As I have reviewed the new Sternhammer Strike Force (basically, the “Decurion” for Imperial Fists) I have been struck by how, in some ways, the detachment is quite “clunky” (i.e. only 1 Command choice per Core and Core options being limited to the Battle Demi-Company and the Centurion Siegebreaker Cohort) and how in other ways it is quite versatile (i.e. it has some of, IMHO, the best Auxiliary choices around, including 1st Company Task Force, 10th Company Task Force, Storm Wing, Raptor Wing, Skyhammer Annihilation Force, single Devastator squads, single Centurion squads, single Vindicator squadrons, and single Thunderfire Cannon batteries).
In terms of Special Rules, again it is a mixed bag:
1 – As long as the WL is from this detachment and is alive, then all models have Stubborn (decent leadership buff, but not necessarily a game-changer)
2 – Models from this detachment add +1 to their armor penetration rolls against buildings (a pretty mediocre buff, given the lack of fortifications in most 40K games)
3 – All models with Bolter Drill rule in this detachment get to re-roll ALL to hits, not just 1s to Hit (an outstanding benefit, especially since it doesn’t require any Psychic tests or Ld tests and affects so many different common weapons, even including Sternguard Special Ammunition)
So, the question is, how to best employ the Sternhammer Strike Force in competitive lists for Imperial Fists players? What jumped out to me, among all the excellent Auxiliary options, is the access to almost unlimited numbers of Devastator squads. Imagine the following:
-Devastator squad with 10 models, 2 Grav Cannons, a MB and combi-Flamer on the Sgt, and a Rhino
This unit, while not super cheap, is exceptionally versatile. Against tough targets like TDA, Meganobz, MCs, and even vehicles, you have the two Grav Cannons (one of which can shoot at BS5 using the Sgt’s Signum) that can fire out of the Rhino’s hatches. Against light infantry and hordes, you have 8 permanently twin-linked bolters, plus a one use flamer template, which basically deals with any low armor save units that the Grav Cannons are weak against. Add in the MB for anti-vehicle use and the Rhino for protection/mobility, plus Stubborn to help the squad hold objectives and the option to Combat Squad into two 5 man teams that can still share the Rhino and you have a true “multi-tool” unit.
Better yet, since all you need is a single Core choice (if you take the Battle Demi-Company, you can have another Devastator squad) and you can have up to 10 Devastator squads like this. While they lack Objective Secured (a pretty big hit), their double Grav Cannon, TLed Bolters, and other versatile features really help them work as a strong “all-comers” alternative to Tactical Squads.
Finally, on top of all this, you can supplement the Core choice and Devastator squads with any of the other great Auxiliary options from the Sternhammer Strike force, such as the Raptor Wing for air support, the Thunderfire Cannon batteries for additional firepower, or the Skyhammer Annihilation Force if you need Relentless Drop Pod Devastators and Assault Marines who can arrive by DS and charge turn 1.