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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A friend of mine is thinking about starting up an Imperial Guard army, so he asked me to compile a list of IG strengths and weaknesses. Here's what I came up with so far.

Strengths:
Numbers: Guard armies tend to run one of two ways, tank heavy or infantry heavy. In general, either way you'll be able to bring more than most other armies can easily deal with.

Firepower: The IG is about as shooty as it gets. With flame templates, pie plates, heavy weapons, and enough lasguns to break your budget on dice alone, the IG has the ability to out-shoot most armies with volume of firepower alone.

Unique-ness: The organization of an IG list is unique in its set-up. Unlike many other armies, where HQ units are just better versions of troops with the ability to buy equipment, the IG tends to be more like a 40K version of today's armies, with leaders being used for leadership and soldiers being used for fighting.

Ease of Use: Though not as forgiving as some armies in 40K (ahem Necrons, SMs), an IG gunline is relatively simple to to put together and operate on the table. A solid IG list can be built using only HQ, Troops, and Heavy Support. As a player progresses, finesse and trickier tactics can be picked up with a little effort and patience.

Variety: Although similar to the unique factor, the IG has a wide variety of units and unlimited fluff possibilities. Also, through the use of doctrines, you can tailor your army to whatever your playing style is. While using some doctrines may increase the difficulty of play, the possibilities involved are endless.

Humanity: While it is only a fluff positive, the IG is made up of normal dudes. No genetically enhanced supermen, no alien ninja warriors here either. The IG deals with the Imperium's enemies with lasguns and guts.

Weaknesses:
Mediocrity: The average guardsman is just that: average. With an okay statline, guardsmen aren't going to be winning a lot of battles with overwhelming skill or strength. They are only human after all.

Inflexibility: In general, most IG gunlines are slow to react to new situations and are as such, vulnerable to fast armies or armies that are not inclined to stand and shoot type games. While Mechanized and Drop Troop armies are not as ponderous as gunlines, they are still limited by taking away what are perhaps the biggest guard strengths, numbers and guns.

Elites?: While the Hardened Vets and Stormtroopers are the most utilized options in the IG as far as Elites are concerned, the other options in th IG Elites section have questionable characteristics. Though in fluff and in theory, all IG Elites seem like solid options, in practice, I've never seen Ogryns, Ratlings, or Tech-priests used with any sort of effectiveness on the table. This is not to say that they are completely ineffective, just that they require a degree of generalship or luck that I have yet to see.

Expense: Although it costs quite a bit to make a 2000 point force with any 40K army, depending on your selection, an IG army can be very expensive. Mechanized forces require the purchase of lots of tanks at about 40 USD each, and if you want to go the Forge World route, it will be even more expensive.

Humanity: The strength is also the weakness. While in fluff, it's cool to think of normal dudes defending the Imperium, on the table, it can be frustrating to face off against the myriad of supermen, aliens and traitors that have better statlines and weapons.


So that's what I've thought of so far. If anyone has anything else to add or wants to dispute some of the things I've listed here, I'd like to hear it. Thanks in advance.
 

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That looks like a very good summation of the guard, but you missed out the usefulness of the tanks, Leman Russes have the same front armour as a landraider and can have more guns!

Also you can completely confuse someone by using Schaeffer's Last Chancers as most people expect to go against a gun line when they go against guard.
 

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AND : in 5th Ed (end of this summer - don't hold breath though) only troop choices will be scoring units, making guard much, much, better.
Fancy starting the game with 2-6 scoring units? or 10-20?
I do beleive they're also going to re-do the IG codex, but the three beforehand (I got this from a GW shareholder so feel pretty confident it's not paff): Demons, Space Wolves and Space Marines (no dates on last 2, but guestimate Marines would be with the release of 5th ed)
Oh, to clarify: thats Demons in 40k, as in the big evil chaos lord type things.
 

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Elites?: While the Hardened Vets and Stormtroopers are the most utilized options in the IG as far as Elites are concerned, the other options in th IG Elites section have questionable characteristics. Though in fluff and in theory, all IG Elites seem like solid options, in practice, I've never seen Ogryns, Ratlings, or Tech-priests used with any sort of effectiveness on the table. This is not to say that they are completely ineffective, just that they require a degree of generalship or luck that I have yet to see.
What the...? You've never seen the wonders that ratlings can do? Nothing like blowing up a Nightbringer in the middle of a full squad of pariah or pin an incoming mob of kroot to get shot down like little bunnies? These little guys can even shoot down a hive tyrant in one round of fire(yeah...that guy had really crappy rolls that day...)!
Not to mention it's only 110 points to have 10 of them with an average cover save of 3+.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
What the...? You've never seen the wonders that ratlings can do? Nothing like blowing up a Nightbringer in the middle of a full squad of pariah or pin an incoming mob of kroot to get shot down like little bunnies? These little guys can even shoot down a hive tyrant in one round of fire(yeah...that guy had really crappy rolls that day...)!
Not to mention it's only 110 points to have 10 of them with an average cover save of 3+.
Obviously I have not seen these wonders you speak of, or I would have stated otherwise.

Besides, there are millions of stories like those for every marginally effective unit in every army. Like it's some kind of attempt to win over all the people who don't see them as awesome. While I agree that ratlings are good at taking down MCs, there simply aren't enough times when I could justify their use. I know one Necron player who fields a Nightbringer, and even then he rarely takes it to the table top, and against Nidzilla armies, there are simply too many MCs for ratlings to make a difference. I'm trying to make a general synopsis of IG strengths and weaknesses, and Ratlings fill a niche that is too specific to be mentioned as either.
 

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What the...? You've never seen the wonders that ratlings can do? Nothing like blowing up a Nightbringer in the middle of a full squad of pariah or pin an incoming mob of kroot to get shot down like little bunnies? These little guys can even shoot down a hive tyrant in one round of fire(yeah...that guy had really crappy rolls that day...)!
Not to mention it's only 110 points to have 10 of them with an average cover save of 3+.
Honestly the only reason I do not use ratlings is because I hate the premise and I hate the models. I woudl much prefer that they give Guard access to units of human snipers...
 

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What the...? You've never seen the wonders that ratlings can do? Nothing like blowing up a Nightbringer in the middle of a full squad of pariah or pin an incoming mob of kroot to get shot down like little bunnies? These little guys can even shoot down a hive tyrant in one round of fire(yeah...that guy had really crappy rolls that day...)!
Not to mention it's only 110 points to have 10 of them with an average cover save of 3+.
For the IG, in most cases the best defense is a good offense. Why? Because dropping as much of the opposition as you can before they can exploit your weakness, CC, is vitally important.

So while Ratlings might be incredibly hard to kill via shooting when they set up in cover. The fact remains that they only have a couple of units they can effectively trouble. So few that you can list them fairly easily on one hand. Units with high value and fairly mediocre save (C'Tan, Greater Daemons), or units that are fairly susceptible to pinning with a LD (about the only unit in the game with a Leadership value lower than 8 and without some sort of compensating rule such as boss poles, squigs, or synapse are, as you mentioned, Kroot).

So, I don't know about you, but in a take all comers army built for tournament play I certainly don't recommend a unit that's good at stopping C'Tan, Greater Daemons, and Kroot in their tracks. I'd probably suggest spending your precious points on something a little less specialised in targets
 

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Honestly the only reason I do not use ratlings is because I hate the premise and I hate the models. I woudl much prefer that they give Guard access to units of human snipers...
seconded, even then a squad of 10 human snipers 'count as' ratling snipers just seems unfluffy in general (unless i guess it's part of a cod march-themed army). and doing the 6-man special weapon squad from the command platoon with 3 snipers in it is just overpriced.
 

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The fact remains that they only have a couple of units they can effectively trouble. So few that you can list them fairly easily on one hand. Units with high value and fairly mediocre save (C'Tan, Greater Daemons), or units that are fairly susceptible to pinning with a LD (about the only unit in the game with a Leadership value lower than 8 and without some sort of compensating rule such as boss poles, squigs, or synapse are, as you mentioned, Kroot).
Splutters! But they're snipers - they hit on a 2+ and wound on a 4+ always - regardless of STR! Any high toughness unit (don't forget bikes here) that normally should be shaking - all that affects the target is it's armour save. Let me explain a bit better:

Vs a Marine bike on Average - you need
18x Guard Troopers with lasguns(108pts), 6.75 Marines with Boltguns(101.25pts), or 3.6 Ratlings(39.6 pts).
(per kill, not in rapid fire range.)

Vs Standard Marine - you need
9x Guard Troopers with lasguns(54pts), 4.5 Marines with Boltguns(67.5pts), or 3.6 Ratlings(39.6 pts).

Other targets - The larger nid creatures, or, basically as you are a guard player anything with T4 or better. Your weaponry just won'r do vs higher toughness

You also get pinning - ALWAYS worth making your opponent roll, even LD 10 (at -1 unless i'm mistaken, must check general rule book) to make the entire squad useless(LD10 (-1) has a 1 in 6 chance of failing.)
Many people use them wrong - infiltrate does not mean deploy closer to the opponent.
Besides, they're so cheap! - and you can volentarily make them duck so they don't run!

however we're going off the point. the best choice for guardsmen elites is Hardened vets, the best thing about guardsmen is either lots and lots of troops, and the class tanks.
 

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seconded, even then a squad of 10 human snipers 'count as' ratling snipers just seems unfluffy in general (unless i guess it's part of a cod march-themed army). and doing the 6-man special weapon squad from the command platoon with 3 snipers in it is just overpriced.
I agree on both points. I would love to find a way to rationalize a conversion but just cant think of anything... maybe marksman servitors? hmm...
 

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"Disposable Heroes"

Standing and shooting is SOP but dont be afraid to get aggressive - occasionally try putting a few units out there - it could slow them up or make them a little more cautious.

Try using the Drop Troops Doctrine; dropping hardened vets loaded with Plas is a great show stopper. Pod drop them beside heavy infantry, say termies, have them open up. Who cares if in the next round they get blown away or assaulted into goo.

Same techinique will work against entrenched troops and vehicles.

Also running a group of stormies up in a Chimera to get close with meltas/plas does work for in your face slowing up tactics.

My 2 cents...
 
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