The Codex releases are coming out thick and fast for Warhammer 40k 8th edition from Games Workshop. In this Codex we are expecting new rules for the Imperial Guard regiments. It is expected that the different regiments of renown are getting special rules. This will add colour and diversity to the Guard army. Notes about the Catachan and Mordian armies have been added to the Community website’s already. Other regiments will have notes posted during the week.
The Imperial Guard, or Astra Militarum is the front line of humanities desperate battle to survive in a very hostile universe. Oh yes the Space Marines think that they are the heroes and saviours of human kind, but they are few in number in relation to the vastness of space. The true saviours are the Astra Militarum, the Imperial Guard, the vast numbers of GI Joes putting boots on the ground, eating dirt, and paying the price in blood.
In this section we will be looking at tactics for using the Imperial Guard armies in the Warhammer 40000 8th edition game. To understand these tactics you will need the basic rules and a copy (or regular access to) the Index: Imperium 2 rules
- Also see: WH40k 7th Ed Imperial Guard Tactics
- Also buy: Discount Imperial Guard (Astra Militarum) from Wayland Games
- Also buy: Discount Index: Imperium 2 rule book from Element Games
Astra Militarum General Tactics
Playing Imperial Guard armies in Warhammer 40k can be great! You get loads of troops and some of the biggest guns in the game. You are never short of number when playing this army. The skill comes in when it comes time to co-ordinate all these units to achieve your objectives. It’s all to easy to just sit back behind you barricades blasting away. However the more advanced WH40k mission involve capturing strategic locations and tasks. If you are not careful you will get out manoeuvred allowing the enemy to win the points even as he looses units. The most effective Guard armies have a solid back line with units that can capture objectives with supporting cover fire.
Imperial Guard Abilities
The Imperial Guard only has one published ability, and another that is less obvious!
The Imperial Guard armies have a common special ability called ‘Voice Of Command’. this represents the structured nature of the army and how the men look to officers for direction. Most HQ units will have the ‘Voice of Command’ ability listed on their data sheet. If they do then they can issue a special order to a unit nearby. Each HQ unit with this ability can issue one command, so if you have several HQ units you will use this ability several time a turn. There are no costs to using this ability, so make sure that you make the most of it!
If you are using the advanced rules you will need to form your army in detachments. The Imperial Guard army are no different to any other army in this respect. However because Guards are cheep in points you will find that it is easier to create larger detachments that gain extra Command Points, or several smaller detachments that has the same effect. This means that you should be able to call on more Command Points than opponents that play elite armies ( Space Marines & all ).
Get familiar with the basic Command Point Stratagems and and additional Mission basted Stratagems. Your mastery of these additional skills will be a major bonus in your games.
Imperial Guard HQ Tactics
The Imperial Guard only has two options for HQ units. Those are the Company Commander, for your general foot slogging officer, and the Tank Commander that is more useful leading an armoured detachment.
The Company Commander is the de-facto standard leader for an Imperial Guard Army. His main benefits are his high leadership and ‘Voice of Command‘ ability.
The Company Commander only costs 3 power points or 30 points in a point matched game. This means that you can take a few of them even in smaller games. My advice is do it, and keep them near a unit with a Vox caster radio.
Keep your Company Commanders near the centre of your army so his influence ( leadership and Voice of Command) will have the greatest support for your infantry squads.If you have a nest of heavy support teams in a building or on a hill, then this would be a great place to place a Commander too. The ‘Take Aim’ or ‘Bring It Down’ really help heavy weapon teams.
Do not be tempted to get your Company Commander in to a fight. Yes I know that in most armies the HQ character is the best fighter in the army. This is true for the Imperial Guard army too. The Company Commander is a notch better than a Veteran Imperial Guard trooper, but this is still a far cry from any other armies characters. Even the Tau commanders wear battle suits that give them an edge!
If you are fielding a company of tanks you will want to take a tank commander instead of a Company Commander. This is because the ability that the Tank Commander gets instead of the regular Voice of Command is designed to be better for tank platoons.
Commissars are a double edged sword. They do add order to nearby units, but if they run then the Commissar will start shooting deserters. So which closes combat unit with low leadership scores, and enough models so that you can afford to loose one or two does this scream to you? – – Conscripts – -! Yes the best unit to team your Commissars with are conscript units, and then plough the commissar and conscripts in to your enemy troop units.
Imperial Guard Elite Tactics
The Elite section of the Imperial Guard where you find the specialist units.It is also where you find the greatest concentration of special weapons. Beware though, elite units cost more points so if you take too many you will not have enough points for the many infantry units you will need.
Master of Ordnance
This is a one man Ordnance weapon. For 2 power points you can call a Heavy D6, S8, -2, D3 ordnance blast anywhere within 100″ of him. Ok he can only do this once a game. However if he brings some of his Master of Ordnance mates along, each one can call down a strike (one strike per turn per army).
The Platoon Commander is a character that can issue Voice of Command commands. This means that you may have expected the platoon commander to be found in the HQ section,however it’s inclusion in the elite section opens up some interesting options.
Special Weapons Squad
Imperial Guard Troop Tactics
Infantry Squad Tactics
Imperial Guard Fast Attack Tactics
Heavy Support Tactics
Lords of War Tactics
The imperial Guard have access to probably the largest selection of super heavy tanks. Each super heavy vehicle costs 25 to 31 power points. This means that they are virtually armies in their own rights!
Over the years Games Workshop have created a number of auxiliary Imperial Forces that are not quite big enough to warrant their own Codex, but are too fun to play to drop completely. These include The Sisters of Battle, Assassins, The Legion of the Dammed, and Inquisition, amongst others. Recently Games Workshop have done the right thing by bringing all these factions in to one Codex, Codex: Imperial Agents.
If you have been collecting Warhammer models for a while, or you have one of the boxed games that have these units in, you will want this updated Codex with the latest rules and updates.
Imperial Agents General Tactics
The Imperial Agents are not designed as a stand alone army. This does not mean that you cannot use them on their own. It’s just how they are designed, so let’s have a look at this first.
Imperial Agent Factions
- Cult Mechanicus: Mechanics with optional labotomised heavy weapons.
- Aeronautical Imperialis: Fire power on the wing and good for fast troop transportation too.
- Adeptus Astra Telepathica: Imperial Psykers that come singularly or as brotherhood of psychers.
- Adepta Sororitas: Guard in Power Armour, or low point Marines? Make of them what you will. They do come with a lot of framers, so they are always hot stuff!
- The Deathwatch: Elite Space Marines on a mission.
- Grey Knights: Got a Daemon problem? Rent a Marine has the solution for you!
- Legion of the Dammed: Veteran Marines with firery shells and a reputation for warping out when the going gets though!
- Officio Assassinorum: Nope, no one here!
- The Inquisition: Oh no, not the comfy chair!
What Imperial Agents can add to a Space Marine army
WH40k Space Marines have a very developed army list, and you can find a solution to any situation within that list if you wanted to. However there are units found within the Imperial Agents Codex that are useful in specific situations. This is another case of being prepared if you have advanced knowledge of the opposition, territory, and mission.
3 of the Imperial Agent factions are special types of Space Marines. The Deathwatch, Grey Knights, and Legion of the Dammed, are elite Space Marine units. If you want to add more elite units then you can look at these units in addition to the ones found in the Codex: Space Marines.
The Officio Assassinorum is a popular addition to a Space Marine army. Their assassin skills can be very useful in certain situations. I would not recommend having more than one in a game.
Tech-priests Enginseers of the Cult Mechanicus are useful for repairing tank and other armoured vehicles. Space Marine have Techmarines covering this role, and although the Techmarines are 10 points more you do get a lot for the extra points.
The Sisters of Battle (Adeptus Sororitas), and Inquisition may be useful if you want to add cheaper gun fodder. They have a bit more bite than an Imperial Guard detachment which is the usual go to for gun fodder.
What Imperial Agents can add to an Imperial Guard Army
As usual, I highly recommend that you limit the amount of points spent on Elite units. If you over do it you will find yourself short of boots on the ground to achieve your objectives!
Cult Machanicus and Tech-Preist Enginseers give the Imperial Guard a chance to repair tank and vehicles like Techmarines do for the Space Marines. This is great if you are fielding Leman Russ Tanks and Chimera. The trick here is to keep the Tech-Preist and the armour together. Servitors will aid the Tech-Preist too.
The Aeronotica Imperialis can be useful for the Guard too. Their Valerie aircraft can ferry Guard units around the board quickly. This can be very useful to steal objects.
Where the Adaptation Sororitas or the Sisters of Battle as cut price Marines, the Guard see them as armoured Veteran units. The power armour and flames are just the tool for cleaning out buildings where poorly armoured Guardsman would just get shredded in close combat.
Time to get back to the keyboard and update the some strategy and tactic pages. This week I have been updating the Imperial Guard Heavy Support Tactics.
The Heavy Support section is where you will find all the tanks and mobile artillery options for the Imperial Guard army, so expect to find lots Guard Tank Tactics!
- Also see: Warhammer 40k Tank Tactics
I have been updating the Imperial Guard HQ Tactics today in line with the 2014 ‘Astra Militarum’ Imperial Guard Codex and the 7th edition of the Warhammer 40000 rulebook.
In this section we will be looking at the tactics for the Imperial Guard Heavy Supports choices.
General Imperial Guard Heavy Support Tactics
With all the infantry heavy weapons moved to the Troops section, the Imperial Guard heavy support choices are left with the tanks and gun batteries – and a lot of them too. Not only does the new Imperial Guard Codex list a lot of new variations, or borrowed Forge World tank variations, but now you can have many more tanks in a standard army because you can field a squadron of tanks as a single heavy support choice. This means that you could field up to three squadrons of three tanks per army, that adds up to 9 tanks on the table! (points permitting) in a battle forged army.
Leman Russ Tank Squadron Tactics
A Leman Russ tank squadron is made up form one to three of the Leman Russ battle tank variations. Seven variations are listed in the codex, and you can mix and match then in your squadrons.
Leman Russ Tanks have the Tank (Heavy) status. This means that they cannot move during the shooting phase (going flat out), or move at cruising speed. So 6″ a turn is your maximum speed. During the shooting phase a heavy tank is treated as being stationary, even if it moved during the moment phase. This means that if you do not fire an ordinance weapon you can move and fire all your other weapons with your full ballistic skill. If you do fire an ordinance weapon then you can still snapshot with your other weapons. You can find the rules for vehicle shooting on page 73 of the rule book, and the rules for heavy tanks on page 88.
Tank Squadrons, Good or Bad?
As I mentioned above you can take tanks in squadrons of up to 3 tanks per squadron. However this does not mean that you have to take 3 tanks at a time if you not want to. You can take just one or just two tanks per Heavy support choice if you wish.
The bonus of a tank squadron is easy to see, you get the chance to take more tanks in a battle forged army. However there are some downsides that are not so easy to spot. The down sides are that the tanks need to stay in formation, and that hits on one tank can roll over to the other tanks if the first one blows up!
Tank Squadron Formations
Tanks in a squadron need to keep together. The only exception is if one tank is immobilised or destroyed. The good news is that you can have up to 4 inches between tanks. However in a built up area you will find this restricting.
So what happens if you can not get somewhere without breaking formation? Well basically that option is not available. What’s more, if your opponent knows this, and they should, then they can block off areas forcing you to use other routes where their anti-tank weapons may be waiting for you!
Sponsons or No Sponsons?
The Leman Russ Battle Tanks can have side weapons attached using sponsons. Normally problem with these are that if the main weapon is an ordnance weapon, and you use it, you can only fire other weapons as snap shots that turn. This will mean that for most of the time they will miss. This in turn means that some of the weapons you paid points for will either be idle or inaccurate each turn. The last, but minor issue is that sponsons make the tank wider. This may be an issue if you are going to be fighting in heavy terrain.
In summary, sponsons are not worthwhile on tanks with ordinance main weapon, but may be worthwhile for tanks with none-ordinance main weapons.
Leman Russ Battle Tank
The Leman Russ is the standard Imperial Guard battle tank. The main ordinance weapon has a good 72″ range and a moderate S8 punch. S8 sounds like it can take out other tanks however it does struggle to take out armour of 13+. I usually use the Leman Russ to take out light vehicles and troop formations and leave the armour busting to the Lascannons.
Leman Russ Exterminator
Leman Russ Exterminator replaces the battle cannon with a twin linked autocannons. This means that the Leman Russ is much more mobile and suited to anti-infantry roll. The Exterminator works well with heavy bolter sponsons.
Leman Russ Vanquisher
The Leman Vanquisher has an extended battle cannon barrel. this gives The Leman Russ Vanquisher ‘Armour Bane’ and AP2. This gives the Vanquisher an extra punch when it comes to knocking out enemy armour.
Leman Russ Demolisher
The Leman Russ Demolisher is a great tank. It’s range is a bit short at 24″, but the main gun is a S10 5″ ordinance template! The shorter range means that the Leman Russ Demolisher is better suited to smaller gaming tables or games where the line of sight in blocked by a number of tall objects like multi floor buildings.
Leman Russ Punisher
The Leman Russ Punisher is another Leman Russ variant that comes in the Leman Russ Demolisher kit. If you are careful you can attach the main weapon using Blutack (or similar sticky putty) then you can swap the main weapons depending on your needs for that game.
The Leman Russ Punisher gets the Punisher Gattling Cannon. This is a 24″ S5 20 shot weapon. Even using the guardsmen’s BS3 score, this weapon will dole out a lot of hits! Expect about 10 hits a turn. Up against a horde army? Then the Punisher is the tool to thin out the ranks.
The Punisher Gattling gun only has a 24″ range. This means that the Punisher is susceptible to close combat counter strikes. The best defence against this is to assign a squad of Guardsmen to keep the enemy at a distance.
Leman Russ Executioner
If the Megga-dakka of the Punisher Gattling gun is not enough for you then welcome to the Executioner Plasma Cannon!
The Leman Russ Executioner Plasma Cannon is not a weapon to be used lightly. First off it is a blast weapon so it can scatter. The second issue is that it gets hot! In the 7 edition of the Warhammer 40k rules tanks and vehicles now can suffer a glancing blow 1:12 (8.333%) times you use the weapon. As the Executioner Plasma Cannon is a H3 weapon you can expect this to happen 3 time as often ( 3:12 or 1:4 or 25% of the time).
If you do get the 3 shots off without blowing your self up, then the results can be quite spectacular! AP2 S7 blast markers can make a mess of the heaviest armoured troops. Terminators make a nice target. Monstrous creatures suffer badly against this type of weapon too! One of the best attributes is that the Executioner Plasma Cannon has a 32″ range. This means that you can pull back a bit further from assaulting troops.
> Also see the 40k Tank tactic page
> Also buy: Discount Leman Russ Executioner Tanks from Wayland Games
Ordinance Battery Tactics
An alternative to a Battle tank squadron is to have an Ordinance squadron. Historically ordinance squadrons are designed to place one spot and not moved during the game. In return for the mobility you get a bigger ordinance weapon at less cost. However in the 7th edition of Warhammer 40000 most of the batteries can be quite mobile and still be effective. This means that you may be able to shift position to get a better line of sight on your targets.
Be aware that the ordinance tanks have weaker armour that the battle tanks and they tend to be open topped so you will want to keep them behind cover when you can. Also that most of the Ordinance Battery choices have a minimum range. This is important because it may mean that you will not be able to target your enemy on smaller tables.
Basilisk Battery Tactics
The Basilisk has a huge range, and a S10 5″ Ordinance shell, but it has a 36″, or 3 foot, minimum range. I would recommend it for larger tables ( like Apocalypse games).
Hydra Flak Tank Battery Tactics
Got a pesky air support problem? Get a Hydra Flak Tank Battery! It gives the enemy air support something to think about.
The Hydra is an anti aircraft weapon placed on a Chimera body. If you are expecting to be facing a number of aircraft or flying Monstrous Creatures then a Hydra could come in handy. The Hydra Autocannons are twin linked H2, so you can expect an average of 1.5 hits per turn against fliers.
The Hydra Autocannons have a respectable 72″, or 6 foot range. This should allow you to give good anti aircraft support for much of your army without moving. However you may want to move to keep the weaker side and rear armour from attack.
It should be noted that the Hydra Autocannons always have skyfire. This means that you can only take snap shots against ground targets.
All together I would recommend taking an anti aircraft static defence platform in preference to the Hydra as these provide adequate protection at a lower points cost.
Manticore Rocket Launcher Tactics
The Manticore comes with four ‘Storm Eagle’ rockets. These are D3 S10 large blast barrage weapons. ! Note that you cannot fire these rockets directly so they will scatter the full 2D6 if you don’t roll a hit.
Unlike the Hydra, Basilisk and Wyvern, you can only have one Manticore in a Battery. Personally I think that this is a shame and we often allow a house rule letting a player have up to 3 Manticores in a battery. Obviously the battery have to fire at the same target as each other each turn and follow all the other squadron rules, but it can make for a fun game too
Death Strike Missile Launcher Tactics
The Death Strike missile is a truly one shot wonder. Looking like a WWII V2 missile it has a 12″ minimum range ( like you would want to land this missile on your head!) but an unlimited maximum range.
The unlimited maximum range gives an interesting dynamic if you are playing a multi table campaign in a club as you could land your missile on another table! ( house rules and mission rules are needed to allow this).
The Death Strike Missile uses a 10″ Apocalyptic blast marker. If you do not have one of these ( or forgot to bring it), then one option is to get a piece of string and place 2 knots in the string 5″ apart. Now if you place a pin in one knot to hold it fast, you can swing the other knot around to see what would be in the blast zone!
> Also see the 40k Tanks tactic page
The Imperial Guard are not designed as a fast attack army, their main strength in numbers and big guns. However Imperial Guard fast attack units come in hand when the big guns have broken the enemy and you need units to chase down the remnants
Scout Sentinel Squadron
The lighter Scout Sentinels are designed to move forward and find the lay of the land. As such they are more lightly armoured be have some sneaky tactics.
Sentinels as Scouts
How good is this? a vehicle that has the scout special rule! This means that you get a special move at the start of the game, or they can be held in reserve to out flank!
If you deploy them and use their special move. This could be used to tease the opponent, for example you place the sentinels where it draws your opponent to set up where he can shot at the sentinels, and then at the start of the game you move them in to cover, leaving your opponent with nothing to shoot!
Another tactic would be to use the special move to claim some strategic point at the start of the game.
As reserves. The sentinel can come on behind the enemy armour and gun down the weak rear armour, or harass rear heavy support troops!
The Sentinel has a selection of weapons to choose from. The Multi-laser is the default option, and a very good choice for a scout squad. The Multi-laser gives the Sentinel three S6 shots which is good for providing some mobile heavy weapons support for troops on the move, specially when in comes to thinning out assaulting attackers before they reach your units.
If you are looking for an alternative weapon on your Sentinel you can switch to a Heavy Flamer for the same points. The heavy Flamer is a good weapon if you are fighting is dense woodland, jungle, or built up areas. Be aware though that as the Flamer is a sort range weapon you may to use it for mopping up reminisces of units hiding in the shadows rather than tackling full squads. This is so that you do not get overwhelmed by and counter assaults from survivors.
Autocannons are available for an extra 5 points. These offer two S7 shots at 48″. If you are facing fewer tougher troops, like Space Marines or Chaos Space Marines, or Monstrous Creature heavy Tyranids and you are fighting on a more open table, then the upgrade may be worth it. When fighting swarm armies the Multi-laser wins out.
I like Missile Launchers. This offer two different rounds, the anti-personnel Frag Missile, and the Anti-tank Krack Missile. This means that you get two weapons for the price of one, or for the 5 point upgrade in this case. Highly recommended!
The last weapon listed is the Lascannon. This Lascannon is a great tank hunter weapon. If you arm the Sentinels with these then you are changing the role of the Sentinels to tank hunters that can nip in and out of cover taking pot shots at the enemies capital ( high points cost) targets. The upgrade cost is 10 points, but if you need some sneaky tank killers then these may be the ticket!
Armoured Sentinel Squadron
The Armoured Sentinel is not as sneaky as its lighter brethren. It is armour makes this Sentinel a much tougher cookie! The extra 5 points gives you and enclosed hull and 2 points tougher front armour however you loose the scout and move through cover rules. Your playing style will determine if the upgrade is worth the points.
The Armoured Sentinel has the same weapon options that the lighter Scout Sentinel has except that there is also an option to take a Plasma-Cannon as an upgraded weapon.
Rough Rider Squad
Rough Riders make great counter strike troops. Once the enemy assault has lost it’s impetus as your rank and file troops slow the attack down, that is the time to charge the Rough Riders in to the enemy’s flank.
Hellhounds are short ranged chemical weapons mounted on Chimera body with some extra side armour and a beefed up engine to make the hellhounds fast tanks. You can find the rules for fast vehicles on page 88 of the Warhammer 40k Rulebook.
Hellhounds are the original flame spitting variant. It has a Inferno Cannon. This is +1S better that the heavy flamer and it is a torrent weapon. The Torrent rule means that you can place the flamer template 12″ away from the Hellhound as long as
Devil Dog Tactics
The Hellhound Devil Dog with a Melta cannon. This is a melta weapon with a 24″ range and a blast template affect area.
Bane Wolf Tactics
Some times brute force is not enough to kill your target. The Bane Wolf comes with a Chem Cannon. This is a template +2 poison template weapon. To make this weapon effective you will need to get close to your target before vomiting poison death on them.
Poison weapons are good for killing monstrous creatures and other tough things with a toughness score. Don’t bother attacking anything with a hull point. The poison will just bounce off.
> Also see: Warhammer 40k Tank Tactics
Valkyrie Assault Carrier Squadron
Vendetta Gunship Squadron
In this section we will look at the troop choices available to the Imperial Guard army and Imperial Guard Troop
The hart of the Imperial Guard army is the Infantry Platoon. The platoon system means that you can deploy a lot of troops and infantry heavy weapons (points permitting). It is very rare that you need to deploy more than two platoons.
Platoon Command Squad
An Infantry Platoon needs one command squad. Command squads can be configured in different ways. Some people like to configure the command squads with heavy weapons as a small heavy weapons team, and some configure the Command squad as an assault squad. As an assault squad it will not have enough grunt to dent most army’s but it could be useful as a counter assault squad if your guards get assaulted.
First Rank fire, 2nd Rank Fire!
This order allows the assigned squad to fire more shots. It only works for lasguns and not heavy weapons. This order will work best when used on large squad. It may be best to use this order with the new ‘Combine’ Imperial Guard special rule.
Move! Move! MOVE!
This allows the selected squad to roll three dice and select the highest when running in the shooting phase. This means the chance of rolling a 6 is 3:6 or 50%. You will roll a 5 or 6, (2/6+2/6+2/6 = 6/6) every try (statistically speaking). Remember that this move ignores difficult terrain!
This works best on squads that you want out of, or in to trouble. Assault troops come to mind first.
Each Infantry Platoon need at least 2 ten man Infantry Squads.
You can have up to 5 Imperial Guard Infantry Squads per Troops choice, that’s 300 regular Imperial Guard. If that’s not enough, you can top they up with elite and heavy weapon squads!
Imperial Guard Infantry Squad Heavy Weapons and Special Weapons
Upgrading your Infantry Squads with heavy weapons and support weapons is optional. Most players take heavy and special weapons, so why would you not take these upgrades?
There are two main reasons why I might drop the upgrades. The first is the points cost. Dropping the upgrades can release a few extra points that I can use elsewhere. The 2nd is if I want the squad to be mobile. If you are expecting your squad to shield tanks that are on the move ( Tank Dogs) then the Heavy weapons don’t get their chance to fire with full affectiveness. Even then I usually take a special weapon, usually a flamer.
What is the best Special Weapon for an infantry squad?
Well it really depends on the job you are expecting them to do.
For squads with a heavy weapon I usually choose a grenade launcher. These have a 24″ range so they can target anything that your lasguns can. Also grenade launchers can fire frag or Krak like grenades so you can take on squads or light armoured vehicles.
If you expect to get up close to the enemy then a flamer maybe your best option, specially if there is a lot of terrain. It can be surprising how many troops a well placed flamer can take out. Flamers are also good if you are assaulted, The wall of flame rule means that you will always hit one of the assaulting unit (if you get chance to over-watch) .
Heavy Weapon Squads
You can have up to 4 heavy weapon squads per troop choice, each with three heavy weapons. This means you could have up to 84 heavy weapons, plus any you add to your Infantry Squads and Command squads!
Remember that all the weapons in the heavy weapon squad have to shoot at the same target.
Special Weapon Squad Tactics
Special weapon squads are fairly small (6 man squads) that has three special weapon in it. The codex briefly suggests some tactics for Special weapon squads (page 38). One thing to be aware of is that flamers meltaguns and demolition charges are short range weapon and special weapon squads do not come with frag grenades.
It is usually best to not mix types of weapons in a special weapon squad too much. Short range weapons work well together (flamer, melta’s and demolition charges), or medium range weapons work together (plasma guns and grenade launchers), but mixing a short range weapon with medium ranged or long ranged weapons (sniper rifles), does not work well. As always, if you have a special reason to mix types then that may over-ride this advice.
A sniper-rifle special weapons squad costs the same as a rattling 5 man sniper squad but they are not as good. You only get three sniper rifles, their ballistic skill is not as good, and you do not get the special rules. You do get the chance to have more of them without using up valuable elite choice slots.
Conscript Squad Tactics
You can have up to one conscript squad attached to an infantry platoon. As untrained troops the weapon skill and ballistic skill of a conscript trooper is less than the normal imperial guard. The conscript troops do not have heavy weapons or special weapons option and the do not have transport. What they do get is numbers. A conscript squad can have 20 to 50 conscripts in it, and at 3 points per model that makes for very cheap cannon fodder.
Conscripts have a very low leadership score, however this can be fixed by adding a Commissar, Lord Commissar, or a Primaris Psyker, as these have leadership score of 9 or 10. What’s more the Commissar (max one per Command Squad) and Primaris Psyker (max 3 per detachment ) do not take up HQ slots so you can have them and still have 2 regular HQ choices in a battle forged army. Also you could take a Ministorum Priest ( max 3 per detachment). Priests have LD7 and cost the same as a Commissar but you get a couple of extra close combat friendly special rules (see HQ section for details). My recommendation would be to add both a Commissar and a Ministorum Priest in the mix and you get a unit that can take and give out a good amount of punishment!
Imperial Guard Veteran Squad Tactics
Veteran Squad’s have moved from an Elite choice to being a troop choice in the 2009 Imperial Guard Codex. This means that you can have an army with your troop choices made completely from Veterans. This in turn means that it is possible to have very small, cheap armies, or to minimise the troop points cost to maximise on heavy support or other ‘beardy’ army configurations.
Veterans have a better Ballistic score that the regular troops. this means that any special and heavy weapons that use the BS will be hitting on 3’s. This will not affect flamer weapons. Note that heavy weapons cost more points that the regular troops heavy weapons, but the special weapons are the same cost. This makes the special weapons good value points wise.
Imperial Guard Veteran squads have much more flexibility with the weapons they take. They can have up to three special weapons, for example. This means that you can adapt them to meet specific roles. If you want Tank busters then arm them with meltaguns and the ‘Demolition’ doctrine. If you want a squad to cleanse forests and buildings, give them plenty of flamers.
Veterans can have Doctrines. Be careful with these as they came make the squads expensive. Make sure that you will use the skills if you pay the points for them.
Veterans with the “Forward Sentries” get camo-cloaks and defensive grenades. Defensive grenades will reduce the number of attacks an assaulting force has against you. To make best use of this, place your veterans where then will take the blunt of any assault (ie on the front line, but behind cover). Camo-cloaks give the squad the ‘Stealth’ special rule This improves any cover saves by 1.
The Elite section is where you will find the more unusual option that can add ‘Flavour’ to your army. Keep your over all tactics in mind when you are choosing Elite units, and don’t over do it. They can be expensive and you may need your point for regular troops.
Ogryn Squad Tactics
The Ogryn are the Imperial Guard’s answer to the Space Marine Terminators. By this I mean that they are larger, tougher and more tooled up for close quarter fighting that the regular troops (Ogryns in Space Hulk anyone?).
You can have 3 to 10 Ogryn in a squad. 6 Ogryns is if optimal as they can ride in a Chimera.
General Ogryn Tactics
Set the Ogryn squad so they can protect / assault the most dense cover. Ogryns work very well in city fight and jungle fight scenarios.
If the densest terrain is not in or touching your deployment area, consider taking a Chimera to ferry the Ogryn to the most strategic location.
The Ogryn Ripper Gun is perfectly suited to the close quarter fighting style of the Ogryn Squads.
Ogryn Special Rules
Ogryn take up more room in a vehicle. The positive side to this is that they get extra wounds, attacks and toughness over the normal Imperial Guard trooper.
The Imperial Guard Ogryn get the ‘Furious Charge’ special rule. This is only an advantage if the Ogryn charge the enemy. Do what you can to make sure that the Ogryn charge in to close combat, even if you have to sacrifice a guard unit to slow the enemy down.
The Ogryn have the ‘Stubborn’ special rule. This makes up for their low leadership score, but don’t bank on it!
Ratling Squad Tactics
Ratlings have a slightly improved BS score over the normal guardsman. This will mean that they hit 66% of the time, so you will not need so many to hit your targets.
The Imperial Guard Ratlings are armed with sniper rifles. The Sniper rifles wound on a 4+ regardless of toughness. This means that you are far better going for tougher opponents, ie a T3 Gaunt and a T9 Carnifex both wound on 4+ !
Ratlings have an improved initiative score, but with a low strength and toughness, I do not recommend these as assault troops!
The Ratlings have a Infiltrate and Stealth special rules that will help placing them in a good position.
Psyker Battle Squad Tactics
The Psyker Battle Squad is a new option for the 2009 codex.
Storm Trooper Squad Tactics
The Storm Troopers are elite Imperial Guard troops.
In this section we will be looking at the Imperial Guard HQ tactics. As usual, you will need a copy of the Codex to make best use of this information.
General Imperial Guard HQ Tactics
There are 3 basic Imperial Guard HQ choices, there is the Company Command Squad, the Lord Commissar, which Yarrick is an example, and the Tank Commander. Both the Company Command Squad and the Tank Commander take up a large number of points, so If you are wanting to write up an army list for a smaller game the Lord Commissar is a worthy choice. For more regular sized battles ( 1500 plus points ) the Company Command Squad is very flexible, and for largest Apocalypse sized games fielding a tank only regiment headed by a Tank Commander can be fun too.
Company Command Squad Tactics
The Company Command Squad is the standard Imperial Guard HQ choice. For the points the command squad is very good value.
The Command Squad has a Ballistic Skill of 4. The means that they are as good as Space Marines at shooting. This being the case is worth wile tooling them up with better weapons. I highly recommend upgrading to a Lascannon team. The only reason not to is if you want to have an extra mobile or close combat squad (city or jungle fight?).
Despite the improved Ballistic Skill, I would be very nervous about upgrading to Plasma guns. If you do take plasma guns, take the carapace armour upgrade too.
The Company Commander gets the ‘Voice of Command’ special rule. This means that e can issue one order per turn. I have covered these orders and how to use them on the General Imperial Guard Tactics page
The Company Command Squad can take Regimental Advisers.
The Imperial Guard Codex includes Warlord traits that you can use instead of the list found in the rule book.
The codex list has been created with a Guard army in mind, however there is not a massive advantage in using the Guard Codex so you may want to try both Warlord Traits lists to the see which you prefer.
The Astropath is a L1 psyker that has t be part of the Company Command Squad and they have a limited choice of psychic powers to choose from too. However they are half of the points cost of a Primaris Psyker and offer the same psychic protection that the Primaris Psyker does. If you are expecting a lot of psychic attacks then the Astropath could be good value for the points.
Master of Ordinance
The Master of Ordinance is a very good value ordinance weapon. For 20 points you get a unlimited range S9 AP3 Large Blast weapon that you can use each turn. Highly recommended!
Be aware that the ordinance will scatter more than the normal ordinance weapons, so be careful which targets you choose. As this has to be the same target that the others in the HQ you may want to arm the heavy weapon team ( recommended if you are taking a Master of Ordinance ) with a longer range weapon like a Lascannon or Missile launcher.
The Master of Ordinance needs line of sight to call down a barrage strike, so get him the best view of the battlefield possible.
Officer of the Fleet
The Officers of the Fleet may be an advantage if you have reserves. If you don’t have reserves, the Officer of the fleet is a waste of points.
Body Guards are above average close combat troops compared to the other Imperial Guard. This does not mean that they have game winning skills, but if you want to create a close combat HQ choice, then they are useful.
You can have your army led by a Commissar Lord, It is more usual to have then as a second HQ choice.
Lord Commissars have the highest Weapon Skill and Ballistic skill of the whole Imperial Guard Army, they also bolster the moral of the troops around them. These skills make the Lord Commissar very desirable if you think that there will be close combat fighting. A Lord Commissar attached to a Ogryn squad makes for a formidable close combat unit. Remember that Imperial Guard close combat squads are best used to ‘mop up’ after the heavy weapons have shredded the opponent.
Tank Commander Tactics
Having a Tank Commander as your HQ is great if you are wanting to field an Armoured Column style army. This is one where all your units are Vehicles or are mounted in vehicles. The usual reason for this is either that you like to see a lot of tanks on the battle field, or that you you are playing on a large ( Apocalypse ?) table and you need to make sure that your forces can move around the table quickly.
House Rules: Note that having a Tank Commander as your general does not allow you to field Leman Russ Tanks as Troop units. This seem a bit of an oversight and you may want to allow Leman Russ tanks as troop choices if a Tank Commander is your General. This will allow for a fully armoured army list.
As well as your mandatory HQ choice that you need to lead the army, there are a number of additional HQ choices that you can take to add add additional skills to your army. Note that although these units are HQ choices they are also independent characters. This means that you do not need to attach them to your Command Squad. It is possible, and usually better to add the characters to regular units that have a special role to play, and possibly move from unit to unit as battlefield needs change.
A Primaris Psyker can be chosen to lead you army, but they are usually taken as a second HQ choice. The main reason to add a Psyker to your army is for their psychic powers and psychic defense to the army. If you think that you have a unit that will be at the mercy of a psychic attack then having a psyker in the unit will give you a better chance of denying the psychic attack.
Ministorum Priest Tactics
Ministorum Priests can not lead an army because they do not take up a HQ slot. The advantage of this is that you can always take Priests as an addition to your army (points permitting).
Priests are independent characters so you can attach them to a squad. The best squads to attach them to are close combat squads especially Veteran squads or Ogryn squads. You may want to load this unit in to Chimera to get them in to close assault as soon as the big guns have softened up the target.
Ministorum Priests are Zelots, and they will pass this special rule on to the unit that they are with. The upside of this is that the unit will pass fear, pinning and regroup tests so they will be more predictable. Note that they do not automatically pass leadership tests so there is no additional help with taking orders here. The unit also gets re-roll for close combat attacks for the first round of combat. This can be combined with the war hymns the Priest can invoke for a more devastating first round of combat,
Tech-Priest Enginseer Tactics
Tech-Priest Enginseers are there to mend tanks and other vehicles that have become damaged during the battle. The more tanks you have, and the greater the need to keep them moving, the more valuable the Enginseer will be.
If the Tech-Priest is not repairing a tank this turn then they can still be handy to have around as you can have them firing an extra tank heavy weapon. If you arrange your forces well this could easily make up the 40 point cost that a basic Enginseer costs.
Tech-Priest Enginseers can be upgraded by adding a number of Servitors to his retinue. Armed with servo-arms they can help the Enginseer repair tanks during the game. And with a full compliment of 3 Servitors you will be able to repair a tank on a roll of 2+. Again this will be more useful as you have more tanks and vehicles in your army.
The other use for a Tech-Priest and Servitors is as a heavy hitting assault unit. Those servo-arms can dish out quite a bit of damage. The main downside of having the Tech-Priest as an assault unit is that they do not stand up to counter assaults well. However as a last stand option, or as an option to wade in to an existing assault, they may be worth a chance!