Command Squad

Rating: Excellent (Mandatory)

 

We start with the Command Squad, possibly the most important choice, and effectively the only mandatory one in the entire Codex. Your army must contain at least one such unit as part of your mandatory Command Platoon, and your Command Platoon's Command Squad (your HQ Command Squad) is the only one that can field anything other than Junior Officers.

However, Infantry Platoons and Heavy Weapons Platoons also include Command Squads, even if they are limited to only Junior Officers. Still, nearly all the squad upgrade options are identical regardless of the seniority of the officer leading it. Notable differences will be noted.

Officer Choices: For your Command Platoon, you have a full range of officer choices, each of which will strongly affect the flavor of your army as a whole, despite only modest differences in stat-lines and cost.

The Heroic Senior Officer has the highest leadership value, making him excellent in combination with a Company Standard (which allows rerolls to most Guard units on Morale checks within 12"). His stat-line is fairly solid, but nothing special when compared to even modest character choices available to other 40K armies.

The Heroic Senior Officer is by far the best choice if you are fielding a static, shooty army; his presence will add enormously to the 'endurance' of your army, by virtue of his leadership alone. While a +1 Ld does not seem a tremendous benefit (compared to saving 30 points and getting a Junior officer, for example), a Leadership 9 will fail Morale checks only 16.7% of the time (1 out of 6), while a Leadership 8 will fail Morale checks almost 27.8% of the time (nearly twice as often!). A Company Standard will make failed Morale checks even less frequent: only 2.8% of the time with a Leadership 9, and 7.7% of the time with a Leadership 8. But the higher Leadership is most useful in situations when your Imperial Guard units are under half-strength and out-numbered, which will happen basically each and every time they are assaulted by enemy units. In those situations, you want as near a guarantee of success when making Morale checks -- and all those penalties start to add up.

Without Company Standard, odds of Morale Check FAILURE

 

Ld5

Ld6

Ld7

Ld8

Ld9

Ld10

No Penalty

72.2%

58.3%

41.7%

27.8%

16.7%

8.3%

-1 Penalty

83.3%

72.2%

58.3%

41.7%

27.8%

16.7%

-2 Penalty

91.7%

83.3%

72.2%

58.3%

41.7%

27.8%

-3 Penalty

92.2%

91.7%

83.3%

72.2%

58.3%

41.7%

-4 Penalty

100%

92.2%

91.7%

83.3%

72.2%

58.3%

-5 Penalty

100%

100%

92.2%

91.7%

83.3%

72.2%

With Company Standard, odds of Morale Check FAILURE

 

Ld7

Ld8

Ld9

Ld10

No Penalty

17.4%

7.7%

2.8%

0.7%

-1 Penalty

34.0%

17.4%

7.7%

2.8%

-2 Penalty

51.1%

34.0%

17.4%

7.7%

-3 Penalty

69.4%

51.1%

34.0%

17.4%

-4 Penalty

84.0%

69.4%

51.1%

34.0%

-5 Penalty

94.5%

84.0%

69.4%

51.1%

As you can see, with a Ld10 and a Company Standard, your odds of making Morale Tests remain extremely high, even when the penalties to the Morale Check begin to add up! And if you take Doctrines that eliminate some or all of these penalties (Die-Hards, Iron Discipline, Chem-Inhalers), your Imperial Guard will be extremely, extremely stoic! In fact, it's to your benefit to improve your odds of making Morale Checks as much as possible, because the Imperial Guard usually will have to make a fair number of Morale Checks over the course of a game.

Naturally, the only way to start the game with a Ld10 + Standard combination is to field a Heroic Senior Officer, who starts with a superb base Ld9. (Then add a Commissar and Company Standard)

The Senior Officer is a solid choice, for assaults -- he has an excellent stat-line (for an Imperial Guardsman), with multiple wounds, a full 3 attacks and WS4, and also represents a cost-savings over the pricier Heroic Senior Officer.

The Senior Officer is a choice for assault armies that want to save some points on their overall commander but still be relatively effective; Senior Officers can spend twice as much on Wargear as Juniors, and have more attacks, better WS, and more wounds, all good things to have if you're planning to wade into the thick of combat despite being an Independent Character (and targetable). By fielding the cheaper Senior Officer, you save points, although you give up superior Leadership and an extra wound -- but since that extra wound is really most useful if you take a Medallion Crimson as well, you're basically trading 30 points for the +1Ld and +1W.

The Junior Officer is a cheap Command Squad choice for low-cost/low-point games, or for fluff reasons. It is now possible to field 'platoons' of infantry (an entire army led by no-one more senior than a lieutenant, for example) instead of having to field a higher-ranking officer, as well. Alternatively, if your army features next to no infantry (vehicle heavy, for example), and you're not planning on assaulting with your Command Squad, why waste the points? Just field a Junior Officer instead. Just don't expect much; you get what you pay for, in this case at least.

Snicko very aptly notes: a Junior Officer with Honorificia Imperialis is basically a Heroic Senior Officer for 65 Pts. but only with a 25 Pts (remaining) Inventory. Or did i miss something? This 5 Pts is nearly another Flamer. This is yet another very nice cost-saving technique, and many thanks to Snicko for pointing it out!

Disadvantages: All officers are now Independent Characters, meaning that they are now all targets in close combat. Although they have excellent stat-lines for a human, they are inferior (often VASTLY inferior) to the heroes of other 40K armies and generally quite manageable even for 'basic' assault units, thus making them extremely juicy targets for attacks. For that reason, it's rarely worth loading them up with wargear, while simultaneously you do wish to give your officers some protection if you're planning to throw them into close combat. Keep it cheap, though. Things like Carapace Armor (5) and Bionics (5) are solid choices, and for senior officers and heroic senior officers, a Medallion Crimson (15) and/or Refractor Field (15) could also be useful. Think long and hard before getting anything pricier than a powersword for an assault-oriented officer, however; with only an initiative 4, it's usually not worth the investment.

For officers that plan to remind behind the Imperial Guard lines, it's rarely if ever worth spending points on protective wargear. If your opponent has carved or shot through the bodies screening the officer and his unit, the extra wargear won't help much. Spend the points elsewhere and don't bother taking anything other than a ranged weapon (like a storm bolter, and maybe a plasma pistol, if you're into that). Even then, it's not really worth it for Junior Officers, who can't hit often (BS3) enough to really take advantage of the investment.

Unit Upgrades:
Heavy Weapons
are nearly always a solid choice, particularly if your Command Squad is planning to stand still for most of the game. Mobile units should definitely get assault weapons like meltas or flamers, especially if they're mechanized -- mobile units really can't take advantage of the superior range of the plasma (compared to the meltagun), whereas the grenade launcher isn't very effective up close. Assault units should, of course, really be mechanized (put in a Chimera), unless you have some specific army-design concept in mind.

For Command Squads that plan on sitting still and shooting most of the game, I prefer a lascannon and twin plasmagun combination. It's a small squad that's easily protected (screened) by your other units, and will keep your precious high-strength, AP2 weapons alive longer. And since I have a number of Command Squads in my list, this spreads out my lascannon investment, too. Remember that most armies have access to indirect-fire weapons -- if you concentrate your lascannons (for example) too much, that simply makes them a target for your opponent.

For Command Squads that plan on being mobile, which you expect to get fairly close to the enemy, I suggest as many flamers or meltas as possible. Flamers will do more damage about 80% of the time, even against 3+ armor saves, simply because they don't require a to-hit roll and have a huge area of effect, but meltaguns allow your unit to threaten terminators, high-toughness models, multiwound characters, and vehicles.

The Company Standard, for just 11 points (5 pts for the Veteran, 6 pts for the Standard), is almost always worth it. While the model carrying it cannot be given a weapon upgrade, the bonus to Morale Checks (via the reroll it provides) makes up for the loss in firepower. This is only not worth it if you field an army of units that cannot take advantage of its special rules -- for example, an army that is nearly all Stormtroopers.

The Medic, on the other hand, is only worth thinking about if you field 3 Plasmaguns in your Command Squad, and maybe not even then! Because you can so easily screen your Command Squads with your infantry squads, you'll only be getting shot by the enemy if you're already losing the game. Badly. And the Medic can't use his Medi-pack if he's in base-to-base in close combat, which he will be at least 90% of the time when the squad's in combat. In general it won't be worth either the expense (10 points in all), or the comparative loss in firepower.

Veteran Upgrades -- apart from the Company Standard, why? There's absolutely nothing in the armory or wargear list that's worth the cost and trade-off (losing the use of heavy and/or special weapons), in my book. This is a cute option that you really shouldn't ever use, except (again) for the Company Standard.

The Vox-Caster is only really necessary if (a) you have units that regularly will move beyond 12" of your Command Squads -- like Armored Fists or Stormtroopers or something -- and (b) you either have a Heroic Senior Officer (Ld9), or you're too cheap to get a Veteran Sergeant for just +6 points, so have decided to get a Vox-caster for +5 points instead. Because otherwise the Vox-caster will be utterly useless. Remember that most of the time you'll have Command Squads nearby, and won't need a Vox-Caster to use the officer's leadership! If you're regularly spreading your forces such that you're leaving units beyond the Leadership range of all your Command Squads, you're spreading your forces too damn thin.

For that reason, don't bother with a Master-Vox unless you have three or more other units that you can justify equipping with a Vox-Caster.

(Note that, ironically enough, the Imperial Guard units that could really take advantage of a Vox, like Ratlings or Conscripts, can't get one. Vox-casters would be worthwhile in that case, but you can't get them, so they really aren't.)

Grenades: The GW guys are some funny, funny guys, aren't they? Krak grenades should be called Crap Grenades -- Stormtroopers get them for free, and that's still too pricey. For tank-busting, give the Officer Melta-bombs, and his staff Meltaguns, then add Advisors with Meltabombs. (It's rarely worth the trade-off to upgrade the staff to Veterans just to take meltabombs.) Frag grenades are the only worthwhile option of the two, and only if your Command Squad is designed to assault things. Just remember to give Frag Grenades to any advisors you attach to the squad, too!

Excellent Doctrine Combo: Iron Discipline. It's obviously designed for Command Squads, but for just 5 points is a steal, no matter how you use your command squads, in assaults or staying behind your firing lines. This ability has been "clarified" as NOT working through Vox-casters, however (see the Official GW Q&A), but generally Voxes aren't worth it anyway, so that's hardly a huge disadvantage.



Created by: system. Last Modification: Sunday 25 of January, 2009 11:49:04 AM EST by ZiggyQubert.

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