Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Imperial Guard Armoured Company list

Greetings all, and welcome once more to one of my random ramblings about how I go about building an army list. Once again, as with my paint scheme posts, I'm going to use the Bromheads as an example - my next army project.

Let's just say first of all that it's going to be a big project this - mainly because I can't decide how I want to play the army. So once I start getting funds in place I'm going to put the Tau on hold for a bit and get going with these guys.

As ever, there are several ways to go about building a list from the Imperial Guard codex (oops, sorry, I mean Astra Militarum for those who've not been in the hobby very long!)

Two of these methods in particular have lots of interest for me and the way I like to play 40k.

The first of them is an Armoured Company - I've not been able to get the image of these sorts of things out of my head since I read some of the Gaunt's Ghosts novels, specifically Necropolis and Honour Guard, and now with the release of the new Cadian digital supplement, it seems possible (and more importantly, viable) to run a fully armoured company as a Guard list.

So, how would I go about building such a list? I asked this same question of Charlie over at Elite 40k, who responded by writing his own list that can be found here. I've not gone down this route myself, as I've added a little personal flavour to things, but some of the principles he discussed I've incorporated.

Well, someone once told me to start at the very beginning, so let's look at the new Cadian detachment. I'm not going to look at all the filthy stuff you can do with this detachment given its minimum requirements - I'll leave that to others more qualified than myself, suffice to say that you can make a very specialist force if you look carefully.

I need a core requirement, which in all conscience must be a Tank Commander given the force theme. I'll refer to this guy from now on as the Battle Group Commander (to differentiate from the Tank Commander).

I'll then want a core formation to take to form the basis of the army. Let's go with the Emperor's Fists Armoured Company, which requires a second Tank Commander and 3 squadrons of Leman Russ variants.

We're up to seven main battle tanks now, which is a decent core for the force, so let's look at which ones I'd want to use.

My battle group commander gets no specific benefits from the detachment (unlike a company commander would) and for some reason the detachment doesn't allow you to re-roll the warlord trait, which I find odd, particularly since there is the option for taking an all tank list, and even with the cut down warlord trait list for tank commanders, one of them is useless in an all vehicle list. Orders issued by 'any' officers in the detachment however are taken on 3D6 ignoring the highest. I can't see a definition of the term officer however, but that's probably a argument for another day and it would seem logical to apply it to anyone issuing orders.

The Tank Commanders themselves are BS4, which obviously lends itself more to using them in a high rate of fire vehicle such as a punisher. The Armoured Company formation gives us a really nice bonus however, meaning that any tank from that formation within 12" of its Tank Commander can use his BS4. Provided I keep a nice tight formation then, only 1 of my 7 main battle tanks will be BS3. That's fairly filthy, especially if you throw in that by keeping the enginseer close you can limit the more painful damage that might be done to your vehicle.

So what's the next thing to bear in mind in terms of list construction? Well, the next most obvious thing is which tanks do you take, and who goes in what? I mention this because it's quite possible (not certain, but possible) that either the Battle Group Commander or the Tank Commander will be the Warlord, and if there's one thing that's vulnerable about having a tank as your warlord, it's their rear armour. Now Leman Russ variants come in two types, with the key part being that three variants have rear armour 11, and so can't be hurt by weapons of S4 or below. Whilst it may not seem hugely significant, I don't want my tank commander getting ambushed by a drop pod full of space marines who get reasonably lucky and strip out his three hull points in one turn just with bolters (do the maths - it's not that unlikely!) So my Tank Commander and Battle Group Commander will both be piloting siege variants (Executioner, Punisher or Demolisher).

So which variants do I take? Well I for one cannot resist the pull of the plasma variant Executioner. The plasma blasts from the main gun and a pair of plasma sponsons will ruin just about anything you care to put in their way, Problem is, that statistically they're quite likely to kill themselves through gets hot results over the course of a game. (let's say six turns, 5 shots per turn, 30 shots. 1 in 6 will result in a gets hot, so 5 of those, each with a 50% chance of causing a hull point of damage). What you need to do to mitigate this therefore is get preferred enemy. Much as I hate to admit it, whilst a normal tank commander warlord has a 1 in 3 chance of pulling that as a warlord trait, Pask gets it automatically, so he's pretty much a must. He also gives preferred enemy to his unit, so it seems to make sense to me to make that second tank a second Plasmacutioner (overkill? I dunno, seems like just enough kill to me). These tanks won't be able to be ignored by my opponents, and I'll give them both hull mounted lascannons just to give them an option against heavier vehicles.

Next up, the Battle Group Commander. He's also BS4 and needs a siege variant so he'll go in a Punisher, with heavy bolter sponsons to really pour out all the shots. He won't get preferred enemy unfortunately, but I can live with that I think. To go with him, I don't really want a second punisher, but an Eradicator sounds quite nice, cheap and with a large blast ignores cover gun it'll be good for clearing out buildings of anything with less armour than a marine. That leaves me with 3 more, all of which can be BS4 if they're close enough to Pask. I'm fairly short on anti tank in the list (ironically) so I'll pop a pair of Vanquishers in there. They may not be quite so effective being only BS4 and a single shot, but I'll put lascannons on them both to increase their capacity. Finally then my list has absolutely no anti air at present (bar the Punisher, but that's hardly reliable, and works solely on the basis of everything counts in large amounts). The most viable anti air variant is the exterminator, so in it goes (it also happens to be nice and cheap).

Ok so that's the main part of the list built, with 7 Leman Russ variants that can cover all the bases I might need in terms of targets. Let's boost that capacity then with some artillery. The artillery company seems to fit the bill nicely, and with 2 single Wyverns I've got a nice unit that can threaten any infantry with simple weight of fire. Against some armies I can also use the company commander from the formation to give them pinning, which can be brutally effective at times. I also need to take either a deathstrike or a manticore. The problem is the deathstrike, whilst immense, is a one shot only weapon and doesn't really benefit from the orders the company commander can issue, so I'll take the manticore I think. With up to a potential 12 large blasts coming from this tank it boasts plenty of firepower, and combined with an ignores cover order its S10 blasts will clear anything from anywhere!

So we've still got some points left, and the one really gaping hole in the army that I can see is mobility. I can issue orders to make my tanks shift around the table despite being heavy vehicles but that still doesn't really cut it in maelstrom where you might need to go somewhere quickly. None of the formations are hugely quick in honesty, with the exception of the flyer version, but one in particular sticks out in my eyes as looking very, very cool on the tabletop. The Recon Company, so in come two units of armoured sentinels with the outflank special rule. The formation benefits also allow the unit to be ordered to run after shooting, which will improve their speed without affecting their output. I'll give one unit lascannons and the other autocannons, and with them being able to pick up preferred enemy against a single enemy unit they could become pretty effective.

So that's three distinct elements to my armoured list, how many points do I have left for upgrades? Ok, not many. In fact, I'll just give Volkov's Cane to the Artillery Company Commander and stick an autocannon in his squad to shoot out of the top of the Chimera, and we're done. So the 2000pts list looks something like this.

Battle Group Command.
Tank Commander in a Leman Russ Punisher
Leman Russ Eradicator

Emperor's Fist Armoured Company.
Knight Commander Pask in a Leman Russ Executioner with Plasma Cannon sponsons and a hull mounted Lascannon
Leman Russ Executioner with Plasma Cannon sponsons and a hull mounted Lascannon
Leman Russ Exterminator
Leman Russ Vanquisher with hull mounted Lascannon
Leman Russ Vanquisher with hull mounted Lascannon

Emperor's Talon Recon Company
3 Armoured Sentinels with Lascannons
3 Armoured Sentinels with Autocannons

Emperor's Wrath Artillery Company
Company Command Squad, in Chimera with an Autocannon and Volkov's Cane

The second list is more designed to play maelstrom games, and ups the mobility of the army significantly (plus it's rather more recognisable as a typical guard list as it actually has guardsmen in it!). Given the wall of text above though I think I'll separate the post up, and do that second list and the commentary on them both later.

Till next time,