Sunday, 14 April 2013

Stratagems 2: Imperial Guard Company Command Squad- Part 2

If you didn't catch part one, you can find it HERE. Here is a quick recap of what is included in the first section...

Part 1 

1- Unit Role 
2- Weapons choices 
     2.1 Company Commander’s weapons 
3- Upgrades and wargear 
     3.1- Wargear 
     3.2- Transport options 

And here is a breakdown of what I will cover today...

Part 2 

4- Advisors 
5- Characters

     5.1 Company commander replacements
     5.2 Advisors/Veterans replacements
6- Orders
7- Summary 

Officer of the fleet = Bad Ass Space Pirate!
4. Advisors

These come in four flavours- Master of Ordinance (MoO), Officer of the fleet (OotF), the Astropath (erm...Astropath) and bodyguards. All three have very similar stat lines to a standard veteran guardsmen, so there is nothing there that is of particular interest. On a minor note, it is nice to have the option to increase the squad size of a CCS, however this is a rather expensive way to do it. With the ability to take two bodyguards and one of each of the other types of Advisors, there is the potential to have a ten man CCS, but the cost of this would be extortionate and rather inefficient. So lets look at each type on their own merits...

The Master of Ordinance- Basically this guy allows you to bring a slightly more inaccurate basilisk to the table for thirty points. I actually quite like him, although I don't include him in my force very often. He is perfect for a static CCS, perhaps teamed up with a lascannon due to the similar strengths of their weapons. The MoO has become slightly better in 6th edition, now that the whole large blast template is full strength, a change I personally found very welcome. He can be inaccurate, but given enough turns, he will usually catch something out, and it doesn't take too long to get his points back. If he can grab line of sight he does indeed become a little more effective.
To help make the master of ordinance more accurate against vehicles or monstrous creatures, then try combining the MoO's shot with the take it down order, can be quite effective.

The Officer of the fleet- Up until 6th edition, I never left home without him. delaying my opponents reserves was generally a massive advantage, as well as potentially foxing his sneaky outflanking tactics. However with the advent of fliers, I generally leave him at home. The sad fact of the matter is that now the general advantage is held by the person who brings their fliers or their sky-fire weaponry on second. This is to ensure the sky-fire weaponry's safety in order to get those vital anti air shots off. The Officer of the fleet would be greatly improved if he could choose whether to -1 to the enemies dice rolls, but sadly that's not the case. His ability to force a re-roll on the outflank roll is still good, however this has also been lessened as a threat due to the inability of outflanking units to charge on the turn they enter. All in all, I would leave him at home now, unless I was playing an army that wasn't known for its fliers, but even still, i think there are better ways to spend the points.

The Astropath- Again, the same problem holds true for the Astropath. The boost to outflanking can be useful, but the fliers drawback is just a little too harmful.

The bodyguards- Well again these aren't choices I would use very often. I think they are cool and certainly a nice fluff driven choice, but with little in the way of changing their armament, I feel they are a little over costed. A nice idea, and certainly works well with the look out sir in the new edition, but there are again unfortunately, better things to spend the points on. For example, chimeras and aegis defence lines provide much better security.

So as for the Advisors then, unfortunately not much in it in my humble opinion  I would love at this point to include some cunning strategies to fully utilise the Advisors, but unfortunately I just don't think they are there. I would love to be proved wrong, so if anyone uses the Advisors in a sneaky way, please let me know. Best to save the points. If you have a static gun line, the MoO works well, but other than that there isn't much to these guys. Cool models though!

5. Characters

The CCS character upgrades come in two forms, there are the company commander replacements and the standard veteran/advisor replacements.

5.1- commander characters

There are two commander characters in the book, both of which cater for very different strategies. The first is Straken  who is designed as a bit of a close combat hard man. Then there is creed. Whilst his stats are pretty similar to a regular commander, it is his special rules that make him a boost to the army as a whole.

Col. Straken- Straken has stats similar to a space marine captain, making him easily the hardest guardsman in the codex. He can handle himself in combat and provides combat boosts to those nearby, perfect for keeping him close to other combined platoons. Often seen as a purely offensive character, I don't see this as the case. He is also very effective, beside a blobbed platoon behind a aegis defence line. With furious charge and counter attack anyone would think twice about assaulting such a bastion. He's a pretty solid commander, able to use the order system like any other commander. I would definitely recommend him for infantry heavy lists. His plasma pistol and 3+ save are also pretty handy. 

Lord Castellan Creed- Creed doesn't really have greatly improved stats, although he does have a rather excellent leadership of 10. Creed is so much better than his stats however. His special rule to allow one unit to outflank, sure goes a long way to boost the armies flexibility. It might be a benefit to have an Astropath in creeds command squad to help the chances of getting the outflanking unit were you want it. 

It is orders where Creed truly comes into his own however.

He has his own unique order which grants a unit fearless and furious charge until the end of the turn. Interestingly, this order does not have to be issued to a unit that is going for an assault.

5.2 Veteran/advisor replacement characters

These characters are quite interesting as they provide another means to pack even more special characters into a CCS. I recently played a game with three named characters in one command squad (Straken, Nork Deddog and Kell). This was a seriously high point squad, but good fun to play with, and did stand toe to toe with Typhus and a squad of terminators (not recommended tournament play, but great for a giggle).

Nork Deddog- Nork suffers from one major drawback...his cost. Like all Ogryns he is just too expensive to justify in anything but a fluffy fun list. However, he does have a few very useful skills. First and foremost is that he is a tank. He can soak up wounds to the squad that would otherwise see your commander instant killed. If the squad suffers a lascannon/missile launcher/autocannon hit, he can absorb these without any further damage to the squad. His real strength however is in close combat, particularly against high strength/low armour save opponents.  He also adds a fearsome ripper gun to the squad, which is not to be scoffed at.
The only problem is that for Nork to be truly effective, you have to put the squad in harms way, which isn't always what you want to do with the CCS. With Nork it is very much a matter of go big or go home. A CCS will not hold out for long in combat, with or without special characters, so you have to pour even more points into supporting units (blob infantry or even another expensive unit of Ogryns).

All in all then, nork is fun, but doesn't have anything other brute strength and iron toughness.

Colour Sergeant Kell- Kell is a much more rounded character, combining wargear that is worth the points (regimental standard anyone) with the nifty ability of extending a vox network equivalent, without squads needing to take Voxs (not an identical rule to the vox, but close enough if not better).

He also has a bit of meat in combat given his power fist, but generally I would also be inclined to include him in the just too expensive category  With the Imperial Guard it always comes down to "I could get him or another infantry/Veteran squad for that." Usually in highly competitive games, I find the latter to be the better choice, although the former is a bit more fun, and sometimes leads to interesting game twists.
Orders received- You don't have to shout you know!

6. Orders

In this section I will go over the three orders specific to the Company command squad- Bring it down, Fire on my target and Get Back in the Fight. The other orders, I will look at with the platoon command squad, as this article is already pretty massive!

Bring It Down!- This is a particularly useful order, especially when firing low shot/High strength weaponry which is normally reserved for the monstrous creatures/Vehicles that this order can target. With the command squad being allowed two orders a turn, I find it handy to equip the command squad with a lascannon, as this is always useful if there are no other units within range to use other orders on. 

Another good choice is to give the "Bring it Down" order to ratlings firing at monstrous creatures (or even low AV vehicles), as this can really help their shot rate and ultimately increase the chances of those all important rending wounds.

It can also be useful for the likes of melta and plasma veteran squads, but especially if you are using a fast chimera borne CCS. Generally a big thumbs up to this order, although it can be a bit limited due to the target having to be a vehicle or monstrous creature.  

Fire On My Target- Again another offensive order, designed to dig enemy units out of cover. Generally useful in most circumstances, but especially at range against objective holders/dug in troops. Its always better to have these re-rolls against lots of cover saves, to help increase the usefulness of the order. 

Not much in the way of specific uses here, but generally the more shots your ordered unit can throw down range at the enemy the better, although, not much point using this order if the target unit has a better Armour saving throw than cover save. Best example of use would be heavy bolters against Orks under a forcefield.

Get Back in the Fight- Another superb order, which really can save your bacon. Can stop broken squads from quitting the field, but also is extremely useful if the unit had gone to ground. This allows a good bit of tactical flexibility. For example: one of your units holding an objective in cover gets shot at and you choose to go to ground. the enemy comes within contesting range of the objective. In your turn you can then attempt to bring the squad "Back into the Fight", targeting the enemy unit contesting the objective. This extra spell of fire-power could just win you the objective, stop your unit from dying and also assist in the demise of the enemy unit. All free of charge... Not bad eh?!

7. Summary

So I'm sure to most of you guard veterans there has been little new to this tactica. I hope at most it has reminded a few of you of a few little tricks. For me the CCS is one of the most versatile units in the codex. What I have learnt from writing this article is that there are many types of CCS that I still need to experiment with... Now, where did I put those plasma guns...

A short note on Theme- Remember that most CCS's contain warlords, and I am a huge believer that, at the very least, the warlord should fit the character or theme of your force. So while it is not always the most efficient way to kit the unit out, its always fun to use this squad in a way that is fitting for your play style. If you like combat and frontal charges, use Nork Deddog and Col. Straken. If you like to think of your commander as a great tactician then try out Creed. Or if you want your commander to be a tyrannical coward, put him at the back with stealth cloaks and an Aegis, and two body guards and a master of ordnance as he sends his troops forwards. Its all fun and may even surprise you (and your Opponent  with how effective it can be. 

So as usual, any comments, please leave them below.  


  1. More great thinking, well clarified.

    Two things came to mind:

    1) Nork used to be priced right at 55pts. Then they doubled it, and
    2) D'you ever happen to catch my rant about voxes? If you're up for it...:

  2. There certainly are "cunning strategies" for using Advisers.
    My current favourite is not to use the Company Commander as your Warlord, but instead use a Lord Inquisitor and have him join the Command Squad (with all the Advisers).
    Not only is this a nice safe unit that can all take some Camo Cloaks and 4+ armour to take some shots for the Lord (here's where it's useful to have Bodyguards), but in an assault it has 6 character models all capable of making a challenge... 5 of whom WILL be challenging before the Lord Commissar.
    If you're fighting someone like Mephiston, that's at least 4 turns worth of close combat before he ever gets a chance to have a pop at the Warlord and the ultimate Tar Pit for a single character model, or anyone, who can't refuse that challenge from a pesky Astropath... for he's always the first under the wheels!
    If you're lucky... and you can see one of these characters coming... the Lord can leave the command unit, which then assaults. Bogging the character down with pointless challenges while the Lord Commissar scarpers and joins someone else.
    A very useful little unit when used well... the talent is getting the points value right. You want all the advisers for challenges, but you really don't want to spend more than 100pts (150pts MAX) on a Command Squad, to keep them nice and disposable.


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