Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Strata-gems: Imperial Guard Lord Commissar

As you have more than likely guessed this post is continuing my Strata-gems series, collecting my own thoughts on the Imperial Guard codex and how it works in 6th Edition 40k.

As you have more than likely guessed again, this particular report is on the Lord Commissar HQ choice.
The Baneblade commander head, making any model a Commissar since 2008

In the early days of sixth edition. The best thing to do was buy a 30 man blob, a commissar lord with a camp cloak, and an aegis defence line and camp. This was a rock solid unit, impervious to all but the most intense fire power. With the advent of Tau and Eldar, and the massive amounts of cover ignoring fire power they can pump out,a swell as the FAQ's changing up stealth, this isn't the no-brainer strategy it used to be.

So is there still a use for The Lord Commissar?

Coming in at the same points as a Primaris Psyker, these two directly compete for the HQ slot. The company command squad is a different breed altogether, so for now, I shall leave it out of the argument, mainly as it has been covered to a greater extent HERE.

The Psyker admittedly has a large amount of utility, given that it doesn't need to spend any further points on power weapons/ armour and can choose between a gamble on the psyker charts and the predetermined powers in the codex.

The Lord commissar on the other hand comes only with the shirt on his back and a standard armament of bolt pistol/Close combat weapon. A power axe is a good choice, if you have the points spare, but generally it is the commissars special rules that are important.
Not even a dreadnought frightens a commissar.

Stubborn- this is very useful, keeping your IG on the firing line, however, it's worth noting that a standard commissar has the same effect in a blob , minus one leadership, combined with summary execution, provided you have some sergeants left, it is very unlikely that the blob squad is going anywhere fast.

It must be noted now that this is really only effective with blob squads of guardsmen, as a single guard squad, even mounted in a chimera is too vulnerable to fire for the special rule to be effective. They simply don't often get a chance to make a high leadership check, particularly in assault.

Aura of Discipline- Simply put, every squad within 6 inches can use the commissars leadership...cool. This immediately makes The Lord commissar more worthwhile when combined with a static defensive gun line. This rule isn't much use in a mechanised force, as the units will either be protected by there chimera or outside the 6" aura range.

The Aura can be quite effective when combined with commander Chenkov's conscript squads. As The Lord Commissar doesn't have to be within the unit to pass on the leadership bonus. I have used this combo to create a massive speed bump front line. The down side is that this is a one trick pony and can also chew up a lot of points for very little offensive hitting power. A fun trick to use though!

Another thing to note is that The Lord Commissar has a few advantages from it's independent character. Look out sir is certainly one advantage, allowing him to last longer.

Another benefit which I have exploited on occasion is to use a lord commissar on an aegis defence line gun. Not only will he benefit from the cover save, he will also be able to precision shot with the defence gun. A quad auto cannon with precision shot is not to be sniffed at, particularly as a means to rid yourself of special weapons troopers. A lascannon is a potential character killer. Failing that, the BS 4 will at least increase your chances to hit.

So is The Lord Commissar worth it?

Unfortunately I think the best HQ choice is still the Company command squad, but for fun I think The Lord Commissar will always be a little bit more Characterful.

One of my favourite uses of The Lord Commissar is to mount him up with five Ogryns and a power fist and throw him into the fray. Again not the most strategically advisable tactic, but great fun, and can often throw off an opponent, given the rarity of such occurrences.

As always I'm interested in hearing your own opinions. Do the suggestions I have made make sense, is there something you do differently, or do you really like or dislike the Lord Commissar. Comments below...


  1. I use a Lord Commissar all the time for my IG - love the stubborn rule and the high leadership. I'd only think of switching him out for a CHQ if I needed another heavy weapon.

    PS I replied to you message via the store front, but no idea if it reached you, sadly now the free web store hides your email address so I can't reply directly as people were using that feature nefariously apparently. Anyway my direct email is simonhpw@googlemail.com

  2. I don't think I've ever used a lord commissar at all...although I have one.

    Col Gravis, however, is an absolute ninj with them!


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