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It has come to my attention that not many people know a lot about the Imperial Guard. So I'm here to help educate and to provide people with a quick glance of how a unit works and some common tactics associated with it. It's primarily for the participants of the Votewars we have going on so they know what the IG is all about. I think it's a pretty comprehensive summary of nearly all the units in the IG army. I've still to add a couple, and I will over the next couple of days. If you guys are cool with this staying here. Good. If not, that's cool too. Do with it as you wish. I just think this will help people make education decisions and provide a glimpse into the Hammer of the Emperor.
Company Command Squad (CCS)- Very small squad, but it can take 4 special weapons and all have BS4. Very cheap for the amount of death they can deal. They can also take heavy weapons, but given the small size of the squad, this is rare and they're usually kept mobile. Medics can be purchased to gain feel no pain and bodyguards provide additional bodies. The most popular option is to stick them in a Chimera and use them as a quick medium/close range fireteam. With 4 plasmas or 4 meltas they become a very lethal tank hunter or termie/MC hunter.. But AV12 isn't all that great, so they are fragile.
Leadership/order HQ. Standards and voxes and lord Commissars ensure orders are very likely to go through and result in any infantry unit in range being twin-linked, getting +2 to their cover saves, firing an addition lasgun shot, or other such goodies. This is common in horde armies as orders cannot be received by vehicles. Orders CAN be given OUT of a Chimera transport, so they may still stick them in there. Creed has excellent order range (24 inches) and allows a single unit in the army (even vehicles) to outflank. This can be given even to vehicle squadrons. Even so, leadership HQs usually stay put and out of danger, as when you take them out, it's a big blow to an army that heavily relies on orders.
Combat/counterassault HQ. The last CCS HQ option, the way I see it. I don't have a lot of experience with it, but here's the way I see it. Straken is essentially a monstrous creature. T4 3W 3+save, Str6, WS5 3 attacks that ignore armor saves and roll extra D6 for armor pen. Him and his squad have fearless, counterattack, and furious charge. Still, he's not THAT hard to take down. A Battle Cannon equivalent will insta-kill him. This HQ choice can definitely catch some off guard and will do a considerable amount of damage to whatever it charges, but it gives up fun orders, and firepower for close combat prowess.
Primaris Psyker- A very cheap HQ option. Independent character than can join a squad to provide them additional firepower and protection. He fires str6 AP5 assault 2d6 shots at 24 inches and is commonly attached to a squad inside a Chimera to give them a huge boost in firepower. Such a unit will be able to fire about 27 shots (str5 or more) at 24 inches. His second ability is Nightshroud, which forces anyone who wishes to shoot at him or his squad to make an LD check or forego shooting altogether. It's less useful as it doesn't work inside a Chimera. If the Primaris and his squad decide to mix it up, he has a force weapon and puts it to good use with WS4 S3 A3.
Commissar Yarrick- This guy is hugely expensive. He's an independent character so he joins a unit and gives them fearless. Allies within 12 inches are stubborn. Anytime Yarrick assaults, anyone within 12 inches also rerolls failed to-hit rolls. Yarrick also has 3 wounds, a 4+ save, all wounds against him must be re-rolled, he has a power fist, 3 attacks, WS5 str3, and can fire 2 AP3 laspistols. Oh, and when he dies, he gets back up with 1 wound on a 3+. So yes, he's a badass. But the huge price tag and the loss of orders/firepower is questionable.
Regimental Advisors- These are upgrades for the CCS. Each CCS may have one of each, and if the player takes 2 CCSs then he may have 2 of each total. And yes, their abilities stack. They're all outlined below.
Master of Ordnance- A single model that fires an Earthshaker round indirectly (str9 AP3 large blast). If it hits it scatters 2d6, if it misses it scatters 3d6. There's an argument about whether or not it can use the multiple barrage rule with an HQ mortar to reduce scatter, but for the purposes of last tournament it was agreed upon that yes, it does reduce it. Mortar fires first, and then the Master fires, putting his blast adjacent to the mortar blast instead of scattering any specified distance. Much more accurate. Even without the mortar it's a cheap, if innacurate way to get another Earthshaker round.
Astropath- A single model that improves reserve rolls by 1 and lets you re-roll outflanking. Quite useful if you're heavy on that business. Improves Marbo, outflanking Vendettas/Valks/Sentinels, improves Creed's outflanking unit.
Officer of the Fleet- The opposite of Astropath. A single model that reduces opponents reserve rolls by 1 and makes him reroll succesfful outflanking. Famous for totally screwing Marine drop-pod lists, entire Daemon armies, etc. Unlike the Astropath, however, you can't control if the opponent will even have any reserved units. It could just be wasted points.
Techpriest Enginseer- Don't use up any force org. slot, but you can have up to 2. They fix a damage result on an adjacent vehicle on a 5+, and this improves by 1 for each servitor with a servo-arm they have in their retinue. Their servo-arm counts as a power fist and they wear 3+ armor but other than that they have regular guardsman stats and can get quite expensive. The servitors can be geared out to carry Plasma Canons for some nice firepower.
Ministorum Priest- Don't use up any force org. slot, but you can have up to 5. They're independent characters that join a squad and let them re-roll any failed to hit rolls on the charge. This doesn't work with Ogryns and Ratlings. They also have a 4+ invuln. and carry an eviscerator sword that counts as a power fist and rolls an additonal D6 for armor pen. They're a little pricey for a single model, but can be useful if you're decking out for a close-combat army.
Stormtroopers- AP3 lasguns, 4+ saves, and 2 special weapons per squad. These guys can deepstrike accurately without any assistance and so may be used as small 2-melta suicide squads. They can reroll scatter when deepstriking so often land right behind a valuable vehicle/character and melta/plasma it to death. But even given their powerful weapons, they're price tag is on par with pricey marines and so they're somewhat of a point sink. The 4+ save helps and deepstrike is useful, but they're often overlooked for Veterans, which carry more weapons, have the same BS4, more of them, cheaper, and they're scoring. Still, a strong durable unit.
Ogryns- Devastating close-combat units. They have a typical guard armor save (5+),but have WS4 str5 T5 3W. They're the only unit in the IG army that fills the role of heavy assault. Still.. they're very expensive, and not particularly fast so getting them to their target can be difficult.
Ratlings- BS4 snipers with stealth and infiltrate. Very cheap. A full unit costs only 100 points and can tear apart monstrous creatures or reliably cause pinning checks to anything in sight. Downside? They'll keel over if you look at em wrong. Once they're in combat, they're gone. Very low leadership. But as long as they stay in cover and out of combat, they're deadly.
Psyker Battle Squad- These guys have 2 very powerful abilities that grow with power depending on how many psykers are left in the squad. A 36 inch large blast template with strength equal to number of psykers and D6 AP. Or the option to lower the targets LD by a number equal to the number of psykers. They're usually stuck in a chimera, as they can fire on the move and can be a powerful mobile fireteam tossing battlecannon-equivalents everywhere. Their leadership lowering ability is lethal when used in tandem with pinning and morale checks (friendly artillery and snipers). It practically guarantees that the unit will be pinned or fall back. Commonly used to send Nob bikers fleeing off the table. That's assuming the target is susceptible to LD. Other than these 2 powers, battle psykers are just squishy old guardsmen.
Marbo- Marbo is a friggin' beast. He is one model that always starts in reserve, and when he comes in he can be placed anywhere on the board at least 1 inch away from an enemy. No scatter. He is BS5 WS5 2 wounds, carries a poisoned blade, a sniper pistol, and a demo charge. Marbo is most often used to appear next to a high value target (expensive HQs are popular), toss his demo charge at em, and then probably die. Marbo isn't expected to survive past his initial deep-striking, and so is risky in kill-point situations. But due to his BS5 his demo charge is deadly accurate and will blow away a huge chunk of what he's looking at. If he DOES survive long enough to get into combat, he has high initiative and his poisoned weapon wounds on 2+ and will make a mess of things. Marbo is quite cheap point wise (about the cost of a infantry squad), so unless it's a kill-point mission, this suicide unit won't be a heavy loss.
Infantry Platoons- These consist of a Platoon Command Squad (PCS), several Infantry Squads, and possibly some Heavy Weapon Squads (HWS), Special Weapon Squads (SWS), and Conscripts. They're very cheap and numerous. All are discussed below:
PCS- can take 3 special weapons and so are often used like the CCS (company command squad) in a Chimera, but they're only BS3, making them slightly worse. The PCS can take Al'Rahem, allowing the entire platoon to outflank and gives them a "run-shoot-run" type ability, which leads to some interesting tricks.
Infantry Squads- are very numerous. IG can field hundreds of men quite easily. Lasguns are weak individually, but massed lasgun fire means around 40 to 60 shots, if placed correctly. The sheer amount of fire will likely wipe out small units. Weak in combat, however, and will flee unless led by a Commissar. Infantry Squads have the ability to combine with eachother into bigger blobs of men. This serves to reduce kill points and make it harder to dislodge them, but they can no longer split firepower. A common tactic is to have a disposable squad of 10 (or less) guys take the brunt of an assault and get intentionally wiped out. This leaves the assaulter dead in the water with like 800 guns pointed at them in rapid-fire range. Exchanges a cheap throw-away squad for a shooting spree.
Heavy/Special Weapon squads- These are relatively cheap ways to field an absurd amount of either heavy or special weapons. HWS consist of three 2 wound models, each with a heavy weapon. While this is the cheapest way to get massed heavy weapons and benefits from orders, the downside is low leadership and toughness 3. The unit is very easy to wipe out, a lucky multilaser can wipe all 3 teams. They must be protected and in cover. Special weapon squads are 5 men with 3 special weapons. These can be anything from melta guns to 3 demo charges. It's a great cheap way to bring a huge amount of firepower on the field, but don't expect them to footslog it across without being mowed down. They must be protected, preferably in a transport.
Conscripts- Cheaper than even your average guardsmen, you can buy these things in ridiculous numbers. Their downside is BS, WS, and LD below that of even your average guardsman. They're used to swarm smaller units and bog them down with bodies, holding them off. There are up to 50 wounds to cut through. This also means they're quite good at holding objectives. Having Chenkov join the PCS makes all your conscripts stubborn and gives them "without number".
Veterans- They're relatively cheap, come in 10s, have BS4, and can carry a heavy weapon and 3 special weapons. Their only downside is standard guard squishiness with thier T3 5+ saves. They're commonly stuck in Chimeras and vendettas/Valks to provide a deadly amount of mobile firepower and scoring potential. They can also take "doctrines" for a fee. This allows Vets to be more armored, gain stealth/grenades, or melta bombs/demo charge. They're quite versatile.
Penal Legionnares- A somewhat random choice. They're more pricey than Veterans but have the stats of an average guardsman. They do also have scouts and stubborn so can outflank if needed. Where they shine, however, is their randomly chosen abilities. When a game starts they roll a D6. On 1-2 their lasguns become assault2. On 3-4 they gain counterattack, fleet, and furious charge, and on 5-6 they gain an extra close combat weapon and get rending. If lady luck is on their side, they can be pretty decent in a brawl.
Chimera- AV12 transport of the Guard. Very cheap for good armor and good firepower. Can carry up to 12 troops (Ogryns count as 2). Comes with multilaser turret, and hull H.Bolter standard. Its firepoints allow 5 models to shoot out the top hatch (doesn't count as open-topped) so they're great for drive-bys. They also allow officer orders to be given from inside to troops outside.
Scout Sentinel- A very low armored walker that's nevertheless very cheap and can carry a multitude of weapons. It has the potential of tying up units that don't have sufficient strength to bust through the AV10. They can scout and outflank which can lead to some very easy side armor/rear armor shots with lascannons/autocannons/multilasers.
Armored Sentinel- More expensive than the scout, these walkers have AV12. They can carry all the same weapons as the scout, with the addition of the Plasma Cannon. Naturally they're much better at tying up close combat units with that kind of armor. Not much can bust through it without using powerfists, etc. Armored Sents lose the ability to scout and outflank.
Hellhound- AV12 tank with a flame template that reaches a little over 24 inches. It spells death to anything with a 4+ save or worse and is very accurate. Relatively cheap. Comes with hull H.Bolter.
Banewolf- AV12 tank with a flame tempalte (measured from the cannon) that wounds all units with a toughness on 2+ (poisoned) and is AP3. Won't touch vehicles It's very close range, but chances are whatever it fires at will be melted goo. If the target isn't dead, however, the Banewolf is commonly shot, charged, and killed. Relatively cheap. Comes with hull H.Bolter.
Devildog- AV12 tank with a 24 inch small blast melta cannon. Imagine a meltagun. Imagine it at 24 inches. Imagine it being a small blast template weapon. That's about it. Very deadly to tightly clustered high armor units, or side armor shots, or any facing if you drove up close enough. It only gets the 2d6 armor pen rule at 12 inches or less. Relatively cheap. Comes with hull H.Bolter.
Rough Riders- Cavalry. Usually comes in 10s. Carries hunting lances wich gives them Str5 init5 power weapons on the charge.. but then the lances fall off essentially and may not be used again. Very deadly on the charge, but kind of a one-trick pony (pun very intended). Will die like all squishy guardsmen. Quite cheap and very fast with fleet.
Vendetta- A fast AV12 skimmer that's also a transport, can scout, ouflank, and fields 3 twin-linked lascannons for cheaper than a naked Russ tank. These are very popular and are the new face of Guard's long range anti-tank. The models are friggin' huge, however, and are up on a very tall base so they can most likely see everyone (and be seen by everyone) on the table. Commonly carry vet squads loaded with special weapons. They either stay at long range sniping with their lascannons, or fly up next to something and drop off the squad inside to unload. They can also outflank for some easy side/rear armor shots, ensuring armor death. Being fast skimmers also allows them for some easy last turn objective grabs/contesting. Downside is being able to fire only one lascannon if moving more than 6 inches.
Valkyrie- Identical to Vendetta except for the weapon loadout. What the Vendetta is to anti-armor, the Valkyrie is to anti-horde. Traditionally comes with Hellstrike missiles which, while being ordnance, are NOT blast templates. They're just slightly better at penetrating armor (better versions of Hunter Killers). The most popular variant costs the same as the Vendetta (relatlively cheap) and uses Multiple Rocket Pods (MRP) which can fire 2 large blast templates and a multilaser per turn. Also, Vends and Valks have the option for absurdly cheap heavy bolter sponsons so you may see them with those. Quite appropriate for the Valk's anti-horde goodness. The same strats apply to the Valk as they do the Vendetta.
Russ tanks: All Russ tanks are built on generally the same chassis. All will have AV14 front AV13 sides, though the Demolisher, Punisher, and Executioner have AV11 on the back as opposed to the ususal AV10. All Russes have the Lumbering Behemoth rule, allowing them to fire their turret weapon in addition to any other weapons usually allowed to fire at combat speed. It also means they move slower when going at cruising speed.
Leman Russ Battle Tank- The cheapest Russ tank, and one commonly seen as the most versatile. Battle cannon + hull heavy bolter (standard). The Battle Cannon is large template str8 AP3 and so spells death to all MEQs and below. Good range, decent at anti-horde, and halfway decent at anti-armor as well, seeing as how the Battle Cannon is ordnance.
Exterminator- Costs as much as the LRBT (above). Armed with a 4 shot twin-linked autocannon + standard hull heavy bolter. Does a decent job at popping transports and 4+ or below infantry, but has trouble if the horde gets too big, or if up against too many MEQs. It could take sponson heavy bolters and a pintle storm bolter to give it 16 shots, but that raises the price tag significantly. Still, it's AV14 and won't be a priority for your opponent, which means it'll keep firing away unharassed.
Vanquisher- Just a smidge more expensive than the LRBT. Armed with a 72 inch single shot AP2 anti-tank cannon. Rolls 2d6+8 on a hit for armor penetration, so on average it's more powerful than a railgun. Downside is that it's only 1 shot at BS3 so it won't hit half the time. A common Vanquisher variant is to give it a hull lascannon (bringing it to 2 anti-tank shots) and stick Pask in the tank, giving it BS4 and +1 to armor pen rolls. This makes it into a frighteningly formidable anti-tank weapon, albeit quite expensive.
Eradicator- A little more expensive still. Armed with a 36 inch str6 AP4 large blast weapon that ignores cover save. Destroys anything with armor save 4+ or worse, so it's a natural anti-horde tank. The cover denial is useful, and it even wounds MEQs on a 2+, but the armor save still applies. They'll still likely suffer a casualty or two. Hull H.Bolter as usual.
Demolisher- A smidge more expensive. Armed with the famous Demolisher Cannon. 24 inch str 10 AP2 large blast. Trounces anything in range. It's great anti heavy infantry, does a decent job at anti-horde (I only hesitate to call it great anti-horde because at 24 inches it's cutting it a bit close in terms of charging) and can even devastate armor. All around a scary tank that demands attention. Hull H.Bolter, but it's commonly given sponson Plasma Cannons for more death.
Punisher- Quite an expensive tank, but can spit out 23 str5 shots per turn minimum. They're AP-, however, so MEQ armor is a challenge. On average the Battle Cannon can deal with MEQs more effectively, cheaper, and at better range. Where the Punisher really shines is anti-monstrous creature. It throws so many shots that the target can't possibly make that many saves. The Punisher is commonly fitted with sponson H.Bolters and a pintle stubber. Also Pask often rides in the tank to give it BS4 and allow re-rolls against MCs. This means 32 BS4 str5 shots that re-roll against MCs. Very deadly. Very expensive, however.
Exterminator- Quite an expensive tank. Armed with a cannon that shoots str7 AP2 Heavy3, blast at 36 inches. Excellent against both heavy infantry and against MCs due to multiple blasts causing multiple wounds. Good range as well. Commonly outfitted with sponson Plasma Cannons to allow 5 such templates per turn. Absolutely devastating to everything bar heavy vehicles, but very expensive. Hull H.Bolter as usual.
Hydra Flak Tank- AV12. The long-range autocannon beast. A hydra comes with 2 twin-linked autocannons that shoot up to 72 inches and ignore any saves gained by turbo-boosting or moving flat out. (That's 4 shots + hull H.Bolter). This makes them ideal for popping all kinds of transports, skimmers, and whatnought. They're decent anti-horde and are incredibly cheap and are often found in squadrons. You can buy 2 for the price of a single LRBT! But it is only AV12 so they're not hard to pop. The long range should ensure you get quite a few shots off before the enemy even comes in range.
Basilisk- AV12 artillery piece armed with Str9 AP3 earthshaker cannon. Firing indirectly it effectively has unlimited range, but is plagued with a minimum range of 36 inches. This can be overcome by firind directly, removing the minimum range but exposing the vehicle. Minces MEQs and hordes and vehicles (assuming it hits) at any range. Powerful and cheaper than even the Hellhound variants. Weak armor, however, and useless if the target is within 36 inches. Standard hull H.Bolter.
Medusa- AV12 artillery piece armed with a 36 inch Demolisher Cannon equivalent (str10 AP2 large blast). Very powerful. The downside? It doesn't have the barrage rule and so cannot fire indirectly. It must be in harms way. It can also be outfitted with bastion-breacher shells. This very cheap upgrade turns the cannon into a 48 inch str10 AP1 rolls 2d6 for armor pen. If this weapon hits, it's the most powerful anti-tank gun in all of 40k (BS3 though..). Still within the price range of the Hellhound variants. Relatively cheap. Standard hull H.Bolter.
Colossus- AV12 artillery peice armed with an indirect only str6 AP3 cover-ignoring large blast. It effectively has unlimited range and its minimum range is only 24 inches. This artillery is getting into the pricy range, nearing that of a Russ tank, but it's quite deadly anti-horde and anti MEQ. They can't hide anywhere from this cannon, not even in cover. But even if it has sight to something, the indirect only means it'll always be scattering 2d6. Standard hull H.Bolter.
Griffon- AV12 artillery piece armed with a 12-48 inch str 6 AP4 large blast. This artillery is very cheap (you can often get 2 for the price of a standard heavy vehicle), and has decent range with a very small minimum range. It's "accurate bombardment" rule lets it reroll the scatter die, making it excellent when squadroned with other bigger artillery. With multiple barrage, the Griffon fires first (accurately) and then all following shots in the squadron land more accurately around the first shot. Great anti-horde due to cheap price and accurate gun. Standard hull H.Bolter.
Manticore- AV12 artillery piece armed with 4 Storm Eagle Rockets. This means the Manticore fan only fire 4 times. But each time it fires it rolls D3 to determine how many large blasts it puts down. The rockets are 24-120 inch str10 AP4 ordnance barrage D3, large blast. It can lay down an absolutely stupid amount of firepower if it rolls a 2 or 3 on the D3, doing the work of 2 or 3 Russ tanks in one. The blasts can overlap, putting multiple wounds on the target, and being str10 ordnance it has a decent chance of hitting some vehicles and doing gruesome damage to them. Arguably the most powerful anti-horde ranged weapon in all of 40k. About the price of an average Russ tank. Cannot be squadroned. Standard hull H.Bolter.
Deathstrike- AV12 artillery piece armed with the Deathstrike Missile. It can only fire once all game, and will never fire on the first turn. But starting 2nd turn it becomes more and more likely to fire. When it goes off, it has unlimited range str10 AP1 blast with the radius of D3+3. A standard "large blast" template has a radius of 2.5 inches (5 inches side-to-side). A deathstrike can be anywhere from 8 to 12 inches side-to-side). Any vehicles underneath are automatically hit for full power vs side armor. No cover saves are possible. In short, it annihilates anything without an invuln. save or Nids that can't be insta-killed. The downside is it takes a long time to fire, and there's no guarantee it'll fire anyway. It's such a huge fire magnet and has relatively low armor that it may be taken out before firing if not protected. It's also an upside. Such a huge weapon plays games with your opponent. The fear factor. It WILL be a priority. Cannot be squadroned. Standard hull H.Bolter.