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Are assault units needed in IG?
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Old 05 Jan 2006, 02:04   #1 (permalink)
Shas'La
 
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Default Are assault units needed in IG?

I'm constantly looking over my lists thinking how to trim points to increase model numbers. I begin to wonder about the relatively high costs of putting together a decent assault squad.

In most of my games I have success with masses of heavy firepower blocking up all line of sight and movement lanes, while massed infantry fire on anyone foolish enough to get too close. Objectives are usually claimed by infantry advancing under cover fire or chimera-based squads.

These tactics make me wonder if I really need those expensive assault command squads (notice their absence in my summary of success). One of my tried-and-true tactics is to tie up a flank with massed (and really cheap) conscripts armed with nothing special. Even with horrible leadership, I can count on them to hold their own against pretty much anything for a turn or two based purely on numbers. 200pts of conscripts seem to perform better for me than 200pts for a scary assault command. Conscripts, and to a lesser extent meat shield infantry, buy me enough time so that I can concentrate my fire without worrying about my heavy weapons being tied up by an enemy assault. It's really about making the guns work. IG can outgun any other 40k army if tooled properly.

At S3 T3 most guard are poor enough in assault not to seek it out. Expensive powerfists don't last long. Sure, the heavy assault weapons can inflict some damage before they go down, but can they do it any better than a handful more infantry? Especially infantry covered by (and producing) massed firepower?

That said, in larger games, I always take Ogryns as a counter-assault squad in case the enemy has something really nasty which is able to massacre/consolidate through my meat shield. I consider the big guys more of an insurance policy than a game-winner. It's still the massed firepower I rely on to win.

What are your thoughts? How important are those assault squads to you? Is it just a matter of play style that makes assaulty squads useful? I'm sure there are plenty of mathammers who can calculate an efficiency, but I'm also interested in real game experience. Can success with IG really be boiled down to putting out more shots than anyone else?
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Old 05 Jan 2006, 20:47   #2 (permalink)
Shas'Saal
 
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Default Re: Are assault units needed in IG?

I'm in your camp on this one, Bird. The guard just aren't built for close combat. They can hook up some crazy good close combat muscle through the allies rules, but we can't talk about those too much, of people will rain down the wrath of cheeze on us.

I take a pack of Ogryns to make people think twice about getting too close, and let the long-range firepower do the heavy lifting. Kitting out a command squad in such a way as to make them even approach competence in close combat is so expensive as to be prohibitive (to the tune of an entire Ogryn squad, or maybe even a couple of tanks). Even kitted out they won't last against, say, a Marine squad, let alone a Marine HQ group, and nevermind a big fat brood of gaunts.

But the models are pretty, and the power fist/weapon packing officers/commissars/psykers look neat on the table. So people continue to field them. Not that that's a knock on those who field close combat squads, since for some people that's their preferred way of doing things. I'd just rather have another tank, is all.

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Old 06 Jan 2006, 14:41   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are assault units needed in IG?

i dont think that assualt for guard is very important. shooting has always been their strength, an that is how it should be. when you think of a battle feild, would the people shooting at an enemy do better than the people charging to meet the enemy? maybe guard isnt for you then. orgryns are great CC guys, but if you take the guns away from the guard, you have empire warriors from WHF. another suggestion would be for you to read the catachan codex, since they have better stats, but cost about three points more a model.

you suggested a very expensive HQ, as wel to counteract this flaw, but it really doesnt need to be so expensive. power weapons and bolt pistols are a tried and true method of effectively tackling many an opponent.

a last suggestion i will put forth for cc, as well as anti cc are conscripts. as weak as they appear, they are cheap and nigh impossible to charge through. they provide a stout defence, as well as a challangeing offence when placed in capable hands. giving them flamers is a great idea, because the flamers are relatively cheap, and ignore the BS of the user. and at around 200 points for fifty units cant be beat. so the guard really does have relatively good CC abilitties, but they are just very well hidden.

hope this helps.
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Old 06 Jan 2006, 15:21   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are assault units needed in IG?

I've fought guard players who only give command squads hth because in the new codex power weapons are only 5pts. They give the squad 4 flamers a commisar and a heroic senior officer with bolt pistols and power weapons on the characters, as well as carapace armor and refractor fields. This squad does surprisingly well in my opinion, especialy when mounted in a chimera.

Two other good options for IG is to field GKTs or in 3rd edition's case ()to my shock and disgust when the rhino I foolishly assumed he was proxying as a chimera, crapped Cypher and a command squad of 9 onto my poor twenty man squad of Guardians and a Dire Avenger Squad (I was playing Biel Tan, my 1st army, and I referred to these two units as operation meat shield)
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Old 06 Jan 2006, 21:42   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are assault units needed in IG?

there is no points price involved in making your infantry platoon's mandatory command unit into a poor man's assault group. switch them all to laspistol/ccw, even the voxcaster - if you bother with them - can take a chainsword and laspistol for free. They will get one good charge and slow up an enemy and kill a few and probably die, but hey, that's why he's a Junior Officer.

It doesnt cost a lot of points to turn veterans into an extremely effective assault group. Firstly, you take a flamer and/or a melta so you can shoot right before you charge, and you give sarge a powerfist/ccw combo for a minimum of 3 attacks, more if you honorifica him, and there are enough other vets (always arm the remainders with either shotguns or lasp/ccw, never lasguns, it's a free switch) to add a few extra dice of shooting before the charge, and a few extra dice of S3 hits that DO ADD UP, especially with 'hardened fighters' upgrade and good positioning to ensure that you get the charge - and you can get about 30 dice at 50% hit odds, plus the sarge = 15 hits, versus T4 opponents thats 5 wounds as an average, but really it comes down to sarge and his power-whatever to do the real damage

hard fight:15 pts

powerfist:20 -this is optional overkill-- a powersword(5) is usualy as useful, bit this really depends on what race you are up against

honorifica:30 -also optional, he can do quite well without it, but it does tend to turn your model into a major deciding force in a battle

melta/flamer:15
vet squad base:90 (i think)
thats 1 nasty big counter-assault squad for about 120-170 points, roughly the cost of 1 tank. and all you need is one squad like this, and you dont advance with it, rather you hang back and countercharge the opponent who is closing on your line.
the guard are very static, more or less stationary due to their reliance on heavy weapons, but having a single squad of close combat killers to counter charge is very useful, and not as expensive as you would think.
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Old 07 Jan 2006, 15:38   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are assault units needed in IG?

as Mike mentioned,
you can always take allies, and Grey Knights are great allies to use if you need close combat support. grab five gk termies, make one a grand master, and for about 300 points you have a near unstoppable squad. if your under heavy pressure in the game, deep strike them and wreak havoc behind enemy lines.
it is rather expensive though, but right now my army is grenadiers plus gks and gk termis, which is so so.
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Old 10 Jan 2006, 17:01   #7 (permalink)
Shas'La
 
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Default Re: Are assault units needed in IG?

I'm glad that everyone seems to agree with me, but I would be interested in hearing from someone with an assaulty army. They must be out there. Or at least with a tooled up HQ assault unit. Are you ever glad to have that specialized unit rather than another squad or two of raw numbers?

Is it worth tooling up a veteran squad for assault? Seems to me that I get better value with hordes of conscripts or Ogryns (which are the only guard type suitable for the dirty close combat squad). I rarely play with veterans at all anymore because they just seem too expensive for that small jump in effectiveness. Especially when chewing up doctrines and increasing the cost with armoury goodies. They are still not (relative to other armies) strong or tough.

I sometimes play around with another close combat unit, the priest, but still find him more effective put with 50 lasguns than with a small, dedicated assault squad. Either way, I don't normally find the priest worth the points either. Guard just die too fast.

Finally, is anyone comfortable with playing Grey Knight (or worse, terminator) allies? To me that just screams cheese and wouldn't make a fun game (especially for my opponent).
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Old 10 Jan 2006, 17:34   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are assault units needed in IG?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brother-Captain Zoren
as Mike mentioned,
you can always take allies, and Grey Knights are great allies to use if you need close combat support. grab five gk termies, make one a grand master, and for about 300 points you have a near unstoppable squad. if your under heavy pressure in the game, deep strike them and wreak havoc behind enemy lines.
it is rather expensive though, but right now my army is grenadiers plus gks and gk termis, which is so so.
It's also pretty cheesy...there's a reason IG close combat units are points inefficient. Taking close combat allies gives IG an unfair advantage...fantstic shooting and fantastic assaulting, with no real disadvantage. Where's the fun in that?
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Old 11 Jan 2006, 05:48   #9 (permalink)
Shas'La
 
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Default Re: Are assault units needed in IG?

So:
1) Imperial Guard are at their best when shooting.
2) Allies, while effective, are probably cheesy and unfun.

I agree assault units packing flamers and melta guns are effective in their own role, but are they able to replace close combat units? Flamers and meltas are great if you are the one assaulting and can get those short-range shots off, but are useless if you are absorbing a quick enemy attack.

I suppose what it comes down to for me is that I'm too chicken to get rid of my power weapons (and the occasional power fist) in case something nasty appears in my firing line, but can't help think that those points might not be better spent on vanilla bodies.

So help me out. Can you help me justify those expensive close combat upgrades? Or do you think vanilla conscripts and infantry are able to handle the nasty assaults other armies can dish out?
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Old 11 Jan 2006, 08:35   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are assault units needed in IG?

Well...at 5 points, a power weapon is a great buy! Any other close combat upgrades are probably a points sink, given that you're still T3, and only have 4 meat shields...the most points-efficient you're probably going to get is pistols and swords for the meat shields, and a pistol and powersword for the officer. That's 45 points for the chance of killing a couple models...spend more than that, and the points cost rises much faster than the chance of killing additional models does. Killing 2 marines and losing a 45 point unit is a better deal than killing 5 marines and losing a 300 point unit!

Overall, though, I think there are much more effective shooty uses for that little 5-man squad. For 89 points, you can get 5 stormbolters (not useful against power armor, of course, but it's 10 S4 shots at 30"...not bad for five puny humans) For 80 points, you can get 4 meltas and take the drop troops doctrine for some cheap, effective tank hunting. drop 6" directly behind an enemy tank, and anywhere you could possibly scatter (if scatter doesn't kill you) will be within 12" of his rear armor. Those are great odds for an 80 point risk!
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