Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Imperial Guard Fast Attack

Hey, everyone. I’m ElegaicRequiem. I've been into 40K for... wow, I guess it's been four years now. I got into it in college: a roommate showed me the Emperor's light. I have well over 3000 points of Space Marines (more if I play Blood Angels), a sizable but unfinished Necron army, and a half-started Imperial Guard army. One day I plan to also have a Witch Hunters army. I decided to start with IG around March - it was that, or a few WH things. Right as I'm about to call the war store, I notice on the GW website that the Guard are getting a new codex in May! Serendipity? Perhaps, but that gave me the excuse I needed to go nuts, and buy a lot of infantry. So, now armed with a tactical mind and a love of the intellectual part of the hobby (army list creation) I’m going to talk to you about all the awesome new/improved fast attack units in the Imperial Guard codex. Considering how well one or the other of them will integrate into just about every play style, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a FA element in your list. Here goes…

Scout Sentinels
Ahh, the classic, old-school sentinel. It’s cheap, it comes with a multi-laser for 3 shots, it gets scout and move through cover, it’s a walker, and you can take a squadron of up to three. Sounds good, right? Well, it’s also the most fragile vehicle in the Guard. That said, if you can manage to sneak a squad of these onto the side of the board, you can wipe-out small squads of light/medium infantry. Also, they’re good as a tar-pit in close combat. Don’t forget that once you start doing something with them, your opponent isn’t going to just let you have your way: expect the enemy to start shooting and/or charging them when he has the opportunity, thus giving your more important units a temporary reprieve. These would be a good addition to an armored column, or an air cavalry force. They’d be great to compliment a blitzing assault force.
Scout Sentinel’s score: 7.5/10

Armored Sentinels
Yes! They’re finally here; I’ve been looking forward to having some AT-STs… uh, I mean armored sentinels to put down field. Y’know, I thought they’d be bigger, two-man deals… Anyway, these guys lose the scout and the move through cover rules, in order to gain improved front armor, extra armor, and the ability to mount a plasma cannon. They have all the other options as their scouting kin, but they cost somewhere between half again and double the price. I personally don’t feel that they’ll perform to match that cost, but only time will tell. These will probably be even more of a bullet magnet than the scout versions, but the ability to field a plasma on a walker is a novelty, and I like it. These would work well with almost any list where you can spare the points, but I don’t advise taking a full squadron of three, unless you’ve got a devious plan.
Armored Sentinel’ score: 7.5/10

Rough Riders
You know, I used to think the concept of horse-mounted cavalry in 40K was ridiculous. In fact, I still do. However, these guys are awesome, and deserve respect. You get five of them for the same price as an armored sentinel, with the option of adding five more for peanuts! There’s no way you should ever field just five. On top of that they come standard with the hunting lance, which is a one-time-use power weapon that enhances their stats the first time they charge. Yes, the rules do specify that it’s the first time, so charge something nasty the first time: SM termies, Necron Lords in a squad of immortals, some of those big ‘nid things… you get the idea. They’re cavalry, so they automatically have fleet, and can assault 12 inches. They fall back 3d6 inches, but they have decent Ld, so it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. They also have the option of exchanging their sergeant for Mogul Kamir. He’s an absolute beast the first time he charges. Reds already discussed him, so if you want more details, look there. These guys are just fantastic as a compliment to a blitzing assault force, or even as the core of such a force.
Rough Riders’ score: 8.5/10

I LOVE these things! There’s no way that anyone, anywhere doesn’t need one. Maybe they don’t even realize it yet… Maybe they don’t play Guard… but they need one. All the hellhound variants have the chimera chassis, but with decent armor on the sides. They can also some in squads of up to three. With its inferno cannon, the hellhound is a dedicated infantry destroyer: the template rules in the new codex got a ‘lateral boost.’ By this I mean that it’s better than before, but in a different way. Now, the hellhound is fast, tank. Meaning it can move 12 inches and still fire. The template is placed so that the only part that needs to be within the 12 inch range of the cannon is the small end. The template is 8.25 inches long. This is an effective range of 32 inches! Forget flowers; say it with fire! In addition, the template doesn’t have to go straight-out: you can place it going any direction in a 180° arc up until it’s perpendicular to the cannon’s axis. Um, you wanna fire around some corners? Go for it! And, it’s a template: no roll to hit, and no cover save silliness; only burning death for the enemies of mankind. Take one.
Hellhound’s score: 9.5/10

Devil Dog
Well, this looks new and shiny… It’s a hellhound variant that sports a melta cannon. It’s a blast melta. That… sounds awesome. Again, it’s fast, tank. Effective range is 36 inches. If you somehow scatter and land on an enemy unit behind the target, you could manage 45, but I think you know not to rely on that. These are a great anti-tank/anti-heavy infantry choice. I’d take them in a squad of two, and give them the multi-melta hull weapon for some ridiculous firepower. These will probably get shot out from under you if you aren’t careful, so give them some support. These are likely the best AT choice for a blitzing army.
Devil Dog’s score: 9/10

Bane Wolf
Well, my fellow guardsman, your prayers have been answered. We now have something whose sole purpose is to eliminate MEQs (marine equivalents [T4, Sv 3+]). Check this out: the chem cannon is a template, ap3, poison (2+) weapon. That means: no roll to hit, no armor save for anything up to 3+, and if the target has a toughness value it wounds on a 2+. Holy crap! The only thing holding the bane wolf from being the most amazing vehicle ever is that it’s just a plain-old template, and not the crazy hellhound version. However, it’s fast, tank with an effective range of 20 inches. If you play against Space Marines, Chaos Space Marines, or Necrons a lot, you probably want some of these.
Bane Wolf’s score: 9/10

Valkyrie Assault Carrier
Hey. The Imperial Guard have skimmers now. You can take a squadron of three of these nifty transports. They can’t take ogryns, though. They’re fast skimmers with deep strike, scout, a searchlight, and extra armor. Since they’re skimmers, coming in a squad will actually benefit you with the squadron rules. They come with a multi-laser and two hellstrike missiles. I would never swap the multi-laser for the lascannon since it’s BS3. The hellstrikes are a one-use-only ordnance for taking apart just about whatever it hits. Considering how cheap adding two heavy bolters is, you should always take them. The rocket pods are basically missile launchers that give you a large blast, but no krak ammo. The hidden benefit here is that at S4 they become defensive. You can move 12 inches and always fire both of them. In addition, the grav chute insertion rule means no matter for fast this thing is going, you can still deploy the troops inside. However the rule makes this way too dangerous for my taste: roll like they’re deep striking, but if they scatter each model takes its own dangerous terrain test. If any of them can’t be deployed, the whole unit is destroyed. I hope I misunderstood, because that’s just plain silly. A good transport for your ballsy vets in air cav. When you use these, start humming “Ride of the Valkyires.”
Valkyrie’s score: 8/10

Vendetta Gunship
This is the same thing as a Valkyrie, but instead of the multi-laser and hellstrikes, you get three twin-linked lascannons. A flying (sorta) heavy weapons team with lascannons. Not too shabby. In a squadron, these would be death to vehicles. If you start with them on the field, you’d better get first turn. Move six inches and blast away with the lascannons. If they’re in reserve, don’t deep strike as they’ll count as having moved at cruising speed. That means they can only fire one shot each, unless you swapped two t-l lascannons for hellfuries (I’ll come back to them). Outflank is the idea here. Move six inches onto the table, and fire! They’re going to draw all kinds of attention, so they probably won’t last long – don’t use them as transports unless you have inhuman intestinal fortitude. I think the reason you have the option to exchange the wing hard points for free, is that it makes this thing much more versatile, while perhaps weakening it. The hellfury missiles are a one-use-only S4 large blast. So you can move 12 inches and fire everything you’ve got. For one turn. Considering that these may only last one turn, that’s not so bad. If you do take these, then the vendetta becomes anti-infantry instead of anti-tank. I wouldn’t use these ultimate bullet magnets as transports, unless I had three in a squad to carry one infantry squad. Allocating hits so that the one with the men in it survives. And that would be expensive, both to the points cost and my wallet. When you use these, start humming “The 1812 Overture.”
Vendetta’s score: 7.75/10
I'll analyze the other FoC options in later posts. See you then.

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