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Getting rocked by Imperial Guard

Zynk Kaladin

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Imperial Guard gunlines are rough. I know this from loads of experience... but I still haven't had much luck against them. I just had another tough loss and I don't seem to learn anything from these failures.


I play 2x10 RAS with a sanguinary priest as my bread and butter. I refuse to switch away from these guys because 'aint no one messes with my bread and butter. Therefore, I spend the entire game knowing for a fact that they will see the shelf of death. I spend the time to delicately spread them out in a box formation so that only 3 guys maximum can get hit by a large blast template and I run a librarian(or runepriest) to always get 5+ cover saves. Hell, I even have Mephiston and bikes there to soak up incoming shots... what happens?


1) Mephiston gets sniped by vendettas. A 5+ coversave saw him with 2 wounds left... he died doing nothing but be a bullet magnet later on in the game.

2) One RAS fails their leadership 1st turn and runs off the board. Granted this was just unlucky, but they still lost 6 guys before that. Their combat potential was neutered on turn 1 anyway.

3) My x2 Ravens failed to take down any of his vendettas with twin-linked multimeltas within 12"... unlucky for me again... hurricane bolters/assault cannons took out 15ish guardsmen.

4) Runepriest ally perils... unlucky

5) The other RAS gets whittled down and neutered by turn 3.

6) I was tabled by end of turn 4.


I took out:

1) 2 chimeras worth of vets

2) 15 or so outflanking guardsmen and Al'rahim(outflanking special char)



Yes, I was EXTREMELY unlucky with the dice. I'm always EXTREMELY unlucky and I accept that I will probably never have a decent game with dice. Murphy's Law is well accounted for when I play. However, I refuse to accept that I lost because of luck, but rather piss-poor generalship.


Anyway, I think the effectiveness from guard comes from their ability to fire 50-60% of their weapons from turn 1, and almost 100% on turn 2 and above(mini-rant: and its just a point and click army!). They have loads upon loads of high strength weaponry which compound because of Lanchester's Square Law as the game drags on. I, on the other hand, have to make sweet love to cover, spread my forces out to counter battlecannons, and take casualties which degrades my combat effectiveness by the time I reach their lines. I need at least 2 units to take out a chimera's worth of vets (one to pop the chimera and another to kill the meaty bits inside) and he runs 3 or more. However, by the time I reach him, my army is severely limited. This leads me to my main points/questions:


1) I love my army/list. I love how it is a finesse army. I do not want "point and click" wins, but rather through my good judgement on the table top. I don't want to change my lists much.

2) Good judgement is hard to come by when their whole army can force dice upon you by turn 2.

3) I can't castle. I just can't so the burden to win is ALWAYS on me.

4) Any good examples on LoS blocking terrain? He always seems to be able to hit anyone and everyone no matter how I position my units.

5) How the absolute hell do you survive against a competitive IG gunline with an all comers list?


It's back to BA boot camp for me! ;)


EDIT: I just want to say I appreciate everyone's help in the past on this very same issue. I tried to apply what I've learned from my fellow BAs, but I still have yet to bear fruit against the IG gunline of doom... I'd appreciate some coaching again.

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Try deep-striking your assault squads instead of setting them up on the table. They won't get shot from turn 1, and in turn 2 you're in his deployment zone. His blast and

ordnance-weapons can more likely hit his own troops when scattering, and against plasma and lasguns you got your FnP and armour saves.


Once you've landed, you probably won't be in melta range of any of the big guns - so take out stuff like the veterans at first. Turn 2, jump around and melta these bastids dead!


Ordnance weapons can hit you without LoS, so terrain which blocks it is not that helpful in this case - however against the rest, it is. Try to get some ruins the next time you play - Meph's going to be a happy camper with his 4+ coversave. ;)


The Ravens should be sufficient to deal the damage you need on the vendettas. If you're using some of the very tall GW terrain, you can even gain a coversave from units shooting from the ground when you're in hover mode. This comes down to your positioning, though.


Other than that - get yourself some new dice. :P Or wash them. Has always helped me.





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Gonna complain for a second first; I could spend hours sitting at my desk. No mission, no job, everything done, and the second I decide "hey, I'm gonna make a post" someone walks down stairs and goes 'HEY RAGE, DO THIS :confused: FOR ME!" Actually, as I speak someone is coming through the door... I'm going to pistol whip someone... I was half way through a nice detailed post of what has worked for me and got drawn away for some dumb :cuss that could have been ignored...


Ok, back to the origional topic.


One of the 3 Brothers in my area (the 3 brothers you'll hear me as the guys no one can beat) plays a Guard list. Granted, they can't afford to make fun lists that are bad like everyone else, but its annoying playing these cheesy tournament lists every single time I play them... Plus their dice seem loaded... but... whatever... these are the two tactics, and the mind set behind them that allow us (me) to beat armies like Guard and Grey Knights, and smiliar armies


Our units are fairly week, dispite what anyone says. But what makes us a great codex is our ability to play to, and exploit our strengths, and the enemies weekensses. You'll see what I mean here in a second. I am unsure what type of list your opponent is running. I'm going to take a guess that its atleast 4 Executioners, 4 chimeras full of vets (melta or plasma, both hurt) and atleast 2 Vendettas, however 2 squadrons of 2 seems to be big considering how cheap guard are. The "Brother" who played guard would run 2 Chimeras, 4 Executioner Russ', 2 Hydra Flak tanks and 4+ chimeras of melta vets in front.


The first way I went about this was to exploit the fact that he is only shooting at a 36 inch range (excluding those Flak tanks). So, x2 Auto/Lass Preds and x5 TLLC Razorbacks. That will give me a lot of Turn 1 shooting. More then he has with those two Hydra Flak Tanks (which is only 4 S7 shots at one target). My turn 1 shooting is better then his turn 1 shooting. Deploy into terrain / cover and go second. You'll take a lot of heat from those Vendettas but it'll give you the upper hand when your Raven comes in. From that point, take 3 Baal Predators and out flank them. Those TLACs and HBs will tear up side / rear Russ armor. When I did this the last time the game went 7 turns, but the game was decided by the start of the 4th. My list looked similar to;


x2 Librarians

x5 Razorback Assault Squads w/ TLLC

x2 Auto / Lass Predators

x3 Baal Predators

x1 Storm Raven.

TOTAL 1910.


Another way that he was beat was Descent of Angels, day 6th edition came out. The reason those vets are there are for Cover and a "Bubble wrap". Something to get you caught up in. If you ignore them all together, you're ignoring an entire element of his strategy. What I did was place x2 Devistator Squads outside of the 36 inch range for his Executioners. This way they could still hit with Missile Launchers. But instead of going for the tank Lines (ML is not effective against Av14) I went after the Chimeras. This way they could not turn around for my Deep Strikers. From that point I dropped Combat Squads as well as a x4 Melta Honor Guard and some Librarians on the tank lines. Hydraflakks and Vendettas and Vets were all that survived after turn 2. From that point it is stay out of 12 inch distance, then abuse Jump Packs to assault. Clean up where appropriate. It worked ot my advantage, however, as he wanted a Platform, and I was able to deep strike without scatter (he was unaware of this). My list was smiliar to this ;


Librarian w/ Jump Pack

x2 Priests w/ Jump Packs

x1 Honor Guard w/ Jump Packs, x4 Melta

x4 Assault Squads w/ power fist, x2 Melta

x2 Devistator Squad w/ x4 ML

Storm Raven

TOTAL 1910


Leave Devistators and a Priest out. The Combat Squad Assault Squads take care of that themselves in terms of reserves. Librarian, priest and honor guard w/ Melta Combat Squads will Deep Strike in. You're putting 12 Melta down on the board where you want turn 2. Who says Descent of Angels is dead? This is still legal, unless I read something wrong... it abuses the rules with Combat Squad a bit, but I'm still holding half my forces back, and putting half on the board.


If Desecnt of Angels isn't your thing, the same conect applies with the Drop Pod assaults, however you hvae to get creative with it. x4 Melta Honor Guard still works in this case. So does loading up a Sternguard squad with Combi-Melta. You will want Devastators for sure, as you can give them Drop Pods, but not put them in the Drop Pods. This will allow you to deep strike more onto the field turn 1. I have only play tested this with myself, but I've seen reports of similar things working out. Dreadnoughts also excel in this area. Same situation, your Devastators will try to pop the Chimeras turn 1. Deep Strike that Honor Guard / Sternguard / Both onto those Russ' turn one. 9+ Melta Shots turn 1 will drop whatever you want. You can also get a 3rd drop pod on the board due in part to the rules for Drop Pod assault (round up). This could be a Frag Cannon Furioso, a Death Company Dread, a Furioso Librarian (I had a Lib's blood lance take out 4 Chimeras in a turn once), a x2 Melta Assault Squad. Doesn't matter. But I would suggest something that can shoot melta and kill a tank easy. A list for this type of scenario would look something like ;



Honor Guard w/ x4 Melta, Drop Pod

Sternguard w/ 8 bodies, x8 Combi Melta, Drop Pod

Fuiroso Dreadnought w/ Frag Cannon, Melta, Grapple, Drop Pod

x3 Assault Squads w/ Power Weapon, x2 Melta, Drop Pod

x2 Devastator Squads w/ x4 ML, Drop Pod

Storm Raven

TOTAL 1975


Its not much different from Descent of Angels, but it allows you to do maximum damage turn 1 where your Descent of Angels list would not allow. You're ignoring his Vet Walls entirely while getting in close and negating the usefulness of any weapons / range he has. I, personally am moving my entire army towards Drop Pod lists. They're too hard to counter and give things that we usually ignored (Flamers and Template weapons) a bit of a revival.


Like always, I'm no tactician. I follow orders, I don't make them. You can probably punch a hole in everything that I said. But it has worked for me, and I know it will work for other people! Good luck to you, and I hope you have fun whoopin on some guard!


... man... now I wanna play that 3rd list... I need to find myself 8 Drop Pods.. I only have one : /

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I feel your pain. I too struggle with guard heavily, just because they can put down so much ridiculous firepower. I would go as far as to say that I'm a pretty good player, and only ever play balanced lists, and Guard are the one army I really dislike seeing on the other side. They're not unbeatable though. Deep-striking meltas will ruin their tanks....drop pod, sternguard, honour guard, that sort of thing. Secondly, yeah their fliers are a pain. However, if they start with 3 vendettas etc off table, all with squads in, their on-table forces will be relatively lessened.


Big point coming up, because its really counter-intuitive against the gunline army of death: Go second. Reactive deployment to neutralise his firepower (refused flank can work very well, refused centre if you know how to play it- wait for him to commit, then shift your forces away from the side he moves to target) as you can set up outside of range and use speed to redeploy faster. Your fliers (if you have them) will come on hopefully after his, and a storm raven can bin 2 vendettas a turn with a bit of luck (PotMS). You're going to be better at last minute objective grabs since to guarantee getting onto one, the guard will have to be within 10" at the start of the turn; ASM only need 16".


Try vanguard vets. They're good for dropping in and tying stuff up. Is there any chance you could stick up your army list so we can see what you have and make suggestions on how best to use it?


oh, and @Kickrock, hydras are even more rubbish... since they've got skyfire but not interceptor, they can only snap-fire at ground targets. So its 4 S7 AP4 shots that hit on 6s :confused: .

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Huh... I did not know that. Must have been in an FAQ. Our Guard player went off ot Basic short after 6th hit, and I came here not too long after that. Never realized that. But now that I do, it doesn't change too much...


Thanks for the info though!

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A few comments.


Firstly, I feel that games vs. guard are often won or lost in who gets first turn.


You should always take first against guard I feel. Especially if they have an alpha strike. If they dont, then consider


Second, Mephiston should be in their lines by 2nd turn - if you're placing terrain, you need to place terrain knowing where mephy is going to go and use it!!


Also, from the sounds of your ravens, you were targetting poorly. You used the AC to target other stuff - it means that you lost an opportunity to shoot 3 BS missile. Thats a poor tactical choice.

On the turn a raven arrives you can fire the AC, the MM and 2 regular BS missiles + 1 more BS missile from the POTMS. You should be nuking the vendettas.


Bikes should be getting up in his grill too. You seem to have the tools, but it looks as though there are tactcal mistakes being made! Try write up a full batrep so we can see which way things are going!

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Morticon, on the missile shots, I've been doing that (sort of), but doesn't the rule for Missiles (under flyers, forgot page #) counteract the POTMS rule? So you couldn't ever fire 3 missiles in a turn?


On a semi-related note, anyone tried deep-striking a Stormraven for positioning? I'm talking particularly about playing against Guard on the hammer & Anvil deployment, where the other guy just loves placing artillery at the very back edge of the board.


To be honest, I've found that 4+ night fight roll at the beginning of the game to have the greatest factor in my games against IG. I played the same player, same list, two weeks in a row, and the first time it was no night fight at all, the second time I got the warlord to let me choose night for first turn. That was the only difference in game setup. In both cases it was over by turn 3, but with night fighting I had a major victory, while without it, he tabled me.


I have been looking at Necron allies just for that ability to turn off the lights at will.

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Morticon, on the missile shots, I've been doing that (sort of), but doesn't the rule for Missiles (under flyers, forgot page #) counteract the POTMS rule? So you couldn't ever fire 3 missiles in a turn?


Missiles i think is around 70something and says you can only ever fire 2.

POTMS says youre allowed to fire one more than normally permitted. So, I havent seen any problem with the interaction there.


On a semi-related note, anyone tried deep-striking a Stormraven for positioning? I'm talking particularly about playing against Guard on the hammer & Anvil deployment, where the other guy just loves placing artillery at the very back edge of the board.


I did it once only. Needed the extra distance, but didnt like the scatter, so didnt do it again ><;

If i was going second, and in hammer anvil the opponent went deep back, id probs do it again.

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I thought it was along the lines of not being able to fire a gun twice using PoTMS. But since I don't have the rulebook with me, can't verify the wording. And besides, you have a point about it being a "normally permitted" kind of thing, its not like you're firing a Heavy 2 launcher twice, you're firing a third gun when you can normally fire two.


I'll have to try that, it may catch my IG friend off-guard :P

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P81: "Missiles are one use only, but most Flyers carry two or more to maintain a steady weight of fire throughout the game. A maximum of two missiles can be fired per Shooting phase, and they count towards the number of weapons fired that turn." (emphasis from the rulebook, not mine)


P40 (for PotMS): "In a turn in which the vehicle neither moves Flat Out nor uses smoke launchers, the vehicle can fire one more weapon at its full Ballistic Skill than normally permitted. In addition, this weapon can be fired at a different target unit to any other weapons, subject to the normal rules for shooting."


Since the missiles count towards the number of weapons fired and are also max 2 per phase, and the PotMS rule says that you get an additional weapon, so I'd have said it doesn't get you round the 2 per phase cap. Giving you an extra weapon to fire doesn't, to me anyway, get around the "maximum two missiles" per phase clause. Probably a debate that's better suited to the OR forum than here though.


I've never tried DS-ing a storm raven. Chances are you won't ever need it since you can get anywhere you want in one turn provided you're willing to forgo shooting. But then, I tend to run mine as a gunboat more than a transport (Round 4 of Throne of Skulls is the only time I've EVER used its transport capacity, actually... and even then because I wanted to keep a backup squad in safety but where it could still influence the battlefield). Night-fighting can be useful, but it hinders your anti-tank as well. Chances are you'll be rushing forward so it'll favour the guard player more, I'd have thought. I'd second Mort's call for a batrep, and I'm definitely interested in seeing the list you're using and models available.


To continue what I was saying to Kickrock (now that I've unearthed my rulebook and have page numbers), Skyfire special rule (p42) says it uses its normal BS when firing at flying things, but without interceptor can only snapfire against other targets. P415 in the weapon profiles lists the hydra autocannon as having skyfire, but not interceptor. Just something to bear in mind if anyone's fed up of autocannons knocking out their rhinos (other people still use rhinos, right? Its not just me and my 6 rhinos all on my own?)

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other people still use rhinos, right?


Oh yeah :)

Oddly enough, against guard a few games ago.


Bones of my list was four assault squads in rhinos.

And a Sanguinary guard squad with a librarian and a priest.


I went first, 24"ed across the board in T1

Disembarked / Emergency disembarked T2 and raised a little hell


T3, all hell broke loose as tanks were melta'd left, right and centre, IG squads were flamered and the Sanguinary Guard assaulted a 55 man IG platoon, butchered half of it and ran down the rest.


T4 it was all over.


Psychologically no one seems to cope with my army being sat in their DZ turn 2.



Gunlines work best when you play on their terms.

So dont.

They want, need even, you to deploy squad for squad.

So dont.

Deploy everything on a flank, literally with a 12-18" frontage and jump/run/turbo across the board.

For turn one, half his guns will be out of range, at least a third on turn two, and in T3, you're assaulting.

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Admetus, I have the list and a condensed batrep from my game and rematch against IG in the army lists subforum, here's the link:


List Construction Thread


Basically, my buddy loves the Basilisk, and they wreck marines like it was going out of style. And have a 20 foot range, with barrage not requiring line of sight. Which basically ruins the whole "refuse-flank and keep range" suggestions I so often see from people who just play against Leman Russ variants.


Now, I don't like Rhino-style transports (even more so in 6th), so I've been sticking to jumpers and drop pods, occasionally using the Stormravens as a delivery system for things like Furiosos. What that all means is that I'm basically trying to keep marines alive from artillery through use of movement and deployment.


So what I've found is that a good player, with half-decent terrain, can hide an artillery piece or 3 where you can't drop in and nuke them turn 1 or 2. All it takes is some extra stuff deployed around them and it'll take at least a turn to come in and remove the screen, then remove the artillery. Best case, you come in on turn 2 with a flyer and get the higher elevation to draw line of sight and wreck the battery. But going second, that allows for two turns of shooting without night fighting, and even two artillery pieces can wipe out marines clustered in cover, or severely hurt marines spread out in the open. God forbid someone builds an extreme artillery list with 3+ batteries.


So what I've found to work against a strong gunline (using barrage weapons mind you, rather than strict line-of-sight), is to try for target saturation and night fighting. Getting that first turn free makes a HUGE difference.


And as for night fighting hurting your own anti-tank...May I introduce you to the meltagun? I don't care how popular plasma is, fast melta platforms are still the best way to remove armor of all types. And better yet, they leave craters instead of line-of-sight blockers, with a large probability of collateral damage and are totally unaffected by night fighting.

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His entire list isnt Basilisks is it?

So it still applies.


Just because he can get some shooting, doesnt mean you should endevour to give every lasgun a target.


Also, "keep range".

Hell no, get in there, either assault or sit at 1" and rapid fire.

He cant fire a blast if it touches one of his models, and they can scatter on to his models too.


Anything with short range needs to be avoided, or as much as possible, force him to move them to you, or sit them out of range.

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