Tactica Imperial Guard: Fast Attack

Welcome back all, for part four of five in my ongoing Tactica Imperial Guard series, this time it's Fast Attack.

Before we plunge into the depths of the Codex, you all deserve a quick update as things have been moving over the last few days:
  • I've been guest blogging over at DYHAF, with a little spiel on GW and their latest controversy, which I like to call 'Faeitgate'.
  • Picked up a cheap Lucius the Eternal model from my local store, which I'm going to paint up and use as a generic bad guy for our campaigns.
  • Ordered a bunch more metal IG models now they might well be dying off ... including priests, old commissars, sergeants and demolition charge Catachans.
  • Finished a long-time overhaul of my Palladian fluff - expect a post on that soon!

Fast Attack


Hellhound and variants.  Fast tanks are not what you think of when I say 'Guard', but the Hellhound provides it in spades.  It's quick, and its cannon is relatively long-ranged (for a flame weapon).  It's purely and simply an infantry killer, the lighter the better.  And ignoring cover means you can potentially annihiliate an entire, well dug-in squad in one shot.  Win!

A word on the other two variants (which I've not used yet).  The Banewolf does basically the same as the Hellhound with a much better AP. Consider if you're facing Space Marines, and coupled with a hull flamer it can be very nasty indeed.  The Devil Dog's melta cannon make it good for close-in AT support for advancing infantry.

All these vehicles suffer from having rather weedy armour.  They will pretty easily be blown apart by a Lascannon so make the best use of cover you can.  Charging it out front to get to the enemy (tempting though it is) is a sure way of getting it killed.

The model itself is very nice, it's had a recent upgrade replacing the old metal fuel tanks with a much more modern-looking setup at the back.  All in all, a very attractive piece of kit.  But they cost over £30 each, so a squadron of them would be very VERY expensive.  That's not too much of a problem because a whole squadron would take up so many points that the rest of your army would start to suffer, and they're not tough enough to justify that degree of specialisation.

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

One on its own: ideal for toasting out stubborn infantry, who can really ruin your day!
Sentinels.  Armoured or otherwise, Sentinels are purely and simply a walking Heavy Weapons team.  The unarmoured versions are a lot cheaper in points, but are horribly vulnerable to even bolter fire.  If you want, the unarmoured versions can be used as a quite effective suicide squad, flanking and trying to draw off as much of the enemy as possible.

If you want something that's going to survive, go for the armoured option.  Massively improves it by removing the Open Topped and upping the armour to be bolter-proof - in this case its probably going to need a bit more thought than the above option.  As for weapons, it depends on the enemy of course, but whatever you pick, try moving them up with your infantry squads to give them a move-and-shoot Heavy Weapon capability.  They can also pitch in close combat with some much-needed high strength attacks.  Unlike with Hellhounds I'd ALWAYS recommend getting these in threes, to make them last at least three turns.

The Sentinel models, I think, are really really nice and the kit - although it costs nearly £20 - comes with every possible option so you make a bit of money back on bitz.

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

Walking Heavy Weapons teams - ideal for flanking movements or infantry fire support

Rough Riders.  A bit of an anachronism really, I'm surprised you can still get these ancient models in the new codex.  Happy, but surprised.  Unfortunately they're not exactly the best unit in the game - with a low toughness and human-level initiative, these guys will only work if you can somehow get them to their target without being shot at at all.  One SM squad doing one round of shooting will probably thin their ranks enough to make them all-but-useless in CC.

You can give them odd upgrades and combinations to make them work - special characters, melta bombs etc - and they'll be okay.  But to be honest, for all that effort and points investment?  Just go with Sentinels/Hellhound.  They are cheap and have the potential for massive charges now, but don't take the risk.

For those less bothered about tactics, they remain perhaps some of the coolest models in the codex and they look rather nice.  They're also ripe for conversion projects, although an individual model cost of £8 makes them very very expensive to buy vanilla.  Honestly, if I fought a Guard army with Rough Riders in I'd be surprised.  But it would be very cool.

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

Don't have any unique skills, weak, and expensive.  Highly cool, however.

A word on Valkyries and other flyers.  I haven't ever used them, so I won't comment on them rules-wise.  Anyone who has any experience with them, especially in Sixth, is cordially invited to comment and add their two cents.

Wow, nearly at the end now, just HEAVY SUPPORT to go!  I'll get working on those soon.  And hopefully next week there'll be some posts on those new models I've ordered.  So stay sharp troops, and thanks for reading.

The Colonel


  1. You've hit the nail on the swede there, Colonel; Hellhounds follow up behind the Leman Russ screen with the other chimera hulls and the walking HWS stalk through cover until they can get a side (or preferably rear) shot. So all going in lockstep with the main body, no 'fast attacking' going on at all.

    Fast Attack - It's not really a guard thing, unless you're Elysian.

    As for Cavalry in M41; the previous codex made mention of mounts other than horses (cold ones would be good !) but these mounts would be more fighty than the riders, which makes the points cost seem wrong. So, they are broken, but in a bad way, rather than a good way.

    1. Exactly - use the fast attack in a fast manner and watch them die. I really hope they fix Rough Riders, and give them a plastic kit. *Sigh*, a man can dream...

  2. I have always liked Sentinels, they are useful while often overlooked by your opponent in favour of bigger targets. I've also found that they are go for tying up low strength CC units that would otherwise chomp up your Guard squads quickly (Kroot, Gaunts etc).

    I've only used my Valkyrie once; it delivered my vets, maybe fired once and then was rail-gunned out of the sky. :)

    I agree with your RR assessment, they are very much a one-shot weapon I managed to evade a round of Tau shooting once and charged through a Crisis team like a hot knife through butter but in all reality they are more for fun than anything else.

    I am not a fan of the Mongol-style models though, so I just proxied some of my Bretts. For actual RR I plan on using the Empire Pistoliers/Outriders, as they have a reasonable horse model and some very cool ornate armour/helmets. The lances will come from spare Brett bits I think.

    1. Yep they almost always get ignored in favour of Leman Russes. As I say that S5 is invaluable at being able to squish big things, or as you say it can overmatch regular enemies. I'd love to build a Valk, but there's not really space for one in my list. Liking the sound of the RRs though!

  3. Col Gravis. Now THERE's a fellow who knows how to rock rough riders. He does it in style, and you feel it when they bite home...

    ...but they did die rather prematurely in the game where I thought 'hmm...I haven't used a fully-sponsoned Leman Russ Exterminator in ages...'!

    Personally, I love hellhounds. Always have. I have three of the old models, and (much as the new ones are cooler) I love the aesthetic even more than I love that massive gout of flame. And using the word 'gout'. But the real fun for me lies in the Devil Dog with an additional hull multimelta.

    It's the next best anti-tank option after a Vendetta...but worse in practically every single way! I love the fact that it always seems to confuse people; I'm always sure to capitalise fully on this by filing to destroy anything with it. I've played mine loads, because I love it, but I reckon it's probably nuked itself once for every two hits it's rolled!

    1. Gravis is the undisputed master of Rough Riders, should have said that. Quite possibly the finest conversion work I've seen, no exaggeration there. I hate killing nice models too :(

      I still only have one old Hellhound and it does have that 'classic' feel to it - if I ever have enough cause to make a 3K list one of the first things I'll spend my extra points on is expanding the Hellhound Squadron out.

    2. Excellent piece as ever. I love the idea of Rough Riders, even if they don't fix them I might have to attempt to deploy them en masse if I ever get round to doing a Guard army.

      "I'll spend my extra points on is expanding the Hellhound Squadron out."

      Please don't :P

  4. with night fighting 50% of the time I have taken to using a single scout sentinal with a search light to scout forward and light up a target for the manticores to destroy turn 1. Ideally this nets me first blood but otherwise it still allows me a first strike while keeping the main line safe from retaliation. If there is no nightfighting than I just outflank the little guy so he doesn't give up points to firstblood himself.

    1. I like it. I like it a lot. Exactly what Sentinels should be for! Thanks for that excellent tactical titbit.

    2. We need to do a nightfight for our next game....

  5. Great overview! Count me in the "love the rough riders, hate seeing them get washed off the table" camp. If they can hit home, they'll carve through just about anything. However, they only even connect (for me) about a quarter of the time.

    I run a pair of plasma cannon sentinels, and love them. I've been enjoying the Banewolf variant of the Hellhound as well, you lose the torrent fire, but given a hull mounted multi-melta I usually run it pretty aggressively and it end up in range for at least a couple shots.

    I'm torn on the Vendetta/Valkyrie usage - I have one of each but honestly don't tend to take them in favor of spending the points on another tank of some variety. The Vendetta is definitely the more useful of the two when it comes to providing air superiority, but my opponents rarely take flyers so I generally don't either.

    You made some excellent points that I hadn't considered on each of the units, I'm quite looking forward to playing another game and try 'em out!

    1. To be fair I've only used RRs once and they died horribly, they were borrowed as well. I might get round to converting some of my own soon.

      Sentinels with plasma cannons are good, they tend to get left alone in favour of larger targets so the bigger guns they carry the better. I've gone for missile launchers purely for versatility.

      Thanks for reading, and thanks for your thoughts as well, adds a lot to the article.

  6. As others have said - You have hit the nail on the head for Fast Attack.
    I thoroughly agree with it all!

    I have played my Rough Riders in at least a dozen games. You're dead right, one round of shooting and they are as good as dead. Although the are a lot of fun, and IF you can run them through cover to the enemy they have a devastating charge. (they are not slowed by difficult terrain and with fleet you can really move them!)

    I'm actually making more cavalry as we speak. I came up with an interesting house rule.... what if you could mount any infantry unit on a horses for around 3p per model. So far I have a Company Command Squad, 15 Rough Riders (Lancers), 20 Veterans (Dragoons) and 15 Storm Troopers (Heavy Dragoons) almost ready for a game to see what it is like :D
    I'll do a post on it in a week or so...

    For the Flyers I like Vendettas. They are to flyers what the Russ is to tanks. Solid, reliable and can go toe to toe with any other flyer out there. Plus it is also a transport. I like to sit a small cheap special weapon team in it and drop them off in turn 5 or 6 on an objective. Also by taking one, my opponent has to try and wast points on AA units. With the flyer coming in from reserve I can usually take out the AA unit before it arrives. And finally, I don't have to take an AA unit myself because the Vendetta's 3 twin linked lascanons do the trick.

    For the Hellhound variants I like the Devil Dogs. I am running 2 in a squadron with multi-meltas. Being fast, I can get them where I need them quickly to deliver solid ant take fire.

    -Awesome post Colonel.

    1. That's always the tough decision you have to make with Guard. Most of the fluffiest, coolest units (RRs, Vets, etc) suffer from being T3 and usually 5+ save, and you can spend weeks working on lovely conversions then watch them cut down like fresh wheat.

      I really can't wait to see those conversions - the archetype 'perfect RR conversion' is still the set you did a few months back, they are really REALLY impressive.

      I also have to properly try the Vendetta (and all the flyers) at some point; I feel like I'm missing out.


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