All right, with the new codex out for a month or so now (it is a month, right?) I figured I'd write up some of the varying impressions on all our new toys with an AV score. I'll try not to write too subjectively, but some of my own opinions will undoubtedly make their way in. A lot of these come in squadrons (which I may or may not mention), so you'd best familiarize yourself with the squadron rules.
Aah, the venerable workhorse of the Imperial guard, its now cheaper and more available than ever. We can discuss at length (and have) its strengths and weaknesses. With a transport capacity of twelve, a Chimera can carry a full squad of infantry and up to two attached independent characters, or six ogryns. It is amphibious (not that many people bring water terrain features, but don't forget that rule just in case), and has the Mobile Command Vehicle special rule - meaning your officers can give orders just fine while riding in it. It also comes with Smoke Launchers and Searchlights, for all your cover-generating and night fighting needs.
The most common weapon loadout is, for a mobile chimera, Multilaser/Heavy Flamer - Shoot the multlaser on the way up, then torch things when close. For a few additional points, you can add a pintle mounted heavy stubber - as a defensive weapon, it can be fired along with one of the other weapons. Other weapon options include the heavy bolter for both hull and turret, and a heavy flamer option for the turret. Vehicle add-ons include the already-mentioned pintle mounted Heavy Stubber, the statistically inferior pintle mounted Storm Bolter. Also available are hunter-killer missiles, camo netting, extra armor, and dozer blade. Personally, I only take the the Heavy Stubber, maybe the Hunter-Killer if i've got the points spare (unlikely). Don't load up on upgrades, or you'll quickly find yourself buying one chimera for the price of two!
This controversial veteran of the imperial guard comes in two flavors - the older Scout Sentinel, and the new Armored Sentinel. As a walker, its somewhat slower than the other vehicles of the guard, especially the Valkyrie and Vendetta. The Scout version comes with the Scout and Move Through Cover special rules, allowing it to outflank, and the Armored version has a boosted front AV score, extra armor, and loses open-topped, making it much more survivable.
Weapon options are the same for both, except the Armored can carry a plasma cannon, which the Scout can't. Unfortunately, with the plasma cannon, the Armored version is half the cost of a Russ! Both come with a multilaser for free, if your looking to keep them cheap for their other duty other than often-overlooked fire support - they're walkers, and as such, can keep units tied up in close combat, buying precious time. Scout sentinels can keep guants, other guard, and fire warriors tied up for some time, forcing the enemy to divert other, nastier units to bailing them out. Armored sentinels can tie up anything S5 or less without rending (and possibly even with, depending on how many of them there are), and even krak-grenade-weilding marines for some time as they need a 6 to hit, and then a 6 again to just glance. Add-ons are the same for both, and include the ultra-cheap Searchlight, as well as Smoke Launchers, Camo Netting, and Hunter-Killer Missiles.
One of the new guys in the imperial guard lists (although not if your a fan of Forge World and Imperial Armour) this is one of the best options in the new dex for what it offers, something that the guard have never had before - a Fast Skimmer.
Both versions have the same transport capacity as the Chimera, but can't carry ogryns. On the other hand, being a Fast Attack choice, they can start the game carrying Grey Knight Terminators and Grey Knights, if you feel so inclined. The Valkyrie comes with 2 Hellstrike missiles and a Multilaser, and the Vendetta comes with 3 Twin-Linked Lascannons. They both come with Searchlights and Extra Armor.
The Hellstrike missiles on the valkyrie are, essentially, one-shot hunter-killers that roll 2d6 for penetration and pick the highest. I confess I'm not quite sure why someone would want these, but it does shave points just to leave them on, as well as giving it anti-tank punch.. Fortunately, by making it the same price as a vendetta, you gain the ability to drop two large blast defensive frag missiles from the Multiple Rocket Pods upgrade. You can also upgrade the Multilaser to a Lascannon, but unlike the vendetta's lascannon, its not Twin-Linked. The Vendetta can replace its two wing-mounted Lascannons for the Hellfury missiles, a defensive one-shot weapon with a bolter profile - except that it ignores cover. Its free to replace them, but I'd only do so if you already have plenty of anti-tank.
They both have the extra option of sponson-mounted heavy bolters. Remember, these can't be fired if you move twelve inches. On the plus side, they're cheap. Both also have the ability to deep-strike, as well as the grav-chute insertion special rule - very risky, but it allows you to deploy from them while they move flat-out.
Another mainstay of the Imperial Guard, the Hellhound now has two new siblings - the Devil Dog and the Banewolf. They're all fast vehicles like the Valkyrie/Vendetta, so you can move them 12" and still fire their nasty turret weapons, as well as any defensive ones - like the Pintle Heavy Stubber or Storm Bolter they can buy. Oddly, they don't come with any other equipment than their main guns and a hull heavy bolter. Their side armor is as good as their front armor, so they can shield the vulnerable side armor of your chimeras.
The Hellhound's inferno cannon has been simplified, and its range slightly reduced. While becoming a fast vehicle has the overall effect of increasing its threat radius, it competes with the Valkyrie and Leman Russ Eradicator for its role. By no means a bad tank for its points, its got a lot of competition.
The Devil Dog's melta cannon is much like a shorter-ranged plasma cannon, with enough strength to instant death terminators. Bit cheaper than the hellhound, its a passable anti-terminator unit and tank destroyer.
The Banewolf's chem cannon is a devestating weapon, but very short ranged, so whatever you hit, if it lives, will probably charge you. Makes a great counter-charge unit though, as it wounds on a 2+ and goes right through power armor.
All three tanks sport the same upgrades, the Pintle Heavy Stubber or Storm Bolter, Extra Armor, Camo netting, Smoke Launchers, Searchlights, and Dozer Blades, as well as the option for a Hull-mounted Multi-melta. It doesn't take too many upgrades though, and they become as expensive as a Leman Russ.
Finally, the iconic vehicle of the Imperial Guard, the legendary Leman Russ, with all its many variants. Named for the legendary Space Wolf Primarch, it surely has lived up to its name many times over! We're going to discuss each variant seperately, for each has a different task upon the battlefields of the 41st Millenium. All have access to the Knight Commander Pask special character, which grants a few nifty rules and a BS upgrade. They also all have the Lumbering Behemoth special rule, which allows them to fire any allowed weapons, as well as the turret - even if its ordinance, and even if they move. They come with Searchlight and Smoke Launchers, and a hull-mounted Heavy Bolter
They all have the same options - Sponson Mounted Heavy Flamers, Heavy Bolters, Plasma Cannons, and Multi-meltas, Pintle-mounted Heavy Stubbers and Storm Bolters, Extra Armor, Hull-mounted Heavy Flamer or Lascannon, Hunter-Killer Missiles, Dozer Blades, and Camo-netting.
Leman Russ Battle Tank
The tank that started it all, this is a solid choice for sure. With the best front armor around, and side armor that is as good as most other tanks frontal armor, a meq-exterminating main gun, this is a monster on the battlefield. Plasma Cannons are nearly a third-again the price, but offer a devestating firepower upgrade in return.
Leman Russ Exterminator
With a Heavy 4 Twin-Linked autocannon, this tank is devestatingly effective against light vehicles, but the regular Russ costs the exact same amount. However, if you load it up with Pask, a Hull Lascannon, and Sponson Multi-Meltas, its absolutely devestating against vehicles. Expensive though.
Leman Russ Vanquisher
Aah, the poor Vanquisher, getting hit hard with the transition between Imperial Armour/Armored Company and here. It lost its ability to fire its template, its extra range, but gains the Lumbering Behemoth rule, while helpful, means its Heavy 1 gun loses some of its edge. If you want to take this tank, its worthwhile to upgrade it with Pask. Only 5 points more than the Exterminator though.
Leman Russ Eradicator
The heavy support competition for the Hellhound, the Eradicator fires a cover-denying template that instant deaths GEQ's. Lacks the fast vehicle rule, but its gun has a longer range. A worthwhile choice, and only 10 points more than a normal Russ.
Leman Russ Demolisher
The guard's oldest and most trustworthy terminator-killer, the Demolisher has a devestating, albiet short-ranged main gun. The ability of it to fire on the move now makes it a truly fearsome tank. The sheer power in its main gun also allows it to crack most other vehicles with ease as well.
Leman Russ Punisher
One wonders if the Munitorum has been learning from the orks with this tank, as it puts out an unhealthy amount of short-ranged dakka. Expensive though, and with the Guard's poor BS, half of its many shots will miss. Throw in Pask and some heavy bolter sponsons though, and it becomes an MC-killer, as he allows re-rolls to wound against MC's, perfect for killing those Daemon Princes or Tyranid Warriors/Hive Tyrants/whatever.
Leman Russ Executioner
One of the most powerful Russ variants, this monstrosity sports a heavy 3 plasma cannon for its main gun - with a points cost to match. Throw on plasma cannon sponsons, and whatever unit it targets will likely vanish in cloud of plasma. Will almost certainly draw a lot of fire, and costs nearly as much as a Land Raider with the sponsons on.
There are more variants in forge world (The Leman Russ Conquerer, to name one), but they aren't in the main codex, so I'll just leave them out.
Hydra Flak Tank
Another Forge World import, this is the answer to our prayers regarding skimmers and bikes. (If only Eldar Guardian Bikers didn't have that 3+ Save!). Its Auto-targeting system special rule allows it to deny flat-out and turbo-boosting cover saves with all its weapons, and it comes in a Squadron too.
The Hydra comes with 2 Twin-Linked Hydra Autocannons, a Hull Heavy bolter, Smoke Launchers, and a Searchlight. Even without any upgrades, its devestatingly effective, throwing out 4 Twin-Linked Autocannon shots at 72". Two of these babies cost the same as a Leman Russ Exterminator, but are 2 less av on the front, and 3 on the sides.
Options include the Pintle-Mounted Heavy Stubber or Storm Bolter, the Hull-mounted Heavy Flamer (Why? I ask. I found out. A single BS3 Heavy Bolter isn't scary. A Heavy Flamer is.), Hunter-Killers, Dozer Blades, Extra Armor, and Camo-netting. Once again, too many upgrades and it becomes as expensive as a valkyrie/vendetta or hellhound.
The force organization chart's catch-all term for most of the guard's artillery pieces, these guys can lend a lot of indirect firepower for a fairly reasonable price. They all come with Searchlights, Smoke Launchers, and a Hull-mounted heavy bolter (sensing a pattern yet?), and all are Open-Topped. Once again, I'm going to hit these guys in order.
Universal Options are a Hull-mounted Heavy Flamer, enclosed crew compartment, Pintle-mounted Heavy Stubber or Storm Bolter, Hunter-Killer Missile, Dozer Blade, Extra Armor, and Camo-netting.
Exactly the same as it was in the last codex, it just comes with indirect fire built in now. Same points cost as it was in the old dex, but with a few free goodies.
Shorter-ranged than the basilisk, its shell is the equivalent of the Demolisher Cannon, but with a range not much longer. You can buy it bastion-breacher shells, which allow it to fire on the move at a longer range, but have a smaller blast, and an AP of 1. Cheap, but once bought, you have to fire them.
A MEQ-Killer, the Colossus Heavy Mortar has the same range as the basilisk, with a shorter minimum range, but cannot fire directly. It denies cover saves, but can't fire on the move, and its relatively low strength and high scatter means most vehicles will just shrug it off. Most expensive of the 4 choices as well.
A returnee from an earlier codex, the Griffon is the cheapest of the 4, costing the same as a hydra, and re-rolls scatter dice. Shortest minimum range, with a decent upper range, it can be squadroned with the others to make them much more accurate - especially the Colossus.
Manticore Rocket Launcher
One of Forge World's most devestating offerings yet, the Manticore will strike fear into the hearts of your opponents for sure. Firing a barrage of D3 templates a turn, it can shred the enemy battle line in seconds. While it can't bust marine saves, it will hurt their vehicles heavily - and offer instant death to anyone who fails their saves. It can't come in squadrons, to the relief of the enemies of mankind. Worth mentioning though, is that it only gets to fire 4 shots the whole game - not that your likely to need more. Slightly more expensive than the russ, and no better armored than a chimera, this lord of war should never be fielded alone.
Standard Equipment includes its Storm Eagle rockets, searchlight and smoke launcher, and hull heavy bolter. Options are standard hull heavy flamer, pintle guns, hunter-killer, dozer blade, extra armor, and camo-netting. Camo-netting may very well be worth it on this tank, offering it a bit of an edge surving the fire that will inevitably come its way.
Deathstrike Missile Launcher
Something straight out of apocalypse, a mobile ICBM launcher. Expensive, and will never fire first turn, and only fires once. Can't suffer a weapon destroyed, but each one inflicted delays the launch of its payload Can also fire even if stunned/shaken. Expensive, and no more survivable than a Chimera. I personally see no reason to field this outside of apocalypse, but if it fires it promises to be absolutely devestating, as it denies cover and inflicts full strength hits against all vehicles caught in the blast. Also has a patently ridiculous range of 960", perfect for that basketball court you always wanted to play a game in.
Options and other equipment are all standard.
Transports: Chimera, Valkyrie, Vendetta
Anti-tank/transport: Vanquisher, Vendetta, Exterminator, Devil Dog, Hydra
Anti-GEQ: Valkyrie, Chimera, Eradicator, Griffon, Hellhound
Anti-MEQ: Banewolf, LRBT, Basilisk, Colossus
Anti-everything: Manticore, Deathstrike, Medusa, Demolisher
You'll notice I left out the Sentinel, because it can slot into any role depending on the weapon, except anti-everything (you'll notice a theme there)
TEQ - Terminator Equivalent (2+ saves)
MEQ - Marine Equivalent (3+ Saves)
GEQ - Guard Equivalent (4+ saves or worse)
MC - Monstrous Creature (Daemon Princes, a lot of tyranid stuff)
Version 1 (standard) - Turret Multilaser, Hull Heavy Flamer - provides decent firepower on the way up, and cleans stuff out of cover once there. Protects the guys inside.
Version 2 (pillbox) - Turret Multilaser or Heavy Bolter, Hull Heavy Bolter, Hull Heavy Stubber - It sits and shoots. With a squad inside, it can put out a lot of firepower, but is very static.
Version 1 (flanker) - Scout Sentinel w/ Autocannon. Outflanks and shoots side armor of enemy vehicles. Charges targets of opprotunity (like fire warriors)
Version 2 (interference) - Armored Sentinel w/ heavy flamer. Place it between your main battle line and enemy assault troops, preferably ones without powerfists.
Version 3 (firepower) - Armored Sentinel w/ Plasma Cannon. Runs around dropping templates on valuable enemy units
Version 1 (valkyrie) - Valkyrie w/ Missile Pods. Ferries troops and nukes hordes
Version 2 (vendetta) - Vendetta w/ no upgrades. Simple and cheap, it kills tanks.
Version 1 (Hellhound) - Hellhound w/ Hull Heavy Flamer, Smoke Launchers. Hits hordes from range, and has smoke launchers in case it gets stunned/shaken by ranged fire (or can't shoot anything worth hitting this turn). Backup flamer in case Inferno cannon gets knocked out.
Version 2 (Banewolf) - Banewolf w/ Hull Multi-melta, Smoke Launchers. Can threaten tanks as well as infantry, and helps avoid exploiting wound allocation. Can also shave points by having a Hull Heavy Bolter so its somewhat useful at range.
Version 3 (Devildog) - Devildog w/ Hull Heavy Flamer, Smoke Launchers. Cheap and useful in a variety of situations.
Version 1 (Basic) - Leman Russ Battle Tank w/ Hull Heavy Flamer. Cheapest option, and decent at fending off attackers after its cannon gets knocked off.
Version 2 (Plasma) - Leman Russ Battle Tank w/ Hull Heavy Flamer, Plasma Cannon Sponsons. Nice all-around tank, can hurt both termies and regular meq, with much better range than the demolisher.
Version 3 (Demolisher) - Leman Russ Demolisher w/ Hull Heavy Flamer. Close-range assault tank. Heavy Flamer mixes in nicely.
Version 4 (Vanquisher) - Leman Russ Vanquisher w/ Hull Lascannon, Sponson Multi-Meltas, Pask. Sits still and knocks out tanks.
Version 5 (Exterminator) - Leman Russ Exterminator w/ Hull Lascannon, Sponson Multi-Meltas, Pask. As above.
Version 6 (Eradicator) - Leman Russ Eradicator w/ Hull Heavy Flamer. Much like a slower, AV14 Hellhound.
Version 7 (Giant Killer) - Leman Russ Punisher w/ Hull Heavy Bolter, Sponson Heavy Bolters, Pintle Heavy Stubber, Pask. Mows down Monstrous Creatures within its (short) range.
Version 8 (Ra-Pattern) - Leman Russ Executioner w/ Hull Lascannon, Sponson Plasma Cannons. Throws out lots of AP2 death.
Version 1 (Dakka) Hydra w/ Hull Heavy Bolter, Pintle Heavy Stubber. Throws a decent amount of shots
Version 2 (Basic) Hydra w/ Hull Heavy Flamer. Gives it something to do after its autocannons die, by which point the enemy is probably in your face anyway.
Version 1 (All). Any Vehicle Option w/ Hull Heavy Flamer. Once their main gun is destroyed, they can torch troops.
Version 2 (Tankbuster). Medusa w/ Bastion-Breacher shells. Longer-range than the normal Medusa, and has that ultra-valuable AP1 for cracking Monoliths and Land Raiders.
Version 1 (Basic). Manticore w/ Hull Heavy Flamer, Camo-netting. It sits back and drops big scary templates on the enemy for as long as it can, then torches stuff. (I'm really starting to repeat myself)
Version 1 (Basic) - Deathstrike w/ Hull Heavy Flamer, Camo-netting. Pop smoke and pray to the Emperor it lives.