Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Praetorian Guard: Apocalypse Tactics for the Imperial Guard

An Emperor's Fist Tank Squadron rumbles onto the battlefield.

After my recent apocalypse game, I had a few thoughts that I'd like to share with all those Imperial Generals out there.

The first and most crucial one has to be, buy Apocalypse Reload!

Compared to the Guard formations available in the main Apoc. rulebook, Reload contains far more goodness for most of us - I was able to jump from using 3 formations to 8 using only this new book.

I'm going to have a brief look at some of the new formations that I used, and what effect they had in our last game.

'Imperial Shield' Infantry Company
This formation requires that an Imperial General use 1 Guard Command Platoon & 3 Guard Platoons and, if you can muster up the models, is well worth it. The formation grants you 3 strategic assets: On My Coordinates!, Scheduled Bombardment & Defence Lines. While the benefit of the free Bombardment is obvious, I had thought I would get less out the other two assets - I was proved wrong.

On My Coordinates! effectively allows you to place an Apoc. orbital bombardment directly on any Guard model with a Vox Caster or Master Vox, once per turn. As well as being really in keeping with the background of the IG (and thus awesome), I found it is combined well with the 'Armoured First' Mechanised Platoon, which I will describe later. The cost of a Vox Caster for most of your units is well worth the fear it creates with the enemy, who suddenly become unwilling to close with your lines. It also creates those cinematic situations were the plucky Vox Caster himself survives!

Defence Lines is however the real jewel of this formation. I, like I imagine most IG players, do not have nearly enough Chimeras for all my squads, meaning the majority of my Guard are forced to footslog. This, given the large table sizes in Apoc. means that these Guard are better suited for defending your home objectives while any MEQ's etc. you have strike out at the enemy. Defence lines provides you with a large amount of free fortifications that you can place anywhere in your deployment zone. These fortifications grant a 3+ cover save. Watching the enemy's super heavies and tanks blunt their firepower on IG who suddenly have become MEQ's is fantastic, especially when weathering that first turn salvo. If possible try to use fortifications that will obscure your tanks, we had a predator survive 3 turns of point blank fire from a Baneblade, Leaman Russ & Defiler due to the 3+ save afforded by the defence lines. The frustration this causes the enemy is admittedly pretty enjoyable!

The only really downside of this Formation is its set up time. This formation is best brought out in initial deployment, as a general is going to want to avoid walking the Guard across the table and should rather take full advantage of his fortifications. However attempting to deploy (a minimum) of 75 Guardsmen as well as the Fortifications adds a large chunk to your deployment time, meaning you will often forgo the first turn. However, given the amount of 3+ cover you are afforded this is less of a trade off than it might otherwise be.

'Armoured Fist' Mechanise Company/Platoon

Not content with simply ramming the enemy, this Chimera contains a further present...

The Armoured Fist allows you to pool together your Chimera squads for bonus movement distance when they are in range of thier command tank. This is a nice bonus that helps your otherwise slow IG strike out for objectives and is a great perk for those out there with full mechanized IG.

In the course of my games I have also discovered an interesting tactic which, though not always the best trade off, is certainly very enjoyable! As 5th. Ed. removed the concept of transported units being 'out of play' (e.g. Troops can hold objectives from within their transport, or Psykers can cast from within their vehicles etc.) it is, in theory, possible to target a Vox Caster within a Chimera with 'On My Coordinates!'. What you effectively have now is a suicide taxi, capable of moving that little bit faster than normal. Given the strength and AP of the barrage this is a tactic best used against large groups of MEQ's and can really punch a hole, if luck is on your side. In addition, the strength of the attack gives your chimera a chance of surviving to fight another day, which is simply icing on the cake. The look of confusion on the face of an opponent who sees you charging forward your chimeras toward his Khorne Bezerkers is well worth the cost of an Armoured Fist Squad!

Catachan 'Death Trap' Ambush Patrol
A (minimum) of 3 Hardened Veterans Squads grants you a good few useful abilities and assets making this formation well worth its points. Primarily the granting of the 'Ambush' strategic asset helps takes your mind off that player who almost inevitably Flank Marches, and dissuades them from doing it again. Being able to whittle down that uber expensive reserve unit with sniper fire is also great (killing 6 Plague Marine Bikers in one go is not to be sniffed at)

In addition the ability to declare a different 12''x12'' area as dangerous terrain each turn can really slow down any massed Rhino Rush - the amount of vehicles in Apoc. means at least a few are likely to roll 1's and immobilise themselves.

A Tyranid Swarm finds itself advancing under massed sniper fire, only to stumble upon some dangerous terrain.

So there's a brief look at some of the new stuff available to all you Guard players out there. I must stress that, given its price, the new Apocalypse Reload book is well worth it. Do enjoy dropping warheads on your own troops - its the Guard way...


RonSaikowski said...

While I'm not one for Apoc games, I've only played once... it's nice to see a little in-depth review of the new Apoc book.

Thanks for the scoop.

sovietspace said...

Thanks for the comment, if you do like Apocalypse the book is well worth the money.

Unsurprisingly I find Apoc really enjoyable - as one of the players at the last game commented, 'Its not about winning, its just about seeing that many models on the table'. It’s also a really good outlet for some of the 40K background, letting you use fluffy units that just aren’t viable in a 1500pts game.

Ron., if you do consider trying Apoc. again I recommend playing with some close friends - find a house, some drink, some junk food and set aside a day. Too much stress can be caused when playing at a club or store with time limitations and people you may not know, I think this might be the factor that turns people off.


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