Don't get me wrong, using the Sternguard rules did the trick as they are essentially the Tyrannic War Veteran rules from 4th edition minus Preferred Enemy (Tyranids) and more ammo type options. It worked well, but I always felt they lacked a depth that just didn't make them feel like Tyrannic War Veterans.
To be honest when I downloaded the dataslate (as a side note, be prepared to download apps on your PC to read the files if you lack an eReader) I expected them to be more or less the same as Sternguard with a few differences. Whilst I wasn't completely wrong, the Tyrannic War Veterans are far more different than I originally thought. Of course this is no bad thing, to be honest it's an additional unit I can use that's not in my codex so I'm not complaining in the slightest, it's actually a bonus in my eyes. I will try and point out the main highlights of the unit whilst trying to dodge any Games Workshop lawsuits as best I can.
- Despite internet hear'say, Tyrannic War Vets are actually very slightly more expensive than Sternguard.
- They also can only use normal bolter rounds or hellfire rounds and they have no combi-weapon or special/heavy weapon options, which is a bummer.
- The unit has an unusual minimum squad size of 4 and a maximum squad size of 10.
- Tyrannic War Vets also has 2 distinct special rules that Sternguard don't have. The first is, predictably Preferred Enemy (Tyranids). The second is a unique special rule called "Avenge the fallen 1st" which grants the Zealot special rule to the unit if the opponent fields any units taken from the Tyranid Codex.
- There's also a formation that allows you to take Cassius, 1+ squads of Tyrannic War Veterans and 0-6 Stormtalons which is very nasty, allowing Stormtalons to begin the game on the board and even infiltrate. Also, any hits scored by the Stormtalons cause all Tyrannic War Veteran squads to gain the Ignore Cover special rule against that unit for the turn, but only in this formation.
I think I will have to play with the unit properly before I make my mind up here. The immediate draw for me is that I can take essentially basic Sternguard with Preferred Enemy (Tyranids) without attaching Cassius to them (although to be honest I can attach Cassius to Sternguard, gain the same perks and still have the weapon/ammo options, plus the squad would be cheaper). In addition they gain Zealot too, although I am not fussed about the Zealot rule as I doubt I would ever want the squad in combat with Tyranids and I've always found And They Shall Know No Fear to be more useful than Fearless.
The bonus for Ultramarine players have however is that Tyrannic War Vets specifically state they have the Chapter Tactics (Ultramarines) special rule, which means they can only be fielded by detachments of Space Marines with the Ultramarines chapter tactics. As much as I feel a little guilty at the fact I personally think Ultramarines already have one of the best chapter tactics and now a unique unit (much akin to the Templars Crusader Squads) I am excited for the other chapters. What new dataslates could be in store for Salamanders, Imperial Fists, Raven Guard, Iron Hands and White Scars? It's all dead exciting.
In conclusion, I love the unit. They lose out majorly to Sternguard against almost every army other than Tyranids (and even then, it's only worth it if you don't take Cassius or you take a unit on top of a Sternguard unit) but they're full of flavour and give you that little extra option against the great devourer. I look forward to testing them out!