With all the recent changes in GW's word on FW (Warrior's Code now making it Legal in GW events, and thusly in standard gameplay) it's opened up a new barrel of hilarity for the Imperial Guard. I know some players don't rate IA1;V2, but in honesty your missing out if you don't look closely. I'm going to be writing a series of tactica articals over the next few months exploring various aspects of Tread warfare in the edition where everyone has super heavies, monstrous creatures and all kinds of insanity.
So let's start at the beginning, for me at least, with the new 'anything goes'.
It's not at terrifying as it sounds. There's some simple counter-acts we, the imperial guard, have.
First up; Play to your strengths.
6th's become so totally messed up that there is no more META. MC spam can be removed by D weapons, titans can be killed by flyer spam, flyer spam can be totaled by anti-air heavy armies. Rock. Paper. Scissors. Bacon. Some view this as the problem; it's not. The problem is building a meat and potato list, because thanks to the changes, the old shooty shooty stacking meta is gone. Done. We've seen the end of the days where you could guarantee a win with codex;riptide comfortably.
I'll start where i know with this then; Armour. I've been a tank fiend since the late days of 4th (Codex; Orks taught me the value of an armour delivery system) and during 5th i was very much in my element. What tank player wasn't? in the 750point scale my imperial guard army remains unbeaten
750pt 5th Edition Guard]
Command, 4x grenade launcher, chimera
veterans, chimera, 3x grenade,
veterans, chimera, 3x plasmagun
leman Russ Demolisher
The combination of high fire power and superior armour made almost no army a threat. Indeed a tabled a foot IG army with no losses, and tabled a tyranids army in return for one leman russ (damned carnifex). But all that's now part of a glorious past when the tank was the pinnacle of battle. Now it's a different world, so let's discuss basic treat tactics at last;
The Leman Russ
What's not to love? The leman russ is the panacea of the guard. Now every variant is open to you (the Conq' being surprisingly potent now it's no longer a heavy, but still packs a Str 8 AP3 3" shot) from both FW and GW it's getting tastey. I would say the core of this discussion is going to revolve around the redundancy of the russ, because it's damned versatile. I'm going to run down the basics you need to watch for to make an effective armour contingent, in this case an allied force.
IA1 Allies list; 560pts
HQ- Company Command Vanquisher, Beast Slayer Shell's, Artificer Hull, heavy bolter spons.
Elite- Commissar Vanquisher, Beast player Shells, heavy bolter spons.
Troop- Thunderer siege tank
The result; 560pt of cure all.
The Vanquishers put down a str 8 ap2 3" Instant Death shot that isn't orderance. This means full BS when you unleash the HB's (for those eternal warrior/large wraith units), which is no slim back up shot. The Comissar is also putting down a 6" LD10 bubble for ALL imperial guard, not just the detachment. Image the effect a MC killer hiding in your back lines with a 4+ cover save (see further down) with standard foot slogger guard around it. The power of that alone should make you consider it's worth. The command tank offers orders as well, but since they only work on a D6 of 4+ (instead of leadership) you can't rely upon them to change the course of a fire fight. Orders aren't bad however.
The Thunderer is, i believe, going to be the bane of ALOT of peoples days. It's a demolisher mounted to a Leman Hull, and significantly cheaper, and a brutal pug faced killer. I'm going to explain why a lot of people won't rate them, or view them as a tactical choice. One weapons, no spons options. For a few points however you can buy an anti-air storm bolter is weapon destroyed is something you live in fear of. I disagree. I think they are the perfect disposable fire power. Don't forget, in the age of the str 6/7 spam to kill MC's, av14 is a real swine. The demolisher cannon is also nothing to be taken lightly, indeed in a game i had recently against the flyer circus (3 flying DP's, LoC) it knocked one of them out of the game straight off the bat.
That's all in a 560pt allied detachment, and gives you 3 AV 14 monsters. IMO, that's what allies are for.
There's a few other tanks i want to cover, but that can wait until the next part, for now i'm going to mention the value of fortifications. Escalation has brought something worthwhile to the table; The Vengeance Battery.
I've been running the Battle cannon variant in every match for the last few months, and it's been the bane of most people's lives. At nearly half the price of a leman russ, and with only one less BS it packs a punch. Escalation has since added Quad Icarus Cannons to it's upgrades (free from base stats, two of them cost the same as a leman russ and occupy only one fortification slot) and that has me excited. The closest target rule is annoying, but against flyers twin linked BS2 is nominally an upgrade, certainly when it hit's it's going to hit quite hard (av12 is going to feel the bite of these). With the Lists i'm currently running (6 russ varients, sentinal, two flyers) it's going to be a nice little bolster. He's the kicker. It has upgrade of it's own too.
Barricades are the cheap way to give your armour a 4+ save (The rules state 'A model' not 'infantry') when it's playing sniper. That's nothing short of hilarious against none super heavies. I'm planning on running three in my current list to protect my Destroyer and Commissar tank's who hug different flanks picking off troublesome elites. I'll write a more in depth tactica on this however once i finish my current tournie leg (early march) and have had a few games to give an indepth opinion of how well this pans out.
I'll leave it there for now, simply because i don't want to write too much at once. However, i feel we have entered a golden age for Guard Armour.