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The wondrous Guide of Unit Selection for Noobs

Submitted By: Date: September 17, 2005, 01:59:30 PM Views: 25950
Summary: <p class="subheader">Introduction<br /></p> <p class="body">Welcome to the wondrous guide for selecting units from the Imperial Guard Codex, here I’ll give you a blunt look on the strengths, weaknesses and usefulness of all the units in the Imperial guard codex.<br /> When you buy your imperial guard codex you will probably (as most n00bs are) be very excited to begin your army, you’ll probably open the codex and be stunned by the load of information coming at you (and getting a headache in the process). You don’t know what to take and eventually will be buying hoards of models of which almost half of it you will never use or use it the wrong manner. This is when this guide comes in *trumpet sounds* for it shall help you choose your army by giving a few simple pointers in the right direction (or the totally wrong direction). Now let us proceed.<br /></p>


Command Platoon

As you proceed to the command section (after of course reading all the fluff) you will see three choices of officers: the rookie (Junior Officer), the veteran (Senior Officer) and the heroic front-liner (Heroic Senior Officer). Each of these officers are great and at first you will be shocked at their points cost, but mind you that 4 guardsmen and the leadership ability is included with this.

Now let us choose an officer, at first glance the Heroic Senior Officer looks like a great choice with high leadership multiple wounds and a reasonable weapon and ballistic skill, think besides this as this will lead to a very expensive command squad of 5 men and that would almost the same as giving your opponent a gift wrapped present of victory points.

The Officers

The Junior Officer: The cheapest choice and a very good choice if you want to keep it cheap. He has a good leadership and fights just as well as most of the guard, but gets killed very easy in shooting and close combat as he doesn’t have many wounds. A tip is if you want the stats of heroic senior officer, but want it cheaper, then you should give the JO a Honorifica Imperialis as this saves up points in which you can give him a power sword. If you want to keep the unit cheap so that you can save up points for the rest of you army, but still a good character (for the guard at least) then the JO is your man.

The Senior Officer: Ah yes, the Senior Officer, the Captain, the boss, the man that is just a small step from getting out of the field and never getting his boots dirty again.

The Senior Officer is a great character and is kind of a between step to the HSO and the JO in points, stats and fluff. This is the choice you should take if you want to keep your squad cheap, but want better stats than a JO. The senior officer is, as you can see, better at almost everything except Ld which isn’t that bad, it’s even good! He can watch himself for a while in close combat and is better at surviving and fits better in the fluff as SO are often the ones that will lead the company into battle. Give him a power sword and he is satisfied.

The Heroic Senior Officer: Now this is the most expensive uber boss in the guard (normally I would mention the points, but there is a thing called copyright). He will hack himself through the thickest of combats, lead the biggest armies to battle, order massive firing lines to shoot and still be home in time for tea. This fella is better in everything compared to the JO and has a better Ld and higher survivability than the SO. This guy is also the most expensive of the lot and will quickly bring your unit close to the 100 points. This isn’t bad though as you will have a greater unit to form the anchor of your guard. He can also take more equipment, but you should ignore this for if you are going to use all those points for him then you truly are a n00b. I would rather have a JO with a Honorifica and a power sword as this is cheaper.

It’s a great character, but getting his stats can be achieved through a cheaper way and the cheaper the better.


The Other Guardsmen

Now you get 4 guardsmen with your officer, what to do with them. For the HQ command it will be wise to take a company banner to help the units stand their ground or even a regimental banner if you are going to play a big game (round the 1500+ points) and are expecting combat as the regimental banner is a big points sucker. Now we also have a medic, great person and saved the life of my officer more than once, but when to choose him. I would only take him for your HQ command (we want the head officer to survive a little longer of course) and would only give it to platoon command squads if you are fielding plasma guns in that unit (plasma burns if you where wondering why).

The Weapon Options

Finally we have come to the fun part: the weapons options. You can take as many special weapons as you have normal guardsmen left and may take 1 heavy weapon team. A heavy weapon team can be very effective, but it limits your command squads mobility a lot and that isn’t good because the command squad is a unit that should reinforce the places where the line is faltering and therefore remain mobile. I’m not saying that a heavy weapon team is bad though (everything is the codex is good, but it should be used correctly), the heavy weapon team is a great asset to your squads firepower only IHMO it should remain mobile.

Special Weapons

The special weapons part is worth mentioning though as you can get a max of 4 special weapons if you don’t take any heavy weapons, medics and standard bearers.

The Plasma Gun can mean certain death for terminator squads and most of the other expensive units in other armies, but with this it might be better to take a medic with you as one of the plasma gunners will get a ‘overheat’ result and that will mean a waste of 16 points.

The Meltagun is great for busting tanks, but you should only take it if you have light infantry or drop troops as this weapon has a very short range (it doesn’t suffer from overheating though).

The Grenade Launcher is the most versatile special weapon in the guard and for not that many points even. I am in love with the grenade launcher, for this weapon can bust light tanks and throw blast templates on infantry. This weapon lacks punch though, and most armies with a 3+ armor save wont worry much about this weapon, but for a weapon with good range and the ability to shoot frag and krak grenades it is still a great weapon.

The Flamer is a very good weapon as this baby hits automatically and most of the time no problem with wounding and has a template. The only drawback is its range because it is a template weapon (if it could only fire like a hellhound) which means you will have to come up and close with the enemy, therefore this weapon is advisable for infiltrators and drop troops.


Support squads

I can hear you saying “w00t, w00t, 3 heavy weapons in one unit w00t!” while you are jumping up and down with joy. One tip - they aren’t that great, to be honest I never really was that enthusiastic about heavy weapon support squads (except in the beginning of course) as they are overpriced, vulnerable and well, eeh… they are far too static. You only got 6 men in the unit which means that 2 or 3 well aimed heavy bolter shots will waste a unit of almost 100 or more points; I’m not saying that they aren’t good; I’m just saying they get killed easily; a unit with 3 heavy bolters is perfectly capable of wasting entire hoards of infantry without breaking a sweat. I’m just saying it’s better to integrate them in your infantry as this will better protect them and if a unit is destroyed then you will only lose 1 weapon and not all 3 of them. Oh, and the heavy weapons are cheaper for the infantry platoons.

Now here comes a unit that comes to value with the Drop Troops doctrine: *you can hear drums ruffling now* the special weapons squads. I can hear you thinking “huh a unit that has mostly less powerful weapons, overpriced and they are short ranged,” well that is true, but there is 1 configuration that has proven it’s worth over and over again and that is the unit with 2 flamers and a demo charge. This unit is cheap (for a special weapon squad), extremely effective and fun to use (you should see your opponents face when you use the demo charge on his terminators). There is a risk though as you can might as well blow up your own unit, but that is the fun part as it brings more excitement in your games. And when the demo charge has done it’s work then you can begin purifying the enemy with your flamers *big grin*, although there is a chance your flamers are out of range when you land so one of  the other special weapons is also perfect to use instead of the flamers, only flamers can be the most effective. Snipers are although not advisable when using them as drop troops as they count as heavy weapons.

Sanctioned Psykers

I find these guys one of the most fluffy (together with storm troopers and hardened vets) and coolest models in the range. They do have however weak stats and their psychic powers are randomly determined, but these fellas can become close combat monsters. Give him an Honorifica and a force weapon and it can go purging chaos space marines or even greater daemons (if your are feeling VERY lucky) for a living (I’m kind of exaggerating now, but he can be effective nonetheless, this is a 1 shot weapon, it will work or it will backfire). I find every psychic power useful so I try to build my strategy around them if I use them, but don’t expect them to do miracles.


“No please don’t shoot me sir, by the mercy of the Emperor”

*DOEM* “pathetic weakling*.

Are so you tired of your officers running away so often that you can just shoot them? Well here is your solution: the commissar! This fella is great for making sure your units don’t run away as he gives +1 Ld to the leader of the squad, isn’t that great. Oh and he shoots the leader if he fails his morale check, but that’s what we do with weaklings anyway (half my guardsmen begin to shift uneasily). I have to honest that I find this guy a great asset to the HQ command as he focuses the mind of the commander nicely. And even if your commander gets killed, you’ll still have a character that’s just as good as your senior officer and he even has a better Ld. He is a great asset in close combat as he smashes the righteous fury of the Emperor into his foes faces with his power fist. This guy truly is great and fluffy (fluffy in background not literally fluffy).


Now to be honest I’m not to enthusiastic about these guys as they makes my units kind uneasy with his zealous blabbering. I don’t have to much experience with these guys so I’m not really sure of passing judgment with these guys, but I’ll tell what I see in these units as their potential. To be honest I think these guys can be devastating with a close combat Imperial Guard army as he can make the unit re-roll all the misses and that is a great rule. I would fit these guys with an eviscerator as that just fits with them (and it looks cool) and it can rip vehicles (even a land raider!) apart if you’re lucky. If you know something else that is worth mentioning about the priests then please send a message to me, but do not send junk or else I’ll report you to the moderators.



Now we have arrived at the Elites section, the glory boys, the best of the best or just the plain pro’s.

Hardened Veterans

This is IMO the most fluffy (and my favorite) unit in the Imperial Guard army. The hardened vets are the most grizzled men in the regiment, they have been in the mouths of hell and came back out the other end in one piece and still ready to rumble, truly they are the heroes of the Imperium (unlike those weak space marines, no offence though). These guys have a good BS (just as good as a space marine), they can take 3 special weapons and a heavy weapon and their sergeant can take officer items. *raises hands in the air and looks to the skies* the Emperor must have blessed us with his grace for this unit. I can hear you saying “so, these guys only have an armor save just as good as other guardsmen” then my reaction will be like this “well congratulations n00b, you just found out why that doesn’t matter anyway ‘cause the entire guard dies easily. If you want good armor saves then you should go play space marines.” Oh and they can infiltrate (thank you oh holy Emperor). These guys can be fitted to do almost anything, you can make them mobile and go running around with 3 flamers and get a sudden itch to burn everything that moves and looks ugly, or you can fit them with meltaguns and go blowing up tanks and go kill chaos space marine lords. My unit just has 2 grenade launchers, a flamer and an autocannon, which makes the unit good against infantry and able to bust most tanks. My advice is to give them weapons in which you can benefit of their BS. You can give them plasma guns, but I find it too risky for them (storm troopers fit this role better). If you think of giving a chimera to them then go ahead be my guest, but that will be a total waste of their infiltrate ability IMO.

Hardened veterans rule! Sorry, I’ll try too keep myself under control.

Storm Troopers

Toy soldiers, glory boys or just as storm troopers they are known and this is a very good unit (not as good as Hardened Vets IHMO, but that’s me). I mostly use this unit for carrying around my plasma guns as they have a better armor save than all the other guardsmen (not as good as a Enginseer though) and their BS is just as good as the hardened vets, but they can only take 2 special weapons and no heavy weapons (thank the Emperor as that will ruin all the fluff around them). This makes them a good unit none the less. As you will notice they have the ability too deep strike and infiltrate, infiltrate is great no doubt about it and certainly worth taking and deep strike is also good if you want too land them next to a tank and pop it, but that is suicidal and that is a role that doesn’t really fit them.

Another good idea for this unit is a chimera transport as this will bring them a lot of mobility and the needed heavy fire power that the squad lacks. This unit is also excellent for a counter-attack squad as they can fare quite well in close combat due to their good armor save and it’s worth considering giving the sergeant a power sword (after that you upgraded him to a vet of course). You’ll probably be saying “what about the flamer and the grenade launcher,” well to be honest I think because of the armor save of the storm troopers I would take the chance and give them plasma guns, but a flamer works well for them as they will see a lot of close quarter fighting and a grenade launcher is always good.


They are big, strong and incredibly stupid (I’m not kidding here). These guys are your combat units as they love to swing huge pieces of metal (their ripper guns) at the heads of their enemy. With a high strength and multiple wounds they are an excellent close combat unit.

They don’t have many options so can’t say much about that. Upgrading 1 to a bone ‘ead is certainly worth it ‘cause you want these guys riding round in chimera’s or else they will get shot to pieces before they even come in combat and the chimera gives them great fire support while they are clobbering their opponents (daunting thought here). Well can’t say much more about these guys as I lack experience with them ‘cause I like to keep my armies all human.
Any suggestions to add to this section then please send a message. Once again anybody that sends junk will be reported to the moderators.


Ah yes the ratlings, the mini-me’s of Al Capone. These fellas are excellent snipers and to make it even better you can get a whole unit of them. Snipers are a wonderful asset to an Imperial army and ratlings are the best. And to make things even better they can infiltrate and they get pinned instead of running away, now you’ll probably think that that means they are courageous well wake up ‘cause it’s exactly the opposite. They ain’t good in close combat, but they can wound wraithlords and greater daemons with their sniper rifles, while most units will struggle to do something like that. As I said I like my armies all human so I’ve rarely ever played ratlings, any suggestions to expand this part will be welcome.

Techpriest Enginseers

I find the models really cool and the usefulness of these guys is beyond mention.

These guys have the best armor save in the entire imperial guard and that’s something worth noticing, give them a Honorifica and they will bring the wrath of the Machine-God upon all who stand before them (and I mean it). Next, being able to repair tanks means they are great asset for your command squad if they ever come into combat as these guys can be close combat monsters (by guard standards) if outfitted correctly (to be honest they already are outfitted correctly). And if you really, really, really want a plasma cannon then you should take this guy. I never really used his servitors (I always stick him in the command squads), but I suspect it can be potentially very dangerous as he can take 2 heavy bolters which means spitting death for many footslogging foes of the Imperium. This guy is IMO a very misunderstood part of the codex, even though this guy is on his own, he isn’t that much points and he can always prove useful.



The troops, the footsloggers, the scum of the guard, the lowlifes or in some cases, the mutants.

Many of you n00bs will think “Man the guys are weak, I’m taking a minimum of those,” well let me say one thing and that is that these guys will bring you a victory more than any other unit in the guard.

Infantry Platoon

The platoon consists out of 25 models as a minimum and can grow up to a whopping 64 models! The platoon is the place where I put in all my heavy weapons (‘cause I find the support squads way too vulnerable). A few squads with a heavy bolter for some anti-infantry and a missile launcher on top of it to blow up some tanks, which after that still able to kill infantry with their blast markers. The missile launcher is a great asset to the platoons as this weapon is very versatile, but I still tend to put in some heavy bolters in the platoon as they do a better job in killing infantry (and believe me they can kill infantry). In small battles (around the 1000 points) there is often no need in taking a lascannon as you often won’t encounter land raiders or other heavy tanks and even if you do come against something like that the missile launcher is still able to kill it. When it comes to larger scale battles (around the 1500 points) I often dedicate one platoon in with lascannons so that they can go tank hunting, but if you know the reserves rule is being used you would want to intermix the squads to prevent your dedicated AT platoon from being in reserve for about half of the game (I had this once, it wasn’t pleasant). The autocannon is a very good weapon as it can bust up to medium class tanks and still fires fast enough to kill enough infantry so you can call it an anti-infantry weapon also, but I tend to stick more to the missile launcher even though its anti-infantry capability is less devastating it still has a great AT capability. The mortar is the only weapon I can recommend to a support squad as a mortar will often mean that the squad will hide behind terrain and with only one weak mortar blast you can’t do much damage and if you want to pin a unit then I recommend the sniper rifle.

As for the special weapons, I recommend the grenade launcher as this weapon can work as an AT weapon and also blast infantry. Many players also take plasma guns, I can imagine this as the plasma gun is a devastating weapon as it will spell doom against terminators and can blow up medium to light tanks with few problems, but it can also be devastating against your gunner as he might blow himself up instead of the enemy (that is a bad thing mind you) and that will mean 16 points wasted, a risk I don’t have the guts for taking. We also have the flamer and the meltagun and you’ll see by looking at their stat lines what they are for, but these weapons are only to be used if close quarter fighting can be expected (for example with drop troops, jungle fighters and light infantry).

Armored fist squad

These guys are here to support your platoons and they do a excellent job in doing it.

You can go so many different directions with these guys as they have all the weapon options of an infantry squad and are far more mobile. Read the part above for the effectiveness of heavy and special weapons. I think it’s best to fit the infantry against tanks (missile launcher or lascannon or even a meltagun) because the chimera will be doing most of the anti-infantry work. As for a special weapon I still stick to the grenade launcher, but giving them a flamer (not advisable against power armor) or meltagun and do a drive-by (this is risky and sometimes suicidal though), by driving next to a infantry squad or tank, jump out if you have a flamer or open up the hatch on top of the chimera if you have a meltagun and let the gun do the rest.

Now the configurations on the chimera, a hull-mounted heavy bolter is the best choice for a hull weapon for this weapon doesn’t have such a short range and for the turret I use a autocannon (Forgeworld rules) or twin-linked heavy bolter (this is very effective and advisable over the normal heavy bolter), but a multi-laser also does wonders against infantry. A heavy stubber is also good for some more anti-infantry.


Well to be honest, these guys can’t even hit a barn at point-blank range, let alone hit an enemy unit, but that’s when their numbers come in as they can come in HUGE numbers for hardly any points. These guys can’t do much as their statistics kind of limit them in doing much else then dying, but they are excellent if you want to cheaply increase your numbers and don’t want to buy another expensive platoon. The only special weapon that really works for them is the flamer, because this weapon hits automatically, but that would mean that they would have to run to the enemy and die in their dozens and that’s a waste. The other weapons are a waste of points as they cost way too many points and they will almost never hit anyway. Conscripts are perfect for blocking expensive units and keeping them busy for a few turns, for example a dreadnought, as this fella has only a few attacks per turn and it will take forever slashing through the unit and all you have to do is to make sure they don’t run away, and an officer will solve that problem without difficulty.


Fast Attack


*Maniacal laughter* “burn xenos scum, burn.”

To be honest everyone has to love the hellhound, these babies burn everything in their path and always hit something. The fun part is you can place the template in the craziest ways and it has a range that a normal flamer couldn’t reach in years. This fella has a wonderful strength and a great AP that would make anything but power armored guys tremble in their boots when facing a tank like this.

*Reaches out for the skies* oh may the Holy Emperor bless this wonderful tank, this tank is already good with his heavy bolter and inferno cannon, but a heavy stubber is always good and a dozer blade will also come in handy if you come into trouble with your dice while you’re riding through terrain. More upgrades than this is up to you, but the upgrades that I just proposed are more then enough or else he would become way to expensive. Always hide this fella behind the woods in the deployment phase ‘cause he will probably be somewhere near the top of your opponents list for things to destroy ASAP, for the rest you only have to burn infantry and make sure this guy always has support (not that he can’t take care of himself).

Rough riders

“Oh look daddy horsies, what’s that on their lances?” *BOEM*.

The ever so useful rough riders, you can equip them for all kinds of stuff, but the most famous is their hunting lances, as these babies greatly increase the riders stats on their first charge. Although it isn’t great, as this will mean that you’ll lose an expensive upgrade after your first charge and you’ll lose a close combat weapon or laspistol (this thing replaces one of the 2). The greatest upgrade is IMO the shotgun as this little thing can unleash a hail of fire and still charge (although they are now more like a fast moving firing squad) and giving them a few plasma guns for heavy infantry hunting or meltaguns to go tank hunting. To make the RR a great combat unit you should give them the xeno-riders upgrade as this will improve their armor save and give them 1 more extra powerful attack (can’t give the rules as there are copyright issues), but you do have to sacrifice their extra speed (a price I’m willing to pay).


Ah yes the sentinels *remembers good times past*, these are clearly the harassment units of the guard and are very versatile with a wealth of weapon options. Each of these weapon options clearly indicate what they are meant for: the Catachan pattern for close quarters anti-infantry; the Armageddon pattern for anti-tank; the Cadian pattern for a mix of anti-tank and anti-infantry; and last, but not least the Mars pattern for the long distance anti-infantry. Each of the patterns has their own advantages and every one of them is great, it’s only that the situation and experience with patterns give a certain favor for certain patterns. For me I’m in love with the Cadian and Armageddon patterns, as the Cadian is good against infantry and can bust light to medium tanks and the Armageddon is just a great AT vehicle and most of the time they both get double their points back. Sentinels aren’t meant for being in the middle of the front lines; they are flankers (which explains why they are fast attack) and try to keep them close to the thickest of the fighting while giving plenty of supportive shots, but still try to keep away from trouble. Sentinels should be used wisely for they are invaluable in a guard army.


Heavy Support

Now we have arrived at the most popular part of the guard, the heavy support section. You know the place where all the big, bad-ass tanks are. Well on to the heavy support

Heavy weapons Platoons

I haven’t got much to say about this part as I’ve already explained everything about them in the support squads section, the command section and the platoon section. All I have to say is that you should keep these guys under good cover and it’s advisable to only take these units if you’re planning to take an all infantry army and need some extra heavy weapons quick, but don’t want to take an extra platoon or just for fluff. In any other case, stick your heavy weapons in the platoons, take the support squads (this also spares you of taking a heavy support slot) or take a sentinel.

Leman Russ and Leman Russ Demolisher

Da big boom tank, a Space Marine’s worst nightmare and one of the most intimidating tanks in the game, the Leman Russ is truly a wonderful tank. This tank deals out ordnance blasts as a barman deals out drinks on happy hour and this tank loves his job. It has a great AV and good weapon options. As hull upgrade I’d advise to take the heavy bolter as this keeps him cheap, but a lascannon is also perfectly ok. Side sponsons are good, but you should only take them if you can afford them as these things can come very in handy when your battle cannon is busted as this will then still prove a threat to your enemy and it will prove harder to destroy (immobilized becomes weapon destroyed etc.). I advise you to keep away from any other vehicle upgrades except for dozer blades as these come very in handy for only a few points.
A handy tip is to keep the Leman Russ in terrain as this will give him extra protection.

Now the demolisher, this is the true assault tank and is even scarier than the normal Leman Russ. Most of the times I give this tank the plasma cannons upgrade as this will mean he can still fire something while his demolisher cannon is still out of range, as for the other upgrades I think the heavy bolters are the only other good upgrade, the mutli-meltas are truly an anti-tank upgrade and Leman Russes are more like anti infantry and if you want to take the heavy flamers (this is also for the normal Leman Russ) then you should be practically on top of the enemy and most of the time that isn’t a good thing.


I love this baby, but there isn’t really much to say about him. Just give him indirect fire and hide him behind a forest so that he can kill everything on the table without taking any hits himself. Do remember that the indirect fire rule means that he'll get minimum range so it won't work on a small table. See the basilisk as a really cheap ordnance launcher, although it's never as near as resilient as a Leman Russ.

This concludes this article, it was a pleasure writing this and I hope you have learned something from this. May the Emperor protect you and your regiments *salutes*

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