Monday, 19 November 2012

Respect the underdogs- Penal troops

Since the launch of sixth edition I have been largely experimenting with different lists, playing with units that for the majority of 5th I had left at home. I now am really starting to pick up a bit of momentum with the rules and there are a few units that I have grown a little more fond of.
My Penal detachment...ordered to charge into certain death!

I have previously mentioned how brilliant the Leman Russ is once more, even if their weapon load outs have changed for different players tastes. But I would like to bring the joys of the penal troops to your attention today.

This is always been a choice in the codex which I have enjoyed using. A lot of people dislike the randomness of their abilities and lack of weapons choices. I'm also aware that stubbornness on a leadership of 8 and a small easily killable squad is hardly Uber. However, it is the fact that the squad is so understated that I like it. At 80 points it doesn't exactly break the bank (but you can get a command squad with three meltas for that!?!) and the lack of obvious punch makes it a lowly target for enemy fire. But to me this is the true advantage of the squad, by being primarily low key, by scouting into a fairly unused piece of the battlefield and slowly biding their time, I have used the penal squad to capture back line objectives, take the line breaker  objective and generally cause inconvenience to my enemy. They may never outright win you a game, but they can sure do a lot more than their stats suggest.

On a slightly more psychological note, what does it matter if they die...isn't that what they are there for. This freedom of use and low investment allows you to experiment, to play with the cosmic order of a 40K game and generally have a bit more fun...After all isn't that what we are trying to do when we put our toy soldiers and dice on the table top!

I'd love to hear what you think. Is this just showing my naivety as a gamer or do you actively seek out units for different, less conventional roles?!?

4 comments:

  1. I don't like making lists to min-max a table. Penal troops almost always make my list, if only cos I made my unit beastmen and I am an oldschool gamer who loved abhumans in his guard army lists. Rough Riders likewise get included - flavour for me = fun. I don't want to see spam vet lists and imagine painting them to be dull as all heck.

    Where'd you get the heads for your penal fellows?

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  2. I've been on the recieving end of Admiral Drax's Penal Legion on several occasions, and without fail they've always had an effect on the outcome of the game. They are not the optimal unit that so many tournament players demand, but against soft opponents like other Imperial Guard, they can be a real pain - you can't ignore them because they will hurt you if you don't, I've experienced that first hand!

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  3. Tee-hee! Thanks, Gravis!

    Yup, I love them. They've taken a hit in 6th sadly, what with Furious Charge being less good and them not being allowed to assault on the turn they arrive from reserve, but (were I playing at the moment) I'd still take them without a hesitation.

    And I'll say this: in 5th Ed at least, they really were either a game-winning or game-ghanging unit for me in the majority (quite literally) of all the games I played. It'll be coming down soon, I fancy, but check out the link on the left column of my blog to see my shrine to their noble achievements!

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  4. @Dai- I couldn't agree more. I'm afraid at the end of fifth, I fell into the spamming vets bracket, but I am pleased to say that I have pulled myself back out of that rut. as for the heads, they are a multitude of different empire and imperial guard heads (and a brettonians one too I think) that have had their hair filed off. For my next squad though, I have found a small production of bare heads from anvil industries. I will post a small review of these soon.

    @Gravis and Drax- Sounds like a fair bit of rivalry there. I think they are a brilliant unit even with the slight lessening of their abilities. Assault lasguns ftw!

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