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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Imperial Guard Codex Review: Part 8: Troops Part 2


In the last post we looked at the other Troop choices open to Imperial Guard, lamented the lack of FoC changes Guard have available to them and commented on the whopping number of individual units an Imperial Guard force can generate from just one Infantry Platoon (20 if you recall). That's insane and whilst not all of those units are worth taking, it's worth taking note of and gives us a lot of options in how to use the unit. And let us just for a second, imagine a game with unlimited points...120 units from Troops alone for Imperial Guard. Freaky!

Infantry Platoon

The Platoon option is broken down into five separate entries which have a unique role within the army/unit, can operate independently, have a set number of squads allowed (i.e. one Platoon Command Squad but up to five Infantry Platoons) and a unique set of options and point costs. We'll look at each one and then as a whole.

Platoon Command Squad - Every Platoon has one and only Platoon Command Squad which is the next step down in controlling the masses of plebs in the Imperial Guard army from the Company Command Squad. This means it's not as good as the Company Command Squad and thus cheaper but still very capable of supporting the units around it. Consider this a utility unit with bonus offensive punch. With the orders First Rank, FIRE!, Second Rank, FIRE!, Incoming! and Move! Move! MOVE! the Platoon Command Squad is all about buffing other infantry units around it and can do this in many ways. Whilst their radius to do this is limited (6") and only one order can be issued a turn, it's very nice utility to have though not a reason why you'd take an Infantry Platoon.

Platoon Command Squads have a lot of options available to them just like a Company Command Squad. However, with only BS3 (other than the Commander) there is less applicability for this unit as a Heavy Weapons unit or mass meltagun/plasmagun squad. Flamers though are a great choice. They are cheap, you can take four of them and they don't care about the poor BS. Put the squad in a Chimera and you have mobile utility which scores and can drop 4 templates on you at any given time. Again of course, keep the upgrades to a minimum as making this squad expensive has little real use.

Infantry Squad - You can take two to five of these for every Infantry Platoon you take and have the unique option to combine the squads together. These combined squads are often why Infantry Platoons are used to make use of cheap bodies as bubble-wraps with multiple special/heavy weapons with which to affect the battlefield. Not an easy unit to remove at range with the potential for 2+ cover and a scoring unit to boot. Add a Commissar for Stubborn Ld9 + re-roll and the unit isn't going anywhere from tank shocks or going to poof quickly. Add in some power weapons, a Priest or the like, etc. and you have a combat unit which isn't hugely scary but is a huge pain in the ass. You can see why they are popular and SirBiscuit has done an excellent job looking at combined squads here. Read it.

Combined squads aren't the only reason to take Infantry Platoons however as Infantry Squads can be decent on their own. Only having BS3 and access to one special and heavy limits this but they are cheap and every unit has access to a Chimera which nets you two more heavy weapons which can be fired on the move. Not hugely cheap when you include a special + heavy with the Chimera but not too expensive and the ability to get more Chimeras without useless units inside them is often overlooked. They can make great supporting units for advancing Veterans for example and protect the Vet's Chimera's side armor whilst not being as big a threat (yet still capable of poking holes in things, tank shocking, blocking, holding objectives, etc.). If you're going to take Infantry Squads like this, you need to take quite a few - don't skimp out. In terms of point efficiency though they often pale in comparison to Veterans which is why they are more commonly seen as combined squads.

Heavy Weapons Team - A base cost of 60 points for three heavy weapon bases (T3/W2) with mortars. You can have up to five of these per Platoon. Eh, mortars are pretty meh, especially when you consider the amount of anti-infantry Imperial Guard already have. The options to take better weapons are there however. Five points per model for a heavy bolter or autocannon, 10 per model for a missile launcher and 15 per model for a lascannon. Heavy bolters should really never be taken. The extra strength and reduced rate of fire for the autocannon at the same points is much better, especially when we add in orders to make them more reliable. Missile Launchers and Lascannons are also a more expensive option to get some S8/9 into your army and again, really benefit from Orders which allow them to overcome their poor BS. For 75-105 points these squads are a bargain but die to S6+ firepower pretty easily and are only Ld7. This means they'll flee pretty regularly and won't always accept orders.

Despite this, they are very much worth it and can draw firepower away from your vehicles. The ability to have three heavy weapons capable of accepting orders is fantastic and shouldn't be overlooked.

Special Weapons Team - Very similar to heavy weapon teams but you can only take two of these per platoon and they obviously work around special weapons rather than heavy weapons. The squad comes with six Guardsmen for 35 points all with lasguns and the option for three Guardsmen to upgrade to a special weapon including all of our favorites and a demo charge to boot at 20 points. With BS3 these guys aren't the most reliable but three meltaguns only has a 1/8 chance of completely missing and you could do worse with 65 points. The other options aren't really as good choices for special weapon teams - flamers obviously overcome their crappy BS but buying a dedicated flamer unit, particularly when you should already have one with the Platoon Command Squad, isn't wise (again, remember Imperial Guard have lots of anti-infantry built-in). Grenade Launchers can do the same with their blasts but again, lots of anti-infantry already and three S6 BS3 shots isn't great duality. Sniper Rifles same deal as before, they do diddly really and with only BS3, mass plasma guns isn't going to put a lot of hurt on any MEQ squads you can catch in the open. Which leaves...meltaguns as we said before. The Demo charge is cute but costs you a meltagun (so chances of missing completely jump to 1/4) and without BS4, this isn't worth it.

If you are really set on taking Alpha Strike units in your Vendettas and aren't running DemoMeltaVets, run meltagun Special Weapon Teams. They don't cost as much so you aren't as annoyed when it doesn't/won't work but still reliable enough to give your opponent pause. Otherwise these units can hijack any empty Chimeras (i.e. bought for a combined squad) and run around as a scoring unit with three meltaguns. Always nice. If they don't have a ride they can hijack though (whether it's a Chimera or Vendetta), you need to consider why you are taking these guys.

Conscripts - These guys suck. They may be dirt cheap but they suck. If you want a screening unit use combined platoons which can actually impact the battlefield.


Al'Rahem has to be mentioned here. We've reviewed him already but he gives the whole Platoon the ability to outflank. With the amount of squads, Chimeras and meltaweapons a Platoon can bring, this does open some interesting options (and you are taking an Astropath right?). Being able to outflank up to six Chimeras is going to give you S6 into side armor, heavy flamers and an annoying amount of Imperial Guardsmen with meltagun options all running around in the backfield. Heavy Weapon Teams obviously are less useful in this unit as the whole Platoon MUST outflank but special weapon teams can find a place hiding amongst Chimeras and throwing concentrated melta shots at tanks. Not a must have option obviously but certainly an over-looked and useful one. No one likes a bunch of Chimeras coming on into their back field from the short table edge and there are enough units + astropath re-rolls to make this tactic reliable though somewhat restricting since you MUST outflank every game.


And what this all boils down to is...a lot of options. The only thing you are stuck with is a single Platoon Command Squad of utility goodness and two Infantry Squads. You can run these as individual squads and branch out to buy lots of Heavy Weapon Teams or buy more Infantry Squads to run as a Combined squad with all the benefits and army functioning that entails. Even not combining them gives you a lot of individual units on the tabletop and lots of options for Chimeras. Special Weapon teams can be used as cheap alpha-strike bait or mobile melta units in Chimeras but that's about it whilst conscripts shouldn't even be looked at. Al'Rahem adds some great tactical flexibility to lists but is obviously predictable. I feel he is often tossed aside when he does have some use though he needs to be incorporated into a more aggressive Imperial Guard list.

All in all Infantry Platoons give a wide array of options in list building terms and when used to support the rest of the army will do very well.

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