Tactica: Conscripts

Submitted By: Andro Ist Keine Schwedischen Date: December 25, 2005, 10:22:12 PM Views: 3613

The unsung lowlifes of the Imperium, Conscripts play a vital role in the Imperial Guard - cheap and expendable troops.

But wait, is this all they are?  Are they really as worthless as their statlines suggest?


Conscripts can fill several roles in your army, and be depended on to do it if you properly support them.  Conscripts on their own are doomed to die a horrible death, but with some smart thinking and tactical planning they will do you proud.

Speed Bump
Firstly Conscripts are an excellent speed bump against assault armies.  While you might think their lowly WS2, I3 and Ld5 make them utterly useless in holding up elite assault troops, let's take a closer look...

Most assault troops have WS4, I4, meaning they are going to hit first and on a 3+.  But wait just a moment, what happens if you take Close Order Drill?  You're now I4 as well, so you strike at the same time!  Your WS is also exactly half the enemy's, meaning you still hit them on a 4+, and Close Order Drill means even a 20 strong unit is going to have all or most of their members in the 2" kill zone meaning you get a lot of attacks back.  Even against Marines this is going to give your opponent grief as his prized troops are dragged down and beaten by the second worst troops in the game!

While losing the combat is still a near certainty, you can still stop your enemy in his tracks by placing an Officer with Iron Discipline nearby!  Your Conscripts now have Ld 8 or 9 (or 10 if you have a Commissar as well) and ignore being under half strength!  Even if you are then outnumbered your Conscripts will probably stand their ground, and if they don't then they are only Conscripts and no real loss!

The good news that if they do break and get away, they will probably rally again because of the Officer and be ready to jump back into the fray!

The main thing to remember with speed bumping is to leave at least 7" between the Conscripts and their supporting units to stop any massacre consolidations that may happen.  If the unit holds, you can counter assault with your supporting units and wipe out your enemies in a massive wave of Guardsmen.

Mobile Firepower
Laugh if you want, but you'll only ever underestimate 20+ rapid firing lasguns once, even if it's only with BS2.

If you really wanted you could give them Flamers or Grenade Launchers, but I don't think they are worth the points cost (despite other commander's views that ignoring their BS with Flamers can only be a good thing).  It's up to your personal taste in this case.

Static Firepower
Laugh some more!  Conscripts might not appear to be a shooty unit in the slightest, but 20 lasguns can still dish out the damage at long range.  Put them in heavy cover (4+) and they are extremely hard to shift.

Heavy weapons are not advised here, due to paying more for a lower BS!  However if you really don't trust in your lasgun's stopping power, then Heavy Bolters would be the best option due to being the cheapest option and firing 3 shots each.  Mixing special weapons in would be a waste as well, and just make the unit more expensive then it needs to be.

Distractions are always good, but they tend to only work once you know your opponent will take the bait.  Try this after a few games using your Conscripts against a regular opponent and watch him move his expensive units to engage your Conscripts.  Hopefully he'll be blind to the rest of your force (or at least the critical parts) and walk right into your trap.

Enticing units to spread out or move into range of the rest of your guns are things you want to gain from your distraction, giving the rest of your army time to do its job and win the game.

Objective Holders
Sitting on objectives are something Conscripts are inherently excellent at - their mass means they are hard to shift.  Also good for distractions while the rest of your army moves to the objectives.


Generally speaking I never upgrade my Conscripts at all, bar for Close Order Drill which all my units get.  Whether or not you do it is up to personal taste, though I view upgrades to be an inefficient use of points.  Better spent on making the unit larger, I think!

Let's take a quick look at their upgrades:
Flamers: probably the most useful upgrade due to not using BS.  It is, however, 50% more expensive then any other unit's!  It may get extra use in a speedbump/mobile firepower roled unit, but overall I'd rather save my points.
Grenade Launchers: worthless.  50% extra points for a weapon with lower accuracy?  No thank you.  It is mobile with a reasonable range though, so some people may want to try it.
Heavy Bolters: most useful Heavy weapon, but still too expensive.  Good for static firepower only.
Autocannons: getting two shots might give you a reasonable chance of hitting once, but for the price it's not worth it.
Missile Launchers: really lives up to it's name.  Don't bother even trying to say rocket launcher instead.

While additional Equipment isn't recommended, Independent Commissars are.  One of these will make the unit neigh unbreakable, even if isolated from an Officer, and give them an extra punch in an assault (though be warned - the Commissar is an Independent Character and thus can be targeted!).  Generally speaking anything more then a Power Sword and Refractor Field is unnecessary.

For a nasty little trick to make the unit even harder to break, equip the Commissar with nothing but a Trademark Item and stick him as far away from the enemy as possible.  You now have a massive unit with Ld10 with a re-roll!  Scary stuff, you might agree.

Supporting Units
One unit that is essential to the survival (or rather, fortitude) of your Conscripts are Command Squads with Iron Discipline.  Without them they are doomed to run at the sight of Gretchin charging towards them, never to return...

Regular Guard infantry are always best used in support, laying down heavy covering fire with their cheaper and more accurate heavy weaponry.  Essential to any Guard army (and indeed, mandatory).  A good mix of weapons is always suggested, but mass anti-infantry is rarely needed - lasguns do the job just fine in most cases.

Special Weapon Teams are always excellent buddies for Conscripts, able to take care of anything the Conscripts can't touch (tanks, for example).  People also tend to ignore them in favor of the Conscripts for some reason, which leaves them wide open for sneaking Demolition Charges right up to their prized troops...

Ogryn may be a good choice as well, though I haven't tried this myself.  Good for a counter-assault, but they might overshadow the Conscripts and get wiped out in a flash, which would not be good at all!

Rough Riders, hidden away behind cover but well within assault range would be excellent buddies for your Conscripts.  Pinned in place, your Rough Riders can zip in behind and assault with their Hunting Lances - something that will ruin even a Terminator's day!  Just make sure to keep them out of LOS, otherwise they will disappear in a red mist extremely quickly.

Storm Troopers, with their superior BS and mobile weaponry would be ideal buddies, plus their superior armour will save them from the worst of anti-infantry weaponry (unless you're facing Heavy Bolters - hide!).  Perhaps a Deep Strike at the right moment would save your Conscripts from a sticky end?

None of these units should be placed too close to your Conscripts.  This limits the damage caused by assault troops overrunning and scattering Pie Plates.  You should leave enough room (between 7 and 11" for most units) so they can support them, however.

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