Thursday, 12 February 2009

089 Let's Talk Draxtics (Part I): How to Beat Guardsmen

[with thanks to Fallen 73rd.]

Evening, All.

This is the first of probably two installments of my own musings on tactics. I'm presenting this for two reasons: firstly, my tactics seem to work for me; and secondly because with the new IG codex only three months away (yippee!) I can afford to get a little less jealous of them.

Before we start, I ought to point out that I'm not a tournament player, nor have I ever fancied trying it. I don't even get to play any games that often. Still, I hope this first installment provides you with either useful insights or amusing titbits.

Draxtica Part I: How to Beat Guardsmen.

The following document is the verbatim copy of an email I sent to 73rd months ago* in response to a question along the lines of: "How do I beat an infantry-heavy Imperial Guard army?"

Please note that (a) 73rd was armed with Necrons, (b) I know nothing about Necrons, and (c) I do mean infantry-heavy. Heavy infantry are a different beast entirely!

Here are my thoughts, in no particular order:

-- Rock-hard close combat weapons and low AP weapons are pretty much a waste of time. The enemy's officers and commissars MAY be kitted out for assault, but even if they are, they ought to die pretty easily. That said, beware that even though a guardsman's Initiative is 3, it's still relatively easy for them to hit you with WS3. Hit them hard, wipe them out, and have some cover to consolidate into.

-- If you get a mission with Kill Points you'll almost certainly win!

-- If you roll the Dawn of War deployment, use it to your advantage: if, like me, his infantry heavy support is in heavy weapon platoons, then they'll be screwed by having to amble on (unable to fire) from reserve. If his heavy weapons are in his platoon squads, even better: the squad will be forced to either move or fire...and they'll need to manoeuvre for objectives!

-- Force the enemy to manoeuvre as much as you can, and slaughter him in the open. This can be done by - for example - careful placement of objectives. Also, and linked to this:

-- If you want to hit below the belt, play a game without much scenery: this'll deny him that all-important cover. It's low, though...

-- Deny the enemy the cover that's there...if you can. The rule about not deploying within 12" of a deployed model is useful, as you can use it to keep him away from certain areas.

-- Use the 'denied flank' tactic if you can, and if the set-up will allow it. If you're unfamiliar, then say he deploys all his infantry in a line along the width of the board - when you deploy, just stick to one side of the board: half of his force will be stranded out on a limb and unable to influence the game. You, meanwhile, concentrate your force on the foe in front then turn into the scattered remains!

-- If YOU set-up first, try to (a) deny them cover (see above), and (b) create killing areas: open ground where he'll get cut down in a crossfire if he tries to advance.

-- Really prioritise the elimination of officers and command squads if possible. Barrage weapons are quite god for that if (like me) he keeps them at the back. Without them, Guard are Ld7 at best. With them, Guard are either Ld8, 9 or 10 - depending on his officers and vox network.

-- Beware drop troops and light infantry doctrines. The former allows him to deep strike (deepstriking anti-tank veterans or stormtroopers can be a pain) and the latter gives the squad(s) infiltration and move-through-cover. Guard deploying as infiltrators (with freedom of placement and probably after you've deployed) can be a real pain, and difficult to shift from objctives.

-- Use lots of blasts/templates. I know that's obvious, but it's hard and time-consuming to adequately spread-out an infantry guard army, so he'll tend to bunch if he's lazy (like me). Easy target.

-- He may take no tanks. It's a bluff, but he'll know that people tend to expect guard to have armour. Therefore if he turns up with no tanks, then all your tankbusting points/troops are utterly wasted on flak armour.

-- Therefore, I'd be loath to take too much anti-tank stuff. Close combat A/T troops who can flank will be great - especially if you're playing corner-to-corner - as you can sidle up to his tanks from the flanks and open them right up...but really, the only Guard tanks that'll cause you any real grief are the hellhound and maybe the basilisk. You have to be half-asleep (or very unlucky) to be damaged too badly by a lone Leman Russ, so they can even be ignored. Let them have their fun! Remember: basilisks and hellhounds are easy to kill (the basilisk's hidden at the back, sure, but it's weak and open-topped) and the hellhound's turret only has a 24" range.

- Drax

*This was, of course, before he decided to ask me for a game in order to try to beat me with my very own advice!


  1. I'll file all that away under, 'ways to win against Drax when I swim the pond with an army case on my back one day...'. Still, as the owner of IG force myself, I'm always keen on hearing someones tactics for or against them!

  2. Tee-hee! Thanks.

    You might well like Part II then... this space.

  3. This is unconscionable. Do you have ANY idea how many guardsmen you just condemned to death?

    The Officio Assassinorum will be sending someone to "talk" to you very soon.

  4. Thanks for sharing your insight!

  5. I just saw the IG rumours on BoLS - did i read it right that there are multimelta chimera.

    Certainly i like the look of those rumours, may tempt me to make a guard army.

  6. Woohoo Let's Talk Draxtics! Keep this stuff coming matey as it is no doubt very valuable to everyone who reads your blog. It certainly helped me to atleast achieve a win when this query was originally answered, and a draw against your force at the time. Great stuff - I look forward to part II.

  7. Thanks, Chaps.

    Darkwing - for some reason your comment didn't get emailed to me: strange...
    Made me chuckle, though - thanks!

    - D.

  8. I just got hit with both Dawn of War deployment and objectives with heavy weapons in my squads - groan...

    While there are a few (very few) solid IG list out there (see BoLS listings - 'the castle' deployment) - the options for 'varied' guard lists are limited as most of the guard 'specials' are outclassed by everything. Therefore the only thing worth taking is a tonne of men with heavy weapons...

    That said, Guard armies are FUN to play, after all you can throw away half your army and still lose.

    Not sure about the 'ignore leman russes' argument. After all the battlecannon is remarkable effective against certain armies (Tau/Nid's).


Thanks for taking the time to comment!