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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
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"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Imperial Guard Codex Review: Part 10: Fast Attack Part 2


The next instalment of Imperial Guard Fast Attack. Once again, not it's not just Vendettas and yes there are other viable choices. Last post we saw the applied usage of Scout Sentinels as disruption with Armored Sentinels having some merit as a tarpit, albeit an expensive one. The Vendetta is still of course near the pinnacle of raw efficiency but they due to this don't last long and thus there are other options with which we can utilise our Fast Attack slot. We've only got two real units left, Rough Riders and the three variants of the Hellhound Flame tank. Let's take a gander.

Rough Riders

Seriously, horses still see use in the 41st millennium? Meh well tickle me pink I'd demand a jetbike to be honest. Rough Riders have one real use, a cheap counter-assault unit. They aren't super cheap at 10 points a model (55 for base + Sergeant), particularly for a Guardsmen statline, but they are cavalry and thus have an excellent threat range and come with hunting lances + frag grenades. This means, the first time they charge they will make mince meat of most things thanks to S5/I5 power weapons. This only happens the first time they charge though so can be grossly over utilised against a piddly few guys left and will otherwise be pretty useless from that point onwards.

You can replace some of their hunting lances with the usual special weapons but they really have no point. Same with the Sergeant upgrades. If you want a unit with special weapons, they are much better and more efficient choices whilst if you are taking the unit, you want it to be as cheap as possible to help clear units from in front of your firing lines ASAP. They can have some offensive use against other backfield armies but likely being the only unit of their kind, are unlikely to make it to the otherside of the board.

If you want these guys take a small squad as a counter-assault unit and potentially stick it in reserve so your opponent cannot shoot them (and they could forget...but don't count on it).

Hellhound Squadron

Perhaps another often overlooked choice in the Imperial Guard arsenal. With side AV12, this is one of the few vehicles Imperial Guard has that is just as strong on the side as it is the front. This is great to bookend Chimeras with as suddenly that AV12 wall has a side facing of AV12 as well. This greatly reduces the damage said wall can take as minimal AV10 is exposed. Sounds good! There are then three variants, each arrives in cost and armament but they are all fast so can stick with Chimeras to ensure AV12 all round and fire their main weapon.

Hellhound - The original BBQ tank. The Hellhound is the height of anti-infantry and cover busting, able to throw a S6 AP4 template up to 12" away and angle it any which way as long as the pointy end is closer to the gun barrel than the fat end. This is great as it allows you to get maximum infantry coverage beneath the template without having to resort to tank shocks. AP4 and being a template means it will bust most infantry up to Marines out of cover fairly easily (i.e. on a 2+). It does pale against 3+ or better units however and whilst a bunch of free hits on a recently dismebarked unit is nice, it's not as nice as slaughtering whole squads of infantry in cover.

This comes down to how much anti-infantry you have in your army and where it's located. Can you break units with potential 2+ cover saves reliably? If so you probably don't need the Hellhound but if not, and remembering Imperial Guard aren't really strong enough in combat to just assault said units in cover and attrition them away, the Hellhound is an excellent choice.

Devil Dog - 10 points cheaper than the Hellhound, the Devil Dog brings something few armies outside of Space Marines have - fast 24" melta. The only downside is it's a blast so less likely to hit (40-45% on a Rhino chassis). Even just missing greatly reduces the effectiveness of the meltacannon though S4+2D6 armor pen can still break AV14. What the Devil Dogs do however is provide that S8/AP1 firepower on a mobile platform. This gives an effective range of 36" (24" for melta range) and can really help out the Vendettas in terms of ranged firepower that's better than S7. Their blast ability also means they are pretty decent against infantry and no Paladin/Terminator squad likes to see these blasts land on them with regularity.

Banewolf - A punchier version of the Hellhound, the Banewolf takes the same principle (template tank) but acts like a normal template weapon (so pointy end goes up against the edge of the barrel), wounds everything on 2s and has AP3. This is great for clearing out large squads of anything that's not a Terminator but is obviously more efficient against Marines than your run of the mill Guardsmen. The problem here of course is the short-ranged and high threat profile of the tank make it hard to ever drop AP3 templates on lots of Marines cowering in cover. If you're looking for something to bust Marines reliably however or want to put extra target priority pressure on your opponent, the Banewolf is your tank.

I think all three variants are decent tanks but when looking at the majority of Imperial Guard lists, the Devil Dog would be the best fit. Anti-infantry comes naturally to Imperial Guard. When most tanks can have a Heavy Flamer and you pack 20+ S6 shots, large GEQ squads go down quickly and small Marine squads drop consistently. If you feel you need to be able to drop larger MEQ squads, the Banewolf will obviously help here but as said before, it will likely get shot early and an immobilisation result makes it very useless.

Each of these tanks can take either a heavy bolter, heavy flamer or Multi-melta (at +15 points) on their hull. I'd tend to take a heavy flamer on the Devil Dog for duality and highly consider the MM for the other two tanks. Whilst expensive for a BS3 it once again provides you with mobile 24" melta weapons and gives the tanks duality themselves. Giving the Devil Dog an MM isn't a bad idea as well as you still have the blast nature of the meltacannon giving you some anti-infantry and have a solid melta shot to shoot at tanks.

These guys can be taken in squadrons and I would recommend it. It allows you to maximise that AV12 wall (and if you take two squadrons you can bookend Chimera walls) on the sides and keeps the tanks moving as stunned results get ignored. Whilst their survivability drops with immobilisations = wrecked, you can fob hits off onto one tank (unless they come in multiples) to ensure one tank can always fire. This is also a good way to hide a Banewolf and ensure it gets to use its AP3 template later in the game as the vehicles can be mixed. Smoke Launchers at 5points a model are also a good buy but not necessary when you consider you should be running them in squadrons.


All in all I think there are three really good choices in Fast Attack for Imperial Guard. Hellhound variants, Vendettas and Scout Sentinels. Rough Riders have minor use as a counter-assault unit but are pretty eh overall. Too often players jump for the pure efficiency of the Vendetta without considering how fragile and high on opponent's target priority lists they are. Whilst not taking them feels like you're losing something, taking less than three can get you the best of both worlds. Super-efficient anti-tank firepower at range and some of the other excellent options available in the Fast Attack slot. Of course, the less Vendettas you take the more susceptible to damage the others are but there is always the option of squadrons (and the associated opportunity cost of overkill). I think taking two Vendettas and one other Fast Attack is a good mix but taking two squads of Hellhound tanks is also a solid choice for a more midfield oriented list.

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