Thursday, November 1, 2012

Your Questions, The Lord Solar Answers (All About Allies)

O.K. so with the last post I did, a few questions/topic requests were tossed to me by some faithful readers. So I figured I would take the time to answer the first today like I said I would!

First question was from Grazer who also writes for a couple blogs, Rogue Trader and Claws and Fists so check him out (and perhaps he will join the blog roll legion for DFG after this). His question was as follows
"I'd be interested in what you think are the best options for Allies for IG, and whether you even think they are necessary at all. 
I have used Blood Angels infantry to try and strengthen my midfield and to fight for objectives, but they are quite expensive and obviously limit the amount of artillery  tanks and flyers you can select from the IG codex."

Allies can be fun, and fluffy at times (or not fluffy at all in other times), especially with Imperial Guard. We kind of fit in with everyone (orks are a bit of a stretch in my mind but everyone else has used the poor fellows extensively, including Nids, ((That's right GW you missed out on some people making GREAT genestealer cult army lists... )

However the Guard codex is really hard to pair with any other army to really get that feeling of "this was worth it" out of them when you are looking to field Guard as a primary force. We have good options in nearly every category. Our weakest, the Elite slot, still contains some great options with Ratlings, Marbo, and Stormtroopers (I personally feel that Psyker Battle Squad just is not worth it anymore, to many stubborn and Fearless units out there). So maybe you want to look into other armies Elite slots to fill some good tough objective contesting units like a terminator/paladin kinda deal. Grey knights also can bring something that can protect us from our every hated opponent, daemons, with preventing them from deep striking to close.

However you do sacrifice some firepower to get these kind of units/abilities. There is no point in taking allies heavies, we have the best ones in Leman Russ variants, and our fast attack slots are just full of win in the sentinels and vendetta/valkyrie. Plus are space marine troops -really- better at holding objectives? Maybe... depends on the firepower your opponent brings to the table and how your list is constructed.

Overall I rarely, if at all, take allies, and would not recommend them at this time for tournament play unless your local area has a plethora of deamon players, but this would not serve you somewhere like Adepticon where just to much variety to really make a difference and even then (cause my local area does have a ton of them) I don't even bother, instead relying on my overwhelming firepower to take care of the daemons.

Alright, that is it for questions and topics this week. Keep an eye out for my Units Of The Guard series which will start next week with one of the HQ choices that the guard can bring.

Also, if you readers have any other topic you would like me to cover in a post (I recommend Imperial Guard questions but hell I will give any subject a shot as long as it pertains to wargaming) shoot me an email at

Until next time, burn some heretics, kill some mutants, and do it always.....



  1. Personally, I have had the best results with allies for Imperial Guard coming from the Sisters of Battle codex. As Solar Steve points out, the Imperial Guard has the best Heavy and Fast attack units in the game, backed up by some pretty good elite choices. Personally, I feel the HQ units are the weakest selection for the guard, as save the CCS few add much to the army on a benefits per point cost basis.

    Sisters allow you to induct units cheaply. Furthermore, Sisters of Battle units offer the cheapest power armoured units in the game, and unlike the vast majority of other power armour codices allow you to field units of up to 20 models. One or two of these units offers durable scoring options with tremendous mid-range fire support. A unit of 20 Sisters armed with Heavy Bolter, flamer and storm bolter on the vet come in at 258 points, and can hold midfield objectives better than any unit in the guard codex and also offers some much needed Str 4 shooting. When taking a unit or two of sisters, you are practically guaranteed to have enough faith points to be using each units abilities each turn. Basic sisters arguably have the best power available, allowing them to Auto rally or reroll ones to hit in shooting/assault on a 4+ each turn (3+ once you have taken a casualty) This means your 250 point unit is putting out a considerably more amount of hurt than any MEQ troop unit, and have two chances to rally each turn regardless of number of casualties.

    As far as HQ choices go, all three special characters offer more to the Guard than they can ever offer to a mono sisters list. The living saint offers a fantastic beatstick mini mephiston esk character that is almost un-killable (think old necron lord style) for 115 points. The two priests however are where it is at. Kryinov grants a 6” fearless bubble and Jacobus offers the unit he joins +1 attack, feel no pain and stubborn. Both also come with the standard Priest abilities of rerolling missed on the turn you charge, and both cost a ludicrously low 90 points. As Sisters and Guard are battle brothers (Sisters? siblings?) all these HQ choices can join units from either force. Can you say 50 guard blob with 5 power axes, +1 attack, feel no pain and stubborn? How about a Fearless command centre with you heavy teams and command squads? Or a 5 attack WS7 beat stick always wounding on 4’s who doesn’t die to tie up those annoying daemon princes and tyranid giant gribblies? Well with a unit of 20 Power armoured sisters rerolling half their misses with their 40+ bolter shots each turn with any of these characters come in at 348-373 points. Absolute bargain.

    Also worth a notable mention is the potential combat support Sisters bring for cheap. Take either of the priest characters and you can take a Battle Conclave. Anyone unfamiliar with this unit is lucky they haven’t encountered them. Deathcults bring 3 Ws5 I6 S4 power weapon attacks to the table, and archo-flagellants bring 4 Ws5 S5 I3 attacks. That’s without factoring in charging or the inclusion of Jacobus to add an additional attack each. At 15 points a model for up to 10 of these monstrosities will give your Guard a credible counter attack threat which can be tailored to chew though MEQ or horde opponents with contemptible ease.

  2. Additionally, the ever overlooked Penitent Engines go with Guard lists like peanut butter goes with jam. Ok, they’re 85 points for an 11/11/10 open topped vehicle, but they have damage output capabilities comparable to that of a Furioso dread (D6+1 attacks, additional attack for each unsaved wounds caused, two dread combat weapons for a total of D6 + 4 S10 AP2 attacks on the charge, as they have rage) and can be taken in units of 1 – 3. The fragility of these units is counteracted by sheer volume saturation of armour in the Guard list and the ability to claim cover of the multitude of other Guard vehicles on the board. Again, used as a combat deterrent, many players will think twice about outflanking / Deep striking into the heart of your gunline/command post when one or two of these monstrosities are lurking around waiting to eat 250+ point MEQ units for breakfast. Did I mention they also come with two heavy flamers each?

    Which brings me to my final point, the much dreaded Dominion squads. 13 points per model, 5 – 10 unit size, two special weapons per 5 models, SCOUT. Yep, that’s right, scouting dual melta that hasn’t got to risk death jumping from a plane! 90 points for 5 models with dual melta. Stick them in a rhino for a total of 125 points for a unit which costs less and is arguably more effective at their role than a melta vet squad. Points to spare? Stick them in an immolator with twin linked multi melta to double the amount of armour targets you can slag on turn of arrival for a total of 170 points. In addition, their act of faith (4+ to use) twin links their shooting attacks. A unit which in my opinion justifies inclusion in any army in the game.

    In conclusion, Sisters work best with the Guard. They add everything a marine force could add for cheaper. Secondly, the best units in the codex are all discussed above, thus by allying them with the Guard you really are detracting nothing from the Sisters whilst bolstering your Guard in the areas they need it most. These armies really are a match made in heaven.

    Sample Allies Detachment:

    Uriah Jacobus (90)
    20 Sisters w/ Heavy Bolter, Flamer and Storm Bolter (258)
    Battle Conclave – 4 Deathcult assassins, 4 arch-flagellants (120)
    5 Dominions – 2 x Melta, Rhino (125)
    593 points

    1. Well thought out and written, I would argue against using everything that you have, taking 600 points away from imperial guard lists can be devastating, for not a big enough reward. I have no problem with the idea of a 20 man sister's unit to hold objectives with the HQ however, the problem is for the same amount of points i could get 2 fully equipped vet squads in chimeras

    2. I do think that Sisters might be one of the best choices fluff wise as well.

    3. Horses for courses through isn’t in. In no way am I saying that Sisters could find a place into EVERY Guard list. But you’re 2 Vet squads have to get out of their Chimera’s to score, and they also are a bit of a one hit wonder as once they’re out, they’re dead. However with a unit of power armoured sisters menacingly holding back the enemies 5 man units in razorbacks from disembarking anywhere within 18” of them gives more free reign to your other Vet squads whilst the enemy expends a lot of his firepower trying to shift the sisters instead of using it to blast your vets off the board. IMO, Vets deal damage, platoons hold objectives. Any Vet squads alive at the end of the game to hold objectives is a bonus. I probably capture more objectives with heavy teams than Vets  Platoons are expensive and unwieldy, so taking even 3+ becomes a drain. A 20 lady sister unit is the ideal replacement to this. 10 sisters in Rhinos work well too. Finally, every weapon in a sisters squad is worth it. In a vet squad you’re paying 100 points for three models which come with some ablative wounds! 

      Size of the allies depends on the game size. I play 2,000 mostly, so 500 – 700 points of allies works reasonably for me. 120 points for a conclave, or 170 points for two penitents isn’t a waste in my eyes, when there is nothing in the Guard codex I can take instead of these units. My foray into sisters/guard came from playing my opponents Space Wolves, which consists of thunder wolves and grey hunters in drop pods. Yeah castling protects you from the pods, but allows the thunderwolves to rape-face with multi charges. I’ve found dedicated counter assault units and tougher scoring units which hunters can’t DS next to an BBQ off the board in a single shooting phase forces this particular opponent to drop more defensively, and thus get pie plated off the table from a suitably safe distance  blob squading 50 guard, adding half a dozen power axes and sticking Jacobus in there gives me a unit that can reliably wipe out units of thunderwolves in a single round of combat, especially with 5 flamers inflicting 5D3 auto-hits when we get charged.
      I find myself using the Dominions less and less in the Guard force as Vendetta’s offer similar offensive capabilities but are much tougher to kill in 6th, but Sisters blobs and combat units still find their way in on the regular, as I honestly don’t see another way to build in units with similar capabilities into a Guard mono-list.

    4. 1850 is still the standard in most places as far as I know. 2000 opening a second force org would still make me want to stick with guard... more than three squads of russ tanks seems amazing....

      What does your guard part of your list look like?

    5. More than three squads of leman russes is nigh impossible at 2,000 points, beleive me I've tried. I own 13 Russes :) Depends who I'm playing and how I'm feeling. Here is a sample 1500 point list I'm using this weekend against those damned Space Wolves

    6. Uriah Allies Hq

      Battle Sisters Allies Tr
      +9 sisters Heavy Bolter, Flamer, Storm Bolter

      Command HQ Hq
      Lascannon, 2 x Grenade Launchers, Camo Cloaks

      Platoon Command Tr
      4 x Meltas
      Infantry 1
      Flamer, Power Axe
      Infantry 2
      Flamer, Power Axe
      Infantry 3
      Flamer, Power Axe
      Infantry 4
      Flamer, Power Axe
      Infantry 5
      Flamer, Power Axe
      Autocannon Team
      Mortar Team

      Veterans Tr
      3 x Sniper, Autocannon, Sentries

      Vendetta Fa

      Griffon Hs

      Griffon Hs

      Basilisk Hs

    7. I am not seeing a list there, however here is a 1950 list that has more than 3 squads of russes, so givees some room to play with

      2xPrimaris Psyker
      2x Vet. Squad w/3x Sniper Rifle & Lascannon
      Vet Squad w/demolitions 3x Melta Chimera
      Vet Squad w/grenadiers 3x Plasma Chimera
      3 squads of 1 vendetta
      5 squads of 1 Leman Russ Demolisher

      That was right off the top of my head... there are plenty of ways to vary that up.

    8. never mind about the list, see it now

    9. Problem I see with your list is getting through armor. You just dont have the firepower to deal with a couple land raiders or a bunch of Necron barges.

    10. Nope, but I'm playing SW's so I haven't needed to load up on anti-tank, I know my opponents model collection :) Raiders don't worry me, they can't see my tanks so two lascannons and a multi melta is nothing to worry about.
      Normaly I would run a Demolisher and another Vendetta in this list, and upgrade the second griffon to a basilisk. That gives me plenty of heavy anti tank and enough volume of it to deal with heavy armour.

      With your list, does the need to separate the Russes to individual units really warrent switching to dual force? I run my Russes in pairs. A cheap russ leading the way, and a packed out demolisher varient behind. I prefer the surviability boost to my expensive tank to the ability to target individually anyway. Despite the funness of playing with your list, the only game you're ever going to win is Big guns with 40 T3 5+ scoring models. Now, add some sisters in there... :). Also, there is nothing to stop combat units engaging your 200 points tanks. Now that Krak grenades own leman russes, and everyone and thier mothers are packing them, you've got two turns to table the enemy before its game over!

      Off on a tangent, do you not think its total bull poop that Russes loose Lunering Behemoth to become heavy vehicles. can only snapfire any other weapons if you fire ordenance? So much for mobile batteries of death. Are they purposely trying to make the Executioner even better than standard variants or what?!?

    11. The Executioner is better than any other variant besides maybe the demolisher.

      As for the Demolishers, they are only 165 a piece and well worth having as separate squads if you are going for the dual force org, but i generally don't play at 2000 and I am not saying that is the best list at that amount. Just that it is possible.

      Also, as i figured you were building an all around list, not a specific list against a specific player, is why i nagged on its ability to kill vehicles. Generally I only go for take all comers lists.

      As for the survivability of my troops, I use plenty of cover to keep the grounders alive, the squads in vehicles take time to break them out of their shell and one of those two squads has a 4+ save, not 5. I play most of my games at 1850 with 3, maybe 4 troops when I am running a heavy russ list. Check out the list I will be posting on Monday for an idea of what I normally go for, or about what I do at least.

    12. 2-3 Heavy Mortar/Earthshaker shells would soon have those chumps running around asking for a good mortaring! :) Save Land raiders ect I find barrage weapons, particularly ordenance barrage, have become kings of the anti-transport world. I'm loving my Griffons/Basilisks atm, hence why I packed a load into the list above.

      Usually I do run competitive all-comers lists, however occasionally we do put down tailored lists to test builds. Lloyd (SW player) thinks he's got an unbeatable foot based list, so asked me to field an anti-infantry list to test it out. I'll grab a more universal sample allies list and post it up tomorrow for ridicule! :)

  3. Space wolves are pretty good as well seeing as you can grant a guard blob and they shall know no fear. They also add some of the best psychic defense out there as well as divination to boost your IG shooting. Also I feel psychic battle squads pair ridiculously well with the telepathy powers. Lowering someones leadership and then doing psychic shriek or removing fearless and forcing a moral check is amazing

    1. Primeris Psykers get access to these powers too, and cost considerably less than Runepriests. Ok they loose the runic weapon, but still...

    2. Personally I think the Primaris Psykers are best used with the powers they have 2d6 str 6 shots is CRAZY good, I have seen it mow down countless enemies in 6th.

    3. Guard doesn't give divination, and with psychic scream you get (on a unit with ld lowered to 1) 3d6 - 1 WOUNDS that ignore armor and cover saves. That blows through paladins and a dark harlie star. Plus you are missing how good ATSKNF is for a 30 man guard squad. It means they can never be chased down in combat

    4. I'd rather have Ld 10 Stubborn with +1 attack and Feel no pain from Jacobus for less than a Rune Priest. If you're really worried about failing those tests, add a commisar to the blob for rerolls and you've something like a 5% chance of failure.

  4. I think allies is a useful way to add flyer saturation. Vendetta squadrons don't do much for me, so 3x vendettas + Ork fighters or another flyer ally brings some additional saturation.

  5. Hi guys, just wanted to say a big thanks for the article answering my query regarding allies for IG.

    I've playtested a couple of combos and I think my allied force is too big at 700pts out of 1850pts - a point you touched on above. I'm going to trim it down to around 500pts which seems more reasonable.

    I've also heeded your point regarding using the Blood Angels as firefighters rather than as scoring units. To that end I'm going to drop the expensive (200pts ish) Assault Marine unit and replace them with a 5 man scout squad - this is my 75pt 'mandatory' troops selection. Then I'll be using an 8-10 man Vanguard Veteran squad tooled up with half-a-dozen power weapons. Using Heroic Intervention, this unit becomes my antidote to those enemy backfield units that would otherwise bharder to eliminate.

    Having stripped around 300pts from the allies, I'm now able to buy another two IG tanks - my personal choice is a couple of Colossus' or Medusas, to complement the Manticore and two Colossus' That were already in my list. As you rightly said above, the IG have some of the best guns and it

  6. ...makes sense to include them, especially with the Colossus' ability to ignore cover saves - a must here in the UK where most Tournanent tables are heavily saturated with scenery.

    I would in the future consider an armoured tank company with as many Leman Russes as possible (supported of course by Vendettas) but at the moment time and money prevents me.

    Anyway, thanks again to everyone for the comments and suggestions. I'll let you know how I get on over the next few weeks!