Monday, 22 April 2013

Tactica Imperial Guard: HQ Units

Hello again everybody!  Been a bit of a quiet week this week as I've been working pretty non-stop, but glad to say normal service has been resumed. Quick modelling update:
  • After Commissar von Körtig, I'm carrying on with more Penal Legionnaires - with a few new purchases from Victoria Lamb that I'll be reviewing in a post later this week
  • My good pal Headologist is still neck-deep in his dissertation so there are no games on the horizon, but we are tinkering with a few fiction ideas, hopefully we'll be getting to the stage where we both do a weekly serial on some kind of joint story.
But that's all by the by.  Today, I wanted to introduce what I hope will become a semi-regular slot on the blog of Imperial Guard tactical guides.  I'm going to be looking at the codex, unit-by-unit, and sharing a few thoughts.  Maybe one or two new players might get something out of it, and I'm sure it will stimulate some discussion amongst the longbeards out there!  I notice from my servo-printouts (Blogger dashboard) that my infrequent tactics posts tend to get the most comments.

I wouldn't desribe myself as a competitive player - I play to win, but for me the game is more about fluff.  Having said that I've been a Guard player for the better part of a decade so I hope I can share some thoughts that will help you.  I'll be taking into consideration lots of factors in the 'unit review' - as well as lethality, coolness, the model quality, and cost (in pounds not points).

Quick disclaimer - this is not a 'do-this-do-that' guide, more of a discussion starter.  So please forgive any minor errors in this, but feel free to let me know in the comments section and I'll amend.  It's informative, not infallible.


So, without further ado, let's start with Part the First...

HQ Units
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Company Command Squad.  Your army headquarters.  I think this used to be a '1' choice - that is, you have to take one of them but I can see no limitations now.  So you could have none right the way through to two ... my fluff dictates however that I always have one.  The starting cost is pretty reasonable, although tooled up you can easily run up to two or three hundred points.  Like a few options in the Guard codex the Command Squad is fairly flexible - you can give it close combat or shooty weapons - I think it lends itself best to being a close combat squad.  With the characters in there, plus extras like the Regimental Standard and Medi-Pack you can have a very dangerous unit that enemies will often underestimate.  A couple of power weapons in there can really ruin a Space Marine's day!
  • Astropath/Officer of the Fleet.  These two make a pretty pair, helping your models get to the table on a Reserves mission or hindering your enemy's.  I usually take one or the other, but both together (while expensive) can really give you an edge in a Reserves mission.
  • Master of Ordnance.  If you can spare the points, this guy is really worth it.  I like to think of him as a Leman Russ on foot - for his cost, you really can't afford to miss out on an extra ordnance shot every turn!  I take him all the time.
  • Bodyguard.  Useful for filling out those last twenty-odd points at the end of a list, and useful human shields for the commander on the way in!
As for the other aspects - from GW, the command squad is currently £15.50.  Expensive for five models, yes, but it's one of the best Guard sets out there.  Tonnes of conversion bits, more than you can possibly use - so you get your money from the many extra bits you can spread amongst your squads.  Add things like the swagger stick arm and peaked caps, and this is an excellent all-round kit that is perfect for starting a new army.  I've bought two - and I don't even use Cadian models in my army.  Recommended on all counts.

Lethality/Effectiveness       ****
Value for money             ****
   Model coolness             *****

Almost essential - and potentially your strongest close combat unit

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Lord Commissar.  Commissars are expensive in points.  You can almost get two command squads for the cost of a Lord Commissar - with good reason.  He'll give you an absolutely invaluable Ld boost which helps with order issuing, and will act as a useful check to stop your HQ bolting.  Added to that, he brings another multi-wound character to the HQ, and has access to invaluable power weapons and multiple attacks.  Downsides - as with most Guard characters, he's just T3 and so can easily get squashed, taking all those points with him!  Worth consideration all the time - but especially if you're planning the close combat command squad.

Depending on which commissar model you go for he can cost between £8.20 and £11.  An absolute rip-off here, very expensive for a single model.  They are some of the nicest figs in the Guard range but the cost has to be taken into consideration.

Lethality/Effectiveness       ****
Value for money             **
Model coolness               ****

Costs a lot, and quite fragile, but a sorely needed leadership boost

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Primaris Psyker.  Hmm - the Psykers are a bit hit-and-miss for me, but the Primaris Psyker is a lot more reliable than the Battle Squad.  The Lightning Arc is potentially devastating - 2D6 S6 shots.  Even if you roll a two it's almost an autocannon, and the potential for a 12 is not to be sniffed at.  Again, like the commissar he costs a lot for a single model and is very vulnerable (although an invulnerable save as standard makes a nice change).

The model is £8.20, and not in my opinion the nicest the Guard has to offer so you'd have to really want one.

Lethality/Effectiveness       ***
Value for money             **
Model coolness               ***

A risk - are you feeling lucky?  Then pick a psyker and watch the enemy's brains fry!

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Ministorum Priest.  These chaps don't actually use up FOC slots.  They're basically walking close combat buffs for your squads, and are fairly cheap in points.  They have access to some great wargear, both offensive and defensive, and confer some great bonuses (re-roll hits on the charge, anyone?).  They only have one wound, which is disappointing but if you can spare the points for a few you'll give your army a very serious close combat edge.

At £7.20 they're still a lot for one model but the cheapest HQ option out there.  Also, one of the 'old school' models which I happen to think look rather swish.

Lethality/Effectiveness       ****
Value for money             ***
Model coolness               ****

Cheap, invulnerable save and a much needed CC boost to some squads.  Take at least one.

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Techpriest Enginseer.  These chaps, despite their glittery 3+ save, are really not for fighting.  They give you the invaluable option of repairing damaged weapons on your vehicles and immobilised results.    That's all you should think about - I don't take them but there have been many battles where I wish I had.  You also have the option, if you're prepared to spend the points and cash, of making a squad of servitors to assist with repairs, and also making them a pretty nails shooting squad of plasma cannons.  Despite my not using them - I'd say it's better to have and not need them, than need and not have them.

Again, £7.20 for a single model like the priests.  More if you go for the servitors.  Although they look a bit out of place in Guard armies (because they are), I always fancied trying one out to paint just because it's so different.

Lethality/Effectiveness       ****
Value for money             ***
Model coolness               ****

Invaluable repair capability, and potentially a great little combat squad to boot!

And that's it for this week!  As I say, just opinions here so let me know what you think, and your choices too.  I'll carry on next time with Elites.  In the meantime, thanks for reading and until next time ...

The Colonel

14 comments:

  1. Interesting. I try to take two HQs (for the redundancy) as with very little by way of gimmicry, they arn't too many points. And I'd only even begin to think about CC if I was facing another GEQ army.

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    1. That's not a bad idea - I never thought of doing that. I suppose there's nothing to stop you taking none, but the problem I have with one HQ is that it invariably ends up in the thick of it and everybody dies. I could explain it away as being the XO, maybe.

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    2. Yep. I "always" have 0A on one flank and 0B on the other.

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  2. An excellent article sir. Thoroughly enjoyable read. I have a handful of Servitors that need painting if you want to borrow a couple ;) My intention (hah) was to give them a pallid, bluish tint - part zombie, part Borg.

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    1. Oooh, I do. That's exactly the look I'd like for mine - those purple ink washes have a nice effect, I used them on my Renegades.

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    2. Spot on. Handy for our St. Adelphia's Hope games, I must have about 15-20 servitors or servitor equivalents...

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  3. The Servo Arms of the Techpriests and Servitors having AP2 does mean they pack an unpleasant surprise for some models - but they will generally be cut down by any dedicated close combat unit before they get to strike.

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    1. Yeah there's that danger of being lured in by the impressive (by our standards) statline but I have to remember he's just one model. I think if he's acting defensively he should be able to hold his own against anyone who fancies trying it on.

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  4. Short and to the point. I like your take.

    Am far more for the fluff than anything also, so never make a list without a command squad. I also like the Psyker option tho, as I like going Mutie/Abhuman-heavy.

    (Off topic - have you see the new Mordian [Palladian] Guard heads and torsos put out by Puppetswar? Pretty good stuff and perfect for your boys.)

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    1. I didn't really alude to the fluff too much, but that's a massive driver, people wanting to do a particular type of amy. Then there's conversions and counts-as, of course.

      (No, had never seen them before but they look sharp! Thanks for the tip!)

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  5. Good article. Best bit is considering the real world cost of the mini against its effectiveness. Something I haven't seen too often in this sort of article. I like to use a bare bones Command Squad in a Chimera as a radio operations center. It can be fun and effective. Plus I get to do a garbled radio transmission voice when I issue orders during the game.

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    1. Thanks Chris. I've noticed a lot of people do the minimalist HQ, whereas I a generally go for the tooled-up CQB squad. I think that was because Nero was a close combat hero. Now Severus is in charge I might use that command Chimera option ... and any excuse for sound effects and funny voices.

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  6. The only reason you think the Master of Ordnance is that awesome is because you're jammy with the scatter rolls!!

    Good article mate

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    1. Ah, young Coldsteel. Yeah it does help when you get lucky with scatters. It'll balance itself out one day, and I'll have to endure lots of scatters onto my own blokes ...

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