template, smoke grenades to cover her (and her fireteams) advance, while E/M grenades give her a brutal short-ranged spec fire or ARO. I’ve taken her MANY times as a solo act, letting her maneuverability and myriad of weaponry get to work, hunting down pockets of enemies and taking objectives. If you can’t tell already, I absolutely love Anyat.
On The Table
In Vanilla Combined, I would have a hard time making a case for them (outside of cheap Supportware from the hacker). In MAF, they work pretty much the same as any other army’s standard light infantry core link, often found at the back, covering firing lanes with inexpensive, low burst weapons (missile launchers, maybe K1 snipers).
Recently though, my attitude on them has changed a bit, all thanks to the addition of a Suryat and Raktorak to their numbers. Wile this link only actually contains 2 Morat Vanguard, it is still a Vanguard core link. The Suryat provides the heavy firepower and an extra order. Anyat brings smoke, a direct template weapon, and a good weapon for when the Suryat’s HMG falls short. The Raktorak adds a specialist, a short ranged weapon, and potentially an extra order from the NCO skill (if you’re running a Lieutenant that will use their own skill, just swap this for another profile). Finally, the Vanguard themselves provide a paramedic to try and bring back members who go down, and a Light Grenade Launcher for spec firing shenanigans.