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Goyder's Armoured Company Tactics Volume 1

Submitted By: Goyder Date: October 7, 2005, 06:47:28 PM Views: 5861
Summary: So, you're thinking of putting an Armoured Company together? Think its going to nice and easy? After all, all you have to do is buy a couple of tanks and put them into a list.

Yep, sounds pretty damned easy to me!

WRONG!

An Armoured Company requires a lot of thought, as it is a very fragile and surprisingly difficult army to play. You're going to be outnumbered (at least you wont be outgunned!) and there is going to be a lot of anti-tank weaponry brought to bear against you. But don't worry, for there is light at the end of the tunnel. As long as you plan ahead and create a reasonably good list, you should be able to handle anything that is thrown at you.

This is not going to be a guide on how to play an Armoured Company; this is just to help you create your very first AC list. There may be some little tidbits on how to use the AC, but I'm in the process of developing a guide to play the AC, so I hope you can wait 'till then. Don't take what's written here as the gospel word, for what's written in here are my personal views and my own experience. Do you think what I've said is a crock? You're going to take 6 Conquerors no matter what I say? You're going to provoke my wrath and add in Doctrines? Or, are you going to be really cheeky and throw in an armoured fist squad? Go ahead and do it. It's your army, it's your game, and you are the one who has to have the most fun playing it.  This is just a guide to help new AC Commanders put together a good list that should hopefully have a descent chance of survival. And, as it's written by me, it's extremely biased by me. (Note: Although you should all know that Goyder is not one bit biased!)

And without the need for further dramatics, here it is.

Colonel Goyder's 'How to arrange the God Emperors armoured glory in advance against thee xenos, heretics and mutants, while still maintaining an unyielding, well balanced intensity of the Emperors wrath'
Or,'How to put together a bloody descent AC list.'

SPONSONS, TAKE THEM

Sponsons are an integral part of any tank. In my eyes, you do not have a tank if it is not equipped with sponsons - what you have is just a really cool looking paperweight (which, I will admit, can bite).

What sponson should you take? Well, that's all a matter of personal taste, many different combinations work for many different people; it can be a Heavy Flamer if that suits you, Heavy Bolters, Multi-Melta or Plasma Cannons. Whatever it is, you put them on your tank. Why? Let's say you lose your primary Weapon, in most cases, it's going to be the Battle Cannon, if you've just stuck a Hull mounted Lascannon or Heavy Bolter on, that tank has lost a LOT of firepower, and one more hit could see it become nothing more than a really awesome looking paper weight.
If you, as an example, stuck Heavy Bolter sponsons on that tank, you still have one hell of a scary tank that can move 6", and still bring down its fair share of opponents, whether they be enemy tanks or troops. You have to remember you may only have 10 or so tanks on the board and you do not want to lose 10% of your firepower just because you didn't fork out the 15pts for those extra weapons. However, as you will read below, I don't count sponsons as an 'upgrade' in my eyes. They are an essential part of a tank, and you should ALWAYS take them, and make sure they compliment the chosen role for the tank you are putting them on.

An example of this would be an anti-tank Leman Russ Demolisher would be rather nasty with a Hull mounted Lascannon and 2 Multi-meltas, A Leman Russ with a Heavy Bolter hull weapon would be complimented by either Heavy Bolter or Heavy Flamer sponsons. It's not too hard to work it out!

KEEP IT CHEAP

One of the most important things to keep in mind when creating an AC is to KEEP THINGS CHEAP. While the old maxim of 'Quality over Quantity' holds true to many of the armies of the 40k universe, it does not apply to the Armoured Company. In fact, the maxim for any AC player should be 'We've got quality built in, we just need quantity.'

As most Imperial Guard players should know, (even those who don't play the Imperial Guard) the Imperial Guard tanks are very decent with no upgrades. The Leman Russ family in particular has extremely good armour, both on the front and side, most of them pack a rather decent punch and most of them can be used to their full efficiency without having to fork out the points for upgrades. This is in Contrast to some of the other Xenos vehicles, like the Tau Hammerhead, which only starts to shine once you've forked out the points for several upgrades. Besides, when your basic 'troop' choice is costing you 155pts, do you really want to start paying more?  And I know you want to have as many tanks on the board as you can squeeze, because, lets face it, having 12 tanks on the board is an awesome sight indeed.

However, there are reasons to have upgrades, and this is all dependant on your style of play/board/gravitational pull of the moon. Just remember to KEEP IT CHEAP. Take one upgrade if you must, but don't go overboard. A 200pt tank with all the upgrades in the book can still go up in smoke with a single 10pt Krak Missile. You will also realize, that if you give one upgrade to every tank you have, you may find out that taking all those upgrades off allows you to squeeze in one more Leman Russ. I was going to list the upgrades, providing my experience with them, but, in the end, it's your army. Every upgrade has its place, like Heavy Stubbers on an Exterminator, Extra armour on a Scout Vehicle etc... just keep it cheap and nasty.

Also, doctrines are a big no. If I ever see you take Doctrines, I will squeeze through my computer (which is no easy task!), travel through the internet and somehow manage to smack you over the head and make you eat your own fist. I mean it; I'm an angry, angry man. They may look cool, and they may look like they will make your tanks like John Rambo, but they will only make things even more expensive. When you deploy your 300+pts that been blessed by the Machine god with Extra Side armour, equipped with anti-tank shells and sponsons that can fire into combat, and then realize 'Yeah, I could have taken 2 tanks for just that one', you'll know what I mean. The Doctrine system for the AC isn't too flash hot yet, so just wait until GW plays around with it again, and makes the doctrines just a little more appealing.

WHAT TANKS SHOULD I TAKE?

It's up to you. Do you have a sick, strange fetish for nothing but Leman Russ Exterminators? Go nuts, take nothing but Exterminators. It's your army, and you're the one who is going to have to spend hours painting it and playing with it, so you may as well paint and play with an army that you want. However, going all Exterminators may not be very practical, so I'm going to assume you're not one of those mythical people with an Exterminator fetish. (And I hope I'm assuming right).

HQ
For your HQ choice, you have to remember that you are already paying a premium for the Tank Commander, so the best option here is to give him a nice cheap tank. The Exterminator is the number one choice here, as not only is it cheap, but with its ability to spew out 14 shots at BS 4, and still move, how can you say no? This will give you some pretty descent anti-troop firepower to compliment your other tanks. You can go other tanks if you need to (like a Vanquisher), just keep in mind that the pts. cost will increase rather dramatically, reducing your options further on down the line. Remember, KEEP IT CHEAP. So, the better option is to take the cheaper tank option here, but don't worry, you'll get more chances to use that delicious BS 4.

Elite
Now, for Elite you can take tank aces. I suggest you do. Not only do they allow you to take more 'troop' choices (which you know, you're going an Armoured Company, so you kinda need to take a few), but they can strengthen your AC firepower because of their high BS and they are also a lot cheaper than the HQ!  So this is where you can take advantage of their BS and put them into more specialized roles. This is probably the best time to throw in a Vanquisher, as their anti-tank shell can be used to greater efficiency.

Another Exterminator to clinch your anti-troop / horde ability wouldn't do you wrong either. If you only have one Exterminator, and cannot get your hands on another, a Leman Russ Conqueror with 3 Heavy Bolters is still a descent alternative and, its still rather cheap, again, like the Exterminator, it can use the Higher BS to take advantage of its rather high Rate of Fire. Failing this, the stock standard Leman Russ Battle Tank will never do you wrong, thanks to its great design. Also, if you happen to have one of those delicious tanks from Forgeworld (like the Tank Destroyer, drool), now would be a good time to add them, as it would be fitting for an elite to be piloting one of those babies, and their higher BS makes them more effective.

The Techpriest here looks like an attractive purchase, as his ability to repair tanks on the go is a seemingly good thing. My advice to you? Don't bother (not to insult the Emperors highly trained servants). You'll end up putting far too many points into him to make him effective. After the Chimera and adding his servitors it's going to be very expensive. And for the points you put into the Techpriest its better just to get another tank. Besides, if you've given your tanks Sponsons (like you're supposed too!), a weapon destroyed result shouldn't be the end of the world. And, if you get immobilized, no biggie, as the range of the Battle Cannon (and its variants) generally tend to be rather long reach, so it simply becomes a stationary bunker, again, no real biggie. In other words, it's not really worth the bother.

Troops
Your 'troops' for your AC is the easiest pick. Leman Russ Battle Tanks for the majority.  That's 155pts for a bloody decent tank that will never let you down. If you still feel you don't have enough stopping power in the anti-troop department, you can throw in an exterminator as well. Sure, they're not going to be as effective, but still, with 14 shots, you are going to hit something, and you are most defiantly going to hurt something. Another alternative to use here is the Conqueror. With its ability to move, and fire a St 7 Blast, and up to 11 shots, it's a viable alternative to the Exterminator if you can not get the model for it. Its ability to throw down a blast marker means you can catch those bunched together units unawares, effectively getting the best of both worlds. However, in terms of effectiveness, the Exterminator still wins hands down.

Fast Attack
See Below Heavy Support.

Heavy Support
Your heavy support choices are one of the easiest picks, because you don't have that much choice! Most of the artillery pieces you can get a pretty descent and its all up to personal taste. Just think about the size of board you are playing on and the type of enemies you are most likely to encounter. (Disclaimer: I'll be yelled out if I at least don't say give the Griffon a chance!) I do however suggest you take a Demolisher or two. Its superior firepower can bring about defeat in a single shot, being the most powerful ordnance in the game. You also get some of the 'exotic' sponson options for this one; Plasma Cannons (your only chance to get them bar: Forge World tanks) and Multi-Melta's (again, your only chance to get them). Both excel on two different playing fields, and both are very viable options for your Demolisher. Just remember what I said above, and pick wisely.

Also, you get the chance to throw in another Destroyer Tank Hunter, do so if you wish, but I would have thought such a prized jewel would have been more fitting for an Elite choice (that, and the tank relies on BS to hit, and the more chances it has to hit, the more destructive it gets!)

BUT GOYDER, WHAT ABOUT THE CHOICES IN THE AC LIST?

Like I said before, I'm an angry, angry man, and I honestly do not feel that any other choices that I haven't talked about above merits any use for AC. Its not like I have a vendetta against any of those choices, I use them in my footslogging IG army; I just feel they have no chance in a bona fide AC. I've also never seen them come to that great a use, especially armoured fists etc…face it, they just won't last.

And before you start telling me 'but sentinels could do this!' and 'Armoured fists could do that!' and 'Storm Troopers dance really well in an AC' I am well aware of the merits these units could provide to an AC, and I can understand why some people may want to take them. But think of this, at the start of the game, your opponent will be looking at a sea of AV 14 tanks. Any weapon that is not above St8 (and there will be a lot of them) is not going to get used until later on in the game, when they start flanking you but, if you happen to have a couple of AV 10-12 floating around, they will attract a HELL of a lot of firepower, especially those poor sentinels. Because there are no troops to shoot out, there are a lot of weapons that will not be used, and because most basic st4 guns and above wont get to fire, they will love to be shooting at those sentinels, just for something to do.

The same goes for a Chimera and an armoured Fist Squad / Storm Troopers. The minute you pop them out, expect them to last 5 secounds in the shooting phase. Even if you keep them in your chimera you are still going to see a lot of firepower head your way, especially later on in the game when they may be wrapped around you. And trust me, AV 10 armour doesn't stand much of a chance against an army of troops that have nothing to shoot at it. Yes, you could use them as suicide squads, designed to take out tanks and the like. And if they die, well, that was the whole point wasn't it, being a suicide squad and all. But, when you have Vanquishers, with their awesome strength 8 + 2d6 anti-tank shell, do you really need them? Your basic tanks also have strength 8 Battle Cannon! So why bother with 'suicide' squads when your tanks can do the job, and do it with out the risk of losing 160 + pts of Chimera and troops? (This by the way is about the cost of one Leman Russ). It's just not very efficient in my eyes, and with an Armoured Company, you need to be very efficient to ensure not a point is wasted.

And then we come to the Hellhounds. This is a mixed bag, being a pyromaniac as well as a treadhead, the Hellhound is like some kind of god to me. But, in the scheme of things, how effective can it be? Once again, you're faced with the problem of being AV 12 in a sea of AV 14, so straight off the bat you're a juicy target for those lighter weapons. Now, if you can somehow keep it alive for the first 3 turns, you can start to bring it out, and pick off troopers starting to flank you. It is just trying to keep it alive for those few turns before it become 'effective' which is the hard bit. (I will expand more on this in my other guide, coming soon in all bookstores need you). And unlike the armoured fist squads or Sentinels, this thing can keep on being effective, and has slightly better armour than the Chimera (only ever so slightly).

If you want Armoured Fist squads and Storm Troopers, go play the Imperial Guard (footslogger variety). This is Holy Emperor's Armoured Company, and if you're not coated in many inches of armour, you have no place in an Armoured Company.  Maybe down the track when you feel that you're skilled enough you could throw in some Hellhounds, but like I've said, keep the others at home, or as a detachment to your AC in some 4000pts Mega Battle.

CONCLUSION

Well, there you have it. The basics of putting a list together follow the advice for what to choose and what not to add and you should be able to create a reasonably decent Armoured Company list. Sure, you may lose the first few times, it's a difficult army to play, and sometimes, those blasted scatter dice just seem to hate you. But keep going at it, work on it, find out what kind of tactics work for you, what combination of Tanks works for you, and soon, you'll have one indestructible armoured assault rolling into enemy territory in no time!

Also remember, you don't have to take my word for it. You want to throw in an armoured fist squad? Go ahead! It's your army, it's your painting time, and it's your money. And more importantly, it's your game, and you enjoy it the way you want to enjoy it.

May the Emperors light shine on you always, and may your tanks roll over many enemy's heads.
-Colonel Goyder.

Coming soon: Colonel Goyder's: How to bring into play thy Armoured Company to its utmost potential, and how to beat thy foul enemy xenos by minimising your weaknesses and bringing about your strength to decisive points where essential.
Or
How to use your Armoured Company to kick some butt.

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