Saturday 28 July 2012

Imperial Guard in 6th Edition: Heavy Support

(Delayed due to watching Olympics Opening Ceremony)

Please read my disclaimer.

For more in depth approach, I would recommend pottering over to 3++, where they are starting a far more comprehensive analysis.

Leman Russ Squadron
I currently have three Leman Russ - two Battle Tanks and one Demolisher. I've tended to favour the Demolisher for tournament & competitive play as I've found that the instant death on T5 and the AP2 are pretty much priceless.
In the world of hull points, I think the rear armour of 11 also has something to be said for it, giving just a tiny bit more survivability.
I had considered the Executioner with plasma side sponsons, but with plasma now getting hot, I'm not sure I'd like to spare the glancing hits...
On the subject of side sponsons, I think the new wound allocation rules and new vehicle movement may mean that I start breaking them out rather than my habits to date, which has been main gun plus lascannon.

In the tournament meta of all the power armour in the world, I'm really not convinced by the Eradicator, Exterminator or Punisher, but they should probably have at least one outing each for me to see how they fair - but they won't be my first choices.

Things to try:
- All the side sponsons
- Cheap and plentiful Leman Russ with no upgrades at all and see if all the AV14 makes people sadder.
- Vanquishers - including against 'nids, where they are a bit of a points waste, but I if I take them for a tournament list, I'm going to have to cope.
- Taking mixed squadrons now wound allocation rules aren't so punishing

Hydra Flak tank
Still worthwhile, despite not having Interceptor. I am constantly shocked by people wiffling on about how the lack of it has "ruined" the Hydra. At 75 points, it remains a good deal. Twin linked snap fire still has some chance on ground targets, and I expect to see a lot of fliers about.

Things to try:
- Singles or pairs? Squadrons or no?
- When facing flier free armies - are some upgrades worthwhile to give them something else to do? Stubber & Hunter-killer are springing to mind, but that does up the points cost

Ordnance Battery
Underused last edition, possibly criminally so. I seem to remember reading that minimum range is no longer as bad as it once was, which may up the value of some of them no end!

Things to try:
- Basilisk, for the sake of tradition
- Medusa single & paired, with and without bastion breachers, and paired; one with and one without. One of my top picks for meta changing approaches
- Colossus, for all your marine killing needs
- Griffon on its own, plus also the Griffon as a 'spotter' tank for the other ones now wound allocation works differently - but I need to check how the new battery fire rules work
- A pinning list, with Psyker Battle Squads and a lot of artillery

Not quite as good as before, but still a firm and solid favourite on the field. It will put a lot of firepower down  range, and while it's not going to be getting so many "destroyed" results without AP2, it will still be getting reliable glancing hits all the way home. My current guess is that it will be less spectacular, but a more reliable performer.

Still requires a lot of planning to use, but as good as it gets in terms of strength, AP and ignoring cover. The huge blast will put a serious hole in a lot of armies. Much better against static shooting lines than armies that are closing with you fast. Also needs some serious thinking about where you want to close or don't.

Things to try:
- 1 Deathstrike supported by other army elements
- Army focused around 2 or 3 deathstrikes.
- Not wiping out my own army with the blasted things

Thursday 26 July 2012

Imperial Guard in 6th Edition: Fast Attack

Please read my disclaimer.

For more in depth approach, I would recommend pottering over to 3++, where they are starting a far more comprehensive analysis.

I don't intend on covering Sentinels and Armoured Sentinels separately here. In short, they are gun platforms with a bit more survivability and flexibility than heavy weapons teams. I'm curious as to whether they'll be able to take objectives in whatever mission allows Fast Attack to. Outflank and shooting people in the pack with scout sentinels may be worth considering. All in all, I'm pretty open to ideas here, and a bit concerned they're going to lose out a lot to all the fliers in the world.

Things to try
- Different weapons combinations
- Scout / Outflank
- When to use Armoured Sentinels
- Heavy Flamers? Maybe for use in supporting close combat troops, when a lot of things will be closing the distance already.

Rough Riders
I do have a soft spot for Rough Riders, although they are a pretty much one shot glass cannon. If their speed has increased, I may want to consider some special weapons rather than just lances, but I'm not sure. Meltabombs also likely add some utility after the initial charge is done. Will krak grenades do anything useful?

Things to try
- Special weapons
- Meltabombs
- Find out if krak grenades do anything useful with light tanks
- Moghul Kamir now a lethal nightmare on the charge, definitely worth trying (and a conversion with the Engineer on Mechanical Horse will be pretty damned cool, too)

Hellhounds & Variants
I generally think all are worthwhile, but in the 5th ed tournament meta with a lot of power armour, the Banewolf & Devil Dog had the edge. Nothing special to do here, just go through all the potential variants and see how they go.

Valkyries and Vendettas
One of the gaming standards now - is your army capable of dealing with multiple Guard fliers?

Things to try:
- Valkyrie basic payload (because tons of anti tank missiles make me want to shout "Fox 2"). Highly undervalued as a skimmer, but I think slightly less good now
- Valkyrie with MRPs
- The Vendetta (which I suspect will be the flier of choice)
- Flier vs flier combat
- How many fliers in 1,500 points? Using both a low and high number of Valks/Vendettas to work out the right proportion
- Fliers as transports - is it worthwhile?

Wednesday 25 July 2012

Imperial Guard in 6th Edition: Troops

Please read my disclaimer.

For more in depth approach, I would recommend pottering over to 3++, where they are starting a far more comprehensive analysis.

For the Troops section, I am going to treat the different parts of an Infantry Platoon separately, for my own sanity and to break up the walls of text.

In general, I need to be painting and choosing far more infantry, and troops in particular in the new edition. I was definitely short of boots on the ground last edition, and I need to address that early on, as I am suspecting that infantry have a bit more utility now.

Platoon Command Squad
I generally see the Platoon Command Squad's job as augmenting the infantry squads it is taken with - with a few minor exceptions. It can improve their running, improve their going to ground and their lasguns. The only exception to this is if a squad is keeping up with Rough Riders, then Move, Move, Move becomes incredibly useful there.

I'm also becoming happier about PCS being deployed with a Chimera. I dislike fully mechanised Guard as they are, by canon, supposed to be the exception rather than the rule. Still, the idea of at least some of the officers getting their own transports makes a great deal of sense.

I generally equip with short range weapons such as melta guns and rock up field in a Chimera, although I've also used them with a static blob squad, acting as a "bubble" within which armour will be afraid to venture.

So what other uses could I see for them?

Things to try
- The all flamer in a Chimera option is viable, effectively the mechanised version of a special weapons squad. They end up doing little in the way of actual commanding and run off to flame-thrower things to death.
- Camping with a backfield blob is possible, picking out a suitable heavy weapon to round the squad out
- Will the medi-pack have utility here? I've generally avoided them as over-priced for what PCS bring to the table
- Snipers - while not as good as the CCS doing it, the sniper rifle still has something to give this edition
- Grenade launchers, for cheap, mobile and multi use firepower - hull point draining pain, in particular
- Close combat options should probably be considered
- Commissars and Power Fists given the difficulty of getting AP2 could also be viable
- Krak Grenades & Melta Bombs - how good are they, and what do they go well with? (The answer is not bacon, whatever my wife says.)

Captain Al'rahem
He's getting his own entry due to being so weird.

In general, I love Al'rahem as a Tallarn player. His fluff suits, he's got some nice clever abilities, and an instant death power weapon. What makes him interesting is that the platoon he's taken with must outflank, leaving a very significant portion of your force in reserve and ambling off to come on a random board edge. With my dislike of mechanised warfare, this leaves me with a real risk of utter disaster!

In addition, his equipment list is unashamedly close combat, but he lacks anything to seriously injure a tank up close.

Things to try
- Taking him - although this implies a radical rethink of how I use my main infantry platoon as is. I should probably take a second to bulk out my "on table" forces until he does show up - this also implies its a good idea to have a CCS with an Astropath. Already, a large portion of the army make up is decided for taking Al'rahem.
- Creed / Al'rahem combo. Unless 6th edition allows an independent character added to a scouting unit to also scout, this normally precludes the addition of a further independent character to back the squad up. Creed's ability to bestow Scout gets around this, allowing a Priest with an Eviscerator to both add anti tank punch to Al'rahem's squad, but also re-rolling those nasty instant death attacks
- Suddenly, anti tank! Take heavy weapons with Al'rahem, run into position on the flank, and actually go for a good old fashioned crossfire.

Infantry Squad
I've been taking pretty a well equipped and Commissared up 20 man blob up until now - melta guns, autocannons, lots of power weapons. This ended up with a static squad that camped an objective, but didn't contribute heavily to the game. It was a lot of points, but was ultimately out manuevered in a lot of games. There was little motivation to move the squad as the heavy weapons wouldn't fire otherwise, and they were rarely wanting to close to up close.

Things to try
- Much bigger blob squads with less equipment
- Specialising blobs into either special or heavy weapons to save points
- Krak grenades and melta bombs
- Mechanised? But I do hate it with a burning passion
- Partially mechanised
- Forty or fifty man squads with two special weapons and two heavy weapons, leaving flexibility as to whether they're two 20 man squads or one big 40 man.

Heavy Weapon Squads
I've avoided these so far on the grounds that they seem to attract a lot of firepower love fast, and die quick for an easy kill point. Still, revisiting things in the new edition and all that...

Things to try
- Lots of twin linked shots when "Bring it Down" comes up as a back up for fliers
- Missile Launchers. Doubly so when I bully someone from GW into telling me what a Flakk missile should cost and that its an option for Guard. Please?
- Lascannons, for all your anti tank needs
- Mortars - especially as this gets around the attracting firepower thing, and they're dirt cheap!

Special Weapons Squads
Never tried them, willing to learn!

Things to try
- Flamers, Demo charges & a Valkyrie / Vendetta transport
- More snipers. Still think Ratlings are better, but these ones can outflank with Al'rahem and show up at the same time. Team Ratling would show up on its lonesome.
- Melta is the obvious, but lacking in Chimeras - do Veterans do this better? Special Weapons squads do it cheaper! Once more, our fliers may be the answer here, and these guys are scoring...
- Embedded Plasma gunners with the larger blob squads for Terminators, Trygons and other deep striking surprises

I used to buy them for mobile cover. I find this a bit redundant now I can buy the Aegis Defence line!

Things to try
- 50 men, Commissar Lord, Tarpit.
- Volume of fire
- Checking for any dirty tricks that could be done with psykers for an incredibly cheap 50 man unit
- Consider 2 squads of 50 for sheer mass of men on the tabletop, and send them after objectives.
- Once I've got the hang of guard, maybe a "Battle Brother" HQ choice leading? Fearless, maybe?

Veteran Squad
So many options! I've been having a lot of fun with Demolitions, and I'll probably continue to do so. Currently, I'm running two flamers and a grenade launcher, solely to give them a variety of things they can do.

Things to try
- Forward Sentries, especially with sniper rifles
- Sniper rifles and a lascannon in back field, especially for the 2+ save types
- What use _is_ Grenadiers?
- Plasma. Still hating Monstrous Creatures and finding ways of taking them down.
- Is it possible to make them a close combat back up for a combat IC and / or Priest?

Penal Legion Squad
Well, I've been using my conscripts as Penal Legion to bulk out my available troops choices, and I've grown quite fond of them? Why? Well, in short, they're cheap and stubborn. Still, I've not used their scouts move as much as I could have, so some exploration of them as an objective chaser in multiple objective missions seems like a good idea. They have no options, so there's not much else to say!

Tuesday 24 July 2012

Imperial Guard in 6th Edition: Elites

Please, for the love of all that's holy, read my disclaimer.

Ah, the Elites section. The red headed step child of the Imperial Guard Codex...

Ogryn Squad
No real changes here beyond an increase in the charge range. They can be monsters to kill, but Force Weapons in 5th edition left me cold with so many Grey Knight armies stalking the tournament scene. They could be an interesting pairing to a Commissar Lord or perhaps even a Primaris Psyker.

Things to try:
- What can they win in a fight against?
- Alongside close combat guard.
- 10 Ogryns, Yarrick, and charging across the table yelling

Ratling Squad
Snipers got a little cooler in 6th edition. I've never quite got the hang of Ratlings infiltrating - they get close to the enemy and then close combatted to death. I'm more likely to use it to allow me a late deployment when I've had to deploy first.

Things to try:
- Larger squads (I've had a tendency towards 3 - 5)
- Finding ways of infiltrating them without being murdered to death

Psyker Battle Squad
Sure, they can't change their powers, but why would you want to? A reliable staple I've not really tried much myself.

Things to try:
- Using them
- Aggressive psychic defence (its hard to call on the Warp when your leadership is 2.)
- Controlling what enemy units run away (I need to look at when leadership tests are made and when in particular when I get the new rulebook)

Storm Trooper Squad
I've been starting to try these out recently, and so far, as a Deep Striking disruption unit they are doing very well. There's plenty still to do, though!

Things to try:
- Infiltration and scout options
- Plasma

What more is there to try other than "suddenly, demo charge!"? He has a lot of special rules, but still too easy to instant death.

Things to try:
- Surviving more than a turn after dropping a demo charge

Monday 23 July 2012

Imperial Guard in 6th Edition: HQs

Please, for the love of all that's holy, read my disclaimer.

Company Command Squad
I have been running a pretty equipment heavy CCS to date: Lascannon, Regimental Standard, Medi-kit, and full complement of advisors including a bodyguard. In practice, I've found that while this has been really rather survivable with wound allocation shenanigans, it has not really been making an impact equal to its investment. As a threatening unit itself, I often end up deploying it too far away from other incredibly limited infantry, thus losing the benefit of its orders to everything but itself. One twin linked lascannon with a lot of ablative wounds is not worth that point investment.

Also, I put the Lascannon at the front. That is really going to go well now, is it?

Things to try:
- More assault based CCS (I normally use "Bring it down" with heavy weapons, but the same principle applies to melta and plasma)
- Lighter armed CCS of various stripes
- Camping as snipers with camo cloaks & sniper rifles, giving orders to heavy weapons squads
- Running two lightly equipped CCS at once, allowing for more utility for "get back in the fight" & redundancy
- Creed. If he's worthwhile, I have an awesome conversion in mind for a wily Tallarn Commander surrounded by "advisors" from lots of other regiments and other senior command staff.
- Go doubly assault based CCS and actually try Straken

Lord Commissar
I have never run a Lord Commissar in my army? Why? Because I hate them with a burning, fiery passion. The purpose of a Commissar is a political officer - they don't take command of a unit unless they've shot the existing officer in the head, and that's only until they can get a replacement leader to step in.
Lord Commissars were created by mistake when a certain writer of a certain bunch of chaos tainted Mary Sues from a destroyed planet completely misunderstood the purpose of a Commissar and wrote a bunch of novels that became very popular. The clamour to be able to take such nonsense eventually resulted in you being able to take the blasted things.

However, I am, in 6th edition, put my blind unreasoning hatred of poor research and compromises to sate the fan-boys aside, and actually try one out. This has the double bitter pill for me as, with the highest HQ leadership, this mug will always be the Warlord. It makes me sad.

Things to try:
- Actually taking one of the blasted things
- Seeing if any of those equipment thingies he gets are any good
- Ah, wait a second. He can take a dedicated Chimera. And he's an Indy character... that sounds to me like a ride for a special weapons squad.
- The infamous "Stealth Pants" is now gone completely. Thank goodness! As a Camo Cloak no longer grants  Stealth, but a +1 bonus to a cover save. Why is this relevant? Because an Independent character with Stealth granted it to an entire unit. You could take a unit of 50 guys, and because an officer wearing a camo smock joined them, they all gained its benefits. "That's a very, very big cloak there Commissar..."
- In combination with a CCS for a lethally effective series of heavy weapons teams

So, in summary, two main options - providing a ride to a squad that would not normally get a ride and needs to get close to the enemy to provide some violence, or just adding close combat punch somewhere. The risk with the first is that killing a warlord gains points, and this guy _has_ to be the Warlord. So the most effective way of achieving this is dual Lord Commissars . . .

Commissar Yarrick
I actually have a soft spot for this guy. He's a believable special character who's been defeated and his entire shtick is about being the kind of guy who takes a beating and tries again and again. As a signature character for the Imperial Guard, that's about perfect.

Things to try:
- He's a Commissar Lord turned up to 11 with some real problems in getting killed. Extra hilarious for secondary missions! He is an incredible battle line anchor and should be used that way. I'll be curious about what positions you can set up for him.
(Does anyone know if his Aura of Discipline applies from inside a Chimera?)

Primaris Psyker
Well, this goes without saying. New psychic rules mean this chap will be earning his keep a lot as I test them all out. Nothing extra clever to say here, just to go and try all the power combinations, options and tricks, and find what works.

Ministorum Priest
With "Look out sir", challenges and the ability to take Eviscerators, I can't see what there isn't there to love. Again, this is the province of a more close combat driven army, but this is certainly an aspect I want to try out.
(Even if my usual opponents of Space Wolves and Tyranids don't make that easy for me...)

Techpriest Enginseer
The dark horse. Servo-arms have been updated in the iPad Codex Space Marine Codex as S8, AP2, Unwieldy. He's already armed with a power ax, so this chap and his Servitor buddies will really rip a massive hole into a tank in close combat, and scare Terminators in close combat like little else in the Guard Codex - all while he sits there and adds hull points back onto the vehicles!
I intend to be seeing a lot, lot more of this gentleman at the earliest opportunity.

Imperial Guard in 6th Edition: Disclaimer

I still don't have the 6th edition rulebook in my hands, as my housework tax is not yet fully paid off to the wife. I've played no more than two turns of a 200 point game... And yet, this week I'm going to be working on a bit of a review of the Imperial Guard in 6th edition.

So, how can I truly "review" the Imperial Guard in 6th Edition? Well, bluntly, given the amount of verbiage on the internet, I'm aware of the majority of changes to the rules, and there's not much I'd gain at this stage from repeatedly reading them.

No, what is needed is repeated play. No blogger can really say that they understand 6th edition completely. There's a few who have a lead, the sort who are playing most evenings to thrash out competitive tournament builds, and they're the people I've given most credence to so far.

Yes, I'm going to be missing stuff - I only found a blog post today which explained that minimum range for Ordnance Barrage is now different, which is a big game changer for the Guard.

The only piece of advice I would give people is to go out there and play and find things out. One or two games does not cut it - you need a number of games against a wide variety of opponents before you can comment on the "game" as a whole. Otherwise you're just commenting on your local "meta".

What this is a simple commentary and observations and a mental checklist for me to go out and playtest every unit in the Imperial Guard codex, over and over. There's a number of units I never got around to playtesting fully in 5th edition given when I started playing again, so there's some units I'm going to be coming to "fresh", never mind comparing to 5th edition.

Oh, and I'm procrastinating from the housework. This is probably not helping in getting my copy of the 6th edition rulebook into my actual hands...

Monday 16 July 2012

Plans for the Olympics

Over the course of the Olympics, my dearly beloved wife is running a paint along through the forums of the lovely people at Darksphere.

The event runs from the flame being lit to the flame being extinguished, but assembly and preparation is totally allowed ahead of this. That means I really need to focus on getting that done!

Sim has picked out several categories to run. I'm not worrying about what I'm painting for the Marathon (paint as much as you can) too much - more about the other categories.

For the single miniature category, I've decided to go with GW's "Herald on Disk", who is the adorable sweetums I 'borrowed' to paint from my dear friend Becky when I went up to her house to help out with assembly a while back. I'm often very slack at completing projects, and given its someone else's model, I should really pull my finger out and actually paint him!

In the team event, it's time to get my Malifaux on! I still need to decide exactly how I'm painting Collodi and his adorable little minions. I want to put some nice detail onto them, but I'm absolutely stuck as to what exactly. I'm also really keen to investigate scenic bases, whether metal or resin, but I'm intending to approach that _after_ the competition is done - this is about getting the figures painted, not their bases!

I was pondering for a while about how to approach the supersized event when I remembered that I have an Earthshaker Platform that I have been meaning to finish assembling for ages. Competition is an excellent way of motivating me to get something done, so that will be my first choice. I'm really wanting to find out how the unrealistic artist did the weathering on his latest project, and totally steal take that as inspiration.

The gaming board has been cleared away to make space for craft projects (my painting and the wife's knitting), my commute is full of random athletes and tourists . . . all I need to do now is order in enough canned goods to survive.

Monday 9 July 2012

Completed models!

The wife has helped me use her camera to take some better photos of my recently completed Imperial Guard. They are very much gaming quality (ie: Not Very Good), with the Ratlings and Psyker being nothing more than a swift black wash over a 14 year old paint job.

In many ways, I'm posting them here so when in a while I come back, strip the models down and repaint them, I can do an awesome before & after shot!

Ratlings, posing on the Ice-Cream lid of Justice.

No, that model didn't come with a shotgun. I added it, then they changed the rules so he couldn't have one any more.

Complete with Chimera in the background. This is the full squad I picked up at  Salute from Lesley's Bitz Box.
I didn't get any new painting done last week as I was a bit too tired to head in to Darksphere, or finish taking down the gaming table and putting the painting table back up.

Tuesday 3 July 2012

The past week

After the rush to get all my painting done for the big games, I've taken a couple of weeks off from painting. I've finally finished my huge Imperial Guard audit and typed it up, and will soon start some huge task list of things that need doing to get the army fully painted.

I don't expect to ever do this as more things will get added on the bottom, but I hope to never have it expand beyond its current state, and slowly bring it down to a more manageable level.

I was saddened to discover a few models were missing - especially my very old Stormtroopers and a few Praetorians, who will be very hard to replace. I'm hoping they will turn up again eventually.

I had said last week that I'd try and get some photos of my newly painted models. Well, here was my first attempt:

That's not very good, is it?

So, I'm planning on trying again with a bit better lighting and maybe a better camera. I'm hoping the wife will give me some pointers.

You will notice that they're sitting on some MDF. These are the 2x4 sections that will eventually become my modular gaming board, which fit nicely over the dining room table.

I managed to get a game in against Paul's Space Wolves again. We went with 5th edition as when we organised we didn't know if the new rules would definitely be out or not, and with a much larger 2,000 point list. Again, lazy basis of the January Throne of Skulls list, this time upping the Leman Russ contingent to three and the big squad of melta armed Storm Troopers you see above.

Paul brought Thunderwolves.

There will follow a longer report, but here is your summary:

That is, you will note, Canis Wolfborn & friends in hand to hand with my Leman Russ Squadron, and three Wrecked vehicle markers.

Oww, the face. Blasted Space Vikings riding angry wolves!

(Other jokes included "There are no wolves on Fenris because they're here, eating your tanks.")

Still not allowed 6 ed book. Housework goals currently at about 10% of where I need to be.

Did get a look at Paul's book, and the Internet is telling me a good bit about the meta. Expect some first thoughts from me at some point soon - not what I think is going to be good or not, but what I think I should be experimenting with to determine how much has changed and what is good or not. We are too early in the day for confident predictions.

So, this week?

Primarily, getting on with earning the beloved 6th Edition Rulebook. Painting may take a back seat to tidying the study, but perhaps there will be some breaks for painting to keep it from getting too monotonous.

I'm thinking the 10 conscripts I didn't get done for the big battles are a good bet, along with my "Paint Along" Space Marine for some variety. I'm avoiding the last Leman Russ for a bit, as I have far too many tanks and not enough infantry as is right now... There's still Malifaux, more Storm Troopers, heavy weapons teams . . . Not to mention the Tzeentch Herald on Disk I have borrowed from Becky to paint for her... I'm thinking that's going to be a project to do while the Olympics are on - I'll probably do it as part of Sim (the wife)'s painting thing for the Olympics that she's doing with Darksphere.