Sunday, April 26, 2009

New Guard: Initial Impressions

So I've played four games with the new Guard codex, and I have to say that I am impressed. Oftentimes I would be staring defeat in the face and somehow miraculously pull out a victory thanks to the flexibility that the codex provides to my list. I have a solid gunline with many ablative wounds that won't run and can handle itself in close combat, commanders that add a great deal of tactical flexibility and firepower, huge tanks that mow down infantry and quick objective scorers that will annihilate enemy big guns if they get close enough.

Here are my impressions of the units I have been using so far. I have limited experience with some units as I've only been using the units that I plan on purchasing in the next month (waiting on the new hellhounds/artillery before jumping in with them), so excuse that limitation.:
Company Command: probably the best unit that the codex has thanks to the shear number of options that can be taken with it. You can kit it out as a min-maxed veteran assault boat with 4 special weapons and a chimera, or keep it lean and rally your troops while handing out BID and other orders. Plus the advisors are fantastic (except for MoO, unless you face horde lists and/or that mortar trick works), well worth the measly 30 points that they cost. You just have to keep the CCS out of harm's way as much as possible, as they simply don't have the manpower to handle return fire very well without many expensive upgrades. Then again, you can always make them into close combat squad of doom with the right upgrades... as I said, they're flexible!

Platoon Command: Very nice expendable unit. Cheap enough that you don't care if they live, useful enough that you don't mind spending a few points on them, and always have a use in the game. Early game: Gun away and act as a harasser on enemy lines/ give out orders. Mid game: Murder some people with special weapons and possibly die gloriously. Late game: Orders or go and claim objectives. I recommend the 4 flamer set up, as the BS 3 can seriously hurt them with the other special weapons. They won't live long, but they'll make enough of an impact to change the game in your favor.

Infantry squads: I play gunline, so hvy weapon squad and special weapons are what make this unit worthwhile. The rest of the guardsmen are there simply to provide ablative wounds and maybe a few lasgun shots/CC attacks if it comes to that. As long as the big guns keep firing, this squad is doing its job, which of course can be customized immensely depending on weapons loadout. Always take the commissar if you are going to blob them- having that rerollable leadership 9 is immensely useful, and stubborn means that they will almost never break, even in disastrous close combat. Personal favorite heavy weapon for these guys is the lascannon, as they pack a punch, are long range, ignores armor saves and are brutal when combined with BID. I need to fool around a bit with special weapons, as right now I'm just using grenade launchers because I have the models. Expect me to try out sniper rifles and plasma guns in the near future.

HWS: mortars are really the only thing that makes sense here. They wreak havoc on horde armies, can force a lot of pinning and leadership checks, and have enough range to reach pretty much anywhere on the board regardless of LOS. And they're cheap and weak enough that most enemies will ignore them, as opposed to deadlier squads like auto- or lascannons. Easy auto-buy at 60 points, because at the very least they can hold objectives for you (yay troops!)

Veterans: these guys are just plain awesome. A little expensive to make a gunline army out of them, they are best used as special weapon delivery teams (though I could see 3 sniper rifles/plasma guns and a heavy weapon as an excellent start for a gunline). Mount them in a chimera and sic them after the unit they are built to counter, then use them to claim objectives in the late game. I personally prefer 3 meltas, as they then have a definite target and can really pack a punch against everything. Plasma guns always seem to kill a veteran per turn (it is very statistical at least), so be careful when using them/ give the unit carapace armor. Always earn their points and are a blast to use.

Sentinels: Back when I was playing Eldar I always wanted to use my war walkers as counter assault units. I knew that they had great firepower and that that was their strength, but they could easily hold a cc unit up in close combat for many turns on end, protecting my fragile space elves from attack. Armored sentinels are this dream made reality. As my battle reports have shown, even a single AS can hold Genestealers in close combat for many turns, effectively removing them from the game. Early game the AS's try to pop tanks/MCs; late game assault to keep people away from my squishy guardsmen/contest or pull troops off of objectives. Nothing makes me smile more than assaulting a unit that has no way of hurting it (hello banshees/berzerkers!). Scout sentinels are also pretty good as outflanking lascannons, and especially with an astropath or two, but are very fragile, so pick your targets wisely and keep firing/maneuvering out of the way as long as possible.

LRBTs: awesome. Lumbering Behemoth and side armor 13 has made these ridiculous monstrosities. I just need to work on protecting them from assault a little bit better, as they will absolutely murder infantry and can do a fair number on tanks as well. 3 hvy bolter seems to be working very well, though I will try out a lascannon turret in the future if I have an extra 15 points hanging around. And of course nothing scares a marine player more than a str 8 ap 3 large blast template on a nigh-indestructible body...

Well, those are my thoughts so far. For the next couple of games I'm going to be trying out a few different unit choices as well as some of the special characters that I've heard so much about. In particular I want to try out the demolisher and executioner and have long fantasized about CC squad of doom featuring Iron-Hand Straken.

But, instead of me choosing, why don't I let you choose! Vote on the poll that is right next to here on which units I should try out in my next list. I'll keep the poll up for a couple of weeks so as to get lots of different units in there. The list will be restricted to units that I am likely to own/ have suitable proxies for, but if there is something that you really want to see used in action that I don't have up, feel free to comment about it on one of my posts and I'll see what I can do. Feel free to choose up to 3 units.

Happy trails everybody, and Ave Imperator!

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