It is of the general opinion that the IG are the weakest, most vulnerable, and under powered basic trooper in the game of Warhammer 40K. When taken as an individual this is most certainly true. Their stats show this, their armour protection shows this, and the bugzapper that they carry shows this. There are some troop types out there that may be worse in any one area, but overall the generic IG trooper is at a distinct disadvantage against any other race- with the possible exception of the grots, but they are backed up by their larger cousins the Orks. The strength of the IG lies in their numbers, and the shear ability to bring mass firepower to bear upon the enemy. To my knowledge no other army list in the game has the flexibility that the IG has when it comes to support weapons and vehicles. When playing the IG you can never fear the taking of casualties, what you must never let happen is the infliction of such upon the enemy. Use the IG's numbers to hold the line, absorb casualties, and just plain tie the enemy up. Use the flexibility of the heavy weapons squads to maximize firepower where/when needed. Use the IG's tanks, APC's, and sentinels to react to a hole in the line (yours and the enemies). Most importantly do not let the enemy dictate the battle. You must maintain the initiative by making him react to your moves when and where you want him. Whenever the IG tries to play the enemies game they will lose. We can't out race the Eldar, we can't out endure the Marines (Chaos included), and we can't out fight the Orks in hand to hand combat. In each case you must use the IG's flexibility to exploit weaknesses (both perceived and actual) of the enemy. No one army "list" will be able to adequately deal with each opponent. The trick is to learn how to maximize what you have, in the environment you are in.
Please not that I did use the term flexibility in relation to the Imperial Guard's ability to react to your opponent. Although the IG has a rigid command structure, it has a wide array of units at it's disposal. Static defense is just waiting to be flanked and overrun. A slow attack group is just waiting to be annihilated before it becomes effective. The battlefield is rarely a static place, and you must adapt to the various challenges that comes your way.
Here is the crown jewel in the IG's flexibility. No other army has an HQ selection that equates to what the guard can do here. It is possible to incorporate hand to hand equipped troops, a vast array and amount of heavy weapons, and you can even incorporate some fast attack capabilities. Here is going to be the only place for hand to hand combat troops, mostly it's going to be the Commissar's. It is important to remember the core philosophy of the IG- there is strength in numbers and the mutual support of other units. Never leave a unit isolated, especially the Command HQ.
It is important to remember that your Captain will never be a death-dealing super ninja. His bodyguard just isn't up to the task. If your style is to charge into the thick of the fight with your Captain decked out the HQ to suit it, and don't forget the Commissar and/or Preacher to back them up. If you prefer to sit back and shoot up your foes equip them as such. For me the HQ is the morale backbone of the army. The Captain (which some only take if it is a 3,000 point battle but I take one if it's more than 1,500) leads from the front, but not the vanguard of the attack. He is there to provide direction, and inspiration to his troops. He is not there to engage the enemy in hand to hand combat, nor is he to be the main defender in a rifle pit. The Good: The Captain has extra bodies to soak up some casualties. He can provide leadership from afar with the proper equipment in his group. The Bad: they will not be able to stand up to serious hand to hand combat opponents for very long. Like all IG units they need other units for mutual support.
Seriously consider a comm-link for the HQ at least because it adds to the other troops on field's morale. Sure all of the troops within 12" of a standard bearer can use the officer's leadership score, but what about the poor slobs that are in the furthest trenches. Well that is simple don't just equips the HQ with a comm-link but equip everyone that can carry one with it. I can hear some people saying that a veteran sergeant can do the same thing for fewer points- but what happens if the initial roll fails? The Good: the ability to lend morale support to troops out on the perimeter, The Bad: it is somewhat expensive as it will take up no less than 20 points of comm-links to communicate.
If you will be taking them into the thick of the fighting consider a Veteran Sergeant as mentioned already above. I always upgrade to the veteran sergeant. His ability to take additional weapons from the armoury is an asset. The Good: Can provide some additional leadership support as well as some additional equipment from the armoury to kit out the HQ. The Bad: The 10 points might be better used elsewhere, such as another full squad.
The medic isn't a bad choice either for commanders that will ride in the Chimera, or sitting back for support, as he will be able to watch over the others. If the unit will be getting close to where the action is it might just be better to equip another trooper for hand to hand. The Good: The ability to heal wounds, etc, is very nice. Especially when things are getting a little hot for the Command HQ. The Bad: If the unit gets into hand to hand combat this fellow can become useless until it's all over- and then it could be too late.
Whatever you do take a standard bearer. The ability of those close to this fellow to take a re-roll for failed morale can't be overstated. Realize though that it doesn't need to be a flag of some sort. In the book "First and Only" about the IG regiment know as Gaunt's Ghost's their standard seems to be a set of bagpipes! For mine I scanned the Imperial Eagle and cut it off the piece of paper and then glued it onto a notecard and then glued it to a wooden dowel. It's on my website actually. www.angelfire.com/nj2/commissardave. The Good: The ability of those within 12" to retest for morale checks can't be talked about enough. The Bad: There is not really much down side to this option that I can think of except the restriction of the regimental standard being limited to the Colonel's HQ.
Special and heavy weapons such as the flamers and heavy bolters are best to be though out. Don't take the flamer if all you are going to do is hang back and shoot. Also, don't think to take a weapon "just in case". More often than not you've wasted the points and had one less trooper shooting. The plasma rifle is a better choice here because it has better range.
Here the Imperial Guard's HQ picks up some serious punch ability. The HQ may take up to 5 heavy weapons squads. My recommendation is to take no less than 3 as your forward assets will need all of the support they can get. Let's begin with the Mortar squad. I highly recommend no less than one squad of these bad boys. The ability to hit any enemy in range, and pin them is highly useful. Of course you have to be good at guessing and you have to pray that the enemy isn't immune to pinning either. Remember though it's not always vital to kill on every shot, but if you can get the enemy pinned down they are far less effective and you may not have to even deal with them. The next weapon squad would be the anti-tank. The most versatile weapon at their disposal is the missile launcher. With the rules for tanks and vehicles what they are in this edition a Krak missile actually has a good chance of doing some damage to vehicles, and hard to kill personnel. For me I love the Lascannon and a squad of three has so much potential for damage. Now we look at the fire support squad. This is the unit that will be the primary direct support of your troops versus your opponent's troops. With a squad of heavy bolters it is possible to rain down 9 heavy bolter shots, plus three more lasgun shots, per turn. The Auto cannon is another one of my favorites and is also a good weapon versus stubborn targets such as light vehicles, and tough troops. With the mortars you can pin them (as already mentioned), with the heavy bolters and auto cannons you can take out hard targets, and the anti-tank squads can deal sufficiently with most vehicles. The Good: The ability to place heavy weapons in a sector that needs them most is very valuable. You also have some flexibility as to what heavy weapons are in the squads, and where they get placed. The Bad: The heavy weapons in these squads are more expensive points-wise. If you have enough heavy weapon squads it is actually possible to expend enough points that could have been an additional infantry squad.
The sentinels are another serious consideration. Could you imagine a dozen of these vehicles striding around across the field? The sentinel is a very useful weapon platform in that it has the maneuverability, some armour resistance, and the ability to get some support weapons to a needed area of the battlefield more quickly than it's foot slogging cousins. The Good: The ability to move heavy weapons to an area that needs support quickly, and the increased resistance to small arms fire. The Bad: It is a vehicle so it can be targeted easier, and it's open topped (some).
Lastly, commissars are good support for the Captain. They have similar abilities and access to the armoury. They also can help a unit that is faltering- which is very bad for the Captain. Personally I have one per squad. The Good: The ability to beef up the Command HQ, and subsequent leaders with additional equipment from the armoury. Not to mention the higher leadership to get the men moving again. The Bad: The Commissar will shoot the other officer if they fail a leadership test. They take out a leader of your troops and thus provide the enemy with victory points (if that's the scenario) and also remember that nobody gets points if the Commissar shoots the other officer. Their increased leadership value does not come into affect until the unit they are attached to fails their leadership test.
All in all, I love playing the IG and there is so much versatility troop wise it's amazing. I use most of the human races from Necromunda as my troop types. I also have a strict Catachan army as well that does pretty good. The best advice I can give to fellow IG players is to bulk up on troops sometimes another squad is much better than taking a vehicle. However, for opponents such as the Chaos Marines and the Space Marines you need squad types that will pack a punch like many tanks and Ogryns. For any other race go with the extra troops but experiment as well that is the fun of the IG afterall!
Discuss this tactica here
Last edited by Arkaedin; 24-12-2008 at 05:38 PM.
Tags for this Thread