Imperial Guard HQ Tactics

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

Warhammer 40k imperial Guard Company Cammand Squad

A Warhammer Cadian Company Command Squad

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.

Warlord Traits

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.


Warhammer 40k Genestealer Magus Psyker

A Genestealer Hybrid Magus that I sometimes use as a Imperial Guard Psyker.

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.

Commissar Lord

Warhammer 40k Imperial Guard Commissar Yarrick

Warhammer 40k Imperial Guard Commissar Yarrick

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

Warhammer 40k Imperial Guard Leman Russ Tank

An Imperial Guard Main Battle Tank. These are the mainstay of the Imperial Guard armoured units.

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.

Imperial Advisers

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.

Primaris Psyker

Warhammer 40k Genestealer Magus Psyker

A Genestealer Hybrid Magus that I sometimes use as a Imperial Guard Psyker.

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

Warhammer 40k Imperial Guard Preacher

An Imperial Guard Ministorum Priest

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!