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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Imperial Guard AV12 - Unbeatable Fallacy

A testament to Sandy who promised me a picture
based article on moving Chimeras into midfield!

This post is sort of a practical compilation of some of the other Fallacy 40k posts we've done where the concepts discussed will be applied in relation to the topic at hand - the AV12 wall of Imperial Guard.

Imperial Guard are an excellent army, there's no denying it. However, a lot of the armies we see aren't often maximising the complete package Imperial Guard has to offer. For example, we commonly see spammed melta-vets who rush forward with no support or static firepower lists that simply shoot such as Leafblower. Often a bunch of good units but poor strategy and list composition brings forth a bunch of weaknesses. However, we still hear heavy complaints about these lists due to one factor - the AV12 wall.

The concept of the AV12 wall is great - provide as much AV12 for your opponent to shoot at to reduce the effectiveness of their armies. A lot of armies these days run a lot of S7-8 firepower at range and high penetrating shots up close (i.e. autocannons/missile launchers + meltaguns). For higher AV armies such as Imperial Guard, Necrons and Eldar - this can provide them with a specific range where they have an advantage over the enemy. Afterall, if the opponent is required to roll an average 4+, 6 then 5+ to destroy a tank (not to mention the 4- cover save), well they'll need a lot of shots to pry open those metal cans. Even against lists with a more balanced firepower set will find themselves annoyed at mass AV12 compared to AV11 or 10.

With this in mind we can see why Imperial Guard can be one of the most annoying armies to match-up with and any army which goes toe-to-toe with them in a shooting match is generally likely to lose. Enter the fallacy. If you sit there and try to out-shoot the Imperial Guard, you're playing into their hands. The don't even need to be a good player (they can be down-right bad in fact) and on average they are going to win simply because they have more and often better dice to throw at you with better defenses in return. Sure you'll win sometimes but the odds are stacked against you. To beat this army you must therefore need to engage them on your terms and the AV12 wall has a huge weakness which allows you to do this - side AV10.

Playing against an Imperial Guard army with a solid midfield element therefore often comes down to two things - how well you are able to minimise the opponent's AV12 and how well the Imperial Guard player can maximise their AV12. So really it's the different sides of the same coin but we'll say they are two different things because there are two controlling elements - the players. This is where good movement really comes into play - remember the Fallacy 40k post about lack of tactics? Imperial Guard have perhaps one of the biggest discrepancies in regards to how good players manage in tournaments and how bad players manage in tournaments based solely on movement. Few other armies are so exposed when their side armor is showing compared to their front (AV13 BA is probably the closest) and unlike Marines with meltaguns, Imperial Guard cannot simply hop out, blast something and expect to survive.

This is where the Fallacy 40k post about suicide melta comes in - especially combined with the weak side/rear AV10 of Chimeras. Instead of blindly rushing forward to get melta into range and exposing the weak side armor of Chimeras, a good Imperial Guard player is going to use the maximum and optimal threat ranges of their meltaguns in their Chimeras and the movement of multiple vehicles to present a unified AV12 front to as much of the opposing army as possible. It's impossible to completely limit the ability of the opponent to get side shots - even if you stay right back on the table edge, side shots are available but a good player is going to drastically reduce the amount of side shots available or force the opponent into awkward positions to get such side shots.

What does this have to do with a Fallacy 40k post about AV12 Chimera walls? Simple - they aren't unbreakable as they have a huge weakness of AV10. If they get out-manoeuvred, they're screwed. A good player can minimise this but cannot remove it completely against a good opposing player and list. Certainly the AV12 wall is a lot harder to break when you're a static foot list or rushing forwards towards the opponent with nary a thought to tactical foresight. And this is again where we reference you to tactics within 40k.

If you play blindly or dumbly or a list with minimal mobility, getting side armor shots against a wall of Chimeras is a lot harder and we're back to where we started. Imperial Guard have very cheap access to AV12 in the front arc and can spam it quite easily. If you let them keep that AV12 pointed towards you where they can simply attrition you away with massive firepower - well ya, the AV12 wall looks pretty unbreakable. If you use your noggin however and look to get around the AV12 - it's only in one arc after all, the game becomes a lot more manageable. Certainly it won't be a cake-walk, Imperial Guard are still good but you're less likely to be screaming CHEESE and OP and WAAC and whatever else you can think of because you're being outplayed, outlisted or you're both butting heads against a wall where Imperial Guard often wins through superior firepower, saturation and AV levels.

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