Monday, 2 November 2009

(Not so) Tough Tactica's: Imperial Guard Swiss Army Knife

Marbo steps out of the pub after a quick half and spots some blasted Eldar swinging by ... 'glad I bought this bomb' he mutters to himself.

This post is all about one man. Marbo. For those who've played me recently, Marbo is starting to become a solid (and often the only) fixture in my 'elites' selection. Le Soldat (all should remember) is an awsome character with all the 'upgrades' to give himself a serious chance in every event.

However, as anyone who fields Lictors or Monat Crisis Suits will know, fielding an all or nothing model single model can be a fiddly thing.


For a meagre 65pts you get (in the words of my previous opponent) a 'broodlord with a bomb'. Marbo's got some nice features, his statline is impressive. He has a WS, BS and I of 5 (god only knows what he's pumping?!?) and he wield 6 attacks on the charge. Ironically he only has a leadership of 7 ... but since he is immune to orders and fearless I'm guessing this is less of an issue. That said, it would make him very vulnerable to a mindwar.


Marbo's a bit of a who's who in special rules, he's fearless, has fleet, hit and run, move through cover and Stealth. In fact, the list is probably the best thing about him, as your opponent will start to stare in disbelief as he runs about fleeting and hitting multiple times...


The stuff above would be a little lame if it wasn't for the tools of his trade. Marbo comes with an envenomed blade (2+ to wound) and as any Eldar witchblade player will tell you, that's often better than a power weapon as he can force 3-4 saving throws on a MC like a Carnifex or Wraithlord. Against middling troops this can prove overwhelming. He then has a ripper pistol, allowing him to cause a wound on a 4+ on any monstrous creature - oh and that AP2 aswell. Then he's kitted out with meltabombs, frag grenades and a demolition charge.


Unlike other deepstrikers, Marbo's already there. When he arrives (due to the reserves roll) he is place anywhere on the board outside an inch from the enemy and he doesn't scatter. This is to represent the fact that he like a midgame infiltrator. The combination of the stealth USR means that Marbo deploying in the open is unlikely and he will usually be 'placed' in an area terrain piece. When placed, he can neither move or assault, but he can shoot. His best weapon, the demo pack.


The obvious tactic is to place marbo exactly 6" from the Terminators, Crisis Suits or other juicy targets and 'drop the bomb' on them. The demolition charge, backed by a BS5 means you barely ever scatter and the AP2 S8 blast template has put paid to many a bike squadron, terminator squad or broadside screen.

Now, whis tactic works about half the time. Luck has a lot to do with Marbo arriving when a juicy target is present on the board... so it's not to be assumed, but as a deep striker of a stripped down 65pts, Marbo can easily instantkill an Autarch or zap multiple Terminators or kill a bike squad. He's cheap enough to warrant this 'throw away' tactic, and doesn't force you to drop 200pts on a potentially 'dead and scattered' terminator deepstriking option.

To put the cream on the cake, Marbo also has a lot in common with roughriders. Once he's delivered his 'package', he's mostly ignored. Assuming he isn't gunned down in a moment of vengeance - he has several tactical options.

So Marbo's dropped in, in close proximity to the Tyranid front line and delivered his 'package' into the middle of a genstealer horde. The enemy now has a choice, do they waste time and effort attacking a single model (and potentially getting distracted) or do they stick to their plan and ignore the lone model in their midst - after all he's not got another demo charge, has he?

In my opinion, Marbo gives you the opportunity to be 'brave' in deployment. Marbo is a hard hitting and accurate AP2 blast, but also a wonderful distraction. Just like the Lictor, deploying him far behind enemy lines will make him the only target and in all likelihood get him killed. To keep Marbo dangerous, in contention and alive, search for a 'distraction' point. Somewhere just behind the approaching force where line of sight gives him the biggest impact.

If they turn to kill him (and remember that anything S6 will!) then that one unit not attacking your frontline. If not ... then its onto plan B.

"Where's Marbo?"


After delivery is made, Marbo has four secondary choices. He is capable of the following:
  • Tank Busting: Any immobilised (or stationary) tank will rue the day. Marbo can leg it up to 18" (fleet) and plant a meltabomb on their ass. BOOM!
  • Dreadnought Popping: 13-18" run. WS4 dreadnought versus WS5 I5 guy with a meltabomb ... BOOM!
  • Monstrous Creature Bashing: With his poisoned arsenal, Marbo has a better chance than most in downing a wounded Wraithlord or Carnifex. A poisoned AP2 shot gives you a 50/50 to wound followed by 3-4 forced saving throws...
  • Throwing in his lot: Marbo's a great complimentary unit with roughriders (who, lets face it, struggle after the first turn of combat), and his delivery of 5 I5 attacks can easily finish off the work the roughriders started.
And the biggest thing with all of the above ... are any of these targets less then 65pts? Marbo is my personal 'must have' alongside mortars and roughriders - great value for money.


And also great fun. Marbo can turn up and turn a battle, or he can turn up and drop a bomb on his own head... that sort of 'randomness' makes Marbo a particularly fun model to play. He's always a plotline when he arrives as he'll do something spectacular and the opponent will respond accordingly. If ignored he'll do impressive damage, but if concentrated on he can be a dangerous distraction.

Remember that with Marbo, going to ground is a real option. After all, his cover save is really all he's got. He gains a 2+ cover save from GtG and with with I5, he'll usually go first if they charge.

The hardest thing about Marbo is remembering that this single model is in your reserves. Often I end up 'cradling' him in my hand like some silly mascot to try to remember to deploy him.


Anyone can field Marbo as he's a very easy conversion. My Marbo is born of a catachan heavy weapon soldier, converted with a autocannon ammo pack and grenades (to build the demo pack) and a 'big knife' from an Ogre Bull (left in my bits box from the Ogyrn conversions). The standard holstered pistol and a catachan knife sleeve give him the finished look (oh plus lots more grenades)... he takes about 30mins to convert and then becomes an essential asset in every army.

So try Marbo ... he's great fun!