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Imperial Guard Overview:

The Imperial Guard army is one of the oldest, and most respected, armies in the game of Warhammer 40K. New and veteran hobbyists and gamers alike are drawn to the unique nature of the Guard, and with good reason. Not only can the Imperial Guard dominate the field of battle, but the Imperial Guard army can look darn good doing it, too.


Strengths

The vast majority of IG commanders will list the army’s greatest strength as one of two possibilities; Infantry, or Tanks.

For a basic trooper, the Imperial Guardsman does not seem like a great bargain, having mediocre stats at best, and coming equipped with a lasgun (often referred to as a ‘flashlight’ in recognition of the weapon’s damage potential), and flak armor (also, rarely of much use) as standard. Their biggest strength, and what some would comment as the IG’s biggest strength, is that a full 10-man squad, well equipped with a heavy weapon and an assault/special weapon, will average about 80pts. A full, well equipped, platoon of 55 men can run less than 500 points, while many opposing armies of 1500pts and more cannot boast as many models. This makes the IG a very resilient army, and more importantly for the enemy, this resilience makes the IG’s heavy weapons very difficult to silence.

For the treadheads (or tank lovers), the only possible choice for the army’s greatest strength would be, of course, the Tanks of the Imperial Guard. The ability to field such a vast number of hard-as-rocks tanks without restricting your army to any specific playing style or theme is something to be considered when choosing and designing an army. Not only should the heavy support options of the various Leman Russ main battle tanks and Basilisks be considered, but also the fast attack options of the Hellhounds and Sentinels and the troop choices’ allotments of Chimeras. The amount of firepower these vehicles can unleash in a single turn of shooting can decimate an entire army twice the size. The sheer intimidation such an army imposes is often a telling factor during the game. And, for those who wish to use only tanks, the IG Armored Company is always a strong alternative, though not always permitted in tournament play.


Weaknesses

In many minds, the poor abilities (stats) of the Guardsman are the weakest aspect of the IG army. This weakness is also what gives the army its unique flavor, and why so many gamers can empathize with the Guardsman’s plight. Others believe that the IG’s reliance on stationary heavy weapons makes for a weak force than can be easily overcome with stealthy tactics. Still, even more gamers feel that the IG’s reliance on vehicles to win a game is the IG’s biggest weakness, as so much of the army can be reduced to smoking hulks of twisted metal in a single round of anti-tank firepower. And while all three views are correct to some extent, the application of all three ‘weaknesses’ in an IG army will often negate each view. While not often successfully employed, the mutual support of the various units in an IG army will cancel out the most commonly exploited weaknesses in the army.


Difficulty of Play & Overall Competitiveness

The Imperial Guard has something to offer both the novice and veteran gamer. Defensive armies utilizing the ‘castle’ formation are often easier to use effectively than the ever popular and ubiquitous Space Marine armies, offering the opportunity to learn the various aspects of game play without suffering through defeat after defeat while progressing through the learning process. Drop Troop forces offer the same benefit, to a degree, while incorporating a bit more in-game excitement. For the veteran gamer, finding success with a Mechanized force should prove challenging against most opponents, as would a Death World Veterans (or Catachan) army.

Generally the IG is regarded as a hobbyist’s army rather than a gamer’s army. The IG can be quite competitive, though the army tends to be the favorite of those who love to convert and paint large forces rather than those who love to dominate the field of battle during tournament play. In truth, the army is very flexible and can perform well in both areas. Only effort and ability can determine just how far the army can progress. As for what some gamers would term ‘cheesy or beardy’, the IG Codex is considered to be very balanced and rarely is the target of such accusations.


Playing Style & Theme

The use of specific doctrines, or lack of doctrines altogether, can emphasize the playing style and theme of an Imperial Guard army. Just a few changes to the choice of doctrines can dramatically alter the performance of an army.

The ‘typical’ Imperial Guard performs best in defensive roles. A large firebase of basic troops supported by heavy weapons squads and main battle tanks, rank up in a ‘castle’ formation which then dominates a large area of the gaming table by sheer volume of firepower. Small supporting squads of Rough Riders, Hardened Veterans, Ogryns, or Storm Troopers provide counter-assault capabilities. No doctrines are required to successfully implement such a playing style, though Sharpshooters and Close Order Drill are commonly found in such armies.

An all infantry army can make very efficient use of the Light Infantry doctrine, allowing the entire army to infiltrate into ideal positions before the first turn of the game. While still defensive in nature, infiltrating armies tend to be in the thick of things a bit sooner and will require more counter assault capability.

Armies equipped with the Drop Troops doctrine can deep strike entire platoons, armed with an assortment of anti-infantry and anti-tank weaponry, into the enemy deployment zone. Very offensive in nature, Drop Troop forces are excellent for taking objectives and making things generally difficult for the opposing army. The ‘risk verses rewards’ concept is a very real concern for commanders of Drop Troop forces, as poor timing, placement, or luck can spell defeat before contact with the enemy is achieved.

Mechanized armies are also possible, and an ideal way for treadheads to incorporate infantry into their armies. Mechanized armies perform well in both defensive and offensive roles, having massed firepower, mobility, and armor in abundance. These forces tend to be smaller than most other IG armies, and must keep the reduction of enemy anti-tank capability in the forefront of their battle plan.

In addition to the options listed in the Codex: Imperial Guard, the IG are available to all Inquisitor Ordos codices currently published, as well as various ‘traitor’ lists such as the ‘Lost and the Damned’.


Sample Army Lists

Starting out with an IG army in mind is often a bit more difficult than with most other armies. The unique command and platoon structure of this army often limits what can be done at smaller point values. Though the choice of doctrines can greatly influence what can be done, a typical ‘Codex’ Imperial Guard force at 500pts might look a lot like the list below.

Imperial Guard Basic Regiment @ 500pts

Command Squad
-=-Senior Officer w/ Power Weapon, Laspistol, Carapace Armor
--=-- Command Squad w/ Standard, Meltagun, Missile Launcher Team

Infantry Platoon
-=- Junior Officer w/ Power Weapon, Plasma Pistol, Carapace Armor
--=-- Command Squad w/ 4 Flamers

-=- Infantry Squad w/ Sergeant, Heavy Bolter, Plasmagun

-=- Infantry Squad w/ Sergeant, Heavy Bolter, Plasmagun

Armoured Fist
-=- Fist Squad w/ Sergeant, Heavy Bolter, Plasmagun
--=-- Chimera w/ Multilaser, Hull Heavy Flamer

This small army contains the required one HQ choice and 2 Troop choices from the force organization chart. It maintains mobility with the Armoured Fist squad with Chimera, and boasts 40 infantry, 1 vehicle, and 5 scoring units in a tight little package.


After getting a feel for the army, and its capabilities, it will be time to expand. The most common opponents will often dictate which units are chosen, but such an army at 1000pts may look similar to this.

Imperial Guard Basic Regiment @ 1000pts

Command Squad (6)
-=- Senior Officer w/ Power Weapon, Laspistol, Carapace Armour
--=-- Command Squad w/ Standard, Meltagun, Missile Launcher Team
--=-- Sanctioned Psyker w/ Laspistol, Close Combat Weapon

Storm Troopers (10)
-=- Sergeant w/ Helpistol, Close Combat Weapon
--=-- Squad w/ 2 Plasmaguns, Deepstrike

Infantry Platoon (36)
-=- Junior Officer w/ Power Weapon, Plasma Pistol, Carapace Armour
--=-- Command Squad w/ 4 Flamers
--=-- Sanctioned Psyker w/ Laspistol, Close Combat Weapon

-=- Infantry Squad w/ Sergeant, Heavy Bolter, Plasmagun

-=- Infantry Squad w/ Sergeant, Heavy Bolter, Plasmagun

-=- Infantry Squad w/ Sergeant, Heavy Bolter, Plasmagun

Armoured Fist (11)
-=- Fist Squad w/ Sergeant, Heavy Bolter, Plasmagun
--=-- Chimera w/ Multilaser, Hull Heavy Flamer, Extra Armour

Sentinel Squadron (2)
-=- Cadia-Class Sentinels w/ Autocannons

Leman Russ Main Battle Tank (1)
-=- Leman Russ w/ Battlecannon, Hull Heavy Bolter, Sponson Heavy Bolters

The army, now at 1000pts contains 1 battle tank, 1 transport, and 2 scout walkers as well as 62 infantry. The total of scoring units is now 10. This army can now place a formidable firebase on the table while also keeping its mobility thanks to the deepstriking Storm Troopers, scouting Sentinels, and the Armoured Fist. More of the flavor of this army shows now that the Sanctioned Psykers make their presence known, adding a bit of random surprise to the game.


By the time the army is tournament ready, a force resembling the army listed below can be fielded to take on all comers and achieve victory.

Imperial Guard Basic Regiment @ 2000pts

Command Squad (7)
-=- Heroic Senior Officer w/ Power Weapon, Laspistol, Carapace Armour, Refractor Field
--=-- Command Squad w/ Standard, Meltagun, 2 Flamers
--=-- Sanctioned Psyker w/ Laspistol, Close Combat Weapon
--=-- Priest w/ Power Weapon, Close Combat Weapon

-=- Anti-Tank Team (6) w/ 3 Missile Launchers
-=- Anti-Tank Team (6) w/ 3 Missile Launchers
-=- Fire Support Team (6) w/ 3 Autocannons

Storm Troopers (6)
-=- Sergeant w/ Helpistol, Close Combat Weapon
--=-- Squad w/ 2 Plasmaguns, Deepstrike

Storm Troopers (6)
-=- Sergeant w/ Helpistol, Close Combat Weapon
--=-- Squad w/ 2 Meltaguns, Deepstrike

Infantry Platoon (27)
-=- Junior Officer w/ Power Weapon, Plasma Pistol, Carapace Armour
--=-- Command Squad w/ 4 Flamers
--=-- Sanctioned Psyker w/ Laspistol, Close Combat Weapon
--=-- Priest w/ Power Weapon, Close Combat Weapon

-=- Infantry Squad w/ Sergeant, Heavy Bolter, Plasmagun

-=- Infantry Squad w/ Sergeant, Heavy Bolter, Plasmagun

Armoured Fist (11)
-=- Fist Squad w/ Sergeant, Heavy Bolter, Plasmagun
--=-- Chimera w/ Multilaser, Hull Heavy Flamer, Extra Armour, Smoke Launchers

Infantry Platoon (27)
-=- Junior Officer w/ Power Fist, Laspistol, Carapace Armour
--=-- Command Squad w/ 4 Flamers
--=-- Sanctioned Psyker w/ Laspistol, Close Combat Weapon
--=-- Priest w/ Power Weapon, Close Combat Weapon

-=- Infantry Squad w/ Sergeant, Heavy Bolter, Grenade Launcher

-=- Infantry Squad w/ Sergeant, Heavy Bolter, Grenade Launcher

Armoured Fist (11)
-=- Fist Squad w/ Sergeant, Heavy Bolter, Grenade Launcher
--=-- Chimera w/ Heavy Flamer, Hull Heavy Bolter, Extra Armour, Smoke Launchers

Sentinel Squadron (2)
-=- Cadia-Class Sentinels w/ Autocannons

Leman Russ Main Battle Tank (1)
-=- Leman Russ w/ Battlecannon, Hull Heavy Bolter, Sponson Heavy Bolters

Leman Russ Main Battle Tank (1)
-=- Leman Russ w/ Battlecannon, Hull Heavy Bolter

The army above is more than capable of handling itself against most every opposing army out there. With 111 infantry, 6 vehicles and 18 scoring units, this army will be difficult to wipe out. The addition of secondary support elements, like the second Leman Russ, the additional Storm Trooper squad, and the fire support squads, just improve upon the firebase that was already there in the 1000pt list. The additional troop choices boost the resilience of the army while the Priests define the counter-assault mission of the units to which they’ve been attached. The army may not look impressive to many Space Marine players out there, but this happens to be my army list and has won multiple tourney games against several varied Marine armies.

Modeling & Converting Opportunity

Mordian, Valhallan, Tallarn, Cadian, Catachan, Death Korps, Elysian, and Praetorian are just some of the various models that are, or have been, in production to represent just the basic troop of the Imperial Guard. These models go a long way in representing the theme of an IG army, and can really make heads turn when displayed as a completed force.

The army also boasts some of the best vehicles in the game, with regard to both in-game performance, and modeling opportunities. With the various vehicles based off of both the Leman Russ and Chimera chassis, it can be quite difficult to fit one of each in a singe army. Toss in the various Sentinel designs, and such interesting tidbits from Tarantula sentry guns to the Imperial Navy fighters, bombers and transports, and the army has near limitless conversion opportunity.
 

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Nice overview mate I will have to get wertypop to read this as he is just starting out with guard.

Nice that you mention the modeling side of things as well as the rules and stats. :D
 

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Just seen it vash and if I can get this darn computer to print it out I can muse over it
 

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I will be starting an IG army in the near future so this is cool to read. I have no idea how well IG performs in actual games yet so I was hoping to get opinions on it.

How does IG compare to other armies at tournaments and such? Yes I read the post but I want to get more than one opinion on the subject if possible :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Going from what I've seen of the few other IG players I've watched over the past few years....

IG players usually don't do well enough to place in most tourneys. An experienced IG player can place well, if he's competitively motivated. Otherwise(most IG players are fluff driven), they'll do well against less experienced players and get their lasguns handed back to them by more hard-core gamers.

Drop Lists and ACs are gimmick lists that can obliterate one army and then fold in on itself like a wet paper towel against the next army. Mech armies are difficult against most all opponents, but can be pretty consistant, allowing for fine tuning and better games. These wins will most often be very tight, almost draws. All infantry armies are a lot like Drop Lists and ACs. If the first turn of fire is not exceptional, the game will be over before the second turn. Mixed IG (my fave) allows for a lot of individuality and forgiveness. You can play to your preferences, and don't pay too heavily for mistakes.

These are my views, and I hope others will share theirs as well.
 

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I have played with and played against guard at tournys and i find that they are normally mid table because it is quite hard to get the finishing move with a guard army to get the max points you want out of the game.
Saying that though i do find them the most fun to play with/against because even at a tourny you will rarely face a template guard army because there is not really one, the amount of choices means you can really make your army your own.
 

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The Wraithlord:
well i couldn't help noticing your question about the guard and tournament play...

i recently ran a pure drop troop army at astro toronto last october and finished the tournament at 3-3-0. there was only 1 game where i was well and truely hammered actually... (ironically it was against a 'typical' guard army that included a bit of everything!)
the other 2 loses were increadably close;
- vs. thousand sons in a cities of death game where we were running around grabing counters. his lord of change had fun ripping through an entire platoon over 3 turns, but in the meantime i was collecting counters. one miss-cue from my culexus rolling tripple 1's to-hit with his animus was really the kick in the nuts that finished me!
- vs. mech tau. a) his vehicles simply refused to die! (or rather, i couldn't roll anything more than a 1 for my penetration rolls...) b) i failed 3 target priority tests in row and so 1st turn my starting gunline made sure some pinned drones bit the dust instead of shooting the commander's retinue... (and yes, the drones were also below 50% so couldn't hold any objectives either!)

my victories were mainly massacres though! a drop army hits fething hard and it's great fun when your opponent exclaims 'what, there's even more dropping in?!!'
the problem at most tournaments is that they use only victory pts to determine the winner. (astro's have very explicit objectives and victory pts don't factor in nearly as much) this makes guard armies of all sorts, especially the extreme ones like drop troops & grenadiers much more playable. the guard by nature generally suffer huge losses achieving their objectives... so if a tournament is based on strait VP's only, then the guard tends to suffer. (which is why i stick to mainly astro as it's scoring system is quite well balanced...)

cheers!
 

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Nice. I found this to be very helpful, and it inspired me to go back and rework my pathetic excuse for an army list. Just one thing though, you didn't take vet sergeants or voxes; do you just not care about the leadership boost, or do you have some other, unknown reason?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Good question. I'll attempt to answer in kind.

My usual tactics generally see my force being split into two parts, a TON of infantry on one side of the table, forming a formidable firebase with my CHQ (Ld9 w/ rerolls) hidden within, and a small 'company' of tanks on the other side. This forces my opponent to react to my deployment in a way that allows me to dictate the battle.

His anti-infantry units 'must' close with my infantry units in order to be effective. They will not have the opportunity. All of the anti-infantry weaponry in my firebase will see to that, as well as the multiple battle cannons from the tanks. Any anti-tank elements in the enemy army will all be attempting to get LoS to the same targets, and making beautiful targets of themselves for my anti-tank squads hidden within the firebase. In a nutshell, my army works best at a distance. My deployment encourages distances, as the enemy will either be far from one aspect, or far from the other. Meanwhile, he must decide which way his assault squad with meltabombs is gonna go, or which way to send those destroyers, or most importantly, where can his army take shelter from the barrage of long ranged shooting his force is suffering.

More often than not, my entire infantry contingent is within 12" of my commander. This not only makes them quite resilient, but also allows me to open up a can of whoopass on any assault unit dumb enough to come within 12" of my CHQ and 2 PHQs and their 25 rerollable power weapon/fist attacks. As calm and collected as my IG 'seem' to be, they do like to bait their prey. :twisted:


If I were to field a drop troop army, the standard would go (who would jump from a Valkyrie with a banner?) and each unit would indeed have a VSgt and CoD. Leadership 9 on the drop, especially when dropping 20+ units, is a beautiful thing. As for voxes, I just can't get over the impression that they are a waste in nearly every application I can think of. I'd love to find the 'perfect' use for them, but for now, the vox bitz will just have to sub in as Improved Comms on my vehicles.
 

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Hespithe said:
If I were to field a drop troop army, the standard would go (who would jump from a Valkyrie with a banner?) and each unit would indeed have a VSgt and CoD. Leadership 9 on the drop, especially when dropping 20+ units, is a beautiful thing.
actually, i have found the standard is still just as important in an all-drop army as it is in a regular guard army. there are very, very few instances were i'd ever think of deep striking everyone. (though it's good fun to do so in a recon mission!)
a drop army still needs a set fire-base including heavy weapons to pin down the enemy and at least hold them off the objective/s. you also more importantly stop the enemy from having free reign of the battlefield. a good opponent will spread their forces out and make any large scale drop attempt nearly impossible unless you give them something else to focus on...

however, the three main things i've found to be key in being successful with drop troops are;
- improved coms. this one up-grade will make or break the game... like all guard, drop troops still need to rely on numbers so the re-roll really helps ensure most/all of your deep strikers show up on the same turn. (also, don't be afraid to use the re-roll to fail a reserves roll if there's really no good place to land, or else the situation isn't in your favour.)

- land everyone in one general area. again it's a numbers thing. land your squads all over the place and you'll just get pounded by the enemy's counter attack... drop 40+ guardsmen on just one or two enemy units, and suddenly things look about even!

- go 2nd. no seriously! by letting your opponent go first, you effectively deny them a shooting phase when your air cav drops in!

oh, and don't fear the scatter dice - love it and it'll love you back!

cheers!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Yup... this article has been posted on several sites when I find someone asking questions that lead me to believe he's fairly new to the game and the army. Most likely, the guide will not be very useful for much longer. The new IG 'Dex is in the works at the moment!
 
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