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The thread on PF commissars got me thinking a little bit about the big picture in IG army design.
It occurred to me that the reason I don't care for powerfisted commissars, and this is purely based on play style, is that I don't like to spend a lot of points to build a leadership unit, then spend a lot more points to outfit that unit for CC. To me, those two things are at odds because very often high Ld doesn't help IG in close combat and because you don't want to risk the cohesion of your army by putting your Ld unit in the CC mix. Plus such units pay a premium to be "jack of all, master of none." I'd rather split these tasks between two specialist units (say, a cheap Ld-specific HQ and a unit of Rough Riders).
To carry this into line squads, consider something like the default Steel Legion set-up (ML/GL) versus specialized units like LAS/PLAS or HB/GL. On the one hand, ML/GL can handle any unit on the table, but it does not excel at any specific target. On the other, the specialized units excel at armor, MEq, or light infantry, but are weak (or totally useless) against targets out of their specialization.
It seems like generalists allow more tabletop flexibility, but are more expensive (or less effective, which works out to be the same as more expensive), whereas specialists generate more bang for the point, but are less forgiving of bad placement/movement. I've always been a believer in specialist Guard units because Marine armies are far better generalists and the only way we can compensate is better resource management. However, I'm considering adding a generalist "troubleshooter" unit (something unexpected like an Armored Fist with HB/MG that could hold a position against infantry or tank-hunt.)
How do other Guardies approach this? Specialists or generalists?
I think the best general is one who can take a bunch of specialists, and keep them in their zone. If you can do that, most games will fall into your lap. Likewise, keeping your enemy out of his comfort zone will see a much less effective enemy.
I'm not a big fan of weapons and upgrades that sit on the fence, so to speak. Hence why autocannons and I don't get along. My armies take all heavy bolters and lascannons. However, I do take commissars (not with fists though) because I have a very specific role for my HSO and other officers, to be spread evenly along the line and serve as a sort of "high water mark" when the enemy are advancing on me, I keep them steady and let them be charged (usually in cover), and use the unit to just tie down the enemy until an appropriate responce can be mobilized. And until they are in close combat, the various guard squads deployed around the HSO benefit from a healthy increase in leadership. And when he does get into close combat, they can be slid back to take advantage of the "naked berzerker" (when they don't have anything else to consolidate into and are caught in the open), or I can pile guardsmen onto the combat, or I can double time my counter assaults (rough rider, conscripts, maybe seraphim or gk's) into the frey and maybe win me some close combat? Or at least I won't embarass myself.
Even taking generalist themed upgrades isnt always the worst idea in the world as long as your planning for REALISTIC contingencies. IE if you plan on keeping your HSO out of combat, then a commissar, trademark item, and purity seals are all things to avoid. If you plan on using him as a counter assault, then maybe a master vox and plasma gun equipped retinue isnt the best idea ever. Get where I'm going? Keep your mind focused on what you have in mind for each unit, and upgrade accordingly. If you imagine a unit seeing a lot of shooting as well as a lot of being shot at and charged, then in that case generalist upgrades really arent a terrible idea, because they're trying to be generalist units.
All that having been said, there really is something to be said about having some jack of all trades stuff laying around. Games can get downright unpredictable, and you never know when you may need to do something grossly out of character or something your army really isn't suited for. I tend to fluctuate on how much value I put on these types of units, right now I'm saying only a little bit of your list should be well rounded individuals, but it's really something you need to feel out for yourself. And adding to that, the more specialistic your army is, the more sorely you'll need generalists, but also the better off you'll do if you keep your head on straight. Think about it, Dark Eldar are uberspecialists, and that's why the learning curve for them is pretty much a 90 degree angle. But once they're made to work within their specialties, they're deadly.
And to insulate myself against the whims of unfavorable dice, I try to play more bottom heavy (ie lots of troops) lists.
Last edited by Ubernyaw; April 13th, 2006 at 17:02.
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the thing about generalist is 85% of the games you will be playing will be against MEQ. So making a list 50% anti infantry/low saves and 50% low AP doesnt make much sense.
Specialist imo are the best. sure ill have some light infantry guns, ususally 6 h.bolters and maybe a few grenade launchers. but overall im going to have missle launchers/lascannons and plasma guns where ever i can.
as for the commisar comment. they are so over priced it aint even funny. 60-100 pts to get one fielded for what you get is just ridiculius. ive tried using them in so many ways ive lost count. not once did they get there pts back, and most of the time they wouldnt do anything @ all, other then give a bit more leadership. But with Doctrines the leadership problem takes care of its self. I for one have never had a leadership problem with my IG
I think it depends on a couple of things.
1> We should take Jack of all trades SHOOTY units. IG is a shoot army and if we have squads with Lascannons or ML with Plasma Guns, we can take on just about any target.
2> We should only take specialized CC units. IG will never be good at CC, but we can have a squad of Rough Riders as a Counter-Assault unit, or an allied Grey Knight Squad. To make any general purpose IG squad that can do CC is a waste of resources.
Last edited by Diggums Hammer; April 13th, 2006 at 23:00.
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