Friday, 7 September 2012

Infantry Guard Army: Snipers and Mortars and Allies, oh my!

I was inspired by an excellent tactical review at "From the Fang" to dust off the codeci yesterday and have a new look at my Imperial Guard Army.  I have to say, I haven't written an army list in over a year now (for 40k anyway) and thanks to 6th Edition, all my standard references are up the swanny!  But that's the same for everyone.

Reading online, there seems a lot of heat about several key meta areas in 40k now!
  • Flyers as vehicles
  • Flying Monstrous Creatures
  • Infantry over tanks
  • Value of Snipers and Blasts
  • Characters are awesomesauce
  • The value of glancing
I'm very largely in favour of most of the changes in 6th Edition, lets face the facts, I'd stopped playing as 40k had become very stale compared to other games systems, and it wasn't just me.  The majority of games at the local club were made up of Hordes, Warmachine, Flames of War and even Infinity!

Foot Guard - are they better?

So what are my thoughts, well this list is based around what I've already got, a a few 'wishlister' based on the meta.  Overall I think my foot-centric guard force has really won out in 6th.  Let's look at my 'staples' and chew the fat!

Ratling Snipers - These little guys are now awesome, they are still super squishy, but a BS4 camo'd sniper - wicked.  Sniper doesn't just grant 'rending' on a 6 to wound, but on a 6 to hit you get to choose which model in the enemy unit you're shooting.  Not so good against Characters (including powerfist Sergeants) thanks to the 'look out sir' generic rule, but awesome against those pesky models holding flamers, plasma, missile launchers and the like.  I've got twelve, so 2x6 ratlings?

Vehicles - On the face of it, hull points have made vehicles more durable, but in reality they pop easier.  Every glancing AND penetrating hit will take a hull point, which means that 4 autocannons with bring it down can guarantee a rhino stops dead (completely ignoring the penetration rolls).  This is GREAT news for Guard!  While the +1 for AP2 Lascannons and Plasma on the penetration chart is welcome, rate of fire seems the best guarantee of glancing a vehicle to death ... And between the Chimeras, the Hydra's and the Autocannons ... we got it!

Mortars - I've always been a huge fan of mortars in guard forces, I think they are a key force multiplier, hitting and hurting a little bit every turn.  I have 15 mortar bases in total and love to field them.  The new rules are really kind to mortars.  Since pre-measuring is now in, there no more worries about being 'just' out of range.  The key to this is that the wound allocation is now directional, with the direction dictated from the centre of the blast.  Indirect fire and 48" range means that I only need to 'hit' with 6 hits to guarantee the death of that meltagunner, or 2 hits to start mincing those Ork dakkaguns (sounds a lot, I've got 15 shots!) ... I'm used to whittling down units to the powerfist and the special weapons expert ... looks like it'll be a boltgunner from now on!

Challenges - Now, this is less of a bonus, but still a very effective stalling tactic.  You can (I think ) call a challenge in the charge, this means that the Rough Riders sergeant (With I5) can 'call out' the Space Marine hero at I6, thus guaranteeing that more of his disposable brethren get their pointy stick into the enemies pointy beaks!  It also works well for the Imperial Guard blob, inhibiting the super ninja character from dishing the death mongering from YOUR player turn and allowing you to apply those power weapons (or sheer weight of numbers) onto his bodyguard.  It'll probably do nothing more than slow them down ... but that's the point isn't it?

Flying Vehicles - I like the Vendetta, it's awesome.  I just don't own one, 6th edition AND the snap fire rule makes Vendettas the 'must have' vehicle for delivering death to the enemy.  4 meltas in a vendetta is an evil combo and will attract a lot of heat, luckily that heat will need a 6 to hit and blast weapons can't snap fire.  So their problems are largely over.  Nice.

Flying Monstrous Creatures - Urkk, Tyranids that fly just got a huge bonus.  Something tells me they want to sell stuff with wings?!?  For my money the best bonus for a guard army is to have some Chaos Space Marine allies.  A few deathguard are never a bad investment, and If I happen to bring along some nurgle bikers (true T6! and jink!), plus my Obliterators and a Deamon Prince with wings and a magic spell for 160pts - bargain!

Now, as you can see from above, none of this is actually that expensive.  The Allies total 660, which still leaves me plenty for the following:
  • Company Command Sq: Autocannon, 3 sniper rifles  (75)
  • 6 Ratlings (60)
  • 6 Ratlings (60)
  • Platoon Command Squad: 4 meltas (70)
  • Squad 1: Autocannon (60)
  • Squad 2: Autocannon (60)
  • Squad 3: Autocannon plus Commissar (95)
  • 5 Heavy Weapons Teams, Mortars (300)
  • Veterans Squad, 3 melta (100)
  • 2 x Vendetta (260)
  • Deamon Prince, Wings, Magic, Nurgle (160)
  • 5 Plague Marines, Powerfist and 2 Plasmaguns (185)
  • 3 Bikers, 2 melta (119)
  • 2 Obliterators (150)
Total: 1754 pts.

Maybe a Hydra would be better than the Obliterators, but with three flying things, I should be troublesome enough??  What's your thoughts?