Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Beginner's Guide to the Guard: Battleforce Tactics

For reasons to Go Guard, check out the first post in this series.

If you have decided to Go Guard the first question is "What should I buy?" If you want new in box models you can't go wrong with a few battle force boxes.


Each of these forces contains a command squad, two Infantry Squads, three Heavy Weapons Teams and a Sentinel. The command sprue is an especially awesome inclusion as it contains one of every special weapon as well as power sword and fist upgrades. You end up saving approximately $40 US as opposed to buying them individually. Some don't like the inclusion of the Sentinel but you're still saving $15 even if you don't use it, making this an amazing buy.

The Battle force box also has the curious honor of containing all of the models required for a legal list, a feat that I believe was only challenged by the old school Tyranid boxed set. Granted it's not a very good list, but if you want the minimum of effort you can squeeze out almost 500 pts from this box alone if my math is right.

Two of these boxes will give us a good starting point for the army... in fact, good enough that our first two lists will contain ONLY what is inside those boxes. We now have plenty of bodies and a couple of command squads so we can create a small foot-based force. Here's what I would go for at 500 pts:

Company Command Squad, standard, lascannon: 85
Platoon Command Squad, 4 flamers: 50
2 Infantry Squads, grenade launcher/autocannon: 130
Autocannon Heavy Weapon Squad: 75
Veteran squad, 3 grenade launchers, missile launcher: 100
Scout sentinel, autocannon: 40
Scout sentinel, autocannon, Hunter-Killer Missile: 50
Total: 500 pts.

The Co. Cmd Squad helps anchor the line by allowing your infantry to re-roll failed tests thanks to the standard and can hand out orders to make your squads shoot better. There are tons of autocannons in the list to break light armor and mow down infantry at range, and the Pl. Cmd Squad can rush in with its flamers to clear out any infantry that get too close. The vets especially contribute a large amount of firepower at any target. Finally the Scout Sentinels can outflank to get side shots on armor and contest far flung objectives. I would recommend magnetizing at least the weapons mounts so you can switch them out later. For those who want a challenge, you can magnetize the sentinel such that you can use it as either a Scout or Armored sentinel by following the directions here.

You are well situated to defend home objectives with up to 5 scoring units and can Move, Move, Move! a squad or two plus the SS to take/contest far flung objectives.

We can also move up to 750 points just by adding to this list from our current purchases. We still have 20 infantry and 2 of most of the special weapons left to play with.

Company Command Squad, standard, lascannon: 85
Platoon Command Squad, 4 flamers: 50
2 Infantry Squads, grenade launcher/autocannon: 130
Autocannon Heavy Weapon Squad: 75
Veteran squad, 2 meltaguns: 90
Veteran squad, 2 plasmaguns, Grenadiers doctrine: 130
Veteran squad, 3 grenade launchers, missile launcher: 100
Armored Sentinel, autocannon: 60
Armored Sentinel, autocannon: 60
Total: 750 pts.

I'd love to get some more melta/plasma in those vet squads but we just don't have the tools with two battleforces. Tactics are the same as before, but now we have some low AP shooting from the Melta and Plasma vets and have upgraded our Sentinels to Armored. These boys love charging into combat as few things have a chance of destroying them. Try to avoid power fists if possible, but even then they need a 4 on the penetration roll to even scratch the paint. Check here for my tactica on Armored Sentinels.

The Grenadiers doctrine might require some easy conversion work to make. A few blobs of Greenstuff on their elbows and knees should convey what you want to go for.

Alternatively if you want to keep the scout sentinels from before we could go with this setup:

Company Command Squad, standard, lascannon: 85
Platoon Command Squad, 4 flamers: 50
2 Infantry Squads, grenade launcher/autocannon: 130
Autocannon Heavy Weapon Squad: 75
Veteran squad, 3 grenade launchers, missile launcher: 100
Veteran squad, 2 meltaguns, Grenadiers doctrine: 120
Veteran squad, 2 plasmaguns, plasma pistol, Grenadiers doctrine: 140
Scout sentinel, autocannon: 40
Scout sentinel, autocannon: 40

Our melta vet squad is a bit more survivable now with a 4+ armor save and the plasma squad gets an extra shot with the sarge's plasma pistol.

Expanding from here depends on where you want to take the army. Let's see what we can do to easily take this up to 1k with a few extra purchases. Three Chimeras (1 for the PCS, 2 for the melta/plas vets) while taking out Grenadiers will cost us only 105 points. Getting a Commissar for our blob and giving the sergeants power weapons will cost another 65 bring us to 170. Our last 80 points can either go towards another Autocannon HWS or another squad for the blob. The former leaves us 5 points which is enough to upgrade the plasma pistol to a plasmagun on our vets while the latter, if we leave out an autocannon, gives us 10 which means a third meltagun on the other vets. Purcheses in this phase will run somewhere around $130.

Expanding further depends on what your preference is. If you like mechanized troops, Chimeras are amazing at only 55 pts and Vendettas are one of the most points efficient units in the game. Leman Russes love large infantry bubblewraps which you should have the tools for at this point. If you just want more infantry battleforce boxes are probably the way to go. If you need more special weapons try finding the Marine melta and plasmagun blister packs. At only $6 US for 5 guns they are a steal.

Thanks for reading, and we continue our Beginner's Guide tomorrow.

2 comments:

oniakki said...

The Tau and Tyranid Battleforces can both make legal armies. For the Tyranids, as the Prime is an upgraded warrior, one of the three in the box can be used. The tyranid one isn't necessarily a 'good' legal army, but it's possible. ^.~

I've been considering getting a Cadian battleforce to build a KillZone Special Operations Group from, but I've been side tracked with the Dark Eldar Wyches and space ship terrain.

Groar! said...

On the 'nid battleforce, you need at least 3 warriors to make a legal unit, so by converting one to a prime you cant field the warriors unless you buy more. also the prime is not an'upgraded' warrior he is a seperate unit entirely! in fact he requires some half-decent converting to be truly convincing :P