With a rare look into the enemies head, we have a guest post by my good friend Marshall! Over the next while Marshall with be contributing to this blog with tactica and army fluff, so stay tuned!
As you may have read in Ryan’s previous postings… last weekend saw the Dreaded 13th throw down
against the ‘Desert Storm Guardsmen’, which are actually the Nautican Black Spades; my new, and
previously untested Imperial Guard army. The list, which I will give to you in a moment, is a much
more competitive list than I am used to playing, and is my first Guard list designed with and for the new
codex/5th edition rules.
MY IMPERIAL GUARD LIST, the Nautican Black Spades:
A note on Fluff: The Black Spades are the mobile special forces of the Nautican Army, tasked with the
elimination of high priority targets and pre-emptive strikes against opposing forces. As such, they are
lower in number than most Nautican formations, and rely on superior mobility and strike capability to
support themselves and disrupt enemy formations.
The army list below is reflective of that, having a larger number of transports / aircraft / precision
support vehicles than a conventional trench-warfare style army.
Check back in a few days for some more fluff.
Company Command Squad : Powerfist/medic/x3plasmaguns/plasma pistol /Chimera (Multilaser/
Heavy bolter/Stubber/Dozer Blade)
Junior Command Squad : x4 Flamers (In second Vendetta)
Infantry Squad #1 : Flamer / Chimera (Heavy Flamer/Multilaser)
Infantry Squad #2 : Flamer / Chimera (Heavy Flamer/Multilaser)
Infantry Squad #3 : Autocannon/Grenade Launcher
Infantry Squad #4 : Autocannon/Grenade Launcher
Junior Command Squad #2: x4 grenade launchers
Infantry Squad #1 : Plasma Gun
Infantry Squad #2 : Flamer, Plasma Gun
Vendetta – Veteran Squad : x3 Meltaguns/Demo Charge/Meltabombs
Vendetta (carries the JCS with flamers)
And there you have it. As I’ve stated above, this is my competitive grade guard list, albeit with a healthy dose of fluff thrown in. For the most part I know what I’m doing, as I’ve played Guard consistently for years now and this is army #3 for me… so I’m pretty familiar with the weapons / abilities of my units.
However this composition is very different from what I am familiar with, and my game against Ryan’s Space Wolves gave me my first glimpse into the armies abilities.
The current army I play, a Space Marine drop pod army, is very reliant on being in control of the
battlefield – it needs to exploit enemy mistakes, etc. That being said, the enemy has to make those
mistakes in the first place, and if there is no crack in the armour to exploit, tough luck!
With my Guard, however, I’ve devised my list with the intent on simply forcing my opponent to bend to my will. Take out transports first, funnel troops where I want them, etc.
In that sense, the list worked excellently with a few notable exceptions. Below is my breakdown of the
THE GAME VS. RYAN
The Alpha Strike
My intention on turn 1 was to chip away at Ryan’s mobility. My primary targets were his troop choice
Rhinos… but through some good luck (editor: AMAZING LUCK!) I actually managed to destroy everything but one Razorback (which I immobilized instead). Without transports, I assumed my Guardsmen would be able to shred his footslogging Marines as they helplessly trucked up the field, and it turned out I was right and wrong.
As it turns out, Space Wolves are good with those Missiles! I vastly underestimated Ryan’s ranged anti-
tank power… losing both of my Vendettas (along with both units inside, which pretty much suicide into
the fray) early in the game. I generally use an infantry heavy Guard army and I definitely noticed the lack of manpower on the field – losing a squad here and there started to hurt… and I didn’t have the blunt stopping power I normally have. Ryan managed to run his Thunderwolf Cavalry (only 2 of them left) right into my lines… killing 25 guardsmen before (thankfully) fleeing. Had they not run.. it would have been 10 more men next turn.
I had expected to use overwhelming close ranged fire to eliminate them as they moved up, but
found my big guns were tied up targeting his distant units, and my close ranged guns were slightly
underpowered unaided by the larger Manticore / Vendetta’s that should have been helping. So my critical lesson learned here is : Know the limitations of the standard Guardsmen! I relied on 4
squads of guardsmen to pretty much kill whatever came their way… but they needed a lot more help
than I thought they would.
After my initial first turn of systematically destroying Ryan, I had thought victory was going to come
easy… however a couple of serious errors nearly cost me the game. I assumed my infantry would
be unscathed by any long ranged fire, but by ignoring Ryan’s long fang units I began to take serious casualties throughout the game, and in the end I had only a small batch of men left. In the end, I was
relying on unsupported, weakened squads to hold the objectives… and only through some good rolling
did they not run away. However, the objectives were mainly in my deployment zone, and pretty much all of my squads went to ground throughout the game to reduce their loses… so in the end I still had enough left to win the day.
MY LESSONS AND THOUGHTS :
For the most part, my list is functioning like I had imagined… taking out transports… denying mobility to the enemy and then outgunning the remains.
However, I definitely need to remember that guardsmen have serious limitations when compared to
For instance, on turn 1 I suicide my Veteran unit into Ryan’s Rhino… with the thought that it would
annoy one or two units for a turn while he dealt with it. Turns out he destroyed the entire unit with his
Rune Priest (100pts) without breaking a sweat (or taking a wound).
Second, I made the same mistake trying to take on 2 Thunderwolf marines with 40ish Guardsmen… who ended up losing half their number (and potentially more, had the TWC not run away….)
Third, I sent 1 chimera full of 10 guardsmen to take on a whole unit of Space Wolves. Their vehicle was wrecked, they were pinned, and destroyed utterly.
Yes, my biggest mistake was overestimating my Guardsmen, or underestimating the Space Wolves (I
don’t know which is worse… hahaha)
That being said, I was very impressed with my list, and though there were a couple of elements I didn’t
particularly like (flamethrower JCS in the Vendetta may not be as useful as I thought, same with the x2
plasma gun squads) a couple more play tests is needed before I make any drastic changes.
Any ways, look forward to more posts from me on Ryan’s blog, including future fluff-write ups of the
Killzone campaign taking place (Editor: Also keep an eye out for killzone battle reps and modeling in the future!), and a fleshed out fluff write-up of my Guardsmen coming in the next
Marshall has been playing Warhammer 40k since mid 4th edition, and collects Imperial Guard (The Nautican Armed Forces) and Space Marines (The Scarlett Rose Chapter). However, he is and will always be a guard player at heart! While not necessarily a competitive player, Marshall tends to favor fluff (and modeling opportunities) over effectiveness. That being said, as Marshall proved in our game, he’s no slouch on the battlefield.
Marshall often wins the local tournament painting competitions as well he walked away with best Army at this years 2010 Astronomi-CON in Vancouver BC.
His current army is the Nautican Black Spades, an Imperial Guard army themed after the freedom fighting nation of Nautica. With it, he am gearing up to get back into more competitive play, starting with the upcoming Las Vegas 2011 Grand Tournament, where he will be fightin’ for the Kelowna 40k club. Or as we call it, K40K! To get regular updates of both Marshall and my posts, subscribe today!!!