Monday, 26 November 2012

Imperial Guard in 6th Edition, looking at the book.

This post is part of an ongoing series of musings on how some things are working in 6th Edition I'm going to hopefully take a good look at how things have changed and reach some conclusions. Other things are being covered by some other local chaps who are active in the Irish 40K scene.

Merv at Touched by Greatness has been discussing Chaos Characters as well as Calgar and Guard.

Dave “Little Dave” Coleman over at The RedThirst has been talking about Blood Angels in 6th Ed, looking at foot lists and all those Assault Marines.

Caolan, one of the members of Skibb Wargamers, another local club in Cark, has been talking about BloodAngels but as a Mechanised force.

With all these articles read and digested, I want to discuss how Guard works in 6th Edition and what’s good and what’s bad.

Valhallans, true heroes.

I spoke briefly about the direction I am currently taking, Space Wolf Allies, here. I expect much of the same will come up in this series.

I think the best way to start would be to look at the components that make up a 6th edition force, based primarily on the ‘Fighting a Battle’ section in the book, primarily the missions as they are starting to be played in tournaments. This includes ‘The Armies’, ‘The Mission’ and ‘The Battlefield’.

The Armies
This includes lists, with two major things to consider, fortifications and allies, because of the nature of how I’m going to look at things in this post I’ll just skip over this for now until we know what this force needs to do.

The Mission
So the book has six missions built into, I want to look at each of them, they are:
  • Crusade
  • Purge the Alien
  • Big Guns Never Tire
  • The Scouring
  • The Emperor's Will
  • The Relic

Primary: D3 + 2 objectives
Secondary: Slay the Warlord, First Blood, Linebreaker.

Purge the Alien
Primary: Kill Points – 1 VP per unit
Secondary: Slay the Warlord, First Blood, Linebreaker.

Purge them

Big Guns Never Tire
Primary: D3 + 2 objectives, each one worth 3VPs and each Heavy support killed is 1VP.
(Heavy Support are scoring)
Secondary: Slay the Warlord, First Blood, Linebreaker.

BIG Guns!

The Scouring
Primary: 6 objectives worth variable points and each Fast Attack killed is 1VP.
(Fast Attack are scoring)
Secondary: Slay the Warlord, First Blood, Linebreaker.

A Scourer.

The Emperor's Will
Primary: 2 objectives
Secondary: Slay the Warlord, First Blood, Linebreaker.

The Relic
Primary: 1 mobile objective (the relic)
Secondary: Slay the Warlord, First Blood, Linebreaker.

Yep, that's a relic.

Now this is arguably the most important part of the book, certainly for deciding how to proceed with building any list in 6th Ed, I know some tournaments will not use these missions but the game was designed by the people who wrote these so there must be some correlation.

Before getting into discussing the missions I guess I need to explain how scoring is done in the tournament scene, each game is worth a total of 20 Battle Points divided amongst three criteria primary, secondary and army points. The primary is worth 8, the secondary 6 and army points 6. The primary is either win, lose or draw as is the secondary. Army points are calculated based on the points value of the enemy units that you killed versus the points you lost, this is then split using a malus system:
APs Difference / Battle points.
1301-1850 / 6/0
851-1300 / 5/1
401-850 / 4/2
0-400 / 3/3

Winning Primary - The first glaring thing of note is how the missions are setup, 5 out of 6 involve objectives, objectives that need to be captured by scoring units, the 6th Ed book says:

An army's scoring units are normally all the units that come from the troops selection of the Force Organisation chart”
There are a few exceptions, however:
If the choice is a vehicle or embarked in one
If it is a Swarm
If it is currently falling back

There are also denial units, they can stop you claiming an objective by contesting all units are denial units, and again there are exceptions:
If the choice is a vehicle or embarked in one
If it is a Swarm
If it is currently falling back

So knowing this and knowing that there are missions with anywhere between 1 and 6 objectives we can see where the primary focus of any list should be, troops.
Realistically to even have a chance of winning most of these missions a minimum of 4 scoring units is required; ideally you are looking at 6-7, especially when you have squishy units, like guardsmen.

As for denial, it can be done by Elites and HQ, this generally will be a nice big melee unit or commanders death star for some armies. Guard doesn't really have anything that could charge forward and deny whilst not being scoring anyway, reinforcing the idea that we need troops, plenty of them.

That’s pretty much the primary taken care of, now the one exception being Purge the Alien where Kill Points becomes the main concern, this is always a tough one as guard, we are sat with loads of cheap scoring units, which is great, but they are so very squishy, a stiff breeze could wipe out a unit of these guys, unless they are hidden in cover behind walls and gone to ground, or there is 50 of them, in 1 big pile.

I am of course talking about the Combined Squad rule, allowing up to 5 Infantry squads, and these squads alone, to form together into a huge unit, throw in a Commissar for Ld 9 rerolled, at the cost of 1 of the 5 Sergeants, and these chaps are going nowhere.

There is always the concern that the support units for the guard are going to fall foul of kill points, especially when facing off against tough and expensive armies with very few units, I'm looking at you Grey Knights, but if the Infantry numbers can be reduced to yield just 1 point for that many troops, the support sections can afford to die as long as they can get a kill themselves.

So to summarise, to win the primary objective in missions you must have troops, lots of them. These troops should be resilient enough to survive when you outnumber the enemy. For kill points supporting units should not be spammed, I'm looking at you Chimeras, AV 12 just isn't as daunting as it once was and AV10 is near worthless, glances have made a huge difference in the way that armour works, rapid firing Str 4 bolters are going to start hurting Chimeras at some point.

Winning Secondary – First Blood, this is pretty much the key to secondary, it is the only objective without potential retaliation, Warlord can be contested by making the other chap a priority target, Linebreaker can be sought at any time. First blood can only be countered by making sure to not concede any other secondary.
First blood!

So how do you secure first blood? A lot of it comes down to who gets 1st turn, if you have it, then you set up for an alpha strike, pick the closest available and most easily killed target and set yourself up to hit it with whatever it’ll take to kill it. IF you don’t get first turn you are playing prevention and a counter strike, hide things out of LoS, screen and provide cover saves, make sure there’s nothing exposed that can be taken out.

Guard are masters of the alpha strike, the gun line is without compare. Make sure to include a Lascannon or two for turn 1 tank popping or a couple of juicy templates to place over squads hiding in terrain, I'm looking at you Colossus/Manticore/Medusa/Griffon/Basalisk.

Linebreaker is an interesting one you just need 1 model that is either scoring or denial in the opponents deployment zone, if you are crushing someone this is easy enough to get when it’s close, you may need to jostle for position and try and secure it, grav-chuted troops from a Vendetta in the final turn is an option or just advancing from turn 3 with a Run Run Run order does the same.

Securing warlord should be a case of simply dedicating firepower at the warlord, for most armies they are an offensive character and likely to be up in your face anyway, the issue guard has is in protecting your ever so poorly armoured company commander or other independent character. The best option is to hide them away at the back in some ruins whilst they throw out orders to those 12” away, if they are likely to get killed in turn 1 they can always be reserved or hidden in a Vendetta.

It’s my belief that this should be the main focus when deploying a force for a game, if you can secure first blood, you are most likely looking at a minimum of 3 points for the secondary, but more likely a 6, unless you get tabled, but if you do, you have other things to worry about.

So to secure secondary you need to have first turn and be offensive, go hard or go home, if going second play as defensive as possible in the hope that you can strike back in your round. Bring some hard hitting guns or artillery to the table turn one and if you want to up the ante on the defensive, bring an Aegis (this is something that I’ll talk about more in the future)

4+ for 50pts? I think so.

That pretty much covers all of ‘The Mission’ part of the book and we end up seeing 2 major trends for both primary and secondary, objectives and first blood. This means we need plenty of troops and plenty of fire power (that won’t die too fast).

The Battlefield

The Battlefield part of the book is simply the deployments for each game, of which there are three.

Dawn of War
Hammer and Anvil
Vanguard Strike

The only remarkable thing about the deployments is Hammer and Anvil (aside from it being a pain to play at a tourney if you happen to be on tables in the middle of a row) whilst each deployment gives a 24” minimum distance this one provide the option on increasing that even further. With night fighting being a 50/50 chance you can easily hide artillery outside of the 42” negating a turn 1 move and shoot against you.


After going through all of the above we can see a trend in what needs to be done, grabbing objectives to secure a win. I feel the secondary objective in all these missions and potential securing of 6 BPs for just first blood makes it a top priority.

Next time I intend to look at units in the Imperial Guard Codex in 6th edition and how they fare with the new ruleset.
For the Emperor!

Thanks for reading, looking forward to getting some comments and thoughts.

1 comment:

  1. Some great insights into army construction.

    The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that you are correct in your prioritising first blood. The only real bother is making sure that the unit seeking this objective is capable of surviving for a while, or at least cheap.

    Looking forward to the next instalment.