Tactica: Imperium

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 I. The Basics
 II. Unit analysis
 III. Imperial Armour
 IV. Doctrines

ATEEEEN-SHUN! Stand up straight maggots! God-Emperor, you call yourselves Guardsmen!? The Emperor must be testing my faith, because you lot make me want to give up and go home! Well, it's my task to make soldiers out of you, so that's what I'll do! By the left! Quiiiiick-MARCH!

I. The Basics

Where to start? Well, the Imperial Guard is a vast organisation. There are so many different styles of army that it would take years to catalogue them all. Instead, I will concentrate on the basic list, then move on to common variants later.
For starters, you'll need an Officer, and two Troop Choices. Personally, I'd go with a good strong Infantry Platoon (35 to 55 men), and an Armoured Fist, but that's just me. Throw in a few Tanks, some Commissars, maybe Ogryns or Stormtroopers, a Hellhound... and you've got an army!

II. Unit analysis


Officers: Unlike other races, your commanders are not superhuman warriors, they do not have psychic powers, or super-strong armour. They are human. Talented humans, but human nonetheless.There are two aspects, however, that make the commander valuable:
1) His Leadership, and 2) The amount of Assault weapons he can bring.
Leadership officers work best when they are HSO, as otherwise Veteran Sergeants (or JO platoon leaders) will suffice.
Assault weapon officers are pricy, and risky. However, if you can shield them from enemy fire (perhaps with a Chimera), they'll do well. 2-4 Meltaguns will scrap even the strongest tank...
Generally, give the squad a Medic, or even two. These are excellent, and should not be underestimated. Standard Bearers can also help, and Vox links mean that your Leadership can be used by anyone and everyone.
Equipping your officers is an essay all of its own. However, I will discuss the key areas:
  • Stormbolters: Great for a "shooty" command section, but questionable otherwise.
  • Plasma Pistol: Rarely worth the points.
  • Power Weapons: Probably the best choice by far. cheap, and quite effective against enemy troops (providing they are not too tough/good in assault).
  • Power Fist: A poor choice for officers. With their low strength and toughness, Guard officers are easily singled out and slaughtered.
  • Medallion Crimson: Good choice if you're planning to Power Fist a Carnifex, but generally not good otherwise.
  • Refracter Field: a 5+ invulnerable is always a nice tool to have...
  • Macharian Cross: Can be excellent if used correctly, but otherwise don't bother.
  • Honorifica Imperialis: Giving it to a JO will shave 5pts of your list, but I find this is more useful when given to Veteran Sergeants, Enginseers, Sanctioned Psykers and so forth.
  • Carapace Armour: cheap, but it's value is questionable. Best taken if you're expecting to get into assault, or come under lots of Bolter fire.
  • Bionics: When they work, they can save your bacon, and considering their low cost, you may as well bring them...
Commissars: A Commissar with a Power Fist is a magnificent unit. They cannot be singled out in assault, and so will almost always survive long enough to punch out the opposition. The Leadership bonus they confer should not be ignored either...
Preachers: Great if your Command Section is hurling itself into the melee. Armed with an Eviscerator, and with a Commissar along for the ride, the Command Section can pack a massive punch in assault. Remember not to include a Heavy Weapon in a squad containing a Preacher, as their special rules make the weapon useless.
Sanctioned Psykers: Cheap, and somewhat random with their powers. By far the best way to use them is in an assaulty command section, with a Force Weapon and the Honorifica... and people say Guard can't assault!
Special Weapon Squads: Pricy, and short ranged (unless you take Snipers), these units work best by hiding until the enemy are in range, then unleashing their firepower upon the enemy. Don't try to assault, for they will fail.


Ogryns: Big, tough, and wonderful in assault. Ogryns can clobber almost anyone, but won't last long against the serious CC beasts like Dreadnoughts, Carnifex or Greater Daemons. Anyone else is fair game...
Ratling Snipers: Pathetically weak, the only good thing about the Ratlings is their Sniper Rifles. Not many players use them, and I am not one of them.
Stormtroopers: With a good BS,Definition: Battle Sister or Ballistic Skill better armour, and more powerful guns, Stormtroopers work best engaging other Guard units, Dark Eldar Warriors or Eldar Guardians in a firefight, where the extra AP can be used. Properly equipped, they can also make a good tank-hunting squad, or infantry killers with Flamers. However, they are not assault troops, and won't do much better than normal Guard in hand to hand combat.
Veterans: With better BS,Definition: Battle Sister or Ballistic Skill and infiltrate, Veterans can take and hold key locations quickly. They can also load up on special weapons, making them a nasty attack squad. Again, they are not an assaulty unit, but will probably do better than "normal" guardsmen as they can be equipped with laspistol and CC weapon.
Techpriest Engineers: Their use is generally questioned by many. I find the best way is to take a single Enginseer, with no Servitors, and plonk him in with an "assaulty" command squad to keep their transport running, and give a bit more cc punch.
Alternatively, stick him in base contact with your most valuable tank with 4 Technical servitors as bodyguard. This will mean that, should a weapon be lost, he will almost always repair it again.
Ultimately, it is up to you to find the right mix of weapons to complete the task you want him to accomplish.


Infantry Platoons: These are your main units, and you should bring plenty of them. Always try to have either two platoons of 25 or more, or one of 45-55 men.
Remember, you can never have too many guardsmen.
The Squads should be armed according to the task they are expected to accomplish. Don't go too Lascannon heavy, as these are extremely expensive, and overly geared against Tanks, with little value against infantry.
Always try to have a good mix of Heavy Weapons. I will discuss them below:
  • Heavy Bolter: One of the best. Capable of slaughtering light infantry like Orks, Eldar or Tyranids (the little ones), and with sufficient shots, can even bring down Wraithlords. You can never have too many...
  • Autocannon: Best against medium/light vehicles, or mid-range infantry. The Autocannon is still a good choice, but don't go overboard.
  • Missile Launcher: Jack of all trades, the best weapon around.
  • Lascannon: Powerful, but pricy, and useless against "hoard" units.
  • Mortar: Relatively weak, best saved for Heavy Weapon squads.
  • Flamer: Not really useful in Infantry Squads, unless you're against a Hoard army. Remember, it auto-hits, which is a great assed for a BS Definition: Battle Sister or Ballistic Skill3 unit.
  • Plasmagun: The traditional Marine-killer. This weapon is powerful, but overheats are dangerous...
  • Meltagun: Short ranged, and only hits half the time. Best saved for tank-hunting.
  • Grenade Launcher: Multi-purpose, this weapon can compliment any heavy weapon the squad has, but fails to excell in any one area. It's down to personal choice.
Armoured Fist: An Infantry Squad in a Chimera. These units tend to move about a lot, and so are best used to counter-attack, or to claim an objective. If you're desperate, you can use them as an assault squad, just don't expect much success.
Conscripts: Generally described as "meat shields", Conscripts work best when used to swamp an enemy with mass firepower. Flamers are a brilliant weapon for the Conscripts, as it does not use their rather poor BS.Definition: Battle Sister or Ballistic Skill

Fast Attack

Hellhound: Expensive, but deadly. The Inferno cannon has a fantastic range, and can cause tremendous damage. Well worth taking, especially against Eldar, Tyranids or Orks.
Rough Riders: In theory, they are a good assault unit, but they rarely live long enough to make their charge count. If you can get them to work, then they can do some harm.
Sentinels: Flexible, and quite efficient, Sentinels can be equipped for almost any task, and can even hold off low strength enemy troops (Orks and Termagants can't hurt them!). I find the Multilaser is the best choice, as Autocannons and Lascannons won't last long, due to the Sentinel's weak armour, while few opponents will let a Heavy Flamer Sentinel get within range.

Heavy Support

Heavy Weapon Squads: Very good, but vulnerable to fire. Equip them properly, and they will go far.
Leman Russ: The king of tanks. Sponsons are generally favourable, as if the main gun is lost, the tank is not so useless!
Demolisher: Even tougher, Sponsons are even more favourable, due to the short range of the main gun. Multi-meltas are, I feel, useless, as the Demolisher Cannon is more than capable of scrapping even the toughest tank. Plasma Cannons, with their superior range, and Blast Templates, can butcher entire squads of even the toughest infantry.
Basilisk: A poor choice. Too weak to fight head on, and with a 36" blind spot when firing indirectly, they are rarely efficient enough to bother with. However, when they hit, your opponents will know about it.

III. Imperial Armour

Tanks make the Guard great. The only way GW Definition: Games Workshopcould make the Leman Russ more brilliant would be to tell us it was built by Jaguar.
However, for a select few, the three entries in the Codex are not enough, and they go on to the Forgeworld range for new and impressive toys. For those chosen to bear the honour of the weighty tome known as Imperial Armour Volume 1, I give you a summary of these wonderous fighting machines:
Vanquisher: Sleek, deadly, and sexy as sin, the Vanquisher can do no wrong... well, nearly.Firstly, it's expensive, very expensive, and unless you plan to do a lot of Tank Hunting, all those extra points will probably be wasted. That said, its superior range could really turn the tide on a mega-battle (100" or so). Field it if you want, but generally, it's a gun-magnet.
Exterminator: Cheap and cheerful, the Exterminator is probably the most cost-efficient Imperial Armour tank, with the possible exception of the Destroyer Tank Hunter. Not built for anti-tank operations, it works best when drumming down hoards of enemies. Best used with Heavy Bolter hull and sponsons. Feel free to laugh manically at any Tyranid players in the room when deploying it.
Conqueror: God-Emperor, this is one fine tank!
Operating under the same principles as the Exterminator, the current rules have removed the extra rear armour, but the Conqueror can still pound enemy positions with frightening force. Generally, however, the Exterminator is more points-efficient. That said, it's worth it just for the look of the thing.
Executioner: Two words: Plasma Destroyer.
With better range than a Lascannon, this weapon is brilliant for turning Terminators to molten slag. A bit pricy, though. Generally, there are more points-efficient vehicles, but then if that's what you want, you're using the wrong book...
Be sure to have an Enginseer follow this thing around, as in my experience, these tanks attract "1"s to hit like moths to a flame.
Destroyer Tank Hunter:Read the rules. Have an orgasm. Use for every battle afterwards. This tank can do no wrong! Capable of annihilating even the toughest tank (or largest Terminator squad), and it has a move-and-fire Ordnance template! The only downside is it still uses its BS Definition: Battle Sister or Ballistic Skillof 3, so half the time you'll miss... but with such a massive range, and 14 armour, you can afford to miss now and again... just don't lose that gun or you're defenceless!
Thunderer: Frankly, it's a poor man's Demolisher. While cheap, it only has one gun, and that's not exactly a long-ranged one either. While the Destroyer is excellent for long range sniping, the Thunderer must brave enemy fire to bring its cannon to bear... and therein lies the problem. Essentially, it's an Imperial Guard Vindicator, and as such, should be left well alone. Fanatics only need apply.
Chimera: Same as always, but with two new turrets. Do not underestimate these new weapons, as they are just as effective as any other. Use at will, they'll get the job done.
Salamander Scout: Personally, I like this little nipper.
While not well gunned, and quite vulnerable, it is a Fast vehicle, allowing it to rush forward and claim an objective, or support a Chimera dash with its autocannon. A tad expensive perhaps, but then the novelty of Guard being able to keep up with a Falcon is more than worth that.
Salamander Command: Bit of an odd one this. Lacking the speed of its Scout counterpart, or the Armour of a Leman, the SC is, on paper, not a very good tank.
However, its main usage is that of command, not combat. Used properly, a SC makes a rather characterful addition to an army... just don't expect it to do much!
Trojan: What can be said about this tank? Well, not much.
This thing is not really a "tank", per se, rather a towing vehicle. It is not meant for front-line fighting, and its stats reflect this. However, if you're looking for a way to move your Weapon Platforms, this is it.
Atlas: Again, a non-combat vehicle. Fluffy, but that's about it.
Cyclops: Very cheap, but very vulnerable.
Just keep the Operator out of sight, and hope this thing gets into the enemy lines...
Sentinel Power Lifter: A close combat Sentinel, this Aliens inspired walker is brutal against low-armour opponents, but won't do much good against serious opposition. Go for it if you want to, just don't expect miracles... best used in a scenario like Bunker Assault, where the IG could be defending an Airfield or Artillery Position.
Griffon Mortar: Probably the greatest artillery piece in 40K, the Griffon is cheap and deadly. A well-placed shot from a Griffon can strike vulnerable side and rear armours, destroying tanks with horrific force, or blasting infantry into bedrock. Tougher infantry (like Marines) may endure longer, but all it takes is one failed Pinning Test to leave them at the mercy of the entire army. The Griffon should be considered virtually compulsory, and fielded whenever you can.
Medusa: Good on paper, bad in practise.
While it sports a siege cannon that would make a Warlord Titan wince, it is not that good at delivering said ordnance. With weak armour, and an exposed gunnery crew, the Medusa is at the mercy of every anti-tank gun in the field, and probably won't survive long enough to fire more than once.
Best saved for Cityfight battles, where its limited range will not be so much of a problem.
Hydra Flak Tank: Unless you're expecting enemy aircraft, the Hydra is terribly overpriced.
Having said that, it is a nice little toy, and when its quad autocannons are turned on enemy infantry, the result is very messy. Definately taken for looks rather than practicality.
Manticore: An expensive Basilisk variant. Best leave this on the shelf, along with the Bassy. Save your points for something else.

IV. Doctrines

As a rule, don't use them.
Doctrines can, and have, cause the creation of some of the most tactically hopeless Guard armies in existence. However, for those who must...

Restricted Troops:

All of these units are discussed above. Choose the ones you plan on using, and take those Doctrines.

Alternative Regimental Organisations

Drop Troops: Abused to death. Do not take this Doctrine unless you plan on converting an entire army of Elysians. You will either be labelled a Powergamer, or sent home in a very small matchbox.
Used correctly, can create a very enjoyable and fluffy army.
Grenadiers: A nice choice, especially in small games. Grenadiers should only be taken if you plan on fielding a small, hard-hitting force, or you have a serious Stormtrooper fetish and own 6 squads of them. Generally useless for Shooty armies.
Mechanised: A fun varation. Mechanised armies are both fast moving and hard hitting. Their style of play is rather different to "normal" Guard, usually favouring a high-speed assault. However, try to remember that you are still Guardsmen. Don't expect to go head on with Genestealers and come out the victor. Also, there is nothing wrong with deploying the entire force out of Chimeras at the start of the battle, and drumming the enemy with full guns for a turn or two, before leaping into the Chimeras. On average, they will survive an assault far longer than their passengers, so use that fact!

Skills and Drills

Die Hards: Best used for an "assaulty" style of play, or if you know you're going to get swamped in close combat.
Iron Discipline: A useful doctrine, especially when you are expecting heavy casualties (like when fighting Tau). Just make sure that Officer stays alive...
Independent Commissars: Good on paper, bad in practise. Don't bother with this one.
Close Order Drill: A good, if overused, Doctrine. Personally, I don't take it, as it rarely fits the fluff of my armies, and Doctrines are primarily meant to show regimental fluff on the battlefield. Best left for Mordians and such like.
However, if you are going to use it, bear in mind you do not have to use it at all times. It is best saved for assault, otherwise you'll be at the mercy of every Blast, Flame and Ordnance weapon on the field...
Hardened Fighters: Good choice for a close combat geared force, near useless otherwise.
Jungle Fighters: Not normally worthwhile, unless you're expecting a serious jungle-fight.
Light Infantry: Firstly, Cadian models are not Light Infantry! Light Infantry is reserved for Catachan, Tallarn or Tanith models.
Not great, but not bad either.
Sharpshooters: The second worst doctrine available. Sharpshooters is often abused, and is rarely worthwhile. The best way to use it is with a Heavy Weapon Squad containing 3 Lascannons (we've crunched the numbers, trust me). Never, and I meannever give this to anyone other than a Heavy Weapons squad.Ever.
Xeno-Fighters: Rarely worth it, and you have to take it in every battle, even if your opponent isn't the right Xeno. Leave it at home...
Veterans: Suits some people, useless for others. I'll leave that up to you.

Special Equipment

Chem-Inhaler: Useful if you're expecting a lot of enemy fire (Tau?). Otherwise, not worth it.
Cameleoline: Best used in Cityfight, or similar battlefields with plenty of terrain. In an open field, it's a waste of points.
Carapace Armour: This is, without exception, The worst Doctrine ever!
I've crunched the numbers on this, and the only way it's worth taking is when you're expecting a lot of AP 5 firepower.
Trouble is, most armies will either rush you in CC, or blast you from long range with AP 4 or better weapons. Never combine this with sharpshooters! Doing so will show that you are:
  • 1) A total newbie.
  • 2) Dead meat.
  • 3) Destined to lose.
No army has ever won with the Sharpshooter + Carapace combo in its basic squads. Remember that.
Cyber-Enchancement: More for fluff than practicality. Take it if it feels right, otherwise leave it alone.
Warrior Weapons: Overpriced and underachieving. For die-hard assault players, or fluffy armies only.

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