Archive for the ‘Matt-Shadowlord’ Category

EPIC:Armageddon – Another look at 40K’s little big brother.

A couple of weeks ago I bought 2 Eldar Revenant titans to use in normal pickup games, and none of my opponents minded or even raised an eyebrow. They have no reason to object -their own armies feature Warhounds, Thunderhawks, scores of Leman Russes, countless Tyrannid monstrosities,  Shadowswords and Reaver Titans, and yet the armies are balanced, the matches close right to the final moments, the game streamlined and the system tournament-ready.

It’s time to have another look at Epic Armageddon, and on the brink of 40Ks 8th Edition being release d I’ve updated this post from 2014 with some of the new developments for this old game.

I’ll be completely upfront about this: The goal of this mini-series about Epic is to get you interested enough in Games Workshop’s other game set in the grim darkness of the 41st Century to actually give it a try. I started playing it fairly casually with some friends and it took a few games to realise that Epic is actually GW’s most strategic and tactically rewarding game.   In fact, this weekend I’ll be flying 4,000km to CanCon for a major Epic Tournament, which is about as strong a personal endorsement as anyone can give a game. Read more »

★★★ STALINGRAD ★★★ Epic Battle Report

Cancon 2014 has come and gone, and once again featured one of Australia’s greatest Epic Tournaments.

Continuing the introduction to Epic Armageddon that I started here on 3++ with There is another 40K game. And it is Good., the following is a battle report from one of the games I played. Now I am aware that many 3++ readers aren’t very familiar with 40Ks scaled-down model size scaled-up battle size stablemate, but read on to get a general feel.

And there are pictures!

Read more »

Optimising IG: Pure Shock and Awe Guard

pure

There are more articles on adding Imperial Guard as Allies coming soon, including a deep dive into the frequently ignored Elites slot, but in the meantime I’ve had a few requests for Pure Guard lists. The first is from a player who would prefer it for old-fashioned thematic reasons, the second is for a player who needs it for a tournament that restricts players to a single codex. Yah I know, that’s like sooooo 2011, but fortunately IG remain one of the armies most capable of playing a pure list without allies.

Hopefully players who are considering Guard as Allies will also find the notes and changes useful, as many of the principles behind them apply equally to secondary detachments – in fact armies shopping for Guard as allies have it easier, because the gaping void called ‘the Assault Phase’ is so much easier to fill.

Read more »

Optimising Allies: Imperials and Guard

“What I cannot crush with Marines I will crush with the tanks of the Imperial Guard!”

As part of the mini-series on Imperial Guard as Allies I received some army building requests which I’ll be tackling before moving on to the rest of the Force Organisation Chart.

The first batch are Imperial, namely Space Wolves, two Blood Angel builds and finally a rebuilt pure Guard army. Watch this space for Guard and Orks in the very near future. Read more »

Winning 40K – What if it’s just not that complicated?

Winning 40K – What if it’s just not that complicated?



Today’s article is all about dispelling a popular myth about 40K, and hopefully getting a vital principle of army design and game planning across. This came out of a forum conversation started by Stelek (author of ‘Yes The Truth Hurts’ 40K blog) yesterday, and since my reply was subsequently quoted by several other people I thought I’d drag it back here to 3++ where I have more space to expand on it.

Many people act like winning at 40K is extremely complicated, and that can cloud their approach to army building and playing the game itself. The truth is 40K is really a simple game, with a huge amount of window-dressing and obfuscation around it.

While I enjoy 40K very much, I’m not so much a 40K player as I am a very competitive (but hopefully friendly!) ‘tournament player’. I play to win tournaments across multiple systems and that means I might have a different perspective than some players, and here it is.

Strip away all the rules and codexes and armylists and you will realise that all 40K is about is 3 things:


  • Having more Scoring units in certain locations at the end of the game than your opponent does

Or

  • Removing more of your opponent’s entire individual units from the board than she does of yours

Or

  • A combination of both


Everything else, all the armour, characters, ballistic skill, invulnerable, special rules, hull points, ‘metagame’, weapons, toughness, fluff, background, chainswords and forging narratives is the great big spectacle that distracts from how simple this game is.

In 5th edition the game was dominated by Mech, Shooting and Multiple small units because these could best achieve the simple objectives listed above. YTTH deserves credit for helping champion those concepts, especially since some people never seemed to really understand it even to the day the edition’s rulebook was phased out.

In 6th edition, many rules and codices have changed, but believe it or not in 6th Edition, 40K is about is 3 things:

  • Having more Scoring units in certain locations at the end of the game than your opponent does

Or

  • Removing more of your opponent’s entire individual units from the board than she does of yours

Or

  • A combination of both

And frankly after the big shake-out adjusting to the new rules is likely to cause, Mech, Shooting and Multiple Small Units are likely to be the best ways to achieve them, because even with all the changes and the new hull point rules mobility remains paramount, shooting trumps assault, and a larger amount of small units are more versatile, adaptable and efficient than a smaller amount of large ones.

40K is just not that complicated. Seriously.

The first tournament ‘system’ I won trophies in was Chess, which is an even simpler game but has a certain elegant purity of purpose. This isn’t going to be breaking news, but to win at Chess,

  • You take your opponent’s king


Nothing else matters. Absolutely nothing. Despite that I’ve played plenty of people who try take every piece on the board, and those are the ‘Pawnloving’ noobs of the game. Comparing 40K to other game genres, real life battlefield tactics or even Sun Tzu is popular with 40k authors but rarely works as well as they hope, but here we have one possible exception; for all its lack of cinematic experience, Chess teaches you to focus on the goal and achieve it, and that nothing else matters.

If you aren’t willing to sacrifice every other model in your army, no matter how well painted or heroically named, to get your scoring units where they need to be in 40K, you’re the ‘Pawnlover’ of this game. 

Actually achieving the objectives against an equally good opponent may not be easy, but by taking on board the stark simplicity of them should help us move the conversation along from the flourishing industry of posts and forum arguments comparing codices as if the most important thing is that units have equivalent chance to ‘make their points back’, as if that mattered. It doesn’t.

To put it in the terms of Brad Pitt in Moneyball, all that matters is that your units need to be able to get on base.



Because 40K isn’t that complicated.

IG Codex Review in 6th – Part two: Primaris Psyker

 
30 things you need to know about the Primaris Psyker

The Primaris Psykers and The IG

As I mentioned in the first article in the IG Codex review series, I’ve heard quite a few people are interested in allying with the Imperial Guard and using the Primaris Psyker as the mandatory HQ in order to get access to the rest of the codex’s goodies. This article is aimed both at them and at the many stalwart players who use IG as their primary army and are interested in how access to the new Psychic Tables has changed the only Psyker in their codex apart from the Psyker Battle Squad.

First let’s have a look what you get for your money. 

 

The Imperial Guard Primaris Psyker is a model with Leadership 9, 5+/5++, Toughness 3 and 2 Wounds for 70pts. He comes with a laspistol and force weapon, but unlike many IC psykers has no upgrade or weapon options available.
The Primaris Psyker comes with two codex powers by default:

  •  Lightning Arc 24″ S6 AP5 Assault 2D6. This averages a decent 7 shots, but while the illustration with lightning coming out of the psyker’s fingertips is cool does your army really need a shorter-ranged multilaser that requires a LD check and can be stopped by deny the witch? IG Rating: 5/10
  • Nightshroud: Enemy must check leadership to shoot Psyker or his squad, but even if they fail, they still get to shoot something else. Hardly worth the final word in the phrase ‘a terrible power’.  IG Rating 1/10 

What’s Changed

The Primaris Psyker has now become Mastery Level 1 with the chance to roll for 2 powers from the Biomancy, Pyromancy, Telepathy and Telekinesis Psychic Charts. 
In a nutshell, neither of the Codex powers were good enough to justify his inclusion in competitive lists under the old rules, so the Primaris Psyker’s best chance in 6th Edition relies on his access to the new Psychic Chart. 

Now we’re diving in deep the deep end to look at all 30 book powers.


First a quick refresher on how the shooting powers work

  • Witchfire – Rolls To Hit, or scatters if blast, or hits automatically if template.
  • Focussed Witchfire – Pick out models in an enemy unit if your LD test is 5 or less test.
  • Beam – fire in a line from Psyker and hit all under the line, strength reduced by 1 for every hit.
  • Maelstrom – targets all units (friend or foe) in range, regardless of line of sight, being locked in combat, intervening models/terrain and so on.
  • Nova – Automatically hits all enemy units within the maximum range, regardless of line of sight, being locked in combat, intervening models/terrain and so on.

Biomancy

Primaris Power: Smite
12″ Witchfire, Warp Charge 1
S4 AP2 A4
Short range terminator-tickler, combining excellent armour penetration with mediocre strength. Has to roll to hit (BS4) as well as pass Psychic Check, then pass Deny the Witch and then wounds on a 4. The short range doesn’t suit Guard, limiting the value of this power. The best use would probably be accompanying a plasma squad into rapidfire range – but that just serves to highlight how much better off you would have been to buy more plasma guns with the same points.
IG Rating 4/10
1 – Iron Arm
(Self) Blessing, Warp Charge 1
Psyker gains +D3 Strength and Toughness and Eternal Warrior
While this is tremendously appealing to a model like Mephiston, the Primaris Psyker is a Lover not a Fighter; this has very little use for a T3 5++ character. Take the Default power.
IG Rating 2/10
2 – Enfeeble
Malediction, Warp Charge 1
Enemy unit within 24″, -1 Strength and Toughness while in effect and they treat all terrain including open ground as difficult
Very useful; the range and effect of the power combine well for a shooting army, and some of our worst enemies (jumppacks, bikers) suffer most from difficult terrain. It reduces the instant death threshold for of high toughness models, making high strength shooting much more effective.
If this was the Primaris power, I would take it by default and include a Psyker in every army. No, really.
IG Rating 10/10
3 – Endurance
Blessing, Warp Charge 1
One friendly unit within 24″ gains Feel no Pain, It will not Die and Relentless
Definitely not as useful for Guard as some armies, but there is one build that could really benefit from it: the massed Infantry Blob. It will not Die is no help, but there is a huge appeal to FNP and Relentless to allow a guard unit of 40 or so men to rapidfire and then assault. The problem is you can’t build an army around a random power.
It can also restore hull points, but doing so requires a psychic test and then a 5+ roll, making it a long shot unless you are running squadrons of vehicles in which case it becomes reasonable. Again, the problem is you can’t build an army around a random power.
IG Rating 5/10
4 – Life Leech
12″ Witchfire, Warp Charge 1
S6 AP2 A2 – Psyker regains a wound for each caused
Short range terminator-killer. It has half the shots of Smite but at higher Strength; since the ‘wound regain’ aspect is not very useful on a T3 character you are often better off with the Default smite unless the psyker is with an anti-vehicle unit.
IG Rating 3/10
5 – Warp Speed
Blessing, Warp Charge 1
Psyker gain +D3 to Initiative and Attacks, and gains the Fleet Special rule
Primaris Psykeris a Lover not a Fighter; this has very little use for a T3 5++ character.  Take Default power.
IG Rating 1/10
6 – Haemorrhage
Focussed Witchfire, Warp Charge 1
12″ Toughness test, no armour or cover saves allowed, if dead, randomly select another model within 2″ (Friend or foe), if that one is slain, continue the process until the test is saved
This power is very easy to over-rate. If you kill more than 3 models, you are probably using it on Gretchin.
IG Rating 4/10

Conclusion: Don’t roll on the Biomancy table if you are Imperial Guard.

Divination

The Imperial Guard do not get access to the Divination table, which is a shame because it has a primaris power that would be useful always in every army. I am including it because you can gain access to it through allies, but apologies to anyone who wants to run a pure Guard army and feels like an orphan looking through the sweet-shop (candystore) window.
Primaris Power: Prescience
12″ Blessing, Warp Charge 1
Target unit can re-roll all failed to hit rolls
The beautiful love-child of the Guard order ‘Bring it down’ and Eldar’s Guide. Prescience allows re-rolling all failed rolls to hit and affects vehicles as well as infantry, works in close combat as well as shooting, and (unlike BID) doesn’t require the enemy to be a vehicle or MC. Whether you run ordnance squadrons, heavy weapon teams or massed infantry units, this is without a doubt an excellent power.
IG Rating 9/10
1 – Foreboding
(Self) Blessing, Warp Charge 1
Psyker and unit has Counter Assault and shoot Overwatch at normal ballistic skill. An amazing ability if combined with a large squad of shooty troops liable to getting charged. ie, A Guard Blob Squad. Less impressive but still useful if the Psyker is in a vet squad with plasmaguns or similar. Does not allow your models to fire blast weapons, and the psyker must be in the charged squad.
IG Rating 7/10
2 – Forewarning
12″ Blessing, Warp Charge 1
Target friendly unit has 4++ save. 
It’s not a big step up from a cover save against shooting and T3 models will still die in combat, so probably best to take Prescience.
IG Rating 4/10 – It would get a higher score if it is applied to allied assault units instead of Guard.
3 – Misfortune
24″ Malediction, Warp Charge 1
One enemy unit re-rolls all successful saves. 
The range makes it combine well with a good round of shooting, making marines and terminators a lot more vulnerable. Guard’s long range firepower means our army can really take advantage of an enemy unit that has this cast on it.
IG Rating 8/10
4 – Perfect Timing
Blessing, Warp Charge 1
Psyker and units weapons ignore cover special rule. 
Cover being 5+ and ‘Focus Fire’ abilities make this less useful than it could have been, as does the fact that so many Guard weapons are blocked by armour instead of cover. However, there are times this will be useful, especially if the opponent has stealth. If not, take the primaris power Prescience.
IG Rating 6/10
5 – Precognition
Blessing, Warp Charge 1
The Psyker can re-roll all failed to hit and wound rolls, as well as saves. 
This would get a very low rating if used on the Primaris Psyker, but having access to it means you are using an ally who may benefit more. It is unlikely to be a better choice than Prescience.
IG 4/10
6 – Scrier’s Gaze
Blessing, Warp Charge 1
Roll three dice and chose the result you want when rolling for reserves, Outflank and Mysterious terrain. 
Ignoring the Mysterious Terrain (since most tournament I’ve heard of don’t want to use it), this makes your Psyker into a super-Astropath.
If you are playing IG as your main army and have lots of reserves you should have already bought an Astropath for a +1 to reserves and re-roll of outflank (admittedly not as good, but a lot more reliable). On the other hand, if you don’t have many reserves, this is not a very useful power.
IG Rating 5/10

Conclusion: This is the Chart you wish you could roll on, because the worst case scenario is you get an amazing Prescience power. If you want it, get yourself a Rune Priest or similar ally.

Pyromancy

Primaris Power: Flame Breath
Witchfire, Warp Charge 1
Template S5 AP4 A1 Soul Blaze
A heavy flamer with soul blaze. While Soul Blaze sounds fun (if a model suffers an unsaved wound, the squad stays on fire on a  4+ and takes D3 S4 AP5 (flamer) hits next turn), in reality what you are getting is a heavy flamer that can’t be used in Overwatch, requires a psychic test and grants a Deny the Witch save. Guard get Heavy Flamers without those disadvantages on most vehicles for free, or pay 20pts to add one to many squads. As with Haemorrhage, I think GW over estimated the value of a power having potential to hurt more than once.
IG Rating 3/10
1 – Fiery Form
Blessing, Warp Charge 1
Psyker gains 4++ save and +2 strength, his close combat attacks are Soul Blaze
The Primaris Psyker is a Lover not Fighter. Take the default power over this.
IG Rating 2/10
2 – Fire Shield
Blessing 24″ range, Warp Charge 1
One friendly unit has a 4+ cover save from shooting attacks except melta and soul blaze, plus any enemy charging suffers 2D6 S4 AP- hits at I10.
The cover save and the average of 7 hits (not shots) to chargers are more beneficial to Guard than most armies due to our low armour and allergy to assaults. Combined with overwatch you may have a chance of wracking up enough casualties to actually stall an assault. This isn’t a top-drawer power, but is worth keeping.
IG Rating 6/10
3 – Inferno
Witchfire, Warp Charge 1
24″ S4 AP5 A1, Soul Blaze, Blast, Ignores cover
Think of this as a 24″ range frag-missile that fires as assault rather than heavy, ignores cover and might set things on fire. When you see it like that it is difficult to justify the cost of the psyker. Could be better than Flame Breath in some cases because of the range, so consider keeping it.
IG Rating 3/10
4 – Spontaneous Combustion
Focussed Witchfire 18″, Warp Charge 1
The target model suffers a wound with no armour or cover saves allowed. If killed, center a blast marker over his and all other models sufer a S4 AP5 Ignore Cover hit.
This is a good power because it causes a wound (not a hit, a wound) with no armour saves allowed, you get to pick the target on a LD check of 5 or less and it works at a reasonable range. The extra blast afterwards is just gravy, just don’t expect it to do more than a mortar; ie very little.
IG Rating 7/10
5 – Sunburst
Nova, Warp Charge 1
6″ S4 AP5 Assault 2D6, Blind, Ignores cover
Short range attack that hits all enemy units in range with average 7 S4 AP5 (Bolter-style) shots that ignore cover, and blinds them. Any unit hit by a blind weapon must take an initiative test, if failed, all models are BS1 WS1 until the end of the next turn.
It’s a decent power, but what lets this down (for a primaris psyker) is the short range. This is probably worth keeping instead of default Flame Breath, which is also short-ranged.
IG Rating 4/10
6 – Molten Beam
Beam, Warp Charge 2
12″ S8 AP1 A1, Melta
This is a melta weapon that works as a beam, meaning it can hit multiple targets in a 12′ line, with the strength dropping by 1 for each target hit. Before you start to think how well this could combine with a melta squad, remember its Warp Charge 2 so you can’t have it. Sorry. If you can take it through an ally, you’d still be giving up the casting of two powers for this one.
IG Rating: 6/10 but not available

Conclusion: Don’t roll on the Pyromancy Chart if you are Imperial Guard. The primaris power is too weak, the rest don’t offer enough reward to be worth the risk of a random roll. The majority of these powers can be obtained in the form of cheaper, more reliable weapon options on squads.


Telekinesis

Primaris Power: Assail
Beam, Warp Charge 1
18″ S6 AP- A1, Strikedown
This is a beam, meaning it can hit multiple targets in a 18′ line, with the strength dropping by 1 for each target hit. It’s easy to get excited beam weapons but the low strength and lack of AP value means you should think of this in the same class as a multilaser.
Strikedown halves the initiative of a non-vehicle or MC model that is hit even if they pass a save and makes them move as if in difficult terrain, which adds some decent utility to the lacklustre shooting power.
IG Rating: 6/10
1 – Crush
Focussed Witchfire 18″, Warp Charge 1
Target receives a hit with 2D6 Strength where 11 or 12 auto-wound or auto-pen vehicles, and AP D6.
A decent shooting attack at a decent range, with average strength 7 and penetrating marine armour 50% of the time. Random strength and random AP make this a very random power.
IG Rating 5/10
2 – Gate of Infinity
Blessing, Warp Charge 1
Psyker and unit can move via deep strike up to 24″
A ‘Best of’ utility spell, if you get this in an otherwise fairly static army it can be a game-changer. If you scatter and roll a double, one squad member is killed, which Guard care less about than almost any other army.  It’s worth considering melta/plasma stormtroopers with Aerial Assault for the re-roll of the deepstrike dice, but the best use might be to get a troop unit onto an objective.
IG Rating 8/10
3 – Objuration Mechanicum
24″ Malediction, Warp Charge 1
Enemy targetted must re-roll to hit and wound rolls of a six, making this more useful than ever in a game with snap shots and flyers. Vehicles are hit with a Strength 1 Haywire hit (glance on 2-5, Penetrate on a 6). If you roll this power, keep it.
IG Rating 7/10
4 – Shockwave
12″ Nova, Warp Charge 1
S3 AP- Assault D6, Pinning.
It’s like hitting with laspistols that cause pinning tests! In other words, don’t take it.
IG Rating 2/10
5 – Telekine Dome
Blessing, Warp Charge 1
12″ friendly unit has a 5++ against shooting attacks, every save is deflected back to any unengaged unit with 6″
The 5++ doesn’t even work in combat so is just a fancy cover save, and the ability to deflect 33% of the shots sounds as Cinematic as Ninja-Jedi-Matrix but is only at very short range and unlikley to actually have much effect in a game.
IG Rating 4/10
6 – Vortex of Doom
12″ Witchfire, Warp Charge 2
S10 AP1 Heavy 1 Blast, if the test is failed centre the marker on Psyker and don’t roll to scatter.
The strength and AP are the best available, and blasts are improved. On the downside, it’s heavy and a blast so the psyker (and his squad) will have to stand still to use it, and can’t assault after casting. Without relentless rules, you are relying on your opponent coming within 12′ of you and pausing for a tea-break while you cast it.
Don’t worry though, it’s also warp charge 2 so unavailable.
IG Rating: 5/10 but unavailable

Conclusion: Don’t roll on the Telekenis chart if you are Imperial Guard.


Telepathy

Primaris Power: Psychic Shriek
12″ Witchfire, Warp Charge 1
Roll 3D6 and subtract the target’s leadership, take a number of wounds equal to the result with no armour or cover saves allowed.
This is an excellent shooting power, but when used by Guard it becomes potentially extremely powerful. Combined with Weaken Resolve you have a chance to absolutely gut a squad, since both are cast in the shooting phase so you can lower the enemy’s leadership before wreaking havoc with this power. Lowering the opponent’s leadership to 2 and then having them roll 3 dice can cause between 1 and 16 wounds with no armour saves!
Just be aware of the hoops you are going to have to jump through to get it off. Assuming the enemy has no psychic defence and no psyker attached to their squad, you still have to 
  1. Pass a LD9 test on the PBS
  2. Pass a deny the witch roll by your opponent
  3. Pass  LD9 test by the Primaris
  4. Pass a second Deny the Witch roll
  5. Then (as far as we know unless FAQed otherwise) still roll to hit with BS4. 
1
That is five potential points of failure, and that’s four too many to consider this reliable. Still, sooner or later someone will kill 8 paladins with this in a single turn and the internet will go crazy.
·         If you must know, the first LD has a 5/6 chance to pass, DTW 5/6, Second LD 5/6, second DTW 5/6 = 48.2% chance for both powers, then BS4 shot hitting = 32% chance to get the combo off. If only the range was long enough to let you try it more than once before being slaughtered!
IG Rating: 7/10
1 – Dominate
Malediction, Warp Charge 1
24″ One unit must pass a leadership test each time it moves, shoots, runs or assaults or they do nothing
The first thing you need to know is that this does not combine with Weaken Resolve. Maledictions are at the start of movement, WR is cast in shoot phase, and does not last into the opponent’s turn. That said, even without that combo a unit that has to take up to three LD checks per turn has a good chance of failing something.
IG Rating: 7/10
2 – Mental Fortitude
24″ Blessing, Warp Charge 1
One friendly unit that is falling back automatically regroups and gains the fearless special rule.
It’s good, but Guard have an order ‘Get Back in the Fight’ for this purpose, and squads regroup easier now regardless. It scores for long range, for giving you a chance to get a unit near the board edge to regroup before it has to move, and for the chance to keep a squad in assault during your turn so it can break in the opponent’s turn. Note that if this power fails, you can still try to regroup with a leadership check as usual afterwards, and if that fails and the unit is still on the board you can do the GBATF order. 
If the unit fails after all three attempts to save them, you’re better off without the worthless maggots anyway.
IG Rating: 6/10
3 – Puppet Master
24″ Focussed Witchfire, Warp Charge 1
The target shoots as if one of your models (cannot target his own unit)
You’ll learn to hate it when it is used on your demolisher or vendetta, but this one is really worth taking. Keep in mind that it affects a single model, not a squad, and you only get to pick which model on a LD roll of 5 or lower – all that to say don’t use it on the MEQ squad with one meltagun, use it on the Dreadnought. For more fun, use it enemy aircraft to skyfire against their allies or on a Manticore with limited ammunition.
IG Rating: 9/10
4 – Terrify
Malediction, Warp Charge 1
24″ Loses the Fearless Special rule if it has it, and treats all enemy units as having the Fear Special rule, and the target must make a morale check.
With Terrify you can make a fearless squad vulnerable to leadership checks you cause by shooting or assault, and have to make an immediate morale check. The order of casting is important because the morale check it causes cannot be affected by Weaken Resolve, which is cast later, in the shoot phase. However because Terrify lasts until the end of the following turn it is a novel chance to make an otherwise fearless unit vulnerable to Weaken Resolve if you can force it to take a second leadership check later, usually due to shooting casualties. 
It’s situational, if your opponent has a very threatening Fearless unit take this power, if not just take Psychic Shriek
IG rating: 6/10
5 – Invisibility
24″ Blessing, Warp Charge 2
Friendly unit has Shrouded and Stealth Special rule. If the unit charges, enemy cannot make use of Counter Assault and are at Weapon Skill one
This would be fantastic on a large Blob Squad or similar unit, but at Warp Charge 2 it’s too rich for your blood.
IG Rating: 7/10 but unavailable to Primaris Psyker
6 – Hallucination
24″ Malediction, Warp Charge 2
One enemy unit suffers one of the following hallucinations:
1-2 – Unit is pinned unless they ignore or are locked in close combat
3-4 – The unit cannot shoot, run declare charges or strike blows in close combat
5-6 – Every model inflicts a single hit on his own unit, resolved at that model’s own strengths, but using the strength bonuses, AP values and special rules of their most powerful close combat weapons if they have any.
IG Rating: 9/10 A great power, but again warp charge 2 so unavailable to the primaris psyker.

Conclusion: If you are taking a Primaris Psyker in a Guard Army, this is usually the best chart to roll on. The default power is useful, and the fact that two of the powers are Warp Charge 2 and unavailable it increases the chances of getting Dominate or Puppet Master. 

In Conclusion:

Your mileage will vary, but I rate him as a moderately competitive HQ choice for Guard, compared to the extremely competitive Company Command Squad. The Primaris Psyker is not as versatile or capable of the damage output of a Company Command Squad, and I am not a fan of rolling on the random tables with a character who can’t make good use of so many of the powers on them. 

This applies to all Psykers from all Codexes: If the default primaris power is not extremely useful, you should probably be rolling on a different table. Anything else is gambling.
When not to take a Primaris Psyker

  1. When you are allying with Space Wolves. As Psykers go, the Primaris Psyker is completely outclassed by the Space Wolf Runepriest, a bloodbrother ally to the Imperial Guard. Coming with far more weapon and equipment options, better armour and toughness,  excellent default powers and access to the divination table that Guard covet, the Runepriest is far better than the 30pt premium implies – and that’s before you add in the second best psychic defence in the game. If you aren’t allergic to allies and really want a Psyker, he’s your man.
  2. When you are allying with Eldar. Allying a Farseer for runes of warding is all the rage on the interwebs, but the rarely mentioned price is it shuts down all your own Psykers. No Primaris or PBS for you Xeno-Loving Scum!
When to take a Primaris Psyker
My conclusion was that the CCS remains so competitive it should be the first choice in most IG lists, with the Primaris as a contender for the second HQ slot. I’d personally have him roll on the Telepathy chart twice with the target power of Puppet Master. Not only does this have decent odds since there are only 4 powers available, but more importantly even if you don’t get lucky all the other Telepathy powers are above average and the default power is good.

If you want to keep it pure Guard and still want the excitement of rolling on the power tables, then the Primaris Psyker is your man.

IG Codex Review in 6th – Part one: HQs


 

IG Codex Review in 6th: Part one HQs

This is the first in a series of articles taking a long, hard look at how the Imperial Guard Codex stacks up in the 6th Edition of the rules. There will be more focus on what has changed than what has stayed the same, so I plan to do in-depth look at the transformed Primaris Psyker and the Valkyrie/Vendetta as flyers, and then end with ally options.

A lot of this will be based on my own opinions and experience, so I will be viewing the units and options through the lens of someone who wants to use Guard on the top tables at tournaments. That means my tilt is going to be towards the options I feel give the most bang for your buck in a ‘Take All Comers’ list, so it is to be expected that some reader’s opinions on some of the units will differ. “Your Mileage May Vary“, but I will do my best to highlight the pieces of the imperial puzzle that I think fit together best and give the lowly humans of the grim dark future the best possible chance of success against their implacable enemies.

Who are generally Space Marines. Go figure.

The Company Command Squad

Great in 5th edition, and now better than ever in the 6th. I’ve spoken to several people who want to ally Guard into their armies, and start with a Primaris Psyker (OMG a 70pts Mastery Level 1!), so let’s try change the way people look at the CCS.

Think of the Company Commander himself as a form of Psyker who can cast 2 Blessings in the Shoot Phase on an imperial guard infantry unit using the target’s Leadership, with immunity to perils, hoods, runes and shadow in the warp.

These blessings are Bring it down (fortune-style reroll misses vs vehicles and monstrous creatures), Fire on my Target (doom-style reroll successful cover saves), First Rank Fire Second Rank Fire (extra shot for all lasguns in a unit), Incoming (like a ‘blessing’ that grants a +2 cover save at the cost of being pinned),  Get Back in the Fight (instant regroup regardless of all other factors, including being pinned) and Move Move Move (roll 3 dice, pick the highest when running).

Those ‘psychic powers’-lite are called Orders, and it has been a constant source of amazement how many people forget to use them or ignore their existence. Drill yourself to think of the game as Movement Phase, Orders Phase, Shoot Phase, Assault Phase.

The rules above should help show why the CSS provides strong competition for the Primaris Psyker, even before we look the weapon and equipment options available.

With that out of the way, here are some reasons why the CCS is better in the new game:

  1. You are more likely to have infantry in the open to receive orders. Whether you plan to or not, lol.
  2. You are more likely to have reserves, with Flyers being forced to start there, and the CCS is the only place you can buy a vital Astropath.
  3. You are more likely to use Plasma weapons as the game shifts towards 2+ saves and glancing tanks to death, and the ‘Bring it Down’ order can not just improve accuracy but also reduce cooking accidents.
  4. The accuracy bonus of using ‘Bring it Down’ almost doubles the damage output of heavy weapons not only against flyers but also when moving and snapfiring.
  5. The CCS itself is a fantastic place to put special weapons, most of which have improved in a game with hull points and lower cover saves.
  6. The CCS’s transport is less likely to be stunned and they are more likely to be able to fire from it.

Negatives

  1. The Commander is not independent, so only gets the standard 4+ roll against wounds.
  2. The Commander’s ‘Get Back in the Fight’ order is still excellent, but now that all armies can regroup within 6″ of an enemy or when under half strenght it is no longer Miraculous.
  3. The CCS can’t charge out of a vehicle, making the 15pt Powerfist ‘Mop Up Squad’ less viable. Never mind, you shouldn’t have been in combat anyway.
  4. The CCS’s own vehicle is likely to be glanced to death or be destroyed in assault

Weapon Options

This is where the CCS really shines, with all members possessing Ballistic Skill 4 and the ability to take a heavy and up to 4 special weapons, plus a plasma pistol or two on the Commander. While they can take flamers and a even heavy flamer, the BS4 makes plasma or melta the most appealing choices.

Heavy Weapons are generally left out because the squad often needs to be mobile, but a BS4 autocannon for 10pts or Lascannon for 20 certainly has appeal.

Vehicle Options

The CSS can take a dedicated transport that allows your squad to fire 5 weapons from the hatch and issue orders to infantry outside it. 55pts with two heavy weapons. Bargain! Expect to see the Multilaser / Heavy Flamer version remain most popular, but some increase in ML/HB usage.

One way or another, Chimeras demand your attention. For more, I covered them in detail here How Chimeras work in 6th.

An alternative is to load them into a Vendetta, but with Flyers starting in reserve and no alpha strike scout-rush possible I much prefer to have the Commander on the table for turn one.

Advisors:

Astropath for 30pts – If you intend to take more than one Flyer you should take an Astropath. Granting plus 1 to reserves (2+ on turn 2) and a reroll of the board edge for outflanking is fantastic in a game than now forces flyers to start off the table, and is also a great precaution against enemy interference. In my very second 6th Edition tournament game I had a double negative bonus to my reserve rolls as the enemy had both an Officer of the Fleet plus a ‘Divide and Conquer’ Warlord trait. My Astropath made reserves come in on an acceptable 4+ instead of a disastrous 5+ and  cemented him into my list permanently.

Officer of the Fleet for 30pts – Opponents are more likely to have reserves than in the past, and  abilities to both slow them down with a -1 to their roll and force them to reroll board edge are  appealing. However, if the enemy reserves are flyers you may want them on the table early so you have a chance to shoot them down with your own aircraft, and outflanking enemies have become less threatening now they can’t charge on arrival. The OotF will work in some lists, but I would almost always go for an Astropath first and then seriously think about whether I want this character or three more meltaguns. 

Bodyguard for 15pts – Stealth-nerf Alert! Previously the bodyguard rule was “Each time the CCS is wounded, up to two wounds allocated to the Commander are instead resolved against the Bodyguard”, which was very useful in stacking multiple wounds (including instant deaths) onto one lucky volunteer.

The new FAQ has changed this to “Whilst a Bodyguard is alive the owning player automatically passes their Look Out Sir! rolls for this unit, but any wounding hits diverted in this fashion must be allocated to the bodyguard.” Not only is this merely an automatic pass for a rule that every IC and Character in the game now has, it also has to be used first, giving the opponent a chance to waste your bodyguard with bolters before hitting the Commander with S6+ weapons. At 15pts per T3 wound (that’s grey hunter money), bodyguards have become a luxury few armies can afford and even less armies need.

Master of Ordnance  for 30pts – Ever wonder why a Strength 9 AP3 ordnance Barrage for 30pts has never been popular in Guard armies? Firstly it is inaccurate, scattering 2D6 on a hit and 3D6 on an arrow, and perhaps more importantly it requires the MoO to have remained still in his previous movement phase which reduces the value of the squad as a whole.

However, this is one of the most improved advisors for two reasons: The blast now hits vehicles at full strength even if the centre is not over them, both making up a lot of ground in the accuracy and giving you the chance to hit several targets, and secondly the new rules mean the MoO counts as stationary even if the rest of the squad moves.  Combine that with the ‘Bring it Down’ order to increase accuracy by using a re-roll and to my surprise I would actually recommend this in some Foot-based builds.

Also worth remembering (because I have seen Guard players forget!) the MoO has a rule that specifically says if he has Line of Sight you reduce the scatter by his ballistic skill (IG pg 31), and that his BS is 4, not 3. It’s basic stuff but important.

If you take one, don’t do anything fancy. Just aim for the centre of the enemy formation and cross your fingers.

Top  recommendations

  • Weapons: 4 Melta for 90pts or 4 Plasma 110pts
  • Recommended Advisors: Astropath 30pts
  • Recommended Upgrades: Chimera ML/HF, Krak Grenades

Not recommended:

  • Medic – Pay 30pts, lose a space for a weapon. FNP is less useful than before (5+ instead of 4+) and in a T3 squad you do not gain the benefit of it now working against plasma – even a multilaser is instant death. It may have use in a larger combat squad with Straken, but before you buy one always remember that 30pts is the same premium a T5 Nob Biker squad pays for Feel No Pain. You are being robbed.
  • Bodyguards – The ability to reallocate wounds is no longer unique, and the bodyguard has been FAQed to be significantly worse than under the old rules.
  • Carapace Armour -20pts on a small squad, replaces a 5+ save with 4+.
  • Vox-caster – you lose a space for a weapon, and the squads that would most benefit from taking a vox-caster to receive orders (heavy weapon teams) cannot have them.
  • Dual-wielding plasma pistols – It looks cool cinematic, but costs 20pts. It also seems that killing the commander for a warlord point should be your opponent’s job rather than your wargear’s. Unless “The Tale of Captain No-hands’ is your idea of forging a narrative.

Conclusion: 

Even with the changes to the Primaris Psyker, the Company Command Squad remains my top HQ recommendation for anyone playing Guard. It can be heavily armed, can buy its own armed transport -and fire 5 guns from it- and comes with utility abilities that boost reserves and make it act like a poor-man’s Psyker. A Company Commander may well be weaker than most armies’ Warlord choices, but they have to get through his squad and transport first.

Don’t overspend and you will find a Company Command Squad to be worth a 10/10 rating.

 

Don’t miss the Next Episode: Primaris Psyker as an HQ. Whether you love to play IG, are shopping for Allies or just enjoy killing them, there will be something for you in the IG Codex Review.
-Matt

Back to Basics: Valkyries & Vendettas in 6E

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it is a scout-outflanking Flyer gunship with Hover mode that can act as a Fast Skimmer and is an infantry transport.

 

Depending on its mode and speed it can fire four, two, none or all weapons at full ballistic skill, or fire two missiles (but unlike other Flyers, only one at full BS), or fire all weapons at BS1.

And since everybody and their pet-squig is considering allying one into their army, the above should be enough to convince you that it’s high time we take a look at the rules and see how they actually work in 6th Edition.


Starting with the basics, Valkyries and Vendettas are now Flyers with Hover mode and 3 Hull Points. Flyers with the hover rule can decide to act as skimmers at the start of their movement phase, counting as fast skimmers, so since it took a surprising amount of effort to track down all the rules from the IG Codex, IG FAQ and scattered in sections all over the BRB I’ll present them in easy-to-digest bullet points to save you the effort.

IN FLYER MODE

  • The Flyer has a Minimum Speed 18” (or crashes) Maximum speed 36”.
  • Can move flat out instead of shooting for an additional 12 to 24”, giving a maximum distance of 60” in a single turn.
  • Can only turn once, up to 90 degrees at the beginning of the turn, then moves in a straight line.
  • Can fire up to four weapons at full BS, any remainder snapfire.
  • Enemy units firing at the flyer use BS1 unless they have Skyfire rules. All flyers have Skyfire.
  • Models cannot embark or disembark from a flyer (unless they have rules that give them an exception)
  • Cannot be assaulted.
  • Can choose to evade enemy shooting and gain a 5+ jink save, but then can only fire snap shots in their next shoot phase.
  • Can travel over and even rest on difficult, dangerous and impassable terrain without penalty.

IN HOVER MODE

  • Can change their orientation freely during their move
  • Can move 6″ and fire all weapons, counting as stationary
  • Can move up to 12″ and fire two weapons at full BS, while the remainder snap fire
  • Can Move an additional 18″ flat out instead of shooting, giving them a maximum move of 40″ (pg 83)
  • Embark or disembark infantry, counting the entire base as the access point
  • Be assaulted by enemy, hit automatically if stationary. A skimmer that has moved is hit on a 3+ regardless of how far.
  • Be hit by enemy shooting using standard ballistic skill, and be hit by templates and blast weapons
  • Have a 5+ jink save against shooting attacks as long as they moved, with no penalty

That covers the basics and might be enough of an overview if you are only planning to play against people with skimmers, but for for everyone else here comes more details about the rules, advantages and disadvantages of the modes, a look at squadrons, valkyries vs vendettas in 6th and some tactics for using Flyers with Hover mode.

Starting in Reserve

Because they are classed as Flyer (Hover) they can no longer start on the table, and must begin the game in reserve. Fortunately reserves now come on more reliably (on a 3+ on turn 2, instead of a 4+) and are guaranteed to arrive turn 4, but players will need to factor in missing a chunk of their fire power for at least one turn.  The ‘Alpha Strike’ ability of an army that uses them is severely diminished. For example, losing the firepower of 9 Twin Linked Lascannons for at least one turn can make a big difference to a Vendetta-heavy Guard army, and that’s before you factor in the old ‘Scout Move and Demo-Vet charge’ tactics of the old rules.

Advantages of Zooming

Flyers usually only make a special move are called Zoom.

  1. Zooming gives a combat speed of 18” and Cruising speed of 36”
  2. Zooming flyers can fly over all intervening terrain and units, and don’t take dangerous terrain tests even if they start or finish in dangerous, difficult or impassable terrain
  3. Zooming fliers can fire up to four of their weapons at full BS whether they have moved at combat or cruising speed. This means they can fire up to 4 at full BS even after a 36” move, and any remaining guns at BS1.
  4. Hard to hit – unless enemies have skyfire weapons, they only hit zooming flyers at BS1, and can’t fire blasts and templates at them.
  5. Flat out moves are an additional 12” to 24”in a straight line in the movement phase. That means a Flyer can move 36” plus 24” for a total of 60” in a single turn.
  6. Evade – A Flyer can choose to evade enemy hits before penetration rules are made, giving it the jink rule (a 5+ save) but they can then only fire snap shots until the end of their next turn. This is in contrast with the Skimmer jink save (See below) that is an automatic 5+ save without disadvantages as long as the skimmer has moved.
  7. Zooming flyers cannot be assaulted.
  8. Flyers can choose to use the Skyfire rule on all weapons, firing at other flyers and skimmers with full ballistic skill.
  9. If a zooming Flyer suffers an Immobilised result it does not become immobilised or even stop moving; instead it has its velocity locked. This means it must continue to zoom at whatever speed (Combat or Cruising) it was travelling at for the rest of the game. It can no longer evade (so no more Jink Saves) or move flat out, but this seems a small price to pay compared to being immobilised or crashing out of the sky.

Disadvantages of zooming

  1. A Flyer can never ‘zoom’ less than 18” or it will be wrecked. *thank goodness Flyers with Hover mode have a Plan B available.
  2. Only a single pivot of up to 90 can be made before the move, and then it moves in a straight line. (There is an exception for other Flyers with the ‘Vector Dancer’ rules that allow a second pivot at the end of this move)
  3. Models cannot embark or disembark (Exception: Valkyrie Grav Chute Insertion, see IG pg 56)
  4. If a Flyer’s move takes it off the board edge, it goes into Ongoing Reserves (pg 125). While this means it automatically reenters next turn, it loses at least one turn of firepower.
  5. If a flyer is wrecked or explodes, any units transported suffer a Crash and Burn (see next point) and an S6 AP- large blast is scattered 2D6” onto any units below.

Disadvantages of zooming transports: Crash and Burn!

 

Any models inside a zooming flyer that is Wrecked or Explodes takes a S10 hit with no armour – note that this is not just for the rare roll of an ‘explodes’ result on the damage chart but is also for wrecks caused by losing hull points or even not being able to move at full zooming speed of 18”. Any survivors are placed within 3” of the location of the Large Blast template that scattered when the flyer was destroyed, not the Flyer’s former location.

This will cause a hit on everyone, but it’s very important to note that a Sergeant or Character can make a ‘Look Out Sir!’ roll to re-allocate it (using a squaddy’s body to cushion the officer’s landing is very Cinematic). A 10 man squad that has a sergeant use LOS! on a 4+ has a reasonable chance of having two models make it out of the fiery wreckage, which while devastating to a MEQ player sounds quite acceptable to the Imperial Guard. Send commiserations to the 28mm mothers of the rest of the squad, but who cares – the tiny remnant is still scoring.

Models with invulnerable saves or high Toughness suffer a lot less from this damage. For example, Mephiston in an exploding Stormraven would simply have an 83% chance of taking a single wound. Even our own Commissar Yarrick would just casually dust himself off, keep calm and carry on.

The Ride of the Valkyries

Valkyries have not done nearly as well out of the transition to new rules as their stable-mates the Vendetta. Apart from the growing popularity of 2+ saves and the obvious appeal of twin-linked lascannons to deal with them, there are two main reasons for that.

Valkyrie Rocket Pods offer no movement advantages
VRPs used to count as defensive weapons (as they are S4 blasts), allowing the Valk to move 12” and fire the pods plus a multilaser, giving it a different, faster moving role that did a good job of distinguishing it from the Vendetta.

However, there are no ‘Defensive Weapons’ any more, and on top of that Rocket Pods fall foul of the blasts rule meaning they cannot be fired as Snap Shots.

As a Fast Vehicle (when in Hover Mode), the Valkyrie can move at combat speed (6”) and fire all weapons or move at Cruising Speed (12”) and fire two weapons at full BS and the rest as Snap Shots.  For a Valkyrie, this means moving 12” and using full BS to fire two rocket pods, then snap shots from the multilaser. That gives it less firepower when moving at this speed than under the old rules where it could move 12″ and fire one weapon at full BS (the multilaser) and the blasts as defensive weapons.

The Valkyrie’s former edge over the Vendetta in being able to fire all weapons while moving at this speed meant that it lost nothing to ensure it was only hit on 6s in assault. Now both are hit on 3+ at any movement speed.

Valkyrie Hell Strike Missiles remain bad
Flyers have a new rule for Missiles that allow a maximum of two one-shot missiles to be fired per shoot phase, counting towards the total number of weapons fired (pg 81).

This rule applies to the Hell Strike missile carried by the Valkyrie. However, because the Hellstrike is classed as Ordnance, until/unless FAQed the Valkyrie would fire one Hell Strike at BS3 and then all its other weapons (including the optional second Hell Strike) as BS1 (last paragraph pg 71). Believe it or not this is better than under the old rules, where one ordnance missile meant firing nothing else, but it is still far from ideal.

Bombs

Neither of the IG flyers get them but in a nutshell bombs are dropped during movement (not shooting), using a D6” scattering blast marker placed over any model the flyer has passed over. Bombing counts as firing one weapon, and the Flyer cannot move flat out later in the turn.

The new Squadron rules

The squadron rules are much more generous than in the previous edition of the rules (page 77), and make taking squadrons of Skimmers much more appealing.

Skimmers in a squadron still have to remain in 4” of one another and fire on a single target, but with the following changes:

Advantages:

  • Speed is judged individually, so assuming coherency is maintained it is possible for skimmers to move at different speeds and fire with different Ballistic Skills rules.
  • Flat out is declared individually. For example, if one skimmer is stunned, it can leapfrog over a squadron mate to get a 4+ save while its comrade fires at full BS. (Since squadron-mates can see through one another without granting a cover save, you can fire your weapons through the open doors on the side of your comrades Valkyrie. It’s Cinematic).
  • The closest model takes all the hits until dead. All skimmers in a squadron as still vulnerable, but this is a big improvement over the hits being evenly ‘spread’ across a squadron immediately. The same applies for damage taken in assaults, so while a skimmer can still be damaged by enemy infantry that aren’t actually in base contact with it when they assault one of the skimmer’s squadron-mates, it is more likely that a single skimmer will get a lot of damage results.
  • Abandoning Squadron-mates. If a skimmer in a squadron is immobilised, instead of it being immediately destroyed it is instead abandoned and becomes its own separate unit, immobile but alive and capable of firing at different targets.

Disadvantages:

There is only one disadvantage I am aware of.

  • Purge the Alien Mission (page 127) “At the end of the game, each player receives 1 Victory Point for each enemy unit that has been completely destroyed”. This means a member of a squadron that becomes a separate unit and is then destroyed counts as a Victory Point.

Immobilising a skimmer

Immobilised results are a lot less kind to Flyers that were in Hover mode rather than Zooming. If immobilised after moving flat out in this turn (usually due to terrain, but possibly also friendly fire or interceptor guns) or the previous turn (usually due to enemy shooting or assaults), the Skimmer is wrecked.
If it was not moving flat out, the immobilised Skimmer has its base removed if possible, or can hover in place incapable of further movement.
Softer Grav-Chute Landings
If a Valkyrie/Vendetta has moved flat out, passengers may disembark using grav-chute insertion to any point the skimmer travelled over. If they scatter they take a dangerous terrain test, and if any can’t be deployed the entire unit is destroyed.
Two things to note about this:

  1. Firstly Airbourne Assault Storm Troopers can reroll these dice, and while they are not scoring units they are Denial and Linebreakers.
  2. Secondly, armour saves are now taken against difficult terrain, increasing survival rates –especially for Storm Troopers, but even for flak armoured models.

Other rules to know

  • Skimmers have the jink special rule all the time (page 83) – this means as long as they moved they have a 5+ cover save, and unlike Flyers there is no penalty for taking this. It is always available to the player. If the model moved flat out or turbo boosted, the save is 4+.
  • No model can claim a Jink save against shots fire by the Hydra (IG FAQ)
  • Skyfire – note that Flyers with hover mode that decide to move as skimmers remain classed as Flyers, so do not lose the skyfire rule. Page 81
  • If a Flyer chooses to use Skyfire rules, all its weapons must use it for this turn; ensure any opponents with POTMS Stormravens are aware of this.
  • If you moved in Hover mode, opponents can ram or charge your Skimmer’s hull or base or both.
  • A skimmer can move over friends or enemies, but not end a move on either
  • A skimmer can move over all terrain, ignoring all penalties except for taking a dangerous terrain test if they end a move in difficult, dangerous or even impassable terrain.

Some basic tactics

  • Outflanking has always given a better chance of scoring side shots and rear armour. Now it also gives more options for a longer ‘zoom’ flight across the board laterally, so will almost always be better than coming on from your board edge.
  • I highly recommend an Astropath in any army that has more than one Vendetta. You can’t afford to have them arrive late, and often need to pick the board edge. It’s not a 30pts tax, it is an insurance policy.
  • I am currently using cheap troops in these Flyers; SWS with flamers or Infantry squads with a flamer. If you get tempted to spend a lot, re-read the Crash and Burn rules.
  • I am also experimenting with a squad in the rearmost of a vendetta squadron of two, which gives decent survivability. That would be a safer option for a more expensive squad (eg Meltavets).
  • If you come up against another army with Flyers, seriously consider the most counter-intuitive thing possible: going second against a shooting-orientated enemy. If your flyers come on second and shoot skyfire first they have a much better chance of surviving.
  • Most Imperial Guard players I have spoken to have never used ‘Grav Chute’ insertion due to the risks. In 6th edition, where boots have to be on the ground to score/deny/break lines, grav chuting men in flak armour needs to become an accepted part of the game-plan, at the very least as ‘Plan B’.
  • Remember they can come on in Hover mode, they are not required to arrive as flyers. Moving 12” and firing two weapons at full BS is a big improvement.
  • Flyers move so fast and fire all guns that I’ve found myself having more success bringing them on from the left flank to target units on the right and vice versa; this frequently nets clean shots with no cover saves.
  • Your skimmers start to arrive on turn 2. By that stage, I find I have already had a good chance to kill enemy skyfire units (if any). I then try to get two turns of Flyer mode out of them, while I kill the enemy’s best ranged Anti Tank. After that, I plan to drop all Flyers into Skimmer mode simultaneously (and Cinematically!) so they can move freely and mop up the enemy.
  • That last point takes some planning (I mean actually planning the routes before bringing models onto the table) but by this stage, most of the enemy’s anti-tank should be dead, and the remainder will be overwhelmed by targets. If done right this is much more likely to be successful than having one at a time engage skimmer mode.
  • Some players have avoided the Heavy Bolter upgrade on Vendettas because of a perceived clash with its anti tank role. However, with outflanking being more common since they are forced to start in reserve, chances rear and side armour hits where HB are relevant go up. Besides, if you play right your opponent will soon run out of tanks, and the Vendetta really benefits from HBs when it switches to an anti-infantry role. Nine shots is more cinematic than three.
  • This may be stating the obvious, but if moving 12” and targeting light infantry it is much better to use full BS on Heavy Bolters and snapfire TL-LC.
  • Do not over-estimate Flyers survivability. My worst experience was losing 3 vendettas in the immediate turn after they came on to the board to three large squads of Ork Lootas. Massed low-ballistic skill shooting is not impressed by snap fire rules.

Conclusion

  • IMHO the Vendetta is currently the best unit in the Imperial Guard codex. It is also very Cinematic.
  • Vendettas have never had better rules, and even so a lot of players will load up on these non-scoring, non-denying models and lose games.
  • A Vendetta will probably never again be as good as it is right now, and while it is likely to be a good choice all through 6th Edition its 15 minutes in the sun won’t last past the ‘Summer of Flyers’. Don’t remortgage your house for Skimmers until you see what’s in the pipeline to shoot them down.
  • At the same time, the Valkyrie’s special role as a fast moving skimmer has unfortunately declined in purpose as it can’t drop troops after moving more than 6”, doesn’t gain “6+ to be hit” in assault by doing so, and while it can choose its large blasts as the two weapons fired while moving more than 6” the Vendetta can also now also fire 2 weapons at full BS at that speed. It’s one saving grace is a lower basic cost, but I don’t see it as a real competitor any more.

And that was approximately 3 pages longer than I envisioned when I began. I hope players can learn something from it – I certainly did while writing it.
– Matt

Imperial Guard in 6th: Initial Analysis

Imperial Guard in 6th: Initial Analysis

The armies of the Imperial Guard have been so profoundly affected by the transition to 6th Edition rules that it is still taking time for all the changes to sink in.

I made an initial list of changes that affect the way Imperial Guard armies play and quickly got to 60 rules, of which about 40 are positive and 20 negative, but in the grim darkness of the far future nothing is quite that simple and as you’ll see many of these are rules that cut both ways.

I am splitting this into a series. This article is going to be an overview, I’ll go into the rules in a future article, and then a review of the units in the codex as they appear at the very start of this edition of the rules. Then if there is interest, I can start adding some new army builds I’ll be trying out in the run up to the State Masters and Australian Masters, which I have pre-qualified for by coming first in both using my beloved Guard last year, (assuming the interest isn’t exclusively from my potential opponents lol).

 

As go the Tanks, so go the Imperial Guard

With low statlines, poor armour and bad combat ability on the infantry, the vehicle changes affect Imperial Guard more than virtually any army in the game. Losing hull points on a rhino and having a MEQ squad tumble out is an inconvenience, but Guardsmen losing their chimera can be a tragedy. I believe the Hull Points rules are an excellent addition to the game, but combined with the new increased vulnerability to assault you need to be aware that the survivability of most vehicles has taken a severe knock.

Do not expect your chimeras and other AV12 tanks to last nearly as long as they used to, particularly when going forward towards objectives. Not being able to claim objectives while inside a transport is a problem for Guard, but perhaps not as big a disadvantage as it sounds once you realise the transports are likely to be dead by then anyway!

There is a definite up-side to the new damage table though, and it is most obvious when running the classic Imperial Guard gun-tanks: Glancing hits no longer cause your tanks to stop firing. They also don’t stop them moving or cause them to be immobilised, but that’s actually less of an issue how many times would you have preferred your opponent rolled higher and immobilised your Leman Russ in 5th edition rather than taking its weapon off or stunning it?

Gun-tanks that generally keep firing until they die are an improvement, and no one benefits more than Guard. As for their attrition from Hull Points, they way I look at it is since vehicles can’t contest objectives, a gun-tank that dies on turn 5 of a 6 turn game has been at least as useful as one that lives to the end but was stunned and couldn’t shoot in turn 2. If the tank in question is a Manticore with limited ammunition, then please dear opponent, spend some time glancing its armour off.

Vehicles remain extremely important under the new rules, and many Imperial Guard vehicles are better than ever. The new survivability issues just mean that we have to change which we use and how we use them.

This is a huge topic on its own I will explore the Armoured Vehicle rules in more detail in an article soon.

In the meantime you may wish to see my article Back to Basics: How Rhinos, Razorbacks and Chimeras work in 6th.

 

The Armour Gap Widens

 

What the new rules do really well is widen the gap between better and worse quality armour. The gap in survivability between a Marine and a Guardsman has widened significantly due to the drop in average cover saves, and the good old days of Guard reliably going to ground and being able to pretend they were also wearing nice fashionable power armour are over.

As a Guard player I don’t necessarily have to like this, but it is definitely better game design.

The same applies to vehicles, as the Hull Points rules and changes to the damage table mean there is a much more significant gap in survivability between different armoured vehicles than before, even before you add the impact that an almost inevitable drop in the volume of meltaguns is going to have.

The AV10 vehicles are significantly easier to kill than AV11 even before you add the fact that many have 2 hull points rather than 3, since small arms now are a real threat to them. Our own common AV12 vehicles are a more significant step up from AV11 for a similar reason (although not to the same degree since both ignore most small arms), and for armies like Space Marines there is a huge difference between the Razorbacks we saw flourish in 5th Edition and the Predators that are likely to have a renaissance in 6th.

And then you get to the good stuff. Leman Russes, especially the Demolisher, are back in an undisputed role as Main Battle Tanks. AV14 is un-stunnable by anything below a lascannon, and as long as you’re smart enough to stay out of assault ranges those guns will just keep on firing until the tank dies or the game ends.

The key thing is that in 6th Edition the gap between good and poor quality armour has widened, whether it is on infantry or a vehicle, and Guard players will do well to keep that in mind in their army design process.

The Player Gap Widens

 

This is just a speculation, but I think the armour gap is likely to have a secondary effect on the player gap with Imperial Guard at tournaments. It is probably too early to say whether IG have been weakened or strengthened in relation to the other armies in the new rule book, but in my opinion Imperial Guard have become more complicated to use and harder to play well.

Look at 5th Edition tournaments and you will frequently see a few IG players at the top of the table, but a larger amount propping up the bottom of the results. Ignoring the legends of the ‘unbeatable’ Leaf Blower (a glass hammer army that became a synonym for overpowered after it was allowed to go first against players who didn’t use reserves ten times in a row), an codex that either did very well or was destroyed has just got even more reliant on player skill in 6th edition.

The fate of the Imperial Guard will now often come down to how well the player can manage to take distant objectives without showing the opponent’s guns the 75% of each of their common vehicles that is AV10 rather than AV12, and manage to keep infantry alive in a ruleset that has lower cover saves and the ability of opponents to focus fire on any squad members that won’t get cover at all.

I believe Imperial Guard will be powerful in 6th, but it is no longer an army that I’d recommend to new players. The rewards for skilled play are great, but the penalties for mistakes have never been harsher. Just being honest about it, new players are better off with the more forgiving Marine armour and statlines and vehicles that don’t have AV10 sides.

But if you can get the hang of playing Guard in the new rules, you’ve a great future in 6th edition.

Is the Imperial Guard still the strongest army in the game?

 

No. It’s far too early in the new edition to really judge how the rules will interact with all the codexes and we will need results from a wide range of tournaments… oh forget it, it’s probably Necrons lol.

Get over it though, in my opinion Imperial Guard had a brief moment in the sunshine as the best army in 40K before Space Wolves moved into at least equal first position, and then had a relative decline as other powerful codexes were released in 5th Edition, a series of FAQs bit, the effect of one of the best psychic powers in the game (Weaken Resolve) was reduced by runic armour and reinforced aegis etc, and a genuine decline in options as DH/SOB allies were removed.

If it is any consolation, some opponents will still believe IG are ‘Totaly Over powerd11!!’ after playing the ‘Purge the Alien’ plus ‘Hammer and Anvil’ combination mission, just as some did in the last edition after playing the ‘Spear Head: Annihilation’ that played into IG’s strengths and avoided its weaknesses. In five out of six missions your opponent has no reason to think IG are overpowered.

But you’ll always have Purge Hammer.

Is the Imperial Guard still the best army in the game?

 

Yes! We are the Imperial Guard.

Hate to break both of their two hearts, but 8 foot tall SpessMarinz will never have the same underdog appeal as the desperately out-matched normal humans of the far distant future that Gamesworkshop had the audacity to design as a shooting army and arm with lasguns.

IGFTW.

Friends with Benefits

 

The Imperial Guard get truly excellent ally options. I’ll make a prediction that players who’ve invested time and money in large guard armies might find reassuring:

Whatever else happens in this edition of the rules, the ally options will keep your Guard army viable.

A quick glance at the illegible jenga game that is the allies chart shows nobody has as many friends as IG; it’s quicker to list all the armies we cannot ally with, the Tyrannids and… that’s all.  Necrons would be desperate allies, but every other army in the game is at least an ally of convenience.

I’ve seen a lot of die-hard IG players mention Allies as if it is a bad word, but they are now a part of the game and shouldn’t be written-off as WAAC out of hand. I think the 40K universe is rich and varied enough and the players are creative enough to supply a justifiable background story and ‘fluffy’ reason for most alliances, and this could have a very interesting impact on the game.

Back to Basics: How Rhinos, Razorbacks and Chimeras work in 6th

How Rhinos, Razorbacks and Chimeras work in 6th

As anyone who has received their rule book will know, rather than having 5th edition discarded and replaced there are a thousand tiny changes that add up to a very different picture. I’ve made a start at trying to compile how the new rules effect one of the most important factors in shaping the game: the imperial transport vehicles.
The psyker, flyer and ally rules are getting most of the attention, but it is the affect of the rules on the most common transport vehicles in the game that will really decide how this edition of the rules plays.





Please note: The rules are compiled from all over the book
and I hope to make this useful for players of all levels, so any changes and additions are welcome. If you notice something that needs correcting or expanding, feel free to post below. Thanks.

VEHICLE CHANGES:

Changes to Rhinos:
No change to Armour and weapons. Now has 3 Hull Points. Vehicles have the ‘relentless’ rule.

Changes to Chimeras:
No change to Armour. Now has 3 Hull points. Vehicles have the ‘relentless’ rule.
The Multilaser is now AP-, but the impact of this change is lowered by the fact that AP- no longer causes a negative bonus to rolls on the damage chart. (Edit: This was a typo by GW; in reality the Multilaser keeps its status as an AP6 destroyer of planets)

Changes to Razorbacks:
No change to Armour and weapons. Now has 3  Hull Points. Vehicles have the ‘relentless’ rule.

SURVIVABILITY:

Vehicles now only require 25% of their hull to be obscured in order to obtain a cover save. However the cover save is now generally 5+ instead of 4+ (cover from ruins, ruined fortifications and trenches remains 4+, Fortifications 3+), and it is especially significant that smoke only gives a 5+ save.

A static or immobile vehicle is still automatically hit (counting as WS0). A moving vehicle is counted as WS1 and will be hit on 3+, regardless of how far it has moved. This is a huge boost in the power of close combat attacks against vehicles from 5th edition, where hits against moving vehicles were 4+ or 6+ depending on their movement speed.

Rhinos, Razors and Chimeras all have 3 hull points. The effect of the hull point system and changes to the damage chart require a whole article of their own, but as a rule of thumb vehicles are less likely to be killed by one lucky result on the chart and more likely to be killed by accumulated hits.

Randomised Weapon Destroyed

Weapon destroyed results are now randomized amongst all weapons that can still fire, including pintle mounted weapons and hunter killer weapons. This is an improvement over the enemy being able to choose. Rhinos are unlikely to gain much by adding weapons, but chimera and especially razorback owners might seriously consider pintle weapons as a way to increase the life expectancy of their primary weapons.

This combines with the fact that glancing hits now never cause a roll on the damage chart to make the primary weapon on any vehicle more durable – at least until the vehicle runs out of hit-points. The chief benefactors of that will be the ‘one gun tanks’ like vindicators, but it also benefits razorbacks, especially the single gun versions.

FIRING:

Stationary vehicles can fire all weapons. No change to 5th.

Combat speed (up to 6”) can fire a single weapon at full BS and all other weapons that can fire as snap shots* at BS1. This would allow a Chimera to fire its Multilaser at BS3, and a heavy bolter and any pintle mounted weapons at BS1.

*Snap shot rules:

Snap Shots at BS1 when a heavy weapon moves and shoots in the same turn
Cannot fire template (flamers etc) or blasts (mortar etc) as Snap Shots

  • TIP: Alternatively, a Chimera could use the ‘full BS’ ability to fire a heavy flamer which cannot snapfire, and then use Snap Fire to fire the Multilaser at BS1 for a small increase in firepower over 5th edition.
  • TIP: A Razorback with more than one weapon can pick which weapon to use at which skill. This means that on a Las/Plas razorback, firing the Lascannon at BS4 and the twin linked plasmagun at BS1 would be recommended.
Cruising Speed (6”+) can only make snap shots. A chimera could fire its Multilaser, Heavy Bolter and any pintle weapons at BS1 while moving up to 12”, an increase in fire power over not being able to fire at all in 5th Edition.

Flat out: A vehicle can move flat out instead of firing in the shooting phase, giving it an additional move of up to 6”. They cannot tank shock while moving flat out.

RATING THE RAZORBACKS

The Lascannon – Twinlinked Plasmagun version of the Razorback is likely to remain very popular. Cover saves against its low AP shots have been reduced, and all twin linked guns have had a boost due to the likelihood of sooner or later firing snap shots at speed or firing against flyers. However, keep in mind even on vehicles the plasmagun now overheats and can strip away Hull Points.
The Twin-Linked Lascannon version is worth a second look, as it can fire its S9 shot at an effective BS of around 1.8 when moving faster than in 5th Edition (up to 12″) or firing vs flyers. The single gun razorbacks have been improved by the randomisation of weapon destroyed results, making up some of the ground on the LasPlas razorback, and probably meaning this will come a closer second than under the old rules.
The Twin-Linked Assault cannon version has all the benefits of twin linking a 4 shot gun under the new rules that means it can sometimes move fast and still get some worthwhile shooting in despite firing snapshots. It is probably still the 3rd best choice for armies other than Blood Angels, however.

The Heavy Flamer ‘Flamerback’ is probably the big loser, as it combines the fact that it is the vehicle most likely to want to move fast for a good position and the fact it cannot fire its template weapon when moving over 6”.

Fast Vehicles

Fast Vehicles such as Blood Angel’s Rhinos do not move faster in movement; instead they now move up to 12″ when moving flat out. Fast vehicles can also fire all weapons after a 6″ move as if they were stationary, or up to two at full BS at cruising speed.

RATING THE CHIMERAS

There have only two major builds for Chimeras in the past; ML/HF and ML/HB, but it could now be worth experimenting. 
I expect the Multilaser and Heavy Bolter version to gain some additional users now that the vehicle can fire both even when moving (the heavy bolter at only BS1), but in my opinion the Multi-laser and Heavy Flamer combo still looks like the winner.
The rare variant HB/HB might appeal to some people who like the sound of 6 AP4 shots in an environment with lower cover saves, but Strength 6 should generally win out over 5.
The rarest HF/HF build unfortunately won’t be the BBQ wagon some of us were hoping for, since vehicles can’t fire overwatch shots and templates can’t be used for snapshots.

In all cases, the value of adding a Heavy Stubber has increased slightly due to weapon destroyed randomisation. The Storm Bolter should never be taken, not even as a Dare. Double Dee Dare?

MOVEMENT

As you can see from the above, vehicle movement is now faster than ever. Vehicles can move up to 18″ rather than 12″, and fast vehicles can now move up to 24″ rather than 18″.
This will have a huge impact on the game.

Overwatch

Vehicles cannot make Overwatch shots against charging enemies unless specified otherwise (this and the fact that only 1 weapon can fire at BS when moving makes the double-flamer Chimera a lot less appealing). However if a transport is assaulted its passengers can fire snap shots out of fire points. This would be 2 models firing from a Rhino or 5 from a Chimera.

Wall of Death

Flamers cannot snap fire, but can fire on Overwatch and automatically inflict D3 hits on the charging unit.
  • TIP: A chimera carrying a PCS with 4 flamers will cause 4xD3 hits on an enemy that charges it – for a rule of thumb, that’s 8 x S4 AP5 hits. If you position the chimera in your turn so that a lightly-armoured enemy will be at maximum charge range, that might be enough to make some charges stall.

PASSENGERS

Passengers Firing

Passengers count as moving if the vehicles moves at cruising speed. Passengers can fire exactly as if they were moving, which now gives a slight improvement to Heavy Weapons which can fire at BS1 rather than not at all. 

If the vehicle moves at Cruising speed the passengers can only fire Snap Shots (an improvement over no weapons).
  • TIP: If you have a heavy weapon such as an autocannon or missile launcher in a transport that moved, why not fire it at an Aircraft that you would require a 6 to hit anyway?
When a ‘Crew Shaken’ result is rolled, passengers can only make snap shots in their next Shooting Phase. 
When a ‘Crew Stunned’ result is rolled, passengers cannot shoot in their next shooting phase.

Embarking

Move models to within 2” of access points during movement. Simple.

Disembarking

Disembarking now requires the models to end their movement wholly within 6” of the access point, a significant change to the almost 9” movement range of the 5th edition.

A unit can now only disembark if the vehicle has not moved more than 6” – this is as significant change to the ‘Move 12”, disembark 2.9” and fire melta weapons’ tactics common in 5th edition, and significantly reduces the threat range of embarked passengers.

No Charging from inside non-assault vehicles!

Models cannot declare a charge in the assault phase after disembarking from a vehicle, even if the vehicle has not moved. This is a huge change, as preventing charges from inside most vehicles both boosts the relative value of assault vehicles.

All three deployment types in the rule book have zones 24″ apart, so without this stipulation we would have been likely to see lots of 18″ moves in turn 1 followed by massed assaults in turn 2, and a return to the heady days of the Rhino rush. With this ban on charging from inside non-assault vehicles, squads that start in vehicles are more likely to get their charge in turn 3 unless the enemy comes to them.

Another significant impact is that squads will have to be ready to weather a turn of fire power or assaults in the open before they themselves get a chance to charge, rather than springing out of their nice, safe luxurious limousines and leaping straight in to combat unscathed.

  
Assault Vehicle

This rule allows passengers to disembark and charge in the same turn. If the vehicle does not have this rule, the passengers cannot disembark and charge. This is now a bigger deal than ever, and none of the three transports being discussed here have it.  

Ram and Tank Shock

A vehicle can no longer Ram or Tank Shock in a turn when a squad has embarked or disembarked. Expect it to take a while for people to get used to that rule.

Passengers are Fearless

The rules explicitly state that passengers are fearless. This is how the overwhelmingly vast majority of players treated them in 5th Edition, but will avoid any debate about what happens if a squad in a vehicle loses 25% of its members.

Disordered charges:

It has been common in the past for charging squads to charge more than one enemy unit, or to charge enemy units and vehicles simultaneously. Doing so now will remove their 1+ attack for charging. This will not have any effect on grenade armed squads who only had 1 attack vs vehicles anyway, but could reduce the likelihood of the opponent wanting to make multiple charges. It’s great for pulling punches though.
 

SCORING

Troops do not score while embarked in a vehicle (worth noting, also do not score if in a building).

Troops also cannot deny (ie ‘contest’) objectives if in a vehicle, and nor can the vehicle itself. 

Since troops will have to disembark to contest or control objectives and cannot disembark if the vehicle has moved more than 6″, a lot more attention will have to be paid to getting the men to the objectives than the last minute flat-out grabs of 5th Edition. 


MINOR  FACTORS

Blasts

Blast weapons now hit vehicles at full strength even if the hole on the blast marker is now over the hull. This has a negative effect on the survivability of all vehicles.

—————–
There you have it: a decent start on what are likely to be some of the most important rules shaping the ebb and flow of games in the new edition of 40K. The ink on the rules is still wet so as mentioned above please feel free to let me know if you have any additions that you think are worthwhile or corrections to any parts of the article. Thanks!
I hope you found it helpful.
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