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Penal Legions are usually overlooked in favor of Infantry Platoons or Veterans. Let us take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the Penal Legion.And of course, their signature rule, Desperadoes.
Basically before deployment, roll a D6 for each Penal Legion.
1-2 Gunslingers ( The Penal Legion's lasguns count as Assault 2 )
3-4 Psychopaths ( Grants Furious Charge, Fleet and the Counter Attack rules )
5-6 Knife Fighters ( All Penal Legionnaires count as having an extra close combat weapon and they have the Rending rule )
- Perhaps their greatest weakness, is the Desperadoes rule. This can really affect your strategy and tactics due to the randomness.
- Stats equivalent to that of a normal Guardsm
- Despite their assault oriented role, they will still get trashed most of the time by close combat specialists.
-Lack of mobility
- The higher point cost.
- Lack of any upgrades.
- Outflank/Charge combo
- The look on your opponents face when he realizes that Imperial Guard just won in close combat.
- Will used correctly, can slaughter most things.
As you can see, the cons outweigh the pros, a Penal Legion seems like a fairly unimpressive unit which has limited use.
This is where being Imperial Guard comes in. In my opinion, Imperial Guard units work best when supporting each other. Notice that all Imperial Guard special characters with the exception of Marbo buff other units.
Yarrick - Inspirational Hero, Aura Of Discipline
Straken - Cold Steel And Courage, Gung Ho
Creed - Supreme Commander, Tactical Genius
Kell - Listen Up, Maggots!
Pask - Leman Russ Tank Ace
Bastonne - Its Up To Us Lads!, Never Give Up! Never Surrender!
Harker - Catachan Devils
Mogul Kamir - Khanasan's Fiercest
Nork - Loyal To The End, Heroic Sacrifice
Imperial Guard also has Numbers. A basic 10 man squad is only 50 points. This allows the Imperial Guard to field a massive amount of units. The sheer mass of men the Imperial Guard can field will overwhelm the opposition. Tanks are also relatively cheap and durable. The sheer firepower and numbers of the tanks Imperial Guard can field is unmatched.
Both of these are what makes Penal Legions good. A Penal Legion alone and unsupported charging a Khorne Berzerker squad will probably be slaughtered before they even get a chance to fight. However, 2 Penal Legions supported with Creed's For The Honor Of Cadia and any of the Desperadoes effects charging the Khorne Berzerkers ( or shooting them beforehand if they get Gunslingers ) will give them a good trashing.
Good Synergy with Penal Legions
Creed - Able to give Furious Charge from 24" away is a huge boon.
Straken - Gives Furious Charge and Counter Attack if within 12".
Yarrick - Reroll to hit is always a good thing, Fearless is a double edged sword.
Priest - Reroll to hit
Astropath - Makes it easier for Penal Legions who are outflanking.
Rough Riders - Take out anything that Penal Legions would struggle against.
Sentinels - Lock up Melee Specialists, allowing the Penal Legions to go against the softer targets.
Marbo- Throw a demo charge to weaken/destroy anything that would be a threat against the Penal Legions
Tactics for Penal Legions
This tactic is my favorite and 1 of the staple tactics for Penal Legion.You simple hold your Legions in reserve. Turn 2, they outflank and charge.
Normally used in conjunction with other troops. The Penal Legions simply camp at the objectives.
Too expensive, you want meat shields? Get Conscripts.
A Counter Assault Unit
A cheaper alternative than Rough Riders/Orgyns
I will focus on the Outflank/Assault tactic as the others are quite self explanatory. Basically the principle is that you keep the Legions in reverse and charge them turn 2 making use of their outflank. This can really mess units who generally stay in the back field ( Broadsides, Devastators, etc ). Creed or Straken will definitely be an asset for this. Creed can give Furious Charge from 24" inch away. Straken is harder but if you can get him to link up with the Penal Legions, he can confer Furious Charge and Counter Attack. And he can charge with them as well. Or you can simply use both, Creed will outflank Straken? An Astropath will be a huge asset for this. 1+ to reserve rolls and rerolls for the Outflank dice? Yes please!
This tactic will excel against... well basically everyone. 60 guys outflanking and charging at turn 2 is just downright mean, particularly if you have Creed/Straken buffing them.
The element of Surprise is crucial. If the enemy expects it, he will reserve all his guys as well or find some other way to screw up the plan. Even then, the plan might still work. Successfully achieve this plan, and you might just fall in love with Penal Legions.[B]
Tips For Penal Legions
-If outflanking, try to be the second one to go.
- If you won combat and the enemy has been swept/fallen back, try to consolidate into cover if there are shooty units around
- If possible, use 1 Penal Legion to assault 1 squad. This will mean that the softer targets will be killed while the "Hard" units are tied up for a turn or 2.
- Try not to send Penal Legions against T5/T6 foes unless in massive numbers.
- Try to have either Creed or Straken to buff your Penal Legions.
- This is crucial,INITIATE the charge. Especially if you have Furious Charge.
- Try not to get locked in combat, always try to break your enemy's back on the charge.
Thanks for reading this Tactica for Penal Legions of the Imperial Guard.
"We're the bottom of the barrel, the worst of the worst. If we don't fight, how can you expect those prats in the regular regiments to fight?"
Last edited by Arc; December 16th, 2010 at 20:39.
A good trashing no,some casualties yes if you multy charge with a couple of squads i cant see how will you place the models in B2B to give more squads a chance,and when the zerks attack heads will roll.Remember that Khorne bereserkers can be as much as 20 a squad,and have more attacks by default(though you can reach them if you atteck first and have some good rolls for the penal powers)and much greater WS not to include the champion with an icon.I would say that it is propable that 5-6 of them will die,but when its their turn it will most likely be a massacre.Both of these are what makes Penal Legions good. A Penal Legion alone and unsupported charging a Khorne Berzerker squad will probably be slaughtered before they even get a chance to fight. However, 2 Penal Legions supported with Creed's For The Honor Of Cadia and any of the Desperadoes effects charging the Khorne Berzerkers ( or shooting them beforehand if they get Gunslingers ) will give them a good trashing.
I agree with most of the other things you say,though i doupt they can last more than 2 rounds in combat with specialised CC units.
Buckets of dice though do wonders!!!!
Last edited by pilot00; December 17th, 2010 at 20:21.
Praise be to the Emperor!!
In my opinion, Penal Legions must break their enemies on the charge or at least severely damage them to the point they can;t effectively retaliate. Get locked up and dedicated CC units will rip them apart, Knife Fighters or not. And yeah placing models B2B is a pain especially when you use 30 men to charge 10 guys
The basic problem I have with Penal Legion is that they are limited to 10 men squads. Ten men. Come on. Thats ridiculous. So you need at least a few to score up enough dice to really be a threat. Only time I've seen Penal Legion be effective was when my opponent ran two squads each with a priest.
Revenant Moon Necrons: (W/L/D) 0/1/0 (6th edition: 13/2/2)(5th edition: 14/6/4)(3rd edition Codex: 16/4/7)
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Black Legion: (W/L/D) 1/0/0 (6th edition: 2/3/0)
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Penal Legions must be used in numbers to be a threat. And Priests are brilliant especially if they got Knife Fighters.
25+ attacks with rerolls to hit and Rending? Add FC to the squad and go hunt some Marines.
To aid in the outflanking you can put Straken in a Valkyrie or Vendetta to outflenk his squad and add a platoon lead by Al Rahim for even more outflanking goodness. Now you have chimeras, heavy and special weapons outflanking, not to mention some twin linked lascannon on the skimmers.
It does take away from the pure penal legion force but as has already been said, guard work well when complimenting and supporting each other.
Quorn! - Protein for the Protein God.