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Close Combat Guard
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Old 26 Feb 2008, 19:00   #1 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Close Combat Guard

The Imperial Guard is toted as a shooting army. And they certianly have the ability to put alot of firepower down. So most people come in expecting to face a shooty army that they can't hope to stand-off and exchange fire with. They may trade shots with their heavy support, but alot of armies have exceptional close combat abilites, and are going to attempt to close with your guard and whack'em in the assault phase. And let's face it: guard are deadmeat in close-combat?

We may want to revise that assumption. Guard have access to a number of doctrines and units that are quite capable of handling close-combat. The easiest assumption is to take hardened fighters. Then your basic guardsman becomes a killing machine, right? Wrong. WS4 and S3 isn't going to change alot, especially coming from 1 attack models. Well, what about warrior weapons too? Sounds great, untill you think that a squad of 10 with warrior weapons and hardened fighters weighs in at 95 points, before any weapons.

So how do we get close-combat capability in the Guard? Well, that's simple: Hardened Fighters doctrinated Veterans and Command squads. I'm going to look into each in detail.

Veteran Squads: For 100pts, one can purchase a Vet Squad with A Vet sargeant and 9 Veterans with the Hardened fighters doctrine. For another 50 points, you can pick up 3 meltas and a powerfist for your veteran seargeant. And you are done! Put a fear shotguns in there for close-range firepower, and you have a unit with a credible assault phase load out of 14 WS4 S3 attacks and 3 WS4 S6 powerfist attacks. Not a bad deal. It's cheaper than a squad of 5 assault marines /w powerfist, but it's got a better amount of shooting available.

For a mere 110 points, you can have a squad of 5 vets, with power fisting Sarge and 3 meltas.

As is obvious, Combination with the "Veterans" doctrine would allow for a large number of close-quarters orinientated veterans. However, Vanilla guard can still bring atleast one squad of Veterans and Stormtroopers(who are more expensive and less geared for Close-Combat), and the vet squads listed above cost a mere 135 and 95pts, respectively.

These Vet squads should be used as the numbers for an Infantry assault, ith a little bit of Ooomph behind them(the vet-sarge with power fist). Even against Assault Marines or Striking Scorpians, these guys should be able to weather the first round of attacks(losing 4 or so guardsmen), with their sarge killing a number of the pesky tough troops. Anything big enough to wipe out the squad in one turn is more expensive, and should be avoided until shot down a bit.

Speaking of that, the 3 meltas could easily be swapped for 3 plasma guns, or a mixture if you'd like. Plasma stands a good chance of killing your guardsmen when rapid-fired, so reduces their life expectancy a great deal. Meltas can handle tanks better, and fire a little slower, but don't kill your troops off as much. Always try to get atleast a turn of dedicated melta shots on your opponent's infantry. 3 meltas can easily generate 2 casaulties in the hands of Veterans, while 6 plasma shots can easily pull 4 or more casualties. Good for softening up those big squads of Assault troops, getting down to a more manageable number. Meltas can assault right away, while plasmas will be unable to follow-up shooting with an assault. With almost as many points dedicated to assault as shooting, I think meltas complement the "shock" tactics used by these vets.

Infiltration allows these guys to position for maximuim effect against Fast attack Assaulters, or just reinforce your line wherever you find the need. You may be able to position an assault Vet squad where it can threaten a tank, terminator squad or the like, and draw your opponent's wrath. If he sends something really powerful and expensive to deal with your vets, then you win by delaying that unit's impact on your main line, giving you time to get rid of other threats. If he sends something small that he thinks will steamroller of the guard, you shock him and eat up those points.

In all, Vet Squads may have to be used with a bit of care for asaults, but they can really bring a threat your opponent may not be expecting. And with the Veteran Doctrine, you can soak the field in large units of Veterans to plague your opponent.

Command Squads offer the chance for a great amount of Killy-killness, if you pardon my vernacular. The small size of these squads, and their general fragility can be offset by the use of Advisors. These Squads excel at taking on small, highly concentrated enemy units.

Let's consider the base cost of two squads, a Junior Officer Command Squad and a Heroic Senior Officer command squad. The Junior Officer squad costs 79pts with 1 Lt. armed with power sword, 2 Meltas and 2 Veterans with bolt pistols and close-combat weapons. That's a STEAL. The HSO unit costs a mere 109pts, or 124-127pts for a Master-Vox.

Combined with Advisors in the form of Eviscerator wielding priests and Powerfist wielding Commisars(65 and 60pts, respectively) to any Command Squad makes an excellent Close-Combat punch. If you had to make a choice between Priest or Commisar, I would argue the case for the priest. He's 5 points more expensive, yet increases the over-all performance of every model in the unit, while the Commisar does bestow Leadership, but at a dangerous cost(dead officer/Sarge).

The addition of Medallion Crimson to any multi-wound model capable of taking them is an excellent way to gain ablative wounds against Powerfists, for the cost of a mere 15pts.

Command squads lack the numbers of Veteran Squads, but are mandatory selections, and can offer a viable back-up to your gun lines, lurking in cover untill an enemy unit is on top of you, and then assaulting to win the day.

A Fully-tooled up Command squad with an HSO in it, A commisar and a Priest(all with medallion crimson) weighs in at almost 300pts, while a similar JO squad costs 234pts. Either squad will stand able to take on Marine Terminator squads in close-combat, and crush them. They can also take on some of the smaller number assault squads, but it will be a dicey proposition, with the Command squad giving up almost half it's points.

However, combined with Veteran Assault Squads(doctrinated for 3 of them), you can get a large number of capable close-combat assault, which is excellent for those armies that count on having the numbers to lose a few models on the way, and then get locked into combat with dense guard squads for the rest of the game.

A small close-combat focus will generally come as a surprise to many opponents, who expected to roll-over you in the Assault phase, and can certianly change the paradigm of how your opponent percieves threats.
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Old 26 Feb 2008, 19:44   #2 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Re: Close Combat Guard

Can the Vets take a Powerfist? I'm away from my books at the moment, but I was pretty sure those were Officer Only equipment, and a Veteran Sergeant isn't an Officer.

Also, if I may suggest, you could potentially add some extra killyness to any squad by sticking a Techpriest in it. As long as you don't take any servitors, your Techpriest is an independent character. And he comes with a respectable statline, good save, power weapon, pistol, and a single Power fist attack. I think he also gets access to the armory.
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Old 26 Feb 2008, 19:55   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Close Combat Guard

Veteran Sergeants in Veteran Squads count as officers.
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Old 26 Feb 2008, 19:56   #4 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Close Combat Guard

Quote:
Originally Posted by IcyCool
Can the Vets take a Powerfist? I'm away from my books at the moment, but I was pretty sure those were Officer Only equipment, and a Veteran Sergeant isn't an Officer.
Veteran Sergeants can take Officer Only items (it's under the character section), but they are not officers (i.e. don't have the leadership rule, etc.). It's dead useful.

Good article as well, but most of the squads are still very fragile for their cost.
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Old 26 Feb 2008, 20:09   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Close Combat Guard

Ah, so Veteran squads have an exception. Good to know.
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Old 26 Feb 2008, 20:57   #6 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Close Combat Guard

In comparison to normal Guard squads, they are expensive and fragile. In comparison to most Assault troops the game over, they are competitively priced. A unit of 6 striking scorpians is 96pts before the Exarch, powerfist and infiltrate abilities. Those all push them up to 150pts in value. Assault Marines with a power fist Vet sarge weighs in at 150pts. These are units that 10 Veterans with 'fist can easily mod and defeat, so long as the dice hold-out.

however, against a normal Guard sqaud, these assault teams you're likely to face will prove devestating foes, rapidly cutting guard squads down and consolidating or assaulting additional squads. The 8 WS 4 S4 and 3 WS4 S attacks from a marine squad are going to drop around 5-6 or so guardsmen a turn. And there's very little your average guard unit can do to save itself.

The typical defence is to shoot them untill they die. That relies on delaying the assault, and getting as much fire into the assault squads as possible. For Orks and Eldar, you can generally expect a 2nd or 3rd turn assault. Do you have enough shooting to blunt the nose of the assault? And is your fire-support going to survive the 3 turns unscatched? In the case of Fire Support and AT squads, I doubt it. And Eldar and Orks both have access to transports that can drop smallish assault squads on your doorstep on the 2nd turn.

Sure, you can try to mass fire on the ork Boyz in trukks, but when you consider those squads run 145 pts, you're going to be hard-pressed to find a way to deal with them all. And everybit of fire dumped into a trukk squad is fire not dumped into the other Ork mobs(who are likely bigger, because the Trukk costs as much as 6 orks) at the same cost. Sure, it's half the Orks points, but they've got plenty of room for Stormboyz, Bikers(Nobz Bikers for the win!), Kommandos, Killer Kanz and Deff Dreads for assaulty armies or Killer Kanz, Deff Dreds, Flashgitz and Lootaz for a shooty army.

However, if you have a Command squad or Veteran squad kitted out for close-combat, you have something to counter assault those nasty Trukk, Nobz bikers and the like. Nobz bikers are a great place for any thing with Power Weapons or 'Fists to get their points back, as each one is a minimuom of 45pts before upgrades. They fight harsh, but each one you kill is so much more important. And they arn't hard to a Command Squad with Priest and Commisar to kill. You may lose points, but you should make them back up.

In addition, against shooty armies(Tau and some Marine Variants) infiltrating veteran squads in numbers can give you that vital edge you need to take out some of the return fire, and distract your opponent.

I don't think it's a terrible waste of points. However, you need to use these squads where they can be worth the most points. The Veterans are the expendable troops, capable of engaging smaller sized dedicated assault squads, and fully capable of ripping apart large non-assaults(marine Tactical squads, for example). Comman squads should either hit stragglers or the remnants of assault squads that have been shot down on their way to your lines, or they should go after points rich, low model count units like terminators, Nob bikers, Battlesuits and Chosen Chaos Space Marines/Veteran Space Marines.

The Techpriest is quite an interesting choice, but he removes the Infiltrate ability of the Veterans, and brings less "oomph" than I would prefer. He's certianly not a bad choice, and a Techpriest with 2 Combat servitors is a frightening elite choice that can be used for close ocmbat, delievering 5 power fist attacks, 2 Power Weapon attacks and all for 95pts. That's a steal. It makes an excellent anti-terminator squad, or atleast a speed bump capable of taking out a few teminators.

All in all, keep these ideas kicking in your head, and see how they translate on the battlefield. You might get away with some credible assaults one game, making your opponent especially wary and careful in later encounters. If your opponent hesitates to push his assault squads up the center because you have veterans hiding in cover waiting to spring on him, delaying the inevitable assault for more shooting on your part, then the squad has fufilled it's role.
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Old 27 Feb 2008, 08:34   #7 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Close Combat Guard

I like this article. My Orrax Grenadiers have two such Veteran Squads, though I've yet to take them to the field to see how they perform.

My instinct is that these units won't last long, getting shot up and therefore being a waste of points for such a brief distraction, but I like them nevertheless. And as you say, the trick is in manoeuvring correctly...
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