Escape The Lascannon

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The Imperial Guard have long since been heralded as one of those "shooting" armies on the grand scale of who shoots and who assaults, and who basically does it all. The Imperium's backbone is indeed very much a shooting force, but as we move away from the days of olden to the newer days of sunny 4th edition, many things are changing within the Imperial Guard.
And the single big shot is not the king of 4th Edition.

Why Lascannons are Deceiving

Many armies based on shooting, will immediately take their biggest and "best" almost every time. Sometimes it works for them and they think they're doing the right thing - and they an continue. Others, perhaps have more trouble, wondering why their expensive gun simply doesn't do what they thought it would do. It's so powerful, why aren't they all dead?
The game mechanics do not favor strong single shots, like the Lascannon. We have increased cover potential, better potential for having group cover for saves, and of course the Lascannon shouldn't be pointed at infantry in the first place. The Lascannon is an anti-tank gun in the end, with other uses on the side.
The truth of the matter is, our Lascannons are based on BS3. They are alsovery expensive. For every three lascannons you take, you are denying yourself an entire unit of guns and victory point scoring potentials. Just three guns. Lascannons massed in the Imperial Guard are subpar to most other armies who mass their biggest and best. The reason why, is because our Guardsmen are stationary when using them, expensive to field them, and miss half the time in the process. And should they fall back, there will be no shooting from it. The only time a Lascannon team will do it's job, is when it's untargeted and passing a target priority test to fire on the attractive target, instead of the unattractive target (and example of that would be hitting a predator instead of the rhino that was closer to you). And even then, you will miss that shot half the time and when you do hit, that single shot may be downgraded to a pathetic glance.
Lascannons are also often used to kill heavier infantry types, like Necrons or Terminators. While the AP is on cue, the price and strength of the weapon are not. There are other weapons, which simply do this better, for less.
Lascannons firing at non-vehicular units in a good way, would basically fall to the monstrous creature. When firing on Carnifex, Tyrants, Wraithlords, random Princes and Daemons, the Lascannon indeed is worth while in those situations.
But in the end, the Lascannon is expensive, hit or miss and only worth taking if you're pointing it at the absolute highest armor values or at monstrous creatures--but we have alternatives which are better most of the time anyways.

How to Escape the Lascannon

Now, it's not for everyone to leave their Lascannons, but for those who want to try an alternative and leave AP behind, there is Dakka waiting for you. BS3 armies do not operate very well on massed AP. BS3 armies operate very well on Dakka. If you're buying expensive guns and missing half the time, you're not ahead, you're behind.
Autocannons - The autocannon is ancient and simple. It's one of yourbest guns in the arsenal too. It has great range, great strength and a solid AP value that make it absolutely flexible for both armor busting and anti-infantry support. Why does it shine so much? Because it's cheap and it has multiple shots. Autocannons are precious for your force because you need to keep your opponent slow, as you are stationary, so that you can burn them to the ground before they get too close. Autocannons do that for you, by being the best transport destroying weapon you have. Also, Autocannons are better at destroying skimmers than AP weapons, because when you're only able to glance, it's better to have more glances and the Autocannons, massed up, can do just that. And should we have no more armored target to fire down, the Autocannon is a potent anti-infantry gun. It's able to rip through all infantry even up to Marines, where the high strength is a great offset for the AP to make sure they roll armor saves (which they do fail). The only places Autocannons will be of very little to no help, are against A13 & 14 vehicles (the heaviest) and against Terminator class heavy infantry (ie: 2+ saves). These are also some of the more rare unit types you will encounter, so it's not a problem.
Melta Tech - We all know melta weapons are the king of tank destruction. We have the autocannons to deal with nearly everything (and we can get loads of them). But what about the heaviest of armor? That can be a problem without Lascannons. The melta weapon can however, make a mockery of high armor (tanks, not skimmers mind you). The problem isdelivery. Our melta weapons are cheaper and more plentiful by far in the army that the Lascannon and we can actually deliver them in many ways. Most of which is done with infantry and done from anon-stationary stand point. The reason it works, is because meltas are good for destroying those higher armors (not transports!) and so they will be less likely to be seen heavily fielded and easier for you to deal with. If you're facing 3 heavily armored vehicles, that's plenty - a lot in fact. But facing 1 or 2 is not, and you can deal with that quite fine without Lascannons. Notice that some of your required choices, come with the ability to take a lot of melta technology? Look to the doctrines, which are free, to make them work for you. And also, start looking to other units which you may have dismissed in the past with access to melta tech of all kinds. Because you are BS3 and you can get more melta weapons in one squad, you can make a better use of them than a single Lascannon. Simply look for a delivery method and you will score.

Building up Autocannons & Melta Tech

Autocannons

Autocannons can be fielded all over the army. All in the HQ, Fast Attack, Elites, Troops and Heavy Support. It's just everywhere. In the HQ alone, you can easily mass up 6 autocannons just with the fire support squad (** Which does not cut into your anti-tank support squads!). And you may add up to 3 more, with Sentinels, which are mobile (and also frees up some fast attack selection!). That's up to 9 Autocannons right there for a reasonable price, and fast.
Fire Support Squad; 3x Autocannons - 95 points (and you can take up to two).
--Up to 12 shots; averaging 6 hits is a great way to bust transports very quickly.
Sentinel with Autocannon - 50 points (and you can take up to three).
--And in Fast Attack, we can take more.But the point is to spread out to make room.
Infanty Platoons are prime Autocannon fielding territory. We can intermix with our other dakka weapon of choice, the heavy bolter. Infantry Squads can field Autocannons, so that we get two more minimum per troop selection. And our Command squad that is also required there, may take an Autocannon or Heavy Bolter based on needs. Amored Fist squads can also bring more dakka to the board, but I would base them on Heavy Bolter action, rather than anti-transport action.
Command Squad & 2x Infantry Squads; 3x Autocannons - 205 points.
And we can take several units of that up to a maximum of 6 total Autocannons.
--Easy to see why massing them is faster and cheaper elseware, such as the HQ.
Conscripts can also provide a bit of Autocannon action, but for a very big price (ie: high cost, and low total output). Therefore, I probably wouldn't recommend them for the job - they're better off with heavy bolters, or just their lasguns (costing more than a Sentinel with a BS2 gun isn't worth it).
And if push comes to shove, we also still have our Heavy Weapon platoons, which add in more autocannons. And if you think about it; it's just like getting another HQ chance to get a cheap command squad for another autocannon, followed by a massed group of more autocannons. Bringing us up to 10 autocannons right away for the same costs already listed above.

Melta Tech

Melta Tech is also fieldable all over the army list. In nearly all force slots. But we will not want to field them just anywhere. They are small packages of anti-tank and we want to deliver them specifically to our opponent's big tank right away, and not expend a lot of points in the process. So let's look through some options:
Command Squads get large access to melta weaponry. They're small and useful to pack a big punch. For every two meltaguns you buy, one will hit on average. And you will penetrate even A14, with 2D6 penetration on 3's and better and the AP1 will convert that to a penetrating hit. Delivering your Command squad is the tricky part, but it can be done easily via Drop Troops. If you increase your meltagun count to 3, you increase your odds to possible get two hits, and with just two hits, you should be able to crack any armor value very easily so long as it's not a skimmer. And again, you will have plenty of Command Squads through out the list that you could use towards this.
Command Squad with 3 Meltaguns = 70 points (and you could take 4 if you like).
Hardened Veterans are also a way to get access to BS4 powered meltaguns, making them hit much more often, meaning you only need 2 or 3 tops and the squad can be small, inexpensive and applied fast. You could also use the Drop Troop doctrine to help deliver them as well.
Hardened Veteran Squad with 3 Meltaguns = 75 points (and you can take more vets).
Storm Troopers are another obvious choice, but definitely worth mentioning. Otherwise, what are Guard elite choices for in the first place? Depending on how you field the army, you can quickly add reliable meltaguns at BS4 and deep strike them with the squad, and you can have several.
Storm Trooper Squad with 2 Meltaguns = 75 points (deep striking; more available)
--You can grab up to three squads of them, and they will crack hard armor very easily. Consider you purchase deep strike or use other means and you can quickly add two squads for instant support on turn 2 or 3.
Rough Riders are another way to get quick melta technology on the field. We could use them for Meltaguns, but they will be no faster than normal infantry. In assault, they have range, running upwards of 19 to 24 inches to assault. And that's where meltabombs come in handy. A squad of Rough Riders with meltabombs will make a total mess of any vehicle on the ground that hasn't moved 12 inches, or is not a skimmer. They are cheap and small and fast enough to move around to get into position for that kind of attack generally, especially if the vehicle you're after is either coming towards you or moving around on a flank.
Rough Riders (Veteran Serg) x 6 with Meltabombs = 78 points (and you can take more).
--Simply move up 6 and D6 inches on turn one, do the same on turn two, and you will probably have assault range on a vehicle that moved on a flank or is near the deployment zone of your enemey with a high armor value. Or you can hold them back and wait for something to come too close and then cream it with a nice surprise. Two squads are cheap and don't require deep striking.

Making it Work

Right away, you may be thinking, "But deep strike is unreliable!" or that "Deep strike isn't used in my games." But deep striking is very common in 4th and available in 2/3rds of all missions that we generally play. And we don't have to deep strike the whole army to do it, just the ones that we need to help out with anti-tank with our melta-tech to avoid the cries of cheese of the entire force dropping.
On the ground, we simply can mass up our Autocannons via HQ and Troops mainly and include heavy bolters as well to help slow our opponent, soften up anything coming near us and keep the pressure on by always having a hard hitting shot,that hits. No more scary weapons to draw attention and instead, pure hitting and hard choices of what to hit first.
So if you think about it, we can easily add quite a big source of anti-tank, spread out through Autocannons and Meltas to replace our old Lascannons, while increasing our output in total damage and keeping the hits coming more often.
Note: Lascannons are not dead. They're still very useful for specific targets, like Monoliths, Monstrous Creatures, etc. But they're not the most useful weapon in the army and shouldn't be massed up like they were in days of past for some players (not all).
In the end - you can use your force organizational chart to take advantage of how you can employ these weapons and not simply use Troops for everything, nor tanks. And for deep striking, we have Comm Links to make sure they arrive on schedule. And by using smaller units to deal most of this kind of damage and do this kind of work, you can free up other more important units like in Troops, to move around more for missions rather than everything taking the stationary game, nor everything taking to a tank.
Happy Tank Huntingif it suits your style!
 




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